NEW NET Weekly List for 10 Jan 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 10 January 2012, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurism and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net
1.        Could Chrome overtake Internet Explorer in the browser wars?  http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/04/tech/web/google-chrome-browser/index.html  “…Chrome…passed Mozilla's Firefox to become the second-most popular tool of its kind on the Internet…that climb…has some tech observers wondering whether Chrome could…topple perennial leader Internet Explorer from atop the browser rankings…Chrome accounted for more than 27% of all worldwide browser use at the beginning of December…compared to about 37% for Internet Explorer…Firefox remained mostly steady with about 25% of the browser market…people are more aware than ever that they have a choice of browsers. Internet Explorer has been the dominant browser for more than a decade, at least in large part because it comes installed on Windows machines…The rise of Chrome comes as Google has expanded beyond its core product -- its search engine -- into such areas as mobile operating systems (Android) and social networking (Google Plus). Chrome has been a high point for Google in what has developed into a two-front clash of tech titans with Microsoft…”
2.       Path is where the A list hangs out  http://loiclemeur.com/english/2012/01/path-is-where-the-a-list-hangs-out-dont-tell-anyone.html  “…Want to know where most influential and successful entrepreneurs, VCs and tech writers hide online these days?...Want to be able to interact with some of them so famous…on Twitter and Facebook that there is no chance they will read you and reply there? Look no further than Path…where almost every A-lister in Silicon Valley I know hides these days. They share thoughts, pics and short videos, very intimate…Thanks to many unique features such as notifying you exactly when and who has seen your pictures or your feed, Path is the ultimate way of keeping you in touch with your close friends. Close is the key, you can’t exceed 150 friends on Path…Path’s recent growth isn’t about features, though, it’s more about people. Facebook and Twitter have become very mainstream…most people feel that what Facebook wants more and more is for you to share everything in public. It’s the default setting. Path fills that gap for some people, it created a small place where you can hang out online anytime with your close friends…”
3.       Wikipedia launches new QR code project to document daily life in Monmouth, UK  http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/12/31/monmouth-chosen-to-star-in-unique-wikipedia-experiment-91466-30035724/  “Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, is launching a new project to document the life and history of an entire Welsh town…historians and local residents are being invited to contribute articles and photographs documenting interesting aspects of life in Monmouth…highlighting notable places, people, artefacts, flora and fauna. It will also use QR codes, barcodes read by smart phones through their cameras that take users to Wikipedia articles in their language…Monmouthpedia is the brainchild of town resident John Cummings who was inspired by a similar project at Derby Museum. The 29-year-old…said the aim was to have about 1,150 QR codes placed around Monmouth by May. “I went to see a talk about what they did at Derby Museum and I said ‘you could do it for a whole town’ and they said ‘no, you could do it for a whole town’ – so I am…Monmouth appears in the Domesday book, the Council for British Archaeology has designated it the seventh best town in Britain, it’s got a good local history and civic society and there are people willing to volunteer their time…”
4.       Mozilla to build slow-paced Firefox for conservative (e.g. corporate) users  http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57356321-264/mozilla-to-build-slow-paced-firefox-for-conservative-users/  “Mozilla has embarked on its plan to build its Extended Support Release (ESR) version of Firefox, an edition that stands comparatively still while the ordinary version of the browser changes every six weeks. Mozilla proposed the ESR version of Firefox…after encountering serious resistance to its rapid-release development cycle. The fast releases…approach…doesn't work so well for companies or other organizations that need to test their software carefully or make sure custom add-ons don't break frequently…Releases of the ESR will occur once a year, providing these organizations with a version of Firefox that receives security updates but does not make changes to the Web or Firefox add-ons platform…”
Gigabit Internet
5.        For blazing fast wireless internet, Broadcom announces its first 5G WiFi chips  http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/05/for-blazing-fast-wireless-internet-broadcom-announces-its-first-5g-wifi-chips/  “Broadcom is announcing today its first WiFi chips that will allow wireless to surf the web at a speed of 1.3 gigabits per second…This kind of faster networking is needed because consumers are watching videos and playing streamed games on a variety of devices and screens in the home these days. It could also be great for activities such as multiplayer gaming. The name 5G WiFi is a clever bit of marketing, but accurate enough…The technology uses the 802.11ac engineering protocol, or the fifth generation of WiFi standards…Broadcom can position WiFi as faster than 4G, which the cellular phone companies are rolling out as the fastest mobile phone data networks…since WiFi is faster than mobile networking such as 4G LTE, WiFi is expected to be a big part of gadgetry in the future…802.11ac is the next generation of WiFi that operates in the same 5 gigahertz band of the radio spectrum as its predecessors, 802.11a and n. (802.11b operated in the 2.4 gigahertz band, but 802.11ac is compatible with all past versions of WiFi). The technology is faster because it uses a wider channel for delivering data, at 80 megahertz instead of 40. It uses 256-QAM, a modulation scheme that is four times more efficient than the prior 64-QAM scheme. And it taps multiple antennae using the MIMO spatial stream technology, using twice as many streams as were available before…”
6.       Gigabit Internet application competitions spreading to Vermont  http://www.dailyyonder.com/rural-technology-it-pays-compete/2011/12/19/3651  “…communities put final touches on their 2012 economic development plans…should consider incorporating an approach that’s increasingly popular in the broadband world: contests offering cash prizes for creating effective broadband apps…Chattanooga recently announced a contest offering $100,000 to the person or group that comes up with the most creative application to run on their gigabit network…Chattanooga soon added additional contests and incentives to its initial offer that now promises up to $250,000 in prize money…The two Kansas Cities responded with a contest of their own, the “Gigabit Challenge,” that offers a similar amount…The Northeast Kingdom (NEK) of Vermont consists of the three most northeastern counties in the state…Fifty towns dot this region with an average of 1,800 residents per town…Fifty participants entered InternetBiz2010 contest after working with local developers to improve their online service…Laura and Al Duey…took an active interest in getting NEK residents better broadband…but the service providers reported that in spite of the committees’ enthusiasm, broadband take rates were unprofitably low. VCRD started a program called the e-NEK Project to concentrate efforts in three towns to connect businesses to the Web…The e-NEK Project awarded $15,000 in Web-related services for plans determined to be the best, and the prizes had to be used to help implement these plans. Eight local businesses and Internet-service providers were contest sponsors, providing $7,000 in cash prizes…110 small businesses from the NEK participated in the contest, either registering for it, attending the educational Webinars, or both. Representatives from the companies attended one or more Webinars, which they could do without having to enter the contest…the contest does not have to have a high price-tag to be successful. However, it does require a significant commitment of time from several people…the mechanics of how the contest was conducted (forums, Webinars, judging) was valuable in helping all contestants improve their Web sites, even if they didn’t win any prizes…heavy local promotion of the contest and encouragement for those who win service prizes to spend locally can keep money flowing inside rural communities…”
7.        Three cheers for the digital divide?  http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/blog/ann-treacy/three-cheers-digital-divide  “…Thomas Friedman wrote an editorial that caught the attention of a lot of folks working towards better broadband. Friedman suggests that to become a world leader, America should not focus on getting mediocre broadband to the masses, but instead strive to get “ultra-high speed” broadband to the top 5 percent…Right now…notes Levin, America is focused too much on getting “average” bandwidth to the last 5 percent of the country in rural areas, rather than getting “ultra-high-speed” bandwidth to the top 5 percent, in university towns, who will invent the future. By the end of 2012, he adds, South Korea intends to connect every home in the country to the Internet at one gigabit per second. “That would be a tenfold increase from the already blazing national standard, and more than 200 times as fast as the average household setup in the United States,”…the National Broadband Plan also sanctions a digital divide that strives for 100 Mbps for 100 million households and 4 Mbps for the rest – much of “the rest” will be rural communities with lower population density and more challenging terrain for installing infrastructure…Friedman seems to have forgotten Metcalfe’s Law: the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. Only when we get everyone online will we be able to realize full potential…I am pleased that Friedman has helped lift of up the issue of broadband in the US and offered it up as a solution for unemployment and job scarcity. I take umbrage as his approach to focus investment in the top 5 percent at the expense of the rest…there are at least three issues with his approach: He is using last century’s definitions of communities to promote a modern tool that discredits that definition…He turns a blind eye to both the investment being made in other countries to support ubiquitous broadband and to Metcalfe’s Law…He seems to assert than an investment made on behalf of rural communities is more valuable than an investment in those communities….Finally I think he undersells America. There was a day where we strove to be biggest and best – maybe we need to consider ubiquitous and ultra-fast broadband…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
8.       New virus raids your bank account - but you won't notice  http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/06/9986119-new-virus-raids-your-bank-account-but-you-wont-notice  “The best way to protect yourself from an online financial scam is to diligently check your bank accounts. At least, until now…an elaborate new computer virus…not only helps fraudsters steal money from bank accounts -- it also covers its tracks…SpyEye Trojan…swaps out banking Web pages…preventing account holders from noticing that their money is gone…First, the virus lies in wait until a customer with an infected computer visits an online banking site, steals their login credentials…after the stolen card number is used for a fraudulent purchase, the virus intercepts any further visits to the victim's banking site and scrubs transaction records clean of any fraud.  That prevents -- or at least delays -- consumers from discovering fraud and reporting it to the bank…much of the virus' effectiveness is attributable to its ability to control what victims see after fraudulent transactions occur…SpyEye…keeps track of all fraud committed by the criminal, and makes sure to remove those line items from online transaction lists.  It also edits balance amounts to prevent consumers from getting suspicious…"Most banks 'let the first transaction through,' because if they stopped everything that was potentially fraud, consumers would get annoyed,"…In some cases, fraud-checking tools kick in only after initial reports, so this version of SpyEye could buy criminals important time as they try to turn stolen data into cash…The virus doesn’t impact bank systems, merely the characters that are displayed within the infected system's Web browser…if your computer is infected with financial malware, it's game over anyway," he said. "My takeaway is you need to prevent getting infected with financial malware in the first place.”
9.       Iran Clamps Down on Web, Blocking Sites and Requiring Cameras in Internet Cafes  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/01/05/iran-clamps-down-on-web-blocking-sites-and-requiring-cameras-in-internet-cafes/  “Iran is mounting new clampdowns on Internet expression, including rules that will impose layers of surveillance in the country's popular Internet cafes, as Tehran's political establishment comes under increasing strains from economic turmoil…Iran issued regulations giving Internet cafes 15 days to install security cameras, start collecting detailed personal information on customers and document users' online footprints. Iranian users also have reported more blocked sites this week, as well as new barriers to accessing social-networking services. Internet connections, too, have bogged down. "They are closing in on us, and we are already feeling the dire impact of these announcements. Everyone is afraid," a prominent student activist said in an email exchange from Iran. "It will make it very difficult for us to tell the world what's happening here." The network slowdown likely heralds the arrival of an initiative Iran has been readying—a "halal" domestic intranet that it has said will insulate its citizens from Western ideology and un-Islamic culture, and eventually replace the Internet…”  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398527,00.asp  “…most countries, including the U.S., will eventually shut down the "World Wide" Web and instead use the technologies developed by the Internet community to cocoon itself. It solves endless political problems with the Web that plague almost every country…Iran is openly discussing a national Internet with no access to the outside world…most Iranians already think their home computers are compromised. Belarus is another country…adopting the national Internet idea. Many countries, including China and Saudi Arabia, have massive filters that they use to block unwanted sites…there will be some ways to navigate in and out of the national Internets, but these routes will only be maneuvered by government officials and a few lone wolves who will be illegally hacking and eventually arrested…You'll still be able to buy stuff on Amazon and shop online at B&H. You'll still read The New York Times. Some overseas operations such as London's Times might be licensed to operate here…All that you'll be missing are a few foreign blogs, perhaps, and other seemingly inconsequential sites…SOPA completely eliminates due process from site takedown orders. In the future, all sites will be subject to immediate takedown orders…Watch over the next few years as the idea of a national Internet evolves from a tool used to suppress opposition to a good idea whose time has come…It will be the way we can protect ourselves from alien sites that recruit homegrown terrorists and bomb makers. It will stop offshore piracy websites from ruining our movie and record industry. It will block international child porn rings from making roads into our nation. It will keep al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan from easily communicating with the terrorist cells in the U.S., probably preventing another 9/11…It will protect the nation from spying Chinese eyes…I can explain for days why this is a great idea. I'm almost convincing myself. I can assure you that it will take very little effort to convince Congress and the public that a national Internet in the U.S. is brilliant…”
10.     No Warrant Needed for GPS Monitoring  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/01/warrantless-gps-monitoring/  “A Missouri federal judge ruled the FBI did not need a warrant to secretly attach a GPS monitoring device to a suspect’s car to track his public movements for two months. The ruling…is one in a string of decisions nationwide supporting warrantless GPS surveillance…the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the issue within months in an unrelated case…In short, defendant Fred Robinson…had no reasonable expectation of privacy in his public movements, Magistrate Noce said…Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben told the Supreme Court in November oral arguments that…the government could affix GPS devices, without warrants, to the vehicles of the nine members of the Supreme Court. Many of the justices were skeptical of the government’s position, saying the United States could evolve into a surveillance state if the Supreme Court sides with the government…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
11.      Barnes & Noble Considers Spinning Off Its Nook Unit  http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/barnes-noble-considers-spinning-off-its-nook-unit/  “Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest book chain, said…it was considering spinning off its Nook e-reader division in an effort to help the nascent — and expensive — digital business grow. Separating the unit could potentially bring new investors into the Nook business to help shoulder its costs…While the company has made quick work of capturing almost 30 percent of the e-book market in two years, the rise of digital reading has increased the pressure on Barnes & Noble to devise a winning long-term strategy against Amazon, which still dominates in e-book sales. The Nook has been a crucial component of that strategy. And while it has sold well and drawn praise from reviewers, Barnes & Noble has acknowledged that the Nook has not been profitable…with the need to develop new software and hardware and to advertise the products. By one analyst’s estimate, Barnes & Noble spends $200 million to $250 million annually on its Nook operations…there’s no doubt that continued growth and international expansion will take sustained investment that Barnes & Noble shareholders will not have the patience for…”
12.     OLPC XO 3.0 tablet: an 8-inch tablet for $100  http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/6/2688604/olpc-xo-3-0-tablet-a-8-inch-tablet-with-android-and-sugar-options-for  “…OLPC is…getting ready to put the slate into production. The XO 3.0 tablet…is built in very much the same way as the XO laptop. It…has a rugged case, and can be charged via a hand crank or solar panel. In fact, OLPC's CTO Ed McNierney told us that the two-watt tablet can get 10 minutes of runtime from one minute of cranking. (The cranks will be third-party accessories and won't automatically come with the tablet.)…the XO 3.0 has an 8-inch, 1024 x 768-resolution PixelQi display, which can be read indoors and out, a Marvell Armada PXA618 processor, 512MB of RAM, and will be configurable with either Android or Sugar operating systems. Sugar is OLPC's own Linux operating system, which was designed specifically for kids. "We designed the XO-3 with an open fireware and with open BIOs so it is easy to support multiple operating systems…The XO 3.0, like the XO laptops, won't be sold directly to consumers or parents. OLPC will sell the tablets in bulk to countries who want to ensure their children have computers…”
13.     Microsoft Faces Make-Or-Break Year In Smartphones  http://news.investors.com/Article/596568/201201031810/microsoft-windows-phone-7-at-crossroads.htm  “…It could be a make-or-break year for Microsoft (MSFT) in smartphones. After flailing for years, Microsoft's next best hopes are tied to several announcements. For one, later this year Microsoft will likely release two major upgrades to its Windows 7 mobile operating system. For another, later this week T-Mobile USA is expected to announce it's the exclusive seller of the first Windows 7 smartphone for the U.S. market made by fading cellphone leader Nokia…"From a strategic viewpoint, Microsoft has to succeed (now)," said Avi Greengart…Microsoft is running out of room to attract people who have not yet gone to one of the other platforms."…No. 4 Microsoft's share of the U.S. smartphone OS market was just 5.2% for the three months ended Nov. 30…”
14.     Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of World’s Bandwidth  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/technology/top-1-of-mobile-users-use-half-of-worlds-wireless-bandwidth.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all  “…mobile airwaves are being divided in a lopsided manner, with 1 percent of consumers generating half of all traffic. The top 10 percent of users, meanwhile, are consuming 90 percent of wireless bandwidth…The gap between extreme users and the rest of the population is widening, according to Arieso. In 2009, the top 3 percent of heavy users generated 40 percent of network traffic. Now…these users pump out 70 percent of the traffic…64 percent of extreme users were using a laptop, a third were using a smartphone and 3 percent had an iPad…an analyst at…a research firm in Helsinki, Finland…said the disparity in bandwidth use was not surprising because most mobile phone users globally used a 2G telephone for calls and texts only. Just 13.2 percent of the world’s 6.1 billion cellphones are smartphones…the rate exceeds 30 percent in…the United States…In…Sweden and Finland, smartphones now account for more than half of all mobile phones…Finns consume on average 1 gigabyte of wireless data a month over an operator’s network, almost 10 times the European average…This…is bad news for operators because it means that more traffic is coming and they need to invest…Ericsson expects the volume of global mobile data to rise tenfold from 2011 to 2016…The heaviest users of mobile data…watched videos 40 percent of the time, surfed the Web an additional 20 percent, and used up the rest of their online time in e-mails, social networking, file sharing and software downloads. Advances in smartphones and applications technology are also driving up use…”
15.     Are Android tablets that cost more than $199 doomed?  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/are-android-tablets-that-cost-more-than-199-doomed/17622  “Apple set the stage for the tablet revolution with the iPad, but it was Amazon with the Kindle Fire that made the biggest hit in terms of price - by setting the price bar at $199…Android tablets have, so far, been a failure…who was going to put down $500+ or even $800+ for an Android tablet if they could get an iPad for $499?...$199 is without a doubt the price point for 7-inch consumer tablets. 9/9.7-inch tablets have more wriggle room…There’s no room for a $600+ tablet…are tablets that cost more than $199 doomed? No…Kindle Fire is a 7-inch tablet, and as such a different animal to the 9/10-inch tablets. The ceiling here is the price set by the iPad - $499…”
16.     Acer Aspire S5: world's thinnest ultrabook  http://www.geekzone.co.nz/content.asp?contentid=9509  “Acer…Aspire S5…measures only 15 mm at the maximal point. It weighs less than 1.35 kg…with a 13.3-inch…LCD…Acer Green Instant On provides instant-resume functionality (in 1.5 seconds)…Acer Always Connect can wake up the Aspire S5 from a remote device like a smartphone. Access to all documents, music, pictures and video files is fast and always available…Aspire S5 is Acer's first Ultrabook to feature the MagicFlip I/O port panel concealed just below the hinge…a press of the MagicFlip key opens the panel to reveal a selection of I/O ports: HDMI, USB 3.0 and 20 Gbps Thunderbolt…Aspire S5 features an Intel Core processor, SSD storage…long battery life via the PowerSmart battery pack (with a 3X longer life cycle1 than traditional batteries)…”
17.     Smartphone App Diagnoses Malaria From Drop Of Blood  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferhicks/2012/01/03/smartphone-app-diagnoses-malaria-from-drop-of-blood/  “…At a recent mobile development summit I hosted, I asked a few people how many apps they had on their Smartphones – the answers varied  – from 20 to 100. I refined my question, how many apps do you use regularly?...three to five a day with the majority being social, entertainment or productivity related…pushing beyond the social and entertainment apps…the Lifelens Project…point-of-care smartphone application…addresses child mortality rates caused by the lack of detection and availability of treatment for malaria…current state-of-the-art rapid diagnostic tests…only have around a 40% rate of accuracy. The Lifelens’ Smartphone app has been more than 94% accurate…The Lifelens Smartphone app is simple. Take a drop of blood from a patient and put it on a slide with a marker, a dye that only the malarial parasite can absorb. Then, take an image of that slide with the Smartphone equipped with a tiny lens giving 350 times magnification…you can see the blood cells at the cellular level. With the image captured in the Smartphone you can take a cell count…that identifies red blood cells and…you can identify the malaria within those red blood cells. Once the Lifelens’ app identifies the cells, data can be pushed to the web including the GPS coordinates of that case which allow healthcare works or scientists to see trends as well as where malaria outbreaks are occurring…”
18.     Samsung smartphone apps for Wifi SmartCam and video baby monitor  http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/ip-cameras/1289404/samsung-smartcam-easy-surveillance-direct-to-your-smartphone  “Samsung's new SmartCam is designed to allow anyone to set up a surveillance camera in minutes. Smartphone owners are the target audience here with apps for both iOS devices and Android. Plus there's a few clever features that make this easier to manage and far more useful than most designs…”  http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/08/samsung-introduces-wifi-smartcam-and-video-baby-monitors/  “…Samsung's just unveiled two WiFi surveillance cameras. Both can easily be paired with routers that support WPS and offer remote tracking from Sammy's SmartCam website. That video feed is 640 x 480 at 30fps and encoded in H.264. Alternatively on the WiFi SmartCam, footage can automatically be uploaded to YouTube based on predefined activity. And both'll survey in complete darkness thanks to built-in infrared…”
19.     How Path became my favorite social app of 2011  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/feeds/how-path-became-my-favorite-social-app-of-2011/4440  “I wrote about Path a little over a year ago…I was using it off and on but it wasn’t offering me anything in particular that made me want to use it all the time…On November 29th of this year, everything changed for me…Path 1.0 was a thing of the past. I used the new version that night and now it’s starting to become my goto for sharing photos and content. Here’s why…Path 2.x has taken everything I loved from various social mobile applications and combined them into a slick, unique, one of a kind experience that doesn’t feel cluttered or noisy…text status updates is not put at the forefront of the app. It really helps keep the noise level down as people seem to default more to photos, music and emoticon responses so there’s not as much stuff to sift through and read…Facebook was one of the first to introduce the timeline concept for social activity…Path does something similar and as you slide up and down your timeline with your finger, a little clock pops up and adjusts it’s own time on the fly…so you can see clearly the exact time and day you posted something. This feature was implemented very nicely in their new UI…Path took the right approach. They paid close attention to what people really liked most in social and mobile and focused their efforts on providing a unique experience…”
20.    Google punishing Chrome for 60 days because of ‘evil’ Chrome promo  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/google-punishing-chrome-for-60-days/2012/01/04/gIQADMPGaP_story.html  “Google is pushing its own Chrome browser down in search rankings for 60 days following reports that the company was involved in an ad campaign that paid for links to bolster search traffic…since Google has rules against that sort of thing and has worked hard to keep paid results out of its search engine, the reports were more than a bit embarrassing for the company. The company said…its campaign for Chrome was never supposed to involve paid links, and that it “never agreed to anything more than online ads.”…Google’s PR team said, “We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days…While Google did not authorize this campaign, and we can find no remaining violations of our webmaster guidelines, we believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site…”  https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202/posts/NAWunDzJSHC  “Sorry that it took me until now to comment on the situation…I’m in Central America this week and my ability to reach the internet hasn't been great…Google was trying to buy video ads about Chrome, and these sponsored posts were an inadvertent result of that…we did find one sponsored post that linked to www.google.com/chrome...even though we only found a single sponsored post that actually linked to Google’s Chrome page and passed PageRank, that’s still a violation of our quality guidelines…the webspam team has taken manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome for at least 60 days. After that, someone on the Chrome side can submit a reconsideration request documenting their clean-up just like any other company would…”
21.     Google's Chrome Gets Serious About Security  http://chrome.blogspot.com/2012/01/speed-and-security.html  “Today’s Beta release improves on two of Chrome’s core principles: speed and security…Chrome will now start loading some web pages in the background, even before you’ve finished typing the URL in the omnibox…Prerendering reduces the time between when you hit Enter and when you see your fully-loaded web page--in some cases, the web page appears instantly…improvements to Chrome’s Safe Browsing technology should help protect you from additional types of malware attacks…we’re seeing an increase in malicious websites that try to convince you to download and run a file that will harm your computer. Some websites even pretend this malicious file is a free anti-virus product…Chrome now includes expanded functionality to analyze executable files (such as “.exe” and “.msi” files) that you download. If a file you download is known to be bad, or is hosted on a website that hosts a relatively high percentage of malicious downloads, Chrome will warn you that the file appears to be malicious and that you should discard it…”
22.    Google search gets its biggest change in a decade with a dose of Google+  http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/they_did_it_google_personalizes_search_it_is_not_e.php  “…Today, Google launches Personal Results, Profiles in Search, and People and Pages, new features of its core search product that mark the real beginning of Google's social search era. Google search now has two modes: global and personalized. Personal search results show content from your Google+ network, and global search results appear as though you're logged out of Google+…Just last week, I wrote that Google+ was going to mess up the Internet by turning Web search into a popularity contest. But the new Google unveiled today leaves the user in control…If you don't want Google+-flavored results, just switch to global mode. You can even turn off personalized search altogether…Flipping between personalized and global results takes one click. Both modes are available in Web search and image search. Even when you search in personal mode, Google wants to show you the most relevant result at the top, even if its not from Google+…On every search, this toggle lets you switch between personalized and global results. There's no more inconvenient need to log out to see more objective search results…Now that Google users have control over the level of personalization, I don't think Google+ will mess up the Internet anymore. Social SEO will not take over, because natural search results still matter. My fear last week was that anyone who wanted to use Google would be forced to use Google+. Today's update shows good faith…”
23.    Malaysia’s Military Loses Battle Against Bad English, Blames Google  http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2012/01/10/malaysias-military-loses-battle-against-bad-english/  “Next time you visit the Malaysian Ministry of Defence…make sure you don’t wear any “clothes that poke the eye.” If you’re a man, though, a “tight Malay civet” is allowed – at least according to the English translations on the ministry’s website…the Ministry of Defence overlooked imperfect English translations on its website, which soon went viral on social media websites…Under a section called “ethical clothing” advising employees on appropriate office wear, women were warned against wearing clothes “that poke the eye” – a direct translation of the Malay phrase for revealing outfits. The civet slip came under the dress code for men, which said “collared shirts and tight Malay civet” were appropriate. Other unfortunate translations were found throughout the website…The ministry admitted to using Google Translate…to provide an English-language version of their Malay website…“We have corrected the mistakes and translations are no longer done that way. It is now done manually,” Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said…At the time of publishing this story, no English translations were available on the Ministry of Defence’s website.…”  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/10/french_court_fines_google_over_search_suggestion/  “Google has been fined $65,000 by a French court after its search engine suggested the French word for 'crook' when users typed-in the name of an insurance company…The court said Google had ignored requests to remove the suggestion from its 'autocomplete' search engine technology when users searched for insurance firm Lyonnaise de Garantie…Google had unsuccessfully argued that it was not liable for the word association because it had been generated by an automatic algorithm…”
General Technology
24.    Tobii technology lets you control computer with your eyes  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2012/01/ces-2012-tobii-lets-you-control-computers-with-your-eyes.html  “…if looks could kill, then the touchscreen may be the next victim in the pointer war. Tobii Technology's "gaze interaction" system enables users to control their computer screens with their eyes…The technology from the Swedish company is a descendant of a 2001 research project at Stockholm University, first conducted by Tobii's founders. But gaze interaction may soon be going mainstream…the company showed Tobii software hooked up to Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Booth-goers could sit in front of a screen and optically swipe through Windows screens, "thumb" through photographs, or go into a Word document and "click" on even the tiniest buttons (think the "B" button for bold) using just their peepers. On another computer, a man played a game of the arcade classic Asteroids. But instead of rotating his gun turrets with a joystick or the keyboard, he simply looked at the asteroid he wanted to destroy, and a split second later it exploded into smithereens…Tobii…wants to…use the eye-tracking technology for medical purposes, such as allowing technicians to use their eyes to move through photographs, scans or X-rays, potentially while using their hands to operate medical machinery, make notes or physically examine a patient…”
25.    Open Source and Technology Predictions for 2012  http://patrick.wagstrom.net/weblog/2012/01/03/open-source-and-technology-predictions-for-2012/  “…I’ve created a set of predictions for the coming year around Open Source. However, this year I’ve expanded it to the general field of technology…SOPA dies a bloody death…Privacy regulations for children under 13 are revisited…Major automobile software fault…According to an IEEE Spectrum report, premium cars contain more than 100 million lines of code. I know enough about software to know that’s a problem…Boxee calls it quits…GNOME falls apart…Netflix gets acquired and Reed Hastings gets fired…Go gets a killer project…Android continues to grow, but not at the expense of iOS…Internet political meltdown…most of our politicians don’t have a clue about how the internet and social media work…Expect at least one candidate for Federal office…to have a meltdown due to something that happened on the Interne…Shakeup at the Free Software Foundation…”
26.    Codecademy’s CodeYear Attracts 100,000 Aspiring Programmers In 48 Hours  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/03/codecademys-codeyear-attracts-100000-aspiring-programmers-in-48-hours/  “…Two days ago, Codecademy — a startup that’s looking to bring programming to the masses — launched a nifty initiative called Code Year. It’s pretty straightforward: sign up, and each week you’ll receive some programming lessons in your email inbox…apparently, there are a lot of people who want to learn how to code. Code Year just had its 100,000th user sign up — a remarkable milestone given that the site has only been up for 48 hours. And that number continues to grow at a rapid pace. Codecademy cofounder Zach Sims says that the growth is being driven by a huge amount of sharing on both Facebook and Twitter. Users are able to Tweet and ‘Like’ the page both before they sign up, and immediately after they’ve entered their information. It also helps that the entire signup process takes all of five seconds — you simply need to enter your email address. Given the viral nature of the site, I asked Sims for a breakdown on which services were contributing the most to its growth. The clear leader? Twitter…”
27.    The World Is Overflowing With Memory Chips  http://allthingsd.com/20120105/the-world-is-overflowing-with-memory-chips/  “…DRAM chips are oversupplied. This is…bad news if you’re in the business of making…Dynamic Random Access Memory chips that go into PCs, servers and smartphones…The situation can be good, however…because memory upgrades get cheaper…The stockpile of DRAM chips as of the end of the third quarter of 2011 stood at 12.8 weeks, which is…double what it was in early 2010…the iPad and Kindle Fire are eating into notebook sales, and don’t require nearly as much DRAM as notebooks do…new operating systems don’t require the incremental boost in…memory as had been typical…Flooding in Thailand has also disrupted the supply of hard drives…Computer makers who can’t get hard drives simply won’t build as many computers, and thus won’t be buying the DRAM…The worst…is apparently yet to come…Chip factories…contain billions of dollars worth of manufacturing equipment running processes that are difficult to stop and start…it’s more expensive to have them sitting there doing nothing…than turning out a product…even if it’s running at…a slight loss.”
28.    Vizio to Enter PC Market with Laptops, All-in-One Desktops  http://www.pcworld.com/article/247462/vizio_to_enter_pc_market_with_laptops_allinone_desktops.html  “Vizio, the flat-panel TV maker known for its sleek designs and low prices, is taking an unexpected move: it's entering the PC business with a range of thin-and-light laptops and all-in-one desktops. The company's capability to get screens for a bargain could allow it to undercut its competitors' prices and shake up the PC market…if Vizio is able to do what it did in the TV space, consumers looking for an affordable computer with powerful entertainment features will have more options. Vizio plans to reveal two desktop PCs and three notebooks at the Consumer Electronics Show…Vizio Chief Technology Officer Matt McRae said the Windows-based machines will go on sale by June at "a price that just doesn't seem possible."…Apparently, Vizio thinks it can do better than the rest of the field. Its new desktop computers will be all-in-one models that house electronics in the display and will include entertainment functionality that convey audio and video to Vizio TVs and speakers…”
29.    The future of computers - Part 1: Multicore and the Memory Wall  http://www.edn.com/article/520059-The_future_of_computers_Part_1_Multicore_and_the_Memory_Wall.php  “…processor expert Russell Fish provides his take on the future of computers, and multicore processing in particular…Berkeley's Dr. David Patterson handed down his famous "Three Walls."…These three immovable impediments defined the end times of increased computing performance. They would prevent computer users from ever reaching the land of…10 GHz Pentiums…"Power Wall + Memory Wall + ILP Wall = Brick Wall"…The Power Wall means faster computers get really hot…The Memory Wall means 1000 pins on a CPU package is way too many…ILP Wall means a deeper instruction pipeline really means digging a deeper power hole…Taken together, they mean that computers will stop getting faster…Intel engineers went pedal to the metal straight into the Power Wall, backed up, gunned the gas, and went hard into the Memory Wall. The industry was stunned when Intel cancelled not one but two premier processor designs in May of 2004. Intel's Tejas CPU2, Sanskrit for fire, dissipated a stupendous 150 watts at 2.8 GHz, more than Hasbro's Easy Bake Oven.3…Tejas had been projected to run 7 GHz. It never did…So, Intel quickly changed direction, slowed down their processors, and announced dual-core/multicore. Craig Barrett, Intel's CEO…used a Q&A session…to explain the shift…dual core…it's the way that the industry is going to…increase the processing power in an exponential fashion…Barrett's statement was…marketing hyperbole, an attempt to rally developers, customers, and stockholders behind the badly stumbling technology icon…doubling the number of cores does not double the performance…Sandia Labs performed an analysis of multi-core microprocessors running…data intensive applications…They reported as the number of cores increased, the processor power increased at substantially less than linear improvement and then decreased at an exponential rate…The problem is the lack of memory bandwidth as well as contention between processors over the memory bus available to each processor…Legacy PC applications do not factor nicely into many pieces. Fortunately multicore is really about enabling the future rather than accelerating the past. Many of the really interesting and commercially valuable future computing opportunities are…"embarrassingly parallel" . This means that the problems may be divided into many independent pieces and worked on separately…Intel…described their future view of embarrassingly parallel problems as "Recognition, Mining, and Synthesis."…future applications will manipulate and manage patterns of information. The pattern might be a sentence of text, a face in a crowd, or a phrase from a spoken speech. The datasets containing the patterns are immense; terabytes, petabytes, and eventually exabytes…”  http://www.edn.com/article/520499-Future_of_computers_Part_2_The_Power_Wall.php
Leisure & Entertainment
30.    Microsoft Flight takes flying games into new skies  http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/04/microsoft-flight-takes-flying-games-into-new-skies/  “…Microsoft, the creator of the long-running Flight Simulator franchise, is jumping back into the market with a free-to-play title that it is previewing today: Microsoft Flight…this is no longer a game for simulator fans, who demand the utmost realism and all sorts of hard-to-use options. Rather, it is a simpler game aimed at the masses who enjoy the experience of flying…users can download the initial game and geographic region for free and then pay to unlock other features…“This is a whole new product about the magic of freedom and fun of flying,” said Joshua Howard, executive producer of the game…The game is a surprise in part because Microsoft shut down its Aces flight simulator game studio in January, 2009. The thinking at the time was that flight simulation was a shrinking market, and it was better to put talented game designers to work on games in more popular genres. But in the past year or so, Microsoft has pulled together many old Aces veterans to create the new free-to-play game, which is consistent with the way many gamers want to pay for games these days…”
31.     Digital Music Sales Beat Physical Music Sales for the First Time   http://gizmodo.com/5873471  “…digital music sales has finally topped physical music sales. According to Nielsen and Billboard, digital music sales accounted for 50.3% of total music sales, more than half the pie…even though physical music sales has been trending downwards (5% down in 2011) compared to digital music sales (8.4% up), physical album sales still outsell digital album sales (sorta makes sense, people still like buying albums). The difference has been that the growth of digital singles has finally grown big enough to overcome the album gap…”
32.    SolarKindle cover basks in the sun's rays, charges for days and days  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/07/solarkindle-cover-is-walking-on-sunshine-whoaaa/  “…SolarFocus…the world’s first solar cover for the Kindle, with a solar panel built right in. The SolarKindle promises “up to three months of unplugged Kindle use under normal sunlight environment.” In my experience that means near a window…The cover also packs a reserve battery, which can either power an LED reading lamp (built right in) or offer extra reading time by feeding energy into the Kindle’s main battery. The LED lamp will run for 50 hours continuously before using the Kindle battery. Solar focus says that an hour under direct sunlight can offer 3 days of reading time…”
33.    Project Fiona raises the stakes for gaming tablets, packs Ivy Bridge, Windows 8 and integrated controllers  http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/10/project-fiona-raises-the-stakes-for-gaming-tablets-packs-ivy-br/  “…Razer's…"Project Fiona,"…concept gaming tablet flanks a 10.1-inch multitouch screen with a pair of nunchuk-like four-button controllers, lending the slab a bit of flightstick flair…this slate is a Windows machine. An Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor hopes to keep Fiona fragging with the desktop kiddies…The Prototype was built specifically with mobile PC gamers in mind…and will feature a hybrid user interface (a hub activated via a upcoming Windows 8 app) designed to help gamers immediately jump into local multiplayer matches….It sounds like he wants Fiona to revitalize the Lan party. Although most PC games should be fully playable without any special tweaks or modificaitons, Min-Liang said developers would have the option of adding Fiona specific controls to a game, such as a touch control scheme, or accelerometer joystick emulation…In addition to its Ivy Bridge chops, the concept gaming slate features enhanced audio with Dolby Home Theater v4 and built-in force feedback…”
34.    Lenovo launches first Ice Cream Sandwich TV  http://gigaom.com/video/lenovo-android-tv-k91/  “Lenovo…announced the world’s first TV set running Android 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich, Sunday. The device, dubbed the Lenovo K91 Smart TV, will initially be available only in China…The K91 is powered by Qualcomm’s 8060 Snapdragon processor, which clocks 1.5 Ghz…1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage and 2 GB SD card…two models, one with a 42” and one with a 50” 3-D LED screen…an integrated 5 MP webcam, which will be used for facial recognition…a 3-axis gyro gamepad, but the regular remote control…will have…an integrated microphone, and voice recognition will make it possible to control the devices without pressing any buttons…the K91 won’t actually be running Google TV, which is based on Android 3.1 a.k.a. Honeycomb. Lenovo instead chose to customize Android 4.0…”  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/ces-2012-google-tv-devices-coming-from-lg-sony-and-vizio/2012/01/06/gIQAEcZDfP_story.html  “…Google…announced that LG, Sony, and Vizio will be showing off Google TV devices at CES 2012, with additional devices from Samsung coming later in the year. Google's also partnering with MediaTek and Marvell to provide the next generation of ARM-based chipsets for Google TV — Marvell already announced that its new Armada 1500 chip would support Google TV devices…”
35.    Could music stream ripping software put Spotify and other music services at major risk?  http://news.yahoo.com/could-music-stream-ripping-software-put-spotify-other-164516319.html  “…Ever since Napster first appeared on the scene, consumers have been finding ways to get their music for free, at the detriment of recording labels and artists. One answer to this issue has been the subscription music model: Services like Spotify, Last.fm, MOG, and Rdio are compromises between a market that is searching for profit models and customers who simply won’t spend what they used to…Indie artists say they’re getting ripped off by such services, and some established musicians won’t allow their music to be sold this way…While in the case of most services consumers don’t actually have ownership over this data, it has largely been linked to cutting down on piracy. Still, there are always ways around this. Via stream ripping, users are still able to pirate music, even within what are supposed to be safe harbors for artists…Spotify is one of the services to fall victim to the tool. The site is still relatively new to the U.S., but sites like SpotifyRipper and dozens like it give users a loophole in the system so they can get their music for free. Using applications like ReplayMusic, they can record from the service to access the music offline…”
Entrepreneurism and Technology
36.    Why Best Buy is Going out of Business...Gradually  http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2012/01/02/why-best-buy-is-going-out-of-business-gradually/  “…Best Buy is headed for the exits…my guess is that it’s only a matter of time, maybe a few more years…Despite the disappearance of competitors including Circuit City, the company is losing market share…In 2011, the company’s stock has lost 40% of its value…To discover the real reasons behind the company’s decline, just take this simple test. Walk into one of the company’s retail locations or shop online.  And try, really try, not to lose your temper…a friend…wanted to buy the 3D blu ray of “How to Train Your Dragon,”…According to the company’s website, it’s…available for pickup at the store we visited.  The item wasn’t there…my friend decided to buy some other blu-ray discs.  Or at least he tried to, until we were “assisted” by a young, poorly groomed sales clerk…who wandered over to interrogate us.  What kind of TV do you have?  Do you have a cable service, or a satellite service?  Do you have a triple play service plan? He was clearly…trying to sell some alternative…My friend…told him he was not interested in switching his service from Comcast…The used car style questions continued.  “I have just one last question for you…How much do you pay Comcast every month?”…I could just imagine the conversation with the…department manager the day before.  “Corporate says we have to work on what’s called up-selling and cross-selling…you need to be roaming the floor pushing our deal with CinemaNow…We left the store…fuming…at Best Buy…management’s sole focus is improving some arbitrary metric from last quarter, even when doing so actually interferes with customers trying to buy something else…Online competitors are certainly part of Best Buy’s problem, but not for the reasons it thinks…Best Buy just doesn’t understand its customers’ point of view…consumers easily adapt to alternative retail channels…For brick-and-mortar retailers, however…online required new thinking, new management structures, and new strategies…So far, Best Buy fails on every measure.  The company has its own website, of course…But the website doesn’t seem to be programmed for even basic inventory management…a few days before Christmas that the company had only just informed some customers that online orders, some placed the day after Thanksgiving, couldn’t be filled and were being cancelled…The company issued a statement that read:  “Due to overwhelming demand of hot product offerings on BestBuy.com during the November and December time period, we have encountered a situation that has affected redemption of some of our customers’ online orders.”..The company “encountered a situation”—that is, it was a passive victim of an external problem it couldn’t control, in this case, customers daring to order products…Best Buy doesn’t fill online orders, it seems.  Rather, customers “redeem” them.  So it’s the customers, not Best Buy, who have the problem…It’s all so passive…the honest and appropriate release would have said:  “Due to poor inventory management and sales forecasting of the most popular products during our key sales season, we can’t fill orders we promised to fill weeks ago in time for Christmas.”…Amazon lives and breathes the customer’s point-of-view…Phone support is instant, responsive, and knowledgeable.  Returns are simple and unburdened by restocking fees and other gotchas.  Inventory is precisely managed in a single system that spans all distribution points and third party partners…my friend mistakenly purchased the wrong DVD of a NASA documentary—he accidentally got one he already had.  We returned the next day to exchange it for the correct one.  Sorry, said the customer service staff, DVDs are “software” and can’t be returned or exchanged once sold…does Best Buy know that Amazon not only allows easy return or exchange for DVDs without restrictions, the company will even buy back ones you’re finished with?  And even if the customer is outside the return window or is otherwise technically not entitled to do what she’s asking to do, the company bends over backwards to bend its policies in the interest of happy customers and the on-going customer relationship…Best Buy is living in the corporate equivalent of what psychologists call a state of denial.  In business, that’s usually the first step in a failure…”
37.    Ford opening Silicon Valley lab  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-57353474-48/ford-opening-silicon-valley-lab/  “…Ford has emphasized its focus on technology, so it only makes sense that the company…would open a facility in the Bay Area…the lab will take advantage of its proximity to high-tech companies and local universities to drive innovation in Ford vehicles. The lab will have a broad agenda, from clean drive systems to in-car connected services. Partnerships with app developers will also likely be a major task for the lab, as Ford has just begun to offer app integration in Sync…With increasing pressures from urbanization and the need to reduce energy use, we're going to see energy storage, wireless connectivity, sensing systems, and even autonomous vehicles as key parts of the solution…”
38.    Carmakers flock to Mass. for digital design help  http://bostonglobe.com/business/2012/01/08/carmakers-flock-mass-for-digital-design-help/ZPUbksgKAUvxB8lNxm4hRK/story.html  “…the 1,000-plus employees at PTC never touch a wrench or ball-peen hammer. Instead they develop and advance software that allows automakers to design, build, and service the latest automobiles rolling off production lines all over the world…Twenty years after the last auto factory in the state closed, the automotive industry is in the midst of a resurgence in Massachusetts, where companies crank out software essential to the creation of the modern automobile…12 miles from PTC’s campus…Dassault Systemes…engineers are improving digital tools used by major automakers…Progress Software provides Volvo and General Motors software to manage the streams of data flowing through their organizations. Automakers use products from MathWorks in Natick to help designers find errors before they reach the prototype stage…as auto assembly lines ground to a halt, a new tide of technology was rising in engineering labs of local universities and companies along Route 128…Globalization of the auto industry is a major factor in the demand for software created by Massachusetts companies…a car’s chassis could be designed in Michigan, the body in China, the powertrain in Japan, and the interior in Europe…It takes sophisticated software to pull all that together and manage it. Another trend…is the increasing complexity of cars and emergence of high tech features…a typical luxury car now has about 100 million lines of software code embedded in thousands of interrelated devices and features…Berutti cited new Mercedes automobiles that will automatically start windshield wipers when a sensor detects rain. If the car is parked, the software will close the windows…“That’s three different systems that have to work together: the sensor, the wipers, and the windows,’’ Berutti said. “And guess what: They are built by three different companies. Our software makes sure those systems all work together…”  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/10/meet-the-one-modular-ev-created-by-fifty-companies/    http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679041/the-streetscooter-a-crowdsourced-ev-that-disrupts-the-auto-industrys-production-models
39.    Local Services Marketplace Thumbtack Raises $4.5 Million  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/09/local-services-marketplace-thumbtack-raises-4-5-million/  “…Thumbtack, which operates an online community marketplace where people can easily list and book local services, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding…Thumbtack aims to “make hiring a service professional as easy as it is to buy a book on Amazon.com”. It’s up against startups like Redbeacon and OpenChime…Thumbtack says a new user has signed up every minute of every day for the last six months, on average. The company also says 240,000 local merchants (carpenters, life coaches, wedding photographers, babysitters, math tutors, makeup artists and whatnot) have listed on Thumbtack.com to date…”
40.    SV Angel And Founder Collective Give Hackruiter $200K For Its Hacker School  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/06/sv-angel-and-founder-collective-give-hackruiter-200k-for-its-hacker-school/  “…hacker recruiter platform Hackruiter has raised a modest seed round from investors SV Angel and Founder Collective. The company raised $200K but could have raised much more, because it is already profitable…Hackruiter is already profitable because startups like Tumblr, Weebly, Loopt, Artsy and Bit.ly currently pay Hackruiter $20K per programmer referral on average…And Hackruiter finds people to refer through its Hacker School, which is now entering its third batch. Unlike beginner code-learning programs like Codecademy, the in-person Hacker School is exclusively focused on making already good coders better. Based in New York, Hackruiter Hacker School is full time (eight hours a day, four days a week for three months) and free for students.  Hackruiter started out with a batch of six students in July, then 12 and will now have 25 places come February…there aren’t that many good programmers in the world,” says co-founder Nicholas Bergson-Shilcock, “We see programming as a craft and we see Hacker School as environment were people can flourish…”
41.     Why everybody in Seattle suddenly wants to work for Amazon  http://www.businessinsider.com/why-everybody-in-seattle-wants-to-work-for-amazon-2012-1  “Amazon has been a cornerstone in Seattle for more than 15 years now, but it wasn't always seen as a great place to work. Employees talked about long hours and a pressure-cooker atmosphere, and the core business -- e-commerce -- didn't seem very sexy…I visited Seattle for the first time since late 2010. A bunch of people in the tech scene told me the same thing: Amazon is THE place to work now. Here's why…The company used to be in this ugly old building in a boring neighborhood…Now, it's got a gleaming new campus with all the modern conveniences…It's also in a way cooler part of town…South Lake Union…Amazon is still a hard working place…But it's not all work -- for instance, the company has an internal program called "Fishbowl" which features musicians and authors…Amazon was just an online bookstore…just an e-commerce site…it's got a lot more interesting projects…Amazon Web Services is now estimated to be a billion-dollar business…Kindle kicked off a thriving mobile business that will only get bigger…Amazon has rolled out mobile apps for all major mobile platforms…hitting the jackpot last year with the Kindle 3. This year, it released a $200 tablet, the Kindle Fire…Amazon is increasingly looking more like a big media company…online video streaming service…There's also a thriving online music store and related music locker service…People are starting to say Jeff Bezos is a genius…”
DHMN Technology
42.    DIY auto remote uses iPhone and Arduino to start a car  http://biobug.org/index.php/2011/12/11/sms-remote-start-working-prototype/  “…I can now start my Subaru outback via SMS command from wherever I am. I used an older Arduino simply because I wanted a quick and dirty 3.3v source for the iphone to arduino serial interface. The perfboard has a tip120 to drive the remote start, all the interface wiring for the car, power supply and the iphone interface. I tossed in a .01 cap at the power source just for extra filtering. The power supply is a switching charger from a broken iphone car charger…”
43.    Swarm of Arduino robots create patterns with glowing trails  http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-01/09/lumibots  “…Lumibots is a project comprising a swarm of nine autonomous robots that emit UV light, leaving a glowing trail of their journey across a large phosphorescent surface…the bots collectively generate complex glowing patterns. Each robot has an Arduino micro-controller, two light sensors, click switches for collision detection and a UV LED. Their movement is based on a couple of basic rules: to follow the light and to turn after bumping into something -- be it another robot or the edge of the phosphorescent pen…The robots do not have a memory chip, but the glowing trails can be seen as a kind of external memory…” [you definitely should watch the Lumibots video – ed.]
44.    Cube 3D printer  http://ces.cnet.com/8301-33372_1-57354827/chessmen-belts-other-ephemera-come-to-life-with-cube-3d-printer/  “…the Cube underscores that 3D printing can be consumer-friendly, and that a growing number of vendors see it as a viable business. The design of the Cube printer is a contrast to the garage workshop aesthetic of the MakerBot product. Instead of the Thing-O-Matic's exposed circuity and a wooden housing, the Cube and its friendly-looking plastic chassis looks more like a sewing machine…Each relies on an attached spool of plastic: ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), the same material from which Legos are made, in the Cube, or ABS and PLA (polylactic acid, like that used for keg cups) in the case of the Thing-O-Matic…The two printers also depend on a community of designers to make printing plans available to others. The Cube has a Web site for hosting designs called Cubify in development, and MakerBot has its Thingiverse, already home to more than 15,000 object plans…it's smart business for a 3D printer vendor to cultivate a library of plans for users who might not be handy with a 3D design application. But the Cube, the Thing-O-Matic, and other 3D printers like Ultimaking's Ultimaker and Delta Micro's Up 3D Printer all use common .STL design files, which means no one has pursued a lock-in strategy via proprietary software…the Cubify site will also let you place an order for 3D@Home to print and ship out objects too large to print on the Cube. The object-to-order business mirrors that of Sculpteo…”
45.    Arduino lamp controlled by waving your hand  http://makeprojects.com/Project/Luminch-One/1773/1  “Luminch One is an interactive lamp controlled by the movements of your hand. Wave your hand over it to turn it on or off, or move your hand up or down above it to change its brightness. Inside the lamp, an Arduino hooked to an infrared distance sensor tracks your hand and sets the state and the brightness of the LED lamp…”
46.    Limitless Computing Unveils Only Android Augmented Reality App for Google SketchUp  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/limitless-computing-unveils-only-android-augmented-reality-app-for-google-sketchup-2012-01-10  “Limitless Computing Inc…today announced SightSpace 3D for Android users, the only mobile Augmented Reality application for Google SketchUp. It is available now on the Android Market for $14.99. SightSpace 3D enables mobile viewing of Google SketchUp designs on Android devices, offering Augmented Reality capabilities, which overlay digital models over existing physical environments…SightSpace 3D is integrated with the Google 3D Warehouse…Educators can show famous buildings to students, furniture shoppers can see how pieces would look in their own homes and new countertops, appliances, and more can be viewed as if they were in one's own kitchen or bath…”
47.    Microsoft Reinvents Wi-Fi for White Spaces  http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/39429/  “Microsoft has developed a new kind of Wi-Fi network that performs at its top speed even in the face of interference. It takes advantage of a new Wi-Fi standard that uses more of the electromagnetic spectrum, but also hops between the narrow bands of unused spectrum within television broadcast frequencies…Microsoft developed the new network partly as a way to push Congress to allow much broader use of white spaces…The fastest Wi-Fi networks, which can transmit data at up to a gigabit per second, use as much spectrum as possible, up to 160 megahertz, to maximize bandwidth. Krishna Chintalapudi and his team at Microsoft Research have pioneered an approach, called WiFi-NC, which makes efficient use of these white spaces at these speeds. Rather than using a conventional Wi-Fi radio, it uses an array of tiny, low-data rate transmitters and receivers…Bundled together, they work just like a regular Wi-Fi radio, but can switch between white-space frequencies far more efficiently…The team calls these transmitters and receivers "receiver-lets" and "transmitter-lets." Together, they make up what's known as a "compound radio."…The new radio integrates with a previous Microsoft project that provides a wireless device with access to a database of available white-space spectrum in any part of the United States. That system, called SenseLess, tells a device where it can legally broadcast and receive…”
48.    VR ‘goggles’ for ~ $1000   http://dvice.com/archives/2012/01/sensics-smartgo.php  “…Instead of asking what these goggles (called Natalia) are, it might be faster to ask what they aren't, because they seriously seem to be able to do almost everything.You get two individual SXGA (1280x1024) OLED eye displays, which means that you can get 3D without any headaches. Stereo over-ear headphones and a mic come standard. Also standard is a head tracking system that's set up so that moving your head moves whatever you're looking at inside the goggles. The front of the goggles have cameras that look out in front of you to provide hand tracking for gesture recognition. And inertial sensors know when and how you move (whether it's walking or jumping up and down), and those motions can be passed back into the virtual world too. Under its three pound hood, Natalia is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a graphics accelerator, a gig of memory, and Android 4.0. It's also got…rechargeable batteries…so you can use the goggles completely untethered (in public!) for about an hour. Put all this together, and hypothetically you could play a game out in the real world, running and looking around and doing things with your arms and all of that would be translated directly to your in-game character. Yeah, you run the risk of smashing headlong into a tree, but that can just be part of the realistic experience…”
Open Source Hardware
49.    MakerBot Announces Their New 2-color 3D Printer, The Replicator  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/09/makerbot-announces-their-latest-3d-printer-the-replicator/  “…The MakerBot Replicator…will debut at CES in Las Vegas, NV on Tuesday, January 10th…The MakerBot Replicator™ is the ultimate personal 3D printer, with MakerBot Dualstrusion™ (2-color printing) and a bigger printing footprint…Assembled in Brooklyn by skilled technicians, the MakerBot Replicator™ is ready within minutes to start printing right out of the box. Starting at $1749, The MakerBot Replicator™ is an affordable, open source 3D printer that is compact enough to sit on your desktop. Want to print in two colors? Choose the Dualstrusion™ option! With a build envelope that’s roughly the size of a loaf of bread, The MakerBot Replicator™ gives you the power to go big…”
50.    Ford and Bug Labs working on the personal mobility experience  http://www.slashgear.com/ford-working-on-a-better-segway-06206733/  “Ford has announced plans…to come up with a better alternative to the Segway or other “personal mobility experience” concepts, as well as integrating mobile tech better…Ford has also begun distributing its open-source collaboration with Bug Labs…The OpenXC research platform – consisting of hardware and software developer kits created in partnership with Bug Labs – is being shipped this month, with MIT, the University of Michigan and Stanford among the first wave of universities taking part…Ford’s own work on that will involve opening up its in-car sensor feedback to developers. Weather Underground is looking to use windshield use data for real-time weather proximity reporting, for instance, with 3G-enabled vehicles sending back information that can be mashed up with other news…” http://corporate.ford.com/news-center/press-releases-detail/pr-ford-and-bug-labs-develop-35245
Open Source
51.     Mandriva in danger of closing its doors  http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/238291/mandriva-danger-closing-its-doors  “…rumors and vague confirmations point to the French Linux company possibly shuttering its doors on January 16. The reason? An apparent shareholder fight that is blocking an influx of much-needed capital…Formerly MandrakeSoft, the company merged with Brazilian Linux vendor and former UnitedLinux partner Connectiva in 2005…the company never seemed to have much of a direction, and it's developer community continually declined in strength…popularity of Ubuntu on the desktop and the one-two punch of Red Hat and SUSE on the server side has also put a strong squeeze on Mandriva…a minor shareholder (Linlux) refuses the capital injection required for Mandriva to continue, even though the Russian investor had offered to bear it alone…Townarea, a Cyprus-based investment group that appears to be comprised mostly of Russian investors, seems perfectly willing to move forward and provide the €4 million. But Linlux (formerly Occam Capital) seems intent on preventing the investment…Since the creation of the community-led Mandriva fork Mageia on 2010, the work done by Mandriva and its community over the years won't be lost…whatever its name--Mandrake-Linux, MandrakeSoft, or Mandriva--this company has a long and valued history within the Linux community…Hopefully the company will pull through again… but signs are not looking good…”
52.    NASA opens it Open-Source Code Doors  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/nasa-opens-it-open-source-code-doors/10094  “…NASA is centralizing its open-source offerings at the Code NASA Web-site. The idea of this new Web-site is to “continue, unify, and expand NASA’s open source activities. The site will serve to surface existing projects, provide a forum for discussing projects and processes, and guide internal and external groups in open development, release, and contribution.”…NASA is first “focusing on providing a home for the current state of open source at the Agency. This includes guidance on how to engage the open source process, points of contact, and a directory of existing projects.” Then, NASA will provide “a robust forum for ongoing discussion of open source concepts, policies, and projects at the Agency. In our third phase, we will turn to the tools and mechanisms development projects generally need to be successful, such as distributed version control, issue tracking, continuous integration, documentation, communication, and planning/management. During this phase, we will create and host a tool, service, and process chain…”
53.    Canonical Demonstrates Ubuntu TV  http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/247571/canonical_demonstrates_ubuntu_tv.html  “…Canonical will be demonstrating a version of its popular Ubuntu Linux OS that can be used for running TVs…at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas…The company is hoping television manufacturers will adopt Ubuntu as a base for their own smart television sets. "We're focusing on making the TV intuitive and usable again, with a single, elegant interface."…A smart TV is one that can not only show cable and over-the-air television shows, but, thanks to some built-in computational ability, also offer a user interface to allow viewers to pull video from the Internet, run applications and peruse channel guides more easily…the company's plans to court television manufacturers such as Sony and LG is part of a broader strategy to offer Ubuntu for a wide range of processor-embedded consumer devices, including automobiles, tablets and various household appliances…”
Civilian Aerospace
54.    KickSat the First Personal Satellite- Webinar with Inventor, Zachary Manchester  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/1/prweb9084148.htm  “…Zachary is an engineer at Cornell University in the Space Systems Design Studio who has created the Sprite- a “cracker-sized” satellite that changes the economics and accessibility of spacecraft by several orders of magnitude. In the near future, members of the public will be able to purchase a satellite for a few hundred dollars. On Tuesday, January 10, at 11 AM PAC, 2PM EST, 7PM GMT, Zachary will be interviewed about his groundbreaking research, where it’s going in the future, and how this changes everyone's relationship to space. The webinar will be free to join. Here is the link for the event: https://buzzumi.com/daniel/dFCCvyw1U7 …”
55.     Leader of 100 Year Starship Project Chosen  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16427876  “…The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) and Nasa are sponsoring the project, known as the 100-Year Starship. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go into space, was notified last week that she had won…Her organisation, the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, is partnered on the Darpa project with Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to interstellar travel, and the Foundation for Enterprise Development…the goal is not to have the government fund the actual building of spacecraft destined for the stars, but rather to create a foundation that can last 100 years in order to help foster the research needed for interstellar travel. The money for the winning team, $500,000, is small, but is designed to help jumpstart the effort. According to a copy of the notification letter, Jemison's proposal was titled: "An Inclusive Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here on Earth & Beyond"…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
56.    After Radeon HD7970 'Tahiti', GPU Compute becomes mainstream  http://vr-zone.com/articles/after-radeon-hd7970-tahiti--gpu-compute-becomes-mainstream/14469.html  “…AMD Radeon HD7970 'Tahiti'…scaled…well…between one and four cards…The AMD GCN new GPU architecture…did provide for much higher usable vs peak FP rate, especially for double precision FP critical for mainstream PC and HPC applications…the OpenCL programming model has now matured well to handle single and multiple tasks with many threads being well balanced and spread across multiple GPUs…the GPU compute is not limited by CrossFire - or SLI, on Nvidia - four-GPU barrier. If your application, or multiple tasks, can handle it, and the underlying board has enough PCIe slots to support it, there's nothing to stop you from having, say, eight or more GPUs in a single system, all running GPU compute and/or graphics at the same time…the upcoming Xeon E5 4600 quad-socket LGA 2011 platform…will have a whopping 160 PCIe v3 lanes available direct from the CPUs, enabling 8 or more GPU cards in the system. If each of these is a…1.1 GHz pre overclocked 6 GB RAM HD7970, it would mean a 9 TFLOPs DP FP capability in a single box, yet with 48 GB dedicated RAM on these GPUs for large local dataset processing without having to go to the over an order of magnitude slower PCIe link…In those apps where you can tolerate even higher PCIe latency induced by PCIe bridges present on dual-GPU cards, in return for higher total performance, that same Quad Xeon E5 box could take eight dual-GPU, say 975 MHz pre overclocked AMD HD7990, cards, and have 16 TFLOPs peak DP FP performance in a single box…”
57.     The Year Ahead in High Performance Computing  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-01-05/the_year_ahead_in_high_performance_computing.html  “…I expect 2012 to continue the major trends we've seen over the past couple of years, namely the increased adoption of GPU computing into the mainstream and more parity of HPC capability around the world, as exemplified by China…By the end of the 2012, the top 10 supercomputers in the world will be dominated by 10 petaflop-and-above machines. Currently, Japan's K computer is the one and only double-digit petaflopper on the planet…10-petaflop-and-above contingent -- Blue Waters (NCSA), Sequoia (LLNL), Titan (ORNL), Mira (ANL) and Stampede (TACC) -- are all scheduled for boot-up in the second half of 2012. The big machines mentioned above are all US-based systems, but it wouldn't be too shocking to see a Chinese super or two in the 10 petaflop realm before the end of the year…the prevalence of so many multi-petaflop systems in the States will reestablish the US as the leader for elite supercomputing…By next November, I'm guessing China will claim more than 100 of the top 500 systems in the world…Accelerators, especially GPUs, will continue their inroads into HPC. I expect NVIDIA's introduction of its next-gen Kepler processor to be the biggest news in this area for 2012. Kepler looks like it will be in production no later than the second half of 2012…”
58.    Chinese tackling human genome with NVIDIA GPUs  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/01/genomes-and-gpus/  “The world’s largest genome sequencing center once needed four days to analyze data describing a human genome. Now it needs just six hours. The trick is servers built with graphics chips — the sort of processors that were originally designed to draw images on your personal computer…This fall, BGI — a mega lab headquartered in Shenzhen, China — switched to servers that use GPUs built by Nvidia, and this slashed its genome analysis time by more than an order of magnitude. In recent years, the cost of sequencing genomes…has dropped about five-fold each year. But…the cost of analyzing that sequencing data has dropped much more slowly. With its GPU breakthrough, BGI is shrinking the gap…the feat BGI and NVIDIA pulled off was porting key genome analysis tools to NVIDIA’s GPU architecture…TeHennepe calls BGI’s accomplishment “an important step forward in the effort to apply the promise of GPU computing to the challenge of scaling the mountain of high-throughput sequencing data”…To achieve the same genome analysis speeds with traditional CPUs, BGI would have to use 15 times more computer nodes, with an equivalent increase in power and air conditioning, according to bioinformatics consultant Martin Gollery. With GPUs, Gollery says, BGI gets faster results for its existing algorithms or use more sensitive algorithms to get better results…”



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