BarCampMilwaukee 12 - 14 Oct 2007

If you're a tech enthusiast in the Midwest you won't want to miss BarCampMilwaukee, taking place 12 - 14 October 2007.

If you know what barcamps are, go immediately to the registration page and sign up! The registration fee is hard to beat -- Free! If barcamp is a tech term new to you, read on...

Barcamps are tech 'unconferences', informal and somewhat chaotic gatherings of tech enthusiasts with the agenda, sessions and overall tone of the conference meant to be driven by the barcamp participants. There are no 'attendees' at barcamps, only participants, and all participants are expected to both learn and share.

Barcamps were started in 2005, partly as a spin-off from the O'Reilly Media Foo Camp, which Wikipedia describes as "the wiki of conferences." Someone who had previously participated in an O'Reilly Foo Camp but had not been invited to Foo Camp 2005 decided they and some of their friends in the Silicon Valley region should start the informal equivalent of Foo Camp. With minimal money and only one week of event organizing, the first ever barcamp was launched on 19 August 2007 in Palo Alto, California, USA with about 200 people participating. That first barcamp catalyzed numerous other unconference-style events, often called camps, around the world in which thousands of people have partipated. The best thing about the camps, though, is the amount of interaction and learning and sharing that goes on between event participants after the camp is over. Because the camp participants are passionate about the central topic of the camp, they are usually ecstatic to connect with others at the event who share their passion. Because of this, there is tons more post-event interaction between barcamp participants than there would be following a standard industry tech conference that had well-known speakers and had many attendees at the event simply because their company paid for them to be there.

In the CM3/I-94 region of the Midwest USA (Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis), Minneapolis was the first city to hold a barcamp (MinneBar) followed by Chicago (BarCampChicago). After participating in BarCampChicago in 2006, Justin Kruger was so motivated by the experience that he registered the domain barcampmilwaukee.com the day after he got home from BarCampChicago. Working with Pete Prodoehl and other Wisconsin tech enthusiasts, Justin led the organizing and implementation of the first BarCampMilwaukee in 2006. BarCampMilwaukee, held in the fall of 2006, was naturally followed by BarCampMadison in the winter, for which Ken Rheingans was the lead organizer and which Justin, Pete, Blake Hall and others helped make a reality. Once spring arrived, MinneBar rolled around again, so Justin and I ran up to MinneBar 2007 to complete our year of attending quarterly CM3 barcamps. We've enjoyed seeing the differences each region brings to their barcamps, and it's great that a quarterly rotation of these tech unconferences has serendipitously evolved, with Minneapolis in the spring, followed by Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison. With the I-94 highway tying the four metro areas together, it's a pretty easy drive to make it to any of the four events. Very few stop lights...

(Luke W. has suggested TarCampCM3, an idea that I'd love to see happen. TarCampCM3, or TarCampI-94, would be a barcamp where half the sessions occur on the road and the other sessions are held in the four cities. So we'd have the event kickoff and first few sessions in Chicago, then jump in a convoy of vehicles surrounded by an internet cloud, do a couple sessions on the road to Milwaukee, do several sessions in that city at somewhere like Bucketworks, then lather/rinse/repeat all the way to Minneapolis, where we'd have the last few sessions and the wrap-up discussion.)

That's a little background on barcamps. For more info either do some searching on the web or send me an email, and I'll be happy to answer any questions you have about BarCampMilwaukee, about barcamps in general, or about starting a barcamp or other type of unconference in your area. There have been WineCamps, iPhoneCamps, MobileCamps and other flavors of camps -- the idea is to get people passionate about a particular topic, whether it is technology or something else, together to learn and share at a very low cost and in a participant-driven setting.

Hope to see you at BarCampMilwaukee in a few weeks, or at some other tech, innovation, entrepreneurial or collaboration event in the near future!



Adobe Tech Cafe in Milwaukee

Ryan Stewart from Adobe led a fantastic tech session during today's 29 September Adobe Tech Cafe in Milwaukee, co-sponsored by Adobe Systems Inc., Fireseed and Bucketworks. We absolutely could not have had a better tech session leader than Ryan to kick off the Milwaukee Tech Cafe series. So a big thanks goes out to Adobe for sponsoring the tech cafe and sending Ryan to Milwaukee!

Ryan is one of the lead AIR guitar players on the 18-stop country-wide Adobe bus tour which concludes tonight in Chicago. If you live in the Chicago area and are reading this post on 29 September, jump away from your computer (or iPhone) and zip over to the MCA Warehouse to join in on the fun. A few of the geeks who were at the Adobe Tech Cafe in Milwaukee today are down in Chicago tonight getting some more AIR goodness. Following hot on the heels of the tour is Adobe MAX - North America which begins tomorrow in Chicago and runs through 03 October.

Adobe sponsored today's Milwaukee Tech Cafe by sending Ryan to share insider knowledge and tips about AIR and other Adobe products and by providing coffee, bagels, yogurt, fruit and other comestibles for a light breakfast. Ryan gave a clear overview of how their various web and desktop programs and tools work together for developers, designers and computer users, with Windows, Mac and Linux users all being present and vocal. The tech cafe participants were a good mix of developers and designers, so there were lots of tough questions from both sides of the aisle. Ryan said at the start he wanted today's tech cafe to be question and participant-driven, so everything was fair game and a lot of fun was had by all.

The lead question for Ryan was whether there is currently a three-way race between Adobe (AIR, Flash, Flex and others), Microsoft (Silverlight) and Google (Gears) to lead the way to a good solution for apps with both online and desktop synchronizable versions. Ryan talked about how those three companies' products compare and compete or work together, then gave a good overview of how the Adobe products differ or work together. He answered tons of developers' and designers' questions, and everyone at the tech cafe went away with some new insights about Adobe.

Ryan seemed to enjoy the hours he spent in Milwaukee (his first time), and he can now spell the town's name correctly two out of three times. After Justin K. picked Ryan up at the train station (he came up from Chicago this morning), he gave him a tour of the city. On the way back to the station, Justin introduced Ryan to the local gendarmes who wanted to complement Justin on his skillful negotiation of streets designed for much lower speeds than Justin enjoys! Fortunately the peace officer understood and agreed with the need to get Ryan back to the train station promptly so the Illinois people could enjoy him as much tonight as the Wisconsin people had this morning. People at the tech cafe agreed we need to have Ryan come back for more tech events, so we plan to show him the Lakefront Brewery and a few other local sights next time he's in town.

More Milwaukee Tech Cafes are planned for the coming months. Keep an eye on this blog or on the Fireseed website for Tech Cafe announcements. If you know someone in a tech company who'd be willing or eager to sponsor a tech cafe to talk about a their products or other tech topics they're passionate about, contact Justin K or myself and we'll work out the details for dates and the minimal cost of the event (beverages and food for a light breakfast for less than fifty people).

See you at the next Milwaukee Tech Cafe!



Simultaneous Scanning for Malware

Windows computer users should clean up their system and thoroughly scan for malware at least monthly, in addition to regularly backing up data and using other safe computing practices.

Thoroughly scanning for malware means you use several anti-malware programs because none of them are 100% effective. One program will occasionally find malware the other ones don't. In the past I always ran anti-malware programs one at a time, simply because I never considered running these programs simultaneously.

At NEW NET this week (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology issues), Luke W. and Andy M. told me they run several malware scanners at the same time. Luke runs two at a time, and Andy runs more than that simultaneously. This is a typical example of why I enjoy the weekly NEW NET meetings. Valuable new tech info is shared at each tech enthusiast gathering.

The primary caution about running several malware scanners at the same time is that they can be resource hogs. If interested in reducing computer 'maintenance' time by simultaneously scanning with multiple anti-malware programs, you should try different combinations of programs to see what works best for your computer system.

The malware scanners I normally use are Spybot, Ad-Aware, AVG and a-squared. Over the next few weeks, I will gather data about the total time to do malware scans in several different scenarios: one at a time, different combinations of two at a time, and all four at once. I'll report back with those times in a future blog post.

Some of the other anti-malware programs Andy and Luke use are Avast, HijackThis, IceSword, Spy Sweeper, What'sRunning and Process Explorer. What'sRunning and IceSword are two programs I'd never heard of before this week's NEW NET meeting. IceSword is an anti-rootkit program Luke recently used for the first time and found quite handy for stopping a maliciously pernicious and persistent program or process dead in its tracks. An icy sword through the scurrilious blackguard's heart, so to speak...

Of course, if you don't want to be bothered with malware scanning and removal you could switch to a Mac or Linux computer, but the vast majority of the world is running on Windows...

So if you run Windows and want to save some time when inspecting your computer for unwanted visitors, use simultaneous scanning for malware next time you do housekeeping on your computer.



NEW NET Issues List for 25 September 2007

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 25 September 2007, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

  1. Pass-a-matic gives best Southwest Airlines tickets http://www.webware.com/8301-1_109-9781826-2.html
  2. Intel Offers Vision On The Future Of Virtual Worlds http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20070922/tc_cmp/201808046
  3. Ning passes 100,000 social networks http://blog.pmarca.com/2007/09/ning-passes-100.html

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. ZoneAlarm ForceField arrives in beta http://www.webware.com/8301-1_109-9782978-2.html
  2. Bush calls for expansion of spy law http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-09-19-bush-eavesdropping_N.htm
  3. Going Undercover in the Slimy World of Phishing http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2186979,00.asp
  4. Is the US at risk from cyberwarfare? http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20070920/tc_infoworld/91961
  5. FBI: Cyber-Crime Outlook is “Bleak” http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/2007/09/24/fbi-cyber-crime-outlook-is-bleak/

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Does iPhone match the hype? http://tinyurl.com/yojmyr (ComputerWorld)
  2. New BlackBerry Makes Wi-Fi Calls http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20070921/tc_cmp/201807957

Open Source

  1. Free software defenders file suit against Monsoon Media over Linux http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9782211-7.html
  2. Intel hopes open-source effort will lower Linux power http://www.news.com/8301-13580_3-9781788-39.html
  3. Got more than a gig of RAM and 32-bit Linux? Here's how to use it http://www.linux.com/feature/119287


  1. Two new Gmail features in the queue http://blogs.zdnet.com/Google/?p=750
  2. Google Prepping A Second Life Competitor? http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/24/google-preping-a-second-life-competitor/
  3. The clever Kiwi who was wooed by Google http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10464931
  4. More on Google’s social networking plans http://blogs.zdnet.com/social/?p=314

General Technology

  1. Inventors Protest Patent Reform Bill http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,137417-c,legalissues/article.html
  2. Copier translates languages on the fly http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9782599-1.html
  3. Do Not Call Listings to Expire in 2008 http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=3633254
  4. "Global warming" or not, carbon dioxide emissions demand EPA attention http://tinyurl.com/ypgsox (Ars Technica)
  5. Nvidia aims at Intel with integrated graphics chip http://in.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idINIndia-29686720070924
  6. Overhyped Hybrids: Green Cars That Guzzle Gas http://abcnews.go.com/Business/IndustryInfo/story?id=3629183&page=1
  7. BP teams with MIT on energy conversion technologies http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9784207-7.html
  8. Fifteen backup programs to safeguard your data http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/09/25/Fifteen-backup-programs-to-safeguard-data_1.html

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. NBC to allow free TV downloads http://tinyurl.com/2yk3co (NY Times)
  2. Sony PSP Vaults Past Nintendo DS in Japan http://blogs.pcworld.com/gameon/archives/005499.html
  3. Starbucks to give away 50 million songs http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070924/ap_en_mu/starbucks_itunes
  4. Amazon MP3 launches DRM-free downloads http://gigaom.com/2007/09/25/amazon-mp3-vs-apple-itunes-whos-better-now/

Economy and Technology

  1. The week that Big Software shattered http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/09/the_week_that_b.php
  2. Yahoo! for Yahoo? http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/2007/09/yahoo-for-yahoo.html
  3. EchoStar says to buy Sling Media http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/25/AR2007092500496.html

Civilian Aerospace

  1. SpaceX reports milestone, details future plans http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9782812-7.html
  2. Please, Mr. Bezos http://www.thespacereview.com/article/959/1
  3. Space economies and economics http://www.thespacereview.com/article/962/1
  4. Gentlemen, Start Your Rockets http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_39/b4051066.htm
  5. UCSC to put Robert Heinlein's archive online http://www.mercurynews.com/centralcoast/ci_6945542?nclick_check=1

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. Toshiba Announces Cell-Based 'Stream Processor' http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20070920/tc_nf/55461
  2. GPGPU Workshop October 4th http://www.gpgpu.org/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/2007/09/18
  3. ClearSpeed plots 1 TeraFlop floating point pizza box http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/21/1u_teraflop_clearspeed/
  4. Folding@Home Protein Project Hits a Petaflop http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20070920/tc_pcworld/137396
  5. PlayStation3 cluster apes human visual system http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070925-playstation3-cluster-apes-human-visual-system.html



Biofuels, Food, Solar Energy, Oil and Biorefineries

Achieving balance is challenging when large corporations, multiple governments and millions of people are involved in the balancing act; this balancing act is especially confusing when related to emerging industries such as alternative energies and the biorefinery sector.

Energy, food and profit are seeking a new balancing point in the global economy. The emergence of China as a major consumer of gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products, along with continued uncertainty in the Middle East and other oil producing regions has caused significant increases in the price of gasoline in the US and the cost of a barrel of oil around the world. Because of higher oil prices and the desire by many countries or regions to have more control over their energy supplies, much work is being done and billions of dollars are being spent to develop cost-effective energy alternatives to oil.

Articles about alternative energy and biorefineries are becoming more common. Wired Magazine recently did an informative series of articles that are a good read for people outside those industry sectors.

A high visibility intersection of alternative energy and biorefineries is bioethanol from corn kernels. Most of the liquid biofuel produced in the US is corn ethanol. Corn ethanol is being viewed by some as counterproductive from both cost and environmental standpoints. There is enough contradictory data regarding corn ethanol that it's not clear whether the government grants and price supports should be support more development of corn ethanol facilities or if that money should be shifted to cellulosic or other liquid biofuels, or possibly to solar or other energy sources.

Bioethanol can also be made from the cellulosic parts of the corn (the stalks and cobs) as well as from other forms of cellulose such as wood or switchgrass. Cellulosic ethanol currently costs significantly more to produce than corn ethanol. Much work is being done to develop technologies for cellulosic ethanol which will cost less than or the same as corn ethanol technology. However, cellulosic ethanol technology has been under development for thirty years, so there's no reason to expect a breakthrough in the next year or two. Inherent inefficiencies of the biological conversion process from solar energy to plant energy and the limited amount of currently unused arable land indicate that bioenergy is unlikely to be a primary source of energy for the needs of a developing world.

A wiki website is being developed to compare the pros and cons of the various sources of energy, including solar, wind, bio, fossil fuel and nuclear. Stay tuned to this blog for more information about that website and how you can be involved with developing the website.



Lightweight Linux / NEW NET Issues List for 18 Sep 2007

Open wifi hotspots can be convenient low-cost or no-cost solutions to internet access when away from the home or office.

However, these open wifi networks can also be dangerous to your computing health if caution is thrown to the wind and you blindly assume you'll never have any malware or crimeware issues while on those networks. You may be safe most of the time, but having even one or two malicious software problems with your laptop or other computing device when you've left the relative safety of an intelligently firewalled office or home network can cause enough problems to make you regret the lack of preventive measures.

One potential preventive measure whilst doing your road warrior computing is to use a Linux-powered device. Historically, Linux systems have orders of magnitude fewer problems caused by malware and internet skulkers of ill-intent. In addition to the decreased potential for malicious mischief against a Linux computer, a person also has much more control over what programs or system components are loaded onto a computer with Linux versus a Windows or Mac system.

With these thoughts in mind, a laptop was recently set up for me by Luke W. with Debian Linux and the Fluxbox windows manager. The applications installed on the laptop include Firefox/IceWeasel, Thunderbird/IceDove and OpenOffice. A few issues still need to be worked on, such as screen resolution, sound and installing a pdf reader (Xpdf?), but overall the Linux laptop works quite well. It was used last week at Tom's Drive In during the NEW NET meeting, and the wireless was able to connect to Tom's open wifi without problems. During tonight's NEW NET meeting, we'll discuss possible ways to remotely access files securely with the Linux laptop while at open wifi hotspots.


Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 18 September 2007, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week we'll be back at the Stone Cellar Brewpub. It is located at 1004 S. Olde Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. They treated us well a few weeks ago for NEW NET and also for the Hive meeting last week.

The ‘net

  1. Real World Trumps Online in Local Search http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=3627008
  2. Microsoft’s Free Web Analytics Tool ‘Gatineau http://tinyurl.com/2ab62v (BlogNation)
  3. Mash, Yahoo Social Network http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/14/yahoo-invites-us-into-mash-its-new-social-network/
  4. Yahoo Acquires Zimbra For $350 M http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/17/breaking-yahoo-acquires-zimbra-for-350-million/
  5. Obama Uses LinkedIn To Plug Into Entrepreneurs http://news.yahoo.com/s/ibd/20070912/bs_ibd_ibd/2007912tech
  6. Salesforce rolls out Visualforce http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=6274
  7. NY Times to End Charges on Web Site http://tinyurl.com/2snwkl (NY Times)
  8. Mint: The easiest way to manage your personal finances http://venturebeat.com/2007/09/18/mint-the-easiest-way-to-manage-your-personal-finances/

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. Microsoft Alters Windows Files Regardless of Update Settings http://entmag.com/news/article.asp?EditorialsID=9037
  2. Tor anonymity server admin arrested http://www.cnet.com/surveillance-state/8301-13739_1-9779225-46.html
  3. Verizon Hires FBI Cyberchief http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20070912/tc_pcworld/137105
  4. FBI accused of using illegal letters for illegal information requests http://tinyurl.com/2ha9l3 (Ars Technica)
  5. Chinese government at the center of five cyber attack claims http://tinyurl.com/2cqyh4 (Ars Technica)

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Law prohibits phones for teens in cars http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=80558
  2. Renegade Developers Zero In On Apple iPhone OS http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20070915/tc_cmp/201806640
  3. GPS Competition Heats Up http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,137236-pg,1/article.html
  4. O2 wins Apple iPhone deal - at a hefty price http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/sep/17/mobilephones.apple

Open Source

  1. SCO Declares Bankruptcy http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20070915/tc_pcworld/137234
  2. New iPods reengineered to block synching with Linux http://www.boingboing.net/2007/09/14/new-ipods-reengineer.html
  3. Three Minutes with Richard Stallman http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,137098-pg,1/article.html
  4. Mozilla spins out Thunderbird to develop communications client app (email, IM, VoIP, RSS, txt msgs, ??) http://www.news.com/Mozilla+tries+Firefox+recipe+with+Thunderbird/2100-1012_3-6208483.html
  5. Desktop Linux? Stick a Fork in It! http://weblog.infoworld.com/enterprisedesktop/archives/2007/09/desktop_linux_s.html


  1. Is Gmail getting offline? http://tinyurl.com/32z8kb (Hindustan Times)
  2. Google's plan for world domination http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070914_002928.html
  3. Search Startup Ready to Challenge Google http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iaKPOdTQnHVB4WqdVRWYKXDQIwdw
  4. Useful Google feature: better date search http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/useful-google-feature-better-date-search/
  5. First Look: Google Docs...Now With Presentations http://blogs.pcworld.com/techlog/archives/005448.html

General Technology

  1. The iFlop http://www.forbes.com/free_forbes/2007/1001/046.html
  2. Northwest Passage, through Arctic, Opened by Thaw http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/09/northwest-passa.html
  3. Office 2007 Ultimate: $60 for students http://www.theultimatesteal.com/home.asp
  4. Microsoft launches a tipple for techies http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4fe8aad0-62de-11dc-b3ad-0000779fd2ac.html
  5. AMD Confirms Triple-Core Processor http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/09/amd-confirms-tr.html
  6. IBM offers free OpenOffice Suite http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,137298-c,starofficeopenofficeorg/article.html

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. EMusic, a Song-Download Site, to Offer Audiobooks http://tinyurl.com/25byoj (NY Times)
  2. Frogger http://www.neave.com/games/frogger/
  3. FCC to cable: You must support analog TVs until 2012 http://tinyurl.com/yv4dfu (Ars Technica)
  4. SpiralFrog can go jump in a lake http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/business/appleaday/blog/2007/09/spiralfrog_can_go_jump_in_a_la.html
  5. IAC Buys Gaming Company, GarageGames http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/iac_buys_ugc_gaming_company_ga.php
  6. Force being Unleashed on Wii next spring http://www.gamespot.com/news/6178981.html

Economy and Technology

  1. EDS offers retirement to 12,000 workers http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070912/bs_nm/eds_outlook_dc
  2. Video games train new miners in Peru http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070914/tc_nm/metals_peru_dumptrucks_dc
  3. Online currency trader nabs $100 million in venture funds http://www.news.com/Online+currency+trader+nabs+100+million+in+venture+funds/2100-1017_3-6208156.html

Civilian Aerospace

  1. Google Offers $20 Million X Prize to Put Robot on Moon http://www.wired.com/science/space/magazine/15-10/ff_moon
  2. Google to Sponsor $30 Million Lunar X Prize http://www.space.com/news/070913_google_xprize.html
  3. YouTube Google Lunar X Prize Vision video http://youtube.com/watch?v=9K4zosGUMBw
  4. 5 Reasons Nobody Will Win the Google Lunar X Prize http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4222146.html
  5. UPS AND DOWNS ON THE SPACE FRONTIER http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/09/14/363341.aspx
  6. D.D. Harriman versus Dan Davis http://thespacereview.com/article/951/1
  7. Space entrepreneurs making tracks to Cruces http://www.lcsun-news.com/news/ci_6871145
  8. Space company short of financing, partners for Singapore spaceport http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/09/11/asia/AS-GEN-Singapore-Space-Tourism.php

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. GPGPU drastically accelerates anti-virus software http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=42299
  2. Intel picks up gaming physics engine for forthcoming GPU product http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070917-intel-picks-up-gaming-physics-engine-for-forthcoming-gpu-product.html



Geek Dinners in Northeast Wisconsin

Geek dinners are happening in Silicon Valley, Seattle, NYC, Boston, Austin and London...but can is there enough interest in northeast Wisconsin for them to be successful here?

A recent post by Hugh MacLeod, author of the "Gaping Void" cartoon, prompted that question and this resultant blog post.

The purpose of geek dinners (from my point of view) is to build and strengthen the tech community in a community or region by creating or enhancing personal relationships. Additional benefits from the dinners are the interesting conversations, the potential for future collaboration between dinner participants, and geek dinners which will hopefully be initiated by those who want to replicate the experience for more people. The dinners are a way to extend each person's networks, especially in an area lacking a 'critical mass' of geeks and innovators, like northeast Wisconsin.

"Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi is one of the best books for improving the effectiveness of your personal and professional networking. One of the recommendations from Keith is to host a dinner, inviting a few people high up on your list of people with whom you'd like to connect. [If you don't have this type of prioritized list, take some time right now and make a list of ten people that you seriously want to connect with in the next six months.] In addition to the people you don't already know, invite a few people you do know who will make the dinner more enjoyable and interesting. Keith suggests six to ten people as being the optimal size for this type of networking dinner. Another of his suggestions is to develop an "anchor tenant" for your dinners. The key to having an anchor tenant is "...find somebody in your peer set who has a friend who is two levels above...[who is] the anchor tenant. You get them to come and, in all invitations subsequent to that, you use the anchor to pull in people who otherwise wouldn't attend."

The next steps in moving forward with geek dinners in northeast Wisconsin is to find a co-host and/or an anchor tenant, organize the details of the dinner, then schedule the dinner with six to ten geeks committed to participate.

Bon Appétit!



NEW NET Issues List for 11 September 2007

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 11 September 2007, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

Last week's NEW NET meeting had a discussion about the amount of time appropriate for employees to spend online on activities related more to personal interests than to company work responsibilities. This week's issues list has several recent articles related to differing viewpoints on that issue.

One of the topics for this week's meeting is the value of an iTouch for people who don't want to have a two-year cell phone contract with AT&T but would like many of the other features of an iPhone.

Another topic for tonight's meeting is the concept of a TechShop in Appleton, Green Bay and/or other Wisconsin locations. That discussion will be continued at the Hive meeting on Thursday at the Stone Cellar.

The ‘net

  1. 10 Future Web Trends http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/10_future_web_trends.php
  2. Test drive the new Windows Live suite http://windowslivewire.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2F7EB29B42641D59!224.entry
  3. Microsoft Issues 10 Reasons Why Enterprises Shouldn't Use Google Apps http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/microsoft_10_reasons_against_google_apps.php
  4. Adblock Plus: Right or Wrong? http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/09/adblock_plus_wh.php
  5. AjaxWindows: Most interesting Web OS experiment yet http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9775272-7.html
  6. AskCity Tips & Tricks http://blog.ask.com/2007/09/askcity-tips-tr.html
  7. Harnessing the Internet to reinvent democracy http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070911.wgttapscott0911/BNStory/Technology/
  8. BT launches free business tools http://news.com.com/BT+launches+free+business+tools/2100-1012_3-6207318.html

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. Judge Strikes Down Part of Patriot Act http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-6903200,00.html
  2. Chinese hackers cyber-attacking British gov’t networks http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070906/tc_afp/britainchinaintelligenceit
  3. Crimeware Toolkits Make Master Hackers Out Of Average Joes http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20070906/tc_cmp/201804277
  4. Keyloggers to be installed at Indian cybercafés http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9774897-7.html

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. HP introduces big-and-brawny iPaq 610 and iPaq 910 smart phones http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9770567-7.html
  2. Apple blocks free ringtones w/ iTunes update http://news.yahoo.com/s/macworld/20070908/tc_macworld/itunesupdate20070908
  3. Palm, Motorola seen most hurt by iPhone price cut http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070907/tc_nm/apple_iphone_rivals_dc
  4. Apple receives mobile wake-up call http://tinyurl.com/24ldqc (Market Watch)
  5. HTC Touch http://www.htc.com/product/03-product_htctouch.htm

Open Source

  1. A quick guide to DVD authoring with Linux http://www.linux.com/feature/118910
  2. IBM adds heft to OpenOffice open-source project http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9774568-7.html
  3. AMD to deliver better ATI drivers, open specifications http://arstechnica.com/journals/linux.ars/2007/09/05/amd-to-deliver-better-ati-drivers-open-specifications
  4. Eudora e-mail program reborn as open source http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070907/wr_nm/eudora_reborn_dc
  5. Qualcomm sets the record straight on Penelope (Hint: it's not Eudora 8) http://www.linux.com/feature/119019
  6. Secrets of the man command http://www.linux.com/feature/119031


  1. Search your own book library with Google http://blogs.zdnet.com/Google/?p=728
  2. Capgemini to support Google software http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070910/ap_on_hi_te/google_capgemini
  3. Google Opens The World Of Rugby To All http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0709/S00268.htm
  4. Google Health's Adam Bosworth Leaves Google http://searchengineland.com/070911-144650.php

General Technology

  1. Apple unveils new iPod touch, "fat" iPod nano at special event http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070905-apple-unveils-new-ipod-touch-fat-ipod-nano-at-special-event.html
  2. Early iPhone adopters receive $100 credit from Apple http://tinyurl.com/28whul (Ars technica)
  3. Seagate's new drives: 250GB notebook, hardware encrypted desktop http://tinyurl.com/2yj5qp (Ars technica)
  4. Is Apple the New Microsoft? http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136949-c,companynews/article.html
  5. Why Apple isn't the new Microsoft http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/editors/2007/09/notnewms/index.php
  6. Palm drops Foleo on eve of launch http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_6799880
  7. Green-tech startup whispers eulogy for the battery http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5iWkaOyZfvGPGAHTSB3kx_D94raBw
  8. Barcelona Desktop Benchmarks http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3092
  9. Now from Dell--the $920 hard drive http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9774814-7.html
  10. IBM Researchers Bring Printing to the Nanoscale http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0300166.htm

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. Apple wants to slash TV show prices in half, aggresively drive iPod sales http://tinyurl.com/yq5zws (Ars technica)
  2. Lord British returns with blank slate http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070906/wr_nm/videogames_tabularasa_tech_dc
  3. Sony shows new rolling music player http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gdqskZkc-wNb24YFwnlHTq6I905A
  4. Introducing the ringle http://idolator.com/tunes/ringbats/once-you-pop-you-cant-stop-introducing-the-ringle-seriously-297185.php
  5. AMD Introduces Gaming Site http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1558,2180017,00.asp
  6. Apple: Next-Generation iPods Will Have No User Interface, Controls http://www.bbspot.com/News/2004/09/new_ipod.html

Economy and Technology

  1. WA Gets $13M ExxonMobil Grant http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/09/07/ap4094842.html
  2. Culture Clash in Office 2.0 http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3698541
  3. Small Businesses Turn to Online Backup http://www.internetnews.com/storage/article.php/3698466
  4. Five Hundred iPhones, One Paperless Conference http://www.internetnews.com/reporters_notebook/article.php/3698556
  5. Gen Y = new learning curve for employers http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070910/news_mz1b10rose.html
  6. Facebook 'costs businesses dear' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6989100.stm

Civilian Aerospace

  1. Spaceport America: New Space Terminal http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/070904_virgingalactic_spaceport.html
  2. Designers unveil spaceport plan http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_6803090
  3. Becoming a true spacefaring America http://www.thespacereview.com/article/947/1
  4. Do you want to travel to space? 1st stop: Sarasota http://www.bradenton.com/280/story/139061.html
  5. VirtuePlay to Demo Lunar Racing Championship at Austin Game Developers Conference http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20070906005398&newsLang=en
  6. X Prize Foundation to Unveil Big Money for New Contest http://www.space.com/news/070904_xprize_newcontest.html

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. Acceleware Announces Webinar Series for GPU Computing Users http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/1766005.html
  2. Not Just for Kids Anymore http://www.genome-technology.com/issues/2_7/webreprints/141908-1.html
  3. USC Researchers Develop Holographic Display http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=8683
  4. Researchers build 'desktop supercomputer' http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/09/10/Researchers-build-desktop-supercomputer_1.html



iTouch or 4 GB iPhone?

An interesting dilemma was posed today in an email to me -- "Is the better buy a $300 iTouch or a $300 4 GB iPhone?"

To start with, the 4 GB iPhone might be a bit hard to find, although there seems to have been a certain amount of 4 GB returns because the owners decided they wanted the 8 GB model. Apple discontinued production of the 4 GB iPhone, so if you decide that device is a better deal than the equivalently priced iTouch, get one quickly because that's one opportunity you're not likely to see again.

Someone who is considering the choice between the iTouch and an iPhone would most likely be thinking about the iPhone without cell service activation. The primary benefit of the unenabled iPhone over the iTouch is that you get a nice digital camera in the package, essentially for free. I don't know enough about the iPhone and which features are usable without the cell contract to know what other benefits it would have compared to the iTouch. Whether that phone and the photo capabilities of the iPhone without cell service are better than the 1.3 mp phones in most people's phones is an important part of deciding whether to get the iPhone instead of the iTouch.

One feature the 4 GB iPhone without contract would be missing compared to the iTouch is Contacts. That feature is normally part of the AT&T-provided service, so the non-activated iPhone would need to wait until someone hacks the iPhone to allow installing your own programs before it would have an offline Contacts capability. Three other features the iTouch doesn't have are the external speaker, Bluetooth capability and a microphone. Whether you'd miss those depends on how you use your PDA/music player right now. Most people probably wouldn't miss them.

What it appears to come down to is whether you'd like to trade the Contacts feature in the iTouch for the camera and external speaker in the iPhone. As an internet-capable PDA for Luke, the iTouch Contacts win out. As a converged portable internet access device/PDA/music player/always-available-camera for me, the iPhone camera wins out. Thanks for the article link, Andy!



iPod touch

Apple today announced the next generation of iPods, along with a $200 drop for the 8 GB iPhone and the rollout of the iPod touch.

The iPod touch is an iPhone without the cell phone or camera features.

As soon as I saw the description of the iPod touch, I decided we needed to buy one of those for either my business partner (Luke) or me. It seemed about as close as we can come to the Gphone until that tantalizingly-rumored mobile computing wonder becomes real. Luke enjoys having his phone separate from his PDA-type portable computing device. And the iTouch (full name is too long) seems to fit the bill for him.

After reading a few more articles about the newest iDevice from Apple, however, I'm starting to wonder what PDA-apps come with the iTouch and how locked-down they'll keep it. A quick look at the Apple website didn't reveal a detailed description of the unit, so we'll have to go to an Apple store and try it out for ourselves.

The pictures I saw indicate the iTouch has at least Contacts and Calendar (the two biggies), as well as Calculator and Clock (two nice-to-haves). Won't that be cool when someone figures out how to synch the iTouch Calendar with Gcal! The primary PDA mini-app it seems to be missing, based on the screenshots I've seen, is Notes. It is my sincere hope the iTouch either has a Notes feature or that Apple will add it or allow others to add some type of a mini-wordprocessor.

Other features of the iTouch are the standard iPod features for playing songs or videos and showing photos on the lovely 3.5" widescreen display. The b/g wireless connection will let you surf the web using Safari (which as all NEW NET people know, allows you access to all your essential web apps such as Gdocs, Gspreadsheets, Gmail, Gchat?, and soon-to-be-added, Gpresentation and Gwiki; when you're online, that is; or offline, as soon as Ggears or AIR or the other solutions for offline instances of web apps are available and compatible with the OS X version on the iTouch.) Although the previous sentence was a tad convoluted in a run-on way, the point was that we're getting closer to a converged mobile world.

Hmmm...the 8 GB model is $300, and the 16 GB is $400; both should be available this month (September). Since the version 1.0 unit (without GPS and without VoIP phone capability) will most likely be used by Luke, then inherited by me when 2.0 or 3.0 comes out with those other two features, we'll probably settle for the 8 GB iTouch. We'll also wait until closer to Christmas to buy ours, after the version 1.0 shakedown clears out the bugs. Although with nearly one million iPhones having been sold, there will be many less iBugs in the initial iTouch model than might otherwise be expected.

This post, obviously, reflects a bit of over-enthusiastic tech lust which comes as the result of having been played with an iPhone and learning that we can get most of its features for the same price as a high quality wireless PDA without having to pay the two years of AT&T's exclusive contract for the iPhone. The next 24 hours may find the iTouch fervor cooling off a bit at myDigitechnician, or it might find us wishing for an Apple store somewhere nearby to play with the new device in person.



NEW NET Issues List for 04 September 2007

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 04 September 2007, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

  1. Zoho Launches Application Start Page http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/zoho_launches_application_start_page.php
  2. I Hate Patent Trolls: Amazon, Google, Yahoo, And Others Sued For Automating Their E-mail http://www.informationweek.com/management/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201802746
  3. Yahoo's new social job network: Kickstart http://blogs.cnet.com/8301-13515_1-9768418-26.html
  4. Farecast Now Provides Data On Fairness Of Hotel Pricing http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/29/farecast-now-provides-data-on-fairness-of-hotel-pricing/
  5. Don't let your boss catch you reading this http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070829/wr_nm/work_cyberslacking1_dc
  6. Japan's Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/28/AR2007082801990.html
  7. On the Internet, A Tangled Web Of Classified Ads http://tinyurl.com/38o8hz (Washington Post)
  8. Do the Mash (Even if You Don’t Know All the Steps) http://tinyurl.com/yu6okt (NY Times)
  9. Who Founded Facebook? A New Claim Emerges http://tinyurl.com/2avcda (NY Times)

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. Point, Click ... Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2007/08/wiretap
  2. Viacom issues YouTube takedown for video it pirated http://tinyurl.com/24gq2s (Ars technica)
  3. Zango tries, fails to sue its way out from under the "spyware" label http://tinyurl.com/yrogwa (Ars technica – an interesting aspect of this article is the new for Ars, to me at least, links at the bottom of the article to other online resources relevant to the article.)
  4. US Gov't Job Search Site Hit by Monster Attack http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136664-c,onlinesecurity/article.html

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. An office on four wheels http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/engineering/article2358052.ece
  2. Unlocked iPhones highlight DMCA absurdities http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070828-unlocked-iphones-highlight-dmca-absurdities.html
  3. Nokia N95: Bigger, badder, and made for the U.S.A. http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9767671-7.html
  4. Chicago scraps plans for Wi-Fi network http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070828/ap_on_hi_te/wireless_chicago

Open Source

  1. LeapFrog Jumps into Open Source http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2176557,00.asp
  2. Productivity enhancers for Thunderbird http://www.linux.com/feature/118811
  3. Mark Radcliffe: The man who rules open source law http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/08/30/open_source_mark_radcliffe/


  1. Google Earth Flight Simulator http://marco-za.blogspot.com/2007/08/google-earth-flight-simulator.html
  2. Google News Now Hosting Wire Stories & Promises Better Variety In Results http://searchengineland.com/070831-130842.php
  3. Google and the wires torpedo newspapers http://www.mathewingram.com/work/2007/09/01/google-and-the-wires-torpedo-newspapers/
  4. Here’s an example of #2 and #3 above http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gdzKpobgFwmj4J4F4aaJgMVkkzLQ
  5. Gpay: payments by mobile phone http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article2378321.ece
  6. Google Presentations and JotSpot Could Be Available Next Week http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/09/google-presentations-and-jotspot-could.html
  7. Track flights with a Google Maps Mashup http://www.downloadsquad.com/2007/09/04/track-flights-with-a-google-maps-mashup/

General Technology

  1. Adobe Hires Co-Inventor of Image Resizer Technology (watch the video) http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/28/adobe-hires-co-inventor-of-image-resizer-technology/
  2. Build a (Very) Inexpensive Solaris 10 Workstation http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1558,2176218,00.asp
  3. Fujitsu Lifebook T2010 http://tabletpc2.com/Major_WOW_Factor-Fujitsu_Lifebook_T2010_Tablet_PC-Article700230807.html
  4. New DVD-sized disc to hold 1 to 5 terabytes of data http://tinyurl.com/2yob7y (Ars technica)
  5. 1 GB RAM Cache Speeds New Hybrid Hard Drive http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136727-pg,1/article.html

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. Man arrested for burning Burning Man man http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2007/08/burning-mans-ma.html
  2. Sony to Unplug Connect Music Service http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/08/30/ap4069865.html
  3. NBC tells iTunes to remove its programming http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/33634/118/
  4. Sony Readies Wii-like PS2 http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136691-c,gameconsoles/article.html

Economy and Technology

  1. iPhone to fuel contractor shortage http://hardware.silicon.com/pdas/0,39024643,39168277,00.htm?r=1
  2. Microsoft buying Parlano http://www.suntimes.com/business/534057,parlano082907.article
  3. Microsoft, Eolas settle big patent dispute http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/120899.asp

Civilian Aerospace

  1. Russia Prepares for 2009 Space Tourist Flight, Future Spacecraft http://www.space.com/news/070831_russia_spacetourist.html
  2. Moondust Miners Dig for $250,000 in NASA Prize Money http://www.wired.com/science/space/magazine/15-09/ps_moondust
  3. Rocket blasts into record books http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/glasgow_and_west/6965328.stm
  4. The human side of the moon http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ent/5090562.html
  5. Build your own Ares V http://chairforceengineer.blogspot.com/2007/08/build-your-own-ares-v.html

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. AMD announces 128-bit (GPU-oriented?) SSE5 extensions to x86 http://tinyurl.com/yvdo27 (Ars technica)
  2. Student, prof build budget supercomputer http://www.calvin.edu/news/releases/2007-08/microwulf.htm
  3. ClearSpeed sets its sights on the final frontier http://www.arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070904-clearspeed-sets-its-sights-on-the-final-frontier.html