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Comment: timing - which year (Score 2) 72

by SteveWoz (#47628049) Attached to: Expensive Hotels Really Do Have Faster Wi-Fi

I travel a ton and stay in dozens of different hotels every year. Domestically, and in maybe 50% of the foreign cases, the high priced hotels had worse and slower internet up until a couple of years ago. For the last 2 years they have gotten better, on the average. Oh, I was in a 5-star Vegas resort last night that had horrible bandwidth. In the past, my joke was accurate that the difference between a Four Seasons (just an example) and a Super 8 is that at the Super 8 the internet worked and was free. The most important thing to me in a hotel is computer use. The fancy suites in major hotels are often set up for entertaining friends and DON'T even have a computer desk. I ask my wife to book me into Super 8's whenever possible.

Comment: Re:The question to me seems to be... (Score 1) 148

by SteveWoz (#47357639) Attached to: Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

End goal: change the constitution. We need a start. It's easy to see how hard this will be and to give up early, but some of us feel the imperative to fight for it. We can change things. The vast will of the masses (corporation political donations are not equivalent to the free speech we enjoy as individuals) needs to be strategically gathered. Critical mass could take decades, as with things like gay marriage.

Comment: Re:Anyone has the real facts? (Score 2) 226

Yes, I contacted JSC PAO and they unequivocally said that there are no "virus epidemics" on the ISS. There is no current outbreak of anything, stuxnet or otherwise. Kaspersky's comments weren't about an ongoing event—rather, they are off-the-cuff unsourced remarks that could refer to any number of past incidents.

Comment: Re:Summer (Score 1) 346

by willith (#44923073) Attached to: My favorite season:

Winter. It's the best three weeks in Texas, and the only time you're able to go outside without becoming sticky with sweat after 15 seconds at any time of the day or night. Plus, you get so sleep with an actual blanket, instead of the thinnest sheet you can find. It's great to actually be able to wear normal clothes outdoors—layers! Suits! Coats!

Summer is my least favorite. Sure, you can go to the beach, but it lasts eight months, from April through November, and every second of it is an experience in humid misery. You spend your time dashing from one air conditioned space to the next, dreading your $400 monthly electricity bill (because of your home's central air), and dreaming of what it feels like to be cold.

If I could move, I would. Unfortunately—perhaps BECAUSE it's so miserable down here—home prices are ludicrously reasonable, so I stay.

Comment: Re:Who do people still use PayPal high value accou (Score 4, Insightful) 443

by willith (#44765477) Attached to: PayPal Freezes MailPile's Account

That's insane. If someone steals my credit card number, there's fast and quick legal redress. The most inconvenient part is waiting for the credit card company to overnight me a new card.

Paypal, on the other hand, can lift actual money right out of the checking account they insist on linking to my account and actually defraud me. There is literally no instance where simply using a credit card number is less safe than dealing with paypal.

Comment: Re:Interesting indeed (Score 4, Informative) 100

Probably too late to pick up any moderation points, but no. The CAD files are considered export-controlled technology and are not publicly available. I asked this specifically when I was talking with the engineers involved in the effort. It's also why the article I wrote (linked up-thread) lacks images of the disassembled F-1 engine and its components. I desperately wanted to photograph the lab and its awesome assortment of rocket parts, but NASA and the US government did not allow pictures of export-controlled technology.

Comment: Re:Interesting indeed (Score 5, Insightful) 100

The "paperwork" has never been lost—every shred of documentation is intact and on file. In fact, engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center have been spending the past year busily disassembling and working with components from several stored F-1 engines. They've constructed highly detailed CAD models of the engines, and even done hot firing on one of the gas generator segments.

I penned a very detailed piece on this over at Ars Technica earlier this year, including photos and video of one of the gas generator hot-fires. The piece includes multiple interviews with senior propulsion scientists at MSFC, and thoroughly debunks the "but the blueprints are lost!" urban myth.

+ - Confirmed: F-1 rocket engine salvaged by Amazon's Bezos is from Apollo 11->

Submitted by willith
willith (218835) writes "The folks at Bezos Expeditions have confirmed that faintly visible serial numbers on one of the large engine components they lifted from three miles below the ocean's surface match the serial number of F-1 engine F-6044, which flew in the center position on Saturn V number SA-506—Apollo 11. With the 44th anniversary of the first lunar landing coming up tomorrow, the confirmation comes at an auspicious time. The F-1 engine remains to this day the largest single-chamber liquid fueled engine ever produced—although NASA is considering using a newer uprated design designated as the F-1B to help boost future heavy-lift rockets into orbit."
Link to Original Source

+ - How NASA steers the Int'l Space Station around asteroids & other debris->

Submitted by willith
willith (218835) writes "I got to sit down with ISS TOPO Flight Controller Josh Parris at the Houston Mission Control Center and talk about how NASA steers all 400 tons of the International Space Station around potential collisions, or "conjunctions," in NASA-parlance. The TOPO controller, with assistance from USSTRATCOM's big radars, keeps track of every object that will pass within a "pizza-box"-shaped 50km x 50km x 4km perimeter around the ISS. Actually moving the station is done with a combination of large control moment gyros and thrusters on both the Zvezda module and visiting vehicles. It's a surprisingly complex operation!"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:ET's big failure... (Score 1) 146

by willith (#43892203) Attached to: Salvaging E.T. In Software, Instead of New Mexico

I'd very much have to disagree. Atari games were often quite opaque—Yar's Revenge is a good example of a game that didn't make a lick of sense unless you'd read the manual. There wasn't room on the ROM for any handholding. Plus, most games had dozens of different modes of play available through the game select switch (like Combat, or Space Invaders), and figuring out the differences between them absolutely required a manual.

Just because he's dead is no reason to lay off work.

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