Ansari X-Price: spacecraft Contest - Prize for who gets to place a spacecraft to 100 km

Tomorrow marks the Ansari X-Price in the Mojave Desert, California. This year the prize for getting to place a ship 100 Km. High, it is 10 million dollars. The big favorite is the team of Paul Allen (Microsoft) and Burt Rutan (aerospace pioneer) in SpaceShipOne.

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipOne (which is one of the ships of the team Paul Allen and Burt Rutan), means that increasingly we are closer to private space flight.

But back to the X-Price:

The X-Price is to achieve two flights to 100 Km. Of soil, within a maximum of two weeks.

Allen and Rutan are sure to get it, but there are 24 more teams competing against them.

Among these, is the team of Eric Meier and Phil Storm, the company Space Transport Corp Inc, both renowned scientists and experienced in the manufacture of spacecraft since both worked for Aerojet Corp. (Redmond [neighboring town of Seattle] ).

[Mental Note 1: Paul Allen = Seattle, Aero Jet Corp = Seattle ... It seems that the Seattle area is fully aerospace boil. Will it be by generations of locals have worked at Boeing and the subsidiaries that have been created around?].

In the Seattle area, we also find another interesting company: LiftPort Inc (Bremerton). Nothing more and nothing less than dedicated to building a space elevator, which will drastically reduce the cost of materials placed in orbit. Specifically, according to statements by its President and founder Michael Laine, the cost would be reduced from $ 20,000 per pound to $ 400. The first prototype is already under construction.

(Article where we explained a few months ago, the operation of a space elevator: space elevator)

Although it seems clear that SpaceShipOne wins, most of the participants, what they really expect is to find investors for their projects. Projects are all aimed at locating people and goods in space, at low cost, which in itself, and seem like a good deal.

It is said by unofficial means Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder is also working on creating a company that will manufacture spacecraft. Specifically it founded in Seattle (yes, again Seattle) the Blue Origin, a company that thinks devoted to space tourism.

[Mental Note 2: With Paul Allen (Seattle), Jeff Bezos (Seattle) and Richard Branson (London) and we have 3 billionaires entrepreneurs, tucked into the world of space tourism. This is a clear indication that there are business opportunities and money to win].

From these pages we will monitor the X-Race in the coming days ...

very interesting years ahead. Definitely.

Further information for anyone wishing to broaden their knowledge:

Official of X-Price:
X-Price

Information on the Argentine team that will compete in the X-Price:
WildFire

The Seattle Post article where the virtues of companies in the Seattle area and its relation to space tourism industry and the X-Price are discussed:
Seattle Post - Space Tourism

A9 discover how it works: the final version of the browser created by Amazon

Amazon A9How it works A9, what kind of algorithms is based, why it is called A9, who devised it, and all that we learned about this new search engine that will have to medírselas with Yahoo, Google and new MSN that Microsoft has in beta. Lets go see it!

Entry A9 in the search engine market opens an interesting period in the war for monopolizing the user searches takes a new dimension.

With the new version Amazon hung yesterday, we will review again the topics covered in the functional analysis to find the differences, see if they have corrected the weaknesses that showed in April and discover the innovations that presents this search.

Tracing Service Customization:

When you enter A9 and a member of AmazonThe same cookie recognizes and greets you with a "Hello Montserrat"That leaves me flabbergasted and, by the impact, I can not help but make me think of a"Welcome professor Falken, ¿Would you like a game of chess?” :-)

A part of the name, show me the seeker box and the history of all my searches A9 for if I want to consult some previous results (and I do not know if they have programmed, but could also serve to know your choices in the search results that have offered you, so we can offer them better next time you are looking for something ... we'll find out with time)

About the database used by A9:

Definitely A9 uses the database of Google, instead of using Alexa (remember that Alexa was bought by Amazon in 2000 and that Alexa has scanned more websites that Google ... but Google kept clean its database and deletes each 6 months, the web pages that their spiders have been unable during that period of time ... Alexa does not)

In April analysis, commented that using the Google database but not used whole, but only a portion of it. Now we confirm that uses whole: by searching the type site: www.solocine.com get the same number of results (approx.), Both search engines.

About sorting algorithm A9

It is to Google, without hesitation.

Offers some variation in the order of the results, but I think it is because both Google and A9 apply filters to the results without you know it, that the algorithm itself. For example, according to the language Google layout you have, when you search results in Castilian, it offers different results ... even if you insist that you want no filters through ...

It's a shame they have not chosen to use its own algorithm and compete with Google searches to see who offers the highest quality. If they use the same database ... A9 had it very easy to use Alexa ranking PageRank instead of determining the relevance of a page and thus influence the sorting algorithm results. But it seems clear that it has chosen to ally itself to Google rather than compete against him.

About advertising on A9

The system uses Google Adwords and Google's sponsored links. It served directly from Google's own machines (you can see in the url redirection ads)

What is the value proposition A9? What differs from the rest?

Since we are seeing at the moment A9 is basically a Google with another look&feelLet's see how it differs:

  • A9 offers image search results while providing web search and even while looking at the texts of the books Amazon. It is a convenient feature that facilitates this page to find out if you are interested or not.
    Most of the functions of the web work with "drag & drop". It is the new trend in the usability of applications for the end user. Everything is dragged and placed where you want it to work or to be saved.
  • Favorites Tracing Service (Bookmarks): If you drag bookmarks to the URL of a web of appearing in a result, it is automatically saved here so you can consult it any other day.
  • It offers 4 skins and 3 different font sizes: If you want to see A9 in purple and suitable letters without glasses myopic, A9 allows it.
  • Offers "Site Info" from Alexa in its results: the results offered after a particular search are accompanied by a small icon "site info". This icon works like Alexa, activates a layer with information about the page (position in the ranking of Alexa, links to the page download speed, etc.)

No creo yo que Udi Manber esté muy satisfecho con el nuevo A9. Manber es un especialista en algoritmos, ex “jefe de algoritmos” de Amazon, ex “director científico” de Yahoo y ex profesor de informática de la Universidad de Arizona… no lo veo como alguien que se contente con sacar al mercado un Google con algunas cosillas retocadas en superficie… Desconozco por cuanto tiempo se ha cerrado el acuerdo con Google y si hay o no dinero por medio (a parte de los Adwords, que beneficia a ambos. Los Adwords de Google también están en Amazon).

Time will tell ... but I hope that A9 will end up being the chrysalis of something better awaits us in the near future ... or maybe die trying ... we'll see.

As a curiosity: Udi Manber is the man behind the name A9, which refers to 9 letters in the word algorithm in English (Algorithm).

By the way ... the A9 URL is www.a9.com if you want to play around and find the differences regarding Google :-)