Sunday, March 15, 2015

Links for February/March

So I was sort of busy the last two weekends with Intercon and PAX being back to back.  Hence this is a bit late.

We got a lot of snow.  Seriously.  Enough that people considered Extreme measures.  We might be going over the all time winter record this weekend if we get just a bit more, we'll see.

This kickstarter (oh look, I guess it failed in the time since I found it) strikes me as an excellent idea in principle but not one that's going to be successful as a Kickstarter.  The idea is that for the serves that provide us our internet one of the biggest costs is the electricity consumed by the data center.  And the biggest drain on electricity isn't what the servers consume but what's required to power the air conditioning for the data center.  But if you spread out all those servers and put them in homes in places where they aren't running the AC all the time then the cooling cost basically disappears.  Then the owner of the server just reimburses the host for the electricity used and everyone is happy.  There are a bunch of problems with that starting with the fact that it violates the terms of the agreements most of us have with our ISPs.  I sort of suspect that Google could make this work with Google Fiber customers but I don't see it working as a Kickstarter.  And as expected it flopped.


You might know that I work on a hospital delivery robot.  Well, here's an excellent article in Wired about one of our competitors.  I'm actually pretty happy for the publicity on the concept of delivery robots - especially since QC Bot is much smarter than Aethon's Tug.


You know that comet we have a probe orbiting?  It's starting to heat up, producing pretty pictures.

The FAA has finally created some rules for commercial drones.  They're not perfect but I'm glad they actually exist now.

A while ago a group called Mars One got a whole bunch of people to sign up for a one way trip to Mars.  Recently some people at MIT did some analysis (PDF) of their exact plans.  This was mostly spun as the Mars One plans being unfeasible but the problems brought up aren't all that hard to solve.  So I have more respect for Mars One than I had previously but I still think they'll never get off the ground.

I've been a longtime user of Lenovo's Thinkpad line of laptops and generally happy with them.  Sadly some recent Lenovo laptops (not the Thinkpad brand) have come with some crapware that accidentally let third parties pretend to be trusted sites like your bank.  Which is really very bad!  What I've always done is to just get a Thinkpad with the cheapest available hard drive them buy my own SSD separately and use that.  Buying upgrades from a third party is usually much cheaper than buying them from the laptop manufacturer and hard drives are very easy to replace.  I still get my laptop subsidized by all the people paying Lenovo to put their ads in but I don't have to deal with the ads.  This might be harder for you if you use Windows and have to pay money for your operating system.

Nifty furniture that assembles itself.

This is an excellent idea.  Putting two camera eyes on a robot, giving a person a VR headset that shows what the robot sees, and having the direction of the cameras track the person's head movements.

My goodness Google's crazy plan to provide the world with Internet broadcast from weather balloons is going forward.

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