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Comment Re:Reminds me of hardcards (Score 2) 201

Oh yea, that takes me back. I checked off all of the boxes as you went down the list. Controllers separate from the drives... replaced the controller and the drive was hosed. The whole debug to format was a joy. You were really cooking if you had RLL or ESDI. You were somehow "overclocking" your drive if it could take a 1:1 interlace (or non-interlaced in this case). You'd have to experiment with 2:1 or 3:1 to find out which worked best. You felt cheated if you couldn't get at least 2:1 working. It took hours between tests because you forked over big bucks for a 20 MB Seagate! Lest we not forget the two cables with those marvelous tab connectors.

Comment Re:In rural Greece we have a word for that (Score 1) 202

Holy Sh!t. Reading your comment just may just explain the strange phenomena I felt when I was a kid. A few days before Mount St. Helens blew we experienced eerie weather conditions. I have told this story to a number of people over the years, how there was a really strange shift in conditions. I lived near Battle Ground, WA, which is 50mi. SSW of St. Helens. It was 8pm or so in the evening and time to suit up and head down to the barn to feed the horses. Two steps out the door and WHAM - warm, dead air. So warm it gave me the creeps! So strange that to this day I can remember vividly where I stood and my surroundings well past dusk. I went back in and shed my jacket and told my brother to come outside and check it out and then proceeded to check the news to see if she finally blew, not yet, but days laters.

So perhaps this radon precedes volcanic eruptions too?

(Hmm, your message was posted exactly 31 years and 6 hours after the eruption.)

Comment Re:No one? (Score 1) 281

This "focal point" issue is similar to the problems I have with the multi-speaker audio formats like 5.1, 7.1, etc. which are all really an attempt to create 3D sounds. Over 15 years ago I bought a high-end Yamaha sound field processor (A2070) that could mimic live venues to recreate 3D sound environments. It did a stunning job, hands down! It drove the L/R main, front effects, rear effects, center channel (or two!) and the sub making it the original form of 7.1 although there were not 8 separate recorded channels, it just used the 2CH Pro Logic decoding. Years later the idea of recording a track for each channel evolved, 5.1 then 7.1, which I thought would be cool and ideal, but that is where it all went wrong.

The studios do such a poor job of simulation when recording the separate channels, it becomes a huge distraction. First, most people are less affected by audio than visual effects, but it is a HUGE distraction to hear a sound behind you. Your focal point is watching a 2D image that sits in "stage" in front of you and yet you can hear sound from behind you? Your mind will immediately tells you this is wrong. The stage is in front of you and this fantasy world starts at the stage and goes forward, not behind you.

Second, this positional sound became a gimmick and abused by studios. These almost random and poorly timed effects are the bane of movie watching. I don't know which is more distracting, an entirely discrete sound effect (not at all blended with the other channels) going off behind my head, or someone's cell phone ringing. They both have the same annoying effect, although I don't think it will give you a headache like the 3D video will.

Like I said, most people are not as affected by audio artifacts, as much as visual ones, but I was amused watching the Super Bowl in HD at a friends house. Every so often they would attempt to immerse the home audience in the game by cutting off the color commentators and taking a live shot from the stands, meanwhile saturating all 5.1 channels with sounds from the arena, basically a bunch of clapping and cheers. Each time they did this, my host would look up annoyed at his speakers and queried me about their placement. He even declared that he used the microphone to balance the channel volumes, but complained that often times too much sound would come from the effect speakers. I felt better knowing that I was not the only one.

Comment Useless article to the last (Score 1) 294

Overall, I think this article is far too premature. The last paragraph says it all "The great thing about both suites, however, is that your decision need not be set in stone." In other words, there was nothing really to compare nor contrast. With the lead of "side by side" comparison, one would at least expect some form of tabular results. I got the feeling the author wanted to make the case for OO by mentioning the Win7 install issues and "hopefully this is a bug that will be resolved soon", and that paid support would be a requirement for larger installations which LO does not have (officially). But after running the cost figures for 100 users, dropping $9,000 for OO in the cited example would set a fair amount of stone.

Comment Best of ropeways and railway (Score 1) 225

The aerial nature of the ropeway system has the advantage over rough terrain, where roads and rail would have to zig zag through energy robbing country. But because we have already adapted our transportation systems to relatively flat areas, especially long haul expressways, I agree that railroads are better. Really, they are just opposite of one another; trains have wheels on the cars which run on the fixed rail, and the ropeway is a moving "rail" on a fixed set of wheels.

An advantage of the ropeway over the railway is the size of unit transferred; aka packet size and frequency. Railway systems don't adapt well to all the potential uses, the exchange points are extremely inefficient and the rigid one-size-fits-all packet that usually requires a very large often heavy cargo to justify the choice. Ropeway systems offer a smaller, more manageable packet size combined with a higher frequency to achieve a higher throughput. In the ropeway system, new shipping containers are available with high frequency and their delivery time is constant but not all loads can be divided into smaller units.

Why not build a flatbed light rail system? Electric driven, computer routed, flatbeds on rail that could haul individual cars, trucks, delivery trucks or even full size tractor-trailers. Drive into the station, drive on to your individual flatbed cart, use your id and set your destination (cell phone app?). The cart then autonomously pulls into the main line, speeds you to your destination and exits, and you drive off. All that is required is different staging areas to support different vehicle sizes. Carts could be designed to connect and cooperate in such a way where perhaps four smaller car platforms could join to make a truck platform.

For the most part, the freeway system would only need three tracks, one in each direction and a bypass rail for emergencies or high traffic. As mentioned by another poster, it is usually the exchange points that are inefficient; eg. loading/unloading of rail cars, or passengers parking at a metro station and boarding light rail. In this case, you drive on the next available cart and go. Currently, trains as a whole must stop and start to pickup cargo/passengers along the way. The energy loss is tremendous and the patience of the passengers taxed having to stop at every station.

With the flatbed rail system, you get the smaller packet size, higher frequency and constant delivery times afforded by the ropeway system, plus you get the long haul, larger load capability of rail.

Comment Maybe on volume, but how about value? (Score 1) 449

It seems this comparison would be much more interesting if it were based on dollars and not units. This article makes as much sense as saying "the sale of toothpicks is outpacing chopsticks". BTW, I don't plan on doing any of my software development on my Android phone since my current seven virtual desktops is hardly enough real estate to do my work.

Comment Re:The deal is new policies by the TSA... (Score 1) 1135

Normally the migration from optional to required is much more gradual, methodic and covert; more like behavioral modification. We all knew that when the stories of these first came out and they were sold as optional, but you knew the plan. I am just amazed at the speed and blatant progression.

Here is a solution I have not heard yet: quid pro quo. A passenger (victim) should be able to choose their TSA pat-down agent (assailant) and the passenger should be able to pat-down the TSA agent to the same extent. I am sure the agent selection would be just as random as the TSA passenger selection, with absolutely no profiling.

Comment Imagine the liablity (Score 1) 2058

Can you imagine the liability the city has opened themselves up to? This would be an entirely different story if there was a clerical mistake. If he really wanted to get the fire put out, he should have called and said he paid the bill. At that moment, they couldn't dispute it, no matter how good they thought their accounting was, they would have had no choice but to show up and put it out. If there was a check postmarked the day prior that appeared in their mailbox, they would be screwed! "I paid that on Monday!"

Comment Re:No, that's not it at all (Score 1) 2058

...it would be like buying auto insurance after you've had a wreck and expecting the insurance company to cover you for that wreck.

Yes, what do people think the word insurance means? It is like getting a health insurance policy after you are already sick, with like a pre-existing condition, and still expecting to get coverage... oh wait... nevermind


NASA Tests All-Composite Prototype Crew Module 67

coondoggie writes "With an eye toward building safer, lighter and tougher spacecraft, NASA said today its prototype space crew module made up of composite materials handled tests simulating structural stresses of launch and atmospheric reentry. The idea behind NASA's Composite Crew Module project is to test new structural materials for possible future NASA spacecraft. According to NASA, composite materials are being looked at because they are stiff and lightweight and can be formed into complex shapes that may be more structurally efficient. In space travel, where every additional pound of weight drives costs higher, any weight savings provides increased payload capacity and potentially reduces mission expense."

Comment Steep ridges = fast winds (Score 1) 101

From experience, the steeper the ridges the greater the impact. My old partner picked me up at my local airstrip in a Piper Tri Pacer (a lighter, tube and fabric airplane). We had to climb and then cross perpendicular to the ridge line, the least you can do to avoid the well known affects of a hill that rises 1000' in less than a mile. Even though we had at least 500' above the ridge, it was a bumpy ride. And when we were well past ridge face, it tipped us really hard and really fast! Thank god for padded radio headsets! It tipped us past 45 degrees in a fraction of second, with the window hitting my head and rang my bell some.

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