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Comment: Re:Landing vs splashdown (Score 1) 340

All the engines on the Falcon 9 (and just about every other multiengine* rocket stage) are fed from the same propellant and oxidizer tanks. Giving them separate tankage just adds weight and plumbing complexity.

In the Falcon Heavy, there is a cross-feed mechanism from the outrigger 9s to the core so that the core can keep burning when the outriggers jettison (saving weight).

*(except multiengine solids, where the engine is the fuel tank.)

Comment: Re:Landing vs splashdown (Score 1) 340

DC-X also did it, several times -- but then DC-X wasn't trying to make even a fraction of orbit, it was proving the vertical takeoff and landing principle. Its engines (modified Pratt & Whitney RL-10s) could be more deeply throttled than the Falcon's Merlin, and it (the DC-X) was built fairly heavy to start with, since was designed as a test vehicle rather than a launcher (fully-fueled the legs couldn't hold its weight, it needed a support structure for takeoff -- and in an abort (happened once) it had to hover until it had burned off enough fuel to land).

Since then a number of small-company-built test vehicles have done the same, although not (afaik) to the tens of thousands of feet altitudes that the latter DC-X flights made.

Comment: Re:Landing vs splashdown (Score 2) 340

One would think that if they didn't know that the shuttle's boosters are made of inch-or-more-thick steel, while the Falcon's tanks are millimeter thick aluminum-lithium. And that the booster splashdown still tended to leave the boosters slightly out of round (which contributed to the problem Challenger had).

The extra fuel almost certainly weighs less than the necessary parachutes would.

Comment: Re:Valve needs to use their clout (Score 0) 309

by Anne Thwacks (#49480605) Attached to: NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly
Nvidia's drivers do work 100% with Linux.

No they don't. Not even near to 5%. I have thrown all my Nvidia kit away. It DOES NOT work with Linux in any useful way.

"Nouveau" does not boot to a sane state, and even the command line functionality is worse than a Lear-Sieger ADM3A dumb terminal on a bad day. As for their propriety drivers - they work sometimes, if the wind is blowing the right way, and you are prepared to forgo security updates.

I would not touch Nvidia products with a barge pole.

Disclaimer: The last game I played a game on a PC it was "Colossal Cave". My idea of fun with a PC is trying to win real money by writing PHP that works, not paying money to get pointless high scores. When I say valve, I mean a vacuum tube.

Comment: Re:Will probably be used for VR applications. (Score 1) 152

by Dogtanian (#49473727) Attached to: Sharp Announces 4K Smartphone Display

But the same thing could happen to VR one day. We've got a limited view of what VR is and what it can do right now. What happens within a decade or two might be so different that you'll be writing a similar comment about VR.

You're missing the point I was making. It's not that people 20 years ago would have had a limited idea of what the "phone" could do.

It's that a lot of what we now associate with the smart-"phone" was never really a consequence of the phone- or the phone functionality- itself. Rather, it's a result of the fact that they were driven by *computers* that allowed the introduction of useful but secondary functionality (like calculators, snake, et al) of ever-increasing sophistication. It's the evolution of that to the point that it is more important than the "phone" itself- yet the device retains its vestigial name.

Of course, expensive proto-smartphones had been around since the late 90s (e.g. Nokia 9000 Communicator), but even those were never designed solely as "phones".

Smartphones are as much the successors of portable computers and PDAs as they are of phones, and would be seen as such by someone from the 80s. If you'd asked someone then where (e.g.) the early Psion Organisers might lead us in 30 years time, you would probably have got more insight than asking them questions about "phones".

The only thing such people could be "blamed" for would be not foreseeing that we'd get there via the mobile phone rather than via the PDA/pocket-computer route.

Comment: Re:Will probably be used for VR applications. (Score 1) 152

by Dogtanian (#49472755) Attached to: Sharp Announces 4K Smartphone Display

Two decades ago, nobody thought the "portable phones" market would ever overtake the laptops market.

That's misleading. Two decades ago a phone was just a phone, and people back then would assume that's what was meant.

Today's smartphones are effectively portable computers and communications devices that happen to include a phone as part of their functionality- the "smartphone" name is more a legacy of the direction they evolved from (i.e. the phone market) than a reflection of what they are now. If the concept had been invented out of the blue in a world of traditional "dumb" phones (mobile or otherwise), they almost certainly wouldn't be referred to as such.

Arguably they're more akin to a continuation of the concept of a PDA. The fact that they aren't- again- has more to do with where they evolved from and the fact that the market for PDAs (as they were then) had declined quite seriously in the years immediately preceding the iPhone.

Comment: Re:cheap? (Score 2) 228

by Anne Thwacks (#49453287) Attached to: 220TB Tapes Show Tape Storage Still Has a Long Future
If your data is worthless, dont bother to back it up.

As for keeping H/Ss powered down - a good percentage will never spin up again, or mysteriously lose their servo tracks or something. How long have we had SATA? How much longer will we have it?

Tapes can be read after 30 years (I know, I have done this myself). Over 30 years, the drive technology may change a bit, so you probably need to keep your old drives, and SCSI is more than 30 years old. One drive will write a lot of tapes. Perhaps a few thousand before the heads wear out, and then its down to Ebay for a replacement because it is a previous generation (3 tapes a day for 3 years - 1,000).

If you were the compliance officer, where would you put the transactional data from your bank? On a USB stick under the bed is NOT the right answer. If your data is worth keeping. LTO is the way to go. Three copies, on 3 different tapes, in each of three different states.

Has anyone ever managed to READ a terabyte of paper tape? With CRC checks?

Comment: Re:Double the Outrage (Score 1) 92

It is a terrible idea to make an employer responsible for everything an employee does.

No, in most of the world, including the Mafia that is how life is. That is what company directors are paid for. They have the responsibility to see that these things cant and don't happen. In this case, they took no steps whatever to protect their customers private data which they had no legitimate reason to keep.

A more reasonable approach to the crime would have been to determine that (a) the data protection law was broken by the company and (b) as the law was broken, the concept of limited liability, as provided by civil society does not apply (c) therefore the directors are personally responsible for the loss of data and are jailed.

Disclosure: I am European.

Comment: Re:RTFA (Score 1) 92

I dont know, but they only need to keep on the computer the fact that they have verified it, not the actual verification process. Here in the UK, banks are in the habit of verifying your id by asking your mother's maiden name and your place of birth, which for most people are readily available from Facebook (probably how they verify the data).

You scratch my tape, and I'll scratch yours.

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