December 2007

GPS World reports:

Russia gave the GNSS industry three gifts this Christmas, particularly in its home country.

On Tuesday the Russian Federal Space Agency successfully launched a Proton-M carrier rocket with three Glonass satellites on board from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The launch will bring the Glonass satellite constellation total to 18 satellites, enough to provide navigation services to all of Russia, assuming all three can be put into service. By 2010, Russia plans to have a fully operating constellation of 24 Glonass satellites—enough to provide positioning service over the entire globe, complementing the U.S. GPS constellation.

Six Glonass satellites are scheduled for launch in 2008, and the first two improved Glonass-K satellites are scheduled for launch the following year, according to RIA Novosti reports.

In related news, a number of news agencies quoted Vladimir Putin on Monday as asking about the availability of Glonass-enabled tracking hardware for his dog, a black lab. The question reportedly came after Putin was briefed about the launch scheduled for the next day and the status of the Glonass system.

“For example my wife — who in a way was military issue, but that’s another story — works on a large military installation and just informed me this week that the U.S. government, in all its wisdom, has decided that programs like MapQuest, Google Maps and Google Street Maps will no longer be authorized on military and government computers.” –Don Jewell, GPS World

John C. Dvorak, PC Magazine, writes:

Does anyone but me see the OLPC XO-1 as an insulting “let them eat cake” sort of message to the world’s poor?

Hands Across America, Live AID, the Concert for Bangladesh, and so on. The American (and world) public has witnessed one feel-good event (and the ensuing scandals) after another. Each one manages to assuage our guilt about the world’s problems, at least a little. Now these folks think that any sort of participation in these events, or even their good thoughts about world poverty and starvation, actually help. Now they can sleep at night. It doesn’t matter that nothing has really changed.

This is how I view the cute, little One Laptop per Child (OLPC) XO-1 computer, technology designed for the impoverished children of Africa and Alabama. This machine, which is the brainchild of onetime MIT media lab honcho Nick Negroponte, will save the world. His vision is to supply every child with what amounts to an advertising delivery mechanism. Hence the boys at Google are big investors.