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Monday, August 21, 2006

I learned about the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) when I was editor of EOM. We had a long series of about its goals and importance to weather and climate science. It’s propsed to be a “satellite system used to monitor global environmental conditions, and collect and disseminate data related to: weather, atmosphere, oceans, land and near-space environment” and to update the aging infrastructure up in the sky now.

I didn’t think much about it until Living on Earth, the NPR environmental show (produced right here in Somerville Mass!) rebroadcast a story on how it came to be, well, a big mess: over budget, late and redefined. Six satellites instead of four are on order and five sensors, some aimed at exploring climate change, are no longer on the docket. Have a listen to the story; I think it raises some interesting questions even as we consider the fate of Landsat and growth of commercial imaging.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/21 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Two weeks ago we asked, “What is the most valuable skill set for a programmer to have in geospatial these days?” Answers were “all over the map” as they say! Of 59 respondents, the breakdown was:

Ruby 0 %
Java 4%
Another type of knowledge 4%
Another language 7%
C (any flavor) 9%
Something else 9%
Open source knowledge 12%
Python 14%
VB 23%
Vendor specific knowledge 23%

This week a poll about polls. Should we keep doing polls? Vote on the lower right side of the main page.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/21 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

FCW.com discusses in Bentley’s upcoming Annual License Exchange (ALE) program, due in September. Unlike existing licensing for small shops and enterprises, ALE “lets customers trade their software licenses for full purchase-price credit once a year.” The goal reports Joe Croser, Bentley’s director of global marketing, is to grow existing customers, which grows the customer base. Another way to look at it, I suppose, is to note its another way to help folks from going elsewhere.

Analysts have mixed reviews. Some say it will help customers change software as their needs change. Others point out there may be contractual challenges since other vendors may not have the chance to compete fairly. 

Bentley currently offers an Enterprise License Subscription (ELS) program where for a flat annual fee agencies can use all the software they want. That program is only available to large organizations, however. ALE will be available to all sizes of company, as I understand it.

Interestingly, Bentley is described at the beginning of the article as a “software vendor ... which makes geographic information systems software.” Perhaps like Intergraph, which uses the term spatial information management to describe itself, Bentley wants to line up with geospatial vendors rather than the CAD vendors?

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/21 at 05:32 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Saturday, August 19, 2006

An Irish company, Steorn, claims to have invented a Perpetuum Mobile—a perpetual motion machine. What a bunch of bull! Or is it a brilliant media campaign?

Ignorant inventors (or is it charlatans?) have been trying to build a Perpetuum Mobile since as early as 1150. Ignorant masses have been enchanted by the possibility ever since. But nothing like the Internet to generate mass psychosis, and huge traffic to the “inventor’s” website. Or so the theory goes.

Long tail, anyone?

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/19 at 04:41 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

As part of the ZeroOne art/technology festival a cutout of Bill Hewlitt and David Packard is travelling (with a cell phone to track it) across Silicon Valley. Strangers are picking the pair up and showing them highlights of the area. Their path is online. While the pair could not get into the HP lobby for a photo, they were welcomed into Sun’s headquarters and fitted with “I love Solaris” tshirts. Ultimately, Sun acquired them from the artist, and the company will send them touring once again. Several other tech leader cutouts are still touring.

via Mercury News

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/19 at 06:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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