2012/10/15

NEW NET Weekly List for 16 Oct 2012

Below is the initial list of issues for the Tuesday, 16 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 remote in to the meeting tonight as originally planned, but I am scheduled to be at NEW NET in person in two weeks. This post will be updated with the NEW NET final list for the week prior to the official start of the meeting...

The ‘net
1.        Google Fiber to host Compute Midwest’s hackathon, taking developers into hyperspace  http://thenextweb.com/events/2012/10/09/compute-midwest-this-conference-is-hosting-the-first-hackathon-powered-by-google-fiber/  “Compute Midwest (CMW), a 2.5 day conference happening at the Kauffman Center For Performing Arts on November 9th through 11th in Kansas City, has just announced that it will host the first ever hackathon powered by Google Fiber…lighting fast speeds will surely come in handy during a sleepless, 24-hour hacking marathon. CMW tells TNW that more than 100 developers will come together at the Google Fiber space to build apps overnight for a shot at thousands of dollars in prizes…the event is particularly encouraging developers to take advantage of Google’s face-melting Internet speeds. Google’s modest-looking Fiber HQ (humble on the outside, that is) will host the hackathon…”
2.       Wal-Mart Delivery Service Says to Amazon: 'Bring It'  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444897304578046461338658772.html  “…Wal-Mart…is promising same-day delivery in some cities for orders placed online. Wal-Mart, aiming to take on Amazon, is offering same-day delivery. The retailer began testing the new service in select cities last week…Called Wal-Mart To Go, the service costs $10 regardless of the size of the order. The products will be shipped from the company's stores, not from a warehouse or distribution center…Wal-Mart is betting that its network of thousands of stores, combined with an improved online presence and strong financials, can help it compete head to head with Amazon…shipping from stores, rather than from warehouses as Amazon does, is expensive…It can be three to four times the cost for the retailer to pick items and pack them from a store versus having a really efficient, automated process back in a distribution center…Wal-Mart…online sales…estimates…were $4.9 billion, or about 1% of the company's total revenue last year, compared with Amazon.com's $34 billion in online sales…Wal-Mart also has…quietly begun matching the online retailer's prices when customers ask…Nathan Engels…snagged a Cannon laser printer at Wal-Mart for $98 earlier this summer, even though the printer's advertised shelf price was $108. Wal-Mart lowered the price for Mr. Engels after he scanned the printer's bar code using Price Check, a smart phone application developed by Amazon, and showed a Wal-Mart customer service representative that the same printer was for sale on the Amazon website for $98…”
3.       CreativeLIVE Is a Free Online School for Artists and Entrepreneurs  http://www.wired.com/business/2012/10/creativelive/  “Thanks to the rise of free online classrooms, we have Khan Academy and Coursera to teach us academic subjects like math, science, and history. If you’re looking for creative or entrepreneurial courses, you can turn to CreativeLIVE. The two-year-old startup just raised $7.5 million to live-stream workshops on how to start a business, photography basics, and web design, to name a few…Launched in 2010 by a photographer, Chase Jarvis, and an entrepreneur, Craig Swanson, CreativeLIVE was founded to help hobbyists, creative types, and career-changers learn real-life skills without being stuck in a classroom. From the comfort of your bed or home office, you can enroll in workshops about fashion photography, launching an online business, or the ins and outs of public relations, taught by best-selling authors, Emmy-nominated directors, and other esteemed professionals. Every course is live-streamed in real time and completely free. What’s the catch? The courses are offered on a scheduled basis and last about two to three days. If you miss a class, you can’t watch again for free, but you can get your hands on the videos and lessons if you pay. Prices range from $50 to $300, and courses are often discounted. You can also pre-order a class that you know you want to take, but won’t have time to sit down and watch the live lecture. The premise of free, live-streamed workshops has worked well for CreativeLIVE. The company says that since its launch in April 2010, more than 1 million students from 200 countries have taken a course. CreativeLIVE also isn’t having a hard time getting people to pay an average of $100 for a class. The company says its been profitable since its launch, and has been able to pay out millions to its instructors…”
4.       Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others join forces to launch new Web standards resource  http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/10/08/apple-facebook-google-microsoft-and-others-join-forces-to-launch-new-web-standards-resource/  “In an attempt to create the “definitive resource” for all open Web technologies, Apple, Adobe, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, and Opera have joined the W3C to launch a new website called ‘Web Platform.‘ The new website will serve as a single source of relevant, up-to-date and quality information on the latest HTML5, CSS3, and other Web standards, offering tips on web development and best practises for the technologies…the website will also display the status of a particular technology’s standardisation and cross-browser implementation…”
5.        Oyster: the Spotify of books with unlimited ebooks subscription?  http://gigaom.com/2012/10/10/can-oyster-be-the-spotify-of-books-3m-investment-says-yes/  “Oyster, a new startup that wants to be the Spotify of books, announced it has raised $3 million led by Founders Fund. The money will help Oyster build a library that allows members to access an unlimited number of books for a monthly fee…The company is preparing a mobile app that will allow users to get unlimited access to a library of books for one monthly price. The app will combine discovery with access and reading, so users will be able to get recommendations and immediately begin reading. The app was designed from the ground up to optimize the reading experience on mobile devices. The app will feature a growing catalog of books, from national best sellers to classics, both fiction and non-fiction…The company was founded this past summer by Eric Stromberg, a former business development and product guy at Hunch; Andrew Brown, who worked at Google and Microsoft; and Willem Van Lancker, a former user experience designer for Google Maps. Stromberg told me the idea sprang from his fascination with the transformation of books and what they will ultimately look like in digital form. He said he wants to create a tool for helping people find and read a lot more books than they’re doing today…”
6.       Twice as much spam/malware on Bing as on Google  http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/bing-leads-google-spam-malware-search-results-report-says-1C6362434  “Nearly two-thirds of search results on Bing were found to have links that spread malware or spam, compared to 30 percent for Google, said Sophos Security in a recent study. "Search engine poisoning," as it's called, affects all search engines; it might turn up the link you see first, or high up in results, for example, when you search for a popular celeb like Jessica Biel or Justin Bieber. Clicking on the link can take you to a spam site, or worse, one filled with malware aimed at infecting your computer…"Taking data from the last couple of weeks for search engine redirects blocked on our Web appliance, it is clear that the majority of the redirects are affecting those using the Bing search engine," Howard wrote…Microsoft, said, "signals that have been previously spammed now have countermeasures to prevent abuse. Bing has also developed several ranking signals to help weed out spam results and better understand the intent of the searcher. We are always looking to improve the Bing user experience for customers, and remain dedicated to providing a trusted and reliable search experience." Search engine poisoning is the main way malware is delivered via the Web. Attackers and spammers blast search results with links to what are known as "bait" pages that take users to malicious sites. Many users, who think search engine results are to be trusted, wind up clicking on what can be dangerous links…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
7.        **AA Round 27: Copyright Scofflaws Beware, ISPs Begin Monitoring Illicit File Sharing  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/10/isp-file-sharing-monitoring/  “The nation’s major internet service providers by year’s end will institute a so-called six-strikes plan, the “Copyright Alert System” initiative backed by the Obama administration and pushed by Hollywood and the major record labels…The plan, now four years in the making, includes participation by AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. After four offenses, the historic plan calls for these residential internet providers to initiate so-called “mitigation measures” (.pdf) that might include reducing internet speeds and redirecting a subscriber’s service to an “educational” landing page about infringement. The internet companies may eliminate service altogether for repeat file-sharing offenders…The program…monitors peer-to-peer file-sharing services…The Copyright Act allows damages of up to $150,000 per infringement of a work registered with the Copyright Office. Peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted works is the infringement being targeted. It’s easily detectable, as IP addresses of internet customers usually reveal themselves during the transfer of files. Cyberlockers, e-mail attachments, shared Dropbox folders and other ways to infringe are not included in the crackdown…”
8.       Supreme Court Refuses To Hear  Warrantless Electronic Spying Case  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/10/scotus-electronic-spying-case/  “The Supreme Court closed a 6-year-old chapter Tuesday in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s bid to hold the nation’s telecoms liable for allegedly providing the National Security Agency with backdoors to eavesdrop, without warrants, on Americans’ electronic communications in violation of federal law. The justices, without comment, declined to review a lower court’s December decision (.pdf) dismissing the EFF’s lawsuit challenging the NSA’s warrantless eavesdropping program…The New York Times first exposed the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping of international phone calls to and from Americans in 2005. A former AT&T technician named Mark Klein later produced internal company documents suggesting that the NSA was surveilling internet backbone traffic from a secret room at an AT&T switching center in San Francisco, and similar facilities around the country…The Bush administration, and now the President Barack Obama administration, have neither admitted nor denied the spying allegations — though Bush did admit that the government warrantlessly listened in on some Americans’ overseas phone calls, which he said was legal…as to widespread internet and phone dragnet surveillance of Americans, both administrations have declared the issue a state secret — one that would undermine national security if exposed…”
9.       Why you should check your Verizon Wireless privacy settings right now  http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/why-you-should-check-your-verizon-wireless-privacy-settings-right-1C6370918  “Wireless carriers get their monthly take from you, but they're cashing in on you in other ways, too — unless you tell them otherwise: Carriers sell information about your mobile Web searches and other data to marketing companies. The good news is, you can easily opt out of providing such info. The bad news is, it's mostly up to you to do so — no action on your part generally means they're sharing your info. To fix this, you go online to your account, and change your privacy settings. If you haven't looked at them in awhile — or ever — today's a good day to start…"Our customers can change their privacy preferences at any time," said a company spokeswoman. "The 30-day window is essentially the initial time frame so customers can read and look at their options, but again, they can change them any time through MyVerizon…”
10.     Researcher exploited Facebook privacy settings to get user phone numbers  http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2012/10/10/facebook-confirms-researcher-exploited-privacy-settings-to-quickly-collect-user-phone-numbers/  “…a researcher by the name of Suriya Prakash claimed that the majority of phone numbers on Facebook are not safe…his demonstration certainly showed he could collect countless phone numbers and their corresponding Facebook names with very little effort…Prakash explains how he stumbled on the idea for his exploit back in September: About a month ago I was just browsing FB on my FB mobile application and it had an option called “Find friends using contacts” ,what it does is that it compares the contact list from your phone to the FB database to see if you have any friends that are in your contacts but not on your Facebook account. I also later figured out that simply “searching” a persons phone number (Including country code) will show you their account. In other words, all you have to do is pick a random phone number, search for it on Facebook, and if the owner allows you to (and Prakesh argues that most people do because Facebook’s privacy settings are confusing), you’ll see their profile, which typically includes at least their name and profile picture, if not more information. If you write code to automate the task, as Prakash did, you can create a phone book of everyone who lets you look them up on the social network with just a phone number…”  http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-facebook-phone-number-private-20121010,0,5855511.story  “…Facebook says being able to look someone up by searching for their phone number on Facebook is a feature, not a bug. "By default, your privacy settings allow everyone to find you with search and friend finder using the contact info you have provided, such as your email address and phone number," Facebook said…If you are concerned about people having access to your profile by searching for your phone number, there are two steps you can take. First, go to the about section in your profile. Click on the button next to mobile phones and other phones and make sure that they are not set to "everyone." You can change the setting to "friends," "friends except acquaintances" or, the most restrictive, "only me." Then, go to your privacy settings. Click on "how you connect." Then under "who can look you up using the email address or phone number you provided," select "friends" or "friends of friends…”
11.      Microsoft sues Google in German Motorola lawsuit  http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-takes-on-google-directly-in-german-patent-lawsuit-7000005641/  “Today, in a German courtroom, Microsoft told the judge that it plans to amend its patent infringement lawsuit against Motorola Mobility to name Google as a defendant…Microsoft’s complaint against Motorola Mobility over European patent EP0845124, covering a "computer system for identifying local resources and method therefor." (The same technology is covered in U.S. Patent No. 6,240,360.)…which was filed in April, targets Android's Google Maps app…At today's three-hour hearing, Motorola Mobility doggedly denied Microsoft's infringement contentions without specifying how Google's server infrastructure operates. Toward the end of the court session, Microsoft's lead counsel [announced that] Microsoft will amend this complaint in order to add Google Inc., Motorola Mobility's parent company and operator of the server infrastructure that powers the Google Maps Android app, as an additional defendant…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
12.     iPhone ownership surging among teenagers  http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57529108-37/survey-iphone-ipad-ownership-surging-among-teenagers/  “…A semi-annual study of…teens…found that 40 percent of teens own an iPhone -- almost double the 23 percent of teens who owned an iPhone in Fall 2011…The iPhone is poised for continued growth among teens: 62 percent said it would be their next phone. (Android phones were the next-most popular choice, with 22 percent of teens saying their next phone would be an Android.)…44 percent of teens own tablet computers, up from 29 percent last year. Of the tablets owned by teens, 72 percent are iPads, the survey found. Three in four teens who plan to buy a tablet in the next six months said it would be an iPad…”
13.     $13 E-Reader Could Be Your Next Smartphone Accessory  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/10/13-e-reader-cheaper-than-some-e-books/  “It seems you can’t finish a book without a new e-reader being announced. The newest way to read books without killing a tree comes from Germany, and if the company, txtr, can get carriers on-board, it’ll cost as little at $13…the device, called the txtr beagle…ships sans Wi-Fi. Users will sync books to the Bluetooth-enabled device via an Android app. (An iOS app is currently in development). As one might expect, there’s no illumination or touchscreen on the five-inch e-ink device. For power, the tiny beagle uses two AAA batteries instead of an integrated rechargeable. According to txtr, one pair of batteries will get you through 12 to 15 books. The company is looking for carrier partners to subsidize the e-reader, much the same way they do mobile phones…So far network operators have not actively marketed eReading. In our view, this is because of the lack of a suitable device…Engadget reports that txtr is currently in talks with AT&T and Sprint…”
14.     Asus PadFone 2 video and photos reveal larger 4.7-inch display  http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/12/3495356/asus-padfone-2-video-new-docking-station  “Asus will officially unveil the PadFone 2…next week, but Bloomberg TV was able to take an early look at the phone and tablet hybrid…As shown in the video below, the next PadFone handset looks largely similar to the first generation model with the exception of a larger, 4.7-inch screen. Along the backside of the device is a 13-megapixel camera…With the original PadFone, the handset fit into the dock by way of a door on the rear of the tablet. Now the entire backside of the PadFone 2 handset will be exposed when connected to the dock, with the face of the phone resting inside the unit. Additionally, the new tablet body as a whole appears much thinner than its predecessor…”
15.     Court lifts injunction against US sales of Samsung Nexus phone, hands Apple setback  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/11/us-apple-samsung-patent-idUSBRE89A11C20121011  “Apple is waging war on several fronts against Google, whose Android software powers many of Samsung's devices. The ruling on Thursday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is not expected to have an outsized impact on the smartphone market, as the Nexus is an aging product in Samsung's lineup. Apple's stock closed down nearly 2 percent at $628.10. However, the court's reasoning could make it much harder for companies that sue over patents get competitors' products pulled from the market, said Colleen Chien, a professor at Santa Clara Law school in Silicon Valley. Such sales injunctions have been a key for companies trying to increase their leverage in courtroom patent fights. "The Federal Circuit has said, 'Wait a minute,'" Chien said…”
16.     Eric Schmidt: Apple vs. Android is the defining fight in tech  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57530193-93/eric-schmidt-apple-vs-android-is-the-defining-fight-in-tech/  “…"The Android-Apple platform fight is the defining fight in the industry today," Eric Schmidt said in an interview with Walt Mossberg…Schmidt said Google had "seen" surveys indicating that four Android devices sold for every Apple device. Within a year, he said, it's conceivable that there will be a billion devices running on Android. The sheer volume of mobile device sales dwarfed any platform battle that came before it in the technology industry, Schmidt said, including Microsoft vs. Apple in the desktop computing market. "The growth rate of mobile adoption exceeds everyone's expectations every quarter," he said. "The devices are becoming so useful that unless you're a significant knowledge worker, you could probably live most of your life with your mobile device."…Schmidt was cordial in his remarks about Apple…In response to an audience question about which big tech company he would most like to be CEO of, if he were forced to pick, he said Apple. "It has the most cash," he said with a smile…”
17.     McDonald's offers free use of iPads  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57528784-71/mcdonalds-offers-free-use-of-ipads/  “…a McDonald's in Virginia Beach, Va., has struck upon a novel idea to induce loyalty from its customers: it has placed iPads in its restaurant for their use. Yes, entirely for free…Some might surely worry that the screen must get terribly greasy…However, the franchise owner, Hugh Fard, seems delighted with the idea. He first noticed the concept at a worldwide McDonald's convention in Florida…So he leased the iPads from a French company, which looks after them and even replaces them, should some full-bellied miscreant decide he needs to perform a takeaway…Fard chose to block YouTube, as he oddly believes that some of its content is pornographic…It's odd, too, that McDonald's would want customers to stay longer. Once upon a time, the whole concept of fast food was to get the customer in and get them out again…”
18.     AMD launches its response to Intel's tablet processor  http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57528404-75/amd-launches-its-response-to-intels-tablet-processor/  “Advanced Micro Devices has announced its answer to Intel's tablet chip, just as Windows 8 devices are about to flood the market…it's packing high-performance graphics silicon, which boasts 80 Radeon graphics cores, with the graphics processing unit (GPU) rated at a speed of 275MHz…Its two central processing unit (CPU) cores are rated at 1GHz…The first tablets based on the AMD Z-60 are expected to launch globally this year "in conjunction with availability of Windows 8,"…AMD's chip will be compatible with so-called "legacy" Windows applications -- which basically means it should be able to run any Windows 7 application. ARM chips from suppliers such as Nvidia and Qualcomm will not be able to handle those older Windows applications… AMD, of course, is going to have to do battle with chip Goliath Intel. Intel's tablet processor, the "Clover Trail" Z2760, has landed in a number of high-profile Windows 8 tablets and convertibles from Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Lenovo…”
Apps
19.     Ten Ways to Make Your Android Smarter  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443982904578046590457995604.html  “Are you getting the most out of Android?...some of the Google operating system's most useful features may not be in plain view…I gathered 10 tricks that could make using an Android device easier and more enjoyable…on the more prevalent version of Android known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Many of these tips work on devices that run Jelly Bean and some work on earlier versions of Android…1. Easier Keyboarding…To avoid switching from Android's letter keyboard to its number and symbol keyboard, hold down the period key to see commonly used punctuation marks and symbols. Slide your finger to the menu that appears, lifting it to select the right key…Many Android devices come preloaded with Swype, which lets you type by dragging your finger from one letter to the next; lift your finger up when the word ends. It's remarkably accurate. To see if Swype is running on your device, spell out a word without lifting your finger. If connecting lines don't appear between each letter, tap and hold the space bar to see the Select Input Method screen and choose Swype…2. Unlock With Your Face…Instead of tracing a pattern on a screen or typing in a PIN, hold your Android device up and stare into its front-facing camera for a second to unlock it. This isn't as secure as other methods and doesn't always work, but it can be fun to use…3. Screen Shots Made Simple…Capture a still image of any screen you're looking at by simultaneously pressing the power button and the volume down button. Find your screen shot in your Gallery under Screenshots or in the Notifications shade…This feature only works in…Ice Cream Sandwich or later…4. Manage Screens…5. Shortcut to Contacts…There's an easier way to get in touch with your favorite people: Pin their faces to a Home screen…7. Auto-Update Apps…Avoid the nagging update notices that appear in your drop-down Notifications shade and set your apps to automatically update as updates become available…set this to update only over Wi-Fi…8. Sync Photos and Videos on the Go…”
20.    Meet Manymo, a web-based Android emulator  http://gigaom.com/mobile/meet-manymo-a-web-based-android-emulator/  “One of the challenges Android developers face is the wide array of devices their mobile apps have to support, each with a different screen size and resolution. Manymo…can make it easier for developers to test their software on various devices with different Android versions without actually having those devices. The solution is an emulator, which shows what an app looks like on a simulated device…You actually don’t have to be a developer to see or use the product. Just hit up the Manymo site and launch the virtual device screen of your choice. You’ll get a basic version of Android with very few apps installed, but the browser works, illustrating the concept. App developers wanting to use Manymo to install their own software for development and testing must sign up for an account. For the moment, that’s free…”
SkyNet
21.     Instantly Select Text with Similar Formatting in Google Docs  http://lifehacker.com/5949887/instantly-select-text-with-similar-formatting-in-google-docs  “If you've ever finished writing something only to realize formatted the entire thing wrong, you know it's usually a pain to correct. However, Google Docs now has a "Select all matching text" option to quickly change the formatting of…entire document on the fly. This is likely most handy for students who swap between different types of formatting guidelines all the time, but since it works with all types of text it'll be useful even if you just want to quickly change your headlines or bolding style. All you need to do is select a block of formatted text (underlined, italicized, headers, etc), right-click, and choose "Select all matching tex…”
22.    Google mobile home page has hidden services sidebar  http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/10/3484972/google-mobile-home-page-sidebar-redesign  “Google offers a host of apps for both Android and iOS, but that doesn't mean it is neglecting its mobile web presence. The company often rolls out little tweaks to various services, the latest of which is a redesign of its mobile search homepage. When you visit Google.com in your mobile browser, you'll get a different interface — rather than having tabs at the top of the screen with a few of Google's core services, there's now a hidden left-hand services sidebar that contains all of the Google products you know and love (or tolerate). The top of the screen now simply contains links to web and image search as well as a Google+ notification area and a drop-down to view your full Google profile. It's not a major change by any stretch of the imagination, but it's definitely more refined and makes it easier to access services beyond search…”
23.    Inside Google's sci-fi search experiments  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57531778-93/inside-googles-sci-fi-search-experiments/  “…The dog's face had appeared on my screen, as it did eight or so times a day, to remind me to fill out a form. And I had an interest in feeding the beast -- my answers would help set the course for Google's evolution as a mobile search company. Paco isn't a real dog, of course. The name is short for Personal Analytics Companion. It's an app that Google's user experience researchers rely upon for their many studies about the search giant's usability…Along with 100 or so others, I was invited to participate in a October study that pointed toward the future of search. The study questions…paint a picture of a company methodically building a search engine that would be at home in science fiction. And it's a search engine increasingly focused on smartphones and tablets…This week, for the first time since an analyst began tracking the number in 2006, desktop search declined. Meanwhile, search on smartphones and tablets is surging, and could account for a third of all search traffic by the year's end…Google has faced repeated warnings that it could be ripe for disruption…In response to this week's desktop search decline, Business Insider…announced that we had hit "Peak Search," and that "the Google era may be over."…Google is very much aware of the shift to mobile devices…some of the world's most talented engineers are working to ensure they dominate mobile search the same way they've dominated the desktop…there remains a whole universe of questions that nobody asks Google, because nobody expects a search engine to be able to answer them…we can see the kinds of things people are using Google to search for…What's more difficult to see are more overall questions people might have out and about in the world -- that they might not think to ask a search engine…Mobile search generates lots more queries for local data: restaurant names, nearby bars, movie showtimes, turn-by-turn directions. Queries also tend to be about more immediate information needs…Ultimately, the shift to mobile may matter less to the future of Google search than two other changes the company made…The first came in May with the launch of the Knowledge Graph, which aspires to map every possible connection between people, places and things…The second major shift, introduced at the Google I/O developer conference in June, was Google Now…The feature, which is available only on phones and tablets running the latest version of Android, tries to anticipate users' needs without them having to search at all. When I open it up on my Nexus 7 tablet, it shows me a whimsical drawing of San Francisco (where I live), the local weather, and the results of last night's baseball games in the Bay Area. (It knows I care about baseball because I recently searched for the San Francisco Giants score.) Google Now…points to a future where users will use Google services more without feeling like they're using Google at all…Siri is still struggling to understand basic voice input, and Facebook search won't arrive for months at the soonest. Meanwhile Googlers watch sci-fi movies for inspiration and make gradual progress on turning them into reality. "This isn't a one-off event for us," Wiley said, as the study I participated in came to a close…"This is an ongoing activity.”
24.    Google Watch? Project Glass Receives Patent For A New Augmented Reality Display  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/10/google-watch-project-glass_n_1937460.html  “Imagine you're wearing a fancy wristwatch with a hinged bezel that can be raised or lowered over the timepiece display. Now imagine that this shatter-resistent, flip-up top can also display all manner of digital information…Google recently was granted a patent on designs for a smartwatch that would hypothetically let the user open the watch's transparent cover and view content on the augmented reality screen. Much like Google's famous Project Glass headpiece…the wristwatch concept will apparently also let you film, photograph, follow directions or learn where the best coffee house is located in your immediate surroundings…In the illustrations, the display is shown overlaying arrows onto the user's immediate location, steering the wearer through his own surroundings…The watch design…fits nicely with Google's newly released Field Trip app, which displays text bubbles for nearby points of interest. (Indeed, pop-up factoids seem perfect for augmented reality displays, but could be less disruptive to the wearer if they are appearing on a device attached to the wrist, rather than on a device worn over the eyes.) Even Google's newly-patented Smart Gloves seem like they could be augmented reality peripherals, allowing users to "simulate typing, or perform touchscreen-style gestures in the air" to control a display…”
General Technology
25.    NASA developing exoskeleton for astronauts and the earthbound  http://www.gizmag.com/x1-exoskeleton/24525/  “…NASA is developing…the X1 Robotic Exoskeleton…The X1 uses robotic technology for a dual-use exoskeleton that has applications for both astronauts on long space missions and the walking impaired on Earth…On long space missions, such as a manned mission to Mars, extended stays in zero gravity can have dangerous effects. Constant weightlessness can cause muscles to atrophy…Paraplegics have similar problems as muscles dwindle and bones weaken through lack of use…weight and space is limited on space vehicles, so the ideal exercise machine would be one that could do many exercises at once. This is very similar to the needs of paraplegics who need comprehensive exercise therapy…Another way that astronauts' and paraplegics’ needs meet is in the need for strength augmentation…If exploring Mars is going to happen at a speed faster than running a marathon in a deep sea diving suit, some sort of power assist will be needed. On Earth, a similar power assist can make all the difference to some paraplegics when it comes to the question of whether they will ever walk…This 57-pound (25.85 kg) device is worn over the legs by means of a harness over the back and shoulders and consists of four motorized joints at the hips and knees with ten degrees of freedom and six passive joints for turning and flexing the foot…It also comes in two modes – power assist and inhibit…the clever bit about the X1 is that it can work in reverse. In its inhibit mode, the exoskeleton doesn’t lighten the load on the wearer’s muscles, it increases it. This turns the X1 into a multi-purpose exerciser that takes up little room or weight. For astronauts, this means that they can exercise while wearing the X1 and going about their duties, which the exoskeleton will make that bit more physically demanding. For paraplegics, an X1 programmed with a combination of assist and inhibit modes could also be used for rehabilitation or correcting gait problems…”
26.    Arctic winds caused Britain's washout summers  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9599109/Arctic-winds-caused-Britains-washout-summers.html  “Cool temperatures and endless rain could become the norm for British summers in future, according to experts from Sheffield University who studied the effects of climate change on wind patterns in the Arctic…they found that changes in the direction of Arctic winds were linked to global warming and a rise in unseasonal weather. Winds which normally blow from west to east have adopted a more wavy pattern, with stronger gusts blowing up from the Bering Strait, across the North Pole, and out to the Atlantic. This process shifts warm air and sea ice further north, contributing to warmer temperatures and the record loss of summer sea ice recorded this year…It causes high pressure over Greenland, making for warmer and sunnier summers and increased melting of land ice, which leads to the increased likelihood of extreme weather in mid-latitude areas including Britain…”
27.    Half of Great Barrier Reef lost over past 27 years  http://singularityhub.com/2012/10/13/half-of-great-barrier-reef-lost-over-past-27-years-more-to-come/  “…the Great Barrier Reef…has lost half of its coral cover over the last 27 years…Forces of both nature and man contribute, and if these processes continue to go unchecked the Reef’s coral cover could be decreased by another half by 2022. Over the same period as the current study, coral reefs in the Caribbean have diminished a staggering 80 percent. The prospects for coral life are so dire that some scientists have accepted the eventual calamity and have begun freezing away polyp material for a post-’reef armageddon’ revival…The study concluded that the loss of half of Great Barrier Reef degradation over the past 27 years was due mostly to storm damage (48 percent), Crown-of-thorns starfish (42 percent), and bleaching (10 percent), the loss of pigmented algae that the coral need to survive…”
28.    Microsoft To Go All-In With $1.5B Windows 8 Marketing Blitz  http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/12/microsoft-to-go-all-in-with-1-5b-windows-8-marketing-blitz/  “Windows 8 launches on October 26…Microsoft’s…reportedly prepped to properly support the product with a massive marketing campaign…the campaign costs between $1.5-$1.8 billion…unlike previous Windows versions, Microsoft has to sell the OS to the average consumer, the enthusiast and corporate IT manager. Windows 8 is different and not in a good way…Windows has featured the same flow for 17 years…there is a large chunk of the world’s populace who have only used Windows…Microsoft…knew that it was going to have to spend big money to convince users that different is good, and that Windows 8 is worth the trouble to learn a new workpath…The vast majority of this huge marketing campaign no doubt targets new computer buyers. The Windows 8 marketing blitz is likely designed to get people into Best Buy to purchase a new computer. For the first time in a generation, Microsoft can honestly advertise that Windows offers something different…”
Leisure & Entertainment
29.    Sling’s First New Hardware In Years, The Slingbox 500 And Slingbox 350  http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/09/sling-releases-its-first-new-hardware-in-years-the-slingbox-500-and-slingbox-350/  “Years ago, Sling Media…products…revolutionary…Then Sling sold to EchoStar for a redonkulous amount of money, and the world moved on. Broadcasters began putting their own clips online…Cable companies began producing their own apps for watching TV in other rooms of the house…the need for a Slingbox seemed moot…as a result, Sling never made it past the whole hobbyist market…But behind the scenes, Sling has been working on…a whole new line of products to help users stream their favorite TV shows to their favorite devices. It’s announcing today the Slingbox 500 and Slingbox 350, two brand new devices that…can stream up to full 1080p HD video to all the same smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other connected devices…The Slingbox 500 (priced at $299) also has new features, like built-in WiFi and dual-band 2.4 GHz/5 GHz support. It also supports HDMI input and output, and allows users to stream media from their mobile devices to the Slingbox, through a new feature called “SlingProjecting.” For now, that includes photos and videos, but could expand to other media …”
30.    YouTube's Top 1,000 Channels Reveal An Industry Taking Shape  http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/infographic-youtubes-top-1-000-channels-reveal-emerging-power-of-social-video.php  “YouTube…is slowly becoming a formidable medium in its own right, creating new business models and spheres of influence for - literally - a million rising stars…over one million YouTubers run ads on their content. To put it another way, YouTube writes checks to more than one million people monthly…The highest-performing 1,000 make a cool six figures a year…the average revenue for the top 1,000 channels is $23,000 a month for an average annual payout of $276,000…Many of the top YouTubers have been at it for years. They produce content regularly, and employ cameramen, editors, researchers, managers and writers…The data also sheds light on YouTube's premium content project, known as Original Channels. 23 of the 100 Original Channels made it into the top 1,000 in under a year…”
31.     Upgrade Your Smartphone’s Music and Podcast Abilities  http://lifehacker.com/5950742/upgrade-your-smartphones-music-and-podcast-abilities-this-weekend  “Smartphones are the go-to music player for most of us nowadays, but the built-in options aren't necessarily the best. This weekend, upgrade your listening experience with some new apps, tricks…The default music player on your Android or iPhone only does so much…On Android we prefer PowerAMP for its powerful equalizer, handy tag editor, broad file compatibility, and many customization options. On iOS, our top pick is the default player but many of us prefer alternatives like Panamp for its amazing playlist support and Track 8 for its elegant Zune-like interface…streaming services have a long way to go before they can replace our music libraries, that doesn't mean streaming services don't work wonderfully as secondary collections. Google Music is a great, free way to create a secondary online library. The web-based player works extremely well, and the Android app makes it a great option for your smartphone…If you want music you don't even own, you'll have to sign up for Spotify or Rdio. Neither service is perfect, and both cost a monthly fee to enable mobile streaming, but broaden your listening options significantly…Podcasts are awesome, too (like ours). Listening to podcasts on your phone is so much better when you have a great app like Doggcatcher for Android or Downcast for iOS. Both apps allow you to create custom topic-based playlists so you essentially have on-demand talk radio stations at your fingertips…”
32.    The Making of Doom: Id's shooter masterpiece  http://www.pcgamesn.com/article/making-doom-ids-shooter-masterpiece  “To celebrate the launch of Doom 3: BFG Edition, we’re taking a look back at the development of some of id’s classic games. We’ve previously seen how id took the legend of Castle Wolfenstein and invented the modern FPS. Today, we’re taking a look at their (arguably) best game: Doom. At the end of Wolfenstein 3D’s development, only four of team members that started the project, remained…When Doom was finished, eighteen months later, only two were left at iD. How did the super-team responsible for the world’s most influential first-person shooter fall apart?...Things you must remember about Doom; it's predecessor, Wolfenstein 3D, the first true FPS, sold a vast number of copies for its time – 100,000. A year and a half later, Doom sold a million, straight out of the door, with a further 9 million playing the free shareware version. How did Id manage this in a development window of just eighteen months?…”
Economy and Technology
33.    AMD preps layoffs that could hit 30 percent of its workers  http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57531659-75/amd-preps-layoffs-that-could-hit-30-percent-of-its-workers/  “Advanced Micro Devices…could let go 20 percent to 30 percent of its employees within coming weeks, according to people familiar with the matter, though they added that the number of affected workers might also be lower…AMD had 11,737 employees as of the end of the second quarter…The chipmaker, whose shares hit a multiyear low today, has been struggling of late. Rival Intel has been dominating the PC and server markets, while graphics competitor Nvidia has gained strong traction with its latest GPU…AMD laid off about 10 percent of its staff a year ago…The PC industry -- the most important market for Intel and AMD -- has slowed of late as consumers hold off on computer purchases in favor of smartphones or tablets. Tech research firms Gartner and IDC earlier this week said third-quarter PC shipments tumbled more than 8% year-over-year…Intel and AMD are both struggling to adapt to changes in the broader technology industry. They have traditionally competed against each other to provide processors for PCs and servers, and against Nvidia in graphics. But they now face new rivals, like Qualcomm, that have traditionally built low-power chips for phones…”
34.    Workday boosts its IPO price range  http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/09/workday-ipo/  “Workday is proof that enterprise companies are immune to the recent strain of disappointing IPO’s. The…cloud computing company and maker of human resources software was founded seven years ago by PeopleSoft veterans Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri. The company’s revenues have steadily increased in the past four years to $134.4 million despite stiff competition from Oracle. Today, the company employs about 1,500 people…it will raise about $569 million through the offering, and its value is pegged at $4 billion…investors’ confidence in enterprise companies is at an all-time high, with Sequoia Capital recently declaring that there is an enormous opportunity for such startups…”
35.    Wal-Mart’s New Prepaid Card May Be the Best Deal Yet  http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-10-09/wal-marts-new-prepaid-card-may-be-the-best-deal-yet  “Wal-Mart…and American Express are taking a big plunge into the prepaid debit-card market with a new card called Bluebird. The card has many features that are standard in regular bank accounts and seems to have remarkably few fees…Bluebird is the biggest sign yet that prepaid cards are evolving from a product for the poor and unbanked into a more mass-market offering that competes with regular checking accounts…The card has no monthly maintenance fees, and it’s free to load money on it through direct deposit, with cash at Wal-Mart, or via transfer from a checking account…Bluebird doesn’t allow overdrafts, so there will be no surprise charges for spending more than the account balance…it lets customers pay bills online and deposit checks by taking photos of them, a feature several major banks have added as recently as last month. Like many prepaid cards, Bluebird cards aren’t FDIC-insured and don’t have as much consumer protection as a standard checking account…”
36.    Microsoft CEO sees company becoming more like Apple  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/10/us-microsoft-ceo-idUSBRE8981GF20121010  “…Ballmer's comments…on Tuesday suggested that Microsoft may eventually make its own phones to build on its forthcoming own-brand Surface tablet PC and market-leading Xbox gaming console. "There will be times when we build specific devices for specific purposes, as we have chosen to do with Xbox and the recently announced Microsoft Surface," wrote Ballmer. The new approach mimics Apple Inc, whose massively successful iPhone and iPad demonstrated tight integration of high-quality software and hardware and made Windows devices feel clunky in comparison…Microsoft already makes money from providing services online, such as access to servers to enable 'cloud computing', or Web versions of its Office applications, but Ballmer's new emphasis suggests an acceleration away from its traditional business model of selling installed software. "This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company…”
37.    Lenovo now neck and neck with HP as PC market leader  http://www.tgdaily.com/hardware-features/66767-lenovo-now-neck-and-neck-with-hp-as-pc-market-leader  “Lenovo may - or may not - have knocked HP off its perch as the world's top PC supplier, depending on which analyst firm you believe…Gartner puts Lenovo in the top spot with 15.7 percent of shipments, with HP just behind at 15.5 percent…IDC has the positions reversed, with HP hanging on by a thread to the market leading position with 15.9 percent and Lenovo trailing slightly with 15.7 percent…What the two analysts do agree on, though, is that the total PC market has plunged far more than anyone was expecting. According to Gartner, they're down 8.3 percent from a year ago; 8.6 percent according to IDC…"A weak global economy as well as questions about PC market saturation and delayed replacement cycles are certainly a factor, but the hard question of what is the 'it' product for PCs remain unanswered…”
DHMN Technology
38.    Microsoft project tracks hand from wrist, could alter how we control devices  http://www.geekwire.com/2012/microsoft-research-project-tracks-hand-without-gloves/  “Motion tracking and gesture controls have become common with the rollout of Microsoft Kinect and other sensor-based devices. But what if the sensors were on your wrist, not across the room? Researchers from Microsoft, Newcastle University’s Culture Lab and Greece’s Foundation for Research & Technology  have come up with a way to track the motion of a person’s hand and model it in three-dimensional space from an array of infrared sensors mounted on the wrist. As demonstrated in the video…the approach lets users move their hand through the air to zoom in and out of a tablet, control the invisible “dials” of a stereo system, and interact with a game, among many other possible applications…this can happen pretty much anywhere, because the unit is self-contained on the wrist. Normally this type of setup would require the user to wear a sensor-laden glove…the prototype is bulky enough to get some very odd looks from people on the street, but the researchers say it will get smaller over time. “Ultimately, we would like to reduce Digits to the size of a watch that can be worn all the time,” says David Kim, a Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellow…”
39.    Twitter Founders, Valley Tech Giants Launch Concept Video To Make SF Smarter  http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/09/twitter-founders-valley-tech-giants-launch-concept-video-to-make-sf-smarter/  “It’d be awesome to use technology to fix some of the problems that San Franciscans see every day,” says Twitter chairman and Square founder Jack Dorsey, in an all-star video promoting San Francisco’s new open government and tech advocacy group, sf.citi…sf.citi aims to hand over more government services to volunteer “civic” hackers and coordinate support for policy reforms…At the local level in San Francisco, former mayor and current California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom ordered departments to release all non-confidential data to the public…recently, San Francisco saved itself thousands of dollars and many months of development time by giving a group of volunteer civic hackers beer, pizza, and access to the government’s data so they could develop an app for MUNI, the city’s municipal bus system…Californians can now register to vote online…” [odds are that the Daemon will first surface in SF or Silicon Valley and initiatives like this are laying the foundations for its emergence – ed.]
Open Source Hardware
40.    Open source Android thermostat  http://hackaday.com/2012/10/13/open-source-android-thermostat/  “…Put that old Android phone to good use by mounting it on the wall as a smart thermostat. This open source hardware and software project lets you replace your home’s thermostat with an Android device which adds Internet connectivity and all that comes with the increase in computing power…an IOIO board…makes it easy to interface any Android device with the simple hardware which switches your HVAC equipment. We’ve been waiting for the launch of the new IOIO design…Simply etch your own board to host the relays and voltage rectifier and you’re in business. There is a client and server app, both free in the Play Store. The server runs on the wall-mounted device with the client offering control via a network connection…”
41.     Open Source Hardware and the Law  http://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/open-source-hardware-and-law  “…At the end of my talk at last month's Open Hardware Summit, I urged the community to consider that open source hardware may be more of a political and cultural movement than a legal movement…I want to use this blog post to begin to expand upon what I meant…OSS takes a legal regime that can restrict sharing (copyright) and use it to promote sharing.  It accomplishes this through a legally binding license on the code…this slight of hand works because code is protected by copyright…The coder does not need to apply or register in order to obtain copyright protection on the code (although there are good reasons to register a copyright) – the mere act of writing the code means that it is protected by copyright. That copyright gives people something to license and a legal way to enforce that license…Code is protected by copyright.  Absent anything else, copying that code is a violation of copyright.  A license gives you permission, subject to certain conditions, to make a copy of that code…If someone infringes on your copyright, you can take them to court. This legal enforceability allows the OSS community to impose its own internal rules on people outside of the community…this legal enforceability is critical to protecting the ethos of OSS as it comes into contact with the wider world…check out Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman's new book The Knockoff Economy…As a general matter, copyright does not protect functional objects – objects that do things.  Copyright may protect decorative elements, or specific patterns on a circuit board, but…it is all but inevitable that critical elements of an OSHW product are not protected by copyright…trademarks cannot protect the functional elements of the product either…patents differ from copyright in a few critical ways…there is a burden to show utility, novelty, and nonobviousness…most hardware projects are “open” by default because their core functionality is not protected by any sort of intellectual property right.  Of course, in this case “open” means that their key functionality can be copied without legal repercussion…”
Open Source
42.    Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"  http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/10/canonical-asks-desktop-users-to-pay-what-you-think-ubuntu-is-worth/  “Canonical has long made the most popular desktop version of Linux, but actually making money off Ubuntu is easier said than done. When a typical user downloads Ubuntu for free and installs it on a computer with a Windows license that the user did pay for, Canonical gets nothing in the form of payment. There's nothing wrong with that—this is the open source world, after all, and many people contribute to Ubuntu with code rather than money. But starting this week, Canonical is presenting desktop OS downloaders with an optional donation form. "Pay what you think it's worth," and "Show Ubuntu some love" are among the messages users will see, and downloaders can direct their donations to specific parts of Ubuntu development…”
43.    Free, open source VirtualBox lags behind VMware and Parallels  http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/10/virtualbox-is-free-and-open-source-but-lags-behind-vmware-and-parallels/  “Our Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion shootout took a deep dive into the two most successful commercial virtualization products for the Mac, but many of you had questions about VirtualBox, the free and open source desktop virtualization software currently offered by Oracle. Both Parallels and VMware offer plenty of features for home and business users, but is VirtualBox an acceptable alternative for the cash-strapped? The focus of this article, as it was in our VMware and Parallels comparison, will be on running Windows 7 and Windows 8 guests on an OS X host, but VirtualBox's cross-platform nature means that many of the observations made in this article will also apply to VirtualBox running on Windows and Linux hosts…For this article, I have attempted to evaluate VirtualBox both on its own merits and based on the criteria we laid out in our Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion shootout. I used a 2011 iMac with OS X 10.8.2 installed, and tested 64-bit versions of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 running in VirtualBox 4.2.1…The biggest problem with VirtualBox, at least in OS X, is its inconsistency—even simple features like USB pass-through support or importing virtual hard drive files from other programs either don't work consistently or don't work at all, and more complex (though increasingly crucial) features like 3D are even more problematic…VirtualBox is free, which is great, and it has made some tentative strides forward in the last few years—the addition of OS X guests is a plus, and the rudimentary 3D support is nice to have if your apps can use it without crashing. If you need virtualization for serious work, though, the commercial products will quickly earn their keep…”
44.    GPL-ed digital logic circuit design and simulation package for Linux and Raspberry Pi  http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2012/09/06/smartsim-gpl-ed-digital-logic-circuit-design-and-simulation-package-for-linux-and-raspberry-pi/  “Itching to create complex, digital logic circuits? How about giving SmartSim a try. If the name is new to you, SmartSim is a digital logic circuit design and simulation package that lets you “create your own custom components and including them in other circuits, as if they were any other built-in component. These larger circuits can then also be included in other designs as sub-components.” SmartSim was created using the Vala object-oriented programming language, the GTK+ and Cairo graphics libraries by then 16-year old sixth form student Ashley Newson from Oxford, UK. He fully believes in the Free Software development philosophy and thus released SmartSim under the GNU General Public License version 3. SmartSim gives you the ability to create hierarchical designs, interactive simulations, and is touch screen-friendly. For a teenager, Ashley is not just a good coder, but a good writer as well. Read his history of SmartSim here…”
45.    Best Free Linux Cad Software & Their Features  http://linuxblog.darkduck.com/2012/10/best-free-linux-cad-software.html  “…the Linux OS provides amazing opportunities for creativity when it comes to computer aided designs applications and implementations. But, as a designer trying to experiment with ideas or striving to come out with a unique result, you are tempted to try out free CAD software which you can easily download and start making use of…To make things easier for you, here are…free CAD programs that are Linux based…FreeCAD…QCad…BRL-CAD…Open CASCADE…” [for more info, read all the comments… - ed.]
Civilian Aerospace
46.    Water-mining lunar robot from Carnegie Mellon University  http://www.gizmag.com/polaris-ice-prospector-moon/24471/  “…the only way that a lunar colony has any chance of success is if there is water already on the Moon. With water, a colony could grow crops, generate air and even make fuel for visiting spaceships. Without it, any stay on the Moon must be a short one…recent NASA and Indian orbital probes detected possible water deposits at the lunar poles. The ice is there because some of the craters are perpetually in shadow, which keeps it from boiling away. Unfortunately, this also makes prospecting difficult…Astrobotic’s answer is Polaris. Designed to operate at the lunar poles, it is purpose built for prospecting. "It is the first rover developed specifically for drilling lunar ice…Polaris is five and a half feet (1.67 m) high, seven feet (2.13 m) wide, about eight feet (2.43 m) long and weighs 150 pounds (68.03 kg). In addition to its own weight, it can carry another 150 pounds as well as the weight of a drill. With its two-foot (60.96 cm) composite wheels and special suspension, it can travel over rough terrain at about one foot (30.48 cm) per second…In the next months, Astrobotic will test and improve Polaris’ vision, navigation and planning software. The flight date for Polaris has not been announced, but once arriving on the Moon, the rover will spend ten days traveling three miles (4.82 km) and drilling ten to 100 holes in the lunar surface…”
47.    Satellite burns up following SpaceX rocket glitch  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/12/us-space-spacex-idUSBRE89B18M20121012  “An experimental communications satellite flying piggyback aboard a Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 9 rocket fell out of orbit and burned up in the atmosphere following a problem during liftoff…Orbcomm declared the satellite a total loss and filed a claim under an insurance policy worth up to $10 million, "which would largely offset the expected cost of the OG2 prototype and associated launch services and launch insurance,"…Orbcomm had planned on reaching an altitude of 466 miles above Earth, but fell well short of the mark after one of the Falcon rocket's nine Merlin engines shut down early following launch on October 7…With its remaining eight engines making up the lost power, the rocket successfully completed its primary mission, sending a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station. The flight was the first of 12 for NASA under a $1.6 billion contract…Due to the engine shutdown, the Falcon 9 used slightly more fuel and oxygen to reach Dragon's intended 202 mile- (325-km) high orbit. Over the next 2.5 days, Dragon flew itself to the station's orbit 250 miles above Earth. It reached the $100 billion outpost, a project of 15 countries, on Wednesday…Despite declaring the satellite a loss, Orbcomm said it met several key objectives of the test flight, including deploying the spacecraft's solar array and its communications antenna. Several spacecraft systems, such as power, flight control, thermal and data management also were tested…On Friday, astronauts aboard the space station had finished unpacking more than 75 percent of the 882 pounds (400 kg) of cargo aboard the Dragon capsule and were looking forward to a little treat - ice cream…Among the Dragon's cargo was a freezer that will be used to store scientific samples. For the ride up, SpaceX stashed chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
48.    NVIDIA Launches CUDA 5 Production Release  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-10-15/nvidia_launches_cuda_5_production_release.html  “NVIDIA today made available the NVIDIA CUDA 5 production release…for accelerating scientific and engineering applications on GPUs…the new programming features of the CUDA 5 platform make the development of GPU-accelerated applications faster and easier than ever, including support for dynamic parallelism, GPU-callable libraries, NVIDIA GPUDirect technology support for RDMA (remote direct memory access) and the NVIDIA Nsight Eclipse Edition integrated development environment (IDE)…GPU threads can dynamically spawn new threads, allowing the GPU to adapt to the data. By minimizing the back and forth with the CPU, dynamic parallelism greatly simplifies parallel programming. And it enables GPU acceleration of a broader set of popular algorithms, such as those used in adaptive mesh refinement and computational fluid dynamics applications…To help developers maximize the potential of parallel computing with CUDA technology, NVIDIA has launched a free online resource center for CUDA programmers at http://docs.nvidia.com. The site offers the latest information on the CUDA platform and programming model, as well as access to all CUDA developer documentation and technologies, including tools, code samples, libraries, APIs, and tuning and programming guides…”
49.    Solving the Multicore Dilemma  http://www.flowlang.net/p/solving-multicore-dilemma.html   “Very few people are aware of the fact that the world is headed towards a massive software train-wreck…in our desire to continue the progress of Moore's Law, the human inability to write good multithreaded code is actually leading us towards an era of significantly buggier software…no compelling programming paradigms for general parallel systems have yet emerged…Recommendation: Invest in research and development of programming methods that will enable efficient use of parallel systems not only by parallel systems experts but also by typical programmers"…The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level? Fuller & Millett (Eds.); Committee on Sustaining Growth in Computing Performance,, National Research Council…Intel can no longer give us faster CPUs, just more of them…It would be great if a startup could give us something of the old Moore's Law back, by writing software that could make a large number of CPUs look to the developer like one very fast CPU. There are several ways to approach this problem. The most ambitious is to try to do it automatically: to write a compiler that will parallelize our code for us. There's a name for this compiler, the sufficiently smart compiler…Paul Graham is right, we need "the sufficiently smart compiler". It's the only way to solve the multicore dilemma…We need to be able to continue writing programs that specify what we want done, not how to break up the workload into pieces that can be run in parallel -- the compiler should worry about that…To answer Paul Graham's question, no, writing "the sufficiently smart compiler" is not impossible. In fact, it is simple to prove mathematically that the sufficiently smart compiler can in fact be built…Lattice-based computing presents a completely general model of computing that should scale from CPUs to GPUs to massive compute clusters: there's no reason you shouldn't be able to generate pthreads code, GPU/CPU hybrid code and Hadoop code from the exact same source, potentially providing to programmers the Holy Grail ability to write once, parallelize anywhere…A programming language that implements these ideas, currently named "Flow" ("flowlang") is in the early stages of prototyping…”

*****

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