NEW NET Weekly List for 24 Jul 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 24 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.        Google Fiber to launch July 26?  http://gigaom.com/2012/07/18/google-fiber-to-launch-next-week/  “Google just sent out invitations to a “special event” in Kansas City on July 26 which is undoubtedly the launch of its much-anticipated fiber-to-the-home network…The timing jibes with the Google’s statements about a planned summer launch and sources who told me the network would launch at the end of next week…Google said it wanted to build out the network so it could see what people might do with a full gigabit connection, but I also think this is Google’s answer to the ISP’s continued whining about how much networks cost to operate and how providers like Google or Netflix should pay them for delivering traffic across the ISP’s networks. Soon, Google will have real data on what it costs to build and operate a wireline network — and in typical Google fashion I expect we’ll hear about how it has driven those costs down by building or adapting gear in a way traditional ISPs haven’t…”  http://www.kansascity.com/2012/07/18/3711326/google-fiber-to-make-july-26-announcement.html  “…Google…posted a 30-second video…under the headline “Google Fiber is coming” and the briefest of text promising, “Kansas City: Google Fiber is almost here. Look out for more information on July 26th.” The video makes nods to local history with pictures of Harry S. Truman, baseball great Satchel Paige and jazz legend Charlie Parker….in faint type, the video says the service “arrives on July 26.”…Google’s contractor, Atlantic Engineering, has been seen on streets on both sides of the state line for months digging the trenches and stringing the wire that will provide the system’s backbone. There have not yet been reports, however, of connections to homes…”
2.       Coursera: How an Upstart Company Might Profit From Free Courses  http://chronicle.com/article/How-an-Upstart-Company-Might/133065/  “Coursera has been operating for only a few months, but the company has already persuaded some of the world's best-known universities to offer free courses through its online platform…if the courses are free, how will the company—and the universities involved—make money to sustain them?..Coursera isn't yet sure how it will bring in revenue…"Possible Company Monetization Strategies," lists eight potential business models, including having companies sponsor courses. That means students taking a free course from Stanford University may eventually be barraged by banner ads or promotional messages. But the universities have the opportunity to veto any revenue-generating idea on a course-by-course basis…Andrew Ng, a co-founder of the company and a professor of computer science at Stanford, describes the list as an act of "brainstorming" rather than a set plan…Coursera is following an approach popular among Silicon Valley start-ups: Build fast and worry about money later. Venture capitalists—and even two universities—have invested more than $22-million in the effort already. "Our VC's keep telling us that if you build a Web site that is changing the lives of millions of people, then the money will follow," says Daphne Koller, the company's other co-founder, who is also a professor at Stanford…”
3.       Webcams make Alaska bears accessible  http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/ap-exclusive-webcams-make-1483449.html  “A new video initiative is bringing the famed brown bears of Alaska's Katmai National Park directly to your computer or smartphone. Without having to go there, you'll be able to watch mature bears compete for salmon at Brook Falls and other sites and cubs tumbling over each other as they play. Starting Tuesday, a live Web stream (http://is.gd/bfPAs8 ) will allow the public to log on and see the brown bears in their natural habitat…The project is a partnership with explore.org, which set up four high-definition cameras in Katmai, spokesman Jason Damata told The Associated Press. Three of them are at existing viewing stands where bear fans come to watch the animals. The cameras provide access to a national park that is difficult to reach and expensive for most tourists. It is about 275 miles southwest of Anchorage, but no roads lead to Katmai…”
4.       YouTube for Do-It-Yourself Vertigo Treatment?  http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ear-infection/news/20120723/youtube-for-do-it-yourself-vertigo-treatment  “Watching self-help videos on the popular Internet site YouTube may help some people with vertigo treat themselves. A new study found 33 videos showing the Epley maneuver. This maneuver is often used by heath care providers to help those with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV…The Epley maneuver, often done by health care providers who diagnose the condition, can be done in a few minutes. The patient lies down, turns, and moves in various ways…"If used properly, these videos could mean reduced clinical visits for patients who successfully perform it at home," says Mary Jane Lim Fat, MD, a resident in neurology at the University of Toronto…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
5.        Regulation of facial recognition may be needed, US senator says  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/print/9229343/Regulation_of_facial_recognition_may_be_needed_US_senator_says  “Congress may need to pass legislation that limits the way government agencies and private companies use facial recognition technology to identify people, a U.S. senator said…The growing use of facial recognition technology raises serious privacy and civil liberties concerns, said Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's privacy subcommittee. Franken…called on the FBI and Facebook to change the way they use facial recognition technology. Biometric information, including facial features, is sensitive because it is unique and permanent, Franken said. "I believe that we have a fundamental right to control our private information," he said. "You can change your password, you can get a new credit card, but you can't change your fingerprint, and you can't change your face…There are no U.S. laws limiting government agencies or private companies from using facial recognition…The FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security already have huge biometric databases and are adding facial data…"Many Americans don't even realize that they're already in a facial recognition database," Lynch said. "Facial recognition allows for convert, remote and mass capture of identification and images."…At the hearing, Franken focused on an FBI pilot program in Maryland, Michigan and Hawaii and on a Facebook feature that tags pictures using facial recognition…He called on Facebook to turn off its tag suggestion feature by default, instead of having it on by default, as it has in the past. But Rob Sherman, manager of privacy and public policy for the social-networking site, resisted that suggestion. Facebook has suspended the feature while it reworks it, but will bring it back soon, Sherman said. On by default is appropriate, "because Facebook itself is an opt-in experience," Sherman said. "People choose to be on Facebook because they want to share with each other…”
6.       Russian man held in cyberattacks on Amazon, other online retailers  http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2018728873_hacker20m.html  “A Russian man believed to be behind cyberattacks on Seattle-based Amazon.com and other online retailers in 2008 has been arrested in Cyprus…Dmitry Olegovick Zubakha, 25, of Moscow, was indicted by a Seattle grand jury in May 2011 for conspiracy to intentionally cause damage without authorization to a protected computer and with being in possession of at least 15 unauthorized access devices…Zubakha mounted two "denial of service" attacks against Amazon.com on June 6 and June 9, 2008. In both instances, the attacks flooded the online retailer's computers with requests to display pages with particularly large graphics and photographs. The attacks overwhelmed Amazon.com's servers and caused their systems to crash. Zubakha and a co-defendant, Sergey Vioktorovich Logashov, are also accused of similar attacks on ebay.com and Priceline.com. The indictment says the men took credit for the attacks in hacker Internet forums…Logashov is accused of calling Priceline.com and offering his expertise as a computer consultant to stop the attack. In October 2009, law enforcement traced the possession of more than 28,000 stolen credit-card numbers to the men…”
7.        Researchers Say They Took Down World’s Third-Largest Botnet  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/cybersecurity-researchers-say-they-took-down-worlds-third-largest-botnet/  “On Wednesday, computer security experts took down Grum, the world’s third-largest botnet, a cluster of infected computers used by cybercriminals to send spam to millions of people. Grum, computer security experts say, was responsible for roughly 18 percent of global spam, or 18 billion spam messages a day. Computer security experts blocked the botnet’s command and control servers in the Netherlands and Panama on Tuesday. But later that day, Grum’s architects had already set up seven new command and control centers in Russia and Ukraine. FireEye, a computer security company based in Milpitas, Calif., said it worked with its counterparts in Russia and with SpamHaus, a British organization that tracks and blocks spam, to take down those command and control centers Wednesday morning…Earlier this year, Microsoft employees assisted federal marshals in a raid on botnet servers…used by criminals to run Zeus, a botnet that siphoned people’s personal information…Almost simultaneously, a separate group of cybersecurity researchers in San Francisco were busy eliminating another botnet, called Kelihos.b, which was used to send spam. While computer security companies are quick to publicize botnet takedowns, their gains tend to be temporary. The blocking of Kelihos.b lasted less than a week before a modified version of the botnet started infecting computers. Microsoft’s takedown of Waledac, another spam botnet in 2010, lasted only as long as the time it took its creators to modify its architecture slightly and create a new botnet…what’s to say Grum’s creators will not just run their botnet from a new command and control center tomorrow?...They’d have to start an entirely new campaign and infect hundreds of thousands of new machines to get something like Grum started again,” said Atif Mushtaq, a computer security specialist at FireEye…”
8.       Whistleblower Binney says the NSA has dossiers on nearly every US citizen  http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/hope-9-whistleblower-binney-says-nsa-has-dossiers-nearly-every-us-citizen  “This weekend in New York City was a three-day hackers' conference called HOPE…HOPE stands for "Hackers on Planet Earth"…One of the quotes floating around in regard to #HOPE9 came from Founder and CEO of Pallorium Inc's Steven Rambam as "Rambam's first law: All databases will eventually be used for unintended purposes."…NSA whistleblower William Binney knows plenty about domestic spying. Binney was at HOPE…In the short video interview, Binney explained a bit more about the NSA spying on Americans: "Domestically, they're pulling together all the data about virtually every U.S. citizen in the country and assembling that information, building communities that you have relationships with, and knowledge about you; what your activities are; what you're doing. So the government is accumulating that kind of information about every individual person and it's a very dangerous process." He estimated that one telecom alone was sending the government an "average of 320 million logs every day since 2001…”
9.       Apple granted 'the mother of all smartphone software patents'  http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/07/18/apple-granted-the-mother-of-all-smartphone-software-patents/  “…the 25 patents granted Apple (AAPL) on Tuesday contain some powerful legal weapons. One patent in particular -- No. 8,223,134: "Portable electronic device, method, and graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents" -- stands out. It encompasses the user interfaces Apple designed for blogging, e-mail, telephone, camera, video player, calendar, browser, widgets, search, notes, maps and most importantly, a multi-touch interface. "Granted just today, the latest addition to the Cupertino-based tech giant's stable of intellectual property could be the mother of all smartphone software patents," writes Phandroid's Kevin Krause. "The effects could be swift and lethal…”
10.     Darpa Funds Hack Machine You’d Never Notice  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/07/pwnplug/  “…It may look like a surge protector, but it’s really a remote access machine that corporations can use to test security and log into branch offices…Hidden inside are Bluetooth and Wi-Fi adapters, along with a number of hacking and remote access tools that let security experts prod and poke the network, and even call home to be remotely controlled via the cellular network. There’s a “text-to-bash” feature that lets you send commands to the device using SMS messages…It’s a device “you can just plug in and do a full-scale penetration test from start to finish,” Porcello says. “The enterprise can use stuff like this to do testing more often and more cheaply…About 90 percent of Pwnie Express’ customers work for corporations or the federal government. The device…comes with easy-to-use scripts that cause it to boot up and then phone home for instructions…This Power Pwn was developed with money from a new Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) program called Cyber Fast Track, which is trying to jumpstart a new generation of cyber-defense tools. “It’s kind of taking the tools that the hackers are using and putting them in the hands of the people that need to defend against the hackers…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
11.      Social Video Sharing Glasses!  http://www.indiegogo.com/socialvideoglasses  “…Recording video or taking pictures is clunky.  You have to pull out your smart phone or your video camera, and hold it up. This immediately causes you to lose the use of your hands, and makes the entire situation you are recording clumsy & socially awkward.  What if you could just touch a button on your eyewear and instantly start recording from the perspective of your eyes instead?...Our glasses will record and stream 1st person point of view, and have "magic-glass" (chromatic shifting conductive glass) lenses for an instant on/off “electric powered sunglass” feature.  You can stream into mobile apps and share across social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or plug into your computer to socially share the experiences you recorded while you recharge.  It's a consumer electronics fashion accessory designed with technology to enable cool new social video and new electric sunglasses lens capabilities…Our web sharing site, YouGen.Tv will enable users to create social profiles and share 1st person POV “experiences” as their real “life memories”  onto Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms, from the same perspective, and point of view as they experienced them…”  [two thoughts prompted by this; (1) these are a blatant rip-off of Google Glass, and might even have been inspired by Google Glass, and (2) it feels like the combination of crowdfunding and personal manufacturing trends may force a shift in patent law. In the ‘old’ world (pre Web 2.0), it required large sums of capital and expensive manufacturing equipment, not to mention R&D people, to develop and sell products that imitated or competed with similar items from large corporations. This meant patent wars and intellectual property lawsuits were most often one big corporation vs another big corporation, or at least a large corporation against a smaller company. With crowdfunding and personal manufacturing, it seems likely the future will bring a plethora of ‘large corporation vs. individual’ IP lawsuits. The plethora might just force wholesale changes in patent law – ed.]
12.     Bringing Where and When Together: The Opportunity for Live Maps  http://allthingsd.com/20120718/bringing-where-and-when-together-the-opportunity-for-live-maps/  “Knowing where a person or a service provider is located is much more useful when you know how that location relates to you. How far away are they? How long will it take them to get here? Are they here yet? Smartphone apps are making that more possible than ever. More and more apps I see take advantage of an emerging and highly useful mobile interface — a live map — that indicates where a person or service provider is located in real time. Live maps are tricky — what could be more of an invitation to stalking and unwanted tracking than telling people exactly where you are in that moment? — but they have great potential…a new iPhone app called Twist…helps users send estimated arrival times to people they are trying to meet up with. Before a Twist user leaves for a destination, she tells the app where she’s going and who she is going to meet. Throughout the trip, Twist recalculates her arrival time depending on traffic, mode of transportation and the tracking of her actual location. Both the sender and receiver can see her travel across town on a live map, and they also get text or push notifications about her ETA…Glympse…is an app I use with my family all the time to send each other short-term live maps when we’re on our way home or to pick each other up…you could imagine using Twist…for carpools and business meetings…There’s a lot of accountability to this interface — you can’t fudge where you’re going if someone can see your actual location in real time…Sharing live locations is something people will always be fearful of, and with good reason. But we’re approaching one billion global smartphones by 2016; the times and expectations are changing…I could see Twist and Glympse live mapping features being really useful is as a part of other products…Within the course of a regular text message conversation, one person could send the other a live map…A restaurant sending out food for delivery could show the recipient where the driver is en route…Uber has a very nice live map interface that shows all the local cars’ locations, and an estimated arrival time…Live maps are a safety feature for the wacky new peer-to-peer taxi app, Sidecar. Users can send out a “Share ETA” text to a friend with a link to a live map, making the prospect of getting into a stranger’s car a little less daunting…Google Latitude is having a revival of sorts in the new Google Now for Android, which uses persistent location tracking to establish users’ patterns and anticipate what information they need in a particular place…”
13.     Amazon Cracks Down on Kindle Web Browsing  http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2012/07/24/amazon-cracks-down-on-kindle-web-browsing/  “When the Kindle launched in late 2007 it came with an experimental web browser as well as free web browsing over the 3g connection. As nice as that was to have, all good things come to an end. There are reports over at MobileRead today that Amazon has imposed a 3g bandwidth cap on some users. MR user Chamekke was surprised earlier this week while using their Kindle 3G:  I was using the browser when it popped up a message to say that I’d hit my 50 MB monthly limit of 3G Web access on my Kindle 3G. When I clicked the ‘OK’ button (which was my only choice, really), I got a second message saying that I’d have 24 hours of grace to continue to use 3G for Web browsing, but that after that I could use 3G only for visiting Amazon.com, Wikipedia, and the Kindle Store. Otherwise I will be obligated to use Wi-Fi. From what I can tell, this new bandwidth cap was imposed at the start of July…the Kindle Touch lunched last fall with browsing over the 3g completely blocked, both in the US and without. This has led some to continue to buy the K3, which until recently didn’t have any restrictions imposed on the 3g connection (aside from when it simply wasn’t available). This was one of the K3′s nicer features (especially once we learned that the Kindle Touch lacked it), and it led to the Kindle being regarded as a precursor to you-know-what…But it is only fair that I point out that Amazon has had this policy in place for some time now, even though I’ve never heard of it being enforced before…” [one word…Bummer… - ed.]
14.     Samsung’s Galaxy S III surpasses 10 million sales in less than two months  http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2012/07/22/samsungs-galaxy-s-iii-surpasses-10-million-sales-in-less-than-two-months/  “Samsung’s newest Android flagship smartphone — the Galaxy S III — has surpassed 10 million sales in less than two months after going on sale…which translates roughly into 190,000 Galaxy S III devices being sold each day and reaching the figure in less than half the time of its predecessor — the Galaxy S II…the Samsung Galaxy S II…and predecessor the Galaxy S, have together passed 50 million sales across the planet…The Korean company is rumoured to be scheduling an August launch for its next-generation Galaxy Note…”
15.     Vizio meets the MacBook  http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57477155-37/vizio-meets-the-macbook/  “…Vizio is the latest to make a run at Apple's MacBook. So far, I like what I see. The Irvine, Calif.-based company's ultrabooks are front and center at the Los Angeles Microsoft store…I counted six Vizio ultrabooks. That's more -- a lot more in most cases -- than any other single vendor in the store…In another nod to Apple, Vizio has only two basic ultrabook models -- 14-inch and 15.6-inch…Vizio has a minimalist metal (anodized aluminum) design similar to the MacBook…I've spent enough time in the LA store lately using Vizio's ultrabooks to appreciate what the company is trying to do: Deliver a laptop that competes head on with the Air and Pro but with better bang-for-the-buck…For $999, you can get the 15.6-inch Vizio model with a 1,920-by-1,080 screen, dual-core Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of memory, a 128GB solid-state drive, and Intel HD 4000 graphics. For the $1,249 model, you get bumped up to a 256GB SSD and a Core i7 chip…By comparison, the 15.4-inch Pro starts at $2,199…”
16.     Broadcom announces its first 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip for smartphones  http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/24/3184468/broadcom-announces-its-first-802-11ac-wi-fi-chip-for-smartphones  “Online video consumption on multiple screens throughout the home is quickly becoming the norm — and all that video has a way of sucking up a home's bandwidth. Semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom believes that the gigabit Wi-Fi speeds that 802.11ac will provide is a way to combat that, and…has just announced its first 802.11ac chipset to help move consumers on to this new protocol. The BCM 4335 chipset…includes the aforementioned 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and FM radio all on one chip. The company claims that it'll be about three times faster in terms of raw speeds over existing Wi-Fi networks, and also expects it to be six times more power efficient than 802.11n solutions…Broadcom's Senior VP and GM…expects devices to hit the market with it early in 2013…”
17.     Intelligent, Context-Aware Personal Assistant App “Friday” Makes Its Public Debut  http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/20/intelligent-context-aware-personal-assistant-app-friday-makes-its-public-debut/  “…That crazy Android personal assistant app called Friday is debuting today, on a Friday. Marketing genius!...With Friday, the idea is to provide a history of your communications, like calls, text messages, emails and more, and combine those with other events your phone is able to record, like photos snapped and battery drops, then mush it all together with data from third-party services, like Facebook and Foursquare. The end result? A search engine for your life…Friday isn’t just an aggregation play. Although it pulls in data from your phone and third-parties, it’s about actually acting on that data…along with today’s public debut, Friday is introducing something it calls “applets.“…these are independent, context-aware apps – they are separately installed but are able to use the information that Friday tracks…Some examples of what’s possible include: An app that notifies user when the phone is running low on battery and there is a charger nearby…alternate dialer app, which, rather than showing the recent calls log, shows the list of users you are most probably going to call based on your context. (Babu says it automatically shows him his girlfriend’s number on top when he’s at home and it’s late at night…An app that shows you a daily travelogue, and activity graph…The first “applet” to become available is Trails…It uses Friday’s APIs to create a travel diary of sorts. With Trails, you can select a day and view where you went and what happened at each point on the map. This includes everything from photos snapped to tweets to check-ins and more…During its two-month private beta, Friday was tested by a couple of thousand users, and it already captured over 10 million documents, including over a million photos, a million songs played, thousands of locations…Friday has been adding around 100,000 records per day. Now it’s time to see if Friday can scale…I know what you’re all thinking: Screw this iPhone, I’m switching to Android…apps like this and Google’s own “Google Now,” are showing the potential in the platform, which, due to its more open nature, allows for deeper integrations of apps and services…”
18.     Free dementia app now available on Android  http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8503430  “The world's first mobile application aimed at reducing people's dementia risk is now available for Android phone users. BrainyApp, which was developed by Alzheimer's Australia and Bupa Health Foundation, has been downloaded more than 200,000 times worldwide since it was made available for iPhone and iPad in November last year…We have had enquiries from people and other Alzheimer's associations from around the world, including The Netherlands, South Africa, Mexico and Iceland, wanting to know when the Android version will be available…The free mobile app tests your brain-heart health, tells you areas that you should focus on, suggests activities you might do and lets you track how these activities have affected your health…”
19.     Google halts new orders for 16GB Nexus 7, surprised by demand  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jul/22/google-nexus-7-16-surprise  “…Google…seriously underestimated the demand for the 16GB version of its 7in Nexus 7 tablet, which has sold out from stockists and other sources while demand for the smaller 8GB version remains comparatively low…The company has now halted further orders of the 16GB version of the tablet…Orders made in the period up to the end of last week are due to be fulfilled, but a shortage of stock now means a hiatus in sales…The 8GB version is only being sold through Google's own store, rather than physical retailers - but online buyers appear to have shunned it, surprising Google, which had thought that the cheaper version, despite having only half as much storage, would sell better than it has…Google's planners had thought that buyers on the Google Play store, more than from physical or online retailers, would be more committed to the company's "cloud" concept, and so would have more of their content stored online, rather than wanting to keep it on the device. But most buyers appear to have noted that the storage on the device cannot be upgraded and decided to get the larger model…”  http://www.zdnet.com/why-a-32gb-nexus-7-is-almost-inevitable-7000001365/  “…it seems that consumers have been more than willing to pony up the extra $50 for $7.50 worth of extra storage so as not to have to rely on cloud storage. While the actual storage chips are cheap, consumers have proven with the 16GB Nexus 7 that they are willing to pay a premium for more on-board storage…Apple uses the exact same strategy with the iPad, which comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, each with a $100 price jump between the models. However, it costs Apple less than $20 to bump the storage from 16GB to 32GB and about $35 to bump it from 32GB to 64GB…If Google can already get away with charging $50 to bump the 8GB Nexus 7 up to 16GB -- additional storage which only costs Google $7.50 -- then consumers would be more than willing to pay an additional $50 to bump the storage up from 16GB to 32GB…”
20.    Escape Is Possible: Zoho Office Now Integrated Into Google Drive  http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/18/escape-is-possible-zoho-office-now-integrated-into-google-drive/  “…Zoho Office, the David to Google Apps’ Goliath…will now be integrated into Google Drive…this is not an official partnership between Zoho and Google…it’s an integration made possible by way of Google Chrome extensions…The benefit to using Google Apps, but also the downside, is that it limits your ability to try other products and services on the market. Everything under Google’s umbrella is integrated to work together – you click on a document in your online cloud storage, it opens in Google Docs; you can click an attachment in your Gmail, and opens it in Google Docs; when you save a file authored in the cloud, it saves to your Google Drive. There’s not much benefit to trying a different, disconnected service once you buy into Google’s suite…Zoho, however, is positioning the new Google Drive integration as a challenge to Microsoft, which this week revealed the future of its own Office Suite and online offerings. Like much of Microsoft’s install base, Zoho also targets the corporate and enterprise market with its products. But Google is making its own inroads into these areas – according to Google’s own website, 4 million businesses now use Google Apps, in addition to 40 million active users. Zoho’s business install base is much smaller than that: 6+ million users (that’s users, not businesses), but the lot of those users are business customers, not consumers…”
21.     Google Now: There’s A Fine Line Between Cool And Creepy  http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/22/google-now-2/  “There’s something very cool about Google Now…At the same time, though, Now also has the potential to become Google’s creepiest service yet. Here is what it does (assuming you opt in to the service and have a phone or tablet that runs Jelly Bean): Google Now learns from your search behavior and shows you cards with information you regularly search for (think game scores of your favorite teams, flight schedules) or that could be relevant to you because of your current location, including weather, nearby restaurants, schedules for the next bus station, how long it’s going to take you to drive home and currency information if it finds you are in a different country…All of this could easily scream “invasion of privacy.” After all, this is one of the few Google services that really reveal how much the company really knows about you. The reason why it doesn’t quite feel like that yet is because of the limitations of the service. There is so much more Google could do with this service, but it almost feels as if Google deliberately kept some features back for the time being to ensure that users…can get used to how it works before adding more tools…”
22.    Google Play Music Updated To Version 4.3.606  http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/07/18/google-play-music-updated-to-version-4-3-606-brings-improved-ui-enhanced-playlist-support-and-more/  “If you use Google Play Music, then you may want to check your app updates - Music just got a pretty decent one. This new version brings a handful of useful features and enhancements…After messing around with it for just a few minutes, I can already say that this update is more intuitive and easier to use than previous versions of Music, as the swiping action is a much better way to navigate through the interface. Most of the other changes are more subtle, but welcome nonetheless…”
General Technology
23.    It's official, Windows 8 is coming October 26th 2012  http://www.winbeta.org/news/its-official-windows-8-coming-october-26th-2012  “Microsoft have just announced that the next version of Windows, Windows 8 is coming on October 26th 2012…When Windows 8 hits RTM in August, it shouldn't be long before users on Technet and MSDN get their hands on it, since they get early access to the ISO's…” [tell all your friends to buy a Win 7 machine quickly before WinVistsa2 hits the bricks – ed.]
24.    German Scientists Create Aerographite, the Lightest Material in the World  http://www.sciencespacerobots.com/blog/71720122  “A network of porous carbon tubes that is three-dimensionally interwoven at the nano and micro level is the lightest material in the world. The substance weighs just 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimeter. It is 75 times lighter than Styrofoam.  Scientists of Kiel University (KU) and Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) named their joint creation aerographite. The researchers describe aerographite as "jet black, remains stable, is electrically conductive, ductile and non-transparent."…In a streaming gas atmosphere that is enriched with carbon, the zinc oxide is being equipped with a graphite coating of only a few atomic layers. This forms the tanged-web structures of the Aerographite. Simultaneously, hydrogen is introduced. It reacts with the oxygen in the zinc oxide and results in the emission of steam and zinc gas. The very small masses of the aerographite allow quick changes of direction. This video shows aerographite jumping onto a plastic pole and back onto the table…”
25.    Get your Macs ready, OS X Mountain Lion drops tomorrow for $20  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/07/get-your-macs-r.php  “Fire up your Mac and start backing up your data because tomorrow the Mountain Lion roars, and it's going to be loud. Apple's next major operating system OS X Mountain Lion will descend into the Mac App Store tomorrow July 25. Here's 9 features we're most excited for. If you were happy with OS X Lion and Apple's decision to borrow elements from iOS for it, you're going to be very satisfied with Mountain Lion. OS X Mountain is not so much as a "new" operating system as it is further refinement of Lion…”
Leisure & Entertainment
26.    Toys Grow Up: LittleBits Picks Up $3.65M, PCH Deal To Build Out Its Open-Source Hardware Vision  http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/18/toys-grow-up-littlebits-picks-up-3-65m-pch-deal-to-build-out-its-open-source-hardware-vision/  “…LittleBits, an “open source hardware” startup that makes electronic building blocks to design objects for work and play, has today announced the addition of two significant building blocks of its own: it has picked up $3.65 million in funding; and has signed a manufacturing deal with PCH International to scale up its business. The Series A round of funding…will be used to staff up and expand the range of products from the 30 currently on offer…littleBits is part of a wider trend for tech startups based around hardware rather than software and services. But as much as it is an idea, the concept is also an ideal: founded by Ayah Bdeir, a TED Fellow and an alum of the MIT Media Lab…the goal, she says, is to “break the boundary” between ourselves and electronics…Part toy, part potentially useful prototyping aid, littleBits is a clever little system that lets people create electronic objects without any special skills…”
27.    Amazon Prime streaming library grows again with Warner Bros. TV shows  http://venturebeat.com/2012/07/20/amazon-prime-warner-bros/  “…Amazon’s complimentary Prime streaming video library…is consistently growing. Amazon has forged a new licensing agreement with Warner Bros. to bring several of the entertainment company’s television shows to its Prime service…The agreement will give Amazon Prime Members free streaming access to shows like Dark Blue, Alcatraz, The Whole Truth…both Fringe and The West Wing will exclusively play through Amazon Prime Instant for at least the summer…Not only has Amazon added access to its Prime video streaming through gaming consoles like Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3, but it’s also finally added a queue feature…”
28.    Vizio Co-Star Google TV set-top box is up for pre-order, $100 brings it your way in August  http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/24/vizio-co-star-google-tv-99-pre-order/  “…Vizio has starting taking pre-orders for its Co-Star Google TV box. For a penny less than a Benjamin, it adds the new Google TV experience to your existing setup, and brings along its remote with QWERTY keyboard on the underside and integrated IR blaster. Based on one of Marvell's ARM processors it's ready for apps like OnLive, and now that the price is competitive with the hockey puck streamers like Roku, Western Digital or Apple, we'll see which one consumers choose. August 14th is the current estimated shipping date, if you'd like to be the first with one (and take advantage of a "limited time" free shipping offer)…check out the press release and quick video preview embedded after the break…”
29.    Canon Will Start Selling Mirrorless Camera in September  http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-23/canon-will-start-selling-mirrorless-camera-in-september  “The EOS M digital camera will go on sale in Japan starting from…$1,020 with a lens…Canon plans to initially produce 100,000 units of the camera a month, it said in the Nikon Corp. introduced its first mirrorless model in October, which left Canon as the only camera manufacturer among the four largest to still use mirrors in all of its single-lens- reflex models, high-end cameras that are favored by professionals and feature interchangeable lenses…Eight of the 20 best-selling cameras with interchangeable lenses in Japan last year were mirrorless models such as Sony Corp.’s NEX-5, according to research company BCN Inc. The models offer higher-quality pictures than traditional compact cameras, yet are smaller and lighter than single-lens-reflex models, or SLRs, that use mirrors…”
Economy and Technology
30.    Cash register maker NCR joins the pursuit of Square  http://gigaom.com/2012/07/17/cash-register-maker-ncr-joins-the-pursuit-of-square/  “Square’s list of big name competitors is officially getting another billion dollar company. NCR Corp., the Duluth, GA maker of cash registers and ATM machines, is now launching NCR Silver, a cloud-based point of sale product aimed at small businesses. NCR doesn’t have any products that reach down into the mobile payment market currently but it has carved out a team of 150 employees to tackle this opportunity…NCR Silver starts with a mobile card reader and an iPhone app that connects to an online dashboard, where users can track inventory,  profits and losses and run customer relationship management and email marketing. The system scales up with an iPad app, that comes with a stand and connects to an NCR wireless receipt printer and cash drawer. The full hardware package minus the iPad can be had for $619. Users will pay $79 a month to connect a mobile device and up to $29 a month each for additional devices. For the first 1,000 customers of NCR Silver, they’ll pay $39 a month for the life of the business. Like VeriFone, Intuit, PayAnywhere and PayPal, NCR sees an opportunity to use mobile devices to appeal to small business owner…” [from an innovation and raising-the-bar perspective, it seems likely none of the NCR / Pay Pal / Intuit activity would be occurring if Square hadn’t led the way and force the big guys to chase after them – ed.]
31.     Pay by Voice? So Long, Wallet  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/19/technology/personaltech/as-pay-by-phone-advances-square-takes-another-leap-state-of-the-art.html?_r=4&pagewanted=all  “…Yes, we used to drive to a store to rent a movie. Yes, there were huge patches of America where you couldn't get a cellphone signal. Yes, we used to pay for things with pieces of green paper and plastic rectangles…we can crack open the history book to 2012…That was the year when, for the first time, paying for things in stores required nothing more than saying your name to the cashier…In 2010, a company called Square invented a credit card reader in the shape of a tiny white plastic square…Suddenly anyone can accept cards: baby sitters, cabdrivers, farmer's market vendors, piano teachers, personal trainers, bake salers, carpenters and lawn-mowing teenagers…Unlike traditional credit card arrangements, there are no monthly fees or minimums, setup costs or variable percentages. There aren't even equipment costs; the headphone-jack reader is free. There truly are no other costs or catches…Square went viral…Where there's a hit, there's a copycat, or a whole litter of them…Intuit offers something called GoPayment…mPowa is aimed at big companies that want the money to flow directly into their own accounts -- not be deposited first into a holding account, as Square, Intuit…PayAnywhere's notable feature is that it takes the lowest cut of all: 2.69 percent…PayPal…rate is a hair lower than Square's (2.7 percent), and its reader is a triangle instead of a square…The little-guy-accepting-cards racket is heating up. But to Square, that's all been just a warm-up act. The main event is even more disruptive…a big something -- called Pay With Square. You walk into a shop or cafe. The cashier knows that you're on the premises…He rings up your items by tapping them on the iPad…now the magic moment: To pay, you just say your name. The cashier compares your actual face with the photo on the iPad's screen, taps O.K., and the transaction is complete. No cash, no cards, no signatures -- you don't even have to take the phone out of your pocket. It's glorious for you…It's fantastic for the merchant, because lower friction (hassle) means more sales…All of this is free for both you and (except for the usual 2.7 percent Square fee) the merchant…Using GPS, the app automatically lists shops and cafes near you that offer the Pay With Square system…Square says that 75,000 merchants already accept Pay With Square…”
32.    The store circular evolved: LocalResponse and ShopLocal help retailers target mobile customers  http://venturebeat.com/2012/07/18/localresponse-shoplocal-mobile-circular/  “Today’s shoppers likely spend more time looking at their smartphones than weekly in-store circulars. Hoping to take advantage of this new trend, intent marketing company LocalResponse and ShopLocal, which helps stores digitize their circulars, have joined forces for what could be the next step in shopping. Using LocalResponse’s real-time consumer intent data (based on check-ins and social media posts about specific stores and brands), retailers will be able to push ads to consumers’ smartphones that point to in-store discounts, coupons, and loyalty rewards, all powered by ShopLocal’s SmartCircular product. Think of it like this: Instead of poring over a paper circular every week, you’ll be able to check into a store and receive the best deals relevant to you …”
33.    Apple buying land for expansion in Austin, Texas  http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2012/07/17/apple-buys-austin-land-from-mcshane.html  “Apple Inc. is one step closer to making good on its plans to bring 3,600 new jobs and invest more than $300 million in Austin…McShane Development Co…sold three tracts of land to Apple on June 21. The exhibits indicate that the land is in the Milwood Section 20 subdivision near Parmer Lane and Delcour Drive…The Austin Business Journal previously reported that Apple planned to expand its current campus in Northwest Austin by 1 million square feet on 38.8 acres of land …”
34.    Microsoft reports first ever loss as public company  http://www.independent.ie/business/technology/microsoft-reports-first-ever-loss-as-public-company-3174514.html  “Microsoft has suffered its first quarterly loss in 26 years following an accounting adjustment to reflect a weak online ad business. The software company had warned that it was taking a $6.2bn charge because its 2007 purchase of online ad service aQuantive hasn't yielded the returns envisioned…Microsoft paid $6.3bn for aQuantive, only to see rival Google expand its share of the online ad market. The charge led to a $492m loss in the April to June quarter, or 6 cents a share. That compares with earnings of $5.9bn, or 69 cents, a year ago…Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Washington, has never previously reported a quarterly loss since the company's initial public offering in March 1986…Microsoft's fortunes are tied to the October release of Windows 8, the most extreme redesign of the company's flagship operating system since 1995 …”
35.    VMware Pays $1.26B for the Future of Networking  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/07/vmware-buys-nicira/  “When Silicon Valley startup Nicira emerged from stealth mode earlier this year — wielding a new breed of computer network that exists only as software — you got the distinct feeling that VMware spent an awful lot of time kicking itself. VMware is the king the virtual server, a machine that exists only as software. The Palo Alto, California, company helps big businesses save both money and space by slotting many virtual machines onto a single physical server, and by some estimates, it controls as much as 80 percent of the market for these software machines. The obvious next step for the outfit is a big move into virtual networks — which simulate networking hardware in much the same way VMware simulates servers — but when Nicira appeared, VMware suddenly found itself years behind the competition. It’s no surprise then that VMware has agreed to pay $1.26 billion in cash and equity to acquire Nicira, less than six months after the startup officially announced its existence…Nicira’s software is already used by such names as AT&T, eBay, Japanese telecom NTT, financial giant Fidelity, and Rackspace, the Texas-based outfit that offers a cloud service along the lines of Amazon Web Services, and the technology underlying the Nicira network controller has heavily influenced Google and perhaps other big name web outfits…For months now, VMware has been pushing the idea of the “software-defined data center,” where storage and networking are virtualized as well as servers, and now, this push makes all the more sense. “This is clearly the architecture for the cloud, and from our perspective, it’s a multibillion-dollar opportunity — networking being central to all of it,” VMware chief technology officer Steve Herrod tells Wired. “The acquisition of Nicira accelerates this vision, but it also complements a lot of work we’ve done so far…”
DHMN Technology
36.    Brain Shift Radio Controls Mood with Music—Awesome or Creepy?  http://gizmodo.com/5927848/brain-shift-radio-controls-mood-with-musicawesome-or-creepy  “In Philip K. Dick's book Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?...the lead character Rick Deckard and his wife alter their mental states with devices called Mood Organs. Rising in the morning, Deckard dials in a "businesslike professional attitude," while his vengeful wife selects no fewer than six hours of "self-accusatory depression."…the book posits that the Mood Organ is bad - a way to feel without meaning. Imagine, then, someone reading about the Mood Organ and deciding it was a bad idea only because it had been poorly executed. Enter Brain Shift Radio, an application built in part by Jeff Strong, a percussionist who spent more than a decade studying ethno-musicology and therapeutic rhythms. The resulting web app, which is free for unlimited use in this beta phase, harnesses "Rhythmic Entertainment Intervention" to let people "shift their brain" from one state to another. The user makes simple requests about how they'd like their mood to shift, and the system churns through research and data, spitting out an answer in the form of looped instrumentals purported to affect the brain in the specified way…You could select "I'm tired and feeling mentally groggy," and listen to a delightful ditty called "Metal Element" which "stimulates the lung and large intestine meridians of the Chinese medical system." You could also walk down to the corner shop instead, to purchase "Essence of Dragon Spine" from the man selling watches from a table. The difference: Brain Shift Radio works. Sort of…”
37.    Pi in the sky  http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/1620  “…more of you have emailed me about this than about anything else that anybody has ever done with a Raspberry Pi. What you’ve just looked at are, we think, the highest ever photographs transmitted live from an amateur device in the UK world. Dave Akerman hooked a Raspberry Pi with a webcam and GPS up to a hydrogen balloon, which got nearly 40km up (39,994m, to be precise) before bursting. This means that Dave’s is the first Raspberry Pi to visit near space (it returned unharmed, and Dave was able to recover it)…If you want to learn more, visit Dave’s blog, where he has documented the flight minutely …”
38.    A Nation That’s Losing Its Maker Skills  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/business/what-happened-to-the-craftsmanship-spirit-essay.html?pagewanted=all  “…at a time when the American factory seems to be a shrinking presence, and when good manufacturing jobs have vanished, perhaps never to return, there is something deeply troubling about this dilution of American craftsmanship…It’s a social and cultural issue, as well as an economic one. The Home Depot approach to craftsmanship — simplify it, dumb it down, hire a contractor — is one signal that mastering tools and working with one’s hands is receding in America as a hobby, as a valued skill, as a cultural influence that shaped thinking and behavior…Traditional vocational training in public high schools is gradually declining…Colleges…have since 1985 graduated fewer chemical, mechanical, industrial and metallurgical engineers, partly in response to the reduced role of manufacturing…The decline started in the 1950s, when manufacturing generated a hefty 28 percent of the national income…Today, factory output generates just 12 percent of G.D.P…In an earlier generation, we lost our connection to the land, and now we are losing our connection to the machinery we depend on,” says Michael Hout, a sociologist…That’s one explanation for the decline in traditional craftsmanship. Lack of interest is another. The big money is in fields like finance…Young people grow up without developing the skills to fix things around the house…Manufacturing’s shrinking presence undoubtedly helps explain the decline in craftsmanship…Craft work has higher status in nations like Germany, which invests in apprenticeship programs for high school students. “Corporations in Germany realized that there was an interest to be served economically and patriotically in building up a skilled labor force at home; we never had that ethos,” says Richard Sennett, a New York University sociologist who has written about the connection of craft and culture. The damage to American craftsmanship seems to parallel the precipitous slide in manufacturing employment. Though the decline started in the 1970s, it became much steeper beginning in 2000. Since then, some 5.3 million jobs, or one-third of the work force in manufacturing, have been lost…We sit in rooms with manufacturers who tell us that location decisions to move overseas that were previously automatic are now a close call, and that the right policies can make a difference…As for craftsmanship itself, the issue is how to preserve it as a valued skill in the general population. Ms. Milkman, the sociologist, argues that American craftsmanship isn’t disappearing as quickly as some would argue — that it has instead shifted to immigrants. “Pride in craft, it is alive in the immigrant world …”
39.    Google Glass-Inspired Specs Can Translate Foreign Languages As They're Spoken  http://crave.cnet.co.uk/gadgets/raspberry-pi-smart-glasses-subtitle-foreigners-in-real-time-50008692/  “Wouldn't it be handy if when someone was speaking a foreign language, subtitles appeared just below their face? CNET reader Will Powell thought so, so he built some glasses that make you feel like you're in an arthouse movie. Using some 3D specs, a couple of mics, a smart phone, a few cables and two Raspberry Pi mini-computers, Powell hacked together a working automatic translation system -- and he's made a video showing it working. Powell, a programmer whose background is in Adobe Flex and AS3, was inspired by Google's high-concept Glass project…The glasses are "completely transparent, so it looks like they are in your normal field of vision," says Powell -- like a pilot's head-up display. Using a Microsoft API, the system can translate 37 languages. The Raspberry Pis, running the latest version of Debian Linux, power the subtitle interface and the TV display…”
Open Source Hardware
40.    Satellites in the shed? TEDGlobal announces the new DIY revolution  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jul/01/build-satellite-shed-new-diy-revolution?newsfeed=true  “Once upon a time, if you said you were doing a spot of DIY, everyone would know you'd be doing something involving wobbly ladders, pots of paint and, depending on the decade, either stripping your floors or recarpeting them. No more. Or at least ladders and pots of paint might still be involved, but the end result could be a aerial drone you've built yourself. Or a biotech lab…TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh – the festival known as "Davos for optimists" – shone a light on the DIY revolution – a movement that encompasses items ranging from manufacturing to synthetic biology to medicine. After a decade in which digital technologies have disrupted industries from music to the media, it's capitalism itself that is now under attack. A decade ago, open-source software revolutionised the internet. Now the idea has entered the realm of physical things: open-source hardware. Why stop at making your own website when you can make your own PC? Or car? Or satellite? Catarina Mota, a 38-year-old Portuguese PhD student, is typical of the new breed of DIYers, or, as they tend to call themselves, "makers". She's a member of a 40-strong "hackerspace" in New York – a co-operative workshop where members share tools such as laser cutters – and develops and makes "smart materials", ones that can change colour when you touch them or react to voltage. In the three years since she began, the maker movement, fuelled in part by the rapidly decreasing cost of 3D printers – devices that create objects layer by layer out of liquid plastic – has become a phenomenon. Mota's hackerspace, NYC Resistor, is one of the oldest, but there are now 1,500 in the world…”
41.     9 amazing Raspberry Pi case mods (including one that looks like a raspberry!)  http://venturebeat.com/2012/07/16/9-amazing-raspberry-pi-case-mods-including-one-that-looks-like-a-raspberry/  “Raspberry Pi, the $25 Linux PC that fits in your hand and runs off AA batteries, is finally shipping in bulk today. One of the most amazing things about this little baby is the case mods: innovative, interesting cases that hobbyists and tinkerers are creating for the tiny credit-card-sized computer. Here are a few that we’ve found that would make you the coolest computer user since Linus Torvalds created Linux…Not everyone can say they have a computer built by a 12-year-old kid. Biz is a young German girl with mad computer skillz and serious Lego talent. She’s even provided the instructions so that you can make your Raspberry Pi computer actually … look … like … a Raspberry…If lego is not your style and the cigarette case is just a little too James Dean … you can hardly beat this Apple-esque case by Marco Alici. Alici made this virtual prototype with design tools Blender and Yafaray, and is getting a prototype 3D-printed by Shapeways … after which he intends to make it available to others…”
Open Source
42.    Open source alternatives to Windows Home Server  http://www.bit-tech.net/bits/software/2012/07/19/replace-whs/1  “…Microsoft is to kill off Windows Home Server in favour of a cut-down version of Windows Server 2012…The low-cost, low-power Windows Home Server has proved popular since its introduction, and its absence is going to leave a hole in the market…Where Microsoft is departing, however, there are plenty of open-source solutions ready to fill the gap. Whether you use your Windows Home Server system for streaming videos and music, backing up client systems, or even monitoring your network, there’s an alternative already available - and it won’t cost you a penny to make the move. Although Microsoft has indicated that Windows Home Server will be available to original equipment manufacturers all the way through to 2025, system builders will likely be ditching the platform in droves. If your Windows Home Server install is still doing its job, you needn’t feel like you need to join them - but if you want to stay ahead of the curve, read on to see what options are open to you…”
43.    Free Resources to Help You Launch Your Open Source Project  http://ostatic.com/blog/free-resources-to-help-you-launch-your-open-source-project  “Have you been considering launching an open source project? Doing so involves a series of decisions that can give you a proper chance at rallying community support, staying on the right side of the law, and building a strong user base.  Issues pertaining to licensing, distribution, support options and even branding require thinking ahead if you want your project to flourish. In this post, you'll find our newly updated collection of good, free resources to pay attention to if you're starting an open source project. The Open Source Definition is where every project leader should start when it comes to how open source projects should be distributed, and what actually qualifies as open source. It's also good to review Open Standards requirements…the Software Freedom Law Center has a set of very good online resources on how open source licenses and copyrights work, and much more. Legal issues are smart to anticipate up front. The authors are attorneys who were part of creating popular open source licenses. It's also an excellent idea to keep up with urrent and archived editions of the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review…”
Civilian Aerospace
44.    Rocketdyne sold to GenCorp for $550 million  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-rocketdyne-sale-20120724,0,3896547.story  “Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, the pioneering rocket engine manufacturing business in the San Fernando Valley, has been sold by its parent company of seven years to Sacramento aerospace and technology firm GenCorp Inc. for $550 million. The sale of Rocketdyne to GenCorp marks the combination of two iconic California rocket companies — and longtime competitors. GenCorp also owns Aerojet, the Sacramento aerospace firm founded in 1942…Rocketdyne is no stranger to being sold. The company was formed by North American Aviation after World War II, spurred by the success of the German V-2 missile. North American later merged with Rockwell International, which became part of Boeing. In 2005, United Technologies Corp. bought Rocketdyne and merged it with its Pratt & Whitney unit. Rocketdyne builds rocket engines for NASA…”
45.    Satellite imagery firm DigitalGlobe buys competitor GeoEye  http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/satellite-imagery-firm-digitalglobe-buys-competitor-geoeye-374630/  “…commercial satellite Earth imagery firms DigitalGlobe and GeoEye have finally agreed to merge. The merger…was in effect an acquisition of GeoEye by Digitalglobal worth $453 million…"The combination of DigitalGlobe and GeoEye creates a global leader in earth imagery and geospatial analysis," said Tarr…The agreement was the end result of a long running series of negotiations during which both firms had attempted to buy each other out. This happened, most recently in May when DigitalGlobe formally turned down an offer from rival GeoEye to buy the company for $17 per share in a combination of cash and stock…”
46.    Jefferson neuroscientist helping astronauts sleep better  http://www.philly.com/philly/health/20120723_Jefferson_neuroscientist_helping_astronauts_sleep_better.html  “A new sunrise takes place every 90 minutes. Docking maneuvers sometimes occur at odd hours. Then there's that feeling of apparent weightlessness. No wonder astronauts aboard the International Space Station can have a hard time getting a good night's sleep…George C. Brainard is advising NASA as it prepares to replace the aging fluorescent lights on the station with high-tech LED fixtures. The lights…can be adjusted to enhance or relax an astronaut's state of alertness at the appropriate time of day. The plan is the outgrowth of research by Brainard and others that has established how light plays a powerful role in regulating our various biological clocks. Changes in light exposure can affect sleep, digestion, cognitive performance, and mood — a phenomenon known to people who experience jet lag, night-shift work, or the seasonal blahs associated with the shorter days of winter…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
47.    Are FPGAs the future of password cracking and supercomputing?  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/133110-are-fpgas-the-future-of-password-cracking-and-supercomputing  “Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are versatile silicon chips that are proving to be extremely fast at certain operations. Laid out on silicon much like any other chip, FPGAs are packed with configurable logic blocks that are wired together with interconnects and switches, and a small amount of memory in the form of SRAM, EEPROM, or an antifuse for each programmable element. In addition, FPGAs also have some special hardware to govern global clock cycles (clock drivers) and can be fitted with specific-function embedded cores such as digital signal processors (DSP). The best part about FPGAs though, as their name suggests, is that they are fully programmable…Unlike a traditional CPU or GPU, FPGAs do not run code…FPGAs…are hard wired in a way that, for sake of simplicity and visualization, essentially means that the FPGA is the program (rather than it running a program)…Although they run at much lower clockspeeds than “hardwired” CPUs and GPUs, they are truly parallel designs…FPGAs can accelerate simulations, encryption and decryption tasks, Bitcoin mining, and can even be used to brute force passwords…even though GPUs run at 1GHz+ and have thousands of stream processors, they are still being beaten by FPGAs that use less power and run at much lower clockspeed…a new FPGA board from Pico Computing that uses six Xilinx Virtex-6 LX240T FPGAs and 3GB of DDR3 memory has the approximate computational power of 400 eight-core Intel E5-2687W processors — or ten AMD Radeon 7970 graphics cards — and it is able to do this drawing only 150 watts (much less than even one GPU, much less ten)…”
48.    Researchers Squeeze GPU Performance from 11 Big Science Apps  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-07-18/researchers_squeeze_gpu_performance_from_11_big_science_apps.html  “The GPGPU faithful received another round of encouraging news this week. In a report  published this week, researchers documented that GPU-equipped supercomputers enabled application speedups between 1.4x and 6.1x across a range of well-known science codes. While those results aren't the order of magnitude performance increases that were being bandied about in the early days of GPU computing, the researchers were encouraged that the technology is producing consistently good results with some of the most popular HPC science applications in the world…The ensuing report…detailed the performance GPU acceleration across the science application spectrum -- biology, chemical physics, combustion, nuclear fission and fusion, material science, seismology, molecular dynamics, and climatology. The 11 simulation codes tested --  S3D, Denovo, LAMMPS, WL-LSMS, CAM-SE, NAMD, Chroma, QMCPACK, SPECFEM-3D, GTC, and CP2K -- are used by tens of thousands of researchers worldwide. NAMD alone has over 50 thousand users…”



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