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Droning on again! December 26, 2015

Posted by wastedspacer in Everything Else, Global Industry, New Rules and Compliance, Political Issues, Rants, Technologies, The Fun Stuff.
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ARDrone

I guess I could be classed as a drone early adopter of sorts with a trusty 4 year old Parrot AR Drone. I am somewhat dismayed that the FAA demands I now need to register it! It doesn’t weigh very much, nor fly very high nor even get out much but it does exceed the paltry 250 gram weight.
Being a responsible and law-abiding adult I decided I had better respond to the FAA drone-user nagging by visiting the FAA drone registration site and send them my $5 :
So what’s the big deal?    You first have to set up an ID which should be simple but of course there are unnaturally complex password requirements. You are informed that you cannot proceed with drone registration until your identity has been verified by a web link that has just been sent to you by email. Of course hour after hour go by with no incoming email from the system. You cannot log on again as your verification remains in a pending state, I send a help request to the supplied usahelp@faa.gov contact. Many more hours pass with no response or verification email!
Eventually (later the next day) I see the FAA mail has finally arrived. I click on the supplied link and I get a 404 “not found” error! I try again an hour later with the same result, I send another Email to usahelp but once again receive no response. Many hours later the site finally appears operational and I can register my drone. I was hoping to pay via something other than a credit card (Amazon, Paypal, BitCoin etc). Certainly of concern would be the need for trusting a historically porous government entity such as the FAA with my credit card information!! But given no alternative, I am forced to supply my credit card details (perhaps I should place a bet on how long before the FAA manages to leak their customer details?)!

DroneLALAFinally I receive a printable certificate to stick on my box and I can write my FAA registration on my Parrot drone! In fact if I buy another drone perhaps I don’t need to register that, simply use the same registration number hmmm? Well the chances of me flying more than one drone at a time is unlikely to say the least.

DroneLALA2
But why do I need to register this at all? Just how dangerous is my drone – or is it more about who is actually using the drone, the where and how?  Or is it just another media fueled paranoia piece of legislation latched onto by a government department keen to elevate its own sense of importance by adding yet more “care-bear” bureaucracy that comes with a whole department of taxpayer supported employees?

bigkite
If we are registering drones why don’t we register big kites? I see 7-10 ft wide kites being sold that come with 1000 to 3000 or more feet of line! They seem to be potentially more dangerous and can also be fitted with cameras. We don’t even register guns for heaven’s sake and don’t get me started on the dangers there.
On the positive side, it is only costing $5 for every 3 years and the $5 is being rebated (though I will believe it when I see the rebate appear in my statement).  I do get a “Certificate” which makes my little drone seem just that bit more “official” than it did.
On the concern side, yet another massive, notoriously porous, allegedly incompetent and insecure government department is being needlessly inflated. The FAA itself has become a juicier target with the millions of new drone-owner identities and credit card details for harvesting and exploitation by nefarious individuals 
Sorry for droning on!!!

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Sans-Helmet? The healthier bicycle option! November 9, 2012

Posted by wastedspacer in Everything Else, Global Industry, The Fun Stuff.
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Look ma -no helmets!

I’m certainly an advocate for bicycle safety and I almost never ride without a helmet but I can see how tourists and business travelers who might consider renting one simply don’t want to pack a bulky “skid lid”.

Here’s an interesting article in the NY Times claiming significant overall public health advantages associated with public bicycle schemes supporting “helmetlessness“!

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/sunday-review/to-encourage-biking-cities-forget-about-helmets.html

There are a number of public bike schemes (Australia, New Zealand, Mexico) that have had notably poor bike-rental ridership or even completely failed mostly due to each country’s bicycle helmet mandates. This trend is however seeing some reversals such as where Mexico City repealed it’s helmet law following sizable public opposition.

http://www.cycle-helmets.com/bike-hire-schemes.html

If you are in London and it’s not raining, try the “Boris Bikes” they cost two pounds a day or 10 pounds a week.

…. next time I get to Paris – will be sure to give Vélib’ a go it’s quite a bit cheaper – 7 days of occasional bike use for 8 Euros 🙂

https://aboen-paris.cyclocity.fr/subscribe/details

Some assembly required! Success as a Service! September 7, 2010

Posted by wastedspacer in Everything Else, Rants, Social State.
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How extensively are dissertation services used to falsely obtain educational qualifications?

What value is there in an education assessment system where a significant number of “successful” students derive that have achieved that success via leveraging a professional essay, thesis and dissertation service?

I was dismayed to see these posts in the Craigslist services section:

Essay Emergency Writing Services, Confidential, Affordable, Urgent
“Undergraduate, Graduate, and Doctorate clients.
Premiered and renowned personalized writing service for International Students from China, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East “

I can certainly understand a little help with a critique, editing essays or simple assistance for thesis work but to completely outsource the production effort makes the derived qualifications something of a joke. No wonder there are so many honors graduates who apparently can’t spell or string some sentences together when they arrive in the workplace.

Eve on the Road September 23, 2009

Posted by wastedspacer in Everything Else, Games I'm Playing, The Fun Stuff.
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Long time no post… and this one is a meager lame excuse for one just before I head off for some sleep…. thought I might add just a few thoughts on Eve on a hotel link…. just about playable, but don’t think of PvP with a Ventrillo server – sums it up !

I’m on a rare business trip from San Francisco to Houston – due to economic pressure, almost all employees have been grounded for the forseeable future! I took a lowly laptop with me to play Eve though the Marriott hotel iBahn seems to like to toss me offline every now n then 😦

Eve + Hotel + iBahn = Aaaaaargh

The performance is passable for simple missions, mining and the inevitable skill planning and inventory management. I would certainly avoid low-sec or combat-heavy missions on this particular Residence Inn network connection though 😦

In the UK – Potato Chips NOT defined as “food” – huh? May 26, 2009

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Economist nugget – May 23rd 2009: “Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled that, contrary to the argument of their maker,
Procter & Gamble, Pringles contain enough potato to be defined as crisps
(chips), and are therefore not exempt from value-added tax.”

I sometimes have a little difficulty accetpting that a pint of Guinness might actually not quite classify as “food” and therefor incurs a level of tax/duty. I never realized that in the UK Pringles would NOT be classified as “food”. I assume that being classified as a crisp (US aka potato chip) in the UK is some sort of comestible mark of the beast and therefore incurs the wrath of the state (i.e. has the dreaded VAT applied)? In the US, there are only 14 states that apply sales tax to food and all but Kansas charge a lower rate than the standard sales tax!

Final thought for the day before hopping on the bike. May 19, 2009

Posted by wastedspacer in Everything Else.
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Never blindly accept someone else’s rhetoric! Even when someone gives you a perfectly reasonable answer to a question. Remember, they are not you so always assume there’s still some work to do to achieve understanding! That way when you need to act you will jump on YOUR bandwagon and NOT THEIRS!!!

Microsoft exec finally saying no to Vista (Hmmm … can you say “Win-ME redux”?) May 15, 2009

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A recent Computerworld article cites a Microsoft exec suggesting those who have either not started or are not far along the Vista deployment journey to plan exclusively for a Win7 path. It was inevitable crack in the Vista facade that should raise some concerns over its long-term viability and supportability  from an enterprise standpoint. The good news is that Win7 is as more a combination of a streamlined Vista with a super-service pack but from a support cost standpoint (hopefully passing the value along to the customer by way of a lower or more flexible license stance) – Microsoft really needs to encourage a customer convergence to a single Win7 image rather than keep Vista alive longer than it needs to be.

Minds are like parachutes … March 13, 2009

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Kicking off the blog with something simple 🙂

Loved this tagline courtesy of a “demotivational” poster from Despair Inc!

“Minds are like parachutes …. just because you’ve lost yours doesn’t mean you can borrow mine!” I suspect therefore that Blogs are like the ripcords of life  …. just because you write one doesn’t mean it will actually deploy anything worth reading 😛

Hello RSA March 13, 2009

Posted by wastedspacer in Everything Else.
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The week of the 20th of April was a dash around the RSA conference in San Francisco. To be more accurate it involved  attendance at various user groups, organizations and other IT security related entities.