NEW NET Weekly List for 31 Jan 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 31 January 2012, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurism and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net
1.        Twitter Bots Create Surprising New Social Connections  http://www.technologyreview.com/web/39497/  “You might have encountered a "Twitter bot" before: an automated program that perhaps retweeted something you wrote because it had particular keywords. Or maybe you received a message from an unfamiliar, seemingly human-controlled account, only to click on an accompanying link and realize you'd been fooled by a spambot…a group of freelance Web researchers has created more sophisticated Twitter bots, dubbed "socialbots," that can not only fool people into thinking they are real people, but also serve as virtual social connectors, speeding up the natural rate of human-to-human communication…The Web Ecology Project set up an experiment in which teams of researchers competed to gain the most Twitter @replies. Since there was no rule against automating the process, a few teams quickly realized they could compete better by using bots…the group tracked 2,700 Twitter users, divided into randomly assigned "target groups" of 300, over 54 days. The first 33 days served as a control period, during which no socialbots were deployed. Then, during the 21-day experimental period, nine bots were activated, one for each target group…On average, each bot attracted 62 new followers and received 33 incoming tweets (mentions and retweets). But Hwang and his colleagues also found that the human-to-human activity changed within the target groups when the socialbots were introduced…”
2.       SocialFolders Teams Up With Evernote to Bring You 'Social Memory'  http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/31/socialfolders/  “…we often have files and bits of data that live exclusively on a server far away from our hard drives. And while that’s often really awesome, sometimes you want and need a backup of that information on your computer. Enter SocialFolders, a service that backs up your social and cloud data to your hard drive. “SocialFolders was basically created to help people manage their content on social networks and cloud services and allow everyone to actually own that content,”…SocialFolders is an app for Windows and Mac that syncs with Twitter, Facebook, Google Docs, Instagram, and as of Tuesday, Evernote. With SocialFolders, you choose which services you want to connect with and a corresponding folder for each service will appear in your file system, Dropbox-style. When you upload a new picture to Facebook or create a new Google Doc, the new file will automatically sync with your SocialFolders app on your hard drive. Starting Tuesday, you can add documents, images, and other files to Evernote with SocialFolders…”
3.       What It's Like When Google Comes to Your House for a Presidential Chat  http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/01/what-its-like-when-google-comes-to-your-house-for-a-presidential-chat/252281/  “The White House last night held the first-ever presidential "hangout," the latest in a line of administration experiments with social technologies, this time with Google's newish multi-camera live streaming Google+ platform. There was, as it turns out, a breakout star: one Jennifer Wedel, a 29 year-old mother of two and State Farm employee from Fort Worth, Texas, selected to participate on the basis of a video question she submitted on H1B visas. What was so eye and ear catching about her exchange with President Obama was her willingness to inject a little bit of her own reality into the presidential bubble…Wedel opened by raising the issue of her husband, a 40 year-old semiconductor engineer who, after seven years or so at Texas Instruments, lost his job three years ago and has been unemployed since. "My question for you," said Wedel to Obama, "is why does the government continue to issue and extend H1B visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?" Obama began his response, and it quickly became clear that a long, Obamesque answer was in the offing…"I understand that...," interjected Wedel. "And so...," continued Obama. "But," said Wedel. "Yeah...," said Obama, who then gestured for Wedel to continue…"Why," she asked, "do you think the H1B program is so popular with big corporations?" Obama, though, preferred to focus on why what he's hearing from said corporations wasn't matching Wedel's stated experience. "It is interesting to me...," he began, and then switched approaches. "I meant what I said. If you send me your husband's resume, I'd be interested in finding out exactly what's happening right there…that kind of engineer, should be able to find something, ah, right away." He asked again for her husband's resume, and Wedel assured the president that she'd be taking him up on the offer…How did Wedel come to be in a digital room with the president of the United States in the first place? She's active on YouTube, she explained, "and I saw that little red telephone," an icon the company put up last week to collect questions. "I though, 'what the heck is that?' I clicked on it…last Friday, after work, she said, she got a call from a contact at Google…"I talked to them on Friday, and they were in my house Sunday. I basically had Saturday to clean." She points to her two children. "When I told them that Google was coming to our house, my 7 year-old was like, 'Google has people?'…Part of the company's tasks: explaining to participants just what the heck they were engaging in. Google sent a rep from Austin to her home, said Wedel, as well as a technician from Canada, equipped with just a few monitors and "a tiny webcam like you can buy at Walmart." Few of the chosen questioners knew what a Google+ hangout was, said Wedel, and Sunday featured a crash course in the tool as well as a dry run of the event, sans White House participation. The video "hangout" was new to Wedel, she said, but she liked it immediately. "Seeing their smiles, I could feel their energy, even though they weren't in the room. You can't see emotion in text, but there was something different about this. That's when I thought, this is going to be cool…” [cool way for her husband to get a new job – ed.]
4.       'Super Wi-Fi' Blankets First County in U.S.  http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/27531/  “New Hanover County, North Carolina, just rolled out Super Wi-Fi…a new Wi-Fi standard operating in the 'white spaces' between 50-700Mhz, where previously only television stations were allowed to transmit."…This could mean super fast wireless connections for the county's residents, and also the potential to connect to Wi-Fi towers that are miles distant—something that is impossible with conventional Wi-Fi, mostly because the power of normal Wi-Fi transmitters are limited by the FCC…There's a bunch more in the release about how Super Wi-Fi is the greatest thing since penicillin, but I have to temper the hype a bit by referring to an earlier piece in Tech Review by Scott Woolley that notes that Super Wi-Fi can't really live up to its full potential, at least as a medium for long distance connectivity. Under government rules designed to protect local TV stations from harmful interference, high-power Super Wi-Fi signals (up to four watts), which can travel for miles, must give TV channels a wide berth. Low-power Super Wi-Fi signals (less than 40 milliwatts) face fewer restrictions. The result is that while there are 48 channels potentially available for long-range Super Wi-Fi, zero or one channel will be available for long-range use in the places most Americans live…”
Gigabit Internet
5.        Israel plans fiber-based national broadband network  http://www.electronista.com/articles/12/01/27/israel.joins.australia.with.national.fiber/    “Israel has followed Australian footsteps in planning its own national broadband network. The country's Israel Electric Corporation plans a purely fiber-based network that will supply many of the country's homes with at least 100Mbps speeds. They picked fiber with the intention to scale and could theoretically hit 1Gbps in time…As with the Australian buildout, the goal is to catch up to and eventually leapfrog countries with some of the fastest Internet access available…it could eclipse the US and other countries where sparser populations and corporate resistance to public deployments can keep the average speed down. Israel does have a vested interest in courting American companies by promising high speed Internet access to local workers. Intel, Microsoft, and now Apple consider Israel their Eastern technology center…”
6.       Three teams win in KC Google Gigabit Challenge  http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/18/3378753/three-teams-ideas-earn-prizes.html  “…One team handed out T-shirts and fired Nerf guns at a prop. Some strolled back and forth while others anchored themselves to a lectern. Somebody opened with shaky video of his daughter hitting the buzzer beater that clinched a 13-11 basketball game. All came to a library auditorium Wednesday with dreams transformed to plans translated into pitches…The Gigabit Challenge was born out of news that broke last spring that Google Inc. had picked Kansas City as the place to build an ultra-fast Internet network…That inspired a local business start-up incubator, Think Big Partners, to corral prizes it values in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to turbo-charge a few entrepreneurs who see Google’s project as a chance to make something big…Perhaps the most polished pitch came from a pair of high school seniors from Johnson County, Jaspreet Singh and Andrew Ying of Blue Valley’s Center for Advanced Professional Studies. They made a convincing argument about using the fat data pipe of Google’s coming fiberoptic lines to stream video in a cable-like service at a better price. Their yet-developed product, Hong, would note programs individual viewers watch to gauge their interests and then target ads accordingly…“It’s a Pandora-like model,” Ying said in reference to ad-supported music streaming service, “for TV.”…Grand prize went to Sein Analytics & Asset Management…with a better way for small- to medium-sized financial institutions to sort the wheat from the chaff of asset-backed securities such as default credit swaps. One of the judges quizzed them on why their plan needed Google-speed Internet to work, and even after their victory they didn’t have much of an answer. In fact, they’ve been developing the business for two-plus years…The contest’s “Born Global” prize was landed by Kauzu, a budding online job site aimed at younger workers that plays off location technology to make nearby opportunities more obvious…A “People’s Choice” award drawn from online voting Wednesday from people watching the pitches in 41 countries went to Paruzia Technologies. The business hopes to provide storage, backup and support services remotely using Internet connections…” [so much for using gigabit speed to improve the KC economy; two of the three Gigabit Challenge contest winners aren’t even located in KC, and the grand prize winner doesn’t even need gigabit internet for their venture… - ed.]
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
7.        Symantec advises disabling pcAnywhere software  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16740153  “Security firm Symantec has warned customers to stop using its pcAnywhere software. The company confirmed that "old" source code stolen by a hacking group had exposed vulnerabilities in the remote access program…In its website note, the company said it recommended "disabling the product until Symantec releases a final set of software updates that resolve currently known vulnerability risks"…It said the vulnerability left pcAnywhere users exposed to "man in the middle" attacks - a security hole which puts data at risk of being intercepted…It suggested that corporate customers who used pcAnywhere for business-critical activity should "understand the current risks" and "apply all relevant patches as they are released, and follow the general security best practices…”
8.       Senator Rand Paul: TSA’s intrusions undermine security  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/23/tsas-intrusions-undermine-security/  “Today, while en route to Washington to speak to hundreds of thousands of people at the March for Life, I was detained by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for not agreeing to a patdown after an irregularity was found in my full body scan. Despite removing my belt, glasses, wallet and shoes, the scanner and TSA also wanted my dignity. I refused…I requested to be rescanned. They refused and detained me in a 10-foot-by-10-foot area reserved for potential terrorists…My detention was real and I was repeatedly instructed not to leave the holding area. When I used my phone to inform my office that I would miss my flight, and thus miss my speech to the March for Life, I was told that now I would be subjected to a full body patdown. I asked if I could simply restart the screening process to show that the machine had made an error. I was denied and informed that since I used my phone, to call for help, I must now submit or not fly…While sitting in the cubicle, I thought to myself, have the terrorists won? Have we sacrificed our liberty and our dignity for security? Finally, the airport head of TSA arrived after I had missed my flight. He let me go back through the scanner and this time the scanner did not go off. The only comment from TSA was that some of the alarms are simply random…a 6-year-old girl from Bowling Green was subjected to an invasive search despite her parent’s objections. Mr. Pistole…replied that TSA concluded because a child in a market in Afghanistan exploded a bomb, all American children needed to be evaluated as potential threats…My office is being inundated with their stories of assault and harassment by TSA agents. This agency’s disregard for our civil liberties is something we are expected to understand and accept…It is time for us to question the effectiveness of TSA…” [three cynical comments on this article: (1) how come Rand Paul (and other members of the US Senate and Congress) only speak out when TSA or other ‘bad’ legislation or regulations cause them personal inconvenience or problems, (2) Senator Paul was only allowed to go through the scanner again because the top TSA person at the airport didn’t want to get in trouble with a senator (Joe Citizen would have been arrested or at least refused permission to go through scanner again or to fly that day and would be put on the TSA list of ‘bad flyers’), and (3) it’s extremely unlikely that Senator Paul will pursue this issue until significant improvements are made – most TSA agents would give him special treatment because he’s a senator, so he’s unlikely to have future problems with TSA. – ed.]
9.       When college applicants plagiarize, Turnitin can spot them  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-plagiarism-20120129,0,2954802.story  “The student's admissions essay for Boston University's MBA program was about persevering in the business world. "I have worked for organizations in which the culture has been open and nurturing, and for others that have been elitist. In the latter case, arrogance becomes pervasive, straining external partnerships." Another applicant's essay for UCLA's Anderson School of Management was about his father. He "worked for organizations in which the culture has been open and nurturing, and for others that have been elitist. In the latter case, arrogance becomes pervasive, straining external partnerships." Sound familiar? The Boston University student's essay was written in 2003 and had been posted at businessweek.com. The UCLA applicant was rejected this year — for plagiarism. The detection of such wholesale cheating in college applications is on the rise due to the use of Turnitin for Admissions, an anti-plagiarism database service that compares student essays to an immense archive of other writings…"The more we can nip unethical behavior in the bud, the better," said Andrew Ainslie, a senior associate dean at UCLA Anderson…In the school's first review of essays from potential MBA candidates this year, Turnitin found significant plagiarism — beyond borrowing a phrase here and there — in a dozen of the 870 applications, Ainslie said. All 12 were rejected. Turnitin — as in, "turn it in" — began in the 1990s and became a popular tool at high schools and colleges to help detect copying in academic term papers and research by scanning for similarities in phrases from among billions of Web pages, books and periodicals…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
10.     Obama and Romney campaigns use Square for fundraising  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2012/01/obama-and-romney-campaigns-use-square-for-fundraising.html  “Barack Obama's use of social media is credited with helping him reach out to voters in a groundbreaking way that helped him win the 2008 presidential race. In 2012, the Obama campaign is eying a new way to reach voters and donors too -- Square. The president's reelection campaign…is outfitting its staff across the U.S. with the small plastic smartphone credit card readers and mobile payment apps from Square, the San Francisco start-up run by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. But just as the Obama campaign isn't alone in its embracing of social media this year, it too isn't alone in deploying Square for easier, faster fundraising on the campaign trail. On Tuesday, Republican Mitt Romney's campaign announced it too would be using Square for fundraising in Florida…”
11.      Droid Razr Maxx Boasts Best Android Smartphone Battery  http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/31/motorola-droid-razr-maxx-review/  “…Enter the Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx. A mere two months after its predecessor was released on Verizon, this new contender came around to challenge the battery life of every single next-gen phone we've ever used. Its back end has been filled out somewhat to make room for a bigger battery, but at 8.99mm, it's still slimmer than a huge number of competing handsets on the market today. So what makes the Maxx different from the RAZR? Is it worth paying $300 with a two-year commitment -- a $100 premium over its original?...Power users who need to have the longest lifetime possible will have no choice but to pick it…At its worst, it's an original RAZR with a $100 extended battery pack attached. At its best, however, the Maxx is proof to every phone manufacturer that it really is possible to make a slender (and absolutely stunning) device that can actually survive more than a full days' worth of heavy use…”
12.     The Smartphone Has Become an Essential Shopping Tool  http://www.pcworld.com/article/249064/the_smartphone_has_become_an_essential_shopping_tool.html  “…over half of U.S. adult cell phone owners used their handsets for shopping assistance while in stores during the 2011 holiday season…A quarter of cell owners used their phones while inside a store to go online and find product reviews. And a quarter of adult cell users went online to see if they could find a better price for a product they were considering buying…Mobile devices are rapidly becoming essential shopping tools, and more smartphone- and tablet-toting consumers will soon insist that physical stores match or beat the prices of their online competitors…The bad news for retailers: Mobile devices are here to stay, and price-matching is only going to get more popular.”
13.     Marko Ahtisaari: smartphone evolution is only just beginning  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jan/31/ahtisaari-nokia-lumia-design  “…Nokia's problem is that it's struggling to keep pace in the smartphone market as first the iPhone and then Android phones such as Samsung's models have eaten into the top-end market, while cheap low-end versions have attacked the Symbian market…Nokia's response, to ally itself with Microsoft and adopt Windows Phone for the interface, has been described…as a Hail Mary pass – an American football phrase for staking everything on one attempt…So what, I asked, could Nokia bring to the smartphone table now? "There's a point of view about design that all innovation in the interaction with the phone has been done," Ahtisaari says. "Nothing could be further from the truth. The phase we're in now is like the 1880s in the car industry. Back then, cars had tillers…It took 15 years to settle on the steering wheel at the front controlling the front wheels. And we're in the middle of that part of the evolution of interaction."…"Look at iOS. Multiple pages of apps, and folder, with a physical home key. It's very elegant; it was a great innovation five years ago. But the core interaction hasn't evolved much. It's simple but constant…Our aim was to start and make the most beautiful phone, where we took away every unnecessary element. In the N8, we had the extruded form. And looked to rapidly evolve it, with better materials…Will the next design perhaps omit the popup USB cover – the one design oddity and only moving part in the phone? "Definitely, if you can take away a moving part and make it more beautiful in the placement of the component, we'll do it, so that's something where we can certianly keep improving. Take it to the extreme," he adds, "why are there any connectors?"…It's a thought. With open NFC, and wireless charging, you wouldn't need any connectors – either for power or sound. It's quite an aim…”
14.     Google Launches Official G+ Page For Android Developers  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/01/android-developer-hangouts/  “If you want a high number of quality apps in your app store, you better make sure your developers have all the tools and knowledge to do the job. Google has recognized this, and is taking extra steps to provide tips, services and even instruction to Android developers in order to promote the Android Market as a hub for plentiful, high-quality apps. The latest effort in this push…is the addition of a Google+ Android Developer Page, +AndroidDeveloper…a hub for development tips, as well as a place to talk about updates to the Android SDK and other developer tools…One of the most useful features of the new developer page could be the introduction of weekly “office hours” via the Hangouts tool in Google+. Developers will be able to ask questions of the various Android teams, and delve deep into discussion with other coders…”
15.     Rypple, hot off Salesforce acquisition, launches Android app for social management on-the-go  http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/31/rypple-android-app-salesforce-social-hcm/  “…social performance management service Rypple has launched a native Android app to make sure managers and employees can connect no matter where they are. Rypple’s software helps managers improve employee performance through “social goals” and consistent feedback and recognition. It’s in an increasingly competitive market for cloud-based human resource management services. Leading competitors include SuccessFactors…Workday, Taleo, Ultimate Software, and Cornerstone OnDemand…The key features of the Android app include public recognition for colleague praise, real-time feedback and social goals for tracking priorities. “The best feedback often comes on the taxi ride back to the office after an important meeting,” Rypple co-founder and co-CEO Daniel Debow told VentureBeat via e-mail. “Rypple’s investment in an Android app lets our users stay aligned with key priorities, get real-time updates, and recognize great work — away from the office…”
16.     Salesforce.com Launches New Social, Mobile Customer Service Platform  http://www.infoworld.com/d/applications/salesforcecom-launches-deskcom-help-desk-service-185359  “Salesforce.com today unveiled a new SaaS (software as a service) help-desk application called Desk.com that can reach users through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Desk.com, which is based on Salesforce.com's recent acquisition of Assistly, can be deployed in a matter of days even by companies with no dedicated IT staffers, according to Salesforce.com…It's important to align help-desk software with social networks, given the sheer amount of time customers are spending on Facebook and other sites, according to Salesforce.com. Companies are also facing pressure dealing with the "new social, global, and mobile customer," given how easy it is for consumers to transmit their opinions about a product or service over the Internet to many people, Bard said. The Facebook and Twitter integrations are standard, and companies can tie their accounts on those social networks to Desk.com…”
17.     Google Earth 6.2: A Seamless Globe  http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/01/google-earth-62-its-beautiful-world.html  “…With Google Earth 6.2, we’re bringing you the most beautiful Google Earth yet, with more seamless imagery and a new search interface…The Google Earth globe is made from a mosaic of satellite and aerial photographs taken on different dates and under different lighting and weather conditions. Because of this variance, views of the Earth from high altitude can sometimes appear patchy. Today, we’re introducing a new way of rendering imagery that smoothes out this quilt of images. The end result is a beautiful new Earth-viewing experience that preserves the unique textures of the world’s most defining geographic landscapes—without the quilt effect. This change is being made on both mobile and desktop versions of Google Earth…”
18.     Google Music Now Lets You Download All Your Saved Music  http://lifehacker.com/5879732  “One of our biggest complaints about Google Music was that you couldn't re-download any songs you'd added to your online library. Google's now brought this feature for the web interface and the Music Manager app, so you can download your music—whether it's your entire library or just a few tracks—with the click of a button. This works for purchased music and songs you've uploaded yourself, though you can only download purchased tracks two times from the web interface. To do it, just click the triangle next to a song or group of songs and choose "Download Selected Songs". If you want to download your whole library, open up the Music Manager app for Windows, OS X, or Linux, go to the Download tab, and click "Export Your Library"…”
19.     Google Reincarnates Dead Paper Mill as Data Center of Future  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/01/google-finland/  “Joe Kava found himself on the southern coast of Finland, sending robotic cameras down an underground tunnel that stretched into the Baltic Sea. It’s not quite what he expected when he joined Google to run its data centers. In February of 2009, Google paid about $52 million for an abandoned paper mill in Hamina, Finland, after deciding that the 56-year-old building was the ideal place to build one of the massive computing facilities that serve up its myriad online services. Part of the appeal was that the Hamina mill included an underground tunnel once used to pull water from the Gulf of Finland. Originally, that frigid Baltic water cooled a steam generation plant at the mill, but Google saw it as a way to cool its servers…As it turns out, all 450 meters of the tunnel were in excellent condition, and by May 2010, it was moving sea water to heat exchangers inside Google’s new data center, helping to cool down thousands of machines juggling web traffic. Thanks in part to that granite tunnel, Google can run its Hamina facility without the energy-sapping electric chillers found in the average data center…”
20.    How to prevent Google from tracking you  http://howto.cnet.com/how-to-prevent-google-from-tracking-you/8301-11310_39-57368016-285.html  “Much has been made of Google's new privacy policy, which takes effect March 1. If you're concerned about Google misusing your personal information or sharing too much of it with advertisers and others, there are plenty of ways to thwart Web trackers…You don't become anonymous when you block tracking cookies, Web beacons, and the other identifiers as you browse. Your ISP and the sites you visit still know a lot about you, courtesy of the identifying information served up automatically by your browser. The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers the Panopticlick service that rates the anonymity of your browser. The test shows you the identifiable information provided by your browser and generates a numerical rating…According the the entropy theory explained by Peter Eckersley on the EFF's DeepLinks blog, 33 bits of entropy are sufficient to identify a person…knowing a person's birth date and month (not year) and ZIP code gives you 32 bits of entropy. Also knowing the person's gender (50/50, so one bit of entropy) gets you to the identifiable threshold of 33 bits…Prominent in the Google privacy policy are links to services that let you view and manage the information you share with Google…To view everything (almost) Google knows about you, open the Google Dashboard. Here you can access all the services associated with your Google account: Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, AdSense, and every other Google property. The dashboard also lets you manage your contacts, calendar, Google Groups, Web history, Google Voice account, and other services. More importantly, you can view and edit the personal information stored by each Google service, or delete the service altogether…Several free browser extensions help you identify and block the companies that are tracking you on the Web…While people are rightly concerned about who is watching and recording their Web activities, at least Google makes it possible to use the company's services without being too forthcoming with your personal information. ISPs and other Web services do as much tracking as Google--or more--but garner far fewer headlines…”
General Technology
21.     Printed Stickers Designed to Monitor Food Temperatures  http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39553/  “A plastic temperature-recording sticker that could provide detailed histories of crates of food or bottles of vaccine would be the first to use all-printed electronics components—including memory, logic, and even the battery. The cost per sticker could be only 30 cents or less…There are lots of efforts in academia and research where they play with printing electronics…What's new is "somebody trying to do it commercially and figuring out what are the first things you can make with 10 or 20 bits of memory and a simple battery," he says. "We need a library of different building blocks that are made by the same standard manufacturing process to get this ecosystem working." The envisioned product will be designed to work either with a printed display or a contact readout, and include a battery that can last six to nine months, allowing the sticker to make a continuous record of temperature. Existing temperature sensor stickers that cost just pennies offer a crude measurement—using a chemical reaction to change color when they hit certain thresholds, alerting to possible spoilage…”
22.    Nearly 50% of businesses now issuing Macs, 27% support the iPad  http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/26/50-percent-businesses-issue-macs-research/  “…Forrester…reports that almost 50 percent of businesses in North America and Western Europe now issue Mac computers…Forrester’s new report…found that 46 percent of enterprises were issuing Macs to employees. Those employees receiving Macs tend to be “senior in rank, higher paid, younger, and in emerging markets,” and managers are much more likely to have Apple products than regular employees. Notably, only 36 percent of small businesses reported issuing Macs in 2011…Forrester says that 27 percent of companies are supporting the iPad…iPhone support is more common than iPad support, with 37 percent of businesses now supporting the iPhone. Support for the iPhone is projected to rise to 55 percent in 2012. Overall, Forrester believes Microsoft’s dominance in the enterprise is quickly coming to a close…”
23.    Apple introduces us to the Wild World of Coded Magnets  http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2012/01/apple-introduces-us-to-the-wild-world-of-coded-magnets.html  “Once in a while we're treated to a new Apple invention that virtually contains a new self-contained world of possibilities and vocabulary to enrich it…Today is such a day. This is such an invention. Apple's invention reveals a wild world of programmable magnetic devices, and more particularly, to security for computing devices and peripherals that may be provided by programmable magnets…Apple envisions this technology eventually working into iOS devices to produce wild haptic effects using Ferrofluids on touchscreens and virtual keyboards. It will also allow Apple's iOS to present light based points on the display as a way to guide a user through a process like a teacher…In my view, this is what I call a foundational patent. It's a wide overview of a new technology front being opened that will later on be broken down and defined in other single vision patents using this technology. In fact, a single vision patent has already rolled out. In December 2011…a report titled "The iPad's Smart Cover Patent has insightfully come to Light."…pointed to how Apple has placed a magnet under the iPad's display that works in conjunction with a magnet in the actual iPad cover. This is how the iPad is put into hybernation and later awakened when unfolding the iPad cover…This makes the programming of magnets discussed in this patent come to life. So the technology presented in Apple's latest patent application, isn't theoretical: it's a proven fact. The question now is: What will Apple do next?…”
Leisure & Entertainment
24.    4 Inspiring Examples of Digital Storytelling  http://mashable.com/2012/01/31/digital-storytelling/  “In 2011, Sundance Film Festival created The New Frontier Story Lab, an initiative created to foster the development of a new style of media production…The New Frontier Story Lab helped many an interactive narrative come to life. Each of these productions features multiple points of entry across platforms and employs technologies such as facial recognition, augmented reality, geo-location, motion sensors, data visualization and the entire toolset of social and mobile platforms…Bear 71 is a multi-user interactive social narrative that observes and records the intersection of humans, nature and technology…Participants explore and engage with the world of a female grizzly bear via animal role play, augmented reality, webcams, geolocation tracking, motion sensors, a microsite, social media channels and a real bear trap in Park City…Pandemic 1.0 is part film, part interactive game, part sociological experiment, and was one of the most talked-about experiences at Sundance 2011…a mysterious virus has begun to afflict adults in a rural town. The town’s young people soon find themselves cut off from civilization, fighting for their lives. People online work with people in the real world to unlock a variety of hidden clues. This transmedia storytelling experience unites film, mobile and online technologies, props, social gaming and data visualization, enabling audiences to step into the shoes of the pandemic protagonists…Part book, part film, part family photo album of a place that’s been lost in time, the National Film Board of Canada’s Welcome to Pine Point website explores the memories of residents from the former mining community of Pine Point, Northwest Territories…the online experience combines photographs, sound and video clips, interviews, music and narration by Simons to personally immerse the viewer in a multimedia world of memory and loss…Rome is a multiplatform interactive narrative experience inspired by the music of Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi…The result culminated into a feature film…which was adapted from the novel The Reapers are the Angels. The project integrated the use of webGL within the Chrome browser, creating a rich graphical interactive experience complete with elements of game play.”
25.    How Can I Release My Music Online So Music-Lovers Can Easily Find It?  http://lifehacker.com/5879943/how-can-i-release-my-music-online-so-music+lovers-can-easily-find-it  “…I'd like to release some music I've made, but…don't want to go through a record company. What are my options?...It's not hard to skip the record labels and sell and distribute music on your own. Let's start by taking a look at how you can skip the labels and get your music online before we move onto making sure music-lovers can find it…You have three different choices for charging for your music: free, pay-what-you-want, and a set price. Each has their own advantages and different services that work better…let's break down the best places to upload your music…If you're releasing your first set of songs, you might want to start by giving your music away for free…Soundcloud is the easiest to use free music upload service. It takes just a couple clicks to upload a song…If there's an equivalent to Myspace out there right now, it's Reverb Nation. Part social network and part personalized website, Reverb Nation allows you to put tracks online…If you're interested in the streaming services, Spotmeup is a free tool to submit your songs to Spotify and Pandora allows independent artists to submit songs…February 1 marks the start of the RPM Challenge, a contest where you're tasked with writing, recording, and releasing an album within the month of February (similar to how NaNoWriMo works for novels)…Bandcamp is free to use for musicians and allows you to set your price for your album or let people pay whatever they want…if you want to get your music onto the big stores like Google Music, Amazon, and iTunes, you have to go through a distribution service and pay a little money…the two most recommended services for this are TuneCore and CD Baby. For around $35-$40 both of these services will upload and sell your music on Amazon, iTunes, Beatport, Facebook, eMusic, and a host of other stores…If you're interested in selling music through Google Music you do so after paying a one-time $25 fee…”
26.    HBO Looking To Use New Technology For Boxing Matches  http://www.boxingscene.com/hbo-looking-use-new-technology-on-february-4th-card--49063  “HBO Sports…is seeking permission to use some new technology…For the past 3 years we have been working on wrist based sensor devices that would allow us to measure in real time the speed and force of punches thrown.  To date, the sensors have been approved and used in Nevada, California, New Jersey, Michigan, Foxwoods and Washington, D.C…The unit itself is 1” x 1” and is applied to the inside of the wrist, on top of the commission approved wraps and protected by the padding in the wrist of the glove.  The unit weighs 0.2 ounces…we’ve tested on hundreds of fighters at various gyms and amateur events…We believe we are on the verge of a very exciting technological breakthrough that could create much interest and entertainment for boxing fans…”
27.    The Sky Is Rising!  http://www.techdirt.com/skyisrising/  “For years now, the legacy entertainment industry has been predicting its own demise, claiming that the rise of technology, by enabling easy duplication and sharing -- and thus copyright infringement -- is destroying their bottom line…since creators and performers of artistic content existed long before the gatekeepers ever did, we've looked into the numbers to get an honest picture of the state of things…not only is the sky not falling, as some would have us believe, but it appears that we're living through an incredible period of abundance and opportunity, with more people producing more content and more money being made than ever before…”  [you’ve got to look at the infographic in this article to fully appreciate the situation described above in words – ed.]
Economy and Technology
28.    General Assembly Provides Entrepreneurial Skills To A Chosen Few  http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/161/general-assembly  “…This is General Assembly, founded in January 2011 in a 20,000-square-foot loft in New York…by four friends in their late twenties and early thirties as a campus for technology, design, and entrepreneurship…It's something new--augmented education, a stopgap for the startup economy. It's an intermediary that gives…exposure to the way business is done on the ground. The school focuses on technology and entrepreneurship, covering everything from fundraising to wireframing. Some classes are three-hour one-offs, others are weeklong workshops, and certificate programs…are 60-hour programs spread over several weeks…The teachers are practitioners…who focus on usable results…the glass-walled space hosts hackathons, meetups, happy hours, and two dozen startups…It creates a selective, aspirational network, mixing promising newbies and people who have already made it…It iterates and updates its offerings every few weeks, based on detailed student surveys. When its students said they wanted to study Android development, General Assembly ginned up a class two weeks later…This close-to-the-ground, customizable model has been a missing piece of the innovation ecosystem. Top universities can't always move fast enough to provide the technical and entrepreneurial skills needed in this new world…established institutions are partnering with General Assembly…GE…is sending more than 100 suits for a five-day session that will get them up to speed on emerging technology, design, and entrepreneurship…They will also expand online by recording classes and sessions and making class materials, like slide decks, available…each school in this emerging field will have to discover if the market is large enough for its ambitions…”
29.    FounderSoup: Stanford Startup Generator  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/28/founder-soup/  “…a group of Stanford computer science and business students started the…FounderSoup program. It’s designed to give entrepreneurs with an idea or a fledgling company a chance to pitch — not to raise funding, but to recruit co-founders…I watched as 20 ideas were pitched, and 170 PhD, MBA, and undergraduate students mingled. What I saw was an effective model for fostering startups…Mike Dorsey tells me “As a CS student and an MBA, I would constantly get questions from entrepreneurs to connect them to people with coding skills. I’d also get all these coders with great products who needed business co-founders.”…At the Founder Soup pilot event, 4 teams discovered co-founders and 2 went on to receive funding…For Thursday, 50 founders submitted ideas and 20 were given the chance to pitch for 90 seconds each. Afterwards, each team was stationed around the Stanford d.school and approached by those interested in joining their team…Some startup-spawning universities are beginning to set up their own VC funds, accelerators, and incubators, like Harvard’s new Experiment Fund and Stanford’s StartX…More universities and cities should look to copy the FounderSoup model…” [although northeast Wisconsin doesn’t have a ‘startup-spawning’ university, it would be worth using the concept of FounderSoup to connect more potential startup cofounders in our region – ed.]
30.    Betaworks Returns All Capital  http://pandodaily.com/2012/01/28/that-was-fast-betaworks-returns-all-capital-and-then-some/  “…a lot of people are waiting for results that prove…New York is really a tech ecosystem that is here to stay…This letter to shareholders from Betaworks Founder and CEO John Borthwick is one of the first pieces of evidence I’ve seen that New York is for real…we have produced eight companies; among these, three have become category leading social tools, three were acquired, and two are just taking off. We raised $26 million from terrific investors. Our exits last year gave us the capital to return all invested capital…Those exits included…Twitterfeed…TweetDeck…and GroupMe…Interesting as those companies are, Betaworks as a startup itself is more fascinating to me. It’s not a fund, and it’s not an incubator. It’s a company that takes ideas and develops them in hyper-speed to become other companies that are put out into the world. It’s analogous to how a movie studio puts out films. In Borthwick’s words: “Betaworks is a platform that accelerates early-stage company building…it’ll get it’s fair share of critics from…people who decry companies that are built to flip…This studio model Borthwick describes has long been an alluring one…but no one has really proven it can work. For former entrepreneurs, it captures a lot of the fun part of starting new things and allows them to share their experience, but avoids the drudgery of operating and scaling…”
31.     Inside SAP's Skunkworks as It Takes Aim at Oracle  http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052970203430404577092651330963684-lMyQjAxMTAyMDIwNTEyNDUyWj.html  “…Now SAP's chairman, the 68-year-old engineer is trying to take advantage of cheaper memory chips in servers to speed up complex business calculations and allow companies to do in seconds what currently can take hours or days. The aim is to allow executives to quickly access and analyze business data even on hand-held devices…he hopes to revolutionize business computing again and put his main competitor, Oracle Corp., on the defensive. But if he fails, SAP could end up stagnating in an industry full of bigger and richer tech adversaries. Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison publicly derided Mr. Plattner's big bet as "whacko" in 2010 and said he wanted the name of SAP's "pharmacist."…For his bet, Mr. Plattner decided to do an end run around SAP's corporate research-and-development department with thousands of engineers. Instead, he recruited a bunch of university students in this small city outside Berlin. Working in a converted East German railway building dubbed "the villa," these T-shirt-clad 20-somethings built the prototype of Mr. Plattner's new product…”
DHMN Technology
32.    Why 3-D Printing Isn't Like Virtual Reality  http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/guest/27533/  “...Typography used to be heavy industry. The companies that make typefaces are still called foundries because there was a time when letters were made of metal…Today, fonts are a thing that you pick from a drop-down menu and printers are things in your home that can render just about any typeface you can imagine…Today, it's reasonable for most people to have a pile of paper and a printer that cost them next to nothing and for businesses to have stockrooms laden with the raw material of documents. Print shops have had to stay a step ahead, selling convenience, their ability to print nicer things on bigger formats, or the economics of scale…It's also important not to confuse 3-D printing & desktop-class fabrication…There is more to desktop manufacturing than 3-D printers. A well-appointed contemporary maker workshop has working CNC mills, lathes, and laser cutters…Aside from the 3-D printer, none of these tools are terribly science-fictional; they're well-established technologies that happen to be getting cheaper from year to year. Something interesting happens when the cost of tooling-up falls. There comes a point where your production runs are small enough that the economies of scale that justify container ships from China stop working. There comes a point where making new things isn't a capital investment but simply a marginal one. Fab shops are already popping up, just like print shops did.”
33.    Recon Instruments brings action camera viewing into your goggles  http://www.gizmag.com/recon-instruments-action-camera-goggles/21243/  “Skiers and snowboarders of the future are going to be pretty close to cyborgs. Over the years, we've seen such wearable electronics as heated clothing, cell phone-compatible ski gloves and camera-equipped goggles. We've also seen the Recon Instruments goggles, which use a small heads-up display so that you can view your speed, vertical and other ego-inflating (or deflating) stats…now we have a new upcoming technology that combines two existing ski electronics into one seamless system - machine is starting to take over. Recon Instruments and Contour announced a partnership that will turn Recon's goggle-mounted display into a viewfinder for Contour action cams…Contour + and ContourGPS cameras will sync with the MOD Live device via Bluetooth and turn it into a viewfinder. Skiers will be able to line up shots without ever removing their goggles. They'll also be able to view battery life and remaining storage space and control camera settings in real time. Future self-made action film stars beware, though: your footage will only be as good as your skiing, and if you're paying more attention to your in-goggle display than the ground ahead of you, it won't be pretty…Of course, the Recon + Contour technology won't come cheap, particularly if you don't own any of the necessary devices…”
34.    Does HP’s TopShot Printer really hit-the-mark?  http://www.daniweb.com/hardware-and-software/pc-hardware/usb-devices-and-other-peripherals/reviews/408041  “…HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 is a multi-function printer like no other. The printer portion of the TopShot is much like the HP LaserJet Pro 100…What makes the TopShot different is the paper feeder and flatbed scanner on top has been replaced by a flat white platform, called the capture stage, and an arm that is positioned above the stage. On this arm there is a camera and 3 flashes. As the name suggests, it takes a picture of any 2D or 3D object you can fit onto the stage, under the arm. The end result is a mixed but, in the right environment could be a game changer for a business…Printing speed is about average for other laser printers at this price. Text comes in around 17 pages per minute, where as color was about 4 ppm. Granted, it’s not the fastest printer on the market the print quality is excellent…What makes the TopShot stand separate from the competition is obviously the scanning function. The camera used by the TopShot for all scans is an 8 megapixel CMOS image sensor. On all scans there are six images taken, three with ambient light and three using the three flashes one at a time. The 6 images are then merged together to create a 2D image. For 3D objects the scans come out clear and detailed. It is not as good as a high quality camera, but the resulting image has the feel of a professional image taken in a light box due to the pure white stage as a back drop. While the images are clear, their resolution isn’t all that impressive. At only 245 dpi any resizing of the image starts to show distortion…”
35.    Canadian teens send Legonaut 15 miles into atmosphere  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/26/canadian-teenagers-lego-man-space  “…Two Canadian teenagers have sent a Lego man into the outer reaches of the Earth's atmosphere using a home-stitched parachute and equipment found on Craigslist. Two weeks ago, Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, both 17, attached the plastic figurine replete with maple leaf flag to a helium balloon, which they sent 80,000 feet into the air. The pair managed to capture the entire journey into the blackness of space, including the descent, which lasted 97 minutes, using four cameras, at an entire cost of just £254. Spending four months of Saturdays on the project, the teenagers launched the professionally made weather balloon from a football pitch. It then soared to more than double the height of a commercial jet's cruising altitude – some 24km into the upper atmosphere…”
36.    Why Apple Should Start Making a 3D Printer Right Now  http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/01/why-apple-should-start-making-a-3d-printer-right-now/252184/  “…The progression that computers made from IBM to your laptop has patterned the expectations for all future technologies. First, big companies create and use a very expensive set of technologies. Then, garage tinkerers start to use slightly cheaper, smaller versions of the original technology. They create a culture that makes the technology easier to use and they give it more users, which drives down its costs. Finally, when it is sufficiently cheap and easy to use, mass market consumers start to buy it…The latest technology that seems to be working its way along this trajectory is 3D printing. For those not in the MAKE crowd, 3D Printers are machines that produce three-dimensional objects from digital data by printing in thin layers of physical material, similar to the way an inkjet prints in two dimensions…After a couple decades of research, development, and industrial deployment, the technology appears to be on the threshold of developing a mass market. Still, it's hard to imagine what to do with such a general purpose machine sitting in one's house. And that's what makes Brendan Dawes such an interesting early adopter. For one, he's kept meticulous records of his productions since he bought his MakerBot Thing-O-Matic from Makerbot Industries, a company that sells stripped down do-it-yourself 3D printers directly to consumers, in December 2010. Over the past year he has posted his "printings" on a tumblr called everythingimakewithmymakerbot. The site reads like a diary or sketchbook; an intimate account of a creative person interacting with a new technology. But more to the point: Dawes seems like a normal, creative person. He's not a hardcore geek with an industrial engineering degree…I asked Dawes if the Makerbot had changed him; if it had altered his perspective in some unexpected way. "What's exciting to me is the opportunity to look at industrial design --a very difficult, very sophisticated craft-- with fresh eyes. I'm able to approach these problems from crazy angles, because I haven't spent twenty years immersed in the culture of industrial design…”
Open Source Hardware
37.    Interview of ColorHug maker, Richard Hughes  https://banu.com/blog/41/interview-of-colorhug-maker-richard-hughes/  “…The ColorHug is a colorimeter that can be used to calibrate computer displays. It was created by Richard Hughes (hughsie). It is a fully open hardware project, and the design, drivers and firmware are available on the Gitorious code hosting website. From the branches and commit logs it appears that others have taken an interest in its development too, and have begun to contribute to it…My name is Richard Hughes, and I'm a programmer in the desktop group at Red Hat…after my masters had finished I took a job at a large UK defence contractor. It was pretty much the opposite environment to open source, and as soon as Red Hat asked if wanted to hack on cool stuff full time I jumped at the chance…I'm hugely privileged to spend all day writing free software…When I bought a digital SLR camera, my wife paid for me to go on a course to learn how to use the camera properly. During this course I used OSX for the first time, and came to the realisation that the color stuff just worked…Color Management on Linux was in sorry state of affairs then, and I thought I could do something about that…A colorimeter is a device that attaches to the screen and measures the actual colors output by the computer…As LCD panels get older, they get yellow and dull, and even CRT monitors have phosphors that degrade over time. This means you have to calibrate every few months…The ColorHug is an open source colorimeter. It's designed from scratch, and every part is 100% open source…The device is a small USB peripheral that connects to the host computer and takes XYZ measurements of a specified accuracy…ColorHug has no battery and takes the few hundred milliamps it needs from the USB bus…The ColorHug is actually a PIC microcontroller that is interfaced with a TCS3200 light to frequency chip. The frequency is proportional to the amount of light, and so by enabling the red, green and blue photodiodes in the sensor we can combine these with a bit of clever maths into an XYZ color value…”  http://www.hughski.com/
38.    Top ten open source projects of 2011  http://blog.ponoko.com/2012/01/30/top-ten-open-source-projects-of-2011/  “…If it can be made, it can be open sourced. Here are our top ten articles about open source projects from 2011…#10 Second Generation Open Source Laser Cutter…#9 Arduino 1.0 programming environment and language released…#8 FabFi: community-built wireless network…#7 Comic-style introduction to Arduino…#6 Global Village Construction Set…#5 Open source hardware from Microsoft…#4 littleBits — educational open-source modular electronics…#3 FabScan open source 3D scanner…#2 WikiHouse – the open source house…#1 Doctor 3D prints a model of a bone for surgery preparation…” [not all of these are hardware, but they do directly relate to hardware – ed.]
39.    Ninja Blocks: Connect your world with the web  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ninja/ninja-blocks-connect-your-world-with-the-web  “…Want to bridge the things in your life with the web? Maybe you want to get an alert when your friends are playing on Xbox Live, or send an SMS to your phone when someone is at your front door. Even if you're an electronics expert, or a programming prodigy, these are complex, finicky projects. Ninja Blocks puts aside the complexity of electronics, networking, and coding and allows you to focus on creating…Ninja Blocks are simple but powerful open source hardware backed by an amazing web service called Ninja Cloud that allows your Ninja Block to talk to your favorite web apps. Each Ninja Block comes with an RGB LED and built-in temperature sensor and accelerometer. Four expansion ports and a regular USB port allow you to add further inputs and outputs…You can tell your Ninja to perform tasks like…Talk to Siri and turn on the light…Take a picture of your front yard and save it to Dropbox when movement is detected…Switch your lava lamp on whenever your friends are playing on Xbox Live…”
Open Source
40.    You Bought It, but Do You Own It?  http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=2164  “On February 10th, I’m sending a letter to the Library of Congress in support of granting exemptions to the DMCA for jailbreaking your own devices. If you believe that you should be able to run whatever programs you want on your own hardware, please sign my letter to show support…In 2002, I intercepted a key on the original Xbox that allowed me to encrypt and run my own software on the device…It was bewildering that running linux on this PC with the green X is illegal, yet running linux on this architecturally identical beige box next to it was legal…MIT sent letters to me officially repudiating involvement in my activities, fearing the worst. Fortunately, brave souls at the MIT AI lab stood up for me in defiance of the campus counsel, and provided me with resources and the connections to the EFF to negotiate with Microsoft and see a positive ending to the whole situation. I’m lucky. Not everyone has the encouragement, wisdom and strength of a team of MIT faculty and EFF counsel behind them.. many lawsuits have been filed under the DMCA, creating a tone of fear. Research projects are abandoned, business plans are scrapped…operators left with the will to research jailbreaks work in shadow, a constant fear of lawsuit haunting them for the mere practice of attempting to load their own software onto hardware that they legally own…I believe if you buy hardware, you should own it; and ownership means nothing less of full rights to do with it as you wish. If you believe in this too, please sign my letter to the Library of Congress…”
41.     HP publishes webOS Enyo framework under open source Apache license  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2012/01/hp-publishes-webos-enyo-framework-under-open-source-apache-license.ars  “HP has published the code of Enyo, the underlying JavaScript framework of the webOS platform. It is available from a public repository on GitHub and is distributed as open source software under the permissive Apache license. The release of Enyo is the first step in HP's plan to completely open the webOS mobile platform. The webOS platform is built on top of Linux, but has a proprietary application stack that is made with HTML and JavaScript. HP obtained the platform in its 2010 acquisition of failing device manufacturer Palm. At the time, HP said it intended to ship the webOS software environment on a wide range of products, including tablets, printers, and desktop computers…”
Civilian Aerospace
42.    The Great Moonbuggy Race  http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/31/the-great-moonbuggy-race/  “…I am ecstatic this year because I have a team of high school students entered in NASA’s 19th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race. The Great Moonbuggy Race is an engineering competition that requires a team of six students to design a “proof-of-concept” wheeled rover that will race over a half mile of simulated lunar terrain. In April, two team members, one male and one female, will drive the completed vehicle in competition at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This contest will present design challenges that are similar to those encountered by the original lunar rover team. This is the 16th year of competition for high school teams, but it will be the first year for Chicago’s public high school students…Making the decision to enter a team in The Great Moonbuggy Race is important to me because I can give my students an after-school opportunity that engages them in engineering in a way that is fun, creative and exciting. It isn’t often my students get to see, let alone talk to, engineers…For some, this competition will give them unparalleled opportunity to reach a goal that is often elusive in a traditional classroom setting. This may be the first time many have left Chicago and for all of them, it will be the first time they will be up close and personal with NASA rockets…”
43.    Vega rocket aims to make space research affordable  http://www.nature.com/news/vega-rocket-aims-to-make-space-research-affordable-1.9944  “…the European low-cost rocket Vega is ready for lift-off next week…the European Space Agency (ESA)…hopes that the new launcher will tap into a market for small scientific satellites, making space research affordable for institutions such as universities…Vega's first launch will take nine satellites into orbit. The main payload is the Italian Space Agency's Laser Relativity Satellite (LARES), which will study the Lense–Thirring effect, a distortion of space-time caused by Earth's gravity and predicted by general relativity. Vega will also carry ALMASat-1, a demonstration Earth-observation microsatellite from the University of Bologna, Italy, and seven CubeSats — standardized minisatellites developed by various European universities as educational projects. Their applications range from Earth imaging to testing solar panels and radio technologies…”  [while this is not strictly a ‘civilian’ aerospace item, it does talk about a new rocket that has the objective of making space research more affordable for non-governmental organizations – ed.]
Supercomputing & GPUs
44.    Virginia Tech unveils HokieSpeed; supercomputer for the masses  http://www.powermanagementdesignline.com/electronics-news/4234006/Virginia-Tech-unveils-HokieSpeed--supercomputer-for-the-masses  “…Virginia Tech is again pushing the supercomputing envelope, announcing its new HokieSpeed machine, said to be 22 times faster than its predecessor. At just one quarter of the size of X and boasting a single-precision peak of 455 teraflops, with a double-precision peak of 240 teraflops, the HokieSpeed debuts with enough performance to vault it into the 96th spot on the most recent Top500 list. The $1.4 million supercomputer is made up of 209 separate computing nodes, interconnected across large metal racks, each roughly 6.5 feet tall. In all, the machine occupies half a row of racks, three times less rack space than the X. Each HokieSpeed node consists of two 2.40-gigahertz Intel Xeon E5645 6-core CPUs and two Nvidia M2050/C2050 448-core GPUs on a Supermicro 2026GT0TRF motherboard. That gives HokieSpeed over 2,500 CPU cores and more than 185,000 GPU cores…”
45.    Many Core processors: Everything You Know (about Parallel Programming) Is Wrong!  http://my-inner-voice.blogspot.com/2012/01/many-core-processors-everything-you.html  “David Ungar is "an out-of-the-box thinker who enjoys the challenge of building computer software systems that work like magic and fit a user's mind like a glove.". this is a summary from  SPLASH 2011 in November 2011. In the end of the first decade of the new century, chips such as Tilera’s can give us a glimpse of a future in which manycore microprocessors will become commonplace: every (non-hand-held) computer’s CPU chip will contain 1,000 fairly homogeneous cores. Such a system will not be programmed like the cloud, or even a cluster because communication will be much faster relative to computation. Nor will it be programmed like today’s multicore processors because the illusion of instant memory coherency will have been dispelled by both the physical limitations imposed by the 1,000-way fan-in to the memory system, and the comparatively long physical lengths of the inter- vs. intra-core connections…If we cannot skirt Amdahl’s Law, the last 900 cores will do us no good whatsoever. What does this mean? We cannot afford even tiny amounts of serialization. Locks?! Even lock-free algorithms will not be parallel enough. They rely on instructions that require communication and synchronization between cores’ caches. Just as we learned to embrace languages without static type checking, and with the ability to shoot ourselves in the foot, we will need to embrace a style of programming without any synchronization whatsoever…”


NEW NET location for 31 Jan 2012 Mtg = Sergio's Restaurant

The NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurial and Technology issues) 31 January 2012 meeting from 7 - 9 PM will be at Sergio’s Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton; backup location, Tom’s on Westhill Blvd. Come and join in the tech fun!



NEW NET Weekly List for 24 Jan 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 24 January 2012, NEW NET (NorthEast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurism and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 PM weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net
1.        SOPA Protests Sway Congress: 31 Opponents Yesterday, 122 Now  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/19/sopa-opponents-supporters/  “Yesterday the Internet cried out in protest of SOPA-PIPA, and congress heard us loud and clear. At the beginning of Janaury 18th, there were 80 members of congress who supported the legislation, and 31 opponents. Now, just 63 support SOPA-PIPA, and opposition has surged to 122…”  http://radar.oreilly.com/2012/01/the-week-the-web-changed-washi.html  “This morning, Sen. Harry Reid…the Senate Majority Leader, said in a statement that he would postpone next week's vote on the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Rep. Lamar Smith…followed with a statement that he would also halt consideration of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)…This outcome was driven by an unprecedented day of online protests on Wednesday of this week, and the resulting coverage on cable and broadcast news networks had an effect…We are thankful for the efforts of Senator Ron Wyden who from the beginning stood against this bill; his early opposition and leadership gave voice to the important concerns of the Internet community." Wikipedia, Google, BoingBoing, Reddit, O'Reilly Media and thousands of other websites, blogs and individual citizens asked their communities to take a stand and contact Washington. January 18, 2012, will go down as an historic day of online action. Consider the following statistics: 162 million Wikipedia page views, with some 8 million visitors using an online form to look up the address of their Congressional representatives…7 million signatures on Google's petition…250,000+ people took action through the EFF's resources…2.4 million+ SOPA-related tweets were sent between 12 a.m. and 4 p.m. on January 18…140,000 phone calls made through Tumblr's platform.…”
2.       Udacity and the future of online universities  http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/23/udacity-and-the-future-of-online-universities/  “…Thrun told the story of his Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class, which ran from October to December last year. It started as a way of putting his Stanford course online — he was going to teach the whole thing, for free, to anybody in the world who wanted it. With quizzes and grades and a final certificate, in parallel with the in-person course he was giving his Stanford undergrad students. He sent out one email to announce the class, and from that one email there was ultimately an enrollment of 160,000 students. Thrun scrambled to put together a website which could scale and support that enrollment, and succeeded spectacularly well…there were more students in his course from Lithuania alone than there are students at Stanford altogether…when it finished, thousands of students around the world were educated and inspired. Some 248 of them, in total, got a perfect score: they never got a single question wrong…Thrun was eloquent on the subject of how he realized that he had been running “weeder” classes, designed to be tough and make students fail…Going forwards, he said, he wanted to learn from Khan Academy and build courses designed to make as many students as possible succeed…he concluded that “I can’t teach at Stanford again.” He’s given up his tenure at Stanford, and he’s started a new online university called Udacity. He wants to enroll 500,000 students for his first course, on how to build a search engine — and of course it’s all going to be free…I’m a little sad that it’s happening away from, rather than being part of, Stanford…Stanford was willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars building a new physical campus in New York City — but it isn’t willing, it seems, to help Thrun build a free virtual campus which could reach the whole world…”
3.       Facebook Timeline coming to everyone, users get a week to clean up profiles  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/24/facebook-timeline-now-open-to-all-users-get-a-week-to-clean-up-profiles/  “You can run, but you can’t hide. Facebook’s biggest user interface overhaul since the Wall, the Facebook Timeline, is rolling out worldwide starting today…everyone will get the new Timeline…when you do, you’ll have just seven days to preview what’s there now, and hide anything you don’t want others to see…Timeline makes it far easier for you to travel back through your Facebook posts – posts which normally disappeared off your Wall and into oblivion. The posts from these previous months and years are now accessible through new navigational elements on the right-side of your screen…With Timeline’s added ability to find older posts, including those from the days before your boss, grandparents, mom and dad were on Facebook, users will need to do a rapid cleanup on their profiles when the Timeline goes live…”
4.       IBM takes on Google and Microsoft with cloud-hosted document-editing tool   http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Messaging-and-Collaboration/IBM-Showcases-Beta-for-IBM-Docs-Next-Gen-of-Collaborative-Suite-of-Office-Business-Tools-589286/  “…IBM unveiled the beta version of its next iteration of IBM Docs…Available now on Greenhouse, the cloud-based set of social document editors includes a suite of office-productivity applications such as a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tool. IBM Docs was designed to help teams share files, collaborate effectively and improve productivity…"IBM Docs is not based on OpenOffice or Lotus Symphony…This was built from the ground up.”…Simplicity is key, IBM executives said. We’re designing this to be a low barrier to usage…There is one class of user where desktop software over-serves them,” Barlow said. “They work in business applications, mainly. I think they can replace the cost of managing desktop software…Everything I create is team-based,” Barlow said. “I don’t want to track multiple document versions…”
5.        Yahoo co-founder, Jerry Yang, forced out  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericjackson/2012/01/20/in-defense-of-jerry-yang/  “Jerry Yang is gone from Yahoo!...The conventional wisdom is that Jerry was an idiot for not immediately accepting Microsoft‘s $31 offer made in February 2008 at a 62% premium…However, that wasn’t the conventional wisdom at the time…most pundits and media thought it was smart to hold out for a higher offer because Microsoft “needed” Yahoo!  After all, isn’t it “Negotiation 101″ to never take the first offer?...What no one saw coming was Steve Ballmer pulling its offer…several of the largest Yahoo! shareholders were absolutely in favor of Jerry’s (which was the board’s) strategy of playing hard to get…these shareholders explicitly ruled out taking the $31 offer.  One in particular wanted $40 and said that – worst case scenario…$36…If Jerry (and more specifically his board) had over-ruled his investors, they would have raised hell…can you imagine if the board had accepted the $31 offer a week or two after it was made?  The shareholder lawsuits would have flown saying that the board left too much value on the table…Jerry…made the $1 billion investment in Alibaba Group in 2005 for 40% of the company…according to most recent reports, that stake is worth $12.5 billion…if Alibaba Group was to IPO today, I believe strongly it would be valued at $65 billion, meaning Yahoo!’s stake today is actually worth $26 billion…Jerry’s investment is the single best investment made by an American in the Chinese Internet space…”
Gigabit Internet
6.       Idaho District Gets New Gigabit Fiber Network  http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/01/20/idaho-district-gets-new-gigabit-fiber-network.aspx  “A school district in Boise, ID has just deployed a gigabit Ethernet network to deliver 100-megabit service to its 49 schools and administration buildings…for the nearly $80,000 per month dedicated fiber service. The improved network is being used to deliver public access services, digital voice, and a secure network to connect district sites. The district has about 35,000 students and 2,500 employees. "This network increases our district's Internet access, internal capacity, and reliability, giving our district access to technology applications that enhance learning…”
7.        Will our plugged-in planet have a green or black future?  http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/23/3387805/will-our-plugged-in-planet-have.html  “…Chances are the Internet has changed something about your life…The more interesting answer comes in a longer conversation short on absolutes and peppered with unintended consequences. In Kansas City, perhaps as much as anywhere in America, that discussion could become ever more profound. If Google Inc. succeeds with plans to blanket the market in lightning-fast Internet hookups…the change could be transformational…With a far faster Internet, you can have constant high-definition live video feeds with a dozen co-workers constantly. Crystal clear audio and video without a hint of delay. We’ve just eliminated all that gasoline burned on your daily commute. But wait. You’re going to have the furnace or air conditioner in your home running more during the day. Your lights will be on. Unless your company has loads of teleworkers, there’s probably no energy savings at the office from having you at home…Computers, smartphones, iPods, Kindles and the rest of the fast-growing array of gadgets pose their own environmental cost. They suck down electricity…almost without pause. Their manufacture requires significant energy. And they are made of a sometimes toxic brew of chemicals and rare metals…Imagine a significant number of people in Kansas City with Internet-tethered monitors in their refrigerators and tiny radio chips on milk, butter and cheese packages. Those refrigerators could feed data to regional dairies. Those dairies, in turn, could far better anticipate demand. That could signal whether to send delivery trucks to groceries in Brookside or Strawberry Hill and what best to stock in them. It might even offer clues about when to vary the diets of milking cows…Consider a much-networked system wired over the Internet into a community’s thermostats…it could match those needs with demands of the power grid, coordinating hundreds of thousands of houses so a utility could minimize peak power demands — a difference that might mean less power drawn from coal-burning plants and more taken from wind farms…the beloved book, with its demand for wood pulp, ink and shipping. “War and Peace” now fits instantly in your e-reader without the harvest of so much as a twig…Ultimately, new ways will arise to get the most out of virtual existence…”
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
8.       Why the feds smashed Megaupload  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/01/why-the-feds-smashed-megaupload.ars  “The US government dropped a nuclear bomb on "cyberlocker" site Megaupload today, seizing its domain names, grabbing $50 million in assets, and getting New Zealand police to arrest four of the site's key employees, including enigmatic founder Kim Dotcom…prosecutors charged that the site earned more than $175 million since its founding in 2005, most of it based on copyright infringement…the site's employees…were paid lavishly and they spent lavishly. Even the graphic designer, 35-year-old Slovakian resident Julius Bencko, made more than $1 million in 2010 alone…The case is a major one, involving international cooperation between the US, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Canada, and the Philippines. In addition to the arrests, 20 search warrants were executed today in multiple countries…Megaupload controlled 525 servers in Virginia alone and had another 630 in the Netherlands—and many more around the world…the site has claimed to take down unauthorized content when notified by rightsholders…It has negotiated with companies like Universal Music Group about licensing content. And CEO Kim Dotcom sent this curious e-mail to PayPal in late 2011: Our legal team in the US is currently preparing to sue some of our competitors and expose their criminal activity. We like to give you a heads up and advice [sic] you not to work with sites that are known to pay up loaders for pirated content…the government contends that everything about the site has been doctored to make it look more legitimate than it is. The “Top 100” download list does not “actually portray the most popular downloads,” say prosecutors…the indictment seems…full of strange non-sequiturs, such as the charge that "on or about November 10, 2011, a member of the Mega Conspiracy made a transfer of $185,000 to further an advertising campaign for Megaupload.com involved a musical recording and a video." So? The money probably paid for a video that infuriated the RIAA by including major artists who support Megaupload…There's no doubt that the indictment makes Megaupload look bad, though, and we're quite curious to see what comes of the case…Law professor James Grimmelmann of New York Law School tells Ars, "If proven at trial, there's easily enough in the indictment to prove criminal copyright infringement…But much of what the indictment details are legitimate business strategies many websites use to increase their traffic and revenues: offering premium subscriptions, running ads, rewarding active users…”  http://torrentfreak.com/uploaded-to-blocks-us-visitors-120121/  “Uploaded.to, one of the most popular file-hosting sites in the Internet, has closed its doors to US visitors. The move is most likely a response to the FBI crackdown on MegaUpload two days ago. US visitors of Uploaded.to currently get the following message. “Not Available: Our service is currently unavailable in your country. Sorry about that.…”
9.       David Pogue and other smart people underestimate Hollywood’s disdain for First Ammendment  http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2012/01/pick-up-the-pitchforks-david-pogue-underestimates-hollywood/  “…David Pogue, one of the Times’ tech columnists, advises toning down the alarmist rhetoric over SOPA, suggesting that opponents of the bill (and its Senate cousin PIPA) should Put Down the Pitchforks…Pogue proceeds to offer an explanation of SOPA that makes it clear that he does not understand the text of the bill…Pogue’s perspective: Letting Hollywood decide whether any given site with user contributions facilitates piracy would amount to nothing more than “a gigantic headache.” (Me, I’d have gone with “a violation of the First Amendment.”) To come to a conclusion like this, you’d have to believe that traditional media companies are committed to balancing their desire for control with a respect for citizen rights…Pogue does seem to believe…bad things would happen only if the entertainment industry’s legal arm gets out of control. If their legal arm gets out of control? This is an industry that demands payment from summer camps if the kids sing Happy Birthday or God Bless America, an industry that issues takedown notices for a 29-second home movie of a toddler dancing to Prince. Traditional American media firms are implacably opposed to any increase in citizens’ ability to create, copy, save, alter, or share media on our own…I don’t think he’s intentionally trying to obscure the way the bill imagines letting media firms escape due process and impose “market-based” censorship. I think he simply cannot imagine that the bills are as bad as they actually are…Pogue (and many others) simply imagine that the core of SOPA must therefore be reasonable. Surely Hollywood wouldn’t try to suspend due process, would they? Or create a parallel enforcement system? Or take away citizen recourse if they were unfairly silenced? They wouldn’t imagine the possibility of a longer jail term for streaming a Michael Jackson video than Jackson’s own doctor got for killing actual Michael Jackson? Would they?…”
10.     Supreme Court Court Rejects Willy-Nilly GPS Tracking Without Warrant  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/01/scotus-gps-ruling/  “The Supreme Court said Monday that law enforcement authorities might need a probable-cause warrant from a judge to affix a GPS device to a vehicle and monitor its every move — but the justices did not say that a warrant was needed in all cases. The convoluted decision (.pdf) in what is arguably the biggest Fourth Amendment case in the computer age, rejected the Obama administration’s position that attaching a GPS device to a vehicle was not a search. The government had told the high court that it could even affix GPS devices on the vehicles of all members of the Supreme Court, without a warrant. “We hold that the government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a ‘search,’” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the five-justice majority…”
11.      Judge: Americans can be forced to decrypt their laptops  http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57364330-281/judge-americans-can-be-forced-to-decrypt-their-laptops/  “American citizens can be ordered to decrypt their PGP-scrambled hard drives for police to peruse for incriminating files, a federal judge in Colorado ruled today in what could become a precedent-setting case. Judge Robert Blackburn ordered a Peyton, Colo., woman to decrypt the hard drive of a Toshiba laptop computer no later than February 21--or face the consequences including contempt of court. Blackburn, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that the Fifth Amendment posed no barrier to his decryption order. The Fifth Amendment says that nobody may be "compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which has become known as the right to avoid self-incrimination…”
12.     Rumor: Apple spent $100 million in its first case against HTC — and got almost nothing  http://www.realdanlyons.com/blog/2012/01/23/rumor-apple-spent-100-million-in-its-first-case-against-htc-and-got-almost-nothing/  “…Apple’s “thermonuclear war” on Android smartphone makers has been fizzling out lately. Most of Apple’s legal claims have been tossed out, and the two minor victories Apple has scored were so trivial that opponents could work around the claim by making minor changes to their products…a person close to the situation tells me…Apple spent $100 million just on its first set of claims against HTC…Apple’s case against HTC started out with 84 claims based on 10 patents. But by the time the case got to a judge only four patents were involved. The final ruling was that one patent was totally invalid because of prior art, and should never have been issued to Apple. On two other patents, the ruling was that HTC was not infringing on the patents, and, worse yet, that Apple itself was not using those patents in its own product, which means Apple had no right to seek an injunction based on them…On the last patent the ITC found that HTC was infringing and that Apple was practicing the patent…the infringement involved a relatively tiny software feature…HTC can resolve the infringement simply be removing that feature from phones it sells in the United States, or by finding a different way to implement that feature that sidesteps the patent. So Apple started out with 10 patents — presumably its best ones — and ended up with a tiny victory on just one. Was that worth $100 million?…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
13.     Is ’5G’ mobile broadband just around the corner? IMT-Advanced explained  http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/is-5g-mobile-broadband-just-around-the-corner-imt-advanced-explained/  “…what if we said…the real 4G was just around the corner — and up to 10 times faster than what mobile operators are touting as 4G today. Would you be interested?...the International Telecommunications Union…has just approved the specifications for IMT-Advanced…IMT stands for “International Mobile Telecommunications.”…IMT standards have helped shape the way mobile services have developed worldwide. IMT-Advanced isn’t a specific technology like HSPA+, WiMax, or LTE—rather, it’s a specification and list of requirements for high-speed mobile broadband service…Right now two technologies have been found to meet the IMT-Advanced criteria: WirelessMAN-Advanced and and LTE-Advanced. WirelessMAN-Advanced is an evolution of the 802.16e technologies that serve as the basis for today’s WiMax services…LTE-Advanced is a further refinement of existing LTE technology that brings it into full compliance with IMT-Advanced requirements…LTE-Advanced would seem to have the upper hand, primarily because the vast majority of wireless operators around the world have worked to standardize on current LTE technologies…The main benefit of IMT-Advanced will be bandwidth, but we’ll simplify that to speed…3G technologies…typical download rates are around 2 Mbit/s downstream, and far less upstream — something like 200 Kbit/s. Given the right conditions, 3G technology can hit 14.4 Mbit/s downstream and 5.76 Mbit/s upstream…In ideal conditions (and with a full 20MHz of frequency space available) WiMax can offer up to 128 Mbit/s downstream and 56 Mbit/s upstream, and LTE has a theoretical peak capacity of 100 Mbit/s upstream and 50 Mbit/s downstream in the same conditions…IMT-Advanced…will blow all those technologies out of the water. IMT-Advanced is to offer a nominal data rate of 100 Mbit/s downstream while moving, even at high speeds relative to a base site. That means users in cars, trains, and even planes should be able to receive mobile broadband service in the neighborhood of theoretical maximums for current “4G” mobile broadband technology. And it gets better: if you’re not moving, IMT-Advanced technologies should be able to deliver a theoretical maximum of 1 Gbit/s, which is ten times more bandwidth…With IMT-Advanced technology, it should take about 20 seconds to download a full-length (44 min) standard-definition television episode to a smartphone…IMT-Advanced…technology can support more concurrent users per cell. The technology is also designed to offer global roaming capabilities and seamless handoffs between base stations…users are less likely to experience hiccups as they move between one site and another…”
14.     Don't call it an ultrabook  http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/19/editorial-dont-call-it-an-ultrabook/  “…at CES…one of the most oft-cited trends is the "ultrabook." Judging from the companies' announcements at the show and…coverage they've received, you might think that's a new sort of device…But, really, they're just laptops…It's actually Ultrabook, with a capital "U," and a (TM). The name is a wholly-owned creation of Intel…Intel is reportedly planning its biggest advertising push in eight years to promote Ultrabooks…Ultrabooks actually made their official debut in May of last year at the Computex trade show in Taiwan…right now it's hard to see how they're deserving of a title all their own…none have what can legitimately be called "tablet-like features,"…Intel itself says that 50 percent of 75+ Ultrabooks expected this year will have 14- or 15-inch screens…that's just how laptops have been evolving all these years…A netbook is not a laptop replacement…It's smaller and generally far less expensive than a proper laptop…with some real trade-offs…calling netbooks laptops would actually be doing a disservice to consumers…Ultrabooks, on the other hand, can only be considered a manufactured "new thing."…the whole notion of Ultrabooks as something new is a little silly…”
15.     Panasonic to Release Rugged Android Tablet  http://www.engineeringontheedge.com/2012/01/panasonic-to-release-rugged-android-tablet/  “…designers, engineers and architects…have to take their work with them into the field…finding a computing platform that withstands the rigors of those environments can be a challenge. That fancy laptop that works fine in the office will probably be toast if it gets dropped into a pile of debris, dunked in sea water, or doused with hydraulic fluid. There are rugged alternatives; laptops and tablets built to military specifications. Most of these devices are based on the Windows OS, but Panasonic recently introduced an Android-based rugged tablet. The Panasonic Toughpad A1 is a 10.1-in., 2.13 lbs. tablet set to debut this spring at a list price of $1,299…It has an XGA capacitive, multi-touch, daylight-viewable screen, a Marvell 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and 10 hours of battery life…”
16.     $99 Android Tablet: Better Than Entire 2011 Crop  http://www.informationweek.com/byte/reviews/personal-tech/tablets/232500257  “…The first thing to note about the NOVO7 is that it's smaller than the iPad. The screen measures 7 inches diagonally compared to the iPad 2's 9.7 inches…that's part of why it's cheaper…The first generation of Android tablets from 2011…kept costs down with touchscreens based on resistance and other inferior technologies. High-end touchscreens, such as the ones in the iPad 2 and NOVO7, use capacitance (the human finger conducts electricity and thereby distorts an electrostatic field in the screen)…The Ainovo NOVO7 Basic tablet is no iPad, but at one-fifth the price it doesn't have to be…It uses the MIPS architecture Ingenic XBurst JZ4770 CPU running at 1GHz, plus a Vivante GC860 GPU and VPU…The NOVO7 Basic has many features, such as front (0.3 MP) and rear (2.0 MP) cameras and an HDMI port capable of outputting 1080p video, that are not present in the Amazon Kindle Fire. A version of the NOVO7 without cameras or HDMI costs $10 less. It has a 5-point multi-touch capacitive touchscreen with an 800-pixel-by-480-pixel resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio, and an SD card slot. System memory is 512MB and onboard storage is 8GB. There is no GPS hardware…”
17.     19 Percent of American Adults Own a Tablet  http://www.pcworld.com/article/248562/19_percent_of_american_adults_own_a_tablet.html  “Nearly one in five American adults now own a tablet, as tablet ownership nearly doubled over the holiday season, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. Only 10 percent owned a tablet in mid-December, but that figure almost doubled to 19 percent in early January, after the holiday gift-giving season. The Pew study…mentions the striking growth was fueled by devices such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet, which were introduced at less than half the price of the Apple iPad ($200 for Kindle Fire and $250 for Nook Tablet)…Analysts estimate holiday shoppers bought 4 to 5 million Kindle Fires, while Apple is believed to have shipped some 13 million iPads in the last quarter. The Pew study did not mention Android tablets. E-book reader ownership surged as well to 19 percent among American adults over the holidays…”
18.     iBook, new self-publishing and/or textbook app  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2012/01/apple-ibooks-2-textbook.html  “Apple promised to reinvent the textbook…by way of an update to its iBooks app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch…The app update -- which Apple is calling iBooks 2…will allow for textbooks to be sold through the popular app, which in the past sold novels, nonfiction and poetry, but not textbooks. All textbooks sold through the free app, which is available only to Apple's i-devices, will be priced at $14.99 or less [sort of…see next link – ed.] -- a stark contrast to the high-priced paper books that fill college bookstores…The tech giant has enlisted the heavyweights of textbook publishing -- Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt -- to sell textbooks through iBooks 2. Combined, the three companies make 90% of textbooks sold in the U.S…”  http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/20/tech/innovation/ipad-wont-transform-education/index.html  “…Apple has a long way to go…before it dominates K-12 classrooms the way it has done the music industry…By Apple's count, 1.5 million iPads are being used by schools…there are 55.5 million students enrolled in…U.S. schools…the iPad is not a mainstream phenomenon in K-12. Nor is there any guarantee it will become so. One-to-one initiatives for laptops have been pushing forward for years without mainstream adoption…while 99% of public school teachers have some access to computers, just 29% of public school teachers use them during instructional time "often."…Even though Apple's first iPad textbooks will sell for $15 or less, they won't be any less expensive for schools than paper books…iBooks will be sold to schools rather than directly to students, but that schools will grant students access to those books through their personal IDs…even if a school reuses iPads, it won't be able to reuse books. The books will be kept on individual students' iTunes accounts. Schools reuse the same paper book for about five years, and those books usually cost about $75. Because a new book will be purchased every year, the iBook version still costs $75 for five years. Relying on iBooks as textbooks isn't a feasible option…at the moment because Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson have each dedicated just a small number of titles each…Unless major publishers decide to add more of their titles to iBooks, it won't be a feasible default reader in most schools…In a FTC 2010 survey of the schools…almost 80% said their Internet connections don't fully meet their current needs. "It's not atypical to see one classroom of students on connected devices bring down a network…”
19.     Unprecedented audacity of iBook Author EULA  http://venomousporridge.com/post/16126436616/ibooks-author-eula-audacity  “…iBooks Author, a free Mac app for creating digital books for the new version of iBooks…looks like a very good tool. However, a curious thing happens when you go to export your work in iBooks format…iBooks can be sold only in the iBookstore…Apple is trying to establish a rule that whatever I create with this application, if I sell it, I have to give them a cut…Here’s the problem: I didn’t agree to it…to paraphrase: By using this software, you agree that anything you make with it is in part ours. But if it can say that and have legal force, can’t it say anything? Isn’t this the equivalent of a car dealer trying to bind you to additional terms by sticking a contract in the glove compartment? By driving this car, you agree to get all your oil changes from Honda of Cupertino?...It’s akin to Microsoft trying to restrict what people can do with Word documents…As far as I know, in the consumer software industry, this practice is unprecedented…When I make something myself, no matter what software I use to make it…it’s my right to distribute it however I want, in whatever format I choose, for free or not…”  http://gigaom.com/2012/01/19/do-we-want-textbooks-to-live-in-apples-walled-garden/  “…the biggest criticism of Apple’s attempt to co-opt the educational system doesn’t have anything to do with costs: If its digital textbooks became the standard in schools, it would commit those institutions to a much broade…relationship with a technology provider than we have ever seen…Every textbook would effectively have to be approved by Apple, and the software that controlled them would belong to Apple alone…”  http://gigaom.com/apple/vook-ibooks-author-has-limited-appeal-for-writers-readers/  “…I reached out to Vook, the startup founded in 2009 by Brad Inman that provides a top-to-bottom publishing experience using a Software-as-a-Service model…the company is “kind of flattered” by some aspects of iBooks Author, since they look very similar to its own product…iBooks Author helps raise the status of e-books in general, and helps promote them as a valid alternative to apps, which is good for Vook and other e-book publishers…in Cavnar’s opinion…many content creators and publishers won’t be able to swallow…the portability and limitations of the e-Books Author ultimately produces…Being platform agnostic appeals to what Cavnar calls “the switcher demographic,”…iBooks Author won’t be as appealing to those users, since it creates a file that’s not quite epub2, not quite epub3, and not quite XHTML5…which makes it…essentially proprietary…while Apple will let you distribute the book independent of the iBookstore, if you want to make any money on the product, you have to go through the iBookstore and the iBookstore only. Exclusivity as a requirement won’t likely go over great with authors…”
20.    5 Smartphone Augmented Reality Apps  http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/2012/01/19/top-5-smartphone-augmented-reality-apps/  “The…base for augmented reality enabled smartphones jumped from eight million in 2009 to over a hundred million in 2010. When we see the final numbers from 2011, they should be even higher…analysts say the overall revenue generated by augmented reality on smartphones could exceed $1.5 billion by 2015. Certain practical applications like innovative cameras, accelerometers, and compasses are beginning to prove that AR is more than just a mobile fad…Here are some top-notch AR apps for your smartphone:  Google Sky Map…Layar…Car Finder…Yelp…Wikitude…”
21.     Google+ allows pseudonyms if they’re “established”  http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/23/google-plus-pseudonyms/  “Google’s Bradley Horowitz just announced that as part of a more “inclusive” naming policy, Google+ will now be allow people to employ pseudonyms as their user names…Google isn’t throwing the door open to anyone who wants to create an account under a random name. Instead, it sounds like it wants to make Google+ better reflect names that are used in the real-world, like “Madonna”…Google says that when the Google+ team flags a user name, people can appeal the decision by showing that it’s an “established identity,” either offline or online — though if it’s an online identity, it needs to have “a meaningful following…”
22.    Going Google-Free: The Best Alternatives to Google Services on the Web  http://lifehacker.com/5876794/going-google+free-the-best-alternatives-to-google-services-on-the-web  “…Google runs your life. The search giant turned web ecosystem owns your email, calendar, and even your voicemails. Your most important data lives on Google's servers…despite the quality of Google's products…placing all your eggs in Google's basket isn't necessarily the best thing. Here's a look at alternative services you can use in place of Google's webapps…The Best Search Alternative: DuckDuckGo…The Best Gmail Alternative: Hotmail…The Best Google Calendar Alternative: Zoho Calendar…The Best Google Maps Alternative: Bing Maps…The Best Picasa Web Alternative: Flickr…The Best Google Docs Alternative: Office Web Apps…The Best Google Voice Alternative: Phonebooth…”
23.    Pages With Too Many Ads “Above The Fold” Now Penalized By Google’s “Page Layout” Algorithm  http://searchengineland.com/too-many-ads-above-the-fold-now-penalized-by-googles-page-layout-algo-108613  “Do you shove lots of ads at the top of your web pages? Think again. Tired of doing a Google search and landing on these types of pages? Rejoice. Google has announced that it will penalize sites with pages that are top-heavy with ads. The change — called the “page layout algorithm” — takes direct aim at any site with pages where content is buried under tons of ads…When I talked with the head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutts, he said that Google wasn’t going to provide any type of official tools…Instead, Cutts told me that Google is encouraging people to make use of its Google Browser Size tool or similar tools to understand how much of a page’s content (as opposed to ads) is visible at first glance to visitors under various screen resolutions…”
24.    Google cancels Picnik and closes a few other businesses  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57363171-93/google-cancels-picnik-and-closes-a-few-other-businesses/  “…Google said it will shutter a half-dozen businesses--including Picnik, the photo-editing service…Google's been on a slashing binge, cleaving under-performing and peripheral businesses from its portfolio…The company bought the online photo editing service in March 2010, and plans to end the service on April 19. Instead, Google plans to offer photo editing "across Google products,"…It's already building some basic photo features into its Google+ social network, a likely spot for some Picnik services…Google is also dropping its Social Graph application programming interface…Google is also closing Google Message Continuity, an email disaster recovery product for corporate customers that launched in December 2010…Needlebase, the data management platform picked up in the ITA Software acquisition last June, will go away, possibly integrated into Google's other data-related initiatives. And the company is closing its client-hosted web analytics product, Urchin Software…”
25.    Export all Google Docs Files with Takeout  http://www.ghacks.net/2012/01/25/export-all-google-docs-files-with-takeout/  “Google Takeout is a service that Google users can make use of to export their user data to their local PC. Not all Google services are supported by Takeout though…Up until now, it only offered to export Picasa Web Albums, Google+ related information, Google Voice data or your Google Contacts. The developers have now announced that they have added Google Docs to the list of services. Let me show you how you can export all of your Google Docs files now…The frontpage displays a list of all services that you can export data from. You can create an archive of data from all available services, or switch to the Choose services menu to select one service that you want to export data from…”
General Technology
26.    Europe's Driverless Car  http://www.technologyreview.com/business/39410/?p1=BI  “…I think that in 10 to 15 years, it could be another world," Huber says. He's not willing to predict exactly what driving will look like then, but he's certain humans will be doing a lot less of it…the automated driving revolution is already here: new safety and convenience technologies are beginning to act as "copilots," automating tedious or difficult driving tasks such as parallel parking. "Driverless" technology…will creep into everyday use much as airbags did: first as an expensive option in luxury cars, but eventually as a safety feature required by governments…BMW and Volkswagen are among the companies already demonstrating cars that drive themselves. In 2010, Volkswagen sent a driverless Audi TTS up Pike's Peak at close to race speeds…for $1,350, people who purchase BMW's 535i xDrive sedan in the United States can opt for a "driver assistance package" that includes radar to detect vehicles in the car's blind spot. For another $2,600, BMW will install "night vision with pedestrian detection," which uses a forward-facing infrared camera to spot people in the road…In the high-end Mercedes-Benz CL, for instance, cameras not only tell a driver when he or she is leaving the lane but actually help the vehicle steer itself back…automakers already sell cars with so-called adaptive cruise control that automatically applies the brakes during highway driving if traffic slows…BMW…i3 series of electric cars…traffic-jam feature will let the car accelerate, decelerate, and steer by itself at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour…”
27.    Snake locomotion inspires new design for robots  http://zeenews.india.com/news/technology/snake-locomotion-inspires-new-design-for-robots_753793.html  “Scientists have designed new machines for search and rescue robots by studying the locomotion of snakes…an all-terrain robot for search-and-rescue missions…must be flexible enough to move over uneven surfaces, yet not so big that it’s restricted from tight spaces. It might also be required to climb slopes of varying inclines…By using their scales to control frictional properties, snakes are able to move large distances while exerting very little energy…While studying and videotaping the movements of 20 different species at Zoo Atlanta, Marvi developed Scalybot 2, a robot that replicates rectilinear locomotion of snakes…Snakes lift their ventral scales and pull themselves forward by sending a muscular travelling wave from head to tail. Rectilinear locomotion is very efficient and is especially useful for crawling within crevices, an invaluable benefit for search-and-rescue robots…Scalybot 2 can automatically change the angle of its scales when it encounters different terrains and slopes…”
28.    Putting Nike's FuelBand through the paces  http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57362375-1/putting-nikes-fuelband-and-me-through-the-paces/  “I have to hand it to Nike for its unique take on the growing fad of fitness-tracking devices. The FuelBand is Nike's stab at this segment, which others including the Jawbone Up and Motorola Mobility's MotoActv have already tread…Unlike some of the other devices, the primary crux of the FuelBand is its Nike Fuel reading, a metric that Nike put together on its own that matches a person's movement through the wristband's accelerometer against data collected on how rapidly oxygen is consumed. As with other fitness monitors that rely on an accelerometer, the readings vary greatly depending on how much you move your arm. Cycling and certain kinds of weight lifting, for instance, wouldn't register much as simply sitting on your couch and waving your hands…chances are, if you're spending $149 on a FuelBand, you're going to want to pay attention to the Nike Fuel readout…the company took the media on a little field trip to test out the FuelBand in a variety of activities. The following are my early impressions after a day with the device…”
29.    Mercedes-Benz gesture control concept is DICEy  http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/15/mercedes-benz-gesture-control-concept-is-dicey/  “…Germans seem to be obsessed with Minority Report-style interior controls, and Mercedes-Benz has taken it to the next level with a full-scale interior with nary a button or switch to be found. Mercedes' Dynamic & Intuitive Control Experience (DICE) utilizes a series of proximity sensors to detect arm and hand movements, which control everything from music, navigation and social functionality to a heads-up display that comprises the entire windshield. You can get a feel for the system in action in the video…”               
30.    Collision Between Self-Driving Cars and How the World Works  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/technology/googles-autonomous-vehicles-draw-skepticism-at-legal-symposium.html  “…legal scholars and government officials are warning that society has only begun wrestling with the changes that would be required in a system created a century ago…What happens if a police officer wants to pull one of these vehicles over? When it stops at a four-way intersection, would it be too polite to take its turn ahead of aggressive human drivers (or equally polite robots)? What sort of insurance would it need? These and other implications of what Google calls autonomous vehicles were debated…last week at a daylong symposium sponsored by the Law Review and High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University…computerized systems that replace human drivers are now largely workable and could greatly limit human error, which causes most of the 33,000 deaths and 1.2 million injuries that now occur each year on the nation’s roads. Such vehicles also hold the potential for greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions — and, more broadly, for restoring the United States’ primacy in the global automobile industry…Sebastian Thrun, director of Google’s autonomous vehicle research program, wrote that the project had achieved 200,000 miles of driving without an accident while cars were under computer control…Nevada became the first state to legalize driverless vehicles last year, and similar laws have now been introduced before legislatures in Florida and Hawaii. Several participants at the Santa Clara event said a similar bill would soon be introduced in California…human drivers frequently bend the rules by rolling through stop signs and driving above speed limits…how would a polite and law-abiding robot vehicle fare against such competition?...the car is so polite it might be sitting at a four-way intersection forever, because no one else is coming to a stop.”…“Twenty years from now we might have completely autonomous vehicles,” he said, “maybe on limited roads.”…future autonomous vehicles will rely heavily on global positioning satellite data and other systems, which are vulnerable to jamming by malicious computer hackers…Some called the definition itself into question. “It won’t truly be an autonomous vehicle,” said Brad Templeton, a software designer and a consultant for the Google project, “until you instruct it to drive to work and it heads to the beach instead.”
Leisure & Entertainment
31.     Robot and Frank is the next great science fiction indie  http://io9.com/5878242/sundance-breakout-robot-and-frank-uses-artificial-intelligence-to-celebrate-humanism  “In the movies, technology is usually represented one of two ways: a hallelujah-worthy miracle or a soul-deadening trespass on the natural order of things. Robot and Frank, a film receiving near-unanimous praise at the Sundance Film Festival, is smart enough to know better. Technology, like everything in life, isn't black and white, and is only as good or bad as the people who interact with it…so here's the pitch: Frank Langella and a robot crack safes…Robot and Frank…has great insight into the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and the fractured lucidity of memory…Frank, a divorcee, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and will soon be unable to care for himself. The shiny white robot…cooks and cleans…and has a primary programming to do anything to improve Frank's health. He also has knowledge of, but no specific requirements to adhere to state and federal laws, which quickly comes in handy when Frank decides to restart his career in cat burglary…Robot and Frank certainly embraces the promise in new technology, but is eager to point out its potential pitfalls. Douchey Jeremy Strong looks like a yutz playing invisible virtual reality drums…also held up for some ridicule is the reactionary pro-humanist faction, as embodied by Frank's globe-trotting liberal daughter played by Liv Tyler..There are times I watch a movie and wonder if it was made just for me…with its empathetic characters, precise and thorough investigation of a science fiction concept and its rock solid Hollywood screenwriting beats…”
32.    'Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission' Returns to Earth  http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/screens/2012-01-19/hallo-spaceboy-richard-garriott-man-on-a-mission-returns-to-earth/  “…out-of-this-world documentary Richard Garriott: Man On a Mission…our local uber-geek/gamer-god's sojourn into space has finally landed in theaters…The film, which snagged the SXSW Audience Choice Award back in 2010, is currently playing in selected cities…you can watch it in the luxury of your own cockpit via Netflix, the iTunes Store…Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, Space X, and Space Adventures are all competing for customers willing and able to shell out for a still-pricey tourist ticket into outer space, and both Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen may yet live to see their own, prescient space-travel dreams come true. Says director Woolf, "For me, this movie captures the moment in history when the gates were opened for private space travel…”
33.    Audiobooks.com launches unlimited book streaming service for $24.95 a month  http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/24/2730073/audiobooks-com-unlimited-book-streaming-launch  “If you're a voracious audiobook listener and want access to as many books as you could possibly listen to, the just-launched Audiobooks.com streaming service might be worth looking into. Once you pay the $24.95 monthly fee, you have unlimited access to a library of 11,000 titles, and can listen to as many as you want each month through your browser or mobile phone. While there aren't apps available yet, you can stream from Audiobooks.com as long as you're running iOS 4.0 or Android 2.3 (and higher, of course)…Compared to Audible, there's both pros and cons for Audiobooks.com. First off, Audible can be significantly cheaper, with plans starting at $7.49 per month for the first three months, and its catalog is nearly ten times bigger than Audiobooks.com's offering. However, Audible's plans only give you access to one or two books a month, while Audiobooks.com allows for unlimited streaming for just two dollars more than Audible's two book plan….”
Economy and Technology
34.    RFS 9: Kill Hollywood  http://ycombinator.com/rfs9.html  “Hollywood…is not an ordinary industry. The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise. That's one reason we want to fund startups that will compete with movies and TV, but not the main reason. The main reason we want to fund such startups is…because SOPA brought it to our attention that Hollywood is dying…If movies and TV were growing rapidly, that growth would take up all their attention…SOPA shows Hollywood is beaten. And yet the audiences to be captured from movies and TV are still huge. There is a lot of potential energy to be liberated there…what is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What's going to kill movies and TV is what's already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now…”
35.    Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust  http://www.wired.com/magazine/2012/01/ff_solyndra/  “…In 2005, VC investment in clean tech measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The following year, it ballooned to $1.75 billion, according to the National Venture Capital Association. By 2008, the year after Doerr’s speech, it had leaped to $4.1 billion. And the federal government followed. Through a mix of loans, subsidies, and tax breaks, it directed roughly $44.5 billion into the sector between late 2009 and late 2011. Avarice, altruism, and policy had aligned to fuel a spectacular boom. Anyone who has heard the name Solyndra knows how this all panned out. Due to a confluence of factors—including fluctuating silicon prices, newly cheap natural gas, the 2008 financial crisis, China’s ascendant solar industry, and certain technological realities—the clean-tech bubble has burst, leaving us with a traditional energy infrastructure still overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels. The fallout has hit almost every niche in the clean-tech sector—wind, biofuels, electric cars, and fuel cells—but none more dramatically than solar…Perhaps the biggest force working against not just Solyndra but clean energy in general is this: Because natural gas has gotten so cheap, there is no longer a financial incentive to go with renewables…The price of natural gas peaked at nearly $13 per thousand cubic feet in 2008. It now stands at around $3. A decade ago, shale gas accounted for less than 2 percent of America’s natural gas supply; it is now approaching one-third, and industry officials predict that the total reserves will last a century…Put all that together and you’ve undone some of the financial models that say it makes sense to shift to wind and solar…Even solar’s biggest allies on Capitol Hill—people like Edward J. Markey, a top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee—fear the industry’s oil and gas foes may have gotten the upper hand now that the clean-tech bubble has burst…The fossil fuel industry and its allies in Congress clearly see the solar and wind industries as a threat and will try to kill these industries as they have for the preceding two generations…”
36.    Dwolla getting $10M investment even though they’re in Iowa  http://www.betabeat.com/2012/01/20/union-square-ventures-leading-series-b-in-iowa-based-dwolla/  “Des Moines-based payments provider Dwolla, which enables seamless online payments for a quarter per transaction…has had a flush of attention and VCs have been falling all over themselves to book flights to Iowa and get in on the company’s next round…Dwolla, founded in 2008, hit $1 million a day back in July…Now it’s moving between $30 and $50 million per month…taking just $0.25 for transactions over $10 (less than $10, and it’s free). The startup’s million (billion?) dollar innovation is eliminating credit card interchange fees by cutting costs in a few key ways, including a massive reduction in credit card fraud risk by eliminating card information from the transaction…It links to consumers’ bank accounts and lets them send money to friends on social networks, currently available in the U.S. using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. The fee scheme is exactly the same for merchants, who can sign up for free…“Essentially, we’ve created our own payment network. Think VISA, but built in the 21st century, not the 1960s,”…Earlier this month, Dwolla launched instant transactions, cleaned up the user experience, and is now heavily staffing up…Dwolla has raised about $1.3 million to date in grants, angel funding and a series A…The company had grown from two to 15 employees as of June; they’re now at about 18…”
DHMN Technology
37.    Preview of Tomorrow's Wearable Computers at CES  http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/39471/  “…This year, several…small exhibitors were showing off technology that could free us from having to peer down at our mobile devices—glasses that can overlay digital data onto the world around us…Lumus Optics…demonstrated prototype glasses that display translucent, almost opaque imagery that fills the wearer's view like a 10-foot-wide TV two feet in front of his face…"We have a crazy amount of computing horsepower and bandwidth in our small mobile devices, but you can't get the full utility of that," says Grobman. "This will change that."…The glasses rely on a computer or phone to provide them with imagery, a link that can be made using Bluetooth. Adding sensors like accelerometers and a camera to the glasses will enable sophisticated apps, says Grobman, such as one that uses facial recognition to call up useful information about people. The technology to enable this is already available…He guesses that consumer devices will appear in "two years, maybe less." Vuzix…estimates that its augmented-reality technology will reach consumers in a similar time frame…the company displayed a monocular display that will go on sale later in 2012 for $5,000 to $10,000…aimed at the military and industry…the company plans to develop a more consumer-friendly version…”
38.    Geek Techniques: X-Men Cyclops Visor  http://www.loungegeeks.com/2012/01/geek-techniques-cyclops-visor/  “…Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year…I…wanted to build that Cyclops visor and…managed to put together a functional visor that lights up for just under $30…1 Pair of Cyclops-Style Glasses (available for $5-10 online, depending on style)…1 Strip of Red LEDs ($10-$25. I used these, but you can use any 12v LED strip)…When designing any gadget, your primary concern should always be to maintain a fine balance between form (what it looks like) and function (what it does)…As for function, I wanted something that could light up at the push of a switch but would still allow me to see (as these would be mostly used at parties or in the occasional video)…There you have it – a functional piece of myopic eyewear fit for wearing to your local ComicCon or simply heading down to the closest geek bar to try to pick up stray psychic red-heads…”
39.    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: coming soon to a sky near you  http://io9.com/5876952/unmanned-aerial-vehicles-coming-soon-to-a-sky-near-you  “…Drones were developed in the early days of aviation, and were used almost exclusively as moving targets for training exercises…The military UAVs familiar today trace their lineage to aircraft developed in the 1980s. Israel was at the forefront of UAV design, using several light, remotely controlled aircraft to great success in the 1982 Lebanon War…Better remote control and camera technology allowed UAVs to take on more involved reconnaissance roles…Today's UAVs can remain on-mission for 30 to 40 hours, far beyond the capabilities of any human crew. Research into mid-air refueling of UAVs and ultra-efficient solar-powered UAVs could extend that range close to infinity…The U.S. military was not content to merely identify targets with their UAVs – they wanted to blow them up, too. That's why the Predator (and its variants the Gray Eagle and the Avenger) can be armed with Hellfire missiles…they are not used as front line warfighting machines – against a plane with a human pilot, a UAV will lose every time. They're more like high-tech assassination weapons… In the future, UAVs may be armed with smaller, more precise armaments such as the Griffin or Spike missiles…overall, autonomy is not a priority right now. It's a cost-benefit issue – the cost of developing effective autonomous UAVs is undercut by the cost of training human controllers, and there's no great necessity for planes that fly themselves…Next-generation UAVs will be larger, allowing them to carry more payload. They will also have more powerful engines…UAVs used in domestic situations in the U.S. have been smaller, "man-portable" units used for search and rescue, fire suppression and surveillance…What happens when the cost comes down and every police department in the country has a fleet of UAVs constantly in the air? Current privacy laws are probably not going to answer all the questions…The counterpoint to this UAV-powered panopticon is that it is becoming increasingly easy for the average citizen to create and operate a UAV…Civilians even created a UAV to observe police activities during Occupy protests – the OccuCopter is a quad-rotor UAV that can be controlled via iPhone and streams video live to the internet…In wars, fewer pilots will die, but civilian casualties might increase. Pervasive government surveillance will test Constitutional law and give rise to new technologies that counteract it…”
40.    Pirate Bay Launches 3D-Printed 'Physibles' Downloads  http://www.pcworld.com/article/248682/pirate_bay_launches_3dprinted_physibles_downloads.html  “…The Pirate Bay, a notorious and extremely popular torrent site, has created a new category for files that allow 3D printers to create physical objects…The Pirate Bay's "WinstonQ2038" labeled the site's new category "physibles" --data objects that users can transform from digital to physical form via 3D printers and scanners. Eventually, people may be able to print spare parts for vehicles, or even download sneakers, the post predicts. An emerging technology, 3D printing allows scientists, artists, and even crooks to swiftly build three-dimensional prototypes. Plastic is usually the preferred material for these creations, but 3D printers can use a variety of other materials, including stainless steel, Styrofoam, and human tissue…”
41.     5 technologies that will plug the Internet directly into your brain  http://dvice.com/archives/2012/01/5-technologies.php  “…in geek speak, most are at least casually familiar with the concepts of software and hardware: the digital ghost and the shell. But there is a third computer component without which the other two would be meaningless. We're talking about meatware,* or the tech that connects computers to the meaty organic components, aka you…compared to the connectivity within a computer or within the brain, contemporary UIs are little more than annoying speed bumps along the road to the Matrix…Researchers from around the world are hard at work developing ways to mainline the virtual world directly into your brain…Here we present some of the coolest upcoming technology that will collapse the divide between meat and machine…5. Computer-aided Telepathy…Professor Stephen Hawking…is now collaborating with a team at Intel to develop a new communication method. One avenue the team is considering is "brain-wave scanning," which could translate the professor's thoughts directly into words…4. The Internet Feels Like This…Researchers at Duke University recently pulled off a strange proof-of-concept experiment in which they linked a digital interface directly to a test monkey's brain…researchers were able to fabricate tangible sensations of virtual objects…3. Meatware, Meet Hardware…a joint team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Johns Hopkins have developed what has been dubbed a "thought-controlled" bionic arm…2. Cyborg Brains For All…A Tel Aviv-based research team has developed a brain-computer interface that has given a rat to the ability to move after scientists paralyzed the little creature…1. A Dreamcatcher, Literally…Japan's ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories has developed a technique using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)…to capture visualizations of data (thoughts) as the brain processes them…”
Open Source Hardware
42.    My low cost and open source tools  http://www.nabiltewolde.com/2012/01/low-cost-and-open-source-tools.html  “In the 1970s software developers worked together to build a foundation of open source software tools with the hope that the entire community would benefit from this shared knowledge…We are starting to see the same thing happen with the open source hardware movement…It has allowed me to do my work at a fraction of the cost and effort it might have even just 5 years ago so I thought I would share some of my favorite tools…Open Logic Analyzer - $50…Dangerous DSO…Bus Blaster - $34.94…USBtinyISP - $22…Zigduino - $65…Arduino Mega ADK - $84.95…Makerbot Replicator - $1,749.00…USRP B100 Kit - $650…Bus Pirate - $27.15…Ubertooth…CEE Analog Multitool…”
43.    High Altitude Balloon Presentation video  http://www.southgatearc.org/news/january2012/high_altitude_balloon_presentation_video.htm  “…The presentation titled 'Tux in (near) space!' was given to hackers at the linux.conf.au 2012 in Ballarat, Jan 16-20. The Project Horus group have flown several amateur radio repeaters as well as APRS and video payloads…This talk will describe how to launch and recover high altitude balloons: logistics, regulations, and most importantly the open source hardware and software used…anyone who likes seeing photos of earth from 35km will enjoy this talk…”
44.    Adafruit Debuts FLORA, a Wearable Electronics Platform  http://hothardware.com/News/Adafruit-Debuts-FLORA-a-Wearable-Electronics-Platform/  “…Adafruit…recently announced FLORA, a wearable electronics platform. FLORA is a tiny board that measures just 1.75 inches in diameter, and it’s based on Adafruit’s own Atmega32u4 Breakout Board and is compatible with Arduino. It comes with “addressable and chain-able 4,000 mcd RGB LED pixels and premium stainless steel thread…”
45.    MegaSokoban on Uzebox  http://uzebox.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1149  “…I've finished MegaSokoban - port of my early game…for Uzebox. It's not audio or video excellent, but it's right choice for Sokoban maniacs, because it has 999 levels (all of them fitted into 664's FLASH thanks to use of my compression algorithm…”  http://belogic.com/uzebox/index.asp  http://iteadstudio.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=531
Open Source
46.    Android App Inventor open sourced, code released  http://www.hackeducation.com/2012/01/20/android-app-inventor-open-sourced-code-released/  “…Google's Android App Inventor…was something designed in part by Hal Abelson, one of the people behind Scratch -- no doubt, the single best learn-to-program projects available to this day…it was terribly disappointing to see the Android App Inventor be shelved.  Much like Scratch, App Inventor presupposes zero programming knowledge, and yet while teaching computational thinking, it also allows users to build something they find both useful and important -- in the case of Scratch, it's animations and games.  In the case of App Inventor, it's mobile apps. After announcing the closure of App Inventor…Google handed over App Inventor to MIT, along with a sizable donation to help fund a new mobile learning inititiative…Google and MIT have just announced its release, and the source code is now available…”
47.    Pencil 1.1 new features and improvements  http://www.evolus.vn/Pencil/Home.html  “The Pencil Project's unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use…Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping…Multi-page document with background page…Exporting to HTML, PNG, Openoffice.org document, Word document and PDF…Undo/redo supports…Installing user-defined stencils and templates…Standard drawing operations: aligning, z-ordering, scaling, rotating…”
48.    Open sourcing Sky Map  http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2012/01/open-sourcing-sky-map-and-collaborating.html  “…we are going to share Sky Map in a different way: we are donating Sky Map to the community. We are collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University in an exciting partnership that will see further development of Sky Map as a series of student projects. Sky Map’s development will now be driven by the students, with Google engineers remaining closely involved as advisors. Additionally, we have open-sourced the app so that other astronomy enthusiasts can take the code and augment it as they wish…”
Civilian Aerospace
49.    9 Indian kids among top contenders in YouTube Space Lab contest  http://ibnlive.in.com/news/youtube-space-lab-contest-9-indians-among-60-finalists/222203-11.html  “Indian students are among the 60 finalists in a global science competition, 'YouTube Space Lab', and if they win, experiments they have designed will be conducted in space with the help of NASA, ESA and JAXA. "YouTube Space Lab received thousands of video submissions from more than 80 countries. The US led with 10 finalists, followed by India with nine,"…The contest was organised by YouTube, Lenovo and private civilian space flight firm Space Adventures in collaboration with the space agencies…Approximately 40 per cent of the entries came from India, followed by the US with 15 per cent…Other countries in the Top 10 list of the number of entries are the UK, Russia, Israel, Canada, Spain, Italy, Poland and Japan…”
50.    Rookie Brit stargazers spot unknown world on planet-hunting website  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2088759/Citizen-scientist-spots-unknown-world-planet-hunting-website-100-000-sign-help.html  “A pair of amateur British stargazers have discovered a new planet…Chris Holmes and Lee Threapleton spotted the new world during a project to find planets beyond our solar system…The pair will receive the honour of having the planet named after them, once scientists have confirmed its authenticity. They made the discovery after spotting changes in light patterns in an image from Nasa’s Kepler space telescope…The image had been posted online at Planethunters.org, an Oxford University project that asks the public to sift through time-lapsed data from Nasa in the hope of new discoveries. Mr Holmes, of Peterborough, said: ‘I’ve never even had a telescope…”
51.     Norman Edmund, Optics Entrepreneur, Dies  http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/NormanEdmundObit-137951448.html  “Norman W. Edmund, legendary founder of a company offering a profusion of optics to the public for 70 years (and counting), died January 16th in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 95…Norman Edmund got the idea to start selling optical parts that he acquired as war surplus. He formed the Edmund Salvage Co. and placed his first Sky & Telescope ad in the September 1945 issue…The listings included color filters, reticles, mirrors from tank periscopes, and a 1.8-inch f/11 achromatic objective for making your own small refractor…Initially Edmund worked out of his home in Audubon, New Jersey. "I once heard that Norm kept his stock of lenses, etc., in boxes under his bed," recalls William E. Shawcross…in 1948 Edmund opened a larger facility in nearby Barrington, New Jersey, and changed the name to Edmund Scientific Co…its product line grew to include a remarkable 3-inch f/10 Newtonian reflector for just $29.50. This scope came as kit and was "easily assembled; a nine-year-old can do it!" It had a cardboard tube, wooden legs, and interchangeable tripod heads for alt-azimuth or equatorial operation…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
52.    Nvidia supercomputer building blocks revealed  http://news.techeye.net/hardware/nvidia-supercomputer-building-blocks-revealed  “…details of Nvidia’s Echelon supercomputer chip have resurfaced a few weeks after Supercomputing 2011. In the middle of 2010, Nvidia disclosed plans for a 20 Teraflop supercomputer named Echelon, within a competition set up by the US Department of Defense. It was competing head-on with Intel and IBM…documents presented at Supercomputing 2011 have made their way to the public eye. The slideware, obtained from a University of Gent presentation (PDF), shows off amongst other things, a block diagram for a 17mm-by-17mm chip (that’s 289mm2@10nm, by the way), packing  64x4 SM (streaming multiprocessor)…Looking at the slides you can get the impression you’re actually looking at a GPU, which would be about right, but Nvidia is calling it a Network-on-Chip processor…”
53.    OpenCL / AMD GPU parallel programming course at U of Illinois  http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2139473/amd-ropes-university-illinois-push-gpgpu-development-students  “…AMD has enlisted the help of the University of Illinois to encourage students to develop code that makes use of the GPGPU found in its Fusion processors. AMD's Llano Fusion processor was launched last year…Applications that make use of OpenCL can enjoy significantly better performance than just using the Llano CPU core, and one of the ways to increase the number of applications that use the GPU is to teach university students to write the code that uses it. The University of Illinois' course entitled "Engineering Entrepreneurship AMD section" will instruct students to develop projects that will be evaluated for funding through AMD's Fusion Fund and Illinois Ventures…Courses that are designed by companies should be met with caution…However getting computer science and engineering students to make use of GPUs with their code and using open industry standards such as OpenCL is a goal that merits a course for a semester or two…”