Adios to flash embeds

With fewer and fewer browsers supporting flash, and the impending end of support for flash by Adobe, it was way past time for worldspaceflight.com to eliminate its use. All instances of flash video on worldspaceflight.com have been converted to HTML5 compatible video. Any reasonable current browser should now be able to display the video content.

Sphider 3.4.3-MB, SphiderLite 1.1.3, and Sphider 2.4.3-PDO have been released

The Sphider 3.4.3-MB and SphiderLite 1.1.3 releases fix a number of issues which arose under PHP 7.3 and PHP 7.4.  It was found that as of PHP 7.3, image indexing in Sphider MB releases had broken. This has been resolved. A couple of cleanup items were also done with each.

Sphider 2.4.3-PDO is a one time maintenance release to keep the PDO version running under PHP 7.3 and PHP 7.4. It is not intended to resume development on the PDO version at this time.

Sphider status

It has been awhile since there have been any Sphider updates. Has it been abandoned?

HECK NO! There just haven’t been any complaints, so nothing to fix (that we are aware of). And we haven’t had any ideas for new features.

Basically, if it ain’t broke, we are going to “fix” it.! If there IS an issue, let us know. If you have an idea for enhancement, let us know that, too.

Boeing Starliner software issues

Boeing experienced some software issues on its unmanned test of the CST-100 Starliner. One of the flaws prevented the Starliner from docking with the International Space Station. A second identified flaw could have potentially had catastrophic effect on the return from orbit. Boeing has been criticized for taking shortcuts in its software testing.

The response:

The program manager in charge of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule program said Friday that additional checks would have uncovered problems with the spaceship’s software that plagued the craft’s first unpiloted orbital test flight in December, but he pushed back against suggestions that Boeing engineers took shortcuts during ground testing.

Continuing:

Mulholland said Boeing engineers performed testing of Starliner’s software in chunks, with each test focused on a specific segment of the mission. Boeing did not perform an end-to-end test of the entire software suite, and in some cases used stand-ins, or emulators, for flight computers.

Hmmm… It would seem to me that not performing an end-to-end test and using stand-ins or emulators in place of actual flight computers ARE SHORTCUTS!

I am calling BS on this one…

Naming the Mars rovers

According to NASA the next Mars rover, the Mars 2020, is looking for a name.

The names under consideration are:
Endurance, Tenacity, Promise, Perseverance, Vision, Clarity, Ingenuity, Fortitude and Courage.

Previous rovers have been named Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiousity.

ALL of those are nice words, but all of them speak to human traits.  These rovers are machines, not humans. They aren’t even supporting humans. The nearest humans are over 30 million miles away. None of these fine words convey any sense of character or meaning to these marvelous machines. Why not give them names that provides some descriptive character?

My name proposal for the Mars 2020 rover? How about:
Whee! -ler?

Forbes and ads – the bad apple in the basket

Do you have ad an blocker?  Do you want to read an article on forbes.com, but they insist you turn off your ad blocker?

Don’t do it! Forbes.com is littered with ads,  most merely annoying, but some downright malicious! So do you just forgo forbes, or risk getting infected with some malicious software?

Well, the solution is easy. Turn off JavaScript before you visit forbes.com. No ads, no prompts to disable your ad blocker! Just read away…

I acknowledge that some websites depend on ads for revenue, but sites like forbes.com is the real reason ad blockers exist. It only takes a couple bad apples (like forbes) to ruin it for the sites who depend on legitimate ads.

Should we blindly trust, or maybe be suspicious?

HEADLINE:
14 January 2020
NSA Finds Major Security Flaw in Windows 10, Free Fix Issued

Microsoft said it has not seen any evidence that hackers have used the technique.


That sure was nice of the NSA. I mean, when was the last time the NSA cared so much about individual security?  To the best of my recollection, the last time was — NEVER!

Microsoft promptly fixed the issue…. a WELL PUBLICIZED issue.

I have three questions, just for thought…
1) Do you trust the NSA?
2) Do you trust Microsoft?
3) Is it possible there was no flaw, but the NSA was having trouble clandestinely accessing certain parts of Windows 10 machines and needed a system modification from Microsoft to give them such access, thus the urgent “fix”?

I am making NO accusations here, just asking a question no one seems to be asking.

Remember the saying “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” It is very possible that there really was a flaw in Windows 10 (there are, after all, LOTS of flaws in Windows 10), and the NSA was indeed being nice and Microsoft indeed fixed an unused but potentially  serious security problem.

However, considering the reputations of both the NSA and Microsoft, there needs to be room for suspicion.

Christmas song answers

Here are the answers to the Christmas song quiz:

1. HYAMLC
–HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS
2. TFNTADS
–THE FIRST NOEL THE ANGLES DID SAY
3. GRYMGLNYD
–GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN LET NOTHING YOU DISMAY
4. ICUAMC
–IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR
5. SNHNAICAIB
–SILENT NIGHT HOLY NIGHT ALL IS CALM ALL IS BRIGHT
6. OTFDOCMTLGTME
–ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME
7. DTHWBOHFLLLLLLLL
–DECK THE HALLS WITH BAWLS OF HOLLY FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA
8. YBWOYBNC
–YOU BETTER WATCH OUT YOU BETTER NOT CRY
9. JTTWTLHC
–JOY TO THE WORLD THE LORD HAS COME
10. YKDADAPAVCACADAB
–YOU KNOW DASHER AND DANCER AND PRANCER AND VIXEN COMET ND CUPID AND DONDER AND BLITZEN
11. ISMKSCUTMLN
–I SAW MOMMY KISSIN’ SANTA CLAUS UNDERNEATH THE MISSLETOE LAST NIGHT
12. CSBSDIHS
–CITY SIDEWALKS BUSY SIDEWALKS DRESSED IN HOLIDAY STYLE
13. HTHASGTTNK
–HARK THE HEARLD ANGLES SING GLORY TO THE NEWBORN KING
14. GGROBAR
-GRANDMA GOT RAN OVER BY A REINDEER
15. OHNTSABS
–O HOLY NIGHT THE STARS ARE BRIGHTLY SHINING
16. AIWFCIMTFT
–ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT TEETH
17. DTTSIAOHOS
–DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW IN A ONE HORSE OPEN SLEIGH
18. WTKOOA
–WE THREE KINGS OF ORIENT ARE
19. IDOAWCJLTOIUTK
–I’M DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS JUST LIKE THE ONES I USED TO KNOW
20. CROAOFJFNAYN
–CHESTNUTS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE JACK FROST NIPPING AT YOUR NOSE
21. IBTLALLC
–IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS
22. OLTOBHSWSTL
–O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHAM HOW STILL WE SEE THEE LIE
23. SBRAYLITLSIG
–SLEIGH BELLS RING ARE YOU LISTENING IN THE LANE SNOW IS GLISTENING
24. IBHFC
–I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
25. WWYAMCWWYAMC
–WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
26. IHTBOCD
–I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY
27. FTSWAJHS
–FROSTY THE SNOWMAN WAS A JOLLY HAPPY SOUL
28. JOSNLYETW
–JOLLY OLD ST. NICHOLAS LEAN YOUR EAR THIS WAY
29. GKWLOOTFOS
–GOOD KING WENCESLUS LOOKED OUT ON THE FEAST OF STEPHEN
30. UOTRRPOJGOSC
–UP ON THE ROOFTOP REINDEER PAUSE OUT JUMPS GOOD OLD SANTA CLAUS
31. JBJBJBR
–JINLGE BELL JINGLE BELL JINGLE BELL ROCK
32. IHABCWY
–I’LL HAVE A BLUE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT YOU
33. WUNWTAGC
–WAY UP NORTH WHERE THE AIR GETS COLD
34. JHTSBRTTTT
–JUST HERE THOSE SLEIGH BELLS RINGING TING TING TING TINGLING TOO
35. CTTMPRPPP
–COME THEY TOLD ME PA RUM PUM PUM PUM
36. AWHHOH
–ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
37. HAHJC
–HAVE A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS
38. AIAMNCFAB
–AWAY IN A MANGER NO CRIB FOR A BED
39. DYHWIH
-DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR
40. GTIOTM
–GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
41. CCTIHTFTATFC
-CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE TIME FOR TOYS AND AND TIME FOR CHEERS
42. RATCT
–ROCKIN AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE
43. OTRATTWTGHWG
–OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS TO GRANDMOTHERS HOUSE WE GO
44. OCTOCTHLATB
–O CHRISTMAS TREE O CHRISTMAS TREE HOW LOVELY ARE THY BRANCHES
45. ISTSCSIOCDOCD
–I SAW THREE SHIPS COME SAILING IN ON CHRISTMAS DAY ON CHRISTMAS DAY