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13 articles

Remarkable

"Space... the final frontier" is how the pre-recorded message from NASA to the Crew of Discovery started this morning. This afternoon while covering the final departure of Discovery from the ISS, the Newsman said "Remarkable - a remarkable bit of technology and a lasting mark on history" - or something to that effect. I thought "Remarkable" - that's a word…

Radioactive Telepresence

How timely!  A couple of months ago the discussion started - "will unmanned vehicles make a transition into civilian use".  I've been taking the stance that since we're talking vehicles - not just aircraft but all forms of non-stationary robot, that it is inevitable.  Even with aircraft I believe it is inevitable, though it may take a little longer for…

Domesticated Robotics?

A discussion about robotics was started up in an online discussion forum.  A question was posed to the group:Will unmanned vehicles eventually see duty in civilian applications?Technology for unmanned military vehicles may eventually trickle down to commercial applications on Main Street. In the near future, autonomous vehicles will be used to deliver packages, collect garbage and fill potholes. http://bit.ly/bSrqfx The…

Twenty

In 1989 I got my first "real" job, left an auto shop I'd been working at in Santa Cruz, and started working for a pre-tech-bubble company.  Integrated made VME racks, boxes from the size of a large toaster all the way up to racks larger than your kitchen refrigerator.  We also ported, maintained and sold versions of BSD Unix and…

Virtually… Not Yours

So with all this virtualization going on, one computer can run multiple copies of an OS (or multiple OSs), all acting like they own the whole computer. With only some fancy shim layer keeping them from corrupting themselves and everything else, what are the implications for security?  Security is an issue that has been raised more frequently as computers have…

Tolerating Delays

This may sound a bit funny, but in the space industry, we're constantly playing catch-up.  We're either looking at or for things that happened millions or hundreds of millions of years ago, sending rockets off to get to where something will have been just in time to take a picture of or bore a hole into it, or designing new…

Security In An Insecure World

Diebold has apparently gaffe'd their software again.  Their ATM systems run software based on Windows.  This gives me a perfect opportunity.  Recently some of my friends heard me talking about our MILS software starting under it's evaluation path.  I heard a question being asked more and more about government programs and practices, "okay, but what good does this do for…

Wind River Webinar: Q and A

Hello All, last week as some of you know I was the featured presenter / presentation for a Webinar.   (you may have problems watching that with firefox...) .  During the course of the webinar, we were asked a number of questions, and we ran out of time... Here are some of the questions and answers we couldn't get to. --Q:…

Processing Paradigm: it’s all about capacity

When I was a kid anything that was a computer, or had one in it, was pretty obvious. Computers weren't "just everywhere".  Now we've got multiple CPU chips on a board, multiple CPU cores on a chip, different kinds of cores on a single chip, multiple computer boards in a single chassis, ... it goes on.    These things are…

Prize: Lunar X

You've heard about it, haven't you?  The Google Lunar X prize? The X-Prize foundation seeks to encourage radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.In case you don't know or don't remember the Ansari X prize, it was a contest for a private (non-government) entity too engineer and launch a re-usable space entry vehicle twice within a short time (to prove…