Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:And who's going to pay for it? (Score 1) 248

There's also no ability to bail out like they did with Apollo 13. Once they are on their way there, there is no possibility of turning around. Even when you get there, you have to wait about 6 months for the planets to get into the right alignment for the trip home.

Hmm, Apollo 13 "bailed out" by taking advantage of its Earth Return Trajectory (it was launched on a path that would come back here unless there was a burn to put it into Lunar orbit).

Likewise, it's possible to do an Earth Return Trajectory for Mars. It's a two year orbit that comes back here at a time when Earth is at the same point in its orbit. More fuel intensive, but quicker (it'll take about six months to get near Mars).

Comment: Re:Android IS a huge financial success. . . (Score 1) 337

by IamTheRealMike (#49790685) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

If you're the sort of person who believes any and all business is merely a way to make profit and nobody who creates a company ever actually cares about the task they perform, then sure. Reality is more complex than that.

Re: China. iOS is in the minority in China. Even at the time of the iPhone 6 launch iOS market share was only 20%, but iOS market share always spikes around the time of a new iPhone launch, then falls back down in the other quarters. And China is a special case - Google isn't willing to play ball with the communist government so the services that make Android most useful are all blocked there. Apple cooperates so they can sell iOS as is, getting a built-in advantage. Despite this, Android still dominates.

Comment: Re:Android IS a huge financial success. . . (Score 1) 337

by IamTheRealMike (#49790039) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

From their perspective it'd be much worse than higher search rev shares. If Android did not exist, Google Maps would have been wiped out overnight on mobile when Apple decided to go it alone (against the wishes of their own userbase, no less). Android was never about making direct profit, it was always about ensuring Google was able to deliver their services directly to users. They were quite open about this from the start. And judged by this standard it has been an incredible, epic success.

iOS is on the way down anyway. Outside of English speaking countries and Japan it's in the minority everywhere. In some countries, especially European countries like Germany and Spain, the iPhone has been crushed.

Comment: Re:Consumption's up (Score 1) 125

by CrimsonAvenger (#49789723) Attached to: High Court Orders UK ISPs To Block EBook Sites

Most ebooks don't come with DRM attached.

I find myself curious as to which world you live in...

Amazon's Kindle format comes with DRM (just got a note from B&N telling me that they're no longer allowed to do unencrypted Kindle format for their eBooks (though they provided a helpful guide to removing the DRM for backup purposes).

Default for most Nook books is encrypted ePub, though there are a few publishers that don't require encrypted ePub.

So, where are the "most books" coming from that are not DRM'd?

Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 62

by Bruce Perens (#49787045) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Russia would like for us to continue gifting them with cash for 40-year-old missle motors, it's our own government that doesn't want them any longer. For good reason. That did not cause SpaceX to enter the competitive process, they want the U.S. military as a customer. But it probably did make it go faster.

Also, ULA is flying 1960 technology, stuff that Mercury astronauts used, and only recently came up with concept drawings for something new due to competitive pressure from SpaceX. So, I am sure that folks within the Air Force wished for a better vendor but had no choice.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 310

by CrimsonAvenger (#49786883) Attached to: Adblock Plus Victorious Again In Court

They want a bike that can go zero to sixty in two seconds. Yet the human eyeball flattens enough under that kind of acceleration that vision is severely limited.

Interesting theory you have there, Butch...

0-60mph in two seconds is 1.37g. Which is comparable to the acceleration you'd experience landing after jumping to the ground from a height of three feet or so....

Comment: Re:Kevin DeLeon is not particularly coherent (Score 2) 269

It doesn't have to be loaded with graft & corruption to be a waste of time.

TFA talks about a 2.5KW system. Which is about 10 panels. So this whole program is going to provide free solar to 150-200 homes in a State with 38.8 million people.

Wow, a program to provide free solar to 0.0025% of CA's population!! Really generous program you've got there, guys....

Comment: Re:other states? (Score 4, Interesting) 65

by CrimsonAvenger (#49786359) Attached to: The Marshall Islands, Nuclear Testing, and the NPT

How has the US/Russia/etc negotiated in good faith on effective measures

Note that they're required to negotiate in good faith on "effective measures" - when they figure out some "effective measures", then you can complain about them not negotiating "in good faith".

And just curious, what "effective measures" can you think of? Especially in light of the fact that North Korea is NOT a signatory to the NPT....

It seems that the arsenals are growing, or if shrinking, they are becoming more powerful overall as they are replaced with more modern weapons.

As to that, no, they're not actually building more powerful nukes. The delivery mechanisms are getting more accurate, so smaller nukes are as effective as big nukes were back in the day. Note that there are no multi-megaton nukes left - they've been replaced with fractional-megaton weapons with a CEP small enough that it makes no difference.

Note, by the by, that CEP is a function of the rocket (or bomber), not the nuke. And improved versions of rockets/bombers aren't limited by the NPT in any case.

Comment: Re:What a guy (Score 3, Interesting) 385

by IamTheRealMike (#49786323) Attached to: Obama Asks Congress To Renew 'Patriot Act' Snooping

These career govt employees feed info to the pres, make recommendations, and fight for their interests. Even if a new pres wants to turn on a dime, Washington DC is a large ship that turns slowly.

Bingo. The old UK comedy "Yes Prime Minister" was a rather cutting illustration of this phenomenon at work.

What happens to someone when they become the prez? Enormous numbers of apparently experienced people begin telling you all kinds of secret things. They stress the importance of secrecy. They tell you about this plot or that plot. They say it's vital they get new powers and they not-so-subtly imply that if you don't help them Women And Children will DIE! And although it's left unstated you know perfectly well that if you don't give them what they want, you will see leaks in the press from anonymous officials that paint you as a prevaricator, as weak, as unconcerned for the lives of Patriotic Heroes And Their Women And Children.

The problem any US President has, and I daresay many other countries presidents, is that they are immediately submerged into a fantasy world woven from the agendas of the people around them mixed with their own pre-existing views, and those people are themselves also in a slightly less extreme form of a personal fantasy world and so on all the way down. A toxic brew of patriotism, belief in American exceptionalism, militarism and most of all pervasive classification means that it's impossible for a prez to penetrate the fog of misinformation that surrounds them. They can be manipulated into believing nearly anything because it would take an incredibly strong willed personality to say directly to the senior bureaucrats feeding them classified intelligence, "I think you are bullshitting me and I am going to personally audit your shit and prosecute you if you're lying to me".

Obama is very much NOT a strong willed personality. He sees himself primarily as a reasonable man who finds compromise between different factions. This makes him easily manipulated: all it takes is for people who agree to present him two apparently opposed positions - one extreme and one very extreme - and Obama will reliably pick something that is quite extreme. And the officials around him know that.

In hindsight it should have been obvious. Obama has no real track record of achievement in politics. He supported no particularly controversial positions, or showed any particularly clear thinking. Compared to Bush he seemed like a genius of course but Bush was a fucking man child, so that wasn't hard.

For that reason, Rand Paul fans might be disappointed if he won. I don't expect he would be able to accomplish as much change as people would like.

Almost certainly not. But it looks like Rand Paul is made of stronger stuff than Obama. Paul consistently argues for positions that piss off most of his party. He seems able to come to conclusions about things himself regardless of what other people believe. He seems to have fairly strong principles. He doesn't come across as the sort of wishy-washy people person that Obama is. If there's any US politician that actually might tell the people in his secret briefings "stop bullshitting me or I fire you", it's probably Rand Paul.

Comment: Re:None. Go meta. (Score 3, Insightful) 331

by IamTheRealMike (#49786191) Attached to: How Much C++ Should You Know For an Entry-Level C++ Job?

That sort of logic holds true when moving between languages that are very similar. The transition between Python and Ruby or Java and C# spring to mind.

However if I need a C++ programmer and need one pronto, I'm not gonna hire a guy who has only JavaScript on his CV no matter what. Learning C++ is not merely learning a different way to create an array or slightly different syntax. To be effective in C++ you need to know how to do manual memory management and do it reliably, which takes not only domain knowledge but more importantly: practice and experience. You need to understand what inlining is. You very likely need to understand multi-threading and do it reliably, which takes practice and experience a pure JS guy is unlikely to have. You need to be comfortable with native toolchains and build systems: when the rtld craps its pants and prints a screenful of mangled symbols you need to be able to understand that you have an ABI mismatch, what that means and how to deal with it. Unfortunately that is mostly a matter of practice and experience. You might need to understand direct manipulation of binary data. There's just a ton of stuff beyond the minor details of the language.

Could the pure JS guy learn all this stuff? Of course! Will they do it quickly? No.

Comment: Context (Score 3, Informative) 62

by Bruce Perens (#49782349) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

This ends a situation in which two companies that would otherwise have been competitive bidders decided that it would cost them less to be a monopoly, and created their own cartel. Since they were a sole provider, they persuaded the government to pay them a Billion dollars a year simply so that they would retain the capability to manufacture rockets to government requirements.

Yes, there will be at least that Billion in savings and SpaceX so far seems more than competitive with the prices United Launch Alliance was charging. There will be other bidders eventually, as well.

Disobedience: The silver lining to the cloud of servitude. -- Ambrose Bierce