Category Archives: #IOT Internet of Things

California to ban sale of new gas-powered cars in 2035 

California will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars to combat climate change starting in 2035, a move that could help reshape the nation’s automobile market and its output of greenhouse gases.

Source: California to ban sale of new gas-powered cars in 2035 under Newsom order –

The State that is currently unable to provide sufficient electricity to its people, will require that all new vehicles sold after 2035 be – basically – electric. Will be interesting to see how they solve the infrastructure challenge in just 14+ years. The State is presently building just half of a high speed rail system over a period of 25 years.

Related: I do not understand the full concept of Executive Orders. The report notes this mandate is done via Executive Order in order to bypass the Legislature and public input. That is not a democracy in action – that is an authoritarian and undemocratic government.

Separately, the SF Bay area Metropolitan Transportation Commission has voted to mandate that 60% of all workers must work from home – with exemptions for work that cannot be done from home.

Issues have been raised as to how this creates social isolation, difficulties for many people who do not have homes suitable for work, and wipes out large numbers of businesses and jobs that support workers downtown. It also treats those who already walk or take public transport to work the same as everyone else – they too would be required to work at home.

Continue reading California to ban sale of new gas-powered cars in 2035 

Covid tracking apps summarized

When people mention “Covid tracking apps” it would be useful to first define what is meant by “Covid tracking app”. There are many approaches in use and many that are proposed. The various methods are remarkably different. When you hear that “Country X used a tracking app and they have fewer cases”, this does not mean they used a tracking app like you have in mind.

Most apps use location data provided by the cellular network itself or on GPS/Wi-Fi position fixes stored on the phone and shared directly with public health authorities.  Some use the data for contact tracing, coupled with free Covid-19 testing, while others use location data to enforce strict geo-fenced quarantine procedures that if violated, may result in arrest and imprisonment. Few existing apps use  close contact tracing based on Bluetooth.

Contact tracing apps, by themselves, appear to provide little value. As we will see, to be useful there needs to be supporting infrastructure outside the app – such as Korea offering Covid-19 testing to those in close contact. And the app must be installed by nearly all smart phone users (and this will miss about 15% of phones that are not smart phones). Most countries are not using  phone-based apps to track location – they are using the phone network to report locations on 100% of phones in use, which is very different than voluntary installation of a tracking  app.

Consequently, when you hear someone refer to “contact tracing app”, you need to ask them to define what they mean by “contact tracing app”.

What follows is a review of various “contact tracing” apps used in different countries.

Continue reading Covid tracking apps summarized

Consumer finance: Consumers voluntarily take on large debts at Christmas time even though they cannot afford to

Yet, despite being worried about debt, consumers will still spend an average of $1,679 on gifts this year, 75% more than last year, Experian found.

That’s a hefty additional expense considering that last year, Americans racked up more than $1,000 in holiday debt by the end of the season, according to MagnifyMoney’s annual post-holiday debt survey.

Less than half of shoppers, or 42%, said they would pay off that debt in three months or less. More said it would take five months or more to pay it off, MagnifyMoney found.

Source: How to avoid overspending this holiday

When you read that American’s are “financially vulnerable“, they often have themselves to blame for voluntarily making decisions to take on debts for the wrong reasons.

Transportation: Oregon to charge far higher license fees for EVs, than for gas cars

Oregon increases registration fees for electric vehicles to double and nearly triple that of gas-powered vehicles, because they do not pay gas taxes. Also increases registration fees for vehicles having an EPA rating of 40 or more miles per gallon.

OReGO is a new system that charges license fees “by the mile”. For EVs not in OReGO, the first 4 year fee is $612 versus a typical gas car paying $264. For the next years, the EV pays $306 versus $132, or nearly triple the price.

Source: Oregon DMV: Electric cars face higher registration fees – KTVZ

Garmin Express updater stalling out?

I was just updating the Maps of the Garmin Express Nuvi 2589 map/navigation unit and the download stalled or stopped completely.

The solution for me was to go in to the Windows Defender Firewall and add Garmin Express to the list of allowed apps to go through the firewall. As soon as I did that, the download resumed.

I had previously downloaded updates without any problems so not sure what changed – but if you see a similar problem (and many do from what I saw online), try adjusting your firewall settings.

“Algorithms have gotten out of control. It’s time to regulate them.”

A guy with a PhD in English Literature has never heard of the First Amendment, apparently, and proposes regulating technical speech:

These complex equations have huge influence on our lives — but they operate with very little oversight

Source: Algorithms have gotten out of control. It’s time to regulate them.

He proposes a new government agency and “Algorithm Czar” to regulate the use of algorithms. He is seriously talking of regulating all algorithms used in computing. Give a moments thought to what he is advocating – government control over information processing of all types. Imagine having to apply to a government bureaucrat for nearly every app or application that is developed, seeking approval or a license to use it. The author is oblivious to the concept that algorithms are considered speech in the U.S., protected by the First Amendment. The same Amendment that permitted a magazine to publish the author’s nonsense.

His nonsense is so far out there that I thought it was an April Fools column, but no, it was published on April 3rd.

Canada issues new, restrictive #drone regulations. Visitors to Canada to be banned from flying model aircraft in Canada. #quadcopters #drones

Only Canadian citizens or permanent residents will be allowed to fly model aircraft in Canada. Visitors are banned from flights in Canada.

All operators must be licensed, either Basic or Advanced. The latter requires passing an in-person Flight Review, covering a broad set of topics and demonstrating flight competency, at a designated drone flight school (this will be expensive).

Each individual aircraft must be registered with the government with a separate fee for each aircraft. (The U.S. registers the pilot, and the same registration number is then used on multiple aircraft owned by the pilot.)

Basic license holders may not fly a model aircraft within 100 feet of other people which largely shuts down model aircraft flying clubs.

  • Registered owners of drones must be at least 14 years old and a citizen or permanent resident of Canada. Corporations and federal, municipal or provincial governments can also own drones.
  • If you want to fly a drone in conditions where it’s not in visual line of sight at all times, you’ll need a special certificate (among situations where a certificate is needed). The operator of a drone also won’t be allowed to fly it too close to airports or heliports or in controlled airspace, and will have to give way to aircraft, airships, gliders and balloons.
  • With the exception of police, rescue and firefighting operations, nobody will be allowed to fly a drone over or within a security perimeter set up by officials in response to an emergency. That could prohibit news organizations from using drones equipped with cameras to get aerial footage of crimes, disasters or terrorist attacks.
  • Drinking alcohol within 12 hours of being on a drone flight crew is prohibited, as is being “under the influence of alcohol” or “any drug that impairs the person’s faculties to the extent that aviation safety or the safety of any person is endangered or likely to be endangered.”
  • Anyone who is tired or otherwise unable to properly perform their duties is prohibited from operating a drone or taking part in a drone flight crew.
  • No one will be allowed to fly a drone when the weather conditions prevent seeing it at all times, or when frost, ice or snow are stuck to it. Anyone wanting to fly a drone at night will need special lights.
  • To fly a drone over a concert or sporting event, the operator will need a special flight operations certificate. It will also take a special flight operations certificate for a drone to transport things like explosives, weapons, ammunition, or flammable or biohazardous material.
  • There will be two levels of pilot certificates to operate a drone. Those with a basic certificate will have to be at least 14 years old and pass a test. However, the regulations also provide for someone under 14 to operate a drone if supervised by someone 14 or older who has a certificate.
  • Those with advanced operations certificates will get to fly closer to airports and controlled airspace. They will have to be at least 16 years old and pass an exam and a flight review.

Must also be at least 30 meters from other people. That shuts down many model aircraft airfields run by flying clubs. For example, at my model aircraft club, our runway is may be 20 meters from the parking area, and less than that from our setup and maintenance tables.

Everyone who flies a drone in Canada will be required to pass a written exam, and if you wish to, say, fly as a group at your model airfield, you will also be required to pass an in person Flight Review, including an oral exam and a flight exam, at designated drone schools (this will be expensive).

To fly within less than 30 meters of people, you must pass an in person flight review (in person flight exam) at a registered drone flight school and operate a certified drone, only.  (These are all high end, expensive, commercial aircraft. Hobbyist and home built aircraft are prohibited in this category.) This is an in-person exam and may cover any of these topics.

Every aircraft must be registered. For model aircraft hobbyists, who often have many aircraft, this will be expensive.
Source: New rules for drones: Pilot certificates, avoiding airports — and no drunk droning | CBC News

In short, you will need a full scale remote pilot’s license to continue flying model aircraft a model airfield, with your friends. This will cost a considerable amount of money to obtain, and a significant effort in order to pass the in person Flight Review.

In effect, these new rules are de facto intended to eliminate most model aircraft operations by creating large barriers to entry.

ISO drafts the first worldwide drone standards

Unfortunately, they charge 58 Euros to obtain a copy of the draft, rather than making it publicly available on their web site.

News reports say ISO proposes mandated training certification, licensing of remote pilots, flight plan logging, flight logging and maintenance requirements (including keeping system software updated).

#Google #Pixel Pixel 2 phone battery drain problem after #Android 9 Pie update #Android9

As widely reported, Google’s Android 9 Pie update to their Pixel phones killed battery life on the phones. This affects both Pixel and Pixel 2 phones.

A typical scenario is the phone loses up to 50% of its battery capacity in 5-8 hours, even when the phone is hardly used at all.

I found that if I turn off Wi-Fi, then battery life is back to normal. That is, in the same scenario, the battery has lost just 7% of its capacity with 93% battery capacity remaining.

Source: [Updated] Massive battery drain on Pixel/Pixel 2 after Android 9 Pie, users say – PiunikaWeb

Google was made aware of the problem at least by the end of August as shown on their Issue Tracker, but no word yet on any fix to this serious Android defect.


Possible future #drones regulation

If Democrats become the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives as of the November election, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is likely to become the Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which is responsible for the FAA.

DeFazio has expressed support for:

  • All drones should be registered and licensed.
  • All drones should have mandatory transponder beacon IDs.
  • All drones sold in the U.S. should have mandatory geo-fencing built-in, preventing them from flight in certain specified airspace. “My biggest problem has been idiots with toy drones,” DeFazio said. “Why we allow any toy drone to be sold without geo-fencing is remarkable to me.”
  • A more rigorous licensing exam for commercial drone pilots, and a licensing exam for hobbyist pilots with concern over “the ease by which a private citizen can earn a federal drone operators license”.
  • DeFazio supports the development of drone technology for business. Business interests are the primary focus and driver of the regulations.
  • Supports technology to “passively detect, identify and track UAS or aerial drones and their ground-based operators” and “force the drone to land” in “designated safe sites around airports”.

My thoughts are that numerous idiots in the drone community are flying drones recklessly, over people, close to airfields,  over 25 mile distances, flagrantly ignoring regulations and common sense. The very people who do not want more regulations are, by their own actions, begging for more regulations. They truly are idiots who are ruining hobby model aviation for everyone else. The FAA lacks an ability to enforce existing rules against these individuals due to a lack of resources, so these individuals continue posting YouTube videos showing their reckless flights.

Where this is heading is seems obvious:

  • If DeFazio is head of the committee the current Section 336 law concerning model aircraft will be rescinded and replaced. The new rules will probably limit regulations for hobby model aircraft flown only at “community-based” model airfields
  • Outside of model airfields, all model aircraft will be heavily regulated and require a beacon ID transponder.
  • All flights will likely require a pre-filed flight plan with the FAA through an app on your phone. Authorization for the flight will likely be required before flying.
  • Flights conducted outside of model airfields will eventually require a license. There may be two classes of license – the commercial remote pilot license and a private remote pilot license.
  • Commercially sold “Consumer drones” (how will that be defined?) will require on board GPS and geo-fencing. Will existing drones be grandfathered in or grounded from further use? What about home made drones?

None of the above will be free. Mandatory geofencing will raise the cost of small “toy” class drones (many of which do not currently have GPS). Mandatory beacon IDs will add costs. Will existing drones being grandfathered or will they be required to be destroyed?

There are implementation costs (the flight plan filing and ATC authorization system), operational costs and enforcement costs. Which leads to:

  • licensing fees – currently about US$150 every 2 years.
  • registration fees – currently $5 every 3 years
  • user fees – unknown but consider a $1 or $2 fee each time a flight plan is filed for flight outside a model airfield.

These costs will act as barriers to entry to the burgeoning “quadcopter” community, likely stifling its future growth, if not causing it to shrink. Model aviation will likely continue at existing airfields. However, model aviation’s current growth has come from drone enthusiasts who want to get more involved in model aviation.  If access to drones is made difficult, this pipeline feeding into model aviation will be reduced.

Congressional representatives want to act quickly on legislation concerning drone activity. It seems likely that portions of the above would be implemented as soon as January 1, 2020.

It is also possible that little of the above will happen. But that seems unlikely. Perhaps there is an yet unidentified “third way” that will reduce risks at low costs while meeting the safety needs of the FAA and business users.