NEW NET Weekly List for 27 Nov 2012

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 27 Nov 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.        Google promotes 'Take Action' campaign for free, open web  http://www.zdnet.com/google-promotes-take-action-campaign-for-free-open-web-7000007686/  “Google is actively promoting its "Take Action" campaign to defend its views for building a free and open World Wide Web…the Internet giant is getting its agenda out there now ahead of the meeting of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Dubai starting on Monday, December 3…"Some governments want to use this meeting in Dubai to increase censorship and regulate the Internet," Google wrote…A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future…”  [I ‘signed’ the Google campaign to maintain a free and open Internet at https://www.google.com/takeaction/#make-your-voice-heard; please consider doing likewise – ed.]
2.       Russians make minor changes to leaked U.N. Internet proposal  http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57552769-38/russians-back-down-from-leaked-u.n-internet-proposal/  “Following the disclosure…of a secret proposal to transfer Internet governance to the U.N., the Russian Federation has revised its plan, toning down the language but not the thrust of the document…The revised proposal tones down some of the anti-Internet rhetoric of the original, but still calls on the UN to help member states seize control of key Internet engineering assets, including domain names, addresses and numbering…the original proposal…leaked out of secret negotiations leading up to the World Conference on International Telecommunications taking place next month in Dubai. WCIT will update a 1988 treaty dealing with international telecommunications…Russia continues to propose the addition of a new article to the treaty giving the ITU specific authority over the Internet, something the agency has never had…Both versions of the Russian proposal justify warnings…that some ITU member states -- particularly Russia, China, and Iran -- would use the conference to advance longstanding efforts to gain better control over key Internet resources currently managed by non-governmental, multi-stakeholder engineering groups such as the Internet Society and ICANN…”
3.       Analysts Went To Kansas City To Check Out Google Fiber And Were Blown Away  http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-google-fiber-is-like-2012-11  “Two analysts from BTIG Research went to Kansas City to see what Google's new cable-company killer, Google Fiber, is like. What's it like? It's awesome…The analysts…have written a detailed report about how Google Fiber works and what the TV and Internet experience is like…Here are some key points…from Rich and Walt's report…Google Fiber gives you 1 Gbps (as in gigabit per second) of data speed, downstream and upstream, for $70 a month…The Google installers promise to come to your house at the time of your appointment, not in some vague "window" that requires you to be home for 4 hours at a stretch…You get a free Nexus 7 tablet (with a two-year subscription) to use as a remote control, in addition to a Google Fiber remote…Cable companies appear to be freaking out about the arrival of Google Fiber, which…offers a much better service for less money.  Greenfield and Piecyk report that Time Warner Cable is literally going from house to house to check Internet speeds and make sure customers are happy. If all Google Fiber does is make cable companies start caring more about customer service, it will be a big win for the country…”  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/507476/googles-internet-service-might-actually-bring-the-us-up-to-speed/  “…The entry of superfast Internet may aid local entrepreneurship. An effort called Homes for Hackers is trying to get Kansas City homeowners with Google Fiber service to give free rooms to developers for three months, and a collection of local startups [KC Startup Village – ed.] is betting the service will attract new companies…Verizon…generally charges $99 per month with a two-year contract for service of up to 300 megabits per second for downloads and 65 megabits per second for uploads…Google Fiber is the most niche community approach that has been taken to date…The question also is whether there will be a consumer demand and need for such speeds…”
4.       New 'virtual' tape measure could give online clothes shoppers the perfect fit  http://phys.org/news/2012-11-virtual-tape-online-shoppers.html  “A ground-breaking web-based system that takes unprecedentedly detailed measurements of the body could revolutionise online clothes shopping.  The shopper would simply download software which, in conjunction with their webcam or smartphone, works like a 'virtual' tape measure, taking accurate waist, hip, chest and other measurements and advising the user on which size garment to buy whenever they visit the website of a participating retailer. Taking multiple measurements of the body quickly, easily and accurately, the system aims to ensure the best possible fit and so save retailers and shoppers millions of pounds a year in return postage costs, as well as eliminating the hassle involved in sending back clothes that are the wrong size or fit…Body scanning is already starting to make a mark in the clothing retail sector. But because the new system takes measurements at a number of different points on the body and combines these with a person's overall proportions to build up a detailed 3D image, it offers much greater precision than anything else available in-store or online…Once they find the item they are interested in, the shopper simply clicks their mouse to activate the software, stands in front of their webcam or smartphone in their underwear, takes a photo, types in their height and lets the software do the rest. The photo remains entirely confidential and is not transmitted over the internet in any way…”
5.        Does the internet of things need its own internet?  http://gigaom.com/mobile/does-the-internet-of-things-need-its-own-internet/  “Ask any mobile operator, and they’ll tell you their networks will become the backbone of the future internet of things. All of those connected meters, cars, medical devices and other assorted gadgets will need an always-on and ubiquitous available network, making today’s cellular network ideal for the task…Mobile operators are using their 2G and mobile broadband networks to connect everything from jukeboxes to ice machines…But a French startup named Sigfox is challenging that accepted wisdom…cellular networks were meant to connect humans, not objects. Sigfox is proposing to build an alternate wireless network dedicated solely to linking together the internet of things. Our mobile phones are always on and ready to receive and make phone calls…but the majority of objects linked to the network will connect rarely. A GPS tracker in a vehicle or shipping container may send out its coordinates just once a day. A smart meter may link back to its utility company’s servers once a week. Many of the sensors being embedded in devices from vending machines to security cameras only transmit when something goes wrong, meaning a M2M module may wait months if not years between connections to the network. To host these devices over power-hungry and expensive cellular radios makes little sense…The better course is to…only connect when you have a payload to deliver…Using the unlicensed frequencies commonly used for baby monitors and cordless phones (868 MHz in Europe and 915 MHz in the US), Sigfox SAYS IT can provide the same coverage with a single tower that a cellular network could provide with 50 to 100 cell sites…The radio modules embedded in objects are about the size of two thumbnails, and they transmit at power levels 50 times lower than their cellular M2M counterparts…Sigfox’s ultra narrow-band technology can only support bandwidths of 100 bps — which makes it far slower than even the poorest 2G data connection…As Sigfox achieves economies of scale, its radio will not only shrink, their costs will fall to just a few dollars per module…Sigfox can maintain a device connection for little more than a dollar a year…At those prices, gadget manufacturers can factor connectivity costs into the device costs without requiring customers to sign up for a subscription. Not only would using Sigfox give these devices range far beyond local networks, they would be “on” right out of the box…”
6.       Sendicate: Reinventing Email Newsletters  http://pandodaily.com/2012/11/21/sendicate-reinventing-email-newsletters-and-more-proof-that-email-isnt-dead/  “…Sendicate…was founded on the odd notion that email’s best days might actually still be ahead. In its simplest form, Sendicate is an email newsletter service, competing in the same space as Mailchimp and  Exact Target. But the similarities don’t go much further than that: Sendicate is what the email newsletter would look like it were invented today, without a couple of decades of legacy thinking. For example, if the email newsletter were invented today, it’d be far, far easier to build a sexy looking HTML email. No code, not hacking of templates — just something as simple to use as Tumblr, which allows authors to drop in graphic and text elements into a pre-designed “theme”, like a child piling up building blocks. And then there’s the fact that most email newsletters today still exist in isolation. A service like Mailchimp hosts hundreds of thousands (millions?) of lists, but there’s no easy way for a subscriber to list X to discover that they might very well enjoy the content of list Y. Jackson hopes to change that by developing a “Netflix-style recommendation engine” for email newsletters…”
7.        Facebook Asks Users If It Can Abolish Their Right To Vote On Future Site Governance Changes  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/26/facebook-governance-vote/  “17,800 Facebook users have commented on proposed changes to Facebook’s governing documents, enough to trigger a vote on whether they’ll go into effect. Today the Electronic Privacy Information Center asked Mark Zuckerberg to withdraw the proposal to combine user data from Facebook and Instagram, and eliminate the same right to vote that users will assert in a 7-day period starting soon. Facebook gave users one week to review the proposal to change its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Data Use Policy, and that period ends tomorrow morning around 10am PST. Since more than 7,o00 users have left commented on the changes, exceeding the threshold required to cause a vote, Facebook will set up a one-week voting period in the near future…”  [is this irony? or just Zuckerberg being Zuck? – ed.]
Security, Privacy & Digital Controls
8.       3D Systems Sues Formlabs and Kickstarter for Patent Infringement  http://www.wired.com/design/2012/11/3d-systems-formlabs-lawsuit/  “3D Systems…is bringing suit…against Formlabs and Kickstarter, seeking…damages for alleged infringement of a patent relating to how the startup’s light-based printer operates…3D Systems believes the Form 1 3D printer infringes at least one of our patents, and we intend to enforce our patent rights.” 3D Systems is alleging that Formlabs is in violations of claims 1 and 23 of United States Patent No. 5,597,520…the naming of Kickstarter in 3D Systems’ suit, presumably for their role in facilitating the record setting “sales” of the Formlabs Form 1, is an important aspect in the case, and is angering many in the DIY community. “This could set an awful precedent that could put future hardware funding at risk,” Nick Pinkston, 3-D printing entrepreneur and organizer of an influential meetup for hardware startups says…Like the MakerBot, the Form 1 was designed around patents that were thought to have expired. However, the Form 1 can produce parts on par with pro grade systems that cost 10 times as much making it a bigger threat to established players…This case will likely take months or years to resolve…”  http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2012/11/21/3d-systems-announces-filing-of-patent-infringement-suit-against-formlabs-and-kickstarter/  “…So here it is, the patents wars have begun with 3D printing. 3D systems is also filing suit against Kickstarter. Does this mean any company that has a patent claim will try to hold Kickstarter accountable? How about amazon? Amazon processes the payments to Kickstarer…Is 3D systems going to file suit against MIT…”  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121121/14111021117/company-sues-kickstarter-over-3d-printer-patent-maligns-hackers-makers.shtml  “…3D Systems claims that Formlabs "took deliberate acts to avoid learning" about 3D Systems' live patents. The lawsuit claims that Formlabs looked only for expired patents…3D Systems is claiming that because Kickstarter takes a cut, it's equally liable…Formlabs and it sales agent Kickstarter knew or should have known about, or were willfully blind to, 3D Systems' extensive patent rights in the area of three-dimensional printing and stereolithography, including but not limited to 3D Systems' U.S. Patent No. 5,597,520…Kickstarter contributes to the infringement of the '520 Patent by offering to sell and selling within the United States the Form 1 3D printer…knowing the same to be especially made or especially adapted for use in an infringement of the '520 Patent…Most bizarre of all? 3D Systems claims that because Kickstarter encourages "hacker and maker" projects, it's knowingly encouraging infringement…”…Kickstarter is actively encouraging "hacker and maker" companies to make 3D printers for Kickstarter to sell, stating: "…We love projects from the hacker and maker communities (weekend experiments, 3D printers, CNC machines) and projects that are open source…"…How is supporting hackers and makers somehow evidence of "intent to infringe"? …” [3D Systems has a reputation for litigating and trying to prevent others from innovating in the 3D printing space; the company makes ~ 80% of its profit from printing supplies, which might indicate either a very small market which doesn’t support extensive research and development of new equipment or may indicate the company is content selling its current printers at a low margin. If encouraging makers and hackers is illegal, Make Magazine and lots of other organizations could be in big trouble! – ed.]
9.       New Linux rootkit injects malicious HTML into Web servers  http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/11/new-linux-rootkit-exploits-web-servers-to-attack-visitors/  “A newly discovered form of malware that targets Linux servers acting as Web servers allows an attacker to directly inject code into any page on infected servers…The rootkit…appears to be crafted for servers running the 64-bit version of Debian Squeeze and NGINX…the malware inserts HTML iframe elements into every page served up to Web browsers connecting to the server…by replacing the code that builds TCP/IP packets (tcp_sendmsg) with its own code. The malware then retrieves the code to be inserted into the iframe by connecting, botnet-like, to a command and control network with an encrypted password. The rootkit…is a new approach to drive-by downloads…Because the new rootkit infects the entire server and not just a specific page, the malware could affect dozens or even hundreds of websites at a time if it infects the server of a Web hosting provider…”
10.     Hacked Go Daddy sites infecting users with ransomware  http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/11/23/hacked-go-daddy-ransomware/  “Users are getting infected with ransomware thanks to criminals managing to hack the DNS records of Go Daddy hosted websites…DNS provides a system where computers on a network (the internet) can be referenced by a user-friendly name. These names are known as hostnames, and DNS translates them into what is known as an IP address. A key feature of DNS is that changes can be made and applied very rapidly, allowing resources to be moved between machines/networks/locations without affecting end users. The hostnames remain constant, and DNS handles any changes in the IP address as the resources move. In this current spate of attacks, criminals are exploiting DNS by hacking the DNS records of sites, adding one or more additional subdomains with corresponding DNS entries (A records) referencing malicious IP addresses. The legitimate hostname resolves to the legitimate IP address, but the added sub-domains resolve to rogue servers. This enables the attackers to use legitimate-looking URLs in their attacks, which can help to evade security filtering and trick users into thinking the content must be safe…”
11.      Student Suspended for Refusing to Wear a School-Issued RFID Tracker  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/11/student-suspension/  “UPDATE: A local Texas judge on Wednesday tentatively blocked the suspension, pending further hearings next week…A Texas high school student is being suspended for refusing to wear a student ID card implanted with a radio-frequency identification chip. Northside Independent School District in San Antonio began issuing the RFID-chip-laden student-body cards when the semester began in the fall. The ID badge has a bar code associated with a student’s Social Security number, and the RFID chip monitors pupils’ movements on campus, from when they arrive until when they leave…The district said the girl, who objects on privacy and religious grounds, beginning Monday would have to attend another high school in the district that does not yet employ the RFID tags. The Rutherford Institute said it would go to court and try to nullify the district’s decision. The institute said that the district’s stated purpose for the program — to enhance their coffers — is “fundamentally disturbing.”…Like most state-financed schools, the district’s budget is tied to average daily attendance. If a student is not in his seat during morning roll call, the district doesn’t receive daily funding for that pupil because the school has no way of knowing for sure if the student is there…with the RFID tracking, students not at their desk but tracked on campus are counted as being in school that day, and the district receives its daily allotment for that student…The Hernandez family, which is Christian, told InfoWars that the sophomore is declining to wear the badge because it signifies Satan, or the Mark of the Beast warning in Revelations…”
12.     Can Police Locate Wireless Internet Moochers Without a Warrant?  http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/11/21/court-police-can-locate-wireless-internet-moochers-without-a-warrant/  “Beware, wireless Internet moochers. A federal court in Pittsburgh has ruled that the government can track you to your location, sans search warrant, using free anti-moocher software…courts have ruled that Internet subscribers have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their IP address, the number assigned to devices that connect to the Internet. Nor can they expect privacy protection for the information they give their Internet service providers…the Pittsburgh ruling…is the first to address the privacy rights of people who piggyback on their neighbors’ unsecured wireless networks. The case also raises questions about the Fourth Amendment rights…of honest folk who connect to the Internet via free public wireless access points…In the Pittsburgh case, police used a program called Moocherhunter and a directional antenna to find a man suspected of downloading child pornography…Police first tried getting to the suspect through his IP address, which was linked to a Comcast Corp…but soon ruled out the subscriber as the culprit. Someone nearby, a neighbor maybe, had been mooching the subscriber’s wireless Internet and using the connection to download child pornography…Police used Moocherhunter to find other devices connected to the subscriber’s wireless router, which led them to Richard Stanley, who lived across the street from the subscriber…based on evidence they found, Mr. Stanley was indicted in November 2011 for possessing child pornography…U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti found that…An internet subscriber does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his IP address or the information he provides to his Internet Service Provider, such as Comcast, in order to legally establish an internet connection, and likewise, a person connecting to another person’s wireless router does not have an expectation of privacy in that connection…”
13.     Security Hole Allows Pirates to Get a Legitimate Windows 8 Activation for Free  http://windowswave.com/security-hole-allows-pirates-to-get-a-legitimate-windows-8-activation-for-free/  “A new security hole has been discovered in Microsoft’s product activation process that allows pirates to get a free legitimate activation of Windows 8 using the current Windows Media Center upgrade promotion. Pirates have been having a harder time with Windows 8 because beginning with Vista, Server 2008, and Office 2010, every installation, even those using volume-licensed media and a volume license product key, must be activated. [Thanks, "Joe M."] However, a hole was discovered that involves using the KMS (Key Management System) , and then applying the freely available Windows Media Center upgrade on top of it. Essentially, those who wish to get a free legitimate installation only need a key for the Windows Media Center upgrade, which is available directly from Microsoft. They simply use any Windows 8 key to reach the desktop during installation of a pirated copy of Windows 8, apply a KMS activation for their current version (to prevent piracy we will not be covering this step in detail), and then go on to use the Windows Media Center upgrade key they obtained from Microsoft themselves. Due to the fact that the WMC upgrade process does no checks for the validity of the activation, any activated copy of windows (even ones which were activated via KMS) are upgraded to a valid version of Windows 8 via the WMC upgrade…”
14.     Using ADHD Drugs To Help Keep People Law-Abiding?  http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/news/20121121/adhd-drugs-crime  “People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who are taking medication to help control the symptoms of this illness may be less likely to commit crimes, a new Swedish study suggests. Previous research has suggested that people with ADHD may be more likely to experience difficulty in school, holding down jobs, and sustaining relationships. They are also at greater risk for alcohol or substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and may be more likely commit crimes. But taking their ADHD medication may help keep them on the right side of the law…During times when they were taking medication for ADHD, men were 32% less apt to commit a crime and women were 41% less likely to do so compared to when they were not taking ADHD medication.  The type of ADHD medication did not affect the results. The majority of crimes were non-violent, with burglary being the most common…”  [Aldous Huxley wonders if you’d like some soma – ed.]
15.     Cyber Corps program trains spies for the digital age  http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-cyber-school-20121123,0,7345893.story  “Jim Thavisay is secretly stalking one of his classmates. And one of them is spying on him…Stalking is part of the curriculum in the Cyber Corps, an unusual two-year program at the University of Tulsa that teaches students how to spy in cyberspace, the latest frontier in espionage. Students learn not only how to rifle through trash, sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook. They also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken cellphones and flash drives…the little-known program has funneled most of its graduates to the CIA and the Pentagon's National Security Agency…Other graduates have taken positions with the FBI, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security…the Pentagon spends more than $3 billion annually for cyber-security…Sujeet Shenoi, a naturalized citizen from India…founded the cyber program in 1998. He says 85% of the 260 graduates since 2003 have gone to the NSA, which students call "the fraternity," or the CIA, which they call "the sorority."…Each student is assigned to a Tulsa police crime lab on campus and uses digital skills to help uncover evidence — most commonly child pornography images — from seized devices…The Secret Service has also tapped the Cyber Corps. Working from a facility on campus, students help agents remove evidence from damaged cellphones, GPS units and other devices…Shenoi and several students joined one of the "red" teams assigned to try to hack…voting machines. They succeeded. One of the students, who now works at the NSA, showed that someone could use an off-the-shelf device with Bluetooth connectivity to change all the votes in a given machine…our results were provided to the companies so they could fix the machines to the extent possible," Shenoi said…the NSA named Tulsa as one of four national centers of academic excellence in cyber-operations. The others were Northeastern University in Boston, Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and Dakota State University in Madison, S.D…Shenoi's students have ranged in age from 17 to 63…To be accepted into the corps, applicants must be U.S. citizens with the ability to obtain a security clearance of "top secret" or higher. But not all of them spend their careers in government. One former student…moved to San Francisco and worked at several startup companies before he joined Instagram…One, who now works at the NSA, hacked the school's computer system and created a fake university ID to impersonate his cyber-stalking target…Another spoofed a professor's email account to fool his target into spilling details…one student sneaked into a Tulsa water system facility and stole blueprints that a more malign attacker could use to wreak havoc. A few years ago…students rummaged through trash bins outside offices on campus and obtained confidential information about football recruits, professors' salaries, and major financial donors. "We are now banned from Dumpster diving on campus…”
16.     Kaspersky Pledges to Build OS That Won’t Run Malicious Code  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/507556/security-guru-pledges-to-strengthen-critical-computers/  “Stuxnet, a piece of malicious software discovered in 2010, targeted industrial software controlling Iran’s uranium-enrichment centrifuges. But the code got loose—and it continues to spread: Chevron, for example, said last week that its network had been infected by Stuxnet. The prospect that malware like Stuxnet could infect and disrupt critical pieces of infrastructure worries government officials…and computer scientists like Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of the Moscow-based antivirus company Kaspersky Lab. He has been talking about building secure operating systems for industrial systems, a subject he discussed with MIT Technology Review…I am sure there are more critical companies, critical to national economic and national security, infected by Stuxnet. Unfortunately I don’t have any hard data on this. Stuxnet had infected an estimated 100,000 machines in approximately 30,000 organizations in the month of September 2010. You say you’re working on a secure operating system for industrial systems. What is your proposed solution? There is only one way to ensure sufficient protection—a secure OS to guarantee there is no unwanted code executed in this environment. This is achieved with a micro-kernel system that, by design, will not allow execution of unauthorized code. Where does your secure OS stand? A prototype is ready. We are working with a couple of companies—I cannot disclose which ones yet, but one of them is a large energy-generating company—in developing the prototype to protect the industrial environment, to make sure there are no critical mistakes in our system…”
17.     The Man Who Hacked Hollywood  http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201205/chris-chaney-hacker-nude-photos-scarlett-johansson  “They've become a part of the pop-culture landscape: sexy, private shots of celebrities…stolen from their phones and e-mail accounts. They're also the center of an entire stealth industry. For the man recently arrested in the biggest case yet, hacking also gave him access to a trove of Hollywood's seamiest secrets…What the snoop didn't realize was that he was being watched, too…Chris Chaney never wanted to become famous as The Man Who Hacked Hollywood…he was just a 33-year-old loner looking for something to do. Two years unemployed, he lived in a rundown brick house in a middle-class neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida…during his freshman year in high school he moved into this house near Mother Hubbard Drive with his grandmother…One night in early 2008, while his grandma slept, the balding, 290-pound Chaney was idly surfing movie sites like Ain't It Cool News when he stumbled on the latest celebrity scandal. Stolen pictures had leaked online of Miley Cyrus posing half-dressed, her midriff exposed. Chaney…considered the story. He couldn't have cared less about the Miley shots themselves. What intrigued him was the guy who stole them. How'd he do it? Chaney wasn't a hacker; he didn't even own a computer until his late twenties and couldn't write a lick of code. But he'd always loved solving puzzles…This was a tantalizing new riddle: "I was like, 'How hard could this be if it's happening all the time?'    " What Chaney lacked in technical skills, he made up for in effort. Finding a working e-mail address was a simple process of trial and error. In a Word document, he made a list of random celebrities and, one by one, entered them into Gmail—first name followed by last—until, days later, an address was finally accepted…To retrieve a lost password, sites often ask subscribers so-called challenge questions: What's your mother's maiden name? What's your place of birth? Or, in the case of this celebrity, what's your pet's name?...Chaney found what he was looking for on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). After punching in the pet's name, he watched in awe as the star's private e-mails poured down his smudgy PC screen…”
18.     The Mannequins Will Be Watching You  http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/11/the-mannequins-will-be-watching-you/265482/  “This holiday season, if you shop at Benetton, you may be under surveillance…we are all pretty used to the idea of security cameras trained on the entrance of a store, or over a counter of particularly expensive goods, and we've become accustomed -- even if we don't like it, on a gut level -- to the tracking that comes with online shopping…But Benetton's surveillance looks a little different: The store has purchased mannequins from an Italian company which promises that "from now on the mannequins will not only display your collections ... [but will] make it possible to 'observe' who is attracted by your windows and reveal important details about [them]."…Retailers are introducing the EyeSee, sold by Italian mannequin maker Almax SpA, to glean data on customers much as online merchants are able to do. The 4,000-euro ($5,072) device has spurred shops to adjust window displays, store layouts and promotions to keep consumers walking in the door and spending….The EyeSee looks ordinary enough on the outside, with its slender polystyrene frame, blank face and improbable pose. Inside, it's no dummy. A camera embedded in one eye feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by. The company claims that the mannequins are better able to watch shoppers than wall-mounted security cameras because of their eye-level perspective and the fact that many consumer will stand and linger close to the mannequins…”
Mobile Computing & Communicating
19.     System76 unveils an 'extreme performance' Ubuntu Linux laptop  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2015171/system76-unveils-an-extreme-performance-ubuntu-linux-laptop.html  “…System76 unveiled another Linux-powered machine…the 17.3-inch Bonobo Extreme featuring “the world's fastest GPUs,”…Here's a rundown of some of the key features you'll find in this…Nvidia GeForce GTX 670MX or the GeForce GTX 680M GPU, with up to 4GB of GDDR5 memory and 1,344 CUDA Cores…A third-generation Intel Core i7 CPU…a 1080p full high-definition LED backlit display; either glossy or matte finish…operating system included is 64-bit Ubuntu Linux 12.10…the Bonobo Extreme supports up to 32GB dual channel DDR3 1600 MHz memory…up to 3TB is available for storage. Users can also upgrade to an Intel solid state drive…backlit keyboard…Not only can users adjust the brightness, but they can also choose from among seven colors for the back lighting…”
20.    Samsung's A15 Chromebook Loaded With Ubuntu Is Crazy Fast  http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=samsung_chrome_a15&num=1  “…the Samsung Chromebook…for $249 USD features an 11-inch display, a 16GB SSD, a promise of 6.5-hour battery life…The Samsung Exynos 5 packs a 1.7GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor with ARM Mali-T604 graphics….using this new ARM Cortex-A15 chip plus the Samsung Chromebook not being locked down…it can be loaded up with a Linux distribution like Ubuntu or openSUSE…I'm still…setting up Ubuntu on the Samsung Chromebook for…Linux ARM Cortex A15 performance benchmarks, but…someone beat me to using the Phoronix Test Suite for…benchmarks of the ARM A15. The results were shared via OpenBenchmarking.org…”
21.     Jawbone’s Up and Fitbit’s One: Which tiny fitness gadget is best?  http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/24/jawbone-up-fitbit-one-review/  “…Fitbit’s One, its third-generation activity tracker, and Jawbone’s redesigned Up health wristband…can track your steps, sleep habits, and give you an estimate of calories you’ve burned. The One clips onto your clothes, just like its predecessors, while the Up is meant to be worn all day on your wrist. No matter how you do it, simply tracking your activity has health benefits: People who do so generally increase their activity by 26 percent, according to the American Medical Association…these devices are extremely personal — what works best for me may not end up working for you…The original Jawbone Up was a failure…Jawbone was forced to suspend production of the Up and offer full refunds due to issues with its electronics…this new Up is a completely different beast internally…It’s retailing for $130, instead of the $100 last year’s model cost. For now, the Up is only compatible with iOS devices. The company says it’s working on an Android app…I’ve been using the new Up wristband almost non-stop over the past week. It’s survived showers, pouring rain…it’s meant to be a device you never take off — even while sleeping…the Up has 10 days of battery life…Jawbone’s Up app finally feels complete. You can track what you eat (using the device’s matching iPhone app) more easily with a massive database of foods and their nutritional information, and you can add friends to your “Team” to compare their performance. You can also track your mood through the app and log additional exercises like yoga and cardio workouts…the Up app now uses all the data it collects to generate useful insights about your behavior. If you don’t get enough sleep while travelling, or if you tend to eat unhealthy lunches at work, Up will nudge you to be better…its ability to track the quality of your sleep and wake you up gently is still worth mentioning. The wristband can figure out how much light and deep sleep you’ve had, as well as how long it took you to fall asleep once getting to bed…Up’s silent alarm can pick the best time to wake you, so you get up feeling refreshed. It’s the perfect solution for anyone who hates waking up to a blaring alarm in the morning…you still have to plug it into your phone’s headphone jack to synchronize it, even though the FitBit One and Nike’s FuelBand both offer wireless BlueTooth syncing. According to Jawbone’s Bogard, the company still thinks wireless syncing has a ways to go. That’s ironic, given that Jawbone made its name with its wireless Bluetooth headsets and wireless Jambox speakers…It’s…a pain when it comes to making simple changes to the Up, like changing the time of its silent alarm or tweaking its activity reminder (which buzzes to keep you from sitting down for too long)…Jawbone is working to get wireless synchronization in future versions of the Up…Fitbit has been at this for a while now…With the Fitbit One, the company took all of its experience in this arena and crafted it into its most compelling device yet. It can synchronize wirelessly with your smartphone…Instead of building the clip directly into the device, the One includes a small, removable clip “jacket”…The Fitbit One may not be as flashy as Jawbone’s Up, but it’s perfect for people who don’t want to flaunt their fitness tracking…the company’s extensive online dashboard…gives you many more ways to look at your data without fishing through a mobile app…The device can wirelessly synchronize with Bluetooth 4.0-compatible iPhones and Android smartphones, as well as with computers through Bluetooth. Fitbit includes a Bluetooth USB receiver…Fitbit’s $130 Aria Wi-Fi scale can help you…easily keep track of your weight…After using both fitness gadgets for the past week, it’s the Up that I’m most excited to use every day…The Up feels like the precursor to the inevitable rise of body augmentation — you don’t have to wear the Up for too long before it feels like a part of you…For the pragmatic types, Fitbit’s One may be more your style. It offers better access to your fitness data, as well as a few more helpful features. It’s also the best fitness gadget option for people who just hate wearing things on their wrists…Beyond the Up and Fitbit’s devices, there’s Nike’s popular Fuelband, and smart pedometers like Striiv’s. And if you have a smartphone, you don’t even need an additional gadget: You can dive into fitness apps like Runkeeper and Endomondo…”
22.    Tablets will outsell notebooks in US this quarter and next year  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/nov/22/tablets-outsell-notebooks-us  “Tablets will outsell notebooks in the US in the fourth quarter of 2012, beginning a trend that will accelerate through 2013 as the new form factor begins to usurp traditional computers, says NPD DisplaySearch…a total of 21.5m tablets will be sold in the fourth quarter, compare to 14.6m notebooks and "mini-notes" - otherwise known as netbooks…for 2013, NPD is confident that tablets will outstrip notebooks - by 80m to 63.8m…Note that this doesn't mean that tablets will be outstripping PCs as a whole - the notebook market is about 70% of the world market - but it suggests that they will be getting awfully close…”
23.    How Orange hopes to benefit from a future of free calls and messaging  http://gigaom.com/europe/how-orange-hopes-to-benefit-from-a-future-of-free-calls-and-messaging/  “When your historically core paid-for product is being offered for free by upstart rivals, what’s the solution? Try to beat them at their own game. That’s what’s happening with voice and SMS – traditionally the big money-spinners for telcos, but now irrevocably disrupted by the likes of Skype, WhatsApp and Viber. We’ve already seen T-Mobile USA hit back with Bobsled and Telefonica with Tu Me, and now it’s Orange’s turn with a new iPhone app called Libon. The French telco has already rolled out a predecessor to Libon in the form of visual voicemail service VoiceFeed. 18 months after that launch, Libon incorporates the same functionality, plus free messaging and high-definition, IP-based voice calls. Libon lacks Bobsled‘s desktop browser integration and Tu Me‘s photo and location-sharing capabilities, but Orange is hoping it takes off. And Giles Corbett, head of the Libon skunkworks division at Orange Vallée R&D, is pretty frank about why. “The idea here is straightforward – Orange is about providing outstanding communications services,” he told me. “Our users expect to be using the best services and, if we’re not providing the very best, they’re one click away from switching to another service…”
24.    6 simple tips to fix damaged smartphone  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/personal-tech/computing/6-simple-tips-to-fix-damaged-smartphone/articleshow/17350635.cms  “…The worst part of owning these devices comes if one has to take them to a service centre. Many problems are either not covered in the warranty, or a heavy bill and inconvenience awaits the user. In fact, the experience of going to a service centre can be a nightmarish experience in itself with the best of brands. But more often than not, the condition of your favourite gadget may actually not be as bad as it seems and you can fix the problem yourself by following some simple steps. Here are some tips…'Druken' smartphone…Scratches on the screen…Phone shuts-off randomly…Ice cold batteries…Fixing crashed Android apps…Stuck pixels…”
25.    Hunters get help from smartphone apps  http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2012/11/22/before-loading-guns-hunters-loading-smartphones-with-apps-/1721713/  “There was a time when hunters took to the woods with little more than a gun and ammunition. But as thousands gear up for…hunting season this month, many will be armed with something a lot more technical. Tim Kuski of Wausau, Wis., will navigate the terrain around Rhinelander with satellite maps he downloaded on his smartphone as he takes part in his state's deer hunting…Kuski says…the GPS and the satellite views are amazing."…Wisconsin released a 99-cent Android app this month that allows hunters to track the exact time of sunrise and sunset through the phone's GPS — information key to determine when it's legal to shoot small game, turkey, deer or bear…as you move across the state of Wisconsin from east to west, or west to east, or north to south, the (hunting) times vary depending on location…What you see on your smartphone is when you can pull the trigger."…The Indiana Department of Natural Resource's free iPhone app helps hunters find public hunting land…South Dakota's Game, Fish and Parks free iPhone and Android app allows hunters to view regulations, download maps and apply for a hunting license…hunters can use many private apps to monitor the weather, predict when game will move, measure ballistics and even find their tree stand. The Whitetail Freaks Property Manager, a $2.99 iPhone app, lets hunters mark and share hunting land boundaries, the location of tree stands and other details important to hunters, such as where deer have rubbed antlers against a tree. The $1.99 iPhone RangeFinder app helps hunters in tree stands compute data, including the effect of gravity, for more accurate shot…”
26.    Hoover Public Library launches new smartphone app  http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/10/hoover_public_library_launches.html  “You're stuck in the checkout line at the grocery store and realize you have a library book due in 30 minutes…In the past, you might have to return the book the next day and pay the late fee, but thanks to a new app now available from the Hoover Public Library, you have another option. Just open the app on your smartphone and renew the book while you're at the grocery store…People can use the app to renew books or other materials, search to see if books or other materials are available, request books, download electronic books or audiobooks and check the status of library materials they've checked out (such as due dates), see lists of upcoming library events…The app even has a feature that allows people to scan bar codes on books they see when they're away from the library to check and see if that book is available at the library…”
27.    Blaast hits Android, squeezing data for emerging markets  http://gigaom.com/europe/blaast-hits-android-squeezing-data-for-emerging-markets/  “As recent figures have shown, 72 percent of all mobile devices being sold – not just smartphones – are now Android-based. That points to an invasion by the Google OS of emerging markets, but there’s a problem: data is still way too expensive for people in such areas. That’s why Blaast, who we covered earlier this year, has just launched on Android. The Finnish firm’s platform provides versions of popular apps that run partly in the cloud; mixed with clever compression techniques, this means lower data use. Think Snappli or Onavo‘s data shrinkage, but baked into the apps themselves for deployment in partnership with carriers…those are very basic, lightweight apps. Stepping up to Android means more complexity, and Hjelt claims Blaast pretty much halves the amount of data those apps use, on average…”
28.    Google rolls out Android indoor maps to desktop computers  http://www.zdnet.com/uk/google-rolls-out-indoor-maps-to-desktops-7000007786/  “Google Maps has extended its indoor maps, until now only available on Android devices, to desktop computers, allowing people to pinpoint their gate in an airport, for example…Google introduced indoor locations in November last year, but only for Maps on devices running its Android mobile operating system. On Wednesday, the company said desktop users can now take virtual tours and see over 10,000 detailed floor plans of locations in nine countries. "Simply zoom in on a building on Google Maps, and you'll automatically see a detailed floor plan with helpful labels for gates at the airport, stores within the mall, departments within a retail shop, as well as ATMs, restrooms and more…”
29.    Google Maps Giving Profile Badges To Helpful Community Members  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/21/google-maps-is-now-giving-out-reward-badges-to-those-in-its-community-who-help-make-its-service-better/  “One of the really interesting things about Google Maps is that there’s a huge, thriving community of people who love to help make the product better…when a road closes, or something is incorrect, there are tools via Map Maker that let them report it…the Google Maps team has announced a bit of a “reward” system for those who help out a lot…now you can share those accomplishments with the new Google Map Maker Badges! You can earn badges for everything from making your first edit in Map Maker, to organizing a MapUp event or contributing to Map Makerpedia…Based on the number of edits you’ve made, how many were accepted and implemented and things of that nature, you can accrue these badges, which let the community know that you care and that you really know your stuff…Map Maker has been around for quite a while, but its continued community features are broadening the base of folks who participate. From mobile to desktop, people are reporting inaccuracies…”
30.    Google Drive Tightly Integrated Into Gmail: Lets You Share Files Up 10 GB  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/27/google-drive-now-more-tightly-integrated-into-gmail-lets-you-share-files-up-10-gb/  “…Google announced it’s integrating its online file storage and collaboration service Google Drive (formerly Docs) even further into Gmail, enabling emails to be sent with up to 10 GB of files attached…that’s 400 times larger than what you can send with traditional attachments. The integration is being made possible through a new option at the bottom of Gmail’s new compose experience – a recent upgrade which lets users compose email messages via a pop-up window instead of having to migrate away from their inbox…At the bottom of this new compose window, the “Insert files using Drive” option will now appear next to the standard paperclip icon for attachments. Like Gmail’s forgotten attachment detector, Gmail will also check to verify that the email recipients have access to the files that are being shared. If they don’t, then you’ll be promoted to change those settings in another pop-up window that doesn’t pull you away from your compose experience…”
31.     A Holiday-Shopping Chart That Should Terrify Google  http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-ebay-google-mobile-shopping-2012-11  “Mobile shopping is exploding. No surprise there, since people are shifting from PCs to tablets in large numbers, and shopping on tablets, by most accounts, is a far better experience than shopping on either computers or smartphones…Google seems to be losing big as this shift happens, according to a new study from ChannelAdvisor, an e-commerce software firm which helps big retailers sell on platforms like Amazon, eBay, and search engines. So far this month, Amazon and eBay's sales are way up over last year—41.5% and 24.5% respectively. Sales through search and comparison shopping engines are flat or down…sales are strongly shifting off of PCs—an environment where shopping typically starts by typing what you're looking for into a search engine—and onto tablets and smartphones, where it's much more common to shop with an app…Google makes most of its money off of searches with "commercial intent"—searches where a consumer wants to buy something. If Amazon and eBay are satisfying that intent, swooping in with custom-built apps that are all about shopping, before the customer ever gets to a search box, Google is in trouble…” [yipes! We don’t want people to stop clicking on all those little Google ads and cause our free Google services to go away or start costing money! I hope the trend toward buying stuff through apps slows down or reverses. – ed.]
32.    Google Shopping Becomes More Amazon-Like  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/23/google-steps-up-competition-with-amazon-in-shopping/  “Google Shopping…is starting to look a lot more like Amazon.com. Last week, it introduced wish lists for saving items and sharing them with friends, 360-degree photographs of items, retailer promotions and product reviews…Google made a big change this fall, for the first time including retailers in Google Shopping only if they pay to list their products there…as a result, Google Shopping’s listings are less comprehensive than they were before…The lack of comprehensiveness means that Google risks losing shoppers to other comparison shopping sites or to Amazon, even as it tries to keep them. In a shift, more people now start product searches on Amazon instead of Google, according to Forrester data…Google is trying to lure retailers by offering new features for its shopping search. They include 360-degree photos of items, starting with holiday toys. With Shortlists, people can save items they like and share lists with friends, and Google and retailers gain insight into what shoppers want to buy. Google is also trying to attract shoppers with exclusive promotions that retailers can offer through the site. These also show up on mobile apps for Google Maps and Google Offers…”  http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y12/m11/i23/s02  “……”
33.    Google Game Could Be Augmented Reality's First Killer App  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/507681/google-game-could-be-augmented-realitys-first-killer-app/  “…I recently joined the Resistance, fighting to protect the world…Just this week, in fact, I spent hours protecting Resistance territory…this is just the gloomy sci-fi world depicted in a new smartphone game called Ingress created by Google. Ingress is far from your normal gaming app…aspects of the game are revealed only as you reach different real-world locations…I found the game, which is currently available only to Android smartphone users who have received an invitation to play, surprisingly addictive—especially considering my usual apathy for gaming. What’s most interesting about Ingress, though, is what it suggests about Google’s future plans, which seem to revolve around finding new ways to extend its reach from the browser on your laptop to the devices you carry with you at all times. The goal makes plenty of sense when you consider that traditional online advertising—Google’s bread and butter—could eventually be eclipsed by mobile, location-based advertising…A few hours later, much of my progress was undone by a member of Enlightened (Ingress helpfully sends e-mail notifications about such things). I was surprised by how much this pissed me off—I wanted to get those portals back for the Resistance, but pouring rain and the late hour stopped me. Playing Ingress was a lot more fun than I expected, and from the excited chatter in the game’s built-in chat room, it was clear I wasn’t the only one getting into it. On my way back from a meeting, I couldn’t help but keep an eye out for portals, ducking into an alley to attack one near my office…”
34.    Build your own mini-movies in Google Docs with Story  http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681955/build-your-own-mini-movies-in-google-docs-with-story-builder  “…Google has built Story Builder, a tool that allows everyone to get in on the collaborative action. Rather than watching fictional scenes unfold, Story Builder enables people to experience the power of Google Docs by creating a story and making a sharable film out of it. Created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners for Google Creative Labs, and developed by Face Face Face, Story Builder allows users to create and edit lines of dialogue, set them to music and then watch the creative process unfold. The fun comes in how you choose to tell your story of collaboration. “Story Builder is one of the components of what we like to call the Gone Google movement. It’s a better way for people to get things done using our productivity and communication tools like Gmail and Google Docs,” says Ed Sanders, Group Marketing Manager at Google Creative Lab. “It was important to have a component of Gone Google that was interactive, engaging, and fun…” [check out the video about planning the wedding invitation list…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH8-elhdgy0 – ed.]
General Technology
35.    Former NASA researcher says Curiosity result could confirm Mars life, but JPL spokesperson doubts it  http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22532-curiosity-result-could-confirm-mars-life-says-levin.html  “As space fans anticipate news of organic molecules from the Mars Curiosity rover – cryptically teased by the mission's chief scientist, John Grotzinger, in a US radio interview – there's one man who is even more excited than most. Former NASA researcher Gilbert Levin says that a positive sign of organics by Curiosity would confirm his claim that NASA has already seen evidence for life on Mars – from an experiment called Labeled Release that went to the Red Planet aboard the Viking mission…”  http://science.time.com/2012/11/20/a-mars-announcement-for-the-history-books/  “…JPL spokesman Guy Webster made just this point…“It won’t be earthshaking,” he said…“but it will be interesting…”
36.    Detonation Engine Could Reduce Fuel Consumption  http://www.technologyreview.com/news/507421/exploding-engine-could-reduce-fuel-consumption/  “A new kind of engine under development, called a detonation engine…could reduce fuel consumption at power plants, in ships, and on airplanes by as much as 25 percent. The Navy alone estimates that retrofitting its ships with the technology would reduce annual fuel costs by $300 to $400 million. It could be over a decade before such engines are put to practical use. But DARPA…is now in the middle of a $62 million program aimed at building the first full-scale demonstration of one version of the technology…Detonation engines would replace jet engines in airplanes and the gas turbines that run power plants and Navy ships. A set of rotating blades at the front of those engines compresses air, which is then mixed with fuel and combusted in a steady flame. That produces hot gases that do the work an engine is designed to do, whether it’s turning a propeller, propelling a jet, or spinning a generator to produce electricity. Improving the efficiency of conventional jet engines has involved finding ways to increase air compression…Detonation engines offer another way to achieve high pressures. In a detonation engine, fuel combustion generates a shock wave that raises pressures to levels 10 times those inside a conventional engine…If you burn something in an open flame, the pressure stays the same as the surrounding pressure. The big difference with a detonation engine is going from that to a confined type of combustion, where the pressure goes up and the combustion occurs more rapidly…”
37.    Nobel Prize winning biochemist says biofuels don’t make socio-econmic sense  http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/nobel-prize-winning-biochemist-says-all-biofuels-are-nonsense / “Hartmut Michel won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on photosynthesis.  So, it is fair to say that he knows a thing or two about energy transport and storage in plants…he is director of the Molecular Membrane Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics. He recently penned an editorial in Angewandte Chemie International Edition in which he hammered the use of biofuels for alternative energy…His simple but pointed criticism condemns all varieties of biofuels…The problem is the inherent inefficiency of photosynthesis…Taken as a whole, conversion efficiency of sunlight to usable chemical energy in biofuels for commonly used technologies is extremely low…the production of biofuels constitutes an extremely inefficient land use. This statement is true also for the production of bioethanol from sugar cane in Brazil…we should not grow plants for biofuel production. The growth of such energy plants will undoubtedly lead to an increase in food prices, which will predominantly hit poorer people…”
Leisure & Entertainment
38.    Time Warner Leads $40 Million Maker Studios Round  http://allthingsd.com/20121120/another-big-youtube-bet-time-warner-leads-40-million-maker-studios-round/  “Here comes more money for YouTube videos. But these dollars don’t come from YouTube: Time Warner is leading a big round of financing for Maker Studios, a start-up that specializes in creating and distributing clips for the video giant. The media conglomerate, via its Time Warner Investments arm, is leading a $40 million round that sources say should close within the next three weeks…a pre-money valuation for the Los Angeles-based company…should be at least $150 million, which would put the total value for the company in the $200 million range by the time the deal is done…”
39.    ‘The Hobbit’ 3D movie technology: are viewers ready?  http://news.discovery.com/tech/hobbit-movie-3d-technology-121124.html  “When the 3D version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey debuts in movie theaters on December 14, the film will likely wow viewers with its special effects. But audiences at select theaters will get even more bang for their buck: they’ll be the first to witness a new technology that displays images at a rate of 48 frames per second, twice as fast as the current standard…early reviews have been mixed…Some people think the effects look "too real." For others, eyestrain, headaches, nausea and other discomforts are as much of a hazard as they were with the older technologies…most films that are designed to make images look like they are popping out of the screen work by showing each eye different pictures at different times. That forces the brain to merge conflicting messages -- an obstacle that 3D studios are still working to overcome…All movies, whether "2D" or "3D" create the illusion of movement by flashing one still image after another onto the screen at a rate that is fast enough to fool our brains into seeing action. If the sequence of images is presented too slowly, the result is a shaky effect called "judder" that can sometimes look like a double image. 3D technology…raises the risk for judder because these films usually show screen shots in an alternating sequence to one eye at a time. First the left eye sees an image, then the right eye sees one, then the left eye sees the next image…It's up to the brain to put everything together into a coherent picture…3D films that are shot at a standard 24 frames per second actually show each eye in sequence three times in a row with flashes of darkness in between. That pattern continues for the entire film. This "triple flashing" allows each eye to see 72 flashes per second, which reduces flicker effects. For the new Hobbit, director Peter Jackson used new technology to film at 48 frames per second instead of 24. In real life, our visual systems take in information continuously, and some experts speculate that images will need to be captured at more than 100 or even 150 frames per second before a movie looks truly real. But with any increase in frame-rate speed, motion should look smoother and more realistic…Some theaters use a dual-projector set-up that gets around that issue by showing images to both eyes at the same time, and in those cases, Engle said, the results should be spectacular. But theaters that use a single projector to display 3D movies will have some new decisions to make, and audiences might not be universally happy about the final product…"Every time we've moved closer to reality by adding sound, adding color or getting rid of scratches, in the end, the audience has accepted it and there's no going back…In the end, we all want immersion…”
40.    Wii U Starts to Make Profit Once the First Game Gets Sold  http://www.examiner.com/article/nintendo-wii-u-profitable-after-1-game-purchase  “Nintendo…announced at its second quarter financial results conference in October that the new system -- priced at $299 and $349 -- would be sold at a loss. While this is par for the course with Sony and Microsoft -- the former losing well over $100 a console at launch -- it is a first for a Nintendo home console. The 3DS was also sold at a minimal loss before becoming profitable over the summer…rather than determining a price based on its manufacturing cost, we selected one that consumers would consider to be reasonable," said Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president and CEO…But it won't take much for the Japanese hardware manufacturer to see dollars -- or yen -- rolling in. "The business model doesn't change dramatically, in that as soon as we get the consumer to buy one piece of software, then that entire transaction becomes profit positive," he said…Working in Nintendo's favor is the release of "New Super Mario Bros. U." Sitting at 82 on Metacritic, this is the first "Super Mario Bros." game to launch with a system since "Super Mario 64" on the Nintendo 64 in 1996…”  http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/multimedia/display/20121122085532_Nintendo_Wii_U_Starts_to_Make_Profit_Once_the_First_Game_Gets_Sold.html  “…Nintendo Wii U is based on a custom multi-core IBM Power microprocessor equipped with 1GB of system memory as well as a modern custom AMD Radeon HD graphics processing unit with high-definition graphics and video support that is equipped with 1GB of graphics memory. The consoles come with 32GB or 8GB of NAND flash storage and an optical drive to read custom discs. The main feature of the game console is its unique Wii U GamePad controller with 6.2" touch-screen that also features an accelerometer and a gyroscope, a rumble feature, an inward-facing camera, a microphone and speakers that can be used to play both classic Gamecube/Wii games as well as specially designed titles that take advantage of the screen. Each Wii U console will be partnered with a new controller and can also use up to four additional Wii Remote or Wii Remote Plus controllers. The system is also backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories…”  [are you highly interested in playing with the Wii U, or do you know anyone who plans to buy it soon? – ed.]
Economy and Technology
41.     Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, L.A., Seattle, and NYC lead top 20 tech hubs on the planet  http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/20/silicon-valley-tel-aviv-l-a-seattle-and-nyc-lead-top-20-tech-hubs-on-the-planet/  “The Startup Genome has analyzed 50,000 startups around the world to create what it is calling the first “data-driven ranking” of the top 20 tech hubs on the planet…The conclusions are based on data from startups that use the Startup Compass, a tool that helps founders make better  decisions through data. Startup Genome analyzed factors such as startup incidence, funding availability, business performance, founder mindset, technology trends, support networks, and talent availability to find the hottest locations to start and grow a company. Here are the top 20 technology hubs, as defined by the Startup Genome: Silicon Valley…Tel Aviv…Los Angeles…Seattle…New York City…Startup Genome provided the ranking data for each technology hub on eight key criteria. Using these criteria you can see, for example, that while Vancouver ranks 14th in the support index, probably due to being a relatively young ecosystem, it ranks second in the mindset index (indicating that it has plenty of eager and driving founders) and fourth in the talent index. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, ranks second in startup output and equivalent to Silicon Valley in funding, but only 12th in performance…”  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/20/startup-genome-ranks-the-worlds-top-startup-ecosystems-silicon-valley-tel-aviv-l-a-lead-the-way/
42.    Tech’s New (Geographical) Frontier: ‘Silicon Prairie’  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/us/silicon-prairie-takes-root-in-the-great-plains.html?_r=0  “As Ben Milne sought money for the mobile-payment company he began developing here three years ago, investors responded with rejections by the dozens. Eventually, he coaxed $1 million from a pair of local investors. His app, Dwolla, has since attracted more than 100,000 users, and now moves $30 million to $50 million in transactions a month…From Des Moines to Omaha to Kansas City — a region known more for its barns than its bandwidth — a start-up tech scene is burgeoning. Dozens of new ventures are laying roots each year, investors are committing hundreds of millions of dollars to them, and state governments are teaming up with private organizations to promote the growing tech community. They are calling it — what else? — the Silicon Prairie…Google Fiber’s first ultrafast Internet connection drew about a dozen start-ups to a neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan. And over the past seven months, about 60 start-ups have presented their ideas in Kansas City at weekly forums organized by Nate Olson, an analyst with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In Iowa, Startup City Des Moines, an incubator financed with $700,000 in public and private money, including a quarter-million dollars from the state, received applications from 160 start-ups over the past two years. It has accepted 9 so far…the region’s entrepreneurs insist that they are not striving to replicate Silicon Valley or other well-known tech hubs like Boston. “We’re creating different types of start-ups using local ingredients,”…Among the companies that have started in the region over the past few years are Ag Local, a firm that created an online marketplace for trading meat; EyeVerify, which verifies people’s identities through eye-vein patterns; and Tikly, which created a platform for bands to sell concert tickets. But there also are many start-ups outside the information technology realm, focusing on fields like biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and medical devices…The Silicon Prairie still lags in national recognition as a start-up hub, however. Capital remains relatively sparse, and software engineers are in shorter supply than on the coasts…Business owners here said that few people in Des Moines seemed familiar with Dwolla, which allows real-time money transfers that are less costly for merchants than credit card fees. Yet the fast-talking, matter-of-fact Mr. Milne, in his jeans and untucked shirts, has proved to be a savvy ambassador for his company and the region. He always pays with Dwolla when he can…He eagerly rattles off the advantages of building Dwolla here, where his headquarters boast all the trappings of Silicon counterculture: beer-stocked refrigerators, neon orange accent walls with well-used whiteboards tacked to them, and a legal counsel who comes to work in flip-flops. One of the biggest boons, he said, was siphoning the expertise of executives in the city’s robust financial services sector. They advised him on structuring the company so it would not have to hold customers’ money, saving millions of dollars in licensing and bonding costs. That structure also led the company to create a unique system for transferring money without the usual days of processing delays. “I don’t know if we would have found that relationship in the Valley,” Mr. Milne said…”
43.    Startups find a way to get blazing fast Google Fiber  http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/21/startups-find-a-way-to-get-blazing-fast-google-fiber/  “…It’s easy to get a little caught up in excitement about Google Fiber…web connection speeds that are 100 times faster than average blows the mind a little…a gigabit of upload and download capacity. Amazing…The foremost reason most startups will not benefit from Google Fiber immediately is that it does not officially offer service for businesses….“From the beginning, this was all focused on residential,” said Jenna Wandres, the senior communications associate for Google Fiber. “But it quickly became evident a lot of businesses were interested…you could just run your startup out of your bedroom or your garage. But a key restriction for Google Fiber will hold businesses based in homes back a bit: No servers are allowed on Google Fiber…While most businesses don’t have access, a few lucky startups will get to use the service. As long as your small company works out of a house, you might be able to use Fiber. For example LocalRuckus CTO Matthew Marcus owns a house…where several startups are located…Marcus preregistered his house for Google Fiber several months back, and Google installed it last week. Marcus has used Google Fiber for one week, and in that time, he hasn’t seen many practical uses yet outside of helping his company’s lead developer with a few programs. He said he plans to brainstorm with other startup founders soon to come up with new ideas on how to take advantage of Fiber…A few doors down from Marcus’ place is a house allocated for the still-new Homes for Hackers program…developer Ben Barreth…bought a house just so entrepreneurs could stay there…program aims to give startups three months of free rent plus access to Google Fiber…Google has promised that an official “Fiber service for small businesses” will come down the line, but it will not publicly commit to a timeline…Stackify CEO Matt Watson, also an angel investor in KC startups, thinks most homes that get Google Fiber won’t be able to take advantage of all it has to offer. “I have 25 Mbps speeds in my home with AT&T, and I don’t fully tap the potential of that…Naithan Jones, the CEO and cofounder of Andreessen-Horowitz-backed AgLocal, also said his company would sign up for Google Fiber if it was offered, mostly because it would help with teleconferencing to his teammates in New York and San Francisco. But Jones’ strongest notion of Google Fiber is that no one — not Google, not startups, not the media — truly knows the impact it will have on Kansas City and what applications might come of the service in the future…”  [hmmm…seems like Matt Watson is not a power user if he never gets bottlenecked by 25 Mbps – ed.]
44.    Freelancer.com Buys Another IT Job Site, vWorker (aka RentACoder.com)  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/19/freelancer-com-buys-another-it-job-site-vworker-aka-rentacoder-com-for-a-price-in-the-millions/  “Freelancer.com, the job outsourcing and freelance IT worker marketplace, has made another acquisition: it has bought vWorker, a job site for freelance coders and other tech professionals. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but TechCrunch has heard from a source that it is in the region of millions of dollars. vWorker was formerly known as RentACoder, and is said to be the fourth-biggest IT recruitment marketplace of its kind globally, with 2.5 million enterprise and professional users from around the world, and altogether processing $139 million from 1.3 million projects…Together with vWorker, Freelancer.com now has 6.6 million IT and tech professionals on its books globally covering some 600 categories of IT-related work. Freelancer says this makes it the world’s biggest IT outsourcing site for freelancers. Other competitors in the space include eLance and ODesk. Freelancer.com lets companies post jobs to freelancers, but, in a hat tip to the big trend these days for crowdsourcing, it also has structured its site to let individual workers collaborate together on projects. Freelancer.com says the average job on the site is $200 or less — an interesting price point, considering how hard and expensive it can be these days to hire full-time engineers and other IT staff…”
45.    Disruptive Innovations Create Jobs, Efficiency Innovations Destroy Them  http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/09/clayton-christensen-disruptive-innovations-create-jobs-efficiency-innovations-destroy-them/  “…Clayton Christensen…is a Harvard Business School professor and renowned author and innovation expert, perhaps best known for his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma,”…Christensen said that many businesses and startups often make a mistake here, one that may, at first glance, appear counterintuitive. “Understanding the customer is the wrong thing to do — it’s confusing,” he said, before citing Peter Drucker’s assertion that customers rarely buy what companies think they are selling…what’s really important is understanding the job that customers are trying to accomplish, and only once an entrepreneur truly understands the need that a product or service fulfills for the buyer can they optimize their business or product…Most early-stage products overshoot eventual customer needs that emerge over time, he said, so entrepreneurs and developers should instead design for the mainstream rather than the ideal consumer or use cases…“Products that aren’t the best, but are affordable and usable, disrupt markets,”…One of the biggest problems with the cloud computing era is that the cloud provides such capacity that it can tempt people into developing apps and tools that no one actually needs. Instead, developers need to build for the jobs people are trying to accomplish. The real disruptive power of the cloud, he says, is that it makes it exceedingly easy for SMBs to accomplish their business tasks more affordably and efficiently. This is also the reason that he and many others anticipate modularity taking over the cloud and the industry. The problem is that the current focus across tech on efficiency is succeeding in destroying jobs for many and creating capital for few: “Disruptive innovations create jobs, whereas efficiency innovations destroy them…”
46.    Facebook external advertising network is coming  http://gigaom.com/2012/11/23/facebook-makes-it-official-an-external-advertising-network-is-coming-soon/  “…Facebook…is going to use the data it has about your likes and dislikes to show you ads outside of Facebook. This is the first real confirmation that the company is going to roll out an advertising network that extends beyond just its own walled garden, and it could turn out to be one of the biggest factors in the success or failure of Facebook’s revenue-growth strategy…Facebook…has other goals it needs to meet…and one of those is generating enough revenue to make Wall Street and other investors happy with its $50-billion market capitalization…Sponsored stories…are one way of trying to solve that problem. An external advertising network — one that uses information about users and their activity on Facebook as a way of targeting external ads on other websites — is another way. Chris Dixon, the Hunch founder who just became the newest partner in Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, has described this as an “embedded option” for Facebook investors…Facebook’s traffic is so great now that an external ad network might increase their revenues by 2x or so.”…the company also provided a preview of the latest changes in May, although most of the attention at that time was focused on the privacy implications. Now it has become even more obvious that an external ad network is the goal…Everything you do and say on Facebook can be used to serve you ads. Our policy says that we can advertise services to you off of Facebook based on data we have on Facebook…”
47.    Hospital-based Strategic Venture Funds To Spark Health-care Innovation  http://www.forbes.com/sites/davechase/2012/11/24/hospital-based-strategic-venture-funds-to-spark-innovation/  “Healthcare providers are finding their “play it safe” culture isn’t conducive to breakthrough innovation. Facing the inevitable deflationary pressures being put upon the healthcare system, innovation is critically needed…increasing numbers of hospitals and health systems are smartly allocating money to venture funds that have free reign to find truly disruptive new businesses…Rex Health Ventures is an early example of venture-capital investment funds in the country started by a community, nonprofit hospital (Rex Health Care). The fund is being launched with an initial $10 million investment from Rex Healthcare and will help finance the most promising innovations among new medical services, tools and technologies…In addition to their venture fund, they have additional programs to encourage innovation: Rex Joint Ventures: a program to partner with thought leaders in the local and regional technology, research and entrepreneurial communities. The goal of such partnerships will be to team up to develop new products and services that can improve healthcare technology and delivery…Rex Impact Grants: a program to provide grants to a wide range of businesses and organizations that are working to help improve patient care or community health status…Rex Innovation Facilitator: a formalized way for Rex co-workers and thought leaders in the community to submit innovative ideas and receive technology commercialization and company-building services for promising concepts that could lead to new products or services…The Rise of Nimble Medicine may create challenges for their traditional business, however it creates even more opportunities for creative new startups. For example, telemedicine can cut healthcare costs 90% in some areas of care…Health-related accelerators with active health system involvement…New York Digital Health Accelerator…Rock Health – Harvard Medical School, Kaiser, Mayo and UCSF are listed as sponsors…”
48.    Marc Andreessen sells $54.1M in Facebook stock to pay Uncle Sam  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57552778-93/marc-andreessen-sells-$54.1m-in-facebook-stock-to-pay-uncle-sam/  “…Marc Andreessen…venture capitalist and Facebook board member disclosed today in an SEC filing that he sold more than 2.3 million shares of Facebook at prices ranging from $22.85 to $23.83 per share. All told, the sales added up to more than $54.1 million. The selling is not a reflection of his belief in Facebook…he's using the money to pay taxes that he owes from his restricted stock units, which were recently converted into actual shares…Andreessen and board member Donald Graham both planned to sell stock to cover their tax liabilities…”
Design / DEMO
49.    Designers: Kleiner Perkins Wants You  http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/11/20/designers-kleiner-perkins-wants-you/  “One the biggest trends sweeping Silicon Valley is the glorification of design…Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers…will Tuesday announce two new initiatives around design. The first is a “Design Fellows” program that will recruit and place 35 to 40 interns at startups backed by the firm…The second is a roughly 12-person “Design Council” consisting of Silicon Valley designers. The group, which Kleiner and design council members select via referrals, aims to help up-and-coming designers meet and mentor others…At Kleiner, partners Mike Abbott and Megan Quinn, both relative newcomers to the firm, are leading the design charge…Design has begun to matter more to tech companies, he adds, because the technology has become easier to use…Ms. Quinn, who spent several years at Google, says she saw the shift when she joined mobile payments company Square…At Square, the company was obsessed with designing the right customer experience. “Design isn’t just look and feel. It is how things work…hiring designers is often trickier than hiring engineers…Designers want to be working on something glorious…Moreover, good design remains a moving target, in part because technology is changing what’s possible…”  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/20/kleiner-perkins-launches-design-fellows-program-to-match-talented-designers-with-portfolio-companies/  “…KPCB…created a “design council” to serve as mentors and leaders to the Design Fellows, as well as help other KPCB startups with design-focused initiatives. Council members include Zach Klein, DIY; Sahil Lavingia, Gumroad; Elle Luna, Mailbox; Gentry Underwood, Mailbox; Marcos Weskamp, Flipboard; Wesley Yun, Samsung; Matt Beebe, Tylr Mobile…the Design Council…will also organize panels and other events to gather the best in class designers to network, share trade expertise and discuss key industry trends…Candidates for the KPCB Design Fellows program can submit applications…from November 20, 2012 through January 31, 2013…Google Ventures made a similar move earlier this year, establishing a design team in-house to help portfolio companies.…”
50.    Designer-Led Startups  http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/304975/designer-led-startups  “…Technology, a medium created to enhance our own abilities and actions, is reliant on design to achieve its purpose…Increasingly, many Web-based startups are acknowledging this harmony by focusing on design and enlisting the right designers from the get-go. It's a gambit that's likely to pay off. Designers have been behind some of the most successful tech companies to date…Incubators like The Designer Fund, backed by seed fund 500 Startups, are supporting the concept with cash…But the union of design and tech extends beyond hardware. It's why Bill Moggridge, industrial designer and co-founder of design group IDEO, created what he termed "interaction design," which is concerned with producing digitally based objects and services that have optimal practical use. After his design of the physical case of the first laptop, the GRiD Compass, Moggridge used a computer for the first time and realized that software had to be as intuitive as the casing it came in. For all design, user experience is crucial, giving it meaning, but it's particularly so with technology, which is by nature interactive. It's why electronic payment startup Square just acquired interface design specialist 80/20…”
51.     At RISD, Design Meets ‘Scrappy’ to Create Artrepreneurship  http://bostinno.com/2012/10/24/at-risd-design-meets-scrappy-to-create-artrepreneurship/#ss__249150_1_0__ss  “…The earlier entrepreneurs realize they need artists and designers, the better. That sentiment is one they’ve spread at the Rhode Island School of Design, where students are looking at entrepreneurship as a viable career option…at RISD, entrepreneurship is referred to as “artrepreneurship,” and is approached with a more creative eye. “We’re trying to get people to understand artists and designers don’t just make things pretty,” Victory admits. “Artists and designers can make things happen.” What RISD students bring to any startup is a strong work ethic, adaptability and flexibility, which Victory summarizes into one word: “scrappy.” As Y Combinator founder Paul Graham once said: Someone who’s scrappy manages to be both threatening and undignified at the same time. Which seems to me exactly what one would want to be, in any kind of work. If you’re not threatening, you’re probably not doing anything new, and dignity is merely a sort of plaque. At the end of the day, engineers can create a device, but designers make the device accessible. When engineers and financiers are looking for the answers, artists are asking the questions. “They’re wired to ask,” Victory says…The school’s exclusive network, powered by Behance, gives students, faculty and alumni the ability to connect with other members of the RISD community and gain increased exposure. The institute has also created their own curated Kickstarter and Etsy pages, showcasing RISD-born projects all in one place…RISD debuted their Make Big Dreams Expo this past semester, awarding $3,000 in prizes to students with entrepreneurial ideas or existing projects, after they worked through workshops to refine their ideas and practice their presentation skills…”
DHMN Technology
52.    The maker movement isn’t just for hackers anymore  http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/21/make-techshop/  “…San Francisco’s TechShop, a DIY paradise full of industrial equipment for makers of all kinds…is intimidating at first glance. Loud mechanisms tower and sprawl around the workshop’s several stories; people in welding masks and heavy protective gloves quietly bustle from one corner to another…It’s a bit like a gym: Anyone can join as long as they want to do the work. At TechShop’s San Francisco location, a $125 monthly membership fee gets you access to more than $1 million dollars of industrial-grade machinery, industry-standard design software for 2D and 3D projects, unlimited workshop hours, and coaching from experts in given techniques and materials. You can purchase additional classes for equipment or skills, and the pricing isn’t prohibitive. For example, you can get trained on working with sheet metal for $75 in a two-hour class…They come to places like TechShop for access to state-of-the-art equipment…but they stay for the classes and the community…Today’s maker movement includes a huge range of arts, crafts, and fabrication…You’ve got the steampunk/Burning Man crowd who build robotic art cars to drive around the desert…And you’ve got would-be entrepreneurs just trying to crank out a prototype for a product that might disrupt the market. Accidental entrepreneurship, I learn during an extended TechShop tour, is a not uncommon outcome for folks who walk through its doors seeking to simply finish a one-off project…The Bosavi headlamp came from a guy who walked into TechShop in September 2011 with no maker experience whatsoever…Accidental entrepreneurship…happens more than I would have thought,” in no small part due to the fact that all kinds of makers, from sewers and designers and papercrafters to welders and carpenters and painters, under a single roof. The cross-pollination effects are huge…At the very first Maker Faire, robotics instructor and MythBusters science advisor Jim Newton showed up at the San Mateo fairground in a huge Army truck looking for a place to park it. Realizing that Maker Faire was leaving enthusiasts with a warm glow but no outlet for future…DIY action, Newton decided that people needed a slice of Maker Faire all year ’round. He opened the doors of the first TechShop in late 2006, hoping that Maker Faire would be not just a show-and-tell but a gateway experience that would democratize making and hacking…Hacker spaces were a relatively new…One of the first such spaces, c-base was founded in Berlin in 1995…But the hackerspace revolution didn’t really take off until Metalab popped up in Vienna in 2006…an open space for technical creatives, Metalab was funded from membership dues; the funds allowed the collective to rent a physical space, purchase materials, and hold events. This model proved to be an important catalyst for what followed…In 2007, Bre Pettis and a handful of East Coast hackers started NYC Resistor, also with a membership-based model. Noisebridge, another leader in the scene, opened its doors in San Francisco in 2008…As these Matrix-reminiscent spaces and groups popped up around the globe in the mid-2000s, the idea began to catch on with the less technically advanced…more often than not, the TechShop…projects are immediately useful; they have a purpose in the real world and often fulfill a legitimate need in the marketplace…If these kinds of stories are any indicator of the organization’s future direction, it’s shaping up to be a casual incubator for the next generation of hardware and consumer goods companies…”
53.    Maine group creating "FabLab" for 3D printing, laser processing  http://www.industrial-lasers.com/articles/2012/11/maine-group-creating-fablab-for-3d-printing-laser-processing.html  “…The Maine FabLab will be part of the MIT FabLab network founded by Neil Gershenfeld…with capabilities including open-source high-resolution 3D printing, micromachining, and other advanced technologies…The concept comes from the emergence and proliferance of high-tech tools such as 3D printers and laser machining workstations, and expertise in the design and production processes. Lasers and 3D printing have taken hold in various industries from auto to healthcare and medical devices…The goal of the Maine FabLab is to locate a site at Brunswick Landing, the decommissioned Naval Air Station which…is now undergoing redevelopment by regional economic authorities. Initial equipment for the FabLab is expected to include a CO2 laser cutter & marker, UV laser micromachining workstation, and high-precision 3D printer…the FabLab will be open access, and free to Maine students K-Ph.D…To create the FabLab, the group is turning to Crowdfunding -- seeking to raise $100,000 by Dec. 8 in a first phase of funding. A second phase would then bring in higher-precision equipment. The project is launching with a Kickstarter-style campaign with sales of FabLab items and experience…”
54.    Third-gen Solidoodle 3D printer pumps up the volume  http://www.gizmag.com/solidoodle-3-3d-printer/25098/  “…For its latest unit, Solidoodle has upped the build area to 8 x 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 x 20 cm), which is two extra inches over the printable dimensions of the Solidoodle 2. This more than doubles the build volume from 216 in3 (3,540 cm3) for the Solidoodle 2 to 512 in3 (8,390 cm3) for the new Solidoodle 3. Apart from the size, the Solidoodle 3 is pretty much identical to the second generation Solidoodle. It uses 1.75 mm plastic filament and prints at a layer height of 0.3 mm as standard, with the ability to decrease the layer height to 0.1 mm for printing of high-resolution parts. Its heated build platform allows the creation of large objects without bottom warping and it accepts 3D files in STL format…the printer…measures 13.5 inches long x 14 inches wide x 14 inches deep (34 x 36 x 36 cm) and weighs 20 lbs (9 kg)…retailing at US$799…”
55.     Engineers pave the way towards 3D printing of personal electronics  http://phys.org/news/2012-11-pave-3d-personal-electronics.html  “…researchers have created a simple and inexpensive conductive plastic composite that can be used to produce electronic devices using the latest generation of low-cost 3D printers designed for use by hobbyists and even in the home. The material, nicknamed 'carbomorph', enables users to lay down electronic tracks and sensors as part of a 3D printed structure – allowing the printer to create touch-sensitive areas for example, which can then be connected to a simple electronic circuit board. So far the team has used the material to print objects with embedded flex sensors or with touch-sensitive buttons such as computer game controllers or a mug which can tell how full it is. The next step is to work on printing much more complex structures and electronic components including the wires and cables required to connect the devices to computers…"Designers could also use it to understand better how people tactilely interact with products by monitoring sensors embedded into objects. "However, in the short term I can see this technology having a major impact in the educational sector for example, allowing the next generation of young engineers to get hands-on experience of using advanced manufacturing technology to design fairly high-tech devices and products right there in the classroom."…A major advantage of using 3D printing is that sockets for connection to equipment such as interface electronics can be printed out instead of connected using conductive glues…”
56.    Microsoft files patent for AR smart glasses  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20462840  “Work on digital glasses that overlay information on top of the user's view of the world has been carried out by Microsoft. A patent applied for by the US tech firm describes how the eyewear could be used to bring up statistics over a wearer's view of a baseball game or details of characters in a play…Google is planning to deliver its augmented reality glasses to developers early next year…Smaller firms - such as Vuzix, TTP and Explore Engage - are also working on rival systems. The patent suggests the glasses would be attached to a wrist-worn computer…Microsoft's patent…notes that entertainment organisers often provide screens showing information to enhance audience's enjoyment of their events. But looking at these displays forces the user to turn their head away from the action…Microsoft suggests augmented reality headwear would avoid the risk of missing a key moment and also make it possible to see effects otherwise reserved for people watching on TV - for example a computer-drawn line superimposed over an American Football pitch showing the minimum 10-yard distance a team needs to advance the ball…”
57.     Print me a jet engine  http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2012/11/additive-manufacturing   “Confirmation as to how seriously some companies are taking additive manufacturing, popularly known as 3D printing, came on November 20th when GE Aviation…bought a privately owned company called Morris Technologies. This is a small precision-engineering firm employing 130 people in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio. Morris Technologies has invested heavily in 3D printing equipment and will be printing bits for a new range of jet engines…Among the 3D printing technologies used by Morris Technologies is laser sintering. This involves spreading a thin layer of metallic powder onto a build platform and then fusing the material with a laser beam. The process is repeated until an object emerges. Laser sintering is capable of producing all kinds of metal parts, including components made from aerospace-grade titanium. One of the attractions of printing parts is that it saves material. Instead of machining components from solid billets of metal, in which much of it may be cut away, only the material that is needed to shape the part is used. Printed parts can also be made lighter than forged parts, which promises fuel savings. Many manufacturers already use 3D printing to make prototypes of parts, because it is cheaper and more flexible than tooling up to produce just one or two items…the technology is now good enough for it to be used to make production items…Among the components that Morris Technologies plans to print will be some used in the LEAP jet engine (pictured), which is being developed by CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation and Snecma of France. The LEAP engine is scheduled to enter service in the next few years…”
58.    File-Sharing Darknet Ruled Illegal by German Court  https://torrentfreak.com/anonymous-file-sharing-ruled-illegal-by-german-court-121123/  “A court in Hamburg, Germany, has granted an injunction against a user of the anonymous and encrypted file-sharing network RetroShare . RetroShare users exchange data through encrypted transfers and the network setup ensures that the true sender of the file is always obfuscated…The RetroShare network allows people to create a private and encrypted file-sharing network. Users add friends by exchanging PGP certificates with people they trust. All the communication is encrypted using OpenSSL and files that are downloaded from strangers always go through a trusted friend. In other words, it’s a true Darknet and virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders…This week a Hamburg court ruled against a RetroShare user who passed on an encrypted transfer that turned out to be a copyrighted music file. The user in question was not aware of the transfer, and merely passed on the data in a way similar to how TOR works. The court, however, ruled that the user in question, who was identified by the copyright holder, is responsible for passing on the encrypted song…”
59.    Does Pi run Minecraft?  http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/2565  “…we’ve been asked almost every day by someone or other – does the Raspberry Pi run Minecraft? It does now – and you’ll be able to download and play it yourself very soon. We sent a bunch of boards out to Notch and the guys…and they’ve produced a port of Minecraft: Pocket Edition which they’re calling  Minecraft: Pi Edition. It’ll carry a revised feature set and support for several programming languages, so you can code direct into Minecraft before you start playing. (Or you can just – you know – play.)…You could organise the cheapest LAN party of all time, or use the Pi to learn the fundamentals of programming on a minuscule budget…”
60.    Cloud Economy Innovation: Apple's iPhone Gets Its Own Robot  http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenrosenbaum/2012/11/21/a-cloud-economy-innovation-apples-iphone-gets-its-own-robot/  “Josh Guyot knew he had a hit on his hands. He’d created an elegant, inexpensive device that turned iPhones into remote-controlled robotic video machines–and used Kickstarter, the ubiquitous online crowdfunding platform, to raise startup capital. Within three and a half days he and partner JoeBen Bevirt had hit their $100,000 goal; by the time their campaign ended a month later their company, Motrr, had raised a staggering $702,427…The plans went out to an assembly plant in southern China that Bevirt had engaged for an earlier project to make tripods for iPhones…With production well under way, Motrr was suddenly ambushed. In late September Apple came out with the new iPhone 5…The familiar 30-pin connector powering every iPhone was tossed in favor of a sleeker 19-pin version. Guyot had to rethink, retool–and refund a lot of orders. The Cloud Economy is great–but when you get hit by a bolt of lightning, all your plans can come tumbling back to Earth…An industrial design major at Carnegie Mellon University, he graduated in 2000…Over the next decade Guyot Designs went on to make silicone bowls for backpackers and pets and ingenious sets of utensils. But there was a cost. “We’ve borrowed tens of thousands of dollars from friends and family to get products into production…we’ve had to fund growth and inventory with hundreds of thousands of dollars of bank loans, using our home as collateral. We’ve always done expensive money.” That’s why Kickstarter was such an irresistible option…After watching Glif, a simple iPhone mount and stand, raise nearly $140,000 on Kickstarter, Guyot and Bevirt decided they had to jump in. He and Bevirt, a Stanford engineering grad who grew up in an electricity-free commune in California’s Santa Cruz mountains, shared a love of design, robotics and automation…they decided to create a new kind of motion-controlled camera. Activated by a finger-swipe across an iPad or other iOS device, Galileo orients your iPhone or iPod Touch according to how you direct it, with speeds of up to 200 degrees per second. With easy apps for photographers, videographers and social networking sites, you can appreciate how the device could transform Web video connectivity. Kickstarter wasn’t just a way to raise capital. “We thought it could get us a tremendous amount of marketing and p.r., and it really did,” says Guyot…Motrr set up a warehouse in the Bay Area to store and ship devices. Inevitably there were technical challenges. The printed circuit boards inside the housings failed muster. Some backers grumbled about delays…No one, though, expected Apple to redesign its connector. Motrr faced a potentially make-or-break dilemma: continue with the old connector, which satisfies the iPhone 3, 4 and 4s, and meet promised delivery dates, disappointing iPhone 5 users–or return to the drawing board and push back delivery. The company decided to do both, selling the current Galileos to satisfy earlier iPhones and reequipping for the new model…we knew some people would want a refund. It was the right thing to do–but…We had to give tens of thousands [of dollars] in refunds.” Motrr has given all Kickstarter backers the option of switching to the iPhone 5 version…Where will any new funds come from? Not from Kickstarter. In September it posted new guidelines: In addition to providing background information, hardware creators are now required to submit a manufacturing plan and a prototype…”
61.     MakerBot 3D Photo Booth Prints Your Face In 3D  http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/20/makerbot-introduces-3d-photo-booth-in-its-new-york-store-print-your-face-in-3d/  “…MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis unveiled a new 3D photo booth powered by ShapeShot. The photo takes a couple of minutes and costs $5 for three reusable shots. Then you can order prints of your head. In 3D. Depending on the size, they run $20, $40 or $60…“Ever since we started, people kept saying that this is science fiction — it’s not real. So we had to make a MakerBot Store,” Pettis said. Understanding 3D printing takes time, and a store is a good way to reach a new audience. But MakerBot also hopes to sell Replicator printers, filament and little printed objects manufactured in New York. Most of the objects in the store have been designed within the previous week and printed over the previous two days. Such a short product cycle is something new in manufacturing. With the store, it’s all about making 3D printing mainstream. “My hope is that the next lemonade stand for kids will be a MakerBot stand,” Pettis said. For now, NASA and GE are the two most important clients, and four of the top ten architectural companies use a Replicator. MakerBot has sold 15,000 printers so far…”
Open Source Hardware
62.    LittleBits Releases Holiday Kit, Encourages More DIY Hardware Hacking  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/11/littlebits-holiday-kit/  “Open source hardware company littleBits wants you to consume less and produce more in the coming months. The company released its Holiday Kit on Tuesday and launched a simultaneous campaign to encourage people to design and build their own products during the consumption-heavy holiday season…Bdeir says that she wants to encourage people to make their own stuff in order to create a more meaningful relationship with the products, even if it’s something as simple and silly as a light-up New Year’s party hat…The company is known for making electronics accessible, especially to young children, and the kit packaging is one of the easiest ways to appeal to people who have little to no hardware hacking experience…”
63.    Open Source Race Car Data and Telemetry System  http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2012/11/21/autosport-labs-launches-race-capture-pro-indiegogo-open-source-race-car-data-and-telemetr  “Race Capture Pro is a unique, open source hardware and software project appealing to motorsport and technology enthusiasts worldwide. Enthusiasts can use Race Capture Pro to collect data on driver and car performance and analyze it later using the included software…Autosport Labs aims to turn data logging and real time telemetry into an accessible and familiar training option for all levels of racers, from the novice to seasoned amateur to veteran professional. The unique capabilities of Autosport Labs Race Capture Pro allow users to log their racing time on track: Downloads and stores race car actions in real time…On-board precision digital accelerometer and yaw sensors detail the traction available for the race car…”
Open Source
64.    Linux Mint 14 released: It’s like Windows 8, minus the bad bits  http://www.extremetech.com/computing/141174-linux-mint-14-released-its-like-windows-8-minus-the-bad-bits  “…Linux Mint…14 (Nadia)…combines the Linux 3.5 kernel, Ubuntu 12.10 base, and the latest versions of the MATE 1.4 and Cinnamon 1.6 desktop environments. The edition of Linux Mint 14 with the Cinnamon desktop is particularly interesting as it has created a hybrid between Ubuntu’s HUD interface and the traditional Gnome UI…You will not find Unity or Gnome 3 in this Mint distribution, however. Instead, Mint offers MATE 1.4 — the continuation of Gnome 2 — and Cinnamon 1.6 along with Gnome Classic that are all selectable from the log-in screen. The distro also includes the codecs necessary to play MP3 files and DVDs out of the box. GIMP 2.6, LibreOffice, Firefox 17, and VLC 2.0.4 also come pre-installed among other traditional Linux programs like the Banshee music application, Pidgin IM client, and Transmission BitTorrent client. The Software Manager has also been tweaked so that it runs as root, and does not require entering your password every time you choose to install each individual application…it uses its own apt-get daemon that is fully supported by debconf meaning you will no longer have to use Synaptic to get certain packages (like Wine)…One of the main changes in the 1.6 release is the inclusion of a new GUI file browser called Nemo built specifically for Cinnamon. It is similar in layout to Microsoft’s Explorer (minus the ribbon) with shortcuts on the left panel and folder contents on the right…it works well and has similar functionality to Windows Explorer or Nautilus in Ubuntu…Mint has added an overlay called the Workspace On-Screen Display (OSD) that allows switching among different workspaces (think of them like virtual desktops). You can add as many workspaces as you want while giving each one a unique name. Best of all, you can drag windows between workspaces, and have your settings persist across reboots…With Mint 14 and Cinnamon 1.6 you have a graphical interface that keeps the traditional taskbar with a Start (Mint Menu) Button while introducing new UI features like the Workspace OSD. You get the best of both worlds, and if you are still not pleased, Mint makes it extremely easy to switch to MATE (Gnome 2 successor) or Gnome Classic…”
65.    Linux brings over €10 million savings for Munich  http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Linux-brings-over-EUR10-million-savings-for-Munich-1755802.html  “Over €10 million (approximately £8 million or $12.8 million) has been saved by the city of Munich, thanks to its development and use of the city's own Linux platform…The calculation compares the current overall cost of the LiMux migration with that of two technologically equivalent Windows scenarios: Windows with Microsoft Office and Windows with OpenOffice…The study is based on around 11,000 migrated workplaces within Munich's city administration as well as 15,000 desktops that are equipped with an open source office suite…Windows with Microsoft Office would so far have incurred about €11.6 million (£9.3 million) in operating-system-related costs…the cost of the LiMux scenario was only a fraction of this…by September 2012, the project had incurred only €270,000 (£218,000) because it involved no licence fees and no hardware upgrades were necessary as a result of software upgrades…Costs that are not related to the operating system, such as staff and training costs, were identically listed at around €22 million (£17 million) in all three scenarios. Overall, the project says that Windows and Microsoft Office would have cost just over €34 million (£27 million), while Windows with Open Office would have cost about €30 million (£24 million). The LiMux scenario, on the other hand, has reportedly cost less than €23 million (£18 million)…”  [this article and last week’s NEW NET item about Freiburg suggest use of open source software by large municipalities can be looked at as, or turn out to be, either positive or negative – ed.]
Civilian Aerospace
66.    80,000 person Mars colony proposed by SpaceX Founder  http://www.space.com/18596-mars-colony-spacex-elon-musk.html  “Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, wants to help establish a Mars colony of up to 80,000 people by ferrying explorers to the Red Planet for perhaps $500,000 a trip…the ambitious Mars settlement program would start with a pioneering group of fewer than 10 people, who would journey to the Red Planet aboard a huge reusable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and methane…Accompanying the founders of the new Mars colony would be large amounts of equipment, including machines to produce fertilizer, methane and oxygen from Mars’ atmospheric nitrogen and carbon dioxide and the planet's subsurface water ice. The Red Planet pioneers would also take construction materials to build transparent domes, which when pressurized with Mars’ atmospheric CO2 could grow Earth crops in Martian soil. As the Mars colony became more self sufficient, the big rocket would start to transport more people and fewer supplies…Musk’s architecture for this human Mars exploration effort does not employ cyclers, reusable spacecraft that would travel back and forth constantly between the Red Planet and Earth — at least not at first…”
67.    Bas Lansdorp: I'm sending four people to Mars for the rest of their lives  http://www.vice.com/read/im-sending-four-people-to-mars-for-the-rest-of-their-lives  “…Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp…Mars One project…aims to build a liveable settlement on Mars, before sending four humans to live there for the rest of their lives in 2023, followed by more batches of people as the years go on, living there for the REST of their lives…his project is remarkable in that it aims to raise the majority of its funding through creating the biggest media spectacle the world has ever known – covering every stage of the project and allowing viewers to vote on who gets to take the trip – rather than relying on governments and having to deal with any kind of political interference…we have other revenue ideas, of course, but yeah – we need to finance a lot of things before we can send any humans out to Mars and creating a media spectacle is a good way to do that…It's going to be £3.8 billion to set it up, then another £630 million for each one of the four astronauts. I initially thought that number was unrealistically high, but the International Olympic Committee had a revenue of one or two billion pounds for one three-week-long event, so that's half a billion a week, which makes our numbers not look too bad…We've got a demonstration mission in 2016 to show the technology that we've purchased, which is where we'll send a communications satellite to Mars, then, in 2018, we'll send a rover up to find the best location for the settlement…It's got to be north enough to have a good amount of water crystals in the soil and south enough for the solar panels to be effective. It's gonna be on the northern hemisphere because the seasons are less extreme there. But it's also got to be as low as possible in altitude, because Mars has a very thin atmosphere and the lower down you go, the more time you'll have to slow down and land safely…everything will land in big pre-built components that will be assembled by the rovers. There'll be two capsules for the life support system, two capsules for the living units and two capsules with supplies…We want to establish a small self-supporting society on Mars that doesn’t need the Earth anymore. Although, it's such long-term planning that it's not really something you can keep under control, so we'll have to see…”
68.    British singer Sarah Brightman wants to go to International Space Station  http://rt.com/art-and-culture/news/sarah-brightman-space-tourist-401/  “Soprano Sarah Brightman has probably started packing up for her planned space trip, but the final decision about her mission as a space tourist has not been made yet…Brightman might have to wait for another year for the decision to be finally made. Some say the former wife of Andrew Lloyd Webber Brightman is unlikely to blast off on her planned mission…several factors…could see her rejected as a space tourist…By 2015 Brightman will turn 55-years old, which means she would become one of the world’s twenty oldest astronauts…The singer has most probably made her announcement about the chance to take a trip to the International Space Station to promote the release of her album and to heat up curiosity about the world tour she is set to take next year…”
Supercomputing & GPUs
69.    What does it take to code for a Xeon Phi?  http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/12/what-does-it-take-to-code-for-a-xeon-phi/  “…The idea behind MIC is that the cards are organized like a rack of x86 servers talking over TCP/IP. If you are familiar with the MPI programming model as anyone who works on HPC will be, a Phi card will look just like that. If you currently use Intel tools, the hardest part is finding the menu setting which controls the targeting. In fact, if you have an x86 program and do absolutely nothing, your code will run on a Phi out of the box, not very fast but it will run…no other card out there that can make a claim remotely close to this. Since a Phi/Knights Corner/Larrabee card is 60 or so x86 cores on a ring it looks just like 60 4-threaded servers in a rack to the software. It can talk TCP/IP over PCIe, runs Linux on one core, so to get up and running, there are no tricks. You just log in and run your code, or script whatever you want and off you go , exactly what you do now and have already done many times in the past. If your code is already thread aware, and all HPC code is, then you just tell it where to run…To demonstrate, Intel used a simple C++ loop that runs a common Monte Carlo algorithm. With the code in single threaded form, it runs on a dual Xeon box in 693 seconds. If you add a single line of code to make it thread aware and recompile, it runs in 6.35 seconds on a Phi…Where things get interesting is if you take that same code that is output for the Phi and run it on the Xeons. The run time drops from 693 seconds to a hair under 14. Please note that this is not a recompile, it is the same exact binary as you ran on the accelerator and it speeds the code up about 50 times…That brings us to the old parallel compute roadblock, Amdahl’s law. It essentially says that parallel code will effectively be bottlenecked by the slowest serial portions of the code. If you have infinite parallel power, you will run at the speed of the serial portions of your code…in order to work best within Amdahl’s law, you should maximize the amount of work that is done by the parallel portions. Essentially, this means you scale up the parallel work done for each iteration of the serial part, think widening the vectors on a very large scale…”
70.    An Easy Introduction to CUDA C and C++  https://developer.nvidia.com/content/easy-introduction-cuda-c-and-c  “This post is the first in a series on CUDA C and C++, which is the C/C++ interface to the CUDA parallel computing platform. This series of posts assumes familiarity with programming in C. We will be running a parallel series of posts about CUDA Fortran…These two series will cover the basic concepts of parallel computing on the CUDA platform…The CUDA programming model is a heterogeneous model in which both the CPU and GPU are used. In CUDA, the host refers to the CPU and its memory, while the device refers to the GPU and its memory. Code running on the host manages memory on both the host and device, and also launches kernels, which are functions executed on the device. These kernels are executed by many GPU threads in parallel…In a recent post, I illustrated Six Ways to SAXPY, which includes a CUDA C version. SAXPY stands for "Single-precision A*X Plus Y", and is a good "hello world" example for parallel computation. In this post I will dissect a more complete version of the CUDA C SAXPY, explaining in detail what is done and why…”
71.     How NVIDIA GPUs Can Speed Diagnosis Of Heart Problems  http://blogs.nvidia.com/2012/11/how-nvidia-gpus-can-speed-diagnosis-of-heart-problems/  “One in a hundred newborns suffer from congenital heart disease. 5.2 million Americans of all ages suffer from heart failure. The challenge for all of these patients: proper diagnostics. Transthoracic echocardiograms – which involves placing a specialized transducer against the patient’s chest wall– are non-invasive, but imprecise. Inserting a probe equipped with an ultrasound transducer down through the mouth and into the chest cavity – a procedure known as a trans-esophageal echocardiogram – is more precise, but it can be painful, risky, and time-consuming. Morpheus Medical…may have a solution: software that uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to build a real-time model of a beating heart. Using data gathered during a 10-minute MRI scan the startup’s software can build a model of a heart in full 3D with flow and function while pulsing, and the arteries around it, that doctors can play forwards and backwards, examine from every angle, and zoom in on to get the details they need to know. “It allows us to replace all those invasive procedures with something that is non-invasive and much shorter,”…The aim is to offer a tool that can be used to help patients suffering from congenital heart disease – something challenging to diagnose with newborns – and then address the growing numbers of adults suffering from trouble with the valves that move blood around the heart…”
72.    GPUs for Seismic Imaging  http://www.nvidia.com/content/cuda/spotlights/paulo-souza-petrobras.html  “…Paulo Souza of Petrobras, the Brazilian multinational energy company headquartered in Rio de Janeiro…is…the lead HPC developer of seismic imaging…Our group produces state-of-the-art algorithms to generate more accurate subsurface images of earth in order to better find oil…I started working with GPUs in 2006, porting seismic imaging applications to CUDA. We achieved gains of up to 10X in performance/price and performance/watt, compared to a traditional multi-million dollar x86 CPU-based cluster….we've invested in five GPU clusters, including the Grifo04 built with Tesla M2050 GPUs. Grifo04 is the fastest supercomputer in Latin America…Seismic imaging codes use a lot of computational power. The high flops (floating-point operations per second) that we get with GPUs helps us meet that need.  GPUs get the work done fast, while also allowing us to use more accurate and demanding algorithms. For example, in the Kirchhoff Time Migration algorithm we got a 20X speedup when comparing a GPU node against a CPU node…”