Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s that time of year when we stuff our faces with food, sit down and let the processed chemicals in our foods slowly put us to sleep as we struggle to eat another amazing slice of pumpkin pie. Just remember to share a moment around the table and talk about what you are thankful for and if you have the chance to give a little to help someone out please do.

Here are some cute videos to enjoy on Thanksgiving!

A Tiny Hamster Thanksgiving

All About That Baste by Holderness Family

Munchkin the Teddy Bear Gets her exercise

Food Delivered by Rollercoaster in Restaurant

This Job will have the highest Demand in the next Ten years

Every couple of years or so there is always a new job that comes out that has a huge demand in the beginning. The ones who started off with the interest as a hobby are usually the first ones to benefit from it because they took an interest in it just for the pure reason that it was fun to do. Well, it turns out all those kids flying RC quadcopters will get to put all those hours of practice to good use knowing that they will be in high demand in the coming years.

Starting Pay $100K
It turns out being able to fly a quadcopter really well is a skill that many top companies are going after in order to expand their business. Amazon announcing already that they want to include drone delivery into their shipping program is something that they are currently contending with the FAA about. Facebook wants to use drones for their business as does Google. The demand is increasing and as more and more people start signing up for these drone degree programs the incentive to ensure there are plenty of jobs available will soon create a large economic impact to the tune of $82 billion dollars by 2025.

Many universities are quickly adding drone programs into their current curriculum, mainly for engineers, but hopefully for all students interested in at boosting their chances of landing a job right out of school and for many, they can look forward to a nice starting salary of $100k. Many companies are already paying $50 an hour for drone pilots to do research. Drones have many uses and as companies are starting to see, they are capable of doing a lot of things that many large aircraft are unable to accomplish.

Not a Kids Toy Anymore
I remember when I would hear parents complain about the cost of buying one of the more expensive quadcopters and drones for their kids. The high dollar ones can get up into the thousands if your not careful. These drones allow you to add on geo-tracking, special sensors, a go-pro camera, some even allow you to add on more than one go-pro camera and some even have the ability to add on 360 degree image capturing capabilities. They have proven themselves worthy of the cost because of the information they can return back to you. A farmer no longer has to walk his land anymore to check on any problems. He can sit on his porch, put on the goggles that come with the drone and he can use the drone to cover large areas of land in a shorter period of time. He can even have the drone monitor areas using sensors automatically.

It turns out that all that time Timmy was practicing using his drone in the backyard making silly videos turned out to be the best investment you could have given him. He now knows how to control his device with precision, he understands how to use all of its features, knows how to capture video using real-time streaming or edit the video and then upload to youtube for his channel, and more importantly, he understands the physical limitations the drone has. All these skills are what companies are looking for but now you need to be able to pass the drone pilot license program in order to fly your drone legally now. The FAA is still working out the details but once they get finalized majority of all drones under 55 lbs will be required to follow the law.

Where can you Get your License?
Many universities are offering a license program within their curriculum but for many the idea of having to sit through other courses that don’t pertain to a drone license does not seem like a good use of time. This is why many online programs are already offering them so you can get started. For example, the Unmanned Vehicle University is already offering programs only on getting your license. Chances are this is a for-profit business so you need to be aware that if you plan to take out loans for this program understand what kind of interest rates and pay-back program you will be dealing with after you have completed the program.

If they are smart about their program they will offer the same tuition saving system that many coding programs offer and that is they defer the costs in return for a percentage of their first-year salary with a company that has already shown interest in hiring them. Majority of coding schools have partnerships with major companies so the schools that have the best connections have the highest job placement program afterwards.

You want to make sure any school you go with has a placement program in place already, if not then you need to start contacting companies that are hiring drone operators and asking if they wouldn’t mind covering your costs for school once you are accepted and enrolled.

These are a few other places already offering drone degrees
Unmanned Vehicle Degrees and Training Programs
– List of Drone Schools
UND B.S. in Aeronautics
– Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – UAS Degree
– Kansas State University – UAS Degree
– Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – Umanned Systems (Masters)
– Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Unmanned & Autonomous Sys Engr (Masters)
– Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, University of Alaska Fairbanks
– Indiana State University Unmanned Systems Program
– Texas A&M Corpus Christi Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems
– Virginia Tech Unmanned Labs

These are a few programs that are currently out there for anyone interested in jumping on the bandwagon. Rest assure there will be lots more fly-by-night operations that will be springing up to teach you how to fly a drone for half the price but understand there will be lots of limitations to what you can do afterwards. For instance, most companies will want to hire someone who came from an accredited school, not “Jim and Tammy’s Flight and Bait and Tackle Shop School.”

A few Rules to Follow in the mean time
The FAA has already set some ground rules for now before all becomes law. Here are a few
– Drone must be flown within line-of-sight from pilot
– Can not fly above 400 ft
– Flown only during daylight hours
– Need a license to fly


For the many out there who can not afford the prospect of having to go back to school just to learn how to fly a drone you can always learn online for free. If you search on Udacity, Edx, Opencourseware you might find some programs on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. This will help you get a better understanding of whether or not you will be able to handle the material. If you want the simple and free method there is always YouTube (University) where you can search for what you want and watch a short video on it and then go do it yourself. The only difference between this and a degree/license is that you will know the skills just not the details of why, how, or the law. Oh and you will still need to pay the license fee and exam and find an accredited place to take the exam in.

YouTube Drone Videos
How to Fly a Quadcopter Part 1, Part 2
Learn to Fly a Quadcopter in Five Minutes
How to Fly a Quadcopter 101
Quadcopter Flying Tutorial
Basic Quadcopter Tutorial Part 1, Part 2
How to Build a Quadcopter
Basic Quadcopter Tutorial Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5
This quadcopter will follow you when filming


Drone Technology Research
TED Talk Robots that fly by Vijay Kumar

The Astounding Athletic Power of Quadcopters by Raffaello D’Andrea

Feedback Control the Coming Machine Revolution by Rafaello D’Andrea

No Roads? There’s a drone for that by Andreas Raptopoulos


News Articles

Drone Pilots Wanted: Starting Salary $100,000

Get a Degree in Drones: earn $100,000

Need a job? Amazon needs Drone Pilots

Just don’t call it a drone

FAA will require you to have a pilot license to fly a drone

Where do you learn to fly a drone?

Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. – Henry David Thoreau

Wages keep falling for Certain Industries

It’s hard to imagine living off of 12.75 an hour or 10.68 an hour when you are a full-time employee with a family and mortgage to support. There are lots of people who do this day-in and day-out trying to keep up with paying the bills. Using the Consumer Pricing Index Inflation Calculator one could easily see what their pay rate should be worth today from a period in the past. The whole challenge with using a pricing calculator like that is is that it doesn’t take into account the industry in which it is pricing. Wages for the technology section have gone way up while certain industries have actually fallen back. Kind of makes you wonder why anyone would stay in a job where they are earning LESS in the long run.

Controlling Wages
The issue with wages has nothing to do with what the economy is doing, it has everything to do with the industry you are working in. If wages were tied to the market effects, wages would act just like the stock market, causing everyone to not know if they were getting a higher pay check next time or a lower one. Employers pay salaries because it controls fluctuations in the market and industry. If you are told you will be paid $45K a year ($865/wk) then you know what to expect every week and can budget your life around that. This also helps employers control their expenses because it allows them to know if they need to let people go or if they can afford to hire more people.

Employers offer raises only in part for those that deserve the extra money because that employee has shown to provide a higher return in the long run. This is why employers do not hand our raises all the time. On average though, if employers were required to match employee income with livable wages then there would be a lot of companies that would have to decide on one option out of three; 1) go out of business, 2) reduce number of employees, or 3) increase or decrease salaries. For companies that do not provide a livable wage many of them would have to cut their staff in order to pay a wage that helps an employee meet their needs; for a company that exceeds a livable wage (i.e. tech industry, engineering, etc), they have the option of reducing employees’ salaries (if companies only had to provide a base salary) but who wants to work for less, well as it turns out a lot of people don’t mind that.

Effects of Inflation
It turns out that a lot of people who expect raises every year of 1% to 2% are not actually getting a raise, since the yearly consumer price inflation rate is 2.1%. So that means your raise is just meant to match the rising rates of the economy and nothing else. For those that only get a 1% raise, this means you are actually earning less money and that your ok with that. This means that in a two year period you are earning half of what you could have been earning had you gone with another employer. The more time you put in with a company the less money you make in the long run.

This is why many people now use sites like salary.com, and the calculator mentioned earlier, to figure out what their market rate is but what they fail to account for is that their skills limit what their market value is. If you are a creative VP for one company that works in food, your wage would only match those in the same industry and field. You could not match someone who is VP of Creative Marketing in a tech firm. You might think this is common sense but you would be surprised to know how many people actually try that scam.

In order to earn more over a period of time one must find a new job with a higher rate. In a recent article on the NYTimes, author Justin Wolfers, stated that the high quit-rate currently happening right now shows signs of a healthy economy. People do this when they know there are more jobs on the market making it safer to quit their job.

Quit to Earn More
If a co-worker leaves chances are you might have a shot at getting a raise. The idea is that you would be taking on more work and employers would be quick to recognize your efforts. The false understanding with that is an employer’s only concern is to save money and boost profits. The only way an employee stands a chance at a raise is if that co-worker who quit was in the same tier level as you and the work load increased on your part because of the quitting. In either case you would still need to bring up the issue with your manager to let them know you want the raise. In all cases, it might be that they already have someone to fill the slot or that quarter coming up prevents them from offering any raises. Remember, they will try every excuse not to give you one.

This is why many people are taking to the idea that if you want to earn more you have to find a new job, while currently employed, that pays more. The challenge with this is that you might not be able to use your manager for a letter of reference unless you inform them, after asking for a raise, that you will be looking for a job and that it would be nice if they can offer one in return.

You also want to make sure that the industry you currently work in is one that is a safe industry to quit in and that you will find a healthy number of jobs available. In order to do this you can search the Bureau of Labor Statistics under Economic Releases on Job Openings and Labor Turnover. Here you will find Tables 4 and 10 that show what the quit rate is for certain industries. Once you have done your homework then you can be sure that you will have an easy time finding a new job that pays more.

It is also important to understand that if you plan to transition over to a new industry you need to have skills that are current and marketable. Just because you have a college degree or masters doesn’t mean you are as valuable as you think are you so you need to keep that in mind. Barbara Ehrenreich proved that in her book, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. The surprising thing is that plenty of people have college degrees, it’s what you know and the skills you have that really set you apart in industries where college degrees are as common as candy. If you plan to work in D.C. know that majority of the people there all have higher education degrees so thinking that one college degree will set you apart shows how much you don’t understand what it means to have a college education, there is a lot more to it.

The Middle Class Troubles
The inspiration for this article came about after reading the latest article from the NYTimes about how manufacturing job wages are sliding back. People who work in manufacturing jobs are earning less than what their counterparts earned ten, twenty, and even thirty years ago. When you look at people who are already half way through life it is important to understand that what you earn is very much tied to the value you provide. Knowing that you only earn 13.76 an hour imparts on your psyche the value you provide to your company and the economy and it hurts when you find out that a new employee coming in, makes twice or three times as much because of a fancy degree they have. It used to be that people worked their way up the ladder of a company, now it really is all based on what you know and how skilled you are in using that, that lands you a place within a company.

The only way someone in manufacturing can earn any more is if they took on another job on the weekend, but as for many, the chance of earning weekend work means time and a half, so they don’t want to risk taking up that time. Their idea is that they want to make themselves fully available to their employer in hopes that they will notice and offer them a promotion or raise or both. The other side to this is that for many who have been doing the same kind of work for twenty or thirty years, the idea of having to quit their steady job is too scary to think about and it’s even scarier when you live paycheck to paycheck like so many Americans’ do every week.

Get A Free Education
For many of the articles I’ve read it’s easy to talk about all this hardship that people are going through but what bothers me is that they provide no real solution at the end, except, quit your job and find a better rate. As we have learned from what Steve Jobs did in the tech industry, you might not be lucky with that option when companies you are competing with know not to hire you if all you are trying to do is earn a higher wage without actually putting in the hard work. Steve Jobs colluded with other companies to ensure that tech employees didn’t try that in the Silicon Valley and to prevent wage wars from happening.

The solution I provide is to get a free education online and improve your skills while you can. The following options down below are all free. I will provide a fair warning that the rate of success for online education is very low because it requires true self-discipline when it comes to doing the homework and the readings. There are no classes you have to physically be in, no one to tell you when to turn in homework and no one around to remind you to study. With that said, use apps to remind you when you need to read and study. Sign up for all of them and as long as you do at least one hour each day for each one signed up, you will make progress faster than you imagined.


Khan Academy

Coursera

OpenCourseware

Udemy

YouTube Education

For more information about how to get a free education online read my previous article and this one.


News Articles

Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class

Want a Raise? Quit your Job

Uneven Wage Gains Restrain Economy

Employees who stay in companies longer than 2 years get paid less than 50%

A higher quit rate among Employees

Co-worker Quit? Maybe you will get a raise

Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator

Look well to this day. Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day. – Francis Gray

Here’s what the 2008 Recession did to our Economy

The word recession stirs up a lot of emotions and thoughts in people when they hear that word. For majority of people it tends to be a negative sounding word, for other people it is a positive sounding word. If you look at a recession in turns of productivity you start to see that a system that failed had parts in it that didn’t work. In order to return to status quo those parts need to be removed or repaired in order for the system, as a whole, to work properly again. It can be difficult for someone to understand how the recession affected them when they live in a way that makes them recession proof which is not an easy thing to do but it gives them a false understanding what of what recession is doing to the economy, businesses, and people.

The New York Times created 255 charts that break down the impact of what the recession did to the economy and explains what industries were affected, both positive and negative. These charts are important to study because it teaches you what industries are most fragile to recessions and what industries withstand harsh conditions. For the millions of people who lost their homes because of Mortgage companies playing with people’s livelihoods it is very evident how a recession hurts people, but what about those that view a recession as a positive?

Recessions can almost be viewed as a way of starting over so that means most markets drop to their low point, acting as a reset button, allowing everyone to start over again. This can be hard if money is hard to come by but for those that have plenty of money, the recession is a positive because it allows them to buy into more industries with a safe bet that over the next couple of years they will earn back more than they put in. During the low point of the recession I used an online trading stock market game to find out how my return, if I had money to invest, would look in the future. I looked at industries that are key to follow in a recession and bought stock with their companies. The value today is well over double what I had put in making me, in practice, a very rich person. Was there any secret to what I did? No, it was all the same stuff they teach you in your first years of economics. Kind of makes you wonder why not all economic professors are rich then, right?

The Proof is in the Pudding
These charts will show what most people experienced during the recession in industries that people are familiar with. If you worked in the housing industry when the recession happened and you follow the charts created then you will see the patterns and trends that led to the recession and the ones that followed out of it. The same goes for any other part. You will notice some industries that came out better because of the recession, and instead of getting mad about why they benefited, you should pay more attention to what was it about their industry that protected them from the harsh realities of a recession. You will learn more by studying these charts than complaining, so when the next recession happens, and it will, you will be prepared for it.

For anyone looking to study economics and the true impact that a recession can have on an economy this is a good place to start with these interactive charts.

News Article

How the Recession Reshaped the Economy

This news article explains how people quitting their job explains the health of an economy

The Impossible just Happened, Probe lands on Comet’s Surface!

If you don’t keep up with your science news then you just missed out on the most important advancement of our civilization yet. Think of the whole operation like this. You are in a room and you have a cup with a diameter a little bigger than a golf ball about a hundred yards away and you get only one crack shot at hitting the golf ball just right so that it lands in the cup on the first try, oh and the whole room is dark with no light anywhere.

That was the analogue used to describe what it was like to land this space probe on a comet millions of miles away from our home. In this case, a rocket was to take the little space probe which they called, “Philae,” from his mothership which was called, “Rosetta,” and detach from the rocket and then try and land on a comet that is traveling at 37,000 mphs. Rosetta will actually be part of the comet team and study it from a distance while the probe will collect samples and study the comet. It will teach us more about the origins of the universe and help us to understand how comet’s impact life on other planets and ours. In order to keep the probe on the surface it attached itself with harpoons into the surface along with a few other methods. This is progress for a project that is 10 years in the making. When Philae landed on the comet’s surface he tweeted out, “Touchdown! My name address: 67P!

You can follow him on Twitter, because I mean, come on, who doesn’t have a twitter account by now, right? Even a space probe has a twitter account with 107k followers as of this writing. Can you imagine the number of tweets going out if Twitter was around during the first moon landing? That would have been crazy but what’s even crazier is that when we land on the moon again, we will be able to tweet with the astronauts. Yes twitter even will be able to reach the moon, oh and a little space probe 317 million miles away from earth. That’s progress in science and technology for mankind. Enjoy

Carl Sagan would be very happy today if he was alive to see this amazing event.

News Article

European Space Probe Lands on Comet

Philae lander nears a comet touchdown

Rosetta Twitter Account

Philae Space Probe Twitter Account