Nerd Blurbs: Fixes Edition

The entire universe is in a state of entropy; everything is decaying. At the state of the universe now, one can make patches, fixes, and prolong the life of any number of things. This time on Nerd Blurbs we handle three such events over the weekend as NASA, Google, and the City of San Francisco (need to/have) clean(ed) (some) house.

Pumps in Space: They Break, You Fry

Courtesy revoked, Washington Post.

And you thought your morning constitutional was tough.

The International Space Station is going to get sweltering, as according to The LA Times: this Saturday past , the longest spacewalk occurred, where astronauts failed to repair a cooling pump, due to leaky ammonia lines. I know I hate when that happens.

This predicament means the ISS is operating at only half cooling capacity. That’s okay, because the crew’s going to pile into the Russian section of the multi-national research center, and we know that they keep it nice and nippy. Meanwhile, NASA crews on the ground are scrambling with how to disconnect a faulty pump that won’t come off in space. It’s not like they can ship some WD-40 up there, now can they? Comments and suggestions are probably not welcome here.

Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson, the two astronauts that took the eight-hour space walk were yet unable to disconnect the pump. That takes some cojones, let me say. Eight hours in the vacuum of space? – I would have been pissing my space suit. You can do that right?

Android Upgrades Evo, Wired Gadget Labs Whines

Soft Serve OS

The HTC Evo, now served with the delicious, creamy, Android Froyo.

The Evo is getting an over-air update to Android OS 2.2 (AKA Froyo) , which will allow it to synch with Bluetooth to share contact info, and play Flash videos. Droid runners, the Wired Gadget Lab Staff,  have been stuck with Android 2.1 and have some suggestions for Google’s next update.

Their biggest concerns seem to be apps, the disparity between the programming of code and on phones, the battery usage of some apps, and the search-ability of the Android Market. They certainly make some valid points, particularly the discrepancies that exist between Android phones, in merely the limited availability of Android 2.2 – compile that with manufacturers overlaying their own layers onto the Google platform and suddenly we have so much customization that these devices don’t interface anymore.

See, I haven’t yet interfaced into Android – I’ve played around in stores and glance with green-eyed envy at my friends running Google-powered phones, but stuff like this is so off-putting. Like, now I need to get a phone that may have Android 2.1, but also has the capability to upgrade to Android 2.2, probably around the same time they’re releasing Android 3.1. Whatever, right now I can barely afford my phone, let alone new hardware.

Great, now I’ve gone and made myself sad. I know what always cheers me up – a little Schadenfreude.

Former SF Network Admin Gets Sentenced to 4 Years for Hacking

I could totally see this guy telling his bosses off.

In 2008 Terry Childs was a Network Administrator for San Francisco’s FiberWan Network, which seems to contain, according to, “city e-mails, payroll, police records, information on jail inmates and more.” Terry thought he worked for incompetent bosses, so you know what he did? He locked them, and everybody else, out of the administration of the system.

Sentenced Friday to four years, Terry will be up for parole in four to six months, as he has already served 755 days in county. A hearing is also on calendar in regards to the apparent $900,000 it cost the city to obtain the network passwords from him. Really, that much? Dude told it to the mayor after they held him for a week. It costs that much to retain a mayor?

Either that or San Fran’s in serious need of money. Childs had a $5 million bail set on his head, “because, if released, Childs could cause damage to San Francisco’s network.” Really, your honor? Because the IT guys didn’t change the codes as soon as they got back into the system?

They didn’t? Is that why they haven’t released what Childs changed the codes to? Oh, apparently, it costs San Francisco $100,000 to change the codes, and they’re only budgeted for it every five years. It all makes sense now.


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