A short repost of wise words Monday, May 18 2015 

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“Spam is a waste of the receivers’ time, and a waste of the sender’s optimism.”

Mokokoma Mokhonoana, The Confessions of a Misfit

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Droning on about drones Wednesday, Apr 22 2015 

I have met a guy who built his own drone for about $400.  It is possible to buy an assembled drone costing from $55.00 to more than $2,000.  There are many DIY drone kits with almost the same price range as the assembled drones.  A Google search for build your own drone returned About 4,910,000 results (0.44 seconds).  This is going to be a lot of fun until ‘they’ start passing laws about it.

When I was a kid, in the last millennium, we spent hours building a balsa wood model plane with a ‘049’ gasoline engine and flew it in circles held by hand with a string.   You go with what ya’ got and call it fun!

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=build+your+own+drone

http://mashable.com/2015/04/21/parrot-bebop-drone-review/

The Parrot Bebop is a drone enthusiast’s dream

Headshot_2015_LanceUlanoff

Written by Lance Ulanoff is Chief Correspondent and Editor-at-Large of Mashable.

Gazing straight up into a partially cloudy sky, I could just make out the Parrot Bebop drone buzzing overhead. I looked down at the formidable Skycontroller and attached iPad Air 2 in my hands where I could see the drone’s magnificent view. I could make out water towers in the distance. They were easily two towns away.

This looked and felt like pro-level drone flying though at $899 for the package, I guess I shouldn’t have expected any less.

A follow-up to Parrot’s entry-level AR.Drone 2.0, the Bebop drone is a quadrocopter with serious speed, impressive camera capabilities and, with the Skycontroller option, a remarkable level of control.

I flew Bebop both indoors and out and, once I learned how to fly, I didn’t want to stop.

There are two options for flying Bebop. You can make what’s known as a direct ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection to a smartphone or tablet running Parrot’s Freeflight 3 software. As soon as you turn on the drone, it becomes a Wi-Fi beacon that my iPad Air 2 easily found.

If you plan on using the Skycontroller — as I did — you don’t have to connect to the drone. Instead, each Bebop is pre-paired with its Skycontroller, which, like the drone, is a Wi-Fi hub. Once the tablet is paired with it, the Skycontroller takes care of the rest.

You can fly the Bebop drone without a tablet (the Skycontroller is actually an Android-based device with built-in Freeflight software), but then you won’t see what the drone is capturing on its powerful camera.

If you do use a tablet as your viewfinder, it sits in an adjustable holder, right between the two joysticks and just below the giant antenna. You can tighten up the tablet holder so it feels secure. My iPad Air 2 never slid around or dropped out of it.

To a certain extent, the Skycontroller is just a hardware recreation of the Freeflight software. It has two aluminum joysticks for controlling direction, attitude, pitch, yaw and speed. It adds hardware buttons for many of the soft controls, like “Return Home” and “Take a picture.” But it also adds significantly to the Bebop drone’s range.  Without the Skycontroller, your drone can fly 800 feet or so. With it, the range increases to more than a mile (or 2 kilometers).

The Skycontroller also includes two radio frequency settings: 2.4GHz and 5GHz, with the latter offering more precise control over the drone. For the purposes of my test flights, I used the 2.4GHz setting, but I also never let the drone fly beyond my line of sight. Yes, I love testing gadgets, but don’t really want to get arrested for using them.

The drone comes with foam bumpers that you can attach and use when flying indoors. They protect walls and people from getting caught in the high-speed copter blades, which also include a safety feature that stops them from spinning the instant they detect any resistance. That came in handy when I occasionally crashed the Bebop drone into walls, chairs, trees and bushes (what can I say — it took me a little while to master flying the drone).

Built from plastic, aluminum and foam, the drone is surprisingly robust. It took numerous hits and kept on flying. One time I hit the emergency button on the Skycontroller and the drone’s motors stopped, making it drop out of the sky. The 20-foot drop left it scuffed, but otherwise undamaged. The Bebop drone/Skycontroller bundle does ship with a full set of replacement propellers, which are easy to remove and replace.

Always watching and in control

Parrot equipped the Bebop with an impressive 14-megapixel 180-degree camera that is always recording 1080p video directly to the drone’s s 8GB of onboard storage. You’ll get an onscreen message when it runs out of space. You can offload the videos by connecting the drone to a computer (it has a built-in microUSB port). The only downside here is the Bebop has to be on if you want to download the videos.

That camera, by the way, is kept on a digital, three-axis gimbal, which keeps the video perfectly stable during even the roughest of flights. Normally, I would prefer optical image stabilization, but this digital version is so good, you might mistake it for optical. Video quality on a bright, sunny day was impressive, though I wish Parrot had included better high-dynamic range capabilities: The drone had trouble keeping the foreground decently exposed when pointed toward sunlight.

I can’t say enough about the precision control available with the Skycontroller. With it, the drone could turn on a dime. It could also fly at almost 30 miles per hour, which made for some pretty dramatic shots. Yes, strong winds could blow Bebop off course, but it was easy to use the Skycontroller to get it back on track and take it where I wanted to go.

Bebop is more than just a remote control flying device; it’s a robot. If you’re not controlling it with a tablet or the Skycontroller, it will simply hover in the air, awaiting your command. It does so thanks to the sensors inside that include a barometric pressure sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer — and it has a low-res camera in its belly for smooth landings. There’s also built-in GPS so the drone knows where it is, even if you can’t see it.

Without all these sensors, I’m certain I could not have flown the Bebop drone as well as I did.

Caveats

I loved flying the Bebop with the Skycontroller, but the RC is a bit of a beast. Parrot acknowledges as much by including a neck strap for the controller. I didn’t bother with it, though. With just 11 minutes of fly time per charge, it’s unlikely you’ll experience too much arm fatigue.

Yes, you heard me right:   Just 11 minutes of fly time per charge and it takes the batteries an hour to charge.

Just 11 minutes of fly time per charge and it takes the batteries an hour to charge. The $899 kit ships with three batteries, so if you have everything charged up and put one battery in the controller, you’ll have more than 20 minutes of fly time.

The bad news is that the Parrot batteries were flakey. One refused to charge up and the others would only charge 80% of the time. At other times, I put them into the charger and it would just blink red. A continuous red was what I was looking for; solid green meant fully charged. Parrot told me they have not seen similar issues or received complaints about the batteries. However, I had no trouble finding people discussing the exact same issue on Parrot’s Bebop discussion boards.

It’s also worth noting that for as rugged as the Bebop is, I did see a couple of minor build-quality issues on the drone and the controller. On the controller, the power button immediately popped off. I put it back in place and then a few days later, it popped off again. It’s back in place… for now.

Also, the power button on the drone got jammed. I was able to reseat it with a thin screwdriver, but this was not encouraging.

Can’t keep a good drone down

To be fair, these are complex products and these may simply be earmarks of V1 hardware. Neither build issue stopped me from my overall enjoyment of the product.

Is the Bebop and Skycontroller package pricey? Yes, but for under $900, you are getting a pro-level drone with the ability to capture cinematic video. If you learn how to use the GPS, you can program in a pretty impressive overhead tracking shot that then moves down to ground level. The shots are so steady that people will assume you used a giant rig and Steadicam to capture them.

The product is just that good.

Parrot’s Bebop drone offers an impressive level of depth and control, which, to be frank, we can’t fit inside this review. It can preload maps if your control tablet lacks cellular connectivity to show you where the drone is even when you can’t see it. It can return to a preset home position with the touch of a button. You can shoot timelapse video in-flight and even hook up the Skycontroller to a pair of virtual reality goggles for a more immersive drone flight experience.

If you have a creative bent, the sky is literally the limit with the Parrot Bebop and Skycontroller.

Parrot Bebop Drone and Skycontroller

The Good

Smart Powerful Fast and responsive Great camera Addictive

The Bad

There’s a learning curve Battery issues Limited fly time

The Bottom Line

If you want pro-level drone flying but do not want to spend thousands of dollars, Bebop and the Skycontroller is the drone package you’ve been looking for.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

The Gravity Payments of Seattle would raise the pay of all employees to at least $70,000 per year! Wednesday, Apr 15 2015 

gravity payments

For more information see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_Payments

I know everything on this very sparse post is copied directly from the web.  There is so much negativity “Out There” I  wanted to get this great positive information out.  Despite what the daily news publishes each day, there are good things happening.  Just have to look a little harder.

Is raspberrypi a computer or a dessert? Monday, Feb 2 2015 

I have not had the pleasure of checking one of these out in person, but it looks innovative, a clever design and very small.  For the price how can we go wrong?  I do have to ask: don’t these tiny computers come with a case?  Not only is there the possible computer based indecent exposure charge but also without protection won’t electronic components break off?

pi_board_02

For more information go to:      http://www.raspberrypi.org/raspberry-pi-2-on-sale/

Focusing on What’s Important Thursday, Jan 22 2015 

By Quin McDonald

https://quinncreative.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/focusing-on-whats-important/

Posted on

If you own your business or are starting up a business, you need a plan. Not a formal business plan (unless you are planning on forming a partnership or need to borrow money from a bank). But you do need a plan. A plan that uses your skills and what is important to you. Normally, I call what is important to you, “values,” and what I mean by that is heart. Your power to run or improve a business depends on your strength of heart.

Heart is talent. It’s what you believe in. It’s what you are good at and don’t mind putting in long hours to improve.

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The biggest mistake you can make is get distracted. Decide that someone else is stronger, better, or smarter than you and follow them. Hope their light shines on you. Ask them to include you in their plan. Think they will mentor you.

Successful people have plans. They keep their eyes on working on their plan, making choices that benefit their plan. That is what you should be doing, too.

The American businessman Jim Rohn said it wonderfully: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

Of course you can ask for help, advice, or suggestions. But tend your own plan. Know what it is. Watch your business decisions to keep them filled with your heart. That’s where your power is. That’s where your strength is. That is how you will build a business that is all yours and clear to you.

-Quinn McDonald owns her own business and helps others work on their plans.

Meditation Is Even More Powerful Than We Originally Thought Friday, Dec 12 2014 

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 | By

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/11/meditation-reduces-stress-harvard-study_n_6109404.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

With our stress levels creeping higher than ever before, we could all stand to reap the benefits of this mindful practice.

A recent study from Harvard University and the University of Sienna found that the powers of meditation move beyond the cultivation of self-awareness, improvement of concentration and protection of the heart and immune system — it can actually alter the physiology of the human brain. Consistent practice can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression in people who often need it most.

In the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the scientists selected 24 subjects who had never meditated before and guided them through an 8-week meditation course. Each participant completed a two-and-a-half hour session each week, where they learned about various components and styles of a meditation practice. Outside of the weekly session, they each meditated for 45 minutes daily.

Data gathered from the MRIs conducted before and after the meditation program, along with psychological evaluations, revealed that the subjects experienced a thickening in the part of the brain responsible for emotions and perception. Such changes strengthen the body’s physiological resilience against worry, anxiety and depression.

For the increasing number of us struggling with the overwhelming demands of our lives, reserving a little time each day to tune into ourselves might not be such a bad idea. It takes a little prioritizing in an already-busy schedule, but the proven benefits can be well worth the effort.

Republicans Accuse Obama of Treating Immigrants Like Humans Friday, Nov 21 2014 

Mitch McConnell Campaigns Across Kentucky As Midterm Election NearsMitch McConnell.CREDITPHOTOGRAPH BY LUKE SHARRETT / STRINGER

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a sharp Republican rebuke to President Obama’s proposed actions on immigration, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the President, on Thursday night, of “flagrantly treating immigrants like human beings, in clear defiance of the wishes of Congress.”

McConnell was brutal in his assessment of the President’s speech on immigration, blasting him for “eliminating the fear of deportation, which is the great engine of the American economy.”

“Fear is what keeps immigrants working so hard and so fast and so cheap,” McConnell said. “Remove the fear of deportation, and what will immigrants become? Lazy Americans.”

In a dire warning to the President, McConnell said, “If Mr. Obama thinks that, with the stroke of a pen, he can destroy the work ethic of millions of terrified immigrants, he’s in for the fight of his life.”

He added that Obama’s comments about deporting felons were “deeply offensive” to political donors.

Get news satire from The Borowitz Report delivered to your inbox.

borowitz

Andy Borowitz is a New York Times best-selling author and a comedian who has written for The New Yorker since 1998. He writes the Borowitz Report for newyorker.com.

The 5-Second Secret to Less Awkward Online Meetings Tuesday, Nov 18 2014 

A re-post from:
Overcoming one of the biggest issues plaguing virtual get togethers is as simple as counting to five, according to one expert.
 In theory online meetings are great. They save on expensive and time-consuming travel and hold out the tantalizing promise of location independence. The only problem? In practice they can be excruciatingly awkward.

Talking to you computer screen offers none of the helpful feedback of looking out on an audience for speakers and none of the visual stimulation of watching someone up on stage for listeners. And the experience is almost worse if you try to make things interactive as a lack of visual cues means people either talk over each other or hold back out of uncertainty, leaving gaping chasms of silence.

So is the only solution getting in a car or on a plane? Sometimes. But according to online meetings expert Wayne Turmel there’s at least one simple trick that can radically improve your online meetings with essentially no effort.

One Mississippi….

On Management Issues recently Turmel, who has written books on better web meetings and coaches teams on how to improve theirs, asserts that he constantly runs into the same issue when troubleshooting for clients. “They often bemoan thelack of engagement and responsiveness from meeting or class participants,” he reports. Fixing this issue, according to Turmel is as simple as counting to five.

Leaders of online meetings often fear silent lulls excessively, according to Turmel. The inherent awkwardness of not being face to face makes normal pauses where others are absorbing information and formulating their thoughts feel like an age. Plus, potential question askers, for instance, may be simply waiting to see if someone else chimes in first. The result is speakers who barely pause and inadvertently squelch opportunities for interactive exchange.

Luckily, the solution is dead simple. Just “ask for questions or comments and wait five full seconds. It’s longer than you think, and your instinct will be to move things along. Don’t submit to the panic,” instructs Turmel. “Ask, ‘What questions do you have?’ and then silently count ‘one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, five Mississippi’… Only then will you have given people a real chance to process the information, form a response, and step up to speak.”

“I have seen this simple technique radically change the dynamic in meetings,” he concludes.

Could it have similarly great effects for your online interactions? Give it a test and tell us how it goes.

The Real Reason No One Wants To Link To You Thursday, Nov 13 2014 

Wondering why no one is linking to you? Julie Joyce gives you the lowdown on why your site isn’t as linkworthy as it could be.

2 New Tricks for Hiring Tech Talent Thursday, Nov 13 2014 

There’s a war for tech talent. Here’s how you can get creative about finding and training coding ninjas.

Jessica Stillman

BY   @ENTRYLEVELREBEL

Talk to any entrepreneur looking to hire technical talent and they’ll tell you its insanely tough out there, with companies facing a dire shortage of trained engineering and design talent.

Sure, you could always steal the competition’s talent, or look abroad for salvation. But both approaches have obvious costs. So as we’ve reported here before some businesses are trying a third way: growing their own tech talent through apprentice style programs.

Video gaming-focused media company IGN, for instance, is augmenting its traditional recruiting for the second year in a row with a “no resumes allowed” alternative. Their Code-Foo program selects participants by setting hopefuls up with online coding challenges and asking for a statement of passion about the company. Those that succeed aren’t asked to produce diplomas and sit for endless interviews. Instead, IGN brings them to a six-week training boot camp. If an individual impresses, he or she gets a job—without ever having to say a word about their work history or educational background.

So how did that work out last year? “We ended up with 30 people,” Roy Bahat, the president of IGN, told Inc.com. “Our guys thought we were going to hire one or two—a third of them didn’t even go to college, a third had non-technical degrees. These were not the people you would have even interviewed on the basis of their resumes. And then lo and behold, a third of them were meeting our bar and the best of them were running laps around much more ‘qualified’ candidates. We were thrilled.” Ten were hired and Bahat says, “on average they’ve worked out better than hires from a traditional hiring process. The best few are among our highest potential talent.”

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Code-Foo and other training schemes outside of the academy aren’t just a good bet for smaller companies looking to recruit, but also something Bahat sees as having larger social benefits. “One of my personal passions is teaching young people coding skills because I think that it is the fastest path towards not just economically rewarding work but creatively rewarding work. It’s not as hard as people make it out to be—it’s like being an auto mechanic of the 21st century,” he said. IGN is accepting applications for Code Foo until April 30.

Meanwhile, online marketplace Etsy isn’t just trying to nurture tech talent in general, but female tech talent in particular. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Marc Hedlund, Etsy’s vice president of engineering, noticed that in his career he’s hired men by the hundreds but only a handful of women. To even out the gender balance, the company is hosting the summer 2012 session of Hacker School at its New York City headquarters and offering women who want to participate $5,000 grants to help them support themselves while they learn to be code ninjas.

“Our goal is to bring 20 women to New York to participate, and we hope this will be the first of many steps to encourage more women into engineering at Etsy and across the industry,” Hedlund commented. Which is a good thing, as so far only one woman has participated in Hacker School since its founding last year.

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