2012/11/20

NEW NET Weekly List for 20 Nov 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 20 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.        Ev Williams Takes To Medium To Discuss The True Purpose Of His New Publishing Tool  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/15/ev-williams-takes-to-medium-to-discuss-the-true-purpose-of-his-new-publishing-tool/  “…Williams’ company Pyra Labs sold a little product called Blogger to Google, which basically helped revolutionize and democratize publishing on the Internet. Then, Williams teamed up with Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone on a little product called Twitter…This latest product, Medium, allows people to create collections of content based on a theme or subject, and then invites others to add pieces to those collections. It’s truly collaborative, and after using it for the past week, it actually excites me to write a personal “blog” again. But it doesn’t feel like a blog, it’s something new altogether…Ev Williams put it into words in a post on Medium. The part that sticks out to me about Medium is the editing interface; it’s unlike other services out there in that you don’t have to click tons of buttons, open up different views and windows and other nonsense…”
2.       Microsoft smooths out some of SkyDrive's rough edges  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33642_7-57550583-292/microsoft-smooths-out-some-of-skydrives-rough-edges/  “Microsoft's answer to Google Drive continues to mature, as SkyDrive gains selective syncing powers, the ability to share from the Desktop, and mobile updates for Android…desktop improvements include the ability to…selectively sync folders from a Windows or Mac. This can help keep small-drive devices from filing up too quickly…Android…apps have been updated, too, so that you can now more easily browse files in your SkyDrive…”  http://blogs.windows.com/skydrive/b/skydrive/archive/2012/11/15/skydrive-usage-has-doubled-in-the-last-6-months-now-you-can-select-what-to-sync.aspx  “…you can now select which folders from SkyDrive are synced – making it easier to use SkyDrive with laptops or tablets with small drives…If you’d like to keep all your photos and documents in SkyDrive but only sync a folder of your most important documents to your laptop, you can do that – even if your desktop is syncing the full set. You can choose specific sub-folders to sync as well; you aren’t limited to your primary SkyDrive folders…SkyDrive isn’t just a “drive in the sky”, it’s also a great way to share folders, documents, and photos…from File Explorer…you can just right-click it and select Share…”
3.       SugarSync 2.0 makes Dropbox look outdated  http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/sugarsync-2-0-launch/  “Dropbox has enjoyed a place at the front of the consumer cloud storage pack for quite some time. But with today's launch of SugarSync 2.0, Dropbox better keep its eye on the rear-view, because SugarSync might now have what it takes to jump into the lead. SugarSync announced today a major overhaul of its user interface and functionality, along with a slew of new features that could give it an edge over Dropbox as the go-to cloud storage service. The public beta version of SugarSync 2.0 is available for download on Mac and PC now. A companion app for Android is also available, but iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Phone users will have to wait…SugarSync 2.0 allows you to drag-and-drop files or folders onto a contact to share the file with that person privately, or through a public link. If the folder isn’t already in your SugarSync cloud, it will be automatically added. People who click the link don’t have to sign up for SugarSync, or download any new software…SugarSync has added search functionality that makes it possible to find that expense report from a few months ago, or the pictures of your daughter’s first birthday far easier…Another solid new feature in version 2.0 is the SugarSync Drive, which appears in the Mac Finder or Windows Explorer in the same way an external hard drive would. The SugarSync Drive shows you all the files or folders you’ve synced to your account…It also allows you to edit files remotely…That said, this is a beta release, and the software is just a bit buggy…this is a solid release from SugarSync, and one that might just push us away from Dropbox entirely…”
4.       The top concerns with cloud storage services  http://www.zdnet.com/the-top-concerns-with-cloud-storage-services-7000007512/  “…survey released by technical support firm FixYa suggests that the top concerns of cloud storage users are the security of a service, storage limitations, file syncing and missing files…Dropbox…is one of the top competitors in the cloud storage market…2GB of storage space is offered to individual users for free…other cloud storage services including Box and Google Drive offer 5GB of free space; something 25 percent of respondents found irritating. 40 percent of survey respondents stated that security concerns were the top issue when using Dropbox…15 percent experienced continual file syncing issues, and "laggy" response times annoyed ten percent…When using Google Drive, the top complaint was missing files, reported by 30 percent of respondents…20 percent experienced synchronization issues. 20 percent found that Google Drive's automatic conversion to Google Docs irritating…20 percent cited "unknown" errors…SugarSync without Quickbooks support topped the priority list for 30 percent of users…A quarter of respondents disliked storage restrictions…30 percent stated that file synchonization issues…was their main gripe with SugarSync….With…Apple's iCloud storage…35 percent are reporting synchronization issues…15 percent also reported problems synching non-Apple devices to the cloud…15 percent were dissatisfied with the amount of storage available…Box…found itself in the firing line over security issues. 25 percent chose security concerns as the main problem with the service…whereas another 25 percent experienced file upload issues…”
5.        Rightware launches Browsermark 2.0, benchmark tool for multiplatform web browsers  http://vr-zone.com/articles/rightware-launches-browsermark-2.0-benchmark-tool-for-multiplatform-web-browsers/17870.html  “With a four minute test conducted by the new Browsermark 2.0 benchmark tool by Rightware, Internet users can now determine the performance of their browser based on a wide range of strenuous tests, and a library of statistics…Browsermark 2.0 is free to use, and works across a variety of hardware and software platforms. This includes desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones. After performing a four minute series of tests to determine performance of browser functionality and conformance to modern standards/protocol, Browsermark displays the results…Google chrome largely takes the lead in performance across desktop and mobile platforms tested…This simple to run test will help you decide which browser gives the best web experience for your device.  In addition to measuring your own device, consumers can check out the latest results in our Power Board online database…”
6.       Buy WordPress.com upgrades with bitcoins  http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/pay-another-way-bitcoin/  “At WordPress.com, our mission is making publishing democratic — accessible and easy for anyone, anywhere…while anyone can start a free blog here, not everyone can access upgrades (like going ad-free or enabling custom design) because of limits on traditional payment networks. Today, that changes: you can now buy WordPress.com upgrades with bitcoins. PayPal alone blocks access from over 60 countries, and many credit card companies have similar restrictions. Some are blocked for political reasons, some because of higher fraud rates, and some for other financial reasons…we don’t think an individual blogger from Haiti, Ethiopia, or Kenya should have diminished access to the blogosphere because of payment issues they can’t control…Bitcoin is a digital currency that enables instant payments over the internet. Unlike credit cards and PayPal, Bitcoin has no central authority and no way to lock entire countries out of the network. Merchants who accept Bitcoin payments can do business with anyone…”
7.        The Web engineer's online toolbox  http://ivanzuzak.info/2012/11/18/the-web-engineers-online-toolbox.html  “I wanted to compile a list of online, Web-based tools that Web engineers can use for their work in development, testing, debugging and documentation. The requirements for a tool to make the list are…must be a live Web application…free to use…must be useful to Web engineers…The current version of the list is shown below and is based on tools which I use or have used…Link checker…Extracts links (recursively) from a Web site and checks that no link is defined twice, that all the links are dereferenceable and warns about HTTP redirects…Host tracker…Website monitoring service with distributed ping/trace check, periodic monitoring, email/sms/IM notifications and statistics…Pingdom Full page test…Enables users to test the load time of a page, analyze it, monitor, find bottlenecks and export results in HAR format…” [lots of other tools in this post; just wanted to list a couple I thought might be of general interest – ed.]
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
8.       Why Google 'vertical' search shouldn't face antitrust action  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57551127-93/why-google-vertical-search-shouldnt-face-antitrust-action/  “It's likely we'll finally see the U.S. Federal Trade Commission make a decision on whether to take antitrust action against Google in the coming days. Among the charges is the idea that Google somehow is being unfair to competitors with "vertical" search. That has been, and remains largely to me, a laughable argument…it would be punishing Google for doing exactly what a good search engine should do…Taking action over that would be like punishing CBS for not airing ABC television programs or being upset The New York Times runs its own sports section rather than that of the Los Angeles Times…Some of those running vertical search engines feel like Google having its own vertical search engines is unfair…several of them have banded together as part of the FairSearch lobbying group -- which is also backed by Microsoft -- to seek government intervention…"blended search."…is…an industry-standard practice which means that vertical and horizontal results get mixed together, if it makes sense. For example, if someone searches for "pictures of flowers" but didn't use your image search engine, you don't play dumb and not show them pictures. You act smart and blend in your image results…So Google showing its own shopping results? That's not being unfair. That's being smart, doing exactly what people want a search engine to do for them. Indeed, it's exactly what Google-competitor Bing does…Exactly. But Microsoft-backed FairSearch never suggests that Microsoft-owned Bing is doing anything wrong…”  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/84031.html  “…FairSearch.org, which represents Expedia, Trip Advisor, Kayak, Nokia, Microsoft and several other tech companies, revealed its list of “remedies” for Google’s alleged anti-competitive behavior…this week as the FTC considers filing antitrust charges or negotiating a settlement with the company…The FTC has been probing Google for more than 18 months amid a wide array of allegations that the Mountain View, Calif., company engages in anti-competitive practices…FairSearch members have discussed with FTC staff and officials several ideas for how Google ought to alter its behavior…“Appointing a monitor who has access to Google’s algorithm on a confidential basis and who reports back to the agency can deter Google from improperly manipulating its algorithm,” Barnett said…Google said such a type of monitoring would be tantamount to government regulation of search engine results…”
9.       Apple Granted Patent for Their Page Turn Animation  http://goodereader.com/blog/tablet-slates/apple-granted-patent-for-their-page-turn-animation/  “Anyone who has spent some time with iBooks should be familiar with the way pages turn on ebooks. It’s unique in that it mirrors the appearance of a page turning on a real book. Apple has now been granted patent on the particular animation…”
10.     Trojan uses Google Docs to communicate with its control server  http://www.h-online.com/security/news/item/Trojan-uses-Google-Docs-to-communicate-with-its-control-server-1752343.html  “…Symantec has discovered a trojan called Backdoor.Makadocs that hides in Rich Text Format (RTF) and Microsoft Word documents and injects malicious code via Trojan.Dropper…Symantec currently rates the trojan's threat level as "very low"…the carrier document appears to primarily target users in Brazil…The unusual characteristic of the trojan is the use of Google Docs: the online service offers a viewer that loads and displays various types of files via URLs…Backdoor.Makadocs uses this viewer to contact the trojan's C&C server…this diversion prevents the data traffic between the infected system and the C&C server from being discovered as…Google Docs connections are encrypted using HTTPS and are therefore difficult to block locally…”
11.      Petraeus et tu: Yes, the FBI and CIA can read your email  http://www.zdnet.com/yes-the-fbi-and-cia-can-read-your-email-heres-how-7000007319/  “The U.S. government…is either watching your online activity every minute of the day through automated methods and non-human eavesdropping techniques, or has the ability to dip in as and when it deems necessary…That tin-foil hat really isn't going to help. Take it off…Gen. David Petraeus, the former head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, resigned over the weekend…What caught Petraeus out was…his usage of…Gmail…the chances are small that your own or a foreign government will snoop on you. The odds are much greater -- at least for the ordinary person…that your email account will be broken into by a stranger exploiting your weak password, or an ex-lover with a grudge…Forget ECHELON, or signals intelligence, or the interception of communications by black boxes installed covertly in data centers. Intelligence agencies and law enforcement bodies can access…Web-based email services…but it's not as exciting or as Jack Bauer-esque as one may think…The easiest way to access almost anybody's email nowadays is still through the courts…Petraeus set up a private account under a pseudonym and composed email messages but never sent them. Instead, they were saved in draft. His lover, Paula Broadwell, would log in under the same account, read the email and reply, all without sending anything. The traffic would not be sent across the networks…making it nigh on impossible for the National Security Agency or any other electronic signals eavesdropping agency (such as Britain's elusive GCHQ) to 'read' the traffic while it is in transit…the emails were saved in draft and therefore were not sent. However, Google may still have a record of the IP addresses of those who logged into the account…recent U.S. court cases have found that IP addresses do not specifically point to a computer, meaning even if the authorities were sure that it was Petraeus…it would not stick in court…Jill Kelley, a family friend to the Petraeus', allegedly received emails from an anonymous account warning Kelley to stay away from the CIA chief…when Broadwell sent these messages, it left behind little fragments of data attached to the email -- every email you send has this data attached -- which first led the FBI on a path that led up to the very door of Petraeus' office door in Langley…There's no such thing as a truly 'anonymous' email account, and no matter how much you try to encrypt the contents of the email you are sending, little fragments of data are attached by email servers and messaging companies. It's how email works and it's entirely unavoidable…”
12.     Facebook Starts Switching All Users To HTTPS  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/18/facebook-https/  “…Facebook…spent the last two years making infrastructure improvements so that its transition of all its users to HTTPS…will “slow down connections only slightly.” People will be able to opt-out of HTTPS for maximum speed…Facebook has long employed HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) to protect users when they submit their username and password to login. HTTPS prevents man-in-the-middle attacks and eavesdropping. In January 2011, though, it started allowing people to opt in to have all their Facebook browsing encrypted in HTTPS…A Facebook Developer Blog post from a few days ago announced “this week, we’re starting to roll out HTTPS for all North America users and will be soon rolling out to the rest of the world…”
13.     Man Arrested At Airport for Unusual Watch  http://depletedcranium.com/man-arrested-at-airport-for-unusual-watch/  “Mr. McGann is an artist…Yesterday, Mr McGann went to the airport to get on a plane.   He was wearing a watch, which he had modified for an art project.  Part of the modification included adding wires and switches to the watch.  He didn’t try to hide it.  He was wearing it out in the open.  One could certainly say that may have not been a great idea, given the hypersensitivity to anything unusual in an airport, but certainly nothing criminal about it. The watch was noticed by the TSA, and who responded with characteristic idiocy…McGann reportedly took off his watch and put it in the bin along with his carry on. Investigators say he covered it with his coat. An alert TSA officer didn’t like what he saw.”The watch had on it a toggle switch, a series of fuses, a series of wires protruding from it, a circuit board,”…Even though the TSA found no explosives, Nelson says the bomb squad determined that McGann had all the ingredients to make a timing device for a bomb…his attire was also strange, “He was wearing a military style shirt which has a built-in tourniquet in the sleeves.” Soldiers learn how to tighten the tourniquet to stop bleeding if they receive an arm injury…McGann told investigators he is an artist and what he was carrying was artwork. ABC7 News did find a website for a Geoffrey McGann…he is indeed an artist and a photographer. He’s being held at Santa Rita Jail, charged with possession of materials to make a destructive device…TSA…and…some media outlets are…trying to scare people as a way of justifying the existence of the agency and its conduct…He may have been wearing big shoes with insoles in them, but they did not have explosives in them…Other reports indicate TSA officials have gone even further in trying to paint a picture of a disaster in the making and the heroics and astute observations of their agents…”
14.     Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360 Karaoke app will charge you by the hour  http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-11-19-microsofts-upcoming-xbox-360-karaoke-app-will-charge-you-by-the-hour  “An upcoming app from Microsoft and The Karaoke Channel will let you stream songs for an hourly fee. You'll able to purchase singing time in blocks of two, six or 24 hours with your Microsoft Points…The app - simply named Karaoke - offers over 8000 tracks. You'll be able to warble along to pop, rock and country tunes, plus some R&B and hip-hop flavas. The Karaoke Channel boasts that the app's advantage over other singing games is that you don't have to download the tracks. Each song simply streams from the game's servers, which is great until the internet goes down…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
15.     Your smartphone could be your best Black Friday shopping pal  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2014728/your-smartphone-could-be-your-best-black-friday-shopping-pal.html  “…Here are some ways that using your phone can help you mobilize your Black Friday shopping campaigns…Map your route…Macy upgraded its iOS app to include location-specific Black Friday specials and where in the store they are stocked. Walmart also updated its app with store maps and product locations…Google Maps for Android also offers store-specific maps and Black Friday deals from stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s…Google plans to remain a hub for some of the country’s largest retailers by adding features to its Shopping page just in time for Black Friday. Google added shortlists to save items you like and 360-degree product views…Some stores last Black Friday used mobile coupons to get people to buy online while standing in line…Mobile purchases are expected to make up 21 percent of all online sales this holiday season…On Black Friday, tablets and phones will account for 24 percent of online traffic…PayPal last year reported a 516 percent increase in mobile payments on Black Friday…”
16.     Smartphones to play bigger role in shopping  http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2012/11/15/mobile-tablet-smartphone-holiday-shopping/1700427/  “You've just entered the mall to do some holiday shopping, and your phone buzzes with alerts for coupons at nearby stores…Almost 70% of smartphone owners plan to use the devices for holiday shopping…46.1% of consumers have one…"This is the year mobile is really going to make a big difference in retail," says Larry Freed, president of ForeSee…The biggest boon for retailers is the opportunity to present tech-toting customers with more reasons to buy a product from them vs. somewhere else, whether it's because of the ease of scanning a QR code and purchasing the product from your phone…or heading to a store because your phone just alerted you to deals there…The mobile devices that employees carry have apps that provide extensive product information and training, such as what a shoe is made of and its best uses. Entering a customer's loyalty program number in the device also allows employees to…make…product recommendations…more than a third of respondents said they would be more likely to make an in-store purchase if they could find a coupon on their phones…Target has identified a list of top 20 toys for the holiday season…Each has a corresponding QR code that shoppers can scan to purchase a toy directly from their phones and have it shipped for free wherever they want…More retailers this year will have enabled Wi-Fi in stores to support services such as mobile checkout and give ease of access to consumers using phones or tablets to research or make purchases…”
17.     Cheap Androids own 90.1% of China market  http://gigaom.com/mobile/apples-china-challenge-cheap-androids-own-90-1-of-market/  “Apple has repeatedly noted that China is an area of focus for the company, and why not? It’s the most populous nation on the planet with more than a billion mobile phone subscribers. Based on recent data reported by Chinese research firm, Analysis International, which has tracked smartphone sales for the past several quarters, Apple may have a challenging time replicating the market share success its iPhone has seen in other countries: In the third quarter of 2012, Android accounted for 90.1 percent of all smartphone sales in China…the chart is stunning when you see Android’s rise since the second quarter of 2011…”  http://www.businessinsider.com/mobile-market-share-2012-11
18.     World's First Smartphone Fleet Driver Performance Management Service  http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/GreenRoad_Announces_Worlds_First_Smartphone_Fleet_Driver_Performance_Management_Service_999.html  “GreenRoad has announced the world's first smartphone-based driver performance solution for fleets…GreenRoad Smartphone Edition, code named "Asimov" is available now in beta for Android devices. GreenRoad Smartphone Edition uses smartphone native functionality, including GPS and built-in accelerometers, to eliminate the need for a professionally-installed telematics device in the vehicle. Drivers use the service by downloading the Asimov app, dropping the smartphone into the vehicle mount, and beginning their trip. The service uses advanced, patented algorithms to detect how well the driver is driving. Whenever a risky or fuel-inefficient maneuver occurs, GreenRoad Smartphone Edition gives the driver immediate audio and visual feedback directly from the smartphone…”
19.     Touch Laptops  http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/11/touch-laptops.html  “I'm a little embarrassed to admit how much I like the Surface RT. I wasn't expecting a lot when I ordered it, but after a day of use, I realized this was more than Yet Another Gadget. It might represent a brave new world of laptop design…I have an ultrabook I like, but the more I used the Surface, the more obsolete it seemed…I found touch interactions on Surface highly complementary to the keyboard. Way more than I would have ever believed…If you need precision, you switch to the mouse or touchpad – but given the increasing prevalence of touch-friendly app and web design, that's not as often as you'd think…every day the world becomes a more touch friendly place, with simpler apps that more people can understand and use on basic tablets…this also means it is only a matter of time before all laptops must be touch laptops…”
20.    Ultrabooks are a worse disaster than most expected  http://semiaccurate.com/2012/10/02/a-year-on-ultrabooks-are-a-worse-disaster-than-most-expected/  “A year after SemiAccurate called Intel’s moronic Ultrabook spec “Shiny things for the stupid“…iSuppli has come out with the numbers to back us up…Ultrabooks have failed because they are a fundamentally bad idea based on nothing more than Intel’s greed and fear. Intel is trying to compete against tablets and phones…Ultrabooks are failing because there is no reason to buy one over a tablet or phone…Even with the hype, massive advertising campaigns, and second generation CPUs in place, Intel will be lucky to sell 25% of what they said. To make matters worse…we have good reason to believe no one other than Intel is making money…”
21.     Ultra-cheap $19 Republic Wireless service opens up to new customers  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57551998-94/ultra-cheap-$19-republic-wireless-service-opens-back-up/  “Republic Wireless, the service provider that made waves last year with its super-low $19 unlimited voice, data, and text messaging plan, is back…open to all…the service provider had to shut its beta trial shortly after it opened up because of a surge of demand. Republic Wireless, which buys and resells capacity from Sprint Nextel's network, is able to deliver such a low-priced service because it's betting that users will stay on Wi-Fi networks for a majority of their usage. The company has spent the last year testing out that thesis…"The most important thing we got out of the last year of learning was this Wi-Fi-first wireless approach is a strategy that will work and work well," Morken said. After…a number of different openings over the past few months in which Republic Wireless let in a few more users, the company is throwing open its doors for anyone interested in pre-ordering its phone, the Motorola Defy XT, which will arrive in four weeks. Next month, Republic Wireless will fully launch with general availability…”
22.    Oprah’s attempt to promote the Microsoft Surface backfires: iPad used to send tweet  http://thenextweb.com/shareables/2012/11/19/oprah-plugs-the-surface-on-twitter-uses-an-ipad-to-do-so/  “Oprah is out plugging the Surface for Microsoft, stating that she is buying several of the devices as gifts. However, in sending out that specific tweet, she, or whoever was running her account that day, used a somewhat embarrassing service to communicate…Surface ads, now brought to you by iPad.…”
Apps
23.    Mobile Apps: The Trouble With Using 'Responsive Design'  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/11/18/mobile-apps-the-trouble-with-using-responsive-design/  “…responsive design is an approach to Web development that many brands are considering to optimize their online content for multiple devices with varying screen sizes across the traditional Web, tablets, smartphones and beyond…Many pro-responsive developers affectionately term RD “one-Web,” which emphasizes the single set of code a responsive site is based on. This design principle utilizes coding language that responds to the device being used – whether an Android smartphone or an iPad – in order to display content relative to the size and orientation of its screen…while responsive design aims to scale web content fluidly across multiple devices with different screen sizes, it may not represent the best option for organizations aiming to deliver unique and innovative experiences…A good example of this dilemma can be found in LinkedIn’s…iPad app…responsive design doesn’t work for complicated sites like the LinkedIn iPad app, 95% of which was developed with HTML5 to target a specific set of user tasks…When the only changing factor in the Web experience is the user’s device, responsive design is a useful solution…for content sites like magazines and newspapers…content is simply being reformatted…responsive design works best if the page contains the type of text and image-based content often found on publisher sites. However…if you’re trying to deliver complex functionality built with CSS, JavaScript, Ajax…the experience will be dramatically slower on a smartphone or tablet…When a user visits an airline’s site from their smartphone, they typically want to be able to do a few very specific things like check their flight status, check-in for a flight…The user expects a completely different experience from when they access the airline site from a computer…Responsive design implicitly suggests that mobile is a subset of the traditional Web, but it is clear that people use mobile for a very different end…The future of digital business depends primarily on mastering the mobile channel. Mobile’s mushrooming numbers are due to the convenience of remote access and a new reliance upon the delivery of information when and where little to none was previously available. When developing your approach to engaging customers via mobile, it is key to ensure your strategy accounts for the rising expectations your customers have…”
24.    As boom lures app creators, tough part is making a living  http://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/as-boom-lures-app-creators-tough-part-is-making-a-living-294143  “Shawn and Stephanie Grimes spent much of the last two years pursuing their dream of doing research and development for Apple, the world's most successful corporation. But they did not actually have jobs at Apple. It was freelance work that came with nothing in the way of a regular income, health insurance or retirement plan…They sold one of their cars, gave some possessions to relatives and sold others in a yard sale, rented out their six-bedroom house and stayed with family for a while. They even cashed in Mr. Grimes's 401(k). "We didn't lose any sleep over it," said Mr. Grimes, 32. "I'll retire when I die." The couple's chosen field is so new it did not even exist a few years ago: writing software applications for mobile devices like the iPhone or iPad…Much as the Web set off the dot-com boom 15 years ago, apps have inspired a new class of entrepreneurs. These innovators have turned cellphones and tablets into tools for discovering, organizing and controlling the world, spawning a multibillion-dollar industry virtually overnight…Yet with the American economy yielding few good opportunities in recent years, there is debate about how real, and lasting, the rise in app employment might be…only a small minority of developers actually make a living by creating their own apps…The Grimeses began their venture with high hopes, but their apps, most of them for toddlers, did not come quickly enough or sell fast enough…One success story is Ethan Nicholas, who earned more than $1 million in 2009 after writing a game for the iPhone. But he says the app writing world has experienced tectonic shifts since then…I got lucky with iShoot, because back then a decent app could still be successful. But competition is fierce nowadays, and decent isn't good enough."…Since Apple unleashed the world's freelance coders to build applications four years ago, it has paid them more than $6.5 billion in royalties…Apple said this month that its app business had generated 291,250 jobs for the American economy, as varied as developers and U.P.S. drivers. That number rose 39 percent in less than a year. During that time, the number of United States developers paying the $99 annual fee to register with Apple rose 10 percent to 275,000…For many of the developers not working at traditional companies, moreover, "job" is a misnomer. Streaming Color Studios, a game developer, did a survey of game makers late last year…A quarter of the respondents said they had made less than $200 in lifetime revenue from Apple. A quarter had made more than $30,000, and 4 percent had made over $1 million…While its job creation report trumpets the $6.5 billion the company has paid out in royalties, it does not note that as much as half of that money goes to developers outside the United States…Shawn Grimes…wrote an Internet security program as well as a tool for studio photographers to manage portrait sessions. Those amateur apps pulled in more than $5,000 from Apple…last year, Mr. Grimes was laid off as a computer security specialist by Legg Mason, the Baltimore financial firm…Google, which receives two million applications a year, interviewed Mr. Grimes, but he did not make it past the preliminary stages…he decided to work independently by writing apps…Ms. Grimes, 32, quit her job teaching kindergartners to join the couple's new venture, Campfire Apps. They downsized to a two-bedroom apartment…They worked steadily on apps that revolved around children…The couple aimed for one new app a month, but progress was slow and sales were slower. In March, with the apps bringing in only about $20 a day, they cashed in Mr. Grimes's 401(k), which yielded $30,000…Soon, though, it got to the point where Mr. Grimes needed to take on freelance work…By the beginning of summer…he surrendered to the need for a full-time job…Mr. Grimes now works as an app developer for ELC Technologies, an Oregon company that allowed him to stay in Baltimore…"People used to expect companies to take care of them," he said. "Now you're in charge of your own destiny, for better or worse." The Grimeses' quest cost them more than $200,000 in lost income and savings. So far this year, their eight apps have earned $4,964. When the newest iPhone came out at the end of September, the couple immediately bought two. Ethan Nicholas was a Sun Microsystems programmer…in late 2008 he wrote an artillery game that could be played on the iPhone, which was still relatively new…Mr. Nicholas wrote iShoot in six weeks, in his spare time…By March, he had earned more than $1 million. "Sheer dumb luck and being in the right place at the right time," he said…Mr. Nicholas has cautioned his new colleagues about easy money. "The time for that has passed,"…”
SkyNet
25.    Google Launches Ingress, a Worldwide Mobile Augmented Reality Game  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57550819-1/inside-ingress-googles-new-augmented-reality-game/  “…Google's…game called Ingress…describes a world in which two shadowy sides are vying for dominance: the Enlightened, who are trying to establish portals around the world that will let them control people's minds, and the Resistance, who are trying to stop them. The game takes the form of a free mobile app, now available on the Google Play store for Android devices. It is the second product from Niantic Labs, a startup accelerator within Google…run by John Hanke, the former head of product management for Google's "Geo" division, which includes Maps, Earth and Local…Niantic's first project was Field Trip, an Android app for discovering the world around you…The game is currently in a closed beta…I downloaded the app and wandered onto the streets of San Francisco looking for some adventure. Ingress begins with a series of training missions designed to orient new players…Around town you will find various "portals"; the point of Ingress (at least so far) is to control them. To control portals you have to "hack" them, which is akin to a check-in…Hacking portals rewards you with various items, the most important of which are portal keys and resonators…hacking portals is hard work, and Google makes you pay for it with something called XM…short for "exotic material,"…Walking down the street draws XM to your person, refreshing your health….I found it to be relatively abundant -- but only in places I hadn't yet visited. The point of XM is to get players to wander down unexplored paths…it struck me, as I meandered…that while Ingress gave me a grid of streets to look at, it didn't tell me their names…you appear on the map as a directional indicator, and the indicator spins with you…As you walk, a voice counts down the distance until you reach your targeted portal -- Ingress is a game best played with headphones…Once I finally found the first one, I "hacked" the portal, triggering a string of training missions showing off various facets of the game…Portals, resonators, exotic matter…can all sound like a lot of hooey, if you are not prone to enjoying science fiction-tinged conspiracy theories…Google has set up a companion website, the Niantic Project, which contains a virtual cork board full of everything known so far in the in-game narrative…a slider lets you go back and forth in time; newcomers can dive in at the beginning and see how the game evolved, or skip to the latest day and devour everything at once…Google is following many steps associated with successful alternate reality games…Ingress launched…Comic Con in San Diego in June…a person claiming to be an artist named Tycho stood up and shouted about mind control for a couple minutes before being carted off by security…"That kind of event, where the online activities merged with real-world activities, is a really cool thing to watch," Andersen said…by the time the game arrived Thursday there was already an impressive community wiki up and running with tons of information about everything that has been discovered so far…Hanke told All Things D that the game could run as long as a year and a half, which would be a long time to spend fortifying virtual portals…layering things onto a world that can only be seen via smartphone…tends to make the real world look boring by comparison…Alternate reality games promise a kind of magical intersection between real and virtual worlds; Ingress, at least at this early stage, hasn't quite delivered it. Some popular ARGs have managed to incorporate physical clues into their gameplay…"One of the limitations of having a global game like this, where everyone can play, is it becomes much harder to pull through those physical aspects," Andersen said…Zipcar and Jamba Juice are among its sponsors…It will if nothing else be interesting to see how Google works big brands into a story about mind control…these are early days in Ingress. Google has laid a few cards on the table, with the promise of many more to come…”
26.    Google Launches Stunning '100,000 Stars' Chrome Experiment  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412197,00.asp  “…Google…launched a new Chrome Experiment called "100,000 Stars," which provides a stunning look at the stars that are relatively close to Earth - you know, just a few light years away. "Using your mouse or trackpad, you can zoom in and out to explore our galaxy," Google said. "Zooming in reveals the names of the most prominent stars close to our sun – click each name to learn more about it and see a digital rendition…”
27.    Media companies: Embrace Project Glass, it’s going to change everything  http://gigaom.com/2012/11/15/media-companies-better-embrace-project-glass-because-its-going-to-change-everything/  “As consumer hardware goes, few items have had such an instantly polarizing effect as Google’s Project Glass, the concept smart glasses (or, to be more precise, augmented reality head-mounted display) that have become an omnipresent accessory for Sergey Brin…think of them as a small computer with a mini screen on a springy headband that sits above your eye…there’s…a very big split between those who instantly shout in horror and crow about security risks and those who instead envision a new dawn in computing…For some they will be the ultimate intrusion yet for others they could revolutionize business or the way we interact with the world…the technology behind Glass is not an extension of you, it literally becomes part of you…unlike other tech to-date, it also leaves your hands free…Zero setup = perfection…The idea from the start is that you pop them on and truly just carry on being you – they’ll take care of the rest. This is the ultimate device that can not only benefit from contextual information but also demonstrated behavior, such as time of reading, likes, dislikes and so on. The system will quickly pick up on those variables (among many others) and soon enough take care of it automatically…Imagine an army of reporters all using these devices. It makes true real-time, breaking news very possible…I’d certainly watch more of that than fuzzy, ultra-zoomed snapshots grabbed off Twitter…The eye-tracking capabilities Google Glass poses should make not only media agencies and advertisers salivate but editorial departments as well. Shouldn’t better measurement, placement, contextualization, optimization of editorial…be what we’re all fighting for?  Now we might have something that can do it!...When you consider the quickly expanding wearable tech trend…the future looks clear.  We’ve already got Nike wristbands, headphones in hats, T-shirts that tweet, bras that help with fitness (?!), sleeptrackers, watches with emergency communication systems and about 50 prototype products from Nokia. Suddenly Project Glass doesn’t look like a crazy leap so much as a solid step in the right direction…If you think cellphones were an issue for copyright and IP theft, imagine how quickly these bad boys could destroy an industry…Whatever way this technology goes, and I believe it will go far if the marketing continues to be as slick as it has been, it’s clear…the cultural influencers…love Project Glass…Google I/O (Google’s Developer Conference) attendees were able to sign up for a beta, and they’ll start getting their units very soon. This technology or a version of it is coming, the only question is how soon.”
28.    Google Ups Google+ Hangout Limit To 15 For Apps Customers  http://socialnewsdaily.com/4756/google-plus-hangouts-15-people/  “…for Google Apps customers, you’ll be able to have a Hangout with up to 15 people. Previously, you could only have up to 10 people which wasn’t bad at all to begin with. If you’re a regular user, the 10 person limit will remain the same. This small increase is said to better aid businesses, schools, and government employees who rely off of video chat to communicate with others wherever they may be. Google Plus Hangouts are a great way to connect with others and interact as close as face-to-face as possible. It was just a few months ago that Google announced that developers have built over 200 apps specifically for Hangouts…Chee Chew who is the Engineering Director behind Hangouts, had this to say: “In our internal testing, we found that social conversations break down if it’s too large. If you’re at dinner with 15 people, you usually shard into separate conversations or you start talking over each other really badly. However, in a business meeting where it’s structured, a 15 person meeting works reasonably well so now we’re enabling 15 person hangouts for biz…”
29.    10 great Google tools you need in your business workflow  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2014257/10-great-google-tools-you-need-in-your-business-workflow.html  “…Gathered here are ten serious Google services that can boost your productivity, get your team on the same page, and market your company…Blog: Google and Your Business…Google Places for Business…Google+ Pages…Google+ Hangouts…Google Voice Global Spam Filtering…Smart Rescheduler for Google Calendar…Google Forms…GoMo…GMail Priority Inbox…Two-step verification for Google accounts…”
30.    Chromium for the Masses  http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/chromium-masses  “…Although I never quite seem to pull the trigger and buy a Chromebook, thanks to the developer Hexxeh, it's possible to run the Chromium OS on a wide variety of hardware combinations. I'm writing this on my Dell Latitude D420 booted into Hexxeh's Vanilla build of Chromium…The exciting news, however, has nothing to do with laptops at all. Like most Linux-based pseudo-embedded projects, Hexxeh's Chromium build is getting ported to the Raspberry Pi. Once complete, a Chromium-enabled Raspberry Pi desktop machine will be a very affordable, power-sipping alternative to Google's ChromeBox units…”
31.     The other, other laptop: New $199 Chromebooks a holiday hit  http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/11/19/ipad-alternative-new-200-chromebooks-holiday-hit/  “Tablets and laptops are great. You already know that.What you might not know, is that Google has been quietly pushing something you might end up using a whole lot more than either of the above. They’re called Chromebooks. And like an iPad, they boot-up, sleep, and resume in seconds—no more walking around with your laptop lid open. They automatically update themselves, so there’s no need for extra virus software. And they’re stocked with keyboards, so you can be more productive. But the real kicker: Chromebooks now start at $199…they're popular enough that some models are even selling out at popular retailers like Best Buy…my family reaches for our Chromebook more than the iPad. That’s not a knock on the latter, which is admittedly better at leisure-time computing. It’s just that we can get more done on the Chromebook, including play, work and heavy research…newer Chromebooks feature HDMI outputs, making it easy to stream all those great web videos to your TV…Chromebooks are the fastest booting machines I’ve ever used. And once on, they hibernate and resume in a second or two…I’ve never treated a computer with as little regard as I treat my Chromebook -- not because I dislike it but because it’s cheap, so it can be easily replaced. Secondly, since everything I do on is saved in the cloud, I don’t have to worry if something happens to my hard drive…I’m rarely required to charge my Chromebook. When used in short bursts, it can go several days without a charge…The only exception to that is the new Acer C7 Chromebook…with a battery life of just 3.5 hours, you’ll need to keep a charger handy…That said, Chromebooks aren’t “for everyone,”…If you’re like my mother-in-law -- still somewhat intimidated by keyboards and mice -- stick with an iPad…Second, if you’re someone who relies heavily on software like Photoshop, Final Cut, iPhoto, or other specialized programs, don’t expect to use a Chromebook as your primary computer…”
32.    Performance testing the latest Chromebooks: Price matters  http://gigaom.com/mobile/performance-testing-the-latest-chromebooks-price-matters/  “With all three Google Chromebook models in house, it’s time to share some more performance insights and benchmarks…power users hoping to use this as a primary device may want to spend extra…you can now choose from a trio of Wi-Fi models, one of which is currently available with a 3G option. Prices widely range from a low of $199 up to $549 for the devices due to different hardware configurations, specifications and battery capacity…I’ve been using all three base models for some time now. I spent $449 for the Samsung Series 5 550 model in June and it has become my primary computing device for work purposes…C7 is rated for 4 hours of run-time, while I routinely see between 6 and 7 hours on the Samsung models…the $199 C7 has performed better than the $249 model in most cases, but is still not up to par with the $449 device…I plan to stick with my $449 purchase because it offers the best performance and can still run as long on a single charge as the $249 version. If I hadn’t already invested the money, I’d likely consider the lower priced Samsung model over the even less expensive Acer C7, mainly because of the 50 percent boost in battery life…”
General Technology
33.    Top 16 Black Friday tech deals  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-34231_7-57552082/top-16-black-friday-tech-deals/  “Every year the Black Friday online circulars hit the Web…a lot of the so-called superbargains are already available online from stores like Amazon…many of these are "doorbusters" that are available in very limited quantities and only the people who arrive long before the doors open get a chance to buy them. But at least they really are deals, and some of them are actually worth getting excited about…$179 40-in Toshiba LCD TV (Best Buy)…each store will only get a few dozen…but it is a deal. Amazon is also rumored to be serving up a 40-inch Toshiba for $200 on Black Friday…$299 Toshiba 50-inch LED TV (Sears)…This one might be a better deal than the 40-inch doorbuster that Best Buy is offering for $179…it costs around $500 normally…$688 Vizio 60-inch 1080p LED TV (Walmart)…We thought it was a good deal at just under $1,000. So it's a great deal at less than $700. (Amazon is also rumored to be offering similar Black Friday pricing on this model)…Free $50 Best Buy gift card with iPod Touch purchase…this offer makes some sense because Apple products just don't get discounted. Target is also offering a gift card ($40) with the purchase of an iPod Touch…$20 off Roku models (Best Buy)…LG 27-inch monitor for $199 (Best Buy)…It has digital and analog connection for your computer, as well as an HDMI connection…Samsung Galaxy S3 for $49.99 (Best Buy, RadioShack, and others)…the AT&T version is going for $49.99 from Best Buy…$39.99 Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch (Sears)…Nook Simple Touch e-reader normally sells for $99…Target will have limited quantities for $49 and Sears goes $9 better with units priced at $39.99…”
34.    One Headset to Rule Your Computer and Mobile Phone  http://mashable.com/2012/10/22/headset-computer-mobile-plantronics/  “Every once in a while, a gadget comes along that solves a problem that was just starting to get annoying. The Plantronics Blackwire 700 Series USB Headset is that gadget…I work in an open newsroom/office environment. I can hear everything everyone else is saying and doing, and vice versa…almost everyone is wearing earbuds or a headset, presumably to drown out of the noise and help stay focused…The problem begins when you’re listening to a video or webinar on the computer, and you miss calls or messages on your mobile phone while you’re focused and unable to hear the alerts…many of us are using our mobile phones for personal calls…it becomes increasingly an issue to find you’re missing important calls, especially from a babysitter or your child’s school. Plantronics has solved this problem with the Blackwire Crossover Series USB Headset. It connects to your computer via USB, while also connecting to your mobile phone via Bluetooth…when you’re working with your headset on and a call comes in, it automatically comes into your headset. People…will particularly like the detachable cable and clothing clip that lets you take the personal call into a conference room or somewhere more private…built-in sensors…can tell whether the device is on your head or on the desk. If a call comes in while it’s lying on the desk, you can simply pick it up and put it on your head. The call will be routed to the headset. Same thing works in reverse…if you’re listening to music from iTunes or a streaming service like Pandora on your mobile phone or tablet and take the connected headset off, it will automatically pause the music so you never miss a beat. I…found the audio to be great when plugged into my computer’s USB. The sound coming from the PC was crisp and clear. A Skype call…recipient said he could hear me just fine…it didn’t fare as well…on a mobile call. I initiated a call to another mobile phone and while both of us could clearly make out what the other was saying, we did encounter static on either end. This happened on two separate calls…”
35.    Poikos Computer Vision System Takes The Prize At Festival In Vienna  http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/31/poikos-takes-the-prize-at-the-pioneers-festival-in-vienna/  “…Poikos a UK-based startup with a technology for imaging and measuring the body in 3D, was the overall winner in the startup competition, winning €25,000 prize money. Klash won the audience choice. Helioz won second place and BeamApp won third place. So here’s a fast run-down of the startups appearing…Poikos is a computer vision systems house which has developed a revolutionary patent-pending technology for imaging and measuring the body in 3D, using consumer grade hardware such as smartphones, tablets and PCs. We are developing a platform for the delivery of our technology to partners within the fitness, entertainment, health and e-commerce sectors…” [Mark N – thought this one might be of interest to you – ed.]
36.    Meraki: how 3 guys from MIT transformed the networking industry  http://sequoiacapital.tumblr.com/post/36033519237/cisco-acquires-meraki-how-3-guys-from-mit-transformed  “…Cisco has agreed to acquire Meraki. Six years ago Sanjit, John and Hans saw our Wi-Fi world before many others. Meraki offered smaller wireless ISPs a complete package to roll-out wireless networks without a lot of time, money or expertise. It gave upstart ISPs a way to enter new markets and disrupt existing ones. The benefits were obvious: the ability to scale without wires, low cost of entry, ease of use, and network analysis tools to help operators maximize revenue from their small networks…They were a bunch of MIT PhDs who had built a very proprietary solution as part of their own thesis called RoofNet. They were clearly world-class, super smart and personable…It was so easy to use, I set up a wireless network myself in minutes. You just plugged in the box and it worked. That’s all we needed to see. Chris Sacca, who was at Google at the time, was equally enthusiastic. Google bought 1,000 routers and invested as well. The biggest challenge came early on in deciding where to aim the product. We wasted nearly a year evaluating different markets: entrepreneurial building owners, ad-supported Wi-Fi, retail, SMEs, large corporations, even the developing world. We eventually settled on SME, for product fit and speed of revenues. From there Meraki took off…”
Leisure & Entertainment
37.    Will streaming music replace MP3s?  http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/gadgets-electronics/stories/will-streaming-music-replace-mp3s  “Just as MP3s once replaced CDs as the popular form of listening to music, now streaming music is starting to replace downloaded music as the format of choice for listeners. Downloaded music files may soon become the cassette tapes of digital music as streaming audio services such as Pandora and Spotify take over…more people are listening to streaming music and fewer are clicking on the music files stored on their computers. The decline in music files played was small — just 2 percent of people listened less to files. But at the same time, Internet radio listening on sites such as Pandora, increased 27 percent from last year, while on-demand services like Spotify increased 18 percent…AM/FM radio remains the most popular. But streaming music (Internet radio and on-demand) replaced the compact disc, which dropped from second to third place. MP3s stored on a computer came in fourth…with all changes in music technology, people get something while simultaneously giving something up. Digital music files gave people convenience and quantity over quality. You could find almost any song you wanted…With large hard drives, many people accumulated hundreds of gigabytes worth of music that would take months to listen to…as we move away from the computer to mobile devices, storage becomes a major concern. Streaming options alleviate local storage concerns and increase the pool of music options…”
38.    Backup and stream your music collection with Google Music  http://www.broadbandgenie.co.uk/blog/20121115-backup-stream-your-music-collection-google-music  “…Google Play Music has now arrived in the UK…we’ve now got a fantastically easy tool for backing up and streaming digital music without having to muck about bypassing geographical restrictions. With Google Music you can upload 20,000 music tracks for free, and once saved in your account these can be streamed through smartphones, tablets and computers, giving instant access to your library wherever you’ve got a half-decent connection speed…”
39.    5 reasons to get into the Groove(shark)  http://www.geeksugar.com/Grooveshark-Music-Streaming-25803483  “We dove into the Grooveshark tank to figure out where the online streaming service fits in today's realm of digital music, and to try out its new interface, which launched last month…Although the sound quality isn't fantastic and the music library is far from perfect, Grooveshark was really good (almost freakishly so) at finding music that matched our preferences, and — best of all — it's practically free for all users on web and mobile. In what follows, we've rounded up some other reasons why you might want to get into Grooveshark…The service relies on user uploads and claims to have over 15 million files…Grooveshark doesn't have some notable classics like the Beatles, because it dances around the legal stuff…Sound quality…it's inconsistent because the files are user-uploaded…Grooveshark Plus ($6/month or $60/year) gets rid of ads and gives access to the desktop app, customizable skins, and unlimited library space…note that pointing your mobile browser to html5.grooveshark.com will let you listen to your Grooveshark library on smartphones for free…the Grooveshark launchpad presents users with new tunes based on what they've listened to…clicking play and hit the happy or sad face icon to tell Grooveshark to play more songs like this one — or not…a Pandora-like way of curating your own radio station…Grooveshark offers Genre Radio stations that change to suit your taste depending on what you mark as "happy" or "sad," and stations based around the artists you listen to…”
40.    Watch out, Pandora: Spotify starts testing web-based streaming music  http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/15/spotify-web-app-report/  “…Spotify has offered a desktop-based app for streaming music since the beginning of its company…Those Windows and Mac apps, along with mobile apps for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and BlackBerry, show a long-standing dedication to native development…The new web app reportedly looks a lot like the desktop apps, with search, radio, playlists…the web app will provide some free usage as long as you listen to audio ads and see banner ads…Offering a web app will encourage more usage of the service…you’ll be able to start streaming music without downloading an app. This is a similar strategy to what Pandora, Rdio, and other online music services have embraced…”
41.     Pulselocker launches an innovative new take on streaming music  http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/13/3639326/pulselocker-streaming-music-service-dj-beta  “Pulselocker, a new streaming music service is launching in beta today aimed specifically at DJs. Unlike Spotify, Rdio, and other "mainstream" streaming services…it's offering an innovative new way of storing and managing music that goes well beyond what has been available before…Pulselocker isn't looking to unseat major players like Spotify, but instead betting that catering to a smaller and more dedicated DJ audience will lead to success and acceptance from the music labels…the service has over a million tracks and is aiming for five million by year's end…What's different is the technology that surrounds the local files for the music you download…Pulselocker lets you store music on your computer for playback when offline…in DJ apps like Serato and Traktor…professional and amateur DJs will be able to use the music offered within Pulselocker in their own sets without purchasing each track one-by-one, but instead "renting" them in a specialized file "locker." Rented music files within the locker don't actually have any DRM on them at all, but are instead protected from redistribution by DRM built into the software on another level…”
42.    Streaming music and music piracy in the cloud  http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/news/international-news/217291/music-piracy-joins-cloud-labels-struggle.htm  “...digital music streaming services…earn…over $1 billion dollars…Relying on a matter of convenience (arguably the whole basis of music piracy to begin with), streaming services like Spotify, Deezer – and the controversial Grooveshark – are making the process of finding and downloading torrents…the option that requires more effort…advances in technology have also meant that cloud-based music media…made people’s ability to access their music collection that much better…Meanwhile, the artists themselves are left wondering where all the money is going if it’s not reaching their pockets (particularly indie darlings Grizzly Bear), but Rdio have made a bold new move, yesterday announcing their new ‘Artist Program’ that pays musicians and recording artists direct – not for the streaming of their music, but for how many fans they can sign up as subscribers…streaming service Grooveshark…has also introduced a direct payment scheme that will see artists paid by their social media activity…”
43.    Google Music in Europe gets much bigger, adds 5.5 million songs  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57551940-93/google-adds-5.5-million-songs-to-its-collection-in-europe/  “The Google Play store has expanded its reach, adding 5.5 million musical works to its store in Europe. The deal, which was signed November 1 and made public today, brings new music to 35 countries. It comes via a first-of-its-kind agreement with Armonia, an alliance of licensing groups from France, Italy, and Spain. It also includes music from Sony's Latin division and Universal Music Publishing's British and American repertoire…”
44.    Studios Try to Quash Aereo Streaming TV Service  http://www.cepro.com/article/studios_try_to_quash_aereo_streaming_tv_service/  “Broadcasters say Aereo Web-based live TV service violates copyright law; CEA, EFF and Public Knowledge file amicus brief in favor of Aereo, likening the case to landmark 1984 Betamax case. Earlier this year, Aereo announced a streaming service in New York City that allows users to watch live TV via the Internet, with no boxes required. The service simply takes free over-the-air TV channels accessible via an antenna and puts them on the Web. For $12 per month, customers can watch the major networks and a few other channels, and even pause and record their shows via Aereo’s DVR capabilities. Consumers are quite happy with the service – especially in crowded spaces like NYC, where cable channels might be blocked by big buildings…broadcasters…claim Aereo violates copyright law because it “misappropriate[s] copyrighted material and retransmit[s] it without compensation.”…Aereo employs a network of antennas to capture TV signals and retransmit them over the Internet to subscribers. Unlike cable and satellite companies, Aereo does not pay fees to stations for the right to retransmit these free over-the-air signals…”
45.    Will Lytro Ever Go Mainstream?  http://mashable.com/2012/11/15/lytro-success/  “Lytro garnered a lot of interest around its idea of light-field photography when it revealed the novel technology in 2011. The concept of taking photos, then refocusing them around any object in the picture after the fact, was fascinating to say the least, leading some to speculate Lytro could end up redefining digital photography as we know it…The Lytro debuted in the winter of 2012. Shaped like an enlarged stick of butter, it did exactly as advertised — taking photos that viewers could refocus just by clicking on them. Even better, it was simple and consumer-friendly, and the pics were shareable on Facebook…However, the camera was criticized for its low resolution and lack of manual controls (which have since been added via a software update)…many dismiss the Lytro’s light-field technology — which, unlike regular cameras, measures the direction of light in addition to color and intensity — as a mere trick…critics say there are few actual photos where light-field effects really matter, so the idea will never go mainstream…So who is buying the Lytro? Ng and Wampler say it’s a cross-section of people united by the common thread of wanting to share creative work online. It cuts across all skill levels, since the camera wasn’t designed to appeal to pros, who generally regard the Lytro as a curious toy…”
Economy and Technology
46.    Flint Takes On Square With Non-Hardware Camera-Based Payment App  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/16/flint-exits-beta-to-take-on-square-with-its-camera-based-mobile-payment-app/  “Flint, a small business-focused mobile payment app that does away with dongles and NFC and instead uses the camera on a phone to “scan” a card’s numbers, has come out of beta. The iOS 6/ iPhone 5-compatible app is now available…Like Square, PayPal’s here, Sail from Verifone and others, Flint is targeting merchants that, traditionally, have been considered too small to accept card payments…Unlike Square, here and Sail, Flint doesn’t rely on any hardware to do the job, other than what is on the mobile phone itself…After a card’s vital numbers are scanned and digitized — the numbers are sent to Flint without being stored on the device — the payment is then authenticated with a zip code and on-screen signature…”
47.    CPUsage wants to repackage and recycle your computer’s leftover cycles  http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/cpusage/  “CPUsage pays users for their wasted CPU power and redistributes to high performance needs companies…collaborative consumption…has taken over the startup scene thanks to flashy names like Airbnb, GetAround, and TaskRabbit…The idea is that there are so many computers around the world that sit idle most of the day…In the U.S. alone, there are 250 million PCs – and most of us let those computers sit idle most of the time…when we do use them, the average person is using about five percent or less of the CPU’s capabilities…Business video or data visualization platforms are just a couple of examples customers who take advantage of CPUsage’s service of redistributing your unused computing power…the concept comes courtesy of NASA and was first publicly used by SETI@home...On the supply side, CPUsage…will run in the background and pull back if necessary so your use priorities come first. A taskbar toggle also tells you how much money you earned and how much power the software is using…the request list to be a part of the CPUsage supply side is long…the number of current participants is “in the thousands,” and that the waiting list is “many multiples of that.”…Louisiana State University is an early partner, offering up the extra, unused power its campus holds – its computer labs are open for some 20 hours a day, always on, and are used for an average of three…Video encoding is CPUsage’s big sell right now, and it’s a great example of the power of the grid…While interest is high, CPUsage is riding the supply and demand line as tightly as it can. The startup wants to be able to offer those supplying power decent paychecks…”
48.    A $1 Billion Start-Up Might Not Be So Fun  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/disruptions-a-1-billion-start-up-might-not-be-so-fun/  “…Your start-up is now valued at over $1 billion! This might seem exciting, as though you’ve won a lottery. But in reality, when you recheck your lottery ticket, you might find you were off by a single number…being in the Billion-Dollar Start-Up Club limits how, and if, a company can get out of the Billion-Dollar Start-Up Club…The Club is growing quickly. Based on recent financing rounds and stories about the companies, Twitter is valued at $8.5 billion; LivingSocial at $5 billion; Dropbox, $4 billion; Square, $3.25 billion; Spotify, $3 billion; Rovio, $3 billion; Airbnb, $2.5 billion; Pinterest, $1.5 billion; Box, $1.2 billion; Gilt Groupe, $1.1 billion; and Evernote, $1 billion. Dozens more companies are within arms’ reach, including Foursquare, WordPress, GitHub, Quora and Fab. They have a lot to worry about. First, when you’re the most expensive product on the shelf, very few companies can afford to buy you. Apple, Google and maybe Microsoft are on a short list of corporations that could finance an acquisition of this size without reaching for lint in their pockets afterward. Given that Apple rarely makes acquisitions, that leaves Google, Microsoft and possibly Facebook…”
DHMN Technology
49.    Adding a new dimension to printing in Israel  http://www.timesofisrael.com/adding-a-new-dimension-to-printing-in-israel/  “A new industrial revolution is coming…led by an army of self-replicating machines…This robot revolution is taking place in the form of self-replicating 3D printers that will, eventually, be found in towns and cities across Israel, “helping to make Israel the leader in the next industrial revolution, which will be epitomized by 3D printing,”…But it’s about more than 3D printing — it’s about creating a network of open-source spaces where anyone can go and create things, as well as learn the skills to thrive in the new era…it’s happening right now. In a nondescript basement in the center of Tel Aviv, the Reut Institute has set up Israel’s first open-source 3D printer lab, where groups of high school students are already designing and producing a plethora of products, using sophisticated computer programs and strong, durable plastic-like material made from corn starch (called PLA), for use in Reut’s open-source 3D XLN (Cross-Labs Network) workspace…“We built one printer using instructions on the Internet, and we’ve used that printer to create the components for other printers,” said Harel. Eventually, that “original printer” will have produced clones…to populate dozens, if not hundreds, of similar labs the Reut Institute is planning to set up around Israel…the Reut Institute is…a policy group concerned with helping to shape the future of Israeli society…The group…runs numerous programs…as part of its “Israel 15” vision…to make Israel among the top 15 most prosperous, equitable, and livable societies in the world…We’ve done extensive studies on how this can be done, and innovation…is a great way to ensure that the country can reach that goal in the coming decade…the next big revolution is going to be in 3D, Grinstein believes — so ensuring that the ability to learn, use, and excel in this technology is an important factor of the Israel 15 plan. Israel is actually already a world leader in 3D printing, thanks to Objet…But if Objet’s products are the Rolls-Royces of the 3D world, Reut is more interested in hot-rodding the old ’67 Chevy in the garage…we are more about the education and the bootstrapping,” said Harel. That Objet recently dropped a $100 million IPO bid to merge with American 3D tech company Stratasys — to create a behemoth valued at $1.4 billion – shows just how much potential there is in 3D printing…”  http://www.shalomlife.com/business/18223/3d-printers-will-change-the-world-and-israel-is-leading-the-charge/  “……”
50.    The Helicopter That Reads Your Brainwaves  http://www.fastcoexist.com/mba/1680882/the-helicopter-that-reads-your-brainwaves  “While a remote-control helicopter may be exciting enough to entertain today’s kids, the children of tomorrow might only settle on one they can control with their brainwaves. Such a toy is currently in the works at educational technology company Puzzlebox, which has been making brain-controlled helicopters for the past two years and is using Kickstarter to raise funds to mass-produce the exotic technology…The toy, called the Puzzlebox Orbit, is a system in three parts: a flying sphere (the helicopter), a pyramid-shaped remote that steers the helicopter with infrared LEDS, and a headset that reads brainwaves and signals data to the pyramid. That final part is made by brain-computer interface technology company NeuroSky, and uses electroencephalography (EEG)…to monitor the brain’s changing states of electric activity…When the helicopter "pilots" don the special headset and begin to concentrate, the sphere levitates or flies across the room, depending on the pre-programmed flight path the user has determined before take-off…You also program the mental state that will cause the helicopter to lift off--whether that’s relaxation or concentration…”
51.     A future in three dimensions  http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/devangshu-datta-a-future-in-three-dimensions/492668/  “The latest Bond movie, Skyfall, includes the obligatory car chases and crashes. It stars the classic 1963 Aston Martin DB5, which has been the preferred 007 vahana since Goldfinger (1964). The DB5 is near-priceless, fetching recent auction prices in excess of £1 million. Skyfall “cheated”, by using one-third scale replicas for the stunt scenes…3D printing technology was used to knock up scale models…It’s quick, it’s versatile and it’s rapidly becoming cheaper. Printers range from do-it-yourself (DIY) devices that cost less than $500, to large, high-end devices…Much of the technology is open-source, and 3D printers may soon become ubiquitous. A 3D printer may be as simple as a modified ink-jet printer…Some more expensive printers work directly with metals, using heated metal wires. High-end laser printer designs can meld metals and polymers. Industrial designers have experimented with adding robot arms for greater control and finer detailing…The Aston Martin models for example, were produced in 54 parts (mudguards, doors, roof, bonnet, etc) and assembled onto a steel frame before being painted. The Hobbit is also reportedly using 3D printing to create some of the more fantastic bits of Middle Earth scenery, flora and fauna. Apart from special effects in entertainment, common applications also occur in jewellery design, footwear, automobiles, architecture, aerospace, naval design, dentistry, medicine, etc, and the uses are growing. For example, music buffs have started printing turntables to play old records…”
Open Source Hardware
52.    Google Books team open sources their book scanner  http://hackaday.com/2012/11/16/google-books-team-open-sources-their-book-scanner/  “…Google has been scanning hundreds of thousands of books in the hope of recreating the Library of Alexandria. Publishers and authors really didn’t like that idea, so the Google books team is doing the next best thing: they’re releasing the plans for a very clever book scanner in the hope others will pick up the torch of creating a digital library of every book ever written. Unlike some other book scanners we’ve seen that rely on an operator manually flipping pages, this linear book scanner turns the pages automatically with the help of a vacuum cleaner and a cleverly designed sheet metal structure after passing them over two image sensors taken from a desktop scanner…”
53.    CryptX2: an Open Source Hardware Encrypted Storage Device  http://www.indiegogo.com/CryptX2  “The CryptX2 is a hardware encrypted storage device…Open source - verified secure, no backdoors, upgradeable…Micro SD cards - easily upgradeable, and inexpensive storage…The CryptX2 will show up on your computer as 2 regular USB Mass Storage drives, you can use them the same as any other flash drive or hard drive…The panic mode is used to destroy your data when you are forced to give your password by an attacker…when you enter this panic password the CryptX2 will delete the current salt and generate a new one, so your current data will be lost and the device will appear to be freshly formatted…The data you previously had on the CryptX2 will be permanently lost…your attacker will not know for sure if the panic mode was used or if the CryptX2 just hasn't been used with the sd cards loaded in the CryptX2…We have parts for 100 CryptX2 beta units here, many of which have been assembled…while the design is good and works well, we are making some upgrades and design improvements for the final version…By the time you are reading this we will have the new pcb's for building the final prototypes before we order in bulk for the final production run for the indiegogo orders…We have a stretch goal of about $50k so we can work on development of a case for the CryptX2. We have been working on the 3d renderings of the case and have tested a few of the designs on the 3d printer at our local hackerspace (HeatSync Labs in Mesa, AZ)…The funds we raise will be used to purchase the parts, assemble and test the CryptX2 units to ship to indiegogo supporters as well as support the future of the CryptX2 project and develop additional firmware upgrades…”
54.    Simple ARM Board Project  http://startingelectronics.com/projects/simple-arm-board/  “This project is an open source hardware ARM microcontroller board. The board is based on a AT91SAM7S256 ARM7 microcontroller from Atmel. The board was originally designed in January 2009 and has been released as an open source hardware project in November 2012. The board has a USB device port, an RS-232 serial port with Tx and Rx, and a 20 pin ARM JTAG header…The board was designed for use in rapid prototyping and experimentation. It can be plugged into pin headers soldered into stripboard for rapid prototyping…Programs can be written for the board in the C programming language using the GNU tools for ARM or one of several commercial toolchains…The board was designed using Altium Designer, so the source files for the schematic and PCB are in Altium Designer format…”
Open Source
55.     CAINE 3.0 Review – Linux Forensics  http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/reviews/caine-3-0-review-linux-forensics  “CAINE is a well-known specialised Linux distribution focusing on penetration testing…CAINE (Computer Aided INvestigative Environment, but also named after CSI: Miami ’s head of crime lab Horatio Caine) is a hyperspecialised Linux distro…it’s aimed at digital forensic practitioners. The latest edition is CAINE 3.0 (codename Quasar), based on Ubuntu 12.04 and Linux kernel 3.2 but with the GNOME 2 fork, MATE, instead of Unity as its desktop environment. Unfortunately, the 1.3GB live DVD image isn’t a hybrid image and it doesn’t work out of the box with UNetbootin either. Writing the ISO to a USB stick and making it bootable is possible, but needs some fiddling…”
56.    German city says OpenOffice shortcomings are forcing it back to Microsoft  http://www.itworld.com/enterprise-software/316426/german-city-says-openoffice-shortcomings-are-forcing-it-back-microsoft  “The city council in Freiburg, Germany, is planning to ditch an open source office suite and go back to using Microsoft Office…German open source developers reacted…saying that the city uses outdated software and did not consider upgrading to a current version of LibreOffice or OpenOffice.org…Freiburg's city council said it was in favor of migrating from the outdated OpenOffice 3.2.1 it is using in combination with Microsoft Office 2000 to Microsoft Office 2010…continuing use OpenOffice will lead to performance impairments and aggravation and frustration on the part of employees and external parties…Freiburg has been using OpenOffice and Microsoft Office 2000 side-by-side since 2007…the city noticed that it has been far from ideal to use only OpenOffice for digital correspondence…Employees had trouble with documents that were formatted in a seemingly…random way when opened in another office suite. There were also conversion problems between the presentation programs Power Point and Impress…While expectations were that OpenOffice's development would progress and it would be used by more municipalities, government use of OpenOffice is not widespread…Besides Munich, there is no big community that decided to do the same as Freiburg…”
57.     Ray Kurzweil on the future of work: Lifelong learning and an open source economy  http://medcitynews.com/2012/11/ray-kurzweil-on-the-future-of-work-lifelong-learning-and-an-open-source-economy/  “…deep down I…worry about the dark side of advancing technology; specifically, how we could create doomsday viruses…and impact employment with new technologies.my exchanges with Singularity University founders Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis often turn into lengthy debates…Kurzweil is the world’s most prominent futurist and author of the recently-released “How to Create A Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed.”…We discussed where the jobs of the future will be found and whether humanity will evolve fast enough to take advantage of the opportunities and new tools these future jobs will generate. Kurzweil’s optimism once again left me speechless…I still want to discuss the question of where [the] jobs of the future will be…Ray Kurzweil: … People couldn’t answer that question in 1800 or 1900 either. A prescient futurist in 1900 would have said to an audience, “a third of you work in factories, another third [on] farms, but I predict that in a hundred years – by the year 2000 – that will be 3 percent and 3 percent…Another point is that jobs today already contain a significant component of ongoing learning. That will continue to increase as people continually learn the new skills needed for the new jobs….Me: I would argue that you can’t compare a time when things were moving at linear rates with the exponential era. In those days, we had decades … or even centuries to react to change and develop the skills, infrastructure, and social structures to adapt to changing technologies. The vast majority of the people in the world aren’t Internet savvy today — 15 years after the Internet went exponential…Kurzweil: Everything was slow in the “old” days – the rate of change as well as the ability and tools people had to accommodate change. Both sides of the equation are much faster today. People can (and are) becoming “Internet savvy” very quickly…There will be an economic incentive for the haves to share the abundance and prosperity being created because they will need markets. Also, there will be a robust open-source economy in fields such as software, music, videos, movies and books…That, by the way, has not killed the industries that provide proprietary forms of these information types. When information can create physical products, there will be open-source versions of that also, and access to 3D printing will be even more ubiquitous than computing platforms are today. There will be public 3D printing stations where people can go and print out clothes, modules to refurbish or build their house…many — and ultimately all — of people’s basic needs can be met through open-source forms of information…”
Civilian Aerospace
58.    Robotic Explorers May Usher in Lunar 'Water Rush'  http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/astrobotic.html  “The American space program stands at the cusp of a "water rush" to the moon by several companies developing robotic prospectors for launch in the near future, according to a NASA scientist…"This is like the gold rush that led to the settlement of California," said Phil Metzger…Collecting the water, or at least showing it can be collected, is where the Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology comes in. The small company signed on in April for the third phase of a Small Business Innovative Research deal that continues research work to develop technologies NASA may need to harvest space resources in the future…There is a deal in place with SpaceX to launch a lander and rover on a Falcon 9 rocket in October 2015. Astrobotic is competing against several other companies for the Google Lunar X-Prize, an award worth up to $30 million…"Our intent is to land on the surface of the moon in October 2015 and find water," said John Thornton, president of Astrobotic. Water already on asteroids, the moon or Martian moons represent a potential bonanza to NASA's exploration plans because the resource can be put to use in so many critical ways for astronauts venturing into deep space. Water, made of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, can be turned into everything from breathing air to rocket fuel, not to mention the chance to filter it clean and drink it…”
59.    NASA names 57 student rocket teams for next spring's big launch in Huntsville  http://blog.al.com/breaking/2012/11/nasa_names_student_rocket_team.html  “NASA has announced the 57 middle school, high school and college teams that will converge on Huntsville next spring for the space agency's annual rocketry challenge. The teams will design and build large rockets complete with working scientific payloads and attempt to launch them 1 mile into the atmosphere…It's great fun, but it also reflects the real-world complexity of planning missions, building flight hardware and completing tough pre-flight checks and reviews…Building the rockets and payloads is only part of the event. Teams must also produce preliminary and post-launch reports, design and update a public website on their experience and develop a program to teach younger students in their areas about what they've done…”
60.    SpaceX Dragon’s radiation-coping design decisions  http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385&plckPostId=Blog%3A04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3Aa8b87703-93f9-4cdf-885f-9429605e14df  “…NASA revealed that SpaceX's first commercial resupply mission to the ISS experienced a number of anomalies in addition to the shutdown of a Falcon 9 first-stage engine, including the loss of one of three flight computers on the Dragon cargo vessel due to a suspected radiation hit…NASA didn't require radiation-hardened parts…NASA had very strong requirements for us to understand the environment and have planned out our responses to the environment, and we've done that…NASA said rather than distract everybody with going through a long technical explanation of why we do that and convincing everybody it's all ok, can you guys just fly away the way you are? And we were like, yeah. We met every requirement that NASA had…Matter of fact we run with the computers down all the time because each of the input/output units have its own three strings of computers in it. And we can command those directly, we can command them from the station, through the TDRS satellite, we can command them from our own ground station…What's the downside to buying radiation-hardened hardware or software?...We run the Linux operating system, we program everything in C++, and that enables us to tap into a huge pool of very talented people and find the absolute best people in the computer and software industry to work with us. If you go into the radiation hardened parts, they are very limited in terms of what languages you can work in, what support packages there are for them, who knows how to program in them. It really limits your ability to work with the parts…I just walked around…the office area…and we have over 40 of the flight computers sitting on people's desks. And if they were hard-to-come-by items, we wouldn't have that many computers. We've got 54 in a Dragon – and they're all different kinds of computers, different kinds of processors…We have hundreds of flight computers of different capability levels, and we're in multiple generations of design. The radiation parts tend not to have growth and upgrade paths. It's very hard to grow, if you decide you want a little more capability, a little faster, you're really limited…we're already in our third generation of flight computer at SpaceX. In the last two years we've worked through three generations, we've got people working on a fourth generation computer…we can use the best software tools, the best people…and achieve the most modern, optimized, efficient design. That's why we don't want to go into these lines…they don't open up the kind of possibilities that we want to have…At SpaceX our goal is the most reliable, cost effective and safe access to space in the world, and our CEO…is very clear: We're going to Mars. So building the computer for the Dragon isn't just about building the computer for the Dragon, it's about building a whole suite of tools, techniques, people and processes to then go to the next vehicle, and the next vehicle…Falcon designs go into Dragon, we're currently retrofitting the Dragon design into the new Falcon, so our designs constantly keep evolving, and that's why we don't want to get into lines that have limited growth capacity…the space shuttle…had rad-hardened design, not rad-hardened parts…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
61.     Supercomputing 12: Intel, Nvidia, and AMD Face Off  http://forwardthinking.pcmag.com/none/305051-supercomputing-12-intel-nvidia-and-amd-face-off  “At…Supercomputing 12…the biggest news has been the increasing competition in accelerators and co-processors. AMD, Intel, and Nvidia all unveiled new processors designed to improve the performance of parallel operations by including large numbers of specialized cores. As they have been doing for several generations now, Nvidia and AMD both introduced new versions of…graphics processing units (GPUs), while Intel uses multiple small x86 cores in its long-promised many integrated core (MIC) architecture…Intel announced two general versions, the Phi 5110P…and the Xeon Phi 3100 series…Both are manufactured on a 22nm process…The 5110P has 60 cores, each with four threads, runs at 1.05GHz, has 30MB of L2 cache, and supports up to 8GB of GDDR5 memory…That gives it peak double-precision floating point performance of 1.01 teraflops…Nvidia formally its announced the 28nm Kepler-based Tesla K20X and K20 processors…The K20X, which is used in Titan, has 2,688 cores and runs at 732MHz, and is rated at 1.31 peak teraflops of double-precision floating point performance…AMD announced its FirePro S10000 GPU accelerator, which uses two GPUs, each from the firm's 28nm Tahiti (Southern Islands) design…The S10000 has 3,594 total cores (1,792 per chip), running at 825MHz, with a total peak rating of 1.48 teraflops at double-precision…The FirePro S10000 has theoretically better scores than the Nvidia K20X, though it has two GPUs instead of one and it also requires more power—375 watts TDP vs. 235 watts for the Nvidia product…the next big battle in this space seems to be between x86 coprocessors and GPU accelerators.   Intel tries to distinguish the two by noting that the Xeon Phi can run operating systems, but accelerators can't…the Xeon Phi can run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x or SuSE Linux 12+—but I'm not sure how relevant it is, as both run in systems that use other main processors…Intel often talks about how because the Xeon Phi uses x86 cores, it can run all of the same languages, libraries, and tools that programmers are used to today…Nvidia stresses its CUDA language extensions that work with C/C++ or Fortran…AMD mostly relies on OpenCL. Over the next few years, it looks like we will see more experimenting with both co-processors and accelerators, and such heterogeneous systems will likely come to dominate the high-performance computing world…”
62.    Keeneland Project GPU supercomputing system  http://www.sciencecodex.com/keeneland_project_deploys_new_gpu_supercomputing_system_for_the_national_science_foundation-102121  “Georgia Tech, along with partner research organizations on the Keeneland Project, including the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the National Institute for Computational Sciences and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, announce…completed installation and acceptance of the Keeneland Full Scale System (KFS). This supercomputing system, which is available to the National Science Foundation (NSF) scientific community, is designed to meet the compute-intensive needs of a wide range of applications through the use of NVIDIA GPU technology…KFS is the most powerful GPU supercomputer available for research through NSF's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) program…Many users are running production science applications on GPUs with performance that would not be possible on other systems…the Keeneland Initial Delivery System (KIDS) has been used for research in…astronomical sciences, atmospheric sciences, behavioral and neural sciences, biological and critical systems, materials research and mechanical and structural systems…users note how the system's capabilities have significantly advanced their research application areas. "The Infiniband communication is now fast enough so that I can run my program on more GPUs to achieve better performance," says Jens Glaser, a post-doctoral associate in chemical engineering and materials science…Lombardi uses his hydrodynamics code Starsmasher to simulate the collision and merger of two stars. The dynamics of the gas are parallelized on the CPU cores, while the gravity calculations are parallelized on the GPUs…The Keeneland Full Scale System is a 615 TFLOPS HP Proliant SL250-based supercomputer with 264 nodes, where each node contains two Intel Sandy Bridge processors, three NVIDIA M2090 GPU accelerators, 32 GB of host memory, and a Mellanox InfiniBand FDR interconnection network…”
63.    What will Intel Xeon Phi do to the GPGPU market?  http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/13/what-will-intel-xeon-phi-do-to-the-gpgpu-market/  “The most pertinent question surrounding Intel’s new Xeon Phi is not what it can do, but what it does to the competition…If you look at the HPC and related accelerator market, it has been dominated by GPUs with about 90% of unit sales going to Nvidia, 10% to AMD…The same GPU you can get off the shelf for $300 once in ‘professional’ form suddenly costs $3000. The difference is a few blown fuses and drivers that are made to not run on the cheaper version. Actually there is one other difference, the consumer cards usually are significantly faster than their more expensive brethren…this sounds like a market ripe for a third player…but there are…significant barriers to entry…the talent pools that can write decent GPGPU code is both small and shallow…The normal GPGPU coding process involves hiring people for way more than you want to spend, then paying them copious amounts to climb a steep and always changing learning curve. The end result usually ends up with mediocre code…a top GPGPU coder makes $150K or so, lets just round up to $200K with benefits, toys, and incentives…To develop a code base with a team of ten coders over a year will cost lots and lots of money, usually dwarfing the cost of the hardware…That would be why GPGPUs sell mainly to a very small subset of the market that needs the performance at all costs…This is why software is the most important piece of the puzzle…some of those that grasp the concept use software as a lock in tool or worse yet a weapon…the weapon tends to be pointed at the customer more than the competition…customers are not fond of this situation, but many don’t have a choice…each GPU generation radically changes the underlying hardware…that means the older code becomes non-optimized for the new toys or it simply don’t work at all…In the end, GPGPUs are a work in progress…The net result is a lot of smoke and mirrors for the money in and the meagre results out…Intel’s new Xeon Phi accelerator…was originally…a GPU based on x86. That…didn’t work out…the project was reoriented to be a compute accelerator…the third generation part showed a marked improvement in most areas. That part is what was released yesterday as Knights Corner/MIC/Xeon Phi…The architecture is unquestionably more flexible than a GPU but also takes more to focus on that task…Intel wisely made Phi look like a…standard rack of x86 servers to the software. They can talk TCP/IP over PCIe…the chip is purpose built to look like an MPI cluster to existing code….Phi also runs Linux, a mildly tweaked but vanilla kernel that Intel claims will be merged in to the main kernel line in short order. You can SSH in to it, run code on it, and do everything you want just like a standard HPC box running Linux…Tools are another win for Phi, everything supports x86 CPUs…extracting a large percentage of the performance from a card is a matter of hours or days, not months of pain. The usable performance of Phi is…higher than any GPU out there, it isn’t even a close race…Intel has solved the biggest problem facing the entire HPC accelerator and GPGPU space with one part, and the code just works. The tools that you use are the ones you have now, everything supports x86…The difference between Phi and GPGPU is astounding. The hardware is a bit light on raw performance, barely over a TeraFLOP DP while the competition is notably higher…That said, for a given amount of programmer hours, it would be surprising if you didn’t get a better result from a cluster of servers with the Intel cards plugged in than any competing GPU based solution. Performance per watt is a similar loss for Intel on paper…If you substitute usable performance for raw peak performance, Intel wins at DP…the big 5110P card only costs $2649, hundreds of dollars cheaper than the GPUs it competes against…This part simply obsoletes the whole GPGPU paradigm…The GPGPU market has not taken off, and is only shown to be self-sustaining when using some very questionable math…Intel is going to wipe the floor with Nvidia in every aspect related to code and coding costs…The Intel Xeon Phi 5110P card will absolutely devastate the market for Tesla products, and the upcoming 3100 series will do the same for much of the Quadro line…some markets…need the GPU’s graphics functionality, but the majority of the rest will disappear with frightening rapidity once the 3100s arrive…With the cost of GPGPU coding coming down at a snails pace…the viability of the whole market is now in question…The end times for GPGPU is here, pity it’s purveyors, Intel doesn’t take prisoners.” [hard to tell if SemiAccurate is correct in saying “the end times for GPGPU is here,” but time will tell; if they are correct, NVIDIA will likely be headed for very rough times – ed.]

*****

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