I haz evidence from the Moon

Okay, enough LOL Cats for one evening, but this is cool.

NASA have released new photo graphs taken from their new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of the original lunar landing sites, complete with pictures of what was left behind: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/multimedia/lroimages/apollosites.html

Bad Astronomy blog make some interesting points too: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/07/17/apollo-landing-sites-imaged-by-lro/

Apollo may seem like ancient history, but those artifacts on the Moon are still sitting there, in many ways as fresh as the day they were placed there.

In all of human history, there are many dividing lines we can arbitrarily assign. Before and after the use of atomic weapons, before and after the invention of the light bulb, before and after this war or that.

But there is one dividing line that can inspire us, fill us with wonder, make us dream of bigger goals, higher aspirations, better ways to live our lives for the future. And that is the dividing line between the time we were a race shackled to the ground, confined to a single planet… and the time a human being stepped foot on another world.

And there it is, in pictures and in fact. This is what these pictures mean. We humans spend a lot of time looking around, looking out, looking down. But sometimes, for just a brief moment, we look up. We did it once before, and it’s time to do it again.

It is like time is standing still and looking back at us. Some of us believe that the pyramids and other amazing structures were left behind to us by aliens from other lands. Now we have left evidence of our prior existance on another world and imagine if an alien lifeform came across it would they start an eagar search for life on that world?

Thoughts on Google Chrome OS

It was interesting returning to Auckland on Thursday night to find out that in the past few days the world has completely changed. Yes Google has finnaly let the cat out of the bag (but I think it actually escaped months ago) that it was developing an operating system to rival Windows.

Google Chrome OS is not planned to be released until late 2010 however the source will be released later this year (so in some ways you could start using it later this year). The full announcement is here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/introducing-google-chrome-os.html

The points that I am most interested in are:

  • This is not Google’s first OS, in fact it is their third. In house they use Goobuntu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goobuntu) which is a modified version of Ubunutu Linux. And at the end of 2008 they released Android an open source operating system for cellphones, and it rocks.
  • Cloud Computing. The operating system is going to be very light weight on the end users system and plug directly into the internet. This is going to be a lot like the Android where it is always on and things are straight away at your finger tips. This works really well for a cellphone but I do wonder how much functionality it is going to have for more high end activities. Sure you may be able to edit a word document etc, but what about being able to do some coding, or playing a game. In those realms I think that a full desktop environment will still be a lot better.
  • It is free. Well being open source and based off linux they really didn’t have much more of a choice. Having said that it really gives Microsoft a kick up the pants with the cost of Windows even at OEM price being really expensive.
  • The number of companies involved: Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. This shows that it has some major industry support and the chances of success are high.

I am excited about what it can deliver, but building a web browser that gets 30 million users in 9 months is one thing. Building a operating system that can deliver a smooth user experience without bugs or issues is a whole lot harder.

Playing with Magic

It is official; I am in love; with my new HTC Magic Google Phone.

I have now had my new toy for two weeks and in some ways I cannot remember what life was like before it, or how I survived without it. To put it simply this is more than a gadget or a toy that will bore you after a while, two weeks in and I am still finding things to do with it.

Firstly the specs:

  • 3.2in flat panel touch screen running at 320×480 resolution
  • 528Mhz CPU
  • 512MB ROM
  • 192MB RAM
  • 8GB MicroSD
  • Quad Band GSM
  • Bluetooth
  • Wifi
  • USB
  • 3.2 Megapixel camera
  • Android 1.5 (cupcake) operating system

This mobile phone has more power than my computer from 2003. You may go wow 2003 was a long time ago in technology terms, but in the space of six years to compact more power into a phone then what was in a computer is still really impressive.

Here is a quick highlight of my experience with it over the past two weeks:

Android – Android officially rocks. It is Google’s open source Operating System for mobile phones and it has more power built into it then one could ever expect. Normally you do not have to wait long for a mobile phone to turn on or off. Android is like a computer it must be booted or shutdown and it does take time.

3G Coverage – In NZ Vodafone run their mobile network on three different frequencies. Having just been away I have experienced the use of all three. And the phone handles all really well and having the use of all three means I can get the best possible coverage in any location I go. Take that iPhone which only operates on two. (so if you are in a coverage area with the one that iPhone does not operate on you will have no signal).

3.2 Megapixel Camera – The photos and the video from my snow trip earlier this week were almost all exclusively taken on the phone. The camera is really good, however I have yet to find out if it can zoom, and also it is slow to focus and actually take the photos so it is probably not much use for fast moving situations, plus no flash so you need some form of decent light to get a good photo.

USB connection to computer – Now this is cool, while connected to USB the phone can charge, you can use the phone like a flash drive accessing the 8GB MicroSD card inside it, you can also download all your photos and videos and stuff from the phone. But best of all through the use of PDANET you can tether internet off it. So if you are in a place where your laptop has no internet access you can plug in your phone and get access through the 3G network.

Powered by Google – I cannot begin to describe how awesome this is. Gmail at the touch of a button you can both read and send email. Google Talk on the go. YouTube built in, and the streaming of video through 3G is really quick and smooth too, you can also upload video to YouTube. Google Maps built in, and GPS to show you where you are. Oh and did I mention Google Gears built in too.

Android Market – You can download apps on the go. This reminds me of a very old 8mb Palm Pilot I had many years ago, so far I have installed a weather app, a battery meter, a fuel mileage calculator, virtual bible software, wordpress blogging software, a notepad, and a voice recorder.

Full Internet Access – Android comes with a web browser built in, but it is a little slow and can’t quite handle all websites 100% right. Never fear just download Opera Mini through the Marketplace, it is really fast, the GUI is a little hard to use but the way it displays websites is really good. Only crashed badly once (through my own doing).

Touch-screen and Keyboard – this is my only annoyance. I have big fingers and even with the screen rotated the keyboard is still hard to use. Also a lack of stylus or any place to buy one and place it onto the phone.

Overall 10/10 this phone really does rock, and it just simply amazing.

Wubi

Okay, now there is no excuse for any geek or anyone with a keen interest in computers to not try out linux.

For the past year and a bit I have been playing around with Virtualbox and virtualization, the major problem here however is the speed of booting, and drivers etc as it is in an emulated/simulated environment.

Enter WUBI. Wubi is an installer that allows you to install Ubuntu and Linux Mint on an NTFS partiation and use the windows boot loader so it does absolute nothing to windows at all. And to make matters better you can access your windows files straight out of the box.

I have now had a WUBI Ubunutu set up for the past week and it is brilliant.

I am now trying a new distro called Linux Mint which is aimed at end users.

If you want some help getting it installed or just want to try it out just contact me, it is brilliant just really awesome.

Two and a Half Days in Melbourne

Ha ha ha and ho ho ho and a merry old land of OZ.

Saturday:

  • Got up at 2am to head to airport to check in for flight.
  • Arrived at Auckland Airport at 3.30am, checked in.
  • Departed Auckland at 6.10am
  • Flight was extremely bumpy, for the first time ever got Motion Sickness two and a half hours into the flight… so did lots of other people on the plane including an air hostess.
  • Landed 20 minutes early at 7.50am
  • Got on bus into Melbourne Central, arrived at Southern Cross Station.
  • Walked to hotel, stopped at Mc Donalds for breakfast, checked into hotel.
  • Went for a walk to look at town, found Federation Square, watched street perfomer, met up with friend.
  • Went on tramp ride around the city
  • Went on river cruise down the Yarra
  • Went back to hotel at 4pm, fell asleep while mum went shopping
  • Got woken by mum at 7pm, went out for dinner
  • Got back to hotel, watched Sky News
  • Went zzz

Sunday:

  • Mum set alarm for 7am, she woke to me cursing at it.
  • Had breakfast at Hotel, was really busy, lots of hungry hungry hippos.. people.
  • Caught tram to Vibration Training place.
  • Caught train to Dandenong
  • Visited friends house
  • Got driven to Sunnyvale
  • Checked out these awesome Asian supermarkets… Think St Lukes but all Asian, had a sugar cane drink
  • Got driven back to Caulfield
  • Caught train back to city, got off at Parliament Underground Station not 100% sure where we were.
  • Went shopping
  • Caught tram to St Kilda beach
  • Had dinner at St Kilda beach
  • Caught tram back to town, which went on train tracks as well as roads… so cool.
  • Watched Sky News and the 20/20 Cricket
  • Went zzz

Monday:

  • Woke at 5am
  • Caught 5.45am tram to Southern Cross Station
  • Caught 6.15am bus to Airport
  • Checked in went shopping!!!
  • Flew back to Auckland at 9.25am
  • Landed in Auckland at 2.45pm
  • Mum went shopping again.
  • Got through customs just before 4pm.

Google Street View NZ

I can see my car!

And so much for invasion of privacy. If you are walking down the road and are in a compromising position, why didn’t you think before you got into the situation. Google Street View isn’t making get caught a new thing, just a new way for it to happen.