CES 2010

24 07 2009


Another cool gadget convention that I probably won’t be able to go is CES 2010. CES(Consumer Electronic Show) is a convention where all kinds of electronics companies in many countries come and show off their new stuff. Normally G4 and Wired News are there to show you the best of the best. The convention is in Las Vegas January 7-10.

NASA’s next 40 years of space exploration

20 07 2009

This is what NASA plans to do for the next 40 years.

Summer 2009: The new instruments installed on Hubble earlier this year will go live. The Wide Field Camera 3 will provide a major upgrade for Hubble in the visible and infrared spectra. You know what that means? Even prettier pictures. The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph will use ultraviolet light to try to reconstruct the origins of the universe. It’s an order of magnitude better at detecting ultraviolet light than Hubble’s previous instruments.

Aug. 30, 2009: The first test flight of the next-generation Ares rocket system will blast off. While it’s exciting, the review of the entire Constellation program shadows its development.

Oct. 9, 2009: The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, which launched earlier this year, will impact near the moon’s south pole, creating a plume of debris and a crater for its mission partner, the Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter, to study.

Oct. 14, 2009: Solar Dynamics Observatory will launch to study space weather generated by the sun’s activity. Some people are forecasting that the sun’s activity will wreak havoc with our communication and electrical systems in the next few years, but our star’s behavior has been a little unpredictable as of late. The SDO aims to make forecasting the sun’s behavior more accurate.

Nov. 2009: Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer will launch to create maps of the skies in the infrared area of the spectrum. It will also be used to survey some near-Earth objects.

Jan. 2010: The Glory mission will launch. The low-Earth orbit satellite will study the Earth’s energy balance, including the total amount of solar radiation striking the Earth and the impact of aerosols and black carbon.

June 2010: The National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project will launch. The joint NASA, Department of Defense and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration project will measure atmospheric and sea surface temperatures.

2010: The space shuttle is slated to be retired. Maybe. Because we don’t have any viable domestic option for getting to the International Space Station, Congress could extend the fleet’s lifetime for years.

2010: The Aquarius satellite launches to create the first-ever global maps of salt concentrations in the ocean surface.

March 18, 2011: Messenger begins its year-long orbit of Mercury.

2011: This is the earliest date that scientists using the exoplanet-hunting satellite Kepler may be able to say for sure they have found an Earth-like planet in an Earth-like orbit.

2011: The Juno spacecraft will launch for Jupiter to study the structure and evolution of our solar system’s largest planet.

Fall 2011: The Mars Science Laboratory, a rover with the tools to assess whether Mars is or ever was inhabited, will launch.

May 2012: The Radiation Belt Storm Probe mission consists of two spacecraft that will orbit the Earth, helping to improve our understanding of how solar storms hit the Earth’s radiation belts and atmosphere.

2012: Mars Science Laboratory will arrive at Mars. If all goes well, it’ll operate for 687 Earth days, roving around the planet looking for signs of life, past or present.

March 2013: Soil Moisture Active Passive project will launch. Using a radiometer and high-res radar, it will measure surface soil moisture and its freeze-thaw state.

2014: The Orion crew exploration vehicle and Ares launch vehicles are supposed to be ready to go by 2014.

2014: The James Webb Space Telescope, generally considered Hubble’s replacement, will launch. It will give astronomers a better sense of the early universe and how stars form.

2015: The Joint Dark Energy Mission launches. The project, co-funded with the Department of Energy, will make very precise measurements of the expansion rate of the universe, which could yield fundamental insights about the nature of dark matter.

2015: New Horizons reaches Pluto, nine years after its launch. Right now, it’s about halfway between Saturn and Uranus.

March 2015: The first crewed Orion/Ares mission to the International Space Station will launch.

2015: IceSat II will launch to provide vital information about the polar ice caps and the environment that surrounds them.

2016: The European Space Agency will launch ExoMars, a rover mission to the surface of that planet. NASA is involved, however, helping provide communications via the Deep Space Network.

2016: Juno mission arrives at Jupiter.

2018: The Solar Probe Plus will launch. It will be the very first mission to visit the sun’s corona, which will provide valuable insight into the sun’s functioning.

2020: The International Space Station could be deorbited in this year, although its fate remains largely undetermined.

2020: Europa Jupiter System Mission will take off for Jupiter and two of its moons, Europa and Ganymede, to evaluate the possibility that they are habitable locations. If it confirms an ocean of liquid water on Europa, the number of possible habitable outposts in the universe will go up considerably. Not only can we hope to find life on Earth-like planets, but also on the satellites of gas giant planets.

2020: Planned date by which the new Constellation rockets and modules could provide crew transport to the lunar surface “for extended durations.”

2021: International X-Ray Observatory launches to study the high-energy universe in unprecedented detail. It could provide fundamentally new understanding of black holes and the formation of large-scale structures like galaxy clusers in the universe.

2026: The Europa Jupiter system mission will arrive at the Jupiter system.

2030: Any American landing on Mars throuh the Constellation program would come some time after 2030.

100 Essential Skills for Geeks

13 07 2009

Note:I did not come up with these.

1.Properly secure a wireless router.
2.Crack the WEP key on a wireless router.
3.Leech Wifi from your neighbor.
4.Screw with Wifi leeches.
5.Setup and use a VPN.
6.Work from home or a coffee shop as effectively as you do at the office.
7.Wire your own home with Ethernet cable.
8.Turn a web camera into security camera.
9.Use your 3G phone as a Wi-Fi access point.
10.Understand what “There’s no Place Like” means.

11.Identify key-loggers.
12.Properly connect a TV, Tivo, XBox, Wii, and Apple TV so they all work together with the one remote.
13.Program a universal remote.
14.Swap out the battery on your iPod/iPhone.
15.Benchmark Your Computer
16.Identify all computer components on sight.
17.Know which parts to order from NewEgg.com, and how to assemble them into a working PC.
18.Troubleshoot any computer/gadget problem, over the phone.
19.Use any piece of technology intuitively, without instruction or prior knowledge.
20.How to irrecoverably protect data.
21.Recover data from a dead hard drive.
22.Share a printer between a Mac and a PC on a network.
23.Install a Linux distribution. (Hint: Ubuntu 9.04 is easier than installing Windows)
24.Remove a virus from a computer.
25.Dual (or more) boot a computer.
26.Boot a computer off a thumb drive.
27.Boot a computer off a network drive.
28.Replace or repair a laptop keyboard.
29.Run more than two monitors on a single computer.
30.Successfully disassemble and reassemble a laptop.
31.Know at least 10 software easter eggs off the top of your head.
32.Bypass a computer password on all major operating systems. Windows, Mac, Linux
33.Carrying a computer cleaning arsenal on your USB drive.
34.Bypass content filters on public computers.
35.Protect your privacy when using a public computer.
36.Surf the web anonymously from home.
37.Buy a domain, configure bind, apache, MySQL, php, and WordPress without Googling a how-to.
38.Basic *nix command shell knowledge with the ability to edit and save a file with vi.
39.Create a web site using vi.
40.Transcode a DVD to play on a portable device.
41.Hide a file in an image using steganography.
42.Knowing the answer to life, the universe and everything.
43.Share a single keyboard and mouse between multiple computers without a KVM switch.
44.Google obscure facts in under 3 searches. Bonus point if you can use I Feel Lucky.
45.Build amazing structures with LEGO and invent a compelling back story for the creation.
46.Understand that it is LEGO, not Lego, Legos, or Lego’s.
47.Build a two story house out of LEGO, in monochrome, with a balcony.
48.Construct a costume for you or your kid out of scraps, duct tape, paper mâché, and imagination.
49.Be able to pick a lock.
50.Determine the combination of a Master combination padlock in under 10 minutes.
51.Assemble IKEA furniture without looking at the instructions. Bonus point if you don’t have to backtrack.
52.Use a digital SLR in full manual mode.
53.Do cool things to Altoids tins.
54.Be able to construct paper craft versions of space ships.
55.Origami! Bonus point for duct tape origami. (Ductigami)
56.Fix anything with duct tape, chewing gum and wire.
57.Knowing how to avoid being eaten by a grue.
58.Know what a grue is.
59.Understand where XYZZY came from, and have used it.
60.Play any SNES game on your computer through an emulator.
61.Burn the rope.
62.Know the Konami code, and where to use it.
63.Whistle, hum, or play on an iPhone, the Cantina song.
64.Learning to play the theme songs to the kids favorite TV shows.
65.Solve a Rubik’s Cube.
66.Calculate THAC0.
67.Know the difference between skills and traits.
68.Explain special relativity in terms an eight-year-old can grasp.
69.Recite pi to 10 places or more.
70.Be able to calculate tip and split the check, all in your head.
71.Explain that the colours in a rainbow are roygbiv.
72.Understand the electromagnetic spectrum – xray, uv, visible, infared, microwave, radio.
73.Know the difference between radiation and radioactive contamination.
74.Understand basic electronics components like resistors, capacitors, inductors and transistors.
75.Solder a circuit while bottle feeding an infant. (lead free solder please.)
76.The meaning of technical acronyms.
77.The coffee dash, blindfolded (or blurry eyed). Coffee [cream] [sugar]. In under a minute.
78.Build a fighting robot.
79.Program a fighting robot.
80.Build a failsafe into a fighting robot so it doesn’t kill you.
81.Be able to trace the Fellowship’s journey on a map of Middle Earth.
82.Know all the names of the Dwarves in The Hobbit.
83.Understand the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel.
84.Know where your towel is and why it is important.
85.Re-enact the parrot sketch.
86.Know the words to The Lumberjack Song.
87.Reciting key scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
88.Be able to recite at least one Geek Movie word for word.
89.Know what the 8th Chevron does on a Stargate and how much power is required to get a lock.
90.Be able to explain why it’s important that Han shot first.
91.Know why it is just wrong for Luke and Leia to kiss.
92.Stop talking Star Wars long enough to get laid.
93.The ability to name actors, characters and plotlines from the majority of sci-fi movies produced since 1968.
94.Cite Mythbusters when debunking a myth or urban legend.
95.Sleep with a Cricket bat next to your bed.
96.Have a documented plan on what to do during a zombie or robot uprising.
97.Identify evil alternate universe versions of friends, family, co-workers or self.
98.Be able to convince TSA that the electronic parts you are carrying are really not a threat to passengers.
99.Talk about things that aren’t tech related.

100.Get something on the front page of Digg.

Review: Polaroid PoGo Portable Printer

8 07 2009


Polaroid is going to cease production of its legendary film and replace it was a line of digital products. One of these products is the PoGo portable printer. About size of a deck of cards, its designed to be put in a bag or in a pocket. You take a pic with yout camera phone and send it to the PoGo via Bluetooth or USB. The PoGo then prints a borderless image on a 2-inch by 3-inch piece of thermal ZINK photo paper. This printer is very cool, and has a very cool price, $150 not bad for a printer.

Review: Tangent Quattro Wi-Fi Internet Radio

6 07 2009


Even though this radio looks cool, theres a lot of problems with it. It reboots everytime the alarm is disabled, the snooze function doesn’t work on the buzzer mode, and it can display the wrong time on occasion. There is some good to this radio. There is no subsciption required to get the 6,433 channels that it can pick up via Wi-Fi. But, it crackles at high volume, and connecting to stations takes a minute. The price for this radio, $350. So if you want just a cool-looking, expensive space-taker, this is the radio for you.

Review: Palm Pre

6 07 2009


Now this phone is actually pretty cool. The browser has features called “cards” letting you keep up with more than one page at a time. One useful thing is a bar at the bottom thats notifys you of different pages or emails coming in. Although the battery can be used up fast, it does come with removable batteries. Although the slide-out keyboard is small and its not big enough for your thumbs, it is a bit more accurate than iPhone typing. You can plug the Pre into a computer with iTunes, and iTunes thinks its a iPod so you can add music, photos, and videos onto the Pre. The Pre has a 3-megapixel camera and LED flash. The price isn’t all that bad, $200 sticker price, with a minimum of $70 a month for Sprint.

Review: Porsche Design P’9522 Phone

6 07 2009


Even though this phone looks cool, it doesn’t deliver. It does have touch-screen and an Opera Mini web browser, but the Wi-fi is only able to be picked up in Europe. You can’t tap an item to see it, you have to scroll to it. The scrolling goes way too fast and you miss the item you want to go to. It also doesn’t have a email feature, so all you really can do well on this phone is talk. Over all the worst thing about this phone is the price. The MSRP is $800, something very exspensive for something that screws up all the time. Just go buy an iPhone.