The quadcopter L6052 by Lishitoys is so much fun.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to have lots of fun. As mentioned in my previous post I got given a radio controlled helicopter from my secret santa. Yes it may have been a kids toy or gadget, but it was one of the best presents I had received in along time. It was very simplistic and allowed me to fly around the lounge for 8 minutes at a time. It got me watching YouTube videos on radio controlled helicopters and I discovered RC quadcopter.

One particular chap called “Quadcopter 101” has done many reviews on all sorts of RC models and has a great website for folk starting out in RC Quadcopter, not to mention dozens of YouTube videos.

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He recently reviewed and recommended the Lishitoys L6052 quadcopter, so I followed his advice and bought one. It cost $35 from GearBest.com . As it was so cheap I wasn’t expecting much from it, but I have been pleasantly surprised. The fun factor versus the price is incredible. The L6052 is well built. I’ve crashed it loads of times in the house (obviously not the best place to fly it), but it is strong and has withstood some big crashes without any problems. It comes with  blade guards to protect limbs and furniture against the spinning blades, so it is great for large rooms, but the best place to fly it is in a field or park (or desert).

We have a large park right across from our house, which I have rarely used, but it is the perfect space for this quadcopter. One of quadcopter 101 videos showed the reviewer attaching a keychain spy camera 808 #16 micro HD camera to the belly of the quadcopter. The whole camera weighs a mere 17 grams. The video quality was incredible and the views from the sky quite amazing. So I bought one of them as well from MiniDVCameras.co.uk. It was a little more pricer than the quadcopter at £36 but it offers 720p HD video recording and its a must have accessory for your quadcopter. Spare batteries are also a must as the standard battery (500 mAH) gives one 8 minutes of flight on one charge. I have bought 5 extra batteries. They were £15 for 5.

Yesterday we flew the L6052 quadcopter with keychain camera for the first time. I will do a separate review or thoughts on the 808 #16 micro HD camera next time. For now though here is my first video.
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FHPFvAIEpc

Of course if one has deeper pockets and wants to spend closer to £1000, there are some very nice sophisticated quadcopter models available on the market, which offer bigger batteries, HD photos and video, GPS 3 axis stabilisation, waypoint programming and 2-3km range. Do a search for DJI Phantom 2 Vision + or Parrot Bebop. They are very nice and maybe one day when my ship comes in I will get one. But for now this quadcopter and camera for less than £70 is really good fun. I am going to be documenting my progress here and on YouTube.

Radio controlled helicopters are fun.

My secret santa got me an Air Lightning radio controlled helicopter for Christmas. It wouldn’t be too far from the truth to say it gave me the most excitement over the festive season especially since it has been cold and wet outside.

Silverlit Air Lightning

The picture above is about the size of the helicopter, maybe a little smaller. It took me a few attempts to master the controller/transmitter buttons but after many flights around the lounge I got the hang of it. Then I read the manual and discovered even more tricks to control its flight.  (I should have read the manual first ;-) )

It is a very manoeuvrable for its small size but light and sturdy at the same time. I’ve crashed it a lot into the wall, radiator, TV stand legs etc. and it is still going strong. It takes roughly 15-20 minutes to charge for 8 minutes of flying time. Movement is up and down, left and right, but it is possible to get it to move in a forward direction while flying clockwise.

I’ve been looking at a lot of videos on helicopters recently on youtube and there is a massive RC Quadcopter community online. I’ve looked at hundreds of models but this little beauty L6052 Quadcopter has caught my eye.

L6052

Check out the video by Quadcopter 101. It has some serious moves and speed for its size.

link to video if you do not see it below [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cuMjZloHmk&feature=youtu.be]

The guy doing the video seems surprised at how good it is for the cheap price.  I found it at Gearbest.com for £22. seems awfully cheap. I will let you know how it is when I get it. I’ve ordered one from the site. :-)

Goodbye 2014.

One way to judge a year, is to look back at all the photos one has taken during that year. Our 2014 album is full of wonderful locations and stories, which is surprising as it has been one of the busiest years ever.

The year kicked off with me saying farewell to CMA/S&P Capital IQ and the CDS markets. After 7 years I had achieved all I could and needed a new challenge. Fortunately I didn’t have to go far, as in the same building and also part of McGraw Hill Financials was Platts.

With the new role came a lot of new challenges as well as some travel, and my first business trips to Singapore, Houston and Atlanta. The first trip was for two weeks in Singapore, where my new colleagues filled my brain with commodities and oil knowledge and filled my stomach with good local food. ;-)

Next up was a week in Houston to meet the team and to see how they worked in relation to Singapore and London. Our team interacts with a lot of people at Platts and I had to get to know how they worked. Of course there was a lot of eating as well. I could see a lot of similarities between Singapore and the Houston office. :-)

I had one day to myself in Houston and so visited the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC).  Texas is known for big things, and the Saturn V AS-512 was an incredible sight.  The rocket was huge and basic looking. It was housed in a massive hangar. Some clever minds put this bad boy together and got man into space. My photo below does not do the rocket justice.

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The Saturn V remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status and still holds records for the heaviest payload launched and largest payload capacity to low Earth orbit (LEO) of 118,000 kilograms (260,000 lb).

saturn-v

At Easter we visited Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It was an amazing short break. The island is dominated by the still active El Teide volcano, which has created the rugged and mountainous landscape, with black sandy beaches. We stayed in the South of the island at the Sandos resort called ‘San Blas’. Despite the weather being mild and mostly overcast we still managed to return to England with a tan.

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In May we traded in our 7 year old Skoda for a brand new Nissan Qashqai 1.5DCi Tekna. Click the link and read all about it.

In June we watched Nascar racing at Brands hatch race track in Kent. The weather was perfect. There were hundreds of cars on display and the racing was excellent.

Summer in July was truly here so we decided to go camping. We picked Bedgeberry forest for our first camping trip and had to book a few weeks in advance, which meant we had no control over the weather and typically the afternoon that we arrived it was drizzling.

Camping M&J2

Fortunately it cleared up during the night and the rest of the weekend was lovely and hot. We also went Go Ape, which is located high up in the trees and visited the the 320 acre Pinetum, which contains over 12,000 trees and shrubs (including 1,800 different species) from across five continents, many of them rare and endangered.

pinetum

July was also F1 at Silverstone. Jo was there to capture the moments and was treated to a wonderful display by the Red Arrows and got to see the F1 parade and some close racing by Alonso and Vettel.

July was turning out to be a busy month. My birthday present was a visit to the Shard to admire the amazing views from the highest building in England.

The Shard 3

In September we sailed the Thames on a Dutch tall ship as part of the royal Greenwich Tall Ship festival. We boarded at Woolwich Arsenal and sailed all the way up to Tower Bridge before turning back and pausing at Greenwich to watch a firework display before heading back to Woolwich Arsenal.

It was a lovely summers evening with a full moon. If you were in London that night you must have seen the car being carried by the helicopter. Apparently it was for some new jaguar advert.

The highlight of our year though was our ten day road trip through France, Belgium, Germany and Austria.  The main goal was to go and watch the Red Bull Air Race in Spielberg Austria for the two day event and then to visit Salzburg, the home of Mozart.  It took us 2 days to drive +- 950 miles. We stopped over in Wiesbaden in Germany for one night with a friend of ours and stayed in a hotel in Obdach, Austria the following night.

We got to Spielberg on the Saturday morning and checked into our campsite, which was perfectly located in a large field right next to the Red Bull Ring track. Yes we camped as there were no hotels available for this weekend.  We pitched our tent amongst the hundreds of camper vans.

It was late October and probably not the best time to camp especially since the campsite and track were right in the mountains. In fact there was snow on the mountains. It was freezing cold once the sun went down. The first night was the worst because we didn’t know what to expect. We also were not allowed an open fire, which meant we couldn’t warm up besides it. I found getting drunk solved the problem, just a few beers, a cigar and a couple of small bottles of Jagermeister did the trick (jokes it didn’t help).

red bull - freezing cold cigar and beer

The racing was incredible. We had wonderful grand stand seats with a view of the entire track. This was the last race of the year. There were three contenders going into this race and any one of them could take the title. The favourite was the Austrian (go figure) and the second favourite was a British pilot called Nigel Lamb. He was our pick because he was older and er’ British :-). He didn’t disappoint, but check out the photos below. Who do you think won?

No, not the Austrian with his aeroplane surrounded by photographers, instead the yellow Breitling belonging to Nigel Lamb. Neither pilot was at their best on the day and came in 2nd and 4th, but it was enough to give Nigel the championship, which was excellent and made the long drive and freezing cold nights worth it.

So that was our year. There was more, but it would take ages to write about it. We need to upload some more photos into our gallery.

Soon 2015 will begin and we will start all over again.
Here are some up coming events for the Bowen family.

  • Trips to the US and Singapore.
  • Holiday to South Africa to see the other Bowen and Wilkinson’s World.
  • Driving experience at Thruxton.
  • Holiday in Cannes, France.
  • Camping in the summer time.

Happy New Year!

We have a new WordPress theme!

twenty fifteenWe just upgraded Lookatbowen.com to WordPress version 4.1 and there is a great new theme called Twenty fifteen. It looks really good especially the fixed sidebar image.  So we have uploaded a few photos of Bowen in random places and they will appear in random order whenever a page is loaded.

Although looking at the theme image above I am not quite sure why my image appears on the sidebar and not on the header.

I found the answer in the theme. It says, “Applied to the header on small screens and the sidebar on wide screens”.

When viewed on a mobile one should see something like this:

mobile

Excellent results achieved using Devolo dLAN 650 triple +

My Devolo dLAN 650 triple + arrived today from Amazon.

Set up was a breeze, I literally plugged  them into the wall and plugged a network cable into each of the ports. Then pressed a button on the side and repeated the steps on the second adapter. It took less than 2 minutes and everything was up and running. It was effortless.

Network set up: Upstairs I have plugged in the dLAN 650 triple + with one computer so far. Downstairs in the lounge I plugged the router into the dLAN 650+.

Devolo speed test

Results: There is small application one can download from the Devolo website called Cockpit, which measures the speed between adapters as well as allow one to name the adapters, switch on or off the lights and troubleshoot if the need arises. One can also update the firmware from Cockpit.
As you can see I achieved 342Mbs speed, this from a house that has 25 + year old wiring. No bad at all.

Let it be known that AVForums tested these Devolo dLAN 650+ power line adapters and I quote;

During our tests we received a superb maximum throughput speed of265Mbps which is not far off the ‘theoretical’ 300Mbps you could receive. The ‘up to’ 600Mbps speed quoted by Devolo is based on both the uplink and downlink speed, so is still a little misleading to the average consumer, who might be expecting those sort of speeds. We do hope one day the Powerline Adapter manufacturers are a little more transparent in their marketing.

So overall I am very happy with the Devolo power line adapters.

Devolo dlan 650 triple plus from Amazon

Hello Devolo dLAN 650 plus goodbye unsightly CAT5 cables

I have always been a firm believer that a wired network is a lot better than a wireless network. WiFi is great and easy to set up, has good security and is perfect for mobile devices and PC’s, but when it comes to downloading and sharing large files from the Internet or watching high-definition movies or playing multi-player gamers on PlayStation or Xbox, a wired network is essential.

The disadvantages of a wired network throughout the house is the unsightly grey or white cable running along the floor skirting or up and over the door frame. (Yes I didn’t box the cables when I ran them ten years ago). Over the years our network cables started to suffer wear and tear until one day recently during some renovations work our wired network came to a halt.

So this evening I purchased the Devolo dLAN 650 Triple Plus Start Kit. 

The idea is simple. Use the existing power cables in the walls to run a secure home network from the wall socket the router is plugged in to another wall socket where a computer or gaming console or Smart TV or printers is plugged in.

This starter kit has two units. One unit has a single gigabit port, which the router will plug into and the other unit has 3 gigabit ports for multiple networked devices.

This particular model claims:

  • High-performing 600 Mbps for lightning-fast data transmission.
  • With the integrated electrical socket, no power outlet in your room goes to waste.
  • Gigabit Ethernet.
  • Automatic encryption! Active protection against unauthorised access.
  • Minimal energy consumption with the innovative PowerSave technology from devolo: continuous, intelligent and fully automatic.
  • Includes dLAN® Cockpit software for home network configuration on a computer (Windows, Mac OS® X, Linux®), which is great because I run all  three OS types in my home network, so it will be interesting to see the performance.

The various reviews I have read have been very positive. Our house was built in the late 1800’s, I am not sure when our electrics or wiring were put into our house, but we have over 48 wall sockets throughout the house, so I am guessing fairly recently.

TechRadar did a review back in April 2014 on this hardware and they gave it the thumbs up – you can read their review here. They did the test in a Victorian house and had very good results so I am looking forward to putting the Devolo dLAN 650 Triple Plus Start Kit to the test.

I will post an update in due course when we have fully tested this solution. I am hoping it will prove successful, which means I will have saved time and effort rewiring the house.

Two cat boxes + camping gear = no problem for Qashqai 2014.

Today was all about making sure everything fits in the Qashqai and we managed that task with ease. We packed everything below and two cat boxes with ease. Sadly the cats are not joining us on our adventure to Austria, instead they will be dropped off at the cattery (The Nook) on route.

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With the back chairs folded down there is Plenty of room and space available. If we had a pet elephant it would have no problem resting in the back. ;-)

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This is the space left after the cat boxes have been removed. Good for snacks, camera bag, phones, charges and for the driver to take a break.

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A relic from another era.

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I took this photo from the NCP car park at the O2 Dome using my Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

In today’s modern skyline it is quite strange to see an old Victorian gasometer still standing. This one is located at Greenish Peninsula. If one is observant enough, you will see them dotted all over London and the UK countryside, but sadly none are in use anymore after the discovery of gas in the North Sea from the 1960’s, which led to the developments in gas pipe technology.

Most gasometers have highly decorative frames built with three tiers of hollow cylindrical columns and wrought ion riveted lattice girders.

The most noticeable London gasometer is situated next to the Oval Cricket ground in Kennington.

14oval858_2745125bSource: Telegraph.co.uk (Daniel Johnson)

 

Watch “VLOG – My Little Problem” on YouTube

I stumbled upon a great video on YouTube with a very good message attached to it. Every man out there should watch it or listen to it and then act ASAP. The video is about blood in your crap or “the first signs having colon cancer” Not a topic everyone wants to talk about, but should be because it is a huge killer in modern day life.

My Dad died of colon cancer nearly 15 years ago. It is a nasty disease, which is why it is recommended everyone do a colonoscopy around the ages of 35 to 45 if your family has a history of cancer. You want to catch the signs quickly.

I had a colonoscopy a year or two ago for peace of mind. So in the UK they don’t put one under for a colonoscopy (like they do in the US)

Yup they give you the horrible stuff to drink a day or two beforehand, that makes you crap and crap and crap, and then on the day in the hospital they lie you on your side, on a bed in the theatre, there are two or three nurses present and a doctor. One is obviously exposed in the nether regions and a nurse gives you a light sedative to relax you.

digestive-problems_colonoscopyThen they turn on the TV and one gets to see the main show, which stars your arse, and your colon. It is most certainly uncomfortable in many ways especially if one has never had anything inserted into the rectum and that deep, but at the same time is very interesting to watch if one had gotten over the embarrassment and awkward feeling in your backside. It feels like you want to crap constantly. LOL! (Okay it wasn’t funny at the time). It feels like it lasts for eternity, but its over in about ten minutes. 

Fortunately I got the all clear and was told that I would not have to experience that procedure again. I would highly recommend every man in their mid thirties, forties to go and have the test.

Bowen has a new Nissan Qashqai Tekna 1.5DCi.

After seven years of driving our Skoda Fabia 1.1l around we decided it was time for a new car. The little red car had done us proud. It ran and ran without any problems, but it lacked some of the nice comforts that the newer cars have these days, such as heated seats, touch screen navigation, media centre, parking sensors etc.

Jo was always pointing out to me the various models of Nissan Qashqai on the road, so one weekend we went and took a test drive in the new 2014 Nissan Qashqai that had just been released. It was a fantastic experience and the car had some excellent features, which ticked all of our boxes. (cameras and parking sensors all around the car, lane control, sign reading, accident prevention, plenty of space, good boot space, panoramic roof, sexy look etc). We spent the rest of the weekend watching reviews on Youtube.com

So in late February we decided it would be our next car. We signed all the paper work, but were told the car would only be ready in a few months. It sucked waiting for the car to be delivered, but in late April we got the word she was waiting for us.Nissan Qashqai Tekna 1.5DCi Bronze1It is a wonderful feeling walking into the dealership and seeing your brand new car on the floor. We picked the colour bronze because it is quite a unique colour, especially in England where most folk drive grey, black, white or blue cars.

The car is very sexy in my opinion. I love its shape. It looks so sleek and modern, and the 19″ alloy wheels look great. The colour is awesome as well. So far we think we are the only ones on the road with this colour. (well South of the Thames that is).

Nissan Qashqai Tekna 1.5DCi BronzeOne of the awesome features is the park assist. When one pulls up to a space, the sensors determine if the park is big enough and then the car completely takes over the steering, while you provide the backwards or forwards acceleration.  It doesn’t matter if its a parallel or vertical park. It literally parks itself and gets it right every time. It even does curbs. It could make one lazy I guess, but if you know how to park in any situation, then this is just a treat. It is amazing to watch.

We bought it for these reasons.

  1. It delivers a tax-friendly 99g/km CO2, which means there is no road tax (ever).
  2. It can do 74 mpg. (we have so far managed 56mpg and that is stop start driving from home to work and back in mostly heavy traffic. 
  3. It has a five star Euro NCAP crash safety rating.
  4. Full colour cameras front and back provide excellent view when reversing or driving forward into unknown spaces.
  5. Panoramic roof. It is awesome to see the sky especially when sunny.