Category Archives: Bowen

Rediscover this day – 18th June 2011 – Royal Ascot.

Google Photo has this cool feature where it shows photos from yesteryear. They pop up on my phone every other day.

Rediscover this day

So I thought I would share them on my website. I have been trying to find a WordPress Plugin that can pull specific Google Photo Albums into a post and it looks like this plugin called Google Photos by Cheshire Web Solutions does the trick.


Above was a day  back in 2011 that Jo and I spent with a few friends at Royal Ascot. We all dressed up in suitable attire and headed to Ascot. Of course it ended up as a big piss up, mostly in the car park behind a shed and then when we got to the track it pissed down with rain. It was a good day though, some of us won some cash, but most of us ended up with a headache. 🙂

Neolithic Long Barrow Coldrum Stones near Trottiscliffe with the DJI Mavic Pro drone.

Neolithic, refers to the period of British, Irish and Manx history that spanned from circa 4000 to circa 2,500 BCE. (Source Wikipedia).

My aim today was to film the neolithic long barrow known as the Coldrum Stones, with my DJI Mavic Pro drone. The stones are located near a small village called Trottiscliffe, in Kent, United Kingdom.

The stones are looked after by the National Trust and are free to visit any time of the year. It is a lovely walk to the stones, along side the fields, forest and gorgeous views of the North downs.

Coldrum long burrow neolithic stones

I created the mission (flight path) my drone would be flying using the Litchi Mission Hub website.

Continue reading Neolithic Long Barrow Coldrum Stones near Trottiscliffe with the DJI Mavic Pro drone.

Flying my DJI Mavic Pro over the River Thames and Greenhithe Quarry.

I have had my DJI Mavic Pro drone for a little over a month and have flown quite a few missions to date. It is an incredible quad-copter and the 4K video camera is amazing. I’ve flown mostly around the field in front of our house, but recently after purchasing an app called Litchi, I’ve been venturing beyond the field and into the great unknown and letting the drone do the flying and video capturing.

At first I was very scared I would lose my drone. It is not a cheap toy, so I’ve kept it close by, but this Litchi app is such a confidence booster. It has so many great features and allows me to create missions by setting way-points from the comfort of my couch, without having to power the drone on. I can also set the drones speed, height, and force the camera to focus on POI (Point of Interests). The missions can be saved and stored on the cloud, and they can be accessed with any device. Best of all I can clone other folks missions and make them my own.

Waypoints set via the Mission Hub in the FlyLitchi cloud

 

I’ll do a review of the mobile app once I have mastered it. Today I explored a large quarry opposite the Bluewater Shopping Centre. It is a massive hole filled with water and has steep white cliffs on all sides. I got some incredible footage. I probably could have gotten closer, but with big fences saying “Stay out or Danger”, I didn’t want to risk it. After that excitement I headed down to the Thames river near Ingress Park and was fortunate enough to catch the sun setting over the QE2 bridge. It was the first time in a month that I had perfect conditions. No wind whatsoever and the river was like a mirror.

Continue reading Flying my DJI Mavic Pro over the River Thames and Greenhithe Quarry.

Lowepro ViewPoint BP 250 AW easily carries DJI Mavic Pro Fly more combo plus extra batteries propellers GoPro tripod landing pad surface pro 4 headphones.

DJI Mavic ProWhen buying the DJI Mavic Pro one has a choice to either buy the standard Mavic Pro with controller or the Mavic Pro “Fly More Combo”. The latter, which I went for, has a bunch of useful extras such as a car charger, two extra batteries, a battery charging hub, quick release propellers, battery to power bank adapter and a shoulder bag.

DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo

However, there is a problem. The Mavic shoulder bag cannot hold the Mavic Pro and controller and everything offered in the Fly More Combo. At best it can hold the following:

  • the Mavic Pro,
  • the controller,
  • one extra battery,
  • spare propellers and some memory cards.

I am not impressed with the size of the bag. The Mavic shoulder bag sold on its own costs $79, which is a steep price for such a small bag and I recommend you do not buy it if you are considering it.

Lets face it, drone pilots will carry other devices such as DSLR camera, a lens, GoPro, a tripod, a handheld gimbal, cables, a landing pad etc. so a bigger bag is needed.

A bag for every day

I also wanted a bag that I can use on a day to day basis allowing me space for my headphones, a laptop and a light top or jacket.

Introducing the Lowepro Viewpoint BP 250 AW.

Lowepro Viewpoint BP 250 AW

Have a look at this excellent video review by Benton Joyce. It ticks all the boxes for me and will replace my 7 year old Osprey backpack. As such I have ordered the Lowepro BP 250 from Amazon.

Swype is the best virtual keyboard for touchscreen mobiles and tablets offering unique finger or stylus gestures.

Swype is a virtual keyboard for touchscreen smartphones and tablets where one enters words by sliding a finger or stylus from the first letter of a word to its last letter.  I have been using the app since 2010 on all my touchscreen devices. In my opinion it is the best swiping finger gesture keyboard available.

What makes it stand out as the best you may ask?

Just like every hardware keyboard that has a Ctrl or Command key, Swype has Swype shortcut button button. Every gesture shortcut starts from this button.

The most useful gestures are similar to hardware keyboards and are universal and easy to remember.

A list of universal shortcut keys
A really nice touch to have the universal shortcuts keys.

Another great feature is the ability to punctuate a word such as CAPITALIZE all letters in a word, or Capitalize the first letter of a word, or remove all capitalization from a word. Simply use the Swype shortcut button + Shift button.

Swype up to shift to see punctuation choices
This option to CAPITALIZE words is unique.

Continue reading Swype is the best virtual keyboard for touchscreen mobiles and tablets offering unique finger or stylus gestures.

Untappd is the best beer discovery social sharing app & website.

For the past 8 months I have been religiously recording every beer that I drink. I am doing this with an app called Untappd and it has changed the way I drink beer. The app is super intuitive and easy to use.

My profile showing key beer information.

Whether I’m in a pub, restaurant or at home cracking open a can or bottle of beer, the first thing I do is scan the bar code (if possible) or do a search for the beer name. Once the beer has been found in the database, I check it in. If I am at a pub or restaurant I insert the location (useful for others).

Next up I take a photo of the glass of beer, bottle or can and attach it to the check-in. One doesn’t have to take a photo (but a photo is worth a thousands words).

Continue reading Untappd is the best beer discovery social sharing app & website.

Goodbye Facebook.

I stopped using Facebook 26 days ago to see if it would make a difference in my life. By ‘stopped’ I mean I uninstalled the app from my mobile and stopped checking Facebook, commenting, liking and browsing endless, pointless statuses. I also culled over 50% of my friends list. I tell you, it has been great!

For me the Facebook experience has always been a little hit and miss. I am not one for posting a status update every day of the week and I am definitely not one to share a personal conversation with my wife over my Facebook status, nor would I bore you with my bowel movements on Monday or what my cat was licking yesterday afternoon. You laugh! Read what your Facebook friends are posting.

So after 26 days I have not missed … seeing dozens of Facebook adverts of stuff that I don’t want, or friend invites to games that I would never play or photographs of … babies, cats, dogs, wild animals being hunted into extinction, birds, plates of food, cups of coffee, memes, cars, motor bikes, google maps showing airport check-ins…

Continue reading Goodbye Facebook.

LILY drone crashes and burns millions of dollars of pre-order cash.

Remember that video of a drone called Lily, which wooed the world with its amazing, almost too good to be true features such as being water proof, being able to follow one around, flight times of 20 minutes, take off and land from a hand etc. Well, the company just announced its quitting as it’s run out of money.

Not only that, it turns out the video above was mostly shot and filmed using a DJI Inspire drone and some GoPro cameras. What a con?

There were thousands of pre-orders and people handed over millions of dollars to the company in the hope to get one of these incredible drones, which just goes to show that pre-order purchasing (handing over your money with no guarantee of getting your purchase delivered) is as risky as these crowdfunding projects on Indigogo and Kickstarter.

Many a company has promised the world and then crashed and burned with folks hard earned money. Shame on them!