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Comment Re:Software error ... (Score 5, Insightful) 234

Couple things to keep in mind.

The civilian aircraft control system has been chronically underfunded for decades, since Reagan fired PATCO. One of the things they were on strike for was for better equipment to do their jobs better, easier, and with less stress. Even in the 80's, the computers and radars were dinosaurs best kept in a museum. Upgrades since then have always been a day late and a dollar short.

The airspace above the US is the busiest in the world, and it's just getting worse. They don't even report near-misses anymore to the media unless the pilots can see each other giving them the finger. They're that common.

Nothing will be done until 3 or 4 planes do a mid-air and the public outcry is so bad that people are ready to march on the FAA's office with torches and pitchforks. Then there will be a massive round of public firings to appease the crowd, a slight boost in funding to the FAA, followed by further deregulation of the airlines.

Personally, with all the deregulation already, I'm surprised more planes don't shed parts along the way.

Comment Re:Datamining (Score 1) 193

No, but you have more options to turn it off.

You'll probably want to peruse the firewall rules after you are done turning off the dozen or so switches in the privacy settings screen and once you've combed through the gp settings.

I solved the data mining issues by staying with Win 7. It is more than adequate for doing the things that I need Windows for.

Only thing I use Windows for these days is Kindle for PC. And once I figure out where they stash the serial number for it, I'll probably stop even using my XP under Virtualbox. See, I get a lotta books off Amazon, but I don't use a real live Kindle here, I pull the books down with Kindle for PC, run them through Calibre, and load them on my 'Ebay special' Aluratek reader. Some of those I gotta strip the DRM from in Calibre, and that takes the K4PC serial number.

Comment Re:Long time *NIXer considering switching to Windo (Score 1) 193

I guess they will have a clean, no data spying, enterprise version, and a consumer version which is the current Windows 10.

I expect the enterprise version will have one king hell hefty pricetag. I also expect all the data collected by the consumer version to be mined, resold, remined, resold again, repackaged, once more resold, ad nauseum. MS is going to have to make up for that revenue stream somehow or the stockholders will shitcan the front office fucks and install a new set that will. 'Free upgrade'? From Microsoft?

Comment Re:So, in other words, (Score 1) 193

Well Microsoft have said explicitly that you won't, so no.

I think Microsoft is happy with the revenue from their "PC tax", the fact you'll have to buy a PC every few years to run modern applications should be enough to ensure they get roughly the same revenue from Windows as before. That said, they've also been giving Windows away for free on low cost devices lately, so they're obviously planning to tap into other revenue streams.

Subscriptions for operating systems though? Nah.

Microsoft has never given anything away for 'free'. The techies in the back room might come up with some really cool stuff, but the marketting wonks in the front office will override them. See Vista. The betas were chock full of cool stuff, like the first runs of the new replacement filesystem for NTFS. When deadline came, the marketting wonks declared the new fs wasn't ready for prime time and had the techies pull it and put NTFS back in. Every time they changed the specs, the techies had to revert and recode, and the marketting wonks kept pushing a moving target at them. Vista is THE prime example why you don't let the wonks design the system.

My little brother was in the beta program for 10. Kept telling me, 'Cool new features, dood!', but when the release came out and swamped our connection for a couple days, it made me question things. They were updating 4 laptops and a couple desktops, so it took a bit. And the new browser ran glue slow until he had surfed enough to teach it what he liked to look at so it would prefetch enough to start speeding up. Give it a few weeks or so, it'll be useable again for him.

My biggest impression so far is, the 'free' update is the skeleton of the OS, the marketting wonks and beancounters signed off on enough of the basics to make the release. The meat and skin will be coming later, now that the pressure is off the techies to ship it NOW.

Comment Re:Goodbye to Affordable Drones (Score 1) 164

Say good bye to affordable drones for hobbyists. Now all drones will have to have a gps module, an altimeter, a microcontroller, and a microprocessor capable of processing all this, extensive software to handle all of this data, .... .

Instead of safety legislation, lets just hold individuals who misuse drones accountable when they do something stupid.

I dunno, sounds like some nifty hardware to void the warrantee on. Hey, the 'good stuff' isn't gonna come outta Colorado by itself, ya know...

Comment Re:file transfer (Score 1) 466

anonymous reader says the floppies are dodgy. If she/he could load new software on it, he/she could copy the files off of the disk, too. The problem is to do it with the software and hardware as-is.

Backing up a 160 meg drive to 1.44 meg floppies is gonna be time consuming. Best get a USB disk box that will fit a 2.5 form factor IDE hard drive and plug it into the USB port of a modern computer. The filesystem would be easily readable on just about anything, it'd be FAT16 for Win 3.x.

Now, if the hard drive is damaged, you're screwed...

Comment Re:well under the gop healthcare plan you may want (Score 1) 88

well under the gop healthcare plan you may want to be in prison if you need anything high cost and you have an preexisting condition

Except these days, most prisons are privately owned and run under government contracts. Their track records speak volumes. They're not gonna spend a dime they think they don't have to to stay profitable. See this, this, and just for the hell of it, this. Further examples can be googled of course.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 224

Solar can't do base load due to transmission issues. Transmitting power to the other side of the planet is non-trivial.

But a small part of making orbital solar work is transmitting power down from orbit.

More fundamentally; the only reason to insist solar do baseload is quasi religious.

It all depends on how many power sats you want in orbit, and what those orbits are. A single monster sat beaming down to one rectenna is probably NOT the way to do it. Several power sats in varying orbits, beaming to multiple rectannae is a damned sight closer. Keep in mind that the further out the orbit is, the longer the 'day' the satellite sees. At geosync, the Earth occludes a sat for only a couple hours a day. Shift to a sat 20 or 30 degrees away, and you can hit that rectenna no problem.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 224

If you define space based solar as solar that uses a light source in space then you are right.

But putting the collectors in space will be stupid and uneconomic for the foreseeable future.

Until the cost of launch and the lower service life on orbit match the efficiency loss on earth (call them 1/2 from atmospheric losses and 4/24 (1/6) for night time based on 'equivalent hours maps') land based solar is cheaper. At a really rough chop, assuming $1 peak watt installed on earth, you'd have to get orbital cost down to under $12 watt installed, on orbit. 2000 watts/meter, 20% efficiency, 80% transmission efficiency. 320 watts/meter of panel, using generous assumptions. $4000 to orbit a square meter of solar cells and support equipment, just to match capital costs with $1/peak watt terrestrial solar.

That's ignoring the %1/year expected degradation on orbit and station keeping costs for the satellite.

That's if you build them on Earth and launch them. Better solution is, launch a few bots to mine, refine, and manufacture them on the Moon and launch from there. The American West would have NEVER been settled if the pioneers demanded every gram of food, water, and construction materials be packed with them from the East. We need to use the local resources.

And who says solar cell SPSs are the way to go? You could just as easily use solar concentrators heating up black iron pipe with sodium as a coolant or something of that nature, then use the vapor to spin a turbine or 3. Yeah, it's simplistic, and not taking into account the engineering problems of turbines in space using corrosives as sodium as the working fluid. But these are engineering challanges, and can be solved. Solar cells have an advantage of no moving parts above the atomic level, but turbines and generators may end up being cheaper, especially if built in space.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 224

That is why space-based solar power is very likely the only way to go.

My inner nerd wholly agrees with you.

My outer nerd thinks orbital base load energy would be a single point of failure, and the entity that provides it would become the de-facto world government. Better to build autonomous terrestrial plants in sovereign countries fueled by an element present on every continent.

And yes, I have even more layers of nerd underneath. It's nerd all the way down.

Yeah, OK, I can agree that thorium is probably the way to go for standing reactors. But not for transportation needs. We are gonna need fuels for cars, planes, trucks, and trains. Running 1000 mile extension cords is PROBABLY not the way to go here .

But seriously, multiple SPSes, built of space-born materials, would help limit the load needed for the baseline energy needs. Some local solar/wind installations will help knock the baseline loads even lower. But we'll still need liquid/solid fuels.

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.