2012/04/17

NEW NET Weekly List for 17 Apr 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 17 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.        LogMeIn launches Cubby: File sync and share done right  http://news.cnet.com/8301-32972_3-57413221-297/logmein-launches-cubby-file-sync-and-share-done-right/  “…Holdouts…who want the capability to sync files outside of Dropbox's walled garden -- the Dropbox folder on your desktop -- have to look to other products. Likewise, people who want to store or sync more than 100GB of files…I've been using SugarSync, which does two things right: It lets you synchronize any folder on your computer…to its storage cloud and to your other computers. And it has storage plans that go up to 500GB…There's another way to do file sync, and that's to have your computers connect to each other directly (peer to peer) and synchronize when they are both online. The…advantage of peer-to-peer sync is that the technology provider doesn't have to pay for cloud storage, so it can be a…free product. The disadvantage is that users can't access P2P files from the Web, and that two computers set to sync with each other have to be online at the same time to share files. There's a good third solution: Hybrid sync, in which computers sync directly between themselves and also, optionally, to the cloud. Users get to choose which folders or files are stored in the cloud and which are shared between their own computers, and which get stored in multiple locations…now there's a new player in this space: LogMeIn, with its new product, Cubby. Cubby lets you sync any directory between multiple computers. By default, it also syncs directories to the cloud, so you can access them from the Web or from the mobile app (iPhone or Android). But you can turn off cloud sync for any folder to save space in your online account. Cubby…gives you 5GB of free cloud storage and an unlimited amount of computer-to-computer syncing. Prices for storage plans beyond 5GB have not yet been determined…Cubby will allow users to use their own encryption keys with the service, so even LogMeIn won't be able to serve up users' files, no matter who asks….Cubby could do well against Dropbox, since LogMeIn has a large audience to market to. The company recently reported 14 million active registered users (1 million of which are paying customers). Simon said that file sync is the No. 1 most requested new feature from his customers…”
2.       Digitizing your personal finance life  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/13/us-digital-life-personalfinance-idUSBRE83C0UX20120413  “Americans spent an average 22 hours last year filling out tax forms…at the office, we spend an average 30 minutes a week hunting for paperwork…A bad organizational system - or no system - is both time-consuming and costly. Here are some apps and other tools to eliminate the paper trail and make life a little less stressful…Weary of managing dozens of business and personal receipts each month while on the go, Esgar recently tried two receipt trackers: Shoeboxed and Lemon…Esgar says that Lemon has the upper hand…Rachel Weingarten…is a big fan of NeatReceipts, a mobile scanner and digital filing system that helps you manage all your paperwork on your computer effortlessly…she says it has become her "virtual assistant."…Do you have a big, bulky pile of plastic reward, club and membership cards dangling from your key chain?…Create scannable versions…with an app such as CardStar or KeyRing…While Mint remains one of the more popular apps for tracking your finances…Jennifer Ray, a recruiting executive from Appleton, Wisconsin, says she recently made the switch to Manilla. Ray…says that this online bill management app…is essentially the lifesaver she had been looking for. "I know when all the bills are due…I can easily check all the account balances, manage my 401k, my disability and life insurance, property and casualty insurance, my store cards, magazine subscriptions, mortgage and more…”
3.       Five Best Weather Web Sites  http://lifehacker.com/5897973/five-best-weather-web-sites  “…you probably have a weather site that you trust to deliver an accurate and useful forecast…we're going to take a look at the top five, based on your nominations…Weather.com…The venerable Weather Channel has a reputation with many of you for accuracy, simplicity, and ease of use. The site is straightforward, remembers your location, and offers an accurate hourly prediction for the day ahead, 48 hour forecast, and even 5-day and 10-day forecasts…Maps and radar are there if you need them, but the focus of the site is on current conditions, any severe weather alerts like storms…Weatherspark prides itself on its attractive graphs, maps, and charts, and they definitely deliver on that front…It's not the fastest way to get a forecast, but it's definitely one of the prettiest…Accuweather garnered both love and hate from many of you…you pointed to its mobile apps and widgets as being some of the most accessible for day-to-day use…but many of you criticized Accuweather for its forecast accuracy…for long-term projections…Weather Underground…Accurate forecasts, detailed information, current conditions and forecasts at the top and incredibly detailed data further down the page, and accurate information in rural areas down to the specific weather station that's closes to your house were all reasons many of you prefer Weather Underground to any other site…large interactive maps, terrain maps, storm tracks, regional, national, and international forecasts, and more make for an exceptional weather site….Weather.gov/NOAA…The data is incredibly complete, and most importantly, most of the source information that other services use to build their own forecasts…”
4.       Wavii: New Kind Of News Gatherer  http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/productivity_apps/232900083  “Imagine being able to follow topics rather than people on social networks. Imagine a Google Alert that arrived because Google actually had some understanding of your interests…That's basically what Wavii, entering open beta testing on Wednesday, makes possible..Wavii gathers its information from all over the Web--news, videos, tweets, and beyond--and then attempts to make sense of what it has found using machine learning techniques…It recognizes linguistic concepts and that understanding makes its assistance more valuable: Not only is Wavii good at finding information that matches a user's expressed interests but it also concisely summarizes that information…Wavii's capacity to understand, limited though it may be compared to the human brain, may help original reporting stand out from the sea of re-reporting in online news. The service automatically summaries online stories…and simultaneously emphasizes original stories over duplicates. According to the company, a single story on average is re-purposed into 126 different articles or blogs…”
5.        Yammer acquires OneDrum for Google Docs, Office tools  http://news.cnet.com/8301-32973_3-57412684-296/yammer-acquires-onedrum-for-google-docs-office-tools/  “Yammer is expanding its repertoire of file-sharing and collaboration services for businesses with the acquisition of OneDrum…OneDrum has developed a peer-to-peer desktop application that connects Google Docs with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), enabling users to be able to collaborate, co-edit and share these documents in real time…Yammer will be able to boost its own real-time document editor feature, Pages, with desktop sync capabilities, enabling file folders to be shared across multiple users' desktops…new versions and changes to documents can be viewed in the Yammer Ticker, and the platform will support reverting to previously saved versions. These documents can also be viewed on mobile devices, can be co-edited simultaneously, and can be full-text searchable within Yammer…Content can be deemed read-only by administrators, and viewing permissions are also controlled by group access. Thus, if a user is removed from a group or network, so is their access to the respective files…”
6.       When to Buy That Plane Ticket  http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/travel/book-well-ahead-to-save-money-on-airfare.html  “When is the best time to book that flight? It’s one of the most fraught decisions travelers face, as ticket prices often fluctuate right up to departure time. Recent fare analysis by the Airlines Reporting Corporation seems to challenge the conventional wisdom that the earlier you book, the less expensive your fare will be. In January, the corporation, which processes ticket transactions for airlines and travel agencies, reported that over the past four years passengers paid the lowest price for domestic flights when buying just about six weeks in advance…I asked the company to analyze fares for several trips, like a summer vacation to Europe and a winter escape in the Caribbean…the findings indicate that the window for booking the cheapest ticket for these trips has increased over the past three years; in some cases it’s up to 24 weeks…travel watchers agree that booking well in advance is a safe bet. So far this year, airlines have raised rates three times, said Rick Seaney…I think pricing is going to be crazy,” particularly this summer…there are also some useful online tools that can help you evaluate fares…Bing.com offers a Price Predictor that uses algorithms to determine how likely a fare is to rise or fall during the next seven days…If you decide to wait in the hopes of a price drop, sign up for fare alerts offered by practically every travel site…Yapta.com, another price-tracking service, alerts travelers when the price of their plane tickets drop after purchase, allowing travelers to request an airline voucher for the price difference. For the cheapest dates to fly, go to Itasoftware.com, which allows you to scan an entire month’s worth of fares…buying two one-way fares on separate airlines can be cheaper than the best round-trip price. Kayak.com calls such tickets “hacker fares…”
Gigabit Internet
7.        Chattanooga Public Library set to upgrade to gigabit-per-second Internet  http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/apr/07/chattanooga-public-library-set-upgrade-gigabit-sec/  “Chattanooga’s new library director wants a library worthy of its city. To Corinne Hill, that means a gig library in a gig city, a library where anyone can use wireless communications to find what he wants. “I can’t offer you an e-book if it’s going to take you an hour to download,” she said. “That’s not service. That’s torture.”…Mark Keil, the city’s chief information officer, said the infrastructure for the library network should be completed within three weeks. A wireless facility would produce cost savings because the city’s Information Technology Department won’t have to replace wires throughout the building…Hill said the extra bandwidth and wireless technology will result in efficiency and better customer service…”
8.       Colorado gigabit network  http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2012/04/16/eagle-net-alliance-begins-network.html?page=all  “Gov. John Hickenlooper and federal officials…kicked off the main construction of a $130 million broadband network for schools and public institutions in Colorado. Federal stimulus money is paying for most of the Broomfield-based Eagle-Net Alliance’s 4,600-mile Internet network for rural parts of the state…a combination of built and leased fiber-optic lines as well as microwave relays…is designed to provide affordable, 1-gigabit-per-second data speeds to public schools, libraries, health care centers, government offices and other designated “anchor institutions” in 170 rural communities…the nonprofit Eagle-Net won the nation’s fifth-largest stimulus grant for broadband, receiving $101 million from NTIA. At least another $30 million will come from private matching contributions…The Eagle-Net network is expected to be running and self-sustaining by late 2013…Eagle-Net estimates the project will create the equivalent of 659 direct jobs and 371 indirect jobs during design and construction, and lead to economic activity that’ll support another 549 jobs…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
9.       US Dept of Justice Files Antitrust Suit Against Apple and 5 Publishers Over E-Book Pricing  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304444604577337573054615152.html  “The U.S. accused Apple Inc. and five of the nation's largest publishers Wednesday of conspiring to raise e-book prices…the Justice Department alleged that CEOs of the publishing companies met regularly in private dining rooms of upscale Manhattan restaurants to discuss how to respond to steep discounting of their e-books by Amazon.com Inc…The executives also called and emailed each other to craft a solution to what one of them called "the wretched $9.99 price point,"…The lawsuit upends an industry already undergoing wrenching change as printed books give way to electronic books that can be transmitted anywhere in seconds…Three of the publishers settled with the Justice Department…Amazon called the settlement a victory for consumers…It promised to renew discounting…The suit cited a passage in the biography of Apple's late chief executive, Steve Jobs…"We'll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that's what you want anyway."…The government said publishing executives knew what they were doing was wrong and took "steps to conceal their communications with one another, including instructions to 'double delete' email."…one publishing executive said he was angry at the potential competition and expressed his desire "to screw Amazon," the suit said…In 2009, before the new pricing, Amazon was estimated to have around 90% of the e-book market. Its share has now slipped to around 60%, according to…a New York-based publishing consultancy. He estimated that Barnes & Noble has between 25% and 30%, and Apple has much of the remainder. One question is whether Apple will remain in the bookselling business if it is forced to match Amazon's discounted prices. Apple's e-book market share is small and immaterial to its business, analysts say…”
10.     E-Book Pricing: Apple's Lawsuit Is Only Half The Picture  http://www.informationweek.com/byte/news/personal-tech/digital-content/232900176  “…The lawsuit claims…Apple and a slew of publishers…colluded to shift publishing away from the wholesale model…Such a play was bad news for both Amazon and for customers. I shed few tears for Amazon…Customers…though…pay significantly higher prices…for…the same book. The bigger problem is that the economics of e-books is now being tugged wildly in two different directions. On the one hand, we have collusive moves like this that drives up the prices of e-book…On the other hand, we have scads of 99-cent e-books cluttering up the digital marketplace…$10 is far from unrealistic as a price point for a bestseller…Digital distribution takes out most of the cost of manufacturing and fulfillment, but there's still a lot of other work that needs to be done…What I'm hoping is how the suit against Apple starts a conversation about how both the high-end gouging and the low-end undercutting in the e-book space…”
11.      Facebook supports horrible proposed Internet bill CISPA  http://boingboing.net/2012/04/13/facebook-supports-horrible-pro.html  “CISPA, the pending US cybersecurity bill, is a terrible law, with many of the worst features of SOPA -- surveillance and domain seizures and censorship…it is being supported by…Facebook. DemandProgress is asking its supporters to write to Facebook and ask them to withdraw their support. What is Facebook thinking?...the new bill that would obliterate online privacy, give the military crazy new abilities to spy on the Internet, and potentially let ISPs block sites and cut off users accused of piracy…”
12.     Inside Washington's high risk mission to beat web censors  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/15/commotion-wireless-new-america-foundation  “…an office building on L Street in Washington DC, six blocks away from the White House…is the HQ of a US government-funded technology project aimed at undermining internet censorship in countries such as Iran and Syria. And so every week – sometimes every day – email inquiries arrive there that purport to be from pro-democracy activists in those places, but which, the recipients are confident, actually come from spies…It's a long shot, but it's much easier than intercepting phone calls, cultivating double agents or infiltrating opposition groups…But if you wanted a sign of the strangeness of this moment in history, you could not hope for one more telling than this: the spies who email the L Street office always get their questions answered, promptly and in detail. "Everything is completely open – all the code, everything," says Sascha Meinrath, who runs the project…"If it's a really good question, we'll put it on our frequently asked questions page. Hard questions help us get better."…Such are the strange bedfellows of the era: on one hand, the US government is funding Commotion Wireless, which will enable anyone with a smartphone to connect with other smartphones, forming a "mesh network" – an impromptu internet – to communicate by stealth, regardless of efforts to monitor or shut down traffic. On the other hand, the FBI recently distributed flyers warning that the use of "anonymisers", encryption or "multiple cell phones" might be "indicators of terrorist activities"…Meinrath's team gave Commotion a trial run at the Occupy DC encampment – meaning the state department was effectively facilitating the protest…fractious arguments about the internet dominate headlines these days, but ultimately they are all battles in a single war. Debates about China's "Great Firewall", about WikiLeaks, about intellectual property and piracy, about the UK government's plans to expand email surveillance powers, about Facebook and privacy, pornography and terrorism, Anonymous and LulzSec, all boil down to the fundamental question of whether the internet should be "open" – a place of unfettered expression, self-organising order and plenty of chaos – or "closed" and controlled, subjugated to existing frameworks of politics, policing and law. Common sense might dictate some middle way…But it is by no means clear that this is possible. Can you facilitate "Twitter revolutions" without also facilitating organised crime? Can you weaken dictators without weakening democratic governments? Can you support an open internet abroad but not net neutrality – which stops internet providers making it easier or harder to access certain sites – at home…”
13.     Nest officially answers patent lawsuit: 'Honeywell is worse than a troll'  http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/12/2942861/nest-answers-patent-lawsuit-honeywell-troll  “Upstart smart thermostat maker Nest has received almost-universally glowing praise for its Learning Thermostat since it launched last year — and it also received a major patent complaint from Honeywell, which claims Nest is walking all over its intellectual property. Not so, says Nest: the company just filed its official answer to Honeywell's complaint today, and in addition to arguing that it isn't infringing Honeywell's patents, it also stridently argues that most of those patents are "hopelessly invalid." What's more, Nest also claims that Honeywell is misusing its patents to stifle innovation — a strategy Nest claims Honeywell has used to squeeze out new competitors for years…Fadell knows a thing or two about patent lawsuits — as the former head of Apple's iPod and iPhone programs, he says he faced "an infringement letter probably every week." So it's no surprise he and the Nest team have turned to former Apple chief patent counsel Richard "Chip" Lutton Jr., who is joining the company as VP and general counsel…Lutton says he thinks Honeywell's patents are "not very impressive" and "not very relevant" to what Nest is doing. "We think there's an answer to why Honeywell would do this... they jump in and try to scare new entrants back out of the market."…Fadell says Honeywell never called Nest prior to filing the lawsuit, and thus far has "rebuffed all attempts" to discuss the pending litigation. "They are not trying to get money out of us," says Fadell. "They are trying to maintain the status quo…In seven decades, there appears to be little more technological improvement to the flagship Honeywell thermostat than the replacement of a mechanical display with an LCD."…programmable thermostats sold by Honeywell have failed to find favor with consumers, leading the company to enter what Nest calls "damage control mode" after reviewers heaped praise on the Nest thermostat…”
14.     Terms of service violations not a crime, appeals court rules  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/04/terms-of-service-violations-not-a-crime-appeals-court-rules.ars  “Violating an employer's computer use policy or a website's terms of service is not a hacking crime covered by US statutes, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday…a former employee of an executive search firm who convinced some of his former colleagues to use their login credentials to download names and contact data from the company's confidential database. Federal prosecutors indicted him on charges involving…violations of the 1984 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which outlaws computer use that "exceeds authorized access." A lower court judge dismissed the CFAA charges…A majority of judges hearing an appeal of that dismissal upheld the decision, arguing that to hold otherwise would criminalize even casual terms of service violations imposed by social networking services, online retailers, and search engines…This would make criminals of large groups of people who would have little reason to suspect they are committing a federal crime…"Lying on social media websites is common," Kozinski wrote. "People shave years off their age, add inches to their height and drop pounds from their weight. The difference between puffery and prosecution may depend on whether you happen to be someone an [assistant United States attorney] has reason to go after." The majority opinion also notes that many service terms are "private policies that are lengthy, opaque, subject to change, and seldom read…Basing criminal liability on violations of private computer use policies can transform whole categories of otherwise innocuous behavior into federal crimes simply because a computer is involved," the opinion continued…”
15.     Companies turn to hired hackers to protect computer systems  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cover-cyber-hackers-20120415,0,6825034.story  “Most weekdays, Jarrad Sims and Tin Tam, a pair of college buddies, ride their bikes to a computer center and try to hack into computer security systems belonging to Boeing Co. Rather than having them arrested, Boeing is paying them to do it — a situation that the car-loving, video-gaming friends have pronounced "awesome." For two years, the young engineers have worked side by side in a secluded unit where they design and thoroughly test ironclad security systems for the largest aerospace company in the world…Sims, 25, and Tam, 24, spend much of their days devising, revising and analyzing complicated security programs that they then use their well-honed skills to attempt to crack. The pair from Cal Poly Pomona were hired after they aced a cyber-security competition held by Boeing…It's not just monolithic corporations at risk. Even small businesses are liable for lost or stolen data…Visa recently stated that 95% of credit card thefts originate at small businesses…"There's an arms race in cyber right now," he said. "And the talent isn't just found at the MITs or Stanfords anymore. It's a whole new skill set." A generation ago, the brightest engineers in the aerospace industry were typically recruited from Ivy League universities and other prestigious institutions…Raytheon Co.'s president of intelligence information systems businesses said…her company's most impressive cyber-security hires have come from outside of traditional recruiting outlets. One recruit was a man who didn't have a college education and didn't graduate from high school. He had a GED and worked at a pharmaceutical plant stuffing pills into bottles…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
16.     Boeing To Release A Super-Secure Android Smartphone Later This Year  http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/12/boeing-to-release-a-super-secure-android-smartphone-later-this-year/  “…Boeing is currently working on an highly-secure Android-based smartphone…it should see a release later this year…the Boeing Phone (the company hasn’t officially decided on a name yet) is nearing the end of its development cycle…Boeing kept an eye on big competitors in the secure communications market, who often price their proprietary devices in the five-figure range. Thanks in part to the inclusion of a free (not to mention robust) mobile operating system, Boeing plans to introduce their smartphone at a much lower price…”
17.     Sony's New SmartWatch Brings Android to Your Wrist  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402952,00.asp  “Do you find it too much of a hassle to pull out your phone every time you need to read a text or email?...now you can just check your watch. Sony on Thursday launched its SmartWatch, a wearable timepiece that allows owners to read their text messages, emails, and social media updates — all from their wrist. The SmartWatch connects to Android smartphones via Bluetooth…The face of the watch is actually an OLED touch screen measuring 1.3 inches. To alert users of incoming calls or other events, the device vibrates and displays a notification on the screen…With just a tap, touch and swipe, SmartWatch turns from a watch displaying the time to a remote information center for your Android smartphone…”
18.     Samsung Rugby Smart review  http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-samsung-rugby-smart-phone-review-with-video-bentley-continental-gtc-20120331,0,6321090.story  “…In my defense, I was told I could drive over the rugged smartphone with a car and it'd come out OK…In the Rugby Smart's defense, the Bentley Continental GT Convertible weighs more than 2 tons. As soon as the first tire rolled over the Rugby Smart, I heard a crunching noise that struck both excitement and fear into my bones…before the Rugby Smart was put out of commission, it was a solid little handset…the Rugby Smart offers one of the most durable gadgets I've ever laid my hands on…It passed all the durability tests I threw at it (except for the Bentley), including dropping it from about six feet in the air…Performance of the phone itself, however, was poor by today's standards. Unless you really, truly and genuinely need a phone that can survive the natural elements, I would steer clear of the Rugby Smart…it's running an older version of Google's Android operating system -- Android 2.3 Gingerbread…The 3.7-inch touchscreen looks great, with bright colors and nice contrast, but it's low in resolution at 480 x 800 pixels…the operating system moved sluggishly, with power coming from 512-megabytes of RAM and a 1.4-gigahertz processor…Battery life was good. I regularly went through a day before I needed to charge back up…After spending a couple weeks testing out the Rugby Smart, the only reason I see to take it for the next two years of your life is if you know you'll be abusing your phone day in and day out…”
19.     Samsung prices Android 4.0 Galaxy Tab 2 tablets aggressively  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2012/04/samsung-prices-android-40-galaxy-tab-2-tablets-aggressively.ars  “…the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and 10.1 will be available in the US within the next few weeks…The dual-core tablets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will arrive separately…The Tab 2 7.0 will have a 1024x600 resolution display and 8GB of storage. The Tab 2 10.1 will have 16GB of internal storage and a 1280x800 display…Both tablets are WiFi-only and have 3.2-megapixel cameras on the back, 1GHz dual-core processors, and microSD slots that can expand storage by up to 32GB. The 7-inch model is available for preorder today at $249.99, meant to attack the market that has risen up around the successful Kindle Fire. The Tab 2 10.1 will launch May 13 and cost $399.99, undercutting Apple's latest iPad and the Excite 10 tablet Toshiba is fielding May 6…”
Apps
20.    Tracking everything, Placeme is the smartphone assistant of the future  http://gigaom.com/mobile/tracking-everything-placeme-is-the-smartphone-assistant-of-the-future/  “Placeme for iOS and Android may be both the scariest and amazingly futuristic smartphone app I’ve seen yet. The free software uses every sensor in your handset to track your activities, location and environment. There’s no checking in or other action you need to take; Placeme…simply records everything in the background…Placeme is a complete personal tracking solution. Robert Scoble recently posted this 32-minute video with…Placeme’s founder…you’ll see Liang show you where he’s been and what he’s done for the past day, as captured automatically by Placeme…the scary part is that the app essentially learns everything about you: Where you shop, your route to work, who you visit, etc. Liang says the data isn’t shared or broadcast and that it’s encrypted…this may be the most pervasive type of mobile software to date. But I’m inclined to agree…this is the future…the world is fundamentally changing due to the Internet and our ability to share information seamlessly. If you can get past this change there’s the potential for a world of useful information. Liang mentions that the app could check your route home from work in advance to check for traffic. Or…it can alert you that another gas station nearby has cheaper gas than the station you just pulled into. When the phone has this type of history, it can truly be a smart personal assistant. Will people be willing to give up privacy for this type of help? Over time, I think so…” [so I think it would be a truly interesting experiment for the US government to give Placeme or a similar app 100% information privacy/immunity such that you knew no government agency (other than No Such Agency…) would ask for or try to get your personal info, and for the app to be set up such that you had 100% confidence that the information was 100% secure (via super-strong encryption before it leaves your smartphone); doing this would encourage widespread participation and we could develop some truly interesting uses for one’s personal data. Hard to say if it would change society for the better, but it would be cool to try – ed.]
21.     Android gives 'no permissions' apps access to sensitive info  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57412799-83/android-gives-no-permissions-apps-access-to-sensitive-info/  “…Google's mobile operating system has been criticized as insecure…it appears that apps with no permissions pose a new threat, gaining access to sensitive personal information without authorization…researcher Paul Brodeur explained…he created a proof-of-concept to demonstrate that "no permissions" apps still have access to the device's SD card, handset identification data, and files stored by other apps. On the SD card, Brodeur's app yielded a list of all non-hidden files, including photos, backups, and external configuration files…OpenVPN certificates were stored on his own device's SD card. "While it's possible to fetch the contents of all those files, I'll leave it to someone else to decide what files should be grabbed and which are going to be boring,"…He then fetched the /data/system/packages.list file to which apps were installed on the device and scanned the directories to determine whether sensitive information could be read from those directories. He said during testing that he was able to read some files belonging to other apps…”
SkyNet
22.    Google+ gets 'more functional, flexible' design  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9226110/Google_gets_more_functional_flexible_design  “…Google…has started rolling out a redesign of its Google+ social network…the Google+ upgrades [attempt to] improve the site's navigation, make it easier to join online discussions and adds a dedicated Hangout page…The redesign sports more white space and moves the traditional five-button navigation bar from the top of the page to a new "navigation ribbon" along the left-side. The buttons, including Circles, Profile, Hangouts and Photos, can now be hidden or rearranged…Google appears to be moving Google+ more in line with the look and feel of other Google services…such as Google Docs,"…Overall, the new UI for Google+ is very clean, easier to understand and more in line with the way Google+ can and should be used relative to other Google Apps programs…”
23.    Google co-founders explain company's first stock split  http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-google-stock-split-to-preserve-power-of-cofounders-20120412,0,4840792.story   “Google Inc. announced a stock split designed to preserve the control of co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin over the No. 1 Web search engine…Shares of Google…finished Thursday's regular session at $651.01…Net revenue, excluding fees paid to partner websites, totaled $8.14 billion in the three months ended March 31, compared with $6.54 billion in the year-ago period…Net income was $2.89 billion, or $8.75 per share, compared with $1.80 billion, or $5.51 a share, in the year-ago period…"When we went public, we created a dual-class voting structure. Our goal was to maintain the freedom to focus on the long term by ensuring that the management team, in particular Eric, Sergey and I, retained control over Google's destiny," Page said in a letter explaining the moves. "We are creating a corporate structure that is designed for stability over long time horizons…”  http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/04/13/the-morning-download-googles-stock-split-a-boon-to-cios/  “…the split is intended to protect Google management from “outside pressures and the temptation to sacrifice future opportunities to meet short-term demands” and maintain the company’s “pioneering spirit.” This means Page, not Wall Street, will decide whether Google will continue investing in ventures like Google Apps or enterprise search, which don’t pay off for Google in the short term, but may — or have — become an important part of the business technology ecosystem. It’s hard to find a CIO these days who isn’t testing some portion of Apps within their organization, even if it’s only for email, because of the tremendous savings…”
24.    Using Trello and Google Docs Every Day  http://www.uservoice.com/blog/founders/trello-google-docs-product-management/  “Last fall I returned from vacation to find that our Product Manager, Dejana, had replaced my precious Google Doc “Roadmap” with a Trello board. It should be noted that my initial reaction to this new process was not positive. My issues weren’t really with Trello but rather how we were using it. Trello is a VERY open ended product. Trello, purposefully, doesn’t prescribe a “right” way to use it so it requires you to get inside and move the furniture around a bit to get it feeling like home. However…I think we’ve finally arrived at a process we’re very happy with and I thought we should share how it works and what we’ve learned along the way…Our development process spans 6 different Trello boards. The focal point of all of these boards is the Current Development board. The goal of all the other boards is to feed cards…into the Current Development board and specifically into its Next Up column. The Next Up column is THE single prioritized list that all of the product team (developers & designers) looks at when they’re ready to take a new card to work on…Lessons Learned…Always @mention someone in a card comment if you actually want a response…Have a single prioritized list for the product team to work from…Don’t have a separate system for bugs…Have a set amount of time per week that will be spent on bugs…Only add new cards to (and re-sort) the Next Up column once a week…Good specs tell the (customer) and business story rather than act as an implementation recipe…Don’t try to do project estimates…Before, when we did actual sprints, we’d spend a LOT of time (almost a whole day per 2-week sprint) doing estimates and planning in a futile attempt to draw a line and say “We’ll get through all of these cards in the next two weeks”. It was a lot of work and it was almost always wrong anyways so instead we decided to embrace the uncertainty…”
25.    Google Rolls Out A New Bike!  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/04/17/businessinsidergoogle-rolls-out-a-n.DTL  “…Google is rolling out a brand new bicycle! The catch: it's only for employees on the company's Mountain View campus…Google's campus is the perfect size for them -- too big to walk, too small to drive around -- and employees really do use them to shuttle between meetings and visit friends in other groups…Google held an employee competition to design a new one.  It had to be easy to build, affordable, comfortable, and secure. More than 30 employees submitted designs, and the winning team got a $500 gift certificate…”
General Technology
26.    IGZO Displays  http://www.pcworld.com/article/253708/japans_sharp_begins_mass_production_of_igzo_displays_amid_rumors_of_apple_use.html  “Sharp…has begun mass production of displays using IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) technology…Sharp began producing displays using the technology last month at one if its massive factories in…Japan…the new technology allows for twice the detail of existing panels at the same transparency, which means high-resolution devices can be designed that require less power and space for backlighting. The company said the new displays cut power consumption by up to 90 percent versus those currently in use. Less lighting and smaller battery requirements allow for thinner devices…”
27.    Plastic electronics: a neat solution  http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/plastic-electronics-a-neat-solution/  “A breakthrough in the development of a new generation of plastic electronic circuits…brings flexible and transparent intelligent materials – such as artificial skin and interactive playing cards - a step closer…plastic electronics is an expanding technology that is bringing us a myriad of products incorporating flexible and transparent electronic circuits in which the active materials are deposited as printable inks onto polymer-based substrates using various printing technologies…plastic technology relies on novel organic materials which can be printed, just as coloured inks can be printed on paper. Plastic electronic circuits have the potential to be printed in a small laboratory containing one or two printing tools, whereas state-of-the-art microchip factories are about the size of three football fields and require purpose-built facilities…A breakthrough by researchers…lays the foundation for plastic electronic circuits that are fast, flexible and have low power consumption – as well as being cheap and relatively straightforward to produce…This is an ink that can be printed and requires little more than room temperature to reach its peak performance…our new material opens up the possibility for developing all kinds of intelligent products such as clothing items that interact with their wearer…interactive playing cards or self-powered customisable business cards.”…It is not likely to replace silicon chips in computational-hungry applications such as PCs, but is has the potential to open up a whole new range of exciting applications of plastic electronics which will be cheaper and easier to manufacture, flexible and easy to customise.”
28.    Emperor Penguins Counted From Space—A First  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/04/120413-emperor-penguins-survey-antarctica-animals-space-science/  “…scientists have taken the first-ever penguin census from space…the high-resolution satellite images reveal that there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than previously thought…the new work used a technique called pansharpening, which offers high enough resolution for the scientists to differentiate between penguin poop, ice, and the birds themselves…From these pictures, the scientists counted about 595,000 emperor penguins—almost double the previous estimates of 270,000 to 350,000 animals made in 1992…their group living, coupled with distinct black-and-white plumage, makes the penguins easy to spot from the air…The use of new technology like satellite mapping allows scientists to determine locations and numbers of emperor penguins in a way previously impossible,"…With the new satellite-based strategy, "we can start monitoring [the penguins] through time…”
Leisure & Entertainment
29.    Gaps in Netflix's online library likely to persist  http://www.times-standard.com/technology/ci_20357380/gaps-netflixs-online-library-likely-persist  “…Netflix offers more than 60,000 titles that can be viewed on Internet-connected devices, while its DVD-by-mail service has more than twice that—some 140,000. Competitive tensions and Netflix's own financial limitations account for the huge disparity…Major movie studios are refusing to license the rights to most of their latest movies at the same time they're released on DVDs. Premium cable channels such as HBO and Showtime also are withholding their most popular series, including "Game of Thrones" and "Dexter,"…The mere $8 per month that Netflix charges for unlimited online viewing is one of the main reasons the service has attracted more than 23 million streaming subscribers, out of a total of 26 million…Netflix's streaming subscribers watch an average of 30 hours of Internet video each month, which works out to just 27 cents per hour…The streaming catalog now features recent seasons of many acclaimed TV shows…Coming attractions include "The Artist," winner of this year's Oscar for best picture, and another original series called "House of Cards" starring Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey. Netflix also has struck a deal to revive the critically acclaimed TV series, "Arrested Development,"…he believes the recent loss of the streaming rights to movies and TV shows from Starz Entertainment will cost Netflix some subscribers. The Starz contract expired Feb. 29…Netflix had been paying an estimated $30 million annually; Starz is believed to have demanded as much as $300 million a year to renew…” [Netflix should consider a program to encourage indie tv show makers to create two or three-part pilot shows based on the most-watched genres or types of films, promote those pilots to customers whose viewing habits indicate they might like that type of pilot, then do follow-up contracts with the makers of the series that turn out to be popular, thereby creating a new sector of low-cost original content series – ed.]
30.    Fourth Wall does the 'Dirty Work' of innovation  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-fourth-wall-20120415,0,1360215.story  “…Call it transmedia, interactive media or the indescribable next leap in entertainment, but this Culver City start-up is trying to make it. Backed by tens of millions from perhaps Los Angeles' wealthiest man, staffed with refugees from the film, television and video game industries and about to launch its first public project, Fourth Wall is trying to create a new form of interactive programming that fits the era of apps, friends lists and watching two or three screens at the same time…"We're saying this is what the future of storytelling looks like. This is how you engage with audiences on not just one platform, but across multiple platforms."…"Dirty Work" was made on a six-figure-per-episode budget by experienced, if not exactly A-list, Hollywood talent…People who load "Dirty Work" from the dozens of websites where it will be available starting April 30 and watch it on a computer or tablet could just sit back and watch what's essentially a half-hour sitcom…the first time most people watch this, they're not going to give us their phone number," said Lee. Those ready to type in their valuable 10 digits can "intercept" text messages between characters. From a girl hiding out at a crime scene who texts with a friend before she actually appears on screen, for instance. Or they can take a call and, while watching him bumble in front of a girl, hear the mental scrambling going on inside of actor Hank Harris' character's head: "Wow, look at her.... She's almost messed up enough to date me." The creators…are taking on the ultimate challenge…how to engage young audiences who want to do more than be passively fed stories…hearing or seeing additional information on a different device than the one you're watching on could make the experience more immersive or engage viewers who might otherwise regularly glance down for the latest updates on Twitter and Facebook…Viewers — or are they players? — score points for every extra task they perform, racking up achievements they can share on a Facebook profile. Receiving texts and calls also allows them to unlock bonus scenes that tie into the narrative but aren't critical to it…"Dirty Work" is only a first step for the extensive interactive elements Fourth Wall plans to put in its next-gen entertainment. Six to eight more series are scheduled to come out this year in genres including horror, musical and reality…Others will use "augmented reality" technology the company is working on called Elsewhere. It uses the cameras ubiquitous on smartphones and tablets to integrate entertainment into the world around you. Imagine looking at the screen on your iPad and seeing your bedroom transformed into a spaceship or medieval castle…Stewartson, Lee and their co-founder Sean Stewart were part of the team that in 2003 founded 42 Entertainment, a pioneer in so-called alternate reality games that merge the digital with the real world as part of marketing campaigns. That company made its mark with 2004's "I Love Bees," an ARG designed to promote video game Halo 2 that had players scouring websites, solving puzzles and using GPS coordinates to find pay phones that would ring at certain times…”
Economy and Technology
31.     'Cash mobs' mobilize to boost small businesses — and to socialize  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cash-mob-20120414,0,1127668.story  “…this mob wasn't an angry one. It had gathered on a recent Saturday afternoon to spend money at a small cafe and boutique. Dubbed a "cash mob," members of the group…had arranged the event through social media. Over the course of an hour, the shoppers plucked soy candles, pillows, purses and ornate jewelry from the shelves. By the time they were through, they had dropped $1,200 — nearly double what Made by DWC brings in on a typical day. "We sold out of a lot of products," said Patrick Shandrick, spokesman for…the shop. This event was "more of what the holidays are like." Similar to so-called flash mobs…cash mobs bring together strangers. But the purpose is serious: to support locally owned businesses with a quick injection of cash…Cash mobs have cleverly harnessed social media to make small businesses the meme of the moment. Tough economic times have raised awareness about the plight of Main Street merchants…About 200 cash mobs have sprung up across the U.S. since last summer…Andrew Samtoy, a Cleveland attorney…organized his own cash mob in November as a way to get strangers to meet for a fun outing that would also help boost the local economy…In Los Angeles, Lisa Gilmore, a friend of Samtoy's, coordinates Los Angeles Cash Mobs on Facebook, Twitter and Meetup. Participants agree to spend at least $20 at a local business and are told to meet at a particular intersection on a specific day and time. The name of the business isn't revealed until just before the event to add a sense of adventure to the outing. After shopping, participants head for a local bar to celebrate their new purchases…the outings also create a sense of community…Gilmore has received a handful of requests from entrepreneurs hoping she brings a mob to them. But she said she prefers to keep the process "organic," scouting shops that need foot traffic and marketing…”
32.    Smartwatch breaks record for Kickstarter funding  http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-17740574  “An electronic paper watch designed by a Canadian entrepreneur to work alongside smartphones has raised more than $3m…in less than a week on net funding site Kickstarter…Eric Migicovsky initially sought $10,000 over a five-week period but the total, six days in, now stands at $3.4m. It is the fifth Kickstarter project to make more than $1m. The Pebble watch reached the $1m mark in 28 hours. The firm behind the device, which has been designing smartwatches for three years, said that it was "blown away" by the support…The watch will go head to head with an Android-compatible device released in April by electronic giant Sony…Mr Migicovsky said that he turned to Kickstarter after failing to raise interest among more traditional Silicon Valley investors. "We tried to raise money, it was impossible. No-one really wants to fund hardware projects right now, except for the people that want to buy them,"…He said he would use the cash injection to boost Pebble's team of six by several more engineers to develop new features for the watches…”
DHMN Technology
33.    The Milwaukee Makerspace, an Urban Community Workshop  http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2012/04/10/the-milwaukee-makerspace-an-urban-community-workshop/  “…my own workshop is not as impressive as my predecessors. It’s in a little corner of my basement with a portable workbench and a small selection of tools. I do have an old table saw and a few other nicer power tools. But, I can’t really utilize it as a proper workshop because the basement is also home to our laundry area, arts & crafts area, a small photo studio, and our primary storage space, so I can’t exactly send sawdust flying everywhere, and even if I could, I don’t think I could fit anything larger than a few 6 foot 2x4s down there. Now imagine your dream workshop… only instead of being in your basement, it’s in a large, wide-open building. Maybe you’re more interested in metalwork, like welding or casting, or you might be into 3D printing or need a place to create large-scale art, or wish you had a laser-cutter or a computer-controlled router…These dream workshops do exist. In cities around the country, these “makerspaces” are popping up wherever people come together with a desire to share knowledge, tools, space, and ideas. Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, and Madison all have such spaces, and we’ve even got one right here–Milwaukee Makerspace. Even if you won the lottery and decided to trick out your home workshop with every tool you could image, you’d still be missing the the most important element of a makerspace: the community. At the Milwaukee Makerspace there are over 40 members willing to share their varied skills with you. Maybe you’ve got a project idea that requires welding, but you’ve never welded before. Not a problem! There are many members who can give you a lesson and show you how it’s done. The story is the same for the woodworking equipment, the electronics lab, the laser cutter and the CNC router…(And hopefully you’ll be willing to do the same for others…)  One thing the members believe is that we learn better when we learn together…” [go, Pete!! – ed.]
34.    US military developing multi-focus augmented reality contact lenses  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/126043-us-military-developing-multi-focus-augmented-reality-contact-lenses  “…the US Department of Defense and Innovega have begun work on a system, called iOptik, that gives humans the ability to focus on the near foreground and distant background at the same time. The plan is that soldiers will be able to use these contact lenses to focus on a head-up display (HUD) projected on a pair of spectacles, while retaining wide-angle vision of the background…To do this, Innovega has developed a contact lens that has two different focusing lenses. One lens focuses foreground light into the middle of your pupil, while the other lens focuses the background onto the edge of your pupil. This way, two focused images arrive at your retina — and presumably…your brain has no problem processing these two images. There’s a video embedded below that demonstrates this dual-focus functionality…The other half of the iOptik system is a HUD, which seems to be projected onto a pair of glasses using some kind of pico projector…”
35.    A New Microchip Knows Just Where You Are, Indoors and Out  http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/40075/  “Broadcom has just rolled out a chip for smart phones that promises to indicate location ultra-precisely, possibly within a few centimeters, vertically and horizontally, indoors and out. The unprecedented accuracy of the Broadcom 4752 chip results from the sheer breadth of sensors from which it can process information. It can receive signals from global navigation satellites, cell-phone towers, and Wi-Fi hot spots, and also input from gyroscopes, accelerometers, step counters, and altimeters…In theory, the new chip can even determine what floor of a building you're on, thanks to its ability to integrate information from the atmospheric pressure sensor on many models of Android phones. The company calls abilities like this "ubiquitous navigation," and the idea is that it will enable a new kind of e-commerce predicated on the fact that shopkeepers will know the moment you walk by their front door, or when you are looking at a particular product, and can offer you coupons at that instant…Broadcom is already the largest provider of GPS chips to smart-phone makers. Its new integrated circuit relies on sensors that aren't present in every new smart phone, so it won't perform the same in all devices…”
36.    Owning a hacker space  http://www.geekwire.com/2012/owning-hackerspace-interview-matt-westervelt/  “When you walk into Metrix Create: Space in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, it’s hard to know exactly what you’ve gotten yourself into. With long tables piled with electronics, 3D printers tucked in corners, a vending machine that offers Arduino shields alongside M&Ms, and a large, looming Pick and Place peeking out from inside a glass room, you’ve either stepped into the future or onto the deck of the Enterprise. Matt Westervelt, owner and founder of Metrix, considers it one part tech shop, one part hackerspace, one part coffee shop but 100 percent open to the public…Projects here range from writing software to laser cutting; from casting 3D ducks to soldering; from designing Arduino boards to 3D printing…Metrix came about because I started a project called Seattle Wireless in 2000, and it had this weekly thing we called “HackNight.” We had a space back in the early 2000s in Georgetown, which had computers and couches and fast internet. It was kind of like this but not open to the public. It was more oriented towards hacking on Wi-Fi, mesh networking and computer stuff. Eventually we dropped that space and started hanging out every week at cafés…. In 2009, I got a laser and thought: “What am I going to do with this laser?” One thing was to build a 3D printer, the other one was to start asking people: “What would you do if you had a laser?” It turns out that people all had different answers and really just wanted occasional access to laser – then I found this place…”
Open Source Hardware
37.    Raspberry Pi review  http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/pcs/2012/04/16/raspberry-pi-review/1  “…the Raspberry Pi promises much: for the bargain-basement price of just $35, you get a powerful system with high-performance graphics, general-purpose input-output capabilities, HDMI video output with 1080p full HD support, and more. Compared to rival development boards like the open-source Beagleboard or Samsung's Exynos-based Origen, the Pi has a clear advantage…at between a third and a quarter the cost of its rivals - and, in some cases, a tenth or less - it's exquisitely affordable…So, does the Pi live up to the hype surrounding its launch?...Simply put, the Pi is a marvel: there's nothing else on the planet which offers the same capabilities for an equal price…it's hard to imagine why anyone with an interest in technology wouldn't buy one.”
38.    10,000 people to get $35 Raspberry Pi computer next week  http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-raspberry-pis-35-computer-starts-shipping-today-20120413,0,2319213.story  “The much hyped and eagerly awaited Raspberry Pi -- a $35 computer the size of a credit card -- is finally moving…into consumers' hands. If you were one of the lucky 10,000 people who were able to pre-order the first run of the Raspberry Pi back in March, you should be receiving your mini-computer by April 20…by mini, we mean miniature and stripped down. The Raspberry Pi computer is built around the ARM chip that is used in most mobile phones. There is no cover for the computer and it doesn't come with a mouse, keyboard or screen…it runs Linux and can be used for word processing, watching hi-def video and surfing the Internet…”
39.    Bitten by the maker bug: one man's first steps with Arduino  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/guides/2012/04/bitten-buy-the-maker-bug-one-mans-first-steps-with-arduino.ars  “…Maybe you know your way around a soldering iron, maybe you want to relive your glory days troubleshooting college lab circuits, or maybe you just like looking at pictures of circuits. Hopefully, some or all of this will help whet your appetite to play around with the Arduino and discover what it can do. Arduino describes itself as an "open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software." If you're interested in maker projects, circuit boards, or just goofing around with a soldering iron, Arduino may be worth your time. Arduino hardware is available in a number of form factors, so you can decide whether you want to spend a lot of time assembling hardware or build the boards by hand. The hardware can receive input from a "variety of sensors" which can be used to turn on motors, lights, and "other actuators." Programming is accomplished via the Wiring-based Arduino language. Best of all, everything is offered under an open source license. This article marks the start of my journey—one from a guy who has some basic circuit knowledge and some (rather outdated) technical training, to a guy who decided to get off his butt and figure this Arduino stuff out…”
Open Source
40.    Latest Release Of Linux Contains Code Developed Via Google Plus  http://www.thepowerbase.com/2012/04/latest-release-of-linux-contains-code-developed-via-google-plus/  “Say what you will about the mainstream viability of Google Plus, but anyone who has spent even a few days on Google’s rapidly developing social network can tell you that the userbase seems unusually knowledgeable and tech-savvy…The story starts on April 12th, when Linus Torvalds posted the following on his personal Google Plus: Hey, since the last disgusting code hack thing worked out so well on G+, here’s a new challenge…Improve on this new disgusting hack…This resulted in a flurry of activity, with over 146 shares and 161 comments. Multiple possible solutions were put forth, and Linus spent considerable time going back and forth about what would and would not work. By the end of the day, the winning suggestion came from the user comex…What started as a joke turned into a stroke of inspiration, which the rest of the commenters quickly picked up on…The bit of code comex came up with is certainly not critical to the success of Linux…But it does prove the increasingly important role social networks such as Google Plus play in the constantly evolving world of technology…It’s easy to dismiss the current social networking craze as a waste of time, and perhaps that’s even a fair claim for many of the people on them. But there is no denying that legitimate work can and will be done via these new forms of real-time communication.”
41.     Monitor your bandwidth from the Linux shell  http://linuxaria.com/article/monitor-your-bandwidth-from-the-linux-shell  “Monitoring how much bandwidth is used is a fundamental task to check the status of your servers, or just your desktop…This is the third article of this series and in this one i’ll take a look at Bmon, speedometer and Nload. In my 2 former articles I’ve talked about: IPTState…Using iptstate you interactively watch where traffic crossing your netfilter/iptables firewall is going…pktstat displays a real-time list of active connections seen on a network interface, and how much bandwidth is being used…NetHogs…groups bandwidth by process…If there’s suddenly a lot of network traffic, you can fire up NetHogs and immediately see which PID is causing this…IPTraf…gathers…figures such as TCP connection packet and byte counts, interface statistics and activity indicators, TCP/UDP traffic breakdowns, and LAN station packet and byte counts…bmon is a bandwidth monitor, intended for debugging and real-time monitoring purposes, capable of retrieving statistics from various input modules…speedometer…is an interesting project…to display and measure the rate of data across a network connection or data being stored in a file…nload is a console application which monitors network traffic and bandwidth usage in real-time…”
Civilian Aerospace
42.    How Commercial Space Is Paying Off Now  http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/awst/2012/04/16/AW_04_16_2012_p40-444890.xml&headline=How%20Commercial%20Space%20Is%20Paying%20Off%20Now  “…NASA’s as-yet-unrealized efforts to offload routine human space access onto the private sector is beginning to ripple across the U.S. launch industry in ways that could go well beyond transporting people and their stuff into space…entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, who openly declares his intention to take over the worldwide launch industry with lower-cost launchers than the competition’s, are exerting downward price pressure on traditional launch-vehicle manufacturers. And the possibility of an off-planet economy in low Earth orbit (LEO) has triggered a new round of innovative launcher designs, not all of them “paper rockets” and some of them quite different from traditional vehicles…NASA’s commercial approach to carrying astronauts to low Earth orbit could lower the cost of space access to the point that the business cases for new LEO applications can close..,.With the space shuttle fleet retired, NASA is paying Russia more than $60 million a seat to train and fly astronauts to the ISS in Soyuz capsules…SpaceX…Falcon 9 rocket was built from the ground up to meet NASA’s human-rating requirements, and will be ready to carry crew to the ISS as soon as Dragon’s pusher-type abort system…is completed…The Dragon capsule is designed to take 6,000 kg (13,200 lb.) to the ISS and return 3,000 kg to Earth…Also in the mix with the SpaceX Dragon/Falcon 9 are the Atlas-launched vehicles under development by Boeing and Blue Origin, and a lifting body in development by Sierra Nevada…Boeing also has partnerships with Space Adventures, which brokers Soyuz rides to the ISS at a reported $30 million a trip, and with Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow already has flown prototypes of its planned inflatable space habitats to orbit, and is marking time to see what happens with the NASA effort before it begins seriously marketing its capabilities. Potential customers are industrial users and sovereign nations that lack the wherewithal to develop their own space laboratories…even without having flown, the NASA-backed commercial crew vehicles have created a space-launch market that did not exist before…”
43.    US space companies prepare for space station docking  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17541345  “Two US rocket companies are readying the first private space missions to the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX and Orbital both have multi-billion dollar Nasa contracts to supply cargo to the station…SpaceX…could launch for the ISS as soon as 30 April…The two companies have very different pasts, and have built very different spacecraft…SpaceX designs and builds much of its Falcon 9 rocket system in-house…Orbital has chosen a different path, buying in many of the components from across the globe…While SpaceX will launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, Orbital has chosen the lesser-known Wallops Island…four hours drive from Washington DC…What all parties are hoping is that Orbital and SpaceX can not only get to the station safely, but that they can lead the way in cutting the cost of space travel…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
44.    Intel's 50+ core MIC architecture: HPC on a Card or Massive Co-Processor?  http://drdobbs.com/parallel/232800139  “Will Intel’s Knights Corner chips function as co-processors like GPUs, or will they be stand-alone many-core Linux systems?...the Texas Advanced Computer Center…Stampede, a new 10-petaflops-capable (1016 or 10,000 trillion floating-point operations per sec.) supercomputer based on the Intel MIC (Many-Integrated Core)…demonstrates a substantial…commitment by Intel to deliver massively parallel many-core hardware to the high-performance computing (HPC) market…The heart of the Stampede system will be the 50+ core Knights Corner (KNC) processor chips packaged in a PCIe form factor…More than 8 of the 10 petaflop/sec. of peak floating-point performance will be provided by the Knights Corner PCIe co-processors…Due to power and heat issues,  many-core processors have become a necessity as it is no longer possible to significantly increase the performance of a single processing core…multi- and many-core computing has been disruptive to the software industry as it requires that existing applications be redesigned to exploit parallelism (rather than clock speed) to achieve high application performance on this new parallel hardware.  During this transition to massively parallel programming, the owners of legacy code bases are faced with some difficult choices because there are no generic "recompile and run" solutions…While still at an early pre-hardware release stage, it is possible to draw some preliminary conclusions based on an analysis of the MIC and GPU architectures and the currently available information about the NVIDIA Kepler and Intel Knights Corner chips. In this article, I consider these two processors based on established high-level comparative measures such as memory capacity, balance ratios, and Amdahl's Law in the context of four programming paradigms…MPI (Message Passing Interface)…Directive-based programming like OpenMP and OpenACC…Common libraries providing FFT and BLAS functionality…Language platforms based on a strong-scaling execution model (CUDA and OpenCL)…”
45.    Lightbeam Systems Delivers up to 2.66 Teraflops in E5 Series Workstations  http://www.chron.com/business/press-releases/article/Lightbeam-Systems-Delivers-up-to-2-66-Teraflops-3486287.php  “Lightbeam Systems, manufacturers of specialized storage, workstation, and rendering systems for the broadcast, film and visual effects industries…introduced the Lightbeam E5 series of professional workstations, render nodes and GPU nodes…the Lightbeam E5 series delivers up to a 10x performance gain over previous-generation computing systems…When working on major broadcast television productions like ‘GLEE,’ ‘Criminal Minds,’ ‘Hell on Wheels,’ and ‘American Horror Story,’ a straightforward, powerful and customized hardware system can make all the difference…Built for the most demanding performance needs, compressed budgets and mission-critical production deadlines, the Lightbeam…E5-1620GPU and E5-1220GPU quad GPU render nodes provide up to 2048…GPU cores with up to 16 CPU processor cores…”

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