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.
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.
When 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.
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,
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.
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.
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).
In my last blog of 2015 I mentioned what a special year it had been for us, but honestly 2016 has topped it in so many ways.
It was the year Bowen travelled the most miles and visited even more exciting, exotic destinations than ever before. There were again a few firsts (first time to Zel am See, Mexico City, the island of Bali and Kraków). British Airways was the carrier of choice and they lived up to their great customer service by upgrading us twice for free.
On the BA website they have this cool little chart showing some cool statistics.
The year of travel started in late March with a week long trip to a small Austrian town called Zel Am See. This was our first ski trip to Austria and it was awesome! The weather was perfect most days, the scenery was outstanding.
A week or two later we were jetting off to Mexico City for the wedding extravaganza of the year. Our friends Rodney and Sofia were getting married, but this was no ordinary wedding.
On our recent trip to Southern France we had the opportunity to drive a different route back to Calais, so we decided to drive via the awesome Millau Viaduct. The Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France.
We had driven to the Millau area the night before and stayed at a cheap hotel. We awoke early and drove over the bridge, which was incredible with all its lights. The valleys below were covered in mist and it was still fairly dark. There was a look out area, where one can park and take photos of the bridge (see the buildings in my photograph), but to be honest every Tom, Dick and Harry were there making a racket and clicking away. We decided to drive through the Toll Gates and then back towards the bridge via a small country road. To be honest this road had the best views.
I took this photograph with my Panasonic DMC-G2 at around 7am. It was quite cloudy all around but the bridge was completely clear. The sun was just filtering over the clouds to the East. I am very proud of this photograph. I think it is one of the best I have ever taken. The colours of the fields, the changing colours in the sky, the mist running through the valley and the bridge with the sun reflecting on the cables stays look amazing.
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.
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).
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 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.
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.