Eric Knight Inventor. Entrepreneur. Author. Futurist. Business & Internet Pioneer.

Astronaut nearly drowns on spacewalk outside of International Space Station

July 17

astronaut_spacewalk(USA Today)  Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency got into trouble Tuesday. He was performing routine maintenance outside when water started trickling into the back of his helmet.

Spacewalking partner Chris Cassidy, a U.S. astronaut, took a look: “It’s a lot of water. His hair is saturated. It’s in his eyes as well as his nose and mouth.”

Mission Control was alarmed. NASA quickly aborted the spacewalk, cut it short by five hours. Parmitano and Cassidy were ordered back to the U.S. Quest airlock, where they would be out of the deadly vacuum environment in low Earth orbit, and into the relative safety of the space station.

The tide kept rising in Parmitano’s helmet during his 20-minute retreat to the airlock. And yes, NASA said he was in danger of drowning.

“Imagine you’re in a fish bowl,” said David Korth, NASA’s lead spacewalk flight director. “So, go stick your head in a fish bowl and try to walk around, and that’s not anything you would take lightly. And certainly, (spacewalking) is dangerous already.”

Parmitano could not hear or respond to questions after he reentered the airlock.

“Hey, Luca, from Houston, how’re you doing? Give us a status,” astronaut Shane Kimbrough said from Mission Control.

“Luca, did you hear that?” Cassidy asked.

He didn’t.

“Squeeze my hand if you’re fine,” Cassidy said, peering into his crewmate’s visor.

“I’m trying to see him,” Cassidy said. “He looks fine. He looks miserable, but OK.”

NASA is investigating. The initial suspect, a drinking water bag, no longer is thought to be the culprit. Jones, the veteran spacewalker, said his best guess is the leak came from Parmitano’s astronaut underwear.

Astronauts don form-fitting garments called Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garments. They are cooled by chilled water lines running throughout. Jones suspects a rupture in a cooling line near Parmitano’s neck.

“The closest water line to where he was experiencing (trouble) is in the neck area of the LCVG,” Jones said.

For the complete article, click here.   Image courtesy of AP/NASA

Google speeds up Chrome for iOS with new data compression feature

July 17

(PC World) Google’s Chrome Web browser for iOS devices has been updated to include several enhanced features, including data compression designed to speed up page loading. The update also builds in interoperability with other Google apps, giving users the option to open links for YouTube, Maps, Google+ and Google Drive in the app instead of in the browser. In the update, there are also voice search enhancements to provide text-to-speech for all variations of English, Spanish, German and several other languages. Users can also now access their full browser history to view a list of websites the person has visited while using Chrome in standard mode. For the complete article, click here.

Crank up “Stairway to Heaven” by Ann & Nancy Wilson (HEART) and Jason Bonham — in HD and great sound!

July 5

Turn up your speakers for this full-length, unedited performance of rock’s ultra-classic “Stairway to Heaven” as performed by Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Jason Bonham (son of the late drummer, John Bonham), and their combined bands HEART & Led Zeppelin Experience at the 4th of July “The Heartbreaker Tour” concert at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. My wife and I had the great pleasure of attending the concert, and I snapped this video with my amazing Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone in HD. Enjoy!

Voyager spacecraft surfs solar system’s edge

June 28

[BBC News]  Ed Stone cannot say when the Voyager-1 spacecraft will leave the Solar System, but he believes the moment is close.  The latest data from this extraordinary probe, reported in this week’s Science journal, suggests it is surfing right on the very edge of our Sun’s domain.

The particles streaming away from our star have reduced to a trickle at its present location, 18.5 billion km from Earth.   Particles flying towards it from interstellar space, by contrast, have jumped markedly in the past year.  It all points to an imminent departure, which would make Voyager the first man-made object to cross into the space between the stars.

“It’s hard to imagine there’s another layer between the one we’re in and the outside,” Dr Stone told BBC News. “Topologically, it makes sense that this is the outermost layer. The only question is: how thick is it?”

Launched way back in 1977, the probe has now travelled so far from home that its constant chatter of data takes 17 hours to arrive at the US space agency’s receiving network. And chatter, it does.

Voyager’s instruments are busy sampling the far-flung environment. This has allowed Dr Stone and colleagues to map the shape and reach of the heliosphere – the giant bubble of charged particles blown off from our Sun.

For the complete article, click here  Image courtesy of the BBC and SPL.

Don’t miss the alignment of Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury at sunset on May 26th

May 21

planet-alignment-jupiter-mercury-venusHere’s something fun (and educational for the kids) on this upcoming Sunday, the 26th:  Look to the west in the evening twilight after sunset and you’ll see the triple conjunction of three planets:  Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury.  You’ll need an unobstructed view of the western sky, as the planets will be just above the horizon.  Click here for an excellent article and animation from NASA Science News.  Image courtesy of NASA.

NEW PHILIPS 60-Watt-Equivalent LED Bulb. A bargain at its new price point! Read my review here…

March 17

PHILIPS_new_60w_equivalent_LED-bulbOver the last week, I have been testing the very latest PHILIPS 60-Watt-Equivalent LED bulb.  It’s fantastic.   It looks great.  The light is excellent.  It uses just 11 watts.  And it delivers 830 lumens — 30 more lumens than my previously reviewed PHILIPS LED bulb and EcoSmart LED bulb.  And, unlike the prior PHILIPS bulb, this one is dimmable!  The light is a very pleasing white, 2700 Kelvin (“K”).  Life expectancy, based on three hours per day, is an amazing 22.8 years.   According to recent reports, the bulb is 17% more efficient than its previous generation and uses 12% less power.  The icing on the cake:  Home Depot recently dropped the price ten bucks — from $24.95 to $14.95.  At this new price point, this is a superb bulb.   In fact, it may have just become my favorite LED bulb in the 60-watt-equivalent LED category.

Below is a picture of the new bulb in its well-designed packaging…PHILIPS_new_60w_equivalent_LED-bulb_in_packaging

PHILIPS 60-Watt Equivalent LED Bulb vs. EcoSmart 60-Watt Equivalent LED Bulb. Read my product review and comparison here…

March 17

EcoSmart_LED_bub_vs_PHILIPS_LED_bulbsAs part of my ongoing LED light bulb reviews, the following is my real-world testing of the PHILIPS 10.5-watt (60-watt-equivalent) LED bulb.   As my regular readers know, I have really liked the EcoSmart 60-watt LED.  (Click here for my review of the EcoSmart LED.)   I’ve recently been trying out the PHILIPS 60-watt-equivalent LED bulb.  The PHILIPS bulb delivers the same number of lumens — 800 lumens — with 10.5 watts.  The EcoSmart consumes 13 watts.  So the PHILIPS saves an extra 2.5 watts.  The light “appearance” are both 3000 Kelvin (“K”), which is a pleasant bright white. Cosmetically, the PHILIPS bulb is even closer in design to an old-style Edison bulb — rounded top with no side heat-sink flanges.   And the price per bulb is about the same.  Home Depot carries both bulbs, and they regularly run special-pricing between $9.95 and $14 per bulb.   HOWEVER, the PHILIPS does not work with dimmers.   Also, the PHILIPS bulb is not recommended for use in recessed down-lights.   Bottom line:  The light (color and brightness) from both LED bulbs is about the same.  The PHILIPS bulb saves a little more power — but is a little less versatile.   Both are high-quality bulbs that should serve you well.

 

EcoSmart 60-Watt Equivalent LED Bulb — read my product review here

March 16

EcoSmart 60-watt equivalent LED bulbAs part of my ongoing LED light bulb reviews, the following is my real-world testing of the EcoSmart 13-watt (60-watt-equivalent) LED bulb.  In case you haven’t noticed, traditional 100w & 75w incandescent bulbs have been phased out (all manufacturing in the U.S. has ceased). Why? Because although America has just 5% of the world’s population, we use 26% of the world’s energy. And lighting is a major culprit. I have been testing all sorts of replacement bulbs — so you don’t have to. Skip the compact fluorescents and head straight to the new generation of LEDs. They’re “instant on,” dimmable (most of them), and light a room just as good — or even better — than traditional bulbs.  The best bulb I’ve found so far is the “EcoSmart” 60-watt-equivalent “bright white” LED. Although packaged as a 60-watt replacement, it has nearly the same number of “lumens” (amount of visible light) as a 75-watt incandescent. It will last 25x longer than an incandescent bulb — up to 23 years! And only uses 13 watts of power. The color of the light is pleasing, too — a very natural, bright white. Bottom line: It will save you up to $161 vs. a regular 75-watt bulb. And it will keep working for a quarter century. It’s $9.95 at Home Depot — a great deal. I’ve included a photo so you can spot it quickly in the aisle. Suggestion: Buy one and try it. I bet you’ll like it! Let me know…

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Fires First Salvo at iPhone Dominance

March 15

(Bloomberg)  Samsung Electronics Co. fired the first of three smartphone salvos this year aimed at hurting Apple Inc in its home market, releasing a bigger and faster Galaxy S4 that reviewers said may only glance its target.  The device announced yesterday at New York’s Radio City Music Hall is lighter than predecessor S3 and has software to track movement of the eyes and waves of the hands. The Galaxy S4 will be able to take photos in two directions, monitor sleeping habits and translate commands into different languages as the South Korean company tries to lure customers in a slowing global smartphone market.  The handset, with a 5-inch screen and 13-megapixel camera, goes on sale in the U.S. on April 26 with carriers including AT&T Inc (T)., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc. The Galaxy S4 is among three high-end smartphones Samsung is releasing this year after being overtaken in the U.S. by the iPhone 5 in the fourth quarter.  For the complete article, click here.   Image courtesy of Bloomberg

Life on Mars? Curiosity proves Mars had the formula for life

March 12

(LA Times)  “Drilling into the Martian surface in search of signs of ancient life, the Mars Curiosity rover hit the jackpot, NASA said Tuesday.  The intrepid geologist on wheels analyzed a powdered sample pulled out of the Red Planet last month and  discovered some of the basic building blocks of life — and signs of a past environment capable of hosting primitive microbes.  ‘We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and is so supportive of life that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it,’ mission lead scientist John Grotzinger, a Caltech geologist, said at a news conference in Washington, D.C.”   For the complete article, click here.   Image courtesy of NASA

Scientific study: Dolphins call each other by name

March 9

(Discovery) “Bottlenose dolphins call out the specific names of loved ones when they become separated, a study finds.  Other than humans, the dolphins are the only animals known to do this, according to the study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The big difference with bottlenose dolphins is that these communications consist of whistles, not words.  Earlier research found that bottlenose dolphins name themselves, with dolphins having a “signature whistle” that encodes other information. It would be somewhat like a human shouting, ‘Hey everybody! I’m an adult healthy male named George, and I mean you no harm!’  The new finding is that bottlenose dolphins also say the names of certain other dolphins.”  For the complete article, click here.   Photo courtesy of Getty Images

TECH BREAKTHROUGH: High-tech marriage combines 3-D printers with 3-D scanners — lets anyone print in 3-D without design software

March 8

(CNN)  “MakerBot [has] unveiled a desktop device that can scan small three-dimensional objects. Called a MakerBot Digitizer, it’s meant to complement the company’s Replicator printer by letting customers scan objects, then feed the resulting digital files to the Replicator to be printed. The Digitizer uses two lasers and a webcam to scan objects up to about 8 inches in diameter…. The process takes less than three minutes.  Once the digital scan is completed, an object can be printed right away. It’s easier and faster than using software to design a digital printing model from scratch.”  For the complete report, visit this linkImage courtesy MakerBot

The Journal of the American Medical Association publishes scientific gun study: “Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United States.” SUMMARY: The higher the number of firearm laws in a state, the lower the rate of firearm fatalities in the state.

March 7

Results:  Over the 4-year study period, there were 121,084 firearm fatalities. The average state-based firearm fatality rates varied from a high of 17.9 (Louisiana) to a low of 2.9 (Hawaii) per 100,000 individuals per year. Annual firearm legislative strength scores ranged from 0 (Utah) to 24 (Massachusetts) of 28 possible points. States in the highest quartile of legislative strength (scores of >9) had a lower overall firearm fatality rate than those in the lowest quartile (scores of <2) (absolute rate difference, 6.64 deaths/100,000/y; age-adjusted incident rate ratio [IRR], 0.58; 95% CI, 0.37-0.92). Compared with the quartile of states with the fewest laws, the quartile with the most laws had a lower firearm suicide rate (absolute rate difference, 6.25 deaths/100,000/y; IRR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.48-0.83) and a lower firearm homicide rate (absolute rate difference, 0.40 deaths/100,000/y; IRR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.38-0.95).

Conclusions and Relevance:  A higher number of firearm laws in a state are associated with a lower rate of firearm fatalities in the state, overall and for suicides and homicides individually. As our study could not determine cause-and-effect relationships, further studies are necessary to define the nature of this association.

Full report:   http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1661390

Eric W. Fleegler, MD, MPH; Lois K. Lee, MD, MPH; Michael C. Monuteaux, ScD; David Hemenway, PhD; Rebekah Mannix, MD, MPH

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-9. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1286.

Published online March 6, 2013

Curiosity rover uses robotic arm to drill into Martian rock [DVICE]

February 10

[DVICE]  NASA reports the Curiosity rover has successfully drilled a hole, 0.63 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep into a sample of sedimentary bedrock. Ground control will now use the rover’s robotic arm to collect samples for processing in its self contained laboratory, looking for evidence Mars may have once harbored water.  The agency released a photo of the hole captured by Curiosity, and in a press release NASA’s associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate, John Grunsfeld said, “The most advanced planetary robot ever designed is now a fully operating analytical laboratory on Mars.”

Google Glasses to be released soon; more details unveiled

February 3

google glasses augmented reality vision brain memoryAccording to DigitalTrends.com:  “The Google Glass Explorer Edition has successfully passed through the FCC, revealing more details about the device and increasing the possibility that it will soon be in the hands of the limited number of folks who dropped $1,500 for it. The fancy, futuristic eyewear was announced and demonstrated during the Google I/O even in 2012, and attendees were given the chance to reserve a unit for themselves. ”  For the complete article, click here.

So, what would you lose by switching to BlackBerry 10 from Apple, Android, and Windows phones? [InformationWeek]

February 2

 BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OSThe BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 won’t reach store shelves in the U.S. until March or April. That leaves plenty of time to weigh the pros and cons of the smartphone platform before taking that crucial leap to adopt it. Here’s a look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of the new platform from the company formerly known as RIM, as compared to rival operating systems from Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

If you’re coming from Android, you’re going to lose device choice. True, the Z10 and Q10 offer a small selection, but Android wins hands-down when it comes to the variety of form factors. Android devices are big and small, cheap and expensive, rugged and high class. You’re going to lose access to apps.

You’re also going to lose access to Google’s services. Yes, BB10 supports Gmail and Google Contacts and Calendar, but that’s it. No Google+, no Google Maps, no Google Drive, no Google Docs, no Google Voice, no Google Search / Google Now. Some Google services, such as Talk and YouTube, have been ported thanks to BlackBerry, but the vast majority aren’t there. If your business has “gone Google,” switching to BB10 simply doesn’t make sense.

If you’re coming from iOS, you’re losing access to 800,000 apps. BlackBerry World has about 70,000, many of which are ported Android apps. The selection just isn’t there, yet. You’re also losing access to many of the same Google services that are available to Android. You’re losing access to an incredible array of accessories. Devices such as the iPhone have more accessories available than any other device on the market. Being so new, BB10 does not yet have such accessories, and there’s no telling if, or when, it will catch up.

If you’re coming from Windows Phone, you’ll lose some device choice and access to apps, too. Windows Phone 8, which launched during the fourth quarter of 2012, is available from many U.S. carriers in a wide variety of devices, colors and price points. You’ll lose tight integration with other Windows equipment and services, including XBox gaming. The app story isn’t as severe as it is with Apple and Google, but there are plenty of marquee apps missing from BlackBerry World that are available in the Windows Phone Store (Amazon, CNN and eBay, to name a few).

For the full article, click here.

Sea Launch Zenit rocket with Intelsat spacecraft fails at launch [BBC News]

February 2

Sea Launch failureA Ukrainian-Russian rocket carrying a US-made telecommunications satellite has plunged into the Pacific Ocean shortly after launch.

The Zenit-3SL rocket, which was being operated from a floating pad south of the Hawaiian islands, failed 40 seconds after the lift-off at 06:56 GMT.

Officials say no-one was hurt as a result of the incident.

Intelsat-27, which weighed some 6.2 tonnes at launch, was to have provided direct-to-home TV services and mobile broadband connections.

Newly spotted comet may outshine the full moon — New Scientist

September 26

Newly spotted comet may outshine the full moonToday, the newfound comet seen [in the accompanying photo] is just a tiny dot in the sky beyond Jupiter. But in about a year, it might be one of the brightest objects in our night sky.

Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) in Russia, discovered comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) on 21 September via images taken with a 40-centimetre reflecting telescope. Other sky-watchers soon spotted it, and the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced the find yesterday.

From the combined observations, astronomers were able to trace the comet’s recent path and find images of it dating back to late December 2011. From there they calculated a near-parabolic orbit that has comet ISON headed almost straight towards the sun.

Astronomers at the Remanzacco Observatory in Italy think that ISON will skim less than 1.4 million kilometres from the sun’s surface on 28 or 29 November.

The comet’s orbit also suggests it is a newcomer fresh from the Oort cloud, a distant halo of icy objects that surrounds the solar system. We last had a visitor direct from the cloud in 2009, when the green comet Lulin swooped in and sprouted two tails.

As with Lulin, the intense heat of ISON’s solar fly-by should vaporise the comet’s hard shell of pristine ices, releasing trapped dust that would help it grow an exceptionally bright tail. Astronomy Now magazine reports that comet ISON could even be brighter than the full moon around its closest approach to the sun.

Skirting our star means that, to viewers on Earth, the comet will appear close to the horizon and to the sun’s glare, making it difficult to see at first. ISON will fade but become easier to spot as it heads back towards the outer solar system. By 9 December it should be about as bright as Polaris, the North Star, according to Remanzacco Observatory astronomers. ISON should continue to be visible to the unaided eye until mid-January 2014.

But veteran astronomers warn that fresh comets with orbits that almost skim the sun are notoriously unpredictable. Results can range from the spectacular comet McNaught of January 2007 to the infamously fizzled comet Kohoutek of 1973.

via Short Sharp Science: Newly spotted comet may outshine the full moon.

Spheres spark new Martian mystery – Cosmic Log

September 14

Eight years ago, NASA’s Opportunity rover came across strange-looking spheres that were nicknamed Martian blueberries — and now the rover has sent back a picture showing a different flavor of Marsberry that has the experts scratching their heads.

“This is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission,” Cornell astronomer Steve Squyres, the rover mission’s principal investigator, said today in a news release.

The golf-cart-sized Opportunity rover used the microscopic imager on the end of its robotic arm to take a super-close look at the spherical shapes. These particular berries, measuring as much as one-eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) in diameter, cover an outcrop called Kirkwood in the Cape York segment of Endeavour Crater’s western rim.

“Kirkwood is chock full of a dense accumulation of these small spherical objects,” Squyres said. “Of course, we immediately thought of the blueberries, but this is something different. We never have seen such a dense accumulation of spherules in a rock outcrop on Mars.”

via Spheres spark new Martian mystery – Cosmic Log.

Steve Case: Entrepreneurs are American heroes | VentureBeat

September 14

Steve Case: Entrepreneurs are American heroes | VentureBeatSteve Case, founder of AOL, venture capitalist, and current chairman of Startup America Partnership, says entrepreneurs are the true American heroes.

“Entrepreneurship is how America became great,” Case said.  “The good news is that we’re still the most entrepreneurial nation in the world. The bad news is that all the other countries are trying to catch us.”

Case was speaking in Detroit at Techonomy on Entrepreneurship and American Relevance.There are two types of founders, Case said:  those who create an interesting product or service but have modest ambitions…and those who are trying to change the world, who are swinging for the fences.

Those who are swinging for the fences are continuing the grand American tradition of entrepreneurship, he suggested, continuing the legacy of legendary Detroit founders and leaders such as Henry Ford.

Case sees what’s happening now as the next revolution in technology. After the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the initial stages of the digital revolution, we’re now seeing perhaps the most important part of the digital revolution: the impact of digital technology on all aspects of the economy.

Even heroes, of course, need loyal sidekicks. That’s why Case accepted the role of chairman of the Startup America Partnership, which is focused on building up all the regions of the U.S.

Not just social media companies — not just Facebooks and Instagrams — but also companies that use technology intelligently in transportation, in manufacturing, in all aspects of the economy.

“In some ways, every company is now a technology company,” Case said. The most important thing for entrepreneurial heroes, according to Case?“They really have to have passion.”

Image credits: Blastr, John Koetsier

via Steve Case: Entrepreneurs are American heroes | VentureBeat.

Arctic ice melt ‘like adding 20 years of CO2 emissions’

September 8

The loss of Arctic ice is massively compounding the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, ice scientist Professor Peter Wadhams has told BBC Newsnight. White ice reflects more sunlight than open water, acting like a parasol. Melting of white Arctic ice, currently at its lowest level in recent history, is causing more absorption. Prof Wadhams calculates this absorption of the sun’s rays is having an effect “the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man”.

The Cambridge University expert says that the Arctic ice cap is “heading for oblivion”.

In 1980, the Arctic ice in summer made up some 2% of the Earth’s surface. But since then the ice has roughly halved in area. “Thirty years ago there was typically about eight million square kilometres of ice left in the Arctic in the summer, and by 2007 that had halved, it had gone down to about four million, and this year it has gone down below that,” Prof Wadhams said.

And the volume of ice has dropped, with the ice getting thinner: “The volume of ice in the summer is only a quarter of what it was 30 years ago and that’s really the prelude to this final collapse,” Prof Wadhams said. Parts of the Arctic Ocean are now as warm in summer as the North Sea is in winter, Prof Wadhams said.

The polar ice cap acts as a giant parasol, reflecting sunlight back into the atmosphere in what is known as the albedo effect. But white ice and snow reflect far more of the sun’s energy than the open water that is replacing it as the ice melts. Instead of being reflected away from the Earth, this energy is absorbed, and contributes to warming: “Over that 1% of the Earth’s surface you are replacing a bright surface which reflects nearly all of the radiation falling on it with a dark surface which absorbs nearly all. “The difference, the extra radiation that’s absorbed is, from our calculations, the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man,” Prof Wadhams said. If his calculations are correct then that means that over recent decades the melting of the Arctic ice cap has put as much heat into the system as all the CO2 we have generated in that time. And if the ice continues to decline at the current rate it could play an even bigger role than greenhouse gases.

via BBC News – Arctic ice melt ‘like adding 20 years of CO2 emissions’.

With the rise of texting and chat apps, voice-mail use is waning. – USATODAY.com

September 4

In data prepared for USA TODAY, Vonage, an Internet phone company, says the number of voice-mail messages left on user accounts was down 8% in July from a year ago.

Checking one’s voice mail seems to be considered an even a bigger chore than leaving a voice message. Retrieved voice mail fell 14% among Vonage users in the same period.

“They hate the whole voice-mail introduction, prompts, having to listen to them in chronological order,” says Michael Tempora, senior vice president of product management at Vonage. One response by the company to the trend is a new voice-mail transcription service that converts voice messages for delivery as e-mail or text.

The service also e-mails a direct link to the voice-mail audio file, letting users bypass several steps to listen to it. “Voice transcription isn’t perfect,” Tempora says. “But they understand who called and what the message is about.”

The transcription tools make skimming through messages easier for on-the-go users such as Dmitri Leonov, an executive at SaneBox, a maker of e-mail inbox management software. “E-mail (etiquette) says to respect your friends’ time,” says Leonov, who rarely listens to messages. “And I should stop leaving voice mail, as well. Practice what you preach.”

via With the rise of texting and chat apps, voice-mail use is waning. – USATODAY.com.

35 years after launch, Voyager 1 is heading for the stars

September 4

35 years later, Voyager 1 is heading for the stars - BusinessweekPASADENA, Calif. AP — Thirty-five years after leaving Earth, Voyager 1 is reaching for the stars. Sooner or later, the workhorse spacecraft will bid adieu to the solar system and enter a new realm of space — the first time a manmade object will have escaped to the other side.

When NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 first rocketed out of Earth’s grip in 1977, no one knew how long they would live. Now, they are the longest-operating spacecraft in history and the most distant, at billions of miles from Earth but in different directions.

They’re still ticking despite being relics of the early Space Age. Each only has 68 kilobytes of computer memory. To put that in perspective, the smallest iPod — an 8-gigabyte iPod Nano — is 100,000 times more powerful. Each also has an eight-track tape recorder. Today’s spacecraft use digital memory.

Wednesday marks the 35th anniversary of Voyager 1’s launch to Jupiter and Saturn. It is now flitting around the fringes of the solar system, which is enveloped in a giant plasma bubble. This hot and turbulent area is created by a stream of charged particles from the sun.Outside the bubble is a new frontier in the Milky Way — the space between stars. Once it plows through, scientists expect a calmer environment by comparison.

When that would happen is anyone’s guess. Voyager 1 is in uncharted celestial territory. One thing is clear: The boundary that separates the solar system and interstellar space is near, but it could take days, months or years to cross that milestone.Voyager 1 is currently more than 11 billion miles from the sun. Twin Voyager 2, which celebrated its launch anniversary two weeks ago, trails behind at 9 billion miles from the sun.

via 35 years later, Voyager 1 is heading for the stars – Businessweek.

Curiosity rover’s intriguing geological find on Mars (BBC)

August 28

The Mars rover Curiosity is indulging in a flurry of multimedia activity ahead of its science mission proper.It sent the first image from its 100mm telephoto lens, already spotting an intriguing geological “unconformity”.Nasa also released a colour panorama of Mount Sharp, the rover’s ultimate goal.On Monday, the rover relayed “the first voice recording to be sent from another planet”, and on Tuesday it will broadcast a song from artist will.i.am as part of an educational event.But alongside these show pieces, Curiosity – also known as the Mars Science Laboratory – is already warming up its instruments for a science mission of unprecedented scope on the Red Planet.Nasa said that the rover was already returning more data from Mars than all of the agency’s earlier rovers combined.

via BBC News – Curiosity rover’s intriguing geological find.

Protect Your Dropbox Data with Two-Factor Authentication | PCWorld

August 27

Dropbox is rolling out stronger security to protect data stored in the cloud. Following in Google’s footsteps, Dropbox is enhancing account security with optional two-factor authentication.

Dropbox is a popular cloud storage service used by millions of users. Dropbox has had some issues regarding data security, though, and passwords alone have also proven to be an Achilles heel when it comes to protecting online data.

Phishing attacks and many malware variants are designed to trick users into sharing sensitive information like passwords, or surreptitiously capturing them without the user’s knowledge. You should have a cross-device security platform in place to detect and block such attacks, but two-factor authentication provides even stronger security that can be so easily compromised.

via Protect Your Dropbox Data with Two-Factor Authentication | PCWorld.

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You’re essentially looking over my shoulder as I write, think, create, invent, and — in general — ponder the world around us.  Feel free to peruse my writings and chime in as you’re so inspired.

Everything I type feeds parallel simultaneous streams to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.  It’s a global tightrope without a net.

Lots of new features are coming online.  They’re all in various stages of development.  You’ll soon see innovative things I’m working on — such as a live, streaming, two-way “TV channel” of sorts where you’ll be able to interact with me (audio, video, text) in real time as I type here in front of my computer.

This is my platform to push the boundaries of technology in every dimension.

Hang on tight.  We may achieve orbit.  Or we may sail off a cliff.  But the ride will be exhilarating.

— Eric