Quadcopter fun (and tragedy): Ares QX 130

Ares QX 130

This weekend my girlfriend got me an Ares Ethos QX 130 quadcopter for my birthday. I started flying RC helicopters a little while ago and have enjoyed it, however lately my helicopter had been flying poorly (it has a vibration to it that messes with the video but also seems to cause erratic flying).

Ares QX 130 quadcopter

We headed out to the park and I immediately had a blast flying the QX 130 quadcopter. It was incredibly easy to control and zipped around quick and with style. The video it took was also pretty neat, especially from some pretty impressive heights.

The first two flights went quite well, however I soon learned that the QX 130 can fly incredibly high and has more range than I imagined. During the third flight the quadcopter flew higher than it had previously (which I at first thought was cool) and before long it was just a speck in the sky. I figured it was probably best to lower the altitude, however at this point I lost sight of the quadcopter in the sun. When I found it again it was much further away than I anticipated and I tried to bring it back toward me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell which direction the quadcopter was facing and I couldn’t bring it any closer to me. At this point I panicked and shut off the throttle but also lost sight of it again.

Long story short, I dropped the quadcopter to the ground outside of the park and somewhere past the road, however I couldn’t see where it landed as the road was up an hill. I spent a few hours walking around the thick brush trying to find it and couldn’t locate it. We ended up deciding it was lost for good and headed home (as it was 95 degrees out). Luckily after a few hours I was able to convince Vanessa to come back out to the park with me and we ended up finding the QX 130 much further away than I had anticipated.

Ares QX 130 quadcopter

I’m glad we were able to find the quadcopter, however one of the motors is now broken (probably because I kept trying to run up the throttle while looking for it). At least I got some pretty neat video out of the ordeal, which you can check out below. I’m going to order a new motor and hopefully get the quadcopter back in the air this weekend (if I can figure out how to change it).

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My new Galaxy Tab 3

Last week I picked up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0″. I’ve always been an Apple guy. I have a MacBook Pro, iPhone 5 and for awhile I had an iPad 4. I sold the iPad 4 before the Air came out and planned to upgrade but ended up getting an Xbox One instead. So I went awhile without a tablet and basically picked up the Galaxy Tab 3 on a whim since it was on sale and within my budget.

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So far it hasn’t been too bad and experience, but it hasn’t been amazing either. The Tab 3 isn’t too much cheaper than the first gen iPad Mini, but based on its performance it feels like it shouldn’t be priced over $99. It’s not the worst in the world, but at times it’s pretty bad. There have been times when I hit the home button and have to wait 3 seconds for the home screen to display. I found that for the best performance you have to manually close out of apps, otherwise they continue to run in the background bogging down the system. On Apple devices I’m used to hitting the home button and switching between apps while letting iOS manage everything in the background.

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One thing I do like about the Android operating system is widgets. It’s nice to have updating information on the home screen and various pages. Being able to check baseball scores, news headlines and weather by simply looking at the screen is a very nice feature. (Speaking of baseball scores, why is there no ESPN Score Center app on the Play store? There’s only a Brazilian version. Strange).

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I also really love the Samsung Book Cover case which I got for $35 at Best Buy on clearance (it’s usually $50). It’s a nice quality case that looks great on the device and feels great when using the tablet or carrying it. I definitely recommend this case!

The only other thing I really have to say is the cameras are not that great on the device. It has a 3MP rear camera and 1.3MP front camera and neither take great pictures, though the front camera is functional enough for Skype. I’m not that concerned about the rear camera because I don’t often use a tablet camera to take pictures since I always have my phone with me (the iPhone 5’s rear camera is 8MP for reference).

I bought the 8gb model and a 32gb micro SD card. I didn’t realize you couldn’t install any apps on the SD card, so my 8gb device storage is already almost full. It is nice to be able to use the SD card for movies, books and other media files at least. With the iPad I’d often have to delete games and apps when I was traveling to make room for movies (I had the 32gb version but had a lot of large games).

I love gadgets so it’s been nice exploring and learning about my first Android device. I still prefer iOS and Apple hardware, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 isn’t bad. I look forward to learning more about it and experimenting some more as time passes.

iPad: Final Fantasy Dimensions / The Walking Dead

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I’ve used the first gen Kindle Fire and the 7″ Kindle Fire HD and enjoyed both, but I finally decided to become an iPad owner. I’d describe myself as quite the Apple fan. I love their story, I love their attitude and I love their products. I use a 13″ MacBook Pro (2012) and the iPhone 4 and love both. They’re both very solid, sleek and sexy products with great operating systems (I also run Windows 8 on my MacBook and enjoy it). I love the iTunes store and have a lot of iTunes content, and I could still access all of my Amazon content via the Kindle and Instant Video apps, so the iPad was a great investment in my eyes.

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So now I’m the owner of a white 32gb iPad 4 as you can see in the blurry as crap picture above (sorry about that). So far it’s been a great experience. The retina display is absolutely amazing, text on websites looks incredibly crisp and HD movies look absolutely stunning. The amount of apps available is a HUGE improvement over the Kindle Fire HD (sorry Amazon) and I’m glad I made the purchase.

I’ve been enjoying Final Fantasy: Dimensions a lot so far. Dimensions is a modern Final Fantasy game created in the old 16 bit style and it’s a wonderful throwback. It looks and sounds great and so far it is a blast to play. It is an episodic title and the prologue is free, chapter 1 is $2.99 and the 3 remaining chapters are $6.99, or you can buy all of the chapters for $19.99. I think I’m going to buy the chapters as I get to them because the game is about 40 hours along and I’m sure it’ll take me at least several weeks to finish and I’ll probably get distracted.

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I’ve also been playing The Walking Dead, which I’ve played on the 360 but since the first episode is free I figured I’d try it out. I’m going to play the opposite type of character on my iPad playthrough, so I’m pretty much going to be a ruthless son of a bitch throughout the game 🙂 Should be fun.

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I’ve also checked out Infinity Blade II which looks amazing. If you have any other recommendations for must play games feel free to suggest them in the comments. Anyway, I’ve included a few more screenshots below. Enjoy!

Chris Pirillo unboxes a Kindle Fire HD 7″ and 8.9″

I love pretty much every video Chris Pirillo uploads to YouTube, but my all time favorites are his tech unboxing videos. Today he unboxed a Kindle Fire HD 7″ and 8.9″ live on YouTube and gave his first impressions. You can watch the recorded video below.

I’ve owned a 7″ Kindle Fire HD for about two months now and I absolutely love it. I use it to read books, magazines and newspapers, to watch movies and TV shows (especially Netflix and Hulu in bed), to browse the web, and lastly, to play games (such as Final Fantasy III or Angry Birds Star Wars). The screen looks amazing and the speakers are surprisingly loud compared to the original Kindle Fire (which I also owned, but sold to help purchase the Fire HD).

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Chris Pirillo is a long time tech journalist / personality and I’ve been a fan of him since he appeared on Call 4 Help back on TechTV. Today he runs LockerGnome.com where you’ll find all sorts of technology news and views, and he’s very active on YouTube (YouTube.com/lockergnome) with over 5,000 videos uploaded to date (with an accumulated 152,765,572 views) and several new videos a day.

Chris Pirillo on Call 4 Help (Sept. 21, 2001)

 

 

Sony streaming player fiasco

So this weekend I brought my Sony digital media player to my girlfriend’s house so that we could watch some movies (because who rents DVDs anymore, really?) However I forgot to throw the remote in my bag. No problem I thought, there’s an iPhone app that lets you control the device. I download the app and it tells me I need to turn the streaming player on first to set it up….Ok… The problem is, there is NO on/off button on the device at all. I’m not sure if Rokus and Apple TV devices are the same, but there is literally NO way to power on the device without the included remote.

I tried unplugging the device and plugging it back in which causes it to power on and display SONY on the TV, but it immediately goes into off / standby after it powers up. I tried pushing the reset button on the device which did the exact same thing as cycling the power.

I even bought a cheap universal remote thinking I could program it to turn on the Sony streaming player. False. None of the Sony codes would work with the device. Lastly I called Sony tech support only to be told that indeed there is no way to turn on the device without the remote, and I could order a new one for $45. Forty-five dollars? Are you kidding? The streaming player itself was $99, who would pay half that price for a new, cheap remote (pictured below). I asked them if there was a way to program a universal remote only to be told they can’t help me unless I have a Sony universal remote and I’d have to call Phillips to see if they could help.

What a mess… I find it hard to believe that the ONLY way to turn the device on is with a cheaply made $45 remote you can only get through Sony. Not cool. I think I’ll be selling this device and getting an Apple TV.