View of home from drone

Not exactly skimming the rooftops of Paris or zipping between Manhattan skyscrapers, but George Kopp was nice enough to bring his drone out to our place so here’s a minute of video he got before parking the drone in a tree top.


Earlier this week I posted video of the Missouri State Capitol, shot from a drone piloted by my friend George Kopp. There were some good questions in the comments so sat down with George a couple of days ago to get some answers. He’s been playing with quadcopters for the last year and a half and has learned a great deal. In this 18 minute chat he talks about the evolution of the devices; controls; fly aways; no-fly zones; pricing; flying times and range; and regulations.

Drone video of New York City

The three days I spent in NYC last May were great. (One day with an experienced native-NY’er guide.) But the video below shows a NY I didn’t see. Couldn’t see. But one day will.

What would I be willing to pay for a real-time virtual drone tour of NY (or Paris or Rome or Tokyo)? I thinking high-quality goggles with nat sound (drone motors someone filtered out) or real-time voice-over by pilot/guide. Or just music bkg if I choose.

[Stipulation: There is no substitute for being there. “Real” experiences are superior to “virtual” experience. For now.]

Augmented reality glasses

vr-gogglesI’ve been reading about augmented reality (fiction and non-fiction) for years and this morning I finally got a look. Sort of. +George Kopp brought an Epson Moverio BT-200 by the coffee shop. The glasses were surprisingly light, and comfortable. I didn’t get an immersive, VR experience but did watch a few seconds of a YouTube video. I was impressed. As George had the unit configured, I could see the video and what was going on behind and around it. These are early days and this tech will get better and better.

One quickly imagines a pay-per-view scenario where I — sitting on my sofa — can watch a Rolling Stones concert from any of a dozen perspectives. Back stage. From the crowd. Hovering drone. Maybe Mick has a camera somewhere on his aging body. And I can jump from view to view. Yeah, I’d probably pay for that.

PS: They’ll need a chinstrap option for new users.

Letter to an Unknown Whistleblower

Tom Engelhardt’s Letter to an Unknown Whistleblower is the most encouraging thing I’ve read in a couple of years. An excerpt:

“I have no way of knowing what will first strike you as wrong. I just know that something will. It might be very specific and close at hand — something amiss you see in the program you’re working on, some outrageous expenditure of money or set of lies about what an agency or outfit is doing, or some act or set of acts that you, in growing up, had been taught were un-American. The possibilities are legion. After all, the national security system that they’ve built and engorged with taxpayer dollars, using fear and the excuse of American “safety,” has dispatched armies, and special ops outfits, and drones all over the world to commit mayhem and increase global instability, to kill civilians, wipe out wedding parties, kidnap and torture the innocent, assassinate by robot, and so on.”