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Comment Slooh (Score 1) 234

You might be interested on Slooh ( which is pronounced like "slew", as in the motion of a telescope turning on its mount.

Slooh lets you control telescopes in the Canary Islands or Chile, for a modest subscription fee. You might start out getting your own images of nearby planets, or collect the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and then move on to more distant objects. You can do this on your own, but you can also collaborate with other Slooh members. Some of them are working to track comets, others are tracking asteroids, and in some cases submitting their findings to the IAU Minor Planet Center.

As others have already mentioned, paid jobs in astronomy are tight even for those with a degree. But if you are an interested adult learner there are lots of ways to learn more and satisfy your curiosity. As Mark Twain supposedly said, "never let school get in the way of your education" (or in your case lack of school).

Comment While driving a car (Score 1) 310

On a long drive from LA to Portland I was the driver and I was bored, so I wrote a simple moon lander game (modeled from one I'd seen written in BASIC) for my new HP-25 programmable calculator by dictating instructions to the guy riding in the shotgun seat. The display showed your altitude on one side of the decimal place, velocity on the other side (and with the +/- sign) and remaining fuel in the exponent. After each iteration you entered how much fuel to burn on the next step and pushed R/S (Run/Stop) to continue. If you got down to zero altitude (or below) with a velocity less than some maximum value then you had made a successful landing. Otherwise you crashed.

Comment Make it easy for them (Score 1) 205

Writing a good bug report is not easy, and users should not be expected to know what information the developer will need to find and fix the bug. They only want to report that there is a problem, and that they'd like it fixed.

That said, you can guide them to give more useful information. I found that making a form to fill out with all the details broken out into separate pieces gave us more useful information. Want to know how to reproduce the bug? Make that an individual question on the report. Which component where you using, or what web page were you on? Make that a specific question. A real person can follow up if necessary to get other information, and then they can file the "official" bug report in the form that the developer can understand and use.

Comment Bird's eye view (Score 1) 350

Birds supposedly have UV vision, and some of their markings are for each other, and are more clearly distinguished by other birds that can see UV.

So you might consider observing birds and making sketches of their markings, much like the naturalists of 100 years ago, so that the rest of us can see what the birds can see of each other.

Comment Verizon blocks at the "free" router (Score 1) 459

I've run my own mail and web servers from my home for years, so I was worried about this when I was making the switch from Time-Warner cable (who didn't care, BTW) to Verizon Fios. One person I know reported that Verizon did indeed block port 25 (and port 80) inbound, while another told me his setup worked fine, once he replaced the free router they gave him with his own router.

And indeed, after making the switch, I still am able to get mail inbound on port 25. The modem/router they gave me does have controls to adjust security settings, which look a lot like Windows trusted -vs- untrusted controls. But I can't really tell if they do much. The key thing I found was to set up port forwarding to send port 25 to the machine in my internal network with the mail server. Same for port 80 to the web server.

Outbound I route through the ISP. Postfix makes that easy. I found a few years ago that certain domains I sent to, though not all of them, started bouncing mail even though I had an SPF record, just because my IP address was in a range listed as "dynamic" (i.e. "residential"). Clearly that's for spam control. Not everybody does this, and I could send direct to those who do not, but it was simpler to just send everything out via port 587 to the ISP.

Comment Re:Recommended alternatives? (Score 1) 194

If you take a hash (eg SHA1 is better than MD5) of the UDID you get a unique string that is not the UDID. Of course if other apps do the same then these could be compared to identify users -- not necessarily by name, but connecting a user on one server with a user on another.

So concatenate the App Id, which is unique to the app, with the UDID, which is unique to the device, and then take the hash, which is then unique to both and not invertible. Do this once, on the device (not on your server, or the UDID has to be transmitted), and use that as a unique identifier of the user/device.

Comment Re:Anyone else notice the slow responses from Goog (Score 1) 152

I've noticed lots of slow responses or no responses from Google servers lately. (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Search, Youtube, Google Maps, etc) It doesn't happen all the time, but many many times throughout the day. Has anyone else noticed this? If so, is anything known about it? DOS, etc?

Yes, I use Google for DNS and I've notice in the past day or two that it fails for long intervals (many minutes). I also wondered about DOS.

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