June 11, 2011

A Google State of Affairs

In light of recent announcements and blog posts from TechCrunch and other online resources of mine, I thought I should talk about the current state of affairs at Google (or at least, my perspective). As this is partly included in the series of posts on old tech, introduced in the preceding post, lets make sure we know where we are coming from (to quote a famous song) and to give my possibly technologically inferior readers a good starting point for this post.

For all those oldies out there, remember Alta Vista? That old, crappy, insignificant search engine? Well, that was once everyones port of call when it came to internet search! Google Swiftly, and without a trace, murdered it and took over, after its launch in 1998. The company expanded into more areas and is now, as you should now know, developing a phone OS called Android, which I personally believe is flawed from the ground up, to be rationalised later.

Now thats out the way, lets start on the interesting stuff. Google have ventured into the smartphone business, but they have also invested in many other technologies, largely web based, such as Gmail, Chromium projects, Docs, Calendar and most importantly, computer operating systems. The soon to be released "Chrome Books" are running the latest version of Chromium OS. This is largely based on the fact that everything is online, and one only needs a browser. For the most part on netbooks, this is true: how many of you store your documents, or calendars, or contacts, or mail, and the list goes on, online, "in the cloud" in some form or another? Many people already do this, like me, so the idea is not all that bad.

June 4, 2011

The Ongoing Pinnacle of Human Achievement

After 12 long years of ferrying labs, modules and transport vehicles up and down, The International Space Station (ISS) was completed last week by members of the Endeavor STS-134 NASA Flight crew. When they had attached the final part to the ISS, the space walker “stepped” back and said, “Wow. This is a big Space Station”. All this, I watched on the NASA TV live stream from the space station onboard cameras. The quote will stay with me for a long time, as one of the greatest human achievements within my lifetime.

NASA are about to retire their 30 year old Space Shuttle program. The last flight of Discovery launched in February, Endeavor launched 3 weeks ago, and Space Shuttle Atlantis will grace our skies one last time on July 8th on STS-135, the 135th Space Shuttle mission since the program started 30 years ago.

As NASA look into the future of space flight, I would like to dedicate a series of posts, albeit a very short one, to the ancient history of technology as we know it.

Enough of the serious talk for now. My class were asked to “make notes about how you find things out, how you discover and share information, and how you then store or remember what you've learned. Then turn the notes into a well-written blog post.”

Being myself, I had been making some notes, very flimsy ones, during exam time as well as free time (I seem to have way to little to do these days). Compiling these notes into a well-written blog post is challenging for me, as my teacher’s standard of “well written” is a list of examples. I don’t do that. Lists are useful, but boring in a blog post. I do paragraphs, and within them, make my futile attempt to convey my point, in an often entertaining and amusing way, I hope.