DJI Mavic

One of the greatest barriers to using drones is the pain-in-the-butt of carrying them around with you given their big size.

Two weeks ago, GoPro said, we can do that better and made a small folding drone, the Karma, with all the power of the bigger guys in a foldable design.

Today, DJI, the makers of the best (IMO) flying cameras said a big “F*** YOU” to GoPro with the announcement of the DJI Mavic

Like the Karma, the Mavic folds down into to a tiny little compact unit that fits easily anywhere, even the props fold. The Karma still requires you to remove the propellers and store them separately.

I’m compelled to get a Mavic, but alas, insufficient funds for non-business related “toys”… so I best start making more money! Or alternatively, I’m considering selling off my Phantom 4 and getting the Mavic. I’m sure the Phantom 4 is a better device, but I’m not using it as much as I could, or should, purely because of the inconvenience of having lug it around. I still have to check out the specs, particularly with the camera in more details before I decide.

Of course, to be fair to the GoPro Karma, it does use a GoPro camera that is detachable and readily used on its own and they have created a whole system of using that one camera and a hand-held unit, the Karma Grip (comes bundled), just like DJI’s Osmo. The advantage being only needing one camera for many applications. Not that anyone can have just one GoPro.

I see DJI’s next move will be to take GoPro head on with an actual action camera.

Check the Mavic out on the DJI store; it’s a thing of beauty.

Alek’s Video Skills

I know Alek, my 17-year-old nephew, might say this isn’t quite ready for primetime, because he has a couple more edits to do, but, I have to say it is an amazing job, especially given it’s his first time using mixed resolution source video and he’s still getting to know the editing application.
What makes it work is his choice of cuts and the footage he chose to capture on the day.
They say that as a photographer you either have the eye for it or you don’t, where video is concerned I think it is about 10x harder to get in there amongst the action and make the shots you need.
Alek has achieved that 100% and he’s made something, even in a not-yet-complete edit, the he should be very proud of. It looks great.

Straight Outta Oz

Todrick Hall is a rockstar, well, sadly he’s not yet, but he should be, and his latest work, “Straight Outta Oz” proves it.

Taking inspiration from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, Todrick has made a masterpiece of a concept album married beautifully with gorgeous visuals and shared with us all on YouTube.

Running at 57 minutes “Straight Outta Oz” is conceived, written, produced and directed by Todrick, this masterpiece is one not to be missed. It serves fans of Oz and musical theatre well.

Day to Night by Stephen Wilkes

I sure we’ve all seen Stephen Wilkes’ amazing photos of day to night, now Stephen talks at TED about how they are made.

Take aways from his talk:

  • often over 30 hours of shooting to capture the time over the day
  • all that time spent at his camera (when and where does he pee?)
  • usually up in a cherry picker or scissor lift for the whole time
  • months and months of post work by him and his team
  • all the effort makes amazing images

It’s a pretty cool talk, well worth the 12:37 to be inspired by the man’s passion, watch Stephen Wilkes’ TED Talk.

Stephen has also done a 2-hour talk with B&H. You can watch Stephen Wilkes’ Evolution on YouTube.

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Be the change

“If you wrong would you admit it?
And take the heat up under the lights
Use your expert criticism
Then maybe you could get a life
Don’t like seeing people happy
Is it jealousy or personal?
Cause I don’t see why loving someone
Or what I do seem so radical to you

Still it might sound strange to you
But what you think it don’t mean nothing at all
Doesn’t change who I am
Doesn’t change who I love”

-Janet Jackson “The Great Forever”

I’m sure Janet believes in a higher power and given that her home is now in the Middle East I’m not sure which one. “The Great Forever” in the song is clearly a reference to the afterlife.

I don’t believe in an afterlife. It’s probably the one thing I’ll be pleasantly surprised to find I’m wrong about. I don’t believe I’ll ever be proven wrong about the existence of any gods though. The “gods” are a creation of man rather than the other way around.

Many believe that atheists don’t have any beliefs, but I really do. I believe our time spent here on Earth should be revered as its own miracle. Of the billions and billions of stars we can see we know of only one of the hundreds of billions of planets that has life.

I believe that we should spend our time in life in a state of love and wonder for what is around us. Living with hate or fear, it limits you.

If you’re spending a great amount of your time deriding others for their way of life you only hit the wedge in even harder, you are the reason for increasing tensions and things will never improve, they’ll only get worse.

If you live a life of love and being the best human you can be, and you still find yourself getting attacked, you’ll find those attacks most often have their root in jealousy. So you pick yourself up and dance joyously once more, you recover, and you don’t let hate change you.

We see it all the time, jealousy is behind the tall poppy syndrome, we hate on others who we perceive have it better than us, we try to bring them down, even if it’s just talking badly about them among friends. That time we spend in our jealousy could be better used improving our own lives.

It’s like when you’re on an aeroplane and they go through the safety briefing at the start. They tell you emphatically that in the event of a loss of cabin pressure a breathing device will fall from the ceiling of the plane. Your job is to first take care of yourself, make sure you can breathe clearly before you help anyone else… because if you don’t, if you spend too much time trying to fix someone else’s problem before you fix your own, you’ll find you can’t recover yourself. So take care of you first and the rest will fall into place, you’ll be in a better position to help others.

Ghandi’s “Be the change you want to see in the world” is about being a living example. Not judging others, just being you, and if you’re being the best you can be, others will want to be more like you. If you hate, no one wants to be like you. No one wants to take on energy that brings them down.

All Uber drivers are rapists: Fear marketing

Fear marketing at its best! This tactic should never be applauded. And it looks like in most states and territories where Uber operates something like this would not be able to operate anyway given we have rules about limited employment to a single gender and so do most of the US states.

Fear is the easiest form of control and the GUY who started this company is winning at it. All you have to do is put the idea of something terrible into people’s minds and bam, you have a market.

The article presents the reader with this tidbit:

“A search for the words “sexual assault” returned 6,160 tickets, and the search “rape” returned 5,827 individual tickets.”

A vitally important piece of data is missing, well two actually, wait, no three. Hell, I ended up with seven.

  1. It doesn’t then go on to tell you how many rides are in the system, giving you an actual number you can work with to determine probability. This number may well represent the tiniest fraction of all Uber rides.
  2. Two, it doesn’t mention if the search for “Rape” is in addition to or if Sexual Assault and Rape are sometimes on the same ticket, which may well mean the total number is 6,160 rather than the perceived 11,987.
  3. Three, it doesn’t mention the resolution of the tickets. Is the driver now gone, was it unsubstantiated, etc
  4. Four, how many perpetrators were there? If the 6,160 complaints were about 5 drivers and all 5 drivers are gone… the problem as been mitigated.
  5. Five, what’s the time period for these reports?
  6. Six, what’s the scope of the problem, are most/all contained to a single provence or is it an endemic world-wide problem? The screenshot shows at least one report coming from the UK.
  7. Seven, who was the perpetrator, who was the complainant. It’s quite damning of society that we see a complain of sexual assault and immediately jump to the conclusion that the perpetrator was a man and the victim was a woman. It could easily have been the other way around or it may have been a woman assaulting a woman or a man assaulting a man!

I could probably go on forever, and yes one case is one case too many, but we don’t know ANY of the information beyond a screenshot and that a guy has created a market through fear for himself to make a tonne of money and he’s done it by maligning every man ever in existence.

The idea that only women should drive women = all men are bad, all women are good, which simply isn’t the case.

Feature image by Dryhead on Flickr used under Creative Commons License.

Better Off Dead

I implore you to listen to this ongoing podcast series “Better Off Dead” from Andrew Denton and the Wheeler Centre.

A sometimes uncomfortable topic, Assisted Death, is a subject we need to have a real and informed conversation about.

Andrew Denton and his team have done the research and eloquently present the facts with stories from real people who have been directly affected by this topic, including Andrew himself.

You may not think it given the subject matter, but there are times you’ll laugh, and quite likely times you’ll cry, but you’ll come out the other side better informed.

Don’t listen to the BS of the detractors. Assisted death is something we should have for those who are terminally ill and/or suffering in a way that can not be relieved. We need to give them the option to control their own lives and deaths.

Again, please listen to the podcast series and then we can talk about it and talk to our politicians about it and let them know we support an individual’s right to life on their terms.

Another Astro Post!

Yep, one more post and then I’ll maybe round it up to part of a weekly update. But my DJI Phantom 4 “Astro” has been busy today.

I had planned on testing out the Phantom 4’s ability to fly indoors, but I stupidly forgot the key to the office so I couldn’t get any before anyone else. I also knew I would have a wait for anyone else to arrive so I drove around to the Studley Park Boathouse to give Astro a run. You can see a photo and the video I made from this below. I’m not sure about the lopsided horizon in part of the video, but it doesn’t seem to stick around so I’m thinking it may have something to do with the wind that was present this morning.

South Yarra Morning

When I finally got back to work and into the office, I put Astro’s battery on charge so he’d be ready for another go at lunch time, as there were people in the office I couldn’t very well be giving people haircuts that early in the morning.

At lunch time I drove down to Alexandra Parade, across from The Tan running track and sent Astro off for a trip. Not too many people paid him any attention as he flew along the river and up around the corner, but still just in sight. I think tomorrow, weather permitting, I’ll try the time-lapse option on the camera.

Below is one of the panoramas I made from the photos taken today. This one is five images, taken around a central point. I also still want to try a panorama made from side by side shots, I think I’ll end up with a better image.

Lunch in the sky

So I can’t guarantee that this will be the last post, if the weather is nice again I will be out once more with the Phantom 4 taking to the skies of Melbourne.