2012/09/25

NEW NET Weekly List for 25 Sep 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 25 Sep 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. I'm not going to be able to remote in to the meeting tonight -- whole bunch of changes on the project at work today, and I've got some catching up to do now...

The ‘net
1.        Comcast data caps hit test cities, range from 300GB to 600GB  http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/09/comcast-data-caps-hit-test-cities-range-from-300gb-to-600gb/  “…Comcast…caps…reprieve for customers was only temporary…Comcast has now revealed some details on how those caps are being implemented as they hit test cities. The caps began in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 1, and go into place in Tucson, Arizona, on October 1. In Tucson, customers are getting at least 300GB, as promised, and can get up to 600GB if they pay for the Extreme 105 service, which offers 105Mbps download speed. Those who go over their caps will automatically be billed $10 for another block of 50GB…Nashville, the cap is 300GB no matter what tier of service you subscribe to…Comcast customers in both test markets also get three “courtesy passes,” meaning that customers won’t be billed the first three times they exceed their monthly allotment in a 12-month period…”  http://gigaom.com/2012/09/18/comcast-launches-uncapped-305-mbps-service-in-northeast-but-caps-tucon/  “…Comcast announced that its super fast 305 Mbps service will be available in more cities…a spokesman confirmed that service is and will be uncapped. The Extreme 305 tier will cost $299.95 per month and will be available in most major markets in its Northeast division. Concurrent with those speeds, users will also get Wi-Fi at 155 Mbps throughout the home…future in-home routers for the Extreme 305 tier will eventually use the new gigabit 802.11ac standard…”
2.       Google Fiber’s gigabit gamble has implications far beyond KC  http://www.kansascity.com/2012/09/24/3832330/google-fibers-gigabit-gamble-has.html  “…The tech behemoth’s grand gamble here — due to launch in homes near Westport and State Line roads next month — could determine whether Google or other companies bother to super-wire other cities. Any encores…require a debut with two clear successes. First, consumers will have to conclude that gigabit-per-second Internet speeds are a must-have utility. Second, the Google Fiber project will have to show there’s money to be made selling amped-up Internet…It could…take a few years to truly judge the Kansas City gambit…if we use Google’s service as just another way to watch TV and a mildly better way to surf the Web, any rush to broader broadband could end with Kansas City…Google has never tried a door-to-door service before. It’s never collected monthly payments from ordinary consumers before. (It won’t take your check or your cash.) The company has not had to tackle one neighborhood after the next, one home after another, scaling utility poles and burrowing trenches…Next month’s installations will come nine months behind Google’s earlier promise. And the service won’t reach across much of Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan., for another year…To tempt customers to its super-sized bandwidth, Google jumped into the TV subscription business long dominated by cable companies. It’s created technology for watching TV as nifty as anything in the industry…Google still lacks some popular channels, including HBO, FX, AMC and the Fox News Channel. Google doesn’t have the traditional relationships with those content providers…The Google Fiber business model is intent on only taking the service where great demand exists…Community groups worked hard to get people to pre-register, even putting down the necessary $10 for some households. People who need $10 to express an interest in service aren’t the best candidates to sign a two-year contract to pay $120 a month for TV and Internet…What if customers decide the slower Internet is fast enough, particularly at a price that can’t be beat? Not only would that slaughter Google Fiber revenues, it would lower the number of people Web surfing at warp speed…Analysts…come to differing conclusions about the likelihood of the company’s success in the Internet hook-up game…Broadband analyst Dave Burstein…estimates just a $10 difference between providing a connection of 20 megabits per second…and 50 times faster 1 gigabit connections…An analysis of Google Fiber by the business technology blog GigaOm.com concluded that by using its own engineering smarts and off-the-shelf technology, the company has dramatically lowered the cost of building an Internet service network…“It will pummel existing (Internet service providers) on price and service, have repercussions throughout the carrier equipment industry and entice a lot of end consumers to take on a more active role in marketing Google’s broadband…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
3.       Facebook’s Gen Y Nightmare  http://www.mondaynote.com/2012/09/23/facebooks-gen-y-nightmare/  “Taos, New Mexico, Fall 2012. At 18, Tina Porter has been on Facebook for four years. Duly briefed by her parents, a teacher and a therapist, she takes great care not to put contents — remarks on her wall, photos, videos — that could expose her in a unwanted manner. Still…she has become as transparent as a looking glass. It will impact the cost of her health insurance, her ability to get a loan and to find a job…spring 2018. Tina is now 24…finishing her law degree…She’s gone through a lot: experimenting with substances, been pulled over for speeding a couple of times, relying on pills to regain some sleep after being dumped by her boyfriend…she had to spend 48 gruesome hours in the dark, alone with a severe migraine…she likes to record her sports performances on health sites — all connected to Facebook…winter 2020…Alan Parsons…at the Wilson, McKenzie & Whitman law firm holds his monthly review of the next important hires…Narrative Data…helps hundreds of corporations pick the right talent…Narrative Data is staffed with linguists, mathematicians, statisticians, psychologists, sociologists, neuroscientists…data-mining the social internet: blogs, forums, Twitter, and of course Facebook…they’ve drawn a map of behaviors, based on language people use…everyone aged above 20, can have his or her life unfolded like a gigantic electronic papyrus scroll…Narrative Data is able to pinpoint anyone’s health problems by weaving together language patterns…it pores over health forums…The Cambridge company is even working on a black program able to “de-anonymize” health forum members thanks to language patterns cross-matching with Facebook pages…Tina Porter’s…“3D Resumé” — a Narrative Data trademark — is on the top of the pile…“Tina Porter…She’s what you need for the transpacific trade issues…she even learned Korean…”…“But?…” Asks the HR guy. “She’s afflicted with acute migraine. It occurs at least a couple of times a month. She’s good at concealing it, but our data shows it could be a problem”…each time, for a period of several days, we see a slight drop in the number of words she uses in her posts, her vocabulary shrinks a bit, and her tweets, usually sharp, become less frequent and more nebulous…the Zeo Sleeping Manager website and the stress management site HeartMath — both now connected with Facebook –  suggest she suffers from insomnia…Our Predictive Workforce Expenditure Model shows that she will cost you at least 15% more in lost productivity…the patterns in her Facebook entries suggesting a 75% chance for her to become pregnant in the next 18 months…You might think I’m over the top with this little tale. But the (hopefully) fictitious Narrative Data Inc. could be the offspring of existing large consumer research firms…Recorded Future…provides real time analysis of about 150,000 sources…The firm takes pride in its ability to predict a vast array of events…two years ago in Paris, I met a mathematician working on pattern detection models. He focused on locating individuals simply through their cell phones habits. Even if the person buys a cell phone with a fake ID and uses it with great care, based on past behavior, his/her real ID will be recovered in a matter of weeks…Facebook…recently launched a snitching program aimed at getting rid of pseudonyms…”
4.       Trade group exposes 100,000 passwords for Google, Apple engineers  http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/09/ieee-trade-group-exposes-100000-password-for-google-apple-engineers/  “The world's largest professional organization for computer engineers exposed user names, plaintext passwords, and website activity for almost 100,000 of its members, some of whom are employees of Apple, Google, IBM, and other large companies. The sensitive information was contained in 100 gigabytes worth of website logs that were publicly available for at least a month on servers maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, according to a blog post published by a recent graduate and current teaching assistant at the University of Copenhagen. The 99,979 unique user names Radu Dragusin said he found in the cache comprises about 24 percent of 411,000 members counted in the 2011 IEEE Annual Report. "It is certainly unfortunate this information was leaked out, and who knows who got it before it got fixed," Dragusin wrote. Elsewhere in the post he said: "If leaving an FTP directory containing 100GB worth of logs publicly open could be a simple mistake in setting access permissions, keeping both usernames and passwords in plaintext is much more troublesome." The exposure is problematic because it could provide outsiders with a candid view of the password choices of some of the world's most influential software and hardware engineers…”
5.        Rented computers spied on customers, secretly snapped pics  http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/09/25/4290534/ftc-halts-computer-spying.html  “Seven rent-to-own companies and a software design firm have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they spied on consumers using computers that consumers rented from them, capturing screenshots of confidential and personal information, logging their computer keystrokes, and in some cases taking webcam pictures of people in their homes, all without notice to, or consent from, the consumers. The software design firm collected the data that enabled rent-to-own stores to track the location of rented computers without consumers' knowledge according to the FTC complaint.  The settlements bar the companies from any further illegal spying, from activating location-tracking software without the consent of computer renters and notice to computer users, and from deceptively collecting and disclosing information about consumers. "An agreement to rent a computer doesn't give a company license to access consumers' private emails, bank account information, and medical records, or, even worse, webcam photos of people in the privacy of their own homes," said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
6.       Early adopters experiencing issues with Apple's iPhone 5  http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/09/early-adopters-experiencing-issues-with-apples-latest-iphone-5/  “…In addition to the discontent with Apple's revamped Maps application, some users are reporting issues with WiFi connections, scuffing and scratches in the aluminum casing, and even a light leak around the edge of the white iPhone 5. Siri seems to be getting confused when asked about the weather in several major US cities. And Apple is pulling the plug on the free 20GB of storage space extended to previous MobileMe subscribers, which could make it difficult for some upgraders to back up their new iPhone 5 to iCloud…AllThingsD did note that aluminum is not as scratch-resistant as the stainless steel used in the iPhone 4 and 4S…the free 20GB of extra storage that Apple allotted to paid MobileMe subscribers during the iCloud transition is expiring at the end of the month…This issue is not iPhone 5-specific, but it's a case of rather bad timing. Users upgrading from a previous iPhone will end up with two backups: one for the old device, and one for the new…you may not have enough room in the free 5GB of iCloud storage to back up all your devices…”
7.        iPhone 5 incremental, but smartphone revolution far from over  http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_21592589/review-apple-iphone-5-incremental-improvements-but-smartphone  “…Faster chips, bigger screens and speedier wireless Internet connections are among the refinements smartphone users can count on year after year in new models, most of them in familiar rectangular packages. They are improvements, to be sure, but they lack the breathtaking impact the first iPhone had, with its pioneering fusion of software and touch-screen…But…Breakthroughs in smartphone materials, software and even batteries could lead to dramatic changes in how smartphones look and function in the years ahead…the voice-activated virtual assistant…feature has the potential to change how consumers retrieve information…giving them the ability to find information on the Web with natural voice commands and to perform other tasks…Google and some of its mobile phone partners have also moved toward replacing the credit card with the smartphone using a technology called near-field communications…Apple is taking a more cautious approach to new mobile payment systems, offering a feature in its new iPhone…called Passbook for storing electronic versions of store payment, gift and loyalty cards…Wearable computers are a source of fascination…especially at Google. The company has put tremendous effort behind Project Glass, eyeglass-like frames that can display texts, emails and other information from a smartphone on a miniature screen in front of the wearer's eye…wearable computers could be crucial to unlocking a new category of applications called "augmented reality."…A lot of people are thinking about augmented reality as a possible game changer in mobile computing…Corning…has developed a flexible product called Willow Glass…the thin and strong glass could give designers a way to make devices that have more curves conform to a part of the body…cellphone companies in Japan have been working on fuel-cell technology for a long time…”
8.       Do You Know The Way To San Jose? iPhone Users May Not  http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/09/21/161591319/do-you-know-the-way-to-san-jose-iphone-users-may-not  “……”  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443890304578008712527187512.html?mod=googlenews_wsj  “…As Apple prepped its stores for the first sales of the iPhone 5 on Friday, the company faced vociferous complaints from consumers over the mapping application it released this week, which replaces the Google maps that have been part of the iPhone since the device's initial 2007 release. The new maps come installed on the iPhone 5 and will be seen by other users who upgrade their iPhones and iPads to the company's latest iOS 6 mobile operating system…criticism poured in world-wide as users of the new maps found misplaced labels for businesses and landmarks, cities with missing roads and erroneous features…the misstep highlights Apple's challenge as it takes on Google and others with Web services…Apple's new maps app does have some new and improved features. It offers free turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation, something that wasn't available in the old app…Mobile ads associated with maps or locations are a big business, estimated to account for about 25% of the roughly $2.5 billion spent on ads on mobile devices in 2012…More than 90% of U.S. iPhone owners use Google Maps, but…Apple decided to go its own way…Apple released the iOS 6 software for several models of the iPhone and iPad on Wednesday, booting Google Maps in the process…Google…began offering maps in 2005. Google has improved its maps over time, sending employees around the globe, taking photos of streets, collecting data about where things are and continuously updating its information…Some consumers said they would hold off buying the iPhone 5 because of Apple's maps application. Tom Hollings, a 34-year old freelance film and television producer…said that after he downloaded iOS 6…he discovered Google's popular Street View was no longer available. When he tried to look up train times and directions, they also weren't available. Mr. Hollings said he won't upgrade to an iPhone 5 until Apple's maps app improves or Google releases its maps app for the phone. He added that he downgraded his Apple software to an older version to get Google's maps back…”  http://www.businessinsider.com/tomtom-apple-maps-2012-9  “…now that Apple's Maps are getting panned by people, its primary map data partner TomTom is also getting trashed…the CEO of Waze, an upstart mapping company, called TomTom the "the weakest player" in the maps industry…Apple's maps are the number one complaint about Apple's new iPhone and iOS 6, the new mobile software…TomTom is sticking up for itself, saying that it's up to Apple to decide how the data gets used, but that TomTom's data is not flawed…manufacturers take that map data, and "create their own unique application, which defines the user experience."…it's not TomTom's fault people are unhappy with Apple Maps…”
9.       Latest Android Nav App Puts Another Nail in Dedicated GPS Device Coffin  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/09/telenav-scout-android/  “…mobile navigation maven Telenav is giving Google some love by making its Scout app available for Android devices. And the app…now integrates with Ford Sync’s AppLink. As with the iOS version, the Android Scout app is available as a free 30-day trial and provides mapping, voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, voice recognition and limited local search. The premium version of the Scout Android app is a pricey $24.99 per year or $4.99 per month, adding traffic info, automatic rerouting, speed trap and traffic camera locations, lane assist and speed limit alerts. And it’s the only way to get a new feature called Car Connect that enables it to work with Ford’s Sync AppLink…Scout on an Apple and Android device will integrate with AppLink so that drivers can access the app using the car’s voice commands and controls to input destinations, perform local searches, hear directions through the car’s speakers and see turn by turn prompts on the radio display. “We feel that Scout adds a ton of value for people to be able to use the same app in and out of the car…Someone can plan a trip on their computer, immediately access their saved information on the mobile app and now get turn-by-turn directions in Fords…”
Apps
10.     Amazon App Store Zeroes In On Strengths: Real Goods Purchasing And Recommendations  http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/24/amazon-appstore/  “…Amazon’s app store is a relative newcomer against both Google Play and Apple’s app store…third-party metrics companies like Flurry and bigger developers like TinyCo…suggest that customers in Amazon’s store monetize at least three times better than Google Play consumers do…keep in mind, however, that Amazon only recently opened its store internationally to five foreign markets, so the stats are reflective of an audience that is primarily in the U.S. Google Play, in contrast, offers free applications in about 80 countries, so that covers many less lucrative emerging markets, which would drag down the overall ARPU or average-revenue-per-user figure…developers are…betting that Amazon’s long, long-term focus will eventually bring the company the marketshare it needs in the tablet (and maybe smartphone) markets to be a financially meaningful platform. Not only that, Amazon has some baked in advantages in areas that Google has only begun to really develop in over the past few years, like in payments…”
11.      Adobe Launches Hosted PhoneGap Build Service For Creating Cross-Platform Mobile Apps  http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/24/adobe-launches-hosted-phonegap-build-service-for-creating-cross-platform-mobile-apps/  “…Adobe PhoneGap Build service is out of beta. The service is based on the open source Apache Cordova and enables developers to use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build cross-platform applications that work on iOS, Android and other mobile platforms. PhoneGap was created by Nitobi, a company that Adobe acquired…Following the acquisition Adobe released the PhoneGap technology as open source under the name Apache Cordova…webOS and Symbian apps created with the service will be app market ready immediately, but “For Android, iOS, and BlackBerry, you’ll need to provide the correct certificates and/or signing keys to allow distribution.”…PhoneGap Build is available via the Adobe Creative Cloud, a monthly membership service that allows you to download and install Adobe’s Creative Suite 6 desktop apps, including Photoshop, Premiere, InDesign and Dreamwaver. The applications work offline, but they’ll need to check in with Adobe once a month to check to make sure you’ve paid your bill. CreativeCloud costs $74.00 for a month-to-month subscription or $49.99 if you sign-up for a whole year. There’s also an introductory price of $29.99 a month for PhoneGap users…”
SkyNet
12.     Google Updates Android Maps App as Apple Moves On  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/google-updates-android-maps-app-as-apple-moves-on/  “…Google plans to add new features to its Google Maps app for Android phones on…the same day that Apple‘s latest mobile operating system is due to be released, the one that kicks Google’s maps off the iPhone and replaces them with Apple’s own mobile maps. The Google Maps for Android app…will now make it easier to search for places on Android phones and personalize searches on maps. Google Maps will sync across devices. Say you are making lunch plans in the morning and you search for a restaurant on your desktop computer. Later, as you are walking to the restaurant, you pull out your phone to look up its location on Google Maps. If you were logged in to Google on your desktop computer earlier, as soon as you start to type in the Google Maps search box on your phone, it will suggest the restaurant and other locations you have previously searched for on your computer or phone. “Typing on a phone is slow, and our goal is to reduce the amount of typing as much as possible,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering for maps at Google…this feature is something Apple does not offer, because it doesn’t have the added benefit of a giant search engine that gathers data about what you have searched. Google brings its search skills to its maps by, for example, allowing people to enter incomplete queries and guessing their meaning…Search “Eiffel Tower” when you’re near Las Vegas, and it knows you probably want the Paris Las Vegas hotel and not the landmark in France…”
13.     Why Google will build a new version of Maps for iOS  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57517385-93/why-google-will-build-a-new-version-of-maps-for-ios/  “Google will build a maps app for iOS. They can't afford not to…Google itself has…said…"Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system,"…Why not keep it from iOS?...the business case for it is weak…even a vastly superior maps app will not by itself move the market-share needle for Google…Google needs the traffic that iOS users bring…all those millions of iOS users make Google Maps better. The analytics from the iOS app are invaluable to Google…about 45 percent of all mobile traffic to mobile versions of Google Maps came from iOS…iOS users are more likely to use the app every day than Android users, and spend more time with it when they do. In April of this year, 90 percent iOS users opened Google Maps at least once -- compared to just 71 percent for Android users. Put another way: iPhone owners tend to be Google Maps power users…”
14.     Google Partners With Startup Weekend, Women 2.0 And Others To Launch Google For Entrepreneurs  http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/24/google-startup-weekend-women-2-0-google-for-entrepreneurs/  “Google…announced the launch of Google For Entrepreneurs, the company’s new umbrella for all of its programs that support startups and entrepreneurs around the world. The program’s focus…will be to partner with strong organizations in local communities and to organize Google-led programs that connect the company’s own teams and tools with entrepreneurs…the company has already partnered with a number of accelerators and incubators around the world, including Startup Weekend in the U.S., iHub in Kenya, Le Camping in France and, starting this week, Women 2.0. The partnership with Women 2.0, for example, will allow the organization to bring its Founder Friday events to more cities over the next year, including Detroit, New Orleans, Sao Paulo, and Moscow…a number of Google employees will also organize events in their communities over the next few weeks as part of its Google for Entrepreneurs Week, and the company is partnering with organizations like Idea Village in New Orleans, Communitech in Waterloo…”
15.     Google News turns 10  http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/google-news-turns-10.html  “Google News launched on September 22, 2002—exactly a decade ago. Inspired by the widespread interest in news after the September 11 attacks, we invested in technology to help people search and browse news relevant to them. Google News broke new ground in news aggregation by gathering links in real time, grouping articles by story and ranking stories based on the editorial opinions of publishers worldwide. Linking to a diverse set of sources for any given story enabled readers to easily access different perspectives and genres of content. By featuring opposing viewpoints in the same display block, people were encouraged to hear arguments on both sides of an issue and gain a more balanced perspective. In the last ten years, Google News has grown to 72 editions in 30 languages, and now draws from more than 50,000 news sources…”
General Technology
16.     X PRIZE Insights From Student Innovators  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/x-prize-foundation/insights-from-student-inn_b_1881280.html  “…X PRIZE…MetaPrize award…is given to students participating in a semester-long Prize Design course through our X PRIZE Labs, which are designed to engage the next generation of leading thinkers in recognizing areas that are ripe for breakthrough innovation…this prize…gives students a hands-on opportunity to research and design their own prizes…Prizes can incentivize change where market forces are weak.The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup CHALLENGE is a good example where companies had no impetus to improve the technology prior to the prize offering…Designing a prize feels like thinking sideways…it takes a while to re-adjust your thinking to defining a problem and a prize that incentivizes a solution. Once you've defined the problem, then you have to define the boundaries that are grand enough and broad enough to allow more than one or two possible paths to a solution while also being interesting for the participants of the prize…The tools currently used by policymakers to address market failure, such as rules and regulations, tend to follow a top-down implementation method that values certainty. Prizes, on the other hand, offer a way to reframe a problem in a way that may uncover new insights…Prizes are about problems, so really understanding the problem and not jumping to solutions is critical. A quote attributed to Einstein became more relevant throughout the prize design process: "If I had an hour to save the world, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute finding solutions.…”
17.     The danger Intel's Haswell poses to Nvidia and AMD  http://www.itproportal.com/2012/09/18/the-danger-intels-haswell-poses-to-nvidia-and-amd/  “Intel’s next-generation architecture, codenamed Haswell, isn’t just another “tock” in Intel’s tick/tock cadence; it’s a serious threat to both AMD and Nvidia. For the first time, Intel is poised to challenge both companies in the mainstream graphics market while simultaneously eroding Nvidia’s edge in the GPGPU business…Haswell is a logical extension of the micro-architectural improvements Intel first introduced in Sandy Bridge…Haswell’s real-world single-threaded performance in unoptimised code is expected to improve by 10 to 15 per cent…The increased FPU capability and additional AVX2 functionality make a huge difference in Haswell’s floating-point performance. The CPU is capable of up to 32 single-precision and 16 double-precision floating point operations per core…a theoretical eight-core Haswell clocked at 3.8GHz will offer 972.8 gigaflops of SP and 486.4 gigaflops of DP performance. While…current GPUs exceed these levels, x86 compatibility is one heck of a carrot. Intel’s “good enough” argument sank the big iron RISC vendors of the 1990s and early 2000s, and it’s a real threat to Nvidia’s GPGPU momentum…While Team Green will likely retain the overall performance advantage, a quad-core Haswell with a 4GHz Turbo mode will offer 256 gigaflops of double-precision floating point…Because Nvidia has historically hobbled double-precision performance on consumer cards, quad-core Haswell could well outperform Nvidia’s GTX 680 and possibly pace the GTX 580 in DP operations…every single Nvidia-equipped HPC system comes with an Intel solution by default…Given what we know of Haswell’s GPU shader counts and performance targets, it shouldn’t be hard for Intel to deliver a 30 to 50 per cent performance boost in real-world gaming. If it does, Trinity goes from the fastest integrated GPU on the market to an also-ran, and AMD loses the superior graphics hole card it’s been playing since it launched the AMD 780G chipset four years ago…AMD will likely offer a “Trinity 2.0” update to stem off Haswell’s onslaught, but slightly higher clocks aren’t going to be enough to keep Intel from matching AMD’s performance…AMD literally can’t afford the R&D it would take to catch up to its erstwhile rival…Intel’s literature makes it plain that the company absolutely intends to minimise the value of separate GPUs by incorporating performance where it can and driving the adoption of ever-smaller form factors where it can’t…Haswell won’t drive AMD out of business or frighten Nvidia into dumping Tesla – but unless Intel completely blows its roadmap, it’ll drive both companies further towards the margins of computing…”
18.     NVIDIA Project Boulder Revealed: Tegra's Competitor Hides in GPU Group  http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2012/9/20/nvidia-project-boulder-revealed-tegras-competitor-hides-in-gpu-group.aspx  “Every company has secretive and not-so-secretive projects. For example, ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology was a hidden part of the silicon in the Evergreen series, with only two executives knowing about it. Three years later, we can now say that Eyefinity pushed both Intel and NVIDIA where they did not expect to go, and AMD reaped the rewards from that program. In the case of NVIDIA, the story is more complicated. Last year saw the official announcement of "Project Denver", its 64-bit architecture fully compliant with the ARMv7/v8 ISA (Instruction Set Architecture). The announcement saw people like John Carmack singing the words of praise. However, the history of Project Denver goes long before ARM was at play. Originally, Project Denver was an intelligent RISC architecture capable of executing ARM, x86, MIPS ISAs. The focus naturally, was on getting the x86 done right and this is where the ex-Stexar team lost years in development. The first product based on Project Denver core was a dual-core PD with a cluster set of Fermi cores, scheduled to arrive on market in 2010 and fight Intel's Arrandale, originally scheduled as the dual-core x86 part with Larrabee GPU in it. After it became clear that the future lies in low-power processors, NVIDIA Colorado-based team abandoned the work on x86 instruction set architecture and pushed through with "reinventing" the Project Denver core to work with ARM ISA, most notably to have 64-bit capable, ARMv8 compatible part…”
19.     You Won’t Need a Driver’s License by 2040  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/09/ieee-autonomous-2040/  “…GM’s Cadillac division expects to produce partially autonomous cars at a large scale by 2015, and the automaker also predicts it will have fully autonomous cars available by the end of the decade. Audi and BMW have also shown self-driving car concepts…Google is ripping along…with a fleet of fully autonomous Toyota Prius hybrids that have logged over 300,000 miles. And the company has pushed through legislation that legalizes self-driving cars in Nevada. California is close behind…we know that robo-cars are coming…Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers…recently released predictions that autonomous cars will account for up to 75 percent of vehicles on the road by the year 2040…IEEE envisions an absence of traffic signs and lights since highly evolved, self-driving cars won’t need them, and it believes that full deployment could even eliminate the need for driver’s licenses…Autonomous cars alone will bring limited benefits…But efficient autonomous operations would also require that vehicles coordinate with each other…Suppose all cars are connected and a central station knows precisely their position and destination…The central station can send speed adjustment commands to the vehicles that enter an intersection in such a way that they do not collide…traffic lights will not be required since coordination is reached at a higher level…While the average driver may grasp the basic benefits of autonomous cars – increased fuel efficiency and safety, along with a reduction in traffic – it may not be enough to get them to let go of the steering wheel…baby steps in the form of driver assist systems may help. “As more vehicular controls begin being automated, such as parallel parking and automatic braking, people will become more accepting of autonomous technologies…by 2040, driverless vehicles will be widely accepted and possibly be the dominant vehicles…”
20.    California governor signs driverless cars bill  http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/25/california-governor-signs-driverless-cars-bill/  “Gov. Jerry Brown rode to Google headquarters in a self-driven Toyota Prius before signing legislation Tuesday that will pave the way for driverless cars in California. The bill by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate autonomous vehicles on state roads and highways…"Currently, autos are designed to be operated by people who carry the responsibility to maintain control and safely operate the vehicle," the trade group said in a statement. "Unfortunately this legislation lacks any provision protecting an automaker whose car is converted to an autonomous operation vehicle without the consent or even knowledge of that auto manufacturer…”
21.     Goodyear's self-inflating tires keep your ride pumped up  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/09/goodyears-self-.php  “…keeping an eye on tire pressure…may be history, if an automatic tire inflating system from Goodyear works works as advertised.mTheir Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) is a deceptively simple system that uses the rolling of the tire to pump in new air when needed. A rubber tube is embedded in the wall of the tire near the bead that mounts it onto the rim. As the tire is pressed onto the pavement by the weight of the vehicle, the tube is squeezed shut in a motion that follows the rotation of the tire, kind of like squeezing toothpaste along a tube. A pressure sensor inside the tire determines when more air is needed, and then opens a valve to let the air in thereby pumping up the tire. Once the correct pressure is reached, the valve shuts and the pressure is maintained…”
Leisure & Entertainment
22.    The Humble Indie Bundle 6  http://www.humblebundle.com/  “Six mind-blowing games. Humble Indie Bundle 6 features six fantastic titles and five breathtaking soundtracks. Name your price and dive into the critically acclaimed action-RPG Torchlight; the rugged sci-fi action platformer Rochard; physics-based brick breaker Shatter; top down space combat sim Space Pirates and Zombies; and steampunk puzzle platformer Vessel. Customers who beat the average price will also get the incredible frantic acrobatic platformer, Dustforce! Pay what you want. If you bought all this awesomeness separately, it would cost upwards of $86. But we’re letting you set the price! Play on Windows, Mac*, and Linux* (system requirements here). Note that this is the debut for all of the Linux versions of the games …”
23.    Why Time Travel Stories Should Be Messy  http://io9.com/5945991/why-time-travel-stories-should-be-messy  “…We're finally seeing the long-awaited release of Looper, the Terminator-inspired gangster movie. And Steven Moffat is writing what I'm guessing will be another timey-wimey episode of Doctor Who. So now's a great moment to think about time travel, and what makes it especially cool. To a lot of people, time travel stories are cool when they're clever — when all the pieces fit together at the end with a delightful "click." To me, though, time travel stories are cool when they're messy. Because life is messy, and stories in general are cooler when they're rough around the edges. I've been thinking about how to say this for a long time now — I love time travel stories, but I don't love the kind of time travel stories where everything falls into place and you realize that the rubber duckie at the beginning of the story was actually put there by the guy at the end of the story. It's easy to be superficially clever with that kind of story, and to make the audience feel clever — but oftentimes, that sort of storytelling is not clever at all, it's just a mechanical challenge to put the pieces in the right place. One of the all-time classic time travel stories is Robert A. Heinlein's "By His Bootstraps," in which everything is a closed loop…”
24.    After 11 Years of Development, 'Cortex Command' is Nearing Final Release   http://www.ubuntuvibes.com/2012/09/after-11-years-of-development-cortex.html  “Cortex Command is a 2D side-scrolling action game developed by Data Realms. In the game, the player takes the role of a disembodied brain, who controls various clones and robots to achieve his aims. Missions contain tasks such as retrieving a control chip in a cave filled with zombies to defending the brain from attack. As the brain is weak, the player must manage his resources carefully, protecting the brain, mining gold and fighting off enemies. The game includes the ability for players to create mods (additions and changes to the game) with the built in Lua programming applet, and simple scripting. Cortex Command has been in development for more than 11 years. Data Realms has been releasing development builds of the game from time to time and Cortex Command was also included in Humble Indie Bundle 2. The good news is, Cortex Command is nearing its final release. Windows and Mac versions of the game will be released on Steam by the end of this month and a Linux version will follow soon after (will be available on Steam). If you have Humble Indie Bundle 2, you should receive final updated Linux build when it is released. If you don't have the game, grab it from Humble Store to have instant access to latest development build…”
25.    Lytro light-field camera hitting Amazon, Target and Best Buy sites  http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/25/lytro-light-field-camera-hitting-amazon-target-and-best-buy-sit/  “It's about to become a heck of a lot easier to get your hands on a consumer light-field camera. The Lytro, that marvel of post-picture-taking-focusing, is finally expanding its reach well beyond the confines of its own site. The camera will be hitting Amazon and Best Buy and Target's sites come October 9th. That same day, Canadians will be able to pick the lipstick-shaped device up via Future Shop, followed by retail availability in Canada on the 10th. In mid-October, it'll be hitting stores in Singapore and Hong Kong…”
Economy and Technology
26.    Tale of two web stocks: Google soars as Facebook flops  http://marketday.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/24/14071174-tale-of-two-web-stocks-google-soars-as-facebook-flops  “…Facebook shares fell 9 percent to just above $20 in morning trading after an article in the financial publication Barron’s said the social network’s stock price is “still too pricey.”…Facebook’s share price is currently down 45 percent from its IPO price of $38. It hit an all-time closing low of $17.73 on Sept. 4…More than half of Facebook users now access the site using smartphones and tablets -- a development that “appears to have caught the company by surprise,”…usage on traditional PCs, where the company makes virtually all of its money, is declining…Shares of Google, by contrast, hit another high Monday, trading above $748 per share for the first time since 2007. Mark Mahaney, an analyst at Citigroup, thinks Google’s share price can go higher over the next 12 months. He lifted his price target for Google to $850…”
27.    Technological deathmatch: Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft face off  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/135658-technological-deathmatch-amazon-apple-google-and-microsoft-face-off  “Combined, Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft represent over $1 trillion in company value. Most of that trillion dollars has been created in the past decade. For the first five of those years, each of the four had a clear playing field in its niche. Amazon selling books and other consumer goods, Apple selling stylish, user-friendly computers, Google selling search advertising, and Microsoft selling packaged software…A number of major technology shifts helped change this…into all-out war. Convergence of traditional and digital media brought Apple’s iTunes head-to-head with Amazon. A drive to control user experiences through the browser and productivity applications brought Google into increasing conflict with Microsoft…the iPhone launch crystallized the reality that all four of these titans of tech were after the same thing — the world’s eyeballs and consumer pocketbooks…all of them began to worry about every move made by each other. Google quickly countered Job’s iPhone with Android-powered devices, and piled on with Chrome OS to hit Apple in what was then its core business. In addition to threatening to go “thermonuclear” over Android, Jobs ever so politely severed Apple’s relationship with Schmidt…Perhaps the most puzzling set of moves during this period was Google’s drive to enter nearly every possible digital market that Amazon, Apple or Microsoft were already in. Beginning with an awkward attempt to direct-sell the Nexus One in competition with Apple, Google also started pitching an application suite and a desktop OS to tweak Microsoft’s tail. More recently it’s gone after Amazon’s core offerings…with the Google Cloud initiative…it’s not clear that its effort to press the battle onto the other firms’ home turf has paid off for Google. Picking these fights has gotten it thrown out as the Maps provider for both Apple and Amazon…When Amazon saw the writing on the wall that digital media would be the future, it was quick to cannibalize its own book business with the revolutionary Kindle platform and accompanying e-books. An instant hit, e-books looked like clear sailing for the retail giant — until Apple once again upset the proverbial apple cart with the introduction of the iPad. Suddenly Amazon’s chokehold on digital media channels was endangered…by Apple’s determination to control the user experience and revenue stream coming from every iOS device. Whether or not Amazon had ever pictured itself as a vendor of general-purpose computing devices, it scrambled to come up with the Kindle Fire product to protect its share of the digital media market …”
28.    Success of Crowdfunding Puts Pressure on Entrepreneurs  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/technology/success-of-crowdfunding-puts-pressure-on-entrepreneurs.html?pagewanted=all  “An effort to build a sleek aluminum charging dock for the iPhone generated fervor online when it was announced last December. The project’s creators raised close to $1.5 million through Kickstarter, a crowdfunding Web site, and promised to start shipping their Elevation Dock in April to those who had backed the project. But last week Apple announced a redesigned iPhone that is not compatible with the dock — and because of manufacturing delays, some of the project’s original backers were still waiting to receive theirs. The designers are now scrambling to make an adapter and update the product…Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are letting designers and other creative people connect with audiences who want to finance their dreams, and they are becoming increasingly popular. Nearly three million people have helped a total of 30,000 projects meet their fund-raising goals on Kickstarter, the largest such site, to the tune of $300 million in pledges. But for the creators of these projects, getting the money is sometimes the easy part. They then have to turn their dreams into reality, with a crowd keeping an eye on their progress. This new model comes with a host of potential pitfalls that are often difficult for project creators to anticipate, and hard for the armchair philanthropists who back them to grasp. Backers are essentially putting their trust in the project creators, giving them cash in return for the promise of a future reward…Much of the time this works out. But some projects, including several prominent and in-demand ones, have run into missteps and lengthy delays. The permits for a new food truck might not come through. Or a gadget like the Elevation Dock might be harder than expected to manufacture and ship…”
29.    If Design’s No Longer the Killer Differentiator, What Is?  http://www.wired.com/opinion/2012/09/so-if-designs-no-longer-the-killer-differentiator-what-is/  “…design matters. Product design. Industrial design. Experience design. Supply chain design. Witness the renewed fervor for the iPhone 5 today: It goes way beyond function to sheer desire. Nobody wants objects or experiences that just do the job – they want something they want to do the job with…instead of competing on technology, people began to compete on design. And now everyone seems to be trying to out-design each other…An artist, graphic designer, computer scientist, and educator, John Maeda is president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Prior to that, he served as associate director of research at MIT Media Lab…When I watched my graduate students at the MIT Media Lab code with Ruby on Rails – and that was over 6 years ago – I could just viscerally sense the shift: It was becoming easier than ever to develop and deploy sophisticated web services…Simple technology tools have and continue to spread design everywhere…what people want today goes well beyond technology and design. They don’t just want four wheels and a means to steer, or to be surrounded by music and information wherever their eyes and ears may roam. What people are looking for now is a way to reconnect with their values: to ground how they can, will, and should live in the world. The innovation now needs to occur elsewhere. Outside the design. Into, quite frankly, the world of art. Mating our left-brained technical wizardry with our right-brained humanizing intuitions is key to innovation…”
30.    Facebook at $15; still too pricey  http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424053111904706204578002652028814658.html  “Facebook's 40% plunge from its initial-public-offering price of $38 in May has millions of investors asking a single question: Is the stock a buy? The short answer is "No." After a recent rally, to $23 from a low of $17.55, the stock trades at high multiples of both sales and earnings, even as uncertainty about the outlook for its business grows. The rapid shift in Facebook's user base to mobile platforms—more than half of users now access the site on smartphones and tablets—appears to have caught the company by surprise. Facebook (ticker: FB) founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg must find a way to monetize its mobile traffic because usage on traditional PCs, where the company makes virtually all of its money, is declining in its large and established markets. That trend isn't likely to change. Success in mobile is no sure thing. The small screens on these devices don't give Facebook much room to configure ads without alienating users. And the way that mobile users access Facebook, through applications on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, may diminish the time users spend at the Website while handing greater power to Apple and Google, which dominate the apps business…”
DHMN Technology
31.     How Mind-Controlled Devices Will Change Our Future  http://spark.qualcomm.com/salon/how-mind-controlled-devices-will-change-our-future  “…Computing applications primarily respond to what you explicitly direct them to do. They can’t observe your mood or feelings and respond intuitively…Could technology be developed that not only understands what you direct it to do, but also knows how to respond to your facial expressions, moods, and emotional cues?...By observing the fluctuations in electrical impulses and how groups of neurons interact and then shift rhythm to coordinate with other subsets of neurons, we can glean some insight into the emotional and cognitive states of a person and even deduce his or her facial expressions. This idea led to the creation of Emotiv and developing our EPOC neuroheadset, which reads and interprets your brainwaves. The headset's multisensor "arms," which extend to the front and back of your head, pick up electrical signals from different functional parts of the brain. Both subconscious and conscious mental states can be detected using advanced algorithms, allowing the computer to react more naturally to the user’s mental state and even to accept direct mental commands…A device like the neuroheadset can determine what movies, photos, and music make you happy or sad, for example, by picking up your brainwaves…So if you happen to come home feeling down after a long day at work, you put on the headset, and it picks up on your mood and then begins playing songs it knows will make you relax and feel better. Or, if you want to search for that particular part of a movie that makes you laugh out loud, the device can easily find it when you recall that happy moment. The technology is still in its infancy, but there are already some fun applications…There is still much work to do in refining the algorithms and building on the capacity of this technology, but the potential for life-changing applications is already there. In the Midwest, a doctor reported he was working with the family of a coma patient who had been in a presumed vegetative state for nearly 10 years…The doctor fitted the patient with a standard EPOC headset and was amazed to discover that the patient was able to issue mental commands…the patient has developed a means of communication to interact with her family…Each of these neuroheadsets is a high-resolution, multi-channel EEG system, taking in more than 2,000 samples of data every second. They're not patients going into hospitals or clinics to get their brains imaged; they're simply everyday people, in the comfort of their own homes or workplaces…This opens up immense potential…for users to improve aspects of their mental performance through monitoring and feedback. EEG signatures for focused activity, concentration, relaxation, memory, learning, and linguistic skills already exist and can be used to help users to improve their mental performance. Leveraging this dataset will give us fantastic opportunity to develop new and much better measures…”
32.    MakerBot launches Replicator 2, adds retail store  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33809_7-57516381/makerbot-revamps-replicator-3d-printer-adds-retail-store/  “…MakerBot…unveiled new products, as well as its first retail storefront. In addition to the store, the company announced a new Replicator 2 3D printer for immediate availability, a higher-end Replicator 2X due out in Q1 2013, and new 3D printing software, dubbed MakerWare. The Replicator 2…will cost $2,199, or $200 more than the highest-end original Replicator, but it also boasts 100 micron printing resolution, a powdered steel frame, and a build volume of 410 cubic inches (11.2 inches long by 6 inches wide by 6.1 inches high). Those specs are clear upgrades from those of the older model, which had a 250 micron print resolution, a wooden frame, and a 300-cubic-inch build volume…the Replicator 2 is the low-end model of the new line, and it only prints in one color. It also lacks a heated build surface, which in part helps explain a new focus from MakerBot on PLA plastic for printing. PLA can be generally easier to use than ABS…MakerBot will debut a two-color-capable Replicator 2X, that also has a heated build plate, in January 2013 for $2,799…these new printers are aimed at architects, product designers, and engineers who need polished, professional-quality models for demonstration, prototyping, and other serious-minded purposes…more consumer appeal is…apparent in MakerBot's new MakerWare 3D printing software. MakerBot says it has improved the speed at which the software readies object designs for 3D printing, and in general made the software simpler and easier-to-use than the old ReplicatorG application. MakerWare is still in beta, but it's available for download…”
Open Source Hardware
33.    MakerBot Replicator 2: Open Source Hardware business models  http://www.makerbot.com/blog/2012/09/20/fixing-misinformation-with-information/  “…I’m looking forward to having conversations with folks at the Open Hardware Summit to talk about how MakerBot can share as much as possible, support it’s 150 employees with jobs, make awesome hardware, and be sustainable. Will we have to experiment to make this happen? Yes, and it’s going to take a lot of collaboration, cooperation, and understanding. I wish there were more examples of large, successful open hardware companies. From a business perspective, we’ve been absurdly open, more open than any other business I know. There are no models or companies that I know of that have more than 150 employees that are more open. (Would love to be wrong, but I don’t think I am.) We are experimenting so that we can be as open as possible and still have a business at the end of the day. Will we be successful? I hope so, but even if we are not, everyone will find out that either being as open as possible is a good thing for business or that nobody should do it, or something in between. I personally hope that we succeed, not just because I love what people make with MakerBots and I love the employees that make these machines but because I believe that MakerBot as a business can create a new model for businesses to learn from. I don’t plan on letting the vulnerabilities of being open hardware destroy what we’ve created. The most successful open source hardware businesses that I know are businesses that create educational projects. Adafruit, Evil Mad Science, and Sparkfun are all doing awesome. Companies like Chumby and OpenMoko didn’t make it, despite having really smart folks involved. A lot of hardware projects on Kickstarter are open source, but I haven’t seen any scale up yet. Again, I would welcome any examples of large open source hardware companies here. There is something very powerful here to observe. Hardware companies that make projects are the most successful at being open source…” [Bre Pettis’ observation that he knows of no open source hardware companies that are or have been successful selling a final product, rather than project kits, is interesting, and I wonder what implications that has for MakerPlane – ed.]
34.    Catarina Mota Talks Open Source Hardware  http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/blogs/browse/2012/09/linuxcon-europe-keynoter-catarina-mota-talks-open-source-hardware  “…openMaterials Co-founder Catarina Mota…shares some really interesting insights with us on open hardware, her favorite projects and how open hardware compares to open source software…In the last few years, open source hardware went from an obscure hobby to a burgeoning movement built on values and practices derived from open source software, hacker culture and craft traditions. This expansion is visible in the exponential growth of the community of developers and users, the increase in the number and revenue of open source hardware businesses, and the emergence of a large number of new DIY gadgets and machinery, from digital fabricators and microcontrollers to soft circuits and tech crafts. What is most interesting is that the accessibility of hardware plans, along with the communities and collaborative practices that surround them, is lowering the barrier to entry and encouraging people of all ages and walks of life to create, hack and repurpose hardware. So these open and collaborative practices, along with the increasing accessibility of manufacturing tools, are leading to a fascinating explosion of creativity and innovation. In my talk I'll draw a snapshot of the evolution and current state of the open source hardware movement and the impact it’s having on manufacturing, business, education and beyond…Open materials began like most open source projects: a problem for which there was no solution available. Back in early 2009, Kirsty Boyle and I were collaborating on an interactive installation. The project required several smart materials — this is an umbrella term for materials with properties that can be altered in a controlled manner and includes things like paints that change color at given temperature, shape memory metals and plastics, conductive inks, conductive textiles, etc. As soon as we began researching solutions for the project, we realized that not only most of these materials were not available in small quantities, but also that there was hardly any information available on how to use them…”
Open Source
35.    MapBox Aims For Open Source, Digital Map Revolution  http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/09/mapbox-aims-for-open-source-digital-map-revolution.php  “…MapBox, a cloud-based digital map publishing…25-person startup, based in Washington, D.C., just won a $575,000 grant from the journalism innovation nonprofit the Knight Foundation. The grant was awarded to MapBox specifically to allow the company to focus most of its resources over the next few months on improving its own main source of map data, OpenStreetMap, a free crowdsourced world map created by volunteer cartographers. It’s helpful to think of OpenStreetMap (OSM) as the “Wikipedia” of digital maps (although it’s not actually tied to Wikipedia). MapBox is an outside private company that uses the OSM data to build maps and mapping software, much of which it makes open source, for anyone to use for free, but some of which is proprietary and which it charges high prices to other companies and government agencies to access…when he said the week was crazy, Gundersen…was…directly responding to two other massive developments in the digital mapping industry. The first: Apple’s recent bungled attempt, when releasing its new mobile software update iOS 6, to replace Google Maps on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with a considerably inferior, glitchier map system of its own making, a map system that uses some data from OpenStreetMap and Dutch GPS company TomTom. The second: Amazon’s announcement on Monday that it would be launching a maps platform of its own, using data obtained from Nokia, which in turn acquired it along with a company called Navteq, which then started, as many digital map makers do, with data from the U.S. Census, known as TIGER…as a result of these developments, Web and smartphone users’ interests have recently been piqued in the digital mapping space — a space which until this week remained primarily the providence of professional companies, trained cartographers and highly devoted amateur map-makers, the lot of whom were mostly obscure to those outside their communities. “Weeks like this are gamechangers for the space,” Gundersen told TPM…”
36.    Google Announces Its Third Code-In Contest For High School Students  http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/24/code-in-contest-for-high-school-students/  “Google today announced that its third Code-in contest for high school students will start on November 26. The contest, which aims to introduce 13-17 year old pre-university students to open source software development, will run from November to mid January and the 20 grand prize winners (and one of their parents or legal guardians) will get a trip to Mountain View to explore the Google campus and meet with Google employees. The Code-in program will feature a number of tasks related to existing open source projects, all of which have experience mentoring students through Google’s Summer of Code program for college students…”
37.    KDE Plasma does gestures globally  “This is going to be a surprise to a number of people out there, but not only does the KDE Plasma desktop environment have gestures built in, but it has had them since the 3.2 (roughly) release. Gestures in KDE Plasma aren't just tied to the browser (I covered Firefox mouse gestues here), but pretty much anything in the desktop environment. With a few flicks of the mouse, you can make magic happen across your entire desktop experience. It all sounds new and exciting, but the functionality has been there for years and few people seem to know about this excellent feature. Let me tell you how it works. To see existing mouse gestures that you can use, or create your own, fire up the KDE System Settings program. To do so, click the Application Launcher (the big K in the lower left, and select it from there; it's usually in the Favorites menu, or you can find it under the Computer section (or you can just type "system settings" in the search field of the launcher). When the System Settings window appears, click "Shortcuts and Gestures" which you'll find under the "Common Appearance and Behavior" section (see Figure 1)…”
Civilian Aerospace
38.    Richard Branson on space travel: "I'm determined to start a population on Mars"  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57514837/richard-branson-on-space-travel-im-determined-to-start-a-population-on-mars/  “…Richard Branson has revolutionized the travel industry but the billionaire entrepreneur already has his sights sets on virgin territory. As the U.S. government closes its shuttle operation, Branson's Virgin Galactic is preparing to offer commercial space flights at $200,000 for a two-hour flight, likely in the next year…"It's going to be absolutely incredible because finally people ... ordinary people will be able to have a chance to become astronauts, go into space," he said…"There are only 500 people who have ever been into space. They are the privileged astronauts ... we just want to enable people to become astronauts and experience it…I think over the next 20 years, we will take literally hundreds of thousands of people to space and that will give us the financial resources to do even bigger things…That will give us the resources then to put satellites into space at a fraction of the price, which can be incredibly useful for thousands of different reasons."…Branson also said he's lined up to be the first Virgin Galactic customer. "I'll be going up with my children on the first flight next year," he said…And while some have bemoaned federal funding cuts to NASA, Branson sees it as a positive development for the private sector. "You've got a Democratic party who have decided, 'Let's now let private enterprise take this forward,'" he said. "I think they're absolutely right. The private companies can do it at a fraction of the price…”
39.    First Hop For SpaceX Grasshopper  http://www.aviationnow.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/asd_09_25_2012_p02-01-499464.xml  “Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully conducted the first “hop” of its Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing test vehicle (VTVL) on Sept. 21 at the company’s McGregor test site in Texas. The VTVL is a modified Falcon 9 first stage and forms part of SpaceX’s longer-term ambitions to develop a reusable booster to lower launch costs. The concept will ultimately involve flying the first stage back to the launch site for an autonomous vertical landing. SpaceX says the “short hop of approximately 6 feet is the first major milestone for Grasshopper, and a critical step toward a reusable first stage.” Powered by the more powerful Merlin 1D engine, the 106-ft. tall vehicle is expected to follow last week’s short hop with a series of progressively more ambitious “mini hops.” Initial flights are expected to reach between 200 ft. and 240 ft. and last less than 1 min. as part of checks of the Merlin’s performance and four-legged landing system. SpaceX recently said the Grasshopper will be tested on flights up to 1,000 ft., where it will demonstrate its ability to hover…”
40.    Building a starship’s foundation  http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2161/1  “…the fact that interstellar travel is such a staple of science fiction can explain the broad interest in a project started nearly two years ago by DARPA and NASA called The 100 Year Starship. The goal: to develop the technologies over the next century needed to enable interstellar travel. DARPA, the lead agency for the project, ran a competition for a $500,000 grant to help set up this effort…It wasn’t until May that the winner of the $500,000 grant was announced: a group led by the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, run by former astronaut Mae Jemison and named after her mother. The first major public milestone for the new 100 Year Starship team since that award was earlier this month, as the organization hosted a second symposium…Conference organizers said about 250 people attended this year’s event, compared to about 700 in Orlando. One difference is that the Orlando event had no registration fee, while this year’s conference did charge fees of up to $300. Also, last year’s conference took place while the competition for the DARPA grant was ongoing, attracting interest from a broader range of competitors for the award…The challenge facing Jemison and her team is to build up an organization that can manage this effort. “We promised [DARPA] that we would build an organization that would be able to hang around successfully” and support this concept, Jemison said…Part of the organization’s approach…is public engagement…Another focus will be on research, including prioritizing various research topics…In the near term, Jemison said, the DARPA award carries with it some obligations to the agency, including a series of reports and organizational setup; this year’s symposium was also required under the award. “With $500K, you can’t hold people to too much,” she noted. A new web site for the organization will be up and running in the next several weeks…Fundraising is another priority to sustain the effort after the DARPA award runs out. “Little by little we’ll be building stuff, stretching those pennies until we get big infusions of money…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
41.     HokieSpeed: How GPUs and CPUs Team Up in Supercomputers  http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/09/12/hokiespeed-how-gpus-cpus-team-up-supercomputers/  “Wu Feng, associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Virginia Tech, gives a video tour of the VT supercomputer, HokieSpeed. The supercomputer launched late last year, is up to 22 times faster and yet a quarter of the size of the previous supercomputer at VT, titled “X.” Feng says the new supercomputer was designed to be faster, more energy efficient and use much less space. HokieSpeed contains 209 nodes, or separate computers, connected to one another in and across large metal racks, each roughly 6.5 feet tall, to create a single supercomputer that occupies half a row of racks in a large university computer machine room. X took three times the rack space. HokieSpeed’s performance has a single-precision peak of 455 Teraflops, or 455 trillion operations per second, and a double-precision peak of 240 Teraflops, or 240 trillion operations per second…”
42.    Boise State University Receives NSF Grant to Build HPC, Visualization Instrument  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-09-24/boise_state_university_receives_nsf_grant_to_build_hpc_visualization_instrument.html  “Boise State researchers are generating astonishing amounts of data, but often face obstacles when it comes to effectively accessing and analyzing that data. That’s about to change, now that a collaborative group of Boise State University faculty from engineering, biological sciences, geosciences and computer science have received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a new high-performance computing and visualization instrument…The $555,384 grant…will be used to build a 32-node GPU/CPU cluster with a data storage array and a 5×8 foot tiled display that will be located in a visualization theater setting. GPU computing uses graphics processing units (GPUs) together with conventional central processing units (CPUs) for faster processing of computational science and engineering problems. The GPU/CPU cluster will support parallel computing and rendering, data storage and high-resolution imaging…Senocak and co-investigators Peter Müllner (materials science and engineering), Hans-Peter Marshall (geosciences), Julie Oxford (biology) and Tim Andersen (computer science), have proposed using the computing cluster to support research projects as diverse as wind energy forecasting, modeling for threat reduction in chemical and biological defense, materials characterization and modeling, snow hydrology and remote sensing, and mechanisms of skeleton development in living systems…”

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