2012/03/06

NEW NET Weekly List for 06 Mar 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 06 March 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.        Video and voice calls in your browser without a plugin in sight  http://thenextweb.com/dd/2012/03/01/impressive-video-and-voice-calls-in-your-browser-without-a-plugin-in-sight/  “Until now, video calling from your computer has required dedicated apps such as Skype or browser plugins like Flash that power the likes of Vox.io. However, the similarly-named Voxeo Labs has been cooking up something impressive; plugin-free video and voice calls in a browser…Voxeo Labs has demoed a way of making calls using the WebRTC technology included in the Canary build of Google’s Chrome browser…WebRTC is an open source project that allows developers to create real-time communications apps for the Web via Javascript APIs and HTML5. The Phono SDK also allows for real-time presence and chat capabilities, meaning that developers should be able to create Google Talk or Skype-like services with ease. The technology even supports standard phones, so you could call a friend’s browser from your landline…the technology isn’t quite ready for you to try…you can find out more by watching the two videos below…”
2.       Time Warner Cable brings back usage-based billing  http://www.theverge.com/2012/2/28/2831842/twc-usage-based-billing-texas-meter  “…in 2009, Time Warner Cable tried, unsuccessfully, to bring usage-based billing to market…the company has jumped back into the fray with a new "Essentials" plan in a few South Texas markets…customers can choose to get $5 off their monthly bill for giving up unlimited data in favor of a 5GB data cap…even modest web use could put you over 5GB pretty quickly. Going over the 5GB will cost you $1 per GB, to a maximum of $25 per month…Other details of the plan include a "meter" site that customers can check to get up-to-the-hour usage totals and a two-month grace period for overages, and…you can always change your plan back…”
3.       Windows Azure suffers worldwide outage  http://www.zdnet.com/news/windows-azure-suffers-worldwide-outage/6348160  “A component of Windows Azure has experienced a worldwide outage for the past eight hours, preventing customers from carrying out management operations for technology that uses the cloud management service. The worldwide outage of the Windows Azure Service Management technology began at 1:45am GMT on Wednesday 5:45pm PT Thursday) and, at the time of writing, Microsoft was in the process of rolling out a fix to deal with the problem…One ZDNet UK reader called in to give some details on how the Azure problems affected their business. "Our live site's been down all day now, so we've been losing money. The address it's on is not resolving, you can't even ping it," Ashley Rudland, who runs a startup travel site hosted on Azure…"Everything I've been told is that the management portal is the only thing that's got down, but the thing is I can go in and see my machines are running in the cloud, they all say they are ready and green and fine, but they're completely inaccessible." Rudland said he shares an office with a major Microsoft partner that does cloud integration for the public sector and large companies. "Their biggest clients are all offline…”
4.       Gdrive and the cloud wars  http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/03/google-drive-cloud-wars/  “…any startup touching the cloud storage space has lived in anticipation and fear of Google’s entry into the market. G(od) Drive’s arrival was meant to instantly commoditize existing offerings, kill all future opportunity for new players, and leave a charred ecosystem in its wake as it battled Microsoft and Apple for control of our online lives and content…But the Google Drive never came. Why? “Sundar had concluded that it was an artifact of the style of computing that Google was about to usher out the door…Steven Levy writes in his book, In the Plex, referring to Sundar Pichai, head of Google Chrome. Google was moving towards a world where its cloud operating system would make traditional file systems obsolete…Reality set in that most people still created content using local apps…Google’s Chrome and cloud-only view of the world wasn’t supportive of this reality…like all good legends, Google Drive is rumored to be back on the brink of launch…At Box, we were but a small guppy in waters soon to be populated by sharks with rocket launchers…we hit the big red “Pivot” button that’s hidden under every startup CEO’s desk. We decided to let the other players duke it out in the noisy consumer space, while we’d try and shake things up the quiet and dusty enterprise world…iCloud is attempting to have applications rebuilt on top of its proprietary notion of a cloud-assisted data model…and trying to kill the concept of sync products along with it…by integrating it more deeply into the operating system. With Skydrive, Microsoft has a goal of “delivering personal cloud storage for billions of people.” But its historic approach to openness and cooperation leaves a lot to be desired…it’s yet another walled garden of information that gets created in its environment…With around $200B in cash between Microsoft, Apple, and Google alone, cost is no issue; they see your data as the center of their universe…”
5.        Instruction for Masses Knocks Down Campus Walls  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/education/moocs-large-courses-open-to-all-topple-campus-walls.html  “…Since Udacity, the for-profit startup running the course, opened registration on Jan. 23, more than 90,000 students have enrolled in the search-engine course and another taught by Mr. Thrun, who led the development of Google’s self-driving car. Welcome to the brave new world of Massive Open Online Courses — known as MOOCs — a tool for democratizing higher education. While the vast potential of free online courses has excited theoretical interest for decades, in the past few months hundreds of thousands of motivated students around the world who lack access to elite universities have been embracing them as a path toward sophisticated skills and high-paying jobs, without paying tuition or collecting a college degree…Consider Stanford’s experience: Last fall, 160,000 students in 190 countries enrolled in an Artificial Intelligence course taught by Mr. Thrun and Peter Norvig, a Google colleague. An additional 200 registered for the course on campus, but a few weeks into the semester, attendance at Stanford dwindled to about 30, as those who had the option of seeing their professors in person decided they preferred the online videos…Mr. Thrun was enraptured by the scale of the course, and how it spawned its own culture, including a Facebook group, online discussions and an army of volunteer translators who made it available in 44 languages. “Having done this, I can’t teach at Stanford again,” he said at a digital conference in Germany in January. “I feel like there’s a red pill and a blue pill, and you can take the blue pill and go back to your classroom and lecture your 20 students. But I’ve taken the red pill, and I’ve seen Wonderland.”…Stanford offered two other MOOCs last semester — Machine Learning (104,000 registered, and 13,000 completed the course), and Introduction to Databases (92,000 registered, 7,000 completed). And this spring, the university will have 13 courses open to the world, including Anatomy, Cryptography, Game Theory and Natural Language Processing…”  http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/blogs/mba_admissions/archives/2012/02/pushing_free_online_learning_in_a_new_directionral_top.html
6.       Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site  http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html  “…The Exceptional Performance team has identified a number of best practices for making web pages fast. The list includes 35 best practices divided into 7 categories…Minimize HTTP Requests…Use a Content Delivery Network…Add an Expires or a Cache-Control Header…Gzip Components…Put Stylesheets at the Top…Put Scripts at the Bottom…Avoid CSS Expressions…Make JavaScript and CSS External…Reduce DNS Lookups…Minify JavaScript and CSS…Avoid Redirects…Remove Duplicate Scripts…Configure ETags…Make Ajax Cacheable…Flush the Buffer Early…Use GET for AJAX Requests…Post-load Components…Preload Components…Reduce the Number of DOM Elements…Split Components Across Domains…Minimize the Number of iframes…No 404s…Reduce Cookie Size…Use Cookie-free Domains for Components…Minimize DOM Access…Develop Smart Event Handlers…Choose over @import…Avoid Filters…Optimize Images…Optimize CSS Sprites…Don't Scale Images in HTML…Make favicon.ico Small and Cacheable…Keep Components under 25K…Pack Components into a Multipart Document…Avoid Empty Image src…”  http://www.scirra.com/blog/74/making-a-fast-website
Gigabit Internet
7.        Lansing, Michigan part of gigabit Internet initiative  http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20120229/NEWS01/302290025/Lansing-area-part-Gig-U-super-high-speed-Internet-initiative-  “…the Lansing region made a pitch two years ago to become a test site for Google Inc.'s super-high-speed broadband fiber network and came out empty-handed…It caused all of us across the country to aspire higher and higher for the sort of innovation that would come with that kind of connectivity,”…On Tuesday morning, Webster and a handful of community and business leaders gathered at the foundation’s offices in downtown East Lansing to announce their own plan to…bring widespread 1-gigabit broadband service to mid-Michigan…The plan is both to lower barriers to investment by getting local municipalities to expedite…the permit process for installing new broadband networks and to “aggregate demand,”…convincing potential users to locate their businesses in certain key areas…The first targeted areas, identified because they have significant numbers of high-tech, health care and engineering companies, will be a corridor that extends from downtown Lansing to Michigan State University…the community is “exquisitely close” to having all of the fiber-optic cables in place to make the first stage of the plan a success, though a wider distribution of 1-gigabit services would require more substantial infrastructure upgrades…”
8.       OnLive Desktop Plus iPad app brings gigabit web browsing  http://www.t3.com/news/onlive-desktop-plus-ipad-app-brings-ie9-and-gigabit-web-browsing  “…OnLive Desktop Plus subscription service for iPad…now brings full flash-enabled Internet Explorer and access to its gigabit web speeds…a premium version of its recently launched OnLive Desktop app for Apple iPad…brings lightning-fast browsing through a Flash-enabled version of Internet Explorer 9…OnLive Desktop…free offering…has already impressed by offering full and free access to Windows 7…through a remote server…OnLive's…gigabit internet connection through the cloud…means that regardless of your home Wi-Fi connection, you'll be able to connect to remote servers and access some phenomenally fast speeds…Early tests on some sites have pulled-in download speeds of 650Mbps and phenomenal upload speeds of 200Mbps…transfering files through sites like Dropbox and downloading large attachments from web-based Gmail, Yahoo Mail becomes insanely fast…” [so I can’t quite figure out if this is some type of buffering or compression or just pixie dust, but I know the NEW NET participants at this week’s meeting will make all things clear – ed.]
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
9.       NBC Sics The Lawyers On The Inspector Spacetime Kickstarter Project  http://pandodaily.com/2012/03/01/funs-over-nbc-sicks-the-lawyers-on-the-inspector-spacetime-kickstarter-project/  “The tale of “Inspector Spacetime”…started with a gag on NBC’s “Community”…a few of the main characters on “Community” were shown watching a program called “Inspector Spacetime.” Based on the adventures of a humanoid alien inspector who traveled the galaxy in his flying phone booth, it was essentially the BBC’s “Doctor Who,” just… not…Almost overnight, the fan base behind “Inspector Spacetime” (again, a show that does not exist) exploded. A full, deeply-intertwined backstory sprang from nowhere. Stickers and T-shirts were made. Posters were printed. Not by NBC, mind you, but by the fans…Travis Richey, the guy who actually played Inspector Spacetime in that fleeting scene, decided to make it into something real…a series of webisodes, paid for by the fans themselves through Kickstarter. (A show, from a show, from a show. BWAAARM.)…it seems that NBC and Sony Pictures are having none of it…Travis says that lawyers from NBC and Sony have put a kibosh on things…Though I firmly believe the law would be on my side in producing this parody, I have no wish or ability to fight…I had hoped that they would embrace what is essentially a fan film…the project has been cheekily redubbed “Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time.”…Really, NBC/Sony? One of your shows makes a one-off joke that, through some ridiculous stroke of luck, flourishes into a meme? Embrace it! Don’t light it on fire and stomp on its ashes. The show’s team has been very clear that they have no intention to cash in on this, refusing to sell any DVDs or merchandise of any sort…Now, lets see if NBC tries to milk this Inspector Spacetime meme now that they’ve thrown lawyers at the zany fanbase that made it worthwhile…”
10.     New Browser Add-On Visualizes Who Is Tracking You Online  http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2012/02/ted-mozilla-collusion/  “…Tracking our online behavior is big business. The revenues involved in the top online tracking companies in the space is over $39 billion…Kovacs unveiled a new Firefox add-on named Collusion on Tuesday…a visualization tool that depicts the number and different types of sites that are tracking your browsing as you surf the web…Collusion composes a dot matrix diagram composed of grey dots — sites you’ve visited or are visiting — connected to red dots: sites that have passed your browser tracking cookies to monitor your site navigation…The end-game idea, Kovacs says, is to eventually launch Collusion on a grand scale, allowing users to opt-in and share their tracking data anonymously…The idea is, if we can understand who is tracking us and how, we can find better ways to bypass it…We are being watched. It’s now time for us to watch the watchers…”
11.      Android Apps Can Also Secretly Copy Photos  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57388797-94/photo-theft-security-loophole-found-in-android-too/  “…A security loophole on Apple's iOS platform that gives applications access to a user's photo library without explicit permission has been found to exist on Google's Android platform as well…Android applications are able to read pictures off a phone as long as that user has given the app permission to use the device's Internet connection…the mobile OS has long been set up to allow this kind of access due to the way it stores data on external memory cards that expand on the phone or tablet's built-in storage. But it may not stay that way. "We originally designed the Android photos file system similar to those of other computing platforms like Windows and Mac OS," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "At the time, images were stored on a SD card, making it easy for someone to remove the SD card from a phone and put it in a computer to view or transfer those images…”
12.     Police can search cell phones for evidence without first needing a warrant  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57388786-93/court-warrantless-cell-phone-searches-legal/  “…Police don't need a warrant to search a cell phone for its number, a federal appeals court has ruled. The decision…stems from an Indiana case in which prosecutors used evidence that police found on cell phones at the arrest scene to convict a suspect on drug charges. Police had subpoenaed three months of each cell phone's call history to gather evidence on one of the defendants in the case, Abel Flores-Lopez. Defense attorneys appealed their client's 10-year prison sentence…The three-judge panel was unpersuaded, likening the cell phone to a diary. "It's not even clear that we need a rule of law specific to cell phones or other computers. If police are entitled to open a pocket diary to copy the owner's address, they should be entitled to turn on a cell phone to learn its number…So opening the diary found on the suspect whom the police have arrested, to verify his name and address and discover whether the diary contains information relevant to the crime for which he has been arrested, clearly is permissible; and what happened in this case was similar but even less intrusive, since a cell phone's phone number can be found without searching the phone's contents, unless the phone is password-protected--and on some cell phones even if it is…”
13.     Who can shut down cell phone service? FCC seeks public comment  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/03/who-can-shut-down-cell-phone-service-fcc-seeks-public-comment.ars  “The FCC is calling for public comment on the legality of the San Francisco transit agency's interruption of cellular service in August 2011. Bay Area Rapid Transit had shut off cell phone service in its tunnels, anticipating a cell-phone-coordinated protest of the fatal shooting of passengers by the transit system's police…SF transit officials claimed they cut service to protect public safety by dispersing the protest, but critics of that justification said it violated free speech and put people who might need to make emergency calls at risk. The FCC claims that 70 percent of emergency calls now come from mobile phones…”
14.     The Little White Box That Can Hack Your Network  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/03/pwnie/  “When Jayson E. Street broke into the branch office of a national bank in May of last year, the branch manager could not have been more helpful. Dressed like a technician, Street walked in and said he was there to measure “power fluctuations on the power circuit.” To do this, he’d need to plug a small white device that looked like a power adapter onto the wall…Street had been hired by the bank to test out security at 10 of its West Coast branch offices. He was conducting what’s called a penetration test…bank employees were only too willing to help out. They let Street go anywhere he wanted — near the teller windows, in the vault — and plug in his little white device, called a Pwn Plug…The bank, which Street isn’t allowed to name, called the test off after he’d broken into the first four branches. “After the fourth one they said, ‘Stop now please. We give up.’” Built by a startup company called Pwnie Express, the Pwn Plug is pretty much the last thing you ever want to find on your network — unless you’ve hired somebody to put it there. It’s a tiny computer that comes preloaded with an arsenal of hacking tools. It can be quickly plugged into any computer network and then used to access it remotely from afar. And it comes with “stealthy decal stickers” — including a little green flowerbud with the word “fresh” underneath it, that makes the device look like an air freshener …”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
15.     Tipping point: US smartphones outnumber non-smartphones  http://business.time.com/2012/03/01/nearly-50-of-americans-own-smartphones-android-iphone-dominate/  “Smartphone use is surging in the United States…for the first time, smartphones now outnumber more basic mobile phones…The growing ubiquity of these sophisticated mobile device is fueling an entirely new industry — the so-called “app economy” — but it’s also placing increased burdens on the mobile networks…46%...of all American adults now own a smartphone…That’s an 11% increase from the 35% of Americans who said they owned a smartphone in May of 2011…42% of Americans say they own a more basic cell-phone, also known as a “feature phone.”…Overall adoption levels are at 60% or more within several cohorts, such as college graduates, 18-35 year olds and those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more…”
16.     Next iPad will be the iPad HD; rumor roundup  http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-57391022-248/next-ipad-will-be-the-ipad-hd-not-the-ipad-3/  “…Apple's next tablet will be called the iPad HD instead of the iPad 3…Apple owns the rights to the iPad name in the U.S. and other countries (though that's being debated in courts in China right now), but have others already beaten it to the punch online? On the domain front, the answer to that question is yes. The owner of iPadHD.com told CNET earlier today that he registered the domain before the original iPad was announced in 2010. He told us that he's never been contacted by Apple about the domain in the years he's held onto it…”  http://www.informationweek.com/byte/news/personal-tech/tablets/232602054  “…Let's take a look at some of the loudest iPad 3 rumors we've been hearing…The iPad 3 Will Have a Retina Display…The iPad 3 Will Feature 4G LTE Support…The iPad 3 Will Have a Higher Resolution Camera…The iPad 3 Will Be Similar in Form-factor to the iPad 2, Perhaps Thicker…The iPad 3 Will Have an A5X Processor…The iPad 3 Will Have Siri Support…”
17.     Innovators and Investors See Boon in AT&T Wireless Usage Cap  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-05/billionaire-li-joins-sequoia-seeing-boon-in-at-t-usage-cap-tech.html  “AT&T Inc.’s decision to set caps on heavy users of wireless data is infuriating to some people -- and a boon for startups like Onavo Mobile Ltd. that help reduce consumption. The 20-person company, based in Tel Aviv and San Francisco, makes a free mobile application for Apple Inc. and Android devices that compresses consumers’ mobile downloads, so they use less data…Onavo is just one of many companies U.S. consumers are turning to in an effort to avoid overage fees and getting their network speeds throttled…Venture capitalists are sensing an opportunity…The carriers are starting to force you to look at your data, and you see a lot more people looking to save money…Katz uses Onavo and Boingo Wireless Inc. to reduce his AT&T and Verizon Wireless bills. If Katz wants to download a photo, the image first goes to Onavo’s servers, which shrink the file before sending it on to a carrier’s data network…Many wireless carriers are ratcheting up their rates and capping usage in response to skyrocketing mobile data use, which is putting pressure on their networks. The strain on the global mobile networks more than doubled last year, as consumers began watching more mobile video and using tablets…The carriers already have begun raising prices, to discourage heavy use and recoup spending on their networks…Instead of offering unlimited data, AT&T now sells so- called tiered plans that include a certain amount of data at various price points. In January, AT&T raised those plans’ prices by $5 a month and increased the capacity allowances. AT&T’s tiered data plans cost $30 a month for 3 gigabytes and $50 for 5 gigabytes, plus $10 for every gigabyte over those limits…”
18.     ASUS Padfone formally unveiled  http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/27/asus-padfone-formally-launched-4-3-inch-super-amoled-display-s/  “…ASUS has formally unveiled its versatile, form-changing Padfone…a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD display, Snapdragon's new dual-core S4 chip, an Adreno 225 GPU, Ice Cream Sandwich and an 8-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash and f/2.2 autofocusing lens. (The front camera records at VGA resolution.) Other specs include 16 to 64GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD), Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, GPS, A-GPS, a gyroscope, 1,520mAh battery and a compass. Connectivity options include WCDMA (900, 2100 MHz), EDGE / GPRS / GSM (850, 1800 and 1900 MHz) and HSPA+, with theoretical download speeds topping out at 42Mbps…If you focus solely on its chip and 9.2mm-thick frame you'd be missing its most distinguishing attribute: it's ability to parade around in tablet's clothing…the Padfone can slide into an optional station that effectively allows you to use it as if it were a 10.1-inch tablet. Like the optional docks sold alongside ASUS' Transformer tablets, the station not only improves the ergonomics, but also extends the battery life -- in this case, by nine-fold…”
19.     Google 'Assistant' Reportedly Will Surpass Siri  http://www.pcworld.com/article/251217/google_assistant_reportedly_will_surpass_siri.html  “Google is said to be working on artificial intelligence technology that could surpass the capabilities of Apple's Siri voice assistant…Google…plans to reveal a new "Assistant" product by the fourth quarter of this year…The feature will be personalized and make use of Google's data collection regarding how people behave online and will be "less about returning search results and more about accomplishing real-life goals,"…Android users will be quick to point out Google’s operating system has had voice commands for quite a while. Still, Google hasn't done a great job of touting Voice Commands so many people using Android haven't played around with it…Here's the full rundown of what you can do using Android's Voice Commands.…”
20.    Android Key Lime Pie set to topple Jelly Bean  http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/android-key-lime-pie-set-to-topple-jelly-bean-1068635  “Key Lime Pie will be the successor to Android Jelly Bean in Google's mobile operating system life cycle…Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0) has only just got out of the blocks and Android Jelly Bean (version 5.0) is still months away…It's not clear if Key Lime Pie will be a fully fledged version of Android itself, possibly 6.0, or a minor update from Jelly Bean which could see it sport version number 5.5…”
Apps
21.     Yahoo Cocktail: ambitious developers need more than just HTML5  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57388697-92/why-ambitious-developers-need-more-than-just-html5/  “…HTML5…is often positioned as the alternative to native application development…the reality is that WC3's HTML5 alone is not enough at this pivotal time in Web history…Yahoo…believe the answer is a combination, or "cocktail" if you will, of technologies--including HTTP, HTML5, Cascading Style Sheets, and JavaScript--which lets publishers and developers build one visually rich app, and reuse the same code to reach several devices with consistent experiences…this switch from a site-centric Web to an app-centric Web is forcing developers to rethink the technologies they use, and it's sparking a debate about whether Web apps can really compete with native apps…developing on several native platforms at once is costly and time-consuming…it is critical for developers to find efficient ways to reach both high- and low-end mobile devices…Yahoo developed a Web application development platform called Yahoo Cocktails to tackle these challenges. Our platform combines…HTTP and HTML, Cascading Style Sheets…and JavaScript…Yahoo Cocktails overcomes five big shortcomings of native-only or HTML5-only development…Security…Distribution…Packaging…Performance…Reach and accessibility…we will be making our first Cocktail, Mojito, open-source within a few weeks, to evolve the Web into an open platform for application development…”
22.    MIT App Inventor Open Beta Preview  http://appinventoredu.mit.edu/developers-blogs/hal/2012/mar/announcing-mit-app-inventor-open-beta-preview  “The MIT Center for Mobile Learning is delighted to announce that we’re meeting our goal of making MIT App Inventor available as a public service in the first quarter of 2012…we have been conducting a closed test of the system for an increasing number of testers, and we’ve currently scaled to 5000 testers. Today, we’re taking the next step, and opening the MIT App Inventor service to everyone …”
23.    7 office suites for Android devices  http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/417447/7_office_suites_android_devices/  “…several office suites…let you view and edit your documents on an Android device. Most were originally designed for use on a smartphone, but here are seven that are compatible with most Android tablets that run Android 2.3…Google Docs (Free)…Documents To Go ($14.99)…Kingsoft Office (Free)…OfficeSuite Pro ($9.99)…Quickoffice Pro (14.99)…Smart Office+ ($9.36)…ThinkFree Office Mobile ($9.99)…”
24.    Android apps max size shoots from 50MB to 4GB  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57391152-93/android-apps-max-size-shoots-from-50mb-to-4gb/  “…developers can now create Google apps with high-quality 3-D animation. Some Android apps are about to take a lot longer to download, but they'll also have more interactive 3-D graphics, audio, and video. Google boosted its maximum app size from 50MB to 4GB today…Android applications have historically been limited to a maximum size of 50MB. This works for most apps, and smaller is usually better -- every megabyte you add makes it harder for your users to download and get started," software architect Tim Bray wrote on the blog. "However, some types of apps, like high-quality 3D interactive games, require more local resources…”
SkyNet
25.    “Versus” series on G+ Hangout  http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_announces_drug_war_debate_via_hangout.php  “Google announced a new Hangout video show called Versus today on the YouTube blog. It's a partnership with Intelligence², a worldwide forum based in the U.K…Well-known participants debate a proposed motion, and the audience can vote in real time on the value of the arguments. The first motion will be "It's time to end the War on Drugs." Participants include Richard Branson, Russell Brand, Julian Assange and the former presidents of Mexico and Brazil. The moderator is Emily Maitlis of the BBC. It airs on the Versus YouTube channel on March 13 at 7:00 p.m. GMT. By participating on the Versus Google+ page, you could be picked to participate…Hangouts continue to be the bold new feature that can't be ignored. Most Hangout activity is only known to the people who use Google+, but it has gained some mainstream visibility…It's too early (and tech-bloggy) to think of Hangouts as "game-changing," but…Hangouts offer a two-way experience that's more engaging than TV…Google+ is going asymmetrical with Hangouts. It has no competition here. No "social network" in the conventional sense has YouTube's infrastructure as a back-end …”
26.    Google Chrome Browser to be deployed on State Department computers worldwide  http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-pick/chrome-to-be-deployed-on-state-department-computers-worldwide-2012031/  “…Google Chrome is often touted as being the safest and fastest browser available…The sandboxed way that Chrome operates, combined with the speed and fluidity of its updates, means that it just makes sense to give it a try…that’s exactly what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced they were going to do…when Secretary Clinton was asked what could be done about the painfully slow update process for Internet Explorer, she announced that the State Department would be deploying Google Chrome to their offices worldwide…Secretary Clinton warned that some internal software may not be initially compatible with Chrome, so it may be necessary to use Internet Explorer as well…IE8 was fully tested and approved, while Chrome will be an optional browser. The State Department will skip IE9 and move to IE10 on or before February 2013…”
27.    New Google feature syncs recent searches from computer to phone  http://www.geekwire.com/2012/google-feature-shows-pc-searches-mobile-phone  “One of my chores this weekend involved searching Google on my home computer to figure out the hours of the local dump. And the record of the search is right there on the Google home page on my phone. Google today rolled out a new feature on iPhone and Android devices that shows a user’s latest searches for places under a new “recent” icon in the Google mobile web interface. It’s a handy trick when you need to use your phone on the go to find a location that you searched for back at your desk…”
28.    MS pays big $$ to smear Google in Europe  http://falkvinge.net/2012/03/02/how-microsoft-pays-big-money-to-smear-google-audaciously/  “…I spent this week in the European Parliament in Brussels. One of the seminars I attended was advertised as being a seminar on privacy, big data, profiling, and online identities…a well-dressed guy gave us a sloppy-looking printout of two pages in black and white…that it was a hardcopy of a Telegraph article, Dark Forces Gunning For Google, that was over a year old. Something here wasn’t right…What did Google have to do with this discussion in need for regulating governments’ appetite for citizen data and corporations abusing their privacy policies?...The seminar was arranged by ICOMP, a nonsense thirteen-a-dozen-spun name like “Initiative for a Competitive Digital Market Blah Blah Meaning Give Us Money Please”…My first hint of cause for alarm came as one of their head lobbyists sat down beside the four of us from the Swedish Pirate Party…and I overheard the following words from Christian Engström, Member of European Parliament…So your primary source of funding is Microsoft, then?...It was the most shameless bashing of a single company with hints and allegations that I had ever seen…the keynote…was exclusively about how bad Google was as a company..This was not a seminar on privacy at all. This was Microsoft-funded Google-smearing, plain and simple, and I felt my blood starting to boil. No free lunch was worth sitting down and taking this kind of language designed to smear a competitor for profit…So I made the strongest act of disapproval conceivable in the European Parliament. I walked out on a free luxury lunch…”  http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/03/microsoft-v-google
29.    New features in Google Docs  http://www.webpronews.com/google-docs-added-features-2012-03  “…Google Docs Blog just announced that the company has added improved discussions, search-scanned text in PDFs, custom Javascript and CSS support to personal Google sites…Google has made it easier to view and organize all comments made on user drawings, documents and presentations posted in Google Docs – by clicking on the “Comments” button at the upper right of the editor window, one can view a complete history of their discussions…using Google’s Optical Character Recognition technology, users can now search through and copy highlighted text from a scanned PDF…Additional features that were released today include the ability to add custom Javascript and CSS to Google Sites, keyboard shortcuts for navigating between table cells in documents…”
30.    ‘Google Play’ replaces Android Market, consolidates Google’s media marketplaces  http://www.geekwire.com/2012/google-play-replaces-android-market-consolidates-googles-media-marketplaces  “Google today introduced a unified distribution channel for movies, books, music and apps — rolling them all up under the name “Google Play.” Perhaps most notably, Google Play will replace the Android Market as a discovery, sales and distribution channel for Android apps. The company says the combination of the different marketplaces will make it easier for Android users to access different types of content across their devices…”
General Technology
31.     Microsoft Research shows off see-through 3D display, Holoreflector, IllumiShare  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/120293-microsoft-research-shows-off-see-through-3d-display-holoreflector-illumishare  “…Last week, however, Craig Mundie — Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer — showed off some of Microsoft Research’s most promising projects…The projects mostly revolve around movement tracking (Kinect and Kinect-like functionality is still a huge deal for Microsoft) and augmented reality — but one demo, a 3D desktop that utilizes a see-through OLED display, blew my mind…watch the video…Samsung has produced a display that looks almost completely see-through. As for where Microsoft could actually apply this technology in the real world, who knows; a 3D Surface-type interface for Windows 9, perhaps? …”
32.    Windows 8 Beta  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-57386760-78/windows-8-beta-hands-on-with-microsofts-tablet-friendly-os/  “…I’ve been using the Windows 8 beta…officially known as the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, for the past week, and it's by far the most integrated and capable operating system Microsoft has ever put out…if you're looking for a quick summary: Windows 8 is a breeze to use. It's tricked out with social networking and synchronization, it's robust enough to handle Photoshop…Windows 8's predecessor could be summarized in six words: Windows 7 is Vista done right. Windows 8 is a much harder sell…more of your Windows 8 experience will be dependent on your hardware than ever before, because it will work on both actual PCs--i.e., desktops and laptops--and tablets…”
33.    Ford ushers in era of software upgradable car  http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/03/ford-owners-get-thumbdrive-myford-touch-update-this-week/1#.T1aYGvHPG88  “Owners of about the 300,000 of Ford's 2011 and 2012 model vehicles with the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch will start receiving in the mail this week an extensive upgrade for the troubled infotainment and control system. Ford started mailing out flash drives today that owners can plug into the USB port to install the software upgrade by following a few menu prompts. Owners of navigation-equipped vehicles also will get an SD card with new, updated map data. The upgrade takes about 60 minutes, however, and the car must be running the whole time…some commands can still be performed during the first half of the download, but the screen freezes for the second half, meaning climate controls cannot be changed and audio stops. Alternatively, owners can go to a dealer to have it done…”
34.    Nobody Wants to Learn How to Program  http://inventwithpython.com/blog/2012/03/03/nobody-wants-to-learn-how-to-program/  “…Many programming tutorials begin with basic programming principles: variables, loops, data types. This is both an obvious way to teach programming and almost certainly a wrong way to teach programming. It’s wrong because nobody wants to learn how to program. If you are teaching a class of adults who are paying with their own money for an education, then this is an appropriate and direct way to teach programming…But for the casually interested or schoolchildren with several activities competing for their attention, programming concepts like variables and loops and data types aren’t interesting in themselves. They don’t want to learn how to program just for the sake of programming. They don’t want to learn about algorithm complexity or implicit casting. They want to make Super Mario or Twitter or Angry Birds…Here are my five pieces of advice to people who want to teach programming or create programming tutorials…1. Kits Are Not Programming…2. Toy Examples Are Fine, As Long As They Are Braggable…3. Beginner Programmers Are Plagiarists (So Give Them A Lot To Plagiarize)…4. My Programs, Let Me Show You Them…5. Don’t Distract New Programmers with OOP…”
35.    Dept. of Energy signs agreements to develop small nuclear generators  http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2012/03/dept-of-energy-signs-agreements-to-develop-small-nuclear-generators.ars  “…Department of Energy, led by Steven Chu, has taken a "portfolio" approach to easing the country into a future in which we're less reliant on fossil fuels. Instead of betting on a single technology to solve all our problems, the DOE has been pushing a mix of renewables, efficiency measures, and nuclear power. After having licensed the first new nuclear plant in decades, the DOE has now reached agreements with companies that are trying to develop an alternative to these large facilities. Rather than building large, Gigawatt-scale reactor buildings, several companies are developing what are termed small, modular nuclear reactors that produce a few hundred Megawatts of power. These are typically designed to be sealed units that simply deliver heat for use either directly or to generate electricity. When the fuel starts to run down, the reactors will be shipped back to a central facility for refueling…The new agreements, set up with Hyperion Power Generation, SMR, and NuScale Power, will give the companies access to the DOE's Savannah River National Lab, with the intention of having them develop sites there for a test installation…”
36.    US military robot Cheetah breaks speed record  http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ig0BnPECsNkAwkWLogwQikY9T5bw  “…Pentagon's main research agency has created the fastest-ever land robot, named "Cheetah," which can gallop at a speed of 18 miles (29 kilometers) per hour…The headless robot looks to be about the size of a small dog and is shown running on a treadmill in pictures and video released by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency…"The robot increases its stride and running speed by flexing and unflexing its back on each step, much as an actual cheetah does." Cheetah's dash has set a "new land speed record for legged robots," beating the previous target of 13.1 miles (21.1 kilometers) per hour…”
Leisure & Entertainment
37.    Who decides what gets sold in the bookstore?  http://www.thedominoproject.com/2012/02/who-decides.html  “…There’s been a long history of ubiquity at the bookstore. With a few extreme exceptions, just about every book is available at every bookstore if you’re willing to order it…I just found out that Apple is rejecting my new manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and won’t carry it in their store because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books I mention in the bibliography. Quoting here from their note to me, rejecting the book: “Multiple links to Amazon store…We’re heading to a world where there are just a handful of influential bookstores (Amazon, Apple, Nook…) and one by one, the principles of open access are disappearing. Apple, apparently, won’t carry an ebook that contains a link to buy a hardcover book from Amazon…once bookstores start to censor the books they carry (business reasons, personal taste, etc.) then the door is open for any interest group to work hard to block books with which they disagree…I think that Amazon and Apple and B&N need to take a deep breath and make a decision on principle: what’s inside the book shouldn’t be of concern to a bookstore with a substantial choke on the marketplace. If it’s legal, they ought to let people read it if they choose to …”
38.    A Photo App That Makes “Awesome” a Verb  http://allthingsd.com/20120228/a-photo-app-that-makes-awesome-a-verb/  “Photography standards have taken a nose dive lately. The photos shared on social networks are often captured on smartphone cameras, which can take poor quality shots. Even photos captured at higher resolutions get downgraded when posted on social networks…Finally, there is an app that gives smartphone camera photos a major boost with powerful photo-capturing functions and editing: Camera Awesome. This is a free camera app made by SmugMug…this app…works for anyone, regardless of whether or not they have SmugMug accounts…it is by far one of the most full-powered camera apps I’ve used…Photos I captured with this app tricked friends into thinking they were taken with a high-quality camera…The app has 297 presets, filters, textures and frames, along with many other features like image stabilization and burst modes…Camera Awesome offers an ideal mix of beauty and brains. A playful “Awesomize” tool enhances with one touch, and hundreds of filters, frames and textures add artistic effects to shots…”
39.    Kodak passes off Gallery printing service to Shutterfly for $23.8M  http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/01/shutterfly-buys-kodak-assets/  “…a month after filing for bankruptcy, Eastman Kodak Company is dumping some of its digital assets…Shutterfly has agreed…to purchase Kodak Gallery for $23.8 million…Kodak Gallery is an online destination where customers in the U.S. and Canada can upload, share, and print their “Kodak moments” as keepsakes. Through the deal, the product’s more than 75 million users and their images will be transferred over to Shutterfly…”
40.    Free-to-play Microsoft Flight released  http://www.geek.com/articles/games/free-to-play-microsoft-flight-released-20120229/  “…in August 2010, it was announced that Microsoft Flight Simulator was making a return under the new name of Microsoft Flight. The name change wasn’t the only difference, though. Microsoft also decided to make it a free-to-play title so as to encourage even more people to have a go playing with the flight simulator. Now some 17 months after the original announcement, as promised Microsoft Flight is available for download. You can start playing right now. The free version of the game includes everything you need to get started. There’s tutorials and missions, and surprisingly Microsoft has allowed you to play in both online and offline modes…”
41.     Flying robots perform 'James Bond' theme  http://www.gizmag.com/quadrotors-perform-james-bond-music/21671/  “…the GRASP quadrotors are back, performing a feat that's certainly…entertaining. In a video…presented…at the TED2012 conference…a group of the little guys are shown performing the James Bond theme on musical instruments. The quadrotors performed in a room that was equipped with infrared lights and cameras. Reflectors on the struts of each robot reflected the light to the cameras, which allowed the system to determine each quadrotor's exact position within the room. That information was then relayed wirelessly back to the robots to make them aware of their own location and those of the other robots. In order to perform the music, each quadrotor had been assigned a set of waypoints in three-dimensional space, each one of which they had to reach at a precise point in time. While those coordinates had been programmed in by human operators, it was up to each robot to determine how to reach its waypoints on time, without disturbing the other units…the exercise…is aimed at improving the quadrotors' performance in…practical applications…learning how to get jobs done while staying out of each others' way…”
Economy and Technology
42.    Toshiba to acquire Western Digital's 3.5-inch HDD manufacturing equipment  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57387199-92/toshiba-to-acquire-western-digitals-3.5-inch-hdd-manufacturing-equipment/  “Western Digital and Toshiba enter a deal in which Toshiba will take over WD's 3.5-inch HDD manufacturing equipment and intellectual property and WD will acquire Toshiba's 2.5-inch hard-drive facility in Thailand. Toshiba will acquire from WD manufacturing and related intellectual property for 3.5-inch hard drives (HDDs), used in desktop PCs and consumer applications, and near-line HDDs for server applications. Near-line storage is a type of data storage supporting larger capacity and with higher reliability than HDDs for desktop PC applications…”
43.    The Credit Card Is The New App Platform  http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2012/03/01/the-credit-card-is-the-new-app-platform/  “Credit and debit cards are ubiquitous, but they’re mostly pretty dumb. That’s about to change…We’re at the early stages of a massive wave of innovation in the payment industry…The platform in this case is the payment network. Software developers will add new capabilities to cards by programming the payment network to link online applications to specific payment events. Consumers will be able to effectively “drag and drop” apps to their smart cards in the same way that they add apps to their smart phones today…Online commerce is now a $200 billion industry, but it’s still small compared to offline transactions. Up to 70% of consumer spending is influenced by Web and mobile research, but over 90% of actual transactions are still conducted in the physical world…With cloud-connected cards, you can clear out your desk drawer or wallet. Instead of holding on to that Red Lobster gift card, REI loyalty card and printed Groupon deal, you can add these to your card, and receive benefits automatically when you make a purchase. You can also store a digital receipt or warranty on your card rather than keeping these in a filing cabinet in the basement…”
44.    Jumio helps merchants take credit cards via webcam  http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/05/jumio-funding-25m-andreessen-horowitz/  “…Jumio’s main focus is to help retailers process credit card transactions quickly and securely using webcams. Its Netswipe technology lets consumers show their credit card to a webcam to get details instead of typing them in. Jumio can detect what type of material is being scanned, so a photocopy of the credit card will not work…Netverify can turn a webcam into a secure ID reader. Netverify lets merchants confirm an ID online without having a customer fax or scan the ID, making the process faster. CEO Daniel Mattes told us that he has had his credit card details stolen twice and that his experience is not uncommon. Hackers can take credit card numbers you type online, so Jumio can theoretically make the process of buying online safer and quicker…”
45.    Spiroscout inhaler uses GPS, WiFi to track asthma attacks  http://www.engadget.com/2011/04/14/spiroscout-inhaler-uses-gps-wifi-to-track-asthma-attacks/  “Back in 2009, we told you about a University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist using GPS to tag asthmatics in an effort to better understand what was triggering their attacks. Two years later, David Van Sickle and his current company, Asthmapolis, are about ready to turn his research into a commercial product dubbed the Spiroscout. The USB-powered inhaler uses GPS as well as WiFI to track patients' inhaler use, which Van Sickle says will yield a fuller, more accurate body of data than the self-recorded logs patients are often asked to keep. The benefit is two-fold, Van Sickle says: physicians can use this data to adjust their patients' medication, if necessary, while epidemiologists might have more insight into population-level trends…”
46.    How Giant Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures Does Business  http://www.businessinsider.com/revealed-how-giant-patent-troll-intellectual-ventures-does-business-2012-3  “…Founded by former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold about a decade ago, the company's main business is getting patents, then using them to extract licensing fees or legal settlements from other companies. The impolite word for companies who use patents this way… is "patent troll."…Until a lawsuit last year, nobody knew exactly who its investors were, or who had licensed its patents. (Turns out that Microsoft, Apple, Sony and a ton of other prominent tech companies have invested and/or taken licenses. So have a number of universities.)…Intellectual Ventures has between 30,000 and 60,000 patents…It uses more than 1,200 shell companies. IV's patent holdings and legal actions are hard to track because it often assigns patents to shell companies…About half its patents originated outside the U.S.  A lot of patents are not valued as highly overseas as they are in the U.S…Big companies invest, then use its patents for defense. For instance, Verizon paid $350 million for patent licenses an equity stake in one of IV's funds in 2008. When TiVo sued Verizon for patent infringement, Verizon "purchased a patent from one of Intellectual Ventures’ shell companies, which was then put to work as a counterclaim in the TiVo suit…IV has a "turnkey" method for getting patents from smaller companies. IV pays the company a one-time fee and a percentage of any profits it makes from the patents. IV then "assumes the costs of maintaining the portfolio, and gains the right to go after other companies."…Feldman and Ewing compare IV's activities to "privateering," a now-abolished kind of warfare from the 1800s. Countries would encourage private sailors to attack their enemies' ships and auction off the proceeds…the company licenses some patents to more aggressive third parties, then lets them do the dirty work of licensing and suing. They speculate -- but do not have evidence to prove -- that IV could use this tactic to convince new companies to license its patents, and to make sure existing customers keep paying up. It's an ugly business. But it's also perfectly legal…”
47.    Apple Wins Patent for iWallet: The one that will rule the World  http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2012/03/apple-wins-patent-for-iwallet-the-one-that-will-rule-the-world.html  “In May of 2010 we were surprised to see Apple's first iWallet patent officially surface. In that year we witnessed a steady stream of Near Field Communication based patents that kick started the iWallet trend…Today, Apple has been granted a major iWallet patent and it's one that has never been reported on before. Apple's patent reviews credit card transaction rules and shows us that the credit card companies will be sending statements directly to your iTunes account. The iWallet project just became a little more real today, and for many, it can't come soon enough. Who knows, perhaps one day Apple's iWallet will rule the world: the financial world that is…Apple has received a major Granted Patent that generally relates to establishing financial transaction rules for controlling a subsidiary financial account and, more particularly, to various systems, methods, and electronic devices configured to provide for the establishment of such rules…”
DHMN Technology
48.    How to make more 'makers'  http://whatsnext.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/10/how-to-make-more-makers/  “Joey Hudy, a young "maker" from Phoenix went to the White House this week to show off his project, the "Extreme Marshmallow Cannon." When President Obama saw it, he told Joey: "Let's try it." Joey set up the air cannon, which uses a bicycle pump to build up air pressure, and put a marshmallow down the barrel. When he pressed the trigger, a single marshmallow was shot out across the room to the delight of everyone, but especially the president…Joey first came to Maker Faire – an event for "makers," or people who make things with their hands – last year in the Bay Area and he brought the Extreme Marshmallow Cannon with him…Joey then participated in the Maker Faires in Detroit and New York as well as a smaller independent Maker Faire in his hometown of Phoenix. He shared the instructions for the Extreme Marshmallow Cannon on Make…As a result of all these efforts, Joey was selected to represent Maker Faire at the White House this week…Makers start with that simple idea to do something…Soon, however, they find out that there are lots of people like you out there. When you find others, you have a community…We can find all kinds of makers in our communities…we also want to help create more makers. Through education and community outreach, we can offer the opportunity to make things to more people, but particularly children …”
49.    Electro Wire Stripper  http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:16332  “This is one of the best wire strippers I have ever used. If setup correctly, it can be very precise and give feedback telling when the blades have cut deep enough…Align the blades with where the wire should be stripped…When the blades cut through the insulation and contact the wire the LED will light…Remove the wire from the tool and pull off the insulation …”
50.    New speech-jamming gun hints at dystopian Big Brother future  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/120583-new-speech-jamming-gun-hints-at-dystopian-big-brother-future  “Japanese researchers have created a hand-held gun (pictured above) that can jam the words of speakers who are more than 30 meters (100ft) away. The gun has two purposes, according to the researchers: At its most basic, this gun could be used in libraries and other quiet spaces to stop people from speaking — but its second application is a lot more chilling. The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation. The paper reads: “We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking. However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately interrupt other people when it is their turn in order to establish their presence rather than achieve more fruitful discussions. Furthermore, some people tend to jeer at speakers to invalidate their speech.” In other words, this speech-jamming gun was built to enforce “proper” conversations. The gun works by listening in with a directional microphone, and then, after a short delay of around 0.2 seconds, playing it back with a directional speaker. This triggers an effect that psychologists call Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF), which has long been known to interrupt your speech (you might’ve experienced the same effect if you’ve ever heard your own voice echoing through Skype or another voice comms program). According to the researchers, DAF doesn’t cause physical discomfort, but the fact that you’re unable to talk is obviously quite stressful…”
51.     Boy and Girl Scouts? Meet the hacker scouts  http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-57389087-52/boy-and-girl-scouts-meet-the-hacker-scouts/  “If you were ever a Boy Scout, you may recall earning an archery or camping badge. Girl Scouts offer athlete, naturalist, and many others. But what if you're a kid with serious 3D printing or laser cutting chops? Is there a badge for you? There is now, thanks to the folks at Adafruit Industries…Starting in the next few days--timed to the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts on March 12--Adafruit will begin offering a broad set of skill badges that reward kids--and presumably others--for completing any of a long list of the kind of tasks that would be right at home at Maker Faire. Learned to solder? There's a badge for that. "You sent something to space, almost," Adafruit offers its high-altitude balloon project badge. Worked on an Android or Linux project? Adafruit has you covered…The goal is to celebrate skill earning the same way kids play video games," Torrone said, "unlocking achievements and earning badges…For the moment, Adafruit is doing this project on its own. But Torrone said that he and Fried have hopes--unrealized so far--that they can get either or both of the Boy Scouts of America or the Girl Scouts of America to adopt the idea of rewarding DIY-era accomplishments with these new badges…”
52.    Augmented Reality Roundup: AR Still Has Some Tricks Up Its Sleeve  http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/blog/augmented-reality-roundup-ar-still-has-some-tricks-up-its-sleeve  “…augmented reality (AR)…is continuing to deliver new and interesting uses that keep cropping up on a daily/weekly/monthly basis…our augmented promised land is still visible on the horizon…we lassoed a few developments together…MIT Augmented Rope…an AR rope gaming system called Rope Revolution, which can be used by players to team up across the distance of continents or even more locally, like in the same room, to fly a kite, skip, or ride a horse…Microsoft’s “Holoflector”…this set up is able to render graphics which appear as a reflection in real-time, but are in fact a tracked virtual copy…Sesame Street Augmented Reality Dolls…Using a tablet and the Vuforia augmented reality platform, Bert and Ernie dolls come to life inside their apartment…Total Immersion’s AR Racing Game…you get put into the driver’s seat using a webcam to plant your head inside the racer’s helmet…”
Open Source Hardware
53.    Open source helicopters  http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/public-sector/2012/03/open-source-helicopters-trivia.html  “…the US military is planning a generation of open source helicopters. This is not just a generation of helicopters. It is the next generation of US military helicopter. It'll be built on open standards, and will actively court open source systems suppliers…Weapons manufacturers and US forces made an unequivocal declaration for royalty-free standards in January through the FACE (Future Airborne Capabilities Environment) Consortium they formed in response to US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta's call for a "common aircraft architecture and subsystems". The FACE Standard is an open, nonproprietary technical specification that is publicly available without restrictive contracts, licensing terms, or royalties…the US military is embracing open standards…to prevent an unhealthy concentration of market power in the hands of a small number of private interests…to prevent "lock-in" being achieved by a few powerful suppliers…Kill-or-be-killed stakes intensify the relationship between hardware and software in military systems…The military has already made some progress in, for example, common cockpit displays that can be shared between F-22 fighter planes and Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters…Software systems have become the most important aspect of military aviation, said the FACE consortium…As part of an open aircraft architecture it would cut costs by 50 per cent, reckoned FACE…”
54.    MeeBlip launches improved open hardware synthesizer  http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/MeeBlip-launches-improved-version-of-their-open-hardware-synthesizer-1463747.html  “The MeeBlip open source hardware project has announced an improved version of their hackable synthesizer…The device is available as a "quick build kit" which only requires minimal assembly and as a slightly cheaper DIY option that requires "an evening or two of soldering and assembly". Improvements from the previous version include…the ability to store and recall up to 16 patches and the ability to fully control the device via a MIDI interface. The MeeBlip SE now also supports anti-aliased waveforms and variable pulse width that can be adjusted via a dedicated control…The MeeBlip SE will start shipping on 16 March and will cost $149.95 (£95) for the "quick build kit", needing only assembly, and $129.95 (£82) for the version that still needs components to be soldered and then assembled. Until 31 March, the device is available for $10 off from the project's web store…”
55.     Thermal flashlight 'paints' cold rooms with colour  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328546.200-thermal-flashlight-paints-cold-rooms-with-colour.html  “A DIY gadget shines different colours of light on a surface depending on its temperature, helping to show where more insulation is needed in a room…The device comes from the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, a non-profit group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that develops open-source tools to allow ordinary people to investigate environmental issues. A PLOTS team is working with a school-run project in Harlem, New York, to help tackle landlords who offer poorly heated apartments…Standard thermal cameras are prohibitively expensive for ordinary people. Costly sensors mean a camera with the resolution of a budget webcam can set you back thousands of dollars. That's because each pixel represents a separate thermal probe. In contrast, the thermal flashlight prototype costs about $40. What's more, it can easily be assembled by someone with no electronics expertise. To prove how easy it is, visitors to the Citizen Cyberscience Summit in London last month were shown how to build their own devices by fastening probes and wire to a circuit board…”
Open Source
56.    Raspberry Pi gets Arch Linux  http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/news/raspberry-pi-gets-arch-linux/  “…Arch Linux ARM for Raspberry Pi is finally ready. Coming mere days after the sell-out launch of the tiny computer, Arch Linux ARM is the second operating system to be officially approved by the Raspberry Pi Foundation…Arch Linux ARM is based on Arch Linux, which aims for simplicity and full control to the end user. It provides a lightweight base structure that allows you to shape the system to your needs. For this reason, the Arch Linux ARM image for the Raspberry Pi does not come with a graphical user interface…”
57.     Open-Source Makes Way for Robot  http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?section_id=920&doc_id=240024&f_src=internetevolution_gnews  “Robots and robotics are about to experience the transformative power of the Internet, echoing in many ways the evolution of computers themselves…it wasn't until the arrival of the Internet that people looked beyond computers themselves and focused on what they wanted to do, have, or be. Computers became must-haves…The Internet and cellphone technology are about to do the same for robots and robotics…The next-generation robots, like the PR2 from Willow Garage, are multipurpose, highly functional, and reprogrammable. However, they are also big and expensive. (For example, the PR2 costs $400,000). They may be analogous to mainframes. The end of the mainframe began with Bill Gates' crucial insight that the revolutionary microprocessor was nothing without software…the same is happening in robotics. A new generation of software functionality is opening up new horizons…Now there is Robot Operating System (ROS), also from Willow Garage, which enables developers to write software for any ROS-enabled robot. ROS is also open-source…Aldebaran Robotics offers NAO, a highly adaptable 60cm-high humanoid robot that is compatible with ROS but has its own open-source software, the NAOqi framework and Choreographe programming language, which have their own SDK. Still comparatively expensive at $15,000, NAO is aimed at the education, research, development, and entertainment markets…another wave of robots in the offing is looking to embrace everything offered by the Net, including cellphone technology…OLogic, an R&D company focused on consumer robotics, is prototyping robots based on cellphones and the Android operating system…DragonBot, a robot from the MIT Media Lab, runs entirely on an Android cellphone. The technology…makes use of the cellphone's built-in functions (camera, microphone, etc.), but its key feature is using its always-on Internet connection to communicate with and learn from other robots…”
Civilian Aerospace
58.    Virgin Galactic Aims for 1st Rocket-Powered Flight This Year  http://www.space.com/14706-virgin-galactic-spaceshiptwo-powered-flight.html  “Virgin Galactic hopes to perform the first rocket-powered test flight of its suborbital spaceliner by the end of 2012, with commercial operations perhaps beginning a year or two later…SpaceShipTwo has already performed 16 unpowered flight tests, in which the winged vehicle glides back to to a runway after being dropped in midair from its mothership…Pomerantz announced that Virgin Galactic is nearing another big milestone as well. It has signed up almost 500 paying passengers — people who think a trip to suborbital space is worth the $200,000 Virgin is charging for a seat on SpaceShipTwo…”
59.    Project at Carnegie Mellon is to put a robot on moon http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_784867.html  “…Whittaker, a Carnegie Mellon University robotics professor and CEO of Astrobotic Technology Inc., says his team has pushed back its plans to land a robot on the moon by a year — to May 2015…The CMU/Astrobotic team is competing to claim a portion of a multimillion-dollar prize for landing a robot on the moon. The team's new plan calls for a robot prospector to drill for ice samples at the moon's south pole to try to confirm the existence of water there…His team is among 26, including one from Penn State University, that are competing to claim a portion of the Google Lunar X prize, which will go to the first team to land a robot on the moon, make it travel 500 meters and transmit video to earth…The CMU/Astrobotic team built and tested its lunar lander. Last year Astrobotic signed a contract for a $60 million space shot with the privately owned Space X company…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
60.    AMD and Nuvixa Work On More Immersive Telepresence  http://www.telepresenceoptions.com/2012/03/amd_and_nuvixa_bring_new_immer/  “AMD today announced it has invested in Nuvixa, Inc., a developer of gesture-based video communication and presentation solutions, through AMD Ventures…Leveraging depth-sensing camera technologies, the Nuvixa StagePresence immersive video presentation tool extracts a presenter from virtually any background environment, and embeds their live video persona within any compatible digital desktop or slide content. Image processing enhancements only available via OpenCL and AMD accelerated processing units (APUs) create immersive performance and quality improvements that deliver close to double the frame rate(1) and a more immersive experience to online audiences…”
61.     OpenCL Gains Ground On CUDA  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-02-28/opencl_gains_ground_on_cuda.html  “As the two major programming frameworks for GPU computing, OpenCL and CUDA have been competing for mindshare in the developer community for the past few years. Until recently, CUDA has attracted most of the attention from developers, especially in the high performance computing realm. But OpenCL software has now matured to the point where HPC practitioners are taking a second look…Kyle Spafford, from the Future Technology Group at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), has been benchmarking the two technologies for some time and is now convinced that OpenCL performance is now on par with that of CUDA. He recently presented his findings at Georgia Tech's Keeneland Workshop…”

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