2011/06/07

NEW NET Weekly List for 07 Jun 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 07 June 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. Apple's iCloud aims to 'demote the PC' http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-apple-cloud-20110607,0,3280141.story “…In what the Apple chief executive described as a major shift in how millions of people would store and organize their music, documents, photos and emails across multiple devices, he showed off an online service that will let Apple users access their digital media from anywhere. Jobs…said people could no longer rely on the personal computer as their digital hub. "Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy," he said. "We have a great solution for this problem. We are going to demote the PC to just be a device. We are going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud." Apple, the world's largest distributor of music, is giving consumers access to all the music saved on their hard drives — no matter whether they copied it illegally — for $25 a year, with the music industry's consent. Jobs said that was a first. Apple is also pushing consumers to store their information in the cloud to capture even more of people's digital lives. It's a bid to keep its dominant position in the smartphone and tablet markets…” [sounds like Steve Jobs might want to try out a Chrome notebook – ed.] http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/06/06/apple.icloud/ “…ITunes Match will allow people to pay $25 per year to sync as many as 25,000 songs not purchased through the iTunes Store between their computers and gadgets. "It takes minutes, not weeks," Jobs said. The weeks-long process Jobs is referring to is the offerings from Amazon and Google. Because they haven't secured rights with the record labels, they took an alternate route with their services. Amazon's Cloud Drive and Google's Music Beta require users to upload their entire libraries to each service before they can be accessed from Web and mobile jukeboxes. Apple, instead, uses a "scan-and-match" procedure, finding which of your songs are also sold in the iTunes Store and giving you the keys to access those. For the remainder of live recordings and other obscure songs you have, the system uploads them, just like other services do, but at a fraction of the time…”

2. LinkedIn to Launch Job Application Tool http://gigaom.com/2011/06/01/apply-with-linkedin/ LinkedIn is preparing to launch a plug-in for employers’ websites called “Apply With LinkedIn” that will allow job candidates to apply for available positions using their LinkedIn profiles as resumes…LinkedIn is currently in talks with a number of companies that will incorporate the “Apply With LinkedIn” plug-in on their jobs pages for the feature’s launch, which is slated for later this month…“Apply With LinkedIn” is being touted by the company as a way to remove friction from the job application process by enabling people to use their LinkedIn profiles as resumes. The plug-in also bundles applicants’ data to simplify the sorting process on the employer side…”

3. Get Ready For World IPv6 Day Next Week http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2011/05/get-ready-for-world-ipv6-day-n.php Earlier this spring, as anticipated, the last of the IPv4 address blocks was given to the regional Internet registries that dole them out to ISPs and other corporations. Unlike many predictions that go back dozens of years, we have run out of room…you need to get cracking on a transition plan for your company to migrate towards IPv6 now…To highlight this situation, a group of engineers under the auspices of the Internet Society have set aside next Wednesday, June 8th, to test the new protocol for an entire 24-hour period. Various Web properties will put up IPv6 versions of their sites for the day as demonstrations. And several vendors have begun to assemble copious instructions and advice to help IT network managers figure out their plans…”

4. Video and mobile are breaking the Internet http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/01/technology/cisco_visual_networking_index/ “…Four years from now, the Internet's traffic volume will be so large that every five minutes it will be the equivalent of downloading every movie ever made. In 2015, monthly Internet traffic will reach the equivalent of 20 billion DVDs…Those are just some of the mind-blowing statistics released Wednesday in Cisco's annual Visual Networking Index…Experts consider Cisco's forecast to be the gold standard for Internet analysis. The annual study, which began in 2008, has historically been accurate to within a 5% to 10% deviation -- usually on the conservative side…The proliferation of smartphones, netbooks and tablets means that there will be roughly one mobile device for every individual alive in 2015. Cisco predicts there will be 7.1 billion mobile, connected devices four years from now…Internet usage on mobile devices will grow by more than 26-fold between last year and 2015…Last year, video comprised the majority of consumer Internet traffic for the first time, making up 53% of all uploads and downloads. By 2015, video traffic will more than quadruple, and the Internet will be two-thirds made up of video. If you include peer-to-peer file sharing, including services like BitTorrent, then video actually will make up 90% of all Internet traffic in four years…”

5. Skype Sign-in Problems Knock Millions Offline, Again http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/229604/skype_signin_problems_knock_millions_offline.html Millions of Skype users were having trouble on Tuesday signing into the application, less than two weeks after the company published software updates for Windows and Mac computers to fix a similar problem. Skype said it had identified the latest issue as a configuration problem…"If you've been affected, you should start to see improvement in the next hour or so…Skype's website said that more than 22 million users were online around 12 p.m. GMT. But a half hour later, the figure fell to around 16 million, then around 2.2 million by 1 p.m. GMT. Overall, Skype has about 170 million users…”

6. Amazon quietly rolls out daily deals http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-local-daily-deals-livingsocial-groupon-2011-6 Amazon quietly rolled out a daily deals service in Boise, Idaho called Amazon Local…At first, it looks like a straight daily deals site by Amazon…But it's not. The deal actually comes from LivingSocial…it seems that what Amazon Local is doing is actually aggregating deals from other companies…There's also a sweetener for using Amazon Local in the form of Visa reward points…This looks like an experiment by Amazon more than anything else at this point…The daily deals market is huge and Amazon needs to be there…It requires a huge sales force and a presence in every state. It poses serious tax issues for Amazon…So the aggregation route, like investing in LivingSocial, is a smart way to get intelligence, relationships, and of course money, in a huge fast-growing space without having to go all-in…” http://thenextweb.com/us/2011/06/02/amazon-enters-the-daily-deals-space-with-amazonlocal/ “…the AmazonLocal website appears to be available for Amazon customers residing in Boise, Idaho. The company says this is because of Boise State Unversity’s unique blue football field…[The] blue football field represents just the kind of adventurous spirit we want our customers to experience every day. We will quickly be expanding to other cities, but we liked the idea of starting in a city that embraces fun…”

7. 1500 people show up for 16-year-old's birthday party after she forgets to set Facebook settings http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/06/05/2011-06-05_1500_people_show_up_for_16yearolds_birthday_party_after_she_forgets_to_set_faceb.html “…A 16-year-old girl in Germany ditched her own party after she forgot to set the privacy settings on the invitation and accidentally invited … well everybody. The mistake began when the birthday girl, identified as Thessa, published an invitation meant to invite only a few friends over to her house. Instead, 15,000 people checked that they would be there – and her parents promptly cancelled the party. Despite the party-pooper parents, more than 1,500 guests and 100 police officers showed up at the party, with some partygoers even holding up signs asking "Where is Thessa?" and bringing birthday presents and cake…”

8. The Making of Diaspora http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/internet/the-making-of-diaspora The Diaspora guys, four college kids turned chief engineers of the…social networking start-up…get a lot of friend requests…Every now and then, someone recognizes them in public, which freaks them out…Journalists…have called Diaspora "the Facebook killer," "the Facebook rival," "the anti-Facebook,"…The guys, however, don't see themselves as competition…although the company tries to solve the biggest problem with Facebook by giving users better control over their private data, its site looks and acts like a vacant, amateur imitation. Besides, the guys insist, they're not aiming to replace Facebook with "yet another social network." Rather, they're taking a stab at reengineering the way online socializing works by building an entire network of networks from the ground up…Many programmers and social media thinkers, including some…at big companies such as Google, Mozilla, and Germany's Vodafone, have been working to develop open standards for a federated social Web…"If I couldn't e-mail people who don't share the same domain as me, that would be pretty stupid," remarks Joseph Smarr, a social Web engineer…that's exactly the way social networks work today…Diaspora…is the name of the company…It is also the name of the guys' website, at Joindiaspora.com, which hosts Diaspora's 50 000 users. Finally, it is the name of the open-source software that runs the site and that other people are using to run other Diaspora-like websites, known as pods…"We really have no idea how many pods there are," Salzberg concludes. "We have nothing to do with them."…Each pod hosts anywhere from one to 15 000 users. Sign up with any one of them and the experience is pretty much the same as if you signed up at Joindiaspora.com, provided the servers running it are reliable and the host keeps the code updated…once other pod hosts start writing their own software, each one will be very different. For example, Diaspora could charge users US $5 per month to encrypt all their messages, while the host of My-seed.com could provide a more Facebook-like service with advertisements for free. Diasp.org could extend invitations only to engineers, while Diaspora.lordgandalf.nl could offer a Lord of the Rings theme…because all pods built using Diaspora's source code and standards speak the same language, users on different pods are still findable and approachable. Choice, interoperability, and the chance to invent your own networking experience are what federated networks such the Diaspora pods are all about. If…I find out that the Diaspora guys are selling my data to advertisers, I can export my profile and my list of friends and sign up for a new account at Diasp.org, for example, which is run by a business analyst in Seattle. Or, if I'm acutely privacy conscious and tech savvy, I can set up my own pod on my own server…"At the end of the day, we're just four dudes out of New York University trying to see if we can solve a problem," Salzberg says…Starting a social networking business today without honed programming skills and a clear moneymaking scheme is a big risk. But because the Diaspora guys are young and have little to lose, it's a risk they can afford…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

9. One Brain, Hundreds of Eyes: Darpa Plots Manhunt Master Controller http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/manhunt-master-controller/ “…the next generation of man-hunting gear just took another step closer to reality…DARPA, announced this week that it awarded a $14 million contract to defense contractor SAIC to build Insight, its system-of-systems effort to mashup snooping sensors that’ll find human prey on the battlefield. Darpa has developed loads of sensors and spying gear…But getting all these systems to mesh together so that your average grunt can form a picture clear enough to track a high value terrorist or insurgent in real time is tricky…that’s the problem that Darpa wants Insight to solve. It’s supposed to help users sift through the heaps of information collected by the U.S. military…Darpa wants Insight to integrate data from a dizzying array of sources…ground moving target indicators, infrared video, multispectral imagery, human tipsters, audio intercepts, even text chats and social media…It’s supposed to make sense of it, too…the system needs to be able to perform “threat network detection/estimation,” “anomaly detection” and ”behavioral (pattern-of-life) modeling including cultural, social, and insurgency dynamics.” In other words, Insight needs to get a feel for the rhythm of life in the areas it’s looking at, understand what kinds of threats its users are interested in and be able to automatically pick them out of the heaps of data and background noise…”

10. Sharing Netflix password may soon be a crime in TN http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110601/NEWS0201/110601029/Sharing- State lawmakers…have passed a groundbreaking measure that would make it a crime to use a friend's login — even with permission — to listen to songs or watch movies from services such as Netflix or Rhapsody. The bill…was pushed by recording industry officials to try to stop the loss of billions of dollars…The legislation was aimed at hackers and thieves who sell passwords in bulk, but its sponsors acknowledge it could be employed against people who use a friend's or relative's subscription…college students who give their logins to everyone on their dormitory floor — could get in trouble…”

11. Facebook changes privacy settings for millions of users - facial recognition is enabled http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/06/07/facebook-privacy-settings-facial-recognition-enabled/ When Facebook revealed last year it was introducing facial recognition technology to help users tag their friends in photographs, they gave the functionality to North American users only. Most of the rest of us found the option in our privacy settings was "not yet available", which meant we could neither enable or disable it…now might be a good time to check your Facebook privacy settings as many Facebook users are reporting that the site has enabled the option in the last few days without giving users any notice…As your Facebook friends upload their albums, Facebook will try to determine if any of the pictures look like you. And if they find what they believe to be a match, they may well urge one of your Facebook friends to tag it with your name. The tagging is still done by your friends, not by Facebook, but rather creepily Facebook is now pushing your friends to go ahead and tag you…Facebook does not give you any right to pre-approve tags…the onus is on you to untag yourself in any photo a friend has tagged you in. After the fact. If this is something you're uncomfortable with, disable "Suggest photos of me to friends" now…”

12. Apple patents infrared system for iOS devices to prevent illegal image and video capturing http://www.9to5mac.com/70193/apple-patents-infrared-system-for-ios-devices-to-prevent-illegal-image-and-video-capturing/ Apple doesn’t want to annoy Hollywood majors and record labels who provide iTunes with valuable content…future iPhones could refuse to capture cams of the latest blockbuster flick and might keep you from snapping images of your favorite band’s live performance…The system proposed calls for an image processing circuitry electrically coupled to the phone’s camera, designed to “determine whether each image detected by the camera includes an infrared signal with encoded data…”

13. Sony hacked again ? http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/articles/157039/20110603/sony-hacked-again-embarrassed-company-asking-for-it-sony-pictures-lulzsec.htm Just days after Sony restored its PlayStation Network and working to restore trust back to its customers, a new cyber attack hit the company again, this time it targeted Sony Pictures. The hackers reportedly stole 1 million users’ personal information from the Sony Pictures database…"From a single injection, we accessed EVERYTHING," said LulzSec. "Why do you put such faith in a company that allows itself to become open to these simple attacks?” "What's worse is that every bit of data we took wasn't encrypted…Sony stored over 1,000,000 passwords of its customers in plaintext, which means it's just a matter of taking it…LulzSec claimed to have collected birth dates, street addresses, and unencrypted passwords, then publishing 50,000 users’ information online…” [does Sony really have insecure systems, is the coverage of continuing Sony intrusions just media hype, or do many/most online data systems have a significant risk of exposing your data? – ed.]

14. Copyright Office joins in: let's make illegal streaming a felony http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/06/copyright-office-supports-making-illegal-streaming-a-felony.ars “…At issue is a proposal from the IP Enforcement Czar, backed by the White House, to upgrade illegal online streaming from a misdemeanor to a felony. The government currently treats unauthorized reproductions and distributions as potential felonies…an online stream is not necessarily a “reproduction” or “distribution” under the Copyright Act, but is instead a “public performance.” And such unauthorized public performances are currently held to a different legal standard…as a practical matter, prosecutors have little incentive to file charges for a mere misdemeanor…But, in the bigger picture, it's "another phase in the battle between creators and lawful distributors of copyrighted works on one hand, and on the other parasitic websites that expropriate their property…and harm communities across the United States by depriving them of jobs and diminishing their tax revenues,”…Rightsholders are particularly upset about professional-looking sites like Videocave that link to huge indices of current blockbusters (even noting whether they come from a "DVDRip" or a "BRRip" or elsewhere), where visitors don't need to run obscure searches and use special P2P clients—they just find a film, click, and it starts streaming through Flash…upping the penalties for streaming may have limited effects. As even the rightsholder examples show, most such sites appear to be based overseas already…”

15. MI6 Hacked Al Qaeda Website, Swapping Bomb Recipes With Cupcake Recipes http://gizmodo.com/5808170 Just imagine the look of surprise on an al Qaeda member's face when they thought they were loading a tutorial on how to "make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom" but actually got...a recipe for mojito cupcakes…British intelligence agency MI6 hacked the first English-language Jihadist online magazine, Inspire…they swapped potentially-destructive bomb-making tutorials with jumbled-up code for the Ellen DeGeneres talkshow website, which contained cupcake recipes from Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson, Ohio…”

16. RSA finally comes clean: SecurID is compromised http://arstechnica.com/security/news/2011/06/rsa-finally-comes-clean-securid-is-compromised.ars RSA Security is to replace virtually every one of the 40 million SecurID tokens currently in use as a result of the hacking attack the company disclosed back in March. The EMC subsidiary issued a letter…acknowledging that SecurID failed to protect defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which last month reported a hack attempt…As a result, SecurID offered no defense against the hackers that broke into RSA in March. For those hackers, SecurID was rendered equivalent to basic password authentication…RSA Security Chairman Art Coviello said that the reason RSA had not disclosed the full extent of the vulnerability because doing so would have revealed to the hackers how to perform further attacks. RSA's customers might question this reasoning; the Lockheed Martin incident suggests that the RSA hackers knew what to do anyway—failing to properly disclose the true nature of the attack served only to mislead RSA's customers about the risks they faced…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

17. Pantech has the world’s first 1.5 GHz dual-core phone, only available in Korea http://www.unwiredview.com/2011/05/18/pantech-has-the-worlds-first-1-5-ghz-dual-core-phone-only-available-in-korea/ “…Pantech may not have a very large presence in the smartphone market in the US, but it does pretty well back at home in Korea. The latest addition to their roster is the Vega Racer, the world’s first 1.5 GHz dual-core phone. This device packs…Qualcomm’s MSM8660 Snapdragon chip, which is the same chip as HTC EVO 3D and the HTC Sensation 4G, except both of those have been restricted to a slower 1.2 GHz. It also features 1 GB RAM, Adreno 220 GPU, a 4.3-inch TFT LCD display with 800×480 WVGA resolution, and a 8 MP front-facing and 1.3 MP rear camera…This device brings up the question on why we don’t have this type of processor out yet in the US…”

18. Chinese teen sells his kidney for an iPad 2 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/8552195/Chinese-teen-sells-his-kidney-for-an-iPad-2.html A Chinese teenager was so desperate to acquire the new iPad 2 that he sold one of his kidneys for just £2,000 to pay for it…"Zheng", confessed to his mother that he had sold the kidney after spotting an online advertisement offering cash to anyone prepared to become an organ donor…"When I surfed the internet I found an advert posted online by agent saying they were able to pay RMB20,000 to buy a kidney." After negotiations, the boy travelled north to the city of Chenzhou in Hunan Province where the kidney was removed at a local hospital which discharged him after three days, paying a total of RMB22,000 for the organ. Trading organs online is a common practice in China…more than a million people in China need a transplant every year, but less than 10,000 receive organs, driving an almost unstoppable black-market organ trade…”

19. Apple Has Finally Stuck A Dagger Into SMS http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/06/apple-imessages/ “…As one of the core new features highlighted today in iOS 5, iMessages has one purpose: to kill SMS. That is, traditional carrier-controlled text messages. iMessages will do this by replacing SMS with a service that Apple is in control of across all of their iOS devices…the real death blow: iMessages will be completely free…Like Blackberry Messenger before it, Apple now has the strength to create their own device-to-device messaging application…considering what a colossal rip-off SMS is, I can’t help but love this move…SMS, with its billion percent margins (roughly), is a huge profit center for carriers. So why would they let Apple do this? (After all, this isn’t just a WiFi feature, it will work over 3G as well.)…What choice do they have? Are Verizon and AT&T (or international carriers) going to boot Apple at this point for destroying their precious SMS services? No…Apple will probably argue that SMS remains a great medium for cross-device message pollination…iMessages kills SMS because…it’s better…it’s streamlined and simplified…send contacts and locations…there are delivery receipts…optional read receipts…group messaging. Encryption…It’s sort of like SMS 2.0. And again, free…while this may be iOS-only, guess who else is going to have to match this feature now? Android. SMS is about to become a cross-platform messaging platform only…”

20. Android Surges, Apple Gains A Bit, RIM loses a Bunch http://www.businessinsider.com/smartphone-market-share-comscore-2011-6?op=1 “…Google's Android had 36.4% of the smartphone subscriber share for the average of the three month period ending in April versus 31.2% for the average of three months ended in January. Apple had 26% for the April period versus 24.7% for January. RIM was 25.7% for the April period versus 30.4% for January. Microsoft was down to 6.7% in April from 8% in January…”

Apps

21. Killer App: Army Tests Smartphones for Combat http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576361480888426472.html “…Starting Monday, the Army will also stress-test a variety of applications that could allow troops to tap digital information from the front lines—for instance, streaming video from a surveillance camera, or downloading up-to-the minute information from a remote database…Many of the applications the Army wants to develop…can already be done with equipment now in the field. The potential advantage of smartphones and tablets is their lighter weight and ease of use…Army officials say the devices need to be relatively affordable, perhaps costing a few hundred dollars each, depending on the model. The service doesn't want to "spend $2,500 to ruggedize a $200 phone,"…The Army…is testing apps that could expedite the treatment of soldiers wounded in combat…the service will evaluate several apps that help speed requests for medical evacuation by relaying the exact location of an injured soldier, with touch-screen menus to fill in crucial information such as the patient's name, health status and type of injury. Another app, called "SoldierEyes," turns a smartphone into a sort of battlefield navigation device. In addition to displaying a digital map, it features an "augmented reality" mode that enables the user to flip on the camera and scan the horizon. Digital markers pop up on the screen, displaying the direction and distance to objectives on the battlefield. Biometrics…are another possible application for a military smartphone…The Army is experimenting with…the iPhone…also trying…Android…the Army has identified around 85 digital apps for testing, some created by commercial software designers, and some developed in-house…The service is also developing downloadable apps to substitute for bulky instruction manuals…To date, the Army has invested about $4.2 million in the development of military apps and the study of smartphone technology…”

22. Windows 8 Proves Web Apps Are the Future of Computing http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/26841/ The next version of the Windows OS will run on everything from phones and tablets to desktop PCs, and it will feature, front and center, apps built in HTML5, CSS, and Javascript. Which are precisely the technologies used to build apps that run in the Web browser…Chrome OS and Chromebook laptops, and Microsoft are now both concentrating on making it easy for Web developers to create for their platforms…apps built on the same foundation as web apps mean that Redmond may in the future rely increasingly on the giant pool of Web and app developers who are now coding up a storm for Android and iOS. (This has many loyal Microsoft developers freaking out.)…developers who work with HTML5, Javascript and CSS…will have more incentive than ever to write code that could move fluidly between the "desktop" and the cloud…If Google and Microsoft can get their payment systems and app stores in order, it's hard to see how any other app platform could compete with their combined might…Does this mean the death of native apps? No—but it does mean the rise of an entirely new species, an adaptable and hardy breed that can live anywhere, and is at home in the OS as it is in the browser…”

Open Source

23. Oracle gives OpenOffice to Apache http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/oracle-gives-openoffice-to-apache/9035 “…Oracle has, with IBM’s encouragement, given the open-source OpenOffice office suite to The Apache Software Foundation…Luke Kowalski, VP of Oracle Corporate Architecture Group, stated that the company was going to “contribute the OpenOffice.org code to The Apache Software Foundation’s Incubator…to “demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open source communities. [By] Donating OpenOffice.org to Apache gives this popular consumer software a mature, open, and well established infrastructure to continue well into the future. The Apache Software Foundation’s model makes it possible for commercial and individual volunteer contributors to collaborate on open source product development.” IBM…lobbied for Oracle to spin OpenOffice off after it became clear that Oracle wasn’t going to put much, if any, resources into OpenOffice…IBM needs OpenOffice to move forward for the sake of its OpenOffice-based Lotus Symphony office suite…”

24. Github Has Surpassed Sourceforge and Google Code in Popularity http://www.readwriteweb.com/hack/2011/06/github-has-passed-sourceforge.php Github is now the most popular open source forge, having surpassed Sourceforge, Google Code and Microsoft's CodePlex in total number of commits for the period of January to May 2011…During the period Black Duck examined, Github had 1,153,059 commits, Sourceforge had 624,989, Google Code and 287,901 and CodePlex had 49,839. Black Duck also found that C++ and Java were the most popular languages for commits in these forges during this period of time…”

25. Mageia 1 is released http://blog.mageia.org/en/2011/06/01/mageia-1/ “…Mageia 1, is out and available for download…Mageia is about quality – our release promises to be as solid and perfect as Mandriva at its best…Mageia is International – our community comes from all over the planet to help Mageia “speak” many languages…What’s different about us? we’re completely community based, with everything that implies. Our organisation is community-driven; no commercial management can dictate the path Mageia will take; you as a Mageia user can have more say in the future of this distribution than anywhere else…” [Mageia is a fork of Mandriva created by a group of former Mandriva employees and community supporters – ed.]

26. digiKam 2.0 beta review – the ultimate open source image editor http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/reviews/digikam-2-0-beta-review/ digiKam has earned a reputation as the most powerful and comprehensive photo management solution on Linux…We put the latest release through its paces. When it comes to tweaking and managing photos, few applications can rival digiKam. This everything-but-the-kitchen-sink software is designed to handle virtually every photographic task, from transferring and processing photos to organizing and sharing them. digiKam developers churn out new versions of the application at an impressive rate, and each new release brings a slew of bug fixes, improvements, and new features. The latest version 2.0 is no exception. Despite the modest point-one increase in version number, digiKam 2.0 brings several significant new features and a vast array of tweaks and fixes….Geolocation is not a new feature, but in digiKam 2.0 it has been thoroughly reworked to make the process of geotagging photos more efficient. You can now add geographical coordinates to the photos by dragging them from the list onto the desired spot on the map. Alternatively, you can assign the geographical coordinates of a specific search result to the photos…”

SkyNet

27. Chinese messing with Gmail again http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/ensuring-your-information-is-safe.html “…despite the efforts of Internet companies and the security community, identity theft, fraud and the hijacking of people’s email accounts are common problems online. Bad actors take advantage of the fact that most people aren’t that tech savvy…Through the strength of our cloud-based security and abuse detection systems*, we recently uncovered a campaign to collect user passwords, likely through phishing. This campaign, which appears to originate from Jinan, China, affected what seem to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, among others, senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists…Google detected and has disrupted this campaign to take users’ passwords and monitor their emails. We have notified victims and secured their accounts. In addition, we have notified relevant government authorities…” http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/china-rejects-google-allegation-of-massive-hacking-breach-as-fabrication/2011/06/02/AGMdsEHH_story.html Google’s allegation that hackers based in China accessed hundreds of Gmail accounts…drew angry denials from Chinese government officials…the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the accusations against China are “unacceptable.”…Google did not elaborate on which U.S. officials were affected, how long the users’ accounts were exposed, or whether the attacker appeared to be a government agent…” http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/229320/more_than_email_at_stake_in_google_gmail_attack.html “…a breached Gmail account is a much bigger prize than just the e-mail account it is attached to…we can assume that cyber-criminals went after sensitive documents the users might have inadvertently forwarded from their business inboxes."…it would be more accurate to say that Google accounts are being targeted or compromised--not just Gmail…there is potentially much more at stake than just the documents that might be forwarded as a file attachments from Gmail…e-mail only scratches the surface of what is breached when an attacker compromises a Google account. With the Gmail username and password in hand, an attacker can log in to the victim's Google Calendar and find out where they're going to be, and when, based on the events and appointments it contains. If the victim actually uses Google Docs, the attacker will have access to all documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings stored online by the victim--not just the ones that might have been included as a file attachment in an e-mail…” http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/03/us-china-internet-google-idUSTRE7520OV20110603 China must make mastering cyber-warfare a military priority as the Internet becomes the crucial battleground for opinion and intelligence, two military officers said…two days after Google revealed hacking attacks that it said came from China. The essay by strategists from the People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Sciences did not mention Google's statement that hackers apparently based in China had tried to steal into the Gmail accounts of…U.S. officials, Chinese rights activists and foreign reporters…The essay…stressed that Beijing is focused on honing its cyber-warfare skills, and sees an unfettered Internet as a threat to its Communist Party-run state…”

28. Google Offers is the business plan behind Google Wallet http://venturebeat.com/2011/05/31/google-offers-google-wallet/ While demonstrating their new mobile payment product Google Wallet today, Google executives offered some insight into how it will make money. Users should be able to tap their phones…and use the app to make payments. They should be able to use the Wallet app to redeem offers from Google’s upcoming deals product, Google Offers. Schmidt and Tilenius said the Offers will be the real moneymaker for Wallet — in fact, Google doesn’t plan to charge a fee for the app or for transactions…Wallet is an app that should…work on other smartphones…the first deals will go live tomorrow…the program is starting in Portland, and it will expand to San Francisco and New York…”

29. How to install Google's Chrome OS http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/how-to-install-googles-chrome-os/9006 The commercial Chromebooks are almost here, but if you want to try Chrome OS sooner than that you can do it. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as you might think. Here’s how to do it…The real Chrome OS, which is indeed based on Linux flavored by Ubuntu, is available as source code, along with build instructions, at the Chromium OS Developer Guide…” [installing the Chrome OS on just any laptop/desktop won’t give you the full Chromebook experience, but at least you can play around with the OS to see what it’s like – ed.]

30. Google Fights Off Brain Drain With PostRank Buy http://gigaom.com/2011/06/03/google-fights-off-brain-drain-with-postrank-buy/ Google’s big push to increase its foothold in the social web is well underway. Social analytics technology startup PostRank…has been acquired by Google…PostRank’s technology scans the web in real-time for “social engagement events” like comments and tweets so brands and publishers can gauge how influential their content is online. The four-year-old company is based in Waterloo, Ontario, but will soon move its team to Google’s Mountain View, Calif. Headquarters…The PostRank buy is just the latest example of Google putting its money where its mouth is in tackling the social space…This week’s PostRank acquisition indicates the company is also looking beyond its own walls to get its social efforts off the ground. Though Google is famous for investing in the happiness of its existing staff, the acquisition proves the company is continuing to scout for fresh talent and technologies externally. It’s a smart move for a somewhat aging player in an increasingly cutthroat industry…”

31. Appointment slots in Google Calendar http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/introducing-appointment-slots-in-google.html Google Calendar has become indispensable for organizing my own time and sharing my schedule with friends and coworkers. But what about letting others know about my preferred availability? Likewise, when I look at my hairdresser's online calendar, I wonder why I can't just book the open slot instead of remembering to call…with appointment slots in Google Calendar, any individual or business can manage appointment availability online 24/7…Every Google Calendar has its own personal appointments sign up page; you can embed it on your website or give the URL directly to friends and clients…When someone visits your sign up page, their calendar is overlaid for convenience and they can sign up directly for any available appointment slot. When they sign up, Google Calendar conveniently creates a new shared event on both of your calendars…”

General Technology

32. A First for Quantum Computing? http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/hardware/a-first-for-quantum-computing Last week, the Canadian start-up D-Wave Systems announced it has sold its first quantum computer to Lockheed Martin, for a reported $10 million…At laboratories around the world, physicists are still struggling to…build general purpose computers using the quantum equivalent of logic gates. D-Wave has a different goal: it's aiming for more specialized machines that are ideal for tasks like data processing and pattern recognition…Lockheed spokesperson Thad Madden told IEEE Spectrum that the firm is hoping to use the system to cut the cost of testing aircraft control systems and other complex combinations of hardware and software that interact with the physical world…Others are not convinced D-Wave has a viable quantum computer, something that will be significantly faster than conventional systems…D-Wave's computers encode information in loops of superconducting wire in which current can flow either clockwise, counterclockwise, or in a quantum superposition of the two. That allows the value of each quantum bit, or qubit, to take on three states, either 0, 1, or both simultaneously. To perform a computation, programmers encode problems to be solved by tuning the interaction between qubits…a paper in Nature that…showed that D-Wave is technically a quantum computer. But, as Adrian Cho reported in ScienceNOW, there are still doubts that quantum tunneling will be enough to make D-Wave's system faster than classical alternatives…D-Wave systems “can learn things like how to recognize particular objects in photos up to 9 percent more accurately than a conventional alternative”. But speed has yet to be discussed in public…”

33. AMD announces Trinity, talks Llano, launches Z series http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2011/06/amd-announces-trinity-talks-llano-launches-z-series-at-computex.ars “…AMD unveiled its plans to produce a Bulldozer-based APU, codenamed Trinity…the 32nm Trinity chip…combines Bulldozer cores with a GPU, and…the GPU supports DX11…it's a fairly safe bet that Trinity will be a gaming and media beast…AMD also formally launched its Z series of APUs, which the company claims is aimed at "tablets."…the Bobcat-based Z series parts will have a 6W TDP, which is much higher than Intel's Moorestown (which is in the 1W range…not even close to being in the same league as the sub-1W ARM competition…the Z series is good for one thing and one thing only: running a full Windows install on a portable…AMD is definitely going straight after any Windows tablet market that manages to develop…AMD doesn't yet have a real tablet chip, and won't have one until at least the launch of the 28nm, Bobcast-based Krishna, which is sub-1W…the Llano launch is what's immediately on deck for AMD in the next quarter. This 32nm chip pairs an older, weaker, K10-based core with an up-to-date GPU, so it will rise or fall based on GPU performance…the Sandy Bridge CPU core will probably spank Llano's CPU core, but the Llano's GPU will in turn crush Sandy Bridge's GPU. So which part you'll prefer will depend on your budget and intended usage. Gamers could well end up shifting to Llano, especially for budget builds…”

34. Micron RealSSD P320h PCIe drive reads 3GB/second http://www.gizmag.com/micron-realssd-p320h-pcie-drive-released/18802/ “…Although PCIe drives have been on the market for some time, none of them have ever attained the speed of this newest arrival. The RealSSD P320h is capable of 3GBps when reading, and 2GBps when writing data…there were 1.2 zettabytes (that's 1.2 billion terabytes) of data processed throughout 2010. This means there's a very high demand on storage systems to increase the speed of data access. The Micron RealSSD P320h is aimed at the enterprise market, so if you have your own server or run a very busy website on your own, it might be worth a closer look…the P320h drive (working in a cloud media streaming application) could serve data fast enough to feed 1,500 simultaneous individual HD video streams (16Mb/s each)…the 700GB drive is able to write 28 terabytes of data every day for five years…The RealSSD P320h comes in two capacities: 350GB or 700GB…”

35. SuVolta Cuts Down Semiconductor Power Consumption By 50 Percent http://venturebeat.com/2011/06/06/stealth-chip-startup-suvolta-unveils-way-to-dramatically-reduce-power-consumption/ SuVolta is coming out of stealth today to announce that it has created a chip technology that will reduce the amount of power consumed by semiconductor chips by more than 50 percent without sacrificing performance. Reducing power consumption is the biggest challenge in electronics today, since it means mobile devices can last longer on a battery charge…PowerShrink technology addresses a fundamental problem in the physics behind transistors, the basic building blocks of all electronic chips. If it works, the technology could help improve battery life in portable products — smartphones, tablets, and notebooks — and offer an alternative to a revolutionary Intel technology known as Tri-Gate. The alternative is an important one because other chip makers want to keep up with Intel…”

DHMN Technology

36. DIY Inkjet Printer Prints On Almost Any Surface http://www.pcworld.com/article/229391/DIY_Inkjet_Printer_Prints_On_Anything.html “…a group from University of Washington found that there were no DIY inkjet kits available…So what did University of Washington students Patrick Hannan, Jared Knutzen, Nicholas C Lewis, Joy Markham, and professor M. A. Ganter do? Why, they built their own open inkjet printer for their ME495 (Mechanical Engineering Design) class. The best part is that you can use it to print on all kinds of objects--paper, t-shirts, even mousepads…The team's new printer prototype was constructed from steel rods and parts printed on a fused deposition modeling (FDM) machine--a piece of equipment that injects molten material in layers to form a part. The group also found that they could cut the cost of printed parts in half by making silicon molds and casting the parts from polyurethane. After the initial investment of making the molds the team found that it will only cost about $8.00 to cast the parts…The printer is based on an Arduino board…”

37. Kinect hack allows 3D teleconferencing http://www.cs.unc.edu/~maimone/KinectPaper/kinect.html We introduce a proof-of-concept telepresence system that offers fully dynamic, real-time 3D scene capture and continuous-viewpoint, head-tracked stereo 3D display without requiring the user to wear any tracking or viewing apparatus. We present a complete software and hardware framework for implementing the system, which is based on an array of commodity Microsoft KinectTM color-plus-depth cameras. Novel contributions include an algorithm for merging data between multiple depth cameras and techniques for automatic color calibration and preserving stereo quality even with low rendering rates. Also presented is a solution to the problem of interference that occurs between Kinect cameras with overlapping views. Emphasis is placed on a fully GPU-accelerated data processing and rendering pipeline that can apply hole filling, smoothing, data merger, surface generation, and color correction at rates of up 100 million triangles/sec on a single PC and graphics board…”

38. 3-D desktop manufacturing isn't yet ready for your desk http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/diy/3d-printers-proliferate “…visionary engineers have been touting the idea of a cheap box about the size of a microwave oven that could build arbitrary solid objects out of plastic, ceramics, metal, ice, and even living cells…"cheap" has been a distant vision, with industrial rapid-prototyping machines going for anywhere from US $15 000 to over $1 000 000. That number started to drop precipitously in 2007, with 3-D–printer designs from RepRap and Fab@Home...Makerbot Industries…Bits From Bytes…what are these machines actually good for? PR representatives for HP and Stratasys make it clear that their new machines are for mechanical engineers and designers…but not for consumers…although the fully assembled machines have established a strong reputation for reliability, do-it-yourselfers must beware the 3-D equivalent of the paper jam, which often involves scattered blobs of solidified plastic, smoking circuit boards, or half-melted motor mounting brackets. Internet forums and builder blogs are full of stories about hours spent rebuilding extruders, days tweaking the alignment of build platforms, and nights rewriting the software that "slices" designs into layers that can be built up on top of one another without drooping or warping or overtaxing a printer's tiny CPU. There is even a cottage industry of higher-strength spare parts for the kit components that are most likely to fail…consider what the world will be like when mechanical objects are as buggy as the typical piece of software…at the hacker level, the most popular print runs seem to be 3-D printer parts. If you want something built for use, you might have better luck shipping your design to one of the rapid-fabrication services…But Ian Adkins, technical director of Bits From Bytes…is happy to report that at least some of his customers are building actual products…And if tinkering is part of the attraction, you'll join thousands of other hackers who are getting the design of extruders, construction platforms, structural frames, controller boards, and other parts just right…”

Leisure & Entertainment

39. An Ultra-High-Definition 3-D TV http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/37691/ Samsung has shown off a prototype of an ultra-high-definition 3-D television. The 70-inch prototype uses a novel electronic circuitry to control eight billion pixels. It's not likely to go into volume production soon, and there isn't any content to display on it…Samsung is the latest TV manufacturer to demonstrate a technology that uses a type of backplane—the array of transistors used to switch the pixels on and off—based on metal oxide semiconductors. These materials offer higher performance than the amorphous silicon widely used today, without increasing costs. In April, manufacturer Sharp announced it will begin manufacturing displays based on metal oxide transistor arrays by the end of the year at its plant in Kameyana, Japan…Semenza speculates that Sharp might be planning to take advantage of the high pixel densities enabled by metal oxide backplanes to make crisper mobile displays…the retina display in the latest iPhone…uses an expensive backplane based on another form of silicon transistor called low-temperature polysilicon. Metal oxide transistor arrays are less expensive to make…Sharp might be able to offer a very good performance alternative to the retina display at a lower price…richly colored, energy-efficient organic light-emitting diode displays (OLEDs)…have been using the expensive polysilicon backplanes. Replacing those with metal oxide backplanes could make OLEDs more competitive…Every layer in a display tends to absorb some light and decrease overall efficiency and brightness. But metal oxides are transparent, so displays with these backplanes should get more light out and operate more efficiently…”

40. Sound Shapes may be NGP's killer app http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/06/post-10.ars Jonathan Mak was a busy man during the NGP preview event…word quickly spread to check out his rhythm game, and he found himself beset by the press…Just like Everyday Shooter, this is a game that uses music as a hook to grab players, and in this case the setting is a platformer, not a twin-stick shooter…In the game, you control a circular blob that can stick to the walls and ceilings. Your job is to collect blocks throughout the levels and avoid the many obstacles…When you collect a block, a new musical element is added to the game's score. Everything in the game moves to the same beat, so you can feel when a laser is about to fire, or when it's safe to move across an obstacle. As you collect the blocks and the music fills in, the game gets into your brain, sticking its hooks far into your reflexes…the game simply feels good when you're playing it. You want to collect every block as the song gets more intricate and closer to completion…”

41. Wii U: first hands-on with Nintendo's new console http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/07/wii-u-nintendo-games-console With its tablet-like controller, the Wii U is a seriously weird piece of kit. But, yet again, once you get your hands on it, a multitude of new gaming experiences tumble out of it…When looking at the Nintendo Wii U, it's important to remember that when the Wii launched in 2006, some people laughed at the console's intention to "disrupt" gaming. It didn't look like a disruptive piece of kit – but it was. The proof lies in the fact that Microsoft and Sony subsequently felt obliged to create the Kinect and Move…But surely it couldn't pull of the same trick again with Wii U? Oh yes it can…our first glimpse of anything running on the console was emphatically that: a lengthy fly-through in an immaculately constructed virtual Japanese garden, from the viewpoint of various birds, designed to show off Wii U's graphics-processing power. Which was impressive if not jaw-dropping – on a par with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, running in full HD, with depth of focus and convincingly modelled water and weather effects. We had established that Wii U will be able to run the sort of third-party titles that currently only make it onto the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but before long, we began to yearn for some signs of Nintendo's fabled disruptive gameplay…With a theatrical flourish, the new controller was produced. On clapping eyes on it, our initial reaction ran thus. What? The hell? Is that?...the funky new Wii U controller…is one of the strangest bits of kit you will ever see. It basically resembles an unholy mating of a tablet PC and a gamepad. It's huge – you need both hands to grip it – and dominated by a massive, 6.2in touchscreen…It motion-senses like a Wiimote and has a gyro-sensor like the 3DS. The whole shebang basically has most of the elements found in the PlayStation Vita (bar the processor and graphics chips), and is much bigger than Sony's new handheld. It's clearly not something you can wave around with abandon like the Wiimote…the chance to experience some proper gameplay was at hand, and the point of the new controller became clearer…Mii Chase was an ultra-simple game for up to five people…In gameplay terms, this was almost laughably simple, yet the whole experience felt fresh and innovative, as well as fun…If you think about it, there are an awful lot of Wiis out there, and if people are going to upgrade to Wii U, they'll be thankful that those Wiimotes, at least, won't become redundant. So to create gameplay from the interplay between the two types of controller could just be a stroke of genius…”

42. White-Hot Flickr Alternative 500px Raises $525K http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/03/white-hot-flickr-alternative-500px-raises-525k-in-series-a/ As the complaints about Flickr continue to pile on, scrappy Toronto-based service 500px continues to grow, going from 1000 users in 2009 to over 85K (around 45K of which have joined in the last three months). And after two years of bootstrapping, the startup is today announcing its $525K Series A round…The idea of making 500px arose from Evgeny [Tchebotarev] and I having difficulties with the current available platforms — there wasn’t a good service that would allow us to display our photos is a visually pleasing way and be easy to use…So we decided to build one ourselves.”…Gutsol and Ian Sobolev migrated their Livejournal-based photo sharing community to the current site on Halloween 2009 with little fanfare…500px is committed to its main goal to help photographers reach larger audiences…Gutsol plans on using the money to hire more engineers, like everyone else in tech right now, hoping to build a “global platform” for digital photography. The company currently makes revenue by offering a $50 pro-account…”

43. For the first time, playing an MMO changes a TV show's script http://dvice.com/archives/2011/06/playing-this-vi.php Syfy…has partnered with game publisher Trion Worlds to create a television-and-video game pairing that'll talk back and forth. Your actions in the game, for instance, will actually change the script of the show, and the game will change as the show progresses. Called Defiance, Trion's game is a massively-multiplayer experience that promises all the action of a third-person shooter…with the scope, persistence and personalization of an MMO such as World of Warcraft…How far Syfy and Trion will evolve this concept has yet to be seen, but from the sounds of it you'll be able to interact characters introduced in the show and even influence their actions down the line…In a game such as World of Warcraft completing an epic task such as killing a major character doesn't remove that character from the world. The dungeon will reset and the next set of adventurers go do the same — you could even kill said major character again if you want. The implication here is that those kind of major player decisions would actually impact the television show and its canon, creating an ongoing and interactive storytelling experience…”

44. Good Day Sunshine For Writers http://blogs.forbes.com/booked/2011/06/06/good-day-sunshine-for-writers/ This is the best time ever to be a writer. Especially for those in the vanguard: the self-publishing writers at the cutting edge of the brave new turbulent world of literary art and commerce…we’re living in an era of topsy turvy shifts in the balance of power and major changes in the core business of the book publishing industry…The advent of digital writing and publishing and the spontaneous democratic practice of social networking has in fact revolutionized the book business, challenged and changed how books are written and published irrevocably and forever, and shifted the balance of power from the commercial book publishers to the author…writers now have the upper hand…Fact: Nearly all published books – conservative estimates range between 80-90 percent – lose money. These books don’t earn out their advances, don’t have second printings, they sell in the low four digits at best, are returned from the retail accounts and pulped or recycled…The old ways don’t work, and smart people in book publishing know that and say it openly now…What works, all agree, is the creation of “buzz”, one person telling another, “Hey you have to read this!”…What creates buzz is when the author connects directly with the reader. Readers don’t care who published the book; they want a relationship with the author. Authors today can reach their market without an intermediary. Not through the publisher, not through advertising or the mass media. Authors now have the technology to connect directly with interest groups, book bloggers, websites, to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networking channels to reach precisely the readers who might be interested in knowing about their work, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, whether it’s an ambitious literary novel or genre romance, sci-fi and mystery, paranormal or super-wholesome faith-based inspirational stories…”

Economy and Technology

45. Startup Series: Teens in Tech Labs http://blog.softlayer.com/2011/startup-series-teens-in-tech-labs/ “…I had the chance to visit a young, up-and-coming incubator in the Bay Area: Teens in Tech Labs. Among some of their other projects, Teens in Tech is launching the Teens in Tech Incubator…The incubator program lasts a little over eight weeks and is very hands on, in terms of mentor and adviser involvement…At the end of each week of the eight week program, the Teens in Tech staff will meet with each company to go over how their week went and what they think will help further build their business. Every other week, Teens in Tech will organize a dinner and have a guest speaker present to the teams…At the end of the eight weeks, the teams will present their startups to a group of Venture Capitalists, influencers, members of the press and others at an event called “Demo Day.”…we’re looking forward to seeing some of the amazing companies that’ll come from the best and brightest entrepreneurs under 18…”

46. Peter Thiel announced inaugural class of “20 under 20” http://thielfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=26&Itemid=19 “…As the first members of the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship, the Fellows will pursue innovative scientific and technical projects, learn entrepreneurship, and begin to build the technology companies of tomorrow. During their two-year tenure, each Fellow will receive $100,000 from the Thiel Foundation as well as mentorship from the Foundation’s network of tech entrepreneurs and innovators. The project areas for this class of fellows include biotech, career development, economics and finance, education, energy, information technology, mobility, robotics, and space…It was challenging to select only twenty-four, and impossible to pick only twenty…More than four hundred people younger than twenty applied to be Fellows…from nearly two dozen countries, and from nearly two hundred high schools, junior colleges, community colleges, four-year colleges, and graduate schools. Many applicants…were already working, or had already launched their own company…They applied at a time of increasing debate about the cost and value of college and student debt…” http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/06/02/peter-thiels-dropout-program/ “…the "20 under 20″ initiative announced by Peter Thiel, in which he will award up to $100,000 to 20 people under the age of 20 who agree immediately to pursue entrepreneurship (the implication of which is that they'd drop out of university to do so). Thiel and friends will also agree to mentor these young entrepreneurs…” [an interesting list of young entrepreneurial people – ed]

47. Groupon is Effectively Insolvent http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/groupon-groupon-ipo-tech-stocks-linked/6/3/2011/id/34936 Investors beware -- the company owes $230 million more than it has, appears to be burning through $100 million or more a quarter, and is using money raised from later investors to pay back early investors…Andrew Mason…caught social mood just right, creating a coupon/local/flashmob hybrid business model at the perfect time, and has created the fastest-growing company on a revenue basis in American history. That being said, it's operating like a Ponzi scheme that needs constant infusions of cash to stay afloat as it's hemorrhaging money…They have $290 million in current assets…and $520 million in current liabilities…puts them $230 million in the hole…they're wildly unprofitable…How can they possibly sustain this kind of revenue growth?...How can you possible build a sustainable business by going from 0 to 8,000 employees in two years? Why did the COO and CTO both leave the company in late March, barely two months ago?...Their Series F and G capital raises…raised a combined $1.08 billion…$150 million went to the company for working capital purposes. The other $930 million? Paid back to founders and early backers by buying their shares from them…a company that owes $230 million more than it has, and appears to be burning through $100 million or more a quarter, is using money raised from later investors to pay back early investors?...I'm not accusing Groupon of doing anything illegal or unethical. Ponzi, Enron, and Madoff all swindled their investors by misleading them about the financial health of their enterprises…” http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2011/06/groupon-new-customers-or-devastating-discounts.html “…Who can make money with Groupon?...health club memberships, yoga classes, harbor cruise boats, music concerts, sporting events, classes, theater productions, etc. Software, Music, Movies, and DVDs are the classic high fixed cost, low variable cost businesses. Every additional customer is almost pure profit once the fixed costs are covered…High margin businesses might also like Groupon. Jewelry, perfume, wines, and high end fashions are a few examples…where the retail price bears little resemblence to the actual costs…there are some businesses where the retail price is 200% to 500% the actual cost…”

48. Facebook Credits and Apple’s iTunes Play Nice With Each Other http://allthingsd.com/20110606/surprise-facebook-credits-and-apples-itunes-play-nice-with-each-other/ Facebook has Credits, Apple has iTunes, and then there’s the plethora of points and coins found on the major consoles and online services…it’s the equivalent of traveling in Europe before the Euro. Even if you are playing the same game by the same company, players must buy a different set of currencies when moving between Facebook, iTunes and the consoles. The hurdle is significant given that the free-to-play model is considered a good chunk of the industry’s future…Chris Early, Ubisoft’s VP of Digital Publishing, told me…Facebook and Apple have agreed to honor currency purchased on each other’s platforms for the same game…Early said we’ll likely see this first for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, which…is being released over the next years on multiple platforms, including Facebook, mobile, console and the Internet…if a customer purchased $20 worth of Ghost Recon Credits on Facebook, Facebook would still earn its 30 percent cut of the revenue, but players would be able to access the points in the Ghost Recon game on Apple devices. The reverse is true…Ghost Recon does not yet support micropayments on the console, so it would not use credits purchased elsewhere…”

49. EBay acquires Magento, builds a commerce OS http://gigaom.com/2011/06/06/ebay-acquires-magento-builds-a-commerce-os/ EBay…is buying the rest of e-commerce platform Magento, which it previously had a 49 percent stake in, in a bid to build a broader commerce operating system that spans online, mobile, social and local. In effect, eBay is looking to be the go-to resource for online and offline retailers…Magento offers an open-source commerce software suite that allows merchants to build flexible online stores that can be customized easily. Tens of thousands of merchants use Magento and its newer software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution called Magento Go…eBay is building what it calls X.Commerce, an open platform that can offer a wide array of end-to-end services to merchants, providing everything from local inventory data and discounts to historical information on pricing, transactions and browsing. It then offers tools for payment and helps close the loop on transactions so retailers know how it all came together. EBay, PayPal and GSI, a digital marketing and e-commerce company that eBay is in the process of buying, would provide some of the basic building blocks for the platform…Technology-driven innovation is blurring the lines between online and offline commerce, changing the way consumers shop, and enabling retailers of all sizes to benefit from the latest innovations from the developer community…With its pickups of RedLaser and Milo as well as its recent purchases of WHERE and Fig Card, eBay has been assembling the components for a deeper push into commerce, especially local transactions. RedLaser allows eBay to insert itself into comparison shopping as mobile consumers use their smartphones to help them shop. Milo helps connect users to the local inventory of products around them…”

50. Kodesk peer-to-peer sharing of ‘office space’ http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/02/kodesk-is-like-an-airbnb-for-office-space/ “…Essentially trying to build a peer-to-peer desk sharing community, Kodesk lets office space owners provide spaces to individuals in need of a temporary place to get some work done…Currently, Kodesk is completely free for companies and individuals who share desks with others, in order to jumpstart the p2p community aspect. It’s very simple: for every hour of desk space shared by a company, they get one hour of time credit for any of their employees to use in any other Kodesk space…there’s a lot of unoccupied office space in countless buildings across the globe, and increasingly there are people who can work from basically anywhere as long as there’s a chair, a table and an Internet connection…”

51. Say goodbye to the office cubicle http://www.marketwatch.com/story/after-recession-companies-rethink-workplaces-2011-05-31 “…the actual size of our workspaces is shrinking, as employees increasingly split their time between working remotely and in the office. In fact, at some point in the future, you may not even have your own desk — you’ll just reserve a space to work on days when you come into the office. Welcome to the workplace of tomorrow, one in which we’re more likely to sit closer to our co-worker neighbors, but be able to move to a more comfortable lounge space to concentrate…Space will be allocated where we can make private phone calls or meet with small groups of co-workers. There may even be places to exercise on the job or take a short nap if you need one…During the recession, many companies downsized the space they occupied, even if that left them with a surplus of empty space they still owned or leased…At Diageo’s Manhattan office, construction is underway to create a more open, collaborative space for the marketing group…Already, perhaps not surprisingly, there’s a bar in the office where workers can mingle after hours…”

52. Start-up Offers New Hires $10,000, and All the Accoutrements of Hipsterdom http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/02/start-up-offers-new-hires-ten-grand-lifetime-supply-of-beer/ “…I reported on the fierce recruiting wars among tech companies as they competed to hire and retain talented software developers and engineers…Now, Hipster, a start-up in San Francisco…is trying to attract fresh faces to its company with a particularly attention-getting offer — $10,000 and a year’s supply of beer. The company is also offering a bicycle, pair of oversized glasses, skinny jeans, a bowtie, mustache-grooming services and a pair of boots. ..recruiting is insanely competitive right now, so we wanted to do something that would…get the attention of the people we’re trying to reach,” said Doug Ludlow, one of the founders…Mr. Ludlow, who began the hiring campaign on Wednesday, said the company had already received 240 applications…half were related to marketing and sales…40 percent were from developers…the remaining 10 percent were from the most promising candidates… “Getting these 20 people into interviews would have cost hundreds of thousands in recruiter’s fees, and we did it for free…”

Civilian Aerospace

53. Affordable single-person rocket launched http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/06/shoestring-danish-rocket-blast.html “...Update at 2000 GMT: The rocket reached an altitude of only 2 kilometres…Kristian von Bengtson of Copenhagen Suborbitals says he shut down the rocket's engine by remote control after it started veering off to one side. That was done to keep the rocket from flying outside the area set aside for the launch….Original post from 1618 GMT: A rocket built by a group of Danish space enthusiasts has successfully launched on a short flight high above its sea-based launch platform…Copenhagen Suborbitals built the rocket for around £42,000. They hope to eventually fly a human on a suborbital flight to space using a beefed-up version of the rocket, which is just big enough for one person. Their first launch attempt a year ago failed to achieve lift-off due to a malfunctioning hairdryer used as a heater inside the rocket…their second try on Friday was a success…The goal was an altitude of about 15 kilometres…”

54. A year in the life of a Marsonaut http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/06/a-year-in-the-life-of-a-marson.html “…six men from four countries are celebrating a bizarre anniversary that could become more normal in the future. These "Marsonauts" have spent exactly one full year simulating the journey to the Red Planet and back, mostly sitting inside a mock spaceship. That still leaves another 165 days before they complete the 520-day Mars-500 isolation experiment…In February, three crew members detached from the mother ship and made a beeline for the surface - in reality a room with a high, domed ceiling and a floor covered in reddish sand and rocks - in their simulated lander. In pairs, the three took turns exploring the Martian surface: planting Russian, Chinese and European Space Agency flags…At the end of February, the landing party - one Russian, one European and one Chinese - ditched their lander and rejoined the two Russians and one European who stayed behind in the "orbiting modules". Now they're all headed home, scheduled to "land" back on Earth in November…The crew has successfully dealt with two simulated emergency situations: a day without electricity in December, where they sat in near-darkness and played games like chess and cards by the glow of a few flashlights, and a week of radio silence from the experiment's ground control centre last month…even participants in the 105-day precursor experiment got a bit tired of seeing the same five faces every day…the most challenging part of the journey for the 520-day crew is still to come…there's nothing new for the crew - no new food, no new procedures, nothing. "Now comes the very hardest psychological period…the Mars-500 crew will be greeted with messages from project directors and loved ones, congratulating them on the anniversary and, no doubt, nudging them to hang in there. Here you can read their answers to a list of questions posed to them…”

55. Canadian team wins NASA contest http://www.am1150.ca/News/National/Article.aspx?id=286433 “…Canadians who spent their weekends hanging around garages has won the first edition of a NASA robotics competition ever to be opened to international competition. The group from Sudbury's Laurentian University set a world record and beat out groups from around the globe to take top spot at the Lunabotics mining competition…"A lot of our team members have experience in heavy equipment — so that's what a lot of our design was based off of — and a lot of us have construction experience…I think what it came down to was the practical application of our skills — not so much the stuff we learned in school — but the stuff we learned on weekends working in our garages."…the teams remotely controlled excavators — called "Lunabots" — to determine which could collect the most simulated lunar soil over 15 minutes. Laurentian's team had the best result, digging up just over 237 kilograms of simulated moon rock. The second-place team from the University of North Dakota scooped up over 172 kilograms…while we were down there, we had to do some modifications on the spot (and) that wasn't a big deal for us," said the 24-year-old. Chiasson says it became obvious watching other teams trying to work on their robots that some didn't have the same practical skills. "They might have been really book-smart but, if you can't use a drill, you can't really do anything that's worthwhile with a robot…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

56. GPU Password Cracking http://mytechencounters.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/gpu-password-cracking-crack-a-windows-password-using-a-graphic-card/ “…GPUs are far more efficient at handling highly parallel tasks…GPUs are used to speed up video conversion, video processing, doing scientific calculations, folding and password hash cracking…Recently I came across a free password hash cracker called ighashgpu…curiosity made me…meddle with the tool to see how fast my Radeon 5770 would crack passwords and the results are simply amazing…For comparison, I’m going to use another popular and free security tool – Cain & Abel. This is an excellent tool for breaking different passwords, using the CPU…Using Cain, I generate a random password “fjR8n” whose NTLM hash is “AA8251D1BB587ABFAE6403194216041F” without quotes of course…Cain has taken about 24 seconds to crack the password at the rate of 9.8 million passwords/sec. Let’s see what ighashgpu has to offer. The password is found in less than one second. Secondly look at how many passwords the GPU has churned out per second. Dude, it’s 3.334 billion passwords…Let’s now take “pYDbL6” as the 6 character password…Cain reports it would take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to crack our password. Note that this is the maximum time Cain would take to crack the password…Ighashgpu finds the password in staggering 4 seconds…note that the maximum time it would take to crack a 6 character alphanumeric password is about 17 seconds. See the difference between GPU and CPU computing?...I take “t6Hnf9fL” as the 8 character alphanumeric password…Cain would take almost one year to crack that password…Ighashgpu can crack this hash in 18 hours and 30 minutes…”

57. Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Accelerates Machine Learning with GPUs http://techburgher.pghtech.org/2011/05/29/pittsburgh-supercomputing-center-accelerates-machine-learning-with-gpus/ “…scientists at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) and HP Labs are achieving speedups of nearly 10 times with GPUs…versus CPU-only code (and more than 1000 times versus an implementation in a high-level language) in k-means clustering, a critical operation for data analysis and machine learning…machine learning enables computers to process and learn from vast amounts of empirical data through algorithms that can recognize complex patterns and make intelligent decisions based on them…Wu and Welling ran on the latest “Fermi” generation of NVIDIA GPUs. Using MPI between nodes (three nodes, with three GPUs and two CPUs per node), they observed a speedup of 9.8 times relative to running an identical distributed k-means algorithm (written in C+MPI) on all CPU cores in the cluster, and thousands of times faster than the purely high-level language implementation commonly used in machine-learning research. Using their GPU implementation, the entire dataset with more than 15 million data points and 1000 dimensions can be clustered in less than nine seconds…Other data-analytic applications range from understanding the results of traditional high-performance computing (HPC) simulations of global climate, engineering, and protein dynamics to emerging fields that need HPC such as genomics, social network analysis, and mining extensive datasets in the humanities…I think that the CUDA programming model is a very nice framework,” says Wu, “well balanced on abstraction and expressing power, easy to learn but with enough control for advanced algorithm designers, and supported by hardware with exceptional performance…The key for any high-performance algorithm on modern multi/many-core architecture is to minimize the data movement and to optimize against memory hierarchy. Keeping this in mind, CUDA is as easy, if not easier, than any other alternatives…”


*****

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