Archive for July 2011

Apple holding more cash than USA   Leave a comment


Apple now has more cash to spend than the United States government.

Latest figures from the US Treasury Department show that the country has an operating cash balance of $73.7bn (£45.3bn).

Apple’s most recent financial results put its reserves at $76.4bn.

The US House of Representatives is due to vote on a bill to raise the country’s debt ceiling, allowing it to borrow more money to cover spending commitments.

If it fails to extend the current limit of $14.3 trillion dollars, the federal government could find itself struggling to make payments, and risks the loss of its AAA credit rating.

The United States is currently spending around $200bn more than it collects in revenue every month.  Apple, on the other hand, is making money hand over fist, according to its financial results.

In the three months ending 25 June, net income was 125% higher than a year earlier at $7.31bn.

Spending spree

With more than $75bn either sitting in the bank or in easily accessible assets, there has been enormous speculation about what the company will do with the money.

“Apple keeps its cards close to its chest,” said Daniel Ashdown, an analyst at Juniper Research.  Industry watchers believe that it is building up a war chest to be used for strategic acquisitions of other businesses, and to secure technology patents.

Bookstore Barnes and Noble and the online movie site Netflix have both been tipped as possible targets, said Mr Ashdown.

The company may also have its eye on smaller firms that develop systems Apple might want to add to its devices, such as voice recognition.

Apple dipped into some of its reserves recently when it teamed-up with Microsoft to buy a batch of patents from defunct Canadian firm Nortel.  The bidding consortium shelled out $4.5bn for more than 6,000 patents.

Posted July 30, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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F/A-18 Hornet jet operators   Leave a comment

Since the Winnipeg Jets new logo has an CF-18 Hornet emblazoned on it, I thought I would provide some information on the versatile jet.   The F/A-18 Hornet is a multi-role combat fighter jet.  It is used in air to air dogfighting and in the ground attack role.  Since it started service with the U.S. Navy in the early 1980’s the fighter jet has seen extensive action worldwide.  It continues to be the main combat aircraft of seven air forces around the world and with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.  Below is a list of the force operators of this highly regarded aircraft.

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to dogfight and attack ground targets (F/A for Fighter/Attack). Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter’s YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations. It has been the aerial demonstration aircraft for the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, since 1986.


Canada was the first export customer for the Hornet, replacing the CF-104 Starfighter (air reconnaissance & strike), the McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo (air interception) and the CF-116 Freedom Fighter (ground attack). The Canadian Forces Air Command ordered 98 A models (Canadian designation CF-188A/CF-18A) and 40 B models (designation CF-188B/CF-18B).

In 1991, Canada committed 26 CF-18s to the Gulf War, based in Qatar. In June 1999, 18 CF-18s were deployed to Aviano AB, Italy, where they participated in both the air-to-ground and air-to-air roles in the former Yugoslavia.

62 CF-18A and 18 CF-18B aircraft took part in the Incremental Modernization Project which was completed in two phases. The program was launched in 2001 and the last updated aircraft was delivered in March 2010. The aims were to improve air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities, upgrade sensors and the defensive suite, and replace the datalinks and communications systems on board the CF-18 from the F/A-18A and F/A-18B standard to the current F/A-18C and D standard.

In July 2010 the Canadian government announced plans to replace the remaining CF-18 fleet with 65 F-35 Lightning IIs, with deliveries scheduled to start in 2016.



The Finnish Air Force (Suomen Ilmavoimat) ordered 64 F-18C/Ds (57 C models, seven D models) with delivery started on 7 June 1995. The Hornet replaced the MiG-21bis and Saab 35 Draken in Finnish service. The Finnish Hornets were initially to be used only for air defense, hence the F-18 designation. The F-18C includes the ASPJ (Airborne-Self-Protection-Jammer) jamming pod ALQ-165.  The US Navy later included the ALQ-165 on their F/A-18E/F Super Hornet procurement.



The Kuwait Air Force (Al Quwwat Aj Jawwaiya Al Kuwaitiya) ordered 32 F/A-18C and eight F/A-18D Hornets in 1988 and delivery started in October 1991.  The F/A-18C/Ds replaced A-4KU Skyhawk. Kuwait Air Force Hornets have flown missions over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch in the 1990s. They have also participated in military exercises with the air forces of other Gulf nations.  Kuwait had 39 F/A-18C/D Hornets in service in 2008.



The Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia) has eight F/A-18Ds.  The air force split their order between the F/A-18 and the Mikoyan MiG-29.



The Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire) ordered 60 EF-18A model and 12 EF-18B model Hornets (the “E” standing for “España”, Spain), named respectively as C.15 and CE.15 by Spanish AF.  Delivery of the Spanish version started on 22 November 1985.  These fighters were upgraded to F-18A+/B+ standard, close to F/A-18C/D (plus version includes later mission and armament computers, databuses, data-storage set, new wiring, pylon modifications and software, new capabilities as AN/AAS-38B NITE Hawk targeting FLIR pods).

In 1995 Spain obtained 24 ex-USN F/A-18A Hornets, with six more on option. These were delivered from December 1995 until December 1999. Prior to delivery, they were modified to EF-18A+ standard.  This was the first sale of USN surplus Hornets.



The Swiss Air Force purchased 26 C models and eight D models. One D model was lost in a crash.  Delivery of the aircraft started on 25 January 1996.

In late 2007 Switzerland requested to be included in F/A-18C/D Upgrade 25 Program, in order to extend the useful life of its F/A-18C/Ds. The program includes significant upgrades to the avionics and mission computer, 20 ATFLIR surveillance and targeting pods, and 44 sets of AN/ALR-67v3 ECM equipment. In October 2008 the Swiss Hornet fleet reached the 50,000 flight hour milestone.



The Royal Australian Air Force purchased 57 F/A-18A fighters and 18 F/A-18B two-seat trainers to replace its Dassault Mirage IIIOs. Numerous options were considered for the replacement, notably the F-15A Eagle, the F-16 Falcon, and the then new F/A-18 Hornet.  The F-15 was discounted because the version offered did not have ground-attack capability. The F-16 was considered unsuitable largely due to it having only one engine.

United States Navy had 409 F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornets in operation as of late 2008.


United States Marine Corps had 238 F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornets in service as of late 2008.

Posted July 28, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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160 Greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger Quotes   Leave a comment

Adult content

Posted July 27, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Memorable quote from Blazing Saddles movie 1974   Leave a comment

The arch villan, Hedley Lamarr, played by Harvey Korman wants to put together a bad crew to attack the good guys.  So he tells the Slim Pickens character:

 I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, half-wits, dim-wits, vipers, snipers, con men, indian agents, mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers, and methodists!
Is there something about Methodists I don’t know?

Posted July 26, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Janet fleet and the Las Vegas pyramid   Leave a comment


Janet is the de facto name for a small fleet of passenger aircraft operated by defense contractor EG&G. Their aircraft currently serve mostly the Nevada Test Site (most notably Area 51) from their terminal at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.  The origin of the word “Janet” is obscure and, while it is used as a radio callsign, it is not known whether the name is an official name, code word, or acronym.

The Janet fleet consists of six Boeing 737-600s painted white with a prominent red cheatline. There are also five smaller executive turboprops (two Beechcraft 1900s and three Beechcraft 200Cs) painted white with less prominent blue trim stripes. The fleet is registered to the Department of the Air Force, while some earlier members were registered to several civil aircraft leasing corporations.


The whole Janet fleet, minus one, parked in front of the Luxor hotel.  The fleet has its own private terminal at McCarran International.


Posted July 26, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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New Winnipeg Jets logo pays tribute to the Canadian Air Force   Leave a comment


The new Jets logo has finally been unveiled.  It incorporates a very modern looking Jet and the red Maple Leaf.  A very striking combination.  The primary logo is formed like the Canadian air force roundel.  So obviously some thought was put into associating the logo with the Canadian Air Force (officially called Canadian Forces Air Command AIRCOM).   Winnipeg is base to 17 Wing and 1 Canadian Air Division.  Therefore Winnipeg has some very important associations with Air Command.

1 Canadian Air Division (1 Cdn Air Div) based in Winnipeg is the operational-level command and control formation of the Canadian Forces’ Air Command (AIRCOM).  It is commanded by an air force major-general.

The secondary logo incorporates pilot wings with the hockey sticks and maple leaf.  Third logo is more straightforward. 

The jet on the old logo back in the day looked like a lumbering 707.

New logos.

The actual Air Command logo below.  Although now it is in grey on CF-18’s.

New logo works for me.  But then I am an air force and fighter jet buff.  Below a vintage Avro Arrow with the roundel.


The blue, red and white roundel is still used on various current AIRCOM aircraft, including the Snowbirds aerial display team.

Posted July 23, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Bob Irving does a commercial from the 1980’s   Leave a comment

CJOB radio station in Winnipeg has a wily veteran sports director named Bob Irving.  I think he has been around CJOB for 35-40 years. He is a great radio football announcer.  He actually did TV football announcing back in the late 80’s.  And he is still the voice of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the radio.  Great play calling and analysis.  He is a treat to listen to. 


Posted July 22, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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