Particle Debris (week ending 5/15) Firepower, FireWire and Plasma Heat

On Monday, I discovered the "Ten Twitter Mythconceptions." Twitter continues to be profoundly misunderstood, and Harry McCracken tells is why this valuable communications tool continues to suffer because potential users continue to believe myths. Mythconceptions.

Want to know the dirt behind the FireWire vs. USB war? How Intel devised an alternative that would burden CPUs and insure demand for ever faster processors? Want to read about how red-faced camcorder makers, at one time, had to backtrack from USB? Jeff Cat, who's in a position to know all about IEEE 1394, spills all in his new blog. This is good stuff.

For all of our heros who are serving or who have served in the U.S. Military, there is a new iPhone/iPod touch app, "U.S. Military Handbook." It's full of helpful information such as base pay, allowances, sea duty, reference manuals, Code of Conduct, ranks and insignias, medals, Veterans Administration facilities with contact info and more. TUAW says it's worth every penny of US$9.99.

Also on Monday, I read a great article by Adam Engst over at Tidbits. It seems that the U.S. government and USAF have been slow to let contracts and move forward with replacement GPS satellites. Various government snafus such as mergers and layoffs that resulted in the loss of institutional knowledge and lack of oversight that has resulted in cost overruns have afflicted the program.

As a result, something that we take for granted, our civilian use of the GPS system for accurate turn-by-turn driving directions and smartphone location services, could start to deteriorate as early as next year.

Midweek, I became aware of an article chock full of numbers that shows the remarkable progress Hulu has made in delivering video streams. The effort may be small compared to YouTube, but its growth is phenomenal. And many IP owners are keen on the protection and advertising model. We have Alec Baldwin to thank!

In the course of writing my Hidden Dimensions column this week, I wondered if there was a site that tracks the number of apps in Apple's app store. Turns out there is, thanks to Jeff Gamet's computer-like brain. AppShopper not only shows the number of approved apps, but is also a handy place to search based on categories. Clicking on an app of interest takes you right to iTunes.

Recently, some have noted that Pioneer and Vizio have given up on Plasma HDTVs. That led some to surmise that Plasma displays are on the way out. Gary Merson, an HDTV guru, according to David Pogue, decided to dig deeper and find out what the remaining Plasma makers, LG, Samsung and Panasonic have to say about Plasma's future.

Plasma is a misunderstood technology and has, over the years, also suffered from a myriad of mythconceptions. Anyone who's a Plasma owner or thinking about becoming one, should read this article.

Finally, on Friday, Time Magazine published, "The 10 Biggest Tech Failures of the Last Decade." Notable on the list were Microsoft Vista and the Zune, but also included were Vonage and YouTube. Douglas A. McIntyre explains why.

Technical Words of the Week (TWoW)

Limbosphere (n.) Where your e-mail goes when it floats around the Internet and doesn't seem to get delivered right away. Credit: David Pogue via Twitter.

Mythconception (n.) A misconception so strong and prevalent that it percolates into the Internet and becomes a permanent myth. (Alt: A sexual snafu reported by Barbara Walters.)