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JRehling
post Oct 5 2006, 10:40 PM
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lyford
post Oct 5 2006, 11:10 PM
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QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Oct 5 2006, 03:28 PM) *
Personally, I am reminded of the Monty Python "Cheese Shop" sketch.

Yes, but I never had to give John Cleese "unrestricted access" to my computer...
Attached Image


While I was waiting for the java to initialize on my iBook (taking foooooorever), I oggled several picts from this site, which loads instantly:
Marsoweb Hirise

ESA has a little more work to do on the interface side, but at least it seems to be a start.

"Now I shall have to shoot you for deliberately wasting my time." smile.gif


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"Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!" Mathematician Richard Courant on viewing an Orion test
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Jyril
post Oct 5 2006, 11:14 PM
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Hard to believe, but ESA's website is even worser than Microsoft's.


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lyford
post Oct 5 2006, 11:26 PM
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I hope I am not breaking any c*pyr*ght with this, but here is a users guide to the PSA, which were buried several clicks deep. There is another way - apparently an ftp style interface that requires an call response email style access link:
Attached File  ftp_psa.pdf ( 376.92K ) Number of downloads: 250

I never did get the maps interface to load... but I was able to use the "classic" interface, which was still very slow. Could it be a US>Europe connection thing?

And I hate to pile on, but this screen grab does seem to indicate a "rush job":
Attached Image


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Lyford Rome
"Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!" Mathematician Richard Courant on viewing an Orion test
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hendric
post Oct 6 2006, 02:42 AM
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Hey, maybe one of you Europeans can volunteer to maintain ESA's website for them. I'm only half-joking you know...Maybe if enough of you guys suggest to take over their website they'll take the hint.


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helvick
post Oct 6 2006, 07:05 AM
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QUOTE (lyford @ Oct 6 2006, 12:26 AM) *
I never did get the maps interface to load... but I was able to use the "classic" interface, which was still very slow. Could it be a US>Europe connection thing?

Nope it tanks on my systems too and I'm in Ireland with a primary network connection (NTL Ireland) hits the wider net in Holland.

I think it might be a compatibility issue - the Java applet that is loaded by the map interface brings my system to it's knees (100% cpu) for about 5 minutes after which that browser session crashes.
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Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Oct 6 2006, 05:25 PM
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QUOTE (Jyril @ Oct 5 2006, 04:14 PM) *
Hard to believe, but ESA's website is even worser than Microsoft's.


Hehe. Most commercial sites like Microsoft are pretty well done actually. But I don't expect slick interfaces from part-time web hackers. I'm willing to put up with hideous user interfaces (ever try to download a raw HST image?) or the endless broken links of NASA/JPL as they churn machine names and websites with no coherent naming scheme. At least the data is still there somewhere.
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helvick
post Oct 6 2006, 06:09 PM
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QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Oct 6 2006, 06:25 PM) *
Most commercial sites like Microsoft are pretty well done actually

You are joking right?

To be fair Microsoft's web site is one of the best of its type but for a company that spends as much as it does on user interfaces and usability it is atrocious. One example is their determination to break one of the fundamental principles of the web - deep linking - so that third parties cannot index their content. They were specifically annoyed that it was far easier and more accurate to search things like MSDN using Google rather than their own search function so they broke it rather than let the better search continue.

Most "commercial" web sites for non web businesses are abysmal IMO.
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Jyril
post Oct 6 2006, 06:14 PM
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This is going a bit OT... The problem with Mircosoft's website is that it is sometimes very hard and really frustrating to find the information needed. One would expect a far more intuitive design for a giant software company like Microsoft. ESA website has similar problem.


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Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Oct 6 2006, 06:57 PM
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There is just too much information on a vast site like microsoft.com.

A classic example of a space information system that was recently mangled is the NASA technical reports server: NTRS. There used to be a search engine on that page, and I've ordered countless tech reports from it. Now I cannot even find a way to search their inventory. Every time I follow a link, I end up back at the useless home page. Oh, let's look at "products", OK there are technical reports, "free access", back to the main page! How about going to the STI information program, "locate information", tech reports, I'm back at the new home page again!

It's like they are taunting me by talking about all the cool things they have, but I cannot actually access any of it. I guess I will have to download the new pdf document they have which explains how to use their site -- now that is a demonstration of design failure.
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Jyril
post Oct 6 2006, 08:09 PM
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Well, Wikipedia has a huge amount of information, but finding the needed fact couldn't be much easier.


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Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Oct 6 2006, 09:12 PM
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Oh don't get me started about how many wrong space factoids I've found on Wikipedia. A couple times when I took the time to make a change, they were reverted by some spotty teenager who happened to feel territorial about the article.

This has been called the age of the amateur - everyone can write an encyclopedia article, everyone can write software, etc. As romantic as that notion is, I have not found it to be terribly true. There is no substitute for training and study and experience.

The subject of on-line publication has been discussed here a few times. I'm all for it if it can be made to work. Certainly in the area of scientific publication, the companies who actually smear ink on paper have made it hard to access scientific knowledge online (without paying insane charges or belonging to expensive societies). But there still needs to be expert review.

I visit a site called digg.com every day. There again, interesting stuff, but the system of online voting quickly silences many expert-but-dissenting voices. I actually find it rather chilling that "democracy" can so quickly be used to bias and slant information. So again, I am not a fan of open amateur control of information.

Oh...I guess you did get me started...
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helvick
post Oct 7 2006, 12:35 AM
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Don,

I don't think we're that far apart overall. Personally I'd be unable to function if Microsoft.com went offline and I really like them on average, but I am annoyed by microsoft.com and the way they approach the web. Their cavalier attitude to some stuff (like deep linking) makes me cringe and I spend a lot of my time correcting mistakes in their material - seriously I have a regular monthly meeting with them where errata on MSDN and within the various PDK\SDK's gets discussed and there is no shortage of material in my field (Windows CE\Windows Mobile). It's _very_ annoying to have a mistake corrected but to still be able to find the wrong answer by searching on Google. I dunno who to blame more for that but it is annoying.

On the other item Wikipedia is very good on average and fantastically easy to navigate which should be a leason to all commercial sites (KILL FLASH). However the caution should be stated that it is only a good gamble provided the topic is not controversial and it's never a substitute for a proper academic reference. That said it invariably beats the pants off most news media. (viz Fox news claimining Foley was D-Fl earlier in the week). So IMO it has a place in the new information age but it's authoritativeness needs to be taken with a grain of salt. OK Make that a large truck load of salt,
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David
post Oct 7 2006, 12:59 AM
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QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Oct 6 2006, 09:12 PM) *
Oh don't get me started about how many wrong space factoids I've found on Wikipedia. A couple times when I took the time to make a change, they were reverted by some spotty teenager who happened to feel territorial about the article.


If you work together with at least one, but better two or three other users, you'll find that you'll be able to lock out the territorial teenagers pretty quickly. I believe there are quite a few wikipedia editors on UMSF; at least, I recognize some of the same nicks from both here and wikipedia.
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Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Oct 7 2006, 05:29 AM
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QUOTE (David @ Oct 6 2006, 05:59 PM) *
If you work together with at least one, but better two or three other users, you'll find that you'll be able to lock out the territorial teenagers pretty quickly. I believe there are quite a few wikipedia editors on UMSF; at least, I recognize some of the same nicks from both here and wikipedia.


I don't disagree with you there David. To be honest, it is the non-science portions of wikipedia that creep me out. When a topic is politically charged, or there is a huge group of people who belong to a mass movement, then truth by consensus fails.

Now I think we need to launch a Thread-Express mission to find the topic...
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