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Comment: Re:I'm going to have an excellent seat (Score 1) 144

by wwphx (#46749561) Attached to: The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight
She's not a swimsuit model, and frankly I wouldn't want one, too high maintenance. But she is good enough for television: at least two BBC productions and one Japanese production have been made because of this lunar laser ranging program. Still, we're celebrating our 9th anniversary in June, and the coolest thing is that she found me through online dating even though I was 500 miles away.

So to my fellow geeks: there is hope, and patience is sometimes rewarded.

Comment: Re:I'm going to have an excellent seat (Score 2) 144

by wwphx (#46749537) Attached to: The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight
Actually, the Big Bang people heard of a talk by Dr. Tom Murphy (UCSD) who's in charge of this lunar laser ranging thing called APOLLO ( and contacted him for info on how to do the BBT ep. My wife was also the closing segment on the 2008 Mythbusters lunar landing hoax episode, and I did a ten-minute documentary on the laser at my YouTube channel: Originally the Mythbusters wanted to build their own rig, but when they found out the cost and accuracy required they decided it was better to spend a few days traveling to New Mexico, it also gave them a chance to evaluate the gear that they were going to use for their first Alaska Special. Apparently Adam had a really bad problem with the high altitude of the observatory, Apache Point is at 9200', not an uncommon problem.

Comment: Re:well that was new... (Score 1) 75

by wwphx (#46630885) Attached to: <em>Ultima Online</em> Devs Building Player-Run MMORPG

... I think the problem is th[e] level design devs. ...

Agreed. I've been playing and running RPGs since white box/three book D&D, Traveller and Top Secret in the late '70s and designing card games for over a decade, and played computer games since it was possible. I've always felt that the thing that was really missing from online MMOs was the touch of a good face-to-face game master. I remember one of the D&D RPGs where you controlled a party of 4-6 characters and thought 'THIS is a game that's designed pretty well.' I've gotten some hints of that in Vanguard and Elder Scrolls Online, but that feeling in WoW is happening less and less. You're so heavily railroaded in WoW and there's really nothing you can do about it. Sure, you might be able to kill mobs of critters until you hit level cap, but it'd be pretty boring.

Comment: Re:I've known this for the last 20 years (Score 1) 79

by wwphx (#46610253) Attached to: Used IT Equipment Can Be Worth a Fortune (Video)
Yeah, there's definitely a market. My wife operates a 3.5 meter telescope, and one program that she runs works only on an old Sony laptop running XP. Apparently the graphic part of the program is tied so closely to the hardware that it just doesn't work as well on anything else. I really ought to scrounge and buy a couple more for backups. What will probably happen is the observatory won't do a thing until the current one rolls over and dies.

Comment: Re:Soundex Algorithm (Score 1) 275

by wwphx (#46596945) Attached to: TSA Missed Boston Bomber Because His Name Was Misspelled In a Database
Well, Soundex has only been around for almost a century, we can't expect government programmers to be up on the latest technology. Even though every major relational database supports it. Even though most programming languages implement it. Even though you could write your own implementation without too much difficulty.

Comment: Re:Oopsie! (Score 1) 154

by wwphx (#46587767) Attached to: What Fire and Leakage At WIPP Means For Nuclear Waste Disposal
Medical/industrial toxic waste is still dangerous and can be used for making dirty bombs designed to spread said nuclear waste over a large area. Not incredibly deadly, but very expensive to clean up, it must be carefully and properly disposed of. I remember reading about a dental x-ray machine that was improperly disposed of and was basically taken south of the border and dumped. Somehow the container of nuclear material burst or was broken open and little kids played with the powder inside. I never heard what the follow-on health problems were.

Comment: Re:Shoot it to the sun? (Score 1) 154

by wwphx (#46587723) Attached to: What Fire and Leakage At WIPP Means For Nuclear Waste Disposal
Thank you, I've always wondered why these types of waste were not reprocessable. A friend of mine went to ASU in the '70s/'80s and they had an Indian physicist called Dr. Roy (no idea what the last name was) who claimed to have a method for safely disposing of nuclear waste, never heard of the program going live.

Comment: Re:Is LibreOffice vulnerable to the same exploit? (Score 1) 88

by wwphx (#46587323) Attached to: Microsoft Word Zero-Day Used In Targeted Attacks
dBase III+ back in the '80s had a competitor called FoxBase. FB was crazy fast due to a very fast pre-compiler and a greatly improved indexing scheme. FB copied dBase's bugs because they had known workarounds in the programming community, and fixing the bug would break established code. Of course dBase was bought out by Borland, FB was bought out by Microsoft, and the world moved on to better implementations of the relational model.

Comment: Re:Block all .RTF attachments (Score 1) 88

by wwphx (#46587277) Attached to: Microsoft Word Zero-Day Used In Targeted Attacks
Thank you, Dissy. My last job (and probably my next) was in a Windows environment, our ERP-that-is-not-to-be-named abused SQL Server to the point that if you unplugged the server while it was doing a payroll process, you had to load a backup from before the start: the ERP-system-never-sufficiently-cursed did not use SQL Server's transaction log, all record updates were line-by-line using cursors through an application server so that their one pustulent code base would work poorly against SQL Server, Oracle, and something else like PostgreSQL.

They could have written such a better system if they'd let me train their programmers in relational database and modern techniques, instead they forced them out in to retirement.

Too many people think the solution is to drop in *nix, not taking in to account business cases. And we the damned are forced to make it all work.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan