Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Out with the odd (er, old)

The end of one year and the start of the next is always a time for ... journalistic excess. And so the past few weeks have offered more than their share of interesting (or mockable) articles.

How mockable? Well, Space.com reports an "Exclusive: Mars Rover Curiosity Featured in MAD Magazine."

Not mockable, per se, but entirely random: how about this archival image of the SR-71 Blackbird? I can't begin to guess why, on New Year's Eve, Space.com dredged up this photo. (The SR-71 fleet was retired in 1998.) No matter why ... that image is seriously cool.

(The National Air and Space Museum (Udvar-Hazy Center) has an SR-71 among its many fine exhibits. In a word, "wow." The SR-71 is so streamlined, it appears to zoom even while standing still. IMO, it's the best exhibit in the museum -- which also has the space shuttle Discovery, a Concorde, and the Enola Gay. Quite by coincidence, I was in a plane, taxiing to my gate at Washington-Dulles Airport, at just the right time and place to see the SR-71 taxiing on its way to the museum.)

Beginning the year-end list category, we have Wired's "And the Winner Is… Reader’s Choice for Top 10 Fantasy and Sci-Fi Movie Quotes." Some great quotes, to be sure, and a trip down memory lane. You may also enjoy comparing your favorite movies with Wired's "Reader’s Choice Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies."

And we wouldn't want to miss the Onion's take on "2012 In Technology."

Meanwhile, PC World had its "High-tech 2012: The 10 biggest news events of the year." Their definition of "tech" is expansive, dealing as much with the business and legal issues surrounding some key products and their ecosystems as with the technology itself. So: while I can't bring myself to believe Windows 8 deserved its #1 spot on the list, I found this an interesting article nonetheless.

What about Windows 8? We have, from Computerworld: "Windows 8's uptake falls behind Vista's pace." The article's says-it-all subtitle: New OS can't keep up with Vista, Microsoft's 2007 OS flop.

And why would that be? From IEEE Spectrum, and a human-interface expert, "Is Windows 8’s Lack of Windows a Mistake?" (Umm, yes.)

To end our look back on a high note, let's look way back (in computer-guy terms). From the Washington Post, "Google Doodle celebrates Ada Lovelace." (If you don't recognize the name, check out the Ada Lovelace bio.)

Next time ... something more forward looking. I promise.


Todd said...

I visited the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center several years ago. The exhibit that struck me was John Glenn's capsule---it was so...small! He went in orbit in THIS???

Edward M. Lerner said...

Hi Todd, and thanks for dropping by.

The Friendship 7 (Mercury) capsule is indeed tiny. But unless something has changed, it's displayed at the original building of the National Air and Space Museum (just off the National Mall in downtown DC). The Udvar-Hazy branch of the museum is in Dulles Virginia (right next to DC's Washington-Dulles Airport). Both locations are run by the Smithsonian, but the exhibits in the two buildings are entirely different.

- Ed