2011/06/21

NEW NET Weekly List for 21 Jun 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 21 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. Time Warner Cable Considers Usage-Based Internet Billing http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-16/time-warner-cable-considering-billing-web-customers-by-usage-ceo-says.html Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), the second- largest U.S. cable-television operator, is testing technology to measure consumption-based billing for broadband Internet use…The New York-based company is working on installing meters in its network that calculate Internet usage…Time Warner Cable hasn’t decided if it will introduce the system…Moving from a flat fee to consumption-based billing will likely allow consumers who use the Internet for just e-mail and basic searches to pay less…The service may affect companies like Netflix Inc. that require consumers to use large amounts of bandwith to stream video online…Time Warner likely will charge fixed amounts for specific levels of service. In that scenario, consumption-based billing probably would only affect Netflix customers who watch streamed content for more than the average of eight hours per month…Netflix doesn’t object to charges that Internet providers need to cover the cost of increasing bandwidth capacity…“So as long as they’re doing it for network optimization and traffic shaping, and sort of the honest portions of being a network owner, it’s fine,” Wells said. “But when they’re doing it for anti-competitive purposes, I don’t think that’s in the interest of anyone…” [between the probable Time Warner ending of unlimited cable internet usage and Verizon’s cut-off of unlimited cellular data plans, it appears the internet is transitioning back, at least for a while, to the days of dial-up, where ‘net users paid based on their usage and, consequently, limited their usage; more incentive for the DHMN darknet, although that might only supply part of the solution. And what about Google Gigabit access, which merely allows you to hit your monthly usage limit in minutes instead of days – ed.]

2. Understanding Fiber Optic Networks http://www.highspeedexperts.com/understanding-fiber-optic-networks/ Data has traditionally traveled across wires comprised of metal, even before the dawn of the digital age. In fact, the use of flexible metal wires for data transmission dates back to at least the early 1800s, which certainly makes one wonder why they have not been replaced by newer technologies…In order to understand the benefits of fiber optics, it might be worth first investigating the shortcomings of metal wires that prompted the invention of fiber optics in the first place…The biggest fundamental problem with wires is that they require electricity, and often a great deal of it…Fiber optical cabling uses light to transmit data, which is significantly less costly for a handful of reasons…A side effect of the degradation in electrical signal is heat, and metal within wires can slowly lose their resistance to heat and thus be more susceptible to melting and becoming effectively useless…On the subject of signal complexity, fiber optical cabling offers another advantage over traditional metal wiring: upgrades are easy…The limits related to sending electricity over metal wiring are far greater than those of sending pulses of light over great distances of fiber optical cabling. This is due to the fact that there are three ways to improve network performance as it relates to transmission of data: increase fidelity, go multi-spectrum, and/or improve compression techniques…”

3. Music: Inside Facebook's Next Billion Dollar Business http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-social-music-2011-6 Facebook's road to becoming a $100 billion company is to infect every sector of the internet with its social graph, letting other companies build and expand their business on top of it and taking a toll in exchange…Facebook is now number one in display advertising, which is a $2 billion business for them. Facebook is the enabler of social games, which is now a multibillion dollar industry…Facebook is staffing up and partnering with Amazon to drive commerce through Facebook…the next big endeavor is music…Facebook will partner with Spotify but also other services to provide the service…At eG8 Forum, Mark Zuckerberg said he thought the next industry to get disrupted by social, after games, would be music, and then movies…a music dashboard would get Facebook users to stay on Facebook.com all through the day if that's where they stream music from, and so they would see a lot more ads…it's a nice swipe at Apple…given how undewhelming Apple's own social music service Ping has been. The rivalry between Apple and Facebook is heating up in a big way with Apple integrating Twitter deeply into iOS and Facebook trying to bypass Apple's app store with an app platform based on HTML5.”

4. Icann increases web domain suffixes http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13835997 The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) plans to dramatically increase the number of domain endings…Internet address names will end with almost any word and be in any language…There will be several hundred new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs), which could include such addresses as .google, .coke, or even .BBC. There are currently 22 gTLDs, as well as about 250 country-level domain names such as .uk or .de…It will cost $185,000 (£114,000) to apply for the suffixes, and companies would need to show they have a legitimate claim to the name they are buying…The vote completes a six-year negotiation process and is the biggest change to the system since .com was first introduced 26 years ago…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

5. LulzSec: We Didn't Hack Sega; So We'll Defend Them! http://venturebeat.com/2011/06/17/lulzsec-lulz-hack/ “…LulzSec, a band of hackers that has made headlines for a number of high-profile hacking incidents, are a bunch of gaming hipsters. The hacking group has been gleefully attacking a lot of gaming networks such as online role-playing game EVE Online and indie sandbox game Minecraft. But LulzSec hackers have also avoided sabotaging certain games that have niche appeal in the gaming community -— indicating the group has some kind of agenda outside of its goal of wanton destruction on the web…The group also publicly offered assistance to Sega, which was recently hit by attacks from an unknown hacking group. “@Sega - contact us. We want to help you destroy the hackers that attacked you. We love the Dreamcast, these people are going down,” LulzSec said on its main Twitter account…”

6. Judge Rules Reposting Entire Article Is Fair Use http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/06/fair-use-defense/ A federal judge ruled Monday that publishing an entire article without the rights holder’s authorization was a fair use of the work, in yet another blow to newspaper copyright troll Righthaven…Fair use is an infringement defense when the defendant reproduced a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, commentary, teaching and research. The defense is analyzed on a case-by-case basis…Righthaven has sued more than 200 websites, bloggers and commenters for copyright infringement. More than 100 have settled out of court…”

7. Dropbox leaves user accounts unlocked for 4 hours http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/06/21/dropbox.unlocked.wired/ “…Dropbox did the unthinkable Sunday -- it allowed anyone in the world to access any one of its 25 million customers' online storage lockers -- simply by typing in any password. Dropbox, one of the most popular ways to share and sync files online, says the accounts became unlocked…Sunday when a programming change introduced a bug. The company closed the hole a little less than 4 hours later…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

8. Verizon Dropping Unlimited Data Plan Next Month http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/20/verizon-dropping-unlimited-data-plan-next-month/ Verizon will be dropping its unlimited data option…a Verizon spokeswoman told All Things Digital. We will move to a more usage based model in July…The site claims these plans will go into effect July 7…2GB - $30/month…5GB - $50/month…10GB - $80/month…Tethering is an $20/month add-on and includes an additional 2GB of data. Overages are assessed at $10/GB…”

9. World’s First QR Code Coin http://2d-code.co.uk/qr-code-coin/ The Royal Dutch Mint have produced a limited edition of QR Coded coins to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Mint…The silver 5€…and the gold 10€ will be issued on June 22…the Mint promises that if you scan the code “…you will be surprised at what you’ll see”. The code…at the time of writing resolves to the Royal Dutch Mint’s non-mobile site…National Mints could put these coins into mass circulation and auction weekly leases on the QR Code redirect…”

10. Foursquare has more than 10 million users http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/06/foursquare-number-users.html Foursquare has surpassed the mark of 10 million users this month…One of the most amazing things about building Foursquare has been seeing a tool we designed for our friends turn into something now used by over 10,000,000 people…since the company's founding in March 2009, there have been…169 countries visited by U.S. users…1,602 birth announcements on hospital check-ins…Old Navy, Bank of America, 7-Eleven, Home Depot and Target are among the most popular business chains in the U.S. to check in at…”

11. Nokia finally announces its N9 MeeGo phone http://venturebeat.com/2011/06/20/nokia-finally-announces-its-n9-meego-phone-but-what-is-it-trying-to-accomplish/ “…another phone…at its Nokia Connection event in Singapore: the N9, a long-rumored MeeGo-powered smartphone…it’s clearly a side project for Nokia. The company’s main goal now is to deliver flagship Windows Phone 7 devices…the N9 appears to be a success on paper. It sports a 3.9-inch curved glass AMOLED display that leaves little room for anything else on the front…Nokia has included a powerful 8-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics (natch), which is capable of recording HD video. The N9 also has NFC capabilities, which makes it suited for mobile payments and communication between NFC-enabled accessories (like Bluetooth headsets). Nokia also saw fit to include a revamped Maps applications that includes free in-car navigation, and the N9 is also the first phone to support Dolby Digital Plus…The N9′s software definitely seems more polished than any previous version of MeeGo…it’s important to note that we’re not looking at actual hardware yet. In the end, the N9 just seems like a mark of pride for Nokia…”

Apps

12. Tapjoy creates $5M Android fund http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2011/06/16/tapjoy-creates-5m-android-fund.html Stung by Apple Inc. 's decision to block applications that pay users to download other applications…Tapjoy Inc. has created a $5 million fund to help developers set up shop on…Android…Tapjoy last year found great success with so-called incentivized downloads, in which users can earn virtual currency for dowloading and engaging with other applications, particularly games, but Apple clamped down on the practice just over a month ago…the 70-person company brought in $60 million-plus during the first five months of the year alone, more than the entire previous year…Shah said he found Apple's move "disappointing," but he said the company could continue its blistering pace of growth because mobile communications is a large and rapidly expanding realm, including Android and Windows 7 based devices, and HTML5 applications. The Tapjoy Android Fund is designed to offer monetary and development support to game developers looking to port existing content and apps to the Android platform…Tapjoy will provide full porting and testing services to ensure the apps work on all of the leading Android handsets…”

13. Mobile Apps Put the Web in Their Rear-view Mirror http://blog.flurry.com/bid/63907/Mobile-Apps-Put-the-Web-in-Their-Rear-view-Mirror Although the Internet entered the mainstream a mere 15 years ago, life without it today is nearly incomprehensible…our use of the web has rapidly changed as well…however, a new platform shift is taking place. In 2011, for the first time, smartphone and tablet shipments exceed those of desktop and notebook shipments…In this report, Flurry compares how daily interactive consumption has changed over the last 12 months between the web…Our analysis shows that, for the first time ever, daily time spent in mobile apps surpasses desktop and mobile web consumption. This stat is even more remarkable if you consider that it took less than three years for native mobile apps to achieve this level of usage, driven primarily by the popularity of iOS and Android platforms…The chart clearly shows that Games and Social Networking categories capture the significant majority of consumers’ time. Consumers spend nearly half their time using Games, and a third in Social Networking apps. Combined, these two categories control a whopping 79% of consumers’ total app time…”

14. Lightbox’s connected camera might be the best Android app yet http://thenextweb.com/apps/2011/06/15/lightboxs-connected-camera-might-be-the-best-android-app-yet/ Android users…have long felt the pain of a lack of quality applications for the platform. One of the areas that has been a bit more sorely lacking than others is that of photography. While there are solid options on the market such as Camera360 and PicPlz, it’s still hard to compare with the quality that we see in leading iOS apps…With Lightbox, the idea is not only to take photos and share them, but also to use the photos from your friends and news sites as a social discovery service. To start, let’s take an overview of Lightbox…At its heart, Lightbox is a photo browser for your Android device…”

Open Source

15. Mozilla releases Firefox 5 http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Mozilla-releases-Firefox-5-1264703.html “…the Mozilla Project has released version 5.0 of Firefox…One of the most important additions in Firefox 5 is support for CSS animation, a feature that browsers such as Safari have offered for some time…In Firefox 5, the Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved to increase discoverability The Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved "to increase discoverability". On Windows, it can be found under "Tools->Options->Privacy", while on Mac OS X, it is under "Firefox->Preferences->Privacy". This preference allows users to tell web sites that they don't wish to have their browsing behaviour tracked. Whether a site respects this or not is up to its developers. Other changes include improved canvas, JavaScript, memory, and networking performance, as well as updated standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL and canvas. The "desktop environment integration for Linux users" has also been improved…”

16. Dexter Industries Will Open-Source New Thermal Infrared Sensor http://www.pr.com/press-release/332800 Dexter Industries, a leader in manufacturing sensors for LEGO MINDSTORM, announces that it will open-source its new Thermal Infrared Sensor for the LEGO MINDSTORM…Dexter Industries developed the sensor in response to a need by the RoboCup Jr. Rescue community. The sensor was originally designed to be able to help students build robots to easily find warm objects in a maze…With a growing national interest in STEM education, Dexter Industries hopes to sell the sensor internationally to schools and educational groups. By opening the source code and design of the sensor, the company will encourage interest in STEM education and encourage students to develop skills in physics, chemistry, programming, and engineering…”

17. Open Source iCufflinks by Adafruit Industries http://www.zdnet.com/blog/violetblue/sophisticated-open-source-icufflinks-by-adafruit-industries/458 Adafruit Industries…has released their first in a line of original, open-source jewelry: iCufflinks…iCufflinks have a bit of Apple flavor, a touch of Mad Men style, and a lot more going on under the hood than your ordinary cufflinks. Die hard open-source hardheads might think that actually calling a pair of cufflinks open-source would be to trivialize both the concept and the philosophy. Think again. Adafruit’s Phillip Torrone tells me…I co-designed these little cufflinks that subtlety pulsated like a Mac. I wanted something that was futuristic but still classy enough to wear for special events when I need to get dressed up…”

SkyNet

18. Google Steps Up Its Search Engine Game http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2077968,00.html Google makes one of the world's leading mobile operating systems. It does e-mail and an office suite and photo sharing and Internet phone service, and does them all well. It's even getting into solar power and is trying to invent the self-driving car. But for all its far-flung ambition, the company isn't synonymous with many things. It's synonymous with one thing: its namesake search engine…this week, a small army of Google search honchos took the stage to reveal…a bunch of medium-sized tweaks which Google's rolling out in the days and weeks to come. The refinements aren't responses to any immediate threat to the company's search-engine supremacy…Clearly, Google has a healthy fear of the sort of complacency that's gradually crippled so many other tech giants in the past…Taken one by one, all these new features look good. Here's the thing, though: This search engine didn't get where it was today by having the most features. It thrived because it gave you almost nothing but a minimalist search field on an otherwise barren home page…for this Google user, at least, simplicity trumps even speed…I'm not saying that Google is blundering by adding so many new capabilities…But when you're as good as Google already is, you don't have to evolve into something different — you just need to keep on being yourself, only more so. And the more Google changes, the tougher that's going to get.”

19. Google building Skype-alike software into Chrome http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20072845-264/google-building-skype-alike-software-into-chrome/ Shortly after releasing software for audio and video chat as an open-source project called WebRTC as open-source software, Google is beginning to build it into its Chrome browser. The real-time chat software originated from Google's 2010 acquisition of Global IP Solutions (GIPS), a company specializing in Internet telephony and videoconferencing…Gmail chat is getting more important as Google's VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) efforts mature and integrate with the Google Voice service…Google…hopes WebRTC will become an incarnation of a nascent Web standard for videoconferencing and peer-to-peer communications and for the necessary underlying network communication protocols…If Google and allies succeed in establishing the technology and building support into multiple browsers, that would mean anybody building a Web site or Web application could draw upon the communications technology. In other words, anyone could build a rival to services, such as Skype, with just a Web application…"Our goal is to enable Chrome with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple Javascript APIs [application programming interfaces]," Henrik Andreasson, a Google programmer from GIPS…”

20. Google Throws Its Weight Behind LibreOffice http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/230728/google_throws_its_weight_behind_libreoffice.html LibreOffice gained a fresh burst of momentum last week as the makers of productivity software not only released a new, stable update but also announced the participation of Google and other big-name sponsors…Google, SUSE, Red Hat, Freies Office Deutschland e.V., Software in the Public Interest and the Free Software Foundation will all serve for an initial term of one year on the board to provide advice, guidance and proposals regarding the free and open source software…Google is pleased to be a supporter of the Document Foundation, and to provide funding and advice to advance their work…”

21. Android 4.0: what you need to know http://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-computing/tablets/android-4-0-what-you-need-to-know-968819 We've had Android 2.3 Gingerbread. We've had Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Next up: Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Google's Android operating system. Although it's possible that Ice Cream Sandwich will be given a lower version number, such as Android 2.4, we think the scale of the upgrade makes it more than a mere point release - so our money's on Android 4.0…Google says the Android 4.0 release date will be around Thanksgiving in the US, which means it should ship just in time for the all-important Christmas shopping binge this year…Say goodbye to Gingerbread for phones and Honeycomb for tablets. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will be a single OS for both kinds of devices, with the user interface adapting to suit whichever form factor you throw at it…”

22. Google To Digitize 250,000 British Library Books http://mashable.com/2011/06/20/google-british-library/ “…Although Google has halted its own newspaper scanning project, the tech giant is still working to make books available freely online. The company…is working to digitize some 250,000 out-of-copyright volumes from the vast holdings of the British Library. Scanned items, which will be selected by the British Library and handled (as well as paid for) by Google, will be made available for free at books.google.co.uk and the British Library’s website. Users can download and read items through Google Books, as well as conduct full-text searches. The 250,000 works will include books, pamphlets and periodicals dated between 1700 and 1870…the French and Industrial revolutions, the Crimean War, the invention of train travel and the end of slavery…”

General Technology

23. Apple overhauls Final Cut Pro http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/2011-06-21-Final-Cut-Pro_n.htm “…Apple's Final Cut Pro…has pretty much become the dominant program for serious video editing…The old Final Cut Pro 7 we've come to love — and sometimes curse — is history. Apple today unleashed a brand new, rewritten from the ground up, 64-bit version, Final Cut Pro X, with a substantially lower price ($299.99, vs. $999 for FCP 7)…This is such a radical overhaul that Apple considers it an all-new program, not an upgrade. FCPX looks totally different, and many of the letter shortcuts and commands we've known over the years are toast. The good news: much faster editing. You now can take multiple types of video footage from different sources — say an iPhone, point and shoot camera, digital SLR and a video camera — and put them altogether for editing without any issues…”

24. Applying Conductive Nanocoatings to Textiles http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606113411.htm “…Normally, conductive nanocoatings are applied to inorganic materials like silicon. If we can find a way to apply them to textiles -- cheap, flexible materials with a contorted surface texture -- it would represent a cost-effective approach and framework for improving current and future types of electronic devices…Imagine coating a textile fabric so that each fiber has the same nanoscale-thick coating that is thousands of times thinner than a human hair -- that's what atomic layer deposition is capable of doing…In the paper, researchers describe a new technique using larger probes that accurately measures the conductivity of the nanocoating. This new system gives researchers a better understanding of how to apply coatings on textiles to turn them into conductive devices…there are simple electronic devices that could benefit by using the lightweight flexibility that some textile materials provide…Research like this has potential health and monitoring applications since we could potentially create a uniform with cloth sensors embedded in the actual material that could track heart rate, body temperature, movement and more in real time. To do this now, you would need to stick a bunch of wires throughout the fabric…”

25. Microfluidic stretchable radio frequency electronics http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110616092540.htm Electronics that can be bent and stretched might sound like science fiction. But Uppsala researcher Zhigang Wu, working with collaborators, has devised a wireless sensor that can stand to be stretched. For example, the sensor can measure intensive body movements and wirelessly send information directly to a computer…Robots of liquid metal, as in the Terminator movies, are probably the best-known cases of deformable electronic systems…Twisting, folding, and stretching fragile conventional electronics is not yet possible…advances in the field of µFSRFE (microfluidic stretchable radio frequency electronics) have shown the possibility of combining established stiff electronics components with channels of elastomers filled with fluid metal. In this way it has been possible to construct systems that after severe mechanical deformation can manage to return to their original form. Such electronics can adapt to nearly any bent and moving surfaces on a human being or a robot and can thus serve as a second layer of smart e-skin for health monitoring or remote control…”

DHMN Technology

26. How you can set up an open mesh network in your neighborhood http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/computers/stories/how-you-can-set-up-an-open-mesh-network-in-your-neighborhood Mesh networks can share web connections throughout a neighborhood, spreading the reach of a broadband connection. They're an excellent way to improve a community’s web access…Open Mesh…provided Shareable with this guide to how to set up a mesh network in your own neighborhood…It should take you no more than a few minutes to do it, even if you consider the extent of your technical skills to be no more than turning on your computer and checking your email…The magic that makes this work is the Open-Mesh mini routers (as small as the size of a pack of cards) that can spread a single internet connection across multiple rooms…Home users can simply plug one router into their DSL or cable modem (the "internet") and put additional units ("repeaters") around the house BETWEEN the one plugged into the internet and where you want better coverage…” [this mesh network admittedly isn’t highly applicable to the DHMN darknet, but the article is included in this week’s NEW NET list to keep the darknet conversation alive – ed.]

27. Web-controlled tweeting Roomba is a perfect storm of DIY magic http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/17/web-controlled-tweeting-roomba-is-a-perfect-storm-of-diy-magic/ There are three things that will guarantee your DIY project some attention: slap it on a Roomba, base it on Arduino, or make it tweet. Do all three and, well, you've got a nerdgasm-inducing bit of Make fodder. The creation you see above is a web-controlled tweeting Roomba whipped up by Instructables member matchlighter using a 500 series vacuum bot and the Sparkfun WiFly shield for Arduino. The autonomous cleaner can be triggered from anywhere there's an internet connection and updates Twitter to keep you abreast of its status…”

Leisure & Entertainment

28. Spam 'Books' Flooding Kindle Store http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-kindle-spam-20110616,0,7539980.story Spam has hit the Kindle, clogging Amazon.com Inc.'s top-selling e-reader with material that is far from being book-worthy and threatening to undermine the company's entry into publishing. Thousands of digital books, called e-books, are being published through Amazon's self-publishing system each month. Many are…written…using something known as Private Label Rights, or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book. These e-books are listed for sale — often at 99 cents — alongside more traditional books on Amazon's website, forcing readers to plow through many more titles to find what they want. Aspiring spammers can even buy a DVD box set called Autopilot Kindle Cash that claims to teach people how to publish 10 to 20 new Kindle books a day without writing a word. This new phenomenon represents the dark side of an online revolution that's turning the traditional publishing industry on its head by giving authors new ways to access readers directly…”

29. In a first, a Nook beats the Kindle in our e-book reader Ratings http://news.consumerreports.org/electronics/2011/06/in-a-first-nook-beats-kindle-in-our-e-book-ratings.html The Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader is more than merely a worthy competitor to the Kindle…Now that we've tested the device in our labs, it actually scores a few points above the Kindle in our tests…That marks the first time since the Kindle launched that Amazon's e-book reader hasn't been the top-scoring model in our Ratings…It also continues the steady improvement in Barnes & Noble's e-book devices since the company rushed out a glitchy first version of the Nook during the holiday season of 2009…The new and old versions [corrected] of the Nook, like the Kindle, have has a black-and-white screens that use E Ink Pearl technology. B&N also offers the Nook Color e-book reader. (Amazon has no color device, at least yet, though one is rumored.)…the Simple Touch (a.k.a. "The All-New Nook," as B&N alternately calls the new device) matches or bests—albeit modestly—its Amazon competitor in almost every aspect of performance…”

30. Netflix.com Website And Streaming Services Go Down http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/19/netflix-website-and-streaming-services-go-down/ Thinking about catching a movie with your loved ones for Father’s Day, or just because its Sunday? Well it’s not going to be on Netflix as it online services including the $7.99 a month streaming feature and the ability to order DVDs are down for some users…users have been unable to access the website or the streaming features for about three hours and are complaining on (of course) Twitter…Reports of inability to access the site have been popping up since 5:23 pm PST according to one user and the website currently displays the above “service down” message (Netflix on the Wii and the iPad is still working apparently)…”

Economy and Technology

31. Drag Your Bank Into 2011 With PayPal http://lifehacker.com/5812867/upgrade-your-aging-bank-with-paypal “…big banks are notoriously slow to add new features. If you're not ready to ditch your current bank for a more tech-savvy alternative, you can augment your existing bank account—and get great features-of-the-future like check-deposits-by-smartphone pics and easy payments between friends—with one of the oldest online money services, PayPal…This guide isn't about replacing your current bank account with PayPal (which you really can't do anyway, since PayPal doesn't have a routing number). Instead, it's specifically about how to add some really great features to your money management process without completely uprooting your financial life…we'll highlight features you can get by incorporating PayPal into your banking—across your deposits, withdrawals, and payments—along with steps you'll need to follow to set it up…”

32. The Mobile Commerce Train: Coming But Not Here Yet http://blogs.forrester.com/sucharita_mulpuru/11-06-17-the_mobile_commerce_train_coming_but_not_here_yet After social commerce, mobile commerce is the most heavily debated topic-du-jour among retailers these days. One thing that both social and mobile commerce have in common is that they are both small. Teeny in fact. Forrester’s Mobile Commerce Forecast, 2011 To 2016, which launched today, shows that retailers can expect 2% of their online web sales (yes, I said web sales which means a minuscule percent of overall retail) to be transacted through mobile devices in 2011. While we also expect mobile commerce sales to grow 40% each year for the next five years, we’re still talking small numbers overall (7% of web sales penetration by 2016)…aren’t smartphones changing the way we consume web content?...does this mean that we’re making much ado about nothing with all the focus on mobile commerce? Not a chance. Mobile commerce will transform retail…”

33. Bitcoin prices plummet on hacked exchange http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/06/bitcoin-price-plummets-on-compromised-exchange.ars The Bitcoin community faced another crisis on Sunday afternoon as the price of the currency on the most popular exchange, Mt.Gox, fell from $17 to pennies in a matter of minutes. Trading was quickly suspended and visitors to the home page were redirected to a statement blaming the crash on a compromised user account. Mt.Gox's Mark Karpeles said that the exchange would be taken offline to give administrators time to roll back the suspect transactions…The crash appears to be the fault of the Mt.Gox exchange rather than a collapse in the value of the currency itself…”

34. Bitcoin: Bits and bob http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2011/06/virtual-currency “…Bitcoin, the world's "first decentralised digital currency", was devised in 2009 by programmer Satoshi Nakomoto (thought not to be his—or her—real name). Unlike other virtual monies—like Second Life's Linden dollars, for instance—it does not have a central clearing house run by a single company or organisation. Nor is it pegged to any real-world currency, which it resembles in that it can be used to purchase real-world goods and services, not just virtual ones. However, rather than rely on a central monetary authority to monitor, verify and approve transactions, and manage the money supply, Bitcoin is underwritten by a peer-to-peer network akin to file-sharing services like BitTorrent. The easiest way to store Bitcoins is to sign up to an online wallet service through which all transactions are carried out. This, of course, means trusting the provider of that service not to cheat, or go out of business, taking clients' savings with it. Warier users can install a personal digital wallet on their own computers. They must then, however, keep it safe from viruses or physical damage. If a laptop went up in smoke, so would the virtual coins stored on its hard drive…”

Civilian Aerospace

35. Landing craft set to deliver exploration robot to the Moon http://www.theengineer.co.uk/sectors/aerospace/news/landing-craft-set-to-deliver-exploration-robot-to-the-moon/1009071.article Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon University researchers have completed structural assembly of a lunar landing craft that will deliver a robot called Red Rover to the Moon in 2014. The half-ton aluminium structure will now be shipped to Boeing facilities in El Segundo, California, for shake testing to confirm its integrity and its compatibility with the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Astrobotic plans to land the spacecraft, carrying the robot and a commercial payload, on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquillity or on the Marius Hills next to a recently discovered ’skylight’ leading down into a volcanic cave…Astrobotic aims to claim up to $36m (£22m) in awards, one of which is from the Google Lunar X Prize, a $30m competition for the first privately funded team to send a robot to the Moon, travel 500m and transmit video, images and data back to Earth…”

36. Spaceport Sheboygan now open to the public http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20110617/SHE0101/106170410/Spaceport-Sheboygan-now-open-public They haven't finished building it quite yet, but supporters of Spaceport Sheboygan in the Sheboygan Armory – which opened June 7 to the public full-time – are hoping they will start coming anyway…on Saturday during Harbor Fest…Spaceport Sheboygan will be open for free from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m…Last year, the Sheboygan Common Council approved leasing the Sheboygan Armory for $1 a year for the next five years to the Great Lakes Aerospace Science and Education Center, with an option for the organization to renew the lease for another five years, also at $1 per year. The lease gives control of the 42,000-square-foot building to the group, which is essential for it to raise the money it needs to acquire larger exhibits and stage more ambitious programs…Spaceport has been in the works since late 2005, when officials received permission through a handshake agreement from the city to use the armory for the project…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

37. Japanese Supercomputer is New TOP500 Champ http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-06-20/japanese_supercomputer_is_new_top500_champ.html A Japanese supercomputer took the world title for the fastest computer in the world…Fujitsu's K Computer, powered by the latest SPARC64 VIIIfx CPUs and the "Tofu" interconnect delivered a world beating 8.162 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark, vaulting over the now second-place 2.57 petaflop Tianhe-1A supercomputer in China and third-place 1.76 petaflop Jaguar supercomputer in the US…all of the top 10 systems are now a petaflop or more, and the first machine that cracked the petaflop mark in 2006, IBM's Roadrunner supercomputer, has been pushed into the number 10 spot…Not only is the machine more than three times as powerful, FLOPS-wise, as the number two GPU-powered Tianhe-1A, but it is even more energy efficient, delivering over 8 Linpack petaflops with less than 10 megawatts of power…The exceptional energy efficiency of K is provided courtesy of the 8-core SPARC64 VIIIfx processor, a 58 watt chip that delivers 128 peak gigaflops. That's nearly up to the standards of an HPC-style GPU, a processor which basically does nothing but FLOPS. For comparison, an IBM Power7 CPU provides about 256 gigaflops, but consumes 200 watts, while IBM's other HPC chip, the PowerPC A2 SoC used in Blue Gene/Q looks to be around twice as energy-efficient as the current crop of GPUs…even though China's top super got out-Linpacked this time around, the country continues to fill up TOP500 slots at a breakneck pace. The nation now has 62 supercomputers on the list, up from just 24 a year ago. As a result, China has more top machines than Germany and the UK combined, and greater than any nation except for the US. Despite that, the US still owns more than half the total systems (256) on the list…”

38. OpenCL and GPU Compute http://semiaccurate.com/2011/06/15/opencl-and-gpu-compute/ “…Dr. Elster talked a lot about using CUDA and Nvidia’s high-end professional GPU’s for most of their previous work doing image reconstruction and seismic modeling. But in an interesting, if predictable twist, she stresses that her lab and her students were moving from mostly CUDA based processing to OpenCL…One way was to use some of the processing power of the node, or in her case the GPU, to compress the data in real-time to reduce the impact of the bandwidth limitations that her applications were running into. The other was writing your applications to maximize data locality and minimize the use of memory bandwidth… the really fun stuff in the talk was her assertion about GPU compute and simulation in general. “Flops are not what they used to be” she led with this assertion. She followed it up by regaling us with the tale of a student who tried using an Nvidia Ion based platform to do some of the simulations they were running on Tesla parts to little success. She also mentioned that, “In supercomputing, when you do a demo, it’s important to look cool.” Obviously the kind of professor we all like to study under…”

39. Heterogeneous Computing and HPC Accelerators http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-06-18/heterogeneous_computing_and_hpc_accelerators,_disruptive_technologies_in_the_making.html At this week's International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany, two of the biggest topics on the agenda are heterogeneous architectures and GPU/accelerator computing. Those emerging trends are joined at the hip, thanks mostly to the efforts of NVIDIA and their industry partners. Intel's ongoing plans for its Many Integrated Core (MIC) co-processor and AMD's introduction of its CPU-GPU "Fusion" processors are yet additional indications that the industry is moving to an architecture where CPUs married to accelerators will provide the next big seismic shift in high performance computing…The HPC community has known for awhile that conventional CPUs, at least in their x86 form, will not be a practical path to exascale computing…HPC vendors and users have come to realize that commodity CPU-based computing, even with multicore parallelism, can only go so far, performance-wise. But is the emerging HPC heterogeneous architecture with discrete GPUs or Intel MIC co-processors just another dead end as well?…”

40. GPUs Demonstrate Potential for NASA Science Simulations http://sciences.gsfc.nasa.gov/600/highlights/stories/gpus.html Simulations of Earth and space phenomena at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center are getting a boost from graphics processing units (GPUs). Early results on small laboratory GPU systems and a new GPU cluster at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) demonstrate potential for significant speedups versus conventional computer processors…With performance increases of 20x or more in certain cases, the supercomputing community has huge interest in GPUs for simulation and data analysis…At Goddard, scientists and engineers have used systems ranging from one to four GPUs in laboratories up to a 64-GPU IBM iDataPlex cluster that NCCS made operational in May…”

41. AMD Fusion Developer Summit Fuels HPC Conversations http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-06-16/amd_fusion_developer_summit_fuels_hpc_conversations.html The AMD Fusion Developer Summit…provided a broad range of use cases and academic arguments supporting the idea that OpenCL (and of course, GPU computing) are set to play a role in the future of high performance computing and beyond…Below are a few noteworthy video clips and other featured items collected during the event…First, we’ll let AMD’s Margaret Lewis tell us a little bit about where OpenCL stands for the HPC community in contrast to CUDA. She says the openness is part of what should make OpenCL an attractive programming model for HPC shops, especially as they tend to use a range of architectures…“AMD sees the maturation of OpenCL as a capability not only to download to the GPU but to start utilizing the CPU and GPU as complementary computing engines…”

42. Intel pushes for HPC space with Knights Corner http://www.thinq.co.uk/2011/6/20/intel-pushes-hpc-space-knights-corner/ Intel is justifiably proud of its presence in the small yet lucrative HPC market…In recent years, there has been a shift away from the CPU as the number cruncher in a supercomputer. The advent of GPGPU programming technologies such as Nvidia's CUDA, OpenCL, and Microsoft's DirectCompute allow tasks to run on the massively parallel processors of a high-end graphics card, spreading parallel tasks across hundreds, rather than dozens, of processing cores. With no high-performance graphics expertise to speak of, that's a trend has Intel worried. Thankfully, it has a plan: Many Integrated Cores, or MIC…Unlike Intel's CPU technologies, which struggle to hit double figures of cores, Intel's upcoming MIC implementation - dubbed Knights Corner - will offer more than 50 processing cores per unit, giving HPC users the kind of massively parallel processing capabilities that would previously have had them turning to graphics chips from Nvidia or AMD…”

43. Russia Accelerates Scientific Innovation With GPU Supercomputers http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-06-15/russia_accelerates_scientific_innovation_with_gpu_supercomputers.html “…Moscow State University is upgrading its Lomonosov system with NVIDIA Tesla™ GPUs to be one of the world's fastest supercomputers. The upgraded system couples 1,554 NVIDIA Tesla X2070 GPUs with an identical number of quad-core CPUs, delivering an expected 1.3 petaflops of peak performance, placing at number 1 in Russia and amongst the fastest systems in the world. The system is used for research focused on computationally intensive areas such as global climate change, ocean modeling, post-genomic medicine, and galaxy formation. "Our research requires enormous computational resources, and we need to deliver this performance as efficiently as possible…The only way for us to achieve these twin goals is with a hybrid GPU/CPU based system."…The Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics uses the computing power of 192 Tesla C2050 GPUs for research in the fields of atomic energy, aircraft building and oil extraction. NNSU is Russia's first CUDA Research Center, actively using GPUs across projects such as studying living systems via solid mathematical modeling and large-scale computation…"There is a staggering potential for GPU/CPU-based systems hybrid solutions to help us address a great number of scientific challenges such as studying living systems, bio-photonics and computational mathematics…”


*****

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