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Comment Re:Humans on Mars make no scientific sense (Score 1) 162

The Earth and the ISS are the only two places in the solar system that a human being can do anything without wearing some sort of space suit. The ISS can only provide this environment thanks to a lot of external logistics support from Earth. There are exactly zero self-contained and self-sufficient environments off Earth. The most inhospitable environments on Earth are orders of magnitude easier to survive in than even the most inviting environments in the rest of the solar system.

Even if we managed to get some sort of colony established on Mars or the Moon it would take vast sums of money and a lot of time to get them to a point where they could be considered even remotely self-sufficient. We have a difficult time building entirely self-contained and self-sufficient environments here on Earth let alone in deep space.

Keep in mind self-sufficient doesn't mean a bunch of Martian or Lunar agrarian colonists in some steady state. It means having enough advanced industry to build equipment necessary for survival of subsequent generations. If Martians can't build themselves new backhoe loaders, space suits, and semi-conductors they're not going to survive Earth getting wiped out.

Thinking that we're going to colonize the solar system as "insurance" against something happening to Earth is a fantasy. Colonizing space is absolutely nothing like colonizing anywhere on the Earth. Columbus and Cabot had breathable air, drinkable water, and edible flora and fauna at their destinations.

Comment Re:Check their pockets (Score 1) 508

All of your points apply equally with PCs. Just because those things might happen does not mean they will or that the OP needs to deal with them. They would not be expected to do tech support for the virus-riddled home PC any more than they would be expected to do with a phone. Writing up a cheat sheet with some pointers to free online services is hardly tech support.

Various versions of Android and iOS are immaterial since the requirement for the class would be a particular application or suite of applications. If they can run Google Docs or Office 365 on their device and can send the instructor documents they have fulfilled that class requirement. Who cares if the kid typed up their paper with the on-screen keyboard on a tiny screen? If the content of hte paper is good and it was turned in on time it doesn't really matter how they physically managed to write it.

Comment Check their pockets (Score 1) 508

Even students without traditional computers at home likely have very servicable smart phones in their pockets. Fairly capable smartphones are available at very low prices or free with contract. There's even the so-called "Obama Phones" (cheap phones and cell service offered to various government assistance recipients) that some students may have.

With that in mind think about how you can get them to use those devices they already have to not only access resources but do their homework. Do some research to find out some cheap or free apps that can do the sorts of tasks you need done for your class. For instance a good PDF reader for books and documents and an editing app/suite for writing assignments. Google Docs and Microsoft Office are both readily available for Android and iOS, you could provide some instructions for writing papers and sending them through those services. You can even do document sharing so you can collaborate with them on assignments. Don't limit that concept to the phone-only students. Online collaboration can be a useful skill for them to learn and it gives you as the teacher an ability to correct or advise their work in real time.

There's a lot of cheap Bluetooth keyboards that work very well with Android and iOS. You can recommend (or provide) some for students lacking traditional PCs at home so they can type up long form assignments. Additionally give your phone-only students some idea of places that might have free WiFi (libraries) so they can access higher bandwidth content.

Between students with traditional PCs and only smartphones you're probably going to get 99% of your students. For those handful without either a PC or smartphone there's computers at the public library, school library, or even your classroom. You can always accept handwritten papers and abuse the school's printers to get a few dead tree copies of online documents.

Comment Re:In Theory - Thor (Score 1) 87

I'm an implementer of OIM (10 years now). OIM is an excellent framework for a provisioning tool, but the connectors are terrible (fortunately easy to build your own against the API) and the UI is useless. The most successful OIM implementations I've come across (or built) have been ones that used a custom UI and/or just made everything scriptable. The API is really the saving grace of OIM. It's confusing, but it is powerful.

Sadly, I'm watching the product spiral downhill as of the last several versions.

Comment Re:War is Boring is shit (Score 1) 843

So you'd like to see the F-35 trying to mow down Ruskie tank columns trying to break through the Fulda Gap after air superiority had been achieved? That was the environment that the A-10 was designed to handle. The A-10 was designed to be a flying tank because it was meant to fly low and take enemy AA fire. Its air defense capabilities are really only useful against attack helicopters.

The F-35 can't take the beating that an A-10 would shrug off but it's unlikely to receive such a beating. In an anti-armor role the F-35 isn't going to do low and slow strafing runs with its guns and doesn't need keep its boresight on target to hit with its air-to-ground missiles. In the CAS role the F-35 has a much longer range, higher speed, and longer loiter time than the A-10. It can deliver precision guided munitions much faster than the A-10 and then scamper off to the next target.

The F-35 is also capable of carrying more combat payload than the A-10. It can carry more munitions faster and farther than the A-10, all with low observability (depending on payload configuration obviously). When it returns from a CAS or strike mission it can also re-arm and fly CAP.

The A-10 is a nice plane and obviously very survivable. Its replacement however does not need to have all of the exact same characteristics to perform the same tasks.

Comment Re: I use Pacific C Compiler (Score 1) 257

I would modify this advice slightly by suggesting you print out the documentation and get it professionally bound. In fact print out multiple copies. Document (and print) all the details of the development and maintenance processes. Everything from electrical schematics and tolerances to specific compiler versions.

Take the time to paginate all of the documentation and then build indices. When referencing code modules give printed hash values so potential bit rot can be detected.

I have CD-Rs, hard drives, and floppy disks that are twenty years old and can no longer be read reliably. However I have forty year old technical documentation that I can read with no issues.

Comment Re:Open Source Windows (Score 1) 290

For the past twenty years Microsoft's two major sources of income were Windows and Office. One is an operating system to make the computer go and the other is software to let people do something with it.

Windows is mostly tied to the sales of x86 computers. PC sales peaked in about 2010 and aren't likely to get back to that high point. That doesn't mean Microsoft is doomed. They're doing the smart thing and porting their software to growing platforms.

This means the market for Office can explode. Not only do they keep their position on PCs but can expand it to iOS and Android devices of which there are billions.

Office on iOS and Android means there's a bridge between the Microsoft dominated world of the PC and the mobile world where they have an inferior position. This reinforces their desktop position because Office remains the de facto standard in business, even when their mobile devices don't run Windows.

Microsoft isn't alone here. Adobe, Autodesk, and plenty of other traditional software houses are looking to extend their reach to mobile platforms. Mobile isn't necessarily replacing the traditional desktop but is growing independently.

Comment Slashdice are you fucking joking? (Score 5, Insightful) 94

Oh man sweet an unbiased report about the importance of Linux certifications! From a job board and a organization selling Linux certifications no less. I bet this report is totally legit and has hard numbers to back up all of the claims. I'm probably not going to be disappointing from some obvious slashvertisement.

"Of course power tools and alcohol don't mix. Everyone knows power tools aren't soluble in alcohol..." -- Crazy Nigel