There’s an asymmetry in the data center, and it might be an opportunity for somebody to build a new product line (hint, hint: HP, Dell).
There are plenty of products that consist of a box filled with storage devices – we call them SANs (storage area networks). They’re essentially what allows big data to exist, by packing large amounts of storage into a relatively small space.
So why not do something with CPUs (central processing units) that replicates the idea behind the SAN? Continue reading
Under lock and key – Flickr Creative Commons – JanetR3
The problem isn’t anything new, really – most people have hundreds of accounts on different websites.
The username is usually their email address, and the password…well the password tends to be the same on all of the sites, and it is usually eight characters or less.
It is simply too hard for most people to memorize passwords much longer than that.
So they use something simple like “12345678″, and the next thing they know, they’ve been well and truly pwnz0red.
Humanity is really just in early Beta.
We’ve had some successes, a few spectacular failures, and a pivot or two.
We don’t really know yet what we are able to achieve, or what we
can will become.
Isn’t that exciting?
In case you haven’t heard, Boeing has been having battery troubles with its new flagship Dreamliner aircraft. The batteries have occasionally been catching fire, and the planes are now grounded until they determine what the issue is.
Hopefully they’ve figured this out already, but there’s one big difference between their on-the-ground tests, and a live flight – the passengers.
I wonder if they’ve tried plugging in a couple of hundred randomly selected laptops into the passenger , and seeing what happens to the electrical system then?
Sounds silly? What if one (or half a dozen) of them has a bad battery, or an electrical short circuit?
This is the final post in the Mars Colony Administrator’s Handbook series. For part one, please see here.
A brief word about science: I’ve avoided discussing planetary science in this series, because it has been covered so well, in so many other places. The traditional vision of a trip to Mars, in the guise of a 1980′s US/USSR joint mission, revolved heavily around the idea of sending a small group of people, for a relatively short period of time, with largely scientific objectives. This is completely different from the various colonization concepts that have circulated in recent years. Regardless of why people go to Mars though, a lot of serious scientific work will be done. The advantages of having a large number of people present, along with a well-equipped laboratory, are immense. We cannot conceive yet of the discoveries that will result. Continue reading
What happens when things go horribly wrong on Mars? Help from Earth would take months to arrive, and would have a transportation bottleneck.
The colony will need to have a contingency plan for all possibilities, as well as a full range of emergency services. Continue reading
Turnstiles for directing people in a single direction are a useful but klunky invention. I always approach them with great caution, especially when carrying a laptop bag over my shoulder.
It occurs to me that we could get the same effect with greater ease of use (and less tangled straps).
Picture the kind of hanging flaps used to keep cold in a walk-in refrigerator.
Now make them out of some kind of smart material.
When touched or pushed from one side, they become flexible, allowing people to pass through. Otherwise they would be set to be hard, preventing passage in the other direction.
Smart turnstile, with touch sensitive hanging strips
The material could be transparent, or could have a no-entry sign imprinted on one side of it.
The material cost would likely be significantly lower than traditional turnstiles.
Entry only possible from one direction
If computing is ubiquitous, then why do I need a cellphone?
This isn’t a new idea, really. I’ve come across it before in SF novels. Its worth gaming out what the world will look like though. I say “will”, because this scenario looks inevitable. Continue reading
The Mars colony will be planned in great detail, years in advance. It is impossible for the colony administrators to anticipate everything though. Vast stockpiles of spare parts, and a regular supply chain will help, but certain items will need to be manufactured locally. It is important to remember that issues that are trivial irritants on Earth – a blocked toilet, for example – can become life threatening emergencies in space, or on Mars.
In the previous post, we discussed how legal, jurisdictional and economic issues can effect the future health of the colony. You can also begin at the first post here. Continue reading
The administrators of the first Mars Colony will need to be expert in more than just science. Legal and economic factors will have a huge bearing on the success of the colony. Without a firm legal basis, the colony will have difficulty attracting investment, and private individuals may think twice about participating. Without a vibrant economy, the colony could turn into a ghost town. Continue reading