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Comment Re:I thought features were passe? (Score 2) 221

I don't features should be removed, unless removing them makes the programmers *make the features that are there work properly*. Maybe I am also a relic (ok, not maybe, definitely), but I get rather irritated when Word (or any other similar crap application) adds some more features or changes the UI just for the sake of doing it, and the same f*cking bug that sometimes for some unknown reason corrupts the document and won't let me save it still existing pretty much exactly like it worked in 1997.

Wasting time adding features while serious bugs are left untouched is what p*sses people off. Of course it's a lot easier to ad copy saying "n Exciting New Features" than it is "Word 2007, 45% fewer fatal bugs"



SXSW: Stephen Wolfram Jumps On Bandwagon For Cloud, Mobile Devices 36

Nerval's Lobster writes "At this year's SXSW conference, Stephen Wolfram—most famous in tech circles as the chief designer of the Mathematica software platform, as well as the Wolfram Alpha 'computation knowledge engine'—demonstrated his upcoming Programming Cloud, and indicated he was developing a mobile platform for engineering and mathematical applications based on the Wolfram programming language built for Mathematica. He also talked more broadly about the future of Wolfram Alpha, which he said will become more anticipatory of peoples' queries. 'People generally don't understand all the things that Wolfram Alpha can do,' Wolfram told the audience. His researchers are also working on a system modeler tool, which will allow researchers to simulate complex devices with tens of thousands of components; in theory, you could even use such a platform for 3D printing. Wolfram also wants to set Wolfram Alpha loose on documents, with the ability to apply complex calculations to, say, company spreadsheets. 'A whole bunch of things that I've been working on for 30 years are converging in a very nice way,' he said."

Comment Re:Glitch or flash memory failure? (Score 5, Interesting) 98

I wonder why this is not something that is kept up to date anyway. I can see keeping B an update or two behind A to prevent a single programming error taking both of them down. But after you are satisfied with A's software load, why keep B so far back-level that transition takes so much time. And since the computers are said to be identical, why the desire to move back to A?

I can easily imagine this happening, I work on a very similar, perhaps nearly identical spacecraft (that's just a tad mode critical AND expensive than this thing...) and we haven't necessarily maintained this. You underestimate the overhead associated with generating the necessary uploads.

        The reason they probably want to go back to the Prime is that their failure isolation system database is keyed to using the prime units only, and to alter it to start on the "B" side and have it switch back to "A" is prohibitive, or at least easier to get around by switching back to A. This last is also something we do in the rare case of a temporary failure. There's less good justification to doing it than leaving the backup program image alone but having to completely retest the entire redundancy management system for a new configuration is generally avoided. If it fails hard, it doesn't really matter, since there's no Prime to switch back to.


Comment Re:What is the worst that could happen (Score 1) 170

Frequently, but not always. It's not unheard of to open and close the source pressure valves, because you don't want to count on the regulators not leaking for any significant length of time. If you leave the source pressure connecting, any regulator leak will likely overpressure the tank. We don't usually do that but it's not uncommon. I would much rather take my chances on valves sticking closed than on regulator leaks.


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