2013/09/17

NEW NET Weekly List for 17 Sep 2013

Below is the final list of technology news and issues for the Tuesday, 17 September 2013, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurism and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering at Pizza King, 800 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The Weekly Top Ten, (pre-NEW NET, based on potential or immediate impact and/or general tech interestingness)
1.        California school district hires firm to monitor students' social media  http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/14/us/california-schools-monitor-social-media/  “A suburban Los Angeles school district is now looking at the public postings on social media by middle and high school students, searching for possible violence, drug use, bullying, truancy and suicidal threats. The district…is paying $40,500 to a firm to monitor and report on 14,000 middle and high school students' posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media for one year…school officials…say the purpose is student safety…the district…paid the firm…$5,000 last spring to conduct a pilot project…Among the results was a successful intervention with a student "who was speaking of ending his life" on his social media…two students in the district committed suicide the past two years, said Superintendent Richard Sheehan…Sheehan said…"It's just another avenue to open up a dialogue with parents about safety."…In another recent incident, a student posted a photo of what appeared to be a gun, and a subsequent inquiry determined the gun was fake…The company won't disclose its methods and practices in gathering the students' messages…Geo Listening also monitors whether students are talking about drug use, cutting class or violence. The firm even ascertains whether pupils are using their smartphone during class time…”
2.       Occipital’s New Structure Sensor Turns Your iPad Into A Mobile 3D Scanner  http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/17/occipitals-new-structure-sensor-turns-your-ipad-into-a-mobile-3d-scanner/  “…Occipital just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its very first hardware project: the Structure, a portable 3D sensor that straps to the back of your iPad…The Structure itself is an awfully handsome piece of kit. Small and clad in colored anodized aluminum, it doesn’t look anything like the clunky 3D sensors you may have already been exposed to…The really astonishing bit is how quickly the Structure works in capturing all of this data…in a matter of mere moment he was able to capture a virtual bust of his ever-present marketing director…Scanning the topology of a side room was similarly quick, as was the process of throwing a virtual cat into the mix that would chase after balls that bounced off of 3D interpretations of couches and under coffee tables… “We’re not really just building a device, we’re building a platform,”…the team is going to make the low level data accessible to developers, and make high level APIs available to developers who know nothing about computer vision in a bid to make the Structure as accessible as possible…Looking to buy a new couch? Scan your living room and see if that sucker fits next to your bookshelf. Real estate agents could benefit from easy-to-capture, manipulable models of office spaces and homes…while the Structure is designed to fit on the back of your iPad, ambitious devs can use connect to PCs, Macs, and Android devices thanks to a so-called hacker cable that allows for a standard connection over USB…”
3.       Mobile computers open doors to scientific discovery  http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/09/15/3190334/pdas-hand-held-computers-open.html  “…In its emerging role as a community forum, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences recently hosted a conference called Mobile Data Collaboration, with a theme of inspiring partnerships between industry and science to solve environmental problems using hand-held technologies. The forum, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was standing-room-only as scientists, consumers, app designers, students and industry came together to discuss the complex challenges of coordinating data gathered by mobile technologies…the USDA hopes to detect invasive species by harnessing citizen scientists to photograph strange insects observed eating their trees or vegetable gardens…the museum is an ideal partner that could expand the audience of users to include K-12 as well as more than 1 million visitors per year. For health-related apps, logical partners include the medical profession and health clinics…Through mobile technologies, young people who learn science predominantly via computer may rediscover the joy of going outdoors…”
4.       Box Launches Box Notes To Take On Google Docs  http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/09/16/box-launches-box-notes-to-take-on-google-docs/  “Box…is moving into applications. The Box Notes application, which is free for Box users, is designed for teams to create documents and collaborate in real-time. The app uses what are called “Note Heads,” which are icons of each user…When people are editing a document, you can see their edits in real-time and the Note Head on the side of the document to indicate who is editing…”It’s a very simple social editing experience around content,” says Aaron Levie, CEO of Box…there are other apps such as Google Docs, Jive…and others that have similar features. Box is different because it’s built on Box’s enterprise security platform. For example, Box is HIPAA-compliant so that companies can collaborate on healthcare documents, which they can’t on other services, Levie says…”  [would you use a docs suite from Box instead of Google Docs? If yes, what should the Box Docs Suite have that Gdocs doesn’t have? –ed.]
5.        13 Hacks to Improve Your Google Search  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/09/15/13-hacks-to-improve-your-google-search.html  “…even Google can be juiced up with a few simple tricks…when it comes to muddling through the ever-expanding sprawl of the Internet, you can never have too many tricks…Set Timers…Wildcard…Similar To…Flight Times…Search a Website…Exclude Words…Convert Units…Either/Or…Search a Date Range…Translate…Global Timepiece…Find New Content…Track Packages…”
6.       Disney develops 'magical' device to make fingertips sing  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24031948  “…Disney has developed a device to transmit sound through the human body. The Ishin-Den-Shin technology uses a standard microphone to record audio and then converts it into an inaudible signal transmitted through the body of the person holding the microphone. When they touch someone's earlobe, an organic speaker is formed and the sound becomes audible, effectively whispering a message into that person's ear…It records sounds through a device fitted to the microphone that creates a "modulated electrostatic field" around the user's skin. "When touching another person's ear, this modulated electrostatic field creates a very small vibration of the earlobe…As a result, both the finger and the ear together form a speaker…The inaudible signal can be transmitted from body to body, using any sort of physical contact…”
7.        Twitter files papers to go public with IPO  http://www.technologyreview.com/view/519276/twitter-plans-to-go-public/  “Twitter…submitted paperwork for a planned public offering of stock. The company disclosed that it had filed the documents via a Tweet…A Twitter IPO could be the most anticipated technology stock offering since Facebook went public in May 2012, and things could get just as complicated…Earlier this year, Twitter was valued by some investors at $9.8 billion. But it could be worth much more than that now…Twitter has become more aggressive about advertising on the site…Twitter has played an increasingly important role as a source of news and information, including in countries roiled by protests and uprisings, where the service is used by organizers…It is blocked in China. An IPO will increase pressure on Twitter to raise revenues from advertising—and use technologies to track what people are doing, saying, and watching. That could bring it into conflict with some users…”
8.       Neuroscience for the People: Bring DIY Science to the World  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mcb80x/neuroscience-for-the-people-bring-diy-science-to-t  “…MCB80x is an open-source, free Neuroscience course that is launching as part of HarvardX -- an initiative to put Harvard courses online, augmented by the latest technology that the web has to offer, free for the world to explore. Part of our course is DIY science experimentation. We’ve partnered with Backyard Brains, who create open-source hardware kits for neuroscience experiments, to be able to provide as many students as possible with SpikerBox kits…We use the SpikerBox kits in our course to demonstrate fundamental concepts and we invite students to join in.  All of the money we raise on Kickstarter will go towards buying kits for as many registered MCB80x online students…as possible. Our goal is simply this: we want to create a community of citizen scientists with you and engage the public with scientific methods and practice…”
9.       AutoDesk Releases An Electronics Simulator Called 123D Circuits  http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/10/autodesk-releases-an-electronics-simulator-called-123d-circuits/  “Hardware hacking often seems like black magic to the uninitiated, which is why 123D Circuits is so cool: it allows you to learn electronics using a virtual Arduino board and breadboard without blowing up capacitors or burning yourself with solder on your work table. Created by AutoDesk, 123D Circuits is part of the company’s “sandbox” initiative that offers simple 3D simulators, 3D printing apps, and other tools for beginners and advanced users to take part in the Maker movement…as an entry-level system for creating circuits as well as electronics design collaboration this thing looks pretty good. You can even print your own PCBs using designs made in the app and it supports Arduino programming using a built-in code editor. The service is free and upgraded accounts are available for $12 and $25 a month…”
10.     Private Spacecraft 'Go' for 1st Space Station Launch  http://www.space.com/22816-private-spacecraft-cygnus-cleared-launch.html  “A commercial cargo capsule has been cleared for its debut flight on Wednesday (Sept. 18), a liftoff that will blast the robotic vessel on a demonstration mission to the International Space Station. The unmanned Cygnus spacecraft, which is built by aerospace firm Orbital Sciences, passed its launch readiness review and is now set to lift off Wednesday from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia…”
The ‘net
11.      How to download streaming media and watch it anywhere, anytime  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048278/how-to-download-streaming-media-and-watch-it-anywhere-anytime.html  “Subscribing to Hulu Plus or Netflix is a great deal—until you find yourself on a less-than-perfect Internet connection. Perversely, your streaming media library is most valuable in places where you can’t access the Internet…you can use third-party software and a few tricks to download streaming video from Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Now you can watch your entertainment on your terms…Hulu doesn’t provide an official download option. Viewers who want to record streaming movies and TV for later enjoyment should try RTMPDumpHelper, a free utility designed to download media that you’re streaming via RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol, which Hulu uses)…on Windows you can simply download RTMPDumpHelper and the RTMPDump Toolkit, unzip both into one folder, and then open the RTMPDumpHelper program…During my testing, RTMPDump never successfully attached itself to Chrome…I eventually gave up and opened Firefox, which RTMPDump readily recognized…even after RTMPDump was hooked into my browser, about a third of the time the program failed to notice that I was streaming a new video from Hulu…Of all the methods I used, RTMPDump produced usable video the fastest…The problem is, most streaming sites—including Netflix, the biggest name in streaming video—don’t use RTMP…the only reliable method I could find to get a copy of a Netflix stream was to record it from the screen. Plenty of programs, including free options such as CamStudio, will let you record both the audio and the video from your computer screen as it plays…the files produced when you perform screen capturing are typically huge…before I tweaked all the settings in CamStudio, my sample videos exceeded 200MB for just 30 seconds of footage. You’ll need to experiment to figure out the optimal balance of recording size and quality for you and your available storage…”
12.     How to test your home Internet connection speed  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048594/how-to-test-your-home-internet-connection-speed.html  “Testing your Internet connection's performance is a straightforward exercise. You don't need any extra software—all you need is a computer with a Web browser…For best results, you want to use a wired connection…that way, you don't have to worry about interference and performance fluctuations that can occur while you're on Wi-Fi…If you're stuck using Wi-Fi…do what you can to minimize interference…double-check to make sure your computer isn't downloading something in the background…Ookla's Speedtest.net is the go-to site to test your Internet connection; all you need is a Web browser…Speedtest.net will check both your download and upload speed…MegaPath (formerly Speakeasy) also offers a speed test, as well as what it calls Speed Test Plus, which tries to test the quality of your connection in addition to its raw speed…If you want to track your connection's performance on a more ongoing basis, consider installing a utility like NetSpeedMonitor: This free tool for Windows XP, Vista 7, and Server 2003 lives in your taskbar, and will give you information on your connection's upload and download speeds…”
13.     Outlook.com's long-overdue IMAP support  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048652/heres-how-to-use-outlook-coms-long-overdue-imap-support.html  “More than a year after Microsoft introduced its revamped, modern-style webmail service, Outlook.com finally—finally!—supports IMAP. The IMAP protocol allows standalone email clients to access messages stored on a remote mail server, meaning any changes you make to your inbox appears on other devices, too; if you mark a message as read on your PC's email client, for example, it shows as read on your phone, too. That's pretty handy in a multi-device world, and IMAP is a veritable email staple of most client software…”
14.     How to look alive and professional in Web video meetings  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048057/i-was-a-webcam-zombie-how-to-look-alive-and-professional-in-web-meetings.html  “We all know webcam zombies—people who may look normal walking down the street, but who, when they sit in front of a webcam, look ghastly…I didn’t know I was one, until a colleague sent me a screenshot of how I looked online…Here are the steps I took to come back from the undead…It starts with getting dressed. Take your cues from the folks you’re meeting with, and dress accordingly…steer clear of tops with stripes or checks, which can blur and be a distraction on-camera…I tell people to make sure that their space looks professional, but personal and utilized…Relying on natural light can be tricky on-camera, because it tends to lighten the background and make the foreground—where you sit—darker. The solution is to use lamps to create lighting that looks natural even though it isn’t…”
15.     The cows connected to the internet  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23932259  “A farm in Essex has begun connecting its cows to the internet so the farmer can detect when they become ill. The Cow Tracking Project uses data collected from radio positioning tags to monitor the herd's behaviour. If an animal starts acting differently the farmer can locate it to make sure it has not become lame or picked up an infection. It is the first time the technology has been used on a dairy herd in the UK and it could change the way farmers look after their animals…the technology could also be used in the future in the healthcare sector, to monitor the movement and routines of elderly people…”
16.     Bing gets a new logo and modern design  http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/17/4737390/new-bing-logo-design-features-screenshots  “Microsoft's Bing search engine is getting a new look…Bing is dropping its curly blue logo for a modern design that closely matches the rest of Microsoft's recently redesigned product branding. "The logo, obviously, is a big deal for us…explains Microsoft's Lawrence Ripsher, a design lead for Bing’s User Experiences, in an interview with The Verge. After "literally dozens" of color experiments, Microsoft has selected an orange Bing logo that's almost golden in its appearance…Bing has also been overhauled and rewritten from the ground up to support a new responsive design that adapts across PC, tablet, and phone. The result, available in preview here, combines some existing features that were buried away in the old design, and some new features that help surface information a lot better…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
17.     Security of Java takes a dangerous turn for the worse  http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/09/security-of-java-takes-a-dangerous-turn-for-the-worse-experts-say/  “The security of Oracle's Java software framework, installed on some three billion devices worldwide, is taking a turn for the worse, thanks to an uptick in attacks targeting vulnerabilities that will never be patched…The most visible sign of deterioration is in-the-wild attacks exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities in Java version 6…The version, which Oracle stopped supporting in February, is still used by about half of the Java user base…Malware developers have responded by reverse engineering security patches issued for Java 7 and using the insights to craft exploits for the older version. Because Java 6 is no longer supported, those same flaws will never be fixed…”
18.     “Internet of Things,” where even lights aren’t hacker safe  http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/08/philips-hue-lights-malware-hack/  “Weaknesses in a popular brand of light system controlled by computers and smartphones can be exploited by attackers to cause blackouts…vulnerabilities in the Hue LED lighting system made by Philips are another example of the risks posed by connecting thermostats, door locks, and other everyday devices to the Internet so they can be controlled by someone in the next room or across town. While the so-called Internet of Things phenomenon brings convenience and new capabilities to gadgets, they come at a cost. Namely, they're susceptible to the same kinds of hack attacks that have plagued computer users for decades…"Lighting is critical to physical security…Smart lightbulb systems are likely to be deployed in current and new residential and corporate constructions…the ability of an intruder to remotely shut off lighting in locations such as hospitals and other public venues can result in serious consequences…Imagine the power of a remote botnet system being able to simultaneously cause a perpetual blackout of millions of consumer lightbulbs," Dhanjani wrote…"As consumer [Internet of Things] devices permeate homes and offices, this scenario is increasingly likely in the near future…”
19.     Surreptitiously Tampering with Computer Chips  https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/09/surreptitiously.html  “…you can tamper with a logic gate to be either stuck-on or stuck-off by changing the doping of one transistor. This sort of sabotage is undetectable by functional testing or optical inspection. And it can be done at mask generation -- very late in the design process -- since it does not require adding circuits, changing the circuit layout, or anything else. All this makes it really hard to detect. The paper talks about several uses for this type of sabotage, but the most interesting -- and devastating -- is to modify a chip's random number generator. This technique could…reduce the amount of entropy in Intel's hardware random number generator from 128 bits to 32 bits…I have no idea if the NSA convinced Intel to do this with the hardware random number generator it embedded into its CPU chips, but I do know that it could…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
20.    Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa CPUs will be able to use all eight cores at once  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/09/samsungs-exynos-5-octa-will-be-able-to-use-all-eight-of-its-cores-in-q4/  “Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa, the chip which powers the international version of the Galaxy S 4 and a few other upcoming Samsung products, has eight ARM CPU cores. Four of these are based on the high-end Cortex A15 architecture and are used for more intensive tasks, while the other four are based on the slower but more power-efficient Cortex A7 architecture. These cores work together using an ARM-developed feature called big.LITTLE. Up until now, only four of those eight cores could be used at one time, but Samsung announced…that…starting in the fourth quarter of 2013, Exynos 5 Octa systems-on-chips (SoCs) will be able to use all eight CPU cores at once. All four A15 cores and all four A7 cores will be able to execute code at the same time…”
21.     Three highlights of the Moto X, Google’s first real smartphone  http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_24092654/review-three-highlights-moto-x-googles-first-real  “The Moto X, billed as the first real Google phone because it is the first smartphone that Motorola built from the ground up after the company was acquired by the online search giant in 2012, offers three stand-out features…To start, the Moto X handles voice commands better than any phone before it. Rather than having to push a button to activate the feature, a user simply speaks the phrase "OK Google Now" to wake up the phone. To place a call, a user would say "OK Google Now, call (person's name)." The phone can be trained to respond only to the owner's voice…the so-called touchless control feature offered by the Android Jelly Bean-powered Moto X is far more useful than Apple's Siri…Second, the Moto X's battery life is remarkable. Under light use — limited Web surfing, game play and text messaging, and an occasional phone call — the phone endured two and a half days without a charge before the battery level fell below 15 percent. It easily lasted through the day under typical daily usage, which includes fetching and writing e-mails and heavy mobile Web browsing…Lastly, the phone's appearance is customizable…consumers can design the look of the Moto X by picking among 18 colors for the backplate and seven for the accents, such as the power and volume buttons. The front of the phone comes in white or black…”
22.    The greatest mobile threats  http://blogs.computerworld.com/mobile-security/22815/greatest-mobile-threats-and-android-malware-isnt-one-them  “Self-interest is behind a lot of the mobile malware reports from anti-virus vendors…pushing its latest research on malicious software raising havoc on Android smartphone users, usually in Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation or Asia…the threat to people outside the affected regions are small…just 5% of smartphones and tablets globally have security tools installed…"There has yet to be -- and probably never will be -- a massive worm, virus or Trojan."…So what are the greatest threats? Well, corporate employees are definitely one of them…market research firm uSamp found that more than 40% used their mobile devices to share documents using cloud services…despite corporate policies prohibiting the practice. The firm estimates that data leaked to unsanctioned services costs U.S. companies $2 billion. Theft or employees losing smartphones are also major threats,..More than a third of mobile devices are either lost or stolen…Terminated employees are also a major threat…Ad-supported apps, such as games, are also a big problem, when downloaded by employees…Use of insecure public Wi-Fi networks also makes the list of greatest threats…”
Apps
23.    Smartphone apps track and reward shoppers  http://www.myrecordjournal.com/southington/southingtonnews/1995581-129/smartphone-apps-track-and-reward-shoppers.html  “Before entering stores such as Best Buy, Target or Macy’s, Kelly Smith makes sure to turn on her smartphone’s GPS. She’s looking for “kickbucks,” the points she wins by entering stores associated with the cell phone application Shopkick. Scanning the barcode of items she’s interested in once in the store also earns her Shopkick points, which she can redeem for merchandise or discounts. In return for gift cards, discounts and other rewards, brick -and-mortar stores associated with Shopkick draw traffic and get valuable information about customer’s shopping habits…Information-gathering technologies under consideration or in use include heat maps of stores showing where customers were and what they touched, as well as cell phone tracking programs that tell retailers what route customers are most likely to take through a store…”
24.    Smartphone app opens new bank accounts with a snap  http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/sep/12/mitek-mobile-banking-account-opening-app/  “Mitek Systems, which makes software that lets users deposit checks by snapping pictures with their smartphone cameras…has found another personal finance chore that can done using smartphone cameras instead of keypads: Opening a new account…The app lets consumers take a picture of the front and back of their driver’s licenses to apply for new bank accounts…The company expects to sell the technology to banks, which would use it to serve tech-savvy customers. They also could use it to target lower income customers who may not have a computer at home but likely own a smartphone…The company also has camera-based apps for paying bills and transferring money between accounts. And its technology is used by Progressive Insurance to provide insurance quotes via smartphones…”
SkyNet
25.    Google Creative Coder Turns Raspberry Pi Into A Web Development Platform  http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/12/google-creative-labs-launches-coder-to-turn-raspberry-pi-into-a-basic-web-development-platform/  “Coder…is an open source tool that allows you to easily turn a Raspberry Pi into a basic web server with a web-based development environment. The tool…is meant to be an environment for educators and parents to teach kids “the basics of building for the web.” Setting Coder up should only take 10 minutes. The project, the team argues, gives learners a private platform for building a web program. For those who already know to code, though, it’s also a nifty platform to play and provides a cheap sandboxed environment for experimenting with new ideas…”
26.    Google Drive for Android gets an interface makeover  http://www.techhive.com/article/2048662/google-drive-for-android-gets-an-interface-makeover.html  “Google has given its Drive application for Android…a new interface and a few other subtle features that makes it a little more useful on a mobile device. The company didn't detail much about the app update…But once you get the app downloaded and installed, it's like unearthing a prize from the bottom of a cereal box. Google Drive now features a bright white interface, dubbed Holo Light. There is also a new Create button embedded on the bottom menu bar that displays quick action buttons for creating a new document, uploading a file, or scanning in a photo or document. Swiping downward freshres your Drive with new files. Spreadsheets have also received a boost with the ability to merge and split rows and column in spreadsheets, or freeze them to segregate them out and do separate data work on the same spreadsheet…”
27.    Google’s Patent Search Engine Expands Global Footprint With Support For China, Germany, Canada  http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/17/googles-patent-search-engine-expands-global-footprint-with-support-for-china-germany-canada-wipo/  “…Google is making a move to expand the capabilities of its patents search engine, google.com/patents – often one of the first stops for entrepreneurs in search of information on existing patents…it has broadened its footprint to now include four new patent agencies: China, Germany, Canada and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)…Google…Patent Search has seen steady improvement. Last year, for example, Google launched the  Prior Art Finder and added support for European Patent Office (EPO) patents…the company is taking advantage of Google Translate to aid with support for multiple languages, which will at least give searchers a rough idea as to what a patent’s text may say, though…they’ll need a native speaker to fully understand the details of patents written in other languages…”
28.    Google is done selling the Nexus 4 in the US  http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/16/4738980/google-play-nexus-4-sold-out-not-coming-back  “The Nexus 4's run in Google Play is now over…Google's online storefront sold out of the 16GB version of the flagship phone in the US, and a trusted source with knowledge of the company's plans tells The Verge that this marks the end for the LG-built device. Google has no plans to bring it back in stock in any storage size…Last week, Google sold out of its remaining 8GB Nexus 4 inventory after a clearance price cut. Google's decision to stop selling the Nexus 4 comes amid rumors that it and LG will team up for a follow up Nexus smartphone, possibly called the Nexus 5…”
General Technology
29.    Seagate to Ship 5TB HDD in 2014 using Shingled Magnetic Recording  http://www.anandtech.com/show/7290/seagate-to-ship-5tb-hdd-in-2014-using-shingled-magnetic-recording  “…According to Seagate, its latest 1TB platter 3.5" drives have shrunk read/write heads as small as they can physically go. Similarly, tracks on those platters are placed as close together as physically possible. Pushing areal density is important to increase overall capacities…but if we're at physical limits today then it's time for some architectural changes to push capacities going forward. Seagate's solution is something it calls Shingled Magneting Recording (SMR)…Track size is traditionally defined by the size of the write heads, as they are larger than the read heads. The track width is larger than necessary from the perspective of reading data back in order to decrease the chances of reading data from adjacent tracks…SMR shrinks the guard space between tracks and allows tracks to overlap one another, like roofing shingles. Although data is written to the entire width of the track, a smaller/trimmed portion of the track (the width of the read head) is all that the drive cares about. By allowing tracks to overlap, areal density can continue to scale without further shrinking the size of the heads…The increase in platter density will allow Seagate to ship a 4 platter/5TB drive next year…”
30.    Latest XPRIZE competition takes on ocean acidification  http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/09/latest-xprize-competition-takes-on-ocean-acidification/  “…the XPRIZE Foundation is now offering people the chance to bring home a considerable cash prize…to develop a better pH sensor for monitoring ocean acidification…In 2010, environmental advocate Wendy Schmidt donated $1.4 million for a competition to build a better oil cleanup system following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico…Schmidt was so pleased with the results that she is putting up $2 million to help address a global marine environmental threat: ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is caused by increasing atmospheric CO­2, which dissolves into ocean water. This process lowers the pH of ocean water and decreases the concentration of carbonate ions—making it harder for organisms to build calcium carbonate shells…Temperature and salinity measurements are routinely made by an army of autonomous ARGO floats drifting around the ocean. But pH measurements have to be made carefully in a lab setting. That means that all our data comes from work aboard research vessels or at the research stations that carry out long-term monitoring. A large expansion of this sort of monitoring is a prohibitively labor-intensive and costly proposition…”
31.     Beestar Launches With Ultra-Precise Quantified Self  Location And Activity Trackers  http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/10/beestar-launches-with-ultra-precise-quantified-self-device-aimed-at-pro-sports/  “…Beestar is launching to offer one of the most precise location and activity trackers in the world…the technology provided by Beestar is embeddable in almost any type of sports equipment, from tennis rackets to ski equipment…most professional sports teams and clubs have proprietary systems that cost exorbitant amounts to track the progress of each player’s speed, agility and strength, and most only work during the games or matches themselves. Beestar implements this same service, with more accuracy, in a single, multifunctional device called the Quasp. The Quasp precisely measure acceleration patterns, reactivity in change of direction and sports team tactic quantification through highly accurate location tracking. As opposed to usual GPS offerings that only measure within 3-5 meters of the target, the Quasp can locate the target at the centimeter level…”
32.    Robo-mate exoskeleton under development in Europe  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24048567  “…Twelve research institutions from seven European countries are involved in the Robo-mate project, which hopes to test a robotic suit that can be worn by factory employees within three years…the machine could reduce the number of work-related injuries…Manufacturers including Italian carmaker Fiat and the French vehicle recycler Indra are working with the teams…The project aims to address the fact that many manufacturing tasks are difficult to automate. For example Indra has to deconstruct many different types of car, and at present humans, rather than robots, are the only ones capable of handling the complexity of the choices involved. Because of the weights involved, this can put staff at risk of developing medical problems. "People have to manipulate parts or components that weigh more than…22lb…”
Leisure & Entertainment
33.    Sony Smart Stick to challenge Google Chromecast dongle  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24125352  “Sony has confirmed plans to launch a dongle to add apps and other smart-TV features to its televisions. It will compete against a similar new product, Google's Chromecast. It will offer access to online content including video streams, music and games…Sony told Variety the Smart Stick would cost $150…Google's plug-in is being sold in the US for $35…the Smart Stick is designed to do away with the need for a separate cable as it can be plugged directly into a TV's mobile high-definition link (MHL) socket…”
34.    Your Board Game Is In My Video Game: Tangible Play Mixes The Real And Virtual  http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/10/your-board-game-is-in-my-video-game-tangible-play-mixes-the-real-and-virtual/  “What do you get when you put a pair of board gaming geeks who have worked at NVIDIA, Google, LucasArts, and Ubisoft together in the same room? It probably looks like Tangible Play…this lean startup aims to mix augmented reality, animated graphics, and audio with traditional board game elements…“In terms of social mission – we really think that we are connecting people through games,”…We asked ‘How can we bring the long lasting engagement of iPad games to physical games?’” said Scholler…Sharma used his computer vision experience to build a working prototype that could use the iPad camera to recognize objects and help play games… “The big innovation of tangible play is the elegant design of iPad accessory and extremely sophisticated computer vision / AI software that works with the accessory. It basically enables the development of whole new category of apps. We decided to focus on games right now but in future it will enable all sort of applications…”
35.    Valve CEO Says Linux Is The Future Of Gaming  http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/16/valve-ceo-gabe-newell-says-linux-is-the-future-of-gaming-hints-at-steambox-announcement/  “Valve CEO and Founder Gabe Newell said Linux is the future of gaming…As proof of Linux’s bright future, Newell pointed to Steam, the company’s online platform. Since it launched last spring, developers have created 198 games on it. He said it points to a future in which games will be nodes in a connected economy where the vast majority of goods and services will be created by individuals not companies. The reasons for Linux’s rosy future dates back to the age when PC vendors ruled with proprietary technologies. By blocking competitors, open systems emerged and the proprietary hardware became less relevant…proprietary systems create friction, which slows things down. For example, he…it took Valve six months to get an update approved by Apple for an iPad game. That’s antithetical to the open environments that come with Linux-based environments…”
36.    Gigabyte's tiny new gaming PC is smaller than an Xbox controller  http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/11/4718084/gigabytes-tiny-new-gaming-pc-is-smaller-than-an-xbox-controller  “…what if you want a gaming PC that can fit in your hand? That's where the Gigabyte Brix II comes in…Earlier this year, the company introduced the Brix lineup of tiny barebones computers that fit potent laptop processors in incredibly small cases, just 4.5 inches on a side. Now, the company's updating the lineup with new Haswell procesors…the particular 65W chips Gigabyte is using include the very best Iris Pro graphics that Intel has to offer…For somewhere in the $499–$599 range, the Brix II comes with HDMI and Mini DisplayPort output, four USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, built in Wi-Fi, and a 3.5mm audio jack in the front. But here's the catch: since it's a bare-bones system, you have to supply your own memory, 2.5-inch hard drive, and operating system…the company has a whole lineup of similarly sized Brix computers on tap, starting at just $199…and even a version with a built-in projector for $699…”
Entrepreneurism and Technology
37.    Greylock’s Will Invest $1 Billion 14th Fund In The “Many Any’s”  http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/10/greylock-14/  “…Greylock…today announces its $1 billion 14th fund…The $1 billion fund will focus on early stage startups like its last fund where 120 of the 140 or so investments were in seed or A rounds…Greylock has invested about half of its $1 billion 13th fund that closed in 2011…they’ll be looking for startups that espouse two huge trends in technology startups: The Many Any’s - An anywhere, anytime, anyhow Internet is emerging thanks to mobile devices and innovative marketplaces. Suddenly, you can get on-demand taxis, places to sleep, and professional services from wherever you are…The Enterprise Cloud…”
38.    News Curation Platform Paper.li Raises Further $2 Million  http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/17/paper-li/  “…Paper.li, has raised further funding: $2 million…which brings total funding to date to $7 million, will be used to…deploy what Paper.li is describing as a new “semantic analysis engine” that will offer curators additional content discovery and filtering capabilities…Paper.li enables anybody to create their own “online newspaper” by curating interest-based content shared via social media (Twitter, Facebook, and G+), or pulled in from YouTube or blogs and other online content. The result is a nicely designed “Web digest”, says co-founder Lambelet…“Paper.li lets you build your personalized newspaper with content coming from sources you trust.” he explains…Paper.li claims 3.7 million monthly users who are curating over 50 million articles daily, in 7 languages, no less. Lambelet tells me the concept of creating an online newspaper powered by the interest-graph is resonating with small enterprises, agencies, and consultants who use the service to produce a Web digest for their community, customers or prospects…”
39.    Yahoo relaunches ecommerce app platform Lexity as Yahoo Commerce Central  http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/09/16/two-months-later-yahoo-relaunches-ecommerce-app-platform-lexity-as-yahoo-commerce-central/  Yahoo today announced it has rebranded and relaunched Lexity as Yahoo Commerce Central. The company is calling the new service “your one-stop shop for simple, affordable, and effective tools for your store.” Yahoo acquired ecommerce app platform startup Lexity at the end of July. The company claimed it would keep all of Lexity’s products and services, and so far it is keeping that promise…”
Design / DEMO
40.    Ten Global Finalists for GE Open Innovation Jet Engine Bracket Design Quest  http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/09/17/ge-unveils-the-ten-global-finalists-for-its-open-i/  “GE selects ten finalists from nearly 700 global design entries representing 56 countries…This design Quest invited individuals, companies and institutions to redesign loading brackets found on jet engines using 3D printing. A critical component of a jet engine, brackets support the weight of the engine during handling and must withstand significant vibrations during flight. Additive manufacturing has the potential to reduce the weight of a single aircraft engine by one thousand pounds and drive substantial reduction in fuel consumption. The Quest combines the power of additive manufacturing with open innovation and seeks design solutions which will not only reduce the bracket weight but also improve its strength and performance…”
41.     Explore design language marrying technology to create products  http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-08-31/news/41642231_1_philippe-starck-design-language-bottle-design  “Ever wonder why the natural world looks so different from the manmade world? Most natural forms are too complex to describe in simple mathematical terms. In order to achieve repeatability, predictability and precision, most often than not, one resorts to extremely simple geometry in the objects that are mass manufactured. Artists and designers ac ross the world inspired by nature have challenged technology; continuously evolving what is popularly known as Organic Design. Designers such as Ross Lovegrove and Philippe Starck have explored new design language marrying technology and material science to create striking products…non-geometric 'organic' shapes have been made possible through Computer Aided Design…Such software is universally available to designers through low cost-high end computing capability and software. Ironically, going back to nature for inspiration for products that are mass manufactured is aided by technology that uses complex mathematics made accessible through simple software…Their idea is to 'not simply mimic nature, but instead learn from the intricate, all-encompassing interplay of her elements'…”
DHMN Technology
42.    My time at a singularity conference  http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/09/random-access-memories-my-time-at-a-singularity-conference/  “I'm…watching a man who is not a man…the man sits comfortably in an Aeron desk chair, hair falling into his eyes as he gazes idly about the room…The emcee of the Global Future 2045 conference…introduces him as Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro…He's a leading expert in the creation of lifelike robots…the man looks around at the crowd and begins to speak. "In order to investigate humans, we need to have a test bed. I am the test bed," he says. "The professor is using myself to study the Hiroshi likeness…Now, let's welcome professor Ishiguro." With that, the professor himself strides onto the stage and the "man" in the chair is revealed as Ishiguro's hyperrealistic robotic doppelgänger…If the conference organizer, Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov, has his way, robots like Ishiguro's will make us immortal—perhaps as soon as 2045…Itskov's 2045 Initiative…has set itself the goal of transferring "an individual's personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier." The side effect of that ability to transfer personalities would be that one never has to die with a body…”
43.    MIT Researchers Unveil A New, Smarter Way To 3-D Print  http://www.fastcodesign.com/3017552/a-pair-of-mit-researchers-unveil-a-new-smarter-way-to-3-d-print  “3-D printing has become the rallying cause for a rising generation of designers, engineers, and architects. There seems to be few limits to what the technology can do or what range of products it can spawn, from lampshades to lunar bases…however, it’s easy to neglect one key factor: Printing capabilities are directly wedded to the size of one’s printer. As home printers become more readily available, the size of their printing beds shrink. Any budding designer with a desktop 3-D printer can create an intricate scale model of the Millennium Falcon, but what about something as straightforward yet functional as a chair? It simply won’t fit inside the printing box. MIT-based researchers…teamed up to tackle this very problem…the pair conceived of a whole new way to do 3-D printing. Hyperform is a new strategy for designing and printing large objects irrespective of a printer’s bed size. So not only can you print out that chair at home, you can also print a table, bed frame, and everything else you need to furnish a bedroom…By merely folding the object you want to print, you can jig it to fit into a small-scale printer…When the object is exhumed from the printer bed, it doesn’t at all resemble its final shape. Rather, it’s a dense cluster of thin but sturdy polymer links packaged in a three-dimensional puzzle that can be intuitively assembled. The chains are programmed with multidirectional notches, so that they can be latched together at right angles. Assembly is quick because each chain can only bend in the way it's designed to, thus removing a large obstacle that plagues most 3-D-printing ventures…”
Open Source Hardware
44.    Intel says open source 3D printed robots are coming  http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2294483/intel-says-open-source-3d-printed-robots-are-coming  “3D printed, open source robots that are going to bridge the gap between technology and humanity are on their way, according to Intel…"We've been doing this thing called science fiction prototyping... using science fiction inside of Intel,"…"One of the things we started thinking about, around ten years ago, was - if we can turn anything into a computer, what if we come up with a new brand new robot?...Using 3D printing, using open source hardware and software... anyone can build a robot that is completely open source, where the design files are free and the AI is open and everyone and anyone can start writing apps for the robot…So as we begin to make these robots and design and build them, we begin to see these robots as extension of ourselves and allow them to go off and interact with other people, [and] with other robots…”
45.    Open SBC runs Android and Linux on quad-core Rockchip  http://linuxgizmos.com/open-sbc-runs-android-and-linux-on-quad-core-rockchip/  “Radxa is accepting preorders for a compact, open, Android- and Linux-ready single board computer based on a 1.6GHz quad-core Rockchip RK3188 SoC. The $89 and $69 Radxa Rock and Rock Lite SBCs offer up to 2GB RAM and 8GB flash, WiFi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet connectivity, real-world ports for HDMI, Ethernet, USB, and S/PDIF…Shenzhen China startup Radxa is another open SBC project from CubieBoard founder Tom Cubie. Whereas the latest CubieBoard2 is based on the dual-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A20 system-on-chip, the Radxa Rock moves up to Rockchip’s quad-core SoC clocked at 1.6GHz…”
Open Source
46.    Audacity 2.0.4 released  http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/news/audacity-2-0-4-released  “…we love Audacity at Linux User…it’s an amazing tool for any kind of audio editing or manipulation. Audacity 2.0 has been a great upgrade to the software, and this tradition is continued in the latest minor update to the software. Audacity 2.0.4 has a new reverb effect based on Freeverb, new navigation commands such as Go to Selection Start, and better alignment tools for multiple tracks…”
47.    Thunderbird v.24 Is Days Away  http://www.thepowerbase.com/2013/09/thunderbird-24-days-away-mozilla-gets-back-work/  “Thunderbird, the mysteriously abandoned (sort-of) open source mail client makes its return on September 17th.  Faithful users have been marooned on version 17, receiving only maintenance tune-ups along the way, but that’s all set to change. So, what’s changed? In the Compose window, ctrl/cmd + and ctrl/cmd – now change the zoom setting rather than the font size…Lots of fixes and improvements to the chat…Emails can now be sent to IDN based email addresses…LDAP passwords are correctly saved agai…”
Civilian Aerospace
48.    The design firms pioneering space suit fashion  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23947790  “Final Frontier Design wants to be the number one space suit designer for commercial space flights…It is based in a tiny studio in Brooklyn Navy Yard that can barely fit co-founders Ted Southern and Nikolay Moiseev, two assistants, and a few tables…Mr Moiseev, a former space suit designer for Zvezda, Russia's national space suit supplier, left his home country to strike out in the US. He has tried on and tested almost every space suit ever designed, and was responsible for designing the suits worn by cosmonauts on Mir, the former Russian space station, and the crew of the current International Space Station…”
49.    Rocket Girls aim higher  http://cw.ua.edu/2013/09/17/rocket-girls-aim-higher/  “For the last three years, the University of Alabama Rocket Girls have represented UA at NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative, one of the most challenging, high-caliber competitions in rocketry for university students…Now in their fourth year together, the team’s goals include establishing a Tuscaloosa chapter with the National Association of Rocketry. Creating a local NAR chapter will provide the team with better opportunities to inform Tuscaloosa about rocketry through events such as community rocketry workshops and a local launch site in Tuscaloosa…Part of competition in the USLI required the Rocket Girls to reach out in the local community, particularly to middle school students…“The outreach is a wonderful thing. Rockets are cool. They shoot off fire, and they go high. It’s highly visible, and it’s a good lead into the junior high and high school groups…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
50.    Supercomputer boosted with graphic processors  http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/130911_piz_daint_su/index_EN  “The supercomputer “Piz Daint”, which has been in operation at the national supercomputing centre (CSCS) since April, is presently being extended with graphic processing units (GPU) from processor manufacturer NVIDIA. In this extension, one of two conventional processor (CPU) located on a compute node is being replaced by a GPU. Compared to a conventional CPU, the GPU has reduced functionalities that are optimized for numerical calculations. In simple terms, this enables the GPU to compute much faster, while saving energy… The benefit of this new system should go primarily to climate scientists, geoscientists, chemists, as well as materials and nano-scientist…initial tests revealed that a climate simulation on Piz Daint runs over three times faster and reaching the solution with seven times less energy consumed as compared to CSCS’ current flagship supercomputing system “Monte Rosa”. The latter runs with conventional CPUs that have been upgraded less than two years ago. Even compared to the exclusively CPU processors previously available in “Piz Daint”, the hybrid system with the GPU processors is expected to run almost three times more energy-efficiently than with CPUs only…”
51.     Ice-Repellant Materials One Step Closer  http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2013-09-12/ice-repellant_materials_one_step_closer.html  “Scientists at GE Global Research are using the multi-petaflop Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to study the way that ice forms as water droplets come in contact with cold surfaces. They are working to develop "icephobic" materials that prevent ice formation and accumulation…The researchers were awarded 80 million CPU hours on Titan…Modeling and simulation are crucial to help narrow down potential candidates, but…the computational technique – molecular dynamics – is notoriously time-consuming…Retooling their application to run on GPUs was another big step. The team achieved a 5x speedup by converting their code to run on Titan's GPU accelerators…”
Trends & Emerging Tech
52.    6 Emerging Trends In Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship  http://www.forbes.com/sites/rodebrahimi/2013/08/28/6-emerging-trends-in-silicon-valley-entrepreneurship/  “…As an entrepreneur, it’s difficult to track trends without getting caught up in them…Here are the recent entrepreneurial trends from Silicon Valley: 1. Products And Platforms For Engineers…2. Technical Teams (Still) Rule The Valley…3. “Big Data” And Machine Learning…4. Automated Personal Finance…5. The “Sharing Economy”…6. Better Communities And Support For Entrepreneurs…”

53.    Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy  http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/disruptive_technologies  “The relentless parade of new technologies is unfolding on many fronts…Not every emerging technology will alter the business or social landscape—but some truly do have the potential to disrupt the status quo, alter the way people live and work, and rearrange value pools…Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy, a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, cuts through the noise and identifies 12 technologies that could drive truly massive economic transformations and disruptions in the coming years…applications of the 12 technologies discussed in the report could have a potential economic impact between $14 trillion and $33 trillion a year in 2025…Examples of the 12 disruptive technologies include: Advanced robotics—that is, increasingly capable robots or robotic tools, with enhanced “senses,” dexterity, and intelligence—can take on tasks once thought too delicate or uneconomical to automate…Next-generation genomics…advancing energy-storage technology could make electric vehicles cost competitive, bring electricity to remote areas of developing countries, and improve the efficiency of the utility grid…”  http://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/dotcom/Insights%20and%20pubs/MGI/Research/Technology%20and%20Innovation/Disruptive%20technologies/MGI_Disruptive_technologies_Executive_summary_May2013.ashx  “…Mobile internet…Automation of knowledge work…The Internet of Things…Cloud technology…Advanced robotics…Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles… Next generation genomics…Energy storage…3D printing…Advanced materials…Advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery…Renewable energy…”

*****

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