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 Mar 2020 rover? How about:
Whee! -ler?

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.

67 TLD’s generating predominately spam

Here are listed 67 TLD’s (top level domains) which have provided me pure spam.  I have never gotten a single legitimate email from any of them. This doesn’t mean there aren’t legitimate users of any of these, but it DOES indicate, to me at least, that those legitimate users are few and far between.  As a result, these are all blocked outright. This hasn’t eliminated spam, but sure as **** taken a HUGE bite out of the mess (80%+).

*@*.agency
*@*.asia
*@*.berlin
*@*.best
*@*.bid
*@*.biz
*@*.camera
*@*.casa
*@*.cc
*@*.click
*@*.club
*@*.computer
*@*.cricket
*@*.date
*@*.design
*@*.eu
*@*.faith
*@*.global
*@*.fun
*@*.gdn
*@*.guru
*@*.gt
*@*.help
*@*.host
*@*.icu
*@*.info
*@*.life
*@*.link
*@*.live
*@*.loan
*@*.me
*@*.media
*@*.men
*@*.monster
*@*.news
*@*.ninja
*@*.nyc
*@*.online
*@*.ooo
*@*.party
*@*.photography
*@*.press
*@*.pro
*@*.pt
*@*.pw
*@*.racing
*@*.review
*@*.rocks
*@*.science
*@*.site
*@*.solutions
*@*.space
*@*.stream
*@*.surf
*@*.tech
*@*.today
*@*.top
*@*.trade
*@*.uno
*@*.us
*@*.vn
*@*.webcam
*@*.website
*@*.win
*@*.work
*@*.world
*@*.xyz

Seguarzo Anti(??) Virus – AN UNWANTED INSTALL

I was trying to install a codec for Windows Media Player. (I know what you are thinking… WINDOWS? I usually work with Ubuntu, but confess I do sometimes use Windows…). Anyway, low and behold I happen to discover something called Segurazo Antivirus running on my machine!

Supposedly, it is a good, lightweight antivirus… But I have a question…

IF Seguarazo is SO good, why do they have to do a clandestine install, without asking for permission, or ANY notification? I have to suspect, that claims to the contrary, there is nothing ANTI about this Segurazo Virus!

And it wasn’t easy to get rid of, either!

So remember SEGURAZO, a product to shun, avoid, stay away from… and uninstall if you find yourself victim. After the uninstall, there was STILL a lot of Segurazo crap in my registry.

Segurazo is NOT an antivirus, it IS a virus, an unwanted program, possibly spyware or adware.  No reputable program needs to secretly install itself.

Segurazo… you need to be ashamed of yourselves!

You can run me, you can starve me, you can beat me, you can kill me and you can blackmail me. Just don’t bore me.

I get something like this in my (spam) email folder ever week or so. In fact, I’ve been getting them off and on for the last year or so… haven’t really kept track. I’ve gotten two in the last 24 hours… different bitcoin address each time.

Well, I never have paid a single cent. Really don’t have much use for bitcoin. I am STILL waiting for whoever is sending me these to just hurry up and expose me! I’m really getting bored sitting here waiting for that other shoe to drop! I REALLY want all my friends and contacts watch those same cat videos I find so funny! But videos of me…? MAN, ARE YOU GOOD! You got videos of me and my desktop doesn’t even have a camera!

Oh… all those passcodes you have… could you send them to me? Seems I’ve forgotten most of them…

… and would you PLEASE clean up your grammar? How do you expect to be taken seriously when your sentence structure is so poor?

Contact Us has been fixed

Well, it seems yet ANOTHER WordPress plugin “updated” itself into being useless. We found out our Contact Us page wasn’t working. The cause? An “updated” plugin. We rolled the “update” back two versions and the form is working again. Reading more about the issue, I found that the developer does just like Microsoft… instead of taking responsibility for the issue, they pass the blame, in this case, to whoever developed the theme! How many times have I heard: “There’s nothing wrong with our app. It must be your setup.”

I guess they are following the old Microsoft adage:
Update it until it breaks. We won’t be happy until you aren’t.

Amazon pulls Anti-Vaccine Videos

Amazon has pulled several anti-vaccination videos from their offerings.

Now, I’m not saying vaccines are good, nor am I saying vaccines are bad. But I WILL say that YOU have a right to get information, pro OR con, and make the decision for yourself. Amazon wants to deny you that right in the name of political correctness.

Here are other links to the three videos banned that I know of:
We Don’t Vaccinate!
Shoot ‘Em Up: The Truth About Vaccines
Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe

Note to Amazon: I’m not big on censorship. Let people judge and decide for themselves. Don’t be a Nanny.

Sphider – PDO vs MySQLi

There are TWO editions of Sphider… the classic edition using MySQLi and the PDO edition.

Why are there two versions? The classic edition uses MySQLi and prepared statements. While MySQLi, by itself, does support prepared statements, there are a couple functions used in Sphider that require MySQLnd (the “nd” stands for “native driver”). These functions are used because they are the most efficient way of doing things.

MySQLnd has been the default driver since PHP 5.4. If you install a modern version of PHP and want MySQLi, you are going to get MySQLnd. Yet SOME hosting companies DISABLE MySQLnd for those using shared hosting. (I suppose they want people to shell out a few more bucks to get VPS or Dedicated hosting.) In those situations, the classic edition just ain’t gonna work! So, there is the PDO edition.

There are those who will tell you that PDO is what you should be using anyway. They will tout how versatile PDO is, how it can do anything MySQLi can do, only better. It is true the PDO IS versatile. It can work with many different databases, not just MySQL. But there ARE some things PDO just can’t do, at least not efficiently. And there is overhead. And memory requirements.

With PDO:              PHP <==> PDO <==> Your data
With MySQLi:       PHP <==> Your data

The classic version of Sphider is the better, more capable edition! The PDO edition is capable enough PROVIDED you aren’t trying to build your personal version of an internet search engine. It IS possible to tax the PDO edition to the point it chokes. (It is probably possible to choke the classic edition as well, but it takes more effort.)

Remember, the intent of Sphider was/is to index a web site for the benefit of that site’s visitors. In can be used to index a number of related sites for the same purpose. An individual may stretch Sphider for personal use to index MANY sites… but it is STILL just a small indexing tool and not a Google replacement!

NOW… the final point. If you REALLY need Sphider to stretch its capabilities to the absolute limit, maybe you should be using the classic edition and not PDO. If that is the case, shell out a couple extra bucks to your host so you can get access to MySQLnd. Don’t try to pull a 20′ travel trailer with a Honda Civic.

Holiday VPS woes

On Sunday morning, December 23, one of the worst nightmares of a web host came true. A VPS server suffered a hardware failure. The hardware was repaired quickly enough, but restoration of the VPS server was another matter.  The nightmares of the web host begat the nightmare of a webmaster. All four of the worldspaceflight sites went down. As restoration by the web host proceeded, worldspaceflight.com and sphider.worldspaceflight.com were functioning again Monday afternoon. Blog.worldspaceflight.com and forum.worldspaceflight.com were not so fortunate. There really wasn’t much that could be done until the VPS server restore was completed. For the uninitiated, restoring a VPS server is nowhere as simple of just copying a bunch of files back. IF ONLY! That restore was FINALLY completed Friday evening. Then it was discovered that the blog and forum were STILL not working. It turns out that for the blog (this site), there was a simple permissions problems which was quickly fixed. Three down, one to go. The forum is being stubborn. First, the entire cache directory (with needed driver files) was devoid of content. I THINK that is fixed, but now there may be ANOTHER permissions problem. We are working to resolve that. No guarantee there won’t be something else next, but hope springs eternal. The forum WILL be back.

Yeah, it has been fun, but PLEASE, let’s not EVER do this again!