Monday, September 19, 2011

Technical News - 19 September 2011

  • Home builder sentiment dips in September: NAHB
    September 19, 2011
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Homebuilder sentiment dipped in September with an industry index mired in a low range as the housing market continues to struggle, the National Association of Home Builders said on Monday.

  • Obama deficit plan aimed at Democratic base
    September 19, 2011
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will lay out a plan on Monday to cut the U.S. deficit that will raise taxes on the rich, striking a populist tone to motivate his Democratic Party base before the November 2012 election.

  • UBS starts probe into $2.3 billion rogue trade loss
    September 19, 2011
    ZURICH (Reuters) - UBS has kicked off an internal investigation into the catastrophic failure of its risk systems after rogue equity trades cost the Swiss bank $2.3 billion, raising the pressure on top management.

  • Gaddafi spokesman says UK, French mercenaries caught
    September 19, 2011
    BANI WALID/SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi's loyalists said on Monday they had captured 17 mercenaries -- some British and French -- in what would amount to a severe blow to Libya's new rulers and their international backers.

  • Netflix's Split Won't Cure Its Online Streaming Ills
    September 19, 2011
    Changing your name is not enough to turn around a struggling business. This comes to mind when considering Netflix (NFLX)'s lower-than-expected third quarter subscriber count I wrote about last Friday.
  • Netflix separates its DVD, streaming businesses (AP)
    September 19, 2011
    This screen shot shows Qwikster.com, a new website service available soon from Netflix. Netflix Inc. plans to separate its DVD-by-mail service and streaming video businesses. CEO Reed Hastings said on Sunday in a blog posting that the DVD service will be called Qwikster while the streaming business will be housed under the Netflix name. (AP Photo/Netflix Inc.)AP - Trying to avoid the fate of Borders, which closed the last of its bookstores over the weekend, Netflix Inc. is moving to separate the DVD-by-mail plan it built its business on from the online streaming service it's betting will be future of entertainment consumption.


  • Logitech Tablet Keyboard for Galaxy Tab 10.1: Near laptop replacement (review)
    September 19, 2011
    The Logitech Tablet Keyboard for the Galaxy Tab 10.1, made by ZAGG, is a good wireless keyboard for mobile content creation.
  • Greece must shrink state to avoid default: lenders
    September 19, 2011
    ATHENS (Reuters) - International lenders told Greece on Monday it must shrink its public sector and improve tax collection to avoid default within weeks as investors spooked by political setbacks in Europe dumped risky euro zone assets.

  • Micron: Goldman Ups To Neutral On DRAM Production Cuts
    September 19, 2011
    Goldman Sachs analyst James Schneider this morning lifted his rating on memory chip maker Micron Technology to Neutral from Sell, noting that the DRAM industry is responding to weaker demand with significant production cuts. The moves, he writes, are "key to stabilizing prices and profitability."
  • Strauss-Kahn apology seen contrived, staged
    September 19, 2011
    PARIS (Reuters) - The French media scorned what it called an insincere and staged TV apology by Dominique Strauss-Kahn for his sexual encounter with a New York hotel maid, with many noting he left the door ajar for a eventual political comeback.

  • Netflix to split DVD and streaming services
    September 19, 2011
    (Reuters) - Netflix Inc is separating its movie streaming business from its DVD-by-mail service, which it is renaming Qwikster, Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said in a company blog post.

  • Netflix to split DVD and streaming services (Reuters)
    September 19, 2011
    Reuters - Netflix Inc is separating its movie streaming business from its DVD-by-mail service, which it is renaming Qwikster, Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said in a company blog post.
  • With service split, Netflix overlooks customer experience
    September 19, 2011
    Netflix splits its movie rental services into the DVD-by-mail "Qwikster" and streaming "Netflix" options. In doing so, it ruins a seamless customer experience. Here's how.
  • William Shatner On Star Trek Vs. Star Wars
    September 19, 2011
    tekgoblin writes "Star Trek Vs Star Wars has always been a hot topic of debate in the nerd world, I honestly don't think there is any comparison between the two. William Shatner voices his opinion on the matter as well and he says they are completely different too. I just don't understand where people get that Star Trek and Star Wars are similar in any way. Lets see what Shatner had to say on the matter."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Google Wallet launching today? Signs point to yes
    September 19, 2011
    Numerous reports suggest the service, which lets users pay for products with near-field communication technology, will be announced today.
  • Telefonica, BT & Vodafone lead carbon survey but RIM stays back of the pack
    September 19, 2011
    The annual Crabon Disclosure Project survey results are out and the telco sector has not performed as well as could be expected despite a clear correlation between climate strategy and financial...
  • Facebook to launch media sharing platform (rumor)
    September 19, 2011
    Facebook is planning to launch a media sharing platform for music, television shows, and movies at its f8 developer conference this Thursday.
  • AT&T Seeks To Sell Spectrum, Subs To Leap, MetroPCS, Others
    September 19, 2011
    As part of a plan to defend its planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, AT&T is offering to sell some spectrum and subscribers to a number of rivals, including Metro PCS, Leap Wireless, CenturyLink, Dish Network and Sprint, Bloomberg reports, citing "two people with direct knowledge of the situation."
  • Netflix wrestles with innovator's dilemma; Customers pan 'Qwikstupid' idea
    September 19, 2011
    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings apologizes to customers and renames the company's DVD by mail service Quikster. Chaos ensues.
  • Netflix Can't Zig For Zagging
    September 19, 2011
    Reed Hastings has found his Tar Baby.
  • Netflix To Rebrand DVD Service As Qwikster; Adds Game Rentals
    September 19, 2011
    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced in a blog post Sunday that the company plans to re-brand its DVD-by-mail service as Qwikster, while continuing to use the original name for its streaming video offering.
  • Google's Asia Strategy Hinges On Smartphones
    September 19, 2011
    As smartphones come down in price and achieve greater penetration among the masses, Google says its free Android operating system will allow it to take advantage of the open Web to generate more advertising and search-related revenue.
  • Samsung fires back at Apple in Australia, report says
    September 19, 2011
    The South Korea-based company says Apple violates wireless patents with the iPhone and iPad.
  • Sony's 'No-Sue' PlayStation Network Use Clause is Anti-Consumer
    September 19, 2011
    Sony attempts to cover its based by issuing a requirement that consumers forego legal rights if they want to keep using its service.

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  • Trees, Drought, and Dollars: How Ecosystem Markets can Help the US South
    September 19, 2011
    As of August 11, the US state of Texas had lost at least $5 billion worth of crops and cattle to the current drought that is choking the US South.  That number has surely grown since, and is likely to continue growing across the entire region, hitting everything from peanuts and cotton to trees.
  • PETA to launch porn site in name of animal rights
    September 19, 2011
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, no stranger to attention-grabbing campaigns featuring nude women, plans to launch a pornography website in the name of animal rights.

  • Raytheon passes major Navy destroyer radar milestone
    September 19, 2011
    The U.S. Navy is evaluating next-generation radar technology from three major military contractors. Raytheon says its Gallium Nitride technology has surpassed 1,000 hours of testing without problems, a crucial step towards demonstrating its power.
  • Synchronized swimming: patrolling for pollution with robotic fish
    September 19, 2011
    In landlocked East Lansing, Michigan, you're unlikely to swim with dolphins. [More]

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  • A look at the Navy's next-gen destroyer radar
    September 19, 2011
    By 2020, the U.S. Navy should have its next-generation Arleigh Burkle-class destroyers deployed along with next-generation radar technology. Combined, the new destroyers and the new radars should provide billions of dollars' worth of protection against incoming threats.
  • How piracy ruins it for paid apps (Inside Apps)
    September 19, 2011
    The issue of pirates ripping off paid apps and reselling them is a surprisingly common problem in the Android marketplace.
  • A Robot in Every Home? We're Getting Close
    September 19, 2011
    Will we recognize our robot overlords when we meet them? “Say Cheese!” The burst of light to my right made me pause: my photo had just been taken. [More]

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  • 3-D Printing Gets Ahead: How Does a Printer Make a Fossil?
    September 19, 2011
    In a small basement in the Bronx, the pride of place does not go to a shelf occupied by blue models of deformed skulls. Instead, the focus of the Lehman College 3D Virtual and Solid Visualization Laboratory is a large gray printer.
    This is no dot-matrix monster. It's a precision three-dimensional printer that lays down layers of liquid blue plastic to create 3-D models of "monkey" skulls (fossil primate skulls, actually). Using this method, the lab's founder, paleoanthropologist Eric Delson , creates detailed replicas of fossil finds as well as larger models of them for closer study. These models serve as teaching tools , allowing students to examine replicas of fossils too rare and fragile for direct contact. As a research aid , 3-D printing simplifies fossil reconstruction and even allows Delson to simulate the skulls of primate ancestors whose remains never fossilized.
    [More]

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  • 3-D Printing Gets Ahead: Anthropologists Use Printing Technology to Model Fossils
    September 19, 2011
    Animal corpses rarely defy the dictate of "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" to become fossils--and even if they do, they don't remain sturdy for long. By the time paleontologists get their hands on ancient remains, the fossils are incredibly fragile. So for decades, researchers have tended to do their close analyses with replicas instead. But in the past decade, 3-D printing has enabled a new solution: printing out copies of skulls and bones.
    "My research is in the evolution of higher primates ," says paleoanthropologist Eric Delson, who uses digital models and an Objet Eden260 printer housed at Lehman College in New York City to produce models of primates' skeletons. 3-D printing allows him to make accurate replicas without damaging the originals, and to generate larger versions of fossils and even reconstructions of lost bones. In fact, the digital models that 3-D printers use as templates make it possible to re-create the remains of long-lost ancestral primates, putting classical model-making methods to shame by printing calculated re-creations of bones that failed to form fossils.
    [More]

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  • Metro Apps to Be Sold Only From Microsoft's App Store
    September 19, 2011
    Metro apps for Windows 8 will be available only through Microsoft's own store.

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  • Netflix Creates Qwikster For DVD Only Business
    September 19, 2011
    Frankie70 writes "Netflix CEO Reed Hastings just dropped a bombshell. In the wake of a rapid decline in Netflix's stock price last week, Hastings is taking a bold step by separating the DVD and video streaming services. The DVD-by-mail service will now be called Qwikster, and the streaming service will maintain the Netflix brand."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Netflix Splits in Two, Adds Video Games, Upsets Users Further
    September 19, 2011
    Netflix to create DVD and game rental arm called Qwikster as company preps for streaming future.

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  • Hulu sale at risk even as new bids are due
    September 19, 2011
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The auction of online video site Hulu has been slowed by recent developments which could derail it completely, according to sources familiar with the process.

  • Android app of the day: HD Widgets
    September 19, 2011
    The Android app of the day installs a collection of home screen widgets for Honeycomb tablets that look good and add useful features.
  • Samsung to seek iPhone 5 ban in Korea, report says
    September 19, 2011
    The South Korea-based company is reportedly ready to bring Apple to court once the iPhone 5 officially launches.
  • Wealthy Americans Turning To Europe For Medical Treatment
    September 19, 2011
    theodp writes "Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reports that prior to undergoing recent neck surgery, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning flew to Europe for stem-cell therapy that's used overseas but not yet in the United States. Earlier this year, Fortune reported that prior to his liver transplant, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took an unpublicized flight to Switzerland to undergo an unusual radiological treatment which was not available in the U.S. Some Americans are willing to go abroad to seek what they can't find at home in hopes of improving — or saving — their lives, and health providers are eager to respond. 'It moves fast, this industry,' said the director of Medical Tours International in 2007. 'They think, 'Look at all these sick, rich patients.''"
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Netflix CEO's apology brings new backlash
    September 19, 2011
    A new torrent of complaints arrives when Reed Hastings tells customers just how deeply Netflix is splitting its DVD rental and streaming video services.
  • uTorrent.com hacked, serving scareware
    September 19, 2011
    The popular file sharing web sites were compromised for a brief period of a few hours.
  • Open Laboratory 2011 - submissions so far
    September 19, 2011
    For the background on what Open Lab is, see this post. [More]

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  • A Simple Way to Understand Hue, Saturation and Luminosity
    September 19, 2011
    We are all too familiar with this color picker window that can be found in almost every software that has anything to do with color. Whether you are trying a new background color for your PowerPoint slides or want to change the bucket fill color in MS Paint, you can’t miss the color picker.
    colors
    There are three ways to choose colors here. You can pick a particular shade you like with the mouse (that’s how most us do it, right?), you can directly type the hex RGB values (as web designers do) or the third option is to use HSL also known as Hue, Saturation and Luminosity (or Brightness).
    Hue, Saturation and Brightness
    If you are like me who has never paid attention to HSB (or HSL) because it looked all too confusing, check this brilliant comparison from the Tech Museum that makes the concept so easy to understand.
    We might use hue to tell the difference between ripe bananas and ones that  aren't so ripe. Or, we might use saturation to help us tell the difference between your glass of chocolate milk and the chocolate milk for  your friend. Brightness can help us tell the difference between bread and toast, especially burnt toast.
    Hue is therefore the actual color. Brightness refers to how much white (or black) is mixed in the color while Saturation indicates the amount of grey in a color.  A saturation value of 0 indicates mostly grey while 100% luminosity (or L = 255) is white (see charts).
    The next video, where Bruce Gabrielle explains how you can change colors in PowerPoint using the HSL scale, makes it all the more simple.

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    Digital Inspiration @labnolThis story, A Simple Way to Understand Hue, Saturation and Luminosity, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on September 19, 2011 under Colors, Offbeat.



  • Around the world in 60 seconds: rare view of Earth from the International Space Station
    September 19, 2011
    A one-minute video created by a science teacher editing together images taken by the International Space Station has become an internet hit.

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