I am fascinated by drones and their technology – HaliPawz

I am fascinated by drones and their technology.  Technically, a drone is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs).  They come in various shapes, sizes, technology, and functions.  The original concept behind a drone was for them to do something unmanned that could potentially be too risky to do with a manned unit.  The drone can be controlled remotely or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems working in conjunction with GPS.  The military has been using them for years.  Some of them will amaze you on their size and capabilities.

Top Ten Military Drones

Drones aren’t just for military use though.  Back in 2013, Amazon introduced us to their concept of Amazon Prime Air where they would have drones deliver packages to customers within 30 minutes of purchase in some markets.  Their goal was to have this feature up and running by 2015.

Here is it, 2015, and Amazon was hit with a lot of concerns over the last couple of years.  U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) considers anything flying under 400 feet and in an operator’s line of sight to be a model airplane and you do not need a license to operate them. Since Amazon’s drones would not be within the line of site of an operator, FAA has been reluctant to allow this to move forward.  Other concerns Amazon faced were the drones getting caught in trees or poles, not being able to sense objects in their way quick enough, the drones being hacked into, and even theft of the package or the drone as it was in flight.

 These are all very valid concerns considering the drones would not be watched.  Another problem Amazon faces is the fact that, since FAA is so slow to make decisions regarding the drones, by the time anything is approved to move forward, the drone they had under consideration is already obsolete and the new one has to be considered.

Just recently, there were considerable new advancements regarding Amazon Prime Air.  The FAA granted Amazon an experimental certificate where they can conduct some tests and experiments with certain drones.  Is it a win for Amazon?  Not quite.  The certificate comes with a lot of rules attached.  The flights must be done during daylight hours, must stay under 400 feet, and has to remain in the line of sight of an operator.  What I find interesting about these rules is that it sounds like they are saying, hey, it’s ok to go ahead and operate a drone as a model airplane, which is not what Amazon wants.  But, that’s not all!  The FAA takes it one step further and has said the operator must possess a private pilot license and recent medical certification!  Amazon must also provide monthly updates to the FAA, breaking down the number of flights and any pertinent information regarding hardware or software failure.  Another policy, which I found to be very restricting, is that they drone is not allowed to fly over anyone who is not in control of it.  So not only do these LICENSED PILOTS have to stay within sight of the drone, be in complete control of the drone, they also have to make sure it doesn’t go over anyone’s head as it’s flying to its destination! It seems like a feature Amazon hoped to be able to offer to their customers just got extremely complicated. Amazon admits it is already offering drone delivery in some countries where the regulations are not so restricted.  It would seem to me the FAA would take some of those test studies into account, but it doesn’t appear that they are.

Amazon isn’t the only company experimenting with Drones for delivery.  Dominos tested drones in the London area to deliver pizzas with some great success.  The pizza’s arrived quickly and were still hot.

While I admire the technology of companies using them for delivery, I am even more fascinated with the advancing technology in drones available to the average person, well, based on the price, maybe not the average person, but still available for the private consumer.  The one I am currently in love with is the Airdog auto follow action sports drone.  This drone tracks you where you are.  You set the angle and height you want it to be and then take off doing whatever action you are doing and it stays with you!  It has built-in stabilizers to keep the video clear and crisp. All I can think about is the number of ways this technology could be used.  To be able to get a bird’s eye view of any activity or event you are doing would be pretty exciting.  Even a simple trail ride on horseback, you would be able to have a complete video from the day.  Here is a video of it in action.

Of course, the $1300 price tag is a little difficult to swallow!

A close second favorite of mine is the AscTec Firefly with Intel Real Sense Technology. Being safety conscience, I think I like it for its ability to avoid any obstacle, including humans.  German designed, it uses 6 Real Sense cameras to create a 360 degree view to provide autonomy and more safety.  This one is more fascinating to me because of the technology aspect, not necessarily as one for the average person to purchase.

The technology of drones continues to improve every year and I am sure we will continue to be amazed by them.

The FAA estimates private drones will be a $90 Billion industry within the next ten years.  Guess I’m not the only one fascinated by them!

This was originally posted on Randomocity Podcast Network’s Site March 26, 2015

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

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The Gunman; my movie review – HaliPawz

I went to see ‘The Gunman‘ at AMC Independence Commons in Independence, MO.  The movie is based on a novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette, directed by Pierre Morel, and starring Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Peter Franzen, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, and Idris Elba.  Good names, strong director, should be interesting.

Jim Terrier (Sean Penn) is a former special ops soldier working in the private sector over in the Congo.  He’s a trained sniper with orders to take the Minister of Mines out.  After completing the mission, he had to immediately leave the continent, and leave his love interest, Annie (Jasmine Trinca), behind.  We catch up with Penn eight years later, back working in the Congo, this time for a good cause.  It appears he is trying to right all of the wrongs (killings) he had done in the past. While working, an attempt is made on his life and the remainder of the movie is focused on him trying to figure out WHO is trying to kill him, WHY they are trying to kill him, and him trying to stop it.  All the while, he is dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) leading to early onset Alzheimer’s.  While in the process of reuniting with his former security team, he learns Annie went on to marry Felix (Javier Bardem).  Felix was the one who had ordered Terrier to kill the Minister and had assured him he would take good care of Annie.  Terrier also learns there is an ongoing investigation on the killing of the Minister of Mines and that Interpol is looking for him and the others involved.

The beginning was difficult to watch.  When the actors spoke, they sounded muffled, more so than just because they are talking in low tones; the images moved fast, almost giving you a swim feeling.  I was concerned about it being like that throughout the whole movie.  Luckily, it wasn’t.

After about the first fifteen minutes, the movie caught my attention and kept it throughout.  I enjoy good action movies, even if I tend to be a little squeamish at the blood scenes! I am what you would call a “close my eyes, I can’t watch, then I peek through my eyelashes” watcher when it comes to more of the gruesome scenes.  I can’t help it, even when I try to watch, it just happens. I will admit, there were plenty of scenes throughout the movie where I caught myself doing it.  Even when I tried to watch them, I’d flinch, close my eyes, and force them open again!  I’m sure the person sitting next to me was laughing at me!

The attention to detail seemed hit or miss throughout the movie, which was a little disappointing.  In an interview with Collider, Penn shared with them why he helped write the movie and how he worked with different consultants to bring authenticity to various scenes throughout.  This work was evident in the scenes where special op training came into play.  Those details and scenes were good.  The action scenes were suspenseful.  You know something is about to happen, you just don’t know what exactly.

One of the misses in the attention to detail was in regards to the TBI.  It went in and out of staying true to a character who would have this disease.  When it was convenient for him to have symptoms to make the movie interesting, it was front and center, when it wasn’t convenient, it just magically disappeared.  The movie touched on how he had been suffering with the symptoms long before he was ever diagnosed because he wrote everything down and had for years.  He was meticulous in keeping these books safe.  He was a trained killer.  The fact that he lost one of the books in such a sloppy way made for a good movie scene, but was another miss in the attention to detail you would expect from Terrier.

One scene, in particular seemed a little over the top.  It takes place out in a country home that just didn’t seem realistic, from the lack of security, to the number of staff members in the home.  The scene, as a whole, was played out a little long.  It was in this scene Felix gets killed and Annie goes with Terrier.

I was disappointed in how they portrayed Annie.  It was clear the two were in love in the beginning and it was clear from the beginning the feelings Felix had for Annie so it was not a surprise he wanted Terrier out of the way.  What wasn’t clear was how Annie could be such a strong woman to work as a doctor in the Congo during difficult times, yet acted so weak at other times in the movie.  As a doctor, she would have picked up on some of the symptoms of the TBI in Penn’s character, yet there never seemed to be a mention of it, it was as if she was completely in the dark.

We learn Interpol Office DuPont (Idris Elba) had been watching Terrier in his quest to catch up with Felix and the others.  He manages to have a cryptic conversation with Terrier and leaves him his business card instead of picking him up, knowing he was close to leading them to the others.

The last main scene had me confused.  Penn made a phone call to DuPont asking for some backup, but for Interpol to have been so close to him throughout the movie, always tailing him or watching him on camera, help didn’t arrive until everything was over with.  The timing just seemed far-fetched.

sean-penn-in-the-gunman 

All in all, I felt Penn did a great job in the movie.  You felt his emotions coming across the screen.  His character had depth and passion about trying to atone for something he did, even though it was at the direction of someone else and it was his job at the time.

Some of the movie was predictable but I didn’t feel like it took too much away from the movie itself.  Bottom line, as a story, it wasn’t the best.  As an action movie; combining Penn’s acting with Morel’s ability to direct some great action scenes, leads to a pretty good action movie.

 

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Why are all the good ones taken? – HaliPawz

Well, I finally met the man of my dreams, only to find out he already has a woman! Oh well, it happens sometimes! Oh, did I mention, he’s fictional?

Hot, Rich, and Fictional; Two out of three isn’t bad is it?

Life is interesting sometimes.  One minute you are living your life, fitting eyeglasses, talking to someone about contacts, the next minute you are looking up a comic book reference at 4:30am. Wait a minute….WHAT????

No, I am not losing my mind, at least not today, I hope. I’ll skip all the boring stuff and fast forward to today.  As a member of Randomocity, I realize I am clueless about life’s important things, you know, comic books, superheroes, Star Wars, etc. I sent Frank, aka Beefcake, aka my boss a text the other day confirming “May The Force Be With You” and “Light Sabers” are both, indeed, from Star Wars. Yes, I sent it.  Yes, I’m sure he just shook his head. More than once. I’m sure as he reads this, he will be.  I will be teased about it AGAIN.  It’s OK, I know they are just teasing me in fun and it is funny how clueless I am sometimes when it comes to comics.

I’m an intelligent woman by most standards; high IQ, well spoken.  I have a Think Geek account which I use.  I have always had a love of math and science.  All of that goes out the window because I don’t know my superheroes and villains!  I am now the silly blond chick around the guys.  I think they secretly wonder why they added me! They entertain the listeners, I entertain them with my lack of knowledge of the important [to them] stuff; it’s a win win!

As I was perusing social media, I came across an @UberFacts tweet that caught my attention.

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I recognized Marvel, I recognized DC Comics….who the heck is Black Panther? How is he the richest? Of course, I read the re-tweets and the replies and I see quite a few saying Bat Man / Bruce Wayne is.  Hmm, I love a good debate, even when I am not familiar about both parties involved!

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Thank you comicvine.com for the perfect picture to go with my story!

I decide to dig a little deeper about this debate.  If there is nothing I have not learned already, BEFORE I share something “Comic” related, I need to do my research or I will be teased mercilessly!  It’s borderline abuse I tell you! Ok, maybe not, but my investigative mind wants to know more.  I find an interesting article about the Black Panther character.  He owns his own country which has the world’s only deposit of the most precious metal: Vibranium. He’s rich. $500B rich.  Richer than Bruce Wayne, who, according to Forbes is only worth $9.2B (he went up $3B in one year).

This led me to my next question; why hasn’t Black Panther made the Forbes list if he’s worth more than all of the other ones listed?  You would think $500B would be enough to get noticed.

I’m sure there are a lot of explanations and I’m curios what my Randomocity counterparts will have to say about it, but since it is only 5:30am, I decided to share my story rather than wait for their answers.

Of course, the only question I REALLY should be asking myself is….why am I researching fictional character’s net worth at any time of the day and how do I meet the Black Panther because, well, he’s hot AND rich!

http://www.randomocitypodcast.com/#!Hot-Rich-and-Fictional-Two-out-of-three-isnt-bad-is-it/c1oqh/1C5CBAAD-1EED-4FAF-A97C-C30CF055DC3B

Spankings, Songs, and Star Wars; 50 Shades of Laughter-HaliPawz

With all the excitement buzzing around 50 Shades of Gray, when a friend invited me to see 50 Shades! The Musical Parody, I decided to go. I love musicals and I love comedy, add the fact it was about 50 Shades, I knew it was going to be interesting.

When I was told it was going to be at the Kansas City Starlight Theater, I was surprised. The theater is an outdoor venue and it was February. Call me crazy, but I didn’t think it would be too much fun being bundled up in layers, watching a play outside. I was informed they also have an indoor theater and it was in there. I was excited. An outdoor theater with an indoor theater, the former theater person in me was intrigued.

We were able to get tickets for the VIP experience, which included free valet parking, an original cast album, premium seats, and a meet and greet with the cast after the show.

KC Starlight had a pre-show cocktail and appetizer event. We were given one free drink ticket with our VIP tickets when we arrived. The room for the event was decorated in such a fun manner. They had a 50 Shades! The Musical Parody screen up for pictures, the drinks were strong, and the music playing was great. I have to commend Starlight for how engaging the atmosphere was before you even entered the actual theater. It felt like fun was all around you. The music was well-chosen. Everyone was laughing and having a good time in the room.

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We went into the theater and I fell in love! It appeared to be a rehearsal type stage with the chairs all around it. Very intimate feel. It reminded me a little of my high school drama club days. We were in the third row center so I knew we would have a great viewing of the show. I could not wait for it to begin. They announced this was the first time Starlight had ever had a production like this in the indoor stage. It was definitely a WIN! I hope they continue to do them.

Within a few minutes of the show starting, two gorgeous men with no shirts on came out onto the stage…. To finish reading, read my blog at Randomocitypodcast.com

Kingsman Movie Review – A Randomocity Submission

As some of you know, I am not dividing my writing between HaliPawz (here) and I am also blogging for Randomocity Podcast Network.  If I write something I feel will truly target their audience, I will post to their site but I will also include a link here so my readers have access to it, even if they don’t necessarily check out Randomocity all the time.  You should though!  Anytime you need a laugh, you’ll find it there!

I had the opportunity to see a screening of Kingsman: The Secret Service at the Alamo Drafthouse KC.  Click here to read the review in it’s entirety.