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Comment As a UAV flyer myself... (Score 5, Insightful) 77

... I say "good". The current laws are working: you do something stupid with your machine, you get hit with a fine. Leaving a trail of all your illegal stunts on YouTube is probably not the smartest thing to do, either.

Just because you can fly one of these things doesn't mean it won't suddenly drop out of the sky. Over the weekend, I was practicing nose-in POI orbits in a big, empty field. The earlier flights were non-eventful; this one seemed no different until the battery cover popped off and a propeller hit it, with the machine dropping 20' into the ground. I believe I hadn't seated the battery connector correctly and it shifted during the flight, causing the cable to put pressure on the cover and it blew out. Fortunately, the only damage was a snapped blade, cracked landing gear and the camera was knocked off it's gimbal mounts. If I was being an idiot and flew over the crowds at Wimbledon (like this guy), it may not have had such a happy ending.

The laws are working. Heavily fine a few more idiots and let the rest of us fly responsibly.

Comment Re:So not publically not eating your own dog food (Score 1) 282

As an Dynamics NAV Developer, this is a bit frightening to me.Because MS has already started to "Azure-ify" NAV, and I believe that what is happening to AX will trickle-down to NAV (even though they are entirely separate products).

You think? I always saw NAV as the more fun EFP solution, in terms of ways to get data in and out of the system. Some of the NAV concepts, like publishing a table or a class as an instant WebServices endpoint, would have to almost vanish in an Azure-ized version. Once you take all the fun bit out of NAV, is there really any point to the product?

Comment Re:So not publically not eating your own dog food (Score 4, Informative) 282

Your comment would be correct 5 years ago.

Now, cloud services are the thing.

As an example, the premier ERP solution that Microsoft has, Dynamics AX, is currently totally tied to Windows. The next version, AX 7, changes the game completely. The rich client - the bit the user interacts with - is gone, replaced with a browser-agnostic UI (sporting a Windows 8 Start screen look-and-feel, but that's another story). The server and database components are now running on Azure. Windows has effectively vanished from the equation. And this the flagship ERP application.

For another example, look at Microsoft Office.

Microsoft is no longer the company that makes Windows and defends the Windows franchise; it's now services, services, services, and Windows with stand-alone Office etc.

Comment Re:MS uses what works (Score 4, Interesting) 282


I'm sure that given time and money, there could be a Windows variant that did the job. But that isn't MS's focus. Here in the Microsoft Dynamics consulting world, Azure is what is being pushed hard for all the latest enterprise systems (CRM, ERP). Microsoft makes it's money from Azure and everything that runs on top of that. This stuff is nothing to them.

Comment It's idiots like this... (Score 5, Insightful) 179

Selfish idiots like this are going to ruin the hobby for all of us. The FAA rules are pretty clear: 5 miles of an airport, nowhere near stadiums.

Quads fall out of the sky. A motor fails, a battery unexpectedly dies (or explodes), a sensor goes haywire... the number of things that can cause a quad to quit working is endless. If something quits, it drops like a stone - and a responsible pilot know that.

I hate the idea of an R/C license... but if it keeps the selfish idiots grounded then it's probably the way to go. Unfortunately.

Comment Re:Weather forecasting has a way to go (Score 1) 43

I can understand why they get predictions about the future wrong, that bit is hard. What gets me is when the prediction for right now is at odds with what is actually happening. It seems like there is a significant delay between sensors on the ground taking a reading and the models being updated.

I'm not a Met, but I do have some understanding of the processes involved in model forecast runs.

Both the ECMWF and the US's GFS V2 (which, incidentally, is normally trounced by the ECMWF when it comes to predictive qualities) rely on a global network of real-time pressure and temperature sensors. Every six hours, that data is assembled into the databases needed for the ECMWF (and GFS, GEM, JAMSTEC etc) to run. They crunch the numbers and spit out a forecast, starting 6 hours out from the initialization conditions.

Apart from it being slightly comical when the guy on TV says sun is out but looking through the window I can see rain, it makes short term predictions useless. If they say it will rain this evening when I want to go out but the forecast for right now is wrong, what am I supposed to do with that information?

Back in the days when Pluto was still a planet and Bill Crosby wasn't creepy, the local TV stations actually employed a meteorologist to do their short-range forecasting (or had an agreement with the local airport or whatever). That guy (usually an older guy) would draw the maps and explain the weather, and usually get it right (with, of course, the obviously insane errors). Since that guy was doing local forecasts (and note the airport comment; planes need really good local weather to land, or at least they did; I'm not sure about today), it was actionable information.

Fast forward to today, and you see a TV personality showing off a narrow waist and ample cleavage whilst presenting the weather. They are reading off model forecasts that may or may not bear much resemblance to your reality. That crap is at best guidance only; and hardly actionable for this evening.

If you want to have actionable rain information, I've read about an app called Dark Sky (note: I have nothing to do with this app; it's feature set and how it works caught my attention). It uses the pressure and temperature information that comes from your phone (and app users around you) to build a local-to-you forecast. My iPhone 4S doesn't have the necessary sensors, so I've not really followed up with the app, but I have heard lots of good things. YMMV.

Comment Re:Don't worry! (Score 1) 417

In 85 years we'll have flying cars, submersible habitats, colonies on the moon, we'll be terraforming Mars and flying around in spaceships.

Course, all that was supposed to have happened - well, now According to the "experts".

If you consider writers of fiction to be experts. Which might explain why you believe the lies of climate science denialists.

You're right. Let's listen to Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, instead.

He said, in March 2000, snowfall will become a very rare and exciting event.

Comment Re:Hmmm (Score 2) 214

Even with the relatively high value of the cargo, it is still hard to see how the person who delivered it could reasonably expect to be paid for it.

Doesn't have to be a payment. "Deliver this package into the jail, and we don't hurt your wife / children / etc". Coercion can be a wonderful motivator, too.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 904

At least that is my hope. The concept of car ownership is archaic. I look forward to the offloading all the associated penalty costs of car ownership in favour of a service model.

You mean like Zip car?

I loved Zip Car, but not having control of the car is a problem. For instance, having a car available when you need it, for the length of time you need it, is the biggest problem. Life happens; you're on the road and whammo! a traffic jam because of an accident. If you're driving the car, you've now got a problem because the car needs to be returned. Or, you're waiting on a car that's currently stuck in a traffic jam.

We used Zip Car for about a year, and decided that a 15yo QX4 (which we paid for) suited our needs better. Being able to control the transport in our life is liberating.

Comment Re:Need to find a co-conspirator BEFORE you do thi (Score 1) 217

When you're committing a crime, don't screw your partner who can expose you.

Crime 101 I suppose...

I refer you to the opening heist of The Dark Knight, where each of the gang members shoots the gang member who has just done his bit.

"So do you kill me?"
"No, I kill the bus driver."
"Bus driver?"
(Bus crashes through wall, killing the first gang member. Second gang member shoots the bus driver)

Comment Re:"Edge" (Score 1) 140

I find it funny they've worked so hard so as not to alienate the users who think the "blue e" is the Internet but thought it was ok to radically change the interface in Windows 8.

Windows 8 was lead by Steven Sinofsky, described as someone with the maniacal power and force of will of a Steve Jobs ... lacking Jobs' best gift: An innate understanding of good design.

After Windows 8, Sinofsky didn't work at Microsoft anymore. Now Microsoft have to deal with his legacy: some good and some bad. The result is Windows 10, led by Gabe Aul.

I actually don't mind the Windows 10 Start menu. It's a good compromise between the Windows 95 - Windows 7 concepts and the Windows 8 Start screen. It could be better, but it's good enough.

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra