Voyager vs Smartphones

Perceptive and made me chuckle.

´╗┐Meanwhile my smartphone will be lucky to survive 34 months, and is only able to receive commands from Earth if I hold it out of an upstairs window…



DC United season assesment and thoughts on Jaime Moreno

The MASR today ltalks to Coach Nowak, Eskandarian, and Bryan Namoff about United’s season so far. As a fan, you have to be happy with the best start ever, and being in 2nd place this early should pay off later in the season, barring a devastating losing streak.

They also discuss Moreno’s form, which after a promising start has slumped.  I’m a bit confused about what to make of some statements made by Nowak who says of the Bolivian international “I think sometimes he needs to play the ball a
little faster and simple.  He needs to use the options around him and
create space for other people, like our second line players, such as Christian [Gomez] and Freddy”, and later says the biggest weakness on the team is the coaching “That’s mainly me”.

So, he’s asking Moreno to sort of play against his nature.  Moreno has always been prone to dribble a bit much and pass up what look like decent shots on goals.  So Peter’s critique that he needs to play faster and use the options around him are valid. But then he goes on to say he should play more like Gomez and Freddy, who are midfield players, not forwards.  Talk about confusing – maybe that’s one of the coaching weaknesses?  Is Moreno being asked to play a game much different than what he’s used to? 

A better writer than me would go back and recollect on Moreno’s stellar 2004 season to see what he was doing right.  Definitely toward the end of that season, it seemed Gomez, Eskandarian, and Moreno had a near perfect understanding of how each of them could be dangerous.  They may need to sort that out again.


One day, they’re just gonna tag me like a polar bear

I came back from a client meeting today to find 1 person looking for me, and then two people aiming me to let know the first person is also looking for me.  Sometimes I hate AIM.  Although one day I turned off IM thinking I’d get some work done, but then I got a call to find out where I was.

From Office Space:

Peter Gibbons:
You see Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

Bob Porter:
Don’t… don’t care?

Peter Gibbons:
It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and
Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s
the motivation? And here’s another thing, I have eight different bosses
right now.
Bob Porter:

Peter Gibbons:
Eight, Bob. So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different
people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is
not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know,
Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get


Shuttle Replacement talk heating up?

Looks like the push to replace the Space Shuttle has revived, after Bush pretty much killed the effort (not the Shuttle) with his “let’s go to Mars” speech. The Washingon Times reports that NASA is planning to retire the shuttle fleet by 2010 and will need a new vehicle to send astronauts and supplies up to the International Space Station.

NASA initially planned to select two teams from among the proposals
submitted last week and award contracts of an unspecified amount for
both to begin design work in August or September. Then in 2008, the
agency would choose one contractor to actually build the vehicle, with
the first flight with people aboard scheduled for 2014.
NASA’s new administrator, Michael Griffin, found this scenario
unacceptable and put the agency on notice he intended to shorten or
eliminate the four-year transition time between shuttle and CEV.

Besides the usual big contractors looking to cash in, a local company based in Reston, t/Space, is pitching its own vision for the replacement.

Under the t/Space plan, teams led by Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman would still
build the CEV, but the vehicle would be designed solely to transport astronauts
between Earth orbit and the Moon. The job of getting astronauts up to their
Moon-bound CEV would fall to t/Space and an air-launched four-person capsule
they have dubbed the Crew Transfer Vehicle, or CXV. The projected recurring
cost of the service is $20 million per flight.

There’s already a good discussion on Slashdot.


Satellite Design by Collaboration

Posted on slashdot is a story about how Students Design A Satellite Via Internet, sharing a news server and having weekly chat sessions. Besides the inherent complexity of designing a working satellite, what stands out is the fact that they did it using relatively old Internet technologies. That just emphasizes for me the fact that it doesn’t really matter how shiny, impressive, and expensive the software/applications available for collaboration among people is. What’s more important, and usually more difficult to accomplish, is getting people to embrace and use tools to get real work done every day.

Coordination between groups is carried out using a dedicated news server and weekly Internet Relay Chats (IRCs) as well as the SSETI website. Face-to-face meetings are the exception rather than the rule, with group representatives meeting every six months for a workshop at ESTEC.


Going lunar

From GYRE: Some folks are thinking about reasons to go back to the moon:

Harrison Schmitt testifies before a US Senate subcommittee that the best possibility for a sustained committment to lunar development and space expansion is a "business-investor approach, supported by the potential of lunar Helium-3 fusion power, and derivative technologies and resources."