NEW NET Weekly List for 03 Dec 2013

Here's the draft NEW NET list for the 03 December 2013 meeting at Tom's Drive In on Westhill Boulevard next to Woodman's. After the NEW NET meeting from 7 - 9 PM, I'll update this post with any additions and insightful comments from the meeting...

NEW NET Weekly List For 03 Dec 2013

  1. Reverse-Engineering a Genius (Has a Vermeer Mystery Been Solved?) http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/11/vermeer-secret-tool-mirrors-lenses David Hockney and others have speculated—controversially—that a camera obscura could have helped the Dutch painter Vermeer achieve his photo-realistic effects in the 1600s. But no one understood exactly how such a device might actually have been used to paint masterpieces. An inventor in Texas—the subject of a new documentary by the magicians Penn & Teller—may have solved the riddle. … [Tim] Jenison, now 58, is the founder of NewTek, where he has made a fortune inventing hardware and software for video production and post-production. He is a nonstop tinkerer in the rest of his life as well: building giant model airplanes and battle robots, and learning to fly helicopters. Curious, careful, soft-spoken, and comfortably schlumpy, he comes across more as a neighborhood professor you might see at Home Depot than as a guy who owns his own jet. … He did a computer analysis of a high-resolution scan of a Vermeer interior, and discovered “an exponential relationship in the light on the white wall.” The brightness of any surface becomes exponentially less bright the farther it is from a light source—but the unaided human eye doesn’t register that. According to Jenison, the painting he digitally deconstructed shows just such a diminution from light to dark. … One day, in the bathtub, Jenison had a eureka moment: a mirror. If the lens focused its image onto a small, angled mirror, and the mirror was placed just between the painter’s eye and the canvas, by glancing back and forth he could copy that bit of image until the color and tone precisely matched the reflected bit of reality. … [Jenison spent the next five years building an accurate replica of Vermeer’s studio, and using only knowledge, materials, and techniques of the time, built an optical device and painted a detailed replica of a Vermeer painting.] … The crux of the resistance to the idea that Vermeer invented and used an optical device, beyond technical and historiographic issues, is that it diminishes our sense of Vermeer’s genius. But great artists in every age use clever new tools and technologies. You could give all the digital contraptions Alfonso Cuarón used on Gravity to a hack director and he’d make a crappy movie.

  1. Windows 7 market share still growing despite newer operating systems  http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-windows-7-microsoft-growth-20131202,0,6885838.story  More proof that nobody really WANTS Windows 8.
  2. "Vishera" End Of The Line for AMD FX CPUs  http://www.techpowerup.com/195355/vishera-end-of-the-line-for-amd-fx-cpus-roadmap.html  Finally, an end to throwing good money after bad?
  3. Next Windows release reportedly codenamed 'Threshold,' set to further unify Microsoft operating systems  http://www.engadget.com/2013/12/02/microsoft-threshold/  Further proof that microsoft just doesn't get it and has crossed the important line between eating your own dogfood, and drinking the koolaid.
  4. Google’s frightening patent: collect data and interact with others automatically on your behalf  http://www.ghacks.net/2013/12/01/googles-frightening-patent-collect-data-interact-others-automatically-behalf/  Speaking of crossing the line, join me in a disapproving scowl towards goog.


  1. Intel Makes Another Acquisition: Hacker League, A Platform For Hackathons, Is Now A Part Of Mashery  [The Intel acquisition of Hacker League is another indication of the democratization of technology. If other large tech companies significantly expand their support for tech events, that should help significantly expand and connect the tech and entrepreneurial communities. Helping manage that process sounds like a perfect job fit for me - ed.]  http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/03/hacker-league-mashery-intel/  “Intel's...buying Hacker League, a popular platform for managing hackathons, which will be incorporated with the API management company Mashery...the idea behind the acquisition is to augment the developer outreach work that it already does on a daily basis. “We acquired the assets of Hacker League to take a product that makes hackathons great so that we could do more things to support developers,” he said...Adding Hacker League will mean that Mashery (and Intel) will be significantly ramping up their events for developers. Mashery is involved in some 80 hackathons annually, while Hacker League has powered some 460 events worldwide since October 2011...”
  2. Thinkspace Pioneers hunt for the next teenage Mark Zuckerberg  [one unique value of a teenager accelerator is that teenagers are likely to have a different perspective on what other teenagers like and their ‘creative’ thinking process has not yet been as constricted as 20 and 30 year olds - ed.]  http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/29/thinkspace-pioneers-startups-mark-zuckerberg  “...Pioneers, the new off-shoot project from coding non-profit Thinkspace, is looking for the next generation of entrepreneurial app developers – a hand-picked bunch of talented teenagers given access to like minds, venture capitalists and mentoring backers...Launching today, Thinkspace Pioneers will be opened up to applicants aged 13-18 with projects spanning apps, games and websites – anything that shows promise in the digital space...”
  3. Akamai Buys DDoS Prevention Specialist Prolexic For $370M  [sort of amazing to realize that large companies are vulnerable to DDoS and other web-security attacks, that web security companies are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and that there are still lots of opportunties for innovation in web basic back-office services like this - ed.]  http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/02/akamai-buys-ddos-prevention-specialist-prolexic-for-370m-to-ramp-up-security-offerings/  “...Akamai, the specialist in optimising web site performance and content distribution, is making a big acquisition to beef up its security offerings: it is buying Prolexic, a U.S.-based provider of cloud-based security solutions for protecting data centers and enterprise IP applications from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Akamai will be paying approximately $370 million for Prolexic...What this acquisition will give Akamai is a solution that is more centered towards enterprise business - specifically to help protect data centers and enterprise IP applications...we intend to combine Akamai's leading security and performance platform with Prolexic's highly-regarded DDoS mitigation solutions...”
  4. Microsoft Should Be Worried About Google’s Chromebooks  [at some point, the availability of free wireless connectivity, the technical capability of Chromebooks, and the laptop computing needs of ‘the masses’ will probably hit the point where a Chromebook type of laptop is what 50+% of consumers buy for non-work computing - ed.]  http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/01/microsoft-should-be-worried-about-googles-chromebooks/  “...Microsoft ramped up its FUD machine and  launched the next phase of its...anti-Google Scroogled campaign...the company is targeting Chromebooks, Google's cheap ChromeOS-based, web-centric laptops. Why is Microsoft worried about Chromebooks? Because it can see the writing on the wall. For many mainstream users, the operating system they use is slowly becoming irrelevant, and even though Chromebooks are not right for everyone, they are slowly becoming a real alternative in the low-end laptop market...Microsoft wants you to believe that you can't do anything with a Chromebook when you're offline. That's just plain wrong at this point. Sure, Chromebooks make more sense in an always-on environment (which is where most people use them), but nobody is stopping you from playing Angry Birds while you're offline...while Microsoft specifically calls out Angry Birds as the kind of thing you can't do on a Chromebook, Google would be more than happy if you downloaded it from its Chrome Web Store and played it offline...”
  5. Sentient code: A look at Stephen Wolfram’s utterly new, insanely ambitious computational paradigm  [We likely won’t know for at least several years, and maybe longer, whether Wolfram’s new computing paradigm will become widely used, stay a niche product or die in obscurity, but it’s certainly an interesting concept - ed.]  http://venturebeat.com/2013/11/29/sentient-code-an-inside-look-at-stephen-wolframs-utterly-new-insanely-ambitious-computational-paradigm/  “...In 1988 he released the first version of Mathematica, a platform for technical computation, and in 2009, he released the Wolfram Alpha search engine, a computational knowledge engine. His new project, he says, is a perfect marriage. “Mathematica is this perfect precise computation engine, and WolframAlpha is general information about the world,” Wolfram told me. “Now we can combine the two.”...Included in the new project is natural language programming...Also included is a new definition of literally anything in your application — from code to images to results to inputs — as being usable and malleable as a symbolic expression. There’s a whole new level of automation and a completely divergent approach to building a programming language, away from the small, agile core with functionality pushed out to libraries and modules and toward a massive holistic thing which treats data and code as one…There’s no good elevator pitch for the language, and even though it’s not entirely released yet, there are 11,000 pages of documentation already...”
  6. Work–Bench announces $10 million fund to back enterprise startups  [An interesting twist on startup accelerators. I’ll have to check with the local RR Donnelley facility to find out if they’re involved in this or interested in promoting the local startup community - ed.]  http://pando.com/2013/12/03/work-bench-announces-10-million-fund-to-back-enterprise-startups/  “Work–Bench opened its doors in June as New York’s first “post accelerator,” a program designed to help later stage enterprise startups — ones with funding, a product, and early traction — connect with large corporate customers. Now it has $10 million to back enterprise companies of its own...The program, backed by the 149-year-old printing business RR Donnelley, started with its office space: the 32,000-square-foot Union Square office has a seven-year lease. RR Donelley is in this for the long haul...”
  7. Connected car device Truvolo tracks vehicle speed, location, miles per gallon  [At some point, a device like Truvolo will hit a usefulness/cost point where it will become a must-have item - ed.]  http://pando.com/2013/12/02/connected-car-device-truvolo-tracks-vehicle-speed-location-miles-per-gallon-and-other-fun-facts/  “Sandhya Jaideep and Jaideep Jain, a hubbie-wife duo, got nervous when their 15-year-old son started learning how to drive. They looked into the market for tools to monitor their son’s driving, but didn’t find anything for the layperson. At the time, Jain worked at semiconductor chip technology company Cymer running data products. Jaideep worked at communications startup ChooChee running development. They had backgrounds in predictive analytics and app development respectively...Jaideep and Jain developed a device and a phone app for the average driver. No need to be a car expert to understand this information. Truvolo takes the loads of confusing data and interprets it into a beautiful, easy to read app...”
  8. Fun Innovation Undergoes Serious Development — 3D Printing Fusion  [This product design article is a good illustration of how 3D printing can seriously speed up a product development cycle, plus the Fusion sounds cool - ed.]  http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/12/02/fun-innovation-undergoes-serious-development-3d-printing-fusion/  “...The modern ‘high-tech’ equivalent to the glow stick could be Fusion by Shockatoo, a music-centric computer for the wrist, combining a built-in accelerometer, microphone, microprocessor and Bluetooth 4.0...The smartband creates animated light displays by sensing both the beat of the music and the user’s motion. When paired with a smart-phone using Bluetooth, users can select and download hundreds of interactive light patterns, play music tracks to fit their mood or create their own, and connect with friends by letting users sync to each other. Shockatoo, Inc. is an innovative producer of wearable technology targeted at the consumer market. The company wanted to develop a flexible, translucent plastic prototype for their crowdfunding project that would house the wearable electronic device...The product development team needed to find a cost-effective iteration process that would allow for multiple design changes and material customisation with a quick-turnaround. The Shockatoo team used FATHOM’s 3D printing expertise...FATHOM manufactured 3D printed parts for two design cycles in less than two weeks. The first cycle helped dial in the product design and also determine which custom blended materials created the required feel and translucency. Finished parts were achieved in the second cycle and were expedited to Las Vegas for Shockatoo’s promotional video. The final prototype captured the flex, finish and light transmission that Shockatoo had envisioned for their new product line...”
  9. Stratasys ‘Think It – Print It’ Education Series  [It’s great to see the Big 2 US 3D printing companies get involved with community outreach and education about 3D printing - ed.]  http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/12/01/stratasys-think-print-education-series/  “...education will play a key role in getting the next generation to adopt 3D printing technology to their lives. Already we are seeing competition in the education front...with Stratasys’ MakerBot working with America Makes and 3D Systems partnering with Teach Design for a UK-based education initiative. In the same vein, Stratasys has introduced 3D Printing 101 – ‘Think it, Print it’ video series to give both educators and students ideas on how to use 3D Printing for scientific and artistic projects. Take a look at the 1st episode here to hear the outlines of the series...”
  10. GE Invents 3D Printing Holiday  [This is an excellent move by GE and will contribute towards the improving legitimacy of the emerging technology of 3D printing - ed.]  http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/12/03/ge-invents-3d-printing-holiday-featuring-anti-nsa-commentary/  “GE has come to embrace the potential of additive manufacturing and crowd sourcing: previously hosting a design competition for 3D printed jet engine brackets as well as using AM to produce its LEAP engine fuel nozzles...they’ve even invented a 3D printing holiday. Tomorrow, December 3rd, the megacorp is kicking off 3D Printing Day, an event in which 3D printed stocking stuffers will be released to the public. Developed by 12 world figures teamed up with professional designers, a series of CAD files will be made open source, giving you plenty of time to print them as gifts for the holidays. The objects are meant to be practical and aesthetically pleasing, demonstrating the potential for 3D printing presents during the holiday season...”