July 25, 2006
Blogging is light here right now 'cause I'm away at the EAA AirVenture 2006 fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. You can see my posts about that over at my personal blog.
July 17, 2006
Space Shuttle returns safely
The Space Shuttle, Discovery, reentered the atmosphere, and landed, uneventfully at Cape Canaveral this morning.
July 16, 2006
PlayPump innovative technology
This innovative water pump that doubles as a children’s merry-go-round is bringing clean water – and a better life – to hundreds of thousands of families in Africa.
It’s a simple idea. As children spin on a merry-go-round, water pumps from below the ground. It is stored in a tank just a few feet away, making a safe, plentiful supply of water available in the community.
Nearly 700 PlayPumps have been installed in South Africa, providing safe water to a million people living in rural communities.
[I found this story on the John Dvorak blog, but he didn't include a link to the site, so I had to go looking for it.]
July 13, 2006
Private Space Habitat Test a Success
It appears that the test of an inflatable orbital habitat has reached some impressive milestones. Bigelow Aerospace is reporting that the test habitat has successfully inflated, and its solar arrays have deployed and are working.
[via MGA, thanks]
July 12, 2006
Digital Photo presentation at BMac
I'm headed out tonight to give my "Fun with Digital Photography" talk at BMac.
Ubuntu LiveCD Trial
I downloaded the Ubuntu CD. You can boot off the this CD without installing, or disturbing, anything on the Mac.
Impressive. The look and feel is a combination of the Mac and Windows. The included software is covers all the main bases. Networking worked without any adjustments. It basically ran fine right "out of the box".
I do want to see if it includes WiFi support, and that it works.
The machine I ran it on has a 19 inch monitor, and the Ubuntu version seemed to only support up to 1024 pixels wide. Which made for very large looking fonts on the screen. But otherwise it looked good.
I can see why some normally Mac-oriented people are giving this a real look. I find it very tempting myself. Perhaps as the OS on an inexpensive laptop for road use.
July 10, 2006
The Internet is entering its Lego era.
Indeed, blocks of interchangeable software components are proliferating on the Web and developers are joining them together to create a potentially infinite array of useful new programs...
As a result, computer industry innovation is rapidly becoming decentralized. In the place of large, intricate and self-contained programs like Microsoft Word, written and maintained by armies of programmers, smaller companies, with just a handful of developers, are now producing pioneering software and Web-based services. These new services can be delivered directly to PC's or even to cellphones. Bigger companies are taking note.
What's the deal with Ubuntu?
Maybe I'm late to this party. But I'm hearing a lot lately about the Ubuntu distro of linux. Send me an email if you know anything about this.
Microsoft sued, again.
Seattle Times (July 4):
A second class-action lawsuit filed in less than a week against Microsoft alleges that a central pillar of the company's anti-piracy effort — installed automatically on millions of computers — amounts to spyware...
The second suit, filed Friday on behalf of a group of Washington businesses and individuals, appears to refer to a test version of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), a Microsoft program that is designed to check whether a user is running a legitimate copy of the company's operating system software.
This news is a bit old, but worth mentioning.
Apple developing a Spreadsheet?
MacRumors is reporting that it will be called "Charts" and come out with the next release of iWorks, maybe in January.
It seems to me that this is just a matter of time. They've already created an alternative to Word in Pages, and Powerpoint in Keynote. Next a spreadsheet, then a database?
2006: The year of private spaceflight
An unprecedented number of private launches are planned for this year, showing real progress toward inexpensive space travel.
July 07, 2006
Acta is dead, long live Opal
One of the early legends of Macintosh software, David Dunham -- who among other things wrote the groundbreaking outliner Acta -- has announced he's finally updating his outliner.
He's released a beta of "Opal" which looks comfortingly like Acta, but with the bells and whistles of OS X.
The beta is free, but the hint is that the final will be for a fee. I'm guessing it will be worth it.
Homebrew Biotech Club
In the 1970s, before the PC era, there were computer hobbyists. A group of them formed the Homebrew Computer Club in a Menlo Park garage in 1975 to trade integrated circuits and swap tips on assembling rudimentary computers, like the Altair 8800, a rig with no inputs or outputs and memory measured in kilobytes.
As the tools of biotechnology become accessible (and affordable) to a wider public for the first time, hobbyists are recapturing that collaborative ethos and applying it to tinkering with the building blocks of life.
Eugene Thacker is a professor of literature, culture and communications at Georgia Tech and a member of the Biotech Hobbyist collective.
July 05, 2006
Amanda has left the building???
According to this report from Amanda (the face of Rocketboom) Congdon, she has left Rocketboom. She says this departure was not voluntary, and she suggests the parting way not amicable.
This seems to me to be a huge mistake on the part of Rocketboom. The only thing they really had that was unique was Amanda herself. She'll setup elsewhere and be as big as ever.
UPDATE: According to the Rocketboom site, Amanda "has decided to move to L.A. to pursue opportunities that have arisen for her in Hollywood."
July 03, 2006
I'm (finally) dipping my toe into the waters of online video. I've started evalauting my first digital video camera.
I selected the Canon ZR500 mainly because it is the only camera I could find in the $300 price range which allowed you to plug in an external microphone. Being an audio guy, I have strong feelings about doing better than the audio allowed by the built in camera mics.
I consider this to be a "training" camera. I plan to learn the basics of doing video for the net and then upgrade to a more sophisticated, higher quality camera.
Here's one review of this camera.
Get ready for video.