2011/08/02

NEW NET Weekly List for 02 Aug 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 02 August 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. People with lower IQ use IE http://www.infoworld.com/t/cringely/just-how-stupid-are-internet-explorer-users-168610 “…Why would anyone in their right mind continue to use Internet Explorer when so many better and free options are available? Now we have an answer…AptiQuant Psychometric recently polled more than 100,000 English-speaking adults in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australasia. They were asked what version of browser they used, then asked to take a standard IQ test…The results: People who use Opera are most likely brainiacs; those who prefer Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Camino are…smarter than your average bear…IQs for IE users ranged from barely above 80 (for IE6) to about 95 (for IE8); the IQ of your average schmoe is 100…Worse, the average IQ for IE users has dropped by roughly 20 percent since AptiQuant's previous survey in 2006. Either IE users are getting dimmer each year or all the smart ones left for better options…AptiQuant CEO Leonard Howard was quick to point out that the act of using IE is not, by itself, proof you're an idiot; but if you happen to be an idiot, you're much more likely to use IE…what this report really means is that people who buy a computer and never think to upgrade or switch browsers tend to be dumber than your average geek. Most of them probably aren't even aware of a browser being something separate from the Internet or the Google…If all computers shipped with Chrome or Firefox as the default browser, they might fill the bottom spot just as easily as IE does…”

2. Farewell Flash? Adobe Launches HTML5 Web Animations Tool "Adobe Edge" http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/farewell_flash_adobe_launches_html5_web_animations_tool_adobe_edge.php “…Adobe is launching a new tool called Adobe Edge which will allow creative professionals to design animated Web content using Web standards like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript…Aimed to coexist with Adobe Flash, not replace it, the Web design software is Adobe's big bet on how it will continue to solidify its position as a top player in the infrastructure of the modern Web, especially as the Web goes increasingly mobile…Although Flash still accounts for the majority of website animations today, that won't always be the case…it's not really an either/or scenario when it comes to the "Flash vs. HTML5" conundrum in the professional world…Devin Fernandez, Group Product Manager for Adobe's Web Pro Segment…contends that Flash will continue to push forward, and…will focus on areas that HTML5 cannot yet address as well - like 3D gaming for example…HTML5…doesn't today deliver a consistent experience across the widest range of devices and browsers. For example, Windows XP, which even to Microsoft's own chagrin remains a fairly popular computer operating system, can only run up to Internet Explorer 8. That means it can't take advantage of the many major leaps in terms of HTML5 support introduced in IE 9…”

3. Microsoft’s plans for Bing to take search market share from Google http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/technology/with-the-bing-search-engine-microsoft-plays-the-underdog.html “…Microsoft’s assault on Google in Internet search and search advertising may be the steepest competitive challenge in business today. It is certainly among the most costly. Trying to go head-to-head with Google costs Microsoft upward of $5 billion a year…“Google” is synonymous with search…Once it starts, this cycle of prosperity snowballs — more users, more data, and more ad dollars. Economists call the phenomenon “network effects”…In search, Google has it in spades, and Microsoft, against the odds, wants to reverse it…Bing search site has steadily picked up traffic…Add the searches that Microsoft handles for Yahoo…and Microsoft’s search technology fields 30 percent of the total…those gains have not come at the expense of Google. Its two-thirds share of the market in the United States — Google claims an even higher share in many foreign markets — has remained unchanged in the last two years…The costs for Microsoft, meanwhile, keep mounting. In the latest fiscal year…the online services division — mainly the search business — lost $2.56 billion…investors are growing restless at the cost of its search campaign…When Mr. Lu and Mr. Shum, another Ph.D. graduate of Carnegie Mellon, talk of changing the game, they mean making search smarter. Today’s search, they say, primarily finds topics, or noun phrases — a person’s name, a city, a product, a disease…the future of search is verbs — computationally discerning user intent to give them the knowledge…Location data, especially from the growing share of searches on smartphones, offers another rich stream of information…The goal, Mr. Lu says, is that someday you will speak a phrase into your smartphone — “dinner for two on Friday and movie after” — and the software will go to work…the engine will begin a dialogue: “Here’s what is available. Where would you like to eat and when?”…Microsoft has invested in travel services…Bing also uses technology from MedStory, a health search engine it bought four years ago…Google is innovating as well…explains Amit Singhal, a computer scientist who leads Google’s search team. “The progression is from data to useful information to knowledge that answers questions people have or helps them do things. Knowledge is the quest.”…Becoming a solid No. 2 behind Google is an accomplishment, but at what cost?...huge reported losses, he says, are a result of aggressive investment over the last few years to hire people and build data centers that can handle 30 percent to 40 percent of search traffic…Revenue per search from Yahoo traffic it handles is far less than it was when Yahoo managed its own search ads…But Microsoft and Yahoo executives say the shortfall is temporary…”

4. “Open” Web Browsers Now Majority Of Web http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/01/open-web-browsers/ “…Firefox and Chrome, when combined, now account for over 50 percent of web browsing. Technically, Firefox now has a 27.95 percent share, while Chrome has 22.14 percent. Combined, their 50.09 percent easily beat IE’s 42.45 percent…the milestone is pretty amazing. Especially when you consider that as late as 2006 by some counts, IE still had over 90 percent market share…Chrome is rising so fast that it should surpass Firefox in the next few months…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

5. NSA Lawyer Questioned Over Cellphone Location Tracking of Americans http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/07/26/nsa-lawyer-questioned-over-cellphone-location-tracking-of-americans/ Is the government using cellular data to track Americans as they move around the U.S.? According to the general counsel of the National Security Agency, it may have that authority. Matthew Olsen…at the NSA…discussed the possibility at a confirmation hearing Tuesday morning in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “There are certain circumstances where that authority may exist,” he said. His comments came after Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) asked him several times whether the government has the authority to “use cell site data to track the location of Americans inside the country…”

6. Microsoft's Web map exposes phone, PC locations http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20085028-281/microsofts-web-map-exposes-phone-pc-locations/ Microsoft has collected the locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other Wi-Fi devices around the world and makes them available on the Web without taking the privacy precautions that competitors have…The vast database available through Live.com publishes the precise geographical location, which can point to a street address and sometimes even a corner of a building, of Android phones, Apple devices, and other Wi-Fi enabled gadgets. Unlike Google and Skyhook Wireless, which have compiled similar lists of these unique Wi-Fi addresses, Microsoft has not taken any measures to curb access to its database…”

7. Comex, The 19-Year-Old iPhone Uber-Hacker Who Keeps Outsmarting Apple http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2011/08/01/meet-comex-the-iphone-uber-hacker-who-keeps-outsmarting-apple/ Nicholas Allegra…has been on leave from Brown University since last winter, looking for an internship…in the meantime, he’s been spending his days…seeking out cracks in the source code of Apple’s iPhone…“It feels like editing an English paper,” Allegra…“You just go through and look for errors. I don’t know why I seem to be so effective at it.”…Allegra…released a piece of code called JailBreakMe that allows millions of users to strip away…ultra-strict security measures Apple has placed on its iPhones and iPads…It merely lets users install any application they want on their devices…When he released JailbreakMe 3 in July, the company rushed to patch the security opening in just nine days…1.4 million people used the tool to jailbreak their gadgets in that time, and more than 600,000 more since then…“I didn’t think anyone would be able to do what he’s done for years,” says Charlie Miller, a former network exploitation analyst for the National Security Agency who first hacked the iPhone in 2007…He’s totally blown me away.”…Apple has implemented a safeguard called “code-signing” to prevent hackers from running any of their own commands on its mobile operating system…After Allegra released JailbreakMe 2 last year, Apple upped its game another notch, randomizing the location of code in memory so that hackers can’t even locate commands to hijack them…In JailbreakMe 3, Allegra used a bug in how…iOS handles PDFs fonts that allows him to both locate and repurpose hidden commands. That critical flaw allowed a series of exploits that not only gains total control of the machine but leaves behind code that jailbreaks it again every time the device reboots –all without ever even crashing the operating system. “I spent a lot of time on the polish,” Allegra says with a hint of pride. Dino Dai Zovi, co-author of the Mac Hacker’s Handbook…compares Allegra’s skills to the state-sponsored intruders that plague corporations and governments…“He’s probably five years ahead of them,” says Dai Zovi. Allegra…calls himself an Apple “fanboy,” and describes Android’s more open platform as “the enemy.”…The young hacker taught himself to code in the programming language Visual Basic at the age of nine…“By the time I took a computer science class in high school, I already knew everything,” he says…“I didn’t come out of the same background as the rest of the security community,” he says. “So to them I seem to have come out of nowhere.”…Allegra admits that technically, there’s little difference between jailbreaking phones and hacking them for more malicious ends. “It’s scary,” he says. “I use the same phone as everyone else, and it’s totally insecure.”…in the case of JailbreakMe 3, Allegra also created a patch for the PDF vulnerability he exploited, allowing users to cover their tracks so that other hackers couldn’t exploit the same bug…users who had jailbroken their iPads and iPhones were…more secure than those who hadn’t…”

8. Cornell software fingers fake online reviews http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20083200-1/cornell-software-fingers-fake-online-reviews/ If you're like most people, you give yourself high ratings when it comes to figuring out when someone's trying to con you…most people aren't actually good at it--at least as far as detecting fake positive consumer reviews…Cornell University researchers have developed software that they say can detect fake reviews…researchers tested the system with reviews of Chicago hotels. They pooled 400 truthful reviews with 400 deceptive reviews produced for the study, then trained their software to spot the difference. The software got it right about 90 percent of the time. This is a big improvement over the average person, who can detect fake reviews only about 50 percent of the time…”

9. Facial Recognition Technology Can Be Used To Get Your Social Security Number http://blogs.forbes.com/kashmirhill/2011/08/01/how-face-recognition-can-be-used-to-get-your-social-security-number/ Those freaked out by facial recognition technology have fresh fodder: a study from Carnegie Mellon University in which researchers were able to predict people’s social security numbers after taking a photo of them with a cheap webcam…Alessandro Acquisti, a CMU professor…pointed out in 2009 that the social security number system has a huge security flaw — social security numbers are predictable if you know a person’s hometown and date of birth. This study essentially adds a facial recognition component to that study…they data mined Facebook for photos of people with searchable profiles. They then used that database of faces and identities when applying off-the-shelf facial recognition technology (PittPatt) to “anonymous” singles on a popular dating site…For those participants who had date of birth and city publicly available on their account, the researchers could predict a social security number (based on the work from their 2009 study)…“I was surprised by the results,” said Acquisti, who was impressed by the accuracy of off-the-shelf facial recognition technology products. “We’ve been thinking about privacy in cyberspace, but we need to start thinking about it in the real world, with augmented reality.”…Facebook has limited its facial recognition photo-tagging to people in your network, who you are already friends with…Google has held back from including facial recognition technology in its Goggles image search, saying that letting people identify strangers by face crosses the creepy line…”

10. Nortel portfolio buyers facing DOJ scrutiny http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20085705-38/report-nortel-portfolio-buyers-facing-doj-scrutiny/ “…Despite last month's $4.5 billion sale of Nortel's patent portfolio wrapping up this week, government scrutiny over what its buyers intend to do with the patents continues…the U.S. Department of Justice is "intensifying" an investigation of the portfolio buyers to see whether they plan on launching litigation against competitors, specifically ones using Google's Android…as part of the probe…the Justice Department is interviewing the winning companies to see if they plan on filing suits against other handset makers using Google's Android operating system software. The department could end up placing rules and conditions on the sale based on what it hears…”

11. Google Buys 1029 IBM Patents as Smartphone Legal War Intensifies http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/189894/20110731/apple-ibm-patents-1000.htm Google just quietly bought 1,029 IBM patents…The patents Google bought span a wide range of fields that may or may not directly involve smartphones…Google's primary business is search engine, a space it dominates and is relatively safe in legally. However, it's entering into sectors where it does face significant legal threat…Google is facing a direct multi-billion dollar lawsuit from Oracle, which is accusing Google of violating its Java programming language patents in the Android OS. Google is also indirectly facing legal threats from Apple, which is embroiled in nasty lawsuits against Samsung and HTC, two of the biggest manufacturers of Android phones…Microsoft is using its patents to demand money from Android makers…Apple also went after Motorola's Android devices…Google's general counsel Kent Walker said it hoped the Nortel patents would "create a disincentive for others to sue Google." "Google has long argued in favor of real patent reform, which we believe will benefit users and the U.S. economy as a whole... In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe [buying up patents is] the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners…”

12. Apple Succeeds in Killing Samsung's Australian Tablet Sales With Lawsuit http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20086279-94/samsung-halts-tablet-sales-in-australia-due-to-apple-fight-report-says/ “…during a hearing in a federal court in Australia today. Samsung agreed to stop advertising the tablet and won't sell the device until it wins court approval or the lawsuit is resolved. Apple, meanwhile, agreed to pay damages if it loses the infringement lawsuit…Apple is the middle of multiple patent lawsuits as it seeks to maintain its dominance in the smartphone and emerging tablet categories. Its fight with Samsung is seen as particularly key, as the Korean company has seen its market share in the smartphone business surge with its smash-hit line of Galaxy smartphones…”

13. Apple forces Amazon German app store lockdown http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2098424/apple-forces-amazon-german-app-store-lockdown “…Amazon has had to shut down its application store to Germans thanks to Steve Jobs' belief that he owns the right to add the word 'store' to another word and then claim it for the rest of eternity. Apple, of course, has what it calls an App Store, in which it sells applications. Because some other firms, which also want to sell applications in a store, have taken this generic term and used it themselves, Jobs has thrown toys out of his pram, along with some of his cappuccino company's lawyers. Although his argument that it is not okay to combine the word 'app' with the word 'store', has not won much support in the US, thanks to some wily courts' work, it seems to be doing better in Europe…” [if it walks like a troll and quacks like a duck, it might be a troll-duck; do you endorse Apples tactics of using lawsuits rather than innovation to maintain its high market share in phones and tablets? – ed.]

14. Android Trojan records your phone conversations http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20086814-17/android-trojan-records-your-phone-conversations/ A new Android Trojan has been discovered that records your phone conversations…the malware only runs after users unwittingly install it onto their Android-based devices. To coax users into doing so, the Trojan mimics a standard installation screen for legitimate applications. If users click "install," a configuration file is added to the handset with "key information about the remote server and the parameters,"…Once a user places a call, the malware kicks into action, recording the conversation onto the device's installed SD card in a directory called "shangzhou/callrecord." CA Technologies said that the malware saves the conversation as an ARM file…”

Gigabit Internet

15. Google tests fast Internet at Stanford http://www.kansascity.com/2011/07/20/3026363/google-tests-fast-internet-service.html At Stanford, the faculty and staff even get next-generation-fast Internet at home. For free. For now…“Stanford’s a beta test bed for Google Fiber,” spokeswoman Jenna Wandres said in an interview…The service for Stanford customers is free for the first year. Wandres would not say what Google expected to charge after that. Some of the connections for about 850 homes on the Palo Alto project are now providing Internet uploads and downloads of 1 gigabit per second…Stanford’s faculty and staff living in single-family homes and condominiums on campus now can either pay $250 for professional installation of the fiberoptic connections to 1-gigabit-per-second routers or do the job themselves for $50. Wandres said that also is not necessarily indicative of the installation charges in Kansas City…Google has said it hopes to start signing up Kansas City customers late this year and begin firing up the service early next year. It probably will show up first in Kansas City, Kan., neighborhoods…In a few smaller cities where local government has installed fiberoptic wire, those top speeds cost consumers more than $200 a month. Some estimates put the cost of installing the network in this market at close to $1 billion…”

16. A Network for Wild Experimentation http://www.technologyreview.com/web/38107/ In a few unused back alleys of the Internet, researchers are testing radical new ways of transferring information, often at speeds almost unimaginable to the home Internet user. Internet2, a consortium devoted to developing advanced networking applications and technologies, and the Energy Sciences Network (ESNet), which provides powerful data connections for scientists at national laboratories, universities, and research institutes, are putting together experimental networks on top of dormant networking resources known as "dark fiber."…the experimental networks could allow researchers to update protocols, anticipate security needs, try out better hardware, and look at ways of making networks more energy-efficient. The organizations worked together on two prototype networks. One transfers data at a mind-boggling 100 gigabits per second…The second is intended for riskier experiments into network architecture. Researchers want to find protocols that transfer data faster and more reliably, try out innovative network hardware, and experiment with ways to handle difficult security scenarios…Using dark fiber lets them test ideas at larger scales, and bring in real traffic (without disrupting it)…Dark fiber refers to fiber-optic cables that are currently lying unused. "With the dot-com bust, this fiber became available at fire-sale prices…ESNet and Internet2 took the opportunity to lease fiber for the next 20 years…”

17. Think Big marking Google Fiber’s arrival with Gigabit Challenge http://www.siliconprairienews.com/2011/07/think-big-marking-google-fiber-s-arrival-with-gigabit-challenge Think Big Partners, a Kansas City, Mo.-based business incubator and startup accelerator, announced this morning that it will host the Gigabit Challenge, a business plan competition to piggyback on the arrival of Google's ultra high-speed broadband network in Kansas City. The competition, which…aims to establish new companies that will fulfill Google's mission of developing new applications to expand human welfare, is open to entrepreneurs and innovators from across the globe. The challenge will start on Oct. 1, and winners will be announced and awarded prizes at an event to be held in December…"The Gigabit Challenge will help to catalyze new, disruptive solutions that are enabled by the Google Fiber network and Think Big Partners will help to commercialize these solutions," Herb Sih…managing partner at Think Big Partners, said…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

18. Android has almost half of global smartphone market, Microsoft has one percent http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/Canalys-August-1-report/ Android, "the number one platform by shipments since Q4 2010," was shipped on 51.9 million phones during the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 379 percent, Canalys says. It put in a particularly strong performance in the APAC (Asia Pacific) region, garnering a 85 percent share in South Korea and a 71 percent share in Taiwan…With shipments of 20.3 million iPhones and a market share of 19 percent, iOS overtook Nokia's Symbian platform during the quarter to take second place worldwide…Initial Windows Phone 7 devices haven't made much of a mark, however, according to the market research firm. Fewer than 1.5 million Microsoft-based smartphones shipped during the quarter, equating to a mere one percent share of the global market, down 52 percent against shipments a year ago…” [I (sort of) love linkbait titles – ed.]

19. Can We Avoid the Mobile Bandwidth Drought? http://www.pcworld.com/article/236976/can_we_avoid_the_mobile_bandwidth_drought.html “…As smartphones and tablets become ubiquitous and hungry apps greedily gobble bandwidth, the days of cheap and reliable wireless broadband become as rare as a white rhino…North American mobile networks are filled to 80 percent of capacity…AT&T can blame the rise of smartphones (not just the iPhone) and excessive network signaling of handsets for its bandwidth woes. Excessive network signaling is the constant pinging of millions of apps on a network, all of them syncing, checking e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and more, all the time. While network signaling may be tiny in terms of actual megabytes per user, Solis says the increase in sheer volume of communications traffic was a bigger challenge for its network to handle than AT&T expected…AT&T and others are running out of spectrum--the actual frequency allocated by the Federal Communications Commission for carriers to use…This summer, carriers are rushing to roll out more LTE and other, faster networks being marketed as 4G to keep up, but mobile users are upping the ante again with rapidly increasing demand for bandwidth-intensive activities like downloading or streaming video, including HD. "Although LTE will go a long way toward addressing the problem of network congestion, it will also lead to increased data usage and content being delivered using a higher resolution format…”

20. Wi-Fi plus Android apps make for a smarter watch http://gigaom.com/mobile/wi-fi-plus-android-apps-make-for-a-smarter-watch/ “…WIMM Labs…introduced the WIMM Wearable Platform Tuesday. The small display can be worn as a watch or be clipped on to clothing, where it runs custom applications built on Google Android. Similar earlier entries such as Sony Ericsson’s LiveView and the Metawatch, rely mainly on a smartphone for powering micro apps…WIMM’s device is akin to a chunky iPod nano; the 12.3 millimeters thickness gives it more girth than most smartphones of today. But that’s likely because it has smartphone-like components inside: a 667 MHz processor, accelerometer and magnetometer for tracking, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and up to 32 GB of storage capacity. Information is shown on a low-resolution, 1.4-inch capacitive touchscreen. The company claims support for Android, iOS and BlackBerry handsets, but software for the device is built on Android…”

Apps

21. Not Only Do iCloud Web Apps Exist, They’re Beautiful http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/01/apple-icloud-dot-com-web-apps/ “…iCloud.com has just gone live. That seems to be a pretty good sign that the web component will launch alongside iCloud itself at some point in the next few months. And if the log-in screen is any indication, the web apps are going to be beautiful…Not that this should be surprising. One of Apple’s strengths has always been aesthetics. But what’s equally nice is just how slick the apps function. Both in Safari and Chrome, all the apps feel responsive and feature many subtle transitional touches presumably using HTML5…”

22. Why Start-ups Are Building Mobile Apps First http://blogs.forbes.com/tomiogeron/2011/07/29/why-start-ups-are-building-mobile-apps-first/ “…Instagram, which has grown quickly to more than 7 million registered users after launching in October, started as a mobile-only photo app…Launching on mobile first as opposed to a website (or both) is an increasing choice of new tech start-up entrepreneurs as mobile devices have become more advanced and more people adopt them…Mobile was so important to Instagram that the company decided not to build a website for people to see their photos, even though they could have. This decision emphasized how different Instagram is from previous websites such as Flickr or Shutterfly. “Photosharing is not a new field,” Systrom says. “We wanted to create something so compelling and different had its own area to be different. That’s why we focused on mobile first. I don’t think Instagram could’ve been a website…”

23. New Layar Vision recognises real world objects and displays AR objects on top http://eu.techcrunch.com/2011/08/02/new-layar-vision-recognises-real-world-objects-and-displays-ar-objects-on-top/ “…Layar, the largest of the mobile augmented reality platforms, is launching Layar Vision. As implied, Layar will now be able to recognise real world objects and show digital content on top of them. It works particularly well with posters, magazines and newspapers. The Layar platform is already used by over 10,000 developers worldwide on 10 million mobile devices…Right now it can instantaneously detect up to 50 objects and combine them with location-based layers…Developers can expect the beta version of Layar’s Publishing Platform together with a beta version of its browser, with Layar Vision features enabled, to be available within the coming weeks. To kickstart the launch of Layar Vision, registration for the Layar Creation Challenge worth $55,000 in total cash prizes, has opened today. The 10 developers with the best concepts for useful and unique layers using Layar Vision will receive anywhere from $2,500 to $15,000…”

Open Source

24. Managing Your Dead Tree Library http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/managing-your-dead-tree-library “…Like many avid readers…I still find something soothing about a book made from dead trees. Unfortunately, it's easy to lose track of all the books I own. If you're the type of person who lends books out, it can become even more complicated…If you have a sizable personal book library, you might be interested in Alexandria. With Alexandria, you not only can manage, sort, organize and consolidate your book collection, but you also can keep track of books you loan out. You can be a tiny little lending library, without the need for library cards…Alexandria makes adding books a snap, and most of the time it even automatically downloads cover art for you…” [a mini-project for the DHMN librarian? – ed.]

25. Ripping CDs to MP3s Using Asunder in Ubuntu Linux http://kimbriggs.com/computers/computer-notes/linux-notes/ripping-cds-to-mp3s-ubuntu-linux.file I don't think there is a default "ripper" program in Ubuntu linux. A brief search in the Applications ... Ubuntu Software Center for "rip" gives you choices of RipperX, RipOff, and Asunder. RipOff is easy to use but didn't offer me enough control. I liked the features of RipperX, but I had it crash trying to "make MP3s from existing WAV files". I was very pleased with what I can do with Asunder in terms of ripping multiple formats of music from a single loading of my CD. A basic tutorial follows…”

26. CircuitBee lets you share schematics, like Scribd for soldering aficionados http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/28/circuitbee-lets-you-share-schematics-like-scribd-for-soldering/ Instructables is great, don't get us wrong, but if you're just looking for a sweet new Arduino project or a super-charged Atari Punk Console, wading through the piles of Lego swords and wreath-making tips can be frustrating. Enter CircuitBee, a document sharing site dedicated to one thing, and one thing only -- schematics. It's kind of like Scribd…it features user-uploaded circuit diagrams to get you started on your next soldering and etching project…”

SkyNet

27. Google’s Vic Gundotra reinstates locked out Google account holder http://siliconangle.com/blog/2011/07/27/the-telling-story-of-a-once-faithful-google-apostle-saved-by-vic-gundotra-after-automated-system-falsely-flags-account-for-possessing-child-pornography/ A man who once called himself a Google apostle has had his account restored after Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra personally looked into the matter and discovered the search giant’s automated systems had flagged one of his images as child pornography. Thomas Monopoly lost access to his Google account in mid-July. After numerous attempts to get it restored, Monopoly went public with a detailed and smart rant about Google and its policies…On Monday night, Gundotra gave Monopoly a call after learnning of his plight on Twitter. He called back again yesterday to tell Monopoly that his account was being restored and why it happened…Monopoly’s story may be a rare case but it’s ones like these that people remember. People want to use external services but there also has to be assurances that the data will not be locked down and unavailable with no recourse…” [update from last week’s article about Google account holder who was locked out of 7 years worth of his Google personal data – ed.]

28. Google + article excerpts http://venturebeat.com/2011/07/30/5-things-google-does-better-than-facebook-and-twitter/ “…Several of us on the VentureBeat staff have immersed ourselves into the Google+ ecosystem to see what it has to offer…five features we’ve seen that we like in Google+…One of the most talked about Google+ features (and for good reason) is Circles, the feature that allows you manage the people you follow and want to share updates with…Hangouts…let you video chat…Every person you’re chatting with appears in a small box and whoever is speaking is in a large window on top…Google+ so far has released apps for Android and iOS…a group chat feature called Huddles…allows you to chat with many friends at once to make plans or waste time…Google+ is the first prominent network to offer the ability to download your personal data and updates easily. Google’s new Google Takeout service lets you download your saved data…Sparks might be one of the most underutilized features in Google+…”

29. Google Page Speed Service: Web performance, delivered http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2011/07/page-speed-service-web-performance.html Two years ago we released the Page Speed browser extension and earlier this year the Page Speed Online API to provide developers with specific suggestions to make their web pages faster. Last year we released mod_pagespeed, an Apache module, to automatically rewrite web pages…today we are releasing the latest addition to the Page Speed family: Page Speed Service. Page Speed Service is an online service that automatically speeds up loading of your web pages…you need to sign up and point your site’s DNS entry to Google. Page Speed Service fetches content from your servers, rewrites your pages by applying web performance best practices, and serves them to end users via Google's servers across the globe. Your users will continue to access your site just as they did before, only with faster load times…In our testing we have seen speed improvements of 25% to 60% on several sites. But we know you care most about the numbers for your site, so check out how much Page Speed Service can speed up your site…”

30. 2-step verification: stay safe around the world in 40 languages http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/2-step-verification-stay-safe-around.html Earlier this year, we introduced a security feature called 2-step verification that helps protect your Google Account from threats like password compromise and identity theft. By entering a one-time verification code from your phone after you type your password, you can make it much tougher for an unauthorized person to gain access to your account…we're thrilled to offer 2-step verification in 40 languages and in more than 150 countries…Email, social networking and other online accounts still get compromised today, but 2-step verification cuts those risks significantly…watch…our 2-step verification video to learn how to quickly increase your Google Account’s resistance to common problems like reused passwords and malware and phishing scams. Wherever you are in the world, sign up for 2-step verification and help keep yourself one step ahead of the bad guys…”

31. More Google Music Invites Arrived http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_music_invites_arrived_today.php “…Google Music…Existing users have been awarded just two invites each, which they can give out to anyone they choose…The service is similar to Amazon's "Cloud Drive," in that it also offers a place for users to store their music files "in the cloud"…But unlike Cloud Drive, there's no accompanying music store where you can purchase more tracks to fill your collection…Google Music is a decent enough way to access those files from any Android mobile device, without worrying about storage limitations. The tracks stream over the network when played. Offline access is available too, if you've explicitly made select music available for offline listening…one big drawback to using Google's service, is the time it takes to upload your files…Uploading is painful because Google Music doesn't have the necessary legal permission to do "music matching," a feature that would check your track lists against Google's own music collection…At least once the collection is (finally) online, using the Google Music app is easy…”

32. Google updates Gmail, search for select tablets and smartphones http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19736_7-20085596-251/google-updates-gmail-search-for-select-tablets-and-smartphones/ A new version of the Gmail Android application arrived last night for Android 2.2 to 2.3.3 that provides enhanced notification and sync options…On its surface it might not look much different, but under the hood there are plenty of new options. For starters, rather than grabbing anything and everything in the inbox, you now can sync specific labels and set individual notifications. Not only does this provide peace of mind, but it helps to conserve battery life on your device…it's now possible to identify who sent you that e-mail just by listening to the notification tone. This is a feature that many users have come to depend on for text messages, so it only makes sense in Gmail…”

33. A sneak peek into Google’s servers and energy efficiency http://gigaom.com/cleantech/a-sneak-peek-into-googles-servers-energy-efficiency/ A report from data center energy expert Jonathan Koomey…gave…educated estimates for how many servers and how much electricity Google uses…Koomey estimates Google had 900,000 servers in 2010, more than double the estimated amount it had in 2005 of 350,000. At the same time, Google used a total of 1.9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2010, from its combined servers, storage, communications, and infrastructure, up from .7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2005…According to Koomey, Google is responsible for less than 1 percent of the electricity used by the world’s data centers, but is responsible for 2.8 percent of the world’s volume of servers…Google does lots of other energy-efficient things for its data centers…attempts to eliminate chillers and cooling by using outside air when it’s available; it turns up the heat for its data centers to 80 degrees…”

34. Google's Dealmap Purchase Could Disrupt Retail http://www.sci-tech-today.com/news/Dealmap-Deal-Could-Disrupt-Retail/story.xhtml “…Google is moving deeper into the daily-deals space where Groupon and LivingSocial rule by acquiring The Dealmap…Launched in May 2010, The Dealmap lets consumers find and share the best local deals in one place. Basically, it's a daily-deals aggregator…The Dealmap has attracted more than two million users to its web, mobile , social and e-mail products and boasts more than 85 million monthly visitors to its partner network ..It makes Google a competitor in this space and creates real problems for Groupon, which is trying to go public, by creating the specter of a large competitor right when Groupon is going to be asking for money…This is a big opportunity for Google that's probably going to scare a lot of retailers that are suddenly seeing the emergence of what could be a super online retailer…”

General Technology

35. Smell-O-Vision Wafts Closer With New Research Project http://www.pcworld.com/article/230456/smellovision_wafts_closer_with_new_research_project.html Forget 3D HDTV; here comes smell-o-vision! Maybe. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Japan have developed a smell-o-vision concept device, which could add another aspect of realism to what you watch on TV…the testers established that it is possible to have thousands of smells come out of your TV by using a "compact device" that would attach to the back of a screen, or maybe even be built into a cellphone. The team built the device in such a way that keeps costs and circuitry down, but lets it produce around 10,000 scents…scents are created by using a water solvent such as ammonia; the solution is then stored in a compartment made from a non-toxic, non-flammable silicone elastomer. As heat and pressure builds in the compartment, a little compressed hole opens, releasing the smell…”

36. The Future of Storage: Devices and Tiering Software http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/storage-technology/the-future-of-storage-devices-and-tiering-software.html “…We're discovering that the performance of a much larger number of applications than previously thought are dominated by IOPS (I/O operations per second) performance. In…high performance computing (HPC), the examination of I/O patterns in applications is showing that small read and write function calls are much more common than previously thought. It's becoming fairly routine to see applications that write Gigabytes or even Terabytes of data to have a large number of 1K and 4K write and read function calls…to help operating systems deal with IOPS-dominated workloads…use large buffers on the storage servers that allow the OS to combine small read and write functions into larger function calls…There is an extremely fine line between trying to convert IOPS workloads into sequential workloads without adversely increasing the latency to a very high level…We're also discovering that more workloads than thought use random IOPS and not sequential IOPS…A quick rule of thumb that I use for the IOPS capability of current storage devices is the following: 7.2K SATA/SAS drive: 100-125 IOPS…15K SATA/SAS drive: 200-300 IOPS…SATA/SAS SSD: 10,000-100,000 IOPS…PCIe SSD: 100,000-1,000,000 IOPS…You can see there is a big difference in IOPS performance between the "normal" spinning disk devices and SSD devices…We now have 3 TB 7.2K SATA/SAS drives. There are some very large capacity SSDs or PCIe SSDs, but these are tremendously expensive…Stuck in the middle is the poor 15K drive. Its price/performance is a bit higher than 7.2K drives but lower than that of SSDs…The most obvious way to integrate these two types of storage (low-cost, large capacity spinning drives and SSDs) is to use tiering…the storage system and the tiering must recognize when data needs to be moved and can move it quickly…we really need only high IOPS performance when an application is running…make a portion of the storage a fairly small SSD-based system that has tremendous IOPS capability but a fairly small capacity at a reasonable price point. Then…create a very large but lower performance storage pool using the huge capacity and great price point offered by 7.2K drives…”

DHMN Technology

37. Flying Drone Can Crack Wi-Fi Networks, Snoop On Cell Phones http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2011/07/28/flying-drone-can-crack-wifi-networks-snoop-on-cell-phones/ “…At the Black Hat and Defcon security conferences in Las Vegas next week, Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins plan to show…their Wireless Aerial Surveillace Platform, or WASP…the 14-pound, six-foot long, six-foot wingspan unmanned aerial vehicle…built from a retired Army target drone converted from a gasoline engine to electric batteries, is equipped with an HD camera, a cigarette-pack sized on-board Linux computer packed with network-hacking tools including the BackTrack testing toolset and a custom-built 340 million word dictionary for brute-force guessing of passwords, and eleven antennae…On top of cracking wifi networks, the upgraded WASP now also performs a new trick: impersonating the GSM cell phone towers used by AT&T and T-Mobile to trick phones into connecting to the plane’s antenna rather than their carrier, allowing the drone to record conversations and text messages on a32 gigabytes of storage. A 4G T-mobile card routes the communications through voice-over-Internet or traditional phone connections to avoid dropping the call. “Ideally, the target won’t even know he’s being spied on…”

38. Brain-controlled bicycles, cars, and computers are coming http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/91714-brain-controlled-bicycles-cars-and-computers-are-coming In the past week, two exciting examples of brain-computer interfaces have emerged: the bicycle that can shift gears with just a thought, and the car that can slam the brakes on before your nervous system can actually trigger the muscles in your foot. The bike is a concept bike built by Parlee Cycles as part of the Toyota Prius X project (video embedded below), and the automobile is the result of work done by German researchers. Both of these systems use EEG, or electroencephalography, to record the electrical activity on your scalp…The problem with EEGs (and with any “mind reading” interface) is that we can’t actually understand the brain. We can see various neurons firing and measure the electrical signals and waves that they produce, but we don’t know what they mean. For these systems to work, then, the computer controllers must be trained to recognize the electrical state of the brain…it’s hard to get excited about prototype systems that you can’t actually use. Well, get this: while the German researchers used their own custom, unwieldy EEG, it looks like the Parlee Cycles team used an Emotiv headset with some black tape to cover the logo and an Arduino Uno programmable microcontroller. Emotiv is one of the forerunners in commercial, easy-to-use brain-computer interfaces — and you can buy an Emotiv headset today for $299. You can plug it into your computer via USB (or an Arduino Uno, which costs just $20), and you can be playing mind games (!) and analyzing your brain behavior from the comfort of your home in no time at all…”

39. Tina Baine, DIY: Turning consumers into creators -- MakersFactory soon to open in Santa Cruz http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_18584242 “…What if you could design your idea using free software? What if you could produce parts for your product using machinery you build from free blueprints or a kit, and could actually manufacture that product on your own desktop or in your office, without a factory? What if you could easily customize your product -- making each one slightly different -- at almost no extra cost?...Chris Yonge and Dave Britton will be leading the way to the maker revolution in Santa Cruz. They hope to open the doors to the first phase of their MakersFactory -- an 800-square-foot space in the Cruzio building in downtown Santa Cruz -- in October. The emphasis will be on learning the basics of DIY fabrication, by providing classes, software, hardware and workspace for members and the community. "We'll concentrate on classes immediately," said Yonge, who teaches 3D computer modeling and animation at UC Santa Cruz, "and hardware will gradually build up as we get it." Dual monitor workstations and computer-controlled machines like a 3D laser scanner, 3D printers, a vinyl cutter and a laser cutter and engraver will be available from the start. MakersFactory will offer several levels of monthly membership, plus community classes, for users at all levels…”

40. Ultimaker: There’s a New 3D Printer in Town http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2011/08/ultimaker-theres-a-new-3d-printer-in-town.html The new Ultimaker 3D printer made in the Netherlands has arrived in the US. The machine, which prints bigger and faster than MakerBot printers, was created by three Dutch makers who met at the Fab Lab in Utrecht, Holland two years ago. The Lab is one of dozens of digital fabrication centers around the world affiliated with MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. Fab Lab/Utrecht’s manager, Siert Wijnia, collaborated with web designer Martijn Elserman and grad student Erik De Bruijn on the speedy new machine. “We wanted to have a better 3D printer, not necessarily to start a business,” says De Bruijn, who had built several open source RepRap 3D printers before tackling the project. “If Fab Lab wasn’t there, this whole thing wouldn’t have happened…The machine costs about US$1700…more than 120 printers have been sold and close to 70 have been shipped so far…Unlike the MakerBot, which has a moving build platform, the Ultimaker has a print head that moves. It is compact and weighs considerably less than MakerBot’s print head, and the Ultimaker’s motors are mounted on the printer’s frame, not on a moving part like MakerBot. This allows for bigger objects to be made (8.25″ cube for Ultimaker vs. 5″ cube for MakerBot) at higher speeds. Ultimaker boasts that its low speeds are easily twice as fast as RepRap’s and MakerBot’s…Aljosa Kemperle, who has been using both Makerbot and Ultimaker 3D printers and is getting ready to put together a RepRap printer known as the Prusa Mendel, scoffs at the notion that Ultimaker blows MakerBot out of the water. 

”I like them both equally,” Kemperle says. “Both are finicky machines…”

41. Create beats and rhythms with the MIDI air drums http://asia.cnet.com/crave/create-beats-and-rhythms-with-the-midi-air-drums-62210180.htm Air guitars step aside, there's a new contender in town. Maayan Migdal has created himself a MIDI Air Drum kit using household devices (rakes and sandals), USB cables and an Arduino microcontroller. With this, you'll be able to hammer the air to produce various MIDI beats and rhythms…drum sticks were made using rake handles, which were cut down and equipped with accelerometers and USB cables. The hi-hat hits are controlled by the left stick while the right stick is synced to the snare and crash cymbal…”

Leisure & Entertainment

42. The World’s First Robot Film Festival http://www.cccblog.org/2011/07/27/art-and-science-the-worlds-first-robot-film-festival/ “…have you heard about the Robot Film Festival?...a huge crowd of roboticists, artists, and filmakers converged on Manhattan for the world’s first-ever Robot Film Festival. Dubbed a two-day celebration of robots on film, the event sought “to inject a sense of playfulness into traditional science and engineering and explore frontiers before technically feasible.” Over 50 short films were screened, and the official awards ceremony saw 3D-printed “Botsker” statuettes presented to “Best Robot Actor,” “Most Uncanny,” and the like in a unique black-tie, red-carpet gala. See some of the short films…”

43. Best Buy's Insignia TVs do TiVo without the DVR http://www.pcworld.com/article/237010/best_buys_insignia_tvs_do_tivo_without_the_dvr.html Best Buy today announced two affordable…TV sets that incorporate TiVo's interface without the need of a separate set-top box…the sets come in 32- and 42-inch screen sizes…and don't need a subscription -- but won't record TV shows, either…The most interesting aspect about Best Buy's Insignia Connected TV is the TiVo integration. TiVo usually sells or licenses its own digital video recorders (DVRs), but now the company has licensed its user interface directly, so Insignia TV owners can easily find content with the popular TiVo interface…The sets are, however, compatible with TiVo DVRs…Other apps present on the new Insignia TVs are Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and Napster, along with TV-optimized widgets such as Twitter, Facebook, Photobucket…”

44. Diablo 3 will let you buy and sell items for real-world cash http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/08/diablo-3-will-let-you-buy-and-sell-items-for-real-world-cash.ars When you create a game that lets people trade items and you make some items both very rare and very valuable, you create the demand for a black market. Blizzard has decided to bring cash transactions into Diablo 3…You can buy items for gold in one house, and straight-up cash in another…no one's actually done this before," Rob Pardo, Vice President of Game Design, told Joystiq…After you sell an item, you can either remove the money from the game and use it in the real world using an as-yet-unannounced third-party company, or keep it in the game to use on other auctions, Blizzard games, subscription fees, or Blizzard merchandise…players will be charged a flat fee to list an item, and if it sells there will be another flat fee paid to Blizzard…"There are some people out there that don't have the ability to put a time investment into the game, so they do want to use real-world money to kind of advance their character," Pardo told Joystiq. "And the other side of it is that there are people who have a lot of time and don't benefit from it, because they'll be able to generate items, and get better items or cash it out…”

45. Honeycomb 3.1 for Google TV almost here http://androidandme.com/2011/07/news/honeycomb-3-1-for-google-tv-is-almost-here-heres-everything-we-know/ “…Google TV is about to get…Honeycomb…users are already seeing their Google TV devices appear under “My Devices” on the Market’s web app…Android enthusiasts over at GTVhacker have managed to update their Logitech Revue to Android 3.1…they did post a photo as proof and promised to shed more light on how they did it over the next few days…it’s still unknown whether or not users will have access to various home screens like we have on phones and tablets. While that might seem like an obvious thing to do, I’m not so sure Google will do it for Google TV…In summary, here’s everything we know Google TV 2.0 will have…”

Economy and Technology

46. Read It Later Raises $2.5 Million, Wants To Become The Dropbox Of Content http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/26/read-it-later-raises-2-5-million-wants-to-become-the-dropbox-of-content/ Read It Later, the popular service that lets you bookmark a webpage and access it later from any smartphone, computer, or tablet, has raised a $2.5 million funding round…founder Nathan Weiner originally started the company back in August 2007, and he was the only person working on it up until early this year — during which time he built out the web product, multiple mobile applications, and a userbase of millions. As the service took off Weiner moved out to Silicon Valley where he received multiple acquisition offers, but decided to keep the company independent. He’s also started growing the team, which is up to five. Weiner wants RIL to “do for web content what Tivo did for TV content”, in the sense that it lets them consume what they want, when they want it…Read It Later also has a mission that similar to Drobox’s: it wants to give you access to that content on any of your devices, be it a phone, tablet, television, or computer, without having to think about where you saved what…the service currently has a total of 3.5 million registered users (though that includes users who aren’t active)…Read It Later isn’t the only service that lets you sync bookmarks between devices. Instapaper gets a lot of attention from the tech press…Weiner says that Read It Later actually started before Instapaper and that its install base is around twice as large…”

47. Globant Acquires Mobile Applications Developer Nextive http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/02/globant-acquires-mobile-and-social-applications-developer-nextive/ Globant, an Argentinian software development, IT services and maintenance outsourcing giant has acquired Nextive, a San Francisco-based mobile and social technologies company…Founded in 2008, Nextive’s 130 employees will now move on to lead Globant’s Mobile Studio, adding new practices. The team will be working from their development centers in San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Cordoba. Globant’s customer list includes companies like Google, EA, Sony, IBM and LinkedIn. The company says it is currently hiring 120 new employees worldwide per month…”

Civilian Aerospace

48. The business case for going to the moon http://news.cnet.com/8301-19882_3-20081609-250/moon-express-sees-money-in-moon-rocks/ “…Barney Pell…has for the last year been working on building a robotic spacecraft to land on the moon, as the co-founder of a new company called Moon Express…He has a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from the University of Cambridge and worked on the AI program for Deep Space 1, a NASA probe that tested several autonomous space exploration technologies…Moon Express is building a robotic spacecraft that can take a payload of up to 100 kilograms from lunar orbit down to the moon…There is, Pell says, gold in them hills. Or, more accurately, platinum on the plains. Asteroids laden with precious materials, like platinum, have been landing on the surface of the moon for billions of years. They're just waiting to be harvested. Pell did not explain exactly how that harvesting would be done, although he maintains that the cost of developing an automated lunar platinum mining operation, including the Earth-side infrastructure to support it, would cost about $20 billion, which is less than opening a new terrestrial mine…”

49. British pilot unveiled as first captain of Virgin Galactic space flights http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8675110/British-pilot-unveiled-as-first-captain-of-Virgin-Galactic-space-flights.html David Mackay, 53, will be the chief pilot for Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic when it begins the first sub-orbital space flights…Mr Mackay…has held a lifelong ambition to a space pilot after watching the 1969 moon landings on TV as a schoolboy…''I found out that those astronauts were ex-test pilots, so I rather ambitiously decided that I would join the RAF, become a test pilot, then become an astronaut…”

50. SpaceX readies November launch to ISS http://venturebeat.com/2011/07/29/spacex-november-iss-launch/ “…SpaceX…is looking at a November launch for its second private space flight to the International Space Station…as part of a 12-flight cargo mission to supply the International Space Station now that the U.S. space shuttle program has ended. SpaceX secured $1.6 billion in funding to run the mission…The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is currently discussing developing an in-line, disposable space vehicle that would put between 70 and 130 tons of cargo into orbit…SpaceX has raised $500 million from investors and $300 million in funding from NASA. The company was the first to send a private space capsule into orbit and bring it back to Earth…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

51. New Language for Programming in Parallel http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/38149/ “…microchip makers have shifted from increasing the power of processor cores—the part of a chip that handles data and instructions—to adding more cores to a single chip…Since most programming languages were designed for single-core chips, it can be tricky to divide tasks up and send them to each core in parallel. If a coder isn't careful, this can cause errors in the way that each core in the chip accesses the shared sections of memory. Tucker Taft, the chief technology officer and chairman of the Boston-based software company SofCheck, designed the new language—called Parallel Specification and Implementation Language (ParaSail)—specifically for writing software for multicore processors…ParaSail looks like a modified form of Java or C#, two leading languages. The difference is that it automatically splits a program into thousands of smaller tasks that can then be spread across cores—a trick called pico-threading, which maximizes the number of tasks being carried out in parallel, regardless of the number of cores…ParaSail uses a number of other tricks, some that draw on languages developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s for supercomputers—machines running many individual computer chips networked together. "The design of the language itself is essentially complete," says Taft, who presented details of the language on Wednesday at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. "The first version of the compiler will be released in the next month or so…”

52. When Milliseconds Make Millions: Why Wall Street Programmers Earn the Big Bucks http://adtmag.com/articles/2011/07/29/why-hft-programmers-earn-top-salaries.aspx “…In high-frequency trading (HFT), programmers eke out every last incremental tick in performance to build algorithms that battle other algorithms for computational supremacy and millions in profits -- and earn a lot in the process…an HFT company, Teza Technologies, offered $1.2 million to a C++ developer named Sergey Aleynikov to leave his $400,000-per-year position at Goldman Sachs and work on its own trading system…HFT…reportedly accounts for more than 70 percent of equity trading these days…HFT…basically it comes down to building algorithms and computer systems that can monitor and digest huge amounts of financial data in order to automatically conduct transactions in much less time than it would take a human trader to glance from his BlackBerry to his Bloomberg Terminal…HFT was blamed for the huge drop in the stock market in May 2010, called the "flash crash."…At one point, HFTs traded more than 27,000 contracts in just 14 seconds." In this world, speed kills…with programmers using every last tool and trick in the book…to squeeze out every last millisecond of performance…a small improvement in a trading algorithm gives you an advantage for a day -- maybe less…some of the more cutting-edge stuff I've heard of being worked on involves hacking graphics cards to get a speed edge and building data centers in the middle of the ocean for the same reason…Cuda is increasingly used for programming parallel processing algorithms [pattern matching] on GPUs…One of the biggest hurdles for HFT firms is that the programmers, quants and traders don't understand one another, which tends to cause a lot of problems. An HFT programmer who really groks trading and some of the theory and math behind finance will be regarded as extremely valuable and can usually write their own ticket…Experts describe the HFT environment as a pressure-cooker for programmers tasked with these high-performance, ad-hoc apps, perhaps requiring them to work on-site with traders to continually tweak or build new apps as market conditions change. O'Hara, when asked about the traits needed by HFT programmers, cited the "ability to work under pressure when the traders are screaming at you…”

53. Next Generation GPUs: AMD's Cray On a Chip? http://vr-zone.com/articles/next-generation-gpus-amd-s-cray-on-a-chip-/13163.html “…With ever increasing software support for GPU computing, are future GPUs set to become the new math coprocessors of yesteryear?..there is increasing number of non 3-D apps using one or another aspect of GPU acceleration - whether integer or FP processing, or just immense local memory bandwidth for specific search operations - in both high performance and desktop computing realms…in-line GPU code support may become common in many more programs…will it change the direction of GPU evolution into a kind of more versatile fast maths co-processor or accelerator, just like those early 80x86 processors had 80x87 FP co-processors in the nineties (and same for for Motorola 680x0 CPUs in Macs then)? It seems that Intel wasn't the only one thinking that way with the Larrabee, although a tad too early. AMD's next generation GPU architecture, shown at their Fusion Summit a month ago, and expected to materialise initially in the Radeon HD7000 series a 28 nm process before yearend, goes there firmly…the 'next gen' AMD GPU is even more of a 'graphics-enabled vector processor' than the Nvidia Fermi in their current GeForce line up…we're talking about a mini Cray supercomputer on a chip, with X86-compatible 64-bit addressing and memory management, essentially able to share both virtual and physical memory with the X86 main processors in the system and, if somehow connected via HyperTransport or QuickPath…to the CPU, could literally be a very tightly coupled co-processor with its own memory on a side, yet able to address all the main memory at near CPU speed, without PCIe bottlenecks…”

54. Multicore Association Launches Working Group to Create Parallel Programming API http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-07-26/multicore_association_launches_working_group_to_create_parallel_programming_api.html The Multicore Association,…has announced its continued intent to tear down barriers that slow development of complex multicore applications. These barriers arise when programmers attempt to split programmatic workloads into parallel tasks that can be executed in parallel on different processor cores…Using homogeneous and/or heterogeneous multicore processors requires the programmer to develop software that splits a software program into tasks that can be executed in parallel on different processor cores…the coordination of hundreds or thousands of parallel tasks generates too much overhead relative to the actual computation time. The current programming model requires complex, low-level synchronization and programming with threads is limited to single operating systems running on single homogeneous multicore processors…MTAPI specification aims to eliminate these obstacles by providing an API that allows programmers to develop parallel embedded software in a straight-forward manner…”

*****

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