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The Big Technical Mistakes of History 244

An anonymous reader tips a PC Authority review of some of the biggest technical goofs of all time. "As any computer programmer will tell you, some of the most confusing and complex issues can stem from the simplest of errors. This article looking back at history's big technical mistakes includes some interesting trivia, such as NASA's failure to convert measurements to metric, resulting in the Mars Climate Orbiter being torn apart by the Martian atmosphere. Then there is the infamous Intel Pentium floating point fiasco, which cost the company $450m in direct costs, a battering on the world's stock exchanges, and a huge black mark on its reputation. Also on the list is Iridium, the global satellite phone network that promised to make phones work anywhere on the planet, but required 77 satellites to be launched into space."

Comment What century is HE in? (Score 1) 306

I agree with Kundra, although he's stating the obvious (so who is surprised?). Even so, you'd think the Federal CIO would know what century HE's in. After all, we made such a huge deal of Y2K. But he says, "This is not how to run a modern government in the 20th century," I guess he's going for one century at a time. JR

Comment Re:Does this pass the "Evil" smell test? (Score 1) 82

Sure, if a company PAYS people to think of things like this, that's called an INVESTMENT in R&D (which is by nature, speculative and risky -- most of the time, a LOSING venture). So when the company's R&D comes up with one idea that is commercially viable, why shouldn't they get some return on the money they put at risk? Oh, and if they're not allowed to get any return to offset their investment (in losers as well as winners), what happens to the R&D cash flow? Unless you're a noncommercial government-funded program, it generally dries up.

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