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Comment: Studer PR-99 (Score 1) 523

by hackertourist (#46790915) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

A long time ago, I used to volunteer for a local radio station. They had a couple of Studer PR-99 open-reel tape recorders. These were used pretty hard, all day long. We used them so much that the recording and playback heads developed visible grooves from all the tape that spooled past them.
They were incredibly overbuilt. Weighed a ton, they had 3 electric motors that looked like they could start a car. All the circuit boards were slotted in for easy maintenance. They never failed, despite the abuse they went through.

Comment: Re:A unified design? (Score 2) 152

Yes, this would make things simpler. The French have done this (PDF link), using one standard reactor design wherever possible. IIRC the American method was to use some standard components, but allow the architect responsible for the plant to make lots of changes (e.g. the piping between the standard components is different at each plant).

Comment: Re:Left foot braking, not heel and toe (Score 1) 394

by hackertourist (#46572241) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?

Left foot braking was pioneered by Walter Rohl driving the turbocharged Audi rally cars. It's pointless in non-turbocharged cars, and completely pointless in an electric car.

In a front-wheel-drive car, left-foot braking can help stabilize the rear: you get a net braking force on the rear axle, and some drive to the front.

Comment: Re:US Intel Said this on Day 1 (Score 1) 491

by hackertourist (#46567219) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

It's entirely possible the plane wasn't tracked the entire time, but the crash was heard by a US submarine operating in the area. Loud noises would have made it clear that survivors weren't likely. I can see why they decided not to reveal sensitive information in those circumstances.


Twitter Turns 8; May Drop Hashtags and @replies 96

Posted by timothy
from the #-your-fist-@-them-in-rage dept.
Twitter has only just turned eight years old, but in that time it's become so pervasive that some of its conventions have spread beyond Twitter itself, and its character limit seems almost like a natural law. Now, Buzzfeed reports that some Twitter-isms may be about to change: based on screenshots of interfaces in alpha testing, it seems that hashtags and "at" replies may be on the chopping block, or (based on some updates made to the story) at least made less visible for some readers.

Comment: Re:What, exactly, is missing? (Score 2) 166

by hackertourist (#46406099) Attached to: NASA Forgets How To Talk To ICE/ISEE-3 Spacecraft

What's missing is a filter in the receiver circuits.
You've got a transmitter and a receiver connected to the same antenna. When you're using the (powerful) transmitter, you need to make sure its signals don't end up in the (very sensitive) receiver and fry it.
This filter has to provide something like 150 dB of isolation.

Comment: Re:However.. (Score 1) 247

by hackertourist (#46355387) Attached to: The Rescue Plan That Could Have Saved Space Shuttle <em>Columbia</em>

The Russians would have had to launch 3 or 4 (if an unmanned Soyuz launch is impossible) Soyuz within 30 days. This assumes they had 3-4 Soyuz rockets lying around at the launch site, finished and ready-to-launch.
Using a Proton wouldn't be feasible; it's never been used to launch Soyuz capsules so they'd have to manufacture a payload adapter.
The Soyuz could only be launched unmanned if its software were able to do automated rendezvous and stationkeeping, AND if its airlock were able to be opened from the outside.
The same constraints apply that TFA talked about: preparing 1-3 missions at a hugely compressed time schedule.
You also have the additional problem of having 4-5 spaceships flying in close formation, each in a slightly different orbit. That's a bad enough problem with 2 ships, but with 4-5 you need all of them to be manned to avoid collisions and blasting EVA crew with rocket exhaust.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp