Thursday, July 31, 2008


I was listening to OSH ATC in the background this morning and when I tuned in I could tell that something was amiss. They had runway 27 closed and had opened up a taxiway adjacent to 36 to handle the excess load. The controller sounded more serious than normal and the friendly banter was absent from the chatter.

Turns out that a Lancair Legacy had a problem on final for 27 this morning, impacted/landed short and came to rest upside down which resulted in the deaths of the two occupants.

I've selected a missing man formation as the image for this entry for obvious reasons.

A Tri Pacer had a problem yesterday, but thankfully there were only minor injuries with that mishap.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Professionals in action

No matter if you understand ATC (Air Traffic Control) chatter or not, listening to the Oshkosh EAA ATC handle all the flight traffic in and out of OSH is pretty cool. Not only are they juggling an amazing amount of aircraft with varying flight performances, but they've made the main runway into three runways with colored dots and have multiple planes landing on these dots at the same time.

They handle issues with utter calm and Chuck Yeager cool and are super courteous in the process welcoming new arrivals to Oshkosh and thanking pilots who've changed their flightpaths on the fly to make it all happen. The occasional accolade for a great landing or superb piloting is appreciated by all I'm sure.

Point your browser here and take a listen. Click on KOSH #2.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Heavy lifter

Hey - she looks good!

Don't point your finger!

Hey, remember Mom scolding you when you pointed your finger at someone else?

I'm sure Michael Arrington has been told that, and I'd manage a bet that he's still being told that. So its kinda poetic justice when he comments on the new search engine Cuil's inability to stay up this morning after launch and his own site (Techcrunch) doesn't respond when I tried to read the comments on the article.

It actually made me grin.

No matter. Cuil is up and running. Check 'em out.

UPDATE - I hate how Cuil displays results.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Week of wings

Every summer the world of aviation comes to my backyard with the annual EAA fly-in, Airventure. If you've never been, I suggest that you find some time to get to Oshkosh and check out the action with lots of hands on activities, amazing airshow performances and if you are really sharp, you'll never know who you might run into in the world of aviation.

Its literally a sea of airplanes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where's it gonna come from?

The more you listen to all the clamoring about wanting more plug in electric vehicles, the more you have to question the intelligence level of those speaking. In this case, former Intel Chairman Andy Groves. He wants 10 million plug in vehicles on the road in 4 years.

So, mister genius, where is the electrical power for these cars going to come from? Last I checked we would have rolling blackouts in the summer due to the high need and the lack of available power on the grid, and he wants to add 10 million + cars to the grid??

And lets talk about base production of the power. What's more effective - an in vehicle power plant, or energy produced somewhere else and then transported over power lines with incredible loss over the lines to get to the outlet?? And what sort of plant is going to produce this power? Around here we have some of the nastiest and dirtiest yellow coal power plants that spew a yellow tinged exhaust into the air that can been seen for hundreds of miles in the atmosphere.

Yeah, having electrical cars makes a lot of sense. Whatever....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And speaking of UAV's...

Check this little bugger out. 4 inch wingspan dragonfly with a camera.

Dude, that's sweet!

Holy UPS Batman!

The new UPS arrived. Slightly larger than anticipated, which is kinda problematic.




On my trip last week in Hood River, I had a great time meeting and talking to some of the guys and gals at Insitu. They're a local Hood River area company that makes some really innovative UAV platforms and technologies. This morning they've announced that Boeing has acquired them for a rumored $400 million on roughly $80 million in revenues.

That's a terrific win, Congrats!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Its coming...

I know, "Its not even breathing hard yet" but still, its coming.

In two months Apple is going to unveil not only changes to existing products to make them current but also innovations that will begin the blending of separate products into a common computing platform. This will involve not only new form factors but increased use of gestures and other touch screen utilization.

I'm not certain that this will include my beloved mid sized iPhone/Touch tablet, but we'll see. ;-)

Did I switch?

Nope. Still have my iPhone 1.0.

Here's why.

1. Do I need high speed data? Yes! But AT&T sucks here in Green Bay (its not their network - they outsourced it!) and I won't get any faster speeds locally. Sure when I travel it will be nice, but I'll cross that bridge later this fall.

2. GPS? Again, that would be nice, but now that the new 2.0 software has following, the "close enough" GPS is well, good enough. (plus I've heard from friends who have 3G's that the GPS is kinda flaky sometimes)

3. The extra storage space would be nice, but nothing that's causing problems for me now. (and yes, I have a pile of apps loaded on it)

4. Rumor has it that the plastic backing on the 3G iPhone gives it better reception. Now THAT would be nice, but I ordered two 800mhz range extenders for both the office and house since we are so far away from the tower anyway.

5. Software-wise its all the same and I love the apps. (Pandora rocks! Thanks to Neil!)

So, I'm hanging tight (for now). I'm sure I'll make the jump sooner or later. I'm really wanting high speed data as my primary tipping point, but the lack of AT&T's network is holding me back at this point.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Google gift?

Sorting through 10 days of mail discovered a little package from Google. "Huh" I thought, "A Google gift in summer?"

Sure enough - a nice letter thanking me for our 6 years of Adwords, a little Adwords advanced tips book, a Google Chef recipes and a Google apron.

A quick glance through the recipe book and my mouth is already watering. ;-)

The family's newest home computer

The experiment that started with the iPod touch as a home computer has been given a swift kick in the rear with Apple's latest software update.

We use it to control our iTunes players that stream to multiple speaker packages in the house (I'd been waiting for this for a while!)

Both the 6 year old and 4 year old enjoy appropriate game content and are really good at sharing and playing games together.

There are some apps that have UI issues IMHO, but when the kids run into the same problems, then I KNOW these UI issues are real. I wonder how many app developers run their UI's past children as a test. I know it works in our house! ;-)

It would be really nice if the Touch had speakers on it ala the iPhone so the kids could play without headphones all the time and for games they play together. It would also be nice to have better control over apps and turn the machine into "kid mode" and keep them from settings, mail, safari, etc.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Not a bad opening weekend

I'm sure Hollywood is jealous. Sunday Apple announced it had sold the one millionth iPhone since the Friday release.

One million iPhones in about 48 hours. Dare I say, OMG! Sheesh, iPhone (3G) mania was WAY more than I had thought. (Herb still doesn't have his and his Treo is toast - bummer!)

Lets break it down....

Hmmm, 1,000,000 iPhones - figure 2/3 of them 16GB models (after all, now that we have the App Store , we need more memory), so that's about $200 million in sales provided all the buyers qualified for the discounted purchase price (still looking for numbers on those ratios) and an additional $66 million for the 8GB models (again, at the lowest price).

So, figure a minimum of $266 million plus non upgraders and then the two year commit on the contracts for another $1400 each brings us to about a cool $400 million dollars for the opening weekend.

I think I'll say it again. OMG! ;-)

UPDATE - 10,000,000 downloads on the App Store. Sheeesh.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Black or white? Which will it be?

Yes, its time to make a choice between two options - each with their own ups and downs. Pros and Cons. And in this case, black or white.

Am I talking about making your decision based purely on skin color? Hell yes!! Do appearances only matter? Its not like their both the same on the inside, or are they?

So, you have to choose - BLACK or WHITE?

Which will you pick??

Which one will say the most about who you are? Your social status? Your (gasp!) political preferences?

I think a lot of people will worry about which one will show fingerprints and be easier to keep clean.

WTF? You thought I was talking about John or Obama??

No way dude, I'm talking about which 3G iPhone color you are gonna get! Sheesh, you got all freaked out there for a second. ;-)

So, which will it be??

Making the jump?

Sure the forthcoming new iPhone has a faster 3G data network, storage (now up to 16GB) and GPS built in, but aside from that, does it have any other improved electronics? (ie. faster CPU?)

Sure the software is getting a boost but current iPhone users (like me) will get that for free.

While the faster data rates will be nice when you can actually GET a 3G signal, would you be willing to shell out an additional $200 in service fees and $199 in hardware fees to get it and GPS?

I'm not sure Apple's given enough new features to make most current iPhone users make the jump - but then again, most geeks that I know are gonna upgrade. So who knows?

On the plus side, iPod Touch owners who didn't bite on the last software upgrade can get it essentially for free if they purchase the new software for $20. If you did purchase the previous upgrade, you'll have to pay an additional $20 to get the new stuff, so you'll be out $40 while your slacker friend who waited will only shell out $20. (who cares? Yeah, I know - still had to mention it)

What am I going to do? Not sure yet. Need to noodle on it some more. It's not that I don't want the speed, GPS and nor isn't it in the budget. No, the only thing keeping me from making the jump is AT&T.

Dude, they really suck. As much as I didn't care for Sprint, they rock compared to AT&T. Not to mention their EVDO data network is in way more places than 3G. And of course there's the issue with general signal availability in which AT&T's "more bars allover" is pure bullshit.

One thing that I am looking forward to is the rumored ability for both iPhones and Touches to control an iTunes player on a local mac. My Touch is going to be great for that and really become more of a ubiquitous computer laying around the house kinda thing. With how I manage and stream music to the various speakers in the house, on the deck, etc. this is going to be really handy.

I guess its going to be nice that I'll be on vacation when the 3G iPhone is released. I'll address the issue of making the jump when I get back and the dust settles.

Or will I?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

End of an era

Today, NASA announced the remaining shuttle mission schedule culminating with the final launch of STS-133 Endeavor on May 31, 2010 - less than two years from now.

I can remember watching the first glide drop tests of Enterprise back in the 70's and in what seems like a blink of an eye, the shuttle missions are coming to an end.

While the shuttle fleet never lived up to the initial project goals in terms of launch schedules, the vehicles outlived their planned lifecycles.

You can bet that getting close access to launches will be harder than ever and I'll be sure to make at least one, if not a handful of launches before they finish it up.

So, what's next?? (didn't I post about this in the first months of this blog??)

Also - click on the pic for the full size image ... sweet eh?

Photo journalism

Take a click ride over here and check out the photos from the west coast forest fire fighting from the last weekend. Amazingly hard work and the pilots are earning their keep and then some.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Obstructive advertising

So, if advertisers don't like you ignoring or not clicking on their ads, what are they to do?

Make their ads take over web real estate when you roll over them! This cropped up about a week ago (well, that's when I noticed it) and its terribly annoying. I don't use the scrollbar on the side of the window - does anyone anymore? Either you are rolling a scroll wheel or doing the two finger scroll on your trackpad (for Mac users). The bottom line is that your cursor will be on the window as you are scrolling down for content and poof! You trigger the window expand almost every time.

Sure the guy (or gal) who thought of this was clever - but in the long term its bad for online marketing and seems like a desperate attempt to get more (less?) value from their online marketing.

I've not done any real research to track it all down, but and Engadget are running them right now. (see pics)

Sure everyone needs to make money online, but being obstructive? I think it spells bad things for the websites that approve of ads such as those. After all, I'm somewhat annoyed at the advertiser, but the website had to approve it. I guess they don't really value and/or respect my my visit. (?)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I'm the anti-line

Engadget reports that people (read : idiots) are lining up at the Apple Cube for the 3G iPhone already. Even Scoble gets into the act with his "expert" opinion of waiting in line for the next gen iPhone. (If someone can actually BE an expert in waiting in line?!?)

Locally, an acquaintance of mine (who will remain un-named) is all excited about driving down to Milwaukee and waiting in line at the Apple store for the new Jesus phone. And then there were the guys that waited in line for the Jobs keynotes....

Is waiting in line fun? Is there untold fame and fortune in it? Do you get anything more than someone who doesn't wait in line and gets the same reward (ie the product) mere minutes after you? Or sits next to you at the keynote after walking right in, still hung over from the night before?

Sorry folks, as a fan boy, there's no way I ever wait in line for Apple crap. There's no need other than for your six seconds of fame.

Trust me - Apple will have plenty of iPhones. Especially in NorthEast Wisconsin. I guess if you have ooodles of time to waste, you can spend it in line. But think of all the cool things you could do while NOT standing in line?

UPATE - the guy in the front of the line is there with his wife and BABY claiming they're there to set some sort of Guiness record. What a tard.

Catching up

Yeah yeah, I've been silent for a bit. Sorry folks, but I've been freakin' busy with work and enjoying summertime as much as possible.

It took long enough, but I finally got my Canon HF10 HD video camera. Its pretty sweet, but it had one downside... one that I never thought would change the way I look at video.

See, the old iMovie can't read the HD files kicked out by all the new HD cams, so I had to make the jump to the new iMovie and even though everyone had been complaining about it, I figured, "Hey, how bad could it be?"

Its bad. Real bad.

Simply put, Apple took one of the easiest, most intuitive apps and made it a freakin' nightmare.

iMovie was an amazing app because it took something difficult (video editing) and made it super simple (not easy) and this promoted lots and lots of users to make quick, great looking videos on their Macs.

With the new iMovie, there's nothing intuitive, etc. about it. Its horrible, and I think Apple's made a serious strategic mistake with this app in terms of home users and adoption of Macs into PC environments.

Its such a pain that I'm just gonna move to Final Cut Pro. Since I have to deal with a pain in the ass, I might as well deal with a killer pain in the ass.

Or that's the theory anyway....