Flight recorder

I came across a post looking for ideas on recording in flight. I've recently talked about trying to setup just such a system. Mentioned in the comments on the post above is the Firestore FS-4 which seems like the ideal recorder for this sort of thing. In my case, however, I'd like the camera mounted externally to be essentially disposable - i.e. I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars.

The ideal setup would seem to be a method of connecting an iSight camera directly to a Firestore FS-4 without needing to have a computer to attach the iSight to. And I'd like to be able to record audio as well (plug into the intercom or put a small microphone in the ear-cup). The bullet and lipstick cams look interesting but still rely upon relatively expensive equipment (cameras) inside the aircraft that would also need to have tapes changed during flight - not something that is possible in the application I'd like to experiment with.

New York, New York

Aviation nation photoIn the category of finally getting it done I posted photos from my New York trip. 24 hours in New York and many of the sights in photos. Unfortunately no photos from inside the Phantom of the Opera.

Today is the day for posting photos. A few snapshots from Aviation Nation 2005 are also online as of this evening.

Robot race

"NO DRIVR" reads the ontario license plate. "driven by Mac OS X" reads the fender of one Volkswagen Toureg. In comes another dust-covered Toureg with its play on the familiar Volkswagen line "Drivers not needed," the rear fender proclaims. Indeed it is almost correct. The vehicle has just become the first to traverse the 132-mile course with only a computer at the controls. Though it has logged more than a thousand miles in training its artificial intelligence system, the 132 that it logged on Saturday are historic.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) 2005 Grand Challenge filled the parking lot behind Buffalo Bills' in Primm, Nevada this weekend. I snapped a few photos of the first vehicles to complete the 132-mile desert course. In contrast to the 2004 Grand Challenge where the top teams managed only seven miles, 22 of the 23 finalists surpassed the seven-mile mark. Five teams finished the entire 132-mile course this year, although only four finished in the alloted 10-hour timeframe. 43 teams went to the National Qualification Event over the last two weeks. The teams competing had bots ranging in size from Blue Team's diminutive Ghostrider Robot a motorcycle based platform to the 16-ton green machine TerraMax.

Stanford's Stanley, a Volkswagen Toureg, completed the course in 6 hours 53 minutes and 58 seconds to win the challenge's $2 million purse.

Nikon D50

Killing some time in Chicago this evening I stopped in to look at the Nikon D50. It looks like it will be a great alternative to the more expensive D70. The body is smaller and the grip is smaller, slightly, than the D70 and quite a bit smaller than the D100 making it more accessible to folks with smaller hands.

Canon GL2 blues

Since I just did one work story why not follow it up with another. This week several Canon GL2 video cameras came in. They are quite simply amazing video cameras. Everything about them is right, easy to access controls, substantial handles - they look and feel good all around.

My joy over getting to work with these new tools was put on hold today though. It seems the GL2 I opened has a problem. It doesn't believe the tape can be written to. No matter what position the "write protect" slider is in the camera reports the tape cannot be written to. Bummer. Now several cycles will be spent on how to get it repaired.

Image Hijacking

I've been tracking down quite a few image hijackers recently. These unscrupulous people choose to host web pages and use the images from another's webserver (in this case mine) for their site. Nevermind that they would probably never think to even ask for permission to use copyrighted images, but they go one step further. In the process of stealing my work they use my server to do it. Well, they did. No more. The really bad thing about it is that by doing this you're allowing someone else (me) to control what happens when people come to your site.


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