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Ask Steve Wozniak Anything

rbanffy Re:The contemporary Apple II (612 comments)

Or, better, if Apple convinced you to design the Apple IV as an intellectual successor to the Apple II, completely ignoring Mac and iOS ecosystems (and the Apple III, which we all understand as not being your fault) and building it for hardware and software hackers, without losing the kitchen-table-friendliness of the II, what would it look like? Would it be a self-contained box with internal slots? Would it be beige?

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Steve Wozniak Anything

rbanffy The contemporary Apple II (612 comments)

What would an Apple II look like if it were built today?

more than 2 years ago
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Coder Accuses IBM of Patenting His Work

rbanffy Re:ludicrous (249 comments)

Courts still find it credible enough to accept patent lawsuits. Even trolls have credibility in East Texas.

about 4 years ago
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The Coming War Over the Future of Java

rbanffy We'll always have OpenJDK (583 comments)

We may even codename the next release "Paris"...

about 4 years ago
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NASA Looks At Railgun-Like Rocket Launcher

rbanffy Mach 10 (231 comments)

So, the rail takes the x-43-like launcher to 600 (10x60) mph? That's not nearly enough to ignite the engine. Assuming it gets 5 times as fast (3000 mph should be enough to ignite it) it will be very close to the ground. 3000 mph close to the ground must generate non-trivial amounts of heat (and broken windows). Ignore that (because the launcher appears to have SR-71-like engines) for a moment and imagine the launcher now has to propel itself to the upper atmosphere, where it reaches Mach 10 (something we never did on an air-breathing engine) points itself upward (perhaps getting rid of more atmosphere) and launches the expendable stage. The launcher then glides back to the ground and lands safely.

Am I the only skeptical one here?

I am glad NASA is thinking on stuff, but, seriously, they could as well think about viable stuff. They don't need milestones like these - they need, as one expert once said, "inchstones".

more than 4 years ago
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US Gov't Orders 73,000 Private Websites Offline

rbanffy Re:I'm nervously waiting... (536 comments)

> will bomb a data center in a foreign country

Data-centers and would be the first thing I would go after. It's about as bad as bombing someone back to stone-age...

more than 4 years ago
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US Gov't Orders 73,000 Private Websites Offline

rbanffy Re:This is just the beginning. (536 comments)

> You cannot get by with stuff like this without angering a lot of people.

And what will they do? Armed revolt? Civil war? Vote Republican?

more than 4 years ago
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US Gov't Orders 73,000 Private Websites Offline

rbanffy Re:The fact is, US is just as bad as China (536 comments)

But non-US citizens were subject to extraordinary rendition while passing through the US and being shipped to be tortured by foreign countries they had no relation with. For me, this looks a lot like "being disappeared".

more than 4 years ago
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NASA Says Moon Has More Water Than Great Lakes

rbanffy Re:but then... (255 comments)

Such RC environments do exist today - most of deep-sea operation is conducted through remote-controlled devices, as is a lot of combat-zone flying. The Moon is close enough for remote-control (2.5 second feedback delay) and vacuum with robot with arms on wheels is a much more friendly environment than deep water with floating rig or a light airplane.

The Moon is even close enough for you to send another robot to kick stuff when the first one gets stuck.

Complex manufacturing will not happen on the Moon until there is some need for it, but having simple automated factories for cooking soil to grab volatiles (oxygen, water), to make rocket fuel (splitting water into LOx/LH2) and RC robots for digging construction sites and for assembling stuff sent from Earth would be very useful. If the volatile extraction facilities also make elements (tubular metal structures and sheets) for construction, all the better.

Having a stockpile of materials would be great when the time comes to establish permanent human occupation. It's not about removing humans from space exploration - remote control is severely limited by the speed of light and is not an option for anything beyond Moon orbit (although one could assemble space station components with robots before the structure is occupied by humans - that could remote control the robots from inside the habitat), but to make it easier to put humans on-scene later.

All of it seems quite doable and most of it has been done in the past. The Russians had a moon rover that was remote controlled from Earth.

more than 4 years ago
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Toshiba Demos Dual-Touchscreen Netbook

rbanffy ZX-80 (132 comments)

Great.

Now we can recreate a complete ZX80/ZX81/Atari 400 experience with an emulator. And now I can have a Symbolics keyboard for programming.

Seriously: A virtual keyboard for extended usage is something that remains to be tested. It will require some clever mechanisms to compensate for fat fingers and some feedback for touch typists. I would not discard it as impossible.

more than 4 years ago
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NASA Says Moon Has More Water Than Great Lakes

rbanffy Re:but then... (255 comments)

You won't have a worforce problem - just remote-control everything. You also won't need to send all the infrastructure, only the parts that cannot be built there, like motors and the most basic equipment that gets you started.

more than 4 years ago
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NASA Says Moon Has More Water Than Great Lakes

rbanffy Re:but then... (255 comments)

It's far less difficult than you imagine.

The worst part would be mining for raw materials. You would need some heavy machinery. Luckily, you can send lighter machinery that grabs and processes materials for the heavier machines that, in turn, can grab more materials to be used to build more of them. You will have to send parts from Earth, but they would be comparatively small.

As for sending containers (obviously manufactured on the Moon) all you need is a big magnetic rail. Given no atmospheric resistance, it's not hard to reach the 2 Km/second escape velocity. Energy is abundant too - as are materials for building solar panels. And since the Moon is tidally locked, you can easily accelerate those payloads to a very precise point in the Earth atmosphere.

With that kind structure in place, human occupation would be easy.

more than 4 years ago
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Armstrong, Cernan Testify Against Obama Space Plan

rbanffy Re:So... (411 comments)

Experience.

more than 4 years ago
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iPad Isn't "Killing" Netbook Sales, According To Paul Thurrott

rbanffy Re:Watch the messenger (457 comments)

What usage scenarios would you point as those an iPad is an easy replacement? E-mail and media consumption is the only one that comes to my mind. The iPad, as it is, is a poor replacement for a generic computer

more than 4 years ago
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TSA Worker Jailed In Body Scan Rage Incident

rbanffy Re:After a year of solid teasing, he lost it. (352 comments)

The incident will make his allegations be investigated. He can still file the harassment complaint. Or sue the TSA

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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How to prevent an x86-only world

rbanffy rbanffy writes  |  more than 4 years ago

rbanffy (584143) writes "With the possible exception of ARM in the low-end, there is no viable alternative today to the x86 desktop (sorry for those who make PowerPC ATX mobos, but they are too expensive). If architectures such as POWER and SPARC are to survive, they need enthusiastic developer support. It's not the legacy apps you deploy on a box sitting on your company's data-center, but the cutting edge stuff you develop to solve your problem that fuels the next generation of computers and, unless you have a SPARC or a POWER on your desk, your cutting-edge program will only run on a processor reminiscent of a clunky, heavy and noisy IBM-PC 5150. That's not the right home for an application"
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What we need to avoid an x86-only world

rbanffy rbanffy writes  |  more than 4 years ago

rbanffy (584143) writes "With the possible exception of ARM in the low-end, there is no viable alternative today to the x86 desktop (sorry for those who make PowerPC ATX mobos, but they are too expensive). If architectures such as POWER and SPARC are to survive, they need enthusiastic developer support. It's not the legacy apps you deploy on a box sitting on your company's data-center, but the cutting edge stuff you develop to solve your problem that fuels the next generation of computers and, unless you have a SPARC or a POWER on your desk, your cutting-edge program will only run on a processor reminiscent of a clunky, heavy and noisy IBM-PC 5150. That's not the right home for an application"
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft's Secret Newton Killer

rbanffy rbanffy writes  |  more than 5 years ago

rbanffy writes "Through Gizmodo, Microsoft leaked today (http://gizmodo.com/5365299/courier-first-details-of-microsofts-secret-tablet) some information on its concept tablet computer. The timing seems rather precise in comparison to previous vaporware launches. I say it's fun to watch (http://www.dieblinkenlights.com/blog_en/a-bit-of-vaporware) them showing off non-products like that."
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Tom Wolfe blames computers for financial crisis

rbanffy rbanffy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

rbanffy writes "In an interview to the New York Observer, Tom Wolfe blamed computers for the current financial problems of overlending and bad mortgages. "The whole thing, starting with the subprime, is the fault of the computer." and he goes on to explain "I was just talking to a banker the other day, and not that long ago, 20 years ago, an investment banking house, let's say, Lehman Brothers, when it got a package of mortgages, they would go through every mortgage, every single one, and they'd throw out the ones that just seemed absurd, they just wouldn't accept them. Things used to arrive on paper. Today things arrive on a screen, and a screen is back lit, and one of the biggest pains in the neck is trying to read something dully written and complicated on a computer screen. It will drive you nuts--I mean, try it sometime. Now they say, 'Oh, to hell with it,' and they just accept the whole package. And if it hadn't been for that, they'd be going over each loan. What's happened is the backward march of technology."

And that's why e-paper and better displays are needed now to save the world from the overworked credit analysts..."

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Freedom of expression under attack in Brazil

rbanffy rbanffy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

rbanffy writes "From TFA: "Today twitter, the most used micro blog here in Brazil is under attack. One of our elections sections, in Ceara, has ruled that a fake political profile should be taken down by the service. (Politicians are forbidden to have any type of interaction on social media channels, like youtube, twitter, blogs or anything else). Nothing much wrong here, right? But instead of going after Evan Willians, the owner of twitter inc, the judge shut downshut down A BLOG by mistake , Twitter Brasil, created by fans of the service.""
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W32.Gammima.AG Virus Aboard the International Spac

rbanffy rbanffy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

rbanffy writes "NASA Discovers Computer W32.Gammima.AG Virus Aboard the International Space Station

From Wired (http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/08/the-it-security.html): "A computer virus was discovered aboard the International Space Station in June, NASA confirmed today. And as reported on our sister blog Threat Level, it isn't the first time that a worm has made it into orbit."

More info on http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1305"

Link to Original Source
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Interesting opinionated clash of OSs

rbanffy rbanffy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

rbanffy writes "Computerworld is running an interesting story at http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9075000 with 4 writers comparing Linux, Vista, OSX and XP and justifying their choices.

"Since the dawn of time — or, at least, the dawn of personal computers — the holy wars over desktop operating systems have raged, with each faction proclaiming the unrivaled superiority of its chosen OS and the vile loathsomeness of all others.

No matter how fierce the language or convincing the arguments, however, these battles began to seem somewhat irrelevant to regular working stiffs. While Mac OS, OS/2, Linux and many other desktop operating systems have all had their devotees over the years, the truth is that the majority of home and business users have simply used the current version of Windows as a matter of course.""

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Modern Lisp-based RAD web framework

rbanffy rbanffy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

rbanffy writes "A couple days ago, a new alternative to the current crop of RAD web development tools arrived, but, unlike its previous counterparts, it's not written in a language usually associated with web development. It's written entirely (down to the HTTP engine) in Lisp."
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Report Faults NASA on Equipment Losses

rbanffy rbanffy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

rbanffy writes "From TFA: "NASA has lost $94 million in office equipment over the past decade, looking the other way as employees give computers to spouses or claim missing laptops are lost in space, according to a Congressional report.

"These problems are deeply rooted in an agency culture that does not demand accountability," the Government Accountability Office said in a report released yesterday.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration noted the problem five years ago in its own study. Instead of tightening controls, it relaxed them, making $10,000 the minimum value for trackable items, instead of $5,000, the report said."

One employee said the notebook computer assigned to him was thrown out of the ISS, that, while not impossible, is quite fishy. I would love to read other lame excuses like this... Maybe something on the lines of "the green alien ate my car"."

Link to Original Source

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