2011/12/20

NEW NET Weekly List for 20 Dec 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 20 December 2011, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.



The ‘net
1.        Chrome 15 puts IE8 in rear-view mirror, takes No. 1 spot  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/print/9222706/Chrome_15_puts_IE8_in_rear_view_mirror_takes_No._1_spot  “Google's Chrome 15 has jumped into the number one spot, replacing Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) as the world's most popular browser edition…It was the first time that IE8 had not held the top spot since early 2010, when it replaced IE7 as the most-widely-used browser, and the first time a non-Microsoft application has led the list in StatCounter's tracking. During the last two weeks of November and the first week of December, Chrome 15 accounted for 24% of the global browser usage market, compared to IE8's 22.9%. Mozilla's Firefox 8, meanwhile, held a 14% share during that period to take third place, and IE9, Microsoft's newest version, had the fourth position with 10.4%. Overall, IE retained its aggregate lead over Chrome, with Microsoft owning 39.5% of the market those three weeks compared to Google's 26.5% and Mozilla's 25.3%. In the U.S., IE8 retained its top ranking, with 27% for the week of Dec. 5, nearly nine points higher than Chrome 15's 18.1%…”
2.       Zoho CRM Gets Google Calendar Sync, LinkedIn Integration  http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Enterprise-Applications/Zoho-CRM-Gets-Google-Calendar-Sync-LinkedIn-Integration-420090/  “…Zoho…upgraded its customer relationship management (CRM) software with Google Calendar synchronization, integration with business social network LinkedIn and other features…While Salesforce.com commands the lion's share of large CRM installations in the cloud, Zoho is the scrappy underdog…Zoho CRM enjoys 5.5 million users, spanning 25,000 business customers, most of which are in the small to medium size range…Zoho Evangelist Raju Vegnesa claimed Zoho is poaching 10 customers from Salesforce.com a day, thanks to its integration with Google Apps collaboration software and low cost compared with Salesforce.com. Zoho CRM costs $12 per user per month for the professional version…”
3.       Microsoft decides to automatically update Internet Explorer for everyone  http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-pick/microsoft-decides-to-automatically-update-internet-explorer-for-everyone-20111215/  “…Microsoft has decided that the time has come to make sure that all users of Internet Explorer are using the most current version possible. To accomplish that goal, they’re turning on automatic updates…Internet Explorer patches and new major versions are already available via Windows Update. But to move from one version to the next, it’s never been a fully automatic process. There’s a separate install window that appears for installing, say, Internet Explorer 9. For many users, the additional steps required were often enough to prevent them from installing a new version…from now on, Internet Explorer will quietly update itself just as Windows does…”
4.       Google remains default search engine in Firefox for 3 more years  http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/20/firefox-google-default-search-deal/  “Mozilla has renewed an agreement that will keep Google as the default search engine on its Firefox web browser…As part of the new three-year deal, Google will pay open-source development organization Mozilla for its default search engine placement in Firefox…Mozilla…is a non-profit organization that relies on the revenue generated from the Google default search deal. In 2010, Google contributed 84 percent of Mozilla’s $123 million total revenue…Chrome and Firefox web browsers account for about 50 percent of all browser usage in the world — meaning half of all people using a web browser encounter Google as their default search engine. Since half of that browser usage comes from Firefox, a competitor (like Microsoft’s Bing search engine) could gain lots of traction against Google Search and Chrome if it were to sign that exclusive agreement…”
Gigabit Internet
5.        Sonic seeks OK to build fiber-to-home network in San Francisco  http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20111214/BUSINESS/111219760  “Santa Rosa Internet provider Sonic.net is seeking approval to build a high-speed fiber network in San Francisco's Sunset District…The pilot project would reach 2,000 homes in the neighborhood, paving the way for a larger San Francisco rollout. Sonic now offers a similar full-Gigabit service in Sebastopol for $69.95 per month. The deal also includes phone service…”
6.       Speeding up the internet by bouncing data off the ceiling  http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/109765-speeding-up-the-internet-by-bouncing-data-off-the-ceiling  “…researchers from Intel and University of California, Santa Barbara have started bouncing 60GHz wireless signals off the ceilings of data centers to improve bandwidth between servers, and thus improving the performance of the internet at peak times…In general, the world’s internet and LAN connections are massively under-utilized. You might have a 1Gbps Ethernet connection at home, but over a 24-hour period you probably only use 0.001% of the total bandwidth. It’s the same deal in data centers…if the baseline traffic on a data center network is 1Gbps, but peaks at 10Gbps for just a few minutes at lunch time… do you wire the entire data center up with costly 10Gbps gear, or just admit that there’ll be lots of latency and packet loss at peak times? That’s the problem that Intel and Santa Barbara researchers hope to fix with short-range, rack-to-rack 60GHz wireless networks. The idea is that, at peak time, the wireless networks will switch on and provide an overflow for the wired network…transmissions in the extremely high frequency range can be obstructed by just about anything (any object larger than 2.5mm, apparently) and so line of sight is usually required. Obviously, getting line of sight between two racks is rather hard — they’re very closely packed in data centers — and so they’ve opted for the next best thing: Bouncing signals off mirrored metal plates on the ceiling…Using 3D beamforming, where the wireless aerial itself alters its angle, each server can communicate with each other…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
7.        Microsoft tells consumers to use an OS with less media-reported malware  http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/open-enterprise/2011/12/people-in-glasshouses-with-windows-shouldnt-throw-stones/index.htm  “…Windows Phone is struggling desperately in the battle against the smartphone leaders, iPhone and Android…desperate times demand desperate measures; but even so, this move by Microsoft is pretty extraordinary:  More malware on Android! bit.ly/rt7dpD Been hit? Share yr #droidrage story to win a @windowsphone upgrade. 5 best (worst?) win! That came from @BenThePCGuy, who is "Microsoft's Windows Phone (and Windows PC) Evangelist."…in its 2006 State of the Net survey, Consumer Reports projected total losses [due to malware] for U.S. consumers of US$ 7.1 billion…The total damage in 2006 was down from the estimated US$ 8.4 billion in 2005…there is a general consensus that malware cost US consumers around $7 billion per year…in the world of consumers, one platform reigns supreme: Windows…which means that Microsoft is responsible for the vast majority of that $7 billion cost to consumers…that's an annual cost: over the years we're probably talking about tens of billions of dollars of damage caused to customers by flaws in Microsoft products…Microsoft's call for "droidrage" stories on Android comes across not just as a rather feeble attempt to divert people's attention from Windows Phone's abysmal showing in the smartphone market, but also as deeply hypocritical…So how about it? Should people be tweeting their "winrage" stories every time they get a virus or a Blue Screen of Death?…”
8.       Iran hijacked US drone, says Iranian engineer  http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1215/Exclusive-Iran-hijacked-US-drone-says-Iranian-engineer  “Iran guided the CIA's "lost" stealth drone to an intact landing inside hostile territory by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the US military, according to an Iranian engineer now working on the captured drone's systems inside Iran…Using knowledge gleaned from previous downed American drones and a technique proudly claimed by Iranian commanders in September, the Iranian specialists then reconfigured the drone's GPS coordinates to make it land in Iran at what the drone thought was its actual home base in Afghanistan. "The GPS navigation is the weakest point," the Iranian engineer told the Monitor…"By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain." The “spoofing” technique that the Iranians used – which took into account precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data – made the drone “land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications” from the US control center, says the engineer…”  http://www.firstpost.com/fwire/pilot-error-may-have-caused-iran-drone-crash-158682.html  “…United States is investigating a combination of pilot error and mechanical failure as possible causes for the crash of a classified US drone in Iran and does not believe Iran brought down the plane…its operators could have crashed the plane and destroyed it if they had taken action while it was still at a higher altitude…President Barack Obama has asked Iran to return the drone, but Iranian officials say they do not plan to give it back…” http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2011-12-14/iran-drone-united-states-spy-plane/51936376/1  “The unmanned spy plane recently captured by Iran appears to be a fake, according to a former Pentagon official. The former official, who saw video footage of the drone on display in Iran, said not only is it the wrong color, but also the welds along the wing joints do not appear to conform to the stealth design that helps it avoid radar detection…”  [so which country is disseminating the most credible disinformation about the drone? – ed.] 
9.       Wyden Seeks Probe of FBI Use of Carrier IQ  http://www.ktvz.com/news/30018178/detail.html  “Following reports that the FBI may be using mobile tracking software to monitor Americans' cell phones and mobile devices without their knowledge, Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter Friday to…the Department of Justice, requesting an investigation of the alleged secret surveillance…The Kirk-Wyden letter requests that the Acting Inspector General determine…Has the FBI or any other federal law enforcement agency requested any data collected by Carrier IQ software…Has this information ever been collected or used by a federal law enforcement agency without the agency having first obtained a warrant for such information…In October, Sen. Kirk joined Sen. Wyden as a co-sponsor of the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act…The GPS Act, which would update 25 year-old data surveillance legislation, requires the government to show probable cause and obtain a warrant before acquiring the geolocational information of a U.S. person, while maintaining clear exemptions in the case of emergency or national security situations or cases of theft or fraud. The GPS Act would make it a crime for the FBI to use electronically-obtained geolocation information, such as the information Carrier IQ collects, to track a suspect without a warrant…”
10.     If Apple Wins We All Lose  http://gizmodo.com/5869598/if-apple-wins-we-all-lose  “Yesterday's news that courts had ruled against HTC in favor of Apple was a tidy little victory for Apple. But HTC is just an initial skirmish in a much larger fight. The real war is against Android, and if Apple wins that, we'll all lose…Apple should be able to protect its innovations and intellectual property. But the Cupertino Crew doesn't just want to do that; it wants to kill Android…Dead. Jobs said as much, very explicitly. There are two avenues Apple can take to achieve this victory: the marketplace and the courts. I'd be all for Apple winning fair and square in the marketplace. It's okay for consumers to decide the victor in this fight. But it's not okay for a handful of judges and lawyers to dictate the direction of technology…I'm all for seeing Apple defend its intellectual property. But Android is a healthy force in the marketplace. If Apple can destroy it there, more power to Tim Cook and company. But if Apple beats Android in the courts rather than the marketplace—if it out-segs Google instead of out-innovating it—that may be great for Apple, but it will be bad for society, bad for technology, and ultimately bad for Apple…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
11.      Skype co-founder backing free wireless provider FreedomPop  http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-16/zennstrom-said-to-plan-skype-like-wireless-with-freedompop.html  “Niklas Zennstrom…is backing a startup called FreedomPop that plans to offer free basic wireless service for laptops and smartphones…FreedomPop is already testing the service with select U.S. users and plans to introduce it next year, said the people…Customers will get a certain amount of wireless Web access for free and pay for additional services, the people said. About 10 percent of users may eventually pay fees…The effort may present a challenge for companies such as Boingo Wireless Inc., which sells Web access through Wi-Fi hotpots, and other telecommunications companies, which have relied on wireless growth to bolster revenue as traditional phone-service sales slide…”
12.     Bye Bye Netbooks: Dell Kills The Mini 10 to Focus On Ultrabooks  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/15/bye-bye-netbooks-dell-kills-the-mini-10-as-it-shifts-focus-to-thin-and-powerful/  “…netbooks…are quietly dying. The latest victim is the Dell Mini…the products are no longer listed on Dell.com…A company spokesperson confirmed…that the product line is indeed finished and Dell doesn’t have plans to release products on future Intel platforms. Instead, Dell will focus on “thin and powerful” notebooks, a not so subtle nod towards ultrabooks…Both Intel and AMD are focusing heavily on CPU platforms that allow for ultrathin notebooks. Some will be as thin as the MacBook Air, the ultrabooks, but still others will be relatively thin while not fitting within the traditional definition of an ultrabook…”
13.     AT&T merger called off; Deutsche Telekom could be forced into arms of Sprint  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/20/us-deutschetelekom-idUSTRE7BJ0LW20111220  “…AT&T said on Monday it had dropped its bid for T-Mobile USA, bowing to fierce regulatory opposition and leaving both companies scrambling for alternatives. While Deutsche Telekom is now walking away with a $6 billion breakup package, its chief executive Rene Obermann has lost a lot of time and will now have to invest in the U.S. market or find a new way to exit the country, an option analysts regard as unlikely…T-Mobile USA, a growth engine in its early days but now a run-down asset, is badly lacking in the spectrum it needs to build a network capable of handling the vast data volumes that U.S. consumers and businesses use on smartphones. Bleeding money and losing customers, it ranks fourth among U.S. carriers behind AT&T, Verizon and Sprint…”  http://www.extremetech.com/mobile/109851-deutsche-telekom-unwraps-early-christmas-present-from-att  “…Deutsche Telekom (DT) has taken the wraps off the details of the contingency clause that was built into the merger agreement should the deal fail to go through…The $3 billion that was public knowledge will be going directly towards paying down DT’s debt…the other two items in the package will be of great benefit to the company…T-Mobile will be receiving a whopping 128 markets of spectrum, 12 of which are in the top 20 in the country.These markets include top areas like Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle….this is a major windfall for the company…T-Mobile also gets a seven-year UMTS roaming agreement that will expand its customer base…”
14.     Teen mobile data usage on the rise  http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/15/teens-mobile-data/  “…The average teen now sends and receives seven messages, of the SMS or MMS variety, for every hour that she is awake…females are the worst text offenders: The young ladies are now sending and receiving 3,952 messages per month…Nielsen also found that data usage is up 256 percent from last year with the average 13- to 17-year-old teen now consuming 320 MB of data per month. Should the trend continue — and we think it will — teens will easily get up to 1 GB of data usage a month by next year…The cell phone’s primary purpose (i.e. to make calls), according to the data, is quickly becoming lost on teens. Voice usage dropped from 685 to 572 minutes in one year…”
Apps
15.     Google Launches Android Classes to Bolster App Development  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/12/android-classes/  “…Google…launched Android Training classes, an effort to boost its app developer base in both breadth and quality. “Each class explains the steps required to solve a problem, or implement a feature, with plenty of code snippets and sample code for you to use within your own apps,” wrote Android developer relations tech lead Reto Meier…all of the “lessons” are available online via Android’s Developer web site, with separate sections devoted to the nuanced challenges developers face when coding for the OS…including sections like “Developing for Enterprise,” and tutorials focused on ad-based monetization strategies for apps…these classes are especially important considering some of the Android-specific issues that programmers must deal with. Case in point: the wide variety of screen sizes that results from providing the OS to dozens of hardware manufacturers for use on all manner of devices…”  http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/12/16/the-android-team-launches-online-android-training-free-classes-with-lessons-and-sample-code-for-all/  “…to make it easier for Android developers to get started with creating robust applications, the Android team today formalized and unified various coding tutorials into one clearly defined area of the Android dev site…The tutorials, or classes, are very well put together, with splits into logical steps to make them flow well, along with sample code you can utilize to "do your homework." There is no fee for taking any of them…I counted 11 general sections with 34 distinct lessons, and this number is going to be increasing in the future. "We’re starting small and this is just the beginning for Android Training," said Reto Meier, an Android Developer Relations Tech Lead. The several classes I looked at were complete with code and accompanied by a whole array of annotated illustrations, and I believe the new site is going to be the most useful resource on the web for both beginning and seasoned developers…”
16.     'Find My Car Smart' is the First Low Energy Bluetooth App for iPhone 4S  http://www.macrumors.com/2011/12/16/find-my-car-smart-is-the-first-low-energy-bluetooth-app-for-iphone-4s/  “…Apple introduced a new version of Bluetooth…known as "Bluetooth Low Energy" or Bluetooth 4.0…Bluetooth Low Energy…promises a low-power and low-latency implementation that opens the door to a number of new kinds of Bluetooth-powered devices. The expectation is that low power Bluetooth transmitters/receivers will be able to send data to and from your iPhone without complicated setup. Possible examples included a special watch that could receive notifications, proximity detectors, health monitors…A company called FMC Smart has just launched a Kickstarter for the first Bluetooth Low Energy App and companion module for the iPhone 4S. 'Find My Car Smart' is a Bluetooth 4.0 take on tracking where you had parked your car. While a number of these applications already exist, those require the manual launching and marking of your car. Find My Car Smart works by pairing up against a Bluetooth 4.0 transmitter in your car…You…install a small USB-powered Bluetooth proximity adapter in your car, which pairs with your iPhone. This proximity adapter talks to your iPhone's Find My Car Smart App running in the background…No manual intervention is required…as a Kickstarter project, the Bluetooth dongles won't ship until they reach their funding goal, so we haven't been able to test the product…”
17.     Oscium Oscilloscope Turns iPad Into a Serious Science Tool  http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/12/oscium-imso-104-oscilloscope/  “…I have been working myself into the world of makers. I have generally focused on building electronics projects because I understand electronics and make use of that knowledge regularly in my day job but I don’t get to do much in the realm of actually designing and building electronics. There have been several times where I have been building a project and realized how useful an oscilloscope would be to look at the signals on the lines or the voltage change over time rather than the snapshot offered by my trusty digital voltmeter. I recently had the opportunity to review an oscilloscope that was just what this maker needed…if you don’t know what an oscilloscope is or what it does, check out this video from Make featuring Collin Cunningham. He does a great job of taking you through the basics of an oscilloscope…Enter Oscium and their iMSO-104 oscilloscope. What makes this scope so different? It is a very small module, smaller than the Arduino Uno sitting next to it on my desk, that plugs into your iOS device and your iOS device handles all of the display and heavy duty work for the oscilloscope…Let me start out by stating that this doesn’t actually compare to the high-end models as far as sampling and bandwidth. You won’t use the iMSO-104 for extremely high-speed, GHz-frequency signal applications. Honestly, for home maker use, I don’t see this being an issue for a long time…” [discussion on the DHMN mailing list pointed to limited functionality of smartphone oscilloscope apps; it was recommended on the list that a true oscilloscope would give much more valuable data if that data is needed for a scientific or engineering purpose – ed.]
SkyNet
18.     Silicon Valley Library Lends Google Chromebooks  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2011/12/chromebook-library/  “…the Palo Alto, California Library will soon be loaning Google Chromebook computers to library patrons for as long as one week at a time…With the Chromebook, most all data and applications reside on the Web — not the local machine — so it can easily be passed from person-to-person. It’s a very Googly setup, and the search giant hopes it will reinvent the way businesses use computers…a few months ago, Google got in touch with the library and asked if they’d like to start lending out Chromebooks…After testing 21 of the Google devices for a month, the library has decided to make them available for one-week loans…Google introduced the Chromebook a year ago, and it has been struggling since then to elevate them out of the curiosity category. It’s light, the battery lasts a long time, it boots up in seconds, and it’s great for surfing the Web…“We’re not selling a device, we’re selling this new paradigm of web-based computing,” Google’s Rajen Sheth said last week at a conference in San Francisco. “You can do everything in the browser. The browser itself can actually be your desktop…”
19.     Google gets patent on driverless car tech  http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57343805-76/look-ma-no-hands-google-lands-patent-for-robot-car/  “Google has added one more thing to the list of things it can do over the Web: tell a car where to drive. The Internet giant earlier this week was granted a patent for a method of controlling an autonomous vehicle. Specifically, it details how a vehicle can transition from being human-driven to autonomous mode. A car could, for example, drive to a specific location and based on a visual indicator on a "landing strip," such as a bar code or radio tag, the car would then transition to autonomous operation. One could imagine, for example, bringing a car to a roadway dedicated to autonomous vehicles where the transition would take place…Engineers have equipped Toyota Priuses with sensors and communications that send large amounts of data back to Google's data centers to analyze and make driving decisions. In 2010, Thrun said it had logged over 140,000 autonomous miles…”
20.    RIAA Scolds Google, Wants Search Algorithm Changed To Fight Online Piracy  http://searchengineland.com/riaa-scolds-google-about-piracy-105254  “Saying that Google has a “special responsibility” to fight copyright infringement, the RIAA…spends most of its five-page report scolding Google for coming up short…One of the specific problems that the RIAA cites is search terms that encourage copyright infringement continuing to show up in Google’s Autocomplete search suggestions. The report card mentions a search for “lady gaga mp3,” which includes terms that “lead to illegal sites,” according to the RIAA…Among several requests, the RIAA wants Google to change its search algorithm to favor sites that offer content legally…”
21.     Google's project Majel gets more interesting by the day  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19736_7-57343849-251/googles-project-majel-gets-more-interesting-by-the-day/  “…there are plenty of apps vying for the "Android version of Siri," but none of them are as quite as well-rounded as the iOS app…rumors of a "Majel" project began picking up steam…it appears that Google is wasting no time in bringing about a rebuttal…A second, anonymous Google employee indicates that over the last few years Google X's focus has been based around a super smart AI robot that leverages the tech behind a number of popular Google programs. Described as being 'the most amazing thing" he'd ever seen, the AI had passed the Turing Test 93 percent of the time over the course of an hour long IM-like conversation…”
General Technology
22.    How a chain of tea shops kickstarted the computer age  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8879727/How-a-chain-of-tea-shops-kickstarted-the-computer-age.html  “A British company stands on the cusp of a technological breakthrough that will change the way the entire world operates. The idea is worth countless hundreds of billions of pounds and is years ahead of similar efforts in America and elsewhere. The year, alas, is not 2011, but 1951…the Science Museum tomorrow will celebrate the 60th birthday of LEO, the world’s first business computer, which crunched its first numbers on November 17, 1951…LEO was created by J Lyons and Co, operator of tea shops, manufacturer of biscuits and founder of the Wimpy burger chain. Lyons…had a longstanding culture of technological innovation…“For Lyons to look at computers was not a strange thing. They were always very self-reliant and self-confident.” LEO - Lyons Electronic Office - occupied 5,000 square feet at the firm’s headquarters at Cadby Hall in Hammersmith. Its first task, and the world’s first business computing application, was to calculate the costs of Lyons’ weekly bakery distribution run…two years later the machine was trusted enough to tackle the even more important job of calculating Lyons’ payroll…“It probably saved the teashops from going under for a while,” says Frank Land…The firm agreed to donate £3,000 to EDSAC, an ongoing effort at the University of Cambridge to build the first computer capable of running stored software. Once Lyons had proof that EDSAC worked in 1949, it began work on its own computer in earnest…after the LEO team was spun off to build computers for other companies, and then merged with the rest of the electronic industry by the Wilson government during the 1960s, the early lead British business had taken in the information revolution was lost…LEO’s 60th birthday is to be celebrated…thanks to an American company. Tomorrow’s event is supported by Google, whose chairman Eric Schmidt highlighted the LEO story in a speech…”
23.    Trillion-Frame-Per-Second Video  http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/trillion-fps-camera-1213.html   “MIT researchers have created a new imaging system that can acquire visual data at a rate of one trillion exposures per second. That’s fast enough to produce a slow-motion video of a burst of light traveling the length of a one-liter bottle, bouncing off the cap and reflecting back to the bottle’s bottom… “There’s nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera,” he says. The system relies on a recent technology called a streak camera…The aperture of the streak camera is a narrow slit. Particles of light — photons — enter the camera through the slit and are converted into electrons…The image produced by the camera is thus two-dimensional, but only one of the dimensions — the one corresponding to the direction of the slit — is spatial. The other dimension, corresponding to the degree of deflection, is time. The image thus represents the time of arrival of photons passing through a one-dimensional slice of space…”
24.    Ars Technica system guide: December 2011  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/guides/2011/12/ars-technica-system-guide-december-2011.ars  “…System Guide Basics…traditional Budget Box ($), Hot Rod ($$), and God Box ($$$$$) builds address three different price points. These are all general-purpose systems with a strong gaming focus, which means you won't find any office boxes or bargain-basement machines here. The low end of the scale, the Budget Box, is still a capable gaming machine despite its reasonable price tag ($600-$800). The Hot Rod represents what we think is a reasonable higher-end general-purpose computer that packs plenty of gaming performance, although we've adjusted the price tag a few times recently, from $1400-1600 down to $1200-1400... and now, perhaps back up to the old point to reflect new capabilities and jumps in performance. The God Box remains closest to unchanged from previous incarnations, a very capable starting point for a high-end workstation…Each box comes with a full set of recommendations, down to mouse, keyboard, and speakers. As these are general-purpose boxes, we skip things like game controllers and $100 gaming mice…We also discuss alternative configurations and upgrades; today's guide reflects the appearance of affordable SSDs and the recent spike in hard disk prices, the video card battle between AMD and Nvidia, and the plethora of monitor choices if you have a little more money to spend…”
25.    Car service Uber launches in D.C.  http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/15/uber/  “Car service Uber…debuts in Washington D.C. today…and will continue at a pace of two cities a month in 2012…Uber is an on-demand car service that lets customers request town car sedans that show up within 10 minutes…taxicab unions…lobby for burdensome medallion regimes or other regulations that lead to a massive undersupply of cabs…for some cities, there’s a shortage of taxicabs by a factor of about five or six times…Uber…now operates in seven cities…It takes advantage of GPS, increasing smartphone use, easier mobile payments, sophisticated demand-prediction algorithms and efficient, numbers-driven dispatch operations…The promise of using math and technology to make the marketplace between drivers and riders efficient and convenient is exactly the type of startup investment the top tier of venture firms is looking for…”
26.    Butanol from Wood Biomas  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111219102226.htm  “A method developed at Aalto University in Finland makes it possible to use microbes to produce butanol suitable for biofuel and other industrial chemicals from wood biomass. Butanol is particularly suited as a transport fuel because it is not water soluble and has higher energy content than ethanol…When wood biomass is boiled in a mixture of water, alcohol and sulphur dioxide, all parts of the wood -- cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin -- are separated into clean fractions. The cellulose can be used to make paper, nanocellulose or other products, while the hemicellulose is efficient microbe raw material for chemical production. Thus…no parts of the wood sugar are wasted…A clear benefit of butanol is that a significantly large percentage -- more than 20 per cent of butanol, can be added to fuel without having to make any changes to existing combustion engines…Estimates indicate that combining a butanol and pulp plant into a modern biorefinery would provide significant synergy benefits in terms of energy use and biofuel production…”
Leisure & Entertainment
27.    Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera  http://www.slashgear.com/throwable-panoramic-ball-camera-details-released-still-seeks-investors-15202562/  “…the next generation in image capturing…Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera…is a ball that has a diameter of 19.3cm…As for how the camera actually works, the most basic way to explain it is that upon tossing the ball into the air, the microcontroller inside the device processes data that comes from the accelerometer, finding the highest point the ball will reach, snapping its collection of photos there…you’ll end up getting a photo right at the top of your ball’s toss, and up there the photos are each taken individually (all at the same time) by the array of cameras around the ball…”
28.    An Introduction To the MMO 'Doctor Who: Worlds In Time'  http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2011/12/20/an-introduction-to-the-mmo-doctor-who-worlds-in-time/  “The free-to-play MMO is coming to PCs in March and we've got all kinds of information about how you'll be helping the Doctor in his latest adventure. As a property, Doctor Who kind of seems like a no-brainer for the video game treatment: expansive fiction in a pretty open universe, all manner of improbable sci-fi technology featuring deadly, exotic alien enemies across time. But then, you realize that the concept might be a tougher nut to crack than you initially thought: the Doctor's whole thing, for the most part, is his way of coming up with pretty non-violent solutions to intergalactic, cross-time menaces…” The Massive Global Growth Of Freemium Gaming  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/15/new-data-from-pando-offers-a-glimpse-into-the-massive-global-growth-of-freemium-gaming/  “…Yes, the stories in the media of late have been all about Rovio’s Angry Birds skyrocketing past half a billion downloads, or Zynga and its ilk overtaking social games. Both casual and social games have been growing like gangbusters, but the latest data from Pando Networks reveals some fairly serious growth in the free-to-play gaming industry across the globe. Free-to-play games, just another way of saying “freemium games” are, to clear up any confusion, any game that is free to download and monetized by in-game purchases. Today, in mobile and web apps (and really the consumer web), we are seeing the coming of age of the freemium model and, as a result, advertisers and developers are being forced to find new ways to create revenue and monetize their games, whether that be by way of mobile advertising, virtual goods, avatars, in-game rewards, or incentivized installs…free-to play massively-multiplayer-online (MMO) games…are growing exponentially, right alongside their casual and social game bretheren….data shows that the number of gamers downloading free games has grown 450 percent from 2009 to 2011, as more than 38 million people will download an online game using Pando in 2011…this hockey-stick growth has resulted from an industry-wide transition from a paid to freemium model, as can be seen in online gaming by the likes of both Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online and WoW, which have both taken to the land of the free — along with newer, popular games like League of Legends…”
29.    For the First Time, TV's Biggest Live Event Will Be Streamed to Your Phone  http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/superbowl_streamed_live.php  “…One of the biggest deal killers for would-be "cord cutters,"…has always been live sports. If you're a huge football fan, for example, there's no way around it: you need TV the old fashioned way…but watching the year's biggest sporting event via the Internet just got a whole lot easier. The Super Bowl, which is the most-watched television broadcast in the United States, will be streamed live to computers and smartphones…NBC and the NFL will both stream a high-definition quality broadcast of the game online with alternative camera angles, DVR-style controls…In addition to being accessible on the desktop Web, the stream will be available via Verizon's NFL Mobile app…It's not the first sporting event to be streamed live, but its certainly the biggest…The Super Bowl attracts over 100 million viewers, most of whom will have no problem sitting around the television set per usual to watch the game…making it available online will expand the audience and may even offer the networks some interesting viewership statistics and a few takeaways about the future of television…”
Economy and Technology
30.    Dr. James Truchard's Quest For Endless Innovation  http://www.fastcompany.com/1783494/innovation-agents-dr-james-truchard-co-founder-and-ceo-national-instruments  “…National Instruments…produces software and hardware test and measurement equipment that brings almost every technology you know about…to market faster, cheaper, and better. Dr. T cofounded the technology giant out of his garage more than 35 years with a $10,000 loan. From there he helmed the development of one of the company’s crowning achievements, LabVIEW. The programming environment is currently used by millions of engineers and scientists to develop measurement, test, and control systems using graphic icons and wires that resemble a flowchart. But it’s intuitive enough for a kid to use it…NI joined with The Lego Group in 1998 to collaborate on the programming software for the original Lego Mindstorms product. This collaboration has allowed an estimated 200,000 students to get hands-on robotics software experience with same technology used by professional engineers…"We try to create a work environment that is fun for employees and really work hard at that long-term stability."…As the economy took a nosedive, Dr. T continued to support the idea of investing in staff and research. No one was laid off and the company spends about $200 million a year in R&D. We use a 10-year timeline,” he explains, "So we have a clear path to proceed…Though he started the company simply to create the job he wanted and to have autonomy, Dr. T confesses he’s…hands on in innovation side and heavily involved in products…he still sits in a cubicle to encourage a collaborative environment…he points to tweaking LabVIEW’s open program to make commercial space flight viable…SpaceX, the U.S.-based space technology company founded by Elon Musk, a cofounder of PayPal, has already launched the first commercial rocket to orbit the earth. SpaceX uses LabVIEW systems that control launchpad equipment and command and monitor Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles and its Dragon spacecraft…”
31.     Zynga IPO brings in a billion  http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/12/20/why-zynga-may-not-be-as-bad-off-as-it-seems/  “…Zynga…stock debuted Friday at $10 a share, valuing the company at a relatively modest $7 billion. After popping above $11 a share for a few promising moments, the stock quickly sunk to $9.50 Friday and fell as low as $8.75 Monday. At that low point, Zynga's market value was $6.1 billion, a bit below LinkedIn's (LNKD) $6.3 billion market cap…Just as quickly, Zynga went from IPO hero to dog, with stories describing how its "dud" offering "fizzled." Much of that analysis overlooked a crucial detail that says less about Zynga's financials than it does about the backroom culture of IPO deals. Zynga always wanted to raise $1 billion in this offering. But to do that, as Reuters pointed out, it chose to forego the 15% discount that underwriters often give to IPO investors, a discount that virtually guarantees that first-day pop…”
32.    Nuance Acquires Vlingo  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/20/after-years-of-patent-litigation-nuance-acquires-vlingo/  “In what Vlingo CEO Dave Grannan calls a ‘good outcome’…the voice-to-text technology company has just been acquired by speech recognition king Nuance…Nuance has repeatedly sued Vlingo over patent infringement – and tried to acquire them…Vlingo even bought patents and eventually countersued Nuance to fend them off…Vlingo has been likened by some as a ‘Siri for Android’, offering voice-enabled Virtual Assistant apps for a wide range of mobile devices (not just Android phones but also Nokia, iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Phone handsets) that turn spoken words into a variety of actions…”
DHMN Technology
33.    NASA Looks to 3D Printing for Spare Space-Station Parts  http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/3d-printer-space-station-factory-2414/  “Launch $1-billion-worth of spare parts to the International Space Station, and you can keep Earth's orbital outpost going for another decade. Send up some 3D-printing devices, and you invest in the ability to build everything on demand in space…A first step toward space factories may come from NASA's recent selection of a U.S. startup's proposal to build a 3D printer for the space station…Astronauts would only need "feedstock" material, such as plastic or metal, to make new tools or spare parts on the fly…Made in Space came out of Singularity University — a school for startups aimed at solving the world's biggest problems…The founders estimate that printing parts in space could reduce the structural mass of objects by at least 30 percent, because the objects would not need to survive Earth's gravity or the extreme G-forces of launching into orbit aboard a rocket…First, the company must create a 3D printer that works well in the seemingly weightless conditions of space…They plan to focus on an extrusion printer capable of building objects out of plastic polymers, but say that the printer could still make a huge number of the space station's $1-billion-worth of spare parts…one-third of those parts could be built using the machine we're building right now," Dunn explained…The company's Small Business Innovative Research proposal — submitted with Arkyd Astronautics, Inc. and NanoRacks, LLC — makes the project eligible to receive up to $125,000 in NASA funding sometime next year…”
34.    U.K. police to trial laser guns; temporarily blinds as deterrent  http://dvice.com/archives/2011/12/uk-police-to-tr.php  “…U.K…police forces…plan to trial a laser weapon that would cast a ten-foot wall of light that briefly blinds those caught in its path at a distance of 1,600 feet. Conceived by a Royal Marine Commando as a way to combat Somali pirates, it is hoped to be an effective alternative to cumbersome and imprecise water cannons or limited range tasers and CS gas in urban settings…it is believed the laser weapon is not only more portable but can deliver more precision in arresting protest…Photonic Security Systems, which produces the laser weapon, sums up the simplicity behind the idea: "The system would give police an intimidating visual deterrent. If you can't look at something, you can't attack it." There are some concerns. One U.K. citizen has taken to the web pointing out the U.K. is a signatory to the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons…Reports indicate there will be further tests to determine if there are any long-term risks, outside of the temporary blindness…”
35.    Google augmented reality glasses   http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_cloud_glasses_could_come_soon_what_would_th.php  “…Google Glasses…may be an option soon, if a reliable report today that the company is in "late prototype stages" on just such a product, proves accurate…what would fashionable cloud (connected) glasses really mean? How might they change what it means to be human and to live in this world?...they certainly could have a deep impact for those who wear them - and possibly for those who are seen through them as well…Weintraub asserts…[Google is] "in late prototype stages of wearable glasses that look similar to thick-rimmed glasses that 'normal people' wear. However, these provide a display with a heads up computer interface. There are a few buttons on the arms of the glasses, but otherwise, they could be mistaken for normal glasses…According to our source, it communicates directly with the Cloud over IP"...We do not have a release date for this new device, but we know that Google Co-founder Sergey Brin is closely associated with the project and it will be Google-branded hardware." From battery power to proper contextual understanding of a user's location to price to form factor - there are a lot of problems that Google is going to have to solve beyond the imagery and signal reception. Cellular devices are now so small and so cheap that connectivity is probably one of the easier problems the secret team is working on…”
36.    SpaceX selling model rockets  http://rocketry.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/will-spacex-be-selling-model-rockets/  “…SpaceX will enter the world of model rockets pretty soon? A 18mm model version of its Falcon9 with Dragon spacecraft is listed at Amazon.com…Now you can build and fly your own 1:88 scale model of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft. With molded nose and tail…the finished model stands…22.8 in tall…The kit includes molded transparent fins for flight, which can be removed for display. Dual parachutes return the Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft separately to Earth…Model rocket engines (recommended A8-3, B6-4, C6-5)…Designed by SpaceX, and tooled and manufactured in California…”
Open Source Hardware
37.    Grid Beam – Erector Sets for Big Kids  http://www.green-trust.org/wordpress/2011/11/14/grid-beam-erector-sets-for-big-kids/  “…Grid Beam is a modular system for building all kinds of things. From go carts to bunk beds, it’s an open source construction set. It’s simple to build with, so kids of all ages can enjoy building life size projects. It’s just as easy to take apart, and rebuild, or build something else…grid beam is a real building system, not a toy (although children do enjoy it and can build their own play structures to boot!). With it, ordinary people can create strong durable, real-world projects ranging from furniture and sheds to vehicles, full-sized buildings, and industrial equipment. Key to grid beam technology is flexibility and reusability…”
38.    Meet the MeeBlip micro: Small, Hackable Project Synth  http://meeblip.noisepages.com/2011/12/13/meet-the-meeblip-micro-small-hackable-project-synth/  “…the MeeBlip micro fits the brains of the MeeBlip into a smaller, project-ready space – all for just US$39.95. The MeeBlip micro kit requires assembly: you get a full board and all the parts you need, but you’ll have to solder them in place. Once you do, you get all of the features of the MeeBlip without the knobs and switches. That includes the 9V power connection (for a wall adapter or battery), MIDI input jack (for connecting keyboards and the like), 16-bit, hackable sound engine, and audio output. And you get all the goodness of the MeeBlip, with two-oscillator, virtual analog direct digital synthesis, LFO, 4-pole digital filter…like the MeeBlip, it’s all fully open source, and you can easily modify the firmware to suit your needs…In place of the knobs and switches, you’ll find 8 analog inputs and 8 digital inputs…You’ll want a MeeBlip micro if you want…A great synth for a DIY project or installation. You don’t have to stop with knobs and switches. You could add IR distance sensors or knit an entire front panel out of conductive thread, for instance. Like the Arduino, the MeeBlip is at its heart a little computer with open-ended inputs; whereas the Arduino is a general-purpose board, the MeeBlip is uniquely suited to projects that want to add sound…”
39.    Open source hardware licenses  http://www.tablix.org/~avian/blog/archives/2011/12/open_source_hardware_licenses/  “…software licenses like the GNU General Public License, BSD license and a small handful of others have seen such wide use that they became de-facto standards when it comes to releasing code to the public…The situation is somewhat more complicated in the field of hardware. Hardware mostly falls outside of copyright law that makes software licenses possible…generally imposing restrictions on manufacturing and distribution of physical objects falls under the domain of patent and trademark law. While in most countries the author of a creative work is automatically granted copyright free of charge, patents and trademarks that would allow you to set any specific rules for use of your design documents are neither automatic nor cheap…practically all popular open hardware projects ignore this issue and simply apply either a software license like GPL or a Creative Commons license to their design documentation: for instance, RepRap decided on GPL, while Arduino uses Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike for their board designs. This doesn't always have the desired effect though…There are attempts to address this issue. First of all, there is now a draft of the Open Source Hardware Definition…There are also several license texts that attempt to focus specifically on hardware projects. Ones that appear the most complete and widely used are the TAPR Open Hardware License…and the recently released CERN Open Hardware LicenseBoth of these…contain some terms that might be surprising for anyone used to software licenses…TAPR has even more terms that limit its scalability…Modifiability of the hardware design files is arguably less important than having source for a binary computer program…but if you want to have a lively community around your open hardware project, I think keeping designs easily modifiable is a must…CERN license shows the most promise of addressing these issues…they already have a list of issues to be addressed with the next version that more or less covers all of my concerns…In the mean time, I'll probably stick to GPL or Creative Commons for my projects involving hardware…”
Open Source
40.    ICTP: Open science, open source  http://www.ictp.it/news/open-source.aspx  “An isolated village in South Africa is looking to the sun to help power its homes, and ICTP workshop participant Agboola Teru will help it make the solar connection, thanks to skills he has acquired through the Second Workshop on Open Source and the Internet for Building Global Scientific Communities, held 28 November to 16 December in Trieste…He explained that his institute's effort to assist in providing solar power to homes is the main driver behind his interest in the workshop. "We want to create our own control panels, rather than ordering them from Germany or China, which could take 6 months or longer to deliver to South Africa…Teru is one of thousands of scientists from the developing world who have benefited from ICTP's series of workshops devoted to no-cost or low-cost microprocessor applications in physics. Now in its 30th incarnation, the series' key focus on "open source" remains the one constant theme running throughout its history in a field that is rapidly changing, according to Abhaya Induruwa, a director of this year's workshop who has been involved in the series since 1985…This year's workshop is organised and run by a group comprising academics, researchers and entrepreneurs from developed (Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland) as well as developing countries (Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Ukraine)…From exposing physicists to the power of microprocessors in 1981--when personal computing was in its infancy--to offering instruction on mobile and wireless networks, the workshop's ability to evolve with the times makes it invaluable to scientists who are looking for affordable, easy-to adapt ways to harness technology for science…One possible future focus is the use of mobile technology in collecting and disseminating data…Right now we can buy open source devices made in China for under $30," he said…this year's workshop offers a wide array of topics for participants, with lectures on everything from open source operating systems and software to low-cost hardware configurations…the workshop covers all aspects of building a scientific community, starting with data acquisition using low-cost hardware; data storage in open-source databases; data analysis; and dissemination over the Internet using Web Services, a technology that allows computer-to-computer communication without any human intervention…”
41.     OwnCloud: An open-source cloud to call your own  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/owncloud-an-open-source-cloud-to-call-your-own/10011  “…many of [us] aren’t crazy about the fact that our files, music, and whatever are sitting on someone else’s servers without our control. That’s where ownCloud comes in. OwnCloud is an open-source cloud program. You use it to set up your own cloud server for file-sharing, music-streaming, and calendar, contact, and bookmark sharing project. As a server program it’s not that easy to set up…OwnCloud offers the ease-of-use and cost effectiveness of Dropbox and box.net with a more secure, better managed offering that, because it’s open source, offers greater flexibility and no vendor lock in. This makes it perfect for business use…It also provides a platform to easily view and sync contacts, calendars and bookmarks across all devices and enables basic editing right on the Web…OwnCloud is going to become an easy to run and use personal, private cloud thanks to a new commercial company that’s going to take ownCloud from interesting open-source project to end-user friendly program…”
Civilian Aerospace
42.    Rutan, Allen and Musk to build world’s largest aircraft and air-launched space rocket system  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203518404577096493595261190.html  “Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen indicated he is prepared to commit $200 million or more of his wealth to build the world's largest airplane as a mobile platform for launching satellites at low cost, which he believes could transform the space industry…the novel, high-risk project conceived by renowned aerospace designer Burt Rutan seeks to combine engines, landing gears and other parts removed from old Boeing 747 jets with a newly created composite craft from Mr. Rutan and a powerful rocket to be built by a company run by Internet billionaire and commercial-space pioneer Elon Musk. Dubbed Stratolaunch and funded by one of Mr. Allen's closely held entities, the venture seeks to meld decades-old airplane technology with cutting-edge booster-rocket designs in an unprecedented way to assemble a hybrid that would offer the first totally privately funded space transportation system…It envisions a behemoth mother ship with twin, narrow fuselages, featuring six Boeing Co. 747 engines attached to a record 385-foot wingspan, plus a smaller rocket pod nestled underneath…the wings would be more than 120 feet longer than those of the Airbus A380. Flying at roughly 30,000 feet, the craft would climb sharply just as it released the rocket, which would use a cluster of four or five engines to boost itself into orbit…Unlike conventional rockets that blast off from a pad, air-launched systems…are designed to deliver a broad range of satellites to space without the constraints of weather or optimal times and locations to try to reach specific orbits…”
43.    Watch Armadillo Aerospace’s Stiga rocket reach 137,500 feet  http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/watch-armadillo-aerospaces-stiga-rocket-reach-137500-feet-20111218/  “…as well as developing some of the best game engines in the world, and helping to create games in the Doom, Quake, and most recently Rage series, John Carmack has an interest in rockets and spacecraft. Carmack’s space-focused company is called Armadillo Aerospace, and earlier this month it carried out a test launch of a reusable suborbital rocket called Stiga. Luckily for us, they decided to attach a camera to the rocket before it took off, meaning we get a great view of the entire flight…this rocket managed to reach a height of 140,000 feet and has been classed as a successful test…it looks as though it only took the rocket 2 minutes and 40 seconds to reach a height of 137,500 feet, or 41.91km. After that, the parachute deploys and the rocket slowly floats back to Earth. It lands just 2 miles from the launch site and was seen by the team immediately…”
44.    DARPA Maps Out Air-Launch Plans  http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&newspaperUserId=27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3abe5304f4-1881-4067-b2e8-ef38541a0e77&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest  “While Paul Allen and Burt Rutan plan to air-launch Elon Musk's Falcon 9 booster from a six-engined, 385ft-span mothership, DARPA is looking at the other end of the scale with its new Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program. This aims to air-launch 100lb satellites into low Earth orbit from an essentially unmodified aircraft, such as a business jet. The objective is to reduce the cost of launching small satellites at least three-fold, to less than $10,000/lb - or a total including range costs of less than $1 million to launch a 100lb payload. The belief is that, as a launch platform, an aircraft will provide higher performance, more frequent flights and greater flexibility in launch site and orbit…A DARPA/NASA horizontal launch study preceding ALASA calculated an air-launched version of SpaceX's Falcon 1 would have a 25% greater LEO payload than the basic ground-launched booster, increasing to almost 60% with the addition of a "high-expansion" altitude nozzle…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
45.    Minnesota Supercomputing Institute Installs GPU Cluster  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-12-13/minnesota_supercomputing_institute_installs_gpu_cluster.html  “The Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) has installed a new graphics processing unit (GPU) system that it hopes will enable researchers to take advantage of this new technology for innovation…This new system complements MSI's current set of GPU tutorial nodes (four nodes with four NVIDIA GTX480 GPUs) and the S2050 GPUs available to NIH researchers on the Koronis system. The new system includes a Dell R710 dual-socket, quad-core head/login node in a C6100 chassis, with 48 GB of memory; eight Dell compute nodes, each with dual X5675 six-core 3.06 GHz processors and 96 GB of memory; and 32 NVIDIA M2070 GPUs…each GPU is capable of 1.2 single-precision TFLOPS and 0.5 double-precision TFLOPs…”
46.    GPGPU Accelerators in CPU Sockets Make No Sense  http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/other/display/20111211180811_AMD_GPGPU_Accelerators_in_CPU_Sockets_Make_No_Sense.html  “Advanced Micro Devices said that making special-purpose GPU-based accelerators compatible with CPU sockets makes no sense. The approach proposed by AMD is vastly different from the one that is allegedly offered by its arch-rival, Intel Corp., which recently demonstrated its Knights Corner accelerator in an LGA form-factor that is used for microprocessors…AMD once - in the early 2000s - proposed a solution that allowed special-purpose accelerators to be installed into the same sockets as AMD Opteron microprocessors for servers…Intel, based on certain assumptions, wants its Knights Ferry highly-parallel accelerator to be installed into sockets for Xeon server chips. While graphics processing units (GPUs) provide extremely high theoretical compute performance, their speed is limited by a number of factors. The main factor is software that is not efficient enough to take all the advantage that the GPU has to offer and also cannot use features already available in x86 microprocessors; another factor is PCI Express that connects CPUs and GPUs and has bandwidth and latency limitations…”
47.    NVIDIA Opens Up CUDA Compiler  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-12-13/nvidia_opens_up_cuda_compiler.html  “GPU maker NVIDIA is going to make its CUDA compiler runtime source code…public, opening up the technology for different programming languages and processor architectures…it will use the LLVM compiler infrastructure as the vehicle for the public CUDA source code. LLVM is a open source project that maintains source code collections of various of compile, runtimes, and other development tools…The CUDA open source set-up does not, however, mean NVIDIA will arbitrarily accept changes and enhancements to its compiler technology from other developers. The company still intends to retain complete control of its source code.  Tool developers will be able to modify the standard compiler and runtime for their own customized needs, but little of this is likely to be folded back into NVIDIA's code…The main idea is to allow software tool makers to port the CUDA compiler to other environments that NVIDIA or its commercial partners are not interested in pursuing on their own…there are already compilers for C, C++, and Fortran, which are the big three for high performance computing. But as the market for GPU computing expands, NVIDIA foresees the need for other languages such as Python or Java…”
48.    Emerging Companies Ride Wave of GPU Computing  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-12-15/emerging_companies_ride_wave_of_gpu_computing.html  “During the NVIDIA’s GTC Asia event this week in Beijing, the company put a set of emerging companies under the spotlight to showcase their use of innovative high performance computing and GPU-driven technologies…as they reflect…a wider set of markets and…emerging industries that straddle the borders of traditional HPC or offer new capabilities to existing HPC industries…At the top of the summit list…was a company that has relatively deep roots in HPC verticals, particularly in oil and gas…Acceleware is not a one-trick pony when it comes to HPC. In addition to offering CUDA and OpenCL training, GPU cluster solutions (with NVIDIA GPUs), and general consulting for the core industries they serve…many of NVIDIA’s other choices catered directly to the rendering and video-driven end of their GPU business…ZANQI Technology Development Co. Ltd, which provides a 3D internet-based and GPU-boosted rendering software as a service offering and GPU code transplanting service as well as video delivery company QIYI tap into the emerging markets driven forth by the convergence of mobile and cloud…GeoMagic…provides 3D software for reverse engineering digital models out of physical objects for the likes of Ford, Harley Davidson, Fisher Price and a number of other household name product manufacturers across the automotive, aerospace, medical device and entertainment markets…Ubitus…enables rich media across almost all types of devices with emphasis on high definition video delivery across several platforms…”

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