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Comment Not the first full recovery from space (Score 1) 121

SpaceShip One touched space and all elements were recovered and flew to space again.

BO's demonstration is more publicity than practical rocketry. It doesn't look like the aerodynamic elements of BO's current rocket are suitable for recovery after orbital injection, just after a straight up-down space tourism flight with no potential for orbit, just like SpaceShip One (and Two). They can't put an object in space and have it stay in orbit. They can just take dudes up for a short and expensive view and a little time in zero gee.

It's going to be real history when SpaceX recovers the first stage after an orbital injection, in that it will completely change the economics of getting to space and staying there.

Comment Re:Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 1) 137

You'd need a popular product to pull off obtaining second-clientage from governments, and you'd need not to reveal that your device had legal intercept.

This is just a poorly-directed company continuing to shoot itself in the foot. It's not made its product desirable for government, or for anyone else.

Comment Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 2) 137

There's a truism in marketing that you can only differentiate your product on the parts that the customer sees and uses. Blackberry just can't learn this lesson. They tried differentiating on the OS kernel, which the customer never sees. And now on an insecurity feature that the customer won't be allowed to use. It's been a protracted death spiral, but it's a continuing one.

Comment What's Wrong with the Hobbit? (Score 2) 174

The Hobbit books are to a great extent about race war. The races are alien and fictional, but they are races, and the identification of good or bad is on racial boundaries. This isn't all that unusual in the fantasy genre, or even some sci-fi.

Lots of people love those books. And there's lots of good in them. To me, the race stuff stuck out.

Comment Re:Conflict of Interest? (Score 1) 80

I hear you. Up until Windows 7, I enjoyed the "Windows Classic" theme, because I think the Windows 2000, while dated-looking, was also the cleanest and most function UI skin Microsoft ever made. Everything since then has been some degree or other of ugly, with Windows 8 and 10 being the worst-looking versions of Windows since Windows 2, which mostly suffered from the lack of hardware capabilties (low resolution, low color depth).

It seems that everything that was meticulously studied and developed back in the 80s by people like IBM and Microsoft themselves (like CUA), has been thrown out of the window with no guiding principles replacing them other than what a bunch of pajama boys with art degrees and no real-world experience think looks good. This has been going on for almost 20 years (the quality of UI started to decline in the late 90s when everyone went way overboard with skeuomorphic design and you could no longer tell what was a control and what was background ornamentation. Windows 8 went for some kind of minimalist look where large swaths of blank space on the screen seemed to be the guiding principle, not unlike 90s grunge music, which cast off all the excesses of 80s pop, with the over-reliance of synthesizers and excessive production, but along with the grunge movement, MS also threw out the baby with the bathwater, and forgot to make what was left good.

So now we have the Gnome mentality where choice is bad for you because apparently all users are stupid, as opposed to the truth, which is that a lot of users are inexperienced and unsophisticated, but plenty of users can and want to control as much as they can. For instance, I tried the OneDrive app for Android and like Windows, it doesn't show file extensions by default, which I think is the stupidest usability mistake MS ever made, except in the case of the Android app, there's no way to turn it on, so I'm reduced to deciphering icons to figure out what the hell kind of file I'm looking at. The application intentionally cripples the user by removing important information.

And don't get me started on Amazon, who are much, much worse than MS. MS may have forgotten how to make a good UI, but Amazon never knew in the first place, and it shows in their software UI. (I'm referring to their software... their website isn't bad, IMO).

Comment Re:Conflict of Interest? (Score 1) 80

Yeah, I was going to make a similar comment. Microsoft seems to have really improved on the security front... too bad no one wants to use their software any more. Usability seems to have gone by the wayside, along with any aesthetic sense. Windows is now uglier than it's been since Windows 2.

Comment Azerbaijan - Land of Fire (Score 1) 57

I always thought that it was weird for a country to advertise on the jerseys of Atletico Madrid, and I thought that "Azerbaijan - Land of Fire" was always a weird motto. I think they were trying to indicate passion, but really, who would want to live in, or even visit, the Land of Fire? Especially now that the fire took out their internet?

If you think I'm kidding, click here.

Comment Re:Reward networks for not upgrading (Score 1) 75

What happens on eBay is just a market. It's fundamental that a properly working market works to determine the optimum price for whatever is being sold. A properly working market would have multiple sellers and multiple buyers, all with somewhat differing circumstances. Improperly working markets are dominated by a single vendor, etc. No market works perfectly, there are always factors that cause markets to be less efficient than they should be.

Demand pricing is something one vendor does deliberately and with calculation. In contrast, the market pricing is arrived at as the aggregate of the behavior of many people. The market's actually broken if the calculation of one person can influence it disproportionately.

Comment Re:Amazon Model (Score 1) 75

First, there's no shortage of interurban data links for these companies to use if they're willing to. A shortage of infrastructure is a myth.

Second, the customers will indeed abscond, but not to conventional telephone companies.

Anyone who is considering how to jack up voice call pricing is moving around deck chairs on the Titanic.

Comment Re:Reward networks for not upgrading (Score 1) 75

No definition of "surge pricing" could include eBay because it's an auction with multiple independent bidders. Uber, on the other hand, is one bidder with multiple operators who work through its pricing structure. Experienced Uber operators actually avoid areas with high dynamic pricing because there's too much traffic around them. It's more profitable to do three less expensive rides than one expensive one.

Uber dynamic pricing fails the riders, and fails the operators. Uber still makes its money, they don't particularly care that they aren't serving either bloc efficiently.

Comment Why not firefighting quadcopters? (Score 1) 91

I think we all agree that people wearing jetpacks are not going to do much to put out a fire, but how about heavy-lift quadcopters that can haul up pressurized tanks of flame retardant foam? They could make periodic landings to swap out empty tanks and batteries for full ones, and they could actually pump meaningful volumes of foam or gel into the upper floors.

Also, how cool would it be if they would swing a harness attached to a bungee cord to people in windows waiting to be rescued, and have the people do a bungee jump "anchored" to a quadcopter? From skyscraper heights, it would be a lot safer than jumping into air pillows.

Chemist who falls in acid will be tripping for weeks.