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Comment A three hour tour (Score 1) 70

Leaving it for a while as a lifeboat might be an idea for the future, but it might not be a bad idea either to go ahead and let it return its first time out, as a test.

Plus, it's not like it's returning empty. I gather they're using it to ship some stuff back, and I expect they'd rather go ahead and get it landed.

Comment Re:First-to-file isn't a problem (Score 1) 183

Thanks, this is actually pretty informative. I had actually been thinking over the implications of a first to file system in the sense of truly first to file, without prior art being considered... and taking out a patent on "a process of generating heat by igniting combustible materials" (read: inventing fire) was starting to sound appealling.

I was in the process of thinking up arguments for defending the invention on grounds that wasn't obvious (whole generations of early man probably lived without it) and that nobody had yet filed a claim on it, when I read your post.

Comment 1980s equivalent (Score 1) 632

Mine was good for a high school AP comp sci class in the 80s. We had a lab of IBM PC/2s, linked by Ethernet, but no Internet.

Subject matter was taught in Pascal: searching and sorting algorithms (everything from bubble to various trees to radix), data structures (arrays but then progressing to linked lists, trees, balanced trees... probably hit peak at sparse matrices.) All in all, a really good program, mainly because we had a good teacher who knew his stuff. It set me up pretty well for a CS degree in college.

Comment Computing is in everything (Score 3, Insightful) 337

One argument is that since there's now a computer in everything, a modern intro to computers class should probably be diversified to cover a lot more than using a PC. It could almost be an "intro to modern life" class. Some topics for the syllabus might be:

Setting up a home network, including a FIOS/DSL router or a cable modem and a Tivo/DVR with a a cable card. Options for mobile computing/e-mail. Password strategies. Controlling what you share on social networks. Transferring files around between PC/smart phone/tablet/digital camera/etc. Keeping an offsite backup of important data. etc. etc.

Comment Why am I playing the game? (Score 1) 201

Type of game makes a big difference. Is it a strategy/tactics game where I need to be able to discern the overall situation from the screen, and see past the individual pixels? Or is it an eye candy RPG where part of the fun is reveling in the cinematography? Or a casual game like Angry Birds where the visuals reinforce some basic fun/humor element?

It's up to a game developer to figure out what the customers will care about and build appropriately; part of the trick to a blockbuster game is making those decisions correctly.

Comment Re:Wires are not the issue. (Score 1) 118

Transfer efficiency is an important point, but I might also be a bit concerned about heat generation; a lot of wireless inductive chargers I've seen for small devices like ipods and such do seem to generate a lot of heat, which doesn't always do great things for battery systems. The vandalism/weatherproofing issues are good points, though, and worth consideration.

To be fair, I admit some bias. Every time there's a push for electric cars, I can't help wanting to play Rush's "Red Barchetta" pretty loud. I can see myself at either end of that: the uncle that lovingly preserves the outlawed sports car for his nephew, or the nephew who goes on a weekly race/drive just for the fun of it and has to outwit cops along the way, who are limited by their technology.

Comment Re:16 Megapixles (Score 1) 66

Even for astronomy imaging, 16 megapixels isn't so impressive for "the fifth largest scope in the US." There are many amateur astronomers across the country imaging with CCD cameras based on KAF 16803 chips (4096 x 4096 pixels). Open an issue of "sky and telescope" to the pages where they present a gallery of readers' images, and you're very likely to see something taken with a 16 megapixel camera. They're high end cameras from an amateur standpoint, no doubt about it, but not super special. Think about it as being comparable to investing the cost of a used car in your hobby... the cost is around the same.

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