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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.

Comment Incomprehensible Review (Score 1) 93

"keeping the signal locked, ..., doesn't always work. My Gnome desktop has blinked on and off a few times, inexplicably; a "Searching all signals" message appears on screen, but it only manages to automatically recapture the signal about half the time. ... ... the lamp will cycle through several colors and brightness levels. Sometimes this is fleeting -- just a momentary change -- but sometimes the image takes on a new hue and stays that way for minutes."

The projector doesn't work correctly, sporadically dropping the signal and randomly changing color temperature...and it's given an 80% grade? What sort of nonsense review is this?

Who is this review for? Who pays $500 for a dim, low resolution display to watch movies or surf the web? For the same price you can get a 22" - 36" 1080p display for home use, that shows a consistent, quality image. For the same price, you can buy a portable projector, that works properly, for professional presentations.

Comment Aerospace is incentivized to be over budget (Score 4, Insightful) 78

Those who denigrate aerospace projects for being over budget and over schedule are either naive or disingenous.

The unfortunate reality is aerospace companies are strongly motivated by the Federal Gov't proposal selection process to bid too low and too fast for high-risk projects like JWST. While not truely "lowest cost" bidder selection, it's understood that a winning bid will be in a certain range, regardless of whether its realistic. And the schedule proposals must also target certain bogies to have a chance of winning, regardless of winning.

And so companies bid low and fast to meet the proposal expectations and requirements, knowing that they'll make it up in cost-plus overruns as the Program proceeds.

And those running the programs know this too.

And ultimately, each project such as JWST is a one-of-a-kind endeavor. New technologies, new manufacturing methods, new test techniques are invented during the course of the project. It's difficult to predict the budget and schedule for doing something never done before; much less keeping to an optimistic budget driven by political needs more than the technical.

To those on JWST, they are doing incredible work, putting in long hours, and coming up with creative solutions to very challenging problems. And everyone of them wants to see JWST succeed.


Submission + - Someone In Congress Actually Understands Mixtapes!

An anonymous reader writes: Most of us (for pretty good reasons!) have come to assume that our Congressional representatives are pretty far out of touch when it comes to things like technology and culture, but it's nice to see that at least one Congressman seems to understand that mixtapes and mashups aren't such a bad thing. Techdirt has the transcript of Rep. Mike Doyle's speech, which talks about the benefits of mixtapes, while wondering about why DJ Drama was arrested: "I hope that everyone involved will take a step back and ask themselves if mash-ups and mix-tapes are really different or if it's the same as Paul McCartney admitting that he nicked the Chuck Berry bass-riff and used it on the Beatle's hit 'I Saw Her Standing There.' Maybe it is. And, maybe Drama violated some clear bright lines. Or, maybe mixtapes are a powerful tool. And, maybe mash-ups are transformative new art that expands the consumers experience and doesn't compete with what an artist has made available on iTunes or at the CD store. And, I don't think Sir Paul asked for permission to borrow that bass line, but every time I listen to that song, I'm a little better off for him having done so...."

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