2012/10/02

NEW NET Weekly List for 02 Oct 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 02 Oct 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 -- for the second week in a row there were a whole bunch of changes on the project at work , and I'm running behind on getting everything done...

The ‘net
1.        Twitter Co-Founders’ New Site, Medium, Will Open to Public in New Year  http://allthingsd.com/20120925/twitter-co-founders-new-site-medium-will-open-to-public-in-new-year/  “Medium, the new publishing platform created by Twitter co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone, is currently only open to a couple hundred “early adopters” who have crafted interesting stories and essays on specific topics…that will change after the first of the new year…when the lightweight publishing site becomes more widely available to the public…Williams would like to keep Medium relatively high-quality, though he recognizes that, in publishing, low barriers to entry feed the content machine by making people feel good, thus spurring them to share more content (Instagram, Williams noted, is a key example of this). Also, he believes more and more media consumption will come via networks and platforms instead of individual websites…Williams later said that Medium — aptly described…as a “collaborative publishing platform” — would open to the public sometime next year, and…would be open to media beyond blogs and texts, including videos and photos…”
2.       Amazon.com Planning Online Wine Sales  http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10000872396390443328404578023152961977418-lMyQjAxMTAyMDIwNzAyODc3Wj.html  “Amazon.com Inc. is planning an online marketplace for wine sales directly to consumers…marking the Seattle Web giant's second foray into the business in three years…Amazon said the marketplace would begin in the coming weeks and the online retailer will charge wineries a 15% commission of the sale price, as well as a monthly fee of about $40…In 2009, Amazon pulled back from an effort to sell and ship wine after its partner, New Vine Logistics, suspended operations amid financial troubles. This latest effort would spare Amazon the cost and difficulty of shipping fragile and heavy wine bottles by passing that responsibility on to the vineyards…Wine sales online are challenging due to a patchwork of state-by-state rules that limit which companies can sell alcoholic beverages…shippers must ensure that recipients signing for packages are at least 21-years-old, the legal limit. Online wine sales represent less than 1% of total U.S. wine sales, according to Wine.com…”
3.       Mozilla Foundation puts password killer, Persona, in beta  http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-57521978-12/safeguard-your-online-persona-with-mozilla-id-system/  “If you've ever struggled with remembering your Facebook password, or felt uncomfortable using your Google ID to log in to a non-Google Web site, Mozilla has a solution for you -- one it calls Persona. This first beta of Persona, which used to be called Mozilla's BrowserID project, is designed to compete with Web site login systems like the ones offered by Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Whether this open source alternative can hold its own against those other login heavy-hitters, though, is another story. Persona essentially aims to give you a cross-platform, cross-browser way to log into a variety of Web sites with a single username and password -- but without compromising your privacy. In its description of Persona, Mozilla describes the service as one that imposes a Chinese wall between the act of logging you in and whatever you do once you've logged in. "The history of what sites you visit is stored only on your own computer,"…This is a notable difference from social-networking services such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, which track your navigation after you've logged in. Even when not logged in, social-networking site widgets can report back who has visited a site where the widget is embedded…”
4.       'Gangnam Style' the $50 million meme?  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57523654-1/gangnam-style-the-$50-million-meme/  “…South Korean rapper Psy's "Gangnam Style"…music video has more than 337 million views on YouTube, making it the ninth most watched video of all time…It's also topped the U.K. charts, garnered over 2 million Facebook Likes, and inspired a Klingon version. How much is all that viral, meme-licious goodness worth in real-world currency? Quite a bit, it turns out…Jason Calacanis estimates that the YouTube views alone have generated at least $600,000, and perhaps more than a million bucks…That doesn't include the nearly hundred million additional views of a handful of other videos of live performances and other clips that have been posted on Psy's official YouTube channel since "Gangnam Style" hit. That means it's within the realm of possibility that "Gangnam Style" has become a $1.5 million revenue stream for the South Korean pseudo-rapper over the past few months…after "Gangnam Style" became a sensation, the stock value of South Korean semiconductor company DI Corp surged, eventually doubling the market capitalization of the company, which is controlled by Psy's father, Park Won-ho. So how much is "Gangnam Style"…worth? Well, if we count the Psy stock market bounce, we're looking at upward of $52 million…”
5.        The FeedBurner Deathwatch Continues  http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/28/the-feedburner-deathwatch-continues-google-kills-adsense-for-feeds/  “…Google just announced that it is shuttering AdSense for Feeds. The service, which allows publishers to earn a bit of extra revenue by adding Google’s ads to their RSS feeds, will be retired on October 2…Feedburner has long been expected to be on one of Google’s next spring cleaning lists…RSS, as a mainstream consumer technology, is mostly dead today (though it still provides a lot of the backend plumbing for many web and mobile apps)…Google…is now betting that people are getting their news from personalized news readers like Zite and Flipboard (both of which at least partly rely on RSS, of course), or from social networks like Twitter, Facebook and its own Google+…Many publishers (including TechCrunch) rely on the service to publish their RSS feeds. It’s time to reconsider this as the writing is clearly on the wall. There are virtually no alternatives to FeedBurner, though publishers can obviously just manage their own feeds…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
6.       Summer Camp for the Car-Virus Squad  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/09/camp-car-virus-squad/  “…the connected car will be a prime target for hackers. Several university researchers have already shown that it’s relatively easy to access a car’s defenseless electronics system to be able to surreptitiously listen to occupants’ conversation or hypothetically deploy something they dubbed “Self Destruct,” in which a 60-second timer appears on a car’s dashboard display, and when it reaches zero the virus turns off the car’s lights, locks the doors, shuts down the engine, and slams on the brakes. Battelle, the self-described world’s largest nonprofit R&D organization, took a novel approach to confront such car-hacking scenarios, hosting a summer camp for students to solve car-security challenges…Battelle invited 20 top-notched high school and college students to work for a week alongside two dozen automotive engineers, IT researchers and government and Department of Defense officials to collectively hack away at what the well-connected organization sees as a looming issue…Battelle selected student participants based on three criteria. “One was a technical capability” Heimer explains. “The second was a solid moral and ethical grounding. The third aspect was self-motivation.”…Attendees were broken into teams consisting of a representative from the auto industry, the government, an independent researcher, a Battelle facilitator and high school and college students…“I hadn’t been to anything like it before,” said Luke O’Malley, a junior at MIT majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, when we caught up with him back on campus. “The goal was to give us hands-on training. They provided us with vehicles, the tools we needed, everything to get started in this field of research. And they also had several lecturers with people from various backgrounds, teaching how to solder or basic electronics and coding. And then we moved on to the vehicles to apply some of those skills…”
7.        US banks hit by more than a week of cyberattacks  http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gvvthls1v0z7V7D25jPw-WX0-gLg  “U.S. banks have been buffeted by more than a week of powerful cyberattacks, but the mystery surrounding their perpetrators lingers…at least half a dozen banks — including the Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup — have witnessed traffic surges and disruptions. Not all have confirmed they were the victims of an online onslaught, but such surges are a hallmark of denial-of-service attacks…Such attacks are fairly common and generally don't compromise sensitive data or do any lasting damage. Still, they can be a huge headache for companies that rely on their websites to interact with customers…”
8.       Apple denied trademark for music icon thanks to… MySpace  http://gigaom.com/apple/apple-denied-trademark-for-music-icon-due-to-myspace/  “Apple is used to getting its way when it comes to intellectual property. It came up short, however, in getting protection for its famous music icon after trademark judges said last week that consumers might confuse the mark with one owned my MySpace…the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board upheld an examiner’s decision to refuse Apple trademark protection for the famous orange music mark that appears on iPhones and computer screens. It refused on the grounds that it was too similar to another mark…issued in 2008 to a music service called iLike…MySpace obtained iLike in 2009 and shuttered it earlier this year…Apple…argued that the trademark was “weak” because eight other companies have obtained trademarks in the same field with music notes. The Board, however, dismissed these arguments and performed a “likelihood of confusion” analysis to conclude that an average consumer would muddle the marks…”
9.       PlaceRaider: The Military Smartphone Malware Designed to Steal Your Life  http://www.technologyreview.com/view/429394/placeraider-the-military-smartphone-malware/  “The US Naval Surface Warfare Center has created an Android app that secretly records your environment and reconstructs it as a 3D virtual model for a malicious user to browse…modern smartphones…carry a suite of sensors capable of monitoring the environment in detail, powerful data processors and the ability to transmit and receive information at high rates…it's no surprise that smartphones are increasingly targeted by malware designed to exploit this newfound power. Examples include software that listens for spoken credit card numbers or uses the on-board accelerometers to monitor credit card details entered as keystrokes…Robert Templeman at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana, and a few pals at Indiana University reveal an entirely new class of 'visual malware' capable of recording and reconstructing a user's environment in 3D…Templeman and co call their visual malware PlaceRaider and have created it as an app capable of running in the background of any smartphone using the Android 2.3 operating system. Their idea is that the malware would be embedded in a camera app that the user would download and run, a process that would give the malware the permissions it needs to take photos and send them. PlaceRaider then runs in the background taking photos at random while recording the time, location and orientation of the phone. (The malware mutes the phone as the photos are taken to hide the shutter sound, which would otherwise alert the user…”
10.     New Tracking Frontier: Your License Plates  http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10000872396390443995604578004723603576296-lMyQjAxMTAyMDIwODAyODg3Wj.html  “For more than two years, the police in San Leandro, Calif., photographed Mike Katz-Lacabe's Toyota Tercel almost weekly. They have shots of it cruising along Estudillo Avenue near the library, parked at his friend's house and near a coffee shop he likes. In one case, they snapped a photo of him and his two daughters getting out of a car in his driveway. Mr. Katz-Lacabe isn't charged with, or suspected of, any crime. Local police are tracking his vehicle automatically, using cameras mounted on a patrol car that record every nearby vehicle—license plate, time and location. "Why are they keeping all this data?" says Mr. Katz-Lacabe, who obtained the photos of his car through a public-records request. "I've done nothing wrong." Until recently it was far too expensive for police to track the locations of innocent people such as Mr. Katz-Lacabe. But as surveillance technologies decline in cost and grow in sophistication, police are rapidly adopting them. Private companies are joining, too…The rise of license-plate tracking is a case study in how storing and studying people's everyday activities…has become the default rather than the exception. Cellphone-location data, online searches, credit-card purchases, social-network comments and more are gathered, mixed-and-matched, and stored in vast databases…Fifteen years ago, more than half of these types of surveillance tools were unavailable or not in widespread use…Law-enforcement agents say they are using this information only to catch bad guys…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
11.      Nook GlowLight e-reader price drops to $119  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33198_7-57522921-286/nook-glowlight-e-reader-price-drops-to-$119/  “As Amazon gets set to ship out the Kindle Paperwhite, its new e-ink e-reader that features an integrated light, its chief rival appears to be getting a price cut. At least two major retailers – Target…and Wal-Mart -- are now advertising the Nook Simple Touch With GlowLight for $119. That's $20 less than the original $139 price, and the exact cost of the entry-level Paperwhite (which, unlike the Nook, includes "Special Offers" ads). When Barnes & Noble introduced the Nook GlowLight earlier this year, it had problems keeping up with demand…Now Amazon apparently can't make its highly anticipated e-reader fast enough to keep up with orders. On the Paperwhite's product page, a message reads, "Due to popular demand, orders placed today are expected to ship the week of October 22nd…”
12.     AT&T intros new prepaid smartphone plan, $99 Fusion 2 Android handset  http://www.androidguys.com/2012/10/01/att-intros-new-prepaid-smartphone-plan-99-fusion-2-android-handset/  “AT&T today unveiled a new GoPhone smartphone plan set to take effect on October 7 which saves $10 per month over the previous option.  Called the Monthly Unlimited Plan with Data, it gives subscribers 1GB data in addition to unlimited talking and texting. AT&T indicates that they will still offer the $50 plan with unlimited talk and text as well as the $25 plan with 250 minutes talk time and data options. To help kick off the new rate plan, AT&T is introducing a new Android smartphone called the Fusion 2, which runs just $99.  Specifications include  Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a 3.5-inch (320×480) display, an 800MHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, microSD expansion, and a few other Android standards…” [is Virgin Mobile’s no-contract plan forcing AT&T and Verizon to offer competing plans that the two big telecoms would prefer not to offer? – ed.]
13.     Are you attached to your smartphone?  http://www.wickedlocal.com/hingham/topstories/x1784773141/PUSHING-THE-EDGE-Are-you-attached-to-your-smartphone  “…Think back. 10 years ago, there were no smartphones and the word didn’t exist. 20 years ago, you may not have owned a cell phone. 30 years ago, there were no cell phones. In just 30 years we have gone from pink “while you were out” message slips to being connected to the world 24/7. Are we better off?...Here are some statistics I found…80 percent of humans own a mobile phone…Out of the 5 billion mobile phones in the world, 1.08 billion are smartphones…9 out of 10 smartphone users use their phone on a daily basis…The most popular smartphone activity is texting, followed by Internet browsing and playing games…we can be reached at anytime and anywhere. We give our children smart phones at early ages for safety and to “extend the leash.”…If our batteries run out, we worry about what we might be missing…It’s almost impossible to leave the house or be on vacation without our smartphones…Exactly what would people give up before their smartphone?...A third of all people surveyed were willing to give up sex for a week rather than go without their smartphone. Another 70 percent said they would give up alcohol, 63 percent were willing to forego chocolate, and 55 percent of people were willing to go without caffeine rather than have no access to their smartphone…”
14.     FreedomPop's pay-as-you-go data service launches in beta, offering 500MB of free WiMAX per month  http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/01/freedompop-launches-in-beta/  “It was almost a year ago that we first heard about FreedomPop, a startup built on the manifesto that every American (yes, you) should have access to free wireless broadband. Ten months later, the pay-as-you-go service is launching in beta, with "free" meaning 500MB of data per month. For the time being, the touted 4G service will come courtesy of Clearwire's WiMAX network, but FreedomPop says it will switch to Sprint's LTE spectrum sometime in early 2013. In the meantime, though, you can expect speeds anywhere between 4 and 10 Mbps down, and 1 to 2 Mbps up…you'll need to either buy or rent some compatible hardware. Your options include the "Freedom Spot" hotspot capable of serving eight devices simultaneously, or the "Freedom Stick," a USB dongle. Both of these are free, but require that you put down a refundable deposit ($89 for the hotspot and $49 for the stick)…the company will be selling $99 iPhone and iPod cases that double as hotspots…The iPhone version, in particular, does triple-duty as a charging case. If you do venture past that 500MB data cap you'll pay $10 for every subsequent gigabyte. Packaged deals will also be available. As we had heard, though, FreedomPop is hoping to recoup the costs of that free data by selling premium services, with three to start and more coming later. At launch, these add-ons will include device protection (24/7 customer service and replacement service within 48 hours) and notification alerts if you're about to hit the data cap. You can also pay for speedier 4G…There's one last piece about how FreedomPop works, and it might help if we drew a comparison to Dropbox, or Zynga, even. As you would in Farmville, you can earn extra Farmville cash free data by following through on certain tasks. Watch a 20-second ad, for instance, and you win three megs of data. Sign up for a Netflix trial and you get 1.2GB added to your coffer…”
15.     Sharp’s new 5″ smartphone screens: full 1080P HD and 443 pixels per inch  http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/01/iphone-down-galaxy-next-sharp-starts-making-5-hd-smartphone-screens/  “Sharp…has started manufacturing 5-inch high-definition LCD panels for smartphones with a full 1,080 x 1,920 pixels — and an astonishing pixel density of 443 pixels per inch…two months ago the…company announced that it was shipping smartphone screens to Apple, presumably for the iPhone 5. Those screens are 4 inches, with a 326 pixel-per-inch image. These new screens…have only one obvious intended purpose: Android-based phones. Android-based phones such as the Galaxy S3 have significantly larger screens than even the iPhone 5 at 4.8 inches. Where Sharp will use the 5-inch screens is not clear, but Samsung would clearly be a valuable client as the largest manufacturer of Android-based phones. And the pixel density would set any clients up well for competition with Apple’s iPhone, beating iPhone’s pixel density by over 100 pixels per inch. One valid question: Can Android even support such a high pixel density? Android’s developer resources reference screen densities up to “xhdpi,” which Android defines as in the 300 pixels per inch range…”
Apps
16.     Apple CEO apologizes for Maps, recommends you use Google instead  http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/apple-ceo-apologizes-maps-recommends-google-instead-182143889.html  “…Apple CEO Tim Cook took to his company's website earlier today, posting a letter apologizing for the now-infamous Maps debacle, suggesting that upset iPhone owners try other mapping applications such as the web version of Google Maps. Given Apple's notorious hatred for all things Google — or, at least, former CEO Steve Jobs' hatred — a letter suggesting their customers try a solution from Apple's number one competitor is somewhat surprising…Would Steve Jobs had written this letter if he was still alive? "At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better…you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app…”
17.     Apple had over a year left on Google Maps contract, Google scrambling to build iOS app  http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/25/3407614/apple-over-a-year-left-on-google-maps-contract-google-maps-ios-app  “Apple's decision to ship its own mapping system in the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 was made over a year before the company's agreement to use Google Maps expired, according to two independent sources familiar with the matter. The decision…sent Google scrambling to develop an iOS Google Maps app — an app which both sources say is still incomplete and currently not scheduled to ship for several months…Apple apparently felt that the older Google Maps-powered Maps in iOS were falling behind Android — particularly since they didn't have access to turn-by-turn navigation, which Google has shipped on Android phones for several years. The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Google also wanted more prominent branding and the ability to add features like Latitude, and executives at the search giant were unhappy with Apple's renewal terms…Google chairman Eric Schmidt…said that Google had "not done anything yet" with an iOS Google Maps app, and that Apple would ultimately have to decide whether to approve any such app anyway…Interestingly, Apple either didn't know or didn't expect that consumers would find its new maps to be deficient — when iOS software VP Scott Forstall introduced the new mapping system in June, he called it "beautiful" and "gorgeous" and stressed that "we're doing all the cartography ourselves…”
18.     Could Nokia Win the Map Battle?  http://gizmodo.com/5947777/could-nokia-win-the-map-battle  “Nokia is to be part of a big mapping tie-in with the enterprise giant Oracle. Given the current map furore, and bearing in mind that Nokia Maps is actually good, this could be the Fins' big chance: maybe, just maybe, Nokia could sneak through the backdoor and claim a victory. The Nokia-Oracle deal, to be announced officially later today, will see the phone manufacturer supply mapping and location services for all of Oracle's applications and customers. While thinking abut Oracle's clients usually acts as a great sedative and little more, in this case it's exciting news for Nokia. The company's fought hard since its 2007 acquisition of mapping company Navteq to make its own cartography service relevant. It's been doing a fine job: in fact, it's been deemed good enough to replace Bing maps in Windows Phone 8, which is a pretty major deal. Elsewhere, Nokia also has mapping deals with Groupon, Yahoo and Amazon…”
SkyNet
19.     Google Introduces An Easier Way To Sync Gmail Contacts To Your iPhone  http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/27/google-introduces-an-easier-way-to-sync-gmail-contacts-to-your-iphone/  “…Google announced a new, easier way for Gmail users to sync their Google Contacts to their iOS devices. The company is introducing support for an open protocol called CardDAV, which will allow third party clients, including, most notably, the native iOS Contacts app, the ability to sync with Google Contacts. There are already a number of ways to get your Google Contacts onto your iPhone…the Apple app stores on iOS and Mac contain several third-party clients which offer the ability to sync Google contacts to your device. I’ve been enjoying the Mac app Cobook. Plus, you can configure iTunes to specifically sync your Google Contacts, if you’re eschewing iCloud, or you can set up Google Sync. But the new CardDAV support means you can quickly set up contact sync directly on your phone in just a few steps, if you have yet to import your Google contacts through another means…”
20.    Google Apps axes export support for .doc and other old Microsoft Office formats  http://thenextweb.com/google/2012/09/26/google-announces-huge-change-apps-will-remove-office-2003-2007-format-support-october-1/  “Google today announced a huge change for Google Apps, including its Business, Education, and Government editions. As of October 1, users will no longer have the ability to download documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in old Microsoft Office formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt). Assuming the Google Docs included Google Apps will be following in the footsteps of the Google Docs available to consumers, this means that the search giant will still support exporting into these Microsoft formats: Word (.docx), Excel (.xlsx), and PowerPoint (.pptx). Of course non-Microsoft formats will continue to be supported: ODT and RTF for documents, ODS and CSV for spreadsheets, SVG/PNG/JPEG for presentations, as well as PDF, TXT, and HTML for all three. This is still not very good news for businesses that rely both on Google Docs and old Microsoft Office suites. While many have transitioned to the newer formats, most have not, and not being to export to them could cause massive company-wide headaches…”
21.     Google Wants To Acquire Facial Recognition Startup Viewdle  http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/01/rumor-google-wants-to-acquire-augmented-reality-and-facial-recognition-startup-viewdle-for-30m/  “Google, according to a report by Forbes, has acquired Viewdle, an augmented reality and facial recognition startup…The company was founded in the Ukraine in 2006 and is currently headquartered in Silicon Valley with operations across Europe and South America, including, of course, Ukraine. Viewdle, which won the 2008 LeWeb startup competition, previously received funding from numerous venture firms, including KCP Capital, Anthem Venture Partners, Best Buy Capital, Blackberry and Qualcomm. The company, we hear, raised about $250,000 to $500,000 from an angel investor. Anthem Venture Partners then invested about $2 million in a Series A round in 2008 and Qualcomm, Best Buy and Blackberry invested in a $10 million Series B round in 2010. The founders’ equity in the company, a source close to Viewdle tells us, was heavily diluted in the process and the entrepreneurial team will likely see very little of the purchase price…Its apps, including SocialCamera and games like ThirdEye, are currently all available on Android, though the company is also currently testing an iOS version of its Face Recognition SDK. Viewdle also owns a number of patents related to facial recognition. While Viewdle’s technology has always been impressive, it looks like the company’s business never took off. Google previously bought at least two similar startups in the past. In July 2011, the company acquired the Pittsburgh-based facial recognition company PittPatt and all the way back in 2006, it bought the Germany biometrics company Neven Vision…”
22.    Eric Schmidt Says Google Would Love to Replace Microsoft as Yahoo!'s Search Partner  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericjackson/2012/09/25/eric-schmidt-says-google-would-love-to-replace-microsoft-as-yahoos-search-partner/  “…Eric Schmidt, Google‘s Executive Chairman…said Google is interested in replacing Microsoft‘s Bing as the search engine powering Yahoo!...He also said nothing doing for the time being, but they would be interested…When Yahoo did the search deal with Microsoft in 2009, Yahoo Japan declined to participate. Instead they selected Google as their search partner…A lot has changed since 2009.  Yahoo!’s search share has dropped markedly.  It also had to outsource all its back-end search technology (and talent, basically) to Microsoft.  It simply isn’t the same situation now as it was then…This all comes as new Yahoo CEO, and former Google executive, Marissa Mayer prepares to give her state of the union address about Yahoo and the strategic direction that she’ll take it…Yahoo could cancel the Microsoft deal as early as next year according to the 2009 agreement…”
23.    More Than Maps: Google iOS Apps Offer Compelling Features  http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/09/google-ios-apps/  “Since the move to iOS6 and the botched rollout of Apple Maps, iPhone owners have been looking back fondly at life with Google. Many users intend to switch back if and when a rumored Google Maps app ever shows up in the App Store, but if Google can deliver superior maps, why not consider them for your phone’s other functions? As an experiment, I’ve spent the past several weeks relying completely on Chrome and Gmail iOS apps rather than the built-in Safari and Mail. After five years of iPhone use, I’d grown accustomed to how those basic functions of the phone worked, and the difference with Google apps was surprising. Today, I’ll run down some of the unexpected pros and cons to help you decide whether you need a bit more Google in your Apple…”
24.    Google Chrome 22 Offers 3D Gaming  http://www.eweek.com/enterprise-apps/google-chrome-22-offers-3d-gaming-24-bug-fixes/  “The new Google Chrome Browser Version 22 includes a key improvement aimed at making 3D gaming enthusiasts happier – a Pointer Lock JavaScript API (also called Mouse Lock) that will allow more accurate gaming while using a computer mouse…The latest Chrome 22 version also includes 24 bug fixes as well as Windows 8 enhancements and continuing improvements to the browser's interoperability with Apple's Retina screen technologies…"Now, 3D applications such as first-person games can allow users to control their perspective naturally with the mouse, without moving outside the window or bumping into the edge of their screen," wrote Scheib. A 3D, first-person shooter demo was created by Mozilla to demonstrate the feature, he added. "While games are fun, these capabilities also empower other types of applications such as medical and scientific visualization, training, simulation, modeling, authoring packages, and more…”
General Technology
25.    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. The winners of the 2012 MetaPrize are Jill Arnow and Jesse Burns…Their H2Energy proposal focuses on low-water aviation biofuels. The goal is to address water, land, and energy constraints by incentivizing the creation of 3rd+ generation aviation biofuels with no impact on food supply and minimal impact on water supply…I asked the winners a few questions about their experience with prize design…prizes seem to be an effective tool for targeting a specific piece of a larger social or environmental problem. Prizes seem to offer the opportunity to decompose these complex problems into discrete problems that can then serve as the focus for the prize…Designing a prize feels like thinking sideways -- we're so accustomed to solving problems, 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…it requires using and combining insights from a variety of fields, such as marketing, economics, anthropology and psychology…it requires not just identifying a problem, but thinking about the barriers to overcoming the problem…For our prize, I think measurability was the most challenging aspect. Developing a new metric that incorporated water consumption into fuel efficiency involved understanding what fuel and water metrics are currently being used…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.…”
26.    There is life after the death of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Start button  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/11/windows_8_start_button/  “The disappearance of the Start button in Microsoft’s new Windows has proved unsettling for users. “I want Start. Start I say,” said an early tester in a post entitled "Worst 60 minutes in my entire life". One year on, and the Start screen is still a contentious issue…The big question: is the Start screen really a faulty design, or is the negative reaction more to do with unfamiliarity? My own experience after living with Windows 8 almost exclusively for several weeks is that the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working…desktop users rarely need to see the Start screen…Pin the applications you use most often to the taskbar, and you rarely need the Start menu…Windows 8 also adds the Administration menu, mouse bottom left and right-click, or press Windows key and X. It is the quickest route to things like Disk Management, Event Viewer and Device Manager, and you miss it when returning to Windows 7…As for the lack of an actual Start button on the desktop, it is irrelevant once you discover that the button is still there, just hidden until you move the mouse there…search in the new Start screen is better than before. Just start typing…While the new approach to Start is more effective that it first seems, Microsoft has done little to make its features discoverable…some users I have spoken to are surprised to find that you can collapse the double-sized tiles down to one, by selecting a tile with a right-click. The hidden Shutdown menu is another annoyance, mainly because the mouse movement for displaying the Charms menu (mouse to top or bottom right corner) is awkward. The old Start menu wins here, though Windows key + I works once you discover it…”
27.    AMD announces Trinity APUs: superb graphics, improved CPU  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2010666/amd-announces-trinity-apus-superb-graphics-improved-cpu.html  “Intel's been getting all the attention on the CPU front lately with the announcement of its upcoming Haswell CPU, but AMD is trying to crash the party with the launch of its new APU (accelerated processing unit) code-named Trinity. Officially announced Thursday, the Trinity APU combines current-generation Radeon 7000-style graphics technology with up to four CPU cores built around AMD's latest Piledriver CPU cores. AMD's proposition for its APU line is that graphics are becoming increasingly important across a wide range of applications, not just gaming. The company calls out applications such as Winzip 16.5, Arcsoft Total Media Theater, Internet Explorer 9 and 10, VLC (both encoding and decoding) and GIMP (a free graphics editing tool) as examples of applications that perform substantially better on AMD APUs than equivalently priced Intel CPUs…on the gaming side, APUs have traditionally perform considerably better than Intel counterparts with integrated graphics processors. The new A10 represents AMD's flagship APU. It's positioned against Intel's Core i3 3220. The A10-5800K offers four x86 cores running AMD's Turbo Core 3.0 boost technology, which boosts maximum clock frequency as high as 4.2GHz, though the normal operating clock rate remains at 3.8GHz …”
28.    Design hidden in plain sight  http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/171824621.html  “The first thing you see when you walk into Patrick McInerney's living room is that there's nothing to see. The walls are bare, and ditto for the ceiling. You try to switch on the lights, but there doesn't appear to be a switch. There's music playing, but where is it coming from? The lamp is obviously working -- the bulb is lighted, after all -- but it seems to be plugged into ... the plaster? Part interior illusionist and part aesthetic anorexic, McInerney is a practicing member of the cult of disappearing design, the now-you-see-it, now-you-don't ethos that aims to secrete away anything that needs a button, a cord or a subwoofer to work…Driven by technology and old-fashioned ingenuity, such design pursues goals as "zero sightlines" (fixtures that can't be seen in profile) as well as creating seamless -- and shadowless -- surfaces. Tricks are plentiful and often James Bond-ian: light switches are camouflaged to appear to be part of the wall while dining-room tables collapse to less than an inch wide …”
29.    Coke pushes ahead with plant-based PET  http://www.europeanplasticsnews.com/subscriber/headlines2.html?cat=1&id=1978  “Continuing its promise to build up the worldwide capacity to produce plant-based mono ethylene glycol for its PET bottles, Coca-Cola is partnering with an Indian company to build a second pMEG plant, this one in Brazil…Atlanta-based Coke expects construction of the plant in Araraquara, Brazil, to begin by the end of the year with a target completion date of late 2014. Its partner is JBF Industries, a Mumbai, India, company that makes bottle-grade PET, PET chips, partially oriented yarn and fully drawn yarn in several locations worldwide…The Brazil plant is part of Coke’s plan to have plant-based resin in all of its plastic bottles by 2020. Mono ethylene glycol represents 30% of the weight of a PET bottle. Coke’s ultimate goal is to have its PlantBottle made 100% from plants. It has invested in three other companies to develop plant-based purified terephthalic acid - which accounts for the other 70% of PET …”
Leisure & Entertainment
30.    Neil Young reveals Pono music player  http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/28/3422018/neil-young-pono-audiophile-music-player-prototype-on  “Neil Young has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman to promote Pono, a high-quality digital music service that will launch next year. Rolling Stone reports that Pono will be comprised of a music downloads store, a tool that converts digital audio files into analog-sounding recordings, and a series of audio players. Young showed off a prototype Pono player to Letterman, and the design is nothing if not unique — it's a bright yellow triangular prism with a small screen and simple controls. The player will, according to Young, play back Pono master files with "the best sound anyone can get."…Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea got a first-hand demonstration of the service in Young's car, and told Rolling Stone that "it's not like some vague thing that you need dogs' ears to hear. It's a drastic difference." Warner, Sony, and Universal are reportedly all on board, and while you'll have to re-buy songs if you want to hear them in their high-definition glory, the Pono devices will also play back tracks bought from other digital stores…”
31.     Game On for 3D Printing  http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1394&doc_id=250919&dfpPParams=ind_186,bid_26,aid_250919&dfpLayout=blog  “…we've written about 3D printed guitars, mini custom robots, and even 3D printed high fashion when we told you about the first 3D printed bikini. Well, here's another example of the lighter side of 3D printing that is perhaps a little more in tune with the interests of the Design News audience -- a 3D printed board game for serious strategy gamers. Ill Gotten Games got its start when its co-founders Arian Croft and Jeremy Larsen decided the best way to find role-playing games and board games that met their incredibly high standards was to design them themselves. Since many games in this category typically command price tags of upwards of $60 to $100, the combination of 3D printing and open-source 3D modeling became Ill Gotten Games' route for developing and bringing like-kind games to market in a far more cost-effective fashion…”
32.    Lumiphonic Creature Choir  http://www.residencyunlimited.org/activities/2012/09/the-lumiphonic-creature-choir-by-mark-bolotin-casita-maria-sept-15th-2012-3pm/  “Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and Residency Unlimited (RU) present The Lumiphonic Creature Choir, by the award-wining Australian artist, Mark Bolotin. on September 15th…The Lumiphonic Creature Choir is an innovative multimedia performance in which live musicians interact and play with a monumental installation that consists of a twelve-headed audio-visual “creature”…For this project, Bolotin spent four months collaborating with and filming community elders, “beatboxers” and children from the South Bronx community. The giant Creature Choir contraption that he has invented will take on these faces, stories and voices from the Bronx, as well as those from his land of Oz, in a unique cross-cultural, interactive performance. “When I created The Lumiphonic Creature Choir I asked myself what would a choir at the end of the universe sound like? The creatures sing in this multimedia rock’n’roll show, exploring new forms of cinema and music”, explains Mark Bolotin. To see a video of The Lumophonic Creature Choir, please visit: www.synarcade.com.au/lumiphonic.html …”
33.    Experimentation is sweeping the digital camera industry  http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57517481-76/how-camera-makers-are-getting-their-design-groove-on/  “A decade ago, a cataclysm rocked the photography business as digital image sensors replaced fim. It turns out that was just the beginning…a second wave of change is sweeping through the industry. Cameras produced during the first digital photography revolution looked and worked very similarly to their film precursors, but now designers have begun liberating them from the old constraints. Three big developments are pushing the changes: a new class of interchangeable-lens cameras, the arrival of smartphones with wireless networking, and the sudden enthusiasm for full-frame sensors for high-end customers…A digital SLR looks the much the same as a film-era SLR, and it accommodates the same lenses. The rules of focal length, aperture, and shutter speed are still in effect. But just about everything else is in play -- even the question of whether Canon's dominance will continue. Camera makers, no doubt educated by Kodak's disastrous inability to cope with the first digital revolution, are pulling out all the stops…Some camera makers essentially are trying to miniaturize SLR cameras. Others are trying are trying extra-large and even extra-extra-large sensors for better image quality. Lensmakers are branching out beyond supporting just Canon and Nikon. Precious battery life is being devoted to connecting cameras to Wi-Fi networks and to logging photo locations with GPS. Two storied camera brands, Leica and Hasselblad, are modifying otherwise utilitarian cameras into flamboyant designs with green leather and jewels …”
Economy and Technology
34.    AMD may be facing irrelevance  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/09/op-ed-amd-may-be-facing-irrelevance/  “Today, AMD is announcing availability for a few new A-series desktop processors. Versions of these chips, codenamed Trinity and based on AMD's Piledriver architecture, have already been shipping in laptops and desktops for some time now, but this marks the first time that the chips will be available to consumers and system builders directly. The chips aren't bad—the integrated graphics processor on some of the chips are capable of beating Intel's HD 4000 GPU in gaming performance, though the CPUs aren't quite capable of beating last year's Sandy Bridge processors at similar clock speeds. For AMD, the issue is that they're still talking mostly about desktop and laptop chips…Intel continues to roll out new Ivy Bridge processors for mid- and low-end desktops and laptops, and desktops, laptops, and Ultrabooks factored heavily into its presentations about its upcoming Haswell architecture…There's one thing in the Haswell presentation that is conspicuously absent from AMD's latest Steamroller architecture update: tablets. With Haswell, Intel is pushing the power consumption of its flagship x86 CPUs lower than ever before with a 10W processor aimed at Ultrabooks and tablets. Going even lower on the power consumption scale, its upcoming Clover Trail Atoms…are going to end up in lower-cost tablets and even smartphones. It has taken Intel a few years to develop serious, competitive chips to combat the ARM-based offerings…but by this time next year I expect Intel to be available in many more mobile devices than it is presently. AMD has produced a lower-power processor based on the the Bobcat architecture found in AMD-based netbooks and budget laptops—codenamed Desna, the AMD Z-01 has found its way into very few tablets to date…A follow-up, codenamed Hondo, is apparently in the works…but details on are very difficult to come by. Hondo could, theoretically, give AMD some presence in the tablet market, but Atom tablets have so far been much more numerous and it still leaves the company without a higher-performing Haswell competitor or a more power-efficient version for use in smartphones…”
35.    Adapteva uses crowdfunding to try to raise money for a $99 supercomputing platform  http://venturebeat.com/2012/09/27/adapteva-uses-crowdfunding-to-raise-money-for-a-99-supercomputing-platform/  “Adapteva is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter so that it can create a $99 supercomputer for the masses. The move is a last-ditch funding effort for an ambitious team that at first tried to create a 64-core supercomputing chip for smartphones that would have been the most energy-efficient computing platform on Earth. It’s also an attempt to create a movement around cheap and open hardware that fans can bring into production via their own enthusiasm. Adapteva wants to raise $750,000 or more for a project dubbed Parallela. It will be tough. Lexington, Mass.-based Adapteva wasn’t able to raise more than its $2.5 million in seed funding to date. So it has turned to Kickstarter, where it hopes to start a community of people who will promote parallel computing on a variety of platforms. “We quickly discovered that selling disruptive technology to large businesses is very difficult,” said Andreas Olofsson, chief executive of Adapteva…”
36.    Google Now More Valuable Than Microsoft, and Mobile Is Why  http://www.wired.com/business/2012/10/google-microsoft/  “…fast-rising Google shares finally put the search giant’s value ($249.1 billion) higher than Microsoft’s ($247.2 billion). This milestone comes despite Microsoft’s healthy performance over the past year, in which shares are up nearly 20 percent…investors over the past three months have turned seriously bullish on Google. Shares are up more than 30 percent since the end of June, while Microsoft (MSFT) has stayed flat. (Ten-ton gorilla Apple is the only tech company worth more, with a value greater than that of Google and Microsoft combined.)…Though Windows 8 is set to come out this month, its success depends largely on a platform that’s fading in prominence. While the new operating system is designed to be Microsoft’s first to translate tidily from PCs to smartphones and tablets, Microsoft has spent years failing to prove it gets mobile…Google doesn’t depend on Android sales for revenue the way Microsoft depends on selling software licenses. But Android keeps users tied to Google sites and services, which are on track to bring in $30 billion for Google this year — more than either Microsoft’s Windows or Office divisions generated during the most recent fiscal year. Yes, much of Google’s revenue comes from ads served to PC users, but mobile is fully baked into its way of making money and into Google’s future growth …”
DHMN Technology
37.    Hacker family Robison  http://www.techhive.com/article/2010066/hacker-family-robison.html  “…3D printing is everywhere: We've seen it used to create 3D-printed confections, artificial blood vessels, fashion accessories—you name it. So it's hardly surprising that a number of companies will print just about anything you desire. Some companies, however, continue to view tinkering with new technologies as a central part of their activity; and one such business is Robison Industries, a small family-run operation that focuses on making add-ons and kits for open-source RepRap printers. Proprietors John, Mary, and Jack Robison found the design of the typical RepRap so frustrating to use that they completely rebuilt the model. Jack and Mary are the brains behind the RepRap kits, but John has more than a little hardware hacking experience, too: He designed the original light-up guitar that Ace Frehley of Kiss used during the 1970s. Not bad. We spoke to John and Jack Robison about the business, their experience with DIY tech, and the significance of 3D printing…”
38.    Get Ready for the ‘No-Rules’ Nerdy Derby  http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/09/get-ready-for-the-no-rules-nerdy-derby/  “If, like me, you’ve never been a Boy Scout or taken part in a Pinewood Derby — and especially if the thought of having to adhere to pages and pages of specifications makes your creativity faucet run dry — then the Nerdy Derby is for you. Created by students at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, the beauty of the Nerdy Derby is that anything goes. Cars should fit the track, which is standard Pinewood Derby dimensions (with additional dips, and the promise of a few electronic “bells and whistles”). Beyond that, the only stipulation is to “use common sense when it comes to safety.” Cars can be any size or employ any kind of material. Prizes will be awarded in categories like “The Underdog,” “Not So Pretty,” and “Delicious.” In the video above, racers are built from a pull-toy and a wedge of cheese. The first running of the Nerdy Derby take place September 29 and 30 at Maker Faire New York…” [if you want to participate in a Nerdy Derby, head down to Bucketworks and BarCampMilwaukee this weekend, http://barcampmilwaukee.org – ed.]
39.    Too much 3D hype, says 3D printing consultant  http://www.europeanplasticsnews.com/subscriber/headlines2.html?cat=1&id=1981  “The future for 3D printing is “not so rosy” said Todd Grimm…In his provocative address, Grimm planted “seeds of doubt” about additive manufacturing based upon the gulf between what is practical today and what is promised in the future…Grimm blames media hype for distorting the reality of what can be done today and what we can reasonably expect in the short term future. Examples of media hype that Grimm identified included Airbus’s announcement at Farnborough that it was going to 3D-print aircraft. “What the media failed to tell you is that Airbus’s statement said ‘by the year 2050’ … not a single component on an Airbus aircraft flying today is made with additive manufacturing…Grimm believes the hype has been fuelled by the introduction of consumer-level 3D printers. “At any time soon, the 3D printer will not become a staple in the household,”…He lambasted the low-cost machines because their manufacturers have not invested in their development and in user interfaces, relying instead on open source code. “Anyone could make one. What they are not doing is putting in the stability, the usability, the things that will actually make them work,” said Grimm. But he suggested that the nascent consumer market will have an effect on the lower end of the professional market. He estimated that the two markets, consumer and professional, will converge at the $5000 point …”
40.    Advanced precision kill weapon system on UAV helicopter  http://www.suasnews.com/2012/09/18769/bae-systems-to-integrate-advanced-precision-kill-weapon-system-on-mq-8b-fire-scout-uav/  “For the first time, the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) will be integrated onto an unmanned aerial vehicle…a U.S. Navy…MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV…the Fire Scout will engage targets on land or at sea with laser-guided accuracy while keeping our warfighters out of harm's way…Unmanned aircraft can operate in regimes that are considered too hazardous for manned aircraft and dramatically expand the types of missions that can be conducted from surface ships. The APKWS is the U.S. government's only program of record for the semi- active laser-guided 2.75-inch rocket. U.S. Marine aviators recently completed the initial operational test and evaluation phase of the APKWS program, firing successfully against stationary and moving targets from AH-1W and UH-1Y helicopters…”
41.     Maker Faire New York: 3D Printer Census 2012  http://hothardware.com/News/Maker-Faire-2012-NYC--Attack-of-The-3D-Printer-Bots/  “We headed down to Maker Faire 2012 in New York this weekend to check out the expo's massive spread of engineering awesomeness and creativity in the fields of robotics, electronics, computing and much more.  When you arrive at the fair, the first thing that strikes you is how completely organic the whole scene is.  Inventors, creators, engineers and entrepreneurs from all walks of life have their gadgets, science projects, creations and wares on display for all to see. Some of the creations you see on display range from downright amazing to completely bizarre. One of the big attractions, a technology area that has experienced explosive growth recently, is the land of 3D Printing.  MakerBot took the open source RepRap 3D replicator project mainstream back in 2009 with the release of the Cup Cake CNC machine, then came the Thing-o-Matic and then a little bot called Replicator.  With each iteration, improvements in process and technology are bringing better, more capable 3D printers to market, from MakerBot's new Replicator 2, to new players in the field like Solidoodle, Up!3D, Ultimaker, and Tinkerines …”  http://blog.makezine.com/2012/10/01/maker-faire-new-york-3d-printer-census-2012/  “…in May I compiled a census of all the 3D printers at the Bay Area Maker Faire; I thought I’d do the same at this past weekend’s Maker Faire New York. The trends are clear: more, more variations, and more better. I counted 70 different printers in the wild, and I surely missed a couple. That number does not include the dozens of Printrbots, Replicator 1′s, and Ultimakers we had for sale in the Maker Shed. Maker Faire isn’t a contest, of course, but if it was I’d award these superlatives: Best of Show: See Me CNC’s Rostock MAX delta bot…Most Numerous: Makerbot Replicators…Largest: Bruce and Nick Wattendorf’s gigantic Ultimaker variant…Most Theatrical: Ultimaker for their portable printer and their circus-like sideways-hanging-from-a-bungee-cord-while-printing demonstration …”  http://www.extremetech.com/electronics/137098-3d-printer-safari-maker-faire-ny  “Maker Faire NY 2012 was this past weekend, marking one of the largest gatherings of makers, tinkerers, hobbyists, programmers, and crafters of the year. The sheer about of geekery on display was mind-blowing, and whether you were looking for a smartphone-controlled quadcopter, a basketball-shooting robot, or a life-sized game of Mousetrap, there was something there for you. Of course, while all that stuff is cool, for many people the highlight of the Faire was the vast array of 3D printers. With 3D printers getting cheaper and more popular ever year the sheer number and variety of them was staggering. From home-brewed contraptions to the new, not-quite-open source (but oh-so-slick) MakerBot Replicator 2, there was a printer for every need and price level. If you’ve been following 3D printing — as an hobbyist or professional — this was the place to be …”  [the 3D printer gathering at Maker Faire New York appears to be what I was aiming for with 3DPrintingCampWI 2012 in Madison, Wisconsin; gonna have to put some thinking into how to make it possible to have a Wisconsin 3D printing event that offers participants as many opportunities and as much exposure to all facets of 3D printing as the Maker Faire New York offered – ed.]
Open Source Hardware
42.    Open Hardware Summit 2012  http://www.sparkfun.com/news/952  “…SparkFun is happy to spread the gospel of open source in any way we can. This is our third year as a sponsor of the annual Open Hardware Summit in New York City, which this year takes place on September 27. The summit…is the world's first comprehensive conference on open hardware…Mike Hord…repping SparkFun…will be talking about an issue that affects a lot of open hardware creators and suppliers, including us: FCC regulation. At SparkFun, we believe it's absolutely imperative to make sure our products are approved and don't cause harmful radio interference, in order to keep both ourselves and our customers out of federal trouble, and to keep the radio spectrum safe…Mike will attempt to dispel some misconceptions about the legalities of OSHW in the United States with respect to FCC authorization to sell, in order to preserve and protect the radio spectrum that we all increasingly rely on for our work and play. Recognizing the importance of federal regulation will help legitimize the open hardware movement and ease the ability to share the radio spectrum openly and equally…a wide range of speakers at the summit…will represent industry, academia and the DIY community. Talks and panel discussions will cover a wide range of subjects from electronics and mechanics, to related fields such as digital fabrication, fashion technology, self-quantification devices, education, manufacturing, design, business, and law…”
43.    Building Wireless Sensing Networks – using Open Source Hardware  http://www.nanode.eu/news/building-wireless-sensing-networks-using-open-source-hardware/  “…I have been busy setting up a wireless sensor network as part of the preparations in readiness for a web controlled central heating and energy monitor system. The various hardware modules are all open source designs – and I chose to use a mix and match approach to the system which was put together using hardware from a variety of vendors.  Compatible devices were used from JeeLabs, Openenergymonitor and Nanode Ltd. If you haven’t looked recently, there are new offerings of ethernet gateways, wireless sensor nodes and open data services from a number of providers – the arena is starting to get interesting. Here’s a brief description of what is needed. A fuller report will appear in a later post. There are four main parts to the system: 1.   The Wireless Node or WiNode. Supplied by Nanode Ltd…2. The second part of the system is the Ethernet Gateway. This is supplied by Nanode Ltd – and is known as the Nanode RF…3. The third part of the system is a local graphic LCD display from openenergymonitor.org…4. The final piece of the “end to end” system is the cloud based application software running on a web server.  This program receives the raw data from the Ethernet Gateway, and allows it to be processed and visualised by the remote server…”
Open Source
44.    Tears of Steel: Fourth Official Blender Movie Released!  http://www.techdrivein.com/2012/09/tears-of-steel-fourth-blender-movie-released.html  “Blender movies have always amazed us all with its interesting little stories and sophisticated visual graphics. While Elephants Dream was of sci-fi kind with mind-bending ideas and graphics, Bug Buck Bunny was a light-hearted comedy. The third one, Sintel, also had splendid graphics to back-up its unique storyline (watch all the official Blender movies till date). Tears of Steel is different though. It is not a full-fledged end-to-end animation movie per se like its predecessors. Tears of Steel is more like a normal movie with impressive visual effects…”
45.    Cotton Candy Tiny Linux PC Joins a Crowd of Them  http://ostatic.com/blog/cotton-candy-tiny-linux-pc-joins-a-crowd-of-them  “While the Raspberry Pi has grabbed the most headlines as a tiny, ultra-inexpensive, pocketable computer running an open source operating system, it's actually only one of many tiny LInux computers being heralded as part of a new "Linux punk ethic." As we've noted, there are various pocket-size Android devices selling online for under $100 (see the photo). For example, these thumbdrive-style mini PCs are available on AliExpress for $74, which includes shipping. Now, some of the most talked about Linux PCs-on-a-stick are shipping: the "Cotton Candy" devices. While the Cotton Candy Linux-on-a-stick devices are still characterized as developer-focused, a new online post makes clear that they have moved to production…"To recap, the ARM-based Cotton Candy is a $199 USB-sized device that “allows users a single, secure point of access to all personal cloud services and apps through their favorite operating system, while delivering a consistent experience on any screen,' in the Norwegian project's own words. Offering a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, a quad-core, 1.2GHz ARM Mali-400 MP GPU, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and HDMI output, the device is designed to support operating systems including not just Android but also Ubuntu Linux…”
46.    Open source Paint.NET clone improves rendering performance  http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Open-source-Paint-NET-clone-improves-rendering-performance-1719129.html  “With the release of version 1.4 of Pinta, its developers have added new modes, reduced memory usage and improved the rendering performance of their open source drawing and editing application. The latest update to the simple painting application modelled after Paint.NET adds new modes for blending layers and four new Magic Wand tool selection modes (Union, Exclude, Xor and Intersect)…Further information about the update, including a full list of new features and changes, can be found in the release notes and in the commit history …”
47.    Joomla 3.0: Major version jump for the open source CMS  http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Joomla-3-0-Major-version-jump-for-the-open-source-CMS-1719803.html  “The Joomla developers have released version 3.0 of their open source CMS. The major version jump is justified as Joomla 3.0 offers many new features along with standard templates for the web site and administration interface that comply with the responsive web design guidelines, producing good results on large screens as well as on mobile devices. The basic Joomla platform was updated to version 12.2 and the web-based install has been reduced to three steps and is now simpler to use. It also includes several sets of sample data that are now available during installation. The new administrator template is named after the Egyptian goddess Isis, and it is discernibly different from its predecessors in terms of look and feel. Unlike the Bluestork template that was used in Joomla 2.5, the administrator interface of Joomla 3.0 also works on mobile devices with small displays…”
48.    Bitcoin Foundation launched  http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Bitcoin-Foundation-launched-1719289.html  “Gavin Andresen, lead developer for the Bitcoin open source distributed currency, has announced the formation of the Bitcoin Foundation. The group says it is "modelled on the Linux Foundation," with a goal of the non-profit entity being to encourage "the use of the core technology for a wide range of applications"…Andresen says that the governance of the foundation can be changed at any time in the future by a vote of its members. Currently, board members serve for a two-year term, with the five board seats being divided into two individual seats, two corporate seats and a founder's seat. Current board members include Andresen, Mark Karpeles, and economist and Forbes contributor Jon Matonis. Karpeles is the CEO of Mt.Gox, one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges. Several other founders of Bitcoin-related startups also hold a seat on the board. According to the foundation's web site, an important goal of the organisation is "bringing legitimacy to the Bitcoin currency". The foundation is accepting donations (naturally in the form of Bitcoins) and different membership levels are also available, ranging from Individual Membership for 2.5 Bitcoins annually or 25 Bitcoins for lifetime membership to a Premier Industry Membership which costs 10,000 Bitcoins annually …”
Civilian Aerospace
49.    SpaceX’s First Contract Cargo Mission Set for Next Month  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/09/spacex-crs-iss-nasa/  “NASA and SpaceX have announced that Elon Musk’s company is scheduled to fly its first commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station on Oct. 7. SpaceX successfully completed the demonstration flight of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation System back in May, which did include delivering some non-essential cargo…SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will again launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida and will carry about 1,000 pounds of supplies, including materials for 63 new scientific investigations, according to NASA. The Commercial Resupply Services flight is being called CRS-1 and includes flying more than 700 pounds of scientific materials and 500 pounds of station hardware. With the retirement of the space shuttle orbiters, the Dragon capsule is the only vehicle capable of bringing back large amounts of cargo…Eventually SpaceX is planning on building rockets capable of precision landings back on solid ground. The Dragon spacecraft is expected to be capable of such flights on both Earth and Mars, but also the Falcon 9 booster rocket will have similar capabilities to make the rocket reusable. While the CRS crew is in full swing making cargo runs to the ISS, other engineers at SpaceX are working on the vertical take-off and landing system they hope to use on the Falcon 9 so the rocket isn’t simply dropped in the ocean and too damaged to fly again. Musk sent out a video (above) showing the first flight of the new Grasshopper VTVL rocket. Like many firsts in space travel, the first step is a small one with the rocket getting just a few feet off the ground. Eventually the system will allow the large booster rockets to return to earth and land at a precise point at a launch facility where they can be overhauled and return to service…”
50.    Private space travel gets a big boost from California bill  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49150317/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.UGeSDU0U53k  “As NASA's space shuttle Endeavour orbiter flew to its retirement home in sunny California Friday, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed legislation to bolster the commercial spaceflight sector in that state. The Assembly bill limits liability for private spaceflight companies. “California aerospace pioneers like Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and the Spaceship Company are blazing a path to the stars with commercial space travel,” Brown said in a statement. “This bill allows commercial space-travel companies to innovate and explore without the worry of excessive liability.”…Assembly Bill 2243…provides qualified immunity from liability to a spaceflight entity for injuries to a space flight participant, so long as a written warning statement is provided to the participant and the injury was not the result of spaceflight entity's gross negligence or intentional acts. The bill requires a spaceflight entity to have each participant sign a “prescribed warning statement” acknowledging that the participant understands the “inherent risks associated with space flight activity, including death, and also acknowledging that the space flight entity has limited liability for injuries or damages sustained by a participant as a result of these inherent risks…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
51.     $2.6 Million Study Uses Video Cards to Bring Effective, Inexpensive Supercomputing to Hospitals for Safer CT Scans  http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=3083&setappvar=page(1)   “Video gamers are generally the biggest consumers of computer graphics cards, using the devices to boost the speed and resolution of their digital quests to fend off invading extraterrestrials or outwit hostile dragons. But researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute seek to harness the power of these computer graphics cards to solve one of the world’s most pressing health care technology challenges: radiation exposure from X-ray and CT imaging scans…an interdisciplinary team of academic, medical, and industrial researchers…develop new techniques for quickly calculating the radiation dose a patient will receive from a CT scan…the research team aims to use NVIDIA video cards and leading-edge parallel processing techniques to help reduce radiation dose calculations from 10 hours to less than 60 seconds…“With this new study, we hope to bring massively parallel computing power—currently available only to national laboratories and major research universities such as Rensselaer—to busy and resource-limited hospitals,” said Xu, professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE) and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer, who heads the university’s Nuclear Engineering Program. “There is a high level of interest at the national level to quantify and reduce the amount of ionizing radiation involved in medical imaging. Our parallel computing method has the potential to be used in everyday clinical procedures, which would dramatically decrease the amount of radiation we receive from CT scans…”
52.    Graphics chips are for more than just eye candy  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528845.000-graphics-chips-are-for-more-than-just-eye-candy.html  “CHANCES are there is a graphics chip in your desktop computer, and it is fuelling a revolution. These chips, called GPUs, have of late been co-opted from their original use in giving video games their impressive visuals. Their talent for parallel processing is helping to speed up everything from medical imaging to studies of the cosmos. And they could be the key to future generations of ultrapowerful smartphones and tablet computers…Software initiatives, such as Nvidia's CUDA, launched in 2007, and the Apple-led OpenCL project from 2008, opened up these chips for non-graphics applications…The chip's ability to calculate in parallel makes it ideal for tasks such as climate modelling…The same holds for medical imaging. A 5-minute functional MRI scan can accumulate tens of millions of three-dimensional units of data, each representing a tiny volume of the brain. This data has to be processed to compensate for, say, head movement, to create a more accurate scan. This can take days to process even with the multiple processing cores in the latest central processing units that allow for some, albeit limited, parallel processing…certain fMRI calculations, which used to take about 24 hours, are wrapped up in as little as 8 minutes using GPUs…Soon, people who come in for a scan will know the outcome almost instantly…The big manufacturers are now doubling up on chips, with designs for chipsets that put both GPU and CPU on the same piece of silicon. These include Intel's latest line, Ivy Bridge, Advanced Micro Devices' Fusion and Nvidia's Denver chips…This is just the beginning, predicts Owens. The chips are already finding their way into smartphones and tablets, mostly to power high-resolution screens and applications like 3D mapping. But as GPUs become ubiquitous in mobile devices, they will pave the way for applications that no one has yet thought about. "The future has barely been scratched from this point of view…”
53.    AMD, Oracle tag-team on GPU acceleration for Java apps  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/30/amd_oracle_project_sumatra_openjdk_gpu/  “The offloading loading of calculations from CPUs to external accelerators such as GPU coprocessors is not just something that is restricted to supercomputer applications. Anything with lots of calculation that can exploit parallelism is a candidate for acceleration, and that means Java applications, not just Fortran or C++ code. There are a number of different ways that Java applications and the Java virtual machine can be tweaked to exploit the parallelism inherent in GPU coprocessors, such as those based on FirePro GPUs from Advanced Micro Devices or Tesla GPUs from Nvidia, and potentially parallel x86 Xeon Phi coprocessors from Intel. And as part of new Project Sumatra, announced today at the JavaOne community event hosted by Oracle in San Francisco, Larry & Company is teaming up with AMD to put the software functionality to offload inside of the Java Virtual Machine itself rather than using a two-step conversion and dispatch process that AMD has worked on until now with its own Project Aparapi …”

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