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Spirit Stuck In Soft Soil On Mars

ChrisA90278 Re:Still the cheaper option? (160 comments)

Personnel for operating the rover couldn't possibly cost that much,.....I'm sure the communication infrastructure for it was already in place.

(1) Thos guys make between $85K and $120K per year. "overhead" about doubles that. This covers things like the building they work in, insurance, vacation pay and the bosses and office cleaning staff and capital equipment. So for $4M/year you get about 16 people full time.

(2) The communications system is HUGE. We are taling about football sized antennas all around the world, satalites in orbit and so on. All these cost money and every space program has to pay a "tax" based on usage and so on. So your $4M does not cover 16 people.

I've been in the software business for many years. I was surprized the first time I had to cost out a project. $1M does not buy many lines of code. We get about 250 lines of code per man-month.

more than 5 years ago

eBay Fakes Devalue the Craft of Tomb Robbing

ChrisA90278 Re:Numismats (153 comments)

unless they have access to a certain amount of 2000 year old copper and other metals.

Yes they do, ALL copper on Earth is way more than 2,000 years old. read the linked article. It says that there is simply no way to test metal. All of it is billions of years old.

You can look at the corrosion on the outside but there are ways to fake that.

more than 5 years ago

eBay Fakes Devalue the Craft of Tomb Robbing

ChrisA90278 They SHOULD be easy to reproduce. (153 comments)

They SHOULD be easy to reproduce. Almost all of truely antique pots and so on were made hundreds of years ago be just "normal indians" It is not like most of them were in their time "high art" it was jsut the vilage potter's work and likely sold for a small amount. The potter made these from local cheap materials that are still locally available and cheap,. Basically any skilled potter who knows what to do can turn out many pots per day both now and 500 years ago.

This is not the same thing as a fake Rembrandt oil painting. 1,000 years ago these pots were made by people of avgerage skills.

more than 5 years ago

Handmade vs. Commercially Produced Ethernet Cables

ChrisA90278 It's not exppensive either way (837 comments)

"'s next to impossible to create quality cable (ie: cable that will pass a Time Domain Reflectometer test) by hand without expensive dies, special Ethernet jacks and special cable...."

The above is 100% correct except for one work "expensive". The dies don't cost a long. You can buy th tool for under $50. None of the other stuff is expensive either.

That said, Cable with the ends already on don't cost much either. It's just that it is very hard to pull cable with the.ends on

Also look at the fire code. You can need plenum cable.

more than 5 years ago

Volunteers Recover Lunar Orbiter 1 Photographs

ChrisA90278 Re:I doubt this very much. (150 comments)

They are wide band two inch wide helical scan tapes. The specs on those tapes are very impressive even by today's standards. For example we use wide band analog tape in our lab and the specs are not much different. The machines don't cot so much any more only about as much as a new Lexus

You have to figure those old machines where not built for the lunar mission. NASA didn't have that kind of money. These were US Air force machines.

more than 5 years ago

Volunteers Recover Lunar Orbiter 1 Photographs

ChrisA90278 Re:To: Anonymous Coward (150 comments)

For just getting one machine to work their current method is the best. What they did was get a bunch of these old machines and disassemble them for parts to build one that works. The guy doing that is a volunteer working for free. Hard to beat zero cost.

If you wanted to build many machines then yes, re-design one from scratch. But have you priced the cost of custom one off software. I'm in that business and I'll rtell yo that $1M does not buy you much/ The only reason software is cheap is because they sell millions of copies.

more than 5 years ago

How Do I Provide a Workstation To Last 15 Years?

ChrisA90278 Use VMware or other virtual environment (655 comments)

If his software runs under DOS then rub a virtual "DOS" system inside a modern OS

That Modern OS can be Mac OS X, or Linuix. Or even Windows.

Once the computer is running out of a VM yu no longer have to worry about the hardware lasting. You can move copy the VM image file to a DVD or hard drive and plug it into any Mac, Linux or Windows computer that has a VM player and boot the VM image and be up and running. So your system becomes abot as "portable" as a music CD.

Buy him a few 20" iMacs and set up his software in VMware's "Fusion" and he'll be good to go. He will be able to keep up to date as new version of the OS come out while is old software runs in the VM.

more than 5 years ago

Is Alcohol Killing Our Planet?

ChrisA90278 No, it is "carbon nuetral" (468 comments)

Yes CO2 is produced but the carbon in the (let's say) corn came from the atmosphere. So when it is decomposed or fermented the carbon is put back where it came from.

The burnning of fossil fuels releases carbon back into the air also. This carbon was taken out of the air also but the problem is the time periods. The cabon in oil is the result of millions of years of plant growth and then it is all burned at once in a couple centuries.

Alcohol production is closer to steady state. Same with burning trees and dry grass.

more than 5 years ago

Best Grad Program For a Computer Science Major?

ChrisA90278 Re:Business or Accounting (372 comments)

I agree with about above. You do see the small companies grabbing the guys with the best GPAs. The mid level GPA end up at the bigger places.

But WHY? Well there big companies need LOTS of people and by definition there are not a lot of high GPA students. There are simply not very many people in the 5th percentile.

Also they are looking at cost. The big guys need to keep their payroll costs in line

more than 5 years ago

Best Grad Program For a Computer Science Major?

ChrisA90278 Re:Business or Accounting (372 comments)

"What many of these HR types look at as a first criterion for consideration is your GPA."

No, they are even more lame than that. Yes they will look at GPA but not first.

The FIRST thing they do is run your resume through a "buzz word filter". They will simply count how many times you use words they are searching for.. Many times they do not even know the meaning of the words.

Then if you pass this computer filter they will rout the resume to the hiring managers based of the "fit". The managers mark some resumes are "interesting" then the HR person will look at the GPA and which school you came from, years of experiance and so on.

more than 5 years ago

Best Grad Program For a Computer Science Major?

ChrisA90278 Re:Business or Accounting (372 comments)

"can happen" and "does happen" are DIFFERENT. Yes anything CAN happen. Study CS now and then at age 55 learn to play the guitar form a rock band and be a millionaire. Could happen but likely not.

The best advice is to not thing "I'm different" because of all the people who think that way few are right.

The can't swimm upstream thing is 90% correct. A few people can beat the odds but 90% don't. Basically if you flumked out of mach in the 9th grade and never really "got" Algabra then you are likely not going into Electrical Engineering. Yes you could later go to the local comunity collage and work at math and then go back the universtiy but you get into you managment job and you have kids and don't want to give up the time to go back to school. VERY few beat the rule about swimming upstream. But enough do beat it that we hear of it. Just like some kids DID end up playing for the NBA.

more than 5 years ago

Best Grad Program For a Computer Science Major?

ChrisA90278 Re:If you are asking this question (372 comments)

You are right about that. I ask managment all the time for decisions about "Which is more important? Which of these two ways do you like?" I as an engineer know what I know and I'm happy to defer pollicy questions to management. Part of my job is to explain technical details so that managment CAN make decisions.

I work in the space launch business. There are a lot of smart engineers here but not ONE of them understands how the entire rocket works. I know a little about telemetry software but NOTHING about cryogenic turbo pumps. Not one of us engineers could get a rocket off the ground. It is the management process that makes it work.

more than 5 years ago

Best Grad Program For a Computer Science Major?

ChrisA90278 What do you want to DO? (372 comments)

Get an MS is IT if you want to manage a group of people that install Cisco routers and pull wires inside walls.

Get the MS in CS if you wantr to advance the current stat of the art in computer science.

I'm 100% certain the the "next big thing" maybe in 40 or 50 years will be intelligent machines. But for this to happen we will need a HUGE leap, a breakthrough in our theoretical understanding about what intelligent being are and how they work and a very deep level.

Which sounds more exciting to you. Writing performance evaluations of router installers or witting software? Only you know what you want to do.

more than 5 years ago

Reliability of Computer Memory?

ChrisA90278 What do you mean "no one..."? (724 comments)

Look at the Apple Mac Pro. It comes with ECC memory. It's not the only computer either.

Most people buy PCs based on price. If they can save $5 they will. These people don't get ECC but then they aren't doing anything critical with their computers, just games or the Internet. Anyone running a critical service would have some kind of redundant setup to either deal with the crashes or prevent/reduce them with with things like ECC, RAID, dual power supplies and so on. Sun's servers even allow you to "boot around" failed hardware

Memory testing will NOT protect from casmic rays and flipped bits, what they call "soft errors"

more than 5 years ago

Linux Kernel 2.6.29 Released

ChrisA90278 Re:Filesystems in the kernel! (265 comments)

"A database management system is nothing but a fancy filesystem with structured files, yet they are often used in servers and perform just fine."

Yes that is true but "perform just fine" for a database system means something different from "perform just fine" when you are talking about a file system.

For example many people would be happy to see their DBMS do 500 table inserts per second but a file system that could to only 500 writes per second very slow.

All this talk about what should go inside the kernel is pointless now that for years we've had a modular kernel. You can configure in or out what ever you like. If you want a user space file system you can have that or not have it. It's all very configurable.

more than 5 years ago

Windows and Linux Not Well Prepared For Multicore Chips

ChrisA90278 Re:Adapt (626 comments)

You are correct. What is needed is a new instruction set. But we don't need new machine level instructions. Source code level is good enough. A programming language or API that works at a higher level is what's needed. Currently you have to get down in the details of synchronization to make threads work. What's needed s a more declarative approach where you can "mark" sections of the program with informatin about how they interact.

Object Oriented Programming is not a bad way to write parallel code. If the objects model real-world objects that each can be on it's own thread. Problem is that most dumb programmers idea of "object" is a GIU widget.

In the end it is more about educating developers.

more than 5 years ago

Reasonable Hardware For Home VM Experimentation?

ChrisA90278 Any Intel Core2 and loads of RAM (272 comments)

Any computer with at least two cores or two CPU chips. I have two systems one is a dual xeon powoered HP running Linux with VMware's "server" and the other a dual core Apple iMac running Mac OS X with VMware's "fusion. They both work well. But in any case max out the RAM.

In fact if you are buying a computer just for this purpose, Buy yhr one that has the largest maximum RAM. You want at least 4GB. Also get the best disk system you can afford.

Processor speed is not really what you need but you do want a modern Intel Core2 and loads of RAM

more than 5 years ago

How To Get High-Schoolers Involved In Real Science?

ChrisA90278 Lots of research opertunies under our feet. (314 comments)

Study something very close to home. I think the ecology of cracks in the side walk would make a graet topic. Where do nutrients come from? How to weeds compete for them and under what conditions do some win and loose.

Have the weeds evolved to fit this new environment that people craeted only in the last century. Are the wild weeds geneticaly the same as those in urban areas. Theory says evolution can happen with new environments. are we seeing this?

more than 5 years ago

It's Not the 15th Birthday of Linux

ChrisA90278 For Linux 1.0 was NOT the beginning (261 comments)

For Linux using the release of 1.0 was something that happened late. the .9 series was long lived and mature. I'd been using Linux for a long time before 1.0 was released.

In people years, Linux 1.0 was more like a high school graduation than a birth. It meant that Linux was mostly grown up,

For Linux we do have a very good and well defined "birthday". The day Linux posted on usnet. Use that.

more than 5 years ago

What Filters Are Right For Kids?

ChrisA90278 (678 comments)

Use as your DNS provider. I do this to filter ads and popups. It works with any Internet connected device from PCs to iPod Touch.

more than 5 years ago


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