Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts

August 17, 2019

Copy Any Key

Thought this was pretty cool in Safeway supermarket.

A automated key copy machine. 

You insert your key. 

And out pops a duplicate for you. 

Home, car, business, whatever.

What is happening to that guy who used to work the key copy machine at the local locksmith?

Who says automation and robotics isn't taking and going to take away jobs. 

I still remember that key machine--where the locksmith would put the key on one side and a blank on the other, and the machine would copy the surface grooves of one unto the other. 

Now even that is gone. 

I guess we're lucky still to have keys (for now).  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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August 5, 2019

Shootings in El Paso and Dayton

Another bloody weekend...this time in El Paso and Dayton. 

With at least 29 dead and 53 injured in mass shootings.

We still don't seem to be able to get a state of security in our country. 

Whether it's gangs and violence in our decaying cities (yes, like Baltimore). 

Or mass shootings by racists and nut jobs attacking our schools, houses of worship, shopping malls, and places of work. 

People can buy assault rifles with mega mags of ammunition and go crazy.

And they do!

While I was impressed with the response in Dayton especially, they killed the perpetrator within 30 seconds of the start to his killing spree, in other cases it takes considerably longer,

Moreover, while generally the first responders are brave and heroic in going after and taking out the bad guys, in places like the Parkland shooting, the officer apparently hid behind a tree while the students got massacred. 

We need a rethinking of how we deal with these terror situations. 

Can technology help (and I know these may sound crazy, but we have to think out-of-the-box at some point)?

We have the ShotSpotter technology to pinpoint where shootings are occurring. 

Why can't we have persistent armed drones on patrol with AI ready to swoop in (even through an open door or window) and respond and neutralize the shooter (while law enforcement makes their way through our busy city streets). 

Other ideas...embedded chips in humans (yes, it is coming) that would drive the privacy wonks nuts, but can identify occurrences of extreme violence and potentially stop it.  

I am sure there are other technology ideas out there.

Certainly, we do need to balance privacy with safety, and it will be tricky to make sure the AI is getting it right, but as we figure this out, tragically there are fathers, mothers, children not coming home because they are dead.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 18, 2019

Retro Cool Digital Watch

Wow, I love this retro digital Computron watch from Bulova. 

I remember when the first digital LED watches with the red numbers like this first came out in the 1970s. 

They were quite expensive then!

Part of the computer revolution. LOL

I remember my uncle had something like this and I thought how cool it was--no moving hands to read.

Also, has a little of that sci-fi Battlestar Galactica red (moving) light effect from the cybernetic enemy, Cylon visors. 

What's old is what's new.  ;-)
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July 17, 2019

Face Vase

Thought this was a pretty cool Face Vase. 

If you add a digital home assistant to this (like Amazon Echo or Google Assistant) and make the lips move on this vase, it would be quite the futuristic home assistant!

I don't think I'd feel comfortable living in my own house anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 29, 2019

Using Drones To Stop Terror Balloons and Kites

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Using Drones to Stop Terror Balloons and Kites."
It is not hard to imagine Israel developing drones that can effectively deal with the terror balloons and kites. If a drone, can hover for extended periods overhead, go on GPS or remote-controlled operational missions, and can even be used to “take out” terrorist targets or other drones, then certainly they can intercept, capture, redirect, or destroy the flaming balloons and kites that the terrorists are sending to kill and destroy.

Israel and the IDF not only have the fundamental technical and scientific knowhow with both drones and missile defense, but also they have the motivation, with G-d’s help, to save the lives of the Israeli people as well as the beautiful and holy land of Israel. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 26, 2019

Amazing - They Go In And See

Had my routine colonoscopy this morning. 

It is so amazing that they can go in with camera and everything. 

Look around and if necessary, cut out anything bad. 

Years ago, people just felt sick or pain and maybe saw some symptoms from outside.

But they had no idea what was happening inside. 

So grateful to G-d for the technology and doctors that can make sure all is okay. 

We are truly living in miraculous times. 

They even send you home with some pictures afterward.

It's interesting to see, but maybe a little TMI. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 24, 2019

The Goal is Automagically

Wow, I couldn't believe that this is a real word.

Automagically.

I thought my colleague was using it as a gag. 

But when I asked Dr. Google, there it was. 

Automagically - Automatically + Magical

It refers to the use of computer automation and how when well-implemented it seems almost like the process is magical, ingenious, and oh, so easy. 

So this is the goal for us that all our processes and efforts should be poof--automagically done and  there it is! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 18, 2019

Beautiful Architecture, Washington DC

Check out this beautiful exterior architecture.  

This fine exquisite pattern is all around this building by Metro Center. 

I think this must've been restored over the last few years, because I don't remember it being this colorful and awesome in the past. 

Civilization can still create some amazing works...whether technology, medical cures, and even beautiful pieces of artwork. 

Now we just need to proceed with the positives of creativity and productivity without destroying ourselves with indifference, dysfunction, and mismanagement in the process. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 28, 2019

Robots In Rockville


Had some fun driving around this cool little Robot in Rockville Town Center.

I like to try out the latest gadgets. 

It's funny people's reactions when they see these. 

They're still not quite sure what to make of these. 

Robots on the street.

Drones overhead.

Submersibles in the water.

Soon they will all be autonomous, ubiquitous, and essential.

And people will be the side attraction. ;-)

(Source Video: Dossy Blumenthal)
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May 3, 2019

What Are The Chances for IT Project Success?

So I was teaching a class in Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance this week. 

In one of the class exercises, one of the students presented something like this bell-shaped distribution curve in explaining a business case for an IT Project. 

The student took a nice business approach and utilized a bell-shaped curve distribution to explain to his executives the pros and cons of a project. 

Basically, depending on the projects success, the middle (1-2 standard deviations, between 68-95% chance), the project will yield a moderate level of efficiencies and cost-savings or not. 

Beyond that:

- To the left are the downside risks for significant losses--project failure, creating dysfunction, increased costs, and operational risks to the mission/business. 

- To the right is the upside potential for big gains--innovations, major process reengineering, automation gains, and competitive advantages. 

This curve is probably a fairly accurate representation based on the high IT project failure rate in most organizations (whether they want to admit it or not). 

I believe that with:
- More user-centric enterprise architecture planning on the front-end
- Better IT governance throughout
- Agile development and scrum management in execution 
that we can achieve ever higher project success rates along the big upside potential that comes with it!  

We still have a way to go to improve, but the bell-curve helps explains what organizations are most of the time getting from their investments. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Adapted by Andy Blumenthal from here)
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April 28, 2019

Rockville Science Fair - 30th Year!















(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 12, 2019

Gotta Love FANUC


I love FANUC industrial robots. 

They are made by a secretive company in Japan and they are #1 in workplace automation worldwide! 

They have over half a million installed industrial robots around the world.

Their robots are on assembly lines making everything from "cars and smartphones to beverages and drugs."  They also are in Tesla and Amazon...so you know they are pretty much everywhere. 

FANUC has customers in 108 countries supported by 263 service locations. 

Their robots are made by...that's right other robots...80% is automated

These robots are strong, fast, and precise, and they can do dangerous work. 

This company is the future of jobs, productivity, efficiency. 

But of course, people are still the brains behind the brawn.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 9, 2019

Solving Computer Problems

Funny T-Shirt on solving computer problems:

Does it work?

Did you screw with it?

Does anyone know?

Can you blame anyone else?

This little flowchart seems to capture so many issues in the office like:

- Accountability

- Problem-solving

- Doing the right thing

Oh, maybe that's a different flowchart. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 24, 2019

Take Your Head Out of My Shopping Cart

So this was funny today at Harris Teeter. 

I'm checking out on the express line with a few things. 

First some tofu.

The lady at the cash register goes:
Hmm.  Healthy!

Then some Meal Mart Buffalo Style Chicken Wings.

Again, the lady at the cash register comments:
Have you tried that?  Is it good?  It looks good!

Politely, I replied:
Yes, they are really good.

At the same time I was feeing smart-alecy, like what the heck, should I open the package on the conveyer belt and let you taste one--right here, right now.   

Sure privacy is a big issue when it comes to technology, social media, and all sorts of surveillance these days

But even when one simply goes to the grocery store--there is the very basic privacy about what one is buying. 

Yes, I see people looking into my cart, with eyebrows raised eyeing my goodies.  I can hear them thinking:
What is he buying?  Is it marked Kosher? (Uh, actually it is!]  That doesn't seem like a balanced diet!

Another time, the checkout person asked me when I was buying a bunch of something:
Oh, are you having a party? What's the occasion?

While I appreciate the good-natured banter and people being friendly, it seems more than weird in a way to be discussing what I'm buying, why, and for whom.  

Not quite Big Brother, but maybe that's the leftover small town feel in our lonely urban and high-tech living.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 10, 2019

Hyundai's Great All-Terrain Concept Car


Very impressed with the Hyundai concept "Walking Car."

It can drive, walk, and climb. 

I heard that this thing can even climb over walls and jump over gaps!

(Ah, I'm not going to say anything about border security with this--let's just hope the bad guys don't get this). 

This is the closest that we've come to Hollywood's Transformers.

This is much more than a vehicle for search and rescue--this is ALL-TERRAIN!

Great job Hyundai--I'd love to test drive this beauty!  ;-)
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November 28, 2018

Don't Just Sit There

Really liked this robot (Cubebot) in the store.

Love the colors and that you can change the pose in all different ways. 

This robot is pretty darn cute!

It's funny in this sitting position though.

Just want to say: 
Don't just sit there, do something!

Probably not that long before robots will be all over the place.

We'll wish for just a little privacy from the darn things, just like from our 24/7 computer gadgets that we can't let go of now.

Yes, we're hopelessly dependent on the technology--it's so helpful and we love it, but we can't turn it off. 

They won't be sitting for long. 

Robots--big and small, alone and in swarms, male and female, strong and intricate, smart and simple, worker and homemaker, doer and helper, companion and lover, where will it stop--it won't. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 12, 2018

Israel To Space

Please see my new article in Times of Israel, "Israel's Ladder To Space."

So proud of Israel's planning to join the Big 3 countries (U.S., Russia, and China) to land on the moon.

Amazing what even a relatively small in size and new nation like Israel can set their sights on and please G-d accomplish with G-d's help.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 26, 2018

Super Cool Military Wheels



The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has come up with a Reconfigurable Wheel Track (RWT). 

The tires can switch shape from round tires for flat terrain to triangular tracks for soft or rugged terrain in just 2-seconds!

You can see in the screenshot the rear wheels in tire formation and the front wheels changed to tracks. 

The agility of this technology makes for better maneuverability and survivability for our troops and their transports and combat vehicles. 

I wonder if someday soon, they will commercialize this technology so rather than all season/year tires or snow tires on our cars, we have these gorgeous ruggedized military grade babies.

I for one would gladly pay extra! ;-)

(Source Screenshot: Andy Blumenthal from here)
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June 19, 2018

Terrible TV

So we bought a new big screen television. 

That's exciting, right?

We brought it home from Costco. 

And we gave our prior model away to a family member. 

It was a shlep to move that $2,000 Panasonic behemoth from 2007!

By the time we got back home and connected our new LG TV, oy vey what a disappointment. 

It had this brilliant display in "test mode" that when hooked up to the cable box looked dark and worse than lackluster. 

Even when fidgeting with the settings to offset the dark screen, the gorgeous test display mode still came out looking like crap in actual tv mode. 

But the worst part was that there was a black line down the middle right of the screen. 

When we looked it up on the Internet, it was a known error. 

The instructions said to call LG and make a service appointment. 

WTF!  To heck with this sh*tty TV--it's supposed to be brand new and actually work--so it's going back to Costco where this crappy product came from. 

I dragged this widescreen TV back to the store and put it on one of their flat wide carts. 

The problem was that the wheels on one side of the cart were busted, and it kept turning into the fence, store shelves, and wall.

When the lady behind the returns desk called me for my turn, I tried to push the cart and it wouldn't move. 

Not being able to budge this thing,  I gave it shove forward and the TV went flying from upright to horizontal--SMASH!

The lady behind the returns counter goes to me sarcastically:

"So what was wrong with it BEFORE you just knocked it over???"

Well to make a long story short, I returned the lousy LG television and got a refund. 

And instead ordered a new Samsung curved TV from Amazon--hope this one works!

As for the horrible quality control of today's electronics--it's a shame that they can't seem to make them without problems--they've only been making televisions for like 100 years or so. 

In fact, we recently bought a Dell laptop and within like 5-6 weeks, the motherboard died.  

As you can see, the vendors are wringing profits from the products they are making at the customer's expense. 

There is no quality control to speak of--instead be ready to return the junk electronics to the garbage vendors that make them. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 31, 2018

Trace Amounts of Cocaine

So this is a funny story from today.

I had a wonderful opportunity to tour a couple of labs at NIST today.

One of them does work in contraband detection.

The scientist asks if anyone has any money in their wallet.

I pull out a dollar and hand it to him.

I ask him what happens if he finds any traces of bad stuff on the money from me.

He says, "A cage will fall from the ceiling" and I'll be in big trouble.

Uh, we all laugh a little.

He unfolds the money and puts it into the machine that looks for the contraband.

Oh sh*t, it comes up in the "red"--positive for cocaine.

Someone else says jokingly, "A little leftover from the weekend?"

I joke back, "Na, It's from this morning before work!"

Ha, ha, I think. 

It turns out the scientist explains that 90% of our currency actually tests positive for cocaine

I'm wondering whether this is a commentary on drug use and even the opioid epidemic in America.

The lab director explains a theory that the automated money counters spread traces of the drugs from bills and contaminates the other currency.

Aside from this little experiment today, I got to learn so much about creating standards for contraband detection systems and equipment and in another lab about magnetism. 

It is unbelievable how smart these scientists are--they are so unique and of the best in the world.

I am so happy to be able to learn from them even if it's contraband on money. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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