Archives for: "January 2007"

Windows Vista launch in Phoenix

Well members of the press said people wouldn't get in line for Windows Vista. Wrong. Robert McLaws was at the launch event in Phoenix.

"They won't line up", my a$$. The Phoenix launch had over 100 people show up. When the doors opened up at 10pm, the line was all the way down the front of the building. It wasn't as many people as I had hoped, but it wasn't the Xbox 360 launch either. At the same time, there were a lot of people who hadn't heard about Vista until that evening, which was really cool.

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Windows Vista moves into #1

From the Amazon.co.uk software bestsellers list:

#1 Windows Vista Home Premium (Upgrade).
#5 Windows Vista Ultimate (Upgrade).
#10 Windows Vista Home Premium.
#20 Windows Vista Ultimate.

The Amazon.com list is somewhat different:

#3 Windows Vista Ultimate (Upgrade).
#4 Windows Vista Home Premium (Upgrade).
#8 Windows Vista Ultimate.
#12 Windows Vista Home Premium.

Why is Home Premium outselling Ultimate in the UK? Could it be the 88% markup of prices in Europe?

Marxists.org soon to be unreachable

It has just came to my attention that Marxists.org will be offline for a couple of weeks. A statement from the website:

In early November we came under sustained denial of service attack from Internet hosts in China attempting to exploit a misconfiguration in our server's operating system. The nature and origin of the attack, our previous history with the PRC, and the experience of others suggest that this maybe politically motivated and directed by the Chinese government.

[...]

As if that weren't bad enough, while attempting to make arrangements to buy a new server, we learned that our colocation facility will be closing on February 1, leaving MIA literally homeless.

[...]

The bottom line: there is a significant probability that we will not be able to find and deploy an acceptable solution in time to meet the February 1 lights-out date. This means that the MIA will be off the air. We will make every attempt to bridge the gap with the help of our dedicated mirror operators though we may need to stop serving some of our more "expensive" content such as MP3s and PDFs. There is also a chance that our ultimate solution may require us to make a long-term evaluation of the type of content we serve and make things like PDFs available via alternate distribution channels (e.g. BitTorrent). However, despite our recent litany of seemingly fatal problems, the MIA remains a strong organization with a wealth of content, committed to providing the premiere electronic library of Marxist writings. Despite the political, technical, or economic pressures, rest assured that we will find a way to keep these works available to the world.

Mirrors can be found at:

Asia
France
Germany
Russian Federation
United Kingdom
United States (East)
United States (South)

Windows Vista sales rank

Well here we are three days until Windows Vista becomes broadly available. So I thought I'd check out what the current retail prices are and I noticed that Windows Vista Ultimate was ranked at #29, much higher than I was expecting, so I checked out the best sellers list and found the others to be doing rather well.

The business launch already exceeded expectations, and the general launch looks solid judging on this.

From Amazon.co.uk:

#2 Windows Vista Home Premium (Upgrade).
#13 Windows Vista Ultimate (Upgrade).
#26 Windows Vista Home Premium.
#29 Windows Vista Ultimate.

All in the top thirty (Office was at the #1 spot), not bad at all. I'll see how it changes over the next week or so. I think its evidence enough that Windows Vista isn't another Windows ME (yes I'm looking at the FUD spreaders).

PlayStation 3 countdown gadget

I've just put together a countdown gadget for the European PlayStation 3 launch. Like my Wii countdown gadget.

PlayStation 3 countdown gadget for Windows Vista

Download it here (85KB). I've had an e-mailing from someone asking what a .gadget is. It's for the Windows Vista sidebar, otherwise its basically a zip file with some Java and HTML in.

SOHO's view of Comet McNaught

As I promised a few days back, here's a complete video of Comet McNaught passing through the LASCO camera on SOHO telescope.

You can really start to see the solar wind fan the tail out as it goes around the Sun, which is why images in the northern hemisphere, show a largely straight tail, yet ones in the southern hemisphere show a much more diffuse tail as the solar wind pushes the tail away from the Sun.

The reason it looks so over-exposed is because the LASCO camera is designed to look at the faint outer atmosphere of the Sun. Even the planet Mercury, shown in this footage to the lower left causes the pixels to bleed into each other creating horizontal lines. Comet McNaught is far too bright to be properly exposed.

You can find more information about SOHO on the SOHO website, or download the videos here.

Comet McNaught in the southern hemisphere

Comet McNaught has now moved into the twilight skies in the southern hemisphere, captured here in this photo by Noel Munford taken from Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1)

So if you're lucky enough to live in the southern hemisphere go take a look at this comet. It'll be visible for a few weeks now after sunset in the western skies. It is fading, so go take a look as soon as you can.

300 years since the Act of Union

Today is the 300th anniversary of the ratification of the Act of Union of 1707; the acts were passed in both the English parliament and the Scottish Parliament, in both cases with large majorities. This basically did two things:

1) Create a new state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.

2) Dissolve both parliaments and create a new parliament of Great Britain.

Gordon Brown a few days ago used this to launch a counter-attack on the nationalists (like this guy), and rightfully so. He said there was now a dividing line in Britain which pitted "those of us who are prepared to support the shared values of the union" against "those who are prepared to play fast and loose with the union and put the whole future of the union at risk".

He also went on to say that having an English parliament would tear the union apart.

Of course Mr Opportunism himself, David Cameron used this as an attack, not just on that position but on the union itself and shows how far the Tories will go just to try and get a vote, even at the expense of destroying the country. They figure they can't win in a parliament of the whole union, and reckon they have a better chance if it's cut up so they just have to win English seats.

The trouble is New Labour went ahead with devolution which got us into this mess. The English nationalists use this as an excuse to get an English parliament and break up the union, or help their nationalist pals in Scotland to get Scotland out. They say why should Scottish MPs be able to vote exclusively on Scottish issues, yet the Scottish via the union parliament are able to vote on English issues.

It's gotten to the point where the English nationalists are saying Gordon Brown shouldn't be prime minister because he's Scottish and they've got their own parliament bla bla bla. Hate Brown for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.

Anyway the solution to this is not the creation of an English parliament as the English nationalists would want.

It's to shut down the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, unify all the laws to apply across the land, separate the church from the state, unify the banks. Unify the football and other sports leagues (a lot of the nationalists do like football) and "national" teams, remove any legislation designed to promote division, such as the Welsh Language Act. Ban the use of St George's flag, the cross of St Andrew, the Red Dragon on public buildings. Discourage the use of England, Scotland and Wales when not used in a historic or geographic context. Perhaps even move parliament around the country every 2 or 3 terms too, after all we've got those new parliament buildings now, might as well use them for something after we wasted so much money on them.

Well over 70% of the population support the union, the lack of support for the two main political parties in the UK is just opening up the flood gates to all sorts of nationalists, and that needs to be addressed, perhaps Brown has the right strategy of over-inflating the ability of the nationalist elements in order to drum up resistance to their unrealistic nonsense.

Breaking up the union is nothing but looking backwards, whenever a union of nations breaks apart it is always a disaster for the people. We must look forward and create and develop new unions, with the rest of Europe, and eventually the rest of the world.

Comet McNaught now visible in daylight

Comet McNaught is now the brightest comet in over 40 years, its reached magnitude -5 (that's brighter than Venus), which means in theory it is possible to see it in daylight.

It's very close to the Sun so it's probably best to position yourself so something is covering the Sun, like a building, but still exposing the sky near it. If you're at mid-northern latitudes it'll be towards the left hand side of the Sun. It's only a few degrees away (just over twice the width of Orion's belt) from the Sun, so it will be hard to spot in the glare.

If you've got a pair of binoculars they'll probably help locate it, just make sure the Sun is covered before you start looking through them. Looking directly at the Sun can cause permanent damage to your vision.

The weather forecast at the moment says 6% cloud for Yeovil at 15:00. So with a bit of luck I'll be able to get some images of it. Hopefully it'll be even brighter by then.

Update: Some pictures posted on Space Weather (their whole gallery is here), this photo by Mark Vornhusen:

Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1) in broad daylight

Update: No luck spotting it here. Got the telescope set up at around 15:45 and ready to roll, cloud then covered the area for about 30 minutes, couldn't locate it in the few minutes before it would have passed below the roof tops. Will try again closer to noon tomorrow, weather permitting but the forecast doesn't sound good with 100% cloud cover.

Comet McNaught enters SOHO's vision

Comet McNaught has now entered the joint ESA and NASA Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)'s field of view, which has been looking at the Sun continuously for over a decade now.

Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1) from SOHO's LASCO C3 camera

The Sun is in the centre blocked out by a small disc in front of the camera, you can see Mercury to the lower left of the Sun, with Comet McNaught to the left of the image.

They've got an animation (under LASCO/C3) of the passage so far, which really lets you see the solar wind starting to push the tail back. When the comet has moved out of the field of view I'll also put up an animation. The comet should be visible in SOHO until the 15th or 16th. After that people in the southern hemisphere should definitely try and look at this comet.

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