Who needs the space shuttle? Take a tour inside the private space industry and its innovative, efficient plans to get astronauts into space when NASA retires its old ride
By Sam Howe VerhovekPosted 12.06.2009 at 11:13 am 30 Comments
The Final Countdown
October 15, 2009: Virgin Galactic's bullet-nosed rocket, SpaceShipTwo, sits in the hangar of Scaled Composites in Mojave, California, awaiting a paint job before its public debut in December. Click here to launch the gallery for a closer look at SpaceShipTwo under construction.
John B. Carnett
For a traveler heading up the highway toward the Mojave Air and Space Port, in the desert 70 miles north of Los Angeles, the surroundings are ghostly. Silent 747s and DC-10 jumbo jets from defunct airlines, along with smaller 727s and DC-9s, some cut up or resting on pylons, are visible from miles away, looking frozen and forlorn. Parked along the road at the airport entrance is a 1962 Convair 990, which began its life as an American Airlines jet airliner. Now the wind whistles through its nacelles and birds nest in its wheel wells.
By Gregory MonePosted 10.30.2007 at 3:58 pm 0 Comments
It's imminent! Implausible! And now imminent again! We're talking, of course, about the rumored G-Phone, which would mark the search giant's entry into the wireless market. It has been talked about for months, with leaks getting squashed as quickly as they pop up, but today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google will make an announcement on the subject within the next two weeks. The company is expected to announce a suite of new software and services for mobile phones—it doesn't sound like Google is actually going to start making hardware. While Google remains hush, Wall Street has been happy with the news: the company's stock has been edging close to $700 a share.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 08.06.2007 at 10:40 am 1 Comment
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Google is developing a prototype cell phone that could be available as soon as next year. The phone would offer a better mobile Web-browsing experience, and offer email, too. And it would be free. Sort of.
Supposedly Google may be going for an entirely different business model with its phone, and could be planning to offer its services to subscribers free, so long as they're willing to put up with some advertising. Some analysts doubt that consumers will take to the advertising, suggesting that it might be better-suited for young people who don't have the money to spend. The rest of us would rather pay a few dollars a month than listen to ads before calling home. Others suggest that Google is too smart to get into this market, citing the old Google PC rumors, and insisting that the Internet giant is merely using the prototypes as a way of convincing carriers to feature its search engine. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.—Gregory Mone
The first batch of iPhone reviews hit the web late last night, revealing Apple's press strategy for this one: They seeded review units to a handful of high-profile tech journalists two weeks ago with instructions to wait until yesterday to post reviews. Oh, and to make them seem balanced but actually be glowing.
Okay, I made that last part up, but reading them all at once, one does notice a consistent refrain. I'll quote Uncle Walt's version: "Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the
iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer."
I'm not going to go through and argue their points, since not being among Jobs's anointed few (and yes, that annoys me; hello! 7 million readers here!), I have not used the thing yet. But I will say I'm a little disappointed in this round of reviews. Not because I want Apple to fail—I'm as big a fanboy as anyone and love the idea of reinventing the phone—but because I'm sick of the free pass Apple gets because they're the cool kid on the block. The flaws these reviews list are not insignificant—most notably, that it's tied exclusively for five years to the crappiest network and missing basic features like a memory card slot—but the collective attitude is "No matter, Apple will fix these things soon enough." Really? Then why are we still cracking open iPods with screwdrivers to replace the batteries four years after the battery issue was first raised? Maybe even Pogue or Mossberg taking Apple to town about the shortcomings wouldn't convince Jobs to do anything about them, but it's frustrating to see the one company that probably could make the perfect phone fall short because we—and our journalists—will settle for less.—Mike Haney
Reviews:Wall Street JournalNYTimesMSNBCUSA Today