Archive for July, 2011

Wow

Saudi Arabia blocks Amnesty International Web site – Computerworld.

Our “partners in peace” in action.

Sad.

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The geek in me…

Wants.

One.

Of.

These.

Mass Effect 3 N7 replica gets real world debut for your Spacer pleasure — Engadget.

Ford polls Facebook on EV sounds

Ford polls Facebook on EV sounds | The Car Tech blog – CNET Reviews.

OK.

While I can see the purpose and agree, it’s probably a good idea, does anyone else think this whole thing is a bit silly?

What’s next?

Instead of custom Ring Tones for your phone, custom Car Tones for your new hybrid car?

“For only a $500 upgrade and the new ‘Sound Package’ you can change the sounds your car makes to that annoying Eagles song from high school.”

/head desk

 

What’s in a name?

Viberect offers vibrating alternative to Viagra | Crave – CNET.

OMG.

Based on the picture on the linked article, I don’t EVEN want to know how you use this thing.

Really.  They seriously need some marketing help for the name.

Siri-based voice control in iOS?

I have to say this would be really cool.

I use Siri a lot.  If you haven’t checked out the app yet, I’d highly recommend it.  It allows you to use plain speech to do all sorts of things such as leave yourself reminders, find restaurants and such.

What’s so different about that?  Well, the voice control.  It’s amazing how much easier it is when you just have to open an app and say, “Find a kid-friendly mexican restaurant near me”, and up pops a map with several choices. No typing, no swearing at AutoCorrect…no mess, no fuss.

Siri has done a great job with the speech recognition and the functionality of the app.  Having this integrated in iOS would be a great addition.

IMHO

Leak: future iOS update to introduce Siri-based voice control — Engadget.

Dreams and space.

When I was a kid, I knew what I wanted to be in life.

It governed all sorts of aspects of my life.  What I read, what I did, how I spent my free time.  It was my dream.

The dream was to be an astronaut.  Specifically I wanted to walk on Mars one day.

I’d always been interested in space, and astronomy, but the dream was really given form on one specific day.

That was the day I watched the first space shuttle launch into orbit.  It was April 12, of 1981.

That was the day that space became a reality for me and many in my generation.  It became tangible.

My parents let me stay home from school that morning to watch the launch on TV.  It was amazing.  I knew at that point that I wanted to fly in space.

About a year later, I got to watch, live and in person, the launch of STS-3.  We were in Florida for a vacation and we sat on the shore in Titusville and watched Columbia blast into space.

The feeling was unbelievable.   The sound.  The vibration in my chest from the shockwave (and we were about to miles away).

What was so magical about that time was that we, meaning the kids, had something to look to as an example of what could be accomplished.  We had a goal.  Something to shoot for.  Being an astronaut was real.  It wasn’t something we just learned about in classes.  Like the moon landings in the 60s and 70s, the shuttle was something for our generation.

Things changed all over the country.

Science classes developed mock space experiments.  We learned about gravity.  Kids drew pictures of the shuttles.  We learned about the space toilet on the shuttle, and the robotic arm, while goofy looking was cool.

Later, we sat in silent horror when we learned about the Challenger disaster.

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the Challenger?  I was in Mr. Mitchum’s World History class when the principal came over the intercom and announced the event.  Mr. Mitchum dismissed class and we all made for the library (where there was a TV) and watched the news footage. For my generation it became our “Where were you when Kennedy was shot” question.

Then we waited while Nasa sorted out the mess.  We waited for the launches to start up again.

The space program was something we could rally around in an era of Reganomics, cold war paranoia, and uncertainty.

It was right up there with Star Wars and MTV.

For those of us that were science geeks (and I suspect a few more), it helped to define us.  It made science cool.  It taught us to set goals.  To reach for something just beyond our normal reach.

It taught us to dream of achievement.

So it’s with a lot of sadness that I watch the final shuttle mission.  STS-135.

It’s true that America needs a new launch and vehicle system.  Good God, the shuttle is 1970s technology.  I can’t imagine.

But for years, I’ve watched as NASA has floundered with poor policy, lack of planning, no vision and one PR and management fiasco after another.  The Space Program, something with the potential to unite and inspire us, has become a convent whipping post for politicians and pundits looking to score some points.

As I said, NASA has done a lot of this to itself.  But Congress, the Presidents and the Public have stood idly by and let it happen.

As a people, as a nation, we need to look to the future of our space program. Is it being managed correctly?  Is there a vision?  Are there goals?  Where will the money come from?  We need to demand better.

It’s been proven time and time again that the benefits from a space program more than pay for themselves in terms of innovation, technology, research and discovery.

Is the current vision of another capsule system really the way to go?  Where does private-industry fit into the picture?  I don’t have any answers.

I’ve long since given up my dream of being an astronaut and walking on Mars.

My life took me in a very different direction, but I still love the space program.  It still enthralls me and I love to watch news clips.

My wish now, is that my kids can find something to inspire them and motivate them to learn and dream.

It seems we are lacking lofty goals and big visions to captivate our kids.  Something to give them hope.  To give them dreams. To give them a sense of what we as a people and nation can accomplish.

Just as the Apollo program did for my parents, and the Space Shuttle Program did for me.

Back now

Been gone for a while, but I’m back.

Work. Vacation. Work. Family. More work.

It all adds up.