It’s Monday, March 14 2022 in Portland Oregon and I will not condescend to moan about the daylight savings time change. Everyone else already has an opinion about it, and mine is that it is, as put by my kids, poopy.
15 minutes, here we go:
Via David Brin1, a reminder that the forthcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope2 is one of the space telescopes resulting from the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office mentioning to NASA that it had a couple of, er, spare telescopes that happened to look just quite a bit like Hubble.
The NRO offered to donate those two telescopes to NASA in 20123, which if you’re following along isn’t even the first time the military surveillance industrial complex offered to donate something to science: one of the other times was when they had a couple of giant mirrors lying around (more precisely, six 1.8m diameter honeycombed borosilicate mirrors) that were ended up being used in the Multiple Mirror Telescope4.
The funny part, if you want to call it funny, is that the telescope donated to NASA was probably of the KH-11 line of satellites, which was supposed to be superseded by the NRO’s Future Imagery Architecture which, like many big projects, got too big and failed to deliver, which meant that the U.S. launched an upgraded KH-11 telescope and I swear I’m getting to the point: the upgraded versions of the KH-11 include USA-2245, of which that’s the one we think Donald Trump tweeted a classified take of the Safir launch preparation accident in Iran.
Sorry for this Monday morning reference to The Previous President.
I saw a thread by Katrina Mulligan asking people to contribute “bureaucratic sayings you love”, her example being “let’s see how many penguins we can fit on this iceberg”. You can take a look at the thread, but some of my favorites are:
I was reminded the other day exactly how much Microsoft had gotten right, and yet also wrong, with the Xbox One, its successor to the Xbox 360. The quick version is that 2013’s Xbox One lost handily to Sony’s PlayStation 4, and one of the reasons why is that Microsoft went all-in on some sort of home hub connected device that would plug into your TV and, well, do everything. It would have an always-on mic and listen to what you wanted it to do, it would have a stupendously bizarre and yet somewhat understandable HDMI setup where you’d plug a cable box into it so that the Xbox One would take pride of place in HDMI One (which matters less now that TVs have processors built into them that run the major streaming apps) and would usurp whatever method you used for watching TV. It would be Online, and to its detriment (and one of the reasons why it lost to the PS4 for “gamers, at least) because it went all in on Digital Games As A Service.
But look where we are now, nine years later: people quite happily buy always-on mics that do continuous voice recognition. A One Device that plugs into the TV and has pride of place at HDMI One is totally a thing. Streaming TV is a thing. Online access to games is… a thing. Sure, the packed-in Kinect isn’t a thing, and I’m still trying to figure out exactly how or when vision is going to come to the Smart Home (ha). But it just struck me as a reminder that Microsoft invariably gets the rough ideas right, but the execution is always a bit wobbly (the whole thing about them taking three tries isn’t… inaccurate), but they’re also super excitable and as a result, not just off in terms of execution but also sometimes just too early.
A quick reminder: this week paid subscribers and supporters will be getting a link to the ALPHA PREVIEW NOT FINAL VERSION of volume 1 of Things That Caught My Attention, collecting the best bits from the first 50 episodes from March to January 2014.
Here’s what the front cover looks like:
If you’re not already a subscriber/supporter and you’re interested in supporting my writing and/or getting a copy of the ebook, then you can subscribe! The recommended rate is USD $7/month.
Okay, that’s it! Around 20 minutes today, mainly because the Spare Telescope bit took a bit longer than I wanted it to.
How are you, and how was your weekend?