2013/07/16

NEW NET Weekly List for 16 Jul 2013

Below is the final list of technology news and issues for the Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurism and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering at  Sangria's Restaurant in Appleton, 215 S. Memorial Drive, Appleton WI, USA. (Last minute update -- due to the unavoidable but unanticipated absence of key NEW NET participants, tonight's meeting is cancelled. See you next week!)


The Weekly Top Ten, (pre-NEW NET, based on potential or immediate impact and/or general tech interestingness)
1.        Is Microsoft Leaving Bing, Skype In The Dust With Major Reorg? (# 11)
2.       How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages (# 14)
3.       FBI Ransomware Now Targeting Apple's Mac OS X Users (# 18)
4.       Google prepared to spend $500M marketing Moto X (# 19)
5.        MIT Whiz Wants to Turn Your Skin Into a Computer Interface (# 33)
6.       MIT chip could make expert photographers of us all (# 37)
7.        Verizon Could Face Up to $14 Billion in Unsold iPhone Purchase Commitments (# 39)
8.       The democratization of engineering (# 48)
9.       ARM 'All-In' With Mobile GPU Compute (# 55)
10.     10 social media trends for mobile operators (# 57)
The ‘net
11.      Is Microsoft Leaving Bing, Skype In The Dust With Major Reorg?  http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2013/07/11/did-microsoft-just-kill-bing-and-skype-with-major-company-reorg/  “…Microsoft…announced a major reorganization for the company in hopes to create “One Microsoft” by breaking down the many silos within the company…Microsoft effectively killed it’s five largest  business units: Windows; Server and Tools; Microsoft Business Division; Entertainment and Devices; and Online Services. Once the reorganization is effective, Microsoft will be centralized around functions: Engineering…Marketing…Business Development and Evangelism…Advanced Strategy and Research…Finance…Human Resources…Legal…Chief Operating Officer (including field, support, commercial operations and IT)…Additionally, Microsoft will have four new engineering areas: Operating System, Apps, Cloud, and Devices…this new organization is “creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses…some Microsoft products may get left in the dust as they don’t fit into this new vision…Skype and Bing are struggling to keep up with the competition. Overall traffic to Skype is falling, and Bing only controls about 30% of the search market…Skype only contributed 8% to Microsoft’s Entertainment FY 2012 revenue…By absorbing these products into much larger groups, Microsoft could more easily kill the products to focus on more profitable core offerings…”
12.     IFTTT Launches iPhone App for Automating Photo, Contact, and Reminder 'Recipes'  http://www.macrumors.com/2013/07/11/ifttt-launches-iphone-app-for-automating-photo-contact-and-reminder-recipes/  “…web service If This Then That (IFTTT) today launched an iPhone app, bringing the popular service to mobile devices. The service allows users to customize their web services using a set of rules within the parameters of "if this, then that." For example, a user can arrange for a photo taken with their iPhone to be automatically uploaded to their Flickr account or the service can be set up so the user is texted the weather report each morning…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
13.     NSA Stay Away: Hackers Disinvite Snoops From DefCon  http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-11/nsa-stay-away-hackers-disinvite-snoops-from-conference  “One group apparently unhappy about the National Security Agency’s cybersnooping? Hackers. Jeff Moss, founder of the well-known hacking conference Def Con, last night asked government agents not to attend this year’s conference…As he wrote on the conference website…I think it would be best for everyone involved if the feds call a ‘time-out’ and not attend DEF CON this year…Law-enforcement officials have been attending hacking conferences for some time, openly and otherwise. Aside from the opportunity to do opposition research, the government sees the gatherings as job fairs of a sort. The government representatives have been held up for mockery by other attendees, especially if they don’t announce themselves: “Spot the fed” is always a popular parlor game at Def Con…”  [so will the NSA stay away from DefCon, and if they don’t and get caught, what will the DefCon hackers do? – ed.]
14.     How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-collaboration-user-data   “…Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents…The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years…The documents show that: Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal…The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail…The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide…Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases…nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism…”
15.     Kremlin security agency to buy typewriters 'to avoid leaks'  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23282308  “Russia's agency responsible for the Kremlin security is buying typewriters - a move reportedly prompted by recent leaks by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden. A 486,540-rouble (£9,860) order for electric typewriters has been placed by the FSO agency…an agency source told Russia's Izvestiya newspaper the aim was to prevent leaks from computer hardware. "After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposes by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being bugged during his visit to the G20 London summit (in 2009), it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents,"…typewriters were already being used at Russia's defence and emergencies ministries for drafts and secret notes…”
16.     Online reputation management   http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130616/ARTICLES/130619809?p=all&tc=pgall&tc=ar  “…Experts say the average Joe and Jeanette need to devote time and attention to how they are portrayed online, given the growing role the Internet plays in recording and defining our lives. Maybe they'll find out they share a name with a porn star. Santa Rosa technology consultant Kerry Rego knows three people with that very predicament…A Santa Rosa woman is rebuilding her life after someone with a personal vendetta launched a vast and twisted campaign to malign her over and over on the web…another Sonoma County man was mortified when his future mother-in-law Googled him and discovered an old newspaper story about his arrest on minor drug charges. Even though he completed a diversion program that erased the offense from his criminal record, the arrest is permanently engraved on computer servers across the Internet. “There's really no way you can remove things from the web,” Rego said. “But you can control the message that is out there about you…”
17.     Travellers' mobile phone data seized by UK police at border  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10177765/Travellers-mobile-phone-data-seized-by-police-at-border.html  “Thousands of innocent holidaymakers and travellers are having their phones seized and personal data downloaded and stored by the police…A police officer can stop any passenger at random, scour their phone and download and retain data, even of the individual is then immediately allowed to proceed…The blanket power is so broad they do not even have to show reasonable suspicion for seizing the device and can retain the information for “as long as is necessary”. Data can include call history, contact books, photos and who the person is texting or emailing…“Seizing and downloading your phone data is the modern equivalent of searching your home and office, searching through family albums and business records alike, and identifying all your friends and family, then keeping this information for years…”
18.     FBI Ransomware Now Targeting Apple's Mac OS X Users  http://venturebeat.com/2013/07/15/fbi-ransomware-trojan-now-tricking-mac-users-into-paying-300-fines/  “You’ve been caught viewing prohibited pornographic content. Now you need to pay $300 to “unlock” your Mac … or take your computer in for a potentially embarrassing servicing…That’s the premise behind a new version of the FBI Ransomware browser trojan that is targeting Mac users…no matter how much your spouse might refuse to believe you, you don’t have to be viewing porn to get it…all you have to do is search the web for a few popular keywords…You’re not actually infected – they make you think that you are, and most users believe it…Once your Safari browser hits the FBI ransomware, which is simply a few lines of Javascript code, you appear to be toast: The browser window can’t be closed easily, and a force quit of Safari — which most Mac users don’t know how to do — will simply bring it right back when you open Safari again thanks to Apple’s helpful restore-from-crash feature. There are only four options to remove this…you could close the page 150 times, each time clicking Leave Page when Safari asks you to confirm. That’s because the Javascript that makes up FBI ransomware spawns 150 iframes (layers in a web page) dynamically. Or you could reset Safari from the Safari menu — which will wipe all your history, saved names and passwords, autofill text, and more. Or you could simply quit Safari and start using Chrome or Firefox…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
19.     Google prepared to spend $500M marketing Moto X  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57593202-94/google-reportedly-prepared-to-spend-$500m-marketing-moto-x/  “Google is apparently going all in to support the Moto X, the first flagship handset released by Motorola Mobility since being acquired by the Web giant…Google is expected to allow the unit to spend up to $500 million marketing the highly anticipated smartphone…The device is expected to be available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless this fall…With an emphasis toward customer convenience and customization, Motorola has reportedly taken steps to limit "bloatware,"…Customers will be able to choose the colors for the back of the device and the trim and engrave a name or message to the back cover…With Google's backing, the Moto X represents Motorola's best chance in years to make inroads against Apple and Samsung…a sign-up page for the Moto X handset finally went live earlier this month, offering users access to the product information and promotional offers…”  [if Google advertises that the Moto X will get Android updates at the same frequency of the Nexus phones, I’d be tempted to buy a Moto X just to offset the iPhone / Galaxy S duopoly; if Google can make the Moto X a huge seller by virtue of Google’s brand equity and a large marketing budget, it could have an excellent ‘new benchmark’ innovation driver impact on the smartphone market – ed.]
20.    Microsoft Slashes Price Of Surface RT Tablet By $150 To Stem Sliding Demand  http://www.ibtimes.com/microsoft-slashes-price-surface-rt-tablet-150-stem-sliding-demand-1345101  “Microsoft…cut the price on all variants of its Surface RT tablet by $150 in an attempt to lure customers in a market dominated by bestsellers from competitors such as Apple…Microsoft's website…showed the least-expensive model of the Surface RT tablet (the 32 GB version) is now priced at $349, down from $499…sales of the Surface RT have been disappointing, and some involved with the device have accused Microsoft of not doing enough to explain why consumers should choose the RT version of Windows. Unlike the costlier Surface Pro, the Surface RT doesn't run older Windows-compatible software programs…”
21.     How much better can smartphone cameras get?  http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/16/tech/gaming-gadgets/smartphone-cameras-future/  “Smartphone competition isn't just about choosing the biggest screen, fastest processor or sleekest operating system. As phones continue to replace point-and-shoot cameras, a new battleground for smartphone manufacturers is camera quality…Nokia's new Lumia 1020 smartphone…features a whopping 41-megapixel camera…If 41 megapixels in a smartphone sounds too good to be true it's because in some ways it is…The iPhone 5's back-facing camera is just 8 megapixels, the Samsung Galaxy 4's is 13 megapixels and the Canon 5D Mark III DSLR camera, favored by many professional photographers, is 22.3 megapixels…”
Apps
22.    A Better Google Maps App for Apple and Android Devices  http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/an-improved-google-maps-app-for-apple-and-android-devices/  “…Not only has Google improved Google Maps for iPhone, it’s also brought that same free app to three machines that never had it: the iPad, Android phones and Android tablets. (The Android versions …requires the Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean…new features that today’s new version brings…include: * Greater speed. All app versions are faster than before…* Better place information…* Greater emphasis on exploration…* Traffic incidents and auto-rerouting…* Offline maps…” [arrrghh…I need to get a good job so I can buy a new smartphone; there are just so many things my Android 2.2 old LG Virgin Mobile phone won’t do – ed.]
23.    Free smartphone apps are ‘modern spyware’  http://biztechreport.co.uk/2013/07/free-smartphone-apps-are-modern-spyware/  “…The Clueful app was used to analyse over 200,000 free iOS apps and over 300,000 free Android apps. 45% of the iOS software was found to track locations, compared to 35% of the Android apps, and nearly a fifth of the iOS apps looked at contact lists compared to around 8% on Android…“The application becomes free only after the user has paid for it with his or her privacy.” Nearly 28,000 of the free apps could leak a smartphone’s number to advertisers…”
SkyNet
24.    Google Chromebook sales soar in face of PC decline  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10173494/Google-Chromebook-sales-soar-in-face-of-PC-decline.html  “Google's Chromebook is one of the few computers than continues to attract customers as PC sales continue to plummet. In the past eight months Google's Chromebook netbooks have snared 20 to 25 per cent of the US market for laptops under $300…The sub-$300 laptop market is expected to increase by more than 10 per cent by the end of 2013…Sales of netbooks and notebooks have declined in recent years as tablets and smartphones have become the gadget of choice for computing on the go. Between April and June this year worldwide sales of PCs fell by 10.9 per cent, a drop of 76m units, making it the longest decline in the PC market's history…”
25.    Google improves copying and pasting between Gmail and Google Docs  http://thenextweb.com/google/2013/07/10/google-dramatically-improves-copying-and-pasting-between-gmail-and-google-docs-but-only-in-chrome/  “Google…announced…improvements to copying and pasting between Gmail and Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. There’s only one catch: you have to be using Chrome. If you have Google’s browser, you can now copy slides from one presentation to another, bring shapes from drawings into a slide, or even take tables from a spreadsheet and paste it into a Gmail message. Regardless of what you’re doing, Google claims the formatting will stay exactly the same…copy and paste can be accessed from the keyboard shortcuts you’re used to or from the right-click menu. The copy and paste support document adds a bit more: Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides let you copy and paste text and images between all of your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations — even if you’re going from one type of file to another…”
26.    Microsoft’s first IE11 bug bounty goes to a Google engineer  http://www.geek.com/microsoft/microsofts-first-ie11-bug-bounty-goes-to-a-google-engineer-1562129/  “Microsoft has long eschewed the use of public bug bounties to track down vulnerabilities, but it decided to give them a try last month…The first person to win an IE11 bug bounty turns out to be a Google engineer…it was Google engineer Ivan Fratric who had claimed it. It might seem strange to see Google engineers poking around with Microsoft’s browser instead of Chrome, but the search giant needs to support all browsers with its web products. Plenty of regular users still run Internet Explorer, so Google has an interest in making sure it works. It is not uncommon for Google engineers to alert Microsoft to flaws in its software…”
27.    Google Has A New Revenue Driver — And It's A Threat To Amazon  http://www.businessinsider.com/google-product-listing-ads-revenue-2013-7  “Google has seen a huge uptake in its new "Product Listing Ads" (PLAs) which compete against Amazon for internet shoppers' clicks, and push Amazon's search results lower down Google's listings…Nearly 10,000 U.S. advertisers are now using Google PLAs, up 54.7% in June (quarter to quarter), according to a Jefferies research team led by Brian Pitz and Brian Fitzgerald. Those advertisers are running 156,000 ads, up 20.8% from the previous quarter…”
General Technology
28.    DARPA unveils Atlas, one of world's most advanced humanoid robots  http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/07/12/darpa-unveils-one-world-most-advanced-humanoid-robots/  “He’s six-two, weighs 330 pounds, and has arms that stretch wider than a car -- but the NFL doesn’t want this guy in its lineup. Defense contractors on Thursday unveiled one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built as part of the DARPA Virtual Robotics Challenge in Waltham, Mass. Called ATLAS, the giant is controlled by a human operator, who guides the sensors, hydraulics, and limbs through a range of natural motions, the military said. He can walk up stairs, stay upright after getting hit with heavy weights, and climb over or around obstacles in his path -- and may ultimately boost the ability of first responders in a disaster scenario…”  [pretty cool looking robot! – ed.]
29.    PCWorld Exits Print, and the Era of Computer Magazines Ends  http://techland.time.com/2013/07/11/pcworld-exits-print-and-the-era-of-computer-magazines-ends/  “…it’s sort of a shock it didn’t happen several years ago. After slightly more than thirty years in print, PCWorld magazine is ceasing publication, effective with the current issue, to focus on its website and digital editions…The web has been awfully hard on magazines, and no category has suffered more than computer publications. Both readers and advertisers have largely moved online. Many of them did so years ago — especially the sort of tech-savvy people who once read PC magazines. At the end, PCWorld was about a quarter the size it once was in terms of pages and had lost two-thirds of its readership. I don’t even want to think about what had happened to its profits…”
30.    A Human-Powered Helicopter Wins the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize  http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/diy-flying/finally-a-human-powered-helicopter-wins-the-250000-sikorsky-prize-15682369  “After more than 30 years without a winner, the Sikorsky Prize has a champion…by keeping a human powered helicopter aloft for more than a minute. Aerovelo, an aeronautical engineering startup founded by Canadians Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson, announced this morning that the Federation d'Aviation Intenationale (FAI)—the governing body of international aeronautical prizes—has certified a flight that Reichert piloted on June 13 as having met the qualifications for the $250,000 prize…Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Challenge, established in 1980, specify that the craft must fly for 60 seconds, must rise to an altitude of at least 3 meters (about 10 feet), and must remain within a horizontal area no bigger than 10 meters by 10 meters (33 feet by 33 feet). The actual flight, completed at an indoor soccer stadium near Toronto, lasted 64 seconds and reached a maximum altitude of 3.3 meters. The prize-winning flight came at the very end of five days of test flights…”
31.     Robots to revolutionize farming  http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_23658791/robots-revolutionize-farming-ease-labor-woes  “…a tractor pulled a wheeled, refrigerator-sized contraption over rows of budding iceberg lettuce plants. Engineers from Silicon Valley tinkered with the software…to ensure the machine was eliminating the right leafy buds…the engineers were testing the Lettuce Bot, a machine that can "thin" a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand. The thinner is part of a new generation of machines that target the last frontier of agricultural mechanization -- fruits and vegetables destined for the fresh market, not processing, which have thus far resisted mechanization because they're sensitive to bruising…Most ag robots won't be commercially available for at least a few years. In…America's Salad Bowl, where for a century fruits and vegetables have been planted, thinned and harvested by an army of migrant workers, the machines could prove revolutionary…farmers say, the robots are worth the investment: They could provide relief from recent labor shortages, lessen the unknowns of immigration reform, even reduce costs…"There aren't enough workers to take the available jobs, so the robots can come and alleviate some of that problem…”
32.    $99 ARM-based PC runs either Ubuntu or Android  http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/07/99-arm-based-pc-runs-either-ubuntu-or-android/  “A new ARM-based Linux PC with a host of capabilities—including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, two Gigabit Ethernet jacks, and five USB ports—goes on sale next month starting at $99. "Utilite," offered by Israeli company CompuLab, won't be as cheap as a Raspberry Pi, but the specs justify the cost. With dimensions of 5.3” × 3.9” × 0.8”, Utilite comes with a Freescale i.MX6 system-on-chip with a single-, dual-, or quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor (which uses 3-8 watts of power). It will have up to 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz memory, up to 512GB of SSD storage, and a microSD slot allowing another 128GB…CompuLab says it envisions Utilite being used for applications such as a "media player, IPTV, infotainment system, digital signage, thin client, and [as a] small-footprint desktop replacement…”
33.    MIT Whiz Wants to Turn Your Skin Into a Computer Interface  http://www.wired.com/design/2013/07/at-mit-charting-the-future-of-vibrating-devices/  “According to Lynette Jones, a senior research scientist in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, your skin has about as many sensory receptors as your eyeballs, making it a hugely underutilized medium for receiving information. The problem with skin, though, is that those receptors are spread out over 1.8 square meters, and we don’t currently have a very good idea of how sensitive a given patch of epidermis is…We can feel a phone vibrating through our pants, sure. But could we tell if it was buzzing in a particular pattern? Or just vibrating its left side, as opposed to the right?...Jones’ most recent work focuses on dense haptic displays, and how they might be able to give us spatial cues about the world around us. Think of something like a back brace that could guide you noiselessly through a corn maze, just by buzzing. Recently, Jones built a crude version of that general concept…”
Leisure & Entertainment
34.    Steam Summer Sale 2013 Kicks Off With Steep Game Discounts  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2421646,00.asp  “Steam today kicked off its annual summer sale, which will provide deep discounts on popular games until July 22. The summer sale from Steam, Valve's online game retailer, will offer three options for gamers: daily deals, flash sales, and community's choice. Daily deals will provide discounts on specific games for 24 hours. Now listed on Steam's website is Bioshock Infinite for $29.99, down from $59.99, complete with trading cards. Defiance also gets a 66 percent discount, from $39.99 to $13.59, and Left for Dead 2 is 75 percent off at $4.99…”
35.    Skin-Shading Technology Makes Animated Characters Look Truly Real  http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/489928/20130713/cgi-scanner-high-definition-movies-avatar.htm  “Computer-generated characters in the films and computer games of the future will be so realistic that individual hair follicles and skin cells will be visible through new high definition digital effects technology…Researchers…have developed a scanner that allows them to record centimetre-long patches of a person's face in such high definition that a single cell covers three pixels on the screen, making "plastic looking" characters a thing of the past. The scanner picks up not just light reflected from the skin but also light that penetrates the surface and is thrown back, giving much greater  depth and lustre to an image, and has the capability to capture how the skin reacts to different light conditions and facial expressions. The scanned patches of skin are then transferred on to a 3D image of the actor created with motion capture photography…”
36.    Tech, entertainment, & fashion collide at Silicon Beach Fest  http://venturebeat.com/2013/06/18/tech-entertainment-fashion-collide-at-silicon-beach-fest/  “Los Angeles has long been associated with…Hollywood…and glossy entertainment trends worldwide. But big plans are surfacing across the city near the blue water and popular beaches. It’s not just start-ups, established companies are vocalizing their support to building this community…The community is called Silicon Beach and it’s focused on integrating a new industry and perception into the city’s DNA: technology. The community is taking its biggest step yet to integrate technology into the city’s core with its third Silicon Beach Fest, which kicks off this Wednesday, June 19th. For four days, the brightest minds in tech, fashion, and entertainment are gathering in sunny Santa Monica for insightful panels, rousing parties, and cross-industry inspiration…”
37.    MIT chip could make expert photographers of us all  “…Rahul Ridhe, a graduate student at MIT, is working towards his thesis looking at efficient systems for portable multimedia processing. He is one of the team that has developed a chip that enable huge strides in photograph and video quality…What this chip offers is real time functionality while offering extremely low power compared to your smartphone or laptop processor…if you are trying to do high dynamic range imaging on your laptop computer, it currently uses several Watts. With this new chip, you can do that with a few milliWatts – the energy reduction is more than 1000 times…improvements in energy efficiency result from real-time image processing in hardware, rather than using software. Equally, the new chip adds functionality to the camera, allowing photographic applications such as lightfield photography, in which pictures can be 'created' in difficult lighting conditions that would not have been possible with a traditional camera. The principal technique is bilateral filtering, which opens the door to a range of applications, including High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging, Low Light Enhanced (LLE) imaging…The first involves taking a number of pictures – typically three – virtually instantaneously using a regulation camera. The second option…is to use three sensors to take the three pictures instantaneously. In either case, one picture captures a normal shot, one captures the brightest parts of the shot and the other the darkest. Each of these pictures has a low dynamic range, but a single HDR image can be obtained by combining them…”
Entrepreneurism and Technology
38.    Amazon shares surpass $300 for first time  http://www.geekwire.com/2013/amazon-shares-surpass-300-time/  “The rapid growth of Amazon.com was echoed Thursday on Wall Street, as the company’s stock briefly topped $300 for the first time ever…Investors bet big on Amazon just one day after Apple lost its e-book antitrust case in court, which should keep Amazon as the dominant player in the e-book market…Amazon beat analyst expectations with a 31 percent year-over-year sales increase in June. There is a lot going on right now for CEO Jeff Bezos and his company. For starters, there’s the long-awaited Amazon Fresh grocery delivery business that just expanded to California. The company is also investing in more geographies, with Amazon India as a new addition…Amazon is more or less taking over the South Lake Union area of Seattle, a once gritty section of the city north of the downtown core…”
39.    Verizon Could Face Up to $14 Billion in Unsold iPhone Purchase Commitments  http://www.macrumors.com/2013/07/11/verizon-could-face-up-to-14-billion-in-unsold-iphone-purchase-commitments-for-2013/  “…Verizon could potentially face a massive bill from Apple of up to $14 billion…based on current iPhone sales rates and the carrier's commitment to purchase a minimum number of iPhones from Apple…Verizon Wireless is obligated to buy $23.5 billion worth of iPhones in 2013 alone…Since the purchase commitment is more than twice what Verizon Wireless sold in 2012, the company may have a shortfall of $12 billion to $14 billion..Apple's contract with Verizon requires the carrier to purchase more than twice as many iPhone this year as it did last year. During the first quarter of 2013, Verizon activated four million iPhones on its network, a figure representing roughly $2.5 billion in hardware value…”
40.    Startups from many nations join together at Google Blackbox  http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/two-weeks-in-silicon-valley-startups.html  “…One of our goals is to connect our thriving partner network of entrepreneur communities worldwide with one another, and back to Silicon Valley…Blackbox Connect brings founders from top accelerators around the world to take part in a two-week, fully immersive program where they live and work at the “Blackbox Mansion” in Silicon Valley, collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs, investors, experts and executives from the Silicon Valley community. They then return home to their native countries to scale their big ideas. Google for Entrepreneurs is teaming up to power Blackbox Connect’s summer 2013 program. Several of our partners around the world have each nominated a top startup from their program, and eight startups have just arrived for the program kickoff…they’ll receive pitch coaching, hear from over a dozen founders and investors, pitch their companies to the Silicon Valley community, even cook and dine together…”
Design / DEMO
41.     Expanding the Definitions of Design  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/arts/design/Expanding-the-Definitions-of-Design.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0  “…The idea that the design process can be usefully applied outside its conventional context has triggered an explosion of activity that ranges from using design as a medium of intellectual inquiry to devising ingenious solutions to acute social problems like homelessness and unemployment. Yet some people claim that design has expanded too far…design has had one constant role throughout history as an agent of change that helps us to interpret changes of any type — scientific, technological, political, cultural or whatever — to our advantage…since the Industrial Revolution, design has typically been seen as a formal process applied by specially trained professionals, usually to produce something tangible, like an object or image…the Hungarian designer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy wrote an essay titled “Designing is not a profession but an attitude” in which he argued that design should “be transformed from the notion of a specialist function into a generally valid attitude of resourcefulness and inventiveness…”
42.    Redesigning Product Design  http://www.technologyreview.com/article/515501/redesigning-product-design/  “The Media Lab’s Neri Oxman, PhD ’10, wants designers not just to dream up new products but to change the way they’re made. On the ground floor of MIT’s Media Lab, a most unusual cocoon is being constructed…it consists of 32 polygonal panels of silk threads laid down by a computer-controlled machine and then hand-sewn together into an airy three-dimensional scaffold…it is based on a design that uses a single line to weave the shape, much the way a silkworm constructs a cocoon out of a single kilometer-long thread. In another part of the building, thousands of gray silkworm larvae are being fattened on crushed mulberry leaves. When the worms are ready to…start spinning, they’ll be turned loose on the scaffold to fill in the spaces with their own feverish knitting, transforming the carefully designed structure into a living construction site…This living scaffold…is the latest in a series of experimental structures that Oxman has created to challenge the status quo in design and production…Oxman has garnered accolades for objects she has designed on a computer and produced on a 3-D printer…She worked with designer Iris Van Herpen and the 3-D-printing company Stratasys to create a 3-D-printed dress for this year’s Spring Fashion Week in Paris…”
DHMN Technology
43.    LittleBox turns your Raspberry Pi into an all-in-one PC  http://www.itworld.com/hardware/364813/littlebox-turns-your-raspberry-pi-all-one-pc  “What would happen if an iMac and a MakerBot Replicator married and had a kid?...it would look a little like the LittleBox. Currently in Kickstarter mode, the LittleBox is a buid-it-yourself kit that lets you transform your Raspberry Pi mini-PC into a full-fledged all-in-one desktop computer. The LittleBox kit comes with 60 laser-cut wood parts…an LCD screen, various components and wires, and more nuts and bolts than you'll know what to do with. All you have to do is bring your Raspberry Pi…it looks like a fun--if tedious--weekend project. If you want one of your own, you can go support the Kickstarter project…A pledge of £135 ($205) and up will get you your own LittleBox…”
44.    Make anything a quadcopter with Drone it Yourself  http://www.geek.com/news/make-anything-a-quadcopter-with-drone-it-yourself-1561416/  “…The only real requirements for a quadcopter is that it has four propellers and is light enough to light enough to leave the ground…Based on those rules, there’s a lot of things you could make into a quadcopter with the right parts. Drone It Yourself wants to make those parts easy to get, and then super simple to setup and use. Imagine being able to attack four 3D-printed motors to your trash can lid, plug those motors into a central controller, and have a perfectly functional quadcopter. Drone It Yourself is the brainchild of Jasper van Loenen…His concept allows you to attach the motors to anything light enough to fly, and uses a Bluetooth controller to offer the same controls you’d have with an off the shelf quadcopter. In his video, Jasper shows no difficulty making a bike wheel take flight…”
45.    Power your Raspberry Pi with a campfire  http://www.geek.com/chips/a-raspberry-pi-can-be-powered-by-fire-1561917/  “The Raspberry Pi is not only a tiny, cheap PC that can fit in your pocket, it’s also a very low power device. You can power it using just a USB connection…Even solar power is an option if you have a panel handy. There is another power source for the Pi…You can also power it using fire…the CampStove…was designed to charge your gadgets by converting the heat from a small fire into electricity. That power is then fed to your gadget of choice over a USB connection…A long USB cable is…recommended…if the CampStove produces enough power to charge a battery over USB, it should also be capable of powering a Raspberry Pi. And Mike Vanderpool…has proved this by hooking one up to his Pi and sharing the image you see above of it booted up on a portable display. The only downside is the cost of the BioLite CampStove, which has an RRP of $129.95…”
Open Source Hardware
46.    New Open Source Hardware Online Design Center  http://www.electronicsweekly.com/distribution-world/communities/open-source-and-the-distributor-2013-07/  “…distributors…can act as trusted sources of software for open source design platforms like Raspberry Pi , BeagleBone and Arduino. The latest to move is RS Components which has created an open source design area on its designspark.com website…RS has developed the Open Source Design Centre in cooperation with Andrew Back, a founding member of the Open Source Hardware User Group (OSHUG)…”
47.    Austin Ventures and Battery Ventures are backing an open hardware accelerator  http://gigaom.com/2013/07/09/austin-ventures-and-battery-ventures-are-backing-an-open-hardware-accelerator/  “…Battery Ventures, The Valley Fund and Austin Ventures are teaming up to create an accelerator dedicated to backing startups that are building so-called open hardware…the accelerator would have $3 million available, according to Cole Crawford, the current COO of the Open Compute Project…the dollar amount seems small for truly backing any hardware-related projects, although the focus could broaden over time to interesting efforts such as the winners of the most recent Open Compute Hackathon…”
48.    The democratization of engineering  http://www.edn.com/design/diy/4418008/Power-to-the-people--the-democratization-of-engineering  “There’s a growing design trend, some even say there’s a revolution brewing, that’s beginning to have an impact on the world of design and how engineers go about innovating. Open source—buoyed by the likes of Raspberry Pi, Arduino, 3-D printing, embedded Linux, and strong community knowledge sharing and feedback—is coming to the world of hardware faster than many may think…In the world of open source, hardware is years behind software, which is predominantly led by Linux. And there’s a key reason for the discrepancy: Hardware is physical, making it more costly and difficult to reproduce. Beyond that, licensing can still be nebulous in some cases, and concerns about IP theft and who profits also hold some back. But the benefits—including the ability to prototype quickly off of existing, shared work, input from user communities, and low cost or no cost to entry—outweigh the concerns for many design engineers, makers, hackers, or hobbyists…”
Open Source
49.    LightZone Photo Editing Software is Now Open Source and Completely Free  http://petapixel.com/2013/07/09/lightzone-photo-editing-software-is-now-open-source-and-completely-free/  “Photographers still irked about about Adobe’s decision to make Photoshop rental-only have a new alternative with the re-release of the pioneering LightZone application as a free, open-source program for Windows, Linux and (eventually) Mac OS. LightZone, initially released in 2005, was one of the first programs to offer 16-bit. non-destructive editing of RAW images, plus the ongoing ability to selectively withdraw adjustments and innovative batch-processing options…Windows and Linux flavors of the new version 4.0 were released a few weeks ago…”
50.    Vonage Embraces Open Source WebRTC  http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/unified_communications/vonage-embraces-open-source-webrtc.html  “WebRTC is an emerging open source platform that delivers a Real-Time Communications (RTC) stack…much of the WebRTC discussion has revolved around its implementation in web browsers, including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, but that's not the whole story. WebRTC also has relevance beyond the browser…Vonage…is now relying on WebRTC to power its mobile Vonage application. Vonage didn't originally intend to use WebRTC. But…while Vonage was going through the process of figuring out licensing for a proprietary alternative, they began to explore WebRTC as an option. Today Vonage has millions of users running their WebRTC-powered app on both Apple iOS and Google Android devices…”
51.     Inventors Seek to Save Art of Handwriting With Linux Pen  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/07/linux-pen/  “What if your pen could warn you about spelling mistakes, just like your word processor? Lernstift — German for “learning pen” — is a Linux-based smart pen that not only corrects spelling, but can also help students, or anyone else, improve their handwriting. There are other smart pens on the market, such as the Livescribe, but Lernstift is unusual in that doesn’t require special paper and will have exchangeable pen tips — including a fountain pen module, a ballpoint module, and, eventually, a pencil module…Lernstift inventor Falk Wolsky explains that the idea was born out of frustration with his oldest son’s homework mistakes. Wolsky says his son was too often distracted, and would make small, preventable errors. “My wife said: ‘I wish the pen would give him an electroshock or something to make him think about his spelling,’”…Lernstift works by monitoring what a user is writing using built in sensors. It can then send data wirelessly to a computer or tablet that can analyze what’s being written and then tell the pen to vibrate if the user draws a letter too sloppily, or if they misspell a word. “They get instant feedback…”
Civilian Aerospace
52.    3D printed rocket parts  http://venturebeat.com/2013/07/14/nasa-3d-printed-rocket-part/  “3D printing…can…help send humans into space…NASA has successfully tested a rocket part created via 3D printer…the 3D printed part — the uber-complicated rocket injector — was created via selective laser sintering, an additive manufacturing process that uses high-powered lasers to melt metallic powders into 3D structures. “The injector is the heart of a rocket engine and represents a large portion of the resulting cost of these systems…Not only will 3D printing reduce the cost of putting together rocket parts, but it also opens up the possibility for astronauts to do their own manufacturing in space. There’s also the time factor. NASA says the 3D printed rocket injector it created would have taken more than a year to create using traditional processes. With 3D printing, it took less than four months…”
53.    Funding for plasma engines  http://www.sen.com/news/veteran-astronaut-seeks-funding-to-boost-plasma-engines.html  “…Ad Astra Rocket Company, which is headed by a former NASA astronaut…is working on advanced plasma propulsion technology…Ad Astra’s revolutionary engine is called Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR)…Ad Astra say their rocket engine, using superheated gas for thrust, represents the best form of power to drive spacecraft on missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The technology is not suited to lifting vehicles from the ground into orbit, but once in the vacuum of space it is far more efficient than a conventional chemical rocket…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
54.    Liability modelling speeds boosted by computer games technology  http://www.risk.net/insurance-risk/feature/2277552/liability-modelling-speeds-boosted-by-computer-games-technology  “Today's insurers face many computational challenges, as products become more complex, markets more volatile and regulations more onerous. Valuing portfolios - especially of complex products such as variable annuities (VAs) - as well as measuring risks, calculating reserves and capital, and devising hedges, can stretch conventional technology…Now there is an alternative approach - using microprocessors originally developed for computer graphics that enable companies to speed up even their largest modelling calculations by 100 times or more…achieving such levels of performance improvement requires considerable investment in development time and skills, although more modest increases can be achieved relatively easily…As it turns out, modelling insurance liabilities is much like generating computer images in that it entails many calculations to be performed in parallel - either on large portfolios of policies that are very similar, or on thousands of scenarios that differ in only a few parameters in stochastic simulations…”
55.     ARM 'All-In' With Mobile GPU Compute  http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoorhead/2013/07/15/arm-all-in-with-mobile-gpu-compute/  “…smartphones and tablets have been blowing the doors off of the tech market compared to the personal computers.  Inside of every one of these devices is what’s called an “SoC”, or system on a single chip. Each SoC has distinct blocks of intellectual property and functionality that do different tasks depending on the type of software.  These are blocks like the processor, graphics, video, camera, audio, DSP, connectivity, GPS…ARM has had the dominant instruction set for processors, but companies like Qualcomm and Imagination Technologies have dominated in mobility graphics…Since Nvidia NVDA kicked off their CUDA effort 8 years ago, the GPU is slowly becoming synonymous with “GPU compute”…GPUs are getting more and more important to the overall smartphone and tablet experience…In the next few years, GPU computing will get even better as standards gel, programming becomes more standard and simple, and the performance rises.   This will enable even more powerful and quicker image processing, 4K video editing and effects, super-resolution, improved voice control, security and thoroughly enhanced augmented reality, all without decreasing battery life…”
Trends & Emerging Tech
56.    5 Tech Trends That Will Change Gaming Forever  http://mashable.com/2013/06/19/gaming-tech-trends/  “This year's E3 showed off a myriad of new technology intended to enhance our gaming experiences…we've highlighted the five trends we expect to change gaming in the next few years or so…1. Motion Controls Get Smarter…2. The Evolved Second Screen…3. Virtual Reality…4. Game DVR and Streaming…5. Cloud Computing…”

57.     10 social media trends for mobile operators  http://www.rcrwireless.com/article/20130710/mobile_content/10-social-media-trends-mobile-operators/  “Social media is a huge driver of wireless network traffic…Randi Zuckerberg (sister of founder Mark Zuckerberg), recently outlined ten trends that she said “everyone is talking about in Silicon Valley.”…1. We are all media companies…2. Cars are the new phones…3. Mobile everywhere…4. The rise of the entre-employee…5. The cloud has replaced our memory…6. Big data…7. Luxury on demand…8. Collaborative economy…9. Gamification of everything…10. Time for a digital detox…”

*****

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