Wi-Fly; ISS Falling; i-Tunes 6 – Teenage Tech News Review

Internet BalloonWi-Fly
BBC news is reporting that BT is testing wireless broadband. What was that I heard? Been done already? Ah well, this is a new twist on a relatively old concept: These guys are using a balloon flying at 24km of altitude to send and receive wireless internet signals. This could mean a new way of accessing data: Although there are currently a number of ways of accessing the Internet on a laptop while on the move, these involve either overpriced GPRS connections over mobile networks, or few and far between Wi-Fi access points, which are not necessarily free either.

What this technology might enable, if it takes off (sorry, bad pun), is to enable laptop users to be finally able to use an affordable data service on the move that doesn’t suck speed-wise and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to use.

Guess what else? The team doing the initial research on the project are from my local university, literally five minutes down the road!

ISS International Space StationIs it a bird, is it a plane…
…No, it’s the ISS falling from the sky. ITAR-TASS reports that the latest ship to dock with the ISS has failed to boost it’s altitude, as it’s rockets failed after burning for only 3 minutes.

The ISS floats at around 350km above the earth, and at this point in space, there is still a significant amount of drag caused by the earth’s atmosphere. What this means when it’s at home, is that the atmosphere causes friction on the ISS, which means that the space station is constantly losing altitude. What prevents the ISS from falling from the sky are occasional boosts from visiting spacecraft. There is a graph of the ISS’ height and it is clearly visible that it is currently at the lowest that it has ever been at. If the space station’s height deteriorates lower than 300km, it is easily possible that it will fall out of the sky and land on earth, or burn up in the atmosphere.

Although the ISS is kinda cool, I do still have my doubts as to it’s usefulness: What the hell is it actually good for? This is the view of a lot of people in the scientific community, and a lot of people think that it might as well be de-orbitted and the money spent on it every year spent on a better cause. Imagine if the $6.7 Billion that NASA is spending annually on the ISS and the shuttle program went to better causes. Imagine what impact that money would make.

Besides, I want a space elevator, dammit!

iTunes 6 ScreenshotOooh Aaargh, ‘cos we’re pirates!
A few days ago, Digital-Lifestyles covered the new video enabled iPod and accompanying iTunes 6 software. iTunes 6 allows you to download selected TV shows and other content for a fee from the iTunes music store. What if you want to add other recording and stuff to your iPod? Hack-a-day has an article on how to automatically download TV shows via Bittorrent.

They also have an article up on how to use the Tivo To Go software which accompanies the Tivo to transfer Tivo recordings to your iPod.

These hints should help all you cheap skates out there to enjoy a nice, free, iPod video viewing experience. Of course, it also means that it will be possible to watch shows on the iPod not yet available for purchase from the iTunes music store.