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Comment Re:Messenger, AI and Chat Bots (Score 1) 17

I'll take the consideration even further.

1) Similar to Amazon Echo - Skills allow integration of voice commands with third party services (called Skills). This ties into the third party - off the shelf parts.
2) Facebook just acquired (, a voice recognition company
3) Messenger already has text to speech
4) Amazon Echo is a simple command language - Echo is (really cool) but arguably dumb - ",” “askfor...,” “tellto...".
5) Facebook doesn't have an assistant (Apple has Siri, Google has Now, Amazon has Echo). Facebook is missing an assistant.

I would see Zuckerberg being his own alpha customer. Possibly his little project that will keep him active with technical chops.

Comment They exist around the areas that do prototyping (Score 3, Interesting) 138

Surplus has changed, but it still exists in manufacturing areas. But it's not the type of surplus store you used to see. The HuaQiangBei area in Shenzen is the new surplus store. It's primarily rolls of SM tech that is suitable for Pick and Place equipment. Because that's where the manufacturing is at. The surplus around Shenzen is actually really cool.

With miniaturization, and on-demand prototyping, the need for companies to have surplus enthusiast level stuff is way down. You do electronic layout, send it to a low volume prototyping company and they will then send it back to you in a few days/weeks. Even those prototyping stores will only surplus unusual items, with standard items being shared across different customers.

The prototyping with with non-SMT is getting kind of rare. Hell, I have seen anyone even consider Wirewrap. These days a lot of prototyping is built around microcontroller and sample boards for ASICs. And the glue between the logic boards are a few resistors or capacitors.

Comment Drone copters no. Autonomous things yes. (Score 1) 122

Say drone now and you get the image of either silent military killers remotely controlled or quad or hexacopter buzzing around.

The military drones will get more autonomous and even more scary. We haven't hit a real arms race in remote killing machines. It will come.

The copter drones aren't going to fly (excuse the pun) long term. The noise that comes from the drones as the beat the air into submission is not scalable to many of them. I'm a tech nerd, but I'm not going to enjoy having continual buzzing. Drones for particular uses (search and rescue, mapping, task specific data gathering and so on) will likely win.

Our day to day life won't be from drones as we know them. The drones of the future will probably be either silently flying (bird like?) or on the ground, or underground. They will increasingly take the "need human agility, but not human smarts". Deliveries to an extent are an obvious area.

Comment Re: Don't Fly Here Map (Score 1) 228

If you consider those as aircraft and the faa would likely consider them aircraft then yes.

Obviously not.

A drone is a craft capable of sustained flight in a 2 mile hemisphere.

Below treeline for something that is capable of flying up a mile in the sky is clearly an aircraft. A ball is unlikely to go above tree line, unless you are catapulting, in which case if you go high or into the flight path your could probably run into issues. Ballistic aircraft, possibly?

Some of the autonomous drone people I know have great pride in having a system that can fly 30 miles, uncontrolled, dropping used batteries as it goes. Just keep out of flight zones and don't be a sick is my view.

Comment Don't Fly Here Map (Score 1) 228

mapbox has a really useful map FAA have a really simple description

It shows the exclusion zones around the airports. Defined as Class B airspace.

The rules are fairly simple. Ground or above is controlled airspace. ATC must know and must be able to know where your aircraft is. You could possibly argue that below the treeline/building line should be considered safe, but the rules are clear.

Likely the company repeatedly flew in the area north of central park which is restricted. In particular this company has been doing it for a while with both UAV and manned aircraft, and should have known better. For this type of fine, likely they had been warned too.

Comment Lead, Mentor, Grow (Score 4, Insightful) 158

You've been dropped in an environment that is legacy and probably has production problems. Use that to your advantage.

You've been also dropped in a leadership role (not management, leadership).

Your #1 target should be to make yourself redundant (which ironically is likely to get you promoted, it's called succession :).

So look at doing something like identifying #1 problem (Pareto charts help). Ask for volunteers (or volunteer some people), give them the problem to solve, use whiteboards, etc to help them discover the solution. You may facilitate and provide hints to get things done. Empower and guide the people you are helping.

Read up on, you are likely in a #2 or #3 combination. You can help lead people to move to a #3 with leadership, with the idea to get to #1 over time (with their help).

Of course there might be some issues that you might need to solve like EOL systems and any budget that may be needed. If the OS is old, then probably the HW is old as well. Budget for that is probably going to be your biggest issue.

Comment Yes, dependent on your definition of "Worth" (Score 2) 118

Although the articles mentions that there is a meaningful financial benefit to the certifications, the challenge is finding industries and companies that recognize and value the certifications. The companies that I have worked at (in particular software) the certifications would be mostly meaningless as a recognition of skill and understanding. Hardware, logistics, regulated companies will likely have a higher value in a PMP or a CRISC.

However, there is a secondary worth to these certifications as a professional. You may end up seeing the world differently. With practice you can begin to intuitively see elements of the certification in your daily professional life. This secondary insight will help you as a professional.

For example, developers with PMP and CRISC don't "pad" estimates, they estimate the risks and unknowns, something that a lot of regular developers don't do. They see estimates as ranges or with relative confidence, those levels of ranges help give better estimates to make better decisions.

The certifications help you indirectly as a professional. That said, you can still skip the certification and read the text books (like the PMBOK), but that won't necessarily fill in all the gaps you may have in understanding.

Comment High School Subject Literacy (Score 1) 255

I doubt that we will be awash in coders as a result of high school literacy in code.

This is much the same that a high school curriculum of science, math, language arts does not make the world flush with chemists, engineers, theoretical mathematicians. What it does create is a community that has a level of appreciation, and the potential to specialize in that particular field.

Think of it as having a whole lot of engineers that have become managers. They can still code if they needed to, but generally won't. However, the engineering concepts are known even if they aren't being used.

Comment Re:Yes but... (Score 1) 52

And the real-world, in location practice for urban warfare...

  - To foreign state, 'please use our autonomous vehicle, they are _really_ good'.
  - Years later, turn on intelligence mode for the vehicles.
  - To army, stick your VR goggles on and get familiar with the foreign state.
  - Drop army in, and they already have ground level intelligence as to what is where...

VR and 3D gaming is definitely a dual-use technology.

Comment Re:High Accuracy Point Cloud Data is scary.. (Score 1) 52

Exactly. The many sorts of information is where there is a spectrum of
    - Cool (accurate fall color maps, tree growth rates, etc), to
    - Annoying (local government charging for mundane, but visible property improvements), to
    - Scary (complete timeline of when you were at your house, who visited and when).

Cool is cool, Scary is where I pause.

Google knows where you live, it knows where you drive. (I'm not trying to demonize google, but they have all the cards).

Comment Re:High Accuracy Point Cloud Data is scary.. (Score 1) 52

I agree, the point data is available for processing. Simple ways of reducing the data load (assuming that wireless stays slower than broadband), is having the existing mesh, and identifying outliers from a confidence interval. Those outliers are rejected as either transients (cars, people, etc) or changes in the environment. A lightweight protocol could allow vehicles to identify candidate areas and upload as needed. We have early era enterprise class processors in our pockets. The huge amount of data is relatively easy to reduce to a manageable size relative to technology (local, in-car compute and wireless bandwidth).

Remember also that google is investing WiFi heavily (Project Fi, WiFi by google at retail hubs, OnHub, Loon) which will give a nice mesh of higher bandwidth networks available when needed.

Comment Re:High Accuracy Point Cloud Data is scary.. (Score 1) 52

I'll give an analogy.

Street view is like someone snapping a photo of your house as they drive by every few months (or years).

The LIDAR information coming together now, is every few minutes (when we have lots of autonomous cars) having high accuracy 3d streetview being pushed. If you move a brick, google* will know. If you cut back a tree, google* will know. If you have a new car, google* will know. And google* will know within a few hours of you having changed your visible frontage.

Although it could be used harmlessly and for good use, the instantaneous nature of the data is what moves the needle from ultra-cool to kinda-scary.

But as a low-modded replier said, you can call me grandpa... (Still a bit young, but yeah).

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