Author Archives: Mark J Daniels

Think of the Power Rangers. Then watch this…

If you remember the Power Rangers the way I do, then you’ll remember it as a really rubbish program that, somehow, had children goggleeyed at the box.

Now, remembering its utterly dire special effects, camp choreography and disastrous dialogue, watch this…

Haim Suban, owners of the rights to Power Rangers, aren’t happy with this fan film and are trying to get Joseph Khan and Adi Shankar, who produced this reimagining, to take it offline, so watch it while you still can.

But this fourteen minute film stars names such as Katee Sackhoff (of the Battlestar Galactica reboot) and James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) and is possibly the most vivid fan film I’ve ever seen.

It’s worth a watch but comes with a warning: Parents, this is not suitable for your wee ones. This is definitely rated 18.

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Your Helmet is Your Brand

Dear Formula 1 drivers.

Did you know that most fans don’t actually like it when you change the design of your helmet every single race?

It’s not big and it’s not clever.

In fact, it’s quite irritating.

And it’s reached a point where the FIA have decided that, rather than focus on the immediate threats for our beloved sport, like the financial state of some teams or the noise your engines make, they must spend an inordinate amount of time coming up with a rule that says you can’t change your helmet each race.

So stop doing it, ok?

Yours

An F1 Fan.

Now, I don’t particularly like it when drivers change their helmet designs on a race-by-race basis. Sebastian Vettel began the trend and everyone thought it was cool, and then they realised it was quite annoying. Vettel has had around sixty different designs since he started his career.

The Autosport news article.

The Autosport news article.

And, by the time the fans had realised it was quite annoying (probably the second race), the other drivers had thought it was cool, too, and started doing it.

The fact is that, even in this digital age of high definition TV and on-screen graphics, fans and pundits alike still look for familiar traits to identify a particular car/driver combo heading towards them on the track.

If this changes regularly, it’s hard for anybody to identify a driver and we have to wait for Anthony Davidson to point specific drivers out to us on the Skypad afterwards.

I think it’s fine to have a commemorative design for a specific occasion; a centenary race, an anniversary event and so on. Or to have a new design at the start of each season. After all, it’s what the teams do with the liveries of their cars so why can’t the drivers do it with their helmets?

Nevertheless, teams don’t change their liveries every race so neither should drivers change their helmet designs so frequently.

And yet, should the FIA have gone to such pains as to introduce a rule that physically bans such practice?

No, I don’t think so. It smacks of the FIA procrastinating. They don’t know how to resolve many of the issues on the table in front of them, so they’re nit-picking at little issues that rankle but, at the end of the day, aren’t killing the sport.

I think it should have been a recommendation, a piece of fatherly advice handed down from the governing body and then left up to the drivers’ and teams’ respective PR machines to recognise the simple value in fans identifying with a single image.

Just look at Ayrton Senna’s iconic design. Pretty much unchanged throughout his career, the yellow and green colours of

An iconic helmet design

An iconic helmet design

his national flag can be identified by true F1 fans of all ages even twenty one years after his death.

When shown Vettel’s helmet, would fans still be able to identify it? And in pub quizzes will they now be expected to know not just who’s helmet it is, but which race they wore it at?

So I don’t think there should be a specific rule enforcing it, but I do think the drivers should stop doing it so frequently.

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Fifty Shades of Grey. Or Peppa Pig?

So next Saturday is Valentine’s Day. After sixteen years of marriage, the missus and I aren’t that fussed by too many romantic notions, but we did think it might be nice to have a date night and go to the cinema.

According to the Cineworld app, they only have two films available: Fifty Shades of Grey. Or the truly romantic Peppa Pig…

image

Fifty Shades v Peppa Pig

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BMW Complaint – Day Mode Night Mode

This is a couple of years old but I’ve never heard it before – I’m not usually a fan of prank calls, but this has just had me in fits of laughter:

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A New Name

You know, it’s relatively easy to write for the magazines I write for in the pub trade because, well, I’m writing about pubs and it’s my day job and therefore I have to do it or I’ll be out of a job, but I often try and get my personal blog up and running and often I fail. I think it’s mostly because I’ve never really had one particular subject that’s personal to get my teeth in to.

But now I do: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

You may know them better as drones. Or quadcopters. Or basically anything radio controlled that’s not got wheels and isn’t a boat.*

And if you keep an eye on this blog, you’ve probably noticed I’ve written a lot about them since Christmas. So I’ve changed the name of the blog from Did I Say That Out Loud to Droning On. Clever, huh? And I’ll probably update the theme soon once I’ve got used to taking photographs from the air and can add something pretty to the page.

Occasionally, I’ll write something here that isn’t about flying remote controlled aircraft, but only occasionally.

I am by no means an expert in this field, but follow me on this journey as I start to learn more about it.

Meanwhile, if you’ve never visited this blog before, you can find out more about me on the About Me page.

*I'm sure somebody will think of an unwheeled, non-flying land-based remote control device that I've not mentioned above. Maybe a tank?

Syma X5C-1 Altitude Test. Failed…

Yes, this had the potential to go very wrong indeed.

I’ve been quite impressed by my Syma X5C-1 since getting it at Christmas, but I’ve struggled to find any definitive answer as to how high it can actually go.

YouTube videos have titles like ‘altitude test’ and then show impressive feats of flying, often followed by crashes, but none actually say how high the drone really went. I had a go myself last week, and flew in to a tree

The best I’ve managed to learn is that the range of the quadcopter’s 2.4ghz control is approximately 30m (~100feet), although there’s a good video here on how to increase that range. But that’s the range of the controller, not the height the Syma can fly to.

Syma X5C-1 Altitude Test - failSo I came up with a plan. It mostly consisted of installing an altitude app on my HTC One, then zip-tieing the phone to the quadcopter.

Sadly the phone wouldn’t fit through the landing brackets on the bottom of the drone and strapping it to the top of the craft was out as that would impede the rotation of the blades. So the only place it could be strapped to was the bottom of the feet, effectively turning my rather expensive phone in to landing gear.

Yes, this had the potential to go very wrong indeed.

Fortunately, it didn’t go wrong, as the phone proved too heavy for the Syma X5C-1 to lift, as this video shows.

So, back to the drawing board. Just how high can a Syma X5C-1 fly…?

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Carlsberg don’t do video beer reviews…

Originally posted on Bite & Bottle:

Before I get started, please note: I love beer, I love talking about beer, I love other people talking about beer, I love seeing beer on TV, I love learning about beer, I love teaching people about beer.

Carlsberg don’t do craft beer video reviews, but if they did…

  1. They would read the label before turning the camera on.
  2. They would strive to know a little about the subject of beer before pondering aimlessly about what OG means.
  3. They would use a tasting glass instead of a pint glass or dimpled tankard filled to the brim in their attempt to find an aroma.
  4. They would have a vocabulary of words at their fingertips to describe flavours and aromas instead of repeating the same ones over and over and over and…
  5. They would know about the brewing process before making their own assumptions and passing them off as fact.
  6. They would not burp on camera.
  7. They…

View original 36 more words

Using the eversion function

One big downside to the Syma X5C quadcopter has to be the instruction manual. It’s poorly translated in to English and quite difficult to understand, so one area of the drone I haven’t played with at all has been the ‘eversion’ function – the bit that makes the toy do flips.

Yesterday, while out playing in a nearby field with the children, I managed to make it flip by accident and then couldn’t work out what I’d done. But this morning, I had some practice, and it’s all to do with this button:

Push this button to make the quadcopter flip

Hold the button on the Syma’s controller and then push the direction control in which direction you would like the drone to flip and, hey presto, over she rolls.

One thing that the instructions do make very clear is that the eversion function will not work when the camera is active. Clearly, this is another piece of mistranslation. It works very well indeed:

The only thing that it remains for me to learn how to do now is reduce the volume on the video when editing in Microsoft Movie Maker!

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More practice needed…

Work, wind and rain have all conspired to prevent me from playing with the quadcopter recently but this morning a glance out the window and some confidence inspiring ‘FLY!’ instructions from the iPad’s Hover app sent me off up the country path to where I thought I had some open space to explore the drone’s capabilities a little further.

For example, I didn’t know how high I could take it.

Or how far away from me it could fly in a straight line.

(Turns out, for a £40 toy from Amazon, both quite high, and quite far.)

Then I tried the eversion mode and, somehow, actually managed to get it to somersault.

So then, I got cocky, stopped concentrating, and flew backwards in to a tree, from which it hung limply until I managed to get it down with some persuasive throttle-on-throttle-off action until it loosened itself from the branch it was caught on.

What the video doesn’t show is that I then flew it straight up in to the air again, and straight in to another tree, which it couldn’t remove itself from. Luckily, I had a teenager with me, and he likes climbing trees.

So, more practice needed then…

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Flying in to the mist

So I’m steadily getting the hang of flying my quadcopter now. Being a low-end model, the Syma X5C has a gyro to keep it level, but hovering requires constant adjustment of the controls as there is no other stabilisation.

Still, it was fun to fly it up in to the mist this morning…

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