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Comment Re: the martian (Score 1) 1222

When the book came out, it was the first sci-fi book in years that I couldn't put down.

And the film stayed fairly true to the book, which is also uncommon.

Technically, you could say that the Martian is more *engineering*-fiction; it's not about discovering new principles, but making stuff work. Even in ways it was never meant to, and without the proper means. In that aspect is also great *hacking* fiction.

As an engineer myself I loved it. Especially the book. Stuff going wrong is very recognizable in engineering practice. Every experienced engineer has had their "oh, shit" moments.

Comment First computer (Score 1) 857

Circa 1990. 368SX-16 through a discount program at school during my bachelor's. If memory serves, it had a 40 MB harddisk. Didn't buy a DX so I could buy a deskjet printer as well. Installed MS-DOS 5.0 when it came out. Looked at QBasic, but didn't like it. Mainly used it to run WordPerfect and Turbo Pascal and later Turbo C.

At school we used a 386DX to run NASTRAN on Xenix. That was my first contact with UNIX.

I upgraded components over the years until I had a 486 around 1994. Installed OS2 2.0. Used IBM's compiler, but it was buggy and expensive. Installed GCC and GNU Make. Then a friend showed me Linux.

It must have been in 1996 when I downloaded a dozen floppies worth of Slackware in the evenings using my modem, and dove right in. I've been using Linux and later FreeBSD ever since.

Good times. :-)

Comment power fail? (Score 2) 112

The problem with all these powered lift gizmos (like the Williams X-jet and the Hiller VZ-1) is that you tend to fall out ouf the sky when your engine fails... The Hiller VZ-1 which is also a ducted fan used *two* 30 kW engines, but barely flew out of the ground effect and was limited in speed. More powerful versions had other control problems.

Iphone

Submission + - iPhone's Siri Suffers Nationwide Five-Hour Outage (venturebeat.com) 1

qubezz writes: iPhone4S owners attempting to use the Siri voice recognition feature were greeted with widespread network outage messages Thursday starting around 11am PST, reports Venture Beat and others. Comments started coming in from the twitter-verse of the outage, and Apple hasn't yet made a statement about the cause.
Siri still provided humor after service was restored: "I asked her, "Siri, where you been all day?" Her response? A number of day spas and hair salons"

Programming

Submission + - Deterministic Multithreading Solves Race Condition (hpcwire.com)

bill_mcgonigle writes: "Researchers at Columbia Engineering School have developed PEREGRINE, a system that promises to improve the reliability and security of multi-threaded programs by addressing what they claim is the root cause of data race conditions in multi-threaded programs: non-determinism. Peregrine works with existing languages and "can make threads deterministic in an efficient and stable way. Peregrine can compute a plan for allowing when and where a thread can 'change lanes' and can then place barriers between the lanes, allowing threads to change lanes only at fixed locations, following a fixed order. This prevents the random collisions that can occur in a nondeterministic system.""
Security

Submission + - Another CA Blacklisted by Mozilla After Trouble Wi (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: A certificate authority in Malaysia has had to revoke 22 certificates it issued with weak keys and missing extensions. The problem has prompted Mozilla to revoke trust in the intermediate certificate authority from Digicert Sdn. Bhd.

A statement from Entrust, which issued the intermediate certificate to Digicert, says that there is no evidence that the CA has been compromised. However, the problem is serious enough that Mozilla moved quickly with its decision to remove the Digicert CA from its list of trusted roots. The Digicert CA in Malaysia is not affiliated with DigiCert, the U.S.-based certificate authority.

Mozilla didn't specify a date for revoking the certificate, but Entrust said it would do so by Nov. 8.

Iphone

Submission + - Hotmail Mobile usage spikes thanks to Apple iOS 5 (winbeta.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft is proud to announce that mobile usage of its Hotmail service has exploded in the past few weeks, and guess who is to thank? Apple! More than 2 million Apple users linked their Hotmail accounts to their iPhones and iPads since the launch of iOS 5.
Open Source

Submission + - Godfather of Xen on why virtualzation means everyt (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: "While conventional wisdom says virtualized environments and public clouds create massive security headaches, the godfather of Xen, the open source hypervisor, says virtualization actually holds a key to better security. Isolation — the ability to restrict what computing goes on in a given context — is a fundamental characteristic of virtualization that can be exploited to improve trustworthiness of processes on a physical system even if other processes have been compromised, says Simon Crosby, a creator of Xen and a founder of startup Bromium, which is looking to use Xen features to boost security."

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