Friday, November 18, 2011

Technical News - 18 November 2011


  • Out Of Africa: Big Solar Farms
    November 18, 2011
    Ah Africa, the continent that evokes images of bright sunlight spilling over deserts, jungles and savannas. Turning that sun into electricity makes good sense, but lining up financing for solar power projects has always been a big challenge. The World Bank has stepped up its financial support for solar in Africa and announced this week loans for two large solar power projects.
  • Yelp, others dive for IPO window after Groupon
    November 18, 2011
    (Reuters) - Groupon Inc opened the IPO window a crack earlier this month and now companies, including Yelp Inc, Angie's List and even social-gaming giant Zynga, are climbing through it, too.

  • Stronger Anonymity Comes To iPhone With Tor-Enabled App
    November 18, 2011
    True anonymity on the mobile Web just came a few steps closer for tens of millions more smartphone users.
  • Fresh Android Apps for Nov. 18: Ultimate App Guard, Immortals, Trip Organizer (Appolicious)
    November 18, 2011
    Appolicious - Last chance to get away before the holidays! Use Trip Organizer – Lite for a trip without stress.
  • Salesforce's billing, sales productivity spur worries
    November 18, 2011
    Salesforce's strong third quarter carried a disappointment about billings. Is this a blip or something larger to worry about?
  • Amazon may launch a smartphone in Q4 2012 - Citi
    November 18, 2011
    (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc may launch its own smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2012, Citigroup said, citing its supply-chain channel checks in Asia.

  • Ex-UBS banker sentenced for aiding U.S. tax evasion
    November 18, 2011
    MIAMI (Reuters) - A former senior UBS banker who helped the U.S. government expand its crackdown on offshore tax evasion was sentenced to five years probation on Friday for advising wealthy Americans on ways to hide their money from U.S. tax authorities.

  • Focus Media Q3 Tops Street Ests; Strong Outlook; Shrs Rally
    November 18, 2011
    China-based display advertising company Focus Media is trading higher Friday morning on better-than-expected results for the third  quarter, and strong Q4 guidance.
  • Insight: Even Germany not immune to euro zone crisis
    November 18, 2011
    LONDON (Reuters) - German bonds have so far been viewed as the last bastion of safety in the euro zone sovereign debt markets but some prices are beginning to suggest their allure will not be eternal.

  • What 'Hung' And iTunes Teach About Bilton's "Me Economy"
    November 18, 2011
    I agree with The New York Times' Nick Bilton on two key issues when it comes to technology and entertainment. We're both optimists about the future of media in a time when a lot of smart people think the zombie apocalypse alights. And we both believe in the power of what he calls, "The me economy."
  • The story of the first photograph
    November 18, 2011
    If you look carefully, you can see the outbuildings, courtyard, trees, and surrounding landscape as Nicephore saw it through his window, all the way back in 1826. And the rest is history.
  • One in five Brits 'regret' buying an iPhone
    November 18, 2011
    First the iPad, now the iPhone: Around one in five Brits are rejecting the iPhone, after battery flaws and the hope that a next-generation iPhone 5 would be in stock by now.
  • Research firm: Amazon tablet costs $201.70 to make (AP)
    November 18, 2011
    FILE - This file photograph taken Sept. 28, 2011, shows the Kindle Fire at a news conference, in New York. Research firm IHS said the Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle Fire tablet, which started shipping this week, costs $201.70 to make, $2.70 more than Amazon charges for it. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)AP - Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle Fire tablet, which started shipping this week, costs $201.70 to make, a research firm said Friday. That's $2.70 more than Amazon charges for it.


  • VIDEO: The costs of smartphone downloads
    November 18, 2011
    The BBC's Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones looks at how some people are getting unexpectedly large bills after going online on their smartphones.
  • Robots set out to sample the seas
    November 18, 2011
    Four robots have set out from San Francisco on an epic 33,000 nautical mile journey across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Fewer Reboots in Windows 8 Is a Patching Shell Game
    November 18, 2011
    Nobody wants required reboots unexpectedly restarting their PC, but the new patch process proposed by Microsoft seems more like a cheap trick than a solution.

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  • Dolby Labs Spikes As FY Q4 Revs, EPS Top Street Estimates
    November 18, 2011
    Dolby Laboratories shares are trading sharply higher Friday morning on better-than-expected results for its fiscal fourth quarter ended September 30.
  • U.S.-China tension spills over into Asia summit
    November 18, 2011
    NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Tension between the United States and China spilled over into meetings of Asia-Pacific leaders on Friday as the two countries jostled over how to handle competing claims to the South China Sea.

  • Pakistan bans 'obscene' words on cell phone texts (AP)
    November 18, 2011
    AP - Texters in Pakistan better start watching their language.
  • Fresh iPhone Apps for Nov. 18: Etsy, Jimi Hendrix, Tap Tap Muppets, Cut the Rope: Experiments update (Appolicious)
    November 18, 2011
    Appolicious - Get a jump on your holiday shopping with Etsy for iPhone, an app that brings the handmade craft buying and selling website right to your iPhone. The app includes tools both for buyers of Etsy products and sellers. If you’re a classic rock fan, you’ll get a kick out of the videos, music and photos on offer in Jimi Hendrix: The Complete Experience, the official app of the rock legend. In games, gear up for the upcoming new movie The Muppets with rhythm game Tap Tap Muppets, and enjoy even more puzzle-solving goodness with 25 new levels in the new update for Cut the Rope: Experiments.
  • US Army Completes First Test Flight of Mach 6 Weapon
    November 18, 2011


    Stirling Newberry writes "In a terse press release, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the first test of the the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which launches on a staged rocket and then glides to its target, in a manner similar to the Space Shuttle's re-entry. Earlier, ABC News posted a story with a video animation of the concept. Over at DefenseTech, they argue that the trajectory being different from an ICBM is meant to show that it is not a first strike device, but even the commenters don't think that explanation flies. The speed of deployment and the ability to strike targets without going high enough to be seen by many advance warning radars makes it a precision surprise attack weapon, a kind of super-cruise-missile for surprise, asymmetric attacks."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • EU Parliamentarians Speak out Over Gag Order on Data Deal
    November 18, 2011
    A leading Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has said that she will not be gagged on the shortcomings of a new deal to pass European airline travelers’...

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  • Galaxy Nexus Reviews: Of Course It's the Best Android
    November 18, 2011
    Galaxy Nexus may not yet be available here in the US, but that hasn't stopped reviewers from picking it apart. Here is a roundup of reviews.

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  • Nintendo 3DS Special Edition Zelda bundle available on Black Friday?
    November 18, 2011
    Leaked Best Buy and GameStop Black Friday ads reveal the previously Euro-only Zelda 3DS bundle may be heading to our shores November 25.
  • China tells US to avoid politicizing investment (AP)
    November 18, 2011
    AP - China appealed to Washington on Friday to avoid politicizing investment after a congressional panel said it would look into whether Chinese technology firms operating in the United States pose a security threat.
  • iOS 5.0.2 May Fix Battery Life Problems
    November 18, 2011
    Apple plans to issue iOS 5.0.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch very soon to address battery life issues, a report claims.

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  • iPhone, iPad to drive GameStop's business?
    November 18, 2011
    Apple's iPhone and iPad could become key revenue engines for the games retailer, which as it happens is also now selling Android tablets.
  • HP: Time To Buy The Stock, Sterne Agee Contends
    November 18, 2011
    Hewlett-Packard shares are trading higher this morning after Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu upped his rating on the stock to Buy from Neutral ahead of the company's October quarter earnings report, which is due after the close on Monday.
  • Electronic Signature Comes To The Masses
    November 18, 2011
    I got a taste of one of the higher velocity business models enabled by newly erupting Web paradigms this week when I got swept up in DocuSign’s launch of DocuSign Ink, the consumer version of its eSignature cloud service.
  • Is Amazon Planning a Kindle Phone?
    November 18, 2011
    Rumor has it, Amazon is set to launch a smart phone dubbed, unsurprisingly, the Kindle Phone in 2012:
    The device, so far dubbed the Kindle Phone for want of another name, will be launched around this time next year in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to All Things D. The information comes from Citigroup's research department which bases its theory on intelligence gathered from supply chains.

  • Reclocked CERN neutrinos still break the speed limit
    November 18, 2011
    A first round of error checking has shown subatomic particles still travel faster than the speed of light, but physicists want more confirmation before drawing any conclusions.
  • Google Pushes Wallet as Payment System
    November 18, 2011
    The Checkout and Wallet functions are being consolidated, and Wallet is becoming the preferred payment service on Google commerce sites.

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  • Microsoft Patent Aims To Curb Obnoxious Employee Behavior
    November 18, 2011


    theodp writes "GeekWire reports that a pending Microsoft patent for monitoring workplace behavior would do Dwight Schrute proud. Three Microsoft inventors propose curbing obnoxious workplace habits in an equally obnoxious fashion — using a computer device for monitoring and analyzing workers' interactions over video conferences, telephone, text messages and other forms of digital communication to look for patterns of negative and positive behavior, and assigning behavior scores to employees based on what the system finds. Bad behavior, Microsoft explains, might include wearing dark glasses in a video conference, wearing unacceptable clothing to a business meeting, cutting off others during conversation, prolonged monologues, and even how one nods one's head in agreement, shakes one's head indicating disagreement, and makes hand gestures."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • iPhone 4S 'No SIM card installed' is not a new problem
    November 18, 2011
    Fix the problem with a piece of tape.
  • Secret to Facebook's green data center? Water misters
    November 18, 2011
    Facebook says its Prineville, Oregon data center received Gold-level LEED green building certification on the back of an elaborate evaporative cooling system that taps outdoor air for heating and cooling.
  • Motorola Mobility's shareholders approve Google merger
    November 18, 2011
    Motorola Mobility's shareholders have overwhelmingly agreed to a Google merger. But the U.S. Justice Dept. still remains silent on the issue.
  • Logitech says was too bullish on Google TV
    November 18, 2011
    BARCELONA (Reuters) - Logitech , which lost tens of millions of dollars building set-top boxes for Google TV, would back the project again, but would be much more cautious, its chief executive said.

  • Amazon takes a slight loss on each Kindle Fire, study says
    November 18, 2011
    An IHS iSuppli study shows a build of material and manufacturing costs of a little more than its retail price of $199, which is cheaper than what the firm previously expected.
  • Forget cash. Pay with your Go watch
    November 18, 2011
    RumbaTime's Go watches have contactless payment chips and medical info in a colorful timepiece.
  • Unicef and Sony in Japan to support disaster relief photography project
    November 18, 2011
    Sony and Unicef's 'EYE SEE' project comes to Japan this November, supporting the children who have suffered from the Tohoku earthquake through the means of photography.
  • Exclusive: Lax security at Nasdaq helped hackers
    November 18, 2011
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal investigation into last year's cyber attack on Nasdaq OMX Group found surprisingly lax security practices that made the exchange operator an easy target for hackers, people with knowledge of the probe said. The sources did not want to be identified because the matter is classified.

  • Microwaves and the Speed of Light
    November 18, 2011
    You can find a microwave oven in nearly any American kitchen--indeed, it is the one truly modern cooking tool that is commonly at hand--yet these versatile gadgets are woefully underestimated. Few see any culinary action more sophisticated than reheating leftovers or popping popcorn. That is a shame because a microwave oven, when used properly, can cook certain kinds of food perfectly, every time. You can even use it to calculate a fundamental physical constant of the universe. Try that with a gas burner.
    To get the most out of your microwave, it helps to understand that it cooks with light waves, much like a grill does, except that the light waves are almost five inches (12.2 centimeters) from peak to peak--a good bit longer in wavelength than the infrared rays that coals put out. The microwaves are tuned to a frequency (2.45 gigahertz, usually) to which molecules of water and, to a lesser extent, fat resonate.
    [More]

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  • Ballmer's appeal to shareholders: Not what it used to be
    November 18, 2011
    Microsoft's CEO scores a 92 percent approval from shareholders this year. Too bad that's on the downswing.
  • Hypersonic bomb: One-hour delivery?
    November 18, 2011
    The U.S. Army's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon can travel about five times the speed of sound and strike anywhere on Earth in less than an hour.
  • OPERA Group Repeats Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results
    November 18, 2011


    gbrumfiel writes "Earlier this year, the OPERA experiment made the extraordinary claim that they had seen neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. The experiment, located at Gran Sasso in Italy, saw neutrinos arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than expected from their starting point at CERN in Switzerland. Others have doubted OPERA's claim, but in a new paper, the group reaffirms its commitment to the measurement. 'It's slightly better than the previous result,' OPERA's physics coordinator Dario Autiero told Nature News. Most members of the collaboration who didn't sign the original paper out of skepticism have now come on board. But scientists outside the group still aren't sure. 'Independent checks are the way to go,' says Rob Plunkett, co-spokesman of a rival experiment called MINOS."

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