2012/12/18

NEW NET Weekly List for 18 Dec 2012

Below is the final list of technology news and issues for the Tuesday, 18 Dec 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.        With Audiogalaxy Acquisition, Dropbox Signals Its Cloud Music Ambitions  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/13/with-audiogalaxy-acquisition-dropbox-signals-its-cloud-music-ambitions/  “Dropbox…hinted at its future plans…with the acquisition of Audiogalaxy, a startup allowing users to store their music files and playlists in the cloud then stream them to any device…Audiogalaxy began its life as a peer-to-peer client software solution which competed with Napster back in the heyday of file sharing, but following conflicts with the RIAA and major labels, it ended those operations in 2002. Audiogalaxy’s Merhej also went on to found and later sell an early, Dropbox-like service known as FolderShare to Microsoft in 2005. From 2008 to 2010, Audiogalaxy worked on Warner Music’s failed Choruss venture, in an effort to create an Audiogalaxy 2.0 for college students…in 2010, Audiogalaxy relaunched in its final incarnation as an online cloud music player where you could upload DRM-free tracks you own, then play them anywhere – your computer, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android device…”
2.       Yahoo Mail benefits from being 'Switzerland of Internet'  http://www.zdnet.com/yahoo-mail-benefits-from-being-switzerland-of-internet-7000008885/  “Yahoo Mail benefits from the company's OS (operating system) neutrality which makes it easier to collaborate with third parties such as telcos, OS players and Internet service providers…Vivek Sharma, general manager for Yahoo Mail and Messenger, said: "Yahoo is increasingly the Switzerland of the Internet…because we do not compete with the operating system (OS) providers or the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)."…Google Android requires a Google account while Windows 8 requires a Microsoft account to operate…Yahoo Mail has 110 million users accessing their accounts each day…out of the 6 billion population on Earth, only about 2 billion have Internet access, among which 1 to 1.5 billion have signed up for e-mail service. Many of these unconnected users will be using the Internet for the first time through a mobile device. "The opportunity to provide e-mail service to the remaining 4 billion, who will come to Internet predominantly through mobile, is huge…”
3.       LogMeIn’s Dropbox Competitor Cubby Reveals Pricing  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/17/logmeins-dropbox-competitor-cubby-reveals-pricing-stays-competitive-at-7-per-month-for-100-gb/  “Cubby, the new cloud storage player from LogMeIn which aggressively, if belatedly, entered the market this year to compete alongside Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, SkyDrive…is today revealing its pricing and Pro plans. The service first debuted in April, previously offering users up to 5 GB of online storage for free, with an additional 1 GB for each referral - double that of Dropbox…the service will remain in beta mode until early 2013. Currently, the free version of the service, now called “Cubby Basic,” will continue to offer users most of what they had access to during the free beta period –  that is, 5 GB of free cloud storage, and access to their files from PC, Mac, mobile or tablet by way of Cubby client software. The paid option, “Cubby Pro,” meanwhile, will start at $6.99/month ($83.88/year) for 100 GB of cloud storage…prepaid annually…early adopters who sign up before the service exits beta sometime next year can get a better rate – 100 GB for $3.99/month…”
4.       Remote access and VPNs  http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/R7OWjcqkJ0LHb16tbSpWNM/When-companies-need-to-connect.html  “…you’ve finally managed to take a day off from work…All of a sudden your boss calls and says you have to look at some data stored on the office network…How do you view data stored on your office computer…One option is by keeping such data shared on a cloud-based service like Dropbox, but these can be quite insecure…what you really need is a virtual private network (VPN)…In case you have a really small set-up where only one or two people need to connect to a single company computer, you can use remote desktop access software like GoToMyPC or LogMeIn. However, if you need multiple remote connections, a full VPN may be a better idea…There are many free as well as paid VPN software services available…We list some of the more popular software for setting up your very own VPN:  TeamViewer 5: If you’re looking for remote control possibilities with a lot of features, the ability to share access to desktop remotely, and get presentation software in the package, TeamViewer 5 is both the simplest and the most powerful solution. Businesses and corporate set-ups will have to pay a bit upfront, but individuals can get it for free…Wippien: This is a very basic but handy VPN software. It’s ideal for those whose network needs include sharing files and content and multiplayer gaming with friends…LogMeIn Hamachi: One of the best business-focused VPN clients out there. It’s a comprehensive package with a clear focus towards setting up VPNs for businesses with industry-grade security…OpenVPN Shield Exchange…”  http://alternativeto.net/software/hamachi/
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
5.        Top 10 Online and Mobile Security Threats for 2012  http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/970749  “…As we near the end of 2012, nProtect takes a look back and reviews the top security issues related to online and mobile threats…1. Android Targeted Threats Increase…2. Sophisticated and Intelligent Attacks Aimed at Large Organizations…3. Online Fraud Targeting Internet Banking Accounts…4. Malicious Malware via Adult Videos…5. Malwares Targeting Online Game Accounts…6. Spreading Malware using Social and Political News…7. Malwares spreading through SNS (Social Network Services)…8. Malware using Legitimate Programs…9. Increased incidents of Cyber Blackmails and Ransomware…10. Flame: Cyber-attack targeting national infrastructure…”
6.       The U.N. Fought The Internet -- And The Internet Won  http://www.forbes.com/sites/eliseackerman/2012/12/14/the-u-n-fought-the-internet-and-the-internet-won-wcit-summit-in-dubai-ends/  “For the last two weeks some of the planet’s most oppressive regimes have faced off against some of the most powerful Internet advocates in an effort to rewrite a multilateral communications treaty that, if successful, could have changed the nature of the Internet and altered the way it is governed…that effort failed, as a US-led block of dissenting countries refused to sign the proposed updates, handing the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union a humbling defeat. The United States, which framed its dissent as defending “the open Internet,” was joined by more than 80 other countries, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Italy, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Sweden and the United Kingdom…the remaining members of the ITU, which is made up of 193 countries, signed the treaty, known as International Telecommunications Regulations, but the gesture in many ways was hollow…the ITU strives for consensus, and it’s within that consensus that the ITU derives its authority…”
7.        Facegram says it now has the right to sell your photos  http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57559710-38/instagram-says-it-now-has-the-right-to-sell-your-photos/  “Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users' photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry. The new intellectual property policy, which takes effect on January 16, comes three months after Facebook completed its acquisition of the popular photo-sharing site. Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out…Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world's largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that "Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won't have to pay you anything to use your images." "It's asking people to agree to unspecified future commercial use of their photos…”  http://blog.instagram.com/post/38252135408/thank-you-and-were-listening  “…it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear…”  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/12/how-to-download-your-instagram-photos-and-kill-your-account/
8.       China tightens 'Great Firewall' internet control  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/dec/14/china-tightens-great-firewall-internet-control  “China appears to be tightening its control of internet services that are able to burrow secretly through what is known as the "Great Firewall", which prevents citizens there from reading some overseas content…A number of companies providing "virtual private network" (VPN) services to users in China say the new system is able to "learn, discover and block" the encrypted communications methods used by a number of different VPN systems. China Unicom, one of the biggest telecoms providers in the country, is now killing connections where a VPN is detected…”
9.       How spyware on rental PCs captured users' most intimate moments  http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/12/how-spyware-on-rental-pcs-captured-users-most-intimate-moments/  “On the second-to-last Monday of 2010, Brian Byrd was playing video poker on his Dell Inspiron laptop when someone knocked on the door of his home in Casper, Wyoming. The visitor, who drove a truck from the local Aaron's rent-to-own store that furnished the PC five months earlier, said the 25-year-old Byrd was behind in his payments and demanded he pay up at once. He then brandished a picture that was about to cause a national privacy uproar. The image showed Byrd on his home couch using the very laptop in question to play online poker. The employee was also privy to a screenshot of the website Byrd's PC was displaying the moment the photo was surreptitiously taken, along with keystrokes he was entering while visiting a website…The couple soon realized that for more than a month, someone had been using the laptop to remotely spy on them. Nowhere in the terms of the rental agreement the Byrds signed was there any mention that the machine could be remotely monitored…Brian and Crystal Byrd weren't the only ones interested in the secret spy feature. In September, the US Federal Trade Commission secured an agreement that settled accusations that seven rent-to-own (RTO) stores and a software design firm surreptitiously captured end users' most intimate moments. The charges of unfair and deceptive gathering of consumers' personal information stemmed from the use of PC Rental Agent, a software package that is also the subject of a federal lawsuit accusing Pennsylvania-based DesignerWare, the rent-to-own stores, and their corporate parent of violating federal wiretap statutes…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
10.     Airbag for smartphones invented  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/9748392/Airbag-for-smartphones-invented.html  “…cracked screens that result from dropped iPhones could become a thing of the past thanks to an unlikely invention – an airbag for smartphones. The innovative technology makes use of the motion-sensors that are now built into most smartphones to detect when it has entered an airborne state, so that a mini-airbag can be deployed to cushion its fall. The idea comes from…Amazon, which won a patent for the protective system this week. As well as mobile phones, the technology could be used on electronic readers, including the online retailer’s own Kindle, as well as computer tablets and cameras. Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, filed the application for a patent himself…The airbag would draw on data from a mobile phone's built-in gyroscope, camera, accelerometers…In the UK alone, tens of millions of pounds are spent on iPhone repairs each year…Mr Seidel said that the technology could put an end to “cumbersome cases”, but expressed concerns about the practicality of its production…”
11.      LG Optimus G on Sprint, best of the best Android smartphones?  http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/science_tech/yuhnke-review-lg-optimus-g-best-of-the-best-android-smartphone  “…On Sprint, the new LG Optimus G may have just stolen the crown from the Samsung Galaxy S3…It has a quad-core 1.5GHz processor…The 4.7” IPS display (768x1280) looks bright and crisp. The blacks aren’t as true black as Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen…The real star of the Optimus G is the 13 Megapixel camera on the back! It’s one of the highest resolution cameras I’ve seen on a smartphone yet…The Optimus G supports LTE 4G…Optimus G is running Google Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.4) as of December 2012…While watching a video (in the LG video app) you can essentially move it to the background. This allows you to continue watching the video semi-transparent on your screen while using other apps on your phone on top of it…You can also stream a video wirelessly to a supported TV while using another app…It won't work with other video apps like Youtube or Netflix. The extra LG feature I like the best is called QuickMemo. Tap this icon and it takes a snapshot of your screen, lets you draw on top of it and then save it. This is a great way to show someone something on your phone. For example, if you bring up a map and want to send a screenshot to someone quickly with a few written notes…”
12.     Firm Launches 'IPHONE' Brand of Android Phones in Brazil  http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/18/firm-launches-iphone-brand-of-android-phones-touts-trademark-ownership-in-brazil/  “Brazilian electronics maker IGB Electronica SA has announced a new line of Android phones under the IPHONE brand, a trademark that was originally applied for in Brazil in 2000…Apple will either file a lawsuit, or perhaps more likely, begin negotiations for a settlement deal. Apple was involved in a similar trademark issue in China, with Proview owning the "iPad" trademark. Apple ended up paying that company $60 million to gain control of the 'iPad' trademark. Brazil is an important country for Apple. The company has begun hiring for new Apple Stores in the country…”
13.     CyanogenMOD 10.1 Gets Ported to LG Optimus G  http://www.mobilemag.com/2012/12/18/cyanogenmod-10-1-gets-ported-to-lg-optimus-g/  “…the LG Optimus G is fundamentally the same smartphone as the hotly desired Google Nexus 4, aside from some differences in form factor and the fact that the Optimus G doesn’t run “vanilla” Android. However, it looks like the LG Optimus G could soon be a “better” Nexus 4 with the port of CyanogenMOD 10.1. The custom ROM…strips away that LG Optimus UI…This is an early build, though, so there are problems. The WiFi, NFC and capacitive keys don’t work yet, for example, but they’re hopeful it’ll all be fully functional by year’s end…this is likely a much faster way to get to Android 4.2 than waiting for an official update skinned by LG…there is a $1 app in the Google Play Store called FreeGee that allows you to unlock your bootloader and remove LG security. You could still bootload the old school way, but the app is easier…”
14.     Tegra 4 specs leak: Quad-core Cortex-A15, 72-core GPU, 28nm  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/143613-tegra-4-specs-leak-quad-core-cortex-a15-72-core-gpu-28nm-4k-max-resolution  “Details of Nvidia’s upcoming Tegra 4 SoC, due early next year, have leaked. If the leak is to be believed, Tegra 4 (codename Wayne) will be a quad-core Cortex-A15 (with a fifth, low-power companion core), with a 72-core GPU — six times more than Tegra 3. At this point we should stress that this leak might not be real, though the specs dovetail quite neatly with what we already knew. The shift from Cortex-A9 to A15 will bring Tegra 4 in line with the latest Snapdragon S4 and Exynos 5 SoCs. The jump to 72 cores (from Tegra 3′s 12) might sound dramatic, but it’s important to note that the Tegra 3′s graphics performance pales in comparison to Apple’s latest A5X and A6 SoCs. Of course, if Nvidia also changes the architecture of those 72 cores — to something resembling Kepler — then Tegra 4 will be a complete beast…”
15.     Samsung announces 5-inch Galaxy Grand smartphone  http://asia.cnet.com/samsung-announces-5-inch-galaxy-grand-smartphone-62219855.htm  “…Samsung has just announced its 5-inch Galaxy Grand smartphone. The Grand runs Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and packs a dual-core 1.2GHz processor. The 5-inch display is, however, the big letdown, as Samsung has chosen a WVGA (800 x 480) resolution to possibly keep the handset's price point low…Samsung has included an 8-megapixel camera on the Grand…The Galaxy Grand will come in two versions--a regular and dual SIM version…we're guessing the Grand will be targeted at the low-to-midrange market…”
Apps
16.     New Google Maps Goes to # 1 for iPhone, Millions Will Finally Upgrade To iOS 6  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/13/google-maps-a-big-win-for-apple-kind-of/  “Apple is getting embarrassed right now as Google’s new iOS Maps app shoots to the top of the charts. But there is one upside…After three months of holding out to avoid Apple Maps, many people are now upgrading to iOS 6 or an iPhone 5. Last night I watched several people learn of the existence of Google Maps for iOS, and the first thing they did was update their phones’ firmware…when Apple released iOS 6 and replaced its native Google Maps with an inferior mapping app of its own, we actually devolved. A critical tool for modern life was stripped away from millions in a way that could only happen in the age of scalable software and ubiquitous mobile devices. That’s why there was such an uproar. It wasn’t that Apple Maps was bad, it was that it was unnatural for us to take such a step backwards…Many people decided they’d just stay on iOS 5 until Google Maps hit the App Store, and iOS 6′s install rate flattened…Most importantly, though, iOS 6 adoption reduces fragmentation for developers. More of them can now…release iOS 6-only versions of their apps without fear of alienating users…When I wrote about Rockmelt’s recently launched iOS 6-only iPad app, we got tons of comments…from people pissed they had to choose between Rockmelt and Google Maps on iOS 5…”
17.     Microsoft and Apple wrangling over SkyDrive iOS app  http://www.macworld.com.au/news/microsoft-office-for-ios-delayed-due-to-skydrive-dispute-82641/  “Apple is said to be blocking a Microsoft SkyDrive app update in the Apple App Store over a dispute about its 30% cut of in-app revenue, leading to speculation that the company may also be holding up the iOS versions of Microsoft’s Office apps…The reason for the SkyDrive hold up is thought to be a disagreement about the subscription structure. Microsoft’s SkyDrive app has included an option for users to purchase additional storage space since April 2013. As it is an App Store app, Apple can demand 30% of that in-app revenue. Reports suggest the money hadn’t been paid and Apple is now demanding that money from Microsoft. In the meantime it would appear Apple is effectively holding the SkyDrive update hostage…” http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/apple-starts-blocking-skydrive-apps-due-to-subscription-link-20121211/   http://venturebeat.com/2012/12/11/microsoft-refuses-to-pay-apple-a-commission-on-skydrive-ios-app/
18.     Another Google Killer App: YouTube Capture app one-ups Apple's video sharing options  http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/12/hands-on-youtube-capture-app-one-ups-apples-video-sharing-options/  “…Google released a brand new app for iOS users aimed at one-upping Apple's own video sharing capabilities on the iPhone. Called YouTube Capture…the free app allows you to either record movies right from within the app or import them from your device's Camera roll. From there, you can perform basic edits on your clips and then upload them to YouTube, Google+, Facebook, or Twitter…The app is very simple and straightforward…YouTube Capture does require you to log in to use the app, but then it's automatically associated with your YouTube account and possibly your Google+ account if you have one. The app gives you the option to link it with your Twitter and Facebook accounts as well…Compared to Apple's single option for video uploading—YouTube—this is a great thing to have. Sure, you can upload videos individually to services like Twitter and Facebook via their own apps, but it's much more convenient to have this capability from a single app. This feature alone is probably enough to make people want to use it…”
19.     Facebook Nearby Challenges Yelp And Foursquare  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/17/facebook-nearby/  “…Built by Josh Williams and the Gowalla team that Facebook acquired last year, Nearby helps you discover nightlife, shopping, restaurants and more based on the Likes, check-ins, and recommendations of your friends and other users. I got to spend the weekend trying out the feature…I’ll review Facebook’s impressive first attempt at local business discovery, discuss its potential to earn money while delighting users, and explain why it spells trouble for apps like Yelp and Foursquare. Starting today when you open the Nearby tab from the Facebook for iOS or Android navigation menu, you won’t just see a list of Places to check in like before. Instead you’ll see a relevancy-sorted list of local businesses and landmarks that Facebook thinks you’ll be interested in. Similar to how it ranks stories in the news feed, Nearby looks at a ton of signals to determine what to show you first…”
SkyNet
20.    Google drops Exchange ActiveSync support for free email accounts  http://www.zdnet.com/google-drops-exchange-activesync-support-for-free-email-accounts-7000008836/  “Google's campaign to draw a sharp line between its free email offerings and what it delivers for paying customers is nearly complete. Last week, Google announced it was killing off its free Google Apps offering for new customers. Today it dropped the other shoe, announcing…as of January 2013 it will no longer support Google Sync connections for new devices using a Gmail or free Google Apps account…Google isn't dropping support for Google Sync for its paying customers, only removing the option for free Gmail customers…Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) is an XML-based protocol, developed by Microsoft, that allows synchronization of email messages, calendar items, contacts, and other data between servers and mobile devices…in February 2009, Google licensed EAS from Microsoft but branded it as Google Sync…Google's implementation is completely separate from Exchange, the mail server program that Microsoft sells…If you are a Gmail user, you can continue to use existing devices set up with Google Sync/Exchange ActiveSync. But as of January 30, 2013, you will no longer be able to set up a new mobile device this way…For iPhone users, as Larry Dignan has noted, this is a clear pitch to spur use of the Gmail iOS app. For Android users, it's a non-issue. For users of other platforms, including Windows Phone 8, it's a headache…”  http://www.androidauthority.com/google-winter-cleaning-apps-services-140320/  http://googleblog.blogspot.ca/2012/12/winter-cleaning.html
21.     Microsoft fights Google with political smear tactics instead of innovation or pricing  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/technology/microsoft-battles-google-by-hiring-political-brawler-mark-penn.html  “Mark Penn made a name for himself in Washington by bulldozing enemies of the Clintons. Now he spends his days trying to do the same to Google, on behalf of its archrival Microsoft…much of his job has involved efforts to trip up Google, which Microsoft has failed to dislodge from its perch atop the lucrative Internet search market…The campaigns by Mr. Penn…known for his…scorched-earth tactics, are part of a broader effort at Microsoft to…turn an opponent’s gaffe into a damaging commercial within hours. They are also a sign of the company’s mounting frustration with…losing billions of dollars a year on its search efforts, while losing ground to Google in the browser and smartphones markets…Microsoft has long attacked Google from the shadows, whispering to regulators, journalists and anyone else who would listen that Google was a privacy-violating, anticompetitive bully. The fruits of its recent work in this area could come next week, when the Federal Trade Commission is expected to announce the results of its antitrust investigation of Google…Jill Hazelbaker, a Google spokeswoman, declined to comment on Microsoft’s actions specifically, but said…“our focus is on Google and the positive impact our industry has on society, not the competition…”
22.    Google Launches “Surprise Calendar” In Google Play Giveaways  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/17/google-launches-surprise-calendar-in-google-play-to-give-away-free-and-discounted-apps-music-movies-more/  “Google today launched the first deal in what will be a series of freebies and discounts on mobile apps, books, TV, music and movies, now being made available to Android users via Google Play. The “surprise calendar countdown,” as the giveaway program is being called, kicks off with a $35 credit for Hotel Tonight…with this year’s surprise calendar countdown, it seems Google is actually working with some of the companies themselves in order to offer free or discounted content instead. For this debut deal, users have to first download the Hotel Tonight application, but can then receive a $35 discount towards their hotel stay by using a special promo code (Google35)…The promotion runs from now until January 1st, 2013…”
23.    Google's cloud-based music-matching service has arrived... and it's free  http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/12/googles-cloud-music-service-has-arrived-and-its-free/  “Google has announced its own music-matching locker service, but unlike Amazon’s Cloud Player and Apple’s iTunes Match, this new service is free. Google Play, in this new incarnation, first debuted in Europe a month ago and now it has finally come stateside…the new service will scan your computer's music collection, then check that against Google's servers and serve you with a stream of those songs. Previously, the service required you to upload each song through its client application. “Our new music matching feature gets your songs into your online music library on Google Play much faster,” the company wrote Tuesday on its Google+ page. “We’ll scan your collection and quickly rebuild it in the cloud—all for free. And we’ll stream your music back to you at up to 320 kbps…”
24.    Google puts Dead Sea Scrolls sacred text online  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2021325/google-puts-dead-sea-scrolls-sacred-text-online.html  “Since the sacred text of the Dead Sea Scrolls was discovered in the 1940s few besides religious scholars were allowed to closely examine the centuries old text. Google now gives the world up close and personal access to the scrolls, thanks to a partnership with the Israeli Antiquities Authority. Both have put 5000 images of scroll fragments online at resolutions as high as 1215 dpi…The site displays infrared and color images that are equal in quality to the Scrolls themselves…”
25.    Has Google Finally Found Its Mobile Design Chops?  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/16/has-google-finally-found-its-mobile-design-chops/  “Google has never been a hotbed of cool design. Services like Gmail and Google Docs have always been very functional, but few people would describe them as good looking…that seems to be changing, though. The latest group of apps to come out of Google, including the latest version of Currents, the new YouTube app, Google+ for mobile, Gmail for iOS and, of course, the spectacular Google Maps for iOS, show that the company is finally taking design very seriously…the company is also developing its own design language that makes many of its new apps immediately recognizable as coming from Google. All of the recent apps, for example, feature the “cards” look Google first introduced with Google Now and the Google+ app. The YouTube app, for example, has them, as does the new Currents for Android, and there are event hints of them in the new Maps for iOS app. They don’t always use the same smooth animations as the Google+ app does, but the overall design is very similar…”
26.    Ray Kurzweil hired by Google to advance language processing and artificial intelligence  http://venturebeat.com/2012/12/15/ray-kurzweil-google/  “Prominent futurist and author Ray Kurzweil has accepted a position as director of engineering at Google, where he plans to work on technology developments in language processing, machine learning, and other areas. Kurzweil has become renowned for authoring several books about the future of technology and “the singularity,” a period where humans merge with intelligent machines. He believes we have made discernible progress with artificial intelligence, but have much further to go…he’s publicly criticized Apple’s Siri as “primitive” and thinks it needs a lot of work. Perhaps that means he will work to improve Google’s competing Now service…”
General Technology
27.    Secret Space Plane Launched on Mystery Mission  http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/12/space-plane-third-flight/  “After a delay of nearly two months…the Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane blasted off again from Cape Canaveral, Florida…The launch starts the third mission in three years for the robotic X-37 fleet, assembled in Boeing’s…Building 31…for an estimated $1 billion apiece…the two school bus-size…solar- and battery-powered X-37s are strictly experimental craft, meant to “demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform” while also “operating experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth,”…the Air Force has…declined to state…what those experiments might be…in theory the X-37s could also carry spy sensors or gear for hacking enemy satellites. That and the lack of specific information has elicited protests from the Chinese government, which has vowed to build a space plane of its own…”
28.    Samsung Acquires SSD Caching Company NVELO  http://www.anandtech.com/show/6518/samsung-acquires-ssd-caching-company-nvelo  “…Samsung announced their intent to acquire NVELO, known for their Dataplex SSD caching software…NVELO…was founded only two years ago as a spin-off from Denali Software…the company is full of experience as most of the employees worked over a decade for Denali before the acquisition…several products in the market…use NVELO's Dataplex software such as OCZ's Synapse, Corsair's Accelerator and Crucial's Adrenaline SSDs. Dataplex is…an alternative to Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT) but with fewer limitations. For example, Dataplex is not tied to any specific chipsets, making it a viable option for AMD based setups and older systems without Intel's SRT support. There is also no 64GB cache size limitation like in Intel's SRT, although most of the SSDs that are bundled with Dataplex are 64GB or smaller…SSD prices have come down significantly in the last few years but we still aren't at a point where SSDs can replace hard drives in mainstream products…the difference an SSD makes is just so substantial that there is no reason not to want an SSD. The advantage of caching is that you can have SSD-like performance with plenty of storage without breaking the bank…”
29.    SSD prices are low—and they'll get lower  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/12/ssd-prices-are-low-and-theyll-get-lower/  “…Computerworld has a report examining the current pricing trends, noting that in spite of the short period of flatness in 2011, SSD prices are down more than 66 percent over the past three years…consumer SSDs were typically coming in at about $3 per gigabyte in 2010, whereas today it is common to find SSDs clocking in at under $1 per gigabyte…A quick survey…shows popular brand and sizes, like the 256GB flavor of Crucial's SATA III M4 SSD, coming in at more like 80¢ per gigabyte, while even higher-priced disks like the Intel 520 are hovering slightly above the $1/GB mark…we've even recommended solid state for our "Budget Box" in our December 2012 System Guide. This is definitely a first, but the pricing and performance are worth it…If history has anything to say we will now see prices per drive stabilize and the size of the drives substantially grow over the next few years."…the UCSD/Microsoft paper…predicts that TLC NAND…will top out at a 6.5nm process size and hold a maximum of 1,700GB per chip. An eight-chip drive, as is common today, would wind up with a raw capacity of 14TB…”
30.    Leap Motion ships 10,000 developer units  http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/18/3779310/leap-ships-10000-developer-units-paving-the-way-for-a-2013-launch  “The motion control company is tempting developers towards their new platform with free units and a revamped SDK. Leap Motion made a splash this summer with a futuristic motion-tracking camera, but they’ve spent the rest of the year on a trickier task: leveraging that camera into a software platform. This morning, they made their biggest step forward yet, announcing another 10,000 units that will ship out to developers over the next few weeks and an updated SDK that provides developers with a codebase for basic gestures on the Leap. The extra units increase Leap's army of camera-equipped developers from 2,000 to 12,000 — an expensive move, but a necessary one if they’re going to have a fully stocked app store in time for their scheduled launch in early 2013. Aside from a few in-house programs, all of the software will be coming from those 12,000 outside devs…”
31.     Engineers roll up inductors  http://news.illinois.edu/news/12/1213inductors_XiulingLi.html  “On the road to smaller, high-performance electronics…researchers have smoothed one speed bump by shrinking a key, yet notoriously large element of integrated circuits. Three-dimensional rolled-up inductors have a footprint more than 100 times smaller without sacrificing performance…Inductors, often seen as the sprawling metal spirals on computer chips, are essential components of integrated circuits. They store magnetic energy, acting as a buffer against changes in current and modulating frequency – especially important in radio-frequency wireless devices. However, they take up a lot of space. Inductance depends on the number of coils in the spiral, so engineers cannot make them smaller without losing performance…the larger the area the inductor occupies, the more it interfaces with the substrate the chip is built on, exacerbating a hindering effect called parasitic capacitance…The new inductor design uses…thin films of silicon nitrate…that roll themselves up into tubes. The research team used industry-standard two-dimensional processing to pattern metal lines on the film before rolling, creating a spiral inductor. “We’re making 3-D structures with 2-D processing…”
Leisure & Entertainment
32.    Kingdom Death Board Game Revives Fantasy D&D Design  http://www.wired.com/design/2012/12/kingdom-death/  “Kingdom Death: Monster is a cooperative board game that is equal parts Milton-Bradley and Megadeth album art. In it players team up in an RPG-like setting, playing amnesiac characters trying to survive in a nightmarishly baroque setting…it is killing it on Kickstarter, having has raised over $600,000 with three weeks remaining. [the founder asked only for $35,000 – ed.]…Kingdom Death pays homage to over-the-top fantasy art of yore and is definitely for mature audiences. Kingdom Death’s creator, Adam Poots…started his career as a Brooklyn-based creative director. By day he worked on branding campaigns and websites for Groupon clones, but in his off hours he was an avid gamer. One day…while waiting to be summoned during a stint of jury duty, he read a rulebook for a role playing game and started to imagine ways it could be improved…he wanted his game to have awesome miniature figures as game pieces, so he started designing those pieces…while he had a vision for the game world, he didn’t have the skills in illustration or sculpting to realize it — so he hired some help…he recruited a sculptor by suggesting they try a novel process in the field, 3-D printing…We talked to a lot of 3-D printing companies and found a machine called ‘The Viper‘ that could handle the job…In 2010 he went full time, and found a European production house to cast limited runs of his figures in resin. “My production partner is in France and we communicate with them via Google Translate. From what I understand he is a strange master of his craft type and he does everything in this small village…I make way more selling little plastic figures than I did designing websites…I wanted the game itself to be something you play without a dungeon master, I wanted the game system itself to play the dungeon master role…Poots is still proudly independent, avoiding partners and investors. He says “I’m a one man band, though my girlfriend has been super duper supportive and has spent many of her nights packing stuff with me…he is leaning against traditional distribution and would prefer to disrupt the market and serve fans directly. Kingdom Death was designed to scare players, but with this massive success, it might be the traditional game companies that should be fearful.” [some variation of this story is what Luke, T-Son and Mark N could consider launching; even if their effort isn’t as virally successful as Kingdom Death, it would still be pretty cool – ed.]
33.    'Calm Act' regulating TV commercial volume levels  http://www.techspot.com/news/51087-calm-act-regulating-tv-commercial-volume-levels-now-in-effect.html  “A nuisance that has bothered television viewers for years is now a thing of the past. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM, goes into effect today…Under CALM, commercial advertisements aren’t allowed to be any louder than the programming they accompany…The law came to life following years of complaints from consumers. It was actually passed into law more than a year ago but the FCC gave advertisers a lengthy grace period in order to comply…”
34.    How we built a tiny home theater PC with Intel's NUC  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2020577/how-we-built-a-tiny-home-theater-pc-with-intels-nuc.html  “Full-featured PCs are getting smaller every day, and Intel's new "Next Unit of Computing," or NUC, is yet another example of the ever-shrinking personal computer. At 4.6 by 4.4 by 1.5 inches—about the size of a very small box of chocolates—the NUC contains a Core i3 processor and two SODIMM memory slots, and can be upgraded with both a Wi-Fi card and mSATA SSD internally…Hmmm. HDMI. And a Thunderbolt port. The feature set made me think this particular NUC would be an ideal platform for building a compact media streaming box—or even a full-fledged home theater PC. Home theater PCs are often massive beasts, shipped in cases the same size as beefy A/V receivers…to me the diminutive NUC seemed like an ideal platform for streaming video from the Internet or local server storage…you could connect a hard drive to that Thunderbolt port, enabling the NUC to act as a light-duty DVR. The NUC is available from sites such as Amazon for about $360, stripped down (no networking, SSD or memory). Here's how I built mine into one of the smallest home theater PCs you will ever find…”
Economy and Technology
35.    SolarCity shares soar 47 percent in market debut  http://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCABRE8BC15J20121214  “Shares of SolarCity Corp jumped nearly 50 percent during their market debut…after the company was forced to slash its IPO price to attract investors skittish about putting money into the volatile clean technology industry. The solar panel installer's stock rose 47.4 percent to close at $11.79. It hit a session high of $12.70…The San Mateo, California-based company backed by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk sold 11.5 million shares at $8, raising $92 million. It initially had planned to sell 10.1 million shares between $13 and $15 per share…The company has grown rapidly, largely because it allows customers to lease solar panels by paying a monthly fee, avoiding the hefty costs of an outright purchase…”
36.    GarageFuse Launches 3D Social Aftermarket Configurator For Car Enthusiasts  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/17/garagefuse-launches-3d-social-aftermarket-configurator-for-car-enthusiasts/  “…every car manufacturer today has an online car configurator that shows you what your car will look like as you spec it out. For car enthusiasts, however, the car that the manufacturer delivers is really just a blank slate that still needs to be modified, tuned, and personalized. GarageFuse, which is launching in beta today, wants to become the car configurator for these aftermarket customers…The service was founded by 22 year-old Daniel Oldja…GarageFuse only focuses on Audi’s lineup…for aftermarket products, the site currently provides access to custom wheels from a number of premium vendors, as well as an aftermarket body kit from PPI Automotive Design…the site aims to expand to other OEM manufacturers and aftermarket companies…while existing car configurators have become an important marketing element, they only serve OEM components to their audience,” said Oldja, who is CEO of GarageFuse. “GarageFuse eliminates this longstanding barrier by allowing users to build their own vehicle with a combination of OEM and aftermarket parts …”
37.    Punching Above Their Weight: Opportunity And Challenges For Kiwi Startups  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/16/punching-above-their-weight/  “…I was traveling with a group of investors and entrepreneurs on one of those Geeks On A Plane trips — this one organized by the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise commission as a way to show some foreigners from Silicon Valley and other U.S. tech what it was like for local entrepreneurs trying to make it on the global stage…we saw many reasons why entrepreneurs would wish to begin building businesses there — mainly thanks to the picturesque landscape that prevails nearly everywhere you go. But Kiwis and foreigners who wish to be part of the startup experience in New Zealand should also be aware of the challenges those companies face…Having English as its native language means that it has easy reach to a number of global markets, including nearby Australia, as well as the United States and United Kingdom…its proximity to other parts of Asia, as well as a free trade agreement with China, gives it easy entree into one of the fastest-growing markets in the world…the amount of capital and mentorship needed to start a truly global company is lacking in New Zealand…New Zealand entrepreneurs tend to focus most on…their local market…Mark that up, in part, to a lack of mentors and outside capital to help drive innovation abroad…the typical lifecycle of a Kiwi entrepreneur…includes several years of working in a foreign country — or at least working for a foreign multinational corporation…the typical “overseas experience” (“OE” for short)…OE participants starting their own companies…tend to be older, wiser, more worldly, and have a better sense of markets overseas. They’ve returned to the New Zealand homeland for a reason — mainly due to the relative low cost and high quality of life — and are ready to settle into the next stage of their adult lives…Kiwi entrepreneurs can be less focused on their startups and more focused on the abundance of local leisure activities…another issue that New Zealand faces as it seeks to become a place for tech startups to grow and prosper — a lack of qualified tech talent…New Zealand-based startups typically don’t give up stock options to employees, even early employees or those central to the business, making them more difficult to keep on board…at the end of the day, much of the new Zealand pitch came down to the low cost of living and high quality of life…Ask any of the companies overpaying for office space in SOMA or overpaying for engineers in Palo Alto if they would swap places, and I don’t think any would. Because you can’t create a successful tech startup on scenery alone…”
Design / DEMO
38.    Trinity students join Stanford ‘gold standard’ industrial design course  http://www.siliconrepublic.com/innovation/item/30372-trinity-students-join/  “Four post-grad students from Trinity College Dublin have been selected by software giant SAP to participate in this year’s session of Stanford’s prestigious ME310 course, considered the gold standard course in industrial design…The focus will be on SAP’s AppHaus innovation space and how remote collaboration between teams can be achieved using the latest in technology and design thinking…SAP opened its first large scale implementation in Dublin in early 2012, and are now converting a number of buildings on their Mountain View campus. The Dublin and Silicon Valley teams collaborate closely, and the students will look at how to shrink the physical distance between the locations…we look forward to seeing how the students can make us collaborate better across distances.” The ME310 course places students in a ‘real world’ design dialogue with a corporate partner and by the end of the course, they deliver a bespoke innovative solution or process for that company…”
39.    Do it with design  http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/do-it-with-design/article4200263.ece  “National Institute of Design’s annual Design Summit held in Delhi this week threw up a host of designer products…Take for instance, ECCODiva, which is not just an ordinary flash light, but a multipurpose light designed to cater to those who have limited or irregular access to other forms of electricity…it can get charged by solar energy…to give battery back up of up to 250 hours and charge mobile phones…The product is customised for women working at home, children and men out in fields at night…design must solve real life problems…in villages we…interacted on one-to-one basis to know the real problems related to light…Design clinics aim at strengthening small scale manufacturers so that they can compete with multinational companies…Pradyumna Vyas, Director NID emphasised on the importance of integrating technology, social sciences, marketing and design…”  http://www.designclinicsmsme.org/organizers/ministry-of-msme
40.    Bringing social innovation to life through design  http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/blog/design-for-social-innovation  “What do a near indestructible football, newly designed clothing for female medical patients…have in common? Firstly, they are…shortlisted for the 2013 Index awards for "design to improve life". Secondly, they…provide great examples for the theme of our next article on sustainability and design: how designers are creating real, practical solutions to some of the world's many social and environmental challenges – through social innovation by design…social innovations are ideas that work for the public good. It will not be a new term to a sustainability-literate audience, but designers' involvement in it might be…this is design and innovation focused on society's most important challenges and problems: climate change, access to clean water, better sanitation, pollution, poverty or malnutrition, female empowerment, crime…designers do have an important skill-set to apply to social innovation – namely, an empathic approach to their solutions. Unlike their engineering cousins working extensively from technology or science, designers start from people…The Watercone project, showcased in our sustainable product design gallery in September, allows the poor to purify drinking water simply, in one day…Frog Design recently launched a free design toolkit for social innovation…Chris Sherwin is head of sustainability at leading design and innovation consultancy Seymourpowell…”
41.     3D Design Software For Organ And Tissue Printing Coming From Autodesk and Organovo  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/17/organovo-autocad/  “Autodesk’s software may be best-known for helping architects design buildings or for prototyping products, but it soon may be applied to designing tissues and organs. Autodesk and Organovo, a publicly-traded bioprinting company, are partnering on software for designing three-dimensional human tissues…Organovo-printed tissues are already used in medical research. Organovo, which went public earlier this year through a small cap offering and has a market cap of $98 million, manufactures a bioprinter that can create 1 millimeter-thick tissues…As those designs become more intricate, the company’s management realized there would be a need for design software…Autodesk, a $7.8 billion company that builds software for product designers, architects, animators and more, has a small, but growing team focused on bio and nano-programmable matter…such an effort could democratize the design and printing of living tissues. “This would make it less important for a biologist to have a specific software background,” Olguin said. “Right now, they need to write their own programs or partner with a specific engineer. We’re trying to give them tools to iterate faster…”
DHMN Technology
42.    OpenArch Adds A “Digital Layer” To The Average Room  http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/12/openarch-adds-a-digital-layer-to-the-average-room/  “Creating a workable Minority Report-like screen isn’t very hard but what about an entire room or building that responds to touch, voice, and movement? Now that’s hard. That…is the goal of OpenArch, a project by designer Ion Cuervas-Mons that uses projectors, motion sensors, and light to create interactive spaces…I am architect and I was really interested on integrating physical and digital layers…Our objective was to create a Domestic Operating System (D.OS) integrating physical and digital realities…The goal, in the end, is to create a digital component that can live in any space and enliven it with digital information, feedback, and sensors…”  [here’s a grand project for the imminent DHMN Facility; let’s create a truly smart room, collaborating with Ion Cuervas-Mons or a team of architects and tech companies – ed.]
43.    All-seeing headset gives you 360-degree vision  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628956.000-allseeing-headset-gives-you-360degree-vision.html  “…a headset that gives you a 360-degree field of vision…FlyVIZ…was designed…at the Grande École d'Ingenieurs Paris-Laval in France. It captures images from every direction around the wearer, then transforms them into something our measly human vision system can comprehend. The system is at prototype stage: at 1.6 kilograms, it's a bit heavy to walk around with…It uses a video camera, mounted atop a helmet, along with specially shaped mirrors to capture the environment on all sides of the user, then displays it in real time on a modified Sony Personal 3D Viewer headset…In a series of trials, users grabbed sticks that would have been outside their normal field of view, dodged balls thrown from behind them, and even drove a car. Despite the strange new perspective on the world, the device does not cause any nausea, motion sickness or visual fatigue, the team claims…”
44.    Introducing the Pi Store  http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/2768  “We’ve been amazed by the variety of software that people have written for, or ported to, the Raspberry Pi. Today, together with our friends at IndieCity and Velocix, we’re launching the Pi Store to make it easier for developers of all ages to share their games, applications, tools and tutorials with the rest of the community. The Pi Store will, we hope, become a one-stop shop for all your Raspberry Pi needs…The store runs as an X application under Raspbian, and allows users to download content, and to upload their own content for moderation and release…We hope that the Pi Store will provide young people with a way to share their creations with a wider audience, and maybe to a make a little pocket money along the way; as well as offering commercial developers an easy way to get their software seen by the Raspberry Pi community…Anybody can submit their own project for moderation and release. You can choose whether to make your content free or paid: the store has a tip jar mechanism, so even if you’re not charging (and not charging will get you far more downloads), you still have the opportunity to make some money from your development work if people really like it…”
45.    How to make a Raspberry Pi solar-powered FTP server  http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/desktops/how-to-make-a-raspberry-pi-solar-powered-ftp-server-50009923/  “…How about making a solar-powered FTP server? You'll always have instant access to all your digital files, from anywhere with an Internet connection, and it won't cost a penny on your electricity bill. We'll be using a simple custom-built £25 Raspberry Pi case, with all the right slots for its outputs, that comes with a small solar panel, a battery case and a micro-USB cable. You'll just need to supply your own NiMH rechargeable batteries…Once it's plopped through your letterbox, slot your Pi into the case and hook it up to power and a monitor. Let's start programming. The first step is to make sure the RPi has a static IP address…locate it somewhere that has easy access to a network cable, and plenty of sunlight (for the solar cells)…The final part of this project involves granting external FTP access to the RPi. This is also the most ambiguous of the steps, as it all depends on the make and model of your router…”  http://cgi.cottonpickers.plus.com/~cottonpickers/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=69
46.    HyperSphere: Airship Plan to Put Cameras in the Sky  http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2012/11/19/croatian-airship-plan-to-put-cameras-in-the-sky/  “An ambitious plan by a Croatian startup would see airships return to the skies, not carrying passengers, but as autonomous unmanned airborne vehicles (UAVs), maintaining a permanent watch. Bojan Pečnik of Hypershpere, speaking at an event in London last week to demonstrate Croatian startups, says that the 20-meter wide, helium-filled, airships can cover an area of 230 square kilometers with a 24-hour, seven-day airborne network of cameras…his plan is to use the UAVs as a platform, opening up the data feed to allow people to build apps using the data…When Croatia joins the European Union in July 2013 it will become the new border of the Schengen zone. “There is 1,300 km of mountainous terrain that needs protection. There is no way to cover it all with manpower. You could use conventional UAVs, but they don’t have the same hover time.”…Other uses include traffic monitoring, helping emergency vehicles get to accidents, remote monitoring of premises for intruder detection, even tourist services “such as having your photograph taken outside Buckingham Palace…”
47.    War and The Robotics Revolution  http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2012/12/11-robotics-military-singer  “…it seems like robots are taking over the world…within their growing appearance in the news is…a story that is reshaping the overall history of war and politics, and even humanity…Advances in technology made unmanned systems more usable, especially through the incorporation of GPS technology that allowed such systems to locate themselves in the world…When US forces first went into Afghanistan, the U.S. military had only a handful of unmanned aerial systems…Now it has…more than 8,000 in the air and more than 12,000 on the ground…last year, the U.S. Air Force trained more unmanned systems operators than fighter and bomber pilots combined…technologies like the Predator or the PackBot…are just the first generation, the Model T Fords and Wright Flyers compared to what is already in the prototype stage…they are akin to advancements like the airplane or the steam engine in allowing greater power and reach in war…changing it forever…We may have thousands now, but as one three-star U.S. Air Force general noted…very soon it will be “tens of thousands…with far different capabilities…If Moore’s Law holds true over the next 25 years…our robots will be as much as a billion times more powerful than today…what was once only fodder for science-fiction conventions like Comic-Con is now being talked about seriously in places like the Pentagon. A robotics revolution is at hand…Scientists…talk about the field of robotics today in much the same way they talked about nuclear research back in the 1940s. If you are a young engineer or computer scientist, you will find yourself drawn towards it. It is the cutting edge. It is where the excitement is, and where the research money is…with robotics, issues on the technical side may ultimately be much easier to resolve than dilemmas that emerge from our human use of them…”
48.    CU-Boulder team develops swarm of pingpong ball-sized robots  http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2012/12/14/cu-boulder-team-develops-swarm-pingpong-ball-sized-robots  “…If one robot can accomplish a singular task, think how much more could be accomplished if you had hundreds of them. Correll and his computer science research team…created a swarm of 20 robots, each the size of a pingpong ball, which they call “droplets.” When the droplets swarm together, Correll said, they form a “liquid that thinks.”…Similar to the fictional “nanomorphs” depicted in the “Terminator” films, large swarms of intelligent robotic devices could be used for a range of tasks. Swarms of robots could be unleashed to contain an oil spill or to self-assemble into a piece of hardware…Correll plans to use the droplets to demonstrate self-assembly and swarm-intelligent behaviors such as pattern recognition, sensor-based motion and adaptive shape change. These behaviors could then be transferred to large swarms for water- or air-based tasks. Correll hopes to create a design methodology for aggregating the droplets into more complex behaviors such as assembling parts of a large space telescope or an aircraft…He also is continuing work on robotic garden technology…involving autonomous sensors and robots that can tend gardens, in conjunction with a model of a long-term space habitat being built by students…”
Open Source Hardware
49.    Cooking Hacks announces medical biometric sensor for Arduino and Raspberry Pi  http://www.biometricupdate.com/201212/cooking-hacks-announces-medical-biometric-sensor-for-arduino-and-raspberry-pi-communities/  “Cooking Hacks, the open hardware division of Libelium, a wireless sensor networks platform provider for Smart Cities solutions, has released a new e-Health biometric sensor platform to give the maker community tools that use Arduino and Raspberry Pi open source hardware platforms to monitor patients’ conditions. This new sensor, called the e-Health Sensor Shield platform adds sensing capability for nine unique biometric parameters, such as pulse, blood pressure, oxygen in blood, electrocardiogram, airflow, glucometer, galvanic skin response, patient position and body temperature, to give the Arduino and Raspberry Pi community a way to develop new e-Health applications and products…“We aim to give the Arduino and Raspberry Pi community a platform to develop quick proof-of-concept projects as the basis of a new era of open source medical products…”  http://www.cooking-hacks.com/index.php/ehealth-sensor-shield-biometric-medical-arduino-raspberry-pi.html
50.    Collaborative Design with Open Design Engine  http://www.innovationsts.com/blog/?p=3924  “…Pulling together hardware designers from all over the Internet presents several challenges. Among these is the task of keeping things like project time lines, roadmaps, forums, wikis, and issue tracking organized and cohesive. There may also be the need to collect and organize design files such as CAD, which don’t fit well into the traditional paradigm used by source code management systems like git and CVS. The main reason for this is because CAD files tend to be binary, and are hard to diff or merge in any meaningful way. Addressing these challenges any many more is what the Redmine based Open Design Engine project (Figure 1.1) is seeking to do. Open Design Engine, or ODE for short, is an open source web application that’s an initiative of Mach 30, an organization committed to fostering a space-faring future for the human race through safe, routine, reliable, and sustainable access to space…There’s a Sandbox project where you can start the learning process in a safe environment where your actions won’t hinder other users. Once you get comfortable with contributing to projects on ODE you’ll be in a great position to start a project of your own. If you have a project (hardware, software, mechanical, medical, whatever) that you’ve always wanted to work on but haven’t, why not start it on ODE where you have the chance of getting input from designers all over the world?…”
51.     Combining the modularity of LEGO components with open source and 3D printing  http://kaplak.net/2012/12/16/combining-the-modularity-of-lego-components-with-open-source-and-3d-printing/  “…A 15-year-old high school student from Greece…has started building an open source LEGO-based 3D printer…This project, inspired by Arthur Sacek’s Milling Machine, builds on the RepRap 3D Printer open designs and knowledge. It aims to motivate people in the fields of art, computers and design communicating the potential of open source and hardware movement…Marios Papachristou has established a collaboration with the P2P Lab, located in Ioannina (Greece), with the goal to document the development of the project as well as to highlight the socio-economic impact of the conjunction of LEGO and peer production products and processes…”  http://code.google.com/p/lego-mindstorms-3d-printing-machine/
52.    Robotics Hacker Erects Open Source ‘Lego for Adults’  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/12/makeblock/  “Jasen Wang once bought a home robotics kit. He had studied aircraft design in college and spent years at an electrics engineering outfit, but he still found the instructions completely incomprehensible. And the pieces were flimsy. And after he broke two of them, he gave up entirely. The good news is that he resolved to create his own robotics kit that was actually worthy of the name. The result is Makeblock, a set of flexible components — including slots, wheels, timing belts, and motors — for building robotics. Wang — who oversees the five person company behind the project — describes it as “Lego for adults.” You can even integrate these components with Lego blocks, as well as open source Arduino circuit boards and various other motors and standard industrial parts. And all of Makeblock’s schematics are open source, meaning anyone can build compatible parts or try to improve upon the designs…”
53.    Building my Own Laptop  http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=2686  “We are building an open laptop, with some wacky features in it for hackers like me…ARM CPUs are getting fast enough, and Moore’s Law is slowing down, so that even if it took a year or so to complete, I won’t be left with a woefully useless design. Today’s state of the art ARM CPUs — quad-core with GHz+ performance levels — is good enough for most day-to-day code development, email checking, browsing…We started the design in June, and last week I got my first prototype motherboards, hot off the SMT line. It’s booting linux, and I’m currently grinding through the validation of all the sub-components…”
Open Source
54.    Get information on your Linux hardware with hardinfo  http://linuxaria.com/pills/get-information-on-your-hardware-with-hardinfo?lang=en  “On a former article I’ve presented 3 command line commands that you can use to get information on your Linux box: lsusb, lspci and lshw, they are really good and I use the first 2 in a lot of situation where I want to check if all my devices works correctly. Today I’ll propose to you another software that has become popular in this genre: hardinfo, a software designed to be a System Profiler and Benchmark tool, easily usable by everyone and shipped by default by some of the mainstream Linux distributions. HardInfo can gather information about your system’s hardware and operating system, perform benchmarks, and generate printable reports either in HTML or in plain text formats…”
55.     Steam for Linux open beta begins  http://www.geek.com/articles/games/steam-for-linux-open-beta-begins-this-week-20121217/  “Steam’s limited Linux beta has been running for a little over a month now, recently opening up to 5,000 new testers. Today, in a message to the Steam for Linux closed mailing list, Valve has announced that it will be opening up the beta to the public next week. Opening up the beta would increase the current population of 80,000 testers to, Valve hopes, a much larger number. Along with the open beta, Valve will release a new web page detailing how to install Ubuntu and Steam for Linux. A Steam for Linux repository will also be set up, stats for the Linux games library will be released, and of course, games that support Linux will become available for purchase…”
56.    Blender 2.65 Arrives  http://ostatic.com/blog/blender-2-65-arrives-most-stable-yet  “…Blender Foundation announced Blender 2.65 recently saying stability had been their main focus this cycle. This release represents over 200 bug fixes and several new features. One of the new features is the addition of fire to the smoke simulator, which received lots of updates and performance improvements. "Smoke can be emitted from mesh surfaces, without the need for a particle system. A smoke flow force field was added to improve interaction with other simulations. Colored smoke simulation and mixing is possible and the interaction of smoke with collision objects has been improved…”
57.     Google Drive Linux client Insync gets XFCE and MATE Desktop  http://www.webupd8.org/2012/12/linux-google-drive-client-insync-gets.html  “Insync, an unofficial Google Drive Linux client that's available for a wide range of desktop environments has been updated today, getting support for MATE Desktop…and Xfce…I've only tested the new Xfce…support and it works, but there are some minor glitches. However, this is the first Insync for Xfce release, so hopefully all the issues will be fixed soon…”
Civilian Aerospace
58.    Health Concerns Could Ground Citizen Astronauts  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20717969  “Astronauts are limited to spending six months on the International Space Station, around 200 miles above Earth…The loss of bone and muscle mass they experience in space is so profound that they cannot stay any longer. But what about the health impact of forthcoming suborbital flights for space tourists who are not fit, highly-trained individuals?...GPs should be prepared to answer patients' queries about their suitability for space travel…in the next two years or so significant numbers of people will be taking up places on suborbital flights in a specially-designed spacecraft…they will dip out of Earth's atmosphere, experience weightlessness for around four minutes and then descend back to Earth's surface. The speed of the acceleration and deceleration involved in that flight could be an issue for some…At the extremes, some people can tolerate as little as 3g and some as much as 6g…The American Aerospace Medical Association Commercial Spaceflight Working Group published a document in 2009 saying that most individuals with "well controlled medical conditions" could withstand the acceleration forces involved in the launch and landing of a commercial spaceflight. Their challenge…is to gather information on a range of ages and health conditions - not just young, fit individuals - so that spaceflight companies can judge who can and who can't fly…”
59.    Jacobs wins KSC ground ops contract worth up to $1.4 billion  http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20121217/SPACE/121217029/Jacobs-wins-KSC-ground-ops-contract-worth-up-1-4-billion  “NASA today awarded a contract worth up to $1.4 billion over nearly 10 years to manage the ground systems and facilities that will be needed to launch astronauts on exploration missions from Kennedy Space Center. Jacobs Technology of Tullahoma, Tenn., won the Test and Operations Support Contract, or TOSC, which essentially replaces United Space Alliance’s contract to operate the space shuttle fleet…The work will include activities such as assembling NASA’s planned heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and mating it with an Orion crew capsule inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, mounting the vehicles on a mobile launcher and rolling them out to pad 39B for launch…Some work may also be performed for NASA’s KSC-based Launch Services Program, which procures expendable rockets for launches of science satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and other sites…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
60.    NVIDIA Receives DARPA Contract Worth Up To $20 Million  http://nvidianews.nvidia.com/Releases/NVIDIA-Receives-DARPA-Contract-Worth-up-to-20-Million-for-High-Performance-Embedded-Processor-Research-8d6.aspx  “NVIDIA has been awarded a contract worth up to $20 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to research embedded processor technologies that could lead to dramatic improvements in the ability of autonomous vehicles to collect and process data from on-board sensors…The five-year contract, awarded under DARPA's Power Efficiency Revolution For Embedded Computing Technologies (PERFECT) program, will fund research for processors that are 75-times more energy efficient than current embedded solutions. The goal is to enable surveillance and computer vision systems in ground and airborne vehicles to collect and analyze vastly more data than can be processed today in real time. Existing embedded processors deliver about 1 gigaflops of performance (1 billion floating point operations each second) per watt. The NVIDIA program, known as Project Osprey, will research low-power circuits and extremely efficient architectures and programming systems that enable 75 gigaflops per watt, using process technologies as advanced as 7 nanometer (nm) compared with today's 28-nm process…Project Osprey will leverage NVIDIA's strengths in heterogeneous computing and parallel processing technology, which enable more efficient processing than traditional CPUs…”
61.     CUDA vs. Phi: Phi Programming for CUDA Developers  http://www.drdobbs.com/parallel/cuda-vs-phi-phi-programming-for-cuda-dev/240144545  “…This article discusses how programming the Phi compares with CUDA programming…While CUDA applications can run on x86 hardware, it's important to know how architectural differences between GPUs and Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors affect performance and application design…The good news for CUDA programmers is that Phi coprocessors provide a teraflop-capable hardware platform that should run CUDA applications with high performance…While it should be relatively easy and straightforward to port CUDA applications to Phi coprocessors with the expectation is that the resulting binary will run with high performance, this does not necessarily mean that the translated CUDA code will achieve the best possible performance…Looking to the future…OpenACC and OpenMP will probably converge (possibly in OpenMP 4.0) so that only a change of compiler switches will be required to run on a GPU or Phi coprocessor. As a result, we will all benefit from the teraflop performance of both devices…CUDA programmers need to remember that the Phi is designed as a coprocessor that runs Linux. Unlike GPUs that act only as accelerators, the Phi coprocessor has the ability to be used as a very capable support processor merely by compiling existing applications to run natively …”
Trends & Emerging Tech
62.    Top 10 Mobile Trends for 2013  http://investorplace.com/2012/12/juniper-top-10-mobile-trends-for-2013/  “…Here are Juniper Research’s top 10 mobile industry trends for 2013: Big Data…Wearable Computers — A number of new high-tech glasses and head-mounted displays will be launched next year as Apple and Microsoft join Google in wearable technology products…Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Proliferates…Retailers Embrace In-store Mobile Services…WiFi and LTE Connectivity Advance…Mobile Device-Centered Connectivity…Microsoft Surge – With the launch of Windows 8, its own line of tablet computers and Windows smartphones, Microsoft will reassert itself in 2013…The Multi-Screen Experience — Manufacturers and software makers will offer solutions to spread content over multiple devices, from TVs to tablets next year…Smartphone and Tablet Changes…More Social Gaming…”
63.    What Comes After Smartphones?  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/mitch-joel/apple-smartphone_b_2264187.html  “…smartphones have…been steadily outselling desktop and laptop computers…we are in the era of the smartphone…It seems like we're moments away from the computer becoming an appliance as the smartphones and tablets become the remote controls for our lives…the promise of Project Glass is a wearable (and highly portable) pair of glasses that gives the user a heads-up display to help connect them to their digital content while blending the information that they're seeing live and in-the-moment with Internet knowledge. Imagine things like taking pictures or seeing directions not by looking at a screen, but by simply seeing it in front of your face without distraction…You can be certain that deep within the industrial design studios of…Apple's corporate campus lies advanced prototypes of technology that either resembles or trumps Project Glass…We went from controlling technology with keyboards, a mouse and buttons to touch in a flash of the eye…perhaps the introductions of technologies like Siri and Xbox's Kinect are really where we should spending more of our attention…”  http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/12/12/life-after-smartphoneswhat-next/  “…The way we interact with our phones will change drastically,” said Tim Stevens, editor of Engadget…I see us leaving them in our pockets and instead interacting with other devices that communicate with our phones.” Stevens calls this a personal area network, where our phones are really just devices that contain storage and provide an Internet connection to other wearable technology…”  http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4211095/What-comes-next-after-smartphones-  “…the smartphone market is poised to become much larger…driven by…Decreasing costs of smartphone devices…Improved network connectivity…wider range of different applications tailored to individual needs…Improved quality of applications, networks, and devices…more than 50 percent of all mobile phones will be built using smartphone technology…smartphones are going to become smarter and more capable…Google used a new term, "superphone," when it introduced the NexusOne device…The result is…More powerful applications…more useful functionality…Smartphone technology is going to become more and more widely used inside numerous types of devices that don't look like smartphones…a new motto will become increasingly important in the coming decade: "Smartphone technology everywhere."…Tablets and slates…Connected consumer electronics (such as cameras and personal navigation devices)…Smart clothing – sometimes called "wearable computers" – or a "personal area network"…” [smartphone tech everywhere can also be viewed as a high level consumer interaction subset of the Internet of Things – ed.]

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