NEW NET Weekly List for 11 Oct 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 11 October 2011, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, near Woodman's. Ignore the chain if it's across the stairs -- come on up and join the tech fun!

The ‘net

1. Major satellite outage affecting ISPs, ATMs, flights http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20116846-93/major-satellite-outage-affecting-isps-atms-flights/ My office…is…overlooking the historic Taos plaza in New Mexico and my Internet access comes courtesy of tethered Verizon 3G…because my normal ISP has been out of commission since early this morning thanks to a major satellite malfunction that's also impacting all sorts of services…Telesat's Anik F2 satellite experienced a "technical anomaly" beginning at about 3:30 a.m. PT today…causing it to shut down and turn away from Earth. That's bad news for subscribers of the WildBlue satellite ISP in the United States, which uses Anik F2…Wildblue is one of two major American satellite providers…claiming a total of more than 420,000 subscribing households mostly in parts of rural America where dial-up is the only alternative…In addition to the broadband outage, the stubborn satellite has also grounded flights in northern Canada that rely on satellite-based location services and even affected some ATMs in North America. The Canadian press has reported widespread problems across a number of mediums relying on the satellite--from television to land line phone service…”

2. Chrome extension enables remote computer control http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20117619-264/chrome-extension-enables-remote-computer-control/ Months of work on "chromoting" have reached fruition with Google's release on Friday of a new Chrome extension to let a person on one computer remotely control another across the network. The Chrome Remote Desktop beta version, which arrived Friday, is a browser-based equivalent of remote desktop software for conventional operating systems. Such software is handy for IT administrators managing employees' machines, people taking care of their relatives' computers, or individuals getting access to their own machines from afar…Chrome Remote Desktop BETA is fully cross-platform, so you can connect any two computers that have a Chrome browser, including Windows, Linux, Mac, and Chromebooks…”

3. The Dalai Lama did a Google+ Hangout with Archbishop Desmond Tutu http://venturebeat.com/2011/10/07/dalai-lama-google-hangout/ “…the Dalai Lama, leader of Tibetan Buddhism, announced…he’ll be doing a live Google+ Hangout with Archbishop Desmond Tutu…the Dalai Lama’s purpose for doing a video Hangout is much more practical than publicity. For the second time this year, the South African government has refused to issue the Dalia Lama a visa application, which is necessary for him to attend the upcoming Inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture in the South African city of Cape Town. So, a Google+ Hangout is the next best thing. “His Holiness the Dalai Lama will have a conversation with Archbishop Desmond Tutu by live video over a Hangout as part of the Inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture in Cape Town, South Africa, on October 8, 2011, starting at 10:30am South African time (GMT+2.00). A link to the Google+ Hangout will be available approximately 20-30 minutes before the event begins,”…The chat between these two peace activists is definitely a testament to the usefulness and potential of Google+’s video chat Hangout feature…”

Gigabit Internet

4. Ubiquitous computing http://www.economist.com/node/21531116 “…Toyota…announced plans for a Twitter-like private social network, called Toyota Friend…this will enable a car to send a tweet-like message to its owner telling him…its battery is running low or a maintenance check is due…“product social networks”…will create more intimate relationships between people and the devices they own. It is not just vehicles that are becoming more connected. So are homes, public places like sports stadiums and even aircraft…ubiquitous computing…is no longer the realm of science fiction…South Korea…plans that every home in the country should have an internet connection with a speed of up to one gigabit per second…The Golfscape GPS Rangefinder allows golfers to see a picture of the course in front of them and have it overlaid with useful data, such as the distance to various bunkers and the green…The ability to capture video and audio easily on smartphones has also given a boost to fans of “lifelogging”—recording your life via electronic media…people have been immortalising their thoughts and deeds on…smartphones…A photograph is taken, the time and place are noted automatically, and with a few taps the image can be uploaded. “More of people’s lives will be captured in future…simply because more bits and bytes are flowing out of these devices.”…Nike…has produced a range of wearable devices that allow people to track their fitness as they exercise…Jawbone…has created a slim bracelet, the UP band, that contains a wealth of sensors and a rechargeable battery…the band can…even monitor his sleep patterns. Data from the device can be uploaded to an app on a smartphone and then shared with the wearer’s friends on various social networks…smartphones, tablets and other mobile digital devices are likely to keep the consumer-electronics industry busy for some time to come. The ability of these gadgets to deliver the mobile internet to millions—and ultimately billions—of people is going to have a profound impact on the world. “We’re really at a very nascent stage of this revolution…”

5. Hyperoptic bring first 1 Gig residential product to UK http://pressitt.com/smnr/Hyperoptic-bring-first-1-Gig-residential-product-to-UK-revolutionary-broadband-prices-announced-to-take-on-the-big-players/6783/ Hyperoptic…is launching today, bringing UK consumers 1 Gigabit download and upload speeds for the first time. Hyperoptic’s aim is to revolutionise broadband in the UK by bringing fibre directly into the premises…This will allow residents to work from home at speeds normally only available to the select few in the workplace, increasing productivity and reducing commuting…Their packages will include: 20Mb/s…£12.50pcm…100 Mb/s…£25.00 pcm…1Gig…£50.00 pcm…Hyperoptic’s specially designed fibre-rich network will deliver end-user speeds at the actual speed advertised. This contrasts with copper based services, where the distance you live from the exchange and the number of other customers using the service determines your usable speed…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. Web users warned of 'search engine poison' http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/web-users-warned-of-search-engine-poison-20111004-1l6go.html “…Mr Ducklin, of computer security firm Sophos, spoke about search engine poisoning at the National Identity and Hi Tech Crime Symposium…Mr Ducklin said a common technique often used by scammers was to hack into a website and essentially split it into three by modifying what it will look like depending on who the user is. ''They can tell one story to the search engine, give a second set of content to a legitimate, routine visitor to the site so it looks kosher, and give someone who comes as a result of doing a search different content,'' he said. Splitting the site means it's difficult for the website's hosts to know if they've been hacked…because they're visiting their site directly - not via a search engine - and therefore see only the legitimate version…one of the most common techniques is to direct users to what appears to be a porn website…''It’s a fake porn site that then pops up with a fake virus alert that does a scan, says something like '55 virus alerts found' and asks you if you want those files removed…They'll say it's $49 for now but here's a one-time special offer for an extra $19.95. That's how unsuspicious they are…by keeping the prices relatively low compared to other internet scams, scammers gained trust as alarm bells were less likely to ring for the victim. A lot of users don't think they've been scammed…”

7. Homeland Security moves forward with 'pre-crime' detection http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20117058-281/homeland-security-moves-forward-with-pre-crime-detection/ “…a controversial program designed to predict whether a person will commit a crime is already being tested on some members of the public voluntarily…DHS is betting on algorithms: it's building a "prototype screening facility" that it hopes will use factors such as ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate to "detect cues indicative of mal-intent."…The latest developments…reveal efforts to "collect, process, or retain information on" members of "the public,"…DHS calls its "pre-crime" system Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST…FAST program manager Robert Middleton Jr. refers to a "limited" initial trial using DHS employees as test subjects. Middleton says that FAST "sensors will non-intrusively collect video images, audio recordings, and psychophysiological measurements from the employees," with a subgroup of employees singled out, with their permission…The department…conducted preliminary research in operational settings to determine the feasibility of using non-invasive physiological and behavioral sensor technology and observational techniques to detect signs of stress, which are often associated with intent to do harm…FAST is designed to track and monitor, among other inputs, body movements, voice pitch changes, prosody changes (alterations in the rhythm and intonation of speech), eye movements, body heat changes, and breathing patterns…blink rate and pupil variation are measured too…”

8. Computer virus hits US Predator and Reaper drone fleet http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2011/10/exclusive-computer-virus-hits-drone-fleet.ars A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other war zones. The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers…“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”…Drones have become America’s tool of choice in both its conventional and shadow wars, allowing US forces to attack targets and spy on its foes without risking American lives…the drone systems are known to have security flaws. Many Reapers and Predators don’t encrypt the video they transmit to American troops on the ground. In the summer of 2009, US forces discovered “days and days and hours and hours” of the drone footage on the laptops of Iraqi insurgents. A $26 piece of software allowed the militants to capture the video…None of the remote cockpits are supposed to be connected to the public internet…But…the so-called “air gaps” between classified and public networks have been bridged, largely through the use of discs and removable drives…Use of the drives is now severely restricted throughout the military. But the base at Creech was one of the exceptions, until the virus hit. Predator and Reaper crews use removable hard drives to load map updates and transport mission videos from one computer to another…At first, they followed removal instructions posted on the website of the Kaspersky security firm. “But the virus kept coming back…Eventually, the technicians had to use a software tool called BCWipe to completely erase the GCS’ internal hard drives. “That meant rebuilding them from scratch” — a time-consuming effort…” http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/drone-virus-kept-quiet/ Officials at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada knew for two weeks about a virus infecting the drone “cockpits” there. But they kept the information about the infection to themselves — leaving the unit that’s supposed to serve as the Air Force’s cybersecurity specialists in the dark. The network defenders at the 24th Air Force learned of the virus by reading about it in Danger Room…for weeks, it stayed (you will pardon the expression) below the radar: a local problem that local network administrators were determined to fix on their own. “It was not highlighted to us,” says a source involved with Air Force network operations. “When your article came out, it was like, ‘What is this?’”…The plan is to one day integrate all that infrastructure into a single Air Force network. But for now, it’s largely cybersecurity by the honor system. Each base and each unit in the Air Force has its own geek squad. They only call for help if there’s a broader network problem, or if they’re truly stumped. That didn’t happen when a so-called “keylogger” virus hit Creech more than two weeks ago. “Nothing was ever reported anywhere. They just didn’t think it was important enough,” says a second source involved with operating the Air Force’s networks. “The incentive to share weaknesses is just not there…”

9. Use Profiling to Improve Snort Performance http://olex.openlogic.com/wazi/2011/use-profiling-to-improve-snort-performance/ Snort, the open source intrusion detection and prevention system (IDS/IPS), can be a fabulous tool to protect your network from attack – if it’s set up correctly. If it’s not, it can cause network traffic and performance problems. Here’s a rundown of how to use Snort’s built-in profiling tools to tune your setup and improve Snort’s performance. Snort is generally used to monitor and analyze incoming network traffic, to detect potential probes and attacks of various sorts. Whilst the main powerhouse of Snort is the detection engine, not all attacks can be identified here, so it also has an array of preprocessors that either look at packets themselves or modify traffic before passing it to the detection engine. Obviously, this kind of analysis takes some system resources, and Snort can cause delays in your network traffic if it is not performing well…tuning Snort forces you to balance between the risk of intrusion and maintaining a smoothly functioning network…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. Why Nuance, a speech company, bought Swype http://gigaom.com/2011/10/07/why-nuance-a-speech-company-bought-swype/ “…Nuance Communications…scooped up mobile text software provider Swype for $102.5 million…adding Swype to its stable of voice and text input technologies…it reunites Swype founder Cliff Kushler with T9, a predictive text technology that Kushler built at Tegic Communications, which was later bought by Nuance in 2007 from AOL…Swype has been hugely popular on Android, with 50 million installations of its virtual keyboard software…The technology allows users to trace their words out by “swyping” their fingers between the letters on a keyboard instead of typing. It’s actually quite fast and has helped break the speed record for text input on a phone…Nuance…bought speech recognition company SVOX in June and transcription and editing service provider Webmedx in July…In August, Nuance announced a deal to buy Loquendo, a speech technology subsidiary of Telecom Italia. Nuance is a major player in voice technology…speech is increasingly becoming mobile technology…with the pickup of Swype, Nuance is reminding us that it wants to control all forms of input on devices. While voice is intriguing for many, it’s not a perfect fit for everyone and can’t be used in all circumstances…”

11. A Mobile Future Faces Facebook http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052748704900704576595030743992192.html I've never had much interest in Facebook. I don't like telling the world how my day went, and I'm not interested in knowing what music people just listened to. And for keeping in touch, well, there's e-mail for that. But hundreds of millions of people use the service every day, with Facebook recently boasting of having 800 million…members…I expect we'll see a smartphone and a tablet computer from Facebook not long from now…Facebook is now the Internet destination where people spend most of their time…Facebook claims 16% of people's online time, on average. That compares with 11% for Google and 9% for Yahoo…even I can see that the site is so complex now, with so many features, that it fairly begs for a gadget of its own to take full advantage of all that Facebook has to offer…Increasingly, Facebook is becoming a "platform." Computer programmers are devoting time to the site the way they once devoted time to Microsoft…Such dedication by users and programmers suggests that a mobile device dedicated to Facebook might find a nice market…Although Facebook won't discuss its mobile intentions, "their activity behind the scenes is real and substantial…The company sees having a mobile computer as an important element of having an initial public offering next year…”

12. AuthenTec VPN Client for Android, World’s First to Combine VPN with Fingerprint Recognition http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20111010005634/en/AuthenTec-Unveils-VPN-Client-Android-World%E2%80%99s-Combine AuthenTec…introduced the world’s first security solution that combines VPN client security with fingerprint recognition for Android smartphones and tablets. AuthenTec’s QuickSec Mobile VPN Client 2.0 is a full-featured IPsec-compliant VPN solution that is faster, more secure…than the native Android VPN client and can be quickly launched via fingerprint authentication…It also offers improved configuration, security, and interoperability with all major VPN gateways…AuthenTec can now offer a quick, easy, and more secure alternative to password-enabled VPNs…”


13. Yahoo touches up Flickr with photo-album tool, Android app http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/yahoo-unveils-new-way-for-flickr-users-to-browse-photos-from-different-locations-devices/2011/09/28/gIQACytF5K_story.html “…Yahoo…unveiled its first official application for the millions of devices running on Google Inc.’s Android software…Flickr’s newest sharing tool, called “Photo Session,” is designed to replicate the experience of leafing through an old-fashioned photo album, even if the people who are browsing are located thousands of miles apart. Any of Flickr’s nearly 170 million users can activate a session by obtaining a special link that can be sent to other invitees. A photo session can be done on iPhones, iPads and personal computers using the Safari, Firefox and Chrome browsers…Photo Session also doesn’t work on the new Android app, but Yahoo plans to address that shortcoming in future updates…”

14. What's next for airline apps? http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/07/travel/smartphones-air-travel/ Airline passengers are already able to check in to flights, download boarding passes, select a seat on the go and keep an eye on the upgrades list thanks to recent evolutions in smartphone technology…more than 90% of the airlines surveyed are increasing their investment in mobile capabilities to ease the hassles of getting through the airport…So what's a flier to expect from airline apps on the horizon?...Delta…is one of the few airlines that gives customers the ability to adjust travel itineraries from their mobile device…Delta passengers who miss a connection now can immediately rebook a different flight and download a new boarding pass, all while in the air…Delta…is close to unveiling a new tool where travelers can track checked baggage from their mobile devices…American, United and Continental airlines currently offer airport maps in their mobile apps, with Delta soon to join them….Augmented reality…allows users to point the camera on their smartphone…and receive corresponding information about…which restaurants and stores are nearby…Denmark's Copenhagen Airport…augmented reality…app allows travelers at the airport to access not just gate information but also details on surrounding shops and services, saving them time…those airlines that fail to take the full leap into the mobile world will quickly find themselves in the minority. Apps might not replace websites…However, they're beginning to offer a level of customer service and convenience that has never before been possible in the industry…” [the departure of a recent flight I was on was delayed several hours and almost every person waiting for the flight pulled out their cell phone as soon as the delay was announced; what smartphone apps for flying or other travel do you wish someone would develop? – ed.]

15. Aurasma: An App for Augmenting Reality http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/consumer-electronics/portable-devices/demofall-2011-an-app-for-augmenting-reality “…when Autonomy…demonstrated its Aurasma 3D-I…I expected to find it interesting. I didn’t expect to find it so slick…other consumer-targeted augmented reality applications I’ve seen to date, even ones I've liked, have been a bit cartoony, or didn’t seem to align themselves all that well with the reality they were augmenting…Aurasma’s team thinks that plenty of people now are indeed carrying around enough computing power, at least if they have iPad2, iPhone4, or Advanced Android devices…with years of experience in dealing with sorting through unstructured information, like images and videos, Autonomy had that part of the problem already solved. That’s why…it’s image overlays are positioned more precisely than those of its competitors…“We are at the dawn of the age of visual browsing,” said Aurasma’s Matt Mills, admitting that we’d look back on the crudeness of the technology, but that it’s still pretty cool. “It’s sort of like where television was in the 40s,”…The Aurasma app is available free for iPhone, iPad, and Android—it lets you play with building your own versions of augmented reality and share them…”

16. Polycom brings videoconferencing to iPad, Android tablets http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-12261_7-20118376-10356022/polycom-brings-videoconferencing-to-ipad-android-tablets/ Polycom today unveiled a new videoconferencing application, RealPresence Mobile, that will run on the iPad 2 and Android tablets. The app runs on Polycom's RealPresence platform…The idea is to encourage even more videoconferencing use by enabling the tablets to talk with the larger videoconference rooms…The app can connect up to 16 calls at once, although the screen can practically only support up to a dozen screens. It allows users to "swipe" in documents such as Powerpoint presentations and PDFs for everyone to view and discuss. The app can also use a virtual private network to create a secure line to a company….Polycom…is working with Apple and Skype to ensure that their disparate videoconferencing systems work with each other…"I believe they do care," he said, adding that the two companies see the importance of cross-video conferencing in industries such as education and health care. You can download the application and run basic video calls. But to get the full Polycom portfolio of services and features, a business will have to sign up for an account…”

Open Source

17. 20MM Foundation Launches Nation's First Web-Enhanced Open Source eTextbook http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/10/06/prweb8856748.DTL The 20 Million Minds Foundation (20MM Foundation)…has set its sight on producing open source etextbooks for the top 25 courses taken by undergraduates in the nation…Collaborative Statistics 2nd Edition is now available and provides students with an interactive experience using videos, applets, graphics, interactive exercises, and a variety of navigation and study features. This version is available at kno.com…This digitally enhanced etextbook provides a vision of what is now possible for a new generation of open content and authors…This textbook is intended for introductory statistics courses taken by students at two- and four-year colleges who are majoring in fields other than math or engineering. It is now available in multiple versions including a free PDF for all students and a new Enhanced Digital version…I believe this enhanced version goes well beyond a flat pdf to increase student learning…said Barbara Illowsky, Author and Professor of Mathematics…In California community colleges alone, over 120,000 students every year take the general statistics course. With an average new book price of over $150 dollars, students in this system pay…$10 to $18 million dollars per year on this basic statistics course alone. With the new enhanced digital offering, students will experience a free PDF for the course or the enhanced version under $20 dollars for the semester…we will no longer view open source books the same way. Today our collaboration…will showcase future open source books with…capabilities able to outperform commercial publications at every level…”

18. How to lock down Linux http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/how-to-lock-down-linux/9665 “…if you leave your front-door open anyone can still walk in. Even people who know better, like Linux kernel developers, blow it sometimes…Multiple important Linux sites were down for weeks and as of October 3rd, kernel.org is still down…Here are a few simple suggestions from me, and some more advanced ones from…one of Linux’s lead developers…Number one with a bullet is security expert Bruce Schneier’s mantra, “Security is a process, not a product.”…if you haven’t updated your system with the latest security patches, checked to make sure your users haven’t started running a porn Web server, and looked over your network logs to see if someone or something isn’t up to mischief then you can’t trust your system…as Kroah-Hartman wrote…We all need to check our systems for intrusions…we need to keep doing it all the time…make darn sure that your root password, which should really be a passphrase, not a password, isn’t been being used by anyone than you…Thinking of users: Lock them down. Give them only as much permission and access as they absolutely must have…set their home directories to be encrypted…every system connected to the Internet needs a firewall set up to, once again, give users the absolute minimum of needed access. If someone doesn’t need to use a network port, that port should be blocked. Period…if you have any suspicion that your system has been compromised…you need a clean install of your operating system…After that, Kroah-Hartman suggests that you “verify that your package signatures match what your package manager thinks they are…On Debian-Linux based systems…From a Bash shell you need to run the following…You should also get into the habit of not just glancing over your startup scripts and system logs from inside your operating system…but taking your system down, rebooting it with a live CD Linux distribution, and checking for rogue start-up scripts and odd log entries…I prefer to use a Linux distribution like SystemRescueCd…If you do all this…you’ll be a lot safer from run-of-the-mill crackers and their automated programs…”

19. IBM open sources Blue Spruce to aid medical research http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/05/ibm_open_sources_blue_spruce_medical_research/ IBM has open sourced part of its Blue Spruce web collaboration suite for use by doctors studying the features and genetic origins of illness. Big Blue has passed the code to the Dojo Foundation’s Open Cooperative Web Framework (OpenCoweb), where it is already being used in a National Institutes of Health funded study of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPDGeneR). The COPDGeneR team is studying the CT scans and medical records of over 10,000 patents in an attempt to understand causation factors and find cures…”

20. Linux Tablet Will Be Fully Open Source http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/241091/linux_tablet_will_be_fully_open_source.html “…a California vendor of Linux PCs has set its sights on delivering what it believes will be the first fully open source tablet. Powered by Linux and running a dual-core ARM processor, ZaReason's 10-inch contender could provide a new option for open source fans. ZaReason…is working on a fully open tablet…We have been working on one since 2007. We have every single aspect of it in place, manufacturing, QA control, distribution…The only challenge…is finding the right touch-enabled, GPL-protected Linux software for the job…ZaReason is waiting for Ubuntu--or another Linux distribution--to get tablet-friendly touch capabilities to the point where they “just work,” Malmrose said…”

21. What newsrooms can learn from open-source and maker culture http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/10/what-newsrooms-can-learn-from-open-source-and-maker-culture/ “…open source might be what people are hoping for when they think about remaking journalism — both in terms of innovating the business/system of news, and in terms of making it more transparent and participatory…Jonathan Stray suggested that the news industry could draw on “maker culture” to create a new kind of journalism — one that plumbs the institutional and technical complexities of major issues (like global finance) in a way that invites bright, curious “makers” to hack the system for the good of society…Maker culture is a way of thinking — a DIY aesthetic of tinkering, playing around, and rebuilding, all without fear of failure. Just the kind of thing journalism needs…Add maker/hacker culture, mix in a bit of theorist Richard Sennett, who believes in the capacity of individuals to reshape and innovate new media, and sprinkle some open-source juice into journalism, and you get the following…New tools, stage two…means going beyond the existing crop of databases, visualizations, and crowdsourcing applications (amazing as they are!) to look a bit more holistically at the system of news and the incorporation of open source in truly opening up the newsroom…Some of the news partners worried that “open-souce code would reveal too much,” but then it dawned on them that coordination among them would actually be facilitated by “working in the open.”…The news industry is one of the last great industrial hold-overs, akin to the car industry. Newsrooms are top-heavy, and built on a factory-based model of production that demands a specific output at the end of the day (or hour)…merging elements of maker culture and journalism culture might not be easy. Challenging the status quo is hard. The expectations of producing content, of “feeding the beast,” might get in the way of thinking about and tinkering with the software of news, maker-style…the Knight-Mozilla digital learning lab…projects designed to reimagine journalism…tried to bring a fundamental rethink to problems journalism is struggling to resolve — for instance, how to make information accessible, verifiable, and shareable…try to imagine it: Journalists writing code as the building blocks for the story. And while they write this code, it can be commented on, shared, fact-checked, or augmented with additional information such as photos, tweets, and the like. This doesn’t have to mean that a journalist loses control over the story. But it opens up the story, and puts it on a platform where all kinds of communities can actively participating as co-makers…investigative pieces are safe — they aren’t open-sourced — until they become the source code for even more digging from the public…”


22. Multiple sign-in for Gmail mobile http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/introducing-multiple-sign-in-and.html “…Just like on your desktop, you can now to sign into multiple accounts simultaneously. To sign into an additional account, click on the account switcher at the bottom of the threadlist, then click ”Sign into an another account.” You can quickly switch between accounts by selecting the desired account from the Accounts menu…autocorrect and other mobile spell-checks can be frustrating as you are typing on the go. Let your friends know that you are responding via your mobile phone…It's an easy way to make them understand why your message might be short or have a few typos. To create a mobile signature, from the menu view, press the new settings icon, choose your signature, and then check the box that tells us you want to activate it…Ever forgotten to set your out-of-office auto-reply in Gmail before going on a trip? You don’t have to worry about that anymore, since you can now set your auto-reply using the mobile interface…As part of added multiple sign-in support, we’ve updated URLs so that each account can have a separate bookmark…”

23. Offline Gmail app good for casual use http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2011/10/07/review_offline_gmail_app_good_for_casual_use/ “…Google recently came out with Offline Google Mail, software that lets me use Gmail while disconnected. Messages that I write, delete or move to a folder -- or label, as Gmail calls it -- get synced with my Gmail account the next time I'm online. I can also read messages that had been sent to me before going offline. As a result, I was generally able to get away with buying a half-hour or an hour of Internet access at a time in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, where "complimentary Internet" is a term foreign to hotels…The software itself was easy to install and use…it works only with Google's Chrome browser…The software is still in a "beta" test mode…The key problem is that messages stored offline sometimes disappears. That included an email I had composed to send later…I learned from Google later that the software typically keeps only messages from the past three days and sometimes up to a week. It also keeps older messages that Google's technology thinks is important. Drafts and messages marked with a star are always stored…The software also failed at times to store attachments, which is a problem when someone sends me a document I need to review. I might have run into a storage cap of 25 megabytes for all attachments combined, which isn't much when Gmail allows attachments that large on a single email. The software was also inconsistent in loading images…That said, Offline Google Mail largely does what it is supposed to do. It gives you access to your messages -- your digital life -- when an Internet connection isn't readily available. It also gives you the ability to write emails anytime you want, as long as there's no urgency in sending them…When you do have that Internet connection, the Google software syncs your mail automatically, as long as you have the Chrome browser open. There's no need to open Offline Google Mail or even visit Gmail.com…”

24. Xobni introduces Smartr contact management for Gmail and Android http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-20111848-12/xobni-introduces-smartr-contact-management-for-gmail-and-android/ Xobni…announced a new sub-brand along with two new products ready for public beta. Smartr Inbox for Gmail and Smartr Contacts for Android…now bring Xobni's contact management powers to Google's e-mail platform. Smartr Inbox for Gmail is a browser extension that adds a useful sidebar to your Gmail interface. With it, you can easily pull up any contact you've ever communicated with, along with details of your e-mail relationship, history, and even common contacts between the two of you. You can also allow your Smartr account to connect to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles, which will give you significantly richer contact profiles…Smartr for Android is a free app that syncs with your Gmail account and brings much of the same contact management functionality to your mobile device. Additionally, it pulls in your phone contacts and all of your SMS and voice call history to populate your contacts' profiles…”

25. Gmail on featurephones to make email accessible to all http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/10/gmail-on-featurephones-to-make-email-accessible-to-all/ “…in most developing countries, featurephones are the staple…Google’s Gmail team has worked hard to deliver featurephones with Internet connectivity to sign up for a Gmail account. While these phones might not have a built-in browser, but at least the ability to access the Gmail service on-the-go is worth looking into. Google expects to see hundreds of millions of additional Gmail users get on board the mobile service with this initiative…”

26. Mobile Security May Wipe Your Gmail http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2393965,00.asp “…security testing lab AV-Comparatives…found that the remote data wipe feature could erase your Gmail from the server as well as from the phone. AV-Comparatives specifically selected Android-based products that include antivirus protection along with the ability to remotely locate a lost or stolen phone and wipe its data…AV-Comparatives tested mobile security products from Black Belt, BullGuard, ESET , F-Secure, Kaspersky, McAfee, Trend Micro , VIPRE, and Webroot…None of the products deleted all of the data irretrievably in the remote wipe test. In all cases it was possible to recover photos, music, documents and so on from the external storage card, even using a free program…Researchers set up a Google Mail account…Most of the products deleted stored email but didn't delete the…password…In specific circumstances, there's an even bigger problem. If the email account is synchronized between the phone and the server, and if the user failed to change the password after wiping the phone's data, it's completely possible that data would be deleted globally from the account, not just from the phone…”

27. Google Plus Now Lets You Control Who Can Notify You http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_plus_now_lets_you_control_who_can_notify_yo.php Google Plus is…rolling out a feature to let users control who sends them notifications. There will be a new option in settings called 'Who can notify you.'…This setting controls who you'll get notifications from, if they: Share with you individually…Select 'Notify about this post'…+Mention your name…Invite you to a hangout…Invite you to play or send you messages from a game…By default, 'Who can notify you' is set to extended circles. The options are: specific individuals or circles, all circles, extended circles or anyone…with traffic skyrocketing on Google Plus after opening to everyone, noise control options are a welcome addition. Earlier this week, Google Plus turned on new options to lock posts before sharing in response to user feedback…” https://plus.google.com/settings/plus

28. Google UK's best-known technician to develop mobile voice commands http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/oct/06/google-technician-mobile-voice-command “…One of Google UK's best-known senior programmers, director of engineering Dave Burke, is relocating to the company's Mountain View headquarters near San Francisco to aid the company's push to create reliable voice commands for mobile phones. A team of around 80 London-based software engineers working across mobiles, advertising and mobile commerce reported to Burke, who joined Google from a Dublin speech recognition firm in 2007…Burke's team developed many of the applications that made Google services like maps, email and search work on phones…Burke's speciality is in speech recognition, a topic on which he has published academic papers, and Google is intensifying its efforts to improve the ability of its software to understand and respond to spoken rather than typed commands…” http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/articles/227082/20111007/apple-siri-vs-android-voice-action-voice-command.htm “…Apple's new darling, the Siri Personal Assistant - a voice-controlled application…understands voice commands by people who speak like people and not like elocution robots…Siri's search capability has already been proven through its partnerships with Citysearch, Opentable and Taxi Magic. "Voice search," says Schwarz, "rather than browser based search, could prove to be a real threat to Google's dominance." Android users…have grumbled over the reaction, which has admittedly ignored the many similarities between Siri and Android's Voice Actions feature. Voice Actions, which was first released last August for the Motorola Droid 2 phone, includes many of the same functions as Siri…In an apples-to-apples comparison, it does appear that that the two applications are essentially the same - except that Voice Actions beat Siri to the scene by more than a year. However…Where Voice Actions only recognizes commands when the speaker uses specific vocabulary in a specific configuration, Siri's AI technology allows for a broader - and therefore more natural - range of language…which included "Reschedule my appointment with Dr. Manning to next Monday at 9am," "Cancel the budget review meeting," "What does the rest of my day look like?", and "Mail Lisa and Jason about the party and say I had a great time…”

29. Chromebook: ‘Father of Google Apps’ Raises Second Child http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2011/10/chromebook-raises-second-child/ Rajen Sheth was grinning from ear to ear. And he looked barely old enough to shave. But his answer carried some serious weight. “Gmail,” he said. It was 2004, and Sheth was interviewing for a job with Google’s enterprise division…At the time, the division spanned all of 25 employees and one lonely product: the Google Search Appliance…Sheth was asked the same question every candidate was asked: Is there another Google service we could bring to corporate customers?...six months later, Sheth was pitching his Gmail idea in a meeting with CEO Eric Schmidt and the rest of the Google top brass. Schmidt rejected it…Seven years later, Sheth is widely known as the “father of Google Apps,” the online office apps suite he built around Gmail and grew into a service that 4 million businesses now use…Late last year, Sheth left the Apps business to lead a new charge into the enterprise…the Google Chromebook…For Sheth, Chromebooks are just a natural extension of what he first glimpsed nearly eight years ago. Apps moved traditional office apps into the browser, and Chromebook seeks to move everything into the browser…Sheth says this means the machine is far cheaper to operate. “The hardware is such a small portion of the overall total cost of ownership. It’s everything else that dominates the TCO – all of the maintenance, management and security – and we can reduce all of that cost dramatically. Even if we kept the hardware the same price of what you get in the market today, just by changing the software, we can get to a much better place.”…According to Sheth, as Google prepped the Cr-48, an early “beta” version of the Chromebook, a lone product manager was tasked with finding a business or an educational institution interested in kicking the tires. In the end, he signed up 55 businesses and two school districts…Google bills the Chromebook as a kind of disposable laptop. If you lose the machine or trade it in for another, (most) all of your applications and data are waiting for you when you boot up a new one. Taking this idea to the extreme, the company is offering subscriptions to the machines, which are manufactured by Acer and Samsung. For $28 per machine per month, you get those continuous software updates, a web-based management console, Google tech support, and yes, hardware replacements…”

30. Can Chromebooks Make a Comeback? http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/consumer-electronics/portable-devices/can-chromebooks-make-a-comeback It’s been two months since Samsung and Acer, in collaboration with Google, started selling the Chromebook. For about a third of the price of a MacBook Air, you get a similarly sleek computer. The downside? It runs essentially one application—Google’s Chrome browser…All you need is a good Wi-Fi connection…instead of using desktop programs like Word, iTunes, and Photoshop, you’d be using cloud-based software like Google Docs, Pandora, and MugTug Darkroom…My guest today, Ben Bajarin, thinks the guys at Google are actually onto something with the Chromebook despite being unable to sell very many of them…they haven’t shipped to retailers yet, so it’s mostly online…I track Amazon’s bestsellers in laptop computers…there was actually a brief time when the Acer Chromebook was in the top five…it’s going to lend itself to be more of an early adopter crowd…just to figure out what a technology is and what it means to those folks on the bleeding edge…it was more about we need to get a product out in the market…You can get a fully fledged PC notebook at this point with Windows…for around the same price as these Chromebooks…browser-based computing…a pretty attractive value proposition for the software community…They don’t have to deal with operating systems, the fragmentation thing—I’ll write for Windows, I’ll write for Android, I’ll write for webOS, I’ll write for Apple, etc. They could actually just write one piece of software that takes place in the browser and it’ll work across all these different machines…I guess this is going to take years and years. We’re going to need more hardware, like the Chromebook, to spur the software developers…it starts again just by having products in the market so that the software development community, so that consumers, they can get experience and exposure to these products…these first devices, although they may not sell a lot, they’re good for the experience…we have to have reliable broadband to all of these devices as a fundamental piece, if an Internet connection is going to be required…But the biggest one is getting the software community to embrace this concept of Web applications and look at where HTML 5 is, look at where future versions of HTML go—HTML 6, HTML 7, etc. That language will evolve, as will JavaScript, to be able to take advantage of some very, very interesting elements of the hardware…”

General Technology

31. Death of a tech icon: Steve Jobs and the actually usable computer http://www.w3.org/QA/2011/10/steve_jobs.html At a sad time at which the world has just lost Steve Jobs, it is well to reflect on some of the things which he, his passion, and his creations have given us…A big thing Steve Jobs did for the world was to insist that computers could be usable rather than totally infuriating! The NeXT was brilliant…Steve and NeXTStep ended up saving Apple, and there must be a lesson that it is worth hanging on to cool things: you never know when they will in fact become mainstream….his vision…"It's not about Personal Computer .. it's about *Interpersonal* Computing". Exactly. Programming the WorldWideWeb client was remarkably easy on the NeXT…We almost met once. There was a get-together of NeXT developers in France, and we set up demos at tables…Steve arrived, and started making his way around the tables chatting with each project. He didn't get to us before he had to leave. Steve was a champion of usable technology…” [as one commenter said, “I wonder what would have happened if Mr. Jobs had seen the WorldWideWeb.app at work” – ed.] http://gawker.com/5847344 [most ‘geniuses’ also have glaring deficiencies; with higher highs come lower lows] “…One thing he wasn't, though, was perfect…there were things Jobs did while at Apple that were deeply disturbing. Rude, dismissive, hostile, spiteful: Apple employees—the ones not bound by confidentiality agreements—have had a different story to tell over the years about Jobs and the bullying, manipulation and fear that followed him around Apple…Apple's success has been built literally on the backs of Chinese workers, many of them children and all of them enduring long shifts and the specter of brutal penalties for mistakes. And, for all his talk of enabling individual expression, Jobs imposed paranoid rules that centralized control of who could say what on his devices and in his company…” http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/jobs-to-noah-wyle-you-do-look-like-me-with-macworld-expo-gag-video/11332 [watch the video] http://allthingsd.com/20111007/jon-stewart-stephen-colbert-say-goodbye-to-steve-jobs/

32. HP set to release NAND flash replacement in 18 months http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/print/9220652/HP_set_to_release_NAND_flash_replacement_in_18_months A Hewlett-Packard senior fellow this week told attendees…his company will have a new non-volatile memory chip ready to replace NAND flash and solid state drives (SSD) within 18 months."We're planning to put a replacement chip (called Memristor) on the market to go up against flash within a year and a half…We also intend to have an SSD replacement available in a year and a half."…Earlier this year, HP announced that Memristors could also perform logic. Therefore the chip can work as both a processor and as storage. It could one day take the place of both mass storage devices and central processing units…”

33. Coming Soon: The Drone Arms Race http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/sunday-review/coming-soon-the-drone-arms-race.html At the Zhuhai air show in southeastern China last November, Chinese companies startled some Americans by unveiling 25 different models of remotely controlled aircraft and showing video animation of a missile-armed drone taking out an armored vehicle and attacking a United States aircraft carrier…it was stark evidence that the United States’ near monopoly on armed drones was coming to an end…Eventually, the United States will face a military adversary or terrorist group armed with drones…What was a science-fiction scenario not much more than a decade ago has become today’s news…Predators and Reapers operated by the C.I.A. have killed more than 2,000 militants…If China, for instance, sends killer drones into Kazakhstan to hunt minority Uighur Muslims it accuses of plotting terrorism, what will the United States say? What if India uses remotely controlled craft to hit terrorism suspects in Kashmir, or Russia sends drones after militants in the Caucasus?...“The problem is that we’re creating an international norm” — asserting the right to strike preemptively against those we suspect of planning attacks…The qualities that have made lethal drones so attractive…a capacity for leisurely surveillance and precise strikes, modest cost, and most important, no danger to the operator, who may sit in safety thousands of miles from the target. To date, only the United States, Israel…and Britain…are known to have used drones for strikes. But…more than 50 countries…have built or bought unmanned aerial vehicles, or U.A.V.’s, and the number is rising every month…”

34. Body suit may soon enable the paralyzed to walk http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-brain-machine-20111006,0,7089239.story Dr. Miguel Nicolelis is merging brain science with engineering in a bid to create something fantastical: a full-body prosthetic device that would allow those immobilized by injury to walk again…Nicolelis and his collaborators — engineers, neuroscientists and physiologists from Brazil, Switzerland, Germany and the United States — are working toward an ambitious objective: On the opening day of the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil, they hope to send a young quadriplegic striding out to midfield to open the games, suited up in the "prosthetic exoskeleton" they aim to build…The latest experiment of the nonprofit consortium showed that electrical messages conveying sensation could be sent directly to the monkeys' brains — in enough detail that both animals could distinguish among three identical circles by virtually "feeling" their differing textures…For a person with a spinal cord injury, sending such orchestrated bursts of electrical information to the brain could do more than allow a patient who has lost sensation to experience the pleasures of touch again. It could provide the necessary sensory feedback for the user of a prosthetic walker to navigate uneven terrain and steer clear of dangers such as hot or slippery surfaces…In another experiment…Nicolelis' team at Duke showed that monkeys could learn to initiate movement with their thought patterns and command a robotic device across the world in a Japanese robotics lab to walk in real time. That development was a key step in creating a prosthetic device that could be controlled by a person incapable of voluntary movement below the neck. Now, by adding sensory feedback, the latest experiment creates a loop of command and control that could make the complex act of walking possible…the long-term goal would be a prosthetic that would send all the sensory information — touch, position, temperature — to the arm that goes into, say, drinking a cup of coffee…In demonstrating the feasibility of their ideas on nonhuman primates first, Nicolelis said the team is starting with approaches that are fundamentally simple…when the experiments move to a human, he or she will not only learn quickly how to initiate and repeat movements using thought alone, but the prosthetic should interface so seamlessly with the intelligent human brain that the patient will begin to see the prosthetic as a natural extension of himself or herself…”

35. Science Fiction Dreams Meet Reality at NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/at-work/innovation/science-fiction-dreams-meet-reality-at-nae-frontiers-of-engineering-symposium “…annual Frontiers of Engineering Symposium…topics…ranged wide, including manufacturing, biomedical engineering, building design, and machine learning…The Frontier of Engineering is where a generation’s reality slams into its science fiction icons…the speakers and attendees were Generation X…They grew up on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," the Star Wars series, and, of course, video games…references to all three popped up throughout the three-day conference…"Star Trek" replicator, meet additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing—aka, rapid prototyping, solid free form fabrication, and 3D printing—is here…And it’s a lot like the "Star Trek" replicator, a device about the size of a microwave that could build spare parts, toys, uniforms, and tea…One near-term goal, Lipson said, is to make an additive manufacturing system that can produce a robot, batteries included, that will walk out of the box that builds it…we “will have a hard time explaining to our grandchildren how we lived without it.”…we’ll probably use it mostly for “printing” food…his team is printing out all sorts of shapes from dough and frying them into complex doughnuts. “We will harness America’s love for fried dough to bring them to engineering,”…Geordi’s VISOR, meet retinal prosthetics…Geordi La Forge was born blind, but thanks to a device that captured visible light as well as infrared and other invisible parts of the spectrum, connected to his brain through implants, he could see. We can do that, said James Weiland, from the Doheny Eye Institute…They’re crude now, he clarified, but users can identify letters and follow lines that indicate crosswalks; future versions will increase resolution and use image processing to improve performance…Right now, according to Leuthardt, people can easily play the classic video game Breakout with just their thoughts…Breakout looks incredibly simple by the standards of today's video games, but we got from there to here in 30 years or so. If neurocontrol follows the same path, he said—well, just think about it.”

36. Touch-screen Braillewriter has keys that can 'find' fingertips http://www.theengineer.co.uk/sectors/electronics/touch-screen-braillewriter-has-keys-that-can-find-fingertips/1010542.article The winner of a Stanford University advanced computing competition has developed a new kind of touch-screen Braillewriter…the team did not create virtual keys that the fingertips must find; they made keys that find the fingertips. The user simply touches eight fingertips to the glass, and the keys orient themselves to the fingers. If the user becomes disoriented, a reset is as easy as lifting all eight fingers off the glass and putting them down again. They can accommodate users whose fingers are small or large, those who type with fingers close together or far apart, even to allow a user to type on a tablet hanging around the neck with hands opposed as if playing a clarinet…Current Braillewriters on the market are essentially specialised laptops that cost, in some cases, $6,000…or more…”

DHMN Technology

37. Intellectual worlds collide at 'indie spirit' Open Source Project café http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/2011/10/05/20111005tempe-open-source-cafe1005.html “…Open Source Project cafe attracts hipsters, jocks, DJs, graffiti artists, techies, chess savants and coffee connoisseurs…Witham has a techie background. His business plan was to create a co-working space where graphic artists, website designers and other freelance workers could collaborate. The space would be a lab for ideas where collaborators contributed a small membership fee to keep the cooperative afloat…"But when we came closer to opening, I had a difficult time getting people to commit to a membership."…a friendship formed with Witham that Gentry thought could be the basis for an unlikely business partnership. "I basically pitched my side of it - the music side, the art-gallery side and we both decided on the coffee for something to sustain us," he said. Coffee would pay the bills for a pseudo laboratory where regulars would be just as likely to pen a rap song as they would be to invent programming code…regulars appreciate the diverse clientele and scene at Open Source. Students study at the space, musicians collaborate and every month they host "Final Fridays" where they debut the work of a local artist and invite rappers, disc jockeys and bands to play…people from different aspects, people that don't normally get together, feel comfortable here."…they've hosted "everything from documentaries to punk shows. We're really trying to break down the barriers and have a community where hipsters and jocks can hang out."…Johnson said he has met people at the cafe from all walks of life. "There's definitely not a demographic," he said. "I come here all the time to play pingpong. I like that there's culture here. One guy, a regular, he's the best chess player I've ever seen…”

38. Six Websites That Will Make 3D Printing Accessible http://www.txchnologist.com/volumes/advanced-manufacturing/democratizing-design-six-websites-that-will-make-3d-printing-accessible-by-kristen-turner “…the world of digital fabrication extends beyond 3D printing, into CNC routing, laser-cutting, and digital fabric printing to name a few. All of these techniques have led to a democratization of the product design business — a new world where the Do It Yourself (DIY) culture has evolved into Make it Yourself (MIY)…the next industrial revolution isn’t just about the technology; that’s been around for over 20 years. The real change is the services that make these technologies accessible to anyone with an internet connection…Ponoko…Shapeways, and Spoonflower, all launched within the last five years, connect the masses to digital manufacturing. Each of these companies let users open a free account, upload a design file, select a material and order a custom product. The design is fabricated and delivered to the customer’s door…i.Materialise is the MIY branch of manufacturing and R&D corporation Materialise…Sculpteo is another 3D printing service, and their website gives users the ability to rotate the 3D model preview right in the browser…Ponoko offers 3D printing, but their Personal Factory platform also lets you make custom products with laser-cutting and CNC routing…Ponoko, Shapeways, and Sculpteo also have built-in marketplaces that let you sell your digital designs directly from their site. When someone purchases your design, they make the product and ship it to straight to your customer. Spoonflower can digitally print your designs on 7 different kinds of fabric…Envelop…will print your custom fabric and sew the finished product. It combines on-demand digital fabric printing with traditional sewing construction to let you customize a range of textile based products…”

39. TechShop + Kickstarter = A New Paradigm for Manufacturing? http://www.txchnologist.com/volumes/advanced-manufacturing/techshop-kickstarter-a-new-paradigm-for-manufacturing “…the TechShop in San Francisco’s Mission District, a sort of Hewlett Packard-garage meets vocational training…was founded by DIYer and serial entrepreneur Jim Newton. Home to a dazzling array of machinery, this facility attracts everyone from hobbyists to venture capitalists. There’s even a red phone that connects you directly to the U.S. Patent Office. Members have access to a sheet metal shop, waterjet machine, silicon mold makers, wood routers, CNC routers, screen-printers, the full spectrum of Autodesk software, and even something as seemingly anachronistic as a quilting machine. “Dream Coaches,” like the amiable electrical engineer who showed me around, glide from woodshop to machine shop, working as teachers, cheerleaders, and most importantly, connectors, linking folks with experience to those who need it…Techshop is increasingly helping guys (and gals) with a dream transform prototype into product, but to get to the next stage, entrepreneurs have sought an extra boost. To help bridge the “Valley of Death” — the place where good ideas die for lack of funding — a large number of creators have turned to Kickstarter…the Manhattan-based “crowdfunding” startup has helped everything from feature films to urban gardens to a stylus for touch screens. Together, Techshop and Kickstarter are the dynamic duo of manufacturing…Techshop’s greatest success story thus far, DODOcase, maker of handcrafted cases for digital readers that saved the San Francisco bookbinder Gabi Hanoun from near extinction (Hanoun’s business is now thriving). Covering iPads and Kindles in a café near you, the company is rapidly expanding its product line to cover Blackberry Playbooks and iPhones…”

40. KinectFusion camera creates 3-D models http://www.i-programmer.info/news/144-graphics-and-games/3122-kinectfusion-instant-3d-models.html KinectFusion…can map out the local space to create a 3D model that can be used within virtual environments. It's a way of mixing the real and the virtual…we have a new video that shows how it all works more clearly…it shows in detail how the 3D model is built up…a 3D model is being built in real-time from the Kinect depth stream. A whole room can be scanned in a few seconds and new sections added to the model as the Kinect is pointed to new areas of the room…The movement of the Kinect is also important because as it moves it "sees" different areas of the room and fills in the depth details that were hidden from its previous point of view…this isn't trivial because to unify the scans taken from different points of view…The model that is built up is described as volumetric and not a wireframe model. This is also said to have advantages because it contains predictions of the geometry…”

41. DARPA Design Contest Offers $100K for New Photo, Video Drone http://www.executivegov.com/2011/10/darpa-design-contest-offers-100k-for-new-photo-video-drone/ The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency…has begun a contest with a top prize of $100,000 for creators that can come up with new ideas for the development of drones…The competition for a drone called the UAVForge is open to individuals, such as scientists, engineers or aircraft hobbyists, as well as to teams of contestants. The task is to come up with ideas for a small, silent aircraft that could be controlled from two miles away and monitor people or cars in an urban area for up to two hours while sending back still photos or video…The team that wins the contest after a multistage winnowing process will join with a DARPA-chosen defense manufacturer to fabricate 15 of its drones. The aircraft will be used by the military services and in a 2012 operational exercise, probably overseas…DARPA has already been experimenting with promising prototypes from Defense Department contractors that proved the feasibility of the concept…the prototypes being tested were too costly to produce and too difficult to operate…”

Leisure & Entertainment

42. Minecraft Pocket Edition Plays Nice With More Android Phones http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/07/minecraft-pocket-edition-plays-nice-with-more-android-phones/ “…Minecraft Pocket Edition has finally gone live in the Android Market with support for (nearly) all devices…Any Android device running 2.1 or later is welcome to join the fun, but only after you shell out the requisite $6.99…True Minecraft addicts have already whipped out their wallets, but keep this in mind before you buy. This is Minecraft Pocket Edition — it plays more like the creative Classic mode rather than the fan-favorite Survival mode. That means no zombies, no creepers, and no harvesting blocks. Instead, you’ve got an infinite amount of materials to bring to life whatever crazy, horrifying things are bouncing around in your heads right now…there’s also a free demo version to mess around with. Fair warning: it’s pretty addictive…”

43. Amazon launches $79 Kindle and $99 Kindle Touch eReaders http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/09/amazon-launches-79-kindle-and-99-kindle-touch-ereaders.html Amazon.com…announced two new eInk eReaders -- a Kindle starting at $79 and a Kindle Touch starting at $99…The $99 Kindle is Wi-Fi only and runs advertisements from Amazon's "Special Offers" service on the Kindle's lock and home screens. An ad-free version of the Kindle Touch sells for $139…Amazon is also making available a Kindle Touch 3G model for $149 with "Special Offers" and an ad-free version for $189. Both of the Kindle Touch 3G variations feature lifetime free 3G wireless service…The company also is introducing a $79 Kindle with Special Offers, its lowest priced eReader so far, that loses the keyboard seen on every previous Kindle model, retaining only a few buttons for page turns and navigating around Amazon's eBook store. An ad-free version of the base Kindle sells for $109…” http://www.marco.org/2011/10/07/review-79-kindle-with-ads-and-buttons [a review of the $79 Kindle – ed.] http://gigaom.com/2011/10/05/what-happens-to-books-when-the-kindle-is-free/ “…Based on the consistent and gradual declines in Kindle prices, some have speculated that Amazon could soon offer them for free, sponsored by advertising or other similar deals…What would free e-book readers do to the book industry?...Amazon’s rationale in offering a tablet…is the exact opposite of Apple’s. Apple makes most of its profits from selling hardware…and uses content…as a way of fueling demand for that hardware, while Amazon’s primary business is content, and it uses hardware as a conduit for getting that content to as many people as possible…Amazon has continually expanded the types of content that Kindles can deliver, through programs such as Kindle Singles. These not-quite-books can be written and uploaded by anyone, and offered at whatever price point an author decides: as little as 99 cents, or even free…You might not think authors — or Amazon, for that matter — would be able to generate much from 99 cent books, but you would be wrong…Some authors…have noted that when they lowered the price of their books to 99 cents, they sold orders of magnitude more copies…Not everyone is happy about this state of affairs…Author Sam Harris wrote an eloquent blog post recently about the disruption of the market for books…Where publishing is concerned, the Internet is both midwife and executioner…books don’t want to be free; they just want to be a whole lot cheaper than they are…Harris himself admits he has grown tired of paying full prices for 600-page books…But he and plenty of other people would probably pay $1.99 or $4.99 for a pleasant read that didn’t take too long…There’s even the possibility that books could be free and still make money…Amazon apparently already has a patent that covers advertising-supported e-books…the book is evolving as it becomes digital…A free Kindle could be just the beginning of an explosion of book-like content from Amazon and others: The company is already talking about a “Netflix for books”…Why not offer a subscription to an author, so I can automatically get whatever he or she writes, regardless of length or format…”

44. Netflix kills Qwikster after customers bash spinoff of DVD service http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2011/10/netflix-kills-qwikster-after-customers-bash-spinoff-of-dvd-service.ars Three weeks ago, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said his company would split its DVD-by-mail service into a new site called Qwikster while keeping video streaming at Netflix.com. The change seemed needlessly drastic and complicated for many users, forcing customers to be billed twice and to search for DVD and streaming content on separate websites…Customers complained about the confusing changes and Hastings apparently received the message. Hasting announced…Qwikster will now simply go away. “It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs,” Hastings wrote. “This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words, no Qwikster…”

45. FreekNation: KontrolFreek's Open-Source Innovation Is No Game http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelhumphrey/2011/10/05/freeknation-kontrolfreeks-open-source-innovation-is-no-game/ “…Forbes’ David Ewalt and Michael Noer gave high praise to products made by KontrolFreek, an Atlanta-based company that manufactures controller enhancements for PlayStation3 and XBox gaming systems. “I’m shocked by how well KontrolFreek’s videogame accessories work,” Ewalt wrote…KontrolFreek products are reasonably priced, deceptively simple and ridiculously effective…a lot of gamers are not…shocked by the quality of these products. That’s because more 200,000 gamers around the world are helping develop and market KontrolFreek’s products. The community, called FreekNation has been credited with the company’s self-reported 400 percent growth in the past year, because, “…all of [KontrolFreek's] product slate has been through feedback and demand of their consumers. They ask their community what they want more of, and develop their product lineup based on the biggest demand…KontrolFreek’s community of 200,000+ fans…actively, create, exchange and share content about our brand, across forums and social networks…As we began to create and bring to market new accessories for other genres of games, we quickly discovered that thousands of our customers were already on the web creating fan videos and Facebook pages to communicate with each other…When they loved an accessory they would be the first to tell us, if there were improvements to be made on another product they would be just as passionate…Like many growing companies, we were stretched for resources, so we turned to our existing customers and were amazed with their level of participation. They told us exactly what they liked and disliked about our prototypes and what direction we should consider before going into final production. It’s funny, but most businesses seem to forget that their customers are their best source for ideas and feedback…the biggest idea that has developed directly from growing our community has been the actual evolution of KontrolFreek’s business model. In the beginning, we thought we were the experts creating innovation, but realized quickly that we were really the enablers of production for items our community wanted manufactured…”

Economy and Technology

46. HSN Brings QR Codes to TV Shopping http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/08/technology/hsn-tests-onscreen-qr-codes-to-encourage-sales.html “…HSN…on Friday began running…QR codes…on its high-definition channel. The codes, featured on the corner of the screen, correspond to products for sale. A scan brings the shopper to a product page on HSN’s mobile Web site or its app, where there is an easy link to the checkout page…HSN says this is a first for television…Market research shows that many people do not use QR codes, but some retailers see them as a potentially lucrative form of marketing…“I’m sure consumers are seeing these QR codes, and we’re actually going to explain to people how to download a QR reader, how to scan it,” said Jill Braff, the network’s executive vice president…“My fear is that it is simply too complicated for consumers to bother with,” Mr. Grill said…only 6.2 percent of mobile users in the United States scanned a QR code in June, according to the tracking firm comScore. And the type of person scanning was most likely to be young and male — great if you’re selling shaving cream or headphones, less so if it’s luxury women’s clothing…HSN is running the codes only on its high-definition channel, because the resolution on the standard channel is not good enough for a scan…Mr. Grill said…“Until technologies such as QR code readers are completely integrated into a mobile phone’s hardware, then my view is that adoption will be slow…”

47. ZipPay To Launch New Mobile Payments Service Cheaper Than Square http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/07/zippay-to-launch-new-mobile-payments-service-cheaper-than-square/ “…mobile payments startup ZipPay is…like Square and Venmo had a baby…Like Square, the startup aims to address the needs of individuals and small business owners who can’t afford the high fees associated with having their own merchant accounts…Meanwhile, like Venmo, the solution will also provide a way to perform person-to-person payments…unlike Square, ZipPay won’t use a dongle. It also promises rates lower than Square’s 2.75% per swipe…ZipPay will offer a mobile wallet solution that uses some undisclosed patent-pending technology…ZipPay is leveraging Card.io, the new software development kit (SDK) for mobile developers that uses a combination of computer vision and machine intelligence to “read” a card held up to the mobile phone’s camera…ZipPay’s wallet supports all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Store cards, discount cards and membership cards will be supported in the future…ZipPay has a banking partner on the backend…and payments are deposited into merchant’s accounts within 1 to 3 days…The second part of the ZipPay system is the feature which involves peer-to-peer payments, something very much like the startup Venmo…both people would need to have the ZipPay app on their devices and then, again using the undisclosed technology, payments can be instantly sent between the devices. Because the company is not ready to detail its technology, it’s hard to compare what it’s offering with Square, PayPal, Google Wallet or others…” [this post sparks a slew of personal and entrepreneurial finance questions, including how many mobile payment systems will the US/global economy support, i.e. how many will be around or have a significant number of users five years from now, how long before US consumers will have a universally accepted loyalty card, and will the proliferation of mobile electronic payment systems double or triple the amount of electronic payment fraud and loss; seems like ‘mobile and online financial services’ such as Mint, Square, PayPal, Google Wallet and others would be an interesting topic for several NEW NET sessions – ed.]

Civilian Aerospace

48. LaserMotive to Work on NASA "Ride the Light" Space Technology http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/lasermotive-work-on-nasa-ride-light-game-changing-space-technology-project-future-missions-1569948.htm LaserMotive, an independent R&D company specializing in laser power beaming and winner of the 2009 NASA sponsored Power Beaming Competition…is one of the companies named to work on the new NASA "Ride the Light" project…Ride the Light will use beamed power and propulsion produced by commercially available power sources such as lasers and microwave energy to attempt to develop a low-cost, modular power beaming capability and explore multiple technologies to function as receiving elements of the beamed power. LaserMotive already has experience in developing its own laser power beaming system, based on technology LaserMotive developed for its winning entry in the 2009 NASA Power Beaming Challenge, that it has used to set world records for laser powered helicopter flight, first in August 2010 at the AUVSI Conference in Denver, Colo., and again in October 2010…”

49. More UP Aerospace launches for spaceport http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_19069916 With new launch contracts from NASA and the Department of Defense (DoD), UP Aerospace will double the number of missions it has flown from Spaceport America since 2006…NASA…awarded the company a contract to integrate technology payloads and launch them into space on up to eight flights using UP Aerospace's SpaceLoft rocket…The second contract was issued by the DoD…and will be a sub-orbital flight also planned for the first quarter of 2012…In addition to UP Aerospace and Virgin Galactic, spaceport officials have been working with other space leaders like Armadillo Aerospace, as well as firms like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and MOOG-FTS to develop commercial spaceflight at the new facility…”

50. YouTube and Lenovo Launch Space Station Experiment Contest for Students http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/science/space/11spacelab.html “…Make a two-minute video. Get an experiment flown to the International Space Station. YouTube and Lenovo, the computer manufacturer, announced on Monday a science contest called SpaceLab for students around the world ages 14 to 18…the students, who can enter individually or in teams of up to three, do not actually have to perform any experiments. Instead, they will make videos to pitch ideas for experiments that could be conducted in the zero-gravity environs of the space station. The two winning entries will be built and flown there, and astronauts will conduct a demonstration that will be broadcast to classrooms via YouTube…For the YouTube contest…Space Adventures will act as a middleman to prepare the winning experiments for flight. Mr. Bharmal came up with the idea when Google invited employees to suggest a marketing campaign. “When I was a teenager, 15 or 16, space was the thing that really inspired me,”…Experiment proposals can cover science questions in biology or physics. Restrictions include no dangerous animals, no explosions and nothing sharp…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

51. GPGPU Java Programming http://www.javacodegeeks.com/2011/09/gpgpu-java-programming.html “…we discussed the General Processing on the Graphics Processing Unit (GPGPU) concepts and architecture. For C/C++ programmers this is all great but for Java Programmers writing C/C++ instead of Java is to say the least an inconvenience. So what tools are out there for Java programmers?...There are two competing GPGPU SDKs: OpenCL and CUDA. OpenCL is an open standard supported by all GPU vendors (namely AMD, NVIDIA and Intel), while CUDA is NVIDIA specific and will work only on NVIDIA cards. Both SDKs support C/C++ code…So far there is no pure java OpenCL or CUDA support…there are some Java tools out there that ease the pain of GPGPU Java programming. The two most popular (IMHO) are jocl and jcuda. With these tools you still have to write C/C++ code but at least that would be only for the code that will be executed in the GPU…This time I will take a look at jcuda and see how we can write a simple GPGPU program. Let's start by setting up a CUDA GPGPU linux development environment…Now that we got the basics of how to execute code in the GPU let's see how we can run GPGPU code from Java. Remember the kernel code will still be written in C but at least the main function is now java code with the help of jcuda…In a future article I will provide an example on how to run parallel threads in CUDA using java…”

52. Northwestern University Center’s Molecular Imaging Center http://www.vizworld.com/2011/10/northwestern-university-centers-molecular-imaging-center/ A new case study from NVidia covers the creation of an impressive 3D Display wall 25 JVC monitors driven by 13 NVidia Quadroplex systems. The result is an amazing synchronized display driven by a handful of workstations, offering up 52 million pixels of scientific data in a beautiful stereoscopic interactive display…the display is the output of an interactive application. It’s not pre-rendered but rather interactively drawn on the screen…What this means is that instead of a clinician having to cycle through a series of single grayscale images one at a time, if we write the right tools, people can visualize the MRI in stereo 3D as a continuous surface and see things like lesions more clearly.”…Dr. Thomas Meade of…Northwestern University was…designing a brand new, state-of-the-art imaging facility with the goal of bringing all biological molecular imaging at Northwestern together…to create not only a state-of-the-art tool for researchers, but also a public view of research being done across the university…a place where everyone from undergrads to professors and researchers could interact with theoretical data in a unique way…McCrory is a visualization engineer who had traversed the worlds of science and digital filmmaking, working with Argonne National Laboratory, DreamWorks Animation and the University of Chicago, and was lead visualization engineer for Northwestern University Information Technology (NUIT). He also had a vision…“With 3D we could translate computational theoretical data that couldn’t be seen any other way,” McCrory said. “It would give researchers a truly holistic view of their subjects…25 JVC Professional 46-inch stereo 3D displays, stacked five by five…operate as a single, massive high resolution display on which molecules, proteins, atoms and entire organisms can be displayed in full stereoscopic 3D…While a typical IMAX theatre displays eight million pixels on a massive screen, the wall at CAMI displays nearly 52 million in a much smaller footprint…13 NVIDIA Quadro Plex multi-GPU systems drive the CAMI display wall — 26 GPUs in all, with built-in NVIDIA G-Sync II technology to keep all 26 of those GPUs synchronized…the stereo capabilities of the Quadro cards, and their support for Linux…was important for us because we like to run open source…a lot of what we’re doing is volume rendering, and NVIDIA Quadro technology is the best solution to use…”

53. Russia to Test Rockets on a Supercomputer http://eng.cnews.ru/news/top/indexEn.shtml?2011/10/03/458070 Russia`s Federal Space Agency…has published a tender for development of "manufacturing technology of a cluster compute system with hybrid architecture for imitational modeling of rocket and launchers` real flight conditions"…the space agency expects the contractor to not only deliver the "manufacturing technology", but a sample of such compute system (with CPU+GPU architecture), which is going to be installed in one of the space industry`s head organizations, as well as applied software…With the help of the new software and compute system Roscosmos, amongst all, hopes to considerably "reduce the cost of on-land experiments by yearly reduction of tests"…The Roscosmos system must also have 20 Gb RAM and 4000 Gb disk space…the new software and compute system will help to get closer to narrowing the gap between Russia…and the other leading countries regarding modeling and simulation of rocket on-land tests…”



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