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back to article NASA's $2.5bn Curiosity rover: An Apple PowerBook on wheels

It's a bit sturdier than the average Apple product, but the Curiosity rover that touched down on Mars on Monday is powered by the same processor family used in Apple's 1997 PowerBook G3 laptop. For its nuclear-powered life-hunting tank, NASA chose a 200MHz PowerPC 750 CPU specifically hardened to withstand radiation and space …

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WTF?

Cough...

The PowerPC was not an Apple product, made by Motorola or IBM. Apple chose to use it.

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Meh

Based on a military principle

It has to be soldier proof, or in this case Mars proof so

KISS principle

Keep It Simple Stupid

The more complex the more to go wrong, that's why rifles only have one hole for the bullet to come out of.

It's a safety feature.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Based on a military principle

The word 'stupid' is usually accompanied by a smack around the head and spoken in a slightly louder voice.

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WTF?

Re: Cough...

And the article is quite clear on all of that information.

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FAIL

Re: Cough...

PowerPC - made by the PowerPC consortium - comprising Motorola, IBM and .......... Apple.

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Re: Cough...

And Apple had zero do to with the hardware, which already existed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIM_alliance

Basically, they were going to be the "software" partner.

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Gold badge

Re: Cough...

Nowhere does it say Apple made it?

It was one of the few large desktop customers for the PPC sadly. The BeBox had one before they stopped making the hardware and then went to Intel.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Based on a military principle

Not just that. But use old tried and tested hardware with a long errata and knowledge base.

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Facepalm

Re: Cough...

I think Reg headlines need their own forum...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cough...

So, in other words, this article no reason whatsoever to mention Apple. So everybody can shut up now.

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Flame

Re: Cough...

It's there to provide a familiar frame of reference for the speed of the processor. This, and for you and all of your associated muppetards to get their hands off their sister and type something inane on the keybamaboard-thingy.

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Re: Cough...

Also you could get NT3.x and NT4.0 on a PPC

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Linux

Re: Cough...

...once you get past the blithering fanboy headline.

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Re: Cough...

Every ful kno that mentioning Apple twice on every page makes you COOL. Ask the Guardian...

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Headmaster

Re: Cough...

OS/2 was available for PPC, sort of. See http://www.os2museum.com/wp/?page_id=30

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FAIL

Re: Cough...

Yes, but giving Apple credit for non-Apple innovations, inventions and development firsts is typical Apple fanboi behavior.

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Trollface

Re: Cough...

PPC NT 4.0 (let alone 3.5) and OS/2 PPC are in FAR fewer people's frame of reference...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cough...

"The PowerPC was not an Apple product, made by Motorola or IBM"

Lets read the article again...

"is powered by the same processor family used in Apple's 1997 PowerBook G3 laptop."

I don't see anything about the processor being an Apple product. It only says "used" by Apple in a 15yo laptop

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FAIL

«I don't see anything about the processor being an Apple product.

It only says "used" by Apple in a 15yo laptop» And this reference, while no doubt pleasing to the fanboi contingent, is completely irrelevant to the subject of the article, which is the point made above by several commentators. Shouldn't be all that difficult to understand, with careful study and application....

Henri

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Re: Cough...

Yes but it's another case of a misleading headline, making a tenuous link to Apple to appear to give them credit, whilst leaving the true details buried in the text. It means people who see this headline in the front page or "popular" topics will be misled, if they aren't interested enough to read the full article. It's bad enough the endless such-and-such "done with an Iphone", when when the use of a phone is the least important part of the process - now we have references where it isn't even anything to do with Apple in the first place.

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Really?

They both had a PowerPC processor so that makes it an Apple Powerbook?

It also has wheels so I guess it's also a Ferrari because they have wheels too.

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Re: Really?

Actually it has 6 wheels, so more like a Tyrell.

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Joke

@proberdb

"It also has wheels so I guess it's also a Ferrari because they have wheels too."

No, the wheels only make it a /portable/ PowerPC. To be a Ferrari within this context it would need to have been painted red ;-)

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Pint

Re: Really?

It's just an easy way of providing a frame of reference so people can understand the relative capabilities, in comparison.

I'm sure the majority of readers understood.

Don't cry.

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Re: Really?

Or perhaps a car made by Milton Reeves:

http://jalopnik.com/5688581/the-octoauto-is-eight-wheels-done-right

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Erm

The /top/ Macbooks feature a 2.9GHz I7, most don't.

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Facepalm

Riiight

So my Amiga A500 was really a Kurzweil K2500rs sampler cos it used a 68000 chip?

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Re: Riiight

Either that or a Zanussi washing machine with great games.

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Alien

So if aliens were to catch all of these things we're firing out into space they would observe Moore's law.

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"if"?

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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Coat

Nha it just means that Geoff Goldblooms Mac attack on the alien ship would have worked....

I'll Get me space suit :p

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Trollface

Shameful Trolling

Maybe its just me, but is this article the weakest attempt, ever, to bask Apple in the glory and triumph that NASA enjoyed, with the help of a BAE Systems supplied computer, using an IBM-designed and manufactured CPU?

What a pointless "article".

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Re: Shameful Trolling

Mind you everyone can always point to it when Fappleists shout 'biased' for any other fruity article.

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Re: Shameful Trolling

Not quite: the article was interesting and informative, the tenuous link to Apple used to get people to read it was the part that lets it down.

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Re: Shameful Trolling

I guess it depends on how you read whether you have "Must hate Apple" glasses on, but I really didn't see any of what you saw. No, I am not an apologist - I don't particularly care enough for Apple or any other computer manufacturer to get angry about trivial things like a humorous article.

Some of you need to step back from the monitor and chill out for 10 minutes, instead of bashing the keyboard in anger. If there is one site that does not particularly care for Apple in its reporting, it's the reg.

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Meh

Re: Shameful Trolling

*Edit: I guess it depends on how you read AND whether you have "Must hate Apple" glasses on

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shameful Trolling

Anna Leach is on trolling league of her own, she's the one that article after article, almost without fail, makes me want to give up reading The Register. I've even written a regexp that blocks ads just on her articles so that El area gets no financial compensation from me reading this rubbish.

In this single article she manages to insult the teams who created the rover and the PowerPC 750, but not satisfied with that troll then brings up the PowerBook 6300 for no good reason instead of mentioning machines that actually had the PowerPC 750...

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Childcatcher

Re: Shameful Trolling

I have to agree with you, why Apple even mentioned is realy not the direction of things anybody wants, even Apple.

What next reports that Peter and Jane are huge Apple fans who went back in time to brainwash us via there cunning maths questions!

Had the article highighted that the issues in space mean that you cant just use off the shelf CPU's and bung them into a lead casing and looked at the issues in more detail, that would of been a good read. Had it gone and linked the programming standards and the like involved and a bit of details about the code and how all this runs on less CPU power than a 10 years old mobile phone then that would of been a little bit more suitable.

But no, somebody had to mention Apple and highjack there own article, thats our job as and when you do that in the article then you leave us with no choice but to call you out on it :p.

http://lars-lab.jpl.nasa.gov/JPL_Coding_Standard_C.pdf <---JPL's programming standard used to code the code that is running on Mars as we speak. Now that is a worthy read and no Apples involved.

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Linux

Re: Shameful Trolling

> I guess it depends on how you read whether you have "Must hate Apple" glasses

This kind of mindless pointless over-hyping by the media is where that "must hate Apple" attitude comes from.

This situation had exactly SQUAT to do with Apple but some fanboy had to associate them with a project they really had nothing to do with.

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Re: Shameful Trolling

Ms Anna Leach can be accused of many things, but I think she would take exception to being called an Apple fanboy, since she certainly isn't that. She can't resist taking a dig at Apple with every opportunity.

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oh dear

Dear El Reg, this is the worst article I have ever seen and now The Register has gone way down in my estimation.

As per the other comments that CPU is a tenuous link indeed and the headline implied a Powerbook was somehow part of the core Curiosity package.

Shameful indeed.

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Re: oh dear

I think it's meant to be a humorous anecdote.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: oh dear

Maybe she thought all bright sparks avidly reading everything about this would've read the article yesterday stating which computer was actually being used? Or be bright enough to realise before even reading her article that she may have been being humorous? Guess that's not permitted by all you fanboys - sad, humourless gits the lot of you. Piss off and read NASA's page instead, saddos ...

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Gimp

Nuclear powered apple - Squeeeellllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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ouch

you would'nt want one of them getting a bit hot in yer trouser pockets..

i wonder how much accidently sterilising a young yank vip would cost flapple.

and just the ouch factor making my eyes water!

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Boffin

xerox laser on wheels then?

But no commenter suggests that an article called "A Xerox laserprinter on wheels" would sound better?

Apple used this processor for personal computing and to my knowing no other brand. Therefore it's a funny comparison with enough technical and historical connection to be meaningful. The Apple hate seems a bit over the top here and that is said my someone who doesn't even like Apple anymore.

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Re: xerox laser on wheels then?

It'd be about ther same size, too ;o)

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Re: xerox laser on wheels then?

I found the Apple link extremely tenuous, personally. But then, given the author's previous articles:

http://search.theregister.co.uk/?author=Anna%20Leach

It's hardly surprising. Every other one is about Apple in some form or another.

I know we all have preferences, and those preferences creep through into articles, but we can stop the really gratuitous examples of trying to equate a NASA Mars landing and Apple somehow. Hell, even if they'd just compared it to, say, a modern laptop (brand name not required) and explained that "even Apple used similar chips historically" would have been enough.

I count three "Apple"'s, three "PowerBook"'s, one "MacBook" and one "iPod", in an article about something where there is ZERO Apple hardware or business connection. That's excessive for a six paragraph article.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: article isn't giving Apple undue credit...

I agree with you 100%, John.

I am far from an Apple fan, but bashing this article just for providing a comparison for reference takes some serious blinkers.

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Joke

Actually, I think it's supposed to be a joke....

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