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Comment Why does no one mimic Apple where it counts? (Score 5, Insightful) 104

Ooh! Look! They've invented paper and the $0.99 solar-powered calculator!

HP's already announced and seemingly canceled amazing new Win7 tablet. They've bought WebOS and then suggested that they're going to stuff it in printers, so forget about tablets for now. So what are they doing here? More stuff that doesn't exist or won't leave the lab? Or won't be sold until I've already bought my iPad 2?

Why don't these companies mimic Apple where it matters? Don't rumor, tease, prototype, spin, et cyk? Shut up until you've got something work talking about...and then release it!

Comment Touch OS (Score 1) 434

You're buying outdated, conventional desktop platform for kids that will be developing on Mobile / Touch OS systems in 8-12 years.

That is, you can't predict the future, so get an appropriate system to teach them fundamentals, problem-solving, and some immediate skills.

Comment Re:Technically real world use.... OSX (Score 2, Insightful) 434

While you're right that NASA use of Mac OS X is much higher, it's not true industry wide. The *only* people with Macs are the NASA employees. Everyone else, working at conventional companies like Boeing and Northrop Grumman use PCs.

This is not good or bad, it just is. NASA gives their technical people significant freedom in choosing their computer and software. But it's atypical. Everyone else buys Wintel systems.

(I'm a Ph.D. working on a NASA project through a major subcontractor. I just spent the week at a joint meeting with NASA, ESA, and industry reps for a NASA project.)

Comment Demos are fun (Score 1) 82

From the article, "This month, ITT Corp. in Rochester, N.Y., demonstrated robotic mirror installation equipment designed to position segments on the backplane."

I'm pleased to say that I was one of the individuals giving that demo to the JWST review team :) And kudos to the team for assembling quite the system for integrating the segments.

Comment Re:'IT' is coming... (Score 1) 853

Yes, we've considered it. And dismissed it. This is obviously not a PR stunt by Apple. They don't do early reveals on their hardware. They've not revealed the past three iPhones. They didn't clumsily leak the iPad's design. It's obvious they don't care or need to leak in on the 4th iteration of iPhone, a device that's guaranteed to be a success.

And when they do leak info, it goes to the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. It doesn't go to Gizmodo.

Comment Getting it right (Score 2, Informative) 47

Unfortunately the article gets the technical aspects wrong.

NASA is not "freezing" the mirror segments to make sure they "survive" space.

The JWST will operate at a cryogenic temperature in space. The mirrors are measured at cryovac to guide the manufacturing process so they will have the correct optical prescription at the telescope's operational temperature.

Similarly, we're testing support optics, for the pre-launch JWST testing, at cryo. We'll have the first of a one set down to temp in short order.

Comment Re:CDs? (Score 1) 334

It's a new technology promising lower cost and higher sound quality than the current digital downloads. It employs state of the art lossless audio encoding, capturing sonic signals beyond human hearing. The promoters also boast every purchase comes with a free archival system, so if your digital version is lost, you can trivially recover it. Even more amazing, it has absolutely no DRM!

This technology is bleeding edge, and so far ahead of the current lossy, non-archived, unshareable digital dreck, it's no wonder a kid wouldn't have heard of it.

Comment Who said it's "classified"? (Score 1) 354

Where is said the information is "classified"? This may be ITAR controlled data, which is not classified.

There is a broad range of information which is not classified, which is not trade-secret, which can be discussed openly...but never with any foreign persons.

It has a good deal of security theater. Data can and will be granted export exceptions if that exception is needed to get the work done for, say, NASA. So it's export prohibited until it must be exported to get the job done, and then it's not export prohibited.

Comment Re:Why not a laptop? (Score 1) 263

Seriously, a wifi-equipped laptop can be had for less than $400, and with a 15" screen and decent internet access, why would someone want a limited, single-purpose crippled cellphone such as a you buy for $50 at Verizon?

Seriously, a hammer can be had for less than $10 and can effectively pound a fastener through any amount of wood? Why would someone want a limited, overpriced drill?

You buy the tool best suited for the job.

Comment This is how ITAR hurts us. (Score 4, Informative) 354

And this is how ITAR is damaging to our national security. As the DOE and DOD are major funding agencies at universities and national labs, we are now creating a research system that prevents foreign nationals from participating. And since they are a large percentage of our grad students, that's a major problem. It subsequently makes the US a less enticing place for the skilled students we'd like to immigrate here.

Comment Re:Why stop there.. (Score 4, Informative) 354

If this is ITAR and not classified data, then there may not be the signing of voluminous forms. ITAR just is. If your company is on top of it, then the staff will get powerpoint briefings about it. But there aren't signatures and forms and etc.

And everyone is liable regardless of whether they've heard of ITAR, had the powerpoint briefings or don't even work in defense industries. If you, say, bought a bulletproof vest from eBay and then traveled to Mexico you'd be guilty of an ITAR violation. (real example)

Comment The rules have changed. (Score 5, Informative) 354

The rules have changed. It is now illegal to "export" ITAR data, that is "sensitive" defense technology to foreign persons. However, this data is not classified. You can tell it to any and every US Person: your friends, family, neighbors, convenience store clerk. SO long as they are a US Person and also know not to tell it to Foreign National, they can know it.

However, telling it to a Canadian can get you sent to prison.

The rules have changed. And it's damaging to critical industries and research institutions.

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