NEW NET Weekly List for 22 May 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 22 May 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 goal this week will be to talk about twenty or more of the items on the list. Or at least to talk about one of the items... Maybe one or more Heinlein fans will want to discuss the historic SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon launch.

The ‘net
1.        The Eternal Lorem Ipsum  http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/05/the-eternal-lorem-ipsum.html  “…you've probably encountered Lorem Ipsum placeholder text at some point. Anywhere there is text, but the meaning of that text isn't particularly important, you might see Lorem Ipsum…it is arbitrarily rearranged and not quite coherent Latin, extracted from a book Cicero wrote in 45 BC…the whole point of Lorem Ipsum is that the words aren't supposed to mean anything…Lorem Ipsum is a specific form of what is generally referred to somewhat cheekily as "Greeking": Greeking is a style of displaying or rendering text or symbols, not always from the Greek alphabet. Greeking obscures portions of a work for the purpose of either emphasizing form over details or displaying placeholders for unavailable content…The theory is that, since it's unintelligible, nobody will attempt to read it, but instead focus on other aspects of the design…There are quite a few websites that helpfully offer up the classic Lorem Ipsum text in various eminently copy-and-pastable forms…if you just want a bunch of, uh, interesting text to fill an area, there a lot – and I mean a lot – of websites to choose from…I've tried to broadly categorize the ones I did find, below…”
2.       The Free Ride Is Over For Streaming Video  http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/19/the-free-ride-is-over-for-streaming-video/  “Comcast’s plans to do away with its 250 GB data cap and charge users based upon usage marks the end of an era for cable TV providers, and for the online video industry. No longer will users be able to endlessly stream all the content their hearts desire…usage-based pricing is arriving at the same time that more, higher-quality content is appearing online…for those of us who are avid streaming video users, usage-based pricing models could change the overall value proposition of watching video on the Internet. I’m a subscriber to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and MLB.tv. I have a Roku box and an Apple TV…In other words, I watch streaming video in the same way a lot of other people watch regular TV…While I’ve never bumped up against the 250GB cap, I’ve definitely started to come close…In April I racked up 160 GB…and…halfway through May, I’ve already used 90 GB. It wasn’t so long ago that I was typically using less than 100 GB a month…Part of that is due to me just watching more stuff…But part of it is also due to more bandwidth being used by higher bit rate streams, as services like Netflix improve the video quality of their products…What happens as these services improve, as more content and higher-quality content makes its way online? And what happens as more people tune into those services?...what happens when Apple’s mythical iTV gets released and users suddenly have access to a whole new set of streaming applications in 1080p?...between all the different subscription VOD services and the cost of 8-10 season passes that I buy every year, I’m probably already paying more for streaming services than I would pay for TV if I just purchased a basic cable package…But in the future, if I have to pay an additional $10 for every 50 GB of video I consume over a 300 GB limit, though?...That’s not to say that the recent moves by Comcast are going to kill the online video industry…But it could make people think twice about how they choose to access content and through what services, if it means additional broadband charges…”
3.       Microsoft So.cl (Social) Silently Launched  http://www.ghacks.net/2012/05/20/microsoft-so-cl-social-silently-launched/  “…not another networking site, please, for god’s sake. That was my first thought when I read about Microsoft So.cl…With Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and myriads of specialized social networking sites like Pinterest or Chill, it has become quite crowded…Now it is So.cl, which happened to be activated earlier accidentally, and then pulled again by Microsoft. The service as of today is accessible again, which may be another accident, or a silent launch…it is not the best of starts, considering that users do not really know about the service, and do not see the service plastered over all of Microsoft’s hot properties…Interested users can sign up for So.cl with their Windows Live ID or their Facebook account…According to Microsoft, socl combines web browsing, search and social networking with each other…You can also join and create video parties. This basically allows you to create a chat room and add videos to it from various video hosting sites…The search to post and video party ideas are neat, but I’m not really convinced that they are enough to help the service take off, let alone compete with the heavyweight social networking sites…”
4.       Travel across the Roman Empire in real time with ORBIS  http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/05/how-across-the-roman-empire-in-real-time-with-orbis/  “In a clever bit of technological legerdemain, Stanford University has combined historical research, mapping, and Web technology to bring ancient Roman Empire travel to the Internet. A cross-disciplinary team has created and launched ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World. With it, a user can determine how long it will take to travel from any point in the Roman Empire to any other, as well as calculate the cost of transporting goods and people…the interactive online atlas is based on a host of data. This includes historical tide information and weather; size, grade, and surface of roads; main cities and ports; land, sea, and river routes; vehicle speed (including ships, ox carts, horse, and walking); and the cost of transport. The time period the system centers on is about 200 CE, when Roman power was at its highest and the empire's extent was greatest. The atlas is built from 751 sites, most of which are cities and towns, and covers about four million square miles…The road network mapped on ORBIS includes 52,587 miles of road, including desert tracks and 17,567 miles of rivers and canals…In only two weeks since its launch, the response to ORBIS has astounded its builders. "We've gotten feedback from middle school teachers, PhD candidates, undergraduates using it for papers…It's proving to be a useful tool on various levels, and so popular I'm not even sure our little server is going to be able to handle it…”  [if Stanford releases an API for ORBIS, I could see developers creating Civilization-type games layered on top of it; creating similar online systems for Mongol hordes, Alexander the Great and the Middle Ages Black Plague also offer intriguing possibilities – ed.]
5.        Kindergarten Teacher Earns $700,000 by Selling Lesson Plans Online  http://mashable.com/2012/05/17/teachers-pay-teachers/  “…Deanna Jump, a kindergarten teacher from Georgia, has made $700,000 selling her lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers, an ecommerce startup where teachers offer their lesson plans to fellow educators. Paul Edelman, the founder of Teachers Pay Teachers, created the platform following a four-year stint as a New York City public school teacher. “I had an insight that the materials teachers created night after night had monetary value…During the first two years of Teachers Pay Teachers, teachers would pay for the lesson plans they wanted to use, though many would then be reimbursed by their schools. On Wednesday, Teachers Pay Teachers launched a purchased orders option, which allows schools to purchase several lesson plans directly for their teachers…Teachers Pay Teachers focuses on lesson plans for pre-K through 12th-grade classrooms. The most popular subjects are English and language arts, science, social studies and math. The site has about 700,000 registered users, of whom 10,000 are sellers. Edelman estimates that of the sellers about 6,000 are earning money…teachers earning money have so far earned $7 million selling their lesson plans, once Teachers Pay Teachers takes out its commission…Users can also follow their favorite content creators. Jump, for example, has almost 12,000 followers, who are notified whenever she posts a new lesson plan…”
6.       Quick Course On Effective Website Copywriting  http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/05/18/quick-course-on-effective-website-copywriting/  “Many dismiss copywriting as something that ad agency people do…all of us need to pay close attention to copywriting if we want to achieve our business objectives…The goal of Web copy (and ideally your website in general) is to get people to do something—to sign up, make a purchase, or something similar. Hiring a professional copywriter can be very expensive, which is one of the reasons why this is a valuable skill to have yourself…What distinguishes top experts from mediocre players is that the best know more. You can write better copy if you know more about it…You don’t even need to be a “natural writer” to come up with excellent copy, you just need the right process and some key principles about writing copy that sells…Here are the six steps of effective copywriting process: Research: customer, product and competition…Outline and guideposts…Draft copy…Conversion boost…Revise, rearrange…Test…”
7.        Chrome is the most popular browser in the world  http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/21/3033566/chrome-most-popular-browser-weekly-may-2012  “For the first week in history, Google Chrome is the most-used browser in the world, according to Statcounter…Chrome has been leapfrogging the incumbent Internet Explorer…for some time now…We’ve mentioned before that Chrome is the most popular browser visiting The Verge, but that’s far from the case in the rest of North America, where Internet Explorer still has the lead — 37 to 26 percent…In Europe, Chrome has been ahead of IE for the past two weeks, but only by a percentage point, and Firefox is ahead of both….IE has a massive lead over second-place Chrome in Oceania, and Firefox is dominating both IE and Chrome in Africa…IE is in the lead in Japan with a more than 50 percent share, and things are even more skewed in China and South Korea, where roughly three quarters of traffic comes through Microsoft’s browser…in South America…Chrome has a nearly 50 percent share…while Chrome…is clearly trending upward, in many of the world's biggest economies, Google's browser is a way off from the number one spot.” [As the percentage of time people access the internet through desktops/laptops decreases and the smartphone/tablet time increases, the browser wars and innovations in the browsers become less important. The small screen size makes apps, rather than browsers, the primary means of using the Internet on smartphones. – ed.]
8.       Are You a Human replaces annoying CAPTCHAs with games  http://venturebeat.com/2012/05/21/are-you-a-human-replaces-annoying-captchas-with-games/  “…Websites need to verify that a visitor is a real person and not an automated bot. But the CAPTCHA test that they came up with — where you have to type in the word that you see in a blurry distorted font image — is extremely annoying and often leads to multiple failures…a Detroit-based startup, Are You a Human, is replacing the CAPTCHA with simple minigames instead. It is releasing its human authentication tool, PlayThru, to help companies fight spammers and bots that have begun to circumvent CAPTCHAs. Companies using it include Quicken Loans and Fat Head, and users have played nearly 2 million games to date…CAPTCHA was coined in 2000…based it on the word “capture” and…as an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart…hackers have figured out how to bypass the security test by re-using the session identification of a known test image…CAPTCHAs are frustrating to users who can’t discern the distorted text. About 20 percent of the users will leave a site rather than complete a CAPTCHA…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
9.       Recording police with your smartphone is a Constitutional right, says DoJ  http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/recording-police-is-a-constitutional-right-says-doj/  “…In a win for technology, citizen journalism, and our Constitutional rights, the U.S. Department of Justice has issued a letter to the Baltimore City Police Department reconfirming that photographing, video- and audio-recording on-duty police officers is a Constitutional right protected by the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. “Because recording police officers in the public discharge of their duties is protected by the First Amendment, policies should prohibit interference with recording of police activities…policies should instruct officers that, except under limited circumstances, officers must not search or seize a camera or recording device without a warrant…Officers should be advised not to threaten, intimidate, or otherwise discourage an individual from recording police officer enforcement activities or intentionally block or obstruct cameras or recording devices.”…The DoJ’s letter…also reconfirms that members of the press and other private citizens share the same right to record police, and that displaying press credentials should not be a prerequisite for recording police officers…for those of you wondering whether or not you should turn on your smartphone’s video camera when you see the police doing something you think isn’t right, feel free to hit the “record” button — you clearly have the right to do so. Just make sure to stay out of the officers’ way…” [not sure what legal impact this DoJ letter will/would have in states like Illinois which, I’m pretty sure, has a state law or municipal laws that say it’s illegal to video-record police – ed.]
10.     ZTE confirms security hole in U.S. phone  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/18/us-zte-phone-idUSBRE84H08J20120518  “ZTE Corp, the world's No.4 handset vendor and one of two Chinese companies under U.S. scrutiny over security concerns, said one of its mobile phone models sold in the United States contains a vulnerability that researchers say could allow others to control the device…The hole, usually called a backdoor, allows anyone with the hardwired password to access the affected phone…ZTE and fellow Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, have been stymied in their attempts to expand in the United States over concerns they are linked to the Chinese government…Most such concerns have centered on the fear of backdoors or other security vulnerabilities in telecommunications infrastructure equipment rather than in consumer devices…Reports of the ZTE vulnerability first surfaced this week…The password is readily available online. ZTE said it had confirmed the vulnerability…Alperovitch said his team had researched the vulnerability and found that the backdoor was deliberate because it was being used as a way for ZTE to update the phone's software…It could very well be that they're not very good developers or they could be doing this for nefarious purposes…”
11.      As Congress Mulls Mandate on Car Black Boxes, Data Ownership Remains Unclear  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/05/congress-black-box/  “The term “black boxes” conjures up images of plane crashes for some and inspires conspiracy theories for others…Congress now seems set on passing legislation that would make an Electronic Data Recorder (EDR) – the technical name for an automotive black box – required equipment on all new cars…Bill 1813 that mandates EDRs for every car sold in the U.S. starting with the model year 2015 has already passed the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass a version of the bill…The current regulation says that if you have an EDR in your car you must at a minimum collect a certain amount of information,” Medford added. “[The new law] would take out the option and say that all car manufacturers must have an EDR and must collect this information. I think 80 percent of the car industry already does it.”…almost all domestic vehicles contain EDRs that are accessible, along with their data via specialized software…recently, NHTSA mandated that vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2011 that include the devices must record a minimum of 13 data points in a standardized format. Black boxes started out as a way for automakers to learn more about how air bags react in a crash…black boxes can’t tell who was driving, whether they were drunk or using a cell phone or who they were with. In addition to date and time, black boxes can currently only record the vehicle and engine speed, steering angle, throttle position, braking status, force of impact, seatbelt status, and air bag deployment…One of the most significant aspects of the pending legislation is that it would make clear who owns the data: the car owner or lessee. Well, at least until it passes and lawyers and insurance companies start parsing it. “The owner of the vehicle should be in control of the data,” said Paul Stephens…Privacy Rights Clearinghouse…the Senate bill makes it possible for first responders such as police, paramedics and firefighters to also have access to the data without a court order if it aids them in an emergency situation…If a car is in a crash and deemed a total loss by an insurance company, the insurer now owns the vehicle…the insurance company can access the data on the EDR can and possibly use it in legal proceedings against the former owner.”
12.     How Apple and Microsoft Armed 4,000 Patent Warheads  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/rockstar/all/1  “…a stealthy company funded by some of the biggest names in technology: Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Sony, and Ericsson…the Rockstar Consortium…has a single-minded mission: It examines successful products, like routers and smartphones, and it tries to find proof that these products infringe on a portfolio of over 4,000 technology patents…When a Rockstar engineer uncovers evidence of infringement, the company…contacts the manufacturer, and demands licensing fees for the patents in question…“Pretty much anybody out there is infringing,” says John Veschi, Rockstar’s CEO…Rockstar has its roots in last year’s high-profile auction of 6,000 patents owned by the bankrupt Canadian telco giant Nortel. Google made headlines when it cast the first bid of $900 million for the portfolio, but the search giant was soon in a heated bidding war with a consortium of rivals led by Apple and Microsoft. The final sale price was $4.5 billion…Rockstar is a special kind of company. Because it doesn’t actually make anything, it can’t be countersued in patent cases. That wouldn’t be the case with Apple or Microsoft if they had kept the patents for themselves. And because it’s independent, it can antagonize its owners’ partners and customers in ways that its owner companies could not. “The principals have plausible deniability…They can say with a straight face: ‘They’re an independent company…the U.S. Department of Justice took a look at the deal…concerned that patent attacks might somehow be used to knock Rockstar’s competitors out of the smartphone or tablet market…the DoJ closed its investigation, in part because Microsoft and Apple had promised to license many of their core wireless patents under reasonable terms…But the new company — Rockstar Consortium — isn’t bound by the promises that its member companies made, according to Veschi. “We are separate,” he says. “That does not apply to us.”…Rockstar could play into the strategic interests of its owner companies by going after Google, and Android partners such as HTC…” [this story alone, if it is a relatively accurate portrayal of the situation, is a clear demonstration of why Microsoft and Apple are ‘Bad’ and Google is ‘Good.’ It’s also a potential lesson for the emerging sector of open source hardware. OSHW individuals and small companies won’t have armies of researchers, patent agents and IP specialists to figure out if what they’re making somehow runs afoul of an existing patent. The first phase of OSHW will likely go something like, (1) make any type of OSHW product you want, (2) if the product has low sales and low publicity, the holders of patents on which the product infringes will ignore you, (3) if the product is highly successful and innovative, a la the Nest thermostat, the pertinent IP holder will sue you and kill your OSHW product. – ed.]
Mobile Computing & Communicating
13.     Smartphones could be next on the agenda for Facebook  http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/smartphones-could-be-next-on-the-agenda-for-facebook-20120519-1yxhs.html  “With Facebook now sitting on $US16 billion after its flotation, will we see the massive social network do a Google and develop its own phone?...Don't be surprised if the next big thing is a Facebook phone - running its own software and developed from top to bottom to involve you in the site all the time…it needs to reach the "next billion" internet users, and they are mainly going to be using mobile phones, not desktop or laptop computers. Selling its own phone would mean it could make itself the background hum of people's lives everywhere - and show adverts and collect data on its own terms. It has more users now (901 million) than were using the internet at the end of 2004 (817 million); but…the fastest-growing internet media markets are China and the Far East, India and Brazil. Facebook's potential is nowhere near as strong in those as it has been in the US…the present limits to growth could be dictated by its heritage. Facebook was founded on a desktop computer in a university dorm room…analysts have been itchy about Facebook's stark admission that it doesn't make any money from mobile advertising…The Facebook mobile app isn't enough; people only spend a little time there, and showing ads on a mobile screen doesn't pay well…Facebook can create a version of Android that doesn't rely on Google…”  [I tend not to include ‘rumors’ in the NEW NET lists, but I totally agree with two points made in this article that (a)  in order to continue growing, FB needs to get good at mobile, and (b) there’s a high probability they’ll release an FB-branded phone within the next one to two years. They have no doubt been working on developing one over the past several years, and they now have $16 billion cash to pay for high quality long term development of an FB phone as well as other growth opportunities. While FB may be developing their own flavor of Android, a la Amazon’s Kindle Fire, with the future of Android uncertain due to the Oracle lawsuit issues and fragmentation, FB could also be developing their own phone OS, or even using the MS Windows Phone OS. One way or another, FB will be spending billions on mobile over the next five years – ed.]
14.     Wearing a Computer Is Good for You  http://www.technologyreview.com/business/40323/  “The last time your doctor asked how much you exercise, did you tell the truth? Do you even really know the truth…how many hours you sit or how many calories you burn in a day? What if your doctor had already received the information from a tiny device built into your cell phone, wallet, or undershirt? Sonny Vu believes a device like this could fundamentally change health care…Vu is an entrepreneur who thinks a lot about how a well-designed mobile device can affect health…Vu is…heading a new company called Misfit Wearables, which is developing health monitoring devices that he says will fit unobtrusively into the clothing and objects we use every day…That's important because chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes are on the rise…In health care, however, good ideas often succumb to the realities of human nature. "Health isn't really top of mind for most of us,"…Vu's idea is to remove from the equation what he calls "intentionality"—the deliberate daily choice to use a health technology. Donning a pedometer or entering information into a calorie counter every day is asking too much of most people. "The best products are the ones that you really rely on but you don't have to remember to use,"…Vu says that realization came to him after many years of trying to understand why people with diabetes might forget to use their glucose meter, even though their health depends on doing so…He founded Misfit Wearables last fall…The company raised $7.6 million this year from prominent investors…Vu says technology investors are seeking to understand when, and how, computers will become wearable…Devices that monitor weight, activity level, heart rate, or other vital signs could, in principle, lower health-care costs by aiding efforts to prevent chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease…It could make a yearly blood pressure measurement at the doctor's office seem archaic…Vu is keeping quiet about the details of the product Misfit is planning to launch, which is still in development…The primary goal, however, is invisibility. "You have wearable products right now—they're just not that wearable,"…He thinks a health monitoring device should would be unobtrusive enough to be incorporated into something you already wear or carry every day: socks, bra, undershirt, cell phone, wallet, keys…At a recent conference on smart fabrics, he mingled with designers and textile engineers making clothes that light up with fiber optics or heat and cool themselves. Vu believes the textile world could ultimately contribute more creative innovation to wearable computing than device companies do…”
15.     The rise of the HetNet  http://gigaom.com/broadband/what-is-hetnet-ericsson-vestberg/  “…the heterogeneous network, or HetNet…how today’s big-tower mobile grids will evolve into dense, multi-layered and tremendously high capacity networks…HetNets have three major components. The first is an umbrella — or macro — network designed to provide ubiquitous mobile broadband coverage. The second is a dense network of small cells that supply enormous quantities of bandwidth in the high-traffic areas its most needed. The final component is a network intelligence that ties those networks together…the wireless industry has largely built the first and is actively deploying the second. The network intelligence is still in the works…There are already 1.1 billion mobile broadband subscribers globally, traversing networks comprised of millions of macro cells…“We’re at a tipping point,” Vestberg said. “You build the macro networks first, but we’re soon going to have very dense networks of small cells.” The next step is Wi-Fi, which is already being deployed as a small cell technology globally…”
16.     Cable companies expand free Wi-Fi  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57438006-93/cable-companies-expand-free-wi-fi/  “Five of the nation's largest cable companies are partnering to allow their subscribers free access to each others' Wi-Fi hot spots in cities across the U.S…Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable announced…they'd enable each other's broadband customers to access their metro Wi-Fi hot spots. The companies are calling the new network "CableWiFi,"…customers of any of these cable companies can look for the CableWiFi network and through a simple sign-on process connect using the same credentials as when accessing their own providers' Wi-Fi networks…the cable operators have deployed more than 50,000 Wi-Fi hot spots located in the New York City metro area, Los Angeles, Tampa, Orlando, and Philadelphia. All of the participating cable operators say they plan to continue deploying Wi-Fi hotspots into more cities…” [the ‘CableWiFi’ likely makes economic sense for the cable companies only in the dense populations of large metro areas, so northeast Wisconsin may never see it; this wireless functionality seems to mesh well with the HetNet concept – ed.]
17.     $74 PC on a stick features Allwinner A10 CPU, Android 4.0  http://liliputing.com/2012/05/74-pc-on-a-stick-features-allwinner-a10-cpu-android-4-0.html  “The FXI Cotton Candy is getting a lot of attention as a PC on a stick that will be available soon for just $200. But a Chinese manufacturer has beat the Cotton Candy to market with a $74 USB thumb-drive sized computer. The Model MK802 is available from AliExpress for $74…The little computer looks like a portable storage device, but it has a 1.5 GHz Allwiner A10 processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. It ships with Google Android 4.0 software, but theoretically you should be able to install Ubuntu…The Cotton Candy also has a 1.2 GHz Samsung Exynos dual core processor while the M802 has a 1.5 GHz single core chip. The MK802 has a microSD card slot for extra storage space and USB host support for peripherals. There’s one full-sized USB port and a micro USB port. It also features 802.11b/g WiFi and support for HD video playback…The computer (which is marketed as an Internet TV device) measures 3.5″ x 1.4″ x 0.5 and weighs about 7 ounces…A company called Zero Devices is preparing to launch something called the Z802 which looks nearly identical…That model appears to be available for pre-order from some sources for…$76.”
18.     Open Garden Lets You Crowdsource Your Mobile Connectivity  http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/21/open-garden-lets-you-crowdsource-your-mobile-connectivity/  “…Open Garden…lets you create a mesh network that ties together all the Open Garden-enabled devices around you into one large network that then automatically shares Internet access and bandwidth between all of these devices. Basically, Open Garden wants to become a crowdsourcing platform for mobile connectivity…The San Francisco-based company…has assembled quite an impressive team. Co-founder Micha Benoliel, for example, worked at Skype before starting his own company, and co-founder Stanislav Shalunov has a deep background in Internet infrastructure, including work at Internet 2 and BitTorrent. The company’s third co-founder, Greg Hazel, was previously the lead programmer of the popular BitTorrent client μTorrent…Open Garden used its own networking and P2P expertise to built (and patent) its own discovery mechanisms so devices that run its software can easily detect each other…Right now, Open Garden only uses one Internet offramp for the whole mesh network…Soon…it will also support multi-channel bundling to create a higher data throughput by using multiple on-ramps…”
19.     The All New Evernote 4.0 for Android  http://blog.evernote.com/2012/05/15/the-all-new-evernote-4-0-for-android/  “…the completely redesigned Evernote 4.0 for Android…is completely different from anything we’ve done before. The screen combines note creation options with buttons that take you directly into notebooks, tags and places…What makes the new home screen great, is how easy it is to use and how fast you can jump to it—swipe right or tap the elephant and you’re back…if you’re viewing a note, the Action Bar allows you to edit, share, tag, and perform other note-related actions. On the note list, tapping the Action Bar can launch a new note, search through notes, and change the sort order…Horizontal swiping is now a major way to navigate through the app. When you’re viewing Notebooks, Tags, and Places, horizontal swiping moves you from one category to the next..If you have “location services” enabled on your device, then Evernote assigns a place to each note you make. The new Places screen displays notes by creation location. Tap the map icon in the Action Bar to see your notes on a map…”
20.    Smartphone app could prevent illegal handicap parking  http://www.ksla.com/story/18375420/smartphone-app-could-prevent-illegal-handicap-parking  “Disabled drivers could soon get some relief from stolen parking spots, thanks to a new smartphone app in the works. It's designed to give citizens a quick and easy way to report violations that result in tickets for the owner of any vehicle caught illegally parked…the majority of tickets issued…for handicap parking violations originate with calls from upset citizens. Bossier City spokesperson Mark Natale says they typically write between five to 10 citations each month. Many of the violations are found in the lots of large retail stores and shopping centers…” [is this type of app a ‘good thing’ and what other apps can you think of that would address everyday annoyances? – ed.]
21.     The app crisis alarming retaihttp://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/the-app-crisis-alarming-retail-20120518-1yw8g.html  “On December 10 the world's biggest online retailer, Amazon, sent chills down the spines of traditional retailers when it called on its army of millions of customers to take to the shops with their smartphones and use the Amazon barcode scanner application to scan the prices on any three toys, electronics, sporting goods or music. The prize? Five per cent off the price of each Amazon product in return for each bar scan. The endgame is to build a lethal database of price comparisons to wage against their competitors in the dog-eat-dog fight for the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on retail…Apps such as Amazon's Price Check…empower customers to get real-time pricing information from other competitors - and check if it is cheaper a few doors away or online…For bricks-and-mortar retailers these killer phone and tablet apps means they have to offer similar prices as Amazon, eBay and other online hawkers, while continuing to bear the onerous costs of a nationwide network of physical stores…the rise of smartphone apps is wreaking havoc on the business models of retailers…It’s not just online purchasing they are now dealing with, it's the penetration of smartphones where you can instantly price compare across many retailers by scanning the barcode…the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association…said…mobile technology for retail is no longer a trend, but a necessary way of doing business.'..the world's biggest retailer, Walmart…decided a defensive stand against the internet was not working and instead decided to embrace it. To this end it purchased search technology firm Kosmix…The grand plan was…building ''technologies and businesses around social and mobile commerce…We can greet each of our customers by name, guide them through our stores, and give them product recommendations and real-time savings - all from their mobile devices…Walmart ramped it up with the purchase of Social Calendar, an app on Facebook that allows you to get birthday and holiday reminders by email and SMS…It has also launched a gift-finding app called Shopycat, which enables users to turn the likes and interests of friends into intelligent gift recommendations. Instead of pointing to just Walmart products, it incorporates items from other retailers such as bookstore group Barnes & Noble, RedEnvelope and ThinkGeek..Until retailers understand there is a shift taking place in consumer behavior…their companies will continue to suffer. Mr Budde sums it up best: ''I recently bought a Pioneer amplifier and when I phoned the shop I was told it cost $1600. When I got there it was knocked down to $1300. My son was with me and he jumped online and found a shop in Hong Kong selling the same Pioneer amplifier for $750. I told the shop and they said they could do it for $800. That's a huge difference and retail has to deal with this…”
22.    New app lets you put your smartphone into bowling ball  http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/324518  “…a new app which allows you to embed your iPhone or Android into a foam ball and use it to physically play games like hot potato and bowling…Your new smartphone is probably the last thing you would want to toss around…the…new app package, TheO…utilizes a foam ball that is the size of a bowling ball with a compartment in which you can embed your smartphone. With it, you can use your iPhone or Android to play games like bowling or hot potato…Taking advantage of the phone's accelerometers, the aforementioned games are played as the device senses when the ball is thrown or chucked from one person to another. While playing these games the phone remains secure within the foam ball…the "virtual bowling alley" the app creates allows the smartphone in question to sense virtual pins and determine which ones will be knocked over as the ball is thrown…its creators appear to be confident that your smartphone will not be in harm's way…it is…an interesting concept and an inexpensive one at that as the ball itself will only set you back $25.00, with an additional $1.99 for basic apps $4.99 for full-fledged ones..." [although the ‘foam-protected smartphone’ games seems interesting, there must be an even bigger market for augmented reality hybrid games that combine physical objects or actions and low cost micro-sensors, with data relayed to a smartphone safely held in your hand or to some other digital display/interaction device such as Google Glasses – ed.]
23.    Four types of mobile apps  http://cdixon.org/2012/05/21/four-use-cases-for-mobile-apps/  “…it is helpful to separate the ways that people use apps into four categories. 1. Time wasters: Apps that can be used for short bursts when you are waiting in line, etc. The most popular time wasters are games. Some apps are used sometimes as time wasters and sometimes as utilities…2. Core utilities…core utilities are the apps on your home screen: camera, phone, contacts, texting, calendar, etc. Core utilities map to deeply engrained use patterns…3. Episodic utilities…are apps that typically aren’t on the home screen but are extremely useful in certain situations. Some examples: Hipmunk when buying plane tickets…and OpenTable for making restaurant reservations…these apps tend to be monetizable…4. Notification-driven apps: This is an emerging category…People tend to enable notifications for communication apps like email, texting…notifications for other apps haven’t gotten widespread adoption because…it is easy to annoy users by over-notifying them, and…apps in the background tends to drain battery life. Expect this category to grow as apps get smarter about when to notify, and battery life improves dramatically…”
24.    Google launches Knowledge Graph: adds ‘answers’ in addition to links  http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/16/google-just-got-a-whole-lot-smarter-launches-its-knowledge-graph/  “…Google is launching one of its most ambitious and interesting updates to its search engine in recent months…you will start to see large panels with additional factual information about the topic you were searching for take over the right side of…search result pages…Google will use this space to show you a summary of relevant information about your queries (think biographical data about celebrities and historical figures, tour dates for artists, information about books, works of art, buildings, animals etc.)…In addition, Google will now allow you to clarify what exactly you are looking for and will use these boxes for disambiguation…This specific project…has been in the works for about the last two years…” http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/introducing-knowledge-graph-things-not.html  “…searching still requires a lot of hard work by you, the user…the Knowledge Graph…will help you discover new information quickly and easily…The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query. This is a…step towards…the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do. Google’s Knowledge Graph isn’t just rooted in public sources such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. It’s also augmented at a much larger scale…It currently contains more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects. And it’s tuned based on what people search for, and what we find out on the web…”  http://searchengineland.com/google-launches-knowledge-graph-121585  “…Earlier this year…I felt what was described seemed more an extension of things Google had already been doing rather than a dramatic shift. Now having seen it first-hand, I stand corrected…This is indeed a big change…Google will still look largely the same as it does now. Knowledge Graph information flows into new units — they have no official name…so I’ll call them “knowledge panels.” These panels appear to the right of Google’s regular results…Knowledge panels don’t always appear, only showing up only when Google deems them relevant…they’re a pretty cool search exploration tool…If you’ve ever started reading a Wikipedia page and then gotten lost jumping from one topic to another, that’s the experience I think many are about to discover with Google. You’ll not only discover answers to factual questions, but you’ll likely quickly explore more than you had planned and have fun doing it…I found it fascinating to see what was shown, as I ran through various classes of searches…Each knowledge panel has a “People also search for” area at the bottom…For search marketers, or anyone interested in how people search, these panels have become another great discovery resource along with keyword research tools like Google Trends, Google Insights, Google Correlate or the AdWords Keyword Tool…For some searches, there may be more than one entity that Google has facts for…Google will put up a “See results box”…This box, also known as a disambiguation box, allows people to make the right choice…the knowledge panels on Google all have a “Report a problem” link at the bottom…you can then indicate if any particular fact is incorrect…Google will use a combination of computer algorithms and human review to decide if a particular fact should be corrected…If Google makes a change, the source provider is told. This mean, in particular, Wikipedia will be informed of any errors…Google also uses special formats to make the panels work well on tablet and mobile devices…that’s good news for those of you who want an easier time to cheat at pub and bar quiz nights. Sadly, there’s no way to just search the Knowledge Graph directly. It only appears with regular Google Search…”
25.    I Ditched Google Search for a Week  http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2012/05/google_vs_bing_i_switched_to_microsoft_s_search_engine_for_a_week_here_s_what_happened_.html  “It was astonishingly easy to quit Googling. In Chrome, Google's Web browser, I clicked a couple buttons in the Settings tab, and voilà, my default search engine was Bing. The great thing about Chrome is that it remembers your preferences across all your computers—I only needed to switch to Bing on my desktop, and there it was on my laptop, too. (Thank you, Google!) I made the same change on my iPhone and my iPad. The whole thing took 15 seconds…The new Bing is like the old Google—your results are presented on a clean, uncluttered page…Even if you turn off social search—it's one of the many buttons near the top of the page—Google's results are still nowhere as clean as Bing's…I've used Google so much that its quirks and shortcuts have become lodged in my brain, and I suspected that switching would require a painful adjustment period…after a week with Bing, I can say that changing search engines was one of the least arduous product switches I’ve ever made. Going from Google to Bing requires far less of an adjustment than moving from a PC to a Mac or from Facebook to Google+. It’s not even as big a shift as ditching Coke for Pepsi…All that being said, I don’t think you should switch…despite Bing’s better design, Google is unquestionably the better search engine…there were a handful of times that Bing just didn’t seem to be giving me the answer I was looking for. When I turned to Google with the same query, I got better results…I didn’t happen upon any area where Bing is clearly superior to Google…The most striking thing about switching to Bing was how enmeshed I remained in the Google universe. During my week with Bing, I found myself reaching for lots of Google products beyond its Web search engine—Gmail, YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Books, Google Scholar, Chrome…My editor challenged me to go without using any Google products at all…I tried. I redirected my mail to Hotmail, I tried to abstain from YouTube, and I attempted to research obscure topics without using Scholar. But I couldn’t do it. Google’s just too good—even beyond search, its products are too useful, too central to the Web to get much accomplished without them. I lasted less than half a day without Google, and it was hell…” [I love the irony at the start of the article where he thanks Google for making it so easy to switch to Bing. I would have to agree with the article author that I would not enjoy using no Google products for a week (or longer). However, he did overlook mentioning that Bing Maps can be far superior to Google Maps. And I continue to use MS Word instead of Gdocs for a couple text document use cases because Gdocs doesn’t have the ‘Paste Special’ function. Pay Pal beats Google Checkout simply because it’s widely accepted by the general web-using public. What non-Google digital products do you use that have Google analogues which aren’t as good as the competition? – ed.]
26.    Google brings further tweaks to Gmail  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57437586-93/google-brings-further-tweaks-to-gmail/  “Google announced…new tweaks to Gmail this week…Among other things, the changes bring Google profile photos of your friends and contacts to the top of your in-box under certain circumstances…When you search for an e-mail address [in Gmail], the search results will now show you contact details in addition to that person's [Google] profile photo [if he or she has one] and the e-mails sent from and to them. From here, you can start a chat, call their phone and more…if your contacts have a Google+ profile, this information will stay up to date automatically…Circles are also now supported in search and filters. Find messages from a specific circle by typing circle:[circle name] in the search box. You can also find mail from any of your circled contacts by searching with has:circle. You can refine your search even further with other criteria and create filters based on circles…Google juiced up Google+ notification e-mails in Gmail earlier this month, and before that had already started integrating Google+ into Gmail -- recent new features include being able to add people to circles directly from the desktop and viewing recent Google+ content in the people widget…”
27.    Google now tailors Gmail search autocomplete to the contents of your inbox  http://gmailblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/improved-search-in-gmail.html  “…Google is…improving the autocomplete predictions you see when you search in Gmail…when you type something into the Gmail search box, the autocomplete predictions will be tailored to the content in your email, so you can save time and get the information you want faster…For example, you might now get lax reservation or lax united as predictions after typing "lax" if you have received an email with a flight confirmation for your trip to Los Angeles in your inbox recently…”
28.    Google gets China OK to buy Motorola  http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-05-19/google-to-buy-motorola/55082932/1  “Authorities in China have approved Google Inc.'s bid to buy phone maker Motorola Mobility…Chinese regulators attached a big condition: That Google's Android operating system for mobile devices remain available to all at no cost for the next five years…Buying Motorola allows Google to expand into manufacturing phones, tablet computers and other consumer devices for the first time. The deal also gives Google access to more than 17,000 Motorola patents. The Chinese government approved the deal on Saturday…The deal was announced last August and had received all necessary regulatory approvals except in China…” [I’m unclear why Google even needs China’s approval since Google has pretty much written off China as a market for its products and services, at least for the short term. Seems like they could have just ignored China (the rest of the world had already approved the Motorola purchase) and dealt with related legal issues in the future if they decided to once again try to do business in China – ed.]
29.    Google+ will continue to grow whether people actually use it or not  http://betanews.com/2012/05/22/google-will-continue-to-grow-whether-people-actually-use-it-or-not/  “…Google and Google+ don’t appear to present much of a threat to Facebook, but the game board was reset on Friday and tactics at both companies will change accordingly. Now Facebook has to find a way to grow revenue and users and will increasingly bump up against Google’s huge advantages in search and apps…There’s nothing that unique at Google+ to cause people to leave Facebook for it. But there are compelling reasons why publishers might decide they need to make use of it, chiefly for search rankings…In January, for example, Google added a new box promoting people who are on Google+. If you’re not on Google+, you can’t appear in the box. Do a search for "music", and someone like Britney Spears was showing up. The following week, Lady Gaga, who ignored Google+ up until that point and so didn’t appear in the box, joined. Search for music today, there’s Lady Gaga…Google has other apps it can leverage like Gmail, for example, and Google Docs. And of course there’s basic search, itself…In its new role as a grownup…Facebook will ultimately have to face the external mail needs of members if it intends to continue subscriber growth, so I’d look for some sort of FMail service with clever social media hooks…the most obvious way for Facebook to take it to Google would be in basic search, but that’s where I’d see Facebook playing a similar card to Google and accepting number two status in search by acquiring Bing from Microsoft…”
30.    'Liberating' Your Data from Google  http://www.pcworld.com/article/255920/liberating_your_data_from_google_and_what_that_really_means.html  “…Google wants you to keep using Search, Docs, and Google+, so it’s trying to play nice, and last June Google introduced a service designed to let you see, in part at least, what Google knows about you with a single click. Called Google Takeout, the service is so simple that it is completely undocumented when you visit the site. You sign in, and then see an offer to “Download an archive of your data from” a variety of services (outlined below), and that’s it. You can grab it all in one click, or choose specific services from which to download…Everything arrives in a single zipped file that you unpack, revealing a separate folder for each Google service…What’s most surprising about Takeout isn’t how exhaustive this data is, but rather how much of your Google life it completely excludes…here’s a (partial) list of what you don’t get now with the Takeout system…Your Google Talk chat history…YouTube materials, including videos you…uploaded…Posts created with Blogger…Google Calendar entries…Bookmarks stored or synced with Chrome…Anything related to your Android phone, including your account or your Android Market downloads…Anything involving…AdWords…If you want to get an offline copy of any of this information, your best bet is to check out the comprehensive list of how-tos at the Data Liberation Front, managed by the group of Google engineers that coded the Google Takeout service. Here you’ll find detailed instructions on how to manually get your data out of another two dozen Google-operated services not covered by Takeout. It’s important to remember that with Google Takeout you are getting a copy of the information stored on Google’s servers, and are not removing the originals from Google’s clutches…”
General Technology
31.     Leap Motion: 3D hands-free motion control, unbound  http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57437404-76/leap-motion-3d-hands-free-motion-control-unbound/  “The startup's technology puts sub-millimeter accuracy at user fingertips, offers control gestures like pinch-to-zoom, and promises new applications that make the Kinect and its kin look like yesterday's news. Hands-free motion control, a technology pioneered by Nintendo's Wii and later improved upon by Microsoft's Kinect, just took a very big leap forward. Industries from gaming to surgery to architecture, engineering, and design may never be the same…Leap 3D motion control system…which comprises both a small USB input device and a sophisticated software platform, is expected to cost $70…Kinect's ability to recognize motion ends at users' hands…Leap, by comparison, can sense motion down to the most subtle movements of a finger, which the company says is 200 times more sensitive than anything else on the market…We want there to be world-changing applications that fundamentally transform how people interact with their operating system or browse the Web…The goal is to fundamentally transform how people interact with computers…We believe that ultimately, the sheer number of use cases for this technology are so great that the value can only be realized by making it open…Starting today, Leap Motion will be looking for a few hundred developers, but will quickly expand the program by sending out between 15,000 and 20,000 free developer kits. Buckwald said the company is immediately starting to take applications for that program, "and we're going to ask developers what kinds of things they envision building…Buckwald explained that technology could have existed for years, save for the fact that no one had cracked the math to make it possible. "It's not as if we're using lots of processing power or some new hardware that just came on to the market," he said. "This is really about a fundamental scientific breakthrough…”
32.    In America, A Digital 'Manifest Destiny' Is Playing Out  http://phys.org/news/2012-05-america-digitally.html  “…We are forging forward into a digital frontier, leaving convention behind, traveling without guides into an uncharted virtual land where progress and profits are forever around the next bend. In the 19th century, Americans expanded into a physical frontier - a geographic edge of society brimming with opportunities and dangers and challenges and setbacks. So began the notion of manifest destiny…Today, almost two centuries after that term was coined, American expansionism is playing out vigorously at society's latest cutting edge: the social space of the Internet…As the manufacturing economy reconfigures, you often hear the lament that "America doesn't make anything anymore."…Most of the world's digital centers of gravity have been, and remain, American. Apple and Microsoft. Google and Yahoo. YouTube and Amazon and eBay. Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Kickstarter. Netflix. PayPal. Akamai…Intel…the United States' outward expansion continues apace on the virtual frontier…It's a projection of American values - what international experts…call soft power…Look at what the digital space disseminates…freedom of the press, of information and of assembly; knowledge and scientific advancement; free-market mechanisms and entrepreneurialism. "It's hard to think of a cluster of ideas and architectures that would more allow basic American cultural values to propagate," says Rainie…innovation helped drive development and physically shape the frontier; now innovation itself is the frontier…the American tendency to glorify the inventor's spirit remains a key engine…That parallel between the frontiers of the road and the mind has not gone unnoticed by politicians and leaders…President Barack Obama, speaking to Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center…called for tech innovation this way: "That's the kind of adventurous, pioneering spirit that we need right now…What has helped this dominance along?...is it the ability and willingness of an increasingly connected planet to adopt American innovation and take it to a global level…Last year in southwestern China…a fake Apple Store turned up - an entire store…an elaborate lookalike operation complete with Genius Bar, hardwood floors, Helvetica-typefaced signage and sales associates in blue T-shirts who apparently actually thought they were working at the real thing…It wasn't enough to fake the gadgets. The counterfeiters wanted to fake the FEEL of innovation that Apple markets so adeptly…"In this new era of exceptionalism, you're now on an entirely different plane. You're not holding dirt. You're not holding a piece of real estate in your hands. You can't touch it and taste it. It's an entirely different medium, and that's hard for people to understand and accept."…"People seem to think there are no other frontiers for America to explore and that America's sitting on the bench now," Cooper says. "But there are a whole set of frontiers we don't even know about yet.”
33.    Computer Programming for All: A New Standard of Literacy?  http://www.readwriteweb.com/hack/2012/05/computer-programming-for-all-a-new-standard-of-literacy.php  “Everyone ought to be able to read and write; few people within the global mainstream would argue with that statement. But should everyone be able to program computers? The question is becoming critically important as digital technology plays an ever more central role in daily life. The movement to make code literacy a basic tenet of education is gaining momentum…The democratization of literacy in the late 19th century created one of the great inflection points in human history. Knowledge was no longer confined to an elite class, and influence began to spread throughout all levels of society…What if any educated person had equal sway over the power of machines? What if we were to expand our notion of literacy to encompass not only human languages but also machine languages?...The usual definition of computer literacy stops at the UI: If a user knows how to make the machine work, he or she is computer-literate. But, of course, the deeper literacy of the programmer is far more powerful…Just as a person literate in English can compose everything from a sonnet to a statute, a person literate in programming languages can automate repetitive tasks, saving time for things only a human can do…”
34.    randsinrepose: Please Learn to Write  http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2012/05/16/please_learn_to_write.html  “There’s been lots of buzz on the topic of whether or not you should learn to code…I tweeted Jeff Atwood’s piece because, well, I agree that it’s pretty silly to think that the world is going to be a better place if the Mayor of New York City learns how to code…his valuable time would be better spent elsewhere. I believe there are essential skills you learn as an engineer who codes. It teaches you how to structure your thinking…Coding is unforgiving. Its structure is well-defined and enforced by whatever interpreter or compiler you might be using. You are punished swiftly for obvious errors. You are punished more subtly for the less obvious ones. Once you’ve mastered a particular language, you’ve also mastered a means of thinking…There is no doubt in my mind that this is an essential and valuable skill for anyone to learn and master. However, there is a language you could master that teaches many of the same lessons…I argue that there is an essential set of skills that intersect both with writing words and writing code…Writing appears more forgiving because there is no compiler or interpreter catching your its/it’s issues or reminding you of the rules regarding that or which. Here’s the rub: there is a compiler and it’s…brutal. It’s your readers. Your readers are far more critical than the Python interpreter…Success means they keep coming back - failure is a lonely silence…The articles on Rands keep getting longer and longer, and as I’m finishing a piece, I worry, “Is it too long…which is precisely the wrong thing to worry about. What I should be worried about is, “Have I written something worthy of your attention?…”
35.    A Computer Interface that Takes a Load Off Your Mind  http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/40406/  “…researchers at MIT and Tufts are experimenting with a way for computers to…recognize when a person's workload is excessive and then automatically modify a computer interface to make it easier. The researchers used a lightweight, portable brain monitoring technology, called functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), that determines when a person is multitasking. Analysis of the brain scan data was then fed into a system that adjusted the user's workload at those times. A computing system with Brainput could, in other words, learn to give you a break…Treacy Solovey and her team incorporated Brainput into virtual robots designed to adapt to the mental state of their human controller. The main goal was for each operator, capped with fNIRS headgear, to guide two different robots through a maze to find a location where a Wi-Fi signal was strong enough to send a message. But here's what made it tough: the drivers had to constantly switch between the two robots, trying to keep track of both their locations and keep them from crashing into walls…The robots, for their part, were programmed to focus on a state of mind called branching, in which a person is simultaneously working on two goals that require attention…When the robots sensed that the driver was branching, they took on more of the navigation themselves…when the robots' autonomous mode kicked in, the overall performance of the human-robot team improved. The drivers didn't seem to notice or get frustrated by the autonomous behavior of the robot when they were multitasking. The researchers also tried increasing the autonomy of the robots when Brainput did not indicate that users were mentally overloaded. When they did this, they found that overall performance decreased. In other words, increased autonomy only helped when users were struggling to cope…This work is a wonderful first step toward understanding our changing mental state and designing interfaces that dynamically tailor themselves so that the human-computer system can be as effective as possible. Treacy Solovey suggests that such a system could potentially be used to help drivers, pilots, and supervisors of unmanned aerial vehicles…”  [sounds like something Ender’s trainers in Battle School would or should have come up with for fighting the Buggers – ed.]
36.    S.Korean, Russian scientists bid to clone mammoth  http://phys.org/news/2012-03-skorean-russian-scientists-clone-mammoth.html  “Russian and South Korean scientists have signed a deal on joint research intended to recreate a woolly mammoth, an animal which last walked the earth some 10,000 years ago…Stem cell scientists are now setting their sights on the extinct woolly mammoth, after global warming thawed Siberia's permafrost and uncovered remains of the animal…The first and hardest mission is to restore mammoth cells…trying to find well-preserved tissue with an undamaged gene. By replacing the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those taken from the mammoth's somatic cells, embryos with mammoth DNA could be produced and planted into elephant wombs for delivery…South Korean experts have previously cloned animals including a cow, a cat, dogs, a pig and a wolf…”
37.    Half of Microprocessors Sold in 2011 are Hybrid Chips with Integrated Graphics  http://www.pcworld.com/article/255854/smartphone_boom_drives_market_in_hybrid_processors.html  “Hybrid processors that include two or more types of core now account for half of the $111 billion processor market, driven by growth in smartphones and tablets…The most common type of hybrid processors combine a central processing unit (CPU) and a graphics processing unit (GPU). These processors are particularly suited to use in smartphones and tablets, which need to deliver high performance and HD graphics from within a compact form factor. AMD and Intel have been developing hybrid processors to compete for PC market share…but a number of mobile processor vendors including NVidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments have also started offering heterogeneous application-specific processors with a microprocessor core and integrated GPU. Now that smartphone sales exceed PCs, and tablets are gaining popularity, the demand for hybrid processors is growing…”
38.    Digimarc expands digital watermarking service  http://www.geekwire.com/2012/print-pinterest-digimarc-debuts-expanded-digital-watermarking-technology-house-beautiful-magazine/  “The new issue of House Beautiful, hitting store shelves today, is being billed as the first Pinterest-enabled print magazine — allowing readers to scan the first page of the “Kitchen of the Month” feature with a smartphone app to connect to a Pinterest pinboard…It uses technology from Digimarc Corp., the…company that specializes in digital watermarking. The company, which developed its digital watermarking technology to prevent bank notes from being counterfeited, is aiming to expand further into the print publishing sector by providing an alternative to QR Codes…for magazines…the Digimarc watermark is imperceptible to the human eye — making it popular among magazine publishers wary of disrupting their design with a visible code…The pixels of the image are manipulated slightly, creating a signal that a smartphone camera can detect when used in conjunction with a special app developed by Digimarc for iPhone or Android…In the case of House Beautiful, after readers scan the page with the app, they’re taken to the magazine’s Kitchen of the Month pinboard on Pinterest, with an expanded gallery of high-quality images that they can re-pin to their own pinboards. Images then link back to the House Beautiful website, creating a viral loop…”
Leisure & Entertainment
39.    Ridley Scott’s New Blade Runner Film Will Be Sequel  http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/05/ridley-scott-blade-runner-sequel/  “A month shy of Blade Runner’s 30th anniversary, word has come down that Ridley Scott will direct a sequel to the groundbreaking sci-fi film…“The filmmakers would reveal only that the new story will take place some years after the first film concluded,” production company Alcon Entertainment said in a statement announcing the sequel to the 1982 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep…“I started my first meetings on the Blade Runner sequel last week,” Scott told the Daily Beast…“We have a very good take on it. And we’ll definitely be featuring a female protagonist.” The legendary director, whose highly anticipated Alien spinoff Prometheus opens next month, doesn’t elaborate on what kind of female protagonist his new Blade Runner film will feature…”
40.    Why Next-Gen Videogames Will Rock Your World  http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/05/ff_unreal4/  “…At the heart of every videogame—underneath the art direction, the writing, and the action—is an elaborate piece of software called the game engine. It’s an essential collection of programs and algorithms, a periodic table of the elements that allows a game’s programmers and designers to create the rich and varied worlds gamers have come to expect…While some developers make their own game engines, the vast majority rely on other companies’ creations. And hundreds of them use Epic’s Unreal Engine…Through three distinct incarnations…the Unreal Engine has become the default substrate of the gaming industry. The most recent, Unreal 3, has powered more than 150 games since 2006…But six years is a long time in binary code, and it represents a lifetime for gaming hardware…The Xenos graphics processor in the Xbox 360 can handle roughly 240 billion floating point operations per second; the latest high-end processors for PCs can handle around 3 trillion. Not surprisingly, speculation has been ramping up for several years about the next wave of game consoles. We may hear word of them this year, or next, or not until 2014. Whoever knows isn’t telling. But what we do know is that the wizards at Epic have been hard at work on the engine that will power this new generation of consoles. It’s called Unreal Engine 4, and it’s ready now. UE4 represents nothing less than the foundation for the next decade of gaming. It may make Microsoft and Sony rethink how much horsepower they’ll need for their new hardware. It will streamline game development, allowing studios to do in 12 months what can take two years or more today…The possible applications for Unreal Engine 4—augmented reality, medical simulation, even production pipelines for television and movies—seem to stretch to the horizon. At its core, however, UE4 is a videogame engine, and its first reveal outside the office is on a March morning at the 2012 Game Developers Conference…When Alan Willard walks the audience through the demo—complete with armored demon, dancing sparks, and rolling balls of light—the room falls still…Willard reveals that both the cinematic scene and the following tech demo haven’t been running off a game file but in real time from within UE4′s game editor. It’s like finding out that the actors on TV are actually tiny people living inside your set…The videogame industry has changed…In June, UE4 will be revealed to the gaming public…In all of the clamor and fanfare, though, the simple truth will be lost. Epic has redefined gaming before, and with Unreal 4 the company is doing it again…”
41.     'Buy a PC, get a free Xbox 360' deal returns for students on May 20th  http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/18/3028456/free-xbox-360-student-deal-windows-pc-may-22  “Microsoft is announcing the return of its buy a PC and get a free Xbox 360 deal for students this week. Students in the US who purchase a qualifying PC worth $699 or more at certain retailers will get a 4GB Xbox 360 for free from May 20th onwards…”
Economy and Technology
42.    Facebook's IPO Sputters  http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052702303448404577411903118364314-lMyQjAxMTAyMDEwODExNDgyWj.html  “Facebook…took eight years to stage one of the most anticipated initial public offerings ever. The anticlimax came Friday, as Wall Street bankers struggled to prevent the…stock from ending its first day with a loss. The stock had been widely predicted to soar on its first day. Instead, up until the closing moments of the trading session, Facebook's underwriters battled to keep the stock from slipping below its offering price of $38 a share…When trading on Nasdaq ended at 4 p.m., the social network's stock was…at $38.23…Facebook was…hurt by investors' high expectations of a…first-day pop in the price…When that pop didn't happen, it prompted a selloff…Facebook's underwriters had to step in to support the company's share price…The stock's 0.6% rise was far below the first-day performance of other companies that raised $5 billion or more in their IPOs, such as United Parcel Service…which experienced a 36% first-day pop in 1999…Some Web-company IPOs over the past year, such as…LinkedIn Corp…more than doubled on their first days…Still, at a market capitalization of nearly $105 billion by day's end, Facebook took its place among the nation's corporate giants…Mark Zuckerberg…is now worth $19.25 billion…Mr. Zuckerberg told the crowd to remember the IPO was just one day. "Going public is an important milestone," said the 28 year old, sporting his trademark hoodie. "But here's the thing. Our mission isn't to be a public company. Our mission is to make the world more open and connected."…Morgan Stanley is expected to command the largest percentage of more than $175 million in fees from the IPO”  http://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCABRE84I01620120519  “…Facebook's shares spent much of the day struggling to stay above the $38 IPO price - and ended with just a 23-cent gain. As a result, Morgan Stanley…spent billions of dollars to support the stock price by buying shares in the market…As an indication of the cost, had Morgan Stanley bought all of the shares traded around $38 in the final 20 minutes of the day, it would have spent nearly $2 billion…” http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-facebook-worth-2012-5  “…Given Facebook's size, importance, and option value, I'd be willing to pay a modest premium multiple for the company relative to Apple and Google…Bottom line: I think a fair price for Facebook is 20X-30X 2013 estimated earnings…So, a fair price for Facebook might be between $16-$24…”  [Monday update] http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/facebook-closes-at-34-far-below-ipo-price/2012/05/21/gIQAfKl7fU_story.html  “After a brutal day of trading, Facebook closed at $34.03, down nearly 11 percent and well below the company’s initial offering price of $38…Without the support of its underwriters — who kept the stock above $38 on its debut day — Facebook hovered at around $34 much of the day…”  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57439044/facebook-shares-continue-slide/  “…After Facebook's stock fell below its initial public offering price of $38 a share in its first two days on the public market, it fell an additional 8.5 percent on Tuesday, down $2.91, to close at $31.12…”
43.    PayPal handles 60% of web transactions, leaves Google in the dust  http://venturebeat.com/2012/05/18/paypa-60-percent-of-web-transactions/  “PayPal processes 60% of web transactions, Google is the fastest payment gateway, and some unlucky surfer had to wait over 92 seconds for his online purchase to complete. Those are only a few of the findings in New Relic’s study of the web’s most popular payment gateways…PayPal is by far the biggest payment processor on the web, at least according to this sample. During the test period, PayPal processed over 66,000 payments, more than three times as many as the nearest competitor, Authorize.net. Google Checkout came in fifth with just over 3400 payments. Google does win, however, in the speed category. Google Checkout’s average payment processing time was a blistering .26 seconds…PayPal’s performance was only mediocre, but hardly pokey, averaging just under one and a half seconds…”
44.    AmEx to Offer a Prepaid Debit Card that Rewards Users in FarmVille Cash  http://allthingsd.com/20120522/amex-to-offer-a-prepaid-debit-card-that-rewards-users-in-farmville-cash/  “American Express and Zynga are rolling out a rewards program today that will allow players to earn virtual currency when they spend money in the real world. For FarmVille fans willing to jump through a number of hoops, including signing up for a Zynga-branded prepaid card from American Express, they will earn in-game currency, similarly to how consumers earn free airline miles for every dollar spent on an airline-issued credit card. The rewards program will first roll out in Zynga’s FarmVille game and then will expand to CityVille, CastleVille and other titles…”
45.    Startup Act 2.0 Aims to Jumpstart the Economy  http://fairfaxnews.com/2012/05/startup-act-2-0-aims-to-jumpstart-the-economy/  “U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and three colleagues today introduced bipartisan legislation, Startup Act 2.0, to help jumpstart the economy through the creation and growth of new businesses and jobs.  It is based upon research showing that for close to three decades, companies less than five years old have created almost all of the net new jobs in America…Joining Warner in introducing the measure were Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) Startup Act 2.0 seeks to help move university-based research from the laboratory to the marketplace more quickly. It also makes targeted changes to the tax code to encourage investments in younger, smaller startup companies, and the bill also seeks to ease regulatory requirements that could make it more difficult for smaller businesses to expand and create jobs…” [I like the fact that the Act is sponsored by two Democrats and two Republicans! – ed.]
DHMN Technology
46.    The Pentagon to spend $60 million on 3D printing  http://www.3dprinter.net/the-pentagon-to-spend-60-million-on-3d-printing  “…The Pentagon just announced that they are offering up to $60 million for a new 3D printing institute, with the ultimate goal of cheaper and faster manufacturing of defense and aerospace parts. The new Additive Manufacturing Innovation institute has chosen 3D printing (additive manufacturing) as the first of up to 16 centers in the United States that will be dedicated to U.S. manufacturing innovation. This is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation that President Obama announced on March 9, 2012. The Pentagon is soliciting universities and nonprofit organizations to launch the pilot program…A “proposer’s day” will be held on May 16, and proposals are due on June 14. $18.8 million of the $60 million is expected to be spent in 2012…Applied and basic research at the Pilot Institute may be funded by the participating agencies. This research will pursue a wide range of advanced capabilities, including: Development of open architecture additive manufacturing processes that have flexibility in starting raw materials and processing conditions and that can utilize open-architecture machine- control software that can be customized for specific applications…”  http://www.manufacturing.gov/amp/pilot-institute.html
47.    The Maker Faire Restores Faith In Humanity  http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/20/make-play-lear/   “A life-size fire-breathing dragon. A fully robotic calliope band. A full-scale flight simulator built by teenagers. An entire herd of homemade R2-D2s. Electric cars, steampunk fashion, a robot petting zoo, a piano made of bananas, and a cardboard Trojan Horse. Plus a zillion different interactive attractions, classes, and events for kids of all ages…the Maker Faire is back in town…It was exactly the tonic I needed after…the Facebook IPO and my ongoing sense that most of the Valley is focused on building meaningless mobile/social/local/scrapbooking sugar water. This was a place full of people building real, tangible things for the sake of sheer awesomeness…The maker movement has hit an interesting flux point; its amateurs and enthusiasts, much like the computer geeks of the 1970s and 1980s, now stand on the verge of watching their hobby erupt into big business that will reshape the way people everywhere live…“What happens when you give the tools of the industrial revolution to the creative class, for the cost of a bad coffee addiction?” asked Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop…James McKelvey built the first three prototypes of the Square card reader — in two weeks — at TechShop…That’s also where Phil Hughes and Bob Lipp built their initial fanless liquid-cooling system for server farms, which went on to soundly defeat IBM in a “chill-off.” But I’m most interested in the economic effects once the maker movement hits the developing world, where the demand for custom parts, recycled materials, and mechanical repairs is immense and inexhaustible…another of Hatch’s examples: the Embrace low-cost infant warmer which is reportedly on track to save the lives of 100,000 premature babies over the next five years…we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. When maker technology and spaces like TechShop begin to metastasize all over the planet, so that anyone and everyone can plausibly build their own solutions to their problems rather than waiting for some industrial-scale corporation to do so, that’s when a lot of lives will really begin to change…”
48.    Real life wearable displays  http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052702303610504577418181348485336-lMyQjAxMTAyMDIwMTEyNDEyWj.html  “Employees at eyeglasses designer Michael Pachleitner Group have no reason to consult desktop computers, tablets or old-fashioned paper binders to find items in their 22,000 square-foot warehouse. The information is right in front of their faces. The Austrian company recently outfitted warehouse workers with a head-mounted device that displays digital information on a clear lens over one of the eyes. The lens gives visual directions through a Wi-Fi connection to the 1.4 million items stored in the vast warehouse…By July, the company's six warehouse pickers will be wearing the device all day, cutting down on picking errors by an estimated 60%, said Chief Financial Officer Neil Lambert. "We were skeptical in the beginning" about the device, which reminded him of military gadgets seen in movies…A number of companies are developing glasses-like devices that transmit and display digital information onto wearers' field of vision…The rise of Internet-connected smartphones and advances in "heads-up" displays are accelerating the development of all sorts of wearable augmented-reality devices…smaller companies such as Lumus Ltd., Vuzix Corp., Laster TechnologiesSAS and Recon Instruments Inc. are…hoping to convince skeptical consumers to wear unusual-looking gadgets—from glasses that transmit turn-by-turn directions so people won't have to look away from the road while driving, to displays built into ski helmets that show skiers how fast they are cutting through the snow. Some computer scientists increasingly envision a world in which people wear glasses-like devices with a built-in camera and use apps that can recognize objects and faces…and automatically retrieve information about those objects from the Web or other sources…Recon Instruments' GPS…goggles worn by skiers and snowboarders…display information such as speed in a small box located below the user's field of view…the product can play music and display text messages and caller ID when attached to a phone…the Vancouver company has sold "tens of thousands" of the devices annually since the product launched in 2010…Vuzix and Laster Technologies said that next year they plan to launch a pair of regular-looking display glasses for consumers. The devices, which would cost several hundred dollars, would connect to smartphones so that apps could be projected onto lenses. "It will be an eye phone," said Laster CEO Zile…"By 2020, the world will have perfect augmented vision," said Dave Lorenzini…” [I think I could be happy starting out with a pair of D-space glasses that cost $299 and projects a smartphone app view on the lenses at a reasonable resolution; the two BIG questions about these wearable displays are (1) will Apple sue Laster if they call their product the Laster eyePhone and, (2) when will someone call their wearable display “D-space Glasses” – ed.]
49.    GE: how additive manufacturing is changing the way we make things  “…. The current advent of additive manufacturing may prove to be…momentous. “It’s one of the biggest things to happen in manufacturing in some time,” says Luana Iorio, material scientist at GE Global Research (GRC). Additive manufacturing…allows companies to more easily manufacture complex shapes and structures such as fuel nozzles and blades that have been traditionally difficult to make. “You give the designers a completely new freedom,” says Iorio, who leads GRC’s additive manufacturing research…They can really strip down products to the core of what it is they need them to do.” This will benefit industries like aviation where weight reduction can translate into multi-million fuel savings…the GRC team is developing “printing” applications for all GE businesses, from healthcare to energy…We’re looking at applying additive manufacturing to polymers, ceramics, metals, all kinds of materials for many different components across the GE product line,” Iorio says…We need to give the designers new tools so they can take advantage of the new manufacturing freedom,” Iorio says…The machines are evolving very quickly…some, like the MakerBot…are pretty inexpensive. But if you want to make components from metals that we use for building aircraft engines, those machines cost a million or more…”
50.    DIY.org: A Beacon to Silicon Valley, From a Start-Up for Children  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/disruptions-a-beacon-to-silicon-valley-from-a-start-up-for-children/  “…it was refreshing to discover a new start-up called DIY, which offers a do-it-yourself — or maker, in Valley jargon — community for children. DIY is seeking to be like a Boy Scout troop for the modern day. Instead of teaching children how to tie a clove hitch that seems fit for teenagers in the 1920s, DIY, a Web site and mobile app, will encourage children to build things, document them with an iPhone or iPod…DIY is still in its infancy, and right now is only a place for children to share things they have already built. But the company has hired a so-called maker in chief, whose job is to create projects, with instructions for users to follow, that will teach children modern-day skills…Although children don’t have to think about business models, the company’s founders do. They have a plan that moves beyond the traditional, low-hanging fruit of advertising…Although they couldn’t share specifics, both men said the company was working with a major production company to make a feature-length movie. “The movie is about the characters from DIY, which will be a group of kids who save their small Rust Belt town through hacking, making and building…”
Open Source Hardware
51.     Tantillus 3d printer is now available for purchase  http://johnbiehler.com/tag/open-source-hardware/  “My pal Brad…has been working hard over the last 4 months or so to fine tune his custom designed, pretty much from scratch, portable 3d printer. He’s finally able to offer it for sale via an Indiegogo campaign…it’s been pretty cool to witness the process that Brad has gone through. Lots of hard work and planning has gone into this project and I’ve been on the ground floor for it all…check it out if you’re interested in an awesome, portable 3d printer. You can also read more about the Tantillus on the new website Brad has set up to support it…”  http://www.indiegogo.com/tantillus
52.    ArduPilot Mega 2.0 Does Drone Autopilot on the Cheap  http://www.pcworld.com/article/255882/ardupilot_mega_20_does_drone_autopilot_on_the_cheap.html  “…the ArduPilot Mega 2.0 (APM2) from 3D Robotics, a complete open source autopilot system…is equipped with the MediaTek 3329 system on a chip, Dataflash (a serial interface for flash memory), a digital compass, a motion-tracking system, a barometric pressure sensor, and more…the APM2 can be used "to turn any fixed, rotary wing or multirotor vehicle (even cars and boats) into a fully autonomous vehicle; capable of performing programmed GPS missions with waypoints." This board is also compatible with the Arduino microcontroller…APM2 will set you back $199.95, which is certainly not bad at all since other systems like the GPS Module Shield for Arduino--which includes only the GPS module--will set you back $117…You can use it with free open-source firmware available at DIYDrones. Want to automate a model plane? Use Arduplane. For a rotary-wing aircraft (toy copters, etc...), use the Arducopter…Don't just go and pick one of these up if you're not good with electronics. This is for the true DIYer, so you'll definitely need some understanding of microcontrollers, programming, and whatever it is that you're trying to automate…”
53.    Is Open Source Hardware IT's Next Big Thing?  http://www.informationweek.com/news/global-cio/interviews/240000260  “…remember when mainstream companies viewed open source software with extreme skepticism…until it became apparent that the Internet backbone was running reliably on OSS. Now attention is turning to open source hardware…If you've been following the Maker Movement, you're already in the loop…Want to build a USB battery charger out of a mint container and other widely available components? Limor Fried (aka Lady Ada) to the rescue, with her "minty boost" USB charger…Like open source software, open source hardware started among hobbyists and will make its way into the corporation…Open source hardware won't be good for everything, but it will be fantastic for certain things…In the same way that you can join a health club and reap the personal benefits without buying $100,000 worth of weight machines, you can also join a rapid prototyping club. TechShop, for example, offers many fabrication options, including "milling machines and lathes, welding stations and a CNC plasma cutter, sheet metal working equipment, drill presses and band saws, industrial sewing machines, hand tools, plastic and wood working equipment including a 4' x 8' ShopBot CNC router, electronics design and fabrication facilities, Epilog laser cutters, tubing and metal bending machines, a Dimension SST 3-D printer, electrical supplies and tools…Open source hardware isn't just the purview of engineers in product development labs. It can apply just as much to IT pros…All the money we were saving by not investing thousands in expensive proprietary software and systems for our infrastructure could be funneled into hiring better people to build that infrastructure for us using open source platforms and combining open source utilities to not only do the job but do it in a heavily customized way that gave us the flexibility we needed." As open source software and hardware start to converge, expect the hardware for things like telemetry, credit card reading, and vending--perhaps even network routing--to become much less expensive and proprietary…”
54.    The real business of the DIY movement  http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57435929-76/the-real-business-of-the-diy-movement/  “At the inaugural Hardware Innovation Workshop, about 200 leaders in the DIY movement gather to talk about how to build real companies, while still maintaining a maker ethos…Over the last two days, several hundred of the people behind many of the most impressive businesses to emerge from the maker movement, as well as investors and those interested in the future of digital hardware came together at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) here for the inaugural Hardware Innovation Workshop…the event -- put on by Make magazine and Maker Faire -- was the likely beginning of a new ecosystem that will tie many of these companies and people together for years to come, and which could help impact the development of entire new industries and businesses. Featuring keynote addresses by people like Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers, Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi, and Adafruit Industries co-founders Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone, the event gave those in attendance an intense look at what has worked for some of the most high-profile companies in the field. Also speaking…were Nathan Seidle, CEO of SparkFun Electronics, John Dimatos of MakerBot Industries, Greg Borenstein, author of "Making Things See: 3D Vision with Kinect," Eric Gradman of Monkeys & Robots, Ayah Bdeir, founder of littleBits, and many others. Tim O'Reilly, the CEO of O'Reilly Media, which publishes Make magazine, and Dale Dougherty, founder and publisher of Make, also spoke, as did Steve Hoover, CEO of PARC…Gradman, who is part of the Los Angeles-based Syyn Labs -- which produces multimedia projects for clients like OK Go, DieHard batteries, Google, and others -- was on hand showing off his own effort, Monkeys & Robots, through which he builds "hardware prototypes that make others see technology as magic."…on display was Tim Malcolm's eChanter, an electronic bagpipe. Designed to work through capacitive touch, the device plays bagpipe music -- thankfully, through earphones -- that is played by touching small screws on what looks like a flute. Built on an Arduino platform, the device is entirely open source, costs less than $50 to make…Anton Willis' Oru Kayak is a terrific example of how technology can impact non-technical products. The Oru Kayak is essentially a folding kayak that weighs just 20 pounds, can be folded in just five minutes, and costs about $500. The idea is that someone could put their kayak in the trunk of their car, or even on their back and hike to lakes they'd never be able to get a normal kayak to…”
55.     Raspberry Pi to rebirth an era of Woz-like super creativity?  http://www.itwire.com/your-it-news/home-it/54767-raspberry-pi-to-rebirth-an-era-of-woz-like-super-creativity  “The Raspberry Pi computer board is the world’s most inexpensive yet incredibly useful, useable, configurable, programmable and extendable credit card sized, ARM powered PC, ready for students, engineers and anyone to unleash new levels of creativity and imagination!...it offers end users, students, engineers and anyone the ability to write software and make new hardware creations powered by the Raspberry Pi more easily than ever before, thanks to the easily expandability of the Pi hardware…the Raspberry Pi is so full of possibility, I imagine that it may well set off a Woz-like era of creativity once more, getting students, engineers and anyone in front of highly configurable and customisable technology that lets you do anything you want, just as Woz did in the late 70s when he was soldering together the first Apple I computer. Sure, today’s kids won’t be soldering together the Pi computer board – it comes already full made for the price – but instead of kids just using apps that someone else has made, students can easily create their own apps running on their own hardware designs, unleashing new creativity – with this being the true promise of the Raspberry Pi era…”  http://www.pddnet.com/news-element14-inspires-tech-innovation-with-a-taste-of-raspberry-pi-051712/
56.    Raspberry Pi Launches ’80s-Feel Fanzine  http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2012/05/07/raspberry-pi-launches-80s-feel-fanzine/  “…Now that the credit-card sized computer has gone on sale, what do you do with it? There is an active community around the device trading suggestions, but what it needs is a fanzine. Well now it has one. The appropriately named MagPi (what else) has launched…The free monthly magazine is available either as flash-based magazine with a page-turning effect, or as a downloadable PDF…There are Debian and Puppy guides, articles on computing history, ideas for robotics projects, tutorials in Scratch and Python (with code you can type in yourself, just like in the good old days), features about the Raspberry Pi itself…”
Open Source
57.     Piwik Open Source Analytics: A Primer  http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2174996/Piwik-Open-Source-Analytics-A-Primer  “…There are many log file analyzers that help the do-it-yourselfers. However, they merely report the data. They often don't provide the analysis tools to make the data meaningful information. Piwik is a web analytics package that aims to be a free software alternative to Google Analytics…it allows you to place JavaScript code within your site to collect visitor page views and other events…unlike Google and other remote-hosted analytics services, it also comes with its own analytics collection server that runs on your website's server. This means you control the data collected. Privacy is a fundamental point in the Piwik project…Piwik is on a mission to put users in control. All data collected remains on your server…Piwik respects privacy so much that there are built-in privacy settings that allow you to anonymize visitor IP addresses and even delete raw visitor data – while still keeping your reports archived in a manner where you can still filter them. There's even code you can place on your site that would allow visitors to opt-out of Analytics tracking and a plug-in that complies with visitors' Do Not Track preferences…”
58.    US Army trains in open source 3-D virtual cyber-world  http://fcw.com/articles/2012/05/18/army-moses-virtual-project.aspx  “…the U.S. Army…Research Lab Simulation and Training Technology Center in Orlando…created the Military Open Simulator Enterprise Strategy (MOSES) last year to test the stability and reliability of open source virtual worlds. Previously, many of the agencies had been using the commercial Second Life platform, but Maxwell said he and others decided to migrate to a more customizable platform that offered options for information assurance and security…Stephen Aguiar, virtual worlds project lead at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, said his center is using 3-D virtual environments in MOSES for design, analysis, command and control and experimentation. The virtual world is being used to test scenarios based on real-life situations, and participants can move, interact and access systems as they do in real life…Kay McLennan, professor of practice at Tulane University, said she initially migrated her 3-D learning courses to MOSES after an educators' discount expired at the commercial Second Life platform. She uses virtual platforms for teaching economics courses to college students…Robert Daniel, president of BlueGrid Virtualization Security and adjunct professor at George Washington University, appeared at the conference wearing an Emotiv Neuro Headset on his head. The headset reads the user’s brainwaves and transmits information about the user’s emotions—including excitement, relaxation, engagement or boredom—to an avatar in a virtual world, Daniel said. The brainwaves are used to direct an avatar’s actions in the virtual world, and the emotions are shown on the avatar’s facial expressions…” [sounds like the Emotiv Neuro and the US Army training are pointing toward real life “Avatar” experiences – ed.]
59.    A Bold Move To Open Source Your Core Business  http://www.forbes.com/sites/kostaperic/2012/05/21/a-bold-move-to-open-source-your-core-business/  “…Allevo in Romania…have decided to open source their core business…to shift the business model and competition from a pure commodity space to a more diversified services space…Allevo…are a software vendor and consultancy in financial transactions and payment processing, focusing on banks, micro-finance institutions and corporate treasury departments. An important part of their business is related to connecting the back-office payment related systems of their clients to SWIFT…their 30-ish strong team has a strong innovation culture…they also walk the innovation talk…because innovation is needed in their market segments…Allevo has recently become aware of a perception paradox: perceived on the local market of being expensive, the company discovered that potential customers outside Romania hesitated to invest because the solutions sold by Allevo were in fact considered too cheap…the same product was labelled both expensive and cheap”…Automation of business flows, processing of financial transactions and everything related is no longer something considered premium or disruptive or innovative, this has already become a commodity”…for their core product, called qPayIntegrator,  Sorin decided on…open-source. Make the source code available to anyone to use and adapt…The product is free, thus the perception dilemma changes from ‘can I trust this vendor?’ and ‘it is expensive/ridiculously cheap’ to ‘does it solve my business need?’ “. The qPayIntegrator product becomes FinTP, the open source version…the first…reaction will be – “how do you make your revenues if your core product is now free?”. Sorin answers: from services around the product…If that is the case, then two conditions are necessary for success - The product better be good, in fact so good that it gets adopted by a very large community…They have to create a community of software developers around FinTP, to maintain and nurture the open source version. This requires a lot of activity, promotion and community leaders…”
Civilian Aerospace
60.    SpaceX Dragon launch successful: new era begins for commercial space travel  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/05/120522-spacex-launch-falcon-9-international-space-station-science/  “SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched today…carrying what could soon be the first commercial spacecraft to visit the International Space Station (ISS). The rocket lifted off at 3:44 a.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying an unmanned version of the private firm's Dragon space capsule…"It's a great day for America. It's a great day for the world,"…The gumdrop-shaped Dragon capsule—stuffed with cargo for the ISS crew—separated from the rocket components approximately ten minutes after launch and deployed a pair of solar arrays. "Dragon is now free-flying in orbit around the Earth," a SpaceX official said…Over the next several days, Dragon will undergo a gauntlet of test maneuvers and systems demonstrations before being allowed to berth with the space station on Friday…Dragon is scheduled to detach from the ISS and return to Earth next Thursday, landing in the Pacific Ocean off Southern California…the launch manifest includes clothing for astronauts, extra food, and laptop batteries. The return payload will include hardware from completed space station experiments and old space suit gloves from past ISS inhabitants…ever since NASA's space shuttles were retired last July, the agency has had no way of returning significant amounts of material back to Earth…NASA can transport items to the space station using automated transfer vehicles operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). But these transporters are designed for one-way trips only and burn up on reentry, making return cargo trips impossible. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft…primary function is to return humans, not payload…SpaceX predicts that the first manned Dragon flights could occur as early as 2015. But before that happens, the spacecraft will need to be outfitted with more environmental controls and crew accommodations, something the company is already working on…”
61.     Bright future for solar power in space  http://www.strath.ac.uk/press/newsreleases/headline_618623_en.html  “Solar power gathered in space could be set to provide the renewable energy of the future thanks to innovative research being carried out by engineers at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Researchers at the University have already tested equipment in space that would provide a platform for solar panels to collect the energy and allow it to be transferred back to earth through microwaves or lasers…Space provides a fantastic source for collecting solar power and we have the advantage of being able to gather it regardless of the time of the day or indeed the weather conditions…By using either microwaves or lasers we would be able to beam the energy back down to earth, directly to specific areas. This would provide a reliable, quality source of energy and would remove the need for storing energy coming from renewable sources on ground as it would provide a constant delivery of solar energy. Initially, smaller satellites will be able to generate enough energy for a small village but we have the aim, and indeed the technology available, to one day put a large enough structure in space that could gather energy that would be capable of powering a large city…”
62.    New research could power rocket trip to Mars in weeks, not months  http://blog.al.com/space-news/2012/05/new_research_could_power_trip.html  “Huntsville scientists will be firing atoms into atoms…as they try to develop a small, lightweight pulsed nuclear fusion power system. "If this works," says Dr. Jason Cassibry…"we could reach Mars in six to eight weeks instead of six to eight months."…It would reduce the strain of weightlessness on astronaut's bodies…and it would reduce the food and water they need to take on the trip…And…the fuel needed for a Mars journey could be measured in pounds, not tons…How would it work? Imagine a power system that fuses lithium-deuterium pellets together and uses an electromagnetic field as a sort of "nozzle" for the reaction's exhaust, while also capturing part of the energy to rercharge the system. The exhaust would push the rocket forward…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
63.    Nvidia Debuts GK110-based 7.1 Billion Transistor Super GPU  http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-tesla-k20-gk110-gpu,15683.html  “…Nvidia…took the wraps off of the Kepler-based GK110 GPU that will power the Tesla K20 – a professional-level graphics card for serious business…the GK110…packs an astonishing 7.1 billion transistors on a 28nm process…the GK110 is "the most complex IC commercially available on planet."In comparison, next in complexity and transistor count is a chip from Xilinx called the Virtex-7 2000T FPGA, which integrates 2 million logic cells and 6.8 billion transistors. To help put that in better perspective, Intel's 10-core Xeon Westmere-EX has 2.6 billion transistors. The GK110 features 15 SMX units with 192 CUDA cores per unit, which gives a grand total of 2,880 CUDA cores…people can safely expect the use of around at least 2,496 CUDA cores from most Tesla K20 implementations…”
64.    Nvidia upgrades Tesla, eyes cloud gaming  http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4372936/Nvidia-upgrades-Tesla--eyes-cloud-gaming  “Nvidia rolled out the latest graphics board geared for use in highly parallel technical and scientific jobs. It also described a graphics board supporting hardware virtualization and a dedicated video encoder to enable use in applications such as cloud-based gaming services…Nvidia packs two Tesla K10s on a single PCI Express Gen 3 board to deliver 4.58 teraflops of single-precision floating point performance…The Tesla chips are based on the same 28 nm Kepler core Nividia announced for consumer graphics chips in March. It sports 1,536 Nvidia proprietary Cuda rendering cores and 192 control logic cores on a GHz clock. That’s up from 512 and 32 cores in the 40 nm Fermi parts that ran at 772 MHz…Nvidia aims to give a boost to cloud-based gaming services with its new VGX product, a board that packs four GPUs and a 16 Gbyte frame buffer memory. It supports hardware virtualization and a dedicated H.264 video encoder to help overcome network latency that could otherwise slow game data carried over long distances. The Kepler chips support dedicated virtualization channels. Nvidia will create its own hypervisor for the VGX boards that will run with virtualization software from Citrix and VMWare. In future, Nvidia aims to support Microosft and Xen virtualization software on VGX…”



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