2012/08/14

NEW NET Weekly List for 14 Aug 2012


Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 14 Aug 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.        Khan Academy Launches The Future of Computer Science Education  http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/khan-academy-launches-the-future-of-computer-science-education/  “…Computer Science is an intensely creative field,” says Shantanu Sinha, President of Khan Academy, which gave TechCrunch an exclusive look at their brand new education portal that teaches Computer Science fundamentals through interactive drawing. “We really wanted to focus on creating something that could inspire young children, and get them excited and motivated to explore CS further.” The portal’s interactive design is a major evolutionary step for a website that has since been almost entirely based on YouTube lectures (with over 178 million views). I rarely get excited about online education, which often just recycles our antiquated education system into a digital format, but the new Khan Academy Computer Science project is beyond impressive. The new Computer Science site focuses on the critical early adolescent years, where children broaden (or narrow) their interests and identity before high school. The lessons don’t get much more complicated than basic algebra, and how these intuitive mathematical concepts can create powerful artistic, video game, and website experiences. “We wanted to create something that could get anyone with minimal knowledge of Computer Science really excited by the field–no matter what their age or situation,”…The heart of the design places a simplified, interactive text editor that sits adjacent to the code’s drawing output, which updates in real time as students explore how different variables and numbers change the size, shapes, and colors of their new creation. An optional video guides students through the lesson, step-by-step, and, most importantly, can be paused at any point so that they can tinker with the drawing as curiosity and confusion arise during the process…”
2.       SkyDrive gets a Windows 8 look-and-feel, Android app coming soon  http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/08/skydrive-gets-a-windows-8-look-and-feel-android-app-coming-soon/  “After giving its free e-mail service a new Windows 8-inspired coat of paint with Outlook.com—which has seen more than 10 million users sign up already—Microsoft has turned its attention to cloud storage service SkyDrive. Over the next 24 hours, the company is rolling out a new "modern" interface for SkyDrive's online component. While Outlook.com didn't add many new features—behind the scenes, it's pretty much identical to Hotmail—SkyDrive has picked up a bunch of new capabilities in addition to its new appearance. In the Web front-end itself, SkyDrive is now searchable, including the ability to search for text within Office documents. File handling has been streamlined, giving users the ability to select multiple files and drag and drop them to move them between folders. Sorting is also smarter; there are new ordering options and a facility to save sort options on a per-folder basis. SkyDrive's apps are being enhanced as well. Over the next week, Microsoft is rolling out an update to the Windows and Mac OS X SkyDrive clients. The new version will be faster at uploading files to the cloud and will use less processor time when checking your system for changed files…”
3.       Long-lost Egyptian pyramids found on Google Earth?  http://www.pcworld.com/article/260857/google_earth_shows_undiscovered_pyramids_amateur_archeologist_claims.html  “Google Earth is prompting one arm chair archeologist to suggest that there may be two undiscovered pyramid complexes in Egypt. Both locations feature what appear to be pyramid-shaped mounds with a deliberate organizational structure, according to Angela Micol of Maiden, N.C., who runs Google Earth Anomalies. As its name suggests, the site is dedicated to discovering intriguing images from Google Earth…Micol says she is not publishing the coordinates of the two sites for fear they may be pillaged by treasure hunters. Nevertheless, by piecing together the general locations of these sites from other reports, it took me less than 15 minutes to find both locations using Google Earth and Google Maps. I expect anyone else armed with a Web browser and a modicum of Google savvy would have a similar experience. The first site is located just a few miles from the ancient ruins of Dimeh in Middle Egypt, not far from the city of Faiyum. The site features what appears to be one large mound and three smaller ones. Micol believes the three smaller sites echo the diagonal arrangement of the famed pyramids of Giza…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
4.       Swiss scientists develop algorithm to sniff out source of malware, spam attacks  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9230199/Swiss_scientists_develop_algorithm_to_sniff_out_source_of_malware_spam_attacks  “Swiss scientists have developed an algorithm that can be used to locate spammers as well as the source of a computer virus or malware. The algorithm finds the source by only checking a small percentage of the connections in a network…If you would like to find the source of a virus, malware or spam-attack it is impossible to track the status of all nodes on the Internet, Pinto said in a telephone interview. "That would mean you would need about 1 billion sensors. And you don't want to monitor the entire Internet…Instead he and his colleagues devised an algorithm that shows that it is possible to estimate the location of the source from measurements collected by sparsely placed observers or sensors. By using the algorithm the specific computer inA the network from which the spam mail is being sent can be found so that the network provider can shut it down for instance, said Pinto. Using the same method, the first computer where a virus was injected could be pinpointed…”
5.        Stratfor emails reveal secret, widespread TrapWire surveillance system  http://rt.com/usa/news/stratfor-trapwire-abraxas-wikileaks-313/  “Former senior intelligence officials have created a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology — and have installed it across the US under the radar of most Americans…Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence. It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it's the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community. The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles…The details on Abraxas and, to an even greater extent TrapWire, are scarce, however, and not without reason. For a program touted as a tool to thwart terrorism and monitor activity meant to be under wraps, its understandable that Abraxas would want the program’s public presence to be relatively limited. But thanks to last year’s hack of the Strategic Forecasting intelligence agency, or Stratfor, all of that is quickly changing…Mr. Ferguson and others have mirrored what are believed to be most recently-released Global Intelligence Files on external sites, but the original documents uploaded to WikiLeaks have been at times unavailable this week due to the continuing DDoS attacks. Late Thursday and early Friday this week, the GIF mirrors continues to go offline due to what is presumably more DDoS assaults. Australian activist Asher Wolf wrote on Twitter that the DDoS attacks flooding the servers of WikiLeaks supporter sites were reported to be dropping upwards of 40 gigabits of traffic per second. On Friday, WikiLeaks tweeted that their own site was sustaining attacks of 10 Gb/second, adding, "Whoever is running it controls thousands of machines or is able to simulate them…”  http://venturebeat.com/2012/08/10/wikileaks-trapwire-stratfor-cia/  “…TrapWire does three things: protect critical infrastructure by analyzing CCTV footage with face and pattern recognition algorithms to detect pre-attack patterns, provide online reporting systems for citizens to report suspicious behavior, and gather and analyze many sources of information to allow law enforcement to make sense of the masses of collected data…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
6.       Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2  http://reviews.cnet.com/tablets/lenovo-thinkpad-tablet-2/4505-3126_7-35411720.html  “As Windows 8 nears its debut on October 26, you can expect to see a ton of Windows computing devices, tablets and otherwise, set to take advantage of the touch-friendly features of Microsoft’s next operating system…One of the first announced tablets is the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2…ThinkPad Tablet 2 runs a full Windows 8 Professional OS, but does so on a next-gen Intel Atom processor…Setting the ThinkPad Tablet 2 apart from other tablets on the market will be its optional digitizer and pen for precision input, a stylus that slides out of the side of the tablet and works the way most Windows tablet styli have in the past. The antiglare 10.1-inch IPS display has a 16:9 1,366x768-pixel resolution matching that on most Windows laptops…The ThinkPad Tablet 2 is 9.8mm thick and weighs 1.3 pounds, and feels about the same in terms of heft as a third-gen iPad…The tablet's equipped with a mini-HDMI connector, headphone/microphone jack, MicroSD card slot, a USB 2.0 port, and a docking connector for keyboards..How will an Atom processor handle a full Windows 8 computer? That remains to be seen. The tablet’s responsiveness was…far better than previous Windows 7 tablet experiences…”
7.        Barnes & Noble cuts prices on the Nook  http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/12/barnes-and-noble-nook-tablet-price-reduction/  “In what could be seen as a response to the positive reaction that Google's $200 Nexus 7 has garnered, Barnes & Noble has just cut down the prices on all three of its Android-based, seven-inch Nook Tablets. The 16 and 8GB models have been respectively reduced to $199 (from $249) and $179 (from $199), while the Nook Color is priced 20 bones cheaper than before at $149…”
Apps
8.       10 tethering apps for Android  http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/10-Tethering-Apps-for-Google-Android-Smartphones-301876/  “With a growing number of smartphones or tablets allowing tethering, a July 31 decision by the Federal Communications Commission that Verizon Wireless must pay the U.S. Treasury $1.25 million for preventing customers from downloading Android tethering apps was a victory for fans of the technology. Tethering refers to sharing the Internet connection of a handset with other devices such as notebooks or desktops; with tethering applications, connecting a smartphone with other devices can be done over wireless LAN (WiFi), through Bluetooth or by physical connection using a cable through USB. Google’s online Android marketplace, Play, currently offers a wide selection of tethering applications, many of them available free—although some can cost users up to $15 for the service—and Android’s robust community of users offer useful, if opinionated, information on the best ones. Here’s a look at 10 different Android tethering apps to get you on the Web and create mobile hotspots for all your different devices…”
9.       Review: Android's "Google Now" can teach Siri a few tricks  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/08/review-androids-google-now-can-teach-siri-a-few-tricks/  “Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" launched…this June with an unexpected flavor: an impressive new virtual assistant called Google Now. The Google Now feature set is tough to summarize. It builds on the voice actions system that Google offered in previous versions of Android, adding support for natural language queries, but it also has a passive mode in which it will display contextually relevant information through Android’s notification system…The voice control interface in Google Now operates much like Apple’s Siri; the software records and interprets the user’s voice, parsing full sentences of natural speech into commands. It responds by speaking back to the user and displaying relevant information. You can use the speech interface to dictate an e-mail or text message, search Google, perform a calculation or unit conversion, get the definition of a word, get a stock quote, search the platform’s built-in addressbook, set an alarm, play a song, get travel directions, get the current weather conditions in a region, or launch an application. The range of supported commands and queries is comparable to Siri's. The passive information mode uses a wide array of data—including the user’s location, schedule, and search queries—in order to provide useful information on a preemptive basis. When the user has a meeting, for example, Google Now will helpfully offer directions to the location and an estimation of how long it will take to arrive there in current traffic conditions…We tested Google Now in Android 4.1 on a Nexus 7 tablet and on a Galaxy Nexus smartphone. We tested a wide range of queries and searches, then spent some time comparing Google Now to Siri to see how it stacks up against Apple’s implementation…”
10.     Vlingo Labs: Better Voice Actions for Android  http://thedroidguy.com/2012/08/vlingo-labs-better-voice-actions-for-android/  “Most of the smartphone companies are venturing into voice recognition technology. It all started with Apple’s Siri on iPhone 4S [not true; Android had voice actions before Siri was released – ed.]…Companies like Blackberry and Microsoft are creating their own voice recognition softwares for their operating systems so that they can compete with Apple’s iOS, but in the meantime several apps have filled the Android landscape to bring such functionality to the open source operating system…In the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S III, the South Korean mobile giant has come up with something called S-Voice, a competitor for Apple’s Siri. S-Voice is officially available only on Samsung’s flagship phone for 2012, and is essentially based on Vlingo…Vlingo have been very busy with experimenting ways to make Vlingo more functional & innovative, and Vlingo Labs (Beta) users can check out the hottest new features that can perhaps end up in the official final Vlingo Virtual Assistant app. Currently, the Vlingo Labs is restricted to Ice Cream Sandwich device users and it is strictly a “test kitchen” where shiny new ideas and test features are brought to life and may not end up in the final app itself…”
SkyNet
11.      Google Translate can now translate text in images through your phone's camera  http://www.zdnet.com/google-translate-can-now-translate-text-in-images-through-your-phones-camera-7000002450/  “Google has pushed out a new version of its Translate app for Android, adding optical character recognition to the linguistic toolkit. The feature means users can, for example, use their Android phone's camera to take a picture of a menu in a foreign language, then have the app translate the text into their own tongue…Still in alpha after 18 months, the most ambitious tool in that set is probably speech-to-speech translation, which theoretically allows two people to speak to each other in different languages with the app acting as a translator…”
12.     Google Merges Gmail With Web Search  http://www.wired.com/business/2012/08/google-adds-siri-like-qa-to-app-merges-gmail-with-web-search/  “Google is taking a major swipe at Siri with a new feature in its iPhone and iPad search apps that mimics the question-and-answer abilities of Apple’s digital concierge. The more conversational version of Google’s voice search debuted today at a press event in San Francisco. Top members of the company’s search team also announced a new version of the company’s web search that integrates Gmail to personalize the results of everyday searches. The technology tying these new options together is what Google calls its Knowledge Graph, its fledgling effort to extend search’s understanding of the world beyond keywords. Google engineers say the company’s search engine now “knows” a half-billion real-world objects and 3.5 billion connections among those objects. In practice, this means when you ask, “When’s my flight?” or say, “Show me a video that explains quantum physics,” Google’s algorithms understand what you’re talking about—and, more importantly, what you’re trying to find out…Android users running the latest Jellybean operating system have already had this Siri-like voice-based asking-and-answering capability for the last few weeks, said Scott Huffman, Google’s director of mobile engineering. The updated iOS version of the Google Search app was submitted to the Apple App Store last week and should be available within the next few days, Singhal said. Huffman showed off the app’s fluency by peppering it with questions from “What will the weather be like this weekend?” (foggy and 68 degrees) to “What is (struggling San Francisco Giants pitcher) Tim Lincecum’s salary?” ($18 million). The app answered quickly and clearly, though in a voice that sounded slightly more robotic and stilted than Siri’s…”
13.     Google+ Hangouts Studio Mode Lets Musicians Stream Concerts With Pristine Sound Quality  http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/13/google-hangouts-studio-mode/  “Google wants Hangouts On Air to become the way musicians stream concerts from their garage or the stadium, so today it launches Studio Mode, an option that lets broadcasters optimize sound quality for real-time music instead of voice. Studio Mode makes a big difference, turning the noisy digital gargle into something closer to CD-quality. I’ve confirmed with Google that Studio Mode streams in stereo at a higher bitrate through a different codec…Ustream is a popular choice for artists to share their concerts with people at home, but Google could get everyone rocking Hangouts if Studio Mode makes listeners feel as if they’ve traded their crappy old MP3 for vinyl…Without Studio Mode, Hangouts sound like they’re playing through crappy Apple earbuds…Voices crack, drums seem distant, and rich bass and guitar tones sound sound flat and empty. Once enabled, its like you’ve been transported into the room with band. The bass rumbles, vocals retain emotion, and the high frequencies feel sharp and clean. Studio Mode is available as an audio setting in Hangouts On Air, an extension Google’s video chat service that let people stream to an unlimited audience instead of just 10 people…”
14.     Wake up and smell the Chrome  http://blogs.computerworld.com/windows/20819/wake-and-smell-chrome  “…I've been using a Google/Samsung Chromebook and Langa's article crystallized the difference between computing with Windows and Chrome OS…The phrase "night and day", doesn't do it justice…to someone willing to think out of the box, to see the forest rather than just trees, its an eye-opener to how crude and rickety Windows is. I was..interested in…how he maintains his Windows computer. He detailed his routine…If the tune-up software being tested found problems (and they all found hundreds, but that's another story) it said more about the software than the computer.  This is Langa's ongoing care and feeding routine for his Windows machine:  Constantly running antivirus software…Constantly running Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (to catch what the antivirus software misses)…From "time to time" he runs still more antivirus software (ESET’s Online Scanner, Microsoft’s Safety Scanner and Trend Micro’s House Call)…Windows Update keeps the OS patched…Secunia PSI keeps the "most important software up to date and free of known security issues"…To remove bogus Registry entries, junk files and cookies he uses Piriform’s CCleaner and/or Macecraft’s free PowerTools’ Lite every day…For "a deeper, more controlled cleaning" he uses Macecraft’s jv16 PowerTools…Spinning-platter hard drives are defragged nightly…The system "backs itself up automatically every morning"…as Langa says "There’s more, but the above steps and apps typically provide everything I need to reliably keep my PC clean, well optimized, stable, and secure"…what's needed to keep the Chromebook in tip top shape:  Reboot it once a month (give or take)…even that's optional, because…Chromebook users probably reboot regularly…because it's fast and extends the battery life. My Chromebook shuts down faster than Windows 7 goes to sleep, and, it cold boots faster than Windows wakes up from sleeping…a Chromebook is less functional than a laptop running Windows, OS X or Linux. But, it requires no maintenance…As I recently suggested, they offer what is probably the safest online experience out there, making them perfect for financial transactions…”
15.     Google spreadsheets gains lockdown feature  http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2012/08/lock-down-cells-with-protected-ranges.html  “Editing with others in real-time makes it easy to get stuff done in Google spreadsheets in only a matter of minutes. But with so many people working in the same space, it’s possible to modify a section that a collaborator didn’t intend to be touched…today, we’re updating the Named Ranges feature in spreadsheets to let you also protect them. To get started with Protected Ranges in a shared spreadsheet, highlight the cells you’d like to protect, right-click, and choose Name and protect range from the menu. Click through the presentation below to see the feature in action. Along with the arrival of protected ranges, you can now add colors and patterns when you apply cell borders in Google spreadsheets. We also updated find and replace to make it possible to search using patterns (also called regular expressions). For example, “^[A-Z]+” will find all the cells that start with uppercase letters…” [Andy – possibly this addresses one of your concerns about Google Doc spreadsheets, giving you more control over what other people change – ed.]
16.     Google’s new login tool makes users with multiple accounts happy  http://venturebeat.com/2012/08/11/google-account-chooser/  “Google released Account chooser today, which lets you easily toggle between Gmail accounts without having to enter and re-enter your email or password. Account chooser was first noticed by The Next Web, and undoubtedly excites any person that uses Gmail for both work and personal accounts. In order to enable the feature, you must first go to this link, which automatically signs you up if you’re logged into one of your accounts. That account becomes the default account from which you can add others. You must click “stay signed in” in order for the feature to work. The new Gmail login screen is a small box that displays your name, the email address, and an image if you have one on your account. Multiple sign-on will be enabled across many of Google’s products, but the company notes that some of its products are not friendly with the feature yet…”
17.     Google to buy Frommer's travel guides  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-google-frommers-20120814,0,3184864.story  “Google Inc. has set its sights on the travel industry. Looking to attract more advertising dollars, Google said Monday that it would buy Frommer's travel guides…The proposed purchase would be Google's second major entry into the travel information business. Last September it bought Zagat, a well-known restaurant guide. With the acquisition of Frommer's, another marquee name in travel, Google moves closer to its goal of providing critiques of every hotel, restaurant and hot spot on Earth. Trustworthy reviews from Frommer's could give Web surfers more reason to visit Google, which wants to generate more advertising revenue from the growing online travel industry…According to research firm EMarketer Inc., the U.S. leisure-travel industry spent $2.56 billion on online ads last year, up 40.6% from a year earlier. Last year U.S.-based travelers spent more than $100 billion to book trips online…Google made its first big splash in travel in 2010 with the purchase of flight-data company ITA Software, which powers flight-booking tools on websites. Last year, Google launched its own search service for U.S. flights. After its surprise $151-million purchase of Zagat spearheaded by Marissa Mayer, who is now chief executive of Yahoo Inc., Google now has an editorial team in New York and London that oversees writers and photographers around the globe…”
18.     Google+ Starts Rolling Out Custom URLs  http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/260864/google_starts_rolling_out_custom_urls.html  “There's nothing like a social networking URL involving more than 20 numbers to make a user yearn for something easier to remember, and on Monday Google announced that it's begun to deliver just that…companies and individuals using Google+ will soon be able to claim a custom URL for use instead of the long, klunky ones they've had so far…Currently, Google+ profile URLs are ungainly at best. Mine, for example, is the very catchy https://plus.google.com/105492284418862345045/. With a custom URL, however, users of the popular social network will be able to use a short, easy-to-remember Web address instead that will link directly to their profile or page on Google+…”
19.     Improving Google Patents with European Patent Office patents and the Prior Art Finder  http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2012/08/improving-google-patents-with-european.html  “At Google, we're constantly trying to make important collections of information more useful to the world. Since 2006, we’ve let people discover, search, and read United States patents online. Starting this week, you can do the same for the millions of ideas that have been submitted to the European Patent Office…Typically, patents are granted only if an invention is new and not obvious. To explain why an invention is new, inventors will usually cite prior art such as earlier patent applications or journal articles. Determining the novelty of a patent can be difficult, requiring a laborious search through many sources, and so we’ve built a Prior Art Finder to make this process easier. With a single click, it searches multiple sources for related content that existed at the time the patent was filed. Patent pages now feature a “Find prior art” button that instantly pulls together information relevant to the patent application. The Prior Art Finder identifies key phrases from the text of the patent, combines them into a search query, and displays relevant results from Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, and the rest of the web. You’ll start to see the blue “Find prior art” button on individual patent pages starting today. Our hope is that this tool will give patent searchers another way to discover information relevant to a patent application, supplementing the search techniques they use today…”
General Technology
20.    New Technology Means You’ll Never Run Another Yellow Light  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/08/never-run-a-yellow-light/  “There’s a name for that panic-inducing split second when a traffic light turns yellow and you have to choose whether to hit the gas or the brake. It’s called the “dilemma zone,” and a new radar system promises to make it a thing of the past. TrafiRadar is a new technology from Belgium-based Traficon. It combines video and radar vehicle detection that can control a traffic light, holding a yellow until a car has crossed an intersection. While towns that rely on revenue from red light cameras might be loath to install the new technology, it could make intersections safer for all. Currently, drivers in the dilemma zone can either slam on the brakes and risk a rear-end collision, or run a red light. TrafiRadar can determine whether a vehicle needs more time to get through an intersection before the yellow light turns red, and keep all other traffic stopped until that car has crossed. In addition to TrafiRadar, Traficon also unveiled a new bike detection system that uses thermal cameras to detect cyclists and give them enough time to cross an intersection. VIP Bike allows cities to install dedicated turning lanes for cyclists, and can also count the number of bikes that pass through an intersection in a given period of time…”
21.     NVIDIA Announces Kepler-Based Quadro K5000 & Second-Generation Maximus  http://www.anandtech.com/show/6140/nvidia-announces-keplerbased-quadro-k5000-secondgeneration-maximus  “Typically NVIDIA would launch a high-end GPU first (e.g. GF100), and use that to build their high-end consumer, professional, and compute products. Kepler of course threw a wrench into that pattern when the mid-tier GK104 became the first Kepler GPU to be launched…in May…NVIDIA has announced their high-end Kepler GPU, GK110, and Tesla products based on both GK104 and GK110. NVIDIA’s solution to the unusual Kepler launch situation was to launch a specialized Tesla card based on GK104 in the summer, and then launch the more traditional GK110 based Tesla late in the year. This allowed NVIDIA to get Tesla K10 cards in the hands of some customers right away (primarily those with workloads suitable for GK104), rather than making all of their customers wait for Tesla K20 at the end of the year…”
22.    Choose the Right Graphics Card: 2012  http://www.pcworld.com/article/260694/choose_the_right_graphics_card_2012_edition.html  “Modern graphics cards are intimidating, hulking beasts in a world of increasingly tiny PC components. Most of them are double-wide, occupying two expansion-slot spaces, even though they use only a single physical slot. Many require two power connectors and beefier-than-average power supplies…Graphics processing units, or GPUs, are at the heart of these cards, and their sheer physical size and transistor count--some models have in excess of 4 billion transistors--help explain why they consume so much power and require sophisticated cooling systems…Let's take a look at what one of the latest cards, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 680, looks like when it's stripped bare…The latest-generation midrange ($200 to $350) and high-end ($400 and up) graphics cards usually ship with at least 2GB and sometimes 3GB or more of very fast GDDR5 memory, which has a clock speed of 1500MHz…Now that you've seen what a card looks like when you rip off its cooling shroud, let's consider the cricual questions you should answer before buying a graphics card. Here are five important ones: What types of games do you play?...What other applications do you run?...What is your budget for a graphics card?...What is your monitor's display resolution?...What is your PC's performance level?…”
23.    Road-Paver Concept Lays Asphalt Underneath Traffic  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/07/road-paver-concept/  “A recent design school grad has come up with a machine that can pave roads without shutting down lanes or stopping traffic…Gosha Galitsky…conceived a machine that would re-pave the road beneath while vehicles drive up and over. The Dynapac Red Carpet allows cars to pass over, while the machine re-heats and shapes the road surface using microwaves, a process known as Hot-in-Place Recycling. Microwaves heat the upper road layer and the asphalt binding agent, returning the pavement to its original soft state. Rotating brushes scoop the soft asphalt into a tank where it’s mixed with a small amount of fresh binder. The mixture gets paved back onto the road while a set of rollers at the rear compress the new pavement. Since the Red Carpet moves so slowly, the recycled pavement has time to cool. By the time the machine passes over, the surface is ready to handle traffic. But its berth only allows for cars narrower than 78.7 inches to pass through…Galitsky says that road paving is a process that’s overdue for an evolution: “The machines, materials and processes we use to construct and maintain our roads today have not changed significantly since as far as the 1940’s. Since only one basic configuration of paver exists today, road maintenance has to be done using machines which were originally constructed for paving new road surfaces…”
24.    1ms pan-tilt camera system tracks the flying balls  http://phys.org/news/2012-07-1ms-pan-tilt-camera-tracks-balls.html  “University of Japan researchers have worked on a camera system that tracks fast-moving objects in realtime, automatically keeping fast moving objects centered. The system can track fast-moving objects with high accuracy, called “amazing.”…This is a pan-tilt system that keeps an object at the center of the field. The researchers started work based on a challenge they recognized in the broadcast of major sports events such as the World Cup and games at the Olympics, where videos that are powerful and of the highest quality are in demand. In reality, though, they call attention to a number of limitations in techniques being used to capture the games. “It is often hard for camera operators to keep tracking their camera's direction on a dynamic object,” they wrote, such as the player or the ball…“Super slow and close-up videos of the remarkable player or the ball are thought to be especially quite valuable. However, camera operators have not been able to do that.”…the team worked out a camera system that can track fast-moving objects with something described as a high-speed gaze control device Two mirrors, one pan, one tilt, can move sixty degrees in approximately 3.5 milliseconds. These mirrors do the tracking realtime, bouncing images back to a stationary high-speed camera. The 1ms Auto Pan-Tilt system, as the system is named, gets its 1ms designation because it uses a 1,000 frame-per-second vision targeting system…”
25.    No computer required: The Doxie Go portable document scanner reviewed  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/08/no-computer-required-the-doxie-go-portable-document-scanner-reviewed/  “One thing that struck me when I covered Consumer Electronics Week back in June was the amount of paper still being passed around. For all of the tech-savvy people attracted by this exhibition, the most common way for vendors and journalists to swap information was by handing out pamphlets, spec sheets, and business cards. Cover a show for a couple of days and you end up with an unruly stack of paper you can barely jam into your laptop bag…This is precisely where portable document scanners can come in handy. Stick a business card into one, and you’ll quickly have a digital copy that you can use to keep the stacks of paper at a manageable level. The concept of a small, portable document scanner you can connect to your computer isn’t new, but the Doxie Go makes it simpler by eschewing the computer. You can turn this battery-powered scanner on, feed a few documents in it, and turn it off. The scans will be saved to either its internal memory or a connected SD card or USB stick, ready to be copied to your computer the next time you're at your desk. Doxie sent us one of these scanners for review…The $199 Doxie Go is a 10.5" x 1.7" x 2.2" piece of plastic that weighs a little less than a pound, similar in size and shape to other mobile document scanners like those in Fujitsu’s ScanSnap lineup or Brother’s DSmobile 600. Like the scanners in these competing products, the Doxie Go’s maximum resolution is 600 dpi, but it usually defaults to 300 dpi. By my count, it takes about 8.5 seconds to make a 300 dpi scan of a standard 8.5” by 11” sheet of paper, and around 33 seconds to scan the same sheet at 600 dpi…”
Leisure & Entertainment
26.    Microsoft Ends Work on Microsoft Flight  http://bruceair.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/microsoft-ends-work-on-microsoft-flight/  “Microsoft has stopped all work on Microsoft Flight, the successor to Microsoft Flight Simulator. No official announcement at the product’s website yet, but various sources, including Kotaku, have posted a statement from the company: Microsoft Studios is always evaluating its portfolio of products to determine what is best for gamers, families and the company, and this decision was the result of the natural ebb and flow of our portfolio management. Many factors were considered in the difficult decision to stop development on “Microsoft Flight” and “Project Columbia,” but we feel it will help us better align with our long-term goals and development plans. For “Microsoft Flight,” we will continue to support the community that has embraced the title and the game will still be available to download for free at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/. Apparently, most of the team that was working on Microsoft Flight has been laid off, so it’s not clear if Microsoft has any plans for its line of flight (and flight simulation) products. For now, the core of Microsoft Flight Simulator X lives on in Prepar3D, developed by Lockheed-Martin…”
27.    James Cameron's 3D China venture  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-james-camerons-3d-china-venture-20120808,0,5253684.story  “…James Cameron and 3D photography specialist Vince Pace have announced that the Cameron Pace Group (CPG), which specializes in providing 3D technology, services and consulting to other producers, will launch a new joint venture in China. The deal, signed Wednesday in Beijing with the state-owned Tianjin North Film Group and Tianjin High-tech Holding Group, will see CPG triple in size in the next 18 months, as Cameron and Pace build up a staff of Chinese workers, overseen by a team that will come in part from the U.S. and be housed at CPG China’s new studio in the city of Tianjin. Cameron said this is the first step in a global expansion for the company, part of a push to make 3D technology the universal film standard worldwide…China, the fastest-growing world film market, has been quick to embrace 3D cinema. Cameron's 3D "Avatar" was the biggest-grossing movie of all time in China, with around two-thirds of the total Chinese revenue of  $208 million coming from 3D screenings. The re-release of Cameron’s “Titanic” in 3D made as much money in China as it made in all other international markets (excluding North America) combined. Five of China’s top-grossing films in 2011 -- all of them American made -- were in 3D. "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon," for which CPG provided the 3D technology, was also a hit in the Middle Kingdom. Out of the movie’s $350 million in box office receipts worldwide, $168 million came from China…”
28.    More Teens Now Listen To Music Through YouTube Than Any Other Source  http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/youtube-is-for-music/  “According to Nielsen’s latest “Music 360” report, 48% of consumers in the U.S. still see radio as the dominant way to discover new music. For almost two-thirds of U.S. teenagers, however, Google’s YouTube is now a more important source of music than radio (54%), iTunes (53%) and CDs (50%). Despite the growing popularity of Internet music services among teens, about a third of them still bought a CD in the last year and among all respondents, 55% said physical CDs are still a very or fairly good value…The survey also found that 54% of U.S. consumers now have music player apps on their smartphones, Given that virtually every smartphone now has a built-in music player, we can only assume that this number reflects third-party apps. Just under half of them have radio apps installed on their phones and 26% have music store apps. Newer music services like Spotify and Pandora didn’t really register in Nielsen’s survey. Indeed, as the WSJ reports, cassette tapes (remember those?) are still more popular among adult than most online music services. Almost a tenth of U.S. adults apparently still listens to cassettes and 7% listen to Spotify…”
29.    Coco Controller Will Turn Your iPhone Into A Gaming Powerhouse  http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/the-yc-backed-coco-controller-will-turn-your-iphone-into-a-gaming-powerhouse/  “…The Coco Controller is a Kickstarter project that adds directional controls and game buttons to almost any phone, including the Galaxy SIII, iPhone, and most standard Android handsets. Created by Harvard drop-outs Connor Zwick and Colton Gyulay, the project aims to be a usable, useful addition to the mobile gamer’s arsenal…The Kickstarter project, however, is looking for $175,000 to build and distribute the controllers. They’ve raised $12,000 so far. A black or white Coco will cost $42 while a color Coco will cost $50…coco has all of the physical buttons you’re used to, including both an analog stick and a directional pad. By having an analog stick as well as the d-pad, we make sure that you can play any game with the case – not just arcade games. And we’ve put special thought into the analog stick/d-pad combo. The analog stick is low profile, but provides great control and is comfortable to use. The directional pad is capable of 8 directions, but we’ve learned from past commercial controllers and it’s also super responsive when you only need 4. You can play pretty much any game in the app store that requires joysticks with this control scheme…”
Economy and Technology
30.    Digital Money Shows How Technology Disruption Varies Across Markets  http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/08/12/digital-money-shows-how-technology-disruption-varies-across-markets/  “…technology-based innovations often have widely different impacts in different market segments around the world. This is well illustrated with the advent of mobile digital money and the evolution to an increasingly cashless society. In more advanced economies, this is another example of once near-magical technologies and apps that we have become so used to that we often barely notice…in developing economies, mobile digital money could be the ticket to financial inclusiveness and a higher standard of living for billions of people around the world…Over the last few months there have been a spate of articles on the evolution to a cashless society as the use of mobile devices continues to grow in different ways around the world. The Death of Cash, Time for Cash to Cash Out?, Visions of a Cashless Society, and Why Cash is Losing its Currency? are some of the titles…The Death of Cash, published by Miguel Helft in Fortune, is a good article of the first category. He writes about his experiences buying a cappuccino at a coffee house in New York City. He payed for it by simply telling the cashier “Charge it to Miguel,” and was done. That’s because the coffee house uses Square Register, an iPad-based digital cash register application, and Helft has Pay with Square, a digital wallet app in his smartphone…Pay with Square is the companion smartphone app that let’s customers open a tab at any business that uses Register, and pay for their purchases by simply giving their name…A few days ago, it was announced that Square’s mobile payment offerings will be available at Starbucks’ 7,000 US stores. Somewhat similar capabilities are being pursued by a number of other vendors…Despite the provocative title of his article, Helft does not believe that the cashless society is around the corner, but should be viewed as more of a long term direction that will spark many innovations…”
31.     RichRelevance Brings Personalized Shopping To E-Commerce Sites  http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/richrelevance-another-8-million/  “…RichRelevance provides technology that allows e-commerce sites to track user behavior and provide more personalized shopping experiences and better recommendations to their customers. The company was founded by the architects of Amazon.com’s recommendation technology, and are making similar options available to other retailers. With product recommendations, targeted promotions, and advertising, retailers can better monetize their websites…RichRelevance is expanding quickly. Selinger said that the company’s revenues doubled from 2010 to 2011, and are expected to double again this year. The company was also close to profitability before taking on the new money. Its headcount is now at more than 130 employees, and it recently expanded offices in San Francisco, New York City, and Seattle, while opening new offices in London and Boston recently. In North America, RichRelevance clients include major retailers like Walmart, Sears, Target, Office Depot, and Overstock.com. It also has a growing business in Europe, with customers like Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Dixons, and Ann Summers. Together, it delivers more than 850 million product recommendations daily…”
DHMN Technology
32.    Brain-zapping for fun and profit  https://nocko.se/2012/07/30/brain-zapping-is-fun/  “I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) in the last two weeks. There is a lot of information available on the Internet about TDCS. There are many hobbyist circuit diagrams available (e.g. 1 2 3) and at least two commercial designs that have been published by Focus Headband v1 and GoFlow…The whole project (including all source files) was created with gEDA and friends and is published on github under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Practically speaking, this means that anyone interested in tdcs may (at their own risk): Download the designs, edit or modify them, fork their own design, and sell a product based on this design all without any proprietary (expensive) software…Want to build a tdcs pcb for home experimentation? Great! The gerber files are included in the repo under the gerber directory. You can compress this directory into a zipfile and upload it to oshpark and they’ll send you three boards for $7.55 (or you can send the gerber files to your favorite pcb prototyping firm)…You should always be worried about passing electric current through your brain. However, it’s a primary design goal of this project to keep it safe…”
33.    Tobii's futuristic gaze-tracking glasses  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/08/eyes-on-with-to.php  “…Tobii's glasses are packing the same pupil-tracking technology that its consumer hardware does, except that instead of having to sit in front of a laptop, you can just put these things on to get the same magical effect. In their current incarnation, the glasses aren't specifically designed as a user interface tool, but are instead set up for passive gaze tracking and recording. There's no projection or anything: the glasses are completely see-through. It just tracks your gaze in real-time very, very accurately. So what's the point if you can't really use the glasses as a control system? As Tobii explained it to us, there are actually a lot of cool things that you can do with gaze tracking. For example, you can track where professional doctors look when they make diagnoses based on X-rays or MRIs, and then use those data to teach med students what to look for. You can put a pair of the glasses on veteran police officers while they run through simulations, and compare their eye movements with those of novice officers running the same sim to improve training. For fighter pilots (and drivers), wearing the glasses can detect when they're about to pass out from G forces (or fall asleep). And it's even valuable for things like treating autism: autistic kids look at rocks and faces the same way, and detailed gaze tracking may lead to new therapy techniques…”
34.    Introducing the Portabee 3D printer, bring it along everywhere  http://makerfairesingapore.com/tag/3d-printer/  “…What is different about the Portabee DIY 3D printer is that it is light at 2.8kg and can easily collapse in a matter of seconds and fits into a laptop bag, making it transportable anywhere! Get that visual image in your mind?...It all started as a project to make it easier for them make 3D prototypes. Kiam Peng and his partners have been tinkering with electronics and musical-related stuffs such as electronic drum machines and effect pedals but they were at a discovery stage. However, when 3D printing came along, the initial plans were all shelved. They had bought a Thing-o-Matic, an automatic 3D printer by MakerBot. They then realised that Thing-o-Matic is associated with open source products and it inspired them to make a reprap. A reprap is short for Replicating Rapid Prototypers. Their intention was to make something that is more self-replicating, i.e. allowing the making of components which can be assembled into another DIY 3D printer…”
35.    Need it, print it  http://phys.org/news/2012-07-need-it-print.html  “The University of Dayton Research Institute was awarded $3 million from the Ohio Third Frontier today to provide specialized materials for use in additive manufacturing – the science of using computer printers to create three-dimensional, functional objects. The University of Dayton Research Institute will work with program partners, Stratasys of Eden Prairie, Minn., and PolyOne and Rapid Prototype Plus Manufacturing Inc. (RP+M) of Avon Lake, Ohio, to develop aircraft-engine components for GE Aviation – who also collaborated on the program proposal – as well as parts and components for ATK Aerospace Structures, Boeing, Goodrich, Honda, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman…"The difference is that 3-D printing is known in the industry as being used for nonfunctional prototypes or models, while additive manufacturing is being used to create usable parts for industries such as aerospace, energy, medical and consumer products," Rice said. Additive manufacturing, which made headlines this month in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today and was named number one in Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine's May list of "Top Technologies to Watch," is a rapidly growing manufacturing technology being touted for its cost savings and waste reduction…”
36.    Awesome Custom-Made NECA Portal Gun  http://www.buzzfeed.com/tardistrekkie/i-couldnt-buy-a-neca-portal-gun-so-i-made-my-own-3k6r#  “I started this build in February and finished it just in time for Comic-Con! It was a big hit at SDCC, people were stopping me everywhere to ask me where I got it, and the look on their faces when I told them I made it was priceless. And as it turns out, my gun is in many ways more accurate than the NECA replica because the majority of the outside parts were 3D printed from models made directly from the game. It has lights and sounds which are triggered by buttons under the back shell, and all the electronics are stored in the back of the gun…”
Open Source Hardware
37.    How NOT to win friends and influence people on Kickstarter  http://blog.openbeamusa.com/2012/08/11/how-not-to-win-friends-and-influence-people-on-kickstarter/  “…Tangibot is a Makerbot knockoff, started by a Matthew Bailey Strong from Pleasant Grove, Utah. Matt is asking for a cool half million dollars (about 1.5x the value of the house he’s living in), to copy, nut for nut, bolt for bolt, the industry leading 3D Printer, a Makerbot Replicator, in China. Matt should be honored, because, this is the first time I’ve made a (refundable) pledge to a project just so I can leave some comments. Actually, judging from the comments, others,  including MakeZine’s Phillip Torrone, is doing so as well…I understand that what Matt is doing is legal, within the scope of an OSS license. I am wondering out loud if he will get sued for trademark violation, as the names Makerbot and Replicator are trademarked, and he’s using these terms quite heavily to peddle his knockoff. I also, in no uncertain terms, think what he’s doing is a complete douchebag move. When I launched OpenBeam 5 months ago…I realized that even with a traditional business model of patents and patenting the design of the beam, it would be trivial for a kid in China with an optical comparator and an afternoon of his time to copy it…So I made the project Open Source to speed the adaptation, and in doing so, committed myself to doing the best I can with the project; this project will reflect the best of my abilities, and I shall create something unique and useful, and add value to the open source ecosystem…I also recognized that I will be entering a market competing with others, and I reached out (although never got an answer) to the Makerbeam folks, and in the case of MicroRAX, I sat down with the son of one of the MicroRAX principles and showed him what I was doing, before launching the kickstarter…Will OpenBeam be copied?  Maybe.  A good chunk of my time now is spent trying to figure out ways to ship to other continents cheaper.  I am in the process of getting quotes in China for a second extrusion die to support my European and Australian / New Zealand distributors – but I also understand that shipping costs and such might make spinning up a die on each continent more attractive…”
38.    SJS-ONE: Open, Arduino-Based Synth, with Crazy Cases and Web Troubleshooting  http://createdigitalmusic.com/2012/07/sjs-one-open-arduino-based-synth-with-crazy-cases-and-web-troubleshooting/  “SJS-ONE is an 8-bit synth that you add to an Arduino board, making it ideal for hardware and firmware tinkerers and lovers of unique monosynths. But we’ll give it bonus points for two other reasons. First, it has some really bizarre cases available as add-ons, which look a bit like punk birdhouses. (Birdhouse squats? Hot rodded bird tenant buildings?) Second, in a really clever move, they help you troubleshoot hardware issues with a Flash animation. It could make it clear even to a complete beginner how to use a multimeter…The Arduino design is significant, because it makes firmware modification easy for people familiar with that environment. (We’re not letting 2012 end without some tutorials on how to do this with direct AVR programming on our MeeBlip, but I definitely see some appeal to working with Arduino.) To be clear, the way this works is, you can use the Arduino to configure patches on the SJS – so you’re not programming an Arduino synth, directly. You also do need an Arduino Uno in order to use the SJS-ONE. The real draw to me is the quirky sonic character of the thing. On the sound side, they have a nice approach to the multi-function filter. The whole thing is, indeed, grungy and squelchy. This thing sounds completely mad, defying the typical rules of synth engineering, good behavior, and sound “fidelity…”
Open Source
39.    Open-source project to get gadgets talking via the net  http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19152751  “More than 5,400 developers have downloaded a new open-source operating system designed to enable digital devices to communicate with each other. They are now looking at ways in which Webinos could be used to connect a range of devices such as mobile phones, car stereos, heart monitors and TVs. Webinos is a 15m euro ($18.4m; £11.8m) project supported by more than 30 organisations, including the EU, BMW, W3C, Sony, Samsung and Telefonica…While other operating systems that use the internet to connect devices to each other already exist, most are pre-installed and cannot be customised by individual users…Webinos was designed to provide an alternative to proprietary systems developed by Apple, Google and Microsoft. So far people in 155 countries have accessed the Webinos website…”
40.    When two (open source) worlds collide  http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/open-source-insider/2012/08/when-two-open-source-worlds-collide.html  “The Open Source Initiative (OSI) has reportedly flagged a potential trademark infringement brought about by one of its closest mindset neighbours, the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA). The open hardware group's "gear logo" has been in use since the faction was established earlier in 2011. The OSI has highlighted the similarity of the OSHWA's logo to its own given the "key" opening at the bottom of the design…OSI has approached OSHWA regarding the "infringement" of trademark license in a slightly bizarre move, given that one might have assumed that…the proximity of the two groups should positively be reflected in similar logos…The OSI's logo (if issued as part of the Creative Commons License) should itself be as open to modification and augmentation in this way as any of the software that the group stands to promote and develop. The OSHWA responds on its website to the situations as follows…This "founding" OSHWA board was elected by the OSHWA organizers simply to do the hard work of the bootstrapping the organization: to get a bank account, to fill out IRS paperwork, to clear other organizing hurdles, and (finally) to establish membership so that we can legally vote in board members by future membership." President of the OSI Simon Phipps has confirmed that OSHWA has approached the OSI regarding the "relationship" concerning the logos -- and not vice versa. But Phipps is it pains to emphasise that "no schism" exists between the two open-source organisations…”  https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?company=open+source+hardware+association  “…This dispute has even been scaring some people away from participating until it can be worked out…This is certainly not a good way to start an open source movement. If this dispute keeps up, it might undermine all the effort its founders and board have put in to building a brand…”
Civilian Aerospace
41.     Watch Homemade Space Capsule Launch Livestream This Weekend  http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/08/copenhagen-suborbitals-launch-escape-test/  “…Copenhagen Suborbitals hopes to launch a homemade spacecraft 3,000 feet skyward this weekend and broadcast live video of the test. Strapped inside the cone-shaped spacecraft, a capsule christened “Beautiful Betty,” will be a camera-equipped crash-test dummy called Randy — a synthetic stand-in for program co-founders Peter Madsen and Kristian von Bengtson…“This test is very complex and extremely interesting. In short, we will launch our … space capsule to an altitude of approximately 800-1,000 meters,” von Bengtson wrote…Weather permitting, Copenhagen Suborbitals will begin broadcasting live video of the launch in the Baltic Sea, plus a feed from Randy’s imperiled vantage, around 3:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 12…Von Bengtson and his team hope to see an emergency rocket strapped to the top of Beautiful Betty, formerly named Tycho Deep Space, can rescue a passenger during a life-threatening launch failure. The emergency rocket is called Launch Escape System, and it’s expected to belch 80 kilonewtons of thrust — more than enough to carry the 6.6-foot-wide, 950-pound capsule and a 150-pound dummy high above the Earth…”
42.    Microsat takes picture of Olympics  “…this view of London’s Olympic Park was captured by the smallest imager aboard ESA’s smallest mission: the High Resolution Camera on the Proba-1 microsatellite…This image was acquired by the High Resolution Camera (HRC). This black and white digital camera incorporates a Cassegrain telescope miniaturised to fit aboard Proba-1. Orbiting Earth at 720 km altitude, the entire satellite’s volume is less than a cubic metre. HRC operates alongside Proba-1’s larger CHRIS (Compact High Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) hyperspectral imager, which takes 15 m-resolution scenes across a programmable selection of up to 62 spectral bands, from a variety of viewing angles…Operational for more than a decade, Proba-1 was the first in ESA’s series of satellites aimed at providing in-orbit testing of new space technologies. Smaller than a cubic metre, Proba-1’s many experiments include the compact HRC that acquires monochromatic images with an area of 25 sq km. Proba stands for ‘Project for Onboard Autonomy’ – both cameras are largely autonomous. Controllers at ESA’s Redu station in Belgium send up the location to be imaged – latitude, longitude and altitude – then the satellite itself does the rest, lining up its instruments with its target on the ground. Proba-1 was launched in October 2001 as an experimental mission but is still going strong, having since been reassigned to ESA’s Earth observation team. This year a software fix returned its radiation-damaged star trackers to full operations…” [this story was included to show what can be accomplished with microsats and nanosats, which will soon be within the financial means of consumers – ed.]
Supercomputing & GPUs
43.    Chinese Researchers Program Tesla GPUs with OpenACC  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-08-06/chinese_researchers_program_tesla_gpus_with_openacc.html  “…the OpenACC programming standard has enabled Chinese researchers to dramatically accelerate the DNADist genomics application,1 which is used in the early stages of development of treatments for genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome, hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle-cell disease. Using the CAPS enterprise OpenACC compiler, Shanghai Jia Tong University researchers accelerated the DNADist application by 16 times on an NVIDIA Tesla GPU-based system by adding just four simple hints -- known as "directives" -- to the application code. DNADist, a distance-matrix application for studying the genetic relationships between various species over evolutionary history, enables researchers to extract information from sequenced DNA data by reading nucleotide sequences, which may potentially lead to a greater understanding of the causes of and treatments for pervasive genetic diseases. Accelerating the DNADist application allows researchers to study a significantly larger range of input data and obtain actionable information earlier in the disease treatment research process…By quickly delivering game-changing application acceleration with minimal effort, OpenACC provides world-leading pharmaceutical companies like Roche with the ability to research, identify and develop more effective drugs faster and more cost-effectively…”
44.    GPU Computing Gets Jolt of Java  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-08-13/gpu_computing_gets_jolt_of_java.html  “…specialized programming frameworks like OpenCL, CUDA or DirectCompute, are the most commonly used methods of tapping into GPUs for general-purpose computing. With all of these, the parallelization of the code as well as the processor-specific manipulations that move the algorithms and data from the CPU to the GPU have to be performed manually. This presents something of a challenge to the average programmer. Fortunately there are a number of efforts underway to make GPU programming a more high-level affair. One of them was described today in UK’s bit-tech, which reported that a team from Syracuse University has developed a Java compiler aimed at GPU computing.  Phil Pratt-Szeliga, an instructor at Syracuse University along, with partners Jim Fawcett and Roy Welch, worked together on the project, known as Rootbeer. In a paper that describes the technology, they claim that Rootbeer is “the most full-featured tool to enable GPU computing from within Java to date.” The goal was to develop a compiler that could that would allow programmers to use standard Java for GPU computing, without having to know the intricacies of parallel programming or processor hardware. These are not just bindings to CUDA and OpenCL libraries. Rootbeer is able to take unmodified Java source and then, under the covers, automatically parallelize the code and launch the GPU kernel…”

*****

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