Back to NASA KSC for Space Shuttle Launch STS-133

photo courtesy NASA

After almost 20 years, I’m honored to have been asked back to NASA. This time for the Space Shuttle launch scheduled November 1, 2010, as part of #NASATweetup.

Over two days I’ll get tours and the opportunity to speak with shuttle technicians, engineers, astronauts, and managers as well as to watch the launch from the press area. Of course I’ll share on Twitter, Facebook and blog while I’m there.

This is the last scheduled mission for Space Shuttle Discovery, and the Shuttle program is scheduled to end with the final Endeavor mission, STS-134 in February, 2011. [Update: the new budget approved recently adds one last mission in June for Atlantis.] My friends Rusty Hodge of SOMA-FM Mission Control and Scott Beale of Laughing Squid have been to invited to past #NASAtweetups.

The last time I was to KSC and the Cape was as an engineer. Yes, on some level I can claim the title rocket scientist (without even resorting to the model rockets I built and launched as a child)… Continue reading

Comparing high-speed Internet in San Francisco: AT&T U-Verse vs. Comcast Extreme vs. Speakeasy DSL

Today we have AT&T U-Verse and Speakeasy DSL, next week we’ll also have Comcast Extreme 50. These appear to be the only choices here (except commercial dedicated circuits). We’ll be disconnecting two of them shortly, but it’s a great opportunity to compare service from the three providers and I wanted to share what I’ve learned so far. Continue reading

4 reasons I'm excited about the SF AppShow

I’m extra excited about our next SF AppShow this Tuesday May 25. In addition to looking forward to seeing you all and taking the stage again, here are the top four things I’m excited about:

  1. Our amazing guest host is my friend Gina Smith. Before I’d met her in person, I used to watch her on Good Morning America and World News Tonight. She was ABC News first Tech Correspondent, and covered the web 1.0 boom for them. She’s also the author (with Steve Wozniak) of NYT bestseller iWOZ: From Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-founded Apple and Had Fun Along the Way.
  2. Another friend is presenting: Mike Smithwick. He started writing Distant Suns for the Amiga in 1985, and I first met him during my days as an Amiga engineer. More than 25 years later and Distant Suns is still going strong, and he has new announcements to make Tuesday night. It was a great coincidence that he applied to the show without even realizing I was involved.
  3. The wraps are finally coming off the secret new project from best-selling author Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash, Quicksilver, Cryptonomicon, Anathem) and my friend Jeremy Bornstein at Subutai Corporation.
  4. It’s cool that we have custom iPad bags from Rickshaw Bag Works, and that we have Intel as a sponsor, as well as SugarSync and Appency PR, and a lineup of other great media, presenters and guests.

Please grab a ticket and join us for cocktails and appetizers starting at 5:30pm!

LeanScale and SFAppShow

I’m about to launch a new iPhone and web app, LeanScale at the next SF AppShow. Join us, it’s a great event, and look for more here soon.

LeanScale is the only tool that separates fat and lean for better health. Don’t watch your weight, watch your lean, with LeanScale. You get immediate, powerful feedback on what is happening with your body right now, even when you are making gradual changes (the best kind). If you’re interested in the private beta, please comment below.

iPad hype exceeded only by results

Dale Larson in line for iPad launch

Imperative: dress well for iPad line. Dale Larson in line for launch at the San Francisco Apple Store. (photo by Andrew Mager)

As I suggested in a previous post (where I completely failed to guess the name of the iPad correctly), the results of iPad sales seem to be the only thing exceeding the hype around iPad.

According to Quantcast, iPad constituted 5% of all mobile web traffic consumption on launch day.

In fact, they’re selling so fast that Apple has been forced to delay the international launch of iPad (just six days after insisting the launch would not be delayed by US success).

It’s interesting to note how important new iPad apps are in driving iPad sales. Folks continue to underestimate apps.

First AT&T 3G MicroCell Review (tested at two homes in San Francisco)

AT&T 3G Microcell

AT&T 3G Microcell

Yesterday I read on Mobile Crunch that the AT&T 3G MicroCell went on sale. I ran out and bought the last available one from the AT&T Store nearest me. I’ve tested it in two San Francisco homes and can report on how it works for me.

The theory is great. I pay AT&T an extra $150 to fix service that I’m already paying more than $100 a month for. They give me a cute little orange and white box by CISCO that connects to my broadband internet and makes a micro cell site out of my house. Voila, a little bubble of reliable service in the wasteland that is trying to make iPhone voice calls in San Francisco.

Or so I hoped. Continue reading

iPhone hype and App hype exceeded by results: iTablet / iSlate to match it?

Along with all the hype before the first iPhone was released, I added my voice, noting that it would forever change the mobile phone business in important ways.  I camped in line to be among the first to get one. There was enormous hype. Yet, in the two and a half years since, more change happened than most hype predicted.

When the iPhone app store was announced, I predicted that even the most optimistic scenarios projected by analysts were likely to fall short of the mark. It seems that apps have also changed more than even the hype suggested — they were off by even more than I’d thought.

So what will become of the Tablet that  Apple announces this morning?  Is it possible that the hype will be exceeded only by the results? Continue reading

Check your plan: new lower cell voice rates not automatic

You’ve probably seen the ads: both AT&T and Verizon have dropped their rates for unlimited voice plans to $69.99 per month. But if you aren’t already on an unlimited plan, you may be paying more for less until you take action.

For example, I was on an $89 voice plan that gave me 1350 minutes a month with rollover. AT&T was going to happily keep charging me $20 per month extra indefinitely. (I effectively had unlimited minutes already — with text and data becoming my dominant means of communication, I had accumulated tens of thousands of rollover minutes.)

$69.99 per month for unlimited voice from AT&T for my iPhone -- but I had to go online to make the change

$69.99 per month for unlimited voice -- but I had to go online to make the change

I went online to login and make the change to my account. In approximately 90 seconds total, I switched and am now paying $69.99 per month for unlimited voice.

So now my iPhone costs $120 per month ($30 data plan and $20 unlimited texting) before taxes and fees (and apps!). Continue reading