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Comment Not superseding Hubble (Score 4, Informative) 117

"In the years since, many others have followed, covering the entire electromagnetic spectrum, but with nothing superseding Hubble over the wavelengths it covers. That will all change with the James Webb Space Telescope, currently on schedule and almost ready for its October 2018 launch date."

This is not entirely accurate. JWST is primarily infrared- it won't cover the full visible spectrum. Hubble will still be required to see anything below yellow/green wavelengths, including blue down through ultraviolet, where JWST can't see at all. It will certainly let us see farther, and through the dust, but it's not the be all end all of space telescopes.

Comment Re:How is it bait & switch (Score 1) 306

Speculation is that AT&T sanctioned tethering is coming in iPhone/iPhone OS 4. I see this as AT&T preparing for the inevitable onslaught of people who would use an "unlimited" data plan as their primary internet connection. The grandfathered unlimited plan will likely have tethering disabled, while the limited plans would allow it. I use my phone extensively, and I usually end up around 300-400mb/month, and the ability to tether would likely increase that substantially. With the official announcement likely coming early next week at WWDC, it makes sense for AT&T to get this out there now before people rush out to purchase a new phone/plan.

Comment Re:A sound plan (Score 3, Insightful) 450

Of course, perhaps companies like Virgin Galactic have figured something out that NASA was unable to figure out during the 30+ years of the Shuttle program.

They more than likely have figured something out- listen to the fscking engineers that designed and built the vehicle. The only two shuttle failures to date were caused by management's unwillingness to listen to engineer feedback. With Challenger, the manufacturer of the O-ring in the solid rocket booster warned NASA the O-ring was NOT rated to launch under the cold conditions of that day. Managers effectively said "don't worry about it" and launched anyway. With Columbia, engineers saw the foam strike on launch video, and asked management for military/hubble satellite photography to check for damage to the leading edge of the wing. Managers effectively said "it was foam, what damage could it possibly have done, don't worry about it" without understanding that a block of foam traveling 400 miles per hour has some serious kinetic energy, especially when it hits the relatively delicate carbon-carbon tiles.

Bottom line is, both of those tragedies could have been avoided, if the managers actually considered the dangers engineers presented to them. If Richard Branson and Virgin figure out how to listen to the people working with the designs and hardware when there are potential problems, with a solid enough vehicle they likely could have a perfect launch record.

Comment Re:I think I can I think I can (Score 1) 1698

People like to spout off the "Health care in this country is about the best in the world" without really thinking it through. What it really means is "Doctors, hospitals, and treatments in this country are about the best in the world." The original statement makes no mention of how many people can afford the "best health care in the world." Sure, the care is available, but what good does it do when it is prohibitively expensive to so many people.

What people don't understand is while the US may have world class doctors/hospitals, they are largely inaccessible without the means to pay for it. With insurance in this country as screwed up as it is, it's no wonder the US ranks so low on life expectancy/infant mortality/maternal mortality.

Comment Re:Two-Thirds My Ass (Score 1) 316

If you're going to complain about the challenges in WoW, please tell me you've done all the hard modes in 25 man Ulduar, including Mimiron (Firefighter), Freya +3 Elders (Knock, Knock, Knock on Wood), Algalon, and Yogg-Saron with 0 keepers up.

Unless you are/were in a top 100 guild, you don't have Algalon or Yogg+0 down in 25 player mode, because they are exceptionally challenging, and dare I say, fun encounters that actually require a raid with some semblance of skill/attention/situational awareness.

And for Colosseum, they're only releasing one boss per week on the normal (easy) difficulty 25 man. Once all the bosses are out, and it's been cleared, the Heroic 25 man (hard mode) difficulty unlocks, and until you clear that, there is no room to complain about challenges.

I'm sure Icecrown will be the same- an easy 25 man mode so the casual players get to see content, and a heroic 25 man mode for those looking for a challenge and better loot.

I do find it funny when people complain about content being too hard (OMG NERF!), and when Blizzard releases easy modes for new encounters, those same people complain about things being too easy. Can't have your epic cake and eat it too.

Comment Re:Absolutely brilliant ruling Judge. (Score 2, Interesting) 407

So then the obvious solution is to take this to the people who do make the law- Congress. Write letters showing how blatantly contradictory the law is in this case. Ask them how it's possible to exercise fair use with a law preventing distribution of the tools allowing fair use, citing the RealDVD case. Ask for suggestions on how to legally time shift a DVD for watching on a netbook, or how to make a backup of a $30 DVD so you can still enjoy what you paid for when it gets dropped/scratched/eaten/rolled over by an office chair.

Comment Re:Surprises me this doesn't happen more often (Score 1) 475

From the article-

"Ken Stanborough, 47, from Liverpool, dropped his 11-year-old daughter Ellie's iPod Touch last month. "It made a hissing noise," he said. "I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour". Mr Stanborough said he threw the device out of his back door, where "within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air"."

Emphasis mine. The article doesn't go on to elaborate how far of a drop it was, but I'd imagine it must have been significant for the impact to rupture the Li-poly cells. If it was a reasonable drop, say 3-4 feet, off a desk, or slipped out of his hands to the floor, they may have an argument against Apple for the design of the device, or a manufacturing defect. If it was dropped down some stairs, or if he was upset with his daughter, grabbed the ipod and threw it across the room, or something beyond a "normal" drop distance, Apple shouldn't have any liability at all.

Comment Re:I'm sick and tired of "I got overcharged" BS (Score 1) 665

True, but there are cases where the diagnostic isn't correct, or the tech's lie to either get more money out of you, or because they are that dumb. Like if you went to a mechanic saying your car was running rough, and the mechanic said you needed a whole new engine, when all you really needed was an oil change.

It's one thing when people say they're overcharged for paying a $50 diagnostic fee to figure something out that they couldn't.

It's another when a technician says you need a new motherboard, when really all that's wrong is the hard drive cable was unplugged.

I deal with that all the time at my shop, where people bring their machines to Best Buy or wherever, and come to us for a second opinion.

Comment Re:REALLY misleading title (Score 4, Interesting) 417

From the techjournalsouth article-

"If the cable/phone companies really want a level playing field, they'd open their books just like we do in the spirit of open meetings and open records law. They don't want a level playing field. They want to be the only team on the field."

It seems the community internet operating books will be transparent, so people can see what costs are, and where the money is going. It's a public service, not a for-profit business like Time Warner is.

While it's true a monopoly is generally anti-consumer, a publicly open/owned monopoly is far less likely to be in a position to price gouge for crap service, where the larger, established private monopolies already are.


Submission + - Founders at Work:Stories of Startup's Early Days

jsuda writes: "There is a great deal of personal and professional drama and fascinating business and technological insights in the stories of thirty-two founders of computer-era technology businesses contained in "Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days." Author, Jessica Livingston, has interviewed these entrepreneurs and obtained their perspectives on what happens in the first years of a technology-based startup company. Her goal is to obtain a fund of experience that other people can learn from. She tries to get at the human side of technology.
Her method is in asking these entrepreneurs open ended questions about their experiences in their own startups and letting them relate their histories, perspectives, insights, and advice, in their own words.

        The interviewees make up a grand list of some of the people who helped create and develop the computer industry and the Internet. In hardware, the most prominent are Steve Wozniak of Apple Computer fame, Mike Ramsay of TiVo, Mike Lazaridis of Research in Motion. In software, there are Mitchell Kapor of Lotus Development, Blake Ross of Firefox, and Mena Trott of Six Apart. And, in services, Max Levchin of PayPal, Craig Newmark of craigs list, and Steve Perlman of Web TV stand out. There are nearly two dozen other entrepreneurs who inform, enlighten, and sometimes entertain in their interviews with Ms. Livingston. For instance, Tim Brady, the first non-founder employee of Yahoo retells a story of a storm and power outage at the Yahoo office before a meeting of Yahoo principals and venture capital people which was held in candlelight and with water dripping from ceilings. A gas-fueled generator set up hastily to run the servers was being rated by how many webpages it was serving up, per gallon! The money people were not charmed.

        Among the founders, most were young, and often, mere college students, at the time of their startups. Interestingly, there are only three females in the group, which may or may not imply something about gender and technology, business and entrepreneurship. Only Caterina Fake of Flickr, weighs in much on the gender issue in her interview. She believes that a woman needs to be twice as prepared as a man to be credible with both technical and investment people.

        The bulk of the material concerns computer and network technology and applications, and money. Lots of money. And lots of discussions of money especially in relationship to "VC's" (venture capitalists) who enable creative people with ideas to succeed. Author Livingston herself is one of these capitalists, a founding partner of Y Combinator an investor in some of the companies noted in this book.

        Partly because of her business perspective, and probably mostly because of the dominance of finance and economics in nearly all social affairs, most of the material in the book concerns the symbiotic relationship of inspired creative individuals and creative financial people in producing technological development and change, many times furthering creative good for customers and society, but also facilitating crass commercial interests.

        For many of these entrepreneurs, invested money and "gift" money from enlightened parties called "angels" was a necessary element in producing their dreams of making great products or services for the good of people. For others, the "startup" era (from about the late 1970s to the end of the century) was a time of playing a game of "Who can cash out the most"- founding a beginning technology company, associating with rapacious financial people, and making loads of money when the business "went public", as an "initial public offering" (IPO), which often times ultimately left both the innocent and greedy bereft of value. ( For a satirical view of such gamesmanship, check out the vastly underrated movie comedy/documentary, "Dot", produced in 2002.)

        The author takes no positions on the patent and implied moral issues. Her objective is limited to examining the characteristics of the founders of the successful businesses to see if there are common elements in the people, or patterns in the development of the businesses from initial idea to operating concern providing value to consumers and other businesses.

        She determines that there are such elements: intelligent and skilled individuals, perseverance, comfortability with risk, and maybe most significantly, Luck. After reading the stories of nearly three dozen founders about how their ideas became transformed into productive businesses, it becomes readily apparent that such success is premised, in part, on knowledge and skill, vision and/or inspiration, and perseverance. However, necessary, these elements are insufficient in themselves. Almost every one of the interviewees refers to lucky circumstances and events which conditioned their successes. Some were unsure of the worth of their ideas, at least initially. In most cases, carefully thought-out plans went awry. Almost all founders faced rejection by investors, journalists, and established companies.

        Ms. Livingston's interviewing technique results in personalities being revealed, motivations disclosed, and insightful historical facts about the early developments of the computer industry and the Internet related. A lot of the historical material has been expressed previously elsewhere, but the telling of the stories by the individuals directly involved makes for compelling reading. Some people like Steve Perlman of WebTV, Max Levchin of PayPal, and Steve Wozniak are clearly geeks who love working with hardware and software. Others like Evan Williams of Blogger and Arthur Van Hoff of Marimba seem decidedly businesslike and personally ambitious.

          Some of the people seemed like (or are) heroes. Steve Wozniak, for example can be credited in large part for the PC revolution. He's one of the founders whose motivation was in doing top-quality designs to help the world be a better place. Although he became rich, much of his money has been donated to charities. The relationship of Woz and the co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, is fascinating, especially in the contrast of motivations and the distribution of financial gains in the early years. (Woz gave his away; Jobs wanted even more.)

        There are other heroes like Mitchell Kapor of Lotus 1-2-3 fame, whose desire to contribute to society what he was capable of was his primary motivation. Like a number of other founders, financial success was valued for the freedom it provided to do positive deeds rather than for material benefits.

        Not surprisingly, some of these founders realized success by simply scaling up and distributing products they had already designed for themselves. Joshua Schacter of del.icio.us fame needed a way to manage his own 20,000 browser bookmarks and came up with a "tagging" feature which eventually resulted in a sharing and collaborative website business.

        craigslist founder, Craig Newmark, expanded upon his practice of e-mailing notices of local cultural events to his friends into a nationwide service for consumer interaction. The business is one of the rare startups which has remained privately held.

        Hotmail was formed by Sabeer Bhatia as an extension of a personal problem-solving adventure in accessing e-mail remotely beyond his company's firewall. Solving that problem for self and coworkers, led to a business which later grossed $400 million when acquired by Microsoft.

        For those looking for tips on how to mimic the successes of these founders, consider these major themes from the book:

        -make only products that people want.
        -be a leader and make great new products that people will learn to like.

        -go with your own intuitions.
        -make sure to listen and take advice from others, especially your startup team and your eventual customers.

        -make a product or build a business that you are passionate about.
        -be smart and have an exit strategy for your business right from the beginning, "an IPO."

        -make friends and contacts in the business and investment communities, especially the venture capital industry.
        -minimize your involvement with the money people as much as possible in favor of the people who make actual products- programmers and engineers.

        -find a hole in the market and fill it.
        -make something no one else has thought of and create new markets.

        Clear enough? You'll have a to figure it out for yourselves!

          Interestingly, there seems to be one thing nearly everyone agrees on-don't trust Microsoft!"

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