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Comment 180k isn't very much for the effort involved. (Score 1) 49

By the time you include the cost of excavation, the cost of shipping, and all the labor involved from the research, getting permission, filming it, etc... then $108k is peanuts and likely doesn't even cover a fraction of the costs. My guess is that they would be deeply in the red if it wasn't for the film but they have likely made considerably more than the $108k by selling rights to the film.

Comment Re:Cry me a river (Score 1) 192

Sorry for the delayed response...just back from a 3 day trip.

Your 1.5 drones would have to move pretty damn fast to do what you're suggesting. That's a rate of 333.3 one-way trips per drone. If the average line of sight distance was 3 miles (and it will surely be farther), they'd have to travel 1000 miles/shift. to equal one truck.

In a 24 hour day that's only 42 miles per hour. Most UPS trucks tend to be operating long days almost from dawn to dusk but there is no reason that a drone would need to shut down at night. I could see amazon offering discounts for delayed service just like they do today for prime which could help even out the demand.

I think the issue still comes down to that being a ton of traffic not necessarily for the end neighborhood but for all the intermediate neighborhoods.

I have seen talks of having drones do the last mile where a UPS truck drives into a neighborhood, opens the roof, and a half dozen drones quickly do all the deliveries for that neighborhood. This might be a more reasonable solution as I'm assuming a UPS truck would be cheaper to drive than 1000+ miles of drone traffic.

Comment Re:Lasers and aircraft... (Score 1) 123

Already some consumer drones can proceed to a set GPS coordinates by themselves. If you don't need to be in constant or even frequent contact with the drone but only need to occasionally send a quick "GOTO $lat,$long,$altitude" it might be very hard to track you down.

Exactly. It would probably be easier to jam the GPS signal and/or all radio transmissions but even this isn't foolproof as image recognition is improving as well as multiple ways of counting steps which could easily allow a drone to complete the voyage without GPS or any guidance.

Comment Re:Lasers and aircraft... (Score 1) 123

it's not going to do real damage to a full size airplane.

I'm sure that's comforting to the pilots that are blinded right before they crash the plane. Pilots already frequently report encountering laser incidents, on average 10 a night and those incidents aren't using lasers specifically designed to destroy things.

You're talking about a $10 laser pointer owned by a punk kid versus a multi thousand dollar device and the technical knowledge to modify it to target a full size aircraft instead of a drone. Even if you could buy one the limited number of these sold would make them trivial to track. This is FUD. The odds of someone buying one of these and using it on a commercial aircraft is pretty much nil as there would be a dozen easier ways to harass an aircraft.

Comment Re:Lasers and aircraft... (Score 2) 123

I don't want to shoot down the drone. I want to shoot the person piloting the drone. Triangulate the signal controlling the drone to locate the pilot, and then shine your own laser at the pilot.

Wow! We don't have a nuclear arms escalation race anymore. But we have a drone arms escalation race. Armaments manufacturers will make a bundle on drone/anti-drone selling weapons.

Triangulating is an arms race too. A drone on autopilot doesn't need to be controlled and even if you needed to control it, you could control it with a burner phone so the only thing you would be triangulating on would be the nearest cell tower. There are plenty of other technologies like multiple repeaters, multiple channels, public channels, etc... that could also very easily prevent triangulation.

Comment Re:Lasers and aircraft... (Score 1) 123

While this sounds like a great way to take down those pesky drones that interfere with firefighting, planes landing and taking off, etc. what sort of safeguard does this thing have against something that suddenly occludes its view? Drones can fly up to several hundred, even a thousand feet. Even though it can be controlled via a laptop, reaction time as well as latency in communications would mean anything that happens to get in between the laser and the drone could get severely hurt or damaged. Don't we have enough problems as is with just "common" lasers being pointed at aircraft?

My guess is that this will be mostly used in restricted air spaces like above the white house, above the prisons, and other places like that. It could possibly be used in airports and other restricted areas but it sounds like it's accurate enough so it's not going to mistake a full size aircraft with a small drone and even if it does, it's not going to do real damage to a full size airplane.

Comment Re:Hell ya! (Score 1) 192

Yawn, did you know you can buy cheap cameras with 100x zoom? This law just pretends to give privacy to property owners, because you can take detailed photos from a drone even a mile high, let alone 350 feet.

It's a worthless law unless they write the law such that drones should fly a lot lower than 350 feet (maybe 50 feet) AND they should not fly over private property. Anything else and it's an invasion of privacy.

I couldn't care less about the cameras. 350ft seems like a reasonable level so that the noise/visual is minimal. The reason airplanes flying over
your house is not a big deal is that unless you live near the airport they are far enough away that you barely see them. My grandma tells stories
of dishes falling off the shelves when early jets would cross the sound barrier. They passed a law that outlawed breaking the sound barrier across
land. This has completely halted faster than sound travel and made it basically impossible to fly from LA to NY in two hours. We would probably
have much faster commercial jets today if this law wasn't enacted but it was deemed too intrusive to people on the ground to not have a law like
this. I don't think 350ft is that hard to work with. It means you do a vertical takeoff, get to 350ft, arrive at your destination and then lower yourself
down to the destination (which presumably gave you explicit permission)

Comment Re:Cry me a river (Score 1) 192

It will be much more than 1.5 drones. According to this, , a UPS truck will normally carry around 250 packages on a residential route. How many will that drone carry, or how many drones will it take to carry the equivalent?

A UPS truck isn't delivering 250 packages at once. 1.5 drones is probably the number of physical drones needed to replace a single UPS truck.
There is one huge difference though. Those 1.5 drones have to make 250 trips to deliver those 250 packages so to the final neighbourhood getting
the package, it's approximately the same amount of traffic but to the unfortunate neighbourhood in between the final neighbourhood and the
distribution center those 1.5 drones cross over your property 500 times.

Comment Re:Account should not try to "get knowledgeable" (Score 1) 87

The accountant should consider this the other way around and ask himself how they'd feel if the programmers started coming up to him to ask if his receivable cash bases are dollar averaged or some other mishmash of terms that will hopefully sound inane to an accountant.

No, this isn't what the accountant is asking at all. He's asking "how can I get a basic overview of programming so I can better interact with programmers". It would be closer to a programmer learning to balance a check book so that he better understands debits and credits. Most "programming for dummies" books are expecting you to learn to program. What he's really after is a "how stuff works" or "programming for managers" type book with a simple overview that doesn't go into the details of for loops and while loops but instead takes the "explain what you do for a living to a 4th grader" approach. My kids have tons of books on their shelves that would fit the bill. They explain things like "how a washing machine works" in ways kids can understand not in a way that would be very useful to an actual repair person. Off the top of my head, I don't know of any books about programming like this but surely they exist and more importantly, it's not a stupid question to ask.

Comment Re:Whoever pays the bills (Score 1) 154

Somewhere in their billing structure is a gotcha. You haven't hit it yet.
It could be higher loads, it could be when you need something quickly.

Why so pessimistic? Believe it or not, there are plenty of companies out there with straightforward upfront pricing that don't nickle and dime their customers and instead charge a fair price for their services.
Yes, if you need technical support for something that's not under contract, a company might charge you a reasonable hourly rate but believe it or not most companies aren't out to screw their customers. Especially where there is a lot of competition, it's hard to stay in business if you're always trying to squeeze your customers. It's a lot easier to make money if you just charge a fair price for a good service.

Comment Re:There are pros and cons to this (Score 2) 112

* If I own a router, I should have say as to who can access it. I think if the ISP is going to provide public access via a router/AP, they need to own it or compensate the owner.
* If I provide electricity to power ISP infrastructure, I need to be compensated for that.

My guess is that they do own it and definitely control it and are probably leasing it to the customer.
It's pretty much impossible to do it on a third party router they don't own and control.
And they are compensating the customer via free service. If you opt out then you can't use the free wifi of other customers.

Comment Re:Whoever pays the bills (Score 1) 154

...and by moving to the cloud we have a fixed bill... ...and by moving to the cloud we think we have a fixed bill...

How do you figure? We now have a monthly fee that is the same each month versus previously we had an initial outlay of several thousand dollars per server, ongoing costs of hardware repairs, and then another outlay a few years later for new servers. Yes, if you don't have a contract then the monthly fee can possibly go up but it usually just tracks inflation and is much more fixed and steady than owning your own servers. You can argue that it's more expensive, it's less secure, or a host of other things but I honestly can't see how you can argue that the bill isn't fixed. I can show you our bill for the past 2 plus years and it is definitely the same every month.

Comment Re:Whoever pays the bills (Score 1) 154

makes the call.

Next silly question?

Sure, the person who pays the bills makes the call but they usually make that call based on cost. If it costs less in hardware/support/security/reliability/etc.. to move to the cloud, then it's usually a safe bet to do it. In most organizations, the person paying the bill would ask the IT department for costs and make the decision based on that. In the company I work for, we only have a few servers and by moving to the cloud we have a fixed bill, a reduced workload, no need to replace hardware, more reliability, etc... Once we found a good provider, there was really no downside. On a side note, our first attempt to move to amazon was a disaster and we have been much happier with stormondemand. The cloud isn't a single entity and each provider has different offerings and what works for one company might not work for the next so the whole vague "move to the cloud" is almost as useless as saying you need to buy a server or a network. You need to spec it out the same way you would spec out an in-house server, network device, or ISP connection and weigh all the pros/cons.

Comment build a scale model (Score 1) 95

If you want continuity of location, build a scale model or keep a current drawing of the town. That being said, the episode of Simpsons you mention is done for the comedic effect. Simpsons is a show set in a generic town of Springfield which can be any of the dozens of Springfields and the comedic value comes before plot continuity. In South Park, Kenny dies in every almost every episode. It's funny. For the most part there is no explanation of how he magically reappears again. No one cares. Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.. are the same way, they take liberties, get the characters into impossible situations, burn down buildings, etc and unless it adds to the storyline, the next episode is back to normal where everything is back to the way it was.

Comment Re: These companies keep giving us reasons (Score 0) 394

MS Office 2013 requires Win8.1 or 10 and doesn't work on WINE.

I converted our entire office to openoffice about 5 years ago and no one even noticed. They still run windows (mostly for quickbooks) but there is no longer a single copy of microsoft office in our office.

Byte your tongue.