Imagine threading a needle with your eyes closed – wearing boxing gloves.
That’s the challenge NASA/JPL engineers will face early Monday morning as they attempt to gently lower the MSL Curiosity to the surface of Mars some 225 million KM away, in what some scientists have dubbed ‘seven minutes of terror’.
Currently in final approach, the MSL [Mars Space Laboratory] is scheduled to land in Gale Crater at about 05:31 UTC, [12:31 am Central Time] Monday, August 6, 2012.
Don’t expect to watch live HD coverage of the event – at least immediately. However NASA will feature live video feeds from their MSL Command Center on their NASA iPhone app, and provide updates via their @marscuriosity Twitter feed.
NASA’s free app [NASA weblink] enables you to follow Mars Curiosity through its journey, descent, and exploration of the red planet, and follow the progress of countless other NASA space initiatives.
Although we may miss the comfortable routine of Space Shuttle flight – its exciting that we are now reaching beyond the Moon, as we attempt to understand the Cosmos around us.
More Information: UniverseToday website @universetoday
KVUE Television reports tonight that a man is recovering from his injuries after police say he was robbed and beaten in Austin’s entertainment district.
The man told police he was robbed Thursday night after leaving Rain, a club on West 4th Street. His wallet and iPhone were stolen.
According to an arrest affidavit, the victim’s phone had a GPS application that led police to the suspect. The victim used the app to make the phone beep, and the phone was still beeping in the suspect’s pocket when he was picked up by police.
The Find My Phone app is free, and can be used by any user to locate, track, remotely wipe, and send alert messages and tones to a lost or stolen iOS device.
Thanks to Apple technology – APD was able to track and nab the perp.
Caught traveling and looking for a bargain hotel at your destination? Skip Orbitz.
Despite their ‘lowest prices’ and ‘unbeatable value’ assurances – their search algorithms are designed to show Mac and iOS users higher priced hotels than they offer users logged in from Android and Windows.
If you’re asking WTF? so are iOS users who had often relied on Orbitz to offer even-handed results and often bargains.
Executives for the online travel agency told The Wall Street Journal that their company is testing a system that displays different deals depending on the user’s operating system.
‘Orbitz found Mac users on average spend $20 to $30 more a night on hotels than their PC counterparts,’ Wai Gen Yee, Orbitz’s chief scientist, noted.
Chief Technology Officer Roger Lieu said the company had an “intuition” about the discrepancy and used data to confirm it last October.
Tests conducted by the Journal did show differences in which hotel options were suggested to Macs and PCs, resulting in higher price offerings for Mac users almost universally.
Meanwhile, spokesmen for competing sites Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity said they don’t have a similar feature that differentiates between users’ operating systems.
Orbitz’s initiative comes as it battles its way toward profitability. The Journal pointed out that the company lost $37 million last year and its stock has dropped 74 percent since its initial public offering in 2007.
A good alternative is KAYAK, available on iOS devices and online – which offers platform-neutral results for airline, hotel, car and cruise comparisons.
Meals at The Frisco Shop have always been a favorite ritual – awesome food, great service, and the relaxed charm lost in so many Austin eateries.
That’s why seeing an iPad display this morning caught me by surprise. The iPad is part of new Austin-based service called BellyCard, that offers restaurants and businesses an opportunity to reward loyal, repeat customers. The refreshing difference is that BellyCard offers a quick-read QR code that identifies your patronage quickly and seamlessly using the iPad’s built-in camera.
Each establishment offers its own custom rewards program. For the Frisco Shop, it could be free appetizers or a Down South all the way up to having a stool at their venerable counter named in your honor. The concept is fun, easy, and easy to appreciate.
And appreciation is what it’s all about. The Frisco manager mentioned that new customers are always great – but its the regulars that keep the doors open. And rewarding that loyalty is a high priority at The Frisco Shop.
BellyCards are available free for the asking from your server or the cashier, in the form of a plastic affinity-type card, and key-fob bearing your own personal QR code. All you need to do is register your email address.
If you prefer a higher-tech solution, you can download the BellyCard app [free] from the App Store. Just a few quick questions and you’re ready to scoot across Texas and have your visit recognized and rewarded by the merchants you visit.
We hope to have folks from BellyCard and The Frisco Shop visit one of our iPhone + iPad SIG meetings and discuss this innovative and exciting new service.
It’s always great to feel appreciated – that’s never been a problem at the Frisco – and now they’ve added yet another reason to give into those Chili-Size cravings more often.
If you’ve ever had friends ask for apps you’d recommend, you know just how hard it is to pick out ‘favorites’.
Well, that’s exactly what our February iPhone + iPad Meeting is all about.
As they say – watch this space – after tonight’s meeting I will not only post the app names, but descriptions, prices and links so you can easily find them.
Can’t wait to go digging? Here’s a favorite place to stay current on the best new releases, and proven old ones – App Advice.
*freedom not included.
Ask any feudal slave owner – some slaves prefer to be kept that way. Protected. Fed. Unfree. And just like Android users, they don’t know escape when they see it.
Recent furor over Andy Rubin’s blog post about Google’s ‘openness’ has led many folks to re-examine this whole freedom vs. walled-garden argument.
And thankfully, today’s editorial in Electronista nails it. It’s an enlightened, solid read – with plenty of fodder to throw back at your uppity Android using friends.
Anyone who has ever enjoyed a live concert knows the joys of musicians working together seamlessly to create sheer magic. Orchestra – a new iOS app – does the same thing for life.
Orchestra is not merely a to-do list, or timed reminders – it is a brilliantly crafted collaborative tool that enables lists to be shared by appropriate people, who can seamlessly propose, discuss and share tasks easily. All members of a team can participate and watch as tasks are created, delegated, and completed. Push notifications, and activity monitors work seamlessly with iOS5.
Setup is easy. Just create a free account and start to create lists, tasks and team members. You can even invite team members to join. You can sync any number of iOS devices and computers – all at no cost – via Orchestra’s secure server.
After three days of use – I can assure you that Orchestra is as ground-breaking as Siri. And yes, it even offers voice recognition and twitter integration, and they’re working on location based reminders and integration with iCal.
Check out Orchestra in the Apple App Store, or at their website www.orchestra.com
Get ready to change the way you think, work, and organize your home and work life.
Kitty Code 'Hurricane' for iPhone
With the season’s first tropical storm headed for the Texas coast – what better time to be prepared? And if you want or need the ultimate resource for tropical weather – nothing beats Kitty Code’s HURRICANE.
Hurricane can push text alerts to you when bad weather pops up in the gulf, or a storm changes course or intensity. Beautiful animated maps show you current storm path, and projected course. Full radar support, historical storm paths, access to NHC bulletins and alerts, and stunning satellite imagery make Hurricane the only choice for keeping a wary eye on approaching storms.
I’ve been using Hurricane for several seasons now and couldn’t be happier. None of the other tracking apps offer the features, ease of use, and stunning visuals of Hurricane. In fact, no one else even comes close.
Hurricane is a must have purchase for anyone living along or near any coast. I know several evacuation shelter managers and volunteers who rely on Hurricane for the latest storm information when tropical weather forces coastal residents to flee inland – there is no higher recommendation than that!
Hurricane and Hurricane HD are available in the App Store for $ 3.99USD. Check out the Kitty Code website for full details.
As hundreds of thousands watch today’s liftoff of Shuttle Atlantis – the last of the STS series – you can share in the excitement and wonder of space travel as it happens, without the vapid commentary of broadcast networks. And thanks to NASA – there are apps for that.
NASA has prepared an array of apps that stream news and events direct to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch – offering a behind the scenes look at flight preparations and liftoff.
- NASA Television – brings live and on-demand TV programming to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Watch the latest NASA events unfold in real-time or select from a list of recently uploaded videos. [ FREE – iTunes Preview ]
- NASA App – The first official NASA App invites you to discover a wealth of NASA information right on your iPhone or iPod Touch. The NASA App collects, customizes and delivers an extensive selection of dynamically updated information, images and videos from various online NASA sources in a convenient mobile package. Come explore with NASA. [ FREE - iTunes Preview ]
- NASA Astro – NASA’s Space Shuttle program ends after 30 years. Celebrate this accomplishment with us. Get to know all the space travelers who flew on this unique vehicle. You can sort by name and mission. The “Suit Me Up” feature allows you to become a Space Shuttle astronaut yourself. Share it with your friends and family. [ FREE – iTunes Preview ]
Through these apps we can share the excitement of being there. For the shuttle crews and support teams, it has been a wondrous journey – thanks for giving us a front row seat to history.
Good luck and Godspeed.
Apple today announced yet another milestone – it’s 15 billionth download from the App Store.
“In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”
More than 15 billion apps have been downloaded from the revolutionary App Store and more than 425,000 apps are available, including more than 100,000 native iPad apps, to consumers in 90 countries. Users of the more than 200 million iOS devices around the world can choose from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, education, sports, health, reference and travel. Apple has paid developers over $2.5 billion to date.