2011/05/17

NEW NET Weekly List for 17 May 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 17 May 2011, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

1. 3 Reasons that We are Moving Away from Facebook as a Platform http://blog.zuupy.com/3-reasons-that-we-are-moving-away-from-facebo In the past, we have used the Facebook Like button as a baked-in promotional mechanism…After nearly 6 months of collecting data and experimenting…We will no longer be giving Facebook VIP status in our product. Here are some problems with Facebook: 1. The Facebook API changes too often. The plug-ins are buggy…there are too many rules constraining how developers can use the API…As a platform, it is unstable…2. Facebook is overhyped…even though Facebook actually has 600 million active users, developers still tend to overestimate how many people…have a Facebook account…use it regularly…3. Facebook is still mainly social for most, and exclusively social for some. We are still not completely convinced that Facebook can be an effective platform for ecommerce or any commercial activity…”

2. How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education http://thenextweb.com/industry/2011/05/14/how-the-internet-is-revolutionizing-education/ “…free education has never been so accessible…The Web has unlocked the keys to a worldwide virtual school, potentially leveling the playing field for students around the world…The Open Education Movement…has been gaining momentum since 2006, the same year Dr. Dan Colman, launched Open Culture, the greatest free cultural and educational media website I’ve ever come across…Khan Academy is an online collection featuring over 2,100 educational videos ranging in intensity from 1+1=2 to college level calculus and physics. Khan Academy includes an important recording feature; every time you work on a problem or watch a video, the site remembers what you’ve learned and where you’re spending your time…John Britton, now a developer evangelist at Twilio, spent his first year at RPI studying nuclear engineering, then switched to computer science. He quickly realized he didn’t like school, but not wanting to drop out, he had to game the system. He spent the next year in Spain…Upon returning, he set up an internship for himself at a company he launched, “faking the school out” as he says. Finally, when beckoned back to the books, he spent another year abroad in China…Britton now works with the founders of P2PU, “a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements.”…P2PU started in 2008 and launched its first 6 peer-based, free courses on 09/09/09. The courses had 15-20 people enrolled for 6 weeks. Each subsequent cycle, the number of courses nearly doubled. The most recent, 4th cycle had 60 courses with 20 people in each course. P2PU had to turn down nearly 70,000 additional people who applied…Technology has the opportunity to completely disrupt education by democratizing learning. There’s something fundamentally wrong when a college degree can cost upwards of $100,000 when all of the information can be learned for free…There’s a lot of debate right now about whether or not paying for a degree is worth it, a particular problem facing entrepreneurs…People are not getting their money’s worth, objectively, when you do the math. And at the same time it is something that is incredibly intensively believed; there’s this sort of psycho-social component to people taking on these enormous debts when they go to college simply because that’s what everybody’s doing…So where does that leave us? To pay or not to pay for a quality education? Much of it depends on the job you want, but then again it always has…”

3. GNU SIP Witch 1.0 released for peer-to-peer next gen VoIP http://planet.gnu.org/gnutelephony/?p=18 We are distributing today a 1.0 release of the GNU SIP protocol provisioning and peer-to-peer call server, GNU SIP Witch. GNU SIP Witch is developed within GNU Telephony and has been selected for use in the GNU Free Call project…GNU SIP Witch is available as part of the GNU project. Stable releases will also power a web site later this summer to provide initial worldwide secure calling services for free directly to the general public for use in conjunction with any ZRTP enabled standards compliant softphone applications and SIP devices…GNU SIP Witch is a free software project and is being developed by volunteers from around the world…”

4. Can We Please Stop Pretending That Microsoft's Bing Is Doing Well? http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-bing-losing-billions-2011-4 Over the past month or so, there has been a lot of enthusiasm about how much market share Microsoft's Bing search engine is gaining…The implication of these reports is that Bing is doing surprisingly well…a quick glimpse under the hood reveals Bing is…doing horribly. Worse, Bing is burning attention and money that Microsoft could instead focus on a much more important battleground, one that--unlike search--could eventually destroy Microsoft's core business…Microsoft's Bing search engine is indeed gaining some share of search queries in the US market (globally, Bing is nowhere). But it is gaining this share at an absolutely mind-boggling cost…Bing is paying about 3X as much for every incremental search query…for every $1 Microsoft generates from each new search query it buys, it spends $3 to get it…”

5. Mozilla details plans to kill Firefox 3.5 via auto-upgrade http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9216752/Mozilla_details_plans_to_kill_Firefox_3.5 “…Mozilla plans to push 12 million users of the aged Firefox 3.5 to a newer version next month by taking the unprecedented step of automatically upgrading their browser…Mozilla gave users their last version 3.5 security patches three weeks ago…in June, Mozilla will use another strategy to make Firefox 3.5 "being dead,"…While it will continue to "dangle the carrot" of Firefox 4 to those users…will "force 3.6 on 3.5 stragglers not choosing to update to Firefox 4 or 3.6…Later, Legnitto said his choice of the word "force" was ill-advised, and noted that only Firefox 3.5 users who had left the default automatic updates setting enabled would be moved to Firefox 3.6 automatically…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. FBI: If We Told You, You Might Sue http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/fbi-if-we-told-you-you-might-sue-1 “…the FISA Amendments Act…authorizes the government to engage in dragnet surveillance of Americans' international communications without meaningful oversight…we also filed a Freedom of Information Act request to learn more about the government's interpretation and implementation of the FISA Amendments Act…Though redacted, the documents confirmed that the government had interpreted the statute as broadly as we had feared and even that the government had repeatedly violated the few limitations that the statute actually imposed…as part of our FOIA lawsuit over those documents, the government gave us several declarations attempting to justify the redaction of the documents. We've been combing through the documents and recently came across this unexpectedly honest explanation from the FBI of why the government doesn't want us to know which "electronic communication service providers" participate in its dragnet surveillance program. On page 32…Specifically, these businesses would be substantially harmed if their customers knew that they were furnishing information to the FBI. The stigma of working with the FBI would cause customers to cancel the companies’ services and file civil actions to prevent further disclosure of subscriber information…There you have it. The government doesn't want you to know whether your internet or phone company is cooperating with its dragnet surveillance program because you might get upset and file lawsuits asserting your constitutional rights…”

7. Facebook Viruses Keep Triad Computer Repair Shops Busy http://www.myfox8.com/news/wghp-story-facebook-viruses-110516,0,7187233.story Facebook viruses now make up more than half of Melissa Vogler's computer repair business in Winston-Salem. The Computer Place charges about $90 to clean Facebook viruses from computers. "Thank God for Facebook viruses," Vogler jokes. "They are the apps, the games, the little teddy bears everybody sends to each other, the questionares," Vogler said. In the worst case Vogler has seen, a pop-up that looks like a legitimate virus produces a message that the computer has been infected and asks for a credit card to fix the problem. However, it instead wipes out your bank account…Vogler said they are seeing more infected Macs come into their shop.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43051524/ns/technology_and_science-security/ “…For years, security experts predicted that as Apple gained market share, cybercriminals would turn their attention from Windows machines toward Mac attacks…Mac OS X operating system now enjoys a market share of more than 15 percent in the U.S…in a 2008 paper written for the IEEE Computer Society…Adam O'Donnell predicted that when Apple's market share reached a "tipping point" of roughly 16 percent…hackers would begin targeting those systems…"We are now seeing Mac-specific malware that we hadn't seen before," said Michael Sutton, vice president of security research…In the past few weeks there have been examples such as MacDefender, a fake antivirus program that hijacked the name of a legitimate security program in an attempt to trick Mac users into divulging credit card numbers…more troubling was the nearly simultaneous appearance of the first available do-it-yourself crimeware kit aimed specifically at Macs…the Weyland-Yutani botkit…named after the fictional corporation from the "Alien" movies…is being sold on underground forums, with the promise of an iPad version to come…” http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2011/05/11/time-for-mac-users-to-think-about-viruses/?mod=google_news_blog “…As one security expert once commented when it was suggested that Unix doesn’t get malware. “Yes it does, it just gets really, really good malware.”

8. America's net censorship bill is back and worse than ever http://www.boingboing.net/2011/05/11/americas-net-censors.html COICA, the proposed US Internet censorship bill, has been reintroduced under a new name. Now called "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property" (PROTECT-IP), the proposed legislation takes an even more extremist approach to assisting a small group of copyright companies improve their bottom line…PROTECT-IP adds a duty for credit-card and other payment processors to boycott sites that the entertainment industry doesn't like…It also forces search-engines to de-index sites that have been targeted by the entertainment industry. The PROTECT IP Act…actively encourages them to take unilateral action without any sort of court order at all…this kind of extremist legislation turns up in Congress every couple years, and generally it gets defeated when enough people make enough noise. But the entertainment industry is tireless, and these laws don't kill themselves. They need our help…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

9. Stanford computing lab imagines the mobile-social future http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/may/mobisocial-050911.html “…A team of computer scientists, graduate students, technology experts and industry representatives from AVG, Google, Nokia and Sony Ericsson gathered recently to officially kick off the Stanford Mobile and Social Computing Laboratory…They have formed MobiSocial to ask the most fundamental questions about this…field, questions that seem obvious now that mobile and social media are firmly entrenched, but which weren't so obvious as the technologies were entrenching themselves: Can social be done better? Can it be even more social and more fun? Can it be more open? Can it be more secure? And, if so, how?...MobiSocial is about imagining and creating an open-source mobile-social media future…Like the web before and, later, mobile phones, the shift to social media happened rapidly, before anyone could fully understand what such mass adoption might portend…MobiSocial is working to create a new class of mobile and social computing technology that works in consumers' interests while enabling all the positive aspects of social media – from e-commerce to closely knit social circles…MobiSocial's Junction platform makes it easy to create apps to swap links and photos, to collaboratively create notes and drawings, and to play games with anyone we meet, all without wires and at the click of a button. The technology is built on near-field communication (NFC), but the folks at MobiSocial have dubbed it something much more fun: partyware…All these social activities transpire between the devices and their owners with no proprietary middleman, without big brother watching over…The work of the Mobile and Social Computing Laboratory is part of the National Science Foundation's Programmable Open Mobile Internet 2020 Expedition…”

10. The Most Reliable Laptops http://moneywatch.bnet.com/saving-money/blog/family-finance/the-most-reliable-laptops/4009/ “…I nearly went insane the last two weeks waiting for Sony to fix my laptop. This is the second time I’ve had a big issue with my machine…What will I buy next? I don’t know much about computers, so I decided to call…Consumer Reports…every year the magazine runs an Annual Product Reliability Survey that asks 43,000 laptop owners about their experience…If you like using a PC, Toshiba and Acer are tied as the most reliable brands for laptops…Owners reported needing a repair or having serious problems with their models just 15% of the time…Apple users are a loyal bunch…Owners reported having problems and needing serious repairs just 17% of the time. While this is slightly higher than Toshiba and Acer, Gallea actually prefers this brand. “If you have an Apple you probably have a leg up on everyone else,” Gallea says…Apples are less likely to get infected by viruses…I’m personally partial to PCs. I’m just more used to them. But I’m willing to consider making the switch to a Mac if it means I won’t miss as many work days…”

11. Are Tablets Just Another PC or Something Else Altogether? http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385381,00.asp “…a few companies, especially ones that made components, such as microprocessors and communications chips, wanted us to determine if there would ever be a market for tablets with consumers…we started questioning whether we were looking at tablets as being just a PC in new clothes or perhaps something different. This research was conducted way before the iPad or Android tablets were even thought of by the vendors, and smartphones were still in their infancy…In one focus group, a guy told us that this seemed more like a portable screen than a PC. Another told us that it would be a good reading device…the PC folks we were working with pretty much saw these responses as anomalies and not a precursor for future tablet use. In fact, I get the sense that some of them still think this way today. Looking at the way most PC vendors are approaching the tablet market, you'll see they are doing it strictly as if it was just another PC in their line. They have had desktops, laptops, and netbooks, and now they are offering tablets…now that we have about 14 months of iPad and other consumer tablets being on the market to draw even more research from, I am becoming more convinced that a tablet is not just another PC in a PC vendor's line up. Rather it is something else. To users, it represents a very different level of mobility, connectivity, and freedom that traditional PCs cannot offer…”

12. Foldable Device Screens, Coming Soon To Your Pocket http://www.fastcompany.com/1753032/foldable-oled-screens-really-work-could-change-mobile-devices A breakthrough in foldable OLED screen tech means a display can be folded in half like a sheet of paper without creasing. It's no exaggeration to say this could change every mobile device's design…it's flexible enough to be folded in two like a sheet of paper, and resist the formation of picture-distorting creases for more than 100,000 re-folds…High-quality active matrix OLED tech is well developed, and the rest of the materials in the invention are also commercially available, meaning there the barrier to entry is lower than usual for this tech to appear in products…Reliable, resilient folding displays could absolutely revolutionize product design…this new screen…could double the size of your smartphone's display with just a single fold. And that's just a simple implementation. As foldable screen tech develops, there will likely be design innovations we can't picture yet, because gadget designers will be freed of a lot of the structural constraints forced on them with current display tech…”

13. 500GB SeaGate Wi-Fi Hard Drive Streams to iPad http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/05/500gb-seagate-wi-fi-hard-drive-streams-to-ipad/ How does 500GB storage for your iPad sound? That’s kinda what Seagate is offering with its new GoFlex Satellite, an external hard drive with iOS-friendly Wi-Fi built in…This supports up to three connections and lets you access any media on the drive through a web browser…You can’t send the content to other apps (yet) but you can at least cache content locally. Also, the drive’s Wi-Fi can’t connect to an existing network, so you’ll have to manually connect to the drive from your device, switching away from your home or work network as you do so…The drive costs just what you’d expect: $200, or the same as a regular pocket drive and a MiFi wireless router together. It’s not cheap, but it sure is convenient…”

Apps

14. Patent Firm Shakes Down iPhone App Programmers http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/05/app-store-patent-troll/ “…Several iOS programmers on Friday morning said they received a legal complaint from Lodsys, a patent-holding firm. Lodsys is accusing the developers of infringing a patent related to the usage of an “upgrade” button that customers can use to upgrade from a free version of an app to a paid version, or to make purchases from within an app. Apple provides the payment technology that programmers embed inside their apps…Many apps use Apple’s in-app payment system, so the number of companies to receive the legal threat could soon grow much larger…Lodsys is based in eastern Texas, which is home to a federal court that often sides with patent holders. Patent lawyers around the world know that the easiest and quickest way to win a patent-related dispute is to file the complaint in Marshall, Texas…it seems likely that Apple will intervene. If Lodsys sues or imposes licensing fees on iOS programmers, it would deter developers from building apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and would hurt the ecosystem as a whole…”

15. Android Market Changes Aimed to Help Users Cut Through Clutter, Developers Make Money http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/11/android-market-getting-a-major-refresh-better-discovery-a-redesign-and-99-new-countries/ One of the most important pieces in the Android ecosystem is Android Market…Chu took the stage to walk developers through some of the key trends on Android Market, and to announce some new features…The biggest user-facing changes involve both the web and client versions of Android Market. The web version now features a dozen new lists that showcase various applications, including, ‘Trending’ and ‘Top Grossing’ lists. Market will start suggesting apps based on your previous downloads. And the Android team is taking a more active role in flagging the best apps — there are new badges that top developers can earn for producing consistently good applications, and an ‘editor’s choice’ badge that can be placed on individual great apps…it doesn’t look like the web version of Market is getting a redesign…and there wasn’t a discussion about the Tablet version of the Market client…my notes from the presentation below: International market is really picking up. Last year this time 70% of device activations were US, but now over half are abroad. US is around 40% of app consumption of Android Market…“Android users love games.” “Android users are more technically savvy — they’re interested in tools that add more utility.” Productivity has remained a top category since the beginning, but a few apps represent bulk of revenue…you can upload published or draft app and see which devices it will be visible to. You can also opt out specific devices…Launching support for large apps in June. Support up to 4GB — Publish 50MB app package and up to two 2GB archives. Android Market will host these files. Market will manage the download and install of the archives…”

Open Source

16. Google Open Hardware Strategy vs MS and Apple http://blogs.forbes.com/haydnshaughnessy/2011/05/13/google-open-hardware-strategy-is-it-playing-catch-up-with-microsoft-and-does-apple-do-it-better-anyway/ Google launched the Android Open Accessory Kit, Wednesday, allowing hardware developers to use the open source microcontroller Arduino to make accessories for Android powered devices…The bridging of cultures between open software, open innovation and open hardware is happening, with some familiar names contesting the space: Google, Microsoft, Apple…The puzzle is – which vendors are getting this right? Which ones can truly adapt their business models and realize reputation and revenue benefits from hardware ecosystems? Arduino and the potential for open source hardware has been around for a long time but as with a lot of innovation right now the user base is setting the pace. In a study published earlier this year, MIT Professor Eric Von Hippel showed that customers in the UK spend twice as much as firms do on product development. Trusting customers is good business and it could have been the success of the Kinect on that front that convinced Google it had a lead role to play in open source accessories…Hardware proliferation is a design killer – Apple gets a lot of flack for their limited product line and proprietary connector, but as a product designer I can tell you the uniformity is a huge help. For our glucose meter we wanted to make a case…That meant designing 3 plastic cases, one for the iPhone 3, iPhone 4, and iPod touch. For Android there are 90 some models and the top 10 change every 6 months…”

17. Waterbear is Like Scratch, but for JavaScript http://www.readwriteweb.com/hack/2011/05/waterbear-is-like-scratch-but.php Waterbear is a Scratch-like visual programming language for JavaScript…Waterbear brings the concepts of kid-friendly, educational programming languages, such as Logo and Scratch, to the modern, browser-oriented computer. Users can create programs by snapping together blocks. Unlike Scratch, you can view the code generated by Waterbear…Elza hopes it can be used in programming books and courses to allow learners to explore code in a more immersive environment, or enable individuals to become "casual programmers."…His 10 year old son learned Scratch and has moved on to more advanced programming. He already thinks of himself as a programmer…Elza's 14 year old daughter thinks of herself as an artist. She draws, and is working on a novel.She learned Scratch, however, and uses it every few months to create things to embed on her blog…”

SkyNet

18. The Google Chromebook Breaks Cover At I/O 2011, Hits Retailers June 15th http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/11/the-google-chrome-netbook-breaks-cover-at-io-2011/ “……” http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385239,00.asp “…What's baffling to me is that the $429 (Wi-Fi only) and $499 (Wi-Fi and 3G) Samsung Series 5 and $349 Acer Chromebooks are as expensive, if not more so, than Windows-based netbooks…” http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/11/hack-chromebooks/ “…when Dutch journalist Alexander Klöpping asked about the possibility of installing Chrome OS on a MacBook, Pichai noted that Chromium OS was open source and developers would do as they pleased with it. But Chrome OS is very much Google’s, and the partnerships for Chromebooks ensures things like verified boot that works behind the scenes in seconds…he followed that up by once again noting that “you can take any Chromebook, flip a switch, and install whatever you want.” Again, he used the keyword “jailbreak”…”

19. Coming This Summer: Fully Offline Gmail, Google Calendar, And Google Docs http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/11/offline-gmail/ While it hasn’t always been clear just how big of a bet Google was going to make on Chrome OS, after Google I/O today, it seems very clear that they’re very serious. With the launch of Chromebooks, Google is aiming to strike right at the heart of Microsoft…But they know that one big hold up remains before a browser-based OS can be everywhere: offline access….Google has internally been using offline versions of their three most popular apps for months now: Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. And this summer, all users will be able to use these apps offline too…They’ve had options for going offline in the past with things like Gears, but it wasn’t perfect…”

20. Ford, Google Team Up to Make Smarter Cars http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/05/ford-google-prediction-api/ Ford is joining Google to develop cars smart enough to know where you’re going, and how best to get you there so you don’t waste time in traffic…The automaker is tapping the power of Google’s remarkable Prediction API to create cars that determine where you’re going by examining where you’ve been. It’s the latest example of the auto industry calling on Silicon Valley as software takes on more tasks in our cars. It also underscores the tech sector’s growing interest in the automotive sector as Microsoft, Cisco and IBM develop new technologies and markets…In a nutshell, the Prediction API adds pattern-matching capability to existing cloud-based datasets, using it to predict probable outcomes for current events. Using it in an automotive setting would allow our cars to effectively learn from our behavior and adapt to it…”

General Technology

21. Skype and Kinect could be Microsoft’s new killer combo http://www.geekwire.com/2011/reason-microsofts-skype-deal-sense-kinect “…The skepticism is warranted. Microsoft has had a rough time with big acquisitions in the past, and Skype will be seen by many in the industry as tying its fortunes to an over-the-hill technology giant that has struggled in consumer markets…many of the people…are missing an important point — the more than 10 million Microsoft cameras connected to television screens in homes around the world. That’s how many Xbox 360 Kinect sensors have been sold in six months. The devices already have video chat capabilities…Just imagine what would happen if Microsoft brought the Skype brand — and its 145 million [??] connected users — into the picture. That’s a powerful combination of brands with the potential to get a lot of attention and usage. Suddenly this deal seems more interesting doesn’t it?… a lot will depend on how well the companies can integrate their technologies and execute…Combining the Skype login and Windows Live ID systems will be just one of the tests…” http://www.cringely.com/2011/05/why-microsoft-bought-skype/ “…Microsoft no longer believes it controls or even can control the game…So they’ve adopted a defensive posture and this Skype acquisition is more of a block than anything else. Microsoft bought Skype to keep Google from buying Skype…Were Google to buy Skype they’d convert those 663 million Skype subscriptions to Google Voice and Gmail and in a swoop make parts of Yahoo and MSN irrelevant. They’d build a brilliant Skype client right into the DNA of Android, draining telco revenue and maybe killing smaller players like Windows Phone. They’d cut deals with equipment makers like Cisco (Linksys) and NetGear and steal voice revenue from telcos and cable companies alike…Buying Skype doesn’t guarantee Microsoft that success, but NOT buying Skype would have practically guaranteed Microsoft’s failure…”

22. Zoomy lets kids take digital photos of microscopic details http://www.gizmag.com/zoomy-handheld-digital-microscope-for-kids/18644/ If you want to get a child interested in the sciences, just let them loose with a microscope…the Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope…a simple device that plugs into the USB port of a PC or Mac, then feeds through illuminated, magnified images of whatever it's placed over…Zoomy magnifies items by 35 to 53x, and captures 640 x 480 images via a VGA CMOS sensor…Should budding scientists wish to snap a picture or shoot a video of the leaf, bug or what-have-you that they're looking at, they can do so by pressing a button on top of the microscope…Zoomy…is available for US$59.99…One notable contender that has been around for a few years is the EyeClops Bionicam. Unlike the Zoomy, it operates untethered from a computer, running on five AA batteries and recording stills and videos on an onboard memory stick. Images can then be downloaded to a computer or viewed on a TV. It magnifies by 100x, 200x or 400x, but costs a little more than the Zoomy – expect to pay around US$118.”

DHMN Technology

23. 3-D Art for All: Ready to Print http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/14/arts/design/makerbot-is-a-new-3-d-printer.html “…There’s nothing like working with plastic!” Marius Watz announced…Mr. Watz, a Norwegian-born artist, was describing his work with MakerBot, a new consumer-grade, desktop-size 3-D printer. With some assembly and do-it-yourself tinkering, the MakerBot makes, or “prints,” three-dimensional objects from molten plastic, creating a piggy bank, say, or a Darth Vader head from a computer design…“Awesome” was sort of the buzzword at MakerBot’s inaugural open house, held at its warehouselike offices in Gowanus, Brooklyn…After a burst of invention by three friends, the company was formed two years ago — “built on caffeine,” said a founder…and has since expanded to 32 employees and thousands of MakerBot kits sold…On Saturday 3rd Ward, the Brooklyn arts and design collective, will host a Make-a-Thon, where those interested can play with the Bots and receive miniature 3-D busts of themselves printed by Kyle McDonald, MakerBot’s current artist in residence and an expert in digital scanning. “It’s definitely baked into the DNA of MakerBot that this is a tool for creative people,” said Mr. Pettis, 38, who worked as a…teacher in Seattle before starting the company with Zach Hoeken Smith…and Adam Mayer…They met at a Brooklyn hacker space.) As part of their mission, MakerBot’s founders also embrace sharing: users are encouraged to post their designs for the machine on a company blog…“We’re obsessively open-source,” said Mr. Pettis…In this age of the Internet, the sharers are the people who will come out ahead — the people who make progress and then share it so that other people can stand on their shoulders.” “My wife’s friends look at it, and they ask me for cookie cutters in shapes that don’t exist,”…I thought for like 20 minutes, and I thought of this. And an hour later, I printed it.”…“Art is not traditionally an open-source practice,” Mr. Watz, who is represented by the DAM gallery in Berlin, noted dryly at the open house. Nonetheless, he posted some of his technical specs on Thingiverse, explaining that he didn’t want to take advantage of the generous community spirit there without giving back…”

24. MINI World Rally Championship team uses 3D printing for test and production http://www.makepartsfast.com/2011/05/1885/racing-team-to-print-15-production-parts-for-each-car-using-additive-manufacturing/ The MINI John Cooper Works World Rally Car (WRC) Team used additive manufacturing machines to create a full-scale mock-up of the vehicle directly from the CAD (computer aided design) files, and it used the technology extensively on other assemblies and components of the car throughout it’s two-year development cycle. To design the test car, engineers used Stratasys FDM 3D Printing technology to create large parts of the engine bay, gearbox, steering assembly, vehicle interior and even engine components, such as intake valves. In addition to prototyping parts for the test track, the MINI WRC Team even produced some end-use parts for the finished car…”

25. The Arduino project gets a core memory accessory http://www.thinq.co.uk/2011/5/13/arduino-project-gets-core-memory-accessory/ “…Arduino…has been chosen by Google to form the heart of its Open Accessory project for Android. Perhaps the biggest attraction for the project is the availability of 'shields' - add-on circuit boards which connect to the Arduino and add new facilities such as screens, joysticks, sensors, or even Ethernet connectivity. A pair of mathematicians have created possibly the nerdiest shield yet, however - one that stores a tiny chunk of data on the height of 1950's technology: core memory…Constructed from a series of tiny magnetic rings woven onto wire threads, it is the precursor to both magnetic hard-drives and random access memory - and, to this day, operating systems often refer to a memory dump as a 'core dump.'…"I'd be amazed if there was a practical use for the shield," North admitted…For those willing to go a step further, the pair have remained true to the Arduino project's central ethos and released the source code, schematics, and PCB design files for the project - allowing anyone with the willingness to learn to follow in their footsteps…Nash and North released the files for their project publicly this week, in order to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the original core memory patent…”

26. Android Embraces Arduino; DIYers of the World Rejoice http://www.pcworld.com/article/227618/android_embraces_arduino_diyers_of_the_world_rejoice.html Android fans rejoice! The new Android 3.1 Ice Cream Sandwich brings the promise of better USB support to connect to digital cameras and printers. But Android’s discovery of new USB peripherals does not end there, because Google is opening up to Arduino-based accessories with their own official Android Open Accessory Development Kit…Google will be providing the USB micro-controller board, Android Demo Shield, and the library software needed to run the board. You’ll still need a Windows, Mac, or Linux box to get the thing running, but after that you can use your handy Android device, any version between 2.3.4 and 3.1, to run it…”

Leisure & Entertainment

27. Smashwords gets self-published e-books to market http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/09/BU5M1JBU42.DTL “…Smashwords, Coker's Los Gatos startup, specializes in helping writers turn their work into e-books - digital documents that can be read on devices such as the Kindle, Nook and iPad. The six-person firm has allowed more than 17,000 authors to produce and distribute 43,000 titles since its creation in 2008…Monthly U.S. e-book sales tripled between February 2010 and 2011 to hit $90 million, while sales of printed books fell by 25 percent, according to the Association of American Publishers. Forrester Research estimates that annual e-book sales could reach $2.8 billion by 2015…self-published e-books - the category that Smashwords helped pioneer - have been grabbing the spotlight recently in publishing circles. Best-selling thriller writer Barry Eisler made headlines in March when he turned down a $500,000 advance from a mainstream publisher and opted to self-publish instead. Meanwhile, Amanda Hocking - a 26-year-old novice writer of young-adult fiction about vampires and other supernatural beings - landed a $2 million contract with St. Martin's Press after selling more than a million self-published e-books…Smashwords lets writers format their work for a wide variety of competing e-reader devices, not just a single device like the Kindle or Nook. And unlike vanity presses, it charges no up-front fee to create an e-book and distribute it to online retail sites…Smashwords charges a share of sales - 15 percent of the revenue that an author receives after online retailers take their cut…"There's no cost, no frills, it's a quick way to get your e-book into print, and you can do it in a day." Coker, a former Silicon Valley publicist, started Smashwords in 2008 with the lofty goal of using technology to democratize publishing…”

28. This 26-Year-Old Gamer Just Sold His Company For $104 Million http://www.businessinsider.com/this-26-year-old-just-sold-his-company-for-104-million-2011-5?op=1 Hey parents: you may be annoyed that your kid whips out his Nintendo 3DS at every opportunity, but you never know if that obsession with gaming is going to turn into a million-dollar payday. That's exactly what happened with Jason Citron, the 26-year-old CEO and creator of OpenFeint, a mobile platform for social gaming. Last month, he sold the company to Japanese mobile game maker GREE for a whopping $104 million…he was obsessed with mobile games since getting a Nintendo DES at the age of five, and credits his parents for not limiting the amount of time he spent with it -- as long as he finished his homework first, they didn't care if he played video games instead of going outside. Citron also shared some other amazing stories from his two-year journey from tiny startup to hundred million dollar payday: A great bluff: Aurora Feint, the predecessor to OpenFeint, had made a couple of unprofitable but well-reviewed iOS games and was running out of money. Citron floated the idea for OpenFeint in a brainstorming session. He and his partners put up a Web site, got TechCrunch to cover it, and were suddenly inundated with requests. They spent the next 45 days building the product…The importance of an incubator: Citron is a programmer first -- not a business type. But he managed to get into the YouWeb incubator, which helped him with tasks like hiring, marketing, and legal while he got the company off the ground…Here's a transcript of the interview, lightly edited for length…BI: …When did you get into gaming and start programming?...JC: I got into gaming when I was five years old, my parents got me an NES and that was the beginning of the end of everything. Got into programming…. I must've been 12 or 13 and at my first sleepover party, my friend taught me how to program in Qbasic. We stayed up after everyone else went to sleep and made a text adventure video game…” http://venturebeat.com/2011/05/12/youweb-launches-pluto-music-ipad-app-as-part-of-edutainment-strategy/ YouWeb has churned out a number of cool startups in the age of social and mobile gaming. Now the Burlingame, Calif.-based incubator is launching Pluto Plays Music…Pluto Plays Music was created by a single developer, Luis Sampredo, an entrepreneur in residence at YouWeb. But it’s worth paying attention to his app because YouWeb and its chairman, Peter Relan, have been right about anticipating major trends in the game market before and jumping on them with well-positioned startups…”

29. Netflix Now The Largest Single Source of Internet Traffic In North America http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/17/netflix-largest-internet-traffic/ Netflix video streaming is now the single largest source of peak downstream Internet traffic in the U.S…The streaming video service now accounts for 29.7 percent of peak downstream traffic, up from 21 percent last fall. That puts Netflix above HTTP websites (18 percent), BitTorrent (11 percent), and YouTube (10 percent) as a source of downstream traffic during peak times in North America. (BitTorrent still accounts for half of all upstream traffic). As whole, “real-time entertainment” (which is mostly video streaming, but also includes streaming music) accounted for 49 percent of downstream traffic in March, 2011, versus 19 percent for P2P file sharing, and 17 percent for Web browsing…these numbers definitely point to a future where video accounts for more and more of the traffic on the Internet…as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings points out, bandwidth to the home keeps increasing along with demand—he expects a gigabit to the home to be commonplace within ten years. As he told me earlier this month, “streaming is the core of our business,” but he also points out in the video below that most of the video to the home is cached on the edge of the network …”

Economy and Technology

30. Microsoft Close To A Big Search Deal With Baidu http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-baidu-2011-5?op=1 Microsoft is close to announcing a partnership with Chinese search company Baidu…It looks like Baidu is taking over the paid ads on Bing China, and Bing will provide the English language results for Baidu. Bing is a tiny player in China's search market. Perhaps by striking a partnership with the biggest search engine there, it can gain some traction…” Nationalism And Protectionism In The Alibaba-Yahoo Dispute http://digicha.com/?p=1802 Alibaba Group CFO Joseph Tsai, speaking Saturday at the Alibaba.com shareholders meeting, revealed that Alibaba has told Yahoo it needs to sell down its stake because the government is unhappy with the level of foreign ownership in the company…It’s “inappropriate” for Internet companies in China to have high foreign ownership…Alibaba Group Chief Financial Officer Joseph Tsai said…If Alibaba has a regulatory problem with foreign ownership then other Chinese Internet companies probably have issues too…” [mind-boggling that Microsoft thinks it can succeed in the Chinese internet sector when Google couldn’t and now, apparently, Yahoo is also being pushed out – ed.]

31. A year after opening, Panera’s pay-what-you-want café proving successful http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/a-year-after-opening-paneras-pay-what-you-want-cafe-proving-successful/2011/05/16/AF2aMr4G_story.html “…Rashonda Thornton looked up at the menu on the wall, ordered a Caesar salad and dropped a $10 bill in a box. Pretty generous, considering the meal at Panera Bread Co.’s café in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton sells for less than $7…a year ago that Panera converted the Clayton restaurant into a nonprofit pay-what-you-want restaurant with the idea of helping to feed the needy and raising money for charitable work…Panera, based in suburban St. Louis, has long been involved in charitable giving, donating millions of dollars and giving away leftover food to the needy…What developed was the largest example yet of a concept called community kitchens, where businesses operate partly as charities. Panera’s success in Clayton has led it to open two similar cafes — one in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Mich., and one in Portland, Ore. It plans to add a new one every three months or so…Signs explain the pay-what-you-can concept, encouraging charity. One thing Shaich learned was those signs tend to go unnoticed, so cheery employee Terri Barr greets everyone at the door and spells it out…Not everyone is so generous, but that’s OK with Brooke Porter, who manages the restaurant. She knows that times are still hard for many…A teacher laid off after 25 years stops by on his way to job fairs. He can’t afford to pay much but makes up for it by volunteering at the store…Only a few take advantage of the system…He still fumes over watching three college kids pay $3 for $40 worth of food…Overall, the café performs at about 80 percent of retail and brings in revenue of about $100,000 a month. That’s enough to generate $3,000 to $4,000 a month above costs, money being used for a job training program for at-risk youths. “We took some kids that typically wouldn’t be employable, didn’t know how to work in society,” Shaich said. “We gave them a combination of job training and life skills.” The first three graduates of the program are starting jobs at other Panera restaurant…”

Civilian Aerospace

32. SFF and Heinlein Prize Trust Announce $5,000 NewSpace Business Plan Prize http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=33547 “…Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) will host the NewSpace Business Plan Competition (NewSpace BPC) during its NewSpace 2011 Conference…The goal of the NewSpace BPC is to help entrepreneurs develop problem-solving and game-changing technologies into functioning businesses in support of the commercial space industry…"Many successful businesses have begun life as entries in business plan competitions," stated Art Dula, Trustee and literary executor of the estate of acclaimed science fiction author Robert Heinlein. "With this in mind the Heinlein Prize Trust supports both the Space Frontier Foundation business plan competition and one conducted by the University of Arkansas." Finalists will present their plans to a distinguished panel of judges featuring venture capitalists, angel investors, and business development leaders…They will receive professional feedback and exposure to the public, press, and investor community, and the winner will be awarded a $5,000 prize funded by the Heinlein Prize Trust…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

33. Lack of training hinders GPU in HPC http://www.zdnetasia.com/lack-of-training-hinders-gpu-in-hpc-62300328.htm “…See, chief solution architect and director of solution architect at Nvidia, noted that both research and production sectors use HPC for modeling and simulation but the two sectors face different challenges in the adoption of GPU computing. For researchers, the main challenge lies in the lack of training in parallel programming…those in the production sector such as oil and gas and manufacturing are still dependent on their ISVs to develop applications for HPCs, he explained…Nvidia currently runs various programs in efforts to drive knowledge in parallel programming, pointing to the chipmaker's CUDA Centers of Excellence, CUDA Research Centers and CUDA Teaching Centers…The integration of GPGPU in HPC gained prominence when it boosted China's Tianhe-1A to the pole position in the Top 500…Bertil Schmidt, associate professor at the school of computer engineering in Nanyang Technological University (NTU), also backed the use of GPGPU in HPC…Currently, he added, GPU provides the fastest computing capability as well as the best results in terms of performance and cost…”

34. NVIDIA revs up Tesla GPU http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-05-17/nvidia_revs_up_tesla_gpu.html GPU maker NVIDIA has ratcheted up the core count and clock speed on its Tesla GPU processor. The new M2090 module for servers delivers 665 double precision gigaflops, representing close to a 30 percent increase over the previous generation Tesla part. The memory bandwidth on the device was bumped up as well, from 150 GB/second to 178 GB/second…there was enough thermal headroom to crank up the GPU clock from 1.15 GHz to 1.30 GHz…they increased the speed from 1.56 GHz to 1.85 GHz, boosting bandwidth to and from the local GDDR5 memory by nearly 19 percent…The speedier M2090 managed to deliver…25 percent faster execution for Linpack, 20 percent for Kirchoff time migration (oil and gas), 30 percent for Wang-Landau/LSMS (material science), 20 percent for SIMULIA's Abaqus FEA (manufacturing), and more than 22 percent for AMBER (molecular dynamics/life science)…the combo of faster hardware and software enables researcher to use just four GPUs to perform simulations that until recently required a good-sized CPU-based cluster or supercomputer. A quad-M2090 system, encapsulated in just one or two servers, can deliver 69 nanoseconds of biomolecular simulations per day. (Last September at the GPU Technology Conference, NVIDIA reported than an IBM iDataPlex cluster with eight GPUs achieved 52 ns/day with AMBER.)…getting four graphics devices in a single server is relatively easy nowadays…I think the density of GPUs to CPUs is going to keep increasing…as CPU core counts rise, there is less of a need for multiple CPUs in a server if the end use is exclusively for heavily GPU-accelerated applications. Given that one CPU core can drive a GPU device, a single six-, eight- or 12-core x86 processor may be all that is required for such codes…”

35. HP Pairs With Nvidia for New GPU Servers http://gigaom.com/cloud/hp-pairs-with-nvidia-for-new-gpu-servers/ “…Hewlett-Packard has teamed up with Nvidia to build a server containing up to eight graphics processors designed for the high performance computing market…The latest HP server will use Nvidia’s brand new Tesla GPU…For parallel processing, GPUs, which contains hundreds of cores, can deliver speed without a corresponding jump in energy consumption…check out the difference between the greenest supercomputer running Nvidia chips and Jaguar, a machine that actually uses AMD x86 processors…Tsubame 2.0 is an incredible achievement in performance per watt, especially if you compare it to Jaguar, which is listed as the #2 system on the Top 500 list. Both have similar peak petaflop performance, but Tsubame 2.0 does it with 92 percent fewer servers and consumes only 1/7th the power. Take that into consideration and it’s easy to see why GPUs have made such an impact in HPC…”


*****

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