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Comment: Re:You're joking, right? (Score 3, Informative) 270

by mcd7756 (#42808395) Attached to: Blimps To Help Protect Washington DC From Air Attack

They're not going to pop like a party balloon:

"Because the aerostats are not highly pressurized, bullets won’t burst them; they can actually remain buoyant for hours after suffering multiple punctures." (http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-usas-raid-program-small-aerostats-big-surveillance-time-02779/)

If you google harder than I did, you'll find more information about aerostats.

However, if you'd like to be a worrier consider the following:

  • Aircraft landing at Washington Nation, Dulles and Andrews (home of Air Force One).
  • Ubiquitous surveillance of civilians

Comment: Re:Cape. Which Cape? (Score 3, Informative) 190

by mcd7756 (#31246050) Attached to: Falcon 9 Prepares For High Stakes Launch

You've got to be kidding. As someone who grew up on Merritt Island and had many friends whose dads worked at the Cape, we did not want it changed to be named after Kennedy.

From the wikipedia article:

Although the name change was approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names of the Interior Department in 1964, it was not popular in Florida, especially in the city of Cape Canaveral, Florida. In 1973 the state passed a law restoring the former 400-year-old name, and the board went along. The Kennedy family issued a letter stating they "understood the decision"; Jacqueline Kennedy also stated if she had known that the Canaveral name had existed for 400 years, she never would have supported changing the name. The NASA center retains the "Kennedy" name.

It would have been more appropriate to have renamed Cape Cod as Cape Kennedy, as that was the Kennedy stomping grounds. There's even a museum about Kennedy there. Cape Cod was named in 1602 and Cape Canaveral named in the first half of the 16th century. It was inappropriate for a Texas politician to name a Florida historical site after a Massachusetts politician. Thankfully, in 1973, the mistake was corrected.

Comment: Re:DP, Algorithms, OOP A&D, Threading, etc (Score 1) 396

by mcd7756 (#31199694) Attached to: What Knowledge Gaps Do Self-Taught Programmers Generally Have?

Excellent summary. My bachelor's was in Physics and after several years of coding I got my Master's in compsci. Understanding state machines (via Automata & Computability) helped with untangling complicated conditions and process. The analysis of data structures was also a big deal. I blush at some of the algorithms I wrote.

The only thing I would add to the list above is mathematical logic as applied to programming. While I'm not wild about program correctness techniques, preconditions and postconditions are useful for deciding if a piece of code is correct and has applications in unit testing among others.

Basically, what I got from my CompSci degree is that I finally really understood what I was doing. It made getting the degree a series of aha! moments.

Comment: The shuttle was worth it (Score 1) 164

by mcd7756 (#30682618) Attached to: NASA’s Contest To Design the Last Shuttle Patch
I grew up on Merritt Island in the 60's and 70's and the space program inspired me in my schooling and life. I hope the shuttle program has inspired some youth with the vision for the next steps in space. Regardless of our manifest failings, space exploration and travel represent fine qualities of the human spirit and give me some hope for what humanity can achieve. I know, it's pretty easy to be cynical given the sheer brutal, nastiness that we demonstrate, but I prefer to focus on the positive. That being said, the "Mission Completed" patch really hit home with me, especially the nebula in the background. It is gorgeous. The others are remarkable, the tributes to the lost astronauts are moving and I'd love to have each of these patches.

Comment: Re:Of all the people... (Score 2, Interesting) 426

by mcd7756 (#29946592) Attached to: Asimov Estate Authorizes New <em>I, Robot</em> Books

It's always been fascinating to me that most fiction is repeating the same stories (see Joseph Campbell), but that certain writers can make the tale shine in a new way. It's what she can do with these "generic fantasy" stories that makes her either a good or bad author. Whether she can take the "I, Robot" series and make them memorable and entertaining remains to be seen.

Besides, IMHO, the "I, Robot" stories were to some extent just detective stories, with robots and some interesting speculation about robot "morality", with Asimov exploring how that morality could be circumvented. It is up to the discerning to recognize that he was really talking about human morality...as well as making a living as an author. ;)

The Media

+ - Update: Colorado woman claims hackers killed site

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "Colorado Woman's site taken down... claimed "stolen by hackers"

Colorado Woman Suzanne Shell runs "profane-justice". The site was slashdoted between March 19th 2007, and March 31st, 2007. Information Week reported a legal dispute between Susan Shell and Archive.org, where in spite of a lack of a robots.txt file, it was her belief that her rights were violated by archive crawlers.

The site was shutdown due to exceeding the monthly bandwidth allotment late March 19th, 2007 according EarthLink's error message. It's now Suzanne's contention that "On or about March 18-20, 2007,""this site was maliciously hacked""and sent out all over the world as hot-linked spam pop-ups or some""other similar abusive theft of""bandwidth and content." {quoted from here} and is claiming more than $276,050.00 in damages based on $.01/page and $.02/MB in stolen revenue. Her site claims over 36 million page loads since March 17, 2007.

Is this a case of an online vigilante took it upon themselves to hack the site and spam the world in a period of two days, or is this a case where getting publicity created an interest in her site and it was this interest that exceded her bandwidth allocation? Is it reasonable to claim $276,050.00 for 11 days of down time, or should Suzanne Shell have contacted her ISP and increase her monthly bandwidth allocation? Were hackers/unsolicited pop-ups/spam involved?

It's asked by Suzanne Shell that anyone who received the url to her site by "virtue of unsolicited pop-up, spam, email or any other mechanism" to contact the "FBI Computer Crime center (www.ic3.gov)" case I0703201751051092."
The Courts

+ - Florida Bar Gives Jack Thompson a Wedgie Over Bull

Submitted by
GP
GP writes "Jack Thompson's unsuccessful effort to have Bully declared a public nuisance last October backfired when the Judge filed a complaint with the Florida Bar over Thompson's antics. The Bar has now upheld the complaint and it has been sent to the Florida Supreme Court which has assigned it to a Miami judge for trial. Thompson could face professional sanctions if he loses the case. http://gamepolitics.com/2007/04/04/breaking-florid a-bar-gives-jack-thompson-a-wedgie-over-bully-case /"
Television

Where Are All of the HDTV Tuners? 208

Posted by Cliff
from the in-case-you-forgot-to-buy-one dept.
An anonymous reader asks: "Today I read about rabbit ears making a comeback with OTA HTDV. I want to purchase a standalone ATSC HDTV tuner to go with my projector, but I am having a very hard time finding one. The big-box stores seem to only stock one or two models and are frequently sold out. Searching online yields similar results. It would seem that there would be ever increasing demand for these tuners given that many HDTVs were sold without internal tuners in years past, and these tuners will be necessary for all old NTSC TVs after the February, 2009 shutdown of analog broadcasts. Where should I look to buy one of these devices? Of the currently available models, which are the best? Will the standalone HDTV tuner become a ubiquitous item as the 2009 deadline approaches?"
Portables

+ - The decline and fall of the Palm empire

Submitted by
PetManimal
PetManimal writes "According to Computerworld, Palm is doomed to decline and failure, thanks to a series of bad business decisions including Palm's acquisition by U.S. Robotics back in 1995 and the musical chairs with PalmSource/PalmOne earlier in this decade. There's also been a lack of innovation — Palm's own corporate timeline has tons of references to innovation and development milestones from 1995 to 2000, but since then it's been mostly boring corporate marketing speak about partnerships, new markets, and product releases. Now the Treo has tons of new competitors, and when the iPhone comes out, it will be game over for Palm, says the Computerworld article: '... Last month, [the] iPhone changed everything. Jobs' Macworld keynote was like a nuclear bomb in the world of smart-phone enthusiasts. The "key influencers" who gave Treos visibility and cachet a year ago — Hollywood types, gadget freaks and absolutely everyone who's anyone in Silicon Valley — have stopped talking about Treos and are simply waiting for the iPhone to come out, at which time they will unceremoniously dump their Treos and embrace the new innovation leader. Meanwhile, it looks like Palm isn't even trying to innovate. [Palm CEO Ed] Colligan said in an interview recently that the company is focused on ease of use, rather than design, and that the company doesn't want to "follow design fads." In other words, Palm is not only failing to set trends, it's not even following them anymore.'"

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_

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