2011/11/22

NEW NET Weekly List for 22 Nov 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 22 November 2011, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

1. PayPal Launches Facebook App for Sending Money to Friends http://mashable.com/2011/11/17/paypal-facebook-send-money/ “…PayPal…unveiled a Facebook app that lets you send money to friends. The app, simply titled Send Money, is just as straightforward as its name. You have the choice to send either an ecard with money or just money with no card. You select a card, choose a friend to send it to and then select how much money to send…because it’s a peer-to-peer transaction, there is no transaction fee, though PayPal’s regular limits and international fees still apply…If it’s funded by a PayPal balance or linked to a bank account, it’s free…We can see the app really taking off. Users who see on Facebook that it’s a friend’s birthday can quickly fire up the app and send a card and some cash within a few minutes. The app is just as useful for things like lottery pools and reimbursing friends for lunch. It’s a big step toward making social payments a reality…”

2. How Facebook is ruining sharing http://news.cnet.com/8301-31322_3-57324406-256/how-facebook-is-ruining-sharing/I'm afraid to click any links on Facebook these days. No, it's got nothing to do with the spam attack…Instead, it's because the slow spread of Facebook's Open Graph scheme is totally ruining sharing. I know you've seen this…a great headline leading to a story that you'd really like to read. So you click it, because your friend shared it…instead of the story, you get…an intercept asking you to authorize the original site's app so that you can read the story. And…every story you read will start being shared automatically on Facebook…it's tempting to blame your friends for installing or using these apps…But…Facebook is to blame here. These apps and their auto-sharing (and intercepts) are all part of the Open Graph master plan…Open Graph…goal…is to quantify just about everything you do on Facebook…So, publishers and Facebook in particular really, really want you to click those little Add to Facebook buttons so that everything you read, watch, listen to, or buy will get shared…the plan is turning out to be really annoying in practice. Spotify song sharing is like the new FarmVille, and its auto-sharing turned out to be an unpleasant surprise…In search of "frictionless" sharing, Facebook is putting up a barrier to entry on items your friends want you to see…any barrier to sharing breaks sharing. The barriers will keep popping up as more content publishers create social apps…For every five people who authorize an app, I'd guess five will…eventually get annoyed enough…to stop visiting Facebook so often, and go searching for somewhere easier and less invasive to simply post a link and have fun with your friends…”

3. Amex Users On Foursquare Get Free Money ($25) On “Small Biz Saturday” http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/18/amex-users-on-foursquare-get-free-money-25-on-small-biz-saturday/Foursquare is giving away a free $25 credit to American Express cardholders through a new promotion taking place on November 26th, aka “Small Business Saturday.” (Yes, everyone has their own Black Friday spinoff now). To get the credit, Foursquare users have to spend $25 at a local merchant and check-in using the mobile app. There are “hundreds of thousands” of participating merchants across the U.S., according to the map in the Foursquare blog post…In order to claim the credit, after setup, users will need tap the new “load to card” button that appears upon check-in…Foursquare says you *have to* check in on Foursquare prior to checkout…If you’re not into Foursquare and Klout, there’s also a Facebook page where you can find businesses and claim your credit.”

4. Microsoft acquires video search startup VideoSurf http://venturebeat.com/2011/11/22/microsoft-buys-videosurf/Microsoft has acquired video search startup VideoSurf…VideoSurf specializes in video search technology that scans several video related sites for results, such as DailyMotion, YouTube, Metacafe, Hulu and others. The site’s results focus on specific episodes of web shows, notable individuals and more…it takes great care in separating viral/user-generated videos from the production quality videos (e.g. things from College Humor, Hulu, etc.). It’s likely that Microsoft purchased the company with the intent of strengthening video search in its Bing search engine…” [if you search for online video, what process or tools do you use? – ed.]

Gigabit Internet

5. Issaquah Highlands to launch fastest residential Internet service in nation http://www.issaquahpress.com/2011/11/17/issaquah-highlands-to-launch-fastest-residential-internet-service-in-nation/The fiber optic system in the Issaquah Highlands, the Highlands Fiber Network, is due to offer faster residential service — billed as the fastest Internet service available to any neighborhood in the United States. The system plans to launch the speedier service Dec. 1. Organizers said users should expect download connections of 1 gigabit per second…Highlands Fiber Network, developed faster service plans in response to residents’ feedback and increasing demands for network and Internet bandwidth…”

6. Zayo expands fiber network in Nashville http://www.fiberopticsonline.com/article.mvc/Zayo-Invests-In-Network-Infrastructure-0001Zayo…will be expanding its fiber footprint in Nashville…Zayo will nearly double the route mileage for the greater Nashville area from 40 to 78 route miles. These newly constructed route miles will allow Zayo to serve the markets of Franklin, Brentwood and Oak Hill with dark fiber, Gigabit Ethernet and wavelength services…The network already includes 14 on-net buildings, in addition to the 40 existing route miles. Zayo continues to operate a carrier neutral colocation facility that provides access to multiple major bandwidth providers…This expanded dark fiber network helps healthcare, technology, and other enterprises stay in front of the explosive growth of Internet and data usage…”

7. BT says copper networks can be used for superfast broadband http://www.broadband-expert.co.uk/blog/broadband-news/bt-says-copper-networks-can-still-be-used-for-superfast-broadband-services/7713864Many Internet service providers are moving forward with their broadband networks with fibre technology. Virgin Media had already begun deploying their fibre optic broadband networks a year earlier…CityFibre has also already announced its intent to raise $800 million in order to build a fibre network that will have the capacity to provide gigabit-per-second connections…But…BT Broadband, has come forward, saying that copper networks can still actually be used to deliver fast speeds…Williams said: “Copper is a permanent feature of our network. There will be people who want copper telephony and not broadband.”…at Fujitsu Bill Mackenzie thinks otherwise, asserting that point-to-point fibre would still prove to be much more advantageous in terms of longevity and value in investment: “Fibre is cheaper to deploy and will allow service providers to keep their costs low and in turn offer better packages to their customers…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

8. Will SOPA break the Internet http://gigaom.com/2011/11/16/what-the-web-is-saying-about-sopa/With the Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA, Congress is preparing to destroy the web, or perhaps this is just another battle between the content industry and the web world…the technology industry has unified against this issue in a way that I’ve not seen before– even during the network neutrality debates. For those wondering what the hubbub is about…the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good explanation…In short, there are two resolutions wending their way through the House and Senate that aim to stop online piracy by blocking or changing the DNS entry for sites that willfully infringe on copyright. It also puts the responsibility on hosting providers, search engines and even payments companies to act in stopping infringing material…” http://boingboing.net/2011/11/11/stop-sopa-save-the-internet.html “…The worst bill in Internet history is about to become law…this bill is about much more than copyright, it's about the Internet and free speech everywhere…the worst bill in Internet history, the one where government and their corporations get unbelievable power to take down sites, threaten payment processors into stopping payment to sites on a blacklist, and throw people in jail for posting ordinary content is about to pass before the end of this year…” http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/11/at-web-censorship-hearing-congress-guns-for-pro-pirate-google.ars “…House Judiciary Committee today held an important hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act with a hugely stacked deck of witnesses…despite the objections of…tech giants like Google and eBay, the Consumer Electronics Association…hundreds of law professors and lawyers, the hearing was designed to shove the legislation forward and to brand companies who object as siding with "the pirates."…critics have raised serious concerns about how this could affect the Internet's domain name system, affect free speech, and sweep in a host of legal sites…the panelists…portrayed SOPA as eminently reasonable. And hey, if SOPA breaks something as important as the move to the more secure DNSSEC protocol, no problem—we can just rewrite the protocol…The Consumer Electronics Association…pulled no punches. "The bill attempts a radical restructuring of the laws governing the Internet…It would undo the legal safe harbors that have allowed…Internet…to flourish over the last decade…in the Senate, people like Ron Wyden (D-OR) watched the "not entirely fair and balanced" hearing with horror. Wyden…helped author the key Internet safe harbors that have keep sites like Google, Yahoo, and eBay from being sued out of oblivion for the actions of others…” http://thenextweb.com/insider/2011/11/17/which-tech-companies-back-sopa-microsoft-apple-and-27-others/ “…‘no comment’ is Microsoft’s official position on SOPA…But Microsoft did support the pre-SOPA Protect IP Act, something that SOPA did draw on heavily for its roots…Microsoft is a major player in the Business Software Alliance, along with Apple and 27 other companies. And the BSA supports SOPA…In short, Microsoft is using a front group to throw its support behind SOPA, while publicly saying and doing nothing, thus avoiding our rancor…every single member of the Business Software Alliance…is complicit in supporting SOPA unless they publicly distance themselves from the BSA on the issue…” http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2011/11/cautious-optimism-follows-sopa.php “…Public outcry against the bill rallied enough opposition to keep it from sailing through…tens of thousands of users lit up their representatives' phone lines thanks to Tumblr. But it's not over…Linda Kirkpatrick of MasterCard raised objections to the bill. However, it's important not to read too much into this. Kirkpatrick's objections to SOPA were not against the bill in general, but mainly that the response periods in the act are too short and compliance costs are too high…it's basically another way of saying MasterCard might support the bill if it were tweaked to make SOPA less onerous for MasterCard…Katherine Oyama, copyright counsel for Google, had more concerns about SOPA, but still fell into the trap of suggesting "carefully crafted" legislation may be needed…the biggest problem with SOPA and its companion in the Senate, the PROTECT-IP act: It presumes that legislation is in any way needed…This Congress isn't the first go-around for this type of legislation…this is really the third iteration – it was COICA [last year] – the PROTECT-IP, and it's not getting any better. They've responded to criticism each time by making it worse. They're not going in the right direction, and no Internet censorship bill is a good idea…”

9. Is malware on Android a problem? http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/everything_you_know_about_android_malware_may_be_wrong/ “…the Juniper Network’s blog…points to a 472 percent rise in Android malware just since July of 2011…customers might draw the conclusion that the Android malware problem is a virtual pandemic…with that Juniper data, Google’s relaxed approach, and the freedom of malware developers, is the Android world really spinning out of control? Not yet…according to the analysts I spoke to…One of the most knowledgeable people about the mobile phone industry as a whole is Sascha Segan with PC Magazine…The severe malware problem is mostly in China,” he said. “If ordinary U.S. users stick to the Android Market for apps and stay away from independent sites, there isn’t much of a problem…Mr. Segan explained, if the problem were a pandemic, the carriers would be under enormous pressure and would, in turn, put pressure on Google to do something…The much bigger problem…in the U.S., is the way legitimate apps spill information about you to advertisers…Michael Gartenberg, a technology analyst for Gartner…take is that the malware situation in the Android world is far from a pandemic…the bigger problem is badly written apps, apps that burn up the network — and your battery…His take is that security companies are trying to alarm customers…is the apparent absolute security of the Apple and iOS world worth the trade-off against absolute freedom in the Android world? At the rate of 550,000 Android activations per day and 200 million activations to date, it seems there are plenty of people willing to take the risk for their total freedom…” http://www.extremetech.com/computing/104827-android-antivirus-apps-are-useless-heres-what-to-do-instead “…The conclusion reached by AV-Test…is that free Android anti-malware apps are…not worth your time…Six of the seven free apps tested failed to get above 10% detection. Only Zoner AntiVirus did any better, but it could only manage 32% detection…two paid anti-malware solutions…were able to scan and detect about half of all installed threats…The other half of the testing was installation blocking…the free Zoner app…blocked 80% of malware. The other free apps, however, failed to detect anything. The paid apps blocked all malware apps from being installed, even those that were not spotted in the manual scans…Android anti-malware apps…run in the same sandboxed Java environment all the other apps do. They lack the kind of low-level system access on mobile that desktop antivirus apps have had for years…When an app is installed, the system will always display the permissions requested. The user can use this at a glance to evaluate an app’s intentions…be on the lookout for…access to the contact list…Google accounts…location permission…Sticking to the official application repositories is a good policy, as is checking out the permissions for an app…” http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57327424-264/googler-android-antivirus-software-is-scareware-from-charlatans/Google's open-source software leader has lashed out at companies selling antivirus software for mobile devices…calling them "charlatans and scammers."…Virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you BS protection software for Android, RIM, and, iOS…If you work for a company selling virus protection for Android, RIM or iOS, you should be ashamed of yourself…No major cell phone has a 'virus' problem in the traditional sense that Windows and some Mac machines have seen…” http://globalthreatcenter.com/?p=2492 “… Juniper found a 400% increase in Android malware from 2009 to the summer of 2010. We have since seen exponential grow in Android malware over the last several months…the attackers continue to become more sophisticated in the malware they write…in the early spring, we began seeing Android malware that was capable of leveraging…vulnerabilities that allowed malware to gain root access on the device…”

10. Airport full-body X-ray scanners banned across Europe as unsafe http://www.geek.com/articles/news/airport-full-body-x-ray-scanners-banned-across-europe-as-unsafe-20111116/ “…full-body X-ray scanners…are controversial for two reasons. The first is that they allow operators to see an intimate, graphic view of the person being scanned…The second, and much larger concern is the risk of them causing cancer…the machines employ ionizing radiation…it is argued that a single scan forms a very small dose, so is deemed as acceptable in the U.S. In Europe however, it has just been decided that the machines form a risk to passenger’s health and safety, and therefore cannot be used…The TSA‘s response when asked about the decision in Europe was to point towards the rigorous testing the technology is subjected to, plus the fact 300+ “dangerous and illegal items” have been detected by employing the body scanners…the TSA was accused of covering up the fact significantly more TSA workers were developing cancer earlier this year from working around the scanners…”

11. Under-the-radar market for surveillance technology http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203611404577044192607407780.html “…a new global market for the off-the-shelf surveillance technology…has arisen in the decade since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…200-plus marketing documents, spanning 36 companies, include hacking tools that enable governments to break into people's computers and cellphones, and "massive intercept" gear that can gather all Internet communications in a country…were obtained from attendees of a secretive surveillance conference held near Washington, D.C…Stewart Baker, the former assistant secretary for Homeland Security…explains why privacy may one day be a luxury available to the privileged and the rich…a retail market for surveillance tools has sprung up from "nearly zero" in 2001 to about $5 billion a year, said Jerry Lucas, president of TeleStrategies Inc., the show's operator…Companies making and selling this gear say it is intended to catch criminals…They say they obey export laws and aren't responsible for how the tools are used…Mr. Lucas added that his event isn't political. "We don't really get into asking, 'Is this in the public interest?'"…Telesoft Technologies Ltd. of the U.K. touted its device…as offering "targeted or mass capture of 10s of thousands of simultaneous conversations from fixed or cellular networks."…at the conference were…computer-hacking tools to enable government agents to break into people's computers and cellphones, log their keystrokes and access their data…Vupen Security SA of France, HackingTeam SRL of Italy and Gamma's FinFisher…marketed their skill at the kinds of techniques often used in "malware," the software used by criminals trying to steal people's financial or personal details…Vupen, which gave a presentation at the conference on "exploiting computer and mobile vulnerabilities for electronic surveillance," said its tools take advantage of security holes in computers or cellphones that manufacturers aren't yet aware of. Vupen's marketing documents describe its researchers as "dedicated" to finding "unpatched vulnerabilities" in software created by Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and others…FinFisher, a Gamma product, say it works by "sending fake software updates for popular software."…The company also claims to have allowed an intelligence agency to trick users into downloading its software onto BlackBerry mobile phones "to monitor all communications, including [texts], email and BlackBerry Messenger…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. The Galaxy Nexus And Ice Cream Sandwich (This Is Really Big) http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/17/my-first-day-with-the-galaxy-nexus-and-ice-cream-sandwich-this-is-really-big/ “…Ice Cream Sandwich, the new version of Android that ships on the Galaxy Nexus, represents a big step…it’s making Android, which has long been faulted for being more confusing than iOS, significantly easier to use…for people who aren’t ‘power users’…for the most part, Google has achieved its goal…Since Android first launched on the G1, nearly all devices have featured four dedicated buttons beneath the screen: Back, Home, Menu, and Search…once you got the hang of them, they worked. Unfortunately many people never did figure them out…Google has done away with two of the buttons entirely: both the Search and Menu buttons have been removed, and have been replaced with an app switcher button…according to user studies, many people never really understood what the search button was for, much less what long-pressing it would do…now that those two buttons are gone, Android has to find another way to surface those options. The solution is called the Action Bar…it’s a mostly-consistent way for apps to surface features and to help you navigate between screens…some applications offer more features than can easily be shown on screen at once. Google’s solution to this is a new icon that consists of three small, vertically aligned squares. Tap it, and you’ll typically see advanced options and settings…this is a fundamental and important change that is going to make Android easier to use for a lot of people…One of the highly-touted features in ICS is a new phone locking mechanism that uses face detection…many people…don’t use any kind of PIN or pattern lock at all because they’re tedious to enter. These are the people that Face Unlock is catering to…The Contacts application has been totally redone and is now called ‘People’. It’s pretty slick…The Camera app has gotten some major improvements…tap-to-zoom…a panorama mode that lets you move your camera to stitch together one giant photo…tap the screen while you’re recording a video to take a high-res still shot…shoot photos in very quick succession…zero shutter lag…The browser has some new features, including an option to save pages for offline viewing…ICS does introduce a major improvement in the way voice transcription works…The phone is huge…it doesn’t feel bulky…But I find myself doing finger gymnastics as I use it…I’ve been using the much-smaller Nexus One as my primary device for years now. So this difference may be more jarring to me than other people…the device’s giant screen has an upside: it’s a beauty to look at. Text looks fantastic…remember the three software nav buttons I discussed earlier? When you’re watching a movie, those vanish entirely, which means nearly the entire front of the phone becomes a video display…” http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57326558-264/android-4.0-arrives-as-galaxy-nexus-goes-on-sale/Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, the first phone with Google's Ice Cream Sandwich…has gone on sale in the United Kingdom…a super AMOLED 720p screen measuring 4.65 inches diagonally, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor; 1GB of memory; LTE or Pentaband HSPA+ wireless networking depending on the market where it's being sold; a 5-megapixel camera with…"zero shutter lag," and supporting 1080p video; a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat; front and rear speakers; an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and barometer; and a 1750mAh battery…The model is the third in the lineage of Nexus phones…the Nexus One, built by HTC…the Nexus S, built by Samsung…Most phones today come with Android 2.x (including Eclair, Froyo, and Gingerbread versions)…Google hastily shipped 3.x (Honeycomb)…for tablets only…With Ice Cream Sandwich, a single version of Android version will span tablets and phones…”

13. Motorola Razr review http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/review/2124500/motorola-razr-reviewMotorola has come up trumps with the reinvention of the Razr. It has many attractive features, including a super thin design and use of materials like Kevlar…You can't help noticing how thin the device is at just 7.1mm - thinner than a ballpoint pen. This…makes it the thinnest smartphone we've seen…only a small section at the top around the camera is slightly thicker…It tips the scales at 127g, which is impressive for a smartphone with a large 4.3in screen…the woven Kevlar…feels good as well as looking cool….The design is built for overall toughness with a stainless steel core, a Gorilla Glass touch-screen display and a Splash Guard coating to fend off rain or accidental spills…you can't get access to the battery. Instead, the microSIM and microSD card slots are on the side of the Razr underneath a fold-down cover…The Razr comes with a Texas Instruments 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage…you can bump this up by a further 32GB by using the microSD card slot…its Super Amoled Advanced technology…is sharp, bright and vivid with a qHD 540x960 resolution and pixel density of 256ppi. This is 49ppi higher than…the Samsung Galaxy S II, but…not…as good as the Retina display on the iPhone 4S…a 960x640 resolution at 326ppi…there's also…a microHDMI port on the top of the handset…Razr has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash that's capable of full-HD 1080p video recording, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera…Video recording…At HD 1080p it's up there with the best and our test footage was crisp and smooth…Until the rollout of ICS, which Motorola said will occur in the first quarter of next year, the Razr will be stuck on Gingerbread…With an above average 1,780mAh battery, we expected the Razr to outclass its rivals, but…the phone delivered…average performance. It was mostly the screen that sucked the life away…”

14. Amazon launches 'Penny Pincher' smartphone sale http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57329203-94/amazon-launches-penny-pincher-smartphone-sale/Amazon…has put all of its smartphones from Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T on sale for one cent. Shoppers can pick up the Motorola Droid Razr, which Verizon Wireless sells for $299 with a two-year contract, for single penny…buyers who activate the hotspot feature on their phone purchase will receive a $100 Amazon gift card. The sale, which includes free two-day shipping, is valid through November 28. However, deals apply only to new subscribers….”

15. BlackBerry PlayBook dropping to $199 http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57328707-1/blackberry-playbook-dropping-to-$199-in-time-for-holidays/ “…BlackBerry's PlayBook tablet…started at $499…the price dropped as low as $299 through a combination of credits and rebates from retailers like Best Buy. Today, RIM announced via Twitter that the rumored $199 price drop is for real "for a limited time only." The PlayBook Web site lists Best Buy, Wireless Giant, Staples, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart as participating retailers…reports suggest that the $199 price may be a Black Friday deal…newegg.com offered a batch of PlayBooks for $199 over the weekend, and they quickly sold out…PlayBook has struggled since its launch, due in large part to the fact that it isn't integrated with BlackBerry's popular e-mail and messaging services…”

16. Facebook’s phone project started with Slayer http://venturebeat.com/2011/11/22/facebook-phone-slayer/ “…Buffy, the phone Facebook is reportedly releasing sometime in 2012 or 2013…started out as Slayer, a highly controversial project within Facebook’s walls that led to more than one Facebooker leaving the company entirely…the original code name for Facebook’s…mobile project was Slayer — a portmanteau of the phrase “social layer.” The project…was the brainchild of a mobile-focused, hand-picked SWAT team…which included Facebook iPhone app and Firefox creator Joe Hewitt…the project grew “too big and too political,” causing some Facebookers to…leave the company’s Palo Alto campus…Buffy, the…codename for the resurrected mobile project spearheaded by Facebook CTO Bret Taylor, will run a heavily modified version of the Android OS and will feature support for HTML5 mobile web apps…”

Apps

17. eFax Android App Offers Mobile Faxing http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/11/11/p2132861/new-efax-android-app-offers-mobile-faxing-for-business-professionals “…eFax app for Android…mobile capabilities allow business professionals to manage and move important documents anytime, anywhere, keeping productivity on the fast track…70% of respondents stated that mobile faxing will be an important or very important part of their business processes over the next five years. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents have been in a situation where…a mobile fax would have benefited their business…The new eFax Android app…lets people close deals, place orders, get paid, and perform other common fax activities anywhere, any time.”…Not only do I save money, but I never have to worry about where I am because eFax allows me to receive and send faxes right from my smart phone. It makes my life so much easier…said eFax customer, Robert Weller…” [have you or others you know ever needed to send/receive a mobile fax? – ed.]

18. Build your own Android app #1 - Hello World http://www.electronicsweekly.com/blogs/eyes-on-android-updates/2011/11/build-your-own-android-app-1---hello-world.html “…I'm going to take the reckless step of trying to document my progress developing an Android app from scratch! Here I am, writing about Android every day, but what better way to really learn and understand the platform than by developing an app myself?...My development goal is actually very modest - to be able to build basic applications for Android smartphones (or even tablets)…Anyway, back to post number one in what could be a very short (or very long) series. Here is my progress so far…”

SkyNet

19. Google Music http://lifehacker.com/5860282/google-music-now-available-to-all-streams-your-music-anywhere-for-freeGoogle announced…their music streaming service is…out of beta and available to all US users, no invite required. It's also staying free, letting you stream up to 20,000 songs to all your devices…When Google Music first launched, Google said it would be free "as long as it was in beta". Now, it's out of beta, and they've decided to keep it completely free for everyone to use. You can upload up to 20,000 songs to Google Music, and stream it from your desktop browser, from the Android Music app, or even from the iOS-optimized webapp…You can buy music either from the Android Market on your phone, or from the new desktop store. Google's partnered with the big 3 record labels in addition to tons of indie labels, giving them access to about 13 million songs (8 million of which are currently live on the store). Individual tracks run about the same as iTunes: many tracks are $0.99, while more popular artists might run you $1.29 a track. A typical album is either $9.49 or $10.99, again, depending on popularity. All tracks have 90 second previews and are downloadable in 320kbps mp3 format…” http://lifehacker.com/5800500/first-look-at-google-music-our-favorite-features-in-googles-cloud-music-player “…extra features…like a Genius-like playlist creator and thumbs up/thumbs down tool for easy shuffling of your favorite music…It'll first ask you for your favorite genres of music, and give you some free song packs to try out that match your tastes. It's a nice touch, especially if you just want to see how the player works before you go uploading all your music…Google's Music Manager tool is available for both Windows and Mac, and will import music straight from iTunes, Windows Media Player, or a folder on your computer…you can tell it where you store your music, and…have it watch for changes…whenever you add new music to those folders or to your desktop client, it'll automatically upload those tracks to Google Music…it'll take awhile to upload your entire library, so…it'll remember its position as it uploads…you can restart or turn off your computer, and it'll pick back up where it left off…If you're still skeptical about Google Music, use the player. This thing is…way cooler than most of the other music streaming webapps out there…you can edit album info, "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" songs…and even create "instant mixes", which are shuffleable mixes spawned by a specific song…The other half of what makes Google Music amazing is its Android integration…For a webapp that's still in beta, Google Music is one of the most polished cloud music services we've seen yet…” http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/google-music-is-open-for-business.html “…a variety of music that you won’t find anywhere else, much of it free…The Rolling Stones are offering an exclusive, never-before-released live concert album, Brussels Affair (Live, 1973), including a free single, “Dancing with Mr. D.” This is the first of six in an unreleased concert series…Coldplay fans will find…a free, live recording of “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall”…Shakira’s live EP from her recent concert in Paris and her new studio single, “Je L’Aime à Mourir” are both being offered up free…Pearl Jam are releasing a live album from their 9/11/11 concert in Toronto, free to Google Music users…Dave Matthews Band are offering up free albums from two live concerts, including new material from Live On Lakeside…Tiësto is offering up a new mix, “What Can We Do” (feat. Anastacia), exclusively to Google Music users…”

20. Google’s JPEG Alternative WebP Gets Smarter, Takes on PNG http://siliconfilter.com/googles-jpeg-alternative-webp-gets-smarter-takes-on-png/Last year, Google introduced a new image format for the web called WebP…meant to be a modern alternative to the popular but patent-encumbered JPEG standard. It produces significantly smaller files without sacrificing image quality. Today, Google announced some new features for WebP that may help bring wider adoption to the format, which is currently only natively supported by Opera and Google’s own Chrome browser…the new lossless mode “offers a 45% reduction in size when starting with PNGs found on the web, and a 28% reduction in size compared to PNGs that are re-compressed with pngcrush and pngout”…For Google, this project is all about making websites smaller and hence faster to load…As with all new formats, though, Google is fighting an uphill battle here. Unless other browser manufacturers support it…this mostly remains an interesting computer science effort but won’t see wide adoption…”

21. Google Voice app update; text to multiple recipients, pre-fetch voicemails http://androidandme.com/2011/11/news/google-voice-app-update-text-to-multiple-recipients-pre-fetch-voicemails/ “…Google…updated the Google Voice app (version 0.4.2.38) with two of the best features we’ve seen in a while…We can finally send a text message to multiple recipients, simultaneously…Google has also added another feature with this update. Until now, it hasn’t been possible to listen to voicemails without an internet connection…We can now…get our voicemails even without a data connection. Google Voice can…pre-fetch voicemails, allowing you to listen to them later…without internet…”

22. Google reworks Go for 1.0 debut in early 2012 http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57324866-264/google-reworks-go-for-1.0-debut-in-early-2012/ “…Google plans to finalize the language in coming months…The company released Go along with programming tools…two years ago. The plan is to launch Go 1 in early 2012…Go is designed to modernize…low-level programming that's typically done today with C or C++. Google hopes it'll be better when it comes to tapping into the power of multicore processors and, through the use of "garbage collection" popularized by Java, will scrub a computer's memory to free up resources that a program no longer needs…Google also is working on Dart, a language for the Web that Google hopes will improve upon JavaScript…”

General Technology

23. eButton, an Easier Way to Monitor Food Intake, Exercise, and Lifestyle http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111109125745.htmPeople attempting to lose weight won't need to track their daily food intake anymore, thanks to a wearable, picture-taking device…eButton -- a device worn on the chest (like a pin) that contains a miniature camera, accelerometer, GPS, and other sensors -- captures data and information of health activities, eliminating the need for daily self-reporting…eButton's reporting extends even further than food and exercise: It can determine the amount of time wearers spend watching TV or sitting in front of a computer screen and how much time they spend outdoors. It tracks where food is bought, how meals are prepared, which restaurants are visited, and what items are ordered. The device analyzes how long the wearer spends eating, what foods and beverages are consumed, and how the wearer interacts with family or friends at the dining table…all of these factors determine participants' caloric intake and expenditure. "This multidimensional approach looks at the overall health of eButton wearers, which is more important than just food and exercise alone," said Sun. "We have to take into account how people live, not only what they eat or how they exercise at the gym…” [the reeeally interesting part will come after they perfect the monitoring aspect of eButton and start working on the behaviour modification part; “Hey you, quit eating that Twinkie!” – ed.]

24. World's lightest material created http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57327382-264/breakthrough-material-is-barely-more-than-air/ “…Researchers…have created what they say is the lowest-density material, a lattice of hollow tubes of the metal nickel…Its volume is 99.99 percent air, and its density is 0.9 milligram per cubic centimeter--not including the air in or between its tubes. That density is less than one-thousandth that of water. The metallic microlattice…could be useful for absorbing sound, vibration, and shock…electrodes that could increase how much energy lithium-ion batteries can store and lower their manufacturing costs; air-cooling devices for computing electronics; and lighter-weight materials for automobiles, aircraft, and spacecraft…Another notable property: When it's squashed, the tiny tubes buckle, but when the pressure is removed, it rebounds. A sample compressed to half its original height rebounds 98 percent of the way. That makes the material similar in some ways to elastomers that are a widely used cushion against shock…”

25. Processor bombshell: AMD cancels 28nm APUs, starts from scratch at TSMC http://www.extremetech.com/computing/106217-manufacturing-bombshell-amd-cancels-28nm-apus-starts-from-scratch-at-tsmc “…AMD may have shifted its focus from Bulldozer to Bobcat in the wake of the former’s disappointing performance…AMD’s 28nm Brazos-based APUs were in serious trouble…AMD reportedly finalized the decision to cancel both products right around the time it fired most of its PR and marketing divisions…The implications and financial repercussions could be enormous. Moving 28nm APUs from GlobalFoundries to TSMC means scrapping the existing designs and laying out new parts using gate-last rather than gate-first manufacturing…The momentum AMD built for itself through 2011 is on the verge of stalling out…”

26. Panasonic introduces robots geared to assist elderly, disabled http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/14/2560927/panasonic-robots-assist-elderly-disabled “…Panasonic unveiled three new products from its own robotics development division for the elderly and disabled…The HOSPI-Rimo (also referred to as the communication assistance robot), splits its duties between two primary tasks. The first is putting nervous hospital patients at ease, which the machine achieves by sporting an enthusiastic ― perhaps overly so ― grin when interacting with users. The autonomously-moving robot can also analyze the admitted for changes in condition and alert medical personnel if need be..HOSPI-Rimo allows for video conferencing by way of a built-in camera, affording those who may lack mobility the ability to communicate with family members or medical staff remotely…Further innovations are to be found in the company's updated Hair Washing Robot (self explanatory) and Roboticbed (a combined medical bed and wheelchair)…”

27. Jukusui-Kun: the snore-stopping robot bear http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/14/2560725/jukusui-kun-robot-bear-stops-snoringJukusui-Kun, a robot pillow disguised as a stuffed polar bear…was designed to fight sleep apnea and snoring. Using a microphone, a conductive panel, and a pulse-oxygen meter dressed as a baby polar bear…the teddy monitors snoring and blood oxygen levels. Once activated, the bear initiates a gentle tickling maneuver that causes the sleeper to roll over, restarting normal breathing…Why a polar bear? We have no idea, but if it's ever commercialized, it may be the creepiest, or cutest…ever…”

28. Intel's MIC Compute Accelerators May Adopt QPI Bus Instead of PCI Express http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20111115223328_Intel_s_MIC_Compute_Accelerators_May_Adopt_QPI_Bus_Instead_of_PCI_Express.html “…Intel Corp…remains tight-lipped about the form-factor of its next-generation MIC compute co-processor…it looks like the chip will use conventional land grid array (LGA) form-factor and will be plugged into sockets similar to those that are intended for Intel Xeon microprocessors…PCI Express bus and slots allow compute accelerators for highly-parallel workloads from companies like Advanced Micro Devices or Nvidia Corp. to be easily installed into servers powered by Intel Corp.'s microprocessors…when it comes to the first commercial compute accelerators based on Intel's own many x86 integrated cores (MIC) architecture, the chip giant might have chosen an opposite approach and utilize proprietary Quick-Path interconnect (QPI) bus and infrastructure…”

29. Stanford develops super-fast computer device http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/15/BA0E1LV22T.DTLStanford engineers…have developed a device for computers that can send information over light beams faster than anything yet achieved, while consuming far less energy…the…"nanoscale single-mode LED," can transmit information in computers from chip to chip at least 10 times the speed of any current computer while consuming more than a 1,000 times less energy…The tiny device is a highly advanced version of the LED lamps that are increasingly used in everything from pocket flashlights and home lighting to the "grow-lights" that force-feed everything from house plants to marijuana farms…”

30. Microsoft’s next generation Surface http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/microsofts-next-generation-surface-goes-up-for-pre-order-20111117/ “…The first generation Surface had bags of potential, but was so bulky it could only be used in table form, and carried a price of $12,500. This latest generation is thinner (4-inches thick), lighter (39.4kg), and looks a lot like an LCD TV…it is a 40-inch 16:9 display capable of 1080p. The hardware inside consists of an AMD Athlon II X2 dual-core processor running at 2.9GHz coupled with an AMD HD6750M GPU (DX11 supported). To protect the screen from all the interaction, Samsung has used the largest sheet of Gorilla Glass yet seen on a product…the SUR40 uses PixelSense for the first time. Microsoft describe it as giving Surface “vision.” The underlying tech places an infrared sensor on every pixel, allowing it to act like a camera across the entire display. That could be a killer feature…it…should hit resellers in January for between $7,600 and $8,400. That’s $4,000 cheaper than the previous model…”

Leisure & Entertainment

31. Snake-alike Titanoboa robot is beyond eek http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-snake-alike-titanoboa-robot-eek-video.html “…The Mondo Crew is part of eatART of Vancouver, British Columbia, the collective of artists, designers and builders who make large- kinetic, robotic, and mechanized sculptures. They are working on their project for a formidable 50-foot electromechanical snake that weighs over 2,000 pounds and will slither on land and glide under water…Artist Charlie Brinson thought of the idea of building Titanoboa after learning about the discovery of fossilized remains of the actual Titanoboa. This was an enormous prehistoric snake that lived 60 million years ago…The Titanoboa project seeks to reincarnate the beast as an amphibious, electromechanical serpent machine designed to provoke discussions of our changing climate and energy use…Titanoboa’s design specifications include five different modes of motion, dynamic internal lighting, a scalable Lithium polymer battery system, multiple Arduino Mega micro controllers, controllable by rider or remotely, and automated eyes and jaws…Brinson successfully launched this as a Kickstarter project in the summer and raised over $10,000 for his sculpture project…” [watch the video – ed.]

32. How Games Are Driving a Mobile Graphics Revolution http://www.technologyreview.com/business/39038/ “…While the iPhone was not designed primarily for games, they soon dominated the best-selling app charts, a pattern that was duplicated on Android devices and looks set to repeat with Windows phones…Consequently, chip makers have been competing to provide mobile-device manufacturers with better and better graphics capabilities by means of dedicated processors that are now among the devices' most complex and powerful subsystems…Qualcomm spent $65 million in 2009 to buy the handset graphics operations of Advanced Micro Devices, which were originally part of ATI Technologies…ARM, which designs the general-purpose processor cores that power most of the world's smart phones, has been placing increasing emphasis on its Mali family of graphics processors…The overarching importance of graphics has even allowed Nvidia…to enter the market with an eight-core graphics processor and a dual-core general-purpose processor bundled on the same chip. "The catalyst was Apple's iPhone…It showcased a mobile device that is purely display based."…Qualcomm calculates that its latest chips render a scene nearly as complex as those found in desktop computer games but use less than 1 percent as much energy as a desktop graphics processor. Because the mobile market is so huge, chip makers can make investments that they couldn't afford for smaller targets. Market researcher iSuppli says that last year 295 million smart-phone handsets were shipped, compared with 27.2 million dedicated handheld gaming devices such as the Nintendo DS…last spring Sony Ericcson introduced the Xperia Play phone, which is capable of playing games designed for the original PlayStation console, and Apple says the iPhone4S contains a graphics processor from Imagination Technologies that is seven times faster than that of the iPhone 4…”

33. NaNoWriMo Swamp http://www.thecorsaironline.com/arts-entertainment/2011/11/19/nanowrimo-swamp/ “…a short girl with an oversized backpack wandering around campus, talking to herself, getting lost, and twitching like a drug addict. That would be me, operating on about four hours of sleep and a heart-attack-inducing volume of coffee…soon, I’ll be walking into trees and getting hit by parked cars…I am more than 9,500 words behind…Every day, I will be typing until my fingertips are numb, reading until my eyes are sore, and running around trying to get together with other writers, a study group, and an important meeting, all while sucking down gallons of coffee and caffeinated sodas…week three is when most writers drop out of the challenge, having found themselves swamped with writing and other work…Writer’s block hits after the brain has been saturated in creativity for the last two and a half weeks…we all will realize we have been sitting in front of an empty screen for two hours, trying desperately to think of something to write and coming up with… nothing…” http://theorion.com/entertainment/article_539e4090-0f41-11e1-bd57-0019bb30f31a.html “…What originally seemed like a fun way to get some writing practice has turned into a full-frontal exercise in self-flagellation. Fifty-thousand words did not seem all that much when I first signed up…Now I find myself 15,000 words in and woefully behind my target word count…I'm sorely tempted to wipe the entire thing from my hard drive and forget this ever happened. But for some masochistic reason I keep going. It's sickeningly addictive. Coming off a two-hour writing spree gives you an insane high, a feeling of power over the English language as a whole. It's the same feeling you get after you go jogging or order a salad in a restaurant - the knowledge that you overcame your own bad habits to do something good for yourself…” http://tigernewspaper.com/wordpress/?p=6941 “…more than twenty students at South Pasadena High School have picked up the gauntlet and begun their writing frenzy, steadily—or, more often, feverishly—working towards the five free paperback copies of their novel offered by the CreateSpace website for winners of NaNoWriMo this year…” http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2011/11/written-kitten-uses-cats-to-motivate-your-writing/ “…if you need an incentive to keep pumping out words, Written Kitten might do the trick. For every 100 words you type, you get a fresh picture of a cat…it’s just a text input box, so you’ll want to copy the results of your hard work and save it somewhere else…”

34. Kinect For Windows Adds Motion Control To The Common PC http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57329882-75/microsoft-embraces-kinect-hacks-readies-pc-hardware/Microsoft…is now working on a Kinect for PCs. Ever since Kinect debuted last year, hackers have fiddled with the device to come up with scores of new uses for it, everything from using gestures to navigate a computer's file system to providing visual sensors for robots. But those hacks relied on a Kinect that is optimized to detect gamers standing several feet away…the company is shortening the USB cable and adding a dongle so that multiple devices can tap into the same USB port. Microsoft is also updating the firmware on the device to enable the depth camera on the Kinect to see objects as close as 50 centimeters away. "'Near Mode' will enable a whole new class of 'close up' applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360,"…Kinect PC hardware will be available in early 2012…”

35. Penguin suspends library e-books, citing security http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iG1ZGb_Ig5QbRaNPSZMrF3wuybDg “…Penguin Group…suspended making e-editions of new books available to libraries and won't allow libraries to loan any e-books for Amazon.com's Kindle…due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns…For non-Kindle users, the policy does not affect e-books already on library catalogs…Among publishers, "security" has traditionally referred to piracy…Amazon.com…is allowing its special Prime members to rent one book a month from a selection of titles provided by it. Penguin and other publishers declined to participate but discovered their books were still being included…Amazon has formed a partnership with the country's top library e-book supplier, OverDrive Inc., that vastly increases the Kindle's presence in libraries and encourages patrons to visit Amazon's website and buy books…publishers have long been concerned that allowing library patrons to download e-books might harm sales. Simon & Schuster and Macmillan don't make any e-books available to libraries, and HarperCollins has restricted their usage, a policy that angered libraries…”

36. Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ dazzles in 3-D http://heraldnews.suntimes.com/entertainment/8992356-421/scorseses-hugo-dazzles-in-3-d.html “…functioning at the top of his game as he approaches 70 years old, Martin Scorsese would have nothing else to prove. So it’s thrilling to see him make a bold, creative leap with “Hugo,” which is not only an unusual family film from him but also his first movie in 3-D. Scorsese doesn’t just tinker with this newfangled technology; he embraces it fully. This is the most dazzling use of 3-D yet — more so than the vaunted “Avatar.” He has completely realized the production with a third dimension in mind and maximized it for its immersive qualities. This is a joy to behold at a time when so many films are shot in 2-D and shoddily converted to 3-D after the fact…”

Economy and Technology

37. This 28-Year-Old Is Making Sure Credit Cards Won't Exist In The Next Few Years http://www.businessinsider.com/this-28-year-old-is-making-sure-credit-cards-wont-exist-in-the-next-few-years-2011-11 “…a tiny 12-person startup…out of Des Moines, Iowa…Dwolla was founded by 28-year-old Ben Milne; it's an…online payment system that sidesteps credit cards completely. Milne has no finance background, yet his little operation is moving between $30 and $50 million per month…we're trying to build the next Visa, not the next PayPal…The current model needs to be blown up…I owned a speaker manufacturing company and we sold everything directly through a website. I got really obsessed with interchange fees and how not to pay them…I was losing $55,000 a year to credit card companies…I thought, how do I get paid through a website without paying credit card fees? We pitched a bank, and amazingly enough they said, "We'll give it a shot." That was three years ago…In December of last year we figured out how to legally do what we do…I started college because I thought that's where I was supposed to go…I got in, went, and realized it wasn't for me. I had customers so I stopped going to class…You don't have a finance background and yet you built Dwolla?…I think the first financial institution we went into only listened to me for entertainment…I think that not knowing how the mechanics worked was good — we just knew the way we wanted them to work…Our investors do credit and debit processing for banks…a credit card from your bank, it's being issued by companies like them. Our investors are also distributing our product to financial institutions. So we've been building a payment network, and we can do it legally because of who our investors are…With Dwolla, payments are made directly from your bank account. No credit or debit cards are allowed…You can spend any amount of money and when you do that, the person on the other end doesn't have to pay 1, 2, 3 or 4%. They only pay $0.25 a transaction, which is especially helpful when it's $1,000, $2,000 or $5,000 transactions…PayPal becomes very cost prohibitive with those larger transactions…PayPal…and…Square…are built on top of networks like Visa and MasterCard. We're building our own…”

38. MS and TechStars Launch Kinect Accelerator http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/18/microsoft-and-techstars-launch-kinect-accelerator-for-new-kinect-based-startups/ “…Microsoft and TechStars are hoping to turn the creativity and momentum associated with the Kinect into some functioning startups. Applications are being taken through January 25th; ten will be chosen and given the opportunity to participate in a three-month incubation program at Microsoft — and get $20,000 in seed funding…This could be a good opportunity — if you can afford to move to Seattle for a while this Spring…TechStars, in exchange for funding and leading the program, will be getting a 6% stake in your new company (in common stock)…The goal is “to create businesses that leverage the Kinect for Xbox or Windows.”…the Accelerator is based in South Lake Union…” http://www.bizspark.com/Blogs/Microspark-BizSpark-Startup-of-the-Day/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?List=4f77559d-0614-489c-9e9e-fb18e981cb5a&ID=328

39. PayPal’s Send Money App, and Why Facebook Never Built P2P Credits Payments http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/17/paypal-p2p-credits/PayPal relaunched a peer-to-peer payment Facebook app today…why hasn’t Facebook built its own way for friends to send money to each other using its virtual currency Credits? Because of significant fraud risks and its focus on making Credits work better for virtual goods purchases where it earns 30%...Send Money…lets you pay friends through a credit card or your PayPal account…you can now also opt to include a digital greeting card, good for sending money on birthdays and other holidays…Facebook has its own payment system that lets users receive its virtual currency Credits in exchange for money paid through credit cards, PayPal, and other means. Users spend the Credits in social games for power-ups or extended game time, and the developers redeem these Credits for 70% of their worth while Facebook keeps its 30% tax. The primary reason Credits can only be spent in games and apps, not sent to other users, is fraud…If users could transfer Credits to someone else, the occupation of “Credits Miner” would emerge. These people would earn Credits…and sell them to others for…less than Facebook sells them for. This would…undermine Facebook’s ability to make money on them. P2P Credits transfers would also make users a more lucrative target for hackers…Facebook would only be able to take a few percent on transactions…Instead, Facebook is focusing on Credits as its platform’s mandatory virtual goods payment processor for developers, where it earns its juicy 30% cut. That business is growing thanks to gaming giants like Zynga….”

40. Angie’s List Shares Pop Over 30 Percent To Open $18 Per Share, Valued At Nearly $900M http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/17/angies-list-shares-pop-over-30-percent-to-open-18-per-share-valued-at-nearly-900m/Angie’s List, which offers consumers a way to review and rate doctors, contractors and service companies on the Web, priced its IPO at the high end of the range, at $13 per share last night…This morning Angie’s List opened at $18 per share, a nearly 40 percent increase from its pricing last night. At $18 per share, Angie’s List would be valued at a nearly $900 million market cap…Angie’s List launched in 1995 with a focus on local home, yard and car services, sits at the intersection of local search, user-generated content and subscription-based services…As of September 30, 2011, the company offered its service to paying members in 175 local markets in the United States…Angie’s List now has more than 1 million (up from 820,000) paid memberships…”

41. Black Thursday is replacing Black Friday as more stores open on Thanksgiving http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-black-thursday-20111122,0,3635522.storyWal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest retailer, will for the first time launch its holiday sale kickoff at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, joining Toys R Us Inc., Kmart and other chains that have already thrown their doors open while holiday turkeys are still warm. Other big retailers — including Target Corp., Best Buy Co., Macy's Inc. and Kohl's Corp. — have decided for the first time to open at midnight…It's no longer Black Friday, it's going to be Black Thanksgiving…The late-night shopping hours also appeal to coveted younger customers, many of whom prefer to do a midnight shopping run Thanksgiving Day instead of having to leave their warm beds before dawn the day after…But not everyone is happy. For retail workers, Thanksgiving and Christmas have traditionally been the only two days of guaranteed time off, when shops are closed and employees can enjoy family time. As family time gives way to commerce, annoyed employees and supporters have taken to Facebook, Twitter and online petitions to vent. Employees at both Best Buy and Target have created online petitions at Change.org urging their companies to open later so workers can "break bread with loved ones…” [have you seen any really good Black Friday sale items?]

42. San Francisco to lose beloved Yahoo billboard http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-57327029-52/san-francisco-to-lose-beloved-yahoo-billboard/ “…the much-loved Yahoo sign along Interstate 80…will be no more as of next month…The Yahoo sign in San Francisco…has featured funny sayings and a cheap motel aesthetic…it also came to be something of a lighthearted neighbor for the thousands of people who passed through San Francisco's SOMA district or drove along I-80…because it had a small sign at the bottom whose messages changed regularly but usually sported bon mots like "This year, resolve to LOL more" and blinking neon lights at night, it made a lot of people forget it was promoting a multi-billion-dollar corporation…The Yahoo billboard was a breath of fresh, funky air with its pastel colors, retro fonts…Sometimes, like today, when it said "Check out Yahoo Mail. Now 2X faster," the changeable message was straightforward. But sometimes it tried to please. "For a long time it said 'You look nice today,'" recalled San Francisco writer Joyce Slaton…I'd feel absurdly flattered and complimented. And I'd smile to myself in the mirror…”

43. iPad, iPod touch, iPhone top kid’s Christmas lists http://www.loopinsight.com/2011/11/17/ipad-ipod-touch-iphone-top-kids-christmas-lists/We’re coming into the busiest shopping season of the year and all indications are that it will be another incredible year for Apple. According to…Nielsen, Apple’s iPad topped the list of kids aged 6-12, for the second year in a row. In fact, the iPad increased its position, rising from 31 percent in 2010 to 44 percent…in second place for that age group is the iPod touch with 30 percent of the kids…At 27 percent, the iPhone takes the third spot…on the list of most desired electronic devices this year. For kids over 13 years old, the iPad grabbed the No. 1 spot with 24 percent…15 percent wanted an iPhone and 8 percent wanted an iPod touch, but they fell behind products computers and televisions…”

44. Mac platform reaches 15-year high with 5% worldwide market share http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/11/16/macs_worldwide_market_share_reaches_15_year_high_at_5.html “…Apple saw its worldwide share of the PC market pass the 5 percent mark for the first time in 15 years…Mac shipment growth in the third quarter of calendar 2011 outpaced the PC market for the 22nd straight quarter. Apple's 24.6 percent growth dwarfed the 5.3 percent growth in total PC shipments…When comparing dollar share, the Mac took up a 14 percent share of the worldwide home PC market, more than double its current market share…”

DHMN Technology

45. Public library in New York is getting a hacker lab http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/12/2557217/public-library-in-new-york-is-getting-a-hacker-lab “…Lauren Smedley has a broad vision of what public libraries can be to their patrons, and she's putting that vision to the test with changes at her own, the Fayetteville Free Library in central New York. The library…is getting a Fab Lab to encourage makers and hackers, and will include equipment such as a MakerBot, a CNC router, and a laser cutter. The library's plans include offering free classes such as an introductory course in 3D printing, 3D design software training…Smedley also plans on offering Geek Girl Camps, which encourage girls and women to get into geekier pursuits. The video below offers and introduction to both the Fayettville Library, its progressive librarian, and the lab…”

46. 3D Printing Startup Shapeways Raises $5.1 Million, Plans NYC Production Facility http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/17/3d-printing-startup-shapeways-raises-an-additional-5-1-million-plans-nyc-production-facility/Of all the cool things going on in technology, one of my favorites is 3D printing. It’s got such a futuristic quality to it: input a digital schematic, and you get a physical product custom…to your exact specifications…Shapeways…just raised an additional $5.1 million from existing investors…Shapeways…is planning to launch printing facilities in New York City in 2012. Historically goods ordered…through Shapeways have been manufactured…through contracted third-parties…the company’s own facility in Eindhoven, Netherlands…the net result will be faster turnout times for customers, and lower prices…Shapeways is both a service for printing out your 3D designs, and a marketplace for designers to sell their custom-printed wares to customers…”

47. Shanghai Science and Technology Commission proposes 100 'innovation houses' for DIYers http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/12/shanghai-science-and-technology-commission-proposes-100-innovat/ “…we call them hackerspaces and generally they're sustained through the contributions of paying members. The Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality has decided to go with the more esoteric "innovation house" and is expecting support from the government, but the concept is the same -- a pubic place where those with an idea can go and make it a reality. The commission is proposing building 100 such studios equipped with wood and metal lathes, drills, saws and milling machines…”

48. Surgeon Uses 3D Printer To Make Models Of Bone http://singularityhub.com/2011/11/15/surgeon-uses-3d-printer-to-make-models-of-bone-%E2%80%93-and-saves-hospital-bookoo-bucks/ “…an orthopedic surgeon in training came up with a new way to make bone replicas that help surgeons plan their procedures…at hundreds or even thousands of pounds apiece, Frame searched for a cheaper way to get the same result. His first production, a plastic bone of a patient’s arm, cost just £77…Monklands Hospital in Scotland where Frame works typically enlists a bone prototyping shop at a local university to make their models based on CT scan images. They’d put in for a model of a patient who’d fractured his arm. Because of costs they ordered a truncated portion of the bone. The sub-optimal model still cost them more than $1,200. How Frame came to find a way to make a complete model for £77 is due in no small part to his enthusiasm for “any new tech or gadgets.”…he “couldn’t fail to have noticed this upsurge in talk about 3D printing,”…as 3D printers don’t normally handle CT scan images, Frame had to find a way to convert the images into a format the printers could use…he used OsiriX, an image processing package specific for the kinds produced by imaging equipment, such as CT scanners. As OsiriX is open source software that runs on mac OS…He then used a program called MeshLab – also open source…to clean up the image and make them medical quality. Finally, this image was sent to Shapeways for printing. Seven days later the model bone arrived in the mail…Verification showed that he had indeed made an identical copy of the real bone…not only did the model prove a valuable anatomical guide, the hard plastic used to cast the model, Frame found, was great for practicing procedures with the actual drills, saws, and screws they used in operations…”

Open Source Hardware

49. Tetrafol lets you explore music with your hands for $110 http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/21/2578582/fol-chen-tetrafol-motion-instrumentMusical group Fol Chen, along with partners Monome and Machine Project, have devised the Tetrafol — a curious little handheld instrument that allows users to manipulate sound with a twist of the hands…the battery-powered wooden tetrahedron houses hardware that can detect its orientation and movements, which it uses to modify the playback of sound. The device includes compositions from Fol Chan, but users can upload their own sounds, and play them back through built-in speakers or their own external device. The Tetrafol's circuit and firmware are based on open-source hardware, and…the device itself is open-source, allowing tinkerers to jump in there and learn its secrets. You can order them now from Machine Project for $110 (excluding tax and shipping), but…they're only making a hundred…”

50. Printrbot: an inexpensive 3D printer http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/22/printrbot-a-cheap-3d-printer-for-you-and-yours/ “…Based on the RepRap platform, the Printrbot is a $499 3D printer…Designed to be built in a few hours, this Kickstarter project includes multiple levels of kit completion – $199, for example, gets you most of the parts except for the extruder while $500 gets you the whole caboodle. It is completely expandable and can build items 5 by 5 by 5 inches, although you can upgrade to 12 x 12 x 12. The goal of this project is to help put a 3D printer in every home. The creator, Brook Drumm runs Vault Multimedia and he’s a fan of open source hardware…decide which platform you’d like to pick up and then you and your entire family can give 3D printed Christmas presents this year…”

Open Source

51. Mozilla's Lightning calendar extension supports working offline http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Mozilla-s-Lightning-calendar-extension-supports-working-offline-1375515.html “…three years after version 0.9 arrived, the Mozilla Calendar Project has released version 1.0 of its Lightning calendar extension for the Thunderbird email client…Lightning 1.0 has full support for working offline…thanks to work done during the recent Google Summer of Code (GSoC)…There are still some known issues, for example, still not being able to create events which repeat on the last working day of each month or every day. Lightning 1.0 requires Thunderbird 8. Versions for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux are available…” http://www.ghacks.net/2011/11/09/a-closer-look-at-the-lightning-calendar-add-on-for-thunderbird/

52. Adobe Donates Flex to Apache http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/244060/adobe_donates_flex_to_apache.html “…Adobe has submitted the code for its Flash-based Flex framework to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) to be managed as an independent project. While the company pledged its continued support for Flex -- along with its underlying Flash technology -- Adobe also suggested that Web application developers in the future would be using HTML5 rather than Flash…Flex is an SDK (Software Development Kit) that includes a compiler and a number of libraries that can be used to build cross-platform Rich Internet Applications (RIA) that run on Adobe Flash…The ASF will now vote on whether to take on Adobe Flex…Adobe will continue to dedicate full-time engineers to further debug and develop the SDK, the company pledged…The still-developing HTML5 standard will provide many of the same multimedia capabilities that Flash now offers…Observers have speculated that Adobe's retreat from the mobile Flash platform represents the first step in deemphasizing Flash in favor of HTML5…Adobe faced a daunting task in maintaining Flash across an ever-increasing number of different platforms, as more non-Windows devices enter the marketplace. HTML5, in contrast, can work across all mobile browsers that support the standard, and will require no specific adjustments for each underlying hardware platform…”

Civilian Aerospace

53. SpaceX scouting for a new rocket launch site http://www.dailybreeze.com/business/ci_19368331Space Exploration Technologies Corp. said it is searching for a new launch site to meet increasing demand from commercial customers…the rapidly growing developer of low-cost launch vehicles said it has more than 40 missions on its manifest, with most for commercial customers. The launch backlog represents more than $3 billion in revenue through 2017…Elon Musk said…I envision this site functioning like a commercial Cape Canaveral." SpaceX is considering four states for its new commercial launch pad, including California, Virginia, Alaska and Florida - which all have active launch sites…The privately held company currently launches rockets out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX is also developing a new launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc northwest of Santa Barbara…”

54. Lunar Elevator Highlights Museum's Space-Tech Exhibit http://www.livescience.com/17075-lunar-elevator-museum-space-tech-exhibit.html “…the American Museum of Natural History will highlight…cutting-edge space technology…from a rover that looks for life on Mars to an elevator that rises into space from the moon…these technologies…are grounded in real scientific possibility," museum president Ellen Futter told media members…One of the most innovative technologies on display is…a lunar elevator. It features a skinny cable that in real life would rise thousands of miles into space from the surface of the moon, supporting cable cars that could deliver cargo to and from a docked spacecraft…The main cable would rise from the Moon’s equator more than 28,000 miles and would stay upright in space, ending in a docking station…cable cars would be fueled by solar electricity or lasers and would rise slowly to the docking station…an elevator would cut the expense of trips to the moon and would create a permanent way to transport goods from the moon to low Earth orbit…A small replica of what the private space company Bigelow Aerospace proposes to send to the moon features an expandable spacecraft module. Astronauts would leave Earth in a spaceship, dock in space with the module and bring it down to the moon…”

55. German firm starts selling space travel insurance http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/11/16/oukoe-uk-germany-space-insurance-idUKTRE7AF2EV20111116A German firm is to start offering space travel insurance…Allianz will start offering its new space travel policies from the start of next year to coincide with the launch of Virgin Galactic…So far about 450 people have reserved seats for the $200,000…trips into 'sub-orbital' space…the most basic level of insurance for such trips was likely to start at around $700 and go up to as much as $10,000…Morazin added that Allianz had sketched out around 20 different insurance packages that add medical, luggage and other forms of cover to the basic policy…”

56. Behind the scenes look at SpaceX http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/Visionary-Launchers-Employees.html “…In early 2002, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, already a multimillionaire at 30, was pursuing a grand scheme to rekindle public interest in sending humans to Mars…Musk wanted to place a small greenhouse laden with seeds and nutrient gel on the Martian surface to establish life there, if only temporarily…he’d already talked to contractors who would build it for a comparatively low cost. The problem was launching it. Unwilling to pay what U.S. rocket companies were charging, Musk made three trips to Russia to try to buy a refurbished Dnepr missile, but found deal-making in the wild west of Russian capitalism too risky financially…he recalls, “I was trying to understand why rockets were so expensive…That year, enlisting a handful of veteran space engineers, Musk formed Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, with two staggeringly ambitious goals: To make spaceflight routine and affordable, and to make humans a multi-planet species. Nine years later, SpaceX employs 1,500 people…Sometime next year, SpaceX plans to launch the first of 12 Dragons to the International Space Station, each hauling six tons of cargo, under a $1.6 billion resupply contract with NASA. More than two dozen commercial launches are also booked…by 2015, the piloted version of Dragon is expected to be ready to pick up where the space shuttle left off, carrying astronauts…a Falcon 9 launch costs an average of $57 million, which works out to less than $2,500 per pound to orbit. That’s significantly less than what other U.S. launch companies typically charge, and even the manufacturer of China’s low-cost Long March rocket…says it cannot beat SpaceX’s pricing…the company’s next rocket, the Falcon Heavy, aims to lower the cost to $1,000 per pound. And Musk insists…“Our performance will increase and our prices will decline over time…”

57. Professors present project to build lunar structures http://dailytrojan.com/2011/11/16/professors-present-project-to-build-lunar-structures/Four USC professors are working on a project that could…help build structures on the moon…The project takes Khoshnevis’ Contour Crafting device, a 3-D printer that uses cement to build structures layer by layer, and converts the structure for use on the moon. Khoshnevis began work on his Contour Crafting device in 2000, and it was named one of the top 25 inventions by the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006. The team is currently working on a prototype of the Contour Crafting Simulation Plan for Lunar Settlement Infrastructure Build-Up. Right now, the team is developing a nozzle system that would heat lunar soil into a consistent paste that could be used like cement in the terrestrial Contour Crafting device…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

58. Japan 'K Computer' on Top of TOP500 Supercomputer List http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2396361,00.aspJapan's "K Computer" remained on top of the world's top 500 list of supercomputers…the notable element of the "K" computer was the fact that it reached 10 petaflops…the first time the 10 Pflop mark had been broken…It achieved…10.51 Petaflop/s…using 705,024 SPARC64 processing cores. Aside from performance increases by the individual machines, however, the rankings remained the same. This is the first time since we began publishing the list back in 1993 that the top 10 systems showed no turnover…Intel manufactured processors for 384 or 76.8 percent of the systems, the researchers said. AMD Opterons were used in 63 systems, or 12.6 percent, followed by 49 systems that used IBM POWER chips. The "K Computer" did not use GPUs to accelerate computation, although the second- and fourth-ranked Chinese systems and the fifth-ranked Japanese Tsubame 2.0 system at used Nvidia GPUs…39 systems used GPUs (35 Nvidia chips, two Cell chips, and two from ATI…”

59. Supercomputing Conference Student Cluster Competition hardware revealed http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/14/scc_day_one/ “…hardware configurations for the 2011 SC Student Cluster Competition in Seattle have been released…the most surprising surprise: the University of Texas Longhorn team has brought the first liquid cooled system to the big dance. They’ve…put together an 11-node, 132 core, Xeon-fueled cluster that is completely immersed in a vat of mineral oil. The oil flows around the large pizza box server boards, then through a radiator where the heat is dispersed into the air via a large fan…NUDT (Team China) has brought a much more compact design that is more reliant on GPUs than any other – much like the chart-topping Tianhe supercomputer that their institution built last year. The Team China cluster uses a grand total of four Xeon processors (24 cores total) to act as traffic cop for six NVIDIA C2070 Tesla GPU accelerators…most of the teams have configured much more hardware and then throttled it to meet the 26 amp hard limit, while China seems to have configured ‘just enough’ hardware to approach the limit…”

60. Chinese researchers tap GPU supercomputer for world's first simulation of complete H1N1 virus http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-11-chinese-gpu-supercomputer-world-simulation.htmlChinese researchers achieved a major breakthrough in the race to battle influenza by using NVIDIA Tesla GPUs to create the world's first computer simulation of a whole H1N1 influenza virus at the atomic level. Researchers at the Institute of Process Engineering of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS-IPE) are using molecular-dynamics simulations as a "computational microscope" to peer into the atomic structure of the H1N1 virus. Using the Mole-8.5 GPU-accelerated supercomputer, which includes more than 2,200 NVIDIA Tesla GPUs, researchers were able to simulate the whole H1N1 influenza virus, enabling them to verify current theoretical and experimental understandings of the virus. "The Mole-8.5 GPU supercomputer is enabling us to perform scientific research that simply was not possible before," said Dr. Ying Ren…computer simulations of these systems had previously been beyond the reach of supercomputers, due to the complexity of simulating billions of particles with the right environmental conditions…researchers made the simulation breakthrough by developing a molecular dynamics simulation application that takes advantage of GPU acceleration…”

61. Microsoft Patents GPU-accelerated Window Manager http://www.tomshardware.com/news/microsoft-patent-gpu-acceleration-window-manager-windows-8,14025.htmlMicrosoft received a patent that explains a "compositing desktop window manager". The patent was…was filed about a year ago as an update to a 2007 patent…the compositing desktop window manager…would draw "the window to a buffer memory for future reference, and takes advantage of advanced graphics hardware and visual effects to render windows based on content on which they are drawn." The initial idea for such an approach dates back to a 2003 patent application and includes ideas for Windows Vista and its DWM / Aero Glass interface, which required, in comparison to Windows XP, a substantial bump in GPU horsepower…using a GPU for general purpose applications is much more popular and realistic today as many more powerful graphics chips are deployed in mainstream computing systems than was the case when Vista was launched…”


*****

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