Jul 15, 2017

Robot Flipper

This week a robot burger flipper "Flippy"was installed at CaliBurger in California. Cali Group partnered with Miso Robotics to develop the burger robot. Flippy uses the latest machine learning software to locate and identify what is in front of it and learn from experience.

It has one arm with six axes to give it a wide range of motion and allow it to perform multiple functions. There is an assortment of detachable tools the bot can use to help it cook, including tongs, scrapers, and spatulas, and a pneumatic pump lets it swap one tool for another, rather than a human having to change it out. The plan is to install a Flippy in each of its 50 restaurants.

Another Search Tip

If you are looking up someone's name, it helps to either type in the "at" sign, as in @tomshubnell or use quote marks, as in "tom shubnell". This narrows down your results, because with no qualifier, your search will yield everything that has either tom or shubnell in it. Either of these qualifiers force it to look for specifically those two names together.

Jul 7, 2017

Happy Friday

"If you want to understand the meaning of happiness, you must see it as a reward and not as a goal." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupérys

I think it is rewarding to celebrate every Happy Friday!

Australia is Moving

Australia's adjusted national GPS coordinates  were recalculated and adjusted to keep pace with changing navigation technology. The continent moves north by seven centimeters (2.76 inches) every year due to its position on the world's fastest moving continental tectonic plate, according to Geoscience Australia. The country's coordinates were off by 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) due to years of natural shifting.

Satellite navigation systems on smartphones align with digital map information and autonomous vehicles could show you are in the middle of the road or you are in another lane. The Geocentric Datum of Australia, the nation's local coordinate system, was last updated during 1994.

Incidentally, the Indian Subcontinent in the past was moving towards Asia at a speed of about 6 inches per year. When they collided, the Himalayas came into being. They are still growing, but since then, India is only pushing into Asia proper at about 2 inches per year. 

Coral Bleaching

Newsmedia has been hyping the coral bleaching going on as a disaster, but it does not seem as dire as we are led to believe. The way it works is that coral polyps live as a symbiote with algae, which photosynthesize and produce carbohydrates for the polyps. When temperatures get too high, the algae starts to produce free oxygen radicals (which is harmful). The polyps have no choice but to expel the algae, which are responsible for the coral color, and to lose an important food source. This is known as coral bleaching.

Corals do not die from coral bleaching, but they are significantly weakened. Corals do recover from bleaching. They die out, then slowly grow back. Centuries do not mean much for a coral colony that exists for millennia.

Starbucks Sizes

A Venti iced size (24 ounces) at Starbucks is equal to two Tall (12 ounces). If you buy a Venti and split it with a friend you can save over a dollar each.

Incidentally, Short [8 fl. oz.], Tall [12 fl. oz.], Grande [16 fl. oz.], Venti Hot [20 fl. oz.], Venti Cold [24 fl. oz.] and Trenta Cold [31 fl. oz.]

3D Pancake Printer

Now I have seen it all. Amazon is selling "PancakeBot PNKB01BK 3D Food Printer." It is a 3D printer, with computer smarts that includes a grill and makes pancakes in any shape you can design. Oh, it costs $299. That is a bunch of dough to spend.

According to the description - There is a proprietary batter dispensing system to draw your perfect customized pancake every time. Software is included to trace any image on your computer. Non-stick electric griddle with removable probe is included and a BPA-free batter dispenser. Quick start Guide and Recipe Book are also included. Disclaimer - I have no financial interest in this, nor do I have any interest in buying one. However, I do think it is a fun and innovative use of technology.

Streaming vs. Casting

These terms are used when discussing getting information from devices to your TV. Streaming is video-delivery sent over the internet to your computer or smart TV. It also may refer to Internet Protocol television (IPTV) also called just Internet TV. It includes Live TV, time shifted replays of live TV, and video on demand, such as movies. IPTV is delivered over a closed, proprietary network, accessed via a specific internet service provider. It is different from OTT (see below), which is open and delivered by providers over the top of any internet service.

Casting refers to the delivery of audio, video, or other media types from a users mobile device or PC to a Television or connected TV device. For mobile devices, such as smartphones, mirroring means casting uses your bandwidth allocation and costs money each time you use it. Video uses an extremely high amount of bandwidth and if you do not have unlimited use, your monthly phone bill could be enormous. Mirroring takes the display from a sender devices and replicates that on a receiving device. Casting without mirroring means that after you cast the video to your TV, you can use the phone as normal, because it hands off the original signal to the TV.

Bottom line, streaming goes directly to a device and casting sends a stream from one device to another.


The often used abbreviations can be confusing. Think of OTA (Over The Air) as using a TV antenna, where the signal comes into your antenna, literally over the air from satellite or huge broadcast antenna at a TV or radio station, vs. on a cable.
Think of  OTT (Over The Top) as directly accessing the internet via a physical cable (such as the one that goes into your modem/router LINK). WiFi also gets its input from that cable. It refers to audio, video, and other media transmitted via the Internet without cable or direct-broadcast satellite television systems controlling content. No TV tuner or receiver is necessary.

OTT devices which support streaming include Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, and FireTV, etc. OTT services include video on demand services like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Sky Go, BBC iPlayer, etc.

Bottom line, OTA uses the air outside of your house to receive signals and OTT uses cables outside of your house to receive signals. They both use cables from the wall to devices inside the house.