Saturday, February 16, 2019

Destination Moon: Apollo 11"Columbia"

A big thank you to the Senator John Heinz History Center in association with the Smithsonian Institution for bringing "Destination Moon" to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Product Review Extended: Aluratek ABC35F

I did a video Product Review a few months ago, and received an email asking to show how to connect  and transmit to a blue-tooth device. So here it is:

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or its manufacturer*

One of these can be had over here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Product Review: Autel Robotics Evo

The unit I am reviewing today is an Autel Robotics Evo Drone. This unit is a compact folding drone, giving you the ultimate pack, go and fly opportunity. It has so many features and I want to make sure I don't miss any of them. Let's start with a list of most important features:

  • 4k Camera mounted on a 3 axis stabilizing gimbal. Which records at 4k 60fps video and 12 megapixel stills, packed with glass optics with 94 degree field of view
  • Dual GPS and GLONASS systems for hands free hovering.
  • RTH (Return To Home) with fail-safe engagement during low battery or loss of controller connection.
  • Advanced Computer Vision Systems to avoid obstacles and ensure safe flights.
  • Remote Control with display, so you can fly without an additional mobile device.
  • Intelligent Battery that runs approximately 30 minutes, on charge 8, I am getting around 27 minutes of flight time.
  • 32 Gigabyte Micro SD Card Included.
  • A Soft Carrying Bag for travel.
  • A Complete set of replacement Rotor Blades.
  • Specifications show max control and video transmission distance 4.3 miles. (not tested by myself)
This is my first high end drone, and I must say Autel makes stepping into this high end of thehobby so easy. It really is a smart drone. Autel's design is very user friendly, it allows you to take control of the device and shut off the safety features as you are comfortable. It is important to first learn the basics of flight and control so that if the safety features fail, you can safely control and land the drone. The Autel Evo, has an absolute feel of quality, from the folding landing legs, to the physical attachment of the battery, to it's 3.3 inch oled remote control and it's camera and gimbal cover. The app is well laid out, with it's camera settings being super easy to get to, as well as the settings on the drone. I also love the placement of the record and snapshot buttons, with them right at your finger tips, there is no looking, when your eyes are on the drone. The fact that it comes with a travel bag is such a bonus, it literally is ready for you to grab it and go fly your next mission. I have to mention the durability of this unit, it has survived not only my first landing, but a slight collision with a tree about 25 ft in the air... See video below to understand it's durability. You may have noticed in the specifications, it states a 4.3 mile range on control and video transmission. I have watched someone on YouTube put these numbers to the test. That is amazing, but with federal regulations, at least the way I understand them when flying these aircraft they must stay in VLOS or Visual Line of Sight. Needless to say I will not be testing those limits. I have flown mine at several parks and my home, and I have not witnessed any drops of any sort in it's control interface or video. I have never exceeded a 1000 foot perimeter but around the house there is a lot of interference and the EVO system and video communications are rock solid. The EVO has several flight modes that are also pretty amazing. One is it's Dynamic Follow, which is exactly what it states, it will follow you as you walk, ride a bike, or even in a car at limited speeds. It also has an orbit mode, that will basically circle a target. The one mode that I want to play around with is it's Waypoint. You either program it via a flight marking several waypoints, or you can draw it out on a map in the software, it then will fly the flight path you created giving you control of the camera for excellent footage. I will be spending my time with this unit honing my craft of flying collision free while controlling the camera for better video. Be looking for some cool videos in the future. The video and images that the EVO produces are absolutely stunning.

I forgot to mention that with the latest firmware update this EVO drone can achieve 44 mph in Ludicrous mode, I do have to mention that with it on you lose the Obstacle Avoidance, so don't make that switch until you are comfortable flying this beast!

The Autel Robotics EVO is incredible, to list all of the pros, would be exhausting.

I have just a few cons, but they are pretty lame:
  • I wish it came with one extra battery (extra battery costs $85)
  • I wish it would have come with landing pad. I have seen them on Amazon for $20-$30(I ended up making my own with a fold-able sun shield for a car)
If you're looking for a great device to add to your collection, or starting a new collection, the Autel Robotics Evo is the drone for you.

I do have to note, before you lay the cash out for one of these devices, you will need to register with the FAA, and do a little bit of research for your area, it may be more difficult than you would imagine to fly it around where you consider a safe place. Here is neat map website that gives you some insight for your area, it is called AirMap. But once you find a few safe places, it is a bunch of fun.

Here are the photos of the product as it arrived.

Below is a shot of my homemade launch pad:

Below are three videos, the first is a compilation of some of my rookie footage, and the next two are my first two incidents, that have not damaged this tough little drone. 

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or its manufacturer*

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Music Review: Tori Kelly - Hiding Place #TKHidingPlace & #FlyBy

What a great cd I just received to review. It's by Tori Kelly and it's called Hiding Place. My two favorite songs are Never Alone and Psalm 42. Her vocals are crazy good! The layers of different instruments used to produce this is amazing as well. I love some of the lyrics in Psalm 42:

 "I’m a stranger here Thirsty ’cause I know it’s not my home
Like a desert here I need Your living Word for these dry bones
Jesus fill us up again
With Your presence flowing deep within Now life begins" 

This a great addition to my collection of music.

#TKHidingPlace & #FlyBy

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Church Adventure: Restoring Hardware

Several months back I was restoring some old hardware that was in our house. Some portions of them had rust and others had several coats of paint on them. It is a tedious process of wire brushing and scraping, but with time and patience they all come completely clean and then are ready for a fresh coat of paint.  This reminded me of my faith walk with Jesus. I get through the day and inevitably I collect junk of this world, whether it be some cynicism, self doubt, or even the simple negative thought. I, as a follower and believer in Christ have to be willing to be stripped of all that junk and allow him to fill me with the Holy Spirit, let go of control and give it to Him. I struggle with many parts of this process, but often find that when I surround myself with fellow believers His will overcomes all of my struggles. I especially feel this balance when I am worshipping or in fellowship with our current group of congregants at our little Church in Mars.

We, as a congregation, are going through some pretty heavy stuff right now; decisions that will affect our community and our future of worship. But, I am looking up, along with my fellow followers and believers. In some of my previous Church Adventure posts I mentioned a few things, in short, to describe this campus. The building was mentioned in my description to set the story. But, the real part was that we felt comfortable and that comfort level had us returning for more. God led the four of us to be all in and to join this little Church in Mars. This was no accident. This was purposefully and perfectly orchestrated by God himself through God-led people. It had little to do with the "Building". Don't get me wrong, it has some great acoustics and great character for a worship setting. And yes, the Holy Spirit fills that space every Saturday night as we focus on Him through worship. But, it is still just a building. This wonderful event of worship, fellowship, and God-led relationships can happen anywhere. Our Church has no walls, it's built of people! He designed it this way. The great thing about the Holy Spirit, is that it has no limits. It will not be contained by walls.

As of August 25th, the parent church of our little church will no longer be supporting a multi-site ministry. Which means, that the Mars Campus will be closing. We, as a family, will be distancing ourselves from this particular Church as it has quite a different view on what a church should look and operate like. Its boards, and committees have unfortunately centered their focus on the wrong things, and have brought heartache in their wake. Please hear this; there are good people at the parent campus, and these fine people of God are not being listened to by leadership. Many of them, I fear, are just so busy checking their boxes on Sunday morning or just have their head so far stuck in the sand, that they can't hear the cries of their people.  I have been praying for the parent "Church"; that the leadership will someday hear the God-led people and stand up and make sure that God's agenda is pursued instead of man’s. Sunday mornings are not supposed to feel like a country club, and until they understand that and start listening and looking for God's lead, they will just be turning their wheels within their own walls.

Our group at the Mars Campus have had a few things to consider, as things have been winding down. We are now at a point of figuring out where we will go next. I do believe, that this adversity has strengthened our relationships as a worshiping body of Christ. It would be amazing if we could all end up in the same place, to worship again together. I also know that if we can't continue what we have been blessed with, I will never forget the relationships that we have developed with God's intentions. With God's direction, we have had several opportunities to visit some local churches, and even to discuss what we have gone through during this painful process. I know that we all have been very grateful. It is refreshing for me to just get things off of my chest when things are feeling negative.

These past months have been, at times, exhausting. But, at the same time, I think we have all come to the agreement that we may not know what the future holds for us, but if we strip off all of this junk that we have been collecting (especially through this process) and allow Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit once again, in His hands we will all prevail to come closer to Him, and to spread the Good News.

If you have not read our adventure follow this link or the links below:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018