SpaceX is about to launch the Falcon 1 rocket for the first time – History in the making (I hope)

I’m just watching the live feed of the SpaceX‘s Falcon 1 rocket launch.
I can’t even begin to describe what the impact of this whole move is if the launch succeeds as planned.

The Falcon 1 rocket is the first all American, built from scratch, rocket in the last 25+ years. It is built from new materials and its launch cost is $6.7 million which is about a quarter of what a launch will cost on a Delta II rocket or equivalent (even the Russian launch costs are higher than this the cost of launching Falcon 1).

In all of the times I tried to raise ideas and being to develop things related to satellites, the one thing that always hold me back was the fact that launching a satellite is VERY expensive and trying to piggy back on someone else’s launch is very cumbersome and risky (at least risky for the people that are launching the main payload in that rocket).

Maybe now the whole space exploration and satellite business will start taking off (hopefully, like the Falcon 1 rocket) and really revolutionize our lives.

The funny thing here is that there is a direct connection to the Hi-Tech software industry, SpaceX’s CEO and CTO is Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal which revolutionized the electronic payments over the internet.

I’ve been tracking SpaceX’s progress for the past 4 years (roughly about the time I had my first ideas about revolutionizing the satellite industry) and they have made an incredible progress.

I know what you are probably thinking “what does this crazy guy that have a .NET debugging blog and rants about various thing has to do with revolutionizing the satellite building industry”, well, in a short sentence a lot :-) but these are all things I’ll have to either implement or explain later when I’ll write my great book of unimplemented ideas ;-)

God Speed Falcon 1 and kudos to the whole SpaceX team!

ajaxWrite and Open Office / Open Document Format

I just read on Om Malik on Boardband that Michael Robertson of MP3.com, Linspire and SIPphone fame just annonced a new project called ajaxWrite.

This is a pure web application word processor without any storage behind it like Writely (when you open a document you upload it and when you save it you download it) but it seems very well written.

The only thing that bothers me is that they claim they support all major file formats but what they actually support is MS Word, RTF, Text and PDF.

What about the Open Office and/or the Open Document Format? Why isn’t it supported?
If you are going to make such an application available why not use an OPEN format that will be accessible for all?

It’s annoying. Really.

Anyhow, while this is very cool, I think it could be a good addition to Bubbles.

Bubbles – Clean, round and really refreshing!

Ohad, the leader of a small Israeli software studio named 3D3R, just released a cool little app named Bubbles.

The concept behind it is based on the fact that the new age of web applications doesn’t really play nicely with your desktop, so instead of living up and playing nicely with the rest of your desktop application, web application tend to stack up in your tabbed browser (if you have one of those, if not, get one here).

There is also a review on Yaniv’s blog.

What Bubbles does is to encapsulate your web application in a manner that will make it appear as if this is a standard desktop application.
It does that by hosting the Internet Explorer and operating it externally. A very nice trick.

There is has support for a Gecko (the rendering engine behind FireFox and Mozilla) but it is based on the Gecko ActiveX (no cross platform support).

I think there is an interesting opportunity for this type of application specifically due to the whole Google portfolio related rumors about having Writely as Word, Gmail and CL2 (Google’s Web Based Calendar) as Outlook, Google Base as Access (though I think this stretches it a bit more than what Google Base is actually is) and the mysterious GDrive to store all of the data up in one place.

If Google adds something like Bubbles to its Google Desktop product (or even in a different product), it can integrate seamlessly with Windows on the desktop making the whole Google Office suite (even though it lacks a few things like Excel and PowerPoint) almost native to Windows as Microsoft Office is.

Plus, if it can encapsulate some kind of an API that can be exposed through JavaScript hooks (I think I remember that there are a few, at least in Internet Explorer) that will enable the application to talk with the desktop, that would allow an even better integration with the desktop, for example, allow the application to make the window flicker in the taskbar, allow it to show the bubble help tips, flicker the tray icon and so on.

Anyhow, try it out, send feedback and I’m sure this will eventually become a great addition to the desktop!

Google will open up an R&D Center in Israel

According to this link in Globes, the Israeli Business newspaper, Google is going to open up an R&D center in Israel in the second quarter. The center will be led by Dr. Yoelle Maarek, a long time (17 years) veteran of IBM’s research labs and will be located in the northern city of Haifa (near the Technion, surprise surprise)

The only company out of the big 3, a.k.a, GYM (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft), that has an R&D center in Israel is Microsoft. Yahoo had something in the first bubble and after the explosion of the first bubble it was quickly closed.

This comes a little bit after Google opened an office for marketing purposes in Israel and is now hiring.

Its going to be very interesting from a few points of view:

  1. Microsoft’s R&D center in Israel is located in Haifa as well.
  2. IBM’s Research Labs are also located in Haifa
  3. The Technion, Israel’s leading technical university is also located in Haifa, meaning, plenty of Software Engineers from the top of the line of the academy in Israel.

Microsoft’s R&D center mainly focuses on security and, if I’m not mistaken, was the place of birth for COM+ and some other interesting technologies. While no one knows for sure what Google will develop in Israel, I wonder how Microsoft is going to react to that.

It’s also going to be very interesting as to what Yahoo will do with this and if they are willing to take another shot at Israel.

The arena in Israel is heating up, that’s for sure.