NEW NET Issues List for 25 Nov 2008

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 25 November 2008, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week we're upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

As mentioned in the weekly email, in addition to other topics of interest brought by people to the meeting, tonight we'll discuss Fuser, Digsby, Zenbe, Xobni and other messaging aggregators. As some people have suggested in online posts and articles, email is no longer "the killer web app" for many young people and Web 2.0 enthusiasts. Email is, for some, unwieldy and not responsive enough, and they've moved on to IM and cell phone texting almost exclusively. Messaging aggregators such as Digsby make IM and email somewhat compatible, and several groups are working on incorporating the best of social networking into messaging aggregators. The iPhone and Android will further expand the possibility for social messaging apps by fully integrating the mobile web and location based services (LBS) with the messaging aggregators. The goal here, of course, will be to allow you to use one messaging service wherever you are, moving seamlessly from cell phone to netbook to notebook to desktop using cell service, wifi (other other wireless internet technologies) or hardwired 'net connections. In other words, total ubiquity for messaging and networking, with the user determining and controlling the hardware device, the signal transmission format and the privacy terms.

The ‘net

1. New Citysearch Launches in Beta, Goes Hyper-Social http://tinyurl.com/6kem3a (TechCrunch) Citysearch is finally coming around to replacing its creaking site design with something a little more contemporary. Today, it is launching in a major rethink of its entire site in beta that drills deeper into neighborhoods, uses Facebook Connect as an optional identity system, and lets users vote reviews up and down. The beta will quickly become the default Citysearch experience…”

2. Zenbe's social, collaborative e-mail works well http://tinyurl.com/5e22z2 (Ars technica) “…E-mail is no longer just e-mail, and it arguably hasn't been for some time. Webmail clients like Yahoo's have offered IM and calendar integration for a while, and now Gmail allows video chatting and embedded gadgets. Zenbe, a new startup, is bringing social features, collaboration, and a new perspective on our e-mail routine with things like a sharable wiki, discussions, and even a Twitter sidebar…”

3. Xobni brings more to Outlook Inbox http://webworkerdaily.com/2008/11/18/xobni-brings-even-more-to-your-outlook-inbox/ “…Although I prefer and primarily use Gmail for the majority of my email needs, I do connect it via IMAP to Microsoft Outlook as well…I’ve detailed my week with Xobni experience in the past and continue to find Xobni a nice addition to my Outlook experience. Recently they added LinkedIn integration and today they are announcing a whole slew of additional connections. In this latest release, Xobni brings integration with Yahoo! Mail, Facebook, Hoovers and greatly enhanced Skype functionality…”

4. Boston College Will Stop Offering New Students E-Mail Accounts http://tinyurl.com/67kbvx (Chronicle) “…Many students don’t even want a college e-mail address these days because they already have well-established digital identities before they arrive on campus…So the college recently decided to stop offering full e-mail accounts to incoming students starting next fall. Instead of a standard college e-mail account, next year’s freshmen will be offered an e-mail-forwarding service that will pass along messages to whatever personal e-mail account a student specifies…A student named John Smith might be given the address johnsmith@bc.edu, for instance, but the address will simply pass any incoming mail along to Mr. Smith’s Google mailbox, or to his Microsoft Hotmail, or to any other account the student might already have…“Students weren’t really using the Boston College accounts as much as we would like them to,” said Ms. Corcoran. “It just becomes one more thing for them to check because their life is somewhere else…”

5. Fuser: combo-inbox for email, IM, Facebook, Twitter https://fuser.com/Default.aspx Fuser vs Digsby vs Zenbe, Xobni and other messaging aggregators to be discussed at this week’s NEW NET meeting.

6. Weather Underground forms a community http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/23/BUJG149J8K.DTL “…At www.wunderground.com, the site is the oldest on the Internet to provide weather data in the nation…"The way the Internet makes things meaningful is to create a community," said John Celenza, who used to program for Weather Underground and is now a graduate student at Stanford. "We're creating weather enthusiasts." The technology that made the San Francisco company possible was developed in 1991 by professors at the University of Michigan and is named, perhaps unfortunately, after a group of 1960s radicals…The Web site…is the No. 2 weather site on the Internet after Weather.com…It is also the default weather service on iGoogle. The company collects data from the National Weather Service through a satellite dish on the roof of its offices near AT&T Park in San Francisco…But the heart of its offering is data collected from roughly 13,000 enthusiasts who live all over the world (although Africa and India are still spottily represented) and keep personal weather stations loaded with Weather Underground's software at their homes or businesses…”

7. If You Liked This, Sure to Love That http://tinyurl.com/5oot72 (NYTimes) “…Netflix, the Web-based DVD-rental company, was holding a contest to try to improve Cinematch, its “recommendation engine.” The prize: $1 million…So Bertoni began looking for patterns that would predict customer behavior — specifically, an algorithm that would guess correctly the number of stars a given user would apply to a given movie. A year and a half later, Bertoni is still going, often spending 20 hours a week working on it in his home office…But his progress had slowed to a crawl. The more Bertoni improved upon Netflix, the harder it became to move his number forward…Bertoni says it’s partly because of “Napoleon Dynamite,” an indie comedy from 2004 that achieved cult status and went on to become extremely popular on Netflix. It is…maddeningly hard to determine how much people will like it…A small subset of other titles have caused almost as much bedevilment among the Netflix Prize competitors. When Bertoni showed me a list of his 25 most-difficult-to-predict movies, I noticed they were all similar in some way to “Napoleon Dynamite” — culturally or politically polarizing and hard to classify, including “I Heart Huckabees,” “Lost in Translation,” “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” “Kill Bill: Volume 1” and “Sideways.”…Cinematch has, in fact, become a video-store roboclerk: its suggestions now drive a surprising 60 percent of Netflix’s rentals. It also often steers a customer’s attention away from big-grossing hits toward smaller, independent movies…As the teams have grown better at predicting human preferences, the more incomprehensible their computer programs have become, even to their creators…The upshot is that while the teams are producing ever-more-accurate recommendations, they cannot precisely explain how they’re doing this. Chris Volinsky admits that his team’s program has become a black box, its internal logic unknowable. There’s a sort of unsettling, alien quality to their computers’ results…”

8. LinkedIn: Streamlined People Search http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/11/24/linkedin-launches-streamlined-people-search/ “…LinkedIn has a launched a revamped version of its search engine that aims to streamline the business social network’s most oft-used features. Most of the new features revolve around people-search…Many of the changes are subtle: as you begin typing names, LinkedIn will offer an autocompleted list of possible matches…One of the search engine’s most powerful new additions is persistent search, which allows users to effectively set up alerts notifying them when there is an addition to a company’s executive roster, or when an appealing job candidate is up for grabs…”

9. E-mail in zero G: NASA develops network for space http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10102081-2.html “…The EPOXI spacecraft, which carried the Deep Impact probe to Comet Talent 1 in 2005, had its software reconfigured after delivering the payload to work as a test bed for NASA's new Disruption-Tolerant Networking protocol. As the craft dropped back toward Earth for one of the gravity assists that will ultimately sling it back toward the comet in 2010, it transmitted simulated images of the Martian moon Phobos using the new protocol. The trial turned EPOXI into one of 10 nodes in a test network (the other nine were on Earth), to verify the reliability and robustness of the new networking architecture…”

10. Ulteo Delivers Online Productivity Apps and Virtual Desktops http://tinyurl.com/5j8naa (WebWorkerDaily) “…In case you haven’t tried it yet, the recently released OpenOffice 3.0 suite of free, open source productivity applications has a lot of improvements over previous versions, especially for Mac users. Recently, I’ve been working with the free, online-hosted versions of the applications available through Ulteo. Many users of Zoho’s and Google’s online hosted applications should look into these, as the features are different, and in some cases go beyond what Google and Zoho provide…”

11. Fashion Your Firefox http://webworkerdaily.com/2008/11/18/fashion-your-firefox-into-a-web-working-machine/ “…My Firefox is jam-packed with add-ons…Some people, however, are not using them to their full potential, or simply not using them at all. It makes sense if you just have a clean browser policy, but if you’re not aware of what’s available, then you could be missing out. Mozilla’s new Fashion Your Firefox web application is designed to make add-ons more accessible, and easier to find and install…”

12. Which Web Browser is King? http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2335242,00.asp “…There's really only one sanity test for a browser: whether it runs fast for you…for the sites you frequently visit…For example, latency on the Internet can dramatically affect browser speed. One day, Google Chrome can load IGN.com faster than butter on a banana, the next day…latency can slow the site to a crawl, and Chrome seems like a dud…for those of us who spend vast amounts of time on the Internet, for work and play, browser performance is a big issue…Let's dive into the testing methodology…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

13. Microsoft to replace OneCare with free anti-malware program http://www.download.com/8301-2007_4-10101582-12.html “…Microsoft on Tuesday said it is changing its strategy for offering PC antivirus software, with plans to discontinue its subscription-based consumer security suite and instead offer individuals free software to protect their PCs. Code-named Morro, the new offering will be available in the second half of 2009 and will protect against viruses, spyware, rootkits, and Trojans, the company said in a statement…Microsoft decided to switch to a free product because there are still so many PCs out there that lack any antivirus software. "Because they're not concerned about malware, the number of people who don't have antivirus software or don't keep it up to date exceeds 50 percent in developed markets, and it's worse in emerging markets…”

14. US court orders keylogger CyberSpy to halt software sales http://tinyurl.com/5jmc89 (Ars technica) “…The government's antimalware efforts don't receive as much attention as those of private businesses…Yesterday, the FTC secured a temporary injunction against the keylogger software vendor CyberSpy, ordering that company to cease and desist from selling its product online. In its original complaint, filed November 5, 2008, the FTC alleged (PDF) that CyberSpy (under the ownership of one Tracer R. Spence) has committed unfair/deceptive acts, either in or affecting commerce. Since August 2005, CyberSpy's main product has been a charming keylogger named RemoteSpy…”

15. Under Worm Assault, Military Bans Disks, USB Drives http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/11/army-bans-usb-d.html “…The Defense Department's geeks are spooked by a rapidly spreading worm crawling across their networks. So they've suspended the use of so-called thumb drives, CDs, flash media cards, and all other removable data storage devices from their nets, to try to keep the worm from multiplying any further… The problem…was…a "virus called Agent.btz." That's a variation of the "SillyFDC" worm, which spreads by copying itself to thumb drives and the like. When that drive or disk is plugged into a second computer, the worm replicates itself again — this time on the PC…”

16. Symantec says Internet underground economy is organized and rich http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10105963-83.html “…Did you know that you can buy a keystroke logger for $23 or pay $10 to have someone host your phishing scam? Having a botnet at your fingertips will cost you $225, and a tool that exploits a vulnerability on a banking site averages $740 and runs as high as $3,000. That's according to the Symantec Report on the Internet Underground Economy due to be released Monday. Symantec researchers spent a year observing the chat among cybercriminals on IRC channels and forums on the Internet between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008…”

17. Facebook awarded $873 million in spam case http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10106932-83.html “…Facebook has been awarded $873 million in damages against a Canadian man accused of sending spam messages to its members…Facebook doesn't expect to necessarily collect the money because "it's unlikely that Geurbez and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honor the judgment rendered against them…”

18. Foil laptop thieves with a text message http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10106838-1.html “…There are a considerable number of security measures available to companies to protect their valuable data on employee hard drives. Self-encrypting hard drives and security software are touted as the latest solutions, but the PC has to be turned off for the data to be secured by encryption. If a notebook is stolen while in hibernation mode, or even while the operating system is fully loaded, there's a higher risk of data being exposed. That's where Lenovo says its new text-message-based remote disable software comes in…any Montevina-based Lenovo machine that's equipped with WWAN (wireless wide area network) can be paired with a cell phone. If a laptop is stolen, the phone that's paired with it can send a text message instantly…like "Shut down computer"…The computer will shut down, and from there the self-encrypting hard drive will take over to lock down the computer's data…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

19. Google application baffled by British accents http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/britainusitinternetcompanyapplegoogleoffbeat “…A new voice-recognition search tool for the iPhone has problems understanding British accents, leading to some bizarre answers to spoken queries, a newspaper report and users said Wednesday. The free application, which allows iPhone owners to use the Google search engine with their voice, mistook the word "iPhone" variously for "sex," "Einstein" and "kitchen sink…It actually works pretty well, but I have to disguise my (North London) accent with a terrible folksy Texan tourist voice to get results. I can see this is going to be the source of much amusement and confusion…”

20. T-Mobile G1: Android Opera Mini, visual voicemail http://blogs.zdnet.com/cell-phones/?p=312 “…two applications I just found this morning when I turned on my G1 were Opera Mini 4.2 beta and Fusion Voicemail Plus and think these are both worthy applications you should try out on your G1…”

Open Source

21. The Microsoft-Novell Linux deal: Two years later http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/11/18/47NF-microsoft-novell_1.html “…Two years ago this month, Microsoft forged its controversial partnership with Novell that, among other things, had the two companies agreeing not to sue each other over intellectual property issues, in part to protect Suse Linux users over any patent litigation from Microsoft. Just how well has that deal worked out?..."[Customers] like the idea that Microsoft and Novell are in the same room," says Susan Hauser, Microsoft's general manager for strategic partnerships….a fervent opponent of the deal, responsible for the Boycott Novell Web site, sees things differently: "Novell compromised interests of the free software community for hundreds of millions of dollars that it received from Microsoft. Novell and Microsoft put their interests ahead of the free software community that makes the software everyone else uses…”

22. World's smallest humanoid robot can run Linux http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS7591575275.html “…The 6.5-inch-tall i-Sobot has been dubbed "the smallest humanoid robot in production"…Targeting computer vision and robotics applications, the Marvell PCA-270-based MBS270-520 SBC is aimed primarily at small form factor, low weight UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), mobile robots, and "humanoids,"… the board is small and low-powered enough to be used to hack Linux onto Tomy's i-Sobot. A project is underway called i-Sobot Hacking that is hacking the robot's servo protocols, with the goal of using the SBC to help extend computer vision to the i-Sobot…Now selling on the web for less than $100, after debuting a year ago for $300, the i-Sobot won the Grand Prize at the 64th Tokyo International Gift Show last year…The 12-ounce robot is equipped with 17 custom developed servo-motors, 19 integrated circuit chips, a built in gyro-sensor, 2 LEDs, and voice recognition, says the company. The package includes an infrared remote control and three AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries…Mobisense also manufactures a variety of camera and power modules that work with the MBS270-520…”

23. Reliable Linux netbooks for Black Friday http://blogs.computerworld.com/reliable_Linux_netbooks “…According to Mike Elgan, starting on Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, you'll see new, solid brand-name netbooks going for as little as $199. We're already seeing Best Buy offering the Asus Eee PC 900a for $299. Will we see the Asus Eee PC 1000, which I like, for $399…if your ring size is '11,' than a 7" display netbook isn't going to be for you at any price. You'll never be comfortable with the keyboard. Personally, I like my netbooks to have at least a 9" display. It's a perfectly usable size, and it should have a resolution of 1,024x600. For the CPU, look for Intel Atom processors under the hood. There's nothing wrong with Via chips, but, for the moment, you tend to get more GHz for the buck from the Atom series…”

24. SimplyMEPIS: The best desktop Linux you haven't tried http://www.linux.com/feature/153431 “…Nowadays, everyone uses Ubuntu, most people have used Fedora, and many folks have tried openSUSE. SimplyMEPIS ... not so many. That's a shame, because this relatively obscure Debian-based desktop distribution from Morgantown, WV, is an outstanding desktop operating system…The distribution itself is built on top of Debian 5 (Lenny), which hasn't yet been released…While working with the applications, I found one odd error. While the distribution came with the new Adobe Flash Player 10 browser plugin installed, it would not display Flash video in Firefox. I finally solved the problem by reinstalling Flash Player from the repository…SimplyMEPIS offers something extra in its collection of four system tuning tools: MEPIS Network Assistant, MEPIS System Assistant, MEPIS User Assistant, and MEPIS X-Windows Assistant…Network Assistant gives you control over all your network interfaces, both Ethernet and Wi-Fi, as well as DHCP and DNS settings, and lets you stop and restart network interfaces. Sure, you can do that with other Linux distributions, but SimplyMEPIS puts all the network controls you need in one place so you don't need to search for them…The System Assistant…lets you clone your existing desktop to a bootable USB drive. Lots of distributions, including Fedora 9, let you set up a Linux desktop on a USB drive, but, to the best of my knowledge, SimplyMEPIS is the only one to make it duplicate the one you're already using to take with you on the road. The MEPIS User Assistant enables you to copy or sync between desktops. Your choices include copying or syncing your entire home directory or just your mail, Mozilla, documents…handy tool both for backups and for moving from one PC to another…”


25. How Google's Ear Hears http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/21696/?a=f “…If you own an iPhone, you can now be part of one of the most ambitious speech-recognition experiments ever launched. On Monday, Google announced that it had added voice search to its iPhone mobile application, allowing people to speak search terms into their phones and view the results on the screen… Google also had a useful set of data correlating speech samples with written words, culled from its free directory service, Goog411…According to Mike Cohen, a Google research scientist, voice samples from this service were the main source of acoustic data for training the system. But the data that Google used to build the system pales in comparison to the data that it now has the chance to collect. "The nice thing about this application is that Google will collect all this speech data," says Jim Glass, a principal research scientist at MIT. "And by getting all this data, they will improve their recognizer even more…While Google isn't announcing plans to use its voice-recognition technology for other services, the potential is easy to see…Currently, there's no way to use your voice to access Google's calendar or e-mail applications or to write an e-mail or a text message. But that could change in the future. "I think this opens up a whole new dimension …”

26. Google’s New Search-Based Keyword Tool http://searchengineland.com/googles-new-search-based-keyword-tool-15525.php “…Google released a new keyword tool tonight, named the Search-Based Keyword Tool. This tool…tells you what keywords you are currently missing out on based on search query data from your site’s content…you can use this as a nice competitive analysis tool. You can see data about which keywords are relevant to any site on the Internet…”

27. Google Seduces With Utility http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/24/business/media/24carr.html “…My increasingly exclusive relationship with Google started with search, of course, when I switched from Yahoo years ago. Eventually I accepted an invitation to Gmail, with its oodles of storage and very granular search function, and it has oddly become my default database — deep, rich and personal. I added the company’s calendar because I needed one I could share both inside and outside of work. And then the calendar and e-mail started talking to each other — and to me, I guess — by asking whether I wanted to schedule an event that was mentioned in an incoming message. Although it sort of creeped me out, the answer was yes, which it almost always is when it comes to Google. Google has begun to crowd out other brands. I was a loyal MapQuest guy, but as Google Maps added features, it seemed cumbersome to go elsewhere…I looked around and saw a colored button at the top of my e-mail page that was a link to Google voice and video chat. I clicked it, hit the download button, and within 20 seconds, I was ready to go. It’s not the first video chatting that I have done, only the first that actually worked well. Within minutes of downloading, I was talking live on my PC to my 11-year-old daughter on a Mac, a process that in the past would have involved everything short of splitting the atom. Then I told my twins away at college and yes, my mother-in-law about it, and before long we were all chatting away…Most data privacy experts would call me a fool to index my life into any one company so deeply, and diversification in all matters is just common sense. Mr. Huber countered that I am free to come and go as I wish. “The nice thing is that we don’t force you to use only our stuff,” he said. “It is not tied tightly together, and the content is all easily exportable…”

28. Google Lively Is Dead-ly http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_lively_is_deadly.php “…a little over four months after Lively's launch, Google has decided to turn the lights out on the alternate reality, announcing that they are discontinuing Lively at the end of this year…There will be all varieties of speculation as to why Lively failed to remain a viable application for Google…I think we can take Ockham's Razor to this one. Because I think the answer is quite simple: It seemed like a good idea at the time. But, in actuality, Lively didn't offer Google any relevant data. And that, ultimately, is what killed Lively…”

29. Google Layoffs - 10,000 Workers Affected http://www.webguild.org/2008/11/google-layoffs-10000-workers-affected.php “…Google has been quietly laying off staff and up to 10,000 jobs could be on the chopping block according to sources…Google reports to the SEC that it has 20,123 employees but in reality it has 30,000. Why the discrepancy? Google classifies 10,000 of the employees as temporary operational expenses or “workers”. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said, “There is no question that the number (of workers) is too high…”

General Technology

30. Unpaid time while Vista boots results in lawsuits http://www.electronista.com/articles/08/11/19/vista.boot.times.lawsuit/ “…employers are docking their employees' pay while they wait for their Vista PCs to boot up, to the tune of 30 to 60 minutes per day, resulting in class-action lawsuits being brought against the employers…The employers, which include big companies such as AT&T, United Health Group and Cigna, argue workers often go on coffee, smoke or social breaks while they await their machines to boot up, and therefore do not do any work. The lawsuits…are being handled by a lawyer experienced with cases involving long boot times…”

31. The perfect storm of data loss http://www.macworld.com/article/136980/2008/11/perfect_storm.html “…as I used to maintain multiple computers, I’d gotten into the habit of using my iDisk for file storage so I could access said files no matter where I was. As an added benefit, I figured that would give me multiple synchronized copies of files in different locations to help safeguard against data loss. I’d also assumed that Apple itself backed up the iDisk files, as most large server installations do. This wasn’t blind assumption either; back in 2005, Apple recovered files that had disappeared from my iDisk…Apple does not maintain any data that MobileMe members have manually deleted from the MobileMe servers. This includes files deleted, whether normally or due to corruption, from the iDisk and messages deleted from MobileMe Mail. Preserving data is the responsibility of each MobileMe member…despite feeling secure in the knowledge that I had multiple copies of these valuable files, the truth ended up being that I had multiple copies of one corrupt version of the same file…My goal is to never run into this problem ever again. Digital data has become an increasingly integral part of our lives, and losing it can be as frustrating as losing physical possessions…”

32. Call for Revolution Against Beta Culture http://gizmodo.com/5083371/a-call-for-revolution-against-beta-culture “…I'm tired of this. This sense of permanent discomfort with the technology around me. The bugs. The compromises. The firmware upgrades…The feeling now extends to hardware: Everything is built to end up in the trash a year later, still half-baked, to make room for the next hardware revision…Take the iPhone, for example, one of the most successful products in the history of consumer electronics. We like it, I love mine, but the fact is that the first generation was rushed out, lacking basic features that were added in later releases or are not here yet. Worse: The iPhone 3G was really broken. For real. Bad signal, dropped calls, frozen apps. This would have been unthinkable in cellphones just five years ago…my first plasma TV from Philips…broke after less than a year of use. Mine wasn't the only one. The technology was too young to be released; it was still in beta state…Meanwhile, my Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Apple IIe from the 1980s still work like they did from day one, perfectly…”

33. Bay Area mayors endorse $1 billion plan for electric cars http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_11032113 “…A Palo Alto start-up with powerful backing on Thursday unveiled an ambitious $1 billion plan to help make the Bay Area the nation's electric-car capital…the plan would provide the re-charging infrastructure that must be in place before most consumers would consider buying or leasing an electric car. Better Place…plans to install about 250,000 charging ports, 200 battery-exchange stations and a control center to service Bay Area electric car drivers. The goal is to have most of the system in place by 2012…"We buy batteries and clean electricity and we sell miles," he said. Better Place already has struck deals in Israel, Denmark and Australia to build battery-charging electrical outlets and stations where drained batteries can be quickly swapped for fully-charged ones…”

34. Video: A jet-pack flight over a Colorado gorge http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10107675-76.html “…It's the stuff of science fiction and James Bond. Strap a jet pack to your back and fly like a bird--sort of. But jet packs are science fiction no more. It's 1,500 feet across from cliff to cliff, and more than 1,000 chilling feet down to the bottom of the Royal Gorge on the Arkansas River near Canon City, Colo. "You're going to see me on the other side. This isn't an 'Evel-Knievel, get-a-lot-of-media-out-and-just-screw-it-up' gig, you know," stuntman Eric Scott told CBS station KCNC-TV correspondent Rick Sallinger prior to the flight…The former Air Force para-rescuer uses hydrogen peroxide-filled tanks to create a propellant of steam. Scott claims to have made several hundred successful launches…”

Leisure & Entertainment

35. Monty Python Joins YouTube http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10102144-2.html “…Monty Python, the iconic comedy series, has launched a YouTube channel…"For three years you YouTubers have been ripping us off, taking tens of thousands of our videos and putting them on YouTube…We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell. But being the extraordinarily nice chaps we are, we've figured a better way to get our own back: We've launched our own Monty Python channel on YouTube…Monty Python has put an end to "those crap quality videos" that have been posted across YouTube and will start delivering "HQ videos" from the "vault." All videos posted on the Monty Python channel will be free to view, but the show doesn't want viewers to watch the free shows and do nothing. Instead, it asks for something in return. "None of your driveling, mindless comments…Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies and TV shows, and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years…”

36. Army to invest $50M in combat training games http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=59009 “…The Army has created a video game unit and will invest $50 million over five years on games and gaming systems designed to prepare soldiers for combat…Each system will consist of 52 computers with ancillary equipment including steering wheels, headsets and mice," she said. Soldiers will be able to drive virtual vehicles, fire virtual weapons, pilot virtual unmanned aerial vehicles and do "most anything a soldier does" in a virtual battle space as large as 100 kilometers by 100 kilometers, she said. McManigal said the game will replicate what soldiers encounter on today’s battlefield — from fighting in urban terrain and convoy operations to reacting to contact and ambush operations…”

37. “The Guild” on MS http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE4AN15S20081124 “…Microsoft will be filled to the gills with "The Guild." The software giant has an exclusive lock on the long-awaited second season of the Internet cult hit, which will be the first to be distributed worldwide simultaneously across Microsoft's triple platform of Xbox 360's Live Marketplace, MSN and Zune…After reaching 9 million views with a 10-episode season financed from viewer contributions via PayPal, "Guild" emerged last year as one of the more buzzed-about webisodes. Its star, creator and writer-producer, Felicia Day, has become the face of the original Web production world…A key component of the deal allows for Day to retain the intellectual property rights to "Guild" while collecting an unspecified upfront license fee. A who's who of Web brands courted Day for rights to "Guild," from old-media companies to gamer-centric ad networks, though many insisted on retaining the traditional set of rights…”

38. Ocarina Surges To Top Paid iPhone App Position http://tinyurl.com/5ogw5p (TechCrunch) “…Ocarina, the second iPhone application from Silicon Valley based Smule, has surged to the top spot on the iPhone App store just a little over a week after launching…Ocarina, named after an ancient flute-like wind instrument, lets people play haunting, flute-like songs by blowing into the iPhone microphone and hitting the virtual buttons…the cool thing is you can hit a button and listen to what other Ocarina users are playing around the world. It’s social music, and strangely compelling…”

Economy and Technology

39. PC Magazine Goes Out Of Print http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/11/pc-magazine-goes-out-of-print “…Founded in 1982 and at times so rich with ads its issues reached as many as 600 pages, Ziff Davis's PC Magazine will issue its last print edition this January, thereafter becoming an online-only publication…PC Magazine will become PCMag, part of a network of sites called the PCMag Digital Network. The Network will also include ExtremeTech, Gearlog, Appscout, Smart Device Central, GoodCleanTech, DL.TV, Cranky Geeks, and PCMagCast…”

40. Lessons of Survival, From the Dot-Com Attic http://tinyurl.com/6exyhl (NYTimes) “…Mr. Kirsch, a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland…started the Digital Archive of the Birth of the Dot Com Era, usually called the Dot Com Archive (dotcomarchive.org). Shortly thereafter, a partner of a venture capital firm that was closing its doors donated every business plan that the firm had received from 1999 to 2002 — documents covering some 1,100 companies…48 percent of dot-com companies founded since 1996 were still around in late 2004, more than four years after the Nasdaq’s peak in March 2000. Mr. Kirsch says that most people are stunned by this figure; they tend to guess that about 90 percent of companies failed…Mr. Pape has shared his story and contributed several WrestlingGear.com documents to the archive. “If it were me starting over,” he explains, “I’d want to be learning from past mistakes of other people so I didn’t do the same thing myself…”

Civilian Aerospace

41. SpaceX Rattles Central Texas http://tinyurl.com/6qj37u (Waco Tribune) “…Around 10:30 p.m., SpaceX, a private space exploration technologies company, tested its Falcon 9 rocket at the company’s McGregor testing center…Dreyer said SpaceX had been working with the McGregor community during the week, however. She said SpaceX placed a notice in the McGregor Mirror and on the marquee in front of McGregor High School. Tribune-Herald readers began posting messages of alarm about the noise within minutes after a news item about the test appeared on wacotrib.com. Sandra, a reader from McGregor, wrote that her 11-year-old son said he thought “the sun was exploding.” “We were not all warned,” Sandra wrote. “We do not read the McGregor newspaper, we read the Waco Tribune-Herald. Next time, tell all newspapers, TV and radio stations and go door to door with fliers announcing your tests, SpaceX!…”

42. Chandler rocket maker expanding with Taurus http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/268448 “…An expansion project for Orbital Sciences Corp. in Chandler will give the company more room to develop and manufacture a new, more powerful rocket to supply the international space station and launch other payloads for commercial and government customers…Orbital already has about 100 engineers working on the Taurus II design in Chandler, and that number is expected to double in the next year, he said…At a time when most businesses are cutting back and laying off workers, Orbital continues to expand because of a heavy backlog of contracts for government and commercial space launches…”

43. Spacewalking Hopes Dashed, Businessman Sues Space Adventures http://tinyurl.com/5bhzgo (WashingtonPost) “…The Japanese businessman is suing Space Adventures of Vienna, saying the company used his health problems as a pretense for denying him a 10-day orbital vacation and intergalactic walk on the International Space Station after he refused to pay $10 million on top of what he had already shelled out. Enomoto, according to court documents, believed he was racing to be the first private citizen to conduct such a space walk but did not want to go through with the trip if he could not complete one. The company, in its argument to dismiss the case, said that because Enomoto has kidney stones, which are potentially dangerous in space, his money was not refundable…”

44. Spiders spin webs in space http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/081121-space-station-spider-webs.html “…Two plucky spiders on the International Space Station have bounced back from a tangled false start to weave amazing new webs in zero gravity, astronauts said Friday. The orb-weaving spiders were transported to the station aboard NASA's shuttle Endeavour earlier this week, but initially wove an aimless concoction in their lab enclosure during their first days in weightlessness. But now they've taken another stab at weightless web construction. "We noticed the spiders' made a symmetrical web," the space station's current skipper Michael Fincke radioed to Mission Control today. "It looks beautiful…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

45. NVIDIA, PS3 hardware in Top 500 Supercomputers list http://tinyurl.com/66yqv5 (Ars technica) “…An NVIDIA GPU has finally made its way onto the Top 500 list, in a 170 TFLOP machine based at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. The TSUBAME was upgraded recently with NVIDIA's Tesla S1070, a math coprocessor that's essentially a specialized version of the same GPU that the company sells to gamers. Like its gaming sibling, the Telsa is programmable with CUDA, and when paired with a general-purpose processor, it makes for a great, data-parallel, floating-point machine…”

46. Nvidia pitches “personal supercomputers” to scientists http://tinyurl.com/6o27qa (VentureBeat) “…Nvidia says that the era of personal supercomputing has arrived for scientists who need to conduct experiments on their own in a timely manner. By adding graphics processors to machines that have only had microprocessors in the past, scientists can speed up their calculations; 3-D ultrasounds can be done 20 times faster, while financial simulations can be done 149 times faster. In computational chemistry, one task that took 4.6 days can now be done in 27 minutes…A number of universities are already using personal supercomputers equipped with GPUs, including MIT, the Max Planck Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Cambridge University, and others. AMD has its own offerings in this space, including a board launched last week. Nvidia, for its part, uses the new Tesla C1070 GPU processor. There are 28 supercomputer/workstation makers using the Nvidia GPU, including Dell, Lenovo, and Asus, and Nvidia estimates there are 15 million scientists and students who could use the personal supercomputers…”



NEW NET Issues List for 18 Nov 2008

Below is the final list of issues for the WEDNESDAY, 18 November 2008, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering. This week's meeting is at Cambria Suites Hotel, 3940 N. Gateway Drive, Appleton Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

1. Never get Rick-Rolled again! http://www.videosurf.com/blog/never-get-rick-rolled-again-42/ “…The most annoying thing about online video is that you don’t always get what you want. Too often, you’re led astray by misleading thumbnails and mischievous Rick-Rollers. To help with this problem, we use advanced algorithms to intelligently identify the most interesting scenes in each video and we use that information to create a nice visual summary that shows you what a video is all about with just a glance…”

2. Obama to address nation weekly on YouTube http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/obama_to_adress_the_nation_eac.php “…President elect Obama will bring the President's weekly "fireside chat" into the 21st century by offering it not just on the radio, but in video on YouTube as well. It's as if the new populist President really cares whether the next generation has a connection to what he's doing. That's where the people are - on YouTube, on MySpace and on Facebook. More people will watch the President's talks than ever before, and they will post video responses. That's pretty remarkable…”

3. Windows Live SkyDrive to quintuple storage again to 25GB http://tinyurl.com/5sdyk8 (PCWorld) “…The updated services include Hotmail (which now offers unlimited storage, faster performance and an improved spam filter) and Windows Live SkyDrive (which upped its free online storage limit from 5GB to 25GB of data)…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

4. Major Spam Hub Shut Down http://tinyurl.com/67ye7g (PCWorld) “…A U.S. Internet service provider suspected of aiding cybercriminals in online scams and hosting child pornography was at least partially cut off from the Internet on Tuesday night. The ISP…McColo, had been under the watchful eye of computer security analysts for years. It is one of a handful of so-called "bulletproof" hosting providers that provide safe haven online for cybercriminals selling Viagra and fake security software…Hurricane Electric, an ISP that carried a portion of McColo's traffic, disconnected with McColo on Tuesday night… McColo hosted the so-called command-and-control servers for botnets that are used to instruct PCs to send spam. The botnets included Rustock, Srizbi, Pushdo/Cutwail, Ozdok/Mega-D and Gheg, according to the report. When it received complaints, McColo would shift around the suspect Web sites on its network and try to erase traces of wrongdoing…”

5. Analysts differ on merits of Nova Shield anti-malware product http://wistechnology.com/articles/5212/ “…Depending on who you talk to, the Madison-based NovaShield either has developed game-changing anti-malware technology, or really nothing new…NovaShield 2.5, was officially launched Nov. 10 following a six-month trial period as a free public beta. Developed through research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's computer science and security lab, it's a behavior-tracking approach to detecting new and more sophisticated cyber threats like drive-by-downloads, keyloggers, and rootkits…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

6. iPhone ideal for micropayments http://gigaom.com/2008/11/12/apples-iphone-offers-the-ideal-micropayments-platform/ “…Apple is in the catbird seat to dominate micropayments. Their “batch and bill” implementation in iTunes, which boasts perhaps the smoothest online purchasing UI ever, now serves as a foundation for the App Store, creating a whole new genre of software that I call “impulseware” — cheap enough and easy enough to buy on a whim. I’ve already spent a total of $22.99 on apps for the iPhone…since the App Store launched in the summer. Just getting people to spend on software is a feat; I, for one, haven’t spent money on software anywhere else. I would be spending a lot more if Apple extended the API to allow for the ability to transact within apps. It would give real viability to virtual gifts, currencies and goods across the myriad of apps out there by allowing pennies and dollars to change hands in a frictionless way…”

7. The Coming Wireless Revolution http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/21671/?a=f “…Thanks to a decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week, megahertz frequency bands that were previously allocated to television broadcasters will be opened to other device manufacturers. The frequency liberation means that future wireless gadgets will be able to blast tens of megabits per second of data over hundreds of kilometers. They will cover previously unreachable parts of the country with Internet signals, enable faster Web browsing on mobile devices, and even make in-car Internet and car-to-car wireless communication more realistic… With the FCC decision, however, researchers and companies finally have the opportunity to turn prototypes into products, knowing that the gadgets could hit the market in the next couple of years…”

8. Ian Freed of Amazon Kindle http://tinyurl.com/6dopsj “…I sat down with Ian Freed, Amazon's VP for Kindle, to talk about the device, how it's faring, and competition in the ebook space…People absolutely love the ability to think of a book and get it in under minute. That is the key feature that really causes people to think about Kindle as a new way to read…The other feature that has worked, I think, very well, and we got it about right, is the browser. We knew the browser would not be a full-fledged PC-based browser that does flash animation video. That’s not what it’s for. We put it in a section of our product called experimental and we think that’s about right. We still feel it’s an experimental feature…we also have a platform which we call Digital Text Platform, which literally allows any author or publisher to take any content and publish it directly for Kindle…Something like the latest news and feature stories on the presidential candidates, you can put in a book and publish a few weeks later. That’s something that would be very hard to do in a physical book…”

Open Source

9. Hey, Dad…Can I have Linux back? http://education.zdnet.com/?p=1913 “…My oldest son, creator of flame wars, finally discovered that you can only surf to the nether regions of the Internet so many times before even Vista business succumbs to malware. His computer an unusable mass of pop-ups, spewing traffic over our network actually asked me tonight to reinstall Linux for him. He still wants a Vista virtual machine since Spore is a pretty fine game and his Zune probably won’t play nice with Linux. However, for everyday use, he’s done with Vista. Not only does it lack the “amusing desktop effects”…but even running Clamwin and Windows Defender, he still managed to infect it with a variety of junk, rendering it useless when he had a term paper to write…No matter what the average teenager can throw at it (P2P, questionable social networking sites, and anything else that his mom doesn’t like thinking about), most Linux installs are going to keep chugging…one of the more important things to remember about Linux…kids are mean to computers and do things they probably shouldn’t on the Internet. Linux (and to a lesser extent, OS X) is simply more resistant to abuse…”

10. Bug Labs creates open source Lego for software engineers http://www.linux.com/feature/152079 “…Instead of developing particular devices, Bug Labs' goal is to provide a Lego-like collection of open source hardware and software that customers can use to build their own devices. According to CEO Peter Semmelhack, the result should be not only a higher degree of innovation, but also a forerunner of the hardware business of the future…”

11. Find your way with tangoGPS http://www.linux.com/feature/152468 “…If you want to turn your netbook or conventional laptop into a nifty open source navigation system, you need two things: a USB receiver and a GPS-enabled navigation application. You can buy a GPS receiver cheaply at virtually any gadget store or on eBay. And there are actually several GPS-enabled navigation applications out there, including Navit, GPSdrive, and Roadnav. These are fine applications, but if you are looking for GPS software that offers the right amount of features wrapped in a sleek and user-friendly interface, try tangoGPS…”


12. Google Profiles Adds Photos http://www.micropersuasion.com/2008/11/google-profiles.html “…Google Profiles now has added photo streaming. All you need to do is point Google toward Picasa, Flickr or any other photo sharing service that supports feeds and it will pull in your public photos…Google keeps adding features to these profiles. Recently, they made them searchable. This is clearly a not-so-stealth social networking site being built right before our eyes. But I am wondering if they will turn this into a lifestreaming site that competes with Friendfeed…”

13. Google Patents Searching Through Multiple Categories At Once http://techdirt.com/articles/20081105/0156512741.shtml “…Each week, Microsoft usually has somewhere between 40 to 60 new patents. On the other hand, Google has some weeks where they get no patents at all. At most, I think I've seen weeks where Google received three or four new patents... the company seems to have patented the ability to search through multiple databases at once (say, a web database, a news database and an images database) and present all the results together on a single page. What's unclear to me is how anyone "skilled in the art" could consider this a non-obvious solution…My guess is that Google gets these sorts of patents more for defensive purposes, and probably (hopefully?) isn't likely to sue other companies that do something similar…”

14. Google Docs & Spreadsheets Keeps Growing, But User Engagment is Flat http://tinyurl.com/6l36uh (ReadWriteWeb) “…latest data from Compete indicates that Google Docs & Spreadsheets is still mostly attracting casual users who don't spend a lot of time with the service…only about 58% of unique visitors to Docs & Spreadsheets actually used one of the available apps after visiting the site…traffic to Google Docs grew 158% in the past 12 months. In September 2008, Docs & Spreadsheets reached around 4.4 million users…the service is still mostly popular with casual users. The average user uses Google Docs about 3 times a month…the average user only spends about 5 minutes per month on the site…”

15. Google’s Site Search Gets Faster http://searchengineland.com/googles-site-search-gets-faster-yahoos-goes-away-15471.php “…Google has upgraded its Site Search tool to give users more control over the frequency that Google spiders a site…Site Search is Google’s on-site tool for individual websites; you use it to add a search engine to your own website. The new feature, On-Demand Indexing, lets site owners tell Google to index their site by clicking a button, rather than waiting for Google to do it on its own schedule…”

16. Google Brings Voice Search To The iPhone http://searchengineland.com/google-voice-search-iphone-15476.php “…Google’s iPhone app will be updated with voice search capability…With the new Google iPhone app, you’ll be able to speak your search query into the phone rather than having to type it out…So far voice has not proven to be the “killer app” for mobile search (as I once believed it would be). However Google’s new voice search iPhone capability should be helpful in selected situations — while in the car, for example, when directory assistance is most heavily used or for longer “long tail” queries that are highly specific. Indeed, it may result in longer or more precise query strings…”

17. Google Finally Starts Firing Slackers? http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/11/google-finally-starts-firing-slackers “…Recent change in behavior here at Google... it used to be nearly impossible to get fired for general underperformance, but about a week ago word went out to managers that this was a good time to get rid of any people who were underperforming. There have been a couple people I know who got called into meetings with HR and told they were being let go and given a week to "say goodbye to people and come up with whatever story they wanted about why they were leaving…”

General Technology

18. A gift or hard graft? http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/nov/15/malcolm-gladwell-outliers-extract “…In 1975, Joy enrolled in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. There, he buried himself even deeper in the world of computer software. During the oral exams for his PhD, he made up a particularly complicated algorithm on the fly that - as one of his many admirers has written - "so stunned his examiners [that] one of them later compared the experience to 'Jesus confounding his elders'… This idea - that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice - surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours…It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery…most people can really only reach that number if they get into some kind of special programme - like a hockey all-star squad - or get some kind of extraordinary opportunity that gives them a chance to put in that kind of work…Gates' father was a wealthy lawyer in Seattle, and his mother was the daughter of a well-to-do banker. As a child Gates was precocious, and easily bored by his studies. So his parents took him out of public school, and at the beginning of seventh grade sent him to Lakeside, a private school that catered to Seattle's elite families…Those five years, from eighth grade to the end of high school, were Bill Gates' Hamburg, and by any measure he was presented with an even more extraordinary series of opportunities than Bill Joy. And virtually every one of those opportunities gave Gates extra time to practise. By the time he dropped out of Harvard, he'd been programming nonstop for seven consecutive years. He was way past 10,000 hours…”

19. The Worst Tech Problem? 'The Internet's Down' http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2334845,00.asp “…Most of us have been plagued with a blue screen of death, a laptop that refuses to connect to a home wireless network, or a cell phone that just doesn't feel like making calls. About 48 percent of technology users have encountered such problems with their devices in the last year, according to a Sunday report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. How do they deal with these technological meltdowns? Most turn to customer support or just tinker with the devices themselves. Of the more than 2,000 people surveyed last year by Pew, about 38 percent of them said they contacted customer support for help with a bad Internet connection, computer, or cell phone, while 28 percent fixed the problem on their own. About 15 percent asked friends or family for assistance, 2 percent found help online, and another 15 percent could not fix the problem at all…”

20. What Has Driven Women Out of Computer Science? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/business/16digi.html “…When all science and engineering fields are considered, the percentage of bachelor’s degree recipients who are women has improved to 51 percent in 2004-5 from 39 percent in 1984-85, according to National Science Foundation surveys. When one looks at computer science in particular, however, the proportion of women has been falling. In 2001-2, only 28 percent of all undergraduate degrees in computer science went to women. By 2004-5, the number had declined to only 22 percent. Data collected by the Computing Research Association showed even fewer women at research universities like M.I.T.: women accounted for only 12 percent of undergraduate degrees in computer science and engineering in the United States and Canada granted in 2006-7 by Ph.D.-granting institutions, down from 19 percent in 2001-2…”

21. World’s most super-designed data center http://tinyurl.com/6k7jxv (RoyalPingdom) “…This underground data center has greenhouses, waterfalls, German submarine engines, simulated daylight and can withstand a hit from a hydrogen bomb…It is a newly opened high-security data center run by one of Sweden’s largest ISPs, located in an old nuclear bunker deep below the bedrock of Stockholm city… “Since we got hold of this unique nuclear bunker in central Stockholm deep below the rock, we just couldn’t build it like a traditional – more boring – hosting center…The place itself needed something far out in design and science fiction was the natural source of inspiration in this case…“I’m personally a big fan of old science fiction movies. Especially ones from the 70s like Logan’s Run, Silent Running, Star Wars (especially The Empire Strikes Back) so these were an influence,“ said Karlung…”

22. A Camcorder Insurgent Goes HD http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/a-camcorder-insurgent-goes-hd/ “…the company is unveiling the Flip Mino HD, a 3.3 oz camcorder that captures video in crisp high-definition and allows owners to easily play clips on their televisions and upload them to video sharing sites like YouTube and MySpace. The device costs $230 or about $50 more than the standard-definition Flip Mino and $90 more than the original Flip Ultra…The story of Pure Digital Technology is a remarkable one we have told before: a company outmaneuvering the consumer electronics giants with a simple product that captures what consumers want. It designed an easy way to record, preserve and share memories, instead of a device with a lot of confusing buttons that ends up sitting unused on a shelf…”

23. No More Landlines http://blog.tomevslin.com/2008/11/no-more-landlin.html “…By the end of President Obama's first term, there won't be any more landlines left in the country. One of the challenges facing the Federal Communications Commission and the new administration is how to deal with the fallout from the end of this venerable technology…Young people don't bother with landlines (unless they live beyond cell coverage); they just use their mobile phones or Skype for voice communication. The slightly older set are buying cable's bundle of entertainment, Internet access, and VoIP. They cancel their landlines. People who have broadband access don't need the extra line they used to rent for their dial-up Internet access…”

24. USB 3.0 to Deliver a Tenfold Speed Increase http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/11/superspeed-us-1.html “…Universal Serial Bus, better known as USB, prepares to make a tenfold jump in speed…The new spec will support data transfers at 4.8 gigabits per second (Gbps), nearly ten times faster than the current standard's 480 megabits per second and six times faster than FireWire 800…Power output bump to 900 milliamps from 100 milliamps allows more devices to be charged faster via USB…new USB 3.0 connectors and devices will be compatible with older USB ports (on devices using USB 2.0 and 1.0) but they will be limited to the older ports' slower speeds…The first USB 3.0 devices probably won't show up until the end of 2009 or early 2010…”

25. Minority Report brought to life http://www.engadget.com/2008/11/14/oblongs-g-speak-the-minority-report-os-brought-to-life/ “…Dubbed g-speak, the mind bending OS combines "gestural i/o, recombinant networking, and real-world pixels," to deliver what the creators call "the first major step in [a] computer interface since 1984…”

26. Help! Some idiot partitioned my giant hard drive! http://tinyurl.com/5ulyxz (DownloadSquad) “…Some idiot (my friend) partitioned my 1TB drive @ 10gb just to start me off and I can't do anything. I have partitioned/formatted the rest of my drive and cloned onto the new partition but I can't get rid of my C drive to use my new partition as my main drive…there are a number of good, free apps that will allow him to combine the two partitions into a single large one, or resize them to more reasonable capacities. Easeus Partition Manager Home Edition is probably the easiest free software to use, and the option I'd recommend to most casual users…Parted Magic is another great option. It's built on Linux but offers a similar graphical interface and can handle just about any partition you can imagine…”

27. Amazon Unveils Give One, Get One Laptop Store http://www.crn.com/hardware/212100281 “…The One Laptop Per Child organization today kicked off its Give One, Get One effort for the second year in a row, this year partnering with Amazon.com. Aimed at helping educate children in the poorest developing countries, OLPC's G1G1 (Give One Get One) promotion asks Amazon.com customers to buy either an XO laptop for $199, or buy one laptop to keep and one to give away for $399…”

28. Core i7 PCs on sale from Dell, Gateway http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10098484-1.html “…We reviewed Intel's new Core i7 CPU already, as well as two desktops with the chip inside, but today is the first day you can actually make a Core i7 purchase. Dell has the best starting bid, with a deal on its Studio XPS with a Core i7 920 chip and a 20-inch LCD for $999. Gateway's FX 6800-01e is also impressive, coming in at $1,249 for a Core i7 920 in a PC that can accommodate two 3D cards…”

Leisure & Entertainment

29. Your Retirement's Gone, So Buy an Xbox! http://tech.yahoo.com/news/zd/20081114/tc_zd/234061 “…Videogame companies continue to try to put a positive spin on the impact of the current recession on consumers' holiday spending plans. The latest effort comes from Microsoft, who commissioned the "Xbox 360 Holiday Entertainment Survey 2008" conducted by IPSOS. As you probably guessed by now the results provide statistical evidence that the economic crunch translates into this being a great time to buy an Xbox 360…this is the year of the holiday staycation…”

30. Guys Behind Ridiculously Addictive Flash Games Launch The Casual Collective http://tinyurl.com/5psf4u “…In early 2007 David Scott created a game called Flash Element TD that was an overnight sensation, reaching 2 million plays in only two days. A few months later, Paul Preece (a friend of Scott’s) decided to see if he could replicate the success of Flash Element, and went on to create Desktop Tower Defense - a game so popular and addictive that we said it should be banned. That June the two paired up to create a gaming company called The Casual Collective, and has been toiling for over a year to produce a crop of games that is now ready to make its public debut. Tonight The Casual Collective is launching with eight games (four of which are brand new), all crafted by Preece and Scott, and many of which seem to be every bit as addictive as their now-classic games…”

Economy and Technology

31. Black Friday Deals: 10 Best Resources http://mashable.com/2008/11/15/black-friday/ “…In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. Many stores offer tremendous discounts starting very early in the morning…there are websites that provide information from various retailers’ ad circulars in one handy location. Here are 10 sites to help you research deals to plan your Black Friday…”

32. Apple may launch most aggressive Black Friday sale yet http://tinyurl.com/6e3gyb (AppleInsider) “…With Black Friday sale information from rival PC vendors beginning to leak online, experts at Barclays Capital say they expect Apple to counter the promotions with a more aggressive than usual one-day sale, offering deep discounts on a number of Mac models…A move towards more aggressive pricing for this year's Black Friday sale would build on a trend that began earlier this summer when Apple announced the biggest back-to-school promotion in its history. Unlike past years when students were offered a free iPod nano worth $199 with the purchase of a qualifying Mac, this year's promotion bumped the incentive up to a $299 iPod touch…helped the company set a new record for single quarter Mac shipments of 2.611 million units…”

33. Wal-Mart's Black Friday deals http://money.cnn.com/2008/11/14/news/companies/walmart_blackfriday/ “…Wal-Mart's so-called doorbuster deals offered between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET will include a 50-inch Samsung plasma HDTV ($798), Magnavox Blu-ray player ($128), Xbox 360 ($199) sold with free Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock game and wireless guitar, HP Pavilion desktop computer ($398)…Judging from other leaked Black Friday ads, additional retailers are also readying huge discounts in a bid to tempt reluctant shoppers…”

34. Six Apart lays off 8 percent of workforce http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10094449-52.html “…blogging software developer Six Apart has laid off about 8 percent of its 200-plus staff. In a post on the company's public blog, CEO Chris Alden announced the cuts, writing, "We are reducing the size of our full-time staff by around 8 percent and are making some organizational changes as we prepare for 2009…”

35. Microsoft's D.C. lobbying sank Google-Yahoo deal, Jerry Yang http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10100809-38.html “…In theory, antitrust law help foster competition. In reality, politically connected companies sometimes use it to bludgeon competitors and boost their own bottom line, as soon-to-be former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang learned the hard way…from February 1, 2005, and November 17, 2005, Microsoft spent $11.99 million on lobbyists, according to financial disclosure documents filed during that time. During that same period in 2006, the figure was $13.95 million. In 2007, it was $13.8 million. But between the announcement of the Yahoo deal on February 1, 2008, and Monday, Microsoft's lobbying spending zoomed upward to $24.72 million…In return for millions of dollars distributed to Washington insiders, Microsoft could save billions on an eventual Yahoo purchase. Yahoo shares closed at $28.38 on February 1, the day the bid was announced, and at $10.63 on Monday. Even taking into account the market's overall fall in share prices, Microsoft may save billions by shoving Yahoo into a corner and eliminating its options…”

Civilian Aerospace

36. Handyman to Return to His Space Workshop http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/science/space/14pettit.html “…When the space shuttle Endeavour lifts off, it will be taking Donald R. Pettit back to the place he calls his “home away from home” — the International Space Station…Among the astronaut corps, Mr. Pettit is known as a uncommonly gifted handyman who has rebuilt a jet engine in his garage workshop, and a guy who gets things done…During his time on the station, he created amazing things. He used a hand drill, for example, to power a camera mount precisely so that he could track spots on the earth precisely on orbit; the rig allowed him to take stunning nighttime photos of cities around the world. But he is best known outside the space program for “Saturday Morning Science,” a series of engaging educational videos he created on the station in which he demonstrated things like gyroscopic physics using CD players in zero gravity and fluid dynamics by pushing blobs of water together in midair…”

37. On the Eve of Its Sale, SpaceDev Reports Profit http://tinyurl.com/6bqbky (San Diego Business Journal) “…aerospace company SpaceDev reported higher profits and revenues on the quarter ending Sept. 30 as it prepares for its merger with the privately held electronics and aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corp…Sierra Nevada is based in Sparks, Nev. with 3,000 employees. SpaceDev made a splash in 2004 when it designed and provided parts for the rocket of the record-breaking SpaceShipOne spacecraft…”

38. Swarms of small satellites coming soon http://blogs.zdnet.com/emergingtech/?p=1093 “…satellites are essential for our civilian and military communications. But they remain large and expensive, some of them costing several hundreds of millions of dollars. This is why researchers from the University of Florida (UF) are building small satellites able to work as a team to take multiple and distributed measurements or observations of weather phenomena for example. These small satellites should cost only about $100,000 to produce. The first one should be launched next year by a NASA rocket and should not be larger than a softball…”

39. Japan's space elevator http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?lng=en&id=93730 “…Due to its advanced research in nanotechnology…Japan will likely be the first…to construct a space elevator, and is more likely than not to begin construction by 2018. The Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) recently announced its plans to move ahead with a timeline for designing and constructing the world's first space elevator, which would transport objects from earth to space without the customary shuttle launch. While ambitious, the prospect of constructing a space elevator is appealing because it offers an easier, less expensive method of traveling into space. There are several key issues to overcome to make a space elevator a possibility. First, engineers must develop the technology to build the physical structures necessary to enable an elevator to travel to space. Current technology is unable to produce cable material strong and lightweight enough to haul elevator cars from earth to space…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

40. AMD releases new FireStream http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/AMD_Releases_New_FireStream_Accelerator.html “…AMD today announced the new AMD FireStream 9270 compute accelerator and the latest version of its free and open ATI Stream Software Development Kit (SDK), version 1.3. Both are designed to help researchers, technical professionals and IT organizations use mainstream computing platforms to address challenges that once would have required multi-million-dollar investments in proprietary hardware and software… AMD FireStream 9270…has a typical board power requirement of only 160 watts, yet provides over 1.2 teraFLOPS of single-point precision performance…and over 240 gigaFLOPS of double-point precision performance.1 It includes two gigabytes of Graphics Double Data Rate, version 5 memory…”

41. ATI Stream Computing: From the desktop to the datacenter http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=638 “…Stream computing can be boiled down to the idea of using the highly parallel processors in GPUs to bring incredible performance gains to those applications that can take advantage of such technology. While not exactly "stream computing", 3D rendering and gaming is the first obvious example of this kind of technology but what is likely the first true consumer stream compute application was the off-loading of DVD playback and then HD playback. Here both NVIDIA and ATI found a new use for their shaders by taking parallel tasks usually assigned to the CPU and moving them to the GPU in order to offer better performance and better efficiency…”

42. Top 500 supercomputer list http://www.crn.com/hardware/212100306 “…The TOP500 organization Monday declared that the IBM Roadrunner is the fastest supercomputer in the world, narrowly beating out Cray's Jaguar, which was upgraded less than a week ago. The 1.105 petaflop/s IBM Roadrunner supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory retained its top dog title that it first achieved in June, after it underwent upgrades. The speed demon was built for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. IBM said that in the past 10 years, supercomputer power has increased about 1,000 times…The rival systems are both housed in the national laboratories operated by the DOE. In fact, seven of the top 10 systems on the new TOP500 list are located at DOE facilities, the organization said. Nine of the top 10 supercomputers are located in the U.S. The most powerful system outside the U.S. is the Chinese-built Dawning 5000A at the Shanghai Supercomputer Center. It is the largest system that can be operated with Windows HPC 2008 operating system…”