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After sailing more than a million miles away from Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is now only two months away from beginning scientific operations. NASA announced on April 28 that the powerful spacecraft is about to wrap up the final phase of preparations, a process called science instrument commissioning. 

While the JWST has reached this last crucial stage in the setup process, it still has a number of steps and benchmarks before official data capture begins. 

The JWST is more than a telescope that collects images—it is also a toolbox of scientific equipment. While JWST recently fully aligned its 18 hexagonal mirror segments—a milestone that allows the space telescope to take clearer, sharper pictures of deep space—many of its instruments are still being fine tuned, says Klaus Pontoppidan, project scientist for JWST at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

“Astronomers are a quantitative bunch,” says Pontoppidan. “They want more than pretty images, they want to be able to actually make quantitative measurements.” 

The new phase involves confirming each of the instrument’s functions, assessing their performance, and calibrating their systems to ensure essential operation sequences can be followed all the way through. This stage is crucial to make sure all future data collection runs smoothly. “Everybody wants to get to the science as quickly as possible, but we do have to make sure that the instruments actually are able to deliver that science,” Pontoppidan says.

Some of the evaluations on the JWST’s checklist include a moving target test which will be used to track an asteroid through space, and making sure it can recognize the signatures of planets beyond our solar system, or exoplanets. Another test will involve pointing the telescope at different portions of the sky, specifically the Large Magellanic Cloud, to measure and then correct any optical distortions its instruments might have. 

These are the preliminary test results of the Large Magellanic cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The sizes and positions of the images shown here depict the relative arrangement of each of the instruments in the telescope’s focal plane, each pointing at a slightly offset part of the sky relative to one another. NASA/STScI

The telescope is equipped with four instruments, each designed to conduct specific data collection. The series of cameras and spectrography sensors are calibrated to pick up electromagnetic waves in the mid- and near-infrared range—these are waves emitted by distant cosmic objects that are invisible to our eyes. Once performance tests wrap up, the instruments will detect and take pictures of distant galaxies and newly forming stars, as well as obtain mass, temperature, chemical composition and other physical properties of numerous celestial bodies.

Already, some of these tools have reported back initial pictures. Throughout the few months of testing, the measurements JWST takes won’t be used for research, says Scott Friedman, an observatory scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute and a commissioning scientist for the JWST mission. Instead, they’ll be used to ensure that all systems are as they say, ready to fire.

[Related: A fully aligned James Webb Space Telescope captures a glorious image of a star]

The final stage is about four months into the six-month process. Although they are a few days behind Friedman says if everything else continues on schedule the spacecraft could be ready to handle its first year of science responsibilities by June. But like all new systems, the team and the telescope have a learning curve to conquer. 

“We’ve had a very detailed plan for quite a long time about how we would progress and what activities we would do,” says Friedman. “Not everything has been perfect, but by and large things have gone better than we could have hoped.”

With only weeks to go, astronomers and non-scientists alike are highly anticipating what discoveries the space telescope will make once instrument commissioning completes. Pontoppidan plans to celebrate by releasing brand new color images of the universe to the public. 

“I always felt that building these big astronomical experiments gets to some of the core of what makes us human,” he says, “to discover the world, to discover where we’re coming from [and] where we’re going in entirely new ways.”

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Offline Gmail Is Almost Like The Real Thing

[Updated at Wednesday evening with new information from Google.]

The main difference is speed. Regular Gmail is generally fairly quick, but you can still find yourself waiting at times for it to check in with Google’s servers. In offline mode or the very cool Flaky Connection Mode, everything — opening messages, searching for information, labeling missives — happens almost instantly, since all the data is local.

The tradeoff is that you don’t have access to all of your mail. For my account, the system synced up around 6500 messages, about two months worth of email. (It’s not clear whether Gmail limits the cache by the number of messages or the length of time since they were sent. I’ve got a question in to Google to find out.)

“We try to download your most recent conversations along with any conversations that seem to be important (regardless of their age). We also try not to dowload uninteresting conversations. This process is done heuristically and as with any heuristic can and will miss things. We’ll continue to tune things up, but more importantly, we’ll eventually provide a UI that will allow you to change the settings. Here’s a sketch of how these messages are selected:

UPDATE: Here’s Google’s explanation of that mystery:

Finally, the system determines a list of labels to exclude conversations from being downloaded. For example, Trash and Spam are always in this list, along with any label that contains mostly unread conversations (unread count greater than 99%). So, we won’t download a conversation if it contains only labels in this list. A typical Trashed message will not be downloaded, but a Trashed message that contains the label “alpha” will.”

You turn on offline capability through Gmail Labs. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to install Google Gears, the background system that enables offline capability in services like Google Documents and Zoho Mail. Once you okay Gmail using Gears, it’ll start downloading messages. On the EV-DO connection I use during my commute (the very definition of a flaky connection), Gmail synched about 150 messages a minute. Once I got on my home broadband connection, things went much faster.

The system gives you status updates as it’s pulling down messages, though I found some of the information to be wildly inaccurate. At one point, the status message told me that if I stopped synching now, I’d have access to messages back to January 10. In fact, Gmail had copied messages back to Nov. 28 of last year.

You can’t edit your contacts while you’re offline, but the system will still autocomplete addresses for people in your contact list. One surprise is that Tasks aren’t available in offline mode – that seems like it would be a fairly simple thing to sync and something that most users would want access to when they’re offline.

Flaky Connection Mode seems like a real winner for anyone whose connection is at all unreliable or just slow. The system works with the local cache of data, so everything happens very fast. But Gmail still syncs with its servers whenever your connection allows, so you still get new mail and messages you compose are sent as soon as possible. As long as you don’t need access to messages more than a few months old, it’s the best of both worlds.

Inquiring Minds: The Next Internet

Inquiring Minds: The Next Internet A five-part series of notable Q&As

Abraham Matta, a CAS associate professor of computer science, led a discussion of “urban mesh networks.” Photo courtesy of Abraham Matta

These “urban mesh networks” of wirelessly connected “nodes” atop light poles and buildings could bring affordable Internet access to all communities, rich and poor. And the same networks will serve public safety coordination and disaster response efforts, enhanced city services, environmental monitoring, and network-based research and entrepreneurs.

Urban mesh networks were one topic of discussion at a two-day national symposium on computing research infrastructure, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and held last month at Boston University’s Photonics Center, hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences computer science department. Among the presenters was Abraham Matta, an associate professor of computer sciences. BU Today spoke with Matta to learn more about the wireless access that may soon be coming to a computer near you.

And the city itself might provide services or use these urban mesh networks to improve its services. City workers wouldn’t have to travel all around the city to do their jobs. They would have all these sensors around the city, and these sensors would communicate to this wireless mesh network to report any kind of events that you might be interested in.

You can also get revenue from access fees. Usually, the city will negotiate discounted access rates for underserved communities. It’s called digital inclusion, and that’s something that’s a major driver for most cities. For instance, here in Boston, Roxbury is a target area to provide access.

There are all sorts of possibilities for applications, but there is also potential for improving the protocols that support these applications, or network software infrastructure that improves the functioning of the network. You would like people to be able to improve the performance of the network and use the wireless mesh more efficiently, which is not possible in other kinds of urban networks where you have a single company that installs it and does what the city wants. In Boston, at least it’s my hope, they will allow people to play with the underlying network software itself, the infrastructure, to improve it, and then you can commercialize these access nodes using this new network software.

There is also the challenge of figuring out the transport of network traffic. You might have areas that get very low connection speeds just because they are farther away from the gateway, for instance. Everybody’s going toward the gateway, which is kind of the central place where everything meets and then gets redistributed from there. So there are issues like that that require adapting the network software itself, and that’s why allowing people to do research and actually improve the network software is a possible benefit for an open infrastructure.

Part of the internetworking work, which is going on now, is creating what we have now in cellular telephone service, where you deal with roaming through your home service provider. You have a home service provider and you go to another service provider when you roam around to other cities, and it works out because they always can charge your home.

Chris Berdik can be reached at [email protected].

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Space Lens Is Coming To Cleanmymac X

Editorial update: the Space Lens feature has been announced and is now part of CleanMyMac X.

We’re big fans of CleanMyMac here at SoftwareHow. It can keep your Mac clean, lean, and running like new. We have given it two favorable reviews (the latest CleanMyMac X and an older version CleanMyMac 3), and after reviewing eight competing apps, named it the Best Mac Cleaning Software. And with the introduction of a powerful new feature, CleanMyMac X is about to get even better.

Space Lens is a feature that will help answer the question, “Why is my drive full?” It helps you identify the files and folders that take up the most space, giving you the opportunity to delete those that are no longer needed and make room for your next project. In this review, we’ll explore Space Lens, how it works, and whether it’s worth having.

What Is Space Lens?

According to MacPaw, Space Lens lets you get a visual size comparison of your folders and files for quick tidying up:

Instant size overview: Browse your storage while seeing what’s taking up the most space.

Quick decision-making: Waste no time checking the size of what you are considering to remove.

In other words, if you need to free up some space on your drive by deleting unneeded files, Space Lens will quickly let you find the ones that will make the most difference.

That all sounds straightforward in theory. I was keen to take it for a spin to find out for myself.

My Test Drive

I opened CleanMyMac X and navigated to Space Lens in the menu on the left. I’m using the trial version of the 4.3.0b1 beta. So I’m not testing the final version of Space Lens, but the earliest public beta. I need to allow for that when making conclusions.

Space Lens took a lengthy 43 minutes to build my space map. Scans should be faster on SSDs and smaller drives, and I imagine performance will be improved by the time the feature is out of beta.

Actually, the progress indicator was at almost 100% in just ten minutes, but progress slowed significantly after that. The app scanned over 740GB even though it initially reported there was only 691GB. Also, disk access was hampered during the scan. Ulysses reported a time-out when trying to save, and screenshots took at least half a minute before they appeared on my desktop.

Saving to disk was fine again once the scan was complete, and a report of how my disk space is used was displayed. There is a list of all files and folders on the left, and an attractive chart on the right that makes it easy to see which files and folders are taking up the most space.

Now I can see where a lot of my space has gone: music and pictures. No surprise there!

It turns out that I have duplicate copies of libraries! In my Music folder I have two iTunes libraries: one is 185GB in size, and last accessed in 2014, the other is 210GB and last accessed today. The old one can probably go. And the same with the Pictures folder: when I migrated my photos over to the new Photos app in 2024, the old iPhotos library was left on my hard drive. Before I delete these old libraries I’ll copy them to a backup drive, just in case. I’ll free up 234GB, which is almost one-quarter of my drive’s capacity!

As I explore further, I encounter a few more surprises. The first is a “Google Drive” folder taking up more than 31GB. Some years ago I experimented with using it as a Dropbox alternative, but stopped using the app and didn’t realize how much space the remaining folder was using. Saving another 31GB will free 265GB in total.

And perfectly illustrates why this app is so useful. I had assumed that gigabytes of data were gone, and they were unnecessarily taking up space on my drive. They might have been there for years before I realized. But they are gone today because I ran Space Lens.

How Do I Get It?

I’m surprised how sloppy my data storage habits have become in the last few years. I appreciate how easy Space Lens is to understand, and how quickly it allowed me to identify wasted space on my drive. If you’d like to do the same on your drive, I recommend it. It will be available in the new version of CleanMyMac X which should be available in late March or April 2023.

Or you can test the public beta today. Be aware that beta software may include experimental features, become unstable, or result in data loss, so use it at your own risk. As mentioned, I encountered a few minor issues, and have passed those onto MacPaw support.

If you’d like to try the beta, do the following:

Download the update, and the app will automatically restart. Then you can start identifying ways you can free up storage space on your Mac’s main drive. How many gigabytes did you save?

Additional Free Space Is Needed On The Drive Where Windows Is Installed

Not enough space to Reset PC? If when you try to reset your Windows device and you encounter the error message Additional free space is needed on the drive where Windows is installed, then this post is intended to help you. In this post, we will provide the most suitable solutions you can try to successfully resolve this issue in Windows 11/10.

Below is the full error message you’ll receive when you encounter this issue:

Additional free space is needed on the drive where Windows is installed. Free up some space and try again.

A corrupted boot system parameters are one of the possible reasons why you are having this Windows 10 reset issue.

Additional free space is needed on the drive where Windows is installed

If you’re faced with this issue, you can try our recommended solutions below in no particular order and see if that helps to resolve the issue.

Run Disk Cleanup

Run CHKDSK

Clean install Windows 10

Let’s take a look at the description of the process involved concerning each of the listed solutions.

Not enough space to Reset PC 1] Run Disk Cleanup

As indicated in the error message, to free up some disk space, you need to run Disk Cleanup. Make sure you remove all unwanted files including Windows Update Delivery Optimization Files or old Windows version files.

Disk Cleanup is a maintenance utility that was developed by Microsoft for its Windows operating system. The utility scans your computer’s hard drive for files that you no longer need such as temporary files, cached webpages, and rejected items that end up in your system’s Recycle Bin. Unless you remove those files, they add up over time and begin taking a lot of space on your computer.

The utility displays the identified files and the amount of storage space that each of them uses within your hard drive. You decide which items to delete by the importance that you place on the files and the amount of hard drive space that you’ll be able to recover.

If after the operation and you’re still receiving the Additional free space is needed on the drive where Windows is installed error message, you can try the next solution.

2] Run CHKDSK

This solution requires you to run CHKDSK.

CHKDSK (pronounced check disk) is a command that displays a status report for a volume, such as a disk, and can correct any errors found in that volume. To use CHKDSK, computers must have the chúng tôi file already on their system.

Admins have options for what switches to run with CHKDSK.

For example, using /f tells CHKDSK to fix any errors it finds.

Using /r tells CHKDSK to look for and recover any readable information in a disk’s bad sectors.

3] Clean install Windows

At this point, if the issue persists, it’s most likely due to some kind of system corruption that cannot be resolved conventionally. In this case, you can back up your files/data and then clean install Windows 11/10 and see if that helps to resolve the issue.

What to do when it says additional free space is needed on the drive where Windows is installed?

If your PC says Additional free space is needed on the drive where Windows is installed while installing Windows, you can run the Disk Cleanup tool first. However, if it doesn’t do anything for you, you can use the CHKDSK tool on your computer. Finally, you need to clean install the operating system. No matter whether you use Windows 11 or Windows 10, the process to fix the problem is the same.

Why do I need additional space to Reset my PC?

When your computer has a corrupt boot system parameter, you might encounter the problem mentioned above. When you reset your computer, you must have a valid copy of your system. If your computer doesn’t detect such copy, you might come across this error message.

Hope this helps!

Best 5 Signs Your Startup Is Ready To Scale Up

Concerns about the current economic cycle, with rampant inflation and a tightening of the monetary policy, and a tighter labor market, have seen small business sentiment drop to a new low in the face of turbulent conditions.

Small business confidence is at an all-time low across the board. CNBC reported that the Small Business Confidence Index fell to 42 points at the quarter’s end, four points less than in the previous quarter.

More than half (51%) of entrepreneurs and small business owners have said that the current economic state is “poor” today, a significant increase from the 44% reported in the second quarter.

Many business owners are now worried about the post-pandemic economy. This has caused uncertainty for both consumers and business owners.

Many startup entrepreneurs have been further hampered by a lack of capital, consumer support, or the right products and services in a highly competitive marketplace. These and other conditions continue to be a challenge for many startup entrepreneurs. Those who are able to scale their ventures over the next months or years will feel more confused than ever.

Despite the difficult economic conditions, including higher operating costs and labor difficulties, there are still many startups in many industries that have the potential to grow their capacity. This could include expanding their service or product offerings, hiring new staff, or going public with a brick-and-mortar shop.

Signs That It is Time to Scale Your Business

No matter what the environment is, it is time to notice the signs that can help you decide it’s time for your business to scale. Here are five of these most common indicators.

There is Still Ongoing Funding

No matter if your startup has been able to make a few deals with reliable investors or just recently signed new backers who are willing to invest in your products or services, startups who have plenty of funding despite the downturn will likely be able to scale their ventures over the next months or years.

It is always a good idea to think about how and where the funding is being used. You might consider putting off investing too much in research and development if most of your funds are tied to that. It’s a sign that funding is still available, which can indicate that the startup is in a favorable position and that scaling is possible.

Also read:

5 Best Resource Capacity Planning Tools for Teams

Optimized Sales

The startup is experiencing a boom in sales, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up. You might be faced with the challenge of scaling your business.

Loyal and Solid Customer Base

Startups that place more emphasis on rapid growth than building loyal customers or satisfying consumer needs tend to fail much faster. However, this might not be true for all startups. Industries and consumer buying habits vary.

Startups that have built a loyal customer base and have a clear business ethos may be ready to expand into other areas of the consumer marketplace.

You could even see the opposite. If a startup is forced to turn away clients due to increased demand and insufficient staff, it could lead to a business crisis.

It is important to invest in a core team that can drive sales and has the potential to further develop the business.

A Strong Team is Essential

Customers are an important part of any business. However, strong and motivated employees are just as important.

Every business owner knows that if the right people are not there, it is doomed to fail. A strong team will help a startup be more successful over the long term.

Also read:

Top 10 Successful SaaS Companies Of All Times

Steady Cash Flow

Startups that have steady cash flow may be able to access new eras of growth, aside from private investors and private backers.

While it is possible for scaling your startup to increase costs, it is important to defer any cash outlays as long as you can. This will ensure that the business is financially sound, even in the event of a market crash.

Final Thoughts

Before scaling up their business, there are many things startup owners need to think about. Your startup is ready to move on to the next stage, whether it’s adding new employees or launching new products and/or services to alleviate bottleneck demand.

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