2011/08/16

NEW NET Weekly List for 16 Aug 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 16 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. Why Evernote bet the company on mobile and social media http://mashable.com/2011/08/11/evernote-phil-libin-interview/ Three years and 11 million users later, Evernote is the archetype of a flourishing modern day startup — it’s nimble, its product is accessible anywhere and it’s tapping into the power of social media to improve its product…At the helm of the emerging note-taking empire is the personal-memory-assistant-obsessed Phil Libin…Libin…bet the success of his company on mobile and social media…The startup, currently in the midst of a social product transformation and nicely cushioned with $50 million more in the bank, has colossal ambitions; Libin aims for Evernote to become a 100-year company…we made a big promise to our users — we would help them remember everything. In order to live up to that, Evernote would need to be easily accessible from every computer, phone or other device that a person used, for the rest of their lives…Most of this stuff is only relevant to me, but there are some memories that I want to share with my friends or my coworkers or my family. If Evernote is to be a full extension of memory, then we must embrace a very important part of memory: sharing…”

2. Mozilla plans to hide Firefox version http://www.ghacks.net/2011/08/14/mozilla-plans-to-hide-firefox-version/ “…Firefox this year jumped from Firefox 3 all the way to the latest version Firefox 8, and we are not even at the end of the year. Mozilla interestingly enough plans to hide the version number in the Firefox web browser. Asa Dotzler added an entry to Bugzilla to remove the version of the browser from the about Window dialog in the browser…When a user opens the About window for Firefox, the window should say something like “Firefox checked for updates 20 minutes ago, you are running the latest release.” Experienced Firefox users, or at least those who know where to look, can still access the version information on the about:support page…Mozilla now says that versions do not mean anything, and that users simply should not look at them anymore…” [it seems like the logical end result of this concept is that app/program/OS users will no longer have any control over changes to their computer software; the software vendor will make online/OTA software changes when and how they like without any input from the user – ed.]

Gigabit Internet

3. Netgear Pushes 10GB Network Gear for Midsize Businesses http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/237425/netgear_pushes_10gb_network_gear_for_midsize_businesses.html Move over, gigabit Ethernet: 10GB is trickling down to small and medium-sized businesses. Netgear says its new ProSafe 52-Port Gigabit Stackable Smart Switch…is the first in its class to ship with…10GB uplinks as opposed to the gigabit connections that have been the norm up to now. Netgear's ProSafe line of smart switches bridges the gap between inexpensive consumer products that can't support the demands of today's small businesses, and pricey enterprise gear that already supports 10GB, but typically require the attentions of an IT pro with advanced network skills. The ProSafe GS752TXS's boasts a web-based interface…and its increased bandwidth makes it a good fit for a growing number of scenarios that apply to small and mid-sized businesses…Netgear officials cite as an example the trend to virtualization, which allows businesses to set up multiple servers on a single physical machine--for example, you could run both your web and e-mail servers on a single computer…”

4. KCK and KCMO collaborating on Google Fiber project http://www.kansascity.com/2011/08/10/3069447/the-stars-editorial-a-nice-change.html “…An audience of nearly 400 people at Rockhurst University applauded often as Mayors Joe Reardon of Wyandotte County’s Unified Government and Sly James of Kansas City talked about a collaboration that began when James sought out Reardon during his campaign…Reardon explained…“The problem is, we’re not connecting very well. We’ve got to figure out how to compete with all the regions in the United States and across the world. (The collaboration) allows us to internally come together and externally paint a picture about what this region is.” The notion of two mayors working together shouldn’t be unusual…Unfortunately, it is. The Kansas City region has long suffered because of an unwillingness on the part of many politicians and some business interests to work across the state line, or even with other cities on their side of the line. The reluctance continues today…The partnership between James and Reardon is all the more welcome given recent events on the national stage. “If you want to see what happens when people are divided, then look at the last few months in Washington, D.C., and tell me if that’s the kind of world you want to live in day after day…”

5. EPB grid attracts Cisco Systems to Chattanooga http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/jul/21/epb-grid-attracts-cisco-systems/ “…Norman Jacknis, director of Cisco Systems public sector group, announced…the 70,000-employee tech giant is exploring a partnership with Chattanooga to find more uses for EPB's gigabit network. "Our job is to work with the innovators," Jacknis said. "This is the only city in America with the network that can support the future." Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield…stressed that he is interested in taking Chattanooga's edge in Internet bandwidth to the next level before cities like Kansas City catch up…local Internet speeds as high as 1 gigabit per second enable what he called "the game changer:" real-time video communications, which enable crucial collaboration in modern service-based economies…With bandwidth like Chattanooga's, workers separated by hundreds of miles can communicate as if they're in the same house, or even the same room using Cisco's telepresence solution…Cisco typically supplies the routers, switches and networking hardware to make remote face-to-face communication possible, such as its HD video solution for bringing medical treatment to oil rig workers…”

6. Know Your Network, Lesson 1: Router Hardware 101 http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2011/08/know-your-network-lesson-1-router-hardware-101/ “…This week, we’re…getting to know the most important device on your network: the router. Your router…connects all your computers to one another, either through Ethernet cables or a wireless connection. A router is different to a modem: your modem connects you to the internet, while your router connects your computers to one another…Sometimes modems will come with routers built-in…Devices that connect to your router — that is, the computers, tablets, smartphones, DVRs, game systems, and so on — are called clients. Each client on the network is given an IP address, which helps your router direct traffic. Clients within the network get a local IP address, while your modem gets a global IP address. Global IP addresses are like street addresses, while local IP addresses are like apartment numbers…You’ll want to hardwire any computer that doesn’t need to move around…since wired connections are fast, reliable and cheap…Wi-Fi is more than adequate for simple web browsing, though wired connections are ideal if you’re transferring big files, gaming, video chatting or streaming video…Since wireless routers allow for both wired and wireless connections, you can wire up when necessary, and connect over Wi-Fi everywhere else…If you have a mix of N- and G-capable computers, you can turn on a wireless N feature called “mixed mode”, which will let you use both on the same network. You’ll get faster speeds on the wireless N clients and slower speeds on the wireless G clients…The wired half of your router will come in one of two speeds: 10/100 Mbps and 10/100/1000 Mbps (also known as “gigabit”). 10/100 routers are cheaper, but won’t transfer data between computers as quickly as gigabit routers will…Routers have two types of ports in the back: LAN ports and WAN ports. Your WAN port hooks up to your modem…while the LAN ports hook up to your computers and other clients…If you have more wired devices than can fit on a router, you can plug them all in using a wired switch…routers also come with a lot of software and firmware features, like DHCP reservations, Quality of Service, or firewalls that can make managing your network easier…The best thing to do is evaluate your needs, buy a router from a trusted brand that fits those needs, and return it if it doesn’t work for you…In the next few lessons, we’ll be talking about some of the software and firmware features of your router like…DHCP…and Quality of Service and how they can make your network as fast and reliable…” [this is a decent ‘beginners guide to routers’ if users of the Google Fiber KC network want to understand the hardware they’ll need to be able to get gigabit performance from their connection to the Google Fiber system – ed.]

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. Can Darpa Fix the Cybersecurity ‘Problem From Hell?’ http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/08/problem-from-hell/ There are computer security threats — and then there are computer security nightmares. Put sabotaged circuits firmly in the second category. Last week, retired Gen. Michael Hayden, the former CIA and NSA chief, called the hazard of hacked hardware “the problem from hell.” “Frankly, it’s not a problem that can be solved,” he added. “This is a condition that you have to manage.”…Darpa, has awarded nine contracts totaling $49 million for its Integrity and Reliability of Integrated Circuits (IRIS) program to check for compromised chips…The Defense Department has been worried about foreign adversaries tampering with its hardware for a while…The Pentagon now buys 1 percent of all the world’s integrated circuit production; America’s defense community simply uses too many to monitor them all. In 2005, a Defense Science Board report warned that foreign adversaries could slip back doors into chips…The hacked circuits…could be tweaked to malfunction early or provide a de facto kill switch to a weapon system…”

8. UK rioting: social media communications too dangerous to let people use? http://gigaom.com/2011/08/11/blaming-the-tools-britain-proposes-a-social-media-ban/ It seems totalitarian states like Egypt and Libya aren’t the only ones struggling with the impact of social media and the desire to muzzle services like Twitter and Facebook. In the wake of the riots in London, the British government says it’s considering shutting down access to social networks — as well as Research In Motion’s BlackBerry messenger service — and is asking the companies involved to help. Prime Minister David Cameron said not only is his government considering banning individuals from social media if they are suspected of causing disorder, but it has asked Twitter and other providers to take down posts that are contributing to “unrest…” http://thenextweb.com/uk/2011/08/11/greater-manchester-police-tweeting-names-dates-of-birth-and-addresses-of-looters/ “…names, dates of birth and addresses of convicted criminals are all public record in the UK. It’s been customary for these things to be published for years. What’s not common, however, is to see them broadcast on Twitter. The Greater Manchester Police [GMP]…have taken to Twitter perhaps in order to make sure that nobody confuses the convicted with an innocent person of the same name. Of course, it could be that the GMP is simply publishing the information in order to show the public that they are indeed making arrests…” http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/15/mi5-social-messaging-riot-organisers-police “…MI5 and the electronic interception centre GCHQ have been asked by the government to join the hunt for people who organised last week's riots…The agencies, the bulk of whose work normally involves catching terrorists inspired by al-Qaida, are helping the effort to catch people who used social messaging, especially BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), to mobilise looters…The move represents a change as officially MI5 is tasked with ensuring the national security of the United Kingdom from terrorist threats, weapons of mass destruction, and espionage…GCHQ's computers and listening devices can pick up audio messages and BBM communications. MI5 and the police can identify the owners with the help of mobile companies and internet service providers…MI5 intercepts communications though officially can only do so with warrants signed by ministers…For law enforcement, the difficulty with BBM is that it boasts semi-private – and instant – access to a network of like-minded users…BBM allows users to send the same message to a network of contacts connected by "BBM pins". For many teenagers, BBM has replaced text messaging because it is free and instant…unlike Facebook, friends are connected either by individual pin numbers or a registered email address. In short, BlackBerry Messenger is more secure than almost all other social networks. So-called "broadcasts" can be sent to hundreds of disparate users within minutes, away from the attention of law enforcement agencies…”

9. FCC probing BART's shutdown of cellphone service http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/08/fcc-bart-cellphone.html “…the Federal Communications Commission has opened an investigation into the BART Cell Phone Service Interruption Scandal…the Federal Communications Act of 1934 has clear words that discourage that kind of action…FCC spokesperson Neil Grace said "Any time communications services are interrupted, we seek to assess the situation…the FCC certainly musk ask BART…if BART's lawyers were asked to investigate the legality of the cell phone service blocking idea before it was done. If not…the absence of any pre-decision legal opinion is a sure sign that the idea was made and done in haste, without regard for the law…One thing that's a sure clue BART knew it's actions were not legal after it was done last Thursday, is that turning off the cell phone network wasn't done on Monday…” http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/08/flash-mobs-riots-prompt-debate-about-social-media-crackdown.html A summer marked by social-media-fueled riots in England and flash-mob violence in several American cities, including Philadelphia and Cleveland, has officials debating how much they should — and legally can — crack down…Officials at the Bay Area Rapid Transit District have taken perhaps the most controversial step. Faced with a large demonstration on a subway platform announced by social media to protest the police shooting of a knife-wielding man, BART last week shut down cellphone service at the station. Officials said their goal was to protect the safety of subway riders, but critics immediately blasted the transit agency, saying it encroached on their free-speech rights…”

10. LinkedIn opt-in default privacy bait-and-switch? http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/08/11/linkedin-copies-facebook-does-a-privacy-bait-and-switch/ “…Nearly two months ago, LinkedIn updated its Privacy Policy…amongst the changes is an on-by-default new feature that you may not yet have seen, definitely need to know about, and almost certainly want to turn off…LinkedIn will mine your usage habits to determine what products and services you're interested in, and then use your name and photo in what amounts to an endorsement for those products and services when they're advertised to other users…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

11. Will Li-Fi be the new Wi-Fi? http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128225.400-will-lifi-be-the-new-wifi.html “…Visible light communication (VLC) uses rapid pulses of light to transmit information wirelessly. Now it may be ready to compete with conventional Wi-Fi…Very simply, if the LED is on, you transmit a digital 1, if it's off you transmit a 0," Haas says. "They can be switched on and off very quickly, which gives nice opportunities for transmitting data."…The LED intensity is modulated so rapidly that human eyes cannot notice, so the output appears constant…Li-Fi, as it has been dubbed, has already achieved blisteringly high speeds in the lab. Researchers…have reached data rates of over 500 megabytes per second using a standard white-light LED…a consumer VLC transmitter that is due for launch next year…is capable of transmitting data at 100 MB/s…because our mobile devices are so data-hungry we will soon run out of radio-frequency bandwidth. Li-Fi could free up bandwidth, especially as much of the infrastructure is already in place…We reckon VLC is a factor of ten cheaper than Wi-Fi...Because it uses light rather than radio-frequency signals, VLC could be used safely in aircraft, integrated into medical devices and hospitals where Wi-Fi is banned, or even underwater, where Wi-Fi doesn't work at all…”

12. Huge Smartphones Are Getting Big http://www.pcworld.com/article/238050/htc_holiday_huge_smartphones_are_getting_big.html HTC may be eying the jumbo smartphone market with the HTC Holiday, an Android phone with a 4.5-inch screen. Photos and specs for the HTC Holiday leaked to the XDA Developers forums, showing…a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor…and a…rumored resolution of 960 by 540…a year ago, HTC pushed smartphone sizes higher with the HTC Evo 4G…the first Android smartphone with a 4.3-inch display…now 4.3-inch screens are typical among high-end handsets. The Holiday…wouldn't be the first 4.5-inch Android smartphone to market. Earlier this year, AT&T launched the Samsung Infuse 4G…Meanwhile, T-Mobile is rumored to be planning its own 4.5-inch Android phone, the Samsung Hercules…” [would you want a 4.5” screen? what do you think the smartphone sweet spot is for screen size? –ed.]

13. Bada outsells Microsoft Windows Phone OS http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/081111-windows-smartphones.html “…Samsung's Bada phones hit sales of 2 million in the second quarter of 2011, while Microsoft dropped to 1.7 million in the same time frame…The Bada phone sales are just a fraction of Samsung's overall total of 69.8 million devices sold in the second quarter of 2011, which makes Samsung the second most successful manufacturer in units sold after Nokia, which sold 97.9 million. Yet the tiny sales of Bada are greater than sales of all Microsoft phones combined…Microsoft's 1.7 million quarterly phone sales compare to 46.8 million for Android, 23.9 million for Nokia's Symbian, 19.6 million for the iPhone and 12.7 million for BlackBerry. You could debate whether Bada should be counted as a smartphone, rather than a feature phone, but Gartner counts it in the smartphone category. The only major platform Microsoft is outselling is apparently HP's WebOS, which doesn't even show up in the rankings because it sold so poorly…”

14. Android and iOS winning ‘innovator’s dilemma’ http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/08/android-iphone-account-for-two-thirds-of-quarterly-smartphone-sales-and-rising.html “…Pushing aside once-dominant players Nokia Corp. and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion Ltd., Google Inc.'s Android and Apple Inc. devices now account for 62% of smartphones sold worldwide, nearly doubling the 32% share the two had at this time last year…In North America alone, the Apple-Android combination accounted for 83.5% of smartphone sales. Android devices alone now account for 43.4% of the smartphones sold globally each quarter, showing the Google-powered operating system has gone from a minor player to a market force in a relatively short time…As of the first quarter of last year, Android smartphones still made up less than 10% of smartphone sales…”

15. Pico projectors becoming features for mobile computing? http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/08/apple-reveals-big-plans-to-integrate-projectors-into-ios-devices.html “…the US Patent & Trademark Office published a grand patent application from Apple that reveals their plans of integrating mini or pico-like projectors into future iOS devices…In June 2009 Apple first hinted that they would one day integrate a projector system into iOS devices. In March 2010 Apple's broad patent application came to light concerning networked projection systems…Today's incredibly detailed patent application reveals how they're working on pico-like projectors for iOS devices and how these projectors will work with a shared workspace in presentations…The level of detail associated with this patent would suggest that Apple's development teams are moving full steam ahead on the projection system project…”

16. Motorola and Samsung unleash ruggedized Android phones http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/Motorola-Defy-and-Samsung-Galaxy-XCover/ Hot on the heels of news that it will be acquired by Google, Motorola Mobility announced a 1GHz, Android 2.3-ready "plus" version of a rugged phone it first released last year. The 3.7-inch Defy+ will go head to head with a 3.6-inch Samsung Xcover announced last week in Germany, since both handsets are said to offer IP67-rated resistance to water, dust, and scratches…”

Apps

17. LinkedIn’s new mobile app http://venturebeat.com/2011/08/16/linkedin-mobile-app/ For many young professionals, it’s hard to imagine why you’d want to use a business social-networking site like LinkedIn on the go. It just doesn’t have the ubiquity of a Facebook or the hipness of an Instagram. One glance at the company’s new mobile app…will make all the reasons abundantly clear…the LinkedIn app presents you with a quick glance at relevant news for your industry, as well as a snapshot of personal and professional updates from your contacts. It makes staying up-to-date on your business life a…quick…process…mobile is the company’s fastest-growing consumer area…This growth has taken place on the company’s existing suite of mobile apps, which have been around for several years. Looking at this side-by-side comparison with the new app, it’s easy to speculate that the company’s mobile traffic is set to shoot even higher in the months to come…”

18. Tapjoy helps monetize apps despite Apple crackdown http://venturebeat.com/2011/08/16/despite-apple-crackdown-tapjoy-helps-monetize-more-than-10000-mobile-apps/ Tapjoy is announcing today that it helps monetize more than 10,000 mobile apps on the iPhone and Android mobile devices…it means that at least that many apps have begun using the freemium, virtual currency business model that Tapjoy espouses. It also suggests that, since many of the apps are on the iPhone, that Tapjoy hasn’t suffered a huge crash in its business after its recent spat with Apple…To recap, Apple banned Tapjoy and other incentivized installs — where a user gets a coveted virtual good in a game if he or she will install another app…Tapjoy said that Apple was being unfair and it was ignoring the fact that teens, kids and others used the incentivized installs because they didn’t have money to pay for virtual goods…But Apple didn’t relent on the change and Tapjoy invested heavily in the Android platform…Tapjoy pivoted away from the incentivized installs on the iPhone to other business models on the iPhone, such as offers…On top of that, Tapjoy benefited from a big increase in its incentivized install business on the Google Android platform, where the incentivized install is not banned…Mihir Shah, chief executive of Tapjoy, said in a statement that developers say that a third of their total revenue comes from Tapjoy-based revenues…”

19. Mobile App Makes Your Friends' Phones Your Eyes & Ears Around Town: Localmind http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/localmind_adds_photos.php “…Localmind believes it knows what the future of place-based social networking looks like. It lets you use your phone to ask questions of people who are hanging out at a restaurant, bar, park or other venue. "How crowded is the restaurant right now?" you might ask. If a Localmind user or one of your friends on Foursquare has checked-in at the restaurant in question, they will be sent your question in real time. About half the time, it seems, they'll write you right back! It's like the mobile phones of your friends are your eyes looking around the corner. With today's new release of the app, Localmind users can send photos in response to questions, answer questions older than real time and get forwarded all questions for places they are regulars at…Localmind recently moved from Montreal to San Francisco to focus on building its user base in the Bay Area…The big change today comes in the form of photos, though. It is super cool to be able to ask for an assessment of what is happening in a place and get a photo someone just took in response…”

Open Source

20. Arduino Open-Source Controller Platform Gains Ground http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=232004&f_src=designnews_gnews “…Arduino, based on the Atmel AVR microcontroller, is positioned as an alternative to commercial controller boards. It's not free, but it is highly affordable: A "Getting Started With Arduino" dev kit will set you back only $70. My sense is that users are boarding the Arduino bandwagon…Arduino has reached a critical-mass stage…Its presence in home hobby markets may even influence how major commercial and industrial OEMs choose microcontroller architectures…it's not entirely clear that Atmel Corp., the developer of the AVR controller chip at the heart of Arduino, fully realizes how successful Arduino is becoming…When Arduino was launched in 2005, it seemed at first to be an academia-based effort similar to many industry coalition attempts to offer open boards based on PC-AT and similar form factors. Arduino grew out of a program called Wiring, developed by an institute in Bogota, Colombia, and at MIT Media Labs. The Wiring project developed an open programming language and integrated development environment for embedded single-board computers. A team of Italian developers from Ivrea, home of Olivetti, developed an AVR board with open I/O pins in 2005 and offered Arduino to the open-source community. It's the open I/O specifications that make Arduino different from previous board coalitions. The connectors are exposed and fully documented, so that amateurs can link the Arduino CPU to purpose-built add-on modules…”

21. Open Science Summit 2011 this fall http://www.ainer.org/open-science-summit-2011-this-fall “…the Open Science Summit…in Mountain View, CA on October 22-23…focuses on how to adapt current scientific practices to ever changing technology, as well as how to open source scientific work and research. As it stands currently, science research and publications are really only available to those who are directly working on the project…certain data, tables, graphs, and notes are never made available to the public nor to other researchers and scientists…Open access to these journals (and open science in general) has many benefits and could possibly lead to more scientific progress being made, as all researchers would have complete and total access to the current work in their field. The Open Science Summit brings together like-minded individuals in an attempt to further the progression of open source science…”

22. 6 ways to map your mind with Linux http://linuxaria.com/article/map-mind-linux “…A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying and organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing…on Linux we have a lot of…open software to…mind map…Freemind…Xmind…Freeplane…Compendium…VYM (View Your Mind)…Labyrinth…”

23. Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot http://larrythefreesoftwareguy.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/spending-the-day-with-an-ocelot/ “…After reading a few articles about the Alpha 3 version of Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot and finding that it was available…I thought I’d give Oneiric Alpha 3 a try since I had a day to spare…The caveats: I didn’t install Oneiric but ran the distro on the ThinkPad T30 from a USB stick…I still think that Unity leaves way too much to be desired, however the Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Alpha 3 remarkably behaved like a version of a distro well beyond the alpha stage…”

SkyNet

24. Google to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5B http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20092362-94/google-to-buy-motorola-mobility-for-$12.5b/ Google said today it has agreed to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, giving the search giant valuable intellectual property and getting it directly into the handset business…The deal simultaneously lends stability to and shakes up the Android world. With Motorola, Google gets a treasure trove of patents to defend itself and its partners…"We believe we'll be in a very good position to protect the Android ecosystem for all of our partners," David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer…At the same time, the deal puts Google in the awkward position of competing against many of its partners…Google Chief Executive Larry Page…declined to get into specific dynamics of how Motorola will compete with other Android vendors such as Samsung, HTC, or LG Electronics…Jha touted the company's 17,000 patents and 7,500 pending patents. They include many non-essential patents that aren't core to a phone's operations but can be used to improve features such as voice quality…Beyond smartphones and tablets, Motorola has a television set-top box business and has relationships with carriers and cable providers, an area where Google can push its connected-TV ambitions. Likewise, Jha said he sees the opportunity for more convergence between the set-top box and mobile devices…” http://gigaom.com/video/google-tv-motorola/ “…According to Infonetics, Motorola Mobility was the leader in set-top box revenues last year, and was also tops in hybrid IP/QAM set-top boxes — that is, the boxes used by operators like Verizon that combine broadcast TV and over-the-top applications. By leveraging Motorola’s position with carriers, Google can better solidify its bid to expand Google TV and Android into the living room…” http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/supercharging-android-google-to-acquire.html Larry Page says “…Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies…” http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/238127/motorola_purchase_changes_nothing_and_everything_for_android.html Google…news that it has agreed to purchase Motorola Mobility…is seen primarily as a play to acquire Motorola's formidable patent catalog, but it may not be enough to protect Android against ongoing patent litigation…Is the purchase really just about the Motorola patent portfolio?...Motorola is already being sued by both Microsoft and Apple, and transferring those same patents to Google won't change the outcome of the pending lawsuits…I expect we're still in for some plot twists as the Google strategy for Motorola Mobility unfolds.” http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/08/15/is-google-buying-motorola-for-its-17000-patents/ “…Google really wants the 17,000 patents and 7,000 patents pending that Motorola has assembled over the years, including what CEO Sanjay Jha recently described as having "particular strength in 2G and 3G essential, non-essential patents important to the delivery of competitive products in the marketplace, video particularly compression, decompression and security technologies and finally, a leading position in 4G LTE essential…” http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/15/precious-bodily-patents/ “…Google is pulling off an acquisition that is larger than any that Microsoft, Apple, or any of their other main competitors ever have. Larry Page, wartime CEO. Larry Page, maverick…But my main thought is the same as my initial one: this is either the smartest thing Google has ever done, or the dumbest. There is no in-between…”

25. Google's Google+ Adds Games, Takes Only 5% Now, Wants Data in Return, but has no GameSpam http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2390952,00.asp Google has added…games to Google+, including the ubiquitous Angry Birds and Zynga Poker, as a new Google+ Games service. However, to play them, users need to give permission to the app to view a variety of personal information, including the user's email address, "basic information about your account," and even a list of people that you have placed in your Circles, with the order or priority of them. Games is being rolled out today, and will be available to all users "soon,"…” http://venturebeat.com/2011/08/11/take-that-facebook-google-commission-on-game-transactions-is-5-percent-not-30-percent/ For the launch of its Google+ social games platform, Google has found one way to differentiate itself from Facebook. For in-game transactions, Google is only going to be charging a 5 percent commission to game developers instead of the 30 percent that Facebook charges…The one caveat is that the current commission of 5 percent is promotional…Google doesn’t yet know what it will charge on a permanent basis, he said. Facebook, however, is firmly committed to 30 percent commissions on any transactions that use its Facebook Credits virtual currency, which is now required in all Facebook games…Google decided to make sure that the Game Stream…is only visible to users who want to see game information. Other non-gaming users won’t see game messages in their Google+ streams. That’s a difference from Facebook, which has reduced but not completely eliminated spam-like game messages from its platform…”

26. Strong and weak points of Google’s Chromebook http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Strong+and+weak+points+of+Google+s+Chromebook+/-/539444/1216850/-/559mtj/-/ For the past two months I’ve been using a Google Chromebook notebook computer and I like it a lot…Here’s my take on the pros and cons to the Google Chromebook…the Chromebook has “all day computing” and easily lasts for six to eight hours of normal use…Light weight…With the Chromebook, the bootup time is in seconds. Shutting down the computer is even easier. Just close the lid and it goes to sleep…I like the fact that the Chromebook forces me to use only the web. Using only the web means that the computer (or smartphone or tablet) is only an appliance whose data is always backed up and always accessible…” http://chrome.blogspot.com/2011/08/computer-that-keeps-getting-better.html One of the things that excites us about Chromebooks is that unlike other computers, the user experience automatically gets better over time…with this week's latest stable release of Chrome OS, users may notice their Chromebooks now resume even more quickly – 32% faster in most cases. For those of you who like watching movies and TV shows on your Chromebook, you now also have the option to do so using Netflix…you’ll be able to fire up the Amazon’s new Kindle Cloud Reader app, read your favorite books and even take them offline when you’re not connected…” http://www.infoworld.com/d/open-source-software/despite-critics-chromebooks-prove-their-business-mettle-169664 “…If you haven't been following Chromebooks closely, you'd better start…Here are…two key points…Google's pricing strategy is a step toward IT as a service. By cutting the cost per notebook and business applications to approximately $35 per user per month, Google reduced the total cost of ownership to less than 20 percent of today's cost of acquiring, maintaining, and supporting PC laptops…All apps that some users need can run in a browser…a majority of knowledge workers, specialized workers, and mobile users can adopt a Chromebook with little to no detriment…Chromebooks are designed to get better and faster over time through software updates…For example, this week's release of the Chrome OS that Chromebooks run on added VPN support and Secure Wi-Fi…” [My computing was initially done primarily on a desktop computer. Now I mostly use a 14” lightweight Windows laptop. It would not be surprising if my main computer a year or two from now is a Chromebook. For 50% - 75% of work situations and for 75% of home users, a Chromebook is, or will shortly be, an acceptable computing platform. And for at least of those work and home users, the Chromebook is a better solution than a computer with a traditional full-fledged OS – lower cost, more secure, much less software user-maintenance. Additionally, as smartphones become more ubiquitous, doing non-smartphone computing on a Chromebook will make life much easier for the average computer user. Windows, Linux and Mac OS will be around for many years to come, but the Chromebook approach will become many people’s computing platform when they’re not using a smartphone. – ed.]

27. Google+ Photos http://www.webpronews.com/google-makes-picasa-web-albums-cool-again-2011-07 If Google+ accomplishes nothing else for Google…it seems to be getting people using Picasa Web Albums more, and that is a direct competitor of Facebook’s Photos…The Instant Upload feature in the Android app (which seems to be missing from the new iPhone version) helps this a great deal…Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in a Google+ post: I think a lot of people are under the misimpression that I am posting photos of exotic places at a furious pace to Google+. Actually, I have had a bunch of albums public for some time on my picasaweb page. However, people only started to take note recently thanks to Google+ and when they comment on those photos they end up in the streams of people who have me in their circles…Since I’ve been using Google+, I’ve been using Picasa Web Albums by default…I am still uploading a lot of photos to Facebook, however, as that’s still where most of my friends and family are…Before Google+ I was pretty much using Facebook exclusively for photo sharing, though I had a Picasa account I had uploaded a number of pictures to a couple years ago. Google+ got me using it again, and it seems like that may be happening for a lot of other people. At the very least, it’s putting these pictures back in the spotlight, as Brin has shown…Google is smart to simply label Picasa Web Albums as “photos” from within Google Profiles and Google+ profiles. That branding makes it less like you’re using a separate product…In terms of simple functionality and features, Google has Facebook beat on the Photos front (in my opinion), at least for Android users…” http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-enhance-your-photos-in-google-2011-7 “…Google+ offers something Facebook does not—simple editing features for enhancing your photos upon uploading…If you have a smartphone with a decent camera, I recommend enabling "Instant Upload". Once you do so, the pictures you take with your camera will be automatically sent to a private album in Picasa…If you already have albums on Picasa, there are a few changes to be aware of…One cool perk of being on Google+ is that you get unlimited photo and video uploads for videos shorter than 15 minutes…You will now see your photo in what is called the "Google+ lightbox". The editing features are available in the Actions menu on the bottom right of the photo. You can check out your photo's details, rotate it, or edit it. If the pictures have been shared already, you may have comments, and you can either report or delete the comments you don't like…”

28. Google Docs are two years out of beta http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9218785/Google_Docs_reconsidered Since Google Docs officially went out of beta on July 7, 2009, the Web-based office application suite has steadily gone through a series of changes and tweaks. Google has a tendency to add new things to their online apps under the radar, not really hyping them…it seems as though things are quietly ramping up…I have used Google Docs regularly in my everyday work for nearly two years. In fact, I now use it to write all of my assignments (including the words you are reading now) and maintain a few spreadsheets. I don't remember when I last touched an application from desktop office suite such as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice.org. With that in mind, I've taken a look at Google Docs, with a view toward investigating some of the new features, considering how useful they are and looking at what could use improvement…”

29. Why the FTC is likely to hit a dead end probing Google's Android http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/why-the-ftc-is-likely-to-hit-a-dead-end-probing-googles-android/54708 “…FTC lawyers are looking into whether Google prevents smartphone manufacturers from using competitors’ services. The FTC is also looking at whether Google favors its own properties in search results…Android market share has surged to 39 percent of the smartphone operating system market from zilch. Apple is second with 28 percent of the market…Google was partially able to get this share by giving away Android because it could make money off of search…Google can bundle its services and tightly integrate them into the operating system. On the surface, Google’s Android bundling rhymes with Microsoft’s Windows-Internet Explorer bundle that killed Netscape…but the reality is vastly different. Here’s why: When Google launched Android it filled a competitive vacuum in the smartphone industry and served as a counterweight to Apple’s iOS. The smartphone industry is highly competitive even among vendors on team Android. HTC, Motorola and Samsung are killing each other. A user isn’t forced into any Google service on Android…Add it up and the FTC doesn’t have a ton to work with on Android. The legal types could argue that Google favors its own services, but network carriers can tweak Android as they see fit…There have been a few folks that disagree with the argument above…the FTC isn’t just about antitrust. The FTC can investigate and put restrictions on companies based on deceptive practices…if the Department of Justice were investigating Google then my argument would hold up better…”

General Technology

30. Era of the PC 'coming to a close' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14490709 PCs are going the way of typewriters, vinyl records and vacuum tubes, one of the engineers who worked on the original machine has said…No longer, said Dr Mark Dean, are PCs the leading edge of computing. No single device has taken the PC's place, he said, instead it has been replaced by the socially-mediated innovation it has fostered…"When I helped design the PC, I didn't think I'd live long enough to witness its decline," wrote Dr Dean, an IBM engineer who worked on the development of the 5150 and owns three of the nine patents for it. He revealed that he had already moved into the post-PC era as his primary computer was now a tablet…PCs…are no longer the force for innovation they once were…it was the interaction they enable that was driving efficiencies in the workplace and changes in society…innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact…”

31. Electronic skin tattoo http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-wireless-electronic-skin-tattoo-heart-device-20110811,0,6642610.story “…Researchers have designed a wireless electronic monitoring device so thin it can be applied to the skin like a temporary tattoo. It could one day be used to monitor heart, brain and muscle activity of patients without their even noticing. The research…could rid hospitals of the unwieldy, outdated monitoring systems, which often involve needles, webs of wires and conductive gels…designing a chip flexible enough to stretch, squeeze and twist with the skin is no easy task…The solution was in the design. The researchers first used extremely thin slices of silicon -- about 50 to 100 nanometers deep -- to increase their flexibility. They used the silicon to create S-shaped chains whose snaky contours were able to conform to skin and layered the structure onto membranes that closely match skin’s properties and movement…the researchers found that it gave readings for brain, heart and muscle activity just as well as did traditional electrode-based systems. The chips could even be hidden under conventional temporary tattoos…”

32. Intel commands 60 percent of the GPU market http://www.techeye.net/chips/intel-commands-60-percent-of-the-gpu-market “…AMD and Nvidia are losing market share to Intel, which has managed to capture 60 percent of the GPU market. According to beancounters at Jon Peddie Research, Intel was the only company to boost sales of its graphics adapters and market share. The reason for that is the rise of the share of central processing units with integrated graphics engines inside Intel's product mix…However there are some alarming problems with Jon Peddie's figures. While GPU shipments during the second quarter of 2011 increased to 140 million units…they do not appear to be ending up under the bonnet of PCs. Considering that in average there are 1.6 graphics adapters per every computer sold, it is clear by far not all Intel's integrated graphics adapters are used by consumers…”

33. Sony Whitemagic reduces LCD power draw http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/sonys-3-whitemagic-lcd-boasts-50-power-reduction-20110810/ “…Sony has today announced a new 3-inch display it aims to bring to both cameras and smartphones. The display, going by the name of WhiteMagic, boasts a 50% reduction in power compared today’s small LCDs, but combines it with a super bright outdoor mode for viewing in all conditions. WhiteMagic, as the name suggests, boosts the brightness of the display to 1000cd/m2 by introducing a white pixel alongside the more typical red, green, and blue ones. In the low power mode the display is meant to be as bright as today’s screens (470cd/m2), but only uses 225mW of power including the backlight. Go into outdoors mode, though, and the power required nearly doubles to 400mW, but so does the brightness meaning the display will remain much more visible regardless of how bright the sun is. Even with the high brightness mode Sony has managed to create a display with low power use that could well end up in a lot of phones and cameras next year…”

DHMN Technology

34. 'Brain Cap' Technology Turns Thought Into Motion http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110727121555.htm “…a non-invasive, sensor-lined cap with neural interface software that soon could be used to control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorized wheelchairs and even digital avatars…We use EEG [electroencephalography] to non-invasively read brain waves and translate them into movement commands for computers and other devices…There are other brain computer interface technologies under development, but…these competing technologies are either very invasive, requiring electrodes to be implanted directly in the brain, or, if noninvasive, require much more training to use than does UMD's EEG-based, brain cap technology…There's nothing fictional about this…What remains is to bring all of it -- non-invasive neural decoding, direct brain control and [touch] sensory feedback -- together into one device…Steve Graff, a first-year bioengineering doctoral student. He envisions a virtual reality game that matches real EEG data with on-screen characters. "It gives us a way to train someone to think the right thoughts to generate movement from digital avatars. If they can do that, then they can generate thoughts to move a device," says Graff, who brings a unique personal perspective to the work. He has congenital muscular dystrophy and uses a motorized wheelchair. The advances he's working on could allow him to use both hands -- to put on a jacket, dial his cell phone or throw a football while operating his chair with his mind…the Maryland team demonstrated that people wearing the EEG brain cap, could after minimal training control a computer cursor with their thoughts and achieve performance levels comparable to those by subjects using invasive implanted electrode brain computer interface systems…”

35. 2011, the year of the Maker Movement http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/08/big-diy/all/1 “…let’s look at the first week of August in 2011: Design software giant Autodesk, creators of AutoCAD, Maya, Sketchbook and 123D, purchased Instructables, a popular online community for DIYers…MakerFaire Detroit, sponsored by Ford, Pepsi and Microsoft as well as Etsy, Boing Boing and O’Reilly, gently wound down after officially closing July 31…Microsoft presented a handful of proof-of-concept projects for its .NET Gadgeteer, a competitor to Arduino…GE launched a Facebook campaign targeting DIY makers to share designs for model aircraft and an airport, using 3D printers…MakerBot got some more competition in the field of inexpensive, easy-to-build-and-use home 3D printers: Ponoko featured the UP! printer on their blog (which comes helpfully pre-assembled), while MAKE featured Ultimaker, which touts its speed…Whether they’re at established mainstream companies or hungry startups, people all over the world have figured out that DIY can be good business…It reminds me a little of 20-25 years ago, when first personal computing with Macintosh, Microsoft and Lotus…broke through from the margins into the mainstream… the Maker Movement’s growth and mainstream visibility have been building for a long time. MAKE magazine was launched in 2005; the first MakerFaire in California in 2006 drew 20,000 attendees and doubled the next year…Torrone…observed that the new “hero cult” around popular DIYers had changed the public perception of the industry…Self-organized maker faires are common now. Makers do not require MAKE to come to their town; they’ll do it on their own” — or companies like GE or Red Bull will sponsor them…“Americans are building things again,” reads a General Electric report. “From Makerbot to GE’s Ecomagination Challenge, an open source competition to find the best ideas in cleantech, opportunities abound today for anyone with the motivation and imagination to get their hands dirty and create things that can solve some of our biggest challenges…”

36. Non-profit Group Releases Open Source Mesh WiFi Network Software http://hothardware.com/News/Nonprofit-Group-Releases-Open-Source-WiFi-Software/ The non-profit group Geeks Without Frontiers today released open source software based on an upcoming WiFi standard. It lets Linux machines be their own WiFi network, no hardware required…based on the not-yet-ratified IEEE 802.11s, an extension to the 802.11 WiFi standard. 11s creates wireless "mesh" networks. Ratification is expected to happen by Q4 2011. 11s allows multiple wireless devices to connect with each other without having a hardware access point between them and to "multi-hop" to reach nodes that would otherwise be out of range…the motivation for open80211s was to bring affordable Internet connections to rural, underprivileged areas…”

37. Robot swarms: Get me a book http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20791-robot-mission-impossible-wins-video-prize.html You could call it Mission Impossible: Robot Library Heist. An army of flying, rolling, and climbing robots have been taught to work together to find and snatch a book from a high shelf…the robotic team, dubbed the "Swarmanoid", attacks the problem with flying "eye-bots" and rolling "foot-bots". A "hand-bot" then fires a grappling hook-like device up to the ceiling and scales the bookshelf. Footage of the experiment…won the video competition at the Conference on Artificial Intelligence in San Francisco earlier this week…It's a simple demonstration, but in the future Dorigo says the robots could be tasked with more difficult and important tasks. For instance, a bot team equipped like firefighters could wait in a building and spring to action when disaster strikes…” [watch the video; what the robots do is underwhelming, but what it could lead to is overwhelming – ed.]

Leisure & Entertainment

38. Tactile Technology for Video Games Guaranteed to Send Shivers Down Your Spine http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808152421.htm A new tactile technology developed at Disney Research, Pittsburgh (DRP), called Surround Haptics, makes it possible for video game players and film viewers to feel a wide variety of sensations, from the smoothness of a finger being drawn against skin to the jolt of a collision…the technology will enhance a high-intensity driving simulator game in collaboration with Disney's Black Rock Studio. With players seated in a chair outfitted with inexpensive vibrating actuators, Surround Haptics will enable them to feel road imperfections and objects falling on the car, sense skidding, braking and acceleration, and experience ripples of sensation when cars collide or jump and land…the technology can be easily embedded into clothing, gloves, sports equipment and mobile computing devices…This technology has the capability of enhancing the perception of flying or falling, of shrinking or growing, of feeling bugs creeping on your skin…DRP researchers have accomplished this feat by designing an algorithm for controlling an array of vibrating actuators in such a way as to create "virtual actuators" anywhere within the grid of actuators. A virtual actuator, Poupyrev said, can be created between any two physical actuators; the user has the illusion of feeling only the virtual actuator. As a result, users don't feel the general buzzing or pulsing typical of most haptic devices today, but can feel discrete, continuous motions such as a finger tracing a pattern on skin…”

39. Sifteo launches intelligent blocks as a new form of entertainment http://venturebeat.com/2011/08/10/sifteo-launches-its-intelligent-blocks-as-a-new-form-of-entertainment/ Sifteo, a table-top game startup…has begun selling intelligent blocks known as Sifteo Cubes. These devices are like little dominoes with displays on one side. The cubes are wireless, motion-aware 1.5-inch blocks with full-color screens that create unique interactions when moved, tilted, rotated and placed next to one another…inspired by games such as dominoes, Tetris, and Sudoku…Sifteo created its own wireless protocol so the blocks could talk to each other within a range of a few inches, without consuming too much power…The Sifteo Cubes are a clever creation, but will consumers pay for them? You pay $149 for three Sifteo Cubes and $45 for each additional one. Downloadable games cost around $5. If the idea takes off, Sifteo will succeed in creating a new form of entertainment that combines video games, physical board games, building blocks and toys. It may be a tough sell, but there’s no doubt that the company has something very creative on its hands…the people who are most excited about it are puzzle fans…The company will also make available its Sifteo Creativity Kit with every Sifteo cube pack. That kit allows users to customize the cubes and create their own versions of games…”

40. Flickr is Dead http://thomashawk.com/2011/08/flickr-is-dead.html “…Last night I realized for the first time that Flickr really was dead…It had nothing to do with the fact that Google Photos is rolling out new innovation on a weekly basis while Flickr is still stuck in 2004. I realized it when I went to Trey Ratcliff’s photowalk at Stanford. There were over 200 people there. *200 people*! It was the largest photowalk I’ve ever been on and I’ve done dozens over the years. And what was everybody talking about at the photowalk? Flickr? No. Google+? Yes…Google Photos Community Manager Brian Rose was there…The Photo Team guy who built their lightbox Vincent Mo was there. Google+ Community Manager Natalie Villalobos was there (she used to work at Yahoo)…There were so many more Googlers there as well. Lisa Bettany and Catherine Hall from TWIT Photos were there too. I remember back when Flickr used to feel like this. Back when Stewart Butterfield used to show up at the SF Flickr Social meetups…Now the SF Flickr Group is basically dead…There are only three posts to the group in the past year…I haven’t seen a Flickr employee in years…Meanwhile I visited the Google Campus last week and got to spend an entire afternoon with an excited and engaged team who are full of energy and charged up about building the next great thing in photos. Earlier this week, the Yahoo exec who is in charge of Flickr, Blake Irving, sent out an interesting tweet…an article that talked about the tipping point…like Flickr killed Webshots, Google+ will kill flickr…Carol Bartz still doesn’t have a Flickr account. Meanwhile Sergey Brin posted shots earlier this week of some kick ass underwater photography from a trip of his to Egypt…Was it the rotating team leadership after Stewart the problem? Was it the attitude coming out of Community Management that photographers were more of a nuisance to put up with and talked down to than a community worth engaging? Who knows. But Flickr is very much dead in the water…They’ve lost the spirit of photosharing — the zest and passion and love — and while they got away with that for a long time due to lack of competition, things have now changed with Google Photos arriving on the scene, and to a degree 500px as well…Flickr is still beloved by so many of us. Myself included. I still upload photos up there every single day…with weekly innovation on their invite only beta product, Google+ is far more likely to get the final product right than Flickr is to innovate at this point…”

41. Microsoft MS Reader e-book system is Dead http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/15/microsoft-reader-e-book-system-comes-to-its-conclusion/ Microsoft is officially putting their MS Reader system to bed. First made available in 2000…the application was intended for the consumption of e-books on LCD screens…The .lit filetype and Reader application have only been receiving the lightest of support, the last desktop version appearing in 2007…You can’t blame them, really; it was never much more than a hobby…they couldn’t have predicted the hardware advances that would make the Kindle and other popular devices the default for reading e-books…How Microsoft plans to treat e-books now is anybody’s guess…”

Economy and Technology

42. Daily deal site Zulily raises $43 million at huge valuation of more than $700 million http://www.geekwire.com/2011/daily-deal-site-zulily-raises-43-million-huge-valuation-700-million “…Zulily…The daily deal site for baby and children’s products has already outgrown three office buildings and mushroomed from two co-founders to 240 employees since it was founded 22 months ago…Zulily today is announcing a whopping $43 million venture capital round…Total funding in Zulily now stands at $53.6 million…the valuation on the company in the most recent round was about $750 million…topping the market value of publicly-traded Seattle tech companies such as RealNetworks, InfoSpace and Blue Nile. It would also put Zulily in the ballpark of Zillow, which went public last month and is now valued at $736 million…”

43. US use of QR codes is mostly conventional advertising http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/in_us_qr_codes_are_still_mostly_for_traditional_ad.php “…14 million Americans, 6.2% of all mobile users, scanned QR (quick response) codes or bar codes with their mobile devices in June 2011. Users who scanned QR codes were more likely to be male (60.5%), between ages 18-34 (53.4%), and have a household income of $100k or higher (36.1%). The most likely places for people to scan QR codes were on printed magazines or newspapers, product packaging, or on the Web, straight from their computer screen. We've covered some interesting ways of employing QR codes to bring the Web out into the world, like QR-enabled tourism and scavenger hunts…for now, QR codes are mostly used in more traditional marketing efforts…The number one place to see QR codes was on products, followed by magazines, coupons, newspapers and catalogues…the most interesting reasons for people to use QR codes were to get a coupon, discount or deal, or to access additional information about content…But it is still very early in the adoption of technologies capable of reading QR codes. This June, smartphone adoption in the U.S. was up 8% over the preceding three months, but there are still 155 million American mobile phone users who don't have smartphones…”

44. Rocket Lawyer gets $18.5 million http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/11/august-capital-google-ventures-and-igc-put-18-5m-in-online-legal-service-rocket-lawyer/ “…After LegalZoom raised $66 million from Kleiner Perkins And IVP, competitor Rocket Lawyer is also announcing a new round of funding. The startup has raised $18.5 million in funding…Founded by lawyer Charles Moore, Rocket Lawyer not only provides legal documents to consumers and small businesses but also helps users that create customized legal documents that can be electronically signed online and shared instantly or downloaded for printing. Moore says that each month, more than 20,000 Last Wills and 40,000 Business Contracts are created. Rocket Lawyer offers these documents for free. While users can use Rocket Lawyer on a one-off basis, many of the site’s users pay for actual legal advice along with access to the documents. Users can pay as little as $20 for a single consultation to $200 to $300 per year for on call legal service, which is a fraction of what some lawyers cost…” [have you used online legal services? Do you think you’d want to sometime in the next year or two? – ed.]

45. NVIDIA on the rise? http://venturebeat.com/2011/08/11/nvidia-q2-tegra-sales/ “…Nvidia’s forecast for its upcoming third-quarter revenue was even more optimistic than Wall Street analyst expectations, thanks to the company’s confidence in its Tegra smartphone processor. The company forecast 4 percent to 6 percent revenue growth for the third quarter this year, putting its forecast revenue somewhere north of $1.06 billion…This was only the second quarter of sales for its Tegra chip, a graphics processor designed for high-end smartphones like those running Google’s Android mobile operating system…Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang said he expects Tegra to continue to perform well for the next two quarters. The company’s Tegra chip appears in the Motorola Photon, a 4G smartphone, and the Droid X2. The Tegra accounts for 10 percent of all Android devices shipped today…”

46. Startup Weebly takes profitable leap forward http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/13/MN1I1KJFNV.DTL “…the company that started as a class project in college has become a serious business. At 7.5 million users, Weebly doesn't have the size or visibility of platforms like Tumblr (more than 25 million blogs) or WordPress (about 54 million). But Weebly, which tries to make it cheap and easy for businesses to create their own websites, now powers 2 percent of the Internet, according to research firm Netcraft. It also has…profits. While the founders would not discuss their finances in detail, they say they became profitable in 2008, barely a year after they raised an initial $650,000 of funding. They did it using a "freemium" model, giving away most services at no cost but charging for additional features…The trick, Rusenko said, was to work aggressively to keep costs down in early years…Despite significant user growth since 2007, Weebly is run by a team of just 13 people, in a space only slightly larger than the Penn State dorm room where founders conceived it. Fanini, the chief technical officer, still works in a closet. But that's about to change…Next month it will move into new offices in Jackson Square, where it will occupy 11,000 square feet - up from the current 1,400. It also plans to double its number of employees in the next year…the company recently raised a new round of funding - its first since the initial investment…it was part of a strategy to initially take the company public. Weebly became profitable in a space crowded with competitors that also produce mostly free, drag-and-drop website creation tools: SnapPages, Wix and Webnode are among the similar offerings…San Francisco's Yola, has raised $25 million in venture funding pursuing many of the same customers. They're all after a big target: The market for hosting services is $5 billion annually…Weebly's founders say much of the potential market remains untapped…2 billion people have Internet connections…yet there are only around 300 million websites…51 percent of businesses still don't have a Web presence…”

47. The eBay of Electricity http://www.forbes.com/sites/tonyseba/2011/08/09/the-ebay-of-electricity/ “…she switched to an online electricity service provider that promised savings of 20%. “My power bills have gone down by at least 50%”, says Ms. Adams…“I’m not a techie but now I go online two or three times every week to track my power usage, to check on new discounts and savings opportunities, and to top-up my power supply…Welcome to the future of energy: electricity 2.0. Ms. Adams’s electricity provider is Powershop, a startup company owned by Meridian Energy, the largest electricity generator and retailer in New Zealand. “The vision of Powershop is to be like eBay for electricity,” says CEO Ari Sargent…Powershop offers ‘sponsored’ and ‘branded’ electricity. Are you a sports fan? You can buy ‘Crusaders Rugby’-brand electricity…Just want to lock in the cheapest price for next spring? ‘Spring Power’ is on sale now…Powershop…is built with an open, plug-and-play architecture – more like the Internet than the traditional top-down energy architecture…As the market builds a larger number of smaller power plants like wind and solar we expect them to sell directly to consumers on our website…What is emerging is a more distributed architecture where independent power producers are generating electricity from thousands or millions of smaller power plants…At the end of 2010 the US had 152,516 grid-connected solar PV systems – of which about 52,5620 were installed in 2010…California is planning to bring 12,000 MW of distributed solar capacity online…This will involve a combination of residential, commercial, and industrial-scale power plants…Today these power plants have to sell to the local utility or consume the power onsite. What if they wanted to sell that power directly to someone down the street or across town? What if you wanted to sell at market prices? Today’s electricity architecture is not built for that…The ‘Smart Grid’ requires users with the right tools to make smart decisions about their energy usage. But a closed, top-down architecture does not really allow for that…Bruce Hoult is a software engineer in Wellington, New Zealand. Mr. Hoult signed up for Powershop last April 2009 – mainly to save money, but as soon as he discovered that Powershop offered an open API (Application Programming Interface) he started tinkering with it…“I built a computerized device based on Arduino…that I programmed to turn my heater and dehumidifier on and off at different times of the day…The result is that I use much less power during the day while maintaining the same temperatures as before…The payback is less than a year so there could be a market for it…A friend of Mr. Hoult’s has already made some cash. He took advantage of the Powershop API to develop an iPhone application that replicates some of the Powershop website functionality so he could purchase power and track usage anywhere he went. The iPhone app was so compelling that Powershop acquired it and made it available for free to all its customers in both iPhone and Android versions…”

48. Startup Open Announces Top Prizes http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110727005341/en/Startup-Open-Announces-Top-Prizes-Including-Trip “…Startup Open today announced its top honors and prizes, which will be awarded during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2011…Select startups from those named to the “GEW 50” will be invited to participate in Start-Up Chile, a ground-breaking program that attracts world-class, early-stage entrepreneurs from around the world and gets them to start their firms in Chile. Participating startups will receive $40,000 in equity-free, seed capital and a one-year work visa in Chile…Startup Open is a featured competition of GEW, an initiative founded by the Kauffman Foundation to spur new ideas, ingenuity and firm creation…The competition, now in its second year, is open to entrepreneurs who have a “startup moment” between…Nov. 22, 2010 to Nov. 20, 2011…A startup moment is defined as any action related to launching a new business, such as incorporating a company; officially opening the doors for business; completing a first sale; or securing outside funding…Startup Open applicants will have until Sept. 15 to submit their “startup moment.…”

Civilian Aerospace

49. The evolving ecosystem of NewSpace http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1906/1 Ask someone what comes to mind when they hear the word “NewSpace” and—barring a blank look, since the term isn’t commonly used outside the space field—you’re likely to hear something about rockets and/or space tourism. Since the term came into vogue about five years ago…it’s been most commonly associated with entrepreneurial ventures developing suborbital and orbital vehicles…it’s increasingly clear that constraining the scope of NewSpace to vehicle developers is too limiting. Entrepreneurial space ventures are no longer limited…to companies wanting to build suborbital space tourism spacecraft or new low-cost launch vehicles. New companies are emerging that seek to develop technologies that can either enable or be enabled by low-cost access to space…A prime example of this evolution of NewSpace companies is Colorado-based Altius Space Machines. Jon Goff, who previously worked for suborbital vehicle developer Masten Space Systems, founded Altius…to pursue specific technologies he thought could fill “gaps” in the broader commercialization of space. “Altius Space Machines is a rapid prototyping company developing and commercializing technologies needed for reusable orbital launch vehicles, and enabling markets for such vehicles…You’d think we’d be doing most of our work on rocket propulsion, rocket vehicles, things like that,” he said. “But it turns out the first product we’ve really gained traction with is actually a rendezvous and docking technology…Max Vozoff discussed work by Innovative Space Propulsion Systems (ISPS), a company commercializing NOFBX, a new monopropellant based on nitrous oxide intended to replace hydrazine in space applications. NOFBX, Vozoff explained, is more efficient and less expensive than hydrazine and, unlike hydrazine, is non-toxic…Vozoff joined ISPS as its vice president of business development after leaving SpaceX, where he has worked on the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program…Celestial Circuits plans to develop low-cost flight computers for small satellites, including cubesats—tiny spacecraft 10 centimeters on a side and weighing one kilogram that are popular with university programs—that today often have to rely on custom-built solutions…The problem for space experimenters currently is that they have to spend as much time building their computers as they do building the experiment itself…Final Frontier Design, another company in the business plan competition, seeks to enter the market for spacesuits…What sets his company apart, said co-founder Ted Southern, is their pressure suit design, which does away with the double-layer pressure garments…That suit technology has been developed by Southern and his fellow co-founder, Nikolay Moiseev, who spent over 20 years developing spacesuit designs for the Russian space program…”

50. Google Lunar X Prize competition feels the heat from Shanghai http://soaringovershar.blogspot.com/2011/08/google-lunar-x-prize-competition-feels.html Markus Bindhammer heads China's only Google Lunar X Prize team known as Team Selene. He is a German engineer based in Shanghai and he is not shy about sharing his views about the conduct of the competition…This week Bindhammer…quoted directly from…the latest version of the so-called Master Team Agreement…"X PRIZE Foundation employees and their families may neither participate in, nor have a financial interest in the Google Lunar X PRIZE TEAM…Officers and Trustees of the X PRIZE Foundation must comply with the Foundation’s Conflict of Interest policy…Bindhammer wrote that, "nobody seems to care about that Naveen Jain serves on the Board of the X PRIZE (Foundation) and is at the same time the primarily backer of Moon Express, one of 28 GLXP competitors."…the still legal binding MTA 3.0 also states: "Teams shall publish a minimum of one blog per week to an XPF-designated website. Teams shall post a minimum cumulative duration of forty-five minutes of video per calendar quarter. Teams shall post a minimum of 3 substantively different videos per month…several teams violating the paragraph over many months without any consequences. One team even tries to circumvent the paragraph by using a blog robot…it make sense to carry these things to the public…because the breeding ground for such wheelings and dealings is…secrecy and exclusion of publicity…”

51. NASA contracts for sub-orbital rocket launches http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_18673383 NASA has selected Up Aerospace, a Highlands Ranch small-rocket company, and six other companies to fly suborbital research flights. The two-year contracts — worth a combined $10 million — will give NASA access to commercial space companies so new technologies can be developed quickly by testing them in space…NASA buys the rocket rides and gives the flights away to qualified researchers — from universities or private industry…The contracts are part of a NASA program that aims to make "frequent, low-cost access to near-space available to a wide range of engineers, scientists and technologists…Larson said he won't know until later this month how many launches on his 20-foot SpaceLoft XL rockets that NASA will buy and what the payloads will be. The launch cost will be one-tenth as much as it would be for government…The other companies are Near Space Corp., Tillamook, Ore.; Armadillo Aerospace, Heath, Texas; and California-based Virgin Galactic, Masten Space Systems, Whittinghill Aerospace LLC, and XCOR.”

Supercomputing & GPUs

52. NVIDIA enlists Cray CTO for Tesla GPU assault http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/15/nvidia_scott_q2_f2012_numbers/ “…Former Cray chief technology officer Steve Scott, who spent 19 years designing machines and interconnects, has just been tapped as the new CTO for Nvidia's Tesla GPU coprocessor products for workstations and servers…Nvidia wants a top-notch techie to be in charge of its Tesla GPU coprocessor ramp. There are a lot of potential future profits riding on the Teslas after all. The Tesla GPU coprocessor is to the discrete video graphics card what the server processor is to the desktop and notebook processor: Not much volume, but perhaps most of the profit. Scott got his BS in electrical and computing engineering at the University of Wisconsin…and…his MS in computer science and PhD in computer architecture as a Badger too…Scott holds 27 US patents in the areas of interconnection networks, processor microarchitecture, cache coherence, synchronization mechanisms, and scalable parallel architectures…Steve's decision to join Nvidia is a resounding endorsement that GPU accelerated computing is the future of HPC…The Tesla business unit is still a tiny part of the overall Nvidia revenue stream, but it is growing…To make Tesla sales take off, Nvidia needs to have a large portfolio of applications that are able to offload calculations to the GPU coprocessors right out of the box as well as the CUDA development kit for helping companies roll their own C, C++, and Fortran applications…"It's still very much, at the moment, an application-driven business," Huang continued. "The more applications we have ported, the greater the opportunity we will see. And so I don't know that in the near term right now that it's tied to GDP or anything like that. I think it is just way too small of a business to be affected by the global economy. People who are early adopters have very severe computation needs and those severe needs exist whether the economy is doing well or not…”

53. A Gentle Introduction to OpenCL http://drdobbs.com/high-performance-computing/231002854 OpenCL provides many benefits in the field of high-performance computing, and one of the most important is portability. OpenCL-coded routines, called kernels, can execute on GPUs and CPUs from such popular manufacturers as Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and IBM. New OpenCL-capable devices appear regularly, and efforts are underway to port OpenCL to embedded devices, digital signal processors, and field-programmable gate arrays…OpenCL kernels can even be used to accelerate OpenGL or Direct3D processing…OpenCL has one significant drawback: it's not easy to learn. OpenCL isn't derived from MPI or PVM or any other distributed computing framework. Its overall operation resembles that of NVIDIA's CUDA, but OpenCL's data structures and functions are unique. Even the most introductory application is difficult for a newcomer to grasp. You really can't just dip your foot in the pool — you either know OpenCL or you don't. My goal in writing this article is to explain the concepts behind OpenCL as simply as I can and show how these concepts are implemented in code…”

54. High-performance computing: it's got to be rugged http://www.militaryaerospace.com/index/display/article-display/9721693357/articles/military-aerospace-electronics/exclusive-content/2011/8/high-performance-computing.html “…The very highest-performance computers in the world use clusters of thousands of the latest multicore central processing units (CPUs) from Intel along with thousands of NVIDIA's many-core GPUs, often tightly coupled via Infiniband and 10 Gigabit Ethernet remote DMA-enabled (RDMA) switched fabric networks with robust, high-performance driver support under Linux and Windows operating systems…For military and aerospace systems designers, it's all good news: not only is the massive investment in HPC in the commercial world driving technology and performance developments at a spectacular rate, but it also is doing so using the COTS principles that have become fundamental to embedded computing in military applications…Since November 2009, GE has announced several high performance computing platforms based on NVIDIA's CUDA architecture -- notably the 6U OpenVPX NPN240 dual 96-core GT215 GPU multiprocessor and the 6U OpenVPX IPN250, which combines the GT215 GPU with an Intel Core2 Duo processor…There is a world of difference between an air-conditioned data center and a military land vehicle when it comes to power consumption, heat dissipation, resistance to shock and vibration, and to extremes of temperature . When it comes to GPU technology, there is a similar world of difference between what a GT240 can expect to be subjected to in a laptop and what it can expect to be subjected to in an unmanned aerial vehicle…But 'rugged' involves more than resistance to shock, vibration, and temperature extremes. Another area in which military and aerospace customers differ from their commercial counterparts is in performance per Watt, rather than absolute performance. In a physically constrained environment, heat dissipation is difficult, yet absolutely vital to guarantee reliability in a mission-critical environment…GPGPU technology is being evaluated and fielded in military and aerospace systems. One radar application, for example, shows a performance increase of 15x compared with more traditional approaches…”


*****

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