As they store the data as images, there is no limit to what can be archived. I guess they just chose languages as the most important starting place, as presumably in the far flung future one might have decoded English, but be in possession of a treasure trove of documents written in Kanji that are utterly indecipherable without some sort of reference.
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Check out the Rosetta Project - http://rosettaproject.org/about/
Probably the worst thing you can do is start with some complex clustered architectural design.
Just start on a single server with technologies that are scalable, and design with future scalability in mind. Also design in the ability to capture detailed performance metrics of every tier. When, and if your application usage grows, scale the parts of it that need scaling.
The biggest issue with scaling is usually the database, and for applications where you are just using the database as a simple persistence store for user settings and simple small data sets, you are probably best to go with one of the many scalable "NoSQL" type solutions such as MongoDB, as they've got scalability baked in for free. If you're trying to run heavy duty analytics that join and aggregate massive datasets, there are single DB clustering solutions, but they aren't cheap. You can always scale out SQL databases horizontally, but then you've got issues cloning and replicating, though there are a lot of products in that space, both free and commercial. A cheap place to start would be with PostgreSQL, which appears to have multiple open source replication products.
I don't think there is anything inherently limiting to sticking with Java. It's what you know, and the toolsets are deep and rich. No, it's not the hot new thing, but sometimes that can be a good thing.
I remember those heady days well. But over time slashdot's lost relevance to me. I stopped posting long ago as the quality of the discourse dropped, and I started linking directly to most of the sites slashdot regularly references. I also became unable (or unwilling) to comprehend the complicated comment filtering crud several years back (really, what's up with that?)
I do have slashdot to thank for helping me discover arstechnica - which has mostly replaced slashdot for my tech news discussion forum needs.
But still, I check slashdot daily.
Have fun Rob, enjoy your family, and find something new and interesting to do.
Just have the darned black box broadcast all of its data once every millisecond. Put receivers on satellites and on grounds stations or even on other planes. Give the transmitter a range of several thousand miles, and come up with some scheme to avoid broadcast collisions (either time or code division multiplexing).
If a plane goes down go back to the recorded transmissions, of which there should be multiple copies.
Converse All Stars. Don't know about high arches, but I too had foot pain at first after running in them. It subsided after awhile after the muscles, tendons and ligaments bulked up.
The reason you are experiencing pain is that one side of the thick wedges of foam in your shoe has lost it's spring, turning your shoe into a crappy little ramp that actually accentuates whatever that wedge was meant to correct.
The proper corrective for poor form is not a running shoe. It's either running barefoot, or running in a shoe with a thin rubber sole that serves as protection only. Try if for a month, but build your miles slowly. All the muscles, tendons and ligaments that your current shoes have allowed to atrophy will build up, and eventually you will be running like nature intended, with nearly perfect form.
You can protect your feet without slapping an inch thick slab of foam rubber under them.
I run in thin soled canvas shoes and have never had an injury from stepping on something. In fact I've had fewer ankle turn injuries as I can actually feel the surface and react if I've stepped on something that might cause my foot to slip or roll.