01.08.09

Radio Hour in Andromeda?

Posted in Computers & Technology, Events at 10:27 am by Marion

TECH THURSDAY

Today … where to start? We’ll cut to the big news.

090107-space-mysteryboom-vlarge-530pwidec.jpg
Image courtesy of NASA

First: At Macworld 2009, proceedings were shadowed by the absence of Steve Jobs, whose health has been affected by weight loss, possibly related to what he calls a hormone problem … he has also been recovering from pancreatic cancer … many of us wonder, What is Mac without Steve Jobs?

But, there is more to report — iTunes is issuing its catalogue now without the annoying digital rights management restrictions … that restriction meant that only computers with authorization could play music I purchased … you could only authorize seven computers … which meant the music I purchased could only be played by my husband … my sister … and me. Forget sharing new tunes under the previous system.

Now, songs and music videos will not have these protections (restrictions) … so at last I can pass along music to my nieces and nephew, presuming they care what I’m listening to, which is not likely, but it could happen!

Onto Microsoft: An announcement in Las Vegas today that a beta version of Windows 7 will be available Friday. Now, I finally went over to the “dark side” … and embraced Vista in August … the 64-bit version, at that.

Readers of this blog know that I got fully on board with Vista when I bought this computer. As recently as yesterday I experienced the dread “blue screen of death” (with sound effects, no less) … but it’s a kick that Microsoft would bail on Vista now that the rest of us have finally adopted it.

Now to the most interesting story I’ve read in a while: Scientists are reporting they have learned how to levitate small objects, though it’s not clear whether they have actually done it or not (I think not). They will likely use them to reduce friction in small systems, such as computers, and could even apply them to nanotechnology. (Not my favorite area of scientific research and development.)

Even more important today, I have read that astrophysicists have detected thunderous radio waves from a distant area of the universe … a blast six times stronger than they expected … while sound doesn’t travel through space, radio waves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum, just as visible light and gamma rays are … they are long, low frequency waves.

While I doubt it’s the Cygnus Howard Stern show, it will be interesting to see what this blast actually represents.

TOMORROW:
Why give, when you can “gift? Figuratively Speaking Friday‘s holiday language wrap-up!

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