Monday's X-Prize

All the news that's fit to rant aboutThey did it! SpaceshipOne successfully reached 100km above the earth for the second time in two weeks, winning the $10 million Ansari X-Prize and beginning a new era in civilian space exploration. Brian Binnie piloted this time. This on the 47th anniversary of Sputnik's launch.

  1. Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, says Microsoft is about to win the digital media war. "There's no way you get there with Apple," he said, "the critical mass has to come from the PC, or a next-generation video device," presumably from Microsoft. He also accused about 5 million people of being thieves saying, "The most common format of music on an iPod is 'stolen'." Is this the guy you want in charge of digital media devices?
  2. Meanwhile NASA is having trouble getting the space shuttle back off the ground. The series of hurricanes that has pummeled the Florida coast this season will force a delay in the shuttle's return to space. Expect the next launch sometime between mid-May and July.
  3. Kodak has won a patent lawsuit against Sun and plans to seek damages of one billion dollars. Kodak claimed Sun's Java breached patents Kodak bought from Wang in 1997, several years after Java was released. Groklaw's Pamela Jones says the decision is a perfect example of why software patents don't work.
  4. Online payment system Worldpay has been under a massive DDoS attack all weekend. 30,000 merchants, including Sony Music. have been unable to take online payments.
  5. Guess I'll have to return my personalized postage stamps. The USPS has cancelled a trial program with Stamps.com. Probably thanks to the Smoking Gun's successful attempts to create stamps honoring the Unabomber, Milosevic, and Monica Lewinsky.

I'll be on KGO this morning from 11a-noon as a guest on the Ronn Owens show. And listen in tomorrow at 6:45a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.