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Comment Old tech is good tech (Score 1) 120 120

And this is why I use a $9 phone that has support for nothing other than voice calls and plaintext SMS. Not only is it free from the effects of such exploits but the battery also lasts two weeks between charges, it fits very nicely in even the smallest pocket and doesn't distract me when I should be working or spending time with friends and family.

I only upgraded to this phone because I found the cranking handle on the side of my old phone was snagging on my pocket and the operator was sometimes very slow to respond with "number please" when I tried to summon her attention :-)

Comment Re:We need better legislation (Score 1) 102 102

That is already being done. Many "store bought" drones will refuse to fly within the regulated "no fly" distance from documented airfields and most reasonable craft *do* have an auto-land facility that kicks in when the battery gets low.

There's no more point in banning drones than there is in banning butter-knives. Both are useful and very safe ways to perform a task -- however, both can be MISUSED when in the hands of idiots. Far better that we simply make sure that any idiot who misuses *any* technology is dealt with appropriately. The only alternative to ensuring public safety is to have us all fitted with straightjackets and locked into our own private padded rooms -- for our safety.

Submission + - Don't bring your drone to New Zealand->

NewtonsLaw writes: Drones such as the Lilly Camera, DJI Phamtom and (to a lesser extent, because of its size) DJI Inspire are changing the way we experience our vacations. Instead of toting along a camcorder or a 35mm DSLR, more and more people are just packing a GoPro and, increasingly, a drone on which to mount it.

This is fine if you're going to a drone-friendly country but be warned that (when/if they finally ship), your Lilly Camera will get you into big trouble in Thailand (where all use of drones by the public is banned outright) and now New Zealand, where strict new laws regarding the operation of drones and even tiny toys like the 20g Cheerson CX10, come into effect on August 1.

Under these new rules, nobody can operate a drone or model aircraft without getting the prior consent of the owner over which property it is intended to fly — and (this is the kicker) also the permission of the occupiers of that property. So you can effectively forget about flying down at the local park, at scenic locations or just about any public place. Even if you could manage to get the prior permission of the land-owner, because we're talking "public place", you'd also have to get the permission of anyone and everyone who was also in the area where you intended to fly.

Other countries have produced far more sane regulations — such as limiting drone and RC model operators to flying no closer than 30m from people or buildings — but New Zealand's CAA have gone right over the top and imposed what amounts to a virtual death-sentence on a hobby that has provided endless, safe fun for boys (and girls) of all ages for more than 50 decades.

Of course if you are prepared to pay a $600 fee to become "Certified" by CAA then the restrictions on where you can fly are lifted and you don't need those permissions. It seems that the government here is taking away our rights and simply selling them back to us as "privileges" that can be purchased by paying a fist-full of cash to the appropriate government agency.

When reading the linked news story, remember that as far as CAA in New Zealand is concerned, *everything* that flies and is remotely controlled is now deemed to be a "drone" — so that includes everything from a tiny 20g toy quadcopter to a huge octocopter.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:I'm all for recreational drone use but... (Score 1) 72 72

Well that's a load of mis-information for a start.

An increasing number of multirotors are using carbon-fiber propellers which are quite strong in all directions and even the small plastic ones can draw blood. Check out this video at 4:26... and we're talking about very small (just over 1lb) craft with tiny (5-inch) plastic propellers.

Comment Re:Feinstein as usual (Score 1) 164 164

What's needed is *education* -- not regulation.

Most people don't deliberately endanger the lives of others just for fun -- most do it out of ignorance of the risks and potential outcomes.

Just as the rates of smoking have dropped enormously since we began educating folks as to the dangers -- so we need to educate the neophyte and ignorant drone operators as to their responsibilities and obligations in respect to the public's safety.

The situation regarding "near misses" is a *lot* more complex than most of the public realize.

For example, the various pilots groups around the world are acting *very* politically to try and get drones virtually regulated out of existence. Why? Because they know full-well that these craft represent a direct threat to their livelihoods -- more so than the threat to their lives. To this end, virtually *any* sighting of an unidentified flying object is now called a "near miss with a drone". I recall when they were once all depicted as flying saucer incidents -- but now "drone" is the scapegoat de jour.

The media has also enjoyed depicting these craft as evil and likely to bring down airliners all over the world. This kind of sensationalist sizzle attracts eyeballs and that's what the media is after. Forget objectivity, research and facts -- anything goes in the quest for $$$$.

So let's look at the facts...

These craft have been around for quite a few years now and are being flown all over the world. So how many times *have* they crashed into full-sized aircraft?

None. Zero. Zilch, not a single actual collision between an aircraft and a drone.

Compare this to the number of bird-strikes encountered every year. Birdstrike accounts for about $1.4 billion of damage ($900M in the USA alone) inflicted on full-sized aircraft each year and have caused over 250 deaths since 1988.

Remember the numbers for drones: zero, none, zilch -- and not a red cent.

Over 11,000 bird-strike incidents (with full-sized aircraft) were reported in 2013. During that same period the number for drone-strikes was... ZERO!

We all remember the United flight that crashed into the Hundson river as a result of bird-strike. Not a recreational drone to be seen at the time.

The bottom line is that yes, there is a small degree of risk associated with the use of recreational drones but it is very, very clear that those who fear for their jobs and those who want to sell the sensational have both worked to grossly over-state the magnitude of this problem.

Of course there will always be idiots who act in a way that endangers the safety of others. However, even under existing laws, the act of reckless endangerment covers that type of activity -- whether it's done with a drone, a car or an axe.

Once drones are made illegal, only the criminals will have them. Now is that a situation we really want?

Never underestimate the stupidity of a politician -- history is filled with evidence as to the risks associated with doing so.

Cite for some of the stats used above

Comment Re:Of course not. (Score -1, Troll) 307 307

The scary thing is that these days, you can't trust a single-thing that the US government says or does -- so why would you think that this was a new thing?

To he honest, I don't know if the moon landings were faked but, given the technology of the day (especially computer tech), I for one would *never* have signed up to be an astronaut on those missions.

Given the way governments of the world have proven themselves to be highly deceptive and untrustworty and much as I'd love to believe that all the stuff I saw as a kid in respect to the moon landings was true... there *has* to be a haunting doubt in the back of my mind.

I'm not going to say either way -- except that I would *not* be surprised if the conspiracy theorists were, at some stage in the distant future, proven right.

Comment Re:Won't catch on. (Score 1) 98 98

Absolutely correct. We always have a few spare pairs of goggles and/or an LCD monitor for spectators to use and that's what makes the difference.

Spectators can become a passenger on any of the craft in a race, simply by changing the receiver channel on their goggles or screen. Whenever people try out the goggles or screens they're blown away and have nothing but a long list of superlatives streaming from their mouths.

Imagine streaming this stuff live over the Net from each of the craft being raced and allowing viewers (from anywhere in the world) to switch back and forth between craft. That's one thing F1 racing doesn't offer and yet F1 is a very popular spectator sport with far fewer crashes and much less adrenaline on the part of spectators.

Comment Re:Let's go to the next level (Score 1) 98 98

Even a slight mid-air collision tends to knock both quads to the ground with significant damage.

BS. The 250-sized mini racing quads are tough -- EXTREMELY tough. They're designed to withstand enormous punishment and a mid-air collision is unlikely to produce any more than a broken prop or two -- I know, I race every weekend and the only bits I have to replace are propellers, despite a large number of crashes.

Comment Re:USA in good company... (Score 5, Insightful) 649 649

Not only that... but when I read stories in the media of a tyranical state executing those who they allege have committed crimes against their culture or religion I usually think ISIS and some guy with a sword, gun or flamethrower -- yet once again, this time, it is the good old US of A who plans to engage in such an act of barbarism.

How sad it is that the USA stoops to such hypocrisy while on the one hand condemning ISIS, Al Qaeda etc, yet on the other, engaging in exactly the same acts of cruelty and disregard for human life that they do.

ISIS and Al Qaeda kill innocent people by way of suicide bombings, executions etc. The USA kills innocent people (and call it collateral damage) by way of drone strikes on people they merely "suspect" of being "insurgents" and engage in executions of those who they find guilty of breaching their legal and moral standards.

Those who deserve to lead do so by example -- not by saying "do as we say, not as we do". Sadly, the USA doesn't have the testicular fortitude to do so and prefers instead to preach from the bible of hypocrisy.

Tragic.

My sympathies to all US citizens -- your government and your judiciary is making you look bad.

Far better to lock this guy up for the rest of his natural life so that you can retain the "moral high ground" -- whilst also ensuring that he does suffer for his crime, for a lot longer than a few minutes on a table or in a chair.

Comment Re:AH hahaha only 33000 rpm? (Score 1) 72 72

Yep, "it idles" woohoo!

Not only that but the parts I saw being modeled and printed were low-stress components such as the stand (wow!) and the exhaust tube.

Were the compressor and turbine wheels printed? Those are the crucial parts and the ones exposed to maximum stress.

A great proof of concept but they tell us that this was made using materials "not available to the hobby industry" so why does it perform so poorly, especially since they claim to have enhanced the design.

I smell marketing department hype here ;-)

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.

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