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Robotics

Video More From Tim O'Reilly about the 'WTF?!' Economy (Videos) 59

More From Tim O'Reilly about the 'WTF?!' Economy (Video) On August 12 we ran two videos of Tim O'Reilly talking with Slashdot's Tim Lord about changes in how we work, what jobs we do, and who profits from advances in labor-saving technology. Tim (O'Reilly, that is) had written an article titled, The WTF Economy, which contained this paragraph:

"What do on-demand services, AI, and the $15 minimum wage movement have in common? They are telling us, loud and clear, that we’re in for massive changes in work, business, and the economy."

We're seeing a shift from cabs to Uber, but what about the big shift when human drivers get replaced by artificial intelligence? Ditto airplane pilots, burger flippers, and some physicians. WTF? Exactly. Once again we have a main video and a second one available only in Flash (sorry about that), along with a text transcript that covers both videos. Good thought-provoking material, even if you think you're so special that no machine could possibly replace you.
Hardware

Video The IoT, the MinnowBoard, and How They Fit Into the Universe (Video) 25

The IoT is becoming more pervasive partly because processor costs are dropping. So are bandwidth costs, even if your ISP isn't sharing those savings with you. Today's interviewee, Mark Skarpness, is "the Director of Embedded Software in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corporation," which is an amazing mouthful of a title. What it means is that he works to extend Intel's reach into Open Source communities, and is also aware of how hardware and software price drops -- and bandwidth price drops at the "wholesale" level -- mean that if you add a dash of IPV6, even lowly flip-flops might have their own IPs one day.

This video interview is a little less than six minutes long, while the text transcript covers a 17 minute conversation between Mark Skarpness and Slashdot's Timothy Lord. The video can be considered a "meet Mark" thing, and watching it will surely give you the idea that yes, this guy knows his stuff, but for more info about the spread of the IoT and how the Open Hardware MinnowBoard fits into the panoply of developer tools for IoT work, you'll have to read the transcript.
Windows

A Breakdown of the Windows 10 Privacy Policy 318

WheezyJoe writes: The Verge has a piece on Windows 10 privacy that presents actual passages from the EULA and privacy policy that suggest what the OS is capturing and sending back to Microsoft. The piece takes a Microsoft-friendly point of view, arguing that all Microsoft is doing is either helpful or already being done either by Google or older releases of Windows, and also touches on how to shut things off (which is also explained here). But the quoted passages from the EULA and the privacy policy are interesting to review, particularly if you look out for legal weasel words that are open to Microsoft's interpretation, such as "various types (of data)", diagnostic data "vital" to the operation of Windows (cannot be turned off), sharing personal data "as necessary" and "to protect the rights or property of Microsoft". And while their explanations following the quotes may attempt an overly friendly spin, the article may be right about one thing: "In all, only a handful of these new features, and the privacy concerns they bring, are actually in fact new... Most people have just been either unaware or just did not care of their existence in past operating systems and software." Even pirates are having privacy concerns and blocking Windows 10 users.
Robotics

Video HooperFly is an Open Source, Modular Drone (Video) 24

Tricopters, quadcopters, hexicopters. A HooperFly can be any of these, or an octocopter or possibly even a larger number than that. The HooperFly is a modular creation, and spokesman Rich Burton says the design is open source (and was showing off the HooperFly at OSCON), so the flier's configuration is limited only by your imagination. The main construction material is plastic tubing available from most building supply and hardware stores. The electronics? We didn't see schematics or code, but presumably they're out there. One thing for sure is that the HooperFly is good for making music videos like M.I.A. & The Partysquad's Double Bubble Trouble (NSFP; i.e. NotSafeForPrudes; has images of 3-D printed guns, flying copters, etc.) and the lyrical Peace Drone at Twilight. It looks like HooperFly lives at the intersection of technology and art, which is a good place to be -- not that there aren't plenty of HooperFly skateboard videos, too, because one of the first things it seems most skateboarders do when they get a camera-equipped drone is shoot a skateboard video and post it to YouTube. But beyond that, intrepid drone pilots can work with the HooperFly's autopilot features to do many beautiful (and hopefully legal) things.

Comment Re:No, not economics at all (Score 1) 185

I don't have to apologize for national fiat currency, it's silly too, and I don't keep my assets in cash. My problem with Bitcoin is that it is even less credible than "the faith and credit of the United States government", which has been the justification of the Dollar since it was allowed to float. It seems to be nothing but "wish and it will come true".

Comment Re:Are they going to fine airlines for doing the s (Score 1) 188

No, the small-aircraft owners aren't at risk of messing up their avionics. They are, however, consciously messing up the cellular network for everyone else. You see, you are supposed to be in range of just a few cells when you use your phone, so that we get frequency reuse between cells. If you are at altitude, you are in line-of-sight communications with all of the cells out to the visible horizon on all sides. And the frequencies you are using are probably locked out from reuse over that entire vast area. It would not take very many phones at altitude to disrupt the entire system.

Comment No, not economics at all (Score 4, Insightful) 185

People who received a play-money system from a mysterious unknown person and actually convinced themselves that it has value are now facing a schism over the money market failing to grow without bounds. Unless, that is, the software is modified in a way that might, over time, disincent people from playing the game.

I can't be the only one who is thinking that the only problem is that these folks believe bitcoins have value.

Hell, I thought that the fiat currency of nations was a bad deal. This is an order of magnitude worse.

Comment Re:Are they going to fine airlines for doing the s (Score 1) 188

No, the real problem is that you have line-of-sight communications to every cell site until the visible horizon. This tends to use up frequencies over a very large area. In general the antennas have been engineered not to work at high angles, but this can't be complete and the ones on the horizon may see you at the same angle as their regular users.

Medicine

Video WearDuino Uses Arduinos to Make Wearable Medical Sensors (Video) 14

WearDuino, now being developed by PDX Wearable Health Lab, is the brainchild of Mark Leavitt, MD, PhD; "an experimenter, maker, mentor and consultant in wearable health technologies, drawing on his lifelong experience in the fields of engineering and medicine." The WearDuino, he says, "is an open source wearable wireless sensor." The prototype fits in a FitBit case because, according to Dr. Leavitt, there are millions of unused ones out there, both surplussed by people who bought Fitbits and then stopped using them, and in the form of aftermarket cases sold to make your Fitbit cuter than when it came from the factory. In any case, WearDuino is still in the prototype stage. Dr. Leavitt plans to look for funding through Crowd Supply, but isn't "there" yet, so if you want to get on board with this health wearables project, you'll want to sign up for their Google Group or follow them on Twitter. You might also want to check out Quantified Self (tag line: "self knowledge through numbers"), and even if you vastly prefer videos to text articles, check out the text transcript ("Show/Hide Transcript") attached to this article, because it contains nearly twice as much information as the video, and goes a little deeper than the video into Dr. Leavitt's reasons for building the WearDuino -- none of which are financial gain, believe it or not.

Comment The problem is usually video (Score 1, Insightful) 378

Think of how we use video devices. Not just in Linux, in pretty much all current systems. In the name of "efficiency" we memory-map them, and we let the user process directly mess around with the internals of a hardware device.

This is the way a set-top video game box works, not a secure and reliable operating system.

Until the video is firewalled off from the user the way other components of the operating system are, it's not going to be safe, secure, or reliable. Obviously we'll need new hardware designs to make this work fast enough.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

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