2013/04/16

NEW NET Weekly List for 16 Apr 2013

Below is the final list of technology news and issues for the Tuesday, 16 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.        News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier  http://m.guardiannews.com/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli#top  “In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don't really concern our lives and don't require thinking. That's why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be…”  [Yikes! Every reader of the weekly NEW NET list should read this article. It makes me wonder if I should stop compiling the NEW NET list, or if I should at least greatly change how many and which items I include on the NEW NET list. – ed.]
2.       WiIl Google Or Microsoft Become The World's Leading Telephone Company?  http://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2013/04/11/wiil-google-or-microsoft-become-the-worlds-telephone-company/  “The battle to become the world’s VoIP (or communications over IP) global provider is one of those low-key contests…But will we wake up one day and realize that yes, there is a new monopoly out there? VoIP revenue is growing at 16% per year in some geographies and it is growing in functionality too, graduating towards a more unified form of communication…over a decade Skype has taken up a good portion of the global, especially transatlantic, call traffic, and is a leader in VoIP calling, though not a leader in quality. Skype now belongs to Microsoft, so will Microsoft prevail as the need grows for video and data integration? Will it create an efficient and high quality, integrated or unified communications service before Google does? Or could it be Facebook that skims over the top of all this, making no infrastructure commitment…Or perhaps CISCO will find fresh legs and seek out a mass market version of WebEx? Could it be ooVoo…American companies are once again in prime position to create a global communications service with a billion plus users…I’ve excluded Apple and Face Time on the grounds that Apple will not easily promote networking outside of the Apple ecosystem whereas Skype and Hangout are ubiquitous…”
3.       Microsoft GeoFlow for Excel, visualizing time-stamped 3D data on Bing Maps  http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2013/04/11/microsoft-launches-geoflow-for-excel-a-tool-for-visualizing-3d-time-stamped-data-built-on-bing-maps/  “Microsoft has released a public preview of GeoFlow today, a new 3D visualization tool for Excel which allow users to create, navigate and interact with time-sensitive data applied to a digital map. The idea is that users log all of the necessary data in Excel, and then reproduce it in 3D so that it can be shared with other people as an interactive tour. GeoFlow allows users to plot up to 1 million rows of data stored in an Excel workbook, including Excel Data Model or PowerPivot, on a visual representation of the area supplied by Bing Maps. Data can be set as vertical columns, rising from the earth like multi-colored skyscrapers, two-dimensional patches similar to heat maps, or what Microsoft is describing as “bubble visualizations”. The map can then be altered to show time-stamped data changing over time. Some of the real-world applications cloud include the number of people travelling to a particular part of a city, or the progress with cleaning up an oil spill out at sea…”
4.       SugarSync for iOS gets an all-new design  http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/16/sugarsync-for-ios-update/  “It wasn't too long ago that SugarSync overhauled a couple of the apps it serves on different platforms, but for whatever reason the iOS version wasn't included in that round of updates…the cloud-based storage service is releasing a new version of its application for Apple devices that brings a fair bit to the table. Chief among the improvements is a completely redesigned UI that…aims to provide a more consistent experience across all the apps it currently offers. iPod touch, iPhone and iPad users will also now see a new feature which allows any saved file on SugarSync to be searched from within the app, while "Open In" integrates deeply with the OS to make it easier to open / save docs via other services…”
5.        Free Amazon Web Services -- and how to make the most of them  http://www.linuxtoday.com/upload/free-amazon-web-services-and-how-to-make-the-most-of-them-130410101516.html  “If you avoid some gotchas and keep a close eye on resource usage, you can have a handy server in the Amazon cloud for free. The best way to think of the free tier to Amazon Web Services is as a stepping-stone. It's a way to get your feet wet with the basic mechanisms of AWS and EC2; to understand Amazon's way of handling virtual machine instances, storage, data, and networking; and to create something that can eventually be hosted on a full-blown, for-pay AWS instance. It's also a way to learn how to manage and constrain AWS usage -- if you're not careful you may end up paying for your "free" AWS usage after all. In this article, we'll look at what the free tier offers you and on what terms, then take a closer peek at what's possible or practical within those constraints…”
6.       Sony ISP launches world's fastest home Internet, 2Gbps  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9238392/Sony_ISP_launches_world_39_s_fastest_home_Internet_2Gbps  “A Sony-backed ISP in Japan has launched a 2Gbps Internet service, which it said is the world's fastest for home use. So-net Entertainment began offering its "Nuro" fiber-based service on Monday to homes, apartments, and small businesses in Tokyo and six surrounding prefectures. Nuro will cost AY=4,980 ($51) per month on a two-year contract, plus a AY=52,500 installation fee that it is currently offering for free for those that apply online. The upload speed is 1Gbps…the service includes rental of an ONU (optical network unit) designed to handle the high speeds. ONU devices are commonly used in homes and business to convert fiber to broadband Internet. Individual users of the service are unlikely to see 2Gbps speeds on their devices, as it exceeds the capacity of most consumer network adaptors…”
7.        The Quickest Wins in SEO  https://segment.io/academy/the-quickest-wins-in-seo  “When experts talk about Search Engine Optimization they often talk about zillions of technical tips and tricks, but don't let that fool you into an endless checklist of code tweaks. What you should really focus on are the humans using the search engine…We'll introduce you to two tools that will help you quickly fix any egregious technical SEO errors, and then introduce two types of content that'll boost your search traffic (and a tool to help!) Healthy sites should have 30-50% of their traffic coming from search…You'd be crazy not to take a few minutes to optimize search…The easiest 1-hour win is to simply check that search engines can understand your website. There are a bunch of common mistakes that only take a couple minutes to fix. These fixes will pay off in better search rankings forever…”
8.       Copper Wire -- A technology whose time has passed  http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/04/11/copper-wire-technology-whose-time-has-passed/  “…why are copper networks still so widely used although they have been rendered obsolete by next-generation technologies? The simple answer is that federal, state and local regulations are stuck in the past. The legacy copper Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) provided the backbone of national telephone networks for more than 100 years. But today, IP-based networks deliver connection speeds and new products and services unequaled by anything delivered via copper. Recognizing this, consumers are abandoning outdated copper services at a rapid pace, instead opting for more reliable wireless and wired IP-based networks…Still today, federal and state governments have rules in place requiring providers to maintain a copper wire infrastructure even though it has become impractical, inefficient, and very costly…”
9.       LinkedIn Acquires Newsreader Startup Pulse for $90 Million  http://allthingsd.com/20130411/yep-linkedin-acquires-newsreader-startup-pulse-for-90-million/  “LinkedIn…has acquired mobile news aggregation startup Pulse…signaling another step by the massive professional network toward becoming an online content powerhouse…The app, which collects news articles from a range of topics chosen by users and presents them in a clean, stylish format, rose to the top of Apple’s App Store ranks just a few years ago…Pulse currently claims more than 30 million users globally who read more than ten million stories daily using the app…it’s yet another move by LinkedIn to expand beyond being just a static resume service for recruiters and professionals…LinkedIn has made major strides in pushing original and partner content through the site, aiming to keep users returning and engaged on a regular basis. “We believe LinkedIn can be the definitive professional publishing platform — where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content,”…the company launched its “Influencer” program late last year, essentially asking big names in business, entertainment and politics to write original think pieces…users are able to “follow” those influencers across the site…”  [there are only so many hours in a week that a balanced person can be online; how many hours per week are you online, what websites or companies are in your top ten for hourly usage, and is LinkedIn one of them? – ed.]
10.     Mozilla TowTruck: experimental web collaboration project  http://www.ghacks.net/2013/04/14/mozilla-towtruck-experimental-web-collaboration-project/  “Mozilla just launched the TowTruck project on Mozilla Labs to provide Internet users from all over the world with options to collaborate together and in real-time on the web…The webmaster has to add a few lines of JavaScript code to a website or page on a site to enable TowTruck on it. Users who visit that site can activate the TowTruck feature then and invite their friends or colleagues to join them by sending them a custom link. This works regardless of physical location, network or provider used. When a friend or colleague opens the link in the browser a prompt is displayed so that the session can be joined or rejected. All existing users will be informed when a new participant joins the session…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
11.      License plate-reading devices fuel privacy debate  http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/08/big-brother-better-police-work-new-technology-automatically-runs-license-plates-everyone/1qoAoFfgp31UnXZT2CsFSK/story.html  “The high-speed cameras mounted on Sergeant Robert Griffin’s cruiser trigger a beeping alarm every time they read another license plate, automatically checking to see if each car is unregistered, uninsured, or stolen. In a single hour of near-constant beeps, Griffin runs 786 plates on parked cars without lifting a finger…The one on Griffin’s Chelsea cruiser repaid its $24,000 price tag in its first 11 days on the road. “We located more uninsured vehicles in our first month . . . using [the camera] in one cruiser than the entire department did the whole year before,”…automated license plate recognition technology’s popularity is exploding — seven Boston-area police departments will add a combined 21 new license readers during the next month alone…These high-tech license readers, now mounted on 87 police cruisers statewide, scan literally millions of license plates in Massachusetts each year, not only checking the car and owner’s legal history, but also creating a precise record of where each vehicle was at a given moment…”  [I envision this becoming a prime municipal revenue generator where a city passes an ordinance saying your license plate has to be readable by the police cameras, then they issue a ticket if they can’t auto-read your license number – ed.]
12.     Antitrust complaint against Android is an attack on open source  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/04/opinion-antitrust-complaint-against-android-is-an-attack-on-open-source/  “…we reported on a…complaint filed by "Fairsearch," an anti-Google group that counts Microsoft, Oracle, Nokia, and about a dozen other Google competitors as members…European regulators have become more aggressive at policing anticompetitive behavior in the tech sector than their American counterparts. Microsoft and its allies hope that officials will conclude that Google's mobile OS strategy violates the EU's competition laws. "Android phone makers who want to include must-have Google apps such as Maps, YouTube or Play are required to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone," Fairsearch argued…the group is echoing charges Microsoft itself faced more than a decade ago after it bundled Internet Explorer with Windows. But Fairsearch also makes an additional argument that should alarm anyone who benefits from free software—which is to say everyone who uses the Internet. Google's competitors complain about the search giant's "predatory distribution of Android at below cost." Apparently, Fairsearch believes that it's "predatory" for a company to gain market share by giving its software away for free…”
13.     Google Takes on Rare Fight Against National Security Letters  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/04/google-fights-nsl/   “…Google has filed a rare petition to challenge an ultra-secret national security letter issued by the government to obtain private data about one or more of its users. The extraordinary petition…comes just days after a U.S. District Judge in California…ordered the government to stop issuing NSLs and to cease enforcing the gag provision in cases where they have already been issued…It’s not known exactly when Google received the NSL or why it decided to fight back against this particular one…In early March, Google signaled an interest in becoming more transparent about the NSLs it has received by releasing a report for the first time showing a “range” of times that it received NSL’s from the FBI. The search giant published the information only after negotiating an agreement with the federal government that it would only publish a vague range indicating the number of times it received NSLs…”
14.     Hackers Point Large Botnet At WordPress Sites  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/12/hackers-point-large-botnet-at-wordpress-sites-to-steal-admin-passwords-and-gain-server-access/  “If you’re running a WordPress site, now would be a good time to ensure you are using very strong passwords…there is currently a significant attack being launched at WordPress blogs across the Internet. For the most part, this is a brute-force dictionary-based attack that aim to find the password for the ‘admin’ account that every WordPress site sets up by default. HostGator’s analysis found that this is a well-organized and very distributed attack…about 90,000 IP addresses are currently involved…CEO Matthew Prince told me…the hackers control about 100,000 bots. As for the scope of the attack, Prince says that CloudFlare saw attacks on virtually every WordPress site on its network…”  http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/04/huge-attack-on-wordpress-sites-could-spawn-never-before-seen-super-botnet/
15.     CISPA cyber security bill pits tech giants against privacy activists  “The two groups joined forces last year to fight the Stop Online Piracy Act. Now the battle over the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, will show each side's clout. The escalating cyber attacks on corporate and government computers have provided a rare opportunity for bipartisan legislation to address the problem…On one side stand some of tech's biggest companies, such as Intel Corp., Oracle Corp. and IBM Corp., which are pressing for more government action. On the other side are thousands of smaller tech firms and privacy activists who have launched online protests to raise the alarm over a bill they say harms privacy and civil liberties…they find themselves pitted against each other, trying to find a middle ground between increased security and protecting privacy. With the bill headed toward a possible vote in Congress next week, the results of this high-tech family feud may demonstrate in stark terms whether the Internet can truly be the great political leveler when going against the more traditional methods of wielding policy influence, such as lobbying and campaign donations. "This is sort of a 'privacy versus big corporation' moment…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
16.     Dish Network to bid $25.5 billion for Sprint  http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/04/15/dish-sprint-nextel-bid/2083523/  “Dish Network said Monday that it wants to buy Sprint Nextel for $25.5 billion, topping a $20 billion merger proposal already on the table from Japan's Softbank. Attesting to the attractive value of wireless airwaves, or spectrum, that Sprint holds and the anticipated growth of mobile data usage in the U.S., Dish is raising the value of Sprint six months after the Japanese wireless carrier submitted its surprising bid to enter the U.S. market…”
17.     Apple and Google: Apperating Systems Are Taking Over Your Phones  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/04/rise-of-apperating-systems/  “…Facebook Home, in and of itself, isn’t that big of a deal. What it represents, however, is huge. We’re calling Home an apperating system, one of a new breed of software platforms that sit between operating systems and apps. Apperating systems are coming—in a major way. Facebook Home is the most fully realized apperating system yet, enveloping the underlying Google Android operating system with a radical new look and augmenting it with important and genuinely useful new social features, all while preserving perfect compatibility with Android apps, including anything you might download through the bundled Google Play app store…But Facebook Home is hardly the first of its class. Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet contains probably the most prominent apperating system, a suite of apps and Android customizations developed by Amazon engineers…As apperating systems spread and improve, they will help Android and iOS better serve niche audiences and serve as labs for features that migrate back to the host system and into general use…Kindle Fire already seems to be pushing the limits of the operating system/apperating system relationship. The Fire ejects Google’s digital store, Google’s browser, and Google’s email client from Google’s own operating system, replacing them with Amazon-native alternatives. Unlike with Facebook Home, installing core Google services like the Google Play app store and basic Android apps involves hacking the device and voiding your warranty. Still, Facebook Home makes its own big changes to the default Android experience. Most significantly, it buries most Android apps several clicks away from the home screen, meaning they are less likely to be used…by consumers. Facebook content and advertisements, meanwhile, will get top billing, appearing even when a user has the phone or tablet locked…”  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2013/apr/09/facebook-home-android-lockpick
18.     Samsung unveils mammoth 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega smartphone  http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-samsung-galaxy-mega-smartphone-20130411,0,6123405.story  “…Samsung is supersizing its line of Galaxy smartphones with two new devices, including one that has an enormous 6.3-inch screen. The South Korean tech giant introduced the 5.8 -inch and 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega smartphones Thursday, saying the two phones provide an "optimal viewing experience."…Galaxy Mega devices will be two of the largest smartphones out on the market…One of the key reasons for the gigantic screens, which are only about an inch smaller than many popular tablets, is multitasking. Samsung wants to give users enough room to be able to run two apps on their smartphones at the same time comfortably…”  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/04/why-big-smartphone-screens/
19.     Flexible, foldable smartphone screens  http://www.zdnet.com/flexible-foldable-smartphones-screens-beckon-7000013967/  “The conventional liquid crystal display (LCD) screens for smartphones could soon be replaced by screens comprised of nanoparticles, which can be bended, folded, and even rolled up…The display market is dominated by LCDs which require a backlight and sit between two sheets of glass, making the screen a major contributor to the weight of a device, from laptops to tablets. However, LCD's dominance is already under threat from lighter Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) that do not need backlighting, are brighter, offer a wider viewing angle and better color contrast, and can be printed onto a few layers. ..Corning's Gorilla glass, already a popular choice amongst manufacturers for smartphones, such as the Apple iPhone, is now introducing Willow, which is as thin as a sheet of paper and is flexible enough to be wrapped around a device or structure…”
20.    Verizon unveils $35 prepaid mobile phone plan, but…  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57579264-94/verizon-unveils-$35-prepaid-mobile-phone-plan/  “Verizon has kicked off a new prepaid plan to lure in feature phone buyers…the new no-contract plan costs $35 a month and offers 500 anytime minutes of talk as well as unlimited text and Internet. Tipping over the 500 monthly minutes will ring up an extra 25 cents per minute…The deal is geared strictly toward feature phones, so smartphone owners need not apply…Verizon has restricted the offer to just four feature phones -- the LG Cosmos 2, the Samsung Gusto 2, the Samsung Intensity 3, and the LG Extravert. All four phones are heavily discounted when purchased as part of the plan. Mobile-to-mobile calling is not included, so calling another Verizon cell phone user will count against the monthly minutes…”
21.     7000mAh Galaxy S III Battery Will Power Phone Till The Cows Come Home  http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/04/12/deal-alert-this-7000mah-galaxy-s-iii-battery-will-power-your-phone-till-the-cows-come-home-and-its-only-34/  “The Galaxy S III has a capacity of 2100 milliamp hours…it's alright, when compared to other flagship phones…But if you want the absolute best longevity out there, not to mention the best bang for your battery buck, you've got to check out the off-brand expanded model that Reddit found while trawling the depths of Amazon. It's got a capacity of 7000mAh…That's more than three times the capacity of the standard battery, double most of the existing extended batteries, and…the same amount of juice that goes into Samsung's current crop of 10-inch tablets…the extended battery pack gives your phone the size, weight, and density of a curvaceous brick. But it's a brick that can last a week on a single charge…”
Apps
22.    Top 5 Backup Apps For Your Smartphone  http://www.mensxp.com/technology/phones/8658-top-5-backup-apps-for-your-smartphone.html  “Smartphone users are always haunted by the nightmare of losing their precious smartphone data, and dread the effort to start off everything from scratch, including the completed levels of Angry Birds…developers have developed ample lot of apps that do the job of backing up your data and keeping it safe in case you goof up. So here are the best ones out there to assist you in keeping your data safe and sound: 1. Titanium Backup…2. My Backup Pro…3. Ultimate Backup…4. G Cloud Backup…5. Safe Backup…”
23.    Intuitive iPhone Apps Target Smartphone-Wary Senior  http://mashable.com/2013/04/09/silverline-apps-for-seniors/  “For seniors who might balk at the idea of upgrading to a smartphone, a Singapore-based company is developing intuitive apps that they hope will ease the transition. Silverline Mobile…has already rolled out five iPhone apps targeted toward those 60 or older in the Singapore market…the Silverline apps take an intuitive approach to app development…The five current iPhone apps (in English and Mandarin) were designed intuitively and specifically with seniors in mind: "Discover:" Takes pictures with geotags and time stamps…"Well Being:" Gives reminders for medicine, water intake and exercise…"Inspire:" Delivers daily headlines and human interest stories…"Connect:" Puts contact list in a clear, visual format…"Emergency:" Provides easy access to 911 emergency services and ability to notify a caregiver…”
24.    Facebook Home gets bad Google Play reviews, 48% of users award it 1 star  http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2013/04/12/facebook-home-suffers-from-poor-early-reviews-as-46-give-it-a-1-star-rating-on-google-play/  “Facebook released its new Home app launcher and home screen for Android on Friday, but just a few hours after arriving on Google Play, initial user reviews suggest it isn’t off to a good start. As of 2:10pm PDT, the application had received 398 one-star reviews out of 834, or 47.7%, on Google Play, giving it an average rating of 2.3 stars. That compares to an average rating of 4.4 stars for Facebook Messenger and 3.6 stars for the full Facebook app…”
SkyNet
25.    Google releases tool to deal with your data after death  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/11/googles-afterlife/  “What will happen to your Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive and Google+ accounts after you die? That’s probably not something you really want to think about, but as more and more of our data now lives online, that’s sadly a question that comes up with some regularity…Google is launching its Inactive Account Manager on the Google Account settings page, which sets out to set up a system that allows you to tell Google “what you want done with your digital assets when you die or can no longer use your account.” With the Inactive Account Manager, you can set up a very straightforward procedure for what should happen to your data after your account becomes inactive “for any reason.” First, you set up a timeout period (three, six, nine or twelve months of inactivity). After that, you can either have all of your data deleted, or you can select a number of trusted contact who can receive your data from a set of Google services…”   http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/google-releases-tool-to-deal-with-your-data-after-death/2013/04/11/463e09a4-a2d3-11e2-82bc-511538ae90a4_story.html
26.    Google Is Going Where No Search Engine Has Gone Before  http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/04/google_has_a_single_towering_obsession_it_wants_to_build_the_star_trek_computer.html  “Google has a single towering obsession…in the summer of 2010…when the spokesman told me that he regarded the latest Android devices as something like a combination of Star Trek’s tricorder and the USS Enterprise’s computer, I dismissed it as a gimmick to attract media attention for a struggling brand…Since then, though, Star Trek has popped up again and again in my interviews with Googlers…Scott Huffman, one of the engineering directors on Google’s search team…invoked the Star Trek computer. “You would ask, ‘Hey Google, where should I have dinner?’ ” he told me. “And it might say, ‘Well, you seem to like Italian restaurants, so how about this one?’ ”…Tamar Yehoshua, director of product management on Google’s search…“Our vision is the Star Trek computer…You can talk to it—it understands you, and it can have a conversation with you.”…Amit Singhal, who heads Google’s search rankings team…added: “The destiny of [Google’s search engine] is to become that Star Trek computer, and that’s what we are building.”…“The Star Trek computer is not just a metaphor that we use to explain to others what we're building,” Singhal told me. “It is the ideal that we're aiming to build—the ideal version done realistically…For instance, we might say, ‘Captain Kirk never pulled out a keyboard to ask a question.’ So in that way it becomes one of the design principles—we see that because the Star Trek computer actively relies on speech, if we want to do that we need to work to push the barrier of speech recognition and machine understanding…Google is…amassing more and more knowledge about you. Consider the Gmail…opt-in experimental feature that the company unveiled a couple months ago. It connects the search engine to your email, so you can now search for questions about your personal data. Type in “when’s my flight?” and—because it has seen your itinerary in your inbox—Google can tell you when you need to leave for the airport…Google Now, an app for Android…offers up little nuggets of useful information as you need them. Not only will Google Now remind you of an upcoming flight, it will also warn you about traffic conditions along the way, and get your boarding pass ready for the TSA agent…Singhal predicted that…in three years’ time…Google’s Star Trek machine will be so good that you’ll ask it a question and expect a correct answer at least twice a day. “And in five years you won’t believe you ever lived without it.…”
27.    Google Glass Explorer edition starts shipping  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/15/first-google-glass-devices-are-coming-off-the-production-line-now-will-ship-in-batches/  “Google just notified everybody on the Google Glass waiting list that it is “seeing the first few devices come off the production line right now.” Google says it wants to start shipping the devices as soon as possible and doesn’t want to wait until it has produced enough to fully satisfy demand. Because of this, Glass will ship out in batches to the 2,000 “Glass Explorers” who signed up at Google’s I/O developer conference in San Francisco last year…Google is clearly under some pressure to get Glass out to its developers before I/O 2013 kicks off on May 15th…”
28.    Google Glass tech specs  http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/04/google-glass-specs-16gb-ssd-full-day-battery-and-no-3rd-party-ads/  “…The Google Glass team yesterday released a list of tech specs for the upcoming augmented reality glasses. They will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity; 16GB of flash memory, with 12GB usable (synced with Google cloud storage); a 5MP camera for photos and 720p for video; a battery providing a full day of typical usage; and an HD display that will be "the equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away." The optimal resolution for photos and video will be 640×360…Developers using the Google Mirror API to create applications for Glass have also been told not to serve up any advertisements…Glass will tether with any Bluetooth capable phone for Internet connectivity, and the Wi-Fi will be in the form of 802.11b/g. A MyGlass companion app allows GPS and text messaging, and this app will require Android 4.0.3 or higher. The battery will last "One full day of typical use. Some features, like Hangouts and video recording, are more battery intensive."…The glasses will come with a micro-USB cable and charger, adjustable nosepads and "extra nosepads in two sizes."…Glass will deliver audio via a bone conduction transducer, which literally vibrates the bones in your head…”
29.    Google Person Finder Launches Following Boston Marathon Explosions  http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2013/04/15/google-person-finder-helps-in-boston-marathon-explosions/  “The horrific explosions that ripped through the Boston Marathon today had many families and friends jumping to Facebook, and Twitter to find loved ones. In the early aftermath, Google set up a Boston Marathon Person Finder page. There are two main buttons: I’m looking for someone OR I have information about someone.  The Boston Marathon explosion finder is currently, at press time, tracking about 3,300 people…SearchEngineLand put up an excellent resource post for those who need more information with official resources: 2013 Boston Marathon Explosion: Official Information Sources. It is part of the company’s effort to put its search muscle to powerful, good humanitarian use. This tool is called the Google Person Finder and it is build to help people reconnect with friends and loved ones after a disaster. Google offers steps to easily embed the tool in your website or blog as well as robust developer tools for those nonprofit-type organizations that want to and need to have a way to help the community…”
30.    Add shortcuts to Google services with Black Menu for Chrome  http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57579248-285/add-shortcuts-to-google-services-with-black-menu-for-chrome/  “Depending on the version of Chrome you're using, you may have noticed some changes to the black navigation bar along the top of the Google homepage. For some, the bar is still there, and for others, it has completely disappeared. One developer decided to make his own navigation menu, and luckily you can use it too. Black Menu, by Carlos Jeurissen, is a Chrome extension that adds quick links to all of the popular Google services, like Gmail, Maps, Drive, YouTube, among others. Instead of waiting for Google to decide if the navigation bar will stay or go, you can take matters into your own hands by installing this extension…”
31.     Malaysia adopts Google Apps, Chromebooks for education  http://www.zdnet.com/my/malaysia-adopts-google-apps-chromebooks-for-education-7000013847/  “Malaysia has adopted Google Apps and Chromebooks as part of the country's plans to integrate Web usage in a bid to reform its education system…Malaysia adopted Google Apps for 10 million of its students, teachers and parents. In addition, primary and secondary schools will receive Chromebooks. Malaysia's "Education Blueprint 2013-2025" released in September last year, is aimed at revolutionizing its education system through the integration of Web usage…To deploy technology across the country, computers needed to be simple, manageable and secure, which was reflective in Google Chromebook…The Chromebooks were also a "cost-efficient option" at scale, in addition to being easy to setup…”
32.    How to restore Google Chrome's missing buttons in Windows 8  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2033800/how-to-restore-google-chromes-missing-buttons-in-windows-8.html  “…I'm running Windows 8 for at least part of my workday (much to my chagrin)…for me, the first step is installing Google Chrome, my preferred Web browser…I dropped into Desktop, fired up Internet Explorer, downloaded and installed Chrome, and set it as my default browser. Then I ran it, signed into my Google account, and smiled as my synced bookmarks appeared like magic…But, wait, what's this? Something's missing. Three somethings, in fact. When I went to minimize Chrome, I discovered that the Minimize button was gone. And so were the Maximize and Close buttons…What. In. The. World. I'm going to forgo my usual heavy sighing, eye rolling, and Windows 8 griping and just tell you how to fix this…”
33.    Gmail: Hold down Shift for a larger compose window  http://www.ghacks.net/2013/04/11/gmail-hold-down-shift-for-a-larger-compose-window/  “Gmail's new compose window is highly controversial. Some users like it…Others do not like it…The only option in the interface to change the window itself is to click on the arrow icon in the window's top toolbar. Clicking on that link opens the compose form in a new larger window on the screen…you are free to change the size of the window to make it larger or smaller. Having to open the small compose window…first only to open the larger compose window afterwards is not an optimal solution…Instead of having to go through the small compose window to open the larger window, you can simply hold down the Shift key while clicking on the compose button to launch it right away. This not only works when you click on compose, but also when you want to reply to an email that you have received. Just hold down the Shift key and click on the reply button…”
34.    Using Google Cloud Print for working with PDFs  http://www.zdnet.com/how-to-using-google-cloud-print-for-working-with-pdfs-7000013811/  “When Google introduced…Cloud Print…it was touted as a good way to print from the Chrome browser…to any printer that is connected to the service…Cloud Print is a powerful tool that can be used to capture almost any content for access from virtually any remote device. The first step is to link Cloud Print to your Google account…Once the account is linked to Cloud Print, printers can be added to Cloud Print, which enables remote printing from any Android device or installation of the Chrome browser. The ability to print remotely is useful, but it only scratches the surface of what can be done with Cloud Print…documents can also be printed to a FedEx/Kinko's account. This opens up the ability to print complex work documents for business purposes. You can print directly to the Kinko's outlet of choice right from Chrome…” [maybe we should have a NEW NET meeting at Panera on College Avenue, then at 8 PM when Panera closes we could go across the street to the FedEx/Kinkos and experience printing with Cloud Print; a practical application field trip for the NEW NET group, eh? – ed.]
35.    Google's LTE Chromebook Pixel now shipping  http://www.zdnet.com/googles-lte-chromebook-pixel-to-reach-buyers-from-today-7000013943/  “US customers who ordered the LTE version of Google's Chromebook Pixel will start receiving them from Friday 12 April…The LTE Pixel is available to US customers only on Google Play for $1449 and is tied to Verizon's 4G network. Since it lacks 3G radios, it cannot operate on mobile networks outside Verizon's 4G coverage though.  Google's earlier, cheaper Chromebooks by Samsung and Acer come with 100GB cloud storage valid for two years, while the Pixel comes with 1TB for three years. The standard Wifi-only Pixel costs $1300…”
36.    Knight Foundation-backed social mobile startup Behav.io’s team is joining Google  http://gigaom.com/2013/04/12/google-acquires-knight-foundation-backed-mobile-startup-behav-io/  “Behav.io, a mobile sensor startup…is joining Google, where its CEO used to work before starting the company. The company received a $335,000 grant from the Knight Foundation…to improve communities by making better use of data collected on mobile phones… “Behavio wants to open access to, and help make sense of, the data routinely collected by mobile phones. Their open source Android platform turns phones into smart sensors of people’s real world behaviors and surroundings: how people use their phones, how they communicate with others, and environmental factors like sound, light and motion…Behavio can understand trends and behavior changes in individuals as well as entire communities, and help them understand and make use of this information…” http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/12/google-buys-behavio/
37.    Europeans Reach Deal With Google to Identify Sources of Search Results  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/technology/google-and-europe-reach-deal-on-search-results.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0  “Google has for the first time agreed to legally binding changes to its search results after an antitrust investigation by European regulators into whether it abuses its dominance of online search. After a two-year inquiry, the European Commission has accepted Google’s proposed settlement…Google will not have to change the algorithm that produces its search results…Google agrees to clearly label search results from its own properties, like Google Plus Local or Google News, and in some cases to show links from rival search engines…The biggest change has to do with search results related to topics like shopping and flights, a field known as vertical search…”
38.    Google’s BufferBox Installs Its First U.S. Pick-Up Station At Coffee Shop In San Francisco  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/15/googles-bufferbox-installs-its-first-u-s-pick-up-station-at-a-coffee-shop-in-the-heart-of-san-francisco/   “…At the beginning of the month, we broke the news that Google’s acquisition, BufferBox, was planning on setting up shop in the Bay Area. Today, it’s clear that this wasn’t just a plan, as its co-founder proudly shared the first U.S. BufferBox location, the nicely trafficked Coffee Bar in San Francisco…BufferBox will be setting up these shipment lockers in places that get high traffic, as it’s a more convenient experience than going to a post office or a shipping hub…”
General Technology
39.    US Navy is putting a laser canon on a warship  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/world/navy-deploying-laser-weapon-prototype-in-persian-gulf.html?_r=0  “The Navy is going to sea for the first time with a laser attack weapon that has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones. A prototype shipboard laser will be deployed on a converted amphibious transport and docking ship in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets. The laser…seemed meant as a warning to Iran not to step up activity in the gulf in the next few months if tensions increase because of sanctions and the impasse in negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program…”
40.    What Microsoft's Blue is and isn't  http://www.zdnet.com/what-microsofts-blue-is-and-isnt-7000013747/  “…there's still a lot of confusion about what Microsoft's Blue is and isn't…this is due to Microsoft officials not saying a whole heck of a lot about Blue so far…Blue is it seems to be a codename for both products and a change in the way Microsoft builds, tests and releases software…many people…are confused as to whether Blue is just another name for Service Pack 1. It's not…Windows Blue (Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1) are to Windows 8 the way Mountain Lion (and the other cat releases) are to Apple's OS X. Whether it's about colors or cats, these are new operating system releases…Windows Blue will include both new features and fixes, technically putting it outside the strict "service pack" category…”
41.     Leap Motion seals HP deal to embed gesture control technology  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22166424  “Motion-control company Leap Motion has announced a deal to embed its technology within HP computers. The controller is able accurately to detect the movement of 10 fingers at once, allowing for intricate gesture-based controls. Initially, the product will be aimed at consumers as a gaming and entertainment device…president Andy Miller said partnerships with car and medical industries would be announced soon…everything that people use on computers has been written for the mouse and keyboard for the last 20 years, but I think people will see that the software written for the Leap is intuitive and people will want to interact that way." The product is similar in function to the popular Microsoft Kinect gaming peripheral, but is designed to be used at much closer range, and can detect more intricate movements…”
42.    Electric Rotorcraft Maker Unveils Two Seat Model with 18 Motors  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/04/electric-rotorcraft/  “A German company has unveiled the latest version of its electrically-powered rotorcraft designed to carry two people…the new VC200 from e-volo makes use of multiple electric motors, each with its own propeller to provide the lift and thrust. In the case of the two person version, there are 18 spinning rotors above the heads of the pilot and passenger…it’s a bit better than the original which had 16 electric motors and propellers, but the pilot sat above the spinning blades. The company believes the new aircraft will be capable of more than 100 km/h (62 mph) and it hopes to eventually have “more than one hour flight time…”
43.    Treehouse gets $7M to bring learn-to-code programs to high schools  http://venturebeat.com/2013/04/09/treehouse-high-school-series-b/  “Treehouse, a startup that’s a big part of the learn-to-code movement, has just closed a $7 million round of funding…the company is…expanding its services to include high school classes in computer science. In the high school programs, Treehouse will come into schools with little or no computer coursework and will provide curriculum and virtual instruction, changing the lives of teens who might not otherwise get the opportunity to learn how the Internet really works…“The school I’m most excited about is in San Jose. All the kids are from at-risk homes — they have single parents who are working full time…Out of 12 [students], we think four or five are going to be job-ready right away. These kids have never coded before, and I’ve talked to them in person, and I’m 99 percent confident we will be able to place them in jobs.” Carson continued to say that this…represented the biggest economic opportunity some of these kids’ entire families will ever see. “I think we could place them in jobs at $40,000 a year, which is crazy because their parents are making minimum wage…if they’re good, they’ll get fast-tracked up to $100,000 within a couple years…”         
44.    Will Vertical Turbines Make More of the Wind?  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/513266/will-vertical-turbines-make-more-of-the-wind/  “The remote Alaskan village of Igiugig—home to about 50 people—will be the first to demonstrate a new approach to wind power that could boost power output and…might make it more affordable…the trend across the wind industry has been to make wind turbines larger and larger—because it has improved efficiency and helped lower costs…a professor of aeronautical and bioengineering…has a heretical idea. He thinks the way to lower the cost of wind power is to use small vertical-axis wind turbines, while using computer models to optimize their arrangement in a wind farm so that each turbine boosts the power output of its neighbors.…”
45.    IBM to invest $1 billion in R&D for flash storage  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57579079-92/ibm-to-invest-$1-billion-in-r-d-for-flash-storage/  “IBM today outlined its flash storage plan, which includes a $1 billion investment in research and development and a series of systems that will use solid-state drives…Big Blue is the latest on the bandwagon to push Flash into the data centers. Developments like big data are pushing flash storage mainstream in the enterprise because companies need to tap into so-called hot data---information that needs to be used real time…IBM's…general manager of the company's storage systems unit, said the economics are lining up to make flash pervasive in data centers…flash is at a key tipping point and IT will see all-solid state data centers sooner than later. Mills said that inflection points are hit when innovative technology meets economic scale. "We think we're at that point with flash or solid-state disk…”
46.    Elsevier Has Bought Mendeley For $69M-$100M To Expand Its Open, Social Education Data Efforts  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/08/confirmed-elsevier-has-bought-mendeley-for-69m-100m-to-expand-open-social-education-data-efforts/  “Educational publisher Elsevier is diving deeper into the world of open and social educational data: it has bought Mendeley, the London/New York-based provider of a platform for academics and organizations to share research and collaborate with others via a social network…Mendeley is both a technology/platform acquisition as well as an acqui-hire for Elsevier…all of Mendeley’s 50 staff are coming over to Elsevier…Mendeley — which was founded in 2008 and has raised just under $12 million…will keep running both its main platform as well as its Institutional Edition, aimed at helping universities and other large organizations track research and what’s being read in real time. Mendeley currently has 2.3 million users on its platform…”
47.    First-person Player Video Game that Teaches How to Program in Java  http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/news/news_releases/release.sfe?id=1347  “Computer scientists at the University of California…have developed an immersive, first-person player video game designed to teach students in elementary to high school how to program in Java, one of the most common programming languages in use today…researchers tested the game on a group of 40 girls, ages 10 to 12, who had never been exposed to programming before…Computer scientists found that within just one hour of play, the girls had mastered some of Java’s basic components and were able to use the language to create new ways of playing with the game. “CodeSpells is the only video game that completely immerses programming into the game play,” said…a computer scientist at…UC San Diego. The…computer scientists plan to release the game for free and make it available to any educational institution that requests it…”
48.    1TB SSD that is almost affordable  http://www.geek.com/chips/crucial-m500-a-1tb-ssd-that-is-almost-affordable-1551592/  “…A widely accepted capacity-per-dollar ratio for solid state drives is a little under $1 per gigabyte. Now Crucial has managed to bring us an SSD with a vast amount of storage capacity — 960GB — at that guilt-free price of a less than $1 per gig. Crucial’s new M500 SSDs come in sizes of 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and that epic 960GB. The other sizes all have standard price tags, but the 960GB model will only run you $599…that…is actually nicely priced for 1TB of SSD storage space. At the moment, that $599 sweet spot isn’t as sweet as it is supposed to be on outlets like Newegg, which has it listed for $50 over Crucial’s price…”
49.    Ford and GM team up to develop advanced nine and 10-speed transmissions  http://www.slashgear.com/ford-and-gm-team-up-to-develop-advanced-nine-and-10-speed-transmissions-15277796/  “Automotive manufacturers are using every trick in the book to squeeze more fuel efficiency of their vehicles to help buyers at the pump and to meet looming federal mandates for efficiency. One of the ways many manufacturers are doing this is by going to automatic transmissions that have more forward speeds. Having a transmission with more speeds allows lower engine RPMs on the highway leading to less fuel consumption. In the past, many vehicles had used four or five-speed automatic transmissions. The six-speed automatic transmission became common over the last several years…Ford and General Motors recently announced that they will jointly develop advanced nine and 10-speed automatic transmissions…The new transmissions being developed will be used for both front and rear wheel drive vehicles and promise better fuel efficiency and improved performance…”
50.    Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting Module Supplies Energy to Wireless Sensor Nodes  http://www.azosensors.com/news.aspx?newsID=5782  “Like a nervous system in a human body, sensor networks attached to the aircraft fuselage will in future record and transmit essential data concerning the structural health of the aircraft. Traditionally, wired sensor solutions are used, which are reliable, but introduce weight and increase the design complexity of an aircraft. To solve this challenging task EADS Innovation Works and Vienna University of Technology are in a close cooperation in developing a thermoelectric "Energy Harvesting Module" with just a few centimetres in outer diameter, which will supply enough energy to wireless sensor nodes. The artificial temperature difference created when the aircraft takes off and lands is sufficient to generate the required electrical energy. A flight test campaign on an Airbus aircraft with these "Energy Harvesting Modules" has been performed for the first time – with extraordinary success…”
Leisure & Entertainment
51.     BIL: everyman’s TED conference  http://bilconference.com/  “Most of you have heard of TED or watched the talks online, but do you know about BIL, the quirky, populist, unconference taking place nearby? Open to the public and fully participant powered, BIL features a wild mix of technologists, scientists, artists, hackers, and those with a passion for community awareness. Join us March 2-3 in Long Beach, California. BIL emerged from a community of people who aspire to change the world for the better- everyone is on equal standing and we meet to share ideas, problems that need solving, and discoveries we are excited about with a quite diverse national and international crowd. Our attendees are our speakers and our speakers are our attendees and in true unconference style, attendees are responsible for shaping the conference itself through their participation…”
52.    Pandora Surpasses 200 Million Registered Users, 140 Million Access Via Mobile  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/09/pandora-surpasses-200-million-registered-users-140-million-access-via-mobile/  “Pandora has…quite a few listeners…the company has surpassed 200 million registered users in the U.S. That’s up from 100 million registered users in July of 2011, meaning that around half of Pandora’s users have come over in the past two years, despite the fact that Pandora launched all the way back in 2005…Of those 200 million registered users, over 140 million of them have tuned in to Pandora via mobile, which just goes to show how crucial it is to have a mobile presence..Pandora users have also given over 25 billion thumbs, to help personalize their stations, and on average Pandora streams around 200 million songs before 10am each morning…the company has played more than 100,000 unique artists and over 1 million unique songs just last month…”
53.    'Avatar' Editor Says New Editing Pipeline Will Be Used for the Sequels  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/nab-avatar-editor-says-new-436983  “Stephen Rivkin, who edited Avatar with…director James Cameron, said…a new editing pipeline is being developed for the sequels. "After Avatar's release, we got together to discuss how to improve the process," he said. "We are developing a new pipeline that helps with what we were making up as we were going along…Editorial is working very closely with Avid and Weta Digital. We are trying to develop a pipeline that will track metadata for each character as the virtual production proceeds…We are working with higher resolution, which will enable a much easier hand off to Weta. Jim is also experimenting with high frame rates.“…mobile technology is going to change the way editors work. "We are starting to take editing away from fixed editing rooms," he said. "I think you will need them for specialty things. I adore my Avid, but it is drastic overkill [for certain uses]." Because of that, Lebental himself developed TouchEdit, a new $50 editing app for the iPad…It is designed for use as a standalone tool or in conjunction with another editing system such as an Avid Media Composer…The editors on the panel said they are increasingly using Skype, video links and other such tools to communicate with many collaborators when they are not in the same location…”  http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/entertainment/jon-landau-talks-avatar-2/634144.html
54.    Local author to lead seminar on self-publishing  http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/article/20130407/NEWS01/304070016/Local-author-lead-seminar-self-publishing  “Doug Young knows what it’s like to have a story idea rattling around in your brain that you know would make for a great book…It took 10 years for the Rushville resident to complete his first book, “Leadership Lessons Learned in Dog Obedience School,” a self-help guide that puts a humorous twist on a serious topic. For years, Young procrastinated on the project…“I was scared some famous person was going to write my book before I did,” Young said. “Every time I walked into a Barnes and Noble, I’d say, ‘I hope no one wrote my book.’” It was that fear that eventually pushed Young to stop daydreaming and start moving. Within a month, his book was complete and ready for publication. Young self-published the book through CreateSpace. Now he hopes to motivate other local authors through a free, two-day seminar April 26 and 27 at Daymar College in Lancaster. The seminar will give attendees the opportunity to meet, talk and learn from self-published writers…”
55.     Into the Self-Publishing Nightmare  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jorge/self-publishing-advice_b_3048508.html  “I used to be a design manager at one of the largest software companies in the world. Unfortunately, I had been born with dreaded "dreamer" gene and…I decided to leave it all to follow my dreams. Since I was a child, I've been creating characters and stories which I wanted to bring to life in books, games, and movies. I had now decided that the easiest way to achieve "success" with my creations, was to publish an illustrated book…I decided to "ease in" into writing professionally by writing children's books (I figured, fewer words = less chances to make mistakes)…Supposedly, it is tougher for most people to write for children, but thanks to my immaturity, it was a piece of cake…I submitted my manuscript and illustrations to dozens of book publishers and I had the honor of being rejected by HaperCollins, Random House, Scholastic…but then the Universe gave me hope: a small publisher accepted my manuscript! I was on my way to success! The contract arrived and I eagerly opened the envelope…it was not a pleasant read…I politely declined their offer…That's when I decided I was going to be: a self-publisher! By this time, I had already written and illustrated a second book…all I needed was a distributor…I was eventually able to get signed by a small book distributor at the following BEA. By signing with this distributor, I was able to reach bookstores across the U.S. But…in order to sign with the distributor, I had to stop selling via Amazon…shipping my heavy books to the distributor costed me several thousands of dollars, plus I now had to pay monthly storage fees to the distributor for books they would hardly sell…If you are a writer planning to self-publish, I strongly advice that you to try eBooks. The risk is much lower. Having to deal with shipping and storing palettes of physical books can be very expensive…”
56.    Robot rockers reinvent 'heavy metal'  http://bigpondnews.com/articles/OddSpot/2013/04/14/Robot_rockers_reinvent_heavy_metal_863594.html  “…The world's heaviest 'metal' band - robot musicians Compressorhead - are proving popular across the world with their original brand of rock music. The group, including a four-armed drummer 'Stickboy', Guitarist 'Fingers' and Bassist 'Bones', this week rocked the Frankfurt Music Trade Fair. The three rock heavyweights, who were created from recycled metal by a technical artist from Berlin, blasted out the Motorhead hit 'Ace of Spades'. So what is the secret to this 'manufactured' band's success? Well, with four arms, Stickboy has an obvious advantage over other normal drummers…”
57.     Savvy SoCal Students Bring Their Take On Laser Tag To Kickstarter  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/14/savvy-socal-students-bring-their-take-on-laser-tag-to-kickstarter/  “I was fortunate enough to spend a solid chunk of my adolescence strapped into an ill-fitting vest and shooting lasers at friends of mine, but a group of technically minded youngsters and their mentors in southern California didn’t just want to play laser tag…the crew at San Diego-based ThoughtSTEM wanted to whip up a (slightly) more subtle laser tag system of their own, and they’re just about there — now they’ve kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to help bring it to market. The wearable sensor the team has cobbled together is rather neat…because of how unobtrusive it’s meant to be. Rather than go with a traditional (and bulky) vest, ThoughtSTEM has instead put together a small PCB that’s meant to be worn under a layer of clothing so all that’s visible are the six LEDs that change colors to display your remaining hit points…you won’t have to lug around any plastic guns either. The sensors on the wearable unit can be triggered by any gadget that can emit infrared pulses at 38kHz, which means most of the remote controls currently cluttering up your living room will probably do the trick…”
Entrepreneurism and Technology
58.    Fulfilling the promise of an officeless world  http://blog.screenhero.com/post/47232460599/fulfilling-the-promise-of-an-officeless-world  “For nearly 20 years, we’ve been…been promised a revolution, a new way of work, a new way of life.  This is the promise of the virtual office and mobile work…By now, office buildings were supposed to be ancient relics of a barbaric time.  We were all going to be working from home, or wherever we are…And yet, it’s 2013 and many of us still trudge to the office every day, buying homes near where we work, feeling chained to our desks. What happened?...First, our culture hasn’t caught up with our vision yet…It’s going to take time for our culture to respect people who work from their home as much as we respect the office warrior…The other thing that hasn’t happened yet is that the technology just hasn’t been good enough.  Today, we get by with tools like WebEx, Skype, and Google Hangouts.  Working together remotely requires new tools that…will take advantage of the bandwidth and computing power that we have accessible to us today…With Screenhero, we think we’ve taken the first step towards a tool designed to enable remote work in ways that weren’t possible (or were too annoying or painful) in the past…Teams are becoming increasingly distributed…the number of remote workers grew 73% from 2005-11…but then a wrench got thrown in the mix.  Yahoo and Best Buy banned working remotely…It was actually fortunate that Yahoo and Best Buy made that choice.  It opened up the conversation.  It got people thinking about where we are today, what works and what doesn’t work, and why we haven’t gotten where we want to be…”
59.    Reid Hoffman Invests In A Startup Building A Simpler, Better, Mobile Version Of eBay  http://www.businessinsider.com/new-app-sold-helps-you-sell-old-stuff-2013-4  “A new startup named Sold is building an application that offers a better way to sell your old stuff than eBay. Take a few photos, answer a few questions, and they find a buyer, send you a box and pick up the item at your door. Sold doesn't really compete with eBay or other online marketplaces. It's an iPhone app that makes use of them all. Here's how Sold works: You fill out a short form about the item you are selling. Sold scans the form and then asks you to take four pictures of the item, giving you tips on what to show in the pictures…The site was built by three tech wizards from MIT MediaLab…”  [it seems like eBay signal to noise ratio has degraded to the point where a better version of the concept should be possible and valuable – ed.]
60.    10 Leadership Lessons I Wish I Learned In My 20's  http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2013/04/08/10-leadership-lessons-i-wish-i-learned-in-my-20s/  “…here are 10 lessons learned over the last 20 years of doing business that are now part of my thinking.  Or put another way…during the interview question where they ask you “what is your management or leadership philosophy?” Well, here it is…1. Run With Blinders On…2. It Is All Personal, Not Business…3. Think Marathon, Not Sprint…4. Find A Mentor…5. There Are Incredibly Smart People Who Will Help You If You Ask…6. Leadership Doesn’t Need A Title…7. Learn to Eat S**t…8. Your Business Network Should Grow Inversely Proportional To Your Personal Relationships…9. What Is More Important Is How You Handle The Big Screw-Up…10. Get Knocked Down 6, Get Up 7…”
61.     Facebook closes in on Google for mobile-ad supremacy in U.S.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/04/09/facebook-twitter-google-apple-pandora/2067717/  “…Facebook, Pandora and Twitter are rapidly taking over the multibillion-dollar mobile-display ad market in the U.S. at the expense of ad networks such as Google, Apple and Millennial Media…Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and The Weather Channel registered strong sales last year, controlling 52% of U.S. mobile display ad spending in 2012, compared with 39% in 2011. Facebook racked up $234 million in revenue, followed by Pandora ($229 million) and Twitter ($117 million)…On the ad network side, Google was tops, with $243 million, followed by Millennial Media ($151 million) and Apple ($125 million). Mobile ad spending in the United States remains strong: it grew 88% in 2012, to $4.5 billion…” [not sure if this is apples and oranges, or if all the numbers add up, but the point is that Google is loosing ground on ad revenue market share in mobile compared to the desktop, which is not a good thing, IMO – ed.]
62.    ‘Chinese Google’ Baidu Opens Artificial-Intelligence Lab in Silicon Valley  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/04/baidu-research-lab/  “It doesn’t look like much. The brick office building sits next to a strip mall in Cupertino, California, about an hour south of San Francisco…But there are big plans for this building. It’s where Baidu — “the Google of China” — hopes to create the future. In late January, word arrived that the Chinese search giant was setting up a research lab dedicated to “deep learning” — an emerging computer science field that seeks to mimic the human brain with hardware and software — and as it turns out, this lab includes an operation here in Silicon Valley, not far from Apple headquarters, in addition to a facility back in China…Much like Google and Apple and others, the company is exploring computer systems that can learn in much the same way people do. “We have a really big dream of using deep learning to simulate the functionality, the power, the intelligence of the human brain,” says Kai Yu, who leads Baidu’s speech- and image-recognition search team…”
Design / DEMO
63.    Wearable design, Misfit and the age of the glanceable UI  http://gigaom.com/2013/04/08/wearable-design-misfit-and-the-age-of-the-glanceable-ui/  “A second generation of wearable computing is emerging that focuses on design and a so-called glanceable UI. Valley startup Misfit Wearables is leading the charge, and trying to create a new type of user experience. The designers at startup Misfit Wearables had a goal to make their wearable health gadget so beautiful that customers might keep it on even if it was completely broken. The company’s quarter-sized Shine gizmo — made from aerospace-grade aluminum, lined with a halo of LEDs, and fitted with a variety of accessories for the wrist, neck, and body — is supposed to reach its first 5,000 crowd-funded customers in early June, at which point we’ll see if the pint-sized device is as beloved by its customers as it is by its creators…”
64.    How IDEO brings design to corporate America  http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/11/smallbusiness/ideo-david-kelley.pr.fortune/  “You may not know the design firm IDEO (pronounced EYE-dee-oh), but chances are you know its work. If you've used an Apple mouse (IDEO fashioned the company's first, in 1980), swept with a Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500) Swiffer (it collaborated on the hit)…you've felt the legacy of David Kelley. He founded IDEO in Palo…in 1978 and built it into a global operation with 600 employees and $130 million in revenue…IDEO brings a human-centered approach to products, services, and organizational concepts for the likes of Samsung, Eli Lilly…Kelley, 62, is also Stanford University's resident design Yoda. The avowed "variety junkie" is proud that IDEO does everything from designing the ideal home for wounded soldiers to helping Elmo teach kids good behavior via a mobile app. His story…”
65.    Bootlegger Modular Pack On Kickstarter Is Three Very Different Backpacks In One  http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/15/the-bootlegger-modular-pack-on-kickstarter-is-three-very-different-backpacks-in-one/  “…Boreas Gear, Inc. is funding its latest product through Kickstarter, in an attempt to build a modular pack system that provides three bags in one. If you’re a bag enthusiast like myself…you’ll appreciate the idea of a simple system that makes it easy to covert a single frame into a daypack, waterproof bag and simple hydration/light carry bag quickly and easily. The SF-based team founded Boreas Gear in 2010, with the intent of designing packs centered around versatility and good design. Founder and Creative Director Tae Kim has a design background and grew up in Alaska, where he spent plenty of time in the great outdoors. The bootlegger is designed to be the perfect companion for a whole host of outdoor activities…”  [this crowdfunding project is a great example of how designers and design schools could get projects launched; designers can partner with domain experts (in this case backpackers and casual pack users) and with crowdfunding marketing team (including videographers and content writers) to launch unique products that large corporations might never put on the market – ed.]
DHMN Technology
66.    Turning Ideas Into Products - Part 2 of 3: Prototyping Methods  http://inventorspot.com/articles/turning_ideas_products_expert_tips_invention_prototypes_part_2_3  “…Different prototyping methods are typically defined by the actual purpose they each serve. In part 2 of this series, I will be explaining some of the different methods used in the creation of prototypes…I have put together a quick list of prototyping methods with a brief explanation of each process and its ideal applications…Additive Manufacturing…Machining/CNC…Finishing…Laser/water Cutting…Metal Forming & Welding…Hand Sculpting…Thermoforming or Vacuum-forming…Off-The-Shelf Parts (McMaster Carr)…Circuit Bread boarding…Open Source Circuitry  / Arduino…Fabrication (cutting, nailing, gluing, welding, joining, bending, screwing, and bolting)…Sketch Modeling…Scavenging & Cobbling (also know as jerry rigging)…Lego & Kinnex…Cut & Sew…Silicone Molds…Short Run Aluminum Molds…”
67.    A Sesame Street for Makers?  http://www.technologyreview.com/view/513366/a-sesame-street-for-makers/  “This week, Adafruit Industries launches an educational series aimed at kids…And it’s about time. Discussions of modern technology often evokes the word “magic.”…Most people don’t care about how their laptop works; they just want it to work. And that’s fair. But we must think of the children…a lot of engineers…can trace their fascination with technology to a youthful moment where they played with or took apart a piece of kit.  You can only become fascinated with the structure of something if you can see the structure of it. You need that gear, that spring, that rivet to pop out at you and send you down the rabbit hole. This is how passions are born…Here’s where Adafruit comes in. Adafruit’s first episode is entitled, adorably, “A is for Ampere,” and features a blue puppet called ADABOT…”
68.    Clear & Strong – 3D Printing Material  http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/04/10/clear-strong-3d-printing-material-from-taulman/  “taulman is making a name developing different filament materials for extrusion/FFF based 3d printers with a specific focus on testing the parameters of the materials and sharing the results across the 3D printing community. The latest material development is taulman 645, which…offers some notable properties including very high strength…for both individual thread structures and thread-to-thread bonding, together with ‘extreme’ durability…taulman 645 has been designed to meet high optical clarity requirements when printed for LED and LCD overlays…this new material is said to exhibit excellent bridging performance; advanced chemical resistance, including to chlorine, chlorides and bromides, alcohols, resins+MEK, oils, acetone, most alkalines and most 2 part casting compounds; a superior surface texture; and full industrial visual non-destructive evaluation of internal fills…”
69.    Kid’s Toy Excavator  http://blog.makezine.com/2013/04/10/kids-toy-excavator/  “…Craig Smith, aka the Firefly Workshop…moved to a bigger house…but has no dedicated shop space. Yet…In the meantime, he hasn’t stopped making. Here is a cool kid’s excavator toy he built. He explains: I built an excavator toy out of scrap aluminum beams salvaged from inside old hot tub covers. 2” wide C-shaped beams put together as one to make the primary and secondary booms. Additional aluminum was cut for the end and joining plates (in black) assembled with stainless steel hardware. All pivot points have bronze sleeve bushings in them for long life. The bucket was made from thicker spa cover 4” wide beams salvaged…the bucket angles with linkages much like an actual excavator. Unlike similar manufactured toys, mine has a crossover lever-linkage. As you pull the lever towards you, the bucket and arm come towards you. Bought units do the opposite. The unit will be bolted to a 4X4 beam surrounding my son’s sandbox…The only thing I bought was the wideboy bicycle seat…”
70.    3D Refiner print finishing apparatus  http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/04/09/on-kickstarter-3d-refiner/  “3D printing isn’t exactly what could be called a fast process, especially when the aim is a precision print using low layer height settings with a reasonably priced deposition printer…until now the only way to significantly speed up the process has been to use higher (thicker) layers – e.g. 0.4 mm – which does dramatically reduce 3D printing time. Unfortunately this also often results in printed objects, which when calling them ‘crude’ would be considered a compliment.  Finding the balance between good quality printed results and a reasonable process duration has been the driving force behind the work of…two UC Berkeley’s engineering students. Their answer to this issue is called the 3D Refiner — a solution based 3D print finishing apparatus. 3D Refiner is intended to be used for 3D printed objects that have been produced using higher layers for time-saving purposes, but which are still needed to be on-par with the quality of higher resolution objects. This would conventionally mean some intricate manual smoothing, involving a lot of sanding and good times with an Xacto knife and lacquer…the basic function of the machine is…quite simple: the 3D printed part is attached to a rotating stand, which is then lowered into a pressurized and constant flow of solvent. The result of spending time in the solvent mixture is a smoother looking object – with a sort of lacquer-like finish – after approximately 15 minutes in the 3D Refiner…”
71.     April is THE Month for 3D Printing Events  http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/04/09/april-is-the-month-for-3d-printing-events/  “This month is going to see a…few air miles racked up by many into 3D printing as it seems to be the optimum month for events across the industry. First up…in Amsterdam…is…‘XYZ Shaping Free Dimensions’…bringing together…3D printed, creativity, art and design…Today and tomorrow will also see the dedicated Rapid Prototyping 2013 conference…covering key issues…of effective, efficient, sustainable technologies and processes across industries including the automotive, medical, aerospace and consumer goods and devices…Develop3D Live…its scope is 3D product development…the same week sees…AMUG hosting its 25th edition…It is ALL about 3D printing and additive manufacturing – run by users of the tech for users of the tech…The end of the month brings the first ‘Inside 3D Printing’ event in New York…”
Open Source Hardware
72.    3D-Printed Headphones You Can Build From The Ground Up  http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/04/3d-printed-headphones-you-can-build-from-the-ground-up/  “…designer J.C. Karich is proving that you can make a pair of working headphones with nothing but raw materials, a 3D printer, open-source designs…Karich 3D-printed the body of his headphones, which others have done before, but he made his designs with DIY function in mind. He created the speakers by coiling copper wire around a groove built into the printed casing, which also has a nice little spot on the opposite side to house the magnet. The jack is 3D-printed as well, with the usual audio connections made by wrapping wire around a delicately printed plug. He wired up a fabric connecter from fabrick.it for the headphones’ cord…If you’re in the mood for a DIY project — and have access to a 3D printer — you can get the designs here.…”
73.    New Research Platform to Fly on XCOR Lynx Space Plane  http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-research-platform-to-fly-on-xcor-lynx-space-plane-200412821.html  “A new payload carrier promises to dramatically reduce the cost of access to space for small scientific and education payloads…The Lynx Cub Carrier will fly on the XCOR Lynx space plane, now under construction at the Mojave Air and Space Port, and carry up to 12 experiments on each flight…Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, will fly the Lynx Cub Carrier on 10 Lynx missions beginning in late 2014 or early 2015. The Lynx Cub Carrier will also be made available to other XCOR customers, as ready-to-fly hardware or as an open-source hardware design…”
Open Source
74.    Behavio Updates the Funf Open-Source Project  http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2013/04/behavio-updates-the-funf-open-source-project078.html  “The Behavio team is very happy to announce a major version update to Funf, our open-source mobile sensing framework…In the time since our last major version update (Funf 0.3) last year, we've had a chance to see how the framework has been used by developers and end users…Our high-level goals for Funf 0.4 were to increase reliability and performance, as well as minimize effort for the developer. This last part includes both developers who are using the standard Funf API and Android library to build apps, as well as those working on their own probes and extending the Funf framework at the lower levels. (A "probe" is the basic component type in Funf which is responsible for sensing or detecting some type of data, and reporting it to software clients that requested the information. Funf 0.4 comes with 38 built-in probes…”
75.     Nano Quadcopter open source tiny drone kit  http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/preorder-crazyflie-nano-quadcopter-kit-10dof-with-crazyradio-bccfk02a-p-1365.html  “Ever wanted a development kit that flies? Well now you can! The Crazyflie is an open source nano quadcopter kit designed for flexible development and hacking. It's among the smallest in the world, weighing only 19 grams and measuring 9 cm motor to motor. The development platform is open source so schematics and firmware/host source code is available at the Bitcraze website as well as a Wiki with design information and details on how to set up the development environment and get started. It’s designed with development in mind and has an expansion header that enables developers to expand the platform as well as good software development support. Due to it’s small size it’s perfect for developing new software and can easily be flown inside. It can lift a payload of up to 5 - 10 g…”
76.    Create your own apps for free with open-source LiveCode 6.0  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2033881/create-your-own-apps-for-free-with-open-source-livecode-6-0.html  “…a growing number of amateur-friendly development environments invite just about anyone with an app idea to bring it to life. In the past few years we've seen the arrival of BuildAnApp and Google's App Inventor for Android on the mobile side, for example. An even longer-standing contender, however, is RunRev's cross-platform LiveCode, a recently renamed version of the HyperCard-inspired "Revolution" development system…LiveCode has traditionally been available only as a paid development environment, but on Wednesday its maker rolled out the platform's first-ever free, open source version. If you've got a mobile, desktop, or server app idea for your small business, the new LiveCode 6.0 could be the tool you've been waiting for…LiveCode 6.0 is actually the result of a highly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the open source version…the campaign raised roughly $760,500, far surpassing its $539,000 goal…RunRev is targeting educators, students, and business professionals with this first open source edition of the rapid application development platform…”
Civilian Aerospace
77.     Robert Bigelow: To infinity — and beyond!  http://lasvegascitylife.com/sections/opinion/knappster/george-knapp-infinity-%E2%80%94-and-beyond.html  “…Have you ever read a contract that gives a governmental green light to a program to “place a base on the surface of the moon?” Ever see an agreement signed by the U.S. government that declares a specific goal “to extend and sustain human activities across the solar system?”…that is essence of an adventurous deal already reached between NASA and Las Vegas space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow. An official announcement is still a few days away and will likely happen during a news conference at NASA headquarters. In the meantime, I have a draft copy of what could be an historic contract, one that reads like a Kubrick screenplay or an Arthur C. Clarke story. It is flat-out otherworldly. Bigelow made his fortune building apartment buildings and weekly-rental hotel rooms in Las Vegas…”
78.    Kennedy Space Center to Host Lunabotics Competition  http://www.americaspace.com/?p=33974  “NASA’s…Lunabotics Mining Competition is…scheduled to take place May 20-24, 2013, at the Kennedy Space Center…The event is a university-level competition held to both inspire and maintain interest in fields relating to “STEM” (science, technology, engineering, and math).  This is the fourth annual of these events where students demonstrate their robot designs to mine a simulated lunar regolith. NASA…hopes that these concepts can be developed into actual flight hardware. Students must design and build a robotic excavator, known as a “Lunabot.” The goal is to see which of these designs can mine and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms of simulated lunar regolith in 10 minutes. Participants have to contend with the abrasiveness of the simulated regolith, the limitations of the Lunabot itself, as well their ability to telerobotically control the Lunabot…50 teams from across the globe have already registered for the competition…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
79.    The green supercomputer: fast doesn’t mean wasteful  http://venturebeat.com/2013/04/11/the-green-supercomputer-adaptive-computing-is-ensuring-fast-doesnt-mean-wasteful/  “…the race for better, smaller, faster supercomputers now includes an adjective that wasn’t nearly as common five years ago: greener. In other words, more energy efficient…“In many cases it’s not just the cost of the electricity, it’s the fact that you just can’t get more.”…One supercomputer that was the fastest in the world from 2010 to 2011, TH1, reached 2.566 petaflops. But to do so, it consumes over four megawatts of power, which at $0.10 per kilowatt/hour is $3.5 million a year…So, how do you fix it?...Increased efficiency is, of course, key. But that increased efficiency can’t come at the cost of performance…There are essentially three ways to improve efficiency. The first is to minimize waste by consolidating workloads…the second strategy: green policies…The third is to use more efficient processors, which is not so much about buying one particular type of processor as it is using the right kind of processor for the right kind of job. GPUs, or graphical processing units, are hyper-efficient at certain types of mathematical calculations. Intel’s Xeon chip is better at other operations. Using the right chips for the right job can yield another impressive slice of planet-friendly power…”
80.    An Introduction to CUDA-Aware MPI  https://developer.nvidia.com/content/introduction-cuda-aware-mpi  “MPI, the Message Passing Interface, is a standard API for communicating data via messages between distributed processes that is commonly used in HPC to build applications that can scale to multi-node computer clusters. As such, MPI is fully compatible with CUDA, which is designed for parallel computing on a single computer or node. There are many reasons for wanting to combine the two parallel programming approaches of MPI and CUDA. A common reason is to enable solving problems with a data size too large to fit into the memory of a single GPU, or that would require an unreasonably long compute time on a single node. Another reason is to accelerate an existing MPI application with GPUs or to enable an existing single-node multi-GPU application to scale across multiple nodes. With CUDA-aware MPI these goals can be achieved easily and efficiently. In this post I will explain how CUDA-aware MPI works, why it is efficient, and how you can use it…”
Trends & Emerging Tech
81.     10 most promising tech breakthroughs for 2013  http://oregonbusinessreport.com/2013/04/10-most-promising-tech-breakthroughs-for-2013/  “…We used to talk about a future brimming with unheard-of technologies…We used to dream big—and then something happened. The Cold War ended and the Space Age was mothballed along with the Shuttle. With these developments came an end to both to the existential incentives to innovate as well as the grand missions that inspired big dreams…Thanks to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies, we have a list of the top 10 most exciting technology trends happening right now…1. Wirelessly charged electric vehicles…2. 3D printing (remotely)…3. Self-healing materials…4. Energy-efficient water purification…5. Carbon dioxide conversion and use…6. Molecular nutrition…7. Remote sensing…8. Engineered drug-delivery nanoparticles…9. Organic electronics…10. Nuclear-waste recycling reactors…”
82.    Top 10 Technology Trends in Real Estate  https://www.wra.org/WREM/Nov12/TechTrends/  “…roles that a real estate professional performs on a daily basis have remained, for the most part, unchanged over the years. What has changed is how information is delivered and exchanged…Below are the top ten technology tools currently trending within the real estate industry and the ways in which they can benefit your business and your clients…1. iPad…2. Communication tools…3. Cloud computing…4. Mobile applications…5. Website…6. Blog…7. Workable CRM…8. Video marketing…9. Social media…10. Automation…”

*****

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