New drone

So, for Christmas this year I got a drone.  A nice DJI Phantom 3.  Its pretty awesome. It is much easier to fly, even with controls set to manual, than any of the little toy drones.  The larger they are the more stable, and more dangerous.

I did need to register with the FAA to comply with the law.  I also need to notify local airports when I fly.  That becomes kind of a pain depending on where I’m flying.  At this point most of my flights have been well below treetops, but I definitely see the issue at higher altitudes.

The primary focus of my flying to date has been getting used to flying it, understanding the modes of operation and how the camera works.  Framing the shots and how to fly to get a smooth shot is interesting.  Its really different from hand holding a camera and much smoother generally.

Getting fun shots of the kids on vacation and interesting landscapes will be pretty awesome this summer.  By the time that rolls around I’m hoping to be pretty good at flying and more comfortable that I’m not going to lose the drone.

One thing that I would like to see from the FAA is to mandate electronic notification.  If I fly at home I need to notify 6 or 7 operators because of the local airport and heliports associated with news stations and hospitals.  Because I’m doing a notification and not asking for permission that should be a reasonable request.  Or eliminate the need for notification by defining a flight envelope that is exempt.  If I’m flying within 20 feet of treetops or below the level of the highest building I should not be interacting with any aircraft.

Overall I’m pretty happy with it.  I can’t wait until I can use all of the capabilities.

First World Problems – iPhone edition

As I write this, I am sitting at the Apple Genius Bar reloading my information onto a new iPhone.  My old phone’s GPS stopped working with any reliability.

The biggest problem is reloading 256Gb worth of stuff onto the phone.  With my music library, apps, etc it ends up taking 2 days to get everything back on it.  Then there is the necessary re-pair of the Apple Watch which also takes a half hour.

I recognize that this is not one of the world’s great problems by any stretch.  Its just annoying.


Ok, the name is lame. iSlate or iTablet would have been better. There are already too many feminine hygiene jokes out there. But all things considered, I think it was a good announcement.

The device is almost everything that I wanted. Its missing a camera which would have been nice for iChat on the go. I’m not sure how it will sync with an iPhone, camera, etc but I’m sure that will become clear as it gets closer to the release date.

I think this device is a natural extension of the iPhone. It makes sense to have a larger screen for casual use. The iPhone is great for traveling, but when you want to view larger content, it can be a bit annoying. Being able to view a movie or photos on a larger screen is also awesome. When traveling this would be great. When dealing with the kids when we are out, this would be almost as good as the iPhone, just larger.

The addition of the ereader is great. I love my epaper device, but there are problems when you are dealing with images, charts, graphs, maps, etc. The format and technology with epaper is great for text, but it blows for most of the other content. The devices have gotten better, but they fill a specific niche. I think that is where this device has a leg up. I can use it to read, surf, watch movies, and BTW its an iPod. It is also extendable to be able to use virtually any application and can replace a DS or PSP. One device to fit a multitude of needs.

I think this is where Amazon needs to take a cue. When they got into digital music distribution, they didn’t create their own mp3 player, they supported them all and setup a great distribution channel. With ebooks it made sense to create a device using the existing technology. They created a nice device. But they have been surpassed. The cost of their device is expensive when you look at the capabilities, inherent limitations and small amount of memory, especially when you compare it to the iPad. It is a much more general purpose device. If Amazon focuses on distribution of content, they can be a great alternative choice for content and skip the hardware creation and distribution. This is not their sweet spot and I question their ability to compete against the UI/Human factors factory that is Apple.

I am really looking forward to getting my hands on the device. I think it would be a really great business tool as well as a casual device. Being able to put PDFs of important documents, take notes in meetings and use it for small intimate presentations with executives would be awesome, plus you can pass the time while waiting your turn outside your boss’s office 😉