Good morning. Re-runs today on Call for Help and The Screen Savers. We're taking the day off for an all day planning meeting with The Screen Savers staff. If you need me I'll be asleep in the back. It's Leeuwenhoek's birthday. The Dutch naturalist was the first to observe blood cells. He was born in 1632. Gene Roddenberry passed away on this day in 1991.
The match is patented on this day in 1836. Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagra Falls in a barrel on this day in 1901. The stock market crash begins in 1929. The UN is established in 1945.
The Concorde took its last flight today. It began service as the only supersonic commercial airplane in January 1976. Only 16 were built. For $9000 you could fly from JFK to Heathrow in 3.5 hours, arriving before you left.
- Expect spotty cell phone reception today. The sun spewed a massive CME, coronal mass ejection, at 3a Wednesday. The magnetic storm should reach earth around 3p Eastern today. Delay any planned spacewalks until evening.
- Panther, aka Mac OS X 10.3, ships at 8p tonight. Apple claims 150 new features including automatic home directory encryption, fast user switching, Exposé desktop management, a new look Finder that supposedly much faster at finding, built-in faxing and zipping, and more. The new shell is bash not tcsh. Linux lovers will appreciate that. Read David Pogue's review at the New York Times (free registration required). Panther Server is shipping at the same time.
- Amazon is unveiling full text searches of the books it sells. It's not perfect. I searched for "Patrick Norton Wears a Kilt" and got a link to "The Outlandish Companion" by Diana Gabaldon. On second thought...
- Drums are beating over a Google IPO early next year. The company is rumored to be considering an online auction of shares.
- Stephen Brill, media watchdog and commentator, is starting a private identity card business. He's partnering with TransCore, operators of E-ZPass, and ChoicePoint, a provider of background screening services. Brill says a government identity card is "unworkable" and a threat to civil liberties, but would you trust a private company with your personal information?
- InfoWorld says Centrino sales are lagging. Centrino based laptops represented only 5% of notebook sales in August. Centrino is a Pentium-M, Intel 855 chipset, and Intel Wi-Fi. InfoWorld speculates that the lower clockspeeds of the Pentium-M scared people off.
- One of the world's five fastest supercomputers is built of 1100 Macintosh dual G5s. The $5 million machine delivered 8.1 teraflops in early tests but has a theoretical peak of 16.8 TFlops but cost much less than the competition.
- The eight 2002 National Medal of Science winners have been named.
- The right wing credo that global warming is "bad science" took a blow today when NASA reported that satellite data shows the Arctic temperature has been rising 800% more rapidly over the past two decades than previously thought. The ice caps are, in fact, melting.
- It's not tech news, but I couldn't help notice that the actor playing Jesus in Mel Gibson's new movie, The Passion of Christ, has been struck by lightning. Twice.