2013/04/09

NEW NET Weekly List for 09 Apr 2013

Below is the final list of technology news and issues for the Tuesday, 09 April 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.        Google Fiber is headed to Austin, Texas  http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/report-google-fiber-is-on-the-way-to-austin-texas/  “Reported by local ABC affiliate KVUE as well as VentureBeat, both organizations have been invited to a Google event on Tuesday, April 9 that will likely be an announcement about the installation of Google’s gigabit Internet service within Austin, Texas…a blog post about the service rolling out in Austin was spotted by an Engadget reader at 3 a.m. Eastern time this morning on the official Google Fiber page. Sporting the title “Google Fiber’s Next Stop: Austin, Texas,” the post has since been removed from the Google Fiber home page…a grassroots campaign called BigGig Austin attempted to lure Google to Austin when the Google Fiber management team was looking for the first city to roll out the gigabit Internet service. While Kansas City residents eventually won the honor of getting access to Google Fiber before anyone else in the United States, the BigGig Austin campaign attracted over 15,000 Austin residents to lend support to the effort…”  http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/04/09/google-fibers-great-but-why-were-all-not-going-to-get-it-shows-the-american-economic-problem/  http://googlefiberblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/google-fibers-next-stop-austin-texas_9.html
2.       The rise of the sharing economy  http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21573104-internet-everything-hire-rise-sharing-economy  “LAST night 40,000 people rented accommodation from a service that offers 250,000 rooms in 30,000 cities in 192 countries. They chose their rooms and paid for everything online. But their beds were provided by private individuals, rather than a hotel chain. Hosts and guests were matched up by Airbnb, a firm based in San Francisco. Since its launch in 2008 more than 4m people have used it—2.5m of them in 2012 alone. It is the most prominent example of a huge new “sharing economy”, in which people rent beds, cars, boats and other assets directly from each other, co-ordinated via the internet…technology has reduced transaction costs, making sharing assets cheaper and easier than ever—and therefore possible on a much larger scale…Before the internet, renting a surfboard, a power tool or a parking space from someone else was feasible, but was usually more trouble than it was worth. Now websites such as Airbnb, RelayRides and SnapGoods match up owners and renters; smartphones with GPS let people see where the nearest rentable car is parked; social networks provide a way to check up on people and build trust; and online payment systems handle the billing …”
3.       AT&T ups the ante with plans for its own Austin gigabit network  http://gigaom.com/2013/04/09/take-that-google-att-ups-the-ante-with-plans-for-its-own-austin-gigabit-network/  “AT&T plans to build a gigabit network in Austin, Texas according to a company release…On any day this would be big news, but Google just announced its own plans to build fiber optic infrastructure and a gigabit network in the Texas capital. Looks like Google’s plans to tweak the incumbent broadband players is working — at least at the press release level…the Google network won’t be available until mid-2014 and it’s unclear when AT&T’s network will be rolled out…Currently AT&T provides a fiber to the node product called U-verse that offers speeds of up to 24 Mbps down…as Google expanded in Kansas City, it received some concessions around permitting that the incumbents later complained about. As a result, both Time Warner Cable and AT&T were granted similar benefits in Kansas City…in Austin, the agreements that Google has signed with the City of Austin are no different than the ones that AT&T and Time Warner have signed…”  [two comments, (1) AT&T is unlikely to roll *Anything Gigabit* out until forced to do so, and (2) can you say Gmail-like raising the bar for the competition! Yay, Google!! – ed.]
4.       TI CC3000 Shield and the Internet of Things  http://www.evenchick.com/cc3000-shield-and-the-internet-of-things.html  “The concept of the 'Internet of Things' is to enable more devices to communicate…Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Wifi are often used to provide connectivity…Bluetooth and ZigBee are cheaper to implement, and they're great for some applications. But they aren't great for interoperability…Wifi is ubiquitous. Just about everyone knows how to use it, and has a device that can connect to it…However, the modules for Wifi are historically quite a bit more expensive than Bluetooth and ZigBee. Texas Instruments is releasing the CC3000, which looks like it'll be a reasonably priced and feature packed module…I've put together a test board for it that should work with the Arduino. It's a CC3000 Shield…Hopefully this shield makes it easy and cheap to put an Arduino onto a Wifi network…”
5.        Shodan: The scariest search engine on the Internet  http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/08/technology/security/shodan/  “When people don't see stuff on Google, they think no one can find it. That's not true." That's according to John Matherly, creator of Shodan, the scariest search engine on the Internet…Shodan navigates the Internet's back channels. It's a kind of "dark" Google, looking for the servers, webcams, printers, routers and all the other stuff that is connected to and makes up the Internet…Shodan runs 24/7 and collects information on about 500 million connected devices and services each month. It's stunning what can be found with a simple search on Shodan. Countless traffic lights, security cameras, home automation devices and heating systems are connected to the Internet and easy to spot. Shodan searchers have found control systems for a water park, a gas station, a hotel wine cooler and a crematorium. Cybersecurity researchers have even located command and control systems for nuclear power plants and a particle-accelerating cyclotron by using Shodan. What's really noteworthy about Shodan's ability to find all of this -- and what makes Shodan so scary -- is that very few of those devices have any kind of security built into them. "You can log into just about half of the Internet with a default password," said HD Moore, chief security officer of Rapid 7, who operates a private version of a Shodan-like database for his own research purposes. "It's a massive security failure…”
6.       46% Of Social Login Users Still Choose Facebook, But Google Is Quickly Gaining Ground  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/08/report-46-of-social-login-users-still-choose-facebook-but-google-is-quickly-gaining-ground/  “…Facebook currently accounts for about 46% of social logins on Janrain and Google’s share is 34%. For Facebook, that’s a 3% drop from Q4 2012, however, while Google’s share increased by exactly those same 3%. This is the second consecutive quarter during which Facebook lost ground to Google…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
7.        California Court Rules It Illegal To Check Maps On Your Phone While Driving  http://www.techdirt.com/blog/wireless/articles/20130405/02103822591/california-court-rules-it-illegal-to-check-maps-your-phone-while-driving.shtml  “…"distracted driving" laws that seek to outlaw things like talking on your phone or texting while driving…can have serious unintended consequences…there are lots and lots of things that can distract a driver which are still considered perfectly legal, such as changing the radio station, talking to passengers, eating, etc. Trying to ban each and every distraction one by one is a ridiculous and impossible task…drivers are often still texting while driving, but are simply holding their phones even lower, taking their eyes further off the road, so as to avoid detection... actually making the roads more dangerous. The real answer is to focus on stopping bad driving…a new court ruling in California, found by Orin Kerr…that using a mobile phone to check a mapping/GPS program violates the state's law against distracted driving…”
8.       French homeland intelligence threatens a volunteer sysop to delete a Wikipedia Article  http://blog.wikimedia.fr/dcri-threat-a-sysop-to-delete-a-wikipedia-article-5493  “…the DCRI (Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur) contacted the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization which hosts Wikipedia. They claimed that an article on the French-language Wikipedia about a French military compound contained classified military information, and demanded its immediate deletion. The Wikimedia Foundation considered that they did not have enough information and refused to grant their request…Unhappy with the Foundation’s answer, the DCRI summoned a Wikipedia volunteer in their offices on April 4th. This volunteer, which was one of those having access to the tools that allow the deletion of pages, was forced to delete the article while in the DCRI offices, on the understanding that he would have been held in custody and prosecuted if he did not comply…”
9.       Don’t use Lynksys routers  https://superevr.com/blog/2013/dont-use-linksys-routers/  “…I gave a talk at a conference titled Blended Threats and JavaScript. I demonstrated how anybody could design an internet worm that targeted common network devices like routers and turn them into a powerful botnet that is able to monitor traffic across all types of networks. For the presentation, I demonstrated a vulnerability in the uber-popular Linksys WRT54GL router. Well, it's been almost a year since that presentation, so where are we now? In January of this year, Cisco (who owned Linksys until recently) published a patch to the router. Unfortunately, as the change log  indicates, the patch only addressed an unrelated XSS issue. Today, the latest firmware version 4.30.16 (build 4) remains vulnerable to the attack, dubbed Cross-Site File Upload…”
10.     Vacations and Fingerprint Scans  http://markgamache.tumblr.com/post/47330843224/vacations-and-fingerprint-scans  “…I am not what you would call an activist. After years of promising my wife and children a *real* vacation (not just visiting relatives) I took them on an all-american vacation to Florida. We visited the beach, Kennedy Space Center, SeaWorld and Disney World…be warned, SeaWorld or Disney World will scan your fingerprint when you enter the parks. I think they also do this at other large theme parks, but I don’t have firsthand knowledge. I was caught off-guard the first time (at SeaWorld) and complied with the request. After that (at Disney) I requested a no-Fingerprint admission. This is possible, even easy, but they don’t advertise the option. You just need to provide a valid photo id. My wife, of course, was mortified the first few times I made a scene and called attention to myself. But what the hell do they need my thumbprint for?...I am posting this as a warning to those who might go to Florida (or other places), you might be faced with a privacy dilemma…It dawned on me after reading HN comments that a website can not save any data from children (see COPPA), but a park can scan and save fingerprint and other bio-metric data without any oversight or rules…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
11.      Facebook Home destroys any notion of privacy  http://gigaom.com/2013/04/04/why-facebook-home-bothers-me-it-destroys-any-notion-of-privacy/  “…attending Facebook’s events…one gets to see Mark Zuckerberg mature as a chief executive and hone his presentation skills. And today, he didn’t disappoint in his ability to spin the media corps…what he did most brilliantly was obfuscate the difference between an app (Home), the user experience layer and the operating system. Zuckerberg did that for two reasons: First, to buy his company time to build a proper OS…And secondly, to convince people that ”Home” is just like any other app. Unfortunately, Facebook’s Home is not as benign as that…Facebook Home should put privacy advocates on alert, for this application erodes any idea of privacy. If you install this, then it is very likely that Facebook is going to be able to track your every move, and every little action…The new Home app/UX/quasi-OS is deeply integrated into the Android environment. It takes an effort to shut it down,  because Home’s whole premise is to be always on and be the dashboard to your social world. It wants to be the start button for apps that are on your Android device, which in turn will give Facebook a deep insight on what is popular. And of course, it can build an app that mimics the functionality of that popular, fast-growing mobile app…The phone’s GPS can send constant information back to the Facebook servers, telling it your whereabouts at any time. So if your phone doesn’t move from a single location between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for say a week…Facebook can quickly deduce the location of your home…whether you share your personal address with the site or not. It can start to build a bigger and better profile of you…It can start to correlate all of your relationships, all of the places you shop, all of the restaurants you dine in and other such data. The data from accelerometer inside your phone could tell it if you are walking, running or driving. As Zuckerberg said — unlike the iPhone and iOS, Android allows Facebook to do whatever it wants on the platform, and that means accessing the hardware as well…”  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9975118/Facebook-Home-could-change-our-brains.html  “Leading neuroscientist Susan Greenfield says Facebook's new phone and app encourage us to live in the moment. That could change our brains…if the human brain will adapt to whatever environment in which it is placed, an environment where you are constantly on the alert to the actions and views of others, will surely be changing your mindset in correspondingly new ways…”
12.     Smartphone usage almost doubles  http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/04/07/national/smartphone-usage-almost-doubles/  “Smartphone usage has nearly doubled over the past year to one in every three people…The proportion of respondents using smartphones came to 35.4 percent in the February poll, compared with 19.5 percent the year before…Usage was highest among people in their 20s, at 72.5 percent. Among those in their 50s it came to over 30 percent and for people in their 60s to more than 10 percent…The survey also found that 9.2 percent of respondents use tablet computers…”
13.     Samsung’s $399, 16GB Galaxy Note 8.0  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/09/samsungs-399-16gb-galaxy-note-8-0-will-launch-in-the-u-s-on-april-11/  “…Samsung has announced that the WiFi-only 16GB Galaxy Note 8.0 will officially hit U.S. store shelves on April 11 complete with a $399 price tag…8-inch, 1280×800 display…16GB of internal storage isn’t much to work with (though it’ll take up to a 64GB microSD card), and Samsung has already confirmed that it’s working on 3G/LTE versions of the device that carriers will sell down the road…”
14.     Mozilla: why the web is the future of the smartphone  http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/mozilla-why-the-web-is-the-future-of-the-smartphone-1142829  “Firefox introduced Firefox OS last year and it now has networks and manufacturers on board. Head of Engineering, Jonathan Nightingale…believes there's room for another OS alongside Android and iOS that can harness the power of the open web with ready-made apps that are already out there…Firefox OS runs on low powered devices for emerging markets and offers an intriguing entry point to a market dominated by premium smartphones. Could Firefox OS be the missing link in getting the entire world in to the smartphone market?...We have 18 operators and real manufacturers now. The proof will be in whether we get these things to market and consumers actually enjoy using them and developers flock to it…Do you think there a need for a new mobile OS? Yeah and I feel…the Firefox brand…is one of our biggest assets…because 20% to 30% of the worldwide market on desktops trust us, they use Firefox to get on to the web. We think they understand we're about user privacy, we care a lot about security…As for the state of the market, can we tolerate more competition that the duopoly we've got? I think we can but keep in mind that our goal here is to push hard…”
15.     HTC One review  http://www.anandtech.com/show/6747/htc-one-review  “…HTC is in an interesting position as a result of last year’s product cycle…in the fast-paced mobile industry, a silicon vendor or OEM really only has to miss one product cycle in a very bad way to get into a very difficult position…for HTC with this last product cycle there were products with solid industrial design and specs for the most part, but not the right wins with mobile operators in the United States…HTC now needs a winner more than ever…It’s clear that the HTC One is the unadulterated representation of HTC’s vision for what the flagship of its smartphone lineup should be…I always start with industrial design and aesthetics, probably because it’s the most obvious…thing that hits you when picking up almost anything for the first time…I pick up my phone too many times a day to count for better or worse, thus the material quality and in-hand feel really do make a big difference…The HTC One’s fit and finish are phenomenal…For the HTC One I'm giving our Editors Choice Gold award, which is our second highest award. The One is an incredibly awesome device…”
Apps
16.     Quickoffice on your Android and iPhone is here  http://googleenterprise.blogspot.ca/2013/04/quickoffice-on-your-android-and-iphone.html  “One of the easiest ways to share old files and collaborate with others is to convert them to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. However, not everyone you work with has gone Google yet. So to help, Google Apps for Business can already edit Microsoft Office files using Quickoffice on an iPad, and starting today they can do the same on iPhone and Android devices. From Word to Excel to Powerpoint, you can make quick edits at the airport or from the back of a taxi and save and share everything in Google Drive…”
17.     Report a Pothole with MyLA311 Smartphone App  http://ktla.com/2013/04/02/tech-update-report-a-pothole-with-new-myla311-smartphone-app/  “The City of LA is taking a high tech step with a great new app that lets you report all kinds of issues right from your smartphone. The app is called MyLA311…While the app lets you pay your water and power bill online and get updated city news, the real gem here is the “submit a service request” feature. Select from a laundry list of options including Bulky Item Pickup, Dead Animal Pickup, Pothole Repair, Sidewalk Repair and more. You can pinpoint your location using the GPS on your phone and even attach a photo so the city can see what you are talking about…we still don’t know the effectiveness of submitting a request. The city will see a bump in service request due to how easy it now is to submit one from your phone, but prioritization and acting upon the requests is still up to the city…”
18.     Mobile app sends calls to voicemail by reading brain  http://www.networkworld.com/news/2013/040413-mobile-app-sends-calls-to-268420.html  “A mobile app under development can filter phone calls and reroute them directly to voicemail by reading brain waves, cutting the need for users to press buttons on the smartphone screen. The app, called Good Times, is the brainchild of Ruggero Scorcioni…who presented the technology at the AT&T Innovation Showcase in New York…The app analyzes brainwaves as a phone call comes in, and depending on a person's mental state, reroutes a call. Information about brain waves is collected by a headset and sent to the smartphone via a Bluetooth connection…For example, a call could be rerouted if a person is deep in meditation or just very busy and does not want to be distracted, said Scorcioni, who was wearing a headset from Neurosky to demonstrate the technology. There are other headsets from companies like Emotiv that can also capture brainwaves… not everyone is going to wear a headset, and Scorcioni hopes that wearable technology products like Google Glasses will be able to record and send brainwaves to smartphones. Other challenges exist too, such as correctly reading the brainwaves to determine mental states, but Scorcioni said the technology will get better over time…”
19.     Top 6 smartphone apps for losing weight  http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/top-6-smartphone-apps-losing-weight-article-1.1310526  “When it comes to losing weight, accountability is key -- and smartphone apps can help with that. Here are a few top (mostly free) choices to get you on the right track. Even better, research supports using apps to shed weight. A study from Northwestern University says that using a mobile app as part of your weight-loss program can help you drop as much as 15 pounds and keep it off for at least a year…1. Lose It!...2. MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Fitness Tracker…3. Fooducate…4. iTrackBites…5. Endomondo…6. Fitocracy…”
SkyNet
20.    Google Blink restarts the browser wars – on mobile as well as desktop  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/apr/05/blink-google-rendering-browser  “The browser wars are back – but this time on mobile as well as the desktop. After long-simmering disagreements with engineers at Apple, Google has split its development of the Chrome browser's rendering engine for both desktop and mobile from the main line of the open source WebKit project. That creates a "fork" in the engine which will put it on an increasingly divergent path from other WebKit developers, including Apple, Nokia, and BlackBerry…Google is calling its new rendering engine "Blink" – and admits in a blogpost that "we know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web."…having multiple rendering engines – the programs that decide how to lay out pages – "will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem." The move means there are now four main rendering engines online: WebKit, Blink, Trident (used in Microsoft's Internet Explorer) and Gecko, used by Mozilla…”  http://www.informationweek.com/development/web/google-moves-beyond-webkit-with-blink/240152226 
21.     Google Paid This Man $100 Million  http://www.businessinsider.com/neal-mohan-googles-100-million-man-2013-4?op=1  “…Twitter's board members…spent the months prior trying to turn Twitter into "a real company"…The first step: hire a chief product officer…David Rosenblatt, the former CEO of DoubleClick and Google executive who joined Twitter's board in December 2010, believed he had the perfect candidate. Rosenblatt reached out to Neal Mohan — a Google executive who had been Rosenblatt's top lieutenant at DoubleClick. Twitter made an offer, and it seemed like Mohan would accept. But then he said no. Why? Because Google wrote a massive check to keep him…TechCrunch…reported that Google paid Mohan more than $100 million in stock. In the two years since Mohan signed the deal, Google's stock price has increased about 35 percent, making Mohan's deal worth as much as $150 million…Mohan graduated from Stanford with a degree in electrical engineering in 1996. Then he worked at Andersen Consulting — the company now called Accenture…It was a humble start. The gig paid $60,000 per year…It was going to be a painful process. DoubleClick would have to unload lots of assets, pivot into a new business, and deal with a massive amount of debt. Rosenblatt knew he needed help…Despite offers from Google and others, Mohan agreed to rejoin DoubleClick as head of products..With Mohan back in the company, the pair spent the next six months creating a strategy for the new DoubleClick. The result: an epic, 400- to 500-page PowerPoint document…sources who have seen this document, or participated in its creation, say that even today you can see traces of it in similar documents outlining Google's current product road map in display advertising. These sources say the document is another example of Mohan's special ability to understand what's newly possible thanks to technology, and how this might be applied to serve a business strategy…”
22.    Google Translate reaches 1 billion translations per day  http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/06/4755171/google-translate-language-barriers.html  “You might use Google Translate to read a hard-to-find Manga comic book or to decipher an obscure recipe for authentic Polish blintzes. Or, like Phillip and Niki Smith in rural Mississippi, you could use it to rescue a Chinese orphan and fall in love at the same time. Google is now doing a record 1 billion translations on any given day, for everything from understanding school lunch menus to gathering national security intelligence. It translates in 65 languages, from Afrikaans to Yiddish, and can be used on websites, with speech recognition and as an app on mobile phones even if there is no connection…Google's translation guru Franz Och's face lit up when he heard that the Smiths and their new daughter, 14-year-old Guan Ya, are settling into their new lives together this month communicating almost exclusively through Google Translate…"It is so rewarding to hear that it is touching lives."…one day Niki Smith received an email from her daughter-to-be, an unintelligible jumble of Chinese characters. "I couldn't begin to read this letter," Smith said. That's where Google Translate came into play. Smith cut and pasted the letter into the empty rectangle for the program in her Internet browser, and Guan Ya's thoughts magically appeared…Machine translation dates to the end of World War II, when coders realized that cryptography and deciphering were, in part, math problems. In 1949, influential scientist Warren Weaver laid out a pivotal proposition that paved the way for today's computational linguistics…Yet almost 65 years since Weaver wrote that "it seems likely that the problem of translation can be attacked successfully," machine translation is far from perfect…”
23.    Meet Google's Next Generation Of Superstar Executives  http://www.businessinsider.com/google-rising-stars-2013-3?op=1  “There's been a big shakeup at Google, and we're still fathoming its implications. But one thing is clear: Change at the top means new opportunities for rising talent. Two top executives who reported to CEO Larry Page—Jeff Huber, head of Google's Geo and Commerce group, and Android founder Andy Rubin—are on to new, unspecified assignments, with other leaders taking over their business units. That means Page's team will be busier than ever—and their lieutenants will have more opportunities than ever. It's a good thing Google keeps coming up with new challenges. Some of Google's up-and-comers, while not big names outside the company, have hit the radar of competitors. In the past, Google has fought fiercely to keep its best talent, but some have been lured away. So don't be surprised if you see these people in new, bigger jobs soon—inside or outside Google…Brian Rakowski, VP, Google Chrome…Shishir Mehrotra, VP, YouTube…John Hanke, Niantic Labs…Johanna Wright, VP, Google Now…Tom Pickett, YouTube…”
24.    Rumor: Google negotiating $1 billion acquisition of WhatsApp  http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/google-acquiring-whatsapp/  “Messaging app WhatsApp is in the negotiating phase over prices with Google in what could be Google’s next billion dollar acquisition…While the deal started four or five weeks ago, we’ve been told that WhatsApp is “playing hardball” and jockeying for a higher acquisition price, which currently is “close to” $1 billion right now. We’ve suspected for some time now that a messaging app would be the next billion dollar acquisition deal following Facebook’s Instagram buy-out last year. 2012 was the year for photo-sharing apps, which you know everything about by now. So, 2013 has been dominating by the messaging app-meets social network market. There are rumors that Google Babel will combine Google’s disparate communication services under one roof, but the platform still needs to do something to innovate in this space; mobile messaging has been taken over by smaller apps and Facebook has made a major push as well. Google hasn’t given an answer to this competition. Even Google Product Manager Nikhyl Singhal confessed to GigaOM in June of last year that “We have done an incredibly poor job of servicing our users here.” Messaging is a huge, gaping hole in Google’s mobile strategy…”
25.    Google Street View Hyperlapse Is New Way Of Wandering The World  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/09/google-street-view-hyperlapse-is-an-experimental-new-way-of-wandering-the-world/  “Google Street View is maybe one of the most interesting and under appreciated technical developments of the past decade, but it’s all a little static when viewed through standard channels like Google Maps on the desktop or on a mobile device. A new project from Toronto UX design firm Teehan+Lax, which operates a Labs unit to explore its more playful side, threads together Street View imagery to create time-lapse animations called Hyperlapses, which makes Street View a more immersive experience. You can choose from one of the pre-defined routes set up by Teehan+Lax, like a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge or a dusty drive in the Australian outback, or you can simply search for a location, set point A and point B, as well as a focal point, and generate your own street view. Impressive scenery and architecture makes for a more interesting Hyperlapse, but even one I created of just the few blocks before and after my front door was enthralling enough in a short loop…”  [have to watch the video to understand some of the possibilities – ed.]
General Technology
26.    Software Makes Multiple Screens Less Distracting  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/512891/software-makes-multiple-screens-less-distracting/  “Most computer interfaces are designed to capture your attention—whether you like it or not. A new system for computers with multiple screens, called Diff Displays, responds to inattention by making the information on the screen a user isn’t focused on less distracting…Diff Displays uses eye-tracking software to sense when the user is no longer paying attention to a particular screen. It then replaces the content on that with a subtle visualization that reduces clutter and only highlights the most important new information…To create Diff Displays, Kristensson…mounted webcams on top of each display in a three-screen workstation and installed eye-tracking software to detect when the user directs his or her gaze at a particular display…The screen that the user is focusing on behaves normally. But when Diff Displays detects that the user has shifted attention away, it inserts an interactive overlay that dims the content’s brightness and replaces its colors with different shades of gray. The overlay also includes one of four visualizations designed to highlight important information: “Freeze Frame,” a static snapshot of the screen’s state when attention was directed elsewhere; “Pixmap,” which highlights any real-time pixel changes with normal brightness…“Windowmap,” similar to Pixmap but on the window scale (i.e., any window with active content will rebrighten); and “Aura,” which draws a subtly pulsating outline within any newly active window content. When the user redirects attention back to a screen, the overlay quickly fades away, providing a visual distinction which directs the user’s attention to the new information…”
27.    Seagate Now Shipping World's First 4TB Hard Drive with 1TB Platters  http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/seagate_now_shipping_worlds_first_4tb_hard_drive_1tb_platters2013  “…Seagate…is now shipping…the industry's first and only 4TB hard drive to utilize 1TB-per-platter technology…the four-platter design…allows for the highest performance possible while doubling capacity and reducing costs…Seagate says its 4TB drive is nearly 800,000 times larger than the first desktop drive it introduced way back in 1979…The drive also boasts the highest average data rate of any desktop HDD on the market at 146MB/s. At the same time, it consumes 35 percent less power than the competition…Other features include 64MB of cache and a 5,900 RPM spindle speed…”
28.    What Makes Citizen Scientists Tick?  http://www.technologyreview.com/view/513031/what-makes-citizen-scientists-tick/  “One of the more exciting advances in modern astronomy has been the rise of the citizen scientist and the crowdsourced work these people do. Citizen scientists now routinely study everything from moon craters and Martian weather to the ocean floor and Sun storms. Perhaps the best known project is called Galaxy Zoo. This is a website that asks volunteers to help classify galaxies that have been photographed as part of the project called the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The idea is that to understand how galaxies evolved, astronomers need to know what shapes they can form and how common these shapes are. Volunteers visually inspect images of galaxies and classify them accordingly…hundreds of thousands of volunteers have taken part, producing hundreds of millions of classifications. This success is far beyond the wildest dreams of the astronomers who created the project who had imagined that citizen scientists would be few and far between…Unsurprisingly, Galaxy Zoo volunteers are overwhelmingly male with 82.1per cent being men. There is also a particular over-abundance in the 50-60 age group…over 60 per cent come from the US and UK…more than 40 per cent of volunteers say that the desire to contribute to science is their primary motivation…”
29.    Lockheed Martin pays reported $10-million for D-Wave System's superfast quantum computer  http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Metro+Vancouver+firm+groundbreaking+quantum+computer+wins+confidence+aerospace+giant/8202950/story.html  “When the world’s largest defence contractor reportedly paid $10 million for a superfast quantum computer, the Burnaby, B.C., company that built it earned a huge vote of confidence. Two years after Lockheed Martin acquired the first commercially viable quantum computer from D-Wave Systems, the American aerospace and technology giant is once again throwing its weight behind a technology many thought was still the stuff of science fiction. Lockheed Martin has just upgraded its D-Wave One quantum computer to the D-Wave Two, a machine the company’s founder Geordie Rose said is 500,000 times faster than its predecessor, which was already faster than a conventional computer…Quantum computers operate at speeds unattainable by even today’s most powerful supercomputers, operations that are so fast, they can process millions of calculations in a fraction of the months, even years, traditional computers take…”
30.    Chiplets: A New Level of Micro Manufacturing  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/science/tiny-chiplets-are-a-new-level-of-micro-manufacturing.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0  “Under a microscope, four slivers of silicon — electronic circuits called chiplets — perform an elaborate, jerky dance as if controlled by a hidden puppet master. Then on command, they all settle with pinpoint accuracy, precisely touching a pattern of circuit wires, each at just the right point of contact. The technology…is part of a new system for making electronics…If perfected, it could lead to desktop manufacturing plants that “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices — flexible smartphones that won’t break when you sit on them; a supple, pressure-sensitive skin for a new breed of robot hands; smart-sensing medical bandages that could capture health data and then be thrown away…PARC researchers…have designed a laser-printer-like machine that will precisely place tens or even hundreds of thousands of chiplets, each no larger than a grain of sand, on a surface in exactly the right location and in the right orientation. The chiplets can be both microprocessors and computer memory as well as the other circuits needed to create complete computers. They can also be analog devices known as microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, that perform tasks like sensing heat, pressure or motion. The new manufacturing system the PARC researchers envision could be used to build custom computers one at a time, or as part of a 3-D printing system that makes smart objects with computing woven right into them…”
31.     Liquid Robotics launches autonomous sea-faring data center  http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57577855-76/liquid-robotics-launches-autonomous-sea-faring-data-center/  “…Liquid Robotics today unveiled the latest version of its Wave Glider technology. The updated platform is capable of autonomously prowling the world's seas while analyzing, processing, and transmitting data gathered from a wide variety of on-board sensors. The new Wave Glider SV3 is essentially a self-powered sea-faring data center, a system that gives users the ability to investigate the world's water ways for months on end. The SV3 features a hybrid propulsion system, Silicon Valley's Liquid Robotics said, that can drive the Wave Glider on either wave or solar power. It also comes with a vectored thruster that lets the robot continue its missions in high seas and dead calms alike…the SV3 is meant to carry a heavy duty load of sensors designed to serve everything from the oil and gas industry to fisheries to coast guards and the military. Its power management systems were designed, the company said, so that its on-board servers can continuously bring in data, and simultaneously analyze the information before transmitting conclusions via satellite communications. The SV3 was also designed with a data center-like architecture allowing multiple users to each have their own data gathering and crunching take place at the same time, all totally independent of the other. And because the computers are meant to be strong enough to do most of the processing locally, the new Wave Glider can send back conclusions via high-bandwidth, low-power connectivity rather than large amounts of raw data that must then be analyzed once they arrive …”
32.    Intel announces next-gen Thunderbolt with 20 Gbps throughput, 4K support  http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/08/intel-announces-next-gen-thunderbolt-20-gbps-throughput/  “…Intel just introduced the next generation of its Thunderbolt interface, which promises a data rate of 20 Gbps in both directions (on each of the two channels) as opposed to 10 Gbps for the previous version. Of course, the company stepped back for a moment first, boasting that Thunderbolt currently has about 200 licensees, and more compatible devices -- along with new, thinner cables -- should be coming out in the following months…Intel also shared some info about its new Thunderbolt host controller, (code-named Redwood Ridge), which will be built into some of Intel's upcoming fourth-gen Core processors…the next-gen Thunderbolt tech (code-named Falcon Ridge) enables 4K video file transfer and display simultaneously in addition to running at 20 Gbps. It will be backward-compatible with previous-gen Thunderbolt cables and connectors …”
Leisure & Entertainment
33.    My Kinect Can Tell Me If I’m Depressed With 90% Accuracy  http://thescorpionthefrog.com/2013/04/02/now-my-kinect-can-tell-me-if-im-depressed-with-90-accuracy/  “…Kinect has been the center of some killer applications far beyond gaming…Computer scientists at the University of Southern California have used Microsoft’s Kinect sensor to detect, with 90% accuracy, whether you are depressed. All you have to do is sit down in front of Kinect, answer some questions from an on-screen virtual psychologist, and the clever software does the rest…The software, called SimSensei…is essentially a clever mix of computer vision algorithms and the psychological model of depression. The on-screen psychologist asks you leading questions — a lot like the old-school Eliza, or Alice — and then watches how you physically respond. Using Kinect, the computer vision algorithms build up a very detailed model of your face and body, including your “smile level,” horizontal gaze and vertical gaze, how wide open your eyes are, and whether you are leaning toward or away from the camera. From these markers, SimSensei can work out whether you’re exhibiting signs that indicate depression…”
34.    Why I donated my Xbox  https://plus.google.com/u/0/105363132599081141035/posts/W3ys5fKnz5t  “Today I donated my Xbox 360 Elite to Goodwill. It represented a time in my life as a developer that I'm not overly proud about living. I worked for a couple years designing games at Microsoft. It is honestly difficult to say the exact group I was in since the organization was hit regularly by massive reorgs and general management failure…But the dream of bringing socially positive games to more people really appealed to me. I was an outsider. Intentionally so. On the rare occasions I used a console, it was likely to be one built by Nintendo. Instead, my earliest influences stem from the Amiga and early PC titles, not the regurgitation of a roller coaster known as Halo…In many ways, a gig at Microsoft was a career peak for many developers I worked with. Since childhood, they had played console games, worked at console companies and then finally made it to the platform mothership from which all their life's work was originally born…It was also a cultural hub. You worked there because you were a gamer. People boasted about epic Gamer Scores and joked about staying up multiple days straight in order to beat the latest release. The men were hardcore. The management was hardcore. The women were doubly hardcore…Xbox put machismo, ultra-violence and chimpboys with backwards caps in the paid spotlight…I'm okay with not fitting in. Over the 17 years I've been part of the game industry, I've gotten comfortable being an alien floating in a sea of Others…”
35.    Nook Debuts Nook Press, A New Self-Publishing Platform To Compete With Kindle Direct Publishing  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/09/nook-debuts-nook-press-a-new-self-publishing-platform-to-compete-with-kindle-direct-publishing/  “Barnes & Noble subsidiary Nook today announced the launch of Nook Press, a self-publishing platform to help the e-reader and e-book seller attract more self-publishing authors. The platform will help Nook compete with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, providing a content creation and management tool that builds on Barnes & Noble’s aging PubIt! platform with tools designed in partnership with self-publishing company FastPencil…Whereas PubIt! was more of a barebones document uploader and ePub conversion tool, Nook Press is designed to be much more of an all-in-one solution, which authors can use from the very earliest stages of the composition process. After creating a new account, you can either upload an existing manuscript to get started, or jump right into a web-based composer, which supports chapter breakdowns and other outlining features, internal document links, and comments from invited collaborators…”
36.    Why Game Developers Are Flocking to Sony and Fleeing From Microsoft  http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2013/04/sony-indies/?cid=co6980084  “…a Sony exclusive…took home the grand prize at last week’s Game Developers Choice awards, not to mention the DICE Awards a month prior…an 18-person game called Journey, the sort of artsy passion project that a few years ago would have been doomed to cult-classic obscurity. And don’t think Sony hasn’t noticed. Indie games aren’t just an amusing side business anymore — in some cases, they’re getting more attention and sales than the “mainstream” triple-A productions…There’s a war brewing for the hearts and minds of the videogame industry’s independent developers. The weird thing is, Xbox doesn’t seem interested in fighting it. Indies were once a fringe group of rogue developers who were often happy to get any sort of attention from a console manufacturer like Sony or Microsoft, but today they’re an industry force that will help shape the next generation of games and gaming machines. A recent survey showed that 53 percent of developers self-identify as independent, and Sony is angling to get as many of them on PlayStation devices as possible. And to hear the developers tell it, the reason they’re flocking to PlayStation is due as much to what Sony does right as to what Xbox maker Microsoft is doing wrong. “Microsoft treats independent developers very badly,” said Jonathon Blow, creator of the breakout indie success Braid… “Both Sony and Nintendo actively listen to feedback from developers and make improvements …”
37.    Self-publishing is the future — and great for writers  http://www.salon.com/2013/04/04/hugh_howey_self_publishing_is_the_future_and_great_for_writers/  “…The story of self-publishing is Jan Strnad, a 62-year-old educator hoping to retire in four years. To do so is going to require supplemental income, which he is currently earning from his self-published novels. In 2012, Jan made $11,406.31 from his work. That’s more than double what he made from the same book in the six months it was available from Kensington, a major publisher. He…now makes around $2,000 a month, even though you’ve never heard of him. Rachel Schurig has sold 100,000 e-books and made six figures last year. She is the story of self-publishing. Rick Gualtieri cleared over $25,000 in 2012 from his writing. He says it’s like getting a Christmas bonus every month. Amanda Brice is an intellectual property attorney for the federal government. In her spare time, she writes teen mysteries and adult romantic comedies. She averages $750 a month with her work…Right now you are probably thinking that these anecdotes of self-publishing success are the result of my having cherry-picked the winners. In fact, these stories appear in this exact order in my private message inbox over at Kindle Boards…”
38.    Ten ways self-publishing has changed the books world  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2013/apr/08/self-publishing-changed-books-world  “After a boom year in self-publishing the headlines are getting a little predictable. Most feature a doughty author who quickly builds demand for her work and is rewarded with a large contract from the traditional industry. But in our rush to admire, there's a risk we overlook the wider cultural significance of what is going on. As publishers from all over the world prepare for next week's London book fair, here are 10 changes that they ignore at their peril: 1. There is now a wider understanding of what publishing is – and that it is more difficult than it looks…2. Gone is our confidence that publishers and agents know exactly what everyone wants to (or should) read, and can spot all the material worth our attention. Soft porn and fantasy have emerged as particularly under-represented in the industry's official output…3. The copy editor, a traditionally marginalised figure, is now in strong demand…4. The re-emergence of the book as precious object…5. The role of the author is changing…6. The role of the agent is also changing…7. New business models and opportunities are springing up, mostly offering "publishing services": advice on how to get published or self-publish; guidance on developing a plot or a whole manuscript; lifestyle support and writing holidays; editorial services and marketing assistance…8. It's not all about making money…9. An end to the "vanity publishing" put-down…10. Self-publishing brings happiness…”
Entrepreneurism and Technology
39.    Guns and garden gnomes: 3-D printer revolution is now  http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/guns-garden-gnomes-3-d-printer-revolution-now-1B9247842  “…Bre Pettis…described the increased interest and affordability of his company’s product as heralding the “the next Industrial Revolution.” "Revolution" is often used even when the result doesn't match the definition — a complete change from the way things were before. Add "Industrial," and the comparison implies not just a change in manufacturing, but society as well, from improved living standards to changes in social class structure. Whether — and how — desktop 3-D printing can bring such changes is much debated, and remains to be seen…For some within the maker community — subculture of tech-based do-it-yourself-ers — the increased accessibility of 3-D printer technology means "the end of consumerism.”…Gartner predicts that 3-D printing could create opportunities for new product lines created in-house by local retailers. And Daniel Suarez, who spent a decade developing logistics and production planning software for major multinational corporations (and is also a best-selling novelist who writes about near-future technologies) predicts that "3-D printing will be a disruptive economic force in the next two decades — but I also think this disruption will benefit average Americans by causing a resurgence in local manufacturing…When it comes to 3-D printers, groups producing tools, weapons, and reproducing patented or copyrighted objects will be where all the debate and legal fireworks will occur," Suarez told NBC News…”
40.    Fisker Automotive fires most rank-and-file employees  http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/05/us-autos-fisker-layoffs-idUSBRE9340LW20130405  “Fisker Automotive, the struggling, government-backed hybrid sports car maker, terminated most of its rank-and-file employees on Friday, in a last-ditch effort to conserve cash and stave off a potential bankruptcy filing…Fisker confirmed that it let go about 75 percent of its workforce. The automaker said it was "a necessary strategic step in our efforts to maximize the value of Fisker's core assets."…Fisker, which raised $1.2 billion from investors and tapped nearly $200 million in government loans, has "at least" $30 million in cash, plus $15 million due after settling a claim this week with bankrupt battery maker A123 Systems Inc…”
41.     The JOBS Act turns one, and let’s be honest, it’s a failure  http://qz.com/71129/the-jobs-act-turns-one-and-lets-be-honest-its-a-failure/  “On April 5, 2012…US president Barack Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act…JOBS. The law, parts of which went into effect right away, was intended to help startups grow and, in the process, add more jobs to the US economy…The JOBS Act was supposed to encourage smaller companies to go public. Startups, it was argued, were delaying IPOs or avoiding them altogether because of the regulatory burdens, stunting potential growth in the American economy. So the JOBS Act greatly reduced the disclosure and accounting requirements for IPOs by companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenue. But in the year since the law went into effect, just 63 such firms have gone public, down from 80 in the previous 12 months. That’s a 21% drop despite improving economic conditions. And in Silicon Valley, at which many provisions of the JOBS Act were explicitly aimed, the situation is even more dire: only eight venture-backed American companies went public in the first quarter of this year, raising $672 million, compared to 19 such IPOs that raised $1.7 billion a year prior, before the law was signed. The dot-com boom this is not…”
42.    Why Startups Should Choose Canada Over Silicon Valley  http://www.techvibes.com/blog/choosing-canada-over-silicon-valley-2013-04-08  “…In a global market, would anyone with experience, connections, and residence in Silicon Valley, actually choose to start a company in Canada? Yes. I did. I’m a Canadian citizen who sold my last startup Attassa in 2010 to Silicon Valley’s Yousendit. I also led mobile Product at Zecter, a Y-Combinator company that was later sold to Motorola/Google. In the last five years in the Bay area, I’ve built a healthy Rolodex of Silicon valley connections. But in January 2013, I moved back and incorporated my new company Zenlike.me in Canada; and not because of SR&ED, not because of IRAP, not because of soaring engineering costs in Silicon Valley, not even because of the US’s luddite immigration policy which makes it difficult for foreigners to start companies in the US. I did it largely because of the incestuous bubble of false positives that pervades Silicon Valley…But for all the positives of the Bay Area, there’s one downside that few talk about which can kill startups: false positives. False positives lead to premature scaling. And premature scaling leads to startup’s death. It’s well known that startups, new products, and taking risks are all deeply ingrained in the Bay Area culture. But what’s not talked about is the downside to this. Ideas often succeed there—but nowhere else. In the Bay Area, investors, friends, and early adopters are so embracing and supportive of new ideas that startups get funded, apps get downloaded, and ideas get thumbs up, even if they won’t scale …”
43.    Bitcoin passes $200 mark for the first time  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9982299/Bitcoin-passes-200-mark-for-the-first-time.html  “Bitcoin, the controversial electronic currency, has passed the $200-mark for the first time, setting new records despite talk of a bubble…”
Design / DEMO
44.    Why Good Design Is Finally A Bottom Line Investment  http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670679/good-design-is-good-business-an-introduction  “When Thomas Watson Jr. told Wharton students in 1973 that good design is good business, the idea seemed quixotic, silly even…The recently retired IBM CEO was a business oracle, having grown the company tenfold during his tenure by transforming its signature product line from cash registers to computer mainframes…Watson had always been a pioneering advocate for design…But from our current distance we can see the cracks in Watson’s logic: Logos and buildings, nice as they were, weren’t central to how IBM actually made money…Back then, design was marketing by another name. The design and business symbiosis that Watson was advocating at the time was more prophecy than reality. Only now, 19 years after his death in 1993, is Watson being proved right. Innovation today is inextricably linked with design--and design has become a decisive advantage in countless industries, not to mention a crucial tool to ward off commoditization…But why now? What makes this moment different?...The easiest is that design allows you to stoke consumer lust--and demand higher prices as a result…One is the value of thinking of product systems rather than solely products…Designers are the ones best situated to figure out how a kit of parts can become something more--they’re the ones who can figure out the human interface for a vast chain. If they do their job right, the result--a working ecosystem--is a far better platform for innovation than an isolated product…”
45.    The Next Big UI Idea: Gadgets That Adapt To Your Skill  http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672044/the-next-big-ui-idea-gadgets-that-adapt-to-your-skill  “More and more interactive products are being returned. In 2002, 48% of all returned products were technically fully functional but were rejected for failing to satisfy user needs (28%) or purely due to users’ remorse (20%)…a product…complexity and bad user experience can prevent users from integrating it into their lives…by and large, interactive products are not designed to take people’s changing capacity and experience into account. But they could. Here, I present a model for how designers can use the fundamentals of video games and the psychological principles of flow to design enhanced user experiences….For this essay, I’ve chosen to focus on the Samsung E8005 SmartTV television…Reviewers have described the new Samsung SmartTV’s as hard to use, clumsy, and unintuitive…Just like the challenges in video games match the skills of the user, so should TV interactions. For reference, I’ve used four levels…Level 1: Novice…Level 2: Advanced beginner…Level 3: Competent…Level 4: Proficient…Novice users are expected to be able to turn on the television, adjust the volume, switch channel, and open the “Smarthub” dashboard…Like in video games, a user can advance to the next level based on the number of XP that she has accumulated…To nudge the user to try out more challenging interactions, a message appears on the screen and/or remote control stating: “Did you know: You can record what you see? View an overview of all channels?...New buttons appear on the remote control, giving the user access to more advanced interactions, which are highlighted with a colorful ribbon labeled “Try!” The ribbon serves as a continuous reminder of the new possibilities…One open question: Does the advanced button help experienced users or just make things more complicated for the impatient user?...Progress in any UI should be fitted to the user’s goals…”
DHMN Technology
46.    Create a VPN with the Raspberry Pi   http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/news/create-a-vpn-with-the-raspberry-pi  “One possible scenario for wanting a cheap server that you can leave somewhere is if you have recently moved away from home and would like to be able to easily access all of the devices on the network at home, in a secure manner. This will enable you to send files directly to computers, diagnose problems and other useful things. You’ll also be leaving a powered USB hub connected to the Pi, so that you can tell someone to plug in their flash drive, hard drive etc and put files on it for them. This way, they can simply come and collect it later whenever the transfer has finished. We’ll be using Arch Linux as the operating system for our VPN server, since it is lightweight and has only the minimum packages required for a working system…This tutorial assumes that you have flashed the latest Arch Linux ARM image to an SD card. If you haven’t, the instructions for flashing an image can be found on our tutorial. You’ll only need to go up to the step where you write the image to the SD card. You’ll have to adapt the instructions slightly for using the Arch Linux image rather than the Debian one…”
47.    Fine-Tune Your Kickstarter Campaign With These 12 Tools  http://www.wired.com/design/2013/04/12-kickstarter-tools/  “Y Combinator, the premier startup launchpad, held its latest demo day this week, with crowdfunding as one of the big themes with this batch of startups. New sites were launched for specific verticals: Microryza is crowdfunding scientific research grants, Teespring is creating a Threadless alternative, and Watsi is bringing the crowdfunding model to the developing world…BackerKit is trying to make the experience of running a project easier, while Swish makes searching for projects more fun. Kickstarter has recently announced some new tools to help make projects easier to manage, but a market is developing around them. Kickstarter is still the biggest thing in crowdfunding, but crowdfunding is much bigger than Kickstarter. These 12 tools will help your campaign succeed…”
48.    3D printing: Out with the old, in with new   http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_22957038/out-old  “There's a revolution several hundred years in the making, and several Colorado companies are participating at a time that could be a major tipping point. It started with movable-type printing in the 15th century, but today's Johannes Gutenbergs are printing more than ink; they're printing objects via 3D printing. It is because 3D printing has a real opportunity to improve our world that it faces threats from status quo institutions like governments and incumbent businesses, which often have shared incentives…Software is becoming easier to use, so more people can create files, and open-source alternatives to expensive enterprise software are more capable than ever. Meanwhile, file-sharing makes it easier to distribute files online. Hardware, including printers and scanners, is stratifying to include anything from industrial machines that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars down to do-it-yourself hobbyist machines that cost a little over $1,000. With hardware stratification comes increased capabilities. Their "ink" is expanding to include hard plastic, wood filament, nanocomposites of blended plastic and powdered metal and more. Scanners are increasingly able to scan physical objects and convert them to digital formats that are then capable of being reproduced through printers. 3D printed products are being used in an inspiring number of ways, from prosthetics and aerospace to jewelry and other consumer accessories. For example, a five-year-old South African boy named Liam was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, which caused amputation of the digits on his right hand before birth. Ivan Owen in Bellingham and Richard Van As in South Africa designed 3D printed prosthetic digits for Liam dubbed Robohand (available in the public domain), which he's now using to play, eat and brush his teeth…The burgeoning 3D printing industry is captivating because it unleashes our freedom to create and share, just like movable type printing unleashed our freedom of speech (and thought) in the 15th century…Unfortunately, the industry's captivating potential is exactly what puts it at risk. It's not that the people in status quo institutions are ill-willed; they're not. It's just that new institutions change the…status quo…”
49.    Raspberry Pi video wall  http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/3648  “…We’ve said many times that the single most innovative thing about the Raspberry Pi is its price. $25 or $35 gets you something that would have cost you four or five times that amount before the Pi arrived on the market. This means that you can save large sums of money in some applications, especially in applications where you need to buy a lot of separate devices. A video wall requires one device per screen, and another to drive them all together…of course, our HD video capability’s really great…Alex Goodyear at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy has put together a really elegant video wall, supported by a group of Raspberry Pis. Energy consumption and cost are both reduced enormously, making video walls like this much more accessible to enterprises which don’t have huge funds, like museums, schools, shops, galleries…”
Open Source Hardware
50.    Cyrus: aluminum open source 3D printer  http://www.linuxandlife.com/2013/04/check-cyrus-diy-open-source-3d-printer.html  “…Cyrus is really different from the other 3D printers. What you will love about Cyrus is that all the components can be obtained easily with affordable price…The core of Cyrus is Extruder, an open source 3D printer project that already got funded successfully on KickStarter…The frame is also a successfully funded project on KickStarter, Makerbeam…All the other parts can be easily found in any hardware store. In short, Cyrus is much more affordable than the 3D printers made by big manufacturers…”  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sasan/cyrus-open-source-3d-printer
51.     The cicadas are coming: WNYC’s tracker is the latest sign of the rise of sensor news networks  http://www.niemanlab.org/2013/03/the-cicadas-are-coming-wnycs-tracker-is-the-latest-sign-of-the-rise-of-sensor-news-networks/  “…Every 17 years, Brood II cicadas come out of the ground in swarms from as far south as Virginia to as far north as Connecticut. They don’t do much beyond make a lot of noise. Typically, they appear when the temperature eight inches below the surface hits 64 degrees…Keefe says he’d been playing around with low-cost sensor hardware in his free time when the idea of doing a cicada-tracking project came up at work. At a public radio hackathon, Keefe suggested a project in which WNYC members would buy temperature sensor hardware and report their findings to the station in order to predict the fateful day. “We actually walked out of the hackathon down the street to Radio Shack…We bought a bunch of parts, went back, and started assembling the sensors, the code to run them, and the website that would host that information.” That led to Cicada Tracker. The idea of gathering vast amounts of public data through inexpensive sensor hardware has been gaining steam. After the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, a group of hardware scientists started tracking radiation independent of the government using sensors…Behavio, a company that won $355,000 in Knight funding last year, is dedicated to turning smartphones into data gathering devices through sensor apps to help track “trends in community data.”…what starts with bugs could grow into something more…WNYC will soon be tracking air pollution by having a biker carry a smartphone equipped with a sensor…Keefe said he would also be interested in tracking noise pollution, another major public health issue in the city…”
52.    Watch a ‘Codebender’ Play Super Mario Bros.’ RAM Like a Musical Instrument  http://www.wired.com/design/2013/03/mad-scientist-plays-super-mario-bros-like-an-instrument/   ““Super Mario Spacetime Organ” is a short video by Chris Novello. It depicts the NES classic Super Mario Bros. piped through two devices, an illucia patchbay, which Novello invented, and the multitouch Soundplane created by Madrona labs. Using the Open Sound Control protocol (a modern MIDI alternative) Novello uses the hardware to directly manipulate the game’s state in memory…Novello plays the game for a bit before stroking the Soundplane to make Mario hover in mid air. He begins physically patching parts of the memory into other parts and the game goes wild. Then the mallets come out…The game in the video is running on an emulator that runs Lua scripts. By writing OSC hooks into the scripts, software from outside the game can read and write to the game’s memory directly. By mapping the OSC addresses in the scripts on to the illucia’s OSC addresses, Novello can change settings and variables by fiddling knobs and flicking switches…”
53.    How Public Lab Turned Kickstarter Crowdfunders Into a Community  http://blogs.plos.org/citizensci/2013/04/03/how-public-lab-turned-kickstarter-crowdfunders-into-a-community/  “Public Lab is structured like many open-source communities, with a non-profit hosting and coordinating the efforts of a broader, distributed community of contributors and members. However, we are in the unique position that our community creates innovative open-source hardware projects — tools to measure and quantify pollution — and unlike software, it takes some materials and money to actually make these tools. As we’ve grown over the past two years, from just a few dozen members to thousands today, crowdfunding has played a key role in scaling our effort and reaching new people. Consider a project like our DIY Spectrometry Kit, which was conceived of just after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to attempt to identify petroleum contamination…By October 2012, more than 1,600 people had backed the project, raising over $110,000 — and by the end of December, more than half of them had received a spectrometer kit…Kickstarter doesn’t always work this way: Often, projects turn into startups, and the first generation of backers simply becomes the first batch of customers. But as a community whose mission is to involve people in the process of creating new environmental technologies, we had to make sure people didn’t think of us as a company but as a community…we…explicitly welcomed newcomers into our community and encouraged them to get plugged into our mailing list and website…this approach is not only in the spirit of our work, but essential to our community’s ability to scale up…everyone has to be willing to learn, but also to teach — to support fellow contributors and to work together to improve our shared designs…”
Open Source
54.    Linux Foundation Training Prepares the International Space Station for Linux Migration  http://www.linux.com/news/featured-blogs/191-linux-training/711318-linux-foundation-training-prepares-the-international-space-station-for-linux-migration  “It’s hard to get tech support 400 kilometers away from the Earth, which is why Keith Chuvala of United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor deeply involved in Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) operations, decided to migrate to Linux. As leader of the Laptops and Network Integration Teams, Chuvala oversees the developers in charge of writing and integrating software for the Station’s “OpsLAN” – a network of laptops that provide the ISS crew with vital capabilities for day-to-day operations, from telling the astronauts where they are, to inventory control of the equipment used, to interfacing with the cameras that capture photos and videos… “We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could…”
55.     Bullseye from 1,000 yards: Shooting the $17,000 Linux-powered rifle  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/03/bullseye-from-1000-yards-shooting-the-17000-linux-powered-rifle/  “…Steve, squints through a computerized scope squatting atop a big hunting rifle…the wind is blowing like crazy—enough so that we're having to dial in more and more wind adjustment on the rifle's computer. The spotter and I monitor Steve's sight through an iPad linked to the rifle via Wi-Fi, and we can see exactly what he's seeing through the scope…"Good tag?" he asks, softly. "Good tag," replies the spotter, watching on the iPad…Steve pulls the trigger, but nothing immediately happens. On the iPad's screen, his reticle shifts from blue to red and drifts toward the marked target. Even though I'm expecting it, the rifle's report is startling when it fires. A second later, the spotter calls out, "That's a hit!" Steve has just delivered a .338 Lapua Magnum round directly onto a target about the size of a big dinner plate at a range of 1,008 yards—that's ten football fields, or a tick over 0.91 kilometers. It's his very first try. He has never fired a rifle before today…Steve isn't some kind of super mutant marksman—he had a bit of help. We were plinking targets with $17,000+ Linux-powered hunting rifles…”
Civilian Aerospace
56.    Swiss Spaceplane Set to SOAR  http://news.discovery.com/space/private-spaceflight/swiss-spaceplane-set-to-soar-130405.htm  “…new spacecraft are being developed in droves. While all existing craft are space capsules, not unlike those used back in the Apollo era, several of the next generation of spacecraft may be spaceplanes…The SOAR spaceplane is being developed by Swiss Space Systems, or S3 for short, a new company that intends to put Swiss technology on the orbital map…S3 plan to build a mockup SOAR craft next year and, if everything goes according to plan, they aim to open a spaceport at their base in Payern Airport, West Switzerland, by 2015. Test launches of small satellites weighing up to 250 kilograms (550 lb) are currently scheduled to start around the end of 2017. A “spaceplane” is any craft that is able to glide back to the ground after re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, landing as traditional aircraft instead of needing to be retrieved after parachuting to the surface. NASA’s Space Shuttle orbiter was the world’s first spaceplane, and ever since it was first flown, aerospace engineers from the private sector have been trying to design new and improved spaceplanes. From suborbital craft like the XCOR Lynx rocket plane, to sleek orbital designs like Reaction Engines’ Skylon, several spaceplanes are currently being developed…SOAR, with it’s maximum altitude of around 80 km (about 50 miles), is a purely suborbital craft rather than a true spacecraft, and might be more correctly called a rocket plane (like the aforementioned Lynx). It won’t have orbital capability and will certainly never be able to dock with the International Space Station. Nonetheless, 80 km is still high enough to launch small satellites to an altitude of up to 700 km (435 miles) — a higher orbit than the Hubble Space Telescope. In the same way as other spaceplanes being developed, SOAR is intended to cut the costs of transporting goods into orbit by being fully reusable, avoiding expensive and wasteful rockets…”
57.     Will SpaceShipTwo Fly Under Power This Month?  http://www.parabolicarc.com/2013/04/06/will-spaceshiptwo-fly-under-power-this-month/  “The rumor mill in Mojave has it that we will be seeing the first powered test flight of Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo by the end of this month. One specific date that has been rumored is April 22, which would have marked the 69th birthday of the late businessman and adventurer Steve Fossett…Meeting that deadline would be tight, but possible. SpaceShipTwo completed the second of three planned glide flights with the engine installed on Wednesday. A third flight would be necessary in the coming weeks with a quick turnaround for a powered test…Whitesides has said the powered flight program will involve firing the ship’s engine for increasingly longer periods of time, culminating in a suborbital flight into space above 100 km (62.5 miles).  The company hopes to fly that mission by the end of the year…”
58.    Solar sail could open ocean of space exploration opportunity  http://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-energy-news/solar-sail-could-open-opportunity-040513  “NASA’s upcoming demonstration of the 13,000-square-foot Sunjammer solar sail could be just the beginning for the technology…L’Garde – the company that developed the solar sail – said it’s a technology that could revolutionize space measurements and exploration. The demonstration sail will go to a spot about 1.5 million kilometers from earth, where there is equilibrium in the sun’s and earth’s gravity…The sail will keep the demonstration equipment steady and allow it to measure solar flares and try to learn enough about them to one day be able to predict them… “We could go a little closer to the sun,” he said. “We could go 3 million kilometers, twice the distance, and we’d be in the sun’s gravity.” But the solar sail could blow the equipment back from the sun to keep the firey ball from consuming it indefinitely. There is no end to how long the sail could sustain a location…Previously, space craft would need massive fuel tanks, which could be vulnerable to the heat so close to the sun, and which wouldn’t last forever…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
59.    Nvidia Kayla Platform for GPU-Accelerated ARM  Applicationshttp://www.xbitlabs.com/news/mobile/display/20130320235000_Nvidia_Reveals_Kayla_Platform_for_Developers_of_GPU_Accelerated_ARM_Applications.html  “…Nvidia Corp. introduced its code-named Kayla development platform that weds the company’s Tegra mobile application processor with Kepler graphics and compute processor. The Kayla is aimed at software developers, who plan to develop GPGPU-accelerated applications for ARM-based systems. “Kayla offers a sneak-peek at the capabilities that will be unleashed by Logan, Nvidia’s next-generation Tegra mobile processor…Logan will be the size of a dime, whereas Kayla is now the size of a tablet PC,” said Jen-Hsun Huang…Nvidia’s next-gen Tegra 5, code-named Logan and due in 2014, will feature ARM Cortex general-purpose processing units as well as Kepler graphics processing unit with support for GPU computing, Direct3D, OpenGL 4.3 and so on. With a graphics processor capable of general-purpose processing on GPU, Nvidia will offer a breakthrough in performance and capabilities…”
60.    GPU Accelerated Pythons Show Fangs  http://www.drdobbs.com/open-source/gpu-accelerated-pythons-show-fangs/240151171  “Python programmers can now gain GPU acceleration for high performance computing (HPC) apps through the Nvidia CUDA parallel programming model as a result of new support announced this week. Open source Python runs on Windows, Linux/UNIX, and Mac OS X, and has been ported to the Java and .NET virtual machines. Today it is ranked among the top 10 programming languages with more than three million users. Python developers say that they enjoy the language's ability to let them write high-level software code (that captures their algorithmic ideas) without delving deep into programming details. Python's extensive libraries and advanced features position it well for a range of HPC science, engineering, and big data analytics applications…Continuum Analytics' Python development environment uses LLVM and the NVIDIA CUDA compiler software development kit to deliver GPU-accelerated application capabilities to Python programmers. The modularity of LLVM makes it easy for language and library designers to add support for GPU acceleration to a wide range of general-purpose languages like Python, as well as to domain-specific programming languages…”
Trends & Emerging Tech
61.     Looking for Work? Look to a Lab  http://northport.patch.com/articles/looking-for-work-look-to-a-lab-c015e3a7  “The federal government, educators and employers are emphasizing the growing need for workers trained for careers in science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as STEM. The U.S. Commerce Department recently found that  STEM jobs have grown at a rate three times that of non-STEM jobs in the first decade of this century, and are projected to grow by 17 percent during the next decade. Last year, President Barack Obama challenged schools to "recruit 100,000 math and science teachers within the next 10 years" to raise student achievement on those fields. Patch took a look at STEM jobs this week and found large numbers of openings, from lab technicians to physicists…Here are just a few. Lab Tech II, Cold Spring Harbor Lab…Marine Science Center Manager, Stony Brook University…Scientist – R&D…Assistant Professor, Medical Lab Tech, Farmingdale State…Mechanical/Biomedical Engineer, Vascular Simulations…Senior Mechanical Designer, Photon Sciences, Brookhaven National Lab…Scientific Editor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press…Assistant Scientists, Smart Grid, Brookhaven National Lab…Lab Manager, Feinstein Institute For Medical Research…Research Nurse, Emergency Medicine, Stony Brook University…Lab Assistant, Certified Laboratories, Inc.…”
62.    9 emerging trends in the retail sector  http://pitchonnet.com/blog/2013/03/11/9-emerging-trends-in-the-retail-sector/  “1. Power of consumption data leading to better consumer…predictive modeling…2…Prosumers playing an important role…purchase decision is moving towards influence by like-minded people, friends…3. Mass customization…in the garment space…4. Co-creation of products & services as a key differentiator…5…creating differentiation at retail front in terms of visual merchandising, personalied services, cutting edge CRM…6. Relevant information…“Give me relevant information and I will decide what to buy”…7. Power of ‘teens’ to power of ‘pre-teens’…8. Uniqueness of design and fit…as important as…brand…9. Play of e-commerce and technology…”
63.    4 Emerging Trends in Social Media & How They’ll Impact The Music Industry  http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/4-emerging-trends-in-social-media-how-theyll-impact-the-musi.html  “With a rise in social TV, multi-channel engagement, and recent reports suggesting that there are more mobile phones than people in 4/6 of the World’s regions, this year will no doubt be an interesting one for social media, but how will these trends impact the music industry? 1. The Internet of Things (IoT)…My first (memorable) experience with IoT was at a festival two years ago, where on entry I was given a wristband that was authenticated with my Facebook account. If I scanned my wristband on various ‘pillars’ at the festival, it would automatically post which artist I was listening to at the event on my timeline…2. Multi-channel engagement…The music industry is fine from the perspective of whenever and wherever, but it’s the ‘on whatever’ that we’ll likely see becoming a bigger focus for artists. Catering to different devices will become increasingly important…3. Increasing mobile adoption…music based mobile apps were the second fastest-growing app category in the app store, largely thanks to how relatively easy it Is for artists to build mobile apps with self-service tools like Mobile Roadie…global mobile music revenues are on the rise, with the largest increases in revenue being attributed to full track downloads (from mobile) and music streaming…4. Visual social media…visual (image-based) social networking is on the rise with platforms like Path, Instagram, and Pinterest…While I don’t think any of us expect to see a artists flocking over to Pinterest any time soon, I think there will be something to be said for artists who heavily share images of their ‘behind the scenes’ work with fans on these visual networks.”

*****

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