NEW NET Weekly List for 06 Nov 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 06 Nov 2012, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurism and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net
1.        Join the Open Wireless Movement!  http://www.freepress.net/blog/2012/10/31/join-open-wireless-movement  “Imagine a world in which, neighborhood by neighborhood, people stop putting password locks on their Wi-Fi networks and instead share their Internet connections with their neighbors, giving everyone in their community access to a fast and open Internet. There are policy proposals that, if implemented, would connect our communities. And we at Free Press are working hard with our many allies to make those visions a reality. But in the meantime, there's a lot that Internet users can do themselves to make sure everyone gets connected. That's why we at Free Press are proud to join a coalition led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in launching the Open Wireless Movement. This effort is designed to show Internet users around the country how they can open up their Wi-Fi networks and build a fabric of Internet connectivity throughout their communities…”
2.       Voting online: still a rare exception  http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/Voting-online-still-a-rare-exception-4010828.php  “…New Jersey said it will permit voters displaced by Superstorm Sandy to vote electronically…voters have to confirm their e-vote with a follow-up mail-in ballot…After Hurricane Katrina…the Louisiana government implemented similar measures…In California, only overseas and military personnel protected under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act can cast ballots via e-mail…Why does it take a catastrophe for any state to tap an everyday communication medium as a means to vote?...ballots are supposed to be secret and untraceable back to the voter, and that if votes are sent by e-mail, they'll create a record in the server…In the cases of ballots from overseas military personnel, voters must waive their right to a secret ballot…Servers can fail. And with encryption and security measures varying among e-mail providers, ensuring a secure transaction is tricky…An alternative to voting by e-mail is a government-administered secure website that voters could access to submit ballots…e-commerce transactions and voting - while seemingly similar on the surface - are very different behind the scenes. "People have the illusion that e-commerce transactions are safe because merchants and banks don't hold consumers financially responsible for fraudulent transactions that they are the innocent victims of…the businesses absorb and redistribute the losses silently, passing them on in the invisible forms of higher prices, fees and interest rates. Businesses know that if consumers had to accept those losses personally, most online commerce would collapse…unlike spreading costs around within a large bank, polling places can't compensate for erroneous votes. Some supporters of online voting argue that vote tampering already occurs in the in-person and mail-in balloting procedures we now use, so we may as well modernize it…”  [would you prefer to be able to vote online? – ed.]
3.       Obama turns to Reddit for last-minute votes  http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-obama-reddit-election-20121106,0,4784123.story  “With just a few hours left in the election, President Obama turned back to Reddit in a last-minute plea for votes. Obama made headlines in August when he used Reddit, an up-and-coming social news site, to interact with young, tech savvy voters in a question-and-answer session. On Tuesday, he went back to Reddit to remind readers to vote. "I'm checking in because polls will start closing in this election in just a few hours, and I need you to vote," Obama said on Reddit, the self-proclaimed "front page of the Internet." "If you’ve voted already, don't stop there -- spread the word to your friends, roommates and neighbors. Think of it as upvoting," Obama said…”
4.       Facebook to offer ‘classifieds’ alternative to Craigslist  http://www.thedaily.com/article/2012/10/31/103112-tech-news-facebook-hickey/  “Facebook is testing a new service that might make Craigslist a thing of the past. Two sources within Facebook, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, have independently told The Daily that development of a classifieds project is on a fast track, not just as a way to not just engage its millions of users but also as a way of allowing them to engage each other. The new tool, which is tentatively called Marketplace (borrowed from another deprecated Facebook app) would allow users to create short advertisements that appear in their friends’ news feeds notifying them of everything from apartment rentals to furniture sales to job boards. In short, practically anything you do on Craigslist can be done with this new service…”
5.        Amazon Taunts Retailers, Netflix With $8-Per-Month Prime Plan  http://www.wired.com/business/2012/11/amazon-monthly-prime-plan/  “Only a company as sprawling and powerful as Amazon could take a popular service, make it more expensive, and still reasonably expect that competitors will cringe at the move. Yet Netflix as well as retailers online and off all have reason to fret over Amazon’s recent decision to offer shoppers the option of paying $7.99 per month for Amazon Prime rather than a single $79 annual fee…Amazon Prime offers subscribers free two-day shipping as well as access to its online streaming video library and Kindle lending library. As Amazon points out right on the signup screen for Prime, you save more than 20 percent when you choose the annual option, or about $17 per year…many of us would opt for the monthly plan anyway. Either our monthly budgets can’t absorb the higher one-time outlay, or $7.99 instead of $79 just feels cheaper, even though we know from basic arithmetic that it’s not. This is a basic trope of behavioral economics: We tend to place less value on delayed gratification, even if the reward in the end is greater. Beyond that basic human tendency, Amazon is also counting on us to notice that $7.99 is the monthly price of a Netflix streaming video-only plan…”
6.       Update: How Khan Academy Is Reinventing Education  http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelnoer/2012/11/02/one-man-one-computer-10-million-students-how-khan-academy-is-reinventing-education/  “…Despite the cramped, dowdy circumstances, youthful optimism at the Khan Academy abounds. At the weekly organization-wide meeting, discussion about translating their offerings into dozens of languages is sandwiched between a video of staffers doing weird dances with their hands and plans for upcoming camping and ski trips…It’s a prototypical Silicon Valley ethos, with one exception: The Khan Academy, which features 3,400 short instructional videos along with interactive quizzes and tools for teachers to chart student progress, is a nonprofit, boasting a mission of “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.” There is no employee equity; there will be no IPO; funding comes from philanthropists, not venture capitalists…The next half-century of education innovation is being shaped right now. After decades of yammering about “reform,” with more and more money spent on declining results, technology is finally poised to disrupt how people learn. And that creates immense opportunities for both for-profit entrepreneurs and nonprofit agitators like Khan…global spending on education is $3.9 trillion…The site covers a staggering array of topics–from basic arithmetic and algebra to the electoral college and the French Revolution…Over the past two years Khan Academy videos have been viewed more than 200 million times. The site is used by 6 million unique students each month (about 45 million total over the last 12 months), who have collectively solved more than 750 million problems (about 2 million a day), and the material, which is provided at no cost, is (formally or informally) part of the curriculum in 20,000 classrooms around the world. Volunteers have translated Khan’s videos into 24 different languages, including Urdu, Swahili and Chinese…”
7.        Windows Live Messenger will die to pave the way for Skype  http://www.geek.com/articles/microsoft/windows-live-messenger-will-die-to-pave-the-way-for-skype-2012115/  “…Windows Live Messenger, which many still refer to as MSN Messenger, will reportedly be retired in order to reduce confusion and fragmentation among users. For the millions of existing Windows Live Messenger users, there won’t be a major change. Rather, some day in the near future, they will simply be transitioned into Skype. In fact, the current version of Skype already allows users to log in with their Windows Live credentials…Until recently, it was fairly uncommon for someone to use platforms from the same company for all their online interactions. You could have an Xbox 360 for gaming at home, but on-the-go you have an iPhone, and then when you need to IM someone you use Google Talk. The value proposition of using a universal platform for all those services hasn’t really been that great. In the Windows 8 era, though, Microsoft wants to change that. Skype is just one part of the overall strategy, but the hope is that soon you’ll have one account that you use to chat with friends on your game console, on your computer, on your smartphone, and on your tablet…”
8.       Amazon Lockers arriving at Staples stores  http://www.geekwire.com/2012/amazon-lockers-arriving-staples-stores/  “Amazon.com has struck a deal to put its new locker system — which allows customers to order products online and pick them up at physical locations — in Staples stores…Staples is the largest office supply retailer in the world, with more than $25 billion in annual sales and about 88,000 employees. It has more than 1,800 stores throughout the U.S. That could give the Amazon Lockers program, which has remained in relative stealth mode since it was first discovered late last year, a big boost…We’ve covered the Amazon Lockers from the time that they started popping up at 7-Eleven stores in the Seattle area last year…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
9.       Georgia outs Russia-based hacker -- with photos  http://www.itworld.com/308638/irked-cyberspying-georgia-outs-russia-based-hacker-photos  “…the country of Georgia…has published two photos of a Russia-based hacker who, the Georgians allege, waged a persistent, months-long campaign that stole confidential information from Georgian government ministries, parliament, banks and NGOs…the intrusions originated from Russia, which launched a five-day military campaign in August 2008 against Georgia that was preceded by a wave cyberattacks….photos of the hacker were taken after investigators with the Georgian government's Computer Emergency Response Team…managed to bait him into downloading what he thought was a file containing sensitive information…The investigation uncovered a sophisticated operation that planted malicious software on numerous Georgian news websites, but only on pages with specific articles that would interest the kinds of people that the hacker wanted to target…The agency quickly discovered that 300 to 400 computers located in key government agencies were infected and transmitting sensitive documents to drop servers controlled by the hacker…Investigators found the hacker was connected with at least two other Russian hackers as well as a German one. He was also active on some cryptography forums…They allowed the hacker to infect one of their computers on purpose. On that computer, they placed a ZIP archive entitled "Georgian-Nato Agreement." He took the bait, which caused the investigators' own spying program to be installed. From there, his webcam was turned on, which resulted in fairly clear photos of his face. But after five to 10 minutes, the connection was cut off, presumably because the hacker knew he had been hacked. But in those few minutes, his computer…was mined for documents. One…document, written in Russian, contained instructions from the hacker's handler over which targets to infect and how. Other…evidence…included the registration of a website…used to send malicious emails. It was registered to an address next to the…Federal Security Service, formerly known as the KGB…"We have identified Russian security agencies, once again," it concludes…”
10.     Why I (now) hate Apple  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/carroll/why-i-now-hate-apple/1925  “…I haven't been a huge fan of their products, but to my mind, Apple was just the vendor of a product that I used infrequently, if at all. They weren't something to get worked up about…Recent events, however, have led me down the path of outright dislike of Apple as a company. I do own a Mac computer, though that is because of my wife, who was a Mac fan…Mac just isn't my bag, and I have little problem letting it be someone else's…the iPhone…is a beautiful product…The iPhone, however, has some rather pernicious aspects…the battery…cannot be replaced by users…by artificially raising the cost of a replacement battery, you make the user that much more likely to buy a new device rather than go through the expense of merely replacing the battery…iPhones are locked so that you can only install applications from iTunes…Developers must design, build and test their application BEFORE they find out whether Apple will even accept it on their digital store shelves…Apple has ported this closed model to larger form factors with the iPad…Imagine, for a moment, the hue and cry if Microsoft did such a thing…All those things, however, I would still categorize as mere rumbles of discontent…That all changed, however, with Apple's recent decision to sue Chinese handset manufacturer HTC over a series of patents…Think Apple's patents are really that innovative? Take Patent #5,455,599, "Object-oriented graphic system," which, by my reading, every user interface developed anywhere in the past 15 years infringes. Or, consider Patent #6,424,354, "Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods", where Apple essentially claims to own the Listener design pattern…I can't think that Apple's executive team…actually believe their own BS. They CANNOT honestly believe they really own what they claim to own…When was the last time a Google (the real target of the HTC lawsuit) or Microsoft used patents as a way to actively SHUT DOWN a competitor?…I am 100% certain that Apple infringes on STACKS of both companies "intellectual property"…What Apple is trying to do is prevent companies from building phones with multi-touch user interfaces. They want to freeze innovation in the space so that they are the only ones to have the features people want. That's wrong, plain and simple…congratulations Apple. You have managed in the past three years to turn what was simply a preference for other products into an active dislike of yours…”
11.      E-voting machine swaps Obama vote for Romney; taken offline  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9233311/E_voting_machine_swaps_Obama_vote_for_Romney_taken_offline  “An electronic voting machine was temporarily taken out of service in Perry County, Pa., after a voter filmed it changing his vote for President Obama into one for Gov. Mitt Romney. The voter, using the handle "centralpavoter," posted a video on YouTube earlier today purporting to show his attempts to cast a vote for Obama on what appears to be a touchscreen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machine. Despite repeatedly clicking on Obama's name, the machine keeps highlighting Romney's name on the machine, the video showed…”
12.     Wisconsin Warns: If You Tweet Photos Of Your Completed Ballot, You Can Go To Jail  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121106/09260420947/wisconsin-warns-if-you-tweet-photos-your-completed-ballot-you-can-go-to-jail.shtml  “…mixed in with all those local laws concerning camera usage inside a polling place are some that could cause trouble for people doing something quite ordinary. For example, it appears that people in Wisconsin who decide to Instagram/Tweet/Facebook an image of their ballots, have committed a class I felony, election fraud. And this doesn't appear to just be a law that the state is going to ignore either. It's been issuing warnings to people that they could face felony charges if they do post those photos. Undoubtedly, many will be unaware that they're committing election fraud when they thought they were just showing civic pride. One hopes that officials in Wisconsin, and other states, take the context into account before moving forward with any legal responses.”
13.     Android 4.2 App Scanning Utility  http://hothardware.com/News/Google-VP-of-Engineering-Offers-Inside-Scoop-On-Android-42-App-Scanning-Utility/  “One of the most talked-about features of Google's upcoming Android OS, 4.2, has been its app-scanning capabilities. Similar to a solution like Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows, Android's new scanning feature will be able to quickly tell you if the side-loaded APK you're about to install is dangerous…While the term "scanning" makes it sound like a top-level service would literally dig deep into the app (or APK), it's actually much simpler than that. When you try to install an APK, Google will capture a signature and send it back to its main servers. If there's a match, either with a good or bad flag, you'll quickly see the result…this app-scanning shouldn't offer a noticeable delay in getting an APK installed…Much like how the company scours the Web for its search engine, so does it also for APKs. This allows the company…to learn of new techniques that rogue APKs are implementing…This app-scanning capability is disabled by default, only prompting you to enable it (if you want) the first time you install an out-of-store APK…Also coming in 4.2 is the addition of icons to the "Device Access" section of an app install screen. This will allow you to easier spot functionality you don't want any apps to have…”
14.     Judge throws out Apple patent lawsuit against Google  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/06/apple-vs-motorola-mobility-u-s-judge-dismisses-apple-patent-licensing-lawsuit/  “A judge in a U.S court has dismissed a case brought by Apple against Google-owned Motorola Mobility. Apple had complained Motorola was seeking excessive royalties for standards-essential patents…Motorola sought 2.25 percent of the price of Apple products that use some of its patents…Being standards-essential, the patents in question must be licensed by Motorola under FRAND (fair and non-discriminatory) terms…the Judge at the federal court in Madison, Wisconsin…late yesterday dismissed the case…The reason for the judge’s dismissal of the case appears to be Apple taking up a position last week that it would not consider itself bound by her FRAND rate if it exceeded $1 per product…given Apple’s position…the judge…wrote: “It has become clear that Apple’s interest in a license is qualified…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
15.     Are wearable computers and bio-implants the future of mobile?  http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2012/11/04/perpetually-connected-are-wearable-computers-and-bio-implants-the-future-of-mobile/  “…In the digital sci-fi series “H+”, wireless implants are regularly injected into a population who seem comfortable with the idea of invasively combining biology and technology.  The characters of H+ willingly insert the equivalent of our current mobile device tech into their bodies, transforming them into mobile connected entities…In the first episode of the H+ digital series, we watch a couple driving…The passenger views the interior of the car and the external environment through a Heads-Up Display interface…when the icons stay floating directly in the passenger’s field of vision even when she’s turned her head away from the windscreen, it’s obvious that the display is actually embedded in the passenger’s visual field. This system is an advanced…example of…a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)…we do have two technologies that strongly relate to this version of humanity…The first is Wearable Computing, and the other is BCIs in the style pioneered by technophile and guru Steve Mann. Wearable Computing is…devices that can either be worn directly on the body, or incorporated into a user’s clothing or accessories…A person’s computer should be worn, much as eyeglasses or clothing are worn, and interact with the user based on the context of the situation…There’s been significant advancements in the field of Wearable Computing over the last two decades, including the development of smartwatches like IBM’s Linux Watch and the currently-kickstarted Strata by Metawatch…In current wearable tech terms, real interest lies in the rapidly growing field of Head-Mounted Displays…such as Google Glass, the Sony’s HMZ-T2 3D display, TTP eyewear, Vuzix Video sets, Social Video Sharing Glasses from Vergence Labs, and the Occulus Rift unit. More eyewear than traditional head-set, Google Glass still exemplifies just how far wearable computing has come…criticism levelled at Google Glass includes the lack of dual visual overlay…Another type of eyewear-based wearable computer that attempts to tackle this problem is new tech produced by a company called The Technology Partnership (TTP). This tech looks like standard eyewear, complete with traditional frames…the lenses reflect back to the viewer a projected image directly on the centre of the lens, which insures users maintain their natural gaze rather than repeatedly redirecting it in order to access the augmented information…Other concerns centre on the long-term health impacts of using such technology…Steve Mann is…a self-proclaimed cyborg. He’s been instrumental in the development of what he terms “Bearable Computing”. Such bearable (or body-borne) devices can be worn on the body or incorporated into the body itself…These EyeTap Glasses can be fixed to Mann’s skull and connect to his brain via a BCI. This allows Mann to record a permanent visual log of his life – called Lifelogging…Another potential problem of BCI usage is the potential for hackers to infiltrate and extract sensitive data: the Emotiv EPOC headset has recently raised such concerns. The EPOC “neuroheadset” is designed for thought-controlled output…It uses a set of sensors…to detect player thoughts, feelings and expressions and connects wirelessly to most PCs.”…Another positive of BCI use would be beating the gadget hype cycle through the removal of external design characteristics…if the Apple iPhone 5 had been constructed and deployed as a BCI, the issues of “delight fatigue”…just wouldn’t apply.  Also, if the temptation to remotely disable any user’s smartphone camera ever gets too much for Apple (now that the patent has been granted), a BCI version could prove much harder to disable – would Apple want to admit to even temporarily blinding customers?…”
16.     Efficiency Breakthrough Promises Smartphones that Use Half the Power  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506491/efficiency-breakthrough-promises-smartphones-that-use-half-the-power/  “Powering cellular base stations around the world will cost $36 billion this year—chewing through nearly 1 percent of all global electricity production. Much of this is wasted by a grossly inefficient piece of hardware: the power amplifier…The versions of amplifiers within smartphones suffer similar problems…these chips waste more than 65 percent of their energy…an MIT spinout company called Eta Devices…say they have cracked the efficiency problem with a new amplifier design…the technology could slash base station energy use by half…a chip-scale version…could double the battery life of smartphones…the company…hopes that its work on a smartphone chip will ultimately lead to a single power amplifier that can handle all of the different modes and frequencies used by the various global standards, such as CDMA, GSM, and 4G/LTE…In large base stations, the power amplifier typically takes 67 percent of the power…The new amplifier would reduce overall power consumption by half…about a million new macro base stations are being deployed each year…”
17.     Samsung Sells Three Million Galaxy Note II Smartphones in One Month  http://www.booksnreview.com/articles/1594/20121102/samsung-galaxy-note-2-release-triumphs-smartphone-sells-apple-iphone.htm  “…The "Phablet" is a winner. In just a little over a month since its launch, Samsung has sold more than 3 million of its Galaxy Note II smartphones…The Note series is one of the two key mobile devices from Samsung on the high-end smartphone segment, along with flagship Galaxy S III smartphone, helping Samsung make a profit responsible for more than 70 percent of the company's quarterly sales. The latest version of the Note features a screen measuring 5.5 inches diagonally and a digital pen for note-taking…”  http://www.zdnet.com/ten-great-things-to-do-with-the-samsung-galaxy-note-ii-7000006842/  “…The Galaxy Note II is a big phone, but for those data centric people like me it is nearly the perfect device. I haven't picked up my Google Nexus 7 since I bought the Note II as the large 5.5 inch display satisfies my small tablet needs with the additional functionality of the S Pen and integrated cellular service…here are 10 cool things I do with my Samsung Galaxy Note II: Take notes with the S Pen…Experience Air View: I heard about Air View and thought it was a gimmick, but the ability to hover over the week and month views of my calendar and see the details for appointments is very useful. I also find web browsing with the Air View scrolling to be efficient…Use Google Now: I kept going from my Galaxy S III back to the Galaxy Nexus because I found the Google Now function in Android Jelly Bean to be so useful. Google Now acts as your assistant without you having to do anything directly…Drive with Google Maps Navigation…Capture photos with my voice…Watch movies on the big screen…Read ebooks…Perform engineering work: As an engineer that conducts shipchecks from time to time, the Note II is great for working on a ship to review and markup drawings with AutoCAD WS…Play games…Browse the web…”
18.     30 million Galaxy S IIIs  http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gh63BqV75XMhOBNQXI9R0o06qWYg  “Samsung…sold more than 30 million flagship Galaxy S III smartphones in about five months, making it one of the fastest selling smartphones in the world…the S III is selling at a much faster rate than its predecessor announced a year ago, the Galaxy S II. The S II took 14 months to hit 30 million sales…”
19.     B&N drops prices on Nook Tablet and Nook Color  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33198_7-57544756-286/b-n-drops-prices-on-nook-tablet-and-nook-color/  “Now that Barnes & Noble's new $199 Nook HD tablet is starting to ship to customers, the company has lowered the prices on last year's Nook Tablet models to $179 (16GB) and $159 (8GB), and reduced the price of its entry-level Nook Color to $139…Earlier this week the company started shipping its Nook HD, which competes with the Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 7, and Apple's iPad Mini; it comes in 8GB ($199) and 16GB ($229) models. While the Nook HD leaves off a camera and doesn't have the breadth of apps and media selections (movies, music) that Amazon and Google offer with their latest tablets, the Nook HD has the highest resolution screen for a 7-inch tablet, is lighter than the Amazon Fire HD, and has an expansion slot for additional memory…”
20.    Standard laptop resolution of 2560 x 1600?  http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/linus-torvalds-wants-2560-x-1600-as-the-standard-laptop-display-resolution-20121031/  “It wasn’t until a friend of mine looked at a Samsung Nexus 10 and said “man, this has the same resolution as one of my 30″ desktop monitors at home” that it hit me…we’ve been under the impression for some time now that 2560 x 1600 was a resolution that was either unnecessary, overly expensive, or simply technically unobtainable on mobile devices. When Apple released their new 13″ MacBook Pro, the idea of such an incredible resolution immediately set that laptop apart from the rest…Linus Torvalds…took to Google+ with a complaint for the tech industry. His post calls out the stagnation, and possible regression, of laptop resolutions over the past decade…It’s 2012 and we still have 15″ laptops being manufactured with 768 vertical pixels, many of which are being stuffed into Ultrabooks and being sold at a premium price. Smartphones, in the mean time, are soon to be released with 1080p displays…if you look at these pixel poor laptop displays, you find yourself quickly looking at the resolution of the rest of the devices in your house. Your desktop monitor and your television lagged out at right around the same place. 2560 x 1600 for a desktop monitor is pricey on a good day, and it just plain doesn’t exist for your television…”
21.     Microsoft Surface RT More Profitable than iPad, Teardown Analysis Reveals  http://www.isuppli.com/Teardowns/News/Pages/Microsoft-Surface-RT-More-Profitable-than-iPad-Teardown-Analysis-Reveals.aspx  “The Surface RT model with the minimum 32 gigabytes of NAND flash memory and an optional black Touch Cover carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $271.00, according to…IHS iSuppli…When the $13.00 manufacturing expense is added in, the total cost to manufacture the Surface rises to $284.00… “The Surface represents a key element in Microsoft’s strategy to transform itself from a software maker into a devices and services provider,” said Andrew Rassweiler…“Key to this strategy is offering hardware products that generate high profits on their own…Microsoft has succeeded with the Surface, offering an impressive tablet that is more profitable, on a percentage basis, than even the lucrative iPad based on current retail pricing…”
22.    Google Search vs. Siri: Voice search speed test  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-57543201-233/google-search-vs-siri-voice-search-speed-test-video/  “…Siri has a distinct advantage in most cases because it's integrated with the iOS. This means…Siri knows what apps you have and has the access to launch apps for you. Google Search doesn't have this kind of access. What Google Search does have access to is the most-used search engine in the world, and with the upgraded Voice Search, it seems it also has the fastest voice results available. I performed a number of tests by asking both Siri and Google Search the same question to see how long it took for each to give me results…But it's also clear that if you're a search junkie who likes to use voice search, the Google Search app may not have the same access, but it is quite a bit faster than Siri…”  [just a follow-up from last week to see if Andy has used Google’s updated voice search since last week’s NEW NET meeting – ed.]
23.    Mobile apps upending video game industry  http://www.boston.com/business/innovation/2012/11/01/mobile-apps-upending-video-game-industry/UnPw0t2ZBnyLJ83Iz6uHjK/story.html  “…Instead of firing up her PlayStation or Nintendo Wii, the 27-year-old patent lawyer whips out her iPhone for ­instant access to her own portable arcade. “If I’m on the bus, I’ll play it then, or if I need a break in the office,” Ingegneri said. “Sometimes I just want to play a game and do something fun instead of sitting there and reading patents.” The swift migration of gamers such as Ingegneri from costly consoles to smartphones and tablets, where games are often free or 99 cents, is causing a tectonic shift in the video game industry…Zynga Inc., the San Francisco company that ­pioneered social gaming on ­Facebook with FarmVille, shut its Cambridge office and laid off 45 employees as part of a broad cost-cutting plan that included cutting staff in Austin, Texas, and offices overseas. It also phased out 13 games…with 60 percent of Facebook’s 1 billion users logging on from mobile devices, traffic on FarmVille and other Zynga games is way down…“The people on mobile ­aren’t playing FarmVille, so Zynga is losing them,”…Games are the number one category of sales at Apple Inc.’s App Store; tablet users spend 67 percent of their time on the devices playing games…”
24.    Google’s Nexus Strategy In A Nutshell: Cheap Mobile Internet Everywhere  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/05/googles-nexus-strategy-in-a-nutshell-cheap-mobile-internet-everywhere/  “Google unveiled an entirely new line of Nexus devices in a range of shapes and sizes, from the Nexus 4 smartphone to the Nexus 10 tablet, and some aspects of the product launch proved confusing. Why build a smartphone with modern specifications across the board, and then leave out LTE connectivity? Or why push more and improved Nexus tablet hardware, when there’s a surprising paucity of apps designed for those screens?...The bottom line is that what Google wants to do with Nexus is a completely different thing from Apple’s strategy with its own iOS hardware, or, for that matter, from the goals of other OEMs creating Android devices…If you look globally that’s something we worry more about, not so much about competing with other smartphones, but more about, how can we get more people onto the Internet on mobile phones? And that’s a big deal. That’s why low cost is so important…The obvious goal of the Nexus program is then not to sell the most of any single kind of device, but to drive prices for quality hardware down to the point where it becomes universally accessible…the Nexus 4′s lack of LTE…seen in the context of a company trying to strike a balance between power and affordability…makes a lot more sense. Google’s Nexus program is an experimental path towards mobile internet ubiquity…”
25.    Android at 5: Google was smart to not launch the Gphone 5 years ago  http://bgr.com/2012/11/05/android-fifth-anniversary-analysis-google/  “It’s officially been five years since Google…failed to release a “GPhone” that would compete head-to-head with Apple’s newly-released iPhone. Instead, Google announced a new open-source operating system called “Android” that…would be free to use for both device manufacturers and app developers…any attempt by Google to compete against Apple on its home turf would have been a failure…Google…had no experience designing its own hardware back in 2007 and its first attempts to do so would have undoubtedly looked clumsy compared to Apple…Google changed the rules by simply providing a free software platform and telling device manufacturers and app developers to run wild with it…According to the latest numbers…Android has a U.S. smartphone market share of 52.5%, nearly 20 percentage points higher than iOS…even though Apple has long ruled the tablet market, Android tablets…accounted for 41% of all tablets shipped last quarter…while Android may not be a major profit center for most manufacturers, it has been a major boon for many consumers who now have an enormous variety of devices to choose from…”  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2013557/android-turns-5-today-hits-75-percent-of-the-smartphone-market.html  “…of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped worldwide in the third quarter of 2012, 136 million units, or 75 percent, were Android devices…”
26.    Google Wallet Gets Real  http://www.informationweek.com/development/mobility/google-wallet-gets-real/240012795  “Google reportedly is preparing to release a physical version of Google Wallet, its electronic payment system. The Google Wallet Card is intended for circumstances when customers cannot use their software-based, mobile phone-bound Google Wallet, due to a merchant's lack of support for NFC payments…Google Wallet stores credit and debit cards issued by payment card providers American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. It presently exists as an Android app and it recently became a cloud service: On Thursday, Google introduced Google Wallet for online commerce, a payment mechanism that stores Wallet credentials in the cloud after an initial purchase, so subsequent purchases can be made without re-entering personal or payment information…The Google Wallet Card appears to be designed to serve as a physical proxy for the default credit or debit payment card that the user has set. For example, if the user has stored an American Express card and a Visa card in Google Wallet and set the Visa card as the default, any purchase made with the Google Wallet card will be charged to the Visa card…”  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/11/google-wallet-payment-card-details-quietly-show-up-in-companys-tos/
27.    Google promises less power-hungry Chrome  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57545985-93/google-promises-less-power-hungry-chrome-for-some/  “…Google claims the updated version of its Chrome browser can lead to longer battery life for your computer -- if you have a dedicated graphics card. The search giant unveiled the latest version on its blog today, touting the browser's ability to run GPU-accelerated video. Since separate graphic processing units are more power efficient than running off of a computer processing unit, the new Chrome can save a lot of battery life for anyone who watches online video. Batteries tested with Chrome running GPU-accelerated video lasted 25 percent longer than the older version…”
General Technology
28.    Pacemaker Powered By Heartbeat, Not Batteries  http://io9.com/5957655/power-your-pacemaker-with-your-heartbeat  “One of the big downfalls of the pacemaker (apart from their newly discovered vulnerability to hacking) is that every couple of years you have to open up a person again in order to install a new set of batteries. So why not tap the body to power this device directly?...A pacemaker actually requires only a very small amount power to do its thing, which is why they tend to last five to seven years between replacements - and the body is more than capable of producing enough energy to do so…M. Amin Karami of the the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has developed a pizoelectric energy harvester that should be capable of powering a pacemaker. Using a shaker to reproduce the level of vibrations seen in the heart, his team reproduced 100 simulated heartbeats at various rates — and harvested ten times the amount of power required to keep the pacemaker going…”
29.    A Holographic Microscope for Just $250  http://www.technologyreview.com/view/506961/a-holographic-microscope-for-just-250/  “Traditional microscopy is a powerful tool for imaging small objects, such as cells. However, anybody who has used one will know its limitations: a tiny field of view and a shallow depth of field. That makes it hard to get a sense of the three dimensional shape of objects like cells.  One clever way round this is to make a hologram of the sample. The idea here is to split a laser beam in two, use one as a reference beam and bounce the other off the sample to record the pattern of phase shifts that this produces using a digital camera…With the appropriate image-processing software. it’s possible to change the depth of focus, correct optical aberrations and reconstruct the 3D shape of the sample…Digital holographic microscopy has the potential to be incredibly cheap…Atsushi Shiraki at the Kisarazu National College of Technology in Japan, and a few pals…have built a digital holographic microscope using a web camera, a small solid state laser, an optical pinhole and free open source software. The total cost: just $250…The entire machine is light and portable, fitting in the palm of the hand…That's a handy machine that could play a useful role both in field studies for professional researchers and in schools where value for money is a key factor in equipment purchases…”
30.    BP Plant Cancellation Darkens Cellulosic Ethanol’s Future  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506666/bp-plant-cancellation-darkens-cellulosic-ethanols-future/  “When BP backed out of building a $350 million, 36-million-gallon-per-year plant…last week, the cellulosic biofuels industry…lost one of its most promising projects. The cancellation raises the question, if BP can’t bring cellulosic ethanol to market, can anyone? BP had already started developing a 20,000-acre farm to grow special crops for the plant, such as a type of sugarcane that produces larger amounts of biomass and less sugar than the kind used to make sugar and ethanol in Brazil…the cellulosic industry is struggling, despite years of promises and an ambitious federal renewable fuels standard, which took effect in 2010, that mandates a market for cellulosic ethanol that was to have reached 500 million gallons per year by now and a billion by next year. The first commercial plant hasn’t been built, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has had to repeatedly waive the cellulosic ethanol requirement…Now that BP has backed out, prospects look considerably dimmer. BP says it will still fund research to develop cellulosic ethanol, but it’s decided the $350 million it would need to fund the plant would be more profitably spent elsewhere…”  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506561/biofuels-companies-drop-biomass-and-turn-to-natural-gas/  “Calysta Energy, a recently unveiled startup…plans to make diesel fuel that costs half as much as  conventional diesel. It says it has demonstrated, at a small scale, that microorganisms that naturally feed on natural gas can be engineered to make diesel and other chemicals, and it projects that the process will be far cheaper than conventional thermochemical methods for making liquid fuels from natural gas. The company…is attempting to capitalize on cheap natural gas made possible by fracking…Coskata, a biofuels company that had originally intended to make ethanol from wood chips and other cellulosic sources, recently announced that its first commercial plant will use no biomass. Instead, it will use microorganisms to convert natural gas into ethanol, a process it’s demonstrated in a small pilot-scale plant for about five years…Calysta’s CEO, Alan Shaw, says…the company has shown that the microorganisms can produce propylene oxide, a chemical used to make polyurethane plastics. Advanced biofuels companies—including Codexis, where Shaw was CEO until earlier this year—have struggled to commercialize their technology. Under Shaw’s leadership Codexis received nearly $400 million from Shell to develop biofuels made from cellulosic sources. Shaw left Codexis under pressure from the board…a few months after he left, the company announced that Shell would stop funding its biofuels research. Shaw…says that he was wrong to think biofuels produced from biomass could replace fuels made from petroleum. “Biomass doesn’t cut it,” he says. “Carbohydrates are not a substitute for oil. I was wrong in that, and I admit it. That will never replace oil because the economics don’t work. You can’t take carbohydrates and convert them into hydrocarbons economically…”
Leisure & Entertainment
31.     Use Free Google Docs Tools: NaNoWriMo Tip #2  http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/use-free-google-docs-tools-nanowrimo-tip-2_b60076  “…This is our second NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. As writers around the country join the writing marathon this month, we will share one piece of advice or writing tool to help you cope with this daunting project. Five Ways to Use Google Docs for NaNoWriMo…1. Collaborate with others. No one said this has to be an individual activity. Work with others to create an elaborate story in real-time…2. Write while you’re on the go. Now you can edit documents while you’re on the go…3. Add facts and data. With the research pane in Google Docs, you can easily find facts, quotes, maps and images from the web and insert it into your story…3. Look at your progress (and back up if you need to). In the revision history interface, changes are color-coded based on each collaborator, making it easy to tell what has been added or deleted and by whom…5. Track your progress…”
32.    Technology and Storytelling, Part 1: Transmedia World-Building  http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/10/technology-and-storytelling-1/  “Technology is changing the way we receive and experience entertainment. Over the course of three or four posts, I want to talk about several interesting trends in storytelling. Today’s post looks at three new storytelling worlds, each of which span a variety of media platforms, and examines why the entertainment industry will be producing more of them for the foreseeable future…A few years ago, the word “transmedia” became a hot topic among entertainment circles…Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story…These transmedia projects allow them to create multiple avenues for audiences to experience their products — the success of both Marvel and DC as movie studios have proved the profit behind the model — but they seem to continuously miss Jenkins’ point about dispersing the storytelling across the genres… At PAX this year, Wizards of the Coast eagerly discussed…their Rise of the Underdark campaign going on across the various genres of the D&D media properties…WotC sees these storylines as a means to help unify the D&D experience, no matter what media is used to play. They plan to introduce a new storyline on an annual basis, giving players a new set of worlds and characters to explore each year…After a long drought, SyFy is finally returning to SciFi, and I am intrigued by both the premise of their new show…Defiance takes place nine years after Earth has been terraformed to be an ideal place for an alien civilization…One of the most interesting adventures in the world-building style of transmedia is Angel Punk by Relium Media, a small start-up company out of Portland, Oregon. Relium has taken the world-building aspect of transmedia and turned it into a business plan…”
33.    Make Sure to Have Fun and Other NaNoWriMo Tips  http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/11/nanowrimo-tips/  “…for those doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), especially for the first time, I have compiled a list of some things that work for me…and, hopefully, will help some of you…1. Have fun…2. Don’t worry about selling the manuscript…3. A corollary to #2: No writing is ever wasted…4. Write out of order…5. Write for ten minutes a day…6. Learn to write with distractions…”
34.    NaNoWriMo Tip #1: Read Two Years’ Worth of Advice in a Single Post  http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/nanowrimo-writing-tips-in-a-single-post_b60041  “…To help the GalleyCat readers taking this challenge, we will be offering one piece of NaNoWriMo advice every day this month…Our first tip is simple: follow our advice from the previous years! Since 2011, we have collected 60 pieces of advice for marathon writers. You can explore all those writing tips below–tune in tomorrow for some fresh advice…1. Write in the Cloud…2. ‘Don’t Finish.’…3. Cliche Finder Stops Cliches Before They Start…4. Take the Fantasy Novelist’s Exam…5. Use a Name Generator…6. Seek Library Write-In Support…7. Consult Role Playing Game Plots…8. Best Pandora Stations for Writing…”
35.    Where Hollywood And Tech Collide: Disney To Buy ‘Star Wars’ Maker Lucasfilm  http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/30/disney-to-acquire-lucasfilm/  “…entertainment juggernaut Walt Disney Company will buy Lucasfilm, the film production company best known for making the Star Wars series, in a cash-and-stock deal worth $4.05 billion. This is a major payday for George Lucas, the screenwriter, director, and geek world icon who is the chairman and 100 percent owner of Lucasfilm…Lucasfilm is not just a film production company — it also makes video and computer games through its LucasArts division, visual effects technology through its Industrial Light and Magic arm, animation through Lucasfilm Animation, and more. The company has maintained an interesting balancing act between tech and showbiz for some 35 years, employing a number of graphic designers and engineers at its headquarters in San Francisco. Lucasfilm has been an outlier of sorts from the rest of the entertainment business…Disney is…building up its technology mettle — this is the third major M&A deal it has completed in recent years in this space. In 2006, Disney acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion, and in 2009 it acquired Marvel for $4 billion…”
Economy and Technology
36.    Rich dose of innovation will improve prosperity  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10845339  “…Sean Gourley, the founder of a $20 million high-tech business in California's Silicon Valley, believes Auckland is well placed to become an innovation hub. "You have great talent coming out of the universities, creative, hardworking software developers on a par with anyone anywhere in the world,"…talented people would stay in Auckland and others…would move here if they had the right (working) environment…Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) is determined to create a culture of innovation that drives long term economic growth…Gourley says Auckland's appeal would rise if it builds high density living in the city centre with creative outlets where entrepreneurs can meet, chat and spark ideas…it is important to strengthen connections with Los Angeles and San Francisco for promotion and investment opportunities…Gourley indicated he would consider opening an office in Auckland's new Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct…Auckland Council's vision, outlined in its 30-year plan, is to become the world's most liveable city. Ateed - one of the council subsidiaries - has the mandate of improving New Zealand's prosperity by leading the successful transformation of Auckland's economy…The Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct will be a showcase for the world class research and high-tech ventures; stage one is under way…"We want everyone to work collaboratively as a unified Auckland growth engine, and we will be using a new transparent approach, a combination of technology combined with traditional principles like kotahitanga. Our business survival rate for start-up companies is high, and pace is important. We have the iwi of Tamaki Makaurau emerging from the settlement process energised and ready to partner to grow our city…Next March, Auckland will host the latest Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme workshop…"This is a reflection of the good work we've been doing in Auckland and New Zealand in developing innovation-based entrepreneurship, and targeted initiatives like innovation precincts, the Food Innovation Network, Health Hub and Advanced Technology Institute." Ateed is focused on export-led growth opportunities. It has targeted three key sectors where there is the greatest opportunity for business and export growth - food and beverage…information and communications technology, including screen and digital content…and life sciences including health technology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Ateed is also supporting growth opportunities in areas like marine, tourism, niche manufacturing and advanced materials, sustainability and clean technology sectors, and international education…The FoodBowl - Te Upu Kai, located near Auckland airport, has seven state-of-the-art processing halls and provides businesses…The FoodBowl is focused on development rather than research and it can become the focal point for New Zealand's capability around food safety and security…Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct…kicked off in March when 3D mapping and simulation company, Nextspace, moved into Pakenham St West…The new Advanced Technology Institute…will likely have a significant presence in Wynyard Quarter. The precinct, designed as a campus, will provide 48,000 sq m of office space…Ateed is also looking at the potential of a media village concept which could include large and small screen production and incorporate education and training, expanding opportunities for Auckland youth to get involved with the sector…Auckland is also part of the recently-launched New Zealand Health Innovation Hub…Ateed is also focused on providing services and assistance through its six offices interfacing with business customers across Auckland. "We will continue to provide access to R&D funding, business capability assessments, acceleration and awards programmes, increasingly in collaboration with business and industry organisations…”
37.    No IPO for Kickstarter, and No Equity Crowdfunding Either  http://allthingsd.com/20121105/kickstarter-ceo-no-ipo-for-us-and-no-equity-crowdfunding-either/  “…Kickstarter…has pushed nearly $350 million into 76,000 projects since April 2009, with 44 percent of them reaching their goals and thus the cash. But…Kickstarter…has no intention of cashing out…we don’t ever want to IPO. We want to build this institution for generations…Kickstarter has no plans to get into equity crowdfunding — where small backers would get a piece of the companies they fund…“We think the most disruptive aspect [of Kickstarter] is the removal of the investment component,” Chen said. “People are supporting projects because they want to see them happen. It’s so different than giving money because you want to make a profit.”…most ideas in the world aren’t necessarily going to make lots of money, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist…The company has had to make efforts to clarify what it is not. After lots of attention for Kickstarter hardware projects — and also the ongoing delays that many of them are experiencing – a blog post authored by Chen and his co-founders last month proclaimed “Kickstarter Is Not a Store.” “It’s not Best Buy,” Chen said today. “You’re supporting somebody at a decently early stage, and you should understand that’s what you’re getting involved in…”
38.    Digital Corridor built on Charleston, innovation  http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Digital-Corridor-built-on-Charleston-innovation-4005537.php  “A decade ago, as property values on the Charleston peninsula were skyrocketing, wages based largely on tourism and service industries were nowhere near keeping pace. That problem proved the genesis of the Charleston Digital Corridor, a successful economic development strategy that created a public-private effort growing startup technology companies that could pay higher salaries. "We were risking creating a third-world country of haves and have nots," said Ernest Andrade, who has headed the corridor since its inception in 2001…The corridor helps startup knowledge and computer-based businesses with incentives, training and finding employees. The next step is to provide startup capital and grants as well…Corridor members are involved in everything from software development and interactive marketing to video production and information technology consulting…The corridor has 94 member companies that pay employees an average wage of about $67,000, well above the regional average of about $40,000 and the state average of $38,000. A recent survey of corridor members showed that all added employees this year and almost three-quarters plan to add new workers by years' end…The city budget for the corridor is about $300,000 which provides four jobs…”
39.    Bloomberg / government innovation contest finalists  http://online.wsj.com/article/APf891a37f26b44911996094157d7e4fab.html  “…20 cities around the country have been chosen as finalists in a government-innovation contest sponsored by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's personal foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies. Here are the cities and proposals that now get to compete for a $5 million grand prize and four $1 million awards:  Boston: Using cloud computing to put student data under control of parents and guardians and empower them to share it with educators and entrepreneurs…Chicago: A data-analytics system that will aggregate data from all city departments and identify patterns in real time…Cincinnati: Monitoring, increased prenatal care, education and home visit follow-ups…for every new mother giving birth in the city's poorest and most medically underserved ZIP codes…Durham, N.C.: Creating "Proof of Concept" labs in three struggling communities to foster entrepreneurship…High Point, N.C.— Adapting a noted anti-gang-violence program to the problem of domestic violence…Hillsboro, Ore. — Creating transportation hubs that allow for such alternatives as bike sharing, car and ride sharing, hourly rental cars and van pools…Houston: Creating a system that lets people throw all waste, including recyclables, into one bin and use a range of technologies to sort it automatically…Indianapolis — Creating spots for 30,000 students through partnerships between charter and traditional public schools…Knoxville, Tenn. — A project…to encompass the entire urban food cycle by using vacant lots to grow food, establishing certified kitchens to process food, and…enable food distribution to those in need and produce sales to local establishments…Lafayette, La. — Applying game-design thinking and mechanics to civic behavior…Lexington, Ky. — A system that analyzes data on how the city is doing, in areas ranging from crime to jobs, and invites volunteers to suggest solutions and even implement them…Milwaukee — Designating many of some 4,000 city-owned vacant lots and foreclosed homes for urban agriculture and urban homesteading…Philadelphia: Engaging entrepreneurs in framing social challenges and seeking solutions…Phoenix: Create 15 "smart-energy districts," using a matrix of options such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and other choices…Providence, R.I. — Use new technology and state home visitation services to equip every family in the city to measure children's household auditory environment and close vocabulary deficits in real time…Saint Paul, Minn. — Streamlining the permit application process for residents, developers, and businesses, in a way inspired by TurboTax…San Francisco — Matching job-seekers with volunteering opportunities on city projects to create efficiencies and promote workforce development…Santa Monica, Calif. — Create a wellbeing index to reorient the definition of success, seeking to achieve a measurable wellbeing increase in five years…Springfield, Ore. — A plan to provide universal, cost-effective access to primary healthcare through the development of mobile primary care units, staffed 24 hours a day…Syracuse, N.Y. — Create an "International village" to welcome and create economic opportunities for refugees and other immigrants, while channeling investment into an area of underutilized residential and commercial buildings.”
DHMN Technology
40.    Picade and Picade Mini desk top arcade cabinets for Raspberry Pi  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pimoroni/picade-the-arcade-cabinet-kit-for-your-raspberry-p  “…Want an awesome mini arcade cabinet for your home or desk at work? Want it to double up as a second screen for your computer when not playing arcade classics? Want to build it yourself?...The Picade and Picade Mini are high-quality desk top arcade cabinets for your Raspberry Pi…designed and manufactured with care in Sheffield, UK…The Picade and Picade Mini come in kit form for you to build at home. All parts, panels, and components are included - you just need to supply the Raspberry Pi. The only tools you'll need are a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. Total build time is around one hour and full instructions are included with the kit. You then load up your Raspberry Pi with whatever games or emulators you want to play, hook it up to the Picade and have a blast!...”
41.     Kickstopped: Affordable 3D Printer Put on Hold  http://www.wired.com/design/2012/10/pandabot-cancelled/  “Less than a month into their Kickstarter project to build a “friendly, affordable 3-D printer,” Panda Robotics has canceled their seemingly on-track campaign for PandaBot. “We don’t want our Kickstarter backers, those who put their money on the line for us, to settle for a beta product,” the team wrote today on their blog and their Kickstarter page. The Panda Robotics Team decided to drop the project so it could make a better printer later on. They also cite interest in the project from distributors and academic institutions, which could indicate other support for the PandaBot…Panda Robotics is still targeting early 2013 as a release date for the PandaBot, and are offering backers a T-shirt and a $200 credit toward the printer when it becomes available…”
42.    He created his own job in computer-assisted 3D design and printing  http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Montrealers+Under+Daniel+Finkelstein+works+three+dimensional+world/7504668/story.html  “…Daniel Finkelstein…had a habit of taking apart anything he could get his hands on. “As soon as something was broken, and probably even before it was, I would start dismantling it,”…In 2009, he graduated from Concordia University in mechanical engineering. Unable to find work…he took an unpaid internship at Furni, a startup on de Gaspé St. in Mile End that makes stylish wooden clocks…quietly, he nurtured a plan to create a company of his own…by the fall of 2010 he was in business. The firm is called Consult Development, and Finkelstein…is its sole employee, for now. Consult Development specializes in computer-assisted 3D design and printing for retail outlets that need display models, product manufacturers making prototypes, and architects. Its office is a space called Studio 215 that Finkelstein shares with Furni and a dozen other designers…the centre of Finkelstein’s humble operation: a 3D printer. Made by the American firm Objet, it cost $40,000 and was Finkelstein’s single biggest investment…Finkelstein designs on his desktop PC and Macbook Pro laptop, then sends the design to the printer’s computer, which formats it…one project he’s working on: a bird’s-eye view of a data centre that a local client wants to build; the firm is looking for investors and needs to show in an animated way what a typical centre will look like…Vert.com in Old Montreal, specializes in arrays of computer servers stacked vertically…the company wanted a 3D version, so Finkelstein printed a model about the size of a Kleenex box. Other products include a miniature chair for a store in N.D.G. that sells them as pendants…he made a 3D model of a shoe and printed it as a promotional model…a lot of industries that could use this technology…but they don’t know about it or don’t know how much it costs or are afraid of it,” said Finkelstein…Does he make a decent living? “I have done some projects that do bring in a lot of money,” Finkelstein replied. “It’s just that it’s hard to keep it constant. There is a lot of potential in the industry…”
Open Source Hardware
43.    Hardware hacking from the comfort of your web browser  http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/11/circuits-io/  “Hardware hacking is super trendy right now, and Circuits.io is the latest trend-surfer to ride that wave. The simple web-based tool lets you design and share circuits from inside a web browser…Circuits.io was created earlier this year by Karel Bruneel and Benjamin Schrauwen, two academics and tinkerers specializing in electronics design. The general concept behind the site was to make hardware/electronics design as easy as making software. Ergo, Circuits.io’s goals are threefold: To help you design circuits based on pre-designed electronics modules; to hide the software’s complexity behind simple, easy-to-use interfaces; and to fully embrace the open-source hardware movement…”
44.    Build your own robot with Multiplo  http://singularityhub.com/2012/10/25/build-your-own-robot-with-multiplo/  “They were educators frustrated by the lack of flexible, easily accessible tools for teaching robotics. So they created the Multiplo Robot Building Kit, an open source robot building system meant to help people “learn by doing.”…their Kickstarter campaign…reached their original goal of $15,000 in just two days and, by the campaign’s end, raised over $132,000. The kit comes with everything you need to build your own robot. They say it takes only about 45 minutes to assemble a robot. No specialized knowledge or soldering required, as the pieces – servos, plates, arms, sensors, control unit – are made to fit easily together. The controller is called DuinoBot and is compatible with the Arduino microcomputer that handles motor outputs and connects to sensors. And people with the knowhow can use Arduino IDE to give their robots more advanced functions…It also comes with simple graphics-based software – also the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign – that beginners can use to program commands. A major priority in creating Multiplo was its simple, open source hardware. To “learn by doing,” builders are encouraged to reproduce the parts and eventually start coming up with their own designs…”
45.    Do-It-Your(Cell)f Phone from MIT Media Lab  http://hlt.media.mit.edu/?p=2182  “…By creating and sharing open-source designs for the phone’s circuit board and case, we hope to encourage a proliferation of personalized and diverse mobile phones. Freed from the constraints of mass production, we plan to explore diverse materials, shapes, and functions. We hope that the project will help us explore and expand the limits of do-it-yourself (DIY) practice. How close can a homemade project come to the design of a cutting edge device?...The initial prototype combines a custom electronic circuit board with a laser-cut plywood and veneer enclosure. The phone accepts a standard SIM card and works with any GSM provider. Cellular connectivity is provided by the SM5100B GSM Module, available from SparkFun Electronics. The display is a color 1.8″, 160×128 pixel, TFT screen on a breakout board from Adafruit Industries. Flexures in the veneer allow pressing of the buttons beneath. Currently, the software supports voice calls, although SMS and other functionality could be added with the same hardware. The prototype contains about $150 in parts…”
Open Source
46.    How a NASA Open Source Startup Could Change the IT Universe  http://www.datamation.com/feature/how-a-nasa-open-source-startup-could-change-the-it-universe.html  “Tang and velcro aren't the only things that NASA helped to invent that are part of our modern world. NASA has also played a pivotal role in the emergence of cloud technology that could reshape the vast IT world here on Earth. Chris Kemp, the first CTO of IT at NASA, helped to lead an effort at the U.S. space agency to create a cloud compute platform. The original 9,000 lines of code, known as Nova, have become the cornerstone of the OpenStack cloud project. OpenStack now has the backing of major IT vendors, including IBM, Dell, HP, Cisco, AT&T…When Kemp started at NASA back in 2006, he helped to lead the partnership with Google…"It was through working with Google that I came to realize how much of a force multiplier it was to give every one of your employees access to infinite compute and storage resources," Kemp said. "That's really what the people that work at Google feel that they've got." In contrast, at the same time NASA engineers were…budget restrained in terms of compute resources. So Kemp wanted to see what would happen if those engineers were given access to a large pool of compute and storage infrastructure…Kemp noted that prior to NASA he had broad experience in the startup world, including Classmates.com…Kemp motivated his team of NASA engineers the same way that he would a team at a startup company. He tried to find people from across the organization and motivate them by giving them something important to do…"A lot of OpenStack's success has to do with people that deep down inside were inspired by the space program and wanted to contribute code to a project that they knew would help NASA to explore the solar system…OpenStack could possibly be one of the most successful spinoffs in the history of NASA…”
47.    Linux-on-ARM project Linaro backed by Facebook, Red Hat and HP  http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/operating-systems/3408773/linux-on-arm-project-linaro-backed-by-facebook-red-hat-hp/  “Red Hat, HP, Facebook and other big vendors have joined a project to develop Linux OS software for the upcoming generation of ARM-based servers…Advanced Micro Devices, Applied Micro, Calxeda, Canonical, Cavium and Marvell are among the other companies to join the Linaro Enterprise Group within Linaro, a not-for-profit, multivendor engineering group. They join existing members ARM, HiSilicon, Samsung and ST-Ericsson. Building an ecosystem of software and hardware is seen as essential for ARM-based servers  to succeed, and Linux is a big part of that. ARM servers are expected to be adopted initially by big online service providers, many of whom rely on Linux in their operations…”
48.    Steam for Linux beta launches with 26 games  http://www.slashgear.com/steam-for-linux-beta-launches-with-26-games-06255876/  “…Steam for Linux beta…launched today, giving a selection of users a first glimpse at Steam running on Linux. The beta is limited-access, so users needed to sign up to get an invite…Valve has been working on this beta for quite some time, testing it internally over and over again before finally letting some of its users in on the action. Team Fortress 2 comes included with the client download (it is free-to-play after all), but if you want to play some other games, you’ll be pleased to know that there are a total of 26 Linux games now available on Steam. Most of these titles are indie games, but there is one full-fledged retail game – Serious Sam 3: BFE – that sticks out from the bunch. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the indie games that are available for Linux on Steam have been featured in the Humble Indie Bundle before – one of the big draws of the Humble Indie Bundle is that it supports Windows, Mac, and Linux. You’ve got titles like World of Goo, Space Pirates and Zombies, Dungeons of Dredmor, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent to pick from, so it sounds like it’s time to get to playing…”
49.    Debian Wheezy Pre-Review  http://cannonblast.net/christofoo/debian-wheezy-pre-review  “Debian, my favorite OS, is frozen and on schedule to make another stable release, Wheezy, within the next few months. I've installed Wheezy on my "new" Thinkpad T420 and got some interesting results to report, particularly on idle power consumption (battery life)…The T420 would have been around $1,000 brand new, I managed to snag one for $425, and it had an SSD!...I could have got a T410 significantly cheaper, but after reading many reviews I was convinced that the Sandy Bridge delivers ~20% better battery life when idle. 20% idle power means a lot to me…Debian Wheezy was a clear choice over Squeeze, since Squeeze used kernel 2.6.32 which doesn't support the TRIM command, which purportedly is a very good thing for SSDs. Anyways Wheezy is close enough to release for me to trust it. Enabling TRIM after installing Wheezy was as simple as adding "discard" to the /etc/fstab options for the SSD - after I checked that my Kingston 128GB SSDNow supports TRIM (every modern SSD should)…This is the one I read on optimizing Linux for a SSD. There are a few additional little pointers there. For example I set my 'swapiness' to 1, which is fine since I have 4 whopping GB of RAM…”
Civilian Aerospace
50.    Kickstarter project for Plasma Jet Electric Thrusters for Spacecraft  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2027072188/plasma-jet-electric-thrusters-for-spacecraft  “…Our vision is to design, build, and experimentally demonstrate a prototype pulsed plasma jet thruster targeted for orbital maneuvering, asteroid/comet rendezvous, orbital debris cleanup and interplanetary transportation. Our company, HyperV Technologies Corp., has extensive experience designing, building, operating, and deploying extremely high performance single-shot plasma accelerators of many different shapes, sizes, and power levels…We believe this same basic pulsed plasma jet technology can be adapted to increase the robustness and decrease the cost of spacecraft electric propulsion, thus opening the door to many new exciting robotic and manned space missions. Our first step with this project is to successfully demonstrate repetitive operation as a thruster. We invite you, the citizens of Earth, to join with us as we design, construct, test, and execute this demonstration…”
51.     Flight Tests For Vortex Rocket Combustion  http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_11_05_2012_p43-512097.xml  “An innovative combustion-chamber setup that was flight-tested last month could cut the cost of rocket engines by eliminating the need for regenerative cooling. Orbital Technologies Corp. (Orbitec), a Madison, Wis.-based space-technology company, flight-tested a version of the 30,000-lb.-thrust liquid-propellant rocket engine it is developing for the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Upper Stage Engine Program (Ausep) and other in-space applications….the Oct. 20 sounding rocket test…validated the company's “vortex” engine technology, which injects fuel and liquid oxygen so that the burning mixture does not touch the walls of the combustion chamber, allowing them to be thinner, lighter and lower cost…the company hopes to eliminate the need for costly cooling tubes or channels that circulate unburned fuel through the combustion chamber walls to prevent them from overheating…In the vortex approach, oxidizer is injected into the combustion chamber at an angle that sets up a pair of coaxial vortices (see illustration). The swirling motion provides better mixing with the fuel, with combustion occurring in the innermost vortex. The outer vortex protects the chamber walls and other surfaces from the heat of the combustion…Potential applications range across the spectrum of thrust levels. The approach could also include rocket-based combined-cycle engines that start off using atmospheric oxygen before shifting to liquid oxygen at high altitude…”
52.    SpaceX Tests Grasshopper Precision Landing Rocket  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/11/spacex-nasa-milestone-ccicap/  “…SpaceX…is finished with the first three performance milestones set out by NASA for the agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability program. The CCiCap initiative…is designed for carrying crew to low Earth orbit…Eventually SpaceX wants to employ a fully reusable space launch system. Currently, the Falcon 9 booster rocket isn’t put back into service after splashing down in the Atlantic at the end of the first stage. The company has pointed out in the past that airlines don’t throw away the airplane after every flight…In the future SpaceX plans to use rocket engines to allow the Falcon 9 to return to Earth in a controlled flight, with a precision landing at a specified landing site. On Saturday SpaceX founder Elon Musk sent out a video showing the latest (short) flight testing the company’s precision landing rocket. “First flight of 10 story tall Grasshopper rocket using closed loop thrust vector & throttle control,” Musk tweeted. Similar to the previous Grasshopper flight, the rocket lifts off the pad for a short flight and returns safely to the ground. While the flight might not look like much, a controlled landing from even a low height as seen in the video is no easy task…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
53.    HPC System at Boston University Hits 80 Teraflops with GPU Upgrade  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-10-31/hpc_system_at_boston_university_hits_80_teraflops_with_gpu_upgrade.html  “Boston University engineering and science researchers now have top-tier computing power that enables them to run simulations of unprecedented complexity…as they explore disciplines like aerodynamics, bioinformatics, particle physics and others. The gift of 160 graphics processing units – or GPUs – increases the power of an existing system fivefold to 80 teraflops in peak performance. GPUs have a capacity that is useful for researchers seeking mathematical representations of highly complex models. Previously, if researchers wanted to run these kinds of complex simulations, they needed to apply for time on the massive computers housed at government-funded national laboratories around the county, a highly competitive and time-consuming process…Assistant Professor Lorena Barba…is working with a biologist…studying a species of Southeast Asian snake that glides in the air between trees. The biologists have video of the snake in flight, but that doesn’t provide the engineer with enough understanding of the aerodynamics…“These snakes are very good gliders, but you can’t put a snake in a wind tunnel,” Barba said, so computer modeling is the most effective way for the engineer to study it. Barba, who has won several honors for her GPU-related research, hopes to glean enough data from the video and other sources, feed them into the computer and emerge with a three-dimensional model of the aerodynamic forces at work…”
54.    Gene Sequencer Breaks $1000 Barrier with NVIDIA GPUs  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-10-31/gene_sequencer_breaks_$1000_barrier_with_nvidia_gpus.html  “NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators are enabling Life Technologies Corporation's new Ion Proton System to accelerate primary genome-sequence analysis – the computation that generates DNA base pairs – by over 16 times. This will dramatically reduce the cost to sequence an entire human genome from about $1 billion a decade ago to $1,000 in the near future…"By democratizing genome sequencing, we expect to see an unprecedented wave of innovation in life sciences and the advancement of clinical research."…Setting new standards for performance, ease of use and affordability, the Ion Proton System enables researchers to rapidly go from multiplex sample sequencing to genome-scale sequencing on a single platform. At one-fifth the cost of light-based genome-scale sequencing systems, it can save researchers hundreds of thousands of dollars…”
55.     DreamWorks Outsources Animation Work to Chinese Petaflopper  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-10-08/dreamworks_outsources_animation_work_to_chinese_petaflopper.html  “China's number one supercomputer, Tianhe-1A, is apparently in the movie-making business. An article in China Daily this week reports that the 2010 TOP500 crown-winner is being used to help create animated films for DreamWorks.  Tianhe-1A delivers 2.5 peak Linpack petaflops, which still earns it 5th place on the current list. It's one of a new breed of hybrid CPU-GPU petaflop systems that are making their presence felt in the upper echelons of supercomputing. The Tianhe-1A animation work is being done in conjunction with a local rendering firm: Cool Cartoon in Tianjin. According to the company's chairman, Hu Yong, they're in the process of developing a data transmission system for sending the rendered output back to clients in North America. Super-rendering is just one Tianhe-1A task though. The article also describes work being done to support the country's first official 3D map, Tianditu, China's version of Google Earth. According to Meng Xiangfei, who heads the application group at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, where Tianhe-1A is hosted, they're developing software that will improve the quality of the 3D map…”



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