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Cryogenic Truck Services Remote Telescopes

ALecs Re:More info not linked from the article (38 comments)

Then there are the guys who distribute phase-coherent millimeter wave LOs for hundreds of meters over fiber optics, and when they can't buy a mixer at Mini-Circuits that does what they want, they grow one from a freakin' crystal. Those guys all seem to end up at NRAO, even though there's no money in radio astronomy and even less glory.

Probably because it's the kind of environment that values damn-good research above all else, be it in RF, astrophysics, astrochemistry or even in IT (where I work). I've gone from job-hopping every 3-18 months at my previous employers to staying at NRAO for 6 years now. And every year at the annual service awards presentation they give out 30 or even 40-year service awards. Sure, there's no money in astronomy and our budget is projected flat for the next what... 5 years or something, but even with that people like it here and stick around.

Proof (IMO) that you can develop and sustain a great R&D culture on a limited budget!

more than 3 years ago

Cryogenic Truck Services Remote Telescopes

ALecs More info not linked from the article (38 comments)

Disclaimer: I work for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (the US partner for ALMA).

There's lots more info on the transporters available on the ALMA web site. The two antenna transporters, named "Otto" and "Lore", have their own page at http://almaobservatory.org/en/technology/transporters. Each transporter actually has 2 500kW power plants (for redundancy) and cooling them at 5km altitude is a major challenge (actually, the datacenter has the same problem -- there's just not enough air up there to remove the heat).

There's lots more pictures of them carrying antennas there, too.

Finally, a video of the transporter taking the first ALMA antenna to the high site .

more than 3 years ago

Vatican Chooses Open FITS Image Format

ALecs Re:Image size? (223 comments)

Yes :) FITS files are HUGE!

As a sysadmin for an astronomy observatory I find this laughable. FITS was designed to store every last detail about an image (and frequencies for radio astronomy) and it seems WAY overkill to burn that many bits digitizing manuscripts.

But hey, who am I to question the word of the church? :)

more than 4 years ago

Disney Buys Marvel

ALecs My brain added an extra L (423 comments)

Which made me wonder why Disney would need an semiconductor manufacturing company? Especially one without a fab.

Yes, that's right - not all slashdotters care about comics. /me defends his geek card against the ensuing calls to surrender it

more than 5 years ago

CCC Create a Rogue CA Certificate

ALecs Re:A nice piece of work (300 comments)

You seem to be able to disable root CAs in firefox. In "preferences" > "advanced" > "view certificates" > "authorities". FreeSSL is in there, listed as "startcom ltd". I guess we might all want to remove that now?

more than 5 years ago

Best Open Source Alternatives To Enterprise Apps

ALecs BackupPC (348 comments)

Ah yes - forgot to mention the de-duplication in my earlier post. Thank you.

more than 6 years ago

Best Open Source Alternatives To Enterprise Apps

ALecs Look at BackupPC (348 comments)

I've been running backuppc where I work for a while and am nothing but pleased with it.


It's web-based for file restores and I can grant permissions to inidividual system operators to restore files for only their systems. It connects using rsync so no other agent is required on the backed-up host. It's running on a 1-U server with 4 SATA disks in a software raid-5 and backing up 20 servers without difficulty.

more than 6 years ago


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