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Comment The future is already. (Score 3, Insightful) 664

Gmail wins mail.
Google docs provides a position in the office market.
Google Wave provides a shared, collaborative team synchronization system.
Google Voice provides a complete solution replacement for all phones.
Android positions Google in the handheld market.
Cell providers cut Google a sweet deal for ad revenue sharing (well documented already)
Cell providers cut Google a deal to resell wireless at their whim. (well documented)
Chromium OS excludes local storage, relies on cloud computing, ties to ubiquitous wireless data access resold by Google.

Screw the future. It's not "still coming." With Chromium OS, Google just implemented ubiquitous, disposable, always-on, wireless computing, collaborating, and calling for the masses, who need never again fear their computer breaking, their hard drive eating their data, or nearly anything else.
...and from this future there will be no escape.

Comment Re:We don't understand it but we can do it (Score 3, Interesting) 90

A scientist says, "This works, but I don't know why, How do I complete the theory?"
An engineer says, "This works, but I don't know why. How do I use it to build something that does what I want?"
A good engineer says, "This works, but I don't know why. How do I use it to build something that does what I want.. And, in what domain does my model break down and how do I make sure I don't get my system into that domain?"

Sizable chunks of control theory, frequency analysis, and some other core theoretical components of what we now consider to be solid engineering work were being applied long before the theoretical basis behind them was solidly proven to be correct from a pure mathematical standpoint.

Comment Re:Why can you not just read the rom?? (Score 2, Informative) 124

The ROM is not on a chip, it's burned into the CPU die itself. There are no memory access lines which reach it. It's only able to be read from within the CPU itself, and there is a CPU register which permanently disables that data path, once that specific register is written to. The last instruction in the boot ROM writes to that register, the boot ROM eats the poison pill, and the next instruction is the start instruction of your cartridge ROM.

The ROM was read out by beating the hell out of the processor electrically, during the exact clock cycle that the poison pill register is written, such that the write gets lost or scrambled, therefore the boot ROM remains accessible for readout.

Next time, RTFA before you ask stupid questions. "+4, Interesting"? Give me a break. Lazy idiot.

Comment Re:Vests? (Score 2, Funny) 206

Although getting hit with a taser while wearing one ...

Electrical charge stays on the outside of a conductive sphere.
See (

So In theory, wrapping yourself in a conductive nanotube mesh would prevent the charge from hurting you.

And wrapping yourself in tinfoil would protect you from the police even better! ... Waaaait a minute.

Comment Mountain Wave Action (Score 5, Informative) 101

The proper term for what they're describing is a mountain wave or wave action. contains a good description of the effect.

Mountain waves can be felt in small piston powered aircraft even flying significantly above the tops of the mountains, even several thousand feet above the peaks on either side of the valley you're crossing.

If you're holding altitude, you see that you speed up when you're crossing falling terrain and slow down when you're crossing rising terrain -- because as you cross the rising terrain, you're in the downdraft and so to maintain altitude, your airplane "feels" like it has to climb to stay at the same altitude in the falling air. Climbing requires additional power over simple cruise flight, or you slow down.

I've seen airspeed of an aircraft that should cruise at 150 knots, range from 90-180 knots, depending on whether you're on the uphill or downhill side of the wave. In severe conditions, you just cant' maintain altitude without slowing down too much, and you have to vary altitude to ride the waves.

It can be a scary experience knowing you don't have enough power to out-climb the wave -- That's the reason that you typically fly significantly higher in the mountains, even with good visibility -- You're not worried about hitting the mountains because you can't see them, you're worried about getting sucked by these waves and not having enough altitude to ride them out.


NASA Requests Help With Von Braun's Notes 148

DynaSoar writes "NASA is soliciting ideas from the public on how best to catalog and digitize the collected notes of Wernher von Braun. 'We're looking for creative ways to get it out to the public,' said project manager Jason Crusan. 'We don't always do the best with putting out large sets of data like this.' The PDF notes are those of rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, the first director of NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and are typed with copious handwritten notes in the margin. According to the official request for information, NASA needs ideas on what format to use (PDF), how to index the notes, and how to create a useful database. The unique nature and historical value of the data, literally discovered in boxes six months ago, is what motivated NASA to ask the public for ideas."

Comment Re:Actually, I see an even bigger problem (Score 1) 316

EVE solved this problem by creating a big world to start with then artificially cordoning off certain regions.

Technically accurate but irrelevant.

The expansion opened up approximately 25% more space, in a game that has grown from 5,000 peak concurrent users to 45,000 PCU since launch. When you have 9x the customers online, 25% more space to put them in doesn't even begin to make a dent.

Further, the space added is 0.0 space, which due to its dangerous environment, something like half the players in the game have never even been to. Essentially, they expanded the PK zone of the server without expanding the non-PK zone of the server. To the PK-fearing population (Carebears in EVE-speak), the new drone regions did nothing.

EVE has solved (mitigated?) the single server concept by sharding, but in a special hierarchical case. Each solar system is its own server, and has a means of transferring users from one server to another within the EVE cluster. A proxy server at their public internet connection funnels data from each user to the appropriate server, based on knowledge of which solar system each user is in. It's a hierarchical server-of-servers. Essentially, each solar system is a shard, but is a guaranteed singleton shard with constant portals to other nearby shards. Thus the illusion of an unsharded world is preserved.

Comment Re:More hype than necessary. (Score 1) 184

The (relatively) recent Fossett crash is a prime example of this -- His aircraft was not equipped with a ELT beacon at all (in violation of law) and had he been ELT equipped, he would have been found within a day.

First, it isn't against the law unless he was carrying passengers. The plane he was flying did not fall under those regs.

14 CFR 91.207 states that you need an ELT unless you fly an "aircraft equipped to carry not more than one person". The Decathalon having having the second seat installed requires the ELT. Occupancy of the seat is irrelevant.

Past that, agreed with all you say.

Comment Re:More hype than necessary. (Score 1) 184

14 CFR 91.207 - Emergency locator transmitters.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section, no person may operate a U.S.-registered civil airplane unless-- ...
[An ELT is installed and maintained as described] ...
(f) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to-- ...
(9) Aircraft equipped to carry not more than one person; ...

If your aircraft has a second seat installed, you need an ELT. Occupancy of the seat is irrelevant.

Comment Re:More hype than necessary. (Score 1) 184

The ELT is on the aircraft's MEL (Minimum equipment list), a set of equipment required for lawful operation of the aircraft. If an item on that list breaks, say, a radio, you're required by law to fix it before you fly again.

If your driver's seat belt in your car tore, it's illegal for you to operate it until you fix it. That said, there's nothing that keeps you from doing so, until you get pulled over and a cop notices. Much the same in the aircraft, except 'ramp checks' as they're called, are very uncommon, typically only administered as added pain after you already got caught for screwing up for other reasons.

ELTs are maintained yearly as part of the required annual inspection. If it fails, you might be tempted to fly for a while without it until you get it sorted, and then just forget and let it go. Stupid, but sometimes things get missed. Bravado might have had something to do with it too.

Comment More hype than necessary. (Score 5, Informative) 184

Yes, the existing ELT (Emergency Location Transmitter) beacons are no longer monitored by satellite. That does not mean they become useless. They broacast an audio tone on a radio frequency all civil and military aircraft can tune to.

Many pilots fly with their second radio continually tuned to this frequency, and I have been on flights in a general aviation flight where we have picked up beacons and reported them to ATC. More often than not, it's a hard landing that trips the beacon and the aircraft is parked on the ramp.

Finally, when your aircraft does go missing, these beacons are deliberately tuned by authorities doing search and rescue work, such as the Civil Air Patrol. Aircraft listen for and locate the general location of the beacon, and ground personnel locate the beacon with good directional antennas.

The (relatively) recent Fossett crash is a prime example of this -- His aircraft was not equipped with a ELT beacon at all (in violation of law) and had he been ELT equipped, he would have been found within a day.

The big thing that changes here is that, with the sattelites no longer monitoring, ATC will not get an automatic alert when a beacon turns on. This tech is spotty at best, however, and of course, 90% of ELT activations are false alarms anyways.

The new 406 Mhz beacons include a GPS reciever and actively transmit their location, such that rescue units simply get a waypoint on their GPS where the transmitter is downed. They are a far better technology, but the existing system does work well.

Overall, more hype than needed.


Here Comes iPhone Nano, But Not In the US 177

jehovajerieh writes to us in the time-honored tradition of rampant Apple speculation, pointing to an article over on IBTimes suggesting that while the iPhone Nano may be on the way, the US might not be the first to experience this gadget bliss. "Despite limited information in the supplier channels and typical secrecy with new Apple products, insiders have confirmed that the iPhone nano is not yet in the testing labs at AT&T, Marshal says, leading him to believe that the launch will most likely be with a non-US carrier. 'Obviously, the best-case scenario here would be a China launch (~600mil+ wireless subscribers total in the country), but we have no definitive knowledge of this and are working on identifying the [locale] of launch and other pertinent details,' he said."

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