Archive for April, 2007
Friday, April 27th, 2007
Tivo is selling their dual CableCARD Series 3 for the low low price of $499.00 with a wireless’esk service plan agreement. Nice! I’ll be sticking with media center myself going forward (just ordered a brand new Dell system which should be here next week) but for die-hard Tivo lovers this is a great deal.
Thursday, April 26th, 2007
Commercial launching for satellites can cost $30 million or more; Mr. Musk has pledged to do the job for about $7 million, and has invested some $100 million of his own money in the effort.
Mr. Musk, who was born in South Africa, is now a citizen of the United States. He is one of a number of wealthy entrepreneurs pursuing dreams of space flight. Paul Allen, a founder of Microsoft, paid for the development of SpaceShipOne, the small rocket built by aircraft designer Burt Rutan. That craft was the first privately funded craft with a human aboard to reach the edge of space, and won the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition in 2004. Sir Richard Branson is having Mr. Rutan design a larger version of that craft for his Virgin Galactic spaceflight company, which he has said will be launching flights by next year. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, has a company, Blue Origin, that is testing a rocket of its own. Robert Bigelow, who made a fortune in budget hotels, is trying to loft a hotel into orbit, and John Carmack, a computer game maker, is building rockets at his Armadillo Aerospace outside of Dallas.
Tech geeks and thier rocket – I totally get it. When I was in school I spent quite a bit of time drawing up plans for my own rocket. Why? I have no idea, it just seemed really cool. At the time, I found most of the information I needed for designing good engine nozzles and rocket propellants via old military research texts in the library. These days I’m sure you can find most of what you need on the internet.
The image above is The Pixel, a liquid rocket engine John Carmack’s Armadillo Aerospace designed. I wonder why the the exhaust has that cool resonance wave pattern in it?
Thursday, April 26th, 2007
WESTERVILLE, Ohio – A high school lunch period was disrupted Monday by a greased, naked student who ran around screaming and flailing his arms until police twice used a stun gun on him, authorities said.
Killian is in jail and charged with inducing panic, public indecency, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. A message seeking comment was left at Killian’s home.
School officials reported that Killian was a good student, Gaylor said. There was no indication of substance abuse or a medical problem.
Kinda sad when you think about it – in these wonderfully modern times, student’s get tazed twice for pulling off great senior pranks.
Thursday, April 26th, 2007
“Well, even more than that, if you just wanted to look at it purely in terms of American national interest, if U.S. troops leave now, you’re giving Iraq to Iran, a member of President Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil,’ and al Qaeda. That’s who will own it. And so, coming back now, I’m struck by the nature of the debate on Capitol Hill, how delusional it is. Whether you’re for this war, or against it; whether you’ve supported the way it’s been executed, or not; it doesn’t matter. You’ve broke it, you’ve got to fix it now. You can’t leave, or it’s going to come and blow back on America.”
- Michael Ware, CNN
Saturday, April 21st, 2007
One of IronPython’s key advantages is in its function as an extensibility layer to application frameworks written in a .NET language. It is relatively simple to integrate an IronPython interpreter into an existing .NET application framework. Once in place, downstream developers can use scripts written in IronPython that interact with .NET objects in the framework, thereby extending the functionality in the framework’s interface, without having to change any of the framework’s code base.
IronPython makes extensive use of reflection. When passed in a reference to a .NET object, it will automatically import the types and methods available to that object. This results in a highly intuitive experience when working with .NET objects from within an IronPython script.
Friday, April 20th, 2007
The Netscape Soda Can Bridge, circa 1998 maybe? I like the shot, it’s got that Wired, web 1.0 feel to it.
The remnants, tucked away in a corner at Mozilla Corp’s headquarters, Mountain View. (Sorry for the blurry shot, my RAZR camera skills stink.) Dig that
Netscape AOL branded shipping box!
Web 1.0 – R.I.P.
Sunday, April 15th, 2007
A quick comparison of pc’s and macs sold online will show an obvious different in price – that’s because companies that pay to have their trialware preloaded onto a computer help the consumer pay for the cost of buying that computer. Take for example Walmart’s HP Pavilion desktop (1.86 core duo, 2 gigs of ram, DVD burner, 320 GB disk, memory stick reader) and Apple’s top of the line mini desktop (1.83 core duo, 2 gigs of ram, 160GB disk, dvd player) -
Pavilion – $868.00
Mini – $1,376.00
Ironically, the mini comes with two trialware software packages preloaded, one from Apple (no cost savings), and one from Microsoft (cost savings). If Apple expanded their preloading trials program to include other 3rd party software packages, the price of the mini would likely drop closer to the cost of the Pavilion. Since price is the primary decision factor in purchases for the average consumer, Apple could add more trialware, increase sales and keep the same margins.
Another point to be made here is that the pc market is a true free market. If user’s didn’t like preloaded software (you might actually be able ot make the argument consumers not only don’t mind free stuff, they actually like it) they would purchase pcs that don’t have it. The fact that most pcs come with preloaded trialware indicates consumers see a value trade off between the presence of trialware and the prices of the computers they buy.
Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
iTunes adds some of MGM’s titles, bringing thier total film count to 500. Unfortunately the video quality hasn’t improved, with titles being offered in iTunes standard 1.5 mbit/sec rate, 640×480 and stereo sound.
Sunday, April 8th, 2007
Paul Graham predicts the death of Microsoft in his Microsoft is Dead post. If your interested in the subject I’m sure you’ve read all the follow up techmeme posts so I’ll save you and not contribute my personal rants here. I would like to point out one error though, which I think is indicative of people who live in the bubble that is Silicon Valley –
The last nail in the coffin came, of all places, from Apple. Thanks to OS X, Apple has come back from the dead in a way that is extremely rare in technology.  Their victory is so complete that I’m now surprised when I come across a computer running Windows. Nearly all the people we fund at Y Combinator use Apple laptops. It was the same in the audience at startup school. All the computer people use Macs or Linux now. Windows is for grandmas, like Macs used to be in the 90s. So not only does the desktop no longer matter, no one who cares about computers uses Microsoft’s anyway.
“Windows is for Grandmas” – interesting observation, one which isn’t very accurate as far as I can tell. Living in Florida and being active on my local community’s Board of Directors, I interact with a lot of grandmas and I can tell you, they all use Macs. I can spin around 360 degrees on my street and point out at least five households who have two things – a grandma on property, and a Mac. This isn’t a “good sign” for Microsoft either because grandmas tend to do fairly simple tasks – read email, work on reports and lists for community services they are involved in, and of course view family photos. While Microsoft doesn’t have to worry about new legions of Mac users being spawned by the adoption of Mac hardware in these homes, they should still be concerned about it since the choice to go with Mac usually comes down to two factors – simplicity and reliability. Two features Windows obviously hasn’t done as good a job of as Apple has over the past five years in OSX.
This is not to say Windows needs to become more “Mac like”, quite the contrary as there are numerous reasons people go with Windows. Which illustrates the challenge Microsoft continues to face – producing an operating system everyone enjoys using. Granted, they’ve obviously done a better job of this than Apple, but they still have a ways to go.
Sunday, April 8th, 2007
- The Marketplace will be getting its own Dashboard Blade.
- The Marketplace will be skinned independently of the Dashboard, for special events.
- The Marketplace will be getting a new, easier-to-navigate remake.
That last one is important, and hopefully they’ve done a good job of it. XBox Live Video Marketplace is convenient, and the list of movie and television titles is growing. But as those lists have grown, the interface for browsing content has become cumbersome, so lets hope they put their best UI designers on it and come out with something much simple to use. Personally I’d like to see a keyword search feature on the film listings, bigger cover art imagery, and more text based data like user reviews, similar to Amazon’s personal reviews.
Update There’s a lot more – better fast forward and reverse playback of video (something that needed some work), a new bookmarking feature, better protected content playback from your office workstation or laptop, video playback now supports chapters, better H.264 support (up to level 4.1), and switchable aspect ratios, and you can now “turn the console off” while continuing to downloading any game or video content. Nice!