International Space Tourism

Sky is no limit for this travel agency

Thursday 18 August 2005, 15:12 Makka Time, 12:12 GMT

The package includes a trip to the International Space Station
With Japanese tourists already travelling all over planet Earth, the nation’s leading travel agency says it will blast off into a new market – space.

JTB Corporation said it has set up an exclusive sales agreement for the Japanese market with US firm Space Adventures to send the country’s most adventurous tourists into orbit.

A JTB spokeswoman said details would be announced later, but the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper said the one-week space junket would cost each traveller 2.2 billion yen, or about $20 million.

The package includes a trip on a Russian Soyuz rocket to visit the International Space Station after more than six months of training at Russia’s Gagarin Centre for cosmonauts, the newspaper said.

For those with a little less cash on hand, an alternate trip lasting between four and six days would take the tourist 10km into space for a taste of zero gravity.

Discount package

The discount package would cost 11.2 million yen, or $102,000, and could start as soon as 2007, the report said.

Space Adventures made history in 2001 by sending the first non-professional astronaut, US businessman Dennis Tito, into space on a Russian rocket.

The following year, South African Mark Shuttleworth blasted off, also after forking over $20 million to the company.

The firm last week announced an offer to send tourists around the moon, perhaps as soon as 2008, for a cool $100 million.

Space Adventures opened an office in Tokyo in May, saying it had received thousands of inquiries from aspiring space tourists in the world’s second largest economy.

Intel to unveil shift in design of its PC chips

Intel to unveil shift in design of its PC chips
Its “next-generation architecture” involves alterations to the circuit design of its microprocessors, the central chips in personal computers

Friday, August 12, 2005
Daniel Sorid

SAN FRANCISCO: Intel Corp. is preparing to unveil a significant change in the underlying technology of its computer chips, one that emphasizes power efficiency and multitasking as much as raw speed.

The change, which Intel has billed as its “next-generation architecture,” involves alterations to the circuit design of its microprocessors, the central chips in personal computers, which it sells today under the Pentium brand name.

The Santa Clara, California-based company said on Thursday it will provide details of the shift at a gathering of technology developers in San Francisco later this month.

In materials released ahead of the gathering, the company said the new technology will allow for energy-efficient chips that can be used in sleeker boxes than today’s often clunky desktop machines.

Though the new chips will be structurally different, the changes are likely to be transparent to PC users, who would continue to be able to run similar software packages, including Microsoft Windows.

Already, analysts are predicting Intel will borrow heavily from its notebook computer chip line, known as Pentium M, in its designs for next-generation personal computer products.

“When they did the Pentium M, they were under tight constraints on power,” said Nathan Brookwood, an independent technology analyst and consultant. “Now, desktop and server are facing similar kinds of constraints. It’s not so much battery life as it is noise, just the physics of cooling a really hot, small chip,” he said.

Pentium M, released in 2003, is best known as the microprocessor component of Intel’s Centrino brand of notebook computer chips. Centrino also includes a wireless networking chip and an auxiliary chip for graphics, memory and other functions.

The Pentium M processor has won plaudits from technology reviewers for its efficiency, and analysts have long predicted that it would become the successor to the current line of Pentium 4 desktop chips, which some PC makers have criticized as power hogs.

At the show, called the Intel Developer Forum, Intel will also shed light on its new Digital Health group, a start-up venture within the technology bellwether that is aiming to develop products and services to address the rising cost of healthcare for an aging population.

The company’s Digital Home and Mobility groups will discuss devices, content and services for entertainment, as well as technology to link cellular phones to personal computers.

Much of the discussion throughout the event will focus on multi-core chips, which contain two or more processing cores in a single silicon chip.

Multi-core, which allows for more efficient multitasking, is a feature that new Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini has called one of the keys to the company’s future.

© Reuters

Wanna buy PC? iT will come free

BANGALORE: The day may not be far, when personal computers are offered free of charge, with services bundled along with them. These free machines may serve the needs of business and take up social responsibility (read bridging the digital divide).Asiatotal.net, a Hong Kong-based technology company is offering its own brand of PC, called ‘iT,’ for free and it expects to make this a successful business.

Under its business model, Asiatotal.net will scout for sponsors or partners whose logos or information will be instantly available on the PC at the touch of the designated key on the keypad.

However, industry observers do not see any lock-in value for the sponsor as the user may not use these keys at all. Coupled with this, the PC is connected to the internet through dial-up modems, when most of the internet connections now available operate on the broadband route.

Without divulging the price of the PC, Asiatotal.net’s CEO Judy Chen said its business would work on a revenue-sharing model, with the sponsoring entities on every PC given free.

The criteria of selecting the people who will get the PC free will be screened by Asiatotal.net. Its requirements are simple: the user should have a telephone connection, should not own a PC and should be from the lower income strata.
The company has already forayed into Brazil where it plans to ship around 1-m PCs, with the first 2 lakh units ready to be dispatched, with sponsorship from the postal and telecom departments. It has also entered into China, claimed the company.

Asiatotal.net’s CEO Judy Chen said it is still looking for sponsoring partners. The participating companies can be from the sectors of education, medical, financial and entertainment segments, adding that it has not undertaken any kind of market research.

The company has the PC designed by Taiwan-based companies, with the manufacturing done out of China. Ms Chen said its PC is designed for internet connectivity and comes with a five-year warranty. This PC will not available for sale.

TIMES NEWS NETWORK SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2005