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Comment: Re:Android to iDevice (Score 0) 294

by DerekLyons (#49791701) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

Hence the walled garden and "ecosystem" approach by apple. There are many people that don't want to figure out which phone/tablet/laptop is good and bad. They know if they buy an Apple product it will be good. They don't sell junk. Sure it's overpriced if you compare specs to Android phone/tablet or Windows laptop but you also don't need to do hours of research to see if the product you are looking to get sucks.

This. It's not about being l33t or a hipster or any of the other patronizing bull so often tossed about here on Slashdot.

I bought my first iPhone because (at the time) the app that finally caused me to pull the trigger and move up to a smart phone was only available on the iPhone. I've replaced it every two years since (buying one version back on sale when the new version comes out) and plan on continuing to do so for the forseeable future. Why? Because it Just Bloody Works. I come home, plug my new phone into my (Windows) computer, open iTunes, and with a few clicks my new phone is identical to my old phone. In, out, and done.

My experience in buying my Android tablet just confirmed that this was the way to keep going. Didn't want an iPad, because they were too expensive for modest needs... and trawling through dozens of models and hundreds of reviews trying to discern the truth ended up being a massive PITA.

Comment: Re:Hobbit (Score 1) 269

by DerekLyons (#49785093) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

And if you find one from a rover rolling on the surface, it obviously does not need considerable earth moving equipment to gain access.

The mind boggles that anyone with an IQ over room temperature can make such a statement. Have you ever actually been out of your parent's basement and looked at geological formations in the real world?

And the low gravity on Mars means structural strength is most likely a non-issue, since lava tubes are already plenty strong on earth.

Yeah - that would be why one of the main methods of locating lava tubes in aerial or orbital photography (on the Earth, Moon, and Mars) is to look for collapsed tubes and collapsed segments (called "skylights").

Comment: Re:Hobbit (Score 1) 269

by DerekLyons (#49783379) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

Presuming there are lava tubes in useful locations... and that they're sufficiently structurally sound... and that you don't need to do considerable earth moving or construction to gain and maintain useful access... Etc... etc...

Lava tubes make for a great buzzword, but there's still many complicated practical considerations.

Comment: Re:Hobbit (Score 1) 269

by DerekLyons (#49780173) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

There's still a big killer lurking out in space that can't be easily avoided: radiation.

Except underground, which is the obvious solution but people are too fixated on making housing above the ground.

Except, like most obvious solutions - moving underground poses as many (if not more) problems as it purports to solve. For example, adding many tons of earth moving machinery to a manifest already bulging at the seams. (Machinery which will add to the maintenance burden as well.) This solution also limits the location of your colony/base to places where the Martian soil can be (at least relatively) easily worked. (If such places exist.) The there's the question of chemical reactions between the soil and the structures. (The chemistry of Martian soil being... well, it's being extremely charitable to call it extraordinarily poorly understood.) Etc... etc...

Comment: Re:Maybe science went off the rails... (Score 1, Insightful) 392

by DerekLyons (#49775115) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

"science" kits where you make kitchen goo instead of actual chemical reactions is lame and boring

Someone who doesn't grasp that making kitchen goo involves chemical reactions, or deliberately ignores it in order to fuel their rant... shouldn't be judging state level science fairs, or taking teachers to task for not understanding science.

Comment: Re:Maybe science went off the rails... (Score 1) 392

by DerekLyons (#49775097) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

Maybe science went off the rails when we replaced the scientific method with scientific consensus?

That presumes some golden era of Pure Science when no scientist ever had an ego, or an agenda, or a patron that had to be appeased, or any other motive to play fast and loose with the truth ever existed.

It didn't.

Comment: Re:No doubt... (Score 1) 75

by DerekLyons (#49754491) Attached to: Musical Organ Created From 49 Floppy Disk Drives

That's quite the difference, and something you entirely failed to mention.

I didn't mention it because it's a difference without a distinction - whether you press a key and the command is saved to a file for later replay, or immediately processed and sent to the "instrument", it's all the same. It's something that's been done many, many times before.

Comment: Re:Strange quality problems (Score 2) 96

by DerekLyons (#49705589) Attached to: Russian Rocket Crashes In Siberia

For decades launching these rockets was not a problem for Russia.

Actually, for several decades, they had just about as many problems as they do now... and their success ratio was more-or-less in the same range (.98-.99) as the Shuttle (or pretty much any other launcher*). The only things that have significantly changed is that until the fall of the Soviet Union you never heard about the failures in the first place, and in the last decade or so the failures have started being covered in the non-specialist/popular press. These changes have conspired to create the illusion of 'extremely reliable' Soviet/Russian boosters and a recent and unusual string of failures.

* Yes, essentially all boosters that end up in regular service pretty much end up in this narrow range. There's a few a hair lower, and few a bit higher, but they're outliers.

Comment: Re:Too much (Score 1) 278

by DerekLyons (#49704011) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Keychain?

I try to keep my keychain as small as possible. So I have a house key, a work key, and a USB key (super tiny).

This. My keychain has my house key, my garage/shop key (it's a seperate building from the house), my car key, my wife's car key. That's it. Other than that, I carry a lighter, my cigarettes, a pen, a sharpie, a medium swiss army knife, and my phone.

I have no need to carry a complete toolbox in my pockets, and have never grasped those who do.

Comment: Re:Luck plays a more important role than people kn (Score 1) 126

by DerekLyons (#49703983) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

I'd give him good odds of succeeding, too, either with alternative financing, or by closing the doors and starting over, or... something. And maybe he wouldn't have managed it, but I guarantee he wouldn't just have given up and said "Well, bad luck, I'm out". Because people who would do that don't get to where Musk is, no matter how lucky they are.

Other than blind celebrity worship - I can see no basis for that assumption. Musk got to where he was precisely because he was lucky.

Successful people are those who are smart, hard-working and persistent.

Musk fails to meet that criteria. He struck it rich, twice, right out of the gate. He never needed persistence.

Comment: Re:The mice again! (Score 4, Informative) 126

by DerekLyons (#49697801) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

What would be to point of sending mice to Mars?... unless it was about sending the mice to Mars.

When it comes to manned exploration of the Solar system, there's two areas we pretty much have little to no understanding of;

- long term biological effects at other than 1G or 0G.
- long term radiation effects outside the Earth's magnetosphere.

As it turns out, these are the two things we absolutely must have an understanding of to venture long term beyond LEO.

Comment: Re:Explain this one to me (Score 1) 124

by DerekLyons (#49692309) Attached to: Hackers Using Starbucks Gift Cards To Access Credit Cards

Then what's the use in hacking one?

You don't hack a card, you hack the app.

I can take money from your account and put it on a card (or access code) in my possession. I can then resell the card (or the access code).

So, how the scam works is - a) I buy a card from Starbucks for $5, then since the cards are infinitely reloadable b) I hack your account and move money (say $100) from your account to my card and disconnect it from the account, c) I resell the cards for $50.

There's a lot of places Starbucks can detect and halt this fraud, since it all passed through their servers... they just don't or won't.

Human beings were created by water to transport it uphill.