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Comment Re:Failbook knows NOTHING about me (Score 1) 183

There's extensive datacollection from Facebook on other web sites, tied to cookies, browser fingerprinting and various other means.

That largely depends on whether you allow third-party cookies to be set. Anybody who cares about privacy in the least would have third-party cookies disabled. Let Farcebook try to snoop on my /. activity...it's not gonna work.

Comment Re:Solution: Buy legislators. All of them. (Score 1) 188

I ended up donating the printer and the ink cartridges to a local charity, got a tax write-off for the donation, and bought an Epson printer. The Epson works great with refilled ink cartridges.

...until it clogs up and refuses to print until you waste half a set of cartridges on cleaning cycles. Even that might not get it running right.

Comment Re: Worldwide news are always US only. (Score 1) 256

Fractional values are easier to come by with measurements divisible by 2, 3, 4, or 6 than with measurements that are only divisible by 2 or 5. Liquid measures are mostly divisible by various powers of 2: two tablespoons in an ounce, eight ounces in a cup, two cups in a pint, two pints in a quart, four quarts in a gallon. (Three teaspoons in a tablespoon is the exception.)

Comment Been hearing this for, oh, 40 years or so (Score 4, Insightful) 140

Not to be an old programming fart (but, hey!), but this comes up about every 5-10 years. Someone has created a system for automatic program generation that is going to replace programmers (4th generation languages, anyone? How about "The Last One"?), and it turns out to have only limited usefulness.

Of course, code generation programs exist. They've existed almost as long we've been programming computers. The most common are assemblers and compilers, which take in text specifications and generate running code (or sometimes bytecode to be interpreted). And if you stop and think about the difficulties that most of us who code have with making source code that we write produce running code that meets our needs, you can immediately see the issues with replacing or bolting on top of that system a 'source code generation' system. It can work very well as long as you don't exceed what it can actually do and only if the code generation system itself is well-written and reliable. (This is why developers feel a sense of betrayal and anger with compiler bugs more than any other kind of tool bug.)

So, yeah, like strong AI, self-coding systems are always 5 to 10 years out and have been for half a century. ..bruce..

Comment Re:First cool site was 'the liquid oxygen barbecue (Score 1) 136

Besides the LOX demo and his invention of Refrigerant R-406A "AutoFrost", George was an Alpha Hardware Hacker at Purdue who presented at Usenix conferences. He got a grant to work on multiprocessing, and so he took two VAX 780's, and connected them by the backplane, creating a multiprocessor VAX. Digital Equipment liked it so much that they made a product of it, called the VAX/782. The CPU clock was 5 MHz and there were a lot of DIP-package digital logic ICs in there, with lots of space between them on the PCBs.

Comment Classic Steve Jobs and the Nascent Web (Score 5, Interesting) 136

Steve Jobs and some folks from Pixar were going out to lunch one day. While walking out of the building, Steve said "we have to find the killer app for the Internet". Steve and I both had NeXT workstations on our desks, and they had the first Mosaic web browser for NeXTStep on them. I'm not sure I even tried that browser, but we both completely missed that this was the killer app for the Internet.

Comment Re:This is NOT a matter of trademark violation (Score 2) 247

Not necessarily. Take a look at the relevant portion of the Lantham Act. It would have to fit one of the provisions therein. It might make a false suggestion of affiliation, but it's arguable.

15 U.S.C. 1125 - False designations of origin, false descriptions, and dilution forbidden

(a) Civil action

(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which

(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or

(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities,

shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

Comment This is NOT a matter of trademark violation (Score 1) 247

You violate a trademark if you mis-represent a good or service as that of the trademark holder. And it has to be in the same trademark category that they registered. Having a trademark does not grant ownership of a word, and does not prevent anyone else from using that word. Use of a trademark in reporting and normal discussion is not a violation.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 103

I have the front panel of the VAX 11/780 used to render that scene hanging on my wall, but I got to Pixar after that project. This year and last I've contributed some designs that will fly on a FEMA satellite, and a long time ago did a little work to support the Biosciences mission on the shuttle.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 103

I don't need to stand by the rotation theory. However, the 2.5 degrees that the Earth rotates are about equivalent to the downrange distance.

The first stage is going about 1/5 of the target LEO orbital velocity at separation. While you might well model the trajectory as a parabola over flat ground, given the lack of fuel I would expect that SpaceX puts a lot more care into their trajectory. So far I've failed to attract the attention of the person responsible for Flight Club, the most trusted modeling of SpaceX flights, but I'll message him directly.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 103

Well, Alastair, you should probably not get snotty and ad-hominem, unless you want me to comment on how a one-time sci-fi author and the Unix guy at Dish doesn't really have more authority than the random person one might find in the SpaceX group on Reddit.

It happens there are a few people over there who are rocketry professionals, have the math, and have followed SpaceX long enough. So, sure, their opinion can indeed be trusted.

So far, we have a suggestion from one of the lesser folks there that raising the apogee takes advantage of the Earth's rotation. We'll see if we get the attention of the right people.

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