Drones + Fireworks = Amazing Video

Fireworks

If you haven’t seen it already, my video of the Lacey Township fireworks is really something to behold.

In the video, I make use of my aerial photography drone equipment to fly above the fireworks display that the township puts on every year in the fields near the school.

Flying it at night, and with the booms of the fireworks was a challenging, yet rewarding task. It required a careful synergy of caution and finesse, allowing me to capture the fireworks in their full glory from above.

My only regret is that due to the noise of propellers, the current generation of drones / unmanned aerial systems cannot practically have a microphone on the aircraft, due to the fact that the only audio it would capture would be the noise of the propellers.

If a company could bring a “quiet” drone to market with USABLE audio recording, the applications of this may be pretty interesting.

But with the current limitations of battery technology and engineering, we may years away from this coming to fruition.

Notably, the fireworks were shorter than previous years, so I was glad to supplement with the drone. Flying it at night is a real crowd-pleaser. At times, more people were watching me fly than they were the fireworks, so I can’t complain there.

 

Escaping The Online “Filter Bubble”

filterbubble

The topic of online “filter bubbles” has made a resurgence in light of the recent outrage over Facebook conducting psychological / behavioral experiments on some of its users in partnership with academia. Massively centralized online services whose business models often encroach on user privacy have once again come under the bright spotlight of public debate- with much outrage being shown, but little action taken to stop this behavior.

I recently came across Eli Pariser’s informative TED talk regarding online “filter bubbles”. Essentially, these “filter bubbles” are part of a growing trend of personalization that search engines and social networking sites are using to customize content to their users interests. By doing so, opposing viewpoints to political and controversial issues are often shut out.

For example, if Google has determined you to be sympathetic to liberal issues, you might get news results from MSNBC or The Huffington Post, while somebody on the opposite end of the spectrum would be delivered sources such as Fox News or Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze”.

On hot-button issues, this can be extremely polarizing.

The free flow of ideas and information is imperative to a democratic society- and these trends represent something that could be a very slippery slope. Instead of encouraging rational debate and discussion, this only serves to reinforce already ingrained opinions and dogma- they’re just telling people what they know they want to hear.

Take a look at his talk below- the salient points he raises made me want to switch away from using Google in addition to the other major search engines in favor of more privacy-focused alternatives.

Creepy? Yes. But this behavior crosses the line as something that’s just downright destructive. Despite its popularity, nobody is pointing a gun to your head and forcing you to use Google, or its rather distant second place rival, Bing. I recommend using DuckDuckGo or StartPage for a more privacy-focused alternative that doesn’t try and play mind games with you.

Video below:

Rest In Peace, Windows XP

microsoft-xp

Today marks an end of an era. After over 11 years of service, Microsoft is finally “pulling the plug” on its popular Windows XP Operating System, which still runs on about 28% of computers.

The past few days have seen many of my clients making plans with me to upgrade, as continuing to use outdated and vulnerable software can put you or your business at risk of viruses or other issues.  I advise anyone still using Windows XP to make plans to upgrade to either a new system or upgrade to a more modern version of Windows to avoid the consequences of XP’s demise.

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