2012/01/24

NEW NET Weekly List for 24 Jan 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 24 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.        SOPA Protests Sway Congress: 31 Opponents Yesterday, 122 Now  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/19/sopa-opponents-supporters/  “Yesterday the Internet cried out in protest of SOPA-PIPA, and congress heard us loud and clear. At the beginning of Janaury 18th, there were 80 members of congress who supported the legislation, and 31 opponents. Now, just 63 support SOPA-PIPA, and opposition has surged to 122…”  http://radar.oreilly.com/2012/01/the-week-the-web-changed-washi.html  “This morning, Sen. Harry Reid…the Senate Majority Leader, said in a statement that he would postpone next week's vote on the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Rep. Lamar Smith…followed with a statement that he would also halt consideration of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)…This outcome was driven by an unprecedented day of online protests on Wednesday of this week, and the resulting coverage on cable and broadcast news networks had an effect…We are thankful for the efforts of Senator Ron Wyden who from the beginning stood against this bill; his early opposition and leadership gave voice to the important concerns of the Internet community." Wikipedia, Google, BoingBoing, Reddit, O'Reilly Media and thousands of other websites, blogs and individual citizens asked their communities to take a stand and contact Washington. January 18, 2012, will go down as an historic day of online action. Consider the following statistics: 162 million Wikipedia page views, with some 8 million visitors using an online form to look up the address of their Congressional representatives…7 million signatures on Google's petition…250,000+ people took action through the EFF's resources…2.4 million+ SOPA-related tweets were sent between 12 a.m. and 4 p.m. on January 18…140,000 phone calls made through Tumblr's platform.…”
2.       Udacity and the future of online universities  http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/23/udacity-and-the-future-of-online-universities/  “…Thrun told the story of his Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class, which ran from October to December last year. It started as a way of putting his Stanford course online — he was going to teach the whole thing, for free, to anybody in the world who wanted it. With quizzes and grades and a final certificate, in parallel with the in-person course he was giving his Stanford undergrad students. He sent out one email to announce the class, and from that one email there was ultimately an enrollment of 160,000 students. Thrun scrambled to put together a website which could scale and support that enrollment, and succeeded spectacularly well…there were more students in his course from Lithuania alone than there are students at Stanford altogether…when it finished, thousands of students around the world were educated and inspired. Some 248 of them, in total, got a perfect score: they never got a single question wrong…Thrun was eloquent on the subject of how he realized that he had been running “weeder” classes, designed to be tough and make students fail…Going forwards, he said, he wanted to learn from Khan Academy and build courses designed to make as many students as possible succeed…he concluded that “I can’t teach at Stanford again.” He’s given up his tenure at Stanford, and he’s started a new online university called Udacity. He wants to enroll 500,000 students for his first course, on how to build a search engine — and of course it’s all going to be free…I’m a little sad that it’s happening away from, rather than being part of, Stanford…Stanford was willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars building a new physical campus in New York City — but it isn’t willing, it seems, to help Thrun build a free virtual campus which could reach the whole world…”
3.       Facebook Timeline coming to everyone, users get a week to clean up profiles  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/24/facebook-timeline-now-open-to-all-users-get-a-week-to-clean-up-profiles/  “You can run, but you can’t hide. Facebook’s biggest user interface overhaul since the Wall, the Facebook Timeline, is rolling out worldwide starting today…everyone will get the new Timeline…when you do, you’ll have just seven days to preview what’s there now, and hide anything you don’t want others to see…Timeline makes it far easier for you to travel back through your Facebook posts – posts which normally disappeared off your Wall and into oblivion. The posts from these previous months and years are now accessible through new navigational elements on the right-side of your screen…With Timeline’s added ability to find older posts, including those from the days before your boss, grandparents, mom and dad were on Facebook, users will need to do a rapid cleanup on their profiles when the Timeline goes live…”
4.       IBM takes on Google and Microsoft with cloud-hosted document-editing tool   http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Messaging-and-Collaboration/IBM-Showcases-Beta-for-IBM-Docs-Next-Gen-of-Collaborative-Suite-of-Office-Business-Tools-589286/  “…IBM unveiled the beta version of its next iteration of IBM Docs…Available now on Greenhouse, the cloud-based set of social document editors includes a suite of office-productivity applications such as a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tool. IBM Docs was designed to help teams share files, collaborate effectively and improve productivity…"IBM Docs is not based on OpenOffice or Lotus Symphony…This was built from the ground up.”…Simplicity is key, IBM executives said. We’re designing this to be a low barrier to usage…There is one class of user where desktop software over-serves them,” Barlow said. “They work in business applications, mainly. I think they can replace the cost of managing desktop software…Everything I create is team-based,” Barlow said. “I don’t want to track multiple document versions…”
5.        Yahoo co-founder, Jerry Yang, forced out  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericjackson/2012/01/20/in-defense-of-jerry-yang/  “Jerry Yang is gone from Yahoo!...The conventional wisdom is that Jerry was an idiot for not immediately accepting Microsoft‘s $31 offer made in February 2008 at a 62% premium…However, that wasn’t the conventional wisdom at the time…most pundits and media thought it was smart to hold out for a higher offer because Microsoft “needed” Yahoo!  After all, isn’t it “Negotiation 101″ to never take the first offer?...What no one saw coming was Steve Ballmer pulling its offer…several of the largest Yahoo! shareholders were absolutely in favor of Jerry’s (which was the board’s) strategy of playing hard to get…these shareholders explicitly ruled out taking the $31 offer.  One in particular wanted $40 and said that – worst case scenario…$36…If Jerry (and more specifically his board) had over-ruled his investors, they would have raised hell…can you imagine if the board had accepted the $31 offer a week or two after it was made?  The shareholder lawsuits would have flown saying that the board left too much value on the table…Jerry…made the $1 billion investment in Alibaba Group in 2005 for 40% of the company…according to most recent reports, that stake is worth $12.5 billion…if Alibaba Group was to IPO today, I believe strongly it would be valued at $65 billion, meaning Yahoo!’s stake today is actually worth $26 billion…Jerry’s investment is the single best investment made by an American in the Chinese Internet space…”
Gigabit Internet
6.       Idaho District Gets New Gigabit Fiber Network  http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/01/20/idaho-district-gets-new-gigabit-fiber-network.aspx  “A school district in Boise, ID has just deployed a gigabit Ethernet network to deliver 100-megabit service to its 49 schools and administration buildings…for the nearly $80,000 per month dedicated fiber service. The improved network is being used to deliver public access services, digital voice, and a secure network to connect district sites. The district has about 35,000 students and 2,500 employees. "This network increases our district's Internet access, internal capacity, and reliability, giving our district access to technology applications that enhance learning…”
7.        Will our plugged-in planet have a green or black future?  http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/23/3387805/will-our-plugged-in-planet-have.html  “…Chances are the Internet has changed something about your life…The more interesting answer comes in a longer conversation short on absolutes and peppered with unintended consequences. In Kansas City, perhaps as much as anywhere in America, that discussion could become ever more profound. If Google Inc. succeeds with plans to blanket the market in lightning-fast Internet hookups…the change could be transformational…With a far faster Internet, you can have constant high-definition live video feeds with a dozen co-workers constantly. Crystal clear audio and video without a hint of delay. We’ve just eliminated all that gasoline burned on your daily commute. But wait. You’re going to have the furnace or air conditioner in your home running more during the day. Your lights will be on. Unless your company has loads of teleworkers, there’s probably no energy savings at the office from having you at home…Computers, smartphones, iPods, Kindles and the rest of the fast-growing array of gadgets pose their own environmental cost. They suck down electricity…almost without pause. Their manufacture requires significant energy. And they are made of a sometimes toxic brew of chemicals and rare metals…Imagine a significant number of people in Kansas City with Internet-tethered monitors in their refrigerators and tiny radio chips on milk, butter and cheese packages. Those refrigerators could feed data to regional dairies. Those dairies, in turn, could far better anticipate demand. That could signal whether to send delivery trucks to groceries in Brookside or Strawberry Hill and what best to stock in them. It might even offer clues about when to vary the diets of milking cows…Consider a much-networked system wired over the Internet into a community’s thermostats…it could match those needs with demands of the power grid, coordinating hundreds of thousands of houses so a utility could minimize peak power demands — a difference that might mean less power drawn from coal-burning plants and more taken from wind farms…the beloved book, with its demand for wood pulp, ink and shipping. “War and Peace” now fits instantly in your e-reader without the harvest of so much as a twig…Ultimately, new ways will arise to get the most out of virtual existence…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
8.       Why the feds smashed Megaupload  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/01/why-the-feds-smashed-megaupload.ars  “The US government dropped a nuclear bomb on "cyberlocker" site Megaupload today, seizing its domain names, grabbing $50 million in assets, and getting New Zealand police to arrest four of the site's key employees, including enigmatic founder Kim Dotcom…prosecutors charged that the site earned more than $175 million since its founding in 2005, most of it based on copyright infringement…the site's employees…were paid lavishly and they spent lavishly. Even the graphic designer, 35-year-old Slovakian resident Julius Bencko, made more than $1 million in 2010 alone…The case is a major one, involving international cooperation between the US, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Canada, and the Philippines. In addition to the arrests, 20 search warrants were executed today in multiple countries…Megaupload controlled 525 servers in Virginia alone and had another 630 in the Netherlands—and many more around the world…the site has claimed to take down unauthorized content when notified by rightsholders…It has negotiated with companies like Universal Music Group about licensing content. And CEO Kim Dotcom sent this curious e-mail to PayPal in late 2011: Our legal team in the US is currently preparing to sue some of our competitors and expose their criminal activity. We like to give you a heads up and advice [sic] you not to work with sites that are known to pay up loaders for pirated content…the government contends that everything about the site has been doctored to make it look more legitimate than it is. The “Top 100” download list does not “actually portray the most popular downloads,” say prosecutors…the indictment seems…full of strange non-sequiturs, such as the charge that "on or about November 10, 2011, a member of the Mega Conspiracy made a transfer of $185,000 to further an advertising campaign for Megaupload.com involved a musical recording and a video." So? The money probably paid for a video that infuriated the RIAA by including major artists who support Megaupload…There's no doubt that the indictment makes Megaupload look bad, though, and we're quite curious to see what comes of the case…Law professor James Grimmelmann of New York Law School tells Ars, "If proven at trial, there's easily enough in the indictment to prove criminal copyright infringement…But much of what the indictment details are legitimate business strategies many websites use to increase their traffic and revenues: offering premium subscriptions, running ads, rewarding active users…”  http://torrentfreak.com/uploaded-to-blocks-us-visitors-120121/  “Uploaded.to, one of the most popular file-hosting sites in the Internet, has closed its doors to US visitors. The move is most likely a response to the FBI crackdown on MegaUpload two days ago. US visitors of Uploaded.to currently get the following message. “Not Available: Our service is currently unavailable in your country. Sorry about that.…”
9.       David Pogue and other smart people underestimate Hollywood’s disdain for First Ammendment  http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2012/01/pick-up-the-pitchforks-david-pogue-underestimates-hollywood/  “…David Pogue, one of the Times’ tech columnists, advises toning down the alarmist rhetoric over SOPA, suggesting that opponents of the bill (and its Senate cousin PIPA) should Put Down the Pitchforks…Pogue proceeds to offer an explanation of SOPA that makes it clear that he does not understand the text of the bill…Pogue’s perspective: Letting Hollywood decide whether any given site with user contributions facilitates piracy would amount to nothing more than “a gigantic headache.” (Me, I’d have gone with “a violation of the First Amendment.”) To come to a conclusion like this, you’d have to believe that traditional media companies are committed to balancing their desire for control with a respect for citizen rights…Pogue does seem to believe…bad things would happen only if the entertainment industry’s legal arm gets out of control. If their legal arm gets out of control? This is an industry that demands payment from summer camps if the kids sing Happy Birthday or God Bless America, an industry that issues takedown notices for a 29-second home movie of a toddler dancing to Prince. Traditional American media firms are implacably opposed to any increase in citizens’ ability to create, copy, save, alter, or share media on our own…I don’t think he’s intentionally trying to obscure the way the bill imagines letting media firms escape due process and impose “market-based” censorship. I think he simply cannot imagine that the bills are as bad as they actually are…Pogue (and many others) simply imagine that the core of SOPA must therefore be reasonable. Surely Hollywood wouldn’t try to suspend due process, would they? Or create a parallel enforcement system? Or take away citizen recourse if they were unfairly silenced? They wouldn’t imagine the possibility of a longer jail term for streaming a Michael Jackson video than Jackson’s own doctor got for killing actual Michael Jackson? Would they?…”
10.     Supreme Court Court Rejects Willy-Nilly GPS Tracking Without Warrant  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/01/scotus-gps-ruling/  “The Supreme Court said Monday that law enforcement authorities might need a probable-cause warrant from a judge to affix a GPS device to a vehicle and monitor its every move — but the justices did not say that a warrant was needed in all cases. The convoluted decision (.pdf) in what is arguably the biggest Fourth Amendment case in the computer age, rejected the Obama administration’s position that attaching a GPS device to a vehicle was not a search. The government had told the high court that it could even affix GPS devices on the vehicles of all members of the Supreme Court, without a warrant. “We hold that the government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a ‘search,’” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the five-justice majority…”
11.      Judge: Americans can be forced to decrypt their laptops  http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57364330-281/judge-americans-can-be-forced-to-decrypt-their-laptops/  “American citizens can be ordered to decrypt their PGP-scrambled hard drives for police to peruse for incriminating files, a federal judge in Colorado ruled today in what could become a precedent-setting case. Judge Robert Blackburn ordered a Peyton, Colo., woman to decrypt the hard drive of a Toshiba laptop computer no later than February 21--or face the consequences including contempt of court. Blackburn, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that the Fifth Amendment posed no barrier to his decryption order. The Fifth Amendment says that nobody may be "compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which has become known as the right to avoid self-incrimination…”
12.     Rumor: Apple spent $100 million in its first case against HTC — and got almost nothing  http://www.realdanlyons.com/blog/2012/01/23/rumor-apple-spent-100-million-in-its-first-case-against-htc-and-got-almost-nothing/  “…Apple’s “thermonuclear war” on Android smartphone makers has been fizzling out lately. Most of Apple’s legal claims have been tossed out, and the two minor victories Apple has scored were so trivial that opponents could work around the claim by making minor changes to their products…a person close to the situation tells me…Apple spent $100 million just on its first set of claims against HTC…Apple’s case against HTC started out with 84 claims based on 10 patents. But by the time the case got to a judge only four patents were involved. The final ruling was that one patent was totally invalid because of prior art, and should never have been issued to Apple. On two other patents, the ruling was that HTC was not infringing on the patents, and, worse yet, that Apple itself was not using those patents in its own product, which means Apple had no right to seek an injunction based on them…On the last patent the ITC found that HTC was infringing and that Apple was practicing the patent…the infringement involved a relatively tiny software feature…HTC can resolve the infringement simply be removing that feature from phones it sells in the United States, or by finding a different way to implement that feature that sidesteps the patent. So Apple started out with 10 patents — presumably its best ones — and ended up with a tiny victory on just one. Was that worth $100 million?…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
13.     Is ’5G’ mobile broadband just around the corner? IMT-Advanced explained  http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/is-5g-mobile-broadband-just-around-the-corner-imt-advanced-explained/  “…what if we said…the real 4G was just around the corner — and up to 10 times faster than what mobile operators are touting as 4G today. Would you be interested?...the International Telecommunications Union…has just approved the specifications for IMT-Advanced…IMT stands for “International Mobile Telecommunications.”…IMT standards have helped shape the way mobile services have developed worldwide. IMT-Advanced isn’t a specific technology like HSPA+, WiMax, or LTE—rather, it’s a specification and list of requirements for high-speed mobile broadband service…Right now two technologies have been found to meet the IMT-Advanced criteria: WirelessMAN-Advanced and and LTE-Advanced. WirelessMAN-Advanced is an evolution of the 802.16e technologies that serve as the basis for today’s WiMax services…LTE-Advanced is a further refinement of existing LTE technology that brings it into full compliance with IMT-Advanced requirements…LTE-Advanced would seem to have the upper hand, primarily because the vast majority of wireless operators around the world have worked to standardize on current LTE technologies…The main benefit of IMT-Advanced will be bandwidth, but we’ll simplify that to speed…3G technologies…typical download rates are around 2 Mbit/s downstream, and far less upstream — something like 200 Kbit/s. Given the right conditions, 3G technology can hit 14.4 Mbit/s downstream and 5.76 Mbit/s upstream…In ideal conditions (and with a full 20MHz of frequency space available) WiMax can offer up to 128 Mbit/s downstream and 56 Mbit/s upstream, and LTE has a theoretical peak capacity of 100 Mbit/s upstream and 50 Mbit/s downstream in the same conditions…IMT-Advanced…will blow all those technologies out of the water. IMT-Advanced is to offer a nominal data rate of 100 Mbit/s downstream while moving, even at high speeds relative to a base site. That means users in cars, trains, and even planes should be able to receive mobile broadband service in the neighborhood of theoretical maximums for current “4G” mobile broadband technology. And it gets better: if you’re not moving, IMT-Advanced technologies should be able to deliver a theoretical maximum of 1 Gbit/s, which is ten times more bandwidth…With IMT-Advanced technology, it should take about 20 seconds to download a full-length (44 min) standard-definition television episode to a smartphone…IMT-Advanced…technology can support more concurrent users per cell. The technology is also designed to offer global roaming capabilities and seamless handoffs between base stations…users are less likely to experience hiccups as they move between one site and another…”
14.     Don't call it an ultrabook  http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/19/editorial-dont-call-it-an-ultrabook/  “…at CES…one of the most oft-cited trends is the "ultrabook." Judging from the companies' announcements at the show and…coverage they've received, you might think that's a new sort of device…But, really, they're just laptops…It's actually Ultrabook, with a capital "U," and a (TM). The name is a wholly-owned creation of Intel…Intel is reportedly planning its biggest advertising push in eight years to promote Ultrabooks…Ultrabooks actually made their official debut in May of last year at the Computex trade show in Taiwan…right now it's hard to see how they're deserving of a title all their own…none have what can legitimately be called "tablet-like features,"…Intel itself says that 50 percent of 75+ Ultrabooks expected this year will have 14- or 15-inch screens…that's just how laptops have been evolving all these years…A netbook is not a laptop replacement…It's smaller and generally far less expensive than a proper laptop…with some real trade-offs…calling netbooks laptops would actually be doing a disservice to consumers…Ultrabooks, on the other hand, can only be considered a manufactured "new thing."…the whole notion of Ultrabooks as something new is a little silly…”
15.     Panasonic to Release Rugged Android Tablet  http://www.engineeringontheedge.com/2012/01/panasonic-to-release-rugged-android-tablet/  “…designers, engineers and architects…have to take their work with them into the field…finding a computing platform that withstands the rigors of those environments can be a challenge. That fancy laptop that works fine in the office will probably be toast if it gets dropped into a pile of debris, dunked in sea water, or doused with hydraulic fluid. There are rugged alternatives; laptops and tablets built to military specifications. Most of these devices are based on the Windows OS, but Panasonic recently introduced an Android-based rugged tablet. The Panasonic Toughpad A1 is a 10.1-in., 2.13 lbs. tablet set to debut this spring at a list price of $1,299…It has an XGA capacitive, multi-touch, daylight-viewable screen, a Marvell 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and 10 hours of battery life…”
16.     $99 Android Tablet: Better Than Entire 2011 Crop  http://www.informationweek.com/byte/reviews/personal-tech/tablets/232500257  “…The first thing to note about the NOVO7 is that it's smaller than the iPad. The screen measures 7 inches diagonally compared to the iPad 2's 9.7 inches…that's part of why it's cheaper…The first generation of Android tablets from 2011…kept costs down with touchscreens based on resistance and other inferior technologies. High-end touchscreens, such as the ones in the iPad 2 and NOVO7, use capacitance (the human finger conducts electricity and thereby distorts an electrostatic field in the screen)…The Ainovo NOVO7 Basic tablet is no iPad, but at one-fifth the price it doesn't have to be…It uses the MIPS architecture Ingenic XBurst JZ4770 CPU running at 1GHz, plus a Vivante GC860 GPU and VPU…The NOVO7 Basic has many features, such as front (0.3 MP) and rear (2.0 MP) cameras and an HDMI port capable of outputting 1080p video, that are not present in the Amazon Kindle Fire. A version of the NOVO7 without cameras or HDMI costs $10 less. It has a 5-point multi-touch capacitive touchscreen with an 800-pixel-by-480-pixel resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio, and an SD card slot. System memory is 512MB and onboard storage is 8GB. There is no GPS hardware…”
17.     19 Percent of American Adults Own a Tablet  http://www.pcworld.com/article/248562/19_percent_of_american_adults_own_a_tablet.html  “Nearly one in five American adults now own a tablet, as tablet ownership nearly doubled over the holiday season, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. Only 10 percent owned a tablet in mid-December, but that figure almost doubled to 19 percent in early January, after the holiday gift-giving season. The Pew study…mentions the striking growth was fueled by devices such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet, which were introduced at less than half the price of the Apple iPad ($200 for Kindle Fire and $250 for Nook Tablet)…Analysts estimate holiday shoppers bought 4 to 5 million Kindle Fires, while Apple is believed to have shipped some 13 million iPads in the last quarter. The Pew study did not mention Android tablets. E-book reader ownership surged as well to 19 percent among American adults over the holidays…”
Apps
18.     iBook, new self-publishing and/or textbook app  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2012/01/apple-ibooks-2-textbook.html  “Apple promised to reinvent the textbook…by way of an update to its iBooks app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch…The app update -- which Apple is calling iBooks 2…will allow for textbooks to be sold through the popular app, which in the past sold novels, nonfiction and poetry, but not textbooks. All textbooks sold through the free app, which is available only to Apple's i-devices, will be priced at $14.99 or less [sort of…see next link – ed.] -- a stark contrast to the high-priced paper books that fill college bookstores…The tech giant has enlisted the heavyweights of textbook publishing -- Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt -- to sell textbooks through iBooks 2. Combined, the three companies make 90% of textbooks sold in the U.S…”  http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/20/tech/innovation/ipad-wont-transform-education/index.html  “…Apple has a long way to go…before it dominates K-12 classrooms the way it has done the music industry…By Apple's count, 1.5 million iPads are being used by schools…there are 55.5 million students enrolled in…U.S. schools…the iPad is not a mainstream phenomenon in K-12. Nor is there any guarantee it will become so. One-to-one initiatives for laptops have been pushing forward for years without mainstream adoption…while 99% of public school teachers have some access to computers, just 29% of public school teachers use them during instructional time "often."…Even though Apple's first iPad textbooks will sell for $15 or less, they won't be any less expensive for schools than paper books…iBooks will be sold to schools rather than directly to students, but that schools will grant students access to those books through their personal IDs…even if a school reuses iPads, it won't be able to reuse books. The books will be kept on individual students' iTunes accounts. Schools reuse the same paper book for about five years, and those books usually cost about $75. Because a new book will be purchased every year, the iBook version still costs $75 for five years. Relying on iBooks as textbooks isn't a feasible option…at the moment because Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson have each dedicated just a small number of titles each…Unless major publishers decide to add more of their titles to iBooks, it won't be a feasible default reader in most schools…In a FTC 2010 survey of the schools…almost 80% said their Internet connections don't fully meet their current needs. "It's not atypical to see one classroom of students on connected devices bring down a network…”
19.     Unprecedented audacity of iBook Author EULA  http://venomousporridge.com/post/16126436616/ibooks-author-eula-audacity  “…iBooks Author, a free Mac app for creating digital books for the new version of iBooks…looks like a very good tool. However, a curious thing happens when you go to export your work in iBooks format…iBooks can be sold only in the iBookstore…Apple is trying to establish a rule that whatever I create with this application, if I sell it, I have to give them a cut…Here’s the problem: I didn’t agree to it…to paraphrase: By using this software, you agree that anything you make with it is in part ours. But if it can say that and have legal force, can’t it say anything? Isn’t this the equivalent of a car dealer trying to bind you to additional terms by sticking a contract in the glove compartment? By driving this car, you agree to get all your oil changes from Honda of Cupertino?...It’s akin to Microsoft trying to restrict what people can do with Word documents…As far as I know, in the consumer software industry, this practice is unprecedented…When I make something myself, no matter what software I use to make it…it’s my right to distribute it however I want, in whatever format I choose, for free or not…”  http://gigaom.com/2012/01/19/do-we-want-textbooks-to-live-in-apples-walled-garden/  “…the biggest criticism of Apple’s attempt to co-opt the educational system doesn’t have anything to do with costs: If its digital textbooks became the standard in schools, it would commit those institutions to a much broade…relationship with a technology provider than we have ever seen…Every textbook would effectively have to be approved by Apple, and the software that controlled them would belong to Apple alone…”  http://gigaom.com/apple/vook-ibooks-author-has-limited-appeal-for-writers-readers/  “…I reached out to Vook, the startup founded in 2009 by Brad Inman that provides a top-to-bottom publishing experience using a Software-as-a-Service model…the company is “kind of flattered” by some aspects of iBooks Author, since they look very similar to its own product…iBooks Author helps raise the status of e-books in general, and helps promote them as a valid alternative to apps, which is good for Vook and other e-book publishers…in Cavnar’s opinion…many content creators and publishers won’t be able to swallow…the portability and limitations of the e-Books Author ultimately produces…Being platform agnostic appeals to what Cavnar calls “the switcher demographic,”…iBooks Author won’t be as appealing to those users, since it creates a file that’s not quite epub2, not quite epub3, and not quite XHTML5…which makes it…essentially proprietary…while Apple will let you distribute the book independent of the iBookstore, if you want to make any money on the product, you have to go through the iBookstore and the iBookstore only. Exclusivity as a requirement won’t likely go over great with authors…”
20.    5 Smartphone Augmented Reality Apps  http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/2012/01/19/top-5-smartphone-augmented-reality-apps/  “The…base for augmented reality enabled smartphones jumped from eight million in 2009 to over a hundred million in 2010. When we see the final numbers from 2011, they should be even higher…analysts say the overall revenue generated by augmented reality on smartphones could exceed $1.5 billion by 2015. Certain practical applications like innovative cameras, accelerometers, and compasses are beginning to prove that AR is more than just a mobile fad…Here are some top-notch AR apps for your smartphone:  Google Sky Map…Layar…Car Finder…Yelp…Wikitude…”
SkyNet
21.     Google+ allows pseudonyms if they’re “established”  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/23/google-plus-pseudonyms/  “Google’s Bradley Horowitz just announced that as part of a more “inclusive” naming policy, Google+ will now be allow people to employ pseudonyms as their user names…Google isn’t throwing the door open to anyone who wants to create an account under a random name. Instead, it sounds like it wants to make Google+ better reflect names that are used in the real-world, like “Madonna”…Google says that when the Google+ team flags a user name, people can appeal the decision by showing that it’s an “established identity,” either offline or online — though if it’s an online identity, it needs to have “a meaningful following…”
22.    Going Google-Free: The Best Alternatives to Google Services on the Web  http://lifehacker.com/5876794/going-google+free-the-best-alternatives-to-google-services-on-the-web  “…Google runs your life. The search giant turned web ecosystem owns your email, calendar, and even your voicemails. Your most important data lives on Google's servers…despite the quality of Google's products…placing all your eggs in Google's basket isn't necessarily the best thing. Here's a look at alternative services you can use in place of Google's webapps…The Best Search Alternative: DuckDuckGo…The Best Gmail Alternative: Hotmail…The Best Google Calendar Alternative: Zoho Calendar…The Best Google Maps Alternative: Bing Maps…The Best Picasa Web Alternative: Flickr…The Best Google Docs Alternative: Office Web Apps…The Best Google Voice Alternative: Phonebooth…”
23.    Pages With Too Many Ads “Above The Fold” Now Penalized By Google’s “Page Layout” Algorithm  http://searchengineland.com/too-many-ads-above-the-fold-now-penalized-by-googles-page-layout-algo-108613  “Do you shove lots of ads at the top of your web pages? Think again. Tired of doing a Google search and landing on these types of pages? Rejoice. Google has announced that it will penalize sites with pages that are top-heavy with ads. The change — called the “page layout algorithm” — takes direct aim at any site with pages where content is buried under tons of ads…When I talked with the head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutts, he said that Google wasn’t going to provide any type of official tools…Instead, Cutts told me that Google is encouraging people to make use of its Google Browser Size tool or similar tools to understand how much of a page’s content (as opposed to ads) is visible at first glance to visitors under various screen resolutions…”
24.    Google cancels Picnik and closes a few other businesses  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57363171-93/google-cancels-picnik-and-closes-a-few-other-businesses/  “…Google said it will shutter a half-dozen businesses--including Picnik, the photo-editing service…Google's been on a slashing binge, cleaving under-performing and peripheral businesses from its portfolio…The company bought the online photo editing service in March 2010, and plans to end the service on April 19. Instead, Google plans to offer photo editing "across Google products,"…It's already building some basic photo features into its Google+ social network, a likely spot for some Picnik services…Google is also dropping its Social Graph application programming interface…Google is also closing Google Message Continuity, an email disaster recovery product for corporate customers that launched in December 2010…Needlebase, the data management platform picked up in the ITA Software acquisition last June, will go away, possibly integrated into Google's other data-related initiatives. And the company is closing its client-hosted web analytics product, Urchin Software…”
25.    Export all Google Docs Files with Takeout  http://www.ghacks.net/2012/01/25/export-all-google-docs-files-with-takeout/  “Google Takeout is a service that Google users can make use of to export their user data to their local PC. Not all Google services are supported by Takeout though…Up until now, it only offered to export Picasa Web Albums, Google+ related information, Google Voice data or your Google Contacts. The developers have now announced that they have added Google Docs to the list of services. Let me show you how you can export all of your Google Docs files now…The frontpage displays a list of all services that you can export data from. You can create an archive of data from all available services, or switch to the Choose services menu to select one service that you want to export data from…”
General Technology
26.    Europe's Driverless Car  http://www.technologyreview.com/business/39410/?p1=BI  “…I think that in 10 to 15 years, it could be another world," Huber says. He's not willing to predict exactly what driving will look like then, but he's certain humans will be doing a lot less of it…the automated driving revolution is already here: new safety and convenience technologies are beginning to act as "copilots," automating tedious or difficult driving tasks such as parallel parking. "Driverless" technology…will creep into everyday use much as airbags did: first as an expensive option in luxury cars, but eventually as a safety feature required by governments…BMW and Volkswagen are among the companies already demonstrating cars that drive themselves. In 2010, Volkswagen sent a driverless Audi TTS up Pike's Peak at close to race speeds…for $1,350, people who purchase BMW's 535i xDrive sedan in the United States can opt for a "driver assistance package" that includes radar to detect vehicles in the car's blind spot. For another $2,600, BMW will install "night vision with pedestrian detection," which uses a forward-facing infrared camera to spot people in the road…In the high-end Mercedes-Benz CL, for instance, cameras not only tell a driver when he or she is leaving the lane but actually help the vehicle steer itself back…automakers already sell cars with so-called adaptive cruise control that automatically applies the brakes during highway driving if traffic slows…BMW…i3 series of electric cars…traffic-jam feature will let the car accelerate, decelerate, and steer by itself at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour…”
27.    Snake locomotion inspires new design for robots  http://zeenews.india.com/news/technology/snake-locomotion-inspires-new-design-for-robots_753793.html  “Scientists have designed new machines for search and rescue robots by studying the locomotion of snakes…an all-terrain robot for search-and-rescue missions…must be flexible enough to move over uneven surfaces, yet not so big that it’s restricted from tight spaces. It might also be required to climb slopes of varying inclines…By using their scales to control frictional properties, snakes are able to move large distances while exerting very little energy…While studying and videotaping the movements of 20 different species at Zoo Atlanta, Marvi developed Scalybot 2, a robot that replicates rectilinear locomotion of snakes…Snakes lift their ventral scales and pull themselves forward by sending a muscular travelling wave from head to tail. Rectilinear locomotion is very efficient and is especially useful for crawling within crevices, an invaluable benefit for search-and-rescue robots…Scalybot 2 can automatically change the angle of its scales when it encounters different terrains and slopes…”
28.    Putting Nike's FuelBand through the paces  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57362375-1/putting-nikes-fuelband-and-me-through-the-paces/  “I have to hand it to Nike for its unique take on the growing fad of fitness-tracking devices. The FuelBand is Nike's stab at this segment, which others including the Jawbone Up and Motorola Mobility's MotoActv have already tread…Unlike some of the other devices, the primary crux of the FuelBand is its Nike Fuel reading, a metric that Nike put together on its own that matches a person's movement through the wristband's accelerometer against data collected on how rapidly oxygen is consumed. As with other fitness monitors that rely on an accelerometer, the readings vary greatly depending on how much you move your arm. Cycling and certain kinds of weight lifting, for instance, wouldn't register much as simply sitting on your couch and waving your hands…chances are, if you're spending $149 on a FuelBand, you're going to want to pay attention to the Nike Fuel readout…the company took the media on a little field trip to test out the FuelBand in a variety of activities. The following are my early impressions after a day with the device…”
29.    Mercedes-Benz gesture control concept is DICEy  http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/15/mercedes-benz-gesture-control-concept-is-dicey/  “…Germans seem to be obsessed with Minority Report-style interior controls, and Mercedes-Benz has taken it to the next level with a full-scale interior with nary a button or switch to be found. Mercedes' Dynamic & Intuitive Control Experience (DICE) utilizes a series of proximity sensors to detect arm and hand movements, which control everything from music, navigation and social functionality to a heads-up display that comprises the entire windshield. You can get a feel for the system in action in the video…”               
30.    Collision Between Self-Driving Cars and How the World Works  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/technology/googles-autonomous-vehicles-draw-skepticism-at-legal-symposium.html  “…legal scholars and government officials are warning that society has only begun wrestling with the changes that would be required in a system created a century ago…What happens if a police officer wants to pull one of these vehicles over? When it stops at a four-way intersection, would it be too polite to take its turn ahead of aggressive human drivers (or equally polite robots)? What sort of insurance would it need? These and other implications of what Google calls autonomous vehicles were debated…last week at a daylong symposium sponsored by the Law Review and High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University…computerized systems that replace human drivers are now largely workable and could greatly limit human error, which causes most of the 33,000 deaths and 1.2 million injuries that now occur each year on the nation’s roads. Such vehicles also hold the potential for greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions — and, more broadly, for restoring the United States’ primacy in the global automobile industry…Sebastian Thrun, director of Google’s autonomous vehicle research program, wrote that the project had achieved 200,000 miles of driving without an accident while cars were under computer control…Nevada became the first state to legalize driverless vehicles last year, and similar laws have now been introduced before legislatures in Florida and Hawaii. Several participants at the Santa Clara event said a similar bill would soon be introduced in California…human drivers frequently bend the rules by rolling through stop signs and driving above speed limits…how would a polite and law-abiding robot vehicle fare against such competition?...the car is so polite it might be sitting at a four-way intersection forever, because no one else is coming to a stop.”…“Twenty years from now we might have completely autonomous vehicles,” he said, “maybe on limited roads.”…future autonomous vehicles will rely heavily on global positioning satellite data and other systems, which are vulnerable to jamming by malicious computer hackers…Some called the definition itself into question. “It won’t truly be an autonomous vehicle,” said Brad Templeton, a software designer and a consultant for the Google project, “until you instruct it to drive to work and it heads to the beach instead.”
Leisure & Entertainment
31.     Robot and Frank is the next great science fiction indie  http://io9.com/5878242/sundance-breakout-robot-and-frank-uses-artificial-intelligence-to-celebrate-humanism  “In the movies, technology is usually represented one of two ways: a hallelujah-worthy miracle or a soul-deadening trespass on the natural order of things. Robot and Frank, a film receiving near-unanimous praise at the Sundance Film Festival, is smart enough to know better. Technology, like everything in life, isn't black and white, and is only as good or bad as the people who interact with it…so here's the pitch: Frank Langella and a robot crack safes…Robot and Frank…has great insight into the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and the fractured lucidity of memory…Frank, a divorcee, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and will soon be unable to care for himself. The shiny white robot…cooks and cleans…and has a primary programming to do anything to improve Frank's health. He also has knowledge of, but no specific requirements to adhere to state and federal laws, which quickly comes in handy when Frank decides to restart his career in cat burglary…Robot and Frank certainly embraces the promise in new technology, but is eager to point out its potential pitfalls. Douchey Jeremy Strong looks like a yutz playing invisible virtual reality drums…also held up for some ridicule is the reactionary pro-humanist faction, as embodied by Frank's globe-trotting liberal daughter played by Liv Tyler..There are times I watch a movie and wonder if it was made just for me…with its empathetic characters, precise and thorough investigation of a science fiction concept and its rock solid Hollywood screenwriting beats…”
32.    'Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission' Returns to Earth  http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/screens/2012-01-19/hallo-spaceboy-richard-garriott-man-on-a-mission-returns-to-earth/  “…out-of-this-world documentary Richard Garriott: Man On a Mission…our local uber-geek/gamer-god's sojourn into space has finally landed in theaters…The film, which snagged the SXSW Audience Choice Award back in 2010, is currently playing in selected cities…you can watch it in the luxury of your own cockpit via Netflix, the iTunes Store…Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, Space X, and Space Adventures are all competing for customers willing and able to shell out for a still-pricey tourist ticket into outer space, and both Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen may yet live to see their own, prescient space-travel dreams come true. Says director Woolf, "For me, this movie captures the moment in history when the gates were opened for private space travel…”
33.    Audiobooks.com launches unlimited book streaming service for $24.95 a month  http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/24/2730073/audiobooks-com-unlimited-book-streaming-launch  “If you're a voracious audiobook listener and want access to as many books as you could possibly listen to, the just-launched Audiobooks.com streaming service might be worth looking into. Once you pay the $24.95 monthly fee, you have unlimited access to a library of 11,000 titles, and can listen to as many as you want each month through your browser or mobile phone. While there aren't apps available yet, you can stream from Audiobooks.com as long as you're running iOS 4.0 or Android 2.3 (and higher, of course)…Compared to Audible, there's both pros and cons for Audiobooks.com. First off, Audible can be significantly cheaper, with plans starting at $7.49 per month for the first three months, and its catalog is nearly ten times bigger than Audiobooks.com's offering. However, Audible's plans only give you access to one or two books a month, while Audiobooks.com allows for unlimited streaming for just two dollars more than Audible's two book plan….”
Economy and Technology
34.    RFS 9: Kill Hollywood  http://ycombinator.com/rfs9.html  “Hollywood…is not an ordinary industry. The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise. That's one reason we want to fund startups that will compete with movies and TV, but not the main reason. The main reason we want to fund such startups is…because SOPA brought it to our attention that Hollywood is dying…If movies and TV were growing rapidly, that growth would take up all their attention…SOPA shows Hollywood is beaten. And yet the audiences to be captured from movies and TV are still huge. There is a lot of potential energy to be liberated there…what is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What's going to kill movies and TV is what's already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now…”
35.    Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust  http://www.wired.com/magazine/2012/01/ff_solyndra/  “…In 2005, VC investment in clean tech measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The following year, it ballooned to $1.75 billion, according to the National Venture Capital Association. By 2008, the year after Doerr’s speech, it had leaped to $4.1 billion. And the federal government followed. Through a mix of loans, subsidies, and tax breaks, it directed roughly $44.5 billion into the sector between late 2009 and late 2011. Avarice, altruism, and policy had aligned to fuel a spectacular boom. Anyone who has heard the name Solyndra knows how this all panned out. Due to a confluence of factors—including fluctuating silicon prices, newly cheap natural gas, the 2008 financial crisis, China’s ascendant solar industry, and certain technological realities—the clean-tech bubble has burst, leaving us with a traditional energy infrastructure still overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels. The fallout has hit almost every niche in the clean-tech sector—wind, biofuels, electric cars, and fuel cells—but none more dramatically than solar…Perhaps the biggest force working against not just Solyndra but clean energy in general is this: Because natural gas has gotten so cheap, there is no longer a financial incentive to go with renewables…The price of natural gas peaked at nearly $13 per thousand cubic feet in 2008. It now stands at around $3. A decade ago, shale gas accounted for less than 2 percent of America’s natural gas supply; it is now approaching one-third, and industry officials predict that the total reserves will last a century…Put all that together and you’ve undone some of the financial models that say it makes sense to shift to wind and solar…Even solar’s biggest allies on Capitol Hill—people like Edward J. Markey, a top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee—fear the industry’s oil and gas foes may have gotten the upper hand now that the clean-tech bubble has burst…The fossil fuel industry and its allies in Congress clearly see the solar and wind industries as a threat and will try to kill these industries as they have for the preceding two generations…”
36.    Dwolla getting $10M investment even though they’re in Iowa  http://www.betabeat.com/2012/01/20/union-square-ventures-leading-series-b-in-iowa-based-dwolla/  “Des Moines-based payments provider Dwolla, which enables seamless online payments for a quarter per transaction…has had a flush of attention and VCs have been falling all over themselves to book flights to Iowa and get in on the company’s next round…Dwolla, founded in 2008, hit $1 million a day back in July…Now it’s moving between $30 and $50 million per month…taking just $0.25 for transactions over $10 (less than $10, and it’s free). The startup’s million (billion?) dollar innovation is eliminating credit card interchange fees by cutting costs in a few key ways, including a massive reduction in credit card fraud risk by eliminating card information from the transaction…It links to consumers’ bank accounts and lets them send money to friends on social networks, currently available in the U.S. using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. The fee scheme is exactly the same for merchants, who can sign up for free…“Essentially, we’ve created our own payment network. Think VISA, but built in the 21st century, not the 1960s,”…Earlier this month, Dwolla launched instant transactions, cleaned up the user experience, and is now heavily staffing up…Dwolla has raised about $1.3 million to date in grants, angel funding and a series A…The company had grown from two to 15 employees as of June; they’re now at about 18…”
DHMN Technology
37.    Preview of Tomorrow's Wearable Computers at CES  http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/39471/  “…This year, several…small exhibitors were showing off technology that could free us from having to peer down at our mobile devices—glasses that can overlay digital data onto the world around us…Lumus Optics…demonstrated prototype glasses that display translucent, almost opaque imagery that fills the wearer's view like a 10-foot-wide TV two feet in front of his face…"We have a crazy amount of computing horsepower and bandwidth in our small mobile devices, but you can't get the full utility of that," says Grobman. "This will change that."…The glasses rely on a computer or phone to provide them with imagery, a link that can be made using Bluetooth. Adding sensors like accelerometers and a camera to the glasses will enable sophisticated apps, says Grobman, such as one that uses facial recognition to call up useful information about people. The technology to enable this is already available…He guesses that consumer devices will appear in "two years, maybe less." Vuzix…estimates that its augmented-reality technology will reach consumers in a similar time frame…the company displayed a monocular display that will go on sale later in 2012 for $5,000 to $10,000…aimed at the military and industry…the company plans to develop a more consumer-friendly version…”
38.    Geek Techniques: X-Men Cyclops Visor  http://www.loungegeeks.com/2012/01/geek-techniques-cyclops-visor/  “…Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year…I…wanted to build that Cyclops visor and…managed to put together a functional visor that lights up for just under $30…1 Pair of Cyclops-Style Glasses (available for $5-10 online, depending on style)…1 Strip of Red LEDs ($10-$25. I used these, but you can use any 12v LED strip)…When designing any gadget, your primary concern should always be to maintain a fine balance between form (what it looks like) and function (what it does)…As for function, I wanted something that could light up at the push of a switch but would still allow me to see (as these would be mostly used at parties or in the occasional video)…There you have it – a functional piece of myopic eyewear fit for wearing to your local ComicCon or simply heading down to the closest geek bar to try to pick up stray psychic red-heads…”
39.    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: coming soon to a sky near you  http://io9.com/5876952/unmanned-aerial-vehicles-coming-soon-to-a-sky-near-you  “…Drones were developed in the early days of aviation, and were used almost exclusively as moving targets for training exercises…The military UAVs familiar today trace their lineage to aircraft developed in the 1980s. Israel was at the forefront of UAV design, using several light, remotely controlled aircraft to great success in the 1982 Lebanon War…Better remote control and camera technology allowed UAVs to take on more involved reconnaissance roles…Today's UAVs can remain on-mission for 30 to 40 hours, far beyond the capabilities of any human crew. Research into mid-air refueling of UAVs and ultra-efficient solar-powered UAVs could extend that range close to infinity…The U.S. military was not content to merely identify targets with their UAVs – they wanted to blow them up, too. That's why the Predator (and its variants the Gray Eagle and the Avenger) can be armed with Hellfire missiles…they are not used as front line warfighting machines – against a plane with a human pilot, a UAV will lose every time. They're more like high-tech assassination weapons… In the future, UAVs may be armed with smaller, more precise armaments such as the Griffin or Spike missiles…overall, autonomy is not a priority right now. It's a cost-benefit issue – the cost of developing effective autonomous UAVs is undercut by the cost of training human controllers, and there's no great necessity for planes that fly themselves…Next-generation UAVs will be larger, allowing them to carry more payload. They will also have more powerful engines…UAVs used in domestic situations in the U.S. have been smaller, "man-portable" units used for search and rescue, fire suppression and surveillance…What happens when the cost comes down and every police department in the country has a fleet of UAVs constantly in the air? Current privacy laws are probably not going to answer all the questions…The counterpoint to this UAV-powered panopticon is that it is becoming increasingly easy for the average citizen to create and operate a UAV…Civilians even created a UAV to observe police activities during Occupy protests – the OccuCopter is a quad-rotor UAV that can be controlled via iPhone and streams video live to the internet…In wars, fewer pilots will die, but civilian casualties might increase. Pervasive government surveillance will test Constitutional law and give rise to new technologies that counteract it…”
40.    Pirate Bay Launches 3D-Printed 'Physibles' Downloads  http://www.pcworld.com/article/248682/pirate_bay_launches_3dprinted_physibles_downloads.html  “…The Pirate Bay, a notorious and extremely popular torrent site, has created a new category for files that allow 3D printers to create physical objects…The Pirate Bay's "WinstonQ2038" labeled the site's new category "physibles" --data objects that users can transform from digital to physical form via 3D printers and scanners. Eventually, people may be able to print spare parts for vehicles, or even download sneakers, the post predicts. An emerging technology, 3D printing allows scientists, artists, and even crooks to swiftly build three-dimensional prototypes. Plastic is usually the preferred material for these creations, but 3D printers can use a variety of other materials, including stainless steel, Styrofoam, and human tissue…”
41.     5 technologies that will plug the Internet directly into your brain  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/01/5-technologies.php  “…in geek speak, most are at least casually familiar with the concepts of software and hardware: the digital ghost and the shell. But there is a third computer component without which the other two would be meaningless. We're talking about meatware,* or the tech that connects computers to the meaty organic components, aka you…compared to the connectivity within a computer or within the brain, contemporary UIs are little more than annoying speed bumps along the road to the Matrix…Researchers from around the world are hard at work developing ways to mainline the virtual world directly into your brain…Here we present some of the coolest upcoming technology that will collapse the divide between meat and machine…5. Computer-aided Telepathy…Professor Stephen Hawking…is now collaborating with a team at Intel to develop a new communication method. One avenue the team is considering is "brain-wave scanning," which could translate the professor's thoughts directly into words…4. The Internet Feels Like This…Researchers at Duke University recently pulled off a strange proof-of-concept experiment in which they linked a digital interface directly to a test monkey's brain…researchers were able to fabricate tangible sensations of virtual objects…3. Meatware, Meet Hardware…a joint team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Johns Hopkins have developed what has been dubbed a "thought-controlled" bionic arm…2. Cyborg Brains For All…A Tel Aviv-based research team has developed a brain-computer interface that has given a rat to the ability to move after scientists paralyzed the little creature…1. A Dreamcatcher, Literally…Japan's ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories has developed a technique using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)…to capture visualizations of data (thoughts) as the brain processes them…”
Open Source Hardware
42.    My low cost and open source tools  http://www.nabiltewolde.com/2012/01/low-cost-and-open-source-tools.html  “In the 1970s software developers worked together to build a foundation of open source software tools with the hope that the entire community would benefit from this shared knowledge…We are starting to see the same thing happen with the open source hardware movement…It has allowed me to do my work at a fraction of the cost and effort it might have even just 5 years ago so I thought I would share some of my favorite tools…Open Logic Analyzer - $50…Dangerous DSO…Bus Blaster - $34.94…USBtinyISP - $22…Zigduino - $65…Arduino Mega ADK - $84.95…Makerbot Replicator - $1,749.00…USRP B100 Kit - $650…Bus Pirate - $27.15…Ubertooth…CEE Analog Multitool…”
43.    High Altitude Balloon Presentation video  http://www.southgatearc.org/news/january2012/high_altitude_balloon_presentation_video.htm  “…The presentation titled 'Tux in (near) space!' was given to hackers at the linux.conf.au 2012 in Ballarat, Jan 16-20. The Project Horus group have flown several amateur radio repeaters as well as APRS and video payloads…This talk will describe how to launch and recover high altitude balloons: logistics, regulations, and most importantly the open source hardware and software used…anyone who likes seeing photos of earth from 35km will enjoy this talk…”
44.    Adafruit Debuts FLORA, a Wearable Electronics Platform  http://hothardware.com/News/Adafruit-Debuts-FLORA-a-Wearable-Electronics-Platform/  “…Adafruit…recently announced FLORA, a wearable electronics platform. FLORA is a tiny board that measures just 1.75 inches in diameter, and it’s based on Adafruit’s own Atmega32u4 Breakout Board and is compatible with Arduino. It comes with “addressable and chain-able 4,000 mcd RGB LED pixels and premium stainless steel thread…”
45.    MegaSokoban on Uzebox  http://uzebox.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1149  “…I've finished MegaSokoban - port of my early game…for Uzebox. It's not audio or video excellent, but it's right choice for Sokoban maniacs, because it has 999 levels (all of them fitted into 664's FLASH thanks to use of my compression algorithm…”  http://belogic.com/uzebox/index.asp  http://iteadstudio.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=531
Open Source
46.    Android App Inventor open sourced, code released  http://www.hackeducation.com/2012/01/20/android-app-inventor-open-sourced-code-released/  “…Google's Android App Inventor…was something designed in part by Hal Abelson, one of the people behind Scratch -- no doubt, the single best learn-to-program projects available to this day…it was terribly disappointing to see the Android App Inventor be shelved.  Much like Scratch, App Inventor presupposes zero programming knowledge, and yet while teaching computational thinking, it also allows users to build something they find both useful and important -- in the case of Scratch, it's animations and games.  In the case of App Inventor, it's mobile apps. After announcing the closure of App Inventor…Google handed over App Inventor to MIT, along with a sizable donation to help fund a new mobile learning inititiative…Google and MIT have just announced its release, and the source code is now available…”
47.    Pencil 1.1 new features and improvements  http://www.evolus.vn/Pencil/Home.html  “The Pencil Project's unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use…Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping…Multi-page document with background page…Exporting to HTML, PNG, Openoffice.org document, Word document and PDF…Undo/redo supports…Installing user-defined stencils and templates…Standard drawing operations: aligning, z-ordering, scaling, rotating…”
48.    Open sourcing Sky Map  http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2012/01/open-sourcing-sky-map-and-collaborating.html  “…we are going to share Sky Map in a different way: we are donating Sky Map to the community. We are collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University in an exciting partnership that will see further development of Sky Map as a series of student projects. Sky Map’s development will now be driven by the students, with Google engineers remaining closely involved as advisors. Additionally, we have open-sourced the app so that other astronomy enthusiasts can take the code and augment it as they wish…”
Civilian Aerospace
49.    9 Indian kids among top contenders in YouTube Space Lab contest  http://ibnlive.in.com/news/youtube-space-lab-contest-9-indians-among-60-finalists/222203-11.html  “Indian students are among the 60 finalists in a global science competition, 'YouTube Space Lab', and if they win, experiments they have designed will be conducted in space with the help of NASA, ESA and JAXA. "YouTube Space Lab received thousands of video submissions from more than 80 countries. The US led with 10 finalists, followed by India with nine,"…The contest was organised by YouTube, Lenovo and private civilian space flight firm Space Adventures in collaboration with the space agencies…Approximately 40 per cent of the entries came from India, followed by the US with 15 per cent…Other countries in the Top 10 list of the number of entries are the UK, Russia, Israel, Canada, Spain, Italy, Poland and Japan…”
50.    Rookie Brit stargazers spot unknown world on planet-hunting website  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2088759/Citizen-scientist-spots-unknown-world-planet-hunting-website-100-000-sign-help.html  “A pair of amateur British stargazers have discovered a new planet…Chris Holmes and Lee Threapleton spotted the new world during a project to find planets beyond our solar system…The pair will receive the honour of having the planet named after them, once scientists have confirmed its authenticity. They made the discovery after spotting changes in light patterns in an image from Nasa’s Kepler space telescope…The image had been posted online at Planethunters.org, an Oxford University project that asks the public to sift through time-lapsed data from Nasa in the hope of new discoveries. Mr Holmes, of Peterborough, said: ‘I’ve never even had a telescope…”
51.     Norman Edmund, Optics Entrepreneur, Dies  http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/NormanEdmundObit-137951448.html  “Norman W. Edmund, legendary founder of a company offering a profusion of optics to the public for 70 years (and counting), died January 16th in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 95…Norman Edmund got the idea to start selling optical parts that he acquired as war surplus. He formed the Edmund Salvage Co. and placed his first Sky & Telescope ad in the September 1945 issue…The listings included color filters, reticles, mirrors from tank periscopes, and a 1.8-inch f/11 achromatic objective for making your own small refractor…Initially Edmund worked out of his home in Audubon, New Jersey. "I once heard that Norm kept his stock of lenses, etc., in boxes under his bed," recalls William E. Shawcross…in 1948 Edmund opened a larger facility in nearby Barrington, New Jersey, and changed the name to Edmund Scientific Co…its product line grew to include a remarkable 3-inch f/10 Newtonian reflector for just $29.50. This scope came as kit and was "easily assembled; a nine-year-old can do it!" It had a cardboard tube, wooden legs, and interchangeable tripod heads for alt-azimuth or equatorial operation…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
52.    Nvidia supercomputer building blocks revealed  http://news.techeye.net/hardware/nvidia-supercomputer-building-blocks-revealed  “…details of Nvidia’s Echelon supercomputer chip have resurfaced a few weeks after Supercomputing 2011. In the middle of 2010, Nvidia disclosed plans for a 20 Teraflop supercomputer named Echelon, within a competition set up by the US Department of Defense. It was competing head-on with Intel and IBM…documents presented at Supercomputing 2011 have made their way to the public eye. The slideware, obtained from a University of Gent presentation (PDF), shows off amongst other things, a block diagram for a 17mm-by-17mm chip (that’s 289mm2@10nm, by the way), packing  64x4 SM (streaming multiprocessor)…Looking at the slides you can get the impression you’re actually looking at a GPU, which would be about right, but Nvidia is calling it a Network-on-Chip processor…”
53.    OpenCL / AMD GPU parallel programming course at U of Illinois  http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2139473/amd-ropes-university-illinois-push-gpgpu-development-students  “…AMD has enlisted the help of the University of Illinois to encourage students to develop code that makes use of the GPGPU found in its Fusion processors. AMD's Llano Fusion processor was launched last year…Applications that make use of OpenCL can enjoy significantly better performance than just using the Llano CPU core, and one of the ways to increase the number of applications that use the GPU is to teach university students to write the code that uses it. The University of Illinois' course entitled "Engineering Entrepreneurship AMD section" will instruct students to develop projects that will be evaluated for funding through AMD's Fusion Fund and Illinois Ventures…Courses that are designed by companies should be met with caution…However getting computer science and engineering students to make use of GPUs with their code and using open industry standards such as OpenCL is a goal that merits a course for a semester or two…”

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