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Comment Re:I can understand small first batches (Score 2) 65

Since you have experience... I've often had interest in physical computing, but have never gotten around to learning / messing around with it. What would you find to be a good "introductory" system (for someone with lots of programming experience but only grade-school/100-in-1-electronics-kit/basic soldering/etc level electronics experience) for the purposes of, say, controlling steppers, variable-RPM drive motors, taking voltage readings, etc?

Comment Re:Attack of the clones (Score 1) 65

I don't think that matters. There are also loads of other products to the main RPi with a lower price, better specs or both. Thing is, though the RPi his stability and a better, much larger community. So you pay a bit more but you save a lot of time. Unless you need something out of the ordinary or are VERY cost sensitive, then it's usually easier to buy an RPi and have done with it.

See, for example the problems people are having with the cheaper and more powerful OrangePI.

Comment Re:Management structure and meritocracy (Score 1) 256

I'm using the dictionary definition,

So am I. I guess you interpret it differently.

take it up with the whole of the rest of the world who you seem intent on rallying against.

Why do you think I'm writing on a public forum rather than sending you provate communications?

That's probably quite true. I can think of some examples where you're absolutely right, but I'm really not interested in flying off on a tangent and arguing about drama in the open source world.

Then you're already flying off at a tangent to my post. My post was written precisely to cover such cases.

That doesn't mean that merit doesn't count for anything, of course it does, but it's certainly not the whole picture there.

We seem to be in violent agreement. I note that you're implicitly counting those other things that make the community work as not merit. Which is kind of my point.

I don't know who this everyone else you talk of is, everyone else is typically content with the dictionary definition which defines a meritocracy as the holding of power by those with the most merit to complete the task at hand,

Well... yes. But you are kind of missing my point. You can complete the task at hand better than anyone else but be so obnoxious you cause any other decent employees to leave, leaving the one best canner and a bunch of bipedal monkeys. Your definition doesn't seem to account for secondary effects. Which was my point.

Comment Re:Kessler, anyone? (Score 1) 36

Of course they're taking business from other players - but that's not the question. The question is if they're making new business that otherwise wouldn't be there. Thusfar, I haven't seen anything to suggest that.

But, the potential is there in the future if they can keep bringing down costs, as they're hoping.

And IMHO, we're not even remotely near the point where space junk is going to stop us from launching things into space. Not even close. Particularly in LEO where orbits decay relatively quickly. It's always a threat, a threat that rises with the launch rate, but as far as being prohibitive... no. And there's some good evidence that things are moving in a positive direction - increasingly, nations are passing laws mandating that satellites be moved to disposal or graveyard orbits at the end of their service life, rather than just leaving them out there as potential collision/debris generation hazards.

Comment Re:Cores Schmores (Score 1) 94

You are more optimistic than AMD's marketing department? That's some impressive optimism.

Ehhh... I use mostly FOSS stuff. Funnily enough AMD does *Much* better on open benchmarks than it does on closed ones. Their already decent performance along with the new improvements does make me optimistic.

Comment Re:Management structure and meritocracy (Score 1) 256

You're on one hand asserting that a meritocracy can only determine merit on one single thing - in your example, technical capability - and yet, you're then judging that meritocracy on things that are outside it's definition of merit.

Well, you seem to be using a different definition of meritocracy from everyone else. But OK, let's use your definition.

Well, by your definition then the Linux dev community is not a meritocracy because the asshole element is causing some of the best people to leave, lowering the overall quality of the contributors.

Your definition seems to be a rather holostic thing where people are promoted on merit as defined by something that optimizes the performance criteria you're interested in. That's OK, an by that definition, then yeah sure you can have a meritocracy. It's just a different definition from the one everyone else seems to use.

Submission + - SpaceX sets target date for next launch: February 24th

Rei writes: After some consternation about the pacing of Falcon 9 upgrades, SpaceX has announced that it plans to launch again from Cape Canaveral with a target date of February 24th. While the primary mission will be to place the SES-9 communications satellite in orbit, this will also mark their fourth attempt to land the first stage on an autonomous drone ship, after their last launch touched down softly but fell over when one leg failed to latch. SpaceX is working to significantly accelerate the rate of production and launches — they are reportedly moving the factory from 6-8 cores produced per year to 18 at present, and expect to reach 30 by the end of the year. After the upcoming launch, they expect to launch one rocket every two to three weeks.

Comment Re:virtual mars better than a virtual fantasy worl (Score 1) 36

Why not combine the two? Use their virtual environment as a frontend for a collaborative colony-building simulation (with our "best knowledge" data on the likely distribution of minerals and such incorporated), everything from mining, refining, production, goods transportation, installation/assembly, etc. People could contribute modules that accomplish tasks, with varying levels of design maturity (everything from stub modules that simply take a given set of inputs and yield a certain set of outputs, to actual nuts-and-bolts level of detail systems with rigid-body physics models and CFD chemistry calculations, all the way to real-world tested systems), along with code controlling how individual systems behave in different circumstances. All components would have defined realistic wear and tear over time / various consumables. The ultimate goal for participants would of course be a setup where every module is highly defined, down to the level of nuts and bolts, and every individual component in them can be manufactured by some other system on the planet, in a manner such that the net throughput is sufficient to produce all of hardware required to keep all systems operational plus enough to keep the associated humans alive and comfortable - while having the net mass that would have to be shipped to Mars as low as possible.

It wouldn't be something your "average gamer" would get involved in, I'm picturing something more for engineering students, active/retired engineers, etc, with some funds set aside for real-world testing of the more mature systems. You could generate interest by making clear that systems developed in the environment that reach a sufficient maturity state (passing real-world testing and showing a valuable service to future colonists) would be slated for actual deployment to Mars when the opportunity presents itself.

Detailed 3d environments aren't really a critical aspect of that for some systems (such as refining). But for others, such as transport, they're a critical part of the picture. Even for things like mining, having a good grasp of the types of environments that particular minerals occur in would be quite important - does X occur in this area on hard to access cliff faces, surrounded by dune fields, deep in craters, etc? How can we get it out of there and get it back to where we need it? How can we position each component so as to minimize transport requirements to all others (since one won't find all mineral deposits in the same location)? Etc.

Comment Re:Cores Schmores (Score 3, Informative) 94

The Thunderbird was nice, but it was more of a price/performance winner than overall performance. A 1GHz Thunderbird ran stable at 1.3GHz and was similar performance to a 2GHz Pentium 4 at a fraction of the cost (particularly as the P4 required RAMBUS DRAM, so you could stick twice as much DDR in Athlon for the same money). It wasn't until the Opteron that AMD really started winning on performance. The integrated DRAM controller was a big win and being first to 64 bits (which, on x86, means more GPRs, sane floating point ISA, and PC-relative addressing) gave them a huge advantage. Unfortunately, they haven't really been competitive since the Core 2, except in market segments where Intel intentionally cripples their offerings (e.g. no more than 2 SATA ports on the Atom Mini-ITX boards to avoid competition with the i3 boards, making AMD the only viable option).

Comment Re:Minecraft version (Score 1) 36

Oh geez, if any group ever wants to hack a website "for the lolz", they should totally hack NASA's server for this service and insert some ancient ruins or a monolith or something. ;) The prank would hit twice - first by the people thinking it was proof of aliens, and then when NASA corrected it, people thinking it's a coverup ;)

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