Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Topics: Entertainment News
Earlier this week Microsoft announced that it would be moving its Office suite of applications — you know, Word, PowerPoint and Excel — to the Web. This is part of a larger trend of tech companies moving stuff off individual computers and onto what’s known in the industry as “the cloud,” which is just a fancy way of saying that the programs exist online. With ubiquitous connectivity via laptops and mobile phones, all of that data becomes accessible all the time. Google Docs and all of its related applications (Reader, Gmail, etc.) are obviously cloud-based, as is Apple’s Mobile Me syncing system.
While it’s pretty clear how this is useful in a business-type situation, I don’t think I’ll be transitioning to using entirely Web-based apps anytime soon. Heck, even with Gmail around, I still prefer to download my e-mail the old-fashioned way, using a POP3 mail client (I roll with Thunderbird). And I’ll keep doing my writing in a similar fashion, pounding out my words on a no-frills text editor to just get my words out onto the page, and in Microsoft Word for serious formatting, line editing and spell checking.
The thing about using offline programs that don’t require a network connection to maintain is that they’re responsive and easy to use. I can be anywhere and draft an e-mail, just like I can be anywhere and put words to a screen. I don’t have to worry about whether other people on the network I’m using are hogging all the bandwidth by downloading BitTorrent files. Even in the age of Internet access from just about every corner of the country, not to mention the globe (I’m blogging this week from a rural village in Corsica), there are still places and moments when you have a slow connection at best, or none at all. Using Gmail on a slow connection is simply painful. Trying to edit a large document in a similar environment will be too.
Further, your computer (or heck, your iPhone) has much more power — because there’s only one person using it at a time (you) — than any cloud-based service ever will. The response time between my keyboard and my text editor will always be faster than the response time between my keyboard, Google Docs and its servers and then back to my eyeballs.
Plus, I want control of my data, e-mails and documents alike. I want to be responsible for them, and despite Google’s best intentions, don’t want my messages subject to subpoena. My e-mails stay on my computer, and I’m the only one who has access to it, and that’s just how I like it.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.