First Commercial Jet Flight on Biofuel… Sort Of…

Lot’s of caveats on this one… only one of the plane’s engines… an 80/20% mixture… but still, it is the first commercial airline plane flying (somewhat) on biofuel! Kudos to Branson for giving it a go! It is a start!

Can Airplanes Fly on Biofuel?

“There were a couple of strange things about the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 that taxied out along one of London Heathrow’s two main runways and took off into the bright sky late Sunday morning. First, there were only five people on board, while more than 100 watched intently from a nearby hangar. Second, the plane was the first commercial jet ever to fly on biofuel: a fuel produced from plant matter instead of petroleum or other fossil fuels. ‘This is the first stage on a journey towards renewable fuel,’ Virgin founder Richard Branson told reporters in the hangar shortly before take-off, his voice drowned out every now and then by the roar of overhead planes. ‘It’s the equivalent of those exciting first few steps of a baby.’ As it happens, Virgin’s eco-plane ran only one engine on the experimental fuel; the other three burned standard jet fuel. And the biofuel-powered engine was using a blend of conventional jet fuel and biofuel: 80/20 in favor of the regular stuff. In total, then, just 5% of the 49,000-lb (22,000 kg) fuel load consisted of the novelty: a special mix of coconut oil and oil from the Brazilian babassu plant, prepared by Seattle-based Imperium Renewables over the last 18 months and tested by General Electric Aviation in Ohio.’

Apple Updates Macbooks

Now with more HP (horsepower) and a multi-touch keypad!

Apple adds new CPUs, Multi-Touch trackpad to MacBook Pro

“Apple on Tuesday updated its entire laptop line with faster processors, more storage and memory, along with adding its Multi-Touch trackpad to the MacBook Pro. All MacBook models now include the latest Intel Penyrn processors. The MacBook Pro is available in standard 2.4GHz and 2.5GHz options with a 2.6GHz upgrade, while the MacBook ships with 2.1GHz and 2.4GHz options. Every model except for the 2.1GHz MacBook now comes standard with 2GB of SDRAM, expandable to 4GB. Hard drive space is offered at 120GB, 160GB and 250GB for the MacBooks, 200GB in the 2.4GHz MacBook Pro and 250GB for the 2.5GHz Pro models. New Multi-Touch functionality in the MacBook Pro would allow the use of gestures similar to that being used on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The new trackpad was introduced in the MacBook Air last month. Like previous MacBook models, other standard features include the iSight video camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, USB 2.0, Firewire, and built-in SuperDrive. Apple also ships iLife ’08, which includes iPhoto and iMovie, with every new laptop. Pricing of the new models starts at $1,099 USD for the basic MacBook, and $1,499 USD for the black model. For the MacBook Pro, prices range from $1,999 to $2,799 USD depending on configuration.”

“The Voice is on the Fritz Edition” of the Dr. Bill Podcast #124

Dr. Bill Podcast – 124 – (02/23/08)
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Dr. Bill’s voice is on the fritz… so he plays Geek Culture songs with people (Star Trek performers) whose voices are also on the fritz… at least the Doctor has an excuse! Plus, Tech News, and more!

Oh, And By the Way… Vista SP1 Breaks Things!

As if the fact that it is broken itself is not bad enough… Vista’s SP1 looks like it breaks plenty of software as well!

Vista SP1 breaks ZoneAlarm, Trend Micro apps, among others

“Microsoft has presented a list of applications which are adversely affected by the problematic Vista Service Pack 1, some of which cease to function entirely. The problem apps are categorized in three groups: those that are blocked from starting, those that lose functionality, and those that do not run at all following the installation of Service Pack 1. Blocked programs were known to cause problems in SP1, so with approval from the software providers, Bitdefender AV and Internet Security v.10, Fujitsu Shock Sensor v, Jiangmin KV Antivirus v. 10 and 2008, Trend Micro Internet Security 2008, and Zone Alarm Security Suite 7.1 (more about this shortly) all will not start after installing the service update. Programs reported to suffer reduced or total functionality loss are: The New York Times Reader, which stops working when the right mouse button is pressed; Rising Personal Firewall 2007, which loses disconnect functionality in SP1, and Novell ZCM Agent 10.0.x, which is not supported. Users are advised to contact respective software vendors. Those programs which do not run at all include Iron Speed Designer 5.0.1, Xheo Licensing 3.1, and Free Allegiance 2.1. These companies do not have definitive solutions yet, but each expects a fix within 90 days. SP1’s ‘Beta-ish’ rollout — which takes the definition of ‘manufacturing,’ as in ‘release to,’ somewhat loosely — was actually suspended on Tuesday afternoon after downloaders reported another endless reboot cycle caused by the automatic update. The first reports of this occurred in late January.”

Geek Project: Run Linux Apps on Windows!

You read that right! Run Linux applications on Windows! How cool is that?!

Seamlessly Run Linux Apps on Your Windows Desktop

“There’s no doubt that Linux—particularly Ubuntu—is a killer operating system full of excellent apps, but for about a million reasons, you’re stuck running Windows as your main operating system. We understand, these things happen. But what about all those killer Linux apps you’ve left behind when you decided to live the Windows life? Sure you could dual-boot or run Linux in the confines of a virtual machine window, but wouldn’t it be great if you could run those apps side-by-side with your Windows apps—like Linux users can do with WINE or OS X can do with Parallels or VMWare? You can, and today I’ll show you how to seamlessly run your favorite Linux applications directly in Windows with a free software called andLinux.”

Check out the article link above for instructions on getting and using andLinux and do it as a Geek Project! Rock on!

andLinux Web Site

andLinux uses the coLinux Project code to operate: “Cooperative Linux is the first working free and open source method for optimally running Linux on Microsoft Windows natively. More generally, Cooperative Linux (short-named coLinux) is a port of the Linux kernel that allows it to run cooperatively alongside another operating system on a single machine. For instance, it allows one to freely run Linux on Windows 2000/XP, without using a commercial PC virtualization software such as VMware, in a way which is much more optimal than using any general purpose PC virtualization software.”

coLinux Web Site

Vista SP1 is Supposed to Make Vista Better…Right!?

Well, how about crashes, instability, and more? That’s what beta testers have found so far! And, M$ has pulled the Release to Manufacturing release due to all the problems… sigh!

Microsoft Pulls Buggy Windows Vista SP1 Files

“Microsoft has removed from its software update service a file that’s a prerequisite to installing the first major update to the Windows Vista operating system. The move follows reports from users that the file causes their computers to crash or enter an endless cycle of boots and reboots. ‘We made the decision to temporarily suspend automatic distribution of the update,’ Vista program manager Nick White revealed in a blog post Tuesday. White said that Microsoft needs time ‘to investigate possible causes’ of the bug before it can again make the file — known simply as KB937287 — available through Windows Update. Vista users have in recent days complained about the troublesome file on Microsoft’s online support forum. One user going by the name CH777 reported that his or her computer “reboots and reboots and reboots” as a result of the update. Another, EchoStormFury, complained to Microsoft that ‘your stupid SP1 pre-updates have destroyed access to my computer.'”

“These Wine Improvements Sponsored by Google!”

Photoshop and Dragon Naturally Speaking running on Linux? Yep! And all because of Google! Gotta love that!

Google intoxicates Linux users with Wine improvements

“Google software engineer Dan Kegel posted a message to the Wine mailing list last week describing some of the improvements to Wine that Google has sponsored in the past year. These improvements, says Kegel, have substantially improved the Linux compatibility of several popular commercial software applications, including Adobe Photoshop and Dragon Naturally Speaking. Wine is an open-source Windows binary runtime compatibility layer that enables users to run some native Windows applications on Linux and other operating systems with varying degrees of success. Running applications through Wine generally provides a suboptimal experience compared to running the same applications on Windows, but it often works well enough to make it a viable solution for many users.”

HD DVD Finally Surrenders

It’s official. HD DVD is dead.

It’s official: Toshiba announces HD DVD surrender

“The two-year war between HD DVD and Blu-ray officially ended early Tuesday morning as Toshiba waved the white flag and declared it would stop producing HD DVD products. The company, which began sales of HD DVD in March 2006 with the HD-A1 player, “decided it was not right for us to keep going with such a small presence,” according to chief executive Atsutoshi Nishida. The Blu-ray format is now the definitive winner in the war and stands unopposed as the optical media replacement for DVD. Toshiba’s press release goes into a bit more detail: ‘Toshiba will begin to reduce shipments of HD DVD players and recorders to retail channels, aiming for cessation of these businesses by the end of March 2008. Toshiba also plans to end volume production of HD DVD disk drives for such applications as PCs and games in the same timeframe, yet will continue to make efforts to meet customer requirements. The company will continue to assess the position of notebook PCs with integrated HD DVD drives within the overall PC business relative to future market demand.’ Three movie studios currently support HD DVD–Universal, Paramount, and DreamWorks Animation–but we expect them to follow suit and announce support of Blu-ray sooner rather than later.”

The “Translocation Edition” of the Dr. Bill Podcast #123

Dr. Bill Podcast – 123 – (02/16/08)
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Dr. Bill has new Geek Culture from MC Plus+ and Geek Software of the Week: PageDefrag! Plus, the usual craziness as we try to fit two weeks into one show!

Wii to Displace Xbox 360 as 2008 “Next Gen Console”

According to iSuppli anyway…

Wii to Displace Xbox 360 by End of 2008

“Nintendo’s popular Wii game console will displace Microsoft’s Xbox 360 as the new-generation game machine, iSuppli said Thursday. The market researcher forecasted that the global installed base of Wii game consoles will rise to 30.2 million units in 2008, up from 18 million in 2007, putting it ahead of the Xbox 360’s projected 25.7 million units. The Wii is already riding a wave of popularity that saw it win the greatest growth among new game consoles last year, according to iSuppli figures. There were only 3.2 million units in people’s homes at the end of 2006, jumping to 18 million at the end of last year. The Xbox 360 retained its lead as the console in most homes last year by edging out the Wii with 18.2 million units, while the PlayStation 3 lagged rivals with 10.3 million, up from 1.8 million per year earlier. iSuppli did not include older game consoles or handhelds in their report.”

And, of course, the GameMaster wants one! Sigh!

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