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Comment Re:Net Energy Use? (Score 3, Insightful) 164

I am hoping that you know this but I am compelled to respond to your post. I feel like I'm potentially preaching to the choir here but, well, it could be possible that you don't know this. If you don't then, well, I feel sad for you but not in a bad way. The quote is pretty common... The quote is also usually finished with a statement about how the USSR just used a pencil.

The reality is that NASA didn't develop (or pay for the development) of the space pen at all. It was developed by Fisher, at their own expense, and with no guarantee that it would be purchased by NASA for use in space. What had happened was that NASA had paid way too much money for some mechanical pencils and the public found out about the expensive pencils and all hell broke loose. Keep in mind how much we were spending on the space race at the time, be sure to convert those dollars to today's dollars for a true comparison. Americans were well and truly pissed and justifiably so.


What the above link sort of touches on is the trouble with the idea of using a pencil, which is something you hadn't mentioned at all but I'll bring it up in order to be complete. One of the reasons that I understand a pencil is a bad idea (while sort of mentioned in the article they don't go into in at any depth and don't cover this specifically) is that every time you write there are microscopic fragments of graphite that break away. In a weightless environment they can go all over the place and graphite is also a very good conductor of electricity. The various electronics were very sensitive at the time and while most systems had a backup any point of failure was seen as a bad thing. The small bits of graphite could conceivably float away, enter a computer system, and cause a short - which wouldn't necessarily result in a fire but could possibly be a Bad Thing® and *could* potentially cause a fire in and of itself. (I'm not sure how well pencils themselves burn or how much the flammability of the pencil itself was a concern that actually was for NASA to be honest.)

That is, as near as I can remember, how the story was relayed to me by someone who worked on the earlier Apollo missions. The conversation was over more than one beer (and about a lot more than that) so I may have missed something. The linked citation pretty much goes along with the story as he detailed it.

If I may digress a bit... I was not alive for the earliest launches but I do recall watching the first humans on the moon on television. My parents told me the cliché about how I could do that someday but I never really wanted to walk on the moon. It did change me though. It made me interested in the technology and the computers that got them there. I didn't want to walk on the moon but I did want to work one of those giant beeping machines with the interesting dials and gauges on the ground and maybe visit space for a little while just to experience weightlessness but I wouldn't want to stay there for long. Not every little boy wanted to be an astronaut when we grew up, some of us wanted to play with the machines that went beep instead. And, well, that was me. I never did get to play with NASA's beeping machines but I've was in front of a computer for pretty much all of my professional life and still sit in front of one now that I'm retired.

Comment Re:In NYC? More like Boston (Score 1) 164

I am not entirely sure what you're talking about. Perhaps you goofed and posted this in the wrong spot? I do that but I'm usually pretty wasted at the time.

I suppose now would be the time to say, "It happens to the best of us." I suspect that isn't true however. It is sort of like, well... Have you ever noticed that it is usually a completely retarded idea or vocalization that results in someone saying, "Great minds think alike!" Anyhow, I doubt it happens to the best of us. It happens to me when I'm completely retarded. I don't know what your excuse is, if I were you then I'd blame beer. ;)

Comment Re:What Bat Villian designed this boat?!?! (Score 1) 164

Meh... I was gonna mod this thread. Bugger it.

Anyhow, I'm glad you mentioned that. I was going to add something similar. Seeing as you seem to know something about boats...

Another thing that made me wonder is, isn't this a three hulled vessel? Yet, from the summary, the batteries are kept in the "ships two hulls." I am forced to wonder where the third one went but, by doing so, I demonstrate that I've clearly violated the rules of Slashdot and read the article.

Ah well... Perhaps the editor will come along and make changes? It should say something akin to "two of the ship's hulls" or, perhaps, even "two of the ships three hulls."

Don't get me wrong, I could be mistaken, but I think that giant thingy in the middle is called a hull too. I'm not much of a boatman but I've been known to play at being one on the weekends (for years now - no matter how appealing I refuse to invest in one even if I can afford it) and for a whole summer once. I have some friends who have big craft too and sometimes will go out with them and give them a hand.

So, I could be mistaken - I'm willing to admit that. I don't think I am though. I think that's a "tri-hull catamaran" though that's where I start to show my lack of knowledge. It may be called a "triple-hull catamaran." I think the spars have to be vertical to be considered a "trimaran" but I'm not sure - as I said, this is where I start to show what I don't know.

Anyhow, I know enough so that I *think* that's got three hulls and I have concluded that I'm pretty sure that, "the ships two hulls" is incorrect. Feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken. And, for the record, I can think of a lot of things to waste money on that are more functional than a boat (small fishing craft, canoes, and kayaks don't count). I have seen one too many perfectly healthy friends go broke and insane because of their little nautical addiction. You can develop a healthy cocaine addiction for a tenth of what some of these guys have paid and it's probably healthier, more fun, and able to be made use of more often. Do not buy a boat!!!

Comment Re:Resolution (Score 1) 397

That's actually the "good" experience - it's truly broken when text also breaks (e.g. widgets are not properly resized to fit their labels etc). The problem with graphics scaling is that most Windows apps use bitmaps for everything, and most UI frameworks don't even bother to scale them. So you get widgets resized, and text resized to fit, but bitmaps remain as is. Sometimes you get bitmaps upscaled automatically, e.g. for toolbar icons, but this still looks ugly if app author didn't provide higher-res icons.

As noted earlier, things got very different with WPF, which scales everything. This was continued in Silverlight, and now also in both Win8 frameworks for store apps (HTML5/JS, and the XAML-based one).

Comment Re:Future regulation (Score 3, Insightful) 396

No it's not. Only an idiot actually believes that. In order to be a real currency, you kinda have to have a lot of people use it to directly buy and sell things.

You can already buy and sell things with Bitcoin. Example: Bitlasers. So where is the line? How many items have to be sold before it becomes a currency? The logical answer would probably be "one".

Comment No, AMD still has problems (Score 3, Interesting) 457

Their drivers aren't crap, but they aren't up to nVidia's standards. I've a 7970M in my laptop, which I got when it was a brand new chip, and it has been a trial. So there are two big issues it has had, only which could be relevant to the PS4:

1) Issues with Enduro, that's AMD's hybrid GPU switching. The laptop can use the integrated Intel 4000 graphics for easy stuff and fire up the 7970M for hard stuff. Well until fairly recently, that didn't work that well. The 7970M didn't operate at full capacity, something with the drivers was inefficient. You could see it on other laptops which has a mux to allow you to switch off the iGPU. With just the 7970M they ran much faster. AMD finally got it (mostly) fixed, but it took for damn well ever. Also when it first came out, the interface for choosing GPUs was really clunky.

2) OpenGL issues. AMD has sucked at the OpenGL for as long as I can remember, and it never seems to get better. They SUPPORT it, but it doesn't work well. On nVidia, GL and DX run equally fast. They are both first-class APIs and there really is no speed or capability difference between them. On AMD, not so much. Recently the issues I've seen were with Brink and HFSS. Brink was a shit (man it was a waste of money) game that used iD Tech 4. As such, OpenGL. On my AMD GPU, it never ran well despite being WAY passed the spec needed. Tried it on a lesser spec nVidia system, flawless. Said problems were all over the forums. With HFSS we set up a desktop at work with a cheap AMD chip, a 7570 or something like that, just for basic graphics (it was server class hardware, so no good iGPU). The user reported HFSS worked over RDP, but not local and sure enough, that was the case. So it occurred to me: HFSS will use OpenGL to accelerate its interface. Out came the AMD card, in went a cheap nVidia GT 210, and HFSS worked fine.

Now of those, the OpenGL problem could be problematic to the PS4, since that's what it uses. Maybe they won't have a problem since this is ONLY a GL driver and they've had time and all that, but I worry. The PS4 may lose its, on paper, graphics advantage due to driver issues. It would suck for Sony if their console which has more graphics units and more memory bandwidth had lesser GPU capabilities because AMD can't work out a good GL driver.

At any rate the overall situation is AMD still has problems nVidia drivers don't. I really like AMD's hardware, it is often faster and is nearly always a good price, but I get continually bit with driver issues. Not something huge like "The system blue screens and won't run," but things that are very real and very annoying. Hence I have nVidia in my desktop and I've seriously considered replacing the card in my laptop (it is a Clevo laptop and the card is field replaceable). They aren't perfect, but I find them WAY less problematic.

And don't even get me started on Linux drivers. There is NO comparison there. nVidia binary drivers is lightyears ahead of anyone else.

Comment Yep (Score 1) 457

Sony actually intended for it to be the graphic chips. Early on they were doing graphics demos of things running on a number of Cell chips. However, it wasn't good at that either and as the PS3 went in to hardware development, it was clear that they'd need a real GPU.

Well rather than just admit that the Cell wasn't ready for a consumer device (I mean who the fuck tries to put first gen technology in a consumer device) they decided to make it the CPU instead, and had nVidia make them a GPU.

Ultimately Cell's long term problem has been GPUs themselves. As you say Cell sucks as a general purpose CPU. No problem, that wasn't really its design. However as a stream processor it can't keep up with the new GPUs. That wasn't an issue when it was designed (this was back in the pre nVidia 8800 days) but now it gets out stream processed by GPUs.

Hence it has kinda just languished. IBM has chattered about it a bit, but nothing has happened.

Comment Re:How strange. (Score 1) 536

How strange it is that Russia has become the bastion of human rights and the right to expose corruption.

As a Russian living in US, I can assure you that Russia is nowhere near a "bastion of human rights" or "the right to expose corruption" - certainly lagging much behind the US on both counts. The sole reason why they're helping Snowden is because his exposure hurts US. If he tried the same stunt against the Russian government, he'd find himself rotting in some unnamed hole pretty quick, along with any journalist who'd try to report on it.

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