Photo testing the Nexus 7

sunrise photo using Nexus 7 camera (click for original)

sunrise photo using Nexus 7 camera (click for original)


I’m in the process of evaluation the Google / ASUS Nexus 7 tablet. This is the 2013 or 2nd generation model.

The primary test is as a aviation flight planning and navigation device. I’ll be comparing it to the iPad Air. (The iPad Mini would be a better test from a size or portability perspective but I don’t own an iPad Mini.)

While I have the Nexus 7 I decided I should also test it as a general purpose mobile device since most people would not buy it as a unitasker.

The camera takes pictures which are 2592×1944. I decided a sunrise would be a good test with its extreme dynamic range. You can see the full size by clicking on the picture.

Note: this blog automatically recompresses images to 85% quality so the original image on the devise is a larger file size and is somewhat less grainy than the copy on this blog.

Personal drones – who gets to decide ?

Someone created a video of fireworks using one of the growing populations of quad-copters. This is not actually a drone. It’s really an remote control aerial craft. (I’ve decided to differentiate RC craft from drones by the presence of autonomous flight capabilities – which are now available on some of these personal devices.)

Anyway, the video shows a professional fireworks display recorded from the quad-copter and the operator flies the craft right into the display.

There are lots of comments on the video and most fall into either "beautiful" or "safety". However, there is another category I did not see voiced – "who gets to choose?"

Here is my first line of questioning …

Can people attending the event see the quad-copter in the fireworks ? Does it detract from the visual display? I’m guessing a few people may have seen it as it was illuminated by one of the bright explosions but probably not too many people actually noticed it.

Here is my second line of questioning …

The operator of the quad-copter thought it was cool to fly his craft into the fireworks. OK, unless there is some regulation, let’s assume he is within his rights.

Now, in 2015 and 10 million people have seen the video and think it is really cool. 1% of those want to make their own video of fireworks up close. 1/10 of 1% of those happen to choose the same display. There are now 100 quad-copters flying within the same fireworks display.

What happens when 100 RC craft are flying in close proximity to each other ? Will 100 quad-copters be visible to the public ? Will 100 quad-copters run the risk of colliding and crashing? What happens the next year ? Or at some other event ? What happens when those quad-copters are upgraded to drones ?

I’m not answering any of the questions I pose.

the video that got me asking these questions

What’s It #22 – commercial coffee grinder burrs

Grindmaster 875 - 5lb coffee grinder
Grindmaster 875 – 5lb coffee grinder

I've had a Grindmaster coffee grinder for a few years. Recently, while getting a tour of Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting Co., I spotted a similar (but much newer) Grindmaster. It turns out they had recently picked it up on the used market and it was in need of a good cleaning and tuneup.

I offered to take it home and go over it completely.

The machines are made to be easy to work on. I disassembled the outer housing and found lots of old coffee grounds inside. Add some humidity over a few years and there was caked on crud in random corners.

After getting it all clean on the outside, I removed the motor and disassembled the grinding unit. Once it was clean, I inspected the burrs.

One thing seemed odd. The burrs seemed to fit better than I had recalled from my own grinder. Curiosity got the better of me and I had to pull the burrs from my own unit and compare. Indeed they are different.

difference - ignore that the auger is attached to my burrs
difference – ignore that the auger is attached to my burrs

I finished the cleaning and reassembled the grinder (and put mine back together too). I polished the hardware and the grind setting knob for good measure. I then adjusted both grinders and ran a test grind at different settings to compare.

While the burrs of my unit are newer, the ESCR grinder actually runs easier. My grinder tends to want to clog at the finest setting.

grind test
grind test

Greasing hinges 16 feet in the air

Every year (or so) I need to grease the hinge pins which hold the 4000 lb door in place. It's not the most enjoyable task given my strong sense of self preservation and fear of heights.

Thankfully BARRETT helps out. You may recall BARRETT from July 2010 when I added “remote control“.


What’s It #22?

what is it?
what is it?

It’s been a while since a new visual quiz has appeared here. I’ve been working on a project for a friend and found this interesting. What is it?

VA to ME and back without refueling

950nm round trip
950nm round trip, 7 flight hous

I’m just back from this year’s Chicken-Palooza event in. Maine. I took lots of pictures and video and will put together a “documental” on the event over the next week.

In the mean time I thought someone might be interested in the performance of the auxiliary fuel tank in the RV-8. This trip was a perfect example of the type of trip it was designed for long trip with no fuel at the destination.

I won’t know my fuel totals until I fill up tomorrow but the AUX tank worked as advertised. I flew a total of 950nm with no useful tailwind (2-4kts head wind up and +/- 1kts tailwind home).I think I’ve got at least 10 gallons left but won’t know for sure until I go get more gas.

I made it from the Eastern Shore of VA past Concord, NH on the north bound leg before the AUX was dry. I used less than 5 gallons of fuel from the main tanks for the trip up. That left more than 35 gallons of fuel to get home. A typical one-way flight is 24-28 gallons.

The Devastator is a serious long range bomber now!