2013/05/21

NEW NET Weekly List for 21 May 2013

Below is the final list of technology news and issues for the Tuesday, 21 May 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. Highlights of the week include Yahoo buying tumblr, the Xbox One and the Google I/O items.


The ‘net
1.        Postach.io Turns An Evernote Notebook Into A Blog  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/17/postach-io-turns-an-evernote-notebook-into-a-blog/  “One of the more interesting projects to emerge from Evernote’s 2013 Devcup hackathon is called Postach.io, a new blogging platform that turns your Evernote notebook into a content management system…Adrian says that, initially, neither he nor Vickery were Evernote users…But…they decided to take another look. “We started playing with it, got into it, and said ‘hey, this thing has really come a long way…And Gavin especially just got fully addicted to it,”…when the co-founders were collaborating on documentation for a newly redesigned QuoteRobot using Evernote, a thought occurred to them: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could just publish it instead?” Vickery, too, wanted that same functionality for his own blog – he writes all his blog posts in Evernote anyway, why not just publish directly from there? So they decided to build a service that did just that. Having worked on CMSes in the past, the team built Postach.io to include nearly everything you would expect from a lightweight blogging system…”
2.       Podio Chat Brings Instant Messages, Video And Audio Chat  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/02/citrix-launches-podio-chat-to-bring-instant-messages-video-and-audio-chat-to-its-social-business-platform/  “Citrix…added a new real-time chat feature to its Podio social business platform that allows users to discuss projects, tasks, documents and other items by using standard instant messages, as well as audio and video chats. Citrix argues that this makes Podio, which was already being used by over 200,000 companies at the end of last year, “the first collaboration service of its kind to provide IM and video chat “in context.” While Podio, which Citrix acquired last year, is quite a fully featured business platform and already included a number of real-time features, including real-time comments, the new chat feature allows for one-on-one and group chats. It features all of the usual chat features you’ve likely seen on Yammer or tools like Convo…Podio Chat is unique in its ability to bring text, audio and video chat together in one platform. Because Podio also allows you to invite users from outside of the company (contractors, suppliers, partners, etc.), the new chat feature should also make it easier and faster to work with them. As for the video chat tool, Citrix says that it will allow for ad-hoc, face-to-face discussion…”
3.       Yahoo to Buy Tumblr for $1.1 Billion  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/technology/yahoo-to-buy-tumblr-for-1-1-billion.html?_r=0  “The board of Yahoo…agreed…to buy the popular blogging service Tumblr for about $1.1 billion in cash…a signal of how the company plans to reposition itself as the technology industry makes a headlong rush into social media…For Yahoo and its chief executive, Marissa Mayer, buying Tumblr would be a bold move as she tries to breathe new life into the company…It is meant to give her company more appeal to young people, and to make up for years of missing out on the revolutions in social networking and mobile devices. Tumblr has over 108 million blogs, with many highly active users…Tumblr has attracted a loyal following and raised millions from big-name investors. Still, it has not proved that it can be profitable, nor that it can succeed on mobile devices, which are becoming the gateway to the Internet…”
4.       Flickr Gets Revamp With Hi-Res Image-Filled UI And 1TB Free Storage  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/20/flickr-gets-a-huge-revamp-with-hi-res-image-filled-ui-new-android-app-and-1tb-of-free-storage/  “…Today, Flickr gets a huge revamp including a totally new look and feel, focused on three different things. First, there are no more bits of text or blue links, but rather a grid layout of huge pictures in full resolution. Second, stemming from the updated iOS app…the company is also announcing a brand new Android experience, catching the Google version of the Flickr app up to the iOS version. Finally, Flickr…is expanding storage for your photos, by quite a bit. Flickr is offering 1 terabyte of free storage for every Flickr user. Yahoo made it clear that no other Internet company in the world offers a free terabyte of storage. That’s the equivalent of 537,731 photos…”
5.        The Future Of Mobile-Social Could Spell The End For Social Networks  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/18/the-future-of-mobile-social-could-spell-the-end-for-social-networks/  “…this was a momentous week for those of us who are watching the rapid transition that is taking place from desktop computing to mobile, and particularly for those focused on mobile-social…Here is my take on what we just witnessed…Google announced…Hangouts was to be launched as a separate app from Google Plus, taking personal conversations out from the G+ app and putting them into their own space…AT&T…decided to discontinue distribution of the HTC First – the Facebook Home Android phone – due to lack of sales…There are many common themes and questions that underpin the launch and evolution of Hangouts as a separate app and previously led to the decision to launch the Facebook Home product…The primary question is who will users look to to enable their social communications needs on mobile devices?...the elephant in the room…is…Mobile Messaging is rapidly becoming the primary way users engage socially on mobile. Figures released this week imply more than 41 billion messages a day are now being delivered via various “Over the Top”  (OTT) messaging apps…Smartphones are especially good at being social, integrating text, voice, video and images in an endless number of apps that can serve a user’s needs, and all without the need for a web-based social network…This has been compelling to users and has driven the growth of apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat, KakaoTalk and some other smaller competitors. Almost 750 million users out of a smartphone population of 1.2 billion are already using these apps. If you are Google, Facebook or almost any other major provider of social communications platforms originally developed for the web, this move to mobile messaging represents a considerable challenge…”
6.       The Evolution Of Hacker News  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/18/the-evolution-of-hacker-news/  “…Hacker News was initially built by YC co-founder Paul Graham as a demonstration of Arc, a new programming language he’d been working on. He quickly realized that it could help bring together the companies he was supporting and the rest of the folks who wanted in. With 1.6 million page views and 200,000 unique visitors on a given weekday, it’s now a key part of the venture firm’s success. But the site quickly took off, as former Redditors flocked to it to talk about tech and startups (the site was then known as Startup News)…as the site started seeing traction immediately, he realized this wasn’t just a way to test Arc. He wanted to make Hacker News a place to recreate the way Reddit felt in the good old days, when most of its community was made up of hackers. As Reddit drew more traffic, the hacker focus of the site evolved. The community’s user base became diluted as it grew, and Hacker News was a new home for some of the early Reddit hackers…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
7.        Newegg nukes “corporate troll” Alcatel in third patent appeal win this year  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/05/newegg-nukes-corporate-troll-alcatel-in-third-patent-appeal-win-this-year/  “In 2011, Alcatel-Lucent…sued eight big retailers and Intuit, saying that their e-commerce operations infringed Alcatel patents; one by one, they were folding. Kmart, QVC, Lands' End, and Intuit paid up at various stages of the litigation. Just before trial began, Zappos, Sears, and Amazon also settled. That left two companies holding the bag: Overstock.com, and Newegg, a company whose top lawyer had vowed not to ever settle with patent trolls…things started going badly for the plaintiff…Instead of convincing the East Texas jury to hand Alcatel the tens of millions they were asking for—$12 million from Newegg alone—they got a verdict of non-infringement. And as for the one patent they had argued throughout trial was so key to modern e-commerce…the jury invalidated its claims. Alcatel-Lucent went all out on appeal. With upwards of $19 billion in revenue, the company was easily able to amass legal firepower not available to your average patent troll…oral arguments were held last Friday, May 10. The three-judge panel upheld Newegg's win, without comment—in just three days…"The good news is, we won this case on every point. The bad news is, we're running out of lawsuits. There are fewer trolls for us to fight…Newegg has already won two other patent appeals this year: from Kelora Systems and Soverain Software. Even though Alcatel-Lucent has billions in revenue from real businesses, when it comes to patent battles, Cheng doesn't see them as being so different. Since Alcatel is asserting patents in markets it's nowhere near actually participating in, he sees them as a kind of "corporate troll."…it does nothing at all to bring the benefit of that patent to society…”
8.       The scary future of the quantified self movement  http://pandodaily.com/2013/05/20/you-are-your-data-the-scary-future-of-the-quantified-self-movement/  “Few if any consumers who fell behind on their credit card payments in the early 2000s thought that half a decade later employers would use their credit score to determine their job worthiness. Few avid social media users…realized that insurance companies, the IRS, law enforcement, and credit agencies would soon use their their data to investigate fraud, determine creditworthiness, and monitor other potentially illegal activity. History suggests they should have. This pattern is repeating itself, with countless consumers today casually sharing highly personal health data through wearable computing hardware, cloud-based quantified self platforms, and even retail loyalty programs without so much as a thought to the potential implications…if history is any guide naive, blind participation without considering the implications of your data being recorded and shared with third parties is reckless…As insurers, lenders, and others attempt to manage risk, they will inevitably turn alternative data sources to round out the picture of each consumer applicant – in fact, they already are…regional hospitals, insurers, and grocery retailers are already investigating ways to work together to translate consumer purchase data into health risk profiling insights…CVS, for example, has started to require its employees to submit their weight, body fat, glucose levels, and other vitals monthly or pay a fine to cover increased health insurance premiums. If that data was available for the majority of its employees via a quantified self company (or several), CVS and other employers might not even have to ask,,,State Farm Insurance has been taking a similar approach by offering auto insurance customers discounts for installing real-time monitoring devices into their vehicles coupled with safe driving…One of the most frightening companies in the entire sector is LexisNexis, whose ambition, if I were to paraphrase it, is to have a comprehensive record of every piece of available information on every person in the world – including their current and past residence, spending history, banking information, health information…”  [this article and others point to the opportunity to build a suite of services that allow people to participate in the digital connected world without potentially releasing their personal data to anyone, using the subscription business model to pay for connectivity, storage and services – ed.]
9.       Critical Linux Exploit In The Wild  http://ostatic.com/blog/critical-linux-exploit-in-the-wild  “If you run servers that provide shell accounts, it’s time to take some preventive measures. At least it is if you are running kernel versions 2.6.37 to 3.8.8, or if you are running RHEL 6 or a clone like CentOS, then the bug was backported to 2.6.32. I ran the exploit myself in a test environment, and it works exactly as expected. Log in as a normal user, compile 100 or so lines of C code, run the executable and you’ve got a root shell. Scary stuff if you manage public shell accounts…”
10.     Surveillance and the Internet of Things  https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/05/the_eyes_and_ea.html  “The Internet has turned into a massive surveillance tool. We're constantly monitored on the Internet…Everything we do there is recorded, collected, and collated -- sometimes by corporations wanting to sell us stuff and sometimes by governments wanting to keep an eye on us. Ephemeral conversation is over. Wholesale surveillance is the norm. Maintaining privacy from these powerful entities is basically impossible, and any illusion of privacy we maintain is based either on ignorance or on our unwillingness to accept what's really going on. It's about to get worse, though. Companies such as Google may know more about your personal interests than your spouse, but so far it's been limited by the fact that these companies only see computer data…The Internet of Things refers to a world where much more than our computers and cell phones is Internet-enabled. Soon there will be Internet-connected modules on our cars and home appliances. Internet-enabled medical devices will collect real-time health data about us. There'll be Internet-connected tags on our clothing. In its extreme, everything can be connected to the Internet. It's really just a matter of time, as these self-powered wireless-enabled computers become smaller and cheaper…The Internet of Things gives the governments and corporations that follow our every move something they don't yet have: eyes and ears…You might as well assume that everything you do and say will be recorded and saved forever…”  [this post by Bruce Schneier reinforces the above post about ‘scary future of quantified self movement’ and the value of a services suite that offers privacy, if it is possible to build such a suite – ed.]
Mobile Computing & Communicating
11.      One-third of all smartphone sales were prepaid in Q1  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57584596-94/one-third-of-all-smartphone-sales-were-prepaid-in-q1/  “…32 percent of all smartphone purchases came from prepaid devices during the first quarter. During the same period in 2012, that figure stood at 21 percent. Although "postpaid" devices, which are subsidized but can lock customers into a long-term agreement, are still most popular, NPD believes the prepaid jump is due to consumers finding more value in older devices that can still hold up well in today's crowded smartphone space…the Galaxy S2 and the iPhone 4S, two of the top five prepaid smartphone models in 2013, were among the top-selling phones overall just one year earlier…”
12.     Students swap laptops, desktops for smartphones, tablets  http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/personal/2013/05/20/laptops-desktops-smartphones-tablets/2343423/  “On college campuses across the country, tiny glowing screens are taking over…Dell released its first-quarter report…revealing a 79% plummet in earnings as consumers turn from personal computers in favor of tablets and smartphones. As a generation that's been online since a young age, college students aren't waiting to embrace the transition. Today's smaller, more mobile devices hold many of the academic and entertainment tools that once filled up a backpack or clunky desktop hard drive…at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., 73% of students reported using a smartphone in 2012 as compared with 27% in 2009. About 30% of the university's students reported owning a tablet. Michael Hanley, director of Ball State's Institute of Mobile Media Research, believes that student tablet ownership will rise to somewhere from 40% to 50% by next year…”
13.     Google Announces Galaxy S4 “Google Edition”  http://www.mobilemag.com/2013/05/15/galaxy-s4-google-edition-at-google-io/  “…a Samsung Galaxy S4 “Google Edition”…will be sold unlocked through Google Play, and will run on a stock version of Android – ditching Sammy’s TouchWiz UI and custom S4 software. The idea here is that you effectively get a Nexus device, which means that you will get the latest and greatest versions of Android directly from Google at a much quicker pace. It also means that some of the customized features on the Galaxy S4 won’t work, as they rely on the TouchWiz UI. Still, for those that absolutely love a pure vanilla Android experience, this could be their dream phone. Unfortunately, it might be like a Nexus – but there isn’t Nexus pricing here. The 16GB Galaxy S4 will sell through the Play Store for $649. While the Nexus 4 sold like hotcakes, part of its success was that it was dirt cheap relative to the specs that the phone packed…”
14.     “Rugged” Galaxy S 4 images leak  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/05/bear-grylls-types-rejoice-rugged-galaxy-s-4-images-leak/  “…we heard rumblings that Samsung planned to launch a water- and dustproof version of its Galaxy S 4 smartphone…Though we were under the impression that it would look similar to the current Galaxy S 4 handsets out on the market, it appears that this “lifeproofing” will take on a bit of a different aesthetic…The touch-enabled navigational hardware buttons have been replaced with physical buttons. The phone features what looks like a 480 ppi display, which raises some questions about its actual display size. Rumors previously pointed to a 5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display. The photos also show an AnTuTu benchmark screen, which suggests that the phone features a quad-core ARMv7 processor as well as an Adreno 320 GPU…”
15.     Jolla announces first Sailfish OS (MeeGo) smartphone  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2039240/jolla-announces-first-sailfishbased-smartphone.html  “Finnish startup Jolla has announced its first smartphone, which shows off its Sailfish OS on a 4.5-inch screen…Jolla, which was founded by…former Nokia employees who wanted to continue the development work the Finnish phone maker had done on the MeeGo OS, is with the introduction one big step closer to entering the ultra-competitive smartphone market…The LTE-smartphone—which is just called Jolla, for now—is powered by a dual-core processor and has an 8-megapixel camera. It also has 16GB of integrated storage which can be expanded using an SD card. The smartphone has been designed to look like two thin slabs that have been bonded together, and users can change the color of the back one with different snap-on covers. The back cover isn't just about the hardware design. It is integrated with the OS and can be used to add features and change the look…”
16.     Nvidia’s new Tegra 4i superchip boasts 150 Mbps  http://blog.laptopmag.com/nvidia-tegra-4i-hits-150-mbps  “For Nvidia to get back in the smartphone race against Qualcomm, it needs a platform that’s future proof. And that’s exactly what the Tegra 4i promises…the mobile processor with integrated LTE modem offered 150 Mbps data speeds during a demo…Because it features a software-defined radio, Nvidia says its chip will be ready to battle Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor come Q1 2014. Plus, the Tegra 4i chip is 40 percent smaller than competing solutions, which should result in better efficiency and (hopefully) longer battery life…Tegra 4i will be ready for carrier aggregation of radio channels, which will in increase data rates while reducing latency. Tegra 4i’s modem is multi-mode, which means it’s backward compatible with LTE Cat 3 (up to 100 Mbps), 3G, and 2G. In other words, you won’t be out of luck when you find yourself outside of LTE range…”
Apps
17.     With Personal Data, Predictive Apps Stay a Step Ahead  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514366/with-personal-data-predictive-apps-stay-a-step-ahead/  “A new type of mobile app is departing from a long-standing practice in computing. Typically, computers have just dumbly waited for their human operators to ask for help. But now applications based on machine learning software can speak up with timely information even without being directly asked for it. They might automatically pull up a boarding pass for your flight just as you arrive at the airport, or tell you that current traffic conditions require you to leave for your next meeting within 10 minutes. The highest-profile of these apps is Google Now…Google Now is trained to predict when a person is about to take certain actions and offer help accordingly. It can also learn about an individual to fine-tune the assistance it offers. Google Now’s algorithms use the data in a person’s Google e-mail and calendar accounts and Web searches. The app learns where you live and work and when you commute so that it can offer a virtual index card showing traffic or transit information. Other cards offer boarding passes and other handy information at appropriate times…”
18.     Life-Tracking App Expereal Is Your Personal Weapon Against Cognitive Biases  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/16/life-tracking-app-expereal-is-your-personal-weapon-against-cognitive-biases/  “Emotions play tricks on our memories, making our recollections of events much happier or heart-wrenching than they actually were. Smartphone app Expereal seeks to cut through those cognitive traps by allowing you to rate your day on a 10-point scale and organizing that data into easy-to-read charts. The iOS app (Android and Web-based versions are planned)…was inspired by psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s 2010 TED talk “The riddle of experience vs. memory.” Kahneham argues that our memories are often distorted by cognitive biases. For example, one bad day can completely spoil someone’s memory of an otherwise pleasurable two-week vacation…Expereal’s first screen allows you to rate your day (or part of the day, depending on how often you use the app). Then you can note your location and the people you are with, add tags and snap a photo. A drop-down menu takes you to a set of charts that visualize your ratings by day, week or month…”
SkyNet
19.     Give Gmail an extreme makeover with Gmail Offline  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2037011/review-give-gmail-an-extreme-makeover-with-gmail-offline.html  “The Web interface for Gmail has a very distinct look…This Chrome extension, however, might cause a few double-takes in your office: Gmail Offline, an extension by Google, puts a completely different face on Gmail, making it more similar to the tablet version used on Android tablets…the extension makes it possible to use Gmail without an Internet connection. When you are offline, it allows you to read your mail and write replies in an Outbox where messages are saved, and then sent as soon as you're connected…It features a dual-pane interface, where you can toggle the left pane to show either messages or labels…This split view is now available on Gmail's regular Web interface, but the aesthetic is completely different. Whereas the regular Gmail is flat and minimalistic, the Offline version is much more colorful, with subtle gradients and large, chunky buttons…”
20.    Google’s Products Are Just By-Products Of Its Quest For Tomorrow  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/15/google-and-the-quest-for-tomorrow/  “Google isn’t about search, apps or devices. Those are just vehicles, and there’s no destination. That’s because Larry Page’s Google is on an unending pursuit of the future, not just next quarter’s earnings…Google is lucky. It takes a lot of fuel to shoot for the moon. Fuel that most tech companies don’t have or are unwilling to burn. But Google has ads that pay for everything the company does…I talked to a Google Chrome engineer the other night. He described his job as almost academic. No one ever talks about money — how much things cost or how much they would make. His job is simply to let people access information as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s the future, and a browser is just the by-product. Google didn’t launch its new on-demand subscription service Google Play Music All Access just because it wanted to get into music; Android is Google’s push to see the potential of our phones. Music is a fundamental companion to being on the go, so why not let people listen to any song they want? All Access was just something Google had to do to see our lifestyles merge with mobile computing…”
21.     Google Play Music All Access: search giant launches rival to Spotify  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/may/15/google-launches-music-streaming-io-developer-conference  “Google outstripped its arch-rival, Apple, with the launch of a subscription music streaming service…while simultaneously mounting a threat to other providers such as Spotify. The service, labouring under the full name of Google Play Music All Access, was unveiled at Google I/O…Google's engineering director, said users would be able to stream from a vast library on any device, using the Android operating system. "This is radio without rules. It's as 'leanback' as you want to, or as interactive as you want to," said Yerga. Users will be able to search for an artist and add tracks to their library. A "listen now" feature will create a mix of favourite artists or genres based on previously listened-to songs…All Access will cost $9.99 a month after a 30-day free trial. Spotify Premium, a similar service, costs $9.99. Users who sign up by 30 June will get a reduced price of $7.99 per month…”  http://www.ology.com/post/263416/try-google-play-free-for-30-days  “…While no one can really say yet if Google Play is going to oust Spotify, Apple, Pandora, Rdio, et cetera, their recent deals with Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment do offer some suggestion that they're going to make a hefty push…You can try out Google Play free for 30 days, and afterward, pay a simple $7.99 for a monthly subscription. Here's the jump over to the trial…”
22.    I went to Google I/O, and all I got was a $1,300 Chromebook  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/gadgets-and-gear/gadgets/i-went-to-google-io-and-all-i-got-was-a-1300-chromebook/article11959493/  “…The list of Google’s crystal-ball projects is long, and includes the audacious (self-driving cars), the useful (ultra-fast Internet connections) and the socially inadvisable (Google Glass). But perhaps the most practical and consumer-ready of these projects is the Chromebook…Instead of installing software, you download apps; instead of saving to the hard drive, you save to the cloud…In Google’s vision of the future, where Web access is as ubiquitous as oxygen access and there’s no such thing as an unconnected device, the Chromebook makes perfect sense…Google gave away its highest-end laptop, the Chromebook Pixel, to everyone attending its annual conference…the Pixel normally runs about $1,300…What Google did, primarily, is give the Pixel the most gorgeous screen I’ve ever seen on any piece of consumer electronics. They also threw in some other stuff, but my God, what a screen…”
23.    The Time Has Come For Chrome In The Home  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/18/the-time-has-come-for-chrome-os-in-the-home/  “I’ve spent the last two weeks wandering around London, Paris, and Istanbul…I left my trusty MacBook Pro behind and brought only the $199 Chromebook on which I type this. And to my considerable surprise it has served admirably…I believe ChromeOS is only one or two iterations away from being the right choice for many-if not most–homes. I was skeptical to begin with…I thought, Chrome is acceptable when you’re online, but I’ll be spending much of my travel time offline…So I devoted most of my Chromebook’s (bizarrely spacious) 320GB hard drive to an install of Ubuntu. Which I then never used even once…I would have if some kind of critical work emergency had come up…But that didn’t happen. Good thing, too, because Linux-on-the-desktop seems as ugly and frustrating as ever for someone, even a deeply techie someone, who just wants to get things done. ChromeOS, though, is both very pretty and almost painless…out of the box it naively insists that you’ll be online all the time–even though it can be perfectly serviceable while disconnected…nowadays both GMail and (most) Google Docs can work just fine offlne…”
24.    Google Wallet's Plan to Destroy PayPal and End Cash Forever With Gmail Cash Transfers  http://venturebeat.com/2013/05/15/google-wallet-gmail-sending-money/  “…Google is…bringing Google Wallet support to Gmail, making it incredibly easy to send friends and family payments by just sending an email. “Google Wallet is now integrated with Gmail, so you can quickly and securely send money to friends and family directly within Gmail — even if they don’t have a Gmail address…It’s free to send money if your bank account is linked to Google Wallet or using your Google Wallet balance, and low fees apply to send money using your linked credit or debit card.” To send money using Gmail, you will be able to just hover over the attachment paperclip in the compose view and then click the “$” icon to add money to your email…”
25.    Gmail quick action buttons let you RSVP to events, rate restaurants, view flights  http://thenextweb.com/google/2013/05/15/google-adds-quick-action-buttons-to-gmail-lets-you-confirm-rsvp-and-more-without-even-opening-an-email/  “…Google…announced the addition of a new Gmail feature called quick actions. These new buttons will be rolling out “over the next few weeks,”…Say you receive an email and all you want to do is RSVP to it. You don’t even want to open it; you just want to let the sender know if you’re going or not, without reading the email and without typing anything. Quick action buttons let you do just that…Google offers is flight confirmation emails. When you open a flight confirmation email in Gmail, all the important information about your flight will be displayed right at the top. You can quickly see whether your flight is on time, when your connection is, and so on…”
26.    Thank you Google for the new homework assignment: Hangouts vs. Chat  http://www.zdnet.com/thank-you-google-for-the-new-homework-assignment-hangouts-vs-chat-7000015505/  “I really dislike software updates. It didn't used to be that way. It used to be that I looked forward to the new features, new capabilities, new toys…Today, a day I had a lot of other more important things to do, Google decided to break one of my most-relied-upon resources: Google Chat…I use Google Chat for work. I talk to many of my colleagues about work-related activities, about ZDNet editorial, and about projects I'm working on…I don't use Google Chat to make new friends or to share small details about the danish I had for breakfast…I use it to coordinate meeting schedules, deliverables, titles, abstracts, article drop times…My Google Chat list is carefully curated. There are about 30 people on it, all of whom have something to do with work…Today, all of that changed. My Chat list is gone. In fact, my nice little Google Chrome extension for Chat is gone, as well. Poof. Stolen…This morning…I have to figure out what happened to my list of work associates, figure out how to get Chat back, figure out how to stop everyone in my Google Plus (which today is such a minus!) from hanging out on my desktop, and then wonder if every other work associate I've got has the same issue, and whether all of our productivity for the next week has just gone down the chute.…”  http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/15/4318830/inside-hangouts-googles-big-fix-for-its-messaging-mess  “…during last year’s Google I/O…Google admitted it had a serious messaging problem — or rather, a messaging app problem…Google had already been working on a solution for a year, and that the results of those efforts were still a year away…the wait is over as Google introduces a new messaging platform it’s calling Hangouts. It spans Android, iOS, Chrome, and Gmail. It’s a fusion of Google’s strengths in cloud computing, search, and mobile…Hangouts is more than just a way for Google to take on SMS. It could be a core product that stands next to Search, Gmail, and Docs, acting as a key part of Google’s suite of services…Google’s lack of a unified messaging platform became something of a mystery, since it seemed like Google had all the necessary pieces…Google+ Messenger, a real-time communication platform that launched last year, was the first piece, but it only existed inside of Google+. Talk was another, but it was based on an old standard that predated the advent of cloud computing. Hangouts was third, a real-time video chat product embedded in Google+. Gmail had its own real-time communication team. Google Voice was the final piece…”
27.    +Hangouts can't make phone calls, but Gmail Gtalk still can  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57585335-93/googles-new-hangouts-cant-make-phone-calls/  “The latest Google Hangouts update removed the ability for users to make outbound phone calls…the company is working on adding outbound calls for the Web and the Chrome extension. Hangouts currently only supports incoming calls for users with Google Voice numbers. Users who still want to make phone calls can use Gmail's Google Talk while they wait for Google to make the function available again in Hangouts. "Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning," Singhal wrote. "Future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly…”
28.    What Google was thinking when redesigning the new Google+  http://gigaom.com/2013/05/15/what-google-was-thinking-when-redesigning-the-new-google/  “…I can’t help but admire the newly announced version of Google’s social network. It is a much needed improvement and Google has finally developed an aesthetic that is visually different from Facebook… I see it as a hybrid of a stream and Pinterest-style cards that doesn’t look awkward and ungainly. It is a responsive design and with a click you switch how you want to see your content — as a stream or as these tiles, Gilbert pointed out…the new design…takes a lot of cues from the current mobile versions of Google+, which are…more advanced compared to the desktop version. At first blush this looks like a unification of mobile and desktop, but there are changes that are visible only on Google’s Chrome browser…”
29.    Google+ Photos Can Automatically Create Animated GIFs, Panoramas, HDR Images And Better Group Shots  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/15/google-photos-can-now-automatically-create-animated-gifs-panoramas-hdr-images-and-better-group-shots/  “Photos have always been at the center of the Google+ experience and…today, Google announce a major update to Google+ Photos that now makes use of the many of the tools the company acquired when it bought Nik Software last September. The focus of this update is squarely on automating a lot of the photo editing and sharing process. Google+ can now, for example, automatically enhance the tonal distribution in an image, soften skin, sharpen certain parts of an image and remove noise…photography is still labor intensive and organizing photos is often still a hassle. “It takes time, and most of don’t have the time,”…what if Google could automatically fix your image sand pick the best ones and highlight them automatically?...The system can now analyze your images and kick out blurry photos, duplicates, images with bad exposure (which it will try to fix). It can also recognize good images with certain landmarks, for example, and detect faces and see if people are smiling and/or of those people are in your Google+ circles. It will also try to make some decision based on aesthetics. What used to take hours of work…now happens automatically in the cloud and take seconds…”  http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/05/15/why-the-new-google-server-farm-could-displace-adobe-lightroom/
30.    Google+ now allows full-rez photos  http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/03/21/google-now-allows-full-rez-photos/  “Hitherto, both Facebook and Google+ limited your photos to 2048 pixels across. This was depressing to me and other photographers that take HUGE photos, many of mine over 7000 pixels across…I want people to have the original-sized photo to enjoy!...if…you want to upload the original size images to Google and also share on Google+, well now you can!...many various products are starting to gel together at Google…For example, I now use my Android phone to take a video, upload to YouTube, then share to a private family circle on Google+. All my family isn’t on Google+ yet, so it uses Google mail to send it around. I wasn’t experiencing that kind of integration a year ago!...Any photo greater than 2048 pixels will go against your Google Drive allotment, and you will need to buy more space if you want more! Here’s something I discovered by accident…I r-clicked the image in the Google+ display to get the source and it gave me: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-qC_X6syDOPw/UUujxK_5AeI/AAAAAAAGEYw/zxsYDVN66Sw/s1161/Trey+Ratcliff+-+Milford+Scene.jpg...See that “s1161″? That is the horizontal dimensions…If you make it “s0″, it wil be full-size!...Don’t have Google send you a HUGE image that you then downsize using HTML. Have it send you the exact size you want. In this case, I’ve asked for all the images to be 900 pixels across. I’ve then hyperlinked to their actual size on the Google servers…”
31.     The Future Of Google Maps: Social, Personalized And Way Smarter  http://readwrite.com/2013/05/15/the-future-of-google-maps-social-personalized-and-way-smarter  “…In addition to a redesigned, vector-based browser UI built in open Web standards, the new Google Maps will incorporate information about the user to build out a far more personalized experience…Maps will deliver personalized recommendations, social tagging and smarter insights into where its users should go next - and how to get there. Indeed, the way Google Maps gives directions has also been redesigned with more intuitive, landmark-based querying and more thorough and accurate transit directions. Another…addition to the Maps UI is…Cards. For each location, Google Maps will display a Card highlighting key information, photos and pertinent social data…the new immersive and 3D experiences through…includes indoor StreetView-style views of restaurants and other local businesses, as well as 3D flyovers of cities and landmarks built in part from crowdsourced user photos. Users can also zoom all the way out to a planet-level view, displaying and rotating the Earth, which shows clouds and sunlight - and night views - in real time…”
32.    Google Keep Chrome app released with offline support for your notes, to-dos, and photos  http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/2/4293862/google-keep-chrome-app-released-with-offline-support  “Early users of Google Keep, the company's very basic note-taking app, will be happy to hear that Google just released a Chrome app for the tool. Once you've installed the new add-on, you'll have access to a standalone window where you can add notes, to-do lists, photos, and anything else you'll want to review later to Keep. There's also offline support baked in, so anything you add will be synced up with the Android app once you're back on an internet connection…”
33.    The sons and daughters of Google Glass  http://thenextweb.com/google/2013/05/14/the-sons-and-daughters-of-google-glass/  “…there have been few products as polarizing as Google’s head mounted Google Glass computer. The device, a thin titanium band to which is mounted a computer, battery and display, is by far the sleekest and least unwieldy implementation of a technology that has been around since the late 60′s…though Google Glass isn’t a new concept…it’s…one of the first attempts by a major company to sell consumers on the idea in an always-on Internet society…I’ve been using Glass for around a week and a half, and I’m excited by the potential of it, as well as wary of some of the pitfalls that could stop it dead in its tracks…The hardware is too big by about 50% in overall volume…The viewfinder is a bit low contrast and it’s hard to see against bright sky. The timeline card interface is a clever solution to moving ‘forward and backward’ through time…The apps that exist for Glass right now are a bit anemic and are firmly proofs of concept…I had little to no adaptation issues with Google Glass. No headaches or unnatural feelings about the placement of the monitor…Google Glass is an (expensive) evolutionary step in between the ‘fighter jet’ of head mounted computers and what will eventually be the ‘consumer car’. But…forward-thinking mentality is…necessary to see a future where our sons and daughters know wearable computers not as an edge case, but as a normality…”
34.    Google and NASA Buy a Quantum Computer  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/16/google-buys-a-quantum-computer/  “Google and a corporation associated with NASA are forming a laboratory to study artificial intelligence by means of computers that use the unusual properties of quantum physics…The Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab…will focus on machine learning, which is the way computers take note of patterns of information to improve their outputs. Personalized Internet search and predictions of traffic congestion based on GPS data are examples of machine learning. The field is particularly important for things like facial or voice recognition, biological behavior, or the management of very large and complex systems… “Classical computers aren’t well suited to these types of creative problems.” Google said it had already devised machine-learning algorithms that work inside the quantum computer, which is made by D-Wave Systems of Burnaby, British Columbia…”  http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=1400  “…USC paper that reported the quantum annealing behavior of the D-Wave One, also showed no speed advantage whatsoever for quantum annealing over classical simulated annealing. ..Matthias Troyer’s group spent a few months carefully studying the D-Wave problem—after which, they were able to write optimized simulated annealing code that solves the D-Wave problem on a normal, off-the-shelf classical computer, about 15 times faster than the D-Wave machine itself solves the D-Wave problem…”
35.    Google and NVIDIA  http://www.thestreet.com/story/11927925/1/did-google-just-place-three-big-bets-on-nvidia.html  “Google is in increasing competition with the main computing ecosystem players. Among the biggest fights Google is engaging, are the following three…Google needs to out-gun Apple in mobile computing -- smartphones and tablets…Google needs to out-gun Microsoft in traditional PCs and gaming…Google needs to become the main alternative to Facebook in social networking…it appears that Google's weapon of choice to fight these three battles may be Nvidia…the GPU (graphical processing unit) has only recently been able to fully satisfactorily handle simply rendering the screen graphics. Now the challenge going forward is to find a use for the GPU to take on additional tasks…If you look at the major scientific labs and research facilities…you will see that more…of them have suddenly starting adopting Nvidia GPUs as their source for massive computing power…in speaking with Google's engineers at i/o, I got the lurking feeling that their longer-term engineering efforts -- well beyond 2013, starting near the end of 2014 and building massively in 2015 -- could be geared to a new GPU chipset with massive, almost supercomputer-like, GPU processing power…Such a dramatically more powerful chipset would be available from Nvidia probably in late 2014. It would have GPU processing power orders of magnitude greater than anything else in the market…Conclusion No. 1…Google is working very closely with Nvidia for a new set of mobile computers - smartphones and tablets -- with dramatically higher computer power…Microsoft is about to announce a new Xbox, based on fairly "standard" Windows 8.1, X86 architecture and an AMD chip. This would have been a huge deal... five to six years ago. Today, however, the world of gaming has moved on…What happened? Well, the iPhone, iPad and Android -- that's what happened. Nowadays, gamers with need for performance, use PCs. These PCs are many times more powerful than a traditional Xbox-style gaming box. At the other side of the spectrum, the new mobile devices are far more convenient than something tethered via a wire to your TV…How about an Android gaming device, that looks like a gaming controller, and can be used by itself or in conjunction with any PC or TV? Nvidia has answered this call with the Shield device…It was prominently featured by Google at i/o this year…Conclusion No. 2…the Nvidia Shield is now Google's big play for the gaming market -- at least for this year…Facebook and cloud photo processing: If there ever were a thing that could show how Google can do really big things, really quickly, its reveal that it has secretly launched a new photo enhancement service certainly qualifies. Google…has employed massive cloud computing power to enhance every single photo uploaded to Google+…up to 900 million people now have had their photo collections improved by Google…when you take a photo -- let alone hundreds of them, for example coming home from vacation -- you no longer have to crop, enhance, sort and delete among them. Google has already done it for you. How does Google do it? With GPUs, most likely…Conclusion No. 3…Google's…use of GPUs in cloud photo processing could lead to higher demand for Nvidia's GPU cloud servers…”
General Technology
36.    10 tips for mastering Microsoft Outlook 2013  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2038282/10-tips-for-mastering-microsoft-outlook-2013.html  “…Anything that speeds up your work in Outlook can boost your productivity measurably…These 10 tips will help you zip through your messages and agenda, and work more effectively overall…1. View your inbox your way…2. Redefine what marks an email as already "read"…3. Write your own rules for how messages appear…4. Reinstate the to-do bar…5. Connect to your social media accounts…6. Clean up contact information…7. Control where Outlook searches by default…8. Decide whether to use Quick Steps or Rules…9. Make use of the Favorites…10. Understand the consequences of using IMAP…”
37.    3D-printable food? NASA wants a taste  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/05/3d-printable-food-nasa-wants-a-taste/  “NASA has bestowed a $125,000 grant…to pursue the development of 3D-printable food…Systems & Materials Research Corporation, hopes to design a system that will turn shelf-stable cartridges of sugars, complex carbs, and protein into edible food on demand. Contractor asserts that by the time the population reaches 12 billion people (“peak human” for Earth being around 9.5 billion to 10 billion people), we will have to change our perceptions of what “food” is in order to sustain everyone…Contractor plans to keep the printer open-source and envisions situations where recipes can be traded and tweaked by users. The printer could even theoretically produce foods based on the optimal nutritional makeup for the consumer, whether it’s a young boy, old woman, or hung-over college student…”
38.    Amazon.com wants to build a massive biosphere in Seattle  http://www.geekwire.com/2013/images-amazon-build-massive-biosphere-seattle-capable-housing-mature-trees/  “Amazon.com is charting a new course for one of its proposed downtown Seattle office buildings, unveiling new drawings…which show a massive spherical greenhouse-like structure capable of housing multiple forms of plant life…The new biosphere building would be built in conjunction with Amazon.com’s adjoining skyscraper project. The goal of the new spherical space is to create an environment where employees can “work and socialize in a more natural, park-like setting…The generative idea is that a plant-rich environment has many positive qualities that are not often found in a typical office setting…While the form of the building will be visually reminiscent of a greenhouse or conservatory, plant material will be selected for its ability to co-exist in a microclimate that also suits people…To encourage growth and maintain the health of the plants, the building’s interior will include high bay spaces on five floors totaling approximately 65,000 SF and capable of accommodating mature trees…”
Leisure & Entertainment
39.    The Original Karateka Is Now Available For iOS And Android  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/16/psa-the-original-karateka-is-now-available-for-ios-and-android/  “I remember waking up 6am, going downstairs, and firing up my Atari 800XL. The disk labeled Karateka inserted, the drive would grunt a few dozen times and the screen would flash. Suddenly, with barely any warning, the opening titles would appear and then the music would start – six notes to signal a game that was menacing in its simplicity. The story was simply told. Characters stood in darkened rooms. The Shogun aimed a finger at a door and the princess was forced into bondage. You were the Karateka, the hero, your pixelated motion was as fluid as any humans…Karateka was a marvel in an era of cheap gaming. In a world populated by Pac Men, Karateka foretold the future. Karateka begat Prince of Persia and the creator of both, Jordan Mechner, went on to become one of the greats in the gaming industry. Luckily, he and his clan of programmers haven’t been resting on their laurels. They have just re-released Karateka in its original glory on iOS or Android…”
40.    Amazon To Bring Covert Affairs, Grimm, Suits, And More To Prime Instant Video  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/16/amazon-taps-nbcuniversal-to-bring-covert-affairs-grimm-suits-and-more-to-prime-instant-video/  “Amazon has just announced a new content deal with NBCUniversal, bringing a host of new television series to the video streaming platform…those titles include Covert Affairs, Defiance, Grimm, Hannibal, and Suits…the company is pulling content from NBCUniversal’s children series such as Curious George and Land Before Time, which will be available with Kindle FreeTime Unlimited. With platforms like Hulu and Netflix growing rapidly, and moreover making strides to offer the biggest libraries of content that include original programming, Amazon too has been working tirelessly to build out its offerings…Amazon now offers more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes to Prime members, which can be watched across a wide variety of platforms including iOS, Kindles, Roku, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii (U)…Covert Affairs and Grimm will both be available today, while Hannibal will not be ready until later this year, and Defiance will be out early next year. Amazon is also bringing SyFy series such as Alphas, Eureka and Warehouse 13 to the platform, along with Smash, featuring Debra Messing…”
41.     Social TV app NextGuide goes from mobile to the Web  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57585296-93/social-tv-app-nextguide-goes-from-mobile-to-the-web/  “While most companies are making the jump from Web to mobile, NextGuide, the app that tells you when and where your favorite shows are on, has decided to go the opposite way. The social TV guide for iOS is now available on the Web. NextGuide Web has the same functions as the iPad app and aims to bring together live TV and streaming videos. Users can pick their favorite shows and keep track of when, and where, the shows are available online or on TV…"People say TV is dead, but there are more people watching more stuff on demand and streaming than they used to." The key is discovery, Toeman said, and when it comes to looking for entertainment on a second screen, viewers are still turning to their Web browser the most…”
42.    iTunes Remains Biggest Digital Destination; Spotify + Amazon 2nd And 3rd  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/16/indie-music-agency-merlin-says-itunes-remains-biggest-digital-destination-spotify-and-amazon-2nd-and-3rd-streaming-still-just-an-opening-act/  “…indie music agency Merlin has today published results of a recent survey of its 20,000-label member group, plus an analysis of 6.5 billion music streams over the last year, which spell out where the money is coming from today. Streaming services are making increasing headway as a revenue driver for musicians, but digital downloads — specifically Apple’s iTunes — are still ruling the roost. Worldwide, iTunes has held on to its spot as the single-biggest source of revenues for Merlin’s independent label members, both across key markets like the U.S. and UK, as well across Europe and globally. Interestingly, Spotify is securely in second position, underscoring just how popular both Spotify and streaming services  have become — second has been a place held by Amazon for some time prior to this. Amazon’s MP3 download service subsequently slipped down to third place across the board, while Deezer and eMusic are split regionally in terms of their influence and in grabbing fourth place…”
43.    Xbox One: Microsoft unveils new console that 'changes everything'  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/may/21/xbox-one-microsoft-unveils-console  “Microsoft revealed a new Xbox console on Tuesday that not only integrates TV, internet and gaming, but also will measure your heartbeat and recognise your voice. The company said the Xbox One will revolutionise its users' lifestyles by integrating the cloud, voice control and gesture technology into a simple, intuitive machine…Analysts who had wondered whether the company could follow up on the success of its Xbox 360, first unveiled in 2005, said its successor offered a complete entertainment system designed for the family, not just gamers…"The Xbox One is a real advancement, one that will transform the way we experience TV, games, music, movies and more. From what we can see so far Microsoft has met and far exceeded expectations for the Xbox One. This is Microsoft branching out into the living room to reach more of a family audience rather than a core gaming audience…”  http://venturebeat.com/2013/05/21/whats-under-the-hood-of-the-xbox-one/  “…the new all-in-one entertainment system…runs on native 64-bit architecture and has 5 billion transistors and 8GBs of system RAM. Its predecessor, the Xbox 360, has only 500 million transistors and 512MBs of RAM. The console reportedly has three operating systems in one. The first is the Xbox O/S, which…gives game developers deep and instant access to the hardware. The second is a kernel of Windows. This gives Xbox One owners consistent access to web-powered applications…The third O/S connects the first two, creating multitasking and the near-instantaneous switching between applications…Xbox One also features USB 3.0, a Blu-ray DVD player, and Wi-Fi Direct, a standard…enabling devices to communicate with each other without a wireless access point…its Kinect motion control sensor…comes with every new Xbox…and it’s completely redesigned to respond instantly to your voice and gestures…”
44.    Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games  http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/21/4350662/new-xbox-has-no-backwards-compatibilty  “If you were hoping to play your vast collection of Xbox 360 games on Microsoft's latest creation, we've got…bad news. Microsoft…confirmed…the new Xbox One console will have no backwards compatibility whatsoever…That means that Xbox 360 discs won't work, but also extends to Xbox Live Arcade downloadable titles. Anything that was designed for the Xbox 360 will have to be rebuilt, and it sounds like Microsoft doesn't plan to do so…”
45.    Microsoft Reveals Skype For The Xbox One  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/21/after-months-of-speculation-microsoft-officially-reveals-skype-for-the-xbox-one/  “…Skype…is part of the Xbox One experience…the Xbox One Skype application allows users to participate in group video chats with their fellow users using the Kinect camera — so there are opportunities for a natural type of ongoing conversation…This could be an “always on” situation. You can answer a call by saying “Xbox, answer call” and…the video screen slides in from the right. Since the Xbox One aims to be your all-in-one “Home Entertainment System,” Skype is going to play a huge role in the overall experience. ..Microsoft has always talked about being the hub of the living room, and it seems like the newly announced Xbox One is the device that brings its vision to reality. The game-changer with this Skype integration is that you can watch a television show or play a game while carrying on a conversation. This has been attempted, mostly as a “second screen experience,” but to make this a seamless reality is a huge step forward for Microsoft…”
Entrepreneurism and Technology
46.    Marqeta Recreates The ‘Starbucks Loyalty Card’ For Merchants  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/16/powering-the-facebook-card-marqeta-raises-14m-from-greylock-israel-to-recreate-the-starbucks-loyalty-card-for-merchants/  “Marqeta, the startup that helps businesses nationwide attain the Starbucks loyalty Card “pay-in-advance for your coffee” model…allows merchants both large and small create a card with stored value, gift card value, loyalty value and additional rewards. Retailers get a gifting, loyalty, promotions, cash back offers, charitable donations…The aim is to create a Starbucks-like card experience, where you could put any amount on a pre-paid card, for a merchant. The compelling part of Marqeta’s offering is that it can provide these pre-paid amounts from multiple retailers on one payment card or mobile app. Additional use cases include a variety of marketing and rewards programs such as digitized employee rewards, corporate incentive payments and streamlined school donation campaigns that can sit on one consumer account and payments vehicle…”
47.    Online Takeout Giants GrubHub And Seamless Merge  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/20/seamless-and-grubhub-confirm-merger-grubhub-co-founder-maloney-to-be-combined-companys-ceo/  “…online food ordering services GrubHub and Seamless have officially confirmed that the two companies will merge into one…the tie-up is set to take place as the online good delivery and ordering space has begun to heat up. A handful of new startups have their respective eyes set on cracking the market (think ChowNow and HealthyOut, just to name a few), while more entrenched players like Delivery.com continue to putter along. Now that two of the most prominent companies in that space are dedicating to combining forces, we may soon see some of those small fries get pushed out…”
48.    An eBook pricing model that resulted in $100,000 in sales  http://blog.asmartbear.com/selling-ebook.html  “…In March 2012 two designers…released design ebooks on the same day…Sacha’s was a short step-by-step guide he was selling for $3 and $6 (he later doubled those prices) and Jarrod’s is a full-length book he is still selling for $39. Because of their different pricing approaches Jason Cohen invited them to each write posts explaining their pricing strategies. Jarrod and Sacha each made their case for why their method was better and let the readers decide…They both are wrong. My approach actually uses a combination of both of their methods to create what I consider to be perfect pricing. The first lesson, that I think Jarrod got right, is to price high. If you are trying to maximize revenue from a small audience, you need to get the most possible out of each customer…Fewer customers can often be a good thing, especially when it comes to fewer support requests. Also, a higher price tends to attract a higher quality customer…Sacha…did get one very important thing right: multiple packages. Sacha offered just the book for $3 or the book + PSD files for $6…That small difference to the customer makes a huge difference to the seller over the total revenue. By adding the second package Sacha made an additional $2,235…My approach was to start with a reasonably high price of $39…But then I added additional packages at higher price points, each one with more content and resources. This included sample code, Photoshop files, video tutorials…The middle package was priced at $79 and the highest package at $169. At the very least these packages make $39 seem inexpensive…”
Design / DEMO
49.    How, When and Where Will The First Truly Great Digital Design Studio Emerge?  http://www.mobileinc.co.uk/2013/05/how-when-and-where-will-the-first-truly-great-digital-design-studio-emerge/  “…service design studio Fjord announced its sale to the management consultancy behemoth Accenture. This move follows a dizzying flurry of industry acquisitions, pivots and mergers…AKQA selling to WPP, LBi selling to Publicis (to subsequently merge with Digitas), Rokkan selling to Publicis…Hot Studio selling to Facebook and NYC design studio 80/20 selling to Square…last week’s pivot of London boutique consultancy Berg into a cloud services company…Most of these plays are driven by the shift towards user experience and digital product design…these moves are an effort to integrate such capabilities into an all-encompassing, 360, integrated service offering. The reality is that for those in digital product design*, these ecosystem changes present us all with a number of challenges and opportunities. *By ‘digital product design’ I refer specifically to companies with the capacity to design and build digital products and services in house…In the same way that consultancies such as IDEO and Frog achieved permanent association with innovation and industrial design in people’s minds, and consequently safe commercial orbit; the same opportunity and path is emerging for digital product design…”
50.    5 Ways Big Companies Can Pivot Like Lean Startups  http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672580/5-ways-big-companies-can-pivot-like-lean-startups  “…Has the corporate world run out of ideas? Nah. When I walk around big global corporations, I’m struck by the number of brilliant new products and services being developed. But most never make it to market. And of the ones that do, about 70% fail. There has to be a better way to get products onto shelves that people actually want, and to ensure that big, world-changing ideas get greenlighted and launched…In Silicon Valley, it’s rare to find a company that became an overnight success; most of them radically changed direction at least once…it’s known as pivoting. Pivoting means that new technologies don’t get wasted. They get repurposed…We think there’s a lot that Cincinnati can learn from Cupertino. Here are five things: 1. FEWER GATES, MORE PIVOTS…Most big organizations…contain an idea-killing machine. It’s called the stage gate process…2. INSIGHT FEEDS THE BEAST…The pivot process is a hungry beast; it’s hungry for insight into consumer needs…3. PLAY, DON’T TEST…Think of Google Glass…Google…sold 2,000 pairs to developers, and created a competition to suggest uses for the product…Nobody is asking these people to do satisfaction surveys…4. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STORIES…Somewhere in your organization there’s an individual or a group who greenlights a project…To pivot a product, you’re going to have to tell them two stories. First, you’re going to have to un-sell them something they’ve already invested in emotionally and financially. Then, you’re going to have to sell them something new. So make your stories really compelling…5. EVERYTHING IS A PROTOTYPE. INCLUDING YOUR COMPANY…”
DHMN Technology
51.     Homeless to hacker: How the Maker Movement changed one man’s life  http://venturebeat.com/2013/05/16/homeless-to-hacker-how-the-maker-movement-changed-one-mans-life/  “…Scott Glover and Marc Roth are feeling quite comfortable at this branch of Peet’s Coffee. Roth tells me that the homeless spend hours on end in coffee shops, which offer optimal shelter on chilly days like this one. Glover is in town for a three-day gig providing protection detail at the annual Veteran’s Day Parade. His current employers don’t know he’s homeless. Roth is no longer living in shelters, but he can relate to his new acquaintance’s transience. Until last year, he was living in his car, in hostels, the BART…and in shelters around San Francisco…His ideas…include a food delivery service, a laser company, and a hardware accelerator program…Whatever he does next, Roth intends to hire from within the homeless community, which he views as a hotbed of untapped talent. One wintery morning in 2011, Roth awoke after a rough night in a homeless shelter in San Francisco…When he spotted a business card for TechShop in the shelter’s garbage bin, it seemed like a sign. Intrigued…he spent his remaining dollars on a membership and a few introductory courses…His first core discipline was 3D printing, the process of making a solid object from a digital model, as members don’t need to pay for the materials. “I was studying 10 or 12 hours a day, seven days a week,”…it didn’t take long before TechShop’s most dedicated member began to receive requests for help. A number of other makers desperately needed an extra pair of hands…Many of them were freshly-minted after successfully raising funds for their projects on sites like Kickstarter. A dab hand with a laser cutter, Roth could charge upwards of $20 an hour. Within a few months, Roth was able to move into a house for startup founders…Similarly to Roth, Lang’s living situation was unstable. For the past year or so, he had resided on a sailboat…After discovering TechShop, he saw an opportunity to reinvent himself as a maker. Lang learned how to build robots and work with machines in less than six months. His first project, a mini submarine for amateur ocean exploration called OpenROV, raised $111,000 on Kickstarter. Lang would later hire Roth on a contractual basis…Roth is now an entrepreneur with a funded laser company. He threw himself into design with such gusto that he’s an Autodesk instructor, consults for LeapMotion, and teaches seven classes at TechShop…His dream is to build his own version of TechShop called “the Learning Shelter” that specifically caters to the homeless…”
52.    Autodesk Purchases, Revives 3-D Design App Tinkercad  http://www.wired.com/design/2013/05/autodesk-purchases-tinkercad/  “…gnashing of teeth ensued in March when Tinkercad announced it would be discontinuing its web-based 3-D modeling tool…But…Autodesk…is purchasing Tinkercad and reinstating the service. The move comes in time to prevent shutdown of any accounts or services, and users can start creating new accounts immediately… “We have, in the consumer group here at Autodesk, really been focused on making 3D design accessible to everyone,” says Mary Hope McQuinston, director of marketing and partnerships at Autodesk…Tinkercad positioned itself as a low-cost, DIY alternative to CAD programs that historically held high barriers to entry, in terms of both price and skill…“It’s surprisingly powerful, you can actually build very complex designs — we’ve had people build houses, architectural pieces…But it’s also a paradigm that’s really extremely easy to learn for somebody who hasn’t done 3-D design before.” This is a market Autodesk has been approaching in the last year or two through 123D, building touch-screen design apps for mobile devices and giving them away for free. Tinkercad is still more basic than these 123D apps, and Autodesk thinks it’ll attract new users who could migrate to 123D products as they need greater functionality. But McQuinston also says Autodesk will grow the options for Tinkercad’s free version…”
53.    Michigan Tech Sponsors A 3D Printers For Peace Contest  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/17/michigan-tech-sponsors-a-3d-printers-for-peace-contest/  “…Michigan Tech is sponsoring a Printers For Peace contest that is encouraging designers and engineers to make amazing stuff using a 3D printer that can change the world for the better. “Unfortunately, the only thing many people know about 3D printing is that it can be used to make guns,” writes Dr. Joshua Pearce, founder of the project…ask yourself what Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, or Gandhi would make if they’d had access to 3D printing.”…They are looking for designers to build things that will help, not harm, people…The winner of best project will win a Type A Machines Series 1 3D Printer and the runner-up gets a simpler RepRap Prusa Mendel 3D printing kit…”
54.    First-Time Tinkerers: Turn Your Converse Into A DIY Light Show  http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/16/heres-a-weekend-project-for-first-time-tinkerers-turn-your-converse-into-a-diy-light-show/  “…Adafruit Industries have worked up a way to give your old pair of Chuck Taylors a bit of luminescent DIY flair…with about $21 in specialized parts like a small sheet of electroluminescent material and a pint-sized power inverter…you too can have a pair of Converse that light up in the dark…once everything is put together your shoes will stay aglow for about an hour before starting to dim if you’ve opted to use the slightly smaller CR2032-powered inverter, though you can eke out extra juice by playing with smaller EL panel sizes or using an inverter that runs on AAA batteries instead…it’s a neat little crash course in cobbling together components and the end result is a pair of sneakers that are sure to catch some attention…First-time makers may not be completely comfortable with the concept of lashing together a gadget with an Arduino and some shields, but a lightweight hack for some light-up shoes may be enough to get them ready for more ambitious hacks to come…”
55.     OpenBeam Kossel Pro 3D Printer  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ttstam/openbeam-kossel-pro-a-new-type-of-3d-printer  “…I designed the OpenBeam Construction System as a low cost way to rapidly build mechanical prototypes.  One of the application I had in mind was the construction of 3D Printers…3D Printing…when used in a production setting…quickly becomes an artificially created bottle neck in work flow and a possible support issue as well due to variances between parts…with the OpenBeam Construction System, we…designed components that form the fundamental building blocks of 3D Printers and other small scale automation machines.  These components are designed to be as modular and reusable as possible…individual components can benefit from the economies of scale of modern mass production techniques while still allowing designs to iterate and evolve…We will be designing our parts for maximum interchangeability between the Kossel and the Kossel Pro.  We expect…the extruder body, the end effector, the ball joints, and the carriages to be reusable between the two machines.  We will also be intentionally over designing our parts…using a commercial linear ball recirculating rail, and…designing…fully ball bearing arm joints.  Such features may not be necessary for a machine the scale of the Kossel / Kossel Pro, but by over designing, it allows for future expansion - larger printers, more aggressive printing speeds, multiple extruders…”
56.    Homemade GPS Receiver  http://www.holmea.demon.co.uk/GPS/Main.htm#  “Pictured above is the front-end, first mixer and IF amplifier of an experimental GPS receiver…The latter is connected to a Xilinx FPGA which not only performs DSP, but also hosts a fractional-N frequency synthesizer. More on this later. I was motivated to design this receiver after reading the work…of Matjaž Vidmar, S53MV, who developed a GPS receiver from scratch…over 20 years ago. His use of DSP following a hard-limiting IF and 1-bit ADC interested me. The receiver described here works on the same principle. Its 1-bit ADC is the 6-pin IC near the pin headers, an LVDS-output comparator. Hidden under noise but not obliterated in the bi-level quantised mush that emerges are signals from every satellite in view. All GPS satellites transmit on the same frequency, 1575.42 MHz, using direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS). The L1 carrier is spread over a 2 MHz bandwidth and its strength at the Earth's surface is -130 dBm…” [now *this* is a technical post, but interesting if you like GPS! – ed.]
Open Source Hardware
57.     Arduino's first robotics kit is coming, and it rolls around like a Roomba  http://www.techhive.com/article/2039029/arduinos-first-robotics-kit-is-coming-and-it-rolls-around-like-a-roomba.html  “Arduino…is about to enter the robotics market with what it calls the first official Arduino on wheels. The company has teamed up with Complubot, the four-time world champions in the Robocup Junior robot soccer tournament, to create a new Arduino robotics kit.The robot’s hardware is completely open source—just like a regular Arduino board—so you can change the software controlling the robot or stack your own hardware on top of it. The kit comes with everything you need to get going on your first robotics project: It comes the hardware, software, and documentation to build your first bot as well as use it. The kit also comes with a new version of the Arduino developer tools and a new TFT screen…”
58.    Smart Citizen Kit: Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/acrobotic/the-smart-citizen-kit-crowdsourced-environmental-m  “…The Smart Citizen Kit is an Open-Source platform that comprises 3 technological layers: a hardware device, a website and online API, and a mobile app…The first layer is a piece of hardware comprised by two printed-circuit boards: an interchangeable daughterboard or shield, and an arduino-compatible data-processing board. We have nicknamed the shield developed for this campaign 'The Ambient Board.'  As the name suggests, it carries sensors that measure air composition (CO and NO2), temperature, light intensity, sound levels, and humidity. Once it’s set up, the ambient board is able to stream data measured by the sensors over Wi-Fi using the FCC-certified, wireless module on the data-processing board. The device’s low power consumption allows for placing it on balconies and windowsills.  Power to the device can be provided by a solar panel and/or battery.  All the design files (schematics and PCB layout) for this Open-Source, Arduino-compatible device are available on our Github repository…”
Open Source
59.    New Open Source Phones: Nearly Upon Us  http://ostatic.com/blog/new-open-source-phones-nearly-upon-us  “…there are several open source smartphone strategies in the works that will be coming to fruition this year. Mozilla is moving ever closer to delivering its first phones based on the Firefox OS platform, and urging developers to build apps. Meanwhile, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth maintains that Ubuntu phones will ship in the coming months…Today there are four devices onto which you can easily load Ubuntu Touch: the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 4, the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 10...A considerable amount of work has been done to port Ubuntu Touch to a smattering of other phones and tablet…”
60.    Linux Mint 15 brings prettier desktop, new software  http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/05/linux-mint-15-brings-prettier-desktop-new-software-and-driver-managers/  “The Linux Mint project yesterday unveiled version 15 of the increasingly popular desktop operating system, with upgrades to the MATE and Cinnamon desktop environments…Code-named "Olivia," Linux Mint 15 is based on the most recent version of Ubuntu and will be supported until January 2014. Linux Mint 15 is in the Release Candidate stage, with a final release coming later. Linux Mint also has a version based on Debian which is released on a "semi-rolling" basis while the Ubuntu-based version mirrors Ubuntu's six-month release cycle…”  http://ostatic.com/blog/linux-mint-15-most-ambitious-release-ever
Civilian Aerospace
61.     Dream Chaser Space Plane Arrives in California for Key Flight Tests  http://www.space.com/21208-dream-chaser-space-plane-testing.html  “…A test version of the Dream Chaser space plane arrived at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in southern California…aboard a flatbed truck, wrapped in a protective white caul for the overland journey from Colorado. Engineers will put the Dream Chaser through its paces at Dryden, testing out its flight and runway landing systems, NASA officials said. The vehicle will be towed down a runway by a truck, for example, to validate the Dream Chaser's brakes and tires…”
62.    Simplifying Hardware To Liberate Satellite Users  http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_05_06_2013_p55-574477.xml  “Inexpensive satellites little bigger than a Rubik's Cube have been the provenance of university and small research projects for more than a decade. Increasingly, innovations from the smartphone world are showing how these classroom projects can play outsized roles in space science. The April 21 launch of three PhoneSats…is giving early promise to what can happen when common commercial products are tapped to drive down the design, development and integration costs of making spacecraft. The innovations include cannabilizing consumer products, scrounging for leftovers and using parts from online satellite catalogs…technology and manufacturing processes for very small satellites is maturing to the point where they can become disruptive technologies for Earth observation, communications and deep-space exploration…”
63.    Orbcomm Ready To Ship 8 Satellites for Fall Launch on Upgraded Falcon 9  http://www.spacenews.com/article/satellite-telecom/35362orbcomm-ready-to-ship-8-satellites-for-fall-launch-on-upgraded-falcon#.UZe0orU-aAZ  “Satellite machine-to-machine (M2M) messaging service provider Orbcomm said the launch of the first eight of its second-generation satellites is likely to occur this fall after its launch services provider, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), conducts the first two flights of the new Falcon 9 rocket. The launch, which has been delayed repeatedly, will better position Orbcomm in the competition with exactEarth, majority-owned by Canada’s Com Dev, to line up customers for a global automatic identification system (AIS) maritime surveillance service for coastal authorities…”
64.    3-D Printing Could Build Moon Base In-Situ  http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_05_06_2013_p58-571520.xml  “…A consortium established by the European Space Agency (ESA) has demonstrated the potential for 3-D printing of a Moon base using lunar regolith as the building material…The D-Shape printer builds structures layer-by-layer using a mobile array of nozzles on a 6-meter (20-ft.) frame to spray a binding solution on to a sand-like building material. Monolite more typically uses the printer to create sculptures, and is working on building artificial reefs to protect beaches from erosion by waves. In ESA's lunar-base design concept, a tubular module is launched to the Moon and a pressurized inflatable dome extended from one end of the cylinder to provide a support structure for construction. A robotic 3-D printer then builds up layers of regolith over the dome to provide a protective shell against meteorites, radiation and temperature fluctuations…”
65.    How to build a Mars colony that lasts – forever  http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23542-how-to-build-a-mars-colony-that-lasts--forever.html  “…a group who met last week in Washington DC for the first Human to Mars Summit…say establishing a permanent, sustainable outpost on the Red Planet may be our civilisation's only chance of long-term continuity. "Single-planet species don't survive," says former astronaut John Grunsfeld…Mars looks like the best first step towards establishing an off-Earth foothold. But making Mars a sustainable destination will require a few advances beyond those needed for one-off trips…humans who plan on seeding a colony will need bigger living quarters – both to accommodate life-support systems and supplies, and to minimise psychological trouble…building larger habitats will require a rethink in transport…parts for a Martian base could be delivered…by landing modules in a series of missions. Then it could be built by a crew already on the surface, by robots in orbit or even by a crew based on a Martian moon. At H2M, Aldrin suggested sending three people to spend 18 months on Phobos, where they would remotely construct a base on Mars…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
66.    What's the difference between Tesla and Tegra?  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/23/nvidia_tesla_cto_steve_scott_interview/  “…now everybody is constrained by power – the most important thing in your phone is power efficiency because you have got one watt, and the most important thing in a $100m supercomputer is power efficiency because it is getting expensive to plug the things in…You already do a lot of differentiation with the GPUs today. You scale up and down the number of CUDA cores, the number of SMs, and the memory…will be similar differentiation between Tegra and Tesla?...we can now develop the "Maxwell" family of GPUs, and that will go into the Tesla line and into the "Parker" family of Tegra processors…once you make Tegra compute-capable and once you integrate GPU cores and have the same basic architecture, we now actually have what the cute little phrase – "from cell phones to supercomputers" – promised. It means we have higher volume, which provides the foundation for Tesla…Tesla is basically a slightly modified GeForce card aimed at servers and workstations. But going forward, it is still going to be a little different in that with both Tesla and Tegra, you are going to have both CPUs and GPUs on a single die…eventually, depending on how successful ARM is in attracting games, you could imagine game machines in the future – a gaming PC – with an ARM plus GPU instead of X86 plus GPU…what will be the practical difference between Tegra and Tesla? What is to keep supercomputer shops from trying to build Tegra supercomputers out of those future Parker chips…Tegra will never have a good network interface because it doesn't need one, and Tegra will not have the same amount of memory or bandwidth into the memory subsystem that Tesla has…Tesla will never have high enough volume to justify the bulk of the engineering work that it takes to do a full solution. But it will have enough volume to justify the incremental engineering work that is necessary to take the consumer parts and make supercomputers…”
67.    Exterminating at Extreme Scale   http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2013-05-07/exterminating_at_exteme_scale.html  “…it's getting tougher for code exterminators to reproduce and track down the bugs across many thousands of cores. Further, many pre-petascale debuggers weren’t able to efficiently relay information about the health of the entire application, allowing a small portal to see one process at a time…it seems there’s a perfect storm brewing for a total rethink in more efficient, scalable bug-zapping…scale and core diversity are critical--but at the heart of all of their work is improving debugging speed…Allinea's DDT…offered a UI that could paint the whole landscape of an application, letting users “visualize and compare 200,000 processes as simply as two.”…the time to debug using the old node-connected approach was in the minutes, but they’ve been able to trim this process down to seconds…Jaguar, and later Titan…had a couple of problems, including limitations with the traditional printfs debugging approach to find bugs, followed by adding GPUs into the mix…the ability to see every process in a parallel job allowed the lab to remove the debugging hassles and speed time to result…”
68.    The Parallel Mandate  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2013-05-02/the_week_in_hpc_research.html?page=2  “…the importance of parallel computing cannot be ignored. "How can parallel computing topics be incorporated into core courses that are taken by the majority of undergraduate students?" asks a team of researchers from Knox College, Portland State University and Lewis & Clark College. Their paper outlines the benefits of using GPUs to teach parallel programming. The authors describe how GPU computing with CUDA was brought into the core undergraduate computer organization course at two different colleges…”
Trends & Emerging Tech
69.    Six 'Megatrends' Shaping The Future Of Digital Media  http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnvillasenor/2013/05/01/6-megatrends-that-will-shape-the-future-of-digital-media/  “…We’ve taken a careful look at the forces shaping how people are creating and sharing digital media today, and perhaps even more importantly, what the world of digital media will look like in the coming years. We’ve distilled these down to a set of six digital content “megatrends”…Content distribution models are shifting towards instantaneous, ubiquitous access, often using social networks…New technologies, big data, and the growth of virtual content are reshaping the creative economy landscape…traditional lines between content creators and content consumers are blurring, with consumers playing an increasingly important role in collaborative content creation…Business models for digital content distribution are changing, with licensing and service-based delivery models replacing traditional sales-based distribution…Commerce in creative works is increasingly global – but national and regional intellectual property frameworks have yet not caught up with the full range of cross-border content movement enabled by today’s technologies…Technology is making it easier to modify and redistribute content.  The resulting complex chains of “derivative works” provide increased opportunities to capture creativity, but also create challenges to managing copyright…”
70.    Emerging trends in ICT and technology-mediated social developments  http://www.troymedia.com/2013/05/18/emerging-trends-in-ict-and-technology-mediated-social-developments/  “…futurist Gerd Leonhard and Fast Future recently pulled together a summary of what we see as some of the key emerging Information and Communications Technology (ICT) trends and technology mediated developments…My digital bubble – Evolution of our personal mobile ecosystems…Connecting communities – Location based social media provides a platform to enhance the citizen and customer experience and extend the relationship…Near Field Communications (NFC)…Augmented Reality…Ambient/Embedded intelligence – enabling the internet of things…Radio frequency identification (RFID)…Biometrics…Genetic profiling…Biomimicry…Natural user interfaces (language, touch, gesture)…Big Data…Predictive analytics…The people formerly known as consumers…“Telemedia Ecosystems”…Copyright and IPR…People of the screen…Going from copy to access…Shifting centres of production and the rise of the hyper-local…Search becomes media too…OTT Media: Over The Top media…web players increasingly provide compelling content…Fragmentation and personalization…The reinvention of advertising and marketing…Money 2.0…Virtual worlds and virtual currencies...Convergence: The boundaries between virtual and physical are blurring…”

*****

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