Drones, Software, Tech

Unifly Launchpad – Drone Map

As part of my drone pre-flight checklist, I use Unifly Launchpad as a guide to what CASA regulations there are for that location.

As a novice UAV pilot, theres a steep learning curve. CASA has been very generous with its regulations in allowing drones to be used with very little restriction or tracking.

Launchpad is a free app available for iOS and Android. Aside from flight guidelines, it can be used for flight logging of multiple vehicles.

There are a number of CASA approved flight apps. However they are aimed at proper pilots with a subscription price tag to match. There is an official UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) app from an approved developer but its not available as of time of writing.

Australia flight maps and restrictions zones have been loaded. Combined with the GPS location, Launchpad can give advice on what flight restrictions there are in the location I’m at.

I’m not a hundred percent on how often Unifly are updating their data. Just as an example, I’m finding Launchpad has recommended 152.4 metres where the official CASA height limit in controlled airspace is 120 metres.

Again, I can’t stress highly enough that the regulations are for safety. I want to enjoy flying a drone knowing I’m not going to cause issues or injury. Its not just being aware of whats at ground level but everything above as well.

Ultimately I check back to CASA’s regulations as the final word.

Software, Tech

Miniflux

Miniflux is a simple fast web based RSS reader.

Its quick and easy to install. Only needing a webserver and php. Data is stored in SQLITE.

Miniflux

Most importantly:

  1. Responsive design. So it works with mobile devices and desktops.
  2. Open source. So it can be self hosted. Or if you want the developer offers a hosted version.
  3. It respects privacy and doesn’t throw advertising at you. Thats not to say that subscribed RSS feeds don’t though.

I’ve used Miniflux on and off over the years. Recently returning to it. To better keep track of the more outlying websites that I like to read but sometimes forget.

Its a straightforward application that does one thing really well. This is where the web is great. A web application hosted online thats accessible from everywhere with no local installation required. Take that mobile apps!

Note that the self hosted route, requires some server side knowledge and a host for it to live on.

Highly recommended.

Tech

In praise of trucks

So after much waiting. We got new MacBook Pros.

Along with an avalanche of critique from all corners.

This was bound to happen. All that pent-up waiting meant a level of expectation which was going to be impossible to assuage. Even Tim Cook felt enough to write an affirmation of Apple’s continued development of Macs and MacOS.

I buy and use Macs because they suit my needs. They’re solid machines with good warranty support. Sure, they aren’t the only ones with these features.

Add to this that MacOS is based on UNIX. An OS that I’ve long used and prefer.

I’ve had a number of iPads and experimented with fitting them into my life. However they always seem to fall short. This may be my fault but I end up reaching for the laptop.

Perhaps I’m not making that logical leap. Not being able to push past decades of experience to fully utilise an iPad.

So I’d shifted to a phone and a laptop as a primary setup some time ago. The iPad dropping back to a secondary screen for reading and casual browsing. All up its been a good balance.

Thats not to say that new Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 hasn’t tempted me with the idea of a single device that can do the job of a laptop and tablet. It just means going back to Windows though.

Not quite sure I’m ready for that. In truth, the only thing holding me to MacOS is Xcode.

Oh. And Notes.

And Calendar.

And Reminders.

And Apple Music.

And iCloud drive.

Hmm…Going to have to think this through.

General

Do we have flying cars yet ?

I’ve been a commercial programmer for too many years. Lived through the rise of personal computing, emergence of internet, survived internet bubbles and am the proud owner of many generations of feature / smart phones.

I’d say I’ve been pretty fortunate to be doing custom work. The market isn’t that big in Australia.

Times are more interesting then ever. So many new technologies like machine learning, affordable cloud computing / services.

Theres not only an app but an API for whatever crosses the mind.

So as a programmer its getting harder and harder to work out whats worth investing time in. Let alone working out what will pay.

But I’m excited to find out either way.