2011/09/06

NEW NET Weekly List for 06 Sep 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 06 September 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. UK Gives Green Light to Free Whitespace Broadband http://moconews.net/article/419-uk-to-clear-up-broadband-traffic-with-europes-first-white-space-service/ The UK is preparing to roll out a new, superfast mobile broadband service that would also more than double the amount of spectrum that is currently available for mobile broadband. Regulator Ofcom today announced plans to go ahead with “white spaces” broadband services, which run on unused spectrum originally allocated to television and radio broadcasters…white spaces would present a way of offloading traffic from congested 3G networks as mobile data services continue to grow in popularity, fuelled by the rise in smartphone and tablet use. White spaces services could support speeds of up to 22 Mbps. Although many other countries (including the U.S.) have considered white spaces broadband services, the UK looks like it may be the first country to actually follow through on this…Ofcom estimates that the amount of “white space” that exists in the UK today is equivalent to all the spectrum currently being used for 3G services, “and significantly more in some locations,” given that 3G coverage is not universal and particularly bad in rural areas. By one estimate, White Space services could be generating $100 billion in revenues by 2016…”

2. New York Times 'magic mirror' brings email, news, Facebook into the bathroom http://news.yahoo.com/york-times-magic-mirror-brings-email-news-facebook-035308146.html “…a team has been working on a mirror that delivers media content to the user while spending time in the bathroom. Likely utilizing a Phillips Mirror TV, the display is tied into a Microsoft Kinect sensor that sits at the top of the mirror. Using voice recognition and motion sensing from the Kinect, the television allows the user to browse through the latest news headlines in the New York Times as well as check a calendar for appointments, read email and take a look at the latest updates on Facebook or Twitter. The user can also check the weather, a helpful tool for anyone getting ready to leave the house for the day. The mirror also have the ability to scan RFID tags and bring up information about a sample product. For instance, if you had a medication and were unclear of the proper dosage, holding it up to the mirror would supply this information as well as offer the ability to reorder the drug if it was acquired through a prescription. When it comes to online clothes shopping, the mirror used the Kinect camera to scan an image of a user’s body type and allows the user to overlay clothing items on the body image to virtually try on clothes before purchasing them…”

3. Internet sales tax still years off? http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/08/17/business-specialized-consumer-services-us-amazon-sales-tax-tennessee_8628079.html Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said Tuesday that it could be three or four years before Congress passes national guidelines on tax collections by online retailers like Amazon.com Inc…"The brick and mortar stores have turned out to be places where people look at the product and try it on and see if it works for them," he said. "And then they go to the Internet and actually buy the product without sales taxes. "Obviously that's unfair." Questions about online sales taxes have come into focus in Tennessee after the state last year struck a deal with Amazon to waive the requirement for the online retailer to collect the taxes on distribution centers being built in the state…”

4. Growing discontent over extended cable outage in Greenwich http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Major-disconnect-Growing-discontent-over-2151781.php From homebound residents with special needs to people who telecommute for a living, frustration is mounting among those reliant on Cablevision for phone, Internet and TV service because of extended storm-related outages in Greenwich…"It just went out for the fourth time in three days," said state Rep. Alfred Camillo, R-151st District, who lives in the Havemeyer Park section. "It's aggravating and certainly beyond an inconvenience. A lot of people use it for work." Daniel Warzoha, the town's emergency management director, said he knows of a resident on Clapboard Ridge Road who is a paraplegic and heavily dependent on his telephone and Internet, but has been without cable service for four days…” http://www.pressherald.com/news/Internet-outages-reported-across-South-Maine.html Time Warner Cable has restored internet and cable television service to about 350,000 customers in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts…Russell said Time Warner was using the redundant line because the storm knocked out the company's primary line…Will Zurkan, an employee at Portland-based technology firm Kepware Technologies, said his firm's Internet and voice-over-Internet phone services cut out. "Our entire phone and computer system is Internet based," said Zurkan. "Our customers can't even buy the products if they want to.”

Gigabit Internet

5. Will 100Mbps internet connections destroy the web as we know it? http://www.extremetech.com/computing/94428-will-100-megabit-internet-connections-destroy-the-web-as-we-know-it For as long as history can recall, mankind has thirsted for faster, deeper, and broader connectivity with other sentient simians…What do you think will happen when every home is connected to the internet via 100 or 1,000Mbps Ethernet or fiber?...If music, movie, and TV publishers still haven’t pulled their fingers out, you’ll be able to pirate stuff really quickly, too. Ultimately, you’ll be able to do everything that you already do — but faster and with more flexibility…this conclusion, though, is…based on your current mental model of the web where you are a consumer…the web is basically formed out of two networks: a very fast network of data centers that host the services that we use, and a low-speed network of spurs that extend from the nearest data center to your house…the big difference between these networks is symmetricalness…your home connection…is nearly always biased towards download speed. As consumers of content on the web…this makes sense…At some point in the not-so-distant future…we’re all going to be connected to the web at LAN-like speeds — 100 megabits per second up and down — and this, just like the advent of the telephone, will change the world as we know it…If we all had symmetric 100Mbps internet connections…instead of storing your data with Google or uploading your files to Dropbox, you could store the files at home or in the office on a network-attached storage device. You wouldn’t even have to bother with long-term, offline backups, either: if everyone’s connected at 100Mbps or faster, and we all have terabytes or petabytes of hard disk storage, then all you need is a backup buddy: you store your important files at his house, and he stores his at yours…Symmetric connections completely rewrite the rules of file sharing, too…you can get everything from your friend across the road? With a symmetric web, these hubs will spring up all over the place…Rather than being virtually connected to your friends through a list on a social network, the symmetric web will fashion physical connections…Web servers, mail servers, chat servers — you name it, with a fat pipe to the internet, they could all be run locally beyond the reach of Google, Facebook, and even the federal government…There will still be nodes on the internet where more people congregate — the bars, clubs, and McDonalds of the real world — but for the most part, a symmetric web would let people hang out and connect with the people they care about, and ignore everyone else…”

6. Will Google ensure entertainment content (Hulu?) for Google Fiber networks? http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/01/3115725/google-eyes-hulu-as-a-means-to.html “…Google…needs to make sure the Internet, soon to be delivered to Kansas City at unheard-of speeds, has enough entertainment…Hulu would give Google a constantly refreshed catalog of professionally produced shows from the old-school television networks. That could give the Mountain View, Calif., company a running start on a cable-like package of TV channels…The more that content can tempt people to the Internet, the more time they’ll spend using Google to search the Web…Google is…predicting an economic boom from the way the service can change the community. But those benefits won’t be known until the service is deployed…when consumers and small businesses stumble upon what can be done with previously unheard-of bandwidth…getting people to switch to the Google service might not be easy. The early adopting technology freaks will jump at the chance to get one gigabit of data per second…consumers can stream high-definition movies today, about the most bandwidth-greedy behavior on the Internet. What’s more, Kansas City residents typically get their Internet in packages bundled with phone service and scads of television channels from Time Warner Cable or AT&T. So Google might have trouble getting the large numbers of users to bother with a switch. “They need to sweeten the pot,” said Kersey. “They’re going to need something besides just the Internet to move people over…”

7. NETGEAR Business Class Wifi Reliability http://www.marketwatch.com/story/netgear-brings-business-class-wifi-reliability-and-private-cloud-file-sharing-to-home-routers-2011-08-29 “…Clear Channel Selector, previously available only in more costly wireless routers for businesses, automatically detects when the WiFi channel currently in use becomes overcrowded and switches to another less-crowded channel…Clear Channel Selector creates a more reliable home WiFi network by greatly reducing sudden disconnects and slowdowns, especially important for demanding applications such as HD video streaming, multi-player gaming and online voice or video chats. ReadySHARE Cloud ( www.netgear.com/readyshare ) transforms a USB hard drive or flash drive plugged into the USB port of the N600 Premium Edition into a private "cloud" storage system for securely accessing and sharing files within the home network or across the Internet. There's no need to go through the lengthy process of selecting a public file-sharing site and then uploading files…Among the router's many advanced features are…Guest network - allows visitors to go online without having to be given the home network password and without gaining access to computers, printers, storage drives and other home-network devices…Automatic Quality-of-Service (QoS) - provides the best possible viewing experience for Internet video by giving priority to video streams over other home network traffic…Fast wireless - dual-band wireless-N for simultaneous speeds of up to 600 megabits per second, divided between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands…Open platform - do-it-yourself tech enthusiasts can tweak performance and features by installing open source firmware and joining the open router community at www.myopenrouter.com…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

8. DOJ Sues to Block AT&T Purchase of T-Mobile http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/09/sprint-supports-doj-suit-to-block-att-and-t-mobile-deal.html Sprint…the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. unsurprisingly came out in support of the Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit that is looking to block AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile from Germany's Deutsche Telekom…In March, shortly after AT&T announced that it had agreed to buy T-Mobile, Sprint formally objected to the deal. In May, Sprint asked the FCC to block the transaction, arguing that it would result in a less competitive wireless market -- one where a combined AT&T and T-Mobile would dwarf the rest of the industry. Currently, the big four of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile control about 90% of the U.S. wireless market…AT&T says it believes its takeover of T-Mobile would create jobs in the U.S. and allow it to meet consumer demand faster than if it proceeded on its own…”

9. Ex-DHS Official Becomes Sony's Security Chief http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/09/sony-hires-philip-reitinger-former-director-of-us-national-cyber-security-center.html “…Philip Reitinger, formerly the director of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Center, will join Sony in the newly created position of chief information security officer and a senior vice president. The hire is a move to strengthen Sony's defenses after more than 90 million Sony user accounts across the company's online services were breached earlier this year…Before working at the federal government, Reitinger was Microsoft Corp.'s chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist "where he was responsible for improving IT protection and security while coordinating closely with government agencies and private partners in order to build trustworthy computing systems worldwide…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. Pogoplug Debuts New Hardware For Streaming To Mobile Devices http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/01/pogoplug-debuts-new-hardware-for-streaming-to-mobile-devices/ “…Pogoplug Mobile…works like the company’s current Pogoplug product – you attach your hard drive or drives, plug it into your router and instantly have your own personal cloud. In short, it’s like a NAS (network-attached storage) box for your home. But with the new Pogoplug Mobile, the system has been optimized for use with mobile devices…Pogoplug devices have typically appealed to the DIY, “host-it-yourself” crowd, who eschew using the cloud storage offerings maintained by big companies like Google, Amazon, Apple or Microsoft, or the online services from smaller startups like Box.net and Dropbox. Instead of paying for storage as a service, often through monthly or yearly fees, Pogoplug only requires a one-time investment: the cost of the hardware and software…”

11. Android-based Nexus S Is the NASA Certified Smartphone, Does Lightsaber Sparring Spheres, In Space http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/01/the-nexus-s-powers-nasas-lightsaber-sparring-spheres-in-space/ “…Google has posted a video showcasing how the Nexus S is being used by NASA to power its SPHERE satellites — the free-floating devices that NASA says were actually inspired by the lightsaber sparring droid seen in Star Wars…After taking a ride up to the ISS on the last manned Shuttle launch, two Nexus S devices are being used by NASA to give these droids — err, robots — more powers. The SPHEREs are taking advantage of the Nexus’s CPU to power its ‘brains’, and the phone’s sensors allow it to monitor more external data. One of the neatest new features: NASA is planning to use the phone’s Wifi connection to control devices remotely from Earth…NASA lays a lot of love on Android, which it says is “the first commercial smartphone certified by NASA to fly on the space shuttle and to be cleared for use on the space station”. Research engineer DW Wheeler says that NASA went with the Nexus S because “the phone is very easy to take apart. Android is easy to program, we’re familiar with it, and we needed to make a lot of customizations that are easier to make with Android…”

12. Baidu Launches Android-Based Mobile OS http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/02/baidu-looks-to-leapfrog-google-with-cloud-based-mobile-os/ Chinese search giant Baidu is…developing a cloud-based smartphone platform in attempt to dip its toes into the mobile pool. Mobile internet users in China totaled 233 million in 2010, projected to reach 957 million by 2014…the total population of both the European Union and the United States was approximately 800 million last year…Similar to the Bing integration in Mango, this OS is all about search. Smartphones that run Yi will load up a search box within seconds of turning on the phone. Other components will load in the background, but users will be able to perform a web search almost instantly. The system will also offer up to 180 GB of cloud storage space. Sounds nice — but so did webOS…Baidu isn’t the only Chinese company looking to get in on the OS game. Local players like Hangzhou-based Alibaba and Shenzhen-based Huawei have announced similar cloud-based platforms recently…The current version of Yi is based on Android, but the Android you’d see in China isn’t our Android…it effectively removes Google from the picture. The core Android operating system is made up of a Linux kernel, licensed under GPL, with Apache middleware and user stacks. Major components of the upper layers, such as the Android Market, are Google’s to license. Chinese carriers gladly do without those core Google software products…the Chinese government requires special wireless internet technology (TD-SCDMA) on its mobile phones…Check out the video…to see Baidu Yi in action…”

Apps

13. App finds restaurants using your smartphone http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/5577899/App-finds-restaurants-using-your-smartphone Tired of digging through long-winded restaurant reviews to find a great meal? Next time, turn to your smartphone where personalised search engines will lead your stomach in the right direction…Ness Computing recently released a free iOS app that provides restaurant recommendations based on a user's personal tastes and information from friends gathered through social media sources such as Foursquare and Facebook. The app uses that information to calculate a "Likeness Score," which is the probability a user will enjoy a particular venue. Integration with social networks is optional, however, it is one way Ness can achieve more relevant results…The app, which some bloggers compare to Netflix (movies and TV) or Pandora (music) for restaurants, provides information such as addresses and phone numbers, check-ins, comments and tips from social networks…”

14. 10 Smartphone Apps For Weathering A Hurricane http://www.informationweek.com/articles/231600286 As Hurricane Irene makes her way up the East Coast, these essential mobile apps for iOS and Android can give you peace of mind--and critical information…If the winds are headed your way, this would be a good time to load up your smartphone with useful apps to help you track the storm, prepare for the worst, cope with emergencies as they arise, and get your life back on track when the storm passes…Hurricane for iPhone and Hurricane HD for iPad give you active updates of storm conditions, complete with essential projections and storm strength information. For Android users, the cleverly named Hurricane Software offers similar features to keep you up to date on storm conditions in real time…Once the storm passes, you may have some property damage to address. If you do, you'll want to have a good home inventory to help you deal with your insurance company. Home Inventory Photo Remote for iOS lets you quickly capture the important items for your home inventory by snapping a picture with your iPhone's camera, and it includes a barcode scanner to identify products instantly. If you take some time to capture an inventory of important items before the storm hits, you'll be in a better position to recover or replace lost or damaged property afterward. A good counterpart for Android users is MyHome Pro, which also includes the essential barcode scanner feature…”

15. Over a quarter of U.S. adults use location-based services http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20102136-94/over-a-quarter-of-u.s-adults-use-location-based-services/ Foursquare and similar location-based check-in apps might sound silly to some, but they're gaining in popularity nonetheless. A new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that at least 28 percent of U.S. adults have found a liking for mobile and social location-based services…Americans are not currently all that eager to share explicitly their location on social media sites, but they are taking advantage of their phones' geolocation capabilities in other ways. Smartphone owners are using their phones to get fast access to location-relevant information on-the-go…These numbers jump significantly when you account for smartphone owners only, probably because these sorts of utilities are really built for smartphones…”

16. Lanyrd To Make Conferences More Social http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/06/lanyrd-secures-1-4-million-in-seed-funding-to-make-conferences-more-social/ Lanyrd…bills itself as a social conference directory…The startup is a product of Y Combinator’s Winter 2011 batch, created by Simon Willison and Natalie Downe who came up with the idea on honeymoon in Egypt. (Funny story… yhey were in Casablanca, Morocco, fell ill and because it was Ramadan they couldn’t find food anywhere. So what else does a geek couple do than rent an apartment for two weeks and build the first version of a startup, of course…Part of the reason is that we think we have a much better chance of hiring an amazing team here as we don’t have to compete with Google, Facebook, Twitter and thousands of startups for top talent.” The pair decided on London, although YC, Start Fund, Index’s international network and their US angels provide a solid foothold in the US. Lanyrd could best be described as a place where you can find out about anyone who goes to or speaks at conferences. Instead of having to hunt down people bios and profiles across the social web, Lanyrd does it al for you. More importantly it aggregates links to slides, notes and videos from sessions once the event is complete…”

Open Source

17. DocVert Can Handle All Your Document Conversion Needs http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/490370-docvert-can-handle-all-your-document-conversion-needs Thought you'd be living in a Microsoft Office-free world by 2011? Unless you're in a Linux-only shop that does business only with other Linux-only shops, the chances are that dream remains a few years away, and you still have to drag out an office file converter periodically. The trouble is, each free software office suite has its own, and they vary in their capabilities. Enter DocVert, a worthy GPLv3-licensed utility to keep at the ready, thanks to its choice of CLI- and Web-based interface options, and its flexible output formatting…free software office suites don't offer much in the way of Web-centric conversion tools, and recreating content by hand is a colossal pain…in March of 2011, maintainer Matthew Holloway undertook a complete revision, re-writing the core in Python alone, without any PHP dependencies. The result of the effort is the 5.x series, which can be run as a Web service, or accessed at the command line…”

18. Open Source 'Quest' Project Aims to Reinvent Text Adventures for the Modern Web http://www.gamepro.com/article/news/222664/open-source-quest-project-aims-to-reinvent-text-adventures-for-the-modern-web/ Text adventures have provided some of the most iconic moments in gaming -- the "you are likely to be eaten by a grue" line popularized by MC Frontalot, for example, is familiar to even people who have never played Zork. But due to their lack of graphics, they're seen as a somewhat "hardcore" pastime -- particularly since the whole text adventure and interactive fiction movements went underground (no pun intended). We haven't seen a commercially available text adventure for many years, and that's probably understandable -- it likely wouldn't sell. Developer Alex Warren believes that the time is ripe for the genre to make a comeback, however, and he believes that titles such as Angry Birds and Dance Central have a part to play in this. Angry Birds and Dance Central are not text adventures, obviously, but they have played a huge role in the growth of gaming's mainstream acceptance, and Warren argues that text adventures have the potential to appeal to the same market…”

19. Open Source UDID Replacement For iOS: OpenUDID http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/01/appsfire-announces-open-source-udid-replacement-for-ios-openudid/ Appsfire, a mobile application marketing platform, is introducing its own solution for the issue created by Apple’s decision to phase out developer access to the UDID (unique device identifier) on iOS devices. It’s called OpenUDID. As you may have guessed by the name, this is an open source UDID initiative…The UDID, for those unaware, is an alphanumeric string unique to each Apple device, which is currently used by mobile ad networks, game networks, analytics providers, developers and app testing systems, like TestFlight, for example. In some cases, developers are even using the UDID to verify whether users are accessing their app from a new device…Last week, mobile gaming network OpenFeint introduced a its UDID alternative called OFUID, which provides a solution for the gaming developer community. Users who opt-in to OpenFeint’s new single-sign on system thereby give the developer access to this OFUID, a universal account system for the gaming network’s cross-platform users…As Appsfire is both a developer of consumer apps and an ad network, we sought a UDID replacement but were not interested in a solution owned by any single provider. We also foresaw a fragmented market where UDID management was operated by multiple providers with no cooperation between them. To help ourselves and thousands of other mobile app developers, we began working on the OpenUDID open source initiative. The company…also wants to enable OpenUDID to be accessed by any app, supply open-source code to generate and access the OpenUDID for iOS (and later, Android), and incorporate, from the beginning, a system that will enable users to opt-out…”

SkyNet

20. Google On The Verge Of Resurrecting “GDrive”? http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/31/gdrive-alive/ “…In 2008, GDrive was about to launch under Bradley Horowitz (now a lead on Google+), but Sundar Pichai (now the SVP of Chrome) convinced Google’s top executives not to launch it. The reason? He felt like the concept of a “file” was outdated (sounds more than a bit Jobsian) in the cloud-based universe that Google was trying to build. After some debate, the powers that be at Google agreed and GDrive was shelved, and the team moved over to the Chrome team…Something curious appeared this evening in the Chromium Code Reviews issue list…there was a ticket to add the URL drive.google.com to a list in the browser’s code…what’s most striking is that drive.google.com doesn’t appear to be referenced anywhere besides this one exposed ticket. This suggests that it’s either no big deal, or that Google is keeping this very secret…messaging in the one ticket indicates that drive.google.com has been added to the HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) list alongside other key Google apps like docs.google.com and spreadsheets.google.com. Another bit of code puts it alongside Android Market and Google Analytics…It sure seems like something is up. At the very least, Google does appear to be close to doing something with the drive.google.com domain…” [if Gdrive does launch with 25 GB, 50 GB or 1 TB of free storage, what would you do with it? – ed.]

21. Google shuts down Aardvark and 9 other products http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/09/google-shuts-down-aardvark-and-9-other-companies.html “…Larry Page's push to narrow the tech giant's focus and streamline operations continued on Friday with the announcement that the company was shutting down 9 projects and Aardvark, a side company that built a social search site…some of the products would be killed off, while others will be merged into existing products as features…All the Googlers working on these projects will be moved over to higher-impact products…Here's Eustace's rundown of the companies and projects in Google that have been shuttered: Aardvark…Desktop…Fast Flip…Google Maps API for Flash…Google Pack…Google Web Security…Image Labeler…Notebook…Sidewiki…Subscribed Links…”

22. G+Me Makes Google+ (Almost) Perfect http://www.businessinsider.com/gme-makes-google-almost-perfect-an-interview-with-huy-zing-2011-8 G+Me is one of our favorite Chrome extensions here at Google+ Insider's Guide. We love it because it's one of the most comprehensive extensions out there. It attempts to address the "noisy streams" issue, with list mode, and collapsible posts and comments. The creator, +Huy Zing, is very responsive to feedback, and he's been quick to address any issues that arise, including privacy concerns…I decided to ask him a few questions about his thoughts on Google+ and G+Me…Google+ took off very quickly in the tech community in Vietnam. This probably has to do with Facebook being blocked there, as it is in China, while Google+ isn't (yet). I've always been interested in Google and their technologies. I was once a high-profile user of Google's first foray into social networks: Orkut…I've been banned twice from the site, through no fault of my own. And to this day I remain inexplicably banned from Orkut…Luckily, I get a second chance to join in a Google community with Google's renewed attempt at defeating the social network juggernaut du jour…when writing an extension, you don't have access to a well-documented API, which means that you have to reverse-engineer the way a web site works by spending large amounts of time digging through the HTML and CSS, and using the JavaScript debugger to watch what's going on when, for example, a new post comes into Google+. In particular, Google+ is a very Ajax-heavy web site, where multiple parts of the page can update at any time, in many different ways. Exploring and handling all the myriad ways that data changes on the page can be very time consuming, but also very educational…”

23. Google Makes Huge Bid For Hulu http://www.reelseo.com/google-bidding-hulu/ “…Hulu is still pondering and discussing the various bids placed by interested new owners. These companies include Yahoo!, Amazon, DirecTV, and Google. But it seems Google is playing by its own set of auction rules, offering a much higher number than any of the other bidders in exchange for something more than Hulu is offering. Yahoo, Amazon, & DirecTV are all said to have bid between $1.5-$2 billion to purchase Hulu. And that purchase would apparently come with Hulu, Hulu Plus, and 2 years of exclusive content rights. All Things Digital speculates that Google might be after much more than 2 years for content licenses, because they’ve bid more than the others–perhaps as much as $1 or $2 billion more…”

24. Google+ API Launch Still Months Away http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/06/google-api-launch-still-months-away/ “…Although Google is hard at work on building the tools which would enable developers to build third-party applications for the new social networking service from the search giant, the API’s launch is still “months” away. The timeframe, amorphous and vague as it is, was revealed by a Google+ project manager to a Google+ developer, who has asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. And it’s certainly disappointing news for anxious Google+ enthusiasts and developers itching to launch or use apps that leverage the network’s unique capabilities, like Circles, Hangouts, Sparks and Huddles…”

General Technology

25. Amazon delivery locker trial at 7-Eleven http://www.slashgear.com/amazon-delivery-locker-trial-begins-friday-says-7-eleven-06177266/ Amazon’s in-store pick-up system…being…trialled at 7-Eleven stores, could open for service as early as this Friday…The concept is straightforward: customers ordering from Amazon but uncertain whether they will be at home or at the office will be able to direct their delivery to a locker at a nearby 7-Eleven store. Those lockers – which have various sizes of cabinets…will be managed by a keypad and monitor, similar to that of an ATM…there is no branding anywhere on the lockers…the expectation is that shoppers will be sent a unique passcode – unlocked via a barcode that can be printed out or flashed on a phone screen – that will allow them to claim their delivery when they choose. We’re guessing Amazon will have some sort of maximum time period in which that must be completed…”

26. Behind Intel's New Random-Number Generator http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hardware/behind-intels-new-randomnumber-generator/0 Imagine that it's 1995 and you're about to make your very first online purchase. You open your Netscape browser, sipping coffee as the home page slowly loads. You then navigate to Amazon.com, a new online bookstore your friend told you about. As you proceed to make your purchase and enter your payment information, the address your browser points to changes from one starting with "http" to one that begins with "https." That signals that your computer has established an encrypted connection with Amazon's server. This allows you to send credit card information to the server without worrying that an identity thief will intercept the transmission. Unfortunately…the supposedly secure transfer protocol your browser just followed wasn't very secure after all. The problem was that the secret keys Netscape was using weren't random enough. They were strings of only 40 bits, meaning there were around a trillion possible number combinations. That may seem like a lot, but hackers were able to break these codes…The best you can often do with a computer is to simulate randomness, generating what are called pseudorandom numbers by using some sort of mathematical procedure…Researchers have managed to devise pseudorandom-number generators that are considered cryptographically secure. But you must still start them off using a special seed value; otherwise, they'll always generate the same list…For several years, you could find an online source of random numbers, called Lavarand. It got its numbers from the pictures a computer took of the waxy blobs churning away inside lava lamps…in 2008 Intel set out to make a random-number generator that uses only digital hardware…Ironically, the solution this team came up with breaks a cardinal rule of digital design: that a circuit should be in a well-defined state, outputting only logical 0s or logical 1s. A digital circuit element can, of course, spend short periods switching between these two possible states. But it should never remain teetering, uncertain of which way to go. That would introduce delays and could even produce system failures. But in this random-bit generator, teetering is a feature, not a bug…”

DHMN Technology

27. WikiHouse: An open source home design and build kit http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/design-architecture/wikihouse-an-open-source-home-design-and-build-kit/549 A London based design and strategy firm wants to make designing and building your own home more possible and affordable. 00:/, the designers, have created an open source house design and construction kit named WikiHouse. WikiHouse will be open to anyone and everyone via a Creative Commons license. The entire project from design and construction of a prototype house to concept and building of the website was a collaboration with Momentum Engineering and Espians. 00:/ call their tools for open source design Open Hardware, something they have developed and refined in their open source furniture for various London offices. The Wikihouse website outlines the simple steps to designing, downloading and constructing your very own house. The basic process includes downloading designs of houses and components from the design community library and using a customized function in Google Sketchup to generate patterns for CNC cutting. The designs can also be altered and customized using Sketchup…”

28. Hobby Robotics with Free Software: Part 2 – Arduino http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/columns/hobby_robotics_free_software_part_2_arduino# “…my son and I want to explore robotics as a hobby and a learning experience. We don’t have an unlimited budget, so I wanted to do some estimating of what it would cost to do it using different technology standards. In the first part, I explored Lego Mindstorms, but the open-hardware (and free software) Arduino system has been getting better and better…Arduino is much newer, having only come into its own in the last few years. But it’s also a fully open-hardware (or Open Source Hardware — meaning that the plans are free for anyone to use to make Arduino components), and indeed, there are multiple Arduino suppliers to choose from. Software host environments for communicating with and programming Arduino controllers are available as free software packages in various well-established programming languages. The whole Arduino culture is very free and open…There are, however, kits from many other sources. On the high end, there is the Vex Protobot Set, which costs about $199.99. This is a very professional prototyping set which has been used in FIRST robotics competitions, and provides a similar level of complexity to the passive hardware included in the NXT kit. I’ve intentionally chosen a kit without a robot controller (the VEX controller kits use PIC-based controllers, whereas we want to use Arduino). It’s a relatively small kit for the price, which is the main drawback, although it is certainly very classy looking, and it does include servos. Another option, for about the same price, but with more parts, is the large M8 set ($199.95),from Merkur. Merkur is based in the Czech Republic, and has been manufacturing steel construction toys for many years — these are similar to the “Erector Sets” that I remember as a child, but are still in production…by combining Arduino and the Merkur building system we can do a little more than the Lego Mindstorms system in the previous column for a little bit less money (there’s some mismatch between the sensor systems we can use). It’s also going to be a little easier to scale up to larger robots using Arduino. Based on this, I think it’s very likely that we’d be better off to go with an Arduino system…”

29. Quadcopters used to deliver medicine and supplies to remote locations http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/08/quadcopters-used-to-deliver-medicine-and-supplies-to-remote-locations/ Getting aid out to remote locations, especially in developing countries may be difficult due to the fact that some of these locations may not be very accessible due to lack of roads. Startup company Matternet has created a quadcopter that basically gave those looking to deliver aid and support to rural areas a more effective way to achieve those goals. These quadcopters have been designed to deliver medicinal supplies, food and other materials to those living in rural areas. Naturally it will not be able to carry super heavy loads, but a 2KG load is expected to give the quadcopters a range of 10km, and they plan to use landing pads to act as beacons to guide the quadcopter’s GPS…”

Leisure & Entertainment

30. Starz Ends Renewal Negotiations With Netflix; Will Cease Content Distribution In 2012 http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/starz-ends-renewal-negotiations-with-netflix-will-cease-content-distribution-in-2012/2011/09/02/gIQAYWjHwJ_story.html Starz and Netflix have been embroiled in negotiations over the network’s premium movie content. For the past year…Starz has had ongoing discussions over the terms of the agreement, which is set to expire in February 2012…a renewal would cost Netflix more than $200 million per year…Starz issued a statement stating that renewal discussions with Netflix have ended and the network would be removing its content from the Netflix library once the agreement ends…”

31. United States loses video game jobs to Quebec http://news.yahoo.com/u-loses-video-game-jobs-quebec-185716412.html “…it is dark in the production room where more than 150 Ubisoft artists, animators and engineers are racing to finish the latest edition of "Assassin's Creed," one of this holiday's hotly anticipated games. They are working not from Ubisoft's headquarters in Paris or California, but in Montreal, Quebec. And they aren't alone. Quebec has become the preferred place for some of the biggest names in video games to set up shop…86 companies and 8,236 jobs have migrated to Quebec as a result of a government program under which 37.5 percent of a video game company's payroll is subsidized by the majority French-speaking province in the form of a refundable tax credit. Put another way, for every dollar a video game company spends on paying its development staff, it receives 37.5 cents from the Quebec government…"There's a buzz right now, just like how Hollywood was the place to make movies in the 1920s," said Charles Jolicoeur, a coordinator at Invest Quebec. Last year, Quebec spent $100 million on the program, up from $83 million in 2009 and significantly more than some U.S. states with similar programs…The province first set aside money for video games in 1996 after starting a program to jumpstart the film industry a year earlier. According to Jolicoeur, the aim was to move Quebec from a manufacturing economy to a "new economy" by creating artistic jobs for young people. Fifteen years later, the bet appears to have paid off…”

32. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Modded into One Console http://www.slashgear.com/playstation-3-and-xbox-360-modded-into-one-console-06177506/ It wasn’t a matter of IF it were going to happen, it was much more a matter of WHEN – and that time is now – a single box with two of the top gaming systems in the world running in and out of it, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Reddit user timofiend has found what he considers the perfect combination of two systems and a rather simple encasement for a single gaming unit that stomps out all others…Of course those offended by such claims that build-your-own PCs are out will be glad to know that without a doubt the culture is alive and well, not least of all here in this timofiend project. What the developer has reported thus far is no large problems on the software OR hardware front, noting instead that he’s working on an instructions list for those that hope to create the same setup in the near future…”

Economy and Technology

33. Postal Service Is Nearing Default as Losses Mount http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/business/in-internet-age-postal-service-struggles-to-stay-solvent-and-relevant.html The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances…Mr. Donahoe has been pushing…cost-cutting measures to erase the agency’s deficit, which will reach $9.2 billion this fiscal year. They include eliminating Saturday mail delivery, closing up to 3,700 postal locations and laying off 120,000 workers…despite a no-layoffs clause in the unions’ contracts. As any computer user knows, the Internet revolution has led to people and businesses sending far less conventional mail…decades of contractual promises made to unionized workers…are increasing the post office’s costs. Labor represents 80 percent of the agency’s expenses, compared with 53 percent at United Parcel Service and 32 percent at FedEx…sometime early next year, the agency will run out of money to pay its employees and gas up its trucks…Mail volume has plummeted with the rise of e-mail, electronic bill-paying and a Web that makes everything…instantly available…“This is about one of America’s oldest institutions,” he said. “It survived the telegraph, it survived the telephone, and we have to do everything we can to preserve it…” [what tech innovation opportunities would the death of the USPS create for entrepreneurs, or would you be able to do all the ‘hardcopy’ communications you need to do through faxing, FedEx and UPS? – ed.]

34. Ultrabook: Intel's $300 million plan to beat Apple at its own game http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2011/09/ultrabook-intels-300-million-plan-to-beat-apple-at-its-own-game.ars My desktop isn't the only computer I plan to replace in the next few months. I need a new laptop too, and my goal is simple: to find a 13" MacBook Air that isn't made by Apple. It turns out that I'm not the only one wanting this mythical non-Apple MacBook Air. Intel wants them too—it calls them Ultrabooks…Ultrabooks are ultralight PCs, like the MacBook Air, no more than 0.8" thick, like the MacBook Air…and they should boot in 7 seconds or less (which at a pinch, the MacBook Air can probably pull off, too)…The latest MacBook Air is a desirable machine in many ways. The size, weight, screen resolution, and battery life are all fantastic…Unfortunately, Apple…drives me up the wall in a number of ways that might seem insignificant to you, but which together simply wear me down. I've tried living with an Apple laptop day in, day out, and I just can't…a computer is essential to my job and my life…New PCs cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and I shouldn't have to settle for something that doesn't actually fit my needs. So that leaves me wanting a 13" MacBook Air that isn't made by Apple…” [is there a significant market for ‘ultrabooks’ and can Intel’s collaboration with laptop makers create a strong Mac laptop competitor, or is Intel mostly wasting their $300 million? – ed.]

35. Upstart gets jump on Amazon in India's nascent e-shopping market http://news.yahoo.com/upstart-gets-jump-amazon-indias-nascent-e-shopping-073203804.html “…when they were starting out, the Bansals would get on a motorbike to make the rounds of book warehouses around Bangalore, ride back to their two-bedroom apartment and package up orders for online customers. It was a humble beginning for Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, two ex-Amazon.com software developers who set out in 2007 to beat their old employer at its own game long before the world's top online retailer had even drawn up plans to enter the Indian market…we used to get on a motorbike, hold the shipment in our hands and personally deliver them to our Bangalore clients…Flipkart is now India's biggest online bookseller, with over 10 million titles distributed from warehouses in five cities. It has branched from books into mobile phones, appliances, gaming consoles, music and movies, and now sells 10 products a minute. It generated $11 million in sales last financial year, expects revenues to cross $100 million this year and is aiming at $1 billion by 2015…”

36. Yahoo's Bartz out as chief executive http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20102332-93/yahoos-bartz-out-as-chief-executive/ “…Carol Bartz…named Yahoo chief executive in January 2009, is no longer in the job, according to a report today from AllThingsD. The report goes on to say that Chief Financial Officer Tim Morse has been named interim CEO. When Bartz took over the CEO role from co-founder Jerry Yang in January 2009, the company was struggling to become more competitive and profitable. One of her first tasks as CEO was a reorganization of Yahoo in an attempt to make the Internet pioneer faster, simpler, and more responsive to those who use its services. But Yahoo has continued to founder under her leadership, never regaining the ground it lost to Web leader Google…”

Civilian Aerospace

37. Jeff Bezos' spaceship fails during test flight http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904716604576546712416626614.html “…An unmanned spaceship funded by Internet billionaire Jeff Bezos veered out of control and had to be destroyed during a recent test flight…The spacecraft, developed by closely held Blue Origin LLC, was on a suborbital flight from the company's West Texas spaceport last week when it started to go off course and ground personnel lost normal contact with the vehicle. Investigators are looking at remnants of the craft recovered on the ground to determine the cause…Blue Origin Friday posted a brief note on its website stating the spacecraft, while going faster than the speed of sound, suffered a "flight instability" at an altitude of 45,000 feet and the company's automated "range safety system" shut off all thrust and led to its destruction. The problem appeared to stem from thrusters that didn't respond properly to the initial commands…a squat, cigar-shaped rocketship with several thrusters at the bottom…which was the one that failed in last week's test, takes off vertically and, unlike rival spacecraft, apparently is designed to land vertically using its thrusters…According to NASA, the most recent award to Blue Origin is for work on a crew vehicle able to transfer up to seven astronauts to the orbiting station—first riding on top of a conventional Atlas V rocket and later powered by the company's reusable booster system intended to "dramatically lower the cost of space access." The federal money is targeted to speed development of a liquid-fueled engine, heat shields and a crew-escape system. The latest event isn't expected to have a direct impact on Blue Origin's access to federal dollars, government officials said, because the test didn't rely on federal funds and wasn't part of the company's development agreement with NASA…”

38. Domino's Pizza opening store on the Moon http://dvice.com/archives/2011/09/dominos-pizza-o.php Domino's Pizza Japan has just unveiled plans to construct a pizza restaurant on the Moon. Seriously. It's going to take 15 rocket launches and 14 billion dollars and will have dart boards and pool tables and delivery motorbikes and awesomeness…Domino's has apparently been planning this pizza moon base for an entire year now…For some ridiculously detailed schematics of what Domino's Moon Branch will look like when it's open for business, check out the gallery below…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

39. GPU-Accelerated Biophotonics http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16251&Itemid=99999999 “…Biophotonics refers to the interaction between biology and photonics. Photonics is a science that deals with the particle properties of light. A number of revolutionary applications have arisen in the field of photonics as a result of advancements in high technology and the miniaturization of solid-state optical/laser devices. A recent trend is the mapping of photonics technologies to the life sciences and medicine -- hence the term "biophotonics" was coined…One example is cancer diagnostics. The current, most widely-used methodology for cancer diagnosis is histological analysis with microscopy. However, morphological variations (and especially morphological changes associated with early grades of cancer tissue) are difficult to resolve regarding what type or sub-type of cancer is present. In our research, we are investigating the use of circular polarized light -- and the manipulation of the coherent properties of light -- to improve cancer diagnostics. The technique has the potential to revolutionize the ability to detect cancer at the very early stage…”

40. Climate science chewing up supercomputing resources http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/399723/climate_science_chewing_up_supercomputing_resources/ An "infinite" demand for Australia’s supercomputing resources could threaten the quality of climate change science if more high performance computing isn’t found, a leading academic in the field has warned…“We have an infinite demand for supercomputing and the quality of the predictions you can make are a combination of how good you are at the science you put into the models, and then how powerful the supercomputing you have got to run it on,” he said…“If Australia were to fall behind, significantly, its competitors, then that would threaten the quality of the science. That hasn’t happened. You don’t have to have the biggest computer in the world to be the best — because the quality of science is important. But, if you are so far behind everybody else [in supercomputing] … then it would be impossible maintain your competitiveness with colleagues in other countries.”…Demand for supercomputer access is not only coming from the climate science community. Australia’s bid for the $2.1 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope is a major driver behind the creation of the Pawsey high performance computing centre…In July Swinburne University of Technology moved ahead with its plans for the rollout of a hybrid CPU- and GPU-based supercomputer…”


*****

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home