NEW NET Issues List for 26 Jan 2010

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 26 January 2010, 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. Geeks and unconferences working to solve Haiti quake info and communication needs http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=9605365 “…It really is amazing the change in the way crisis response can be done now," said Noel Dickover, a Washington, D.C.-based organizer of the CrisisCamp tech volunteer movement…Tim Schwartz, a 28-year-old artist and programmer in San Diego, feared that with an array of social-networking sites, crucial information about Haitian quake victims would "go everywhere on the Internet and it would be very hard to actually find people — and getSchwartz quickly e-mailed "all the developers I'd ever worked with." In a few hours, he and 10 others had built http://www.haitianquake.com, an online lost-and-found to help Haitians in and out of the country locate missing relatives. The database, which anyone can update, was online less than 24 hours after the quake struck, with more than 6,000 entries because Schwartz and his colleagues wrote an "scraper" that gathered data from a Red Cross site…two days later, Google had a similar tool running, PersonFinder, that the State Department promoted on its own Web site and Twitter…Christopher Csikszentmihalyi, director of the Center for Future Civic Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, advocated online for consolidating all such tools into the Google version so the information wouldn't be stuck in competing projects…Schwartz agreed and folded his database into PersonFinder, which he thinks will become "THE application for missing people for this disaster and all disasters in the future."…Another volunteer project forged in the quake's aftermath is a cell phone text-messaging system that has helped the Red Cross and other relief groups dispatch rescuers, food and water…In another collaborative effort, the OpenStreetMap "crisis mapping" project, volunteers layer up-to-the-minute data (such as the location of new field hospitals and downed bridges) onto post-quake satellite imagery that companies including GeoEye and DigitalGlobe have made freely available. The digital cartography — informed by everything from Twitter feeds to eyewitness reports — has helped aid workers speed food, water and medicine to where it's needed most. One Colombian rescue team leader uploaded the maps to his crew's portable GPS units before the team arrived on the scene last week…CrisisCamp drew some 400 people in six cities including Washington, London and Mountain View, Calif., over the weekend to meet-ups where they devised, built and helped refine tools. Among them: a basic Creole-English dictionary for the iPhone that was delivered to Apple on Monday night for its approval….Johnson also is the coordinator for "We Have, We Need," a project that was hatched in the CrisisCamp session and is about to be launched. It seeks to pair private-sector offers with needs identified by aid workers…More CrisisCamps are planned this weekend in Northern California, Miami, Atlanta, Washington, Atlanta, Brooklyn, N.Y., Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles…”

2. UK government sets its data free http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/01/21/uk-government-sets-its-data-free-for-the-peoples-apps/ The UK government has decided to make the non-personal data it holds available for web developers to create a new wave of public applications. It’s a bold move which will open up more data than even the US government holds at Data.gov…The UK site includes 22 military data sets…Other data sets are for traffic accidents, air passengers stats, agriculture, school results…PlanningAlerts, a free service that emails you if someone has put in a planning application to build near your house…FillThatHole lets people report potholes and other road hazards across the UK…The UK government, with quiet prodding by former innovation minister Tom Watson among others, has been edging towards this move by holding such events as Show Us a Better Way, a competition with cash prizes for government data mashups…”

3. Call Me via VoIP on Facebook http://gigaom.com/2010/01/22/call-me-via-voip-on-facebook/ 8×8 Inc., a Voice over Internet Protocol service provider, has released a new point-and-click VoIP calling application dubbed 8×8 Connect. It allows Facebook users to add a “Call Me” button to their home page, thereby enabling other users to call them without revealing their actual phone number…”

4. Factery Labs Real-Time Search http://searchengineland.com/factery-labs-new-fact-engine-just-what-real-time-search-needs-34309 Not a month goes by without someone launching a new real-time search engine; but after trying out most of them, there are few I use on a regular basis. Factery Labs is about to change that with today’s launch of its real-time fact engine at 1:00 pm ET. Where other real-time search engines focus on hot tweets, popular links, and the like, Factery Labs skips all that and surfaces the facts behind the day’s trending news…”

5. TweetDeck Targets a Growing Audience: The Unemployed http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/tweetdeck_targets_a_growing_audience_the_unemploye.php With new jobless claims rising unexpectedly, desperate job seekers can use any tool they can get…they've created JobDeck, a specially branded version of TweetDeck that will happily "ding" at you every time a new job listing is posted on Twitter. If you've never used TweetDeck before, it's a desktop application that can combine Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn into one central, off-Web location…Clickz.com noted that Twitter was becoming a cheap alternative for businesses to recruit new talent…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. Mac Security: What You Can Ignore http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/186914/mac_security_what_you_can_ignore.html “…there are absolutely no technical barriers preventing worms or viruses from infecting the Mac platform…Apple's own security updates will reveal a long list of vulnerabilities that a knowledgeable attacker could easily exploit in a Mac virus or worm. Some of these flaws have been public for weeks or months before Apple released fixes for them…despite the opportunities, we have yet to see any widespread malware for Macs; your risk of infection is essentially zero. The extremely low incidence of Mac-specific malware is a source of continual debate in the security community. It might be due to Apple's still relatively low market share. It might be because malware authors have years of experience exploiting PCs. I think it's probably a combination of factors… it's frustrating for Mac security vendors, who see the potential for widespread attacks, but never the execution…until those attacks appear, there's little reason for the average Apple user to invest in antivirus software…”

7. Windows 7 Security: What You Need to Know, Part Three http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/187502/windows_7_security_what_you_need_to_know_part_three.html Malicious Trojans continue to plague end-users' desktops, yet most machines aren't exploited due to missing patches (although this is the second biggest cause), unpatched zero days (almost never a factor), drive-by downloads, or misconfigurations. Nope, most systems are infected because users are duped into intentionally installing programs that Web sites say they need. These socially engineered Trojans come in the guise of anti-virus scanners, needed codecs for a media player, fake patches, and just about any other bait the bad guys can concoct to lure end-users into installing their Trojan file…”

8. Computer customers keep repair shops buzzing http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-ia-computerrepairs,0,3158602.story “…Local experts say more computer owners are opting to extend the life of their old electronics rather than buying new equipment, putting repair work in high demand. Where a computer might have been scrapped a few years ago when troubles hit, owners are now seeking out more cost-effective fixes…”

9. 'Trivial' Passwords Enabled Huge Hack http://www.pcworld.com/article/187538/trivial_passwords_enabled_huge_hack.html The hackers who stole and published 33 million passwords from the Rockyou.com website in December needn't have bothered, a security company has revealed. Many of them were so trivial they could have been guessed anyway. According to a new analysis of the hacked passwords, the most popular password used on the Rockyou site was '123456'. Ridiculously, the second most popular password was '12345'…”

10. Computer virus shuts down Exeter University system http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/news/hacker-shuts-university/article-1729355-detail/article.html The entire computer network at Exeter University had to be closed down after a it was hit by a virus attack. Hundreds of computers were taken off-line and lecturers were forced to give up their hi-tech teaching and return to using chalk and blackboards. It meant that there was no access to email, internet and internet-based systems, and even the telephone network was affected…”

11. Porn Scams Target Smartphones http://www.pcworld.com/article/187051/porn_scams_target_smartphones.html Cybercriminals have gone back to their old-school tricks to target innocent smartphone users. In the days of dial-up Internet access Trojan Dialers were added to an infected computer calling out to premium numbers through dial-up modems. The unsuspecting user of the infected machine then received huge telephone bills. The practice died out with the advent of broadband modems, but security analysts now warn that smartphone users are being targeted in remarkably similar fashion…”

12. Top 10 technologies to beat tyranny http://www.crn.com.au/News/165470,top-10-technologies-to-beat-tyranny.aspx “…how to stay safe online if your future depends on it. Honourable Mention: Hacking …there are times in the battle for freedom when you may need to access a system under less than, well, conventional means. At those times, you may need to use some tools to bypass security protections and authentication components…Honourable mention: Complicit companies…Seeing as how Google inspired our top 10 tools for tyranny list, I think it is only fair that we include companies which don't kowtow to oppressive regimes on our list…10. OpenDNS…Anything that gets your data out of the hands of the ISP is a good thing on the privacy front, especially if the ISP in question is run by the government and subject to constant monitoring…9. Clean Addresses…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

13. Nokia Strikes Back at Google With Free GPS App http://www.pcworld.com/article/187341/nokia_strikes_back_at_google_with_free_gps_app.html Android phones aren't the only handsets that have access to a free, full-featured GPS application. Nokia on Thursday announced that it will make the premium version of Ovi Maps, which includes turn-by-turn directions and traffic alerts, available on a number of its devices free of charge…Nokia's move seems clearly designed to counter Google, which made its free Google Maps Navigation app available in the 2.0 version of the Android operating system last year…”

14. Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus reviews and Verizon pricing http://blogs.zdnet.com/cell-phones/?p=2939 “…Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus for Verizon Wireless…check out the amazing coverage over at PreCentral.net where they have covered every detail on the Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus…WiFi on the Pixi Plus…devices will be available next week, 25 January, with the Pre Plus selling for $149.99 after $100 rebate and 2-year contract and the Pixi Plus selling for $99 after $100 rebate and 2-year contract. If you want to use the new Mobile Hotspot WiFi tethering service, it will cost you an additional $40 per month…I will stick with my $60 MiFi and use WiFi on my smartphones for wireless data needs…”

15. Make a $2 Adjustable Smartphone Car Mount in 10 minutes http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-2-Adjustable-Smartphone-Car-Mount-in-10-mi/ “…ever wander the aisles at store after store looking for just the right thing to hold your phone/GPS/mobile device while you're driving?...Giant bean bag sliding around the top of the dashboard seems like a silly waste of space. Some "cradles" are ridiculously larger than the device you're trying to hold. Suction cups pop off at the most inopportune times. And who wants to put glue or holes in you car?...odd "spaces" in the dash…make a perfect place to attach a rock solid, quick and dirty $2 mount that'll take less than 10 minutes to make from stuff you likely already have around the house. This mount is adjustable and easily completely moveable/removable without harming your car in any way. It can also be adapted to any hold any mobile device that weighs about one pound or less…”

Open Source

16. Firefox 3.6 released http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/01/hands-on-firefox-36.ars “…Firefox 3.6…most visible new features in this release for regular end users is the Personas system…allows users to apply a custom visual style to the browser's user interface elements, including the toolbars, menus, tabs, and status bar. It's intended to provide a simple alternative to Firefox's existing theming engine…The PluginCheck system is a new feature that Mozilla has introduced to address some of the problems caused by faulty browser plug-ins. It gives the browser the ability to make the user aware when a vulnerable plug-in is detected…”

17. NSF grant to launch world's first open-source genetic parts production facility http://www.genengnews.com/news/bnitem.aspx?name=73430839 “…bioengineers from the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University are ramping up efforts to characterize the thousands of control elements critical to the engineering of microbes so that eventually, researchers can mix and match these "DNA parts" in synthetic organisms to produce new drugs, fuels or chemicals… a single designer microbe can take years to create and cost tens of millions of dollars, since each control element a promoter or transcription factor has to be identified, characterized and tweaked in order to be reused…The new effort, called the BIOFAB: International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology (BIOFAB), aims to produce thousands of free, standardized DNA parts to shorten the development time and lower the cost of synthetic biology for academic or biotech laboratories. The BIOFAB has received two years of funding from the NSF and matching support from founding partners Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the BioBricks Foundation (BBF), a non-profit organization that supports and promotes the use of synthetic biology…”

18. “Open Source” Electric Vehicle Platform http://nexus404.com/Blog/2010/01/20/trexa-ev-reveals-open-source-electric-vehicle-platform-trexa-ev-provides-an-electric-vehicle-core-for-third-party-body-designs/ “…TREXA has revealed a new modular electric vehicle platform upon which third-party developers can design their own vehicles. The TREXA EV Platform contains a battery, motor and drivetrain that allows designers to create their own auto body for this fully functional electric vehicle…”

19. Open Source Software for Microfinance http://www.microfinancefocus.com/news/2010/01/24/mifos-open-source-software-for-microfinance-in-new-avatar/ “…MIFOS, an open source software platform for microfinance…marks a significant step forward in extending an open platform that gives the entire microfinance industry cost-effective access to technology…”


20. Bing to Replace Google as the iPhone's Default Search Engine? http://www.pcworld.com/article/187261/bing_to_become_the_iphones_default_search_engine.html Apple reportedly is in talks with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine on the iPhone's Safari Web browser, according to Business Week. The idea may sound surprising, but it shows how deep the ongoing battle between Google and Apple…has become…The iPhone doesn't just use Google as the default search engine for its browser, but also comes with default applications for Google services such as YouTube and Google Maps. Microsoft would be hard pressed to come up with a competitor to YouTube since it recently shut down its Soapbox video site, but Maps is another matter. Last month, Microsoft launched improvements to Bing Maps including Streetside, which is similar to Google Street View, as well as extra layers of data like weather, Wikipedia entries and "applications" for traffic and local information…Does this mean Silverlight is coming to the iPhone?...that may be the final nail in the coffin for Adobe Flash on the iPhone…Since Apple's disdain for Flash is well known, would Jobs and co. be willing to go that far with Microsoft?..."Apple and Google know the other is their primary enemy...Microsoft is now a pawn in that battle." Microsoft is being used as a pawn?…”

21. Micello Launches "Google Maps for the Indoors" http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/micello_launches_google_maps_for_the_indoors.php Micello…is a mobile mapping solution that is basically "Google Maps for the indoors." Where traditional mapping services show everything in the world outside, Micello's goal is to map the world's inside spaces - places like shopping malls, convention centers, retail stores, airports, college campuses, and more…the company is launching its service by way of a mobile application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The free Micello application now delivers over 250 maps of shopping malls across the U.S…the majority of those maps are within the San Francisco Bay area, but the company promised at DEMO that they would have over 5000 places mapped across the country by the end of 2010…”

22. Extensions, bookmark sync and more for Google Chrome http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/extensions-bookmark-sync-and-more-for.html Today we're excited to introduce a new stable release of Google Chrome for Windows, which includes two of the browser's most frequently requested features: extensions and bookmark sync. Extensions let you add new features and functions to your browser…you can browse over 1,500 in our extensions gallery and install them on the stable version of Google Chrome…”

23. 44% of Google News Users Don't Click to Full Stories http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2010/01/19/report-44-google-news-users-don039t-click-full-stories “…Forty-four percent of visitors to Google News are there simply to scan the headlines, and do not click through to original stories on partner publishers' websites…The firm surveyed 2,787 U.S. news consumers, including "power news users" who consult news sources at least twice a day. It found that 57% of news users go to digital sources for "news right now," up from 33% a few years ago. They are likelier to visit a news aggregation site (31%) than a newspaper site (8%) or other site (18%)…”

24. Google Voice Extension For Chrome Adds Click To Call And Other Killer Features http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/23/google-voice-extensions-chrome-chromium/ “…the official Chrome Google Voice extension, which was updated on Friday…The extension adds click to call functionality to web pages. So if there is a phone number on a web page, like a Yelp page or your online address book, it will now have a hyperlink. Click it and Google will throw you a pop up window asking which phone you want to use (home, mobile, work, etc.). It then calls that phone, and puts you through to the number…The extension also adds a small box in the upper right of the browser. You can type in a name or phone number and call or sms it from the browser, and read recent text messages and transcribed voicemails (Google automatically transcribes voicemails, usually horribly, but it’s fun)…”

25. Google releases new ‘Google Voice for iPhone and Pre / WebOS’ http://news.cnet.com/8301-19882_3-10440921-250.html Google Voice just got a little better on the iPhone, thanks a new Web site for iPhone users…Apple last year rejected Google's iPhone-native Google Voice app…HTML 5…lets Web developers bring more application-like functionality to Web apps. The new site is proof of that…The new Web service works on iPhones running the 3.0 operating system. It also works on on Palm's WebOS for user with the Palm Pre. The new mobile-specific Web site for Google Voice is…fast and it can use local storage, so it doesn't have to load in your entire Google Voice inbox every time…There's a dialer and a directory…Through some telco trickery, Google Voice dials out from your phone, and displays your Voice account's phone number as the caller ID the phone of the person you're calling…” [ http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/26/google-voice-iphones-browser/ ]

26. Google Toolbar Tracks Browsing Even After Users Choose "Disable" http://www.benedelman.org/news/012610-1.html “…even when users specifically instruct that the Google Toolbar be “disable[d]”, and even when the Google Toolbar seems to be disabled (e.g., because it disappears from view), Google Toolbar continues tracking users’ browsing… Enhanced Features are easily enabled with a single click…But disabling Enhanced Features seems to require uninstalling Google Toolbar altogether…I'm reminded of The Eagles' Hotel California: "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."…a user who chooses the X button or Manage Add-Ons, will naturally believe the Google Toolbar is disabled, when in fact it continues transmissions unabated…Google Toolbar also added a “Google” button to my Taskbar, immediately adjacent to the Start button…without any disclosure whatsoever in the installation sequence…When a user disables Google Toolbar, all Enhanced Features transmissions need to stop, immediately and without exception…once Google puts its code on a user’s computer, there’s nothing to stop Google from tracking users even after users specifically decline. I’ve run Google Toolbar for nearly a decade, but this week I uninstalled Google Toolbar from all my PCs. I encourage others to do the same…” -- Update: http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222500216 “…Google has acknowledged that its Toolbar wasn't working as it should have been and has issued fix. "To be clear, this is only an issue until a user restarts the browser, and it only affects the currently open tabs for a small number of users," said a Google spokesperson in an e-mailed statement. "Specifically it affects those using Google Toolbar versions 6.3.911.1819 through 6.4.1311.42 in Internet Explorer, with enhanced features enabled, who chose to disable Toolbar without uninstalling it. Once the user restarts the browser, the issue is no longer present. A fix that doesn't require a browser restart is now available on www.google.com/toolbar and in an automatic update to Google Toolbar that we are starting tomorrow…”

27. Google launches answer highlighting: Google Squared without squares http://venturebeat.com/2010/01/22/google-squared-answer-highlighting/ Google said today that it’s going to be using technology from Google Squared…to improve its regular search results. The idea is to help users find the right answers when they’re asking factual questions. That’s a big part of why people search for stuff on the web, and I think most of us have had the experience of clicking on page after page trying to find that one piece of information…”

28. Google Founders to Sell 10 Million of Their Google Shares http://mashable.com/2010/01/22/google-founders-sell-shares/ Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two billionaire co-founders of Google, will each sell 5 million of their Google shares over the next five years…the two men own approximately 57.7 million shares of Google – about 18% of Google’s market value and 59% of the voting power. After the five year plan is complete, they will own around 47.7 million shares, dropping their interest in Google to around 15% of its capital stock and 48% of its voting power. This equates to a transaction of $2.25 billion [each], based on the current value of a share of Google, $550.01…this technically means that the two co-founders are surrendering their absolute voting control of the company…Why would the founders sell their shares of Google, especially as the stock has risen dramatically in recent years? The answer is diversification, one of the most prudent and practical moves in investing. It’s the same thing that Bill Gates has done for years in order to diversify his profile and give him the flexibility to invest in other endeavors, such as his foundation. In fact, the founders have done something similar before, back in 2004…”

General Technology

29. BumpTop launches for Mac http://venturebeat.com/2010/01/20/bumptop-for-mac/ “…BumpTop…making your desktop behave more like your desk…BumpTop is launching a Mac version today. There’s been a Windows version since April, and the company released a multi-touch version for Windows 7 in October that’s getting a lot of buzz…All the elements of your desk’s workflow are there with BumpTop. You can create and organize sticky notes just like regular Post-its; make piles out of your things instead of putting them in folders, and flip through them easily just by scrolling your mouse…The environment is totally 3D, so you’ve even got walls to pin things to if you’re so inclined. There’s no restriction to how you organize—BumpTop lets you drag and drop to your heart’s content, piling and re-piling, organizing and reorganizing…For the not-so-neat among us, finding your files is also a whole lot easier with BumpTop…”

30. Finding the keys to free old files http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2010/01/post_54.html About 20 years ago, I wrote a letter to a college friend of mine…The other day, I wanted to read the letter, which has been transferred from one computer to another over the last 20 years…I clicked on the document’s Microsoft Word icon, only to receive a rather unwelcome message: "Word cannot open this document…This is a cautionary tale — a warning about what may become of the letters, e-mails, photographs, financial data, address books and other information that’s important to you…Though we often consider this information ours — after all, what’s more personal than your letters and snapshots — it is often stored in proprietary file formats and complex databases…These problems arise from any number of circumstances: Software makers may update file formats, but your older files…may not be 100 percent compatible with the newer version…You may stop using a program…By the time you try to open them, the software maker may be out of business. You may start using a web-based service…the Data Liberation Front is actually a group of Google software engineers working with other Google teams, like those for Google Docs and Gmail, "to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products…the Data Liberation Front engineers aim to "liberate" Google products…”

31. It’s All About the Cores http://blogs.amd.com/work/2010/01/21/it%E2%80%99s-all-about-the-cores/ “…the age of clock speed is behind us; it’s all about cores for the next few years until “Fusion-based” computing hits the server market…let’s dissect the difference between threads and cores. Cores are physical blocks of logic in the processor that can run applications…Threads on the other hand aren’t physical – they are software-generated tasks that can execute independently…There are two major strategies to getting more efficiency out of your server. The first is the simple, straightforward way – feed that application more cores…some see another answer and wonder why AMD has chosen not to go down that path. Symmetric Multithreading (SMT) is a method for squeezing two threads into one core. SMT was first researched by IBM in 1968 and introduced to x86 processors by Intel in 2002 under the name of HyperThreading…The challenge with SMT is that as a technology, it forces two threads to share a single physical core…What if 8 threads on 4 cores provided worse throughput than 4 threads on 4 cores?...A consultant who deals with Cognos, a leading BI software by IBM, recommend disabling HyperThreading because it “frequently degrades performance and proves unstable.” Microsoft recommends turning off HyperThreading when running PeopleSoft applications because “our lab testing has shown little or no improvement.”…Advanced Clustering found when running High Performance Linpack (HPL) that “Using HT on the other hand causes a ~10% drop in performance compared to HT not being used.”…”

32. MIT creates picture-driven programming for the masses http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/012110-sikuli-scripting-language.html Computer users with rudimentary skills will be able to program via screen shots rather than lines of code with a new graphical scripting language called Sikuli that was devised at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology…One example given by the authors of a paper about Sikuli is a script that notifies a person when his bus is rounding the corner so he can leave in time to catch it…Sikuli -- which means God's eye in the language of the Huichol Indians in Mexico -- also has a search function…Specifying the visual search is actually faster than specifying a search based on keywords, say the researchers…”

33. Analogic Solutions to Digital Problems, older people and mobile communication http://ladygeek.org.uk/archives/994 “…Samsung commissioned a research project…aimed at enabling older users to use and enjoy mobile technology…Existing “solutions”, often known as Silver Phones, are stigmatising and disrespectful. They dumb down information instead of enabling the users to access them…After purchasing or receiving the phone, when opening the box, digitally savvy younger users approach immediately the phone and learn how to use it by trial and error; older people instead look for help inside the box…older people are not alone, 85% of all users report frustration in setting up a new phone…We created three solutions, three analogical answer to digital problems. People are waiting six months or more to meet their daughters, sons or nieces, the “translators” that will explain them the phone or the digital camera’s features. We created three objects that act as interpreters between technology and the users…”

34. Anybots Telepresence Robots Go into Mass Production http://singularityhub.com/2010/01/25/anybots-telepresence-robots-go-into-mass-production/ Can’t make that business meeting in another city? Send your robot instead. We’ve been keeping track of Anybots telepresence robots since they sent one of their QA bots to visit a Singularity University planning meeting. These armless human-sized bots on wheels let you remotely view and interact with people as well as exchange files. You can even let a crowd view the video from a QA by streaming it live through Justin TV. It’s the 21st century way to stay in contact or make a PR push without leaving the office…We're about to see a whole bunch more telepresence robots come to life thanks to Anybots. The QA is far from the first telepresence robot to hit the market. The Rovio is a fairly cheap retail bot that lets you use telepresence to monitor your home. Do-it-yourself enthusiasts can build a Sparky Jr. TP robot and customize it to fit their personality. Anybots and the QA, however, offer a higher quality experience with an avatar that’s much more human in shape and mobility. The upright bot can look you almost in the eyes, which is a subtle but important means to get viewers to accept the bot (and its controller) in conversation. That could mean a lot to the corporate types as telepresence is starting to replace some forms of business travel…”

Leisure & Entertainment

35. The Science Behind Project Natal for Xbox 360 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=microsoft-project-natal “…Project Natal, which gives Xbox 360 players the ability to manipulate on-screen characters via natural body movements. The machine-learning technology will enable players to do things such as kick a digital soccer ball or swat a handball in their living rooms simply by mimicking the motion . "Instead of a controller, your body becomes the game input…Microsoft introduced its ambitious Xbox upgrade in June 2009 and expects to ship the technology in time for the year-end 2010 holiday season. Natal will consist of a depth sensor that uses infrared signals to create a digital 3-D model of a player's body as it moves, a video camera that can pick up fine details such as facial expressions, and a microphone that can identify and locate individual voices…Microsoft decided to teach its gaming technology to recognize gestures in real time just like a human does: by extrapolating from experience…Natal-enhanced Xboxes will do motion capture on the fly, without the need for the mirror-studded spandex suit of conventional motion-capture approaches. Training Natal for this task required Microsoft to amass a large amount of biometric data. The firm sent observers to homes around the globe, where they videotaped basic motions such as turning a steering wheel or catching a ball…Microsoft researchers later laboriously selected key frames within this footage and marked each joint on each person's body…also went into a Hollywood motion-capture studio to gather data on more acrobatic movements…”

36. Will Nintendo really be threatened by Microsoft, Sony motion controllers? http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10437898-1.html “…2010…in video games…might be the Battle of Motion Controllers. With Microsoft's Project Natal promised to be available by holiday 2010 and Sony's motion controller now pushed to a fall 2010 launch as well, the Nintendo Wii looks like it will have tons of company in the world of newfangled control schemes. How will Nintendo survive, with a system that's technically the most archaic with the exception of its innovative controller?...The funny thing lately is, with the exception of the Wii Sports series and Nintendo's Wii Balance Board, motion controls haven't been first and foremost in Nintendo's focus. New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which has been selling millions of copies over the winter, only uses the basic wand part of the controller, abandoning the nunchuck and only using motion for very simple shaking moves…finding games that support the Wii Motion Plus add-on, which creates more accurate one-to-one mapping of moves, is a daunting task indeed. It would be great to see Nintendo announce a Wii 2, but the greater challenge seems to face Sony and Microsoft. Announcing motion control is one thing, but making great games using the technology is the real challenge. Sony has already tried and failed with its Sixaxis controller, learning the hard way that old-fashioned controls were just more reliable and comfortable…”

37. Tetris reaches 100M units sold on mobile phones http://games.venturebeat.com/2010/01/20/tetris-reaches-100m-units-sold-on-mobile-phones/ “…Tetris has sold more than 100 million units on mobile phones since 2005…The games have sold for anywhere from $4.99 to $9.99 on everything from simple feature phones to the iPhone. That means it has generated anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion in retail revenues for Electronic Arts…Pajitnov said that he was surprised at the staying power of Tetris, a game that he created as a 29-year-old mathematician in 1984 while working at the then-Soviet-run Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science in Moscow…It is easily the No. 1 mobile game of all time. “The mobile phone number is bigger than all of the other platforms combined…Rogers said he is still working on a multiplayer version of Tetris and he hopes that competitive Tetris will become an Olympic sport one day…”

38. Amazon Promotion Tempts Book Lovers With Free Kindles http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/20/amazon-kindle-free/ “…Amazon Kindle? The online retailer is apparently making a very tempting proposition to some of its customers: go ahead and order a Kindle, and if you don’t like it, you’ll get your money back — and get to keep the device. In other words, if you’re not satisfied you’ll get a free Kindle (and an Amazon-branded cover)…the promotion points out that the user who saw it is an “unusually active book customer” and the deal is non-transferable. It’s also obviously designed to entice these users to make impulse buys, as the promotion ends in only five days…They’ve almost certainly done market research showing that bibliophiles love the device, and how likely these users are to request a refund.”

39. YouTube Redesigned with Films, User Uploads in Mind http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/01/youtube-redesigned-with-feature-films-user-uploads-in-mind/ Google is quietly rolling out a new minimalist design for its YouTube video player pages, which it claims will be more appropriate for a wide range of content from the user-uploaded content that has always been a staple to feature-length films…You can switch your version of YouTube to the new design now, by clicking a special link (a link at the upper right lets you switch back). All YouTube users will notice the changes at some point over the next few weeks…The stealth strategy behind YouTube’s redesign is to make the site more appropriate for feature-length films…”

40. How Bands You've Never Heard Of Are Making Tons Of Money On iTunes http://www.businessinsider.com/bands-youve-never-heard-of-are-making-huge-piles-of-money-on-itunes-2010-1 A band you've never heard of -- AC/DC cover band AC/db -- made over $32,000 from music sales in November. How is that possible? Under the old business model of music sales on physical media, it wouldn't be…AC/db, on the other hand, just had to do around $45,000 in sales at the iTunes store. After Apple took its 30 cents on the dollar, that left $32,000, of which the band's distributor -- TuneCore -- took nothing at all. TuneCore is one of a few digital distributors that have turned the music business model on its head, treating distribution as a service. The company charges an up front fee to process recordings and upload them to music stores like iTunes -- which won't deal with individual artists. The band retains all rights to its music and keeps all the revenue past what the stores keep. This model is obviously appealing to musicians…TuneCore, a startup with a mere $7 million in venture funding to date, distributes more music for sale than any company in the world -- and by a wide margin…”

Economy and Technology

41. Apple Owns Over 99 Percent of Mobile App Dollars http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/01/apple-responsible-for-994-of-mobile-app-sales-in-2009.ars “…mobile apps are big business…According to Gartner's numbers and those reported by Apple, Apple completely owns this market, likely grabbing almost every one of the 4.2 billion dollars spent on mobile apps in 2009…Earlier this month, Apple announced that sales had topped 3 billion; that means iPhone users downloaded 2.5 billion apps in 2009 alone. Gartner's figures…giving Apple at least 99.4 percent of all mobile apps sold for the year…”

42. AT&T Needs to Spend US$5B to Catch up http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/187216/analyst_atandt_needs_to_spend_us5b_to_catch_up.html AT&T would need to spend about US$5 billion on its wireless network to catch up with the coverage offered by Verizon Wireless…The public's perception of AT&T's network is poor and declining…from 2006 through September 2009…Verizon has spent far more per subscriber: $353, compared with $308 for AT&T, Hallaren said. Even Sprint has outspent AT&T per subscriber, laying out $310 for network capital expenditure…AT&T's 3G network is based on HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) 7.2, a system designed to deliver as much as 7.2M bps (bits per second). Verizon uses EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized), which that carrier said offers as much as 1.4M bps in real-world performance…The PC World test…showed AT&T in last place for reliability in all 13 cities tested…AT&T gets 57 percent of its operating income from wireless and only 35 percent from wired services, but wireless only gets 34 percent of the capital expenditures…The $5 billion investment gap could expand to $7 billion because of the need for new backhaul capacity to link AT&T's wireless network into the wired Internet, Hallaren said. Backhaul is a problem for all mobile operators that will get worse as they increase wireless speeds…AT&T…E911 emergency calling system, which works on its older GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) network, hasn't been adapted to use 3G and is unlikely to make the migration soon…”

43. Want to Know Where Your Neighbors Are Spending Their Money? Bundle Will Tell You http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/bundle_personal_finance_data_launch_spending_habits.php “…Do you want to know where your neighbors are spending their money? Or do you want to know if your spending pattern is in line with that of others in your age and income group in your neighborhood? Bundle, a new online service, can give you the answer to these questions. Thanks to a cooperation with Citi and other third-party data suppliers, Bundle is able to compile detailed statistics about how Americans are spending their money. While lots of banks also compile this data, Bundle is the first service to make this data easily accessible…”

44. Get your first 3 paying clients http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/finding-clients/ “…Stop building complex marketing strategies for clients you don’t have. Your first goal is to get 3 clients…Once you have 3 clients, you’ve proven that you have a reliable base of people who’ll pay you for your services. You can test service offerings and prices on them. And now you can start with more complex marketing strategies… Getting your first client is a 2-step process that I call Locate and Communicate…most people don’t want to buy your services…But a few people might be into paying for your services. When you’re starting out, your job is to find those few people and turn them into long-lasting customers…First step is to niche down your market…By age, location, interest, income level, and so many more options…Then, find out where they go to find solutions. Get in their heads…the most crucial thing your first client brings you is NOT money. It’s feedback…”

45. Apple now a $50+ billion company “…Apple is now a $50+ billion company," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement. "The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we're really excited about…A 100% year-over-year rise in iPhone sales and a 33% increase in Mac sales also helped drive Apple's results. The company said it sold a record 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter…The company lowered prices for many of its products last quarter, but still managed to grow its gross margin to 40.9%, up from 37.9% a year ago…Despite slashed prices in September, iPod sales continued to slump, falling 8% to 21 million for the quarter…There are rumors that the iPhone will soon be available on the Verizon network, which would give Apple access to millions of potential new customers…Apple has remained mum about the device and has not officially confirmed that it even exists. But analysts who have been briefed on the device say it will have a 10-inch screen and retail for about $800 to $1,000…”

46. Big-Picture Look at Google, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/a-big-picture-look-at-google-microsoft-apple-and-yahoo/ “…The chart above illustrates many of the services these companies provide. Some of their products have been cornerstone revenue streams, and others are just at the beginning of development…putting them up against each other really helps illustrate each company’s focus…Google…started in search and made billions of dollars in search-related advertising…recently made the move into mobile software and hardware. Google is also moving to the desktop as hardware companies consider using Google’s Android operating system for tablet PCs and netbooks and Google continues developing its own Chrome OS…Microsoft really competes with everyone. It is on the desktop, in the cloud, on mobile devices, in your living room…it still needs to make a major leap into social networking. Another major gap is mobile phone…Apple’s success with Mac personal computers, the iPod, the iPhone and iTunes has allowed it to step back from the fray and avoid competing in search, news, maps and social networks. But…Apple has close to $34 billion in cash and securities, which means that it can afford to make some big purchases in the search market — or any other market for that matter…Apple is the only one of the four that charges for its online services, including calendar, contact sync and Web mail…Yahoo has not really added any new products or services over the last year, but it seems to do best with content-related products. Yahoo News is still the No. 1 news site, and Flickr continues to grow and remain a highly successful photo Web site…”

47. Software company completes fundraising using only LinkedIn http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2010/0122/1224262838183.html “…A Limerick company which has developed software for managing projects, has completed a private fundraising round using only the social networking website LinkedIn…the company is selling off 10 slots to investors at €25,000 each – each equivalent to a 2 per cent stake in the company. Seven hundred e-mails were sent to potential investors through LinkedIn earlier this month, generating 200 replies by phone, e-mail and Twitter. The company raised €162,500 in just eight days…I’m blown away by it and it gives the lie to people who say social networking is just about Facebook…”

48. Schwartz leaving Sun as Oracle aborbs legendary tech company http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20100125/sun-ceo-set-to-announce-resignation/ “…Sources close to Sun tell me Schwartz will soon resign as CEO, leaving the company in the hands of new owner Oracle…appointed CEO in April 2006, Schwartz was charged with restoring Sun to its glory days. Sadly, he was unable to do it. And while he came up with some some inventive strategies–buying MySQL, open-sourcing Java, and Solaris–none were of much benefit to Sun financially…Schwartz stands to earn about $12 million from the severance package he negotiated, plus another $5.1 million or so for the shares he still holds…”

Civilian Aerospace

49. Space Exploration Unconference Set For February 27-28, 2010, San Diego http://media-newswire.com/release_1110785.html All systems are go for the launch of SpaceUp, the world's first public unconference devoted to space exploration and development, on Saturday and Sunday, February 27 and 28, 2010, at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, 2001 Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA. Organized by the non-profit San Diego Space Society, registration is $75 per person, with details available at SpaceUp.org…The unconference format, which has been popularized in the tech community via such events as BarCamp and FooCamp, offers a unique forum where participants decide the topics, the schedule, even the structure of the event. Everyone who attends the unconference is encouraged to give a talk, moderate a panel or start a discussion. SpaceUp applies this non-profit model to the space industry in a public forum for the first time…”

50. EADS Astrium develops space power concept http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8467472.stm Europe's biggest space company is seeking partners to fly a demonstration solar power mission in orbit. EADS Astrium says the satellite system would collect the Sun's energy and transmit it to Earth via an infrared laser, to provide electricity…Astrium believes the technology is close to proving its maturity…Space solar power is an attractive concept because it would be clean, inexhaustible, and available 24 hours a day.The amount of energy falling on photovoltaic cells placed in orbit is considerably greater than the same solar panels positioned on the Earth's surface…Critics, though, have always pointed to multiple hurdles…”

51. PerspectX Visualizes the Next Giant Leap http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/01/prweb3487254.htm Next Giant Leap, a space exploration company competing for the Google Lunar X Prize has officially announced the addition of PerspectX to their team. PerspectX specializes in advanced visualization, ranging from storyboarding, to Industrial pre-visualization, digital effects, animation, and interactive software development, primarily for clients in Aerospace, Technology, and Entertainment. Based in Ogden, Utah, PerspectX is dedicated to the ideal of producing high quality products and services to aid pre-visualization and post production business. They produce 3D digital models, textures, scenes, and tools to aid development in popular 3D applications such as Autodesk Maya, Discreet 3DS Max, NewTek Lightwave, SoftImage XSI, and others…”

52. Private Space Stations Edge Closer to Reality http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/private-space-stations-bigelow-100120.html With two prototype modules for a commercial space station already circling the Earth, Bigelow Aerospace is gearing up for a full-scale assault on space…The company's expandable module designs are designed to offer low-cost commercial volume in space — for rent or lease — not only to private sector interests, but also to national space agencies. Entrepreneur Robert Bigelow founded Bigelow Aerospace in 1999. Over the years, the space businessman has invested some $180 million in his vision…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

53. GE Fanuc NVIDIA-based custom gpu http://www.defencesuppliers.net.au/index.cfm?objectid=3700AB9C-062D-11DF-9C6B005056B05D57 “…The GRA111 is among the first commercially available products to feature NVIDIA's new GT 240 graphics processing unit (GPU), and is the first rugged implementation of a CUDA-capable GPU…GRA111 is the first member of GE Fanuc's planned family of CUDA-enabled products which are expected to revolutionise military and aerospace embedded computing by bringing a ‘supercomputing' capability to applications and environments that require leading-edge processing, such as radar, signals intelligence and video surveillance and interpretation… tests at GE Fanuc have shown that military applications can benefit from similar increases in speed. A major prime contractor in the military/aerospace industry has evaluated the CUDA architecture in a radar system, and found that performance improvement of 15x is achievable with minimal reprogramming effort…”

54. Acceleware Delivers 100X Speed Up for Solar Cell Simulations http://www.hpcwire.com/offthewire/Acceleware-Delivers-100X-Speed-Up-for-Solar-Cell-Simulations-82069457.html “…Crosslight is pleased to report a 100X speed up of their APSYS solution using Acceleware's GPU and multicore enabled software as compared with conventional CPU-based FDTD solvers. Acceleration of the optical design process is especially valuable for APSYS users doing solar cell and image pixel simulations, reducing design cycle time, mitigating technical risk, and optimizing yields…”

55. The decade ahead for HPC http://www.hpcwire.com/blogs/Some-Thoughts-on-the-Decade-Ahead-80957117.html “…innovation is still being driven by specific discontinuities: the memory wall, the stalling of processor clock speed, power consumption, mechanical limitations on hard drive performance, and system complexity, among others. In response we're seeing the rise of multi/manycore CPUs, GPGPU computing, flash memory storage and cloud computing….I think the one most likely to make the biggest impact in HPC over the next couple of years is GPU computing. Thanks mainly to the efforts of NVIDIA and its CUDA architecture development, general purpose GPU computing is the fastest moving HPC technology today…if I broadened the scope to the entire IT industry, I'd tap cloud computing as the leading technology driver.) When the first "Fermi" Tesla GPU products hit the streets in mid-2010, it will be the first time a vector (or vector-like) processor based on a commodity architecture will be available to the supercomputing community. By all accounts, that qualifies as a game changer. Other HPC innovation in this decade will be driven by new parallel programming development environments from the likes of Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and others…we'll end up with a confusing array of languages and libraries, which in many cases will be tied to specific vendors: Ct (Intel), CUDA (NVIDIA), Microsoft (Parallel LINQ), The MathWorks (Parallel MATLAB)…this is not likely to get sorted out anytime soon…”