World’s Fastest Man Remembered

The world’s fastest man has left this earth for the last time. William J. “Pete” Knight became the world’s fastest man on October 3, 1967, while flying the X-15 hypersonic rocket plane. He died of cancer on May 7. His record-breaking Mach 6.7 (nearly seven times the speed of sound) flight remains the highest speed ever attained by a manned aircraft.

Welcome to the 21st century, Mr. Gates

Six years after Steve Jobs and Apple declared the floppy disk dead, with the release of the iMac, Bill Gates states the same:

In some ways, I think this is the first time I can say that the floppy disk is dead. You know, we enjoyed the floppy disk, it was nice, it got smaller and smaller, but because of compatibility reasons, it sort of got stuck at the 1.44 megabyte level, and carrying them around, and having that big physical slot in machines, that became a real burden. Today, you get a low-cost USB flash drive, with 64 megabits on it very, very inexpensively. And so we can say the capacity there for something that’s smaller, better connectors, faster, just superior in every way has made that outmoded.
So I suppose now that the tech industry pundits will proclaim Mr. Gates as a tremendous visionary for getting rid of the tiresome floppy disk, when in fact, Mr. Gates’ company is one entity responsible for extending the floppy’s life.
(via RAILhead Design)

Color Showcase

My favorite iPod carrying case is going color on May 15th. The Contour Showcase will be available in six different colors, as well as black and the original white. Personally, the only one that interests me is the black Showcase. Contour is doing a buy-two, get-one-free promo with the new Showcases, but I doubt I’ll be buying a new one when they’re $39.95 a pop.
Now if a couple of people want to go in with me and split the cost of two Showcases three ways, I wouldn’t mind…
Eric reviewed the Showcase for ATPM.

Next Windows OS requires non-existent PCs

Microsoft Watch is reporting that the next verison of Windows, codenamed Longhorn, is going to require a PC that doesn’t yet exist. That’s okay, since Longhorn isn’t due until 2006, plenty of time for Mac OS X to steal market share as the Redmond monopoly struggles to catch up.
Longhorn will purportedly require “a dual-core CPU running at 4 to 6GHz; a minimum of 2 gigs of RAM; up to a terabyte of storage; a 1 Gbit, built-in, Ethernet-wired port and an 802.11g wireless link; and a graphics processor that runs three times faster than those on the market today.”
I’m sure Intel and AMD have 4 GHz CPUs waiting in the wings, but I wonder if we’ll see 6 GHz in 2006. Hard drive sizes are increasing expotentially, to be sure, and I can see a terabyte being available in the next two years, but I’m not sure if it will be available in such quantities as these specifications would assume. Gigabit Ethernet is a reality here and now, especially for Mac owners, as is the 802.11g wireless spec, so those aren’t any big surprises.
In a nutshell, I imagine you will see Microsoft having to blunt Longhorn for lower-end systems than what is currently called for. I simply don’t believe that those systems will be available, in mass quantity, by the time the OS ships.
(via MacMinute)

Book return

Thanks to the newly-introduced PowerBooks, and getting back some of our hard-earned dough from Uncle Sam, there is a new phischbook in the house.
I was able to score a now-previous generation PowerBook G4 12-inch 1 GHz system, with a SuperDrive, from my local Apple Store for a song. It was one of their demo units, refurb’ed by one of the in-store techs, most of whom I know from my previous employer, and trust to be thorough. I carefully inspected it before finalizing the purchase, and it appears immaculate.
Along with the three-year AppleCare, a must-have with portables, and an Airport Extreme card I purchased, it was still less than a brand-new PowerBook in the same part of the line-up. A 512 MB SO-DIMM purchase from the fine folks at Other World Computing brings it up to 768 MB of RAM.
This purchase settled three wishes I’ve had since being laid off this past October: (1) a PowerBook; (2) a faster Mac in general (my Cube is still at the original 450 MHz); and (3) a way to burn DVDs. I love the ultra-portability of the smallest PowerBook!

ATPM 10.05

The May issue of About This Particular Macintosh is out. Ellyn makes a wonderful observation on social contacts on the Internet, which I know has been positive for me. I have a local friend whom I met online first, and like Ellyn and one of her friends, I have doubts on whether we would have become friends if we had met in meatspace first.
I know Lee, Michael, Raena, and Eric through our meetings online. Granted, all are part of the ATPM staff, but our friendships have developed beyond this commonality. These are people who have come to me for advice or my opinion, and I have sought the same from them. (And likely the latter moreso than the former!)
Eric is the only one I have met (twice!) in the physical world, meeting at the New York Macworld Expos in 2001 and 2002. My various web sites wouldn’t be where they are, design-wise, without Raena’s expertise. Michael’s SpamSieve, for which I was an original beta tester, has made my online life immeasurably better. I’m assisting Eric as a tester with a kick-butt product he is developing, and I get to tease him when the Rangers sweep his beloved Red Sox, as happened this past weekend. Thinking of all the people I know solely from my online journeys, I would have to say that Lee is my best friend in cyberspace. Ellyn’s point is well taken with yours truly.
Wes has yet another extensive round-up of the latest Mac blogosphere happenings, Paul always finds something that makes me laugh, and Sylvester discusses the latest in the cloning front. Lee’s friend Andy McConnell has a report from this year’s National Association of Broadcasters Convention, and Ted takes NoteTaker and Notebook head-to-head in an eagerly anticipated match-up.
Lee contributes desktop pictures from his very recent vacation to Puerto Rico, the latest Cortland and iTrolls toons are accounted for, and we have a plethora of great reviews. Available in the usual fruity flavors.