Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Foust reports: SS2 still on hold

Jeff Foust went to Mojave on Monday for the WK2 rollout.  He posted some great pictures of the featured bird.  I was pleased to see from his pictures how healthy Burt Rutan looks after his heart troubles over the past year.

Most newsworthy was Jeff’s interview with Burt himself, in which Burt said that development of SpaceShipTwo has been on hold since the Scaled accident of July 26, 2007 (hard to believe it’s been a year).  Burt did say that the accident investigation is now complete.  He indicated that the lessons learned will result in significant design changes for SS2.

cross-platform build alternative

There’s evidence that CMake may be overtaking Autotools as the cross-platform build tool of choice in the open source community.

Google Trends indicates that CMake has recently overtaken Automake in search volume, and here’s an insightful article about why KDE switched to CMake during the KDE 4.0 development cycle.

(2017 update): Per recent reddit, CMake has become the defacto standard, even though it’s not universally loved. I’m intrigued by Meson, which cooperates with the Ninja build system, which (in turn) was first imported onto Github on October 15, 2010 by Evan Martin.


I thought Phoenix landed somewhere flat?

Phoenix’s destination was “the northern plains”.  JPL’s David Spencer further reinforced this notion of “flat” in my head when he said

we have identified an area [for landing] that is very flat and relatively free of large boulders

Soon after Phoenix’s landing, news was published that NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE had captured a picture of Phoenix and its lander during descent.  Pretty cool, I thought – the chute, the cords, and the lander were clearly visible in that picture.  Still, nothing in that news article made me question the “flat” assumption.

But this morning, when I was browsing the Phoenix page on Wikipedia, I realized that the full chute picture showed that the landing region was anything but boring:

Phoenix didn’t land in “Heimdall” crater – it landed 20km away.  But since this crater is 10km wide, I think NASA would’ve been justified in hyping the context of the parachute shot.

look Ma, no video driver

While tinkering today, I managed to bring my ZaReason BigLap to its knees by installing an incompatible video driver.  No matter, James’ post over at elwoodicious guided me to my /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, which I thought I’d probably have to nurse back to life using his xorg.conf as an example.

But somebody upstream in my Kubuntu stack was thinking ahead:  hey, this guy doesn’t know what he’s doing when it comes to video drivers.  When I rebooted to command line, I found backups of all my interim xorg.confs from earlier this afternoon.  Replaced the corrupted one with a backup just by looking at the timestamp, resumed the boot process, Booyah Achieved.

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