Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Tablet PCs

A quick wobble around the web will find no shortage of (supposedly knowledgeable) pundits willing to pronounce, if not the failure of the Tablet PC form factor, then it's moribund state. Our friend Terri Stratton (pepsi in the chat) has produced an article to the contrary, pronouncing both the health and the growth of the form. Find it here.

It seems to me that the real "problem" with the Tablet PC form factor is that it's usefulness is not immediately apparent to those who would benefit from it. Refinements on technologies are very often perceived as less beneficial less quickly than more radical moves ahead. Ask a Tablet PC user and you'll almost certainly find a rabid fan of the form. Our own Aaron Kahn is a good example and he's about the least rabid person I know when it comes to new technologies, being something of a "wait and see" sort of guy. The early adopters have had their shot and pronounced the Tablet PC more than acceptable. It's not worth the extra outlay to many of us, but for others, it would be indispensable if they took the time to integrate it into their lives.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Scary Moments for SpaceShipOne

New Scientist

As I said yesterday, this first privatly funded manned spaceflight was not a cakewalk even though they made it look easy. Now we know just how serious some of the problems could have been. That's why they call Mike Melvill a "test pilot" and that's why this important first was a step towards the X-Prize -- one of the continuum of test flights. In spite of some scary moments, I'm glad Mike still had time to enjoy the view.

When their flying days are over, I hope to see SpaceShipOne and White Knight take their rightful places at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I'm guessing that would be at Udvar-Hazy.

Monday, June 21, 2004

They Did It! > News > Science -- Rocket plane reaches Earth's atmosphere in private space flight

Congratulations to the entire SpaceShipOne team, and especially "Rocket Man" Mike Melvill on reaching and returning safely from sub-orbital space.

Yesterday, I didn't let on how truly daring and dangerous I knew this mission was. It was the skill and planning of the team and Mike that made it look easy. While the folks at Scaled Composites are cautious and test carefully, things can go wrong. Don't underestimate the significance of this achievement -- this is truly a great spaceflight milestone.