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Comment ..and the penny drops (Score 4, Interesting) 161

When I did my Degree in HCI 20 years ago, this was the touted as the way to get the best results when building usable, user-centric systems. Sadly in the two decades since, I don't think I've ever come across a system - hardware, software, app, or anything else for that matter, that actually develops this way. Which is a shame because if they had, my elderly mother could have probably been able to use a PC by now, intead of "What you mean I have to move that little arrow thing All the way over there and press what?"

Comment Ballooning as space launch vehicle (Score 2) 104

I've always wondered why, if we can send balloons to the upper reaches of our atmosphere why we don't use ballooning as a 1st stage launch platform for reaching space? Granted, you'll need big balloons to life satellites or people, but surely getting stuff even 1/3rd or half way there by gentle gas lift balloon would be cheaper, easier, safer and more environmentally friendly way of launching into space. For launching people it's got to be a far less physically stressful way than strapping them to a giant firework as it pulls x number of Gees to reach high altitude and hoping it doesn't explode on the way.And far less risky for satellite launches, it a rocket fails it's a fireball, it a balloon sprouts a leak it's a slow and gentle drop with a parachute) Obviously you'll still need some form of propulsion to reach space, but until we get a space elevator it's surely a going to require far less fuel than the massive amount currently needed to get off the ground in the first place?

Submission + - Over-50s invade the social networking scene (telegraph.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: The Telegraph newspaper reports that over-50s are invading sites like Facebook and MySpace in massive numbers. A recent study showed that nearly one third of Facebook users are aged between 35 and 54, and that this group also made up 41 per cent of MySpace users. Looks like dad just turned up to the party.

From the article: "Because the mind of an over-50 is likely superior to that of a drink-addled undergrad, at first there was uncertainty about whether older users would find the Facebook-led social-networking phenomena attractive. You might, for example, question the broader demographic appeal of Facebook applications like "Marry Me, Sex Me, Kill Me" in which your friends decide whether you're "sexy, marriage material, or dead"...Given that technology icons like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Tim Berners Lee are all well over 50, the market for sites with old-appeal can only grow.".

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.