Friday, April 6, 2007

21 Biggest technology flops

Computer World has published an article extremely interesting
about products which can be arguably defined as "big flops", all of
them related to the IT world, obviously... Do you remember DAT
audio players? Net PC? Iridium satellites / global communications?
The article is sort of a dive in the past twenty years of frantic tech
development, it is just natural that some idea proved themselves
worthy, while some others were simply not good for the market..
5 pages long, and definitely worth reading: by the way, did I mention
that on the last page there is the possibility to pick some more of
this "timeless" flops??? Take the online survey, and find out....

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Terminator strikes back

It happened very often in History that science fiction introduced
ideas that were later on turned into reality: think about Jules
Verne, for instance (travels to moon and back, submarines).
Today, the inspiration comes (maybe) from the well-known
Terminator 2 movie. Remember the bad terminator in that movie?
It was a solid-liquid machine, capable of reshaping itself into
virtually anything, becoming then more and more lethal... Well,
guess what? DARPA (which stands for Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency) has issued a solicit for a new program, aimed
at the realization of a chemical robot (yes, you read it right!!!),
capable of (from the requirements list):

a) travel a distance of 5 meters at a speed of 0.25 meters/minute;
b) achieve a 10-fold reduction in its largest dimension; and
c) traverse through a 1 cm opening of arbitrary geometry and
reconstitute its original size and shape, in 15 seconds

Plus, obviously, be able to carry a meaningful payload (i.e. weapons)...

Bit scary, don't you think?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Chinese Lunar Rover

Back after a while, and a hard time at work.... anyway, news are
that China has developed (not yet ready, but quite close to) a Lunar
Rover... ABC reports the story here. The chinese rover will be
nuclear powered, so power shortage is not an issue (safety at launch
and ground processing may be, though...). Rover mission to Moon
is planned by 2012, doesn't take much to figure out it will be a sort
of main rehersal of a Mars mission (even if going to Mars presents
lots of technical issues, most of them completely different from those
typical of Moon exploration). Quite interestingly, rumours are that
the Russian Space Agency is very interested in setting up a joint