Wisconsin Biorefineries: Perception Update

Perhaps I spoke too soon about Wisconsin not investing enough in biorefineries because today I saw a "Clean Energy Wisconsin" article talking about the state's governor announcement of $15 million annually in new energy technologies.

The article I read said:
"...new grants will soon be available from the Department of Commerce for businesses and researchers involved in developing new technologies aimed at reducing the state's dependence on oil. The department expects to award $15 million annually. Interested parties can apply for the first round of funding from April 1 to June 2...."
If a large portion of that $15 million is invested in biorefineries, that improves the government support somewhat for that industry sector, although it's still much less than some states and regions are putting into bioproducts. Because the focus is "reducing the state's dependence on oil", it's likely a significant portion of the $15 million will go toward wind, solar and other non-biorefinery projects.

In addition to hearing about the above funding, I found an informative website related to Wisconsin bioenergy called the Bioenergy Forum. It has some well-written articles and lots of news about bioenergy events.

Maybe the first thing that is needed to coordinate and support biorefinery efforts within the state is the establishment and effective marketing of a biorefinery information and community-building website. There are many websites, both private and public, that talk about various biorefinery issues within Wisconsin. There are thousands of websites talking about biorefinery issues outside the state. However, if you talked with 100 people around the state of Wisconsin who are interested in the biorefinery sector and asked them which the best website is to get a comprehensive picture of the Wisconsin biorefinery scene, you would probably get 50 replies of "I don't know". The other 50 people would probably name 30 different websites as being the best.

People interested in Wisconsin biorefineries don't have the time to read through thousands of websites, or even thirty websites. It would be helpful to have one website agreed upon as the lead biorefinery site for the state, and it needs the funding to develop, maintain and periodically upgrade the site. The site also needs funds for effective marketing so everyone in the Wisconsin biorefinery community knows where to look and where to refer people.

After establishing a biorefinery website as the starting point for learning about this topic in Wisconsin, a comprehensive biorefinery action plan should be developed for Wisconsin. The Office of Energy Independence (OEI) seems to have the charter for developing this plan.

The Wisconsin POWER initiative (Promoting Our Wisconsin Energy Resources) has a website which appears to be the 'home' for the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence. Among OEI's other goals is "Capturing 10% of the emerging bioindustry and renewable energy market by 2030." Based on this stated goal, this would be a logical website to develop into a defacto starting point for Wisconsin biorefinery info. The site appears to be overwhelmingly focused on bioenergy, but there is a "Bioproducts" section on the website and putting a bit more emphasis on non-energy bioproducts could easily be done.

Another potential lead biorefinery website is the one for the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance. However, this website appears to be primarily an industry trade group site with the goal of serving its member companies rather than a goal of providing information and building the state's biorefinery community other than for member companies.

The website for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is a relatively well-known website in the Wisconsin biorefinery community, but its focus is not primarily Wisconsin, and the site essentially ignores non-energy bioproducts.

A sort of precursor to the GLBRC website is the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative site. I don't know if that site will wither and die now that the GLBRC is up and running, but this initiative, like the GLBRC, appeared to focus only on energy products and was not designed to build the sector community.

The best way to build a biorefinery or bioindustry information and community-building website is likely a joint effort between the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence, the UW-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the UW-Extension. They have a Wisconsin focus, they have responsibilities for both bioenergy and non-energy bioproducts and they have an interest in serving the needs of public citizens, the educational system, private companies and the state government.

While it's heartening to hear about the new "Clean Energy Wisconsin" grant program, it is still my impression that Wisconsin still needs to make a lot of changes to be rated as one of the top states or regions for biorefinery innovation. If this impression is wrong, an informational Wisconsin biorefinery website presenting the facts about Wisconsin's leadership in this emerging technology area is a resource this state needs.

My next steps on this topic are:
  1. Contact Molly Jahns, dean of the UW Madison CALS, Judy Ziewacz, executive director of the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence, and Andrew Dane, UW-Extension, to find out if they know of a defacto standard website for Wisconsin biorefinery or bioindustry information.
  2. If there is not a defacto standard website for providing this information, discuss with Molly, Judy and Andrew the perceived need for such a website, including the marketing to make the website well-known, and suggest they partner to develop and maintain such a site.


NEW NET Issues List for 25 Mar 2008

New Meeting Location Tonight For NEW NET

Copper Rock Coffee Shop -- Appleton

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 25 March 2008, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week's meeting is taking place at the Copper Rock Coffee Shop in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. They now have free wifi, and it's a nice atmosphere in there, so we'll give it a try.

The ‘net

  1. Lessig Bets 'Wikipedia' Approach Will Transform Congress http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/03/stanford-law-pr.html http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9899828-7.html
  2. Bridging Desktop And Web Applications - A Look At Mozilla Prism http://tinyurl.com/37yl4b (TechCrunch)
  3. Apple Using iTunes Windows Updater to Push Safari http://tinyurl.com/34l586 (AppleInsider)
  4. Mozilla says Firefox 3 ready for prime-time [June 2008] http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080320/wr_nm/mozilla_firefox_dc
  5. The Conversation Has Left the Blogosphere http://tinyurl.com/2l22vl (Read/WriteWeb)
  6. Proposed Md. bill would make intentional theft of wireless Internet access a crime http://tinyurl.com/yqobc5 (Herald-Mail)
  7. China's Sina gets in shape for online Olympics http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080320/wr_nm/sina_olympic_dc
  8. Follow-up: University faces off with digital generation http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080320/wr_nm/facebook_tech_life_dc
  9. TimeBridge Web Scheduling Service http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,140992-c,groupware/article.html
  10. Next generation spending 20 hrs/wk online http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=542968
  11. CoverFlow meets search: hands-on with Searchme visual engine http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080323-coverflow-meets-search-hands-on-with-searchme-visual-engine.html
  12. Amazon's cloud computing service fuels startup's launch http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/03/25/Amazons-cloud-computing-service-fuels-startups-launch_1.html

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. State Department workers fired for unauthorized passport access http://tinyurl.com/2zf2wa (Associated Press)
  2. White House Taps Tech Entrepreneur For Cyber Defense Post http://tinyurl.com/2yh2qv (Washington Post)
  3. The State of WiFi security http://www.gnucitizen.org/blog/the-state-of-wifi-security/
  4. Bill criminalizing WiFi leeching shot down http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080323-bill-criminalizing-wifi-leeching-shot-down-and-rightly-so.html

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Behind the Flash delay for iPhone: Pandora? http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9898644-7.html?tag=newsmap
  2. Google Gets What It Wanted From 700MHz Auction http://searchengineland.com/080321-082742.php
  3. Mobile Navigation Gets A Double GPS Boost http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20080321/tc_cmp/206904944
  4. The inevitability of the iPhone http://www.cnet.com/8301-13505_1-9901543-16.html

Open Source

  1. Wine 1.0: Coming soon to a computer near you http://tinyurl.com/2eslyd (WebWorkerDaily)
  2. Drupal 6 keeps getting better http://www.linux.com/feature/129444
  3. Ubuntu 8.04 Beta Refines The Linux Desktop http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2008/03/ubuntu-804-beta.html
  4. From GNOME to KDE and back again http://www.linux.com/feature/129757
  5. KolourPaint: More than a Microsoft Paint clone http://www.linux.com/feature/129222
  6. After a year of open source, Second Life looks ahead http://www.linux.com/feature/128941
  7. FOSS Made Developers Cool. Now It Can Make Them Rich http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/16-04/bz_opensource


  1. Third Party Gadgets Arrive for Google Docs http://tinyurl.com/39pu57 (WebWorkerDaily)
  2. Patriot Act haunts Google svc http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080324.RGOOGLE24/TPStory/Business
  3. A New Tool From Google Alarms Sites http://tinyurl.com/2k824b (NY Times)

General Technology

  1. Vista SP1 Chokes On Widely Used Intel Chipset Drivers http://tinyurl.com/2kbhaj (InformationWeek)
  2. Microsoft offers free support for Vista SP1 installs http://tinyurl.com/yv94ld (ComputerWorld)
  3. War of the Worlds: The Human Side of Moore's Law http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2008/pulpit_20080321_004574.html
  4. Five Methodologies to Deal with Email Overload http://tinyurl.com/2vtql2 (Read/WriteWeb)
  5. X Prize Rolls Out $10M Prize for 100MPG Car http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/03/x-prize-rolls-o.html

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. Guitar Hero DS http://ds.ign.com/articles/860/860511p1.html
  2. Core PC gamers moving to console experiences – id http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=34367
  3. Piracy & PC Gaming http://draginol.joeuser.com/article/303512/Piracy_PC_Gaming

Economy and Technology

  1. Start a Web business in an extra few minutes http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080320/wr_nm/column_pluggedin_dc
  2. Alibaba seeks buyers for Yahoo-owned stake http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080319/wr_nm/alibaba_yahoo_microsoft_dc
  3. Investors warm to water as shortages mount http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080319/bs_nm/water_technology_dc
  4. Microsoft acquires security company Komoku http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20080320/tc_infoworld/96154
  5. LinkedIn's business directory goes live http://www.news.com/8301-13577_3-9900383-36.html
  6. Sony retracts $50 fee to remove trial programs from new computers http://tinyurl.com/yut6zr (Ars technica)
  7. Taiwan wants to focus on building its own high-tech brands http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6235253.html

Civilian Aerospace

  1. SpaceX wins USAF contract for third launch http://spacex.com/press.php?page=39
  2. Space planes 'to meet big demand' http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7298511.stm
  3. Ion-propulsion craft heads to asteroids http://venturacountystar.com/news/2008/mar/18/star-wars-tech-now-headed-to-asteroids/
  4. Space Adventures Acquires Zero Gravity Corporation http://tinyurl.com/ypbesw (Space Adventures)
  5. SpaceX completes testing of new rocket engine http://tinyurl.com/ypuc83 (AerospaceOnline)

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. The Impact of Multi-core Processors on Application Performance http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2245986.html
  2. Multicore Boom Needs New Developer Skills http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,143669/article.html
  3. Making 'Parallel Programming' Synonymous with 'Programming' http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2246656.htmlc
  4. Paying for secrets: national security versus tech innovation http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080325-paying-for-secrets-national-security-vs-tech-innovation.html
  5. Procter & Gamble's Adventures in High-End Computing http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2246624.html
  6. CS gets with parallel program http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206905134




Some time ago I registered for the beta on Twine, and today I received an invitation to join.

Twine is reputed to be one of the better attempts at kick-starting the semantic web. Most of the early articles I read about it sounded quite enthused and complimentary about how useful it was and how well it worked. Made me want to try it out. So I signed up for the beta.

I haven't spent too long on the site yet, maybe half an hour. What I really need to do is set aside three or four hours and figure out the big picture of how Twine works and some of the details that will be useful for me, then start using it in earnest.

The first Twine topic I started was for the MIT Fab Lab. Because Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA has a Fab Lab in which I'm highly interested, I thought that would be a good topic for my first Twine.

If you're interested in checking out Twine, sign up for their beta, and together we'll figure out if Twine is useful for us!


Wisconsin Biofuels Destiny Conference

The Wisconsin Technology Council and several other organizations have organized the "Wisconsin Biofuels Destiny Conference", scheduled for 16 - 17 April 2008 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA.

It will be interesting to hear what the outcomes of this conference are. The objectives of the conference are stated as "...exhibiting best practices and introducing potential partners in business, academia and government..." If the sponsoring organizations have done a thorough job of contacting the right people and have developed a persuasive marketing message, the conference should be able to easily achieve those two objectives.

Maybe it's just marketing-speak or hyperbole, and maybe it's needed to get the attention of the target audience for this conference, but for me the "Destiny" label is going waaaay overboard. Based on my understanding of the biofuels and biorefinery industry, Wisconsin has a long way to go to become a state of 'destiny' in the biofuels arena. A quick survey of current media quickly reveals that at least half the states in the US plan to become the 'leading' center of biofuels. To say nothing of other countries and regions around the world who are highly interested in taking advantage of the current focus on energy independence and biofuels in particular. To-date I have not heard about a coordinated program of research, state/federal/private funding, and biofuels startups in Wisconsin to justify the 'destiny' label. It would be good to find out that I'm mis-informed on the topic.

Biofuels as a whole are coming under closer scrutiny these days in the media. A year ago there were hundreds of new corn ethanol facilities or expansion of current facilities on the drawing board. Over the past four to six months, corn ethanol has come under heavy fire for its inefficiency in converting sunlight into liquid fuel for vehicles, its environmental impacts and its apparent effects on food prices. At the same time, many of the proposed corn ethanol projects began to be canceled or put on hold.

As corn ethanol's image became more tarnished, the focus switched increasingly to cellulosic ethanol. Based on what we know about cellulosic ethanol at this point, it should have better solar conversion efficiency than corn (starch/sugar) ethanol and less negative environmental impacts. However, a popular saying in renewable fuels circles is that cellulosic ethanol has been five years from commercial viability for the past 30 years, and it always will be. When I first heard that at a conference a year ago, I asked the speaker how long he estimated until a viable cellulosic ethanol process would reach the market. He smiled and said, "Five years."

There are billions of federal and private dollars being thrown at various cellulosic ethanol processes right now, and as the price of oil increases (latest price I saw was $112/bbl) the investments will only increase. It's hard to predict whether these investments will result in the development of a cost-effective cellulosic ethanol process within the next few years, but there certainly are a lot of smart people working on the problem.

The global regions which will grow high volumes of sustainable biofuels raw materials are likely to be those areas with long growing seasons and a high percentage of sunny days. Wisconsin might not fit that criteria perfectly. Additionally, because of the low density of 'energy' in most biomass, it is estimated that 60% to 80% of the cost of biofuels is biomass collection and handling. These two factors in the biofuels industry don't mean Wisconsin should not pursue research into biofuels or other bioproducts. But climate and available biomass do make it seem unlikely Wisconsin will be one of the top two or three states in the biofuels race.

Two other factors which will determine what states or regions are top leaders for biofuels are the the amount and type of research being done within a state or region and the amount of money being invested in the sector by the government and by private investors. Wisconsin's biggest plus for these two factors is UW Madison's lead role in the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. There are lots of smaller biofuels research projects at universities in the state and there are a few biofuels private companies in Wisconsin, but not a lot of activity with top national recognition that I'm aware of. I haven't seen specific rankings of top biofuels research states or regions, but based on articles I've read, there's a lot of competition in this field, and the articles don't give the impression that Wisconsin is considered a leader in biofuels research.

The only way we will become a leader in biofuels research is with comprehensive knowledge of what other states and countries are doing, a good action plan to become a leader, and with a state government and private investors who put money into making Wisconsin a biofuels research leader. My guess is that right now, Wisconsin would not rank in the top ten states for biofuels investment.

If you are interested in the challenges facing biofuels, there are plenty of resources online to learn more about that topic. I don't believe those challenges mean Wisconsin should not pursue biofuels research or biorefinery facilities. We should identify special biorefinery areas where we have strong resources and advantages over other regions, such as the paper industry infrastructure, then invest effectively and quickly in those areas.

Sign up today for the "Wisconsin Biofuels Destiny Conference", and connect with others highly interested in this topic.


Flourish 2008; Chicago, April 4 - 5

Just found out tonight about another technology event in the Midwest -- it's called Flourish 2008 and will be held in Chicago on April 4 - 5.

They've got a pretty interesting line-up of speakers, including Bruce Perens and Ben Collins-Sussman, and it sounds like there will be between 100 and 500 people at the event. It's free, fun, and focused on FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software).

One page of the website gives some history of the event. Here's an excerpt:

What happens when you put Microsoft and a penguin together? Would you believe Flourish got its roots from this odd couple pairing? It's true!

In the Fall of 2006, the University of Illinois at Chicago Linux Users Group (UIC-LUG) were distributing GNU/Linux CDs outside the Microsoft Internship Information Session on campus. Many students accepted our CDs and many more got a good laugh from our mascot, a UIC-LUG member dressed in a full body Tux the Penguin costume.

After the information session had started, a man walking by commented, wondering why Microsoft would arrange to have a person dressed as a Penguin outside their information session. The student dressed as Tux explained to the man that we were not from Microsoft and that we were there to spread awareness of GNU/Linux and FLOSS software. The man then asked us a very good question, “Does Linux bring jobs to UIC?” In response to the man's question, the UIC-LUG decided to organize a conference to explore if FLOSS trully provides jobs and opportunities for growth. As a result, our annual Flourish conference was born.

I've sent out a 'roadtrip request' email to a number of tech enthusiasts I know, soliciting the company of those available and interested in participating in Flourish 2008. With a bit of luck, at least one other person will want to make the trek down to the Windy City for this tech community gathering.



Optimizing Northeast Wisconsin's Use of Technology

While northeast Wisconsin is not a hotspot for technology, there are many good reasons to work towards optimizing the use of technology in this region.

A few reasons to optimize technology use in the New North are:
  1. Optimized use of technology tends to promote regional innovation.
  2. Small and medium businesses who optimize their use of technology have a significant advantage over those businesses which don't.
  3. People who work together to optimize a region's use of technology will, at the same time, improve their personal use of technology.
  4. Optimized use of technology brings new entrepreneurial opportunities to the region.
  5. Optimized use of internet technology results in highly improved collaboration and communication in the region.
There are very few people who feel optimizing the use of technology in a region is a bad thing. There are, however, definite challenges to an optimization effort. For one thing, people in the US tend to have their lives scheduled 120% of the time. Few people feel they have the time or expertise to contribute to such an effort.

One way that 'overbooked' people can participate in this technology initiative is to be open to using new technology that may improve their effectiveness with activities they already have on their schedule. Here are a few examples of how this could work:
  • I know a Boy Scout troop assistant leader. When I showed him a free wiki service and explained how it worked, he promptly started using the wiki for managing the troop's information. The wiki made it easy for parents to find out when trips were scheduled, what merit badge work was planned and countless other details that need to be communicated amongst members of any group. The scouts' parents report they love the service and wonder why it wasn't used earlier. Any scout troop leader who doesn't use similar communication technology tools is making more work for themselves, for the scouts and for the scouts' parents. (The wiki service is Wikispaces.) By the way, he also set up a wiki just for a garage sale he had. And my sister put lots of pictures of her house on a wiki when she had it up for sale.
  • In AMW, my manufacturing process consulting company, we use Google Calendar to schedule meetings. All company members can see when the other members are free or busy, so it makes it easy to find the best time for a meeting. Any group of which you are a member should consider using Google Calendar to similarly schedule meetings. Google recently released a Gcalendar sync tool for Microsoft Outlook calendars so you don't need to manually update your Gcalendar if you already keep track of your schedule in Outlook. It's almost silly not to use free online calendar tools to coordinate and plan group or personal activities.
  • At AMW we also use Skype for free teleconferencing from anywhere around the world. Because the company members are often in different cities, Skype makes it easy and free to talk over our various projects and keep all the members up-to-date on who's doing what. The Skype service also has free instant messaging, free whiteboard add-ins and other tools to enhance group communications.
  • Google Docs are a fantastic free way to collaboratively work on word processing or spreadsheet documents. No more need to email 20 different versions of a single document around to get everyone's input. Everyone can work on the same document, and everyone can see the same thing. It's a good way to develop an agenda, write an action plan, figure out a soccer league schedule or iron out the kinks in a carpooling plan. It's also kind of fun to revise a sentence someone else just typed -- surprises them the first time they see their freshly minted words change while they're reading over what they wrote just seconds earlier.
  • Build regional collaborations with technology companies, either those for whom you work or those who are your customers or suppliers. Technology companies always need pilot communities or regions for their innovations. They always want customer suggestions and feedback on products or services. At least good companies do. If northeast Wisconsin became well-known with tech companies as being a good region in which to get useful feedback and to trial improved products, we could be the first to try out some interesting technology innovations. Having support from those companies and their involvement in our region would help the area's economy in the long run. Because you already interact with those companies on a daily, weekly or other regular frequency, it's not a lot of extra work to make them aware of the opportunity for connecting with the region as a whole.
The above are just five ways I quickly thought of that optimized use of technology could help people in the New North. If a few people in the region put their heads together, we could come up with at least a hundred other good ideas for optimized use of technology, and many of them would be free or very low cost. Others would have reasonable costs, or maybe even high costs. But those with high costs would provide excellent marketing opportunities for the New North to be able to tell the world how there are some ways in which this region is a technological leader. And all the 100+ tech ideas would in some way make northeast Wisconsin a better place to live and work.

What will it take to turn this idea into action? All that's required are the efforts of a small percentage of the residents of the region to get involved, to contribute their suggestions and knowledge, and to make connections with other people, companies and organizations who will help launch this initiative and help keep it going.

Just today I talked with a manager at a local tech company. He was interested in learning more about tech activities in the region, and I followed up our conversation with an email this afternoon. I plan to meet with him in the upcoming weeks to find out what types of tech activities he'd be most interested in knowing about or being involved with. Last Saturday I had a discussion in Appleton with an evangelist from a large national tech company who said he'd love to sponsor more events in the Fox Cities if people are interested and will consistently show up for the events. If 50 people around the New North take the time and effort to have similar conversations once per month, within a year the region's residents will know about so many cool new tech events, projects, tools, products and services going on around here that they'll have trouble participating in or using all the new technology 'stuff' they learn about.

If you have questions, suggestions or want to get involved, contact Jerry Murphy at the New North or contact me. We'd love to have more people involved with optimizing the use of technology in northeast Wisconsin!



Open Source 3D Software: Summer of Code

The Google Summer of Code is a perfect vehicle to improve the capabilities of 3D software for use in the MIT Fab Labs.

Whilst researching the options available for 3D software which might be used with 3D printers and other tools in the Fox Valley Technical College / MIT Fab Lab, I read about the possibility of a coder getting $4500 for working on K-3D as a Google Summer of Code project.

If someone is interested in this opportunity, the K-3D wiki says the proposal deadline is 31 March 2008. In order to have our proposal, we'll need to get in gear quickly!

The 3D printers in the Fab Lab need 3D computer files describing the objects to be manufactured by the printer. Those files can be generated by a 3D scanner if both a scanner and a copy of the object to be made by the 3D printer are available. If the scanner or a copy of the object are not available, the 3D object source files for the printer need to be generated with a 3D modeling program such as SolidWorks or Catia.

It's unreasonable to expect everyone who will use a Fab Lab to buy SolidWorks and Catia for use at home, school or work -- the programs cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. The Fab Labs themselves are also unlikely to allocate funding to buy more than one copy of these expensive programs if they can find satisfactory open source software to use instead of SolidWorks or Catia.

Very expensive software programs tend to also be very powerful but very complex, with a long learning curve. Many people using a Fab Lab will not have the time or desire to become skillful at using the complex 3D programs even if they were willing to spend the money to buy the program. While some Fab Lab users will be skilled 3D program users, it is highly desirable to have an entry level design program available for 'the rest of us.'

Finally, one of the goals of the original Fab Lab was to be able to learn from others and build on their ideas and designs. This goal can best be encouraged and facilitated by use of free or open source software. Designing 3D objects with software tools that are free to use and free to be modified is a good way to promote free sharing of designs and computer files for those designs.

With the above scenario in mind, it would be beneficial if the FVTC Fab Lab could identify and develop one or two packages of free or open source software for designing 3D objects. There should be a basic design package for use by individuals with minimal knowledge of 3D computer programs and another package for people who are either very knowledgeable about 3D modeling or are willing to spend the time and energy to become skillful with a powerful 3D design program.

The open source 3D power package currently focuses on Blender. Blender was originally written as an animation program, so it has some issues with respect to 3D object designing and modeling. However, Blender appears to be the main free or open source 3D design program for Fab Labs. The Blender community is pretty active and the program is a good starting point for Fab Lab users to learn about open source 3D modeling. Some additional 3D modeling tools listed on SourceForge include:
  1. K-3D
  2. Art of Illusion
  3. BRL-CAD
  4. FreeCAD
  5. MeshLab
At this point, it appears the basic package will start with Google SketchUp. It is much easier and much more fun for a beginner to build a 3D object in SketchUp than it is for them to do the same item in Blender. This program is not open source, but it is free and the SketchUp 3D Warehouse is a good example of people sharing their designs with the rest of the world. There is information available on how to import a model from SketchUp to Blender, which can then be used with the 3D printer.

Back to the purpose of this post -- a Google Summer of Code (GSC) opportunity to develop a great 3D modeling tool for use in the Fab Lab. Wouldn't it be cool if one or more programmers were hired by GSC to work on open source software for use in Fab Labs around the world?! We know for sure that the K-3D project has two opportunities for GSC. There might also be opportunities either this summer or during the summer of 2009 to do some GSC work with Blender. And since SketchUp is a Google product, there might be interest in having a GSC coder develop strong collaboration between SketchUp and one or several of the more powerful 3D modeling tools such as Blender or K-3D. If the right proposal is developed and some good connections made, we should be able to pull in 3D printer manufacturers to support these coding efforts with gratis 3D printers and/or collaboration with their in-house software writers.

The opportunity is there. The question is, can we mobilize quickly enough to get a project going in the summer of 2008, or will other priorities mean that the primary goal will be developing polished proposals for the 2009 GSC program?

If interested in helping with a proposal for either 2008 or 2009, please contact the Fox Valley Technical College Fab Lab or me (bwaldron [att] gmail {dott} com).



MTU Alumni & New North Virtual Research University

Calling all Michigan Technological University alumni in northeast Wisconsin -- make room on your schedule for learning more about MTU becoming a virtual research university for the New North to spur innovation in this region!

Adam Johnson of the MTU Corporate Development office will be coming down to northeast Wisconsin to participate in one or more informal gatherings of Tech alumni in April or May 2008 to discuss the virtual research university concept. The purpose of getting the alumni together is fourfold:
  1. Explain more about the concept of MTU being a virtual research university for the northeast Wisconsin region.
  2. Get ideas and suggestions from Tech alumni who live in the New North on how best to launch this initiative and make it worthwhile to companies in the region.
  3. Identify alumni interested in helping organize and participate in this initiative to improve the New North regional economy.
  4. Encourage alumni to pursue ways that would be useful to their companies to sponsor or use Michigan Tech research.
While working on the four above objectives we will also, of course, plan to have some fun talking with Tech alumni we know, getting to know new Tech alumni and telling tall tales about our college experiences.

Adam will be contacting alumni in the near future to invite them to take part in one or more informal meetings. If Adam is willing, I'd like to do both a 'primary' meeting and several 'secondary' ones. The primary meeting would be the most organized one and the one for which the most Tech resources are allocated -- like Adam's presence, any MTU literature related to the virtual research university concept, a nice MTU shirt or hat to give away, and money for some snacks. The secondary meetings can just be a few Tech alumni getting together in a local coffee shop, restaurant or bar to talk about this initiative and enjoy each others' company.

For any Tech alumni reading this, if you're interested please contact Adam Johnson (see the MTU directory) or me (bwaldron [att] gmail {dott} com).



NEW NET Issues List for 18 Mar 2008

Drew F recently suggested that NEW NET participants should visit other innovation or tech group meetings to see how they conduct their meetings, to make new tech and innovation personal connections, to find out how those groups 'recruit' new members.

One group he suggested visiting is the Web414 group in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, and I hope to participate in one of their meetings in the next couple months. Other NEW NET members are encouraged to go to tech or innovation group meetings they are aware of and bring back ideas that will make NEW NET better.

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 18 March 2008, 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. Drop It Like It’s DropBox http://gigaom.com/2008/03/11/drop-it-like-its-drop-box/
  2. Bringing OpenID To The Masses http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/11/clickpass-could-change-the-way-you-surf-the-web/
  3. Optimize Local Events With hCalendar Microformat http://searchengineland.com/080311-104251.php
  4. Yahoo Embraces The Semantic Web http://tinyurl.com/28kofz (TechCrunch)
  5. Second Life creator steps down at Linden Lab http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/14/BU39VK8FC.DTL
  6. Best Tools for Visualization (allow an hour) http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_best_tools_for_visualization.php
  7. Verizon embraces P4P, a more efficient peer-to-peer tech http://tinyurl.com/yolusf (Ars technica)
  8. Team Whiteboarding with Twiddla http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/team_whiteboarding_with_twiddla.php
  9. Martian Headsets (and browser standards) http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2008/03/17.html

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. Password-stealing hackers infect thousands of Web pages http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20080313/tc_infoworld/95949
  2. Winny copiers to be cut off from Internet http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080315TDY01305.htm
  3. Hackers Attack Trend Micro http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20080314/tc_pcworld/143445
  4. Some viruses come pre-installed http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080314/ap_on_hi_te/factory_installed_viruses
  5. Security futurists shun perimeter, anti-virus systems http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20080313/tc_infoworld/95957
  6. An overview of the NSA's domestic spying program http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080316-an-overview-of-the-nsas-domestic-spying-program.html
  7. Botnet scams are exploding http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20080317/tc_usatoday/botnetscamsareexploding
  8. Ongoing IFrame attack proving difficult to kill http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080318-ongoing-iframe-attack-proving-difficult-to-kill.html

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Satellite And WiMax Spectrum Sharing Not Compatible Report Finds http://tinyurl.com/2dr9hb (SpaceMart)
  2. Asustek says two-thirds of Eee PCs will have Windows XP http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080313/tc_nm/asustek_dc
  3. Microsoft to license Adobe's Flash Lite http://www.news.com/8301-13579_3-9894639-37.html
  4. iPhone users do more with their phones http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=25012

Open Source

  1. How to back up your Gmail on Linux in four easy steps http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/backup-gmail-in-linux-with-getmail/
  2. Robotics start-up believes open source will soon put robots in our homes http://tinyurl.com/3dlvlm (VentureBeat)
  3. WordPress is open source http://ma.tt/2008/03/wordpress-is-open-source/
  4. Firefox 3 Nears Release with New Features http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20080312/bs_nf/58771


  1. Ad Wars: Google's Green Light http://tinyurl.com/32hj6w (BusinessWeek)
  2. Google Sky: hands on, plus Top 10 uncommonly cool sights http://tinyurl.com/yofccf (Ars technica)
  3. Google Makes DoubleClick Employees Apply To Keep Their Jobs http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/3/google_makes_doubleclick_employees_apply_to_keep_their_jobs
  4. Ex-Google Employee on Scaling an Organization http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2008-03-18-n20.html
  5. Google Maps Opens Up Editing To Everyone http://searchengineland.com/080318-084141.php

General Technology

  1. User Interfaces & Information Overload http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/user_interfaces_information_overload.php
  2. SSDs in 2008: fast speeds (200MB/sec) over price cuts http://tinyurl.com/2fylb5 (Ars technica)
  3. Bringing Second Life To Life http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2222807.html
  4. Toshiba will ship notebook with 128GB SSD http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9895678-7.html?tag=newsmap
  5. Returns, technical problems high with flash-based notebooks http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9895986-7.html
  6. Mac sales up 60% in February http://apple20.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/03/17/report-mac-sales-up-60-in-february/
  7. Vista SP1 ready for download http://www.news.com/8301-13860_3-9896820-56.html
  8. Tesla Motors Kicks Off "Regular Production" of 2008 Roadster http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=125232
  9. Intel moving to six-cores this year; What will you do with them? http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=8245
  10. Does More Than One Monitor Improve Productivity? http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001076.html
  11. USPS Pilot Program Offers Free Mail-in Electronics Recycling http://www.dailytech.com/USPS+Pilot+Program+Offers+Free+Mailin+Electronics+Recycling/article11125.htm

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. R.E.M. launching album on social networking site http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080311/wr_nm/rem_dc
  2. More bands embrace the option of giving away music http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080315/wr_nm/free_dc
  3. Review: Compelling strategy games http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080312/ap_en_ot/games_invasion

Economy and Technology

  1. Online Business Networking: 2 Horse Globalization Race http://tinyurl.com/2jl45s (ReadWriteWeb)
  2. Yahoo in informal talks with Microsoft http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120546367915835903.html
  3. Prevent March Madness from sapping worker productivity http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/mar/15/im-um-working/
  4. No Bailout For Bear Stearns. Or For Any Homeowner. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-boyce/no-bailout-for-bear-stear_b_91818.html
  5. Ozzie signals Microsoft’s surrender to the cloud http://blogs.zdnet.com/SAAS/?p=476
  6. Yahoo Projects Growth, Lays Out Microsoft Rejection http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=an.rH6aDMJbA
  7. Why bother having a resume? http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/03/why-bother-havi.html

Civilian Aerospace

  1. Wanted: Student Experiment for Space Tourist's Trek http://www.space.com/news/080312-spacetourist-garriott-challenge.html
  2. Next Space Tourist Takes Break from Spaceflight Training http://www.space.com/news/080314-spacetourist-garriott-break.html
  3. Space Tourism: Risks and Rewards http://www.rocketeers.co.uk/?q=node/162
  4. You may now float about the cabin... http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23356462-5013412,00.html

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. How The GPL Can Save Your Butt http://www.linux-mag.com/id/5379
  2. Accelerating Desktop Imaging with Parallel Computation http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2204028.html
  3. AMD, TopCoder Host 'Multicore Threadfest' Competitions http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2208452.html
  4. Multicore Expo Announces Program http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2222253.html
  5. The 411: Terascala http://insidehpc.com/2008/03/13/the-411-terascala/
  6. NSF and COMPETES funding http://www.cra.org/govaffairs/blog/archives/000663.html
  7. Racing to Gain Edge On Multicore Chips http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120572280352740819.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
  8. Build your own quad SLI: NVIDIA launches the 9800 GX2 http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080318-build-your-own-quad-sli-nvidia-launches-the-9800gx2.html

From the above “How the GPL can save your butt” -- “…It is time to get serious about this multi-core thing. For years, I have dreaded the day when the computing world hits the parallel wall. As I have said many times in the past, multi-core is parallel computing and parallel programming is hard, expensive, and in some cases non-portable. It adds another dimension of complexity to writing software. There is no quick fix and no solution on the horizon that addresses this issue. The computer industry is now facing a huge challenge -- how to transition software to multi-core platforms. No amount of marketing or wishful thinking will help. Trust me on this one. I have been neck deep in parallel computing for 20 years. The parallel software issue is real and it is standing in front of us. Before you throw me on the pile of doomsday lunatics, the polite experts are saying the same thing.

Of course there are methods to program parallel computers, but none of them really address the issue from a higher level. Indeed, they often drag the programmer down to the minutia of managing data and temporal issues that do not exist in the singe core paradigm. If we don't come up with high level methods to address this problem, writing parallel software will be an excruciating expensive process that will stifle much of the computer industry. In the absence of a real solution, non-portable ad-hoc approaches will be the norm. In an industry where past decisions seem to outlive their life expectancy this is a dangerous proposition.

I have always, bemoaned the "not my problem" attitude of all the major computing companies that are touched by parallel computing, which is now pretty much everybody. Since bemoaning seems little underpowered given the urgency of the current situation, I feel the need to elevate my position to a rant. But first, the all important car analogy will help set the stage.

Picture yourself a car company. So you have this new kind of super fast (yet safe) car. These cars can run on the existing roads, but only at a fraction of their top speeds. In order to run at full speed you need better roads. Without better roads customers have no reason to buy those new super cars you are building. Of course, it is not your problem, because you make the best damn car the world has ever seen, some one else should build the roads. As a captain of industry, you have a choice, either help build the roads for your new car or just push ahead and make as many cars as you can and hope that people buy them. What would you do?

If you are the multi-billion dollar IT industry you stick you head in the sand and just keep making cars. It is after all, not your problem. That seems to be the attitude of almost every company with a vested interest in the computing market. There was a recent announcement indicating Intel and Microsoft have put up $10 million to fund research in parallel software. Hah! I'm going to laugh harder this time HAH, HAH! Ever here the phase p*****g in the ocean, well this is more like throwing a match into the sun. We need more -- much more.…”



Advanced Manufacturing Business Accelerator

The New North (18 counties in northeast Wisconsin, USA) are perceived by some people and organizations in the region as needing big changes to keep manufacturing strong in the region and to improve the economy of this area.

One of the ideas currently being discussed is a business accelerator for advanced manufacturing and manufacturing technologies.

The main challenge at this time is to define the 'pain point', or the overwhelming market need with respect to medium and long term manufacturing sector success and its contribution to an improved regional economy.

Once that pain point has been clarified and agreed on by a core team of people interested in working on this idea, tactical action steps can be developed and worked on.

Several possible pain point definitions are:
  1. The New North does not have a strong manufacturing sector innovation ecosystem.
  2. Struggling small and medium manufacturing businesses in the Fox Valley do not know what innovation or business assistance resources are available to them outside their company.
  3. Wisconsin does not have widely recognized manufacturing automation resource group.
  4. "...insert your preferred 'market need' statement here..."
If it is decided that the business accelerator goals can best be accomplished by making area manufacturing companies more aware of effective business resources outside their company, that should be a very manageable goal. There are online engineering resources, such as Global Spec. Established services such as the FVTC Venture Center, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network (WEN), Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for consultation and to point businesses at outside resources.

Outside assistance or connections are also available through existing organizations like the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP), Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), and Forward Wisconsin, or, for a specific industry, the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI), Wisconsin Paper Council, etc ad nauseum.

None of the above organizations has a specific objective to increase the innovation ecosystem of the New North. None of these has what Amy P recently described in sports terms as a feeder system of innovation.

My interpretation of the pain point for the New North is the first definition listed above. There are many better defined and less ambitious approaches to improving the prospects for the manufacturing sector in this region, but my personal opinion is that the New North will continue to lose ground until a holistic approach is developed and implemented. Helping Company A solve Problem X or connecting Company B with Consultant Y for developing Innovative Product Z does not significantly improve the collaborative, innovative and entrepreneurial culture of the overall manufacturing sector in the area. Those actions do little to make the young people of northeast Wisconsin think that manufacturing is a good industry in which to work or start a local company.

The most effective approach to the challenging economic future for the New North, both in manufacturing and in other sectors, is to build a long term collaborative program which gives us a strong innovation ecosystem in the manufacturing sector. The focus is limited to the manufacturing sector for two reasons:
  1. The manufacturing sector is a strength of the New North, so we are building on an area of strength rather than trying to develop something totally new.
  2. By not including health care, financial systems, agriculture or other sectors in the initial innovation program, it is easier to get people and organizations to support the program, and it is easier to achieve meaningful deliverables or objectives. Once an effective and proven innovation ecosystem is established in manufacturing, it will be easy to expand that to other sectors.
It would be easy to get everyone interested in improving the New North economy to agree we should have a strong innovation ecosystem for the manufacturing sector. The challenges in this are to:
  1. Get agreement on an effective action plan to reach that goal.
  2. Develop a collaboration of people and organizations to support the action plan, including private companies in the region, investors, New North wealthy individuals, key companies outside the New North and education organizations.
To make significant progress on the concept of an Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Business Accelerator, my recommended next steps are:
  1. Define the pain point, or overwhelming market need.
  2. Establish a core team of eight people passionate about the need for a strong innovation ecosystem in the New North manufacturing sector who have the appropriate skills and time available to develop and launch this initiative.
  3. Develop the action plan for this initiative, including dates and responsibilities for each action item.
  4. Develop the needed collaboration of people and organizations to support, financially and otherwise, this initiative.
  5. Implement the action plan.
If you're interested in working on this initiative, supporting it or suggesting alternatives, contact me (bwaldron [att] gmail {DOTT} com) or Mike Cattelino at Fox Valley Technical College.



Multicore Expo

I'd gladly trade several days of labor, or make some similar barter arrangement, for the opportunity to attend the 1 - 3 April 2008 Multicore Expo in Santa Clara, CA, USA.

Meeting, talking with and listening to all those people involved with or interested in multicore and manycore computing would be exhilarating, mind-expanding and exhausting. If Justin K and I both went to the expo, we might even get the FS3 project off dead center by making some connections that would lead to sponsors for at least the alpha stage of FS3 Obsidian.

If you don't understand or even realize there is a critical need for a new parallel programming paradigm related to the multicore/manycore issue, read the recent article by Douglas Eadline. In the article he explains in relatively non-technical terms why the computing industry is facing a critical point in parallel programming:

"...Picture yourself a car company. So you have this new kind of super fast (yet safe) car. These cars can run on the existing roads, but only at a fraction of their top speeds. In order to run at full speed you need better roads. Without better roads customers have no reason to buy those new super cars you are building. Of course, it is not your problem, because you make the best damn car the world has ever seen, some one else should build the roads. As a captain of industry, you have a choice, either help build the roads for your new car or just push ahead and make as many cars as you can and hope that people buy them. What would you do?

If you are the multi-billion dollar IT industry you stick you head in the sand and just keep making cars. It is after all, not your problem. That seems to be the attitude of almost every company with a vested interest in the computing market. There was a recent announcement indicating Intel and Microsoft have put up $10 million to fund research in parallel software. Hah! I'm going to laugh harder this time HAH, HAH! Ever [hear] the phase p*****g in the ocean, well this is more like throwing a match into the sun. We need more -- much more...."

One focus for me if I was somehow able to attend the Multicore Expo would be learning more about the 'sky is falling' issue for multicore computing for the masses, as well as making connections for follow-up regarding FS3 sponsorship. It would be instructive to hear in person what a wide range of people in the high productivity computing (HPC) industry think about that topic. My feeling is that the sky is falling in this case, but since I'm not a long-time industry veteran, I'm highly interested in the opinions and reasons of those veterans.

If any company, organization or individual with some spare change laying around wants to send a representative to the Multicore Expo, please contact me in the next week or two (bwaldron [att] gmail {dott} com). I'd be happy to be that representative...



NEW NET Issues List for 11 Mar 2008

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 11 March 2008, 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. Search within a site: A tale of teleportation http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/search-within-site-tale-of.html
  2. Ask.com search site to realign strategy http://www.reuters.com/article/PBLSHG/idUSWEN431520080304
  3. AOL Gets It Right With Open AIM 2.0 http://tinyurl.com/2z7l6y (TechCrunch)
  4. Craigslist Traffic Nearly Doubles http://weblogs.hitwise.com/us-heather-hopkins/2008/03/craigslist_traffic_nearly_doub.html
  5. Microsoft's IE architect: IE8 is what we've been building up to http://tinyurl.com/2mvn36 (BetaNews)
  6. The future of social networks: Social networks will be like air http://blogs.forrester.com/charleneli/2008/03/the-future-of-s.html
  7. Social Networking is Just Another CB Radio http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2008/pulpit_20080307_004467.html
  8. Student faces Facebook consequences http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/309855
  9. SearchMe Launches New Visual Search Engine http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/11/searchme-launches-new-search-engine-with-heavy-backing-from-sequoia/

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

  1. CAPTCHA is Dead, Long Live CAPTCHA! http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001067.html
  2. National Dragnet Is a Click Away http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/05/AR2008030503656.html
  3. Feds Have a High-Speed Backdoor Into Wireless Carrier http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/03/whistleblower-f.html
  4. Six botnets churning out 85 percent of all spam http://tinyurl.com/yowmw8 (Ars technica)
  5. Washington Prepares for Cyber War Games http://tinyurl.com/2y2nrx (Washington Post)
  6. A Question of Programming Ethics http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001072.html
  7. Counterfeit Chips Raise Big Hacking, Terror Threats http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4253628.html
  8. 'Mebroot' proves to be a tough rootkit to crack http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20080304/tc_infoworld/95750

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Steve Jobs pans Flash on the iPhone http://tinyurl.com/3ahcyc (AppleInsider)
  2. Steve Jobs lying about Flash? http://scobleizer.com/2008/03/06/is-steve-jobs-lying-about-flash-not-working-on-iphone/
  3. iPhone is a mobile computer & is challenging Blackberries http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2274041,00.asp
  4. Why Apple's SDK finally justifies iPhone hype http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2008/03/06/iphone_sdk/
  5. Location Aware: Smart Rollout for Yahoo! Fire Eagle http://tinyurl.com/3czodh (ReadWriteWeb)
  6. Yahoo unveils web content mobile organizer http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206901675
  7. Making the phone-PC connection http://tinyurl.com/23hb6g (Computerworld)
  8. Why Apple Will Dominate Next Gen Computing http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/why_apple_will_dominate_next_gen_computing.php
  9. Wi-Fi is not dead http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9890337-7.html?tag=nefd.top
  10. Wi-Fi Hotspots Are Doomed http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2008/03/wifi_hotspots_a.html

Open Source

  1. OpenMoko Offers 3-D Printing For Cell Phones http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20080305/tc_cmp/206901738
  2. High-Gain, Target Of GPL Suit, Settles With Developers http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20080307/tc_cmp/206902164
  3. Wal-Mart ends test of Linux in stores http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080310/ap_on_hi_te/wal_mart_linux_computer


  1. Google Calendar Sync http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/google-calendar-sync.html
  2. Google mappers banned from U.S. bases http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fi-google7mar07,1,6259319.story
  3. Gmail and Google Docs security precautions http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/09/gmail-scam-signal-of-a-much-bigger-security-issue/
  4. European regulators approve Google-DoubleClick merger http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9890858-7.html

General Technology

  1. More assistance for your brain with ReQall, a memory aid http://tinyurl.com/37vr2h (VentureBeat)
  2. Ballmer on the hot seat at Mix http://www.news.com/8301-13860_3-9887954-56.html?tag=nefd.top
  3. Nothing Between You and Your Machine http://tinyurl.com/2bwz2m (NY Times)
  4. Turning Glare Into Watts http://tinyurl.com/27g6tr (NY Times)
  5. Bigger Computer Monitors = More Productivity http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/2008/03/10/bigger-computer-monitors-more-productivity/
  6. Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corp http://gigaom.com/2008/03/10/the-gigaom-interview-ray-ozzie-microsoft-corp/
  7. Microsoft tries to stop more ‘Vista-capable’ e-mails from going public http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1254
  8. Solar Energy Firms Leave Waste Behind in China http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/08/AR2008030802595.html

Leisure & Entertainment

  1. Controller Provides a Realistic Touching Experience http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20080305/bs_nf/58665
  2. What piracy crisis? MPAA touts record box office for 2007 http://tinyurl.com/yum4bj (Ars technica)
  3. We ‘Smashed,’ We ‘Melee’d,’ Now We ‘Brawl’ http://www.newuniversity.org/checkDB.php?id=6692
  4. PCs are good for anything, just not games http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/36390/118/

Economy and Technology

Most American households are still not earning as much annually as they did in 1999, once inflation is taken into account.

  1. Workplace Experiments http://www.37signals.com/svn/posts/893-workplace-experiments
  2. 1,000 True Fans http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php
  3. The demise of business method patents? http://tinyurl.com/2gxy7t (NY Times)
  4. In Silicon Valley, a Flight to Safety http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120485185824018261.html?mod=hps_us_inside_today
  5. The "No Laptop" (and no Blackberry/smartphone?) Meeting Rule http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/010076.html

Civilian Aerospace

  1. RETURN TO LUNA: A Short Story Science Fiction Contest http://www.nss.org/news/releases/pr20080229.html
  2. Rocket launch is one giant leap for Walsall http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,2261839,00.html
  3. The Big Picture: Astrobiology http://www.space.com/searchforlife/080306-astrobiology-picture.html
  4. The big twang theory http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/03/09/the_big_twang_theory/
  5. Billionaires In Space http://www.forbes.com/2008/03/05/space-tourists-billionaires-tech-billionaires08-cx_ew_0305space.html
  6. UA's shooting for the moon in $30M contest http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/78677.php
  7. Blast off! http://www.timescall.com/tcBusiness/business-story.asp?ID=7103
  8. Starship traders http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/8348
  9. Shooting for N.C.'s space potential http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/columns/story/982548.html
  10. Huge space truck races into orbit http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7285796.stm
  11. 310th Space Wing activates, kicking off with an Air Force first http://www.afspc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123089405
  12. Doritos to Broadcast the First Ever Advert Into Space http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=221626

Supercomputing & GPUs

  1. Mechdyne Installs New Immersive Display System http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2186833.html
  2. NVIDIA Comments on Ray Tracing and Rasterization Debate http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=530
  3. NextComputing Adds New NVIDIA Quadro to Desktop Super http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2199397.html
  4. Self-service, prorated supercomputing fun http://open.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/01/self-service-prorated-super-computing-fun/