2013/03/19

NEW NET Weekly List for 19 Mar 2013

Below is the final list of technology news and issues for the Tuesday, 19 March 2013, 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.        The Great Hotmail, Outlook Outage Of 2013 Continues As Downtime Passes 12 Hours  http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/13/the-great-hotmail-outlook-outage-of-2013-continues-as-downtime-passes-12-hour/  “…on March 12 some Hotmail users took to Twitter, reporting they couldn’t access their mail. Microsoft responded at 5:35pm confirming the service outage and stating that they were working on restoring the service. Well, it’s been over 12 hours since then, and Microsoft’s email services are still down for some. The outage also hit SkyDrive and Calendar, but those have since been restored according to the Microsoft’s service status page…Thankfully it’s not a total system blackout. Some users can still access their Hotmail and Outlook accounts. Still, for those who cannot, the end is not in sight…”
2.       Prezi adds long-awaited audio features  http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/12/prezi/  “Prezi has…added audio capabilities to presentations. Prezi’s cloud-based software offers a respite from predictable PowerPoint presentations and offers lots of features such as professionally made templates and mobile editing. Notably, it added added 3D and fade-in animation tools last July. It zoomed past 10 million users in May 2012, so it is adding a million new users a month…Prezi is giving people a more memorable and engaging way to share their ideas. Our new audio feature is just an added element to enhance storytelling, taking it beyond a purely visual journey to a full cinematic experience.” The companies’ users have been asking for the ability to add audio elements to presentations for a long while. You can now add different sound files to each path point in the presentation. Ideally, you could add things like music, sound effects, or audio testimonials…”
3.       Why I'm Switching (Back) to Firefox  http://www.campaul.net/blog/2013/03/10/why-im-switching-back-to-firefox/  “By September 2008 I was starting to get a little annoyed with Firefox. It had been my browser of choice for years, but…was beginning to disappoint me. I had been running the beta version of Firefox 3 since the first day it was available and the entire time all I could think about was how bloated and slow it was…Then…Google announced it would be releasing a browser. I was soon greeted with what at the time seemed like the most amazing piece of software I had ever seen. Google Chrome introduced an amazingly clean and polished browsing experience…As time went on things just got better…Now it’s five years later and things aren’t so great. More than ever I’m having issues with general slowness in the browser. Memory usage is off the charts and I frequently have tabs become completely unresponsive. Moreover there seems to be a general lack of QA these days…Chrome is starting to feel a lot like Firefox did in 2008…It’s been five years since I’ve used Mozilla’s browser for anything more than a quick check…In that time I failed to notice the work that was being done. Firefox got fast. Side by side with Chrome I’m seeing pages render visibly faster. SpiderMonkey seems to have caught up to V8 as well…Then there are the developer tools. The WebKit developer tools still have a few features not present in Firefox, but for 95% of what I do the tools in Firefox are actually better…”
4.       Draft Is The Best Word Processor You Can Write With  http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/12/draft-is-the-best-word-processor-you-can-write-with-today/  “The to-do list has gotten Asana, the calendar has gotten Fantastical, and the inbox has gotten Mailbox, but nobody has made a word processor for this decade. Until Draft, which is launching today to solve major problems with Google Docs…Draft offers clean saves of drafts instead of the usual autosave jumble, clear version control between multiple users, easy importing from popular file services like Dropbox and Evernote, and something pretty unique — an editing service. Built by one-man Y Combinator team Nathan Kontny (previously the cofounder of Inkling and Cityposh), the web app puts solo writing first. Its interface makes a point of looking nice, with the words you write appearing in large, plain-text font on a light-gray background. There’s the usual autosave feature that any serious online word processor has, but it also provides a manual “mark draft” button at the top-right corner, because serious writing happens in stages. Hit the button at any good midpoint and you’ll create a series of drafts that you can easily compare against each other. Let’s say I saved four drafts when writing this story. I can click on “4 drafts” at the top right and see panes for the current draft, as well as each previous one. If you scroll to the left, you can look through each one to see your major revisions as you progressed…Pause and consider what Draft is trying to be — or not. It’s not bothering with all the formatting and layout options in Microsoft Word, and it’s not trying to play the middle ground like Google Docs. It’s just trying to be the best way you actually write before you publish somewhere else…”  http://draftin.com/
5.        Hashtags May Be Coming to Facebook  http://mashable.com/2013/03/14/hashtag-facebook/  “Facebook is reportedly working on incorporating the hashtag into the social network. A Twitter staple, the Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook has plans to bring the hashtag to its service, offering users the ability to index conversations around a particular topic, just as they currently do on Twitter…while Facebook is working on the feature, it wouldn’t necessarily be released anytime soon. Hashtags are already incorporated into Facebook-owned Instagram. Hashtags seem like the natural evolution of Facebook’s newly-released Graph Search. The search is currently limited to information input by users on their location, friends, and Likes. Adding hashtag support would enable an expansion of that search functionality, letting users tune into public posts based around certain topics such as #Elections…”
6.       Conversational search  http://allthingsd.com/20130314/how-search-is-evolving-finally-beyond-caveman-queries/  “…Google search executive Amit Singhal has a favorite example of what he and others call “conversational search.” He pulls out his phone and says, “How old is Justin Bieber?” Then he asks a follow-up question: “How tall is he?”…Google has learned a basic understanding of what is known as pronoun and anaphora resolution…“Search has been, in the past, a one-shot deal. But for the first time, ‘he’ meant ‘Justin Bieber!’ No one else does that,” said Singhal…“Today I showed you a two-sentence conversation,” Singhal said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, in a year or two, we’ll see a much broader conversation happening within search” — where users can talk to a search engine as if they’re talking to a person…online search has trained us to speak its odd and stilted language. Type a demand for information. Isolate the keywords. Start from scratch with every query. Use quotation marks to specify a phrase. It’s enough of a foreign language that some people call it “Searchese.”…much of the work Google and other companies are doing around search these days is…making it more natural and conversational. Conversational search is search that tries to understand context, that makes educated guesses, that takes voice input, that parses homonyms and adapts to mobile environments, and that understands the same user across multiple devices…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
7.        Most PC security problems come from unpatched third-party Windows apps  http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/03/most-pc-security-problems-come-from-unpatched-third-party-windows-apps/  “If you've got 99 security problems, odds are Microsoft's not one…security software firm Secunia found that 86 percent of vulnerabilities discovered on systems scanned by its software in the 50 most popular Windows software packages in 2012 were attributable to third-party developers and not to Microsoft's Windows operating system or applications…Of the top 50 most used Windows packages—including the Windows 7 operating system itself, 18 were found to have end-point security vulnerabilities, a 98 percent increase over five years ago. Of those 18 packages, Google's Chrome and the Mozilla Firefox browser were the biggest culprits, with 291 and 257 detected vulnerabilities respectively. Apple iTunes came in third, with 243 detected vulnerabilities. The remainder of the top ten offenders were: Adobe Flash Player: 67…Oracle Java JRE SE: 66…Adobe AIR: 56…Microsoft Windows 7: 50…Adobe Reader: 43…Microsoft Internet Explorer: 41…Apple Quicktime: 29…”
8.       Control is being taken away from Internet and computer users  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9237636/More_innovation_means_less_control._Is_that_bad_  “The Internet freaked out this week after Google announced the closure of its cloud-based RSS reader, Google Reader…What Google Reader and RSS fans fear is not the loss of a good service and a great format. They fear the loss of control. They fear a future in which decisions about what they see, watch, read and listen to are determined by secret algorithms and the whims of the social media masses…The command line gave users perfect control. You typed in a command. It was either right or wrong. If the command was right, you could predict exactly what would happen. The graphical user interface was a little fuzzier…Multitouch user interfaces are less exact still…Samsung Galaxy S4 features eye-tracking…A new hover feature enables you to see what's inside folders, emails and photo galleries by holding your finger just above the screen. These are both very cool new technologies…What they also have in common is that the additional power and convenience come at the expense of user control…Search used to be a more exact science. You typed in Boolean search operators and a search engine spit back what it had in the index based on whatever metrics that search engine would use…search has gotten a lot smarter, and by smarter, I mean less user controllable…when I used to search for my name…Elgan, I used to get every result using that exact combination…Now, search engines…toss in results for the more common Elgin spelling, assuming that I have made a mistake…Even general computing -- the creation and management of your own data files -- has become less user controlled…two concepts that dominate computing these days are cloud computing and the post-PC computing model. With cloud computing, the whole point is to remove user control and knowledge of exactly where your applications and files reside…The post-PC paradigm, as exemplified by the Apple iPad, removes your control over the location and management of your own files by removing the ability to have knowledge of or access to those files…Ease-of-use is good. The reduction of complexity is good. But…all of this removal of user control takes its toll and could be creating problems that will be hard to solve. I also suspect that the general trend away from user control is a trend that benefits companies more than users…user control is nice, but there's no money in it…”
9.       Security blogger Brian Krebs suffers simultaneous cyber attack, police raid  http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/15/4109568/cyber-blogger-brian-krebs-ddos-attack-police-raid  “Brian Krebs, an influential cyber security blogger…suffered a simultaneous denial of service (DDoS) attack on his website and a misdirected police raid on his house…The police were responding to a phony emergency call that "Russians had broken into the home and shot my wife,"…Krebs said Fairfax County police surrounded his house, pointed guns at him and handcuffed him before he was able to explain to them that they were all the victims of a hoax…Hackers and pranksters have in recent years perpetrated similar hoax emergency calls…a practice known as "SWATting" because the goal is to get the SWAT team to respond. Krebs doesn't think that's anything to take lightly…there are a lot of folks who will confront armed force with armed force, all with the intention of self-defense."…he believes the DDoS attack and the phony emergency call were perpetrated by the same people or person, who he theorizes were angry with him for publishing a story earlier in the week about a black market website that allegedly offers people's Social Security numbers for sale. Krebs said he believes the website is connected to another site listing credit report and other personal information…Krebs said he managed to trace the denial of service attacks back to a website linked to the email address "starfall@gmail.com," which is registered to someone in the UK…”
10.     China hacker's angst opens a window onto cyber-espionage  http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/12/world/la-fg-china-hacking-20130313  “Young man's blog provides a rare glimpse of the secretive hacking establishment of the Chinese military, whose efforts have become a growing concern to the U.S. For a 25-year-old computer whiz enlisted in a People's Liberation Army hacking unit, life was all about low pay, drudgery and social isolation. Nothing at all like the unkempt hackers of popular imagination, the young man wore a military uniform at work in Shanghai. He lived in a dorm where meals often consisted of instant ramen noodles. The workday ran from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., although hackers were often required to work late into the evening. With no money and little free time, he found solace on the Internet. He shopped, chatted with friends and courted a girlfriend. He watched movie and television shows…The blog provides a rare peek into the secretive hacking establishment of the Chinese military, which employs thousands of people in what is believed to be by far the world's largest institutionalized hacking operation…”
11.      AT&T / iPad Hacker Sentenced To 3.5 Years  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21845246  “A US 'hacktivist' who broke into telecommunication giant AT&T's network and stole contact details for 120,000 iPad owners has been sentenced to 41 months in jail. Andrew Auernheimer, aka Weev, stole the email addresses by exploiting a bug in the way AT&T set up its network. Auernheimer passed the addresses to a journalist claiming the hack was done to highlight security failings….US attorney Paul Fishman said Auernheimer "concocted" the story that the attack was done to make the internet more secure only after he got into trouble for the 2010 hack. "The jury didn't buy it, and neither did the court in imposing sentence upon him today," said Mr Fishman…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
12.     Who needs a car? Smartphones are driving teens' social lives  http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-autos-teen-driver-20130316-1,0,7422833.story  “Given a choice between a new Toyota Corolla or the latest iPhone, 16-year-old Allison Katz of Irvine says that's an easy one. She'd take the phone…She doesn't have a driver's license and hasn't rushed to get one…Thirty years ago, nearly half of 16-year-olds had a driver's license, their passport to independence. By 2010 that figure had dropped to 28%...technology…keeps teens connected to one another and the coolest new stuff without ever getting into a car. All the adolescent staples — music, movies, clothes, books — are available with a mouse click or smartphone swipe…Getting a driver's license has also gotten a lot tougher…California is particularly tough. The state requires those under 18 to spend 50 hours behind the wheel with an adult older than 25 before taking the driver's test. And even those who pass face restrictions that severely crimp their social lives. Licensed drivers younger than 18 can't drive their friends around unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. They also can't drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m…Many of today's teenagers won't form the same emotional attachment to driving as their parents, who aspired to luxury or performance cars as status symbols…Status now comes from gigabits instead of horsepower, from the newest iPad with Retina display rather than a BMW…Nearly three-quarters of millennials, ages 18 to 34, would rather shop online than in stores…Some young people shun driving because it interferes with their texting…Chevrolet is marketing to younger buyers by focusing on their shifting priorities, Landy said. "In the past, it was all about horsepower and torque, and now it is about technology, connecting to smartphones and fuel efficiency…”
13.     Samsung shines the spotlight on the new 8-core Galaxy S 4  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/03/samsung-unveils-the-new-eight-core-galaxy-s-iv/  “…the Galaxy S 4…looks similar to its predecessor…It is 136mm long, 69mm wide, 7.9mm thin, and it weighs 130 grams—taller, thinner, and lighter than the Galaxy S III. It comes with a 5-inch AMOLED display with a 1080p resolution. All of this is powered up by a 2,600 mAh battery. The flagship model's SOC will be an eight-core Samsung Exynos 5, which uses ARM's big.LITTLE technology to meld together four fast CPU cores with four slower but more power-efficient cores and seamlessly switches between them. However, not all markets will get the Exynos-equipped phone…The Galaxy S 4 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage with an added expansion slot. It features Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and infrared LED, which can control your television with the WatchOn app. Depending on the market, the Galaxy S 4 will have wireless charging capabilities. The new Android handset comes with a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2MP front-facing camera with their own new features. Users can now attach audio to photos, adding "another dimension of detail to the visual memory to be created." The Galaxy S 4 also features a dual-camera view that allows users to take photos with both the front- and rear-facing cameras at the same time. The camera has an "eraser," which lets you erase people (like photo-bombers) out of photos…”
14.     Samsung Galaxy S 4: Moving further from Android  http://www.zdnet.com/samsung-galaxy-s-4-moving-further-from-android-7000012652/  “The Galaxy S 4 was revealed by Samsung and it's clear the company is distancing itself further from Android. Samsung has designed the S 4 to bridge the successful S 3 and the innovative Note 2. The 5-inch display fits between the two existing phones although it ratchets up the resolution to 441 PPI. The touch display of the S 4 is new as it can be operated without actually touching it. It can also be used while wearing gloves…The 13 MP camera on the S 4 is a big jump over the 8 MP cameras used in Samsung's existing phones. Allowing both the front and rear cameras to operate at the same time is a new way to take advantage of those cameras…software is the big story on the S 4. Samsung has continued its focus on making software that adds value to the user and…further distances its offerings from…Android…”
15.     Pwnie Express Releases Pwn Pad Ahead of Schedule  http://www.thepowerbase.com/2013/03/pwnie-express-releases-pwn-pad-ahead-of-schedule/  “The team at Pwnie Express seems to have a lot of trouble standing still…First it was their Pwn Plug, which combined an off the shelf SheevaPlug with a feature packed open source firmware that turned it into an incredibly capable security tool. Then came the absolutely diabolical Power Pwn, which hid the same type of functionality into what looked like a standard power strip. Today they’ve launched their latest product, continuing along the same line of hiding cutting edge open source security tools in plain sight: the Pwn Pad. The Pwn Pad is based around the wildly popular Nexus 7 tablet from Google, with a custom firmware that combines Android 4.2 and Ubuntu 12.04 to get the absolute best of both worlds. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to use Android-native security tools, or the latest Linux tool, you’ll be able to do it right on one device by virtue of the Pwn Pad’s operating system. In addition to the Nexus 7, the Pwn Pad kit includes a number of high performance external hardware devices which let you connect to networks the Nexus otherwise couldn’t reach. A TP-Link TL-WN722N gives you high performance WiFi that is out of the box compatible with the most popular Linux wireless tools, and the Sena UD100 is a long-range Class 1 Bluetooth adapter that will let you connect to devices at hundreds of meters. The Pwn Pad kit also includes a USB to Ethernet adapter, so even wired networks will be within your grasp. The Nexus 7 hardware is of course something anyone can grab from Google, and since we know what additional devices are included with the Pwn Pad, you could even grab those and you’d have your own Pwn Pad. Right? Not exactly. The Pwn Pad is running a custom ROM developed by Pwnie Express that combines an up-to-date Linux kernel (for maximum hardware compatibility) and an Ubunty chroot environment that gives it the capability to run Linux software without having to emulate a PC environment…”
16.     FreedomPop lets customers rollover unused megabytes each month – for a fee  http://gigaom.com/2013/03/14/freedompop-lets-customer-rollover-unused-megabytes-each-month-for-a-fee/  “…Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) FreedomPop this week jumped on the rollover bandwagon, but instead of applying it to voice, it’s doing it with data. For a $3.49 a month, you can store up to 500 MB of unused data in a kind of rainy-day fund, which grow to a maximum size of 20 GB. The feature is available to all of its USB dongle and mobile hotspot customers, whether they pay for subscription tiers or indulge in FreedomPop’s free 500 MB plan…FreedomPop notified its existing customers of the service on Wednesday, and in 24 hours 30 percent of its free customers had enrolled in the service…if you think about it, there’s not too much too you can do with 500 MB a month if you’re regularly using a mobile broadband service. But there are many people who only need mobile broadband on occasion. I count myself as one of them – I really only need a mobile hotspot service when traveling. While I’m completely unwilling to pay $30 a month for a hotspot I use only every few months. I would be willing to pay a few bucks a month for a hotspot that I would allow me to consume hefty amounts of gigabytes at specific times without incurring massive overage fees…”
17.     Inside story of Lenovo's ThinkPad redesign  http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/17/the-inside-story-of-lenovo-thinkpad-redesign/  “…Sometimes, there's a conflict between what someone reports they need and what they require." So begins the backstory of the latest ThinkPad overhaul as told by Corinna Proctor, the senior research manager at Lenovo's User Research Center. Clearly versed in the art of separating whimsical wishes from bona fide requirements, she spoke to me…in the run-up to today's unveiling of the redesigned ThinkPad T431s Ultrabook. The machine itself is still very much a ThinkPad -- it's black, it's understated and it's tough as nails -- but those who appreciate the evolution of technology will no doubt recognize some changes…the new ThinkPad looks far more modern. The reality is that older ThinkPad bodies never really felt as if they were designed for the current generation, but the company has abolished needless hooks, latches and bumpers, while also ridding the interior of the convoluted multi-button control mechanism. The widened trackpad now dominates the palm rest, and the protruding ThinkLight has been replaced with backlit keys. Oh, and as for the LCD bezel? It's the thinnest to ever grace a T-series ThinkPad. The revamping of the T431s is merely a taste of what's to come from Lenovo's most storied laptop line…”
18.     Nvidia CEO unveils next two gens of Tegra  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57574952-94/nvidia-ceo-unveils-next-two-gens-of-tegra-dubbed-logan-parker/  “Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang today talked up the chipmaker's next two generations of mobile chip, saying the Tegra chip line will show a 100-times improvement in strength from the first chip to the fifth. The current Tegra chip, Tegra 4, hit the market earlier this year. The next generation, coming later this year, is code-named Logan, while the fifth generation of Tegra is code-named Parker…Logan will incorporate Nvidia's Kepler GPU, which currently is dominating the discrete graphics market. It also will include CUDA, Nvidia's programming model for GPUs that allows users to do many tasks at once. Parker, meanwhile, will be Nvidia's first processor from its Project Denver push. That includes full 64-bit capabilities, making it more attractive for use as the brains in one's computer or in a server or supercomputer…Parker also will incorporate a Maxwell GPU, Nvidia's next-generation architecture. "In five years time, we'll increase Tegra by 100 times…”
Apps
19.     Apple’s Maps being updated often and significantly  http://www.loopinsight.com/2013/03/12/apples-maps-being-updated-often-and-significantly/  “…Apple is working hard on improving its iOS Maps application in the past few months. The results can be seen in an update to the app this week in Japan, but Apple has been steadily releasing updates for countries and cities from around the world…the update in Japan brought toll road notifications and improved pronunciation of roads during turn-by-turn navigation; updated icons and labels for freeways, transit stations, subway lines and other categories like fire stations, hospitals and post offices; and added 3D buildings including Tokyo Station, Japan Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower…Apple also made a number of updates in China, one of the company’s newest and biggest markets. Maps in China now has a new coloring scheme that matches the vector-based Maps; new Chinese character font for improved readability; Re-prioritized locations so more relevant/interesting locations display first; Updated road network; and it now contains narrower roads…”
20.    S Health turns the Galaxy S4 into a full-fledged fitness tracker  http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/14/4104072/s-health-turns-the-galaxy-s4-into-a-full-fledged-fitness-tracker  “…Samsung…health-tracking app S Health…new version…takes advantage of some specialized sensors in the Galaxy S4. The phone features a built-in pedometer for tracking the number of steps you take — or run — during the day, much like Fitbit's line of devices…sensors in the phone also allow it to measure the ambient temperature and humidity of the room…all of which feeds into the S Health app itself. Diet tracking is integrated as well, with the app pulling able to pull caloric information from a database of common food items…the new S Health can also sync with third-party blood pressure monitors and glucose meters — all over Bluetooth — providing a comprehensive look at your overall health trends…The S Band is a pedometer bracelet, meant to track your steps when you don't want to carry the 5-inch Galaxy S4 around with you; users then sync the data from their run or particular activity back to the phone when they're done. Samsung also showed brief glimpses of its own Body Scale and heart-rate monitoring bands that will work with the S Health system…”
21.     Smartphones can take your pulse  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/mobile-phones/9937401/Fujitsu-smartphone-can-check-your-pulse.html  “Pointing the smartphone camera at a person's face for around five seconds will give an accurate reading of their pulse…The application works by analysing variations in a person's face caused by the flow of blood through numerous blood vessels running through the face…The company suggests that cameras at concerts or other events could monitor crowds to spot people who are in poor health. At airports, the technology could be used to identify people who are acting suspiciously. Similar technology is used by Cardiio, an iPhone application that uses the phone's camera to take the pulse. Cardiio is based on research from the MIT Media Lab and, in tests, has been shown to be accurate to within 3bpm when the camera is used in a well-lit environment. "Every time your heart beats, more blood is pumped into your face. This slight increase in blood volume causes more light to be absorbed, and hence less light is reflected from your face…”
22.    Vavuud Wind Meter For Smartphones Contains No Electronics, Delivers Accurate Ground Wind Speed  http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/19/vavuud-wind-meter-for-smartphones-contains-no-electronics-delivers-accurate-ground-wind-speed-readings/  “Smartphones have a lot of on-board sensors, but do they really have enough? No way, say a slew of recent hardware startups, of which Danish Vavuud is only the most recent. Vavuud is turning to Kickstarter to help build a smartphone-compatible wind meter, one that miraculously contains no electronics and yet still can communicate accurate wind speed measurements wirelessly to iPhones and Galaxy devices. The Vavuud wind meter provides an easy way to measure wind speed exactly where you are, with a device that’s remarkably inexpensive and deceptively simple. It plugs into the headphone jack of your device, but that’s to give it a stable base; it actually uses two magnets in the rotor, which generate a magnetic field that the smartphone can pick up and process using algorithms normally used for sound processing to translate it to wind speed data. Vavuud co-founder Thomas P. Helms says it’s been tested with iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, as well as Galaxy SII and SIII…”
SkyNet
23.    Acer C7 Chromebook with more battery life and memory for $280  http://gigaom.com/2013/03/12/acers-new-279-c7-chromebook-runs-for-6-hours-doubles-down-on-memory/  “…Acer heard those complaints about the battery capacity and did something to improve it. On Tuesday, the company introduced a $279 Chromebook with 6 hours of run time on a single charge. I used the older C7 model for a few weeks as my daily computer and as long as I was able to find an outlet, it worked well. The new C7 device uses an Intel Celeron chip just like the prior edition (see performance marks here for the old model) and includes 4 GB of memory, which is double the memory of the $199 model…Another compelling option would be the $249 Samsung Chromebook, which just gained Netflix support yesterday, although that particular Chromebook is half-step slower. It uses an ARM-based chip…”
24.    Get the perfect Google Voice number, Grep-style!  http://michele.spagnuolo.me/blog/2013/3/17/get-perfect-google-voice-number-grep-regex/  “Google Voice is an incredibly useful service, and it offers numbers from nearly every area code in the U.S. It is possible to search for a Google Voice number in their database by area or zip code. You can also enter a word or phrase you'd like to include in the number (exploiting the mnemonic format) from within the Google interface, and a convenient dialog box will show you available numbers that match your criteria. Hackers…love to use regular expressions to find interesting numbers…What if we wanted to search for Google Voice numbers with only a limited number of unique digits? Or a palindrome number? Or a binary number, made of just zeroes and ones? The little fancy Google dialog won't help…I created a quick and dirty bash script that queries Google for available area codes, then downloads (most of) available numbers, and finally grep's the hell of out them, finding cool numbers. Example of cool preset regexes:  numbers in pairs…digit repeated at least three times…palindromes…ABABACDCDC format…binary numbers…”
25.    Android plus Chrome OS equals Google's future operating system  http://www.zdnet.com/android-plus-chrome-os-equals-googles-future-operating-system-7000012635/  “So, will Google call it hybrid Android/Chrome operating system? Will it be Chromezoid? Android OS? ChromeDroid OS? ChromeAndrogeny!? We still don't know that Google will be marrying Chrome OS and Android into one operating system. But Sundar Pichai, the head of all things Chrome at Google is replacing Andy Rubin, Android's founder, as Android's top dog. I think that says a lot. Officially, when I asked Google if they had any plans on merging the Chrome OS and Android developer teams, I was told, "Thanks for reaching out, but we're letting the blog post speak for itself. No additional details to share right now."…a lot of us who make our living from watching technology…see Google merging the two Linux-based operating systems into one…”
26.    Google: don't kill CalDAV  http://www.zdnet.com/google-do-what-you-want-with-reader-but-dont-kill-caldav-7000012628/  “…many people are upset that Google is closing down its RSS Web service, Google Reader…you could argue that the decade-plus old RSS technology has already seen its best days. And…there are lots of other RSS readers. Google killing off CalDAV, though, now that's a real problem. CalDAV, for those who don't know it, is an open standard for Web-based calendar services. It's used in Apple's iCal, Mozilla's Calendar Project-based programs, and a host of other calendaring, e-mail, and groupware programs. It's as close to a lingua franca for calendaring applications as we have, and now Google will only be supporting it for "whitelisted developers, and will be shut down for other developers on September 16, 2013." What Google wants developers to do instead of supporting this open Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard is to use Google Calendar API (application programming interface) instead. Excuse me, what's wrong with just supporting CalDAV? Could it have something to do with an ongoing feud between Google and Microsoft…”  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57575087-93/google-undeletes-rss-extension-for-chrome-browser/  “…Google has resurrected an extension that lets Chrome handle RSS and Atom feeds, even though it's not resurrecting the related Google Reader service…”
27.    Never Forget a Useful Phrase Again - Introducing Phrasebook for Google Translate  http://googletranslate.blogspot.ca/2013/03/never-forget-useful-phrase-again.html  “Your knowledge of a language is largely determined by how well you can say the right things at the right time. But with so many useful phrases out there, it can be hard to keep track of them all, let alone recall them when needed. With Google Translate, you can find the right thing to say, but you may not remember the translation at the right time. You might find yourself performing the same translation again and again, until you finally commit the translation to memory. Phrasebook for Google Translate jumpstarts this slow learning process by allowing you to save the most useful phrases to you, for easy reference later on, exactly when you need them. By revisiting the useful phrases in your Phrasebook from time to time, you can turn any brief translation into lasting knowledge…”
28.    Visit Mt. Everest or Mt. Kilimanjaro From Your Desk With Google Maps  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/03/google-summit-maps/  “…Google’s done the hard work for you and released the stunning panoramic images needed to make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Google…released Street View images from four of the seven tallest mountains on earth. One lucky engineer, who happens to be a passionate mountaineer, led the Google Mountain Enthusiast team during a project that was strictly a labor of love for all involved…Fredinburg’s teams — which included four to seven people, depending upon the trip — used a lightweight tripod and digital camera with a fisheye lens to visually map Aconcagua in Argentina (22,841 feet), Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (19,341 Feet), Mount Elbrus in Russia (18,510 feet) and Everest South Base Camp in Nepal (17,598 feet). It’s the same setup the Street View team uses for the Business Photos program. They opted to use that rig instead of the 40-pound, 75-megapixel Google Trekker backpack…”
29.    Google pays $40K to 'Pinkie Pie' for partial hack of Chrome OS  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9237683/Google_pays_40K_to_Pinkie_Pie_for_partial_hack_of_Chrome_OS  “Google today said it had paid a researcher $40,000 for a partial exploit of Chrome OS at its Pwnium 3 hacking contest…The researcher, known as "Pinkie Pie," was the only participant who submitted an exploit during the challenge Google ran March 7 at CanSecWest, the Canadian security conference which also hosted the eighth-annual Pwn2Own contest. Two others had been working on Chrome OS exploits for Pwnium, said Google, but neither wrapped up in time, even after the contest deadline was extended…Pinkie Pie submitted a "plausible bug chain involving video parsing, a Linux kernel bug and a config file error" in Chrome OS, Google's browser-based operating system…Last year, he took home $120,000 from the first two Pwniun contests, winning $60,000 in March 2012 after chaining a half-dozen vulnerabilities to bring down Google's Chrome, and another $60,000 in October with an exploit of the browser at the second Pwnium…”
30.    Google Browser Lets Users DIY Title Cards  http://entertainment.time.com/2013/03/19/silent-movies-gone-google-browser-lets-users-diy-title-cards/  “…Google just launched The Peanut Gallery, a new tool for its Chrome browser, which allows users to add their own title cards to clips from classic movies. And you don’t have to be a film buff to see these black-and-white silent pictures for what they are: an entertaining (even addictive) way to spend the rest of the afternoon. No typing involved: just say “Action!” to get your computer’s mic going, and speak the dialogue as you’d like it to appear in the clip. You can even use your voice to add punctuation, though this becomes a problem if you want one of your actors to use a word like “period.” In our testing, the voice-to-text pick up was almost completely accurate…”
31.     Find animated GIFs on Google with new search filter  http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-google-gifs-image-search-filter-20130319,0,1946264.story  “Finding GIFs just got a whole lot easier thanks to Google. The Mountain View, Calif., company…has added a new filter to its image search that lets users look for animated GIFs, which are a series of looping images that together look like a short video clip. When users search for "scaredy cats," for example, they can click on the "Search tools" button, then switch "Any type" to "Animated" and all their results will be animated GIFs of easily scared cats. Users can click on each item thumbnail to expand the image and see the GIF in action…”
32.    Google expected to unify chat under the name Babble  http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/google-expected-to-unify-chat-under-the-name-babble-20130318/  “Google’s quest to continue unifying their products is about to enter its next phase. According to multiple sources, the company’s next step includes unifying their messaging platforms into a single service, which is expected to be called Babble. Google’s got a huge communication problem right now. If you take a look at all of their services, you’ll find a series of communications platforms that don’t interact with each other very well, if at all. Google Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Drive collaboration, and the pseudo Google Talk for G+ all function just a little differently from one another. The only two to really function together are Google Talk for Gmail and G+, but ask anyone using the two systems and you’ll hear just how bad things are right now. There’s not an easy fix for the situation, but a cross platform solution would enable Google to overtake platforms like iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger in one sweeping gesture. According to multiple sources reporting separately to Geek.com, this service is being called Babble, and it’s being built fresh from the ground up to solve these problems…”
33.    Google+ Introduces New Hangouts App Called Capture, To Snap Pics Of Special Moments  http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/19/google-introduces-new-hangouts-app-called-capture-to-snap-pics-of-special-moments-as-they-happen/  “…Google introduced a new app for one of its most popular products, Hangouts. While Hangouts let you chat with multiple people over video, there are those moments when someone makes a funny face, does something ridiculous or just makes you want to, well, capture something. This is a feature that is making its way into mobile devices, meaning the ability to shoot video and snap pics along the way. There are so many fantastic still moments that take place during a 10-minute video conversation, and now you can grab them as they come. This is also a nice way for Google to help its users generate content while they’re generating content, without even making a real effort…”
General Technology
34.    PC-On-Stick: Another Looming Threat to Desktop Computers  http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/pc-on-stick-another-looming-threat-to-desktop-computers/140375/  “The fast-approaching desktopolypse is further geared up with the recent launch of miniaturized computing devices sized into a USB disc from whence they coined the name PC-On-Stick…These personal computers on stick devices contain enough internal computing hardware to handle high-definition video encoding and decoding, enough to run an operating system for internal tasks, but the majority of the work are offloaded to cloud-based servers including the operating system (for earlier versions)…The devices power up when plugged in to a display or computer via its HDMI or USB ports and immediately connect to any open Wi-Fi networks to begin processing activities…More advance features are present on recent models of the Stick-PCs, with more advance support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, on-device operating system and also equipped with microSD card slot for extra storage, full-sized USB 2.0 port that can be used to connect a mouse or keyboard, and HDMI port for plugging into any HDMI capable monitor, including a large-screen TV. The growing trendy for small form-factor computers has led to a competitive edge, with products such as Ophelia from Dell, Android Mini PC RK3066, Raspberry Pi and Cotton Candy USB PC…”  http://blog.laptopmag.com/best-tech-bargains?slide=6  “…About the size and shape of a USB Flash drive, dual-core Android sticks like the $55 Android Mini PC RK3066 are approximately the size and shape of a USB key, but offer enough oomph to play demanding games, stream 1080p movies or make Skype calls from your living room…”
35.    Western Digital investing $51M in solid-state storage maker Skyera  http://www.zdnet.com/western-digital-investing-51m-in-solid-state-storage-maker-skyera-7000012488/  “Western Digital Capital, the investment arm of the hard drive giant…is pouring approximately $51 million into enterprise startup Skyera…While it wasn't revealed as to exactly what technology the two businesses are going to develop together, it will likely build upon Skyera's enterprise solid-state storage systems…The launch of skyHawk reportedly marks the first time that the latest generation of 19/20nm solid-state technology can be used as a direct replacement for traditional enterprise hard disk-based systems…”
36.    Stealthy Startup Unveils Bold Router Attack  http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/03/12/stealthy-startup-unveils-bold-router-attack/  “Not many entrepreneurs would take on mighty Cisco Systems in its stronghold of router hardware. A startup called Compass-EOS has been secretly planning that very attack for six years, with investors that include Cisco itself. The company, which has technical roots in Israel and a headquarters in Silicon Valley, has raised a hefty $120 million over that time. It also claims a breakthrough in developing silicon-based optical connections to make its new routers faster, smaller and less expensive than other products on the market…The company…says it is already selling its routers…Compass-EOS is targeting the most lucrative “core routers,” which handle central management chores for communications carriers, content distribution networks and other big Internet players. The effort was largely spearheaded by president and co-founder Michael Laor, who work for Cisco for 11 years and ran its Israel development center…”
37.    The United States Transitions To A 'First-Inventor-To-File' Patent System  http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnvillasenor/2013/03/11/march-16-2013-america-transitions-to-a-first-inventor-to-file-patent-system/  “The United States has long had a “first-to-invent” patent system in which the date of invention could trump the date of filing a patent application in determining patent rights.  However, that is set to change due to the America Invents Act (AIA), a sweeping patent reform bill signed into law by President Obama in September 2011. For patent applications with an effective filing date of March 16, 2013 or later, the United States shifts to what is often – and only partially accurately – called a “first-inventor-to-file” or “first-to-file” system. The reality is more complex than those designations imply, as patent rights in the United States under the first-to-file system will depend on the interplay between the dates of filing and of any pre-filing disclosures of the invention…”
38.    Scientists Build Lasers Out of Sound, Call Them Phasers  http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/03/sound-lasers-phasers/  “Using a nanoscale drum, scientists have built a laser that uses sound waves instead of light like a conventional laser. Because laser is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” these new contraptions – which exploit particles of sound called phonons – should properly be called phasers. Such devices could one day be used in ultrasound medical imaging, computer parts, high-precision measurements, and many other places. A laser is created when a bunch of light particles, known as photons, are emitted at a specific and very narrow wavelength. The photons all travel in the same direction at the same time, allowing them to efficiently carry energy from one place to another. Since their invention more than 50 years ago, almost all lasers have used light waves…It wasn’t until 2010 that researchers built the very first sound lasers, coaxing a collection of phonons to travel together. But those first devices were hybrid models that used the light from a traditional laser to create a coherent sound emission…Because they need one less part, these new phasers “are much easier to integrate into other applications and devices…”
Leisure & Entertainment
39.    Roku 3's speedy streamer is the best box yet  http://reviews.cnet.com/roku-3/  “The good: The Roku 3's excellent new interface and faster processor makes it feel quicker and more responsive than any other streaming box. More than 750 channels are supported, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, MLB.TV, Amazon Cloud Player, and Vudu. It also has cross-platform search that scours several major TV and movie services to find content. And Roku's nifty new remote has a built-in headphone jack that lets you listen without disturbing others…The bad: There's still no official YouTube channel. Some services have an outdated interface on Roku compared to other streamers. The Apple TV still works better within the Apple ecosystem. And the Roku 3 isn't a great option if you're mostly looking to stream your personal digital media collection…The bottom line: The Roku 3 is the best streaming-video box yet, with tons of content sources, lightning-fast performance, and an innovative remote with built-in headphone jack…”  http://www.laptopmag.com/review/accessories/roku-3.aspx
40.    Ski Goggles Part 2: The Newest Technology  http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2013/03/15/ski-goggles-part-2-the-newest-technology/  “In Part 1 of this, I explained how dramatically ski and snowboard goggle technology has changed – an up to date pair of goggles can really improve your skiing experience…I also gave my Super Simple Buyer’s Guide, with no explanation of how the choices were made. For those of you looking for a deeper understanding of why you should probably spend at least $150 and maybe as much as $650 on a pair of goggles, you have come to the right place…Before I start I want to say that I own goggles by several manufacturers, including Bolle and Oakley, some of which I have been given as ski industry schwag, but when I spend my own money I buy Smith goggles, for several reasons. First, they make the biggest and most varied goggle line, and most folks I know in the ski industry acknowledge them as the innovation and technology leader. Secondly, interchangeable-lens goggles are generally the best option and certainly the hottest category, and Smith has the largest and most widely available at (almost any ski shop) assortment of replacement lenses. Third, they are the only company I know of that makes actively vented goggles (more below), which I bought a pair of, and are great for heli, cat and backcountry skiing or eyeglass wearers…”
41.     Redbox Instant app arrives on Xbox Live  http://gigaom.com/2013/03/19/redbox-instant-xbox-live/  “Xbox users can now access the new subscription video service from Redbox Instant by Verizon, thanks to a new app that launched on Xbox Live Tuesday. This is the first time the service has been available on a game console, and it also marks the beginning of a marketing campaign for Redbox Instant…Redbox Instant offers subscribers four Redbox DVD rentals as well as unlimited streaming access to around 4,600 movies for $8 a month. An additional 4,000 newer titles are offered as streaming rentals or purchases. After a limited-time free introductory offer, Redbox Instant customers will need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to use the service on Microsoft’s game console, which will set them back another $5 a month…”
Entrepreneurism and Technology
42.    Tuition at Learn-to-Code Boot Camp Is Free — Until You Get a Job  http://www.wired.com/business/2013/03/free-learn-to-code-boot-camp/  “…App Academy in San Francisco (and now New York) offers a 9-week, 90-hours-a-week boot camp to turn programming novices into code jockeys. They just graduated their second class last Friday. Of the fifteen students to graduate from the first class, fourteen have found jobs, co-founder Kush Patel says. Typical annual salary, he says: more than $80,000. “We don’t want to charge up front because we feel pretty strongly about tying the payment to the outcome,” says Patel. “If they can’t find a job, we’ve screwed up somehow.” In tech hubs like Silicon Valley, he’s not wrong. Qualified programmers in cities like San Francisco and New York fend off recruiters as multiple companies bid for their services. New recruits signing up for App Academy promise to pay 15 percent of what they earn during their first year on the job, payable over the first six months after they start working. For the school, the math isn’t too shabby if they succeed at placing their students. If 15 students get jobs at $80,000 salaries, that works out to a $180,000 commission…”
43.    Dropbox Bought Mailbox Because It Wants To Be More Than A Cloud Storage Company  http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/15/dropbox-bought-mailbox-because-it-wants-to-be-more-than-a-cloud-storage-company/  “Dropbox earlier today caused a Friday boom with its acquisition of hot new mobile mail startup Mailbox. The move has two layers of significance for the company…It’s a sign of an even bigger push into mobile for Dropbox. In addition to Mailbox, an app designed for iOS devices, Dropbox has made a few other acquisitions that point specifically to cloud services that work on mobile devices. They include Audiogalaxy for music and Snapjoy for pictures on the consumer side. And it also bought TapEngage, a startup that specialised in tablet-optimized advertising…It’s a sign of how Dropbox wants to be more than just a cloud storage company. This is the other motif behind all of Dropbox’s acquisitions. Storage is the thing that people pay for now, but down the line there are two reasons why Dropbox would want to have more. It may be that eventually Dropbox will want to make money from other revenue streams to diversify its business…it may want to have more services to keep consumers on Dropbox’s platform…just like Google, Apple, Microsoft and others…”
44.    10 Incredible Entrepreneurial Inventions from Around the Globe  http://spark.qualcomm.com/salon/10-incredible-entrepreneurial-inventions-around-globe  “…Springwise, a site dedicated to entrepreneurial ideas from around the globe, has collected 10 ideas it feels can be game-changers this year. The site has more than 15,000 “spotters” from around the world keeping an eye out for next-gen products. Check out its picks for this year’s most innovative ideas and products…1. Facebook Hangers: Brazil…2. The Connected Sidewalk: Spain…3. Gravity-Powered Lamp: United Kingdom…4. The Aggregated Credit Card: United States…5. Open-Source, Personal Water Desalinator: Italy…6. Socialized Airline Travel: Holland…7. Real-Time Sports Performance Tracking: United States…8. Audience-Controlled Concert Lighting: United States…9. The Safe Phone: United Kingdom…10. Wireless Shoe Phone Charger: Kenya…”
45.    NVIDIA plans new HQ in Silicon Valley  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/21/new_nvidia_hq/  “Move over Apple. Nvidia cofounder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang wants to build his own futuristic space-station campus – and as you might expect, the Nvidia design is black and green and built from triangles, the basic building block of the mathematics around graphics processing. And, as it turns out, the strongest shape in architecture. Nvidia was founded 20 years ago, and has grown from three people addicted to video games who were sick of crap video cards to an 8,000-person company across 40 offices worldwide…Nvidia has expanded out into ARM processors and supercomputing, and extends from PCs out to tablets, smartphones, and in the coming years, servers proper. And not just as a GPU coprocessor, but as a maker of CPU/GPU hybrid chips for both PCs and servers…The company raked in $4.28bn last year and brought $562.5m to the bottom line…It is good enough for Huang to shell out an unknown sum to build a massive new HQ for Nvidia…”
Design / DEMO
46.    Focus On Design: A New Venture Investment Strategy  http://www.forbes.com/sites/uciliawang/2013/03/18/focus-on-design-a-new-venture-investment-strategy/  “…the San Francisco tech investment firm…Greenstart, founded in 2011, has remade itself. The company…will ditch the boot camp and focus on providing design services to its portfolio companies. The change isn’t all that sudden, given that the company hired David Merkoski, who was the executive creative director at Frog Design, last year to be its chief design officer. Since then, Merkoski has built a 10-person design team in a company of 18 full time employees. The focus on design comes from a recognition that products that are beautiful and easy to use can make their users swoon and pay good money for them…A good design requires a lot of research and experiments to nail down a product’s form and function…”
47.    3 Ways To Make Wearable Tech Actually Wearable  http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672107/3-ways-to-make-wearable-tech-actually-wearable  “Wearable technology is the next new wave of technology, and it’s bound to drive a lot of the innovation in the consumer electronics industry. We can expect to see a lot more watches, glasses, fitness gadgets, and wristbands in the years to come. But bear in mind that we’re in the “brick phone” phase, or version 1.0, of wearable tech…bolting gadgets onto our bodies will distract, disrupt, and disengage us from others, ultimately degrading our human experience. The real opportunity is for wearable technology to enhance the human experience by seamlessly integrating the technology into the fabric of our lives. I use “fabric” deliberately, not just as a reference to the world of e-textiles but to the ample set of considerations that encompass our lifestyle…we need to consider several key building blocks to achieve this…1. MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL…when you start wearing the product on your body--it becomes a part of our identity…it evokes certain perceptions in others and starts to define us. That is why beauty is essential to wearables…2. MAKE IT PERIPHERAL…we can do these things more seamlessly by using the peripheral space to create new interaction models…we can also use the periphery to send signals…For example, zipping the jacket adjusts the volume of music…3. MAKE IT MEANINGFUL…we can nudge positive behaviors right in the moment. Jawbone Up…sends a tiny vibration when you have not moved for a while to remind you to get up…we should use the data to prompt us to act in a way that makes us healthier, stronger, better…Wearable tech will start permeating many other domains, including medical, entertainment, security, financial, and more. The more pervasive it becomes, the more important it is to advocate for products that are beautiful, peripheral, and meaningful…”
48.    Role of technology in the future of Design Education?  http://www.icograda.org/education/education/articles2295.htm  “…If the mission of design education is to help students to develop their potential in and beyond academic programmes, to be capable of facing transformations in business and in society, the technological dimension is a key factor to take into account in the guidelines for design education…we must distinguish two different but connected aspects of the technological impact on graphic design education: first, the role of technology in the transformation of educational models and processes and second, the influence of technology on the expertise of future graphic designers….personal devices like PC tablets and e-book readers and displaying devices like interactive web boards…produces a very different learning model from the one we are used to and may shift all teaching and learning interaction to a digital or virtual level…Everything is developed at a digital level - there is no need for paper and in the next few years we may expect devices to become thinner and faster, to have higher definition images and videos, to support 3D features and holographic capabilities that simulate tangible objects….These possibilities illuminate a model where there are no boundaries between the traditional disciplines, which have been culturally coded and where we define our knowledge in real time within the limits of a physical book…The education of the designer must expand its boundaries to include this technological dimension…smart materials have a special relevance for the design sector…and they offer exciting options for the design of new products, as well as enable new design paradigms…software acting as an integral part of objects…is transforming products into services, requiring a reassessment of the entire value chain, including design aspects…”
49.    Canva wants to make design accessible to everyone  http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/19/canva-raises-3-million-to-make-design-accessible-to-everyone/  “Canva, a stealthy Sydney-based startup building an online design platform…is approaching collaborative design from an “incredibly different angle,”…the idea from Canva is a spin-off from Perkins’ previous startup, Fusion Books, an online publishing system for creating school yearbooks launched in 2007. That company, which she ran with Canva co-founder and COO Cliff Obrecht, currently has 10 percent of the Australian yearbook market and has more recently launched in New Zealand and France. “We always knew that the technology we developed was much more powerful than just the yearbook market,” says Perkins. So last summer, the team decided to take that concept to a larger market. Canva, she explains, is supposed to make design accessible to everyone. “At the moment, if you have an idea in mind and you want to translate that into a design, there’s a huge number of friction points,” says Perkins. “It takes a very long time to create something – to create a simple design – unless you’re a professional designer.” During the co-founders’ time at Fusion Books (which now has a GM in place running it), they were able to learn a lot about how non-professionals approach design, and how tools should fit into people’s natural workflow…”
DHMN Technology
50.    So You Have a Raspberry Pi… Now What?  http://blog.makezine.com/2013/03/18/so-you-have-a-raspberry-pi-now-what/  “…I hear people say, “I just bought a Raspberry Pi and I don’t know what to do with it!” I understand this dilemma. When I’m playing with a cool new technology that has so many possible uses, it can sometimes feel a bit paralyzing when the time comes to decide what to do with it. This is especially true when each project requires an investment of considerable time and resources. Like the paradox of Buridan’s ass, this means that many Raspberry Pis are left to gather dust on shelves and in drawers. We want to do our part to fix that. If you have a Raspberry Pi that’s collecting dust, this post is for you. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite project ideas and applications that might inspire your next project on the Pi…”
51.     3D printing 'bigger than internet' (FT video)  http://video.ft.com/v/1700835179001/3D-printing-bigger-than-internet-?utm_source=taboola  “Proponents of 3D printing say it has the potential to alter radically a number of industries. Peter Marsh, FT manufacturing editor, talks to one such supporter - Abe Reichental of US-based 3D Systems - to find out how it works and if it really is a 'disruptive technology.'”
52.    Kinect for Windows SDK to get hand-recognition, 3D-modeling  http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/16/4113476/kinect-for-windows-sdk-to-get-hand-recognition-3d-modeling-on-march  “We've been expecting Microsoft to release an update to the Kinect SDK for Windows that would enable both hand recognition and real-time 3D modeling…verision 1.7 will be released on Monday, March 18th…Those hand recognition gestures will include "push-to-press buttons, grip-to-pan capabilities, and support for smart ways to accommodate multiple users and two-person interactions,"…these "Kinect Interactions" (as the gestures are called) came about because Microsoft notices that many developers were using the Kinect for core UI functions much more than Microsoft originally expected. Microsoft wanted to standardize those gestures so developers could focus on the unique parts of their apps. As demoed today, the PC offered a series of prompts to teach the user the core ways of using Kinect Interactions. The interaction seemed to work with finer-grained movement, especially as compared to using Kinect on the Xbox — you can gesture with smaller movements. Instead of waiting for a "hover-select," you can directly press, which is much faster. The system is also smart enough to not allow a second user to "take control" of the system when the first user is controlling the Kinect…”
53.    Maker Dad: Defining Safety in MakerSpaces  https://www.edsurge.com/n/2013-01-30-maker-dad-defining-safety-in-makerspaces  “Growing up in a small town I had a huge amount of freedom and a distinct lack of supervision. I was free to scavenge bike parts at the dump, build a tree fort out of salvaged lumber…Freedom like that is almost completely missing for kids in urban or even suburban settings. Kids need and often thrive with freedom and a little risk. In our MakerSpace we are involved in a lot of activities that have some inherent danger: Blacksmithing…Woodworking…Metalworking…Making rocket motors and smoke bombs…I frequently hear from parents who are “concerned” that someone might get hurt…The inescapable reality is that, like most things in life, Maker activities carry some real risk to them. One of my roles as a Maker facilitator is to strongly enforce some very basic safety standards so that no one ends up in the Emergency Room…we have moved from being a country where in the 1930’s-50’s kids were building rockets, to a country where chemistry sets don’t actually contain any chemicals. We have become so fearful that many of the basic activities are no longer allowed because of the “possibility” someone might get hurt…Woodshops and metal shops are gone from the high schools, and we see danger in every activity…we have embraced William Gurstell’s concept of the Golden Third--doing things that could get you hurt with a strong dose of basic safety. When we are working with power tools, chemical agents or the forge we require: Eye protection…Gloves…Hearing protection when using power tools…An apron where appropriate…Soldering to be done outdoors…Kids need to be able to take risks and they need to find that there are natural consequences of not paying attention or horsing around…”
54.    Open Mindsets Link 3D Printing & Internet of Things  http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/internet-of-things/2013/03/converging-mindsets-link-the-3d-printing-and-internet-of-things-communities/index.htm  “In 2009 expiring 3D printing extrusive technology patents opened up a tsunami of creativity as the open source community swept in to that space…That whole area is buzzing and beginning to move out of its technical/engineering phase towards more general consumer take-up…Round 2 kicks off in 2014 when key patents expire for another key 3D printing technology based on sintering…The Internet of Things is about everything connecting to everything. So the future could well see clusters of sensors collaborating to enable the assembly of 3D images for remote capture and assembly at any time, anywhere…To me it's highly significant that both the Internet of Things and 3-D printing communities attract a similar mix of highly creative people from across the sciences and the arts. Artists, architects, designers, craftspeople, academics, software and hardware engineers are all collaborating across both areas in a multi-cultural crucible for robust innovation…3D printing, like the Internet of Things, comprises long standing technologies which are on the cusp of a transformational bottom-up expansion accelerated by an ecosystem of open source deployment…”
55.     Defcad, the 'Pirate Bay' of 3D Printing  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2416559,00.asp  “A group that garnered controversy last year for developing 3D printed gun parts is working on a new project - what it calls "the world's first unblockable, open search engine for all 3D printable parts."…dubbed The Pirate Bay for 3D printing, Defcad aims to provide unfettered access to 3D printable…designs that can be used to print anything from household tools to pharmaceuticals. The site is the brainchild of Cody Wilson, a University of Texas law student who last year set up a nonprofit project called Defense Distributed to create a blueprint for a working firearm that could be created on a 3D printer. After successfully raising $20,000 in a grassroots online campaign, the project hit a roadblock when 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys refused to allow its machines to be used for the effort. Then, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, another 3D printing firm MakerBot pulled gun part blueprints from its website…Though it will likely face legal challenges over copyright issues, Wilson said the effort is necessary to advance the field of 3D printing…”
56.    A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources  http://oedb.org/blogs/ilibrarian/2013/a-librarians-guide-to-makerspaces/  “Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more. Here are some excellent resources for anyone thinking about setting up a makerspace in their organization…”
Open Source Hardware
57.     Arduino Powered Phone Kit Offers DIY Handset Design  http://hothardware.com/News/Arduino-Powered-Phone-Kit-Offers-DIY-Handset-Design/  “…There’s a card called an Arduino GSM Shield available now, which essentially lets you add GPRS/GSM connections to your projects. In other words, you can build your own unlocked phone with it. The device can be shipped along with Arduino’s Uno, MEGA, and Leonardo boards, and the GSM Shield itself comes with a SIM card. (You can, however, use whatever SIM card you like.) With the shield, you can implement features such as making and receiving phone calls and sending and receiving SMS messages. The shield is available now directly from the Arduino store online for about $90 USD…”
58.    Open Source Hardware Documentation Jam  http://www.opensourcewarehouse.org/  “…Join us on this 3-day co-design jam to improve Open Source Hardware documentation practices and facilitate collaborative innovation…This will be a unique event in which developers, designers, and hackers get together to bring Open Source Hardware to the next stage. A great opportunity to learn, build relationships and start new projects. We need you! We need diverse skills since the challenges we face are diverse: more powerful and cooperative software, a shared understanding of what documentation should look like, graphical tools and, in general, a better user experience for people who are new to open source hardware, whether they are individuals or businesses…”  http://makingsociety.com/event/open-source-hardware-documentation-jam/
Open Source
59.    Microsoft open-sources Kinect code  http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/11/microsoft-open-sources-kinect-code/  “Microsoft has open-sourced some of the code for Kinect for Windows, its motion-sensing gestural control device for the desktop. A total of 22 code samples have been posted to CodePlex, aka “Not GitHub.”…Samples are available in C++, VisualBasic, and C# and include such elements as face tracking, depth of field, and audio capture/speech controls. Interested developers will need to download VisualStudio, .NET, and the Kinect for Windows SDK before getting started…the whole goal of open-sourcing some of its most interesting technology is for the company to get feedback and rapidly improve on a game-changing device and accompanying software…”
60.    The “Linux” of online learning? edX takes big step toward open source goal  http://gigaom.com/2013/03/14/the-linux-of-online-learning-edx-takes-big-step-toward-open-source-goal/  “…edX, the online learning site backed by Harvard and MIT, has emphasized its plans to be an open-source platform…on Thursday, the nonprofit took its first big step in that direction with the release of its XBlock SDK, the underlying architecture supporting edX course content. On edX, all of the course content, from videos and text to interactive periodic tables and online circuit simulators, is built from XBlock…developers around the world can now add their own content modules or “blades,” as edX calls them…they’ve just open-sourced the XBlock software and architecture but over time they plan to open up the rest of the platform through an open-source license. At that point, it will be easier for educators, developers and students around the world to not just contribute new content but integrate with edX in a variety of ways…”
61.     Army making open-source physiology engine  http://www.armytimes.com/news/2013/03/TSJ-030813-peck-physiology-army/  “An open-source physiology engine that anyone can use to develop medical simulations is being developed by the U.S. Army…It’s not altruism that’s spurring the $7 million PhACTS (Physiologically Accurate Community-based platform for Training Systems) project. Rather, TATRC hopes that the new engine will enable the public to develop medical simulations that will benefit military as well as civilian medicine. “We thought if we had an engine that we could give away freely to everybody, it would make it a lot easier for everyone to experiment with the simulations that use them, and make it less expensive for people to develop their own novel things,” said Thomas Talbot…TATRC is paying contractor Applied Research Associates, which won the project in February, for open-source licensing of a product that ARA will own, but that the public can download from a Web site. “People could use this for their own for-profit products,” said Talbot…PhACTS will be based on an existing ARA physiology engine called HumanSim…”
Civilian Aerospace
62.    Swiss Space Systems  http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385&plckPostId=Blog%3A04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3A64ab112d-2db7-49c1-a975-0355dba3878a  “Switzerland seems an unlikely hotbed of aerospace innovation, but after the Solar Impulse sun-powered round-the-world aircraft here comes Swiss Space Systems (S3) with its reusable suborbital smallsat launch system. S3 has assembled a team of industrial partners, technical advisers and corporate sponsors and CHF250 million ($265 million) to get to the first test flight of its mothership-and-shuttle combination in 2017, from Payerne in Switzerland…S3 aims cut the cost of launching smallsats by a factor of four, to CHF10 million to carry a 250kg payload to a 700km orbital altitude. The first stage will be an Airbus A300, cheap and routine to operate and certified to operate from commercial airports and fly in civil airspace. On its back, it will carry an unmanned shuttle. This will be released at 10,000m (33,000ft) to ignite its rocket engines and climb to 80,000m (80km: 262,500ft), where it will deploy a small expendable upper stage that will continue into orbit to dispense its payload of smallsats…The internals of the lifting-body shuttle, meanwhile, are based on Dassault's Hermes spaceplane design for ESA and the X-38 for NASA. The external structure will be designed by Belgium's Sonaca. In addition to Dassault and Sonaca, S3's industrial partners include Spanish…Deimos Space,  Belgian…Space Applications Services and…Meggitt. Breitling is the sponsor and technical advisers are ESA, Belgium's von Karman Institute, France's University Catholic de Louvain, Stanford University's Aerospace Design Lab in the US, and the Swiss Space Center at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL). Plans call for a flight of a mockup shuttle in 2014, inauguration of the Payerne spaceport in 2015, shuttle assembly in 2016 and first test flights of the shuttle with satellite payloads in 2017…”
63.    Rocket Design Challenge Pushes Global Private Sector Open Sourcing  http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/asd_03_15_2013_p04-01-559353.xml  “The recently founded DIYRockets is spearheading an open source competition for the collaborative creation of 3D-printed rocket engines capable of launching nanosatellites into orbit. The prizes are modest — just $10,000 in all — but the process is challenging and the goals ambitious. Buoyed by surging interest in the private sector’s potential to open access to space by lowering the costs of hardware development and operations, the sponsors believe their 3D Rocket Engine Design Challenge will lead to prototyping, testing and eventually the global production of space hardware through innovative processes already fueling software development and automobile fabrication…The competition is co-sponsored by Sunglass, which is offering up its collaborative, cloud-based design environment for the competition…DIYRockets and Sunglass anticipate a series of contests that draw on collective global creativity to draw down the costs of various yet-to-be-defined private sector space ventures… “The gallery of ideas generated in the system and really moving toward the idea of open source, where there is knowledge generation open to the rest of the world — that would be the definition of success from the Sunglass side.” The first initiative is a competition to design a propulsion source for the launching of 0.5-10 kg (1-22 lb.) satellites to Earth orbit, using a reusable or expendable rocket with a propellant of choice as long as it is “safe,” according to contest rules…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
64.    Getting to 1 Teraflop on the Intel Phi Coprocessor  http://www.drdobbs.com/parallel/getting-to-1-teraflop-on-the-intel-phi-c/240150561  “This is the second tutorial in a series on understanding and using the new Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors to create applications and adapt legacy software to run with high performance. The previous article in this series showed how to achieve more than one teraflop (TF, one trillion floating-point operations per second) using the Intel Math Kernel library (MKL). This article demonstrates how to average more than 1 TF of performance using the Intel compiler and OpenMP directives when running natively on the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor, and approximately 900 gigaflops (GF) using offload mode. In comparison, a 12-core, 3.3 GHz X5680 Intel Westmere chipset delivers approximately 120 GF on the same problem using the same optimized OpenMP code. The focus here is on the expression of an objective function that can be used by many derivative-free optimization frameworks. A working software framework is provided that allows you to generate functions (or provide your own) to explore the performance envelope of the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors by varying the flops, memory bandwidth, program size, and problem size of the objective function. In addition, this timing framework will demonstrate how to use the offload pragmas so that only the minimum amount of data is transferred between the host and device between function calls. These same techniques are useful when writing library methods…”
65.    Nvidia GPUs help Pi researcher calculate eight-quadrillionth place  http://www.techradar.com/news/computing-components/graphics-cards/nvidia-gpus-help-pi-researcher-calculate-eight-quadrillionth-place-1138118  “The one thing more numerous than all the Pi day jokes on 3/14 were the digits to the right of the decimal place for the celebrated mathematical constant. Now there are even more digits, up to the eight-quadrillionth place, thanks to one Santa Clara University researcher who used 26 computers and 30 Nvidia graphics cards to accomplish the feat…Karrels noted that it took 35 days to target the 2,000,000,000,000,000th digit of Pi in his first runthrough, then 26 days to target the 2,000,000,000,000,008th digit and to double-check his work…Karrels divulged the unique way in which he arrived at that record-breaking Pi calculation. "All the computations were done on graphics cards rather than on regular CPUs,"…He spread the calculations across one computer with four Nvidia GTX 690 graphics cards, two Nvidia GTX 680 graphics cards, and 24 computers with one GTX 570 graphics cards each…”
Trends & Emerging Tech
66.    Technology Goes Peripheral, Becoming An Extension of Ourselves  http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672116/sxsw-report-technology-goes-peripheral-to-reveal-our-humanness  “SXSW is known for the frenzy it creates around pinpointing the next big thing. In 2012, startups dominated the conference, and you couldn’t walk a block without being inundated with promotions for hot new apps that promised to take you to the next level of connectedness. This year…there is instead a focused effort to articulate what we value as emotional beings in a physical world, and how the digital realm can accommodate our pursuits for a better life…I find myself engaged in a collective effort among conference participants to consider the psychological shift taking place as we invite technology into our cities, homes, pockets, and eventually (with Google Glass) to the very tip of our nose…what excites me the most about the ideas and products coming out of SXSW 2013 is the collective desire to push technology to our periphery so that we can finally look up from our smartphones and reengage with the world…we seem to have reached a tipping point where users desire less interaction with gadgets and instead prefer the Internet of Things to quietly communicate behind the scenes. Wearable technology…points to a future where technology surrounds us but continuously adapts to our physical shape and social behavior…”
67.    10 Companies Chasing Innovations That Really Matter  http://www.wired.com/business/2013/03/10-companies-chasing-innovations-that-really-matter/?viewall=true  “…plenty of companies out there are still taking a run at the next moonshot. Their technologies don't let you share photos or offer you a deal on your next manicure. Instead, these companies could change the world in deep ways by solving tough problems, rather than the kind of "problems" too many startups make up as justifcations for the "solutions" they're trying to sell…Emotiv Lifescience…Even if Emotiv Lifescience's brainwave scanner was just for use as a videogame controller, the company's aspirations would still be ambitious. But when you start talking about a brain-controlled wheelchair, you're entering the territory of technology that matters…Immumetrix…Christina Fan developed a way to diagnose Down syndrome in a fetus through a simple test of the mother's blood, rather than the far riskier, unpleasant use of amniocentesis. She and her colleagues are working to perfect the technique…"In the far future, knowledge about the immune repertoire could even inform genetic engineering to give a person super-immunity or to reverse immune disorders."…LightSail Energy…Danielle Fong, who graduated from college at 17, has developed a new way to store green energy that claims new benchmarks for efficiency. Her system uses compressed air and a fine mist of water to pump electricity back into the grid during times of peak demand…Huawei…Huawei's low-priced Android handsets are a key reason smartphones have become less of a luxury and more of a commodity in China and other parts of the world…one-seventh of the world's population uses smartphones. Imagine what happens when the other six billion do…M-PESA/Safaricom…In Kenya, mobile operator Safaricom has developed M-PESA, a way to transfer money and make microloans using text messages — no bank account required…mobile payments have taken off in Kenya thanks to M-PESA, with millions of users…a lack of financial and technological infrastructure could cease to be a barrier to joining the 21st-century economy…Nest…Saving energy without having to think about it is better…Nest's smart thermostats seek to shrink this carbon footprint by learning our habits to automate indoor climate control…Organovo…Autodesk recently partnered with Organovo to make human organs designed by computer and printed by machines a future reality…Organovo's 3-D bioprinters are being used by medical researchers to print tissues for experimentation. Organovo co-founder Andras Forgacs went on to start Modern Meadow, a company developing printable meat and leather…Plexxikon…The company has shown dramatic results with a compound that targets a mutation found in many advanced-stage melanoma tumors…The next time you try…saying "It's not like we're curing cancer," remember: These guys actually are…Oxitec…Oxitec's genetically altered bugs fight Dengue fever by passing down a lethal gene to their offspring that kills them before they can reach adulthood…the use of genetic engineering as a public health tool is only likely to grow if Oxitec's modified mosquitoes help eradicate this deadly disease…SpaceX…Of all the members of the PayPal mafia…Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has done the most to chase innovation on a truly grand scale…he wants 80,000 of us to live in a Martian colony….the company is busy making privatized space travel a reality. Most recently, SpaceX showcased a rocket that takes off and lands vertically—just like the ships in every sci-fi movie ever…”

*****

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