Thursday, September 8, 2011

Technical News - 8 September 2011


  • Gaddafi vows to fight on, Libyans try to move on
    September 8, 2011
    TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The voice of Muammar Gaddafi boomed out from his hiding place on Thursday, denying he had fled Libya and cursing as rats and stray dogs those whose efforts to start governing in his place are being frustrated by his diehard followers.

  • Google buys restaurant review service Zagat (AP)
    September 8, 2011
    AP - Google has bought the restaurant review service Zagat as it tries to help people connect with local businesses.
  • Google buys Zagat, in original-content gambit
    September 8, 2011
    In a blog post, Google said that Zagat will "be a cornerstone of our local offering." Zagat is best known for its original reviews and rating service.
  • Obama to call for urgent steps on economy
    September 8, 2011
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will lay out a jobs package worth more than $300 billon on Thursday, staking his re-election hopes on a call for urgent bipartisan action to revive the faltering American economy.

  • 9/11 Safety Update: Why First Responder Communications Hasn't Improved In 10 Years
    September 8, 2011
    Here it is 10 years after the attacks on 9/11 and first responders still cannot communicate with each other during disasters. The lack of interoperability in communications came to the public’s attention during 9/11 and also during Katrina. It cost lives, not only the lives of citizens but the lives of a number of first responders, as well. The papers were full of the details of this lack of communications capability, and the 9/11 Commission cited correction of this defect as one of its major recommendations.
  • Networking: Auriga Upgrades Cisco, Juniper To Buy Ratings
    September 8, 2011
    Auriga USA analyst Sandeep Shyamsukha on Thursday morning raised his ratings on both Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks to Buys from Holds. Both stocks are trading modestly higher on the upgrades.
  • Google reveals energy use to show search is green (AP)
    September 8, 2011
    AP - Google has revealed how much electricity it uses and other information about its energy use and carbon emissions in response to concerns that power-hungry data centers are causing environmental harm.
  • How our cloud does more with less
    September 8, 2011
    We’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of energy our services use. In fact, to provide you with Google products for a month—not just search, but Google+, Gmail, YouTube and everything else we have to offer—our servers use less energy per user than a light left on for three hours. And, because we’ve been a carbon-neutral company since 2007, even that small amount of energy is offset completely, so the carbon footprint of your life on Google is zero.

    We’ve learned a lot in the process of reducing our environmental impact, so we’ve added a new section called “The Big Picture” to our Google Green site with numbers on our annual energy use and carbon footprint.

    We started the process of getting to zero by making sure our operations use as little energy as possible. For the last decade, energy use has been an obsession. We’ve designed and built some of the most efficient servers and data centers in the world—using half the electricity of a typical data center. Our newest facility in Hamina, Finland, opening this weekend, uses a unique seawater cooling system that requires very little electricity.

    Whenever possible, we use renewable energy. We have a large solar panel installation at our Mountain View campus, and we’ve purchased the output of two wind farms to power our data centers. For the greenhouse gas emissions we can’t eliminate, we purchase high-quality carbon offsets.

    But we’re not stopping there. By investing hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable energy projects and companies, we’re helping to create 1.7 GW of renewable power. That’s the same amount of energy used to power over 350,000 homes, and far more than what our operations consume.

    Finally, our products can help people reduce their own carbon footprints. The study (PDF) we released yesterday on Gmail is just one example of how cloud-based services can be much more energy efficient than locally hosted services helping businesses cut their electricity bills.

    Visit our Google Green site to find out more.


  • Solyndra office searched by FBI
    September 8, 2011
    The office of government-backed solar manufacturer Solyndra, which abruptly shut down last week and then declared bankruptcy, is searched by FBI agents.
  • Solyndra: FBI Agents Executing Search Warrant
    September 8, 2011
    FBI agents executing search warrant at Solyndra - San Jose Mercury News.
    Solyndra spokesman Dave Miller said the search came as a surprise, but he emphasized the company is "fully cooperating" with federal officials. He said he did not know the purpose of the search, but he speculated it could have something to do with the $535 million in loan guarantees the Department of Energy awarded to Solyndra.
    It could have something to do with the $535 million?   You think?
  • Google dives deep into content-generation business with Zagat purchase
    September 8, 2011
    Google has acquired the restaurant rating behemoth Zagat, the company announced on its blog today. Zagat will become a "cornerstone" of Google's local ratings offerings, adding its reviews and scores as well as experience with consumer-based surveys, recommendations and reviews to Google's services.
    Zagat was established in 1979, and has produced dining and entertainment guides for 100 cities, rating venues on a 30-point scale and culling short descriptions from reviews. Google calls the guides "one of the earliest forms of user-generated content" and "'mobile' before ‘mobile' involved electronics."
    Google plans to collaborate with Zagat to integrate its content with Google search results and Google Maps—likely, Zagat content will begin appearing on the Places pages of all the locations it has covered. From the way Google describes Zagat, the company may also adopt some of the guide-editors' methods for collecting and presenting better, more informative user reviews.
    The author of the Google blog post recounts an anecdote casting Zagat as a source that is implicitly trusted; still, the user-review landscape has become a crowded space in recent years, dominated by sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and UrbanSpoon. Google is hoping the established brand will bring new cachet to its oft-forgotten Places service.
    Read the comments on this post



  • Google buys Zagat in local push; vies with Yelp
    September 8, 2011
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Google Inc has bought Zagat, the popular restaurant recommendations and ratings authority, to expand its local content in the niche marketplace that includes Yelp and Yahoo Inc.

  • Microsoft inks Android and Chrome patent deals
    September 8, 2011
    The software giant signs licensing agreements over Google's Android and Chrome with Acer and ViewSonic, adding to the list of device makers coming to terms with the software giant.
  • Companies That Are Hiring
    September 8, 2011
    By any sober assessment the employment situation is bleak. According to the latest data, the official unemployment rate is 9.1%, meaning just under 14 million Americans are out of work. That’s down only slightly from the peak 9.7% rate experienced during the depths of the recession. When you apply a broader and more reasonable definition of unemployment, including people who have given up looking for a job or are underemployed, the rate leaps to 16.1%, or more than 25 million adults out of a total of 156 million willing to work.
  • 5 Reasons Droid Bionic Will Steal the iPhone 5's Throne (ContributorNetwork)
    September 8, 2011
    ContributorNetwork - COMMENTARY | Ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated: The smart phone war is far from over. When the iPhone broke into the scene back in January 2007, it was clear it intended to remain there. However, the recent onslaught of high-quality and low-cost Android-fueled phones to make it to the market in the last year are leaving some skeptical. In fact, with Steve Jobs now out of the picture, many can't help but ask: Is the iPhone's time up?
  • Analysis: Romney vs. Perry -- a contrast in style
    September 8, 2011
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If the Republican presidential race becomes a two-man fight between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry -- and judging from Wednesday's debate it already is -- primary voters will have a stark choice.

  • Ask Slashdot: Best Programs To Learn From?
    September 8, 2011
    First time accepted submitter camServo writes "I took C++ classes in college and I have played around with some scripting languages. We learned the basics of how to make C++ work with small programs, but when I see large open source projects, I never know where to even start to try and figure out how their code works. I'm wondering if any of you have suggestions for some nice open source projects to look at to get an idea for how programming works in the real world, so I can start giving back to the FOSS community." Where would you start?
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Verizon Droid Bionic arrives finally
    September 8, 2011
    HTC files a lawsuit against Apple with nine new patents from Google, Adobe has released its pricey photo-sharing app and service called Carousel, and Verizon finally launches the Bionic nine months after the "super-phone" made its first appearance.
  • Geithner urges global action to boost growth
    September 8, 2011
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday called on global finance chiefs to boost growth but said a repeat of the massive coordinated fiscal stimulus efforts of 2009 was no longer possible.

  • What If We've All Been Wrong About Provenge?
    September 8, 2011
    One of the first big stories I wrote about at Forbes was the controversy over embryonic stem cells that raged in 2000 and 2001 and resulted in a major compromise announced by President Bush ten years ago.
  • NCR Rallies As J.P. Morgan Upgrades To Overweight
    September 8, 2011
    NCR shares are trading higher Thursday after J.P. Morgan analyst Paul Coster upped his rating on the company to Overweight form Neutral, with a new target of $22, up from $21. The stock closed Wednesday at $16.63.
  • Will There Be Any Jobs in the Future At All?
    September 8, 2011
    There's no guarantee that the economic institutions of today will be the economic institutions of tomorrow.
  • Stressed commuters turning to public transit, tech
    September 8, 2011
    IBM commuter survey finds unhappy commuters are showing more interest in public transit and tech tools to reduce traffic congestion.
  • Google Buys Zagat For Big Local Push
    September 8, 2011
    Google has acquired Zagat, the well-known restaurant review company.
  • Google acquires Zagat, enters original content business
    September 8, 2011
    Google said that Zagat will "be a cornerstone of our local offering." Zagat is best known for its original reviews and rating service.
  • Sprint reportedly prepping for iPhone 5
    September 8, 2011
    The carrier is said to be installing cellular network repeaters in and around Apple stores, a source has told Beatweek magazine.
  • Google just got ZAGAT Rated!
    September 8, 2011
    “Did you know there's a place in Menlo Park near the Safeway that has a 27 food rating?” one of my friends asked me that about two years ago, and I was struck because I immediately knew what it meant. Food rating... 30 point scale... Zagat. And the place... had to be good. With no other context, I instantly recognized and trusted Zagat's review and recommendation.

    So, today, I'm thrilled that Google has acquired Zagat. Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.

    With Zagat, we gain a world-class team that has more experience in consumer based-surveys, recommendations and reviews than anyone else in the industry. Founded by Tim and Nina Zagat more than 32 years ago, Zagat has established a trusted and well-loved brand the world over, operating in 13 categories and more than 100 cities. The Zagats have demonstrated their ability to innovate and to do so with tremendous insight. Their surveys may be one of the earliest forms of UGC (user-generated content)—gathering restaurant recommendations from friends, computing and distributing ratings before the Internet as we know it today even existed. Their iconic pocket-sized guides with paragraphs summarizing and “snippeting” sentiment were “mobile” before “mobile” involved electronics. Today, Zagat provides people with a democratized, authentic and comprehensive view of where to eat, drink, stay, shop and play worldwide based on millions of reviews and ratings.

    For all of these reasons, I'm incredibly excited to collaborate with Zagat to bring the power of Google search and Google Maps to their products and users, and to bring their innovation, trusted reputation and wealth of experience to our users.

    (BTW, Kaygetsu, the place in Menlo Park, definitely lives up to its 27 food rating!)


  • 1970s Polaroid SX-70 Cameras Make a Comeback
    September 8, 2011
    cylonlover writes "When it was released in 1972, the Polaroid SX-70, with its foldable SLR design, was the world's first instant SLR. It was also the first camera to use Polaroid's then-new integral instant film that contained all the chemical layers required to expose, develop, and fix the photo. Photojojo is now offering Limited Edition Polaroid SX-70 cameras that have all been restored to working condition, and integral instant film is also available."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Gartner Drops 2011 PC Forecast With Shift to Tablets
    September 8, 2011
    Gartner on Thursday sharply dropped its worldwide PC shipment growth forecast for this year and next, citing economic struggles and a market shift from PCs to...

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  • Apple Sues Samsung In Japan
    September 8, 2011
    Apple’s established yet another front in its patent battle with Samsung, this one in Japan. It’s filed suit in a Tokyo District Court seeking to ban sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S and S II smartphones as well as the Galaxy Tab 7 tablet in Japan. The the suit was filed in late August, Reuters reports, and it follows a template identical to those Apple’s brought against the company in an ever-widening global IP battle that now includes the United States, Australia and Korea as well as Europe.
    “It is no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging,” said Apple spokesperson Steve Park. “This kind of blatant copying is wrong and we need to protect the Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”
    Samsung, which has filed a few suits of its own against Apple, vowed to fight on.
    “Samsung will actively defend our intellectual property rights in Japan in order to ensure consumers can continue to enjoy our innovative mobile devices without interruption,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to pursue Apple for its ongoing violation of our wireless technology patents.”

  • Nintendo confirms right thumbstick coming to 3DS
    September 8, 2011
    The company says to CNET that the right thumbstick will be made available, though details on the attachment are currently unknown.
  • Solyndra CFO won't say if solar maker to stay in U.S.
    September 8, 2011
    Under questioning at a bankruptcy court hearing, the exec declines to identify the companies that have shown an interest in Solyndra's operations, or even where they were based.
  • Tampa Bay Rays hit home run with virtualization that enables tablets with core applications in the field
    September 8, 2011
    We went from a two-room data center room to basically just using half of that room with virtualization. We started very small -- four hosts to manage our own infrastructure. Now we have 10 hosts...
  • Moxie Marlinspike's Solution To the SSL CA Problem
    September 8, 2011
    Trevelyan writes "In his Blackhat talk on the past and future of SSL (YouTube video) Moxie Marlinspike explains the problems of SSL today, and the history of how it came to be so. He then goes on to not only propose a solution, but he's implemented it as well: Convergence. It will let you turn off all those untrustable CAs in you browser and still safely use HTTPS. It even works with self-signed certificates. You still need to trust someone, but not forever like CAs. The system has 'Notaries,' which you can ask anonymously for their view on a certificate's authenticity. You can pool Notaries for a consensus, and add/remove them at any time."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Oracle Raises Concern Over Mediation in Google Case
    September 8, 2011
    Shortly after agreeing to mediation with Google in its lawsuit over alleged Java patent violations in the Android mobile OS, Oracle has taken issue with the...

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  • A Google Android and Java history lesson
    September 8, 2011
    Despite what you may have heard, there's really no news about how Google handles its Android open-source code development. Still, while Google's path may be both legal and good for business, it's...
  • Oracle raises concern over mediation in Google case
    September 8, 2011
    Shortly after agreeing to mediation with Google in its lawsuit over alleged Java patent violations in the Android mobile OS, Oracle has taken issue with the executive Google proposed to represent its side, saying he is not senior enough and was also part of past failed attempts at a resolution.
  • DirecTV streams NFL games for added sales
    September 8, 2011
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - DirecTV is expanding its NFL Sunday Ticket television package, which lets viewers watch football outside their local markets, to see if it can make some extra money from broadcasting the games on the Internet.

  • Google's Ice Cream Sandwich OS to Debut Before December
    September 8, 2011
    Google's Eric Schmidt says the next version of his company's Android operating system will be released in October or November.

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  • Samsung to show off Windows 8 tablet, report says
    September 8, 2011
    Samsung is reportedly working with Microsoft on a Windows 8 tablet that could pop up at a Microsoft developers conference next week.
  • Mobile patent litigation: A game with too many playing cards
    September 8, 2011
    Patent litigation in the mobile space is out of control. It has become a game with too many playing cards for anyone to win.
  • Ice Cream Sandwich to debut in Oct. or Nov.
    September 8, 2011
    Google's own Eric Schmidt reveals in an interview that the latest flavor of Android will hit the market sometime in October or November.
  • $5M In Torrented Files Presented As Art
    September 8, 2011
    ideonexus snips thus from Wired: "The Art 404 gallery is currently exhibiting a piece by Manuel Palou called '5 Million Dollars, 1 Terabyte' which is a 'sculpture' consisting of a 1 TB external hard drive containing $5,000,000 worth of illegally downloaded files. The hard drive is displayed on a pedestal at the gallery." Adds ideonexus: "There is a PDF of the files stored on the device with links to the torrents." I'd like this to be an exhibit at every trial in which gigantic money damages are claimed for copyright infringement.
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Foursquare adds five more languages to the mix
    September 8, 2011
    Foursquare opens up its platform to another 1.5 billion users internationally in their own native language. Support has been officially added for Bahasa Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian,...
  • Madden sales up 10 percent over last year
    September 8, 2011
    The latest entry in the franchise, Madden NFL 12, is off to a good start, selling 1.4 million copies in its first week of release.

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