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Comment Re: Including this one? (Score 1) 333

but would it kill Microsoft to change the default behaviour to something more sensible (this can hadly be the only use case where this is an issue)

Science users with thousands of rows of data are a negligible market compared to beancounter-wannabes with a dozen (or maybe even up to 5 dozen) rows of data. So, to answer your question, yes it would kill Microsoft to change the default from behaviour that covers up common wannabe-beancounters errors.

Oh, the fuck-wittery of working round Excel v5 bugs like this to deal with combining hundreds of thousands of lines of data throughout the 1990s. And 2000s. And 2010s. And you an guess what I anticipate fucking with in the 2020s.

Comment Re:Light years (Score 1) 209

Why do astronomers use irregular units like "light years" and "parsecs"

I can't remember the last time I read an astronomy paper (NB : paper, not regurgitated shit in the popular press) which didn't use parsecs and/or AU as the primary description of astronomical distance (with , M-Earth and M-Sol in the mix). For parsecs, the reason is simple : what you measure when establishing distances is parallax, in seconds of arc. Hence PAR-SEC. No?

If converting to metres, then you need to factor in your estimate for the AU, but you only do that conversion when editing the final draft of the paper and the press release You do your working in parsecs. And if the estimate for the length of the AU in metres changes between your observatory time and publication date, then only that derived figure in metres (miles, Egyptian cubits, or whatever) changes NONE of your working or your experimental data changes.

Similar arguments apply to the masses and the AU. You can directly observe e.g. the timing of events in an eclipsing binary (in seconds or days after the start of your epoch of observation), and if you work in units of AU, M-Sol and M-Earth then you get your orbital parameters from those raw observations and Kepler's laws with no conversion factors. You only do the conversions for the proof copy of the paper - possibly not even for the initial copy to go to peer review.

Comment Re:Light years (Score 1) 209

Not an "arbitrary substance", but (1) the most common "substance" in the universe by volume, and (2) probably the simplest "substance" in the universe.

(1) and (2) are probably related, but that's way above my pay grade.

It's also quite a hard substance to get access to without space flight.

Comment Cart and Horse in spatial misalignment (Score 1) 142

Patel argues that when we grow reliant on self-driving cars, things will get far more complicated and futile if we don't make our maps and navigation services better.

No, Mr Patel, a significant number of your potential market/ audience will not become reliant on your product until after map and navigation services are better.

And incidentally, some of us are used to spending time where you don't have electrical power or any mobile phone/ data signal (Iridium excepted, all 9600 bps of it) , and the magnetic field is sufficiently variable that your compass is decidedly dodgy. We carry multiple different location-determining technologies that won't be disabled by simply running out of battery life. Because, that like kills people, you know?

Comment Re:Man up, NASA. (Score 1) 107

so if you just went with the slashdot summary and quote

Haven't people learned to not fucking well do that by now? I mean the site has been going for what - nearly 20 years. There are account holders out there who're legally able to buy booze - drugs in some countries - and who were born after the site was set up. And still there are people fucking stupid enough to only read half TFS and none of TFA.

People wonder why many western nations have problems getting appropriate technical staff, and then they behave in such a stupid mannner. And don't see the connection?

As for the recovery procedures - well with a low-6-digit UID, you were probably around when they recovered SOHO from a similar orientation-power problem. Which doesn't make it any easier (space craft are different; locations are different ; latencies are different ; command sets are different), but it is a task that has been done before. And we've seen it (as have the mission managers at NASA).

Comment Re: Outsourcing vs Inhouse (Score 1) 243

The big difference is, if you replace the public sector Bosses, with new ones, you still can't get rid of the person. If you replace the Private sector person's boss, you can.

It has to do with ABILITY, and not DESIRE. In public sector, you can have all the desire in the world, and not be able to rid yourself of bad employees.

Comment Re:BS (Score 2) 114

Just the other day, an iPhone user was praising SIRI and how great it was, and tried to search to see what area codes are used in San Bernadino. SIRI responded with some nonsense about not wanting to do that right now or something. I asked Google the exact same question, and got the correct answer "Okay GOogle, what are the area codes for ________"

You should try it.

Every time I use an iDevice, I have found it is just "less" than my experience on Android. Mind you, I'm not full Apple everything (AppleTV, Apple Computer, Apple whatever). I expect if you go "all Apple, all the time", it just works ... sort of. But in my world, where I can mix n match and get the same (often better) results, I'll stick with Android.

Comment Convenience for ALL (Score 1) 28

Closed source, open source, half-way open source - they all have holes the size of the Titanic, and are casing our privacy to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Are you trying to say, governments haven't spied on and persecuted opponents before these modern-day conveniences appeared?

The problem is our dependence on these "conveniences" we can now not live without.

We can live without them, but the life will be, wait for it, less convenient.

They make living more comfortable. For everyone — including the spies.

Comment Re: Stop it with the SJW crap!!! (Score 1) 551

There were problems and they were either fixed or worked around, but the problems didn't seem to match the level of hysteria in the media. I had big problems then, our software vertical went belly up, so I got drafted into installing the software updates into our OpenUnix server that didn't have any graphics or networking installed, so I had to download them from SCO and dd them over to floppies on a linux machine yada yada yada. It was hairy but planes weren't falling from the skies either..
Likewise NY is supposed to be underwater now, the Arctic was supposed to be ice-free last year yada, yada, yada and it's not.

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