2012/07/03

NEW NET Weekly List for 03 Jul 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 03 Jul 2012, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurism and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net
1.        Amazon Cloud Goes Down Friday Night, Taking Netflix, Instagram And Pinterest With It  http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/06/30/amazon-data-center-loses-power-during-storm/  “An Amazon Web Services data center in northern Virginia lost power Friday night, causing extended downtime for services includng Netflix, Heroku, Pinterest , Instagram and many others. The incident occurred as a powerful electrical storm struck the Washington, D.C. area…The data center in Ashburn, Virginia that hosts the US-East-1 region lost power for about 30 minutes, but customers were affected for a longer period…While most Amazon customers recovered within several hours, a number of prominent services were offline for much lnger. The photo-sharing service Instagram was unavailable until about Noon Pacific time Saturday, more than 15 hours after the incident began. Cloud infrastructure provider Heroku, which runs its platform atop AWS, reported 8 hours of downtime for some services…Major data centers are equipped with large backup generators to maintain power during utlity outages, but the Amazon facility was apparently unable to make the switch to backup power. Amazon experienced an outage June 15 in its US-East-1 region that was triggered by a series of failures in the power infrastructure, including the failure of a generator cooling fan while the facility was on emergency power…”
2.       The sledgehammer of usage-based billing  http://scrawford.net/blog/the-sledgehammer-of-usage-based-billing/1612/  “Brian Stelter’s article today, “Sweeping Effects as Broadband Moves To Meters,” illuminates a part of the local cable monopoly story for high-speed Internet access and the consequences of this power for America’s future. There is an epic narrative here that is worth a full-length action movie. Or two…The precis of the story:  Time Warner Cable is moving to charging for tiers of data usage. It’s thinking of itself as a data company. (It uses the term “broadband,” and watch out for that – that means managed, prioritized, price-discriminated data.)  If users go over their particular tier, they’ll be charged $1 per gigabyte. There are a couple of paragraphs about slow speeds – not clear how that fits into the story. Then the nut: People are suggesting that there may not be enough competition to drive down the price of data transport. And online companies dependent on capacity are worried about their future. First, a couple of holes that the newspaper story falls into…”
3.       Aviary gets another round of investment  http://allthingsd.com/20120627/amazons-jeff-bezos-among-backers-pumping-6m-into-photo-editing-start-up-aviary/  “Spark Capital, Bezos Expeditions and other strategic investors have poured another $6 million into Aviary, a photo-editing tools company…it is used regularly by eight million people across 1,200 partner apps including Flickr, MailChimp, Shopify, Box, TwitPic, and Halftone; in the past 30 days alone, the company has helped to edit more than 100 million photos. Compare it to Facebook-owned Instagram’s filters, which help brighten or provide more contrast to otherwise drab photos. The difference is that Aviary is building a platform of tools that can be used across a wide range of apps and services. Its tools allow even poorly taken camera-phone photos to become more vivid (see photos on right), or take on different hues, like a “soft focus” or “indiglow.” Aviary’s advanced features also provide tools for creating music and editing audio…”
4.       Facebook e-mail mess: Address books altered; e-mail lost  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57464415-93/facebook-e-mail-mess-address-books-altered-e-mail-lost/  “An alarming number of people are reporting that the new e-mail address Facebook forced on users this week is changing their address books while intercepting and losing unknown amounts of e-mail. Facebook users say contacts' e-mail addresses on phones and personal devices have been altered without their consent -- and their e-mail communication is being redirected elsewhere, and lost. One very angry user is Adobe employee Rachel Luxemburg. On her personal blog she writes, Today, a co-worker discovered that his contact info for me had been silently updated to overwrite my work e-mail address with my Facebook e-mail address. He discovered this only after sending work e-mails to the wrong address…”
5.        Why Hipmunk Is The World's Best Travel Site  http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2012/06/29/why-hipmunk-is-the-worlds-best-travel-site/  “George Orwell said journalism is “printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” Bully for you, Eric Arthur Blair, but you never had to book a flight from JFK to SFO for a family of four on a budget. Because I have run that gauntlet several times, I don’t feel bad writing a few paragraphs of unpaid PR for Hipmunk, a two-year-old travel-booking site. This post meets the Orwellian bar for journalism insofar as it’s not what Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, ual.com and aa.com want printed: Hipmunk is the best travel site on the Web. Period. Why? It’s smarter than all the others about presenting flight and hotel data. It doesn’t waste your time. It sacrifices ad revenue for a better user experience. It personalizes better than the others. It’s not trying to be anything other than a decision-making engine. “Our main philosophy,” says Hipmunk cofounder Steve Huffman, “is that we want you to spend as little time on our site as possible with the least amount of pain.” Completing the booking happens elsewhere,  including on Orbitz and the airline and hotel sites. Hipmunk makes a few bucks for generating each lead. “Like a lot of people, when I get home from work, I don’t want to think. We started from that notion,” says Huffman. “You only have so many decision-making units in your head per day.” This is the big point. There was a time when it was really novel and boss for an e-commerce site to expose tons of data simply because it could. That was a sign of technical superiority and implied intelligence. But that novelty has worn off. The winners from here on out will the ones who make the Web functional and simple…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
6.       Data Mining Exec Pays For Burgers In Cash To Keep His Insurance Company From Knowing His Bad Diet Habits  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120619/04094319383/data-mining-exec-pays-burgers-cash-to-keep-his-insurance-company-knowing-his-bad-diet-habits.shtml  “The Economist recently had an interesting article on how insurance companies are increasingly using data mining to "analyze risk." That is, they look through the data which was originally collected for the purpose of better marketing, and use it as a tool to see if you lead an unhealthy life. However, the really interesting point is highlighted by Kashmir Hill, where an exec at a datamining company admits that he's changed his habits because of this. Not his eating habits, mind you. But how he purchases food…”
7.        Alcohol-sensing technology could become standard in all cars  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-29/alcohol-detection-technology-standard-cars/55927610/1  “The long-term transportation funding bill just approved by Congress includes funds for researching alcohol-detection technology that could eventually be standard equipment in all new cars. Under a just-passed transportation bill, research eventually could lead to this hand-held breath-alcohol monitoring device being replaced by sensing-technology in the steering wheel or gear shift of cars. That funding — $5 million over two years — should have been stripped from the bill because it "uses American taxpayer dollars to fund something they're not going to want in their cars," said a group representing the restaurant industry. Since 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the nation's automakers have been researching technology that can non-invasively measure a driver's blood-alcohol content and prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver is legally drunk…”
8.       Researchers use spoofing to 'hack' into a flying drone  http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18643134  “American researchers took control of a flying drone by "hacking" into its GPS system - acting on a $1,000 (£640) dare from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A University of Texas at Austin team used "spoofing" - a technique where the drone mistakes the signal from hackers for the one sent from GPS satellites. The same method may have been used to bring down a US drone in Iran in 2011…Drones are unmanned aircraft, often controlled from a hub located thousands of kilometres away…”
9.       Apple 'settles China iPad trademark dispute for $60m'  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18669394  “Apple has agreed to pay $60m (£38m) to Chinese firm Proview to settle a dispute involving rights to the "iPad" name, a court in China has said. Proview had claimed that it owned the rights to the iPad name in the Chinese market after registering it in 2000. However, Apple had insisted that it had acquired the worldwide rights for the name in 2009…"The iPad dispute resolution is ended," the Guangdong High People's Court said…"Apple Inc. has transferred $60m to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter." Apple had bought the global rights to the "iPad" from Proview's Taiwanese affiliate for $55,000…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
10.     Adobe pulls Flash Player support in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean  http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2188097/adobe-pulls-flash-player-support-android-41-jelly-bean  “…Adobe announced…it "has not continued developing and testing Flash Player for this new version of Android" and will pull Flash Player from the Google Play store in mid-August. "Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed,"…The move follows Adobe's decision last November to adopt HTML5 for mobile operating systems instead of Flash. Adobe also warned that smartphones running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which presently support Flash but are expected to receive an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean upgrade in July - such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 - are likely to run into problems. "If a device is upgraded from Android 4.0 to Android 4.1, the current version of Flash Player may exhibit unpredictable behaviour, as it is not certified for use with Android 4.1…”
11.      Street test: Google gets B+, Apple’s Siri gets D  http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/29/minneapolis-street-test-google-gets-a-b-apples-siri-gets-a-d/  “Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster…wanted to know how Siri stacked up against a Google…he (or his staff) asked an iPhone 1,600 questions, 800 on the busy streets of Minneapolis, 800 in a quiet room…Google replies accurately 86% of the time…Siri answers accurately 62% of the time on the street and 68% in a quiet room…He estimates that Siri is more than two years behind Google in its learning curve, but he's optimistic: "With the iOS 6 release in the fall, we expect Siri to improve meaningfully while reducing its reliance on Google from 60% to 48%."…Currently Siri gets 60% of its answers from Google, 20% from Yelp, 14% from WolframAlpha, 4% from Yahoo and 2% from Wikipedia…”  http://www.gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/technology/gadgetbox/google-now-smart-assistant-could-rival-siri-848809 
12.     HTC’s One V lands on Virgin Mobile for $199  http://www.intomobile.com/2012/07/03/rumors-were-right-htcs-one-v-lands-virgin-mobile-199/  “HTC announced three devices at Mobile World Congress in February of this year. The One X, their 4.7 inch flagship device; the One S, the slightly smaller 4.3 inch smartphone with a serious case of anorexia; and the budget One V, which is a refresh of the 2010 hit, the HTC Legend…The One V is now available from Virgin Mobile for $200 unsubsidized. That’s an amazing price, especially when you consider that Virgin has an unlimited everything plan for $55 per month. But would we recommend you get the One V? Unfortunately … no. Virgin Mobile is what’s known as an MVNO…they’re using Sprint, which has a horrible 3G network and incredibly spotty coverage. If you go with Straight Talk, another MVNO, but one that uses AT&T’s network, you can get unlimited everything for an even cheaper $45 per month. That’s $10 worth of savings, faster speeds, and better coverage. Most people keep their phone for 2 years, right? So take that $10/month savings, multiple it by 24 months, and you get $240. Add that $240 to the $200 you were thinking of spending on the One V and you end up with $440. That’s more than enough to pick up the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which is currently going for $350…”
13.     How to Maintain Your Android Phone  http://www.pcworld.com/article/258295/how_to_maintain_your_android_phone.html  “Your Android phone is a powerful computer. But like any other computer, it won't run at its best without proper care and maintenance. If you've ever owned an Android phone, you probably noticed that it became slower after a few months of use than it was when you first brought it home from the store. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, and in this article I'll explain how to get your Android smartphone back into tip-top shape. You can accomplish a lot of what I'll be recommending here by performing a simple factory reset; but if you take that approach, you'll lose your data and have to reconfigure your phone. So instead, grab your Android phone and follow these steps to get it running like new again…”
14.     The iPhone Turns Five  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303836404577475053972822064.html  “On June 29, 2007, thousands of fan-boys and -girls camped in long lines to inhale a wisp of sweet techno fairy dust. The new iPhone rocked the world. Revolutionary in design, function and ecosystem, it set off the mobile data tsunami. In three days, Apple sold a million of them…The iconic innovation of the Information Age, however, inspired a fierce counterattack. Columbia University Law Prof. Tim Wu condemned the iPhone business model as "iPhony." The handset was cool, he said, but the business model tied the customer to AT&T's wireless network (where Apple struck a four-year exclusive deal) and to iTunes (Apple's content store). Soon the Apple App Store would deepen the master-slave relationship. This supposedly condemned users. "The closed iPhone," wrote Prof. Wu, "stands in contrast to the open-platform design that has been the bedrock of both the personal computer and Internet revolutions. . . . Once Big Brother's foe, [Apple is] now more like Little Brother, happy to sell cute little devices that are easy to use, make money, and spread false consciousness…”
15.     Tablets drive more ecommerce than smartphones  http://gigaom.com/2012/06/29/report-tablets-now-drive-more-ecommerce-traffic-than-smartphones/  “Tablets, as we’ve written about before, are ideal shopping devices, generating outsized sales despite their smaller reach. But now, it appears that tablets have outpaced smartphones in the sheer amount of traffic they deliver to commerce sites…Monetate, which analyzes more than 100 million online shopping experiences, said that in the first quarter of 2012, tablet traffic to commerce sites hit 6.52 percent, overtaking smartphones (5.35 percent) for the first time. In the last year, tablets’ traffic increased 348 percent while smartphones visits grew by 117 percent over the same period. Almost all of the traffic (95 percent) was from the iPad…The rise of tablets is chipping away at the PC, which saw its share of traffic to commerce sites drop to 88 percent, a steep four percent drop in just one quarter. At this pace, PC traffic should fall below 75 percent within the next year…”
Apps
16.     Firefox For Android Reborn  http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/smart_phones/240002678  “Mozilla released a re-engineered iteration of Firefox for Android, the mobile version of the company's widely used Web browser…The beta version of the latest Firefox for Android arrived in May. The official Firefox for Android release is available, as of Tuesday morning…”
17.     An App Keeps Spies Away from Your iPhone  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/428344/an-app-keeps-spies-away-from-your-iphone/  “Anytime you use your phone to make a call or send an e-mail or text message, there's a chance it will be intercepted by someone who has access—legal or otherwise—to your providers' servers. A new app called Silent Circle tries to change that by encrypting calls, e-mails, and texts. It's aimed at activists, companies, and individuals who fear they're being spied on. Silent Circle is also the name of the company behind the app. Both were masterminded by Phil Zimmermann, who earned a place in Internet history in 1991 by releasing PGP…”
18.     SideCar mobile app lets you grab a car ride with local drivers  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57460488-93/sidecar-mobile-app-lets-you-grab-a-car-ride-with-local-drivers/  “…Tired of waiting for taxis or paying big bucks for a limo service? A mobile app dubbed SideCar may be just the ticket. SideCar plays matchmaker between people who need a lift and community drivers willing to give them a ride. Passengers reward the driver with a voluntary and cashless payment after they reach their destination. Registered users of the iOS or Android versions can fire up the SideCar Passenger app and set the locations where they'd like to be picked up and then dropped off. The app then displays a suggested donation, and a ride is eventually arranged on the fly through one of the service's drivers….the service is currently available only in San Francisco. But SideCar is promising "lots of expansion very soon…”
19.     A Look at How People Use Mobile Apps  http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/06/26/a-look-at-how-people-use-mobile-apps/  “When it comes to mobile apps, smartphone and tablet owners are becoming less fickle, iPhone owners are more loyal than Android phone users, and news outlets are the most likely to have users return to their apps on a regular basis, according to a new study. A new study shows that iPhone owners are more loyal than Android phone users when it comes to apps. Since the iPhone’s release in 2007, thousands of developers have begun creating downloadable apps for everything from video games to photo sharing. As of June, consumers had downloaded 30 billion apps from the Apple App Store where more than 650,000 apps are available. Google Play, which sells Android apps, is reported to have had 15 billion downloads from its selection of 500,000 apps…”
SkyNet
20.    Project Glass Is The Future Of Google  http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/27/google-glass-future/  “…whether it was by design or not, Project Glass is the future of Google…“The charter of Google X is to take bold risks and push the edges of technology beyond what they’ve been to where the future might be,” Sergey Brin told a small group of reporters…Brin noted that Project Glass is what Google believes could be the next form factor of computing…Human interaction has all but faded away…Glass has the potential to buck that trend by “keeping people in the moment,”…Glass signals the first glimpse of how to integrate such invasive and important technology into our lives in a more seamless way…the design of Glass ensures “you can look into people’s eyes.” During my brief time with Sergey’s Glass, I can say that the display didn’t hinder my ability to see or look around. The display disappeared until I needed to see what was being shown. I might never have to pull my phone out again to reply to a text, get directions or snap a photo…Here’s what you won’t see in Glass: advertising. Brin stated pretty vehemently that they have no plans to integrate advertising into Glass and that the only plan is to simply sell the hardware, which will be “significantly” cheaper than the $1,500 Explorer Editions that were announced today…Speaking of ship dates, Brin says the consumer version will ship within a year of when the Explorer Editions ship…Google will always be the weird kid in the corner who sporadically does something mindblowing.The late Ray Bradbury said it best: “Life is trying things to see if they work…”  http://www.technologyreview.com/review/428212/you-will-want-google-goggles/  “…Thad Starner…a technical lead for the project…is one of the world's leading experts on what it's like to live a cyborg's life. He has been wearing various kinds of augmented-reality goggles full time since the early 1990s…Even in computer science circles, then, Starner has long been an oddity…But as soon as Starner walked into the colorful Google conference room where we met, I began to question my skepticism. I'd come to the meeting laden with gadgets…Starner, meanwhile, was the picture of concentration. His tiny display is connected to a computer he carries in a messenger bag, a machine he controls with a small, one-handed keyboard that he's always gripping in his left hand…The spectacles take the place of his desktop computer, his mobile computer, and his all-knowing digital assistant…Here was a guy wearing a computer, but…he appeared less in thrall to the digital world than you and I are every day…By the end of my meeting with Starner, I decided that if Google manages to pull off anything like the machine he uses, wearable computers seem certain to conquer the world…In fact, wearable computers could end up being a fashion statement…Starner argues that a heads-up display will actually tether you more firmly to real-life social interactions…once we get over the initial shock, goggles could go far in mitigating many of the social annoyances that other gadgets have caused…during my hour-long conversation with Starner, he was constantly pulling up notes and conducting Web searches on his glasses, but I didn't notice anything amiss. To an outside observer, he would have seemed far less distracted than I was…Starner let me try on his glasses. It took my eye a few seconds to adjust to the display, but after that…I could see the room around me, except now, hovering off to the side, was a computer screen…Starner had left open some notes that a Google public-relations rep had sent him. The notes were about me and what Starner should and should not say during the interview, including "Try to steer the conversation away from the specifics of Project Glass…”  http://www.slashgear.com/google-glass-sessions-teach-us-why-we-need-augmented-reality-30236580/  “…Google…has kicked off what it’s called Glass Sessions: slices of real life augmented with Glass. First up is persistent video and camera functionality from the perspective of a parent…Check out the video…Laetitia Gayno, the mom in the video, is the wife of a Google employee, and shows how she uses Glass to snap photos of her baby without the camera getting in the way. Meanwhile, she can use Google+ Hangouts for group video calls with her family back in France…” [so the two development opportunities that immediately come to mind after watching the Google Glass video of the mom and baby are (1) need to have a continuous record cache, maybe 5 seconds, so that when the baby does something cute, you tell the camera to Save, then you can scroll back through the frames to catch the exact millisecond to capture the scene where the baby was being cute, and (2) you need to add remote control so that when dad is watching the baby on a +hangout, dad can remotely Save and capture the moment he liked, rather than just having pics of what mom liked – ed.]
21.     Google vs everyone: an epic war on many fronts  http://gigaom.com/2012/06/27/google-vs-everyone/  “…Google…is a company that is fighting a lot of battles on many fronts. In some places it is winning, but most places it is trench warfare. It is still the king of search and advertising. It is doing quite well when it comes to Android, though they never really talk about its real financial impact…Google Apps and Google Chrome OS have a decent shot of carving out a meaningful role…Google Maps is a market leader and well, there is nothing like YouTube…take a look at this list of what I believe are important battles Google is fighting…Apple…Google’s Android is fighting with Apple’s iOS platform…Google just launched Nexus 7 to essentially compete with Apple’s iPad…Google TV and Apple TV are in competition…Google Drive vs iCloud…Google Maps versus Apple Maps…Google Wallet/Play versus the Apple iTunes platform…Google Books, Google Music and other Media versus iTunes and iBooks…Microsoft…Google’s Chrome OS is taking on Microsoft’s OS…Google Apps versus Microsoft Office Apps…Google Drive versus Microsoft Skydrive…Google Search versus Microsoft Bing…Amazon…Google Nexus 7 versus Amazon’s Kindle Fire…Google Wallet versus Amazon payment system…Google Books, Google Music and other media plays versus Amazon Music, Books and Media…Facebook…Google+ versus Facebook…Google Picasa versus Facebook Photos…Google Ad Platform versus Facebook Ad Platform…Google Search versus Facebook Social Discovery…there are some other companies Google is tussling with…Google Drive versus DropBox as a hub of mobile data and apps…Google Local versus Yelp…Google Wallet versus Paypal, Square…Google+ versus Twitter…Google’s YouTube versus others such as Hulu…In my years of following the company, I came to understand that what separated Google from many of its competitors was its audacity…When I look at the first day of Google I/O, I am left impressed by Google Glass. The product…still has [a] ways to go…Nevertheless, it represents a bit of old Google…”
22.    The next platform war: Google play vs. Apple iTunes  http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/28/the-next-platform-war-google-play-vs-apple-itunes/  “The consensus among analysts…is that Apple doesn't have much to fear from the hardware unveiled on Wednesday. The $299 Nexus Q mimics Apple TV but at three times the cost. The $199 Nexus 7 tablet is aimed at Amazon's Kindle, not the iPad. And it's going to take a cultural revolution to turn Google Glass -- the company's $1,500 augmented reality head mounted display --  into a mass market line of fashion eyeware. But there was one announcement that should give Apple pause: The rebranding of the Android Marketplace into Google play. It's no secret that…iTunes users listen to more music, buy more apps, keep them longer, look at more ads, purchase more products and generate far more revenue…Some have argued that the most important announcement Apple made at its World Wide Developers Conference…was that the company now has 400 million credit cards on file -- double last year's total and more than any other online retailer, including Amazon. Those 400 million accounts -- and the billions of songs, movies, TV shows and books purchased with a single click and stored on millions of hard drives around the world -- are the glue that makes the iTunes platform so sticky…with its new name and new features, Google play looks an awful lot like iTunes: A one-stop virtual shopping mall for entertainment…”
23.    Nexus 7 review  http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/29/3125396/google-nexus-7-review  “…Google has…the uncanny habit of not only making big announcements at its I/O events, but then immediately sharing what it has shown off…Not only did Google hand out its new, 7-inch, $199 Nexus 7 tablet, but it also introduced a new version of Android (4.1) called Jelly Bean, upgraded its flagship phone, and... rolled out the Nexus Q…the main course is obviously the tablet — a stock Google experience with a price point clearly meant to put a hurt on Amazon’s Kindle Fire…For a $200 tablet, the Asus-made Nexus 7 is impressively built and styled…On the bottom ridge of the device is a Micro USB port and on the right side (in portrait mode) you’ll find the volume rocker and sleep / power button. On the left edge, there are surface “pogo plug” connectors for a dock, and on the front of the Nexus there’s a small camera embedded in the upper bezel…The tablet weighs 0.74 pounds (compared with the Kindle Fire’s 0.9 pounds)…and measures 7.8 inches tall by 4.7 inches wide…The bezel on the front looks a bit too large for the screen size, though when reading a book I found the extra real estate helpful because I had something to grip…Bottom line — this is a much better feeling and looking tablet than anything else in its price range. Inside the Nexus 7 you’ll find a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU clocked to 1.15GHz on four cores (or 1.3 GHz when running on just one), 1GB of RAM, and 8GB or 16GB of onboard storage…there’s no microSD slot here…the Nexus 7’s back panel is not removable…The device also packs in Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, and has a GPS chip, NFC, gyroscope, compass, and accelerometer. It’s also got a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, as well as a speaker embedded around the back of the device, and what appear to be a pair (there are two identical holes) of built-in microphones. That camera isn’t really useful for anything but Google+ Hangouts and the like…There’s no 3G or 4G data service onboard…there’s nothing here to prevent the Nexus 7 from being every bit as useful and usable as its bigger counterparts and competition — even the iPad…The Nexus 7 boasts a 1280 x 800 LCD display…”  http://www.pcworld.com/article/258534/google_nexus_7_a_missile_aimed_directly_at_amazons_kindle_fire.html  “…you can’t help but notice a disconnect between the technology jammed into that little package and the $200 that Google is asking for it. The Nexus 7 has some fairly expensive-looking technology inside it--a high-definition display, multicore processors, and more…my guess is that selling the Nexus 7 for anything less than $300 precludes any possibility of breaking even…Amazon built an extraordinarily inexpensive but not very functional tablet--the Kindle Fire--in part by using a highly modified and limited version of the Android operating system…Google…wants to “take back” the Android OS from Amazon…the Nexus is much more like using a real computer than the Kindle Fire is. The whole reason Android was created in the first place was to point phone and tablet users toward Google content and services…Amazon subverted that plan by using Android…Google’s best defense against that was to create a better tablet with a better user experience at the same price point as the Fire…Nexus 7 users, Google hopes, will constantly buy their content and apps from the Google Play store…” http://allthingsd.com/20120627/exclusive-googles-andy-rubin-and-asuss-jonney-shih-on-how-they-cooked-up-the-nexus-7/  “Building the Nexus 7 tablet was no easy task, says Asus Chairman Jonney Shih…Google gave the company only four months to build the product. Then there was the task of building a high-end tablet that could sell for just $200. Plus, he said, Google can be kind of demanding. “Our engineers told me it is like torture,” Shih said…Rubin admits that he was upset a year ago that Android tablets just weren’t selling. After looking into some of the reasons, Rubin learned that while hardware really matters on phones, consumers are buying into a content ecosystem with tablets…In particular, Rubin said that Google lacked some of the ecosystem pieces that were necessary, such as a full compliment of TV shows, movies for purchase, and magazines that people want to consume on a tablet…”
24.    Google Nexus Q media streamer: better than Roku?  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/06/google-nexus-q-revealed/all/  “…At its I/O keynote Wednesday, the company unveiled Nexus Q, a sleek streaming-media sphere that’s 4.6 inches in diameter…Nexus Q, which begins shipping in July for $300, grants fully provisioned DJ rights to anyone carrying an Android device within Wi-Fi range…You can’t control how many songs someone can add, or what permissions one person has over another. It’s a social, shared experience, and you and I have to actually interact if there’s disagreement about the song list. Once your Android phone or tablet is connected to Nexus Q, you can delete someone else’s favorite song — even your host’s favorite song — from the community playlist…You can also bump your personal favorite track to the top of the queue, rearrange the order of the queue, and raise and lower volume…This unique sharing scheme directly ties into Google’s cloud. Instead of running content off local storage (the device includes none whatsoever), Nexus Q uses Wi-Fi to pull down audio tracks from the ether of Google Music…This system allows anyone with a Google Music collection to instantaneously contribute to, and manipulate, the queue. You can also connect Nexus Q to a TV and use it as a playback vehicle for YouTube and videos rented from Google Movies. The Q is Google’s first fully branded hardware product, and it was developed completely in-house by a team of some 100 detail-obsessed employees…Nexus Q is a critical first step if the company is to be taken seriously as a hardware manufacturer…Google decided to source almost all of its parts from U.S. suppliers, and is even…manufacturing Nexus Q in America…with its anarchic approach to playlist creation, Google is gambling on an unproven formula. Do home owners really want visitors messing with their stereo systems?...Inside the sphere, there’s not a lot of processing hardware…but Google is genuinely proud of the quality of its amp. “It’s got a 25-watt, class D amplifier…a lot of people are going to be surprised by how good it sounds when you pair it with a decent set of speakers…YouTube aside, Nexus Q’s primary mission is to bring music back to open-air environments. Google believes that iPods, smartphones and their earbud tethers can be too isolating. They deny us a valuable listening experience that Nexus Q returns to us…Britt repeated that Nexus Q in its current state is just the first iteration of an evolving product…Nexus Q may not be the perfect streaming audio sphere, but it’s a fascinating first step in Google’s bid to become a hardware company…”    http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/29/3125551/google-nexus-q-review
25.    Google Docs gets new offline capabilities  http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/258554/how_to_use_google_docs_offline.html  “…At long last, Google Docs has offline editing. The update has been added to Google Docs as of today, but you’ll need to take a few steps to enable it. Offline mode in Google Docs is especially useful while traveling on an airplane or if you’re in a cafe with no Internet connectivity. When you get back online, your changes will be synced to the cloud. One drawback, however, is…You’ll be able to edit only documents offline. You can view spreadsheets, but you can’t edit them. Presentations, drawings and other items from your Documents List won’t be available while you’re offline…Offline mode works only in the Chrome browser…The whole process takes about five minutes to set up if you already have Chrome installed on your PC. Google Documents in offline mode worked well and felt stable once I had it set up. I was disappointed…you can’t actually create documents offline…but this is a Google beta project after all…”
26.    Google to merge Hangouts, Talk and Messenger  http://gigaom.com/2012/06/27/google-to-merge-hangouts-talk-messenger/  “Google is working on unifying its various real-time messaging applications across all devices, and the result could be a unified messenger that allows you to do one-on-one chats as well as group video Hangouts…Singhal said that Google doesn’t have anything to announce at this point, but that the company is definitely working on unifying all of these experiences…The company uses video conferencing for virtually all of its meetings, and Singhal said that this has been completely switched to Hangouts as a video conferencing solution. “We do over 10,000 hangouts every day at Google…”  http://www.techhive.com/article/2000173/hangouts-101-have-fun-with-google-s-video-chat-service.html  “…Google Hangouts is not only fun…it’s also pretty useful. Whether you’re organizing a cross-country tabletop gaming experience, having a meeting, performing, or chatting with friends, the service provides a lot of smart touches to make it easy to use and easier to play with…For my own setup, I don’t worry so much about video…but for sound, I’ve hooked up one of my condenser mics (an Audio Technica AT2020) to an Icicle converter…You can even add in a single participant via telephone…you can name the hangout and choose whether you’d like to broadcast it On Air (keep in mind, you’ll need a linked YouTube account for that)…Text chat is a good way to jot down information that folks may want to use later on—phone numbers, addresses, the name of that weird-sounding book your buddy’s recommending—while screen sharing allows one person to substitute a live stream of their desktop (or even a specific window) for their face. Google Docs integration is also great for sharing or collaborating…you can add more third-party Web apps; Google has several featured apps—including ones for slideshows, doodles, poker, watching YouTube videos together, and adding lower thirds to your video—but you can also view all recently added apps by clicking the Recents tab. Other services, like virtual tabletop platform Roll20, can hook into Google Hangouts with the click of a button…”
27.    Google Maps offline and other updates  http://searchengineland.com/googles-offline-maps-now-live-in-150-countries-126145  “…Google’s new offline mapping capability for Android devices is now live…Offline maps are available for 150 countries, and users can save offline maps for up to six large metropolitan areas (e.g., Manhattan). To save a map, you search for the desired location, pull up the mapping menu (not the layers) and select “make available offline.” You’ll be asked to confirm or crop the area of the map you want to download. If an offline map isn’t available for the selected area that’s immediately indicated…”  http://searchengineland.com/google-expands-maps-places-apis-with-reviews-transit-more-126140  “…Google…announced that business reviews are now available in the Google Places API. Developers will be able to access the top five reviews associated with a business listing, but there was no explanation for how the top five reviews are determined…Google is working on adding full Zagat review data to the Places API. The Google Maps API now includes one of the most oft-requested developer features: Transit directions and information…”
28.    Android Jelly Bean 4.1  http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2012/06/android-jelly-bean-nexus-7-and-nexus-q.html  “…Jelly Bean (4.1) is about refining that interface, improving the performance and adding more features. Google's Project Butter made Android 4.1 more responsive. The interface is smoother, scrolling feels faster, transitions and animations look better. "Android 4.1 reduces touch latency…by actually anticipating where your finger will be at the time of the screen refresh. This results in a more reactive and uniform touch response…Android's keyboard now predicts what you are about to type. "The language model in Jelly Bean adapts over time, and the keyboard even guesses what the next word will be before you've started typing it." The nice thing is that you don't need an Internet connection to see the suggestions. Google even made Android's text-to-speech feature work offline, but only for English. Google's search app has a new interface that does a better job at handling simple questions. Instead of displaying a list of search results, Google only shows the Knowledge Graph OneBox that includes an answer, a thumbnail and a link to the source. Voice Search has also improved: you no longer need to use predefined commands, it understands natural language and it speaks back to you, just like Siri…”  http://www.gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/technology/gadgetbox/five-best-features-android-4-1-jelly-bean-851747
29.    Google+ adds events and new apps  http://venturebeat.com/2012/06/27/google-pus-at-io/  “…The primary Google+ announcement from the main stage today, however, was Google+ Events. Events offers a slick (if you’re used to Facebook Events) invitation feature, a cool (if not too actually useful) “party mode” slideshow featuring pics and videos from the event while it’s in progress, and a comprehensive page for post-event reminiscences…”  http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/27/google-i-o/   http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/29/tech/social-media/google-plus-not-social-network/  “…The new Google+ Events is “for before, during and after your party.”…You can invite anyone, even if they’re not Google+ users, by using their email address. Your Events are also featured on your Google Calendar with a photo of the host so you don’t miss them, and fold out invites so you can enjoy the cinemagraphs. There’s also “Party Mode” for once an event starts. After being enabled on your mobile device, all new photos you shoot get automatically uploaded to the Event page in real-time. To make sure you don’t forget you’re auto-posting photos, a green icon is shown atop your mobile screen which can be dragged open to turn Party Mode off. If you want to show off the Party Mode stream, you display a real-time slideshow of photos from your Event page…after a party, Event guests will be emailed to upload photos. They’re then combined with Party Mode photos and Google collates them in chronological order in one place you can browse. Those with the most engagement are highlighted on a special page, and you can sort and filter posts by who’s in them or who published them…”
30.    More Than 500 School Districts In The U.S. And Europe Now Use Chromebooks  http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/25/chromebooks-education-500-school-districts/  “…schools are the one market where Google is having some success with its Chromebook initiative. Today, the company announced that there are now 500 school districts in the U.S. and Europe that actively use Chromebooks. Google also announced a few new districts that have recently decided to use Google’s web-centric laptops, including Rockingham Country Schools, N.C., Transylvania County Schools, N.C., and Fond du Lac School District, Wis. One of the reasons Google is able to make this push for Chromebooks in education is that its laptops meet the new hardware and operating system guidelines set by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). In addition to these deployment announcements, Google is also launching new tools and collections of web apps for students and administrators at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference today. The tools, says Google, will “make it even easier to find, use, install and manage web apps for your entire school.” The grade-level application packs are installable from the Chromebook management console and feature apps that integrate tightly with Google Apps for Education. The organization-specific web app collections allow administrators to curate apps from the Chrome Web Store…”
31.     Build awesome YouTube experiences with new APIs and tools  http://apiblog.youtube.com/2012/06/build-awesome-youtube-experiences-with.html  “…At this year’s Google I/O, we’re continuing on with…an entire track dedicated to YouTube, where we’re announcing new APIs and developer tools, as well as a showcase of some of the most innovative apps built with YouTube. With mobile video now making up as much as half of all mobile traffic, your mobile experience needs video that’s high quality, fast and sleek…we’re previewing the new YouTube Android Player API for high-quality and fluid video playback. The next generation of YouTube Direct allows you to engage with your community by having them submit videos which you can then feature in playlists…”
32.    Gmail passes Hotmail becomes world’s largest email service  http://venturebeat.com/2012/06/28/gmail-hotmail-yahoo-email-users/  “…Google announced today that its Gmail service has 425 million monthly active users…becoming the largest email service in the world. For many years, Microsoft’s Hotmail has been the reigning champ among global email services. In July, 2011 Hotmail announced…it had 360 million unique users per month. Yahoo Mail used to be the clear No. 1, but it has seen customers defect to both Hotmail and Gmail…In January, the company said on an earnings call that it had 350 million monthly active users on Gmail…Web analytics company comScore, on the other hand, told us that Google has way less unique visitors…ComScore’s latest numbers from May have Hotmail at No. 1 with 325 million unique visitors, Yahoo at No. 2 with 298 million users, and Gmail at No. 3 with 289 million users…ComScore VP Andrew Lipsman told us that the company’s data…leaves out…things like smartphone and Internet cafe access. “There are going to be some users that are left out,”…Yahoo and Microsoft directed us to the above comScore data as their metric for active users…I asked a Google spokesperson why its internal numbers showed a discrepancy of more than 100 million users compared with comScore…he told us that the company doesn’t comment on third-party numbers…”
33.    Google: Here’s how to do SEO  http://venturebeat.com/2012/06/26/google-heres-how-to-do-seo/  “Google just posted a new resource on its developer blog intended to help startups with the basics of search engine optimization (SEO)…The tips range from simple, such as setting up a Google Webmaster Tools account and verifying your site ownership so that Google can inform you of any problems accessing your site, to the less obvious, such as doing a domain background check to ensure that whoever owned your domain before didn’t taint your web address with spammy content, scams, or even malware…”
34.    Google I/O swag  http://allthingsd.com/20120627/google-nexus-7-nexus-q-first-impressions/  “Every year at Google I/O, there’s an Oprah moment where Google showers conference attendees with free gifts, usually the latest Android phone or tablet. Previous giveaways have included the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the HTC Evo 4G and the Nexus One. This year attendees are being treated to the new Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q and the Galaxy Nexus. Sadly, Google Glass was not part of the swag bag…Here are a few of my first impressions on Google’s latest gear…”
General Technology
35.    Ford Develops 'Traffic Jam Assist' And New Parking Technology  http://www.freep.com/article/20120627/BUSINESS01/206270350/Ford-looks-to-bring-driver-assist-technology-to-masses  “Ford wants to be among the first automakers to put advanced driver-assist technology in affordable vehicles and is testing prototypes that can navigate traffic and park perfectly. The automaker is researching intelligent driving features similar to those that will be offered by other carmakers in an industry making rapid progress in the development of a self-driving car…General Motors has…a prototype with "super cruise" ability that can drive itself with little manual aid…Many driver-assist systems will be available on the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion coming this fall with cameras and sensors to help the car stay in the proper lane, or to detect vehicles in the blind spot or cross traffic when pulling out of a parking spot. The car can parallel park and adapt its cruise-control speed to the car in front…Vehicles that detect their surroundings and respond by steering, braking or issuing warnings are being touted as the way to achieve safer and more-efficient traffic flow on increasingly congested roads…Ford's…Traffic Jam Assist technology…uses radar and other equipment to monitor the road and surroundings to safely navigate traffic, slowing, stopping and accelerating as needed…if one in four vehicles on the road have the technology to automatically follow the traffic flow, trip times can be reduced by 37.5% and there are 20% fewer delays…Closer to production is adding hands-free perpendicular parking to the active park assist that currently performs parallel parking. Sensors identify suitable parking spaces and the car backs in for quick, easy and straight parking…” [three things mentioned in this article seem useful; cruise that backs off when approaching a car in the same lane going more slowly than you (prevents tailgating by people using cruise whilst on the phone), following traffic ‘flow’ in heavy traffic, and backing into perpendicular parking spaces – ed.]
36.    The Most Important New Technology Since the Smart Phone Arrives December 2012  http://www.technologyreview.com/view/428350/the-most-important-new-technology-since-the-smart/  “…many of us are aware of the Leap Motion, a small, $70 gesture control system that simply plugs into any computer and, apparently, just works. If you've seen the gesture interfaces in Minority Report, you know what it does. More importantly, if you're familiar with the touch modality -- and at this point, most of us are -- the interface is entirely intuitive. It's touch, except it happens in the space in front of the screen, so you don't have to cover your window into your tech with all those unsightly smudges. To understand how subtly revolutionary Leap will be, watch the video below, shot by the folks at The Verge, where you'll also find more juicy details on the device's specs and inner workings…”
37.    Microsoft Word 2013 to support built-in PDF editing  http://www.liveside.net/2012/06/29/exclusive-microsoft-word-2013-to-support-built-in-pdf-editing/  “Those who had been using Microsoft Word for their daily word processing tasks knows that ever since Office 2010 the software included the ability to save Word documents as PDF format (and an official plug-in is available for Office 2007 too). However, this had always been a one-way street, as you cannot go the other way and try to edit or open the PDF file in Word without the use of third-party software. LiveSide recently learnt that this is set to change with Word 2013, and you will be able to directly open and edit PDF content in Microsoft Word. This is how it will work, according to exclusive information we received:  With Word 2013, you can convert a PDF document into a Word document and edit the content. To convert a PDF, you open it like you would any other document. Click File > Open > Browse. Find the PDF and click Open. The converted document might not have a perfect page to page correspondence with the original. The conversion works best with mostly textual documents…Microsoft is also adding PDF viewing capability to Word 2013, providing a “stunning new reading experience for both traditional Word documents and PDFs that reflows text in a columnar view automatically…”
38.    U.S. Army engineers set phasers to 'fry'  http://www.army.mil/article/82262/  “Scientists and engineers at Picatinny Arsenal are busy developing a device that will shoot lightning bolts down laser beams to destroy its target. Soldiers and science fiction fans, you're welcome. "We never got tired of the lightning bolts zapping our simulated (targets)," said George Fischer, lead scientist on the project. The Laser-Induced Plasma Channel, or LIPC, is designed to take out targets that conduct electricity better than the air or ground that surrounds them. How did the scientists harness the seemingly random path made by lightning bolts and how does a laser help? To understand how the technology, it helps to get a brief background on physics. "Light travels more slowly in gases and solids than it does in a vacuum," explained Fischer. "We typically think of the speed of light in each material as constant. There is, however, a very small additional intensity-dependent factor to its speed. In air, this factor is positive, so light slows down by a tiny fraction when the light is more intense." "If a laser puts out a pulse with modest energy, but the time is incredibly tiny, the power can be huge," Fischer continued. "During the duration of the laser pulse, it can be putting out more power than a large city needs…”
Leisure & Entertainment
39.    Tiny Camera to Rival the Pros  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/technology/personaltech/a-pocket-camera-even-pro-photographers-can-love-state-of-the-art.html?pagewanted=all  “This is a review of the best pocket camera ever made…For years camera makers worried about competition from only one source: other camera makers…the most dangerous predator came from an unexpected direction: cellphones…On photo sites like Flickr, the iPhone is the source of more photos than any real camera. No wonder sales of inexpensive pocket cameras are going down each year…If you have your camera with you, you’re more likely to take photos and more likely to capture amazing images…even if sales of pocket cameras are down, sales of high-end cameras are up…the time is ripe for the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100. It’s a tiny, pants-pocketable camera that will be available in late July for the nosebleed price of $650…No photos this good have ever come from a camera this small. The first reason is easy to grasp. The Sony RX100 has a huge one-inch sensor — the biggest ever stuffed into a pocketable zoom camera…it’s two and a half times the area of the Olympus XZ-1 and nearly three times the area of the previous pocket-camera photo-quality champ, the Canon PowerShot S100…A big sensor means big pixels, which gives you less grain in low light, better color depth and great dynamic range — the spectrum from darkest to lightest pixels…The other star factor in the Sony is its Carl Zeiss lens, whose maximum aperture (lens opening) is f/1.8. That’s the widest aperture you can buy on a pocket camera. That, too, helps explain its ability to blur the background, and its spectacular results in low light…”
40.    Ubuntu TV: The Community Wish List Is Taking Shape  http://ostatic.com/blog/ubuntu-tv-the-community-wish-list-is-taking-shape  “In early January of this year, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Canonical took the wraps off of Ubuntu TV, which has drawn a mix of praise and criticism since then. If you haven't taken a peek at how Ubuntu TV works, there is a video available here. It's a new interface that integrates television and movie content on an open source platform that Canonical hopes will win developers over. The interface is based on Unity, the controversial interface that many Ubuntu users have wrestled with. Now, on the Ubuntu wiki, developers are seeking input on what to build for Ubuntu TV, and you can make your voice heard. Since developers called for Ubuntu TV use cases over a week ago, quite a lot of ideas have been floated on the Ubuntu wiki.  The VAR Guy collected several of them, including calls for full DVR functionality, built in technology for cutting out commercials from recorded TV, and support for integrating TV with mobile devices…”
41.     Suit allows users to create music through movement  http://www.theengineer.co.uk/sectors/electronics/news/suit-allows-users-to-create-music-through-movement/1013068.article  “A UK team has developed a musical suit that allows users to create and manipulate sounds through the movement of their bodies. The design builds on the team’s concept of musical gloves developed for and first demonstrated by singer Imogen Heap last year, but this version uses purpose-built technology to give her much greater control over the music she creates. Heap unveiled the suit, which covers the hands, arms and upper torso and includes LED lights and haptic technology to provide feedback, at the TED Global 2012 conference in Edinburgh last weekend. ‘But I’d add that you can do things you can’t do on a desk, where you’ve only got two hands and can only control two dials at once,’…‘Here with all the mapping and the toolbox you’ve got, you can be playing an instrument at the same time as coupling together many aspects of the production side of things and controlling it in real time.’ The suit uses sensors known as inertial measurement units (IMUs), which combine a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer and are conventionally used to manoeuvre aircraft and spacecraft, to map the exact position, orientation, movement and speed of the wearer’s body parts in a similar way to motion-capture animation technology…”
42.    This tiny dongle turns your regular TV into a Smart TV  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/07/this-tiny-dongl.php  “…increasingly the crowdfunding site Kickstarter is responsible for the most exciting new tech. The latest example is the Pocket TV, a dongle that gives your normal TV superpowers. The tiny dongle connects to the HDMI port on your television and, running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), allows you to play games, surf the Internet and even conduct Skype video chats. The package comes with a tiny IR Remote, a more elaborate Air Remote with a gyroscopic sensor and full keyboard, or you can simply download the Google Remote TV app to control the device from your iPhone or Android smartphone. The team has already blown past its $100,000 goal with a current tally of $370,000 contributions, but with seven days to go on the campaign, you can still snag one for $99 before it hits retail at $160…”
Economy and Technology
43.    Mobile Is Where The Growth Is  http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/07/mobile-is-where-the-growth-is.html  “…the top web properties on comScore, Quantcast, Alexa…all have been fairly flat over the first half of the year. You might think that all these big web services are flatlining. We have seen this in our portfolio too. From board meeting to board meeting, we are seeing a similar pattern. Web is flattish. But mobile is growing like a weed…There is a significant shift going on this year, much more significant than we saw last year, from web to mobile. It is most noticeable in games, social networking, music, and news, but it is happening across the board and it presents both great opportunity and great challenges…Big feature rich web apps like Facebook and Google have the most to lose from this transition. Mobile does not reward feature richness. It rewards small, application specific, feature light services…The phone is the equivalent of the web application and the mobile apps you have on your home screen(s) are the features. That is why Facebook should (and it looks like will) break its big monolithic web app into a bunch of small mobile apps. Messenger, Instagram (not yet owned by Facebook), and Camera are the model for Facebook on mobile. User experience is not the only big change/challenge for companies trying to navigate this transition. Monetization is different too…”
44.    AQuantive Microsoft deal in $6.2billion write-down  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/microsoft/9371916/AQuantive-Microsoft-deal-in-6.2billion-write-down.html  “Microsoft is writing down $6.2 billion (£4 billion) of the $6.3 billion it paid for internet-advertising company AQuantive. The move signals the possibility that the Windows-maker's online division will perform worse than the company projected. The non-cash charge means the company will probably post a loss for the quarter, which ended in June…Microsoft bought AQuantive for about $6.3 billion in 2007 to catch Google, amid an acquisition spree for companies that specialised in online advertising. The deal failed to accelerate growth as much as anticipated at the company’s money- losing online division…The company won’t reverse losses as quickly as it intended…Online services is the biggest drag on the company right now…”
45.    America’s Leading High-Tech Metros  http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2012/06/americas-leading-high-tech-metros/2244/#  “For years, Silicon Valley – home to companies like Intel, Apple, Google and Facebook – has been America's (and the world’s) undisputed high-tech center. But recently, urban centers from San Francisco, home to Twitter, to New York City – which has surpassed greater Boston to become the nation’s second leading center for venture capital investment – have become high-tech hubs as well. This is happening in Europe, too—London’s Silicon Roundabout and Berlin are both emerging as technology centers. The map above shows how America’s metros stack up on the Technology Index my Martin Prosperity Institute research team and I developed…”
46.    Someone is Coming to Eat You  http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2012/06/28/someone_is_coming_to_eat_you.html  “One of my favorite Apple product announcements happened on September 7, 2005. In an Apple music event announcement, Steve Jobs got on stage, gave the usual state of the business update, and then he did something I’d never seen before. He killed a wildly successful product. The iPod Mini was one of the most popular consumer electronic devices of the time. iPod market share was skyrocketing and the Mini was leading the charge of segmenting the market with a variety of consumer-friendly price points. The Mini, with its size, sleek metal enclosure and variety of colors was loved, and Apple killed it. They completely redesigned around flash memory and shit-canned the Mini’s name and design. The Mini had a worthy replacement - the flash-based iPod Nano - and it was likely that favorable price points for flash memory were a driving force in the new product. But why not milk it? The Mini had been on the market a year and a half and Apple was still having difficulty keeping the Mini in stock. Why kill a best-selling product? I think the reason, and, more importantly, an emerging Apple strategy, was announced as part of the keynote. Steve spent multiple slides showing off the Mini’s competition, and, not surprisingly, it looked a lot like the Mini. So rather than letting them catch up, he changed the game. If there was ever a moment where Steve Jobs tipped his hand regarding what drives him, it was this moment…”
Communities of Design, Technology & Innovation
47.    Hacking festival attracts 500 aspiring young coders  http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/06/hacking-festival-attracts-500-aspiring-young-coders/  “The Young Rewired State Festival of Code is returning for a fourth year, with a record-breaking 500 aspiring programmers expected to attend. The week-long hacking event, which saw just 50 youngsters take part in 2009, is fast gaining popularity and this year has the support of 50 local businesses around the country, acting as centers for the young coders to learn, hack and create using open-source government data under the guidance of experts and mentors. For Emma Mulqueeny, founder of Rewired State, the good news provides much-needed proof that there is in fact a desire in this country for such creative outlets. "At the beginning, a lot of people said 'what's the point, why are you doing it?' They thought I was forcing poor kids to come and play in the government trough," Mulqueeny told Wired.co.uk. "Even in the developer community people were saying just let the kids come to it, don't force the issue." After initially attracting just three participants back in 2009, Mulqueeny could have been forgiven for beginning to believe her critics. But she ploughed on and, after looking a little closer, discovered pockets of youths across the country desperate for exactly the kind of open creative space Rewired State offered.…”
DHMN Technology
48.    Freescale introduces sensor-laden humanoid robot platform for US$200  http://www.gizmag.com/walking-robot-platform-freescale/23022/  “…Freescale Semiconductors has just introduced FSLBOT, which provides the basic hardware and software for development of a walking, sensor-laden robot starting at only US$200. The compelling challenge of designing and/or programming a humanoid robot is often offset by the complexity of such robots. They often have dozens of servo controlled degrees of freedom combined with an array of modern sensors and high-level autonomous computing facilities to allow the robot to make some degree of sense out of its environment. Honda's newly updated ASIMO robot has 57 degrees of freedom (each DOF having servo-control and position sensing), is 130 cm (4'3") tall, weighs 48 kg (106 lbs), can walk, run (9 km/h or 6.7 mph), hop, skip, jump, kick soccer balls properly, act as a host who fetches guests a drink, can speak and interpret sign language, and performs such tasks using only autonomous computing facilities. Of course, the handmade ASIMO costs about a million US dollars per unit, so a high level of sophistication is expected. The simpler (25 DOF) and smaller (58cm or 23"), but still impressive NAO robot from Aldebaran Robotics is a popular US$15K humanoid robot for schools and universities interested in training and development programs. Still a bit pricey for beginning a personal robotic development program…Freescale has developed and is now marketing FSLBOT, a 23cm (9") tall walking robot with four DOF, three-axis accelerometer and magnetometer, onboard 32-bit RISC processor, electronics to control four additional servos and sample and development software, all for $199…”
49.    Kansas City Maker Faire  http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/some-of-the-awesomeness-you-missed-at-the-kansas-city-maker-faire-20120625/  “The Geek nation was flying its flag proudly this past weekend in Kansas City. It gathered at historic Union Station for the KC Maker Faire, the Midwest region’s premiere event that showcases how and what people are making, crafting, and inventing. If you were unable to make the event, here are a few of the highlights that you missed…With 3D printing technology moving forward at a brisk pace, the KC Maker Faire was overrun by people who are doing some interesting things to broaden what can be done with the new printing process. Pictured above is one of the world’s first $300 3D printers, created by Billy Zelsnack. Coming out of a fully-funded Kickstarter campaign, the “Printxel” as it’s called sports the ability to print 6-inch items in its small frame using either regular plastic filament or PLA-based extrusion material…”
50.    Cube 3D printer video  http://idle.slashdot.org/story/12/07/01/2042214/cubify-3d-printers-arent-just-for-squares-video  “There are other 3D printers out there, but Cubify claims theirs is easier to use, has easier cartridge changes, and is all-around nicer and cooler than their competition…Timothy Lord found them at Google I/O 2012, which means Google thinks they're cool, too…At only $1300 for their basic model (plus $50 each for the plastic "print" cartridges), every home should have one of these…”
51.     Raspberry Pi prepares to cross Atlantic Ocean in tiny autonomous boat  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/06/tiny-autonomous.php  “Remember that bare bones $35 Raspberry Pi computer that went on sale earlier this year? A guy called Greg Holloway has found a use for his, guiding a tiny unmanned boat across the Atlantic Ocean with no outside assistance. The boat will be powered by a 130 watt solar panel, driving an electric rudder and propeller. A GPS connected to the Raspberry Pi will keep the vessel on course, while a webcam will record the adventure for posterity. Before setting out across the big bad ocean, Holloway has built a simple proof of concept vehicle to test his engineering. Built around a 20 inch hull used for radio controlled model boats, the tiny vessel protects the delicate electronics in what appears to be a large Tupperware style container…”
52.    Cotton T-Shirt Fabric Can Store Electricity, Maybe Keep Your Cell Phone Charged  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629211540.htm  “Over the years, the telephone has gone mobile, from the house to the car to the pocket. The University of South Carolina's Xiaodong Li envisions even further integration of the cell phone -- and just about every electronic gadget, for that matter -- into our lives…"We wear fabric every day," said Li, a professor of mechanical engineering at USC. "One day our cotton T-shirts could have more functions; for example, a flexible energy storage device that could charge your cell phone or your iPad."…Starting with a T-shirt from a local discount store, Li's team soaked it in a solution of fluoride, dried it and baked it at high temperature. They excluded oxygen in the oven to prevent the material from charring or simply combusting. The surfaces of the resulting fibers in the fabric were shown by infrared spectroscopy to have been converted from cellulose to activated carbon. Yet the material retained flexibility; it could be folded without breaking. "We will soon see roll-up cell phones and laptop computers on the market," Li said. "But a flexible energy storage device is needed to make this possible…”
Open Source Hardware
53.    Tinkerine Studio - Ditto 3D Printer  http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?1,139693  “…we have offically debuted our company's (Tinkerine Studio) flagship 3D printer at Vancouver's Mini Maker Faire 2012 this past weekend. We are a newly founded company with background in industrial and interaction design. However, I personally have been in the reprap community for about a year and a bit now. Ditto came out from some limitations and inspirations of open source machines with an emphasis on addressing the usability and friendliness of current open source printers. We are proud to be able to provide the community with another printer and hope to create and help the community grow on both the mechanical and software side (UI design). What we plan on doing is releasing the files to the community on our website once we have finalized all the BOM and build orders…The build space for Ditto is the following: X: 190mm…Y: 180mm …Z: 220mm…With the open design, we are still able to get quality prints of 0.2mm layer height at a speed of 60mm/s. This isn't the limit of the machine and we feel it can definitely go faster and if wanted, go even further on layer height resolution down to about 0.1mm…”
54.    Laen, Open Source Hardware Hero  http://blog.makezine.com/2012/06/27/interview-laen-from-dorkbot-pdxosh-park-pcb/  “Many of you have probably used (or at least know about) the Dorkbot PDX PCB service. Recently, the service changed it’s name to OSH Park (Open Source Hardware Park, pronounced like ‘Osh Kosh’), with a new website (oshpark.com) and an automated submission system. The service, in both incarnations, is run by James Neal, more widely known as Laen. Laen is a sysadmin by day, and an open-source hardware superhero by night. Why do I call him an OSH superhero? Well, I happen to believe that by running his PCB service, he’s enabled more people to make and thus share more things than almost anybody else. Building open source hardware is fun, but it’s also a lot of work! In any project (open or closed) there are developmental iterations — designs rarely work perfectly in their first incarnation. There are functional and UX improvements that always need to be made. For hardware, this can become prohibitively expensive very quickly — quality fabrication costs money, especially for small runs. For PCBs, combining designs together (“batching”) can help lower the cost, but just organizing and panelizing the batch requires significant effort. Laen took it upon himself to do this — first for the Dorkbot PDX community and then for the world — and in so doing he’s helped a lot of people build a lot of hardware that otherwise wouldn’t get built…”
55.     Economics of Open Source Hardware  http://electrodesigns.net/blog/economics-open-source-hardware/  “In the field of open source software, a community develops new program or makes addition to an existing program. Similarly, this type of approach is also used in open source hardware. But the difference between the open source software and hardware is that the development of software is free of cost, while in case of hardware, the physical developments are not easy and require some sort of investment. Open way of Product Development without Market Research: Open source hardware approach also helps to know about the customer’s needs and preferences without any market research. Consumers of specific product show their interest in a product and also indicate that what type of new product they want. For example their demands is 10 mega pixel cameras with zoom in and zoom out functions similarly Wi-Fi connectivity in a mobile etc. provides information about consumers demands and expectation about mobile devices. We have seen different innovative ideas through this channel. This type information and ideas enables companies in providing of best marketable products. This is also playing a vital role in products development…”
56.    Printxel 3D Printer Beta Kit  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/billyzelsnack/printxel-3d-printer-beta-kit  “A selection of prints created over the development cycle of the printer. Some of the prints have support structures, but most are printed without. The prints shown range in height from 19mm to 100mm and have a layer thickness from 0.05mm to 0.4mm. This will be the very first production run of the Printxel 3D printer beta kit. I've set the number of beta kits in the campaign to 25 for two reasons…1. 25 kits is large enough of a production run to qualify for quantity pricing and I have secured pricing with www.pololu.com for several of the major components ahead of this campaign…2. 25 kits is a large enough number to test and ramp up production while still a small enough number to allow for delivery within a reasonable timeframe…Your printer is a complete kit and requires only a few common tools to assemble as well as a modern Windows, Linux, or Mac computer to operate. The kit includes the mechanics, motors, extruder, electronics, power supply, and a sample supply of plastic filament to get you started….The printer is compatible with popular and freely available 3D printing software. I will make specific tutorials and provide Printxel specific configurations for several options. I will however be making a recommendation for a standard configuration that I feel works best…The preferred plastic material for this printer is PLA . PLA is becoming more and more popular within the 3d printer community. Often nick-named "corn plastic" and is made from corn instead of petroleum. While printing, it has a slight smell reminiscent of waffles. This is much more appropriate for home use than the obnoxious smell of ABS that is commonly used in 3D printing. PLA prints are quite strong and can be sanded and drilled, but are more brittle (ABS is more flexible) and have a lower melting point than ABS…”
Open Source
57.     Asus loads Linux on new EeePC  http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/software/3366744/new-asus-pc-comes-with-ubuntu-linux-preloaded /  “…One of particular interest for Linux fans, in fact, was quietly rolled out by Asus recently, apparently without any fanfare at all. It's the new EeePC 1225C, an 11.6-inch notebook device that features the all new Intel Atom Cedar Trail dual-core CPU and Canonical's popular Ubuntu Linux operating system…It's becoming increasingly common to see PCs preloaded with Ubuntu, and it wasn't long ago that I wrote about a few new examples from Linux-focused vendor System76…Originally spotted by Liliputing, the new device offers an 11.6-inch LED backlit LCD screen, a Chiclet keyboard, and a multi-touch pad. The new Intel Atom Cedar Trail dual-core CPU delivers 15 percent faster processing speeds and a threefold increase in graphics performance, Asus says, while built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and optional Bluetooth 3.0 make connectivity easy. Also included are 2GB of memory, up to 500GB of hard disk space, a 0.3 MP camera, and optional USB 3.0…”
58.    Git is the new Subversion -- just as Subversion was the new CVS  http://blog.devx.com/2012/06/git-is-the-new-subversion---ju.html  “The odds-on source code management system (SCM) for many development teams is Subversion. That is changing. The new favorite is Git. Subversion is a popular SCM system where developers can check in and check out their Java or C++ files, graphics files, models, requirements documents, SQL statements, test cases, libraries, build instructions, security parameters and more. There are many SCM systems available. Some are proprietary and costly; some are free and open source. Some are geared toward fast builds of huge code repositories; others toward fostering rich collaboration between programmers scattered around the world…For many years, the most popular SCM system was called CVS, the Concurrent Versions System. Created in the mid-1980s, CVS was available free (under the GNU General Public License), easy to set up, easy to administer and fairly reliable. CVS became the default, and still hosts many projects today…But then came Subversion -- intentionally designed as a successor to CVS. Subversion, which today is a top-level Apache project, is much more scalable and reliable than CVS, while just as easy to manage. Whether hosted on the Web (such as by CollabNet), or run in-house on your own enterprise servers, Subversion began taking off around 2002, and since then has pretty much taken over the world…Except... now we have Git …”
Civilian Aerospace
59.    STAR Systems Hermes spaceship  http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2012/06/13/20120613mesa-engineer-determined-put-space-reach.html  “He's chronically short of funds, but Morris Jarvis is bent on building a ship that will make trips beyond Earth affordable to all. Jarvis, 48, a project manager at Intel, is the head of Space Transport and Recovery, or STAR, Systems, a commercial space-travel company based out of his east Mesa home. STAR Systems originally incorporated in 1993 and has five core employees, with a support group of 75 specialists and volunteers, affectionately called "the pit crew." The company has built the Hermes, a prototype shuttle 27 feet long with a 21-foot wingspan. It is a proof-of-concept model, made of lightweight airplane fiberglass built for wind-tunnel and landing tests. The final version will be built of space-worthy aluminum and steel and have a thermal protection shield for re-entry…The Hermes is an important step for Jarvis, who began designing spacecraft in the 1970s…”
60.    First private deep space mission will search for Earth-destroying asteroids  http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/06/first-private-deep-space-mission-will-search-for-earth-destroying-asteroids/  “The B612 Foundation announced the first privately Funded Deep Space Mission yesterday morning. It's called Sentinel, a half-meter infrared telescope designed to look for any asteroids whose orbits will cross the Earth's in the next hundred years, down to thirty meters in size. Construction is expected to begin this fall, and the nearly complete design will be similar to the already-successful Spitzer and Kepler telescopes, albeit slightly smaller. It's still 1 1/2 tons and 25 feet tall. The prime contractor will be Ball Aerospace, contractor for Spitzer and Kepler. The B612 Foundation unofficially began in 2001. Astrophysicist Piet Hut and former astronaut Ed Lu held a 2001 workshop on Near-Earth Asteroids in Houston. The workshop attendees concluded that something needed to be done as soon as possible to be sure that the Earth was not on the verge of being knocked clean. Asteroids have wiped out almost all life on Earth more than once …”
Supercomputing & GPUs
61.     German Scientists Tap NVIDIA GPUs to Unlock Secrets of the Brain  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-scientists-tap-nvidia-gpus-to-unlock-secrets-of-the-brain-2012-06-19  “NVIDIA…GPUs will be used by scientists at Germany's Forschungszentrum Juelich, which hosts the Juelich Supercomputing Centre, one of Europe's largest and most powerful supercomputing resources, to accelerate advanced neurological research targeted at unlocking secrets of the human brain…the two organizations are launching the "NVIDIA Application Lab," a jointly run and staffed resource for the European scientific community located at the center's facilities in Juelich…Advanced Brain Research at Juelich Neuroscience is among the most exciting and increasingly important research focus areas at Forschungszentrum Juelich. The center is undertaking a new approach to advanced neuroscience research, and potentially uncovering the causes and treatments for autism, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, and other debilitating neurological diseases …”
62.    UK’s most powerful gpu based supercomputer enters service today  http://www.newelectronics.co.uk/electronics-news/uks-most-powerful-gpu-based-supercomputer-enters-service-today/43437/  “The UK's most powerful gpu based supercomputer, Emerald, will enter service today alongside the Iridis 3 system. Using the newly available processing technology, researchers will tackle areas ranging from complex engineering systems, to simulating 3G and 4G communications networks…the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL)…will host and operate Emerald, a GPGPU system utilising NVIDIA's Tesla accelerator technology. Iridis 3 is being hosted by the University of Southampton…Both supercomputers have been funded by a £3.7million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council…”

*****

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