2012/04/10

NEW NET Weekly List for 10 Apr 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 10 April 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.        Verizon to stop offering standalone DSL, requires landline bundle  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9225938/Verizon_to_stop_offering_standalone_DSL  “Verizon Communications next month will stop offering so-called "naked DSL" -- high-speed Internet without landline phone service -- in a move that flies in the face of the trend of consumers ditching their home phones for mobile handsets…starting May 6, customers won't be able to sign up for DSL without also getting a wired voice service, which adds about $5 to the monthly bill before taxes. Existing users of naked DSL will be able to keep their plans as long as they don't make changes to their service…Verizon reported an 8% decline in residential retail voice connections in the year ended last Sept. 30, which it blamed on subscribers substituting wireless voice as well as broadband, cable and VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) services…the carrier said discontinuing naked DSL would reduce its costs…While the move may increase Verizon's landline voice rolls, it could also give a boost to the carrier's faster, higher-priced FiOS service where it is available…” [seems like primarily a ‘tax’ on internet-only service – ed.]
2.       How much of the Internet is ‘adult content’  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/123929-just-how-big-are-porn-sites  “…porn sites are some of the most trafficked parts of the internet…Xvideos, the largest porn site on the web with 4.4 billion page views per month, is three times the size of CNN or ESPN…factor in that most websites are predominantly text and images, while the largest porn sites push streaming video…The only sites that really come close in term of raw bandwidth are YouTube or Hulu, but even then YouPorn is something like six times larger than Hulu…Actual hardware requirements are almost impossible to derive…but in the case of a large porn site we’re probably talking about racks of quad-CPU servers, gigabit switches, and load balancers…The second largest porn site on the web, YouPorn, was kind enough to furnish us with some real-world facts and figures…YouPorn hosts “over 100TB of porn”, and serves “over 100 million” page views per day. All told, this equates to an average of 950 terabytes of data transfer per day…Judging by the IP addresses of the YouPorn content delivery network (CDN), it’s probably not hosted by a cloud provider like Amazon, but rather in a large data center somewhere, with peering provided by Level 3…the internet only handles around half an exabyte of traffic every day, which equates to around 50Tbps — in other words, a single porn site accounts for almost 2% of the internet’s total traffic. There are dozens of porn sites on the scale of YouPorn…It’s probably not unrealistic to say that porn makes up 30% of the total data transferred across the internet…” [time for the Daemon to start generating revenue… - ed.]
3.       Pinterest now the third most popular social network after Facebook & Twitter  http://venturebeat.com/2012/04/05/pinterest-third-most-popular-social-network/  “…Pinterest is now the third most popular social network in the U.S., based on number of visits, surpassed only by Facebook and Twitter. Experian…says social networking has reached new highs, with 91 percent of  adults using social media regularly as well as 15 percent of all U.S. Internet visits dedicated to social media sites in December 2011. But the landscape of social media has changed greatly in the past year…Pinterest surprised many last December when it was revealed as a top 10 social network…Pinterest’s traffic surged 50 percent between February and January of this year…That surge has allowed the site to overtake services like Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Google+…Pinterest attracted 17.8 million unique visitors in February from the U.S. alone. In terms of engagement, Pinterest is winning as well, with users spending an average of 89 minutes per month on site…” [have you downloaded and used Pinterest yet, and if it’s the third most popular ‘social network,’ why did Facebook buy Instagram instead of Pinterest? – ed.]
4.       IIT-Delhi bans students from surfing internet post midnight  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/news/internet/IIT-Delhi-bans-students-from-surfing-internet-post-midnight/articleshow/12569591.cms  “IIT-Delhi has recently taken a decision to prohibit its students from using the internet in the hostel premises between 1am and 6am. The institute, during these five hours, disconnects the internet facility available to students in their hostel rooms. The reason, according to Shashi Mathur, dean, students, IIT-D, is to ensure that the academic performance of students does not suffer. He says, The internet connection, which was available to students during the midnight hours earlier, would disrupt their studies. Students would watch videos or be busy on social networking sites; download movies or play games till late in the morning. Hence, waking up late and getting delayed for classes…”  [how long before the college students figure out a way around this restriction? – ed.]
5.        Living Without A Home Internet Connection  http://www.graemeblake.ca/2012/04/07/experiment-living-without-a-home-internet-connection/  “I moved into a new apartment at the start of April, and decided to try an experiment: not having an internet connection…Is it because I can’t afford it? Nope, don’t want it…The internet snuck up on us. It’s extremely useful, but we haven’t thought through how we should use it…If you want, you can spend your whole day on the internet. And that’s a problem…I would check email several times a day, I had several sites I often looked at…and I would often sit down to look up one thing and get up half an hour later, having browsed 15 different ideas. My first break from this routine came in 2007-2008, when I worked in Cuba for 7 months…I suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands…I read about 40 books while I was in Cuba. Real books, long novels…And I had plenty of time to explore the country, meet new people, and learn Spanish…the internet had been sucking up >30% of my leisure time. I barely missed it (I still had some access at work), and my quality of life improved…I went back to connectivity once I returned to the West, and continued to waste large amounts of time with aimless browsing…So I went to Cuba again, for a month. The results? I wrote 50% more than I usually would in the same time period!...I finished the Pimsleur German lessons I was working on…I got an astounding amount of things done…But when I came back from Cuba, I went back to my regular habits. I had an internet connection at my apartment…this month, I moved out on my own. I realized…I didn’t have to get an internet connection…So, I didn’t…For internet access, I go once per day to a nice local cafe that’s two minutes from my house…I paid about $65 for internet, so a $2 tea or coffee each day is actually breaking even…I have about 5 email contacts who might mail me something both important and urgent. I set up gmail to forward any emails from those addresses to my phone…small bits of web surfing add up to a surprising amount of time each day…You can try methods to “limit” your access, but then you’re drawing down your limited supplies of willpower…if the internet is simply not there, you have no choice but to do something else. Most Internet Service Providers will let you suspend your account for a month. Why not give it a try…you might be surprised…”  [I have to agree that the world would be much different for many people if they had no home internet connection and didn’t try to compensate for the lack by heavy use of cellular access – ed.]
6.       Programr, The Codecademy For Higher-Level Languages  http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/06/learning-to-code-apps-programr-the-codecademy-for-higher-level-languages-adds-support-for-android/  “Programr, an online lab for learning to code – yep, sort of like Codecademy, but for higher-level languages, has just introduced Android coding support…aspiring student developers can create Android apps right in the browser. When the project is complete the apps can be downloaded into APK format, then loaded up on your Android devices…or sent off to the…Google Play store…Programr is a new entry in the “learn to code online” space, which has seen growing interest over the past several months, thanks in part, to Codecademy’s “Code Year” initiative…Programr isn’t as n00b-friendly as Codecademy, however – it’s more of a complement to that service. Where the latter is really about teaching you to code, Programr is like an online practice ground for creating projects…and taking online IT classes. Programmers can even earn points in the contests that allow them to gain free entry to the online classes (normally $30). There’s also more of a focus on higher-level languages at Programr…including console (C++, C#, Java, Objective-C), web (PHP, Javascript, JQuery, Java Server Pages, AJAX), rich media (Flex, Processing), desktop (Java Swing), and database (SQL, SQLite)…Ruby, Python, VB, AJAX, Flex, Flash…”
7.        Do hotel customers value the internet more than food?  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2126432/Do-value-internet-food-Hotel-guests-wi-fi-free-breakfast.html  “Instead of a complimentary breakfast , access to a fitness centre or even simple free coffee most hotel guests say their number one need is access to free Wi-Fi…a new survey by Hotels.com has revealed 38 percent of travellers said free Wi-Fi was a must while only 25 percent said breakfast was essential…35 percent wanted Wi-Fi to become more available in hotels and just over one third at 31 percent answered that they wanted it to become mandatory in hotels…” [which would you prefer at a hotel, free breakfast or quality free internet access? – ed.]
8.       Square COO Keith Rabois Explains The Death Of The Web  http://www.businessinsider.com/keith-rabois-qa-with-the-square-coo-and-angel-investor-2012-4  “Keith Rabois…started his career at PayPal, then…an angel investor in tech successes like YouTube, Yelp, and LinkedIn. Now he's helping to run…payments company Square…valued at more than $1 billion. More than 1 million customers are using the Square reader and apps, and Square will probably process more than $4 billion in payments this year. And that's all with minimal advertising and no direct sales force…Square is thinking beyond payments. "Square's mission is to reinvent commerce on both sides of the counter .... We actually look at all of those pain points [small businesses face] and try to rank order them in terms of how much friction is there for that small business person…One of the perverse things about a bubble in Silicon Valley is…you get sort of a suboptimal number of successful companies. If everybody starts their own companies you don't wind up with a density of talent at one place, which is what really is required to build an amazing company…Mobile devices and apps are killing the web…Google SHOULD be nervous about mobile. "If every American is going to carry around a fully functional computer 24 hours a day…that radically transforms…the type of applications that are going to be most important…search is a last resort on this, it's not a first resort. On the web…search was pretty close to a first resort." Physical credit cards aren't going away — and forget NFC. "Every American of almost any age…knows exactly how to use one of these pieces of plastic .... There's absolutely nothing better about taking a phone and kind of waving it around than pulling out a credit card and swiping it…” [let’s hope K Rabois is wrong and the Web is not dying along with the general purpose computer… - ed.]
9.       Twitter helps free kidnapped South African from trunk of his car  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/04/twitter-helps-free-kidnapped-south-african-from-trunk-of-his-car.ars  “A South African man, whose name has not been published, was carjacked, robbed, and stuffed into the trunk of his car near Johannesburg on Sunday. The robbers, however, had overlooked his mobile phone, which he used to text his girlfriend, Lynn Peters. From there, Twitter took over…Carjacking is a crime that is common in the country—over 10,000 such incidents occurred last year. Peters immediately tweeted, "Be on the look for DSS041GP my boyufriend [sic] has just been hijacked and is in the boot please RT." RT they did, including Peters' friend, Tanisha Reddy. From her it was picked up by well-known SA Twitterer, @pigspotter, who retweeted it to his 100,000-plus followers…Because @pigspotter's followers include a large number of private security forces, whose vehicles are spread around the country, the Golf was located…A volunteer security group called Riga Rescue offered to track the victim's cell signal. The security company K9 Security eventually visually identified the car. The kidnappers were ultimately stopped at a police road block in Ventersberg, 150 miles from where he was taken. The kidnappers ditched the car and fled on foot. The driver was rescued, unharmed, from the car trunk…” [and another piece of internet history has been created! – ed.]
10.     Skype Hits 40 Million Simultaneous Users  http://www.disruptivetelephony.com/2012/04/skype-hits-40-million-simultaneous-users.html  “Congrats to the folks at Skype for hitting over 40 million concurrent users!...The jump in the last quarter has been particularly dramatic - and probably has much to do with the expanded availability of Skype on smartphones and other devices…”
Gigabit Internet
11.      Lafayette, Louisiana, offers gigabit internet for $1000/mo  http://theadvocate.com/home/2501775-125/utility-increases-internet-speed  “The city-owned LUS Fiber service on Thursday announced the rollout of 1 gigabit Internet service for $1,000 a month…The gigabit service is…10 times faster than what had been LUS Fiber’s premium offer of 100 megabits per second, a…The first customer of the new 1 gigabit service is St. Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette. The school’s 1,100 students all are issued laptops and rely heavily on the Internet to prepare for research projects and presentations and to participate in an intensive online debate program with international students, Principal Audrey Menard said. “Right now, we have 100 megs, and the kids have eaten that up,” she said…city-owned fiber service in North Kansas City, Mo., offers 1 gigabit service for $2,500 to $3,500 a month…EPB Fiber Optics, the city-owned fiber service in Chattanooga, Tenn., offers 1 gigabit service for residential customers and small businesses for $349 a month…EPB’s 1 gigabit service is offered to both residential and business customers, but she said only about 10 residential customers have signed on. In Lafayette, the 1 gigabit service is available only to business customers, but LUS Fiber is not ruling out gigabit residential connection…” [so I’m not going to pay $1000/mo for internet, no matter how fast it is; but the same ISP provides 40 Mbps symmetrical for $49.95, and that *is* a great deal – ed.]
12.     GreenTouch targets energy-hungry fibre modems  http://www.itnews.com.au/News/296154,greentouch-targets-energy-hungry-fibre-modems.aspx  “Today's internet, including all of its add-on services like Google and Facebook, uses only a few per cent of the world's electricity supply. The carbon footprint of the internet is roughly the same as the global airline industry. However, the internet is growing much faster than the airline industry, and is on track to be the world's largest single greenhouse emitter…GreenTouch aims to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of information and communications technology networks by a factor of 1000 by the year 2020…Bit-Interleaved Passive Optical Network (Bi-PON) technology…will transform one of the most energy-hungry parts of the internet: the modem in your home…fixed-line access technologies using Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) are more energy efficient than HFC and ADSL networks…Bi-PON will enable an additional power reduction of 30 times over current FTTP technologies while improving performance and reducing cost. It achieves this improvement by changing the way in which data sent from the telephone exchange is accepted by the customer's modem. The GreenTouch announcement is targeted at…bitrates of up to 400 Mbps…other new, highly energy-efficient fibre access technologies that will eventually be able to provide download speeds of one gigabit per second and even more…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
13.     Flashback trojan reportedly controls half a million Macs and counting  http://techreport.com/discussions.x/22752  “Macs aren't vulnerable to all of those pesky Windows viruses…but the latest epidemic shows Mac users definitely aren't immune from malware altogether. Ars Technica reports that at least 600,000 Macs are in the throes of a nasty Java trojan infestation…Systems get infected with BackDoor.Flashback.39 after a user is redirected to a bogus site from a compromised resource or via a traffic distribution system. JavaScript code is used to load a Java-applet containing an exploit." An epidemiology map put together by the firm shows most affected systems are in the English-speaking world, with the United States and Canada commanding the lion's share of cases…Ars points out that Apple has sent out a fix through Software Update, its automatic system updates scheme…”  http://allthingsd.com/20120406/whats-this-a-mac-virus-no-actually-its-a-weakness-in-java/  “…The trojan targets a vulnerability in software that is not even an Apple product: Java…now the property of the software giant Oracle…it is no longer shipped as a default add-on to Apple’s Mac OS X beginning in 2011…Through this hole in Java, certain Web sites are serving up malicious Java applets. Once inserted on the machine, the software then prompts the user to enter the password they use to run the machine. It attempts to trick the user by appearing as an update to Adobe’s Flash video and animation software. If the user doesn’t fall for the trick, it tries something else. Here again it checks to see if there are any Microsoft Office applications on the machine, or Skype. If there are, it deletes itself. Then…It scans the contents of the Mac’s hard drive to determine if certain applications are present, and if they are, it deletes itself. Among those applications are security tools such as Little Snitch, a networking security tool, or Packet Peeper, another security tool. It also deletes itself if it sees the user has installed XCode Mac developers tools, and any kind of anti-virus software. Presuming it finds none of them, it proceeds to contact a command-and-control server for the purpose of downloading and installing more malware. That malware is being used to commandeer the Macs and generate Web traffic to boost revenue for some pay-per-click ads on Web sites, making money for someone who’s behind the scheme…”
14.     Employers limiting access to Netflix, other streaming content  http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/06/tech/web/proctor-gamble-internet-ban/index.html  “When Procter & Gamble shut down some access to the Internet this week, it wasn't to keep employees from messing around on Facebook or crafting personal e-mails on company time…it was to get them to quit sucking up the company's Web bandwidth by listening to music and watching movies…the company…told its 129,000 employees they can no longer use music-streaming site Pandora or movie site Netflix at work…there are some sites which don't serve a specific business purpose -- in this case, Netflix and Pandora…if you want to download movies or music, do it on your own time…an internal report found that P&G employees were watching 50,000 five-minute YouTube videos and listening to 4,000 hours of music on Pandora on a typical day. At one point, the company's Web capacity was overtaxed, "requiring immediate interaction,"…Since the company uses YouTube as a tool to sell its products, Netflix was banned instead in the effort to free up bandwidth…”
15.     Hotel’s Free Wi-Fi Comes With Hidden Extras  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/06/courtyard-marriott-wifi/  “……”  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/marriott-wi-fi-ads/  “…a Web engineer, was browsing the Web in his room at the Courtyard Marriott in Midtown Manhattan this week when he saw something strange. On his personal blog, a mysterious gap was appearing at the top of the page. After some sleuthing, Mr. Watt, who has a background in developing Web advertising tools, realized that the…hotel’s Internet service was secretly injecting lines of code into every page he visited, code that could allow it to insert ads into any Web page without the knowledge of the site visitor or the page’s creator…Mr. Watt posted about the discovery on his blog, and that soon spawned a conversation on Hacker News…Imagine the U.S.P.S., or FedEx, for that matter, opening your Amazon boxes and injecting ads into the packages,” Mr. Watt said…The lines of code include references to “rxg,” which stands for Revenue eXtraction Gateway, a service aimed at generating money from Internet access points. On its Web site…RG Nets…explains that its system rewrites every Web page on the fly so that it can include a banner ad…Imagine the hotel delivering complimentary issues of The New York Times to every room, except some articles have been…blacked out, all the ads have been cut out, and on every page there’s a new ad that’s been stuck on top…”  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/marriott-wi-fi-ads/  “…Marriott International said it had investigated the situation and disabled this feature at two New York hotels: the Courtyard by Marriott…the Residence Inn…The company said…it was not aware of the ad-serving practice, and…did not approve of this ad-servicing practice…Preliminary findings revealed that, unbeknownst to the hotel, the Internet service provider (ISP) was utilizing functionality that allowed advertising to be pushed to the end user…”
16.     Google Chrome hit by SSL bug restricting Google services  http://www.slashgear.com/google-chrome-hit-by-ssl-bug-restricting-google-services-06221921/  “Google Chrome today has been hit by a bug that prevents the browser from logging on to Google services requiring SSL, such as Gmail and Google Docs. After an update was pushed to Google Chrome, users on Windows 7 found that trying to access Google services resulted in an “Invalid Server Certificate” message, with no way around the problem except to use another browser…So far the only way to gain access to Google services with Chrome again is to reinstall the browser, which will give temporary access…We stumbled across the bug earlier this afternoon after updating Chrome, and had to switch to Firefox in order to access Google’s services…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
17.     Sneak peek at the taxi tablet Verifone is bringing to New York City  http://venturebeat.com/2012/04/05/verifone-tablet-taxi-square-new-york-cab/  “One thing Sam hates about being a Manhattan cabbie is picking up tourists hoping to see a Broadway show. “They are always yelling at me, drive faster, we’ve still got to buy our tickets.”…Sam…was first on line to try out Verifone’s new taxi tablets, which are being piloted in about 100 Big Apple cabs in place of the traditional TV unit. One of the features being tested is the ability for riders to purchase tickets for movies or Broadway shows during the ride, and get their ticket printed out along with their receipt…cool things Gross and his team are testing out: social media integration that displays tweets and facebook updates geo-tagged to your current location as you’re travelling…lottery service that lets riders buy their tickets at the same time as they are paying the fare, and credits the winnings directly to their account if they use a debit card…if riders decide to swipe their cards at the beginning of the ride, so that they can pay quickly at the end…The new tablet taxis are being tested in part because Square, the red-hot Silicon Valley payment startup, convinced the city to allow it to test out its own tablet taxi that would use an iPad and a Square credit card reader…Instead of an iPad…Verifone is using an tablet they built themselves with open source hardware and running Windows XP…What about the fact that Square would offer lower fees than traditional credit card readers, we asked. “You get what you pay for. They aren’t going to have streaming TV bringing news to riders…”  http://nyconvergence.com/2012/04/complain-about-a-taxi-driver-via-smartphone-while-viewing-a-verifone-tablet.html
18.     Next Generation Of E-Ink Kindle To Sport New Front-Lit Screen  http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/06/next-generation-of-e-ink-kindle-to-sport-new-front-lit-screen/  “…I was lucky enough to get a chance to see what Amazon has cooking for its next generation of e-readers…Amazon…bought a company that was…the world leader in light-guide technology…and a new generation of glowing Kindles will be coming our way…The device I saw was crudely camouflaged in a sort of cardboard enclosure, but the screen was clearly visible. With a tap, a slider popped up on the screen, and as it was dragged to the right, the screen lit up evenly with a rather cool light. In the dark, it was plainly noticeable as a glow, and…the slight illumination made the screen much more readable. At full blast…it was still a soft glow and not the harsh flashlight of a backlit LCD…the whole point of purchasing the light-guide company was to get the team and their patents, which essentially laminate the light diffusion layer right onto the screen without adding much in the way of depth or interfering with the touch system…The current crop of e-readers is…troublingly homogenous…The new Kindle…display will definitely set it apart from its rivals…”
19.     Five signs the mobile phone form factor is maxed out  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/emergingtech/five-signs-the-mobile-phone-form-factor-is-maxed-out/3145  “…While smartphones are becoming ever more capable and just about everyone has one (or two), they’ve reached the ceiling of innovation because of the limitations imposed by their changeless form factor. Battery and display technologies are constrained, which means manufacturers can’t pack anything more into phones without sacrificing performance…Then there’s the growing consumer class “big data” problem. Mobile users are receiving millions of emails, status updates, news reports and other alerts each day. The data avalanche is no match for a user trying to stay on top of it all with a gadget in one hand and a latte or steering wheel in the other…Here are three more signs that the smartphone form factor has hit the innovation ceiling…Micro projectors, massive cameras, flexible screens, and other dubious add-ons are the final frontier…I’m all for new features…But all such features are still at the mercy of the handheld form factor…Voice recognition system and interactive projection displays are decoupling computing from the various boxes and devices we call computers…On-person hardware is set to explode, providing the surprise we’ve been craving…”
20.    The Toshiba Excite 13 sports the largest tablet screen yet  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57411547-1/the-toshiba-excite-13-sports-the-largest-tablet-screen-yet/  “…So far in 2012, we've seen the iPad double its resolution to 2048x1536 and the AMOLED-based Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 reach black-level depths…previously unheard of…where do we go from here? If Toshiba has its say, we go big…Toshiba introduced the first tablet to break the 10.1-inch barrier. Its new Excite 13 sports a 13.3-inch IPS screen, running at a 1,600x900-pixel resolution and comes installed with Android 4.0…Certain apps definitely seemed more at home on the larger screen…The Android Maps app in particular looked more impressive and somehow felt easier to use on the 13.3-inch screen than I'd ever experienced before. I can only imagine what advantages the large screen might afford when playing something like Catan or other board games…Those of you patiently awaiting the Tegra 3 quad-core tablet explosion have likely been disappointed…The Excite 13 houses a Tegra 3 CPU, 1GB of RAM, includes micro USB, Micro HDMI, four speakers, and…a full-size SD card slot. A 2-megapixel front camera and a 5-megapixel back camera round out the features…from the "I'll believe it when I see it department," Toshiba purports a 13-hour battery life for the Excite 13…We'll find out in early June when the Excite 13 arrives…$650 nets you 32GB of storage, while the 64GB model will retail for $750. These are Wi-Fi-only models…My initial…reaction to those prices is "too expensive…”
Apps
21.     Local Search App AroundMe Trumps Yelp’s Mobile Apps  http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/05/local-search-app-aroundme-trumps-yelps-mobile-apps-with-6m-monthly-users/  “…AroundMe has really been flying under the radar. The location-aware mobile search app is announcing today that it’s now passed the 6 million mark for monthly unique visitors. To put that in perspective, Yelp’s mobile apps see 5.7 million+ monthly uniques these days…AroundMe has a single founder, a team of four, and no outside funding. The company is also now reporting having surpassed 1 million downloads per month, and has recently announced new partnerships with OpenTable, Booking.com for hotel reservations, and Telenav for web-based navigation…I…launch the thing occasionally, when I’m looking for a nearby gas station, Starbucks, or restaurant and have gotten frustrated with using Apple’s built-in maps app to find something nearby. Currently available on both iOS and Android…the app reaches most of the world, but its user base is still largely American. About 60% of users come from the U.S., 35% from European markets…”
22.    Paper: the next great iPad app  http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/29/2909537/paper-drawing-ipad-app-fiftythree-brains-behind-courier  “…Today, we mostly use our fingers to interact with touchscreens — the increasingly predominant means of controlling computers — but Petschnigg isn't content with that…iPad apps built for creating just aren't cutting it. He, along with a small group of talented developers, has been trying to fix the problem…We wanted to build tools we could use every day."…The tool Petschnigg and his company FiftyThree thought up is the aptly named Paper, designed exclusively for the iPad. It's essentially a blank slate of paper devoid of settings panels, menus, and adjustable line widths…the team behind it had an interesting history: a handful of them spent several years at Microsoft…focused on the Courier, a dual-screen, digital notebook which had the tech world salivating. That device and its software was very publicly killed by Microsoft…Perhaps the most impressive tool in Paper is Rewind, an inventive take on "undo" that succeeds where others have failed. If you make a mistake while you're drawing, there's no need to erase it. Just place two fingers on the screen and move them in a counter-clockwise motion. The app retraces your steps, brush stroke by brush stroke, to a maximum of 20 previous moves. Once you've tried Rewind, you'll wish it were present in every other creative app you've tried. It's a user interface…invented by filmmaker (and FiftyThree designer) Andrew S. Allen, who wanted an "undo" method that worked like the jog dials he uses to go back and forth in time while editing video…People are at their best when they're creating," Petschnigg told us; he and his team don't want to hinder creativity or distract people in any way…you don't want to be futzing with settings…After years of working on settings ribbons and menus that only a small percentage of people actually dig into, Petschnigg was finished with complicated applications…In Paper’s case, that goal is to provide a digital pad of paper, the likes of which we’ve been hoping for since the iPad launch — an app free of icons and folders and settings and menus…”
23.    Hipmunk Adds Calendar Integration To Mobile Apps  http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/05/hipmunk-mobile-app-calendar-integration/  “Hipmunk, the flight and hotel search startup known for its snazzy user interfaces…is rolling out a new integration for its mobile apps with popular calendar applications (right now it works with iCal, Google Calendar, and Microsoft Outlook.)…this makes the often odious task of searching for travel transportation and accommodation just a bit easier…If you choose to plug your calendar app of choice into Hipmunk, it will overlay your flight and hotel search results with your existing calendar entries. Not sure if you should take the 2pm flight or the 4pm flight? Hipmunk will let you know if you have a conflict penciled in on your calendar…The handiness of the calendar integration really flexes its muscles with the hotel search function…when you’re looking at potential hotels overlaid on a map in the Hipmunk app, it will also highlight nearby places where you have existing appointments during the same days when you’re booking the hotel…if you’re attending a conference in…Moscone Center, looking at the Hipmunk app will show that it might not be the wisest idea to book a hotel across the city in the Outer Sunset district…From a privacy perspective…None of your calendar entries get uploaded to Hipmunk’s servers — the data is only used within your searches on the app at the time you conduct them…”
24.    Yapp lets anyone create a mobile app for events  http://gigaom.com/2012/04/04/yapp/  “Most mobile apps take a lot of time and development hours — but what if someone came out with a WYSIWYG-type editor that would allow anyone to easily create customizable apps for the iPhone?...Yapp provides a web-based interface through which users can create applications that can be downloaded, viewed and interacted with on friends’ iPhones. But it has some limitations: The apps that it creates don’t feed into the Apple App Store, but can be viewed through its own proprietary YappBox application on iOS or on the mobile web at m.yapp.us…Web functionality makes it accessible to all and the iOS app is a free download, but it’s not quite the same as publishing something directly to the App Store…for now Yapp is limited to enabling users to create customizable apps for events. It’s pretty easy to do — I created an app for my upcoming birthday party — with the ability to quickly create a splash page, provide event details, upload photos and create an invite list of your friends…Events are just the beginning, and there are plenty of other app types that Yapp could help users create and publish. As time goes on they plan to add other templates for users to create apps with…”
25.    Qt 5 makes JavaScript a first-class citizen for app development  http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2012/04/an-in-depth-look-at-qt-5-making-javascript-a-first-class-citizen-for-native-cross-platform-developme.ars  “The Qt development toolkit is undergoing a major overhaul. The developers behind the project announced the availability of the Qt 5 alpha release this week. It's a key milestone on the path to the official launch of Qt 5, expected to occur later this year. Qt is an open source toolkit designed to support cross-platform desktop and mobile application development. It provides libraries, user interface controls, and other components…The update to Qt 5 will bring many significant technical and philosophical changes to the toolkit. The developers aim to transition the focus of Qt away from the traditional widget system (based on QWidget C++ classes) in favor of Qt Quick, a declarative scripting framework for building rich interfaces. This change will gradually shift Qt application developers away from the toolkit's C++ roots. Qt Quick allows developers to construct distinctive interfaces with arbitrary graphical assets, fluid animations, advanced touchscreen support, and greater interactivity…”
SkyNet
26.    Google ‘Project Glass’  http://www.pcworld.com/article/253200/googles_project_glass_teases_augmented_reality_glasses.html  “Google has taken the wraps off its long-rumored augmented reality glasses project, officially dubbed "Project Glass." A concept video, titled "One day...," shows how Google's glasses might work. In the video, the user performs tasks commonly handled by smartphones, such as scheduling meetings, taking pictures, checking the weather, getting directions, and placing a video call. The information simply hovers in the user's field of view, and the interface is controlled by voice or other inputs. Google…is gathering feedback from users on Project Glass, according to a post on Google+ by Babak Parviz, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun. The post contains a few "design photos" of people wearing augmented reality glasses. These glasses have a small second screen--presumably for the video output--above one of the lenses, with an extra thick arm that extends back to the ear…we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input," they wrote. "So we…created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do."…the Google+ post frames the video and photos as designs of what the technology "might" do…”  https://plus.google.com/u/0/111091089527727420853/posts/EuMZWxrWtQa  “…When I first got here I spotted Google co-founder +Sergey Brin. He was wearing THOSE GLASSES! He quickly told me it is a prototype. I saw a bluish light flashing off of his right eyeball. I could only guess that my Google+ profile flashed up, or maybe some PR voice said "stay quiet" or something like that. But the glasses are real. Very light looking. Most of the people around us had no idea that these glasses are pretty special…”
27.    Did Google create unrealistic expectations for their Gglasses  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/04/augmented-reality-experts-say-google-glasses-face-serious-hurdles/  “…The video Google released yesterday showed us the point of view of someone wearing the glasses, with icons, maps and other graphical overlays appearing over the user’s complete field of vision…The hardware that appears in the photos doesn’t appear capable of delivering the augmented-reality experience we see in the video…according to Pranav Mistry, an MIT Media Lab researcher and one of the inventors of the SixthSense wearable computing system, “The small screen seen in the photos cannot give the experience the video is showing.” Blair MacIntyre, director of the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, concurs: “You could not do AR with a display like this. The small field of view, and placement off to the side, would result in an experience where the content is rarely on the display and hard to discover and interact with. But it’s a fine size and structure for a small head-up display.”…Even if Google is able to deliver the goods, says Mistry, we won’t see the glasses on the market for at least two years. Most of this has to do with limitations in current mobile display technology. “Current HUDs utilize a fixed lens distance of two feet,” he says. “For true augmented reality, the display would have to dynamically focus, which would require additional hardware on the glasses to read your eye.”…Google’s public posting on Project Glass couches the technology in incredibly vague terms: “So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do…”  http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/guest/27711/
28.    Google’s Chrome OS Will Soon Look More Like Windows Than A Browser  http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/09/googles-chrome-os-will-soon-look-more-like-windows-than-a-browser/  “…Google launched the latest developer version of Chrome OS and this update sports the first major redesign…since its launch in late 2010…Chrome OS almost looks like a traditional OS, with a full-blown desktop and window manager instead…Aura…is Chrome’s next generation user interface framework…Until now, Chrome OS basically just gave users access to a single browser window at a time…Now, Chrome OS features a Launchpad-like app launcher, as well as a Windows-like taskbar…Apps…still start in a browser tab and not as stand-alone windows…Chrome OS was supposed to be all about “speed, simplicity and security” and Google wanted to use it to “re-think what operating systems should be.” This new version, however, does away with a bit of this simplicity in favor of greater functionality. That…may just help Chrome OS gain more mainstream acceptance as new users will surely find it to be a more familiar experience…”
29.    Google hopes to revolutionize video chat with 'Hangout' apps  http://www.macon.com/2012/04/04/1974486/google-hopes-to-revolutionize.html  “Christine Egy Rose realized she was on to something powerful. Instead of the awkward monosyllabic two-minute exchange her two-year-old son Jackson typically had over a video chat link with relatives, he spent a full 50 minutes happily working on a shared drawing with his grandmother in Florida…Egy Rose 's mother-in-law, feeling so much closer to the little boy in California, was almost in tears by the end of the chat. "We don't have the Sunday night dining room table anymore…Egy Rose, the founder and CEO of the video chat and collaborative play startup Scoot & Doodle, said…"We wanted to recreate that for our families." With last week's launch of the first half-dozen apps for the "Hangouts" video chat feature of Google+, the Internet giant hopes to increase the time people spend on the social network and create a popular platform that will ultimately grow to of hundreds of video apps, or more…By adding software apps to Hangouts, independent developers like Scoot & Doodle hope to make video chats more like an in-person, shared social experience, allowing apps to transform video chats, just as they revolutionized cell phones…Vic Gundotra, the executive who heads the development of Google+, said…"No one has ever done a multi-user video service for the whole world for free, let alone open it up to developers and see where they take it…At more than 100 million users, Google+ is still a fraction of the size of Facebook's 845 million users. But an even bigger issue for Google+ is poor engagement, with recent data from comScore showing users average just 3 minutes a month on Google+, compared to 7 hours a month on Facebook…Among the other Hangout apps on Google+ is a virtual deck of cards, allowing a person in San Francisco, for example, to play a game of poker through a video chat with a cousin in Denmark and an aunt in Denver…Along with Skype, Google is emerging as "really the two big gorillas" of video chat…”
30.    Google Launches Android App To Improve Its Indoor Location Accuracy  http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/05/google-launches-android-app-to-improve-its-indoor-location-accuracy/  “Google Maps, Bing Maps and a number of startups have been offering indoor maps for large venues like airports, malls and stadiums for quite a while. The problem with indoor mapping, though, is that it’s pretty hard for these companies to actually tell you exactly where you are on these maps. GPS obviously doesn’t work well in these spaces and WiFi and cell tower triangulation just isn’t very accurate. Now…Google has come up with a plan to improve indoor location accuracy for venues in Google Maps: venue owners who have uploaded their floor plans to Google’s mapping service can now use a new Android app to provides Google with feedback about how accurate its predictions are for their locations…the app will tell its users where to go in the venue and while they walk, the app collects data about nearby WiFi hotspots, as well as data from local cell towers. Once it has collected and analyzed this data, Google can more reliably tell its users where they are inside the building. One specific feature that this process should improve is Google’s ability to tell you which floor you are on…”
General Technology
31.     Hitachi Ships Enterprise-Class 4TB Hard Drive  http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/storage/display/20120402233655_Hitachi_GST_Begins_to_Ship_World_s_First_Enterprise_Class_4TB_Hard_Drive.html  “Hitachi…a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Digital…unveiled the industry's first…enterprise-class hard disk drive (HDD) with 4TB capacity…Hitachi Ultrastar 7K4000 family of 3.5" hard disk drives are available in 2TB, 3TB and 4TB capacities and are based on up to five modern platters with 446Gb/inch2 (691Mb/mm2) areal density. The drives feature 7200rpm spindle speed, 64MB cache buffer…8ms seek time, 11.4W average read/write power consumption and…4KB/512e advanced format….The  4TB Ultrastar 7K4000 drive delivers 33% more capacity in the same 3.5" footprint at 24% lower watts/GB than its predecessor, the 3TB Ultrastar 7K3000 …”
32.    Sapphire Energy Raises $144 Million for an Algae Farm  http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/40073/  “…algae-biofuel startup Sapphire Energy announced it has received $144 million in new funding, which brings its total to over $300 million. The company, which is less than five years old, has been moving quickly to build a 300-acre algae farm as a large-scale demonstration of its process for making algae oils. The U.S. government has supplied over $100 million of the investments, including a $50 million Recovery Act grant designed in part to spur job creation…Sapphire's rapid expansion raises the question of whether it is scaling up its technology too soon…Knowing when to move technologies out of the lab and into large-scale demonstrations is a perennial challenge for energy startups…Range Fuels, a startup founded to produce ethanol from wood chips, foundered because it built a large-scale plant too soon, before the bugs had been worked out of its technology at a smaller scale…by 2014, Sapphire will have the capacity to produce about 1.5 million gallons of algae crude oil, which can be shipped to refineries to make chemicals and fuels such as diesel and gasoline…Sapphire hopes to lower the cost of producing algae fuels by changing every part of the production process…The company aims to have a product that's competitive with oil priced at $85 per barrel, and it expects to meet this goal once it reaches full-scale production in about six years…According to one of the studies, it would cost about $9.84 per gallon to make algae diesel, as opposed to $2.60 per gallon for petro-diesel…”
33.    High-tech NYC taxi comes with odor absorbing seats  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/04/new-high-tech-n.php  “If you've ever been to London, you'll know that taxi passengers in England's capital get to ride in a fabulous purpose-built vehicle. Here in New York City we had something similar until the demise of the Checker some 25 years ago, but today Nissan unveiled a new high-tech yellow cab that will hit the streets of the Big Apple next year…the new cab has far more legroom than the jammed up back seats of the Ford Crown Vics…and the flat floor makes it easy to scoot across as you and your friends pile in. Once inside, there are USB and 12V power ports for charging your phone, a rider controlled GPS navigation system, a huge glass sunroof for looking at the passing skyscrapers, and a user-controlled thermostat and air conditioner. The anti-microbial odor-absorbing seat material and hard sweepable floor should also make it easier to keep the cab from becoming just too gross inside…”
34.    Ford is ready for the autonomous car. Are drivers?  http://gigaom.com/mobile/ford-is-ready-for-the-autonomous-car-are-drivers/  “The auto industry has already developed all the technology necessary to create truly autonomous vehicles, Ford engineers claim. The reasons there aren’t driverless cars all over the road today is in part a cost issue…but mainly one of driver mindset…Ford has already built research vehicles with high-resolution omnidirectional cameras that can see the road and the cars surroundings far better than any driver with a few mirrors. Those vehicles also have scanning lasers that can model the world around it in 3-D. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications standards have been finalized that would allow cars not only to broadcast their location and speed to one another but also create ad hoc vehicular networks — hive minds that could coordinate the actions of thousands of automobiles on the roadway…It’s not that drivers are adamantly opposed to the concept of a driverless car, Kane said; they just need to be introduced to that concept gradually. [frog in the pot of water on stove – ed.] It’s going to take a decade before the masses fully accept the autonomous car, but they’ll get there.”…The new Ford Fusion is the first affordable sedan to contain the automaker’s Lane Keeping System, which uses the car’s forward camera to detect when a car is drifting outside the lines. The system alerts the driver through vibrations in the steering wheel and audio warnings, but if the driver doesn’t respond the car will automatically correct, nudging the vehicle back into its lane…And what about the thrill of driving?...the average U.S. driver actually spends time…commuting from home to work and back, often in bumper-to-bumper traffic. There’s nothing thrilling about a road bogged down by congestion…customers can elect to turn off those automation features whenever they choose…You still have that freedom whenever you want it,” McBride said…There may, however, come a time when that freedom isn’t an option…Executive Chairman Bill Ford laid out a “Blueprint for Mobility,” which envisions a world of 4 billion vehicles. All of those cars simply won’t have room to move if all of their drivers are acting independently, Ford predicted…”
Leisure & Entertainment
35.    Neil Young Trademarks New Audio Format  http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/neil-young-trademarks-new-audio-format-20120403  “…trademarks…filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office…indicate that Young is developing a high-resolution audio alternative to the MP3 format…Included in the filing is a description of the trademarks: "Online and retail store services featuring music and artistic performances; high resolution music downloadable from the internet; high resolutions discs featuring music and video; audio and video recording storage and playback."…A press release issued last September..says…Young is also personally spearheading the development of Pono, a revolutionary new audio music system presenting the highest digital resolution possible, the studio quality sound that artists and producers heard when they created their original recordings…the rocker has also been increasingly vocal about his frustration with the sound quality of digital music…"When I started making records, we had a hundred percent of the sound," said Young. "And then you listen to it as an MP3 at the same volume – people leave the room. It hurts...It's not that digital is bad or inferior. It's that the way it's being used is not sufficient to transfer the depth of the art." According to Young, a typical download contains only five percent of the data that an original analog recording master offers, and the average studio-quality audio file requires roughly 30 minutes to download because of its uncompressed size…he met with Apple CEO Steve Jobs before his death last fall, and…the two discussed the possibility of developing a device similar to an iPod that could store roughly 30 studio-quality albums. "We were working on it," said Young. "Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. But when he went home, he listened to vinyl…”
36.    In a Blow to Independent Bookstores, Google to Discontinue Reseller Program  http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/google-to-discontinue-program-for-selling-e-books-a-blow-to-independent-bookstores/  “Google said on Thursday it would abolish a program through which independent bookstores have been selling e-books, a blow to small booksellers that have benefited from the large and recognizable platform Google provides…the so-called reseller program, which allowed bookstores to offer e-books for sale through their Web sites, was not a success…When it made its debut in 2010, the Google e-bookstore was seen as a positive development for smaller bookstores that were frustrated by their customers’ rapid shift from print books to e-books…Customers could buy e-books through a Google account, store them in a password-protected library and read them on their smartphones, laptops and e-readers…Even after offering e-books through Google for more than a year, many bookstore owners have said that e-book sales make up a tiny fraction of their overall revenue…bookstores had trouble getting the word out to customers or persuading them to use a retailer other than Amazon to buy e-books…Emily Pullen, a manager at Skylight Books in Los Angeles, said that just being able to sell e-books through Google was an advantage for many independent bookstores. “At this point, most indies weren’t able to make a lot of money selling e-books,” she said. “But offering it was something that made us be able to give some of our customers something that they wanted and to be a part of some of these changes in technology…”
37.    Shadowrun Returns fully funded through Kickstarter after 28 hours  http://venturebeat.com/2012/04/05/shadowrun-returns-kickstarter-surpasses-400k-goal-mac-version-coming-too/  “…Harebrained Schemes’ Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter project has surpassed their $400k goal. At the time of this writing, they are at $449,822 in funding. The studio, led by Jordan Weisman (who created the original Shadowrun pen & paper game), met their goal in just 28 hours…Projects funded by fans are gaining major traction in the game industry. It also seems like a good way to somewhat test the market and estimate a level of interest before investing heavily in the development of a new game…”
38.    E-books spur reading among Americans  http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/05/tech/gaming-gadgets/e-reader-survey-pew-gahran/   “E-books aren't just becoming increasingly popular. They also appear to be promoting reading habits among American adults…about one-fifth of U.S. adults have read an e-book in the past year…if you expand that to include Americans over 16 who have used an e-reader device or app to read news articles or magazine-style features, the figure jumps to 43%...A typical e-book user read 24 books in the past year, compared with the 15 books reported by typical non-e-book users…a third of people who read e-content say they now spend more time reading than they did before e-books. This is especially true for people who own tablets and e-book readers…28% of Americans age 18 and older own at least one tablet or an e-book reader. And that's not even counting the people who read books on a smartphone or iPod Touch app…”
Economy and Technology
39.    JOBS Act: 5 things to look forward to (and 5 to dread)  http://news.cnet.com/8301-19882_3-57409949-250/jobs-act-5-things-to-look-forward-to-and-5-to-dread/  “Today, President Obama passes the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, a collection of laws that relaxes regulations on capital raising for startup companies and gives all companies more flexibility in how and when they go public. It's the "crowdfunding" provisions of the JOBS Act that are getting the most attention…There's a divide between Silicon Valley and Wall Street on JOBS. Silicon Valley (roughly speaking) favors dragging securities laws into the modern era. Wall Street likes its lock on the flow of investment dollars…Here a five arguments you can use either way…JOBS is good…Mo' money for startups…No more silly gag rules…The startup economy becomes transparent…Startups can take longer to start…Less onerous Sarbox paperwork…JOBS is bad…A field day for scammers…Grandma will lose her money…Startup CEOs could lose everything…companies that take crowdfunding expose their officers to personal liabiilty; they can be sued for their personal assets. For this reason, many businesses won't open up crowdfunding rounds unless they absolutely have to…Investors will still be in the dark…More crappy IPOs…”
40.    Royal Canadian Mint Mint launches crypto-currency / digital wallet $50,000 prize challenge for penniless future  http://www.canada.com/business/Digital+chips+pushed+cash+alternative/6425253/story.html  “…On the cusp of the post-penny age, the Royal Canadian Mint is preparing to launch a digital alternative to all coinage and small bank notes - dubbed "MintChip" - which it hails as the natural next step in the "evolution of currency."…the Ottawa-based Crown corporation activated a website outlining its vision for the future of MintChip - described as "better than cash" and "so easy even a child can use it" - and invited software developers to begin imagining different ways the technology could be employed…the mint is offering $50,000 in an old-fashioned currency - gold - to winners of a contest aimed at developing smart-phone apps and other ways of demonstrating MintChip's benefits as a payment system for consumers…”
41.     AOL sells more than 800 patents to Microsoft in $1 billion+ cash deal  http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/04/09/aol-sells-more-than-800-patents-to-microsoft-in-1-billion-deal/  “…AOL…and Microsoft have struck a deal that will see the former sell more than 800 of its patents to the Redmond software juggernaut…Microsoft will…license more than 300 additional patents and applications. Aggregate proceeds of the agreement is a whopping $1.056 billion, in cash. At December 31, 2011, AOL had only $407.5 million of cash…Its market cap was $1.75 billion at the last market close…AOL will retain over 300 patents and patent applications spanning technologies for advertising, search, content management, social networking and mapping…AOL also received a ‘perpetual’ license to the 800 patents being sold to Microsoft…the deal…includes the sale of a subsidiary…AllThingsD says the subsidiary in question is…Netscape…it’s worth asking the $1.056 billion question: what is Microsoft going to do with these patents?…”
42.    Why Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/why-facebook-acquired-instagram-for-1-billion/11562  “Facebook today announced it is acquiring Instagram (and its 13 employees) for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock…this is Facebook’s biggest acquisition to date…how does this purchase make sense? After all, the purchase is 27 percent of Facebook’s revenue in 2011, and Instagram doesn’t really have a business model…Facebook…has a lot to learn about the post-PC world, and something tells me Instagram employees will be helping with that…Facebook didn’t buy Instagram to kill it, to increase its number of users, nor for patents. Facebook bought Instagram because the company wants to push forward in mobile…Facebook is all about sharing photos. Instagram is all about sharing mobile photos…Facebook today acknowledged Instagram does a better job with mobile photos than the social networking giant could ever do. So that’s really the main reason for the purchase: Facebook just didn’t want Instagram as a social competitor any longer…”  http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2012/04/09/facebooks-defensive-instagram-ma-raises-red-flag/  “Facebook’s defensive purchase of Instagram raises a red flag…It’s impossible to say exactly what Facebook gets for the oodles of cash and stock it is handing over to Instagram, founded just two years ago by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger…the firm was worth just $20 million a year ago…People are spending an increasing amount of time connecting via their mobile phones. This shift is worrying for the formerly desktop-focused Facebook, whose own prospectus warns of the risks to its business of an increasingly mobile Internet. Most smartphones use operating systems made by Apple and Google…Instagram has figured out the easiest way to date of putting pictures on the web, and how to capture the attention of mobile users. These are valuable skills and tools in Facebook’s fight against other social networks. What’s worrying for potential Facebook investors is why Mark Zuckerberg and his merry hackers couldn’t produce their own version of Instagram…The precedent is worrisome, though, if it means every time a startup encroaches on one of Facebook’s presumed strengths it will need to take out its pocketbook to defend its turf…”  http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-why-facebook-bought-instagram20120409,0,7157117.story  “…Instagram was not just a photo-sharing app…it was becoming a very powerful mobile social network that let you share the photos with friends on Instagram or on other social networks…It was a way that people were communicating with each other the same way they might have on Facebook,” Kedrosky said. “Facebook saw it as a fast-growing competitor.” Which is why Facebook did the deal in the midst of its federally required quiet period, mucking up what had so far been a very orderly and neat march toward a $100-billion initial public stock offering…It creates a mess for them with having to issue an amended S-1 with this highly material transaction…What that tells you is that Facebook felt like it had to do the deal…”  http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/04/09/at-a-market-cap-of-950-million-the-new-york-times-is-worth-less-than-instagram/  “…at its current, public market valuation, the New York Times company is worth about $50 million less than the $1 billion dollars that Facebook just paid for Instagram…”
DHMN Technology
43.    Matterport’s scanner can create a 3D model from anything  http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/27/matterport-3d-scanner/  “…Y Combinator startup Matterport has invented a small scanner, pictured above, that can scan any space or object and create a 3D model. “We turn reality into 3D models and our scanner is 20 times faster and 18 times cheaper than any other tool on the market,” says Matterport co-founder Michael Beebe, “We are creating fundamentally new technology, like the steam engine or the car.”…With a wave of the hand, the device smartly scans the environment and understands the shapes, features, and placement of everything it scans…Beyond just scanning a room, the implications for a 3D scanner can be quite cool. You could scan any object of your choosing and send the model to a 3D printer to get a 3D replica of virtually anything in the world…”
44.    Aeryon Scout for Paintball Punters  http://www.suasnews.com/2012/04/14300/datron-scout-for-paintball-punters/  “…In scenario paintball, it is only a matter of time before the toys that the military deploys in the field finds its way into a scenario paintball game…It was only a matter of time before UAVs made the jump..Any pilot-less aircraft weighing less than 50 pounds, flown for sport or recreation qualifies as ‘Hobby’ aircraft. As long as the UAVs are flown under 400 feet AGL and no closer than 5 miles to an airport (without ATC permission) you will not have to worry about FAA laws. Of course you would need the permission of the field owner or game producer to deploy a UAV in a paintball game…just outside of Los Angles, scenario producers Ultimate Paintball Wars will be deploying aDatron Communications’ Scout UAVduring their Hurt Locker scenario game…Commanders will have use of a GPS guided, autonomously flown UAV that will be streaming live HD video back to them. The Scout is also capable of broadcasting video in infrared, so there will be no place to hide…DIYers have even more options for making their own paintball UAVs. Hobby or R/C stores carry wireless camera systems made just for use on R/C aircraft such as helicopters, planes and blimps. A few dollars and sometime invested in building a model, you could be flying your own scale Predator model at your next paintball game…”
45.    Autodesk creates 3D model of headquarters using Octo-Copter UAV  http://www.gizmag.com/autodesk-octocopter-3d-images/22083/  “Take one piece of software that can stitch 2D photos into a 3D model, one camera-carrying UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), and mix well to impress and inspire. This was the recipe used by Autodesk's Director of Strategic Research, Gonzalo Martinez, when he set about modifying an Octo-Copter UAV for use with Autodesk's 123D Catch software to simplify the process of making 3D models of large real-world objects…The Mikrokopter Octocopter is an 8-rotor flying platform which has a 2 kg (4.4 lbs) capacity to carry cameras. It can be flown using an internal camera to give the operator a copter-based vantage point on video glasses, or can be programmed to follow a GPS-controlled flight path. An Octocopter can fly autonomously at altitudes up to…3280 feet…or can be manually flown as high as…11,480 feet…video was captured using a GOPro Hero 2 camera, and the still pictures from which the 3D model was later built were taken by a remotely triggered Canon SLR camera. Autodesk 123D is a suite of programs which allow a user to create, manipulate, and construct 3D objects using a 3D printer. Catch is part of the 123D suite, and offers a standalone software package that helps you create 3D models from a series of 2D digital images of an object or a scene…”
46.    How a flying drone network could liberate the Internet from above  http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/no-wires-no-laws-no-limits-how-a-flying-drone-network-could-liberate-the-internet-from-above/  “…The Pirate Bay recentled announced its plans to build GPS-controlled server drones…It was a novel, futuristic…concept…But server drones aren’t science fiction — they already exist…a London-based thinktank has been cracking on the problem for some time…Young explains that his drone project, titled “Electronic Countermeasures” began early in 2012 as a ‘provocation.’ “This is about inspiring others to explore the possibilities of drone technology for non-militarized opportunities, but also to raise awareness about just what is going on with the privatization of data,”…The days that drones will be monitoring our locations, delivering food, or used for classroom research just may not be, legally, too far off. “Drone technology has very quickly revolved from being exclusively high end military and research technology to becoming exceptionally cheap and accessible…There are inherent limitations to these mobile servers. Like the L-train ‘notwork’ and the Pirate Box, flying file-sharing drones are localized…While the range could be boosted, with today’s technology, it’s still impossible for a file sharer in China to share a file with user in New York…The second big hurdle boils down to power. The flight duration of Young’s existing prototypes is a mere 20 minutes before needing to be autonomously recharged at charging stations. The solution for an extended flight time might be as simple as solar power…we can imagine future iterations of the project that develop these autonomous drone-to-drone interactions,” Young told us. But the team is already thinking about taking it a step further…We are interested in how the aerial choreography of the drone flock can be more responsive to the way the audience below is interacting with it…I like that new geographically specific data cultures may emerge,” Young added…“Just like particular areas or neighborhoods in cities have their own qualities and atmospheres, you could also imagine data suburbs, where people must travel to particular areas for specific sorts of data.”…Who owns a flying server’s data and technology?...There isn’t a definitive answer, and appears to be entirely up to the users. The network could be devoted entirely to the general public, or specific to a local neighborhood. On the other hand, the drones and data could be, like GPS satellite networks, “competitive commercial activities with their own politics of ownership.”…they’re inviting others with creative ideas to explore the potential of autonomous drones…the idea didn’t rise out of Young’s desire to build servers for file-sharing purposes. It began as simple curiosity, motivated by a music festival…”
Open Source Hardware
47.    Archiving Images with an Open Source Scanning Robot  https://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/559479-archiving-images-with-an-open-source-scanning-robot  “Project Gado is developing an inexpensive, open source, autonomous archival scanning robot. The goal? To create a tool that will allow small archives and museums digitize holdings at a low cost and help preserve important documents and pictures. In the process of developing the Gado, the ambitious project is also helping preserve the Afro-American Newspapers photo collection…The Gado 1, a proof-of-concept machine built on Python and Arduino, scanned more than a thousand photos, and now the project is into Phase 2. In the second phase of the project, the team built Gado 2, an improved machine to speed up the scanning time, that is half the size of its predecessor, and requires no special skills to assemble and operate. At about US$ 500, the Gado 2 is open source and sold as a kit for archivists to assemble and use…”
48.    Time-lapse vid shows Qbo robot assembly  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57409496-1/time-lapse-vid-shows-qbo-robot-assembly/  “It takes this engineer just less than three hours to put together Qbo…The bot recently entertained us with vids in which it recognized itself in a mirror, and then recognized Jane234, the female of the species. Powered by an open-source Linux platform, Qbo is designed to be a communications robot that's part of our everyday environment. It lacks arms and legs, but makes up for limitations on physical interactivity with its charm. It's also fun to dress up…the components in Qbo include five open-source hardware boards designed in-house; EMG-30 motors; SRF10 ultrasonic sensors; an LCD screen; a hard drive; and a PC motherboard. Starting with just the frame, the engineer in the vid below gets to work assembling a Qbo with the casters, loudspeakers, cables, and other components…”
49.    Raspberry Pi works with a 30-year-old mini CRT display  http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/raspberry-pi-works-with-a-30-year-old-mini-crt-display-20120410/  “…Although the $25 price point is a key selling point of the tiny ARM computer, there is another important feature the device carries: it works with really old tech. More specifically, if you have an old CRT lying around then you don’t actually need to buy a display to start using your Raspberry Pi. Andrew Back, the guy behind the Open Source Hardware User Group, has given us the perfect example of old meeting new by posting the image you see above. What you are viewing is a Raspberry Pi beta board hooked up to Thandar Monitor TV2S, which was manufactured over 30 years ago. The image it is displaying is of the DesignSpark homepage, a website for online engineering resources and design support…”
Open Source
50.    Blender orphaned areas help call  http://code.blender.org/index.php/2012/04/orphaned-areas-help-call/  “Blender is becoming more and more big, developers who used to be active were kidnapped by their real life and they can not spend much time on Blender development anymore, which lead to some orphaned areas which are not currently maintained or in which help with maintaining is needed…Maybe somebody will become interested in improving some of this areas?...Tablets and other non-standard input devices…Transformation module…Volumetric materials…Keymaps…Sequencer…Particles…Simulations…Metaballs…Game engine…”
51.     How Linux Talks to the Internet of Things: A Look at IEEE 802.15.4  https://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/560384:how-linux-talks-to-the-internet-of-things-a-look-at-ieee-802154  “…"Internet Of Things."…may be yet-another-buzzword, but the central concept is quite real: the spread of low power, Internet-connected devices that use wireless networks to communicate with our PCs and servers. After all, you don't need a computer in your water heater or electric meter: you just need a sensor, and way to read it remotely. Linux will be a major player in this space, but most developers still aren't familiar with the network standards that make it work, like IEEE 802.15.4…a specification from the IEEE's 802.15 working group, which tackles wireless "personal area" networks, or WPANs…The standard is designed to run on very low-voltage hardware, such as you might find in an embedded device that needs to run on battery power for months or even years at a time…There are several frequency bands available to 802.15.4 devices, including the global 2.4 GHz band, the 868 MHz band in Europe, and the 902 MHz band in North America…802.15.4 is most widely recognized in concert with the ZigBee protocol suite. ZigBee hardware is relatively inexpensive…but the software is a proprietary protocol stack…The simplest option…is 6LoWPAN (which is short for IPv6 over Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks); an official IETF project to adapt IPv6 network to low-power hardware…The Linux ZigBee project (which is admittedly a confusing name, considering that it does not implement ZigBee itself for the aforementioned licensing reasons) is the epicenter for both 802.15.4 and 6LoWPAN support…there are smaller manufacturers interested in producing usable hardware without the constraints of the licensing certification process used by ZigBee…A good place to watch is Freaklabs, which produces Arduino-compatible hardware. 802.15.4 certainly has not yet hit the "tipping point" required for mass adoption to take off…the rumor mill suggests that the ZigBee Alliance is shifting its attention from its current proprietary design to an open standard based on the IETF TCP/IP stack — and in all likelihood on 6LoWPAN itself…”
52.    Peek Email Device Goes Open Source  http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/26/the-peek-email-device-goes-open-source/  “…Peek has released an open source version of their Peek Mobile operating system, allowing hackers to use the all-but-obsolete little email device as a hacker platform. The Linux release is available the PeekLinux wiki and hackers are already adding new apps and functionality to the tiny device…Programmer Chris Wade is leading the Peek open source charge and has built a tool chain and methodology for installing homebrew software. The biggest problem? Trying to find a Peek to test it on…”
Civilian Aerospace
53.    Loophole Could Allow Private Land Claims on Other Worlds  http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/04/moon-mars-property/  “Who owns the moon? What about Mars? For now, the answer is no one, but as more private companies, billionaire entrepreneurs and national governments start casting their eyes on space, the question could change from a futuristic problem into a real issue. Under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which governs international space law, no one nation can claim sovereignty over a body in space. But there could be a loophole. Full blown colonization and settlement of other planets, moons and even asteroids might actually happen, says space policy consultant Rand Simberg, if a government could provide one thing: property rights…He proposes the Space Settlement Prize Act and lays out how such a scheme would work…Simberg argues that the treaty doesn’t explicitly prevent private companies from claiming territory…Claiming land on the moon would certainly violate the 1979 Moon Treaty, which specifically bans any nation from asserting sovereignty over any part of the moon and prohibits ownership by private persons. But the major spacefaring nations — including the U.S., Russia, and China — have never ratified this international treaty and it is often considered dead legislation…Simberg’s paper suggests the time is ripe. It cites Moon Express, Inc. and the Shackleton Energy Company as two corporations with plans to extract lunar resources for further space exploration…Others say that the issue is not yet pressing. Most private spaceflight companies are only thinking about sending people and supplies to low-Earth orbit, with flights to the moon or Mars many years off…”
54.    Teens Make Flavor Strips for Tastier Astronaut Food  http://www.space.com/15187-stellar-strips-astronaut-food.html  “…four high school students…are developing "Stellar Strips" — melt-in-your-mouth strips containing condiment flavors strong enough to jolt any sense of taste that has been dulled by life aboard a space station or spacecraft…astronauts  must put up with deadened taste sensations because their sinuses clog in microgravity. The Stellar Strips would allow space travelers to enhance bland foods with barbeque, spicy, sweet, Asian or Mexican flavors — or even simple salt and pepper — without the zero-gravity mess…One astronaut had written about how getting hot sauce on food was a challenge — he described spinning himself around to get the hot sauce out of the bottle." The Stellar Strips idea came out of a Spirit of Innovation Challenge…Students are working on a self-dissolving strip similar to a Listerine breath freshener that melts in your mouth. Their first prototypes were based on rice starch strips cut from Vietnamese spring roll wrappings and dissolved in water. The starch layers could hold in not only flavors but nutrients such as vitamin C or calcium salts (for fighting bone loss in microgravity)…The students hope the strips can pass NASA safety tests and meet astronaut taste approval to get a first test flight in 2015. Six or seven pounds of the Stellar Strips in a package the size of a ream of paper could give astronauts enough flavor choices for three meals a day over 15 years…”
55.     Proposed Satellite Would Beam Solar Power to Earth  http://www.space.com/15189-solar-power-beaming-satellite.html  “…For decades, researchers have been appraising the use of power-beaming solar-power satellites. But the projected cost…short-circuited the idea…a unique new approach has entered the scene, dubbed SPS-ALPHA, short for Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array…Artemis Innovation Management Solutions was selected for a NASA NIAC award to dive into the details of what Mankins labels "the first practical solar-power satellite concept."…Along with reviewing the conceptual feasibility of the SPS-ALPHA, the team will carry out select proof-of-concept technology experiments…SPS-ALPHA uses a large array of individually controlled thin-film mirrors, outfitted on the curved surface of the satellite. These movable mirrors intercept and redirect incoming sunlight toward photovoltaic cells affixed to the backside of the solar power satellite's large array…this new approach eliminates the need for a large integrated power management and distribution system. That significantly reduces the projected cost of the platform…the SPS-ALPHA concept…enables a solar-power satellite that can be assembled entirely from individual system elements that weigh no more than 110 to 440 pounds…allowing all pieces to be mass produced at dramatically lower cost than traditional space systems…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
56.    NVIDIA Pokes Holes in Intel's Manycore Story  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-04-03/nvidia_pokes_holes_in_intel_s_manycore_story.html  “As NVIDIA's upcoming Kepler-grade Tesla GPU prepares to do battle with Intel's Knight Corner, the companies are busy formulating their respective HPC accelerator stories. While NVIDIA has enjoyed the advantage of actually having products in the field to talk about, Intel has managed to capture the attention of some fence-sitters with assurances of high programmability, simple recompiles, and transparent scalability for its Many Integrated Core (MIC) coprocessors. But according to NVIDIA's Steve Scott, such promises ignore certain hard truths about how accelerator-based computing really works…Intel has been telling would-be MIC users that its upcoming Knights Corner coprocessor will deliver the performance of a GPU without the challenges of a having to adopt a new programming model…Intel says their compiler will be able generate MIC executables from legacy HPC source code…Essentially Intel is promising a free port to MIC. Not so fast, says Scott…According to him, porting applications for MIC, or even developing new ones, won't be any easier than programming GPUs, or for that matter, any accelerator…Scott is not arguing against the MIC as an accelerator, per se. He and most of the community are convinced that HPC needs a hybrid (or heterogeneous) computing to move performance forward without consuming unreasonable amounts of energy…Both GPUs and the MIC adhere to this paradigm; they just come at the problem from different architectural pedigrees…”
57.     GPUs free Supercomputing from limitation  http://www.thinkdigit.com/gpu-guru/professional-graphics/GPUs-free-Supercomputing-from-limitation_9199.html  “Computational scientists and researchers the world over are experiencing growing pains these days with high performance computing (HPC) applications…they quickly find that the applications don’t scale with the addition of extra CPU cores or cluster compute nodes (servers)…According to a study by analyst firm IDC, a mere one percent of HPC applications can scale to thousands of CPU-based nodes. The majority can run on only a single CPU node. And 16 percent can run only on a single core. HPC developers use threads (like OpenMP) to scale to multiple CPU cores and MPI to scale across 100s and sometimes 1000s of server nodes. While scaling applications isn’t easy, it is certainly possible, and the same parallel programming methods can be used to scale across GPU-accelerated servers too…researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Process Engineering were able to take their research into more efficient solar panel technologies and scale it to thousands of GPUs.  Likewise, researchers in France in aim to provide a better understanding of earthquakes and are accelerating their science on a grand scale with GPUs. One of Tokyo Tech’s research projects showed application scaling up to 1.8 million CUDA cores. Their work was recently validated through their being awarded the coveted Gordon Bell Prize…”

*****

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home