2012/03/20

NEW NET Weekly List for 20 Mar 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 20 March 2012, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In501 N. Westhill Blvd., Appleton, WI, USA, near Woodman's. Ignore the chain if it's across the stairs; come on up and join the tech fun!

The ‘net
1.        AMD launches server processor for web-hosting providers  http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/19/amd-launches-server-processor-for-web-hosting-providers/  “Advanced Micro Devices is launching a new server processor family today that targets companies that serve lots and lots of web pages to users. The new AMD Opteron 3200 series processor family is aimed at changing the economics for single-socket servers used by dedicated web-hosting providers that operate huge data centers. AMD says its new chips offer 60 percent better performance per dollar and 19 percent less power per core…The AMD Opteron 3000 series chips are available as 4-core or 8-core microprocessors and run from 2.7 gigahertz to 3.7 gigahertz…” [I’m not knowledgeable enough about web server operation to know if this is just marketing blather but at NEW NET tonight Mike and Luke will likely shed some light on whether this Opteron is truly better for serving web pages than other processors – ed.]
2.       The Pirate Bay Claims It's Going To Host The Site Via Drones Flying Over International Waters  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120319/01045818152/pirate-bay-claims-its-going-to-host-site-via-drones-flying-over-international-waters.shtml  “…the latest plan from TPB is to see if it can serve the site from GPS-controlled drones flying over international waters: One of the technical things we always optimize is where to put our front machines. They are the ones that re-direct your traffic to a secret location. We have now decided to try to build something extraordinary. With the development of GPS controlled drones, far-reaching cheap radio equipment and tiny new computers like the Raspberry Pi, we're going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air. This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war…These Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) are just the first attempt. With modern radio transmitters we can get over 100Mbps per node up to 50km away…Whether or not they can actually pull it off is a totally different question, but…drone technology is getting cheaper, and the potential disruption of the Raspberry Pi should not be underestimated…things might not really be ready yet to do what TPB hopes to do, it's not difficult to project these trends out just a little ways to see that not only will it be possible in the not-too-distant future, but it would be a surprise if we didn't see setups that go way beyond what TPB is currently proposing before too long.”
3.       How To Win the War On Internet Trolls  http://kotaku.com/5893237/how-to-win-the-war-on-internet-trolls  “…Video game designer Mike Drach thinks some of the Internet's biggest trolls just need a hug, but that is not his sole means of dealing with them. No, he's got 10 tips for dealing with Internet trolls. Ten ways to manage the unmanageable. Ten ways to live with our unruliest Internet neighbors and maybe even love them…Drach is the writer and producer of ForumWarz, a computer game that is all about arguing on message boards. He described the game last week in San Francisco at the Game Developer's Conference…he said…that ForumWarz is "not unlike World of Warcraft with really crappy graphics."…ForumWarz players have played as Trolls for years and, sure enough, many have turned out to be trolls in their "real" Internet life, too. On ForumWarz's forums, they hacked, they bullied, they cruelly attacked other players and the people making the game. "We were at war with our own players in our forums," Drach said. And its from that battle that his survival tips emerged…Tip 1: Be strong. Don't take it personally…Tip 2: Don't show any weakness, but don't show off about your lack thereof…Tip 3: Choose your mods wisely…Tip 4: Have the right tools…Tip 5: Be timely, but not too timely…Tip 6: Be human, but present a unified front…Tip 7: Let the haters hate…Tip 8: Throw the book at them…Tip 9: Keep your enemies close…Tip 10: Don't underestimate your users…”
Gigabit Internet
4.       Start thinking about 5G wireless  http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/08/technology/5G-wireless/  “Just as consumers are wrapping their heads around 4G, the wireless industry is thinking ahead to 5G. Soaring smartphone and tablet sales mean networks are growing clogged with cellular data traffic. For the time being, 4G technology can help relieve the congestion…But soon, even 4G's efficiencies won't be enough. By 2020, industry analysts say the amount of cellular traffic created by smartphones and tablets will be dwarfed by the data generated from the world of connected "things." Shoes, watches, appliances, cars, thermostats and door locks will all be on the network…Take LTE-Advanced. It's the next big post-4G upgrade in the pipeline, and it's theoretically capable of speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, about 10 times that of current 4G networks. In real-world situations, though, LTE-A will only deliver speeds of up to 15 megabits per second -- just slightly faster than the 12 megabits per second that 4G networks currently offer…Each generation of network technology has enabled a new set of features: 2G was about voice, 3G was about data and 4G is about video. 5G, Sizer predicts, will be about intelligent networks that can handle billions of connected devices while remaining stable and operational…It will be up to 5G network technology to know how to prioritize all the things trying to communicate. The network will have to know that it can wait until its congestion dies down to send your command to your thermostat to raise the temperature by 10 degrees when you get home -- but your phone call needs to go through immediately. So when will 5G be ready? Officially, it doesn't even exist. The standards-setting International Telecommuication Union has not yet created a definition for 5G…”
5.        NBN analysis charts path to 1Gbps  http://www.itnews.com.au/News/293858,nbn-analysis-charts-path-to-1gbps.aspx  “Global consultancy Analysys Mason has forecast a ten-fold increase in user demand for broadband speeds over the next 20 years, reaching gigabit speeds to the home by 2030…driven by rising interest in high-quality internet television services…The firm said users would demand internet speeds of up to 90 Mbps by 2015 in order to provide two simultaneous, standard definition 3D television services and a concurrent internet service at 30 Mbps. This would rise to 300 Mbps in 2025 to cater for faster internet services and two 3D television services in high definition, eventually reaching 900 Mbps to serve two “ultra-HD” television services (at four times current 1080p resolution) to a premises alongside a 300 Mbps internet connection…Current passive optical networking (PON) equipment…provides downlink speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps and half that for uploads, split between 16 or 32 houses. NBN Co…product roadmap provided for equipment upgrades to 10 Gbps and ultimately 40 Gbps technologies over the next five years…”
6.       Indiana Launches 100GbE Network for Research and Education  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-03-14/indiana_launches_100gbe_network_for_research_and_education.html  “…Indiana is the first state to launch a 100 GbE network dedicated to research and education. The new network, named Monon100, is up to 10 times faster than the current networks. It enables Indiana University scientists, medical researchers and students to rapidly share and expedite the processing of the massive amounts of data created by modern digital instruments, such as revolutionary DNA sequencers, advanced electron microscopes and large-particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. Monon100 is named after the Monon Railroad which connected Indiana's higher education institutions in major metropolitan areas to Chicago. In a similar way, Monon100 will provide wide-open connectivity between institutions of higher education in Indiana, increasing capabilities for researchers and providing new opportunities for collaboration, which could in turn lead to new discoveries in science and medicine…Since the Monon100 network is designed to transport petabytes of complex data, it is critical in reducing the time to achieve the results necessary for educational and scientific progress…"A network as fast as Monon100 dramatically improves researchers' ability to handle very large data sets…It's not uncommon for scientific instruments used to study things like human genes and complex climate change to produce data sets of one petabyte or greater. To move a data set this large on our current network connection takes 10 or 11 days. On Monon100 with Brocade 100 GbE connections it will take just over 24 hours…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
7.        18 Firms Sued for Using Privacy-invading Mobile Apps  http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/251908/18_firms_sued_for_using_privacyinvading_mobile_apps.html  “Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Yelp and 14 other companies have been hit with a lawsuit accusing them of distributing privacy-invading mobile applications. The lawsuit was filed by a group of 13 individuals in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas earlier this week. The suit charges 18 companies with surreptitiously gathering data from the address books of tens of millions of smartphone users. "The defendants -- several of the world's largest and most influential technology and social networking companies -- have unfortunately made, distributed and sold mobile software applications that, once installed on a wireless mobile device, surreptitiously harvest, upload and illegally steal the owner's address book data without the owner's knowledge or consent…Most of the plaintiffs are from Austin and describe themselves in the complaint as users of Apple's iPhone and users of Android-powered handsets. One of the companies, social networking service Path, was pressured last month into issuing a public apology…The apology by Path co-founder and CEO Dave Morin acknowledged that the company had made a mistake in gathering the data but noted that the information was collected purely to improve the quality of friend suggestions made by the application. This week's lawsuit appears to have been inspired, at least in part, by an article in the New York Times in February which highlighted the practice by Path and several other developers and distributors of smartphone applications…The article…was cited several times in the 152-page complaint…”
8.       The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1  “…Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country…But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves…they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand…thousands of hard-hatted construction workers…are laying the groundwork for…a massive complex so large that…it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol…these newcomers will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks…the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency…to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”…But “this is more than just a data center,”…The mammoth Bluffdale center…is also critical…for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle—financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications—will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target…for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration—the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas…Battling hackers makes for a nice cover—it’s easy to explain, and who could be against it?...The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year…the potential amount of information that could be housed in Bluffdale is truly staggering…the Pentagon is attempting to expand its worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes…of data. (A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.)…The NSA is more interested in the so-called invisible web, also known as the deep web or deepnet—data beyond the reach of the public. This includes password-protected data, US and foreign government communications, and noncommercial file-sharing between trusted peers. “The deep web contains government reports, databases, and other sources of information of high value to DOD and the intelligence community,”…Stealing the classified secrets of a potential adversary is where the [intelligence] community is most comfortable.” With its new Utah Data Center, the NSA will at last have the technical capability to store, and rummage through, all those stolen secrets…”
9.       Apple loses final ITC ruling against Motorola Mobility: preliminary finding of no violation affirmed  http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2012/03/apple-loses-final-itc-ruling-against.html  “On January 13, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the ITC made an initial determination…that didn't hold Motorola Mobility to infringe three Apple patents…The ITC just gave notice that the Commission…decided, "on review, to affirm the ID's finding of no violation". As a result, the investigation is terminated…Apple can appeal this decision to the Federal Circuit, and in my view, this is very likely to happen…the bottom line is…Motorola ends up defending itself successfully against all three patents…it's understandable that most of the major players are primarily betting on German courts for short-term high-impact decisions. The courts in Munich and Mannheim are twice as fast as the ITC, and patent holders achieve far more favorable rulings, on average…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
10.     Nokia patents magnetic tattoo to feel smartphone vibrations  http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/20/nokia-patents-magnetic-tattoo-to-feel-smartphone-vibrations/  “…Nokia would let smartphone owners feel the vibrations on their skin through a magnetic tattoo…Smartphone owners could specify their mobile devices to send out patterns of magnetic pulses as shorthand Morse code for different phone alerts, according to the Nokia patent filing. A series of short, strong pulses might let the owner know about messages from a certain friends, while a weaker series of long pulses might signal that the phone's battery is running low…”
11.      AT&T seeks to settle _ quietly _ with iPhone user  http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i6NTGmVWWu09o9CowPfi36ILosNQ  “AT&T is offering to discuss a settlement with an iPhone user who won a small-claims case that alleged the company was slowing down his "unlimited" data service. A law firm retained by AT&T Inc. also threatened in a letter dated Friday to shut off Matthew Spaccarelli's phone service if he doesn't sit down to talk…AT&T has about 17 million smartphone customers on "unlimited" plans, and has started slowing down service for users who hit certain traffic thresholds. Spaccarelli maintained at his Feb. 24 small-claims hearing that AT&T broke its promise to provide "unlimited" service, and the judge agreed. Spaccarelli has posted online the documents he used to argue his case and encourages other AT&T customers copy his suit…AT&T asked Spaccarelli to be quiet about the settlement talks, including the fact that it offered to start them, another common stipulation. Spaccarelli said he was not interested in settling, and forwarded the letter to The Associated Press. Spaccarelli has admitted that he has used his iPhone to provide Internet access for other devices, a practice known as tethering, which violates AT&T's contract terms. AT&T says that means it has the right to turn off his service…”
12.     US watchdog chimes in on iPad ‘Hotplategate’  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/20/ipad_heat_consumer_reports/  “US consumer organization Consumer Reports has backed punters’ assertions that the new iPad can overheat in normal use…owners…have been complaining on various Apple forums…that the device can become “burning hot” under various conditions. As one user wrote: “Maybe their "human interface guidelines" should assume real people are using these devices and not humanoids with plastic arms and legs.” Consumer Reports has now chimed in with a measurement, and states that the fondleslab can reach temperatures of 116°F “particularly when running videogames…”
Apps
13.     An App to Turn Sign Language to Text  http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27645/  “Scientists are working on an app that they say could act as a sort of translator for the deaf…the app would leverage the video camera on a portable device to capture sign language and render it as text. The technology, developed by Technabling…is being called the portable sign language translator, or PSLT…The user signs into a standard camera integrated into a laptop, netbook, smart phone or other portable device…Their signs are immediately translated into text, which can be read by the person they are conversing with…it’s hard for me to get my head around how exactly this app would be more effective than, say, using pad and paper to communicate…It seems to me that the best way for this app to enable a seamless, Babelfish-like experience would be for the hearing person to have his smart phone loaded with the app, have his camera trained on the person who is signing, and furthermore have headphones immediately rendering the text into speech…there are actually other, less intuitive reasons to get excited about such an app. One of the coolest things about the app is that it would let users create their own private, or semi-private, languages…”
14.     7 City Parking Apps to Save You Time, Money and Gas  http://mashable.com/2012/03/14/city-parking-apps/  “…figuring out where to park, especially in a big city, can make you feel like you’re in a zany Dr. Seuss story. And when you do snag a sweet street spot, it can feel like a mini moment of glory. In cities, parking signs contradict each other. There’s 7 a.m. street cleaning and odd hours when you cannot park your car…If you live in a crowded metropolis, then finding a parking spot is likely a task you’d like to see made easier. Here are seven helpful parking apps to help you find a safe place to park…VoicePark (San Francisco)…Can I Park Here? (NYC)…PrimoSpot (NYC, Boston and Seattle)…Chicago Parking…Parking Mate…iSpotSwap…Parker…” [finding a parking spot in northeast Wisconsin isn’t a problem, but one or more of these apps might be useful to New North people who visit metro areas that the apps cover. Question for tonight’s NEW NET participants – what apps have you wished your phone had when you were out and about in your car? – ed.]
15.     Nine Tools for Building Your Own Mobile App  http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223177  “As a small-business owner, if you decide there's good reason to develop your own mobile app, there are several ways to do it…But what if you're not a programming junkie? What if you don't necessarily like to speak in code? There is good news: There are plenty of app development tools for ordinary humans, too…1. AppMakr…2. GENWI…3. Mippin…4. MobBase…5. MobiCart…6. MyAppBuilder…7. RunRev…8. ShoutEm…9. SwebApps…”
SkyNet
16.     Google plans to penalize 'overly optimized' sites  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57399425-93/google-plans-to-penalize-overly-optimized-sites/  “Google is planning to penalize sites that overuse search-engine-optimization techniques…In search results, Google wants to "level the playing field" regarding "all those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO--versus those making great content and great sites," Schwartz quotes Cutts…"We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect…”  http://searchengineland.com/too-much-seo-google%E2%80%99s-working-on-an-%E2%80%9Cover-optimization%E2%80%9D-penalty-for-that-115627  “Google’s Matt Cutts announced that Google is working on a search ranking penalty for sites that are…“overly SEO’ed.”…To give sites that have great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great but do a better job with SEO…”
17.     Some companies ditching Google Maps  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/technology/many-sites-chart-a-new-course-as-google-expands-fees.html  “When it comes to offering online maps to their users, some companies have been leaving Google Maps…In the seven years since it was introduced, Google’s offering of street maps, satellite photos and street-level views has become the dominant player in the world of online mapping, displacing earlier entrants like AOL’s MapQuest…71 percent of the 91.7 million people in the United States who looked at maps online in February used Google Maps…Many sites incorporate Google Maps into their own pages, whether to pinpoint real estate listings or pothole problems. Google was already charging the biggest users of the service fees that could run into six figures a year. But last October it announced that it would start charging smaller Web sites when their users started generating an average of 25,000 map views a day over a quarter. Many independent Web developers, upon whom Google relies to make its products popular, rebelled at the change…Google says it will affect a very small number of users, but I have heard it will touch 30 or 40 percent of people who really depend on maps for their business. It could cost you tens of thousands of dollars a month…Foursquare, the social media location service, said that on its Web site it would move from Google Maps to data from OpenStreetMap…Foursquare said Google’s price increases had prompted the change. Apple’s new version of its iPhoto application for the iPhone and the iPad also uses data from OpenStreetMap…Nestoria, a real estate search engine, also said it was leaving Google for OpenStreetMap because of the prices…Google Maps had 65 million users in February, a 16 percent increase from a year earlier. MapQuest had 35 million, a 13 percent drop. Microsoft’s Bing Maps came in third with nine million users, an 18 percent gain…”
18.     Gmail: That's spam, and here's why  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-57400612-2/gmail-thats-spam-and-heres-why/  “Wondering why a certain e-mail was dumped into your Gmail spam folder? Google will now clue you in…Gmail users can select any message banished to the spam folder and see a "Why is this message in Spam?" notice near the top. The notice will display a brief explanation accompanied by a "Learn more" link to a page describing the many reasons certain messages are considered spam…For one e-mail that claimed to be from YouTube but clearly was not, Gmail said that "our systems couldn't verify that this message was really sent by youtube.com." Another e-mail hawking phony Adobe software was flagged as spam because "many people marked similar messages as phishing scams, so this might contain unsafe content." A third e-mail that looked like it was sent from Twitter was considered junk because "similar messages were used to steal people's personal information…”
General Technology
19.     Ex-Microsoft Employee Launches 'Fixing Windows 8' Initiative  http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Microsoft-Windows-8-Consumer-Preview-Mike-Bibik-Metro-Bar,15007.html  “…Microsoft's latest version of Windows is receiving a mixed reaction…you can't please everyone on the planet, but we really haven't heard this much negativity since Windows Vista. The biggest issue thus far is that Microsoft…caters to the new touchy consumer and brushed aside the old, making Windows 8 difficult to manage using the typical mouse and keyboard setup…former Microsoft employee Mike Bibik…website fixingwindows8.com…went live on March 2…a thorough deconstruction of Windows 8 and its blocky Metro UI…Metro apps do not have window controls. How does a user know how to exit a Metro app? They can’t minimize, they can’t maximize, they can’t exit," he wrote. "I'm pretty sure this is where 75-percent of first-time users will simply give up. This will be so frustrating, people won’t even try to fix it…Bibik is drawing upon his UX designer experience to offer potential solutions to these issues…a video uploaded to YouTube recorded by Chris Pirillo…shows his father trying -- and failing -- to use Windows 8 Consumer Preview. As Bibik points out, power users should be able to figure out how the mouse works in Windows 8; novices and new users will be completely lost. As seen in the video, the "dad" couldn't even figure out how to get back to the tiles after opening Windows Explorer. "Who puts this out," the dad says after four minutes. His son says it's by Microsoft. "They trying to drive me to Mac?…”
20.    5 Ground-Breaking Competitions for Innovative Youth  http://mashable.com/2012/02/21/youth-competitions/#view_as_one_page-gallery_box4389  “…Hosted by major companies and organizations, the following five science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competitions are giving my generation a chance to innovate…1. Google: Google Science Fair…asks teenage students to enter science projects that address today's questions or problems…Interested students can still make the deadline: April 1, 2012…2. Microsoft: The Imagine Cup…students can enter categories like Windows Phone Challenge, Kinect Fun Labs Challenge, Windows Metro Style App Challenge, Windows Azure Challenge and Software Design, among others…students aged 16 through university age are welcome to enter…3. Intel: International Science and Engineering Fair…This year’s top honors went to Matthew Feddersen and Blake Marggraff, who each received $75,000; additional winners received $50,000. Intel also runs the Intel Science Talent Search, which awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to promising high school seniors…4. Siemens, College Board…Competition – Math, Science, Technology…Siemens and College Board teamed up to create a competition that focuses on math, science and technology. The competition features a variety of eligible topics for students to research — everything from astrophysics to civil engineering to toxicology…the deadline for research reports is Oct. 1. Winning students receive thousands of dollars in scholarships…5. DuPont: The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition…a challenge for those of us who prefer stringing together sentences to donning a lab coat. Open to students aged 13 and up, this contest asks students to submit well-written essays on science topics…”
21.     Microsoft Lifebrowser is a browser for your past  http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39917/  “Prototype software called Lifebrowser uses artificial intelligence to help you revisit important events, photos, and e-mails from your own life. Mining personal data to discover what people care about has become big business for companies such as Facebook and Google. Now a project from Microsoft Research is trying to bring that kind of data mining back home to help people explore their own piles of personal digital data. Lifebrowser processes photos, e-mails, Web browsing and search history, calendar events, and other documents stored on a person's computer and identifies landmark events. Its timeline interface can explore, search, and discover those landmarks as a kind of memory aid…Photos, e-mails, and other documents and data points appear in chronological order, but Lifebrowser's timeline only shows those judged to be associated with "landmark" events by artificial intelligence algorithms. A user can slide a "volume control" to change how significant data has to be if it is to appear on the timeline. A search feature can pull up landmark events on a certain topic…”
22.    Seagate hits 1 terabit per square inch, 60TB hard drives on their way  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/122921-seagate-hits-1-terabit-per-square-inch-60tb-drives-on-their-way  “Seagate has demonstrated the first terabit-per-square-inch hard drive, almost doubling the areal density found in modern hard drives. Initially this will result in 6TB 3.5-inch desktop drives and 2TB 2.5-inch laptop drives, but eventually Seagate is promising up to 60TB and 20TB respectively…Seagate had to use a technology called heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR)…the main issue that governs hard drive density is the size of each magnetic “bit.” These can only be made so small until the magnetism of nearby bits affects them. With HAMR, “high density” magnetic compounds that can withstand further miniaturization are used…these materials…are more stubborn when it comes to changing their magnetism (i.e. writing data) — but if you heat it first, that problem goes away. HAMR…adds a laser to the hard drive head. The head seeks as normal, but whenever it wants to write data the laser turns on (pictured below). Reading data is done in the conventional way…”
Leisure & Entertainment
23.    New airport kiosks let laptop users rent or buy in-flight movies   http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/15/business/la-fi-digiboo-20120315  “…This week marks the debut of airport vending kiosks that rent or sell movies that can be watched in-flight on a Windows PC. The rental service, from Santa Monica-based Digiboo, is being introduced at a time when consumers are shifting away from movie rentals to online movie streaming…Digiboo's advantage may be that its service is initially aimed at air travelers who, for the most part, don't have access to Internet streaming while on a plane…"It's a convenience," said Blake Thomas, Digiboo's chief marketing officer. "A customer doesn't have to plan ahead, or to have ever downloaded one of our movies before. He or she can make the decision at the airport, just like buying M&Ms or magazines." The Digiboo service is available to anyone with a credit card, a newer flash drive and a Windows PC…Consumers can rent a film for $3.99, or buy one for $14.99, Thomas said. Kiosk-to-flash-drive downloads take about 30 seconds using a USB 3.0 flash drive, and from two to five minutes on an older USB 2.0 device. Consumers must provide the flash drive…Customers must go online the first time they use the service to register the computer the movie will be played on. They then have 30 days to watch a movie, and, once started, a movie must be watched within 48 hours…”
24.    The quietest device in the room  http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/03/15/the-quietest-device-in-the-room/  “…Until now, the remote control has basically stayed the same for 50 years," Stinziano said, before proceeding to unveil a bevy of innovative new features…the remote control has gotten little attention even though the average household now has four of them, each with its own confusing array of buttons and services…That may be starting to change…With the introduction of new services to the living room -- VCRs, DVRs, DVD and Blu-ray players, game consoles -- device infraction emerged on the coffee table because each new box pack its own remote…They reduced the price of remote control manufacturing to $1 for the average remote to $3-5 for a 'premium' remote…Logitech…Harmony Link, one of their remotes on the market, effectively crowdsources live behaviors so that each new addition becomes available for Harmony Link users everywhere…Two non-traditional remotes…raising expectations for gesture and voice…the Kinect, a Microsoft…remote that supports both voice and gesture input…Apple's Siri…recognizes voice commands…But is the advent of voice, gesture, and touch really more control for consumers in a remote? "You don't even have to pick up a remote control," says Chris Harrison, a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), "You're sitting in your living room and snap your fingers. It's like clicking the button for Siri. The computer looks for whatever hand is being held out—that is your remote control. Then you type 'Channel 52' or the top five shows you love watching on your DVR and click play. It's getting away from the paradigm of a remote control. Your whole room is interactive…Harrison prototyped a mobile interaction system, OmniTouch, that turns any surface, including the human body, into a screen…”
25.    Playing at No Cost, Right Into the Hands of Mobile Game Makers  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/technology/game-makers-give-away-freemium-products.html  “Still paying 99 cents to download a smartphone game? That’s far too much. More developers are now giving their games away — and then charging for extra features. The strategy is known as freemium, as in free meets premium. And it is being adopted even by giant game makers like Electronic Arts that might once have sneered at the idea…freemium can, in the end, lead to bigger profits for the game makers…a husband-and-wife team in North Carolina, learned this lesson when, in August, they released a 99-cent iPhone game…The game had some initial success but soon started losing traction. In September, the couple began offering Temple Run free and promoted it through Free App a Day, a Web site that features free games. The game immediately had a spike in downloads and quickly soared in popularity. To date it has topped 40 million downloads, and about 13 million people play it at least once a day…Inside the game is a virtual store to buy new characters, different backdrops and power-ups, or special boosters. While players can use the virtual coins they collect inside the game to buy these bonuses, a dedicated few use actual money to buy virtual currency and get them faster…on Sunday afternoon it was No. 14 in Apple’s top grossing chart, a list of the apps that are making the most money in the company’s App Store…Freemium is implicitly a risky business model because it is always unclear how many people will play only the free game and how many will become paying customers. But those who have profited from this approach, like Ms. Luckyanova, say the key was to get as many people as possible to fall in love with the product so that at least a few would be willing to pay. In Apple’s App Store, the largest store for mobile software, the freemium strategy has become more lucrative than charging for apps…”
Economy and Technology
26.    Update on PayPal’s triangular competitor to Square  http://gigaom.com/2012/03/15/how-paypal-here-could-lay-the-hurt-on-square-and-others/  “PayPal confirmed…a Square-like mobile card reader called PayPal Here…What we’re seeing from PayPal is not just an attempt to dislodge Square. The new dongle and accompanying app for merchants reveals the company’s larger ambitions to take payments to the physical world. That road runs through Square territory in the small business market, but PayPal wants it all, whether it’s Home Depot-sized national retailers or individual mom-and-pop stores…It seems like a pretty straightforward competitor to Square with a simple process for both consumers and merchants. I think PayPal did their homework and also cribbed a lot from Square’s notes…But what is more interesting is the fact that users will be able to pay from a new PayPal app. PayPal says that 17 million PayPal mobile apps have been downloaded…Square’s Card Case app is…slick, but I doubt it’s been downloaded anywhere near that amount…PayPal will charge 2.7 percent on transactions, just under the 2.75 percent Square charges. PayPal…merchants can also get 1 percent off on transactions using a PayPal debit card that pulls money from a PayPal account…what PayPal has described is still not a knock-out blow against Square…Most people praise the ease of use and simplicity of Square and just matching that won’t change the game automatically…if PayPal can start gaining momentum on its in-store payment efforts with larger retailers, it can have a snowball effect, helping consumers think of it as a primary way to pay in all physical stores…PayPal has a global operation customer service agents and sales people…It has more than 100 million users and 9 million merchants…Square and many other services are still ramping up in the U.S. and don’t have a clear path to go international…”
27.    The JOBS Act Could Change Startup Investing http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/16/crowdfundingstartups/  “…the U.S. House of Representatives passed the JOBS Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at supporting small businesses by making it easier for them to access capital. A key feature of the bill enables crowdfunding…While many people are debating the impact of the bill on investors, what seems lost in the debate is what types of businesses are likely to benefit, and how crowdfunding can change the way we all think about early stage investing. Today, startup investing is reserved for the 1%. Less than 1% of Americans are ‘angel’ investors and less than 1% of all small businesses receive outside equity investment…Crowdfunding will open up new funding possibilities for these neglected areas of the economy…For small businesses, the benefit is more than just investment capital. Businesses will gain a passionate community of backers who can help grow the business through social media and word of mouth…Crowdfunding will increase, not decrease, transparency in this market…A well-regulated crowdfunding platform prevents fraud by requiring companies to share their information widely, by conducting third-party background checks on entrepreneurs, and by providing the transparency necessary to allow for greater scrutiny from a diverse audience of investors…Crowdfunding is the antithesis of the financial practices of the last decade. There are no credit default swaps, leverage multiples, or obscure fund structures standing between company and investor…Investors actively seek out the companies they believe in…The Senate is expected to vote on their version of the bill early next week…” http://www.forbes.com/sites/garyshapiro/2012/03/20/senators-lets-come-together-on-the-jobs-act/  “A blue moon of opposing political forces aligned for good rarely sheds its healthy glow over Washington. Yet, that is the promise of Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, legislation that raises no taxes, costs the government no money (in fact it cuts down on much paperwork), and will certainly create jobs and boost innovation and the economy. Having passed the House with a vote of 390 to 23, on March 8, all the JOBS Act needs now is Senate passage. But for unclear reasons, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid keeps throwing up roadblocks to passage…” [if crowdfunding becomes an option for investing in US startups, what products, services or platforms would you invest in or would you want to launch? – ed.]
28.    Crowdfunded science projects  http://www.kurzweilai.net/crowdfunded-science-projects  “Got a cool idea for a research project, but need funding? Check out Petridish.org, which has just launched crowdfunded science and research projects. I think this is a really great idea that could open up funding for some amazing research ideas. On Petridish.org, researchers post materials about themselves and their research, and the public can discover projects that are exciting to them. In exchange for contributing to the project, backers receive insider updates on the research, naming rights to new discoveries, and other exciting souvenirs from the work…” [my guess is that PetriDish won’t attract near as much attention from individuals as Kickstarter does, but it might still have significant value for independent science researchers in terms of visibility and connecting with like-minded people or large potential funders for the project – ed.]
29.    Cash in on mobile, the third-wave of e-commerce  http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/16/cash-in-on-mobile-the-third-wave-of-e-commerce/  “…the HotelTonight app…provides discounted, last-minute hotel bookings. HotelTonight is representative of a broader trend: the third-wave of electronic commerce. The first wave was connecting businesses to a network in order to send them electronic transactions. The second wave, which was enabled by the Internet, allowed users to access these electronic networks to perform transactions (aka e-commerce). The third wave, brought on by the mobile era, connects users via mobile devices for real-time, on-demand transactions. This third wave of electronic commerce will significantly alter certain categories of commerce, particularly ones where the inventory is highly perishable. For the airline industry, the…first wave was travel agents, the second wave was online travel agencies, and the third wave is currently allowing real-time flight changes and rebooking…mobile has enabled the creation of services that embody all three waves of commerce, such as Uber (black cars) and Exec (executive assistants). These companies are building supplier networks and distributing their services on mobile devices, effectively bypassing the second wave of commerce (or making it irrelevant)…As third-wave services become commonplace, consumers will find more situations to purchase from a business. For example, by enabling a consumer to order dinner on their train home, Grubhub increases the frequency of food delivery orders. Likewise, consumers are booking hotels at the last minute if they have an unexpected late night in the office…mobile is generating primary demand and growing the overall market for various categories of commerce, not merely time and device shifting…Businesses with perishable inventory can even offer a discount to target these spontaneous consumers. After all, an empty hotel room, dinner table or spa studio generates no revenue…”
30.    Amazon paying $775M for Kiva warehouse robotics company  http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/19/amazon-acquires-online-fulfillment-company-kiva-systems-for-775-million-in-cash/   “Amazon has just announced that it will acquire order fulfillment company Kiva Systems for $775 million in cash…Kiva Systems’ interconnected hardware and software package is designed to streamline the process of picking, packing and shipping e-commerce products for delivery…Utilizing this system, robots scurry about the floor locating individual items before transporting them to workers who pack and ship…Kiva accounts for “two-to-four times as many orders per hour as they have done the old way”. The company has been growing at over 100% a year. And the average price per system? $5 million…it looks like Amazon will be adding Kiva’s Robot coordinated system to its own fulfillment operations. Amazon has its own booming fulfillment operations, which the company and third-party merchants utilize to store inventory and fulfill orders. Amazon has been ramping up the development of its fulfillment centers over the past year, opening 15 new centers in 2011 worldwide. As of last July, Amazon had roughly 65 centers worldwide…”
31.     OMGPOP, a ‘pivot’ case study  http://gigaom.com/2012/03/19/zyngas-bid-for-draw-something-may-top-200-million/  “What a strange story – a New York-based startup that began its life as a dating-gaming company, went through many incarnations has finally hit the jackpot. OMGPOP, the company behind Draw Something, a mobile and Internet game inspired by Pictionary, is being actively pursued by Zynga, which is considering offering $200 million for the fast growing game-maker…Japanese gaming companies DeNA and GREE are also in the bidding for the hit-game maker…Draw Something…has generated about 2 billion drawings and is still being played daily by more than half of its users, who are exchanging pictures at a rate of 2,000 to 3,000 a second. And Draw Something, which is adding more than 1 million users a day, is pulling in low six figures in revenue a day…mostly from upgrades but also in-app purchases and advertising…OMGPOP is the newest incarnation of Iminlikewithyou, which was co-founded by Charles Forman and Dan Albritton and came out of YCombinator…The company switched gears to making browser-based games, then shifted focus to Facebook games, before eventually settling on mobile games…”
DHMN Technology
32.    3D printed guitar  http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2no9zT/www.geek.com/articles/geek-pick/3d-printed-spider-guitar-will-make-an-arachnophile-out-of-you-20120315/  “…Looking like something straight out of an Alice Cooper tour, the ODD Spider isn’t only an awesome looking guitar, but one that had its body created entirely on a 3D printer (the neck and strings are manufactured normally)…Created and printed by Olaf Diegel, a professor of mechtronics at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, the Spider is pretty unique in the guitar world. Diegel designed the body as one individual piece, meaning that his EOS Formiga P100 3D printer created what you see above in just one printing session…Being an avid fan of 3D printing, Diegel embarked on this particular project to show that complex pieces of equipment could indeed be made. He says on his site that the Spider can be made out of two different substances: Polyamide 2200 that can be dyed any color you wish or Alumide which is silver-gray in color and is a bit stronger…”
33.    New MAKE book about Kinect Hacks: Making Things See  http://boingboing.net/2012/03/13/new-make-book-about-kinect-hac.html  “…Greg Borenstein's new book for MAKE, called Making Things See: 3D vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot…is a result of his interests in special effects, miniatures, motion capture, 3D animation, animatronics, and digital fabrication. This detailed, hands-on guide provides the technical and conceptual information you need to build cool applications with Microsoft’s Kinect, the amazing  motion-sensing device that enables computers to see. Through half a dozen meaty projects, you’ll learn how to create gestural interfaces for software, use motion capture for easy 3D character animation, 3D scanning for custom fabrication, and many other applications…”
34.    Animatronic Cat Ears  http://www.instructables.com/id/Animatronic-Cat-Ears/  “  I saw the demo video for the neurowear "necomimi" brain controlled cat ears and I thought they were pretty awesome.  I'm just starting to learn electronics and I thought a fun project to start out would be making my own version…I don't think the EEG's that are available are very reasonably priced, so I settled for having a button input to control the cat ears. I wanted to build something that wasn't too expensive and was easy enough to be done in a sitting or two.  I picked out some cheap servo motors, some craft supplies, spent a weekend or two developing code to control the servo's from a microcontroller and…built some kitty ears that I think are pretty decent…”
35.    Make an Internet of Things camera  http://www.ladyada.net/make/IoTcamera/  “The Eye-Fi card is a tiny wireless memory card. It stores photos and fits inside a camera just like a regular SD card, but also has built-in WiFi transceiver that can upload images to your computer, smartphone or to various photo-sharing sites. We use one here when taking pictures for our tutorials — it’s a great timesaver, eliminating the extra USB transfer step that’s otherwise necessary…Adding a TTL Serial JPEG camera, together with some minimal prep work, we can then create a self-contained wireless monitoring camera with motion-sensing capabilities…What makes this combination way cooler than just a normal SD card or a USB cable to a computer is all the infrastructure provided by the Eye-Fi service — not just transferring images to your computer, but pushing them to your smartphone, photo-sharing sites like Flickr, issuing email or Twitter notifications, etc. This is all configured through the Eye-Fi application — there’s no additional coding required…”
36.    South Carolina Teacher Suspended For Reading 'Ender's Game' To Middle School Students  http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/19/south-carolina-teacher-suspended-for-reading-enders-game-to-middle-school-students/  “In South Carolina a teacher has been placed on administrative leave for reading excerpts of Orson Scott Card’s science fiction classic Ender’s Game to his middle school students. “The parent that reported him to the school district complained that the book was pornographic,” Tod Kelly writes. “[T]hat same parent also asked the local police to file criminal charges against the teacher. As of today, the police have not yet decided whether or not to file charges (which is probably a good sign that they won’t). The school district, however, appears to agree with the parent, is considering firing the teacher and will be eliminating the book from the school…I’d suggest that the officials in this teacher’s school district do a bit more science fiction reading before they make a final decision. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 should do the trick…”
Open Source Hardware
37.    Ten potential uses for the Raspberry Pi  http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/raspberry-pi-10-best-uses-for-the-25-computer  “…A single-board computer that packs-in everything a system needs - CPU, GPU, RAM, connectivity and storage in the form of a bootable SD card slot - the potential uses for the Raspberry Pi are almost limitless…boy - would we like to see some of the following in action…Coding classroom…Set top media player…MAME arcade box…Internet radio…Cobbled-together portable emulation handheld… Video chat station…In-car computer…Clever NAS box…LucasArts point 'n' click retro station…Webcam server baby/security monitor…”
38.    Missed out on Raspberry Pi? Here're five alternatives  http://www.zdnet.com/photos/missed-out-on-raspberry-pi-herere-five-alternatives/6351193  “…a lot of people who wanted the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi have been left empty-handed - with anyone ordering the device today unlike to receive one until about July. Fortunately, the Raspbery Pi is not the only pocket-sized device in town. There are a variety of alternatives worth considering if you want to get your geek on with a relatively low-cost, portable computer…Like the Pi but with a bit more grunt under the hood and a higher price tag, the $180 PandaBoard ES is suited to both PC user and developer…Processor: 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor…If you thought the Raspberry Pi was tiny, then check out the Cotton Candy, a computer that fits onto a USB stick. Billed as the smallest computer in the world, the Cotton Candy is designed to be a computer you can carry in your pocket. The $199 Linux-powered machine is simple and only needs a USB port for power and a HDMI-compatible display to operate…Processor: Arm Cortex-A9 1.2GHz… the $149 Beagleboard-xM is the platform of choice for many home-brew electronics and robotics projects…packed into a device just over three inches across…Processor: 1GHz Arm Cortex-A8… the $135…CuBox is no bigger than two inches in any direction and draws no more than three watts of power from its 5V power supply…Processor: 800 MHz ARMv7 core… Overo boards…need to be mounted on expansion boards to add abilities such as hooking up to a display or connecting to Ethernet. The small size and customisable nature of the hardware has led to…projects…using Gumstixs to develop real-time computer-vision processing in a wearable system and an e-reader with a flexible display…Gumstix Overo boards range in feature and price - from the $115 Overo Sand to the $229 Overo FE COM – with expansion boards ranging from $27 to $129…Processor: 600MHz ARM Cortex-A8…”
39.    Ninja Blocks vs Raspberry Pi vs Arduino: open source evolution  http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/spannermans-edublog/2012/03/ninja-blocks-vs-raspberry-pi-vs-arduino/index.htm  “…the education world is embracing several micro-board based projects variously called Raspberry Pi, Ninja Blocks and Arduino; but why? What is their significance? I thought at first it was all about nostalgia…but there seems to be more to it than that…The Raspberry Pi and the Ninja blocks are based on ARM hardware (the Ninja Blocks use the Beagle Board and Bone), and both significantly run a Linux OS. The Arduino is on the other hand a micro-controller-based board which too runs open source software this time derived from the Wired program rather than Linux…There is a conceptual division in the three products. Two are ‘proper’ computers with flexible OSes and one is a programmable micro-controller. Both computers are used to do simple things that micro-controller boards do as well if not better, especially in the case of the Arduino which makes micro-controller technology really accessible…The Ninja-Beagle powered blocks have an ultra-simple cloud-based programming interface which happily talks (in principle) to the loads of Arduino-Beagle projects on the net…It is, I think, all about robots and the evolution of the ‘next stage’…Real cells or rather uni-cellular creatures do very simple things, but are themselves very complex. They therefore more resemble devices that have a full OS but do very little, than they do a micro-controller-based biological robot. The difference is profound and lies in their latent potential to become other types of ‘cell’…the Pi and the Ninja…are not ‘a something’, they can be all sorts of things on all sorts of levels. The use of an infinitely mutable open source OS at their heart is key. In biology it would be called pluripotency. Pluripotency is a term reserved for undifferentiated cells, called stem cells. I think we are seeing the stem cells of the robotic world coming into being…”
40.    OH/DC: Open Source Hardware Comes to DC  http://www.publicknowledge.org/event/ohdc-open-source-hardware-comes-dc  “…Last year Public Knowledge introduced the wonks of DC to 3D printing at 3D/DC.  This year we are bringing another round of cutting edge technology to the nation’s capital – open source hardware – for OH/DC…Open source hardware creates an incredibly vibrant network of rapid innovation.  Like open source software, open source hardware (OSHW) is built on the work of the community and then shared with the world.  Leaders of OSHW projects go beyond making it easy to interact with their devices, and give everyone the information necessary to replicate and modify them…So come out to the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC on the afternoon of April 20th to learn what is going on with OSHW.  We will have panels that can introduce you to the ideas behind OSHW, and talk with some of the people who use OSHW to power their businesses…”
Open Source
41.     Audacity 2.0 released bringing crash recovery and improved effects  http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Audacity-2-0-released-bringing-crash-recovery-and-improved-effects-1472345.html  “The Audacity team has announced the release of version 2.0…The new release…adds new features such as an improved user interface, automatic crash recovery and an improved noise removal algorithm. The new version ships with many improved effects plugins for noise removal, equalisation and normalisation. The new crash recovery feature helps users restore projects if the program shuts down abnormally. Improved track functionality adds the ability to sync-lock and label tracks. Audacity now also fully supports the FLAC file format and imports audio from video files if an optional FFmpeg library is used. Changes in the user interface include the Device Toolbar which manages inputs and outputs and a Mixer Board with per-track VU meters. Users will also find many more keyboard shortcuts supported by the editor and the ability to manipulate tracks and selections using the keyboard has been enhanced…”
42.    Linux servers keep growing, Windows & Unix keep shrinking  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/linux-servers-keep-growing-windows-unix-keep-shrinking/10616  “…In 2011…factory revenue in the worldwide server market grew for Linux while it shrank for Windows and Unix. What I find especially interesting about this is that IDC doesn’t measure when you or your company install Linux on a bare-metal server or a re-purposed server, which is historically how Linux got into companies, but only servers with Linux already pre-installed. That means more and more customers are asking IBM, HP and Dell, the big three server hardware vendors, for Linux on their hardware…”
43.    Cool, Free Open Source Tools for Producing Music  http://ostatic.com/blog/cool-free-open-source-tools-for-producing-music  “…Free and open source music making and production technologies have…become very sophisticated, and are worth looking into. If you play and produce music here are some must-have free tools that you can leverage. Audacity…an audio propduction platform that compares very well with software used in professional environments…Hydrogen is an incredibly sophisticated Linux drum machine platform…Rakarrak is a powerful multi-effects processor emulating a guitar effects pedalboard…Sonicvisualiser has become a very popular tool for studying what's actually inside digital audio recordings…Indaba is an open, online collaboration network for musicians and producers that is worth looking into if you want to connect with others in the creative process…Through Indaba, you can also compete with other musicians in producing compelling remixes…”
Civilian Aerospace
44.    First Commercial Spaceship to Launch to Space Station April 30  http://www.space.com/14923-spacex-dragon-launch-space-station.html  “…Space Exploration Technologies…is now aiming to launch its unmanned Dragon spacecraft on a demonstration flight to the orbiting outpost…on April 30…This test flight was originally slated to occur in early February, but the mission was delayed to allow extra time to test the spacecraft and its software. The Dragon capsule will launch atop SpaceX's own Falcon 9 rocket and, if successful, will be the first privately built spacecraft ever to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station…”
45.    FAA Issues Draft Environmental Assessment for SpaceShipTwo Powered Flights in Mojave  http://www.parabolicarc.com/2012/03/13/faa-issues-draft-environmental-assessment-for-spaceshiptwo-powered-flights-in-mojave/  “Powered flights of SpaceShipTwo took a step forward today as the FAA issued a draft environmental assessment that recommends granting experimental permits and launch licenses to Scaled Composites to begin suborbital test missions from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. “An experimental permit is valid for one year and authorizes an unlimited number of launches and reentries of a reusable suborbital rocket from a U.S. launch site. A permitee can renew its permit by submitting an application to the FAA/AST at least 60 days before the permit expires…A launch license for a reusable launch vehicle is valid for two years and authorizes a licensee to launch and reenter, or otherwise land, any of a designated family of reusable launch vehicles within authorized parameters, including launch sites and trajectories, transporting specified classes of payloads to any reentry site or other location designated in the license,”…The FAA approval is based on the assumption of 30 annual launches and re-entries of SpaceShipTwo between 2012 and 2016…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
46.    OSC Puts New GPU-Accelerated Supercomputer Into Production  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-03-19/osc_puts_new_gpu-accelerated_supercomputer_into_production.html  “Researchers using Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) resources can now conduct even more innovative academic and industrial research by accessing Ohio's newest energy-efficient, GPU-accelerated supercomputer system…OSC's new $4.1 million HP-built, Intel Xeon processor based supercomputer, dubbed the Oakley Cluster, features more cores (8,328) on half as many nodes (694) as the center's most recent flagship system, the IBM Opteron 1350 Glenn Cluster. The Oakley Cluster can achieve 88 teraflops, which is tech-speak for performing 88 trillion calculations per second. With acceleration from NVIDIA Tesla graphic processing units (GPUs), the system has a total peak performance of 154 teraflops. The new system provides nearly twice the memory per core (4 gigabytes) and three times the number of graphic processing units or 'GPUs' (128). The Oakley Cluster also provides researchers with one and a half times the performance of the Glenn Cluster at just 60 percent of Glenn's power consumption and will expand OSC storage to nearly two petabytes with the addition of 600 terabytes of new DataDirect Lustre storage…”
47.    SuperMicro showcases Xeon E5 GPU supercomputer  http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2012/03/08/supermicro-showcases-xeon-e5-gpu-supercomputer/  “Intel’s new Xeon E5 series will be powering plenty of application servers in the near future. But…SuperMicro has demonstrated another use for the platform: as the basis of a GPU-based supercomputer…SuperServer SYS-7047GR-TRF is…based on Intel’s Xeon E5-2600, mounted on SuperMicro’s C602-based X9DRG-QF motherboard. This supports four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots…SuperMicro has filled each of these slots with…Nvidia’s 512-core Tesla M2090 cards. For single precision calculations, each card is rated at 1.3 teraflops, delivering an aggregate of 5.2 teraflops of computing power (2.6 teraflops for double precision)…Nvidia’s Tesla cards provide 6GB each, providing far more breathing space for computations…The cards are powered by twin, redundant, hot-swappable 1.6kW power supplies with a remarkable efficiency rating of 94%. The GPUs use passive heatsinks…There’s…support for up to 512GB of RAM across 16 DIMM sockets…”
48.    Getting around multicore walls: The roads less traveled  http://www.edn.com/article/520993-Getting_around_multicore_walls_The_roads_less_traveled.php  “For the better part of two decades, the processor industry has been running pell mell down the road of multicore design, packing more and more processor cores on a single chip. But a funny thing happened on the way to the personal super computer. It didn't work…As a result, in January 2012, DARPA announced the Power Efficiency Revolution for Embedded Computing Technologies, (PERFECT), to figure out what to do next…In a related 2006 Berkeley white paper, 'The Landscape of Parallel Computing Research: The View from Berkeley,' Patterson said that the power consumption of the logic in the CPU, converted into heat, limits the performance…If you increase the system clock to boost performance, heat rises, transistors slow down…If you increase memory bus width and you increase the number of transistors, heat will increase and transistors slow down…If you increase instruction-level parallelism (ILP) so more can get done at the same time, you increase the heat and...The result of the RAMP effort? "The memory wall has gotten a little lower and we seem to be making headway on ILP, but the power wall is getting higher," Patterson says. One anonymous engineering wag put it more succinctly: "We're screwed. "…Going back to the turn of the century, companies like UK-based Celoxica were pointing out the weaknesses of the multicore approach in contrast to a heterogeneous approach incorporating FPGAs…Celoxica's approach…was to break up the algorithm over multiple processors inside the FPGA with dedicated memory. "You end up with millions of tiny processors optimized for the algorithm. When the algorithm changes, you just reprogram the FPGA."…an FPGA approach, especially for highly focused applications, was "more and more attractive" but there were two specific obstacles: power and design tools…But the dream of a fully retargetable FPGA system, touted in the mid-2000s by companies like Quicksilver, has been largely deferred because of the problem of developing parallel multithread software for such changing architectural types…”

*****

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