Ahhnold… er, I Mean Atlas

While still in man vs. machine mode around here, I thought I’d add this interesting story…

Meet DARPA’s real-world Terminator, Atlas

DARPA and Boston Dynamics, of BigDog, Petman, and Cheetah fame, have unveiled their most advanced humanoid robot yet: Atlas. At 6’2″ (188cm) and 330lbs (150kg), Atlas is incredibly imposing; with 28 hydraulically actuated joints, LIDAR and stereo vision, a beefy on-board computer, and some of the most advanced robotic limbs ever conceived, Atlas is remarkably human-like in its behavior.

*Bold emphasis mine.

It’s no joke, either. Watch the video. It’s kinda’ creepy to see that machine moving like that. Of course, it’s a long way from a T-800, but give it time.

War = Profit. You can bet on it. These machines may fill many disaster recovery rolls, but I can guarantee you that there will be specialized models that will be utilized as killing machines. Humans are very, very good at finding new ways to kill. We’ve never turned away from any useful tool that aided in that pursuit, unfortunately.

Read the rest of this interesting article from ExtremeTech. Don’t forget to watch the video. :)

Later…

~Eric


20K Robots… Soon To Be 1 Million?

In light of my recent article regarding the future interaction between man and machine, I thought this appropriate.

20,000 robots are on the job in Foxconn factories

By Michael Kan
July 15, 2013 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld – Hoping to save money on labor, China’s Foxconn Technology Group could also be ushering in a new era of manufacturing as it sets its sites on putting 1 million robots to work.
Read on…

Later…

~Eric

The Great 2013 Certification Hunt – a Brief Update

Some of you may remember that I was distracted from my normal routine here by a brief interlude involving some Cisco training back in January of this year.

Well, I managed to pass the course and acquire my CCENT (ICND1) certification. I’ve been on a self-study program for the past couple months with the ultimate goal of passing my ICND2 (CCNA) cert. Unfortunately, the best laid plans and all that…

A glorious spring here in Florida distracted me from my studies during the month of March, so I postponed my examination till the end of May. Sadly, other things have distracted me from my studies since then, so I’m forced to postpone again.

I will endeavor to persevere, as the old Indian said to the outlaw Josey Wales. I just wanted stop in here a minute and write something so that WordPress would not think that I ran off with some sexy native chick to an island in the South Pacific somewhere.

If that does actually happen, I’ll post about it. ;)

Until then…

~Eric

Image credits: Island girl borrowed without permission from Island-Girl-Boutique. Hopefully, they won’t mind too much since I’m giving them credit and free advertising here on my blog that receives 2 bazillion hits a day. ;)


Cyber-life Interrupted by Real Life

Hello happy readers, commenters, lurkers, etc.

Beginning very soon, like right away, I’ll be somewhat absent from here. The reason for this is that I’ll be spending most of my waking hours (and some of my sleeping ones) for the next 8 or so weeks studying for my Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) examination.

If all goes well, I well have that coveted industry cert and those spiffy letters after my name sometime in March of 2013; with a good job to follow shortly thereafter, hopefully. 13 is a good number for me; maybe it’ll be a good year, too. We’ll see… :)

In the meantime, carry on. Try not to burn the place down while I’m gone.

Later…

~Eric


The Future Is Here… 3D Printing

Earlier today, I received an email newsletter with a link to an interesting article related to three dimensional printing.

I had only heard snippets about this new technology. It sounded almost like Sci-Fi/Fantasy at first. I had to read a bit more about it to understand just what the technology is and how it works. THIS site has a nice little introduction to the technology and its possibly evolution in the near future. There’s even an interesting little video you can watch:

What the future holds for this amazing new technology is unknown, of course, but you can let your imagination run wild. As with most technologies, I’m sure there will be good and bad aspects to how it is utilized.

There you have it. Read more about this amazing technology when you get the chance. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more about it in your regular news soon.

Later…

~Eric


iFixit – Very COOL!

While perusing my latest issue of Mother Jones today, I came across a great article about the iFixit website and the fix rather than replace movement.

Wow! What a refreshing idea; fix something rather than toss it in a landfill and purchase another. Who’d a-thunk it? Well, let me brief you younger folks on a bit of history…

Back in the Dark Ages… oh, say 25 years ago or so… we used to actually fix things. Yup. That’s right. When your dad’s Sony Walkman or mom’s Singer sewing machine stopped working for some reason, they’d take it into a shop where a repair person*, with actual knowledge of the device and real tools, would sit at a work bench and troubleshoot and fix the issue for them. Awesome, huh? Then, dad and mom would pay a small price (compared to the price of a replacement) and take their Walkman or sewing machine home for many more years of use and enjoyment.

Now, why did such a remarkably sensible solution to broken items go the way of the T-Rex? Well, it’s simple. Greed. Yup. That’s right. You youngsters may have heard me gripe about greed before. It’s an all-pervasive sickness in this world at the moment. I’m not here to bitch today, though. I’m here to tell you about a really cool website that might appeal to you tech nerds and geeks out there.

iFixit – it’s sorta’ like a Wikipedia for fixing stuff. Between this site and another old favorite of mine, How Stuff Works, you should be able to fix just about anything in your home, as long as you have the skills and can get the parts needed to do the fix. Fixing things yourself is rewarding. You feel you accomplished something. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to fix that favorite old laptop of yours with the jammed up keyboard? You can do it. It could actually be rocket science, but hey… rockets aren’t that complicated. Really! ;)

Well, next time you play with your little iThing, think about the 11 year old Chinese girl who works 16 hour shifts in the factory that makes that thing. Think about the entire countrysides laid waste by the mining of rare earths to make that thing work. Think about all your friends and neighbors who would love a job in a factory that makes stuff instead of some dead-end job in a cubicle farm of some call center. When your iThing breaks, FIX IT! That’ll piss Apple off, huh? Heh-heh…

Later…

~Eric

*For 20+ years I was a component level electronics repair technician. That career no longer exists in the U.S. because very little is actually repaired here anymore. It’s a sad thing. :(

Image credits: Technician from clipartheaven.com.


You Learn Something New Every Day!

I learned today that a mickey wasn’t just some drink someone gave you to knock you out so they could steal your wallet.

Here’s what a mickey really is according to Webopedia:

mickey

A mickey is a unit of measurement for the speed and movement direction of a computermouse. The speed of the mouse is the ratio between how many pixels the cursor moves on the screen and how many centimeters you move the mouse on the mouse pad. The directional movement is called the horizontal mickey count and the vertical mickey count. One mickey is approximately 1/200th of an inch.

Cool, huh? :)

Learn something. It won’t hurt you none. I promise.

Have a great weekend wherever in the world you may find yourself!

Later…

~Eric

Image credits: mouse courtesy of clker.com clipart


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