Just when I thought I’d finished this particular series, I decided to do an additional modification to the MJX and so it would have been completely remiss of me not to detail what I did and how things worked out. As I mentioned in Part 4, I’d been modifying the camera mount to try and get more stable shots and, even though my flying was improving, there was no way that I was going to produce smooth and steady video with these rigid mounts. I really did need a motorised gimbal and so that’s what I ended up getting, a two axis gimbal (to control pitch and roll) that kind of ticked all the important boxes and didn’t cost a ridiculous amount of money. I thought of getting a three axis gimbal, but with the type of video that I wanted to produce, a two axis should fit the bill quite well.
Following on from Part 3, just when I thought things were going quite well with the MJX the dash cam stopped working. So while waiting for a replacement camera I did some more work on improving the camera mount and I also put in further flying practice. While my flying skills had started to improve, I was still a little prone to flying into trees, though far less than earlier. In fact, I’ve managed to improve so much that I was recently able to walk the MJX about an area at Mossvale Park that is quite closed in and with more than enough trees and large overhanging branches that would have instantly taken out the MJX a week or so ago. That surprised me greatly and I had a bit of fun manoeuvring the MJX about before I moved to the large open area for some more vigorous flying and tuning. I guess I’d finally started to get the hang of things and it also helped that there was no wind about on this particularly cold morning, so I was looking forward to more of the same.
When I thought the MJX was utterly lost in that large gum tree, as I noted in Part 2, I immediately ordered a second one because of the trip into the High Country we had planned for the end of Easter. I really wanted to have the drone along to capture some aerial footage of the surrounds and get in more practice away from civilisation. But since retrieving the MJX, I still can’t believe how tough this drone really is, almost unbreakable. I’ve watched videos of drones crashing and being totalled at first strike and someone said that I should have bought a cheap $30-$40 drone because as a first timer I’d crash and break them, so better breaking a $30 drone than a $130 one. Given the number of crashes so far, I think I would have exceeded that $130 in cheap drones in the first week.
One of the things I found with learning to fly the MJX, following on from Part 1, is that I mastered the basics fairly rapidly and was able to control the drone far quicker than I had anticipated. Muscle memory started to take over the management of the controls joysticks and I was more gentle with the movements and so could control the MJX far more precisely. However, that didn’t help when something went a bit awry, such as the MJX heading towards a tree, where I would then do something silly rather than measured. That’s what happened around the end of my first week when I was about to land the MJX. I was at Mossvale Park and one of our hounds made a bee line for the MJX as it was descending, causing me to take it up far too fast, which took it towards a large gum tree across a nearby river.
After much thought and deliberation, driven by failure with alternative ideas, I finally succumbed to buying a drone (something I had been thinking about for a while). With the recent release of the DJI Mavic Air drone, which has received many accolades, I was about to put down some hard cash ($1300 worth) on one of these drones, when I had a return to sensibility. Not having ever owned a drone, I realised that spending that much on my first drone was kind of silly given the chances of crashes and the like. Even though the Mavic Air has all manner of built-in crash avoidance technology, nothing is infallible, least of all me. So I opted for something cheaper, ten times cheaper, and bought an MJX Bugs 3 drone for $130.
‘Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results...’ – Wikipedia. That’s one of the most simple definitions of SEO and you can find many and varied others on the internet, but they generally say much the same, if not in as fewer words. SEO has become something almost associated with the black arts in the way it is often portrayed and promoted as being complex, mysterious and supposedly impossible for the common person to understand. And while there are many references and guides on how to manage SEO for your website, much of it is written or described in less than easy to digest form. Though once again, the quality and ease of understanding varies from site to site.
Over the last 10 or so years I’ve acquired various notebooks and tablets to use as navigation aids for our Cruises after digital mapping became available and affordable, but I’ve always had an issue with mounting these devices on the dash of my Patrols. The problem is that with ever more curved and aesthetically pleasing interiors provided in modern 4WDs, there are fewer and fewer places and means by which to attach accessories to a 4WD dash, or elsewhere for that matter. Given that the use of electronic navigation devices by 4WD owners is almost ubiquitous, it’s odd that no manufacturer has really given much thought as to how 4WD owners could mount such devices and provide suitable mounting options. So it’s always been Heath Robinson to the rescue.
When the very first LED lights came out, they were usually available as a fairly simple torch; that’s what I remember anyway. The light was bright enough, but nowhere near as good as a regular globe and the only benefit was that the battery would last a lot longer. Back in those days I never envisaged that things would improve so significantly and so rapidly (one prediction that I got wrong). Such was not the case and those early, dim, LED lights transformed into something quite different indeed and almost overnight. Not only have they improved, they have taken over every aspect of lighting that you can imagine, from home lighting, camp lighting, car lighting to photography lighting and then some. And this story is a bit of an extension of an earlier story that I wrote a few years ago.
After I bought up my current common rail diesel (CRD) Nissan Patrol in 2008, one of the first modifications that I planned was the installation of a diesel chip. Diesel chips are piggy back Electronic Control Units (ECU) that can be programmed to override some functions of the factory ECU and improve engine power, torque and fuel economy. I’ve had experience with ECUs from my previous Di Patrols, which improved overall performance and fuel economy to some degree, so there was no reason why the same would not apply to the new CRD. The Di Patrol ECU only altered fuel delivery, so they weren’t overly sophisticated and sometimes introduced their own problems, and the CRD diesel ECUs were no different, as they too only adjusted fuel delivery. But then a new ECU came out offering much more and I was asked to do a test and review, which was something that I couldn’t refuse.
I more or less had the basics sorted out with the Android phone, so was it worth the angst, should I have just allowed everything to remain in their default configuration? No. Firstly, the whole idea of Android is that it is configurable (it’s not an iPhone), so why not use that ability to make it work like you want and not what someone imposed on you (sound familiar)? Secondly, as I pointed out, in its default form, Android simply allows apps far too much control and access to your life. Everything that you do and store on your phone is potentially open for any app to access and use for their own purposes, especially advertisers and marketing companies, and this is quite deliberate. You should be concerned and you should shut all of these entities out of your life, unless you deliberately invite them in. Thirdly, security is an ongoing issue that seems worse than was ever the case with the much maligned Windows operating system and anything to limit such issues is a must.