And SpaceshipOne was just a stunt, but it was the first step. SpaceshipTwo is the next step and it will get rich adventurers to pay for the development of SpaceshipThree which will be an orbital system. This kind of true spaceplane will eventually allow for much less expensive access to space than will be possible even with the reusable rockets which SpaceX is developing.
The Klipsch S-2 ($50 list, $25 - $40 street) are in-the-ear phones with good sound isolation and very good audio quality for the price. Like most of the less expensive phones, they are somewhat bass-heavy but not too bad in this regard and the actual bass extention is impressive. Midrange and treble are uneven but better than you usually get in this price range. They are sensitive enough to use with portable equipment. Wiring is kind of flimsy. If used in an active fashion, they are not likely to go much beyond the one-year waranty. You really have to go to the Shure SE-215 ($150 list, $90 - $99 street) to get professional stage monitors with very flat frequency response, superb sound isolation, secure and comfortable fit, low listening fatigue and user-replaceable wires. These less expensive models do not reproduce extreme bass or extreme treble but they are very smooth within their range, say from 50 Hz to 12 KHz. They are sensitive enough to use with portable equipment. Mike
The main requirement is enough RAM for two operating systems plus some extra for the virtualization system. The CPU is less important. I run Windows XP Pro as a virtual system on a Linux host with VMware Workstation 6. It is a 5-year-old Athlon 3000+ box with 1 GB of RAM. I allocate 512 MB to Windows, which is about the minimum for XP. Current Linux distributions need at least 256 MB and VMware is something of a memory hog itself so 1 GB is about the minimum RAM for this setup. Windows is perhaps just a smidgen slower than it would be if running natively on the same hardware but the difference is minimal. It does not have much effect on the speed of Linux apps running simultaneously. Things bog down fast if you try to run more than one virtual system simultaneously but VMware is good at using multiple processors for this. I did some work which involved running up to 6 instances of FreeBSD simultaneously on an 8-core Xeon system with 4 GB RAM. Up to 6 it did not slow down much. Over 6 it got sludgy. Have fun! Mike
The Cowon iAudio 7 is compact, rugged, has superb audio quality and outstanding battery life. It has excellent tone controls and supports Ogg and FLAC encoding as well as MP3 and WMA. It has an FM radio and can record. You should get better earphones to go with it and for travel, you can't beat a noise isolating type. The Shure SLC2 is a good match for it. These have near audiophile sound quality and sound isolation as good as the big, expensive noise canceling types. This combination is vastly superior to any iPod model and you can get much more substantial discounts. http://www.cowonamerica.com/products/iaudio/7/ http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/Products/PersonalMonitorSystems/us_pro_earphones_content Happy Landings, Mike