NEW NET Weekly List for 03 Jan 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 03 January 2012, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net
1.        China’s Parallel Online Universe  http://the-diplomat.com/2011/12/27/china%E2%80%99s-parallel-online-universe/?all=true  “…As the showdown escalated between Chinese security forces and residents of Wukan, where villagers revolted against the Chinese Communist Party, you didn’t find…much discussion of the incident in Chinese social media…it wasn’t only because the internet was shut off in the town. It was also a result of China’s development of…“social media clones” that ably mimic the functions of…popular, internationally recognized social media…such as Facebook and Twitter. The replicas, however, come with a major catch: they systematically comply with the Chinese Communist Party’s strict censorship requirements. This innovative approach…satisfies the growing demand of hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens for social media tools…while still enabling the Communist Party to control what they say to each other on matters of political consequence. [ref. Ministry of Truth and Ministry of Love“1984” – ed.]…the big transnational social media players – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – are blocked in China…homegrown firms, such as Renren, which provides Facebook-type functions, Youku.com, a YouTube-like video sharing service, and Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service…are then required to have automated or manual monitoring and censorship mechanisms in place to quickly identify and delete user-generated postings or disable accounts that run afoul of the Communist Party’s ever-changing censorship red lines. It’s a daily reality for Chinese…academics, activists, and even ordinary users to discover a posting deleted, their account locked, or their “friends” unable to view what they have just shared…Sina Weibo reportedly employs some 700 people to perform around the clock monitoring of millions of tweets…Testing by researchers…found that a search for the names of seven prominent Chinese lawyers, activists, and journalists on Sina Weibo returned no results, only an Orwellian notice that “According to related laws and policy, some of the results are not shown here.” Within this alternate reality…the democratic ambitions of the Arab Spring protestors are absent, Liu Xiaobo’s 2010 Nobel Peace Prize is hidden from view, and…Hillary Clinton’s speech with Chinese microbloggers are deleted…Beijing authorities on December 16 formally announced new rules to be imposed on microblogs…the new measures will create greater incentives for individual users, in addition to companies, to self-censor…officials from the highest echelons of the Communist Party made the rounds…Sina Weibo’s chief executive, and…chairman of Tencent Holdings Ltd…have indicated that they’ve gotten the message, announcing their readiness to implement new mechanisms of control at their firms…Their business success depends on compliance…” [I, for one, feel Google made the right decision in withdrawing from China and wonder what self-censoring Microsoft, Yahoo and other American companies are willingly continuing to do in order to generate revenue from what will undoubtedly be the largest national internet market segment – ed.]
2.       Cloud storage sites by Amazon, Google, Apple, Carbonite compared  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-tech-savvy-cloud-20111229,0,5265913.story  “…as the Internet has gotten faster and data centers have multiplied, the price of storing files in the cloud has dropped. For many consumers, storing copies of all of your music, photos and documents in the cloud is now an affordable option…Carbonite…for $59 a year will create a complete online copy of your computer, so that if you lose any file — or all your files — you can restore it through a Web browser…Amazon has a…general storage service called Cloud Drive, which allows you to upload and store videos, photos, documents and other files. The service is free for the first 5 gigabytes of storage…probably not enough to hold your entire collections…you can upgrade to larger accounts, from 20 gigabytes ($20 a year) to 1,000 gigabytes ($1,000 a year)…Cloud Drive has a bothersome limitation, though: Instead of an automatic upload feature like the one Carbonite has, you have to manually upload files…Google offers a similar service through its Google Docs feature. You can upload most kinds of files to your Google Docs list, up to 1 gigabyte for free. Its prices for more space are lower than Amazon's: $5 a year for 20 gigabytes and $100 a year for 400 gigabytes…up to 16 terabytes for $4,100…Apple…iCloud, which tends to store only documents or music files that you create or purchase through Apple..Those storing highly sensitive data…invention blueprints, compromising photos — may want to hold off for now…for regular old family snapshots, music files and writing drafts, the cloud is providing an affordable and convenient way to keep your digital stuff…”  http://www.apppicker.com/news/201112285560-skydrive-takes-swing-google-docs-misses.html  “As an avid and loyal fan of Google Docs I decided to try SkyDrive, Microsoft’s…cloud service that allows you to access stored files from anywhere with access to a web browser…Simplicity might be an overstatement when reviewing the design and features of SkyDrive…You can upload files from your computer to be viewed or shared on your SkyDrive app or you can upload files and pictures that are currently stored on your phone. Files that are uploaded can be shared via email with another person or downloaded to your iOS device…Hopefully, for Microsoft’s sake, the app evolves quickly and in the future becomes more efficient for personal and business uses…”
3.       Stanford Free Classes – A review from a Stanford Student  http://pennyhacks.com/2011/12/28/stanford-free-classes-a-review-from-a-stanford-student/  “…Stanford…started a new initiative to bring free classes to the public…this venture has been extraordinarily successful with over 100,000 sign ups. Most likely only a fraction went through with the class, but that’s still a lot of people, especially for the first time…I was not at all satisfied by the CS229a: Applied Machine Learning, one of the three courses offered to the public fall quarter…there are quite a few things that hopefully Stanford will change in the future. First and foremost, the academic rigor of Stanford classes should be upheld. Going into CS229a, I knew it was going to be easier than its counterpart, CS229, since 229a focused on the applied side of machine learning…At the beginning, some of the programming assignments were challenging since I wasn’t used to matlab/octave programming or machine learning. However, the level of difficulty dropped off drastically as the quarter progressed…I completed the program without even knowing what I was doing…comments associated with the programming assignments became so informative and gave so many hints that almost no critical thinking was needed…the programming assignments were tailored to fit the needs of the public (apparently large streams of questions came in after the first assignment was released)…to sacrifice critical thinking so that there are less questions is not something I’m OK with…the review questions…were simple from the beginning to the end…I have found that half of my classes are now open to the public in the online format…If all of my classes suddenly become as easy 229a, I will be seriously disappointed. I came primarily to Stanford to learn and study…Stanford needs to keep rigor even in their online courses…it’d be best for Stanford to separate the students from the public for a few reasons….these new classes are getting rid of in-person lectures completely. I met barely anyone in my CS229a class…Stanford “free” classes aren’t free. Stanford students have to pay for them…if I’m going to have to pay $50,000 a year to go to Stanford then the classes should be tailored to fit the students – not a working professional who wants to learn a little machine learning on the side…If all of Stanford’s classes are to be open to the public, then all those classes will quickly lose their value…”
4.       IFTTT Triggers Loyal, Nerdy Following  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/28/ifttt-triggers-loyal-nerdy-following/  “One of my favorite services to pop in the second half of 2011 is “If This, Then That,” or…IFTTT. Among a small group of faithful nerds on Twitter, IFTTT is a simple yet powerful service that generates warm, fuzzy feelings…IFTTT is a service that allows users to set a number of alerts, or “tasks,” that will “trigger” a preset function based on what you set. For example, you can set IFTTT to send you an email every time a specific user on Twitter sends a tweet or have a copy of every Instagram photo you snap to be automatically sent to your Dropbox…The different permutations of “triggers” you can set are sort of endless. To help you wade through them, you can browse different IFTTT “recipes” and browse this thread on Quora…it’s becoming easier to see why IFTTT is gaining steam…there are just too many services to keep track of. If you’re monitoring a series of brands across many channels, IFTTT enables you to track and route all relevant messages to a specific place, especially Dropbox…IFTTT makes it both easy and, strangely, fun and addictive with its big bold letters and slick interaction. You can also temporarily turn off tasks without losing the recipes entirely…”
5.        Insync is your Google Docs-loving alternative to Dropbox and it’s free  http://thenextweb.com/apps/2011/12/30/forget-dropbox-insync-is-your-google-docs-loving-alternative-and-its-free/  “…If you’re the kind of person who uses Google Docs and Dropbox a lot…you will be interested to hear that…Insync…announced that its cloud-based sharing platform is available for free…It isn’t just Google Docs that can be synced; PDFs, MP3 and almost any other file type can be shared through the service, it just happens that its Docs support is particularly strong…We put an emphasis on sharing and collaboration…Read/write and read-only sharing…Nested sharing…Files can be viewed from the Web-based app…Paying users will receive an email in a week or two giving them the option of a refund or Insync credit…However, it seems that many users are shunning the opportunity of reimbursement, preferring instead to contribute to the Insynchq “beer fund”…we believe that storage will be commoditized…pretty soon…we believe that money will be made in value-added premium features, not sync/storage limits…premium features might include a secure remote wipe of local Google Docs, nested selective syncing, business controls on what filetypes can be synced, and more…”
6.       Dropbox Automator Processes Dropbox Files Automatically  http://www.ghacks.net/2011/12/30/dropbox-automator-process-dropbox-files-automatically/  “Dropbox Automator monitors Dropbox folders of your choice to perform automatic actions on new files that get added to the folder. This includes uploading documents to Google Docs and photos to Flickr, converting documents to pdf, adding a watermark to photos or uploading the files to an ftp server of your choice…Four groups of actions are available…Documents: Convert to pdf, summarize, translate, pdf to text, upload to Google Docs, upload to Slideshare, sign pdf (electronic signature)…Pictures: Upload to Facebook, upload to Flickr, downscale, rotate image, write text on image, photo effect, stamp a logo on the image, stamp a map on the image, stamp a dislike on the image…Any file: E-mail, zip file, save it to another Dropbox folder, rename, upload to ftp server, encrypt, decrypt…Send Info: Tweet, Set Facebook status…”
7.        12 Ways to Use LinkedIn in 2012  http://www.lockergnome.com/social/2011/12/28/12-ways-to-use-linkedin-in-2012/  “LinkedIn is the largest social network of professionals, now boasting more than 135 million members in over 200 countries and territories. If you have signed up for LinkedIn but rarely use it, or haven’t even signed up yet, consider using LinkedIn more regularly as one of your New Year’s resolutions. If you need a few reasons why, here are 12 ways you might not have thought of to use LinkedIn in 2012: Look for a Job…Collect References…Get Answers to Your Questions — Or Answer Questions…Stay Connected Wherever You Are…Share Your Content…Prepare for an Interview…Prepare for a New Job…Facilitate Introductions…Advertise…Find More Customers…Network with Like-minded Professionals…Stay in Touch with Your College Classmates…”
Gigabit Internet
8.       Getting to a gigabit;Sonic.net will taking on AT&T in San Francisco  http://gigaom.com/broadband/getting-to-a-gigabit-how-sonic-net-will-take-on-caps-residents-and-att-in-san-francisco/  “…Sonic.net…permits…to begin the pilot build out…are far from certain…the city’s residents are active protestors of some of the infrastructure a fiber network requires…When it comes to better broadband, the cabinets holding the electronics raise the ire of residents who would rather not have refrigerator-sized boxes on their lawns…because Sonic.net is deploying fiber to the home, he will use fewer cabinets (he estimates 188)…Aerial deployments are cheaper because there’s less labor associated with stringing the cable…Sonic.net is profitable as a company, and has been in business for 17 years. The question is if Jasper can keep Sonic.net in the black while building out and selling fiber to the home to consumers for $70 a month…Sonic.net’s well known for declining to cap its broadband service…Jasper is using…Sabastopol buildout to help model the costs and demand for fiber in San Francisco. To help keep costs in line, the fiber links are for consumer accounts only…the lack of applications for gigabit networks probably helps Jasper here, as does the fact that most consumers typically use downlink services to consume content…there’s a limit to how much they can consume, even with three or four TVs downloading or streaming HD content…it really does end up normalizing down to a reasonable level,” Jasper says…between Google’s plans to deploy fiber to the home in both Kansas Cities, a few municipal networks, Verizon’s FiOS network and Sonic.net’s plans, we’re getting more people to a gigabit…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
9.       EFF appeal win reopens NSA dragnet spying case  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/12/dragnet-surveillance-case/  “A federal appeals court on Thursday reinstated a closely watched lawsuit accusing the federal government of working with the nation’s largest telecommunication companies to illegally funnel Americans’ electronic communications to the National Security Agency without court warrants…The San Francisco-based appeals court reversed a San Francisco federal judge who tossed the case against the government nearly three years ago. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, now retired, said the lawsuit amounted to a “general grievance” from the public, and not an actionable claim…Judge Margaret McKeown ruled…the EFF’s claims “are not abstract, generalized grievances and instead meet the constitutional standing requirement of concrete injury. Although there has been considerable debate and legislative activity surrounding the surveillance program, the claims do not raise a political question nor are they inappropriate for judicial resolution.” The EFF’s allegations are based in part on internal AT&T documents, first published by Wired, that outline a secret room in an AT&T San Francisco office that routes internet traffic to the NSA…”
10.     Hackers Said to be Planning to Launch Own Satellites to Combat Censorship  http://www.pcworld.com/article/247147/hackers_said_to_be_planning_to_launch_own_satellites_to_combat_censorship.html  “Hackers reportedly plan to fight back against Internet censorship by putting their own communications satellites into orbit and developing a grid of ground stations to track and communicate with them…the satellite plan was recently outlined at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin. It's being called the "Hackerspace Global Grid."…hacker activist Nick Farr said knowledge is the only motive of the project, which also includes the development of new electronics that can survive in space, and launch vehicles that can get them there. Farr and his cohorts are working on the project along with Constellation, a German aerospace research initiative…You might think it would be hard for just anybody to put a satellite into space, but hobbyists and amateurs have been able in recent years to use balloons to get them up there. However…they have a hard time tracking the devices…the German hacker group came up with the idea of a sort of reverse GPS that uses a distributed network of low-cost ground stations that can be bought or built by individuals…these stations would be able to pinpoint satellites at any given time while improving the transmission of data from the satellites to Earth…”
11.      Printer malware: print a malicious document, expose your whole LAN  http://boingboing.net/2011/12/30/printer-malware-print-a-malic.html  “One of the most mind-blowing presentations at this year's Chaos Communications Congress (28C3) was Ang Cui's Print Me If You Dare, in which he explained how he reverse-engineered the firmware-update process for HPs hundreds of millions of printers. Cui discovered that he could load arbitrary software into any printer by embedding it in a malicious document or by connecting to the printer online. As part of his presentation, he performed two demonstrations: in the first, he sent a document to a printer that contained a malicious version of the OS that caused it to copy the documents it printed and post them to an IP address on the Internet; in the second, he took over a remote printer with a malicious document, caused that printer to scan the LAN for vulnerable PCs, compromise a PC, and turn it into a proxy that gave him access through the firewall…”
12.     San Francisco robot app store  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/31/BUJT1MI754.DTL  “…Apple's App Store marked a seminal moment of the smart-phone age…It spawned the development of hundreds of thousands of new uses for the devices, apps for consuming media, playing games, making music, navigating cities…Elad Inbar hopes the same could be true for robots. Late last year, the industry veteran launched RobotsAppStore.com, a robotics software marketplace…My first impression on hearing about a robot app store was: It's an idea ahead of its time. That was also my second and third impression…But Inbar…said there are roughly 14 million personal and service robots worldwide, a leap of 66 percent in the past two years…He previously founded another robotics company in his native Israel and served as chief technology officer of mobile advertising company MassiveImpact.com. Popular personal robots today span the price range. There's the Keepon toy…for $20…the roughly $16,000 talking android known as Nao…Willow Garage's $400,000 PR2s…can bake cookies, fold laundry and fetch beer…in the middle of the price spectrum are iRobot's Roomba vacuums ($299 to $599) or the several-thousand-dollar AIBO robot dogs…AIBO is actually a prime example of the potential demand for a robot app store…owners took to trading around homegrown software that cracked the source code to teach the dog new tricks, like dancing and talking…Naturally, Sony responded to this customer enthusiasm for its product by filing a cease-and-desist order…The company eventually saw the error of its ways, backtracking so far as to offer up a software development kit…pretty much all personal robot manufacturers provide these sorts of kits today…Inbar expects to launch to the full public early in the year. He hopes to have around 500 apps in the marketplace at that time…In 2009, researchers at the University of Washington managed to hack commercially available robots and warned that they could be used to spy on people, swipe keys, vandalize homes, terrorize children or trip the elderly. It kind of makes a phishing scheme sound quaint…For now, Inbar just hopes that an app store can begin to spark the sort of excitement around robots that they did for smart phones, winding up a virtuous cycle of more users, more apps and more robots…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
13.     Samsung Galaxy Note  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2397903,00.asp  “…the Samsung Galaxy Note…"phablet"—part phone, part tablet—boasts a 5.3-inch, 1280-by-800 screen…I did find it small and comfortable enough to use with a single hand. On the other hand…it's tough to picture the masses walking…with gargantuan 5-inch screens pressed against their cheeks…Galaxy Note also acts more like a tablet than a phone. In addition to multitouch pinch-to-zoom finger-based input, the aforementioned stylus, dubbed the 'S Pen,' tucks into the bottom panel of the phone, and can be used in a variety of apps. In the Messaging App, for example, you can write on the screen, and the Galaxy Note will convert your scrawls to email or SMS messages with the aid of predictive text. In the browser, you use the pen to annotate, then capture Web pages with your notes. Input with the pen was very responsive, and…text conversion worked well. Besides integration with the native apps, Samsung plans to release an SDK for the S Pen so developers can write third-party apps that use it for input…It runs Android Gingerbread 2.3.5…There's an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel one on the front…dual-core, 1.4Ghz Samsung Exynos processor…Galaxy Note will get an upgrade to…Android, 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" in 2012…”
14.     India’s $45 Akash tablet racks up 1.4 million pre-orders in 2 weeks  http://thenextweb.com/in/2012/01/03/indias-45-akash-tablet-racks-up-1-4-million-pre-orders-in-2-weeks/  “This year is shaping up to be the year for low-cost tablets in India…the Akash — which is the world’s cheapest tablet — has received 1.4 million pre-orders in just two weeks. That’s a rate of 100,000 customers for the $45 tablet every day…manufacturer Datawind is duly increasing its production capacity by opening three new factories…With the Akash, Ubislate and Classpad all launching for less than $150, this year looks set to be a major one for India’s tablet market. The growth of tablet users could boost the country’s Internet access, which stood at 112 million in September, that’s less than 10 percent of India’s 1.2 billion population.”  http://www.thinkdigit.com/Tablets/Datawind-revises-retail-Aakash-name-announces-Ubislate_8354.html  “DataWind has slightly revised the names of the retail versions of the Aakash and Ubislate 7 tablets…Aakash, will now be called Ubislate 7, while the original Ubislate 7 become s the Ubislate 7+…UbiSlate 7+ runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform and is powered by a Cortex A8, 700 Mhz processor with HD Video co-processor. It has a 256MB of RAM, while supports (Internal) 2GB Flash / (External) 2GB to 32GB storage…The UbiSlate 7+ has 7-inch of display with 800x480 pixel resolution…the device supports GPRS & WiFi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/…”
15.     Traditional Cell Provider Text Messaging Is in Decline in Some Countries  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/text-messaging-is-in-decline-in-some-countries/  “…all signs point to text messaging’s continuing its decline in several parts of the world…Cellphone customers on Sonera, a Finnish mobile network, sent 8.5 million text messages on Christmas Eve, down from 10.9 million on the same day the previous year…In Hong Kong there was a steep decline in text messaging on Christmas Day, down nearly 14 percent compared to the previous year…Australians, too, sent fewer text messages — down 9 percent from 2010…The fading allure of text messaging is most likely tied to the rise of alternative services like Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry Messenger and iMessage, which allow customers to send messages free using a cellphone’s Internet connection…in the United States, the number of text messages sent by cellphone customers is still growing, but that growth is gradually slowing…texting in the United States grew 10 percent in the first quarter of 2011. That was down from 16 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2010…he predicts “SMS erosion” will hit AT&T and Verizon in the next two years.…”
16.     Sanwa Supply Rolls Out Micro Projector For iPhone 4/4S  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/03/sanwa-iphone4-projector/  “…Sanwa Supply started selling the 400-PRJ011 in its online store, a DLP micro projector that slides onto an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. The device comes with a 2,100mAh battery, which takes about five hours to fully charge and provides enough juice for 2.5 hours of projector usage. With the projector function turned off, buyers can also use the device to charge their iPhone (it adds 100% to the life of the phone’s battery)…the projector produces images with 640×360 resolution, 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and up to 65 inches in size. The device weighs 103g and also features internal speakers that can be used in addition to those in the iPhone. Sanwa is selling the 400-PRJ011 for 19,800 Yen (US$260…”
17.     Autodesk Starts Testing Android Mobile Apps  http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1394&doc_id=237159  “Engineers are hardly knocking down doors for mobile design tools, but response…has shown a consistent, albeit slightly hesitant, interest…most of the early design tool apps have been for Apple iOS devices…Late last month, Autodesk put out a call for beta testers to help start troubleshooting a working version of its mobile Design Review program for Android devices. The app, which lets users read, write, and markup DWG files, was released in mid-2011 for the Apple iPhone and iPad. Its release gave engineers a tool to view and collaborate on 2D and 3D drawings wherever they are in the field…”
18.     Starting a New Year’s Resolution? Gympact Makes You Keep It or Pay  http://mashable.com/2012/01/01/gympact-keep-it-or-pay/  “Happy New Year! Now it’s time to…get started on that New Year’s resolution that seemed like such a good idea last night…Gympact, which launches its first iOS app today, employs tough love rather than rewards to keep its users visiting the gym. At the beginning of each week, users set a goal for the number of times they’ll visit the gym and name a price they’re willing to pay for not meeting that goal. If they miss their goal, they pay the price. If they make it, they receive a portion of the cash collected from all the people who missed their goals. Gympact collects a 3% fee on this transaction…People are lot more motivated by the thought of loss than the thought of reward…”
19.     New ClockworkMod app offers free tethering to Android phones, sans root  http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/2/2677391/clockworkmod-tether-non-rooted-android-free-tethering  “Famed Android developer Koushik Dutta has released a new Android tethering app that doesn't require root access. It's called ClockworkMod Tether, and…Koush claims that the app is not detectable or blockable by carriers. The developer is known for creating the popular ClockworkMod recovery and a ROM Manager that makes it easy to change and backup various ROMs for Android phones. We tested out the app today, and for an alpha product the installation is simple…Once we ran the application and plugged in a Galaxy Nexus, the tethering app was installed on the phone and we were up and running. Currently the app only works over USB…”
20.    Israeli Engineer Creates Universal Remote App for the Man Cave  http://www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/jewish_techs/israeli_engineer_creates_universal_remote_app_man_cave  “Using your iPhone or Android-powered smartphone to operate your television, Blue-Ray player, DVD, stereo, or well, anything else electronic in your house should really be a no-brainer at the end of 2011…I remember using several PDA’s from the Sony Clie to the Palm/Handspring models to operate my TV as far back as a decade ago. However, there has been a dearth of apps available for download that allow you to control your entertainment system…Tom Henderson filed a report about how two men looking to make $4,000 with an app wound up launching the company that would create the universal remote control app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, as well as Android phones and tablets…Last year, Itai Ben-Gal, an engineer from Israel, and Victor Nemirovsky, a software developer from Russia, were working in the auto supply chain. Today, to their surprise, they are smart-app entrepreneurs who work for themselves…A plan to make $2,000 each last year on the side by developing and selling software for a universal remote control app for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch has morphed instead into their company, iRule LLC, with serious funding…The goal of making $2,000? That was how much Ben-Gal, a self-described audiovisual geek, figured was enough to help pay for a family vacation and reward his wife for her patience and indulgence for the nine months and small fortune he'd spent in 2008 on his "man cave" in the basement of his Novi house…Instead, Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky made enough last year…for each to buy a new four-door family sedan. This year, iRule has raised $500,000 from investors, including the first investment from the fledgling Compuware Ventures LLC, a new investment subsidiary of Compuware Corp…”
21.     BarCrowd app  http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/08/29/1439380/new-app-can-tap-into-the-bar-scene.html  “When Cole Harper was home in St. Louis on breaks from the University of Missouri-Columbia, he and his buddies discovered the bar-hopper's Goldilocks paradox: The places they stopped in were often too empty or too crowded, but none seemed just right."I kept thinking, 'Wouldn't it be nice to know what the scene was like before paying $20 for a cab?' " Harper, 27, said."Are there people there? Girls? Is it a young crowd or more mature?"  To help answer those questions, Harper and friend Marc Doering founded SceneTap. The free mobile application uses cameras loaded with facial-detection technology to feed users' phones real-time data about the number of people in a bar, their average age and the male-to-female ratio.SceneTap launched last month in Chicago, and so far about 75 venues there have paid to be included in the app…He has been fielding requests from bar owners from California to Israel."We've gotten interest from people in every continent except Antarctica…”
22.    Google launches hub for tracking 2012 election info  http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/keeping-up-with-2012-us-election-with.html  “…just in time for the Iowa Caucuses, we’re launching google.com/elections, an election hub where citizens can study, watch, discuss, learn about, participate in and perhaps even make an impact on the digital campaign trail as it blazes forward to Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The site enables voters, journalists and campaigns to quickly sort through election info by popularity, race or issues. People can also check out the Trends Dashboard to take the web’s real-time political pulse by comparing candidates’ YouTube video views, search traffic and Google News mentions. Campaign staffers, advocates and everyday citizens can utilize our tools and features to reach, engage and inspire voters…”
23.    Google Plus 'will have more than 400m users by the end of 2012'  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2080207/Google-Plus-hit-400m-users--overtake-Facebook.html  “…Google’s social networking site Google Plus will have more than 400million users by the end of 2012…The prediction comes from U.S. analyst Paul Allen, who said that Google Plus, which went public in September, has just passed the 62million mark, with a quarter of those signing up in December. He said 625,000 members are signing up every day and expects that number to rapidly increase – partly because over 700,000 Android devices are bought every day, which makes signing up to Google Plus easier, and partly through integration with other products and the power of word of mouth…”
24.    Google grabs IBM patents including “Computer phone”  http://www.slashgear.com/google-grabs-ibm-patents-including-computer-phone-03205647/  “…Google is continuing to work with IBM to build up their patent portfolio so that they can avoid as many 2011-esque litigations as possible…this past week…showed Google acquiring another 188 granted patents and 29 published pending patent applications from IBM. Patents in this deal contain such names as blade servers, data caching, server load balancing, instant messaging applications, video conferencing…What we’re seeing here is patents for everything from “Selecting and Rendering a Section of a Web Page” to the “Transfer of Web Applications Between Devices.” Perhaps most interesting is the one by the name of Computer Phone, whose abstract reads thusly…A computer integrated cordless phone. The phone can include a cordless handset transceiver configured for coupling to an antenna shared with a wireless network adapter through a multiplexer/demultiplexer so that both of the cordless handset transceiver and the wireless network adapter transmit and receive data within a common wireless frequency spectrum…”
25.    4 big moves Google should make in 2012  http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/03/tech/web/four-google-moves-2012-mashable/index.html  “In peeking ahead to predict what 2012 holds for Google, it's informative to look back at the eventful year it had. While one can't help but see the big product introductions -- a social network, a mobile-payment system, a music store -- it's the deletions that are much more interesting. Google got rid of a host of unwieldy and barely used products and features in 2011. While Google regularly does "spring cleaning" to trim its vast portfolio, the projects scrapped this year were many, and most were originally intended to be major focuses of the company…There are sure to be some collisions in 2012. Let's take a look at some key ones…Google+ comes into its own…Android puts its house in order…Ceding tablet territory while building content…GDrive cements domination of the cloud…”
26.    Retailers value Google+ more than Facebook, Twitter  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/retailers-value-google-more-than-facebook-twitter/6797  “…Retailers are embracing Google+ faster than Facebook or Twitter, at least when it comes to social plugins…Google+ is already embedded on more retail websites than Facebook or Twitter…across 20 popular e-commerce destinations, the social plugins were implemented as follows: Google +1 (45 percent), Facebook (40 percent), Twitter (15 percent), and AddThis (15 percent). The 20 e-commerce websites that were tracked are as follows: Best Buy, CouponCabin, Sports Authority, LL Bean, Gap, Dicks Sporting Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, SVPPLY, DSW.com, Modells, Zappos, Old Navy, Disney, Target, Walmart, Gilt, Sears, Amazon, NewEgg, and Piperlime. This is no fluke; these are big names…Six months ago, Facebook plugins were the most used, but the Google +1 button had already passed Twitter’s various buttons. I would wager Facebook is still first, but only when considering all types of websites, and its lead may not last for much longer. So, why is Google+ winning with retailers? Well, by adding +1 buttons, retailers could potentially improve their Google search ranking. That’s something that Facebook, Twitter, nor any other social network can offer…”
General Technology
27.    Ten technology flops of 2011  http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/01/9833806-10-technology-flops-of-2011  “1. HP TouchPad and webOS: Early termination award…HP dropped its TouchPad tablet faster than NBC cut "Free Agents." The news was a shocker because HP paid lots in pilot production costs, namely $1.2 billion for the TouchPad’s webOS operating system…2. AT&T's faux G…If you bought an AT&T 4G smartphone in 2011, you were really getting 3G speeds…the carrier provides the following caveat…4G speeds delivered by HSPA with enhanced backhaul…when it launched its true 4G LTE network in September…test results varied wildly…3. BackFlip into oblivion…Cisco, the company that paid $590 million for Pure Digital’s popular Flip camcorder in 2009, canceled the device this spring. Until the purchase, Flip cameras created, defined, and lead the pocket camcorder market…It was clear the company lost focus with the $279 Flip SlideHD (pictured) , an overpriced device with an awful resistive touchscreen and a confounding design…The company killed the signature pocket camcorder, and cut 550 jobs along with it…4. Bad JooJoo re-do…In 2010, a company called Fusion Garage launched the JooJoo Tablet, a hefty 12-inch slate with bad battery life, a lame web-centric interface…Fast forward one year and Fusion Garage was at it again with the Grid 10 tablet…Fusion Garage's second chance came to a resounding end after a series of debacles earlier this month…5. MeeGo goes nowhere…In February 2010, Nokia teamed up with Intel to form MeeGo…one year later, Nokia threw MeeGo in the trash heap in favor of Windows Phone 7. Intel put on a brave face for the platform at first, telling us, “We’re not blinking on MeeGo.”…In September, Intel announced it was ditching MeeGo in favor of a new OS project called Tizen…6. AT&T/T-Mobile merger gets slammed…39 billion bucks. That’s the price AT&T announced it was paying for T-Mobile in March…In November, the FCC weighed in and backed up the DoJ’s decision that an AT&T and T-Mobile merger threatened to saddle consumers with “higher prices, less product variety and innovation, and poorer quality service."…AT&T had to pay T-Mobile $4 billion in broken-merger fees and give the company loads of Advanced Wireless Spectrum…7. The Netflix backlash…Netflix discovered the fastest way to lose nearly 1 million customers this summer. In July, the companyannounced a new pricing plan that, at minimum, charged customers $7.99 for its popular online streaming option and another $7.99 for its one-DVD-at-a-time mail service, a total of $15.98 a month…8. RIM extends "amateur hour" to a year…RIM’s decline hit nose-dive speeds this year…9. Color me bad…No CEO should say this about his or her service: “Even I haven’t used the product in months.” But Bill Nguyen said it. Nguyen’s the founder of Color, an app for Android and iOS that melds photo-sharing with an internal social network…As it turns out, Color’s sharing function depended heavily on having a robust number of users close enough to walk over and say “hi” to each other, but the app never reached that level of engagement…10. Mario's next level: Denial…Nintendo’s much-hyped next-gen 3DS handset sold just 380,000 units in its first three months on shelves, and many believe Apple is to blame for the low numbers. Thanks to the combined might of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (not to mention Android games), Nintendo is no longer the mobile gaming king…”
28.    Recycling electronics  http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/12/29/holiday-waste-how-not-to-throw-out-your-old-electronics/  “…chances are you have some outdated electronics on your hands…few municipal waste firms can recycle electronics. So what should you do then?...1) Re-gift them…2) Donate them…EBay’s Rethink Initiative, which includes a list of organizations that can make use of your leftover electronics…Cell Phones for Soldiers, which provides gently used phones for deployed and returning troops…3) Be capitalistic…you can use a digital middleman like NextWorth.com. The company will quote a price, and you can either send the gadget directly to them, or trade it in at a Target superstore—a useful option if you’re dealing with a large desktop or similar-sized device. You can also try Gazelle…4) Recycle it: This is trickier than it sounds because not every e-waste recycler is doing it right…Scores of electronics retailers and manufacturers like BestBuy and HP now sponsor convenient recycling programs…” [what recycling options do you use or do you know of for consumer electronics? – ed.]
29.    About Learning To Code  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/01/new-years-resolution-programming/  “…many of you are probably in the middle of writing your New Year’s resolutions. Well, here’s a good one (especially considering that the tech sector seems to be the only bright spot in a sort of lackluster economy) … Learn to code. The folks at Codecademy  have teamed up with a number of partners like Girl Develop It, Techstars and YCombinator to help make coding skills a reality for those that wish they had them, with Code Year, a program designed specifically for those that want to make 2012 the year they build technical skills…”
30.    State of the web: of apps, devices and breakpoints  http://www.zeldman.com/2011/12/29/state-of-the-web-of-apps-devices-and-breakpoints/  “…If … you have built your mobile site using fixed widths (believing that you’ve designed to suit the most ‘popular’ screen size), or are planning to serve specific sites to specific devices based on detection of screen size, Android’s settings should serve to reconfirm how counterproductive a practice this can be. Designing to fixed screen sizes is in fact never a good idea…there is just too much variation, even amongst ‘popular’ devices…As consumers, we’ve all had the experience of seeing the wrong layout at the wrong time…Considering our own experiences and reviewing Rieger’s chart, it is easy to share Drummond’s conclusion that breakpoints are dead and that all sites should be designed as minimally as possible…Eric Meyer’s Master Compatability Chart for Web Review…used a variety of colors to show how each detail of the entire CSS specification was or was not supported…in every browser which was available at the time, including, if memory serves, close to a dozen versions of Netscape, Explorer, and Opera. Looking at that chart induced nausea and vertigo…In the short run it’s going to be hell, just as the browser wars and their lack of support for common standards were hell. But it is the short run…Eventually this nutty market will stabilize around a few winning Android platforms (e.g. Kindle Fire) and common breakpoints will emerge…When I see fragmentation, I remind myself that it is unsustainable…and that standards always emerge…This is a frustrating time to be a web designer, but it’s also the most exciting time in ten years…”
31.     Most Important Gadgets Of 2012  http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/29/2012-predictions/  “…some of the gadgets that will change the world in the next few years…I think 2012 will also be the year of Windows Phone, 3D printing, and fitness technology that actually makes a difference…our picks for the best of 2012…Autom and Fitbit…promise what geeks crave – stats…better health and decreased body mass…Nokia Lumia 710…With the arrival of cheap Windows Phones…Nokia is looking to take back the low end…Makerbot…is working on better ways to get 3D printing to the masses…3D printing…machines are prohibitively expensive and complex, but with a few UI and marketing twists, I foresee a day when the kids print out model car parts the way they print out book reports…ultrabooks are a necessary addition to the laptop ecosystem and should be taken seriously…Kindle Fire is Amazon’s first salvo against the iTunes juggernaut. Amazon wants to sell you stuff…The device is Amazon incarnate…tablet for readers that will become, for many, the primary way to consume streaming video…PSP Vita…is the first of the next gen consoles to roll, inexorably, towards our living room…”
32.    First Siri, Now Threat Detection: Inside SRI’s Amazing R&D  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/12/sri-threat-detection/  “…a non-profit R&D powerhouse called SRI International conducted decades of research in artificial intelligence to build the foundations of Apple’s virtual digital assistant. The project was called CALO…and in 2007, SRI spun out a for-profit enterprise called Siri, Inc to bring CALO technology to consumer devices. Siri became an iPhone 3GS app in February 2010, and two months later, Apple purchased the start-up from SRI for a rumored $200 million. It’s an impressive success story…And Siri is also just a small portion of SRI’s greater tech catalog…In this article, the first of a three-part series, we’ll focus on SRI’s research in threat detection…Formerly known as Stanford Research Institute, SRI is located on a sprawling, 65-acre campus nestled among towering oak trees and well-curated lawns in Menlo Park, California…we followed our guide through labyrinthine white-washed hallways…and up to a darkened second-floor office…Glowing on a large touchscreen display was BotHunter, a powerful software package that detects malicious software botnets across the Internet…BotHunter is free, and has already been given away to more than 200,000 users. The software detects bots and other types of malware using a technique called network dialog correlation…BotHunter doesn’t look inside packets…Rather, it looks for known patterns of bad code — anomalous patterns that indicate an attack…SRI uses a large honeynet of computers that wait for attacks, and record the results. This information is then plotted on a map, showing where known attacks are happening…Although BotHunter only detects malware, SRI has a few other tools that aid in network attacks. One called Blade is a “Windows immunization system” that prevents inbound attacks altogether. And one called Eureka reverses and decrypts malware, so it can then determine the type of attack and suggest a response…”
33.    Military Radar Technology to Be Used to Detect Potholes  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/02/military-radar-technology-to-be-used-to-detect-potholes-in-louisiana/  “Radar used in the stealth bomber and to find roadside bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq is moving into the sewers of Louisiana. The aim is finding empty spaces where dirt has seeped into sewers and water pipes before they spread to create huge potholes or sinkholes that can collapse roadways and sidewalks above them…All around the country, water and sewer pipes laid 50 to 100 years ago are cracked and breaking…The condition of nation's sewer and drinking water systems both got D-minus in a 2009 report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers…”
34.    Wide IO next-generation mobile RAM products  http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-12-elpida-sample-shipments-next-generation-mobile.html  “Wide IO Mobile RAM is a next-generation mobile memory chip that provides solutions to opposing needs for faster speed and lower power consumption. The rising performance of smartphones and tablet devices in recent years has led to demand for faster DRAMs (DRAMs with greater data transfer rates), but in turn this has generated concerns about increases in system power consumption. The solution is that Wide IO Mobile RAM expands the I/O width by using x512-bit, a data width that is more than 10 times larger than the width for existing DRAMs, which enables a data transfer rate of 12.8 gigabytes per second (GB/s) per chip while operating at a low speed of 200MHz. The reduced DRAM speed results in approximately 50% less power consumption compared with DDR2 Mobile RAM (LPDDR2), currently the leading DRAM choice for mobile devices…LPDDR3 is another of Elpida's new next-generation mobile memory. This new chip achieves a data transfer rate that is twice as fast as LPDDR2. A single LPDDR3 has a data transfer rate of 6.4 GB/s or 12.8GB/s based on a two-chip configuration for high-end mobile devices. When compared with LPDDR2…LPDDR3 consumes roughly 25% less power, enabling it to extend the operating time of smartphones and tablet devices…”
Leisure & Entertainment
35.    Movie ticket sales fell sharply in 2011  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500184_162-57350854/movie-ticket-sales-fell-sharply-in-2011/  “…Domestic revenues closed out at $10.22 billion for 2011, down 3.4 percent from 2010's…movie admissions were down sharply for the second year in a row. Factoring in higher ticket prices, domestic attendance slipped to 1.28 billion in 2011, off 4.2 percent from 2010 admissions and the smallest audiences Hollywood has had since 1995…Some studio executives had predicted record revenues for 2011. The movies themselves may simply have held less appeal to fans than expected, though audiences also could be skipping trips to theaters to watch movies on big-screen home setups or to play with the countless entertainment gadgets now on the market. Viewers can watch films at home or on portable devices for a fraction of the cost of going to theaters…”
36.    Arcade Game Emulator MAME Now Out For Google Chrome  http://www.mobilemag.com/2012/01/02/arcade-game-emulator-mame-now-out-for-google-chrome/  “It was a serious project for Google’s Robert Muth, but now Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME), an emulator for a large number of classic arcade games, is ported to the Native Client of Google Chrome. So all of you who feel nostalgic about their favorite classic games like this pictured Robby Roto, then Pac-Man, Galaga, and whatnot, might want to go to Chrome App Store and get some of old joy…There’s also that mobile MAME imame4all app which will give you the same MAME games on both Android and iOS…”
37.    Netflix To Debut Original Series “Lilyhammer” Next Month  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/03/netflix-to-debut-original-series-lilyhammer-next-month/  “…Netflix is launching a new original series next month called Lilyhammer, which will kick off the company’s foray into original programming for 2012. The series will star The Sopranos actor and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt in a “fish out of water” story that takes place in Norway. The story follows New York mobster Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano as he enters the federal witness protection program. He moves to Lillehammer – the Norwegian town that hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics…”
Entrepreneurism and Technology
38.    How IBM is staying a leader in technology  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/business/how-samuel-palmisano-of-ibm-stayed-a-step-ahead-unboxed.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all  “…behind I.B.M.’s relentless progress over the last decade is a game plan that has been anything but conservative. The company shed multibillion-dollar businesses. It chose higher profit margins over corporate size, and expanded aggressively overseas…A large portion of the credit goes to Samuel J. Palmisano, who steps down on Sunday after nearly a decade as chief executive. During his tenure, I.B.M. has been a textbook case of how to drive change in a big company…He says his guiding framework boils down to four questions: “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”…“Why would somebody work for you?”…“Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”…“And why would somebody invest their money with you?”…after he took over, Mr. Palmisano told colleagues that I.B.M. was still good, but that it wasn’t the standard-setting corporation that it had been when he joined in 1973…The four questions, he explains, were a way to…prod the company beyond its comfort zone and to make I.B.M. pre-eminent again…To focus on doing unique work, with its higher profits, meant getting out of low-margin businesses that were fading. I.B.M.’s long-range technology assessment in 2002 concluded that the personal computer business would no longer present much opportunity for innovation, at least not in the corporate market. The hub of innovation would shift to services and software…Today, that is called cloud computing; when I.B.M. started promoting the concept several years ago the company called it on-demand computing…Mr. Palmisano led a lengthy strategic review of the PC business, deciding to sell while it was still profitable. Internal arguments against a sell-off were intense…But if you decide you’re going to move to a different space, where there’s innovation and therefore you can do unique things and get some premium for that, the PC business wasn’t going to be it…”
39.    RIM Co-CEOs May Soon Be Stripped Of Their Chairmen Roles  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/03/rim-co-ceos-may-soon-be-stripped-of-their-chairmen-roles/  “As RIM navigates some particularly rough seas, it appears as though the company may soon kick-off a good old-fashioned corporate governance shakeup in order to please their shareholders. Although they’ll retain their positions as co-CEOs, the Financial Post reports that RIM’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie may soon be ousted from their positions as chairmen of the board…Time is quickly running out, and if the FP’s sources are to be believed, there really isn’t reason for things to stay the way they are. As a result, RIM is reportedly eyeing independent director Barbara Stymiest to take over as chairperson of the board…the company has suffered crisis after crisis since then. Anemic PlayBook sales, a world-wide service outage, and a pair of drunk (and possibly superhuman) executives raising hell on a plane are just a few of the things that the company has had to weather recently, which could explain why Lazaridis and Balsillie may not be putting up much of a fight…”
DHMN Technology
40.    AI will change our relationship with tech  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16367039  “Skynet, the Terminator series computer network, was to go live in 2011 and bring the world to an end…we have just survived 2011 without such a cataclysmic event. And the closest we got to computers achieving self-awareness was Apple's Siri. It doesn't promise self-awareness per se, but does promise to listen and to learn - and hopefully not systematically destroy us. It seems likely that in 2012 a computer will pass the Turing Test - which might get us closer to a digital machine with true artificial intelligence (AI). The irony is that most of us will not care…the debate around human-computer engagements has moved on from the Turing Test and the notion of a computer that can seem human by simulating human reasoning and interpretation…We want machines that will take care of us, not just reason with us. We want machines that will look out for us and our interests, not ones that can parse the difference between other computers and computer scientists. And there are signs of such machines on the horizon, which is good…”
41.     Drone Station lets you fly an AR.Drone using a Mac  http://www.gizmag.com/drone-station-ardrone-mac-controller/20968/  “The AR.Drone quadricopter really is quite a nifty toy ... or tool ... or whatever you want to call it. Up until now, however, it could only be controlled by an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, an Android smartphone, or for the people who have one, a Linux PC…folks over at Drone Apps realized that a lot more would be possible if the aircraft could be piloted through an iMac or Macbook - most importantly, controllers such as joysticks and gamepads could be used. The result is an OS X application called Drone Station…the app lets users record video or snap stills from the drone's front and bottom cameras, and practice their flying skills on a simulator before sending their US$300 quadricopter skyward. The onscreen display also provides real-time readings on attitude, altitude, direction, and battery level…by using an external USB WiFi dongle on their computer, users can reportedly get over three times the range possible using a mobile device. Probably the biggest selling feature, though, is the fact that pilots can use commonly-available gaming controllers…”
42.    Best of MAKE: My Ten For 2011  http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2012/01/best-of-make-my-ten-for-2011.html  “I took some free time over the break to review the stuff I covered last year and pick out about 50 personal faves. Then I went back through that list and produced this highly unscientific “Top 10″…Small Screw Top Capsules from Plastic Bottle Caps, Necks…Lemon Hand Grenades…How-To: Ultralight Camp Pot from Heineken “Keg” Can…Scratchbuilt: M65 Atomic Cannon…Car Tire Pottery Wheel…Circuit Tree…Ultra Simple 360 Degree Photo Hack…How-To: Form Fitting Case, Drawer Liners from Old T-shirts, Canned Foam…Harvard’s $14 Swarm Bot Design…Pico Projector + Light Fixture + Free Code = Desktop Spherical Display…”
Open Source Hardware
43.    Open-source solar PV monitoring system  http://revoltlab.com/2012/01/02/open-source-solar-pv-monitoring-system/  “Here is the documentation for a solar PV monitoring system that’s been developed as part of the OpenEnergyMonitor project. It’s based on Arduino and is fully open-source…The system monitors both generation and consumption and gives the user a clear indication of when their household electricity demands are being met by their solar PV array (green light) or when their not (red light). The wireless display also shows how much electricity is currently being exported or imported…This development is part of the actively on-going OpenEnergyMonitor project to design and build open-source tools for the monitoring, visualization and control of energy.”
Open Source
44.    E4rat Seriously Cuts Down on Linux Boot Time With a Few Simple Commands  http://lifehacker.com/5790311/e4rat-cuts-your-linux-pcs-boot-time-in-half-with-a-few-simple-commands  “…Whether your computer already boots pretty quickly or you're trying to eke some extra spee dout of your old computer, free command line tool E4rat will seriously decrease your boot time…As you may know, the files on your computer are usually spread all over the physical drive itself. When your computer looks for the files it needs to boot, it usually has to scan all over the drive to find them. This takes awhile, and contributes to a good percentage of your boot time. E4rat is a tool that will log which files you access in the first two minutes of booting, put them in order on your disk, and preload them so it can read the files much, much quicker. The process of getting it up and running takes three steps: collecting information about your startup, reallocating the files, and then setting them to preload on each boot. Note that your disk needs to be formatted in Ext4 for this to work, and you don't want to do this on an SSD…”
45.    Microsoft to enable Linux on its Windows Azure cloud in 2012  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-to-enable-linux-on-its-windows-azure-cloud-in-2012/11508  “Microsoft is preparing to launch a new persistent virtual machine feature on its Azure cloud platform, enabling customers to host Linux, SharePoint and SQL Server there…What does this mean? Customers who want to run Windows or Linux “durably” (i.e., without losing state) in VMs on Microsoft’s Azure platform-as-a-service platform will be able to do so…Microsoft has been balking at customer requests to add persistent VMs to Azure, hoping to get customers to develop Azure apps from scratch instead. But the lack of the ability to host apps like SharePoint and other third-party business applications with persistence was a deal breaker for a number of business users who were unwilling to consider Azure until Microsoft added this support…Running Linux on Azure has been a surprisingly big  business-customer request, as well, my contacts said. Microsoft won’t be supporting Linux once the late-March persistent VM CTP launches; instead, it will be up to customers to provide uploads of their own Linux images…” [so, if MS lets people run Linux on Azure without getting a “Microsoft license” to avoid the liability of unauthorized use of Microsoft’s claimed IP related to Linux, does that weaken their legal position vis-à-vis Android or other Linux uses? – ed.]
46.    Thunderbird 9.0 Arrives  http://ostatic.com/blog/thunderbird-9-0-arrives-via-mozillas-rapid-release-cycle  “Mozilla has delivered the latest version 9.0 of its Thunderbird email and news client, a free and open source application that Windows, Mac and Linux users can take advantage of…Here are some of the enhancements in the latest version of Thunderbird…Thunderbird…is based on the Mozilla Gecko 9 engine and includes improvements to Personas, better keyboard support for handling attachments…and a new opt-in system to send performance and usability data back to Mozilla to improve future versions of Thunderbird…” [many people, myself included, have switching in recent years from a client email program, such as Thunderbird or MS Outlook, to a webmail approach, such as Gmail or Yahoo mail; do you still use a client email program and, if so, which one? – ed.]
Civilian Aerospace
47.    Important space missions in 2012  http://www.space.com/14040-2012-spaceflight-anticipated-missions.html  “…Here's a look at the 12 most anticipated space missions of 2012: 1. First Commercial Spaceship Flights to ISS…In 2012, the first of these private vehicles is set to make its maiden voyage to the orbiting laboratory. The Dragon space capsule developed by…SpaceX is scheduled to launch atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket Feb. 7. A few days later, the craft is due to autonomously rendezvous with the space station…the Cygnus capsule being developed by Orbital Sciences Corp…is due to fly atop Orbital's Taurus 2 rocket in May…2. Virgin Galactic Powered Flight…experts are hoping to see SpaceShipTwo's rocket engines ignited for flights sometime in 2012. These test flights will be a major step toward flying space tourists, more than 400 of whom have already paid in full…3. China's Manned Space Laboratory…This year the nation launched its first space station test module and conducted its first in-orbit rendezvous and docking. Though these spacecraft were unmanned, Chinese astronauts are expected to fly on a subsequent docking test flight in 2012…4. NASA's GRAIL Probes Arrive at the Moon…5. LightSail-1 Launches…LightSail-1 is made of three small cube-shaped spacecraft attached to four triangular Mylar sails arranged like a kite. The vehicle will rely on pure sunlight for propulsion…6. Dawn Probe Departs for Second Asteroid…NASA's Dawn probe…has been in orbit around the asteroid Vesta…the second-most- massive body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter…In July, the $466 millionDawn spacecraft is due to…head toward the dwarf planet Ceres, the only larger body in the asteroid belt…7. Curiosity Rover Arrives on Red Planet…Curiosity…is expected to land on the Red Planet Aug. 6…to search for signs that Mars is, or ever was, habitable to life…Curiosity is due to descend to the planet's surface as no vehicle has done before. NASA engineers devised a sky crane descent module that will parachute down to hover over Mars, then lower Curiosity on tethers…8. Dream Chaser Drop Tests…This orbital flier is another bid to take over the task of ferrying NASA astronauts to the International Space Station…For Dream Chaser's first test flight, the space plane will be lofted to high altitudes by Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo mothership…to test its landing capabilities…9. Air Force Space Plane Landing…The U.S. Air Force has a secretive spy spacecraft called X-37B in orbit right now…launched…on March 5, 2011. It is the second craft of its kind…the hush-hush is vehicle is expected to land sometime in early 2012…10. Space Station Gets New Additions…In May 2012, Russia will launch the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MPLM), a new room to be added onto the space station's Zvezda nadir port…Nauka will house science experiments and cargo and will be used for docking, as well as work and rest areas for the crew…the European Robotic Arm…will be attached to the Russian side of the space station to assist with work on the station's exterior…11. Planetary Exploration Milestones…12. Permanent Human Presence in Space…the five partner space agencies behind the International Space Station will continue to send people to the outpost to maintain the human presence in space that's been constant since 2000…These men and women will spend around six months each living and working in space, performing experiments in a wide range of sciences inside humanity's only microgravity laboratory.”
48.    Musk says he’ll put millions of people on Mars  http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/12/elon-musk-says-he-will-put-millions-of.html  “Musk declared recently that he could put a human on Mars in 10 to 20 years' time. It is a remarkable claim, yet even more astonishingly Musk tells me that he could do it for $5 billion, and possibly as little as $2 billion - a snip when you consider that the International Space Station (ISS) has cost at least $100 billion to build and operate, or that $2 billion is roughly the cost of launching four space shuttle missions…In his Heinlein prize acceptance speech, he said he wants to put 10,000 people on Mars…a call for 10,000 would-be Martians is extraordinary, even by his standards. When I query him on this point, he pauses. Is he reconsidering? Yes... but, as with so much else about Musk, not in a predictable way. "Ultimately we don't really want 10,000 people on Mars," he says, after letting the pause linger a few seconds more. "We want millions…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
49.    FortranCL: An OpenCL interface for Fortran 90  http://gpgpu.org/2011/12/30/fortrancl  “FortranCL is an interface to OpenCL from Fortran90 programs…It allows Fortran programmer to directly execute code on GPUs or other massively parallel processors. The interface is designed to be as close to the C OpenCL interface as possible, and it is written in native Fortran 90 with type checking. FortranCL is not complete yet, but it includes enough subroutines to write GPU accelerated code…”
50.    Nvidia Announces Carma: Cuda ARM Development Kit  http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-cuda-arm-9-tegra-3-carma,14335.html  “Called Carma, the board includes the company's Tegra 3 quad-core ARM A9 processor, a Quadro 1000M GPU with 96 cores (good for 270 single-precision GFlops), as well as a PCIe X4 link, one Gigabit Ethernet interface, one SATA connector, three USB 2.0 interfaces as well as a Displayport and HDMI. Included in the package, which will be available in "limited quantities", is the CUDA toolkit and a Ubuntu Linux-based OS. Nvidia said that Carma will be shipping sometime in Q2 of next year. The developer kit is generally targeted at hardware and software designers who are working on "energy-efficient computing initiatives…”



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