Bic pen sales add up to 100 billion

PARIS - It started as an answer to leaky pens carried by American soldiers during World War II, was perfected and made popular by an Italian-born baron and has written its way into history as the world's biggest-selling pen.

More than half a century after honing a cheap version of the ballpoint pen, Bic, the French firm which built an empire out of making things to be thrown away, has just sold its 100 billionth - 100,000,000,000th - disposable ballpoint.

The group, which started small after the war, now has annual revenues of around 1.4 billion ($2.5 billion) including sales of razors and lighters.

It reported the milestone with its first-half profits.

"The pens have been sold on average 57 times a second since 1950," Bic said.

Founder Baron Marcel Bich originally planned to make fountain pen parts when he bought a factory with his partner, Edouard Buffard, outside Paris at the end of the war.

But a chance encounter with a wheelbarrow changed all that, recalls his son, Bruno Bich, who now runs the company...

For the original story, click here...



Open Source Code Finds Way into Microsoft Product

From the article

In a move that shows just how far Microsoft Corp. has come, and how pervasive open-source software is in certain areas, the software powerhouse is, for the first time, including open-source technology in one of its shipping products.

Microsoft plans to include the Message Passing Interface—a library specification for message passing proposed as a standard by a broad-based committee of vendors, implementers and users—in its Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition, which went to public beta this week at the Microsoft Developers Conference here and is on track to ship in the first half of next year.

For the full story, Click here...

Personal comments

This was a logical step fro them. Why re-invent the wheel while you know there is some killer app already out there which is Open Source. I also belief Microsoft might be able to put some useful code back into the community - or at least, let's hope they do.

Overall I see this as a good thing.

Well done Microsoft!



Tasmania powers up 12Mbps broadband: ZDNet Australia: News: Communications

Internet service provider Datafast, in partnership with Aurora Energy and hardware vendor Mitsubishi Electric, today kicked off a 12Mbps broadband over power line service in Hobart, which the company claims is the world's first large-scale commercial trial.

Source : ZD Net



Legal worries led Massachusetts to open standards

Legal worries led Massachusetts to open standards - ZDNet UK News

Ever wondered why closed "source" are bad? Here is a good example.


First light for the Southern African Large Telescope

Exactly five years after groundbreaking, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) project has released its first colour images, marking the achievement of 'first light' and the successful debut of full operation for SALTICAM, a $600 000 digital camera designed and built for SALT at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). SALT is the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, and equal to the largest in the world. Gathering more than 25 times as much light as any existing African telescope, SALT can detect objects as faint as a candle flame on the moon. The sample images now released for the first time were taken during the camera's first trial period of operation, which also achieved SALT's first significant scientific results.



Modern humans, Neanderthals shared earth for 1,000 years.

Modern humans, Neanderthals shared earth for 1,000 years. 01/09/2005. ABC News Online

Amazing! This is (in a very rough nutshell) the conclusion of creationists all along (see Dr. Dino's web site and DVD series).

The only problem is that they still seem to think that all of this happened for then 10000 years ago, which is doubtful.

Anyway - interesting story putting a whole new spin on things.

The Slashdot discussion is here...

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