“We are wheels down on Mars”


“We are wheels down on Mars,” was the official word from mission control. Engineers immediately erupted into applause, hugs, and a few tears.

Curiosity, NASA’s $2.5 billion Mars Rover successfully landed on Mars early yesterday. I was following the launch (albeit intermittently) over on NASA’s live stream & it was a moment to savor! Given the difficulty of “7 minutes of Terror” & most of the previous mars missions have failed, this is a huge win for NASA.


Songdo – South Korea’s $35 billion ‘Sim City’

Dan Frommer for the ReadWriteWeb

Sixty-three floors up, the view is stunning. Below, Central Park’s lawns, bike lanes, kids boating in the lake. To my right, apartments and shops lining a canal. In the distance, the ocean, planes approaching, and a sweeping highway bridge. I’m not in New York, or Venice, or even in Las Vegas. I’m in South Korea. And a few years ago, none of this was here!

Instagram’s Kevin Systrom – The success story

Steven Bertoni for Forbes,

Thanks to his Stanford detour, instead of eight figures, Systrom, by doing it his own way—developing the white-hot photo network Instagram, which Zuckerberg agreed to buy in April—stands atop a $1 billion score. The purchase price, which makes Systrom’s stake of 40% or so worth $400 million, is all the more shocking given that his startup has zero revenues and no revenue model.

..and the punch line

“I think not focusing on money makes you sane,” he says, “because in the long run it can probably drive you crazy.”

dpreview’s Nokia 808 Pureview Review

Barney Britton for dpreview

The 808 proves that Nokia can innovate, and its PureView technology has piqued the interest of serious photographers, being one of the most important innovations – arguable the most important – in mobile photography since the smartphone era dawned five or so years ago. As such, the 808 is intriguing not just in itself, but because of what it represents. Things could be about to get interesting…

Valve’s Gabe Newell & the future of games

A nice summary of a recent interview with Valve’s co-founder where he discusses the future of games, the various control techniques & their stance on supporting Linux

That causes us to have conversations with Adobe, and we say the next version of Photoshop should look like a free-to-play game, and they say, ‘We have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, but it sounds really bad.’ And, then we say, ‘No, no, no. We think you are going to increase the value being created to your users, and you will create a market for their goods on a worldwide basis.’ But that takes a longer sell.
“This isn’t about videogames; it’s about thinking about goods and services in a digital world.”

Reflecting exactly what randsinrepose posted months ago. Too bad, Adobe is busy sticking their heads up their asses!

His comment regarding Windows 8,

I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality.

Microsoft is going for a closed ecosystem ala Apple to ensure a smooth user experience but they’re also getting into what Steam has been doing for years now. If Microsoft can figure out the best possible way of integrating Xbox Live on Windows 8 & also work out the recent issues with their update mechanism, then there’s no reason for a developer to ignore the Windows Application Marketplace.


Christopher Nolan’s farewell note to Batman

Continuing with the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ hangover, here’s the farewell note written by the man himself (reproduced in its entirety)

Alfred. Gordon. Lucius. Bruce . . . Wayne. Names that have come to mean so much to me. Today, I’m three weeks from saying a final good-bye to these characters and their world. It’s my son’s ninth birthday. He was born as the Tumbler was being glued together in my garage from random parts of model kits. Much time, many changes. A shift from sets where some gunplay or a helicopter were extraordinary events to working days where crowds of extras, building demolitions, or mayhem thousands of feet in the air have become familiar.

People ask if we’d always planned a trilogy. This is like being asked whether you had planned on growing up, getting married, having kids. The answer is complicated. When David and I first started cracking open Bruce’s story, we flirted with what might come after, then backed away, not wanting to look too deep into the future. I didn’t want to know everything that Bruce couldn’t; I wanted to live it with him. I told David and Jonah to put everything they knew into each film as we made it. The entire cast and crew put all they had into the first film. Nothing held back. Nothing saved for next time. They built an entire city. Then Christian and Michael and Gary and Morgan and Liam and Cillian started living in it. Christian bit off a big chunk of Bruce Wayne’s life and made it utterly compelling. He took us into a pop icon’s mind and never let us notice for an instant the fanciful nature of Bruce’s methods.

I never thought we’d do a second—how many good sequels are there? Why roll those dice? But once I knew where it would take Bruce, and when I started to see glimpses of the antagonist, it became essential. We re-assembled the team and went back to Gotham. It had changed in three years. Bigger. More real. More modern. And a new force of chaos was coming to the fore. The ultimate scary clown, as brought to terrifying life by Heath. We’d held nothing back, but there were things we hadn’t been able to do the first time out—a Batsuit with a flexible neck, shooting on Imax. And things we’d chickened out on—destroying the Batmobile, burning up the villain’s blood money to show a complete disregard for conventional motivation. We took the supposed security of a sequel as license to throw caution to the wind and headed for the darkest corners of Gotham.

I never thought we’d do a third—are there any great second sequels? But I kept wondering about the end of Bruce’s journey, and once David and I discovered it, I had to see it for myself. We had come back to what we had barely dared whisper about in those first days in my garage. We had been making a trilogy. I called everyone back together for another tour of Gotham. Four years later, it was still there. It even seemed a little cleaner, a little more polished. Wayne Manor had been rebuilt. Familiar faces were back—a little older, a little wiser . . . but not all was as it seemed.

Gotham was rotting away at its foundations. A new evil bubbling up from beneath. Bruce had thought Batman was not needed anymore, but Bruce was wrong, just as I had been wrong. The Batman had to come back. I suppose he always will.

Michael, Morgan, Gary, Cillian, Liam, Heath, Christian . . . Bale. Names that have come to mean so much to me. My time in Gotham, looking after one of the greatest and most enduring figures in pop culture, has been the most challenging and rewarding experience a filmmaker could hope for. I will miss the Batman. I like to think that he’ll miss me, but he’s never been particularly sentimental.

(via slashfilm)

Acolytes & Rejectors

Ben Austen for Wired

So what, then, is Jobs’ real legacy as a human being? “It’s his passion,” Isaacson says, after some deliberation. “We all want to lead the passionate life. We want a life of emotional connections. If that’s what you get by saying, ‘I will be more like Steve Jobs,’ then that’s not bad.”

I manage a team of developers & Jobs’ attitude would’ve guaranteed what Robert Sutton has summarized in his book – The No Asshole Rule

In most situations, the asshole simply does not get the best results. Psychological studies show that abusive bosses reduce productivity, stifle creativity, and cause high rates of absenteeism, company theft, and turnover—25 percent of bullied employees and 20 percent of those who witness the bullying will eventually quit because of it, according to one study.