ALBA-1 Cable To Cuba Is Live

Renesys is noting that ALBA-1, the mystery cable between Cuba and Venezuela is likely now online. It’s still strange how it’s being utilized (assuming what they are seeing is the result of the cable being active). More bandwidth will lead to more usage by more people. Information demands to be free, and people demand information. It’s only a matter of time. The groundwork has been laid.

Flu Virus And Humidity

This is a pretty interesting article about the Flu virus and humidity:

the researchers found the virus survived best at humidity below 50%, similar to the conditions found indoors in “a really heated building,” says Dr. Marr. “The virus is happy if the mucus droplet completely evaporates and leaves it floating around” in the air.

“It’s also fine in humidities above 98%, which you find in the rainy season in the tropics,” she says, where the conditions outside resemble the environment the virus finds in the body. “But in between, in a humidity of 50% to 98%, the virus doesn’t survive very well.”

If offices, schools and other places where people congregated were to install humidifiers and keep a closer eye on building humidity, would flu’s be less problematic? In theory it could actually save a business money to pay attention to the humidity in the building and keep employees from getting sick.

Calamari Or Pig Rectum

This could just be some sort of urban legend however NPR’s This American Life is claiming some pork producer may be selling “pork bung”, the rectum of a pig as artificial calamari. Granted, it’s in sausage and most likely other highly processed pork. Some more discussion on CHOW about the product itself.

Update: Slate has some pretty good reporting that suggests this story is bogus and it’s not true. If it’s in hot dogs or other things you eat, that’s a whole other story.

China’s Broadband Strategy

I mentioned just a few days ago how the lack of affordable high-speed bandwidth is problematic to growth in the United States. China is now making a major push to bring Fiber To The Home (FTTH) to 150M families in the next few years. China has the means and willpower to do it. Imagine if China becomes to information what they have become to manufacturing. The US Needs to figure out its broadband strategy.

Latest on Apophis

As far back as 2004 I mentioned the asteroid Apophis. Most recently in 2009. Now in 2013 it’s back in the news. It’s bigger (“1,066 foot (325 meters), with a margin of error of ±49 feet (±15 meters)”), and will pass closer than the orbits of some geostationary satellites. Possibly even taking a few out on its flyby.

Curious what we’ll learn in the next few years as astronomers gather more data and crunch more numbers.

Thinkpad Decline

There is an interesting piece by Cyrus Sanati on the Lenovo (previously IBM) Thinkpad.

In my opinion, Lenovo already damaged the Thinkpad reputation. It’s build quality dropped almost immediately. The T43 wasn’t nearly as well built as the extremely T42. The T42 was a work of art with properly fitting everything. My T43 had been reliable, it still works, however it was never of the same quality as the T42 or A31. The plastic never perfectly aligned, slight gap between the optical media bay, the optical media drive tray flexes way more than it should. The T50 series was even worse and flexed despite “improvements”. Small things, but they matter.

The reason why Thinkpads still have a reputation is because they have no real competition. Apple has top notch build quality, but it’s not a PC. Sony is the nearest competitor, and it’s not really in the enterprise space, and isn’t quite up to par with the Thinkpad still. The Thinkpad wins just by beating it’s notably poor competition.

If someone figures out how to reproduce Apple’s build quality, Lenovo is in deep trouble. Until then, they will continue to do just fine. If Lenovo wants to protect itself, they should start competing with Apple in terms of quality, not aesthetics or consumer features.