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Comment Flat Universe Society (Score 1) 642

Just stand on the edge of the moon and drop the rocks off. Easy peasy.

Silly (and unfair) snark aside, not only would you need to (minimally) reach escape velocity from the moon, you'd have to change the orbit of the rock about the earth such that it wasn't nearly circular (as the moon's is.) Once you start layering on additional rockets (or solar powered ion drives or whatever) onto the rock, it's not a rock anymore.

Comment Re:So why use these large cloud services? (Score 1) 161

Seriously ... these outages are usually caused by the organization itself, either by an immediate technical mistake, or when a minor glitch cascades into something major due to a design flaw.

I'm sure Amazon is a constant target of hackers, both pimply faced youths and of shady state-sponsored black-hats. But taking out Amazon isn't a very interesting goal.

Comment Give them IPv6 traffic (Score 1) 100

If you're REALLY obsessed by this, force using IPv6 on your WiFi network.

Not only are IPv6 addresses typically NOT NAT'd (they'll share a prefix that's ISP dependent but not the whole address), but properly configured devices will vary their IPv6 addresses over time.

Of course, this solution will break other parts of your App/Web experience - especially if you disable IPv4 on your WiFi. And it's going to require you to build your own router. But FreeBSD with two ethernet ports does that just fine - and I suppose Linux could be beat into shape to do so too.

Comment What is the value of an Infotainment System? (Score 1) 292

Yes, my question sounds elitist and perhaps naive. But I've been driving a vehicle with My Ford Touch for three years. It's only when you think that there is no value to an Infotainment system over a simple AM/FM radio with an aux-input will you be at ease with My Ford Touch.

I don't use My Ford Touch extensively. If anything, I use it very lightly - and it still fails to satisfy purpose. I don't sync my phone contacts with the car - my contacts are precious to me, and they don't belong on a vehicle that gets a few recall service visits a year. The car came with SiriusXM and a 1 year subscription, which I tried twice and was deeply unimpressed by. Most of my driving is local, so the built-in GPS system is useless, and GPS systems in a smart-phone will always be more advanced and useful than whatever gets baked into the frozen technology of an automobile. (And the GPS system refused to recognize a valid postal address in my area.) The GPS system isn't worth $149/year for something that comes free with a smart phone.

Even the AM/FM radio part is seriously flawed. It refuses to restart the FM radio when the car powers up if the FM station is HD.

Being able to play from a USB stick is nice - except that when the car restarts, the Infotainment system looses track of where it is, and when it reaches the end of an album, it will resume playing from the "first" album - where non-alphabetic characters in the album name sort before alphabetic characters. I'm VERY tired of listening to "Cats".

The heat/AC, backup camera, and various plugin-hybrid controls are also integrated with the Infotainment system. Fortunately, they don't seem to be impacted much by the flaws - although they do have flaws of their own.

My Ford Touch is fine as a proof-of-concept done by high school kids. It should have never been released to the public.

Comment Who cares what Netflix's ratings are? (Score 1) 302

I'm trying to recall how many years it's been since I've watched broadcast or cable TV - or how much longer it was for more than an hour a month.

Ratings based TV is dead to me. To misquote a certain virtual muppet:

  • With ratings come advertisements
  • With advertisements comes pain
  • With pain comes anger
  • With anger comes the Dark Side

Comment Re:wah wah wah clickbait (Score 1) 400

And Luke... what kind of moron was he? He's handed a deadly weapon he's never seen before and immediately points it at his head, then opens it and starts swinging it around...
This movie IS from the 1970s after all. Lawn Darts weren't banned yet. We were just a decade or two away from chemistry sets with Uranium.

That's just the way we rolled then. And if some of us shot ourselves in the face, well, that was a different kind of rolling.

Comment Re-watching restored my youthful impression (Score 1) 400

I was a snarky teenager when I saw the original Star Wars (no IV: A New Hope), and I was impressed by how much the audience laughed at every campy, over-acted scene and every bit of rote dialogue. Of course, that was basically the whole movie.

Up until recently, whenever I re-watched the movies, I was never able to re-capture that delightful feeling of camp from the first movie (IV: A New Hope), but last night I did - and I noticed (again) all of the Star-Trek sound effects (quietly in the background), the use of Photon Torpedoes (did they ever make it to other movies), and so on.

This isn't an endorsement of the new movie, which I haven't seen - and I'm sure it's not the kind of endorsement anyone who has fallen in love with the movies would care to hear. But it's my experience of re-watching the first movie and how I was able to recapture the magic I felt back then when R2D2 being zapped and falling over had the audience groaning with laughter over the well deserved fate of an annoying character (but all of the characters were annoying to that audience.)

Comment Re:It will never fly (Score 1) 96

I can't imagine that this will be more than a way of re-balancing the proportions between cargo and passenger aircraft for airlines serving both markets, and that re-balancing would take place over weeks rather than individual flights or days. (And if it takes place over weeks, then flying the plane to a maintenance location to switch modules would be the practice.)

I've no involvement in aviation, other than curiosity (I fly, on average, once every 10 years.) However, the following thoughts do come to mind:

  • Do the modular compartments play any part in the structural integrity of the aircraft? If so, does that mean that aviation authorities will have to have some kind of re-certification for the aircraft when modules are replaced?

  • How long out-of-service will the aircraft be to swap modules (including any necessary inspections and certifications)?

  • How much extra weight and space will the extra mechanisms, surfaces, etc. require and how will it affect the economic performance of the aircraft?

  • What might be the (lost opportunity/economic) cost of idle modules? Both the cost of the module, and of properly storing it?

Comment When I was a kid, it was uphill to school ... (Score 1) 215

10 years ago (in the US), I got my first cell-phone - a simple feature-phone. No data plan. SMS/texts were $0.20/each. It was a LG flip-phone on a Verizon family contract (I will NEVER buy another LG phone.) These days, I carry around an iPhone4 on an AT&T monthly family plan..

I'm hardly a first adopter of phones.

That said, even I've noticed the changes in the cell-phone networks. And the most used feature of my phone is the calendar & alarms. Actual real-time communication with a smart-phone seems to be an afterthought.

Comment Re:huge waste of resources (Score 1) 252

In much of the US east of the Mississippi, there is (or was) a desire to share the same time as Wall Street. This made sense back in the days of telegraphs and telephone based traffic where HOURS mattered (but not before when Solar time was used.) At one point, Detroit, MI (at nearly the eastern most edge of Michigan) shared Chicago's time (sort of.) Frankly, Michigan would be much more comfortable in the Central Time Zone.

These days, with "instant" messaging (and where microsecond delays matter for automated trading), and where smart phones are pervasive, the case for time zones at all is weak. Let's go back to local-solar time.

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