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Parts of Falcon 9 Launcher Wash Ashore In England ( 20

RockDoctor writes with news as reported by the BBC that parts of a Falcon 9 launcher have washed ashore on the Isles of Scilly off the SW coast of Britain. Early impressions are that the pieces are from the failed Falcon 9 ISS launch which exploded after take-off in June. That's not the only possibility, though; according to the article, However Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said many experts believed, due to the size and markings which have now been revealed, it was from a different mission. "All the geeks have been getting together and looking at fine details, and we're pretty sure it's a launch from September 2014 that successfully sent a cargo mission to the space station. "It didn't look like an exploded rocket to me, it looked like a fairly normal piece of space junk when the lower stage of a rocket falls from a hundred miles up and hits the ocean. Large sections can remain in tact and it's really quite normal," he said.
The Almighty Buck

Another Crowd-funded Drone Project Collapses ( 211

An anonymous reader writes: Less than two weeks after we heard about the "robotic dragonfly" project failing, the BBC brings news that an even bigger crowd-funded drone project has given up development as well. The ZANO mini-drone raised a whopping £2.3 million on Kickstarter ($3.5 million), after asking for a mere £125,000 to get off the ground. They were supposed to start delivering drones in June, and a few hundred of them slowly trickled out. In October, they posted a long update detailing their plans for shipping the other ~15,000 drones they had been paid for. Their latest update, posted today, says, "Having explored all options known to us, and after seeking professional advice, we have made the difficult decision to pursue a creditors' voluntary liquidation." This will leave thousands of backers without a drone, despite paying £140 or more apiece.

Microsoft Kills Off Zune Music Service ( 66

alphadogg writes: It's one of those "You mean it was still alive?" moments: Microsoft today officially has killed off its Zune music streaming and download service. The company notified users in September that Zune services would be retired on Nov. 15. Microsoft has been phasing out its Zune brand for some time now, with Zune music service being morphed into Xbox music and then Groove music. Devices were discontinued in 2011.

Lessons From a Decade of IT Failures ( 118

New submitter mixed_signal writes: IEEE Spectrum has an online set of articles, or "lessons," on why big IT projects have failed, including analysis of the impacts of failed systems and the life cycles of failed projects. From the summary: "To commemorate the last decade's worth of failures, we organized and analyzed the data we've collected. We cannot claim—nor can anyone, really—to have a definitive, comprehensive database of debacles. Instead, from the incidents we have chronicled, we handpicked the most interesting and illustrative examples of big IT systems and projects gone awry and created the five interactives featured here. Each reveals different emerging patterns and lessons. Dive in to see what we've found. One big takeaway: While it's impossible to say whether IT failures are more frequent now than in the past, it does seem that the aggregate consequences are worse."

Why Your Software Project Is Failing 119

An anonymous reader writes: At OSCON this year, Red Hat's Tom Callaway gave a talk entitled "This is Why You Fail: The Avoidable Mistakes Open Source Projects STILL Make." In 2009, Callaway was starting to work on the Chromium project—and to say it wasn't a pleasant experience was the biggest understatement Callaway made in his talk. Callaway said he likes challenges, but he felt buried by the project, and reached a point where he thought he should just quit his work. (Callaway said it's important to note that Chromium's code is not bad code; it's just a lot of code and a lot of code that Google didn't write.) This was making Callaway really frustrated, and people wanted to know what was upsetting him. Callaway wanted to be able to better explain his frustration, so he crafted this list which he called his "Points of Fail."

A Failure For SpaceX: Falcon 9 Explodes During Ascension 316

MouseR writes with bad news about this morning's SpaceX launch: About 2:19 into its flight, Falcon 9 exploded along stage 2 and the Dragon capsule, before even the stage 1 separation. Telemetry and videos are inconclusive, without further analysis as to what went wrong. Everything was green lights. This is a catastrophe for SpaceX, which enjoyed, until now, a perfect launch record. TechCrunch has coverage of the failure, which of course also means that today's planned stage one return attempt has failed before it could start; watch this space for more links. Update: 06/28 15:06 GMT by T : See also stories at NBC News, The Washington Post, and the Associated Press (via ABC News). According to the Washington Post, what was a catastrophe for this morning's launch is only a setback for the ISS and its crew, rather than a disaster: A NASA slide from an April presentation said that with current food levels, the space station would reach what NASA calls “reserve level” on July 24 and run out by Sept. 5, according to SpaceNews. [NASA spokeswoman Stephanie] Schierholz said, however, that the supplies would last until the fall, although she could not provide a precise date. Even if something were to go wrong with the SpaceX flight, she said, there are eight more scheduled this year, including several this summer, “so there are plenty of ways to ensure the station continues to be well-supplied.” Of note: One bit of cargo that was aboard the SpaceX craft was a Microsoft Hololens; hopefully another will make it onto one of the upcoming supply runs instead.

Elon Musk has posted a note on the company's Twitter channel: "Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data."

Tracking System Bug Delays SpaceX's DSCOVR Launch 48

The SpaceX two-fer launch that was scheduled for today has been scrubbed. NBC News reports that the launch was postponed until Monday at the earliest due to a problem with the range-tracking system in Florida. That means an ambitious second attempt to land the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage on an oceangoing platform will also have to be delayed. ... Satellites such as the Advanced Composition Explorer and Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, which are already located at the L1 point, can provide up to an hour's warning of major storms. Both those satellites are well past their anticipated lifetimes, however, and DSCOVR is designed to provide a much-needed backup. SpaceX's two-stage Falcon 9 rocket will boost DSCOVR into a preliminary orbit, but it will take 110 days of in-space maneuvers to get the probe into the right position. This launch would mark the first time that SpaceX has sent a spacecraft so far, and it will be judged a success if DSCOVR reaches its intended orbit. The delayed launch could take place as soon as tomorrow (Monday) evening.

Early Surface Sales Pitiful 251

Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft has earned $853 million from sales of its Surface tablets, according to the company's annual Form 10-K filed with the SEC. That's a bit of a disaster, to put it bluntly. Earlier estimates put Surface sales at roughly 1.5 million units; the $853 million figure reinforces that projection. By comparison, Apple sold 14.6 million iPads in its last quarter alone. Adding insult to injury, Microsoft spent quite a bit producing and marketing Surface. The Windows division's 'cost of revenue increased $1.8 billion, reflecting a $1.6 billion increase in product costs associated with Surface and Windows 8, including a charge for Surface RT inventory adjustments of approximately $900 million,' read the Form 10-K. 'Sales and marketing expenses increased $1.0 billion or 34 percent, reflecting an $898 million increase in advertising costs associated primarily with Windows 8 and Surface.' Overall, Microsoft's Windows division earned $19.2 billion in its fiscal 2013."

Spacewalk Aborted When Water Fills Astronaut's Helmet 125

astroengine writes "A planned six-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station came to a dramatic and abrupt end on Tuesday when water started building up inside the helmet of Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano. Parmitano and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy were less than an hour into their spacewalk, their second in a week, when Parmitano reported that his head felt wet. 'My head is really wet and I have a feeling it's increasing,' Parmitano reported to ground control teams at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Parmitano returned safely to the space station interior, but the cause of the leak was not immediately known."

Certificate Expiry Leads to Total Outage For Microsoft Azure Secured Storage 176

rtfa-troll writes "There has been a worldwide (all locations) total outage of storage in Microsoft's Azure cloud. Apparently, 'Microsoft unwittingly let an online security certificate expire Friday, triggering a worldwide outage in an online service that stores data for a wide range of business customers,' according to the San Francisco Chronicle (also Yahoo and the Register). Perhaps too much time has been spent sucking up to storage vendors and not enough looking after the customers? This comes directly after a week-long outage of one of Microsoft's SQL server components in Azure. This is not the first time that we have discussed major outages on Azure and probably won't be the last. It's certainly also not the first time we have discussed Microsoft cloud systems making users' data unavailable."

Linux: Booting Via UEFI Can Brick Samsung Notebooks 232

wehe writes "Heise News reports today some Samsung notebooks can be turned into a brick if booted just one time via UEFI into Linux. Even the firmware does not boot anymore. Some reports in the Ubuntu bug tracker system report that such notebooks can not be recovered without replacing the main board. Other Linux distributions may be affected as well. Kernel developers are discussing a change in the Samsung-laptop driver." It appears even Samsung is having trouble tracking down the problem (from the article): "According to Canonical's Steve Langasek, Samsung developers have been attempting to develop a firmware update to prevent the problem for several weeks. Langasek is advising users to start Ubuntu installation on Samsung notebooks from an up-to-date daily image, in which the Ubuntu development team has taken precautions to prevent the problem from arising. It is, however, not completely clear that these measures are sufficient."

The Three Pillars of Nokia Strategy Have All Failed 409

An anonymous reader writes "'When all 3 legs of your 3-legged strategy fail, what do you do? You rush — run run run — to change your total strategy. But what would a madman do?' Ex-Nokia exec Tommi Ahonen's new article has a few suggestions. Is the Nokia board either asleep at the wheel, or incompetent, or in collusion with the incompetent CEO? Ahonen provides an insider's view not just of how Nokia's Windows phone strategy has failed, but how this has spread to other parts of the company's technology. He says the 'Elop Effect' has 'single-handedly destroyed [...] Europe's biggest tech giant.' He raises the question: Why is Nokia's board failing to act? We've discussed Tommi's articles before, where he was correctly predicting Windows Phone's market failure at a point where others were claiming that 'the Lumia line is, in fact, selling quite nicely.'"

LightSquared Satellite Disabled By Last Week's Solar Storm 70

volts writes "Troubled LightSquared's primary Skyterra 1 satellite has been out of service since the solar storm on March 7. The company says it is 'working through the rebuild of the satellite tapping into the resources that were involved in the original program.' This development follows a stream of bad news including layoffs, default on payments, the resignation of CEO Sanjiv Ahuja and FCC rejection of a scheme to repurpose satellite frequencies for cellular data due to interference with GPS. Another kick in the teeth as company struggles to avoid bankruptcy."

Zune Dead, Then Not Dead, Then Officially Dead 181

UnknowingFool writes "On Monday Microsoft updated webpages to announce a price drop for the Zune pass subscription, and it removed all references to the Zune hardware. This prompted many to suspect the Zune was dead. A MS spokesman then tweeted that the updates were in error and the Zune was not dead. Then MS later admitted that they will no longer produce hardware but would honor any existing orders. It appears MS has trouble with managing their PR."

Ex-Board Member Says HP Is Committing 'Corporate Suicide' 394

theodp writes "If Apple's looking for a seamless transition, advises the NYT's James B. Stewart, it definitely shouldn't look to Hewlett Packard. In the year after HP CEO Mark Hurd was told to hit-the-road-Jack, HP — led by new CEO Leo Apotheker — has embarked on a stunning shift in strategy that has left many baffled and resulted in HP's fall from Wall Street grace (its stock declined 49%). The apparent new focus on going head-to-head with SAP (Apotheker's former employer) and Oracle (Hurd's new employer) in enterprise software while ignoring the company's traditional strengths, said a software exec, is 'as if Alan Mulally left Boeing to join Ford as CEO, and announced six months later that Ford would be making airplanes.' Former HP Director Tom Perkins said, 'I didn't know there was such a thing as corporate suicide, but now we know that there is.'"

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.