New iMacs

19 10 2008

New iMacs? Yes indeed, and they’re expected to reach us in time for this holiday season!

Possibilities include a move to Intel’s Centrino 2 line of processors, and Nvidia chips, like the new Apple notebooks.

Hubble Problems

18 10 2008

Engineers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland have hit two
new snags in their effort to repair the Hubble Space Telescope after a
major equipment failure in space last month.

This problem began September 27 with the failure of Hubble’s Science
Instrument Control and Data Handling (SIC&DH) system. The on-board
computer coordinates commands to the satellite’s various instruments
and then downlinks the scientific data to the ground. While that
computer is down, most science observations are at a standstill.

The system was built with a fully redundant backup channel called “Side
B,” designed to come online in the event “Side A” ever failed. Hubble
team members at Goddard began a complicated process on Wednesday to
send computer commands to the telescope to switch over to Side B, and
hoped to have everything completed by midday Friday.

More problems began to pile up…

Early in the afternoon, there were problems powering up one of Hubble’s
instruments, the Advanced Camera for Surveys, though other instruments
turned on normally.

Later in the evening, a communications failure between multiple onboard
computers put all the science instruments, including the main science
computer, into safe mode. It is unclear how these problems are related
to each other or the activation of the SIC&DH Side B channel.

Even if the switch over to the Side B backup ultimately fails, Hubble
managers say the design team had the foresight 20 years ago to build a
spare SIC&DH system, which has been warehoused at Goddard all this
time while the original instrument perked along just fine.

Future Apple Store Openings

18 10 2008

A critical figure will emerge from Apple’s conference call next Tuesday, when the company discloses how many new retail stores will open during fiscal 2009. The number will not only signify the electronics maker’s commitment to reach even more customers, but will represent a wager -big or small- on a world economy in turmoil.

Chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer traditionally provides the number during his review of the retail operation, and his forecast has been in the range of 35 to 40 stores almost every year in the past. In fact, the number of grand openings has ranged from 32 to 46 until last year, when it totaled 50.

Snow Leopard Details

18 10 2008


People familiar with matter say the Finder, which currently stands as
one of the oldest Carbon-based applications in the Mac OS portfolio,
has been completely re-written in the company’s native object-oriented
application program environment called Cocoa.

Apple has reportedly tapped select members of its developer community
to begin testing the updated graphical file system manager as part of a
new pre-release copy of Snow Leopard belonging to the build train
10Axxx. In addition, many of the Apple-authored applications accompany
the new build are also said to have been wrapped completely in Cocoa.


When it makes its debut, likely at WWDC 2009, Snow Leopard will also
introduce a new, third option for disc image-based installation called
ImageBoot. Based on Apple’s existing NetBoot technology, which allows
Macs to boot from a remote disk over the network, ImageBoot will allow
users to set up any number of disk images on a secondary partition or
external drive, and then selectively boot their system from any one of
those disk images at startup.

This new feature will allow users to set up a series of test
environments or uniquely configured Mac OS X systems, store the
bootable systems as discrete disk images, and subsequently store
multiple boot targets on the same disk or partition. Currently, only
one bootable Mac OS X installation can be stored on a given disk

With ImageBoot, multiple NetBoot sets can be maintained locally on the
same storage partition, and the user can select any one of the disk
images available to boot from without having to restore or mount the
disk image first. The result is a system that works similar to
virtualization software such as Parallels, which can create disk images
for different PC operating systems and selectively boot from any of
them. The difference is that Mac OS X isn’t booting up in a virtual
environment; it actually boots a fully native Mac OS X system.

Nigeria Announces Budget Cuts

18 10 2008

Nigeria has announced major budget cuts following recent falls in the price of oil, after a special cabinet meeting.

Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, but a violent campaign in the main oil region has cut production by 20%. The oil price has fallen by more 50% in just three months and Nigeria relies almost exclusively on oil for its revenue.

The government had been expected to present its budget for 2009 to the national assembly next week.


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