NEW NET Issues List for 25 Aug 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 25 August 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. Stress tests rain on Amazon's cloud http://www.itnews.com.au/News/153451,stress-tests-rain-on-amazons-cloud.aspx “…Stress tests conducted by Sydney-based researchers have revealed that the infrastructure-on-demand services offered by Amazon, Google and Microsoft suffer from regular performance and availability issues…researchers also found that the three platforms delivered wildly variable performance results as Amazon, Google and Microsoft trialled, added and dropped new features. Response times on the service also varied by a factor of twenty depending on the time of day the services were accessed…the study revealed which of the three cloud infrastructures were suited to particular applications. "Using Google AppEngine, none of your data processing tasks can last any longer than thirty seconds, or it throws an exception back at you," she said. "This is very consistent with the Google business model - they want to enable simple web applications to thrive on the Internet. AppEngine is there to enable the rapid development of simple web applications that don't include intense compute at the back end." Amazon's EC2, by contrast, provided "base cloud computing support" with value-added services supplied by third parties. Microsoft, Liu said, has the enterprise and the ISV firmly in its sights with the Azure platform…all three services lack the monitoring tools large organisations require to check on whether the platform is meeting service level agreements…”

2. Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/study-finds-that-online-education-beats-the-classroom/ “…A recent 93-page report on online education, conducted by SRI International for the Department of Education, has a starchy academic title, but a most intriguing conclusion: “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction…”

3. Encyclopedia of Life grows http://tech.yahoo.com/news/nm/20090823/wr_nm/us_encylopedia_life An online encyclopedia aiming to describe every type of animal and plant on the planet has reached 170,000 entries and is helping research into aging, climate change and even the spread of insect pests. The "Encyclopedia of Life" (http://www.eol.org), a project likely to cost $100 million launched in 2007, says it wants to describe all the 1.8 million known species from apples to zebras within a decade. "We're picking up speed," James Edwards, EOL Executive Director based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said Sunday of the 170,000 entries with content in a common format vetted by experts. A year ago, it had 30,000 entries…”

4. Top 10 Most Exciting Web Apps or Services http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/top_10_most_exciting_web_apps.php “…We've chosen the 10 in two batches. Firstly, the services that got the most number of mentions. As expected, these are well known apps that millions of people are using (or will use when it's launched, in the case of Google Wave). We didn't want this to be purely a popularity contest though, so we've also selected 5 lesser known web apps or services. Those apps all got multiple mentions and in our estimation they're each worthy of being labeled 'exciting.'…Top 5 Apps: 1. Twitter…2. Gmail…3. Google Reader…4. Google Wave…5. Facebook…6. Spotify…7. Dropbox…8. Seesmic…9. Wolfram|Alpha…10. Pubsubhubbub…”

5. More Employers Use Facebook To Vet New Hires Than LinkedIn http://paidcontent.org/article/419-more-employers-scanning-facebook-for-new-hires-than-linkedin/ “…Facebook may be the stickiest social network here in the U.S.—but LinkedIn is thought to be the default network for a “professional” profile and job history. So why are more employers using Facebook to do background checks on potential new hires than LinkedIn? Almost 30 percent of hiring managers said they were using Facebook to research new hires, according to new survey data from CareerBuilder—edging out the 26 percent that said they were using LinkedIn…”

6. Yahoo Demos Search and Mail upgrades http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/08/yahoo-demos-tech-upgrades-despite-looming-microsoft-takeover/ “…Yahoo’s core products will receive some major updates in the coming months, including an enhancement to the company’s search engine that introduces context-sensitive filtering to search results…Yahoo Mail — which remains the most popular webmail app despite the innovations by Google’s Gmail — and Yahoo Messenger are also getting some updates…Larry Cornett searched for “How to make sushi.” This brought up a list of relevant sites labeled “Show results from” on the left side of the page. Each site in the list specializes in how-to content. He clicked on the eHow entry in the list, which filtered the results down to that particular site. He clicked on the YouTube entry in the filter list, which brought up a series of how-to videos…Yahoo’s new people-search tools are more powerful than anything the company has previously offered. Cornett typed in a person’s name, which brought up a Yahoo profile, LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile and their recent tweets from Twitter…”

7. Facebook Declares War On Spam Developers http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/08/facebook-declares-war-on-spam-developers/ Facebook is getting aggressive with a few developers who have been abusing the platform. Today the company alerted us to a “substantial” policy enforcement against the developers behind My Calendar, one of the largest Facebook applications. MyCalendar has been temporarily disabled and hundreds of other applications have been permanently shut down. According to Facebook, the developers have been engaging in misleading and spammy tactics in order to get more users rather than building valuable experiences…”

8. A Crowd-Sourced Navigation Service http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/05/waze-crowdsource-gps-technology-internet-noam-bardin.html Help Noam Bardin build mapping data able to rival those of Navteq and Tele Atlas, and he'll help you drive like a local. That is, if he can get enough people to take him up on his offer…Bardin is the chief executive of Waze, an Israeli start-up with a clever plan for remaking mapping…Bardin sees crowdsourcing as the missing piece in the navigation puzzle. While services such as Tele Atlas collect information from many sources, including users, Waze has put crowd-sourcing at the center of his effort to build maps…allows it to tip off users to traffic jams, road construction and other obstacles…The problem: Waze will have to reach critical mass to become truly useful. In Israel, that happened fast. Since the service's launch in January, Bardin says the company has grabbed 150,000 users in a country with just 7.4 million people…”

9. JaJah Jump-starts Enterprise Voice with Microsoft http://www.eweek.com/c/a/VOIP-and-Telephony/JahJah-Jumpstarts-Enterprise-Voice-With-Microsoft-592379/ “…IP telephony provider JaJah Aug. 25 scored a nice coup when Microsoft agreed to use its software to let business customers make voice calls over the Internet from computers and landlines…Thousands of small to midsize technology businesses use JaJah's cloud phone platform to enable calls. "It's Like Skype, but without the headsets, downloads, software or hardware," Healy explained…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

10. Could Google be tricked into talking to botnets? http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9136973/Could_Google_be_tricked_into_talking_to_botnets_ Cybercriminals could start to take advantage of the popularity of search engines like Google as vehicles for relaying malicious code to botnets every time a particular keyword is searched for…If the botnet starts using Google for special keywords and finds the code and executes, you can start using Google as the transmission of the code or instructions to these botnets…”

11. Online class helps security pros sharpen their skills http://tech.yahoo.com/news/infoworld/20090821/tc_infoworld/88419 “…InfoWorld is offering a free, 20-lesson "Security Boot Camp" online class. The class is conducted via e-mail, with students getting one assignment each workday that connects the theory of best security practices with the hands-on reality of implementing such advice…The classes begin on Sept. 21…”

12. Microsoft Reaches out at China Hacker Conference http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090819/tc_pcworld/microsoftreachesoutatchinahackerconference Microsoft shared the stage with Chinese security researchers at a Beijing hacker conference on Wednesday, aiming to build ties in a country that produces a growing number of threats to Microsoft products…Microsoft has worked to build contacts with security researchers worldwide, but the language barrier and low attendance by Chinese experts at overseas conferences make the country's security circles harder to access…”

13. Cheating the App Store: PR firm has interns post positive reviews for clients http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2009/08/22/cheating-the-app-store-pr-firm-has-interns-post-positive-reviews-for-clients/ “…one PR firm has discovered a dynamite strategy: throw ethics out the window. Reverb Communications…hires a team of interns to trawl iTunes and other community forums posing as real users, and has them write positive reviews for their client’s applications…they don’t always follow the rules, and they have been stupid enough to tell that to prospective clients…Here’s a quote from the doc: Reverb employs a small team of interns who are focused on managing online message boards, writing influential game reviews, and keeping a gauge on the online communities…Reverb will use these interns on Developer Y products to post game reviews (written by Reverb staff members) ensuring the majority of the reviews will have the key messaging and talking points developed by the Reverb PR/marketing team…”

14. Apple adds malware blocker in Snow Leopard http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=4104 “…Apple has quietly added a new Snow Leopard feature to scan software downloads for malware, a no-brainer move that coincides with a noticeable spike in malicious files embedded in pirated copies of Mac-specific software…Apple is not using the open-source ClamAV engine to handle these scans so it’s likely the company has entered into an agreement with a commercial anti-virus company…”

15. 80% of Web users running unpatched versions of Flash/Acrobat http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=4097 “…79.5% of the 2.5 million users of their Rapport security service run a vulnerable version of Adobe Flash, with 83.5% also running a vulnerable version of Acrobat. The company has also criticized Adobe by insisting that their update mechanism “does not meet the requirements of a system that is used by 99% of users on the Internet and is highly targeted by criminals“, but is praising the update mechanism of Google’s Chrome and Firefox, whose silent updates close the window of opportunity for malicious attackers…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

16. AT&T to Require Data Plans for Smartphones http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/08/att_to_require.html “…on Sept. 6, AT&T will require all new smartphone users to subscribe to the carrier’s wireless data plans…Today, some of AT&T’s smartphone customers can chose not to buy a data plan, or they can subscribe to MEdia Net, a cheaper service that offers wireless e-mail and news access for as little as $2 per Megabyte. Currently, AT&T’s data plans range from $5 to $60 a month…The carrier spends a lot of money on subsidizing handsets so consumers get them at a lower price; and those subsidies may not pay off when expensive, feature-rich smartphones are not being used for data services, as intended. The move…is likely to be copied by other U.S. carriers…”

17. Nokia Unveils Netbook, Beats Apple to the Punch http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/08/nokia_unveils_n.html “…Nokia unveiled its first netbook. Called the Nokia Booklet 3G, the long-rumored device features a 10-inch screen, weighs 2.75 pounds, runs Windows, and can connect to Wi-Fi as well as to cellular wireless networks. This may be a move by Nokia to grab initiative from rival Apple. In the past several years, the iPhone maker has managed to grab significant share in the lucrative, fast-growing market for smartphones away from Nokia. Apple is also rumored to be developing a tablet netbook. With this announcement, Nokia may be trying to beat Apple to the punch. Netbooks should help fuel Nokia’s growth, which has slowed down in recent months…Many netbooks are sold through traditional Nokia customers, carriers, and, thus, represent a natural extension of the company’s business. In Europe, wireless service providers account for more than 25% of all netbooks sold…”

18. Smartphones drive language learning innovation http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090823/tc_afp/hongkongchinatechnologyeducationlanguage The boom in "smartphones", led by Apple's iPhone, has inspired language learning tools that would have been inconceivable just months ago -- and a Hong Kong firm is leading the charge…The ability to combine audio, video, text and data files with an Internet connection to a central website has helped create a much-improved language learning device, says entrepreneur Chris Lonsdale. "The technology allows you to have all the elements in one place and gives you new insights (into how you can learn languages)," said Lonsdale, whose app is a six-month course for Chinese people to learn English…”

19. The Real Truth about Apple and Google and Arrington http://www.techcrunchit.com/2009/08/22/the-real-truth-about-apple-and-google-and-arrington/ “…Mike’s mission to bring Google Voice to the iPhone is presented as a move to the free open Google voice device hoedown…Arrington, Google, and Apple are locked in a conspiracy to oust the real villain of the era, the Dumb Pipe…the true reality of what’s going on…Apple is conspiring with Google to force the FCC to “force” Apple to, regrettably, open the door to VoIP and the Universal Inbox…” [http://www.informationweek.com/news/personal_tech/iphone/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=219401091 ]

20. Mac or a Netbook? Students Chose the Latter http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090820/tc_pcworld/macoranetbookstudentschosethelatter A majority of college-bound students gearing up for school will not consider buying a Mac laptop, a study reveals. Instead, students are gravitating toward affordable netbooks from a variety of manufacturers, according to Retrevo, a consumer electronics website, that conducted the study…Macs are at the bottom of student wish lists this year. While 49 percent of students will buy full-sized Windows laptops, 34 percent will purchase netbooks. Bringing up the rear is Mac with only 17 percent of students saying they intend to buy one…”

21. World’s 1st Real Smartbook Review: Lanyu LY-EB01 http://www.shanzai.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138%3Aworlds-1st-real-smartbook-review&catid=12%3Asmartbook-reviews&Itemid=1 “…We paid just…US$98…for the Lanyu eBook! Smartbooks are typically going to be based on ARM architecture SOCs. That will likely mean a Windows CE or Google Android operating system and attendant applications…I was impressed by the build quality of the device. At that price I was expecting something a lot flimsier but it actually feels quite sturdy…The 800X600 screen of the eBook itself while small actually is quite bright and doesn’t “feel” too small for moving around through the different applications…if you’re buying a smartbook as a replacement for a netbook I think you’ll be a little let down by the Internet experience the device provides. You can’t change the screen resolution and a lot of sites won’t fit within the boundries of the screen meaning you have to use the scroll bars (bottom and right of the screen) to view around a site. A quick visit to youtube.com is the best way to really see the limitations of the IE browser running on Win CE 5.0. In fact Youtube gives you a warning that they will be phasing out support for your browser when you arrive…[from Part 2: Win CE as an OS feels pretty much like Win 98 with a hangover]…”

Open Source

22. 3 Gimp Plugins For Photographers http://www.linuxloop.com/2009/08/21/3-gimp-plugins-for-photographers/ “…almost everyone performs at least a few edits on their photos. For simple thing, programs like F-Spot or Google’s Picasa may be enough, but you may also need something more. That’s where Gimp does an excellent job, offering more tools for editing your photos. As with many applications, though, Gimp’s most powerful features come from plugins that let you do more than you could with Gimp alone. Here are three excellent Gimp plugins for photographers…”

23. Character Head Modeling in Blender: Part 2 http://www.packtpub.com/article/character-head-modeling-in-blender-part2 “…In this tutorial, we are going to look at how to model a character head in Blender. Along with basic modeling tools we will also focus heavily on good topology and how to create a clean mesh that will deform well during animation…”

24. Boot Linux on the Beagle Board http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-beagle-board/index.html The Beagle Board is a pocket-sized reference board (see Figure 1) containing a Texas Instruments OMAP3530 system-on-a-chip (SoC) processor (ARM Cortex A-8 core) running at up to 600MHz…I picked the Beagle Board because it is an inexpensive platform for learning how Linux and small systems work. It is a reasonable alternative for hobbyists designing projects for themselves…”

25. 'Open source science allows others to get involved' http://www.osor.eu/news/es-open-source-science-allows-others-to-get-involved “…According to professor Eduardo Ros Vidal, making the software available as open source is the only way to make such a project a success. "Other teams must get involved in the development, using it for their projects and experiments. It takes an international research community to develop a high complexity tool. A single group cannot address the many topics involved." The open source licence allows scientists to make all kinds of changes to the code, he says, in order to fit the software to their model, or to carry out very specific experiments…”


26. Gmail Allows Mail and Contact Imports for Older Accounts http://webworkerdaily.com/2009/08/20/gmail-allows-mail-and-contact-imports-for-older-accounts/ “…the folks at Google have added an important update to Gmail: mail and contact import features for everyone. Somewhat annoyingly, these features were previously available for newly-created Gmail accounts, but were not available for the many of us who have had Gmail accounts for some time…To import email from another account into your Gmail account, just go to the “Settings” link that is on the upper right of your Gmail account, and click it. Once you’ve done that, hit the “Accounts and Import” tab, as seen in the screenshot above. You can import from Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, or other webmail or POP3 accounts via a wizard…”

27. Tech giants unite against Google Books http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8200624.stm Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo will sign up to the Open Book Alliance being spearheaded by the Internet Archive. They oppose a legal settlement that could make Google the main source for many online works. "Google is trying to monopolise the library system," the Internet Archive's founder Brewster Kahle told BBC News. "If this deal goes ahead, they're making a real shot at being 'the' library and the only library…”

28. So Much For Google The ISP, Huh? http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/So-Much-For-Google-The-ISP-Huh-104019 “…Back in 2007 Google's acquisition of dark fiber, building of data centers and hiring of networking experts like Vint Cerf (co-creator of the TCP/IP protocol) led some to think the company wanted to be an ISP. In reality, they just wanted a more efficient and less expensive transit network for services, user storage and ads. However, their involvement with the White Space Coalition and experiments with Wi-Fi help feed the unlikely theory…It's been three years since Google built their Wi-Fi network in their hometown of Mountain View California, at the time using 380 Tropos Wi-Fi nodes placed on utility poles around the city. The service began by offering users downstream speeds up to 1Mbps (roughly) and upstream speeds ranging from 144kbps to 986kbps. Tropos this week offered an update on the network, noting that it has reached 19,000 users…”

29. Google Doubles Its Cartographers As Maps Continues To Go Wiki-Style http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/19/google-doubles-its-cartographers-as-maps-continues-to-go-wiki-style/ “…Google has smartly been using a service called Map Maker, which lets locals and people knowledgeable about the area edit it themselves. And this week, Google has added a couple important areas to the list: Mexico and Eastern Europe…even more impressive is the full list of countries that can now use Map Maker to improve local maps. And while Map Maker doesn’t work in places like the U.S. and other well mapped-out areas of the world, you can edit things on U.S. maps such as place locations. It seems clear that Google Maps is a wiki of sorts now, meaning the community is responsible for a lot of the data on it…Google still looks over this new country data, and then allows certain portions to “graduate” to actual Google Maps. But still, it’s a great idea to get more information in your system for free. I wonder how long it will be until Google lets users in the rest of the world in on the fun to edit roads and other features that are incorrect or not listed…”

30. Video chat from iGoogle http://googletalk.blogspot.com/2009/08/video-chat-from-igoogle.html “…I use iGoogle to chat with friends while I check the daily news, email co-workers, and even scan through cute kitty pics — you name it, iGoogle has it. Chatting is great for sharing quick thoughts, but sometimes I'd rather just talk to my friends face to face…We have had video chat in Gmail for a little while now, but the nice thing about video chat in iGoogle is that you can video chat with friends who don't have gmail accounts, all you need is a Google account…”

General Technology

31. I'm OK; The Bull Is Dead http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/print/93903/I_m_OK_The_Bull_Is_Dead “…the comment about the dead bull intrigued me. We didn't own a bull. Where was he? How did the bull die? And why was he telling me about it?...I was greatly impressed by Raj's succinct way of giving me the right information in the right detail without going into unnecessary explanations. In journalism, this is known as the inverted pyramid style, which begins with the conclusion, followed by the most important facts and, finally, the details. This contrasts with academic writing, which opens with a problem statement, elaborates on the background, discusses influencing factors and finally states the conclusions. When the academic approach is used to give project status reports, people who are still awake for the punch line are silently praying, "Please, God, kill me now." That's precisely why I start with the punch line…starting with the punch line can be disconcerting, but we have found that once they become accustomed to it, they truly enjoy the clarity of the message and the time saved in getting the point across…”

32. A Silicon Valley version of the county fair http://www.mercurynews.com/localnewsheadlines/ci_13180343?source=rss It's the Silicon Valley version of the county fair. Instead of pie-eating contests, there are text-messaging and mobile-phone photo competitions. "When I went to the county fair (as a child), it was 4-H Club and agriculture," said Darien Black, a 24-year-old San Francisco resident touring the Usable Futures Pavilion at the San Mateo County Fair on Friday afternoon. "Now it's about green technology and making people aware of their carbon footprint." The fair, though, isn't all about shiny gadgets. Just outside the pavilion is Wilbur, a 1,000-pound pig lounging on a bed of wood shavings. But in addition to goats, rabbits and cows, the updated fair includes electric vehicles, Lego robots and a solar-powered minicar derby…”

33. Multitasking Muddles Brains, Even When the Computer Is Off http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/multitasking/ Some people suspect that a multitasking lifestyle has changed how they think, leaving them easily distracted and unable to concentrate even when separated from computers and phones. Their uneasiness may be justified…a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…surveyed 262 students on their media consumption habits. The 19 students who multitasked the most and 22 who multitasked least then took two computer-based tests, each completed while concentrating only on the task at hand…In every test, students who spent less time simultaneously reading e-mail, surfing the web, talking on the phone and watching TV performed best…”

34. Parallels to make switching to the Mac easier, safe and painless http://digital.venturebeat.com/2009/08/24/parallels-to-make-switching-to-the-mac-easier-safe-and-painless/ In the Windows vs. Mac war, we are at a crossroads. Apple is launching its Snow Leopard version of the Mac operating system on Friday at the low price of $29. Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system will launch in October with the primary aim of fixing the problems created by Windows Vista…Right now, about half of all Macs being sold are going to Windows users who have never owned a Mac before…The Parallels software also comes with two hours of tutorials that teach people how to use the Mac and help them understand the differences between the Mac and Windows. With Parallels, you can run Windows and Mac programs side-by-side…”

Leisure & Entertainment

35. Revamped Movie Maker debuts http://www.techflash.com/Revamped_Movie_Maker_debuts_53724832.html “…Microsoft this afternoon released the new Windows Live Movie Maker, an overhauled version of the movie-editing software that had long been included in the company's Windows operating system. The new application has been optimized for the upcoming Windows 7, but rather than being bundled with the operating system, it's being offered for free download as part of the Windows Live Essentials package. Among other features, the software offers the ability to publish directly to YouTube, and to import video from Flip and iPhone cameras. An AutoMovie feature promises to help people create videos in less than a minute with transitions, a title, captions and a soundtrack…One bummer for Windows XP holdouts: The new Movie Maker works on Windows Vista and Windows 7, but not earlier versions…”

36. The end of free lyrics? http://www.macworld.com/article/142389/2009/08/end_of_free_lyrics.html “…LyricWiki, a terrific resource for grabbing lyrics without the ads and dead-ends. Just type a song title, artist, or album into LyricWiki’s Search field and a list of Google hits appears on a subsequent page. Click an appropriate link and the lyrics appear without the advertising cruft…According to a post by LyricWiki’s creator, Sean Colombo, the major publishers demanded that programmatic access to LyricWiki’s collection of lyrics be shut off. Rather than face the wrath of those publishers, Colombo complied with the request…Apple has engaged with EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music, and Universal Music Group to bundle interactive booklets with album downloads from the iTunes Store. Unlike the PDF digital booklets bundled with a few albums, these interactive booklets will be more broadly available and, along with lyrics, photos, and liner notes, include interactive elements…record companies are at work on a competing standard called CMX, which will offer the same sort of capabilities. If and when these initiatives kick in, how likely are the music publishers to give lyrics away when they’re one more reason to purchase the album rather than the single? Odds are, not very…”

37. Swine flu battle moves to cyberspace http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20090819/tc_afp/healthflubritainnetherlandscomputergame The clock is ticking, people are dying and a flu virus is sweeping the globe -- that is the scenario of a new computer game designed to make people think about how to respond to the swine flu pandemic. In "The Great Flu", players must choose whether or not to stockpile anti-viral drugs and deploy research teams to new areas of outbreak as the number of infections and deaths rises and more countries are affected. Players face tough choices with limited funds -- and taking decisions such as closing major airports do not come cheap…If the money is well invested, the pandemic can be stopped…”

38. BurgerTime Deluxe released for Mac http://tech.yahoo.com/news/macworld/20090821/tc_macworld/burgertimedeluxereleasedformac “…BurgerTime Deluxe puts you in a fantasy world where chefs create delicious burgers by climbing up and down ladders and stomping across platforms to make burgers, buns and all the fixings collapse onto plates. You have to avoid Vinnie Vinegar’s henchmen — Mr. Hotdog, Mr. Egg, and other bad guys — along the way. You can put them in their place with a dash of pepper, however, and you can collect special powerups to freeze, cook, and salt them. BurgerTime Deluxe features Story Mode and Quick Mode. The game features more than 60 levels plus minigames…”

39. AT&T To Supply Wireless Access For New Sony E-Reader http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090825-711993.html “…AT&T Inc. on Tuesday said it will provide wireless access for a new electronic book reader by Sony Corp., reflecting the phone giant's goal of expanding the market for mobile devices. Earlier this summer, AT&T (T) said it would provide wireless access for a touch-screen e-reader under development by Plastic Logic, a Silicon Valley firm…Like Amazon, Sony doesn't plan to charge customers a recurring fee for wireless access. The feature is included in the price of the device…” [http://www.overdrive.com/aboutus/getArticle.aspx?newsArticleID=20090812 http://dbooks.wplc.info/1AC2477F-D02A-475B-8DA9-99DC91646E1A/10/319/en/Default.htm ]

Economy and Technology

40. Where Yahoo Leaves Google in the Dust http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/business/23digi.html “…Google’s domination in search has proved hard for it to match in some information domains. When serving financial news and information, for example, Yahoo draws 17.5 times the traffic of Google…Yahoo Finance, which has occupied the top spot in the category for 19 consecutive months, drew 21.7 million unique United States visitors in July; Google Finance drew only 1.2 million unique visitors, placing it 17th in comScore’s rankings for the category…”

41. Foreigners Attending US Grad School is Way Down: Wake Up, Xenophobes http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/23/foreigners-attending-us-grad-schools-way-down-wake-up-xenophobes/ “…We’re already seeing the reverse brain drain as smart immigrants take their US educations and experience building companies and creating technology back to their home countries…U.S. grad school admissions for would-be international students plummeted this year, according to the Council of Graduate Schools—the first decline in five years. The decline was 3% on average, thanks to increases from China and the Middle East, but some countries saw double-digit declines in interest in a U.S. education. Applicants from India and South Korea fell 12% and 9% respectively—with students turning their sights on schools in Asia and Europe instead…”

42. Wind Turbine Blades Change Shape http://www.usnews.com/articles/science/environment/2009/08/24/powerful-ideas-wind-turbine-blades-change-shape.html “…Morphing blades made of advanced composite materials that can rapidly change their shape depending on the wind could help lead to advanced wind turbines that perform better and last longer…The United States is currently the world's largest generator of wind energy by total megawatts, and by 2030, the Department of Energy predicts that as much as one-fifth of the nation's power might come from wind…To help wind turbines advance further, scientists are looking into morphing blades, which can rapidly change their aerodynamic profile to best suit the prevailing wind conditions…”

43. Smith & Tinker raises $29 million to launch Nanovor web game and toy http://games.venturebeat.com/2009/08/24/smith-tinker-raises-29-million-to-launch-nanovor-web-game-and-toy/ “…Smith & Tinker disclosed today that it has raised $29 million to date for its line of interactive games and toys that combine both web and handheld gadget play for a generation of kids who have grown up with the Internet…Nanovor, as we wrote a couple of weeks ago with the launch of its online version, is a modern take on Pokemon-like creature battles. In the game, a boy and his scientist friend discover that silicon chips are infused with tiny nano-sized creatures dubbed Nanovors. They come to life inside computer hardware when electricity pulses through the chips. You can collect Nanovors, connect with your friends online, and fight multiplayer online battles on the PC. Come October, you will be able to buy a $49 handheld Nanoscope at stores such as Target, Best Buy, Toys ‘R Us and Amazon.com. With that custom-designed handheld, you can battle your friends and then upload the results online via a universal serial bus (USB) connection to your computer…”

Civilian Aerospace

44. NASA Opportunities Abound for Commercial Space Efforts http://www.space.com/news/090820-nasa-commercial-partnerships.html “…opportunities for commercial space firms are better than they have been in decades, according to government and industry officials. Not only do NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver seem to be very supportive of commercial space ventures, but the challenging budgetary environment means space agency officials are searching for innovative ways to meet their goals…The foundation spotlighted the potential for partnerships between NASA and commercial spaceflight projects during the NewSpace 2009 conference in Mountain View, Calif., last month…”

45. GLXP Team White Label Space http://spacefellowship.com/2009/08/19/glxp-team-white-label-space-talk-to-the-space-fellowship/ “…White Label Space team’s formal creation was in December 2008 when they registered for the Google Lunar X PRIZE…The earliest meetings of the group that was to become the White Label Space team were in March 2008. Those meetings were held with the intent of forming a GLXP team, but soon it became clear to many of those involved that the White Label Space concept can be applied to many more challenges beyond the GLXP…”

46. NASA May Outsource to NewSpace Companies http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125089632848150593.html For the first time since the advent of manned space exploration, the U.S. appears ready to outsource to private companies everything from transporting astronauts to ferrying cargo into orbit. Proposals gaining momentum in Washington call for contractors to build and run competing systems under commercial contracts…Under this scenario, a new breed of contractors would take over many of NASA's current responsibilities, freeing the agency to pursue longer-term, more ambitious goals such as new rocket-propulsion technology and manned missions to Mars…”

47. Emma Morris wins free flight to space http://www.news.com.au/travel/story/0,28318,25951943-5014090,00.html “…Melbourne publicist Emma Morris has to tell Richard Branson whether she'll accept a free flight to space. The 27-year-old is the winner of a Virgin Blue competition and has a ticket to blast off in her name…Branson phoned her from his Caribbean idyll last week to ask her if she would "fancy going to space"? Morris must choose between a trip to space with Virgin Galactic; two Alfa Romeo Spider sports cars with petrol vouchers and cash; a $170,000 shopping spree; or a $150,000 holiday package…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

48. Intel acquires two software firms http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10315534-64.html Intel has quietly snapped up…Cilk at the end of last month and then Rapidmind earlier this week…Rapidmind was founded five years ago as Serious Hack and grew out of work at the University of Waterloo. It boasts advanced technology for helping software developers with data parallel programming for multicore processors and accelerators…”

49. Conference Proceedings: HPG and SIGGRAPH 2009 http://gpgpu.org/2009/08/23/hpg-siggraph-2009 Ke-Sen Huang has assembled a web page with links to all papers presented at these two important conferences, High Performance Graphics (a synthesis of the Graphics Hardware and Interactive Ray Tracing conferences) and SIGGRAPH. Both conferences had quite a number of GPGPU-related publications…”

50. Ars Says MultiGPU Unlikely, we say Inevitable http://www.vizworld.com/2009/08/ars-says-multigpu-unlikely-we-say-inevitable/ “…Ars Technica finally found the JPR report on Multi-GPU from the beginning of this month, and smashed it as being pretty unlikely due to manufacturing constraints and consumer interest. Well, I disagree and in this feature I’ll lay out why I think that Multi-GPU penetration of 30% is not only likely, it’s inevitable…the landscape of computing is changing. More and more people are switching to netbooks as they realize that 99% of their computer usage is for nothing more than email and websurfing…We are in a situation where “computers” are being replaced by consumers with other simpler, faster, and more portable devices…The resulting market will then be dominated by people in desperate need of high-performance, people doing Animation & Rendering work, people in High Performance computing, and people that really need large memory and fast processors…”

51. Water cooled BFG GTX 285 H2OCWE http://www.fudzilla.com/content/view/15163/1/ “…BFG Geforce GTX 285 1024 H2OCWE…famous for its 729MHz core clock, giving it the title of the fastest GTX 285 graphics card, the card is completely inaudible and up to 30 degrees Celsius cooler than reference, air-cooled cards. The GTX 285 H2OC’s copper block is BFG’s ThermoIntelligence design made in cooperation with Danger Den, and the card is single slot…lifetime warranty in the US and Canada and the 10 year warranty in the rest of the world…”

52. Sparse Matrix-Vector Multiplication on Throughput-Oriented Processors http://www.nvidia.com/object/nvidia_research_pub_013.html Sparse matrix-vector multiplication (SpMV) is of singular importance in sparse linear algebra. In contrast to the uniform regularity of dense linear algebra, sparse operations encounter a broad spectrum of matrices ranging from the regular to the highly irregular…The techniques we propose are efficient, successfully utilizing large percentages of peak bandwidth…averaging 16 GFLOP/s and 10 GFLOP/s in double precision for structured grid and unstructured mesh matrices, respectively, on a GeForce GTX 285. This is roughly 2.8 times the throughput previously achieved on Cell BE and more than 10 times that of a quad-core Intel Clovertown system.”

53. Weighty Matters http://www.cgw.com/Publications/CGW/2009/Volume-32-Issue-7-July-2009-/Weighty-Matters.aspx “…Director Michael bay's sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, stars nearly 60 CG robots…CG supervisor Chris Horvath designed a rigid-body dynamic engine that Cliff Ramshaw, in R&D, helped build in CUDA on Nvidia GPUs. By utilizing thousands of separate computation streams running at once, the engine could calculate the movement and collisions of thousands of objects through time…Rendering such complex robots as Bumblebee (top) and Optimus Prime (bottom), other CG objects, and simulation took 80 percent of ILM's rendering capacity. Including artists workstations, the studio can utilize 7700 core processors, the newest of which are dual processors and quad cores…If you looked at all the rendering we did for this film and tried to do it on one computer, a one-processor 2g PC, and you wanted to be done by the release date, June 24, 2009, you would have had to kick off the renders 16,000 years ago if you ran the computer 24 hours a day,” he says. “Every night, we were pushing years and years of rendering time. It was really insane. We have hallways and hallways and racks and racks of hundreds of these machines going all the time…”



NEW NET Issues List for 18 Aug 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 18 August 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. Start-up helps teachers learn their lesson http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10303253-93.html “…Although not the first or the only Web site that hooks teachers up with friends and new curriculum, BetterLesson takes a different approach…Most new teachers, for example, start at square one, testing what works and what doesn't, and often feel like it's difficult to sustain re-developing content year after year…After two years of working in a high needs school for Teach for America, BetterLesson founder and CEO Alex Grodd felt a certain frustration at having to reinvent the wheel with each lesson plan. He thought getting a job at a high-achieving charter school, Roxbury Preparatory, would be better. But it wasn't…Grodd joined forces with Osborn, another teacher, and a techie; they brainstormed and came up with BetterLesson. They've spent the last year doing research, outreach, and coding to get the site ready for private beta…Part of what can help teachers stay teaching is to give them a strong network and support system that assists them to creating robust lesson plans tailored specifically to the needs of their kids, she says. This is where social networking comes into play…”

2. E-mails from public overload House Web site http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090813/ap_on_go_co/us_congress_web_sites “…people flooded members of Congress on Thursday with so many e-mails that they overloaded the House's primary Web site. Technical support issued a warning to congressional staff that the site — http://www.house.gov — may be slow or unresponsive because of the large volume of e-mail being sent to members…”

3. Firefox extension liberates US court docs from paywall http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/08/recap-firefox-extension-builds-crowdsourced-pacer-mirror.ars “…A new Firefox extension created by the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton aims to tear down the federal judiciary's PACER paywall. It uploads legal documents to a freely accessible mirror that is hosted by the Internet Archive…”

4. Facebook privacy: a guide http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2009/08/meshing-social-networking-and-privacy-on-facebook.ars “…Many users are aware that Facebook has numerous privacy controls, for example, but even the most experienced Facebook users often don't know just how much they can control who sees what. For instance, did you know that you can specify exactly who can see your status updates, down to different groups of friends (not just "friends" versus "everyone")? What about controlling which groups of people can even find you in a Facebook search to begin with?...if you have been wondering how you can be socially available on Facebook while still keeping your privacy under control, this guide is for you…”

5. iPhone passes Canon Rebel XTi as most popular camera on Flickr http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/08/iphone-flickr.html “…Here's a tidbit that's sure to irk Flickr's elitist photographers: The iPhone has just topped Canon's high-performance Digital Rebel XTi as the most popular camera on Yahoo's popular image-sharing site…The newest iPhone 3GS added much-improved photo-taking quality, with features such as video, auto-focus and white balance. Still, its lack of a zoom lens and a flash put it at a major technical disadvantage compared to dedicated point-and-shooters like the 10- to 12-megapixel Canon Rebels…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. U.S. Court Rules Consumers Never Have the Right to Copy DVD Movies http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10308493-93.html “…Hollywood has racked up another major legal victory over DVD-copying devices the studios charge are illegal. Kaleidescape, which had won a rare court victory over the film industry two years ago, saw a California appeals court overturn the ruling on Wednesday. The decision comes a day after a federal court placed a preliminary injunction on the sale of RealDVD. Both Kaleidescape and RealDVD enable users to make digital copies of movies and store them to a hard drive…” [http://www.dailytech.com/US+Court+Rules+Consumers+Never+Have+the+Right+to+Copy+DVD+Movies/article15969.htm ]

7. China Will Not Enforce Green Dam http://www.pcworld.com/article/170129/ “…China will "definitely not" require the program, called Green Dam, to be packaged with all consumer PCs, said Li Yizhong, China's Minister of Industry and Information Technology…China's government will go ahead with installation of Green Dam on computers in public schools, Internet cafes and other public places, Li said. It is also working to address flaws in the program and would not rule out introducing a better filter…”

8. Password management eases with Net storage http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090812/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_digital_life_tech_test_password_managers “…We all use some dumb passwords that are too easy to guess. Worse, we use the same ones for lots of Web sites. So if one site gets compromised, or an employee there is dishonest, someone could start trying out that password on other sites where you have accounts, like Amazon or PayPal, and you've got trouble…The rescue comes from password-management programs. A couple of them have recently taken a big step forward in ease of use, by storing your login information online so that you can access them from multiple computers. Online storage does raise some questions about security, but it also makes these little-known programs worth another look. I've used one called Roboform for more than four years…”

9. What is a Botnet anyway? http://www.itworld.com/security/74656/what-botnet-anyway “…a really smart, computer-savvy friend of mine recently asked me, "What is a botnet anyway?" Whoops! Clearly, it's time for me to do some explaining. Botnets are networks of Windows PC, which have been taken over by malware programs. While it's theoretically possible that a Mac or a Linux desktop PC could get a botnet malware bug, in practice, their better security makes them harder targets for botnet creators so they avoid them. Your computer typically gets infected by botnet malware by a virus or worm. You get these by opening up an infected attachment or by visiting an infected Web site…Once in place the worm will install a botnet client. This program, in turn, will call home to its controller to let him or her know that another zombie PC has been signed up for duty. You, however, may not notice anything is wrong at all. At most, you may notice that every now and again that your PC is a little slow at times in working on the net, but that will be all. Heck, you may not even see that. Botnet software, to avoid being detected, isn't active all the time and modern botnet programs will wait until you're not working on your PC to start up their mischief… Once your computer has been made a zombie, it can used for any number of things…the zombie will be used to spread more copies of itself, send spam, and launch DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks on businesses and other Internet sites. Millions of Windows PCs are already working in botnets. What the botnet will end up doing depends on what the botnet master wants it to do. That may not, however, be its creator. You see, botnets often aren't controlled by their makers these days. Instead, they rent them out, just like any other service, to professional spammers, malcontents and thieves…”

10. Dear iPhone Users: Your Apps are Spying on You http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/dear_iphone_users_your_apps_are_spying_on_you.php “…Recently, Palm came under fire when programmer Joey Hess discovered the Pre's smartphone OS was sending users' GPS locations back to Palm on a daily basis. Although this information was disclosed in the company's privacy policy, the majority of the phone's owners were unaware…If you think you aren't affected by these types of troubles because you don't own a Pre, think again. Multiple iPhone applications - yes, even the ones approved by Apple - are also busy tracking your personal data and "phoning home."...As far as we know right now, Apple itself is not performing any user tracking via its pre-installed applications. However that doesn't mean that you're not being tracked by someone, somewhere. There are a number of applications available now in the iTunes App Store which track your user data, including things like location, your iPhone's unique ID, the phone's model, whether it's "jailbroken," and possibly even your gender, birth month and year, and whether the application is Facebook-enabled…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

11. College Textbooks Hit iPhone, iPod Touch http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090812/tc_pcworld/collegetextbookshitiphoneipodtouch “…College students could soon be able to ditch their backpacks and put their textbooks into their shirt pockets thanks to a new program that will let them read their books using iPhones or iPod Touch devices. CourseSmart of San Mateo, California, already makes more than 7000 college textbooks from 12 publishers available to its subscribers online via their computers, but now the company has added "eTextbooks for the iPhone,"…There are a couple drawbacks -- you have to be connected to the Internet to view the books you can access with your CourseSmart subscription on your iPhone or iPod Touch, and the first version of the new app doesn't allow users to add notes in the margins…”

12. Smartphone Attacks Coming http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090812/tc_pcworld/androidsecuritychiefmobilephoneattackscoming “…The smartphone OS will become a major security target," said Android Security Leader Rich Cannings, speaking at the Usenix Security Symposium. Attackers can already hit millions of victims with a smartphone attack, and soon that number will be even larger. "Personally I think this will become an epiphany to malware authors," he said. Microsoft's Windows operating system is the prime target of criminal attacks today, and hackers have generally steered clear of mobile devices. Security experts say that this is because mobile phones haven't traditionally stored a lot of sensitive data, and because there are so many different devices to attack, it's hard to create a single virus that can infect a large number of users. That may be changing as more and more people start using iPhones, BlackBerries, and -- Google hopes -- Android-based phones such as the Samsung I7500…”

13. Panasonic, NEC unveil 9 LiMo Linux phones http://tech.yahoo.com/news/nm/20090811/tc_nm/us_linux_mobile “…Panasonic Corp and NEC Corp unveiled nine new cellphone models on Tuesday that run the open-source LiMo operating system, wireless Linux group LiMo said…The market for software platforms on cellphones is led by Nokia's Symbian operating system, but it has lost much ground over the last year to Apple and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd…Linux has had little success with cellphones so far, but its role is increasing with the LiMo platform and Google is using Linux for its Android platform…”

14. Sony to Embrace ePub Open E-Book Standard http://www.pcworld.com/article/170153/sony_to_embrace_open_ebook_standard.html Sony is expected to announce today that its line of e-readers will support the open ePub standard by the end of the year, according to The New York Times. EPub is a common file format for digital books being developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). Producing books under one standard would make it easier for you to transfer your e-book collection across a variety of devices, and virtually guarantee you wouldn't be locked out of your e-book collection if support for your hardware ever disappears…”

15. Nokia's Linux strategy broadens with upcoming Maemo 5 device http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2009/08/nokias-linux-strategy-broadens-with-upcoming-maemo-5-device.ars “…A Nokia product codenamed RX-51 recently cleared FCC approval and has now appeared in leaked photos that made their way onto the Internet; it appears to be the long-awaited Maemo 5 product. The source code of Maemo 5 provided some early clues about the RX-51 last year. Maemo fans have been poring through it and documenting various technical details that provide insight into the hardware. The new pictures also seem to indicate that the device is a phone, and not just a Web tablet like its predecessors. This would be a major step forward for Maemo and could reflect a more Linux-centric mobile strategy for Nokia…”

16. Smartphone wars - BlackBerry's plan to win http://money.cnn.com/2009/08/12/technology/blackberry_research_in_motion.fortune/ “…Research in Motion co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have surprisingly little in common…Individually, Balsillie and Lazaridis may not be the equal of a certain black-mock-turtleneck-and-jeans-wearing consumer-product-design genius in Cupertino, Calif., who just happens to be their biggest rival. But together the pair is pretty darn formidable. Do two collaborative Canadians match up to one Steve Jobs? For the moment, at least, they're more than holding their own. Despite the incredible success of Apple's iPhone, Research in Motion (RIMM) retains a dominant position in the ultra-fast-growing smartphone business -- the combo phone/e-mail device category that Balsillie and Lazaridis essentially created…”

Open Source

17. Open-source hardware heralds greater creativity http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/12/open-source-hardware-projects “…in the last few years, open-source hardware projects have risen in popularity, including the open-source electronics platform Arduino. Open-source hardware has a long history that predates computers with the amateur radio community; and personal computing in Silicon Valley rose out of the hardware hackers of the Homebrew Computer Club. At its heart, Arduino is a programmable microcontroller, which was developed in Italy in 2005…Arduino is often described as a physical computing platform because you can use sensors to measure motion, light or temperature, and to flash LEDs or lights, sound buzzers or run motors. Arduino also has communications extensions that add Bluetooth, Ethernet or wireless-mesh networking capabilities, and can be triggered by events on the web or via web APIs…all kinds of people are using the platform, including hobbyists and engineers but also artists and designers – people who don't have a technical background…”

18. Robots to get their own operating system http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327206.300-robots-to-get-their-own-operating-system.html “…THE UBot whizzes around a carpeted conference room on its Segway-like wheels, holding aloft a yellow balloon. It hands the balloon to a three-fingered robotic arm named WAM, which gingerly accepts the gift…this happy meeting of robotic beings hides a serious problem: while the robots might be collaborating, those making them are not. Each robot is individually manufactured to meet a specific need and more than likely built in isolation…without a common OS, sharing code is nearly impossible…roboticists are starting to make some headway. The Robot Operating System or ROS is an open-source set of programs meant to serve as a common platform for a wide range of robotics research. It is being developed and used by teams at Stanford University in California, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Technical University of Munich, Germany…”

19. Avant Window Navigator: OS X-like dock on Linux desktop http://www.ghacks.net/2009/08/12/avant-window-navigator-os-x-dock-on-linux-desktop/ “…A lot of people really enjoy the OS X doc. For many it is just the cool look and feel of this 3D-like launcher that actually brings them to OS X. Now if you’ve used a recent release of GNOME you can probably see how the GNOME team have tried, in some ways, to bring a bit of OS X to the Linux desktop. Now there is a dock application called Avant Window Navigator, that finishes the process…”

20. Ten top wireless connection tools for Linux http://resources.zdnet.co.uk/articles/comment/0,1000002985,39714325,00.htm “…I spend much of my time on wireless networks. The distribution of Linux and the hardware I am using will dictate which application I choose to connect to any given access point. Some of these tools are distribution-independent. Some are not. Some were created for a specific desktop, but will still work with other desktops. For many mobile Linux users, being able to use a wireless connection is just a matter of finding the right tool. Here are 10 tools that will help you connect your Linux machine to a wireless access point…”


21. Google Points At WebFinger. Your Gmail Address Could Soon Be Your ID. http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/14/google-points-at-webfinger-your-gmail-address-could-soon-be-your-id/ “…WebFinger…an extension of something called the “finger protocol” that was used in the earlier days of the web to identify people by their email addresses. As the web expanded, the finger protocol faded out, but the idea of needing a unified way to identify yourself has not. That’s why you keep hearing about OpenID and the like all the time. But those standards, while open, have failed to latch on in a meaningful way with the public at large…everyone on the web knows is their email address. And they’re conditioned by services like Google and Facebook to use it as their identifier…The idea behind WebFinger is that you should be able to attach any information you choose to your email address. The excitement today is that a group of Googlers have apparently finally not only gotten Google’s support to pursue the project, but that they have started working the technical details…”

22. Google Reader lets you snoop on friends’ feeds, more easily share content http://digital.venturebeat.com/2009/08/13/google-reader-lets-you-snoop-on-friends-feeds-more-easily-share-content/ Google Reader, a Google service that pulls content from all your favorite news sites and blog into one place, has announced two new features for receiving and sharing information that’ll make it far more social. The first lets you add friends’ feeds to Google Reader, provided those friends are using a Google Profile…Dedicated Google Reader users will also be happy to see added control over the “Mark as Read” option, which now lets you dismiss posts that are older than a day, week or two weeks…”

23. Gmail passes AOL for # 3 webmail provider http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/14/gmail-nudges-past-aol-email-in-the-us-to-take-no-3-spot/ “…Gmail is…now the third largest Web mail service in the U.S. In July, Gmail nudged past AOL Email with 37 million unique visitors compared to 36.4 million for AOL, according to comScore estimates…That puts Gmail within sight of the No. 2 player, Windows Live Hotmail, which has 47 million unique visitors. After that there is a wide gulf separating Yahoo Mail and its 106 million monthly unique visitors…”

General Technology

24. Getting Your Wireless Network Up to Speed http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/technology/personaltech/13basics.html “…The wireless home network that freed you from sitting in a single location to browse Web sites, download videos and make free phone calls may be getting balky. The videos pause, instant messaging apps mysteriously disconnect in midchat, and you can’t get a connection in the far corner bedroom any more. Part of the problem is undoubtedly the popularity of the Wi-Fi network. More devices are on the home network trying to use the same bandwidth to do more thingsfixes for dead zones and dropped connections are readily available, though all involve spending $100 or so for new equipment…”

25. The brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting http://slate.com/id/2224932 Seeking. You can't stop doing it. Sometimes it feels as if the basic drives for food, sex, and sleep have been overridden by a new need for endless nuggets of electronic information. We are so insatiably curious that we gather data even if it gets us in trouble. Google searches are becoming a cause of mistrials as jurors, after hearing testimony, ignore judges' instructions and go look up facts for themselves. We search for information we don't even care about. Nina Shen Rastogi confessed in Double X, "My boyfriend has threatened to break up with me if I keep whipping out my iPhone to look up random facts about celebrities when we're out to dinner." We reach the point that we wonder about our sanity. Virginia Heffernan in the New York Times said she became so obsessed with Twitter posts about the Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrest that she spent days "refreshing my search like a drugged monkey…It is an emotional state Panksepp tried many names for: curiosity, interest, foraging, anticipation, craving, expectancy. He finally settled on seeking…For humans, this desire to search is not just about fulfilling our physical needs. Panksepp says that humans can get just as excited about abstract rewards as tangible ones. He says that when we get thrilled about the world of ideas, about making intellectual connections, about divining meaning, it is the seeking circuits that are firing…Ever find yourself sitting down at the computer just for a second to find out what other movie you saw that actress in, only to look up and realize the search has led to an hour of Googling? Thank dopamine…”

26. Carnegie Mellon Releases Alice 3 Software http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Carnegie-Mellon-Releases-Innovative-Alice-3-Software-53141422.html “…Carnegie Mellon University today announced the beta release of Alice 3, the latest version of an innovative software environment designed to take something challenging -- learning about computer programming -- and make it as fun as creating an animated movie or a video game. This new version, which Carnegie Mellon makes available as a free download at www.alice.org, includes animated characters and scenes donated by Electronic Arts (EA) from its bestselling PC game, The Sims2. Like earlier Alice versions, Alice 3 allows novices to use a simple drag-and-drop interface to create 3D computer animations. But this latest version also includes an interface that allows advanced students to use a keyboard to create programs written in standard Java… Alice is the brainchild of the late Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon computer science professor who became famous for his life-affirming "Last Lecture," an Internet video phenomenon…The current version, Alice 2.2, has been downloaded millions of times. More than 15 percent of U.S. colleges and universities use Alice and an increasing number of middle and high schools are using the software to teach their students…"Alice has the potential to draw young people into computer science who otherwise would never consider it a possible career path…”

27. Maker’s schedule, manager’s schedule http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html “…There are two types of schedule, which I'll call the manager's schedule and the maker's schedule. The manager's schedule is for bosses. It's embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you're doing every hour. When you use time that way, it's merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you're done…But there's another way of using time that's common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started. When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That's no problem for someone on the manager's schedule. There's always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what…”

28. 3.4 GHz: AMD's Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3619 “…3.4GHz Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition…is also the highest clocked processor AMD has ever shipped; K8 topped out at 3.2GHz and the original Phenom never went beyond 2.6GHz. We're also back up to a 140W TDP…”

Leisure & Entertainment

29. While My Guitar Gently Beeps http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/magazine/16beatles-t.html “…Studio Two at Abbey Road in London has changed very little since 1969, when Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison recorded together for the last time…The odd recording session in March was one very small contribution to what Apple Corps — the company still controlled by McCartney, Starr and the widows of Lennon and Harrison — hopes will be the most deeply immersive way ever of experiencing the music and the mythology of the Beatles. The band that upended the cultural landscape of the 1960s is now hitching its legacy to the medium of a new generation: the video game. The sound effects Martin recorded are not anything most people who play the game will notice consciously. The Beatles: Rock Band, which is to be released on Sept. 9, involves playing ersatz instruments in time with the band’s original music. Between songs, players will hear the group warming up and bantering in the studio…”

30. iPod Touch Cutting Into Handheld Game Market http://theappleblog.com/2009/08/12/ipod-touch-cutting-into-handheld-game-market-top-analyst-says/ “…Nintendo DS and Sony PSP boast huge install bases of about 70 million and 35 million, respectively, and a robust game library featuring well-known, high-quality franchises; will they ever feel the competitive heat from Apple?...iPod Touch game sales are already cutting into the handheld market, particularly at the low end,” Pachter told me by email. “The iPod Touch’s market share will continue to grow, I suppose to around 10 percent to 15 percent of all handheld game sales.” Pachter sees the Touch as a more direct competitor to the DS and PSP lines, “as prices come down and parents begin to view it as a substitute” for those handhelds…For Pachter, the crucial challenge for the iPod Touch as a game platform is pricing. “The sticking point is whether we’ll see these games offered at $9.99 or at $29.99. If at the lower price, the developers/publishers would take a profit hit; if at the higher price, the popularity of the iPod Touch as a gaming device will suffer…”

31. "Avatar" trailer tickets to be available online http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090813/en_nm/us_avatar Free tickets will be distributed online starting Monday for special Imax presentations of a 16-minute trailer for the 3D sci-fi action movie "Avatar." The extended trailer of the 20th Century Fox film, featuring an on-camera intro by director James Cameron, hits 101 Imax venues in the U.S. and Canada on August 21 in a promotional push that was announced at the recent Comic-Con International confab in San Diego. On the same date, theaters worldwide will begin showing 2D and 3D "Avatar" trailers of more conventional length. Fans will be provided theater information and other "Avatar" tidbits via AvatarMovie.com. Visitors to the site also will see ticketing instructions and links to individual movie theaters…”

32. "To understand what recursion is you must first understand recursion" http://stackoverflow.com/questions/234075/what-is-your-best-programmer-joke

33. New Samsung camera has LCDs on front and back http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10308738-1.html If you thought putting a projector in the front of a pocket camera was genius, how do you feel about a second LCD? Samsung thinks the idea is so good its launching two new models with dual screens: the TL220 and TL225. The cameras share many of the same specs: 12.2-megapixel resolution, a wide-angle 27mm lens with a 4.6x zoom, dual image stabilization, 720p HD-quality video capture at 30 frames per second (H.264), and a 1.5-inch LCD in front. The TL220 features a 3-inch LCD on back, whereas the TL225 has a 3.5-inch screen. Also, both LCDs are touch screens with haptic feedback giving you a little vibration when you make a selection as well as a new Smart Gesture interface letting you do things like delete photos by drawing an X on the screen or rotate them with an O…I gave you a whole paragraph to consider why you'd need a small LCD at the front of a compact camera. Samsung has at least three good reasons for doing it. One, it's a great solution for self portraits, and combined with the company's Smile Shot, you don't even have to press the shutter release to snap photos of yourself--you just smile. Two, if you set the timer it'll show the last few seconds counting down before the shot's taken. Lastly, you'll be able to play animated clips to get the attention of children, and perhaps pets, while you try to take their picture…”

Economy and Technology

34. Canadian firm gets patent win over Microsoft Word http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/microsoft-ordered-to-stop-selling-word/article1249534/ “…A tiny Toronto firm that took on Microsoft Corp. has succeeded in winning an injunction against sales of the technology giant's flagship word-processing software. A U.S. judge, agreeing with an earlier jury verdict that Microsoft had willfully infringed a patent belonging to i4i LP, gave the software giant 60 days to comply with the injunction and awarded the Canadian company about $290-million (U.S.). The injunction bans U.S. sales of Word 2003, Word 2007 and future versions of the software that use i4i's technology without a licence. Microsoft said it would appeal…”

35. Can Anyone Actually Tap the $100 Billion Potential of Hyperlocal News? http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/138/get-me-rewrite-hyperlocals-lost.html “…Why is a media titan like The New York Times Co. -- already stretched thin by the challenges of a faltering business model -- dabbling in community news, traditionally the bottom of the journalistic food chain? Call it the Google Effect. The search giant's model, described by author John Battelle as "a billion dollars, one nickel at a time," is a perfect description of how media companies hope to take tiny sources of local revenue and roll them up into big money. Hyperlocal sites -- covering cities, towns, or just a neighborhood -- can deliver precision-targeted advertising to local and global businesses. As the once-exponential growth rate for most Internet advertising in the United States grinds to a halt, the online local-advertising market is projected to grow 5.4% in 2009 to $13.3 billion…”

36. Bing Shopping Grows 169% in June http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/bing_shopping_grows_169_in_june.php “…Bing Shopping, the comparison shopping tool that is part of Microsoft's new search engine, saw some impressive growth last month. According to Hitwise's Heather Dougherty, visits to Bing Shopping increased 169% last month and Bing is now the 4th most popular shopping comparison site in the US. Just last month, Bing was still in 8th place…”

37. Building a Media Empire Around I Can Has Cheezburger http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1916286-1,00.html “…Like the rest of the 20-odd websites Huh owns, FAIL Blog was added to his empire for no more specific reason, he says, than "Dude, I think it's funny." These spellbindingly inane blogs were built with the kind of user-generated content that has made Facebook and YouTube tremendously popular. But unlike these bigger sites, Huh's company has been in the black since its first quarter. Pet Holdings managed to haul in seven figures from advertising, licensing fees and merchandise sales during the first six months of this year…”

38. MSNBC.com acquires EveryBlock http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-tue_msnbcaug18,0,7843758.story “…MSNBC.com has acquired EveryBlock, a Chicago-based Web site that collects local news and public information on a block-by-block level for 15 cities…Adrian Holovaty, a Naperville native, founded EveryBlock in 2007 with funding through July from a two-year, $1.1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation…EveryBlock amasses local news stories, as well as public information on crime, property and business licenses, and makes the data searchable by address, ZIP code and neighborhood. The site also aggregates reviews of local businesses from Yelp, photos from Flickr and Craigslist listings…”

Civilian Aerospace

39. Space elevator chase yields Earthly rewards http://money.cnn.com/2009/08/13/smallbusiness/space_elevator.smb/ “…That afternoon he was supposed to be presenting to the attendees of the Conference on World Affairs, but at the moment, Laine was finding it hard to concentrate. "Two hours ago I lost a $3 million building," he declared to the room. "And now I don't have a place to live." It was the seventh time Laine had gone into foreclosure in just five years, all in pursuit of an entrepreneurial dream. Always before, he'd managed to raise the cash to buy his office building -- also his home and only source of income -- back at auction. This time, he was out of luck, as was the nine-employee company, LiftPort, that Laine financed almost entirely by leveraging his property. Laine still doesn't regret the obsession that led him to repeatedly default on his mortgage and gamble the $140,000 he received in rental income each year. "I could have retired at 35 with a lifetime income," he says. "Or I could build an elevator to space…This week's fifth annual Space Elevator Conference, sponsored by Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500), is bringing a host of academics, space enthusiasts and small business owners to Redmond, Wash., to discuss everything from the technology to the regulatory framework required to build a giant elevator to space…”

40. First Solar Sail Might Soon Fly http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/090812-tw-solar-sail-new-mission.html “…the Planetary Society hopes to refit a NASA sail design and make a third U.S. attempt to fly the first solar sail in space. Never before has a vehicle successfully flown in space using a solar sail as its primary means of propulsion. But it hasn't been for a lack of trying. The California-based Planetary Society attempted to fly its Cosmos-1 solar sail in 2005, but it foundered because of a Russian rocket malfunction. Then NASA's NanoSail-D was lost in the third failed flight of SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket in 2008…"In Cosmos-1 we had a more conventional spacecraft, but the technology has moved ahead now," said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society in Pasadena, Calif. "You can actually get a higher performance sail with a lower mass spacecraft." NanoSail-D may provide the foundation design for that future, smaller spacecraft…”

41. Nevada Company Pitches 'Lite' Concept for NASA's New Spaceship http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/090814-orion-lite.html “…Bigelow quietly unveiled the "Orion Lite" concept in a private briefing to former Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Norm Augustine and his White House-charted committee tasked in May with developing a range of options for an affordable and sustainable U.S. human spaceflight program. Bigelow's crew capsule design is modeled on the Orion vehicle that Lockheed Martin…is developing for NASA…Mike Gold, director of Bigelow's Washington office, said he believes a low Earth-orbit optimized version of Orion could be ready to launch atop a human-rated version of the Atlas 5 within three or four years…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

42. Students Develop Multicore Programming Skills http://www.hpcwire.com/industry/academia/Students-Develop-Multicore-Programming-Skills-52989882.html “…High-definition streaming video enables students to participate in the course, "Many-Core Programming for Science and Engineering Applications," from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan, the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC), located on the west campus of The Ohio State University…Instructors Wen-mei Hwu, from the University of Illinois, and David B. Kirk, from the graphics-processor company NVIDIA, are teaching the course. The lessons provide students with hands-on experience in developing applications software for multi-core processors, such as general-purpose graphics processing units (GP-GPUs). Participating students have access to NCSA's 32-node cluster of GP-GPUs and are learning to use the software CUDA to write programs for the cluster…”

43. Tim Sweeney: GPGPU too costly to develop for games http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Sweeney-Epic-GPU-GPGPU,8461.html Epic Games' chief executive officer Tim Sweeney recently…saying that it is "dramatically" more expensive for developers to create software that relies on GPGPU (general purpose computing on graphics processing units) than those programs created for CPUs…it costs "X" amount of money to develop an efficient single-threaded algorithm for CPUs. To develop a multithreaded version, it will cost…a whopping ten times the amount for a current GPGPU version…Sweeney spent most of his speech preaching about the death of GPUs (graphics processing units)…This isn't the first time he predicted the technology's demise: he offered his predictions of doom last year in this interview. Basically, the days of DirectX and OpenGL are coming to a close “In the next generation we’ll write 100-percent of our rendering code in a real programming language--not DirectX, not OpenGL, but a language like C++ or CUDA," he aid last year. "A real programming language unconstrained by weird API restrictions…”