2011/11/08

NEW NET Weekly List for 08 Nov 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 08 November 2011, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week's meeting is at Cambria Suites Hotel, 3940 N. Gateway Drive, Appleton Wisconsin, USA near Ballard Road and Highway 41. Cambria Suites has free wifi and has an assortment of food and beverages.

The ‘net

1. The Best Days of the Week to Buy Big-Ticket Items Online http://www.extrabux.com/blog/2011/11/cheapest-days-of-the-week-to-shop-online/ “…To get the best deal there are a lot of factors to consider: where you buy, what coupons you find…how much you pay for shipping, and whether you pay sales tax all impact the final price you pay…what day of the week you buy impacts the price too…We partnered with our friends at camelcamelcamel.com and analyzed the past two years of historical price data from thousands of online retailers and over 100,000 different products to determine for the first time the cheapest days of the week to shop online…Computers & Electronics: Mondays…When it comes to buying computers, TVs, cameras, and video games online, you’ll get the lowest prices early in the week…Computer and electronics manufacturers like Dell and Sony apply all their discounts and rebates on Monday and retailers pass these discounts to the consumer…be careful not to buy a TV on a Friday – it will cost you!...retailers offer their lowest prices on the day that the most consumers are shopping and sharing deals…prices on cameras spike after Monday and pretty much stay there…cameras are significantly less expensive items than computers or TVs…retailers use them as promotional leaders to drive traffic on Mondays, when consumers are back in front of their computers from the weekend…early in the week…there is the most competition to capture the attention of consumers, and this competition results in lower prices for consumers. Fridays tend to be light online shopping days…On Saturdays and Sundays…computer algorithms actually take over most pricing decisions…online prices on major appliances are lowest on weekends when home improvement projects are top of mind…Jewelry: Wednesdays…jewelry skews more female than the other product categories and women tend to shop online most in the middle of the week…As for what causes book prices to be lowest on Saturdays, our guess is that people have more free time to read on Saturdays, which leads to more online shopping for new books…”

2. Asana Is a Free Project Management and Collaboration Tool for People with Multiple Projects http://lifehacker.com/5855549/asana-is-a-free-project-management-and-collaboration-tool-for-people-with-multiple-projects “…Asana is a new webapp that can help you keep on top of your to-dos, get updates from other people helping you, and capture everything you and your team are doing in one place so everyone can refer to it quickly…You can use it to keep track of your own responsibilities and projects, and it has a number of powerful tools like categories, dependent tasks, and sub-projects to help you stay organized but still see everything you have going on in one place. However, it really shines when you have a group of people to collaborate with. Asana gives your team a single place to see everyone's to-dos, related documents, notes, and conversations. Instead of emailing files and endless debate threads in your inbox, your team can visit Asana to discuss tasks and review documents together. Everyone else can see updates in real-time, assign each other tasks, and mark their to-dos complete when they're finished. Asana is free for individuals and teams of up to 30 users. The service just launched its public beta today…”

3. Do.com social productivity app from Salesforce “…Salesforce.com has…a well-played strategy thus far to build leveraged platforms in cloud-based services the way Microsoft leveraged its platforms for office applications... only somewhat faster…Do.com - a free, Heroku-based service coupled with Gmail, but enabled for all e-mail users - is a cloud-based, socially-oriented task management and collaboration platform aimed not just at Salesforce's typical office user, but the general public. It serves not only as a group planning tool for any scale of project, including the smallest scale (e.g., remembering to pick up groceries), but as a kind of cloud desktop for collaborating around Google Docs…The basic idea of Do.com is that Gmail users will be able to visualize their contacts better, and organize their communications with those contacts around tasks and projects. But the task concept is loose enough to apply to just about any type of association; it could literally be a group of neighbors gathering together to fix someone's fence, or launch a political campaign for a local city councilperson, or start a barbecue…"You can use it to collaborate with customers, partners, prospects, clients, or your friends and family. You can use it to get things done with anybody," the SVP tells us. "We do have a Gmail gadget, or you can also pop right into Gmail and use it to create projects or assign tasks right from Gmail without even leaving your e-mail."…Do.com is not a substitute for Outlook. But…it may provide the "killer app" functionality that Outlook has been lacking for many users, in the form of a truckload of users gift-wrapped especially for Gmail. As Salesforce improves Do.com's tie-ins with Google Apps, the foundation of Microsoft Office's stronghold on home offices and small businesses will come under possibly the first serious competitive challenge in over a decade…”

4. O’Sullivan Foundation Grants $5M To Khan Academy http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/04/the-osullivan-foundation-grants-5m-to-online-learning-platform-khan-academy/ “…The Khan Academy…brought the idea of educating young people, self-starters, people who learn at their own pace — online. The educational startup now counts over 2,600 videos in its library, with sessions or classes on everything from arithmetic to physics…the platform is seeing 39 million pageviews and 3.5 million unique users per month. That 3.5 million unique users is up 309 percent year-over-year…The O’Sullivan Foundation’s support will be used to grow the faculty of the Khan Academy; extend the content to include crowd-sourced contributions; and to develop curricula for a blended physical and virtual academic experience…We’re simply looking for unique voices that get traction and engage with students. As we expand our faculty, we’ll enable more teachers to share their enthusiasm with kids everywhere.” One use of the grant…will be to expand Khan Academy’s faculty from one lesson producer to at least five full-time-equivalent teachers, extending the range of subjects taught from just science, engineering and math to the arts and humanities…Khan Academy will also be opening a physical school, which will be run as a series of summer school camps starting in June 2012 in Northern California…”

5. Kicksend For Dead Simple File Sharing http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/03/kicksend-grabs-1-8-million-from-true-ventures-sv-angel-more-for-dead-simple-file-sharing/ “…Kicksend launched in beta to make sending and sharing large files easy as pie, especially for the non-technical crowd…they’ve been heads-down fixing, tweaking, and developing some big new features…Though…they’ve seen a number of businesses using the site to share and send files, Kicksend remains focused on the consumer, particularly on creating a simple, intuitive user experience that even your grandmother can use…mobile apps are on the way…Kicksend’s value proposition lies both in its simplicity and the fact that its platforms are connected in realtime, enabling users to drag and drop big batches of files from their desktop app and have them delivered instantly to the recipient’s desktop and web apps, their inbox (and soon) their mobile apps…Kicksend has no size limits, is private, and works effortlessly and asynchronously (unlike IM). In contrast with syncing backup solutions, the service removes the need for share folders and permissions….”

6. Mozilla Firefox 8: What's New http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/enterprise_apps/231902597Mozilla updated Firefox for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android Tuesday…The desktop version of Firefox has reached version 8, though version numbers no longer mean what they once did. Firefox, like Google Chrome, gets updated every six weeks…Safari and Internet Explorer continue to be revised less often…The new version of Firefox adds Twitter as a search option. Users can select Twitter in the search query box to restrict queries to tweets…Firefox is now disabling add-ons installed by third parties without permission and asking the user to choose which should be enabled…”

Gigabit Internet

7. Ethernet storage: When will FCoE gain traction in data centres? http://searchstorage.techtarget.co.uk/feature/Ethernet-storage-When-will-FCoE-gain-traction-in-data-centresEthernet is 31 years old this year and well-established as a networking technology. It is also capable of supporting all existing storage protocols…as well as Fibre Channel via Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). But, it is still not dominant as a carrier of block access data, where Fibre Channel still reigns supreme. The question is, then, can Ethernet storage become king of the data centre?...The technology is also scalable, both in terms of distance and in terms of bandwidth. Ethernet networks can stretch across whole continents…the protocol can also be used at speeds of up to 100 Gbps…storage protocols that run on Ethernet include the Network File System (NFS), which currently supports a third of all databases…the Common Internet File System (CIFS) is ubiquitous in the Windows world, while iSCSI provides a cheap hop from direct-attached storage (DAS) into SANs…More recent is the development of converged data centre Ethernet, used as a data centre bridging mechanism…Trusted delivery enables customers to use Ethernet as a carrier protocol to run multiple storage protocols. In particular, the lossless traffic management is crucial for running FCoE…Ethernet storage in this context uses 10 Gbps Ethernet and higher, with 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps Ethernet now standardised…”

8. London’s CityFibre to build a $800 million gigabit network http://gigaom.com/broadband/londons-cityfibre-to-build-a-800-million-gigabit-network/ “…CityFibre…is looking to raise over $800 million to build out a fiber network that reaches nearly a million households in the U.K. and will be capable of offering gigabit-per-second speeds…The proposed network will also reach 50,000 businesses…BT announced two-thirds of U.K. premises will have access to fiber broadband by the end of 2014…Six million premises already have access to the technology…CityFibre’s plan is to not only offer the service on its own, but also to open it up to third-party Internet service providers who could buy on a wholesale level from the company. CityFibre manages fiber network infrastructure for public sector services such as police, healthcare groups and local government in addition to working with universities. They operate seven metro rings, and in the city of Bournemouth…currently said to be the largest fiber-to-the-home project in the U.K. Nearly 24,000 homes there will get super-fast broadband in 2012.”

9. Coming soon to a server near you: fewer internet delays http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-server-internet.htmlResearchers at the UA-led Center for Integrated Access Networks, the largest optical research center in the U.S., are developing methods to improve transmission speed, efficiency and reliability of Internet content, including everything from cell phone calls or texts to emails and television…Latency can occur for a number of reasons associated with disruption of an information lane such as an electronic wire or fiber optic cable, or from an overload of Internet-based messaging that can occur with increased network traffic…CIAN is working to increase the extent of optical networks so that messages spend more time traveling as optical signals than as electronic signals…one of the main challenges in this part of the network is: How do you deliver all this distinct traffic that has different quality-of-service requirements in the most efficient way?"…There are applications emerging that exploit a gigabit to the end-user, but if everybody wants that gigabit at the same time, suddenly the surge demand on the network can be untenable and we need designs that efficiently handle such cases too." Today's "business-as-usual" approach is to keep scaling up the current network infrastructure…a very energy-hungry approach, not just because the switch boxes consume a lot of energy, but also they generate a lot of heat, which requires expensive cooling solutions…CIAN has a potential technology solution. "An area in which CIAN and its partner institutions are very strong is integrated silicon photonics," said Wissinger. "These are basically computer chips that process light in addition to electrical signals, and they effectively miniaturize what today are large, energy-hungry network elements, shrinking them to the size of computer chips, with a small fraction of the energy requirement…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

10. A short history of crimeware http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9221499/A_short_history_of_crimeware “…"Nineteen Eighty-Four," foresaw a totalitarian state filled with devices termed telescreens that were the state's means of monitoring citizens…with our dependence on modern technologies such as PCs and mobile devices, and the widespread availability of crimeware, we've exceeded anything Orwell could ever have imagined. Crimeware is a class of malware that is specifically designed to automate large-scale financial crime. We now carry our own version of Orwell's telescreens with us--termed mobile devices--having cameras, microphones, GPS, and containing all our interactions…There are few viable options to combat crimeware's success in undermining today's technologies. One proposed approach fights fire with fire, using malware's own techniques in hand-to-hand combat for the ultimate control of processors…Intel and McAfee recently proposed scrapping current processor technology and starting again to design new impenetrable processors…In either case, it is important to know how seriously crimeware has undermined our technologies and the radical thinking required to fight crimeware…crimeware (also termed financial malware, stealth malware, or banking Trojans) evolved through a series of advancements that outpaced…traditional security defenses, including the foundational Internet defense triad of SSL encryption, anti-virus, and two-factor authentication. The result of these advancements is an efficient attack tool--ZeuS and SpyEye being the leading examples--capable of collecting large volumes of highly-sensitive authentication data. While no application is immune, criminals, as expected, are focusing their attacks on those applications that give them the most direct payoff--online banking accounts…”

11. Dozens of chemical firms hit in espionage hack attack http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/31/chemical_firms_hacked/Dozens of companies in the defense and chemical industries have been targeted in an industrial espionage campaign…At least 29 companies involved in the research, development, and manufacture of chemicals and an additional 19 firms in defense and other industries have been attacked since the middle of July…The unknown attackers used back door trojans, including a variant of the publicly available Poison Ivy, to exfiltrate data from victims - including multiple Fortune 100 companies involved in the research and development of chemical compounds and advanced materials. “These attacks are primarily targeting private industry in search of key intellectual property for competitive advantage…“This attack campaign focused on the chemical sector with the goal of obtaining sensitive documents such as proprietary designs, formulas, and manufacturing processes…”

12. Barnes & Noble Urges U.S. to Probe Microsoft on Patents http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-08/barnes-noble-urges-u-s-regulators-to-probe-microsoft-on-mobile-patents.htmlBarnes & Noble Inc. asked U.S. regulators to investigate whether Microsoft Corp. seeks to monopolize the mobile-device market by demanding patent royalties on electronics running on Google Inc.’s Android operating system. “Microsoft is embarking on a campaign of asserting trivial and outmoded patents against manufacturers of Android devices,” Barnes & Noble said in an Oct. 17 letter to…the Justice Department’s chief counsel for competition…“Microsoft is attempting to raise its rivals’ costs in order to drive out competition and to deter innovation in mobile devices…”

13. Supreme Court ponders constitutionality of 24/7 GPS tracking http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/11/supreme-court-ponders-constitutionality-of-247-gps-tracking.ars “…a key part of the government's case came from a GPS tracking device the police secretly attached to Jones' car. Jones argues that the installation and use of the device violated his Fourth Amendment rights…This is the high court's first opportunity to address the constitutionality of prolonged, warrantless GPS tracking. In the 1983 case of US v. Knotts, the court ruled that the government didn't need a warrant to hide a short-range electronic transmitter in a drum of chemicals and use it to track a suspect…the United States Court of Appeals…ruled that the Knotts holding didn't apply to Jones's case. The tracking device in Knotts was used for just a few hours to track a suspect during a single trip. In contrast, the police tracked Jones's car continuously for 28 days. In 1983, the Supreme Court specifically said it would withhold judgment on more aggressive "dragnet" surveillance activities for a future case…That future has now arrived…The government's lawyer…argued that…police can legally conduct around-the-clock human surveillance of a suspect, and…that installing a tracking device on a suspect's car was just a more efficient—but equally legal—way of accomplishing the same result. This argument seemed to alarm several of the justices. "If you win this case then there is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States," Justice Breyer said. "And no one, at least very rarely, sends human beings to follow people 24 hours a day…But with the machines, you can. So if you win, you suddenly produce what sounds like 1984…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

14. The Best Fitness Watch http://gizmodo.com/5855443/the-best-fitness-watch “…These fitness watches will…track your heart beats, distance traveled, and speed…4th Place: Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS with Heart Rate…it tracks some really cool metrics—like the total amount you've climbed during a workout, or the amount of time you've spent in a certain altitude zone…The ANT+ receiver will hook up to power meters, cadence sensors, and heart rate monitors…Problem is, Timex' ticker is…heavy and bulky…then there are the buttons. There are too many of them (seven!), and they are packed too close together…I wouldn't recommend the Global Trainer to anyone…3rd Place: Polar RCX5…This thing is…thin and light…It has a big bold display that's easy to read and easy to manage while on the go. Buttons are well-placed, and easy to access…the interface…is tricky…A ZoneOptimizer feature measures your heart rate variability and uses that to calculate your level of fatigue before each workout. Then is automatically sets your heart rate zones for you…If ZoneOptimizer detects that you're too beat, the training program automatically steps down a smidge. All that data then gets sucked up to Polar's web app, where you can view your progress, recovery time, and training loads…There's no onboard GPS…you'll need to buy the…GPS pod pack for an extra $100…2nd Place: Nike Plus GPS SportWatch…It's slim…and stylish…The watch has an onboard TomTom GPS chip, and will also link up to a Nike Plus shoe sensor and Polar WIND heart rate monitor….It…counts laps—just tap the screen to tick them off—and has a simple interval timer. If you don't run for a while, it will give you clever little nudges, like "run with me later?" The clasp conceals a USB connector. Jack it into your laptop, and it automatically uploads your run data to Nike Plus, mapping it along the way…but the SportWatch is not bummer-free. Speed is only displayed as pace—that's basically useless on a bike, where you want MPH…It will make a great timekeeper for the beginning runner…BESTMODO! Garmin Forerunner 910XT…it can display from one up to four data points at once on a screen, and you can have up to 4 preset screens per sport…Thanks to ANT+, it can also grab power data from your bike…910 links up with your Tanita scale to track your weight and body fat percentage. A barometric altimeter works with GPS to get you super accurate elevation totals…Heart rate based calorie counting gives you the real deal on your workout intensity…automatic wireless data transfers back it all up to your computer…This is the fitness device I've wanted for years…” [what would you want a wrist computer or fitness watch to do for you? – ed.]

15. Siri goes down for iPhone 4S http://venturebeat.com/2011/11/03/siri-outage/Siri, Apple’s new voice assistant feature for the iPhone 4S, is apparently suffering from an outage, which has rendered it useless for many iPhone owners…Siri isn’t just a simple piece of voice control software…Siri must communicate with one of Apple’s servers for additional information…when you ask Siri what the weather is like in Nashville, Tenn., it plays an elaborate game of telephone with a main database that has the information, and then updates you with the answer. This is precisely the reason jailbreaking the iPhone 4 and the iPad to run Siri is so difficult…” [Andy M told me this week he doesn’t want to depend on the cloud too much because it may not always be available; maybe Apple will build a local mode into Siri so that iPhone users won’t be so confused or upset when their phone sometimes doesn’t talk back to them – ed.]

16. Republic Wireless – update http://gigaom.com/2011/11/07/republic-wireless-everything-you-need-to-know/Republic Wireless, the division of Bandwidth.com that offers customers an Android phone with unlimited voice, data and text for $19 a month, launches Tuesday. It’s a revolutionary price point in the industry but it’s also an attempt to make Wi-Fi calling easier and more user-friendly…Republic Wireless has made Wi-Fi the linchpin of its mobile service with a cellular network provided by Sprint as its backup. Customers will join the service by paying $199 to get a phone and then $19 a month after that with no contracts. There’s a 30-day window for someone to return the phone and get their money back…By default all calls, data and texts are sent via Wi-Fi networks when possible, and switch only to cellular if no Wi-Fi access is available. That’s one reason for the low price on the service, as most people can access an existing Wi-Fi network in their home or office for free. Brian Dally, the general manager of Republic says he expects at least 60 percent of the traffic to go over Wi-Fi networks. But he assures me that when he says unlimited data that it does extend to the 3G portion of the service as well…Bandwidth.com owns an IP network (which Republic will use to connect calls) that currently provides VoIP services to Skype, Google Voice and other IP voice providers. Between Bandwidth.com’s network, Sprint and your home Wi-Fi points, Dally believes he has a service. And given the emphasis on public in all of the company’s branding, I’m wondering if there’s a Fon element to be found here, where members can sign up to share their hot spots…The beta starts Tuesday with Republic offering to ship a cluster of handsets every Friday based on a first come first served basis, and folks can sign up at the company’s web site.” http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/07/republic-wireless-officially-unveils-19month-service-unlimited-everything-no-contracts/ “…The initial cellular partner is Sprint, but Republic is working to use other carriers as fallback options…The first phone being offered by Republic Wireless…is…LG Optimus, running Android 2.3…This phone is offered by other carriers and is generally regarded as a solid low-end device…[hey! That’s the phone I’ve got!! – ed.]…The device will be sold for $199 with no contract, and it will be available at a discounted rate of $99 through November 27 if you use the promo code ‘welcome19′…Month-to-month freedom from contracts and termination fees…No-risk, 30-day money back guarantee…The service relies on users logging onto their Wifi…you’re expected to log on when you can — the phone will montior your ‘Cellular Usage Index’, which plots how much data you’re sending over Wifi vs a cellular connection…Here’s the catch: if you’re routinely using a lot of cellular data, then the service reserves the right to boot you. “Everyone’s entitled to a bad day, week or month. Kicking the cell habit, however, isn’t for everyone…over time, if you don’t bring your CUI back into a reasonable range, we’ll help you find a more suitable, traditional cellular carrier.”…the site says you could use 550 minutes, send 150 texts, and download 300 megabytes without using Wifi at all and not be at risk of receiving a warning…”

17. Nook Tablet Comes with Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora http://www.extremetech.com/computing/103457-new-nook-tablet-unveiled-kindling-for-kindle-fire “…the Nook Color 2…is actually the Nook Tablet…The screen is the same — a 7-inch 1024×600 IPS jobby — but the rest of the innards have received a fairly substantial upgrade. The processor in the Nook Tablet is a TI OMAP4 SoC at 1.2GHz, up from an 800MHz OMAP3 in the Nook Color. RAM and internal storage have doubled, from 512MB to 1GB and 8GB to 16GB respectively. The Tablet is also 50 grams lighter than the Color — down from 450 to 400 — which makes it around the same weight as the Kindle Fire…here’s the kicker: The Nook Tablet costs $250, and the Kindle Fire…is just $200. The Nook Tablet has a marginally better spec (1GB of RAM vs. 512MB), but the Kindle Fire is thinner and it has Amazon’s awesome arsenal of cloud-based services…the Nook Tablet will apparently come with Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora apps — but the Kindle Fire will do all of that, and include a free app every day through the AppStore…You’ll get free cloud storage with the Fire, and a top-notch surfing experience with Silk…if you opt for the Fire and save $50, that’s almost the cost of an Amazon Prime subscription — and for that, you get instant, streaming access to thousands of movies and TV shows, free e-book rentals, and, if you’re one of those geriatric types who still consume non-digital content, free two-day shipping…”

18. Kindle family goes retail, coming to a store near you on November 15th http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/08/kindle-family-goes-retail-coming-to-a-store-near-you-on-novembe/ “…the king of online retail is making it easier to get your hands on your Kindle of choice…they'll be selling their entire suite of e-readers in over 16,000 locations come November 15th, which provides the first confirmation that the Fire will be available in stores. So, if you're itching for a Touch, regular Kindle or an Android-flavored version, you'll be able to swing by the local Target, Walmart, Best Buy or Radio Shack…”

Apps

19. The Best Podcast Manager for Android http://lifehacker.com/5855861/the-best-podcast-manager-for-androidThere's no shortage of podcast managers for Android…We tested a few, but found that DoggCatcher is the best option to find, download, and organize your podcasts on your Android phone…Price: $4.99…Supports audio and video podcasts…Automatically downloads new episodes on a regular schedule or on-demand…Add your own feeds…or browse DoggCatcher's massive directory of shows…Offers variable speed playback…Remembers playback position so you can return to where you left off after exiting the app…Suggests new podcasts based on the ones you're currently subscribed to…Supports offline playback, does not need an internet connection…Create "virtual feeds" of other files on your Android phone, like audiobooks…” [do you listen to or subscribe to podcasts, and, if so, how do you listen to them? – ed.]

20. Buddhify Teaches You to Meditate and Relax a Little http://lifehacker.com/5855964/buddhify-teaches-you-to-meditate-and-relax-a-little-on-the-go “…If you've thought about meditating to relieve stress but didn't know how to get started, Buddhify is a new app for iOS and Android phones that teaches you in short, easy steps, how to relax, be present, and be mindful of the moment so you can think clearly and let go of your stress…the app is interesting because it also has ways you can relax and meditate when you're traveling on the train or bus, walking from place to place, or working out at the gym with your headphones in. It lets you select from four different meditation styles…the app will walk you through and audio and visual meditation session…Buddhify can help you stop and take a moment to actually relax, with a soothing voice to help you destress, instead of just trying to block out the sounds of your office or other passengers…$2.99 in the iTunes App Store and $2.49 in the Android App Market…”

21. 5 Mobile Apps For Desktop PC Remote Control http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/smart_phones/231902422 “…how can a user enjoy the freedom of mobile devices while still being able to access the applications and files that are on a desktop system? The answer is through the use of remote control applications…For this look at remote control mobile apps, we've focused on fully capable applications that can satisfy the needs of business users and that work on multiple mobile and desktop operating systems. With these apps, users can enjoy the freedom of mobility while still being able to access applications and files on their traditional desktop systems (just make sure to remember to leave those systems on when you are out and about)…With the mobile LogMeIn Ignition app, users of both the free and Pro versions of LogMeIn can remotely access and control their Mac or Windows PCs from iOS and Android devices…The $29.99 app can be found in the Apple AppStore and Android Market…Jump Desktop is a cost effective and powerful option for remotely controlling systems from Android devices, iPhones, and iPads…Jump Desktop is $14.99 on iOS systems and, with the current offer, only 99 cents for Android users…One of the core elements of Splashtop Remote Desktop is its ability to directly access content from iTunes and Windows Media libraries and to also access online Flash content and some desktop games…Splashtop also has the traditional remote control capabilities for users looking to access their desktop business applications…The Splashtop Remote Desktop app is 99 cents for iPhones, $2.99 for iPads, $4.99 for Android devices…the ubiquity of VNC makes this an attractive choice for full remote control of a system. On the mobile app side, a free VNC viewer is available for Android and RealVNC offers mobile apps for both Android and iOS priced at $9.99…Wyse…PocketCloud app is specifically designed to meet the needs of business users…The mobile PocketCloud app is priced at $14.99 and runs on both Android and iOS devices…” http://www.mspmentor.net/2011/11/08/logmein-rescue-bolsters-mobile-device-management/LogMeIn Rescue…has received an upgrade…The biggest addition? Mobile device configuration capabilities that allow end-users to troubleshoot and secure smart devices while they’re out working in the field…”

22. AT&T offer free mobile VoIP app for international calls http://www.networkworld.com/newsletters/converg/2011/110711convergence2.html “…AT&T…will offer its smartphone customers a free mobile VoIP app -- providing international long distance calling at competitive rates…to give AT&T wireless subscribers another alternative to stay in touch with family and friends abroad. AT&T Call International was developed in cooperation with and is operated by 8x8 Inc…AT&T smartphone customers can make calls from the U.S. to international numbers, and when abroad, customers will benefit from the same rates using the app over Wi-Fi…Internationally, the lower rates only apply when using Wi-Fi: If not on a Wi-Fi network, users will be charged the normal international roaming rate and not get the benefit of the lower service rates…”

Open Source

23. Open Hardware Journal - First Edition http://www.i-programmer.info/news/136-open-source/3279-open-hardware-journal-first-edition.html “…Open source software has been a well known idea…open source hardware is relatively new. You can say that open source hardware was born out the of the "maker" movement, but for such an obvious idea it has been slow to take off. The one big notable exception being the Arduino. In an effort to popularize the open hardware movement we now have the Open Hardware Journal starting with November 1, 2011 Issue 1…you are free to read it, copy it and redistribute it…It is worth keeping in mind that not all hardware is computer-oriented and two of the main articles in this inaugural edition are much more general than the sort of thing you might think of - building a remotely operated underwater vehicle and using a 3D printer to create lenses and mirrors…The final article is on the reason why we need open hardware….” http://openhardware.org/journal/2011/11/index.html

24. Steganography Made Easy in Linux http://how-to.linuxcareer.com/steganography-made-easy-in-linuxSteganography is the art of hiding messages within other messages or data. Most commonly we see this utilized with pictures. This is probably encryption at its finest. Mostly because it doesn't look like usual garbled text that we are used to seeing with encryption. The changes made by Steganography are so slight the human eye cannot perceive them. Even trained cryptographers may have an encoded message inside a picture and be unaware of it…The purpose of this is to illustrate how to keep secrets safe…please research your country's laws on encryption and its exportation before using this tool. No matter how free you believe your country is, you may be shocked to find out how stifling some of the laws on encryption are. SteGUI is a graphical front-end for the program know as Steghide. SteGUI is available for download as an rpm package and a tarball source. One might assume that source would compile flawlessly on Debian…But while trying to compile from source with Debian Sid and Backtrack 5, I found myself in what is commonly known as "dependency hell". To save yourself some trouble and time just download the rpm package…”

25. 5 Essential Linux Applications for NaNoWriMo Participants http://techlaze.com/2011/11/essential-linux-applications-nanowrimo/ “…For those living under a rock, NaNoWriMo is an annual creative contest wherein participants have to churn out a 50,000 words novel in a short span of 30 days. The event…had over 200,000 participants last year…In case you’re a Linux user who is taking part in the contest, here are 5 essential applications that will help you…FocusWriter is a simple, distraction-free writing environment available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. The open source application takes away all the distractions letting you focus just on the writing. Though a minimalistic application, FocusWriter does come packed with a lot of powerful features…FocusWriter is one of the best applications not just for NaNoWriMo participants but for seasoned writers and bloggers…LibreOffice Writer is the best word processor available for Linux right now…For NaNoWriMo participants, LibreOffice can be the perfect tool if tweaked a little. Here are 3 tips on how to do that…For writers who frequently need to jot down their ideas, there are a plenty of tools out…on the Linux desktop we have Tomboy. Though not as feature-packed as Evernote, Tomboy does come in useful when there’s no internet access…To ensure that you don’t procrastinate, you’ll need a todo manager. If you’re looking for one on Linux, then Tasque is the perfect choice…Now that you’re busy churning out that epic novel of yours, do make sure that you’ve backed up your copy to the cloud. UbuntuOne and Dropbox are two perfect applications which will help you do that without breaking your flow…”

26. Deb and RPM Packages Released for Burster [Play 3D Blender Games in Web Browser] http://www.ubuntuvibes.com/2011/11/deb-and-rpm-packages-finally-released.html “…a year back we first broke the news that Blender project, in collaboration with iTechnologie is developing a web browser plugin, Burster which will allow playing games made in Blender in a web browser…the project was in very early stages and it was very difficult to install the actual plugin…finally Deb and RPM packages are available. Only 64bit packages are available…but…32 bit packages will be released as well. Burster web browser 3D plugin uses the Blender Game Engine to integrate the fascinating world of 3D into a website. It is especially dedicated to Blender users, who creates interactive 3D demonstrations of various processes or products. However, it can be used by web developers or companies creating interactive web content. The Burster plugin is free and open source…”

SkyNet

27. Google updates search algorithm, ups ante vs. Bing http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9221466/Google_updates_search_algorithm_ups_ante_vs._Bing “…The tweak in the basic Google algorithm should make search results much more timely for users, Google said, adding that about 35% of all searches should be affected. "If I search for 'Olympics,' I probably want information about next summer's upcoming Olympics, not the 1900 Summer Olympics…Google Search uses a freshness algorithm, designed to give you the most up-to-date results, so even when I just type 'Olympics' without specifying 2012, I still find what I'm looking for,"…Singhal, though, noted that not all searches are based on finding the most recent results…"Different searches have different freshness needs," wrote Singhal. "This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up-to-the minute answers."…Google needs to continue to refine search in order to maintain its top-dog status," Olds said. "Bing isn't a huge threat at this point, but the Bingers are hungry and aren't going to go away. They're busy working on their own enhancements. It's trench warfare and Google has to keep pushing ahead. Search is Google's bread and butter, the foundation of its entire empire."…"They've obviously analyzed how users are interacting with links after their initial search - which links people select, which links they don't, and their follow-up searches…Google is continuing to hone its flagship product…” http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/giving-you-fresher-more-recent-search.html

28. Updated look for Gmail http://venturebeat.com/2011/11/01/new-gmail-update/Google…rolled out an update to…Gmail today. The update features a simplified design, visually enhanced threaded conversations and improved search functionality…The top nav bar now consists of buttons with action icons instead of text descriptors (e.g. – archive, spam, delete, etc.)…Google also decided to make email conversation threads look more like an instant message…Each message in the thread now displays the person’s profile picture to the left…if you hate the changes, Gmail has plenty of options to customize your view…” http://lifehacker.com/5855691/make-labels-stand-out-create-filters-and-other-things-you-may-be-confused-about-with-the-new-gmail “…a Lifehacker intern complained that the new Gmail made it too hard to see labels…a Lifehacker editor pitched in that the new Gmail makes it too hard to create filters. Not so, my friends…here's a little primer on how to handle things in the new Gmail that may have changed…You can adjust the color for any of your labels…Just click the drop-down arrow next to any label in your sidebar, choose a new label color…the new create a filter functionality is hidden behind the drop-down to the right of the search box. Click that to display the new advanced search form, fill out your Tos, Froms, Subjects, and other search criteria, and click Create filter with this search…if your contacts all have Google accounts and they've added profile pics, those avatars show up automatically, but…You can add your own pics to contacts by hovering over that anonymous avatar, then hovering over the larger anonymous avatar in the popup and clicking Add a picture…the new ad slot just above the inbox is no longer blocked…go to your Gmail Settings, go to the tab called "Web Clips," and then uncheck the box…there is a shortcut to get to the top of the inbox…Pressing Spacebar when no form or input has focus is the equivalent of pressing Page Down. Similarly, pressing Shift+Spacebar is like pressing Page Up…if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled in Gmail, just press "G then I"…”

29. Google Calendar Introduces Suggested Times When Everyone’s Schedule Is Open http://lifehacker.com/5856331/google-introduces-suggested-times-in-google-calendar-when-everyone-can-meetFor those of us…scheduling meetings with multiple attendees, Google Calendar just got a bit easier to use…Google added "suggested times" to Google Calendar appointments, or times when everyone you've invited to the meeting will be able to attend, based on their own calendars…everyone you're inviting to your meeting must also use Google Calendar: it's the only way Google can peek at their schedules and let you know when you should schedule the meeting so everyone will show up…”

30. Google bans promotions and competitions on Google+ Pages for brands http://sociable.co/social-media/google-bans-promotions-and-competitions-on-google-pages-for-brands/ “…One policy of Google+ Pages states that brands and businesses “may not run contests, sweepstakes, offers, coupons or other such promotions” directly on their pages. Instead, brands must link to contests on external websites or alternative social networks. Many brands, including ourselves, run competitions directly on networks like Facebook and Twitter so this may come as a surprise…Additional terms of service for Google+ Pages states that Google reserves the right to delete such promotion content from Google+ Pages, or even block or remove a brand’s Google+ Page altogether…Another interesting but more agreeable term of service for Google+ Pages will possibly see inactive pages deleted after nine months…”

General Technology

31. For consumers, finding competent PC support is a challenge http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/for-consumers-finding-competent-pc-support-is-a-challenge/4167 “…what happens if something goes wrong with a Windows PC? Good luck finding honest and competent help. I’ll be making a house call later this week to undo the damage a major PC vendor’s support professionals did to a neighbor’s PC. He had called them for assistance because his computer…was running slowly. I had helped him set up this machine less than a year ago…The tech he reached collected a $79 fee up front and then rolled up his sleeves and went to work. When he was done, the formerly fast machine was a hopeless mess…There was no malware on this system, but the tech installed and ran Malware Bytes anyway…The agent recommended that my neighbor install a “system optimizer” program…another $40, please…Although he had a functional, up-to-date copy of Microsoft Security Essentials, the guy at the other end of the line (halfway around the world, by the way) recommended he purchase McAfee antivirus software instead. “You need more than just a free service.”…another $80. McAfee software is at the top of my “not recommended” list…The support tech uninstalled Internet Explorer 9 and restored IE8…In the process of removing it, they also disabled the LastPass plug-in, which meant he could no longer access his collection of saved passwords…here’s the best part of all. The reason he called for support was a slow computer. After spending an hour on the phone…his computer was still slow. He was $80 poorer, and the tech had tried (but failed) to sell him $120 worth of additional software…After he hung up, he tried what any competent support tech should have done first: “I unplugged the cable modem and reset it … and things immediately started running faster.” A similar scene is probably being repeated every minute of every day, somewhere in the world, as incompetent support professionals perform “repairs” that make things worse and suggest useless “upgrades” that line their pockets and slow down PCs…”

32. Radar-like sensors bring touch sensitivity to everyday items http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/1/2529957/radar-like-sensors-bring-touch-sensitivity-to-everyday-items “…So what's next for touch technology?…Utilizing a technology known as time domain reflectometry, a pulse is sent through a wire every time it's touched until it hits a detector, which reflects the pulse back. Based on the speed of the pulse and the time it takes to return, software can pinpoint the starting point of the pulse. The touch-sensitive wire can be placed onto any regular item — the wire can even take the place of a guitar string, while a wire pattern can be embedded inside deformable objects like clothes…the technology has just recently gotten accurate enough for commercial usage. The only problem now is that a powerful computer and complicated software need to be connected to get these wires to work…with the shrinking of powerful mobile processors, the researchers are confident that they can assign the generation, detection, and calculation of the pulse onto a chip, allowing everything in the near future to respond to your touch. Check out a video of it below…”

33. reSizer: Move, Resize And Toggle Windows Using Number Pad http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/resize-move-resize-and-toggle-windows-using-number-pad/With Windows 7 came AeroSnap, a handy feature that lets you resize your windows, and automatically adjusts multiple windows on the computer screen. reSizer is an AeroSnap-based system utility that allows you to use keyboard shortcuts to focus, resize and change windows in a fast manner without touching the mouse. You can toggle the opacity and always-on-top properties of active windows, and instantly place windows to fit specific areas of your screen…The application has no interface, and offers no configuration settings. It resides in the system tray, and right-clicking its icon reveals the options to enable/disable resize…Enable reSizer and start using the hotkey combinations for resizing and moving windows…” [what new features have you found with Win 7? – ed.]

34. A Hearing Aid That Cuts Out All the Clatter http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/science/24loops.html “…composer Richard Einhorn despaired of ever really enjoying a concert or musical…Even using special headsets supplied by the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway theaters, he found himself frustrated by the sound quality, static and interference…he went to the Kennedy Center in Washington…for a performance of the musical “Wicked.” There were no special headphones…words and music were transmitted to a wireless receiver in Mr. Einhorn’s hearing aid using a technology that is just starting to make its way into public places in America: a hearing loop. “There I was at ‘Wicked’ weeping uncontrollably — and I don’t even like musicals,”…The technology, which has been widely adopted in Northern Europe, has the potential to transform the lives of tens of millions of Americans…As loops are installed in stores, banks, museums, subway stations and other public spaces, people who have felt excluded are suddenly back in the conversation. A hearing loop, typically installed on the floor around the periphery of a room, is a thin strand of copper wire radiating electromagnetic signals that can be picked up by a tiny receiver already built into most hearing aids and cochlear implants…I used to detest my hearing aids, but now that they serve this second purpose, I love the way they’ve enriched my life…”

DHMN Technology

35. Maker Faire: Mad science for the masses http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Tech/2011/1101/Maker-Faire-Mad-science-for-the-masses “…the scene at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, N.Y., might look like a bus load of engineering students staging a carnival. A car drives around outside covered in mechanical fish singing "Bohemian Rhapsody." Under one pavilion, kids get a first taste of how to solder electronics, while inside the main building, a group called ArcAttack makes music with half-million-volt Tesla coils…it's Maker Faire, a three-day event in September that brings artists, engineers, crafters, and mad scientists together to share their joy of creating. And increasingly, it's kids who are doing the mad science…Lots of once-expensive electronics have now become low-cost toys for tinkerers. For example, Giancaspro points to the Arduino single-board microcontroller. The board, available for around $30, allows budding inventors to embed computer controls into anything from homemade robots to color-changing origami lanterns…As more makers spread their wings, corporate America is starting to take notice. RadioShack used to be a local hangout for young electronics geeks…but in recent years the company…pushed…toward consumer electronics. Now, RadioShack has signaled a move back toward the DIY community…all RadioShack stores will start stocking Arduino hardware…Autodesk has long supported programs such as the annual student competition FIRST Robotics, but this year they took the unexpected step of acquiring Instructables, a website devoted to DIY enthusiasts, particularly young ones…Our CEO is a giant maker, along with a lot of our upper staff," says Jesse Harrington Au, Autodesk's official "maker advocate."…Joe heads out once a week to the local "Hackerspace" in nearby Mesa, Ariz. These communal sites have popped up all over the country, offering makers the chance to meet, collaborate, and use more advanced equipment, such as 3-D printers and laser cutters…a group called the Brooklyn Aerodrome demonstrates its radio-controlled airplanes built using trash. Luca Vermeer, 13, caught the builder bug at last year's Maker Faire, and is now a member of the Brooklyn group…”

36. Objet Expands Materials Choices Across Its 3D Printer Line http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1394&doc_id=234227 “…Objet Ltd. is broadening the availability of a range of new offerings to a wider number of its 3D printers…VeroWhitePlus offering, for example, is a rigid white material delivering enhanced dimensional stability and allowing for high-detail visualization…VeroClear is a new rigid, nearly colorless transparent material designed for general-purpose applications and visual simulation of transparent thermoplastics…this new offering is the only clear material available on rapid prototyping systems for under $100,000…ABS-like Digital Material, a composite substance for simulating ABS-grade engineering plastics, making it a fit for creating snap-fit parts, durable and movable parts, and products requiring drop testing…With the addition of expanded palette, Objet now has 65 materials in its line up, including 51 composite materials…”

37. The Darknet Project: global mesh network http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2011/11/the-darknet-plan-netroots-activists-dream-of-global-mesh-network.arsA group of Internet activists gathered last week in an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel to begin planning an ambitious project—they hope to overcome electronic surveillance and censorship by creating a whole new Internet. The group…calls its endeavor The Darknet Project (TDP). The goal behind the project is to create a global darknet, a decentralized web of interconnected wireless mesh networks that operate independently of each other and the conventional internet. In a wireless mesh network, individual nodes can relay data for other nodes, ensuring that the routing of data remains robust as nodes on the network are added and removed…"Basically, the goal of the darknet plan project is to create an alternative, more free internet through a global mesh network," explained a TDP organizer who goes by the Internet handle 'Wolfeater.' "To accomplish this, we will establish local meshes and connect them via current infrastructure until our infrastructure begins to reach other meshes." TDP seems to have been influenced in part by an earlier unofficial effort launched by the Internet group Anonymous called Operation Mesh…The idea is intriguing, but it poses major technical and logistical challenges, and it's hard to imagine that TDP will ever move beyond the conceptual stage. The group behind the effort is big on ideas but short on technical solutions for rolling out a practical implementation…despite TDP's dysfunctional organizational structure and lack of concrete strategy, their message seems to resonate with an audience on the Internet. And enthusiasm for mesh networks and decentralized Internet isn't isolated to the tinfoil hat crowd; serious government programs aim at producing similar technology…A growing number of independent open source software projects have also emerged to fill the need for darknet technology. Many of these projects are backed by credible non-profit organizations and segments of the security research community… TDP members who are serious about fostering decentralized Internet infrastructure could meaningfully advance their goals by assisting any of the previously mentioned projects. The growing amount of popular grassroots support for Internet decentralization suggests that the momentum behind darknets is increasing.”

38. Rugged in-vehicle panel PC bristles with wireless options http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/IEI-UPCV312D525/IEI announced a ruggedized, fanless panel PC with extensive wireless options. The vehicle-oriented UPC-V312-D525 offers an Intel Atom D525 processor, a 12.1-inch 1024 x 768 display, CompactFlash, a 1.3 megapixel camera, plus redundant DC power supplies…The UPC-V312-D525 is designed for rugged in-vehicle environments…with IP65 ingress protection, extended temperature support, and shock and vibration resistance. Along with the system's optional solid state drive (SSD), these features allow the device to survive continuous shocks and jolts…A CompactFlash socket is available, as well as the optional SSD, which hooks into one of the three mini-PCI Express (PCIe) interfaces. One of those expansion interfaces is dedicated to Wi-Fi, and another can be filled with an optional audio/video capture card. A 1.3-megapixel camera is said to be standard…”

39. Microsoft's Kinect-infused Augmented Projectors make your entire room a touchscreen http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/1/2530875/microsoft-kinect-augmented-projectorsMicrosoft's research division has created augmented projectors, a new technology which use data from up to four Kinects to let you interact with a 3D model of any room you're in…The Kinect sensors within the room can define the space digitally, and then use the projector like a magic flashlight to expose and interact with the digital facsimile of the real room. Objects can be placed on walls, hanged in empty space, and electronic versions of real objects can be cloned and moved within the virtual reality…the augmented projectors could bring similar types of interaction to any room in your house…”

40. Late-night Scenes From The Beijing Hackathon http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/29/late-night-scenes-from-the-beijing-hackathon/The Disrupt Beijing Hackathon has entered the dark hours of the night. Fueled by some midnight Spaghetti, (real) coke with sugar, refreshing Yanjing beer, and Lays of the Italian Red Meat flavor variety (which strangely tastes like Barbecue), our brave hackers are cranking code at breakneck speed…In spite of the occasional hacker bailing out in favor of creaturely comforts such as a full night’s sleep, many have stayed back and concentration and consciousness levels seem largely high…We have had Internet and Wi-Fi connectivity issues but in true hacker fashion, the staff and support personnel have rigged together something that.just.works…” [check out the pics – ed.] http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/29/techcrunch-disrupt-hackathon-beijing-the-night-shift/ “…Unlike any other hackathon I’ve attended, the late night hacker snacks here take the prize for unique brain fuel. They include Tea Eggs…Yanjing beer, Apples, and Pokki sticks…there are about 100 intrepid programmers still here at the CNCC conference center in the Olympic Village, working all through the night with the fervor of well, programmers. Despite the lack of Red Bull…So why are they still here?...“Cause it’s fun,” said startup founder — and former Palantir employee — Tian Li, “I can do this kind of stuff all night.” When asked what had changed in China’s startup scene since he left Palantir and Silicon Valley, he explained that increased media coverage and Chinese success stories had increased the amount of support in China, including but not limited to startup incubators and events: “Two years ago doing a startup wasn’t cool, it was below getting a job at Tencent…”

41. Autodesk to offer new, free apps for 3D 'makers' http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_19267045Autodesk…hoping to bring 3-D printing and scanning to the masses…will release two new free 3-D applications. One of them, dubbed 123D Catch, will allow users to create 3-D models of objects using photographs taken from a digital camera or even a camera phone. The other, 123D Make, provides tools to help users create models that can be laser cut from sheets of cawrdboard or other materials…Consumers can now buy a simple 3-D printer for less than $1,000. A startup company called Tech Shop has opened work spaces in San Francisco, San Mateo and San Jose that allows consumers to use professional-grade fabrication tools, including 3-D printers and laser cutters, for a monthly fee. And online services such as Ponoko will print out or laser cut 3-D models for consumers based on the designs consumers upload to them. There are other free 3-D fabrication-related software programs on the market, including Google's (GOOG) SketchUp, and Blender, an open-source application. But Make and Catch represent significant advances in the variety, sophistication and ease of use of such tools available for consumers, 3-D fabrication experts said…Catch takes pictures that users have transferred to their computer from a camera and sends them to Autodesk's servers on the Internet. Those servers analyze the pictures, which can be sent in any order, and put them together to form a 3-D digital image. Within about 20 minutes, Autodesk will alert users via email that they can view the 3-D image. Consumers can use Catch to create duplicates or miniatures of real-world objects…After visiting New York, "you can make your own Statue of Liberty" with Catch, rather than buying one from the gift shop, Bass said. Make, by contrast, takes a 3-D image and allows users to see what it would look like as an actual 3-D image made of layers of flat materials, such as cardboard. Users can vary the thickness of the layers and the angle at which they are sliced…For now, Catch will be available only for Windows-based computers. Make, by contrast, is available only as a Mac OS program. Autodesk plans to offer both applications for both major computing platforms as well as for smartphones such as the iPhone and as a Web-based application…Earlier this year, the company released 123D, another free application that allows users to create or edit 3-D models and send them to a 3-D printer, and 123D Sculpt, an iPad application…” http://www.123dapp.com/ http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/autodesk-boosts-3-d-printing/ http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-57318231-52/autodesk-bringing-3d-modeling-to-the-masses/

42. Autodesk Acquires MAP http://www.dailymarkets.com/stock/2011/10/26/autodesk-acquires-map/Autodesk Inc. has agreed to acquire Micro Application Packages Ltd…provider of computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and estimating software that lends support to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) industry…In early August, Autodesk acquired San Francisco-based Instructables, a popular online community for people seeking to discover, share and be inspired by DIY (Do-It-Yourself) project ideas. In July 2011, Autodesk completed the acquisition of Pixlr, a popular free online service for social image creating, collecting, editing and sharing. Also recently, the company acquired certain technology assets from…Numenus…efficient in creating life-like images by directly using NURBS (nonuniform rational B-splines) data. NURBS is a mathematical representation of 2D or 3D objects, which can be of standard shapes (such as a cone) or free-form shapes (such as a car). NURBS are used in computer graphics and the CAD/CAM industry and usage of NURBs is considered as a standard system of creating and representing complex objects…Autodesk is expected to introduce a collection of new web-based services in late third quarter…”

Leisure & Entertainment

43. Amazon launches free e-book borrowing for Prime members http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33198_7-57317330-286/amazon-launches-free-e-book-borrowing-for-prime-members/ “…Amazon has launched the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which allows Amazon Prime members to check out up to one e-book a month for free with no due date…The addition of free e-book lending obviously sweetens the pot and makes the $199 Kindle Fire seem even more enticing. The new lending program also works with Kindle e-ink readers but is not compatible with Kindle apps that run on other devices such as the iPad and Android tablets and smartphones…many people expected that Amazon would someday give the hardware (the Kindle) away for free in exchange for signing up for a Prime membership but few suggested the company would give away e-books to Prime members…as with any other Kindle book, your notes, highlights, and bookmarks in borrowed books will be saved, "so you'll have them later if you purchase or re-borrow the book." You can have one book out at a time and when you want to borrow a new book, you "return" any previously borrowed title right from your device…”

44. The Wall (wall mount your game consoles / monitors / devices) http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Wall-wall-mount-your-game-consoles-devices/It's minimalistic, takes up less space, and aesthetically-pleasing, at least to my eye…No cables ran behind the wall…All the components held up by right angle corner braces or custom brackets sprayed with Plasti-Dip so the components stayed put…The monitor on the left is for the Consoles/TV. I use all 3 for my PC's eyefinity setup…Can route the AV to another room of the house. Perfect for gaming or watching Blu-ray videos while keeping the consoles on the wall where they are. The wireless controllers are within range…I use a Logitech Harmony remote (they use dual IR transmitters) so the IR works no matter what angle…With exception to the Xbox 360 or Wii, you can see and have access to all display panels and buttons…” [is your home computing/gaming set up better than the one shown in this article? – ed.]

45. Liftopia: Because You’ve Always Wanted To Rent A Mountain http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/04/liftopia-because-youve-always-wanted-to-rent-a-mountain/ “…Liftopia, the startup gives you steep discounts on ski tickets and other snow-related activities, has just added a new feature: full-mountain rentals…you can keep the slopes to yourself if you’re willing to spend enough cash, or…bring 249 friends or coworkers along with you…you’ll be able to rent an entire mountain beginning at $3,000…So far available rentals include Plattekill Mountain Resort (NY), Mt. Abram (Maine), Whaleback Mountain (New Hampshire), and Camden Snowbowl (Maine)…Liftopia, for those who haven’t used it, lets you order ski lift tickets ahead of time online, often with steep discounts (you can save up to 80% off the walk-up ticket fees at some resorts)…consumers save money, and resorts can adjust their prices to suit demand…the roster is now full of well-known ski resorts…it’s added the four famous Aspen/Snowmass mountains to its catalog…Plattekill Mountain Resort…Full-Mountain Rental for up to 250 people for $3,000…Mt. Abram…Private Mountain Rental is available for $4,600 for up to 250 people…”

46. Hands On With The AppXRacer From AniApp http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/04/hands-on-with-the-appxracer-from-aniapp/If you’re a fan of the Parrot AR.Drone, you’ll probably get a kick out its earthbound relative, the AirXRacer…this iPhone- or Android-controlled racecar…is a standard RC racer that, as you can see, is quite fast. You control it using your phone’s accelerometer or using an onscreen “wheel,” a method that offers a bit more finesse. The creator, Jeff Luo of AniApp Labs, said the cars would be available in Radio Shack and Brookstone this holiday and the apps are available now for download.…” [prototype for the AutoM8? – ed.]

Economy and Technology

47. Video about the connected future http://gigaom.com/broadband/want-to-see-the-connected-future-check-out-this-video/ “…Created on Ericsson’s behalf and entitled On The Brink, the video features interviews from Caterina Fake, co-founder of Hunch and Flickr, Erik Wahlforss co-founder of SoundCloud and others discussing the effect of broadband on society…The 20-minute documentary looks at the past, present and future of connectivity and technology, and the impacts on people, business and society…I found myself feeling like the old guy who came of age when cars were just beginning to replace horses. The world is changing, and we are at the very beginning of it…” [worthwhile video when you can make time for a 20 minute break – ed.]

48. Steve Jobs and Tweaking vs. Innovation http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/11/14/111114fa_fact_gladwell “…The angriest Isaacson ever saw Steve Jobs was when the wave of Android phones appeared, running the operating system developed by Google…As he tells Isaacson: Our lawsuit is saying, “Google, you f****** ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off.”…I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this….Outside of Search, Google’s products—Android, Google Docs—are shit…Jobs reacted the same way when Microsoft came out with Windows. It used the same graphical user interface—icons and mouse—as the Macintosh. Jobs was outraged and summoned Gates from Seattle to Apple’s Silicon Valley headquarters. “They met in Jobs’s conference room, where Gates found himself surrounded by ten Apple employees who were eager to watch their boss assail him,” Isaacson writes. “Jobs didn’t disappoint his troops. ‘You’re ripping us off!’ he shouted. ‘I trusted you, and now you’re stealing from us!’ ” Gates looked back at Jobs calmly. Everyone knew where the windows and the icons came from. “Well, Steve,” Gates responded. “I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.” Jobs was someone who took other people’s ideas and changed them. But he did not like it when the same thing was done to him. In his mind, what he did was special…Jobs did not want the iPhone and the iPod and the iPad to be opened up and fiddled with, because in his eyes they were perfect. The greatest tweaker of his generation did not care to be tweaked…Gates resisted the romance of perfectionism…“Bill is basically unimaginative,” Jobs tells Isaacson, “and has never invented anything, which I think is why he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”…It’s true that Gates is now more interested in trying to eradicate malaria than in overseeing the next iteration of Word…Philanthropy on the scale that Gates practices it represents imagination at its grandest. In contrast, Jobs’s vision, brilliant and perfect as it was, was narrow. He was a tweaker to the last, endlessly refining the same territory he had claimed as a young man…”

49. 2houses Makes Co-Parenting Easier http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/04/2houses-makes-co-parenting-easier/Today, 2houses launches in public beta, offering separated or divorced parents a set of digital tools to easily communicate about and make arrangements with regards to their children. This is obviously a large – and, in my opinion, unfortunately a growing – market to tap…Parents who are no longer married, living together or romantically involved, can use 2houses to organize child custody, share reports about school and medical information, and track expenses…split families will avoid a lot of personal tension, stress, discussions and all-out fights when they can communicate online on a neutral platform rather than talking face-to-face or over the phone – or using the kids as messengers…2houses aims to basically make things a lot smoother for everyone involved, including the children. You can find some screenshots below – mobile apps are the next step…” [this web service/app is a great example of a (to me) non-obvious unmet market need and begs the question of whether divorced parents, kids and families have other unmet needs that could be addressed; what other untapped pain points are out there that ABC or others can focus on for a tech startup opportunity? – ed.]

50. BankSimple Is Now Just ‘Simple’, And It’s Accepting Its First Users http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/08/banksimple-is-now-just-simple-and-its-accepting-its-first-users/BankSimple, the well-funded startup that’s setting out to build ‘a bank that doesn’t suck’…now allowing its first users into the service…the company is now just called Simple…Simple has built a user experience that’s much better than other banking services. Simple isn’t a bank itself — it’s working with FDIC-insured banks that will handle your money, as it serves as the more human-friendly frontend…this is still a limited beta. If you go to Simple.com you’ll note that you need an invitation, but it marks the first time that non-employees will be able to use the service…”

51. Visa problems? 'Seasteading' your startup may be the answer http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57320213-281/visa-problems-seasteading-your-startup-may-be-the-answer/ “…Blueseed is planning an oceangoing hub for foreign entrepreneurs who have difficulty obtaining visas that would allow them to live in this sprawling megalopolis that so many venture capitalists and technology companies call home…They hope company founders can be convinced to move to a platform floating 12 miles off the coast of Northern California, in international waters, with regular ferry service to the mainland. Oh, and excellent broadband connectivity too…Their goal is to attract up to 1,000 entrepreneurs who want to live a short ferry's ride away from Silicon Valley…”

52. 100Plus To Predict Your Health http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/03/100plus-raises-500k-from-founders-fund-and-peter-thiel-to-predict-your-health/Want to predict what your personal health will look like tomorrow, or 10 years from now?...100Plus is a personalized health prediction platform that uses data analytics and game mechanics to show just how much small changes in one’s behavior can lead to a longer and fuller life…100Plus’ mission is appealing to investors. The healthtech space is booming, and entrepreneurs and investors are looking for smarter and more effective ways to leverage the ever-growing healthcare dataset to build smart solutions that lead to healthier lifestyles and longer lives. Unanimously, we all want to be healthier, and we also want to know how our current behaviors are going to effect us down the line….” [health care is another sector with many ‘pain points’ – many people are concerned about their health issues, but how many have good web/mobile/digital tools to improve and manage their health or health of people they care for? – ed.]

53. ExtremeU http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/03/extremeu-facebook-to-offer-product-strategy-design-mentorship-to-toronto-accelerator/Extreme Venture Partners…is launching a new-and-improved version of its accelerator program, Extreme University — also known as “ExtremeU”…aimed at becoming a training ground and valuable ecosystem for Canadian startups targeting the social, mobile, and local spaces…Extreme University’s revamped model will consist of a 12-week program, in which five selected teams will share office space at the venture firm’s offices in Toronto, along with access to its network of founders, advisors, and developers. Extreme University will run two 12-week programs a year, each with five participating startups. What’s more, founders will also have the opportunity to participate in weekly personal sessions with experts and advisors, as well as work directly with key members of of some of the tech industry’s biggest companies…the startups chosen to participate in ExtremeU will receive $50,000 in funding. The venture firm will be taking an equity stake…likely be between 5 to 10 percent…Extreme Venture Partners has forged (and is forging) some deep relationships with…well-known tech companies that have significant presences in Canada…it’s nice to see our neighbors to the north building a valuable resource (and ecosystem) for early-stage companies — and encouraging them to stay in Canada and help to build Toronto into a vibrant tech community…” [any thoughts on how to leverage this model on a much smaller scale for another area which is definitely not Silicon Valley, e.g. the New North? – ed.]

54. EasyPay: Apple extending iTunes digital and micropayments system? http://gigaom.com/apple/apple-store-2-0-brings-personal-pickup-and-easypay / “…the Apple Store app for iPhone…brings many improvements, the most noteworthy among them being Personal Pickup and EasyPay services…the app now allows you to purchase items directly for in-store pickup, available within an hour if it’s in stock at the local store of your choosing…EasyPay, which allows you to scan the bar codes of items you wish to purchase in-store with your iPhone’s camera…then pay for them directly in the app through your iTunes account. The app keeps your EasyPay purchase receipts, which should come in handy if you ever have to provide proof of purchase to in-store security on your way out the door…”

Civilian Aerospace

55. Simulated Mars voyage ends after 520 days http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15574646520 days after being locked inside a fake spaceship in a Moscow car park, a six-man team of volunteer astronauts is about to emerge back on planet Earth. The year and a half of isolation, dubbed Mars500 and run by the European Space Agency (ESA), was designed to see how real space crews would cope with confinement, daily activities and psychological stress on a lengthy trip to the red planet and back. The all-male crew could only shower once a week, ate canned food and received emails on a delay, depending on how “far away” they are from Earth. Their living quarters are the size of a bus and, outside of a quick stint on mock Mars, they’ve spent two eight-month periods in total confinement…we anticipated many more problems, but the crew has been doing surprisingly well,”…A real mission would have several more dangers. The Mars500 crew could leave at any time (though, to their enormous credit, they never did), while real astronauts would be completely trapped. Space debris, weightless and radiation add to the challenges, and being far from Earth can create a sense of uneasy detachment…”

56. First Soyuz launch from French Guiana http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/first-soyuz-launch-from-french-guiana-363826/The first two Galileo navigation satellites have successfully taken orbit…The satellites, launched from Kourou in French Guiana by a Russian Soyuz rocket, are vanguards of a planned 30-strong constellation, meant to lessen European dependence on GPS. The 21 October launch marks the first Soyuz launch from Kourou…Launching Soyuz from Kourou allows European agencies to launch payloads too sensitive to send to Kazakhstan and too light to require Ariane V performance. The site's placement is closer to the equator than Baikonur in Kazakhstan…taking advantage of the Earth's rotation…Soyuz has made more than 1,700 launches from only two sites: Baikonur in Kazakhstan, and Plesetsk in Russia…The Ariane V and Soyuz will soon be joined by Vega, a new European rocket built for light payloads. The first Vega launch is tentatively scheduled for early 2012…”

57. Astrium Picked To Build DirecTV 15 http://www.spacenews.com/satellite_telecom/111104-astrium-build-directv15.htmlAstrium Satellites of Europe…will build the large DirecTV 15 television broadcasting satellite…DirecTV 10…primary propulsion system failed this summer. DirecTV 10 is now using its backup propulsion system and is operating normally…DirecTV 14…is scheduled for launch in early 2014. DirecTV 15 is scheduled for launch in late 2014…DirecTV 15 is expected to weigh 6,300 kilograms at launch and will deliver 16 kilowatts of power to its payload at the end of its 15-year service life…DirecTV 10’s propulsion issue is not the first glitch aboard the satellite since its July 2007 launch…it suffered a post-launch on-board failure of a portion of its payload that made it unable to provide the expected capacity to certain markets. DirecTV 10 is a Boeing…satellite designed to operate for 15 years in orbit…DirecTV said if the satellite’s propulsion system fails altogether, it would be obliged to record an impairment charge for…$274 million…DirecTV has the equivalent of four satellites under construction that will cost a total of $1.729 billion including launch and insurance…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

58. GPU momentum growing for HPC http://www.scientificcomputing.com/articles-HPC-HPC-Market-Showdown-GPU-Momentum-Growing-110311.aspx “…Fast forward to the 2010 version of the same IDC global study…28 percent of the HPC sites were using accelerator technology — a three-fold increase from two years earlier — and nearly all of these accelerators were GPUs…GPUs made up…five percent of the total processor count in the subset of installed hybrid systems, and a little more than one percent of the aggregate processor count in the superset of all installed HPC systems, both hybrid and non-hybrid…An important sign is the spread of GPU-related academic offerings…GPU computing is part of the curriculum at more than 200 universities around the world, including…MIT, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, the Indian Institutes of Technology, National Taiwan University, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences…the slowdown of Moore’s Law-governed generational advances in the single-threaded performance of x86 processors has left a wide opening in the market for alternatives. GPUs…promise attractive speedups on the important subset of application codes exhibiting data-level parallelism and thread-level parallelism…GPUs provide a lot of peak and Linpack flops for the money…for HPC sites seriously pursuing the upper ranges of the Top500 supercomputers list…bolting on GPUs can provide a kind of flops warp drive…By June 2011, three of the top 10 systems on the list employed GPUs…GPUs are already enabling real-world advances in HPC domains, especially the life sciences, oil and gas, financial services, and digital content creation and distribution. GPUs are a particularly promising fit for molecular dynamics simulations…programming GPUs remains more onerous than the more familiar approaches to programming x86 processors…this barrier will continue to drop over time…GPUs today are typically implemented as co-processors that need to communicate with x86 or other base processors via PCI-Express channels that are comparatively slow…some users worry that the substantial effort to re-write their codes could be wasted if GPU architectures evolve in a new direction…GPUs, as one prominent HPC expert put it, “are generally still in the experimental phase.” But they have tripled their worldwide footprint at HPC sites in the past two years alone, they have become more indispensable for attaining prominence on the…Top500 supercomputers lists, and they have enabled a growing number and variety of real-world achievements…”

59. Advanced Cluster Systems Unveils Software that Parallelizes Sequential Apps http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-11-01/advanced_cluster_systems_unveils_software_that_parallelizes_sequential_apps.htmlAdvanced Cluster Systems…announced a new software solution that parallelizes modular sequential software applications…The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently granted ACS a rare “no prior art” patent for their breakthrough technology: Supercomputing Engine Technology or SET. “With our solution, developing highly-scalable parallel code is as easy as developing sequential code,” said Zvi Tannenbaum, CEO and founder of ACS. SET adopts the parallel paradigm of Message Passing Interface (MPI) while allowing programmers to think sequentially. “This makes parallel programming accessible to a much larger pool of programmers…SET makes it possible for applications to become parallelized far more quickly and inexpensively than before…Target markets for the solution include software companies developing for legacy migration, cloud computing and high-performance applications; small and medium enterprises with high performance computing (HPC) requirements; military software development projects that need to manage legacy code…The initial proof of concept for ACS SET brought supercomputing-style parallelization to Wolfram Research Mathematica, resulting in the Supercomputing Engine for Mathematica (SEM)…“SET requires only a minimal understanding beyond sequential programming,” said Dauger. “The resulting code achieves near-MPI speeds at a much lower cost.”…parallelization can be accomplished very quickly by adding SET’s API glue code to the program modules. Glue code does not affect the functionality of the code…The code is not even aware it is running in parallel,” said Tannenbaum. “All the complex parallelization tasks are hidden from programmers…”

60. First HPC Cluster with AMD Fusion Chips Debuts at Sandia http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-11-02/first_hpc_cluster_with_amd_fusion_chips_debuts_at_sandia.htmlSandia National Labs made a bit of HPC history…when it…installed the first HPC cluster outfitted with AMD's Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), based on the chipmakers 'Fusion' processor design…to be used as a platform to evaluate the CPU-GPU heterogenous processor model of supercomputing…the Penguin system, known as the Altus 2A00, was specifically designed with AMD APUs in mind. The QDR InfiniBand-based cluster is comprised of 104 servers, which houses an unspecified number AMD A8-3850 APUs…the A8-3850 a quad-core x86 design integrated with 400 Radeon (HD 6550D) cores. The CPU cores run at 2.9 GHz, while the GPU side runs at a more modest 600 MHz. TDP is a respectable 100 watts. The whole cluster delivers 59.6 peak teraflops…Sandia researchers will use the machine to explore programming models for integrated CPU-GPU platforms, relying primarily on OpenCL and MPI. The draw here is to be able to access the considerable vector capabilities of the GPU within the same memory space as the CPU…”


*****



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