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Comment: Re:taxpayer-financed spaceport ??? (Score 1) 45

by TWX (#48446373) Attached to: Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays
There's a college and city partnership "Research Park", a full square-mile of business area, near me. They are used as a tech incubator, giving extremely reasonable rent to student and post-graduate business ventures and other tech ventures- significant E-ink research and the development of the screens for those old Motorola Razr V3 flip phones happened here.

I don't look at this spaceport as being really any different.

Comment: Re:taxpayer-financed spaceport ??? (Score 1) 45

by TWX (#48445865) Attached to: Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays
I didn't miss the point at all. The point is, New Mexico decided to play venture-capitalistsocialist after a fashion, and like lots of venture capital projects, this one hasn't panned-out. Now people are complaining over what's a fairly insignificant amount of money that might have paid-off had Virgin Galactic succeeded before now, and could have attracted more space-faring business. New Mexico wanted the American version of the Baikonur Cosmodrome to be in their state; they've got the land for it and for terrestrial recovery (as opposed to ocean splash-down), but some didn't account for the possibility of the project failing to meet its goals.

I think they should keep at it a bit longer. It's already built, now it just needs to be maintained.

Comment: Re:taxpayer-financed spaceport ??? (Score 1) 45

by TWX (#48444497) Attached to: Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays
You really have no idea how governments solicit corporations to their areas, do you?

Nowadays, corporations look for the most favorable places to operate. That could be a place that's desirable to live in, a place with a large population that's qualified to do the work, a place with favorable laws that make land-use or permitting easier, or a place with favorable tax laws that make it inexpensive.

New Mexico has some really beautiful places like Ruidoso, but it also has a lot of land that can't even be used for ranching, and short of mineral extraction there's no interest in economic development there. There's a reason why the Manhattan Project tested the first nuclear bomb there; it directly impacted only one family whose land and ranch house were taken from them during the project and couldn't be returned afterward due to the contamination.

On the flip side, Virgin Galactic needs someplace to play with their vehicles. There's a certain, higher than average risk associated with these vehicles. There's also the possibility that future vehicles might not be mothership-dropped and instead might launch from the ground, which would further increase the risk associated with them. This means that they need land, land far enough away from others that the risk to the population is low, land as a buffer in case of accidents. This is the same problem that modern air force and navy air bases face; they're built a distance from a supporting city to try to minimize the impact on the city, but the city grows to the base's edge then gets upset that the base is there. So the solution is to look for someplace to build the facility where it won't impact anyone.

Now, the downside, it's hard to attract talented people whose ability will let them write their own check to places that aren't terribly desirable to live. New Mexico has harsh climate, its cities aren't exactly known for being centers of modern popular culture, it lacks world-renowned education, and it doesn't even have major sports teams. That means staff need even more compensation to come there.

If New Mexico wants both the immediate business and wants the longer-term infrastructure that could make it a hub, that means they have to find a way to attract it. The only major means at their disposal are tax relief and easy permitting. That costs them and doesn't guarantee that it'll work, but the payoffs for the risks are generally pretty favorable.

Comment: If you work on the bleeding edge... (Score 2) 45

by TWX (#48444313) Attached to: Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays get sliced from time to time.

While I commend New Mexico for their efforts toward making it possible to push the limits, this was bound to happen. On top of that, if they're balking at $1.7 million , how do they feel about their other budget line-items, like their schools that probably exceed a couple- billion dollars spent?

I don't know New Mexico's budget off the top of my head, but I do know that in my state, the largest school district's budget is somewhere between $600 and $700 million dollars, for about 65,000 students. There are upwards of a hundred school districts, and the education budget is something like 70% of the state's annual expenditure. $1.7 million dollars on the scale of a state budget is almost down to rounding-error money.

Comment: Re:How is this "News for Nerds"? (Score 2) 138

by TWX (#48440113) Attached to: Linux On a Motorola 68000 Solder-less Breadboard
If Slashdot is going to drop one or the other, I'd much rather they drop the News aspect than the Nerds aspect.

About fifteen years ago I had a Macintosh Centris 660AV running Linux, just as an experiment. I kind of wish that I still had that computer; it had an AUI port so I could adapt to 10Base-T Ethernet, and could have redirected all incoming unsolicited network connections to it. Let 'em hack it; with no compiler, all binaries for m68K only, and 16.9 bogoMIPS it would have made for an entertaining honeypot.

Comment: Re:Not resigning from Debian (Score 1) 547

Well, I can tell you with my Windows 8 experiences, a lot of functionality went away with the loss of the Start Menu, especially when it comes to reopening previously-opened documents. Sometimes it can be difficult to locate the document in question by just browsing the filesystem.

Comment: Re:Not resigning from Debian (Score 4, Insightful) 547

The concept of being able to 'just fork' the system sounds great on the surface, but init is not your average package. I'd argue that init is just as important as the kernel itself, and possibly more important as it impacts how all init-aware applications and daemons will be developed. The use of System V init allowed Linux to be comfortablef for UNIX admins looking for a less expensive or more widely installable solution, and the end of the use of System V init means that Linux is starting to head away from the UNIX operating systems.

It's been said that Ubuntu switched to systemd because they anticipated that Debian was going to do so, not because they really wanted to, but since Ubuntu re-forks Debian for a lot of its packages and development, as a derivative work it really doesn't have a lot of choice unless they want to make a clean break of it. With other distros also going systemd, inevitably like when Slackware was extremely late to the party with the whole libc5/glibc2 switch, a bunch of us will end up on Slack again, even without the advanced package tools that we've come to like with more modern distros.

Comment: Re:Not resigning from Debian (Score 2) 547

I'm a little skeptical of this "anonymous reader" that Slashdot cites as the submitter of the article truly being anonymous when the subject of the article manages to get the first word in. No "omg f1rst p0st!", no commentary on the situation, literally the subject himself posting about it.

Comment: Re: Why? (Score 1) 326

by TWX (#48398095) Attached to: Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X
I'm well aware of NeXT's fusion with Apple, but the fact remains, the computers are Apple, not NEXT, the OS was able to emulate the environment for MacOS9 and to run most MACOS9 software, and MACOSX ran on pre-NeXT Macintoshes with all of the Apple-specific features of those machines. NeXT as an entity ended, even if its intellectual property and managers ended up at Apple.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 5, Insightful) 326

by TWX (#48397699) Attached to: Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X
There are three approaches to computing.

There's the commercial-ubiquitous approach. This is Microsoft's approach. Try to support (or to get manufacturers to support) as much hardware as possible. Be the default solution. Things generally look good (I can't fault Microsoft over their years for most of their UI decisions), stability may not always be terribly good though, and that's the sacrifice, ubiquity over stability, but the gain is to run on just about all hardware in existence. Android is also mostly falling into this category too now.

There's the commercial-restricted approach. Sell your hardware and your software, and only allow a select-few others to sell hardware or software that is compatible with your products. The upside is that the platforms are highly stable, but the downsides are that users will sometimes find they simply can't do something because it's disallowed. It also requires the company to be ever-vigilant about pushing more features and capabilities, as stagnation will mean death. Apple currently leads this community, but SGI, Sun, NeXT, Commodore, and a whole bunch of computer companies throughout the years have tried it and ultimately closed up shop.

The Open-Source method is the third approach, and it's both leading edge (ie, research projects by major universities) and completely behind (many user applications simply don't exist or are only partially functional).

I use Windows, OSX, and Linux daily as desktop environments. Linux is stable and fast, but often not compatible with developments out of Redmond and with a lot of work to make some features function. OSX is very smooth, very stable, and awkwardly locked-down to where some things simply aren't options. Windows is compatible with just about everything and requires weekly reboots to keep it running.

They all suck. All of them.

Comment: Re:510kph is airliner speed? (Score 1) 418

by TWX (#48396925) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph
It just depends on how far you are looking to travel. If you're going from Boston to Washington DC then the time and hassle for security and boarding may make the train faster. If you're going from Boston to Chicago then even with the extra overhead imparted at the beginning of a flight, you're still going to get there more quickly flying than you would by high-speed rail, even if the train doesn't stop anywhere else along the way.

Out west high-speed rail is less practical until you get all of the way to the west coast, and even there, most of the cities are oriented toward driving, not walking or mass transit. You're probably not going to get a lot of benefit for high-speed rail servicing Albuquerque or Phoenix or Denver, the cities are too far apart to make high-speed rail any more practical than flying, and would probably have too much environmental impact in the process of construction to make it worthwhile.

Living on Earth may be expensive, but it includes an annual free trip around the Sun.