Perhaps travelling back in time will become part of our reality, if has not already happened.
“It’s one of those things that we take for granted—time moves forward and never backward. But did you ever stop to wonder why it moves in one direction, as opposed to the other? The question continues to stump physicists. After all, there are certain physical processes that are actually time-reversible—they look the same no matter which way you run them.”
Computer researchers have recently found out that the main chip in most modern computers—the CPU—has a hardware bug. It’s really a design flaw in the hardware that has been there for years. This is a big deal because it affects almost every computer on networks, including workstation and servers.
This hardware bug allows malicious programs to steal data that is being processed in your computer memory. Normally, applications are not able to do that because they are isolated from each other and the operating system. This hardware bug breaks that isolation.
So, if the bad guys are able to get malicious software running on your computer, they may be able to get access to your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your emails, instant messages, and documents.
The more severe vulnerability, Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754), appears isolated to Intel processors developed in the last 10 years. Spectre (CVE-2017-5715 and CVE-2017-5753) on the other hand, theoretically affects all processors that use speculative execution, including most modern processors manufactured by Intel, AMD, ARM and potentially more.
From a quick read of the many articles, mitigation will require OS patches and firmware updates from Intel, AMD, Arm, etc. For Microsoft, the patch is dependent on having an approved AV application running that sets a compatibility registry key that Microsoft updates will reference. Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials are of course approved and can be used if nothing else is available.
Below are links to information for Microsoft, VMware, Apple, and AWS.
Since 2010, I have been a devoted user of Worldmate for managing travel plans and itineraries. Despite limitations and few and far between updates, I used the website often and had the app installed on all mobile devices. So when I logged in yesterday and discovered that the service was being discontinued in March, I was sad. And now I had to find a replacement and get this years plans loaded. A quick search of course found other travelers in the same predicament. Some alternates listed were Google Now, TripCase, and TripIt. After a little reading and a trial, I decided on TripIt Pro from Concur.
The main issue I had with Worldmate was it’s limitation in managing activities and events while traveling. It was good for hotels, car rentals, and airfare, but not restaurant reservations, excursions, or planning an expedition. So far, TripIt is a great and in many ways better replacement for Worldmate.
I have been flying the Autel Robotics X-Star Premium for over a month now. During that time, I have crashed, missed landings, made landings, taken beautiful videos over the top of a northern pine forest, and dealt with the nuances of a new product. Here are some of my thoughts so far.
For the cost, this is a great and easy to fly mid-level drone.
I have some concerns how it will compete in the long-term with DJI, especially with the ongoing lawsuit.
I have not seen any 3rd party accessories or additional accessories from Autel. The top of my list includes sturdier propeller guards to keep them out of videos and photos on windy days, and a battery charging hub.
The latest concern is with quality control. I upgraded the firmware to version 1.2.8 about 3-weeks ago and flew a bit and noticed a lot of drift when hovering, and it was really pronounced when nearing the landing zone. I visited the downloads recently checking to see if there was a new version, and now only 1.1.3 is available. There was no information on the site regarding the issues and I received no emails or notifications,. Only by contacting support did I find out that drifting was a known issues in the 1.2.8 release. I requested a list of other known issues and when they might be fixed, but received no response. Issues can and should be expected with new products, but support and communication are critical and will be the key difference when someone is deciding between 2, 3 or more options as the market becomes more flooded with drones in the price range.
While I am in the beginning stages of building a business around commercial drone operation, my experience so far is showing me that the Autel Robotics is not quite ready yet. I have been looking into adding a second drone, and was considering another Autel, but have decided on the DJI Phantom 4. The Autel is still a good drone, but would be better for learning and practice flights.
Once I get some flight time with the DJI I will post a more thorough and side-by-side review.
I have spent a few hours with learning and flying a drone, crashing a into trees a couple of times, and missing the manual landing more than hitting the pad. All of this is get practice and build skills for eventual commercial piloting (more information below). I have found the Autel Robotics drone to be an excellent mix of performance, quality of photos and video, support, and cost. In the next post, I will talk briefly about other manufactures and how they compare to the Autel Robotics.
Some useful websites for the FAA Part 107 drone operator testing and certification for commercial operation.