Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Technical News - 12 October 2011

  • Two days in D.C. for the winners of the Google Science Fair
    October 12, 2011


    (Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog and the Google Science Fair blog)

    Last week, 17-year-old Shree Bose from Fort Worth, Texas, the grand prize winner of the Google Science Fair, visited Washington, D.C. at the invitation of the White House. We invited Shree to write about her experience in the capital. - Ed.

    Adrenaline. I turned around as the brilliantly polished door behind me opened, and suddenly I was face to face with a man I’d seen so many times on television. The President of the United States calmly extended his hand to shake mine and those of Naomi and Lauren, the other two winners of Google’s first-ever Science Fair. He knew about our projects and was genuinely excited to talk with us.

    The Oval Office is more than just a room. It has a palpable aura of grandeur, with the presidential seal in the center of the deep blue carpet and a portrait of George Washington hanging on the wall. The desk, where presidents of the past have contemplated some of the most important decisions in the world’s history, was polished to a gleam. President Obama leaned against it as he talked to us.

    He asked us how we became interested in science, what our plans were for the future and which colleges we were interested in. Smiling, he told us to stick with science. We left the Oval Office feeling like our individual futures were important to the nation’s future; like we could change the world.

    Our trip to Washington, D.C., also included visits to the National Institute of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over our two days, we were given the opportunity to sit down and talk with many of our country’s leaders who have not only been extraordinarily successful in the fields we wish to go into in the future, but who also encouraged us to follow our own dreams. It was more than just meetings; it was inspiration.

    Naomi Shah, Shree Bose and Lauren Hodge meet President Obama in the Oval Office
    Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

  • Global Equities raises Google price target to $700
    October 12, 2011
    (Reuters) - Google Inc's search market share remains stable as it gains market share on the search monetization front, Global Equities Research said and raised its price target on the Internet giant's shares to $700 from $650.

  • Europe eyes bigger Greek losses for banks
    October 12, 2011
    BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) - Euro zone countries will ask banks to accept losses of up to 50 percent on their holdings of Greek debt, officials said on Wednesday, as part of a grand plan to avert a disorderly default and try to end a crisis that threatens the world economy.

  • U.S. says Iran sought killing of Saudi envoy
    October 12, 2011
    TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday Iran would "pay the price" for what U.S. officials described as a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, while Tehran called the accusation a fabrication designed to sow discord in the region.

  • Steve Jobs And The Jobs Crisis
    October 12, 2011
    Homage to Steve Jobs’ exceptional qualities as a business leader has poured out since his death last week.  I’ve been reflecting on the learning and inspiration that I draw from his career relative to the work I do and the economic challenge of this decade, which, ironically, has come to be called the “jobs crisis”.
  • Microsoft Uses Facebook As Giant 'Lab' To Study Game Theory
    October 12, 2011
    For the last couple of weeks, researchers at Microsoft have for the first time been studying the way hundreds of people play strategic games, using Facebook as a kind of giant, global laboratory.
  • Greece in talks to ease debt burden: PM
    October 12, 2011
    ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece is in talks with its euro zone partners to ease its debt burden, Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Wednesday, adding that he hoped for bold solutions to tackle the debt crisis at G20 and EU council meetings.

  • Apple Earnings Preview: Revenue To Jump 46% In First Post-Steve Jobs Quarter
    October 12, 2011
    Apple will release its first post-Steve Jobs quarterly results on Tuesday, October 18 after the bell.  Speculation that Steve Jobs’ passing would harm the stock have proved unfounded until now and expectations for its fourth quarter results are as high as ever, RBC Capital Markets equity research argues.
  • Are Really Hard Games Unpopular?
    October 12, 2011
    Games have gotten easier and more accessible over the years. Is there still a market for really hard titles?
  • GM to produce all-electric Chevy Spark
    October 12, 2011
    DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co said it will make an all-electric version of its Chevrolet Spark minicar, taking aim at Nissan Motor Co Ltd's Leaf electric car.

  • Cloud Computing Now Makes It Easier (and Cheaper) to Innovate: Study
    October 12, 2011
    Who doesn't want innovation these days?  It's the new mantra of organizations large and small as they attempt to navigate and get the upper hand in today's hyper-competitive and unforgiving global economy.
  • These iPhone apps can help you deal with your in-laws (Appolicious)
    October 12, 2011
    Appolicious - Modern technology helps keep us connected like never before. Between smartphones, email, Facebook and Twitter, your friends and family are practically unavoidable. So what about those loved ones you want close, but not too close?
  • Harrisburg files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy
    October 12, 2011
    (Reuters) - Pennsylvania's capital, Harrisburg, filed for a rare Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy on Wednesday after it was unable to resolve its debt crisis with creditors and faced a possible takeover by the state.

  • As cloud and mobile trends drive user expectations higher, networks must now deliver applications faster, safer, cheaper
    October 12, 2011
    Network services will need to adjust rapidly or the latency and hassle of access and performance issues will get in the way of users, their new expectations, and their behaviors -- for both work...
  • Sony PlayStation Network hacked again; 93,000 accounts compromised
    October 12, 2011
    Sony says "a large amount of unauthorized sign-in attempts" at its PlayStation Network has led to the hijacking of valid sign-in IDs and passwords.
  • Job openings contract in August
    October 12, 2011
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of jobs waiting to be filled fell in August, underscoring the pain in the labor market where millions of unemployed workers have been shut out of the economic recovery.

  • Accused "underwear bomber" pleads guilty in U.S.
    October 12, 2011
    DETROIT (Reuters) - The Nigerian man accused of trying to use a bomb in his underwear to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009 pleaded guilty on Wednesday to all charges against him and warned the United States could face "a great calamity."

  • 8 Storylines For Business Storytellers. Part 2.
    October 12, 2011
    In our last blog, we revealed four master storylines for successful business storytelling. These time-proven plots for business narrative can help drive strategic public relations, crisis management, Internet strategy, advertising, treks through the social media landscape, and other business communications functions. Here’s the CliffsNotes version of developing a narrative around your business strategy. PART 2
  • Microsoft Surface 2.0 multi-touch tabletop availability pushed back to January 2012
    October 12, 2011
    The Microsoft Surface 2.0, known as the Samsung SUR40, isn't going to be out in 2011, after all. Samsung has pushed back availability to January 2012.
  • BlackBerry outage spreads to North America
    October 12, 2011
    Millions of BlackBerry users remained without service on Wednesday as a three-day outage continued.

  • With iCloud Launch, Apple Demotes The Personal Computer
    October 12, 2011
    image thumbnail - see full story for attributionsVideo
    "] The promise of the personal computer was simple: all the computing power you need, all on your desktop. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs delivered on that promise first with the Apple II. He delivered on it better with the Macintosh. And for the last decade Jobs has worked to expand that
  • VeriSign Wants Ability To Suspend Domains Without Court Order
    October 12, 2011
    GeorgeK writes "VeriSign, the monopoly registry operator for .com/.net domain names, has submitted a proposal to ICANN (PDF) describing an 'Anti-Abuse' policy. If allowed to proceed with such a policy, they would become judge, jury and executioner, with the ability to suspend or even cancel alleged 'abusive' domain names without due process for registrants. The proposal even recognizes that legitimate domain names may be taken down improperly, and offers a 'protest' procedure. However, VeriSign does not appear to offer any ability to protest an accusation of abuse before the suspension or cancellation. They intend to 'shoot first and ask questions later.'"
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Cisco teams with Citrix on large-scale virtual desktops
    October 12, 2011
    Cisco is tapping into several major IT trends and issues with new virtualization and device management platforms.
  • Building an amazing mobile shopping experience with Google Commerce Search
    October 12, 2011
    Mobile usage in retail is on the rise—every year we see an increasing number of shopping queries originate from mobile phones. As mobile continues to proliferate, it’s also fundamentally changing the way people shop. Mobile and shopping are made for each other.

    Knowing this, we’re sharing a secret with you: it’s not too late to get your e-commerce site ready for the mobile surge this holiday shopping season. In fact, our newest customer, Timberland, just went live with their mobile-optimized website powered by Google Commerce Search in a matter of days.

    Chris Hardisty, director of Timberland Global E-Commerce, told us: “Our first priority in developing our mobile website was making sure customers had the best experience possible. Shoppers today expect fast and relevant results especially on mobile, where speed and interactivity matter most. Since we launched our mobile-optimized website, we have seen mobile sales grow 20 times faster than our desktop site sales.”


    Today we’re growing the Google Commerce Search family by opening up our new Google Commerce Search Partner Program, and welcoming Branding Brand and Perficient Systems as our inaugural partners. We wanted to make it easier for retailers to adopt Google Commerce Search to help them achieve amazing results and meet their customers’ needs. Through this new program, system integrators, digital agencies and commerce platform providers can partner with us to bring the unique capabilities of Google Commerce Search to their retail clients.

    Branding Brand has worked with Timberland and—earlier this year—GNC to turn their mobile visions into reality. Before GNC optimized their mobile website, 10 to 15 percent of their e-commerce traffic came from mobile. Since launching it this summer, there are twice as many visitors using search, and mobile search conversions are up 50 percent.



    If you decide that building a mobile application is the best choice for you, it’s still important to build a powerful search experience that will help shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for and engage with your brand. In August, Westfield launched a mobile shopping app powered by Google Commerce Search for its 55 malls throughout the U.S. Alan Cohen, Executive Vice President, Management and Marketing for Westfield, told us “Whether the shopper is looking for a very specific product or general holiday gift items, the ability to search retailer products effortlessly is of real benefit.”

    Ready to get started with your mobile commerce site? With the big holiday shopping season coming soon, we wanted to share some tips based on our relationships with our merchant customers:
    • Every millisecond counts: You can’t deliver an amazing mobile shopping experience to your customers by wasting their time. Shoppers should be able to find the products without unnecessary clicks, typing or other steps.
    • Engage your audience: Search has become highly interactive with suggestions and auto-complete, while mobile allows consumers to touch and engage with their devices in new and fun ways. Combining the two allows you to intrigue your potential customers for instant gratification.
    • Get to the point: Whether someone’s looking for a high-resolution digital camera or orange khaki trousers, you want to make sure that it’s easy to find—with minimal keystrokes, of course. Space is limited on those 3- or 4-inch screens, so make the most of it by providing relevant search results.
    • Bridge the gap: According to our holiday retail user survey, 65 percent of high-end device users report they have used their device to find a business and then made a purchase at that business in person. In other words: mobile provides a great opportunity to drive foot traffic and bridge online and offline sales. You can delight shoppers by showing them when a product is also available in a store nearby—in-line with the search results.
    We built Google Commerce Search just under two years ago to help retailers provide a great shopping experience to their customers, and we’ve had positive feedback from our retail partners on how they’ve been able to increase search revenues, site searches and online conversions while increasing customer satisfaction. Get started now with Google Commerce Search to build a great mobile experience in time for this year’s shopping season.



  • BlackBerry outages spread to North America (AP)
    October 12, 2011
    FILE - This file photo taken Sept. 8, 2011, shows a BlackBerry smartphone using the 'Messenger' service, in Berlin.  BlackBerry users were hit with service disruptions to their smartphones for a second day on Tuesday Oct. 11, 2011 after an unexplained glitch cut off Internet and messaging services for large numbers of users across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (AP Photo/dapd, Oliver Lang, File) GERMANY OUT AUSTRIA OUT SWITZERLAND OUTAP - Sporadic outages of BlackBerry messaging and email service spread to the U.S. and Canada on Wednesday, as problems stretched into the third day for Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.


  • RIM's BlackBerry outages come at worst possible time
    October 12, 2011
    RIM's outages pile up as it tries to sell new BlackBerry devices, preps for a developer powwow and tries to fend off activist investors.
  • BlackBerry outages spread to North America
    October 12, 2011
    LONDON (Reuters) - A three-day disruption to BlackBerry services spread to North America on Wednesday, frustrating millions of users of the Research In Motion devices just two days before rival Apple's new iPhone 4S goes on sale.

  • Canon seeing no sales downturn, eyes year-end
    October 12, 2011
    TOKYO (Reuters) - Canon has so far seen no downturn in sales sparked by the European financial crisis, but cannot predict its effect on the year-end shopping season, the company's chief financial officer told Reuters on Wednesday.

  • German satellite hurtling towards Earth
    October 12, 2011
    A German satellite around the size of a car is speeding towards Earth, officials said on Wednesday, due to re-enter the atmosphere later this month but with little idea where fragments could land.
  • RIM: Amid Outages, Prospects For Finding Buyer Seem Dim (Updated)
    October 12, 2011
    Research In Motion shares are trading lower Wednesday amid growing doubts that the BlackBerry device maker will attract takeover interest. Adding to the pressure are a third straight day of service outages in some markets.
  • Peering into EVs (photos)
    October 12, 2011
    The Business of Plugging In conference hosts a closer look at the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and other production electric vehicles.
  • Wireless industry talks up green credentials
    October 12, 2011
    Report produced in conjunction with sustainability advisor firm points to environmental benefits of applications for transportation, agriculture and the smart grid.
  • AUDIO: BlackBerry crash: Your reaction
    October 12, 2011
    BlackBerry users describe how frustrated they're getting as problems with email, BBM and web browsing continue for a third day.
  • Can NBA players win lockout war on Twitter?
    October 12, 2011
    When word came that a lockout would cancel at least the first two weeks of this year's NBA season, Derek Fisher had a three-word response.

  • Five reasons why I won't be buying an iPhone 4S
    October 12, 2011
    I own an iPhone 4 which is under contract until June 2012 and I'm loathe to pay the hefty early termination fee to break it. The 4S really isn't that much better than the iPhone 4 in my book anyway.
  • Blackberry problems spread to US
    October 12, 2011
    Blackberry users on both sides of the Atlantic are now unable to use many of its smartphone services.
  • Sony Suspends 93,000 PSN Accounts, Has HDTV Woes
    October 12, 2011
    Sony discovered a large amount of unauthorized sign-in attempts on PlayStation Network so it took action. The company also announced that it had discovered a defect in 1.6 million Bravia HDTVs.

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  • iPhone 4 Prototype Finder Gets Probation
    October 12, 2011
    think_nix writes "Brian Hogan, who found an iPhone 4 prototype last year which was sold to Gizmodo for $5,000, has been sentenced to one year of probation, 40 hours of community service, and a $250 fine. The District Attorney's office was asking for jailtime."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • VIDEO: Blackberry crash: What happened?
    October 12, 2011
    BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones looks at what has caused Blackberry's to crash across the world.
  • Track your Data Usage with Opera for Android
    October 12, 2011

    Wireless Internet on your mobile phone can get pretty expensive if the data plan requires you to pay for every kilobyte of data. One effective way to reduce your phone bill is that you turn off images in your phone’s browser or, if you don’t want to spoil the web experience, you may consider getting Opera on your phone (m.opera.com).
    When you access a website through Opera, it first downloads that page on to its own servers where the page is compressed and then delivered to your phone. Thus, your phone has to download lesser amount of kilobytes when you access the same website through Opera.
    Opera says that their servers compress web pages by as much as 80% but there was no real way to verify that number. Until now.
    Opera has updated their Android browser and it now gives you an exact idea of how much data you have downloaded during your current browsing session and how much bandwidth you have saved because of Opera’s compression. It also keeps track of the total data usage which may help you pick a more optimal data plan in your next billing cycle.
    opera data usage
    To see your phone’s data usage through Opera, launch the browser, click the Opera icon and choose “Data Usage” under the Help section.
    This will obviously only track data that passes through the Opera browser on your phone – if you want to track the entire data usage of your Android phone, include data consumed by apps, Onavo might be a good option.
    Tweet this Share on Facebook

    Digital Inspiration @labnolThis story, Track your Data Usage with Opera for Android, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on October 12, 2011 under Android, Opera, Software.



  • Best Buy to offer full iPhone 4S lineup
    October 12, 2011
    The retailer will sell all models of the new iPhone 4S from all three of the major carriers but also offer the iPhone 4 and 3GS at discount prices.
  • No, Sony Wasn't Hacked, but They Were Mass-Attacked
    October 12, 2011
    Sony admits its Sony Entertainment Network, PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment were assaulted, but they weren't hacked.

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  • WineHQ database hacked, passwords stolen
    October 12, 2011
    Malicious hackers exploit vulnerabilities in phpmyadmin to gain access to WineHQ's database. Usernames and passwords were stolen.
  • Real Life Super Hero Arrested
    October 12, 2011
    First time accepted submitter Pat Attack writes "In an ironic twist of fate, Phoenix Jones, a self-styled super hero from Seattle, has landed in jail. Jones happened upon a group of people fighting in the street and tried to stop the fight using pepper spray. He was arrested by police on four counts of assault. The New York Daily News quotes Jones: 'I've been shot once and I don't really want it to happen again. I've been stabbed twice, hit with a baseball bat and had my nose broken,' he says. 'But in all those incidents I helped someone who was in danger. If someone is going to take that punishment it should be the guy in body armor,' he said."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • BlackBerry service issues spread to U.S. and Canada
    October 12, 2011
    A disruption in BlackBerry service is going into its third day as users in North America now complain of slow access to email.

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