2012/02/07

NEW NET Weekly List for 07 February 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 07 February 2012, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering. This week's meeting is at Cambria Suites Hotel3940 N. Gateway Drive, Appleton Wisconsin, USA near Ballard Road and Highway 41. Cambria Suites has free wifi and has an assortment of food and beverages.

The ‘net
1.        Facebook files for $5bn IPO  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/feb/01/facebook-files-5bn-ipo  “Eight years after Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room, the 27-year-old on Wednesday announced he is selling shares in the social network at a price that values his creation at up to $100bn – and values his stake in the business at $28bn. Facebook's initial public offering (IPO) will be the biggest technology IPO since Google's in 2004. There have been estimates that 1,000 current and former employees could become paper millionaires when the company goes public…Facebook had 845 million users at the end of December and 483 million people were using it every day. The company had revenues of $3.7bn in 2011, up from $1.97bn in 2010, and made a profit of $1bn, up from $606m in 2010…”
2.       Famous hackers discuss Zuckerberg’s “Hacker Way” comments  http://venturebeat.com/2012/02/06/the-hacker-way-and-facebook/  “In last week’s SEC filing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg poked a huge hornet’s nest when he referenced “The Hacker Way.” Some of the pioneers of the hacker ethos and culture have previously defined hacking as having strong connections to tinkering, “playing” with code and systems, and most importantly, absolute freedom. The kind of freedom those earlier hackers talk about is the freedom to inspect, to look under the hood, to break, to tamper, to share, to fix, to modify, to copy, and to redistribute. But while Facebook participates in some parts of the larger hacker culture — including using and writing free and open-source software, hosting epic hackathons, and encouraging dissident thinking and individual contributions — it might have been a mistake for Zuckerberg to refer to Facebook as a company that embodies the hacker way…we contacted a handful of well recognized hackers, including PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf; Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman; and Eric S. Raymond…”
3.       We must avoid Facebook's 'creepy' cult of transparency  http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/02/opinion/keen-technology-facebook/  “…the most interesting question isn't whether Facebook is actually worth $100 billion or how many billions of dollars Mark Zuckerberg will personally bank -- but whether or not Facebook really will make the world a better place for its close to a billion users…"Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission -- to make the world more open and connected,"…This social mission, Zuckerberg explained, has been designed to give people a voice, to change how society is organized and to bring us closer together as a species….Reid Hoffman, the Silicon Valley super-connector who introduced Zuckerberg to his first investor, calls this new world "Web 3.0," describing it as a place of "real identities generating massive amounts of data." That data is…all the personal details about ourselves -- the billions of photos, updates and videos that we post narcissistically on our Facebook pages…Facebook aggregates and stores all our personal data and then sells access to it to advertisers. That is Facebook's creepy business model and it's why the seven-year-old company realized $3.71 billion of revenue in 2011…The impact of Facebook on our privacy is deeply worrying. I've argued that all this sharing is a trap, designed to tear open our lives…Zuckerberg's strategy to promote his IPO is to present Facebook as a technology company that exists for the public good…But this is a fallacy…So forget whether or not Facebook is really worth $75 or $100 billion…The real value of Facebook lies in whether all this radical transparency will make the world a better place. Many think it will, arguing that Facebook and its "internet of people" will deepen our democracy…I doubt it will. The 1996 Netscape IPO led to the great stock market collapse of April 2000. But I fear that the 2012 Facebook IPO could lead to a much more human collapse. I worry about the disappearance of core values such as privacy, solitude and secrecy in our Web 3.0 world…”
4.       Would you pay for Facebook? Analyst predicts 'premium' option  http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/02/02/would-pay-for-facebook-analyst-predicts-premium-option/  “A Facebook "premium" service that you have to pay for and invasive targeted advertising are just two of the changes predicted for the social network as it goes public in the largest net company float ever…Analyst Foad Fadaghi said the influence of investors and shareholders would inevitably change the way we use the social network. The ads on Facebook may become more content driven or invasive. There may be more marketing or advertising related products or services that we see develop and come out as investors and shareholders look to make more money from the site…social networking websites have had a lot of advertising imagery but haven’t been able to get the same high rates as the premium content sites, such as news…With so many people playing games and making purchases on the site, users could be offered a “Facebook Premium” subscription option…”
5.        What type of Web/’net do we want  http://battellemedia.com/archives/2012/02/its-not-whether-googles-threatened-its-asking-ourselves-what-commons-do-we-wish-for.php  “…Facebook’s IPO filing…will…shine a rather unsettling light on a fact most of us would rather not acknowledge: The web as we know it is rather like our polar ice caps: under severe, long-term attack by forces of our own creation…if we lose the web…we lose…a commons, an ecosystem, a “tangled bank” where serendipity, dirt, and iterative trial and error drive open innovation…The “old” Internet is shrinking, and being replaced by walled gardens over which Google’s crawlers can’t climb. Sure, Google can crawl Facebook’s “public pages,” but those represent a tiny fraction of the “pages” on Facebook, and are not informed by the crucial signals of identity and relationship which give those pages meaning. Similarly, Google can crawl the “public pages” of Apple’s iTunes store on the web, but all the value creation in the mobile iOS appworld is behind the walls of Fortress Apple. Google can’t see that information, can’t crawl it, and can’t “make it universally available.” Same for Amazon with its Kindle universe, Microsoft’s Xbox and mobile worlds, and many others…Google’s business model depends on the web remaining open, and…that model is imperiled…to me, the real issue isn’t whether Google’s business model is under attack…the question is far more existential in nature: What kind of a world do we want to live in?...I wrote about…core values that I believe are held in common when it comes to what I call the “open” or “independent” web…No gatekeepers. The web is decentralized. Anyone can start a web site…An ethos of the commons. The web developed over time under an ethos of community development…There wasn’t early lockdown on what was and wasn’t allowed. This created chaos, shady operators, and plenty of dirt and dark alleys. But it also allowed extraordinary value to blossom…No preset rules about how data is used. If one site collects information from or about a user of its site, that site has the right to do other things with that data…Neutrality. No one site on the web is any more or less accessible than any other site…Interoperability. Sites on the web share common protocols and principles, and determine independently how to work with each other…it is these values that created Google…But if you look at this list of values, and ask if Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and the thousands of app makers align with them, I am afraid the answer is mostly no. And that’s the bigger issue I’m pointing to: We’re slowly but surely creating an Internet that is abandoning its original values…”
6.       Farewell Stack Exchange  http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/02/farewell-stack-exchange.html  “…as of March 1st I will no longer be part of the day to day operations of the company, or the Stack Exchange sites, in any way. It's been almost exactly 4 years since I chose my own adventure…Stack Overflow is now an enormous bustling city, a hugely positive influence on the daily lives of programmers around the world, a place to learn from and teach your peers. And the entire Stack Exchange network, born out of the seed of Stack Overflow, is a reference model of high signal, low noise, no-nonsense Q&A that makes the internet better for all of us…This is more than I could have ever hoped for, and I am honored to have been a founding and guiding part of it for the last four years. But I don't need to be a part of it forever – nor should I be, if I've been doing my job correctly. Stack Exchange was always about designing software and creating recipes for self-governing communities who love a particular topic. It is an honor to be a "just" a citizen of this community again…”
7.        Get Up to 4.5GB of Extra Space on Dropbox for Uploading Photos and Videos  http://lifehacker.com/5881692/get-up-to-45gb-of-extra-space-on-dropbox-for-uploading-photos-and-videos  “You can never have too much Dropbox space, and now for a special beta period you can grab some additional free space while Dropbox is testing their automatic photo and video uploading feature. In exchange for trying their experimental build, you can get up to 4.5GB of extra space for free…”
8.       Digital Signatures Let You Ditch That Old Fax Machine  http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/248492/digital_signatures_let_you_ditch_that_old_fax_machine.html  “…In the 21st century, you generally don't need a fax machine in the office unless your industry demands it…there are ways to send faxes without a fax machine…A digitally-signed document employs several levels of cryptography to keep your signature secure, along with a timestamp to show when it was signed…Here are several tools that let you make digital signatures and abandon that dinosaur fax machine…Adobe Reader's latest update allows all users to sign PDF documents with digital signatures…you're invited to start a free trial without a credit card…During the free trial, you're allowed up to five signatures for 30 days. After the trial expires the service starts at $14.95 per month and goes up…DocuSign offers a number of tools for Business, Personal, Real Estate and other specialty uses. It starts at $14.99 a month for a Pro user…so it comes at roughly the same pricing structure as Adobe's EchoSign with…more in the way of mobile functionality…Aren’t there free services that do this? Yes, and SignNow is one of them. It offers many of the same benefits as DocuSign and Echosign…For small businesses that only need signatures on contracts once in a while, SignNow is probably the best option. If your needs are more complex, you’ll want to look at one of the paid services…”
Gigabit Internet
9.       Sonic.Net CEO Dane Jasper On Super-Fast Internet And Why It's Still A Niche Product In The US  http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/01/13/sonic-net-ceo-dane-jasper-on-super-fast-internet-and-why-its-still-a-niche-product-in-the-united-states/  “…In 2010, the median internet speed in the United States was a paltry 3 Mbps. Sonic.net’s internet is over three hundred times as fast…Internet speeds in the US rank well below other OECD nations, but 1Gbps is rare no matter where you live. Moves by Google in Kansas City and Sonic.net in California may help change that…I had the chance to ask Dane Jasper a few questions about the future of super-fast internet in America, and why nobody else is doing it…Your business model has been disruptive…by offering uncapped 20Mbps speeds to customers. Now you’re offering internet over fiberoptic lines at much, much faster speeds at a price point that’s not much higher…Why offer such an enormous upgrade when nobody else in the market is offering anything like it? Because with FTTH build-out…we take our single-line, up to 20Mbps copper product and make it a 100Mbps product on fiber ($39.95), and the two line up to…full gigabit ($69.95.)…the big players in the ISP market…have already got the majority market share…goal is to increase the per-customer spend…Most broadband…markets in the US operate as a de-facto duopoly, so there’s little reason for business model innovation by the incumbent…Will 1Gbps internet catch on? I believe that Gigabit will be a niche product for the foreseeable future in the U.S. Where you’ve got a cable operator with DOCSIS 3.0 competing with a telco with FTTN (node), the technology limits speeds to 25-100Mbps maximum…there is little marketing advantage to offering speeds at much above these levels. This is why you see products in the 25-105Mbps at the top end in most markets…”
10.     Google to start hanging Internet cables today in KCK  http://www.kansascity.com/2012/02/06/3412534/google-to-start-hanging-internet.html  “Google Inc. will begin construction today in Kansas City, Kan., on its long-awaited, much-coveted ultrafast Internet service…“We’ve measured utility poles; we’ve studied maps and surveyed neighborhoods; we’ve come up with a comprehensive set of detailed engineering plans; and we’ve eaten way too much barbecue. Now, starting today, we’re ready to lay fiber,” Lo wrote for the company’s Google Fiber blog…“At first, we’ll focus on building this solid fiber backbone,” Lo wrote. “Then, as soon as we have an infrastructure that is up and running, we’ll be able to connect Google Fiber into homes across Kansas City!”…The BPU is owned by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, which penned the original agreement that secured the Google Fiber project…That agreement had made the unusual stipulation that Google would be able to hang its wires, for free, in the upper part of the utility poles typically reserved for electrical lines…Google had the choice of paying the normal fees for the same access as their potential Internet service competitors, or avoid the fees and take on added construction costs of operating in the electric supply space. Such an installation would have required using more specialized and highly paid linemen for the work…The work starting today follows months of intensive engineering to build the network. Google says it has about 100 people in the Kansas City area working on the project…Google had initially expected to sign up some customers late last year and light up their service early this year. With work beginning today, the company appears on pace for its more recently publicized schedule of starting service in some neighborhoods in the first half of this year…”
11.      South Korea moving to 1 gigabit Internet connections  http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2012/01/27/south_korea_moving_to_1_gigabit_internet_connections  “…South Korea already has the fastest residential speeds in the world, with every household having a connection that downloads at about 16 Mbits per second…By the end of 2012, 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 average American is running…at 4.6 Mbits per second…While having superior speeds, South Koreans also pay less, paying the equivalent of $38 USD per month. The average American is paying $46 per month…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
12.     Motorola Mobility Wins Second German Ruling Against Apple  http://gizmodo.com/5881934/motorola-succeeds-in-blocking-icloud-iphone-3gs-and-iphone-4-in-germany   “It's been a successful morning for Motorola in Germany. So far they've managed to secure a permanent injunction against Apple's iCloud, as well as seeing the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and first-gen 3G iPad removed from the online store…over a patent held by Motorola essential to the GPRS standard used in the Apple devices…”
13.     Web companies ask Congress to “step back” from IP legislation  http://venturebeat.com/2012/02/06/open-letter-to-congress/  “…web companies including Mozilla, Reddit, and WordPress have banded together with public interest and human rights groups to urge Congress to stop its work on intellectual property laws…more than 70 organizations signed an open letter addressed to the House of Representatives and the Senate. “Now is the time for Congress to take a breath, step back, and approach the issues from a fresh perspective,” the letter reads. “The concerns are too fundamental and too numerous to be fully addressed through hasty revisions to these bills. Nor can they be addressed by closed door negotiations among a small set of inside the-beltway stakeholders.” The letter…comes in the aftermath of a powerful Internet protest that helped to defeat, at least temporarily, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, two controversial pieces of IP legislation that were making their way through Congress. But, as the letter notes, the bills aren’t dead yet…”
14.     Facebook Malware Scam Takes Hold  http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/249287/facebook_malware_scam_takes_hold.html  “…Facebook users are sharing a link to a malware-laden fake CNN news page reporting the U.S. has attacked Iran and Saudi Arabia…If users who follow the link then click to play what purports to be video coverage of the attack, they are prompted to update their Adobe Flash player with a pop-up window that looks very much like the real thing. Those who accept the prompt unwittingly install malware on their computers. Within three hours of the scam's first appearance, more than 60,000 users had followed a link to the spoofed CNN page…Users who accepted the Flash player update prompt installed a fake antivirus tool on their computers. That tool would then alert them that their computer is infected with malware that can be eliminated for a fee. Such scams are one of the most lucrative, Wisniewski said, noting the irony that they net far more money than the legitimate security products…”
15.     Honeywell sues Nest and Best Buy  http://gigaom.com/cleantech/the-details-behind-the-honeywell-nest-lawsuit/  “…thermostat giant Honeywell surprised the world by slapping startup Nest, and retailer Best Buy, with a lawsuit over patent infringement for smart thermostat technology…Honeywell says that “Honeywell — not Nest Labs — is responsible for many of the ideas that Nest Labs touts as revolutionary…what technology is Honeywell talking about specifically? Oh, only the…key features of the Nest device including the outer controlling ring dial, the interview questions to start programming the thermostat, tech around being able to control the thermostat via the Internet, the Nest “Time to Temperature” function, and the way that the Nest thermostat diverts small amounts of power from the house’s electrical load to power itself.…”
16.     IRS Helps Bust 105 People in Massive Identity Theft Crackdown  http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/249072/irs_helps_bust_105_people_in_massive_identity_theft_crackdown.html  “…Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice teamed up for a coast-to-coast crackdown on identity thieves…The coast-to-coast law enforcement onslaught arrested 105 people in 23 states and included indictments, arrests and the execution of search warrants involving the potential theft of thousands of identities and taxpayer refunds…The IRS said auditors also conducted compliance visits to money service businesses…across the country…The approximately 150 visits occurred to help ensure these check-cashing facilities aren't facilitating refund fraud and identity theft…The IRS also is taking a number of additional steps this tax season to prevent identity theft and detect refund fraud before it occurs. These efforts include designing new identity theft screening filters that will improve the IRS's ability to spot false returns before they are processed and before a refund is issued…”
17.     The three patents Microsoft is hammering the Nook with  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/02/the-three-patents-microsoft-is-hammering-the-nook-withand-why-they-may-be-invalid.ars  “Microsoft's complaint against Barnes & Noble's Android-based Nook devices has been narrowed down to just three patents, with the US International Trade Commission having to decide whether Nook devices infringe on several patented methods of interacting with and downloading electronic documents. Barnes & Noble is also asking the ITC to declare the patents invalid because they cover obvious and trivial functionality…An ITC staff attorney revealed Monday that he is recommending a ruling stating that Barnes & Noble did not infringe the three remaining Microsoft patents, but a final decision is not scheduled to be revealed until April 27. The ruling will be an important one in Microsoft's quest to extract money from every Android hardware vendor…Other than Barnes & Noble, the lone major device maker refusing to join what Microsoft calls its "Android licensing program" is Motorola Mobility, which holds 17,000 patents of its own and is in the process of being acquired by Google…let's take a look at the three remaining patents Microsoft is asserting in its claim against Barnes & Noble. One discusses a method of letting users annotate read-only documents, another describes a method for highlighting and selecting elements of electronic documents, and a third covers a method for browsers to quickly download documents from a remote computer network. Barnes & Noble has called all the patented features "insubstantial and trivial…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
18.     Tucows Officially Launches Ting, A More Thoughtful Wireless Carrier  http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/02/tucows-officially-launches-ting-a-more-thoughtful-wireless-carrier/  “Tucows is probably best known for their slew of web services and their extensive reseller network, but CEO Elliot Noss sees room to grow in another space: mobile…Tucows has officially opened up their Ting wireless service to all comers…“Big name carriers have services meant to maximize their profitability, not their service to customers,” Noss told me…Ting has six tiers of voice plans. If you’re signed up for the 500 minute plan and go over on your allotment, you’re automatically bumped up to the next plan…it work in the opposite direction too — you’ll automatically be bumped into a lower plan and credited accordingly if you use fewer minutes than the month before…I threw my own Verizon bill into the Ting savings calculator to see how much I could potentially save should I decide to make the switch. For my two-person 700 minute Verizon family plan with 2GB of data and 1,000 messages per person, Ting estimates that I could save nearly $436 each year…”
19.     RIM Offers Free PlayBook to Attract Android Developers  http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/249243/rim_offers_free_playbook_to_attract_android_developers.html  “Research in Motion is trying to woo developers by giving a free BlackBerry Playbook tablet to coders who port their Android application for its BlackBerry Tablet OS…RIM struggles to generate interest in the Playbook in the face of sluggish sales. In the U.S., the company put the tablet on sale again this week, slashing the price of its 16 GB Playbook to US$199, down from an original retail price of $499. The 32 GB model is now $249, down from $599, and the 64GB model now retails for $299…Developers who are registered with BlackBerry App World are eligible for a 16 GB Playbook if they port their application and submit it to BlackBerry's App World between Feb. 2 and Feb. 13…”
20.    Technique prevents the stalling of videos streaming to mobiles  http://www.theengineer.co.uk/sectors/electronics/news/technique-prevents-the-stalling-of-videos-streaming-to-mobiles/1011620.article  “Researchers in Germany have found a way to prevent internet videos from stalling when streaming to mobile devices…This prevents the video from stopping because it cannot download the file fast enough to keep the footage playing smoothly. When the connection improves, the video switches back to a higher-quality file…‘To do so, we combined Long Term Evolution or LTE — the new cellular standard that is replacing UMTS — with a format for web streaming called Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP, or DASH for short,’…The current problem with video files is that the resource managers don’t know how large they are and how much bandwidth to allocate a user who is downloading a video….the resource manager is unable to maintain a smooth stream as it usually can with defined file sizes. The DASH standard makes videos and images available in various qualities that require different amounts of data streaming…the transmitting stations and the mobile device automatically check reception and the volume of traffic on the network and adjust the quality of the video so it displays without stalling. The quality then changes as the signal strength improves or worsens…”
Apps
21.     Yahoo launches app search engine to make app discovery better  http://www.androidcentral.com/yahoo-launches-their-own-app-search-engine-want-make-app-discovery-better-all  “Yahoo -- you know, that other search engine -- have added a search category for Android applications. The main search results page sees a new tab labelled "Apps" giving users the opportunity to find Android applications attached to any of their search queries. We're not short of ways to search for apps across the interwebs, but seeing such a well run solution from major, mainstream a search engine is definitely a good thing. The service also covers iOS applications, but has a handy filter…Search results can also be filtered for price and category. When you find an app you like, right from the search results you can head straight to the Android Market to download, send a link for the app to your phone or scan a QR code for the application. You can also quite handily view the Android Market reviews for each application you find without having to go to the Market first which is a nice touch. We also get a "trending now" box, and it too has the iPhone/Android filter choices applied…”
22.    Transparent Screen Lets You See Where You're Walking While Using Your Phone  http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/02/06/new-app-transparent-screen-lets-you-see-where-youre-walking-while-using-your-phone-enables-your-internet-addiction/  “It never fails. You're walking along, reading your emails, not looking where you're going, and then boom! You trip over the cat…Transparent Screen aims to prevent this type of misstep by letting you see through your camera while you're walking…We've seen apps like this before, usually designed for texting and walking only. This app's approach, however, is to make your entire Android experience translucent…no matter where you are in the OS, you'll be able to see through your rear-facing camera. You're able to adjust the transparency to your preferred visibility…Some apps require more transparency than others to be useful. You'll also want to set the video quality to the lowest settings, or mid-level at best…you only need the video feed to avoid collisions with people, vehicles, and that bloody cat, all of which you're able to see just fine on low-resolution video…”
23.    IntoNow: an interactive TV guide  http://guyism.com/lifestyle/video-intonow-finally-an-interactive-tv-guide.html  “Here’s the problem with television: getting a quick, but in-depth summary of what you’re watching can be a nightmare. Have you ever read the plot description from your average cable provider…here’s “Citizen Kane”: “Young newspaper man becomes evil. Also fat.” Or “24″: “Jack Bauer yells at terrorists. When does he poop? We do not know.” Fortunately, there’s an app that’s as simple as point, click, and read…called IntoNow…What gets our attention, and probably grabbed yours, is…the app bringing up in-depth statistics as you’re watching the game, and even pulling relevant web results…IntoNow is available for iPhone and Android, and…it’s free…”  http://www.intomobile.com/2012/02/02/use-intonow-during-super-bowl-win-free-pepsi-life/  “The Super Bowl is…this weekend…research suggests that many of you will be using a smartphone or tablet during the Big Game…using the IntoNow app during the game could give you an opportunity to win free Pepsi for life. The promotion is a partnership between Yahoo and Pepsi MAX…download the IntoNow app, which uses audio cues to identify what you’re watching on television. Then, you have to watch the NFL Honors award show on Feb. 4 (9 p.m. EST) and tag it with the app. During the Super Bowl, use the app and when the Pepsi Max ad plays, it will unlock your entry into the contest…”
SkyNet
24.    Google now scanning Android apps for malware  http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-57370650-245/google-now-scanning-android-apps-for-malware/  “Google has added an automated scanning process that is designed to keep malicious apps out of the Android Market…The new service, code-named "Bouncer," scans apps for known malware, spyware, and Trojans, and looks for suspicious behaviors and compares them against previously analyzed apps…Every app is then run on Google's cloud infrastructure to simulate how the software would operate on an Android device…Existing apps are continuously analyzed, too…If malicious code or behavior is detected, the app is flagged for manual confirmation that it is malware. The app could be blocked from being uploaded if it is blatantly malicious or will be removed quickly thereafter if it gets flagged by the scanning process. "It won't get uploaded at all if it is an instance of known malware…”
25.    Google Summer of Code 2012 is on!  http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2012/02/google-summer-of-code-2012-is-on.html  “…Google Summer of Code 2012 was announced this morning at FOSDEM. This will be the 8th year for Google Summer of Code, an innovative program dedicated to introducing students from colleges and universities around the world to open source software development. The program offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects with the help of mentoring organizations from all around the globe. Over the past seven years Google Summer of Code has had 6,000 students from over 90 countries complete the program. Our goal is to help these students pursue academic challenges over the summer break while they create and release open source code for the benefit of all…”
26.    Google Chrome Is Now Available For Android (And It’s Fantastic)  http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/07/google-chrome-is-now-available-for-android-and-its-fantastic/  “If you have one of the few Android devices currently running Ice Cream Sandwich, then you’re going to love this post…Because Chrome just landed on Android. It’s faster. It syncs everything (provided you want it to). It has nifty transition effects and a more intuitive system for jumping between tabs. And it’s also loaded with potential. Google’s Chrome browser…has long been strangely absent from Android. To be clear, Android has always shipped with a browser of its own — and it actually shares much of the same codebase with Chrome…But next to the real Chrome, it’s a clear wannabe. After using it for a day, I really have no intention of using the older browser again. Unfortunately, as I alluded to earlier, Chrome is only available for Android 4.0 and higher…(devices that support 4.0 at this point include the Galaxy Nexus, Transformer Prime, Xoom, and the Nexus S). Google says this was done in part because Chrome needs to take advantage of the hardware acceleration features that were introduced in the latest build of the OS…”
27.    Google launches a TED clone  http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/whats-your-x-amplifying-technology.html  “Last week, we ran an experiment. We hosted a gathering, called “Solve for X,” for experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from around the world. The event focused on proposing and discussing technological solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems…The Solve for X gathering…is a place to celebrate a concept we champion internally and that we believe will inspire many others: technology moonshots. These are efforts that take on global-scale problems, define radical solutions to those problems, and involve some form of breakthrough technology that could actually make them happen. Moonshots…are 10x improvement, not 10%...Adrien Treuille, a professor of computer science and robotics…proposes that going forward significant science and technological advances will come from individual contributors—independent of their official affiliations or training…Our gathering last week brought together a group that is already practiced at moonshot thinking to propose specific solutions. At least a few times a year, we hope that people will take a few hours or a day or two out of their busy schedules to dare to push the boundaries, and to consider moonshot approaches to some of the world’s many unresolved challenges. Solve for X isn’t about developing a new business line or building an investment portfolio. Rather, it aims to be a forum where technology-based moonshot thinking is practiced, celebrated and amplified…”  http://www.wesolveforx.com/
General Technology
28.    Zap your brain into the zone: Fast track to pure focus  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328501.600-zap-your-brain-into-the-zone-fast-track-to-pure-focus.html  “…I am in a lab in Carlsbad, California, in pursuit of an elusive mental state known as "flow" - that feeling of effortless concentration that characterises outstanding performance in all kinds of skills. Flow has been maddeningly difficult to pin down, let alone harness, but a wealth of new technologies could soon allow us all to conjure up this state. The plan is to provide a short cut to virtuosity, slashing the amount of time it takes to master a new skill - be it tennis, playing the piano or marksmanship…it normally takes 10,000 hours of practice to become expert in any discipline. Over that time, your brain knits together a wealth of new circuits that eventually allow you to execute the skill automatically, without consciously considering each action…Flow typically accompanies these actions. It involves a Zen-like feeling of intense concentration, with time seeming to stop as you focus completely on the activity in hand…some people report the same ability to focus at a far earlier stage in their training, suggesting they are more naturally predisposed to the flow state than others…research into the flow state in children showed that…"young people who didn't enjoy the pursuit of the subject they were gifted in, whether it was mathematics or music, stopped developing their skills and reverted to mediocrity."…Csikszentmihalyi, then a psychologist at the University of Chicago…interviewed a few hundred talented people…enabling him to pin down four key features that characterise flow. The first is an intense and focused absorption that makes you lose all sense of time. The second is what is known as autotelicity, the sense that the activity you are engaged in is rewarding for its own sake. The third is finding the "sweet spot", a feeling that your skills are perfectly matched to the task at hand, leaving you neither frustrated nor bored. And finally, flow is characterised by automaticity, the sense that "the piano is playing itself", for example…”
29.    Adobe gives Photoshop CS6 a new graphics-chip boost  http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57370884-264/adobe-gives-photoshop-cs6-a-new-graphics-chip-boost/  “Adobe…released a second advance look at Photoshop CS6 that shows new work to give a hardware boost to the image-editing software. The graphics processing unit (GPU) speeds the Liquify tool, which lets people smear images in a finger-painting way… When firing up the Liquify plug-in with the current Photoshop CS5.x to edit a 100MB image, the image arrives only gradually, broken up into multiple tiles. "…In CS6, she said, the image opens immediately in the Liquify filter, the brush size goes beyond 14,000 pixels, and interactive performance is snappy…Adobe has added other GPU acceleration to assorted features in earlier versions of Photoshop…Adobe is in the midst of a transition to a $600-per-year subscription called the Creative Cloud that combines Photoshop with all the other Creative Suite programs, the Touch mobile apps, and online services for publishing and connecting socially to other subscribers. Cheaper subscriptions and traditional perpetual licenses also will be available…”
30.    Is GPS All in Our Heads?  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/opinion/sunday/is-gps-all-in-our-head.html  “…every driver with a Garmin navigation device on her dashboard has asked herself at least once: What did we ever do before GPS? How did people find their way around, especially in places they’d never been before?...the human mind…is surprisingly good at developing “mental maps” of an area…The question is, with disuse — say, by relying on a GPS device — can we lose the skill…When exploring a new territory, we perceive landmarks along a route. By remembering their position and the spatial relations between the streets, locations and landmarks we pass, we are able to develop survey knowledge…like a mental map…It’s not all in our heads, though: physical maps help us build cognitive maps. By depicting the spatial relations in a big context, they provide a useful reference to integrate navigational experience…If maps help us, what is the problem with GPS?...it is likely that the more we rely on technology to find our way, the less we build up our cognitive maps….a GPS device normally provides bare-bones route information, without the spatial context of the whole area. We see the way from A to Z, but we don’t see the landmarks along the way. Developing a cognitive map from this reduced information is a bit like trying to get an entire musical piece from a few notes…”
31.     More damaging evidence on open plan offices  http://www.thesoundagency.com/2011/sound-news/more-damaging-evidence-on-open-plan-offices/  “Tests carried out for a recent UK TV programme…have produced…evidence that open plan layouts create massive distraction, damaging productivity…architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff, wore a cap that measured his brainwaves while trying to work in an open plan office. The scanner revealed intense bursts of distraction…Open plan offices were designed with the idea that people can move around and interact freely to promote creative thinking and better problem solving, but it doesn’t work like that. If you are just getting into some work and a phone goes off in the background, it ruins what you are concentrating on. Even though you are not aware at the time, the brain responds to distractions.”…it backs up the finding quoted by Julian Treasure in his TED talk The four effects of sound: research conducted in 1998* showed that open plan office noise reduces the productivity of knowledge workers…by a staggering 66%! Julian often calls in his talks for architects and interior designers to create quiet working space in every office layout in order to regain this lost productivity…he advises workers to wear headphones and listen to birdsong, surf or rainfall to mask the distracting noise…”
32.    A Military Robot that Does It All  http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39641/  “With the launch of the Warrior, a large wheeled robot with a hefty mechanical arm, military robots just got significantly larger and more adaptable. The robot rides on caterpillar tracks like a tank. It can climb stairs and cover rough terrain, and perform tasks ranging from the delicate (opening car doors) to the destructive (smashing car windows) with its two-meter-long mechanical arm. Warrior is the latest invention from iRobot, the Bedford, Massachusetts, company best known for the Roomba robotic vacuum, and its line of remote-control PackBots, used by U.S. combat forces to disable improvised explosive devices and perform other dangerous tasks. The robot could be weaponized—in one test it launched a rocket that trailed explosives behind it to clear mines or other obstacles…”
Leisure & Entertainment
33.    Pew, pew! Xappr brings laser tag to smartphones  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57369980-1/pew-pew-xappr-brings-laser-tag-to-smartphones/  “…The Xappr Gun is a new gaming accessory that connects to a smartphone and allows you to play various augmented-reality and shooter games. The gun-shaped peripheral works with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices and features a mount in the viewfinder area where you can attach your smartphone, while an auxiliary cable connected to your handset's headphone jack registers your trigger pulls…Xappr is already compatible with a number of existing games. These include AR Invaders, in which you help protect the planet by shooting down alien invaders, and Spray'Em, a mosquito-zapping game…for laser tag fans, a new game called ATK, which is due out in the spring…allows for player-to-player combat where you can engage in a little shootout with your Xappr-equipped frenemies. The Xappr Gun will cost $44.99, and you can preorder yours now…”
34.    Picking A Sub-$200 Gaming CPU  http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-apu-benchmark,3120.html  “…Whenever there are significant changes in the CPU market, we like to collect as many sub-$200 models as possible and put together a gaming comparison. Certainly a lot has happened since the last time we did this. Perhaps most obviously, the Phenom II and Athlon II families have started giving way to the FX series, along with the A4, A6, and A8 APUs. Intel, meanwhile, now has Sandy Bridge-based Pentium processors…Our goal is to demonstrate real-world gaming environments. With that in mind, we chose to test at high detail settings and a resolution of 1920x1080. We're including a Core i5-2500K operating at 4 GHz in order to measure to see if these lower-priced models compare favorably to a higher-end overclocked processor… the dual-core Pentium G630 and G860…perform incredibly well, matching up to AMD's former Phenom II X4 955 flagship. At $80 and $100 respectively, both Sandy Bridge-based Pentiums boldly snatch the budget gaming CPU recommendation from the Athlon II CPUs we’re used to seeing…Intel's $125 Core i3-2100 easily beats more expensive Phenom II and FX models. And the $190 Core i5-2400 dominates the sub-$200 landscape without challenge, really. As such, we're almost-shockingly left without an AMD CPU to recommend at any price point…The biggest flaw with Intel's low-end offerings is that the Pentium family limits you to dual-core configurations…outside of a game, you're going to find situations where the two cores hurt performance in other applications…the best gaming value in AMD's FX family is its affordable FX-4100…We have our fingers crossed that the upcoming Trinity-based APUs and Piledriver-based FX CPUs will augment IPC and, consequently, improve AMD's gaming performance story…”
35.    Redbox and Verizon to create streaming movie service  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-fi-ct-verizon-redbox-20120207,0,4158694.story  “Redbox is hooking up with Verizon Communications Inc. as part of a major step forward to compete with Netflix Inc. in both the digital and physical worlds. The company famous for its ubiquitous red DVD rentals kiosks announced Monday that it would form a joint venture with telecom giant Verizon to create an online movie subscription service. Redbox also agreed to spend up to $100 million to acquire the Blockbuster-branded DVD kiosks operated by NCR Corp., its largest competitor in that business, adding about 9,000 machines to its existing base of 35,400. The digital delivery service, expected to launch in the second half of 2012, will be majority owned by Verizon, which will become the first telecom or cable company to stream video to customers who are not already its subscribers…”
36.    Latest Humble Bundle supports Android, includes World of Goo  http://www.techspot.com/news/47266-latest-humble-bundle-supports-android-includes-world-of-goo.html  “…the Humble Bundle has added Android to its latest pay-what-you-want promotion. Folks willing to dole out up to $5.70 (a penny below the current average amount submitted) will receive a copy of three hot indie games including Edge, Osmos HD and Anomaly: Warzone Earth. If you're willing to meet or exceed the average submission of $5.71, you'll get World of Goo as well. As with previous events, all four games are available completely DRM-free…”
37.    Vizio's 21:9 aspect CinemaWide TV due in March at $3,499  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2012/02/vizio-cinemawide-tv-58-inches-21-9-aspect-ratio.html  “…in case your widescreen, high-definition TV isn't wide enough for you and you've got a few extra thousand dollars to spend, Vizio's new 58-inch CinemaWide TV is set to hit retailers next month at a price of $3,499…the new set will feature a 21:9 aspect ratio that…is closer to the screen orientation found in a movie theater. For the last few years, nearly all TVs have a been sold with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Most TV shows and sporting events are broadcast with a 16:9 image…if you are watching TV on a CinemaWide set, you'll be almost guaranteed to see black bars running to the left and right of the picture, but…CinemaWide sets will be able to upscale and stretch video to fit the entirety of the 21:9 screen, or the leftover space can be used to browse the display's VIA apps, such as Facebook and Twitter…Rather than the standard 16:9 high-definition resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, the CinemaWide TV will feature a 2,560 x 1,080 pixel resolution…”
Economy and Technology
38.    Honda loses Small Claims Court suit over Civic hybrid fuel economy  http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-autos-honda-lawsuit-20120202,0,845180.story  “The owner of a Honda Civic hybrid won an unusual Small Claims Court lawsuit Wednesday against the auto giant that…could change strategies for both Small Claims Court and class-action litigation…Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan…awarded her $9,867.19 in damages. That is close to the maximum $10,000 allowed in Small Claims Court that the Los Angeles resident was seeking…Her award was far greater than the damages she would have collected had she signed onto a class-action-lawsuit settlement over similar claims against Honda. Peters sued Honda after learning that the proposed settlement covering her 2006 vehicle would pay trial lawyers $8.5 million while Civic hybrid owners would get as little as $100 and rebate coupons for the purchase of a new car….Peters may have a tough time collecting any money…"We disagree with the judgment rendered in this case, and we plan to appeal the decision," Honda said. In taking the case to Los Angeles County Superior Court, the company will be allowed to bring in its army of lawyers to try to overturn the small-claims judgment…She decided to file the case in Small Claims Court to prevent Honda from bringing a highly paid legal team to the battle. California law — and statutes in some other states — prohibits companies from using lawyers to mount a defense in Small Claims Court…She said more than 500 owners have contacted her through her website, DontSettleWithHonda.org, which explains how Peters filed her lawsuit against the automaker…”
39.    Las Vegas: Startup City  http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/las-vegas-startup-city-02022012.html  “The history of Las Vegas is full of determined men…Tony Hsieh…chief executive officer of shoe and apparel site Zappos.com…wants to turn the often overlooked and economically depressed downtown area into a dense urban neighborhood teeming with artists, entrepreneurs, and Internet workers. It’s one of the most unconventional redevelopment efforts in any American city, ever. Instead of soliciting public funds, Hsieh is spending $350 million of his own money to buy empty lots, seed new businesses, and subsidize schools. Next year he’ll move his company’s 1,400 local employees from suburban offices into the 11-story former City Hall…Hsieh and the 10 Zappos employees he’s tapped to help have their work cut out for them. Downtown Las Vegas has resisted rehabilitation attempts for decades…at the start of the 20th century…the focal point of the region shifted six miles to the southwest, to the area that’s now the Strip…the Zappos CEO is willing to make big personal bets…In 2009 he sold Zappos to Amazon for $850 million…Hsieh moved Zappos from San Francisco in 2004, in part to take advantage of the relatively inexpensive labor market for call-center employees…when cities grow, productivity increases because of the serendipitous connections between people. When companies grow, they tend to become stodgy and bureaucratic. “We decided on an approach that was more like NYU…where the campus blends into the city and you don’t know where one begins and the other ends…On top of the undisclosed amount that Zappos is spending for a 15-year lease on its new digs, Hsieh is personally spending $100 million to buy land, $100 million to develop high-density apartment buildings, and $50 million backing tech startups that open in the area. Over the next few years an additional $100 million will be parceled out, in chunks of around $200,000, to schools and small businesses that lay down roots in the neighborhood…Hsieh and his novice city planners cheerfully concede they have no experience doing what they’re doing. They’re simply mapping what they do know—how to build technology companies—onto urban development…Although the initiative could swallow a large chunk of his wealth, he isn’t worried…an urban sociologist at the University of Nevada…says Zappos could be a big enough anchor to spark a revival, and that if the area can craft a unique identity as a hip hangout, it could be a huge draw…”
40.    Top three reasons NOT to do a local + online startup  http://www.crashdev.com/2012/01/top-three-reasons-not-to-do-local.html  “…I spent four years of my life…trying to build a sustainable business in online-to-local customer engagement at Judy's Book…after years of trying and dozens of experiments we just couldn't see how to produce margin on the business side…we also learned some very hard lessons about the self-limiting mechanics of the local opportunity, in particular how resistant it was…to many of the…most powerful aspects of the web…There are lots of big, hairy problems in local…most of those problems are just as intractable now as they were back in 2004. …the top three reasons NOT to do an online-to-local startup are…1. There's no money in it…The fundamental economic problem with local / SMB-oriented businesses is the structural mismatch between the expected lifetime value of a paying customer vs. the cost to acquire that customer…selling to SMBs will require lots of handholding, education and convincing…"education selling" is brutally expensive and time-consuming, especially when you're a startup with limited resources and zero brand recognition…2. It doesn't scale…One of the reasons entrepreneurs and investors love web-based businesses is their inherent scalability…Add a local constraint to your online business all that scalable goodness goes away…The only way to build…location-bounded customer engagement is by doing it the hard way, with high-touch experiences that feel local and personal…3. It's too obvious…I tend to rank local / SMB startups right up there with consumer music apps in the "does the world really need another one of these?" category…Viewed from the top down -- numbers of SMBs, total SMB spend…local looks like a compelling opportunity for technology-powered disruption. But…death by a thousand cuts is the fate that awaits you…What SHOULD I build?...Take the time to really dig into a hard and non-obvious problem that actually needs solving -- ideally one with a lot of money attached to it. A well-designed software business takes away pain for money, with accelerating margins at scale. There are literally millions of business opportunities that meet these simple criteria better than the best local business I've ever seen…”
DHMN Technology
41.     HUD Google Glasses are real and they are coming soon  http://9to5google.com/2012/02/06/hud-google-glasses-are-real-and-they-are-coming-soon/  “We detailed the first information about the Google [x] Glasses project in December. They are in late prototype stages of wearable glasses that look similar to thick-rimmed glasses that “normal people” wear.  However, these provide a display with a heads up computer interface.  There are a few buttons on the arms of the glasses, but otherwise, they could be mistaken for normal glasses…Our tipster has now seen a prototype and said it looks something like Oakley Thumps…These glasses…have a front-facing camera used to gather information and could aid in augmented reality apps. It will also take pictures. The spied prototype has a flash —perhaps for help at night, or maybe it is just a way to take better photos. The camera is extremely small and likely only a few megapixels. The heads up display (HUD) is only for one eye and on the side. It is not transparent…The navigation system currently used is a head tilting-to scroll and click. We are told it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users…I/O on the glasses will also include voice input and output, and…the CPU/RAM/storage hardware is near the equivalent of a generation-old Android smartphone…it will also function as a smartphone…”
42.    Nano quadrotors: Watch a swarm of tiny robots fly in formation  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/nano-quadrotors-watch-a-swarm-of-robots-fly-in-formation-video/2012/02/01/gIQAmAIeiQ_blog.html  “If you worry about the domestic use of drones, this video may give you nightmares…researchers…at the University of Pennsylvania have been working with nano quadrotors, managing to get them to fly aggressively, build a tower structure and now — fly in perfect formation…the robots now know how to maintain distance from each other, shift positions when obstacles are in their way, and even fly in a figure-eight pattern…Watch the video…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQIMGV5vtd4
43.    Mouser Sells Classic 6502 "Antique" Processor  http://www.tomshardware.com/news/mouser-6502-motorola-6800-cpu-processor,14557.html  “The 8-bit MOS Technology 6502, launched in 1975 and later used in computers by Apple and Commodore, is available…from Mouser Electronics. Designed by Western Design Center (WDC), the processor is pin- as well as software compatible to the original 6502 and runs at up to 14 MHz. Its ancestor topped out at 1 MHz…Mouser offers the 65C02 for $6.95…”
44.    Before Hexbug, mad scientists created BristleBot  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/10/MN251MHBHI.DTL  “Lenore Edman and her husband, Windell Oskay, had wanted to make a robot out of a brush for some time. Visiting hardware stores, they pushed brooms, scrub brushes and wire brushes along the floor…Their "aha" moment came during a visit to the dentist. Handed free toothbrushes, Edman and Oskay smiled…They cut the toothbrush at its neck, affixed the head with a piece of double-sided tape, and placed a small battery and pager motor on top…the BristleBot, as they called the bug-like brush, vibrated and zoomed to life…they posted an instructional BristleBot video on YouTube. Since then, the concept has inspired a book, "Invasion of the Bristlebots," and the video has attracted more than 3.7 million views…Edman and Oskay…run a small business in Sunnyvale called the Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories…They make an array of products - from "hacker friendly" alphanumeric alarm clocks to fuzzy percentile dice…They are proponents of "open source hardware," a movement and culture based on documenting and sharing ideas through blogs and links, collaborating online…When we create a blog project, or new electronics, we like to provide enough documentation so people can do it themselves. You create a community where everyone gives back…In 2005, Oskay and Edman moved from Colorado to Sunnyvale. In 2006, they attended the Bay Area's first Maker Faire…We went, and saw all kinds of interesting people and projects. It was very much a matter of finding our own people." In recent times, they have helped create an accepted definition of open source hardware, participated in the annual Open Source Hardware Summit in New York, and are in the exploratory stages of building a foundation to support open source hardware…”
45.    Mini 3D mill is like a mini 3D printer, except the exact opposite  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/02/mini-3d-mill-is.php  “With a 3D printer, you can create anything you want by adding multiple layers of material one on top of another. With a 3D mill, you can create anything you want by removing multiple layers of material, one after another. It's the other half of your desktop DIY kit…A milling machine is essentially just a fancy, computer-controlled power drill. The drill points down from the ceiling, and it can move in three axes: up and down, side to side, and front to back. By combining all these axes and being very precise about it, you can create all kinds of things by starting with a solid block of material and gradually carving away everything that you don't want…The advantage of using a mill (as opposed to your average 3D printer) is that you can be much more precise about the shapes that you make, and things come out looking far cleaner. 3D printers are constrained by the thickness of each layer of material…the resolution of your object can't natively be any smaller than one layer of stuff. A mill, on the other hand, can cut perfectly smooth and seamless shapes. The downside, though, is that your typical three-axis mill only operates top-down…should you buy one of these instead of a 3D printer? Well, the two aren't exclusive, and they do different things. Personally, there's something I find appealing about starting with nothing and ending up with something as opposed to starting with something and ending up with less, but on the other hand, being able to make a smoothly finished product is appealing too…”
46.    'Life and Activity Monitor' Provides Portable, Constant Recording of Vital Signs  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120201140010.htm  “Researchers have developed a type of wearable, non-invasive electronic device that can monitor vital signs such as heart rate and respiration at the same time it records a person's activity level, opening new opportunities for biomedical research, diagnostics and patient care. The device is just two inches wide, comfortable, does not have to be in direct contact with the skin and can operate for a week without needing to be recharged…"When this technology becomes more miniaturized and so low-cost that it could almost be disposable, it will see more widespread adoption," said Patrick Chiang…Called a "life and activity monitor," the system uses different sensors to detect…vital signs. It will provide doctors, researchers and clinicians a continuous flow of data over time, reduce the need for more frequent office visits, and ultimately provide better care at lower cost…”
Open Source Hardware
47.    Fabbing Industry – laying the foundation  http://blog.ossoil.com/2012/02/01/fabbing-industry-laying-the-foundation/  “Fabbing as a term refers to to “commons-based peer-production of physical goods”…Troxler uses the term as an umbrella for all forms of hacking such as hackerspaces, fablabs, techshops, 100k garages, sharing platforms, and open source hardware…social aspects are one of the most important factors in hackerspaces…I extend…Troxlers model to include industry and coin(?) the term ‘Fabbing industry‘…Fabbing industry…uses new technology (such as 3D printing) to satisfy new needs for…speed, locality, end-user participation in production process…and ecological values in manufacturing…Fabbing industry does not…wreck the traditional methods or companies…It enables faster prototyping. 3D printing can reduce development process significantly…since it enables easier and faster prototyping…Fabbing industry will not take over the old mass production methodology. It is not suitable for it. Fabbing is excellent for under dozen unit production…another extension which is possible due to fabbing industry is local spare part production…for such products which are no longer in production and still someone needs spare parts…I have formulated a composition of partners, which construct ‘Fabbing foundation’. Partners of the ecosystem are…Hardware providers…Software providers…Integration and service providers…FOSS community…Industry consumers…Working together in the spirit of Open Source towards shared goals in this area would benefit all participants…using Open Source as driving force does not equal revealing or opening everything…”
48.    The GeekDad Arduino Guide: Introduction  http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/02/arduino-introduction/  “…I started reading more and more about the Maker movement and the DIY movement. I kept reading about these cool projects people were building and I wanted in on the movement. My wife and geeklings spoon fed me the bait when they gave me an Arduino starter kit for Father’s Day last year…I always have a half-dozen projects in mind, and I have no intention of looking back…The Arduino is a fantastic single-board microcontroller, supported by an enthusiastic community of users and developers…depending on your level of knowledge of engineering, electronics, and other technical topics, you may be a little unclear on the definition of a microcontroller. At its most basic, a microcontroller is a computer on a chip. It has a CPU capable of executing embedded code, RAM for storage of run-time data, and long-term storage for storing the code to be executed. What makes microcontrollers fun is the surrounding hardware that is also on the chip…Right now I have the ability to remote control my home HVAC system through my power provider but I have no way of knowing what the current temperature is in the house…Sounds like a good goal…a wireless sensor unit that allows me to read the temperature near the thermostat remotely. We won’t get there in one big leap. We will work up to that point. Along the way you will learn some of the skills you will need and come up with an amazing number of project ideas of your own…So let’s get going down rabbit hole! In the next session, we will cover Blink, the “Hello, World!” of the Arduino.…”
49.    Raspberry Pi, Allwinner, and CuBox in the Linux hardware race to tiniest and cheapest  http://opensource.com/life/12/1/linux-hardware-race-tiniest-and-cheapest-15-cheap  “…we put the Raspberry Pi, a tiny $25 Linux computer, in our open source gift guide. It led overwhelmingly as your favorite on the list. But other similar options have been popping up, like the Allwinner A10 ($15) and the CuBox (quite a bit more)…this week the Raspberry Pi finally began manufacturing. The Allwinner A10 is being developed in China by Rhombus Tech to give the free software community--hobbyists and entrepreneurs--ineepensive, open-source hardware. In the category of tiny-but-not-as-cheap, there’s the much more polished CuBox. Unlike the others, the CuBox is already in a case. The intended applications are anything from digital signage (as it’s small enough to hide almost anywhere) to a media box or Android TV to a developer’s machine…While the Raspberry Pi has gotten a lot of the attention (and does have the best name), the Allwinner really is all winner on price, openness, and many of its features, particularly for the price. The CuBox is the winner primarily on polish and the fact that you can order one right now…”
50.    CERN Open Source Hardware Interview:  Cobas and Serrano  http://fosdem.org/2012/interview/juan-david-gonzalez-cobas-and-javier-serrano  “…I am responsible for the low-level software development activities at the Hardware and Timing section of the Control Group at CERN. Javier Serrano…is the section leader…The core subject is the development of a sizeable collection of components for the accelerator control system of the next decade (maybe decades)…the Open Hardware initiative…is the backbone on which all our developments rely…by giving this talk…expect…To raise interest around the Open Hardware initiative; to show how it works…to get more people interested and hopefully involved…The Open Hardware Repository was inspired by the success of open source software. But there are fundamental differences between hardware and software, such as tangibility and manufacturing costs…The main difference between hardware and software is that producing hardware takes more resources and time than compiling software. One consequence is that companies are an even more vital ingredient in Open Source Hardware (OSHW) than they are in FOSS…Free as in free beer is impossible in hardware, so it's easier to focus on freedom and avoid misunderstandings. OSHW development in places like ohwr.org proceeds in a very similar way to typical FOSS projects. There are repositories for designs, mailing lists…It is important to find companies which understand the advantages of working in such an environment…Last year CERN launched its Open Hardware Licence (OHL)…GPL does not say anything about manufactured goods. The same applies to Creative Commons licences. The closest hardware licence to what we needed was the TAPR OHL, but CERN is an International Organization and there are some important things we needed to cover in the way disputes are settled…White Rabbit is a multi-company, multi-lab collaboration whose aim is to extend Ethernet to solve problems in distributed real-time systems…Companies involved in White Rabbit get paid for their design time right away, i.e. they do not count on future sales to cover their current expenses…”  http://fosdem.org/2012/schedule/event/manage_diverse_equip  “The CERN accelerator control systems access equipment distributed over a geographic area tens of kilometers across. When off the shelf hardware is not available engineers design and prototype I/O devices as needed. With the advent of the open hardware repository, collaborations between the physics laboratories, research institutes and industry now ensure high quality designs and generality…”
Open Source
51.     OpenPhoto: The Startup Challenging the Centralized Internet  http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/01/the-startup-challenging-the-centralized-internet/250008/  “The growing centralization of the Internet -- manifested in our increasing reliance on "The Cloud" -- threatens the nature of our relationship with the technologies that shape modern life. The user interface changes that invariably enrage some contingent of users are just a trivial edge of the total space that describes the consequences of relinquishing control over our software to large commercial enterprises…For years, WordPress has been an inherently decentralized blogging platform. It's at once a company (Automattic) that hosts blogs on WordPress.com, an open-source blogging application you can install on hosting of your choice, and a platform that supports rich add-ons and themes. It provides a powerful set of tools for people and organizations of all sizes to publish without centralized gatekeepers in their way. Jaisen Mathai is a Web developer who left Yahoo! last year to test the WordPress model in a context he's passionate about: photography. Raising over $25,000 on Kickstarter, he started the Open Photo Project, an open source photo storage and sharing platform aimed at photography Web sites like Flickr, SmugMug, and Picasa…The subtle, profound difference being that users retain control and ownership over the photos, where and how they're stored, as well as where and how they're presented. One of the guiding principles of the project is to always have at least two options for any given part of the platform: data, hosting, application…On top of the platform, Mathai and his team have already started building a Web, iPhone, and Android app called OpenPhoto, also open source…Our goal is to get users' photos into their own control and we'll employ whatever services make it easiest for them to do so…another integral part of this vision is BrowserID, the spiritual successor to the mostly failed OpenID initiative. It's a decentralized identity platform that allows the development of apps that users can sign into without having a separate siloed identity with a new username and password for each separate service…Mathai's…testing the generalizability of the WordPress model. If he hits even a fraction of the success that WordPress has, it will raise the question: What else can this work for? Email? Music? Check-ins? Status updates? Shared links? Comments? Likes and favorites? Contacts? Social graphs?...extrapolation of these trends points toward a future in which we mostly replace our computers with data stores and hosts that we pay for on a subscription basis, and standardized, inter-operable applications that we install on them, much as we install applications on our computers now…”
52.    Spark: The first free-software, Linux tablet is on its way  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/spark-the-first-free-software-linux-tablet-is-on-its-way/10255  “…Linux, thanks to Android, is well represented on tablets. But, if you didn’t want to deal with proprietary firmware and software, you were out of luck… until now. Aaron Seigo, one of the KDE’s lead developers, and his team are just about ready to roll-out the first tablet based entirely on Linux and free software: The Spark…We decided to go with Mer, the community continuation of MeeGo, as our base OSS [open-source software]. With the amazing help of the Mer community, we have been able to bring up a non-Android, built-from-source kernel on the device…the hardware is powered by 1GHz AMLogic ARM processor, Mali-400 GPU, 512 MB RAM, 4GB internal storage plus SD card slot, a 7″ capacitive multi-touch screen and 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity. The list price will be 200 Euros or about $260…”
53.    LibreOffice 3.5 Will Be Released on February 8  http://news.softpedia.com/news/LibreOffice-3-5-Will-Be-Released-on-February-8-250766.shtml  “…on February 4th that the third and last Release Candidate version of the upcoming LibreOffice 3.5 open source office suite is available for download and testing…The final version of LibreOffice 3.5 will be announced in three days from today, on February 8th, 2012…”
Civilian Aerospace
54.    Eric Anderson:  Extraterrestrial Outfitter  http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/Extraterrestrial-Outfitter.html  “…Eric Anderson is…working two high-profile jobs at once: chairman of Space Adventures, and president and CEO of Seattle-based Intentional Software. “Intentional actually could be worth billions and billions of dollars,” he says. “It could be my ticket.” For the last 10 years, Anderson and Space Adventures have been brokering deals for well-heeled passengers to fly aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. Now that those trips have become more or less routine…he’s ready to take Space Adventures to the next level—to the moon. The idea of a private company sending paying passengers into space was outrageous in the late 1990s, when Anderson first floated the idea…No one has been to the moon since 1972…To Anderson it’s just another challenge…Eric Anderson grew up in the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colorado, the son of an Argentine mother and an American real estate investor…The young Anderson became a math whiz, jumping two to three years ahead of his classmates. By fifth grade he was writing computer programs on early Apple computers, and by his freshman year, Anderson had taken all the math classes his high school offered…It wasn’t until after graduation from the University of Virginia with a degree in aerospace engineering, an internship with NASA…that another way to reach space occurred to Anderson. Entrepreneur and fellow space enthusiast Peter Diamandis…introduced him to adventure travel operator Mike McDowell, who was sending customers on Arctic voyages…Together the three hashed out the initial idea for Space Adventures and ZERO-G Corporation, which would offer rides on aircraft that flew parabolic curves, producing brief bouts of weightlessness…We scraped together $250,000 to start Space Adventures,” says Anderson. In 1998, the world’s first space tourism company was born…”
55.     Successful launch from spaceport Saturday  http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_19865600  “A "STIG-A" rocket designed and built by Armadillo Aerospace launched successfully Saturday from Spaceport America's vertical launch complex…Preliminary data indicates the rocket reached its projected altitude well in excess of the prior flight record of 137,000 feet and potentially as high as 250,000 feet…This was the third test of the Armadillo "STIG A" reusable sub-orbital rocket technology to launch at Spaceport America…this is the first time that the exact same vehicle has been launched for a second time. Saturday's launch was the 14th from the Spaceport America vertical launch complex…and…the fourth Armadillo Aerospace launch from the spaceport…”
56.    Additional commercial space regs pushed back  http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/04/10313965-small-moves-in-commercial-space  “Commercial spaceship companies are due to get some additional breathing space, thanks to legislation that was approved by the House on Friday and seems certain to become law. The provision takes up just a few words in the reauthorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration, but…they extend the current regulatory environment for reusable space vehicles for an additional three years…things could have become much more difficult for space tourism companies. Right now, the companies that are building passenger spaceships are required to demonstrate to the FAA that they're taking sufficient measures to protect the uninvolved public from harm. They're also required to disclose the risks of space trips to would-be passengers, and get their informed consent for flight…The reason for that goes back to 2004, when Congress passed a law setting up an eight-year moratorium…for passenger spaceflight regulation. The idea was that those eight years would give the space tourism industry a chance to get off the ground…a chance to see how the industry's realities would mesh with future regulations. Should commercial spaceflight be regulated like air travel, for example, or more like deep-sea adventure diving?...problem is that no paying passengers have yet flown on commercial spacecraft, so it's not possible to do any sort of regulatory reality check…The current expectation is that passengers will start going into space on suborbital vehicles in the 2013-2014 time frame…We're trying to make this a learning and data-driven process, so that future regulations are based on actual data rather than speculation…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
57.     China's Dark Horse Supercomputing Chip: FeiTeng  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-01-19/china_s_dark_horse_supercomputing_chip:_feiteng.html  “Chinese development of domestic microprocessors for high performance computing seems to be ramping up. The Godson-3B and ShenWei SW1600 CPUs were the first out of the gate…Waiting in the wings is the FeiTeng processor, an architecture that could be the one that takes Chinese supercomputing into the exascale realm…The architecture, which is variously known as the FeiTeng, YinHe, the YinHe FeiTeng, and the FT64, has been developed at the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in Hunan Province. The design work culminated in its first implementation under the FT64 moniker in 2007…The instructions are of the VLIW persuasion and nearly half of them apply to 64-bit FP operations…This first-generation FeiTeng was implemented on 130nm process technology and, at 500 MHz, delivered a peak performance of 16 gigaflops…the chip consumed a mere 8.6 watts of power, which would yield an energy efficiency of about 1.8 gigaflops/watt. The current top of the line NVIDIA GPU…built on 2011-era 40nm technology, delivers about 2.9 gigaflops/watt…the FT64 was meant to run as a coprocessor, driven by a host CPU…The FT64 designers also came up with a stream programming language called SF95, which extended FORTRAN95 with 10 compiler directives to exploit the architecture…Except for the CG kernel where the FT64 had just a tenth of the Itanium's performance, the stream processor was between 1 and 2.5 times faster than the Itanium on the other kernels, and 8 time faster on FFT…”
58.    OpenCL In Action: Post-Processing Apps, Accelerated  “No one is ready to declare the age of CPUs over…In an increasingly diverse range of mainstream environments, though, we expect that heterogeneous computing…will continue to become more popular…The logical endgame of heterogeneous computing is a system-on-a-chip (SoC), wherein all (or at least many) major circuit systems are integrated into one package…programmable resources don't have to be used for gaming, though. Many other workloads are very parallel by nature, and throwing an APU with hundreds of cores at them rather than just a CPU…launches an interesting debate about the potential of software optimized for highly-integrated SoCs…AMD saw the potential for its CPUs and ATI's graphics technology to supplant pure CPUs in an ever-increasing share of the market, and the company was determined to be in the vanguard of that transition…The A8 employs a configuration that AMD refers to as Radeon HD 6550D. It consists of 400 stream processors, Radeon cores, or shaders…The A6 steps down to…320 stream processors…A4 scales back to…160 stream processors…In this initial installment of what will be a nine-part series, we’re putting video post-processing under the microscope. Back in the day, this would have been a time-consuming usage model, even with a multi-core CPU under the hood. Because it's a largely parallel workload, though, accelerating it with the many cores of a graphics processor has become a great way to increase productivity and improve performance…In a CPU-to-CPU comparison, Intel doubles AMD's performance. But once you get the GPU acceleration involved, the APU assumes a definite lead. After all of that, what do we come away with?...When time is money, there is no substitute for high-end hardware, and discrete components remain important upgrades for enthusiasts…When budget is a concern…the APU design gets you in on the ground floor of GPU acceleration without requiring an add-on graphics card…The benefits of a mobile APU can be close to equivalent to a desktop APU, again, in the right application…this is the most exciting development we’ve seen from AMD in quite a while, and it deserves more attention…”
59.    Microsoft Gives C++ Developers Compute Power of the GPU  http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Application-Development/Microsoft-Gives-C-Developers-Compute-Power-of-the-GPU-769755/  “…Microsoft is making it easier for C++ programmers to take advantage of the computing power in graphics processing units (GPUs) with a new, open specification called C++ AMP…Microsoft officials said developers have been seeking to tap into the processor power in the GPUs of modern computers that could be used to accelerate computing. However, it is not something a typical C++ developer knows how to code for…Enter Microsoft with its C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism (C++ AMP) technology, which is already implemented in Visual Studio 11 and gives C++ developers access to accelerators such as the GPU for parallel programming. At Going Native 2012, Microsoft announced the open publication of the C++ AMP spec under the Microsoft Community Promise license…”

*****

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