Watching a pilot crash-land, from his point of view

I would no more pilot a plane than I would wear a lampshade on my head to dinner.

This remarkable -- and, as it turns out -- very instructive footage is a case for my defense.

It was posted to YouTube by Larry Hockensmith, who takes full responsibility for everything that happens in it.

This includes his sailplane's wing crashing into someone's mailbox.

I am grateful to for directing me to this beautiful and very slightly disturbing footage, which, I suspect, may not disturb regular pilots at all -- or even regular people with mailboxes.

Hockensmith'… Read more

NASA details looming Mars rover landing, '7 Minutes of Terror'

In just 41 days, on August 5, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover will touch down on the Red Planet, and this will be no ordinary landing. In fact, NASA has dubbed the descent "Seven Minutes of Terror."

"When people look at it, it looks crazy," senior EDL engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Adam Steltzner said in a new video by NASA on the rover landing. "It is the result of reasoned engineering thought, but it still looks crazy."

The recently released video (see below) outlines exactly how crazy the feat of landing … Read more

Mystery of a plane bent out of shape on rough landing

I don't appreciate turbulence in the air.

However, a rough landing once in a while can be quite entertaining. For example, there is always something special about landing in Gibraltar, as the pilots have to brake violently in order to avoid hitting, well, Gibraltar.

I'm not sure how it would feel, though, if the plane simply bent during landing. Which is what this Boeing 767-300 managed to do.

I am grateful to the Daily Mail for first affecting my digestion by unearthing this footage from Kyodo News.

It shows an ANA 767 coming into land at Tokyo's … Read more

What the Wii U needs to succeed

It's trendy at this year's E3 to trash the Wii U. Nintendo's next-gen console has its work cut out for it: strange tablet-like GamePad controller, the challenge of making games for its dual-screen potential, the unknown price, and the looming question of whether Nintendo's core casual-gaming crowd has moved on to Apple's iPastures.

What if the Wii U were to succeed?

Nintendo has had a way of pulling rabbits out hats with strange hardware. I remember hating the Nintendo DS when it first was released; it became my favorite handheld. The original Wii was mocked for its name, its lack of HD, and its games-for-everyone mantra. It only became a household name.

If these things come to pass, I think the Wii U could succeed, too. … Read more

Nintendo gets social and connected with Wii U, but leaves out price, release date at E3

LOS ANGELES--Nintendo had already unveiled the Wii U well before E3 started, but there were a lot of things going into this show that we didn't know. Nintendo's keynote spent a great deal of time detailing what the Wii U can do, what its online and app services are, and what games we can expect to see. A small amount of time was also spent on the Nintendo 3DS, but today's event was clearly dedicated to the Wii U.

What we didn't get, however, was a date and price. Not surprising, but anticlimactic all the same.… Read more

NintendoLand aims to become Wii Sports of Wii U

To help players understand the functionality of Wii U's dual-screen initiative, Nintendo unveiled NintendoLand today at E3.

Similar to Wii Sports on the Wii when that product launched, NintendoLand will include gameplay designed to showcase the many features the console offers. However, NintendoLand, which is based around the idea of a theme park, combines a host of the company's "classic" franchises, including Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, and others.

To add a bit more flavor to NintendoLand, the game company says it will be tied in with Miiverse, though further details were not divulged.

All told, … Read more

Microsoft to start selling its products in Iraq

Microsoft is opening for business in Iraq.

The company has chosen local company Legend Lands to officially sell its products in Iraq.

Based in Baghdad, Legend Lands will serve as a Microsoft partner to distribute the company's products and services through retailers and provide genuine Microsoft licensing for Iraqi customers. Legend Lands offers its services to enterprise companies as well as individual users.

Rajai S. El-Khadem, Microsoft's manager of business development for emerging markets, confirmed the news yesterday, according to the Associated Press. Microsoft called the move "a sign of growth for the war-plagued country."

The … Read more

Convertible Range Rover Evoque follows in ill-conceived footsteps

It wasn't the first convertible crossover to reach production, but I was hoping that the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet would be the last. Unfortunately, Land Rover will also be peeling back the top of its own Range Rover Evoque crossover at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show next week.

The Range Rover Evoque Convertible will feature a power retractable cloth top with a glass rear window pane. A Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) protects passengers in the event of a rollover by instantaneously popping up roll hoops behind the rear passengers when the vehicle senses that it's about to roll. … Read more

2012 Range Rover Evoque: What's all the hype about?

The stylish new Range Rover Evoque has been collecting awards like a blue whale in a patch of krill. And considering its high-tech, efficient engine and off-road capability, most of those awards are deserved.

But in the area of cabin electronics, it falls short of its luxury car competition. Where other car companies are beginning to explore connected in-car systems, the Evoque is just covering the basics of navigation, digital audio, and a Bluetooth phone system.

That is not to say the Evoque's cabin electronics are bad. The response of the touch screen may be a bit pokey, but … Read more

MacBook Air dock: Good idea?

The MacBook Air has won me over, after a long period during which I'd felt skeptical about the concept. Small, light, fast startup, long battery life; it's all great, except for two things: limited internal storage and few ports. A clean-looking solution for the latter has been made, but it's just looking for funding.

The LandingZone, a MacBook Air docking station, is a Kickstarter project that's aiming to help Air owners with their port woes--but only to a point. The $200 dock concept has four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, a Mini DisplayPort, and a Kensington-compatible locking port. What it conspicuously lacks is Thunderbolt support. … Read more