NEW NET Issues List for 24 Feb 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 24 February 2009, 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.

The ‘net

1. 60+ Great How To Sites and Resources http://mashable.com/2009/02/18/how-to-guide/ “…Thanks to the social web, particularly niche blogs and expert-driven communities, it’s easy to find knowledge, insights and guidance direct from the pros, no matter what the topic area…Here’s a run-down of more than 60 great how-to sites and guides covering everything from building a mashup to being more productive…”

2. Free Conferencing App Yugma Available in New Skype Edition http://tinyurl.com/ahxtem (WebWorkerDaily) “…the free web conferencing application Yugma…a free, full-featured online meeting tool that is particularly good for inviting other participants on-the-fly to join a meeting even if they haven’t downloaded the Yugma application…Yugma SE is a plug-in for Windows- or Mac-based Skype users, and is available for free here. Like the standard Yugma application, it allows Skype users to share their desktops with each other during Skype sessions…up to 20 participants can collaborate at one time for free…” [http://webworkerdaily.com/2008/12/11/free-version-40-of-yugma-online-conferencing-app-is-here/ more Yugma info]

3. SpeakerRate: Honest Feedback http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/speakerrate_honest_feedback_speakers.php “…If you're a speaker, you know that standing in front of a crowd isn't half as hard as getting critical feedback on your talks. People who disliked it will generally remain silent or opt for a snarky tweet or two. Those close to you will tell you "You did great!" no matter how poorly you performed…SpeakerRate is designed to help you promote the talks you're giving - and get that critical feedback you're seeking…”

4. Facebook and Bebo risk 'infantilising' the human mind http://tinyurl.com/bduxv7 (Guardian) “…Social network sites risk infantilising the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity, according to a leading neuroscientist. The startling warning from Lady Greenfield, professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln college, Oxford, and director of the Royal Institution, has led members of the government to admit their work on internet regulation has not extended to broader issues, such as the psychological impact on children…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

5. Anonymous Caller? New Service Says, Not Any More http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/02/trapcall.html “…A new service set for launch Tuesday allows cellphone users to unmask the Caller ID on blocked incoming calls, obtaining the phone number, and in some cases the name and address, of the no-longer-anonymous caller…TrapCall's basic unmasking service is free, and includes the option of blacklisting unwanted callers by phone number…It's currently available to AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers, with support for the other major carriers due within weeks…TrapCall takes advantage of a loophole in Caller ID blocking that’s long benefited corporate phone customers: Namely, calls to toll-free numbers are not blocked, because those calls are paid for by the recipient. TrapCall instructs new customers to reprogram their cellphones to send all rejected, missed and unanswered calls to TrapCall’s own toll-free number…The call invisibly loops through TelTech’s system, then back to the user’s phone, this time with the caller’s number displayed as the Caller ID. The caller hears only ringing during this rerouting, which took about six seconds in Wired.com's test…”

6. US bill proposes ISPs, Wi-Fi sources keep logs for police http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10168114-38.html “…politicians on Thursday called for a sweeping new federal law that would require all Internet providers and operators of millions of Wi-Fi access points, even hotels, local coffee shops, and home users, to keep records about users for two years to aid police investigations…the Internet Safety Act applies not just to AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and so on--but also to the tens of millions of homes with Wi-Fi access points or wired routers that use the standard method of dynamically assigning temporary addresses…or DHCP…That sweeps in not just public Wi-Fi access points, but password-protected ones too, and applies to individuals, small businesses, large corporations, libraries, schools, universities, and even government agencies. Voice over IP services may be covered too…”

7. Clues to Massive Hacks Hidden in Plain Sight http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/02/volunteer-group.html “…For years, researchers with the nonprofit Open Security Foundation have been scouring press reports, bank websites and other sources for information on consumer data spills, tallying more than 394 million records lost or compromised in 1,700 incidents since 2000. In January, acting on a tip…foundation volunteers started looking for customer breach notifications coming from regional banks around the United States, and quickly found a pattern. A Jan. 17 story out of Maine indicated that Kennebec Savings Bank was informing 1,500 customers that their debit cards may have been compromised on a third party's system. Just two days later, a Kentucky newspaper reported that the local Forcht Bank had canceled 8,500 of its 22,000 customer debit cards because of an unspecified breach. The more the volunteers looked, the more cases they found, ultimately discovering notifications in five states…The foundation is accustomed to reading breach-disclosure tea leaves…By late January, it was becoming clear to the Open Security Foundation that something, somewhere had gone very wrong indeed…soon they became certain it was something even more serious. The banks evidently had no clue, and were distributing conflicting information…On January 19, Shettler published a note on DataLoss positing that the evidence was pointing to a breach at a payment-processing company, a firm that handles debit and credit card transactions from around the country, instead of a single leaky retailer…several media outlets began sniffing around the story. The next morning, as the world watched the presidential inauguration, Heartland issued a press release acknowledging it had been hacked…The timing of the press release raised suspicions that the company was trying to bury the announcement on a day when the country was focused on inaugurating Barack Obama. It's also possible that DataLoss' online musings forced Heartland to disclose the information when it did…Regardless of the timing, the incident helped shine a spotlight on work the Open Security Foundation is doing to ensure that data breaches don't pass quietly under the radar. That work is primarily the product of four computer security specialists who contribute to the project in their free time: Martin, Shettler, Kelly Todd and Jake Kouns. Todd and Shettler do most of the day-to-day tasks, each spending about 15 hours a week tracking news stories about breaches, managing the e-mail list, compiling statistics into easily read graphs and making the information available for download…Data loss experts have estimated the majority of breaches are still never made public for a number of reasons: Entities that are breached don't know about state laws that require them to report breaches. The breach doesn't involve personally identifiable information…Or the organization doesn't want the bad publicity a breach announcement will bring and is willing to risk keeping the information under wraps…the largest number of breaches reported — 29 percent — are attributable to stolen laptops and desktop computers rather than to hacking. Hacking is, however, the next largest category and accounts for 18 percent of incidents…Shettler said he's also surprised by the huge role that third parties, such as consultants and other outsourced service providers, play in breaches. Though such incidents account for only 11 percent of the database, the number of records affected in third-party breaches represents 41 percent of all lost or stolen records…”

8. Skype Calls' Immunity to Police Phone Tapping Threatened http://www.pcworld.com/article/159896/ “…Suspicious phone conversations on Skype could be targeted for tapping as part of a pan-European crackdown on what law authorities believe is a massive technical loophole in current wiretapping laws, allowing criminals to communicate without fear of being overheard by the police…organized crime, arms and drugs traffickers, and prostitution rings are turning to Skype and other systems of VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) telephony in order to frustrate investigators. While telecommunications companies are obliged to comply with court orders to monitor calls on land lines and mobile phones, "Skype' refuses to cooperate with the authorities…In addition to the issue of cooperation, there are technical obstacles to tapping Skype calls. The way calls are set up and carried between computers is proprietary, and the encryption system used is strong…The NSA (National Security Agency) is so concerned by Skype that it is offering hackers large sums of money to break its encryption, according to unsourced reports in the U.S. Italian investigators have become increasingly reliant on wiretaps…a recent example of customs and tax police in Milan, who overheard a suspected cocaine trafficker telling an accomplice to switch to Skype in order to get details of a 2kg drug consignment…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

9. More Customers Give Up the Cellphone Contract http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/21/technology/21prepaid.html “…pay-as-you-go phones are winning over fans for different reasons — recession-battered consumers are buying them as a way to cut costs and avoid the lengthy contracts and occasional billing surprises…Although prepaid phones remain a fraction of the overall mobile phone market, sales of the category grew 13 percent in North America last year, nearly three times faster than traditional cellphone plans…Virgin Mobile and Sprint’s Boost Mobile division now offer sleeker handsets, better coverage and more options, from 10-cent-a-minute calling cards that customers refill as needed to $50-a-month, flat-rate plans for chatterboxes who want unlimited calling, Web browsing and text messaging…In 2001, we would sell upwards of 100 contracts per month,” he said. “Now, maybe we do 10.” The store sells 100 prepaid refill cards each week, he said. Boost Mobile’s $50 unlimited-everything prepaid plan, introduced last month, has helped stoke demand, said Mr. Bournis. “Over the holidays, all of our Boost Mobile handsets were just collecting dirt,” he added. “After they announced the $50 plan, they sold out within a week…”

10. Low iPhone App Usage Stats Don't Tell the Whole Story http://tinyurl.com/dmqugh (PCWorld) “…Here are some "fun facts" taken from the report…Fact #1: With free apps, a whopping 80 percent of people abandon their selections the day after their first interaction. Fact #2: When it comes to paid apps, less than a third of users go back for more the following day. Fact #3: Only 1 percent of people end up developing a long-term usage relationship with any given app. Instead, most tend to lose interest after only a few minutes…First, the large number of free downloads make it easy to try iPhone applications and just trash them if they don't meet a need. I guess Pinch finds this interesting, but it's hardly significant. Slightly more interesting is that people buy applications and then don’t use them…What the report tells me is we need an easy way to "return" an iPhone app you don't like for a refund, say within the first 24 hours after downloading. That would help protect users against something else: The report suggests you can make a great deal of money selling a really bad application if the description and feedback can be made to seem positive enough…I have downloaded 58 iPhone apps…Of these 58 apps, I paid for about one-third of them…There are another four or five apps that I've decided I will never use and should delete from iTunes and my phone. There are, however, nine or 10 iPhone applications that are either essential to me or that I want to carry because when I do need them they come in extremely handy…”

11. Vibrating Bluetooth Bracelet with Caller ID http://jkontherun.com/2009/02/24/vibrating-bluetooth-bracelet-with-caller-id/ “…Bluetooth bracelet from Brando…around $50 and connects through Bluetooth to any phone supporting the hands-free profile. You can’t speak or listen to a call with it, but when your phone gets a call, the bracelet vibrates and displays the caller ID on the LCD…”

12. India Shatters Monthly Mobile Subscriber Record http://tinyurl.com/d58ubp (PCWorld) India…increased its mobile subscriber tab by a monthly record high 15.4 million people in January…The total number of wireless subscribers in India was 362 million at the end of January, while the total number of telephone connections - fixed and mobile - crossed 400 million...In the fixed telephony segment, the number of subscribers continued to decline…”

Open Source

13. Joomla vs Drupal - Battle of the CMSes http://www.odesk.com/blog/2009/02/joomla-vs-drupal-battle-of-the-cmses/ “…There are currently 4,695 Joomla developers on oDesk, and 201 open jobs. Joomla has shown steady growth over the last two years, from 300 jobs posted per month at the start of 2008 to over 500 today. The average Joomla job size is 125 hours. There are about half as many Drupal developers (2,212) and jobs (108) on oDesk, but the average job is almost twice the size, at 234 hours. Drupal, too, has shown steady growth from 125 jobs posted per month last year to 250 today. So, Drupal jobs have half the frequency and are twice the length, which may point to the platform being used more by larger enterprises, vs. smaller projects for smaller businesses for Joomla. Although there are fewer Drupal jobs for providers to choose from, it seems to be much less competitive of a skill. In fact, it made our list of the top 10 skills with the least competition and most opportunity, which we published in December…”

14. Ubuntu's 9.10: Karmic Koala http://www.crn.com/software/214502240 “…Ubuntu Linux version 9.10 now has a code-name -- 'Karmic Koala' -- and its focus will be on cloud computing tools on the server side, and faster boot times and design improvements on the desktop side, according to Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth…”

15. The Open-Source Collaboration Gap http://tinyurl.com/bp56r2 (Forbes) “…When it comes to open-source communities, individuals are much better citizens than institutions. The enlightened self-interest that causes individuals to send back bug fixes, contribute ideas for new features and write documentation is much harder to find in institutions…Almost all open-source projects begin as a community of individuals. A leader starts a project and publishes code on the Internet, and then others join in. As more people show up, community roles and rules develop…collaboration skills are part of being an individual but are much newer to institutions. For example, the idea of collaborating with outside partners on research and development, the practice of open innovation that Henry Chesbrough writes about, is novel and innovative. Skerrett points out that institutions don't have the same collaborative plumbing in place that individuals do…If collaboration and participation in open source and other communities is really as valuable as claimed, the benefits should start to be measured…”

16. 8 watt Aleutia E2 mini computer http://lwn.net/Articles/317827/ “…UK-based Aleutia, Ltd…ultra-low-power-consumption Linux PCs for classrooms and businesses in developing countries. The company's flagship product…E2 measures 115x115x35 millimeters, is fanless, and runs from Compact Flash storage. It sports a 500 MHz VIA processor, 1GB of RAM, and comes with VGA, Ethernet, PS/2, audio-in, audio-out, and three USB ports packed onto a ruggedized aluminum enclosure…The Compact Flash card is ready to boot; no installation required. It uses the GNOME desktop environment and a customized suite of applications, including several not common to vanilla Ubuntu…Apart from these supplementary applications, however, the system is a full-fledged Ubuntu installation, capable of downloading updates through the project's official APT repositories…The E2 is easily capable of handling Internet and office tasks like you would expect in the classroom or in an Internet cafe. The 8 watts of electricity it consumes is roughly five percent of the power drawn by a typical desktop computer…”

17. Marvell's Plug Computer: 5 watt Linux server http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/41525/136/ “…Marvell announced today a new type of computer. It's about the size of an AC to DC converting wall outlet plug, but is really a full SoC with a 1200 MHz CPU, built-in 512 MB Flash, 512 MB DRAM, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 support. It runs small versions of Linux, consumes about 5 watts max while allowing remote users (presumably those authorized by the owner) to access data stored on the device from remote locations including local intranets or over the Internet…It could be setup as a remote print server, or a web server. It could run as a proxy re-directing traffic from outside locations to forward IP addresses…with a USB 2.0 interface, it is also capable of working with much larger USB flash drives or external hard disks. When used on an intranet, such a device could serve as a media server for the home or office network, allowing extremely low-power storage and immediate retrieval without having to have a dedicated PC-like machine sitting somewhere. Since it is IP address based, media file sharing among an entire office or home would be possible. Connect to a Wi-Fi enabled router and the ability to broadcast media at Wi-Fi speeds is suddenly possible…Marvell is targeting an eventual $49 price tag for the device, with a $99 developer version, both of which are reportedly immediately available on Marvell's website…”


18. Google: Making Search Results Better Isn't An Antitrust Violation http://techdirt.com/articles/20090217/1841023807.shtml “…this company was a pure search arbitrage player. It was buying ads on Google, sending people to a page full of links... and a bunch of Google ads. These pages are often considered spam by users for good reason: they don't provide value…Because of that, people began to indicate to Google that such links were poor uses of their time, and Google's algorithm properly corrected for that, lowering the prominence of those ads…the company in that NY Times profile, TradeComet, still isn't satisfied, and has now sued Google for antitrust violations…There are numerous problems with this argument. First, it was TradeComet that made the decision to rely almost entirely on Google to send it traffic. That was a strategic decision (and a bad one)…Google has every right to make its search results better, and getting spam-like pages out of sight is one clear way to do so…”

19. GeeMail puts offline Gmail on your desktop http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10167183-2.html “…GeeMail is a standalone Gmail client that runs on Adobe AIR. It looks and feels exactly like Google's Gmail, or at least how it did before the introduction of labs last year…Unlike Google's official offline solution that uses Gears, GeeMail is quite a bit faster. It grabbed 1,500 of my most recent messages in just a couple of minutes. This speed, while nice, comes at the expense of downloading a much smaller portion of your inbox than Gmail does…”

20. Google users hit by mail outage http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7907583.stm?lss Business and consumer users of Google's popular e-mail service were hit by an outage on Tuesday…More than 113 million people use Google mail worldwide…Google has the world's third most popular web mail service behind Hotmail with 283 million users and Yahoo with 274 million e-mail users…Google Mail was working on G1 mobile phones, which are powered by Google's Android operating system. Google Mail also appeared to be working if accessed through a third-party mail reading program configured to send and receive e-mail using the Imap mail protocol.”

21. New Google Maps tweak http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10166915-2.html?part=rss “…Google Maps got a small tweak that's been long overdue. Now, instead of just showing you the top 10 results of a local search on the map, it shows all of them. It still places the little map markers that match up with the top 10results, but now you can see other places that may be closer. I can see this being most helpful if it trickles down to mobile devices, where you may be searching for something that's within walking distance…when searching for a nearby camera store I got three or four results I wouldn't have otherwise seen since they were not in the top results…”

22. Google.org Gets More Businesslike http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_org_businesslike.php “…Google.org has announced a reorganization to help them meet the goals for Google's philanthropic arm…Google remains committed to contributing 1% of its equity and profits to Google.org…Dr. Larry Brilliant will step aside as Executive Director to take the position of Chief Philanthropy Evangelist. In his place, Megan Smith will step into the role of General Manager. As the current Vice President of New Business Development, Smith is a proven deal maker for Google, having lead the acquisitions of Keyhole ( which became Google Earth), Where2Tech (which became Google Maps), and Picasa…she retains that Vice President position in addition to taking on the General Manager role…”

General Technology

23. 10 Easy Ways to Run Your Laptop Without Electricity http://tinyurl.com/baa4fq (GreenWebHosting) “…Have you ever tried to use your laptop without electricity for any length of time? Unless you have a load of laptop batteries in the storage shed, you might find that going without electricity or getting off the grid can prove difficult…you may want to try one or more of the ten options listed below…batteries are essential if you want to store or generate power from alternative sources. So, start with batteries, and then learn more about how to use that laptop with the least amount of power as possible…”

24. Scientist Looks to Weaponize Ball Lightning http://blog.wired.com/defense/2009/02/great-balls-of.html “…Ball lightning has been the subject of much scientific scrutiny over the years. And, as with many powerful natural phenomena, the question arises: "Can we turn it into a weapon?...The exact cause and nature of ball lighting has yet to be determined; there may be several different types, confusing matters further. But generally it manifests as a grapefruit-sized sphere of light moving slowly through the air which may end by fizzling out or exploding…Koloc's insight was that, under the right conditions, a donut-shaped mass of moving plasma would generate the required fields for containment itself. No Tokomak would be required for this "plasmoid," which would be completely stable and self-sustaining. It is a very close equivalent of the smoke ring -- another type of dynamic "vortex ring," which remains stable over a period of time…Koloc also theorized that if a donut-shaped plasmoid was created accidentally -- say, during a lightning strike -- it would remain stable for a period of seconds of minutes. This he believes is the explanation for ball lightning…the USAF’s Phillips Laboratory examined a very similar concept in 1993. Again, this involved accelerating a donut-shaped mass of plasma to high speed as an anti-missile weapon in a project called Magnetically Accelerated Ring to Achieve Ultra-high Directed Energy and Radiation, or MARAUDER. Based on the Air Force's awesome Shiva Star power system, experiments spat out plasmoids at ultra-high speed that were expected to reach 3,000 kilometers a second by 1995. But nothing was published after 1993, and MARAUDER was classified, disappearing into the black world of secret programs…”

25. The Netbook Effect http://www.wired.com/gadgets/wireless/magazine/17-03/mf_netbooks “…Mary Lou Jepsen didn't set out to invent the netbook and turn the computer industry upside down. She was just trying to create a supercheap laptop. In 2005, Jepsen, a pioneering LCD screen designer, was tapped to lead the development of the machine that would become known as One Laptop per Child…To build the laptop, dubbed the XO-1, One Laptop per Child hired the Taiwanese firm Quanta. It's hardly a household name, but Quanta is the largest laptop manufacturer in the world. Odds are that parts of the machine on your desk, whether it's from Apple, Dell, or Hewlett-Packard, were made by Quanta—possibly even designed by Quanta. Like most Taiwanese computermakers, it employs some of the sharpest engineers on the planet…Inspired (or perhaps a bit scared) by the OLPC project, Asustek—Quanta's archrival in Taiwan and the world's seventh-largest notebook maker—began crafting its own inexpensive, low-performance computer. It, too, would be built cheaply using Linux, flash memory, and a tiny 7-inch screen. It had no DVD drive and wasn't potent enough to run programs like Photoshop. Indeed, Asustek intended it mainly just for checking email and surfing the Web. Their customers, they figured, would be children, seniors, and the emerging middle class in India or China who can't afford a full $1,000 laptop. What happened was something entirely different. When Asustek launched the Eee PC in fall 2007, it sold out the entire 350,000-unit inventory in a few months. Eee PCs weren't bought by people in poor countries but by middle-class consumers in western Europe and the US, people who wanted a second laptop…All of which is, when you think about it, incredibly weird. Netbooks violate all the laws of the computer hardware business…”

26. Citrix Offers Free XenServer, Embraces Microsoft Hyper-V http://www.crn.com/software/214502446 Citrix is looking to undercut VMware's huge share of the server virtualization software market by offering its XenServer technology free of charge and by releasing its new Citrix Essentials technology to manage virtual servers created with both XenServer and Microsoft's Hyper-V…For Citrix, the revenue opportunity from a free XenServer is selling its new Citrix Essentials tool, which manages virtual servers created with either XenServer or Hyper-V…”

Leisure & Entertainment

27. The 20 Best Free PC Games http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0%2C2845%2C2340696%2C00.asp “…Games are expensive. What are you going to do, stop playing them? Hah! You can give your credit card a break and still stay up until 2am yelling at your computer monitor if you just know where to find all the best free PC games…There are more lame flash games out there than you could possibly catalogue, and even a few really great ones…What follows are some of the best free PC games you can get online…”

28. Who should buy the Nintendo DSi and who shouldn't http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10168665-1.html “…DSi takes with it most of the features the DS Lite had to offer, but adds new multimedia capabilities. The DSi has been on sale in Japan…and has already sold well over an astonishing 1 million units…Nintendo has announced that the DSi will go on sale April 5 in North America…the new DSi…screens are a quarter of an inch larger. The DSi hardware also actually eliminates the Game Boy Advance slot found on the Lite, so you won't be able to play older Game Boy Advance games or DS titles that make use of the port…DSi does introduce is an SD card slot, two 0.3 megapixel cameras, and a brand new menu system. The new upgradeable firmware will be exclusive to the DSi and offers a DSi Shop online store, photo editor, music player (sorry MP3 fans, it only supports AAC files), audio recorder, and PictoChat…DSi also features speedier hardware than its predecessors--its main processor doubles the speed of the DS Lite's and has four times the RAM, as well…What we do know is that the DSi's battery life won't last as long as the DS Lite's…We don't think the feature set of the new DSi is worth the price if you already own a DS Lite. (Don't forget, the new DSi is $40 more than the current DS Lite.) We just don't see the DSi as being a legitimate music player or photo editor…if you've yet to hop aboard the Nintendo DS train, there really isn't a better time to get on than right now…If you're an owner of the original "fat" DS and Game Boy Advance compatibility isn't a deal-breaker for you, we fully endorse the step-up to the DSi…”

29. NASA Creating Online Multiplayer Video Game http://www.space.com/entertainment/090219-nasa-mmo.html “…NASA plans to let Virtual Heroes, Project Whitecard and Information in Place take the lead in creating a game that emphasizes fun first and foremost. The game community sent in 800 pages worth of responses to NASA's initial outreach on developing an MMO. "The single biggest point that was pushed forward by the game community was that you have to let game design lead the development…It's easy to build a game that's no fun. It's hard to build a game that's successful and fun." A playable demo of the game is slated for release before the end of the year, based on a tech demo that uses Epic's Unreal Engine 3. Players will get to roam around in a multiplayer experience focused on moon base operations…We've had to create a new genre of gameplay, creating what we call first person exploration," said Jerry Heneghan, founder and CEO of Virtual Heroes…”

30. InstantAction enables 3-D games in web browsers http://tinyurl.com/aqew82 (VentureBeat) “…InstantAction is announcing today the formal launch of its site that lets gamers play 3-D games in a web browser. The site will have nine games that are available for free at the outset, with a half-dozen more games coming soon. The Eugene, Ore.-based company, which is owned by Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp, says it can convert almost any game to run in a web browser…”

Economy and Technology

31. Stimulus Big Winner: Battery Manufacturing http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22188/ “…the Congressional stimulus bill could help jump-start a new, multibillion-dollar industry in the United States for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrids and electric vehicles and for storing energy from the electrical grid to enable the widespread use of renewable energy. The nearly $790 billion economic stimulus legislation contains tens of billions of dollars in loans, grants, and tax incentives for advanced battery research and manufacturing, as well as incentives for plug-in hybrids and improvements to the electrical grid, which could help create a market for these batteries…”

32. Intel takes Nvidia to court http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10166684-92.html “…Intel has sued Nvidia over the latter's right to create and sell motherboard chipsets that support Intel's Nehalem (aka Core i7) class of desktop processors…the filing…is actually a request for an injunction to prevent Nvidia from manufacturing a Nehalem chipset. We have a cross-licensing agreement with Intel, entered into about four and a half years ago. Intel is now basically saying the cross-license agreement doesn't apply to future bus interfaces, specifically DMI, (the direct media interface Intel uses to link the Nehalem CPU to a system's memory, a new feature for Nehalem chipsets). Intel has now filed an injunction against us, basically trying to stop us from innovating on DMI…The PC has become a GPU-based platform as much as a CPU-based platform, and Intel is trying to delay that inevitable shift. They're trying to do everything they can to slow that down and it's because they recognize the importance of the GPU…”

33. Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0 http://tinyurl.com/cvfcdp (EastBayExpress) “…This wasn't your average sales pitch. At least, not the kind that John, an East Bay restaurateur, was used to. He was familiar with Yelp.com, the popular San Francisco-based web site in which any person can write a review about nearly any business. John's restaurant has more than one hundred reviews, and averages a healthy 3.5-star rating. But when John asked Mike what he could do about his bad reviews, he recalls the sales rep responding: "We can move them. Well, for $299 a month." John couldn't believe what the guy was offering. It seemed wrong…John may sound paranoid, but he's got company. During interviews with dozens of business owners over a span of several months, six people told this newspaper that Yelp sales representatives promised to move or remove negative reviews if their business would advertise. In another six instances, positive reviews disappeared — or negative ones appeared — after owners declined to advertise…Many business owners, like John, feel so threatened by Yelp's power to harm their business that they declined to be interviewed unless their identities were concealed…Several business owners likened Yelp to the Mafia, and one said she feared its retaliation…”

34. Don't Trust Yelp (Or Anyone Else) With Your Online Reputation http://tinyurl.com/dccpuw (Yahoo) “…Is Yelp using negative user reviews to coerce small businesses into buying its advertising?...Yelp is accused of offering to move negative reviews and replace them with positive reviews, for a $299-a-month fee…How would a reader know whether Yelp is cooking reviews?...I have no way to know whether the allegations against Yelp are true…My bet is the paid top reviews are mostly, truth be known, advertiser written. And who could blame a small business person for gaming a system that’s so ripe for being gamed? All user-generated review content on the Internet should be considered suspect. It can be difficult or impossible to know how the content is generated and by whom. Or how the publisher manipulates the content to meet its sales goals. Even though users aren’t paying to read Yelp’s opinions, this case reminds us that, even when something’s free, buyers should still beware…”

35. Why the Smart VCs Are Boarding their Jets http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/20/why-the-smart-vcs-are-boarding-their-jets/ “…if you want to cover startups well…You have to distill between the pioneer money and the lemming money. By the time the lemming money is investing, the story has been told, and the pioneers have already picked their bets…According to new numbers by Dow Jones VentureSource, venture capital investment fell in the United States last year but rose in China, India and Israel despite increased economic and political turmoil in those regions…all three of my litmus tests support the theory that…smart money is doubling down on emerging markets…We think of a VC’s job as investing in high tech—but really, it’s about investing in high growth…venture capital is at heart a home run business. And most of the sectors where VCs have traditionally gotten the biggest home runs have simply matured: Chips, computers, software, telecom, Internet…Compare that to places like India, China and even Central Africa where incomes are rising, populations are growing and nearly everything is a growth industry. Trucking, logistics, coffee shops—and yes, some Internet and tech companies too. Sure, it’s fraught with its own risk, whether it’s ethical quandaries of whether to bribe public officials, language and cultural barriers, immature capital markets or just the grind of investing halfway around the world. But venture investors are supposed to take risk. They are supposed to be pioneers. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be the promise of 10x returns…”

36. Intuit Defends Its Threatening Letter to Mint.com http://tinyurl.com/ahdwf5 (WSJ) “…A letter sent to Mint CEO Aaron Patzer from Intuit assistant general counsel Liza Emin Levitt wound up getting posted on TechCrunch, and it makes Intuit appear to be a little insecure. Intuit, the company behind financial planning software Quicken, requested that Mint provide “substantiation and evidence” for its perceived drastic jump in users to more than 850,000 at the end of January 2009 from around 600,000 toward the end of November 2008, and wrote that “all advertising claims must be verified and substantiated before they are used in advertising…Which begs the question–is it normal behavior for one company to write a formal legal letter to another, demanding that it verify its data? And in particular, what about the time limit Intuit posed at the end of the letter, which said, “Please respond to this letter with the requested substantiation before February 6, 2009.” Or else what? Intuit will ask Mint to meet it behind the bleachers after school?…”

Civilian Aerospace

37. Skylon Rocketplane http://tinyurl.com/bqx2ar (Fast Company) A million Euros of funding (around $1.25 million U.S.) has just been awarded to Reaction Engines Ltd. to develop a radical kind of space launcher known as the Skylon…The key to the design is a technology dubbed Sabre, a hybrid engine of a different kidney. In "aircraft mode" it inhales air like a normal jet engine, but the air is super-cooled by a heat-exchanger and then burned in a rocket engine with hydrogen fuel. When the Skylon reaches the vacuum of space, the air intakes are closed off, and the engine reconfigures itself to burn stored liquid oxygen and hydrogen like a conventional liquid-fueled rocket…The aim of the project is to divide the typical cost per kilo of launching a payload by ten. And that would revolutionize the satellite launching business as well as space travel…”

38. CO2 satellite launch failure on Orbital Sciences rocket http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7907570.stm “…the fairing - the part of the rocket which covers the satellite on top of the launcher - had failed to separate properly…The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) was intended to help pinpoint the key locations on our planet's surface where the gas is being emitted and absorbed. The $270m mission was launched on a Taurus XL - the smallest ground-launched rocket currently in use by the US space agency. This type of rocket has flown eight times, with two failures including this launch…Scientists had hoped the OCO mission would improve models of the Earth's climate and help researchers determine where the greenhouse gas is coming from and how much is being absorbed by forests and oceans…The four-stage Taurus XL rocket is manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corporation…”

39. Space Firm: New Rocket Costs, Economy http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/090223-sn-orbital-economy.html Orbital Sciences Corp. warned investors on Feb. 19 that the company's spending on the new Taurus 2 rocket and Cygnus cargo-supply vehicle it is building to service the International Space Station will continue as a drag on profit in 2009…Orbital is in the midst of one of the most aggressive hiring programs in the space industry. The company increased its headcount by 600 in 2008, including 135 in the last three months of the year, and the work force now totals about 3,600, Chief Operating Officer J.R. Thompson said. Orbital plans to add 350-400 new employees in 2009, he said…Orbital booked roughly $2 billion in Taurus 2 and Cygnus orders from NASA in late 2008 as part of a Commercial Resupply Services contract to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station. Orbital is facing a delay in revenue from the contract following a bid protest by Planetspace Inc., a Chicago-based firm that submitted a cargo-resupply proposal that scored higher and cost less than Orbital's…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

40. Adobe: The GPU is not a universal app accelerator http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/41486/140/ “…Photoshop CS4…a milestone release for the entire software industry as it is the first major complex application that introduced general purpose (GP) GPU acceleration to its users…this new feature may be exciting or disappointing. The bad news was that only canvas rotation and zooming supported GPU acceleration…the good news was that we saw GPGPU acceleration in a commercial application, giving it more horsepower to deal with huge images…time to talk to Adobe’s Photoshop product manager John Nack, along with software engineering lead Russell Williams, about the experiences they had with GPGPU acceleration and about the challenges implementing what GPUs are really good at -- parallel number crunching…in order to take advantage of the GPU, data has to be shipped to a graphics card the rate of about 3 GB/s. In general computations, the data has to be shipped back at a rate of about 600 MB/s. Imagine the massive amounts of data that large images can create and it quickly becomes apparent that there can be substantial delays -- especially if you cannot compute data while other data is being shipped…this highlights limitations in future GPGPU-accelerated applications, such as Apple's well-touted Mac OS X Snow Leopard. If Apple can’t change the hardware interface, their GPGPU acceleration will also be limited…”

41. ASRock X58 SuperComputer http://tinyurl.com/djtbtn (TrustedReviews) “…The ASRock X58 SuperComputer motherboard gets its name from the Nvidia Tesla Personal Supercomputer which promises to bring super computing to the desktop. The idea is that you load up a PC with an epic amount of graphics power using three Tesla C1060 cards to shift the computing load from your CPU to the GPUs. In essence a C1060 is a GTX 280 with 4GB of GDDR3 memory and no graphics outputs. You also need to include a fourth graphics card in the shape of a Quadro so you have somewhere to connect your displays et voila you have your own Super Computer. The key features that you need in a motherboard when building an Nvidia Tesla are support for four widely spaced PCI Express 2.0 graphics slots so the ASRock SuperComputer fits the bill admirably…”



Moving Ahead With Drupal

The need of several interesting projects to have a website made me decide the time has come for a renewed surge of brainpower and time to be applied to learning Drupal.

New connections have been made over the past year with others interested in learning Drupal or using it more effectively. Collaborating with both these new contacts and Drupal people I met in previous years, when combined with regularly scheduling blocks of my time for working on Drupal projects, will over the long term give me adequate skills for version 1.0 websites for projects about which I'm passionate. For those projects which reach critical mass, website developers and graphic artists on the project teams will make version 2.0 of the website much more effective than 1.0 at achieving the website goals.

A recent post on oDesk gave interesting insights into several differences between Drupal and Joomla:
"...There are currently 4,695 Joomla developers on oDesk, and 201 open jobs. Joomla has shown steady growth over the last two years, from 300 jobs posted per month at the start of 2008 to over 500 today. The average Joomla job size is 125 hours. There are about half as many Drupal developers (2,212) and jobs (108) on oDesk, but the average job is almost twice the size, at 234 hours. Drupal, too, has shown steady growth from 125 jobs posted per month last year to 250 today. So, Drupal jobs have half the frequency and are twice the length, which may point to the platform being used more by larger enterprises, vs. smaller projects for smaller businesses for Joomla. Although there are fewer Drupal jobs for providers to choose from, it seems to be much less competitive of a skill. In fact, it made our list of the top 10 skills with the least competition and most opportunity..."
Four resources will be leveraged whilst jumping into this second round of Drupalizing.
  1. The Wisconsin and Midwest Drupal community.
  2. The northeast Wisconsin technology community, including Drupalers.
  3. Online resources such as Lullabot, tutorial videos and the Drupal Handbook.
  4. Three books from Packt Publishing and O'Reilly Media.
The Wisconsin and Midwest Drupal community includes a great group of people passionate about Drupal and other technology topics. The closest organized Drupal group that meets regularly is in Madison, Wisconsin. A tentative goal is to attend at least six monthly meetings per year. There is also an active group in Chicago, and I'd like to get down to at least a couple of their meetings during the next 12 months. Wisconsin Drupalers are in the planning stages of the second DrupalCampWI. I was fortunate enough to participate in the first DrupalCampWI in 2008 and am looking forward to the second one. Not sure if a date has been set yet, but it's looking like late spring or early summer.

With regards to the northeast Wisconsin tech community, my goal is to continue identifying and connecting with Drupal users and enthusiasts in this region. Drupal-focused meetings are in the early planning stage for both the NEWLUG group in De Pere and the FDLLUG group in Fond du Lac. I'll also be setting up a few Drupal meetups in northeast Wisconsin if I can get at least one or two other Drupalers to commit to a day/time when they're available to meet.

There is a surfeit of useful, high-quality online Drupal resources, including Lullabot, a bunch of interesting Drupal video tutorials on opensourcecms.com and, of course, the official Drupal Handbook. Using these online resources effectively and finding more will be an important part of my Drupaling: La Partie Deux.

Three books I'm using as background reading and hardcopy references for building website in Drupal are:
  1. Building Powerful and Robust Websites With Drupal 6 from Packt Publishing.
  2. Using Drupal from O'Reilly Media.
  3. Head First Web Design from O'Reilly Media.
After I use the books to help me build my first couple Drupal websites, I'll do a review for each book on this blog.

Today is Fat Tuesday so as they say in New Orleans, 'Laissez les bon temps roulez' and let the Drupaling begin...



NEW NET Issues List for 17 Feb 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 17 February 2009, 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.

The ‘net

1. How to find how-tos on the Web http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10163564-2.html “…there are a slew of sites across the Web that provide articles and videos that can help us complete any project…5min.com…eHow…Expert Village…Howcast…Instructables…”

2. The Real Trouble With Search Engine Optimization http://www.seoaly.com/real-trouble-with-search-engine-optimization/ “…I…take exception to virtually every word of Mr. Dvorak’s rant, which is based entirely upon his own ignorance - without a shred of fact or truth. The advice he was given, particularly with regard to the permalink structure of the URLs of his blog, was absolutely CORRECT. The problem lies, not with the suggestion his unnamed “SEO Maven” friend offered, but that this individual gave him only part of the information necessary in order to make the changes properly… Mr. Dvorak also neglected to edit the individual permalinks to include only the most pertinent information regarding the post’s topic…Another thing not taken into account when Mr. Dvorak changed his URLs was: what will happen to any existing links to the old post URLs? You see, when permalinks are changed it will break the existing links to the old URL. Someone who fully understands SEO, rather than thinking they can glean all of the information needed from a brief IM conversation, would have understood that installing a plugin - like Redirection - would be necessary in order create a 301 redirect and to prevent any existing links from breaking as a result of the changes to the post URLs. Immediately creating a new sitemap and submitting it to Google would help to make them aware of the changes to the URL structure of the blog, as well…”

3. Link Building: Crawl Before You Walk http://www.canadianseo.com/2009/02/linkbuilder-born-learning-crawl-walk/ “…She’ll be blogging here about her experiences, as she learns from scratch, one of the most challenging aspects of search engine optimization – organic link building…a recap of our first lesson. Examining Competitors for Relevant Backlink Opportunities…Perform a search for the client’s keyword on Google.com. These sites are the ones that Google considers most relevant to “SEO Canada” and are our client’s direct competitors. Visit each of the top 20 competitor websites and look for backlink opportunities. It may be in the form of a blog comment, a product review, a directory submission, a play list, content submittal, a profile page etc…Using Yahoo’s Linkdomain Command. Perform the following search on Yahoo, substituting the url for a competitor’s (the one’s within your word doc): linkdomain:www.competitorswebsite.com This shows you the majority of websites that link to this competitor. Start visiting these sites and keep a sharp eye out for backlink opportunities…”

4. The Great Video SEO Frontier http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2009/tc20090212_136831.htm “…people are only starting to seriously consider the value of video optimization for search…we found an average of 16,000 videos vying to appear on results pages containing an average of 1.5 video results—giving each video about an 11,000-to-1 chance of making it onto the first page of results. By comparison, there were an average of 4.7 million text pages competing for a place on results pages with an average of just 9.4 text results—giving each text page about a 500,000-to-1 chance of appearing on the first page of results…there are far fewer videos than Web pages…”

5. Video SEO for Google, Youtube and Beyond http://dailyseotip.com/video-se/55/ “…Online videos are 53 times more likely to appear on the front page of search results than regular pages, according to Business Week and a study of the front page rankings of 40 of the most popular keywords in Google…when optimizing a video for keyterms, make sure relevant keyterms are used in the video titles, descriptions, tags, keyterms and even the video file name…”

6. Local Advertising Isn't Jumping Online http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2009/tc20090213_028329.htm “…Web startups have spun visions of conquering local ad markets. Their dream is to tap that vast array of attorneys, lawyers, dentists, shoe shops, restaurants, and other close-to-home businesses that tend to advertise in the yellow pages. No single local business spends a lot on ads, but in aggregate, they represent a lot of money…Local interactive advertising is headed for a big slowdown this year, according to Borrell Associates…Bright spots in the local market are rare. Even Craigslist, arguably the most successful of the handful of Web companies specializing in local advertising, has taken off in only a few cities and monetizes less than 1% of its users. Yelp, the online review site, has outlasted peers, but Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Stoppelman concedes it hasn't been easy…”

7. Hyperlocal Is Happening http://searchengineland.com/hyperlocal-is-happening-16533 “…newspapers and television and radio stations are latching on to a trend of going “hyperlocal” with their content…to counter the problems of falling ad revenue…The catch is that, so far, a hyperlocal focus of content isn’t being backed by a hyperlocal breakthrough in ad sales. Forrester Research’s recent report…found a “disconnect between the source consumers rely on for local news and information versus those they rely on for business listings.” The majority of these consumers are still using traditional means of locating the goods and services they desire. The report discovered that 74 percent of offline consumers and 66 percent of online consumers still turn to the Yellow Pages directory for local business listings. Meanwhile, the report found Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) results were almost identical to Internet search engines with 31 percent of online consumers using IYP to find listings for local businesses versus 34 percent using search engines…Newspapers aren’t the only ones looking to a hyperlocal approach to improve their product…The latest step forward comes as R.H. Donnelly launches its new DexKnows IYP platform…”

8. Twitter gets $35 million in new venture funds http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fi-twitter14-2009feb14,1,7007792.story “…San Francisco's hottest start-up…Twitter Inc. closed a $35-million venture capital round…Co-founder Biz Stone said the micro-blogging service still had money in the bank from two earlier funding rounds, which totaled $20 million, but Twitter received "an offer we couldn't refuse." "Our strong growth attracted interest, and we decided to accept a unique opportunity to make Twitter even stronger with a very attractive offer…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

9. Houston municipal courts shut down by virus http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6258583.html Houston Municipal Court will remain closed until Friday while workers make sure that a computer virus which shut down courtroom operations earlier this week has been eradicated…workers need to check and recheck the system to make sure the bug is gone. The virus is W32/Virut.n, a variant of Virut, a family of viruses that has been known for years…City officials said the virus was preventing employees from logging into the system and accessing information. Because the virus is new, the city’s antivirus software didn’t catch it, city officials said. Its antivirus vendors — Panda and McAfee - now have the information they need to prevent and disinfect the virus. The virus was isolated to 475 of the city’s 16,000 computers…”

10. Microsoft Puts Up $250K Reward For Conficker Creators http://www.crn.com/security/214200404 “…Microsoft, Symantec and other security industry and academic leaders will be cracking down on the Conficker/Downadup worm by putting up a $250,000 bounty and disabling domains that enable the spread of the botnet…the newly formed coalition is offering a $250,000 bounty for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of malware authors responsible for launching the Conficker worm over the Web…One new approach, Weafer said, will be to nip the problem in the bud by collaborating with domain registrars to ensure that they're not leveraged by botnet creators…One of the features that distinguishes the Conficker worm is that it patches its own vulnerability on the machines that it infects, possibly to prevent the machine from being infected by competing malware…”

11. Nothing New About Malware Spreading Through Autorun http://tinyurl.com/aeu6xg (PCMagazine) “…Much has been made in the press recently about the ability of the Conficker worm to spread using removable storage devices like USB thumb drives. The implication is that this is new an innovative and therefore somehow especially threatening. I don't think any of this is true…W32/Magold-D from September, 2003 was described at the time so: "The worm may attempt to copy itself to all local drives, shared network drives and floppy disks…The description doesn't say USB drives, but in 2003 they wouldn't have been much of a consideration. It's highly possible that Magold-D would find and attack them anyway…Like thousands…other malicious programs, Conficker spreads through a variety of means. This is called a blended attack. USB and Autorun are only two of them…Conficker contains a password dictionary and uses it to attack shares with weak passwords in them…”

12. Pennsylvania Bill introduced to ban all portable gadgets in school http://techdirt.com/articles/20090213/1835443768.shtml “…It's perfectly reasonable to have rules within the classroom where students are told not to use the phones during class time, but a full ban makes little sense. In fact, many parents have protested such rules, as they feel safer when their kids have mobile phones. However, it looks like some politicians in Pennsylvania are going even further. Dan Callahan, a 6th grade teacher in Pennsylvania wrote in to let us know that a state legislator has introduced legislation for a blanket ban on students having portable electronic devices in schools…”

13. Pirate Bay Trial: The Hottest Ticket in Stockholm http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/02/pirate-bay-tria.html “…Few believe that the defendants in The Pirate Bay case will face particularly harsh penalties in the criminal lawsuit even if they are convicted…their criminality is alleged to be indirect: "Assisting in and preparing to committing copyright infringement." But it is more difficult, both legally and politically, to go after the "real" infringers: the Pirate Bay’s claimed 22 million strong users…Media interest is intense. The largest Swedish newspapers have bloggers covering the trial live as the top front page story…The prosecutor claimed the gross revenue to their operations amounted to the equivalent of $150,000 before the raid in May 2006. He asks that this amount, as well as a lot of servers and equipment, be forfeited, in addition to sentencing the defendants to fines and jail time. Most in the crowd seemed to disagree…Record companies are seeking some damages but the Hollywood studios are going for the big kill and asking for about $10 million for five movies that has been shared…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

14. Android Warned Not to Use Phone's Web Browser http://tinyurl.com/cothfj (ReadWriteWeb) “…security researcher Charlie Miller presented a new vulnerability in Google's mobile OS Android which allows hackers to remotely take control of the phone's web browser and related processes…hackers could gain access to the saved credentials stored in the browser and browser history. They could also snoop on your web transactions, even if encrypted…Since it would allow a hacker full control over the browser and related processes, Miller recommends that Android owners actually "avoid using the browser until a patch is released. If this is not possible, only visit trusted sites and only over the T-Mobile network (avoid Wi-Fi)…Google's Rich Cannings, Android Security Engineer has now responded with the following statement…The Android Security Team responded by contacting PacketVideo, T-Mobile, and oCERT, a public Computer Emergency Response Team. PacketVideo developed a fix on February 5th, and they patched Open Source Android two days later…We offered the patch to T-Mobile when it became available, and G1 users will be updated at T-Mobile's discretion…”

15. LogMeIn and Android http://tinyurl.com/cgb3nb (InformationWeek) LogMeIn is expected at next week's Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain, to debut software that will help IT shops and service providers remotely manage and technically support Android-based smartphones…The growth in smartphone technology adoption is going to put a significant strain on support organizations as high-level operating systems accommodate ever more advanced applications…LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile also provides a "dashboard" that gives phone status and allows for diagnostics and chat with the customer, a company official said. With the new version, support technicians have the ability to remotely access a user's computer to solve related issues involving Wi-Fi and Bluetooth setups, as well configuring a user's e-mail…”

16. Skyfire mobile brower at 0.9 beta http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10162353-2.html “…Skyfire (coverage), the plucky mobile browser that could, inches closer to a full-version release on Thursday with version 0.9 beta for Symbian and Windows Mobile phones…Many more developments pack on greater browsing power, like the capability to download some MP3s and videos…after zooming in on an article, Skyfire will automatically reformat it to fit the screen's width. The best way to deal with text articles has been an ongoing debate in the mobile browser world for some time…”

17. Microsoft Recite provides voice storage, search, and retrieval http://blogs.zdnet.com/cell-phones/?p=696 “…Microsoft Recite is a search technology for your voice that runs on Windows Mobile (v6.0 and higher) devices…Press “Remember” to record a thought. Press “Search” to retrieve your thoughts…Recite’s voice search makes it easy to retrieve your stored thoughts and notes by using voice pattern matching. It analyzes the patterns in your speech and finds matches between two recordings – the notes you stored on your phone, and the search you do using your voice. With Recite you can store hundreds of spoken notes, and then later retrieve the notes you want you want based on a match with your search term …”

18. Nokia Will Ship N97 Loaded With Skype http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10165241-2.html “…Nokia will initially offer Skype on its high-end smartphones, the N-series. The N97…goes on sale in June…Skype will be integrated into the N97 address book, enabling users to see when Skype contacts are online. It will also let people use Skype's instant-messaging client. Most importantly, N97 users will be able to make free and low-cost phone calls over the Internet whether they are on a 3G cellular network or a Wi-Fi network…the two smartphone makers Skype has announced as partners here are manufacturers that are already struggling to get their high-end devices on American mobile networks…adding Skype won't do much to convince these operators to offer these phones and subsidize them so that American consumers will buy them. The reason is pretty simple. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile USA know that a wide-scale deployment of Skype on their phones could cannibalize their international voice services and potentially hurt their domestic voice service…”

19. Second Android phone is unveiled http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7894516.stm “…A new phone based on Google's operating system Android has been unveiled by Vodafone…The touchscreen HTC Magic will feature a 3.2 Megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, and GPS, but no slide-out keyboard. The first "Google phone", called the G1, was launched in September by HTC and is exclusive to T-mobile. The Magic will feature new Android firmware, known as "Cupcake", with changes based on G1 user suggestions…”

Open Source

20. Linux Version of Chrome To Use Gtk+ http://osnews.com/story/20980/Linux_Version_of_Chrome_To_Use_Gtk_ “…A major complaint about Google's Chrome web browser has been that so far, it is still not available on anything other than Windows. Google promised to deliver Chrome to Mac OS X and Linux as well, but as it turns out, this is a little harder than they anticipated, Ben Goodger, Google's Chrome interface lead, has explained in an email. It has also been revealed what toolkit the Linux version of Chrome will use: Gtk+…The Mac version is coming along nicely, and Google hopes to deliver both the Linux and Mac versions somewhere in June…”

21. Lenny has landed! http://www.tuxradar.com/content/lenny-has-landed “…After almost two years of work since the release of Etch, the Debian team has finally released Debian 5.0 "Lenny" to the world - their tenth major release. When we spoke to Steve McIntyre, the Debian Project Leader, he said "we basically decided that if we were happy that stuff looks and is legal, as in there isn't any source missing or anything like that, then…we'll go with that." To find out what he was talking about and see our initial views on the new release, read on…”

22. Snakebite network readied for open source projects http://tech.yahoo.com/news/infoworld/20090211/tc_infoworld/125559 “…Developers soon will have a network to go to for developing principally open source projects and testing their software on multiple platforms…Snakebite network is intended to "provide developers of open source projects complete and unrestricted access to as many different platforms, operating systems, architectures, compilers, devices, databases, tools, and applications that they may need in order to optimally develop their software…The brainchild of Trent Nelson, a committer on the Python language project, Snakebite still is under development; it is expected to formally debut in a month or so…”

23. Novell Delivers Moonlight 1.0 http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2009/Feb-11.html Moonlight, the open source implementation of Silverlight for Unix systems has officially reached its 1.0 level. We are feature complete, we pass all the Microsoft regression test suites and we shipped support for Microsoft's Media Pack for x86 and x86-64 architectures. Moonlight is available as a Firefox plugin that can be installed with a single click from the moonlight download page…”

24. Mozilla Labs: Introducing Bespin http://osnews.com/story/20970/Mozilla_Labs_Introducing_Bespin “…Bespin is an experimental in-browser text/source-editor created by Mozilla Labs. Using any modern web browser (that means no IE, obviously), you can edit your projects from any computer, or with the added flexibility of the web - such as online collaboration, decentralisation, and extensibility…Bespin is without question one of those "Wouldn't it be great" ideas. Wouldn't it be great to be able to edit code, in a decent editor, from anywhere, just using a browser? Yes it would; but I have to say, most "wouldn't it be great" ideas are spur-of-the-moment things, and the finer details have to be worked out over time. I certainly have reservations which I will proceed to address…”


25. Google Maps Edges Closer To MapQuest http://tinyurl.com/d6hlbg (Hitwise) “…I was getting ready to announce that Google Maps had caught up to MapQuest in share of US Internet visits. I decided to wait a week to be sure things held. Since then, MapQuest has regained its lead and is widening the gap on Google Maps…in late December, it looked like Google Maps was ready to overtake MapQuest. Last week, MapQuest had regained an 11% lead over Google Maps…”

26. We're not the bad guys: Google Earth boss http://tinyurl.com/ammv87 (Sydney Morning Herald) “…Hamas militants in Gaza, who have been firing rockets into Israel, and the Pakistan-based terrorists, who stormed Mumbai late last year, are among several radical groups that have reportedly used Google Earth to help in the execution of their missions. The Google program marries a swathe of aerial and satellite photography of varying resolution, giving users a bird's eye view of large parts of the Earth' surface - a type of perspective that until a few years ago was available only to handful of scientists and military officials…In December, a petition entered at the Mumbai High Court alleges that Google Earth "aids terrorists in plotting attacks" and asked that Google be directed to blur images of sensitive areas pending all full hearing. The Jerusalem Post reported in December that a documentary called The Field of Death posted on the Hamas military wing's website showed terrorists using Google Earth to plot a rocket attack on a fuel depot inside Israel last April that killed two men…”

General Technology

27. USB Computer Repair Utility Kit http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/a_computer_repair_utility_kit.php “…Technibble, the Australian site for aspiring computer techies, recently released the second version of its popular Computer Repair Utility Kit, a collection of 57 hand picked tools to help you diagnose and repair your Windows machine. While all of the utilities are freely available online, this all-in-one kit saves you the trouble of searching for and downloading them individually…”

28. Tesla Motors Taking Orders For Roadster Sport http://tinyurl.com/aspc8y (InformationWeek) “…Tesla Motors, a maker of luxury electric cars, on Thursday announced that it has started taking orders for its Roadster Sport, which should be available this June. The car, which is slightly faster than the standard model, is expected to reach a speed range of 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds…the Sport model, which the company plans to start delivering in late June, starts at $128,000…Tesla plans to unveil a prototype of its long-awaited Model S four-door sedan March 26 at the company's design studio at an invitation-only event. Production of the vehicle, which is expected to be relatively affordable in comparison to the Roadster, has been repeatedly delayed. It's now scheduled for production in 2011…Musk said the company won't fill its current orders until early November and eventually expects to be sold out of all 2009 production…The company has produced more than 200 Roadsters and has more than 1,000 awaiting delivery to U.S. and European customers…”

29. Microsoft Sued Over Vista-To-XP Downgrade Fees http://tinyurl.com/ah4m4j (InternetNews) “…Microsoft's…under antitrust attack again, this time for the fees PC vendors charge to consumers who buy PCs preinstalled with Vista and then "downgrade" to Windows XP…Alvarado claims that she bought a Lenovo PC last June that came with Vista preinstalled, and had to pay an additional $59.25 to have the system "downgraded" to XP…The suit claims that Microsoft knows it can charge extra for XP downgrades…Microsoft had said it planned to halt access to XP for system builders and OEMs…then extended that availability several times…These extensions were likely due to the tremendous profits that Microsoft has reaped from its 'downgrade' option," Alvarado's suit alleges. "To date, nearly one in three consumers purchasing a new computer has paid to downgrade the operating system from Vista to Windows XP…Microsoft is trying to kill off XP, because the system is already more than seven years old and still requires maintenance…Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster did tell InternetNews.com that the company doesn't get any of the money from Vista-to-XP downgrades…”

30. Asus `kitchen computer' does the job http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090212/ap_on_hi_te/tec_tech_test_eee_top “…AsusTek Computer Inc. upended the laptop market when it brought out the tiny, cheap Eee PC a year and a half ago. As a follow-up, the plucky Taiwanese company is trying something harder: conquering the kitchen. Many manufacturers have tried and failed to create a stripped-down computer that's usable in the home's second-least computer-friendly room...Asus doesn't call the Top a "kitchen computer," but that's the most obvious application for this type of device…The Top looks like a 16-inch LCD monitor — the computer part is built into the back of it…the screen is touch-sensitive and works well enough that I never had to use the mouse and broke out the keyboard only a few times…The Top's software has a couple of touch-friendly features to it, including an application menu with large buttons that replaces the standard Windows Start menu…By making the touch interface usable (if not stellar), I feel Asus cleared the biggest hurdle for a device like this…Having the Top run Windows XP makes it versatile, too…The Top's greatest failing is that it's bad at video. It lacks a DVD drive. It will play Flash video from YouTube or Hulu in a slightly jerky fashion that gets much worse if you try the high-resolution modes. Skype video calls using the built-in webcam are blurry and stuttery…the Top packs the same Intel processor as the Eee PC line: the tiny Atom. It's cheap and power-thrifty, but lacks the horsepower to show high-quality video…Video chatting is also great for the kitchen — you don't want to be tapping out a lot of e-mails on that screen. Much better to be able to wave a bunch of herbs in front of the camera and ask "Which one is the coriander again?…”

31. The End of Alone http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2009/02/08/the_end_of_alone/ “…Don't get me wrong. I love technology. It's magical how it makes the world closer, and more immediate…Technology also makes life infinitely more manageable. It's what allows me to begin writing this essay from a packed coffee shop on a snowy winter afternoon while still being connected with my editors and finish writing it from my kitchen in the middle of the night…So please don't confuse what I have to say for that tired Luddite screed about how technology is ruining us. It isn't. Except it just might. Because of technology, we never have to be alone anymore. And that's the problem…I was sitting in the "quiet study" section of my local public library when a middle-aged woman wearing an annoyed expression plopped down in the green upholstered chair next to my table, her teenage daughter in tow. She flipped open her cellphone and dialed her daughter's therapist. After giving the therapist's secretary her full name and slowly spelling her daughter's -- loud enough for every soul in that wing of the library to hear -- she said, "We have an appointment for next week, but I want to know if he has any availability before that. She is really not doing well." I looked up from my laptop, incredulous that a mother could be so blase about violating her daughter's privacy…I know what you're going to say. There have always been boors blabbing in places where they should be quiet…Yes, only technology has vastly expanded this bad behavior, eroding much of society's stigma against it, and making it everybody's problem. But here's the real point: It is dulling our very capacity to ever be alone, or alone in our thoughts…We've gone from an American ethic that championed the lone guy on a horseback to an ethic of managing multiple data streams…McEwen found in her University of Toronto study that college students are constantly connected to the point of having no concept of a truly unplugged life…British writer and psychiatrist Anthony Storr made a persuasive case for the value of deep, uninterrupted alone time…”

32. Stimulus package to expand Net's reach http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/14/BUFJ15SAO4.DTL In Annapolis, a town of 700 in northern Sonoma County, Doug Simmonds has been on the cutting edge of Internet service - as much as he can be for the isolated community 2 1/2 hours north of San Francisco…DSL and cable modem have never been an option. But the new $787 billion stimulus bill should help bring rural residents such as Simmonds into the modern age of broadband. The stimulus package sets aside $7.2 billion to fund broadband grants that target underserved and unserved areas, primarily residents in rural and remote areas…The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will hand out $4.7 billion, while the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service will administer $2.5 billion in grants…”

Leisure & Entertainment

33. Mindflex- moving a ball with mind control http://tinyurl.com/cvxtv5 (jkOnTheRun) “…Mattel is getting ready to show off Mindflex, a game that puts your mind to work in a unique way. Mindflex was on display at the CES this year…Mindflex has the gamer don a lightweight headset and then move a foam ball using just brainwave activity. You concentrate on raising and lowering the ball and it just happens. What makes this so unique is that it’s a game, and a great use of technology in its own right…Check it out in the following video…”

34. Why I won’t touch the Kindle 2 with a ten foot pole http://tinyurl.com/dmtwsg (Masukomi) “…I’m all for e-ink books. I hate reading on a computer screen, but e-ink is awesome, and just as easy on the eyes as paper. I’m also totally into the idea of a book-sized device that’ll have access to my whole lib…But, there is no way…I’m going to buy a Kindle…Why? Simple. I have books in my library that are over a century old. They may be beat…cracked deteriorating bindings, but they’re still totally usable. But, you are guaranteed to be screwed sooner or later with any DRM encrypted e-book device. Your device could break, and then you can’t read anything you bought on it until you buy another one. The manufacturer could stop supporting it (and then it’ll break). The manufacturer could switch to a different DRM for future sales, abandoning your old device, or charging you to convert each item you already bought…I want any book I buy today to be readable in 20 years, or more. This isn’t an unreasonable request when you’re talking about books…And twenty isn’t an upper bound. I want to be able to pass those books on to my kids…”

Economy and Technology

35. Microsoft to launch its own retail stores http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-microsoft14-2009feb14,0,6850234.story Microsoft…plans to open a series of retail stores to show off its goods…the idea is to make it easier for customers to buy and check out Microsoft products, such as the XBox game console, Zune digital media player and Surface tabletop computer -- as well as computer gear made by partners that run its software. Microsoft named David Porter as corporate vice president of retail stores late Thursday. He spent 25 years at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. before joining DreamWorks Animation SKG in 2007, where he was head of worldwide product distribution…Microsoft is putting the cart before the horse," analyst Allan B. Krans with Technology Business Research wrote in a research note. "Stores do not draw consumers to products; innovative products bring consumers into stores." The beginning of Apple's store strategy coincided with the launch of the iPod…Microsoft's halfhearted attempt at opening a San Francisco store in 1999 was short-lived…”

36. How to Get Funded in the Recession http://tinyurl.com/c9pge8 (Xconomy) “…Seattle-area startup Frugal Mechanic closed a round of seed funding from Founder’s Co-op, an early-stage investment fund for Internet companies. Frugal Mechanic is an online search engine for auto parts, so people can find the best price for an air filter or muffler, and get the right part to match their car quickly and easily…The key to their success so far has been their revenue model. (Hint: not much advertising.) For each auto-part transaction on the site, which averages about $100, Peters says, Frugal Mechanic collects a fee of 8 to 15 percent. Because the company connects buyers with sellers, Frugal doesn’t have to worry about managing customers’ credit card information…They then connected with Founder’s Co-op in October, and found the fit as snug as a synchromesh transmission. The peer-to-peer investment firm is now helping the entrepreneurs with its considerable startup expertise and extensive network, Peters says. “They’re bringing a lot of contacts, from a LinkedIn standpoint…”

Civilian Aerospace

37. Elon Musk of SpaceX calls out the troops for COTS D http://tinyurl.com/ajm4xl (Orlando Sentinel) Elon Musk, the enfant terrible of new rocket entrepreneurs, is calling on supporters to press Congress to make available $300 million to fund the human spaceflight option of NASA’s commercial space flight program, better known as COTS D…the dotcom millionaire owner of SpaceX, said his company’s Dragon capsule meets all of NASA’s human rating requirements, such as redundancy of critical systems. All that is missing, he says, is an escape system that would blast the capsule off the top of his Falcon 9 rocket in an emergency. But that, he says, can be developed within two years if the money is available. That would mean, in theory at least, that SpaceX could have a rocket and spacecraft ready to fly to the international space station by mid to late 2011 – four years ahead of NASA’s current plans for its Ares I rocket and Orion capsule…Falcon 9 rocket has yet to successfully fly; its first test launch will be later this year. But assuming that SpaceX is successful, Falcon 9 and Dragon could resolve a lot of problems for NASA…F9/Dragon would cost less than $20M per seat and it is 100 percent manufactured and launched in the United States,” Musk says, adding that his program will also create thousands of jobs in Florida, California and Texas. He estimates the total cost of his Falcon 9-Dragon capsule program will be $1.5 billion over a five-year period. “Since COTS Capability D is an existing option in an already competed contract, NASA could exercise it right away, resulting in immediate job creation,” he says…”

38. Space: Insurance's New Frontier http://tinyurl.com/br8qoc (Forbes) “…Imagine an object the size of a pea with the potential to destroy a satellite, and you'll get a sense of the potential new risks posed by Wednesday's collision of an Iridium satellite with an inactive Russian military satellite. The scale of the damage is still being assessed, but so far the U.S. Joint Space Operations Center has identified 600 pieces of debris greater than the size of a tennis ball that were thrown off in the crash…Most commercial insured satellites operate in geosynchronous orbit, around 22,400 miles above the Earth, where there is hardly any debris, and onboard control ensures that collision risks are small. For these satellites, the main risks covered tend to be mechanical troubles, or a failure at launch…Underwriters have so far been unwilling to predict the impact that Wednesday's collision will have on the space insurance industry, which generates around $800.0 million a year…”

39. Simonyi going to ISS again http://tinyurl.com/avy3he (Popular Science) “…Charles Simony, a computer software executive…announced in September 2008 that he had booked a second flight with Space Adventures, currently the only company providing orbital space tourist flights to the International Space Station (ISS). Simony is currently training for the upcoming flight, which is scheduled to launch on March 25, 2009…I’ve read that you are planning to conduct scientific experiments during your time at the ISS. What sort of experiments? They are not my own; they are experiments that need to get done but fall to me because the astronauts’ time is so valuable. Some of the experiments are truly simple, and I am more of a subject than an active participant. But you can do a lot of good medical research just by people looking at your bones before and after the flight to see if there is bone loss. Osteoporosis and the causes and effects can be researched because in space it is much worse, much accelerated…most good science in space flight has to do with the behavior of the human body in space. That is where we are lacking info, and where info can only be obtained by flying in space…There is a symptom called Space Adaptation Syndrome, and I did not suffer from that. That is part of the study of the human body that can be done while in space—there is still a mystery as to what is causing this, and there are many theories, but we need to do more experimentation…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

40. India's Movie Business Booms http://tinyurl.com/cvlvhs (Advanced Imaging Pro) Most everyone's heard of Bollywood, the burgeoning Indian movie industry. If not, the success of the recent film, "Slumdog Millionaire," should do the trick. As the nation's imaging technology grows, the film industry grows with it, becoming more fascinating and attractive…Indian filmmakers are increasingly using digital filmmaking technologies for visual effects, animation and in post-production. "What's happened is, the Bollywood folks are starting to take notice of what's going on worldwide," says Laura Dohrmann, Digital Film Group Marketing Director for NVIDIA (Santa Clara, Calif.). One of the technologies making a difference is the advance of the GPU, including NVIDIA's Quadro GPU accelerator cards…adds Mumbai-based Dohrmann, "Folks are really committed to making India a real global force in the film community. The energy is amazing. We do lecture series [on our technology] and it's not uncommon to have 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 people show up…”