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SpaceShipTwo's Rocket Engine Did Not Cause Fatal Crash

_bug_ Unlocking the feathers during powered flight (150 comments)

Why unlock the feathers during powered flight?

Because if you get into space and find you can't unlock them, the aircraft is going to burn up on reentry. So you unlock them during powered flight. If they don't unlock, you can shut down the engines and still have enough atmosphere to control the aircraft and direct it out of its trajectory into space.

Why do this during powered flight and not before, perhaps just before the aircraft is released from its carrier?

Because the aerodynamics and stress on the aircraft at engine start are dynamic to say the least. Once under stable, powered flight there's much less risk in unlocking the feathers. The aerodynamic loads should not be high enough that they would overcome the hydraulics keeping the feathers in place after being unlocked.

The big question right now is why did the feathers deploy. The NTSB says they saw nothing to indicate the pilots had tried to deploy them; the handle used to do this was untouched based on the internal cockpit video they have.

It's way too early to even speculate that it even might be pilot error. That the unlock happened a couple seconds early should not have caused the feathers to deploy on their own. Unless the transition to supersonic speed induces stresses that could overcome the hydraulics and force the feathers to deploy and the unlock happened just before or during that transition.

We need to find out why the feathers deployed before we start blaming anyone or anything.

about 3 months ago

CloudFlare Announces Free SSL Support For All Customers

_bug_ Doesn't CloudFlare Scare Anyone? (67 comments)

You've got a single company who is encouraging web site operators to direct all traffic through CloudFlare's network. Now we don't need things like 'web bugs' to track you as you browse the internet, CloudFlare has your IP and can watch you as you go from one CloudFlare site to the next. Even if the site uses SSL, it's being decrypted now inside CloudFlare's network where they can watch everything you do.

And the NSA/CIA/etc must love that too. They don't have to subpoena many different web sites, they just subpoena CloudFlare or even work with CloudFlare like they do with AT&T and Verizon, stick an NSA black box on the network just after the connection has been decrypted, and watch everything you're doing while you think you're protected with an SSL connection to the web site you're visiting.

about 4 months ago

Firefox 29: Redesign

_bug_ Bookmark buttons a bad UI change (688 comments)

The button to quickly bookmark a page, and the button to pull up your list of bookmarks, are now paired together. This is not a good UI design choice. Now when I try to pull up my bookmarks I'm bookmarking pages and vice versa. I wish they were separate. I also wish that the button to bookmark a page was back in the address bar where its position provided better context.

about 8 months ago

Firefox 29: Redesign

_bug_ Re:It has a combined address/search bar (688 comments)

Type a single-word search query into the address bar in Firefox. Instead of searching for the word right away the browser attempts a DNS lookup. With the search bar that DNS lookup step is removed. For the more privacy-conscious this is an important thing. Especially if you've got an ISP that redirects a failed DNS response to their own search engine.

about 8 months ago

A Playstation 4 Teardown

_bug_ Still on the fence... (254 comments)

I like that Sony provided the teardown. It shows a certain amount of openess and I get the sense that the engineers that designed it want us to see it in all its glory.

But then I see other things pop up, like having to download an update and register the device before I can play Blu-ray discs, that it won't play MP3s or CDs, that it won't stream video content from my computer. All of this reeks of a lame attempt to force PS4 owners into subscribing to Sony's Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited by placing artificial limits on the hardware.

What I love about my PS3 (and I bought mine the day it was released and haven't had a single problem with it) is that I could use it for more than just games; it became my HTPC.

It seems like the PS4 won't be able to fill the shoes of its predecessor. And that's a shame. And the reason why I won't be buying a PS4 at launch and probably won't touch it until sony "patches" the firmware to fix these "bugs".

about a year ago

Firefox 21 Arrives

_bug_ Re:No. .Just No. (246 comments)

What are your concerns with Firefox 21 versus 17?

Is it the social api? That was introduced in 17 so you already have it. And it can be disabled in about:config, just search for "social.enabled".

Is it the health report? You can disable that as well either through the advanced tab under preferences or through about.config, just search for "healthreport".

about a year and a half ago

Botnet Uses Default Passwords To Conduct "Internet Census 2012"

_bug_ Re:Why are there no counter attacks? (222 comments)

The problem of launching a counter attack isn't technical, it's legal. A user broke into my system, they've broken the law. If I retaliate and break into their system, I'm now guilty of the same offense.

Could a case for self-defense be made? Maybe, but IANAL and I don't think a court would consider it in the same way they would a physical confrontation.

about 2 years ago

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

_bug_ Re:Problem with egos really (525 comments)

Unfortunately it was Tesla who told him it was okay to start out with 32mi range on the computer because the displayed range lost overnight due to the cold would come back.

He didn't do it because he had some agenda. He did it because Tesla told him to do so.

about 2 years ago

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

_bug_ Re:Problem with egos really (525 comments)

Just another journo that you can safely not read. I think Broder was caught in a near-total lie.

Did you read Broder's reply to Musk? It's not even remotely a "near-total lie".

Tesla reps gave Broder the wrong information. They told him to give the Tesla a 30 minute charge on a lower-power charging station, which he did. They said even though the car's computer said 32 miles that he'd get back the extra range lost over a cold evening and be able to make it to his destination.

You're chastising Broder for listening to Tesla.

And the previous two charges Broder listened to the car. When it was sufficiently over the range required to make his next destination, he unplugged and continued on his way. Should he not have trusted the car's computer? If that's the case then Tesla has a bit of a problem, you can't trust what the car says.

The speeds? Is that the "lie"? Teslas have 21" wheels normally. He was driving on 19" snow tires. If the system logging his speed wasn't calibrated for the wheel difference you'd see the logs indicate speeds about 10% higher than Broder was actually traveling. There's your discrepancy between the two.

What other lies? The visit to downtown Manhattan? Which actually wasn't a visit to downtown Manhattan (Tesla's own map shows that to be the case.)

The running around a parking lot for a half mile? A single loop of the rest area he stopped at to charge would be... about 1/2 a mile and would be consistent with someone trying to find the charging station. If his goal was to drain the battery, why only 1/2 a mile/ Why not 2 or 3?


The willingness to disregard the reporter's store outright as 100% lies is incredibly disheartening.

I had hoped /. readers would be a bit more reasoned and impartial.

about 2 years ago

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

_bug_ Re:Problem with egos really (525 comments)

Duplicated it in weather 20-30 degrees warmer than Broder did, which is significant for battery performance.

And did with with the updated advice from Tesla after they learned from Broder's trip what not to say, such as a 30 minute charge and keeping the heater running would revive the batteries to the range that they had before a cold night.

about 2 years ago

Elon Musk Lays Out His Evidence That NYT Tesla Test Drive Was Staged

_bug_ Re:Don't be too quick to pass judgement on this on (841 comments)

That Jalopnik article has since been updated, pointing out how both Musk and Broder could be correct.

UPDATE: A source who has seen the data logs explains how it's possible how Broder and Musk could both be truthful but sort of wrong. The high-voltage battery in the pack, allegedly, had enough power to move the car a much greater distance than needed to move the car onto a flatbed, maybe as far as five miles, but the 12V battery that powers the accessories and gets its juice from the high voltage battery shut down when Broder pulled into the service station.

When Broder decided to turn the car off, which was a mistake, the parking brake (operated by the 12V battery) was rendered unusable. If Broder was told not to turn the car off, it's his mistake. If Tesla told him to do it, or didn't inform him he shouldn't do it, then it's their mistake.

about 2 years ago

Experience the New Slashdot Mobile Site

_bug_ A lot of effort wasted. (384 comments)

Disable javascript and the mobile site presents a blank screen.

Some simple CSS with media queries (no javascript needed) and you could very easily have a (mobile) site that works regardless of the end-user's screen size.

Very disappointing.

about 2 years ago

Timothy Lord Discovers the Good Night Lamp at CES (Video)

_bug_ Staying Connected (236 comments)

When you make a phone call or send an e-mail you're breaking routine to specifically take part in connecting with someone. What's lost are those little, seemingly insignificant (but I think incredibly important) moments where you're just doing your own thing, but doing it around family and friends and there's a kind of passive sharing of that experience happening. That doesn't happen in an e-mail or a phone call.

This idea feels like a way to engage in that passive sharing that I think is important in relationships. And it does this in a very simple, but familiar way.

Some kind of services that shares every detail of a person's daily routine is just information overload and becomes annoying (twitter, 4square, facebook). This is just a nice, simple message (I'm home) that is personal, but unobtrusive and "feels right".

about 2 years ago

Hit Game Makes £52 In First Week On Windows RT

_bug_ Expectations of Promotion? (308 comments)

It seems Rubicon's beef was the lack of promotion by Microsoft of their title. Is this promotion Rubicon pays for or is this an expectation that their app would be freely promoted for them?

Is an app's success due in large part to the operator of the app store promoting said app? That seems like a system ripe for bribery.

more than 2 years ago

Entire Cities In World of Warcraft Dead, Hack Suspected

_bug_ Hotfixed (305 comments)

Blizzard reports the exploit being used has been hotfixed.

more than 2 years ago

Sexism In Science

_bug_ Re:Only in science? (467 comments)

There is actually a massive need for male teachers at the elementary level right now. Why? Because boys need male role models and often don't have one because either dad is off working all day or they don't have a dad at all. And if boys don't have the real thing in front of them they're going to learn by what they find elsewhere (television, movies, older boys) which tends to have negative consequences.

more than 2 years ago

Video Purports To Show Successful Hover Bike Test Flights

_bug_ Re:power fail? (112 comments)

Helicopters have the same problem of falling out of the sky if the engine fails. That has not stopped them from becoming quite popular.

more than 2 years ago

Will Dolby's New Atmos 62.2 Format Redefine Surround Sound?

_bug_ Re:waste of time (298 comments)

...considering Bose have single-driver units that fill a room, and I have a pair of headphones made by Angle & Curve (with one driver either side) which, with the softHD sound processor in my netbook, gives me "virtual" surround that sounds every bit as good as my acoustically balanced 5.1 PC setup.

I disagree. Providing new directions for sound to come from (above and below) will definitely provide a more immersive experience. Just think about a scene where planes fly overhead; in a current 7.1 setup the plane sounds like it's at your level, but with speakers overhead it will "feel" like the plane is flying over your head. Or imagine a rerelease of Tremors with a new audio mix so you can "feel" those things underneath you.

Convincing people to upgrade their hardware, be it in a home theater or at the theater itself, will take some effort not unlike previous audio hardware upgrades such as from mono to stereo to LCR to surround. But I think in 10 to 15 years we'll all be convinced how much more it adds to the movie and sports viewing experience.

Although for a successful home market, 62 + 2 speakers?! I don't know about that. Either units with multiple speakers within them so the number of "devices" to purchase is small and easy(ish) to setup or a reworking of the standard to bring the number of speakers down to something more realistic, like a 16+2.

more than 2 years ago

New Feather In SpaceShipTwo's Cap

_bug_ [Citation Please] (42 comments)

The accident you refer to happened four years ago. A little over a year later Scaled Composites released their findings into the cause of the accident and shared everything they learned in how to more safely handle the materials they were using with the industry.

Since then I haven't heard of any accidents. So please inform us what other accidents have occured at Scaled Composites relating to the rocket motors.

Furthermore, I've love to hear about your sources that characterize the current state of Scaled Composites' rocket motor development as being "problematic".

I think your information is four years old. Scaled Composites already has a schedule in place that includes, later this year, firing the rocket motor in flight, possibly even putting SpaceShipTwo into space by the end of this year (but that will probably happen in early 2012). And by the end of 2012 we'll probably see the first paid flights.

The engines are fine.

more than 3 years ago

New PS3 Firmware Contains Backdoor

_bug_ This Will Hurt Sony's Bottom Line (491 comments)

Future PS3 games will require the latest firmware be installed in order to play.

There's no way in hell I want to install a firmware that intentionally creates a backdoor into my system.

Therefore I have no other choice but to stop buying PS3 games. Sony will be losing my (albeit small) source of revenue and perhaps others will handle the situation in a similar way. Thus Sony loses out on revenue they'd otherwise have had they not made this move.

And I wonder if those in such a position will turn to piracy simply because they don't want to install a backdoored firmware -- further hurting Sony's bottom line.

Sony really doesn't seem to think these things through.

more than 3 years ago


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_bug_ _bug_ writes  |  about 11 years ago

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