2012/06/19

NEW NET Weekly List for 19 Jun 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 19 June 2012, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In501 N. Westhill Blvd., Appleton, WI, USA, near Woodman's. Ignore the chain if it's across the stairs; come on up and join the tech fun! This week will conclude our focus on the GoogleSuite for now -- I expect to come back to that in a few months, especially if I've managed to put together a "User's Guide To The GoogleSuite." Tonight we'll try to hammer out what our focus topic for next month will be, assuming NEW NET participants want to do another focus topic in July.

SkyNet
1.        Google Street View Data Now Available For Panoramio Mapping  http://www.webpronews.com/google-street-view-data-now-available-for-panoramio-mapping-2012-06  “Google Maps has been in the news a lot over the last week or two, having unveiled its own new 3D imagery and offline maps, along with being dumped by Apple as its primary Maps provider (in favor of TomTom). Google announced today that it has made a “huge amount” of Street View data available in its Panoramio mapping interface. According to Google Maps and Google Earth VP of Engineering, Brian McClendon, Google has driven over 5 million unique miles in Street View, covering 39 countries and over 3,000 cities. All of this data is now available to Panoramio users. Users will see a button called “Precise mapping with Street View” in the mapping interface when photos are mapped close to a place where Street View data is available. The user can click the button to activate Street View mode or drag/drop “Pegman” to the place the image was taken…”
2.       7 Great Google Spreadsheet Gadgets  http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/257548/7_great_google_spreadsheet_gadgets.html  “Inside Google Docs' spreadsheet component, you’ll find gadgets that endow the app with powers that even Excel users will envy. Included are tools for creating animated pie charts, producing QR codes, generating organizational charts, and more. You can also plot data in color by country on a map, and you can publish a map with your office location marked on it. All of these tricks are easy to pull off--I’ll show you how…1. Make Your Own QR Codes…2. Make Your Own Custom Google Map…3. Create Quick and Easy Organization Charts…4. Produce an Interactive Table…5. Create a Gantt Chart From Project Data…6. Plot Data as Colors on a Map…7. Create an Animated Pie Chart…”
3.       Inside Google's Plan to Build a Catalog of Every Single Thing, Ever http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/06/inside-googles-plan-to-build-a-catalog-of-every-single-thing-ever/258579/  “There's a lot more to Google's Knowledge Graph than might be apparent from what you see in a casual search…in 2005, Giannandrea teamed up with Danny Hillis and Robert Cook to cofound Metaweb, which had a simple premise: "What if we could make a catalog of all the stuff our computer should know?" Giannandrea told me in a recent interview. "We were interested in building a model of the world…Last month, their project was finally let loose into the wild as the Google Knowledge Graph, which you now see showing up in your search results on the right of your screen. But there's a lot more to the creation of the Knowledge Graph than might be apparent from using it in casual searches…This is one of those human knowledge projects that is ridiculous in scope and possibly in impact. And yet when it gets turned into a consumer product, all we see is a useful module for figuring out Tom Cruise's height more quickly. In principle, this is both good and bad. It's good because technology should serve human needs and we shouldn't worship the technology itself. It's bad because it's easy to miss out on the importance of the infrastructure and ideology that are going to increasingly inform the way Google responds to search requests…”
4.       Reviewing Chrome OS 21: Google gives the operating system a face lift  http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2012/06/18/reviewing_chrome_os_21_google_gives_the_operating_system_a_face_lift  “Over the last few weeks, Google has introduced new Chrome OS products like the Samsung Chromebox and a line of new notebooks. More importantly, however, was the unveiling of Chrome OS 20, the first real "face lift" for the operating system…we will take a look at what's new in version 20 and 21, as used on the Google CR-48 beta Chromebook…Chrome OS cannot yet compete with Microsoft, Apple or Linux, but it is slowly but surely getting there. The lack of offline abilities (for now) and the need to have apps for most tasks make it a bit daunting for consumers used to the openness of traditional operating systems. Then again, the main benefits of Chrome OS is quick boot-up, and the ability to survive without very much internal storage, thanks to cloud storage of your files. If you are a power user, who needs video/photo editing and other memory intensive apps, Chrome OS will not be for you, probably ever. For the average consumer, however, Chrome OS is becoming a viable alternative…In Chrome 21 (and 20), Google completely changed up the operating system's user interface, making it more familiar to those used to Windows. There is now a taskbar on the bottom which pins your favorite apps. Starting off when you get the update there is Chrome, Gmail, Docs, YouTube, Google Search and the app launcher. On the Quickstart side of the taskbar, there is your login details, battery info, date and time and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth set-up…”
5.        Google makes a big push for offline Chrome apps  http://gigaom.com/mobile/google-makes-a-big-push-for-offline-chrome-apps/  “…Google…is making a concerted effort to enable more offline use for its Chrome browser and Chrome OS platform. Earlier this week, the company created a new collection of apps in the Chrome Web Store to highlight web apps that can already run in Google’s browser without requiring full-time connectivity. And the long-awaited offline editing ability for Google Docs is coming “soon”…Now that the newest ChromeBook is boosting my productivity while also allowing for online fun — see why in this video overview — I’m looking forward to the wider range of opportunities offline browser use can bring. While we have connectivity in more places than ever, there are still times when the ability to work offline is needed. And by shutting down a wireless radio, devices can run longer. Google is making it easer for developers to get their web apps in the new Offline collection. The simple addition of offline_enabled in the app manifest is all it takes. Of course, it’s up to the developer to ensure their app does indeed work offline. Google Docs technically does work offline, but for now it only offers viewing access for documents. The same holds true for Google Calendar: You can see your events, but not make modifications…”
6.       Google Launching Custom Gmail Themes  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2406044,00.asp  “Are you sick of all the themes that Google offers to spice up your Gmail? Well, now you can personalize your inbox with your own photos. Google on Tuesday announced that it is rolling out a new custom themes section in Gmail "over the next couple of days" that will let users set their own background images. Google offered a similar option for Gmail before it launched its redesign of the service last year. Now you'll be able to select backgrounds from your Google+ photos, upload your own photo directly, or paste any image URL. You can also browse Google's searchable Featured Photos section to find one you like…”
7.        Flipboard becomes prominent Google+ partner  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57455826-93/flipboard-becomes-prominent-google-partner/  “Google isn't ready to open up a Google+ interface to just anybody yet, but it has done so with one important partner, Flipboard. An application programming interface (API) lets third-party software tap into a service, and opening the Google+ API will let people use Flipboard to read and publish Google+ posts and to comment on those posts. The quick demo showed Flipboard's typical interface, with its design of virtual pages that people can flip from one subject to another. One page showed various photos from a particular user, another textual comments, and a third a combination of some text with a large photos. He also showed a basic interface for posting a comment to Google+…”
8.       Google Spreadsheet and a shared household budget  http://lifehacker.com/5918288/how-to-set-up-and-streamline-a-shared-budget  “…We'd like a system that both of us can easily use that'll work across our different operating systems (iPhone, Android, Mac, and Windows). Can you help us streamline our shared budget so we can get on the same page financially?...Here are a few tips and tools to help you out…Step 1: Review Your Financial Situation and Goals Together…The first step is to just sit down together and figure out where you stand as well as what your spending and savings goals are…Step 2: Create a Budget or Spending Plan…Keeping in mind your financial priorities, it's time to create a plan for your savings and spending…Paper and pen work fine for a simple income versus expenses review, as do spreadsheets (Here's a Simple Budget Planner and a much more detailed Household Budget Worksheet on Google Docs)…”
9.       How to setup your YouTube Channel for LIVE Featured Tab Broadcasting for Hangouts On Air  http://www.whatsinkenilworth.com/2012/06/how-to-setup-your-youtube-channel-for.html  “How to setup your YouTube Channel for LIVE Featured Tab Broadcasting for Hangouts On Air Steps 1, 2 and 3 are good, however .. step 4 involves manually checking the LIVE On Air…EDIT: Go to 3, .. Manually Select the On Air you are about to Broadcast .. Do this BEFORE you click red button, BROADCAST…”
The ‘net
10.     Facebook buys facial recognition app company Face.com  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9340795/Facebook-acquires-facial-recognition-company.html  “It is thought Facebook has bought the Israeli start-up in a bid to improve its photo tagging service as Face.com’s speciality is mobile facial recognition. This type of technology, when applied to Facebook’s mobile apps, could mean that when members of the social network upload an image via their phone, they could instantly receive suggestions of whom to tag and confirm the identities of their friends with one click…More than 300 million new photos are added to Facebook every single day…Last June Facebook angered its users and security experts by turning on a similar facial recognition technology by default across its website, without telling its members first. The 'Suggest photos of me to friends' feature is located in the company's privacy settings. Facebook users need to click on 'customise settings' before being able to disable it. Graham Cluely, of the British internet security firm Sophos, said at the time: "Unfortunately, once again, Facebook seems to be sharing personal information by default. Many people feel distinctly uncomfortable about a site like Facebook learning what they look like, and using that information without their permission…”  http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/06/facebook-acquires-facial-recognition-startup-may-broaden-tagging-ability/  “…Significant privacy questions remain. “I am concerned about Facebook's acquisition because Face.com has said it's database includes about 40 billion face prints, and it is unclear at this point what Facebook plans to do with this data,” wrote Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation…“We already know that the federal government regularly asks for copies of all photographs in which a user is tagged when it issues a warrant to Facebook. We also know that the FBI is currently building out the face recognition capabilities of its Next Generation Identification biometrics database and so has an interest in acquiring as many face images as possible…”
11.      Mensch Launches Menshn For US Elections — A New Platform For Realtime Topical Chat   http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/19/mensch-launches-menshn-for-us-elections-a-new-platform-for-realtime-topical-chat/  “The rise of social media has been like the emergence of a new and powerful drug. But the the Facebook newsfeed and Twitter stream, despite being addictive, don’t really serve the needs of people who want to keep a conversation on one topic…One person who knows this more than most is high profile UK MP Louise Mensch, who has masterfully used twitter both to propel her political views (at 60,000 followers she is in the top 10 of all UK MPs) but has also felt the full backlash of the Twitter trolls. It was experiences like this which got her thinking late last year – why not create a platform where we can still have open conversations but stay on topic, still in real-time? Thus Menshn is launched today: a full-blown social platform for “talking on topic” in a realtime, social manner where – Mensch hopes – quality will out…this is no trivial project. Mensch has teamed up with a former digital guru for Labour under Tony Blair, Luke Bozier, who has built the technical platform for Menshn. Initially the site launches in the US-only. Try to access it from the UK and all you will see is a holding page. Something which is going to frustrate a few UK politics junkies. Instead, Menshn is going to be initially aimed at the massive topic of conversation around the US elections…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
12.     The Antivirus Era Is Over  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/428166/the-antivirus-era-is-over/  “…Flame is just the latest in a series of incidents that suggest that conventional antivirus software is an outmoded way of protecting computers against malware. "Flame was a failure for the antivirus industry," Mikko Hypponen, the founder and chief research officer of antivirus firm F-Secure, wrote last week. "We really should have been able to do better. But we didn't. We were out of our league, in our own game."…Some experts and companies now say it's time to demote antivirus-style protection. "It's still an integral part [of malware defense], but it's not going to be the only thing," says Nicolas Christin, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. "We need to move away from trying to build Maginot lines that look bulletproof but are actually easy to get around."…"The industry has been wrong to focus on the tools of the attackers, the exploits, which are very changeable," says Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer and cofounder of CrowdStrike, a startup in California founded by veterans of the antivirus industry that has received $26 million in investment funding…CrowdStrike isn't ready to go public with details of its technology, but Alperovitch says the company plans to offer a kind of intelligent warning system that can spot even completely novel attacks and trace their origins…”
13.     Ethiopian Government Bans Skype, Google Talk And All Other VoIP Services  http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/14/ethiopian-government-bans-skype-google-talk-and-all-other-voip-services/  “The Ethiopian government…has criminalized the use of Skype and other VoIP services like Google Talk. Using VoIP services is now punishable by up to 15 years in prison. This law actually passed last month, but mostly went unnoticed outside of the country. Ethiopian authorities argue that they imposed these bans because of “national security concerns” and to protect the state’s telecommunications monopoly. The country only has one ISP, the state-owned Ethio Telecom, and has been filtering its citizen’s Internet access for quite some time…As for Skype and other VoIP services, the new law doesn’t just criminalize their usage, but the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology now has “the power to supervise and issue licenses to all privately owned companies that import equipment used for the communication of information.”…It’s not clear how exactly the government plans to enforce this restriction, but a potential 15-year prison term will likely keep most people from using Skype in Ethiopia anytime soon…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
14.     MS Surface vs iPad and Engadget editors’ opinions about Microsoft's new Surface tablet line  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/microsoft-surface-vs-apples-ipad/2012/06/19/gJQABXlnnV_story.html  “Microsoft’s…Surface tablet…comes in two flavors: a version that runs Windows RT and a version that runs Windows 8 Pro. That means only the latter will be able to run all your Windows programs…Microsoft has produced a product that is intended to compete with high-end tablets and even ultrabooks…Both versions of the tablet boast 10.6-inch screens, bigger than the iPad’s 9.7-inch display…both versions of the Surface come with two USB ports (2.0 on the RT version, 3.0 on the Windows 8 Pro model)…The need for extra dongles has been a persistent complaint about the iPad, and a major selling point for Android tablets…the Redmond, Wash.-based company offered a twist: the cover is the keyboard. The 3mm-thick keyboard also comes in two versions — with a difference in key construction— but both have a touchpad…Microsoft also showed off a pen — yes, a stylus — that is included with the Windows 8 version of the tablet and attaches to it magnetically. Plus, the Surface is its own stand, with a built-in kickstand in the back…”  http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/19/editorial-engadget-on-microsofts-new-surface-tablet-line/  “…Microsoft just pulled off a showy, big-time event in which they unveiled not one but two pieces of hardware…Microsoft needed to…have these priced at parity with the iPad 2 and the new iPad…The hardware looks great, the keyboard covers are a brilliant idea…This is the product I wanted. The Surface for Windows 8 Pro…a tablet with a full-fledged OS; one capable of entertaining me on the go, yet making me productive when docked…Microsoft somehow managed to do all of the wrong things in "launching" this product…Part of me wonders how many consumers will still be around to care about this when it ships in six months…What I'm most concerned about is the impact to Microsoft's hardware partners. Quite simply, the company just pulled a Zune. Surface tablets won't be competing in every area, but there will be precious little incentive for those near Microsoft Stores to buy a tablet from Acer, ASUS or others that may not get the same top-flight treatment as Microsoft's own hardware…At the very minimum, these two devices will set a benchmark for consumers to evaluate how Windows 8 tablets should behave…Whether the tablets are ultimately hits with consumers is almost beside the point, because these are the products that Microsoft needed to generate genuine interest in the Windows 8 tablet initiative…Paired with the slab's own built-in stand, these lightweight keyboards tease us with a full PC experience in a charming, easily detachable form factor…it's a tech support phone-jockey's worst nightmare: "What do you mean my old programs won't run, it's Windows isn't it?" Savvy Engadget readers may know the differences between Surface for Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro, but the common shopper won't -- they'll just see a less expensive slate with longer battery life…I'm waiting to see which Microsoft is behind these devices – the all-in juggernaut that willed millions of Xbox 360s into homes, or the tentative newcomer that dipped its toes into the water with the Zune…”
15.     Sharp Rolling Out New 'Feel UX' Android UI  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405970,00.asp  “Japanese phone maker Sharp is doing its best to stand out in the Android crowd, today announcing that it will release a new smartphone user interface all its own. In partnership with global design firm frog, Sharp is developing Feel UX, a custom UI that will be rolled out gradually, beginning this summer in the Japanese market with the upcoming Aquos smartphones, the company said in a press release. Feel UX users will be greeted with a Welcome Sheet lock screen, where the main shortcut icons, date, time, and battery life information are laid out against a black matte, without overlapping the wallpaper photo. Feel UX allows users to launch the phone, email, or camera functions directly from the lock screen, as well as check missed calls or get real-time updates on weather and stock prices…The streamlined, three-page home screen is more in line with Apple's iPhone interface than most Android options, featuring icons and shortcuts lined up in three columns, with a center calendar-and-clock widget sheet. Sharp is focusing on the app launcher instead of the typical multi-screen layout, leaving less room for users to drop their favorite apps on a home screen, but integrating shortcuts to contacts and actions like tweeting…”
Apps
16.     Grocery retailers compete with mobile shopping tools  http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-06-16/business/bs-bz-grocery-mobile-apps-20120616_1_mobile-shopping-rewards-cards-safeway-s-eastern-division  “…shoppers at a Baltimore Safeway…use mobile devices to plan meals, organize lists, download coupons, compare prices, check rewards points, get personalized sale offers and scan bar codes…On Wednesday, Safeway launched "Just For U," a mobile shopping tool that lets customers use their smartphones for features such as downloading personalized deals to Safeway rewards cards. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based chain, with 30 Baltimore area stores, hopes the savings in time and money will persuade shoppers to visit its stores more regularly…Safeway is the latest chain to offer a mobile application. Giant rolled out a program last year that links to the grocer's loyalty cards and allows customers to access store circulars, download specials to rewards cards and monitor gas reward points. Wegmans, Harris Teeter and Peapod, the online delivery service, have also launched or upgraded mobile shopping tools recently…”
17.     Cvent Snags CrowdCompass For $10M To Double Down On Mobile Event Apps  http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/19/cvent-buys-crowdcompass/  “It’s been an active seven days for Cvent, one of the largest event management companies in the world you’ve never heard of. The company, which offers web-based software for online event registration, management and more, has been on a mission to go beyond B2B services…Cvent made its first-ever acquisition last week, scooping up Austin-based event app developer Seed Labs for $4.2 million…Today, the event software company announced its second acquisition in seven days, picking up Portland-based app developer CrowdCompass for $10 million. CrowdCompass, which has raised about $1.3 million in funding, is like Seed Labs for conferences. The app developer offers a suite of mobile apps that aim to accelerate the popularity of events, conferences and tradeshows by making that experience simple, social, and easy to share on the go…this means that event and conference organizers can create custom-branded mobile apps that combine schedules, maps, exhibitor listings, sponsorship opportunities, QR code scanning, messaging and social networking into one solution…”
General Technology
18.     The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/06/opinion-apple-retina-displa/  “This week, Apple delivered the highly anticipated MacBook Pro with Retina Display — and the tech world is buzzing. I took one apart yesterday because I run iFixit…The Retina MacBook is the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart: Unlike the previous model, the display is fused to the glass, which means replacing the LCD requires buying an expensive display assembly. The RAM is now soldered to the logic board — making future memory upgrades impossible. And the battery is glued to the case, requiring customers to mail their laptop to Apple every so often for a $200 replacement…The design pattern has serious consequences not only for consumers and the environment, but also for the tech industry as a whole. The Retina MacBook is the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart…When Apple dropped the MacBook Air to $999 in 2010 to match the price point of the MacBook, they gave users a clear choice: the thin, light, and un-upgradeable MacBook Air or the heavier, longer lasting, more rugged, and more powerful MacBook…I wasn’t very happy with the non-upgradeable RAM on the MacBook Air, but I respected that Apple had given their users a choice. It was up to us: Did we want a machine that would be stuck with 2GB of RAM forever?...Consumers overwhelmingly voted yes, and the Air grew to take 40 percent of Apple’s notebook sales by the end of 2010. The success of the non-upgradeable Air empowered Apple to release the even-less-serviceable iPad two years later…And again, we voted with our wallets and purchased the device despite its built-in death clock…We have consistently voted for hardware that’s thinner rather than upgradeable…Our purchasing decisions are telling Apple that we’re happy to buy computers and watch them die on schedule…If we want long-lasting products that retain their value, we have to support products that do so…If we choose the Retina display over the existing MacBook Pro, the next generation of Mac laptops will likely be less repairable still. When that happens, we won’t be able to blame Apple. We’ll have to blame ourselves.”
19.     Vizio reboots the PC: a quiet American success story  http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/15/3076519/vizio-reboot-pc-american-hdtv-success-do-it-again  “…Vizio is one of the best-kept secrets in consumer technology. The tiny Southern California company consistently sells the most HDTVs in America, but it's a sure bet that you know virtually nothing about it. Hell, most people don't even know Vizio is an American company, even though all but three of its 417 employees work in the US. That's sort of what happens when you run virtually no advertising outside of sponsoring a few major events like the Rose Bowl, hold no press conferences outside of CES, and build the foundation of your empire by selling low-cost TVs at Walmart. Yet Vizio's customers keep coming back, and bringing others: a combination of low prices, increasing quality, and solid customer support is pretty hard to resist…after conquering the TV market, launching a line of well-regarded soundbars, and dipping a curious toe into the Android tablet waters, Vizio's decided to come out of the shadows and go after something bigger: the PC industry. The company just announced a complete line of laptops and all-in-one desktops that feature attractive designs, high-end components, and totally clean builds of Windows, with prices between $899 and $1,299. It's a risky bet for many reasons…but Vizio is confident it's making the right move. After all, it entered the mature TV market in much the same way almost exactly a decade ago…”
Leisure & Entertainment
20.    Every Concert Is A Hologram  http://www.latimesmagazine.com/2012/06/i-sing-the-body-electric.html  “At this year’s Coachella music festival, slain rapper Tupac Shakur was resurrected for a performance with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Projected as a two-dimensional image, abs still ripped in the pixilated afterlife, Virtual ’Pac alternately dazzled and freaked out the crowd…’Pac might be the baddest projection out there, but he’s neither the first nor the most audaciously futuristic. The latter distinction belongs to Japan’s virtual pop star Hatsune Miku, a digital-android pixie in aquamarine pigtails and knee-high boots. She performs via basically the same technology as Tupac, with flesh-and-blood musicians as her backup band. Since 2009, the Japanese-pop divatar has performed shows in her native land, as well as a Los Angeles debut at the Nokia Theater during the 2011 Anime Expo. In March, she sold 10,000 tickets for $76 a pop in Tokyo. Her most viewed clip on YouTube, in which she sings her megahit “World Is Mine,” has gotten more than 15 million hits…Created by Crypton Future Media, Miku is the most popular avatar created to sell Vocaloid 2, the singing synthesizer application originally developed by Yamaha. In Japan, it is common to create a character associated with software…”
21.     Amazon adds all 7 Harry Potter books to its Kindle Owners’ Lending Library  http://thenextweb.com/media/2012/06/19/amazon-adds-all-7-harry-potter-books-to-its-kindle-owners-lending-library/  “…From today, all seven of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books will be available to download via Amazon’s Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL), allowing fans of the franchise borrow them – for free – as frequently as once a month, with no due dates. The company announced back in May that the books would be coming to its KOLL platform, stocking the English, French, Italian, German and Spanish variations of the book, having secured a license from Pottermore. The reason Kindle owner’s can only borrow them is because Pottermore retains the exclusive sales rights to sales of the books. However, Amazon (and other online retailers) listed the book on their stores and directed customers back to the official license holder. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is one of the benefits of Amazon Prime membership…”
Economy and Technology
22.    Dwolla’s First FiSync Banking Customer Goes Live, Eliminates ACH Delays With Real-Time Bank Transfers http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/15/dwolla-fisyncs-first-banking-customer-goes-live-eliminates-ach-delays-with-real-time-bank-transfers/  “A major milestone for disruptive payments platform Dwolla: the company has just switched on FiSync, its real-time money transfer system which aims to replace the outdated – and much slower – ACH process. ACH, or Automated Clearing House, is the traditional means for making electronic payments here in the United States. A 40-year old system, ACH enables money to move from Bank A to Bank B, but the transactions take two to five days to complete. FiSync basically blows that system up, offering banks, credit unions and service providers access to a real-time alternative…Waterloo, Iowa’s Veridian Credit Union…integration will switch on the real-time transactions for over 160,000 banking customers. The system is not only quicker than ACH…but actually protects customers better due to a verification process that allows banks to protect clients by requiring that other financial institutions verify account information prior to engaging in transactions. Banks can also hold deposits, if need be…unlike ACH, FiSync doesn’t take banking holidays or weekends off. It’s real-time, 24/7…”
23.    Bright Unveils A Data-Driven Approach To The Job Search  http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/19/bright-score/  “Startup Bright has already built a popular job board…over the past 18 months, Bright.com has attracted 8.6 million job seekers who have posted 2.8 million resumes. However, that was just stage one of the company’s plans — in Goodman’s words, it was “the largest scientific resume trial in the history of the industry.”…Here’s the problem, as laid out by Goodman: The Internet has democratized the job application process, and that’s not entirely a good thing. Since it’s much easier to find and apply for jobs, companies and especially recruiters are now being bombarded with resumes. In many cases, the final decision is going to be based on one-on-one interviews, but winnowing down a giant stack of resumes to those final 20 or 10 or five candidates to interview can be a challenge. That’s where Bright comes in — specifically, a new tool called the Bright Score. Goodman says that during the 18-month trial, more than 100 talent recruiters were rating the appropriateness of tens of thousands of applications for different jobs. Then Bright’s 15 data scientists and engineers looked at those results, as well as other activity on the site, to create a generalized scoring algorithm. In other words, the Bright Score assesses how well-suited you are for a certain job. If you score between 100 and 90, you’re an exceptional fit. If you score between 89 and 80, you’re a great fit. If you score less than 70, you’re not qualified…”
24.    A Redesigned, Slicker PayPal Is Coming Tomorrow  http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/19/a-redesigned-slicker-paypal-is-coming-tomorrow-some-seeing-new-look-today/  “PayPal, the eBay-owned online payments service that is making significant inroads into mobile, is giving its website an overhaul to make it easier for its 100 million+ users to pay and get paid, find help, and potentially start using some of the newer services that PayPal is pushing hard to grow. The redesign also happens to look a lot more touch-friendly, perhaps a sign of how much tablets, smartphones and the mobile web figure today in the company’s strategy…So what do we know about the new PayPal? The home page is significantly less busy, with PayPal simplifying how many options it gives users. Gone, for instance, are the two levels of navigation bars at the top (home, personal, business; and “get to know PayPal”, pay online, send money, get paid, products & services). Now these have been replaced with three tabs: buy, sell and transfer. There is now also a new button, off to the right, that encourages people to “explore” — a new way for PayPal specifically to market its newer services…”
25.    Square Introduces a Digital Loyalty Card  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/square-introduces-a-digital-loyalty-card/  “Square, the mobile payments start-up, thinks it has come up with another good reason to buy things with a smartphone instead of cash or a credit card. Its apps now allow shoppers to carry around a digital loyalty card, a replacement for the cards that get punched — buy 10 coffees and get the next one free…Square released software updates for Square Register, its iPad app that replaces a cash register for merchants. At the same time, it updated its Pay With Square app for customers with an iPhone or Android handset. The software upgrades will allow merchants to reward regular customers by applying discounts automatically when they return to the store or by giving them points on a digital punch card each time they buy something that can be applied toward earning a free or discounted meal. A digital version of the punch card (or stamp card) is more convenient than stuffing your wallet with a bunch of paper cards, says Keith Rabois, Square’s chief operating officer. “Those punch cards that you get and stick on your refrigerator and leave behind? On your phone you have one for every merchant you visit…”
DHMN Technology
26.    Shapeways, Having Printed 1 Million Objects, Secures More Financing  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/shapeways-prints-1-million-objects-anda-secures-more-funding/  “…Shapeways, a company that enables people to print 3-D objects, announced on Tuesday that it had completed a $6.2 million…round of financing…Shapeways said it planned to use the money to expand its service and hire new employees. Shapeways has talked about building the “factory of the future” at its flagship office in New York City. The company…says it has printed one million objects for customers. There are more than 6,000 independent designers selling products in the Shapeways marketplace. The company also said more than 150,000 people actively use the Shapeways community, which includes a forum, sharing objects and organizing 3-D meetups…”
27.    ArduSat wants to put Arduino satellite, your experiments into orbit  http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/18/ardusat-wants-to-put-arduino-satellite-your-experiments-into-orbit/  “…ArduSat's barking up that very tree, asking Kickstarter contributors to help them get a Arduino CubeSat off the ground. Headed by NanoSatisfi, a tech startup operating out of NASA's Ames Research Center, the project hopes to raise enough funds to launch an Arduino bank and a bevy of open-source sensors into orbit. The payoff for backers? Access. Varying levels of contribution are rewarded with personalized space broadcasts, remote access to the space hardware's onboard cameras and even use of the machine's sensors to run experiments of the backer's own design. If all goes well, the team hopes to launch more satellites for the everyman, including a unit dedicated to letting would-be stellar photographers take celestial snapshots. Sure, it's far cry from actually launching yourself into the stars, but would you rather be a tourist, or a scientist? …”
28.    Interactive LED helmet lets your head do the talking on the road  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/06/interactive-led.php  “…a number of devices and equipment one can use to make bike riding and skate boarding safer…the LumaHelm…helmet is an interactive device designed to allow the wearer to communicate with the public via light signals. Fitted with104 LEDs controlled by an Arduino Uno microcontroller, the most direct application of the LumaHelm would allow the wearer to use the helmet as a way to deliver turn signals while riding a bike. The designers also envision the helmet being used as a compliment to musical performances…”
Open Source Hardware
29.    Bukobot Advances Open-Source 3D Printing  http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1394&doc_id=245877  “…there's a new kid in town: the Bukobot, which its developers characterize as a next-generation, open-source, 3D printer. Diego Porqueras, of Pasadena, Calif., is positioning his entry into the open-source 3D printer world as addressing two of the more common problems: ease of use/assembly and scalability. Unlike other open-source 3D printers based on the RepRap project, which can be difficult to assemble, Porqueras says the Bukobot (watch a video below) has been designed with a framework that requires no special machining or heavy adjustments of rods and acrylic, but rather can be put together with simple tools found around the house -- screw drivers, utility knifes, and a set of needle nose pliers. While many 3D printers work at 0.3mm or 0.25mm and struggle at 0.1mm, the Bukobot 8 Vanilla prototype has been tested with output at 0.05mm, according to its developer…one of the hurdles associated with first-generation, open-source 3D printer kits is the requirement for expensive and hard-to-find laser cut pieces and machined parts. "I believe most people do not have access to a laser cutter or machine shop, so I eliminated this need in the design of the Buko framework…The Bukobot also pushes past RepRap models in its expandability. While 3D printers based on the original open-source model are hard to scale to handle bigger, or so-called higher, print jobs, Bukobot's developers say the system is easily upgradable, requiring only the addition of longer pieces of aluminum extrusions, longer cables and belts, and maybe even some simple electronics. Porqueras's company, Deezmaker, is positioning the Bukobot as a low-cost tool (it's even gone as far to call it a "personal manufacturing system") for hobbyists and engineers looking to do everything from creating fun sculptures and toys to more serious applications like prototyping parts and 3D-printing common parts for fixing household items. The printer comes in two build sizes: 8-inch models with an 8x8x8-inch (200x200x200mm) build envelope or a smaller, miniaturized model, which has a print volume of around 5x5x6 inches…”
30.    Etherkit debuts with open source QRSS transmitter kit  http://www.southgatearc.org/news/june2012/etherkit_debuts_with_open_source_qrss_transmitter_kit.htm  “Etherkit, a new amateur radio kit company devoted to open source hardware, has released its first product for sale. OpenBeacon is an open source crystal-controlled QRPp beacon transmitter kit which can output a variety of slow-speed modes, including QRSS, DFCW, and Sequential Multi-tone Hellschreiber. It is configured via USB port, so there are no jumpers to set and you can easily adjust all of the operating parameters via command line. Once configuration is complete, OpenBeacon may be removed from the PC and operate stand-alone…”
Open Source
31.     Introducing Thimble: webmaking made easy  http://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2012/06/18/introducing_thimble/  “…Thimble…makes it incredibly simple for anyone to create and share their own web pages and other projects in minutes. Thimble is webmaking made easy. It’s an intuitive visual editor that lets you write and edit HTML right in your browser, preview and correct your work, and then publish and share fully functional web pages with a single click. Thimble removes many of the barriers for novice users trying to learn code, and includes a series of starter projects and templates to help anyone get started quickly. Wired Webmonkey calls Thimble “one of the friendliest, easiest-to-use code editors we’ve seen.” We’re extremely excited about it, and it’s at the heart of Mozilla Webmaker’s mission to move people from using the web to making the web — and to create a more web literate planet…we’re also unveiling a new Mozilla Webmaker web site today. Check out the new webmaker.org. The new site includes projects to help users make and learn with Thimble, plus other Webmaker tools like Popcorn and the X-Ray Goggles. We’ve got great new projects to help you do everything from tweaking your blog template, to making interactive videos, to creating fantastic 3D web pages…”
32.    Lightworks: Lightweight Open Source Video Editing Software  http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/lightworks-lightweight-video-editing-software/  “Free high quality software does not come often, especially in technologies like video editing. If you want to churn out professional work on your laptop, you are stuck with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier. or Avid Video Premiere. Fortunately, the Lightworks project offers a lightweight, free and open source video editing software that offers the same feature set as what you get from programs that costs thousands of dollars. Lightworks’ interface has an easy learning curve if you already know how existing video editors work. The features are too many to mention, but just know that anything a professional product can do, Lightworks can do it too, from effects, trimming, audio, and color-correction, to media management, and third-party support…”  http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTEyMjE  “Lightworks, the high-end non-linear video editor that was open-sourced, is almost ready to finally debut on Linux. Half-way into 2012, we finally see the existence of the native Linux client for Lightworks and there's video of it running atop Ubuntu.  Embedded below is a video of Lightworks running on Ubuntu Linux. There isn't yet any alpha/beta release of Lightworks for Linux, but it's expected soon…”  http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_docman&gid=8&task=cat_view&Itemid=189
Civilian Aerospace
33.    Surrey Satellite turns to Xbox for latest technology  http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/surrey-satellite-turns-to-xbox-for-latest-technology-372661/  “While many parents are understandably quick to criticise computer games as mindless time wasters with a narcotic grip on their offspring, engineers at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) see in the latest addition to Microsoft's Xbox system a shortcut to resolving several conundrums of spacecraft design. Xbox's Kinect add-on is a chocolate box-sized three-camera system that detects and analyses gamers' movements and translates them into control instructions. Inspired by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers who used Kinect to help a model helicopter achieve autonomous flight, SSTL's Shaun Kenyon wondered if this off-the-shelf capability could be used in space…Kenyon and University of Surrey lecturer Chris Bridges, who are working together on a project to build a shoebox-sized "cubesat" around the electronics in a standard Google Android smartphone, wondered if they could harness Kinect's situational awareness capability to allow two cubesats to autonomously dock and undock in orbit…”
34.    Program fuels students’ space dreamhttp://www.thestate.com/2012/06/19/2322065/out-of-this-world.html  “…The…seventh-grader…hasn’t ruled out a visit to another galaxy himself one day, if only for a visit. “I think we’re closer to developing new technologies so that it will make it easier for someone to go to space just like an airplane flight,” he said. The conclusions were reached, in large part, after a visit to NASA’s 2012 Summer of Innovation STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Program. Hundreds of middle school students across the state are taking part in the program…Opening day featured a live video chat with NASA astronauts, robotics demonstrations, displays of moon rocks, space artifacts and a model of the International Space Station. Commanders at the Richland One Challenger Center also conducted flight simulations. While touring various stations Monday, students peppered instructors with questions about diets, sleep patterns, clothing and even potty break schedules for astronauts. “It’s like the future basically,” said Meagan Green…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
35.    U.S. regains #1 supercomputer spot in Top500  http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/06/with-16-petaflops-and-1-6m-cores-doe-supercomputer-is-worlds-fastest/  “…In the latest Top 500 Supercomputer Sites list unveiled Monday morning, a newly assembled cluster built with IBM hardware at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) takes the top prize. Its speed? A whopping 16.32 petaflops, or 16 thousand trillion calculations per second. With 96 racks, 98,304 compute nodes, 1.6 million cores, and 1.6 petabytes of memory across 4,500 square feet, the IBM Blue Gene/Q system installed at LLNL overtakes the 10-petaflop, 705,000-core “K computer” in Japan's RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science. The Japanese computer had been world’s fastest twice in a row. Before that, the top spot was held by a Chinese system. The DOE computer, named “Sequoia,” was delivered to LLNL between January and April. It's the first US system to be ranked #1 since November 2009. To get to 16 petaflops, Sequoia ran the Linpack benchmark for 23 hours without a single core failing, LLNL division leader Kim Cupps told Ars Friday in advance of the list’s release. The system is capable of hitting more than 20 petaflops—during the tests it ran at 81 percent efficiency. “For a machine with 1.6 million cores to run for over 23 hours six weeks after the last rack arrived on our floor is nothing short of amazing,” she said…”
36.    SIMD < SIMT < SMT: parallelism in NVIDIA GPUs  http://www.yosefk.com/blog/simd-simt-smt-parallelism-in-nvidia-gpus.html  “…Programmable NVIDIA GPUs are very inspiring to hardware geeks, proving that processors with an original, incompatible programming model can become widely used. NVIDIA call their parallel programming model SIMT - “Single Instruction, Multiple Threads”. Two other different, but related parallel programming models are SIMD - “Single Instruction, Multiple Data”, and SMT - “Simultaneous Multithreading”. Each model exploits a different source of parallelism: In SIMD, elements of short vectors are processed in parallel…In SMT, instructions of several threads are run in parallel…SIMT is somewhere in between - an interesting hybrid between vector processing and hardware threading. My presentation of SIMT is focused on hardware architecture and its implications on the trade-off between flexibility and efficiency. I’ll describe how SIMT is different from SIMD and SMT, and why - what is gained (and lost) through these differences…”

*****

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