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Space The Almighty Buck

U.S. Billionaire Heads to Space Station 208

Posted by samzenpus
from the now-that's-an-expensive-hotel dept.
TurnAround writes "According to an International Business Times article, a Russian rocket carrying the American billionaire who helped develop Microsoft Word roared into the night skies over Kazakhstan Saturday, sending Charles Simonyi and two cosmonauts soaring into orbit on a two-day journey to the international space station. Climbing on a column of smoke and fire into the clouds over the bleak steppes, the Soyuz TMA-10 capsule lifted off at 11:31 p.m. local time, casting an orange glow over the Baikonur cosmodrome and dozens of officials and well-wishers watching from about a mile away."
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U.S. Billionaire Heads to Space Station

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  • pFirst! (Score:4, Funny)

    by donutello (88309) on Monday April 09, 2007 @01:58PM (#18666525) Homepage
    That's Hungarian for First Post.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by modulo (172960)
      Wouldn't that be strPost = "First" ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Is this the guy who is responsible for the braindead Hungarian Notation (beginning every variable name with its type)?

      CU
      • by astrosmash (3561)

        Yup, Mr. lpcszHungarianNotation himself has blasted off into space. They should leave him up there. Ha ha, just kidding.



        Grrr....


      • Re:pFirst! (Score:4, Funny)

        by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@b ... h u d s o n .com> on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:43PM (#18667089) Journal

        Hungarian notation has one very special use - it helps weed out the weenies when you're looking for system programmers.

        Its the same for people who do crap like LPCSTR ... hey, you stupid bozos, that's a throw-back to 16-bit Windows 3x. It doesn't belong in 32-bit code on a flat-memory architecture where an int and a long are the same. And it certainly doesn't belong in code for a server for BSD.

        And those who insist on "m_uiWhatever" ... hey, f*cktards, what's with the "m_" - its a variable, so of course its in memory. And when you realize that you should have changed Whatever to be signed so that you can catch over/underflows, hope you remember to change all your variable names ... again.

        Real programmers don't do hungarian. Ever.

        • Hmm, that should be: "rEal pRoGrammers dOn't dO hUnGarian. eVer."

          There, fixed that for you... ;)
        • Re:pFirst! (Score:5, Informative)

          by donutello (88309) on Monday April 09, 2007 @03:10PM (#18667401) Homepage
          The m_ notation indicates that a variable is a member of the class. Simonyi's version of the Hungarian notation is actually very useful. Indicating the type of a variable is mostly useless because that's something any competent IDE will give you for free. Simonyi's original concept of the Hungarian notation focused more on indicating the meaning of the variable in question, rather than its type.
          • by tomhudson (43916)

            Simonyi's original concept of the Hungarian notation focused more on indicating the meaning of the variable in question, rather than its type.

            That's what a good online thesaurus, with synonyms, is for. If you have to resort to hunNotation, you haven't spent enough time picking the right variable name, which means you're probably missing an essential part of the problem.

            Picking the right name is for some variables can be tough! But the extra time pays off in code that's more expressive and self-document

            • by donutello (88309)
              Here are some Hungarian variable names:
              cbStr - # of bytes in Str (cb = count of bytes)
              cMRU - # of items in the MRU (c = count)
              pFoo - pointer to Foo
              m_Foo - member variable Foo
              fEnabled - flag indicating whether something is enabled or not

              In each of these cases, you could achieve the same effect by using words, e.g. strSize, MRUCount, FooPointer, FooMember, isEnabled, etc. but this gets unwieldy when the subject is itself a complex name. A consistently used adjective scheme like Hungarian notation can do wonde
              • by tomhudson (43916)

                And I've seen people use cb as a prefix for combobox, c as a prefix for character, m_ as a memory variable (as opposed to one retrieved from a table), and f as a prefix for floats. About the only one that has ANY consistency is p for pointer.

                hunPrefixing isn't consistent; I gave it up a decade ago because it wastes more time than it saves.

                • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                  by arb (452787)
                  People who use Hungarian prefixes like that do not understand how Hungarian Notation is meant to work.

                  There are two major problems with Hungarian Notation:
                  1. Using prefixes for datatypes, instead of the use or meaning of the variable.
                  2. Not having a clear style guide with definitions of the allowable prefixes to be used

                  It wasn't until I read Joel's rant [joelonsoftware.com] on Hungarian that it finally clicked for me.

                  Just because some coders' use of Hungarian is bad, doesn't make Hungarian itself a bad thing. It's just like braces

          • >any competent IDE will give you for free.

            That is true today, but development tools were cruder when Hungarian notation came into being, and sometimes you just want to spread a printout over the floor anyway.
      • by thelenm (213782)
        No, he's not responsible for the brain-dead version of Hungarian Notation (Systems Hungarian). That came later, as people took a basically good idea and applied it in brain-dead ways. Simonyi is responsible for the much more useful version of Hungarian Notation, now called Apps Hungarian. Wikipedia has an an explanation of the difference [wikipedia.org].
    • Re:pFirst! (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:20PM (#18666833)
      I've always said that they ought blast the asshole who came up with Hungarian notation into space. This is the first of my many insightful suggestions that society has taken me up on.
      • Quoth the sibling:

        If you want to know what real Hungarian is, as opposed to the abomination exposed through the Windows header files, try reading about the Hungarian naming convention [idleloop.com] as conceived and used by Charles, somewhat evolved from his original PhD thesis.

        Or read Joel Spolsky's lucid explanation and examples [joelonsoftware.com] of Hungarian Notation the way it was meant to be.

    • by Tackhead (54550)
      > That's Hungarian for First Post.

      In sovRussia, you head to ssInternational? (or at least achieve a PARCing orbit?)

    • by julesh (229690)
      Thanks. My browser spent about 10 minutes pissing around trying to download a codec, only to finally display a message saying "this broadcast has finished". :/
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:01PM (#18666577)
    Why didn't he just sit in a chair and have Steve Ballmer launch him into orbit?
  • Harsh (Score:5, Funny)

    by cyber-vandal (148830) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:07PM (#18666627) Homepage
    Word drives me insane sometimes but surely firing him into space for it was a bit OTT.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ... Simonyi had a special Help* button installed. When pressed, Captain Clipsky, will pop up and say "I see you are up creek without paddle. Would you like me to make "help" scream sound for you? [blink,blink]".

      * is finest teknolgy in former Soviet Russia
  • by solevita (967690) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:07PM (#18666633)
    "I see you are trying to blast into space, would you like help with that?"
    • It's more like (30 seconds after liftoff)

      *turns off the atmospheric regulation equipment, engine, and anything else active*
      "I see you are trying to go to the space station, would you like help with that?"
      *crash*
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rei (128717)
        MS Word, in my experience, is more like having your spacecraft decide, "Well, they've used this particular reaction control thruster every time they've pressed a button, so I'm just going to go ahead and fire it off every time before they do anything to save them the time."
  • by CyberSnyder (8122) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:16PM (#18666757)
    ...while he paid $25 million for his little trip to space, my tax dollars are subsidizing the rest of his trip. Do some damn science instead of being a taxi for the uber-rich. (I know Russia is strapped for cash.)
    • by cashman73 (855518)
      In Soviet Russia, . . . space rocket launches YOU! /oh wait!
    • by lgarner (694957) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:24PM (#18666887)
      Not at all. First, "While at the space station, Simonyi will be conducting a number of experiments, including measuring radiation levels and studying biological organisms inside the lab."

      Second, I don't see anything indicating that the US directly paid for the launch. If the Russians want to collect some money to help pay for this thing, then fine. I don't see why the US doesn't do the same- that could have meant $25million fewer of your tax dollars going into the ISS.
      • Second, I don't see anything indicating that the US directly paid for the launch.


        I don't see anything in his post indicating that he's a U.S. citizen, either.

    • Thanks to MS trying to lock governments into MS Word.
    • He is paying what they are charging. If he flew on a US flight then perhaps we can bitch about the costs, it sure would cost him more than a paltry 25m to get there.

      War or no war NASA is never going to get anywhere until it does something that can generate votes. Until the polticians will only keep it around for the local jobs it creates and to bash the other party for not funding science enough
  • by Tavor (845700) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:18PM (#18666789)
    that the Soyuz doesn't suck up a ton of memory; crash and burn...
  • Who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Hey, I know, let's celebrate some billionaire who can afford to take a trip to space! How fucking quaint.

    Does this matter? Not in the slightest.
    • Insightful? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JeanBaptiste (537955)
      Not in the least!

      There was a time when only the richest of the rich could afford automobiles. Now everyone has them.

      Its efforts like this that will eventually drop the price down enough for space travel to be worthwhile for the general populace.

      maybe I'm just jealous
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by danpsmith (922127)

      Hey, I know, let's celebrate some billionaire who can afford to take a trip to space! How fucking quaint. Does this matter? Not in the slightest.

      This is significant, he's the guy who is responsible for MS Word and he's off the earth. This is obviously a big victory for computer users everywhere, now if we can just keep him there...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756)
      Sure it does; it means that space travel is getting closer to being in reach for the average person. Ten years ago I doubt having a trillion dollars made you any more likely to get into space.
  • by tempestdata (457317) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:22PM (#18666861)
    Not only is it a rich man's world. It is also a rich man's solar system now. Its amazing what money can bring you. He will get to experience something that I most likely never will, and he'll get to do it because he is filthy rich. Does that make him a better man and deserving of this? Most likely the answer to that question is yes. But is it not mildly depressing? Knowing that while you and billions others are scrounging to make ends meet, to buy a home, and in a majority of the cases to put food on the table, there are people who can afford to plunk down $20million + to take a joy ride into space. I don't blame him for it, and I think its his right that he do what he wants with the money he earned. Its just, such an overpowering display of wealth.
    • by haluness (219661) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:24PM (#18666885)
      I think this is common in many areas. Whenever something is new, it is usually upto the rich to buy the thing and try it out.

      As time goes by, these things will get cheaper and at one point will hopefully be cheap enough for the ordinary person to buy/try.

      So if anything, you were born too early :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by julesh (229690)
      Not only is it a rich man's world. It is also a rich man's solar system now. Its amazing what money can bring you. He will get to experience something that I most likely never will, and he'll get to do it because he is filthy rich. Does that make him a better man and deserving of this? Most likely the answer to that question is yes. But is it not mildly depressing? Knowing that while you and billions others are scrounging to make ends meet, to buy a home, and in a majority of the cases to put food on the ta
      • by DrCode (95839)
        ...and before we know it, we'll be complaining because our street is all parked-up with spacecraft, and a couple of our neighbors have old orbital vehicles rusting on their lawns!
    • Speak for yourself poor boy.

      I think not.

      I use a Mac and my soul is intact thankyouvery much. I don't need to go to space.

      OSX completes me.

    • by Glonoinha (587375)
      You realize that the Soviet launch vehicle isn't just burning that $25M as twenty five million $1 bills, right?
      The money is being reaped back into the program, and $25M is a metric assload of cash for a Soviet government program in today's Russian economy. The money, quite possibly, made this trip possible (or at least helped make it possible.) For about $25k, you can take a few rides in one of several MiG/Su (Russian jet fighters) - a lot of the money goes towards the gas and maintenance of the jets, of
    • by drsquare (530038)
      Two thousand years ago, you and millions of others were slaving building colloseums whilst emperors sat indoors all day eating grapes. Today, even the poorest can sit inside all day eating grapes, whilst billionaires fly into space.

      The richest and most powerful have always had it better, being bitter about it isn't going to change anything. Today's luxury is tomorrow's commodity.
    • Perhaps, but the benefit to living in an open and free society with limited government is that ANYONE is able and allowed to compete in the market place to become millionaires and billionaires. This is why keeping the government small and limited is essential to ensuring the overall wealth of the nation continue to grow, especially to the middle class.

      Big business likes big government because big government has the power to regulate and legislate in favor of big business. This means that effective regulatio
    • by ceeam (39911)
      Pst, "solar system", ASTROnauts... This irritates me a bit... The only "spacemen" IMHO were those few who did the moon missions. As for all the others... Do you realise that a typical orbit for a shuttle/space-station is a bit above 300km? That's 1/40th of the Earth diameter. 2.5%. Sorry, but that's just not too impressive to me.
  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:31PM (#18666959)

    We're experiencing loss of document format stability up here....

    We just changed from the small platform to the larger one.

    I don't understand what happened to the document.

    I'm pulling off the access panel now. Seems to be a whole ratsnest of old embedded
    OLE objects in there. Christ that's some ugly HTML.

    Sproing! What the hell just happened to my paragraph format?? Oh my god, we have a backward compatibility failure!

    Somebody open the hatch, quick! Open it! what do you mean there are two different opening standards!

    Ahhhhhhhh!, We're losing all design integrity here. There are so many buttons. Don't know which ones to push......
    Mayday, Mayday,

    (Sure hope I land on my money pile. Oh, Sh***t)
  • by Channard (693317) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:35PM (#18667017) Journal
    .. your secondary rocket boosters. Would you like help with that?'
  • who helped develop Microsoft Word

    Do you suppose it would be possible to leave him there?

  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6539901.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    2 hours from now and they'll have the airlocks released.
  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Monday April 09, 2007 @02:49PM (#18667157) Journal
    Man Expelled from planet for crimes against Humanity.
  • Does it mean that we are going to have a new Linux distribution, based on Shuttleworth's Ubuntu, maybe?
  • and there is nothing I can do...

    Hmm, has the ISS screens turned blue yet?
  • I understand the Russians get Millions to launch him there, but we spent quite a bit of our cash to build the station. Do we get anything for hosting him for the time he's up there?
    • No. You are supposed to be overwhelmed with positive emotions, and glad to have had the chance to fund whatever miniscule part of the Shuttle or ISS was paid for with your taxes. You need to feel that as he is in space, you are too, and that in itself should be fulfilling. You must also conclude that this shows the commercial viability of manned space travel, as well as its imminent blossoming on a much larger scale at Spaceport America. You should also have had your faith in the usefulness of manned space
  • That'd be lpszCharles lpszSimonyi, thank you very much.
  • I can't think of a product developer I would rather have measuring radiation exposure.

    Voluntarily. Paying to do it. Explains a lot about Word.

  • We'll send him cheesy movies.
    The worst we can find.
    (la la la)

    He'll have to sit and watch them all
    Then We'll monitor his mind.
    (la la la)

    Now keep in mind Charles can't control
    Where the movies begin or end
    (la la la)

    Because he used those special parts
    To make his Clippy friends.
  • There was a time that it was flying around the world in a hot air balloon, or growing your nails long and letting your appearance go. Now it's flying to outer space? Yuppie fads aren't that outlandish but they have nothing on billionaire fads.
  • the American billionaire who helped develop Microsoft Word

    This is the same guy who started up Microsoft's applications business - so i'm sure Multiplan and Excel have a lot of influence from him too. He was featured in "Programmers at Work" by Susan Lammers years ago. I think the only other guy tat Microsoft o get to the same technical "level" as Simonyi was David N Cutler, who led Windows NT after arriving from Digital (also the lead for RSX-11M, a lot of VAX/VMS, VAX PL/1, the MicroVAX-I and Mica at DE

  • a Russian rocket carrying the American billionaire who helped develop Microsoft Word roared ... to the international space station.

    There's no place to spend your money... in space. [slashdot.org]
  • Microsoft Word launches YOU!

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