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Preston L. Bannister
Foothill Ranch, California
Recent Activity
Hang gigantic fans off a short airframe designed in the 1960s for turbojets? What can go wrong? MCAS is not the root problem. The root problem is Boeing management trying to go cheap on safety. MCAS was added to the 737 MAX (and only the MAX) as duct-tape to fix the problem of a flight performance envelope too close to the dangerous edge. Otherwise, there is no reason for MCAS. Then Boeing management went with cheap duct-tape, when they chose to have MCAS check only one sensor. This is all a consistent problem. Short version: new gigantic fans add HUGE off-center thrust on an old airframe. Off-center thrust forces the nose high at low speeds. Stall. Crash. Folk die. Boeing management slaps on a cheap auto-nose-down system to pretend there is not an underlying problem. The auto-nose-down system engages on normal takeoff. Folk die. Boeing management, airlines owning 737 MAX, and the FAA folk (in charge of oversight) are all going to want you to believe this is a software problem, and a small update is all that is needed. That is not the root cause.
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Right. Move to Chicago. Become as big a success as Sears. What is that?
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The question you ask is one I wonder about as well. Personally, I expect the "footprint" of desktop applications to shrink, steadily. If you have an Internet connection (more often a given), better to host more applications on the web. There are a few cases that will stay on the desktop, put that is going to be more the exception. I find working on web applications more interesting, if at times more difficult (easy stuff is not very good, good work is much harder). Web applications will get steadily better, and desktop applications will lose ground. But you still need to work off-line, at times. That leads to web-launched or web-distributed applications. Java Web Start is pretty interesting, but as a GUI framework it seems the Java community lacks critical mass. The Java Swing framework is a bit of a hash, and not really progressing. The C++ MFC framework is both more mature, and more of a mess. (Given it's long history, not really a surprise. One of my personal goals is to never use MFC again.) Delphi is kind'a nice, but Pascal as a language is kind of limiting, and not my first choice. (My Pascal usage traces back to UCSD Pascal, through Turbo Pascal and Delphi.) Have not looked at .Net for GUI building. I expect it is more mature and still progressing, but that pretty much locks you to Windows. (Not my personal preference.) Probably will pick this up someday. What are the remaining niches for desktop applications? What is interesting? Web applications are more interesting, but you need something that makes money. What is a good fit for an independent developer (or a small group)? One of the curious variants is to write a web application that can "clone" itself and run off the desktop when disconnected from the Internet. Makes sense for some domains.
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Great story - now widely repeated on the Internet, but is it true? Anyone know any of the guys in the story? Can any of it be verified? This is a great story. Seven years later, and none of the people involved ever thought to tell the story to anyone else? The story itself sounds plausible, but it is very, very unlikely that no one would have told the story until now. Given folk love to tell good stories, the long unlikely delay, and lack of verifiable details ... makes this smell like a fabrication. Found one (much more credible) report in the National Park Service history: From Responding to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks (pdf) (2005) on page 28: At Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove, Dixon found dozens of small chil- dren, including infants and toddlers. His team quickly set up a protective perim- eter around the children and blocked one lane of westbound traffic on the George Washington Memorial Parkway to increase safety. The rangers were not equipped to transport such a large number of children. Eventually, they stopped an empty tour bus and asked the driver to help trans- port the children to a Virginia Department of Transportation facility near the Navy Annex just south of the Pentagon. Seems that Park Service Rangers evacuated the Pentagon daycare. Might be able to contact some of the references listed to see if Marines did something similar (at another daycare?).
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