A Wild And Wired Week!

It's only now that I can take a breath, reflect on what's happened lately, and jot down a few thoughts in the Tech Talk blog. From wired to wacky to out-of-this-world, it's been quite a hectic but productive time.

This time last week I was recalling the spectacular shuttle Atlantis launch, which I witnessed June 8 along with CBS space analyst Bill Harwood while visiting the Kennedy Space Center. I filed a behind-the-scenes video blog, if you want to check it out. KSC (and CBS) has a long and storied history with plenty of fascinating tradition.

On Monday night, we finished producing our story about Google's Street View, which is equally cool and kinda creepy. It's basically a 360-degree view of five cities across the country, and yours could be next. For more, just click here.

Then it was off to Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon for an upcoming story. We met Luis von Ahn, a 27-year-old computer science professor who's responsible for CAPTCHAs. Never heard of them? Well, you've probably dealt with them many times without knowing their name. They're those images with squiggly letters and numbers that ask you to verify that you're a human and not a computer, like when you create an e-mail account or buy tickets online. But von Ahn has re-vamped his whole idea. Now instead of simply inputting mindless data he's found a way that we can all help preserve books by digitizing them. I'll explain more in a future story on the Evening News.

On Thursday I demo'ed the latest in audiophile technology, from tiny Sony micro speakers to the Sonos wireless system to speakers that are embedded in your rose garden. There's definitely a trend in smaller but still powerful, but also giving people the option to dock their iPod or other MP3 player. Full info here.

Thursday night I talked with Katie Couric on the Evening News about how to adjust privacy settings on MySpace to ensure your child only communicates with known friends. Authorities in Texas announced they had arrested several sex offenders for violating their parole and using the social networking site, and MySpace had turned over data (after being requested to do so) that helped with the investigation. You can see Hari Sreenivasan's story here.

Friday was all about monitoring the drama more than 200 miles above Earth. From a spacewalk to repair a torn thermal blanket on the shuttle's protective exterior to a troublesome series of computers on the international space station. The computers became a major focus for a while, as NASA and Russian engineers struggled to find out why they wouldn't stay online. The machines are responsible for firing orientation thrusters (among other tasks) and keeping the station's power-hungry and essential solar panels pointed towards the sun. As of late Friday, it seems they have the problem sorted. But of course as we've learned with space exploration anything can go wrong at any time, so the various space agencies are keeping a close eye on it. (The thermal blanket was successfully repaired, but it wasn't believed to be too serious in the first place.)

And finally this morning I talked about a few options for new laptops with Maggie Rodriguez on the Early Show. A few decent ideas for father's day, too, though slightly more costly than a new tie! We divided them up into categories: budget, portable, tablet, gaming, Macs and stylish. You can find all the specs on the laptops here. Easily the most over-the-top laptop was the $3000 Lamborghini model. Yes, that Lamborghini. Laptop maker Asus teamed with the Italian car company to produce a machine that's got a lot of flash and some power under the hood (or screen).

And what will next week bring? Tune in and find out...
  • Daniel Sieberg

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