Category Archives: Drones

A Look Back at ‘John’s Notes’ for June 2019

I have been seeing other Bloggers post a monthly review of what they have posted. I thought that I would give that a try. This is my first monthly summary and I will see how you, my readers react to it. You may see some posts listed more than once when they fit into multiple categories. 

If you have an opinion one way or the other about my monthly summary, please give me your feedback.

What I’ve read and reviewed:

Believe it or not, publishing book reviews was how I started Blogging. My first review appeared in Spring 2014. Since then I have been able to complete more than 100 books each year and write a review of each. 

  1. Book Review: “Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War”
  2. Book Review: “The Atlantis Deception”
  3. Book Review: “Conspiracy of Lies”
  4. Book Review: “The Oppressed”
  5. Book Review: “The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942”
  6. Book Review: “Darkness” 

The Mac and iOS

The second area I began posting about was Mac and iOS devices. I have posted a number of articles over the years. I also began a couple of years ago to publish a few Mac related Product Announcements. I have always felt that many simply don’t realize the breadth of the OS X software library. 

macOS/iOS Apps, Reviews and Tech Tips:

  1. Do you need a better clipboard?
  2. FREE iOS, tvOS AND macOS SOFTWARE for 04/2019

Product Announcements:

  1. macOS New app Release – GraphicConverter 11
  2. macOS New App Release – MacDraft 7
  3. macOS New App Release – fmESignature Link
  4. Mac and iPad Accessories – Developer’s Gear Case
  5. macOS New app Releaser – Machines at War 3 v3.1
  6. macOS New App Release – IconMenu 1.0
  7. macOS New App Release – TopXNotes 1.8.8
  8. macOS New app Release – ChronoSync 4.9.3
  9. macOS New app Release – UI Browser 2.8.1
  10. macOS New App Release – Mirror for Hisense TV
  11. macOS New App Release – Path Finder 8.5
  12. macOS New app Release – SessionRestore
  13. macOS New app Release – Lyttony 1.0
  14. macOS Software Sale – Xwavesoft Products
  15. macOS New App Release – Sparkle 2.8
  16. macOS New app Release – Cisdem Video Converter for Mac 4.0.0
  17. macOS New app Release – Default Folder X 5.3.7
  18. macOS New App Release – PDFpen and PDFpenPro 11
  19. macOS New app Release – Pixelmator Pro 1.3.4
  20. macOS New App Release – BatchOutput PDF 2.2.37

Related to WWII:

I have always been interested in the WWII period of history. In the past year or so I have “raised the bar” so to speak and have begun to read, watch and visit WWII related sites. 

If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 320 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

  1. Book Review: “Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War”Friday WWII Flix: “World War II in Colour”
  2. Music of WWII: “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”
  3. Friday WWII Flix: “D-Day 6.6.1944”
  4. Some Interesting Facts about “The Longest Day”
  5. Music from WWII – “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition”
  6. A Relic of WWII is Returned
  7. Book Review: “The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942”
  8. A Podcast about Kristallnacht
  9. Friday WWII Flix: “36 Hours of Hell”
  10. 3D Comparison of WWII German Armor
  11. WWII German POW returns to say Thanks – Intermission Story (27)
  12. Friday WWII Flix: “La Dernière Section”
  13. D-Day  from a different view
  14. The Numbers for D-Day
  15. 75th Anniversary of D-Day


  1. Music of WWII: “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”
  2. Instrumental Music on YouTube: “Ya Bassa” by Clanadonia
  3. Music from WWII – “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition”
  4. Instrumental Music on YouTube: “Dancing on the Moon”
  5. Instrumental Music on YouTube: “Of Gods and Men”

Automation, Robots, and Drones – Oh My!:

  1. Uber Eats Planning Delivery by Drone

Space and Rockets:

  1. Nuclear Rockets, the Future of Space Propulsion?
  2. Sailing in Space on Light

Health and Coffee:

  1. Are 8 Glasses of Water Per Day Needed?
  2. 2B-Alert Web 2.0 Better Predicts When to Take Caffeine
  3. Want a Perfect Cup of Coffee?



  1. Mixer last night at the Texas Military Forces Museum
  2. Flag Day
  3. Wednesday SciFi Flix: “Rim of the World”
  4. Hurricane Season 2019 has Begun

Uber Eats Planning Delivery by Drone

(See my other Drone related posts) – I saw an article on food delivery by drone this morning and thought it was timely as the program at the CapMac (the Austin capital area Mac User Group) meeting I attended last night was also about drones.

If you live in San Diego, Uber Eats will be using Uber Elevate drones to deliver food beginning as early as this summer. Speculation is that the operation will begin with McDonald’s food items. Uber Elevate is not planning direct home delivery but will drop off food at designated ‘landing zones’, perhaps on the roof of an Uber Eats vehicle.

The planned service will likely take advantage of Uber Eats drivers to make the ‘final mile’ delivery of food. Uber estimates that by utilizing drones the delivery time can be cut from 21 minutes to 7 minutes on a 1.5-mile delivery. Plan implementation is still awaiting FAA approval.

Uber Eats is not the only drone delivery service that we will likely see in operation this year. Google’s Wing has already received FAA approval and plans to begin operation in Virginia this year as well.

Boeing’s Autonomous Air Taxi Completes First Flight

Robots – Flying cars have been around in science fiction for many years. Now though we are on the verge of having them become part of our everyday lives. That said, don’t expect your next call for Lyft or Uber to be answered by a flying autonomous taxi.

The Boeing autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) shown above is just a prototype and so far it has only demonstrated the ability to take off, hover, and land. This is a 30-foot model is all electric and is designed to have a 50-mile range. Boeing NeXt is also working on a larger fully autonomous, electric cargo plane that will be able to carry up to 500 pounds.

Beyond the technical hurdles of building a flying car are the many regulatory issues that stand in their way. Needless to say, it will be a few years before we see these in our sky.

Boeing is not the only company working on flying cars. Among those interested in this market are Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Uber, and Toyota. These flying cars are intended to offer a transportation solution that will be able to carry passengers across urban centers where ground transportation would be slow or impractical.

Intel Drone Display Fills Sky Over Folsom, CA

Robots – This aerial display performed by Intel actually took place last July 15. It was uploaded to YouTube later that month. The video was captured and published by The Sacramento Bee. The synopsis per the YouTube post:

Intel dazzled its Folsom audience on July 15, 2018 with a spectacular light show designed to feature 1,500 drones, in an effort to outdo its previous world record of 1,218 Intel Shooting Star drones. The performance displayed multicolored choreography including bright, fireworks-like orbs. A single pilot mans the entire fleet of light-emitting remotely controlled machines.

This display was designed around 1500 of their Intel Shooting Star drones in an attempt to set a new record. Their prior record was 1218 drones. It was also intended to celebrate Intel’s 50th anniversary on July 18, 2018.

I think that we will see more and more aerial light shows produced by drones in the future. Personally, I would rather see this kind of performance instead of traditional fireworks.

Coffee by Drone?


Coffee – Coffee delivered by drone? Well, why not.

I saw the article “IBM Files a Patent for Coffee Delivery Drone Which Knows You Want Your Coffee” recently that describes how an IBM patent would work. A wearable device would determine the customer’s ‘need’ for a caffeine fix and make the delivery. The system might learn personal coffee preferences or when each day a delivery should be made.

When I worked at IBM my office was in an open cubicle farm area with a high ceiling. This would have worked great there. I am not so sure about other more closed office areas. Still, I think that this is ‘outside the box’ thinking on the part of IBM engineers. Something like this might well be the first use case for drone delivery.

Better yet, at least for me, would be a completely automated system for the home. My Apple Watch could signal it when I woke of a morning. The automatic device could grind the coffee beans, brew me a cup and deliver it to me by drone. Personally, I would much rather have a flying cup of coffee than a flying car.

I have read where there are some restaurants in China that deliver orders to tables via robots. How far of a jump is it to coffee delivery by drone?

Large Military Quadcopter in Development

A large “hoverbike” like quadcopter is being developed for the military, the JTARV(Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle) intended for autonomous delivery of supplies to troops. The current vehicle can carry up to 300 pounds over short distances. The goal is to increase the range to 125 miles and to increase the payload to 800 pounds.

The prototype was flown recently at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

If the development is successful, and the goals are met, then these could serve many uses in the front lines.


Amazon Delivering by Drone

We have all seen the hype about deliveries by drone. Now Amazon has begun some trial deliveries in the UK and hope to expand these efforts. The ‘Prime Air’ autonomous drone deliveries are just a trial for now. I don’t think that this will put UPS or FedEx out of business anytime soon, but it is a step towards automated delivery.

Disney to Soon Fly Drones

Disney – Disney Springs is the expanded and rebranded Downtown Disney shopping, dining and entertainment area within Disney World Florida. Now that the FAA has relaxed overflight regulations, Disney has announced that drones will be part of the light show for the upcoming Holiday season.

As Intel has recently demonstrated, hundreds of drones can be controlled by a single operator in complex re-programmed displays. I am not surprised that Disney is looking to augment and someday even replace the nightly fireworks displays with drone light shows.

Intel Introduces Light Show Drones

In early October 2016 Intel demonstrated its new “Shooting Star” drone. This drone has been designed specifically for multi-drone light shows. The drones weigh less than a pound and are capable of displaying more than 4 billion colors from the build in LED lights. This drone is designed specifically for entertainment and has a 20 minute flight time.

In the demonstration conducted near Munich, Germany,  500 drones were flown by a single pilot, setting a new Guinness Book of World Records for the most drones operated at one time by a single pilot.

Intel had set a record almost a year ago flying 100 drones in an exhibit. One can easily imagine light shows in the near future at many events that are drone based instead of fireworks.

Robot News #5


Still working to catch up on all of the robot/automation/AI articles that have come out recently.

The Video “Rise”

In the short video “Rise” the inevitable rise of the machine comes, but it is the result of the mistreatment of our creations. An interesting look at a possible future. It is a short (5 minutes) but very well done video portraying robots as being persecuted by humans. The robots rise up to fight for their survival.

Read more here.

Drones Race on ESPN

Did you think that Drone Racing was a real sport? Apparently ESPN does. the International Drone Racing Association has made a distribution deal to add live Drone Racing to ESPN coverage. The first event will be the US National Drone Racing Championships this August. Presumably this is an effort by ESPN to appeal to the digital generation. Read more here.

Designing Creativity and Self-Awareness

Can creativity and self-awareness be designed into the AI code behind robots? It looks like Machine Learning may replace programming as the way to train robots. The Creative Machines Labs, part of the engineering school at Columbia University, is actively investigating that route. The researchers envision biology inspired machines that evolve, and ‘think’. Not only will these machines be able to develop new ideas, but they will implement them as well. Read more here.

Robot Snake

There has been considerable efforts on robots that walk or roll across the ground, but there is ample need for robots to probe the waters depths too. This snake like robot can easily navigate tight spaces. I can see where this sort of robot would have many uses around ships or off-shore drilling platforms. I found watching the video below a little creepy.

Read more here.

$100 Million Investment

Russian Dimitri Grishin has expanded the fund he set up Grishin Robotics to promote consumer robots from $25 million to $100 million. Grishin Robotics has invested in eight companies so far. The larger fund will let Grishin Robotics greatly expand their investment in consumer robotics. Read more here.

InMoov Takes Advantage of Open Source

InMoov is a 3D printed, Open Source, human size robot that can be used for a variety of research efforts. This will open up many opportunities for researchers with limited budgets. Because the parts can be printed on many 3D printers, hobbyists can take advantage of this design as well. Read more here.