NEW NET Issues List for 29 Dec 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 29 December 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 -- if there's a chain across the steps, ignore it and come on upstairs.

The ‘net

1. A Decade of Innovation: How We See the Internet 10 Years After the Boom http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/pew-survey-internet-decade.php “…At the end of 2009, most Americans in this Pew survey have a dismal view of the 2000s. Between the Iraq war, the 9/11 attacks, economic and political distress and the curse of reality television, the decade has been voted the worst in our collective memory. But one of few bright spots in a tense ten-year period was and remains technological innovation, including the Internet, cell phones and email…”

2. Fix Slow Browsing — and More — With OpenDNS http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/testdrive/article.php/3855361 For most small businesses, a reliable connection to the Internet is vital for both communication and commerce… your business is probably relying on ISP-provided DNS servers to reach sites and services on the Internet. They often do an adequate job, but they’re prone to sluggishness (and sometimes outages). Switching your business over to the independent DNS service provider OpenDNS, on the other hand, can make Internet access a bit speedier and safer for everyone on your network, as well as provide added features like content filtering so you can determine which Web sites your employees can and can’t visit…”

3. Backupify drops paywall; backs up your data from Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=28839 “…One of the best parts of keeping your data in the cloud is that you don’t have to worry quite as much about doing your own backups. If your computer crashes or your hard drive dies, you won’t lose all of the messages from your Gmail account or all of the photos you saved to Flickr…trusting lots of private data to a third-party provider on the Web still rattles some users and companies, especially when that valuable data is stored in a free service that has no service level agreement (SLA). There have already been horror stories of Gmail accidentally deleting inboxes as well as user accounts getting hacked and the inboxes getting wiped clean…Backupify will back up all online accounts for free and with unlimited storage. The offer will be open until January 31, 2010…In 2010 Backupify will announce its new pricing structure for the masses, which May said will likely move to a “freemium” model, with a free account that handles a basic amount of storage and then tiered pricing if you need more space. However, those who sign up during this trial will get an open-ended free account for getting in early…”

4. VeVite Taps Into Twitter For Event Invitations http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/28/vevite-taps-into-twitter-for-event-invitations/ There are a plethora of online invitation sites that let invitees and event organize utilize both Facebook and Twitter to publicize events to their social graphs. Cocodot, Pingg and others will pull in Tweets about an event by hashtag…VeVite has a different twist on social event invitations by providing a deeper integration with Twitter. Invites are sent via Direct Message, with a link back to the event on VeVite to RSVP. Once you login via your Twitter credentials, you can RSVP, and your comments on the page are automatically shared on Twitter as well. A host can only invite 250 people every 24 hours because of a Twitter DM restriction. But if the event is “open” then anyone can RSVP without getting a DM…The startup’s founder Sam Bensalem says that the VeVite plans to add Facebook and Gmail integration in the coming weeks. VeVite will also include payments integration, so host can charge for events similar to Eventbrite. But Bensalem says that the platform will be catered more towards casual meetups and events…”

5. Firefox 3.5 is Now the World’s Most Popular Browser http://thenextweb.com/2009/12/21/firefox-35-popular-browser-planet/ “…Firefox 3.5 is the most used browser in the world. Note this is the version of the browser rather than the browser brand but nevertheless an incredible achievement. The browser surpasses IE7 as the most popular browser, with IE8 close behind thanks to the success of Windows 7. In the US, IE8 still leads with 26% market share closely followed by IE7 and Firefox 3.5 equally tied…”

6. Windows Live Wave 4 Leaks: Mail, Photo Gallery, Writer http://news.softpedia.com/news/Windows-Live-Wave-4-Leaks-Mail-Photo-Gallery-Writer-Build-15-0-2403-826-130387.shtml Microsoft…is hard at work building the successors of the current versions of Windows Live clients and services, including Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Writer, etc…”

7. Footprint: real-time web stats, for free http://thenextweb.com/appetite/2009/12/24/footprint-realtime-web-stats-free/ While Google Analytics is a great product, one of the most frustrating aspects of it is the lack of any data about what’s happening right now with your site’s traffic…In these days of the real-time web, shouldn’t we have real-time web stats too? That’s where Footprint comes in…As a free product this is definitely worth a look, although it’s worth noting that Clicky offers a real-time tracking service as part of its paid-for full-featured analytics package…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

8. Encryption Code for 80% of the World’s Mobile Calls Cracked http://mashable.com/2009/12/28/gsm-encryption-cracked/ “…software engineer and encryption expert named Karsten Nohl told a group of hackers at the Chaos Communication Congress that he and a group of enlisted contributors had broken the primary encryption code protecting GSM phone calls. According to The New York Times, spokespeople from the GSM Association shrugged off the news…the crack now puts mobile interception of the majority of non-3G cellphone calls within reach of “any reasonable well-funded criminal organization.”…The current GSM encryption scheme is known as the A5/1 standard, based on a 64-bit encryption scheme. A newer specification based on…128-bit encryption called A5/3 has been available since 2007, but few network operators have undertaken the expense to upgrade their networks…”

9. Burglar caught thanks to Xbox Live http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/21033.cfm Jeremiah Gilliam of the Bronx has been arrested today after police officers found dozens of laptops, GPS devices and video game consoles in his apartment…he tried playing one of the stolen Xbox 360s online and signed in using the Xbox Live account saved on the system. The youth whose Xbox had been stolen, was playing online at a friend's house and saw his own Xbox Live name sign in, prompting the family to call the police who then traced the IP address back to the address where Gilliam was staying…”

10. Good Guys Bring Down the Mega-D Botnet http://www.pcworld.com/article/185122/ “…as a researcher with security company FireEye, Atif Mushtaq worked to keep Mega-D bot malware from infecting clients' networks. In the process, he learned how its controllers operated it…In November, he suddenly switched from de fense to offense. And Mega-D--a powerful, resilient botnet that had forced 250,000 PCs to do its bidding--went down. Mushtaq and two FireEye colleagues went after Mega-D's command infrastructure…Mushtaq's team first contacted Internet service providers that unwittingly hosted Mega-D control servers…The FireEye group received positive responses except from the overseas ISPs. The domestic C&C servers went down. Next, Mushtaq and company contacted domain-name registrars holding records for the domain names that Mega-D used for its control servers. The registrars collaborated with FireEye to point Mega-D's existing domain names to nowhere…Finally, FireEye and the registrars worked to claim spare domain names that Mega-D's controllers listed in the bots' programming… Mega-D had "consistently been in the top 10 spam bots" for the previous year…on November 1 Mega-D accounted for 11.8 percent of all spam that MessageLabs saw…Three days later, FireEye's action had reduced Mega-D's market share of Internet spam to less than 0.1 percent…"FireEye did have a major victory," says Joe Stewart, director of malware research with SecureWorks. "The question is, will it have a long-term impact?"…In 2009, Stewart outlined a proposal to create volunteer groups dedicated to making botnets unprofitable to run. But few security professionals could commit to such a time-consuming volunteer activity…”

11. Google's Chrome OS Cited as Likely Hacker Vehicle http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/dec2009/tc20091228_112186.htm Google's computer operating system, due to be released next year, may rank among software most targeted by hackers in 2010, according to…the computer security company McAfee…The Web-based operating system, dubbed Chrome, relies on a technology known as HTML 5 that's designed to help Web applications behave like PC software. Developers use HTML 5 language to ensure that software delivers fast response times and stores information that users can access even when they're not connected to the Internet…Google said that it is "completely redesigning the underlying security architecture…so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware, and security updates…Keen interest in emerging technologies from security researchers doesn't always indicate impending attacks, says Pete Lindstrom, research director at Spire Security, a consulting firm. Security vendors have the potential to sell more products by promoting potential dangers that might lurk behind every mouse click…McAfee's report also said that attacks against Adobe…software, including Acrobat image-viewing tools and Flash technology for online video and animation, would become the most common type of attack on application software in 2010…”

12. Attackers Buying Own Data Centers for Botnets, Spam http://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/attackers-buying-own-data-centers-botnets-spam-122109 The malware writers and criminals who run botnets for years have been using shared hosting platforms and so-called bulletproof hosting providers as bases of operations for their online crimes. But, as law enforcement agencies and security experts have moved to take these providers offline, the criminals have taken the next step and begun setting up their own virtual data centers. IP address space allocation is handled by five regional Internet registries (RIR), each of which is responsible for a particular group of countries. The RIRs work with large enterprises, ISPs, telecoms and other organizations that need large blocks of IP space. These organizations typically have to go through an application and screening process in order to get these allocations, including providing legal documentation listing the officers of the company, its business and why the address space is needed…criminals have found a way around this by going through local Internet registries (LIR) or by taking advantage of RIRs that don't have the resources to investigate every application as fully as they'd like…The criminals will buy servers and place them in a large data center and then submit an application for a large block of IP space. In some cases, the applicants are asked for nothing more than a letter explaining why they need the IP space…”

13. Security in the Ether http://www.technologyreview.com/web/24166/ “…they demonstrated how the very advantages of cloud computing--ease of access, affordability, centralization, and flexibility--could give rise to new kinds of insecurity…Cloud computing--programs and services delivered over theInternet--is rapidly changing the way we use computers…The airline, retail, and financial industries are examples of those that could benefit from cloud computing, says Dale Jorgenson, a Harvard economist and expert on the role of information technology in national productivity. "The focus of IT innovation has shifted from hardware to software applications," he says. "Many of these applications are going on at a blistering pace, and cloud computing is going to be a great facilitative technology for a lot of these people." Of course, none of this can happen unless cloud services are kept secure. And they are not without risk…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

14. Apple IPod Touch Application Downloads Jump 1,000% on Christmas http://www.businessweek.com/news/2009-12-28/apple-ipod-touch-application-downloads-jump-1-000-on-christmas.html Apple Inc.’s iPod Touch mobile- software downloads jumped more than 1,000 percent on Christmas Day, signaling that sales of the media player surged during the holiday season…Downloads of iPod Touch programs surpassed those for the iPhone for the first time…”

15. Apple seen selling 1.4 million $600 "Kindle Killer" tablets in 2010 http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/12/28/apple_seen_selling_1_4_million_600_kindle_killer_tablets_in_2010.html Even before it's been validated with a formal introduction, Apple's eagerly-awaited tablet device is being positioned by some members of the investment community as a device that could sell 1.4 million units in its first 9 months, just as others reiterate claims that it'll thrash Amazon's Kindle device in the process…”

16. Droid clobbers other Android phones in Xmas app downloads http://venturebeat.com/2009/12/28/droid-android/ “…T-Mobile’s myTouch 3G and G1, and the HTC Hero sold by Sprint, totaled roughly as many apps as those downloaded the Verizon/Motorola Droid phones on December 25…iPhone and iPod Touch users downloads thirteen times as many apps in December as all Android phone users combined…while the Droid is the hotter phone right now in terms of buzz, the numbers point to Apple’s continuing dominance of the app world going into 2010…”

17. Technology changes 'outstrip' netbooks http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8421491.stm “…netbooks…were popular in 2009, but some industry watchers are convinced that their popularity is already waning…What people are looking for now, he believes, is a machine that can keep up with the demands of contemporary web users - far more than the basic e-mail and web browsing that made the first models so appealing…Consumers, he said, were chafing against the restrictions that using a netbook imposed on them…Changing web habits and greater use of social media will mean consumers will be looking for gadgets that are tuned to specific purposes…Impetus for this change will come, he believes, from the phone world where many, many types of gadgets are already blooming. "It's no surprise that your mobile has changed a lot in the last three years but your PC hasn't," he said…Dell already produces notebooks sporting Latitude ON technology that use both Arm and Intel chips so that they can boot into either Windows or Linux. Battery life on Linux is in excess of 10 hours, for Windows rarely more than three…”

18. Evernote’s memory-jogging iPhone app adds offline access http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2009/12/23/evernote-iphone-offline/ “…Megan Berry named Evernote one of the best productivity applications for the iPhone today, but it sounds like a new, just-released version of the app is even better…when you create a note…it’s stored locally, on your iPhone. That means that if you have a bad cell connection or lose your connection altogether, you can still read the notes that were created on your phone and search through them. Users who have paid for the premium version can also download entire collections of notes, called notebooks, to their phones…being able to access notes anytime, despite the vagaries of my cell connection, means Evernote becomes useful in more places and less frustrating…”

Open Source

19. 10 Greatest Open Source Software Of 2009 http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/10-greatest-open-source-software-of-2009.html “…best open source software of 2009…Inkscape…7-Zip…VLC…VirtualBox…Miro/Internet TV…TrueCrypt…Calibre…GnuCash…GIMP…Audacity…”

20. An early look at VLMC http://linuxcrunch.com/content/early-look-vlmc “…VLMC (VideoLAN Movie Creator) is a free video editing software, offering features to realize semi-professional quality movies, but with the aim to stay simple and user-friendly. VLMC is being developed with the support of the VideoLAN organization (the house of the famous VLC Media Player). The pre-release version will be available soon…”

21. 3 Wonderful Open-Source Games to Install After Installing Ubuntu http://tuxarena.blogspot.com/2009/12/3-wonderful-open-source-games-to.html Battle for Wesnoth is one of the most popular turn-based strategy games for Linux, if not the most popular. Completely free and open-source, it provides both singleplayer campaigns, as well as online multiplayer, hotseat or LAN support…SuperTux is a 2D jump and run Mario clone, with the difference that it uses its own maps, enemies, and the main character is... you guessed, Tux, the story taking place in Antarctica…When it comes to Linux shooter games, there isn't only one choice. Games like Nexuiz, OpenArena or Sauerbraten were a good fit here too…Based on the Quake 3 engine, World of Padman is a fun, cartoon-style first-person shooter with maps, weapons and characters inspired from the Padman series. It features nice, colourful graphics, popular modes like FFA, TDM or CTF, and weapons which will definitely make you laugh the first time you'll see them…”


22. Google Is About To Get Caffeinated With A Faster Search Index http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/28/google-caffeine-faster-search-index/ “…behind the scenes Google is also getting ready to push out an entirely new way for indexing the Web. Codenamed “Caffeine,” Google has been testing it since last summer in one datacenter, and is now getting ready to push it out across all of Google. Some SEO-minded tipsters say that they are starting to notice faster search response times, but Google is sticking to the party line that Caffeine won’t roll out until after the New Year…The look and feel of Google results won’t change…But it will significantly speed up how fast Google can present results, especially across different media types such as photos and videos…for generic search terms, Caffeine gives more weight to news and social media results, while more specific keywords are more likely to turn up websites about that topic…”

23. Consumer Groups Lobby FTC To Block Google’s Acquisition Of AdMob http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/28/consumer-groups-lobby-ftc-to-block-googles-acquisition-of-admob/ Google recently revealed that the Federal Trade Commission was intensely reviewing the search giant’s recent $750 million acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob…two consumer groups…have asked the FTC to block the deal on anti-trust grounds and possible privacy issues…the two groups say that Google’s acquisition of AdMob would lessen competition in the mobile advertising market, having a potentially negative impact on consumers, advertisers and application developers and others…”

24. Apple's Lala Deal: A Lump Of Coal In Google's Music Onebox? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/28/AR2009122802015.html Of all the things Google has launched this past year, the most useful may be its Music Onebox feature that allows you to easily play popular music from Google Search results. Following its debut in October, I found myself using it left and right for songs I wanted to listen to. One thing I noticed was that while deals were in place with iLike, imeem, Rhapsody, and Pandora, the majority of the one-click play results were from the streaming music service Lala. This was awesome because most of the songs served up by Lala were the full versions. But fast forward to today, and it's a much different story: Lala Onebox results are few and far between…”

25. Verizon slaps Google straight out of mobile search options http://www.brafton.com/industry-news/verizon-slaps-google-straight-out-mobile-search-options-$1350017.htm Telecom giant Verizon has peremptorily removed the option to use Google for smartphone searches on its network in favor of Microsoft's Bing, angering some users and complicating the picture for search engine optimization (SEO) professionals who target mobile device users. Previously, Verizon smart phone users were able to choose their default search provider from several candidates, including Google and Wikipedia, but those options have been excised…a forum thread on CrackBerry.com had reached 36 pages in length by last weekend, and that many users were unhappy with the loss of their search options. Microsoft signed a half-billion-dollar promotional deal with Verizon in January 2009, and The Register asserts that a similar agreement with Google was in the works until the Microsoft deal was completed. Some experts speculate that the move to Bing exclusivity could be Verizon's response to the news that Google will launch its own smartphone next year…”

26. Google Nexus One hands-on http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10421219-94.html Thanks to a clandestine meeting with a source, I got a chance to play with and try out the Nexus One. It's basically, from my time with it, Google's Droid killer. It's thin, it's fast, it's better in every way…Even though the screen is the same size and same resolution as the Droid, it's noticeably better. The colors are much more vibrant and the blacks are blacker, as evidenced by putting both side by side…the Nexus One is astonishingly faster than the Droid. The speed dominance was most evident when we compared the loading of Web pages, but even when you're just scrolling around, launching apps, and moving about the OS, you could tell that there's a beefier brain inside the N1…When comparing the three phones in loading a Web page over Wi-Fi, the Nexus One loaded first, the iPhone 3GS came in a few seconds later, and the Droid came in a little while after that. This was constant throughout many Web page loads, so it's indicative of something going on inside with the hardware…”

27. Google Analytics Adds New Features http://searchengineland.com/google-analytics-adds-new-features-31624 “…Google has just released another set of very cool new features…The annotations feature basically allows users to make comments on graphs regarding events that happened on specific days...I love Snagit and use it daily to present recommendations, redesign mockups and for anything that needs basic design. But the problem with it is that it creates static snapshots. You cannot just change the view from visits to conversion rates and have the comments still applied to the graph…The new annotations feature, by contrast, is highly dynamic… annotations can be created by anyone involved with the production and promotion of a website for everyone else to see…This should help promote teamwork, as everyone involved will be able to understand the whole picture and coordinate activities with other teams’ activities…Google also announced two additional features for Google Analytics. Custom variables can now be segmented through advanced segments and they are also available in custom reports…”

General Technology

28. Smartphones were the tech story of 2009 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/24/AR2009122403323.html “…the biggest story in technology this year could have been the largely successful transition to digital television that wrapped up in June. But 2009's most significant tech developments took place on much smaller screens. Smartphones -- will we someday call them simply "phones," just as many people now assume a "phone" means a mobile device? -- led the headlines throughout 2009…The market for full-fledged, "real" computers was less interesting in 2009. Desktop machines continued to lose market share to laptops, although those portable machines didn't bring any noteworthy innovations of their own in hardware design…this could have been the year of the electronic book. But while Amazon's Kindle 2 and Kindle DX seem to be selling well (Amazon won't release specific numbers), forecasts of a boom in sales this holiday season will probably go unfulfilled after Sony and Barnes and Noble couldn't ship their own wireless e-book readers as scheduled…”

29. 2010’s hottest contenders: 8 products to watch http://venturebeat.com/2009/12/21/2010s-hottest-contenders-8-products-to-watch/ “…which products are going to be making the biggest waves in 2010?...here are my picks for the hottest innovations to watch…Evernote…Eventbrite…Square…Foursquare…iTunes TV…Boxee…Kayak…HTC…e-readers…social gaming…”

30. NVIDIA's next-gen "Fermi" GPU may be delayed until March http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2009/12/rumor-has-nvidia-flagship-dx11-part-delayed-until-march.ars “…Originally slated to launch this past November, then delayed until CES, Fermi is already late. But if NVIDIA really is pushing back the Fermi launch until March 2010…that will give AMD/ATI's "Evergreen" GPU family some three quarters of uncontested DX11 leadership…this development strikes NVIDIA at a particularly awkward time. Earlier this year, the company bowed to the inevitable and halted development of its chipsets for non-Atom x86 platforms. This move was due in part to lack of a DMI bus license, and in part to the fact that the GPU's impending move onto the CPU die means that integrated graphics processors are a losing battle in the long-term if you aren't also in the x86 CPU business. The massive contraction of the company's IGP prospects left NVIDIA with discrete GPUs and high-performance computing as the two pillars on which much of the company's business case rests…”

31. San Jose police test head-mounted cameras for officers http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_14030412 San Jose police, under fire for interactions with the public that have turned violent, on Friday launched a pilot project equipping officers with head-mounted cameras to record contacts with civilians. Officers will activate the cameras, about the size of a Bluetooth device and attached by a headband above the ear, every time they respond or make contact with a person. At the end of the officer's shift, the recording will be downloaded to a central server…”

32. First Look at Blio, Ray Kurzweil's Tablet-Friendly Ebook Format http://gizmodo.com/5435814/first-look-at-blio-ray-kurzweils-tablet%20friendly-ebook-format “…Blio, officially debuting next week at CES, lets you read your ebooks as they're intended to look on paper. Clearly, Kurzweil is signaling his choice of tablets over e-ink, and his first shots are definitely persuasive…E-ink has manifold problems, but maybe the greatest of those is that it's just for text, rendering it essentially useless for any book that requires rich illustration. Blio seems to solve that issue, while at the same time offering text-to-speech capabilities that turn your ebook into an audio book …”

Leisure & Entertainment

33. E-Books Beat Regular Books On Xmas http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/retail/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222100175 Amazon sold more electronic books than physical books on Christmas Day, due to the popularity of the Kindle e-reader, the online retailer reported. It was the first time e-books had led in sales. In addition, the Kindle has become the most gifted item ever on Amazon…e-readers were among the popular consumer electronics items in the holiday season. Forrester Research predicts that 3 million e-readers will be sold this year in the United States. Next year, U.S. sales will reach 10 million units…”

34. Get a USB TV tuner for $29.99 shipped http://news.cnet.com/8301-13845_3-10419549-58.html For several years I've relied on free over-the-air digital signals to bring high-definition TV into my house. And I've paired those signals with Windows Media Center for free DVR goodness. The key bit of hardware in that equation is a TV tuner, and right now Meritline has the deal to beat: a Mygica U6012 Hybrid USB TV tuner for $29.99 shipped. Because this is a "hybrid" tuner, it can pull in the aforementioned over-the-air HD signals (aka ATSC), Clear QAM (digital signals delivered via cable), or analog channels (aka NTSC, also delivered via cable)…”

35. Wow! 2 Million Downloads For 'Tap Tap Revenge 3' Since Going Free Last Week http://www.businessinsider.com/tap-tap-revenge-3-2-million-downloads-since-going-free-last-week-2009-12 “…Another iPhone Christmas winner: Tapulous, whose "Tap Tap Revenge 3" music/rhythm game is the most popular app in the App Store right now…Since dropping its price to free (from 99 cents last week), Tapulous tells us it's had 2 million downloads of "TTR3."…”

36. XBMC Updates to 9.11 Camelot, Brings Awesome New Look, Improved Features http://lifehacker.com/5433795/xbmc-updates-to-911-camelot-brings-awesome-new-look-improved-features XBMC is a killer open-source, cross-platform media center, and today they've released XBMC 9.11, introducing a whole new default look and feel, and it's very friendly on the eyes…XBMC is a free download for Windows, Mac, Linux, Apple TV, and pretty much anywhere else you want to put it…”

37. Project Canvas given green light by BBC Trust http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8426104.stm The BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, has given a provisional go-ahead for a project which could kick-start demand for internet TV. Project Canvas is a partnership between the BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4 and TalkTalk to develop a so-called Internet Protocol Television standard…”

Economy and Technology

38. Tech Mergers and Acquisitions to Grow in 2010 http://www.pcworld.com/article/184563/ “…Tech M&A activity in the United States hit lows of $3.1 billion in the first quarter and $2.3 billion in the second quarter of this year, as measured by value of closed deals. Those numbers were a far cry from the $13.8 billion posted in the second quarter of 2008 and the $44.6 billion in the third quarter of 2008… the industry is starting to rebound with $9.8 billion worth of closed deals in the third quarter of 2009…Billion-dollar deals made a comeback in the third quarter of this year with announcements such as Xerox's $6.5 billion purchase of Affiliated Computer Services and Dell's planned acquisition of Perot Systems for $3.9 billion…Another pending deal that could boost the stats is Oracle's $7.4 billion purchase of Sun, which is being reviewed by European regulators…Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are potentially hot properties in the social networking industry. Creating financial value in Facebook and Twitter will be a challenge, however, and therefore the list of companies willing to shell out big bucks for the sites is limited, Armstrong said. Armstrong believes LinkedIn may have more value to potential acquirers because the site is built around a quite significant type of transaction – the hiring of new employees. "Paying a billion or so dollars for Twitter would just be madness," Armstrong says…”

39. Smart Grid spending boom to top $200B by 2015 http://green.venturebeat.com/2009/12/28/smart-grid-spending-boom-to-top-200b-by-2015/ If there was one breakout business within the cleantech sector this year, it was the Smart Grid. Companies working toward the construction of a cleaner, more efficient electrical grid have multiplied, offering new ways to connect homes and businesses to utilities, to transmit more data, and to use less energy overall. The industry…should represent $200 billion in total spending by 2015…To put this number in context, 2009 saw $10 billion in Smart Grid spending, and the U.S. government’s big grid giveaway this year — in the form of grants from the U.S. Department of Energy — came to only $3.4 billion…While the emphasis today is on smart meters and their makers, like Itron and Landis+Gyr, Pike predicts that most of the business — about 84 percent of it to be exact — will swing toward grid automation services…only about 2 percent of Smart Grid spending is expected to go to advanced transportation systems. This seems about right. Even after the cars hit mainstream showrooms, it will take years for them to capture enough market share to make a difference in grid operations. Without EVs on the road, electric car fueling companies like Coulomb Technologies and Better Place won’t be able to break out either. Even though many utilities have elaborate multi-year plans to roll out smart meters to customers in their coverage areas, the Smart Grid gravy train won’t chug along forever. Spending in the space should peak at $35 billion in 2013, Pike expects, arguing that once government backing for grid expansion shuts off, growth will slow. That said, by then the business should be well established and generating regular, self-supporting revenue…”

40. How do you get a $4 million second round from Google Ventures at age 21 http://venturebeat.com/2009/12/27/how-do-you-get-a-4-million-second-round-from-google-ventures-at-age-21/ “…SCVNGR offers a platform to help businesses, universities and museums build real-world, location-based games. Some are exactly what the name implies — scavenger hunts with clues from your phone. Cities can use them in tourism campaigns to promote places, while museums can use them to point out works of art. Still others, like jewelers, can use them for promotions. One SCVNGR-based game involves burying a $15,000 diamond ring in the ground and giving it away to the finder…It’s proving to be a rather profitable niche for the Boston-based startup. The company turned cash flow positive in the last half of 2009 and will bring in $1 million in revenues this year, all from being an idea that Priebatsch submitted to a business plan competition his freshman year…”

41. The Elves Leave Middle Earth – Sodas Are No Longer Free http://steveblank.com/2009/12/21/the-elves-leave-middle-earth-%E2%80%93-soda%E2%80%99s-are-no-longer-free/ “…a fairly successful 3½ year-old startup…had just crossed cash flow breakeven, had grown past 50 employees…and had recently hired a Chief Financial Officer…the new CFO got up to give her presentation – all kind of expected; Sarbanes Oxley compliance, a new accounting system, beef up IT and security…Then she dropped the other shoe. “Do you know how much our company is spending on free sodas and snacks?” And to answer her own question she presented the spreadsheet totaling it all up…I had lived through this same conversation four times in my career, and each time it ended as an example of unintended consequences. No one on the board or the executive staff was trying to be stupid. But to save $10,000 or so, they unintentionally launched an exodus of their best engineers. This company had grown from the founders, who hired an early team of superstars, many now managing their own teams. All these engineers were still heads-down, working their tails off, just as they had been doing since the first few months of the company. Too busy working, most were oblivious to the changes that success and growth had brought to the company. One day the engineering team was clustered in the snack room looking at the soda machine. The sign said, “Soda now 50 cents.” The uproar began…A few engineers went to the see the CEO. But the damage had been done…The best engineers quietly put the word out that they were available, and in less than month the best and the brightest began to drift away…”

Civilian Aerospace

42. Innovators: X-Prize Effect http://www.bloomberg.com/avp/avp.htm?N=innovators&T=Innovators:%20X-Prize%20Effect&clipSRC=FLASH/innovators/innovators_broadcast-x-prize_effect.flv “…27 minute video report about the X PRIZE and NewSpace developments includes interviews with Peter Diamandis, Dave Masten, John Carmack and others…”

43. xkcd: Gravity Wells http://xkcd.com/681/ xkcd’s explanation of gravity wells for orbital mechanics and space travel

44. White House science office reports United States rocket propulsion work lagging http://blog.al.com/space-news/2009/12/white_house_science_office_rep.html Limited demand for rocket engines could slow advanced U.S. propulsion work…the U.S. space launch industry has seen a decline in launch services over the past decade . . . From 2004-2008 the U.S. shared of commercial launches was about 17 percent, compared with 42 percent for Russia, 21 percent for Europe and 18 percent for the multi-national company SeaLaunch." From 1999-2008, rocket launches in the United States dropped by half - down from 31 to 15…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

45. Workshop Focuses on Use of Manycore and Accelerator-based Computing for Advancing Science http://www.hpcwire.com/features/Workshop-Focuses-on-Use-of-Manycore-and-Accelerator-based-Computing-for-Advancing-Science-79438722.html Online, at conferences and in theory, manycore processors and the use of accelerators such as GPUs and FPGAs are being viewed as the next big revolution in high performance computing (HPC). If they can live up to the potential, these accelerators could someday transform how computational science is performed, providing much more computing power and energy efficiency…they are already helping to drive significant scientific research projects -- not bundled together in large systems, but rather one server at a time. In early December, a group of astronomers, physicists and HPC experts gathered at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory near San Francisco to discuss how GPUs and FPGAs are meeting their unique needs…”

46. Third Workshop on General-Purpose Computation on Graphics Procesing Units http://gpgpu.org/2009/12/20/cfp-gpgpu-3 “…The goal of this workshop is to provide a forum to discuss these general-purpose programming environments and platforms, as well as describe successful applications that have leveraged this approach to acceleration. This year’s workshop is particularly interested in code/compiler optimizations, supercomputing environments, and virtualization techniques that lower the barrier to successfully utilizing these platforms…”



NEW NET Issues List for 15 Dec 2009

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 15 December 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 -- if there's a chain across the steps, ignore it and come on upstairs.

The ‘net

1. Trading ethics for ad revenue: Facebook pushes people to go public; I hear lawsuits riding on the wind http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_pushes_people_to_go_public.php Facebook announced this morning that its 350 million users will be prompted to make their status messages and shared content publicly visible to the world at large and search engines. It's a move we expected but the language used in the announcement is near Orwellian. The company says the move is all about helping users protect their privacy and connect with other people, but the new default option is to change from "old settings" to becoming visible to "everyone." This is not what Facebook users signed up for. It's not about privacy at all, it's about increasing traffic and the visibility of activity on the site…”

2. wikiHow vs. eHow: Is The Wiki Way Better Than Content Farms? http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/wikihow_vs_ehow_is_the_wiki_way_better_than_content_farms.php “…Herrick sold the business he founded, eHow, to Demand Media in 2006. eHow is one of Demand Media's flagship properties, but Herrick became frustrated with the focus on quantity over quality. So he created another business, wikiHow, which he claims produces higher quality articles…Herrick thought that the mediocre content production would hurt eHow's long term brand. Although he now concedes he may've been mistaken on that point, given Demand Media's success over the past couple of years…He thinks that the wiki way will "ultimately result in a higher quality product," compared to eHow…Jack Herrick admits that "wiki content typically starts out as low quality," but claims that…"the more people who edit an article, the more readers it attracted and the higher quality the article became." The problem is, there's no guarantee any given article will attract passionate volunteers to edit it…wikiHow…calls itself a "hybrid organization," meaning a "for-profit company focused on creating a global public good." But it's a company nonetheless. While the content of wikiHow has a Creative Commons license, the company profits directly by it…”

3. Online Couponing To Climb Beyond Downturn http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=118946 “…while the Internet this year accounted for less than 5% of all coupon redemptions, they represented one-fifth of their value…online versions typically have greater face value ($2.80 versus $1.41 for traditional circular coupons)…online leads the way this year in restaurants and retail stores…online still lags in coupon redemptions for supermarkets and drug stores, which continue to rely mainly on Sunday inserts and in-store promotions…online coupons outperformed print ones in categories such as attention, emotional engagement, memory retention and effectiveness. More players are jumping into online coupons as well, from traditional players like Valassis (RedPlum.com) and Valpak to Gannett's ShopLocal.com to a raft of pure-play Internet companies. Borrell expects the wider coupon craze to outlast the downturn as marketers come to understand their impact on shopping behavior…”

4. Skype 4.2 beta for Windows http://www.downloadsquad.com/2009/12/10/skype-4-2-beta-for-windows-adds-call-transfer-chrome-browser-pl/ Skype has released a new beta version of its internet communication client. Skype 4.2 beta for Windows includes…a couple of major new features including the ability to transfer calls. You can transfer calls to any of your Skype contacts for free. You'll have to pay SkypeOut rates if you transfer a call to a mobile phone or landline. There's also a call quality indicator, improved functionality with the Winodws 7[sic] taskbar and system tray, and improvements to the contact importing utility. Now that the Google Chrome web browser supports plugins, Skype has also added a Chrome plugin to its list of browser tools…”

5. WebGL: 3D Web draft standard http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-10413447-264.html “…hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the Web has reached draft standard form. The standard, called WebGL, lets programmers who use the Web's JavaScript language take advantage of the fact that video cards can handle 3D graphics with aplomb…Internet Explorer remains the dominant browser in terms of usage…Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome, and Opera Software's Opera--are working hard…to get ahead by advancing the Web state of the art…All four of those browser makers have endorsed WebGL, and developer test versions of Firefox, Safari, and Chrome have it built in. Microsoft declined to comment for this story beyond reiterating its general support for standards…”

6. MapQuest Does Street Level Imagery http://www.spatiallyadjusted.com/2009/12/14/mapquest-does-street-level-imagery/ “…MapQuest 360 View “just works” without requiring any 3rd party player downloads. Take that Bing Maps…MapQuest works without any Silverlight player to get in your way…except of course it uses a 3rd party player called Flash. I suppose this plays into Adobe’s assertion that their 3rd party player download is included by default in many browsers by default…”

7. Freaked-Out Tweets After Earthquakes Help Scientists http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/twitter-earthquake-alerts/ “…U.S. Geological Survey scientists have developed a web service that combines seismic data about an earthquake with Tweets of surprise and angst…The goal of the project is to improve emergency response by providing a crowdsourced window of the conditions on the ground immediately following a quake…the “Earthquake! Earthquake!” SOS that you tweet, aggregated with thousands of others, provides an excellent indication of the strength and severity of a quake…“We’ve developed a prototype system that integrates Twitter messages with our standard earthquake alerts,” Earle summarized…”

8. ZumoDrive For Cloud Storage And Syncing Application http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/14/zumodrive-lands-1-5-million-for-cloud-storage-and-syncing-application/ “…Zumodrive…creates a drive on your device that is synced to the cloud. But service has a different twist-the service tricks the file system into thinking those cloud-stored files are local, and streams them from the cloud when you open or access them…instead of saving local copies…ZumoDrive released a new version of its system that wirelessly syncs playlists between devices, auto-detects content, and lets users link file folders on their devices to ZumoDrive only once so that changes in that folder will always be linked to ZumoDrive…ZumoDrive faces competition from Dropbox, SugarSync, and Box.net.”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

9. Apple applies for tamper-resistant hardware patent http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/12/10/apple_investigates_tamper_resistant_hardware_ipod_motion_controls.html New patent applications revealed this week show Apple has worked on new methods to discourage users from opening its hardware…Apple's patent application notes that it is in the best interest of an electronics manufacturer to be able to know when a device has been "compromised" and opened…Unfortunately, many users nevertheless open their electronic devices to attempt to repair, reverse engineer or even hack various things within the device," the application reads…”

10. The Year's Most-Hacked Software http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/10/adobe-hackers-microsoft-technology-cio-network-software.html At the beginning of this decade, Microsoft represented a cybercriminal's dream target: universally-used software, brimming with bugs ready to be exploited to hijack users' PCs…hackers are looking toward another vendor whose products are nearly as ubiquitous and whose bounty of vulnerabilities are just being discovered: Adobe…Forbes asked a group of cybersecurity researchers from security firms…to name software programs with vulnerabilities most often used by hackers to victimize users' PCs this year, every one included Adobe Reader…It's a huge focus for attacks now, around 10 times more than Microsoft Office…” [Try out FoxIt Reader?]

11. Court will rule on privacy of text messages sent on employer-owned devices http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-court-texting15-2009dec15,0,4565821.story “…The Supreme Court said today it would rule for the first time on whether employees have a right to privacy when they send text messages on electronic devices supplied by their employers…Last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals broke new ground by ruling that the police officers had a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their text messages. The officers had been led to believe by a supervisor that the devices were also for personal use, the appeals court said…”

12. Passwords hacked for popular Facebook developer RockYou http://digital.venturebeat.com/2009/12/15/rockyou-hacked-32-million-account-passwords/ “…RockYou has suffered a serious hacker attack that has exposed 32 million of its customer usernames and passwords, leading to possible identity theft…Apparently the database included the full list of unencrypted passwords in plain text. The flaw is apparently a big one because the RockYou usernames and passwords are, by default, the same as users’ email names and passwords. Security experts are advising RockYou users to change their emails and passwords. RockYou has some of the most popular apps on Facebook and it ranks third among Facebook developers with 55 million monthly active users…”

13. Hackers Brew Self-Destruct Code to Counter Police Forensics http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/12/decaf-cofee/ Hackers have released an application designed to thwart a Microsoft-packaged forensic toolkit used by law enforcement agencies to examine a suspect’s hard drive during a raid. The hacker tool, dubbed Decaf, is designed to counteract the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor, aka Cofee. The latter is a suite of 150 bundled, off-the-shelf forensic tools that run from a script…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

14. AT&T may penalize iPhone users who use its full potential, metered usage next? http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-iphone10-2009dec10,0,4262001.story “…AT&T's head of consumer services, Ralph de la Vega, said that just 3% of iPhone users generate 40% of the data traffic on AT&T's cellphone network…AT&T…is likely to introduce a pricing system that would penalize heavy data users, encouraging them "to either reduce or modify their usage…By using data-intensive applications such as streaming audio and video services, a small number of iPhone users have been putting a huge burden on AT&T's network, causing lackluster performance in New York City, San Francisco and other major markets. "We've got to get to those customers and have them recognize that they need to change their patterns or have to face other things," De la Vega told investors…”

15. Not Yet the Season for a Nook: classic v 1.0 symptoms http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/technology/personaltech/10pogue.html “…Every one of the Nook’s vaunted distinctions comes fraught with buzz kill footnotes…It takes nearly three seconds to turn a page — three times longer than the Kindle — which is really disruptive if you’re in midsentence…You wait for the Nook to respond, but there’s no progress bar, no hourglass, no indication that the Nook “heard” you. So you tap again — but now you’ve just triggered a second command that you didn’t want. It takes four seconds for the Settings panel to open, 18 seconds for the bookstore to appear (over Wi-Fi), and 8 to 15 seconds to open a book or newspaper for the first time, during which you stare at a message that says “Formatting.” “Over one million titles?” Yes, but well over half of those are junky Google scans of free, obscure, pre-1923 out-of-copyright books, filled with typos. (They’re also available for the Kindle, but Amazon doesn’t even count them)…Of the current 175 New York Times best sellers, 12 of them aren’t available for Kindle; 21 are unavailable for the Nook…74 percent of the time, Amazon offers the lowest-priced e-books (cheaper than B&N or Sony) by an average of 15 percent. What about the Nook’s built-in Wi-Fi? It’s there, but you get no notification when you’re in a hot spot. And if the hot spot requires a login or welcome screen, you can’t get onto it…You can’t lend a book unless its publisher has O.K.’ed this feature…Also unfinished: the auto connection to the wireless hot spots in B&N stores, which will offer special treats like a free-cookie coupon…”

16. Windows Mobile 7 coming “late next year” http://wmpoweruser.com/?p=11213 “…Microsoft UK head of mobility Phil Moore confirmed Windows Mobile 7 will not be showing up very soon. "It has been put back until late next year but it is definitely coming. You’re going to see a lot more on Windows Mobile 7…”

17. Amazon's Kindle winning battle, but Adobe poised to win e-book war http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9142005/Amazon_s_Kindle_winning_battle_but_Adobe_poised_to_win_e_book_war “…the brains directing the challenge against Amazon.com Inc.'s market-leading Kindle is Adobe Systems Inc…while this holiday season may belong to the Kindle, future ones may not…more than 100 publishers, book retailers and libraries are using Adobe's Content Server 4 software to deliver encryptable e-books via the two formats favored by Adobe: PDF and ePub…30 e-book readers rely on Adobe software…PDF and ePub are open industry standards, though the optional encryption and DRM provided by Adobe's Content Server and enforced by the Adobe Reader are not. Adobe may balk at the comparison, but its role in the e-book market is similar to the one Microsoft Corp. plays in the PC market: It's a builder of a semi-open ecosystem of partners to whom it sells publishing tools…Amazon.com is like Apple: successful, but secretive, with a reliance on proprietary formats like the Kindle's native AZW that creates customer hassle and lock-in.…”

18. GM Allows Internet Installation In 7 Car Models http://hothardware.com/News/GM-Allows-Internet-Installation-In-7-Car-Models/ “…owners of several Chevrolet models can transform their vehicle into a rolling Wi-Fi hot spot with Chevrolet Wi-Fi by Autonet Mobile…system allows for full Internet access the car, and up to 150 feet around the car…what this does is connect you to a 3G cell network, so if you head out to the boonies, there's a good chance you'll get little to no connectivity, but in the cities you should be just fine…”

19. First '4G' services go live in Norway, Sweden http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/0,1000000085,39936974,00.htm Offering theoretical maximum speeds of 100Mbps and real-world speeds of 20-80Mbps, the services are about 10 times faster than predecessor HSDPA. As of Tuesday, people in Norway and Sweden will be able to buy a mobile dongle that supports the long-term evolution (LTE) of 3G. (TeliaSonera is calling its network '4G', but the official IEEE definition of that term cites 100Mbps as a minimum speed.) "We are very proud to be the first operator in the world to offer our customers 4G services," TeliaSonera mobility chief Kenneth Karlberg said…At launch, TeliaSonera's LTE services cover around 400,000 people in the centres of Stockholm and Oslo…LTE, which is an all-IP technology, offers high speeds and capacity, and lower latency, than its predecessors. This makes it more suitable than 3G for services such as streaming HD video, videoconferencing and online gaming…Until 1 July 2010, TeliaSonera is applying no data cap, but after that date it will put a 30GB-per-month cap in place. Services will cost 599 Swedish crowns (£52) per month from July…”

20. New Hack Gives You Droid Root Access http://www.pcworld.com/article/184257/new_hack_gives_you_droid_root_access.html The Motorola Droid has been rooted, according to Hack a Day, paving the way for wireless tethering, customized UIs, multitouch support, and other features not specifically endorsed by Verizon on the Android 2.0 platform…Root access also means you could get tethering working before it is released next year--and without having to pay $30 a month. Hack a day notes that the rooting process is relatively simple, involving upgrading the firmware via copying a file to the SD card…”

21. How the iPhone Changed Kayak’s Business http://gigaom.com/2009/12/09/how-the-iphone-changed-kayaks-business/ “…A mobile app needs to be more accessible than a web site, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be simpler and dumber, as travel search service Kayak learned this year. Now, the company is changing its overall business strategy to address user needs that it only became aware of from seeing how they use the Kayak iPhone app. When Kayak went to build its first iPhone app earlier this year…it stripped down its travel search functionality to the bare essentials…currently 5 percent of Kayak’s total search volume takes place on the iPhone…But users complained loud and clear that they wanted the ability to do everything they could on Kayak’s web site on their phones, so O’Donnell went back to the drawing board to amp up the app’s functionality while maintaining a simple, finger-friendly interface…”

22. Cherrypal Launches World's First $99 Laptop http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cherrypal-launches-worlds-first-99-laptop-79315337.html Cherrypal, the company that brought the world's "greenest" desktop computer to market last year, announced today that it has officially launched the first $99 laptop computer: the Cherrypal Africa. With a screen size of just 7 inches, the Africa is a mini netbook computer that enables anyone to browse the Internet at an affordable price…Named after Cherrypal's recent community building initiative in Ghana, the Africa…runs on a 400 MHz processor and features 256 GB RAM, 2 GB flash memory and can run either Linux or Windows CE operating systems…”

Open Source

23. The definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009 http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/12/open_source_hardware_2009_-_the_def.html “…Each year we do a guide to all open source hardware and this year there are over 125 unique projects/kits in 19 categories, up from about 60 in 2008, more than doubling the projects out there! - it's incredible! Many are familiar with Arduino (shipping over 100,000 units, estimated) but there are many other projects just as exciting and filled with amazing communities - we think we've captured nearly all of them in this list. Some of these projects and kits are available from MAKE others from the makers themselves or other hardware manufacturers - but since it's open source hardware you can make any of these yourself…”

24. The speed of technology's 'creative destruction' http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10412986-16.html “…though businesses fail in all areas of the economy, technology ventures, and especially Web start-ups, prove particularly short-lived. It's Joseph Schumpeter's creative destruction...in overdrive. Le Monde suggests three reasons: the speed of innovation/evolution (AOL's walled-garden approach meets Yahoo's open-portal approach), the ability of incumbents to crush nascent competitors (Netscape meets Internet Explorer), and the shortcomings of business models (Skype: only $500 million out of more than 520 million subscribers). These are good points, but perhaps there's another: technology companies are increasingly disposable because they're so darn cheap to create…this process of creative destruction may well be accelerating, and open source is one of the primary fuels…”

25. French army sides with Mozilla in Microsoft email war http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091210/tc_nm/us_mozilla_france A new email client unveiled by Mozilla this week contains code from an unusual source -- the French military, which decided the open source product was more secure than Microsoft's rival Outlook…France's military chose open source software after an internal government debate that began in 2003…The military found Mozilla's open source design permitted France to build security extensions, while Microsoft's secret, proprietary software allowed no tinkering…The French government is beginning to move to other open source software, including Linux instead of Windows and OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office…”

26. Linux Mint: Making Linux easy http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Software/10816.html “…Most users that have used Linux as their desktop operating system for any length of time will tell you that Ubuntu is one of the most user-friendly Linux versions available. The people over at Linux Mint disagree, however, and make it their mission to customise each new release of Ubuntu with a layer of additional user-friendliness. To do this they re-build Ubuntu with a range of popular tools that are excluded by default from Ubuntu as well as including a couple of their own scripts to make managing the system easier…”


27. Google Phone In January, Unlocked, Thinner Than iPhone http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/12/google-phone-in-january-unlocked-thinner-than-iphone/ “…the Googlephone has appeared. Forget the Droid, the G1 and all those other Android wannabees. Google will begin to sell its own reference Android 2.1 handset, designed by Google,made by hardware partner HTC, and called the Nexus One. The phone will be sold online by Google itself. The Nexus One will, crucially, be sold unlocked, giving Google complete control over the hardware and software with no pesky carrier interference. Even the iPhone, which has had almost unprecedented autonomy in its functionality is still constrained by carriers: AT&T’s anti-tethering paranoia is a good example…”

28. Why So Many Are So Wrong on the 'Google Phone' http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2357081,00.asp “…The idea that gets everyone hot under the collar is that Google may sell a phone directly, magically compatible with all U.S. carriers, but somehow without the restrictions and bindings that U.S. carriers place on devices…The U.S. uses two incompatible radio standards on three different spectrum bands. It's possible to build a GSM phone that supports T-Mobile and AT&T, sure. But folks who want Sprint and Verizon will still be out in the cold, because the network-based controls on those carriers can actually lock out unapproved phones. Never mind that while you can build a phone that supports 3G on three carriers, I've never seen a chipset that supports all four…Remember, unlocked smartphones have been available here for years. Nokia has been trying to push them on people for ages. Some of Nokia's phones, such as the N95 and E71, have been excellent. Almost nobody buys them, because they're seen as too expensive without the carrier subsidy…It's clear that American consumers want some sort of messiah to save them from the structure of our wireless industry. But it's not going to be Apple, and it's probably not going to be Google, either…” [Google phone would break industry model http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/14/AR2009121403454.html “…The new phone would be capable of operating on any network, according to a source close to the company…” ]

29. Googlephone v. pigs-in-a-blanket http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/12/15/holiday-party-smackdown-googlephone-v-pigs-in-a-blanket/ “…a friend…was presented with the new phone. “Mostly, I wanted to see the photo of the engagement ring that was on it,” she says…It wasn’t an iPhone, and besides, there were pigs-in-a-blanket and these really good mini-cheeseburgers, and I was hungry, so I didn’t pay too much attention. “…Great hardware is the minimum starting point in the smartphone market these days…As a piece of hardware, the Google phone…had better be on par with an iPhone. If not, as we have seen time and again with would-be competitors, it will be a non-starter. What sells smartphones these days has as much to do with the software running the phone and the applications available as the hardware…”

30. Schmidt disses privacy, Mozilla worker touts Bing over Google http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10413473-56.html “…Google CEO…Schmidt said"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines--including Google--do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."…"That was Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, telling you exactly what he thinks about your privacy," Mozilla Director of Community Development Asa Dotzler said on his personal blog, referring to the CNBC comments. "There is no ambiguity, no 'out of context' here. Watch the video…Dotzler shows how one can easily switch Firefox's search engine from Google to Bing, adding, "Yes, Bing does have a better privacy policy than Google…Schmidt is hardly the first to point out that the idea of privacy on the Internet might be outmoded. "You already have zero privacy. Get over it," former Sun CEO Scott McNealy famously intoned…security expert Bruce Schneier makes a passionate argument…"Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance," Schneier wrote. "We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals…Privacy is a basic human need…” [from SEOBlackhat, “Caveat Quaeror, Let the searcher beware”, from EFF blog, “…personal hypocrisy of Schmidt's dismissive stance…for about a year, Schmidt blacklisted CNET reporters from Google after the tech news company published an article with information about his salary, neighborhood, hobbies, and political donations -- all obtained from Google searches…Schmidt's statement is painfully similar to the tired adage of pro-surveillance advocates that incorrectly presume that privacy's only function is to obscure lawbreaking…”]

31. When Google Runs Your Life http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/1228/technology-google-apps-gmail-bing.html “…As you run to the shower, you hit Google News and check headlines, then Gmail. Your first appointment of the day has been moved to a new location; Google Maps will direct you there. Quickly update your expense report--including the printout of that sales presentation using, say, Google Template…Your boss wants to discuss your group's contributions to some marketing documents? Lean on Google Groups. You're not even out the door yet. You have the rest of the day to search for work-critical information on the Web while you're at the office…Google…wants to own your every waking minute online--at home, while in transit, at your workplace, wherever you happen to be…Google Applications…allows us to instantly share Google calendars, spreadsheets, memos, reports, e-mail, corporate blogs, presentations and more--much, much more--by storing them in Google's enormous data centers. These bundled office-suite services make Google money on subscriptions, but they are also something of a Trojan horse to pull more people onto the Internet so that Google can make even more money from ads…Eric Schmidt, Google's owlish chief, sounds so reasonable. "Our model is just better," he says. "Based on that, we should have 100% share…The three-year-old business of Google Apps is easy to miss…The enterprise is still dwarfed by Microsoft, which makes $19 billion from the office suite. Still, 2 million businesses have signed on to use Google software in its short life, drawn by cost, speed, collaboration and control…Genentech bought both Apps and Office for all employees…Genentech asked Google for features like a calendar that could handle large meetings, sorting out rooms and audiovisual needs, meetings for more than 1,000 employees at a time--700 additions in all. "They knocked them all out in a couple of months," says Todd Pierce, chief information officer at Genentech…Pierce requested 15,000 dummy log-ins to make simultaneous requests to the system. "They gave them to me in a couple of hours," he says. "If you were testing Microsoft or [IBM's] Lotus, you'd need several weeks and several hundred thousand dollars in servers…a multinational can send Gmail between, say, the Berlin office and San Francisco, and the German on one end will end up as English at the other, thanks to Google Translate…”

32. Google and Facebook launch URL shorteners http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/6816481/Google-and-Facebook-launch-URL-shorteners.html Google and Facebook have launched their own URL shorteners, tools that transform a long internet address in to a much shorter string of random characters. Google's new URL shortener, goo.gl, will be available through Google's Toolbar and its Feedburner RSS feed, but is not yet available as a stand-alone service for "broader consumer use". Facebook's shortener, fb. me, is predominantly designed for use on mobile device, and it's unclear whether fb. me will be rolled out across the whole platform. URL shorteners have grown in popularity over the last 18 months, with an increasing number of web users using services such as TinyURL and bit.ly to condense links so that they can be shared more easily on social networking sites such as Twitter, which imposes a limit on the number of characters that can be contained within a single message…”

General Technology

33. WiGig Alliance Finalizes Spec, Tri-Band Wi-Fi in 2010? http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2356980,00.asp “…WiGig speeds are predicted to be higher than originally expected, from 6 Gbits/s to closer to 7 Gbits/s, executives…That's ten times faster than 802.11n. The WiGig protocol uses the 60-GHz spectrum, far away from the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz frequencies used by the current generation of 802.11a/b/g/n devices. By next year, all three frequencies, and technologies, could be implemented in a router or card, allowing extremely high-speed throughput at short distances…"By 12 to 18 months, you could see early products out there," he said…Most developers have talked about 60-GHz technology in the context of the living room, where the short-range, high-speed transmissions could be used to eliminate HDMI cables…consumers can also purchase their own 60-GHz products…Best Buy offers the RocketFish 60-GHz adapter, which transmits 1080p signals up to just over 32 feet…”

34. Seagate laptop hard drive goes super thin http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10414903-1.html At only 9.5mm, the regular 2.5-inch laptop hard drive is already very thin compared with the 25.4mm of the 3.5-inch desktop hard drive. But Seagate…announced Monday the Momentus Thin, a new 2.5-inch-based laptop hard drive that's 25 percent thinner, at only 7mm. This reduction in thickness makes the new hard drive comparable, in physical size, to that of most solid state drives (SSDs) used in Netbooks and ultraportable computers. However, it retains the advantages of regular hard drives, which include much higher capacities and, most importantly, a much lower cost per gigabyte. The Momentus Thin offers the same performance as a regular SATA 2.5-inch hard drive, which is faster than most low-end SSD used in Netbooks. The new drive comes in two capacities (250GB and 160GB); sports 8MB of cache memory, supports a SATA 3Gbps interface, and spins at 5400rpm. The Mometus Thin uses the same type of cable and ports as a regular SATA 2.5-inch hard drive…”

35. Let’s stop talking about “backups” http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/12/14.html “…let’s stop talking about “backups.” Doing a backup is too low a bar. Any experienced system administrator will tell you that they have a great backup plan, the trouble comes when you have to restore…a million other things that can go wrong even when you “have” “backups.” The minimum bar for a reliable service is not that you have done a backup, but that you have done a restore…”

Leisure & Entertainment

36. Amazon's Disc+ On Demand Could Be Big http://www.pcworld.com/article/184185/ Amazon has unveiled a "limited time only" promotion called Disc+ On Demand that has the potential to change the way we consume media. Now when you purchase select DVD or Blu-ray discs, you can download a digital copy of your film for instant viewing via your Mac, PC, Roku, TiVo, and more. This promotion is the perfect way to get a little more out of the Christmas gifts you buy for others; you can watch the movies first…”

37. Fitness video games are reshaping medium http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091211/ap_on_hi_te/us_games_fitness_games “…The nation's largest sports retailer partnered with Nintendo last month to sell the popular Wii console and games. It's another sign of the times: Video games aren't just for shooting aliens anymore. "I actually came here looking for soccer equipment for my sons for Christmas, but this caught my eye," said Celia Fernandez while browsing the sports- and fitness-themed Wii games at The Sports Authority. "We bought a Wii last year but don't use it as much anymore, so I was thinking we might get them a new Wii game to go with their new soccer equipment…”

38. James Cameron’s New 3-D Epic Could Change Film Forever http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/11/ff_avatar_cameron “…In 1977, a 22-year-old truck driver named James Cameron went to see Star Wars with a pal. His friend enjoyed the movie; Cameron walked out of the theater ready to punch something…He had been daydreaming about the kind of world that Lucas had just brought to life. Star Wars was the film he should have made. It got him so angry he bought himself some cheap movie equipment and started trying to figure out how Lucas had done it…He spent days scouring the USC library, reading everything he could about special effects. He became, in his own words, “completely obsessed…Cameron came up empty and temporarily shelved his ambition to trump Lucas…he made it to the director’s chair, overseeing a schlocky horror picture, Piranha II: The Spawning. One night, after a Piranha editing session, Cameron went to sleep with a fever and dreamed that he saw a robot clawing its way toward a cowering woman…The story was so compelling, he was able to persuade a small film financing company to let him direct the picture. When it was released in 1984, The Terminator established Arnold Schwarzenegger as a huge star, and James Cameron, onetime truck driver, suddenly became a top-tier director…in 1995, he wrote an 82-page treatment about a paralyzed soldier’s virtual quest on a faraway planet after Earth becomes a bleak wasteland. The alien world, called Pandora, is populated by the Na’vi, fierce 10-foot-tall blue humanoids with catlike faces and reptilian tails…Cameron thought that this project — titled Avatar — could be his next blockbuster. That is, the one after he finished a little adventure-romance about a ship that hits an iceberg. Titanic, of course, went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time…Cameron would not release another Hollywood film for 12 years…finally, he’s back. On December 18, Avatar arrives in theaters…why did it take one of the most powerful men in Hollywood so long to come out with a single film? In part, the answer is that it’s not easy to out-Lucas George Lucas. Cameron needed to invent a suite of moviemaking technologies, push theaters nationwide to retool, and imagine every detail of an alien world…”

Economy and Technology

39. Panasonic Takes Control of Sanyo for $4.6 Billion http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8405757.stm Panasonic has completed its purchase of a 50.2% majority stake in Japanese electronics rival Sanyo…Analysts said Panasonic was most interested in Sanyo's manufacture of hybrid car batteries, a field in which both firms are strong…While Panasonic runs a joint venture with Toyota to produce hybrid car batteries for Toyota's Prius model, Sanyo makes similar batteries for Honda, Ford and Peugeot Citroen. Sanyo is also a leading producer of solar panels…”

40. Time Warner spins out AOL http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-10412836-265.html “…As AOL prepares to spin out from under the historic but disastrous Time Warner deal, it will find itself up against an old foe: Yahoo. Both Yahoo and AOL are attempting to shed their legacies as old-school Internet companies snowed under by the rise of Google by turning themselves into Internet destinations. Long live the portal…Both companies are attempting to turn themselves into sources of original content that is both compelling to both the masses and the critics, not to mention the advertisers…”

41. Spinvox close to accepting £92 million takeover http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article6954544.ece SPINVOX, the troubled technology firm, is close to accepting a $150m (£92m) takeover offer from an American rival. A sale to Nuance Communications, the speech-recognition group, could be announced before Christmas. It marks the end of the road for Spinvox, which converts mobile-phone text messages into voicemails. Once hailed as one of Britain’s most promising technology start-ups, the company ran short of cash in the summer. It was also rocked by allegations of financial mismanagement and claims that most of its messages were transcribed in overseas call centres…”

42. Swype raises $5.6M for novel text-entry technology http://mobile.venturebeat.com/2009/12/14/swype-raises-5-6m-for-novel-text-entry-technology/ “…Swype lets you enter text more easily into a cell phone text message. You begin typing a message with a virtual keyboard on a touchscreen phone. The device suggests different words for you to choose, and you make your choice by swiping your finger through the right word on the screen. The company says that most users can type about 30 words per minute in normal text messages. With Swype, they can type above 40 words per minute…Swype was founded in 2002 by Cliff Kushner, the co-inventor of T9, the predictive text technology that is used to guess at what you’re trying to write in text messages. T9 is used in billions of phones. Kushner created his new technology…to help the disabled use gadgets more easily…Samsung Omnia II, launched this fall, is the first phone to use Swype’s technology…”

43. Malaysia’s MOL Global buys Friendster http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b79fb0fa-e578-11de-81b4-00144feab49a.html Friendster, the site that pioneered social networking early in the decade, is being acquired by a Malaysian online payments provider, bringing to an end one of the stranger dotcom sagas. While its star has faded in the US and Europe, Friendster is popular in south-east Asia. MOL Global said it hoped to pair its retail partners and payment platform with Friendster’s large regional network to create a content, distribution and commerce network…”

44. AlikeList raises $5M to help local businesses get discovered http://digital.venturebeat.com/2009/12/15/alikelist-raises-5m-to-help-local-businesses-get-discovered/ AlikeList is applying social networking…for listing, referring, and discovering trusted local businesses…when looking for a local business — a restaurant, doctor, or contractor — people trust the recommendations of people they know. Based on this principle, the company created a social network where people save lists of positive recommendations for local businesses and then share them with friends. People can “like” businesses or add them to a “try list.” AlikeList thus accelerates word-of-mouth marketing. Businesses can pay subscription fees and usage fees to the company to target specific users with special offers…”

Civilian Aerospace

45. Bezos' space flight project Blue Origin shows signs of life http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2009/12/bezos_space_travel_project_blue_origin_shows_signs_of_life.html “…Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos’ project to take paying customers into space is providing a glimpse of its plans, amid growing interest from NASA in working with private space contractors…there is still a veil of secrecy surrounding Blue Origin, which has its main operations in the Seattle suburb of Kent…In Van Horn, Texas, site of the Blue Origin launch facility, local officials and others say the company has tightly controlled information about its activities…Blue Origin describes New Shepard as “a vertical take-off, vertical-landing vehicle designed to take a small number of astronauts on a suborbital journey into space.” Suborbital refers to space flights that enter space but do not reach orbit level and eventually return to the ground…New Shepard will take off and accelerate for roughly two and a half minutes “before shutting off its rocket engines and coasting into space.” The crew capsule will then separate from the propulsion module and the two will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and “land for re-use.” The crew capsule will land with the help of a parachute…”

46. First Monarch Butterflies in Space Take Flight http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/091208-space-monarch-butterflies.html The first-ever Monarch butterflies in space have taken flight on the International Space Station…Space station commander Jeff Williams, of NASA, beamed video of the first of several Monarch butterflies fluttered its gossamer wings in weightlessness last week, just after the insect emerged from its cocoon and began floating around their enclosure…while butterfly larvae have been sent to space before, the colorful insects on the space station now are the first to successfully go through all phases of their development — from larva to pupa to adult butterfly — in orbit. More than 170,000 students between kindergarten and 12th grade and 2,800 teachers are following the experiment on Earth, where they are comparing the space butterflies' lifecycle with that of similar insects on the ground…”

47. SpaceShipTwo and the modern imagination http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1529/1 With the rollout of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo at Mojave Air and Space Port in California last week, we are moving closer than ever to a new kind of space tourism business. The biggest question now is how sustainable the business will be and how much will it change the way we look at out world. A hundred years ago tourism was almost exclusively the domain of the well off. In the post-World War II era it became a mass activity that is today one of the world’s largest industries. Mass tourism changed the way people saw the world. Suddenly there were millions of people all over the world who had at least some small exposure to other lands and other cultures…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

48. Fastra desktop supercomputer packs 13 NVIDIA chipsets http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/12/14/fastra.ii.hits.12tflops.with.gtx.295.275.cards/ The University of Antwerp has revealed what it believes is one of the fastest computers ever to fit into a regular tower chassis. Called just the Fastra II, its main processor is just a 2.66GHz Core i7…It combines six dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 cards with a single GeForce GTX 275 to provide a total of 13 GPUs in a single desktop. Since the NVIDIA cards can accelerate CUDA and other general-purpose computing tasks, the sheer parallelism lets the PC handle up to 12 teraflops of general work as well as 3D graphics…It should be used primarily for tomography, or creating 3D images of bones and organs from X-ray images, which in turn can lead to recreating missing parts in patients…the system still runs on primarily off-the-shelf components elsewhere and uses an ASUS P6T7 WS mainboard to accommodate all seven video cards; one 1,500W power supply and three 450W supplies keep the extreme power demands in check. A 1TB Samsung hard drive, 12GB of DDR3 memory, and the Lian-Li case are all stock. The only modifications are a custom cage to suspend the GeForce boards and a custom kernel for the CentOS Linux build that runs the design…”

49. NVIDIA, National Taiwan University Aim to Unlock Secrets of Universe http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/NVIDIA-National-Taiwan-University-Aim-to-Unlock-Secrets-of-Universe-79230237.html A research team at National Taiwan University (NTU) is achieving breakthrough results in learning about the early evolution of the universe by harnessing NVIDIA Tesla parallel processors -- which provide the computational horsepower of an IBM BlueGene/L supercomputer, at just 1 percent the cost and 10 percent the power consumption. The team…is studying the interactions of sub-atomic particles, to learn about the origins of the universe…NTU is carrying out this work on the first GPU-based supercomputer in Taiwan, the 128-GPU cluster at CQSE, which uses 16 NVIDIA Tesla S1070 1U systems and 64 Tesla C1060 processors…”