So happy spring, people! After a couple of nice warm days we’re kind of back to reality now, but I think we’ve really broken the back of this dreadfully dreary winter. So now it’s time for all things new… including the latest news from the world of high tech, built just for you in this here newsletter. Enjoy!

* The Macomb-OU INCubator Executive-in-Residence program will host “Building A Performance Culture With Clarity And Speed,” presented by Kathryn Baker and Tim Kuppler of Advicoach of Michigan on Thursday, April 17. The event begins with networking at 8 a.m. and the presentation runs from 8:30 to 10 a.m. The venue is the Macomb-OU INCubator at Velocity Collaboration Center. 6633 18 Mile Road, Sterling Heights. At this session, learn to manage performance and culture with confidence in order to unite employees, increases collaboration and pride, and drive out fear, negativity and politics. In this hands-on approach to learning, attendees will complete a culture road map to help gain a clear understanding of where gaps exist in their current company culture. The approach was featured in the 2014 book “Build the Culture Advantage, Deliver Sustainable Performance with Clarity and Speed.” To request additional information, please contact Kathryn Baker at or (248) 613-1496. For more information on the Executives-in-Residence program at Mac-OU INC, please contact Joan Carleton at or (586) 884-9324.

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Lawrence Technological University will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its third residence hall on Monday, April 7, at 11 a.m. The public is invited to the ceremony, which will take place near University Housing-North on the campus at 21000 West 10 Mile Road in Southfield. (For directions and map, see The $11.6 million project is scheduled for completion in time for fall classes in 2015. The 47,545-square-foot, two-story building, which will have a capacity of 160 students, will be adjacent to the university’s largest parking lot along the Northwestern Highway service drive. Lawrence Tech currently has capacity for 600 students at its two residence halls. University Housing Solutions and Adena Corp., both of Mansfield, Ohio, are the developer-design-builder and construction manager for the project, respectively. JPRA Architects of Farmington Hills developed the plans and are the architects of record. The new residence hall will have five pods with 16 double-occupancy units. Each pod in the new building will have its own common lounge with fireplace and kitchenette space complete with range, refrigerator, and microwave appliances. Amenities include cafe/retail space on the first floor, central laundry on both floors, a multi-purpose room, a game room, and two conference-type spaces. LTU’s addition of varsity athletic programs and more student activities has created a greater demand for on-campus housing. During the current academic year, LTU is leasing residential suites for 80 students at Arbor Lofts located near campus on Civic Center Drive in Southfield. The school expects immediate, 100 percent occupancy of the new hall. Lawrence Technological University,, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 7 percent of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment, and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area.  Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.

* Calling all makers! Meaning inventors, tinkerers, do-it-yourselfers and hackers. A Call to Makers that went live today for The Henry Ford’s Fifth Maker Faire Detroit event in Dearborn. Potential makers can sign up until June 6 at Now in its fifth year, this unique, two-day, family-friendly event promises to bring makers from all over the nation to celebrate their unbridled creativity and resourcefulness. Maker Faire Detroit will be held July 26-27 from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entries can be submitted by individuals or by groups, such as hobbyist clubs and schools. The Henry Ford particularly encourages exhibits that are interactive and that highlight the process of making things. The closing date for all entries is June 6. Maker Faire Detroit is looking for a wide variety of eclectic, diverse and out-of-the-box ideas that highlight the DIY and tinkerer spirit. Exhibits and displays can range from student projects, robotics, 3D printers and CNC mills, textile arts and crafts, home energy monitoring, rockets and R/C toys, sustainability, green tech, radios, vintage computers and game systems, electronics, electric vehicles, biology/biotech and chemistry projects, puppets, kites, bicycles, shelter (tents, domes, etc.), and unusual tools or machines. Help kickoff the Call to Makers this year during Week of Geek, now through April 5. Activities include Tinker.Hack.Invent Saturday inside Henry Ford Museum and open maker spaces at i3Detroit, Maker Works and TechShop throughout the week. GR Makers will be hosting a meeting on April 2 from 8 p.m. to midnight. Stop by the Detroit Public Library for Crafternoon on April 3 from 4 to 5:45 p.m. and on April 5 Arts and Scraps will be hosting a free Robot Institute from 11 am to 3 p.m. Maker Faire Detroit is independently produced by The Henry Ford in collaboration with Maker Media.

* Grandville-based Trivalent Group, the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan, Fishnet Security and the West Michigan Cyber Security Consortium are joining to sponsor “Are You the Next Target?,” a no-cost cyber security conference. The conference is open to the public and will cover topics pertaining to information security for business owners and managers, security professionals and consumers. The event will be held Wednesday, April 23 from 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Eberhard Center at the Grand Valley State University downtown campus, 301 W. Fulton St., Second Floor, Grand Rapids. The conference will include two keynote sessions featuring Colby Clark, director of incident management from Fishnet Security, and Jennifer Puplava, attorney at Mika, Meyers, Beckett and Jones, who specializes in intellectual property law and technology law. To see the full schedule and additional speaker information, visit Register for the event at this link. For more information, contact Becky Peuler at or (616) 301-6301.

* Auburn Hills-based Patti Engineering will host a grand opening celebration at a new office in Austin, Texas Friday. Founder and former president of Patti Engineering Sam Hoff, now an executive vice president, spearheaded its expansion to Texas in the spring of 2010. The company cites its partnerships with Siemens, Mitsubishi, Phoenix Contact, Matrox, Kawasaki Robotics and Indusoft as critical components to its success in the Texas region. The company has formed great working relationships with several Texas automation suppliers. AWC is a leading automation supplier and distributor of Siemens automation products. AWC and Patti Engineering have worked together on many projects, including assisting national oil well equipment manufacturers in the design, development and implementation of complex automated drilling technology. For more information, visit

* The Saginaw education and nonprofit group purchasing organization MiCTA has designated T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) as an approved national vendor for cellular services to its membership. T-Mobile’s designation as an approved national vendor is the result of MiCTA’s competitive bidding process, which evaluates telecommunications and technology solutions on behalf of its nationwide membership. Through a MiCTA Master Service Agreement, MiCTA members may purchase approved telecommunications and technology products and services at volume discounts. Besides offering significant cost savings, this approach also eliminates the need for MiCTA members to conduct their own costly competitive bidding processes. MiCTA, located at 4805 Towne Centre, Suite 100 in Saginaw, represents thousands of higher education, K-12, healthcare, library, governmental, non-profit and charitable entities. Nationally, MiCTA negotiates purchase contracts for discounted telecommunications and technology services, provides helpful information, makes grants, and participates in legislative and regulatory telecommunications advocacy for its members. More at

And here’s the national, international, interplanetary, interstellar and universal stuff, courtesy of CBS News, CNet’s and other fine news sources…

* About 252 million years ago, more than 96 percent of ocean life and 70 percent of land-based life forms died in an event known as the end-Permian extinction. The mass die-off happened in a geologic flash of just 60,000 years. Scientists have proposed everything from massive meteor impacts to coal explosions to rifting supercontinents to explain this cataclysmic extinction.  Now, new research suggests that bacteria, with a little help from massive volcanism, produced large quantities of methane, killing most life on the planet.

* If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be part of a kickabout with Messi, Neymar and the world’s finest footballers, now’s your chance to find out… as long as you don’t mind being the ball. Adidas has put HD cameras inside a high-tech match ball to get soccer fans excited ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. (Unfortunately word is Brazil is even less ready for the Copa do Mundo than Sochi was for the Winter Olympics. But at least Brazil isn’t likely to invade anybody right after the Cup. We hope.)

* When communicating online, words sometimes just aren’t enough, says City University London Professor Adrian David Cheok. Now, he has a solution: researchers at his Mixed Reality Lab on campus are coming up with ways to say it with a smell — developing cell phone apps and plug-ins that emit scents like flowers, food and spices. (Like Oscar Mayer’s bacon app!)

* Sometimes the object spotted in the Indian Ocean is a snarled fishing line. Or a buoy. Or something that might once have been the lid to an ice box. Not once – not yet at least – has it been a clue. Anticipation has repeatedly turned into frustration in the search for signs of Flight 370 as objects spotted from planes in a new search area west of Australia have turned out to be garbage. It’s a time-wasting distraction for air and sea crews searching for debris from the Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished March 8. It also points to wider problems in the world’s oceans. “The ocean is like a plastic soup, bulked up with the croutons of these larger items,” said Los Angeles captain Charles Moore, an environmental advocate credited with bringing attention to an ocean gyre between Hawaii and California known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which by some accounts is about the size of Texas.

* Online home rental service Airbnb has agreed to pay San Francisco’s 14 percent hotel tax, addressing at least one concern of critics who say the company is flouting regulations. Under the plan, Airbnb would collect taxes directly from guests as an extra charge on their bill – the same way hotels do, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Monday. For example, a guest staying in a $100-per-night Airbnb room would pay an extra $14 a night.

* Google’s new Pokemon Master? Internet-connected goggles for dogs? A private island for tech startups? If these all seem too good to be true, check your calendar — it probably is. Unlike the 75 percent of Americans who said they wouldn’t pull a prank on Tuesday, for tech companies, April Fools’ Day is like Christmas to them — delivering promises of fantastical products that would dupe even the most skeptical users. This year, April 1 was no different.

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* Dating site OKCupid took an aggressive step on Monday to make sure that its budding romantics who use Firefox knew exactly what the company thinks of Mozilla’s new chief executive, co-founder Brendan Eich. Seems Eich donated money to the effort to pass the anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8 in 2008, so OKCupid is urging its users to dump Firefox and use another browser. OKCupid went so far as to put up an anti-Firefox message on its home page when it detects Firefox in use. OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder wrote, “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.”

* You could call it one small step for a ship, one giant leap for oceanographic research. The U.S. Navy named the first of a new class of research vessels after the first man to walk on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong, during a ceremony Saturday at the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed in Washington.

* There’s just over a week left before Microsoft stops supporting its Windows XP operating system, which will leave millions of computers vulnerable to security threats, including ATMs across the country. The change will take place on April 8. After that, Microsoft will no longer issue automatic security updates to fix bugs or protect against new viruses. NCR, the nation’s largest supplier of ATMs, estimates that 95 percent of the cash machines run Windows XP and only 20 to 30 percent will be fixed before the deadline. CNet senior editor Dan Ackerman joined “CBS This Morning” to discuss the possible security risk. He told the co-hosts that ATMs and other computers running Windows XP will work fine after the deadline, but that it serves as a “warning bell” for everyone.

* The sun unleashed a major solar flare on Saturday, causing a radio blackout for several minutes on Earth, space weather experts say. The brief X1-class flare erupted from the now decaying sunspot AR2017 at 1:48 p.m. EDT (1748 GMT) on Saturday, according to a report from the NOAA-led Space Weather Prediction Center. Although AR2017 is dissipating, it may still produce more solar flares in the coming days, the report stated.

* “Climate change is happening, the signs of it, the impacts, are detectible already,” says Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, lead author of the UN’s latest report on climate change. “If you live in a city, if you live along the coast, or if you eat to live, this is a problem you have to worry about.” A review of scientific research conducted since 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report definitively concludes that the effects of climate change are already impacting everything from global safety to food supplies. “There is no one on Earth who escapes the effects of climate change,” Oppenheimer told CBS News. The most pressing matter, he said, is food supply. A warmer world will push food prices higher, trigger “hotspots of hunger” among the world’s poorest people, and put a crunch on supplies of Western delicacies like fine wine and robust coffee, according to the 32-volume report issued Monday.

* Whether this is a clever April Fools’ Day prank or the ultimate bid in Kiev party politics, watching Darth Vader hit the Ukraine campaign trail is an epic sight to behold. According to the The Guardian, “the Sith lord, or at least an unnamed costumed protester often seen on Kiev’s Independence Square flanked by his loyal stormtroopers during the winter protests, has been chosen as the official candidate of the Ukrainian Internet Party (UIP), which has become known for its theatrical public stunts.”

* During opening arguments in a new patent infringement trial in San Jose, Calif., Apple Tuesday said Samsung flat-out copied its iPhone after suffering a ‘crisis of design.’ Apple seeks $2 billion in damages from its smartphone rival.

* LTE coverage is improving for the four major carriers in the United States, but data transfer speeds on the 4G network are on their way down over the last year, data collected from subscribers shows. OpenSignal, whose app people can use to monitor their coverage, shows that T-Mobile has the fastest data transfer speeds over the last three months, averaging 11.5Mbps. AT&T placed second at 9.1Mbps, Verizon was in third at 7.8Mbps, and Sprint was slowest at 4.3Mbps. Those speeds dropped over the last year, though, as measured by the 103,025 OpenSignal users that reported data.

* Google’s YouTube will be offering more ad-tracking capabilities for an extended period of time from Nielsen, the television ratings company, deepening the possibility of more ad dollars being siphoned from traditional TV to the massive upstart platform. Google long held Nielsen at arm’s length, keeping third-party measurement of ads running on YouTube at bay, which discouraged some advertisers — raised on a decades-long reliance on Nielsen ratings for their media buys — from using the Web’s biggest video platform as an outlet for commercials. That changed in November when Google allowed Nielsen to put what are called “online campaign ratings” on some ads. Tuesday, Nielsen said it has extended this collaboration with Google, with YouTube agreeing to make the online campaign ratings available to some advertisers who buy Google’s new preferred video lineups and integrating online campaign ratings with DoubleClick, the online ad firm Google bought in 2007.

* HBO may hold god-like status in the entertainment realm, but can it control the weather? You’d almost think it could, thanks to a new satellite image released Tuesday from NOAA’S GOES-15 satellite. The shot shows three swirling cloud systems that upon close inspection resemble curled-up dragons lined up straight across the country. The image comes just six days before the network premieres season four of “Game of Thrones.”

* Take six adults. Lock them in a solar dome in an abandoned quarry. Give them each a super-small bedroom. Keep them there for four months. Watch. It might sound like a new reality TV show, but it’s what’s currently happening on the northern slope of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano as part of NASA’s Hawaii Space Exploration and Analog Simulation (HI-SEAS) mission. The faux crew members will pretend to live on the surface of Mars, right down to needing to put on space suits when they go outside.

* Hey, students: If you’re going after a computer science degree, you’ll get your best ROI at a cheaper state school, provided it’s a good one. Which we have several of right here in Michigan.

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* Wi-Fi is about to get better soon, thanks to a Federal Communications Commission vote to open up more spectrum for its use.