Friday, August 31, 2012

Head in the Clouds

From Matthew Yglesias ... Americans Think Cloud Computing is Disrupted By Bad Weather

You've probably heard a fair amount about computing "in the cloud"—the idea that thanks to the Internet, we can store data (Dropbox, iCloud) remotely and even use applications (Siri, Google Docs, Facebook) that exist primarily on remote servers. But an exciting press release I got yesterday from Citrix about a survey conducted by Wakefield Research reveals that most people have no idea what any of this means:

The survey of more than 1,000 American adults was conducted in August 2012 by Wakefield Research and shows that while the cloud is widely used, it is still misunderstood. For example, 51 percent of respondents, including a majority of Millennials, believe stormy weather can interfere with cloud computing. Nearly one third see the cloud as a thing of the future, yet 97 percent are actually using cloud services today via online shopping, banking, social networking and file sharing. Despite this confusion, three in five (59 percent) believe the “workplace of the future” will exist entirely in the cloud, which indicates people feel it’s time to figure out the cloud or risk being left behind in their professional lives.

What's more, 22 percent of respondents "admit that they’ve pretended to know what the cloud is or how it works."What's more, 22 percent of respondents "admit that they’ve pretended to know what the cloud is or how it works."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Clever Shared Lock

Ranch Gate Access

Bruce Schneier shares an ingenious shared lock and quickly dissects its' weaknesses. Shared Lock

A reader sent me this photo of a shared lock. It's at the gate of a large ranch outside of Victoria, Texas. Multiple padlocks secure the device, but when a single padlock is removed, the center pin can be fully lifted and the gate can be opened. The point is to allow multiple entities (oil and gas, hunting parties, ranch supervisors, etc.) access without the issues of key distribution that would arise if it were just a single lock. On the other hand, the gate is only as secure as the weakest padlock.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

iCal is Smarter Than I Thought

Nice tip shared by Alan Henry – Use Phrases Like “Lunch,” “Brunch,” and “Breakfast” to Auto-Schedule Appointments in iCal [Shortcuts]:

Over on Twitter, Jason Kottke noticed something interesting about iCal: If you create an appointment for "Lunch with Adam," for example, iCal automatically puts the appointment at noon, for one hour. Lunch isn't alone though: iCal recognizes a few different mealtimes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Robot Chef

This is very cool! I particularly like that the robot is made to look more humanoid than robot.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, August 26, 2012

More on Windows 8

Tim Edwards on Why I’m uninstalling Windows 8. Click through to read his detailed list.

As a cruel trick on myself, about a month ago I installed Windows 8 on my main PC to see what it was like.

The answer is: abysmal.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Windows 8 is the worst computing experience I’ve ever had. As a desktop operating system, it’s annoying, frustrating, irritating, and baffling to use. I’ve tried on many occasions to explain exactly why it’s so awful to use day-to-day, and most of the time, smoke starts pouring out of my ears. I thought it would be better to get down exactly what the issues are and why you should avoid it.

What it comes down to is this: Windows 8 is a tax on your brain. That dealing with it, day in, day out adds to your world being slightly worse in a dozen different but slightly irritating ways.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it is an exhausting list of reasons why I’ll never touch Windows 8 again. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it is an exhausting list of reasons why I’ll never touch Windows 8 again. I’m not alone: game developers worldwide have declared Windows 8 a catastrophe.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Magic Plan App: Create Floor Plans With Your Camera

Amazing! From Delana … Magic Plan App Makes Amazing Automatic Floor Plans:

MagicPlan is a room plotting app that works on your iPhone or iPad to create a complete floor plan using your device’s camera. The app measures the space to a high degree of accuracy: within about six inches (15 cm).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Samsung Versus Apple - The Verdict

Good summary of the verdict from Mikey Campbell … Jury finds Samsung guilty of infringement, Apple awarded $1.05B:

Apple Versus Samsung

From the NY Times 




App-Controlled Bluetooth Bulb

Sadly, just a prototype right now, but this would be very cool!

From James Trew … Bluetooth Bulb lets you switch on, time, dim and color your lighting from your phone:

The Bluetooth Bulb lets you pair your phone with one or more of the lights in your home, and then control them via an app. Switch them on, off, change brightness, set a timer, and a special RGB bulb even lets you change the color ambiance. If you're worried about the cost and waste when these things burn out, fear not, as apparently every part is replaceable -- and as there's no home automation system involved -- you won't need anything else to get set up.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Verizon: "Chrome and Firefox Have Limited Internet Capabilities, Unlike IE"

Umm, OK … Verizon: "Chrome and Firefox Have Limited Internet Capabilities, Unlike IE":


Professor Terminated for Refusing to use E-Textbook

I'm a big proponent of e-books, but this is crazy!

For-Profit College Forces Out Arts Professor for Refusing to Adopt E-Textbook:

A professor of animation at the Art Institute of California-Orange County has been forced out of his job because he refused to adopt an e-textbook in his class that he says administrators pressured him to select, according to OC Weekly. The instructor, Mike Tracy, who had worked at the for-profit college for nearly 12 years, said he considered the $50 text “irrelevant” for his fall-term class, and took his concerns over the administrators’ requests to agencies including the U.S. Education Department. The college’s president, Gregory J. Marick, told Mr. Tracy in a letter last week that if he failed to select “an eBook from the list” for his class, he would be terminated for insubordination. Mr. Tracy was forced to resign on Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Making Math Fun

Great video from Vi Hart!

Shareby Gareth Branwyn … Vi Hart Connects the Dots:

Giving Students Free Textbooks?

Not sure this is the answer to textbooks that are too expensive. Obviously kids who can't pay for their textbooks, probably can't by a mobile device and use e-books, but we've got to be able to do something about the cost of books.

From Elise Young … Georgia college to give students free textbooks:

When Georgia’s need-based HOPE grant for technical college students stopped helping them pay for textbooks last year, administrators at South Georgia Technical College decided to take matters into their own hands.

The college announced three weeks ago that starting this fall, it will provide students with free textbooks for each of their courses -- a program that President Sparky Reeves said he hopes will be paid for by tuition revenue brought in by additional students.

Between 80 and 85 percent of the college’s students are eligible for the grant, which used to pay 100 percent of tuition and award students a $150 voucher for textbooks, Reeves said. But -- as of last fall -- the grant now pays about 90 percent of tuition, and it no longer awards book vouchers.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

19 Million Americans Without Broadband

From Daniel Cooper – FCC report says 19 million americans still without broadband access:

The FCC believes that 19 million Americans don't have access to broadband, defined as internet access at a speed of 4 megabits per second or more. Understandably, rural areas are the worst hit, with 14.5 million out in the sticks without access, with areas like West Virginia lacking coverage for 45.9 percent of its population. It's not limited to the wide open spaces of states like Montana (16.7 percent) however, even tech-heavy states like California lack access for 35 percent of its denizens.

Windows 8 Is Confusing

Romain Dillet … Windows 8 Is “A Cognitive Burden”:

[User Experience Specialist Raluca] Budiu states that the main problem with Windows 8 will be that users will have to deal with two completely different interfaces, that is to say the traditional Windows desktop interface and the tile-based Modern UI. Not only some interactions will be drastically different in Windows 8, but users will have to keep track of which action to use in which environment.

Smartphones and Healthcare

From Laura Ruane Smartphone Apps Now Playing Doctor:

We don't use our smartphones for talking as much as we once did, but we are and will increasingly be using them to detect and monitor health risks, from irregular heart rhythms to E. coli bacteria in drinking water, industry experts say.

Health app developers initially focused on consumer diet and exercise, said Brian Dolan, editor of Boston-based, which tracks advances in mobile health and medical technology. "Now we're seeing them look into more serious health conditions where there's a real need for innovation.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hybrid Wi-Fi/Cellular Service on the Horizon?

or should that be on the Verizon.

From Tammy Parker ….Verizon's cable partners could launch hybrid Wi-Fi/cellular service - FierceBroadbandWireless:

The revised agreement between Verizon Wireless and its cable TV partners enables the foursome to become MVNOs immediately, potentially positioning them to offer hybrid voice services that employ Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

The U.S. Department of Justice last week approved Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) $3.9 billion purchase of nationwide AWS spectrum from cable operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks. The DOJ also approved the cross-marketing deals between Verizon and the four cable companies with certain modifications and restrictions. The FCC still must approve the deal.

One of the conditions buried in the settlement between the DOJ, Verizon and the cable operators was a requirement that "the cable companies can elect to resell Verizon Wireless services using their own brand at any time as provided for under the amended agreements," according to a DOJ press release.

Recession-Proof IT Jobs

From Kerry Doyle … Top 12 Recession-Proof IT Jobs:

1. Cybersecurity 

2. Healthcare 

3. Gaming 

4. Mobile Development 

5. Big Data/Analytics 

6. TeleCommunications & UC

7. Software Engineer/Developer 

8. Creative Design/User Experience (UX) Designers  

9. IT Human Resources 

10. Online Advertising: IT-based SEO/SEM/Social Media Specialist 

11. Systems Analyst 

12. Programmer

The Biggest Barrier to Success in Online Courses?

Not technology, not software, not any bells and whistles – it's what it's has always been and always will be in education – motivation

From Walter Frick … Cracking the Biggest Barrier in Online Education: Motivation:

Having tried both Coursera and Udacity, I can attest to the quality of the content and the format. Put another way, technology is no longer the primary barrier to the success of massive free online courses. It’s not even accreditation, though that’s a big one. The biggest barrier is motivation.

Students Don't Want E-Textbooks ...

…when they cost as much as the print version! Duh!

Yasmeen Abutaleb … Universities Push Students To Use E-Textbooks:

Students don't seem to want to buy e-textbooks. So some schools are simply forcing them. While several colleges across the country are pushing electronic textbooks, touting them as more efficient and less cumbersome than regular textbooks, students are reluctant. 

E-textbooks still account for only 9% of textbook purchases, says Student Monitor, which researches college student behavior.

"How excited can you expect to get about an e-textbook?" Student Monitor President Eric Weil says. "It's not a fashion statement, it's not a status symbol; it has to overcome the advantages that students see (in) a printed textbook."

Typically, students don't save much when opting to buy an e-textbook. For example, an organic chemistry e-textbook costs about $100, while the print version of the same book costs just $15 more.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Advances in Battery Technology


From Sebastian Anthony … Scientists develop lithium-ion battery that charges 120 times faster than normal:

A group of Korean scientists, working at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), have developed a fast-charge lithium-ion battery that can be recharged 30 to 120 times faster than conventional li-ion batteries. The team believes it can build a battery pack for electric vehicles that can be fully charged in less than a minute.

Meryl Streep Scatterplot


Great way to teach a film class! From Nathan Yau … Meryl Streep scatterplot:

Vulture plotted Meryl Streep's character faces on a cold-warm, frivolous-serious scatterplot. Sure, why not.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Demonization Of Empress Wu

From Mike Dash … The Demonization Of Empress Wu. Really fascinating story, click through on the link below to read at

Has any female ruler provoked such controversy as Wu Zetian? Came to power in seventh century; remains only empress to rule China. Said to have murdered her sister, elder brothers, mother, even newborn child. But who was she really? Read full article

Friday, August 17, 2012

Get Your Degree!

From Patrick Appel … Chart Of The Day:


Kay Steiger captions this chart from a new report (pdf):

Though the report is upfront about the fact that college graduates are not immune from the recession (insert stereotype about an art history major working at Starbucks here), it notes those with bachelor’s degrees tend to overall be much better off than those with just a high school diploma: “One out of seven new four-year college graduates was underemployed in May 2012. In comparison, nearly half of the new high school graduates were underemployed in 2012.”

Hacker Discovers iPhone SMS Spoofing Issue

From Daniel Eran Dilger Hacker discovers iPhone SMS spoofing issue, asks Apple to fix for iOS 6:

An independent security researcher in the UK has publicized an iPhone SMS spoofing issue that he hopes Apple will address in iOS 6.

According to a blog posting by "pod2g" the way iOS handles SMS messages supports transmission of optional, advanced features in the SMS specification's User Data Header, including a "reply to" address.

Not all phones support these features, and "most carriers don't check this part of the message, which means one can write whatever he wants in this section," the hacker writes. This would apparently limit the audience of SMS spoofing largely to iPhone users.

Body Gesture Controlled Apple TV-Product to be Announced?

Seems highly unlikely they would steal the show from the new iPhone and potential iPad mini.

Katie Marsal reporting … Jefferies says Apple may have licensed JDSU's 'body gesture' sensors for next Apple TV:

[analyst Peter] Misek said that recent data out of Sharp, Hon Hai, and other specialty chemical and TV component suppliers support his belief that the company's next television-oriented product is also in "full production," a surprising claim given that the Wall Street Journal report just days ago that company had yet to reach licensing agreements with any cable operator over the product that it reportedly hopes to market as a cable box alternative.

Misek also believes that a recent revelation by JDSU that it has acquired a new new non-gaming customer for its gesture control modules may signal a partnership with Apple as part of the product.

Verizon Spending $3.6bn on Cable Spectrum

Verizon's smart, they know where the future is. Building out FIOS may have been a misstep, but building more wireless capacity will position them well.

From Neil McAllister … Verizon wins approval for $3.6bn cable spectrum swap:

Verizon looks to have the green light to acquire around 20MHz of wireless spectrum from a consortium of four of the US's largest cable companies, with two government agencies having voiced approval of the deal, albeit in modified form.

The deal, which would see Verizon spending $3.6bn to acquire spectrum licenses from Bright House Networks, Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable, has been opposed by labor unions, public interest groups, and competing companies, who claim it would be anticompetitive and cost jobs.

Stanford's CS Education Library


Nice resource for CS majors and anyone interested in software development.

Stanford CS Education Library:

This online library collects education CS material from Stanford courses and distributes them for free. Update 2006 For learning code concepts (Java strings, loops, arrays, ...), check out Nick's experimental server, where you can type in little code puzzles and get immediate feedback.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

State Department Changes Mind on Kindle

That's a lot - excuse me, was a lot of Kindles.

From Evan Rodgers – State Department withdraws $16.5m contract for Kindle ebook readers:

The US State Department's $16.5 million contract with Amazon for Kindle ebook readers has been officially canceled. The details of the contract were proposed back in June and would have netted the State Department 2,500 Kindles for use in overseas English language programs. The docket has since been revised, saying that "the Department of State intends to conduct additional market research and re-examine its requirements for this program." The Kindle was originally picked over other ebook readers for its compliance with the State Department's long list of requirements. Whether Amazon has backed out of meeting these stringent and likely expensive requirements — like item 19, which states "the Contractor is responsible for all costs associated with 3G services globally" — has yet to be determined.

Oil Company Suffers Cyber Attack

This is what security experts have been warning about for 20-25 years. Doesn't look like the facility was compromised, but how long until a refinery, or power plant is successfully attacked. If you're asking yourself "so what?" think about what a disruption in oil production would do to fuel prices, food prices, heating/cooling etc. It wouldn't be pretty!

From Mike Lennon … World's Largest Oil Company Kills Network After Cyber Attack:

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company and the largest in the world, has confirmed that is has been hit by a cyber attack that resulted in malware infecting user workstations, but did not affect other parts of its network.

“On Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, an official at Saudi Aramco confirmed that the company has isolated all its electronic systems from outside access as an early precautionary measure that was taken following a sudden disruption that affected some of the sectors of its electronic network,” the company wrote in a statement.

“The disruption was suspected to be the result of a virus that had infected personal workstations without affecting the primary components of the network.”

How People Gather

Very cool!
Crowd Control: Cool Time Lapse Shows How People Gather:

Crowd-watching is one of those perennial favorite activities that never seems to get old no matter how often you do it. For the 2011 Vancouver Celebration of Light, a popular annual fireworks show, Dave Delnea Images documented the huge crowd gathering, reveling and then dispersing.

College Students Can’t Read the Textbook

Sigh - this is depressing.

Shared by Joanne Jacobs …When college students can’t read the textbook:

A Michigan community college is teaching English, math and biology instructors how to teach reading so students can understand their textbooks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 a Disappointing Android Tablet

From Nilay Patel's Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review:

On paper, the Note 10.1 seems extremely capable of creating that world: it has an extremely fast quad-core processor, the ability to run multiple apps side-by-side on the 10.1-inch display, and, of course, Samsung’s Wacom-powered S Pen stylus, which has been upgraded from the smartphone Note to offer 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. Other Android devices have tried and failed to meaningfully incorporate stylus support, but only Samsung’s 5-inch Galaxy Note smartphone has ever been a success, and I had high hopes the Note 10.1 would simply be a larger version of that experience.

It’s pretty clear that people want their tablets to support pen input — the huge market of iPad styluses is proof positive of that. Samsung’s S Pen system is way ahead of the curve in that regard: it’s responsive, it’s precise, and it works well enough, most of the time.

But a pretty good pen system built on top of a disappointing Android tablet still makes for a disappointing Android tablet. There’s just no reason to suffer through it: the Nexus 7 costs less than half as much as the Note and is without question the best Android tablet available. The iPad costs the same $499 and offers an unrivaled selection of apps, an industry-leading display, and so many stylus accessories and note-taking tools that you won’t even remember that the S Pen makes them all look a bit primitive. And a regular notebook and pen do not make blooping sounds at the slightest provocation.

Walls Made from Decaying Books

Finally a use for books! Walls Made from Decaying Books:


(Via John Baichtal at MAKE Magazine)

US population = Pi X 100 million

Very cool!

From Bonnie Kavoussi … US population = Pi X 100 million:

Shortly after 2:29 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14, 2012, the U.S. population was exactly 314,159,265, or pi (π) times 100 million

MIT Launches STEM-Based Reality Show

Clever! Who would have thought to use reality TV to promote STEM education.

From Audrey Watters … Online Video Meets STEM Education, with MIT's New Reality TV Series:

MIT is unveiling the trailer today for a new reality TV series (of sorts) – ChemLab Boot Camp – that follows 14 freshmen through its 5.301 Introductory Lab Techniques course. The four-week-long class is offered in January as part of the Chemistry major. The stakes with 5.301 are high – students who pass the class are guaranteed a job in a research lab at the university.

As such, the new show could be seen as an infomercial for the MIT campus experience. And as the project was underwritten by the Dow Chemical Company, it’s certainly good promotional material for that company and, more generally, the MIT chemistry major. But the reality TV show is also a commercial of sorts for hands-on learning and for the joys and frustrations of working in a research lab.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

RIP Flash for Android

Steve Jobs - Thoughts on Flash – was right!

From T.C. Sottek – Flash for Android dies tomorrow, long live the 'full web experience':

In November of last year, Adobe made a surprising about-face on its popular Flash plugin, announcing that it would stop development of Flash for mobile devices. Tomorrow, Adobe will disable new installs of Flash on Android, effectively cutting it off from the future of the mobile web — despite the company's historical assertion that Flash would enable the "full web experience" on mobile devices. Instead, Adobe surrendered the major mobile battlegrounds and pledged allegiance to HTML5.

iPads, Algebra and Student Success

Interesting, somebody should write a grant to create more books like - oops, I did!

From Kelly Hodgkins …iPads seem to raise classroom math scores in charter school study:

Earlier this year the folks who created the YourTeacher math tutoring and test prep system teamed up with KIPP Academy to gauge how well the iPad performs in the classroom. As noted by Jim Dalrymple of The Loop,the results are overwhelmingly in favor of the iPad.

Between February 2012 and May 2012, a group of 8th grade math students in Houston used the YourTeacher Algebra 1 iBooks instead of their hardcover counterparts. The teachers used the iPads to create a flipped classroom in which students spent most of their learning time on the iPad (80 percent) while they were at home. This let teachers use the classroom time for advanced, one-on-one instruction.

When compared to the control group that received traditional classroom instruction, the iPad group showed significant improvement in their math scores.

Researchers Seek Help Cracking Encrypted Malware Payload


Kids, time to get those hard disks spinning and generate some CPU-cycles.

From Kim Zetter … Researchers Seek Help Cracking Gauss Mystery Payload:

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab in Russia are asking the public for help in cracking an encrypted warhead that gets delivered to infected machines by the Gauss malware toolkit.

The warhead gets decrypted by the malware using a key composed of configuration data from the system it’s targeting. But without knowing what systems it’s targeting or the configuration on that system, the researchers have been unable to reproduce the key to crack the encryption.

“We are asking anyone interested in cryptology, numerology and mathematics to join us in solving the mystery and extracting the hidden payload,” the researchers write in a blog post published Tuesday.

Verizon Launches Rural LTE

Brilliant move serving an undeserved population.

From Mikael Ricknäs ...Verizon Launches New LTE Broadband Service for Rural U.S.:

Verizon Wireless has launched HomeFusion Broadband, a new in-home LTE-based broadband service for rural U.S. homes that traditionally have not had reliable access to high-speed Internet, the operator said on Tuesday.

Users of the service should get average real-world data speeds of 5M bps (bits per second) to 12M bps on the downlink and 2M bps to 5 M bps on the uplink, which should rival typical high-speed options like DSL, according to Verizon.

The service comes with three different plans, which cost from US$60 per month and include 10GB of data. The two other plans include 20GB and 30GB of data and cost $90 and $120, respectively.

Students and Multitasking

From an interesting infographic on multitasking:


Shared by Matt Petronzio – Only 2% of People Can Multitask Successfully [INFOGRAPHIC]:

Despite the numerous gadgets and apps that help us get through our days, research suggests that only 2% of people can multitask effectively. As for the remaining 98%? They’re actually lessening their productivity without even realizing it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ceiling Cat ...

or how to keep your students engaged … from Neetzan Zimmerman Ceiling Cat Drops In On University Classroom Unannounced. Awesome!

Students at Costa Rica's University for Peace receive the shock of a lifetime when the ceiling suddenly starts leaking Internets into their classroom.

Apple Versus Samsung

Jim Dalrymple uses a music analogy to illustrate what Samsung is Stealing from Apple.

The iPhone and iPad are Apple’s songs. In fact, it could be said that Apple even created a few new instruments along the way.

Samsung didn’t just copy rectangles from Apple. They copied years of research in how to put together a hardware and software design that is new and fresh. It wasn’t done before and people loved it.

Using the music analogy, Apple had two blockbuster hit songs and Samsung stole them, note for note. That’s not right.

Most Underrated Innovations


Tyler Cowen asks and answers … What is the most underrated innovation of the last one hundred years? An interesting choice and not one that I would have thought of.

I see an underrated one as Amazon’s warehousing and shipping practices.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Critics of Khan

From Joanne Jacobs … Critics hit the math of Khan:

A ”Mystery Teacher Theatre 2000″ video by two Michigan professors, David Coffey and John Golden, pokes fun at a Khan lesson on how to multiply and divide negative number. (Sal Khan responded by posting a revised lesson.) Dan Meyer, a Stanford University doctoral candidate in education, who blogs at dy/dan and Justin Reich, who blogs at EdTech Researcher, are offering $750 in prizes for the best online critique of Khan Academy videos. The deadline is Wednesday.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Android and iOS Dominate Smartphone Market

From Kelly Hodgkins … IDC: Android and iOS accounted for 85 percent of smartphones shipped in Q2 2012:

IDC's Q2 2012 numbers are out and the figures are encouraging, but not spectacular for Apple. According to IDC, Apple shipped 26 million handsets and grabbed 16.9 percent of the global smartphone market. This is a 27.5 percent increase over the same quarter last year.

Despite its double-digit growth, the iPhone didn't outpace the overall smartphone market which grew 44 percent year-over-year. IDC says demand for the iPhone has cooled because of rumors surrounding the launch of the new iPhone sometime this fall.

iOS also still trails Android which grabbed 68.1 percent of the market share. Samsung was the dominant Android manufacturer and shipped 44 percent of the platform's total smartphones in the quarter.

Combined, Android and iOS accounted for 85 percent of all smartphones shipped in the quarter

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

No Way Around Windows 8 'Metro' Start Screen

According to Ed Oswald, Windows 8 'Metro' Start Screen is Unavoidable. This could be a problem for users unsure how to get from Metro to Desktop and back. I find it unintuitive.

Bad news for people who hate Metro (or whatever Microsoft's calling it now): there's apparently no way for users to get around the tiled Start menu interface in Windows 8.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

BIll to Study and Regulate Radio Frequency

Kucinich introduces RF regulation bill to Congress:

On Friday, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced bill HR 6358 to Congress, which could spawn a new national research program to study cell phones and force the FCC and EPA to update the Specific Absorption Rate methodology for determining the potential damage that radio frequency emissions can cause. The bill, should it be passed, will "examine, label, and communicate adverse human biological effects associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields from cell phones and other wireless devices, and for other purposes."

Monday, August 06, 2012

Pell Grants and Summer Enrollment

From Joanne Jacobs Without Pell, summer enrollment slips:

Summer enrollment is down at many community colleges now that low-income students can’t get federal aid. In a bipartisan compromise last year, the “year-round” Pell Grant was cut from the budget to keep the maximum grant at $5,550.

What's Nokia Thinking?

Andy Patrizio Nokia preps to sell Qt, but not before Elop screws it up:

Word from Australia is that Nokia is shutting down the Brisbane office that has worked on the open-source graphical interface framework Qt in preparation to sell off the framework.


A Nokia senior software engineer told ZDNet Australia that he and 50 other employees have received notices of termination and Nokia plans to close the office.


what the hell is Nokia CEO Stephen Elop thinking? He’s firing all of the engineers and QA people, THEN trying to sell off the company? No one in their right mind is going to buy a DVD-ROM full of code without staff who actually know what's what and where. That's worthless.

Source code is only half the value, and perhaps even less than that. The team that built it, integrated it with other platforms, tested it, that knows it cold, is the real asset.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Newton's Cradle

In lightbulbs!

Pieter shares … Asobi:

“Asobi” is Yasutoki Kariya’s version of a Newton’s cradle, which you probably know as a desktop toy. Yasutoki made a version with light bulbs which illustrate the transfer of kinetic energy. If you look closely to the video, you will notice that the outer bulbs don’t touch the other ones.

Could World of Warcraft Become a Ghost Town?

According to Chris Taylor – ‘World of Warcraft’ Lost 1 Million Gamers in Three Months. Is It Over? – WoW has gone from a peak of 12 million subscribers in October 2010 to just 9 million today.

That still makes it the largest MMO on the planet. But if this rate of depletion were to continue, the fantasy world would be a ghost town by 2014.

Still a big number, but I think this illustrates the shift away from PC gaming.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Bill Gates, DOS and CP/M

Bob Zeidman asks and answers … Did Bill Gates Steal the Heart of DOS?:

Zeidman's analysis is a really good read – I won't spoil it for you.

The history of the computer industry is filled with fascinating tales of riches that appear to practically fall from the sky.

Along with stories of riches won, there are stories of opportunities missed. Take that of Ronald Wayne, who cofounded Apple Computer with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs but sold his shares for just US $2300. And John Atanasoff, who proudly showed his digital computer design to John Mauchly—who later codesigned the Eniac, often defined as the first electronic computer, without credit to Atanasoff.

But by far the most famous story of missed fame and fortune is that of Gary Kildall. A pioneer in computer operating systems, Kildall wrote Control Program for Microcomputers (CP/M), the operating system used on many of the early hobbyist personal computers, such as the MITS Altair 8800, the IMSAI 8080, and the Osborne 1, before IBM introduced its own machine, the PC. Kildall could have virtually owned the personal computer operating system business, had he sold that system to IBM. He didn’t. Why is a matter of speculation, mundane gossip, and urban legend. We’ll get to that.

Bill Gates at Microsoft, however, did sell an operating system to IBM—and reaped then-unimaginable rewards. A cloud of speculation has hung over that part of the story as well. The big question: Was the operating system Gates sold to IBM his to sell? Or was a key part of it stolen from Kildall?

Microsoft has stated that its hands were clean. Kildall maintained that QDOS, and subsequently MS-DOS, had been directly copied from CP/M and thus infringed on his copyright. But until now there’s been no way to conduct a reliable examination of the software itself, to look inside MS-DOS for the fingerprints of CP/M, and settle the issue once and for all.

Does Your Organization Do Mobile?

Madeline Bennett observes that Social Media Access Via Mobile Grows. If your college, university, etc is not mobile-ready, you might get left behind – stuck on the desktop!

Mobile users are continuing to turn more frequently to their cell phones for social and gaming purposes, according to the latest data from analyst Comscore.

For the quarter ending in June, 36.9 percent of mobile users accessed a social networking site or blog on their handset, up almost a percentage point from 36.1 percent compared to the first quarter 2012.

Mobile gaming increased by the same amount, up from 32.6 percent to 33.4 percent quarter on quarter.

The numbers might only be slowly creeping up, but the overall pattern shows a greater proportion of mobile subscribers are using their handhelds for traditional desktop tasks.

Friday, August 03, 2012

RIM 'Seriously' Considered Android

From Brad Reed … RIM CEO says company 'seriously' considered switch to Android:

RIM (RIMM) CEO Thorsten Heins’s interview with the Telegraph on Thursday made headlines for his admission that the company can’t keep up with Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (005930) without outside help. But there’s another interesting nugget buried within the interview that didn’t get quite as much attention: Heins says that RIM took a long, hard look at migrating to Android before deciding to plow forward with BlackBerry 10.

Would this have been the right move? We'll never know. Does it matter now? Probably not.

Happy Birthday TRS-80


From John C Abell … Aug. 3, 1977: The TRS-80 Is Bad, and That Ain't Trash Talk:

1977: In a New York City news conference Tandy Corp of Texas announces that it will manufacture the first mass-produced personal computer. The TRS-80 — lovingly called the “Trash 80” — would be an early rock star in the PC era and give the flagging Radio Shack franchise bragging rights as “biggest name in little computers.”

The TRS-80 was a desktop machine, woefully underpowered by today’s standards — 4 KB of RAM, (expandable to 16 KB!), a 12-inch monitor, a built-in cassette-based data recorder and BASIC interpreter. Oh, yes, it came with Blackjack and Backgammon.

But the Model I was a staggering success in its day, a time when your choice was either building your own computer from a kit or buying something for thousands of dollars.

Photo by MarkGregory007

The Shift to IPTV

Iptv story image 540x334

Daniel Mickens with some interesting data … IPTV Use on the Rise. It seems that any Internet-connected set top box or mobile device qualifies as IPTV.

A recent Nielson study showed that Internet protocol televisions (IPTV) adoption is growing. Americans spend 35 hours a week viewing content across various screens. However, 94 percent of that viewing time happens on a television set.

IPTVs allow viewers to directly connect to video streamed from the web through their television. As of February 2011, only 4.7 percent of homes had an IPTV. That number has more than doubled to 10.4 percent in February 2012. Expect these numbers to continue to increase as IPTV functionality is built into current and future television models.

"It's not a decline; it is a change in device," said Pat McDonough Nielsen's SVP Insights Analysis and Policy, who's featured in a video associated with the report. "We are still on the Internet when we are watching television but we are using this different device to do it. People are talking about computer use going down. Perhaps the device is changing but the pattern of media consumption is not changing."

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Lack of Minority Representation in STEM

Why it matters, from Jan Zverina … Lack of Minority Representation in STEM Endangering US Economic Health:

“Our concern with under-representation today does not stem from moral or ethical issues,” Tapia, a professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University said during his keynote address to attendees of XSEDE12, this year’s conference of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF)  Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) program in Chicago.

It’s a simple matter of the nation’s survival,” said Tapia

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Inequity vs. Iniquity


Inequity vs. iniquity - Grammarist:

Inequity means (1) injustice or unfairness, or (2) an instance of injustice or unfairness. It’s an antonym of equity, which denotes justice, fairness, or balance. 

Iniquity is closely related—both words ultimately derive from the Latin aequus, meaning equal—but it refers to extreme injustices, gross immorality, or acts regarded as sinful. An inequity may be a minor injustice or a small instance of unfairness, while iniquities are by definition very large or especially heinous. 

Iniquity appears often in the phrase den of iniquity, referring to a place where immoral or wicked things happen.


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