How software was registered “back in the day” [PHOTO]

I was re-installing an old piece of software and ran across this gem after the install…


Old School Electronic Registration

Old School Electronic Registration


Print for Mailing! Print for Faxing! Send Via MODEM! And most amazing of all, Send Via Internet!

But wait…  Send Via Internet would only work if there was a modem connection! A modem connection that would first dial out to a service portal, and then “bridge” you to the internet!

A direct connection to the internet? Back in those days? Preposterous!

Why, back in the day, we had to use home-phone landlines, find a local access number for the service portal, disable call waiting on the landline, warn everyone in the home NOT TO PICK UP THE @#*$ PHONE, use a picky-and-screechy-as-hell 9,600 (or 28,800!) baud MODEM to connect, and we …. liked it? Well, no. In retrospect, it really sucked. But at the time, that was the thing!

I better quit before I pull out my e*World CDs.

NASA has a free photo-rich ebook : “Dressing for Altitude”

It has been a busy few days for me, but I’m finally back. Hoo-ah!

While I was out, NASA announced they were giving away a free digital book that “details the development and use of the protective clothing worn by test pilots, astronauts and others as they soar high above Earth.”

It’s pretty hefty book at 526 pages, but it’s very well put together, and is filled with great photos like this one…


Dressing for Altitude 01

Dressing for Altitude 01


Is it me, or does that look a little like Big Daddy from the Bioshock games?

“Dressing for Altitude” has plenty of photos of pressure suits in various stages of development, and also gets into the science and technology of the suit designs themselves.

The book is available for free on NASA’s site in PDF, EPUB or MOBI format, but you can also order a “real” copy of the book from NASA’s information center if you like.

Here’s the official press release about “Dressing for Altitude”…
RELEASE: 12-308


WASHINGTON — NASA has published a colorful, picture-filled book that details the development and use of the protective clothing worn by test pilots, astronauts and others as they soar high above Earth.

“Dressing for Altitude: U.S. Aviation Pressure Suits — Wiley Post to Space Shuttle” provides a 526-page survey of the partial- and full-pressure suits designed to keep humans alive at the edge of space since their first use during the years before World War II. Pressure suits are not the spacesuits worn by spacewalking astronauts.

The book explores the challenges the clothiers-turned-engineers faced in designing a garment that could be relatively lightweight, flexible, inflatable, and still keep an ejecting pilot safe at high altitude and in the water.

“This work is designed to provide the history of the technology and explore the lessons learned through the years of research in creating, testing, and utilizing today’s high-altitude suits,” said Tony Springer of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.

Dennis R. Jenkins, a writer, engineer and manager with 30 years of experience working on NASA programs, including the space shuttle, wrote the book and assembled its photographs and illustrations.

Jenkins said he became interested in the topic especially after studying the work and dedication of Goodrich and David Clark Company, the two major companies responsible for most of the pressure suit’s development through the years.

“I knew little about pressure suits going into the book, so the entire process was a learning exercise to me,” Jenkins said.

To order printed copies of the coffee-table-style book from NASA’s Information Center, visit:

To download an e-book version of the book in PDF format at no charge, visit:

For more information about aeronautics research at NASA, visit:

Vista not updating in Windows Update? Check the version of IE.

Here’s a tip in case you ever run across a old PC with Vista that isn’t installing windows updates: check the version of internet explorer.

If version 7 is still installed (which you can see under HELP – ABOUT), that’s the main problem.

Update IE to version 8 for Vista first, then reboot and try running windows update again.

From there, you should be able to get the service packs and IE 9.

Do you know anyone under 18 who wants to name an asteroid for NASA?

NASA has opened a website where they will be accepting ideas for renaming asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36.

Anything goes, so long as the name is no longer than 16 characters, and every entry must also “include a short explanation and rationale for the name”.

I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of “Jacques Strap”, “Mike Rotch” and “Hugh Jass” submissions from the junior high crowd.

OK, seriously, it’s a very cool contest for science geeks, and if you know someone under 18 that’s into astronomy, send them to the website at the end of the press release for their shot at fame.

Here’s the official press release…

RELEASE: 12-302


WASHINGTON — Students worldwide have an opportunity to name an asteroid from which an upcoming NASA mission will return the first samples to Earth.

Scheduled to launch in 2016, the mission is called the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). Samples returned from the primitive surface of the near-Earth asteroid currently called (101955) 1999 RQ36 could hold clues to the origin of the solar system and organic molecules that may have seeded life on
Earth. NASA also is planning a crewed mission to an asteroid by 2025. A closer scientific study of asteroids will provide context and help inform this mission.

“Because the samples returned by the mission will be available for study for future generations, it is possible the person who names the asteroid will grow up to study the regolith [sic] we return to Earth,” said Jason Dworkin, OSIRIS-REx project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The competition is open to students under age 18 from anywhere in the world. Each contestant can submit one name, up to 16 characters long. Entries must include a short explanation and rationale for the name. Submissions must be made by an adult on behalf of the student. The contest deadline is Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012.

The contest is a partnership with The Planetary Society in Pasadena, Calif.; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington; and the University of Arizona in Tucson.

A panel will review proposed asteroid names. First prize will be awarded to the student who recommends a name that is approved by the International Astronomical Union Committee for Small-Body Nomenclature.

“Our mission will be focused on this asteroid for more than a decade,” said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for the mission at the University of Arizona. “We look forward to having a name that is easier to say than (101955) 1999 RQ36.”

The asteroid was discovered in 1999 by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. LINEAR is part of NASA’s Near Earth Observation Program in Washington, which detects and catalogs near-Earth asteroids and comets. The asteroid has an average diameter of approximately one-third of a mile (500 meters).

“We are excited to have discovered the minor planet that will be visited by the OSIRIS-REx mission and to be able to engage students around the world to suggest a name for 1999 RQ36,” said Grant Stokes, head of the Aerospace Division at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and principal investigator for the LINEAR program.

The asteroid received its designation of (101955) 1999 RQ36 from the Minor Planet Center, operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. The center assigns an initial alphanumeric designation to any newly discovered asteroid once certain criteria are met to determine its orbit.

“Asteroids are just cool and 1999 RQ36 deserves a cool name!” said Bill Nye, chief executive officer for The Planetary Society.
“Engaging kids around the world in a naming contest will get them tuned in to asteroids and asteroid science.”

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will provide overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver will build the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages New Frontiers for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

To review contest rules and guidelines, visit:

To see a video explanation about the contest, visit:

For information about the OSIRIS-REx mission, visit:

Monday Morning Music : 09/04/12 **

Every Monday I like to post some music to start the week off on the right foot. (** But since this was Labor Day weekend, Tuesday is the new Monday!)

This week…

Tinie Tempah – Written In The Stars ft. Eric Turner

Nicki Minaj – Pound The Alarm (Explicit)

P!nk – Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

..and finally, quite possibly the most epic mix ever, Sir Mix A Lot – Baby Got Back (Sung By the Movies!)

News stories the mainstream media missed : 09/01/12

Here are some news stories from this week that I think the mainstream media completely missed out on. All links are from legitimate news sources and not the fringe / wacko sites.

* In keeping with their philosophy of  “accelerate into the brick wall to survive”, Kodak recently decided “…to sell [their] traditional film businesses to become a fully commercial-focused businesses, with printers at center stage.” Printers? PRINTERS? Kodak didn’t want to hold on to the groundbreaking camera-and-film products they invented, but decided to jump into an over-crowded arena to take on HP, Canon, Xerox, Epson, Lexmark, Brother, and OKI? Seriously? This is like Ken “mad-dog” Chong announcing he’s going into the octagon to kick Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Anderson Silva’s collective asses. By himself. Unless there’s a secret weapon or a surprise partner involved, this isn’t going to end well. [TECHCRUNCH]

* Speaking of extinct, Sony announced they will stop making CD and DVD drives in a few months. Sony was the 500-pound gorilla in this game, and if they’re pulling out, you can bet everyone else will too. So what does this mean for the consumer? The next generation of desktops and laptops won’t have CD or DVD drives. Since flash drives and streaming media are faster and hold more data, CDs and DVDs just outlived their usefulness. It’s the end of another tech era, and nobody really noticed. [NEOWIN]

* Everyone knows the Terminator. The half-man, half-governor that protects the future by beating up other budgets? I think it goes something like that. Anyhow, Harvard scientists have taken us one step closer toward awesomeness by creating real “Cyborg Flesh”. “Neurons, muscle cells, and blood vessels (taken from rats) were spliced with nanowires and transistors that monitor bioelectric impulses, and researchers predict subtle variations in the technology will let them control cellular behavior.” Ooooo goody! I can’t wait for ticklish machines! I mean, that’s the only reason something like this would be invented. Right? Right? [IGN]

Cyborg Flesh!


* We’ve all heard that always-baked dude’s notion that “maaaaan…. our universe is just, like, an atom. And all atoms, are like…. universes! Maaaann!” Well NOT SO FAST says NASA. Apparently the universe is more like an ice cube! Except not frozen. Or solid. Or wet. But aside from that, the metaphor works! See, the latest theory making the scientific rounds is that the universe was formed as the result of a phase-change, like ice turning into water. But in our case, the water of “before” the universe “cooled and suddenly crystallized to form four-dimensional space-time, analogous to ice.” There was nothing before the universe because it was in a different state. Ice to water. Water to ice. Maaaann! [SPACE]

* If congress tells you to come up with a way to get kids out a closed refrigerator if they get stuck inside, what would you do? Well, if it was 1958, you could just grab some kids off the street, huck them in a locked refrigerator, and see what happened! Apparently, “behavior of young children in a situation simulating entrapment in refrigerators was studied in order to develop standards for inside releasing devices, in accordance with Public Law 930 of the 84th Congress.” Several followup studies had to be performed after this “experiment” to see if the kids had mental issues, and none of the parents of these kids were “involved in the incident”. Eesh! Clinically scary article (and potential horror movie idea) over at [PEDIATRICS.ORG]

* Everybody knows “you are what you eat”. Here comes the “you have to be kidding me” part… scientists on two different and independent studies have confirmed you are not only what you eat, you are, genetically, what “what your mother, father, grandparents and great-grandparents ate, too.” The extra-special-with-sprinkles part is that is doesn’t matter how well you eat now because the generations of damage is already burned into your DNA. I’m surprised the current health-conscious administration hasn’t run with this. We can’t change what has come before, but now we must start eating well and taking care of ourselves for our great-grandchildren, too. As for everyone who doesn’t plan on having kids, triple whopper, extra cheese, bacon sundae and large coke away! Science at [CBS]

That’s all I got this week! Time for a Saturday-night cigar!