Heave

I’ve been regularly hanging around my Flickr account for a little while recently, for reasons which will become clear real soon now. The downside of this is the massive lack of any sort of productivity, but there’s a upside as well: old photos.

Like this one.

That would be my daughter (in the pink), pulling a huge length of washed up kelp (brown, becoming black, straggly holdfast stage-right) across Suiderstrand beach. And thanks to the magic of EXIF (Exchangeable image file format), I can tell you to the nearest second when this photo was taken:

This would then be a week or so before Little Miss Pink’s 6th birthday, and I think we can all agree that that’s a lot of seaweed to be pulling around when you’re just five years old.

I can also see that this image was taken on the old PoS (point and shoot, people, be nice) Sony DSC-HX300 camera with its amazing 50x digital zoom (not used on this occasion) which according to this blog last from about September 2013 until September 2015. Lovely device, but I grew out of it rather quickly.

And it was still in use by my boy until I upgraded again earlier this year to my 80D and passed the 700D down the family line. Now it becomes one of those pieces of technology that isn’t worth selling, but that will be worth holding onto only for the sentimental value in a few decades time. Although looking at the recent hipster resurgence in SLR and film, maybe there’s actually more reason to pop it safely back into its box and into the attic.

I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you…

So sang banjo enthusiasts and all round folk rockers, Mumford and Sons.

Now, I’m no fan of Marcus Mumford and his merry band of men, but they hit the proverbial on the proverbial with this one. As did I in this post, because my Lily drone is now overdue.

This isn’t a surprise to me. They let me know, in a characteristically transparent email [I’ve PDF’d it here] which they sent before Christmas. My Lily is now due sometime in Summer 2016 (the Northern Hemisphere version thereof, of course).

We’re still ironing out logistics for our new shipping timeline. We expect to fulfil all of our pre-orders in the Summer 2016. Details will be shared as soon as they are available. We promise 🙂

The open-ended nature of that “Summer 2016” promise is mildly concerning, but hey, we’ll get there.

What is disappointing is that between the previously promised shipping date and this new one, I’m doing two overseas trips – one a once-in-a-lifetime one, including some prime Lily-playing territory – and I’m rather sad to be missing that opportunity.

Sognefjord_norway1

The crew at Lily continue to stay in touch just about weekly, informing me of latest developments, test results and new staff. I still believe that this is going to happen (although some on Facebook are more dubious) – I just wish it had happened already.

On Lily

(Thankfully) before the Rand went really bad, I ordered a Lily. Not the flower of death, but the super cool drone which follows you around like a beagle expecting a snack. The waiting time before shipping was 9 months, presumably because they needed orders to make money to make drones. But they promised that they would keep in touch during the process and, I have to say, they have. I get an update about every two or three weeks on average. Sometimes they introduce new members of staff, sometimes they tell me about some robotics conference they have been to, and sometimes the updates are rather more technical.

Here’s a sample from the one that arrived last night, all about a pre-production take off, landing and camera test.

As you can see in this footage, there are three image quality issues: fisheye distortion, wobble, and stabilization. The team is on it, addressing each issue as follows:

  • The current dampening and wiring cause internal vibrations, resulting in wobble. We are adjusting the durometer of the vibration dampening system and re-assembling the wires to ensure this wobble is removed.

  • The unbalanced fisheye distortion is caused by a mistuning of the external polycarbonate lens. We have already re-tuned the external lens and this issue will not appear on the production version.

  • Our electronic stabilization software (EIS) was not used in this video. We will be porting this piece to the unit in the coming days and expect much better performance. More on that soon. That’s all for now!

So glad that they are adjusting the durometer of the vibration dampening system. Heaven only knows why the durometer of the vibration dampening system was unadjusted in the first place. Rookie error, guys. Even I know to adjust the durometer of the vibration dampening system before I do pre-production tests. (I would also probably have mistuned the external polycarbonate lens though. That’s always a tough one to remember.)

The Lily people say that they are still on schedule to ship in February, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a couple of delays. We’ll see. The thing is, the communication process has been so open and transparent, that I think I would be rather understanding if things were to run a bit late. And there’s a lesson for a lot of companies in there.

Lily

The temptation to pre-order one of these is almost unbearable. And, at “just” $529 including shipping from the good old US of A, it’s actually incredible value as well.

You can place your order here. The only issue is that it doesn’t ship until February next year.

I’m already twitching.

Photos shared

Those photos are finally up. Here’s the link to flickr. Taken with the new camera (a Sony DSC-HX300 in case you’re interested) and featuring mainly images of my fantastic flight on Sunday afternoon, but with some others interspersed in there as well.
Here, for example, is a crab. And that was basically taken at sea level.

The camera is great, but I have to get to know it and find my way around. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying its extra power and extra pixels.

Time continues to be an issue, but I shall almost certainly have some more blog postage tomorrow.

Til then…