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Virgin Galactic Gets One Step Closer To Space Travel

close-up-of-ss2-during-first-rocket-powered-flight500

Virgin Galactic had a successful run of its SpaceShip2 rocket powered vehicle today, breaking the sound barrier, and rolling into the final phase of testing before it sets out to be the first commercial sub orbital space carrier by the end of 2013.  Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group was on hand to witness the test flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in  California.

“The first powered flight of Virgin Spaceship Enterprise was without any doubt, our single most important flight test to date. For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and in flight. Today’s supersonic success opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end. We saw history in the making today and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved.” – Sir Richard Branson.

Aided by the carrier aircraft WhiteKnite2 to an altitude of 47000 feet, the SpaceShip2 then disengaged from the carrier aircraft, and rose to an altitude of 55,000 during an engine burn of 16 seconds. Achieving a top speed of Mach 1.2 on its first rocket powered test is not a bad result for what will be the flagship of Virgin Galactic’s commercial space service.

“The rocket motor ignition went as planned, with the expected burn duration, good engine performance and solid vehicle handling qualities throughout. The successful outcome of this test marks a pivotal point for our program. We will now embark on a handful of similar powered flight tests, and then make our first test flight to space.” –  George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic President & CEO.

SpaceShip2 has a cabin that is 90 inches in diameter by 12 feet in length and will carry six passengers as it is manned by two pilots. With a pricetag of $200,000 and a $20,000 refundable deposit due at reservation, this certainly positions sub orbital space flight to be the trip of a lifetime.

 

Source: Virgin Galactic

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Is Windows 8 Without Media Center Such a Bad Thing?

Windows 7 Media Center

Windows 7 Media Center

Microsoft recently announced that the new Windows 8 would not have Media Center packaged with it. Instead, you will have to pay an upgrade fee if you have the basic Window 8 edition and you will have to pay to get the software to play DVDs if you have the Windows 8 Pro. But is this really something for the public to be enraged about? Not hardly. Most of us don’t even use Media Center, and there are a ton of free software programs out there that can do all of the things that Media center can do, and do it better.

Chances are, if you are downloading music on the internet, you are using iTunes for your music library. If you are burning DVDs and playing Blu-rays then you are probably using the software that came bundled with your DVD burner, such as Nero, or CyberLink’s PowerDVD. And with the increasing amount of home users streaming TV and Movies through other devices natively, is it even necessary to connect your computer through Media Center to your TV? Not having the native ability to playback DVDs on you computer shouldn’t be the thing that worries you about Windows 8.

There is still no new information on what the pricing will be or when Windows 8 will be available, but here is a preliminary partial list of what will be available by version:

Feature name Windows 8 Windows 8 Pro Windows RT
Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium x x
Upgrades from Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate x
Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles x x x
Windows Store x x x
Apps (Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos, SkyDrive, Reader, Music, Video) x x x
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) x
Internet Explorer 10 x x x
Device encryption x
Connected standby x x x
Microsoft account x x x
Desktop x x x
Installation of x86/64 and desktop software x x
Updated Windows Explorer x x x
Windows Defender x x x
SmartScreen x x x
Windows Update x x x
Enhanced Task Manager x x x
Switch languages on the fly (Language Packs) x x x
Better multiple monitor support x x x
Storage Spaces x x
Windows Media Player x x
Exchange ActiveSync x x x
File history x x x
ISO / VHD mount x x x
Mobile broadband features x x x
Picture password x x x
Play To x x x
Remote Desktop (client) x x x
Reset and refresh your PC x x x
Snap x x x
Touch and Thumb keyboard x x x
Trusted boot x x x
VPN client x x x
BitLocker and BitLocker To Go x
Boot from VHD x
Client Hyper-V x
Domain Join x
Encrypting File System x
Group Policy x
Remote Desktop (host) x

Source: PC World

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What To Expect At The 2012 International CES?

A lot, that’s what!

CES buzz is reaching its height as the worlds largest trade show is set to open in fabulous Las Vegas tomorrow. LG has already announced two devices that it will be unveiling at the show; their new Spectrum smartphone (expected to launch on January 19) and what is being touted as the new standard of HDTV, the thinnest 55 inch OLED screen to hit the market at 3/16 of an inch thick (4 mm) and only 16.5 pounds!

Microsoft recently announced that this will be its last appearance at the technology trade show, for a while, which sparked industry talk about this being the the downfall of the trade show giant. Even though attendance numbers have been down in recent years due to the economic slow down in the United States and other parts of the world, this year is expected to be the second largest in the 45 year history of the CES trade show.

There is still a lot of innovation and excitement to be found at CES with all the new categories of exhibition that have been added this year. Instead of always being a showcase of what the big industry players have to offer in the upcoming year, CES is taking a more broad reaching approach and offering exhibition space to technology start-ups and app makers. You will also see a few car makers at CES this year to unveil plans for integration in their upcoming models. Mercedes-Benz will give a keynote on Tuesday.

“There is no shortage of companies that frankly beg us to keynote, [The opening speech is] considered the most high-profile keynote in the world.” – Gary Shapiro, CEO of the CEA

So even without Microsoft in the upcoming years, expect CES to grow with the expectations of a rapidly changing technology filled world.

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World Wide Web Turns 20

Tim Berners-Lee

On August 6th, 1991, the world changed as we know it forever. Tim Berners-Lee published the first website ever using the NeXT computer at the CERN in Switzerland.

As early as 1980, Berners-Lee began working on hypertext, which would become the foundation for HTML or, Hyper Text Markup Language, that is used in basic website development to this day. It was at the CERN in 1989 that he began to join the concept of hypertext with TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and DNS (Domain Naming System) which would go on to build the World Wide Web.

Even though many of the protocols that are used on the internet were being worked on and developed by different groups around the world, it was Berners-Lee who led the charge to actually make the internet accessible to everyone by the creation of the WWW.

The first ever website was info.cern.ch

“The idea was to connect hypertext with the Internet and personal computers, thereby having a single information network to help CERN physicists share all the computer-stored information at the laboratory. Hypertext would enable users to browse easily between texts on web pages using links. The first examples were developed on NeXT computers. Berners-Lee created a browser-editor with the goal of developing a tool to make the Web a creative space to share and edit information and build a common hypertext. What should they call this new browser: The Mine of Information? The Information Mesh? When they settled on a name in May 1990, it was the WorldWideWeb.” Source: info.cern.ch

In order for there to be an actual “web”, computers had to be able to connect to web servers to view the sites that were published. Personal computers in homes were not as advanced or sophisticated as the NeXT system, so software needed to be developed to enable the average home user to easily browse the WWW.

“…a website is like a telephone; if there’s just one it’s not much use. Berners-Lee’s team needed to send out server and browser software. The NeXT systems however were far advanced over the computers people generally had at their disposal: a far less sophisticated piece of software was needed for distribution. By spring of 1991, testing was underway on a universal line mode browser , which would be able to run on any computer or terminal. It was designed to work simply by typing commands. There was no mouse, no graphics, just plain text, but it allowed anyone with an Internet connection access to the information on the Web.”
Source: info.cern.ch

After leaving the CERN in 1994, Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C as it is more commonly known, to establish royalty free international standards for use for the World Wide Web. W3C’s mission has been to continue to develop the World Wide Web, and maintain its accessibility to every one. Their basic principles are outlined as “Web for All” and “Web on Everything”.

So the next time you visit your favorite celebrity’s webpage, or publish your cosplay pictures to your personal web space, remember this day fondly, because it was the beginning of there actually being destinations to visit on the Information Super-Highway.

Source: Info.cern.ch
W3C.org

 

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Verizon Ends Unlimited Data Plans Today

 

It was long rumored that this day was coming, and now it is finally here. Verizon has announced its new limited usage data plans which start for new customers today. Plans start at $10 for 75MB of data usage for regular phones and at $30 for 2GB of data usage for smartphones.

The good news is that existing customers already on an unlimited data usage plan have no need to panic. They will remain on the unlimited plans through their contracts. Verizon has stated that even existing customers who have gone off contract, and upgrade signing a new 2 year plan will be able to get the unlimited data usage plan as well.

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Facebook Launches Video Chat

mark zuckerbergMark Zuckerberg announced today the new Facebook Video Chat app that is in partnership with Skype. This new feature allows you to video chat with your friends list on your Facebook page. Right now it is only limited to one on one video chat, but that is expected to broaden to conference chats as Facebook and Microsoft look to further their social networking relationship. Microsoft is already in negotiations to purchase Skype and holds a minority stake in Facebook.

This latest development in the social media arena comes on the heels of Google’s launch of their new social networking service Google+ .

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