NEW NET Issues List for 28 Jul 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 28 July 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. The Coming Upstream Revolution. And We Need It http://gigaom.com/2009/07/24/you-stream-i-stream-we-all-stream-upstream/ “…Most consumers pay some attention to their downstream bandwidth speeds, which can affect how quickly iTunes files finish downloading or the quality of movie streaming, but upstream speeds have never been as big of an issue. That’s clearly starting to change…Demand for upstream bandwidth is growing. Floyd Wagoner, a director of marketing and communications for Motorola Access Networks Solutions, said in an interview today that a U.S. cable provider has seen peak upstream bandwidth use increase by 24 percent from 2007 to 2008. The same provider saw average upstream bandwidth use increase by 17 percent…We’ve pointed out how online video uploads and file storage in the cloud are boosting our desire for faster upstream speeds and our use of upstream bandwidth…And don’t forget about online storage services like Mozy or Carbonite, which are also growing…will have big implications for the way ISPs think about their networks. You can place restrictions and caps on the few, but if this is a widespread movement of people putting their lives online (and I think it is) then ISPs are going to have to start pushing the limits on upstream speeds and capacity…”

2. Xoopit + Yahoo! Mail = Moving beyond that massive digital shoebox http://ycorpblog.com/2009/07/22/xoopit-yahoo-mail-moving-beyond-that-massive-digital-shoebox/ “…Enter Xoopit, which Yahoo! signed an agreement to acquire today. Their name may sound familiar – they won our Open Hack Day last fall and we teamed with them in December to launch the “My Photos” app in Yahoo! Mail…it’s the most popular third party app in Yahoo! Mail…With the integration of Xoopit’s platform technology and capabilities, the task of sending photos via email will be as easy as it should be and sharing photo albums with friends and family members will also be a cinch. You’ll be able to share your pictures among a group of friends or family like never before – combining pictures from numerous sources into a single album for a private group to view. And soon your inbox will become an organized photo index as well. Just imagine having a tool that collects all the photos you’ve sent and received over the years into that scrapbook you’ve never had time to assemble. Xoopit will bring phenomenal photo organization, improved photo sharing, and the serendipity of discovering forgotten photos…”

3. HP researchers develop browser-based darknet http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10295761-83.html “…Darknets are encrypted peer-to-peer networks normally used to communicate files between closed groups of people. Most darknets require a certain level of technological literacy to set up and maintain, including taking care of the necessary servers. However, HP researchers Billy Hoffman and Matt Wood plan next week to demonstrate a browser-based darknet called "Veiled," which they claim requires little proficiency to set up and run. "This will really lower the barriers to participation," Wood told ZDNet UK. "If you want to create a darknet, you can send an encrypted e-mail saying, 'Here's the URL.' When (the recipient visits) the Web site, the browser can just get (the darknet application) going."…Browsers with HTML 5 support--such as recent versions of Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer--allow files to be stored "persistently" on the client, for working on them when offline. This feature, coupled with the distributed grid-computing nature of a darknet, means files can be effectively uploaded in perpetuity, even when the initial browser has been shut down…"One of the benefits of a darknet is that they are distributed," said Wood. "To destroy it, you would have to take down all of the clients, because if one server gets compromised, you just shift to a different server…”

4. Netflix Prize Leaders One-Upped With One Day Remaining http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/25/netflix-prize-leaders-one-upped-with-one-day-remaining/ “…a team of computer scientists had finally managed to improve Netflix’s recommendation algorithm by 10%, making them eligible to win the $1 million Netflix Prize, a competition that began back in 2006. The team, BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos, is composed of two former leaders in the competition who banded together in attempt to finally break the 10% barrier and managed to succeed with a score of 10.08%. However, their announcement kicked off a 30 day window where other teams were invited to make their final submissions and potentially take the prize. Tonight, with just one day remaining, a team called The Ensemble has managed to overtake BellKor with a score of 10.09%…”

5. AT&T said to block 4chan http://gigaom.com/2009/07/27/att-4chan-blocked-over-ddos-not-content/ AT&T said it blocked one section of the site to control a distributed-denial-of-service attack that was affecting an unnamed AT&T customer. 4Chan is, for lack of a better term, the “Wild West” of the Internet…Net neutrality is all well and good, but when one particular server is negatively impacting other users, AT&T is obligated to respond. Not everyone jumped on the blame AT&T bandwagon, however. Late last night, Shon Elliott from unWired Broadband wrote on the North American Network Operators Group mailing list: There have been a lot of customers on our network who were complaining about ACK scan reports coming from We had no choice but to block that single IP until the attacks let up. It was a decision I made with the gentleman that owns the colo facility currently hosts 4chan [sic]. There was no other way around it. I’m sure AT&T is probably blocking it for the same reason. 4chan has been under attack for over 3 weeks, the attacks filling up an entire GigE. If you want to blame anyone, blame the script kiddies who pull this kind of stunt…”

6. Ann Arbor News abandons print, goes online http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090723/tc_afp/usmedianewspapersindustryinternetannarbor The Ann Arbor News published its final edition on Thursday, the latest US newspaper to abandon print for an online future. "Farewell, Ann Arbor," read a banner headline on the last edition of the 174-year-old daily, the only newspaper in the town in the northern state of Michigan. The closure of the Ann Arbor News makes the city, which has a population of nearly 115,000 and is home to the University of Michigan, one of the largest in the United States without a daily newspaper…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

7. Warner Busts Out Night Vision Goggles to Foil Potter Pirates http://newteevee.com/2009/07/25/warner-busts-out-night-vision-goggles-to-foil-potter-pirates/ “…Warner Bros. Pictures is resorting to drastic measures to prevent unauthorized video recordings of its newest Harry Potter epic. Security guards in Germany have been using night vision goggles in theaters running Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to find camcorders that might be otherwise hard to spot once the theater lights are off…UK audiences were subjected to a similar treatment in 2004 to prevent the recording of The Prisoner of Azkaban. The measures caused quite a stir back then, and German Potter fans and privacy advocates are equally upset this time around. German officials have already announced that they plan to investigate Warner’s measures…Warner has since officially acknowledged the use of the surveillance gear. The company said that it was restricted to 10 theaters that have been known to be visited by pirates armed with camcorders before…”

8. Hacker Says iPhone 3GS Encryption Is ‘Useless’ for Businesses http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/07/iphone-encryption/ “…Apple claims that hundreds of thousands of iPhones are being used by corporations and government agencies. What it won’t tell you is that the supposedly enterprise-friendly encryption included with the iPhone 3GS is so weak it can be cracked in two minutes with a few pieces of readily available freeware. “It is kind of like storing all your secret messages right next to the secret decoder ring,” said Jonathan Zdziarski, an iPhone developer and a hacker who teaches forensics courses on recovering data from iPhones…”

9. UAE Carrier's Blackberry Update Was Spyware http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090722/tc_pcworld/rimuaecarriersblackberryupdatewasspyware “…Blackberry firmware update pushed out to subscribers of United Arab Emirates carrier Etisalat contained spyware…The update was supposed to improve Blackberry performance, but after some investigation, technical users reported that it actually contained software that could spy on users activities…Independent sources have concluded that the Etisalat update is not designed to improve performance of your BlackBerry Handheld, but rather to send received messages back to a central server…a telecommunications surveillance application that was designed and developed by SS8…a Milpitas, California, company that develops communications surveillance products for law enforcement…Etisalat has described the problem as a "slight technical fault,"…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. How Palm Re-Enabled iTunes Sync http://www.precentral.net/how-palm-re-enabled-itunes-sync “…Palm has released webOS 1.1, which…re-enables Palm media sync…Palm believes that openness and interoperability offer better experiences for users by allowing them the freedom to use the content they own without interference across devices and services, so on behalf of consumers, we have notified the USB Implementers Forum [USB-IF] of what we believe is improper use of the Vendor ID number by another member. When Apple updated iTunes to 8.2.1 and blocked the Pre, presumably they did so by telling iTunes to block out any Vendor IDs besides Apple's…Palm thinks it's improper for iTunes to only allow connectivity with certain Vendor IDs. Since they feel they're in the right there, I guess they don't mind wading into the gray area of spoofing another company's USB Vendor ID…”

11. Pedal power for Kenya's mobiles http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8166196.stm Two Kenyan students are hoping to market a device that allows bicycle riders to charge their mobile phones…People have to travel great distances to shops where they are charged $2 a time to power their phone, usually from a car battery or solar panel…It is estimated that some 17.5 million people out of Kenya's 38.5 million population own a mobile handset - up from 200,000 in 2000…The two electrical engineering students from Nairobi University have been working on their own invention, which they are selling for 350 Kenyan shillings ($4.50) each…In Kenya, bicycles are sold with a dynamo to be attached to the back wheel to power the lights. The dynamo lead can be switched to plug into the charger instead, they explained. Mr Katana explained it takes an hour of pedalling to fully charge a phone, about the same time it would if it were plugged into the mains electricity…”

12. Laptop Prices Dip Under $300 in the US http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090724/tc_pcworld/laptoppricesdipunder300intheus Laptops are closing the price gap on less-powerful netbooks, with retailers delivering fully equipped systems for under US$300 as part of promotional offers. Wal-Mart will start offering limited quantities of a fully loaded Compaq laptop for $298 starting July 26, according to an entry on Wal-Mart's Checkoutblog site. The laptop being offered is a Compaq Presario CQ60-419WM from Hewlett-Packard, which is powered by Advanced Micro Devices' Sempron SI-42 processor running at 2.1GHz. The laptop comes with Windows Vista and includes a 15.6-inch screen, 3GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive and Nvidia's GeForce 8200M integrated graphics. It also includes a DVD-RW drive, according to specifications provided by HP. For such a low price, the laptop is packed with features and could run out of stock quickly…”

13. Samsung Confirms It’s Working on NVIDIA Tegra Phone http://blog.laptopmag.com/samsung-confirms-its-working-on-nvidia-tegra-phone “…Samsung is working with NVIDIA’s Tegra processor in an upcoming device…Other than a confirmation we don’t have any release date or pricing, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a $199 Tegra phone from Samsung in the U.S.…”

14. Verizon to offer Palm Pre in early 2010 http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10296775-94.html “…Verizon Wireless…has confirmed it will be getting the Palm Pre early next year…”

15. Apple Growing Rotten To Core: Official Google Voice App Blocked http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/27/apple-is-growing-rotten-to-the-core-and-its-likely-atts-fault/ “…Apple had begun to pull all Google Voice-enabled applications from the App Store, citing the fact that they “duplicate features that come with the iPhone”. Now comes even worse news: we’ve learned that Apple has blocked Google’s official Google Voice application itself from the App Store. In other words, Google Voice — one of the best things to happen to telephony services in a very long time — will have no presence at all on the App Store. If there’s ever been a time to be furious with Apple, now is it…it’s not hard to guess who’s behind the restriction: our old friend AT&T. Google Voice scares the carriers. It allows users to send free SMS messages and get cheap long-distance over Google Voice’s lines…”

Open Source

16. PortableApps Delivers Enhanced Beta of its Open Source App Suite http://ostatic.com/blog/portableapps-delivers-enhanced-beta-of-its-open-source-app-suite#buzz PortableApps has issued a new beta version of its Platform 2.0 release, downloadable here…It’s especially popular as a way to store many useful applications on a pocketable drive, but many netbook owners who don't want to run bloated applications use the small-footprint apps in the PortableApps suite. The open source applications that you get are top-notch, and the new upgrade to the suite includes many meaningful enhancements…”

17. Moblin - the Web2.0 OS http://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/2009/07/24/moblin-the-web20-os-and-on-getting-heckled/ “…I touched on some of the high points of what makes Moblin great as an OS design *for* netbooks…Moblin in its current form has a goal to boot in 8 seconds from when the BIOS finishes its work to the moment the CPU and Disk are truly idle and able to do useful work…”

18. Air Cursor Software Coming for Windows, Linux http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090722/tc_pcworld/aircursorsoftwarecomingforwindowslinux A Web cam and Air Cursor software from Taiwan's publicly funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is all a user will need to control their computer cursor with simple hand gestures in the air. ITRI developed the software to work with common computer hardware so people won't have to buy anything new to get set up…”


19. 100,000 users to get Google Wave this fall http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-10291968-248.html “...While about 6,000 developers got their hands on Wave Monday, a post on the Google Wave developer blog says the company isn't planning to open it up to everyday users until September 30th. At that time, some 100,000 users will be let into the program. To be a part of that first run, users will have had to have signed up to use the service on Google's invite page…Wave is Google's re-imagining of Web e-mail…It blends live chat and e-mail in one service…”

20. Google's Android To Invade Homes http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/22/google-android-homes-technology-wireless-google.html “…Touch Revolution says a string of well-known companies will introduce a range of Android-powered household gadgets before the end of the year. The devices will fall into three basic categories: home control devices, media control devices and home phones, says Bill Brown, Touch Revolution's vice president of marketing. All the gadgets will feature touch-screens in sizes ranging from 4.3 to 10 inches, support Android as an operating system, and connect to the Web through wi-fi or wired Ethernet…”

21. Google Expert Tips: How to Find Anything Fast http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135728/Google_Expert_Tips_How_to_Find_Anything_Fast “…The tips and tricks below will help you improve the precision of the search results Google provides--and use far fewer keystrokes to get them. Get to know search operators: Google made its name by delivering powerful search results in response to queries of any level of sophistication, but learning to use Google's search operators can really hone your Google-fu. The Google Help Cheat Sheet rounds up some of the finest…”

General Technology

22. Windows 7 Has Been Released to Manufacturing http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windows7/archive/2009/07/22/windows-7-has-been-released-to-manufacturing.aspx “…Windows 7 has RTM’d…Today after all the validation checks were met, we signed off and declared build 7600 as RTM [Windows 7 will be in retail stores and shipping on new PCs starting October 22nd]…”

23. Wireless power system shown off http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8165928.stm “…Eric Giler, chief executive of US firm Witricity, showed mobile phones and televisions charging wirelessly at the TED Global conference in Oxford. He said the system could replace the miles of expensive power cables and billions of disposable batteries…The system is based on work by physicist Marin Soljacic at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It exploits "resonance", whereby energy transfer is markedly more efficient when a certain frequency is applied. When two objects have the same resonant frequency, they exchange energy strongly without having an effect on other, surrounding objects…”

24. Samsung Unveils Gesture-Sensing Hologram http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/cliff-kuang/design-innovation/samsung-invents-worlds-first-gesture-sensing-hologram “…Samsung has been noisily touting its new smartphone, the JET. But they're actually somehow managed to upstage themselves: During the product launches in London, Dubai, and Singapore, they've been presenting the phone's capabilities using a "gesture-sensing hologram."…”

25. Western Digital Rolls Out First 1TB Laptop HHD http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10296034-1.html “…Western Digital announced Monday two laptop drives that offer "extreme" amounts of storage: the Scorpio Blue 1TB and the Scorpio Blue 750GB. Prior to this announcement, the largest laptop hard drive available was 500GB. Currently, the largest desktop hard drive on the market is 2TB. The Scorpio Blue 1TB drive, though half the capacity, is still very impressive, considering the fact that a 2.5-inch laptop drive is much smaller than a 3.5-inch desktop drive. The new WD laptop drives are the first that use 333GB per platter technology…”

Leisure & Entertainment

26. Artists Find Backers as Labels Wane http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/technology/internet/22music.html “…with the structure of the music business shifting radically, some industry iconoclasts are sidestepping the music giants and inventing new ways for artists to make and market their music — without ever signing a traditional recording contract. The latest effort comes from Brian Message, manager of the alternative band Radiohead…His venture, called Polyphonic, which was announced this month, will look to invest a few hundred thousand dollars in new and rising artists who are not signed to record deals and then help them create their own direct links to audiences over the Internet…in the last few years marquee musicians like Trent Reznor, the Beastie Boys and Barenaked Ladies have created their own artist-run labels and reaped significant rewards by keeping a larger share of their revenue. Under the Polyphonic model, bands that receive investments from the firm will operate like start-up companies, recording their own music and choosing outside contractors to handle their publicity, merchandise and touring. Instead of receiving an advance and then possibly reaping royalties later if they have a hit, musicians will share in all the profits from their music and touring. In another departure from tradition in the music business, they will also maintain ownership of their own copyrights and master recordings — meaning they and their heirs can keep earning money from their music…”

27. Nintendo doubles the fun in `Wii Sports Resort' http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090724/ap_en_ot/us_game_review_wii_sports_resort “…In November 2006, "Wii Sports" — the software that's packaged with Nintendo's Wii — introduced the U.S. audience to a new way to play…With more than 45 million copies in circulation, "Wii Sports" has probably been played by more people than any game in history. A subsequent minigame collection, "Wii Play," sold 23 million copies. So Nintendo has high expectations for "Wii Sports Resort"…boosting the number of events from five to 12. The three sports that have returned (golf and bowling from "Wii Sports," table tennis from "Wii Play") are sharper, thanks to the new Wii MotionPlus accessory…The package comes with one MotionPlus device, which attaches to one end of the Wii remote and gives it more precise control…The most engrossing of the new events is archery…Frisbee may be the most challenging entry…”

28. Netflix 2Q tops expectations http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090724/ap_on_hi_te/us_earns_netflix “…Netflix Inc.'s second-quarter profit shot past analyst expectations, following a familiar script as recession-weary consumers flocked to its DVD-by-mail and Internet streaming service. The performance announced Thursday is the latest evidence that a bad economy is good for Netflix because it offers low-cost home entertainment at a time when more people are pinching pennies…”

29. MySpace + Yahoo Games = A New Online Gaming Powerhouse? http://paidcontent.org/article/419-could-myspace-yahoo-games-a-new-online-gaming-powerhouse/ “…If Yahoo Games is really on the block, it’s 19.2 million monthly unique visitors could be a huge source of new traffic for MySpace—since visits to its own games portal (and the network as a whole) have trended downward over the past year. Combined, Yahoo Games and MySpace Games would attract roughly 19.7 million unique visitors (per comScore)—moving it just ahead of EA with 19.6 million uniques. But MySpace would need to get more than just traffic out of the deal for it to be lucrative…”

Economy and Technology

30. Microsoft Misses Earnings http://searchengineland.com/microsoft-misses-earnings-yahoo-board-meets-about-potential-microsoft-search-deal-22952 Microsoft reported worse-than-expected earnings yesterday…Operating income, net income…for the quarter were $3.99 billion, $3.05 billion…which represented declines of 30%, 29%...respectively, when compared with the prior year period. For the full fiscal year revenues were $58.44 billion, a 3 percent decline from fiscal 2008 and the first time that sales had declined in the company’s more than 30 year history. The decline was blamed on the economy, among other factors, but also the rise of netbooks. According to Microsoft netbooks have a roughly 11 percent share of the PC market. Microsoft’s OS dominates there but margins are much smaller. Online business services, which houses Microsoft’s various online and internet ad businesses saw revenues of $731 million in the quarter. That compares with $837 million a year ago, a 13 percent decline. The unit lost $732 million in the quarter (compared with $485 in the same period last year) and for the full fiscal year there was a loss of $2.25 billion…”

31. Is the party over for Microsoft? http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-the-party-over-for-microsoft-2009-07-24 Everyone knew the day would come when the fortunes of Microsoft Corp. would reverse. The company might now be in actual decline…Microsoft is a software company. It has been distracted too easily by the success of others in essentially unrelated fields. Here are but a few examples…Years ago in the pre-Internet era, AOL was the talk of the town, so Microsoft had to copy it with MSN. No money was made…Netscape was the rage for a while, so Microsoft threw together a browser and got in that business. The browser was given away for free. No money was made; the strategy got the company in trouble with government trustbusters…During the early days of the Internet, new online publications appeared. Microsoft decided to become a publisher too, rolling out a slew of online properties including a computer magazine and a women's magazine. They were all folded…Teddy Ruxpin became a hot toy. Microsoft rolled out a couple of robotic plush toys, including the creepy Barney the Dinosaur who sang "I love you and you love me." The company soon lost interest and dropped the whole thing…Yahoo and Google showed that a search engine could be a money maker, so Microsoft copied that idea; it now has Bing…Apple rolled out a MP3 player, the iPod. Microsoft came up with its own MP3 player, the Zune…This is a company that began making development tools for programmers, beginning with a programming language. Does anyone see a pattern here…”

32. Starbucks offers first peek at its not-a-Starbucks café http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2009527518_starbucks24.html?cmpid=2628 “…The Starbucks that isn't a Starbucks — officially called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea — opens Friday morning…15th Avenue Coffee and Tea is the latest in a string of stores that Starbucks has remodeled in a more rustic style using recycled materials…The test stores will sell a rotating menu of beer…and wine…along with coffees, teas and food not found at most Starbucks locations…Die-hard Frappuccino fans will have to go elsewhere, because 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea will not serve those…15th Avenue's ambience is similar to…the rustic, old-time coffeehouse vibe of its oldest existing store inside the Market. The 15th Avenue store's community table, which easily fits 10 to 12 people, has a surface that came from a wooden ship…”

33. Apple forces Microsoft to change Laptop Hunter ad http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10295057-71.html “…according to AdAge Microsoft has actually made changes to one of the Laptop Hunter ads. It's the one featuring Lauren, the aspiring law student, and her mom, who claimed that Lauren usually gets what she wants. In the original version of the ad, Lauren, who wants to spend a maximum of $1,700 on her computing dreams, offered this competing statement: "This Mac is $2,000, and that's before adding anything."…A Microsoft representative told AdAge: "We slightly adjusted the ads to reflect the updated pricing of the Mac laptop shown in the TV advertisement. This does not change the focus of the campaign, which is to showcase the value and choice of the PC…”

Civilian Aerospace

34. How to glue together a lighter spacecraft http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327185.400-how-to-glue-together-a-lighter-spacecraft.html “…Burt Rutan, the aerospace pioneer whose firm Scaled Composites is designing civilian suborbital spacecraft for Virgin Galactic, is using an alternative technique to secure the fuel tanks in order to keep the weight of the space plane down. Rutan says the use of heavy mountings can be avoided completely by careful design of the tank and fuselage. His idea, described in a US patent granted last month, is to glue the fuel tanks to the inside of the craft…with a superstrong industrial adhesive…”

35. XCOR Aerospace Tests Lynx Aerodynamic Design http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2009/09-07-24_XCOR_tests_lynx_aerodynamics_in_USAF_wind_tunnel.html XCOR Aerospace, Inc., announced today that it has finished a series of wind tunnel tests of the aerodynamic design of its Lynx suborbital launch vehicle. The tests took place at the U.S. Air Force test facility located at Wright-Patterson Air Base near Dayton, OH, using an all-metal 1/16th scale model of the Lynx…“We are at a very exciting point in the Lynx program,” he said. “While we are refining the aerodynamic design, we are making progress in fabricating the Lynx’s crew cabin, testing cryogenic pumps that will be used in the propulsion system, and continuing the test program of the liquid fuel rocket engines that will propel the Lynx to the edge of space. We are making concrete progress in turning our dream of affordable space access into reality…”

36. Cirque du Soleil founder eager for space voyage http://news.cnet.com/8301-19514_3-10293956-239.html Guy Laliberté, a former street entertainer who founded the enormously successful Cirque du Soleil, says he…might try to teach his crewmates a few card tricks if he can figure out how to do it in weightlessness…Laliberté, a Canadian worth an estimated $2.5 billion, is believed to be paying upward of $35 million to visit the International Space Station as a "spaceflight participant," or space tourist…Laliberté is the founder of the One Drop Foundation, dedicated to improving water conservation. He said he plans to hold a news conference in August to discuss his "Poetic Social Mission" to the space station and to unveil its theme and objectives…”

37. Spacewalkers Add New Batteries to Space Station http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/090724-sts127-fourth-spacewalk-wrap.html “…astronauts added a fresh set of vital batteries on the International Space Station Friday…Cassidy and Marshburn sped through their battery replacement work at the left edge of the space station's main truss. The station's truss serves as its backbone and is as long as an American football field…The batteries are a critical part on the space station's solar array power grid. They store power from the solar wings when the space station is flying in darkness over the Earth's night side. There are four sets of batteries on the station, one for each pair of solar wings, but they are only designed to last 6 1/2 years. Each battery weighs about 375 pounds (170 kg) and is about the size of a small refrigerator…The batteries on the station's Port 6 truss - where Cassidy and Marshburn worked Friday - are part of the outpost's oldest solar arrays, which launched in 2000 and have been in service for nine years. So NASA wanted spacewalkers to replace them before they died. The old batteries will return to Earth aboard Endeavour next week…”

38. Wait a Bit Longer for Your Galactic Vacation http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/07/space-tourism/ “…Five years ago, there was a lot of buzz about the average person flying to the edge of space and enjoying a little weightlessness. SpaceShipOne had just claimed the Ansari X-Prize and a host of teams were touting their spacecraft development programs and talking about suborbital tourist flights from “spaceports” around the country. But in the years since, a shortage of funding has dashed the dreams of future astronauts. Several companies that promised to take us beyond atmosphere have quit the space race and others have gone quiet…Virgin is just one of the companies hoping to provide rides to space. Here’s a rundown of some of them…”

39. Our next giant leap will need private backing http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6722405.ece “…The Moon landings came less than 70 years after the first powered flight — Orville Wright’s “brief hop” at Kitty Hawk — and only 12 years after the launch of Sputnik…The Apollo programme was a transient spin-off from the rivalry of the Cold War. The impetus was lost — a prime example of the ever widening chasm between what can be done technically and what there is a motive for doing (Concorde is another instance)…In the US, a panel of experts is advising President Obama on whether to set a goal of landing on Mars, and whether to construct a permanently manned lunar base. Such a programme would involve huge expense, and “safety culture” may make the cost prohibitive. The US public reaction to the shuttle’s safety record — two disasters, each a national trauma, in 120 flights — suggests that it is unacceptable for tax-funded projects to expose civilians even to a 2 per cent risk…To keep the costs of manned spaceflight acceptable, it must be openly accepted that it is hazardous. The first explorers venturing towards Mars would confront risks far higher than in a Shuttle flight: even “one-way tickets”. (It is astonishing that the Apollo astronauts avoided disaster. President Nixon’s speechwriters prepared a eulogy in case Armstrong was stranded on the Moon, never to return.)…Companies funded by Jeff Bezos, of Amazon, and Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, are developing new rockets. The recent “Google prize” to launch a robotic lunar lander is engaging many ingenious inventors, and leveraging far more money than the prize itself. Potential sponsors with an eye on posterity might note that Queen Isabella is now remembered primarily for her support of Columbus…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

40. BofA’s Birnbaum Urges Wall Street to "Think Parallel" http://www.wallstreetandtech.com/it-infrastructure/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=218600457 “…Birnbaum was inspired by a realization that there are not enough skilled parallel programmers to meet the demand in industries such as Wall Street; his reading of the book Threading Building Blocks by James Reinders, Intel's chief evangelist, which instructs developers to learn to "think parallel" (in other words, understand how to write programs to perform many tasks at once, rather than one process after another); and a meeting with a high school student who took an immediate interest in parallel programming ideas, as well as Birnbaum's own conversion from serial to parallel programming, which took place about eight years ago. "It became clear to me that you need to reopen your mind in order to re-run experiments that you may have run before," he says. "Young people are going to come with open minds, they'll be willing to trying anything, they'll come up with new solutions to problems. For a lot of the big problems we have today, we need new, creative solutions." In his class today, Birnbaum notes that his students asked thoughtful, insightful questions. "They had no problem even with advanced concepts that many of them were seeing for the first time…”

41. PGI’s latest compilers aimed at x64+GPU programming http://insidehpc.com/2009/07/20/pgi-compiler-9-x64-gpu-hybrid-programming/ “…I was struck by the diversity of vendors and partners exhibiting technology based on NVIDIA’s GPUs at ISC last month in Germany. At least 19 companies were offering products that use, facilitate, or support GPUs as part of a larger solution, including everyone from OS and library providers to HPC system vendors…With companies integrating GPU hardware into their solutions, and other companies developing tools to make the GPUs themselves easier to use, GPUs are starting to benefit from a real network effect…The Portland Group, Inc — or just PGI to their friends — is a long-time provider of compilers that focus on the HPC user community. In late June they announced that version 9.0 of their compiler suite has new capabilities that enable HPC users to get at the power of GPUs without all the pain typically associated with GPU programming. While GPUs can offer significant speedups for certain classes of application over more traditional CPU-only parallel programming, they also present significant barriers to adoption. Even if an application is well-suited to the GPU model, making effective use of the added resources on a GPU can be tough. Using tools like CUDA on NVIDIA’s GPUs requires substantial effort on the part of application developers who now must explicitly manage the transfer of data to the processors of the GPU, fetching of the answer from the GPU, and restructuring of operations to take advantage of the various levels of parallel processing within the hardware (both vector and multiprocessor). OpenCL begins to address some of the concerns that developers have with CUDA in as much as OpenCL has the potential to be supported cross-platform, while CUDA is limited to NVIDIA products. However from a programming point of view OpenCL is still rather low level, requiring the developer to rewrite the computational kernel, allocate and explicitly manage device memory…”

42. NVIDIA CUDA Toolkit 2.3 Released http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/NVIDIA-CUDA-Toolkit-23-Released-51404032.html “…NVIDIA announced today it has released version 2.3 of the CUDA Toolkit and SDK for GPU computing. This latest release supports several significant new features that deliver a major leap forward in getting the most performance out of NVIDIA's massively parallel CUDA-enabled GPUs…”

43. Film Effects Are Battleground Between Chip Rivals http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124873282919984939.html In the film "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the wizard Dumbledore conjures up a tornado of fire that marks a new feat in animation -- and a milestone for a breed of chips that are beginning to play broader roles in the computing world. The simulation was created by Lucasfilm Ltd.'s Industrial Lighting & Magic unit, which developed software that exploited the collective power of graphics chips from Nvidia Corp. in dozens of computer workstations. Special-effects houses ordinarily use those desktop machines to conceive and refine animation ideas, while hundreds of servers are used to render final images in a process that can take days or weeks. But creators of the latest Harry Potter installment wanted an effect that those "render farms" couldn't deliver -- fire that looked realistic, yet could be directed to swirl around the scene precisely…Those thinking of overhauling their server rooms include Scanline VFX, a German special-effects company that is known for sophisticated simulations of tidal waves and other effects involving water. Stephan Trojansky, Scanline's president, estimates that shifting to Nvidia's chips for more processing chores would allow the company to squeeze 800 processor cores in the space of 16 cores on Intel chips. "We would miss an opportunity if we don't jump on that train," Mr. Trojansky says. Another company adopting GPUs is Otoy LLC, a Los Angelesbased company that is working with AMD to assemble a system with 1,000 GPUs. Jules Orbach, Otoy's chief executive, says the system will be used to create special effects, as well as to centrally serve up videogames over the Internet…”



NEW NET Issues List for 21 Jul 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 21 July 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. Firefox 3.5.1 http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10289205-83.html Mozilla updated Firefox to version 3.5.1 for Windows, Mac, and Linux on Thursday, fixing a security problem, improving stability, and speeding launch time on some Windows systems…”

2. Google Chrome http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-10289789-12.html New versions of Google Chrome are out, fixing bugs and patching security holes…”

3. ooVoo takes on Skype, Cisco in video conferencing http://tech.yahoo.com/news/nm/20090717/wr_nm/us_oovoo_videoconferencing “…While Skype has the higher profile, New York-based ooVoo has quietly built up 7.5 million registered users in the last few years with a service that supports video chats between up to six people and up to six phone participants. Now, the fledgling company is adding a desktop sharing option that will let business colleagues view each other's computer screens and enable remote collaboration…”

4. Significant redesign of Yahoo homepage http://www.pcworld.com/article/168792/yahoo_reveals_its_most_significant_redesign_ever.html “…Yahoo unveiled a redesigned Yahoo.com front page on Tuesday, billing it as the Web portal's most significant redesign ever. Taking a cue from Google's iGoogle, the new page is gives users a way to personalize Yahoo.com so they can check in with other sites, such as Facebook or Gmail…”

5. Facial Recognition for Auto-Tagging Facebook Photos http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/photo_tagger_facial_recognition_for_auto-tagging_facebook_photos.php Earlier this year, a company called Face.com brought facial recognition technology to Facebook by way of an application called Photo Finder which scanned through untagged photos and identified the people within them. Now, using the same facial recognition algorithms that made Photo Finder possible, the company is introducing Photo Tagger, an app which scans through select online albums to automate the tagging process. The two Face.com Facebook applications are very similar in nature. They both use the company's facial recognition technology to match people with their pictures by way of a special algorithm called the "hybrid descriptor-based funneled" model…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. Laptop Security while Crossing Borders http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/07/laptop_security.html “…I wrote about the increasing propensity for governments, including the U.S. and Great Britain, to search the contents of people's laptops at customs…Companies and individuals have dealt with this problem in several ways, from keeping sensitive data off laptops traveling internationally, to storing the data -- encrypted, of course -- on websites and then downloading it at the destination. I have never liked either solution. I do a lot of work on the road, and need to carry all sorts of data with me all the time. It's a lot of data, and downloading it can take a long time. Also, I like to work on long international flights. There's another solution, one that works with whole-disk encryption products like PGP Disk (I'm on PGP's advisory board), TrueCrypt, and BitLocker: Encrypt the data to a key you don't know. It sounds crazy, but stay with me…”

7. Why Amazon went Big Brother on some Kindle e-books http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/07/amazon-sold-pirated-books-raided-some-kindles.ars “…Amazon.com shocked customers yesterday when it reached out to hundreds, if not thousands of Kindles and simply deleted texts that users had not only purchased, but had started to read…Sometime on Thursday, users had an eerie feeling that they were being watched, receiving emails stating that their purchases were being refunded. When they connected to the Kindle's WhisperNet, the purchases in question were automatically deleted. Some could only wonder: how often could this happen? Perhaps the Thought Police Amazon Customer Service team could cut off your books whenever they wanted to. With Amazon's tramping on the works of Orwell, customers felt their utopian world of tree-saving e-book consumption trampled upon…Accusations that Amazon had caved to the powerful meanderings of a "major publisher" were far off the mark, although the cause is still unsettling. As it turns out, the books in question were being sold by Amazon despite being unauthorized copies…” [“…why doesn’t Amazon just come into our houses and burn the print copies as well while they’re at it?…” http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/17/amazon-why-dont-you-come-in-our-houses-and-burn-our-books-too/ ]

8. Why chips in passports and ID cards are a stupid idea http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14066895 “…tramping around Europe has given your correspondent a chance to see how effective the new e-passports are at border crossings…his family holds American, Japanese and British passports, each recently renewed…the e-passports contain biometric data embedded in a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip, along with the usual mugshot and optical bar-code…The new American passport sets the gold standard. It has additional features built into it that make it especially hard to counterfeit. The Japanese passport runs a close second, while the British version comes a poor third…The two main justifications for adding chips to passports are that they improve security at border crossings and speed up immigration procedures. Your correspondent thinks this is poppycock…The immigration officer still has to open the e-passport, read its contents and then swipe its bar-code through an optical reader to get the bearer’s file up on a screen ready to ask a few questions. There, normally, the procedure would end. Next, however, the e-passport has to be placed over an inductive reader that provides the radio-frequency energy to power up the passive RFID so it can spit out its data. Moments later, the chip’s contents appear on the screen, ready to be compared with those printed in the booklet. If the two sets of information agree, the passport is accepted as authentic. In other words, all the chip does is confirm what is printed in the passport. What it does not do is prove the holder is the person he or she claims to be—no more so than a traditional passport did…if the passport is a fake and the chip cloned, it could just as easily pass muster…”

9. NSA wiretapping story nobody wanted http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135645/The_NSA_wiretapping_story_nobody_wanted “…It's an account of his experiences as the whistleblower who exposed a secret room at a Folsom Street facility in San Francisco that was apparently used to monitor the Internet communications of ordinary Americans…Secretly authorized in 2002, the program lets the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) monitor telephone conversations and e-mail messages of people inside the U.S. to identify suspected terrorists. Klein knew right away that he had proof -- documents from his time at AT&T -- that could provide a snapshot of how the program was siphoning data off of the AT&T network in San Francisco. Amazingly, however, nobody wanted to hear his story. In his book he talks about meetings with reporters and privacy groups that went nowhere until a fateful January 20, 2006, meeting with Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Bankston was preparing a lawsuit that he hoped would put a stop to the wiretap program, and Klein was just the kind of witness the EFF was looking for…The LA Times was particularly egregious because they were planning a front-page spread. They were the first entity I'd given all the documents to. Then they talked to the government about it, and it turned out they were talking to not only the NSA director, but the director of national intelligence, who was John Negroponte at the time. So that meant the government knew it. And then a few weeks later the LA Times killed the story…Why do you think you had trouble getting Congress interested? Klein: With the Republicans, it's obvious why they didn't want to deal with it. Their administration was responsible for the whole illegal spying operation. The first layer of the Democratic party leadership, it turns out, had been knowledgeable and briefed on this program and was complicit, in my view…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. Would Apple and AT&T Cripple a Google Voice iPhone App? http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/07/would-apple-and-att-cripple-a-google-voice-iphone-app/ “…Google Voice offers free SMS services that appear to come from one’s Google number rather than one’s mobile phone number. That means users could text all they like, without paying AT&T $20 a month. That money is virtually all profit for the telecom giant, since the messages use almost no bandwidth and even travel on a special channel separate from voice or data…”

11. Nokia Dumps Symbian Services Unit http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/07/nokia_dumps_sym.html “…Is this the beginning of the end for Symbian? On July 17, Nokia announced it will sell its Symbian professional services unit to Accenture. The division provides engineering consulting and product development services to mobile phone manufacturers, chip makers and wireless service providers that develop products based on Symbian software for mobile phones. This software is the most widely used in smartphones today, but it’s been fast losing ground to rivals such as Android. The sale is yet another indication that “Nokia keeps distancing itself from Symbian, divesting of nearly anything that is directly related…This reinforces our earlier position that Symbian is no longer strategic to Nokia’s success.” Considering that Nokia is the world’s No. 1 cell phone maker, that’s bad news for Symbian…”

12. Tracfone tests cheap unlimited plan on Verizon http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090715/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_techbit_prepaid_wireless “…Since June, Tracfone has been selling unlimited calling and texting for $45 per month under the "Straight Talk" brand, and 1,000 minutes and 1,000 text messages per month for $30. The service uses Verizon Wireless' network. Tracfone's chief executive, F.J. Pollak, said Straight Talk is a test for the company, whose main customer base uses a phone for fewer than 100 minutes per month, paying an average of $10 per month…”

13. Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/technology/20cell.html “…it is hard to find anyone in Chicago or London using a Japanese phone like a Panasonic, a Sharp or an NEC. Despite years of dabbling in overseas markets, Japan’s handset makers have little presence beyond the country’s shores. “Japan is years ahead in any innovation. But it hasn’t been able to get business out of it,”…The Japanese have a name for their problem: Galápagos syndrome…“The most amazing thing about Japan is that even the average person out there will have a superadvanced phone,” said Mr. Natsuno. “So we’re asking, can’t Japan build on that advantage?”…Japan’s lack of global clout is all the more surprising because its cellphones set the pace in almost every industry innovation: e-mail capabilities in 1999, camera phones in 2000, third-generation networks in 2001, full music downloads in 2002, electronic payments in 2004 and digital TV in 2005. Japan has 100 million users of advanced third-generation smartphones, twice the number used in the United States, a much larger market…”

Open Source

14. Complete Guide to Playing Movies and Music on Linux http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/complete_guide_playing_movies_and_music_linux “…While media playback on Linux is presently much better than it has ever been before, it still requires a little bit of know-how and tweaking to get everything working properly. This guide will go over each step of optimizing your media capabilities…”

15. 10 Free Resources for Splashy Graphics and Slick Photos http://ostatic.com/blog/10-free-resources-for-splashy-graphics-and-slick-photos “…The good news is that in the open source world as well as the freeware world, there are many excellent graphics and photo management tools, plus free desktop publishers and web design templates. Whether you want to produce splashy graphical documents, enhance graphics on a blog or web site, create eye-catching logos, or more, check out our updated collection of ten free applications and resources here…”

16. Gargoyle: Web Interface for Router Configuration http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/Online/News/Gargoyle-Web-Interface-for-Router-Configuration Gargoyle is a router interface for devices of the Linksys WRT54G series and other small routers such as the La Fonera. The software is based on the recently released OpenWrt firmware Kamikaze and targets not only power users but speaks especially to the average user as well. It provides functions not usually found in router firmware, such as smart DynDNS support, QoS and used bandwidth monitoring…”


17. Google Announces “Favorite Places” at SMB Event http://searchengineland.com/google-announces-favorite-places-amid-smb-sales-event-22542 “…All this was presented in the context of what was essentially a sales meeting sponsored by Google with the participation of the SF Mayor’s office. In addition to Google there were also a couple of Google “partners” at the event, Yelp and Citysearch. I was told there were about 200 small businesses in the room…Maslan took people through the Local Business Center and related analytics dashboard… it was difficult for me to determine whether the fairly rudimentary discussion of local search was too basic, over their heads or just right for the audience…one SMB owner who spoke, Timothy Childs of TCHO Chocolate, was clearly an outlier, extolling the virtues of marketing via Google Earth and YouTube as well as the value of Google Analytics…it would appear that there’s some consideration being given to doing other events for SMBs in other US cities…”

18. Google’s Chiller-less Data Center http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/07/15/googles-chiller-less-data-center/ “…Rather than using chillers part-time, the company has eliminated them entirely in its data center near Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, which began operating in late 2008 and also features an on-site water purification facility that allows it to use water from a nearby industrial canal rather than a municipal water utility. The climate in Belgium will support free cooling almost year-round, according to Google engineers, with temperatures rising above the acceptable range for free cooling about seven days per year on average. The average temperature in Brussels during summer reaches 66 to 71 degrees, while Google maintains its data centers at temperatures above 80 degrees. So what happens if the weather gets hot?...Google says it will turn off equipment as needed in Belgium and shift computing load to other data centers…”

19. Document and share your health wishes with Google Health http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/plan-ahead-document-and-share-your.html “…As a doctor and nurse on the Google Health team, we've both had a lot of experience working directly in the healthcare system, with all the bills, insurance forms and other paper documents that come with it…we would like to reduce the unnecessary use of paper in patient care. As a step in that direction, Google Health recently added a feature which allows patients to upload scanned paper documents to their Google Health profile for safe storage and easy sharing. One of the most important documents you may want to store and share in Google Health is an "advance directive." An advance directive allows you to determine your end-of-life wishes so that your family and doctor can honor them if you get sick and are unable to communicate…Google Health is now working with a leading advance directive provider, Caring Connections, that provides a free, downloadable form customized for all 50 states. To complete your form, download it, print it out, complete it, scan it, and upload it to Google Health…”

20. Could new Google Docs be interface for GDrive? http://blogs.zdnet.com/Google/?p=1483 Google recently announced a couple smaller changes to their new Google Docs product that will begin showing up right away…Those small changes are going to be shadowed by a much larger interface change coming in the next couple weeks…I am starting to think this new interface overhaul would be a great time to introduce GDrive…”

21. Google Voice: Trouble Calling for Skype? http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2009/tc20090717_582966.htm “…On July 15, Google released a downloadable Google Voice application for BlackBerrys (RIMM) and smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system, which could make the voice service more popular…Google hopes to make inroads in the market for so-called Voice-over-Internet-Protocol phone calls by taking a friendlier stance toward wireless service providers than other VoIP companies have done…Skype could be among the first to feel the pressure. A foray into mobile phones has been at the top of Skype's agenda this year as the Web-calling company seeks to step up its revenue growth and prepare for an initial public offering next year. "It's probably the biggest current threat to Skype…many consumers use Skype for free PC-to-PC calls without paying for any extra services. Those using mobile devices may be more apt to pay, say analysts. The trouble is that Skype has had difficulty expanding its number of mobile users as carriers have limited the ease with which cell subscribers can use the service…”

22. Submit your ideas to Google to change the face of broadband http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/submit-your-ideas-to-change-face-of.html “…The FCC has called for "maximum civic engagement" in developing a broadband strategy, and we're hoping to help them to achieve just that. We've teamed up with the New America Foundation to launch a Google Moderator page where you can submit and vote on ideas for what you think the Commission should include in its National Broadband Plan. Two weeks from now we'll take the most popular and most innovative ideas and submit them to the official record at the FCC on your behalf…”

General Technology

23. Getting Things Done guru goes digital http://money.cnn.com/2009/07/16/smallbusiness/getting_things_done_goes_digital.fsb/ “…in the past four years I have encountered just one great system for organizing my entire life. It's the same one that has swept Silicon Valley, rules the roost at Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) and recently inspired some of the most innovative personal-management software I've yet seen…The most important step in Allen's method: Write the longest list of to-dos you can imagine. "If you don't have at least 150 next actions," Allen says, "you haven't captured them all…There's even a retro fad for carrying stacks of three-by-five-inch index cards. Merlin Mann, who writes the organization blog 43folders.com, dubbed this system the "hipster PDA…I'm working with this CEO who loved his hipster PDA," Allen says. "He took one look at the stack of three-by-five cards he'd created in our session and had his assistant digitize them all…dozens of commercial software suites claim to be inspired by GTD. None inspired me until recently, when I tried the latest entries in this market: Omni Focus and Things. Alas, each requires an Apple…iPhone or a Mac and works best if you have both…I'd recommend trying the free versions to see which one works for you. Omni Focus -- developed by Seattle-based Omni in collaboration with Mr. Hipster PDA, Merlin Mann -- has more bells and whistles and will please hard-core project managers. Things is the brainchild of programmer Jrgen Schweizer and his small company, Cultured Code…”

24. 100 million Electric Bikes in China http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1904334,00.html “…Last year, Chinese bought 21 million e-bikes, compared with 9.4 million autos. While China now has about 25 million cars on the road, it has four times as many e-bikes. Thanks to government encouragement and a population well versed in riding two wheels to work, the country has become the world's leading market for the cheap, green vehicles…Government regulations limit the top speed of e-bikes to about 12 mph. But manufacturers are building bigger and bigger machines with speed regulators that are easily removed. E-bikes that are basically pedal-powered machines with an electric boost are common in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but e-scooters with heavier motors and top speeds of around 30 mph, fast enough to rival mopeds, are growing in popularity. The e-bike boom owes much to Chinese policy. The government made developing e-bikes an official technology goal in 1991. Major Chinese cities have extensive bicycle lanes, which means riders can avoid the worst of rush-hour congestion…In the U.S., where bikes are still overwhelmingly used for recreation rather than transportation, e-bike sales are expected to break 200,000 this year, or about 1% of China's sales…”

25. Clever PNG Optimization Techniques http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/15/clever-png-optimization-techniques “…the PNG image format which offers…a lossless, robust, very good replacement of the elder GIF image format. As a Photoshop (or any other image editor) user you might think that there is not that many options for PNG optimization…This post describes some techniques that may help you optimize your PNG-images…”

Leisure & Entertainment

26. Ubisoft gets into the social game at Facebook http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090718/tc_afp/usfranceitinternetvideogamesfacebookubisoft French videogame star Ubisoft made its debut in the online social scene by unveiling a gaming portal at world-leading social-networking website Facebook…Ubisoft's social debut came as the popularity of games at Facebook soars and videogame industry titans grow increasingly interested in creating titles for the social-networking platform…”

27. IMAX: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-14-2009/0005060014&EDATE “…Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The IMAX 3D Experience is the widest IMAX international release ever, opening in conjunction with the film's general release commencing on July 15th in 62 IMAX theatres internationally. Domestically, the picture will launch Wednesday, July 15th in select IMAX theatres in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and expand shortly thereafter. In IMAX(R) 3D theatres, the film will feature approximately 12 minutes of the movie's explosive opening sequence exclusively in live-action IMAX 3D…”

28. Old-Fashioned Film Storage Still Trumps Digital http://www.thewrap.com/article/even-digital-age-studios-find-old-fashioned-film-best_4353 “…Surprisingly, entertainment technology industry leaders agree that film remains the only format on which one can guarantee safe long-term archive and access to motion-picture materials. In fact, film remains the standard in archiving -- and that’s not expected to change anytime in the foreseeable future. Not even for films projected digitally in theaters -- these are actually converted from digital to film for old-fashioned storage. In a dark room in a cold temperature in secure spots scattered around the country…”

Economy and Technology

29. Bits Of Destruction Hit the Book Publishing Business: Part 1 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/bits_of_destruction_hit_book_publishing_part1.php “…A more interesting and nuanced wave is now hitting the book publishing business. Actually, it is three waves: the digitization of back catalogs, e-books, and print on demand. However this plays out, a lot of people will be affected, but the way in which it will play out is not at all obvious. This is too big a subject for one post, so read this as an introduction to a multi-post investigation…An author writes a book, and you read it. A lot of money is exchanged between those two actions. Consider the steps an author has had to go through in the past to make a living from writing books…”

30. Is a Clean-Energy Economy Our 'Next Internet'? http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_30/b4140046484475.htm “…the ecosystem of companies and technologies that bring us our daily digits is alive and well, even during tough times. It has become the backbone of commerce and media, woven deeply into daily life. It is hard to imagine life without it. It has created countless millions of well-paying jobs and made many people wealthy. The new clean-energy economy will do no less. Comparisons to the Internet may even be inadequate. What's taking place today is arguably bigger—a mash-up of energy technology, information technology, building technology, and vehicle technology—plus related products, services, and businesses that stand to transform our lives over the next generation, at least as much as the Internet has…”

31. Apple Sold Twice As Many iPhones As Macs Last Quarter http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/21/apple-sold-twice-as-many-iphones-as-macs-last-quarter/ “…It was another non-holiday record quarter in terms of revenues and earnings. But the real number that jumps off the page is the iPhone sales. Let’s just say it: The iPhone looks well on its way to being Apple’s primary business. Last quarter, Apple sold 5.2 million iPhones. That’s a colossal 626 percent growth over the year ago period, when Apple sold 717,000 iPhones…And the 5.2 million number is perhaps even crazier when you consider that it’s exactly double the number of Macs Apple sold last quarter…”

32. Yahoo’s Financials for 2nd Quarter http://venturebeat.com/2009/07/21/yahoo-revenue-continues-to-plunge-for-third-straight-quarter/ Yahoo announced another steep drop in net revenue today, citing the limping online advertising market for search and display ads as the cause for losses spanning three consecutive quarters…second-quarter earnings per share…beat analysts’ expectations — but mostly due to severe cutbacks…Not only did revenue decline yet again (hitting $1.58 billion), it dropped further: 16 percent in the second quarter, compared to 14 percent in the first of last year. Year-over-year, it dipped 13 percent. This is fairly damning data considering that Yahoo’s arch rival, Google, posted a 3 percent uptick in year-over-year revenue last week…”

Civilian Aerospace

33. How to Start an Aerospace Company http://www.inc.com/magazine/20090701/how-to-start-an-aerospace-company.html Like countless entrepreneurial couples, Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum started their business from home. It was 1993, and home was Biosphere 2, the 3.14-acre terrarium in which researchers spent two years testing self-sustaining ecosystems. Six months before leaving the dome, Poynter and MacCallum started worrying about their second act. "Astronauts and others who have had seminal experiences tend to implode afterward if they don't have a plan," says Poynter. "There has been alcoholism. Suicide. We started a business so we would have something to throw ourselves into after this extraordinary, life-changing experience." As to what the business would do, they weren't exactly sure…Sealed off from the world, Poynter and MacCallum had their attorney incorporate the business, which they named Paragon Space Development. They also acquired a business partner, an aerospace engineer named Grant Anderson, whom they encountered in a space-related group on Usenet, an early online forum. "We became partners with someone we'd never met in real life," says Poynter. They even attended their first trade show -- the Small Satellite Conference -- via videophone while still inside the dome. Outside the Biosphere at last, Poynter and MacCallum relied on student loans and credit cards to stay afloat. The University of Arizona let them use labs and green- houses for free. The Biospherians were popular on the lecture circuit, which helped pay living expenses. Their experience designing air, water, and agricultural systems inside the dome attracted consulting contracts, amounting to several hundred thousand dollars…”

34. Making moon dust http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124786241042159761.html “…As the Apollo 11 astronauts found out when they walked onto the moon 40 years ago Monday, lunar dust is downright treacherous. To the naked eye, it looks powdery, almost fluffy. But each particle is jagged. Dust scratched the astronauts' visors, ground into the joints of their spacesuits, clogged their equipment…researchers are clamoring for the stuff…Add all these research demands together, and NASA will need 500 tons of the heavenly dust, maybe more. And that is a problem. Over several missions, the Apollo astronauts brought back a grand total of 227 pounds of lunar dust and soil…NASA's solution? Fake it. Ms. McLemore helps run a $19 million project to fabricate what NASA calls "high-fidelity" lunar stimulant…Every year, Mr. Stoeser supervises a field trip to the Stillwater Mine to collect up to 12 tons of rocks and mine waste. He then has it trucked to Denver, where it is pulverized into smooth, rounded grains…The furnace wheezes like an aging jet engine and looks alarmingly Rube Goldbergesque -- all tubes and wires and banged-up sheets of metal. But with two blindingly white, criss-crossing plasma rays, it can concentrate one megawatt of energy on a surface the size of a dinner plate…Mix the right blend of minerals and crumbled rock, zap it in the furnace for 1.5 seconds and -- voila! A red-hot molten mess shot through with glassy globules known as agglutinate, common on the moon but rare on Earth. When it cools, Mr. Weinstein pummels it in a special mill that rips apart the particles with violent sonic booms, turning it into jagged-edged moon dust that he sells to NASA and independent researchers for about $35,000 a ton…”

35. Spaceport America Installs Lunar Lander Launch Pads http://www.spaceportamerica.com/news/press-releases/251-spaceportamerica-installs-lunar-landing-launch-pads.html Spaceport America…has installed three launch pads for NASA’s 2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lande Centennial Challenge, which is administered by the X PRIZE Foundation to spur innovation and technology development…this year's competition…begins as early as July 20 and continues through October 31, 2009. The circular reinforced concrete pads are similar in size but different in design. Two are smooth and flat, and the other has built-in 'lunar craters' and rocks to more closely resemble the terrain of the moon…”

36. Google Lunar X PRIZE contender Odyssey Moon http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=28759 “…Google Lunar X PRIZE contender Odyssey Moon Limited announced today that top industry leaders Near Earth LLC, WPP Group, Aon and Milbank have joined its corporate team. Odyssey Moon intends to become the first private company to supply payload delivery services to the Moon in support of science, exploration and commerce….As the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of "Moon 1.0" - mankind's first but short lived activities on the lunar surface - Odyssey Moon is forging ahead with its plans to capitalize on commercial opportunities created by renewed interests in exploring the Moon - "Moon 2.0"…”

37. Private space pioneers http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/space/07/16/private.space.ventures/ “…a few private firms are getting close to manned, commercial spaceflight. Some companies, such as Virgin Galactic, aim to sell suborbital flights -- high enough to reach the edges of space and weightlessness -- within the next few years. The flights have varied purposes, including tourism and science experiments. A Nevada company hopes to sell habitable space stations where paying clients would conduct scientific research. Two relatively new U.S. aerospace companies were hired last year by NASA to send unmanned cargo to the international space station. NASA plans to retire the space shuttle at the end of 2010 and wouldn't be able to send crews to the space station for at least several years after that…With the global economic downturn, one might think developing space products and finding customers would be difficult. But people in the industry -- especially those working for companies founded by businessmen with large fortunes -- say they'll be fine in the long term. "Our industry is still hiring engineers, whereas most industries are laying people off…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

38. Someone is finally using my idea, sort of, for the Fireseed Streaming Supercomputer (FS3 Obsidian). Only they shouldn’t be limiting the program to Brooklyn Tech – it should be open to kids anywhere around the world. Guess it’s time for me to finally get in touch with NVIDIA. If this Intel program doesn’t validate my idea, I don’t know what else will… Talented kids & multi-core: Adding fuel to the mix http://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/2009/07/17/talented-kids-amp-multi-core-adding-fuel-to-the-mix/ “…I’ve been crafting the flow of topics & lab activities, developing some new ways to convey parallelism topics using role play, coordinating with luminaries & Intel engineers. I’ve been rounding up & testing content & systems for months now. Now all that work is about to pay off next week in the first ever (as far as I know) High School Parallelism boot-camp hosted at Brooklyn Technical High School and sponsored by Intel, Bank of America, Blade Network & IBM…We are about to embark on a journey. A journey to the future. A future defined by the many-core era. To take us on the journey – we need fuel. The fuel mix for this journey consists of four ingredients: multi-core hardware, parallelism training, great instructors and the fertile minds of bright high school students…”

39. Researching Video Game Technology and Science http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1721778/researching_video_game_technology_and_science/ “…Using their rewritten "Direct Self-Consistent-Field" algorithm running on one GPU, Martínez and Ufimtsev calculated the structures of seven benchmark, or test, molecules ranging in size from the petite 24-atom caffeine molecule to the burlier 453-atom olestra molecule…The highly successful results obtained by running the redesigned quantum chemistry algorithm on one GPU "puts molecular design in reach as well as simulations of biologically and pharmaceutically important systems such as small proteins with unprecedented accuracy and speed…This new toolbox will speed up the exploration and prediction of new molecules with advanced properties and will reduce wasted effort spent on unproductive leads," notes Martínez. Thom H. Dunning, Jr., lead chemist of the research project and director of NSF's National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and Martínez are keenly aware that computers of tomorrow will not be built using the technologies of today and thus the need for the chemistry community to develop chemical computations that can be ran on future computers with astonishing processing speeds of one quadrillion, or 1015, operations per second…”

40. Korea and Georgia Tech to develop GPU multimedia system http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?id=3157 “…Awarded a $9 million contract through the 2008 KORUS Tech Program, an initiative of the Korean Industrial Technology Foundation, Georgia Tech was chosen out of 109 universities to lead the development and design of the next generation of digital convergence devices that will let users establish and participate in digitally connected communities…Project investigators will develop immersive technologies on a hybrid graphics processing unit (GPU) - central processing unit (CPU) platform…An enabling technology for personalized, interactive media convergence, the platform will consist of a custom-designed massively parallel architecture with a hybrid GPU accelerated many-core and heterogeneous multicore fusion system for new machine learning and multimedia algorithms and techniques…”

41. Swiss conference for modern non-conventional processing units http://www.cecam.org/workshop-0-306.html “…A natural question is whether a non-conventional processing unit can gain a significant performance advantage over commodity processing units. Historically, conventional microprocessors outpaced the non-conventional solutions…if a processing unit is expected to run 1000 times faster than the state of the art microprocessor at the conceptualization time, it is evident that during the 5-7 years of development time a commodity solution will approximately show a tenfold improvement (the performance doubling approximately every 18 months). Therefore, the non-conventional solution will outperform of at roughly two orders of magnitudes the conventional microprocessors at bring-up time…In this 3-day workshop we will explore the use of GPUs, Cell BE processors, FPGAs and special-purpose hardware for large-scale scientific computing…The first objective of the workshop is to increase the dialogue between computational scientists and computer scientists to examine the performance of existing algorithms, identify critical/bottleneck sections, scalability, and discuss how and why these codes will perform differently on the new architectures: GPUs, multi-core and Cell processors…”

42. Cray adds $12K entry level personal supercomputer http://www.hpcwire.com/features/Cray-Adds-CX1-Variant-to-Entice-First-Time-HPC-Users-50950042.html “…The company has unveiled a low-end derivative of its CX1 personal deskside system for high performance computing…the CX1 product line is already enjoying success with customers at national labs, universities, oil and gas firms, and a variety of government agencies, including the US Department of Defense…Like other personal HPC machines that have been introduced over the past 12 months, Cray is aiming for that out-of-the-box experience that people who are used to buying standalone workstations are looking for. Most of the personal supercomputers on the market today rely on GPU acceleration via an NVIDIA Tesla device to provide the majority of the compute horsepower. Cray provides a Tesla accelerator option as well, but a pure CPU cluster is the foundation of the CX1 line…”

43. Darkstrand, EVL Join Forces http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Darkstrand-Electronic-Visualization-Laboratory-Join-Forces-50969577.html “…Darkstrand, a pioneer in corporate high-speed connectivity bridging research and commercialization, today announced a collaborative agreement with the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). UIC's EVL is a leading laboratory developing next-generation, networked visualization and collaboration hardware and software technologies…The EVL is a joint effort of UIC's College of Engineering and School of Art & Design, and represents the oldest formal collaboration between engineering and art in the country. EVL's notable inventions include the CAVE virtual reality theater, the low-cost GeoWall passive-stereo display, and, most recently, its tiled LCD display environments managed using SAGE middleware, the Scalable Adaptive Graphics Environment…”