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Comment Re:Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 1) 179

Current blades are trucked in one piece (per blade) which is impressive to see. Three of them were parked on I-5 outside of Patterson, California a few months ago. There are a lot of net videos and photos which convey the scale.

Even at the current size they can't get through many highway interchanges and local intersections. The larger ones won't be able to ship in one piece at all.

Comment Remember the NASA Wind Turbines? (Score 4, Interesting) 179

NASA Wind Turbines approached this scale in the '80's. Unfortunately, this was a previously-unexplored area of aerodynamics for NASA, and they had mechanical stress and noise problems (including subsonics) and were all demolished. I think there was one near Vallejo, CA being taken down when I got to Pixar in '87, and one in Boone, NC, which famously rattled windows and doors.

The art has since improved. I took a ride to the top of the turbine at Grouse Mountain, that was fun! That's the only one I have heard of where you can actually get to see it from the top.

Comment Starting out with the wrong assumptions (Score 2) 165

This is starting out with the wrong assumptions.

Design a brick system that can be produced with 3-D printers, and will hold together when fabricated within the tolerances of an SLA printer. Forget FDM, it's too low precision and SLA is already achieving an equal or lower cost of manufacture compared with FDM.

LEGO is manufactured to astonishingly high precision, but I am not convinced that this is the only way to make a brick system.

Comment Re:No comparison (Score 1) 132

Blue Origin will eventually have a two-stage rocket that can reach orbit (although they are planning on a much smaller payload than SpaceX for their first iteration). When the booster of that rocket lands without damage, they will duplicate what SpaceX has recently done, although in smaller scale.

Blue Origin to SpaceX at present is a sort of bicycle-to-automobile comparison if you account for the tremendous difference in energy and the application. So, I think there really is an intrinsic difference between the two of them.

If you want to say there's no intrinsic difference, then we need to look at Orbital's Stargazer and Pegasus, which have been carrying small payloads to orbit for years, and there's only been one Stargazer all of that time so there is no question that it's reusable. The only difference is that Stargazer lands horizontally.

We can then look at the B-52 and X-15 combination, in which both stages were reusable, a human was the payload, and we're going back to the late 1950's.

Comment Re:New laptop (Score 1) 167

While I am not 100% sure, most likely the license is embedded in your firmware. They started doing that with Windows 8.
You can find it out using Linux:

sudo hexdump -s 56 -e '"MSDM key: " /29 "%s\n"' /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM

(Source)

Now, it is true that there are pre-activated keys for OEMs disks like HP, Dell, etc.. At least for Windows 7 it was like that. They have so called SLP Keys (System Locked Pre-Installation Key) and they are not the same as the one printed on your Windows 7 machine. SLP keys only work on a certain range of machines, but also have the advantage as working like generic OEM DVDs. I've had this case where a Windows Vista machine (Vista Key sticker) from Dell and I used the a Windows 7 Dell OEM disk, and ... it activated itself. Technically it didn't have the rights to do so and I was totally surprised it did. Use the same OEM disk on an Acer and it will install but not be activated, at which point you use the sticker on the machine. When I started to mess around with these things, I realized that in the Windows 7 era, all machines shipped with two keys: the SLP license and the (recovery) sticker license.

Given that from Windows 8 on the licenses are embedded in the firmware, this is over.

Personally, I think reinstalling from scratch is always the right option. With decrapifying you might miss something, and if you're routined, you have a reinstallation done rather quickly. If you stick with big brand machines, getting drivers is no Herculean task any more. Back in the day, oh, yes, I remember... Hard to find, need to use shady places, take drivers from different machines and try to see whether they work. Today, it's "go to manufacturer website", download what is *missing* and use what Windows gives you as default drivers for all the rest, with the notable exception of the graphics card.

Comment Re:New laptop (Score 1) 167

It's not that I don't believe you and I'm the first to discourage the use of Windows... BUT, Microsoft has done one thing right since the release of Windows 10, namely allow the OS to be downloaded for free (gratis) from their site. Windows 10 Pro and Home can be downloaed as an ISO or with a tool to create a Bootable USB stick. From what I understand any valid Windows 10 key, will be accepted by these installation media.

As a matter of fact, this can be done with Win 8(.1) too these days, even though I only did once: The laptop I am typing this on. Came with OEM Win 8, but I didn't want to use it, so I installed Ubuntu without making a backup of anything. Now, in order to secure the 10 license, I did a dd of the disk, installed Win 8 from the installation media I got from Microsoft and then upgraded to 10. After that, I did a dd in order to restore it to the original configuration. This way, should I want to give it away or sell it in a few years, I can give the future owner what they might want: Windows 10.

To get back to my point: Windows now provides usable installation media. No need for restore media, or hoping you find a OEM disk that works with your machine and key... There is now an official way, and that is the only positive thing that Windows 10 brought us.

Your Envy can be reinstalled from scratch if you are inclined to do so. Get the ISO here. Now, my personal opinion is that you're better off with staying with Linux, but don't kid yourself. You *can* have a clean Windows installation these days.

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