SMEs wait for a space call… The office psycho… iPod domination… Web 2.0 travel… Movies at home…

Space research troubles? Call an SME

NASA and the European Space Agency believe SMEs will be the key to developing tomorrow’s ground-breaking aerospace technology and are ramping up their support for the sector to make it happen, ITWire reports.

The big US and European space agencies say that the flexibility and energy of SMEs allow them to innovate and create high-tech solutions in a way that larger businesses often can’t.

The ESA has kicked off an SME initiative to improve skills in the sector, providing SMEs with everything from training to investment in R&D, while NASA funds collaborative research between SMEs and big institutions through its Small Business Technology Transfer program.

As they say, space is the final frontier, and who better to lead the way than SMEs?

Beware the office psychopath

A new book has defined the character that many in the workplace fear: the workplace psychopath. Psychologist John Clarke says the workplace psychopath works by destroying the self-esteem of others. His book, The Pocket Psycho, is a survival guide.

Often charming, they are lying and manipulative. They want a top post and a top salary and they manipulate until they get them, often destroying others on the way, reports the Australian Financial Review. You can spot them by the following personality traits.

Guiltless: They show no remorse.
Charming: Very good talkers, prefer one on one.
Manipulative: Bend the rules and take advantage of others’ weaknesses.
Parasitic: Take credit for others’ work.
Pathological liars: Can talk their ways out of trouble.
Erratic: Shift quickly between primary emotions, happy sad and angry.

iPod domination

Apple has sold 100 million iPods in five and a half years, which it claims makes the device “the fastest-selling music player in history”, writes ITWire. The original iPod, introduced in November 2001, was what we now think of as a full-size model even though its hard drive only stored five gigabytes.

Today, the slimline iPod nano offers as much as 8GB using solid-state flash memory instead of a hard disk (ironically, flash storage was the norm for pre-iPod MP3 players), while the full-size iPod stores up to 80GB and can play video as well as audio.

Web 2.0 travel idea

71Miles is a new travel site with a blog twist (or is it a blog with a travel site twist?), designed to met the needs of urban-dwellers looking for a weekend getaway, writes Coolhunting.

It’s a US site, launched in beta in Northern California and it plans to go national within the coming months, covering destinations within driving distances of major metropolitan cities. Supplemented with interactive maps, slideshows and videos, 71Miles’ content includes info on activities, sights, hotels and restaurants, written by local authorities with editorial credibility to back them up.

Driven by real-time pricing from Kayak‘s discount hotel booking service and sponsored links from hotels, the site combines word-of-mouth-style info with internet-enabled features to make planning a quick trip way easier than calling a travel agent or hounding friends.

Who will do it here first?

Going to the movies at home

Australians are going to the cinema less often but their appetite for DVDs is growing. Why go out, when you can watch a movie at home?

In both 2001 and 2002, Australians bought 92.5 million cinema tickets, a figure that fell to 82.6 million in 2006. But in 2006, Australians bought 63 million DVDs, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The most-seen films in 2007:

1. The Pursuit of Happiness
2. Wild Hogs
3. Music and Lyrics
4. The Queen
5. Deja Vu
6. Blood Diamond
7. Miss Potter
8. Ghost Rider
9. Epic Movie
10. Notes on a Scandal

The most-purchased DVDs of 2007:

1. The Devil Wears Prada
2. Kenny
3. Borat
4. The Departed
5. Dirty Dancing
6. Battle for the Ashes
7. An Inconvenient Truth
8. Talledaga Nights
9. Step Up
10. Jackass No. 2.


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