NEW NET Weekly List for 27 Dec 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 27 December 2011, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N. Westhill Blvd., Appleton, WI, USA, near Woodman's. Ignore the chain if it's across the stairs; come on up and join the tech fun!

The ‘net
1.        MIT launching certificate program based on OpenCourseWare  http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/mitx-education-initiative-1219.html  “…MITx will offer a portfolio of MIT courses through an online interactive learning platform that will…feature interactivity, online laboratories and student-to-student communication…allow for the individual assessment of any student’s work and allow students who demonstrate their mastery of subjects to earn a certificate of completion awarded by MITx…MIT expects that this learning platform will enhance the educational experience of its on-campus students…MIT also expects that MITx will eventually host a virtual community of millions of learners around the world…interactive MIT courses online…builds upon MIT’s OpenCourseWare, a free online publication of nearly all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate course materials…OCW will continue to share course materials from across the MIT curriculum, free of charge. MIT will make the MITx open learning software available free of cost, so that others — whether other universities or different educational institutions, such as K-12 school systems — can leverage the same software for their online education offerings…”
2.       Priceonomics Tells You How Much To Pay For Any Used Product  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/22/priceonomics/  “You want the best price on things you buy second hand, but finding out how much you should pay is a hassle. Removing this friction from a lucrative part of the purchase funnel is the goal of Priceonomics. The first startup out of the winter 2012 Y Combinator batch, Priceonomics has crawled the web to compile its next-generation price guide. It launches today featuring 10 million prices on 50,000 products, and plans to expand across verticals soon…”
3.       FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington  http://www.dailywireless.org/2011/12/22/fcc-authorizes-white-space-service-in/  “The Federal Communications Commission today approved Spectrum Bridge (pdf) as the first database administrator of unused (“white space”) frequencies in the United States and certified Koos Technical Services (KTS) as the first equipment provider. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, “With today’s approval of the first TV white spaces database and device, we are taking an important step towards enabling a new wave of wireless innovation…Commission rules require that unlicensed TV band devices contact an authorized database system to obtain a list of channels that are available for their operation (i.e., channels not occupied by authorized radio services) at their individual locations and must operate only on those channels…The first official White Space test deployment will be in Wilmington, North Carolina. That city was also the first digital television “transition” market, some three years ago…”
4.       Average web page approaches 1 MB  http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/12/22/2015231/average-web-page-approaches-1mb  “…the average size of a single web page is now 965 kilobytes, up more than 30% from last year's average of 702KB. This rapid growth is fairly normal for the internet — the average web page was 14KB in 1995, 93KB by 2003, and 300KB in 2008…Between 2010 and 2011, the average amount of Flash content downloaded stayed exactly the same — 90KB — but JavaScript experienced massive growth from 113KB to 172KB. The amount of HTML, CSS, and images on websites also showed a significant increase year over year…these trends are attributable to the death throes of Flash and emergence of HTML5…”
5.        Tencent vs. Sina: The Fight for China’s Social Graph  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/22/tencent-vs-sina-the-fight-for-chinas-social-graph/  “…If Facebook is the world’s social graph, then QQ (Tencent’s instant messenger) is China’s social graph,” says Hong Bo…China’s most famous tech blogger. In China, Tencent is the longstanding champ, but its title is being disputed by Sina…Sina Weibo is the biggest story in the Chinese Internet over the past year, reaching 250 million registered users, and about 25 million daily active users…Sina Weibo had become a prime source for breaking news events and commentary. It’s also a prime source of celebrity sightings and cultural memes…instead of exchanging name cards at dinner, it’s now common practice to instead exchange “follows” on Sina Weibo…Weibo (which means microblog in Chinese) evolved out of a project to build a Facebook-style social network called Pengyou…Sina employees refer to Weibo as “FaceTwitter”, revealing their ambitions for the product to be more than just social media, but also a social network…In 3rd and 4th tier cities and rural areas, Tencent is dominant. But in top-tier cities, among white-collar users, the Tencent brand is not cool…The battle will be won or lost in China’s second-tier cities, as Sina attempts to penetrate beyond its traditional base of urban white-collars and into “Tencent territory.”…Tencent…long ago responded with its own “me-too” microblog, to prevent its user base from defecting to Sina Weibo. Its Tencent Weibo now claims 300 million users, although user activity pales in comparison to Sina Weibo…upwards of 80% of Chinese microblog user activity takes place on Sina…”
6.       Dropbox 2.0: Still the best choice for students?  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/dropbox-20-still-the-best-choice-for-students/14010  “Dropbox has announced version 2.0 of its Android application…It’s an incredibly useful app for moving files between computers or keeping a backup copy of them in the cloud…Some of the new and improved features include…Favorites: To make sure you always have access to that particular file, you can now ’star’ it for rapid offline access…Bulk upload: You can now upload multiple photos and videos…Single-tap access to actions: File and folder actions can now be implemented with a single tap…File re-naming: As simple as it sounds, this feature is now finally available within Dropbox…Dropbox currently offers 2GB of space to free users, or you can upgrade to a ‘Pro’ account with up to 100GB of space…It’s also good for collaborative projects between classmates…the cross-browser compatibility of Dropbox is certainly a luring prospect…When it comes to sharing capabilities, Dropbox wins hands down, which makes it the better option for students or those that don’t rely on Apple products…”
Gigabit Internet
7.        Gigabit speeds on copper  http://www.broadband-expert.co.uk/blog/broadband-news/huawei-achieves-gigabit-speeds-on-copper-dsl/7714980  “…Huawei…showed that gigabits are achievable on copper…Huawei’s setup requires time division duplexing in order to achieve an overall upstream and downstream rate of a gigabit of a single twisted pair…With this technology, Internet service providers won’t need to lay down new cable in order to wire homes and provide them high-speed broadband services…Huawei’s Giga DSL prototype reduces radiation interference and power consumption, and provides a total upstream and downstream rate of one Gb/s within 100 meters, and 500 Mb/s-plus within 200 meters — making it a cost-effective option for telecom operators building ultra-broadband access networks…”  [this type of advanced copper technology will likely be one of the options Google experiments with to make Google Fiber Kansas City cost-effective – ed.]
8.       Finalists Announced for The Gigabit Challenge Business Plan Competition  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/12/21/prweb9056101.DTL  “…The Gigabit Challenge has announced the Finalists who will continue in the pursuit of the $100,000 Grand Prize, the $250,000 "Born Global" Prize and the opportunity to create disruptive innovations on the Google Fiber Network…Through a rigorous analysis of business plans, the judges made the difficult decision of narrowing down the top 19. The Gigabit Challenge Finalists are…Hong…CourthouseUSA LLC…record life…TiBi.tv…BigIris.com…GET-GIV-GOT System Technologies…Green Earth Aerogel Technologies…Paruzia Technologies…Risk Analytics LLC…Somametric…RE:Cite…Digital City Mechanics…Voter Integrity Party (V.I.P.)…Strategic Office Networks LLC…Damascus Fortune…SEIN Analytics & Asset Management…Virtual/Real World Wallet System…Photaic…Kauzu…Finalists are invited to present pitches for their businesses at The Gigabit Challenge Finale on January 18, 2012…Finalists will submit a presentation of no more than 15 slides and deliver a ten-minute pitch before a panel of international judges…”
9.       EPB fiber optics help local businesses grow  http://www.nooga.com/27538_epb-fiber-optics-help-local-businesses-grow/  “…Claris Networks is based in Knoxville but is expanding in Chattanooga because of the city’s unique fiber optic network. “We actually see Chattanooga as our largest growth potential,”…At the beginning of the year, Claris had two employees who worked out of a small, single room…Now the business has eight employees working out of an office at The Freight Depot at 1200 Market Street. Claris has also acquired two Chattanooga businesses—SRC Technology and Allied IT. “If Knoxville had what Chattanooga has, we’d be investing all those resources in Knoxville…Claris provides local businesses “cloud services,” which means they host, manage and maintain computer networks for businesses. The business relies heavily on speedy Internet access…The high speed Internet has benefited other businesses, such as social media start up LifeKraze and Global Green Lighting…Global Green Lighting develops low-energy lighting control systems…The company recently beat out national competition and won a bid to put the lights up across Chattanooga…An operator can control the lights…via the Internet from up to 35 miles away…The company currently has 20 employees, but Lepard predicts that number will grow to 80 by the end of June…He hopes to grow to 250 employees before the company finishes the project with the city…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
10.     Security Theater: American airport security screening  http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2011/12/tsa-insanity-201112  “As you stand in endless lines this holiday season, here’s a comforting thought: all those security measures accomplish nothing, at enormous cost…Ten years ago, 19 men armed with utility knives hijacked four airplanes and within a few hours killed nearly 3,000 people. At a stroke, Americans were thrust into a menacing new world…Checkpoints proliferated in airports, train stations, and office buildings. A digital panopticon of radiation scanners, chemical sensors, and closed-circuit television cameras audited the movements of shipping containers, airborne chemicals, and ordinary Americans…Since 9/11, the U.S. has spent more than $1.1 trillion on homeland security…the great bulk of the post-9/11 measures to contain it are little more than what Schneier mocks as “security theater”: actions that accomplish nothing but are designed to make the government look like it is on the job…“No big plane will ever be taken that way again, because the passengers will fight back,” Schneier said. Events have borne him out. The instigators of the two most serious post-9/11 incidents involving airplanes— the “shoe bomber” in 2001 and the “underwear bomber” in 2009, both of whom managed to get onto an airplane with explosives—were subdued by angry passengers …“The only useful airport security measures since 9/11,” he says, “were locking and reinforcing the cockpit doors, so terrorists can’t break in, positive baggage matching”—ensuring that people can’t put luggage on planes, and then not board them —“and teaching the passengers to fight back…Taking off your shoes is next to useless. “It’s like saying, Last time the terrorists wore red shirts, so now we’re going to ban red shirts,” Schneier says. If the T.S.A. focuses on shoes, terrorists will put their explosives elsewhere…So much inconvenience for so little benefit at such a staggering cost…The best memorial to the victims of 9/11, in Schneier’s view, would be to forget most of the “lessons” of 9/11. “It’s infuriating,” he said…“We’re spending billions upon billions of dollars doing this—and it is almost entirely pointless. Not only is it not done right, but even if it was done right it would be the wrong thing to do…”
11.      Insurance Against Cyber Attacks Expected to Boom  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/23/insurance-against-cyber-attacks-expected-to-boom/  “Sony is still awaiting the final tally for losses related to its data breaches earlier this year…it had compromised 100 million customer accounts, and Sony anticipated the debacle would cost $200 million. With 58 class-action suits in the works, that may be wishful thinking…the really bad news: Sony’s losses aren’t insured…That’s cyber insurance in a nut shell…Everybody needs it, and most companies don’t realize they don’t have it until it’s too late…only a third of companies surveyed…have purchased a cyber insurance policy…the S.E.C. issued a new guidance requiring that companies disclose “material” cyber attacks…guidance specifically requires companies to disclose a “description of relevant insurance coverage.”…most companies tended to “self insure” against cyber attacks…The average cost of a data breach hit $7.2 million last year and cost companies $214 per compromised data record…Most policies…cover the “twin risks of privacy and security,” which include the cost of lost business, notification costs, credit-monitoring services, public relations and legal and investigation expenses. It may also cover class-action lawsuits, regulatory investigations, civil fines and even extortion demands…”
12.     YCombinator bans SOPA supporter companies from YC Demo Day  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/22/paul-graham-sopa-supporting-companies-no-longer-allowed-at-yc-demo-day/  “…quite a few internet companies have protested H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in creative ways. Held by many to be the worst thing to ever happen to the Internet if it passes…While the judiciary vote has been delayed until next year, the list revealing the companies who support the act was released yesterday…The company boycotts  have sparked a thread on Hacker News, where user Solipsist posted…the comment, “While I understand your sentiments towards SOPA, are you really going to distance yourself from all of these companies?” To which YCombinator founder and investor Paul Graham replied…Several of those companies send people to Demo Day, and when I saw the list I thought: we should stop inviting them. So yes, we’ll remove anyone from those companies from the Demo Day invite list…”  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/22/cheezburgers-ben-huh-if-godaddy-supports-sopa-were-taking-our-1000-domains-elsewhere/  “…Cheezburger (as in I Can Has Cheeseburger, FAIL Blog, Know Your Meme, etc.) CEO Ben Huh has announced that they will be moving their array of over 1,000 domains away from GoDaddy unless the registrar recants their support of the act…”  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111226/22381317191/godaddy-says-it-doesnt-support-pipa-either-as-domains-keep-transferring-away.shtml  “…After GoDaddy made its very public announcement that it no longer supports SOPA, after being a very vocal supporter (despite the fact that it almost certainly violated the original version of the law), many have doubted the sincerity of the company…It didn't help that the company's new CEO…gave a really weak answer, when pressed on the company's level of support, suggesting that it may have just stepped back from publicly supporting the bills, but hasn't actually switched its full position: Adelman couldn’t commit to changing its position on the record in Congress when asked about that, but said “I’ll take that back to our legislative guys…Either way, it appears people keep on transferring domains. Before the talk of a boycott happened on Thursday, it looked like GoDaddy was losing about 13,000 to 15,000 domains a day anyway. Then, on Friday, when people started transferring en masse, it jumped to 21,054. On Christmas Day, it looks like another 22,542 transferred out, so it doesn't look like people are all that mollified by the public change in position…”  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398067,00.asp  “…registrar NameCheap said in a blog post that GoDaddy was "thwarting efforts to transfer domains away from them…GoDaddy appears to be returning incomplete WHOIS information to Namecheap, delaying the transfer process. This practice is against ICANN rules," the company said…GoDaddy said the delay was due to "the normal rate limiting," which is in place to prevent abuse. GoDaddy criticized NameCheap for failing to contact the company about the problem, and instead opting for a blog post. "Nevertheless, we have now proactively removed the rate limit for Namecheap, as a courtesy," GoDaddy said…NameCheap updated its blog post to say that "all we know on our side is that GoDaddy was preventing us from conducting normal business with our clients, and in turn causing harm to our reputation and at the same time overloading our support channels…”
13.     SOPA could shut down TOR  http://boingboing.net/2011/12/22/sopa-bans-tor-the-us-navys.html  “Tor, the censorship-busting technology developed by the US Navy and promoted by the State Department as part of the solution to allowing for free communications in repressive regimes, is likely illegal technology under the Stop Online Piracy Act. SOPA makes provision for punishing Americans who contribute expertise to projects that can be used to defeat its censorship regime, and Tor fits the bill…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
14.     Will Apple and Microsoft kill Android with lawsuits?  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/12/can-17000-patents-help-android-win-a-legal-cold-war.ars  “With Microsoft signing license agreements covering more than 50 percent of Android phones, Apple working the courts to block sales of HTC and Samsung devices, and various lawsuits launched by rivals from Oracle to BT, the Android mobile operating system is stumbling through a legal minefield…a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents…requires each company entering the mobile market to prepare for all-out war, and legal experts we've interviewed agree that Google failed to adequately protect Android from legal attack…There is basically no way to build a smartphone that doesn't infringe on someone else's patents, either knowingly or unknowingly, because there are simply too many of them…What a company must do is prevent any obvious infringements in areas that are essential to the platform's functionality, and amass a patent portfolio so large that lawsuits can be met with something more than empty words…it's all-out war and you come to the war with your stacks of patents, and Google didn't have as much as the other companies…Google's attempts to buy the patent portfolio from bankrupt Nortel failed…Stymied, Google decided to buy Motorola Mobility and its portfolio of 17,000 patents worldwide…The Motorola portfolio has at least 18 key patents for Google, covering location services, antenna designs, e-mail transmission, touchscreen motions, application management, and 3G wireless…Microsoft has boasted signing license agreements with the manufacturers of more than half of Android devices by revenue and unit share…Barnes & Noble claims Microsoft is demanding licensing fees for the Nook tablet that are equal or greater to the cost of the entire Windows Phone operating system…Just this week the International Trade Commission…ruled that several HTC smartphones infringe on an Apple patent…The HTC ruling is actually a positive one for Android, giving phone makers room to adjust software in ways preventing them from infringing on Apple claims...“If I’m HTC—and particularly if I’m Google—I’m feeling a lot better today than if I’m Apple,”…But there are other threats. Oracle is pushing for a January trial in its case against Google…British Telecom launched a new lawsuit…claiming Android and numerous other Google services infringe six of its patents…If enough of these lawsuits get through in which Android is found to infringe some of these patents, the question is what could Android do. If they could not design around the patents that could be a problem…Apple came to the smartphone market prepared for the patent war. After introducing the iPhone and its multitouch technology in 2007, the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, "And boy, have we patented it." Apple and Microsoft share a similar approach in patenting technology quickly and frequently, a more common strategy for commercial software than for open source software such as Android…Google's rush into the smartphone market as an outsider "seeking to get to the front ranks" very quickly afforded it little time to build a defensive portfolio or negotiate cross-licensing deals to head off lawsuits…The point of these lawsuits is to raise the price of Android so that it is no longer able to compete…Carrier has one more scary thought on the litigation front, namely that "it's just getting started…”
15.     Apple’s sinking share in France and Germany may be fueling patent wars  http://www.bgr.com/2011/12/22/apples-sinking-share-in-france-and-germany-may-be-fueling-patent-wars/  “…Apple may have another reason to attack its rivals so aggressively in France and Germany: the company is losing ground. New data…shows that while the launch of the iPhone 4S was a huge hit in the United States and the United Kingdom, smartphone users in key markets like France and Germany were seemingly not as impressed with the handset. Read on for more…From September through the end of November this year, Apple’s share of the smartphone market in the U.S. ballooned to 36% from 25% during the same period in 2010 according to Kantar. The iPhone’s performance in the U.K. was equally impressive, pushing Apple’s market share to 31% between September and November compared to 21% a year earlier. In Germany however, where Android holds 61% of the market and Samsung’s Galaxy S II remains the top-selling handset, Apple’s share slid from 27% during the three-month period ending in November 2010 to 22% during the same period this year. The iPhone lost even more ground in France, where Apple’s share dropped to 20% from 29% over year-over-year…As Android grows more popular in the region, Apple’s patent strategy has seemingly grown more aggressive…”
16.     5 Ways The Smartphone Market Evolved In 2011  http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/smart_phones/232300925  “Buy a smartphone today, and it will be out-of-date by tomorrow…look at what happened in smartphones throughout 2011…Dual-Core Reigns..One of the first smartphones to ship with two cores was the Motorola Atrix…announced…last January. Now, most high-end smartphones ship with two cores…These processors…led to dramatic improvements in performance metrics across the board and enable the features that we now take for granted…Massive HD Screens…Apple introduced the original iPhone back in 2007, people were shocked by the size of the 3.5-inch display…Apple hasn't increased the size of its smartphone display--but the rest of the industry has…Now, most mid-range and high-end smartphones ship with displays ranging from 4.0 to 4.7 inches…This year, expect most of them to include full 1280 x 720p high-definition displays…Another "G" Please…AT&T's LTE network may be nascent (15 markets, 70 million POPs), but Verizon's is absolutely domineering (190 markets, 200 million POPs)…All four major carriers have made it their mission in 2011 to advance their networks…Millions (and Billions) of Apps…Apple kicked off the app craze in 2008…Fast forward to 2011 and there are one million active applications for smartphones between the iPhone App Store and Android Market…Platform Consolidation…At the start of 2011, there were six major smartphone platforms active in the market, including Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Symbian, webOS, and Windows Phone…HP killed…webOS…Symbian…more or less bit the dust…”
17.     Apple’s iPhone, iPad account for 90 percent of mobile purchases  http://gigaom.com/apple/study-apples-iphone-ipad-account-for-90-percent-of-mobile-purchases/  “If people are buying through mobile online retail site, they’re most likely doing so on Apple devices…iPads and iPhones accounted for over 92 percent of online retail sales not originating from a desktop device occurring in December, according to the study. That’s up from 88 percent the last time RichRelevance in April…Shoppers on Apple devices were also willing to spend more, with an average order value of $123 vs. Android’s $101, and $87 from those shopping from traditional desktop operating systems…Mobile shopping is still a relative drop in the bucket compared to its desktop companion, with just 3.74 percent of total online retail dollars spent in the U.S., but that number is growing…mobile web shopping has doubled in eight months…Mobile devices seem to be most used for shopping at times when users don’t necessarily have immediate access to other types of computing hardware…”  [if iOS users are by far the bigger spenders, with 2X to 10X the amount of app purchases and mobile purchases, what are the narrow-focus revenue-generating market opportunities for Android? – ed.]
18.     Download stats for smartphones show iPhone is for games, Android is for non-game apps  http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/22/year-end-stats-for-smartphones-show-iphone-is-for-games-android-is-for-apps/  “In 2011…the numbers show that iPhone consumers are using their devices for games, while Android users are using other kinds of apps…app downloads on the Apple iTunes App Store for the top 150 titles in the U.S. more than doubled in 2011 to 97 million from 37 million a year earlier. On Android, the number of app downloads for the top 150 grew…in 2011 to 125 million from 29 million a year earlier. In the Apple App Store in the U.S., 100 of the top 150 downloads were games, while the remaining 50 were non-game apps. On the Android Market in the U.S., the number of games in the top 150 was 65. Game downloads on Apple outnumbered other apps by a three-to-one margin…On Android, there were 91.5 million non-game app downloads, compared to 33.4 million game downloads…”
19.     Swype update for Android adds Dragon voice recognition  http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/22/dragon-voice-swype-android/  “Nuance’s purchase of Swype, maker of an alternative keyboard for smartphones, is finally beginning to pay off with the introduction of Nuance’s Dragon voice recognition on the latest Swype Android app…With its latest update, Swype has replaced Google’s built-in voice recognition for Nuance’s Dragon Dictate technology…Dragon…will likely be…more accurate than Google’s solution. Dragon also powers the dictation capabilities in Apple’s Siri virtual assistant…the latest Swype version also lets you install new keyboard languages from inside its keyboard preferences. It also offers a better language modeling algorithm, which supposedly lets Swype better understand common phrases…You may already have Swype installed on your Android phone without even knowing it, but if not, you can download the Swype Beta…”
20.    Free LogMeIn remote Mac access from iOS  http://gigaom.com/apple/logmein-provides-free-remote-mac-access-from-ios-devices/  “LogMeIn has…a new free app called simply LogMeIn…that provides remote viewing access and control of Macs and PCs on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It’s basically what the paid version LogMeIn Ignition provides, without ads or limitations…It’s the simplest solution I’ve seen for getting remote access set up both within and outside of your own home Wi-Fi network, and testing over 3G shows it works great even on cellular connections. By default, the app uses a somewhat strange navigation system that moves the screen instead of the cursor, but you can switch to cursor mode relatively easily if the default mode isn’t working for you. The free version of LogMeIn is probably all most people need, especially if you just want to check on a download or video rendering progress, or control a media center PC from the comfort of the couch without the added hassle of wireless mice and keyboards…”
21.     Localized mobile apps; Santa Anita Park Betting App Represents Future of Mobile Tech  http://www.fastcompany.com/1803417/how-santa-anita-park-represents-the-future-of-mobile-technology  “…at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA…the constant checking of one's mobile phone will dominate the day after Christmas…this mobile wagering platform is going to provide our on-track fans with a level of convenience that we haven’t been able to offer before…Santa Anita is doing something different by localizing the availability of betting, allowing only those who are using the park's WiFi to access the mobile betting site. The trend towards localized mobile access is growing. The internet allows many conveniences when it comes to shopping for merchandise and services but also presents challenges…Localizing mobile access with incentives to visit physical locations is the paradigm shift many in retail have been hoping to see. Imagine a localized mobile app or website that allows those connected through a store's WiFi to access instant savings, find in-store specials, or interact with employees (and even other customers)…giving in-store visitors access to things they wouldn't be able to access from their home…”  [how long do you think it will be before the racetrack wifi is hacked so it can be accessed, by knowledgeable people, from anywhere? – ed.]
22.    Mobile apps in 2011 and 2012  http://gigaom.com/2011/12/25/the-year-in-mobile-apps-where-weve-been-where-were-going/  “…2011 was a turning point: This was the first year that these mobile devices outsold desktop and laptop PCs…In 2011…we spent 81 minutes a day in apps versus 74 minutes in a browser. A year earlier, the tally had been an average of 64 minutes in a browser versus just 43 minutes in apps…Android phone unit sales are outpacing iPhones, yet…average Android appmakers earned 24 cents for every dollar iOS developers make…China’s percentage of app downloads skyrocketed 870 percent in 2011, Argentina’s shot up 527 percent…Apple experienced this same trend with both its iOS app sales as well as its tablet and smartphone sales, as China quickly became its second-most important market in 2011…In 2012…More HyLoMo…“HyLoMo” is…“hyper-local mobile,” a concept that…should take off in a big way next year…Much of our activity is reasonably local — we tend to shop, eat and travel in the areas near to where we live and work. Smartphones already know where we are…where we tend to go, what we tend to buy and what we want to do…Voice-control integration will explode…Siri, introduced in October, set off a wave of mainstream interest in the technology…we’ll likely see much more about voice-based interfaces from its competitors…Google…Nuance…NFC grows, but not for payments…NFC…in 2012…will probably not be as much about payments as the other behaviors around paying for things: marketing offers and loyalty rewards/points from vendors…Look for NFC to be weaved also into social networking and contact exchange apps…More niche app stores will emerge…”
23.    GDrive: 5 Ways Google Could Dominate the Cloud Storage Market in 2012  http://mashable.com/2011/12/22/google-drive-predictions/  “…plenty of evidence reinforces that Google Drive is real and its release could…be imminent…Cloud storage is no longer in the early adopter phase. Businesses have adopted Google Apps so wholeheartedly that it only makes sense for Google to capitalize on this chunk of the market…Here are five things Google needs to do to make GDrive a success…1. Google Apps Users are Already Using a “GDrive” – Keep it Intact…businesses are already leveraging Google Docs to store critical files and data…53.2% of the files backed-up by users in our sample were non-native files – mainly PDFs, songs, movies, photos and Microsoft Office Files. The rest (46.8%) were “native” Google files created in Google Apps…The reason a prevailing system has yet to be fully realized is due to the difficult task of engineering a highly extensible storage infrastructure with a dead-simple user interface…2. A Simple Desktop-Cloud-Mobile Sync that “Just Works”…If Google nails the desktop-to-cloud and mobile-to-cloud sync, it will be crowned king of cloud files…Google needs to build in support for Android devices, Chrome browsers and the ChromeOS. Outside of Google properties, we’ll require virtual drive extensions for Windows, Mac and Linux…But syncing anything is notoriously difficult and buggy, and it absolutely must “just work.”…Google Drive needs to be so effortless that anyone can use it without thinking too hard…3. Google+ Integration for Consumers, Google Apps Integration for Business Users…GDrive, if integrated well with Google+, could be the mesh that binds Google Apps and Google+ together…4. Picasa, Google+ Photos and Google Music Integration…Our photos and music already live on Google services — why shouldn’t they also exist in top-level folders on my Google Drive?...It would make more sense to consolidate and store all my files into one place, regardless of where it’s uploaded…If GDrive is one storage location to rule them all, it will become the hub of my digital life, not to mention, amplify the value of all the other Google services…5. More Free Storage…Google Docs currently includes…1GB free storage. Google should bump that to at least 5GB…Microsoft’s brand new SkyDrive provides 25GB…Google has the opportunity to substantially undercut Dropbox (where $100 per year only gets you 50GB)…Google Drive has the potential to introduce a ubiquitous drive…for both consumer and commercial use, which would accelerate the way by which we find, discover, consume and share valuable data…If Google Drive can pull off the above five features, it won’t just own the applications and services that millions of people rely on every day, it will own the mesh that holds it all together…”
24.    Google Chrome Browser Engineer: Firefox Is A Partner, Not A Competitor  http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/chrome_engineer_firefox_is_a_partner_not_a_competi.php  “Google and Firefox renewed their partnership last week…the deal brings in just under $300 million per year for Firefox, amounting to almost $1 billion total…MG Siegler wondered why Google would bear this expense, "paying all that money to a competitor."…Chrome engineer Peter Kasting offered a simpler answer today: "Google is funding a partner," not a competitor…People never seem to understand why Google builds Chrome no matter how many times I try to pound it into their heads," Kasting says. "It's very simple: the primary goal of Chrome is to make the web advance as much and as quickly as possible…It's completely irrelevant to this goal whether Chrome actually gains tons of users or whether instead the web advances because the other browser vendors step up their game and produce far better browsers…Google succeeds (and makes money) when the web succeeds and people use it more to do everything they need to do…By funding Firefox, Kasting explains, Google is not concerned about competition with Chrome. It's keeping another important browser alive. "Firefox is an important product because it can be a different product with different design decisions and serve different users well," he says…Google supported Firefox before work on Chrome even began…it only built Chrome because it thought it would drive the Web to improve even faster…” [if you were in charge of Mozilla/Firefox, how would you use one billion dollars to improve Firefox? – ed.]
25.    Offline Google ebooks  http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2011/12/offline-google-ebooks.html  “If you've used Google eBooks for Android or iPhone, you probably noticed that the mobile apps had a clear advantage over the desktop app: you could download books to your device and read them offline. The same feature is now available in the desktop app, but only if you use Chrome…To be able to read a book offline, you need to mouse over the book and click "Make available offline". Advanced features don't work offline, even if not all of them are disabled. You can't search inside a book, take notes or highlight some text. Right now, the offline app is pretty flaky and buggy…”
26.    Why we've switched away from Google Maps  http://blog.nestoria.co.uk/why-and-how-weve-switched-away-from-google-ma  “…we've moved away from Google maps and are now relying exclusively on OpenStreetMap maps served by MapQuest…Google maps remains a phenomenal service that is continually adding amazingly innovative new functionalities. The boom in online cartography witnessed over the last years was kicked off by the launch of Google maps…I am the first to recognize the unequaled contribution Google has made and continues to make in unlocking the potential of cartography for the world…why have we switched? There are four main reasons…1. The maps are equal or better…anyone can contibute…over 500,000 people around the world have signed up to do just that…Fixes can be added and reflected in the maps very quickly…People can map whichever features are important to them (paths, pubs, buildings, etc) and escape the car centric focus of many mapping services. All of this data is then made freely available for all to use…in many places of the world, particularly the European countries we were focused on, OSM maps are of equal or better quality than any other widely available mapping service…2. It's another visible way for us to support open data…We benefit greatly from open data, and as such we want to do our part…to help the open data movement. This is why we sponsor OpenStreetMap conferences…3. Google introduced charging for map usage…this year Google announced that they would begin introducing limits to the use of Google maps by commercial websites…Unfortunately Google's sales process was not good. Having agreed to a time for a call, the sales rep missed the appointment with no warning…He was unable to explain the basics of the new charging regime…Finally he quoted a price to continue using Google Maps…that would have bankrupted our company…While us moving away from Google Maps will reduce some fractional amount of bandwidth costs for Google it also means our team of engineers will be spending our time working with, and innovating on, other geo technologies…4. The tools are ready…we would not have been technically able to make the switch unless there was a solid set of tools and services around OSM that made the switch possible…the modern neogeo tool chain from scratch…”
General Technology
27.    The 10 biggest tech stories of 2011  http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/26/tech/web/tech-news-2011/  “…The seeds of Hewlett-Packard's mobile strategy, Google's plans for Motorola post-acquisition, Intel's 3-D silicon transistors and mobile payment systems like Google Wallet were planted this year. But those stories were left off of this list because their products did not reach a mass market in 2011. Look for those to make big splashes in 2012. These 10 stories in 2011 had a huge impact that could resonate for many years…1. Steve Jobs dies…At Apple, Jobs helped create the personal computer industry, and…design mega hits like the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad…2. Social media's role as a tool for protestors…Much praise was heaped on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube after they played a role in the Arab Spring, a series of protests in the Middle East that started late in 2010…3. Hackers…an online group called Anonymous…emerged from the Internet underground this year with a series of politically fueled computer attacks on churches, e-commerce and banks…4. Tablet market gets dozens of new entrants…sparked by the massive success of Apple's iPad…Electronics makers tried to figure out whether consumers were looking for tablets or just iPads…Amazon.com may have cracked the formula with its $199 Kindle Fire. It has been selling about a million devices each week…5. Facebook and partners add 'frictionless' sharing…when someone you know finds out something about you without you telling them…Facebook calls it "frictionless," and companies that have implemented the feature…have found a great promotional vehicle…many are opposed to their private reading habits being broadcast instantly…Zuckerberg is convinced people will continue publishing more about themselves online each year…whether they actively choose to or not…6. Patent wars…Apple, Google, HTC, Microsoft, RIM and Samsung, have engaged in a giant game of patent Risk. These companies have filed lawsuits and countersuits in countries around the world to seek licensing agreements or block the sale of rivals' products. Google has said that its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility was to gain the phone maker's stockpile of patents…7. Google+…Google+ got off to a promising start…Google asserts that its social network is key to the future of the company. That's a big bet…8. Apple becomes the most valuable company in the world…Apple briefly becoming the world's most valuable company by market capitalization. Exxon Mobil has reclaimed a sizable lead, but that shouldn't undermine how effective Apple has been…9. IBM's Watson beats human champs on 'Jeopardy!'…Watson proved that two smart men, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, were no match for banks of servers running artificial-intelligence software…10. Spotify and Facebook take on digital music…Apple had a strong formula for dominating the digital music industry. Amazon and Google haven't made a dent…Spotify has proved itself as a worthy opponent in Europe…Facebook Music…helped introduce wider audiences to on-demand streaming services like Spotify, MOG, Rdio and Rhapsody.” [the only ‘story’ in this list that I’d disagree with is ‘Hackers,’ although I’m not sure which other tech story I’d include in its stead. Google buys Motorola? HP’s announced exit from PC production? Sun’s demise? Which tech stories would you rate as the top 10? – ed.]
28.    What to Expect in Printers in 2012  http://www.pcworld.com/article/245827/what_to_expect_in_printers_in_2012.html  “…sometimes you still want to print. But these days, you want to print from whatever device you happen to be using--not just from a PC. The year 2012 will bring more options for mobile printing via a wireless connection to a local device, and for cloud printing…Apple's AirPrint, which debuted a year ago, lets you use Wi-Fi to send a wide range of print jobs directly from an iOS device to a nearby AirPrint-compatible printer…Google's Cloud Print app…lets users print via email on any printer connected to a computer that has Internet access. New printers designated as Cloud Ready from Epson, HP, and Kodak can receive jobs without the PC middleman…In late 2010, HP unveiled Web-based Print Apps…It also launched the consumer version of ePrint, which lets users email a print job from anywhere to an ePrint-compatible HP printer…HP has relaxed the ePrint process a bit, making it a little more user-friendly…Lexmark's SmartSolutions…added apps that let users display RSS news feeds or the weather report on a printer's color LCD…SmartSolutions collection has grown to include ways to access…popular online services, from Facebook and Twitter to Box.net and Evernote…Lexmark recently launched mobile printing apps for Android, Apple iOS, Google Docs, and Google Cloud Print…the umbrella brand of Epson Connect…lets you send an email message from a mobile device to an enabled Epson printer, which can then print the message or its attachment. Epson iPrint permits direct printing via Wi-Fi to compatible iOS and Android devices. A handful of new Epson printers are also Cloud Ready…Kodak is embracing mobile and cloud printing…Most of its new models are Cloud Ready, and all of its printers can use Kodak's own Email Print to email print jobs as attachments. Kodak is also trying to one-up HP ePrint by accepting larger email messages and email attachments than HP does…”  [do you own a cloud-connected printer, have you ever printed something from a mobile device, and what not-yet-available printer capability would you most like to have? –ed.]
29.    Radeon HD 7970: 28nm, 2,048 Stream processors, $549  http://www.anandtech.com/show/5261/amd-radeon-hd-7970-review  “…At AMD’s Fusion Developer Summit 2011 AMD announced Graphics Core Next, their next-generation GPU architecture. GCN would be AMD’s Fermi moment, where AMD got serious about GPU computing and finally built an architecture that would serve as both a graphics workhorse and a computing workhorse…It’s the first video card using a 28nm GPU. It’s the first card supporting Direct3D 11.1. It’s the first member of AMD’s new Southern Islands Family. And it’s the first video card implementing AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture. All of these attributes combine to make the 7970 quite a different video card from any AMD video card before it…Based on a complete AMD Tahiti GPU, it has 2048 stream processors organized according to AMD’s new SIMD-based GCN architecture… AMD has made an acceptable card, but this is not a groundbreaking product…we’ve become spoiled by AMD’s aggressive pricing…the low prices of the Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 5870 made those products superstars thanks to their performance for the price and their undercutting of NVIDIA’s competing cards…the past few years have seen AMD make great technical progress, but on the business side of things it’s NVIDIA that has made all the money…at the end of the day AMD has once again retaken the performance crown for single-GPU cards…The Radeon HD 7970 may be a gaming product, but today was just as much a launch for AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture as it was for their new single-GPU king…AMD has laid out a clear plan to seriously break into the GPU computing market and GCN is the architecture that will take them there. This is their Fermi moment…It’s much too early to tell if it will be able to withstand the eventual arrival of NVIDIA’s Kepler, but certainly this is the best shot AMD has ever had…”
30.    Digital Swiss army knives  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388761,00.asp  “…the Victorinox Flash Collection…gadgets look like a Swiss Army Knife, and you can even get a blade inside…The Flash Collection comes in a variety of colors and capacities, from 4GB to 128GB (which is just two 64GB sticks next to each other). There's the Victorinox Slim, which is just a simple drive; the Flash Alox Flight, which adds a knife, scissors, and nail file; the Flash LED, which has all that plus an LED flashlight; the Flash Laser, which swaps the flashlight for a laser pointer; the Secure, which requires your fingerprint for access to the drive; and the Presentation Master, which has a laser pointer and a Bluetooth remote for navigating through presentations…The drive itself is removable and slips easily into a USB drive, where it's recognized just like any other external drive…There's a folder inside every drive called "Secure," where you can add and store all your personal data…All the drives use AES356 hardware encryption…Andrea Huder of Victorinox walked me through the James Bond-style situations the Flash models could withstand. Someone cuts off your finger and tries to use your fingerprint? No problem, the drives measure blood-oxygen levels. Someone tries to solder their controller onto your memory? No problem, it actually self-destructs. A brute force attack? The drive, every time, says "you got the password right!" and gives the attacker a set of bogus files…The Victorinox Flash Collection is on sale now, ranging from $45.99 for a 4GB Slim model all the way up to $857.14 for a 128GB Presentation Master…”
31.     Vending machine scans faces to dispense desserts  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2079048/Kraft-unveils-adults-vending-machine-scans-faces-ensure-children-free-pudding.html  “A vending machine that gives out free puddings to adults, but none to children sounds like something dreamed up by Roald Dahl…the iSample machine, a collaboration between Kraft and Intel, is designed to do exactly that…The machine uses a biometric scanner to 'read' the age and gender of people standing in front of it, and will serve adults, but refuse children. The two machines are on trial in Chicago's Shedd Aquarium and New York's South Street Seaport. The iSample is desgned to offer free samples of Kraft's new Temptations jelly - a dessert marketed at adults…The scanner uses biometric data to 'guess' the age of people standing in front of it, dividing adults into four 'age brackets'…Kraft and Intel are keen to reassure shoppers that iSample does not store images or video of anyone who receives a free sample…” [so the first two thoughts I had were ‘how many people are going to try and get multiple samples’ and ‘how many homeless people will be eating Temptations jelly for supper tonight’ – ed.]
Leisure & Entertainment
32.    LG, Samsung to show ‘World’s Largest’ 55” OLED TVs  http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20111222000725  “Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are planning to showcase new 55-inch OLED televisions at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month…”  http://www.techradar.com/news/television/lg-announces-55-inch-oled-tv-panel-1050426  “…Organic Light Emitting Diodes bring several benefits over more traditional screen technology (thinner, lighter, more environmentally friendly)…Televisions have been available with OLED panels, but they tend to cost a small fortune and offer only smaller sizes…LG insists that the panel 'successfully addresses' the issues that have made OLED televisions troublesome. "The panel adopts an Oxide TFT technology for backplane which is different from a Low Temperature Poly Silicon (LTPS) type generally used in existing small-sized OLED panels…The Oxide TFT type that LG Display utilizes is similar to the existing TFT process, with the simple difference lying in replacing Amorphous Silicon with Oxide…The display also use White OLED (WOLED of course) which apparently vertically accumulates the red, green and blue diodes. With white color light emitting from the diode, it displays screen information through color layers below the TFT base panel, which leads to a lower error rate, higher productivity, and a clearer Ultra Definition screen via the benefits of small pixels…”  What technology does your flat panel TB use? Do you have an OLED smartphone, or, if all other specs and cost were equal, would you chose OLED screen technology over other types of smartphone screens? – ed.]
33.    Sales of basic digital cameras fall as smartphones fill the niche  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/12/phone-camera-photos.html  “…27% of photos and videos taken this year were shot with smartphones — up from 17% last year…sales of the basic digital point-and-shoot cameras…were down 17% in the first 11 months of this year…For the upper-level point-and-shoots — with optical zooms of 10x or greater and an average price of $247 — unit sales grew 16%..."The smartphone is becoming good enough much of the time…Consumers who use their mobile phones to take pictures and video were more likely to do so instead of their camera when capturing spontaneous moments. But for important events, single-purpose cameras and camcorders are still largely the device of choice.…”
34.    Sony Binoculars that Record in HD and 3-D  http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27103/  “…Sony's new binoculars…DEV-3 and DEV-5, as the forthcoming binoculars are called, are really just pairs of high-end HD camcorders shaped like binoculars. Capable of capturing…in 720p and 3-D, these are the binoculars the Avatar director would use himself…They each sport a pair of Sony's G-Lens optics systems, are able to churn out 3-D footage (in an utterly natural way, these are binoculars, after all), take 2-D shots, and, of course, can snap plain photos, in up to 7MP. Both binoculars get 10x optical zoom (or just 5.4x in 3-D mode)…The battery supposedly lasts over three hours for 2-D recording—you can beef that up another three hours or so with an extended battery…with the DEV-3 priced at $1,400 and the DEV-5 priced at $2,000…a built-in GPS receiver allows the user to geo-tag photos and video…” 
35.    Boxee 1.5 for desktops arrives, but the end is nigh http://deviceguru.com/boxee-1-5-for-desktops-arrives-but-the-end-is-nigh/  “Boxee released version 1.5 of its free multimedia streaming software for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops today, but simultaneously announced that it will cease offering the Boxee desktop software after January 2012. Thereafter, the company will limit its focus to devices such as the D-Link Boxee Box. Boxee version 1.5 for PC and Mac desktops is similar, though not identical, to the upcoming Boxee v1.5 firmware release for the D-Link Boxee Box…“As a platform, we have been able to bring Boxee for Computers to about 85 percent of the Boxee Box in terms of features and functionality,” says Boxee. “Due to extensive DRM and certification requirements premium apps will not be available on the downloadable version of Boxee, most notably Netflix, Vudu, and Pandora…”
Economy and Technology
36.    Intuit GoPayment Now Allows Merchants To Receive Money On A Prepaid Visa Card  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/20/mobile-payments-platform-intuit-gopayment-allows-merchants-to-receive-money-on-a-prepaid-visa-card/  “Intuit…made an interesting move today with its mobile credit card reader GoPayment reader. Intuit is allowing merchants to keep and receive funds on a prepaid credit card as opposed to depositing the amount in a bank account…GoPayment, which competes directly with Square, is available for iOS, Android and Blackberry phones and the card reader simply plugs into the audio jack of a phone or tablet. The credit card data is also encrypted…Similar to Square, the GoPayment mobile payment app is free and the basic service has no monthly, transaction or cancellation fees, and offers a 2.7 percent rate for swiped transactions. Intuit and Square actually both eliminated the per transaction fee…merchants and retailers can have the funds they collect with GoPayment deposited into their GoPayment Card account. They can then use the card to make payments online, in stores and withdraw cash at ATMs everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. So who does this arrangement work for? For smaller businesses or individuals who don’t have a business bank account and still want to conveniently separate the money they make with GoPayment from their personal finances, this could be a good option. Using the prepaid card can also help merchants start accepting payments quickly as there is no bank account required to sign up…”
37.    Biofuel stumbles: death of Range Fuels, changes for Gevo  http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/39327/  “This month, Range Fuels, one of the first companies in a wave of startups that promised cheap biofuels made from sources such as wood chips rather than corn, shut its doors for good…The company failed for many reasons, but the biggest seems to be that its technology proved too expensive…Range Fuels, which had planned to turn wood chips into ethanol, received substantial attention in 2006…By the following year, Range Fuels had received a $76 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and had broken ground on a commercial-scale plant in Soperton, Georgia. That plant was designed to produce 20 million gallons of fuel a year at first, and eventually 100 million gallons…Range Fuels said its plant could produce fuel by 2008, but it still wasn't finished in 2009, when it received an $80 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help with construction. In addition to government funding, over its history, the company received over $150 million in venture capital. The Range Fuels plant produced some methanol in 2010, but it operated at a loss, and it was shut down in 2011…”  http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/39371/  “Gevo, a prominent advanced-biofuels company that has received millions in U.S. government funding to develop fuels made from cellulosic sources such as grass and wood chips, is finding that it can't use these materials if it hopes to survive. Instead, it's going to use corn, a common source for conventional biofuels. What's more, most of the product from its first facility will be used for chemicals rather than fuel…government mandates that were meant to help create a market for cellulosic biofuels have so far been ineffective; it's typically cheaper for the fuel providers affected by the mandate to purchase credits rather than biofuels…Gevo…is reducing capital costs by retrofitting existing corn ethanol plants rather than building new ones; the retrofit of the first plant, in Luverne, Minnesota, will cost about $40 million, a fraction of the hundreds of millions it costs to build a new plant…rather than making ethanol, Gevo is making butanol…Gevo expects that it can make butanol from corn…for significantly less than it costs to make it from petroleum…Gevo already has an agreement with a major maker of synthetic rubber, and last week it announced a partnership with Coca-Cola to develop plastic bottles made entirely from plants…It has an agreement with a distributor that can sell the butanol for use in small engines and marine engines, two applications where ethanol doesn't work well. It's also making 11,000 gallons of jet fuel from its butanol for the U.S. Air Force, which wants to test it for use in planes. That contract will cover the cost of a 10,000-gallon-per-month jet fuel demonstration plant…”
38.    A startup’s plan to sell solar like cell phones  http://gigaom.com/cleantech/a-startups-plan-to-sell-solar-like-cell-phones/  “Cell phones are one of the few products that have found mass success in developing countries; there are 600 million mobile subscribers in India out of the 1.2 billion population. So why not use the model to sell other stuff, like solar power?...Simpa Networks is taking advantage of the popularity and standardization of pay-as-you-go cell phone plans and mobile payments in developing countries…the group has launched a home solar system for off-grid customers controlled by a mobile, pay-as-you-go system. Customers pay for only the electricity produced by the solar panel at their home, in addition to a small upfront payment…The basic solar system size Simpa sells is around 25 watts to 50 watts, which can power a couple of CFL lights, a mobile phone charger and maybe a fan…these are off-grid, often rural homes…the households commonly live on $4 or less a day. These customers often don’t have predictable income…Simpa doesn’t make or install the solar panels, but works with a partner – Selco India – which installs a Simpa-powered solar system for Simpa’s customers…The customer then also pays for the solar power as they go, using purchased pay-as-you-go cards (similar to the kinds you’ll find for cell phone minutes in every gas station) commonly in the increments of 50, 100, or 500 rupees. Customers type the code on the cards into the keypad on the Simpa box, which unlocks the system. Over time — usually two or three years — the customer has paid off the system, then owns it outright and can use the solar power for free…many of them don’t have enough savings to buy a solar system outright, or can’t take out a loan to buy a system outright. Getting into debt isn’t something that many of these customers are willing to do, so pay-as-you-go makes sense to them…”
39.    Car owner takes legal fight away from lawyers  http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-autos-honda-smallclaims-20111227,0,959031.story  “Heather Peters is an angry consumer who knows she has little chance of winning a war with Honda Motor Co. and its army of high-priced lawyers…her 2006 Honda Civic hybrid doesn't get its claimed fuel economy. And she isn't satisfied with a proposed class-action lawsuit settlement that would give trial lawyers $8.5 million while Civic owners would get as little as $100 and rebate coupons for the purchase of a new vehicle…Peters believes that she found a venue where she can win justice and where Honda can't spend a single dollar on legal help. On Jan. 3 she'll take her case to Small Claims Court…California law prohibits Honda from bringing an attorney. She's asking for the maximum of $10,000 to compensate her for spending much more on gasoline than expected. Honda said the Civic would get about 50 miles per gallon, but because of technical problems the car gets closer to 30 mpg…Peters is using urging Honda owners across the country to do the same. Peters' DontSettleWithHonda.org website and a DontSettleWithHonda Twitter account include a link to state-by-state instructions for filing these lawsuits, which have low fees and minimal paperwork. Honda sold about 200,000 of the hybrids over a six-year period…If she's successful in getting others to follow her example, Peters could inspire a whole new litigation strategy in the auto industry and other businesses…consumers could force companies to go mano a mano with individual plaintiffs in far-flung courtrooms nationwide. Call it a small-claims flash mob…Attorneys said social networking and the Internet make it easier for groups of claimants to find one another and map out tactics such as the one Peters has devised…mass filings could become a trend. "Governments are cutting back on everything, including consumer protection. The Small Claims Court is the forum of last resort for the everyday person," Aquino said. "It gives a consumer an opportunity to have an issue addressed in court…”
40.    The coming retail apocalypse: grocery pricing like airline ticket pricing  http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2011/12/the-coming-retail-apocalypse-s.html  “…I have, like most people, had the frustrating experience of trying to work out whether my mobile phone contract or the airline flight I'm been booking is actually the cheapest one that meets my needs, or whether I'm being gouged by a computer somewhere…so I'm trying to put the pieces of the jigsaw together because I'm interested in guessing what our retail experience is going to look like in 10 years' time… in the long term, the internet tends to induce pure price-driven competition between rival suppliers…So suppliers are trapped in a race to the bottom, unless (a) they can find some clear value-added proposition to attract consumers other than low price, or (b) they can work out a way to reduce price transparency in order to impair the accuracy of consumers' pricing decisions… Algorithmic pricing of airline tickets has been around for decades…they've developed complex pricing algorithms that balance supply and demand internally and offer potential customers the highest spot price that the airline thinks the market will bear…Because of the difficulty of navigating such complex pricing schemes, the majority of customers end up over-paying for services such as phone tariffs, airline tickets, and utilities…Use of loyalty cards gives retailers huge volumes of data about individual customer purchasing habits…I expect that we're probably going to see algorithmic pricing extended down the retail chain…We've already seen some signs of this on amazon.com (with prices on offer to different customers varying for the same product, presumably on the basis of the customer's willingness to pay more for goods in prior transactions)…it'd mean the end of transparent retail pricing…If you earn 50% more than average you can expect your grocery prices to begin creeping up, because your suppliers can infer what's in your wallet…”
41.     Foxconn to build 'world's largest smartphone production base'  http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/27/2663826/foxconn-worlds-largest-smartphone-factory-henan-iphone  “Authorities in…China's Henan province have announced a plan to build the world's largest factory for smartphones in 2012. Located at Foxconn Science Park in capital Zhengzhou, the new base will have 95 production lines…Foxconn's current factory in Zhengzhou employs 130,000 people, a figure that will be almost doubled with the new expansion…”
DHMN Technology
42.    KidsRuby  http://confreaks.net/videos/637-gogaruco2011-kidsruby-think-of-the-children?player=html5  “Forget about JRuby. MacRuby? Forget it. Forget even Rubinius. As cool as each of them is, they are…for adults. Introducing the real future of Ruby: KidsRuby… because the future is about the kids! KidsRuby was born as a fresh approach…Like becoming a master musician, master programmers are not created quickly. Many of the best programmers today started when they were young…KidsRuby is a real Ruby, so that kids are not treated like second class citizens just because they are learning Ruby. It helps to solve a number of the biggest technical problems with teaching Ruby to kids…We all need to get serious now about training the next generation of hackers…”  http://kidsruby.com/  “…We've gone to release 1.0 of KidsRuby, and we have a new website design too. Plus, as a special treat we now include the Ruby programming learning game RubyWarrior along with KidsRuby. Learning to program with Ruby is now more fun than ever!…” http://thenextweb.com/dd/2011/12/26/now-that-your-kids-have-a-new-computer-teach-them-how-to-program-in-ruby/  “…The software is available for Mac or PC, or…you can install the KidsRuby OS, which is built on Ubuntu…The KidsRuby site speaks about programming in a way that kids can understand. It often suggests that children “hack” their homework: When we say “hack your homework” we mean “learn how to write a computer program to help you with your homework”. For example, writing code to solve a particular math problem. By showing kids that programming can apply to the real world, like any subject, it becomes a lot more interesting to learn about…”
43.    3-D printing on way to becoming affordable  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2017076177_3dprinting27.html  “University of Washington professor Mark Ganter sees the future, and it's printing apple pies. And maybe vital organs, furniture and buildings…At the UW's Solheim Rapid Prototyping/Rapid Manufacturing Lab, which Ganter codirects, he's constantly asking students: "What did you make?"…Ganter estimates his team of "printistas," the term he's coined for professional 3-D printers, has worked with almost 50 different materials. He jokes that he'll stop when he's tried 1,000, and has talked about experimenting with mashed potatoes…More and more companies are selling 3-D printers within the price range of consumers…Paul Nye compares the current 3-D printing industry to the early PC market…Ganter describes the price comparison between the machines and materials for 3-D printing as that of razors and razor blades; the cost of printing materials sold by the manufacturers can quickly exceed the cost of the machines. Commercial printing plastic can cost more than $100 per pound, and printing powder can cost about $30 per pound, not including the cost of the binder…Because of the skill required to operate some of these machines, Ganter says he could also see a future for 3-D print shops. Metrix Create:Space in Capitol Hill is heading in this direction; the business operates as a coffee shop for the design and tech communities. Customers include robotics hobbyists, professionals looking for affordable models, jewelry makers and engineers, to name a few. The space provides a communal work area with tools and craft supplies, including 3-D printers. The big attraction is Metrix's laser cutter, but owner Matt Westervelt said he's seen an uptake in the use of his 3-D printers…"You bring us a file, we'll give you a thing," Westervelt said…Thursday nights, clients bring in their own, self-assembled 3-D printers to Metrix to fine-tune the machines and work on printing projects together. Robot parts, figures designed for video games and a topographical relief map of Washington state have all been printed at Metrix…His shop makes and sells the parts needed to build more 3-D printers for $50 per set — a cloning project of sorts. They produce the parts using other 3-D printers…”
44.    Scientists say they’re getting closer to Matrix-style instant learning  http://io9.com/5867113/scientists-say-theyre-paving-the-way-towards-matrix+style-learning--but-is-it-safe  “…neuroscientists say they've developed a novel method of learning, that can cause long-lasting improvement in tasks that demand a high level of visual performance…New research published today in the journal Science suggests it may be possible to use brain technology to learn to play a piano, reduce mental stress or hit a curve ball with little or no conscious effort…Think of a person watching a computer screen and having his or her brain patterns modified to match those of a high-performing athlete or modified to recuperate from an accident or disease…here's the bit that's really interesting (and also pretty creepy): the researchers found that this novel learning approach worked even when test subjects weren't aware of what they were learning…according to research co-author Mitsuo Kawato, the neurofeedback mechanism could…be used for purposes of hypnosis or covert mind control…"We have to be careful," he explains, "so that this method is not used in an unethical way.”
45.    3D printing, Altairs and teleporters  http://dashes.com/anil/2011/12/3d-printing-teleporters-and-wishes.html  “…I don't think we're on the path to widespread adoption and success for 3D printers yet, and…I thought I'd jot down my notes as a sort of wishlist for where I hope the 3D fabrication and printing world is headed…Stop Making Altairs…the Altair, the first broadly successful personal computer to be sold…wasn't a computer — it was a kit to build a computer…Today, most 3D printing hardware feels closer to a kit that needs to be assembled than it does to a finished product…it's the biggest obstacle to wider adoption of 3D printing…The Teleporter: Every 3D printer should seamlessly integrate a 3D scanner, even if it makes the device cost much more. The reason is simple: If you set the expectation that every device can both input and output 3D objects, you provide the necessary fundamentals for network effects to take off amongst creators…What you've actually made, when you have an internet-connected device that can both send and receive 3D-printed objects, is a teleporter…printing in 2D sucks. It doesn't work, and when it does…you to waste tons of money on…ink and toner, which the printer companies rip you off for…printer companies are among the worst when it comes to building…Printer Management Suites that install tons of stupid software on your computer that does nothing useful…these new, consumer-friendly teleporters could simply have a fixed monthly…cost which includes all of the consumables that are needed to run the device…smart simple software that comes with your teleporter should know when you're low…and just automatically send you a replacement cartridge…the new generation of devices has to be connected to the Internet in smarter ways…each device should automatically share the 3D plans…unless someone marks their creation as private…it's a lot easier to modify someone else's 3D creation than it is to make one from scratch…these teleporters should have a simple way…for your friends who also own the device to send you their creation…a great way…to have a sort of "Christmas morning" experience every day as they see what their friends have sent them overnight…no mainstream platform has even remotely standardized on interfaces for sending 3D print jobs (or teleportation tasks) to a device. It may be too early for those standards to be defined right now, but once one platform gets them right, it may be a killer app for a loyal and deep-pocketed audience…”
46.    3D printing: almost mainstream  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9222839/3D_printers_Almost_mainstream  “Richard Smith needed to build a wall-climbing robot…so he printed one. Smith, director of Smith Engineering Gb Ltd., used a CAD program to design a 3D model of the WallRover, a dual-track roving robot with a spinning rotor in the chassis that creates enough suction to hold the device to a wall. He then sent the design file…to a 3D printer…Had Smith used a service bureau for the WallRover…which went through 22 design iterations -- it would have taken six months…Instead, Smith was able to get a…fully functional prototype to the client within two weeks…It's relatively easy to use a free tool such as Google SketchUp to create simple objects for 3D printing. But for complex shapes and geometries, designers still reach for professional modeling tools like SolidWorks…CAD software makers are addressing the 3D content creation challenge in three ways: By introducing easier-to-use solid modeling tools for 3D content creation, by offering libraries of 3D objects that give users a head start on a design and by using specialized software such as Autodesk's 123D Photofly. This tool can combine a series of photographs of an object, taken from all sides, into a usable 3D model -- a process known as photogrammetry…Other products, such as Rhino, a $995 program…are edging closer to that middle ground between complexity and capability…The design then needs to be exported to a standard file format 3D printers can use, most often the stereolithography (STL) format, originally developed by 3D Systems, that has become a de-facto industry standard…Until recently, the quality of STL files produced by CAD programs wasn't sufficient for 3D printing and required additional cleanup…an analyst at Gartner who covers 3D printing doesn't see consumers using the technology for personal printing of unique, one-off household items…It's too expensive for most people. Instead, he says, service bureaus may step in to fill those needs…Ben White uses a 3D printer from Z Corp. to produce prototypes of window curtain poles, tracks, blinds and other hardware for Integra Products Ltd. "It's more economical to lease a printer than it is to keep sending products out for fabrication…We're at 10% to 15% of the cost of the service bureau…and the turnaround is faster and the models are more accurately rendered to the original design specifications. After six months, the company is using the printer to produce 95% of its prototypes…using an HP DesignJet for rapid prototyping, Tintometer Ltd. sped up its product development times by 40% to 60%..."The ROI was about six months,"…Although they lack the capabilities of professional solid-modeling tools, all of the tools below can generate printable 3D objects -- and they're free…Google SketchUp…Autodesk 123D…TinkerCAD…3DTin…[and netfabb Studio Basic]…Manufacturers also offer libraries of preconfigured objects…MakerBot offers Thingiverse, a website where users can share objects they've created. Autodesk 123D offers a similar community…simple 3D design software for home hobbyists isn't suitable for professional use, and professional tools are still quite complicated…you need to be an expert CAD user to create digital content, or you need a fancy scanner to capture 3D geometry of an object…In 2010, 3D printer vendors shipped 5,978 personal 3D printers…"From the manufacturer's perspective, it's not the sale price of the printer but the sale of the supplies that matters most." Average consumables costs for 3D printers range from $2.50 to $10 per cubic inch…Z Corp.'s ZPrinter…is the only 3D printer on the market that…can print an object using multiple colors…If you're trying to manufacture with these machines, throughput is everything…Using 3D printers successfully in a manufacturing setting will require better automation of both pre-processing and post-processing steps…Stratasys expects to cut total pre- and post-processing time for a typical print job in half, from 5 hours today to about 2.5 hours within the next three years…In the personal printer space…prices will drop…past the $1,000 mark. In two years, we'll be close to $500…”
47.    A 2D Tour of the Buildatron 3D Printer Factory  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2397625,00.asp  “…when I started talking to Buildatron Systems about reviewing one of its 3D printers…I also asked if I could tour its…manufacturing facilities….the few-hundred square foot office space where Buildatron puts its printers together…The comparison to Apple's—and, more broadly, the personal computer's—early days is hard to avoid…the personal 3D printer industry is at about the same level of development now as personal computers were in roughly 1975 or 1976…The one important piece that's missing is a software application that will do for 3D printing what VisiCalc did for the Apple II, namely: Make the printers immediately useful to mainstream users…”
Open Source Hardware
48.    DIYLILCNC  http://diylilcnc.org/  “The DIYLILCNC project is a free & open-source set of plans for an inexpensive, fully functional 3-axis CNC mill that can be built by an individual with basic shop skills and tool access…The DIYLILCNC can be built for around $700. This cost includes all the stock hardware and sheet material used in construction. CAD files for custom laser-cut parts are distributed along with the plans….”  [if you know of good alternatives to the DIYLILCNC, please send me links and your experience with those alternatives – ed.]
49.    New Open Source Laser Cutter Hits Market  http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2011/12/12/new-open-source-laser-cutter-hits-market/  “…Lasersaur…open source laser cutter is every bit as elegant as an iPhone or iPod…Addie Wagenknecht and Stefan Hechenberger…wanted to bring an open source laser cutter to the maker and inventor and every day consumer who wants to try making things…their goal was to get a decent size unit in the $2,500 to $5,000 range. They took their project to Kickstarter.com and successfully funded with what is now a growing group of beta users…They’ve provided a bill of materials, parts list, on the site and the suppliers where you could get most of the parts, but you need the core kit from Lasersaur for now…The unit will cut ½ inch material with up to 100 microns accuracy…My assumption was that the founders were engineers, but co-founder Ms. Wagenknecht, explains that she is an artist, not an engineer…she’s surrounded by engineers and tech folks in the open source community that supported their work to help get the Lasersaur off the ground…The democratization of fabrication, Ms. Wagenknecht reminds me, has happened elsewhere. You can look at all the 3D printers to see that trend of machines reproducing at work – the Reprap, the Makerbot, Makergear, the new Printrbot. Nortd Labs, the parent of Lasersaur, seeks to demystify the technology and let people think about the possibilities.  She says it has been fascinating to watch the community grab hold of this concept and start building the Lasersaur …”  http://labs.nortd.com/lasersaur/
Open Source
50.    Raspberry Pi PC gets ready to launch  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16316439  “…Raspberry Pi home computer is about to go into production…in the hope that it will inspire a new generation of technology whizz kids. The Pi uses an Arm chip similar to that found in mobile phones and is intended to run a version of the Linux open source operating system…The idea for Raspberry Pi came from video game veteran David Braben who was searching for a way to inspire young people to start a career in technology…The finished device will be sold in two configurations. A Model A for $25 (£16) which lacks a network connector and a Model B for $35 (£22) which does have an Ethernet socket…it anticipates that people will be able to place orders for the gadgets in early January…”  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/28/raspberry_pi/  “…this low-power credit card-sized computer is…little more than £20 for a fully functional system capable of, among many things, 1080p video playback and hardware-accelerated graphics…The Pi is powered by a 700MHz ARM-compatible processor with hardware support for OpenGL ES 2.0 and Blu-ray-grade playback (1080p30 H.264), and features 256MB of RAM, TV, HDMI and audio outputs, a USB port, a Flash memory card slot, 100MBit Ethernet and a number of I/O pins for a serial port and general purpose hacking. This is all fitted on a low-cost 85.60mm x 53.98mm board that's about 20mm high, weighs 40g…”  http://www.raspberrypi.org/  http://beagleboard.org/bone
51.     CuBox as a Raspberry Pi alternative  http://nwlinux.com/cubox-raspberry-pi-alternative/  “Solid-Run announced on December 11, 2011, the availability of CuBox. CuBox is an ultra small open-source Android TV and media center hardware device…CuBox operates with a voltage less than 3 watts….feature set to include: Marvell Armada 510 based 800MHz ARM processor…ARMv7 Instruction set…1GByte DDR-3…HDMI 1080p output backed by hardware video decoding engine capable of up-to 1080p decoding of all major multimedia codecs…OpenGL|ES 2.0 GPU…Android 2.2…Linux kernel 2.6…The platform ships with a universal 5V power supply and 2GByte micro-SD, and is user upgradeable to 64GByte and beyond. Customers will have access to the CuBox platform including all its supporting infrastructure and resources for €99.”
52.    allwinner A10 Cheaper Alternative to Raspberry Pi?  http://nwlinux.com/allwinner-a10-cheaper-raspberry-pi/  “The allwinner A10, produced by Rhombus Tech, aims to “serve Free Software Developers, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts and Engineers with access to affordable, modern and importantly GPL-compliant hardware.” The allwinner A10 has been developed and currently being sold in China at a cost of $7. Features include: 1.5ghz Cortex A8 ARM Core…MALI400MP OpenGL ES 2.0 GPU…2160p Hardware-accelerated Video playback (4x the resolution of 1080p)…up to 1gb of DDR3 (800mhz) RAM…”
53.    Mozilla's Boot to Gecko Mobile OS Concept  http://ostatic.com/blog/mozillas-boot-to-gecko-mobile-os-concept-one-to-watch-in-2012  “…in the summer of 2011, Mozilla announced its Boot to Gecko platform, which is indeed its own operating system, though it isn't exactly a Firefox OS…Boot to Gecko will be squarely web-centric, and fully open. Recently this effort has arrived in the news again…"If this sounds like Android or Chrome OS, it should. Boot to Gecko uses some of the same lower-level building blocks as Android, such as the Linux kernel and libusb…Mozilla's mobile OS, although still mostly conceptual, resembles Android and even Linux itself in a number of ways…Mozilla has been adamant that it will be an open operating system right down to the components in the stack. And if the OS takes off, it could work within an open ecosystem…The OS is squarely focused on facilitating mobile web applications, which is the primary focus of Google's Chrome OS. In the long run, Mozilla's OS could create significant competition with Google's, just as Mozilla and Google compete closely in the browser space.  This is one to watch in 2012…”
54.    Open Source Challenger to Dropbox and Box.net: ownCloud  http://www.readwriteweb.com/cloud/2011/12/open-source-challenger-to-drop.php  “…ownCloud is a project started by Frank Karlitschek, who's been very active in the KDE project…ownCloud is online storage, but it's not a quick and easy drop in for Dropbox nor is it an exact analog to Box.net or Apple's iCloud. First off, ownCloud isn't just about syncing files…it syncs not just files but contacts, calendars and bookmarks across devices…ownCloud even features streaming music features…ownCloud lets you choose where your files are going to be hosted. You can use Amazon S3, you can use Google, or you can drop in your own server…Folks who are particularly privacy conscious, technical or already running their own servers (or using S3, etc.) will probably take to ownCloud…ownCloud is open source…Companies can also extend ownCloud and participate in development, rather than being locked into a roadmap set by Dropbox or another company…the native clients for Mac OS X, Windows, Android, iOS and so forth are still in development. The actual ownCloud launch is not scheduled until sometime in the first quarter of 2012…”
Civilian Aerospace
55.     Another Soyuz rocket launch fails  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16317099  “Russia's recent poor launch record has continued with yet another Soyuz rocket failure. This time, a Soyuz-2 vehicle failed to put a communications satellite into orbit after lifting away from the country's Plesetsk spaceport. Debris is said to have re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and crashed to the ground. In August, a Soyuz failure on a mission to resupply the space station led to a six-week suspension of flights…It was a Soyuz-2.1b, the most modern version of the rocket that has been in service in various forms since the 1960s…it will raise concern again among the partners on the International Space Station (ISS) that there may be systemic problems in the Russian launch sector. Following the retirement of the American space shuttle in July, the Soyuz rocket is the only means of getting astronauts and cosmonauts to the ISS…”  [although this article is not primarily a civilian aerospace incident, it highlights the challenges of rocket launches, even for the relatively mature Soyuz rocket technology – ed.]
56.    Beaming down Earth’s energy from space  http://news.discovery.com/space/beaming-down-earths-energy-111220.html  “It's always sunny in low-Earth orbit, so what better place to look for a source of solar energy?...Oil and coal must be extracted, shipped, refined and burnt…Wind needs to be 1) present, and 2) converted to energy with turbines, and water requires the construction of dams…Even ground-based solar panels are subject to weather and the Earth's day/night schedule. Enter the concept of space solar power -- using orbiting solar panels that constantly collect energy from the sun, unfiltered and uninterrupted, and "beam" it back down to Earth…The sun is constantly putting out incredibly vast amounts of radiant energy…Earth receives only a fraction of this output, yet capturing it has the potential of providing renewabl…energy -- especially in places where access to conventional power grids is limited or impossible…we have yet to see any significant development on the space solar power concept…Although space solar power is currently far from ready, requiring plenty of research and engineering (and thus funding) to become a reality anytime soon, the technology is feasible... given the existence of affordable launch vehicles and in-orbit support operations…”
57.     Kinect measures astronaut body volume just by looking at them  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228443.700-kinect-weighs-astronauts-just-by-looking-at-them.html  “…Even during missions that last just a few weeks spacefarers can lose up to 15 per cent of their body mass because their muscles atrophy due to lack of use…Monitoring weight in space is not easy, though, since traditional scales don't work in orbit. The problem was partially solved in 1965 by…a stool fitted with a spring that raises and lowers the stool at a frequency that depends on the mass it is acting against…this system is bulky and a lot of energy is required to power the moving stool, using up two of the space station's most limited resources…Carmelo Velardo…with colleagues at the Italian Institute of Technology's Center for Human Space Robotics…used the Kinect's depth-sensing ability to create a 3D model of an astronaut. Then the team ran their calculation using a statistical model that links weight to body measurements…Velardo's estimates are 97 per cent accurate…which is comparable to the current method used on board the ISS…microgravity shifts water around inside astronauts' bodies, which means their density may not match the assumptions in the model…combining the idea with the existing weighing system might prove more beneficial, as the Kinect measures body volume while the stool measures mass…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
58.    Chinese to Integrate CUDA Programming Curriculum in Universities Nationwide  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinese-ministry-of-education-to-integrate-cuda-programming-curriculum-in-universities-nationwide-2011-12-13  “…the Chinese Ministry of Education is planning to offer NVIDIA CUDA architecture-focused programming courses at potentially hundreds of universities nationwide beginning in the second half of 2012, resulting in up to 20,000 students being trained annually on the best CUDA and parallel-programming practices. NVIDIA worked closely with the Ministry's National High-Quality Course Resource Center to develop the new course, entitled "GPU-Based Parallel Computing." It has been designed to help students master all aspects of parallel programing on heterogeneous and GPU-based computing systems, and apply this knowledge to a range of scientific and engineering disciplines…It will cover a range of parallel programing concepts, including GPU hardware configurations, programming models, memory models, application acceleration, data-level parallel algorithms, and parallel complexity analysis…the GPU is revolutionizing the landscape of today's computing," said Deng Yangdong, associate professor of Institute of Microelectronics at Tsinghua University. "Its wide availability combined with the easy-to-use CUDA parallel programming model enables us to teach tomorrow's engineers and researchers on how to deliver a new wave of innovations by unleashing the power of modern parallel processors…”
59.    Russia to get 10-petaflop supercomputer  http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/110583-russia-building-10-petaflop-supercomputer-joins-china-in-search-of-less-us-tech-dependence  “…By 2013, Lomonosov Moscow State University — the oldest university in Russia — will house a 10-petaflop supercomputer created by T-Platforms, an up-and-coming high-performance computing (HPC) company that’s basically the Russian equivalent of Cray or IBM…T-Platforms has apparently pitched a few different node varieties to the university; some sporting Intel Sandy Bridge Xeons, some Ivy Bridge, and some a combination of Sandy Bridge and Nvidia Kepler-based GCGPU coprocessors…Beyond the computer itself, though, a much more interesting story is unfolding. If you go back 10 years…almost every supercomputer in the world was in the USA or Japan…Titan, Tianhe, K, and Russia’s unnamed computer, are all built on Intel, AMD, and Nvidia technology; American technology… and that’s all about to change. China is now working on a supercomputer made entirely from Chinese tech, Russia has made it clear that it would like to seed a homegrown tech industry that can power these supercomputers, and even Europe — which already has high-tech companies like the UK-based ARM Holdings — wants to reduce its dependence on US technology…”
60.    GPU-Accelerated Version of Nastran FEA Software  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-12-14/msc_software_releases_gpu-accelerated_version_of_nastran.html  “…MSC Software Corporation…launched a GPU-accelerated version of the MSC Nastran 2012, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) application, which is used in a wide range of engineering simulation tasks. The new GPU-accelerated MSC Nastran 2012, available for both Windows and Linux systems, delivers performance improvements of up to 5x compared with the previous version. Users will benefit from more realistic models and higher quality simulations, opening the door to design breakthroughs for aircraft and spacecraft…"GPU-enabled performance improvements have the potential to transform engineering analysis and design-optimization procedures," said Dr. Ted Wertheimer, senior director of product management at MSC Software. "CUDA-based GPU acceleration in MSC Nastran 2012 will speed up performance by 1.5-5x for a range of models and industries…With support for single- and multi-GPU acceleration, MSC Nastran 2012 allows users to significantly reduce simulation turnaround times…”
61.     Boston IT Solutions showcases new GPU and ARM HPC  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-12-20/boston_india_showcases_latest_cpu_gpu_solutions_for_hpc.html  “Boston IT Solutions…will be showcasing their latest range of GPU and CPU based solutions optimised for the high performance computing arena…the MD Simcluster is able to cut down simulation time from days to hours, significantly accelerating the research of scientists in a number of scientific domains. The entry level SimCluster configuration consists of 8 NVIDIA Tesla M2075 GPUs and 4 Intel CPUs, providing computational performance of up to 8 Teraflops. A mid-range Simcluster combines 16 NVIDIA Tesla M2090 GPUs and 8 Intel CPUs to give a compute performance of up to 20 Teraflops. And finally the high-end configuration hosts 32 NVIDIA Tesla M2090 GPUs and 16 Intel CPUs in a 42U rack to provide up to 42 TeraFlops of processing power…Boston are also unveiling the latest generation of ultra low power computing platforms based on Calxeda ARM EnergyCore SOC processors. With 48 nodes available in a 2U enclosure, the Boston Viridis Project can provide for up to a staggering 900 servers per industry standard 42U rack and can deliver up to 10x the performance per watt over existing processor technologies…Based on a completely new architecture outside of the traditional x86 platforms, this exciting new platform provides a revolutionary new approach to highly parallel, low power computing…”



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