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SpaceX, US Air Force Settle Spy Sat Dispute

pushing-robot Re:Is someone looking for a job? (80 comments)

The Falcon 9 (1.0 and 1.1 combined) has had one partial failure and 12 successful launches, the Antares one complete failure out of five launches, the Delta II one failure (and one partial failure) out of 152, the Delta IV Medium 20 successful launches with no failures, the IV heavy 7 successes and 1 partial failure on a test flight, the Atlas V 51 successes and 1 partial failure. Yes, the Delta III was horrible, but it was only launched three times back in the 90s and abandoned.

The DoD launch you're talking about happened in 2007. No other US company could get a satellite in GSO at the time. SpaceX had only launched two Falcon 1s for DARPA at that point, both too small, and both failures. Orbital at least had their Pegasus... with ~1/10th the required payload and a poor success rate.

I'm not a ULA apologist, they were simply the only game in town for US satellite launches, and charged accordingly. SpaceX's recent successes have put them on track to become serious competition, and that's great. But you'd be crazy to trust a new space company with high-value payloads until they have a few successful launches under their belt.

2 days ago
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SpaceX, US Air Force Settle Spy Sat Dispute

pushing-robot Re:Is someone looking for a job? (80 comments)

There are only three US companies with LEO capabilities: ULA (Boeing/Lockheed), SpaceX, and Orbital.

Of those three, Orbital's Antares is currently grounded after its spontaneous disassembly a few months ago, and our darling SpaceX's Falcon 9 1.1 has only been in use since 2013. ULA's Delta and Atlas have longer and better track records and much higher payload capacity than the Antares or Falcon 9.

On top of that, SpaceX and Orbital have never handled classified payloads before, so that's training and time and effort on the part of the USAF.

While I wouldn't be surprised if there's some palm-greasing going on behind the scenes between USAF and ULA, I also can't blame them for not trusting startups with billion dollar spy satellites.

2 days ago
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NVIDIA Responds To GTX 970 Memory Bug

pushing-robot Re:This reminds me... (145 comments)

You're describing 'TurboCache' (a marketing name if ever there was one).

It wasn't a secret, it was only on very low end cards, and ATI was already doing the same with 'HyperMemory'. Intel, for their part, was exclusively using system RAM at the time (and largely still is).

So what graphics *have* you been buying for the last decade?

3 days ago
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The Most Popular Passwords Are Still "123456" and "password"

pushing-robot Re:Very nice indeed (197 comments)

In fairness, it depends on what the passwords were *for*. If it's a bank site... that's bad. If it's some random site that hides content behind a pointless registration wall, '12345' is perfectly fine.
It comes down to 'if this were a door, would I lock it?'

about a week ago
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FBI Seeks To Legally Hack You If You're Connected To TOR Or a VPN

pushing-robot Re:Remember when you guys applauded Holder... (382 comments)

Technically this is the FBI, so you should be pissed off at Comey, not Holder. Comey is officially Holder's subordinate at the DoJ, though I'm not sure how much the FBI chief really answers for.

And you won't have to wait so long for Holder's departure; he announced his resignation months ago and Obama already tapped his replacement.

about a week ago
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Iran Forced To Cancel Its Space Program

pushing-robot Re:WHO forced them? (141 comments)

Don't forget the Islamic State, which also counts oil as its primary source of income. Saudi Arabia has no shortage of reasons to drive down oil prices.

about a week ago
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Feds Operated Yet Another Secret Metadata Database Until 2013

pushing-robot Another one? (102 comments)

At this rate we'll need a metadata database metadatabase.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

pushing-robot Re:Wait a minute (248 comments)

Less complexity, less weight (and gets lighter as you use it). No pumps, no power source for pumps, no return lines, just a pressurized tank and a few valves.

Of course, you have to know how much you'll need before the flight, and the longer you'll need it the lesser the savings over a traditional system.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

pushing-robot Curiously familiar (248 comments)

Looks like most of my Kerbal Space Program landings.

about two weeks ago
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Google Throws Microsoft Under Bus, Then Won't Patch Android Flaw

pushing-robot Re:Makes sense. (629 comments)

edit: the above was supposed to be a reply to another post by gstoddart in this thread. It doesn't make as much sense in this context, sorry

about two weeks ago
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Google Throws Microsoft Under Bus, Then Won't Patch Android Flaw

pushing-robot Re:Makes sense. (629 comments)

I know a few people like you, who always buy the lowest-end junk because "they'll have to upgrade it soon anyway". It's a self-fulfilling prophecy; they constantly curse their lousy crap and spend more throwing it away and replacing it every 18 months than I spend on decent gear that lasts 6-8 years.

But you should never buy first generation bleeding edge stuff either. The iPad 1G sucked, because mobile phone parts were very poor five years ago. It wasn't 'planned obsolescence', Apple didn't go out of their way to put inferior parts into it, they put in what existed at the time. Now that tablets are a 'thing' and chip designers are seriously targeting them, much better stuff exists-- the current iPad has 8 times the RAM and 10-20x the CPU performance of your model. Software designers would have to cripple their apps/sites to support both the latest hardware and yours, and you're not a big enough market for them to care.

On the other hand, if you'd just waited a bit and got the iPad 2, it would still be supported. Hell, it would still be *sold*, four years after its first release, in the form of the iPad Mini.

about two weeks ago
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First OSX Bootkit Revealed

pushing-robot Re:Turn on FileVault (135 comments)

Then the attacker types cp -R / /Volumes/NSA\ Data\ VacuumTM/

about three weeks ago
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First OSX Bootkit Revealed

pushing-robot Re:Turn on FileVault (135 comments)

Sorry to reply to myself, but after reading the full details on this vulnerability it's not like the previous Thunderbolt exploits I've seen, and my prior advice may not be sufficient protection.

It uses a string of vulnerabilities to flash itself into the firmware using Diagnostic Mode, which exists outside the protection of FileVault. To fully secure yourself you probably need to set a firmware password... not as easy as turning on FileVault, but it should only take a couple minutes on a modern Mac: instructions

Hopefully Apple will take steps to close the vulnerabilities but it's not likely to affect many people; it requires prolonged physical access to the machine, multiple reboots and connection of hardware, and finally the cooperation of the user (logging in again) for the attacker to steal any useful information. Virtually any machine could be compromised under the same circumstances.

about three weeks ago
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First OSX Bootkit Revealed

pushing-robot Re:Turn on FileVault (135 comments)

During the Mac OOBE it prompts you to turn it on.

And if you *don't* encrypt your hard drive or set a firmware password, it's not like anyone with physical access needs a fancy thunderbolt bootkit to compromise your PC.

about three weeks ago
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First OSX Bootkit Revealed

pushing-robot Turn on FileVault (135 comments)

FileVault 2 disables DMA over FireWire/Thunderbolt when no user is logged in or the machine is locked.

If you want an extra layer of security, execute this command:

sudo pmset -a destroyfvkeyonstandby 1 hibernatemode 25

...and your Mac will erase its decryption key from RAM every time it goes to sleep.

about three weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

pushing-robot Re:Dupe (840 comments)

It all comes down to economic efficiency. Manufacturing costs have plummeted while labor costs have skyrocketed, so it's not a productive use of one's time to repair. Time is expensive, stuff is cheap.

Repair isn't the only skill that's suffered; we've forgotten how to farm, forgotten how to weave our own clothing, forgotten how to do many things that were required of a household a century or two ago. It's also why we get connected halfway around the world for customer service and don't get our fuel pumped and windshield washed by a whistling attendant.

Whether this is ultimately good or bad depends on your point of view, but unless we run short of raw materials, drive up costs via pollution taxes, or see an economic meltdown in the west it's not likely to change course. Rising wages in China and other industrial companies will only do so much before factories switch to robot labor.

about three weeks ago
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Anthropomorphism and Object Oriented Programming

pushing-robot Re:Missing the point (303 comments)

There's a big difference between allowing something and requiring it. I think OO was the natural evolution of concepts like interfaces and namespacing, but what sets it apart is that it insists (so far as it can) the developer encapsulate information, while procedural languages at best suggest it.

Of course it's possible to write clear code in any paradigm, and some of the most beautiful code I've ever seen has been purely procedural, but that is unfortunately the exception. Most code I read is pretty poor, and the worst OO code I've encountered is far ahead of the worst procedural code in terms of readability and maintainability. I'll take the kludginess of OO over the heroic measures it takes to keep a large C project from turning into an unintelligible mess.

about three weeks ago

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