Fun news from the open frontier of technology – 7/24

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Did you know more employees are using Uber than traditional taxis? New York has new rules on licensing bitcoin dealers and the Air Force is having challenges getting enough pilots to fly drones. A few fun updates on the wide open frontier of technology:

6/3 – Reuters – New York regulator issues final virtual currency rules – NY Department of Financial Services issued rules over companies in the state that hold Bitcoins funds for customers and exchange currencies. The required licensing is called a “BitLicense.” Anti-money laundering requirements are built into the regulations. One named industry source grumps the new state requirements go beyond existing federal rules.

Unnamed players complain that Benjamin Lawsky will soon leave the agency to start a consulting firm advising companies on guess what, financial matters. Having supervised the rule writing and signed off on the final regs he will now advise companies on how to cope with those regs.

7/16 – Accounting Today – Uber Overtakes Taxis on Expense Reports – A company that provides software to manage expense reports combined the number of times employees report using rental cars, taxis, and Uber.  In the second quarter of 2015, employees used Uber more than taxis for the first time. That shows the reason governments, regulators, Big Taxi, and politicians are so upset with the freelancer economy.

6/16 – New York Times – As Stress Drives Off Drone Operators, Air Force Must Cut Flights Military drone flights are people intensive. Lots of people on the ground handle launches and recoveries. A large number of pilots, sensor operators, and intelligence analysts are needed for every flight.

The Air Force has been running 65 drone flights a day until recently. They want to increase the number to 70, but constraints of the number of pilots has forced the daily flight tally down to 60.

Article goes over the severe stress created for drone operators. There is a weird dichotomy of waking up at home, saying bye to your wife and kids, driving to work and stepping into an active combat zone. After your 12 hours of combat, you pick up a gallon of milk after watching your child’s soccer game. That would be really weird.

Article says there are about 1,200 pilots in the drone programs. Many of them are leaving when their commitment is done.

7/15 – WSJ – Air Force Will Offer Bonuses to Lure Drone Pilots – USAF is running short on drone pilots. Currently the Air Force is loosing pilots faster than it is training them.

According to the article, the average number of hours in the ‘air’ per pilot is 900. That is about 19 hours of stick time a week allowing for 30 days leave annually. That is a huge amount of time in the seat.

USAF plans to start offering $15,000 annual retention bonuses for pilots who commit for 5 additional years.

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