By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's free-bags-of-pork-rinds-to-all-texans department
writes with good and bad news about NASA's future budgets. From the article: "Rep. John Culberson, along with Rep. Frank Wolf, are developing a bill that will attempt to rationalize NASA's budget process and provide some long term continuity in its administration. First, a NASA administrator would be named to a ten year term. The intent is to provide some continuity in the way the space agency is run and to remove it, as much as possible, from the vagaries of politics. Second, NASA funding would be placed on a multi-year rather than annual cycle. This is of particular importance to the space agency because the majority of its high level projects take several years to run their course. If funding were fixed for a number of years, the theory goes, money could be spent more efficiently. NASA planners would know how much they have to spend four or so years going forward and would not have to worry about being cut off at the knees by Congressional appropriators year after year."
But is it more than political grandstanding in an election year? There might be a few problems
: NASA could get stuck with a bad administrator
, multi-year budgets might be a bit unconstitutional, etc.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's states-ban-changing-fan-speed-while-driving department
An anonymous reader writes an article about touch screen dash interfaces in cars (in particular Cadillac's "CUE" interface). From the article: "I do not recall anyone ever complaining about the iOS interface and there have been plenty of attempts to replicate the experience and its flow of control. ... As simple as iOS may appear on the surface, it is incredibly well-executed balance that matches the requirements of a touch interface for phones, tablets and other horizontal screen devices. Changing the user scenario, hardware, or software will alter the requirements for the desired user experience as well. ... CUE is not as transparent in its usage as, for example, the iPhone. We are used to certain buttons that are located on the dash – sliders and dials that we expect in places that we can quickly memorize. In the end, you want to be able to reach for such a button without taking your eyes off the road. There are no such buttons on the XTS dash. Instead, there are some capacitive touch buttons for basic climate controls, audio volume and seat heating/cooling. Since the buttons are activated by touch, they feel the same."
A touchscreen UI for some functions sounds perfectly sane (how do I set the clock again?), but ditching all of the dash buttons sounds like a recipe for disaster. I've heard from iPod users (and my own experience with my long-dead Neuros echos) that the click wheel was easy to use blindly; the move to a touchscreen made it impossible to use without looking at it.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's the-thin-line department
zacharye writes with an excerpt from BGR: "One reason for Nokia's surprisingly strong share price rebound over the past two weeks is the success of its new Asha feature phones in Asia. According to our sources in Delhi, the Asha 305 sold out in several stores soon after its debut even before the marketing campaign kicked in. Is it a coincidence that major Asian newspapers like The Philippine Star and Singapore's The Sun Daily describe Nokia's new Asha models as 'smartphones'? No. Nokia has done its very best to dress up its cheap new feature phones as something far more aspirational — to the extent that devices like Asha 305 are now widely depicted as smartphones across Asia and Africa. This is a critically important maneuver.."
Of course, maybe they are
smartphones; the Asha appears to be speced better than the HTC Dream
(1Ghz processor, albeit with only 128M of RAM), and they've added a lot of new features to Series40. But then it's still Series40 with JavaME.Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's add-another-security-question department
In the wake of the hacking of Mat Honan's accounts
, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple are just a few of the companies making their security policies tougher, and they are advising people to do the same
. From the article: "Even as those companies’ teams moved to patch the holes, others moved to offer security tips. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, used his personal Website to urge Gmail users to embrace two-factor authentication.
'Much of the story is about Amazon or Apple’s security practices, but I would still advise everyone to turn on Google’s two-factor authentication to make your Gmail account safer and less likely to get hacked,' he wrote in the August 6 posting."Read Replies (0)