Learning Python

Jun 3, 2015 by

pythonI can’t remember the last time I actually programmed anything.  I’ve been working with drone technology for a couple of years now and with all of the advances in inexpensive microcontrolers I thinks it’s time to relearn the basics. With that said I’ve decided on Python as my reintroduction to programing. I choose it for a couple of reasons, first it has a limited set of instructions, second it runs great on the Raspberry Pi my weapon of choice for 3d printer interfaces.

I hopped on Coursera and they have a couple of interesting classes for programming, we’ll see how that goes.

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Net Neutrality

Nov 4, 2014 by

I'd attribute the artist but I can't find their name.

I’d attribute the artist but I can’t find their name. Let me know and I will gladly add it.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Net Neutrality debate for a couple of years now. Basically ISPs would like to be able to charge more from companies that use more bandwidth and in so doing create “fast lanes” for traffic initiated at these companies. Two of the prime examples are Netflix and YouTube which count for around 50% of internet traffic as of the writing of this post.

Here’s my problem with using Netflix or YouTube as examples of data hogs. They aren’t. Netflix and YouTube do not use the reported amount of bandwidth. I know, you’re thinking WTF, of course they do, numbers don’t lie and you’d be right. While numbers don’t lie people do and here’s how they are bamboozling you.

When we plop down in front of our wide screen T.Vs or snuggle up in bed with our laptops or tablets to watch a movie, “We” are the ones consuming the bandwidth not Netflix or YouTube. We have paid our ISP for the connection and we can go anywhere we want and download anything we desire (within current copyright constraints) .

We’ve already paid for it. We have a set speed. We have the bandwidth.

Here’s a rough analogy;

BestBuy=Netflix

UPS=Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)

3 day delivery= My internet speed 25 Mbit

I order a DVD from BestBuy, I decide to use UPS as my default delivery. So, whenever I want something from BestBuy UPS will bring it. I pay for UPS 3 day shipping. My DVD arrives three days later. I watch my movie.

But here’s what the ISPs want. They see BestBuy as causing a lot of deliveries and tying up a lot of their trucks so in their world they should get to charge BestBuy for causing all the commotion. They want you and BestBuy to pay for delivery. In their thinking BestBuy is causing a lot of shipping and they should charge them more. But BestBuy isn’t causing the massive amount of traffic. I and a few million of my friends are.

How do you think Amazon would react to UPS and FedEx wanting to charge them more for delivering their products? It’s just the opposite. Shipping is low because of volume and remember  “You” pay for shipping.

ISPs will tell you that Netflix has a connection just like you. And just like you they need to pay for it and I agree, but they shouldn’t pay more nor should they have any special routes through the network i.e. priority over fiber. It’s not Netflix’s problem or mine, it’s ISPs problem. Just like FedEx and UPS. That’s what we’re paying for. Delivery.

Here’s what they don’t tell you. ISPs oversell their bandwidth, just like a health club and/or gyms. Health clubs always oversell memberships because they know that a large percentage of the people paying rarely show up to use the facility.  ISP use the same rational. In the past  most people never came close to maxing out their connection. They’d check email, shop on-line, do a lot of simple low capacity things. The current shift in net traffic didn’t happen overnight.it’s been in making for 10 years.

ISPs have been dragging there collective feet on expanding infrastructure for two decades. Government grants have been handed out for fiber optics, spectrum has been opened up yet, still, we fall far behind many nations in terms of speed and cost. Because the ISPs like it when bandwidth is tight, it makes it more valuable.

Clearly it has to do with creating artificial capacity problems to justify maintaining current price levels and leveraging price increases as well as control over how data gets from point A to pony B. Bandwidth is limited by two things, broadcast spectrum (Wi-Fi and cellular date) and physical data transmission lines (fiber op, co-ax) One is a no brainer. Put in more network control centers and lay more cable. The second relies on focused use of spectrum for wireless. But the ISP’s say the don’t have the money to do that. B.S. If they aren’t up to the task maybe we should be looking into a different solution.

AT&T had a reported 5.5 billion dollar profit in 2013,  Their earnings were reported as 126 billion in 2012  and they returned 23 billion to investors. I’m sure their “profit” was actually far higher but with  current corporate “effective tax” shenanigans who knows. Comcast past the 100 billion mark a couple of years ago.

At this point in time ISPs are a utility, there is very little you can do without the internet these days. Banks have moved to limited staff, relying on ATM and online banking. Most communications happens almost entirely on-line. When was the last time to you did all of your communication through the U.S. postal service? If classified as utility, big telecoms stand to loose total control over how they manipulate charges. I, for one, think that’s a great idea.

Comacst has spent billions acquiring content providers like NBC because they can then say they are not a utility they are a content provider. They can also charge for NBC programming to be delivered. So they control content and delivery. They shows you watch and how you receive them. That’s a pretty good place to be in. They can then charge competitors  (Netflix, Youtube) to use “their” delivery system. Hybridization for the purpose of noncompliance and skirting regulations has to stop. Every time mega-corps merge it’s a disaster for the consumer. Every Time.

Lets all remember Comcast, AT&T and a host of other ISPs did not invent the internet or the worldwide web. We, as a nation, did through Science Technology Engineering and Math. Keep in mind, we as a people, own all of the broadcast spectrum. These companies only lease it. We also own a vast majority of the physical land, in the form of municipalities,  that they string their cabling  or fiber-op, both of and below the ground. These companies have no more right to “Traffic Shape” then you do to walk in the street and say only delivery trucks can use the traffic lanes, the rest of you can use the dirt road on the right. We paid for it with our tax dollars and these guys want to control it.

I say no.

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Junior Research Scientists (a little something I’m working on)

Oct 14, 2014 by

(LONG Junior Research Scientists Mars Student Imaging

 

(Short) Junior Research Scientists Mars Student Imaging

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I Run Adblocker

Oct 3, 2014 by

adblock

 

I run adblock.

I don’t watch commercials.

I pay for satellite television with all of the premium channels.

In my Opinion, commercial ads on television and print have no relevance except to instill a desire to purchase, to brainwash. Modern day hucksters want to devalue your life. they want you to believe that your life will be better if you acquire the thing they are pushing. So, what they are really saying is, value what you own not who you are. I loath ads that use sex to sell, demean women and manipulate children.

 

 

 

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Printrbot Simple V2.0

Feb 4, 2014 by

I’ve been sitting on the parts Printrbot sent me to upgrade my original beta Simple 3D printer for a couple of months now. But, I had a few hours on Saturday to kill so here she is in all her glory with a custom built spool holder.

Simple-Beta-Upgrade1 Simple-Beta-Upgrade2

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Miley Cyrus: A Public Service Announcement

Sep 1, 2013 by

 

mileyI couldn’t help but hear about the uproar caused by Miley Cyrus’s performance of We Can’t Stop  at the VMA awards. It was all over the news and the internet. I’m not a fan but whenever a performer causes this much of a stir, it’s time to check them out. So I hopped on the YouTubes to check it out for myself. Frankly, I don’t know what all the hubbub is about. Sure there were a few suggestive sexual elements and some bleeped out veiled drug references. So. Music has been doing this since the dawn of Rock and Role. Big deal. This is just another loop in the cycle.

The only difference is people that used to be young are older, have children and think she’s setting a bad example but Miley’s not responsible for you or your children’s well being. She’s not bound by any of our self imposed moral codes. She’s responsible for selling albums. She’s a corporation, employing people. She’s a job creator.

to the pundits, news anchors and parents that are up in arms over what this performer did. Let me point out a few things.

One, she’s 20 years old, an adult, and as her song says, as an adult, ..”she can say what she wants to”.. If parents are under the assumption that having their children exposed to this sort of “scandalous” performance is in some way going to corrupt  their precious little angels then here’s a reality check. If it only takes music, movies, books or video games to lead your children away from how you feel they should interact with the world, than obviously your lessons, your values and your morals are not sinking in. Let me share a secret with you we’re all exposed to far more extreme examples of Miley’s behavior every day, your children included. If reasoning and explaining your belief system, to your kids fails you can always try to guilt them into submission.  But young people are going to do what they want.  All youth reject  what their elders stand for when they start to think for themselves. It’s a good thing “… she can do what she wants to…” and you can too.

Two, Miley has given you a gift. She has placed herself in the path of all your self righteous indignation and in doing so has given you the gift of looking down your long noses at her. Why is this a gift? because in doing so it has relieved you of the burden, for a short time, of  having to face real world problems. You know, like the millions of people, children included, living in America forced to subsist on next to nothing or the growing disparity between wealthy and poor or the apathy we have in electing qualified people to represent us in our government but I guess it all about priorities, you can all feel good about yourselves and hold you heads high in moral superiority. At least you’d never do what Miley did. Now doesn’t that feel good? How kind of her, you should give thanks.

Three, I’ve heard people call Miley a whore in training, a skank or slut, out of control on the way to ruin…blah, blah, blah. Clearly and here’s the crux of the situation, some people have a problem separating Miley from Hannah Montana. These people partially live in that saccharine sweet, parallel world created for them and their children by entertainment corporations hell bent on glueing your eyes to the “Tube” in order generate ad revenue. God forbid anyone tarnish the unreality of the television experience.

I think the thing that bothers me the most is the rampant hypocrisy. Those of us who’ve lived through the experience of our twenties and are up in arms over Miley, seem to have forgotten what it was like to be 20. You have the whole world in front of you and for the first time you truly believe you can do what you want to. So you try things, lots of things, some not to smart things and you learn not memorize what someone else told you about something or live vicariously through others. You live your life.  If you’ve never been in trouble when you were younger or pushed the envelope  you qualify as sheep in my opinion and while you can express your opinion you don’t have the life experience to make a substantive contribution.  I would like to hear what she has learned in fifteen or twenty years, if she makes it that long.

Lastly, Miley did everything she was supposed to. She entertained, shocked, drew attention to her work and ultimately will sell albums. You will remember her, the song and the performance …”its her party”…You can bet this will be talked about next year at the VMA awards. “I wonder what Miley will do this year… Do you remember last year, OMG!”

 

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Printrbot Simple BETA

May 20, 2013 by

I hopped onto Printrbot’s BETA for the Printrbot Simple.

Here’s the stock machine:

Printrbot Simple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Mine:

 

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