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The Physics of Space Battles

david_thornley Re:Fighters (373 comments)

In the old Star Trek RPG Combat Simulator, I played with the idea of a fighter. It turned out that weapons dominated the cost of the ships, so for not much more cost than putting a phaser on a shuttle, I could put a real ship around it and make the phaser more survivable.

7 hours ago
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The Physics of Space Battles

david_thornley Re:Some realistic space battles in literature (373 comments)

Actually, crossing the T was a very useful tactic from the time when sailing warships with broadside cannon became common (sometime in the 1700s or so) until gun battles ceased to be important.

7 hours ago
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The Physics of Space Battles

david_thornley Re:There Ain't No Stealth In Space (373 comments)

How are you putting the heat into the enemy ship? If you're using a beam-type weapon, you're using up a lot of power to generate it, and that creates heat on your own ship. If you have problems keeping on target at the range you're at, you're probably heating your ship more than heating the enemy's.

7 hours ago
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The Physics of Space Battles

david_thornley Re:It seems to me... (373 comments)

In a battle with maneuverable spacecraft, you don't care about the orbit you're in. What's important is position, velocity, and acceleration relative to your opponents.

7 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?

david_thornley Re:different folk! Use different set ups. (156 comments)

In other words, you don't require a public-facing bug list. You just want access during the sales process (and probably later), and you're willing to sign an NDA first.

7 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?

david_thornley Re:Your sales people are cr*p... (156 comments)

Your problem is thinking that salespeople should be able to deal with phony issues. That is very likely not to work. If a competitor's salesperson comes up with a phony issue with your product, your salespeople are playing defense and trying to reassure the customer when they could be concentrating on your product's good features.

7 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?

david_thornley Re:your fundamental problem (156 comments)

Non-techies buy most software products. There's a lot more of them than us, so they're a much larger market.

7 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?

david_thornley Re:Depends on target market (156 comments)

If you have to educate a customer before you can sell something, you've almost certainly lost. In most fields, you need to be able to sell your stuff to people who don't fully understand it, and in particularly don't fully understand the development process.

7 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?

david_thornley Re:Listen to Sales - as hard as it may be (156 comments)

Marketing is not a simple job. I don't really know how to do it well (in this company, that's a problem for other people). It deals with things that are hard to quantify, but that doesn't make it any easier or more important.

You seem to miss the fact that this is an opinion of sales and marketing, not just sales. If you think there's no difference, you're unqualified to have an opinion. (Marketing is about setting up an environment where it's easier to sell, sales is about actually selling the stuff.)

Your attitude is that the developers should dictate how sales and marketing should work, and sales and marketing should spin what the developers like. This is very much like having sales and marketing set development deadlines and vague and partly contradictory specs, and expecting development to come up with a product that conforms to the specs on the given schedule. If you (correctly) think that's a recipe for failure and other bad things, why would you expect sales and marketing to work well when given orders from developers?

Basically, if you can't trust the opinions of your marketing guys, fire them and hire different ones. They're the experts here.

8 hours ago
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Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

david_thornley Re:Nope. (247 comments)

Why worry about missing? We're very, very good at placing spacecraft exactly where we want them. This isn't some Edgar Rice Burroughs thing where the Mars mission winds up crashing on Venus. There's innumerable dangers, and you pick one that isn't going to happen?

On the trip, we have radiation exposure, extended zero-g effects, needing to maintain a livable environment for a long time, things like that. Worry about those.

8 hours ago
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Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

david_thornley Re:No, who cares? (247 comments)

Actually, we're closer than in 1975. The cost of getting stuff to LEO is going down considerably, and we know a lot more about keeping people alive and halfway healthy in space for long periods of time. LEO is a good chunk of the way to planetary escape velocity, and from there we can use low-thrust engines that could be more efficient than rockets.

8 hours ago
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Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

david_thornley Re:Should we? (247 comments)

In the past several hundred million years, we've had a few major strikes resulting in extinction events. Humanity would survive such an event. We're not localized and we're incredibly adaptable. Earth is going to become uninhabitable sometime before another billion years is up. Odds are we have hundreds of millions of years before we have to get off-planet, which is not "fairly soon in terms of our evolutionary history".

8 hours ago
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Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

david_thornley Re:Should we? (247 comments)

And, after such an impact, Earth would still be more hospitable than Mars. If we could set up a self-sustaining Martian colony, we could set up preparations for a much larger self-sustaining colony here.

8 hours ago
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Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

david_thornley Re:Rational reasons to explore space (247 comments)

Your points 1, 2, 4, and 5 can be satisfied by robotic missions. Your point 6 is of limited importance, because it's an experience that cannot be properly shared that would be available to vanishingly few of us. Point 3 is going to be impossible to do anything about for quite some time, and I don't see that sending humans to Mars now is going to help anything.

8 hours ago
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Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

david_thornley Re:Technological Limitations (247 comments)

Modern subs carry a lot of consumables, and also have to go back to port every so often for maintenance. They are not designed for habitation for years on end. They are not designed to replace their own consumables and fabricate their own replacement equipment. We've tried creating self-sustaining environments, and haven't succeeded all that well yet.

8 hours ago
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Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

david_thornley Re:Should we? (247 comments)

I actually don't think the ocean-vacuum comparison is bad. Both are hostile environments that we need the proper technology to get through.

The problem I see is what's on the other side. People trying to colonize places on Earth arrived at spots with air, water, available food, tolerable temperatures and usually arable land. It was possible to fit pretty much everything needed into a cargo hold. No place in the solar system off-planet matches those criteria.

8 hours ago
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Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

david_thornley Re:Should we? (247 comments)

Not arguing with Munroe on this one, but I'm not at all sure that sending people to Mars at this time is going to help keep a presence off-planet. What we need for off-Earth colonization is so mind-bogglingly large that we're not going to make a dent this century. I'd rather see improved robotics and robot explorations for now, probably to be followed by heavily roboticized colonies at least partly built before the humans arrive.

8 hours ago
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When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

david_thornley Re:Programmed obsolescence? (169 comments)

Leasing and financing are two different things, similar in effect.

If I lease a vehicle, it really isn't mine, and I have to pay attention to the terms of the lease. If I finance a vehicle, I'm buying it outright with a loan secured by the vehicle. (I bought my first car with an unsecured loan, to add to the variety.) Obviously, I have to pay off the loan, but other than that I can do pretty much as I please with the car.

Are there places where you lease a cell phone? I haven't seen one.

9 hours ago
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When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

david_thornley Re:Programmed obsolescence? (169 comments)

I don't think you have the legalities right here. The phone isn't a lease, it's a sale, frequently (in the US) partially subsidized by a contract (with fees for terminating it early). AT&T doesn't really care what I do with my phone, just as long as I keep making the contract payments.

9 hours ago
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When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

david_thornley Re:May not take apart? What? (169 comments)

If you can swap batteries easily, you have some sort of battery bay. The bay has an internal cover and an external cover, doubling the covers. Moreover, I suspect that one of those batteries requires a case, meaning that the cross-section through the battery compartment has battery bay cover, outside battery cover, inside battery cover, and battery bay inside before you get to the back of the screen, as opposed to a phone skin. This means that the nonremovable battery can be larger than the removable one. Like many design decisions, it's a tradeoff.

Moreover, you can indeed buy external iPhone batteries. It won't be as convenient to use, but if you want to extend the battery charge you certainly can do so. So, there's the large battery and external recharge way, or the smaller battery and internal recharge way. Both work.

9 hours ago

Submissions

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Apple makes iBricks

david_thornley david_thornley writes  |  about 7 years ago

david_thornley (598059) writes "Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet has some early reports on Apple turning iPhones into iBricks. Apparently it's happening not only to unlocked iPhones, but to standard locked iPhones where the customer hasn't done anything out of the ordinary. Once bricked, it may be possible to return it to factory settings, losing all photos, mail, contacts, and other things. This isn't good, folks. If you have iPhones of any description, except newly purchased, don't sync with the new update."

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