2012/07/10

NEW NET Weekly List for 10 Jul 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 10 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 Maps?  http://www.technologyreview.com/view/428426/amazon-maps/  “You thought your worldview was secure, with your addiction to Google Maps. Then you were willing to reconsider, when you heard about how awesome Apple Maps would be. But now you may have to prepare for an outright cartographic battle royale, with Amazon now stepping into the fray…Amazon closed a deal to acquire the New York-based 3D mapping startup UpNext. Since the Kindle Fire doesn’t have a dedicated, native mapping app, the acquisition might point to an era of a beefed-up Kindle Fire…UpNext offers cool, dynamic ways of interacting with 3-D maps of 50 U.S. cities (with 23 of those cities covered with additional details). You can zoom in, spin, tap onto specific buildings…perhaps a mapping app would be particular helpful as Amazon beefs up its local commerce strategy. Amazon, points out Gottfried, like many tech giants, is “trying to become a platform for local promotions targeted at specific consumers using data about their shopping habits.” A mapping app could be integrated with area-specific promotions…”
2.       Speech recognition anyone? AT&T opens up Watson API  http://gigaom.com/2012/07/09/speech-recognition-anyone-att-opens-up-watson-api/  “Look out Nuance Communications, there’s a new speech recognition player in town. Nuance can’t simply buy up this potential competitor as it has in the past since this company happens to be AT&T. Ma Bell has taken the locks off of its Watson speech application programming interfaces (APIs), allowing any developer to access them…AT&T SVP…John Donovan made the launch official in a blog post, revealing seven different “contexts,”…app builders can access to speechify their products…AT&T has developed specific taxonomies for specific use cases, allowing its servers to anticipate the words and phrasing consumers are likely to speak in a particular context. Those tailored lexicons allow Watson (not to be confused with IBM’s artificial intelligence project Watson) to better capture meaning as well as intent from any given phrase. For instance, the question “where is Trenton?” would be interpreted completely differently if spoken to a Q&A app versus a mapping app. The contexts are Web Search, Business Search, Voicemail-to-Text transcription, SMS speech transcription, Question and Answer, TV and a category called Generic used for general dictation purposes…”
3.       Men Reddit, women Twitter in the social media battle of the sexes  http://news.yahoo.com/men-reddit-women-twitter-social-media-battle-sexes-151331971.html  “Women are the dominant force on both Facebook and Twitter while men rule the roost on Reddit, according to an infographic on social media…women are more dominant on social media as a whole, accounting for 56 percent of all social network users, but despite being in the minority it is men who are more prone to embarrassment, being twice as likely to post something they later regret. In terms of individual social networks, women lead the way on both Facebook and Twitter, accounting for 58 and 64 percent of users respectively…the social network where the fairer sex have the largest majority is Pinterest, where a massive 82 percent of users are women. Men, however, readdress the gender imbalance seen on Pinterest by dominating Reddit, Google+,  and LinkedIn, where they account for 84 percent, 71 percent and 63 percent of users respectively…”
4.       RapidShare unveils Dropbox competitor: RapidDrive  http://www.bgr.com/2012/07/06/rapidshare-rapiddrive-dropbox-competitor-cloud-storage/  “RapidShare this week unveiled a new cloud sync and storage solution called RapidDrive. The service competes directly with offerings such as Dropbox and SugarSync, integrating directly with a computer’s file system interface and providing local storage that syncs automatically with remote servers…RapidPro customers have access to RapidDrive at additional cost, and the software currently supports Windows only…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
5.        How to Prevent DoS Attacks  http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/how-to-prevent-dos-attacks.html  “Denial of Service (DoS) attacks…can cause outages of web sites and network services…If there is a silver lining to DoS attacks, it's this: The objective of the typical DoS attack is not to steal or expose confidential data…The exception to this is when a DoS attack is used as a distraction to funnel attention and resources away while a targeted breach attack is being launched…The most easily executed type of DoS attack is one that is launched from a single origin. In this attack, a single machine somewhere on the Internet issues a barrage of network requests against a targeted victim machine. The requests themselves can take a variety of forms – for example, an  attack might use ICMP flooding via ping requests, or HTTP requests against a web server…they have a few key limitations: Victims can block the originating IP address, either at the firewall level (to kill HTTP requests) or further upstream at the ISP level (to kill network-level floods)…Security tools now exist to detect and prevent ICMP flood attacks. Web servers can be configured to detect and block HTTP request attacks…the more nefarious type of DoS is called the DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service attack…it is very difficult to distinguish legitimate user traffic from attack traffic when spread across so many points of origin…Distributed Denial of Service attacks are executed by a…botnet…DDoS attacks are not random. The perpetrators choose their victim deliberately, either due to a grudge, revenge, or an attempt to bully them into meeting some demands – possibly including paying extortion. Renting a botnot to launch a DDoS can cost about $100 per day…The specific mechanisms used by a DDoS to "drop" a web site or network can vary depending on the attacker's preferred strategy. One major difference between DDoS implementations is whether they target the computing resources of the victim's machine or the network resources…”
6.       A Penetration Tester's Toolkit  http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/penetration-testers-toolkit  “…during the years of my IT career, I've become more and more concerned with security…there are a multitude of tools I've used to get said job done…I keep coming back to three in particular: Nmap, Nessus and Metasploit. In this article, I introduce these three tools at a high level to give you an idea of how to use them and what to use them for…Nmap has enjoyed quite a long life, starting back in 1997. It's a scanning tool that allows you to perform various tasks, such as remote scanning, fingerprinting, monitoring, inventory and other such functions. It utilizes various techniques like packet manipulation to get the answers to questions like the types of operating systems in use or the version of Web serving software that's running on a target. It's great information if you are to protect your network successfully…Metasploit has come a long way since its creation in early 2003. Metasploit is a framework for developing and testing vulnerabilities (these are its core functions; its features seem almost limitless at times). It's a great tool for testing server security…Nessus is a scanner similar to Nmap and has been around almost as long (since 1998). However, Nessus is capable of running vulnerability code against a machine like Metasploit (whereas Metasploit can be used both to develop and run exploitation code), but at a much simpler level. In fact, that's Nessus' strong point; it's easy to use, like Nmap, and it has some of the strengths of Metasploit…For the purpose of this article, I'm going to set up an example scenario. I am going to use a virtual machine with Windows XP (SP3) loaded on it to run these three tools against…”
7.        Ms engineer says he discovered Android spam botnet; Google says ‘not’  http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-engineer-discovers-android-spam-botnet-7000000272/  “Microsoft engineer Terry Zink has discovered Android devices are being used to send spam…There have been many fake versions of Android apps (see links below) that try to cash in by sending expensive SMS messages. This is different. In this case, the money is being generated after spam e-mails are sent from Yahoo Mail servers on Android devices. A closer look at the e-mails' header information shows all the messages come from compromised Yahoo accounts. Furthermore, they are also stamped with the "Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android" signature. As such, Zink believes a cybercriminal has developed a new piece of malware that can access Yahoo Mail accounts on Android devices and send spam messages from them. Since this is happening on a large scale, it follows the perpetrator has also linked the Android devices together to create a spam botnet…”  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9228826/Google_says_spam_not_coming_from_Android_botnets  “Google…dismissed the possibility that a new wave of pharmacy, penny stock and e-card spam emails are being sent by Android spam botnets. "Our analysis suggests that spammers are using infected computers and a fake mobile signature to try to bypass anti-spam mechanisms in the email platform they're using,"…Terry Zink…said that it is entirely possible that the Android Message-IDs from the spam email headers…were added by Windows malware…to make it appear that the spam was coming from Android devices…”
8.       Apple's lousy design patent lawsuits  http://www.zdnet.com/rotten-apple-apples-lousy-design-patent-lawsuits-7000000356/  “U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, has granted Apple's request to halt the sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab, which runs Google’s Android operating system. The Galaxy Tab's crime? It looks like a tablet…I'm not making that up. Judge Koh claims that “Samsung appears to have created a design that is likely to deceive an ordinary observer.”…Apple's legal case rests on a single design patent, USD504889. In it, Apple claims “the ornamental design for an electronic device, substantially as shown and described.” You can see Apple's patented design for yourself in this story. Looks pretty much like a tablet doesn't it? Do you see anything about it what-so-ever that looks unique? In fact, it looks pretty much like every tablet that's ever been created in history. That's because, “It's A Tablet!!” There is nothing innovative or original about its design…Sure I can see the day when cheap Android tablets rule the low-end of the market. So what? Apple's never been especially been interested in affordable devices. They want to sell, and they do sell, to high-end customers…I really don't get it…Why can't Apple just compete on the basis of its outstanding products in the market place instead of trying to sue its competition into the ground?…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
9.       Ex-Nokia guys start mystery company to build Linux-based phones  http://venturebeat.com/2012/07/07/jolla-mobile/  “A six-man group of open-source diehards from Nokia have teamed up to form Jolla Mobile, a company focused on building phones using the Linux-based…operating system…“We are developing [our] own smartphone OS based on MeeGo… our own UI… for new products.”…The company so far is composed of “N9 core professionals and MeeGo community alumni,”…Jolla also employs Marko Saukko, formerly a core maintainer for the Mer Project, a Linux distro for mobile devices. A few other MeeGo engineers and hardcore Linux enthusiasts round out the team…Eklund said that Jolla intends for its OS and apps — as well as possibly the device itself — to be open-sourced…”
10.     Mobile phone firms back Mozilla Firefox rival to Android  http://news.yahoo.com/telcos-back-firefox-phone-platform-rival-android-130323835.html  “A new operating system for mobile phones akin to the Mozilla Firefox internet browser has got the backing of…mobile network operators Deutsche Telekom, Sprint, Smart, Telecom Italia, Telenor and Etisalat are backing the Firefox platform…phone makers ZTE and TCL Communication Technology will roll out the first Firefox OS phones using Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors in early 2013…Broad support from telecom companies and handset makers is crucial for any new smartphone platform to take off in a market increasingly dominated by Google's Android software, which has a market share of around 60 percent…In addition to market leaders Android and Apple, a number of smaller players like RIM, Microsoft and Samsung's Bada are also competing for a share of the mobile software market…Gary Kovacs, chief executive of Mozilla Corp, said he was confident there was room on the market for a Firefox platform…”  http://www.businessinsider.com/the-firefox-phone-2012-7  “…the first phone will be manufactured by TCL Communication Technology. The phone will launch on a big number of global networks, including Sprint. It's an operating system that will be based on HTML 5, a web-based development language that powers applications that run in mobile browsers. The first Firefox phone will launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013…”
Apps
11.      Australian College Students Build A Digital Stethoscope And Mobile App To Fight Childhood Pneumonia  http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/06/stehoclou/  “The finals of Microsoft’ Imagine Cup, the world’s largest student technology competition, are taking place in Sydney this week and StethoCloud, the Melbourne-based home team, is definitely making a good case for Australia’s growing tech scene…the Australian team decided to tackle childhood pneumonia, which – despite the fact that it’s highly curable when detected early – sadly still kills more children than measles, malaria and HIV combined. The key to survival, says the Australian team, is to detect the illness early…Using a Windows 7 phone (this is a Microsoft competition after all) and a digital stethoscope combined with the StethoCloud software running on the phone and in the cloud, the service’s backend can analyze a patient’s breathing patterns and look for signs of the earliest stages of pneumonia…The team expects its stethoscope to cost around $15 to $20. This is significantly cheaper than current digital stethoscopes in the market which tend to cost hundreds of dollars. The device simply plugs in the phone’s stereo jack …”
12.     The Best To-Do List-Apps: Remember the Milk, Astrid, and Wunderlist  http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/best-list-apps-remember-milk-astrid-wunderlist-reviewed/story?id=16615403  “…I finally decided it was time to really try the digital solutions out there, all of which sync your to-do list across devices, including phones, tablets, and the web…Remember the Milk, Astrid, and Wunderlist…There's a lot to like with Remember the Milk, but I personally couldn't get over the ugly web interface and the hidden features…Astrid has a much cleaner web interface…Overall, Astrid is a very well-rounded solution, especially for those looking to make collaborative lists. But Astrid didn't have it all for me. I was really looking for a solution that had Mac and PC apps…Wunderlist is the only one of the services that offers downloadable Mac and PC versions…Wunderlist beats the others on design. The design of all of its apps -- for the Mac and PC, Web, Android, and iPhone -- are very clean…”
SkyNet
13.     Google shuts down iGoogle  http://www.zdnet.com/google-cleans-house-igoogle-google-mini-being-shuttered-7000000224/  “…Google is…shuttering aging products left and right…Widget board iGoogle is just one example of a platform that made a lot of sense back in 2008. But with the ability to add apps to your browser on Chrome and Android, this one just looks so dated already. Not to mention you can configure your Google+ page to perform a lot of the same news and updates activities as well. However, iGoogle fans have all the way until November 1, 2013 to still use this product…”
14.     Offline Google Docs makes a better Chromebook  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57467667-1/hands-on-offline-google-docs-makes-a-better-chromebook/  “…no matter how snappy or quick-booting the Chromebook feels, it's a computer that needs an online connection for most apps. Or, it was. Now that version 20 of the Chrome browser has been released and Chrome OS 20 is also available, a key app update to Google Drive enables offline Google Docs editing and writing…bearing promises of finally taking Chromebooks where they've never easily gone before: offline…I wrote this entire post offline on a Samsung Series 5 500 Chromebook with Google Drive offline, then reconnected afterward….Google Docs Offline…doesn't support spreadsheets, but for basic text editing it's working quite well…I was able to load and edit any of these docs offline, and even create new ones. I tried closing all windows, shutting down, and signing on again offline, and new edits and text remained. Going back online triggers a message box, and you have to click to reconnect and sync with your online documents. The result was seamless…It turns the Chromebook, at long last, into a true word processor...albeit one with limitations and bugs…solving this simple problem will enable this laptop to suddenly vault into becoming a very real Netbook alternative for many…”
15.     After Android Trial, Google Demands $4 Million From Oracle For Legal Costs  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/07/google-oracle-legal-fees/  “Google wants $4 million from Oracle to cover the costs it incurred during this spring’s epic legal battle over the Android mobile operating system…Google has not publicly revealed an itemized list of its expenses, but the total bill included $2.9 million spent copying and organizing documents. According to the brief, the company juggled a mind-boggled 97 million documents during the case. In 2010, Oracle sued Google, claiming that the search giant infringed on its copyrights and patents in building the Android mobile operating system…After a year of pre-trial wrangling and six weeks in court, Oracle walked away with next to nothing. Judge and jury decided that Google was liable for lifting nine lines of code and two test files…Last month, Judge William Alsup ruled that Google owed Oracle exactly nothing for lifting those small pieces of code…”
16.     How to Organize Family Plans With Google Calendar   http://mashable.com/2012/07/07/how-to-use-google-calendar/  “…Google Calendar is an online calendar system that’s perfect for busy families with multiple schedules. It’s easy to use, share and sync. Here’s a basic how-to guide on using the tool…Google Calendar Basics…Share Your Google Calendar With Other Accounts…We advise against making your family’s calendars public, for safety reasons…you can enter the email addresses of other Gmail users’ calendars that you’d like to be able to see. You can choose whether they can edit the calendar, see all event details or just see if you’re busy…You can also set up reminders for certain events, which can be set to a popup or email that occurs at a time of your choosing…This is great for remembering things that aren’t a normal occurrence. Choose to receive a daily agenda email for each calendar to give you an overview of what’s happening for everyone…”
17.     Google Art Project Draws On Google Plus Hangouts  http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/productivity_apps/240003254  “…Google has partnered with more than 150 art museums across the world during the past two years to create the Google Art Project--a visual experience that holds more than 30,000 works of art. The program now takes advantage of Hangouts, the group video-chat feature built into Google Plus…The idea behind enabling a collaborative video experience begins, of course, with taking a tour of art or a museum, perhaps with a curator as your guide. But anyone could take a group of friends--or students--on a tour of illustrious artwork. A museum could stream an actual tour to Hangout participants. You could also imagine Google Art Project as a good way to bring students or classrooms together around art…”
General Technology
18.     Can you say “Dune”? Wind Turbine Produces Clean Drinking Water Out Of Thin Air  http://www.businessinsider.com/new-wind-turbine-creates-drinking-water-from-humid-air-2012-5  “French engineering firm Eole Water has developed a wind turbine that can produce 1,000 liters of clean drinking water every day by filtering and collecting moisture out of the air…the WMS1000 wind turbine could be a huge benefit to the 885 million people that do not have access to clean water in regions in Africa, South America, India and Indonesia…”
19.     ‘Most realistic’ robot legs developed  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18724114  “US experts have developed what they say are the most biologically-accurate robotic legs yet…They created a version of the message system that generates the rhythmic muscle signals that control walking…The team, from the University of Arizona, were able to replicate the central pattern generator (CPG) - a nerve cell (neuronal) network in the lumbar region of the spinal cord that generates rhythmic muscle signals. The CPG produces, and then controls, these signals by gathering information from different parts of the body involved in walking, responding to the environment. This is what allows people to walk without thinking about it…Dr Theresa Klein, who worked on the study, said: "Interestingly, we were able to produce a walking gait, without balance, which mimicked human walking with only a simple half-centre controlling the hips and a set of reflex responses controlling the lower limb…Previous robotic models have mimicked human movement: this one goes further and mimics the underlying human control mechanisms driving that movement…”
20.    Smart Headlights See through Rain and Snow  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/428353/smart-headlights-see-through-rain-and-snow/  “A prototype headlight system can detect raindrops or snow streaks and "dis-illuminate" them, thereby increasing visibility on the road ahead. The system uses a digital projector to illuminate raindrops for several milliseconds while a camera mounted on the side of the projector captures each raindrop's location; software predicts where those raindrops will fall within the driver's field of view. Light rays from the headlight that would normally hit the raindrop are automatically switched off, reducing glare and leaving only the beams of light which travel uninterrupted in between the falling drops…The researchers simulated different car speeds and rainfall intensity in the laboratory by varying the speed at which simulated rain streaks—using actual water propagated in front of the projector—shot past the screen. The system could reliably make rain streaks invisible at low speeds and still increase visibility at higher speeds by dimming some of the rain. In severe thunderstorm rain, the accuracy is 70 percent at 30 kilometers per hour…Because water in a heavy rain is only 2 to 3 percent of the air volume, the rain can be filtered by dimming the headlights by just a few percent. Substituting the hardware for a bigger and better camera would improve the system but increase its size and cost. However, making the system fast enough to reduce even more rain glare at highway speeds is important, because that's where there's greater risk for a catastrophic crash…”
21.     HP says Itanium, HP-UX not dead yet  http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/07/hp-says-itanium-hp-ux-not-dead-yet/  “…Hewlett-Packard Vice President…Scott Farrand…may have slipped off message a bit…Farrand pronounced that HP was shifting its strategy for mission-critical systems away from the Itanium processor and the HP-UX operating system and toward x86-based servers and Red Hat Enterprise Linux…through a project to bring business-critical functionality to the Linux operating system called Project Dragon Hawk…Dragon Hawk servers will run RHEL 6 and provide the ability to partition processors into up to 32 isolated virtual machines…"We certainly support (Itanium and HP-UX) and love all that, but going forward our strategy for mission-critical computing is shifting to an x86 world," Farrand told Kernel. "It's not by coincidence that folks have de-committed to Itanium, specifically Oracle…”
Leisure & Entertainment
22.    The Duellist: Neal Stephenson Interview  http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-07-05-the-duellist-neal-stephenson-interview  “…In the novels, I love Stephenson's glibness, his knockabout nature, his choppiness when dealing with the intricate ideas he bases his narratives around. He's breezy in the face of vast forces, and the worlds he creates stutter outwards in a weirdly panoramic sort of present tense…In person - over a Skype video call, at least - he's measured and succinct, however, and he has a surprisingly gentle tone. There's humour, but it's deadpan, accompanied by the odd shy chuckle…he sounds more like the sort of guy you might find in a Midwest feed store, offering an unusually engaging treatise on the best way to take a combine harvester apart…With his shaven head, dark eyes, and olde worlde goatee, Stephenson certainly looks every inch the warrior monk of speculative fiction, and he chats to me while working out on a treadmill, endlessly marching forwards, never getting any closer…That's not just a metaphor for what it's like to be interviewed by a sub-literate like me, either. After all, a few weeks back, Stephenson launched a video game Kickstarter, and the reason he's talking to Eurogamer is that, with 14 days left at the time of our conversation, he's still over $200,000 shy of his $500,000 target. (As this is published, he's got four days left, and just under $80,000 to go.)…The fact that it's also the first video game product from the Subutai Corporation, Stephenson's transmedia collective, suggests that the novelist and his friends like their work, um, cut out for them. It's hard not to get drawn into the idea, though. The thought of a writer who's circled games for so long finally touching down with his own project should be ludicrously exciting to nerds everywhere…but the team's got to raise the money first. "The initial response was pretty spectacular…It's apparently a pretty common pattern with these things that, in the middle of the campaign, one goes through a sort of plateau…But it continues to climb steadily, and we've been using that time to get to know our donors a little bit and figure out what they're interested in. As soon as I finish this interview, I'm going to go help edit together another update…”
23.    Ouya: The $99, Android-Powered TV Game Console  http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/07/ouya/  “TV videogames are due for a disruption. Is a $99 console called Ouya the device that could do it? It wasn’t that long ago that the vast majority of portable videogames were purchased much like console games, on a disc or cartridge for $30-40 each. Smartphones have since thoroughly disrupted that market, giving gamers an array of portable devices that play games with an upfront cost of either 99 cents or nothing at all, with much of that money being funneled directly into developers’ pockets…it would seem to make sense that a similar business model could work for television games, doing to the Xbox and Wii what iPhone did to the Nintendo DS…Enter Ouya, a startup founded by Julie Uhrman, the former head of IGN’s digital distribution business and who has also held executive positions at GameFly and Vivendi Universal. The company says it plans to launch an eponymous gaming console, for which it will launch a Kickstarter drive on Tuesday, that brings the smartphone paradigm to living-room gaming. The $99 Ouya is built on the Android platform, will allow developers to easily create and sell their games and be fully “hackable” — anyone will be able to pull the machine apart and tinker with it to their heart’s content…”
24.    Dolby Digital Plus for Tablets tries to compensate for weak speakers  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/07/dolby-digital-plus-for-tablets-tries-to-compensate-for-sucky-speakers/  “On most smartphones and tablets, speakers are an afterthought at best…speakers remain small, quiet, tinny, and prone to distortion—this poor performance is so expected at this point that speaker quality rarely merits more than a paragraph or two in reviews…The screens on devices like the 2012 iPad or the Nexus 7 look great, but if you want something that also sounds great, a good pair of headphones is likely your only recourse…Dolby has a bit of incentive to improve sound on tablets and phones…sales for 24" and smaller TV sets were down, and…tablets and smartphones were mostly to blame. Mobile devices paired with streaming video services are replacing the small TVs…that used to find their ways into kitchens and bedrooms—all of these are items for which Dolby receives licensing fees. Dolby Digital Plus for Tablets is Dolby’s bid to extend the existing Dolby Digital Plus specification (and its associated licensing fees) to mobile devices, enhancing playback while also trying to compensate for those devices’ innate shortcomings: namely, small, cheap speakers using low-powered amplifiers; and media played not just from retail DVDs, but also from YouTube, streaming sites like Hulu and Netflix, and video files downloaded and converted from any number of source formats…”
25.    World of Tanks dev's trek from the kitchen floor to 30M players  http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/07/world-of-tanks-devs-trek-from-the-kitchen-floor-to-20m-players/  “…Wargaming.net…had a small booth at E3 2011, and a moderately sized booth at the Game Developers Conference and PAX East earlier this year. But the massive E3 2012 booth seems designed to give attendees a single, unmistakable impression: we have arrived. Kislyi has come a long way since first designing physical games directly on the bare floor of his Belarus apartment. “We moved to a new apartment, and there was a linoleum floor. [I took] a ball[point] pen and [I drew] the landscape,” Kislyi told Ars. “I was using cotton [balls] for infantry, then cotton with dots for archers, and used watermelon seeds for cavalry…I was playing with my brother and a couple of my friends, those Total War, massive numbers kind of battles on the floor.” Kislyi said it cost his parents the equivalent of $1,500 to cover the damaged floor with a rug…But it was worth it when WarGaming.net was founded in 1996. Iron Age, a computerized version of that linoleum-designed game, became the company’s first title. WarGaming.net’s first hit…can also trace a humble real-world design inspiration. “The Soviet Union was relatively... I would not say militaristic, but we were preparing, just in case, for war…We had war stories from the Revolution, from World War II—of course we called it [the] Great Patriotic War—and I was collecting stamps. On those stamps [we had] battleships, tanks, victory anniversaries. So as a kid I was learning those things…Kislyi spoke quickly and enthusiastically, as though he couldn't get the words out fast enough…”
Economy and Technology
26.    Tech Companies Leave Phone Calls Behind  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/technology/tech-companies-leave-phone-calls-behind.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all  “Quora is a Web site that crowdsources answers to just about any question imaginable…But anyone searching for a phone number for the company is out of luck. Not only is the number unlisted, but the very question “What is the phone number for Quora?” has gone unanswered for months. Quora is not the only social technology company that presents an antisocial attitude to callers. Twitter’s phone system hangs up after providing Web or e-mail addresses three times. At the end of a long phone tree, Facebook’s system explains it is, in fact, “an Internet-based company.”…LinkedIn’s voice mail lists an alternate customer service number. Dial it, and the caller is trapped in a telephonic version of the movie “Groundhog Day,” forced to work through the original phone tree again and again until the lesson is clear: stop calling…what is a matter of preference for the young is becoming a matter of policy for technology companies; phones cost money, phones do not scale. Besides, why call when you can use Google, or send a Twitter message?...some people may not know how to Google, or do not want to use Twitter…The companies argue that with millions of users every day, they cannot possibly pick up a phone…Facebook, for example, has just one employee for every 300,000 users. Its online systems process more than two million customer requests a day…Google initially tried to handle requests by e-mail, but even that proved too cumbersome. The company now steers incoming questions to online forums…these companies have paved the way in large-scale customer service by keeping everything online…”
27.    Best Buy cutting 600 Geek Squad jobs, 1,800 store workers as part of turnaround attempt  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/best-buy-cutting-600-geek-squad-jobs-1800-store-workers-as-part-of-turnaround-attempt/2012/07/06/gJQAZ9fSSW_story.html  “…Best Buy Co. is laying off 600 staffers in its Geek Squad technical support division and 1,800 other store workers as it seeks to restructure operations…The cuts amount to about 1.4 percent of the company’s total staff of 167,000…In March, the company announced a restructuring aimed at improving results. At the time, the company said it would close 50 of its U.S. big box stores, cut 400 corporate jobs and trim $800 million in costs…the company, which has about 1,400 U.S. locations, planned to open 100 smaller and more profitable Best Buy Mobile stores throughout the country…shortly after that plan was announced, Best Buy’s then-CEO Brain Dunn abruptly left…Best Buy said it was investigating his relationship with a female employee. The investigation found he had had an inappropriate relationship with the staffer, and it also led to the departure of founder and chairman Richard Schulze, who knew about the relationship…”
28.    Why GitHub abandoned the bootstrapper’s ship for a $100M Series A  http://venturebeat.com/2012/07/09/github-funding-say-what/  “After half a decade of preaching about the virtues of bootstrapping, the GitHub founders are finally getting in bed with a major VC firm to the tune of $100 million — that’s $1 million per employee at the still-small startup…this round is indeed the biggest Series A that’s ever come across our desk. It might be the biggest Series A of all time…“We’ve been talking to VCs for a long time, and we never found someone with a shared vision,” said GitHub co-founder Tom Preston-Werner…But after reading Marc Andreessen’s Why software is eating the world article, the bootstrapping boys of GitHub changed their tune…it was clear that they believe in the same things that we believe in,” said Preston-Werner…GitHubbers are still committed to the principles of bootstrapping, especially for younger startups…“We still believe that taking too much money too early can be bad for a company,” said Preston-Werner. “Too much outside influence can be dangerous. We’re four and a half years old now, so we’ve had a chance to really define ourselves…”
29.    Crammed Into Cheap Bunks, Dreaming of Future Digital Glory  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/technology/at-hacker-hostels-living-on-the-cheap-and-dreaming-of-digital-glory.html?pagewanted=all  “…there are enough Ikea bunk beds to sleep 10 people, crammed into two bedrooms. The living room is bare except for a futon, a tiny desk and laptop power cables strewed across the hardwood floor like a nest of snakes. The tenants, mostly men in their 20s, sleep next to heaps of dirty laundry…This is not some kind of dorm, but a “hacker hostel.” It’s one of several in the Bay Area that offer short- or long-term stays for aspiring tech entrepreneurs on the bottom rung of the Silicon Valley ladder, those who haven’t yet achieved Facebook-level riches…The San Francisco hostel is part of a minichain of three bunk-bed-stuffed residences under the same management, all places where young programmers, designers and scientists can work, eat and sleep…many tenants are here not so much for the cheap rent — $40 a night — as for the camaraderie and idea-swapping. And potential tenants are screened to make sure they will contribute to the mix…Hackers…have long crammed into odd or tiny spaces and worked together to solve problems. In the 1960s, researchers at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory slept in the attic and, while waiting for their turn on the shared mainframe computer, sweated in the basement sauna…Ethan Mollick, an assistant professor…who studies entrepreneurship, said they reminded him of his days in the last decade studying at M.I.T., where graduate students would have bunk beds inside their small offices. “We work so hard and we don’t care about where we’re staying,” he said…The other houses run by the operators of the San Francisco apartment, who call themselves Chez JJ, are in Mountain View and Menlo Park. Each one has a host, or “captain,” who sifts through the requests pouring in on Airbnb from would-be guests. The captains, all women, screen for personalities and occupations, rejecting applicants who are not techies or simply have a poor attitude. Sasha Willins, a 26-year-old graphic designer who is captain of the San Francisco apartment, has a gentle way of saying no. “It’s not so much rejecting as it is asking so many questions until they withdraw their application,”…The idea for the minichain came from Jade Wang, a 28-year-old neuroscientist who has worked at NASA and started Chez JJ with her friend Jocelyn Berl…Each Chez JJ house has a different vibe. The Mountain View house tends to be oriented toward start-ups, with many of the residents working on new apps or Web sites…The house in Menlo Park, which is moving to Palo Alto this summer, is more science-oriented. The captain, Casey Greene, is a 26-year-old molecular biologist, and some of her guests are science students in summer programs at Stanford…”
30.    Microsoft’s Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture  http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2012/07/microsoft-downfall-emails-steve-ballmer  “…Today, a single Apple product—the iPhone—generates more revenue than all of Microsoft’s wares combined…”
DHMN Technology
31.     Olympus announces MEG4.0 wearable display prototype  http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/05/olympus-announces-meg4-0-wearable-display-prototype-skips-the-s/  “While Google may have grabbed headlines for its recent wearable tech stunt, Olympus is doggedly forging ahead with its own similar prototypes…Unlike Project Glass, the MEG4.0 isn't a standalone structure and needs a glasses frame to hang on…The QVGA (320 x 240) display can connect to devices through Bluetooth 2.1, with Olympus pointing to a smartphone hook-up to provide both the processing power and internet connectivity -- which sounds different to what we're expecting from Google's effort. The current prototype can squeeze out eight hours of intermittent use, or two hours of non-stop projection…”
32.    How software-defined radio could revolutionize wireless  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/07/how-software-defined-radio-could-revolutionize-wireless/  “…a company called Per Vices hopes to do for wireless communication what Apple did for computing. It is selling software-defined radio gear called the Phi that, like the Apple I, is likely to be of little interest to the average consumer (it was even briefly priced at the same point as the Apple I, $666.66, but has since been placed at $750). But the device, and others like it, has the potential to transform the wireless industry…Traditional radio chips are hard-wired to communicate using one specific protocol. For example, a typical cell phone has several different chips to handle a variety of radio communications: one to talk to cell phone towers, another to contact WiFi base stations, a third to receive GPS signals, and a fourth to communicate with Bluetooth devices. In contrast, software-defined radio hardware works with raw electromagnetic signals, relying on software to implement specific applications. This makes software-defined radio devices tremendously versatile. With the right software, a single software-defined radio chip could perform the functions of all of those special-purpose radio chips in your cell phone and many others besides…”
33.    tINDIE: Like Etsy For Electronic Tinkerers  http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/07/tindie-electronic-tinkerers/  “If you’ve ever dreamed of an Etsy-like site for electronics tinkerers, it’s here…Emile Petrone put up a market research post on Reddit…I thought of an Arduino/homemade tech marketplace where people could sell the things they build. As an engineer that has been watching…open source hardware from the sidelines, it seems like there isn’t a place for people to sell what they make…Sure there are sites to share plans, but there are more people (I think) that are interested in the platforms and gadgets but aren’t necessarily builders. The site, called tINDIE, is now live…”
Open Source Hardware
34.    How Open Source Hardware Is Driving the 3D-Printing Industry  http://www.readwriteweb.com/hack/2012/07/how-open-source-hardware-is-driving-the-3d-printing-industry.php  “…Open source hardware is a component or device that has been licensed to allow anyone to examine, duplicate and modify the hardware as they wish…You can either download the specs and build the device or component yourself, or buy the hardware for a small assembly fee from a vendor…Open source hardware doesn’t get much attention outside of geek circles, but it is starting to have a real-world impact…3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is forecast to have an “industry-wide growth [of] $3.1 billion by 2016 and $5.2 billion by 2020.” And in the midst of this revolution is a small, Italian-made open source microcontroller known to many in this new community of things: Arduino…Arduino’s hardware is completely open sourced (under Creative Commons), with design files and specs available, as well as control software (under the GPL) and documentation (also under Creative Commons)…Arduino’s openness means that the micro-controller board can be found in the heart of a lot of open source hardware devices today, including 3D printers, toys and thousands of projects within the maker community. Commercial vendors and do-it-yourselfers alike are picking up Arduino boards and customizing them for their projects with the eventual launch of some compelling devices…Matternet takes former military drone technology and with modifications based on Arduino hardware, uses these cheaply made unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver vital goods across developing nations…Arduino’s openness is also starting to fuel vendors' innovation to make devices and launch them at a fraction of the normal costs associated with prototyping and general manufacturing…As 3D printing, powered by Arduino and other open source technologies, becomes more prevalent, economies of scale become much less of a problem…Factories used to move to low-wage countries to curb labour costs. But labour costs are growing less and less important: a $499 first-generation iPad included only about $33 of manufacturing labour, of which the final assembly in China accounted for just $8…Offshore production is increasingly moving back to rich countries not because Chinese wages are rising, but because companies now want to be closer to their customers so that they can respond more quickly to changes in demand…”
35.    Alicia Gibb interview, OSHWA president  http://blog.makezine.com/2012/04/23/makes-exclusive-interview-with-alicia-gibb-president-of-the-open-source-hardware-association/  “The Open Source Hardware Association was recently announced and a familiar face is leading this monumental effort, Alicia Gibb…The following is an interview via email with Alicia, the president of OSHWA…Can you tell us a little about about your background…I started my career as a librarian, and have always had a passion for both the arts and science. Combined, those things landed me in open source hardware. I wrote my art history thesis on the Arduino microcontroller, became a member at NYC Resistor, took a position heading up the Test Kitchen at Bug Labs, an open hardware company, and with persuasion from Peter, the CEO at Bug, started the Open Hardware Summit…The Open Source Hardware Association will be an advocacy group, mostly educating people on what open hardware is, the benefits, and best practices, as well as being a roof for all the various items built by the community so far, including the Open Hardware Summit, the open hardware definition, and our logo…”
36.    OSLOOM: An Open Source Jacquard Loom  http://opensourcetextiles.wordpress.com/tag/open-source-hardware/  “The OSLOOM project has been working for two years to build an open source Jacquard loom. It is one of the first open source textiles projects to receive some funding via Kickstarter…After raising approximately $10,000, the OSLOOM project has worked away on their project…and we’re starting to see some results that look like the beginnings of a loom…the Jacquard loom is a programmable loom, which originally used punch cards which specified the pattern of which threads were raised or lowed for each row of the cloth. What differentiates a Jacquard loom from a dobby loom, however, is that the Jacquard loom has individual thread control…”
37.    Innovate in Science with Open Source Technology  http://www.hive76.org/how-to-innovate-in-science-with-open-source-technology  “…Jordan Miller, has just published a scientific paper using RepRap 3D printing technology to engineer living tissues for regenerative medicine. I’ll give you a rundown of the science and a step-by-step guide of how Jordan got to this great spot in his career. Jordan is quick to point out that this is work that would not have been possible 5 years ago, or without the help of RepRap, Hive76, and this wonderful city of Philadelphia…”
Open Source
38.    So, That’s It For Thunderbird  http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/06/so-thats-it-for-thunderbird/  “Mozilla is not “stopping” Thunderbird development, it has just decided that: “continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.” And it’s pulling people off the project. But it’s not stopping? Right…it’s a move that makes sense, given that Thunderbird, an open source Outlook competitor, is desktop software in a world that has been rapidly moving to mobile and web…it was barely a month ago that Mozilla was touting the release of a new version of the software which introduced options for large file sharing and the ability to create personalized email addresses…On Monday, the company will post details of Thunderbird’s proposed governance model…”
39.    WordPress 3.4 Update  http://linux-news.org/index.php/2012/07/01/wordpress-3-4-update/  “With the latest version of WordPress just arriving, version 3.4, I’m sure people who are using the self-hosted version of WordPress are interested to know what is included with this update…Let’s take a look…custom headers are now even more customizable. Previously, the height and width of the custom headers had to be a specific dimension…the size of the custom headers are now flexible and the header image files can now be kept in the Media Library. Background page images are also customizable in this version. Another new feature that designers will enjoy is the Live Theme Customizer. If you happen to sell custom themes or have clients that like to customize and edit their themes, then the Live Theme Customizer will definitely be a feature you’ll want to employ into your work…Here are some new features that the end user will no doubt appreciate and most likely start using right away…”
40.    Why We Still Need the Open Source VLC Media Player  http://www.readwriteweb.com/mobile/2012/07/why-we-still-need-the-open-source-vlc-media-player.php  “The Monday Version 2.0.2 release of the free open source VLC media player points out a surprising hole in the age of the Internet video - there is still no universal standard for video formats and players…If you have never heard of VLC, you can be forgiven - outside of open source software circles, it doesn’t get a lot of attention. But after more than a billion downloads, the player is hardly a secret. So what makes VLC so special? Simply put: It happily plays nearly every video format you can throw at it. Beyond JPEGs and MP4 videos, VLC can play MPEG-2, FLV Flash, DivX, H.264, MKV, WebM, WMV and MP3 files… just to name a few. On that basis alone, it’s a very useful tool to have on your computer - or smartphone…”
Civilian Aerospace
41.     Final Six-Member Crew Selected for Mars Food Mission  http://www.newswise.com/articles/final-six-member-crew-selected-for-mars-food-mission  “After receiving more than 700 applications, a team of researchers from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and Cornell University have selected six individuals to make up the crew of a simulated Mars mission intended to test new forms of food and food preparation strategies for deep-space travel…The six-member prime crew was chosen from a group of nine that participated in an intense first phase of testing and training held in mid-June. The three remaining individuals will make up the reserve crew. Along with two days of cooking lessons at Cornell’s test kitchens, the volunteers took part in team-building exercises, sensory testing and academic preparation for a trip in early 2013 to live in isolation on a barren lava field in Hawaii…”
42.    Masten’s Xaero Sets New Altitude Record  http://www.gizmag.com/xaero-suborbital-rocket-test-flight/23209/   “…Masten Space Systems has performed a record-setting flight of their vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) Xaero suborbital rocket at the Mohave Air and Space Port. Unlike the rockets designed specifically for the NASA Lunar Lander challenge, the Xaero is the only VTVL rocket intended to carry payloads into suborbital trajectories. The test flight saw the Xaero propelled to an altitude of 444 meters (1,457 feet), before returning to Earth and making a perfect landing on its jets…”
43.    New NASA Game Lets Players Build and Launch a Virtual Rocket  http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jun/HQ_12-219_Rocket_Science_101_Game.html  “With NASA's Rocket Science 101, a new game designed for computers and iPad users, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to launch a spacecraft.  NASA's Launch Services Program (LSP), based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, provides access to space for the studies of Earth and exploration of our solar system and the universe…Players select their favorite NASA mission and choose from three skill levels for building a rocket to send the spacecraft into orbit. The Rocket Science 101 challenge provides players an opportunity to learn about NASA missions and the various components of the launch vehicles, including how rockets are configured and how they work together to successfully launch a spacecraft…” 
Supercomputing & GPUs
44.    NSF Awards Louisiana State University with Funding for GPU Cluster  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-06-25/nsf_awards_louisiana_state_university_with_funding_for_gpu_cluster.html  “…The interest in using GPUs for scientific and engineering applications has been accelerating at a ferocious rate over the last few years, and today GPUs can now be found in many of the world’s fastest machines on the Top500 supercomputer list…the LSU Center for Computation & Technology…recently received $539,999 from the National Science Foundation…for "Shelob," a project for computer science research, education, training, and development for Louisiana. Shelob will be a GPU cluster—a system composed of multiple server nodes—commonly called a Beowulf cluster, but each node will include GPUs…The Shelob cluster will include at least 24 compute nodes, one head/control node, and 100 terabytes of scratch disk storage. The nodes will communicate with each other over an FDR (Fourteen Data Rate) InfiniBand network fabric at a data rate of 56Gb/s.  Each node will have at least 64GB of memory, dual 8-core Intel Sandy Bridge processors, and three next-generation NVIDIA “Kepler” GPUs. The Shelob cluster will be used primarily to develop a large set of open source GPU-enhanced research applications…”
45.    GPU Computing in High-Performance Computing: A Status Check  http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.in/feature/GPU-Computing-in-High-Performance-Computing-A-Status-Check  “…While the general-purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) has been associated with HPC clusters for almost a decade now, the model began gaining momentum in organizations only over the last five years…An example of such a GPU computing implementation is the SAGA -220 (Supercomputer for Aerospace with GPU Architecture) cluster…a leading Indian space research center. The facility, with a theoretical peak performance of 220 teraflops, uses an in-house developed Linux cluster running on 200 quad-core dual Xeon diskless base nodes and 400 Nvidia Tesla C2070 (Fermi) GPUs…GPU computing makes it possible for a 4-teraflop machine to be available at the workstation level using single CPU and four GPU cards…While CPUs excel at serial processing, GPUs are better at handling applications that require high floating point calculations and lower power consumption…GPUs are inherently single instruction multiple data (SIMD)  processors that rely on data parallelism...There are several code characteristics that make certain HPC applications the best fit for GPU computing. “There are many classes of programs that require high floating point processing, are energy-intensive but not all that branchy…There are many applications that can benefit from that…Foremost among these include parallel processing-intensive tasks like seismic data processing, complex fluid dynamics, medical imaging and data analytics applications. While GPU computing is still not suitable for requirements such as database and SQL queries, it shows potential when it comes to analytics requirements…”

*****

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