Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Technological Digest: Update

From time to time, it's worth re-visiting some of the subjects covered in earlier posts:
  1. Rogue satellite - it's official: tonight (2/20/08) at 10:30 EST (3:30am GMT), the US Navy missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (currently sailing somewhere near Hawaii) will shoot a $10 million missile at that naughty spy satellite, USA 193. Hopefully it'll blow to smithereens before it hits Earth's atmosphere.

    Few facts:
    • According to CNN sources the missile will not contain any warhead, as scientists rely on the impact to destroy it.
    • The ship has a 10 seconds window to decide on the go/no go. No pressure smile.
    • China apparently had a similar experience with one of their satellites - and managed to hit it. Sadly, they've left space debris all over the upper atmosphere, further endangering other satellites.
    • According to one of the blog's avid readers, the toxic material in the satellite is Hydrazine, a common satellite fuel. He also furnished me with this link. Scary. The effects on humans are similar to nerve agents' effects. I'm not smiling anymore.

    So, if you wake up tomorrow and there's a flaming debris in your back yard - Run.

    Update 11:00PM EST
    Good news! The missile hit the satellite as planned. It's yet to be seen what will happen to the debris (will they fall to Earth or burn in the atmosphere). More can be found here.

  2. Vista SP1 - seems like Microsoft just can't catch a break on the Vista front:
    • a problem found in SP1 causes some users to be stuck rebooting perpetually. A fix was immediately posted, but not soon enough for some people.
    • Meanwhile, CNET posted a review and some performance data from their SP1 tests - claiming there's no noticeable performance boost, and maybe even some degradation for some tasks.
    • And Microsoft announced today that the RTW (Release To Web) of SP1 would be available on 3/18 (the RTM is already available, but as you can read in item 1, has some issues).

  3. HD DVD debacle - yes, it's official - Toshiba abandons HD DVD (although they've said they're not going into BluRay yet). In another annoying post, Engadget suggests 10 things you can do with your HD DVDs. Don't get me wrong - I usually like Engadget, but they took the bully's corner in this war and are too happy to see a superior format lose.
    A bit more balanced point of view, and better ideas can be found here.

  4. Internet cable cuts - a UN agency now claims sabotage can not be ruled out in the case of the 4 underwater cut cables, re-igniting the entire conspiracy theory again.

No comments: