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Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Re:Possibly android (Score 1) 110

by JWSmythe (#48590465) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software To Revive PocketPCs With Windows Mobile 5-6?

I used Familiar Linux back in the day, when my Compaq iPaq became little more than a paperweight. When it was new, I had bought the iPaq with the battery sleeve that had 2 PCMCIA card slots. I did use it for a couple things. One was a little wifi scan tool, kind a primitive Wifi Analyzer. The other was the fancy IR remote that you mentioned.

Since it was so limited, even though it was a little Linux box, it eventually just ended up sitting on my desk until the batteries died, and a few years later it end up in a box in the closet. I haven't seen it in a few years, so it got misplaced one of the times I've moved. No big loss, other than the huge amount I had paid for it when it was new.

Since I can do everything with my Android phone that I ever did with the iPaq, there really isn't a reason to even try to resurrect one.

Comment: Re:Just in time. (Score 2) 219

by JWSmythe (#48590369) Attached to: Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive

Their consumer drives have gone to absolute shit. I was buying them because they were marginally cheaper than the other choices. I ended up with a couple dozen running over the period of about a year. As each matured to about 1.5 years old, they started dying. Seagate reduced their warranty for consumer drives down to 1 year, so now they're all paperweights.

I guess they're ok, if you want to build a computer that you only want to use for 1 year. Maybe building out a machine for someone you don't like, or you like repeat business from angry customers who lose all their data yearly.

One of these days, we're going to have a thermite fueled funeral pyre. I'll post the YouTube video. :)

At least these "archive" drives get a 3 year warranty, for now. I wouldn't be surprised if they start trimming that down over time as they find out what their real failure rates are like.

Comment: Re:that pre dates 9/11. laptops from late 90's for (Score 1) 184

by JWSmythe (#48580069) Attached to: Are the TSA's New Electronic Device Screenings Necessary?

I've only ever been asked once, over countless flights before and after 9/11. That was in 2000, to board a flight leaving the US for Europe. Unfortunately, I was using it on the first flight, and my battery died. I told the agent "The battery is dead, but I can plug it in if you'd show me where an outlet is". That was the end of it.

Comment: Re:Oh it's asteroids now? (Score 1) 135

by JWSmythe (#48570931) Attached to: Rosetta Results: Comets "Did Not Bring Water To Earth"

It wouldn't have "seeped out", but you're on the right track. hydrogen + oxygen + energy = water. and water + energy = hydrogen + oxygen. We understand a lot of the surface chemical processes on this planet. We don't understand all the subterranean processes, but we have an idea.

Non-terrestrial bodies can carry water. Landing on a single comet and saying "no comets have Earth-like water" is like saying "We've only found life on Earth, therefore no other life exists."

I think some people have a very homogenous view of the universe. Once you've sampled a few, you've sampled them all.

Even on the Earth, there isn't a lot of water. This may give a better visualization.

Comment: Re: 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda? (Score 1) 409

by JWSmythe (#48541319) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Slashdot's archive policy used to be much longer. I think it was at least 6 months. I'm not sure why they changed it. It may be for the sake of managing comment spam posts. It looks like they're removing them now. At least I haven't noticed posts for knockoff merchandise lately. I still read at -1, since people still downvote perfectly good comments.

Even on Facebook, we sometimes have running conversations for weeks. There, it's all in who your friends are. The ones I friend can usually keep a conversation going. Sometimes well beyond when it should just die.

Comment: Re:This is of course complete nonsense (Score 2) 84

by JWSmythe (#48539599) Attached to: US Treasury Dept: Banks Should Block Tor Nodes

Well ... I worked for a company who dealt with lots of PII (like, info on *every* person in the US). We put together a system to monitor what TOR nodes existed, and compared attacks to TOR nodes. It was significantly used as an attack vector, not only because of the anonymity, but because the attacker could change IPs frequently. Not a single legitimate user used TOR.

We decided it was worth protecting our users, and the PII of everyone in the US, to refuse any traffic from TOR.

Banks doing the same thing does seem like it's in the best interest of the customers.

If you are a legitimate user, and some 3rd party logs into your account and transfers money out, would you prefer the bank to say "Sorry, it was some random person, and we have no way to find or prosecute them. They will likely do it again." or "The intruder was found and prosecuted."

Depending on the theft, you may or may not get your funds back. If someone goes in and transfers funds as you, some banks aren't willing to refund the transaction. Transfers aren't handled like credit card transactions, which are easily refunded.

Even if your bank does give you the stolen money back, that means they've absorbed the cost. So your loss ($1 or $1M) and refund, is now added to the fees, because the bank's operating expenses are higher.

I'd prefer the "inconvenience" of not being allowed to use TOR and other anonymous relays, and not have the bank have a huge and expensive fee schedule to make up for losses that are impossible to recoup from the thieves.

Comment: Re: 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda? (Score 1) 409

by JWSmythe (#48539485) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Well, I do still log in occasionally, and comment. I gave up on submitting stories a long time ago, since I've had all of one published ever, and countless other good ones ignored.

Conversations on any story dry up pretty quickly. There's usually a 3 day lifespan at best. So after today, I doubt there will be many (if any) more comments.

Comment: Re: 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda? (Score 2) 409

by JWSmythe (#48513817) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

It's pointy-clicky-approve, rather than investigation of the story.

Then again, this is a glorified blog, not a real news site. They don't have the staff, nor the need, to do research. They are also linking other sources, so it is up to them to do their fact checking.

People have frequently overestimated what Slashdot is for, and then they complain about it. It's not like the format has changed. It's been like this since I started reading it years ago.

It's just less interesting now, and regulars are no longer regulars. I still check in occasionally, hoping it has improved, but it hasn't.

Invest in physics -- own a piece of Dirac!