Archive for ‘Technology’

April 1, 2014

First Lao satellite to launch in 2015


First Lao satellite to launch in 2015

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On-the-ground work on a Lao satellite project kicked off last week, with the expectation of launching the country’s first satellite into orbit by 2015.

A groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of a satellite station took place on Friday in Hadxaifong district, Vientiane.

Construction of the station is part of the first Lao satellite project (Lao Sat – 1), previously reported to be running at a cost of more than US$250 million.

The state-owned project will be developed with loan money from China, according to a Ministry of Post and Telecommunication senior official in charge of the project.

It was previously reported the loan would also be used to purchase a satellite and to cover the expense of launching it into space. The satellite will provide 22 transponders for both television and telephone.

The official said the satellite was expected to be launched into the 128.5 degrees orbital location, which is space owned by Laos, by 2015 when the country marks its 40th anniversary as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

“The satellite is expected to be launched before December 2, 2015 [the 40th anniversary of National Day],” the official, who preferred not to be named, said.

The government in 2011 signed an agreement on the project with two Chinese companies, including China Asia-Pacific Mobile Telecommunications Satellite Co. Ltd.

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Minister of Post and Telecommunication Mr Hiem Phommachanh, Chinese ambassador to Laos Mr Guan Huabing and relevant officials.

In his speech at the ceremony Mr Hiem said the Lao Sat-1 project, once complete, would contribute significantly to socio-economic development in Laos.

Laos has been attempting to develop satellite projects to make full use of the two locations owned by the country and drive socio-economic development, particularly of the telecommunication sector.

The ministry is now working with a Chinese investor to develop another satellite to be located at the 126 degrees East orbital location that is also owned by Laos.

It was reported previously the Chinese investor Chengdu Linhai Electronics Co. Ltd would spend US$960 million developing the joint-venture project.

Laos will hold a 30 percent share in the project with the other 70 percent to be owned by the Chinese company.

Mr Hiem previously told Vientiane Times the satellite would provide 36 transponders for TV signals.

Laos has been working towards putting a satellite into orbit at the 126 degrees East location for a long time.

A previous joint venture with a Thai investor to put a satellite into orbit at the same location failed when the Thai party ran into financial difficulties.

The government later inked a cooperation agreement with an investor from the United States but that also failed for the same reason, according to Mr Hiem.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update April 01, 2014)

February 17, 2014

United Nations to take aim at asteroid threat

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An early alert system and rapid space launches are two ways that the UN is coordinating with other agencies to deter asteroids from crashing into Earth.

By Leonard David,

Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 10:38 AM

An artist’s illustration of asteroids, or near-Earth objects, that highlight the need for a complete Space Situational Awareness system. (Photo: P.Carril/ESA)

As the anniversary of last year’s surprise Russian meteor explosion neared, a United Nations action team is taking steps to thwart dangerous space rocks, including setting up a warning network and a planning advisory group that would coordinate a counterpunch to cosmic threats.
A global group of experts on near-Earth objects (NEOs) met in Vienna Feb. 10 to11 for the 51st session of the United Nations’ Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Space.
The meeting came just a few days before the one-year anniversary of the Russian meteor impact. On Feb. 15, 2013, a 65-foot-wide (19 meters) space rock detonated without warning over the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring more than 1,200 people and bringing home the reality of the asteroid threat to much of the world. [Photos: Russian Meteor Explosion of Feb. 15, 2013]
The plans the experts discussed have taken shape over a decade of work by the UN Action Team on Near Earth Objects, known as Action Team 14. AT-14 was established in 2001 and has crafted a roster of recommendations for an international response to the asteroid impact threat.
Worldwide response
Establishing an International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) is considered to be a critical step in collecting and sharing information about potentially hazardous NEOs.
In the event that an Earth-threatening space rock is detected, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Space could help to facilitate a spacecraft mission intended to deflect that object from its collision course with Earth, experts say.
The primary purpose of a Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) — pronounced “same page” — is to prepare for a worldwide response to a NEO threat through the exchange of information, development of options for collaborative research and mission opportunities, and to conduct NEO threat mitigation planning activities.
Major step forward
“My personal ‘achievement of the year’ is already done,” said Detlef Koschny, head of the NEO segment within the ESA/ESTEC’s Space Situational Awareness Program office in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
ESA hosted on Feb. 6-7 the first official meeting of the SMPAG at the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, Detlef told “And we now do have a group established, with a first idea on the work plan for the future!”
Still, there’s more work to do.
“All participants still have to go back home and get the terms of reference formally approved, but we have a final version of the document…the ‘draft’ has disappeared,” Detlef said. “This is a major step forward for this planet to be able to defend itself from a possible asteroid impact threat.”
Essential: Coordination and cooperation
The creation of the SMPAG was reported to the Action Team-14 at the UN meeting in Vienna “and welcomed by all participants,” said Gerhard Drolshagen, also of the NEO segment in Noordwijk.
“The formation of this group is seen to come at the right time, and SMPAG membership will certainly grow quickly,” Drolshagen told
“It was emphasized by several participants in the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Space that the NEO threat concerns everyone and international coordination and cooperation is essential in this field,” Drolshagen said.
The next SMPAG meeting will be held in Vienna this coming June. Participants will focus on the exchange of information on relevant activities in the field of NEO hazard mitigation and on the future work plan.
Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and is co-author of Buzz Aldrin’s new book “Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration” published by National Geographic. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on
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This story was originally written for and was republished with permission here. Copyright 2014, a TechMediaNetwork company.
March 13, 2012

Laos’ first thriller tests censorship laws

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Updated 13 March 2012, 16:23 AEST

The Bangkok, the Foreign Correspondent’s Club held a screening of an exciting new feature film from Laos, the country’s very first thriller titled ‘At the Horizon’.

‘At the Horizon’ is being described as a psychological thriller which studies the inner workings of the victim and the victor through a harrowing battle of wits and violence.

It’s the debut feature of Anysay Keola, who graduated from Australia, and is currently doing his Master’s in Film at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

His short film ‘Another Love Story’ won a top prize at the Young Thai Artists Awards in 2011.

Presenter: Liam Cochrane

Speaker: Anysay Keola, film maker and director

October 7, 2011

9 things you didn’t know about the life of Steve Jobs

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By Taylor Hatmaker, Tecca | Today in Tech

For all of his years in the spotlight at the helm of Apple, Steve Jobs in many ways remains an inscrutable figure — even in his death. Fiercely private, Jobs concealed most specifics about his personal life, from his curious family life to the details of his battle with pancreatic cancer — a disease that ultimately claimed him on Wednesday, at the age of 56.

While the CEO and co-founder of Apple steered most interviews away from the public fascination with his private life, there’s plenty we know about Jobs the person, beyond the Mac and the iPhone. If anything, the obscure details of his interior life paint a subtler, more nuanced portrait of how one of the finest technology minds of our time grew into the dynamo that we remember him as today.

1. Early life and childhood
Jobs was born in San Francisco on February 24, 1955. He was adopted shortly after his birth and reared near Mountain View, California by a couple named Clara and Paul Jobs. His adoptive father — a term that Jobs openly objected to — was a machinist for a laser company and his mother worked as an accountant.

Reed College

Later in life, Jobs discovered the identities of his estranged parents. His birth mother, Joanne Simpson, was a graduate student at the time and later a speech pathologist; his biological father, Abdulfattah John Jandali, was a Syrian Muslim who left the country at age 18 and reportedly now serves as the vice president of a Reno, Nevada casino. While Jobs reconnected with Simpson in later years, he and his biological father remained estranged.

2. College dropout
The lead mind behind the most successful company on the planet never graduated from college, in fact, he didn’t even get close. After graduating from high school in Cupertino, California — a town now synonymous with 1 Infinite Loop, Apple’s headquarters — Jobs enrolled in Reed College in 1972. Jobs stayed at Reed (a liberal arts university in Portland, Oregon) for only one semester, dropping out quickly due to the financial burden the private school’s steep tuition placed on his parents.

In his famous 2005 commencement speech to Stanford University, Jobs said of his time at Reed: “It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5 cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple.

Breakout for the Atari

3. Fibbed to his Apple co-founder about a job at Atari
Jobs is well known for his innovations in personal computing, mobile tech, and software, but he also helped create one of the best known video games of all-time. In 1975, Jobs was tapped by Atari to work on the Pong-like game Breakout.

He was reportedly offered $750 for his development work, with the possibility of an extra $100 for each chip eliminated from the game’s final design. Jobs recruited Steve Wozniak (later one of Apple’s other founders) to help him with the challenge. Wozniak managed to whittle the prototype’s design down so much that Atari paid out a $5,000 bonus — but Jobs kept the bonus for himself, and paid his unsuspecting friend only $375, according to Wozniak’s own autobiography.

4. The wife he leaves behind
Like the rest of his family life, Jobs kept his marriage out of the public eye. Thinking back on his legacy conjures images of him commanding the stage in his trademark black turtleneck and jeans, and those solo moments are his most iconic. But at home in Palo Alto, Jobs was raising a family with his wife, Laurene, an entrepreneur who attended the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton business school and later received her MBA at Stanford, where she first met her future husband.

For all of his single-minded dedication to the company he built from the ground up, Jobs actually skipped a meeting to take Laurene on their first date: “I was in the parking lot with the key in the car, and I thought to myself, ‘If this is my last night on earth, would I rather spend it at a business meeting or with this woman?’ I ran across the parking lot, asked her if she’d have dinner with me. She said yes, we walked into town and we’ve been together ever since.”

In 1991, Jobs and Powell were married in the Ahwahnee Hotel at Yosemite National Park, and the marriage was officiated by Kobin Chino, a Zen Buddhist monk.

5. His sister is a famous author
Later in his life, Jobs crossed paths with his biological sister while seeking the identity of his birth parents. His sister, Mona Simpson (born Mona Jandali), is the well-known author of Anywhere But Here — a story about a mother and daughter that was later adapted into a film starring Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon.

After reuniting, Jobs and Simpson developed a close relationship. Of his sister, he told a New York Times interviewer: “We’re family. She’s one of my best friends in the world. I call her and talk to her every couple of days.” Anywhere But Here is dedicated to “my brother Steve.”

Joan Baez

6. Celebrity romances
In The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, an unauthorized biography, a friend from Reed reveals that Jobs had a brief fling with folk singer Joan Baez. Baez confirmedthe the two were close “briefly,” though her romantic connection with Bob Dylan is much better known (Dylan was the Apple icon’s favorite musician). The biography also notes that Jobs went out with actress Diane Keaton briefly.

7. His first daughter
When he was 23, Jobs and his high school girlfriend Chris Ann Brennan conceived a daughter, Lisa Brennan Jobs. She was born in 1978, just as Apple began picking up steam in the tech world. He and Brennan never married, and Jobs reportedly denied paternity for some time, going as far as stating that he was sterile in court documents. He went on to father three more children with Laurene Powell. After later mending their relationship, Jobs paid for his first daughter’s education at Harvard. She graduated in 2000 and now works as a magazine writer.

8. Alternative lifestyle
In a few interviews, Jobs hinted at his early experience with the psychedelic drug LSD. Of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Jobs said: “I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

The connection has enough weight that Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist who first synthesized (and took) LSD, appealed to Jobs for funding for research about the drug’s therapeutic use.

In a book interview, Jobs called his experience with the drug “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life.” As Jobs himself has suggested, LSD may have contributed to the “think different” approach that still puts Apple’s designs a head above the competition.

Jobs will forever be a visionary, and his personal life also reflects the forward-thinking, alternative approach that vaulted Apple to success. During a trip to India, Jobs visited a well-known ashram and returned to the U.S. as a Zen Buddhist.

Jobs was also a pescetarian who didn’t consume most animal products, and didn’t eat meat other than fish. A strong believer in Eastern medicine, he sought to treat his own cancer through alternative approaches and specialized diets before reluctantly seeking his first surgery for a cancerous tumor in 2004.

9. His fortune
As the CEO of the world’s most valuable brand, Jobs pulled in a comically low annual salary of just $1. While the gesture isn’t unheard of in the corporate world  — Google’s Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt all pocketed the same 100 penny salary annually — Jobs has kept his salary at $1 since 1997, the year he became Apple’s lead executive. Of his salary, Jobs joked in 2007: “I get 50 cents a year for showing up, and the other 50 cents is based on my performance.”

In early 2011, Jobs owned 5.5 million shares of Apple. After his death, Apple shares were valued at $377.64 — a roughly 43-fold growth in valuation over the last 10 years that shows no signs of slowing down.

He may only have taken in a single dollar per year, but Jobs leaves behind a vast fortune. The largest chunk of that wealth is the roughly $7 billion from the sale of Pixar to Disney in 2006. In 2011, with an estimated net worth of $8.3 billion, he was the 110th richest person in the world, according to Forbes. If Jobs hadn’t sold his shares upon leaving Apple in 1985 (before returning to the company in 1996), he would be the world’s fifth richest individual.

While there’s no word yet on plans for his estate, Jobs leaves behind three children from his marriage to Laurene Jobs (Reed, Erin, and Eve), as well as his first daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

[Image credit: Ben Stanfield, Heinrich Klaffs]

This article originally appeared on Tecca

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October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs’ Estranged Father Never Got Phone Call He Waited For

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Oct. 6, 2011

Steve Jobs‘ estranged father, who had given up his infant son for adoption, had been hoping that his grown son would call him. That hope died today.

Abdulfattah John Jandali had emailed his son a few times in a tentative effort to make contact. The father never called the son because he feared Jobs would think the dad who had given him up was now after his fortune.

A young Steve Jobs of Apple Computers smiles..

And Jobs never responded to his father’s emails.

“I really don’t have anything to say,” Jandali, vice president at Boomtown Hotel Casino in Reno, Nev., told the International Business Times.

Jandali, a Syrian immigrant, had been quoted by the New York Post recently saying he didn’t know until just a few years ago that the baby he and his ex-wife, Joanne Simpson, gave up grew to be Apple’s CEO.

Jandali told the Post that had it been his choice, he would have kept the baby. But Simpson’s father did not approve of her marrying a Syrian, so she moved to San Francisco to have the baby alone and give him up for adoption.

Steve Jobs Secretive Private Life

Jandali, who is 80, said at the time that he would have been happy to just have a cup of coffee with the son he never knew before it was too late. Stories of Jobs’ battle with a form of pancreatic cancer and his liver transplant were public and Jobs’ health had deteriorated to the point where he was forced to resign as CEO of Apple.

PHOTOS: Steve Jobs Through The Years

He was quoted as saying, “This might sound strange, though, but I am not prepared, even if either of us was on our deathbeds, to pick up the phone to call him.”

Though he was one of the world’s most famous CEOs, Steve Jobs has remained stubbornly private about his personal life, ignoring the media and the public’s thirst for knowledge about him ever since he co-founded Apple Computer in 1976.

He was so successful at keeping the details of his life out of the celebrity pages that a Pew poll in June 2010 found that only 41 percent of Americans correctly identified Jobs as head of Apple. A CBS poll that year concluded that 69 percent of Americans didn’t know enough about Jobs to have an opinion about him.

Jobs personal life was a story of extremes. Given up for adoption, he created a worldwide giant of a company in his garage, dated movie stars, and had a child out of wedlock who he denied for many years.

Many fans know that Jobs and his wife, Laurene Powell, have been married for more than 20 years; the two were married in a small ceremony in Yosemite National Park in 1991, live in Woodside, Calif., and have three children: Reed Paul, Erin Sienna, and Eve.

Less well-known are the other members of his family. He has a daughter, Lisa Brennan Jobs, born in 1978 with his high school girlfriend, Chris Ann Brennan.

His sister is Mona Simpson, the acclaimed writer of books like “Anywhere But Here.” Jobs did not meet Simpson until they were adults, when he was seeking information on his birth parents. Simpson later wrote a book based on their relationship. In the book, “A Regular Guy,” Simpson shed light on Jobs’s relationship with Brennan and his daughter, Lisa.

PHOTOS: Apple Products Since the Beginning

Fortune magazine reported that Jobs denied paternity of Lisa for years, at one point swearing in a court document that he was infertile and could not have children. According to the report, Chris Ann Brennan collected welfare for a time to support the child, until Jobs later acknowledged Lisa as his daughter.

The college dropout was a millionaire by the age of 25 and on the cover of Time by 26. By 30, he was starting a second company, NeXT.

During those years, though, Jobs also lived an exciting personal life. He also began a relationship with singer Joan Baez, according to Elizabeth Holmes, a friend and classmate. In “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs,” Holmes tells biographer Alan Deutschman that Jobs broke up with his serious girlfriend to “begin an affair with the charismatic singer-activist.” Holmes confirmed these details to ABC News.

Deutschman’s book also says Jobs went on a blind date with Diane Keaton; went out with Lisa Birnbach, author of “The Preppy Handbook;” and hand delivered computers to celebrities he admired.


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