Friday, 26 December 2008

Timeline: Space flight

THE 1950s

4 October 1957 - Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite, is launched by the USSR. The launch stuns the world. To many Americans, the launch represents a Soviet capability to launch ballistic missile strikes against targets in the US.

Laika the dog (Nasa)

3 November 1957 - Sputnik 2 is launched by the USSR, carrying a dog, Laika, on board. The former stray, caught on the streets of Moscow, dies from overheating and panic a few hours into the mission.

6 December 1957 - America's first attempt to launch a satellite ends in humiliation when the Navy-built rocket explodes on the launch pad. The bid was dubbed "kaputnik" in the press.

31 January 1958 - Explorer 1, a satellite built by Wernher von Braun's competing team at the US Army's Redstone Arsenal, blasts into space. It discovers the Van Allen radiation belts above Earth.

28 May 1959 - the US sends a pair of monkeys, Able and Baker, into space on a Jupiter missile. They are the first living creatures to successfully return from a trip to space. Although Able died in June 1959, Baker survived until 1984.

THE 1960s

24 October 1960 - An R-16 rocket explodes on the launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, as it is being prepared for a test flight. The disaster claims more than 100 lives.

John Glenn (Nasa)
Former test pilot John Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth
12 April 1961 - The USSR sends the first man into space. Yuri Gagarin blasts off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in a Vostok spacecraft. He makes a single orbit of Earth in 108 minutes. After re-entry, Gagarin ejects from his capsule and parachutes down safely in Russia's Saratov region.

5 May 1961 - Alan Shepard follows Gagarin to become the first American in space. He completes a sub-orbital flight in his spacecraft Freedom 7. "Why don't you light the damned candle, 'cause I'm ready to go," an exasperated Shepard tells mission control as he waits on the launch pad.

25 May 1961 - President John F Kennedy calls for millions of dollars to fund a space programme to get the first man on the Moon by 1970.

20 February 1962 - John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn travelled more than 130,000km (81,000 miles) in his Friendship 7 capsule, circling the globe three times.

16 June 1963 - The Soviet Union launches the first woman into space. Valentina Tereshkova, a former textile worker, circled the Earth 49 times during three days in space. She was reportedly injured during the landing and needed heavy make-up during subsequent public appearances.

Apollo 11 launch from Florida (Nasa)
The Saturn V remains the most powerful launch vehicle in history

18 March 1965 - Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov carries out the first ever spacewalk from the two-man Voskhod spacecraft. The mission almost ends in disaster when Leonov's suit inflates in space. The cosmonaut has to bleed air from the suit to get back in the airlock.

27 January 1967 - Fire sweeps through the Apollo command module during a test on the launch pad, killing astronauts Virgil Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.

24 April 1967 - Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies when the parachute on his Soyuz 1 spacecraft fails to deploy properly. The capsule crashes into the ground near Orenburg, Russia. He is the first person to die on a space mission.

20 July 1969 - The Apollo 11 crew makes the first human landing on the Moon. Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spend two hours on the lunar surface setting up observation equipment and collecting rock samples.

31 July 1969 - An unmanned US spacecraft, Mariner 6, makes a close fly-by of Mars. It approaches at a distance of 3,431km (2,132 miles) from the surface.

THE 1970s

13 April 1970 - Apollo 13 is crippled by an explosion caused by a fault in the oxygen tank. "Houston, we've had a problem here," mission commander Jim Lovell informs controllers. With guidance from the ground, the three-man crew later overcome the odds and make it back to Earth alive.

Eugene Cernan in the Lunar Roving Vehicle (Nasa)

15 December 1970 - After several failed attempts by the US and the USSR, the Soviet Venera 7 spacecraft makes the first soft landing on Venus. It sends back a temperature reading of 470C at the surface. Until the middle of the 20th Century, conditions on Venus were thought to be Earth-like.

19 April 1971 - Russia launches Salyut, the first space station. The first crew to dock with the orbiting outpost later die during re-entry when the air leaks out of their Soyuz capsule.

14 May 1973 - Skylab, a space station converted from the upper stage of a Saturn V rocket, is launched by Nasa.

Viking 2 image of Mars (Nasa)
Viking 2 photographed Mars' salmon sky in 1976
3 December 1973 - Nasa's Pioneer 10 probe becomes the first space vehicle to fly past Jupiter.

17 July 1975 - The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project becomes the first international space flight when US astronaut Thomas Stafford greets Alexei Leonov in the hatchway of their docked spacecraft.

20 July 1976 - The first of two Viking probes touches down on the surface of Mars. Controversy still surrounds one of the results from an experiment designed to detect life.

20 August 1977 - America launches its unmanned probe Voyager 2 on a mission of exploration to four planets and their moons.

THE 1980s

12 April 1981 - The US space shuttle Columbia lifts off on its maiden voyage. The shuttle is the world's first reusable manned spacecraft.

Space shuttle (Nasa)

18 June 1984 - Sally Ride becomes the first US woman in space, flying aboard space shuttle Challenger.

24 January 1986 - The US Voyager 2 spacecraft becomes the first spacecraft to make a close approach to Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun.

28 January 1986 - Nasa's Challenger space shuttle explodes, killing all seven astronauts on board. The cause of the disaster is traced to a faulty rocket booster seal.

10 embarrassing moments in tech

The people and products that made us cringe

Technology is sometimes a complex concept, such that it can lead to some embarrassing moments.

Whether it's an infamous presentation that went awry, a product that shipped long before it should, or just a goofy marketing gaffe, these low points in tech serve as a good reminder: make sure your stuff works.

1. Hot Coffee
Grand Theft Auto is not exactly a delightful kid-rated platform jumper. It's more like a violent shooter made for bored teenagers. Yet, when Take Two Interactive developers snuck in a secret sex mode -- called Hot Coffee - they caught the ire of the ESRB and had to do a major recall and re-branding.

2. Osborne 1 laptop
Here's a lesson for the marketing folks: when you release the first laptop ever made, don't immediately announce that you have the successor in the works. The Osborne 1 was killed by marketing, and ever since Apple has had a strict policy never to eat their own offspring for lunch.

3. Windows Vista
This might be first time an entire operating system has been listed as an embarrassing moment, but Vista qualifies - not for the fact that sales have been disappointing, because when you include an OS on a computer by default it is bound to be a big seller. But consumer perceptions are ultra-low. So low, in fact, that Microsoft faked people into thinking their new OS was not Vista to get them to like it.

4. Bill Gates at CES 2005
The golden boy of tech is not always on his game. At CES 2005, Bill Gates had trouble getting the remote to work with Windows Media Center. (Remember that technology? it is now more like an Easter egg that people find in Windows Vista Ultimate - and a far cry from a simple DVR.) What makes this gaffe memorable is that "co-host" Conan O'Brien kept making fun of him.

5. Monkey Boy dance
We're not just picking on Microsoft - okay, maybe we are. In 2001, Steve Ballmer did his famous monkey dance at an employee event. Since then, the media has alluded to his emotive behaviour and journalists like Fake Steve Jobs (who is now Real Dan Lyons) have called him Monkey Boy. Too bad because - in some ways - Ballmer was just trying to get people fired up.

6. EMC career day gaffe
Last year, EMC held a career day on Second Life. Polly Pearson, a vice president, participated - virtually - in the event, where EMC handed out trinkets and held mock interviews. Here's Pearson's own description of what happened next: "When it came time for my mock interview, I sat down behind a virtual desk and noticed that I was still wearing a hardhat with a miner-like light beam shining directly in the face of my interviewer. I thought, 'My goodness, you can't wear a hat during an interview,' so I right clicked on a menu that would allow me to remove my hat. My hat was removed all right. So were all my clothes! I sat there like a naked mannequin with my team circled around laughing."

7. BlackBerry Storm
Maybe it's too early, what with Verizon still hyping the BlackBerry Storm in commercials during American football matches in the US, but the Storm is a dud. A powerful device that supports music and video, has a 3 megapixel camera, and runs fast on Qualcomm 528 Mhz processor - but a BlackBerry is all about typing, and doing so on the Storm's clickable screen is woefully difficult. Critics have soundly panned the device, and we officially recommend that you try before buying.

8. Gizmodo banned from CES
Gizmodo thought it would be funny to roam around CES 2008 and randomly power down HDTVs, using something called a TV-B-Gone. Oh, those pranksters! Apparently, a staffer has been banned from future events, and quite a few readers posted harsh criticisms. Sometimes, pranks backfire on you.

9. Anything Jerry Yang does
The current but soon former CEO of Yahoo! has had his share of gaffes over the years, including a recent letter to employees explaining how some of them would be fired. You'd think a tech company would know that anything you transmit electronically can be re-transmitted widely on the web. Under Yang's leadership, the company stalled a Microsoft buy-out and sunk its stock price. Ouch.

10. Green computing Initiatives
Here's one that might gets us all riled up. "Green computing" is more of a concept than a reality for most companies. Google has led the charge by offering a handful of hybrids that employees can rent and installing solar panels on its roof. But many of the major initiatives in green computing are meant to bolster sales and raise your environmental cred, but often languish as a lame iconic gesture rather than real change. Microsoft is one exception: it has been building LEED-certified data centers.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

The 6 Technologies That Shaped 2008

From high-definition streaming to tiny gadgets, 2008 saw technology continue its steady transformation toward the small, cheap and on-demand. Our resident gadget guru takes a look at the six developments that shaped 2008.

Published on: December 23, 2008

1. Netflix Rocks Internet Movie Streaming
A year ago, we would have guessed that Apple would become the dominant player in the nascent business of streaming Internet-delivered TV shows and movies to TV with its Apple TV. We would have been wrong. Over the past year, Netflix's "Watch It Now" feature evolved from a little-used part of its Web site to a killer app that is causing some people to cancel their cable. The secret to the success of Netflix's streaming movie service: widespread integration into TV-connected devices that are either inexpensive (such as the $100 Roku Netflix Player) or already in people's homes (such as the Xbox 360). Even better: The company is rapidly ramping up its high-definition and first-run offerings, including first-run TV shows just a day after they first air. Unlike Apple, which charges a few bucks for every TV show or movie, Netflix's streaming is completely free to Netflix subscribers. And unlike Hulu (another sleeper success this year), Netflix streaming is advertisement-free.

2. Pocket Gadgets, on the Cheap
Netbooks and pocket camcorders were, undoubtedly, the two biggest consumer electronics breakthroughs of the past year. But these distinct new categories were really results of the same winning formula for 2008: No-frills, portable, cheap electronics. Netbook manufacturers found they could bring prices down well below $400 by exorcising features such as optical drives, large screens and even the latest operating systems. Pocket camcorder makers, such as Pure Digital Technologies, the makers of the best-selling Flip, came to the same conclusion, taking out frills for a bare-bones HD camcorder with its tiny, $230 Flip HD Mino. Consumers were willing to sacrifice top-notch performance to have cheap, portable gadgets. With the recent economic downturn, we would bet the demand for these budget-priced gadgets will only skyrocket.

3. Mobile Applications
Hardware- and feature-wise, cellphones have hit a plateau. The battle of millimeters in a rush to be the thinnest phone is largely a thing of the past, and just about any hardware-based feature we want is now standard. That's why, these days, a smart phone is only as good as its applications. This is the new battleground for mobile technological supremacy, with stores such as the iPhone's App Store and the Android Market leading the charge, and new entries from Palm and (coming in March) Blackberry close behind. Just because a feature wasn't thought of in a boardroom doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. All it takes is a good idea and a standard development kit.

4. 3D Cinema
This past year's Journey to the Center of the Earth may not have been a big hit, but it was significant for a few reasons. First: It was the first "live action" (we use that term loosely for any Brendan Fraser movie) digital 3D movie. And second, even though 3D screens accounted for a small percentage of its showings, they accounted for the majority of Journey's revenue. In other words—where it was showing in 3D, people went to see it. Over the next year, 3D will continue its transition from novelty to Hollywood standard. Some of Hollywood's biggest names, such as Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron are either working on or have already made digital 3D films. The granddaddy of them all, James Cameron's Avatar (his first feature since the monster blockbuster Titanic) is slated for a3D release in late 2009. Just about every industry expert we've spoken to cites this release as the true tipping point for 3D saturation. Cameron has signaled that, at least initially, he wants to release the film only in 3D. So if theater owners want to cash in on what will likely be a huge hit, they're going to need to install more 3D screens.

5. Location-Based Services
Take open mobile-application development, add widespread proliferation of phone-based GPS, and you get the emergence of location-based programs. Programs based on the global positioning of a user spread like crazy this year, particularly for the iPhone, which has dozens of applications that allow users to find businesses that are near their present location. Urbanspoon's iPhone app, for example, connects users with nearby restaurants by using a randomized, roulette-style interface. Of course, the most interesting use of location-based programs is its marriage with social applications. Programs such as Loopt allow you to find friends who are nearby. Down the line, look for the emphasis to shift from finding existing friends who are nearby, to making new friends. Stranded at the airport? Soon you won't think twice about finding a like-minded individual who is also at O'Hare.

6. Microblogging
Twitter may be the most famous tool for microblogging (the abbreviated, one-or-two sentence cousin to regular blogging), but it's no longer the most important. That distinction now belongs to something that is rarely even thought of as a microblog: Facebook. Specifically, Facebook "status" updates. Millions of users update their "status" dozens of times a day, letting the world know how they are feeling, what they are doing and what they are looking to do be doing. And, thanks to Facebook's recent redesign, these updates are broadcast, front on center, to each and every one of a user's friends. Of course, microblogging has been around longer than the past year. What really sent it over the tipping point in the past 12 months was the meteoric rise of mobile applications. Now, users can update their Twitter or Facebook status in seconds, from anywhere and with ease. Instead of being the domain of desktop-bound bloggers, microblogs are now effectively quick broadcasts from the lunch line ("out of sushi again"), the stadium floor ("at AMAZING show!"), or the streets ("anybody around Avenue A wanna grab a drink?").

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

"I'm Linux" Video Contest Will Probably Be a Forking Mess

Move over Hodgman and that hipster kid who briefly dated Drew Barrymore, because there's a new advertising campaign in town that hopes to take Linux into the mainstream. With commercials.

It's true. The Linux Foundation saw those successful I'm a Mac commercials, and Jerry Seinfeld playing with Bill Gates, and they wanted in. So they're having a video contest that will try and showcase "just what Linux means to those who use it, and hopefully inspires many to try it."

That means you, the Linux user at home, will get to submit a video that rivals what Apple and Microsoft's multi-million dollar ad agencies have had years to hone and perfect with focus groups and trained, funny actors. But that's the beauty of the penguin, right? Grassroots development, supported by a passionate community of users, all topped off by a network of cranky forum dwellers who'll attack anything negative written about their OS within milliseconds of its publication.

The winner of the I'm Linux contest will receive a free (as in beer) trip to Tokyo to participate in the Linux Foundation Japan Linux Symposium in October 2009. The winning video will be screened at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco on April 8, 2009.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

By following two steps behind, Palm is doomed

Palm is suddenly making some impressive moves. Unfortunately for the handset maker’s shareholders, it’s making them about a year too late.The Silicon Valley-based manufacturer this week took the wraps off a striking new application storefront that already boasts 5,000 offerings — 10 times the number of apps offered by two-month-old Android Market, according to Medialets. And the company has garnered headlines with news that it will use CES next month to unveil Nova, a smartphone platform designed to bridge the BlackBerry/iPhone gap by “aiming for the fat middle” of the market, according to Palm CEO Ed Colligan via BusinessWeek, thereby combining mobile entertainment offerings with basic business functions.At first glance, at least, Palm’s goal seems modest: The firm wants to hold onto its 2.1% market share (according to Gartner) of the smartphone market by tapping the booming prosumer market.But the smartphone space has moved at a breakneck pace in the past year — both in terms of hardware and software — and Palm is two steps behind. It’s vying for traction against the iPhone (which now claims a 12.9% market share, according to Gartner) and Google’s G1, as well as more venerable platforms like Nokia’s Symbian and RIM’s BlackBerry. The problem is, each of those players is wooing consumers who use phones both for work and for fun. Even if Palm’s technology is jaw-dropping, it can’t touch Apple’s marketing acumen, Google’s name recognition or BlackBerry’s solid reputation — not to mention Symbian’s footprint. And, with only about six quarters of cash on hand, Palm is in no position to back Nova (and the hardware it will run on) with the marketing necessary to capture the attention of the public. Which means the only real hope may be selling devices to existing Palm users — a segment sure to shrink, percentage-wise, as the overall smartphone market grows.Just as importantly, Palm will have to fight viciously for the attention of developers. Yet another mobile OS will only further fragment the space, giving developers one more platform to build for. That will be exceedingly difficult when Google, RIM and others are offering tens of millions in developers contests and Sprint Nextel and other carriers are courting software engineers by opening development platforms.Palm was a leading innovator in the early days of mobile, of course, producing PDAs and smartphones that were substantially ahead of their time. Its new storefront is well thought-out and demonstrates some impressive support from the developer community — so far.But the company now is betting its future by following in the footsteps of the industry’s biggest players. For an underdog already hearing the ticking of the clock, that’s a strategy that appears doomed to fail.

Friday, 19 December 2008

The Day Web 2.0 Died

by Josh Catone

For a lot of people, the term “Web 2.0,” ceased to mean anything real a long a time ago. For some, it never really meant anything to begin with. As someone who writes about the so-called second version of the web for a living, I think I’ve held onto the Web 2.0 term as long as I could. But today, “Web 2.0″ has officially jumped the shark for me. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop using it — as a blanket term to describe the industry that I write about it can be helpful — but I have to admit that it has now become somewhat of a parody.

Defining Web 2.0 has been something like a fun parlor game for a few years now. There’s a long history of people trying to come up with a unified definition of Web 2.0. But like the elusive theory of everything in physics, a single, agreed-upon definition of what Web 2.0 really means has been hard to come by.

Probably the most widely accepted definition is Tim O’Reilly’s compact definition: “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”

But even O’Reilly’s definition has changed and evolved to get to that point.

So what caused me to finally admit that Web 2.0 has jumped the shark? It was waking up today, and finding a link to this story at PC World, a very mainstream computer publication: Web 2.0 Tactics for Successful Job-Hunting.

Among the “Web 2.0 tactics” that PC World recommends: letters of recommendation, staying current with your skills, and networking. Isn’t that how people have been searching for jobs nearly forever? What the heck is “Web 2.0″ about that? The only item on the list that could be even mildly considered to have some sort of tie in with what we generally like to think of as Web 2.0 was “Upgrade your online image,” in which the authors recommend joining relevant online social communities like LinkedIn, and Twitter, blogging, and making sure your profiles at other social sites are clean of college party photos.

In other words: Web 2.0 is now a mainstream marketing term. In reality, Web 2.0 has always been a marketing term. O’Reilly’s company, which owns the trademark on the term, uses it to promote their hugely successful web-focused conference series, for example. But until today, I hadn’t actually seen it applied in a way that so blatantly targets a mainstream audience in an effort to make something rather dull appear more hip (I’m sure it’s happened before, this was just the first time I’ve seen it).

All that said, the confusion over Web 2.0 — whatever it means and however it is now being used — has been helpful.

Last April, I wrote that there really is no such thing as Web 2.0, or Web 3.0 for that matter, there is just the web. “Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 — they don’t really exist. They’re just arbitrary numbers assigned to something that doesn’t really have versions,” I said. “But the discussion that those terms have prompted have been helpful, I think, in figuring out where the web is going and how we’re going to get there; and that’s what is important.”

I think that’s still true, and as long as we continue to have that discussion and attempt to define these nebulous ideas, we’ll continue to get value from the discussion. I wrote in April that instead of telling people I write about Web 2.0, I’d tell them that I “write about the web, what you can do with it now, and what you’ll be able to do with it in the future.” I haven’t done a very good job in keeping with that promise, but I still like the idea.

(you can see the original at

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Death Match: BlackBerry Storm VS Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Stormy smarties

Another test with the words ‘iPhone rivals’ in the first paragraph, but for now Apple’s groundbreaking handset is still the bar against which touchscreens like the Blackberry Storm and Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 will be compared too.

Arguably one of the best looking phones we’ve seen, the Storm’s is RIMs first touchscreen, boasting unique SurePress technology that replicates the feel of a solid keypad. Instead of building the features around the touchscreen capabilities, it’s still unmistakably Blackberry, with dedicated back and menu keys.

Using Windows Mobile 6, Sony Ericsson’s X1 is a more traditional smartphone, in the design vein of HTC, masquerading as a modern touchee, with a high-res screen you can jab and poke as hard as you please.

Stuffed with features and fired up with connectivity, is either phone worth your cash?

Death Match One: Ease of use

Blackberry Storm

Free on contracts over £35, 24 months

Great for Google Maps and You Tube, the highlight is the bright, colourful and detailed screen, which rotates automatically - most of the time. Feedback makes the touchscreen feel like a ‘proper keyboard.’ You have to use double-clicks so there’s no danger of hitting the wrong button, unless you’re using the tiny dual-key QWERTY keyboard that is.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

£670 sim free, or free on contract

Hit the X Panel button to access shortcut panels for key applications, such as web, music, photos and main menu. The touchscreen feels small and you’re messily swapping between the stylus and finger, a feat not helped by the sluggish Windows Mobile interface. The slide-out keyboard might not be sexy, but is for more accurate than the Storm.

Winner: BlackBerry Storm

Death Match Two: Features

Blackberry Storm

Ridiculously there’s no WiFi, which for a phone geared up for browsing, is ludicrous, what about using it abroad? You can install Facebook, Google Maps and You Tube apps and RIM’s app store launches in March 2009. As well as GPS, you get six months of Vodaphone’s Fine&Go navigation service.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Unlike the Storm you get WiFi, as well as HSPDA and 3G, although logging on proved temperamental at times. There’s a good 3.2MP camera and trial of Wayfinder Navigator service.

Winner: Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Death Match Three: Performance

Blackberry Storm

Browsing is speedy, although you’re at the mercy of Vodaphone’s signal. Push email is terrific, and you get a useful cut and paste facility. Battery life is comparable with the N96, iPhone and G1, so you’ll be charging every night.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Battery life impresses, lasting longer than the Storm. 3G browsing is fairly speedy, although we struggled to get onto the WiFi network, but this was due to Windows Mobile. The 3.5mm jack lets you hook up your own headphones, although you’re stuck with Windows Media rather than SE’s superior Walkman interface.

Winner: BlackBerry Storm

Death Match Four: Conclusion

Even though the Xperia X1 has an outstanding build, next to the Storm and iPhone, it’s creaky and dated. The Storm’s emailing is top notch, but the fiddly text input and criminal lack of WiFi let down. When it comes down to it, Sony Ericsson makes far better camera and music phones, whilst the RIM’s BlackBerry Storm is a fantastic smartphone even with the niggles.

(by Hannah Bouckley on 2008-12-16)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

10 sneaky ways crapware gets onto your PC

It's rubbish, and it's on your computer. But how did it get there?

Crapware. Those pieces of bloatware, spyware and other useless apps that clog up our hard drives and sell our search histories to third parties.

It's either sitting there as soon as you switch on a brand new PC or, if you've been lucky enough to get a computer that's free of it, it soon starts to make its way onto your hard drive via the net.

So how does this junk end up on our computers? Here's how...

1. Upselling
To some firms, "I want to update my video software" means "change my browser and my MP3 software, too." We're looking at you, Apple. And we're making a stern face.

2. Toolbars
Search engines pay cash for referrals, which is why their toolbars come bundled with completely unrelated applications.

3. Virus warnings
Depressing fact: pop-up ads that look like real anti-virus warnings wouldn't exist if they didn't work.

4. Cheapo PC firms
One dollar to put an icon on the desktop isn't much, but when you're selling ultra-cheap PCs a few such icons can keep you in business.

5. Very small print
Yes, the End User Licence Agreement does mention that you'll fill my PC with crap! On page four hundred and thirty two, section 339.1, subsection three, clause 3(b)!

6. Restore discs
To you or me, system restore means Windows. To some hardware firms, it means Windows plus all the crapware you've spent weeks getting rid of.

7. Ancient ISPs
Nobody uses dial-up Internet access any more, so ageing ISPs are getting desperate. That's why their icons appear on machines with internal Wi-Fi and 3G.

8. Duelling banjos
Some manufacturers seem to think that if they're going to annoy us, they might as well really annoy us. Why else would they install 32 different security suites and 400 CD burners on a single PC?

9. Printers
Beware the Easy Install, because it won't just install the driver. It'll also give you text recognition, a proprietary photo printing service and an app that puts bubbles, balloons and baboons in your family snaps.

10. Fake codecs
"To view Midgets In Lingerie you need the megaviddycodec. Click here!" Click! Argh!

To clean junk off new PCs TechRadar recommends The PC Decrapifier

(Try to) see the world's tiniest optical mouse!

Lilliputians would think the new Z-Nano was massive though

Sometimes companies come out with products that are very useful and can benefit our lives in some way. Other times, like the Z-Nano Mouse release, it's just because they can make it.

This tiny, tiny mouse measures just 42x21x17.65mm, yet even has a scroll function, optical tracking and blinkin' blinking LED lights to boot.

Buttons switcheroo

Obviously the buttons aren't in the normal places, rather the left click is at the front, and the right one at the back, and a small rocker switch allows you to scroll up and down.

And for easy convenience, the USB connector even clips to the back of the mouse itself... and slots into a bizarre little net bag, or a clamshell case if you're more hardcore.

Check out the video of the (slightly pointless) device in action, and then think about just using the trackpad on the laptop... or even a normal mouse.

Commerce holding back 100Mb broadband in UK

Virgin Media's tech guru explains limitations

Virgin Media's Director of Technical Strategy, Kevin Baughan, has told TechRadar that it is financial rather than technical limitations that are keeping the UK from getting even faster broadband speeds than the 50Mb service that the company has just launched.

Baughan, talking at the launch of Virgin's 50Mb service, insisted that 100Mb was entirely possible right away – but that until the desire for the service was in place and economies of scale had brought down prices it would not be arriving.

"Several factors come together," Baughan told TechRadar. "One of them is scale because we need to get the price points down to something that the consumer is going to enjoy… we could take a modem out there today but it would be far too expensive.


"The second is the applications; there is a little bit of a chicken and egg there, so obviously pushing the speed both worldwide and with us here will stimulate applications and make them arrive.

"It's both of those factors and then putting them together in a commercial sense. [The commercial side] has to be happy that there is a proposition they can go out and sell.

"Technology usually isn't the gating factor these days, is it? It's when do I get scale, who's got scale and can I get it out there at a price point that people will like?"

10 movie releases that can save Blu-ray

With DVD still dominating retailer's shelves, and digital downloads and upscaling players pinching some of the limelight, Blu-ray has had a pretty hard run of it of late. All is not lost for the format, however, it needs the right film release to get back on the straight and narrow.

With this in mind we've taken a look at upcoming releases and the films still to make it on to the format to compile TechRadar's list of movies that can, with a little luck, save Blu-ray from a fate worse than Laser Disc…

1. The Matrix

It was the film that gave the DVD format a much-needed shot in the arm when it was released back in '99 and Warner is hoping its forthcoming release will do the same with Blu-ray.

Picture-wise, the movie is 1080p, taken from a VC-1 codec and, thankfully, the whole trilogy is presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Audio is Dolby TrueHD 5.1.

No matter what your quibbles are about the subsequent sequels, there's no getting around the fact that seeing bullet time in HD will be simply awesome. Couple this with the mountain of extras The Complete Matrix Trilogy has, including some HD-exclusive features, and this will be one unmissable Blu-ray release.

Release date: 24 November

2. The Godfather

The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Collection has been out on Blu-ray for a while now, but its recent win at the High-Def Disc Awards, where it was given the prestigious title of 'Best Blu-ray of 2008' should hopefully make naysayers stand to attention.

The Godfather is not just an old re-release, either, the edition is the closest you will ever get to seeing the film as it looked in the cinema in 1972, in 1.78:1 aspect ratio with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound. If that isn't an offer you can't refuse, then we don't know what is.

Release date: out now

3. Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Peter Jackson is the king of the home entertainment format. He embraced Laser Disc, giving his comedy horror flick The Frighteners an extensive release, and his King Kong and Lord Of The Rings trilogy are still the best and most comprehensive discs on DVD.

Lord Of The Rings on Blu-ray will undoubtedly be something special. While it will be hard to top the original Extended Editions, just seeing The Shires in HD will be something special. And, who knows, he might slip his recent short film 'Crossing The Line' in as an extra. Shot with the brilliant 4k RED camera, it's one of the best things around in HD.

Release date: TBA

4. The Dark Knight

The best film of this year by a country mile, The Dark Knight has been mooted by many – and now TechRadar – as the film to save Blu-ray. Number crunching analysts are predicting the movie will hit the magical million mark when it is released in December.

The film will suit Blu-ray perfectly, with Nolan promising some hi-def exclusive extras, and you will be able to see the ground-breaking IMAX shots in 16:9.

There's no doubt that The Dark Knight will be huge, and with a release date just before Christmas, it could well be the movie to finally make average consumers take the hi-def plunge.

Release date: 8 December

5. Wall-E

While putting a near-silent movie onto Blu-ray may not sound like the greatest idea, the bleeps, whizzes and coo-ing of Wall-E (voiced by Ben Burtt), Pixar's latest and cutest creation, will sound superb in HD when it's released at the end of the month.

Pixar movies have the added advantage of being loved by children and adults alike, and with the rest of the animation company's creations already superbly transferred to Blu-ray, Wall-E should be the icing on a very lucrative cake. And considering the CGI animation is among the best seen, it won't be difficult for the last robot on Earth to shine on Blu-ray.

Release date: 24 November

6. Sleeping Beauty

This may seem like an odd entry, but Disney finally deciding to embrace Blu-ray with open arms is a fantastic boon to the format. Every time a classic Disney movie was released it was an event, as The Mouse House only allows them to be on the shelves for a limited time (in the UK that is) until the next classic release comes along. This added a limited edition factor that no collector could refuse.

But Disney is holding a different Ace this time around – Profile 2.0. The company is going straight for every parents' Achilles' heel – their kids. With downloadable content including ringtones and games, Sleeping Beauty could well be the disc to show off Blu-ray's interactive capabilities.

Release date: out now

7. Watchmen

Even though Watchmen hasn't even hit the cinema's yet, the movie should still be on everyone's must-have Blu-ray list.

Not only will Zach Snyder's movie be a visual feast – if the trailer and Alan Moore's peerless graphic novel is anything to go by – but the Blu-ray will open up the Watchmen world even more. Rumoured to contain a whole new mini movie, based on 'The Black Freighter', the comic within the comic, it looks as if Snyder will be putting out a Blu-ray disc so good that even Alan Moore might watch it.

Release date: TBA

8. Apocalypse Now

The multiple releases of Apocalypse Now on DVD made a mockery of the film. Light on features, the movie suffered as a result of distributors not seeing eye to eye, so fantastic extras like Hearts Of Darkness weren't released with the main film.

Release the film on Blu-ray in one package, complete with theatrical version, the redux version and uber-documentary Hearts Of Darkness and you will have such a complete set that fans will find it irresistible.

Oh, and if the film is fully remastered and comes with ear-bleeding audio, then that would be an added bonus. We can only but dream.

9. Star Wars

Yes, you bought the remastered DVD release. You probably coughed up for the original version of the trilogy in disc form. And you may even have paid out for Episodes I-III. But even in these credit-crunching times the idea of The Star Wars Trilogy on Blu-ray is an enticing one.

There's been no word about Lucas' plans for Blu-ray, but as the Clone Wars BD is soon to be released on the format, it's definitely more 'when', rather than 'if'.

If you want to hear what a John Williams THX score would sound like on Blu-ray, then the latest Indiana Jones Blu-ray release has been given the THX seal of approval.

Release date: TBA

10. Alien

Ridley Scott's horror monster movie brought unimaginable terror to space, and paved the way for countless imitators.

Its release on DVD as part of the Alien Quadrilogy remains one of the best things on the format. Packed to the rafters with Making Of content, commentaries and even a director's cut, the collection was so good, it even made you forget just how bad Alien: Resurrection was.

Seeing HR Giger's monstrous creation in HD would be a treat for horror fans, though seeing John Hurt's chest explode in 1080p may be too much for some to stomach.

Release date: TBA

The best high-def games and movies for Xmas

TechRadar's pick of HD entertainment for the festive break

Christmas isn't what it used to be. A few years ago we'd have been satisfied with a fat slice of Christmas pud, some mint Matchmakers and an afternoon Bond movie.

But then we didn't know any better. We didn't have a high-def TV, a brand-spanking new Blu-ray player or an HD games console. Forget about watching Diamonds Are Forever (for the 25th time), just give us The Dark Knight on Blu-ray and then join us online for a game of Gears of War 2.

Here's TechRadar's guide to having a great HD Christmas...

The best of Blu-ray

Rather than watching the umpteenth re-run of Back to the Future, It's a Wonderful Life or something cheery from Pixar, why not abandon the scheduled programming for a top-notch movie on Blu-ray?

The Dark Knight tops the TechRadar Amazon wishlist this year, closely followed by WALL-E, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army and Iron Man. And, if you play fast and loose with the definition of 'top notch', you could add Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to the list. For the OTT action pieces, obviously.

The best HD games

Gamers are spoilt for choice this Christmas, with triple-A titles landing on all formats. Yes, it might be anti-social to spend several hours wandering through post-apocalyptic Washington DC pumping Feral Ghouls full of hot lead. But Fallout 3 looks stunning on a widescreen monitor, HD projector or high-def TV. As will this little lot:

If you're a PS3 owner, then your HD urges should be satisfied by the likes of Fallout 3, Bioshock and Resistance 2. The new Prince of Persia game is also getting some good press, while Little Big Planet has the capacity to amuse your house guests (once you've spent several days building a level that is). And if you really must 'play with the rest of family', SingStar: Abba will be an absolute riot.

Xbox 360 fans should look no further than the semi-nuked beauty of Gears of War 2, the ruined wasteland of Fallout 3 and the gloomy menace of zombie shoot-'em up Left 4 Dead. In contrast, Fable II can provide some much-needed fantasy prettiness, while HD visuals get pushed to the limit by every copy of Far Cry 2. Again, for multiplayer hilarity, take SingStar wannabe Lips for a spin, play quiz game Scene It or embarrass yourself with the webcam-equipped You're in the Movies.

PC devotees, meanwhile, can argue that they've been playing games in HD for years. This Christmas is no different and GTA IV, Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2 top the list of games that look luscious on a big screen. The oddball World of Goo is also worth a look and, should you give the gift of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King to a loved one, don't expect to see them again until January.

The best HD shows

If Christmas is about anything, it's about eating too much and then sitting around complaining about it. Some might also say that Christmas is about family and there's nothing more festive than watching an HD movie together. This year's high-def offerings are as follows:

If you're a Sky+ HD subscriber, then prepare to be wowed by HD versions of The Golden Compass and Transformers. Elsewhere, Ray Winstone will be shouting "I am Beowulf!", while a star-studded cast (including Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer) bring Neil Gaiman's Stardust to life. Sky's HD content is still the most comprehensive. Sky1, FX, Discovery, National Geographic, History and Channel 4 are also broadcasting in HD.

As far as free HD is concerned, the BBC released its high-def line-up in November. The BBC HD channel (available on Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat) will be showing Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Toy Story 2, The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe and Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm in glorious HD.

Other BBC HD highlights include: a new Wallace and Gromit feature, entitled A Matter Of Loaf And Death, an adaptation of The 39 Steps, Lark Rise to Candleford and a range of Xmas specials such as Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who at the Proms. Keep an eye on the BBC HD schedules for more info.

Freesat early adopters can also get exclusive access to ITV HD, which will be showing a number of big films in HD over the Christmas holidays – I.e. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and True Lies.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Phone and communications News- Lenovo trumps iPhone with Android device

Sleek, shiny and running Google's service... we like

Lenovo, a company far more renowned for putting together decent computers than phones, has revealed an iPhone-busting handset, at least in the design stakes.

OK, it might be taking a few cues from the iPhone, but the fact that it also runs Google's Android OS is something that should definitely work in its favour as well.

We only have the single shot to go on, but first impressions hint at a handset that's dinkier than the iPhone but with a similar screen size.


We would prefer it if the comparisons between the iPhone and this handset ended there, but the fact it's called the OPhone and is merely a prototype of a China-based Android device doesn't help matters.

Still, the gadget world is crying out for a beautiful handset that properly shows off Android (the G1 might be powerful, but looks like the Desperate Dan of the mobile world) and this could be that handset.

Best get that petition over to Lenovo to bring it to European shores quickly... or get the number of a good importer and a handbook for Mandarin.

10 things that Apple should make right now

Gear and apps we want Apple to apply its magic touch to

Apple likes to think it's the oracle of technology; rays of light shining forth from its Cupertino offices, Steve Jobs with a halo around his head.

But oddly, while its products are angelic, its press office is more secretive than the USA's Homeland Security.

Apple has a strict policy, which it repeats ad infinitum: it won't discuss unreleased products. In the world of tech journalism, this presents a problem. So we've resorted to a tried and tested practice: we decided to make them up, starting with the most obvious and ending with the slightly less obvious...

1. Mac Touch
While Apple won't discuss unannounced products, it will steadfastly deny rumours. Jobs has said the company is not working on a touch computer, but he said something similar about the iPhone. A touch Mac would support gestures for every activity; painting in Photoshop, opening Finder windows, adding some flair to an iChat session with a finger swipe. Most of the research and coding has been done for the iPhone - which runs on a modified version of OS X - so this is not a stretch. Unlike quirky Tablet PCs that support touch - such as the Dell Latitude XT - a Mac Touch would actually work.

2. A-Book
Okay, it might be a dorky name, but Apple really needs to make a high-resolution e-book reader, similar to the Amazon Kindle, the CyBook Gen 3, and the Sony Reader. Gestures could mimic those on the iPhone: flick to turn a page, pinch to zoom in on a word and look it up in the dictionary, spread fingers to see the table of contents. To crush the competition, the A-Book would be in colour, yet support the same 120DPI quality of the grayscale electronic readers.

3. Its own version of Flash
Could we also see an Apple version of Flash? After all, why won't it allow Flash on the iPhone otherwise? Apple is both a hardware and software company, but its foray into Web 2.0 and the interactive web has been hit and miss (but mostly miss, if you have ever used MobileMe). Some would say iTunes is a powerful Web 2.0 application, but it's decidedly desktop bound. Web 2.0 sites from Apple would be amazing: a music app that runs on the Web and syncs with your iPod from anywhere, video editing that uses back-end servers for post-processing but has a front end that looks like every other Mac app.

4. Apple Touch Table
The natural iteration of a Mac Touch and the iPhone is an OS X-powered touch table that you can use in the kitchen or living room. Avoiding comparisons to Microsoft Surface, the Touch Table would support more physics so when multiple users play a card game or racing simulation, there would be force feedback from the whole table and objects that collide would cause a visceral bump.

5. OS X in a browser
And, if Apple can't deliver a few Web 2.0 sites, can they at least make a Web OS? What I mean by that is not an enterprise-class cloud infrastructure - let's leave that work to Google and Amazon. What we mean is an OS that literally runs in your browser, houses your Web apps and data, allows you to configure users to access the OS, runs the Dashboard and widgets, and looks and acts just like OS X.

6. Apple Watch
Distant memories of the abysmal Microsoft SPOT watch have now faded into oblivion (although MSN Direct lives on and may even be updated next year). Apple should steal the market with a watch that supports about 4GB of music storage, includes Bluetooth stereo earbuds, and speaks the time.

7. Mac Dashboard
No, not that dashboard -- we're not talking widgets here, but a hardware dashboard for your car. The iPod would - of course - plug into the stereo system, while speed and fuel indicators would be customisable (perhaps even mimicking the look of a BMW one day and a Mercedes the next). Add in multi-user support - meaning, the passengers in the back seat - and we could see personalized seat warmers and position settings.

8. Mac House
Here's where things get interesting. A Mac House would be powered entirely by OS X and bring full home automation. Too cold? An LCD screen would show the current temperature. Front door security breached? It would be linked to all of your computer passwords. Sprinkler controls? They could be synced with the local weather automatically. And the best part is: no viruses or system crashes.

9. Mac Goggles
Visual products have faltered of late - many of them cause eye strain and dizziness. Yet, Apple can get this one right if they throw enough hard science into it, creating a virtual environment with stationary objects, very high resolution optics, and plenty of connection options (such as HDMI and DVI).

10. Mac Transit
Once your house is run on OS X, you have a touch table for playing games and wear your Mac Goggles everyday to work, it's time for Apple to start taking over the rest of the world, starting with mass transit. Terminals for gaining entrance to a train station that run OS X would be just the beginning. Next, airplanes would be equipped with iPod listening stations, cars would mimic iPhone gestures, and even road signs on the way to a picnic would be Mac powered. Microsoft Windows? Non-existent.

Wireless home networks

Wireless home networks are better than ever! The emergence of new industry standards has made them easier, more convenient, less expensive to own and operate. Still, you need to know what to look for (and look out for), and the expert guidance you’ll find in Wireless Home Networks For Dummies, 3rd Edition helps you ensure that your wire-free life is also a hassle-free life!

This user-friendly, plain-English guide delivers all of the tips, tricks, and knowledge you need to plan your wireless home network, evaluate and select the equipment that will work best for you, install and configure your wireless network, and much more. You’ll find out how to share your Internet connection over your network, as well as files, printers, and other peripherals. And, you’ll learn how to avoid the “gotchas” that can creep in when you least expect them. Discover how to:

  • Choose the right networking equipment
  • Install and configure your wireless network
  • Integrate Bluetooth into your network
  • Work with servers, gateways, routers, and switches
  • Connect audiovisual equipment to your wireless network
  • Play wireless, multiuser computer games
  • Establish and maintain your network’s security
  • Troubleshoot networking problems
  • Improve network performance
  • Understand 802.11n

Whether you’re working with Windows PCs, Mac OS X machines, or both Wireless Home Networking For Dummies, 3rd Edition, makes it fast and easy to get your wireless network up and running—and keep it that way!

About the Author who you well known.

Danny Briere founded TeleChoice, Inc., a telecommunications consulting company, in 1985 and now serves as CEO of the company. Widely known throughout the telecommunications and networking industry, Danny has written more than 1,000 articles about telecommunications topics and has authored or edited eight books, including Smart Homes For Dummies, 3rd Edition, HDTV For Dummies, 2nd Edition, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 PC For Dummies, Wireless Network Hacks & Mods For Dummies, and Home Theater For Dummies, 2nd Edition (all published by Wiley). He is frequently quoted by leading publications on telecommunications and technology topics and can often be seen on major TV networks providing analysis on the latest communications news and breakthroughs. Danny lives in Mansfield Center, Connecticut, with his wife and four children.

Pat Hurley is director of research with TeleChoice, Inc., specializing in emerging telecommunications technologies, including all the latest access and home technologies: wireless LANs, DSL, cable modems, satellite services, and home networking services. Pat frequently consults with the leading telecommunications carriers, equipment vendors, consumer goods manufacturers, and other players in the telecommunications and consumer electronics industries. Pat is the co-author of Smart Homes For Dummies, 3rd Edition, HDTV For Dummies, 2nd Edition, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 PC For Dummies, Wireless Network Hacks & Mods For Dummies, and Home Theater For Dummies, 2nd Edition (all published by Wiley). He lives in San Diego, California, with his wife, beautiful daughter, and two smelly and unruly dogs.

Edward Ferris is a consultant and director of information systems with TeleChoice, Inc., specializing in information management, wired and wireless networking, and security technologies. He has extensive experience with all the latest VOIP technologies: SIP, vPBX, Hybrid PBX, QoS, and packet labeling and switching. Ed frequently consults with companies looking to tighten information security, develop scalable technology plans, and expand network and client support operations. He has written many training and technology manuals for corporate use and has created custom training materials and seminars for numerous applications and business processes. He lives in Norwood, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children.

3 Satellite Books

Introduction to Satellite Communication (Artech House Space Applications) By Bruce R. Elbert

Introduction to Satellite Communication (Artech House Space Applications)
About the Author
Bruce Elbert is managing director of Application Strategy Consulting and was formerly vice president of Applications Systems Development of Hughes Space and Communications. He holds an M.S.E.E. in communications and computer science from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. He is also the author of The Satellite Communication Applications Handbook, Second Edition and The Satellite Communication Ground Segment and Earth Station Handbook (Artech House 2004, 2000).

Whether you are a technical or management professional, you can turn to this highly understandable and comprehensive overview of satellite technology, applications, and management. Thoroughly updated and expanded, this third edition boasts a wealth of new material, including added coverage of systems engineering as applied to satellite communications, clear explanations of all aspects of building and using a satellite systems, and discussions on digital communications and processing in modern satellite networks. The new edition also examines critical success factors and how to avoid the pitfalls in selecting satellite and ground resources.

The book covers all the fundamentals of satellites, ground control systems, and earth stations, considering the design and operation of each major segment. You gain a practical understanding of the basic construction and usage of commercial satellite networks--how parts of a satellite system function, how various components interact, which role each component plays, and which factors are the most critical to success. Moreover, the book explores the economic, legal, and management issues involved in running the business of satellite communications.

You can hear the reader reviews.

A good addition to your telecommunication references5
This book is very useful if you are trying to pave your way into the field of satellite communications.
You will later find out that the book can still serve you as a handy reference when you are already involved and experienced with satellite communications.

"Must have" for anyone in Satellite Communications.5
Bruce Elbert's Introduction to Satellite Communications is the very best starting point for learning the basics of communications by satellite. Its scope goes beyond generalities but deals with specific topics from the world of satellite. Well organized and readable, it is an excellent companion to Mr. Elbert's other book, The Satellite Communication Applications Handbook. Both are "must read" and "must have" references for engineers and non-technical types!

Thorough coverage of Satellite Communications4
This book does a great job of discussing commercial satellite communications. It is up to date, and includes excellent industry examples and technical details. This book will fill in your knowledge gaps.

Map: Satellite By DK Publishing

Map: Satellite
Landscapes are brought to life in this uniquely spectacular atlas, in which extraordinary satellite images can be directly compared to state-of-the-art mapping, at a variety of scales, without having to turn the page.
Review from the readers
The best Atlas EVER 5

This is truly an amazing book, one for every coffee table. I have many atlas's, but one with Satellite images next to a map is fantastic. It could be more complete with every country, but still, an amazing book to flick thru with a hot Latte in hand.

Absolutely stuuning, gorgeous book.5
Great coffee table book.

The hologram images on the cover set the trend for the rest of the book. A satellite image is compared to a corresponding cartographical map of the same area.

All the great cities of the world are included ... New York, Los Angeles, New Dehli, London, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, etc.

The book dramatically highlights the damaging effects of the greenhouse effect, plus the recent Aceh Tsunami.

DK books continue their great pictorial format/standard. This book has enough maps covering the world, to be classed as an atlas.

Eye in the Sky: The Story of the Corona Spy Satellites (Smithsonian History of Aviation and Spaceflight)

Eye in the Sky: The Story of the Corona Spy Satellites (Smithsonian History of Aviation and Spaceflight)
Presenting the full story of the CORONA spy satellites' origins, "Eye in the Sky" explores the Cold War technology and far-reaching effects of the satellites on foreign policy and national security. Arguing that satellite reconnaissance was key to shaping the course of the Cold War, the book documents breakthroughs in intelligence gathering and achievements in space technology that rival the landing on the moon. 63 photos.

Review from From Scientific American
The cold war propelled the U.S. and the Soviet Union to stunning technological heights--both figuratively and literally. Among the most impressive--and most deeply concealed--of those achievements is satellite reconnaissance, on which the U.S. continues to spend billions of dollars every year. This book chronicles in satisfying detail the origins of U.S. satellite reconnaissance by focusing on the pioneering Corona program, under which some 800,000 satellite images were made between 1960 and 1972.

Review from the readers

The "little" program that helped win the Cold War...5
"Eye in the Sky" is an excellent book on the Discover/CORONA satellite program. What sets this book apart from other CORONA texts (including the declassified CIA history) is the chapter on the Soviet ZENIT program and its similarities to CORONA. This chapter alone is worth the cost of the book, since this comparison is not covered in any depth in the other CORONA books.

The appendices are good, with similiar information found on the internet and in Curtis Peeble's book on CORONA. The scientific coverage on the camera development is good too. If you're a spy satellite buff, this is a definite addition to your library (with some Burrows, Richelson, Peebles).

Nice summary5
This was a nice summary of the Corona program. There is some redundant text becuase of the way various chapters were written by different people but overall it was a fine book. It explained the Corona program well and had some funny anectdotes. I just am amazed that the government had the smarts to keep funding it even with all the early setbacks. Today, we'd probably just give up (if it isn't a quick fix, then it isn't worth doing).

Thursday, 11 December 2008

CCNA Wireless Official Exam Certification Guide

CCNA Wireless Official Exam Certification Guide is a best of breed Cisco® exam study guide that focuses specifically on the objectives for the CCNA® Wireless IUWNE exam. Senior instructor Brandon Carroll shares preparation hints and test-taking tips, helping you identify areas of weakness and improve both your conceptual knowledge and hands-on skills. Material is presented in a concise manner, focusing on increasing your understanding and retention of exam topics.

CCNA Wireless Official Exam Certification Guide presents you with an organized test preparation routine through the use of proven series elements and techniques. “Do I Know This Already?” quizzes open each chapter and allow you to decide how much time you need to spend on each section. Exam topic lists make referencing easy. Chapter-ending Exam Preparation Tasks sections help you drill on key concepts you must know thoroughly.

The companion CD-ROM contains a powerful testing engine that allows you to focus on individual topic areas or take complete, timed exams. The assessment engine also tracks your performance and provides feedback on a module-by-module basis, presenting question-by-question remediation to the text and laying out a complete study plan for review.

Well-regarded for its level of detail, assessment features, and challenging review questions and exercises, this official study guide helps you master the concepts and techniques that will enable you to succeed on the exam the first time.

CCNA Wireless Official Exam Certification Guide is part of a recommended learning path from Cisco that includes simulation and hands-on training from authorized Cisco Learning Partners and self-study products from Cisco Press. To find out more about instructor-led training, e-learning, and hands-on instruction offered by authorized Cisco Learning Partners worldwide, please visit

Brandon James Carroll is one of the country’s leading instructors for Cisco security technologies, teaching classes that include the CCNA, CCNP®, CCSP® courses, a number of the CCVP® courses, as well as custom-developed courseware. In his eight years with Ascolta, Brandon has developed and taught many private Cisco courses for companies such as Boeing, Intel, and Cisco. He is a CCNA, CCNP, CCSP, and a certified Cisco instructor. Brandon is the author of Cisco Access Control Security.

Reference from

1.CCNA Wireless Official Exam Certification Guide (CCNA IUWNE 640-721) By Brandon James Carroll $31.49

CCNA Wireless Official Exam Certification Guide  (CCNA IUWNE 640-721)
2.CCNA Wireless Official Exam Certification Guide: Cisco press @$49.99.