Dear David Hanson, A good slapping would be well earned now

With love,
Your fellow roboticists.


For reader reference, the video below is now in the process of getting cut to pieces & hugely misinterpreted.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0_DPi0PmF0

Seriously. Don’t we have enough people already freaking out due to the recent years’ military adoption of drone technology?

Your work is good. Amazing. The best animated dolls ever. You have more experience in robotics than I do. But this is not the way to present your work, no matter what! The shortest line that can be misunderstood when cut in the proper way will be the one circulated around. The joke was awkward even for a roboticist.

For a few minutes of fame you just made yourself and the rest of us look like irresponsible crazy scientists. It doesn’t even do you good as you scared so many people and fuelled endless conspiracy/robot-takeover/singularity theories that tips the acceptance of robots all the way to the negative scale.

We should be concentrating on making people’s lives easier, safer, more meaningful, more pleasant, whatever that is for good, not freaking them out with human-looking dolls talking BS!

Then there are already some famous & smart people who are half-educated on recent AI/Robotics talk fearful nonsense, such as Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and others. Do you want to join that club?

Cheers from a fellow roboticist,

Bence

Dear non-robotics people,

Please don’t believe sci-fi level stuff you see on TV.

For a good anecdotal overview of robotics I recommend reading Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks.

They say an engineered system is only as good as the worst performance it can give. If you would like to see how the best top-level humanoid research groups failed outside of their labs:

For a full picture on the Darpa Robotics Challenge many references can be found all over the internet or if you are from the US you can watch this documentary by PBS.

Ask me questions if you have any.

Kind regards,

Bence

 

Eclipse Mars on Elementary OS

I had to deal with a monstrous-size Java project that only works with Eclipse Mars. Like a good power-user I downloaded the installer and installed it fine, started right away and worked fine.

eclipse-mars-logo

Then after lunch I tried to start up Eclipse it kept crashing and with weird errors related to GTK. Even when it didn’t crash immediately, I couldn’t access anything of the dialogs.
Tried reinstalling, and it worked again. But why?
I realized that it only worked when I started Eclipse Mars from the installer!!!

At this point I had eyebrows raised all the way to the ceiling. What the hell?
A close inspection on the eclipse.ini file showed the difference of the installer-launched Eclipse vs the installed and then launched one. It seems that by default the system goes for GTK 3 which causes things to go south.

Adding the following line to the eclipse.ini in the _installed_ eclipse folder (whereever you install it) solves the startup crash issue:

--launcher.GTK_version
2

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Audiobook: So good they can’t ignore you – Cal Newport

A very pleasant book with many anecdotes circulating around the idea that having a passion for something won’t necessarily get you where you’re aiming for. Instead, Newport suggests adopting what he calls ‘the craftsman mindset’. Building rare and valuable skills, that make up your career capital to a point where you will eventually be “So good they can’t ignore you”.

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He takes stand against what he calls ‘the passion mindset’ which according to him has a tendency to ask questions like “What can the world offer me?” and “Is this who I truly am?”. These questions put the one adopting the mindset into a constant state of doubtfulness, causing them to be unhappy about their jobs the first moment their passion fades. The ‘Craftsman mindset’ on the other hand focuses on honing your skills and asks “What can I offer the world?”. This gives the ones adopting it the ability to develop a passion for their craft, which is a reward, not an a priori condition.

 

 

Side note: I learned about this book from an interview with Andrew Ng: Inside The Mind That Built Google Brain: On Life, Creativity, And Failure. I noticed that some of the books he recommends I have already read or had them on my list except for this particular one. It was definitely a good choice to pick it! If you’re interested, have a look at Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course on Coursera!