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Comment: At the airport (Score 1) 409 409

I see this with many of the older light airplanes. Types like the Cessna 150 and Piper Cub were designed when people weighed less, and it's difficult to get two 2015-size people plus a usable fuel load in either. There have been commercial plane crashes due to portly passengers (e.g. Air Midwest 5481).

I can fly a Cessna 152 solo with full fuel tanks, but if I have anybody in the plane with me I have to calculate how much fuel I can carry without being overweight. I can't do anything meaningful with a 150, and I'm not that heavy.

...laura

Comment: Up close and personal (Score 3, Interesting) 151 151

I've seen two quasi-startups go down the tubes from the inside.

One company had some very clever ideas, but were chronically incapable of making reliable hardware, or of making software that worked. They had no internal procedures to track what they were making, what it was supposed to do, or how they knew it worked. Too many releases were "we have to ship something to keep from losing what little credibility we still have".

Another company tried to reinvent itself after its prime business peaked and then started to implode. The idea we tried to develop wasn't commercially uninteresting, but we had major focus issues. What, exactly, do we want to do? Who is going to buy it? For how much? Having owned our old industry we weren't very good at competing with others in our new industry.

Both companies had issues with ineffectual leadership, flavour-of-the-month development, and business decisions made to help friends rather than make money. Both were broadsided by external developments that eventually rendered their products commercially irrelevant.

...laura

Comment: Solitaire (Score 5, Funny) 468 468

I know a whole bunch of people who are going to be upset about Solitaire going away. I work for a retirement community, and the second-most-used application on the computers in the activity center (after "The Internet") is Solitaire. We're going to have to install a substitute on these machines (or their replacements) when we switch to WinX, or we'll never hear the end of the complaints.

Comment: International security theater (Score 1) 510 510

It's not just in the U.S.A.

In Canada we've just had a verdict in a supposedly homegrown terrorism case (do a search for the names Nuttal and Korody), but it's clear that the defendants only have a handful of brain cells between them (heroin will do that...), and the undercover cops had a major part in turning a couple of harmless losers who aren't quite sure what day it is in to a major threat to national security. Needless to say, their lawyer is going for entrapment.

Also needless to say, the media are going entirely with the government/party line...

...laura

Comment: Re:Of course it bombed (Score 1) 205 205

Of course the poor box-office of Tomorrowland is one data point, which the superstitious oracles at Disney have taken as an omen that any film which has certain factors in common with it will also fail.... rather than an indication that maybe this movie was specifically not very good, or not properly marketed.

Comment: My first Windows (Score 1) 387 387

Windows 3.0 was the first version I used to any significant degree. It looked so high-tech, though to 2015 eyes it looks like something from the old stone age. It did some cool stuff. It also gave us General Protection Faults, the predecessor to the Blue Screen Of Death.

For a long time I recommended Windows 98 to non-technical users. Some people claimed there was a USB implementation for Windows 95, but after careful study I have come to the conclusion they were mistaken. My first exposure to Windows 95 was an early alpha (I worked for the evil empire at the time) that crashed and required reformatting the hard disc after attempting to reconfigure the mouse.

I was intrigued by some of the other options out there. I sent my resume to Quarterdeck - I thought DESQview was neat - but only got a thanks-but-no-thanks postcard back.

...laura

Earth

Oldest Stone Tools Predate Previous Record Holder By 700,000 Years 103 103

derekmead writes: The oldest stone tools ever found have been discovered by scientists in Kenya who say they are 3.3m years old, making them by far the oldest such artifacts discovered. Predating the rise of humans' first ancestors in the Homo genus, the artifacts were found near Lake Turkana, Kenya. More than 100 primitive hammers, anvils and other stone tools have been found at the site. An in-depth analysis of the site, its contents, and its significance as a new benchmark in evolutionary history will be published in the May 21 issue of Nature.

Comment: Fiber is fast! (Score 5, Insightful) 221 221

Fiber is amply fast.

The bottleneck is the cavalier attitude of web designers to network resources. You do not need to load 25 different URLs (DNS lookups, plus autoplay video and all the usual clickbait junk) to show me a weather forecast. Or a Slashdot article, for that matter...

...laura

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