Google Plus and DHMN

Google just released it's latest online social media product, Google +, or, phonetically speaking, Google Plus (Gplus).

Google + has, predictably, gotten a mix of favorable and negative early reviews. Because online social media depends on effectively leveraging the network effect, or Metcalfe's Law, Google Plus will ultimately be successful only if a very large number of people (and their 'friends') open an account on the service and use it frequently. Like all 'interaction' services, as Om Malik refers to them in his blog post excerpt below, people will use and enjoy Gplus only if a large number of other people in their personal networks also start using it and continue to use it. Email has more users (I think) than instant messaging (IM) because it's easier to connect with (almost) everyone who's online via email, while limited interoperability between different IM systems makes it more challenging (or impossible) to IM all the people in one's personal networks. The trend for younger people to use IM as a preferred alternative to email may one day make IM more popular than email (if it didn't already). Texting may (probably does) already have more users than either email or texting if it connects the largest universe of users.

As a result of reading about Google Plus and hearing comments from a couple DHMN members (Distributed Hacker/Maker Network), it is my strong recommendation that all DHMN members open an account on Gplus and make a strong effort to use it, along with the Google Groups mailing list, to interact with other DHMN members (as well as others in their personal networks).

Google launched its much awaited and highly anticipated social networking platform today to a limited number of users. Dubbed Google+ (Plus), the service…is about the harsh reality of Google saving and enhancing its core franchise — Google Search…Today, search is not just about pages, but also about people and the relevance of information to them…Gundotra said that this is the first step by the company in its long social journey…Google…has leveraged its infrastructure to offer an array of services and…granular privacy that average folks can understand…In order to use Google +, you need to have a Google account, though it doesn’t…mean you need to have a Google Mail account…Circles: Google has come up with the concept of circles — you can create a circle of contacts that are family, friends, work friends, former co-workers and so on…you can define who gets to see what kind of updates…Hangout: This just might be the killer feature of Google + effort. It is essentially group video chat done right…Hangout felt intuitive and easy to use…Huddle: This is a mobile group-chat service that is very much like Beluga…Instant Uploads: It has also come up with a new approach to mobile photos & videos…Sparks: It is a new feature that allows you to create topics of interest and use them as source of information and then share it with various different groups…instead of getting bogged down by the old-fashioned notion of communication – phone calls, emails, instant messages and text messages – it needs to think about interactions…Google needs to think of a world beyond Google Talk, Google Chat and Google Voice…interactions are synchronous, are highly personal, are location-aware and allow the sharing of experiences…Interactions are supposed to mimic the feeling of actually being there…Google is thinking along these lines and is building products with a mobile-first point of view…Google+ should give folks at companies such as Blekko, Skype and a gaggle of group messaging companies a pause…Skype Video can easily be brought to its knees by Google Plus’ Hangout…the only way to beat Facebook is through a thousand cuts. Photo sharing services such as Instagram can move attention away from Facebook, much like other tiny companies who can bootstrap themselves based on Facebook social graph and then built alternative graphs to siphon away attention from Facebook. Google could…go one step further – team up with alternative social graphs such as Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr…”
I don't know yet if Google is doing the 'share your invites' approach for early users of the service, but if that's one way more people are added to Google Plus, DHMN members who get into Gplus early should forward invites to those members who don't yet have an account. And if you didn't sign up yet for an early invite, please do so now.

('Google Plus,' 'Google +' and 'Gplus' have been sprinkled throughout this post as I try to figure out which one rolls most easily off one's visual/mental tongue...)

Because common 'interaction' tools help make a community stronger, and because the DHMN already uses Ggroups, Gcalendar and Gdocs, it seems appropriate and advantageous for us to make a concerted effort to wring all the Google Goodness we can out of Google Plus.



NEW NET Weekly List for 28 Jun 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 28 June 2011, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering upstairs at Tom's Drive In, 501 N Westhill Blvd, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, near Woodman's. Ignore the chain if it's across the stairs -- come on up and join the tech fun!

The ‘net

1. Microsoft revamps SkyDrive cloud storage with HTML5, kicks Silverlight to the curb http://venturebeat.com/2011/06/20/microsoft-revamps-skydrive-cloud-storage-with-html5-kicks-silverlight-to-the-curb/ “…Microsoft announced a major facelift for its SkyDrive cloud storage service today. Gone is the SkyDrive site’s reliance on Silverlight…Speed is the biggest benefit with the redesign…HTML5…is supported on pretty much every current major browser…Common tasks, like opening folders and browsing photo albums, have gone from speeds of 6 to 9 seconds to a near-instant 100 to 300 milliseconds…Groups support has also been added to SkyDrive, which will make it easier to find and share all of your files…SkyDrive photos interface also takes advantage of the move to HTML5…Photos now expand to fit the full size of your web browser…you can infinitely scroll through all of the photos in a particular folder…Given how much Microsoft was able to improve SkyDrive by dropping Silverlight, it’s no real surprise the company said last year that it was shifting its Silverlight strategy…Microsoft is pushing HTML5 wholeheartedly for its web services…”

2. Tencent in steep climb to be China's Facebook, Twitter http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/27/us-tencent-idUSTRE75Q0I820110627 Tencent Holdings Ltd, the world's third largest Internet firm, aims to be China's Facebook, Twitter and Google -- all rolled into one. While the company's market value has quadrupled to $50 billion over the past 2- years, its revenue and profit growth is expected to slow over the next few years, forcing the company to rethink its future…The company..faces many risks, including…strong competition from rivals such as Baidu Inc, SINA Corp and Alibaba.com…Tencent, which runs China's largest instant-messaging service QQ and online gaming community with 674 million QQ accounts in total, has been relying on its games business for about 60 percent of its revenues…Tencent dominates China's $5-billion online gaming market with hits such as Dungeon & Fighter where players slay monsters with lightsabers and Three Kingdoms where swordsmen battle in ancient China. "There is a ceiling in Internet value-added services, so that is giving us a sense of urgency…How can we push the team and company to adjust our DNA and change our business model to get revenues from business-to-business space? It may need 5-6 years, or even 10 years, but we'll do what it takes," said the 39-year-old, who is among the top 10 Chinese billionaires on Forbes' list…”

3. No remote camera? Don’t sweat it – Skype it http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/2011/06/21/52031/no-remote-camera-dont-sweat-it-skype-it “…Tom Casey, a…television commentator on aviation issues, got an urgent call from MSNBC. A Boeing 737 had a rupture in its fuselage and had made an emergency landing…Casey was needed at the MSNBC studio immediately to explain to viewers what had happened. But Casey was out of town — visiting a friend’s home in Redding, Conn. — and couldn’t come immediately to the network’s studio…he was asked, was he near a computer that could do Skype video calls? Yes, there was a Skype-equipped Dell computer in the library…Within minutes, Tom Casey was on-the-air, being interviewed about the airliner’s problem by weekend anchor Alex Witt. As other members of the household watched Casey live on MSNBC from the next room, they couldn’t believe the high quality of the interview coming from the PC in the library of their home…MSNBC was doing what hundreds of television stations now do every day. They use free Skype video calls as inexpensive and quick ways to connect with people for news interviews throughout the world….Matrox…Convert DVI, priced at $995, allows Skype calls, YouTube videos and other computer video to be used full screen on broadcast TV. The Convert DVI Plus, priced at $1,495…adds region-of-interest scaling and positioning of the image. With this feature, the anchor’s image and the Skype subject’s face can appear on the screen simultaneously…”

4. Tilgin Launches Home Gateways for 1 Gbps Broadband Services http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/231212/tilgin_launches_home_gateways_for_1g_bps_broadband_services.html Swedish broadband equipment maker Tilgin has launched Simba, a platform for home gateways that can handle gigabit speeds…Interest in broadband at 1 Gbps (bits per second) is growing around the world…Thanks to lower component costs, Tilgin can now develop products which cost about the same as ones that top out at 100M bps…The Simba platform has enough capacity to handle download and upload at 1 Gbps, or 200 Mbps if it encrypts the traffic…Running telephony separately will decrease the risk of application conflicts…Earlier this month, U.S. cable operator Comcast demonstrated a 1G bps connection over a live broadband network by downloading 23 episodes of TV show "30 Rock" -- close to nine hours of content -- in about 90 seconds. In Europe, BT has announced plans to test broadband at downstream speeds of 1G bps and upstream speeds of 400M bps this year. In Japan and Hong Kong, gigabit speeds are already offered. Swedish operator Bredbandsbolaget is planning to launch a service this fall…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

5. Avast to go mobile, get VPN http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-20074377-12/avast-to-go-mobile-get-vpn/ Avast isn't content with merely 130 million active Windows users…introducing a personal VPN and debuting an Android app with some features only for rooted phones…In the next few months, we'll be coming out with…online backup, password management, and identity protection…Avast is working on an Android security app…specifically for users who have rooted their phones. "Rooted phones are more prone to certain kinds of attacks…the app's basics…included the company's antivirus engine, anti-theft and phone tracking, a contacts filter, and parental locks…The company is also considering tying its WebRep engine for search result ratings and verification to the Android app…a personal VPN for both desktops and mobile…because of the insecurity of open, public Wi-Fi, where somebody can copy your session cookie and log on, we had to make people safer." The VPN solution will create a secure tunnel through which people can send data without fear of being tracked by an ISP or government, or having their computer or phone hacked. "The Digital Millennium Act mandates ISPs to keep logs of everything…We encrypt everything that goes through the ISP and then it's unencrypted after it passes through,"…VPN will support multiple secure protocols, including PPPT, OpenVPN, SSL, and L2TP…it will also allow country IP address spoofing to one of 17 countries in North America, Europe, or Asia…Avast is looking at running your browser in its auto-sandbox by default. "Since just after the release of version 5, we haven't seen anything bypass the sandbox,"…About 60 percent of the active user base is on version 6, the current version, he said, but there are still about 15 percent of active users on version 4. "These are mainly people running a cracked, pirated license. We actually converted about 1 million users to version 6 free by circulating a 'license key' and passively upgrading them,"…Users will soon be able to get online backup and password management solutions…The company has licensed Mozy to provide an Avast-branded online backup option…Roboform will provide Avast's password management tool, for about $10 a year. "We didn't use LastPass because they weren't very flexible about third parties," said Vlcek. "The goal is to provide a low-cost password manager that we think our free users will enjoy…”

6. Australia Heads Down the Slippery Slope, Authorizes ISPs to Filter http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/06/australia-heads-down-slippery-slope-authorizes Starting next month, the vast majority of Australia’s Internet users will find their access censored, following a decision by the country’s two largest providers--Telstra and Optus--as well as two smaller ISPs (itExtreme and Webshield), to voluntarily block more than 500 websites from view…ISPs will block sites containing “the appropriate subsection of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) blacklist as well as child abuse URLs that are provided by reputable international organisations,”…First, there is no transparency in the selection of URLs to be blacklisted, and no accountability from the regulatory bodies creating the blacklists…Second, filtering does little to curb the trade of child pornography, much of which is traded across peer to peer networks and VPNs…Third, there appears to be no appeals process in the Australian ISPs’ scheme…Lastly, the introduction of a filter sets precedent for the ISPs to filter more sites in the future at the behest of the ACMA…”

7. Pursuing LulzSec? F.B.I. Seizes Web Servers, Knocking Sites Offline http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/f-b-i-seizes-web-servers-knocking-sites-offline/ The F.B.I. seized Web servers in a raid on a data center early Tuesday, causing several Web sites, including those run by the New York publisher Curbed Network, to go offline. The raid happened at 1:15 a.m. at a hosting facility in Reston, Va., used by DigitalOne, which is based in Switzerland…DigitalOne’s chief executive, Sergej Ostroumow, said: “This problem is caused by the F.B.I., not our company. In the night F.B.I. has taken 3 enclosures with equipment plugged into them, possibly including your server…He wrote: “After F.B.I.’s unprofessional ‘work’ we can not restart our own servers, that’s why our Web site is offline and support doesn’t work.”…A government official who declined to be named said…the F.B.I. was actively investigating the Lulz Security group and any affiliated hackers. The official said the F.B.I. had teamed up with other agencies in this effort, including the Central Intelligence Agency and cybercrime bureaus in Europe…The sites of the Curbed Network, including popular blogs covering real estate, restaurants and other topics, were all unavailable Tuesday evening…The raid also affected a server used by Instapaper…DigitalOne provided all necessary information to pinpoint the servers for a specific I.P. address…However, the agents took entire server racks, perhaps because they mistakenly thought that “one enclosure is = to one server,” he said…DigitalOne had no employees on-site when the raid took place…”

8. Judge not favorable to Apple; may allow Amazon and others to use term ‘App Store’ http://www.mobiledia.com/news/95083.html Apple may have difficulty blocking Amazon from using the AppStore name…The Cupertino, Calif.-based company could have some trouble convincing Oakland Federal District Judge Phyllis Hamilton that Amazon's use of the "AppStore" name actually does create confusion among consumers in the marketplace…Apple filed the claim in March against Amazon…Amazon responded, claiming the App Store name is generic, like "hardware store." Apple returned fire with yet another suit against Amazon, saying it "denies that the mark App Store is generic…Apple has gone as far as to threaten industry publications who use App Store in newsletters…Apple sent a cease and desist letter to Wireless Industry Partnership, an industry trade publication, to remove the name "App Store" from its newsletters…Last week, publisher John Colby sued Apple over the term "iBooks," claiming his company purchased rights to over 1,000 books published under the "iBooks" name, starting in 1999…Apple…didn't starting using the term for its e-book products until 2010, over a decade after Colby purchased the book rights…iCloud Communications sued Apple over the "iCloud" name. The Phoenix, Ariz.-based iCloud Communications claims Apple copied its name and is seeking monetary compensation. The six-year-old company, which provides voice-over-IP and other cloud computing products and services, claims Apple knew the iCloud name was taken, but took it anyway. The shoe is on the other foot for Apple as iCloud Communications is claiming Apple's iCloud is causing confusion among its customers…”

9. Did Microsoft Buy Skype To Spy On You? http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9218002/Microsoft_patents_spy_tech_for_Skype A newly patented Microsoft technology called Legal Intercept that would allow the company to secretly intercept, monitor and record Skype calls is stoking privacy concerns. Microsoft's patent application for Legal Intercept was filed in 2009, well before the company's $8.5 billion purchase of Skype in May. The patent was granted last week. From Microsoft's description of the technology in its patent application, Legal Intercept appears similar to tools used by telecommunication companies and equipment makers to comply with government wiretap and surveillance requests. According to Microsoft, Legal Intercept is designed to silently record communications on VoIP networks such as Skype…”

10. New Google Data Shows How Governments Seek To Control Online Content http://paidcontent.org/article/419-new-google-data-shows-how-governments-seek-to-control-online-content/ “…In a major update to its Transparency Report, Google has displayed 18 months of data that shows how many “content removal requests” it has received from government authorities…Other companies that have content online…are surely receiving their fair share of these types of requests as well. But none, so far, have gone as far as Google in making public information about these requests…Google…is a major contributor to Chilling Effects, an online repository of copyright and trademark takedown requests …in Brazil, electoral courts fired up during the fall elections season ordered takedowns of content on Orkut…Google complied with 97% of the 118 requests sent from Germany. In Thailand, the Ministry of Information sent one request for removal of 43 pieces of content that mocked the king, an act which is illegal in Thailand; Google disabled those items, but only for Thai users…While Google complied with most content removal requests, some countries kept striking out. Libya sent 68 requests for content to be removed, but Google complied only 31% of the time. In India, Google complied with only 22% of the 67 requests it got. Some of those requests were from “different law enforcement agencies to remove a blog and YouTube videos that were critical of Chief Ministers and senior officials of different states,” the company states. “We did not comply with these requests.”…Google takes down search results…connected to child pornography on an ongoing basis…Those takedowns aren’t in this data. Nor are, for the most part, copyright takedown requests, since they (nearly always) come at the behest of private parties and not governments…Google received close to 9,000 requests for user data from the U.S. government last year, far more than it received from any other country. Google complied with 94% of those requests…the company’s non-compliance with 6% of requests from U.S. law enforcement—and a much higher proportion in other countries—suggests that it’s seeing a lot of overreach in the data that cops around the world want to grab about suspects…For a few countries, Google rebuffs most or even all of their demands for user data. The company complied with only 12% of the 272 user data requests from Polish authorities; none of the 68 requests originating in Hungary; and none of the 45 requests from Turkey….After the U.S., the countries with the most requests for user data are Brazil, with 4,235 requests in 2010; and India, with 3,129 requests in the same period…”

11. Citigroup Says Hackers Caused $2.7 Million of Losses on Cards http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-06-24/citigroup-says-hackers-caused-2-7-million-of-losses-on-cards.html Citigroup Inc., the third-largest U.S. bank, said about 3,400 customers lost about $2.7 million when their credit-card information was breached by hackers earlier this year…It’s the first public acknowledgement by Citigroup that the incident resulted in any financial losses. Citigroup said earlier this month more than 360,000 credit- card accounts…”

Mobile Computing & Communicating

12. Ten apps is all I need http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2959-ten-apps-is-all-i-need “…For all the 200,000 apps in Apple’s app store, I use two on a regular basis: Echofon and Bloomberg. Once in a while, I use Instapaper and play Civilization. And yet I use my iPhone all the time. It’s my favorite piece of technology…Because Apple nailed the basics. Safari, Camera, iPod, Clock, Weather, Photos, Messages, Mail, and Maps are the apps that I use 95% of the time. Those are the ones that made me buy the phone and stick with it…I know I’m not alone…There’s a large market for people who just want the core ten apps executed even better…”

13. Can HP's webOS and TouchPad slow down the iPad? http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9217816/Can_HP_s_webOS_and_TouchPad_slow_down_the_iPad_ “…The next challenger prepping to go toe-to-toe with the iPad is HP's TouchPad…with a significant update to the webOS mobile operating system…Initially, HP was quiet about its webOS plans…HP has developed two new webOS handsets: the diminutive Veer…and the Pre3…HP has developed a tablet version of webOS for the TouchPad…Can webOS and the TouchPad succeed where others have failed in competing with…the iPad?...And is webOS viable as an alternative to iOS, Android or BlackBerry handsets?...WebOS doesn't include a home screen in the same sense as iOS, Android and the BlackBerry operating system…The primary display (when you're not using a particular application) is a view of app thumbnails known as cards that can be easily cycled through and selected…webOS lets you stack cards together in the same way you'd stack pieces of paper together on your desk. This approach is extremely intuitive, letting you immediately switch between commonly used apps and allowing you to organize cards for specific tasks that you want to handle together, such as emails and/or texts…By doing away with the home screen and focusing on apps and tasks, webOS focuses more on getting things done than on system navigation…”

14. LeapFrog Unveils Kid-Friendly LeapPad Tablet Priced At $100 http://www.crunchgear.com/2011/06/28/leapfrog-unveils-kid-friendly-leappad-tablet-priced-at-100/ If you have a kid, LeapFrog requires no introduction, but…LeapFrog makes educational toys, books, and games for children. And now with the announcement of its LeapPad tablet, the company has entered itself into the tablet arena…all of you tablet-owning parents will soon have something to hand over to the kids when they try to put their dirty mitts all over your precious iPad…the LeapPad has 2GB of memory under its 5-inch 480×272 touchscreen. It comes with a camera, video recorder, microphone and stylus, and has a motion sensor for certain games and learning activities. Parents who already have LeapFrogs Leapster Explorer game cartridges and apps will be happy to know that everything is cross compatible with the LeapPad. By the end of the year, more than 100 new learning game cartridges, books, apps and videos will be made available for the LeapPad, too…”

15. Ford Sync: Voice and Touch Combine For In Car Control “…The new MyFord Touch system is an evolution of the voice controlled SYNC system which we reviewed last summer, adding in a touchscreen and easy access to smartphone apps like Pandora without the need to touch your phone…The real magic comes form the marriage of voice and touchscreen technology. In talking with some futurists in attendance here at Forward with Ford, they expect Kinect-like motion gesture controls to in-car systems and phones…Ford has worked with Nuance to deliver the voice control in Ford SYNC and MyFord Touch…the SYNC system can deliver a 50% improvement in recognition after just 3 commands. Additionally, Ford has set up SYNC to allow users to access commands from wherever without first saying “Directions” or “Phone” so that it is easier to do what you want.…” http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/87870-ford-sync-applink-more-models “…Critics say Sync adds complexity to cars, and the current Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, says anything trickier than a cassette player and cigarette lighter should be banned from cars…Ford is quadrupling the number of engineers working on Sync and AppLink, and there are apparently 2,500 third-party developers working on AppLink apps…LaHood and other critics say it’s inherently dangerous to turn American drivers loose with smartphones and iPods inside cars. LaHood wants to implement an automotive version of the Prohibition. Consumer Reports earlier this year said it wouldn’t recommend the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers because of the complexity of the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch interfaces…Ford also says that people are going to use smartphones regardless (when smartphones are outlawed, only outlaws will have smartphones?), so the more realistic path is to let the car reduce the distraction by reading texts aloud…and letting you choose an artist or genre by saying “Play artist Duffy,” for instance…”

16. Verizon ‘Limited’ plans. Looking for a smartphone bargain? Check out prepaid http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20073541-266/looking-for-a-smartphone-bargain-check-out-prepaid/ “…Verizon Wireless is expected to introduce a new pricing scheme July 7, which will eliminate its unlimited data plan…What this likely means for consumers in the future are higher prices for wireless data…there's a much overlooked alternative: prepaid wireless…such as Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, Cricket, and MetroPCS…unlimited data plans…Despite these cost advantages, prepaid service providers haven't stolen many customers from traditional cell phone providers. "We haven't seen a lot of people leaving the post paid market en masse even during the depths of the recession…not enough to make a dent in the traditional market."…Virgin Mobile, which is one of Sprint Nextel's prepaid wireless brands, is a perfect example of this trend…this summer, the company is expected to introduce the Motorola Triumph, a smartphone that looks just like the popular Motorola Droid X…including a 4.1-inch, high-resolution touch screen, 1GHz Qualcomm processor, 5-megapixel rear camera with 720p video capture capability, and VGA for self portrait and video chat. It also runs the standard Android 2.2 Froyo software…Virgin Mobile offers service plans for smartphones starting at $25 a month for 300 minutes of talk time, unlimited texting and unlimited data. The high-end package, which includes unlimited voice, as well as, unlimited text messaging and data service is only $60 a month. Compare this with Verizon Wireless, which charges around $200 for some of its high-end Android phones, even with a two-year contract and carrier subsidy. Its voice services start at $40 a month for 450 minutes, plus an additional $30 a month for data, and another $20 a month for unlimited texting…”

17. A spotlight on the world’s first iOS jailbreak convention http://9to5mac.com/2011/06/26/a-spotlight-on-the-worlds-first-ios-jailbreak-convention/ Craig Fox had worked as a carpenter his entire life until the economy took a turn for the worst and he found himself without work. Craig combined his newly acquired free time and his love for jailbreaking iDevices to conceive MyGreatFest (MGF), the world’s first iDevice Jailbreak convention…Craig hopes that MGF will show the world “jailbreaking is not about piracy, it is about having the freedom to customize your [iDevice] in anyway you see fit.”…Craig hopes that this event will help stabilize the jailbreak community, which he believes began strong but has recently become more divided…The event will take place in London on September 17th and feature presentations from top jailbreak developers…An interesting note is that @p0sixninja, Joshua Hill, could not initially attend MGF due to the high cost of travel, but Craig began taking donations for Josh and quickly raised enough money to bring him to London…Jay Freeman (@saurik), the founder of Cydia, will headline the event with a 1 hour talk and 10 minute question / answer session. Craig is hopeful that MGF will continue to grow over the next 5 years. His goal is to have an United States and Great Britain event next year. In fact, he already has @Musclenerd, a well-known iPhone hacker, confirmed as a speaker for the Spring 2012 US event. Craig’s goal is to have the event in 3 different countries by 2016…”

18. Microsoft signs Android patent deal with military contractor General Dynamics http://www.geekwire.com/2011/microsoft-signs-android-patent-deal-with-military-contractor-general-dynamics Microsoft today made new progress in its Android patent campaign, announcing a licensing deal with General Dynamics Itronix, maker of rugged tablets and handheld devices used by the military…The official announcement also contains a none-too-subtle message for the other Android device makers that Microsoft is negotiating with and/or taking to court over the issue…Microsoft has separately filed suit against Barnes & Noble and the makers of the Nook over their use of Android in the e-reader. Last year, Microsoft announced an Android patent licensing deal with mobile phone maker HTC…one analyst estimates Microsoft is receiving $5 for every HTC Android device. Microsoft has not directly targeted Google with allegations that Android infringes on its patents…”

19. E-readers hit their stride while tablet growth more modest http://gigaom.com/mobile/e-readers-hit-their-stride-while-tablet-growth-more-modest/ Spurred on by lower prices and by growing acceptance among college graduates and Hispanic consumers, e-reader usage is taking off, with 12 percent of adults using an e-reader in May, double the rate from November…e-readers have outpaced tablets, which shot up quickly but have seen slower growth in recent months…e-readers and tablets lag behind other devices such as cell phones, computers, DVRs and MP3 players in adoption…e-readers are also going down in price. E-reader usage started to take off after the introduction of the Kindle 3 last summer, which came in well under $200. The dropping price points, including the introduction of an ad-supported Kindle for just $114, have helped make e-readers a lot more affordable. Tablets, on the other hand, are selling for $500 and more…e-reader sales also saw the biggest growth among people making $30,000-$49,999, jumping from 3 percent in November to 13 percent in May. Adoption was also prompted by Hispanics (15 percent), who are outpacing whites (11 percent) and blacks (8 percent) in e-reader usage. Tablet buyers, meanwhile, are skewing even more male, and younger compared to buyers of e-readers…The largest group of tablet users is 18-29 year-olds (12 percent) while 30-49-year-olds (14 percent) were the leading group of e-reader users. It will be a long time before e-readers and tablets catch up to even MP3 players. But as these devices grow in power and drop in price, they’re becoming more attractive to a wider audience. E-readers have now become easy graduation and birthday gifts, and even impulse buys, and many book lovers of all ages are also warming to the idea of reading on a portable machine…”


20. Quality of Apps for Android Is "Pathetically Low" Says Developer http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/26911/ “…Battleheart…has been a big hit on…iOS and now Android…the team behind it has learned a few things about the level of competition on the Android platform…one of the Mika Mobile team members noted…"I'd go as far as to say that a polished, high quality product is more likely to be embraced on Android than on iOS because the quality bar on the android market is so pathetically low."…the Mika Mobile design team has found that the paucity of quality games on Android means they are earning on Android fully 80 percent of the revenue they're currently earning on the iTunes app store, and all of that solely through word of mouth…two big problems with Android…First, iTunes handles payments so developers don't have to, but on Android, all developers are vendors on Google Checkout, which means they get to resolve payment disputes on their own. Second, a significant proportion of apps simply fail to install correctly on Android devices, through no fault of the developer. "Third party mods, or the device's download cache, a corrupted temp file on the SD card, or the cached data of other apps interfering with normal download behavior is the root cause of 99% of the correspondence I get…here is yet more evidence that the Android app store is in its early days, and that Google isn't paying attention to the care and feeding of its developers…”

21. Continuity 2 turns student game into an addictive iOS puzzler http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/06/continuity-2.ars Continuity 2: The Continuation is the sequel to a game you likely haven't heard of…because the original was a student project, a browser-based puzzle game with a marvelously inventive mechanic but all-too-short playtime…the same two-man team is bringing the game to the iPhone, but in the form of a sequel as opposed to a simple port…The twist is in the way the levels are constructed. Each stage consists of a series of cards which you can move around to create your path. It's initially confusing, but soon enough becomes second nature. That mechanic is what made the original student project so intriguing…the original Continuity featured levels designed with a large monitor in mind, and so it wouldn't have worked very well on the iPhone's screen…The team at Ragtime benefitted not only from the learning experience of developing the first Continuity, but also simply from having more time. The first game was created in just eight weeks…"We've been a lot more concerned with trying to make it feel high quality…We never expected anybody to actually play the first game—it was just a student game that we originally hosted on the school's website…For now Continuity 2 is an iOS exclusive, and the team has no plans for additional content or platforms. With just two people, they're having a hard enough time just trying to get the game noticed…”

22. Policing the Police: The Apps That Let You Spy on the Cops http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/06/policing-the-police-the-apps-that-let-you-spy-on-the-cops/240916/ “…the world is surveiling itself at an unprecedented scale…Which is what makes two new apps, CopRecorder and OpenWatch, and their Web component, OpenWatch.net, so interesting…Rich Jones, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate who describes himself as "pretty much a hacker to the core…decided to devote some of his time to developing…"a global participatory counter-surveillance project which uses cellular phones as a way of monitoring authority figures." CopRecorder can record audio without indicating that it's doing so…It comes with a built-in uploader to OpenWatch, so that Jones can do "analysis" of the recording and scrub any personally identifying data before posting the audio…he receives between 50 and 100 submissions per day, with a really interesting encounter with an authority figure coming in about every day and a half…We've still got plenty of people who can bulldog an issue once it's been flagged, but there are fewer and fewer reporters with deep sourcing in a community, fewer and fewer reporters who have the time to look into a bunch of different things knowing that only one out of a hundred might turn into a big investigation…Jones built it for some friends who'd gotten into some trouble…and could have been aided by a recording of their interaction with law enforcement…Already, CopRecorder is in the hands of 50,000 users, who've just happened to stumble on the app one way or another…Hieu Vu and his fiancee left Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company in Garden Grove, California…Vu saw he was headed into a DUI checkpoint…one of dozens that southern California police set up each weekend night…Vu pulled out his cell phone and began recording…a police officer approached the car and asked Vu to roll down his window. "I don't have to roll it down, do I?" Vu asked. "Yes, you do have to roll it down!" the cop responded. "All the way. All the way. Thank you…"You smell alcohol on me? You really smell alcohol?" Vu retorted incredulously. "I do," the cop said. Vu sounds guilty, right? Why else wouldn't he want to roll down the window or talk to the police…But we know that Vu hadn't had a drop of alcohol that night -- and a subsequent breathalyzer test found his blood alcohol content was 0.0 percent…Vu is a criminal lawyer in southern California who has dealt with dozens of DUI cases and…he figured he could learn why all of his clients "consented" to various tests. It never made sense to him precisely how the cops got his clients to do things that were clearly against their own interests…it takes a leap of faith in Jones to upload something to OpenWatch.net…you're giving your recording of a confrontation with an authority figure to a 23-year old self-described hacker…on the OpenWatch end, they've got to be able to sift through all that audio and find patterns…in some states -- Massachusetts and Illinois among them -- it is illegal to use a recording device to document a police action…”

23. Your next job: Mobile app developer? http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9217885/Your_next_job_Mobile_app_developer_ As market demand surges for apps to run on iOS, Android and whatever operating system will power the next wave of smart devices, companies are facing a dearth of mobile development talent…Just who is developing all of those apps? In its recent "America's Tech Talent Crunch" study, IT job site Dice.com found that job postings for Android developers soared 302% in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of 2010; ads for iPhone-related positions rose 220% in the same time frame…mobile development as a career segment may be growing twice as fast as the overall job market…It's not just tech companies that are on the prowl for mobile development talent. Today, all kinds of product and service companies are scrambling to come out with apps, just as, a short while ago, they were working to establish a presence on social networking sites…there is more demand than supply because there aren't enough great mobile developers out there…Developers and designers who fully understand the constraints and the opportunities afforded by the smaller real estate and touch interfaces of the smart device platform are in high demand…it's the ability to grasp mobile's new usage rules, and not simply the ability to master new programming skills, that separates those with an affinity for mobile development from those who just don't get it. "When you're building Web applications, [you] have the whole desktop. There are things you can get away with from a design point of view that simply don't translate to a mobile device,"…"It's not just about making things smaller or splitting things up into separate screens. Developers have been trained to think that more features equates to better applications, but on mobile devices, that's simply not true…”

24. Android task managers unnecessary or bad? http://www.phonedog.com/2011/06/26/the-truth-about-android-task-killers-and-why-you-don-t-need-them/ “…task managers and Android work against each other. Task killers are redundant, unnecessary and typically cause more harm than good. Yes, this goes against all that you have been told as an Android user…Unlike a PC where you must manage memory yourself by closing programs, the Android OS (2.2 and above) is meant to manage memory and processes on its own. Let's say the user launches an application. This app will then stay in memory until it absolutely needs to be closed. This is done to improve application launch time; the app will "run" in the background – leaving battery and performance essentially unaffected…Killing the app removes it from memory and will slow down the application launch next time you need it. Android will automatically begin closing applications as needed, starting with the ones that have been inactive for the longest…I don't think I can explain it any better than Whitson Gordon of Lifehacker: "... it's actually possible that this will worsen your phone's performance and battery life. Whether you're manually killing apps all the time or telling the task killer to aggressively remove apps from your memory, you're actually using CPU cycles when you otherwise wouldn't…some of the processes related to those apps will actually start right back up, further draining your CPU. If they don't, killing those processes can cause other sorts of problems—alarms don't go off, you don't receive text messages, or other related apps may force close without warning…you're usually better off letting your phone work as intended…” http://lifehacker.com/5650894/android-task-killers-explained-what-they-do-and-why-you-shouldnt-use-them “…full memory is not a bad thing—we want to watch out for the CPU, the resource that actually slows down your phone and drains your battery life…Instead of killing all those apps, find out which ones are actually causing the problems…Watchdog…alerts you when the occasional app starts eating up CPU for no reason…Worse than the occasional, one-time runaway app is the poorly coded, always-eating-CPU app…If an app is causing problems on your phone, you're probably better off without it…We advocate rooting Android devices a lot at Lifehacker…because it really is as useful as everyone says it is. You can over- and underclock your phone with SetCPU, install custom ROMs that noticeably improve performance and battery life, and use the ever-useful, crapware-thwarting Autostarts utility to stop apps from starting up on your phone in the first place…with one-click rooting apps like…Universal Androot available for most phones, rooting only takes a few minutes to do…Many of you also mentioned the root-only app Titanium Backup, which will help you get rid of the pre-installed crapware that comes on most phones, which are one of the worst offenders of phone lag…if you aren't already using some form of the Power Control widget, you should. The things that drain the most battery on any smartphone are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and your screen. Turn them off when you don't need them and you'll find that you can eke out considerably more battery life…”

Open Source

25. Open Hardware Summit 2011 – Call for Submissions http://www.nycresistor.com/2011/06/06/open-hardware-summit-2011-call-for-submissions/ The Open Hardware Summit (OHS) invites submissions for the second annual summit, to be held on September 15, 2011 in New York City. The Open Hardware Summit is a venue to present, discuss, and learn about open hardware of all kinds. The summit examines open hardware and its relation to other issues, such as software, design, business, and law. We are seeking submissions for talks, breakout sessions, and demos from individuals and groups working with open hardware and related areas. Submissions are due by June 24, 2011 [submission deadline was extended to July 1, 2011 – ed.]…” [DHMN roadtrip to NYC?? – ed.]

26. Open source music identification technology launched http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/open-source-music-identification-technology-launched/ A digital company called The Echo Nest has launched a Shazam-style technology that is open source, and can therefore be used by any developers wanting to incorporate audio-based music identification into their product…the Echoprint system can identify the millions of tracks in their digital catalogue. As an open source technology it’s hoped that catalogue of identifiable tracks will grow as other developers use it…Music fingerprinting should belong to the internet. It should be a service that every developer can rely on…The Echo Nest is uniquely positioned to open its best-in-class fingerprinting technology and music resolution data to the public. Any music experience, from a streaming cloud service to a social music game can now immediately include music recognition…”

27. Bring Google Voice Search Into the Real World With The Verbalizer http://mashable.com/2011/06/23/theverbalizer/ Google Voice search for Chrome hit the web just the other week, and the company asked interactive agency Breakfast to come up with something cool to showcase the feature…Breakfast came through…with The Verbalizer, an open source hardware gizmo that lets devs (novice and otherwise) play around with the tool. Touching the board, which looks like a microphone, will set off Voice Search from 10 meters away, prompting users to “speak now” to search…Breakfast is also responsible for Instaprint, a lunchbox-sized device that turns photos modified with the iPhone app Instagram into physical prints, as well as Precious the Tweeting Bike. The company will be giving away a small number of Verbalizer kits for free, via a drawing…”

28. 7 Good Dropbox Alternatives for Linux http://www.techdrivein.com/2011/06/7-good-dropbox-alternatives-for-linux.html Dropbox is probably the most popular online file storage and synchronization tool among Linux users…But as a Linux user, what really are the alternatives to Dropbox for online file storage?...SparkleShare…SpiderOak…Ubuntu One…Wuala…Minus…ZumoDrive…”

29. Performance and Scalability in Drupal 7 http://drupalwatchdog.com/1/1/performance-scalability-drupal-7 “…Drupal 7 contains more new features and architectural changes than any previous version. Over 50 contributed modules have been moved into core, several subsystems have been re-factored, and many thousands of smaller changes have been committed. We’ll review some of the challenges that face Drupal 6 sites, fixes and new features available in Drupal 7, and what new features may be in store for Drupal 8…” [this item is for people considering participating in DrupalCampWI, http://drupalcampwi.com/, on July 22 – 23 – ed.]


30. FTC to Serve Google With Subpoenas in Broad Antitrust Probe http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303339904576403603764717680.html The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is poised to serve Google Inc. with civil subpoenas, according to people familiar with the matter, signaling the start of a wide-ranging, formal antitrust investigation into whether the search giant has abused its dominance on the Web. The five-member panel is preparing within days to send Google the formal demands for information…From Google's perspective, the FTC's embryonic antitrust probe is the most serious to date in the U.S. Although Google has faced numerous antitrust investigations in recent years, at least in the U.S., federal inquiries have so far largely been limited to reviews of its mergers and acquisitions…The new FTC investigation, by contrast, will examine fundamental issues relating to Google's core search-advertising business, which still accounts for the majority of its revenue…”

31. Google battles MicroSkype with 'open' VoIP protocol http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/24/googles_moves_voip_to_jingle/ Google has moved its Google Talk VoIP infrastructure to Jingle, the voice and media signaling protocol that seeks to provide an open-standard alternative to the proprietary protocols used by the Microsoft-owned Skype and other VoIP technologies…the company is now supporting the Jingle XEP-166 and XEP-167 protocols for Google Talk calls to and from Gmail, iGoogle…the company will retain its old protocol for backwards compatibility. Google has also added the same support to libjingle, the Voice and P2P Interoperability Library used by many Google Talk native clients. The company intends to update the Google Talk Android client to Jingle…Jingle was developed by Google, Collabora, Yate, and two VoIP outfits that are now part of Cisco: Tandberg and Jabber…Google recently open sourced a framework for real-time video and audio inside the browser. Known as WebRTC, the framework is based on technology…of Global IP Solutions (GIPS)…"We’d like to make the browser the home for innovation in real time communications," Google said…Skype is not a browser technology. And it doesn't use standard protocols. But it does have the users, which now number 170 million worldwide.” http://www.techzone360.com/news/2011/06/24/5596066.htm “…Others that support it include Asterisk, FreeSWITCH, Nimbuzz, and Pidgin. Imagine a P2P protocol that lets the thousands of Asterisk-based PBXs to communicate with each other using XMPP. Taking the Asterisk ecosystem along with other large user bases from Nimbuzz, Google Talk, and potentially others could potentially build the largest P2P VoIP / video conferencing network in the world. Bigger than Skype…”

32. Google+, Its Most Facebookish Effort Yet http://www.thestreet.com/story/11168783/1/google-its-most-facebookish-effort-yet.html On Tuesday Google launched Google+, its latest social networking project, with big hopes you'll attend the virtual party. Borrowing heavily from Facebook and its own…social efforts like Buzz and Wave, Google+ is designed to give users a social homepage to organize friends and interests. Google's chief of social ventures Vic Gundotra unveiled Google+ in a blog post complete with six video snippets, which introduce the various features of the service…”

33. Wyoming Is First State Government to Fully Embrace Google Cloud http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2011/06/23/news/01top_06-23-11.txt Wyoming plans to save $1 million a year by becoming the first state in the nation to fully partner with Google and its cloud-based email and information-sharing software. The state's executive branch and its 10,000 employees officially completed the conversion to Google Apps for Government on Wednesday…to bring better efficiency, security and storage space for the state's computing operations…The Web-based tools include Google's email client, plus Google Calendar and the Google Docs program that allows multiple users to collaborate in real-time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations…the state's chief information officer, said the state was allocated $5 million for the email platform conversion…he expects Wyoming to come under the budgeted amount…"When you replace the need for 13 to 14 people running specific mail services all the time, that alone gets us into the $1 million area,"…"Then you move into server costs, licensing costs…there also are unquantifiable savings, such as the efficiencies created by the technology that allows employees to simultaneously collaborate on projects…Among the early adopters of the Google software are several agencies in the federal government, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and many municipalities, including Los Angeles…and Orlando…the cloud-based programs eliminate the need for someone to constantly monitor and update the software…because it updates itself automatically…Wyoming's legislative branch is not included in the platform change…The legislators made the decision after Legislative Service Office staff said the Microsoft email service would fit better with the Legislature's Microsoft SharePoint Legislative Management System.”

34. Google Health: Why It's Ending & What It Means http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_health_why_its_ending_what_it_means.php Google's quest to organize the world's information will no longer include one of society's most important and sensitive sources of data: our health records. The company announced this afternoon that Google Health will be closed…along with…Google Power Meter…they got very little traction…health industry tech innovators say that Google Health may have been ahead of its time…Medical information heavy-hitter John D. Halamka MD says…"Google Health is truly innovative and broke new ground when it created interfaces to hospitals, labs, and pharmacies in 2008…it was Google's reputation and vision that broke down the political barriers keeping data from patients...Google Health [still] has the best user interface, feature set, and ease of use of all the stand alone personal health records."…says Mark Scrimshire, co-founder of the HealthCamp Foundation…"Personally, I still use Google Health on a daily basis. My Fitbit and numerous other health related data sources feed in to Google Health and pass data out to other services like Keas.com [a workplace wellness program]. I recently moved my Pharmacy because I could have my data automatically piped in to Google Health...The health care sector is flush with money, power, fear and according to some, technological apathy or ineptitude….many of the medical IT systems in this country are built really poorly…There is a paucity of consumer health information in structured, machine computable format. Maybe in a few years once we get doctors comfortable using EHRs and readily sharing records with their patients that may change…Few consumers are interested in a digital filing cabinet for their records. What they are interested in is what that data can do for them. Can it help them better manage their health and/or the health of a loved one? Will it help them make appointments? Will it saved them money on their health insurance bill, their next doctor visit? Can it help them automatically get a prescription refill?...a number of people…agreed that Google launched a stronger health data product than Microsoft, but that Microsoft's HealthVault has since surpassed Google Health…Google Health…offers no incentive to use it, it positioned itself as a data repository and not much else…”

35. Will Google disrupt venture capital? http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/06/22/will-google-ventures-disrupt-venture-capital/ “…The VC industry is undergoing some massive changes and is in the process of being disrupted by a new breed of investors that are attacking the edges of the market and competing with a new, differentiated approach. Google Ventures, a co-investor alongside Sequoia in HubSpot's Series D, is one such firm. Google has a history of reinventing industries and questioning conventional wisdom – and they're trying to do it again with their approach to venture capital. Here are six ways Google Ventures is attempting to disrupt the VC industry: 1. Engineering support…2. Unmatched brand on Main Street...3. Helping with the tech talent war…4. Access to Google proper…5. Non-traditional deal flow…6. Brilliant insights…”

36. Google releases Chrome extension to detect risky Javascript behavior http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/06/google-releases-chrome-extension-to-detect-risky-javascript-behavior.ars Google has created a new tool that allows those who install it to see security holes on websites…Named DOM Snitch, the Chrome extension uses various ways of intercepting Javascript calls to spot the use of functions that can inject code from outside sources…as Web applications become more complex, the number and kinds of attacks that can be successfully launched against them will increase. Google hopes that the tool will help developers, testers, and security professionals tie up more loose ends with their code and prevent client-side attacks…DOM Snitch can intercept many different kinds of Javascript calls and then record the URLs accessed by a document and a complete stack trace. This set of information lets developers and testers see if any interlopers who intercept a call would be able to progress to "cross-site scripting, mixed content," or "insecure modifications to the same-origin policy for DOM access…”

37. Google's Swiffy makes Flash files HTML5 friendly http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20075135-248/googles-swiffy-makes-flash-files-html5-friendly/ A new tool from Google Labs called Swiffy is taking aim at Flash files on the Web by converting them to HTML5 for use on devices without Flash capabilities…SWF files can run…through the Swiffy converter, which splits it into a JSON file, then renders it with HTML, Scalable Vector Graphics, and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). As a result of the process, Google says the converted files have rendering performance that's "quite good," with a file size that's "slightly larger" than the original. Google's tool joins Wallaby, a similar effort from Adobe, which debuted earlier this year. It turns FLA-formatted files into HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS…”

General Technology

38. Oblong: the next Macintosh-level of disruption http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/23/oblong-mezzanine/ “…every once in a while something crops up that is truly game-changing. And it restores my faith in technology. That’s the best way to describe what I saw when I met with Oblong Industries this week. The technologies that Oblong is working on…are absolutely revolutionary. And they will shape the future of computing…Underkoffler’s…TED presentation last year…wowed the audience by showing off the g-speak SOE (spatial operating environment) technology that Oblong has built…Underkoffler was also the guy who advised the filmmakers behind Steve Spielberg’s 2002 film Minority Report…gesture computing scenes are his work…over the past decade or so, he’s been working to bring that technology to the real world with Oblong…The product is called Mezzanine…a spatial operating environment meant to be used in conference rooms and other large meeting areas…the system I used consisted of three large screens front and center, two vertically-aligned screen on a wall to the right, a whiteboard to the wall on the left, and two cameras (one in front pointing at you, and one to the side pointing at the whiteboard). The main points of interaction are two “wands”…And it just works, to borrow from the Apple-esque way of thinking about products. I picked up one of the wands and within two minutes I knew exactly what I was doing. I could transfer data around the screens. I could zoom in to certain data. I could crop and manipulate other data. I could zoom out for a full view of all the information available. It’s unbelievable how natural it all feels. The next time I have to use PowerPoint for a presentation, I’m going to want to shoot myself…Kramer and Ubderkoffler agree that consumer technologies like the Wii and the Kinect are perfect in helping to transition people over to these future concepts of computing…Mezzanine itself is already being used by a handful of big early partners (Boeing, for example)…It’s fair to say it will be about three years until this is fully into consumer electronics devices…”

39. Graphics and CPUs Together: Are Heterogeneous Processors the Future of Computing? http://blogs.pcmag.com/miller/2011/06/graphics_and_cpus_together_are.php “…AMD Senior Vice President Rich Bergman said heterogeneous computing is the biggest change in the microprocessor industry in the past 30 years…He said…by 2020, a notebook would have 10 teraflops of power. In contrast, he pointed out that the first 10 teraflop supercomputer only shipped in 2001…Phil Rogers then talked about how we have moved from single-core processors to multi-core to the heterogonous systems era…we have GPU cores for data parallelism and the ability to distribute the work load among GPU and CPU cores, especially for media experience. But…this is constrained by programming models and communications overhead…We're headed toward an "architected era," he said, where the GPU is a peer processor, not a separate device, with a single unified address space and the ability to run full C++. It allows for things such as nested data-parallel programs…Sutter talked about how the software industry had 30 years of a "free lunch," where processor cores and thus applications kept getting faster, but that ended about six years ago. Since then, though, he said the industry has succeeded in "putting a parallel supercomputer on every desk, in every living room, in every pocket."…The issue has always been that the graphics processors were great at certain functions (games, video, and some audio processing), but using them effectively for more general-purpose computing functions (whether through Nvidia's CUDA or more general standards, such as Open CL and DirectCompute) has been relatively difficult. If the move to heterogeneous processor cores is going to actually produce faster, more powerful computing that matters, it will need better tools…”

40. Professional Video Editors Weigh In on Final Cut Pro X http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/23/professional-video-editors-weigh-in-on-final-cut-pro-x/ In 10 years of writing Times columns, I’ve never encountered anything quite like this…I reviewed Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, a professional video-editing program. It’s not an update of the existing Final Cut, which is by far the most popular such program; it’s completely new and radically redesigned…after one day of using it, many professional video editors are running through the streets with pitchforks…I wrote my review from the perspective of an advanced amateur; I’m not a professional editor. I made four movies with Final Cut Pro X, including helping my son with a 20-minute final eighth-grade project. I found FCP X infinitely more powerful than iMovie, yet infinitely less intimidating than the old Final Cut…in this post, I’m going to address the concerns of professional video editors, one by one…The “missing features” generally fall into three categories: features that are actually there and have just been moved around, features that Apple intends to restore and features that require a third-party (non-Apple) add-on or plug-in…FCP X offers legions of amazing features that the old version didn’t have, but it doesn’t have all the features of the old one, either…Apple has followed the typical Apple sequence: (1) throw out something that’s popular and comfortable but increasingly ancient, (2) replace it with something that’s slick and modern and forward-looking and incomplete, (3) spend another year finishing it up, restoring missing pieces…”

41. How to Make a Clock Run for 10,000 Years http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/06/10000-year-clock/all/1 “…Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos…started construction on a clock that he hopes will run for 10,000 years…His hope is that building it will change the way humanity thinks about time, encouraging our distant descendants to take a longer view than we have…it’s also an unparalleled engineering problem, challenging its makers to think about how to keep a machine intact, operational and accurate over a time span longer than most human-made objects have even existed. Consider this: 10,000 years ago, our ancestors had barely begun making the transition from hunting and gathering to simple agriculture, and had just figured out how to cultivate gourds to use as bottles. What if those people had built a machine, set it in motion, and it was still running today?...The idea for the clock has been around since Danny Hillis first proposed it in WIRED magazine in 1995. Since then, Hillis and others have built prototypes and created a nonprofit, the Long Now Foundation, to work on the clock and promote long-term thinking. But nobody actually started building a full-scale 10,000-year clock until Bezos put up a small portion — $42 million, he says — of his fortune…computers at Jet Propulsion Laboratories have spent months calculating the sun’s position in the sky at noon every day for the next 10,000 years, data that the clock will use to correct itself. This year, excavation began on the Texas desert site where the clock will be installed deep underground…last month, the Smithsonian agreed to let the Long Now Foundation install a 10,000-year clock in one of its Washington museums, once they can find someone to fund it…”

42. Intel Haswell Will Rival Today's Discrete Graphics http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20073883-64/intels-haswell-chip-in-focus-heads-up-nvidia/ “…The mobile version of Haswell will be Intel's first system-on-a-chip designed for the mainstream laptop market…system-on-a-chip, or SoC, is the de rigueur design for smartphones and tablets. All of the system's core processing silicon--typically comprised of two or more separate chips in a PC--is crammed onto one chip to accommodate the space constraints…Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor would be a good example of a popular SoC today used in smartphones and tablets… The difference between now and 2013 is that by then Haswell-based Ultrabooks will be cheap…Intel's Kilroy…cited a likely price of $599…if Intel has its druthers, those Ultrabooks will not require any extra graphics…from…Nvidia…Intel's Advanced Vector Extensions, or AVX…addresses the continued need for vector floating-point performance in mainstream scientific and engineering numerical applications, visual processing, recognition, data-mining/synthesis, gaming, physics, cryptography…”

43. Race to be first with 'son of supersonic' http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TECH/innovation/06/21/concorde.hyper.sonic/ “…supersonic aircraft are just like buses: You wait years for one, and then two come along at once…eight years after Concorde touched down for the last time, plane manufacturers and designers at the Paris Air Show have unveiled rival "son of supersonic" concepts…EADS's Zero Emission Hyper Sonic Transport (ZEHST), will be powered by biofuel made from seaweed, carrying passengers above the Earth's atmosphere…EADS says the plane's three engine types -- conventional jets, rockets and supersonic "ramjets" -- will allow it to speed at Mach 4, around 5,000 kmh. That would cut the journey time from Paris to Tokyo from its current 11 hours to less than 2.5 hours…The second, SonicStar, is billed by its creators Hyper Mach as "the future in flight." It will fly at twice the speed of Concorde, linking New York and Dubai in two hours, 20 minutes -- about the time it would take to watch just one in-flight movie -- and allow passengers to fly around the globe in under five hours…”

44. AMD quits benchmark group because of bias favoring Intel CPUs http://www.extremetech.com/computing/87438-amd-damns-sysmark-2012-resigns-from-bapco Citing unfair and opaque testing methods that are not based on real-world computing models and software applications, AMD has…withdrawn its support for BAPCo’s SYSmark 2012 benchmark suite…The exact reasons aren’t given, but it seems to mostly hinge on AMD’s shift towards APUs — combined CPUs and GPUs — and SYSmark’s inability to accurately measure their performance. SYSmark, in other words, is unfairly biased towards Intel’s raw processing power…AMD now wants to support an open and fair suite of processor benchmarks…AMD isn’t interested in making its own benchmark suite — instead, it wants to back the creation of a new industry consortium that will be tasked with creating an open benchmark to measure overall system performance.”

45. The Socialization of Microscopes http://blogs.forbes.com/jenniferhicks/2011/06/26/the-socialization-of-microscopes/ Remember seventh grade biology when you picked a lab partner, did some unnamed experiments and then huddled around the single microscope in the lab where you had a 1.9 second glance at what was beneath the slides? That is broadly what still goes on today in diagnostic medicine…standard operating procedure in microscopy is a private, one-on-one, single user experience. But now, a few researchers in Finland are changing that game…first, let’s have a tiny microscope lesson: one user views a sample under a private or multi-headed microscope and interprets what he sees in a specific region of his interest in a sample area. He then passes that sample to someone else and they do the same thing. There is no collated response, no simultaneous dialogue, no directions to guide them to all the same interest or sample areas…That’s like trying to give directions to someone by using a map without an address. Dr. Johan Lundin…discovered a way to get everyone on the same page or in this case, look at the same areas of a sample simultaneously with one microscope…Dr. Lundin’s extreme multi-touch microscope, for the lack of any other name, is the first fully functional big-screen multi-touch microscope that reads image data over the web…watch this 1.43 minute video. The extreme microscope makes the microscope as we know it more social with multiple people viewing the sample simultaneously. Social. Simultaneous. Real-time…These elements…will have a tremendous impact on how researchers and clinicians can share and discuss microscopy images to diagnose diseases. Also, the interface is user friendly, with a minimal learning curve and more comfortable for the eyes than a conventional microscope. In addition, the field-of-view…is substantially larger on the full HD 46 inch display…Now you can consult with someone thousands of miles away on the exact same image, in the exact same location and area of interest, at extremely high resolution…”

DHMN Technology

46. Nevada Passes Law Authorizing Driverless Cars http://blogs.forbes.com/alexknapp/2011/06/22/nevada-passes-law-authorizing-driverless-cars/ The State of Nevada just passed Assembly Bill No. 511 which, among other things, authorizes the Department of Transportation to develop rules and regulations governing the use of driverless cars, such as Google’s concept car, on its roads…this is a big step forward in ensuring that safe, driverless cars become a reality…”

47. Heads-Up Display In My Glasses http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2011/06/heads-up-display-in-my-glasses.html “…For years I’ve fantasized about getting glasses that have a heads-up display (HUD) integrated into them. This HUD would be connected to a computer somehow, which would of course be connected to the Internet, which would then give me access to whatever I wanted through my glasses…The pieces finally exist since I’m carrying a computer in my pocket…that’s always connected to the Internet. My glasses just need bluetooth to pair with my phone, an appropriate display, a processor, a camera, and the right software…I could control it via a spatial operating environment like Oblong’s g-speak. I’m interested in investing in a team going after this. The magic will be on the software side – I want to work with folks that believe the hardware will be available, can integrate existing products, are comfortable with consumer electronics products, but are obsessed with “assembling the hardware” and “hacking the software.” If this is you, or someone you know, please aim them at me…” http://io9.com/5814222/is-the-rise-of-wearable-electronics-finally-here “…Here are some milestones, mistakes, and projects in the world of wearable electronics…I think we're finally entering an era where wearable electronics can look good and work well…”

48. VW Adds Autopilot, Says Keep Your Eyes on the Road http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/06/vw-adds-an-autopilot-but-says-keep-your-eyes-on-the-road/ Researchers at Volkswagen have joined the growing list of teams working on autonomous vehicles. Now…they’ve converted a Passat to drive with minimal driver supervision. Volkswagen’s system is called Temporary Auto Pilot (TAP) and uses a series of cameras and sensors to control the vehicle at speeds upwards of 80 mph. The system combines and refines existing semiautonomous features such as lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control into a single program that accelerates, brakes and steers. It differs from previous VW autonomous vehicles such as Stanley, famous for its role in the DARPA Challenge, in that it still requires driver supervision and made of mostly production-ready components…”

49. WiFi over TV spectrum: Microsoft tests ‘white spaces’ in U.K. http://www.geekwire.com/2011/wifi-tv-signals-microsoft-testing-white-spaces-uk Microsoft and a large group of companies in the U.K. are launching a new trial of wireless Internet transmissions on unused “white spaces” television spectrum in Cambridge, England — seeking to prove, among other things, that the technology can work without conflicting with traditional television broadcasts. The technology is often called “WiFi on Steroids” because of the ability of the TV spectrum to provide Internet access over much larger distances than traditional WiFi – a potential range of multiple miles. Microsoft has been testing the technology on its Redmond campus, including techniques for avoiding interference with TV broadcasts and wireless microphones…”

50. The Origin of the word Daemon http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/Daemon.html “…Professor Corbato…Someone has asked me the origin of the word daemon as it applies to computing. Best I can tell based on my research, the word was first used by people on your team at Project MAC using the IBM 7094 in 1963…Does this sound about right?...From Fernando J. Corbato: Your explanation of the origin of the word daemon is correct in that my group began using the term around that time frame…Our use of the word daemon was inspired by the Maxwell's daemon of physics and thermodynamics. (My background is Physics.) Maxwell's daemon was an imaginary agent which helped sort molecules of different speeds and worked tirelessly in the background. We fancifully began to use the word daemon to describe background processes which worked tirelessly to perform system chores. I found a very good explanation of all this online…It comes from a web-column entitled "Take Our Word For It" run by Melanie and Mike Crowley, etymology enthusiasts…Demon and daemon were once used interchangeably. The former came to English from medieval Latin, while the latter was from classical Latin. The earliest use appears to have been in the phrase daemon of Socrates, which was his "attendant, ministering, or indwelling spirit; genius". That was in the late 14th century. It was a short time later that the term demon came to refer to "an evil spirit" by influence of its usage in various versions of the Bible…This is how the evil connotation arose. By the late 16th century, the general supernatural meaning was being distinguished with the spelling daemon, while the evil meaning remained with demon…The 19th century scientist James Maxwell once…imagined a closed container which was divided in half. In the middle of the divider was a tiny gate, just large enough to admit one molecule of gas. This gate, in Maxwell's imagination, was operated by a tiny daemon. This daemon observed the speed (i.e. temperature) of the molecules heading for the gate and, depending on the speed, let them through..As you probably know, the "system processes" called daemons monitor other tasks and perform predetermined actions depending on their behavior…Professor Jerome H. Saltzer, who also worked on Project MAC, confirms the Maxwell's demon explanation…”

Leisure & Entertainment

51. Lytro: Shoot-First-Then-Focus Tech That May Change Photography Forever http://www.fastcompany.com/1762270/harry-potter-esque-photos-worth-50-million-lytro That click you just heard? That was the sound of photography as we know it changing. Lytro is a Silicon Valley startup that's building on research carried out by CEO Ren Ng at Stanford, and its promise is simple: With its light field camera hardware and software, it could change photography in an almost unimaginable number of ways--starting with the thing that most news sites have picked up on…the lack of a need to focus a photo…So what's the fuss all about? It's called light field, or plenoptic, photography, and the core thinking behind Lytro is contained neatly in one paper from the original Stanford research…Normal cameras work in roughly the same way your eye does, with a lens at the front that gathers rays of light from the view in front of it, and focuses them through an aperture onto a sensor (the silicon in your DSLR or the retina in your eye). To focus your eye or a traditional camera you adjust the lens in different ways to capture light rays from different parts of the scene and throw it onto the sensor…This does have a number of side effects, including the need to focus on one thing. This adds complexity…to a photo…Lytro's technology includes a large array of microlenses in front of the camera sensor. Think of them as a synthetic equivalent of the thousands of tiny lenses on a fly's eye…the overall result is this: Instead of the camera's sensor recording a single image that's shaped by the settings of your camera lens, aperture and so on, the sensor records a complex pattern that represents light coming from all the parts of the scene in front of it, not just the bits you would've focused on using a normal camera. The image is then passed to software which can decode it…” http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20073206-264/start-up-lytro-tries-refocusing-camera-industry/

52. Harry Potter and the amazing exploding book industry http://gigaom.com/2011/06/23/harry-potter-and-the-amazing-exploding-book-industry/ “…J.K. Rowling has adamantly refused to offer electronic versions of her phenomenally popular series for young adults — until now…the billionaire writer also announced that e-book versions of the novels will be available directly through the site for all major platforms. In one fell swoop, Rowling has cut both her publishers and booksellers such as Amazon out of the picture…Rowling admitted she has been skeptical of the idea in the past, but said she downloaded one earlier this year and enjoyed it, and eventually realized “e-books are here to stay.” The author has been notorious for her refusal to allow electronic versions of the books, in part because of fears that the books would be pirated (which they have been anyway, of course)…somewhat surprisingly (given her apparent fear about piracy) the e-books will have no DRM built in, although they will have “digital watermarking” that gives each copy a unique ID…many authors do not retain the electronic publishing rights to their works, which the Harry Potter author did — possibly because e-book rights weren’t considered that valuable when she originally negotiated her contracts…” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/8592952/Harry-Potter-fever-as-JK-Rowling-launches-online-treasure-hunt.html JK Rowling’s magical Harry Potter world is set to be revived on Thursday in an online game leading to real life prizes. It appears the author’s latest project, the eagerly anticipated Pottermore, will involve a treasure hunt linked to an online game…”

53. Online game Star Wars Galaxies set to close http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13925263 “…Sony has announced that its Star Wars Galaxies online game will be shut down on 15 December…the closure had come about because its contract to run the Star Wars game runs out in 2012, not because of declining player numbers…Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley said the combination of the contract finishing and the imminent arrival of a separate Star Wars game made it "feel like it's the right time for the game to end". The other Star Wars game is Bioware's The Old Republic that is currently under development. Sony also runs the free-to-play Clone Wars Adventures online game…”

54. Boredom Busters: 50 Fantastic Play-and-Learn Apps, Sites, and Toys http://mindshift.kqed.org/2011/06/boredom-busters-50-fantastic-play-and-learn-apps-sites-and-toys/ When they’re not exploring outdoors, keep kids engaged in learning throughout the summer months with these enjoyable and educational apps and websites. For kids, playing these games is a cool pastime; for parents, it’s another way to get kids to exercise their thinking muscles…MINECRAFT. This online game lets you build entire worlds out of blocks…CAESAR III. In this simulation, you begin as a lowly citizen trying to eke out an existence in a virgin landscape…learning about the basic needs for survival…ANSEL & CLAIR’S ADVENTURES IN AFRICA…must recover their lost spaceship parts, and…learn about the geography and history of the area…THINKING WORLDS. Kids enter a virtual world…and engage in a wide variety of explorations…QUEST ATLANTIS. Kids are engaged in a narrative as compelling as The Chronicles of Narnia…as active participants in the story…WOLFQUEST…you become a solitary wolf, struggling to find your place in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park…CYBERNETWORLDS. In this family-run virtual universe called Viamus, kids can build and create any type of environment…MINDSNACKS…offer a mobile gaming and learning experience to help brush up on your vocabulary…PBS KIDS VIDEO. The app gives access to more than 1,000 streaming videos from various PBS Kids’ series, including The Cat in the Hat…”

55. Magicka PvP mode out now, new arenas and robes http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/06/22/magicka-pvp-mode-out-now-new-arenas-and-robes-available/ “…Arrowhead Game’s Magicka…free PvP is out now…the Tarantino inspired trailer…shows just one way in which wizards can fall out. The other is just to play Magicka’s story mode, where friendly fire kills almost as many wizards as the hordes of enemies you’re trying to obliterate. The PvP mode comes with free two arenas, the Training Ground and the Havindir Arena…Classic deathmatch is a fiery free-for-all mode in which the last wizard standing wins. Brawl mode lets you form teams, but limits each player to a set number of lives. Krietor mode unlocks more powerful spells as the round progresses…Three other maps can also be bought on Steam…There’s also a new Party Robes pack that adds three new wizard outfits, designed to improve your wizards’ survival rate in co-op. The tank robe turns your wizard into an armoured powerhouse, the rogue robe can cloak on the battlefield and the support robe buffs the spellcasting power of those around the wearer – surely not a good robe to wear to a PvP fight. As with all Magicka DLC, it’s possible to jump into the hosts paid-for maps even if you don’t own them yourself…”

Economy and Technology

56. President Obama Launches Advanced Manufacturing Partnership http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/24/president-obama-launches-advanced-manufacturing-partnership “…President Obama launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national effort bringing together industry, universities, and the federal government to invest in the emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance our global competitiveness…The President’s plan, which leverages existing programs and proposals, will invest more than $500 million to jumpstart this effort…Investments will be made in the following key areas: building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries; reducing the time needed to make advanced materials used in manufacturing products; establishing U.S. leadership in next-generation robotics; increasing the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes; and developing new technologies that will dramatically reduce the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods…the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology…released a report…entitled “Ensuring Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing.”…AMP will be led by Andrew Liveris, Chairman, President, and CEO of Dow Chemical, and Susan Hockfield, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology…universities initially involved in the AMP will be the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and University of Michigan. The manufacturers initially involved in the AMP will be Allegheny Technologies, Caterpillar, Corning, Dow Chemical, Ford, Honeywell, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, Northrop Grumman, Procter and Gamble, and Stryker…Initial investments include small high-powered batteries, advanced composites, metal fabrication, bio-manufacturing, and alternative energy…$70 million to support research in next generation robots…that will work closely with human operators – allowing new ability for factory workers, healthcare providers, soldiers, surgeons and astronauts…Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency…new approaches that have potential to dramatically reduce – by up to a factor of 5 – the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods…Proctor & Gamble…will make available advanced software at no cost to American small and mid-sized manufacturers through the recently launched Midwest Modeling and Simulation consortium…Department of Energy launch of an initiative with the Ford Motor Company and the National Association of Manufacturers to make use of the Department’s National Training & Education Resource to educate and train a new generation of manufacturers…” http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

57. It's Getting Awfully Lonely in PC Land http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424053111904548404576397750637222820.html Has the personal-computer business become too toxic to touch? It seems as if companies can't get out of the PC business fast enough. Micron Technology which makes DRAM memory chips that go into PCs, among other things…warned that its view into the PC market is not encouraging…sales of desktop and notebook computers are weak…Dell and Hewlett-Packard have made mighty strides to bulk up their offerings in services and in sales of server computers and networking and storage equipment, and also software, in order to look somewhat more like International Business Machines, which exited the PC business in 2005…analyst Toni Sacconaghi offered a think piece last week in which he pondered whether HP and Dell could dump their PC businesses…When counting not just individual sales of PCs, but also all the peripherals, the support contracts, etc., the PC market generates almost 70% of Dell's revenue, and almost half its profit. For HP, PCs and related sales make up a third of revenue and 13% of profit…”

58. Will Google's OS Topple the Ubuntu Empire? http://www.datamation.com/open-source/will-googles-os-topple-the-ubuntu-empire-.html In a previous article about Google Chromebooks, I talked about how these machines will compete with other non-Windows (that is, Linux) netbook options…one area I did not touch on was the tablet computer market. In this market, Apple dominates. Others are left scrambling to gain a piece of whatever scraps happen to be left…any Linux distribution in the tablet market faces existing options that already have iOS and Android heavily embedded…with Linux distributions like Ubuntu, I see little chance that they're going to be able to do battle with the existing tablet OS selections -- they're so late to the game as it is…I enjoy using Linux on my desktop PC. I also find ample enjoyment in using select Linux distributions on my netbook and notebook…Unfortunately when I reach for a tablet, I doubt it will be running Ubuntu or any other community-sourced distro. Most likely I will stay with Android or iOS…”

59. Freelance Mac App Bundle Offers Eight Work-Centric Apps at a Serious Discount http://lifehacker.com/5816026/freelance-mac-app-bundle-offers-eight-work+centric-apps-at-a-serious-discount “…This latest Mac app bundle offers a bunch of applications for freelance workers at a heavy discount. $49 nets you several popular apps, such as 1Password, TextExpander, Billings, WriteRoom, LittleSnapper, and more. Some of the apps cost almost as much as the bundle price on its own. Unlike many Mac software packs, pretty much all of the apps are popular and useful…”

60. PayPal Hits 100 Million Active Users http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/27/paypal-hits-100-million-active-users/ PayPal has hit 100 million active users. The company…estimates…$3 billion in mobile total payments volume (TPV) in 2011…PayPal now represents 39 percent of eBay’s total revenue, and nearly made $1 billion in revenue for the company in the first quarter of 2011, up 23 percent from the same quarter in the previous year…PayPal is also seeing up to $10 million in mobile TPV a day…The company currently has eight million customers who are regularly making purchases on their mobile phones…”

Civilian Aerospace

61. Help wanted: replacement for rockets http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/2011-06-25-space-rockets_n.htm “…"If space is the final frontier, why are we still using the same technology that took Yuri Gagarin into orbit a half-century ago," asks Jonathan Coopersmith of Texas A&M University in College Station. "The answer is economics: Rockets just cost too much and are inherently limited in how cheap they can get."…Amid a fierce fight today among firms to build a rocket to replace the space shuttle retiring with next month's final Atlantis launch, he suggests some of the development dough would be better spent on a newer technology than…chemical rockets…Aerospace engineers rate the efficiency of propellants in terms of "specific impulse,"…For chemical rockets, this value tops out around 453 seconds, seen in the space shuttle's main engines…For comparison, the ion thrusters aboard NASA's Dawn mission now closing in on the asteroid Vesta…have a specific impulse of 3,100 seconds…while costs of rocketing a pound of cargo into a high stationary orbit have dropped from $32,000 to $21,000 from 1999 to 2008, a 34% drop, that still is way too high for spaceflight to become practical…Time to start spending some money on alternatives, such as beamed energy propulsion, where ground-based lasers or microwaves burn propellant coating the bottom of a rocket, providing thrust. Or space elevators, where tethers equipped with elevators would connect a satellite parked in a stationary orbit 22,300-miles above the ground…”

62. Without NASA How Will We Regulate Commercial Space Flight? http://blogs.forbes.com/waynecrews/2011/06/23/catching-air-without-nasa-how-will-we-regulate-commercial-space-flight/ “…The private experimental launches of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and forthcoming low-earth-orbit…rides (such as Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic) are awesome and vitally important…they lay the groundwork for humanity’s next evolution in transportation…while it’s still early in the game, we should strive to keep regulators earthbound. The FAA calls low-earth orbit flight risky; pioneers like Branson say they’ll be safer than government-manned space flight…We’ll inevitably need to revisit the global Outer Space Treaty that forbids or undermines commercial development of the moon or asteroids. In the 1400s, Spain, Portugal and England weren’t about to agree not to cross the oceans. A treaty-replacement “Homestead Act” type mindset encourages leaps forward, spurring advances in robotics, communications and nanotechnology…Commercial space’s real hurdle, if it can avoid entangling alliances with government, is dealing with inevitable dangers in a grown-up way by fostering the right risk-management institutions…industries that don’t exist yet aren’t over-regulated yet, and thus have the potential to create extraordinary wealth. We must lay the groundwork for the fundamental risk-management-market institutions that enhance safety better than tossing everything to regulators…”

63. ISS Will Broadcast First Streaming HD Video of Earth http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-06/iss-will-broadcast-streaming-hd-video-earth-starting-next-year “…A Canadian company called UrtheCast…arranged a deal with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, to bring two cameras to the International Space Station sometime later this year, where they will be mounted on the exterior…One camera will shoot in high-definition, with a frame rate of 3.25 fps, and another will broadcast in lower resolution, offering a three-color image. It will provide the first high-definition continuous video footage of Earth…The system will work as a sort of mashup between Google Earth and YouTube…connecting live footage with maps and other capabilities. Users will be able to pause, rewind and zoom, and view specific times and locations — so long as the ISS was passing overhead at the time…”

64. International Conference on Low-Cost Planetary Missions http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110623/full/news.2011.381.html The potential cost of NASA's flagship mission to Jupiter's icy moon Europa was recently put at $4.7 billion…John Sommerer thinks that his laboratory can send a probe to Saturn's moon Titan for less than one-tenth of that. Sommerer…made his case to planetary scientists this week during a conference at the APL on low-cost space missions…For instance, MESSENGER, a Discovery Program mission to Mercury, did one fly-by of Earth, two of Venus, and three of Mercury before settling into orbit in March. By using the planets' gravity to get into position, the probe saved fuel for the difficult orbital insertion…There are savings to be made on hardware, too. Maria Zuber, principal investigator for GRAIL, a mission to measure the Moon's gravitational field, used instrument designs from GRACE, an Earth-science mission with similar gravity-measuring goals, and adapted the spacecraft's design from that of a classified military satellite…Many have high hopes for a new power source called the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), which uses a smaller amount of plutonium-238 and is more efficient than previous radioisotope power sources. Two of the three finalists for the latest round of Discovery Program missions…include an ASRG…Since the Discovery Program began in 1992, seven stand-alone missions have launched successfully. Another three are under way, including GRAIL…”

65. Spinning Robotic Landers http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/spinning-landers-planetary-explorers-2075/ “…a robotic lander for surface missions to planets and moons…secret rests in a spinning midsection based on proven satellite technology that ensures almost unshakable stability. The spinning lander could land and hop across alien surfaces on springy legs…One version of the lander intended for an asteroid mission might have extra detachable harpoon legs to temporarily anchor itself to the rock…Another version aimed at Europa might add a drill for tapping the Jupiter moon's icy secrets…"The neat thing is that the thing will not tip over," Ridenoure said. "The thing will just hop and bounce and skitter until it comes to a stop."…Rosen…first harnessed spinning back in 1965 as a way to stabilize satellites holding the same geostationary orbit above the Earth. His dual-spin design kept the main satellite body spinning while an instrument platform remained motionless…The Southern California Selene Group formed by Rosen to compete in the Google Lunar X Prize…designed a three-legged robotic contender, but eventually withdrew from the competition in 2008 after expressing philosophical differences with the X Prize Foundation's vision for commercializing space and human exploration…Rosen handed off the technology to Ecliptic, and the company is now fielding queries from anyone interested in a possible low-cost lander mission…The spinning lander is small enough to reach many solar system targets by riding aboard a…Falcon 9 rocket…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

66. Nvidia Moves From Gamers to Gunners With Intelligence, Defense Apps http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Nvidia-Moves-from-Gamers-to-Gunners-with-Intelligence-Defense-Apps-397340/ I was sitting with two executives from Nvidia…On the screen in front of me was an almost unrecognizable view of a terrorist speedboat taken from the helmet-mounted camera of a Marine in a helicopter. Even the best-trained observer would be hard-pressed to count the four people in the boat. It was impossible to determine the origin of the craft or identify the weapons on the deck…with the click of a mouse, the video became a solid, stable, high-definition view in which you could see every detail. Next, was a distant shot covering a vast field across which two people were walking slowly. A movement sensing package was supposed to be highlighting the figures and alerting the person monitoring the view…But by the time it finally noticed, the people had moved almost fully across the screen. A change in the software and the figures were highlighted almost instantly. The Nvidia people were showing me the results of improvements in imaging now in use by the military and the intelligence establishment, but rarely seen by the public…its GPUs…being mounted in helmet cameras, remotely controlled drones, surveillance equipment and simulators. Effectively, Nvidia has taken the core of a supercomputer and put it into the field…Tesla modules are being put into helmets and Humvees, drones, manned aircraft and other things the intelligence community really doesn’t want us to know about. The result has been a remarkable transformation in remote imaging and remote sensing…”

67. Q&A with NVIDIA's David Kirk http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-06-22/gpu_challenges:_a_q_a_with_nvidia's_david_kirk.html “…One of the most well-attended sessions here at ISC'11 was "The GPU Debate" between NVIDIA Fellow David Kirk and LSU professor Thomas Sterling, where the two bantered about the architecture, its evolution as a general-purpose HPC processor…HPCwire caught up with Kirk and asked him about some of the specific challenges of GPU computing today…There are no plans to turn CUDA into an open standard at this point. Right now, the only processors we see being deployed widely in servers are x86 CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs and these are all supported by CUDA toolkits today…The PCIe bottleneck concern is hotly debated..We are aware of very few applications that are bottlenecked by transfer speeds…the PCIe bus is often not the slowest bus in the system. Network and disk interfaces are slower, and in many systems the CPU memory path is slower…Our future GPU architectures will continue to reduce dependence on and communication with the CPU, thus eventually very significantly limiting the PCIe bottleneck…I personally co-teach the parallel computing course, along with Dr. Wen-mei Hwu, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, so I know first-hand what it is like to switch the mindset from a purely serial based model to thinking about problems in a multi-threaded parallel environment. But the rewards are significant. Change two percent of your code and in many cases you can see up to a 10X increase in performance…we live in a parallel computing world now, so serial programming is no longer a viable option…Training the millions of software developers who are already in the industry to program in parallel – that is the biggest challenge facing HPC and parallel computing in general. This is where the elegance of the CUDA parallel programming model really helps and the reason why it has caught on…For the foreseeable future, there will be a market for a discrete CPU and a discrete GPU – the performance users, whether in HPC or in gaming or CAD workstations, need the best of both…performance scaling on CPUs seems to have reached an end. Laptops are not going beyond dual-core x86 CPUs. Even on HPC, application performance is not scaling beyond 4 cores. They end up choking on memory bandwidth…the personal computer experience is going to be dominated by SoCs with integrated ARM cores and GPUs…the CUDA programming model is that it was designed for CPU-GPU based heterogeneous architectures…Other driver-level APIs like OpenCL treat the GPU as a device that is separate from the CPU (host) and this means that OpenCL as defined today has to be extended to support an integrated CPU-GPU device…”

68. Microway GPU Computing Solutions Named Best New Technology http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-06-16/microway_gpu_computing_solutions_named_best_new_technology_at_life_sciences_summit.html Microway's GPU Computing Solutions with NVIDIA Tesla GPUs were awarded the prestigious Best New Technology award at the Life Sciences Technology Insight Summit in Boston yesterday. A uniquely comprehensive educational and executive summit, the event featured a multitude of case study presentations and interactive panels from executives from leading life sciences organizations…Attendees…saw a stunning 3D display of DNA pulled through a synthetic nanopore, driven by NAMD software running on Microway's WhisperStation-PSC (personal supercomputer). The WhisperStation included two NVIDIA Tesla C2070 GPUs and Quadro 6000 graphics…Dr. Preston Moore, of University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, demonstrated how Microway WhisperStations and clusters with Tesla GPUs enabled accelerated understanding of the physicochemical properties of biological membranes. Dr. Moore's research is leading to new drug discovery…Dr. John Wolfgang of Massachusetts General Hospital presented a case study success on "SHADIE: A Quantitative, GPU-based Volume Rendering Solution for Radiation Oncology." Running on Microway WhisperStation-Tesla PSC and remote NVIDIA Tesla S-Series GPU servers, MGH is now able to treat cancer patients using live radiotherapy visualization. They can also provide immediate estimates of patient radiation exposure…”