2013/11/05

NEW NET Weekly List for 05 Nov 2013

Below is the final NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurism and Technology) list of technology news and issues for Tuesday, 05 November 2013. We'll be meeting at Antojitos Mexicanos at 207 N. Richmond Street in Appleton, Wisconsin (in the same strip mall as Emmett's Bar & Grill on Richmond just north of College Avenue). Good authentic Mexican tacos and lots of other good food, plus free wifi. Bring all your new tech toys, as well as your tech questions and answers.

The ‘net
  1. Google, Red Hat, Oracle Workers Enlisted for Obamacare 'Tech Surge'  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-31/google-oracle-workers-enlisted-for-obamacare-tech-surge-.html  “Google Inc., Red Hat Inc., Oracle Corp. and other technology companies are contributing dozens of computer engineers and programmers to help the Obama administration fix the U.S. health-insurance exchange website...the government’s main site for medical coverage remains plagued by repeated outages...the U.S. Health and Human Services...has pulled in outside help to achieve “an optimally functioning” exchange by the end of November...the project’s management has since been reorganized, with UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s Quality Software Services unit now overseeing the entire operation. The site previously had no lead contractor...The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, led by Marilyn Tavenner, had been responsible for building and running the exchange website. She...blamed the contractors for the website woes...”  http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/03/there-are-no-more-tech-issues/  “...the feds did what they normally do: hire a known contractor and keep the status quo...they opted to take a contract that they already had — one with CGI Federal — and amended that contract to add the Healthcare.gov stuff onto it...”
  2. Comcast is donating heavily to defeat the mayor who is bringing gigabit fiber to Seattle  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/10/31/comcast-is-donating-heavily-to-defeat-the-mayor-who-is-bringing-gigabit-fiber-to-seattle/  “One of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's big policy initiatives has been expanding the quality and quantity of high-speed Internet access throughout the city. A public-private partnership plans to offer higher speeds at lower prices than most broadband providers currently offer...incumbent providers, particularly Comcast, have invested heavily in defeating McGinn in Tuesday's mayoral election. While Comcast denies...any connection between McGinn's broadband policies and their donations, the company has given thousands of dollars to PACs that have...given heavily to anti-McGinn groups. McGinn's major opponent...has committed to honoring the city's existing contracts for a...pilot project, but has shown limited enthusiasm...to expand the network...the election could determine whether Seattle residents have new options for high-speed broadband service, or will have to make do with the slower services...offered by incumbents like Comcast...”
  3. Black Friday 2013  http://www.examiner.com/article/black-friday-2013-store-hours-walmart-kmart-kohl-s-jc-penny-target-and-more  “Black Friday 2013 store hours have changed across the board. Stores…used to open in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday…but those days are gone…Black Friday 2013 will see most big name stores opening sometime on Thanksgiving evening with…trail blazers…opening on Thanksgiving Day. Kmart is open for 41 continuous hours, starting at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning…”  http://www.abc15.com/dpp/money/consumer/smart_shopper/find-out-how-you-can-score-a-balck-friday-deal  “…start looking at the “leaked” Black Friday ads websites and read some of the blogs and articles. Some great websites to bookmark are Fatwallet.com/black-Friday.com , BlackFriday.com , Dealnews.com/black-Friday , Bfads.net and Blackfriday.Bradsdeals.com . Plus sign up for their email alerts…How do you know you are getting a good deal?...Use tools like Thepricegeek.com . It is a free website that lets you figure out the average price of items sold on websites such as Amazon.com and eBay.com…Amazon.com is a great website to study prices on things you may want to try and score over the Black Friday season…If you have a Smartphone download a price checking app, like…"Price Grabber" or "Red Laser…”  http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/11/black-friday-2013-holiday-shopping-season-starts-just-after-halloween-ends-96275.html  “…Walmart is among numerous stores who have already rolled out Christmas displays and deals…The world's largest retailer is pulling forward by nearly a month seven big deals on items like TVs and tablets that were originally reserved for the day after Thanksgiving and so-called Cyber Monday. Shoppers will be able to purchase the items online starting shortly after midnight Friday…The seven deals include a 42-inch JVC LED TV for $299, a savings of 36 percent, and a 10-inch XELIO tablet for $49, a 51 percent discount…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
  1. Driver cited for wearing Google Glass expects to fight ticket  http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/11/01/driver-cited-for-wearing-google-glass-expects-to-fight-ticket/  “An early adopter of Google's Internet-connected eyeglasses plans to fight a citation for wearing the device while driving...saying the technology makes navigation easier than smartphones and GPS devices...a California Highway Patrol officer noticed she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation usually given to drivers who may be distracted by a video or TV screen. A challenge to what may be a first-of-its-kind citation could force authorities to re-examine laws and consider how best to regulate evolving gadgetry that will one day become mainstream...”
  2. Patent war goes nuclear: Microsoft, Apple-owned “Rockstar” sues Google  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/patent-war-goes-nuclear-microsoft-apple-owned-rockstar-sues-google/  “...Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 and sold...6,000 patents covering 4G wireless innovations and a range of technologies...Google bid for the patents, but...the patents went to...Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony—operating under the name "Rockstar Bidco."...the Nortel portfolio was the patent equivalent of a nuclear stockpile: dangerous in the wrong hands...This afternoon, that stockpile was...used for launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android...the eight lawsuits filed...today by Rockstar Consortium mean that the conflict just hit DEFCON 1...Google's failure to get patents in the Nortel auction was seen as one of the driving factors in its...purchase of Motorola...The suits filed today are against Google and seven companies that make Android smartphones: Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE...The complaint against Google involves six patents...The patents describe "an advertisement machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network."...The suits against the six manufacturing companies...cover a variety of innovations...One patent...for a "navigation tool for graphical user interface" describes a way of navigating through electronic documents. Another describes an "Internet protocol filter," and a third patent describes an "integrated message center."...The Rockstar Consortium may be the ultimate example of patent "privateering"—when big companies hand off their patents to small shell companies to do the dirty work of suing their competitors. Essentially, it's patent trolling gone corporate...But Google has plenty of patents, and this new attack seems assured to bring a counterattack...the $4.5 billion Rockstar purchase shows that Google's competitors will spare no expense to put a damper on Android...”
  3. Feinstein Releases Intentionally Misleading NSA Reform Bill, Tries To Legalize Illegal NSA Bulk Data Collection  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131031/12394625090/feinstein-releases-fake-nsa-reform-bill-actually-tries-to-legalize-illegal-nsa-bulk-data-collection.shtml  “Despite Dianne Feinstein's supposed "conversion" earlier this week about the NSA being out of control with its spying...it's...become apparent that this was all pure theater to make people think that real reform might be coming...she held a markup of her planned "reform" bill for the collection of intelligence by the NSA (and held the markup in secret -- because nothing says "let's increase transparency of the NSA" like keeping the debates and votes secret). That bill...Prohibits the collection of bulk communication records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act except under specific procedures and restrictions set forth in the bill...Reading that, you might think it actually banned the bulk data collection that's been reported on, but...it does exactly the opposite of what Feinstein claims. Rather than banning bulk data collection, it legalizes it...”
  4. “badBIOS,” the mysterious Mac and PC malware that jumps airgap  http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/10/meet-badbios-the-mysterious-mac-and-pc-malware-that-jumps-airgaps/  “Three years ago, security consultant Dragos Ruiu...noticed something highly unusual: his MacBook Air, on which he had just installed a fresh copy of OS X, spontaneously updated the firmware that helps it boot. Stranger still, when Ruiu then tried to boot the machine off a CD ROM, it refused. He also found that the machine could delete data and undo configuration changes with no prompting...In the following months, Ruiu observed more odd phenomena that seemed straight out of a science-fiction thriller. A computer running the Open BSD operating system also began to modify its settings and delete its data without explanation or prompting...Strangest of all was the ability of infected machines to transmit small amounts of network data with other infected machines even when their power cords and Ethernet cables were unplugged and their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards were removed...affected operating systems also included multiple variants of Windows and Linux...Within hours or weeks of wiping an infected computer clean, the odd behavior would return...in addition to jumping "airgaps" designed to isolate infected or sensitive machines...the malware seems to have self-healing capabilities...It was like: wait a minute, how can that happen? How can the machine react and attack the software that we're using to attack it?...all of a sudden the search function in the registry editor stopped working when we were using it to search for their keys."...Ruiu has taken to Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus to document his investigative odyssey...The malware, Ruiu believes, is transmitted though USB drives to infect...a computer's Basic Input/Output System (BIOS), Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), and possibly other firmware...Ruiu posited another theory that..."badBIOS,"...has the ability to use high-frequency transmissions passed between computer speakers and microphones to bridge airgaps...this story...struck me as the stuff of urban legend, the advanced persistent threat equivalent of a Bigfoot sighting...while several fellow security experts have assisted his investigation...hundreds...of his peers...have so far not reported the kind of odd phenomena that has afflicted Ruiu's computers...Ruiu's peers have mostly responded with deep-seated concern and...fascination to his dispatches about badBIOS...”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
  1. Nexus 5 vs. Moto X: The next Nexus takes on the first Google phone  http://www.geek.com/android/nexus-5-vs-moto-x-the-next-nexus-takes-on-the-first-google-phone-1575786/  “The Nexus 5 is finally here...with KitKat...In this article it’ll be the Nexus 5 vs the Moto X...the Moto X...overall experience far outperformed what we expected from its specs and the phone is far from...just another mid-range Android device...Nexus 5 specifications...Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2.3GHz...Graphics: Adreno 330...RAM: 2GB...Display: 1920×1080...445 ppi pixel density…[screen] 4.95 inches...Cameras: 8MP with optical image stabilization, 1.3MP front-facing camera...Storage: 16GB or 32GB...Removable storage: No...WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, wireless charging...I haven’t used the Nexus 5 yet but all indications point to this being a flagship-level phone...it’s going to be one of the best Android devices on the market until all the OEMs can catch up...The major takeaways from a hardware comparison between the two are the differences in 1) the display 2) the cameras 3) customization and 4) the size...If you...want a phone that...has at least 2+ years of life in it, then the Nexus 5 is the best bet right now...”
  2. ARM delivers first 16-core Mali GPU design  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2058920/arm-delivers-first-16core-mali-gpu-design.html  “ARM has released designs for two new Mali GPU cores, including a 16-core part that should help bring higher-end capabilities like video-editing and gesture control to smartphones and tablets...the Mali-T760, is ARM’s most powerful GPU to date...The processor design doubles the core count over its predecessor but is more energy efficient...thanks partly to a 50 percent reduction in the...bandwidth needed to move data in and out of memory...It’s best known for its Cortex CPU designs, used in most smartphones and tablets...It’s less dominant in graphics, where it trails Qualcomm and Imagination Technologies. But ARM’s share of the mobile GPU market is growing and now stands at 18 percent...”
  3. The ultimate guide to making a tablet your main computer  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2059561/let-go-of-that-laptop-the-ultimate-guide-to-making-a-tablet-your-main-computer.html  “The “laptop killer” of tablets has yet to emerge, but...With the tablet’s lighter weight, longer battery life, and near-instant boot-up, the building blocks of a productivity engine are already there...Microsoft’s...Surface Pro 2, with its full Windows OS and ability to run desktop applications, just needs a Touch or Type Cover to make a...fine hybrid...But...the vast majority of us who have iOS and Android tablets rather than Surface slates...With the right apps and accessories, plus a few changes in how you work, your trusty tablet just might replace a conventional laptop. If you don’t already own one, two great choices are Apple’s iPad and Google’s Nexus 10...”
  4. Windows Phone overtakes iOS in Italy   http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/11/04/report-windows-phone-overtakes-ios-in-italy-and-makes-progress-in-europe/  “...according to a...report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showing data for the three months to September 2013, Windows Phone has overtaken iOS in Italy [13.7% vs 10.2% - ed.] and now makes up one in 10 smartphone sales across five major European markets – the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain...”
Apps
  1. Smartphone App Can Make Facebook Notifications Smell Like Cinnamon Rolls and Other Scents  http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/361133  “...a new app that sprays different scents has been developed for those bored with using smartphone apps for just looking at images or listening to sounds...a new scent spraying app, Scentee...can...be used as just an air-freshener set to spray scent periodically or used as a 'like' alert on Facebook...Scentee is the world's first product that alerts someone by scent when they receive likes on Facebook and users can send individual smells instead of or with images to friends. Some of the individual scents available are lavender, coffee, mint, rose, curry and cinnamon. The company's plan is for Scentee to be compatible not only with Facebook but with Twitter, emails and phone calls...Scentee is available on Amazon along with Scentee's previous app, 'Hana Yakiniku'...The 'Hana Yakiniku' food scent app is said to improve meals and help dieting by releasing delicious aromas of short ribs, beef tongue and buttered potatoes when you’re eating...”
  2. New smartphone app for learning to ski  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/snowandski/skiing-news/10385516/New-smartphone-app-for-learning-to-ski.html  “..A new app will allow skiers the benefits of a mountain lesson in the palm of their hand. Warren Smith...has developed The Ski Academy Series app to provide three to four minute lessons in four categories - freeski, steeps, carving and mogul - from a smartphone...The Academy method involves teaching targeted exercises that strengthen specific muscles and enhance ski movements so you can more efficiently tackle all terrain, from powder to moguls. As well as constant feedback from instructors on the slopes, there are video analysis sessions at the end of the day...”
  3. Chippy Is A Fish & Chip Shop Simulator For iOS  http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/02/chippy/  “...Meet: Chippy, a fish & chip shop simulator game for iOS that’s plenty of fun to play...for non-British...readers, “chippy” is slang for a fish & chip shop — aka a staple of the British small-town high street, selling battered fish and fat-soaked chips. Traditionally, this comfort food would be served straight from the deep fat frier, wrapped up in yesterday’s newspaper, and drenched in salt and vinegar...Chippy...involves memorising orders, and remembering the correct sequence in which to swipe items around the screen to make up each order. If you...leave the chips/fish in the frier too long, they’ll start to blacken and burn, eventually giving off a plume of dense black smoke...Burnt food also attracts flies, which has a knock on effect on your hygiene rating. You can dispatch flies by throwing stuff at them individually or by activating a UV fly zapper...But pressing on that until all the flies are pulled to fiery death means you can’t be making up orders so risk falling behind and having angry customers storm out of the shop. Chippy scores are reputational, based on customer satisfaction...”
SkyNet
  1. Google+ adds 18 new features for Video, Photos, Hangouts and more  http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/124721-google-adds-18-new-features-for-video-photos-hangouts-and-more  “Google is...introducing 18 new features for Google+...Google+ users upload 1.5 billion photos each week. There's...been a 20x increase in the number of videos uploaded...there are more than 300 million active users on Google+...the Hangout app...most requested new feature is integrated SMS...The company also discussed Highlights, an algorithm that picks out the best pictures from hundreds...the feature...Computer Vision...has 1,000 more words that it recognises (such as bridesmaids, waterfall, dog and more). Google also updated editing tools in its auto-enhance feature of Google+, Snapseed app and Nik photography suite...”  
  2. The five things you need to know about Android 4.4: KitKat  http://www.zdnet.com/the-five-things-you-need-to-know-about-android-4-4-kitkat-7000022689/  “...Google has given us a new...mobile operating system...Android 4.4: KitKat. Here's what you need to know about it...1. KitKat's not widely available yet...2. Google Now integrated even deeper into KitKat...3. Improved phone app...4. Better memory management...5. Quickoffice integration...”
  3. Google Launches Helpouts, Paid Video Chats With Experts  http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/04/google-launches-helpouts-paid-video-chats-with-experts-to-address-whatever-is-bothering-you-right-now/  “Helpouts, Google’s fusion of Google+ Hangouts, Google Wallet, and its identity tools is now live. A ‘Helpout’ is a Hangout-like video chat, but instead of speaking with a friend, you are connected to a purported expert in whatever it is that you need help with. The tagline that Google has come up with for Helpouts is “real help from real people in real time.”...Google gave...a look at the product...The assembled tech press watched someone attempt to correct a drywall hole, apply lipstick in a particular way, and zest a lemon...To seed Helpouts, Google has assembled a collection of just a little more than a thousand brands...Helpouts will need far more providers...Google has to demonstrate that its offering is better than what currently exists and that it is worth paying for. It must expand its database of on-demand information providers so that it can take nearly any request – if Helpouts doesn’t manage that, it will be niche...”
General Technology
  1. Our Future With 3D Printers: 7 Disrupted Industries  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ehrlichfu/2013/10/29/our-future-with-3-d-printers-7-disrupted-industries/  “We are...years away from a printed economy – an economy in which 3D printing will have a major role in manufacturing...But...3D printers will increasingly produce critical parts and finished products. What are some industries 3D printing will disrupt? Here’s our list of seven...Food...Medicine...Military...Electronics...Jewelry...Toys...Automotive...”
  2. 'Feel' objects in thin air: The future of touch technology  http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/29/tech/innovation/feel-objects-in-thin-air/  “Touch technology has come a long way in the last decade. Just six years ago, most phones used traditional keypads; today, almost all smartphones have a touchscreen, and the technology has spread to tablets…and laptops...One thing still lacking in touchscreens...is...sensory feedback; you cannot feel the keypad on your iPhone, nor the action buttons when you play a game...the icons on your home screen, or the texture of your photos...this looks set to change with the emergence of new tactile or "haptic" devices. One new technology announced...by the...Walt Disney Company allows users to feel textures on a touchscreen...Disney Research is also developing tactile equipment that doesn't require any actual contact...where you feel as though you can touch objects in front of you in thin air. The device is called..."Aireal" and...works by blowing small rings of air at a user to simulate touch, movement or collisions with objects. Students at the University of Bristol...are working on a similar project called UltraHaptics, which gives the same sense of mid-air feeling through ultrasound vibrations...”
  3. MIT Wristband Could Make AC Obsolete  http://www.wired.com/design/2013/10/an-ingenious-wristband-that-keeps-your-body-at-the-perfect-temperature-no-ac-required/  “...In 2007, 87 percent of households in the U.S. used air conditioning, compared to just 11 percent of households in Brazil and a mere 2 percent in India...By 2025...nations like those are projected to account for a billion new consumers...with a...explosion in demand for air conditioning...Keeping indoor spaces at comfortable temperatures requires a huge amount of electricity–especially in sweltering climates...in the U.S...it accounts for a full 16.5 percent of energy use...A team of students at MIT...is busy working on a...device that could eliminate much of that demand...they’re doing it by asking one compelling question: Why not just heat and cool our bodies instead? Wristify, as they call their device, is a thermoelectric bracelet that regulates the temperature of the person wearing it by subjecting their skin to alternating pulses of hot or cold, depending on what’s needed. The prototype...won first place at...an annual competition put on by the school’s Materials Science and Engineering program, netting the group a $10,000 prize, which they’ll use to continue its development. It’s a promising start to a clever approach that could help alleviate a serious energy crisis...as Sam Shames, the MIT senior who helped invent the technology, explains, the team was motivated by a more prosaic problem: keeping everyone happy in a room where no one can agree where to set the thermostat...”
  4. HDD storage capacity on the rise, Western Digital uses helium for 6TB drives  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57610621-92/western-digital-enlists-helium-for-6tb-energy-efficient-drives/  “...Western Digital...has begun shipping the new 6-terabyte Ultrastar He6 hard drive, a model that seals the spinning disk platters inside a hermetic chamber filled with helium instead of air. Because helium has just one-seventh the density of air, using it reduces the turbulence caused by spinning disks and the heads that constantly move above them to read and write data. That, in turn, means lower power consumption and less waste heat in the data centers where these drives are designed to be used...the power used per terabyte drops 49 percent. The lower turbulence also increases the drive's capacity because more platters can be squeezed into the 3.5-inch housing. Today's 4-terabyte models use five platters and top out at 4TB, but the Ultrastar He6 has seven platters...”
  5. Best Buy dares bargain hunters to use its stores as showrooms  http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702303661404579175690690126298-lMyQjAxMTAzMDAwMzEwNDMyWj  “Best Buy Co. is daring bargain hunters to use its stores as showrooms...running television ads that tout its stores as "the ultimate holiday showroom," playing on the phenomenon in which shoppers visit traditional retailers to check out products and then leave to buy them online for less. That's a big reversal from last year. Concerns that Best Buy was losing sales to online retailers at alarming rates sent its shares plunging toward single digits. Analysts warned that the company's 1,400 stores were becoming little more than a testing ground for Amazon.com Inc.'s customers...interim Chief Executive G. Mike Mikan made it his top priority to combat "showrooming" before handing the reins to current CEO Hubert Joly. Mr. Joly began his tenure...claiming to "love showrooming." These days Best Buy executives are embracing the term...saying they have put in place strategies from price matching to customer-service improvements that will convert more shoppers into buyers...”
  6. NBA Superstar Chris Bosh: Here’s Why You Should Learn to Code  http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/10/chris-bosh-why-everyone-should-learn-to-code/  “...Being a kid of the 1990s and living in a house run by tech-savvy parents, I began to notice that the world around me was spinning on an axis powered by varying patterns of 1s and 0s. We’d be fools to ignore the power of mastering the designing and coding of those patterns...So I take comfort in having a basic understanding of how something as big as this works...I knew well before I was in the NBA that to feel secure with my future — our future, really — I would need to be able to manipulate those 1s and 0s...In high school I joined a club called Wizkids, a computer graphics club for two years. I always felt like I was in my element, my environment there...At some point most pro athletes have to ask themselves “what if it doesn’t work out?” In my case, I think I’d like to teach young kids computer science and coding...I would like to teach kids about coding because the possible applications are fascinating and it’s really quite simple when you think of it...Even though I excelled at basketball, I was subjected to what many of my coding peers had to deal with before tech became “cool” — teasing...I’ve seen lots of videos with me in them throughout the years – games, music videos, commercials — but watching myself in the Code.org video was one of the coolest moments of my life...”
  7. Skunk Works Reveals SR-71 Successor Plan  http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_11_01_2013_p0-632731.xml  “Ever since Lockheed’s unsurpassed SR-71 Blackbird was retired...two decades ago, the...question has been: Will it...be succeeded by a new-generation, higher-speed aircraft...Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works has revealed...plans for...an affordable hypersonic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike platform...Dubbed the SR-72, the twin-engine aircraft is designed for a Mach 6 cruise...the SR-72 is designed to fill...growing gaps in coverage of fast-reaction intelligence by the plethora of satellites, subsonic manned and unmanned platforms meant to replace the SR-71...A vehicle penetrating at high altitude and Mach 6, a speed viewed by Lockheed Martin as the “sweet spot” for practical air-breathing hypersonics, is expected to survive where even stealthy, advanced subsonic or supersonic aircraft and unmanned vehicles might not...The Skunk Works has been working with Aerojet Rocketdyne for the past seven years to develop a method to integrate an off-the-shelf turbine with a scramjet to power the aircraft from standstill to Mach 6 plus...”
  8. How to Get Busy People to Take Action When You Send an Email  http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2013/08/25/how-to-get-people-to-take-action-when-you-send-an-email/  “...We all get a lot of email...If you do the math on the number of inbound emails you get multiplied by the time it would take to read them all and respond to those that expect a reply...It is simply unmanageable...some simple techniques can help massively improve your ability to get people to take action on your important emails...1. Keep it short & to the point...2. State your most important ask up front...3. If there are multiple parts to the email try to break it up into sections...4. Write to one person at a time...5. Make your subject line matter...6. Time of Day Matters...7. Rinse & repeat...”
Leisure & Entertainment
  1. The world of NaNoWriMo  http://mainecampus.com/2013/11/03/how-i-hear-it-nanowrimo-and-fawm/?ref=opinion  “...National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) began in 1999 with 21 writers...NaNoWriMo is a fantastic writing exercise and a wonderful way to face the demon of writing your first novel for several reasons...Firstly, they say writing a novel is a “one day” thing, meaning, “I’ll do it one day.”...99% of us, if left to our own devices, would never make the time to write a novel,”...Their second reason is probably the most valid and has a lot of truth: “Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you’ll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and an ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you’d never imagined...”  http://www.grandrapidsmn.com/news/article_3197722e-3748-11e3-b9e2-001a4bcf887a.html  “...We would like to show support to local writers,” said Assistant Library Director Amy Dettmer. “Give them a place to come together to write, help them with a sense of community.”...the library is opening their Riverview Room every Saturday starting on November 9 for local novel writers to gather together. The space will be available for writers to encourage one another, to network...on December 6, NaNoWriMo participants and their friends, whether they met their goal or not, are invited back to celebrate...There will be an opportunity to share stories about how the writing process went, as well as an open mic for reading excerpts...Nov. 7, the library will hold a forum entitled “Tapping the Wisdom of Experienced Writers,”...The panel will consist of horror writer Joe Hart, Christian romance author Margo Hansen, and mystery writer Terry Mejdrich...”
  2. Panasonic concedes plasma TV defeat, ends production  http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/31/5050038/panasonic-plasma-tv-production-end  “...Panasonic's plasma displays were the last bastion of hope for plasma TV enthusiasts, but now even they are going extinct. Panasonic...confirmed...it is exiting the plasma TV market...the economics of plasma display production just haven't worked out for the company...due to...price pressure from more affordable LCD TVs, the unhappy decision had to be made...”
  3. 'Call of Duty' an entertainment juggernaut  http://technology.canoe.ca/Gaming/News/2013/11/03/21241501.html  “Call of Duty is not so much a video game series as an all-out entertainment juggernaut, one that's generated over $6 billion in sales since its debut a decade ago...Tuesday marks the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts, which lands on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Windows PCs. Versions for the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles will be available on those machines' launch dates, Nov. 15 and Nov. 22...here's a quick primer on the mother of all shooters. The original Call of Duty games took place during World War II...2007's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare brought the action into the present day. Since then, the series has visited the Cold War as well as the near future, with Ghosts taking place primarily in 2023...”
  4. Nintendo announces $99 Wii Mini for US release  http://www.gizmag.com/wii-mini-us-release/29654/  “Nintendo recently announced that it was ceasing all production of its original Wii...It seemed as if...Nintendo was shifting 100 percent of its focus to the floundering Wii U. Turns out...its previously Canada-exclusive US$99 Wii Mini is making its way to US shores. Nintendo is clearly targeting gamers not looking to spend big bucks on a console, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One coming in at $400 and $500 respectively...the Wii Mini actually sits in a solid position, able to be purchased for less than the cost of two next-generation games.As an added bonus, Nintendo is including a copy of Mario Kart Wii with every Wii Mini console...”
  5. Ventrilo review: The essential comms tool for the PC gamer  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2059000/ventrilo-review-the-essential-comms-tool-for-the-pc-gamer.html  “In the heat of battle, there's one tool that trumps all...it's not your customizable mouse or the fancy keyboard...It's communication. Ventrilo takes the guesswork out of what your friends are doing in-game by providing a lightweight voice over IP program to stay in constant contact...Ventrilo come with a barrier to entry: You, or someone you know, must rent a server to use...If you're tight on cash, you'll be pleased to know that Ventrilo does allow you to set up your own server for up to eight people at no charge...”
  6. Pixelstick Takes Your Long Exposure Photography To A Trippy New Level  http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/03/pixelstick-takes-your-long-exposure-photography-to-a-trippy-new-level/  “Remember that night when you and your friends discovered how to “draw” with your camera’s long exposure function?...You, like many a bored digital camera owner before you, had discovered light painting...As its name implies, Pixelstick is… a stick of pixels...Pixelstick is a 6’ bar containing 198 full color LEDs. At the core of Pixelstick is a simple brain: a handheld controller, an SD card reader, and a bit of lightweight circuitry to parse images pulled from the card. Pixelstick displays those images just one vertical line at a time. To the naked eye, it’s a mess of flashing color. Move it slowly in front of the open aperture of a camera during a long exposure, however, and each pixel becomes a paint stroke...things start to get really trippy when you bring in animation. You can load up a bunch of sequential images onto the SD card, then use the handbox to switch between them as you shoot a series of photos...”
Entrepreneurism and Technology
  1. The Rise of Invisible Work  http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/10/rise-invisible-work/7412/  “...in...the city of New York, the five-year-old accommodation-sharing company Airbnb...In the previous year...helped generate $632 million in economic activity throughout town, supporting 4,580 "jobs." Its hosts...were making on average $7,530 a year renting out their homes...So far, the sharing economy’s impact has been largely unseen because we (and the Bureau of Labor Statistics) are used to counting employment in whole jobs, or part-time jobs, not something-I-do-on-the-side-while-I-freelance jobs. Currently, companies like Airbnb, and Etsy, and Sidecar enable tens or hundreds of thousands of people who are even further down the food chain than “small businesses.” They’re micro-entrepreneurs doing something so nontraditional we don’t even know how to measure it. "It's like an invisible economy," says Molly Turner, Airbnb’s director of public policy...for many people this looks like an important part of the future of work...The overarching question here is 'how much economic growth will be induced by the sharing economy?'...”
  2. Tips From Indiegogo’s CEO On How To Succeed When Crowdfunding  http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/29/crowdfunding-tips/  “...Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin dropped a rapid fire stream of knowledge. If you’re considering doing any sort of crowdsourcing campaign, this is probably stuff you should know...pulled straight from the data that Indiegogo has gathered over the past few years, rather than random guess work...the overall concepts likely apply to pretty much any crowdfunding platform...On pitching: If you have a video, you’ll raise 114% more money on average than if you don’t...how many perks to offer? The magic number seems to be somewhere between 3-8...On average, successful campaigns will cross their target fundraising goal on Day 36...If you have 4 or more people on your team, you’ll raise 70% more money than if you only have one person...On being proactive: Update your backers (and potential backers) regularly. ”If you do an update every 5 days or less, you’ll raise 4x more than if you do an update every 20 days or more”...you’re 5x more likely to hit your target if you can reach at least 25% of your overall goal within the first week...Finding an audience...You need to start by finding the first 1/3 of the money for your campaign [through your network], often the next third comes from friends of your network, and Indiegogo will, on average, get you that last third.”...Some campaigns should be more polished, because that’s what they’re trying to sell. Some campaigns can just use flipcams and iPhones. It varies, and the data really doesn’t prove yet that it’s important to be polished...”
Design / DEMO
  1. The men’s fashion brand so high tech that it ‘launches’ shirts  http://www.fastcompany.com/3021018/most-creative-people/ministry-of-supply-the-mens-fashion-brand-so-high-tech-that-it-launches  “...years ago, Gihan Amarasiriwardena’s friends bought him what he wanted most for Christmas: a giant roll of Tyvek, an industrial synthetic commonly used in construction or protective gear...Amarasiriwardena is now 25, but since childhood, he had always liked to take things apart and see how they worked. When he was in the fifth grade, he took apart a Texas Instruments calculator in order to fix it for a teacher...the principal hired him to fix 20 other calculators that summer, leading him to discover a manufacturing defect that he wrote Texas Instruments about. The company donated replacements for the entire school district. Later, Amarasiriwardena...began to take an interest in how performance materials like Gore-Tex were made. A hacker by nature, he wanted to build high-tech clothing himself...hacking together his own performance clothing...spawned a precocious business (he was still a teenager)...Ministry of Supply (“Performance Professional Apparel for the Modern Man”)...launched two years ago and just released its latest product, highly engineered pants the company calls “Aviators.”...Ministry of Supply...has decided to run itself more like a technology company...“We invent products based around use case,” says Amarasiriwardena...“We’re interested in solving customers' problems.”...Another way Ministry of Supply behaves more like a tech company is with a feature Amarasiriwardena calls “labs.”...it amounts to...beta testing for new clothing design...Ministry of Supply involves the consumer earlier in the product life cycle. The company will prototype a limited run of a certain product (perhaps 50 to 200 units), sell it to customers, and solicit feedback...”
  2. Software, Hardware, Everywhere  http://radar.oreilly.com/2013/11/software-hardware-everywhere.html  “Real and virtual are crashing together. On one side is hardware that acts like software: IP-addressable, controllable with JavaScript APIs, able to be stitched into loosely-coupled systems—the mashups of a new era. On the other is software that’s newly capable of dealing with the complex subtleties of the physical world—ingesting huge amounts of data, learning from it, and making decisions in real time...The new medium is...an entirely new discipline that’s being built by software developers, roboticists, manufacturers, hardware engineers, artists, and designers...years ago, building something as simple as a networked thermometer required some understanding of electrical engineering. Now it’s a Saturday-afternoon project for a beginner...As the blending of hardware and software continues, the physical world will become democratized...Solid, which Joi Ito and I will present on May 21 and 22 next year, will...discuss this new medium at the blurred line between real and virtual...”
DHMN Technology
  1. Dad Makes His Son a 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand for Just $10  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/his-son-was-born-without-fingers-and-a-prosthetic-cost-30000-so-paul-mccarthy-built-a-hand-using-a-3d-printer/story-e6frg6n6-1226750405836  “A...father has built a prosthetic hand for his 12-year-old son using a 3-D printer for under $10. Paul McCarthy, from...Massachusetts, made the inexpensive yet functional prosthetic hand for his son Leon, who was born without fingers on one of his hands. The family had been told when Leon was very young that he needed to get used to using his hand without prosthetics and try to acquire a full range of abilities and motion, but a doctor recently said they should start looking at prosthetic options. Mr McCarthy...came across Robohand which had a video posted online with instructions on how to use a 3-D printer to make a prosthetic hand...Mr McCarthy borrowed a friend's 3-D printer...The youngster admitted at first he thought that the idea was 'crazy' but once it was assembled he said the hand was 'awesome.'...Leon's new hand gives him the ability to carry out tasks such as picking up a water bottle and a pencil...He said a prosthesis would have cost the family in upwards of $30,000. The cost allows the pair to experiment with different designs and change the prosthetic as Leon grows...”  [I’ll bet this kid becomes a wizard with 3D printing and hacking; talk about incentive to learn! - ed.]
  2. Organic lights and solar cells straight from the printer  http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/newsid=33044.php  “Flickering façades, curved monitors, flashing clothing, fluorescent wallpaper, flexible solar cells – and all printable. This...will soon be possible using a new printing process for organic light-emitting diodes...the potential offered by this technology extends beyond screens and displays for consumer electronics...OLEDs are also ideally suited to all kinds of lighting and to digital signage applications – that is to say, advertising and information systems such as electronic posters, advertisements, large image projections, road signs and traffic management systems...it is now possible to print OLEDs and solar cells from solutions containing luminescent organic molecules and absorptive molecules...Usually, printing them involves vaporizing small molecules in a high vacuum, making it a very expensive process. Scientists...can now...produce organic components under close-to-real-life manufacturing conditions with relative ease. Now for the first time it will be possible to translate new ideas into commercial products...”
  3. Library helps kids ‘Explore Arduino’  http://www.arlingtontimes.com/news/229597411.html  “...the Arlington Library was...abuzz with flashing lights and electronic noises...as the eight students in the fourth and final week of “Explore Arduino” saw their programming lessons pay off. The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation secured a strategic initiative grant for the “Explore Arduino” course in do-it-yourself electronics...The goal of this project is to teach them physical computing, to show them how to get their computers to run tools in the real world...Although only four kids attended all four classes, Bragg estimated that the classes maintained an average of about eight students each week...“They really appreciate the physicality of the engineering, I think,” Bragg said. “When they made the right connections, lights would go on and music would start to play. It’s a great way to introduce them to electronics and computing...“It’s been fun,” said 10-year-old Peter Scollard, leading with the same word that all the kids used right away to describe how they felt about the course. “I liked making all the stuff and figuring out how to do things...”
Open Source Hardware
  1. Frindo robotics platform review – A Raspberry Pi Robot  http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/reviews/frindo-robotics-platform-review-a-raspberry-pi-robot  “Frindo is a new open source robot platform specifically designed to cater for users of Arduino, Raspberry Pi and similar mini-PCs and microcontrollers. The goal of frindo is straightforward – to take the pain out of starting a robot project...The basic package comprises everything you need to get started. Two pre-drilled acrylic chassis plates and enough screws, nuts and spacers to put the chassis together and mount both a Raspberry Pi and Arduino make up the basics...frindo is...the most comprehensive robot chassis we’ve seen. Accompanying the basic chassis package for around £65 including VAT are two further models. For £110 the kit includes an Arduino Uno, a battery clip, power and USB cables and a Robotbits RobotShield...The shield is entirely open source and caters for motor control, separate I2C, SPI and Serial connectivity, thermal overload protection, as well as providing three-pin connections for six analogue and six digital pins. The final package adds three Sharp infrared analogue sensors with mounting brackets, allowing you to walk away with a completely open source Arduino-controlled robot for around £160...”
  2. The New, Improved Shapeoko 2 Open-Source CNC Milling Machine  http://www.core77.com/blog/digital_fabrication/the_new_improved_shapeoko_2_open-source_cnc_milling_machine_is_available_now_from_inventables_for_less_than_650_25771.asp  “...today sees the launch of the second generation of the Shapeoko. The first version of the open-source CNC kit was Kickstarted in July 2011...it was subsequently picked up by Inventables in the spring of the following year...Shapeoko 2 is Edward's response to the enthusiasm and bold experiments of the open-source community...The Shapeoko community has grown from an email list (with four people), to a google group (with 50 people), to a full blown forum (with 1,000+ members!) in under two years... The design of the machine is a collection of community-suggested improvements that were designed, tested, debated, and iterated throughout the course of the last two years...Shapeoko 2 features...two versions: a 'Mechanical Kit' for $299 for the savvy hardware hackers and a rather more consumer-friendly 'Full Kit' for $649. Ford tells us, "Shapeoko 2 is every known, viable improvement to the original machine's design...”
Open Source
  1. How to Control Your Linux PC with an Android Device  http://news.softpedia.com/news/How-to-Control-Your-Linux-PC-with-an-Android-Device-396004.shtml  “The following tutorial will teach all Linux users how to install SSH on their systems, in order to access their computers remotely from an Android tablet of smartphone. These days we all have a tablet or phablet device...You can call this article a tutorial for the lazy, for people who are too tired at night to start some process(es) on their computer, move, delete, copy or rename some files, or even to shutdown their PC...For this tutorial we will use a simple, secure and effective protocol called SSH (Secure Shell), which can be easily installed from your default software repositories...”
  2. Free Guide to Scribus Can Quickly Give You Publishing Prowess  http://ostatic.com/blog/free-guide-to-scribus-can-quickly-give-you-publishing-prowess  “...Scribus, a popular open source desktop publishing application...is an outstanding tool. It's downloadable for Windows, the Mac and Linux and lets you create many types of good looking documents ranging from PDF-based documents to brochures...Scribus itself has mostly kept up with modern desktop publishing and page layout programs. It even supports professional publishing features, such as color separations, CMYK and spot colors, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation. The free Floss Manuals guide to Scribus can help you create brochures, booklets, books, magazines, and good looking content for presentations. It starts out with a quick tutorial on creating a tri-fold brochure and offers guidance on using Master pages and other organizational tools in desktop publishing processes...”
Civilian Aerospace
  1. We'll be honeymooning on the Moon before you know it  http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-10/31/naveen-jain-moon-express  “Moon Express founder Naveen Jain's...sheer belief in how the world is going to rapidly change for the better, is electric...for now the serial entrepreneur and philanthropist is focusing on mining the Moon for resources, something he explains as matter-of-factly as our future weekend Moon landings. He says we have the technology, the hardware and the experience..."We fight over minerals and fuel here on Earth. All those things are plentiful in space...people have become obsessed with conserving resources in order to be sustainable. We need to be seeking more out instead. Moon Express wants to use the satellite as a fuel depot...mining the asteroids that crash on its surface for their minerals...we could come back with billions of dollars worth of material with each load...the price of the necessary components is plummeting in line with Moore's law as technology continues to improve apace. "We were [once] quoted $1.5 million for a part; last week we bought the same part for under $10k." The idea behind Moon Express is to send a robot to space to do the heavy lifting. Moon Express is developing the landing gear to get the robot down to the surface..."The biggest challenge has been believing it can be done," he reasserts. "It's a mindset. It's also the reason science fiction is such a good thing -- [it inspires us to] make imagination reality...”
  2. UP Aerospace prepares for its second NASA mission from Spaceport America  http://www.abqjournal.com/291400/biz/up-aerospace-prepares-for-its-second-nasa-mission-from-spaceport-america.html  “When the next UP Aerospace rocket blasts into suborbit from Spaceport America on Nov. 12, it may “phone home” during the journey...the rocket could chat constantly with ground crews throughout the mission by phone and text messaging, thanks to an experiment by...satellite phone distributor Satwest LLC...“We’ll...test our ability to make a satellite phone call in space,”...The Satwest experiment is one of six payloads chosen by NASA to fly on UP’s reusable rocket, known as the Spaceloft. The Nov. 12 flight will be the second NASA-funded mission from the Spaceport since June, when UP successfully shot seven payloads into space and back...NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program...pays aerospace firms for suborbital flights to test new technologies in space...That bodes well for NASA’s goals of getting meaningful science payloads flown at lower cost through private companies. The program helps...grow the commercial space industry...Apart from the Satwest experiment, the upcoming flight will include four university-developed payloads...”
Supercomputing & GPUs
  1. Supercomputing the Transition from Ordinary to Extraordinary Forms of Matter  http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/10616/20131031/supercomputing-the-transition-from-ordinary-to-extraordinary-forms-of-matter.htm  “...the nuclear phase diagram maps out different phases of the components of atomic nuclei—from the free quarks and gluons that existed at the dawn of time to the clusters of protons and neutrons that make up the cores of atoms today...It requires huge particle accelerators...to smash atomic nuclei together at close to the speed of light...By studying the collision debris and comparing experimental observations with predictions from complex calculations, physicists...are plotting specific points on the nuclear phase diagram to reveal details of this extraordinary transition...Because the number of values for these and many other variables in QCD is very large, supercomputers are required to handle the calculations...The lattice consists of about 300,000 grid points, and on each point the values of 48 variables need to be adjusted to characterize a specific configuration of the interacting quarks and gluons...scientists then loaded the lattice configurations onto a different kind of supercomputer – the GPU cluster operated by the US-based lattice QCD consortium...and another GPU cluster at Bielefeld University in Germany...They have very fast processors that can perform many simultaneous operations and draw every single pixel at the same time...The scientists used 800 GPUs at Jefferson Lab and at Bielefeld University to analyze their 10,000 most probable configurations at each temperature and calculated the fluctuations of excess particle numbers for various combinations of temperature and density...The scientists are now preparing for a new round of simulations...using Titan, the world’s largest supercomputer...Titan combines more than 18,000 GPUs...”
  2. GPU supercomputer technology unravels one of the most complex entities in nature  http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/11/4/university_of_manchester_-gaming_technology_unravels.htm  “...researchers at the University of Manchester...have used the power of off-the-shelf computer gaming technology to capture previously unobservable atomic movements. The research is helping to chart one of nature's most complex entities known as 'glycomes' - the entire complement of carbohydrates within a cell...Understanding the shapes of major biological molecules has revolutionised areas like drug development and medical diagnostics, but the shape of complex carbohydrates has been largely ignored. The research...provides...new opportunities...such as designing drugs or biomaterials that mimic carbohydrate shape...the link between carbohydrate sequence and function remains unclear...using technology designed for computer games, we have been able to investigate the previously unseen movements of carbohydrates at an atomic scale and over longer timescales than before...advances...which exploit computer-gaming technology...can routinely provide accurate 3D-data for this important class of biomolecules...carbohydrate...simulations have been limited to short nanosecond timescales using...central processing unit (CPU) based computers. The team from Manchester achieved simulations ranging from one microsecond...to twenty-five microseconds by exploiting the extra computational power of graphics processing units (GPUs)...GPU technology allows many more simultaneous calculations to be performed...Building on these new insights, the researchers developed a new physics-based model and GPU software that allows far more realistic simulations of long carbohydrate sequences...”
Trends & Emerging Tech

  1. Gartner's Technology Vision for 2014: Social, Mobile, Cloud, Information Convergence  http://www.cmswire.com/cms/information-management/gartners-technology-vision-for-2014-social-mobile-cloud-information-convergence-022761.php  “...Gartner this week released its annual top technologies and trends predictions for the coming year they say will be strategic for most organizations...These technologies, Gartner says, have the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years...Gartner's 2014 list:  Mobile Device Diversity and Management...Mobile Apps and Applications...The Internet of Everything...Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker...Cloud/Client Architecture...The Era of Personal Cloud...”
  2. 9 trends for 2014 and beyond  http://www.infoworld.com/t/cloud-computing/9-trends-2014-and-beyond-230099  “The year isn't over yet, but I've already reached my limit of trying to make sense of many new developments...I'm ready to start the season of prognostication early...Here's my mixed bag of nine trends...1. Cloud is the new hardware...2. Systems of engagement lead the way...3. Big data gets ahead of itself...4. Cloud integration moves to the fore...5. Identity is the new security...6. Memory is the new storage...7. The future is powered by JavaScript...8. Enterprise developers turn toward to PaaS...9. Developers continue to rule...”

    *****

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