Over the next couple years I worked there we looked onto potentially OS/2 and... I want to say DRM DOS? as a potentially cheaper multitasking alternative to Xenix on our systems. Even though I was nominally aware of BSD, the amount of tinkering to even try to get it working was intimidating, and we didn't have the immediate need for it.
By the mid 90's people were really starting to talk about Linux in exactly the sort of way they were NOT talking about BSD. I looked at the procedure to install it -- download a bunch of slakware install floppies off the newfangled internets (24 install floppies as I recall, which took for-fucking-ever! And I accidentally FTPed the first two in text mode. Shit!) and boot that shit up. I specifically remember finding the installer to be far less sucktastic than either the OS/2 installer or the Windows 3.1 installer that you ran shortly after pirating MS DOS (Which you typically would do even if you had a legitimate MS DOS install on your system.)
In short order, I had a working Linux system with a working C compiler, no fuss, no muss. Well some fuss -- couldn't run X11 very well on the VGA controller I had, but I was fine with a text console until I bought a computer that wasn't made out of duct tape and baling wire, that being the custom of the time. I almost immediately set up a TCP/IP network between the real computer and the baling wire computer, too, experimented with NFS, all that fun stuff. Got my system pwned several times, you know, all the usual stuff you go through to learn how to become a halfway decent Linux admin.
So yeah, for me at least it was all about accessibility. Minix was just a toy and BSD required a wizard hat and robe.
If they can get a 360 degree camera into a reasonable form factor (neighborhood of a GoPro,) it would be possible to give people the experience of skydiving, rock climbing, or flying a wingsuit in ways that are significantly more real than just watching a video on youtube. You could actually be there, and look around as if you were the pilot. That would be a game changer both for the audience and for content creators.
Hell of it was I'd just switched jobs and didn't have a new insurance card yet, but was actually insured. Over the course of my career, I've probably paid $20,000 or so worth of medical insurance and I've had the insurance companies weasel out of paying anything every single time I've had to have a medical procedure. And the total cost of those procedures so far has been significantly less than $20,000. I've had three trips to the ER or urgent care over 25 years, totaling about $3000 worth of care. $1000 of which was for a moth raping my ear.
So fuck the medical system and fuck the insurance providers. Over the past three decades, I'd have been better of with a jar of leeches. At least those are honest about sucking your blood.
Amm... anyway, most of the programmers I've known over my career have been average. They don't seem to particularly enjoy programming but they can generally make the computer do what they want it to do. Then they're quite happy to go home to their families and do other things. I've run across (and had to clean up for) five or six truly inept ones. And I mean people with no ability with computers whatsoever, who were essentially defrauding the company they were working for. Usually those people had left the company by the time I'd gotten there.
I've never met a true rockstar programmer at any company, although I have met a couple in Linux channels on IRC. I got to audit the source of the AT&T C standard library on a contract in the '90's and a lot of that stuff was brilliant. I wish I could have worked with the programmers who wrote it.
Me? I'm not going to try to appraise my own skill at it. I enjoy programming and do it at home. I've retrofitted several projects with data structures and will fix crashes that other programmers tend to ignore. I've also been told code I've worked on is easy to understand and maintain (By people in other countries who it was outsourced to.) I prefer not to subscribe to institutionalized learned helplessness that dictates that the software works that way because the software works that way and nothing can be done to fix it. I have several github repos where I work on things that interest me at the moment, mostly licensed under the Apache license. That may make me different from a lot of programmers, but I won't argue that it makes me any better or worse.
The Forbes article lists five criteria that would make it a more plausible claim. One stands out in particular: the thrust scales with power. The drive reportedly creates on order of 30-50 microNewtons (uN) at 100 W input power. 1 KW power at microwave frequencies really isn't that hard (most kitchen microwave ovens operate near or at this scale), and 10 KW shouldn't be beyond the skills of a decent microwave engineer. Beyond that and it gets into Serious Engineering.
This idea came to me in a matter of seconds, so I must assume that the people currently testing it at NASA should also have thought of it as well and are working at testing the device at a range of power levels to plot out the power-vs-thrust relationship. Should be a piece of cake for at least one order of magnitude.