Sunday, December 18, 2016

Been going droning lately

Think I just made up a new word.

Recently I bought a new drone, a 3DR Solo, from Best Buy, after reading about it as a daily deal from the Cnet Cheapskate. I got it for $379 which included extra propellers, one extra battery, a 3 axis motorized gimbal, plus a controller which uses your smartphone or tablet as the viewing screen. In addition, you use the phone to setup a wifi connection between the bird and the controller.

By the way, you can now get the drone and controller from the same outfit for $299. In case you are wondering why this is so cheap, it is because 3DR is out of the consumer drone market and now is a business provider for air surveys, etc. There is talk on the drone and RC forums that it may be the end of the line for them and parts may get hard to find to repair them. I will cross that bridge when it happens.

The Solo is not so much a plane to fly as it is a flying camera system. It was designed with integral help from Gopro to carry their action cameras and make aerial videos that used to require one person to actually fly the thing and one to control the camera.

I haven't got that far yet, I am still learning how to fly it around and make sure the camera is working, but I have hope that one day, I might get some decent footage.

I have got a decent crash video however, which the Solo survived without a scratch.
From the sun, you can see how it happened. I just couldn't see the screen and lost it in the bright sun. This happened after the train I was filming passed by and I decided to follow it. Flying at 23 feet, I failed to consider that the ground rising up would stop the drone in its tracks.

Most of my flights have been out in the desert away from people and their wifi signals. There is something about getting way the heck out of the city and being able to fly in a beautiful area. I have had other close calls as well but managed to luck out of hitting the obstacles as the photo below shows.
Here are a couple of other photos that might be of possible interest to some.

That's it for tonight. Except for this video showing how I managed to get the sun off my controller screen.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Perfect ending for a perfect day!

Said tongue in cheek, of course.

This will be a personal post in some ways, some might call it a rant.

First, a little background info.

About 4 or 5 days ago, my HTC One M9 cellphone quit charging. The mini usb port quit
working. Since I was out of warranty, having had it for a year and a few months, I looked into
having it repaired. I contacted HTC and was told it would cost anywhere from 100 to 250 dollars.

So I went to Sprint and decided to try another phone brand, LG and went with their new V 20.
This was a huge phone and its claim to fame was its music playing sound system. I got it along
with an Otter Defender case but had to turn it back in a couple days later due to its annoying
random rebooting events and knack for apps turning themselves on without my help.

So I went with a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but without the Otter Defender case, as they, Sprint and Amazon don’t have any in stock. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get any insurance. You guessed it, today getting out of the Morongomobile, I dropped it on the pavement. I had it in my lap and forgot it before getting out of the vehicle.

You guessed it, it’s not a pretty phone anymore and will cost anywhere from 200-379$ to repair, on top
of the 792$ that I am contracted to pay Sprint over the next 24 months at $32.

It evidently landed on the pavement hitting the bottom right corner, landing face down.

This event led to a truly epic rant in the privacy of my bedroom which I am quite sure my
hard of hearing girlfriend could clearly make out in the living room.

Anyway, enough of that. Earlier I had gotten the news that at age 62, if I wanted dentures, it would
be around 10k and if I went along with the prosthodontist, getting around 6 implant teeth and  other work done which would a year and a half, it would be 20k. My dental insurance will only cover 3k.

So now you have the background, on to the perfect ending. Hint, I just walked off my job tonight after
4 years there.

I am a semi-retired shuttle bus driver. It is not a bad gig for somebody transitioning into full retirement.
Tonight when I got there, I was told I was being sent in for a random drug test, also known  as peeing in
a bottle. I was given two pieces of paper to take. I looked at the top one and rode down to the lab, four miles in bumper-to-bumper traffic at rush hour, I had to go before I left the yard but figured it would just be a quick drive. I got down there and the place was closed, I should have went to place on the other paper.

Okay, in more traffic, I drove the 6 miles to the other. All in all, I got there an hour after I left the bus yard.
No one was at the counter and I waited there for 5-8 minutes before the dude came out. I said how long would it take as I needed to go. He was taking his time, said I needed to check in, I told him that I was an old man and couldn’t wait. At that point, I could care less and took the papers back and  ripped them up in front of him and walked out. A McDonalds was right next door so I did my business there and left, dropping
off the office key and my one paragraph resignation at the office before heading home.

A drug test is serious business in the transportation business and in effect, legally it could be argued that my actions constituted a refusal. But I didn’t care about that, I felt then and now, that I was up to my throat with stress and problems, and made an on the spot decision to quit forthwith which I did. It was just the icing on the crap cake I had been eating all day, and I had had my fill.

So there you have it, another, for the moment, unemployed blogger story.

Sorry to lay it on you, but it does make me feel better telling someone about it.

A  perfect ending to a perfect day.

I was getting sick of bus driving anyway.