Friday, August 12, 2011

Technical News - 12 August 2011

  • Cloud Security Alliances launches registry: not a moment too soon
    August 12, 2011
    The CSA Security, Trust & Assurance Registry (STAR) is intended to encourage transparency of security practices within cloud providers.
  • Amazon Apps need to phone home or fail
    August 12, 2011
    When erratic DRM gets in the way of using appplications you have paid for, it's a bad thing, OK?
  • NTT jumps on Bloom Energy fuel-cell bandwagon
    August 12, 2011
    The telecommunications service provider's data center in San Jose has installed 500 kilowatts of capacity, powering about 7 percent to 8 percent of its energy needs.
  • Acer adds 7" Iconia Tab A100 to tablet lineup, $330
    August 12, 2011
    Acer joins the 7-inch tablet party with the launch of the Iconia Tab A100 today, but will consumers be buying?
  • Apple readying emerging market 'iCloud-powered' iPhone?
    August 12, 2011
    Rumours are spreading that Apple could be releasing a slimmed-down iCloud-powered iPhone for the emerging markets.
  • Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?
    August 12, 2011
    HP's TouchPad now starts at $399. Acer's Iconia A100 starts at $329 (at least at Walmart and 8GB). And Vizio's 8-inch tablet can be had for $299. The screen sizes may vary, but the song is still...
  • Green Gadget of the Week: Suntrica SolarStrap
    August 12, 2011
    A unique shape highlights these charging gadgets for mobile phones, digital music players, GPS systems and other consumer electronics devices.
  • Hands-on with the Acer Iconia Tab A100: First 7-inch Honeycomb tablet
    August 12, 2011
    Google proclaimed Honeycomb the official version of Android for tablets, and until now it has been unavailable in a 7-inch form. The Acer Iconia Tab A100 brings the sweet goodness to the small slate.
  • Acer Iconia Tab A100: How 8GB could be enough for a tablet
    August 12, 2011
    Acer has unveiled its next entry for the tablet market, but it pushes the bar on how little onboard memory a tablet can have.
  • Walmart to pull plug on MP3 store
    August 12, 2011
    iTunes claims another victim.
  • Acer's new A100 is first 7-inch tablet to run Android Honeycomb
    August 12, 2011
    Despite its top exec arguing that tablets were a fad, Acer has introduced a new 7-inch slate that is also the first to run the latest, more tablet-friendly version of Android (a.k.a. Honeycomb)....
  • US Postal Service bad news continues with plan to terminate 120,000 workers
    August 12, 2011
    The business model that served the US Postal Service for these past decades is increasingly collapsing as a viable strategy.
  • Sneak Peek: Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS Revealed [PICS]
    August 12, 2011
    The first pictures of the long-awaited "Ice Cream Sandwich" upgrade to the Android smartphone operating system were leaked to the world on Thursday.


  • Angry Birds are about to become billionaires
    August 12, 2011
    Some big names want in on the Angry Birds action.
  • Tech execs playing wait-and-see with IT spending
    August 12, 2011
    Technology executives this week indicated that this week's stock market and economic volatility could impact tech spending, but also note customers are better off than in 2008.
  • Google+ Rolls Out 16 Games:Major Step in Google Plus Vs Facebook Combat
    August 12, 2011
    Google+ users may observe something fresh on top of their Google+ account -a small icon signifying that Google+ Games is live now.


  • The Office vs. The Ministry
    August 12, 2011
    It?s one of the universe?s most debated questions. No, it has nothing to do with politics, religion, or 2Pac vs. Biggie. It?s whether or not the British version of ?The Office? bests the American version. So, is it Ricky Gervais or Steve Carell? Wernham Hogg Paper Company or Dunder Mifflin Paper Company? Gareth or Dwight? Tim or Jim?
  • Google Videos enables Froyo phones to rent movies
    August 12, 2011
    Google Video is updated to enable Android phones running Froyo and Gingerbread to enable users to rent movies from Android Market.
  • The 5 Funniest Porn Titles Involved in BitTorrent Piracy Lawsuits
    August 12, 2011
    One of the central figures in this week's feature story--"Porn, Piracy, and BitTorrent"--is John Doe #2,057, an anonymous Seattle man accused of illegally downloading the film Tokyo Cougar Creampies. Doe is adamant that he is innocent--he left his Wi-Fi network open, plus he's legally blind, which makes it nearly impossible to watch movies, hardcore porn included--but he agreed to pay a settlement worth several thousand dollars to the attorneys who sued him just to make the case go away.


  • Insight: China's microbloggers rattle the censor's cage (Reuters)
    August 12, 2011
    Reuters - When Chinese journalist Wang Keqin found himself cornered in the countryside two years ago by police who were trying to stop him looking into a rape case involving local officials, he looked online for help.
  • Insight: China's microbloggers rattle the censor's cage
    August 12, 2011
    BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - When Chinese journalist Wang Keqin found himself cornered in the countryside two years ago by police who were trying to stop him looking into a rape case involving local officials, he looked online for help.

  • Intel Pushes for Cheaper Ultrabooks, But Partners Want Incentives
    August 12, 2011
    The ultraportable laptops that are supposedly everyone's priority need to cost under a grand to catch on, but the component costs add up to more.

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  • Obama to meet with J&J, Wells CEOS on jobs: source
    August 12, 2011
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is expected to meet Friday afternoon with chief executives from Johnson & Johnson, Wells Fargo & Co, US Bancorp, Xerox Corp, BlackRock Inc and Silver Bridge, according to a source familiar with the plans.

  • Android tablets grab 20 percent share
    August 12, 2011
    Android tablets have collectively grabbed 20 percent of the market, but no single tablet maker can compete with Apple, says a report from ABI Research.
  • Consumer sentiment slumps as retail sales jump
    August 12, 2011
    WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer sentiment worsened sharply in early August, falling to the lowest index level since 1980, even though retail sales posted the biggest gains in three months in July, separate reports on Friday showed.

  • More Innovation in Unlikely Places
    August 12, 2011
    With markets crashing, politics bashing and jobs slashing it certainly feels like innovation doesn?t have a fighting chance in the U.S. these days. So how can we pull ourselves out of America?s Lost Decade, survive Recession 2.0 and avoid the mistakes Japan made during their financial meltdown in the 1990?s? The answer, my friends, is not blowing in the wind. As I?ve said before, it?s found in unlikely places. What Happens In Vegas, Produces Shrimp There?s no question we face a serious overfishing
  • Syrian forces kill 10 protesters after Friday prayers
    August 12, 2011
    AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian forces shot dead 10 protesters Friday, activists said, as tens of thousands demanded the fall of President Bashar al-Assad, chanting "we will kneel only to God" despite a military crackdown that has triggered sanctions and condemnation abroad.

  • Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Learn New Programming Languages?
    August 12, 2011
    ProgramadorPerdido writes "I have been a developer for 25 years. I learned Basic, VB, C, FoxPro, Cobol, and Assembler, but the languages I used the most were Pascal and Delphi. I then concentrated on a now-non-mainstream language for 11 years, as it was used at work. One day I had the chance to move into Project Management and so I did for the last 2 years. Now, at almost 40 years old, I'm at a crossroad. On one side I realized developing is the thing I like best, while on the other side, the languages
  • Famine squeezes life out of southern Somalia
    August 12, 2011
    DHOBLEY, Somalia (Reuters) - The semi-arid lands surrounding the frontier town of Dhobley in southern Somalia have become a dust-bowl, the thorny scrub stripped of all vegetation as famine grips the region and an exodus of the starving empties its villages.

  • In Science, There Are No Holy Grails
    August 12, 2011
    Earlier this week, annoyed at having read the phrase in an article for the umpteenth time, I tweeted that "hen I am the dictator of Science Journalism, I am outlawing the phrase 'X is the Holy Grail of Y'." I mean it, too. And not just because it's a hackneyed cliche. I'd outlaw it because searching for the Holy Grail is, in fact, the antithesis of science.
  • Wall St rises, S&P seeking second winning day
    August 12, 2011
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks rose on Friday as mildly upbeat retail sales data offset a weak reading on consumer sentiment, with the S&P on course to notch up a second winning day.

  • Google Asserts That Property Rights Are Anti-Competitive
    August 12, 2011
    Written by Scott Cleland
  • Heello: Another Microblog to Join, then Abandon
    August 12, 2011
    TwitPic cofounder designs another social network, with links to its competitors.

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  • Box.net Leads the Way to Embracing Mobile Diversity
    August 12, 2011
    Box.net rolled out apps for three new platforms as a part of its strategy of "Mobile Ubiquity" to make Box.net available across all mobile devices.

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  • Nvidia shares jump but Tegra growth worries analysts (Reuters)
    August 12, 2011
    NVIDIA President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang speaks during his keynote address at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Robert GalbraithReuters - Shares of Nvidia Corp rose as much as 11 percent on Friday on the company's strong third-quarter revenue forecast, but brokerage Evercore Partners said it was "surprised" with the lack of growth of the graphics card maker's much-touted Tegra processors.


  • OK Cupid's Geo-Dating Joins the Growing Group of Location-Based Services (The Atlantic Wire)
    August 12, 2011
    The Atlantic Wire - Today online dating site OK Cupid jumped on the location application bandwagon, integrating geography-based "Locals" section into their Android and iTunes apps, reports TechCrunch's Leena Rao. "The use of mobile apps for dating and even meeting friends is definitely on the rise, and it seems that the future of this industry could lie in mobile platforms." Now, more than ever, the old real-estate adage rings true: location, location, location--and you're going to see a lot more
  • TiVo Sets $100M Stock Buyback Plan; Shares Get A Boost
    August 12, 2011
    TiVo shares are trading higher Friday morning after the set-top box maker said its board has authorized a $100 million stock repurchase plan. That would represent about 10.6% of the company's current $940 million market cap.
  • Google+ Games Launch Brings Angry Birds, Dragon Age, More
    August 12, 2011
    Big Brother's Google's little social network that could has just gotten a boatload of games ready to carpet bomb your productivity.

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  • Ultrabook: Is It A New Category?
    August 12, 2011
    This week Intel accelerated its promotion of what it is touting as a new category of computer: the Ultrabook.
  • Rail-to-Trail Revitalization
    August 12, 2011
    Once only visited by graffiti artists and the destitute, defunct train tracks were dingy causeways to be avoided. [More]

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  • Scotland Yard Confirms It's Using Facial Recognition Tech
    August 12, 2011
    nonprofiteer writes "Scotland Yard confirms that it's using facial recognition technology to identify rioters in London. 'A law enforcement official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said that facial recognition is one of many tools police are using to hunt suspects still at large.' Meanwhile, the vigilante group trying an amateur stab applying facial recognition to the riot photos abandoned the project because the results sucked. This is the big test of the surveillance
  • How PayPal could have killed my independent conference (if I had trusted them, which, thankfully, I didn’t)
    August 12, 2011
    If you've been following my tweets, you'll know that a few weeks ago PayPal froze my account without notice. This is the business account for my company that accepts payments for Update 2011, the independent mobile conference I'm organizing in Brighton this September as part of the Brighton Digital Festival.
    PayPal freezing accounts is nothing new. They do it all the time. And they've done it to other conferences also, including dConstruct, and more recently to Remy's Full Frontal.

    After keeping our account frozen for two weeks (during which time I had to send them proof that I wasn't a fraudster) they decided to unfreeze it. With a little catch: they implemented a "90-day 100% rolling reserve". What does that mean? It means that they keep all the money you have in your PayPal account for 90 days. So the ticket sales that are in our account now? Over £11K of them? Yes, they'll keep all that for two months after conference. (I spoke to Emmanuelle in their credit review department today who said that they would give 50% of it to me the day after the conference and 25% a few weeks afterwards but I'm not sure I believe them. It says nothing to that affect on the account.) Regardless, I don't know what planet PayPal are living on.
    PayPal must inhabit some strange alternate universe where cash flow isn't an issue for businesses. In PayPal's alternate universe, venues and airlines apparently accept 90-day credit terms.
    Thankfully, I knew about PayPal's reputation and I had been keeping a voluntary 25% reserve in my account for possible refunds and withdrawing the rest to my bank account on a regular basis. Yes, because of their reputation – because I didn't trust them – I was keeping my PayPal balance as low as I was comfortable with and thus depriving PayPal of interest on my balance too. (In case they need more evidence on how their policies are hurting them.)
    So, ironically, because I didn't trust them, they weren't able to ruin my conference. Can you imagine what would have happened if I had trusted PayPal and left all the ticket sales in our PayPal account? We would have been royally screwed.
    As is, thankfully, I have enough in the bank to cover the remaining payments for the conference even without the £11K or so that PayPal are keeping hostage. But it makes things more painful for me and means that I have dig deeper into my own pocket. Not what you really want as an independent designer/developer who is trying to stage a beautiful and affordable conference for the local community.
    What this whole ordeal has meant is that I've lost several days – days that I could have been devoting to making the conference even better. That PayPal can treat independent businesses and conferences like this is utterly disgusting and unacceptable.
    Oh, and I'm not taking it lying down.
    As of today, I switched our event to use EventBrite's own credit card system. This wasn't straightforward as I had to create an entirely new event on their system by cloning the old one and then changing its short url to the old one. It means that I now have to manage two event databases for the conference and adds to the administration work involved and complicates registration on the day (we can't use the cool EventBrite mobile app and have to do manual registrations).
    From now on, I am not giving PayPal a single penny of my money. Once this ordeal is over and we've received all our money, I will be shutting down my PayPal account for good. (I've been with PayPal for over ten years and our current business account has been with them for six years. During that time, I've put through hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of business through it. So yes, it wasn't millions – and is probably trump change to them – but still, they won't get a penny more.)
    Thank-you all for your help and support through this.

  • Samsung to Defend Tablet in German Court on Aug. 25
    August 12, 2011
    Samsung will head to court on Aug. 25 to defend its right to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in most of Europe, following a preliminary injunction Apple obtained...

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  • Oracle: CLSA Ups To Buy
    August 12, 2011
    Oracle shares received a vote of confidence this morning from CLSA Asia Pacific Markets analyst Ed Maguire, who raised his rating on the enterprise software giant's shares to Buy from Hold, while maintaining a $36 target price. The stock closed yesterday at $27.70.
  • Is Angry Birds' Rovio Suffering from Overconfidence?
    August 12, 2011
    It's a strange time in the industry, where casual games are exploding left and right, their companies seeing no limits to their potential and believing the money train will keep rolling forever.

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