Amiralul writes: In the current climate, as the new US budget plan forces the Constellation project to shut down and handle the LEO space business to private sector, what is the purpose of NASA in the foreseeable future? For the first time, NASA doesn't have even a planned vehicle to allow astronauts to reach Earth's orbit (since space shuttles are scheduled for retirement this year), nor does it have any future manned exploration plans for Moon, Mars and beyond. As manned spaceflight will probably fade-out soon, as private corporates lacks the resources and reasons to fund a mission to the Moon or Mars, what is the purpose of NASA, as a standalone agency? US Army could take over existing satellites maintenance and future launches, since Obama administration doesn't think beyond LEO. No launch vehicle for human missions, no new rockets planned, no roadmap for returning crews on the Moon, no planned Mars expedition for the foreseeable future, so why what's the purpose of NASA these days?
Amiralul writes: "A Romanian student, Andrei Gheorghe, put up a website that aggregates "real-time public twitter updates and selecting those that rhyme" making in this way the longest poem in the world, with approximately 4000 verses/day being added continuously. You can read it on http://www.longestpoemintheworld.com/"
Amiralul writes: "I feel that having GMail or Yahoo email domains on my business card isn't really a professional touch. Yes, I do have a work-domain email address, but it lacks IMAP and it's rather non-responsive from time to time, so I choose not to depend on it for the time being (the previous mentioned free services are actually more reliable). Besides buying a domain and using Google Apps on it (which isn't actually intended for home users), I was thinking on having a domain of my own and choosing a commercial email provider that should provide just that: email (POP3, SMTP, IMAP, with a decent storage space). I don't need storage for my website, I don't need an ugly web interface (if provided and looks decent, maybe I'll use it, but it's not a must-have). If it's free, it's ok, but it doesn't bothers me if it has a decent monthly or anual fee. So, do you slashdoters know any providers that would satisfy my email-related needs?"
Amiralul writes: "DesktopBSD 1.6 was finally released, after many months of release candidates. The new version was built on top of FreeBSD 6.3-RC2, brings both 32 and 64 bit version on the same installer disc (that is also a LiveDVD) and brings new versions of it's software packages (KDE 3.5.8, Xorg 7.3), support for multiple processors and multi-core CPUs. NVIDIA driver is included and the installer now supports upgrading from previous versions (1.0 or release candidates of 1.6).
It's worth mentioning that DesktopBSD (and also it's alternative PC-BSD) are not stand-alone BSD distribution, they are both built on-top of FreeBSD, but the installing and daily use process are simplified for new users."
Amiralul writes: "I start coding on a Sinclair Spectrum clone, using BASIC (what else?), 11 years ago. As years passed, I used MS-DOS, Windows 3.11, 95, 98 and XP, along with Linux, I learned Pascal and C, but never got used to C++, Java or, more recently, C#. I wrote my first serious application in Delphi and it was/still is used by a handful of people from a department of the faculty where I studied. The problem is that my programming skills are way back in the 70-80s (though I was born in 1983) and I want to force an update, but I don't know what direction to follow with all this new languages and buzzwords arround. What I need is probably an idiot-friendly, free environment (Delphi is the best one I used, but it's not free and though I know about Turbo Delphi, I found it a little outdated and Lazarus is not very mature project) to write my programs, because I don't have the time to write the code for placing every button on a form. Also, the applications must run on ordinary PCs (by ordinary people), and should not be complicated (I'm thinking about a customized Periodic Table, some text processing with easy-to-use interface and some "applicationized" Excel macros).
So, my initial thoughts are split between start learning Java for NetBeans (being able to code from Windows, Linux, Solaris or FreeBSD will be great since I play with various OS very often) or C++ for Visual Studio Express (I found C# to be way to exotic). Which is more productive and easy to use, Visual Studio 2008 IDE or NetBeans?
What do you, Slashdotters, advice me to do to get a fresh update on my programming skills? I'm also opened to suggestions about languages (maybe Python, Perl, Ruby or even Visual Basic.NET?)"