Meteor fail from the Daily Fail

So the Daily Mail picked up a story about a brilliant meteor moving across the sky over Peru.

First up the Daily Fail incorrectly call it a meteorite - which is what they're called when they're on the ground. They're meteors when seen in the atmosphere, meteoroids when in space and meteorites on the ground. It isn't hard, if they had just asked you know, one of the expert type people they wouldn't have made such a play-school mistake.

Astonished residents watched as the impressive natural phenomenon eventually disappeared over the horizon.

Natural is it?

Trouble is it isn't a meteor at all, it's actually an aircraft. The only reason it looks odd is because its orange. It's orange because it's high enough up to still be lit up by the Sun (it's shortly after sunset on the ground). As we've often seen the tops of clouds can be orange before or shortly after sunrise or sunset.

The next clue comes from the contrail being left, the sort of thing you get from an aircraft jet engine at high altitude. As we can see it's probably a four engine jet aircraft. You can also see the effect high altitude winds are having on it. Meteors typically don't last long enough to get low enough to encounter these sort of winds.

The clue after that comes from the speed of the thing across the sky. Meteors travel very fast. Fast enough they'd cross the sky in seconds.

Local officials and the National Police are currently trying to determine where the meteorite may have landed and are speaking to farmers south of the city.

It probably landed at an airport somewhere. Have fun wasting your time.

Microsoft half-unveil Windows 8's new user interface

Yesterday, at the All Things Digital conference - usually something I avoid - Microsoft unveiled the new Metro style user interface for Windows. Optimised for touch, but compatible with a mouse and keyboard. Alarmingly applications that make sure of this user interface are written in HTML5 and Javascript. Hopefully Silverlight, and even WPF will make an appearance in the future.

It also looks like the Office team have finished their takeover of Windows, with Jensen Harris in charge of the video!

All in all I'm impressed with the direction they're going, I'd argue they could have done it sooner. They've had the key aspects in there for years, namely with Media Center from which Metro was derived. But now with Windows also being ported to low powered ARM devices it was clear a full-featured Metro style interface was needed.

Microsoft Safety Scanner, one to add to the toolbox

Here's one to add to your toolbox, especially for people who do a lot of consumer oreanted tech support. The recently released Microsoft Safety Scanner.

It's a self-contained anti-malware scanner, the kind which is handy to run off a USB drive to scan someone's computer. No installation or internet connection is required, as most sophisticated malware will block installations of known anti-malware and block internet access to various websites. But copies you download are only good for 10 days before you have to download a newer version.

Standard EULA.

Here it kindly reminds you that it is not a replacement for a resident anti-malware scanner. I'd recommend Microsoft Security Essentials for that.

Standard sort of options, quick scan, where malware is most likely to be located, complete and of course a custom scan.

Nice and simple. Like I said only draw back is you have to replace it every 10 days. With it using the same scanner as MSE and Forefront it'll undoubtedly do a decent job of things.

Internet Explorer 9 - fastest browser on mobiles too

Internet Explorer 9 came out a few weeks ago, if you're not using it. I'd recommend it. Especially people who are still using Firefox. It is well documented as the fastest browser out there. Not just in javascript speed, but also important areas like start time, and page rendering.

With the update to Windows Phone coming later this year, Internet Explorer 9 will be included. With it comes all the HTML5, and hardware acceleration that IE9 brought to Windows, but now in your pocket.

Here's a video to give you an idea:

To sum up, Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone renders at 23 fps, Chrome comes in at 11 fps on Android, and Safari on an iPhone 4 comes in at a dismal 2 fps.

WorldWide Telescope, controlled by Kinect

With Microsoft shortly to release the Kinect SDK for Windows, its time for them to demo some of the stuff people could come up with.

Here it is controlling the awesome WorldWide Telescope which I've written about at length. In short every computer should have WWT installed. :-)

108 minutes that changed everything...

...Almost (see my previous entry on Cosmonaut day).

50 years ago today, Yuri Gagarin successfully orbited the Earth, paving the way towards the stars.

But disappointingly all we've done in the last 40 years is orbit the Earth. It's time human space flight was properly funded.

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