Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Technical News -27 September 2011

  • Premature euro rescue talk buoys markets
    September 27, 2011
    BERLIN/ATHENS (Reuters) - Talk of beefing up the euro zone's bailout fund lifted stocks on Tuesday but complicated the debate in Germany where Angela Merkel is struggling to unite her coalition behind more modest steps to aid Europe's weak economies and banks.

  • Senate OKs deal to avoid government shutdown
    September 27, 2011
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate approved a deal on Monday to avert a government shutdown, ending a standoff that highlighted a dysfunctional Congress' trouble in passing even the most basic legislation.

  • Relax, iPad Build Plans Are Still Well Above Expectations
    September 27, 2011
    Apple is fine and so are its iPad build plans and shipment levels.
    That’s the gist of another rebuttal to Hong Kong-based J.P. Morgan analyst Gokul Hariharan’s claim that the company is cutting orders to vendors in its iPad supply chain, this one from Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu.
    In a Tuesday morning research note, Wu added his voice to others seeking to correct the evidently mistaken impression that iPad demand is flagging, saying build plans for the device remain “well above expectations.”
    Though reports of production cuts may have some merit, they’re no cause for concern says Wu.
    “From our understanding, these production cuts are due to much improved capacity and Apple actively managing its inventory in front of what is likely an iPad refresh in the March quarter,” Wu explained. “The iPad 2 started shipping in March 2011 making the product likely due for an update near its 1-year anniversary. We would also like to remind investors that production changes are common throughout a quarter and through the lifecycle of a product.”
    In other words, that Monday morning scare that sent shares of Apple briefly downward was unmerited. Said Wu, “Our distributor checks indicate demand remains strong.” His estimates for iPad shipments in the second half of the year: 12 million in the September quarter and 15 million in the December quarter.

  • 'Smart' window to save energy
    September 27, 2011
    Scientists design an improved "smart" window able to change from summer to winter mode.
  • NASA Warns of Magnetic Storm After Huge Solar Flare
    September 27, 2011
    coondoggie writes "NASA today said a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm is in progress following a massive solar flare and coronal mass ejection (CME). CMEs are a solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and affect electronic systems in satellites and on Earth. Simulations indicate that solar wind plasma has penetrated close to geosynchronous orbit starting at 9am today. Geosynchronous satellites could therefore be directly exposed to solar wind plasma and magnetic fields. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras after nightfall, NASA stated."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • IRS Shows Off New Look
    September 27, 2011
    image thumbnail - see full story for attributions
    So, every morning, I surf on over to the IRS website because: (a) I'm a geek like that; and (b) I want to keep on top of the latest tax news. This morning, I got quite the shock. The website is completely re-vamped. Since I hadn't yet gotten through my first sip of
  • You Probably Won't Want Amazon's Kindle Fire for Christmas (The Atlantic Wire)
    September 27, 2011
    The Atlantic Wire - Although two fingers are great for basic tasks, such as shrinking windows and tapping buttons, for anything much beyond flinging colorful birds at obnoxious linkers, more fingers are required. A decent tablet painting program, or Apple’s own iPad version of GarageBand, both require more than two fingers.
  • Apple rejected over "multi-touch" trademark application
    September 27, 2011
    Apple won't be able to use the term "multi-touch" as part of its patent and trademark arsenal, thanks to a decision handed down by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The organization's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has denied for a second time Apple's application for the term, reiterating that the term has become generic and now refers to a wide variety of tech involved in the creation of various gadgets.
    Apple applied for the "multi-touch" trademark when it first introduced the iPhone to the public at the Macworld Expo in January of 2007. At the time, Apple was the only major consumer electronics company to use the term multi-touch to describe the functionality of its products, but other manufacturers were quick to follow Apple's lead. Today, touchscreen smartphones, tablets and other gadgets can be found everywhere—many, but not all, of them capable of processing more than one touch event at a time—resulting in a pretty broad use of the term multi-touch by just about everyone.
    The USPTO denied Apple's original application and Apple appealed, arguing that the term had "acquired distinctiveness" and should only be restricted to Apple's own products. During the appeal hearing, USPTO lawyers discussed the degree of descriptiveness needed in order to keep the term limited to Apple products, but concluded that the term has grown much broader over the last several years and could not be restricted.
    "Again, simply because the applied-for term has been used in association with a highly successful product does not mean the term has acquired distinctiveness," wrote the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
    This is not to say that Apple doesn't own other intellectual property related to multi-touch functionality, though there has been plenty of debate on that side as well regarding whether some of those patents are too broad (or even too narrow) to be used properly against Apple's competitors.
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  • Returning Power From Electric Cars To the Grid
    September 27, 2011
    First time accepted submitter icensnow writes "NRG is patenting a means of returning electric power from charged but inactive electric cars to the grid, essentially turning parked electric cars into an energy storage system for the grid. I'm having a hard time deciding if this is genius or silly."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • More Chinese Rumors about Yahoo! Bidders
    September 27, 2011
    It's not as reliable as Kara Swisher at AllThingsD, but the Chinese web universe is awash in rumors about potential bidders for Yahoo! (YHOO).
  • The top 10 songs and albums on the iTunes store (AP)
    September 27, 2011
    AP - iTunes' Official Music Charts for the week ending Sept. 26, 2011:
  • Android doubles lead; Samsung set to launch Galaxy Player (Appolicious)
    September 27, 2011
    Appolicious - The world may be abuzz over Amazon’s upcoming Kindle tablet, but Android smartphones are still hot commodities in the US. Android’s market share only continues to grow, and shows no signs of slowing. There were twice as many Android phone buyers compared to iPhone buyers in the past three months, according to Nielsen’s latest report. A cool 56 percent of the consumers who bought a new smartphone picked an Android, leaving 28 percent in the iPhone camp. While iPhone new acquisition sales remained flat over the past three months, Android increased by 13 percent. ...
  • Home prices unchanged in July: Case Shiller
    September 27, 2011
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Home prices were unchanged on average in July in a sign that the weak housing market could be stabilizing, a survey showed on Tuesday.

  • Jefferies Says Sell Riverbed; Neutral On Aruba And F5
    September 27, 2011
    Jefferies analyst George Notter this morning picked up coverage of Riverbed, Aruba Networks and F5, and he's none too keen on any of them. Notter started Riverbed with an Underperform rating, and launches Aruba and F5 with Neutral ratings.
  • Google+ shows explosive growth
    September 27, 2011
    Google+ is growing faster than any other social network ever.
  • Scientists Against Sample Abuse: The Time to Act is Now
    September 27, 2011
    As the Head of Scientific Affairs for a young biotechnology company, I'm not the type to sign petitions or take up bleeding heart causes. [More]

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  • Bit.Trip Saga for the 3DS is a hallucinatory journey through rhythm madness
    September 27, 2011
    The six Bit.Trip titles were first released for Nintendo's WiiWare platform, where they received critical acclaim, but they failed to take off in the same way as a popular Xbox Live or PlayStation Network game. Nintendo has never been a company to fully support online offerings, so it's great that the games have been collected in both a Wii and 3DS package—called Bit.Trip Complete and Bit.Trip Saga, respectively—so you can buy them all at once without suffering through the Wii's online interface.
    Each game plays differently, but the retro aesthetic and mixture of music and graphics brings them all together into a thematic whole. You may be running, playing a psychedelic version of Pong, or even just avoiding colored dots as a growing or shrinking blob, but each game is easy to understand and play. The music is always entrancing, and it syncs up with the action of the screen, making you feel like you're conducting a chiptunes orchestra as you play each game.
    Read the rest of this article...
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  • SAP Crossgate Acquisition Fuels Run To $62
    September 27, 2011
    SAP is one of the largest players in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market where it competes with Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce.com. It currently has around 27% share of the ERP market by our estimates, which we expect will decline in the coming years as competition increases significantly. It is also a major player in the supply chain management (SCM) market where it has a 23% share.
  • Will Meg Whitman be more like Steve Jobs, or Carol Bartz? HP's future is at stake
    September 27, 2011
    HP's new CEO needs to move fast if she hopes to put the company on sound footing. But not by replicating old strategies. Rather, by finding new markets and unleashing innovation for new solutions. Success is not from repeating previous successes, but finding new markets
  • Gartner: Goldman Cautious, Citing Macro Concerns
    September 27, 2011
    Goldman Sachs analyst Brian Karimzad this morning launched coverage of the IT research and consulting shop Gartner with a Neutral rating and $35 target.
  • Mozilla works to fix Firefox add-on compatibility
    September 27, 2011
    As more and more versions of Firefox are released, the compatibility of add-ons is becoming an increasingly worrisome problem for Mozilla.
  • The NSA Wants Its Own Smartphone
    September 27, 2011
    Art Vanderlay writes "Troy Lange might work for one of the more secretive spy agencies in the United States, but he is happy to talk about his work. He is the NSA's mobility mission manager and he has been tasked with creating a smartphone that is secure enough to allow government personnel who deal with highly sensitive information to take their work on the road. At present, the U.S. Government has secure cellphones, they use the government's Secret Internet Protocol Router Network. The problem is that they can only communicate with other devices that are plugged into the network and their use is restricted to top-secret level communications. Lange wants a smartphone that is inter-operable and presumably trusted to deal with even more sensitive information. Lange said that he wanted to see his secure smartphone reach beyond the NSA – ultimately to reach every 'every employee in the Defense Department, intelligence community and across government.'"
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • New Mac OS X trojan poses as malicious PDF file
    September 27, 2011
    Security researchers from Sophos and F-Secure have spotted a currently circulating Mac OS X trojan.
  • Best Buy Could Suffer From Amazon Tablet, Analyst Says
    September 27, 2011
    Best Buy could suffer collateral damage from the expected launch tomorrow of Amazon's move into the Android-based tablet market, Piper Jaffray analyst Peter Keith asserts in a research note. Keith notes that a proprietary survey of 410 "online participants" suggest "very healthy demand" for an Amazon tablet, which is reportedly called the Kindle Fire, at a $249 price point.
  • iPhone 5 to offer 1GB RAM and voice control?
    September 27, 2011
    The latest rumors about the next-gen iPhone say it will come with 1GB of memory and feature a voice-control system dubbed the Assistant.
  • Sprint to launch own 4G LTE network in early 2012 (scoop)
    September 27, 2011
    The company is already using its network upgrade plan to test out and deploy LTE technology, which would bring it in line with its two larger rivals.
  • ThinkVision LT1421 portable monitor that actually works (review)
    September 27, 2011
    Mobile professionals wishing for a second display while working on a laptop should look at the ThinkVision LT1421 portable monitor. It is reasonably priced and easy to use.
  • RealD: M&A Candidate?
    September 27, 2011
    Could someone make a bid for RealD?
  • Will Google TV Owe Royalties For Universal Search?
    September 27, 2011
    An anonymous reader writes "Google TV, TiVo, iTunes and virtually every big consumer electronics maker have promised 'universal search' engines that enable users to quickly find and play movies, music and other content, no matter where it is stored. But Crestron Electronics, a developer of home automation systems, just filed a patent for 'Searching Two or More Media Sources for Media.' In other words, universal search, specifically for both local and cloud-based content."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Tech innovations for all from Microsoft Research
    September 27, 2011
    Microsoft Researchers have successfully worked on bringing Wikipedia to TV-DVD for low-income communities
  • Microsoft launches web-based Windows Phone Marketplace
    September 27, 2011
    You can now easily browse the more than 30,000 Windows Phone apps, have them installed, and write reviews all from the new web-based Marketplace.
  • Business Intelligence heads to the iPad
    September 27, 2011
    Jaspersoft is set to release an open-source SDK for business intelligence on the iPad.
  • Scammers Pretend to Be Friendly Office Printers
    September 27, 2011
    Hackers have found a new hook to trick people into opening malicious attachments: send emails that purport to come from office printers, many of which now have...

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  • Glitch launches; CNET offers an instant-entry pass
    September 27, 2011
    New social game from Tiny Speck--a Flickr co-founder's startup--is a "game of giant imagination." It goes live today, but there may be delays getting everyone in. CNET can help you jump the line.
  • Big Progress on the Little Things
    September 27, 2011
    In the trenches of consumer technology, there’s plenty to complain about. Today’s cell-phone contracts are exorbitant and illogical (why has the price of a text message doubled in three years?). Those 15-second voicemail instructions still seem to last forever and use up our expensive airtime (“When you have finished recording, you may hang up”--oh, really?). And laptop batteries still can’t last the whole day.
    But here and there, in unsung but important corners of consumer tech, some long-standing annoyances have quietly been extinguished. These developments deserve a lot more praise than they’ve received.
    [More]

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  • Use It Better: The Worst Trends in Tech
    September 27, 2011
    In my Scientific American column this month, I pointed out three tech trends that are worth celebrating: the end of the megapixel race in digital cameras, the adoption of micro USB as a universal cellphone charging cord across all brands, and the rise of design simplicity as a marketing point (see: iPod, Wii, Flip).
    But life isn’t all sunshine and bunnies. For every positive trend, you’ll have no problem finding a negative one. Here, for example, are a few trends worth bumming out about:
    [More]

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  • Solyndra to get bankruptcy hearing today
    September 27, 2011
    The company will ask for permission to auction off its state-of-the-art factory built with more than $500 million from the federal government.
  • Samsung's enterprise-friendly Galaxy Tab 8.9 arrives October 2
    September 27, 2011
    Will the Wi-Fi-only, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9's enterprise security features win over businesses despite its high price tag and unusual screen dimensions?
  • Oracle Demos New SPARC T4 Processor
    September 27, 2011
    MojoKid writes "Oracle is publicly demonstrating its new T4 processor today and is shipping beta test systems to selected partners. The new T4 chip is a major departure from previous designs. The T4 offers a maximum of eight cores per physical chip and keeps the T3's eight-threads-per-core limitation. The T4 compensates for its lower maximum theoretical throughput in several ways. First, the T4 is an out-of-order processor with an enhanced branch predictor. Its maximum speed is said to be at least 3GHz, nearly double that of the 1.67GHz T3. Oracle claims the chip's single-threaded performance has been significantly boosted, and expects T4 to deliver a 2x-7x speed increase in single-threaded workloads compared to T3."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Sony Clip-on Screen Attachment Makes Vaio Laptops 3D
    September 27, 2011
    Sony said Tuesday it will sell a screen attachment for its Vaio laptops that allows users to view 3D movies and images without glasses.

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  • No one will care that Amazon's Kindle tablet is a RIM PlayBook
    September 27, 2011
    The regular Joe buying an Amazon tablet won't know and won't care that the tablet is based on RIM's PlayBook.
  • Nokia N9 starts shipping; U.S. customers out of luck
    September 27, 2011
    The MeeGo-based smartphone will set consumers back 480 to 560 euros--that's $649 to $755--depending on the version they're after.
  • Infinera unveils multi-terabit P-OTN platform
    September 27, 2011
    The new platform, DTN-X, is based on 500 Gb/s Photonic Integrated Circuits
  • Three pleads for spectrum share
    September 27, 2011
    Three warns it could run out of capacity in urban areas if 4G auctions do not go ahead next year.
  • JamPot launches mobile app device
    September 27, 2011
    A Northern Ireland technology company is set to launch a new product in Los Angeles which will enable people to build, publish and update their own apps from a mobile phone.

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