September 17, 2014
An Onion Kickstarter?
September 9, 2014
The Apple Watch Is An iPhone (eh, maybe not)
They don't say that, but it runs iOS [well, they don't actually say that] and you can make phone calls on it [uh, maybe], so it's an iPhone. [Maybe it only bridges to your iPhone in your pocket.] This video explains all. Except the price. The Watch will be available in 2015. The way the battery is recharged is very interesting, and, Yes, that means you will be able to buy yet another connector for your Apple product. But if you wait a little while third parties will bring out less expensive versions to replace your original when it breaks. New navigation style. Very interesting watch bands. The Watch comes in two sizes, 42mm and 38mm. And there are three styles:
- Watch Sport
- Watch Edition (the high price model)
It's a fitness tracker (all styles, not just Sport).
New flexible retina display made of sapphire can sense force as well as touch. So firm touches will do something different than light touches. It doesn't look like they are going to mar the beautiful exterior with anything so plain as a headphone plug...not even a proprietary Apple connection, so it's Bluetooth or listen via the speaker which I'm sure is amazingly well designed, but still very, very small. And it does have a microphone so you can talk to Siri.
You can securely [they say that now] store credit and debit cards and use the Watch to pay at retailers who have the appropriate contactless reader. This is called Apple Pay and will become available in October for iPhones and the Watch.
The Watch seems not to have a camera, but it can function as remote control for your iPhone.
You can store music on it (they don't suggest how much) or it can play your music from your nearby iPhone. But if you're using Bluetooth anyway, why not just connect directly to your nearby iPhone?
A useful function: you can use your Watch to locate your iPhone!
September 4, 2014
Flying Tetrahedron Test
Here's the explanation for what you saw, via the brc-uav-drones-list:
Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 11:04 PM
I'm the hexacopter guy - and together with my project partner and co-pilot Florian, we were successful!
We flew several times during the week, wind permitting. We hovered between 20-100 feet each flight, with flight durations of about 8 minutes. We normally get around 14 minutes at sea-level, and north of 32 minutes without the payload (3 lbs). Our PIDs need a little work for better stability, but we achieved our goal of bringing a glowing tetrahedron to the night sky of Burning Man!
Florian rotates the structure with a secondary transmitter which controls a small prop at a corner of the tetra, while I fly the hexacopter. Two ball bearing units connect the copter to the tetrahedron, using cables which function as mechanical support as well as electrical power for the LED strips. This allows the tetrahedron to rotate freely (and must be well balanced before takeoff). We can change the LED patterns from the ground with a remote, or let them cycle on their own.
For those interested, the copter build is my first (though I'm a long-time fixed-wing and single-rotor hobbyist).
Tarot 680 Pro airframe
Tiger Motors, MN3508-29 (380kV)
Tiger Motor 600Hz 25A SimonK ECSs w/o BEC
APC 12x3.8 Slow Fly props
Pixhawk flight controller
Kyosho Zeal vibration absorption gel
Spektrum 9645 DSMX receiver
Castle Creations 10A UBEC
Maxamps 10,900 mAH 120C 6S batteries
Extra-long carbon to extend landing gear (for tetrahedron clearance on takeoff/landing)
We ran through an extensive flight checklist before every flight, our camp folks were present to maintain a safety perimeter during flights. We had a takeoff/landing tarp, fire extinguisher, and safety towel (see http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/safety-multicopter/). We always strive for safety as our top priority, because we know that the way to keep this hobby as restriction-free as possible is to demonstrate safe, respectful flying practices.
July 14, 2014
Because Microchipping Is So Simple...
...and reliable, so long as the owner keeps his address up to date. So why not introduce a more complex system of tracing lost dogs? Findingrover uses face recognition to identify your dog. It stores data about your dogs face (based on several photos, we hope). Then when if you lose your dog, all that is required is for some other Findingrover user to find your dog and take a photo of its face. If that other Findingrover user is official Animal Control or Police, then you're fine. Not sure how it works when an ordinary citizen user of Findingrover posts a photo of your dog. I suppose you get in touch and make arrangements to meet at a safe public spot. Yeah, sort of like a Craigslist date. What could go wrong? Will the finder expect some "consideration" for his time and effort?
Do you suppose this app includes any means of actually verifying ownership of the animal? What's to stop the dog-less animal lover from photographing a few dogs he might like to own and uploading their pics as if they belong to him? Could lead to confusion later on if those dogs actually went missing.
Or you could microchip. But with microchipping you don't have an excuse to whip out your iPhone and take a photo of every dog you pass by.
June 30, 2014
More About The FAA's Rules On Drones
June 18, 2014
A Change At Apple
Has Apple ever before now introduced a cheaper, less powerful version of a computer? They have now. The newest iMac is $200 cheaper at $1,099. It's been reduced from the 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz to the 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz.
You can compare iMac models here. The hard drive is cut from 1Tb to 500GB (for $50 they'll upgrade it to 1TB).
Amazon Fire Phone
I've watched the videos and read down the long page of features and it sure seems to do a lot of nice stuff. If only it had some way that you could make it connect to another device at a great distance so that you could, I guess, talk or sump'n to the person who has that other device. That'd be neat, but I guess that's some crazy futuristic thing we have to wait for.
Here's the product announcement video. The contrast between the excitement level of an Amazon audience and an Apple audience is really striking.
The phone appears at the 14-minute mark.
June 17, 2014
The Next Step In Selfies
The Hexo+ has a Kickstarter that is rather over-subscribed. Their goal was $50,000 and they've gotten $486,686 at this point.
My first thought when I heard of this was about possible uses in law enforcement or in some adventurous invasions of privacy by rude people. Imagine how much you could irritate an ex by having one of these copters follow them in public. But I forgot that people's own egos are bigger than their desire to irritate exes. Videos of ones self will be more popular. Set this thing to focus on you and you've got your own little airborne robot to follow you around as you play. Then you can upload your video to Facebook and get likes.
Technically, I wonder what sort of object avoidance it has. When you're running amongst the trees, can it detect and avoid low-hanging branches?
If this project comes to fruition, I expect it won't be too long before someone using it experiences a life-changing disaster (snow cliff collapses, parachute doesn't open, whatever) and we will get a video of the disaster shot from 20 feet away by the imperturbable Hexo+ copter, rather than the spinning wild video we currently get when someone tumbles down a mountainside.
Will you be able to make it follow animals or inanimate objects like cars? It's got a top speed of 45 MPH. Imagine getting this thing to follow a herd of wild horses, or a pod of dolphins.
June 13, 2014
Drone Video, MSWD, Robots - What more could you want?
He's flying the new DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ which has a gimbal and improved camera. But not a GoPro.
A lot of his aerial video is Palm Springs, not Desert Hot Springs. But there is a flyover of the Horton wastewater treatment plant.
June 6, 2014
COE for UAS
That translates to "Centers Of Excellence for Unmanned Aerial Systems." That's an FAA thing which will actually be decentralized centers of excellence. "The COE will be a geographically disbursed consortium of the FAA, university partners and their affiliates selected by the FAA Administrator to conduct UAS related research, education and training while working jointly on issues of mutual interest and concern."
UC San Diego wants to be one of those Centers. California made a bid last year, but got nothing because the state actually submitted two competing bids.
Here's the website for the California UAS Summit which takes place on June 10. The photos on that page indicate its broad scope. They're including everything from tiny almost-toy UASs up to the biggest military drones. But the real, secret benefit for researching UASs in California is revealed on this page where a photo shows how traffic congestion on the Golden Gate Bridge can be relieved. Exactly how drones will bring about that solution is not made clear.