Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:I think the thing being missed here (Score 1) 300

by RightwingNutjob (#48742139) Attached to: Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners
Depends on who I am. If two days of my time wasted on travel costs more than the price difference, I'd definitely pay. If it's less, but not too much less, I'd pay. If its work that only I can do and it needs to be done sooner rather than later, there's no good way to put a dollar amount on it, but I'd probably pay. If it's just for me and not my company and I can afford to blow an extra 10k to treat myself, I might pay. And it depends on the savings. If 7hrs to Europe gets cut down to 1 hr and 15 hours to Asia gets cut down to 1 hr 30 minutes, people would pay even when it's a financial looser, because even if you don't charge/make 500/hr, you might still hate flying enough to eat the cost difference anyway.

Comment: Re: 2% is nothing (Score 1) 121

by RightwingNutjob (#48569989) Attached to: NASA Gets 2% Boost To Science Budget
The other part of the problem is that the air force acquisitions is run by accountants and scientists, not engineers or combat pilots. And one of the things that you don't learn as a scientist or an accountant, or even as a combat pilot, is the hidden cost and complexity of doing two things with one aircraft by "fixing it with software," as opposed to the upfront cost building two types of aircraft. It's a serious problem, and it leads to bad acquisitions decisions, not just for planes. That said, having new F-35s that can do more of some things isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Comment: Thoughtstuff is a nonlinear space (Score 2) 205

by RightwingNutjob (#48552619) Attached to: The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons
Software is thought-stuff as Brooks famously put it, and it lives in a multidimensional nonlinear space. Just because two programmers are implementing the same thing sitting next door to each other doesn't always mean they're mucking in the darkness, looking for a great software sage to show them how to write reusable code. Maybe one of them is coding for speed, the other for memory footprint, and the third for prettyness. You can't have one set of libraries do all three for you without effectively implementing it three times and giving them each the option. Just because software looks close, doesn't always mean there's a short path to get it to where you need it.

Comment: Re:Enough! (Score 2) 197

Well, something like 8k of ROM and 2k of RAM was enough to go to the moon, land, take off, and come back, so...

That's what people have the disconnect on. Flight control software isn't stressing. It's maybe a dozen or two 6x6 matrix-vector operations which unroll into maybe a few hundred FLOPS (or they could be fixed point) that need to run maybe at 20 or 30 Hz (Apollo's major cycle was 10 Hz). This is stuff you could do with hand-wired 7400 IC's if you really wanted to (in fact they did the equivalent for the first submarine launched ballistic missiles in the 50's). Having a programmable computer that's fast enough to do it a few hundred times a second, and handle the control loops for some of the other stuff in the capsule is nice, but it isn't hard with a 10 MIPS processor, let alone the 200+MIPS they're flying in ORION.

In the 60's when they went to the moon, it was hard because there was no such thing as an off-the-shelf space-qualified programmable flight computer, so they had to invent it all from scratch, and there's this mistique that developed around it. But even by the 80's and 90's, the space hardware and avionics industries advanced to the point where the hard stuff was knowing what software to write, not finding a computer and inventing a compiler to run it on.

Comment: Re:Betteridge (Score 1) 545

by RightwingNutjob (#48535349) Attached to: Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?
I'll add another wrinkle to the above: if you're salaried and subject to overtime regs, you now have to account for your time, and you are just setting yourself up for a confrontation over whether having a great idea in the shower and working it out on a napkin at breakfast counts for time-and-a-half.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.