While most nerds would be hoping for R2D2, NASA will be sending “Robonaut 2” or R2, to live as the first human like robot on the international space station this September. R2 was developed as a partnership between GM and NASA and it’s time on the space station will keep it confined to the Destiny laboratory. The director of NASA had this to say on the subject:
“This project exemplifies the promise that a future generation of robots can have both in space and on Earth, not as replacements for humans but as companions that can carry out key supporting roles,”
“The combined potential of humans and robots is a perfect example of the sum equaling more than the parts. It will allow us to go farther and achieve more than we can probably even imagine today.”
The big news of the day is that Ning is laying off 40% of their staff and the free version of Ning is going to go away. DHH has a good post on the subject where he points out a common problem with “web 2.0” start-ups, “Eyeballs still don’t pay the bills”.
So many start-ups bank on getting as much traffic as they can, while hoping they figure out how to make money off of that traffic as they go. Ning has raised $120 Million in VC over the last six years and they have nothing to show for it. All this time they have been banking on ads to pay their bills but have learned like so many others, that ads don’t pay the bills and you shouldn’t build your business model on ads alone. Even Google does more than ads these days and they are a company who does ads very well.
I feel sorry for the people laid off at Ning and hope they can find work easily but I’m glad their new CEO is doing what needs to be done to fix the company and make it into a business. I also hope that if any of the employees go on to form new companies themselves that they will avoid the same mistakes and build a company based on a product that they can grow on their own and not attempt to build it on ads and VC.
Dr Craig Venter – one of the world’s most famous and controversial biologists – said his U.S. researchers have overcome one of the last big hurdles to making a synthetic organism
Read more: here
Reading this actually scared me a little. It’s something I’ve been reading about for years but knowing that we are within months of creating what will become self replicating organisms really shakes me up a little. I’m guessing it’s similar to what you would feel to find out that aliens really existed or if the existence of g-d was truly proven.
I’ve tried to find time to read this week but it hasn’t worked out to well. Here is the slightly changed list for this week
As the summer comes to a close, I think back on the traveling that my family has done this summer. While we have not traveled nearly as much as we normally do since we had a new child, we did make two trips to Missouri and a few other small trips around Oklahoma and Texas. The main thing that pops up in my mind about us traveling is how much tech we carry with us. I would expect myself to have a lot since I’m a technophile but not my wife, she hates changing tech and used her last laptop until I forced her to upgrade. My children also travel with a large amount of gadgets. Let’s look at what each of us carried with us for our last trip to Missouri.
Dad(me): 15″ Macbook Pro, Amazon Kindle 2, iPhone 3GS, 60GB iPod, evdo card
Mom(my wife): 15″ Macbook Pro, Canon Rebel xti, 750GB external drive, iPhone 3GS, numerous sd cards, full case of blank cds
Oldest child(age 11): Macbook Air(ssd), iPod Nano, generic cell phone, digital camera, Nintendo DS + games
Middle child(age 5): Nintendo DS + games
Youngest child(age 3 months): electric nose sucker thing
To carry all of this around we drive a Honda Pilot that has 8 seats, a luggage rack on top and a nice DVD player inside to keep our kids entertained if they get bored with their other crap. Note that we do not use a GPS(I think about getting one but honestly don’t care enough).
I have to wonder if other families travel with this much tech or even more maybe. What gadgets do you take on vacation with you?
Been a crazy couple of weeks with a lot of training. Been reading some new stuff but here’s the list