Tech Tuesday 4/9/18 – Oscar is On Travel Edition


Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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29 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    10 – I think we’ve talked about this general topic (not this specific story) before. That is, attempts to automate the harvesting of crops picked by hand has long been a holy grail of the agricultural sector. (I first learned about it in a college course on wine)

    And you know, good. Arduous seasonal agricultural labor is, and has always been, literally the worst job in human exisitence. I mean, there’s a reason why a much of this labor force for centuries were people forced to do this work at sword point.Report

    • Avatar lyle says:

      On the specific topic of the link cucumber harvestors they are also made in the US Here is a link to one Note the US machine is a one pass machine while the german machine may be multi pass i.e. in the US you take things on a given date and don’t factor in the different times things ripen. Note that pikrite also makes a number of other vegetable harvesters. (Lots of work on harvesters for vegetables and fruit is done at UC Davis.)Report

  2. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Moving to Phoenix: I am so sorry. In fairness, I haven’t been there in twenty years. Perhaps it has gotten better. But I’m guessing not. My take was that it combined the worst aspects of desert climate with SoCal-style freeway-centered sprawl, while managing to largely dodge the good aspects. There are parts of Arizona I would live in willingly, and in a couple of cases even eagerly. Phoenix ain’t one of them.Report

    • Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

      Let me just quote my daughter, who said this as we approached O’Hare after visiting my sister in Phoenix: “It’s so nice to be back to where all the houses don’t look like Taco Bell.”Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      It’s just for a year, so we are thinking of it as an opportunity to explore all the cool parts of AZ we’ve never had time to.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        I lived a couple of years in Flagstaff in the early 1990s. I absolutely loved it. I haven’t been back in twenty years, so I can’t speak to what it is like now. If you are a hiker, northern Arizona has endless possibilities. In addition to the obvious places to visit (e.g. Grand Canyon, Sedona, etc.) there are several Indian cliff dwellings. If you are interested in that sort of stuff, the Heard Museum in Phoenix is excellent, and the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff is surprisingly good: not a special trip by itself, but a worthy part of a visit to town. Combine it with a trip to the Lowell Observatory. Be sure to ask the docent about Martian canals. They love it when people do that.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          The Lowell was a lot of fun. Very recommended. The big ol meteor crater outside of Flagstaff is also a must if you are in the area.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

            I found the crater kind of disappointing. It’s a big hole in the ground. A moderately impressive hole, I will grant you, but really, what is there to say beyond that?

            On the other hand, if you want to make a theme of stuff that isn’t really all that interesting after all, you can combine the trip with standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.Report

            • Avatar Fortytwo says:

              Take it easy, man.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              We took Bug to the OdySea aquarium today. He loved it. Of course, he loves any aquarium that has sharks and octopi. And the collection of massive catfish was a new treat for him. Although the highlight was at the start, when I took him to the bathroom at the entrance, and instead of a sink over the mirror, it was a window into the shark tank. Having a little boy try to pee into a urinal while looking over his shoulder at the sharks is… a challenge.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Thanks for the recommendations! Especially museums (my wife literally plans vacations around museums, so we have time to visit them).

        One of my hopes is to get a slot to hike to The Wave.Report

  3. Avatar bookdragon says:

    I have several relatives in Phoenix, most of them in Chandler which is a decent area – good luck with the move.

    01 – Proof beer and wine are good for you (general collective you since this could benefit all of us)

    09 – This is a great idea. Awhile ago I struggled thru hauling around a knee scooter after breaking my foot. Something with larger wheels would have been much better and easier to use, but wouldn’t have folded to fit in the car (not the trunk, but the inside of the car where I could get to it from the driver’s seat), so this invention would improve that sort of mobility issue as well.Report

      • Avatar bookdragon says:

        LOL that is accurate. My sister’s place is right up against reservation land, which at least gives a view of something other than other houses.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Well, yes, actually. The 2010 census was the first where the Census Bureau was able to do density based on actual built area (the metropolitan statistical area definition grossly penalizes western cities/states). The ten densest states based on the new measure are (in order from first to tenth): California, New York, Nevada, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. Seven of the ten are from the CB’s West region. Here’s the map Richard Florida used when he ate some crow and basically admitted he’d been unfairly lumping the West in with the Southeast and Midwest in terms of sprawl.

        Yeah, Maricopa County sprawls. But it ain’t nothing like the kind of sprawl in most of the rest of the Sun Belt.Report

  4. Avatar veronica d says:

    09 — I noticed in that wash of promo material, there was only one place in the video, quick and partly obscured, where they show the wheel folding up. Otherwise it’s all still shots.

    My suspicions are aroused.

    (It is just me, or does that website look like a pure marketing site disguised as a tech news site?)Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      Yup: I assume the actual execution is a huge pain in the ass. If it weren’t, they would be bragging about that. I generally look at these press releases pretending to be tech journalism and look for the bits they aren’t talking about.

      Also, a wheel with six weak points? I have this vision of the wheel hitting a small rock at just the wrong spot and the entire thing collapsing. The contraption seems clever, but I suspect that in the real world it will be a specialty item for limited conditions where the compromises are worthwhile.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        It all depends on the design and construction. The spokes in your bike wheel of today are all horrible weak points and hitting a rock or curb just wrong can bend your wheel quite permanently (goddess knows I’ve had to toss enough rims in my life because they were bent too far out of true thanks to bent or busted spokes).

        A good interlocking mechanism can be plenty strong enough. Whether or not this guy has better engineering skills than marketing skills is yet to be seen, since I can’t buy one of these to test it out.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      New Atlas does do tech news, but they also have marketing posts, although it’s pretty obvious when it’s a paid post. They also tend to mine KickStarter and Indiegogo for things to write about. I don’t tend to link to those since such projects are often cool on paper but fail on execution.

      In this instance I made an exception because while I’ve yet to see the execution (i.e. I can’t buy one yet, so clearly there are issues still to be worked out), I found the idea interesting enough that even if this guy fails, I kinda hope someone else picks up the balls and runs with it.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      I recall a marketing video for a new kind of bike hub motor where all the footage had people riding from right to left of the frame, so the drive side of the bike was obscured.

      There was one shot where they ride the other way – the bike all of a sudden had the drive train on the left, and all the cars were parked on the opposite side of the road from the rest of the footage!Report

  5. Avatar Morat20 says:

    07 : That doesn’t surprise me at all that they skimped. That seems to fit pretty well into Uber’s standard business model.

    It doesn’t fit well into developing technology. Everyone sane over-designs the sensors and AI, and then once they have a working solution they start looking for cost savings and reducing the over-engineered solution to a deployable one. “Is it as good with 4 LIDAR sensors as 6? What about 3?”

    I’m honestly still surprised they have driving prototypes. last I checked, they’d lost the court case for stealing a crap-ton of Google’s self-driving IP.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      This is what happens when you start to operate outside your bailiwick. Uber is a software and services company. They might have the expertise to handle a the software of a self driving car, but the likelihood that they have the experience to handle the hardware side of said car is a lot more iffy (and I’m not convinced they got the talent to do the AI right).Report

  6. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Will you change your residence and voting?

    I have a friend in Texas who is in the final stages of negotiating compensation for a job that will have her relocating to the Phoenix area. She points out that while both states are red, Arizona is a ballot initiative state and the voters have passed a number of more progressive things over the last several years that would have been DOA in the state legislature: medical marijuana, independent redistricting, higher minimum wage, guaranteed sick time.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      For the year, yes, we will. My wife wants to inject just a little bit more blue into the local politics, even if it’s only for the year.Report