Maybe they made it

by on Jun.12, 2011, under Everything, Travel

49 years ago today three men escaped from their prison cells on Alcatraz, climbed to the roof and from there escaped to the island shore. They then left the island on rafts they had crafted from raincoats. I don’t think they made it but who knows? Maybe the really old geezer on our prison tour tonight had a really good reason for laughing the whole way through it…



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Autonomous UAV

by on Jun.01, 2011, under Everything, Projects, Technology, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Knowing I’m a gadget fan a while ago a friend sent me a youtube clip of a german guy who had designed a very clever multi-rotor remote control helicopter that was capable of automonous and stable flight.

A couple of clicks later I discovered FPV (first person view) where the aircraft can carry a camera that transmits video back to the ground where the pilot is wearing video goggles therefore seeing whatever the camera sees.  Add on a head-tracking device and a tilt/pan mount for the camera and you have an immersive virtual flying experience!

The multi-rotor helicopters are fairly expensive, however electrically powered foam fixed wing aircraft are very cheap (<$200) and offer a great way to get into FPV flight.

To start I selected the Multiplex Twinstar II kit for about $150.  Tho this I will need to add a radio reciever as well as the other various electronic brains it will need to know where it is, control itself and transmit video back to me.

This Swede has a similar setup to what I am aiming at – have a look at this HD youtube video.

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In Transit at LAX

by on May.27, 2011, under Everything, Travel


The whole terminal is covered in scaffolding – miles of dirty, scungy walkways. Waiting now to commence our next 5 hours stuffed in a tin can. I’ve had no sleep for over 24 hours; it feels like I’m in air traveller purgatory. I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that we’ll be spending our first day in Hawaii catching up on sleep… Hopefully the photos start to look pretty soon.

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Ready Set Go!

by on May.25, 2011, under Everything, Travel

All set to depart, on our Delta 777 flight DL16 to LAX. Unfortunately I’m in a middle seat…with no USB power… :( I had to buy a magazine for entertainment redundancy in case (when!!) my iPad dies. Tip for Apple: construct a device with a battery sufficient to last any flight time.


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