On Aug. 5 or Aug. 6, depending on which part of the country you’re in, the Curiosity spacecraft careening toward Mars will hit the Red Planet’s atmosphere, deploy a supersonic parachute and either land safely on the planet’s surface or perish. It’s dramatic stuff, and NASA has produced this Hollywood-style YouTube video, complete with animation and suspenseful music, to preview the landing, evoke that drama and put viewers on the edge of their seats.
As engineers explain, it will take seven minutes for Curiosity to travel from the edge of Mars’ atmosphere to the surface, going from a speed of 13,000 mph to zero. “If any one thing doesn’t work just right, it’s game over,” engineer Tom Rivellini says.
Because Mars is so far away, it actually takes 14 minutes for the spacecraft’s signal to reach Earth. So by the time we learn the spacecraft has hit the top of Mars’ atmosphere, Curiosity will have either have survived the landing or perished for a full seven minutes.
Source: Skye – 7 Minutes of Terror: NASA’s Dramatic Mars-Landing Preview
The CEO of AT&T Inc. said Friday that cellphone plans that count only data usage are likely to come in the next two years. In such a scenario, phone calls and texts would be considered as just another form of data.
Randall Stephenson didn’t say AT&T has such a plan in mind, but he suggested that someone in the industry will likely offer one.
Analysts see such plans as a logical extension of trends in wireless technology. Smartphones with data service can already use it for Internet phone calls and texting through services such as Skype.
Phone calls are also taking a back seat to other things people do with their smartphones. AT&T has been recording a decline in the average number of minutes used per month.
That is certainly true for my family where there are four of us sharing one 700 minute plan, and we rarely use the full minutes.
YouTube is getting smaller in a metric that used to mean everything: views.
Since December, views on YouTube have dropped 28%, and March views are only slightly above what they were a year ago, startling for a site accustomed to breakneck growth.
It’s an intended consequence of the Google-owned site’s shift from…snack-size content to a full-fledged, couch-potato-optimized entertainment destination. At YouTube, the “view” is out and “engagement” is in.
YouTube’s focus has shifted from directing viewers to videos of skateboarding dogs to enticing them into longer, more engaging videos—the kind that are, not incidentally, more appealing to advertisers.
On March 15, YouTube altered its recommendation system to make the time spent with a video or channel a stronger indicator than a click.
“Our goal is we want users to watch more and click less”
It appears to be working. While views have dropped of late, the amount of minutes users spend watching YouTube has grown over the past year by 57%. The average length of a video view has grown a full minute to four minutes in the past year.
// Photo – Mark Sebastian
I filmed my son every week, from birth up until he turned 9 years old and then made this time lapse edit in Final Cut Pro.