Saturday, October 18, 2014

Is Microsoft the NASA of Software Companies?

Microsoft and NASA Frankenlogo
Both Microsoft and NASA unquestionably have done great things and have arguably contributed to the United States and the world in significant ways. Both are often criticized for undelivered projects or for having too much inertia that reflects the "good old days" rather than being set up for the future. As someone who has had two feet in the software industry for almost two decades, at Microsoft for over two years and a space enthusiast for years, I've been wondering about this: Is Microsoft the NASA of software companies?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A lifetime ago. His.

Oded's name on his tombstone
Twenty three years passed this month since my older brother, Oded, died of a gunshot of his own Beretta gun. A second accident (the first made a hole in a wall and nothing more) or not - the answers disappeared with his last breath which spawned only questions, should-have-beens and might-have-beens. A period of time that was a blur between graduating high-school, having a first girlfriend, starting college and numbness. It was a time of forming barriers and taking other barriers down, of missing a beat, catching a breath and being stumped by the simple question whether I have any brothers or sisters. The great wall of China was being built with not many people who had the key to the gates, and who suffered for it the most. And on that wall, unspoken truths and spray-painted "I am OK". Fairly, at the end of the day, I was. After all, I did finish high-school, got my Electrical Engineering degree, built a family of my own and carried on a normal life altered from how it would be if that day in May 1991 didn't end like it did. A lifetime ago. His lifetime ago.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

SpaceX Glitches - Countering Over-Engineering

Over-engineering? (Portland, OR)
SpaceX is arguably the most successful private/commercial/new space company to date. After being the third country entity to develop the technology and hardware that can bring cargo to the International Space Station and back, it's taking strides towards bringing people to the coveted destination in the sky, working on a version 1.12.0 of the Falcon 9 rocket and also on a reusable rocket, the Grasshopper.

With all the success SpaceX is having, we should not forget the problems and misses of recent launches, for example an shut-down in-flight and problems with thrusters required to get the Dragon to the ISS when in orbit.
From the SpaceX Updates page:
After Dragon achieved orbit, the spacecraft experienced an issue with a propellant valve. One thruster pod is running. We are trying to bring up the remaining three. 
One may look at these issues and be concerned about SpaceX design, manufacturing quality, engineering, redundancy and what not. I am actually encouraged by these glitches.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Past and Future of Spaceflight at the Museum of Flight

Last weekend was a celebration of space at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. A Yuri's Night party and SpaceUp Seattle provided for both a celebration of the beginning of manned spaceflight 52 years ago and some contemplation about the future through part what's being done today, part what could be done.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I've Seen Moon-Walkers, and They're Old

I've seen moon-walkers face to face. I shook hands and exchanged words with Buzz Aldrin, Gene Kranz and watched many others as they got a standing ovation at the Museum of Flight gala in September. The youngest moon walker, Charles Duke, is 77 years old. All of their space-expansion glory dates back to 1969 - 1972. When I saw these amazing people a realization that accompanied my inspiration was that they were old. Not only that, they are also the only ones that did this. Unlike other positive beginnings, this one seems more like a blip on our terrestrial bound existence rather than a the sign of things to come. Am I simply impatient?