2011/09/20

NEW NET Weekly List for 20 Sep 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 20 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. Hacker Fares http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-hacker-fares-20110914,1,2968712.story Hacker Fares sound downright illegal but they're not. Kayak recently coined the term that pops up in its airline searches along with "nonstops," "1 stop," etc., when you go airfare shopping at the online travel website…Hacker Fares allow you to book two one-way flights with separate airlines and separate tickets…The point, of course, is to save money. Savvy bargain hunters already know it's not rocket science to mix and match airlines to find a low price. I like the fact that Kayak makes it easy by displaying Hacker Fare options alongside other choices…”

2. YouTube video effects http://gigaom.com/video/youtube-image-stabilization/ YouTube users can now apply a number of Instagram-like effects to their videos, giving them a cartoonish or Lomo-like look with the click of a button. The effects are part of a new editing feature that also includes cropping and advanced image stabilization. Taking the shaking out of video uploads should go a long way towards making some of the amateur footage captured on mobile phones more watchable…Google’s engineers invented an entirely new approach toward image stabilization. The new editing functionality will be part of YouTube’s video page, where a new “Edit video” button will offer access to filters and other editing functionality. This type of post-processing is separate from YouTube’s video editor, which allows to produce new videos based on existing clips…Videos can be edited after uploading, and users can also add effects and stabilization to videos they’ve uploaded months or even years ago. The only constraint is that YouTube only allows edits to videos with less than a thousand views…”

3. Gamers solve protein-folding puzzle in ten days; had stumped scientists for years http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2039012/AIDS-cure-Gamers-solve-puzzle-stumped-scientists-years.html Videogame players have solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years…A team of gamers needed just ten days to produce an answer to an enzyme riddle that had eluded experts for more than a decade. The feat was accomplished using a collaborative online game called Foldit, which has been likened to Tetris and encourages players to fold a protein into intricate shapes…'People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at,' Seth Cooper, a UW computer scientist who is Foldit's lead designer and developer, explained. 'Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans.' For more than a decade, an international team of scientists has been trying to figure out the detailed molecular structure of an enzyme from an AIDS-like virus found in rhesus monkeys…There are millions of ways that the bonds between the atoms in the enzyme's molecules could twist and turn. To design the right chemical key, you have to figure out the most efficient, lowest-energy configuration for the molecule…The author list for the paper includes an acknowledgement of more than 57,000 Foldit players, which may be unprecedented on a scientific publication. The monkey-virus puzzle was one of several unsolved molecular mysteries that a colleague of Mr Khatib's at the university, Frank DiMaio, recently tried to solve…his method wasn't able to solve it,' Mr Khatib told MSNBC. So he and his colleagues put the puzzle to Foldit's teams to work on…'They actually did it in less than 10 days,' Mr Khatib told MSNBC…'The game is not only an interesting intellectual challenge… but it also provides a unique society of players driven by both individual and team rivalry with an overall purpose of improving the game and the results achieved,' she wrote…”

4. Chrome 14: The best Web browser keeps getting better http://www.zdnet.com/blog/networking/chrome-14-the-best-web-browser-keeps-getting-better-review/1469 “…When Firefox moved into its accelerated development path, Firefox really didn’t get much better. In fact, it’s been getting less stable. Google’s Chrome Web browser though just keeps getting better with every new release. Chrome 14, in my opinion, is now clearly the best Web browser for any operating system available today…When it comes to Web standards compatibility, Chrome 14 is a winner. On the Acid 3 compatibility test…Chrome had a perfect score. Firefox 6 had a score of 97 and IE had a 95. On the…HTML5 Test…Chrome…came in with 341 points out of a possible 450. Firefox 6.02 came in second with 313 and. IE 9.0.8 came in a distant last with 141…I use Chrome 14 on…Linux desktop distributions; Chrome OS on a Samsung Chromebook, Mac OS Snow Leopard and Lion and Windows XP and 7 PCs…two important new features aren’t going to be important to you in the short run, but it may be a different story in the long run…Web Audio application programming interface (API) lets developers create interesting sounds effects for games and applications…A far more significant feature is that Chrome 14 now supports C and C++ applications in Google’s Native Client SDK…Native client lets developers create local applications that run locally within Chrome…instead of just running applications off the Web, you’ll be able to run local applications at your machine’s full speed instead of at your Internet’s speed…since Native Clients run within the Chrome security sandbox, they’re much safer than most applications…Google wants Chrome to be just not your browser, but your operating system as well…it’s also becoming more popular by the day…in some South American countries, Chrome is already the number one Web browser…”

5. Comcast's $9.99 Internet for low-income families goes nationwide http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/09/comcasts-launches-999-internet-for-low-income-families.ars Comcast rolled out its Internet Essentials program nationwide today, offering low-income families in its service territory $10/month Internet connections and access to $150 computers. Any family with at least one child who qualifies for the free lunch program at public schools can subscribe to a low-speed (1.5Mbps) Comcast Internet connection for $9.95 a month. Comcast guarantees that it won't raise the price and offers the plan without equipment rental or activation fees…Comcast has agreed to sign up families to the program for at least three years, and it also promises to provide free Internet and computer training to those who need it…”

Gigabit Internet

6. D-Link HD Media Router 2000 and PowerLine AV 500 Premium Home Networking Solutions http://www.marketwatch.com/story/d-link-expands-amplifitm-family-of-premium-home-networking-solutions-2011-09-14 “…With the increased usage of wirelessly-connected devices in homes, there is a huge demand for stronger and more reliable network connections…the HD Media Router 2000 offers simultaneous N600 Dual Band (300Mbps + 300Mbps) for streaming HD videos and surfing the web at the same time. HD Fuel enables the built-in Quality of Service (QoS) engine to automatically prioritize high bandwidth activities for uninterrupted HD video streaming, gaming and VoIP calling…with a USB 3.0 port…It also includes an SD Card slot for sharing media files with anyone on the home network, whether it's a photo or movie file. The PowerLine AV 500 Gigabit Switch Kit…features D-Link's PowerLine AV 500 four-port Gigabit Switch…and one PowerLine AV 500 Adapter…for simple, secure, fast connectivity to hard-to-reach places in the home, such as a basement or attic…with a fast 500Mbps transfer rate…”

7. Santa Monica gigabit network get a Government IT Innovator Award http://santamonica.patch.com/articles/sm-gets-big-award-for-broadband-network “…the city's 10 gigabit fiber optic network is one of the main reasons new technology and media firms pick Santa Monica as their home base…The leading-edge broadband initiative, Santa Monica City Net, earned a Government IT Innovator Award at the 2011 InformationWeek 500 Conference…In addition to providing speeds of 10 gigabits per second, City Net was also noted for reaching a 67 percent cost reduction…In Santa Monica, local businesses can lease dark fiber from the city. Also, businesses can use lit fiber, at affordable rates, at speeds of 100Mbps, 1Gbps and 10Gbps…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

8. Rise Of Android Botnets http://www.informationweek.com/news/231601419 “…breaking into connected devices and compromising online identities is big business, and smartphones are the next front in the cybercrime battlefield…until recently, mobile exploits typically didn't involve a persistent takeover of the device and active communication with a C&C botnet. As the report concludes, "two-way Internet communication now makes the mobile market as susceptible to criminal breach activity as desktop devices."…Just how easy is it to create and control an Android botnet? This was demonstrated last winter at ShmooCon…Weidman's code inserts itself into the phone's modem driver…ingeniously using the SMS messaging protocol to control the underlying malware. SMS makes a great C&C channel…since it's fault-tolerant…hard for security teams to monitor…and…power-efficient. That's critical because IP traffic, over Wi-Fi or 3G, is one of the biggest smartphone battery drains. By using a lightweight protocol like SMS, botnet operators can have a relatively chatty dialog with their slave devices without tipping the owners off that something might be amiss on their phones…Installation follows the typical path of getting someone to install a Trojan app…The malicious beauty of a smartphone or tablet bot is the very mobility of the host; its nomadic network transience exposes the malware to more victims…”

9. Mebromi: the first BIOS rootkit in the wild http://blog.webroot.com/2011/09/13/mebromi-the-first-bios-rootkit-in-the-wild/ “…a Chinese security company…blogged about a new BIOS rootkit hitting Chinese computers. This turned to be a very interesting discovery as it appears to be the first real malware targeting system BIOS since…IceLord in 2007. The malware is called Mebromi and contains a bit of everything: a BIOS rootkit specifically targeting Award BIOS, a MBR rootkit, a kernel mode rootkit, a PE file infector and a Trojan downloader. At this time, Mebromi is not designed to infect 64-bit operating system and it is not able to infect the system if run with limited privileges. The infection starts with a small encrypted dropper that contains five crypted resource files: hook.rom, flash.dll, cbrom.exe, my.sys, bios.sys…The infection is clearly focused on Chinese users, because the dropper is carefully checking if the system it’s going to infect is protected by Chinese security software Rising Antivirus and Jiangmin KV Antivirus…the…CIH/Chernobyl infection…virus discovered in 1998…was able to flash the motherboard BIOS, erasing it. Even CIH needed to gain kernel mode access to reach the BIOS, though at the time the virus was exploiting a privilege escalation bug in Windows 9x operating system…Mebromi does not use such kind of privilege escalation trick anymore, it just needs to load its own kernel mode driver which will handle the BIOS infection…it uses two methods: it could either extract and load the flash.dll library which will load the bios.sys driver, or it stops the beep.sys service key, overwriting the beep.sys driver with its own bios.sys code, restart the service key and restore the original beep.sys code…”

10. Sony wants gamers to sign away their rights to sue http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2110015/sony-gamers-sign-away-rights-sue “…seemingly determined to totally alienate its beleaguered users, Sony has decided to force them to hand over their legal rights or stop using its systems…Sony will ban any users that decide to push ahead with plans to collectively sue it over its security breaches…Sony has amended its Playstation Network (PSN) terms and conditions and will demand that its players agree to these the next time that they log in. Anyone that does not agree to its new terms will not be able to sign in…what they do is rule out the possibility of participating in class action lawsuits…Anyone that wants to opt out can write to Sony, which seems like a perfectly unreasonable stage in any online casual gaming service, and request so…”

11. Judge worries recording police will lead to excessive "snooping around" http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/09/judge-worries-recording-police-will-lead-to-excessive-snooping-around.ars Judge Richard A. Posner isn't known for his genteel treatment of parties whose arguments he doesn't agree with. When an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union began to make his opening statement at a Tuesday oral argument, Posner cut him off after 14 words. "Yeah, I know," he said dismissively. "But I'm not interested, really, in what you want to do with these recordings of peoples' encounters with the police." The topic was the constitutionality of the unusually strict Illinois wiretapping law, which makes it illegal to record someone without his consent even if the recording is done openly and in a public place…But Judge Posner wasn't having it. "Once all this stuff can be recorded, there's going to be a lot more of this snooping around by reporters and bloggers," he said…Last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit handed down a unanimous ruling in the Simon Glik case. That case held that Glik had a "clearly-established" First Amendment right to record the actions of the police on the Boston Common, and that police officers should have known this when they arrested him. Civil libertarians are hoping a second ruling in Illinois will help cement the principle that audio recording is an activity protected by the First Amendment…”

12. Mandatory e-verify system could threaten jobs and privacy http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/09/mandatory-e-verify-system-could-threaten-jobs-and-privacy.ars The House Judiciary Committee is considering legislation that would require employers nationwide to query a federal database in order to check a potential worker's eligibility under immigration law. This "e-verify" system has been in operation for several years, but in most states using it has been optional. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee… introduced a new version of the legislation that removed a key privacy safeguard. Previous versions had required that the database only be used for checking employment eligibility. But the new version allows the database to be…much more widely…available to anyone who is responsible for "granting access to, protecting, securing, operating, administering, or regulating part of the critical infrastructure."…in recent years…a handful of mostly Southern states have mandated that employers use the system. The Smith bill would make the system mandatory nationwide. Employers would be required to submit a new worker's identifying information to a national database, which would either confirm the worker's eligibility or respond with a "tentative non-confirmation." In the event of a non-confirmation, an eligible worker would be required to visit the Social Security Administration in an effort to correct the error…”

13. OnStar Begins Spying On Customers’ GPS Location For Profit http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=1270 I canceled the OnStar subscription on my new GMC vehicle today after receiving an email from the company about their new terms and conditions. While most people, I imagine, would hit the delete button when receiving something as exciting as new terms and conditions, being the nerd sort, I decided to…read it instead…OnStar’s latest T&C has some very unsettling updates to it, which include the ability to sell your personal GPS location information, speed, safety belt usage, and other information to third parties, including law enforcement. To add insult to a slap in the face, the company insists they will continue collecting and selling this personal information even after you cancel your service, unless you specifically shut down the data connection to the vehicle after canceling…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

14. Meta Watch update: the smartphone on your wrist http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27165/ “…Your smart phone is now the center of your universe, itself having unearthed--and eradicated--heaps of previous annoyances (the annoyance of not having the Internet on your person, the annoyance of asking for directions, the annoyance of planning ahead, the annoyance of having to remember things...). But there's one annoyance the smart phone hasn't solved--that of having to constantly reach into your pocket to fish the thing out. Enter the "smartwatch." This week, it was announced that Meta Watch, a smart-watch division within Fossil, had been purchased…A group of investors, led by former Nokia executive Juha Pinomaa…announced this week that they had bought Meta Watch…The company will be based in Dallas, with an R&D entity in Espoo, Finland…Folks who have gone hands-on (wrists-on?) with smart watches comment on how surprisingly useful they can be. Basically, a smart watch can connect to your smart phone and distill the pulse of that device--e-mails pushed, SMS's received, and so forth--displaying that data on the watch's face. How often does your phone buzz in your pocket, announcing a text message that may or may not require your immediate attention? A well-made smart watch can enable you, with a subtle glance at your wrist, to make that determination effortlessly…if future smart watches come with an NFC payment mechanism…it could be easy to…run to the bodega without the need to find my wallet beforehand…Meta Watch…seems to get smart watches better than any other, all the more reason to be excited by…the company's stated goal to put out $200 watches this month in the U.S…”

15. Android is helping Google win the battle for local http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/story/how-android-helped-google-win-battle-local/2011-09-14 “…Extending Google products to the mobile platform is essentially why Android exists…What is surprising is how much Android device owners rely on Google solutions to the exclusion of almost all other apps. After analyzing each app's "active reach"--i.e., the percentage of Android owners who used it within the past 30 days--Nielsen reported this week that five of the six most dominant Android apps are Google properties…Android Market storefront claims the top spot with an overall active reach of 90.5 percent, followed by Google Maps (74.6 percent), Gmail (74.5 percent) and lone exception Facebook (73.5 percent). Google Search (71.9 percent) and YouTube (51.4 percent) are next on the list--from there, the usage dropoff is steep…Google owns the Android user experience lock, stock and barrel…Even the new Google+ social networking service already boasts an active monthly reach of 11.8 percent, not far behind the established Twitter at 14.9 percent…It's a suite of mobile services unrivaled in scope and reach by competitors like Microsoft and Yahoo, and it gives Google a virtually insurmountable lead in the race for the real prize: The local advertising market. Popular Android services like Google Search and Google Maps are key. These are core Google services, synonymous with the brand, and mobile access makes them even more meaningful. The Nielsen data suggests that the number of on-the-go Android owners accessing Google mobile apps each month to obtain personalized, location-specific information already totals in the tens of millions, and as user behaviors continue to migrate from the desktop to mobile devices, those numbers will only grow. The only piece missing from the equation is local-specific user feedback and recommendations--which is why last week Google acquired ratings service and local reviews provider Zagat…”

16. Nvidia Quad-Core Chip Includes A Fifth, Low-Power Core http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110920-708707.html Nvidia Corp.'s quad-core mobile chip includes an interesting feature: a fifth core, which the company says will allow the processor to consume less power than dual-core chips from rivals such as Qualcomm Inc…Kal-El has five cores, allowing it to consume less power than dual-core chips from rivals Qualcomm and Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN), as well as Nvidia's Tegra 2 chip…The fifth core in Kal-El is a super low-power version of the other cores, running tasks that don't need a lot of computing power…The fifth core was made in a different process technology than the others, he said. Its transistors, which are the basis of chips, aren't as fast as those in the other cores, but that reduces the amount of current being leaked and lowers energy consumption. "The other cores are high-speed cores," Rayfield said. "They burn more power, but you only turn them on when you need them...If that fifth processor turns on and burns even less power than anything else, then your average power for the use case goes down…”

Apps

17. SugarSync Adds Text Editing to iOS App, Mobile Device Management to Android http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sugarsync-adds-text-editing-and-increased-productivity-to-ios-app-brings-powerful-mobile-device-management-to-android-devices-2011-09-20 SugarSync…announced that it has updated its SugarSync for iOS and SugarSync for Android apps…we're introducing a built-in simple text editor for iPhones and iPads, enabling you to create or edit plain text files directly within the app and have those files automatically synced to all of your computers and devices. Now you are not required to purchase a third-party text editing app…We've added a new menu bar that lets you quickly sort files, upload photos & videos, and even create new folders or text files on any computer or shared folder…You can also upload photos and videos directly to any folder on any device, making it easier to transfer your large media files from your iOS device to your computers…Now you can select multiple files and folders at a time and sync them all to your device for offline access with one click. Are you sitting in the airport, about to board a flight, and need to sync a bunch of folders to your iPad so that you can work on the files on the plane? Simply select all the folders you need, and with one click, they will all be synced locally to your device…Mobile Device Management feature gives you the ability to view and control the data on your Android mobile devices from within the SugarSync Web console, making it the easiest way to get files from your computer to your Android phone or tablet…”

18. Smartphones Help Fix Potholes In Baltimore http://www.informationweek.com/news/government/mobile/231601694 Potholes pose a problem in nearly every community…potholes can lead to accidents and property damage. The City of Baltimore is arming its citizens with a way to help combat the pothole problem, via the new Baltimore Spot Reporters application…Members of the community use the software to report to their local government on issues such as potholes, graffiti, power outages, downed trees, trash, property damage, broken equipment, and other non-emergency problems. Citizens file the reports directly from their handsets--complete with images… in the first 14 days of use, Baltimore has received over 1,000 mobile reports. The application…also allows community members to monitor if the problems are resolved in real-time…Boston uses it in its Citizens Connect service, too. The company claims to have tens of thousands of resident users across a handful of cities…”

19. Appcelerator Launches Open Mobile Marketplace, An App Store For App Components http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/19/appcelerator-launches-open-mobile-marketplace-an-app-store-for-app-components/ “…Appcelerator, makers of the cross-platform Titanium platform for building mobile, tablet and desktop applications, is today announcing the launch of the “Appcelerator Open Mobile Marketplace.” The new store…includes mobile app modules, templates, design elements, cloud extensions and other components for the Appcelerator developer community to use. At launch, the store will offer 50 mobile solutions from PayPal, Salesforce, Millennial Media, AdMob, Box.net, Dropbox, Bump, TestFlight, GetGlue, DoubleClick, Greystripe, Omniture (Adobe), Flurry, Scanbuy, Twilio, Urban Airship and others. It will also include mobile gaming modules like Gamekit, OpenGL (graphics) and Box2D (physics)…”

20. Open Mobile App Directory wants to be the Wikipedia of apps http://venturebeat.com/2011/09/14/open-mobile-app-directory-launch/ “…Open Mobile App Directory (OMAD), a new site by Orange Silicon Valley, aims to be the one app directory to rule them all…OMAD aims to be an alternative to typical app stores, like Apple’s App Store or the Android Market, where it’s easy for quality apps to be ignored, and which don’t allow for community participation (aside from rating apps)…OMAD will be competing with other app directories and discovery services, such as GetJar and Chomp, but Chervirala tells us the technology could also be used by those sites to improve their own app listings. He notes that its competitors don’t offer the same community management features as OMAD…The directory began in 2009 as a project of the Silicon Valley arm of the French telecom company Orange…”

21. The Mobile App Juggernaut Is Only Just Beginning http://www.arcticstartup.com/2011/09/20/the-mobile-app-juggernaut-is-only-just-beginning There’s a lot of noise lately about whether or not mobile apps are sustainable, or have any future. But so far, and despite some real challenges and issues, mobile apps have been nothing short of success…The majority of revenue generated by app stores today still comes from the top 100 apps and the “long tail” is often ignored…The market has been growing exponentially in the past 18 months, and it’s showing tremendous potential for further growth. An average smartphone user has 65 apps per device today, according to Flurry, while mobile apps are predicted to generate anywhere from $6 to $10B this year…Developers love new challenges brought on by nascent platforms – it presents an opportunity for them to race again for top prizes…Android and iOS will co-exist. While it looks like Apple will attract heavy spenders, Android enable distribution to the masses…there is so much more to mobile apps than gaming! Messaging, Pictures, Utilities, Education, Music are just some examples…Mobile and mobile applications are key areas of focus for Accel globally and we have invested in leading companies such as Spotify and Rovio…with companies like Tiny Speck, a next generation social gaming company, Qriously, a platform to measure real time sentiment on the mobile, and Lookout, a leader in smartphone security…”

Open Source

22. Intel invests millions in university research, but demands open source tech in return http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/intel-invests-millions-in-university-research-but-demands-open-source-tech-in-return-20110914/ “…We are all experiencing the mess that patents causes, you only have to look at the number of mobile patent lawsuits there are to see how ridiculous a situation is…some of the biggest players in the tech field are taking action to stop it happening in the future. One of those companies is Intel. Intel wants to and needs to invest in research, and part of that effort involves supporting students at universities. The company does this through a range of measures including creating Intel Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) on campus, focused on specific areas of technology development. Intel offers to fund such centers with $2.5 million a year for 5 years going directly to the university…This all sounds great for the university, but there is one other clause to them signing up for a center. The university and the researchers have to agree that everything they create and develop must be open sourced…anyone can use the end result of the research without fear of lawsuits or royalties. If you are wondering if enforced open source is putting universities off signing up to host ISTCs, it isn’t. Stanford University has a Visual Computing ISTC, Berkeley has a Secure Computing center, and Carnegie Mellon has both a Cloud Computing and Embedded Computing ISTC…”

23. Are Mobile-Style Interfaces Leaving Desktop Power Users Behind? http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/240163/are_mobilestyle_interfaces_leaving_desktop_power_users_behind.html “…Windows 8…touch-enabled, mobile-style Metro interface…reminds me a great deal of Ubuntu Linux's Unity. Both Unity and Metro borrow heavily from the mobile world, and for that reason seem likely to appeal to an increasingly mobile-minded world of consumers…I'm not so sure…these types of interfaces are right for the desktop, and especially for the power users…Touch…is not particularly well-suited for long periods of time at the desktop--my arms hurt just thinking about it…Then, too, there's the difference between content consumption--visiting Facebook and watching YouTube videos, for instance, both of which are easily done within the mobile paradigm--and content production, which tends to be done on desktops and requires much more involved interaction with the computer. I don't have any statistics to offer about Unity, but…a significant contingent of longtime Ubuntu users have protested vehemently the fact that it has been made the default…there may be growing demand for a desktop operating system that isn't based on the mobile paradigm…Arch Linux, for example, eschews the popular graphical installer in favor of a text-based one, and it focuses primarily on simplicity…The base system includes only the fundamental necessities; from there, it's up to users to customize it however they want…other Linux distributions…focus on higher-end users--Arch certainly isn't the only one, and it won't be the right one for everyone. Arch does currently occupy DistroWatch's No. 6 spot for popularity among Linux distributions, however, and it's on the rise. Ubuntu, Mint and several of the other top distributions, by contrast, are on a downward trend…”

SkyNet

24. Your smartphone camera is now smarter with Goggles 1.6 http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2011/09/your-smartphone-camera-is-now-smarter.html “…we launched a new version of Google Goggles that enhances the camera on your Android-powered phone. With this new opt-in feature in Goggles, you can simply photograph an image using your phone’s camera, and Goggles will work in the background to analyze your image. If your photo contains items that Goggles can recognize, the app will notify you. Let’s say that I’m going on vacation, and I decide to use my Android-powered phone as my primary camera. Goggles would identify landmarks, paintings and other interesting objects in my photos…Photos you take with your phone’s camera will only be seen by Goggles if you enable the Search from Camera feature…”

25. +Snippets on Google Maps: if you can see it, you can share it http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/snippets-on-google-maps-if-you-can-see.html “…We recently launched +snippets…making it easy to visit a webpage and then share it on Google+…today we're bringing +snippets to Google Maps. Suppose you’re planning a weekend trip to Napa. Your packing list probably includes driving directions, hotel information and a list of nearby wineries…with +snippets, Google+ users can easily share directions or places…with fellow travelers…Google Maps joins other Google products like Books, Offers and Product Search in having +snippets…We’ll be rolling out +snippets to many more Google products in the future…

26. Spanning adds Gmail to its Google Apps backup service http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/spanning-adds-gmail-to-its-google-apps-backup-service-courts-businesses/57261 Spanning on Tuesday will roll out its latest backup service for Google Apps and add Gmail to the mix…CEO Charlie Wood said customers were frequently requesting Gmail backup. While Wood’s company competes with Backupify in areas, Spanning is going deep with its business focus while its rival is more horizontal…Wood said that enterprises have contacted Spanning about a pick-and-choose backup approach to Gmail. For instance, companies may want to back up email from executives and the legal team, but not rank and file workers. Spanning charges $30 a year per user for backup…”

27. Why Google's move into flight search means little for Adioso & Hipmunk http://tomhoward.co/why-googles-move-into-flight-search-means-lit “…the inbox and Twitters were abuzz. Google had launched a flight search product…commenters asserted with customary certainty that this would spell death for travel startups like Hipmunk…on the day that Google has finally launched its flight search product to the world, we couldn't be less fazed by it, and we think every other travel search startup should feel the same way…as a startup, to believe Google Flight Search destroys your own prospects is to believe that being Google is all it takes to own 100% of the travel search market…Some adore Hipmunk, some hate it. Some are excited by Adioso - its potential or its reality - and some don't understand why anyone would ever want it. Some…just carry on using Kayak…Adioso was never a search tool to win largely-satisfied customers away from other established players. It was a product we built for ourselves, which then found an audience of people who agreed with our ideas on the way travel search should work…When we heard about Hipmunk, we naively worried they'd copy our ideas…as soon as we saw their product we realised it was nothing like ours and was built to serve very different needs…I think the same about Google. Google is building the sort of travel search product that Google would build…They'll probably add features conceived by Adioso, Hipmunk and…other travel search companies. But they can't do everything. They can't please all of the people all of the time. More so than in just about any other industry, they can't do it in travel search…”

28. Google buys 1000+ more IBM patents http://www.pcworld.com/article/240090/google_acquires_over_1000_ibm_patents.html Google has acquired over 1,000 patents from IBM, as part of its strategy to strengthen its patent portfolio to counter litigation…Google also acquired another over 1,000 patents from IBM in July. It transferred recently some patents to smartphone maker HTC to help it pursue patent litigation against Apple…Like the patents from the previous patent transaction between Google and IBM, the range of inventions covered in the new set of patents is pretty broad, including desktop and server hardware, computer security, database processes, circuit design, parallel database systems and architecture, user authentication, creditcard/smartcard testing…”

29. Google+ API launched http://news.cnet.com/8301-13846_3-20106919-62/google-api-launches-today/ The Google+ team today announced the launch of its public data APIs. These APIs allow you to retrieve the public profile information and public posts of Google+ users in order to share content, profiles, and conversations across applications…"Google+ gives users full control over their information, supporting everything from intimate conversations with family to public showcases and debates…This initial API release is focused on public data only--it lets you read information that people have shared publicly on Google+." The APIs are standards based so developers don't have to learn a new programmatic style, and include a number of open-source libraries to avoid writing HTTP requests--which in the past have functioned as the interface into applications. The code libraries are available in a number of languages including Java, GWT, Python, Ruby, PHP, and .NET…”

30. Google+ open to everyone http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_18936276?source=most_viewed Three months after the Google (GOOG)+ social network launched on an invitation-only basis, Google is opening up the gates to everybody -- at least everyone old enough to vote…"We're nowhere near done, but with the improvements we've made so far we're ready to move from field trial to beta, and introduce our 100th feature: open signups…”

31. Google+ Search and Hangout improvements http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/google-92-93-94-95-96-97-98-99-100.html “…Hangouts currently supports Android 2.3+ devices with front-facing cameras (and iOS support is coming soon)…sometimes you want to speak to a large audience, or alternatively, view as a spectator. In these cases a public broadcast is what’s needed, so today we’re introducing Hangouts On Air…just start a normal hangout, and you’ll have the option to broadcast and record your session. Once you’re “On Air,” up to nine others can join your hangout (as usual), and anyone can watch your live broadcast…Hangouts has always included a basic set of in-room actions (like group chat and co-viewing of YouTube videos), but we want to make it easier to do a lot more. That’s why we’re previewing some extras, including…Screensharing…Sketchpad…Google Docs…Named Hangouts…click “Try Hangouts with extras” in the green room…today we’re bringing Google’s search expertise to Google+. Just type what you’re looking for into the Google+ search box, and we’ll return relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web…”

32. Google Wallet: A Hands-On in the Real World http://www.pcworld.com/article/240218/google_wallet_a_handson_in_the_real_world.html “…Google Wallet…debuts today--for now, available only on the Sprint Nexus S 4G phone. The app is the latest to use Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to facilitate payments--customers pay for items in brick-and-mortar shops by tapping their phone to a vendor’s PayPass reader, a small box for transmitting data that can be found in major retailers like Macy’s, Whole Foods, and McDonald’s…Google partnered with MasterCard, which has been using NFC chips on some of its credit cards since 2003, and originally developed the PayPass reader…while it’s extraordinarily cool when it works, the experience isn’t seamless yet…I found that the PayPass readers in merchants’ stores were often broken or malfunctioning, something Google and MasterCard need to fix quickly…Google Wallet app currently links only with Citibank MasterCards or Google Prepaid Cards (which you can use to load money from other debit accounts)…(Editor's Note: Shortly after Google Wallet was announced today, Visa announced that their customers will now will be able to link their Visa Cards to Google's new app.)…When the PIN isn’t entered, the chip is turned off, and when the phone’s screen is off, the NFC antenna is off, so that you can’t, say, have the phone in your pocket and “accidentally” purchase something, or have your money stolen via a malicious NFC reader…there are also options to add and use loyalty cards (if you frequent a vendor that offers these, you can manage your transactions through this), discounts from Google Offers (any coupons you might receive through Google Shopper will be pushed to this part of Google Wallet), and you can view your payment history…the cashier seemed seriously indifferent to my ability to pay with my phone, which surprised me a bit. But one of the great advantages of Google Wallet is how natural it starts to feel. Once you’ve paid with your phone a few times…it starts to become as natural as pulling out an old-school credit card…neither of these two failed tap-to-pay experiences were the fault of Google’s app, but rather the fault of the PayPass readers in the vendor’s stores…Google’s Wallet app is a really easy way to pay for things when it works, and when the app itself stalled, it corrected the error relatively quickly. The weak link in the chain are the vendors’ PayPass readers, which need to work better…” http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2011-09-19/google-wallet/50468558/1 “…for Google the payments business "is kind of the gravy more than anything else. Where the real value is and where Google has an interesting play is in advertising, couponing, location based services and all that…” http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2393246,00.asp “…Google Wallet replaces the act of pulling out a wallet, handing over credit card, and signing your name with pulling out your smartphone, firing up an app, punching in a four-digit PIN number, and tapping your phone against a payment reader…it takes less than 18 minutes for a hacker, or even someone with a fancy calculator, to guess a four-digit numeric PIN…PCMag's lead security analyst Neil Rubenking says the four-digit PIN authentication prevents him from trusting Google Wallet…if someone uses a brute-force attack, the method of simply going through different permutations of keys, it only takes…18 minutes to crack a 4-digit numeric PIN…In August, Sophos found that 67 percent of consumers don't use a password to protect their mobile phones. And if you do, please, Sophos begs of you, don't make it one of the 10 most common mobile PIN numbers, shown on the chart below…”

33. Google SMASH: Why No Industry Is Safe http://gizmodo.com/5840045/google-smash-why-no-industry-is-safe “...Google loves...playing in other people's sandboxes...Here's how they do it, and why it matters...Google's latest victim: the lowly travel site...You could check out the usual suspects, Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, maybe even Travelocity and its creepy little gnome...It all seemed perfect until Google rolled up with its new Flight Search feature. In addition to the usual "let's fly from point A to point B" flight search, the service quickly, and intuitively, narrows down flight results based on number of stops, airlines, price, connections, and flight times...What's different is how easy Google makes it, bypassing the redundant "start new search" hassles of most established travel sites. Bar none this is the quickest and easiest way to find flight...heaven help the travel sites Google tacks on hotel and car rental options...MapQuest was the Magellan of the Internet until Google Maps appeared. But then suddenly Google Map results appeared every time you searched for a business or address...Hotmail and Yahoo mail? Totally respectable providers—until Gmail. When Gmail beta launched in 2004, it offered a full 1GB of storage, compared to the paltry 2MB-4MB offered by other email services...Firefox! Everyone loved it, totally wiped the floor with Internet Explorer. And then Chrome came along, sucking up market share like a cracked out Dyson...Google's even made itself obsolete; its YouTube purchase crushed Google Video. And once you've cornered the cat video market, you control the Internet...But why do Google tentacles keep reaching farther and farther? And how are they sogood at it?...Google can afford to run those businesses at break-even, or in some cases at a loss. All they care about, other than global domination, is getting people on the internet. Because if you're online, you're being served a Google ad, or providing information that goes into a Google database that helps, yep, sell more ads...Take the Google Fiber experiment. The company is installing a 1Gb /per sec broadband network into a community in order to bring the next generation high speed connection to the masses. How does that help Google? The faster the pipe, the more often people will be on the Internet searching for videos, games, and using their services...Of course Google's giant piggy bank doesn't always yield success...Google TV could be great...Wave and Buzz were verifiable busts...Android tablets are still in their infancy, with a long, long road ahead before they catch up to iPad in either quantity or quality...It doesn't matter. Maybe if Google were a set-top box company or a social network or a manufacturer. But they're not. They're an advertising agency...every single Google+ account, every last Galaxy Tab, those two Google TVs that they sold: they're all just added value...And the more pervasive the internet becomes in our lives, the more Google will be...”

General Technology

34. Predator-style heat vision for soldiers http://news.discovery.com/tech/tech-gives-soldiers-predator-style-vision-110909.html “…Regular night-vision goggles are good, but not good enough. Sure, they let a soldier see at night as well as he would by day -- but they don't let him see any better. That just changed. A new device developed over seven years by Optics1 gives warfighters "Predator"-style vision to better tag those terrorists and other threats. Only recently made available, the COTI (Clip On Thermal Imager) adds the ability to see thermal signals to existing night-vision devices. The human eye sees light with a wavelength between 400 and 700 nanometers, while a night-vision device may see up to around 900, closing in on the infrared range. The COTI amps up the warfighter's vision to a whole different spectrum…COTI's long-wave infrared technology allows a warfighter to "see" even in pitch-black or no light conditions. By using an 8- through 10-micron range, it can give the user "sight" in spite of smoke, foliage, fog, rain and other adverse conditions where standard devices provide only limited capability. While basic camouflage can defeat ordinary night-vision devices, it can't fool the COTI's ability to detect thermal sources. It can even identify whether a vehicle or a room has been recently occupied by "seeing" residual heat signatures…”

35. MSU develops laser to detect roadside bombs http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2011/09/msu_develops_laser_to_detect_r.html A Michigan State University research team has developed a laser that could detect roadside bombs…The laser, which has comparable output to a simple presentation pointer, potentially has the sensitivity and selectivity to canvas large areas and detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) -- weapons that account for around 60 percent of coalition soldiers’ deaths…Detectors must also be able to distinguish explosives from vast arrays of similar compounds that can be found in urban environments…The laser beam combines short pulses that make the molecules vibrate, as well as long pulses that are used to “listen” and identify the different “chords.” The chords include different vibrational frequencies that uniquely identify every molecule, much like a fingerprint. The high-sensitivity laser can work in tandem with cameras and allows users to scan questionable areas from a safe distance. “The laser and the method we’ve developed were originally intended for microscopes, but we were able to adapt and broaden its use to demonstrate its effectiveness for standoff detection of explosives…”

36. In-Car Algorithm Could Rapidly Dissolve Traffic Jams http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27166/ If cars broadcast their speeds to other vehicles, a simple in-car algorithm could help dissolve traffic jams as soon as they occur…mathematical models and experimental measurements of traffic patterns have led to a consensus about the general kinds of traffic flows that can occur. There are three types. First is free flow in which the density of traffic is low enough to allow vehicles to travel at the maximum speed allowed. Then there is synchronised flow when a higher traffic density forces cars to travel at similar slow speeds but without stop-start motion. Finally, there is the jam in which the speed drops to zero when the traffic density rises above some threshold…One interesting question is how best to dissolve jams once they form. Most traffic experts agree that the basic idea is to ensure that cars leave the jam more quickly than they arrive, so that the jam dissolves…Hyun Keun Lee and Beom Jun Kim…have a come up with a simple idea to automate and improve this dissolving process. They define two types of drivers: optimistic and defensive. Defensive drivers leave more room to the vehicle ahead than required by safety. Optimistic drivers leave too little…All the vehicles in this model share their speed and position with their neighbours and this information filters downstream. That means downstream vehicles immediately become aware that the traffic ahead has come to a standstill…Lee and Kim's algorithm immediately switches all the downstream driving behaviour to defensive, so that vehicles exceed the safe distance between them. This slows the rate at which vehicles join the jam. At the same time, vehicles leaving the jams are made to accelerate away quickly using automated cruise control. This increases the rate at which vehicles leave the jam. The result is that the jam quickly dissolves…”

37. Orbit the Earth in One Minute Via Fascinating ISS Time-Lapse Video http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2393209,00.asp What does Earth look like from the International Space Station? Science educator James Drake has created a one-minute timelapse video of the ISS circling the globe, which provides a fascinating look at Earth from above…Drake created the video by combining 600 photos that are available via the Johnson Space Center's Gateway to Astronomy Photograph of Earth…The images are taken from the front of the ISS as it orbits the planet at night. The video starts over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica…Drake said he used Virtualdub to create the final movie…”

38. Jelly batteries: Safer, cheaper, smaller, more powerful http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14852073 A new polymer jelly could be the next big step forward for lithium batteries. The jelly replaces the volatile and hazardous liquid electrolyte currently used in most lithium batteries...the lithium jelly batteries could allow lighter laptop computers, and more efficient electric cars...Apple got around the safety problem for their lightweight laptops with a solid polymer electrolyte, but in doing so, the power output of the computers suffered...Developers have had to use reinforced, steel-clad battery housings, multiple fuses and circuits to protect the battery during charging. All of these contribute to the cost and weight, and hence efficiency, of electric cars...jelly batteries should prevent "thermal runaway", during which batteries can reach hundreds of degrees and catch fire...researchers are promising that their jelly batteries are as safe as polymer batteries, perform like liquid-filled batteries, but are 10 to 20% the price of either. The secret to their success lies in blending a rubber-like polymer with a conductive, liquid electrolyte into a thin, flexible film of gel that sits between the battery electrodes...”

DHMN Technology

39. Upverter is the perfect tool for open-source hardware http://venturebeat.com/2011/09/13/upverter/ Open-source hardware has one big stumbling block: How do you get distributed teams from around the world working together on the same prototype? Open-source software communities have myriad tools for writing code together and sharing it all over the place. But creating and sharing hardware together has been a bit more problematic. Enter Upverter, which handily makes hardware design free, open, web-based and collaborative...Its web-based HTML5 editor has all the basic commands and features, including undo, redo, rotating, versioning, annotation, commenting and sharing designs. The canvas for creating designs is infinitely large, and the app features a crowdsourced library of parts and their attributes, including cost...projects currently being worked on with Upverter include a circuit to help a driver park a car, a combination lock, a circuit for turning off a flatscreen television set from 100-150 feet away and a device designed to increase the sensitivity of an audio receiver...Hardware hackers, hobbyists and folks in the DIY or maker communities are a primary target audience for Upverter. Homuth said he also sees the tool as perfect for many consultants, small businesses and startup companies...Upverter is part of a class of software called electronic design automation or EDA. EDA can be used to design anything that has a circuit board or that plugs into a socket...The Upverter product is undoubtedly a game-changer for the open-source hardware community, which itself has world-changing aspirations...But the Upverter team’s goal isn’t just to revolutionize open-source hardware design. They also want to fundamentally change the way all hardware is designed. “If we can change the paradigms away from single, siloed designs and towards gluing shared building blocks together (kind of like the shift software made away from statically compiled and towards shared libraries) we would change the way hardware gets designed across the board...”

40. White Space database system to face its first trial http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/09/white-space-database-system-to-face-its-first-trial.ars One of the database networks that will manage unlicensed broadband devices across the country will face its first public test beginning this Monday at 8:30am…The Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering Technology says that for 45 days it will facilitate a public trial of vendor Spectrum Bridge's database—designed to identify "white space" television band channels authorized for unlicensed use by broadband devices…The challenge is whether the Spectrum Bridge system properly registers TV channels available for use and those not available, protecting the latter from interference from white space gadgets that can sniff for and identify temporarily free TV bands…Participants will be encouraged to test three key components of its white space database: the channel availability calculator, the registration utilities for cable headend and auxiliary broadcast sites, and the wireless microphone registration utility…”

41. Arduino 1.0 and other new Arduino products http://arduino.cc/blog/2011/09/17/arduino-launches-new-products-in-maker-faire/ “…Arduino 1.0, we finally froze the Arduino API, the IDE and the layout of the boards…Arduino Leonardo, a low cost Arduino board with the Atmega32u4. It has the same shape and connectors as the UNO but it has a simpler circuit…Arduino Due, a major breakthrough for Arduino because we’re launching an Arduino board with a 32bit Cortex-M3 ARM processor on it. We’re using the SAM3U processor from ATMEL running at 96MHz with 256Kb of Flash, 50Kb of Sram, 5 SPI buses, 2 I2C interfaces, 5 UARTS, 16 Analog Inputs at 12Bit resolution…Arduino Wifi Shield. It adds Wi-Fi communication capabilities to any Arduino…we wanted to have something that will provide the maximum level of hackability to the user. The shield is based on a wifi micro module made by H&D Wireless coupled with a powerful AVR32 processor that carries the full TCP-IP stack leaving room to add your own protocols and customisations…”

Leisure & Entertainment

42. The alternatives in a post-Netflix world http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/19/scitech/main20108417.shtml The DVD-by-mail service Netflix built its business on will soon be known as Qwickster. The rebranding follows Netflix's decision to split its DVD rental business from its online streaming service, a move that raised the prices for customers who want both by as much as 60 percent. Netflix and the newly-minted Qwikster have a growing list of competitors that offer movies and TV shows streamed online, on DVDs, or through on-demand cable TV. Choosing the right service will depend on your appetite for video…Here's a look at some of the options…Apple iTunes…Amazon’s Instant Video…Blockbuster…Cable…Hulu…Redbox…Vudu, from Walmart…Netflix (new, streaming-only plan)…Qwikster…” http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2011/09/netflix-dvd-mailing-service-to-split-off-and-become-qwikster.ars “…The Qwikster service will have its own independent website where users will have to go to manage their queues…it will no longer be possible for users to manage their DVD and Instant queues through a unified interface. Although current Netflix subscriber data will reportedly be replicated over to Qwikster at launch, users will essentially have separate profiles at each website…new customers will have to sign up and input their credit card information separately at Netflix and Qwikster. Movie ratings and reviews submitted by users will not propagate across both sites. When users search at Netflix for a movie that's not available for streaming, they won't be offered the DVD version. These baffling changes will erode much of the convenience and synergy that made Netflix appealing to the company's most loyal custom\ers…”

43. Free Music For Everyone! Rdio Joins MOG, Spotify http://allthingsd.com/20110914/free-music-for-everyone-rdio-joins-mog-spotify-in-the-big-digital-music-giveaway/ Free, legal music on the web…seems to be going through a revival phase…Spotify finally opened for business in the U.S. and included a free, ad-supported option…Now both MOG and Rdio, two other subscription music services, are adding big free components…MOG is rolling out a Web-based, ad-supported version of the service that gives users an undisclosed amount of free streaming music, which they can keep listening to if they engage with the service in certain ways…soon Rdio will offering something similar, with two differences: Its free version will be ad-free, and the company won’t prompt users to take certain actions to keep the free going. It will decide…how long to extend the free trial period, with the intent of getting them to upgrade to a $10 monthly subscription. The timing of the new free services aren’t accidental. They’re both being announced in advance of Facebook’s F8 developer conference next Thursday. That’s when the social network is expected to announce a new music service that will incorporate MOG and Rdio as well as Spotify…”

44. Apple, Starbucks Expanding iTunes Giveaways to Include Apps, Books and TV Shows http://allthingsd.com/20110915/apple-starbucks-expanding-itunes-giveaways-to-include-apps-books-and-tv-shows/ For some time now, Starbucks customers have been able to download a free song in addition to buying their lattes, mochas…the company’s “pick of the week” program has expanded. It started last month with giving away the paid iPhone app Shazam Encore, and this week’s freebie is an extended book sample from Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus.” The expansion could soon extend to TV shows as well…”

45. Google Spending Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Provide Cable Alternative http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-09-15/tech/30159082_1_hulu-motorola-mobility-video-content “…industry sources tell us that Google is…acquiring content for YouTube – perhaps as much as $500 million or more. "They are throwing around huge money," says…an executive who has found himself bidding against Google for video content…Google is sending out RFPs and striking deals with cable programmers, independent studios, and even people that aren't primarily in the video business. A second source…involved in Google's acquisition talks with Hulu, says that the company's initial outlays for content are indeed in excess of $100 million and that they could easily reach $600 million over time…You can imagine if Google were to buy Hulu and they were commissioning all this content and they were willing to take losses for a few years, that would become a real alternative to cable…Google is really going to move the needle…the 500 channel universe never happened. Now it's going to happen. Google is forcing the organization of video…”

46. Sony's DC Universe Online now a 'freemium' game http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/09/dc-universe-online-now-a-freemium-game.html It's no joke. Nine months after launching its subscription-based superhero online title, DC Universe Online, Sony will be throwing open portions of the game for free in October in an attempt to garner more players. The move comes as traditional multiplayer online games that charge monthly fees come under economic pressure from social games, which are initially free to play, but sell virtual goods and premium game perks to players who want to advance more quickly. Starting in October, Sony said it will offer three tiers of the game, a free version with limited features, a premium tier for those who spend a total of $5 or more on virtual items for the game, and a "legendary" tier with access to all the features in the game for $15 a month…”

Economy and Technology

47. PayPal’s Strategy for Challenging Visa and MasterCar\d at the Register http://allthingsd.com/20110914/a-first-look-at-paypals-strategy-for-challenging-visa-and-mastercard-at-the-register/ “…PayPal demonstrated how it intends to provide payments to physical retailers as the race heats up to make wallets and clunky metal registers obsolete….this is the first time it is discussing how it will approach the digital market and how it will defend itself against incumbent payment providers, like Visa, MasterCard and American Express, and new entrants, like Google and San Francisco-based Square…What stood out was that none of the scenarios required merchants to adopt new infrastructure or buy new terminals. Likewise, customers won’t be required to upgrade their phones or have certain bank accounts…”

48. Fog Creek Software Becoming a Betawork’s Style Innovation Lab http://www.betabeat.com/2011/09/13/joel-spolsky-fog-creek-becoming-a-betaworks-style-innovation-lab/ “…FogBugz, has gone on to be one of the best selling bug tracking services, giving Fog Creek the freedom to fund a series of interesting projects. “We reached a certain point where I realized we had this mature product, kind of running under its own steam, and while we continue to improve and update it, we could take eight people off of FogBugz…Those eight employees were split into teams of two and given the freedom to spend three months building something that interested them…They have some time to work on something and if its great, we might scale. If not, we pivot, or kill the project and try something totally new…Trello, a project management tool that Fog Creek has been using internally and decided to release as a free web app…seems to offer both a broad and a granular way of dealing with projects…The service…is meant to encourage the “agile” development methodology…In the meantime, Stack Exchange, which Mr. Spolsky started with Jeff Atwood, has secured a big round of financing, become the official Facebook developer forum and continues to grow at an astronomical rate. “I think Stack Exchange is probably the first company I’m involved with that has a good chance to go public…”

49. Facebook 'Credits' Revenue Now Growing Faster Than its Ads http://adage.com/article/digital/facebook-credits-revenue-growing-faster-ads/229874/ Facebook ad revenue is growing fast, but its currency system, called "Credits," is growing even faster. Facebook will collect revenue of $470 million this year from Credits alone, according to a new estimate from eMarketer, up from $140 million in 2010. Facebook in July began requiring that all merchants in its ecosystem use the Credits currency. The social network takes 30% of all transactions. Strong growth in credits gives Facebook a second significant revenue source and reduces its dependence on advertising…”

50. Imagine K12 Graduates Its First Class of Ed-Tech Startups http://www.hackeducation.com/2011/09/14/imagine-k12-graduates-its-first-class-of-ed-tech-startups/ The 10 startups that just graduated from the education-focused incubator Imagine K12 are taking to the stage at Techcrunch Disrupt this morning in San Francisco…Imagine K12 launched in the spring, founded by three Silicon Valley veterans…there are still plenty of challenges in building education technology startups; and there are tons of opportunities right now too…There’s a new generation of educators, entrepreneurs, and engineers interested in solving education’s problems. There’s a new generation of “customers” — students, parents, teachers, administrators who are tech enthusiasts themselves. And investors are interested…Imagine K12 describes itself as “unabashedly inspired by Y Combinator,” the premier Silicon Valley tech startup incubator. The model is similar: an investment and mentorship program — in the case of Imagine K12, it’s been a 3.5 month program with $25,000 in initial funding…”

Civilian Aerospace

51. Amazon's Bezos Patenting 'Blue Origin' Spacecraft http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1381&doc_id=233226&f_src=designnews_gnews “…Jeff Bezos…hasn't let the failure of a unmanned rocket dampen his ardor for building a business that will be able to take passengers to the edge of outer space. And he's working to get the patents to prove it. His space venture, Blue Origin, is based not far from Seattle in Kent, Wash., with a separate launch complex in Texas. According to its Website: "Blue Origin is developing New Shepard, a rocket-propelled vehicle designed to routinely fly multiple astronauts into suborbital space at competitive prices."…The company's second test vehicle reached a speed of Mach 1.2 and an altitude of 45,000 feet, but then it encountered what Blue Origin called "a flight instability [which] drove an angle of attack that triggered our range safety system to terminate thrust on the vehicle."…In January, Bezos, along with Blue Origin colleagues Gary Lai and Sean Findlay, filed application number 20110017872 for a patent entitled "Sea Landing of Space Launch Vehicles and Associated Systems and Methods."…Blue Origin is aiming at reuse of its spacecraft, including recovery from a ship on which the vehicle makes a vertical landing…the booster stage reenters the earth's atmosphere in a tail-first orientation. The booster engines are then restarted and the booster stage performs a vertical powered landing on the deck of a pre-positioned sea-going platform…A second application of interest, number 20100326045, was filed by Gary Lai on December 30, 2010. Entitled "Multiple-Use Rocket Engines and Associated Systems and Methods," it clearly seems to describe the guts of Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital vehicle. New Shepard is a two-stage rocket, and the engine components are recoverable for reuse…Blue Origin might have a career path for you. The company currently has 13 job postings on its site…”

52. Makers of Tiny Satellites View Space Station as Launch Pad http://www.space.com/12939-international-space-station-cubesat-satellite-launches.html The International Space Station would be an ideal launch platform for dispatching tiny spacecraft to perform a variety of Earth-oriented scientific research tasks…The idea of using the $100 billion ISS as a platform to pop out sensor-laden probes has captured the attention of small-satellite makers, who are contemplating deploying palm-sized satellites called CubeSats from the orbiting laboratory…One study, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, has focused on an ISS CubeSat Ejection System (ICES). The space station would serve as a responsive-launch platform from which multiple CubeSats could be ejected, buckshot fashion, to support missions studying the Earth's ionosphere and thermosphere region…The strategic location of the ISS makes it an ideal platform from which to address rapid-response science questions…Numerous satellites could be deployed from the sprawling station – specifically from the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module…The space station could keep a stable of CubeSats ready and waiting to be deployed when the need arose…”

53. Purdue students designing moon-rocket engine http://www.chron.com/news/article/Purdue-students-designing-moon-rocket-engine-2169666.php Two Purdue University students are designing a new rocket engine that someday might help land a spacecraft on the moon…Thomas Feldman and Andrew Rettenmaier are part of a team that's designing the rocket motor through the NASA-funded Project Morpheus…aimed at spurring development of new technologies for future trips to the moon, Mars or asteroids. The students' rocket will be powered by liquid oxygen and methane. It will be designed, built and tested at a Purdue laboratory…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

54. Wanted: Design Info for GPU Supercomputer http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-09-15/wanted:_good_use_for_supercomputer.html “…there’s been a great deal of buzz generated on Slashdot following a recent post in which a user wrote the following: In about 2 weeks time I will be receiving everything necessary to build the largest x86_64-based supercomputer on the east coast of the U.S…It's spec'ed to start with 1200 dual-socket six-core servers…what's the best Linux distro for something of this size and scale?...all nodes include only a basic onboard GPU. We intend to put powerful GPUs into the PCI-e slot and open up the new HPC for GPU related crunching. Any suggestions on the most powerful Linux friendly PCI-e GPU available?...what's most interesting here is not necessarily the question itself, but the extended conversation that this generated from members of the HPC user community…In the process of answering some of the user's questions…the HPC community inadvertently produced a compendium of first-hand insights about their own experience…For instance, one user wrote: Similar size setup in bio-informatics in Europe. We run redhat 6.1, was centos 5 and LSF. single 1gbit to each server (blades). No need for 10gb or IB unless huge mpi which no one uses. 32GB to 2TB per node - some people like enormous R datasets. All works well for our ~500 users…Others weighed in with more specific answers about specific elements, including GPUs…The original author did decide to answer back with more details about why he was in such a predicament…Our organization received a grant to pay for this from a private philanthropist that has a medical issue that is currently being researched by one of our labs…The grant money came in in two different payments. We used the first payment to buy the nodes…The second payment was going to pay for the GPU's and the extra infrastructure…we hit two issues: 1) one of our more seasoned enterprise admins took a new job at Apple's new NC datacenter and 2) our cluster admin passed away from a heart attack about a week after the purchase was made…we lost two very valuable resources…The old admin knew which GPU's he wanted; unfortunately we haven't found his research anywhere to know what and why. He had also planned to go with the latest release of Rocks, but only because he was very familiar with it…we know what we don't know and thought the Slashdot community could provide some experience to help us make the right decisions…For anyone with the time and patience to read through almost 400 comments, well over half…provide at least a useful morsel of information for someone trying to learn about what works and doesn't for clusters around the world…”

55. 153 Teraflop Forge Supercomputer Now Available at NCSA http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-09-16/153_teraflop_forge_supercomputer_now_available_at_ncsa.html Forge—a 153 teraflop supercomputer that combines both CPUs and general-purpose graphics-processing units (GPUs)—is now available at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications for use by scientists and engineers across the country. Multiple scientific codes have been adapted for GPU computing, enabling a rapidly diversifying range of disciplinary research, including biomolecular simulations, lattice quantum chromodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, cryptography and molecular dynamics. Seventy percent of the compute time Forge offers will be allocated through the National Science Foundation's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) program…The remaining 30 percent of Forge's cycles will be allocated to NCSA's Private Sector Program and to faculty, staff, and students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign…”

56. Newest Opteron CPU Headed for Big Supers http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-09-09/newest_opteron_cpu_headed_for_big_supers.html “…AMD announced the first shipments of its 16-core Interlagos CPUs, based on the company's latest "Bulldozer" architecture. Interlagos…The Interlagos CPU, as you may recall, comes in 12- or 16-core flavors, has a quad-channel memory controller, up to 16 MB of L3 cache, and is compatible with AMD's Opteron 6000 G34 socket…Interlagos will be AMD's first implementation of the Bulldozer architecture…Cray is the only vendor that makes custom supers with AMD CPUs…Cray's first GPU-accelerated supercomputer, the upcoming XK6 supercomputer, will also incorporate Interlagos CPUs, hooking up an X2090 Tesla module to each Interlagos chip. The first XK6 system installation, at least the first one publicly announced, will be deployed in Switzerland…That system…"Piz Palu," will be upgraded…using the Interlagos parts and the new NVIDIA Tesla modules…”


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