May 27, 2014

Getting Fancier with the 3DRobotics IRIS

After lots of practice I’m getting more comfortable flying the quadcopter. That’s not to say it’s easy (or not still terrifying), but it’s getting more familiar.

My next challenge is to get some interesting shots with the mounted GoPro. This weekend I did some flying upstate, and made this compilation. Some shots are a little shaky but overall it’s a fun first foray into ariel videography.

May 13, 2014

Exploring an Abandoned German WW2 Bunker

I find this stuff fascinating. More good urban exploration at http://www.reddit.com/r/urbanexploration

May 10, 2014

More 3DRobitics IRIS Footage

I took the beast out earlier today. Flying the IRIS is a lot more difficult than flying in the simulator I’ve been using (Heli-X). It’s also still terrifying; it feels like placing a thousand dollar bill in the grass and watching it blow around, hoping it’ll get back to you.

May 5, 2014

Chainlinking

As far as I can tell, there’s no word for that thing when a website links a few consecutive words of text. For example, if I was talking about Charlie Sheen I might mention he’s a had some trouble with the law. (See what I did there?)

So I’d like to formally submit my term, “Chainlinking”:

Chainlinking. When a website hyperlinks a few consecutive words, usually to provide background on a topic. Often snarky. Usually annoying.

Lastly, I should add that there’s another definition for chainlinking on Urban Dictionary. My definition is decidedly different, and has nothing to do with a bunch of dudes blowing each other.

May 1, 2014

More Quadcopter Footage

I snuck out onto the roof tonight and took the IRIS up for a spin. This was my first flight with the Tarot stabilization gimbal and GoPro, and besides for a little gimbal malfunction at the end, everything went great. Can’t wait to keep practicing and filming. It’s very addictive.

April 30, 2014

Storj – Dropbox for the Future

A lot of people are excited about a company called Storj. To some, Storj represents the “next-level shit” that bitcoin enthusiasts have been awaiting for years.

In a nutshell, Storj promises cloud storage that’s between 10-100x cheaper than Dropbox or Google Drive, and that’s 100% secure, encrypted, and decentralized. Which means that your files can’t be subpoenaed or viewed by anyone else but you.

But what’s really exciting and smells like “the future” is the fact that individuals will soon be able to rent out their spare hard drive space to Storj to make money. Think about it – since the data is encrypted, there’s no worry about having it peppered across hundreds of stranger’s hard drives. It also adds a layer of redundancy, so your files can never be “lost” or “deleted”.

If you want to dive deep into the details, this thread on the Bitcoin Forum is where all the action is happening.

Pretty cool stuff. Let’s hope Storj can meet everyone’s expectations.

April 27, 2014

My first weekend with the 3D Robotics IRIS

As alluded to in my previous post, I just picked up a multi-rotor remote controlled vehicle. And it’s awesome.

I managed to jerry rig an old Flip video camera to the front and record some test flights. The grainy footage and grating sound makes it seem like the IRIS is a piece of junk, but flying it is a completely different story. It’s stable, responsive, and a real thrill.

Here’s a combination of a few test flights in White Plains and Forest Hills. They’re pretty tame since I’m still terrified of crashing the thing.

When I get more practice (and a GoPro camera with stabilization gimbal) I’m hoping I’ll be able to take footage like this. This looks like a [Toby, earmuffs] shitload of fun.

Send in the drones!

How to fly a quadcopter

If you’re just getting into flying multi-rotor aircraft (me, for example) this is one of the most helpful beginner videos I’ve come across.

In related news, I just received my 3D Robotics Iris and it’s amazing. More on that to come later.

April 4, 2014

Embedding Posts from Bitcoin Megaphone

I just added a cool new feature to Bitcoin Megaphone. Now, each post’s permalink has an “embed” button, which lets you embed that post anywhere on the web.

This opens up the content to anyone who wants to categorize it or share it in new and creative ways. Enjoy!

While we’re on the topic, here are some of my favorite posts so far.

March 19, 2014

Bitcoin Megaphone

Last week I had a crazy idea for a website. This week I’m proud to announce BitcoinMegaphone.com. Let me explain the idea and why I’m so excited about it.

The website is based on two basic rules: Anyone can post, and anyone can profit.

Rule 1: Anyone can post

In this regard it’s like Twitter, but instead of being limited to 140 characters, you’re charged per character. So the only limit to the size of a post is the size of your wallet.

If you wanted to post a message the length of a tweet (140 characters), it would cost around $0.08 (based on the current Bitcoin/USD exchange). Posting just a bit.ly URL costs around a penny. If you want to stand out and post a chunk of text, the price (along with the post’s visibility) goes up.

So that’s the first part of the website. It’s got kind of a “Million Dollar Homepage” vibe to it. Ok, so far so good.

Rule 2: Anyone can profit

This is where things get interesting.

Every time someone creates a post, a “virtual tipjar” is automatically generated for that post. Each post has its own unique tip jar, and it’s baked right into each post’s URL. And here’s the kicker – only the original creator of the post is given the keys to the tip jar. This is possible thanks to the ingenious system of public/private key generation that’s a part of the Bitcoin system. So any time you see a post on Bitcoin Megaphone, you can send money to it and the author gets 100%.

This lets people get a return on their investment, and offers incentive to post and share funny, engaging, or timely content. Getting social currency in actual money is much more enticing than the meaningless Retweets and Likes we’re all so obsessed with.

There’s already a post that cost $15 where someone jokingly referenced the infamous Nigerian Prince scam email. It hasn’t gotten any tips yet, but I applaud the author’s balls:
http://bitcoinmegaphone.com/1FMiqFSdHwAZF9SKi8DVLUGfghEeAyWwSZ/

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here’s a post where the author only spent $0.08, but has already made $0.40 in tips, making about 4x his/her investment. (It’s a cute emoticon, by the way):
http://bitcoinmegaphone.com/14XMmrqXiUcpPHySzj4SXSPyxLPiVVgoiX/

Why I’m Stoked

Before Bitcoin, it would have been impossible to create a website like this. There are no credit cards to hook up, no user accounts to create and spam with marketing emails; no annoying ads that disrupt the experience of exploration and discovery; no annoying comments to moderate. It’s just content and micropayments.

There are a lot of smart and talented people looking at micropayments as the future of online publishing. Personally, I have no idea how things will shake out, but I’m excited to keep watching this living breathing ecosystem evolve.

In Summary

Right now on the internet, text is a commodity (think of those walls of text on your crazy friend’s Facebook page). Bitcoin Megaphone transforms strings of text from a commodity to a unique store of value. And that’s some pretty interesting shit.

PS – I was considering posting this entire post on Bitcoin Megaphone for $21.30, but decided it would be weird on launch day :-p