Mazie Graduates to Bigger Car Seat

britax-marathon

We got Mazie’s next car seat today, a Britax Marathon. They had a sporting pink one with flowers all over it, but we went for the more neutral and car appropriate (oh, and washable) version.

Mazie tried it out at the store and she loved it, or at least she didn’t yell at us right away. She is big enough now that she can use the bigger car seats but not too big for her infant seat, so we’ve still been using that. I’ve been thinking that she finds it annoying and wants to move up to the real car seat and stroller combination. That way she can sit up and see more things. She’s always craning her head around trying to look at things. I’d find it annoying at least.

Mazie is finally over her cold. Just some minor sniffles at this point. Tammy and I were able to catch it before she fought it off. Luckily we are able to blow our nose and have cough drops.

T-Rex Assembled

I just spent the last 4 hours assembling my Align T-Rex 450SE. Luckily I got the high-end one that comes 80% pre-assembled. That is why it was 4 hours rather than 40. Man are the parts small. Physically this helicopter is all together, and I’ve even slapped the electronics on it, but now I need to wire it all up. Time to break out the soldering iron and then start getting it all “setup”. That means getting everything just so and finally able to fly with the thing. I expect this process to take close to infinite time. :-)

I’ll get another update when I have some breakthrough. I got the Reflex XTR training software for my PC and I’m hoping the actual helicopter is a bit easier to fly than the trainer, or that I had the trainer setup wrong. I crashed over and over and over.

Oh, and I got a new video solution for the remote control stuff. I’ll see if I can get a test video out sometime soon.

Mazie's Sick

So yesterday when I got home from work Mazie was having dinner and she was really sick. She didn’t seem nearly as sick when I went to work. She had a full-blown cold. She woke up this morning not feeling any better.

She has had a cold before, when she was very small. It wasn’t that big of a deal — runny nose and some mild coughing. This one is different though. This is her first, real cold. Nose is going crazy. She’s super-congested. Coughing stuff up. And I’ll tell you it’s killing me!

This morning I gave her a bath while Tammy was at the gym and after the bath, which I think she sort of liked with the cold and all, she would cough and then wimper. I could tell her chest was hurting when she was coughing. And what could I do? Zip. I just held her and she hung out with me a lot less excitable than she usually was. To prove the point, when Tammy got back from the gym Mazie just hung out with me and didn’t feel a need to jump into Tammy’s arms as fast as she possibly could (as is typical).

I sure hope she gets better soon. I don’t know how much of this I can take!

iPod Nano

B0007Y79B2.01._SCMZZZZZZZ_Happy Valentines day! My wonderful, beautiful wife and daughter decided to get me an iPod Nano for Valentine’s day. How fun! When the Nano was first released I convinced myself that I didn’t really care. Then a little after it was shipping I went to Best Buy and touched one. I shouldn’t have done that. The form factor is just so small, and the screen is nice (if small) and it just feels so nice in your hand.

I updated the firmware on it, got it setup in iTunes and I’m downloading a ton of photos to it right now (the other reason I wanted a to upgrade from my iPod Mini). I like it so far, of course what is not to like.

I was considering the idea of getting the “big” iPod at somepoint. No need to now, however I may reconsider if the rumors of this big screen, wide iPod turn out to be true.

First Attempt at RC Camera

Yesterday I received my recent order from Helidirect, a wireless video camera. This little toy is to be put on-board of various radio control things to record video from the car, helicopter or whatever. I gave it a run for the money today, the results weren”t great, but I”m encouraged that it can get much better. Feel free to jump to the videos right away.

heli-20060212 car-20060212

I have to figure some things out. First of all, the E-Sky Llama was almost impossible to fly with the 27g of the video camera and the 9v battery strapped to it. It did get off the ground, but it took a lot of force. The T-Rex I just ordered wont suffer this problem, but as it is, not really flyable to any extent. The other issue was my mount on both helicopter and my nitro car. I just slapped it on there which didn”t work so hot. First of all, the car throws a lot of force around and the 9v battery flew off the car. On the heli, there is a lot of vibration that messes with the picture. I also think I need to deal with interference off of the electric motor.

I plan on working on this a bit. Need to develop a real mount that attaches to the car/heli for real, along with a battery carrier. I”m hopeful that will get rid of a lot of the video noise.

Shotgun Microphone

camera-with-microphoneI’ve started to take more digital video now, and I was appalled by the quality of audio I was getting on my camera. My video camera is a high-quality camera, but it suffered miserable audio quality. This quote from a shotgun microphone comparison about sums it up.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the camcorder-mounted microphones that are standard issue on most DV camcorder’s are really about as useful as a breadstick in gathering high quality audio.

The problems with the built-in mic were mainly quiet audio from the people in frame, and the my booming voice whenever I spoke.

I decided to upgrade to an external microphone and went with the Rode Electronics VideoMic. Panasonic theoretically makes a hot-shoe microphone for my camera, but I never found it in stock anywhere. The Rode VideoMic plugs into the external microphone and requires a 9v battery. One of the slightly annoying things is that you have to remember to turn it on or you get no audio, but I’ve only done this once so far.

And it is well worth it. The audio quality is excellent. The shotgun effect is very effective. If the person operating the camera speaks it sounds natural and not booming. The only downside is that background noise in the video frame will be much more noticeable. It’s size may put many off, but there simply isn’t a good solution to getting audio recorded in a really small package.