Planes, Trains, Bots & Games (and a few gadgets too)

The Hobby Guy

August 10th, 2012 at 3:31 am

Plume in Mysterious Mars Photo Snapped by Curiosity is Identified by NASA and Google Officials

The LA times reported that during the Mars landing Curiosity captured a mysterious photo of a plume of dust off in the distance. Lots of speculation has circled the web as to what exactly the plume was from.  With further images from Curiosity and a quick consult with Google Maps,  NASA officials have determined the true source of the dust plume. NASA announced early today that the plume was actually caused by a Google Streetview vehicle which is in operation in the area. Google joined NASA officials in the announcement to discuss the new Beta release of Google Streetview: MARS. Below is the confirming image from Google Streetview:Mars.
Google Streetview: Mars
Ok it is all just a bit of fun.  Way to go NASA Curiosity team! You inspire us all!

August 1st, 2012 at 3:13 pm

GoPro Wifi BacPac App – Not Here Yet!

Well I could not stand the waiting anymore, so I called GoPro support today (again) and asked “When is the Go-Pro WiFi BacPac App for iPhone or Android coming out?” The answer from GoPro was: “Another month. End of August 2012. Really this time we are certain.” I purchased the GoPro Wifi BacPac on June 4th for my GoPro HD Hero2 but I have to wait until September to the functionality there promo video clearly states it does? What?

I love GoPro but they could have either waited to release the hardware or have at least released some functional app in the interim. Is it really that hard? 10 Year old kids are writing apps that sell millions – what is the deal here? I thought GoPro would be different than all the “big guys” and they are right on track as being the same. Change my mind GoPro! Please! Release the GoPro Wifi BacPac. Perhaps the team at Parrot (makers of the Ar.Drone) could take over GoPro and get the app out!

Ok, I am venting, but it is really a product I want to like. I have been flying my planes with the Gopro HD Hero2 and the WiFi BacPac just so I can say I did. But other than a glorified remote it is a let down that the BacPac App is not out yet. OK. I am done venting…….

June 15th, 2012 at 10:19 pm

R2-D2 Build Update: A&A Holo Projector Servo Frame Mod

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I have completed the A&A Holo Projector (HP) mounts.  The rear and top HP fit fine, but the front interferes with the Process State indicator (PSI) and will not fit with the 1.5″ tube for the Teeces PSI lights. I reworked the A&A servo mount plate and came up with a new design that moves the servos to one side and parallel to each other. I then mounted the articulating arms right to the servo horn. Take a look at the video or the pics on Flickr for details.

Below is a Pic of the foam mock up of the Modded A&A Fram (Top) and the stock frame. I will publish the doc for the mod shortly.


June 4th, 2012 at 5:17 pm

GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac Combo Kit Hands-On Review

Ever since I purchased the GoPro HD Hero 2 I have been waiting for the Wi-Fi BacPac to come out, and today June 4th, 2012 it is here. I am writing this as I unbox everything. Very exciting day.
GoPro Wi-Fi Combo Kit (BacPac & Remote) unboxing

GoPro quality is the impression you get when you un-box the Wi-Fi Combo Kit.  I purchased the GoPro wi-Fi Combo Kit  which includes a GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac and the GoPro Wi-Fi Remote.  In the future if you have multiple GoPro cameras you can use the same remote and just purchase the Wi-Fi BacPac.

The Combo Kit I purchased has the following:

  • GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac (with built in Li-ion Battery)
  • GoPro Wi-Fi Remote (with Built in Li-Ion Battery)
  • A Waterproof backdoor
  • A non-Waterproof backdoor
  • USB Cable for BacPac (charge and update)
  • Charging Cable for Wi-Fi Remote
  • Attachment Strap for Wi-Fi Remote
  • Manual

According to the notice in the box , the first step is to go to to check for any product updates.
The instructions are to update the GoPro HD Hero 2 camera and then register and update the GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac and Wi-Fi Remote. The process was pretty painless. Now on to the Remote and then the BacPac streaming.

GoPro Wi-Fi Remote

GoPro HD Hero2 with Wi-Fi Remote GoPro WiFi Remote Wrist Strap GoPro Wi-Fi Remote Keyring option

The Wi-Fi Remote just works. Simple as that. No 42 step binding process, it just worked out of the box. The instructions do show a connection process, but for me it worked  without any additional setup.  just like the GoPro the remote has only two buttons to interact with the camera, the Shutter/Select and the Power/Mode button. It all works very much the same as the primary buttons on the camera and the LCD updates with what you would expect to see on the GoPro itself. I did notice the GoPro was ever so slightly behind the remote, but only a split second behind. If you are looking for instant shutter response, not the remote camera you should be using – go for a DSLR. In typical GoPro fashion they have engineered several ways to use or carry the remote. You can use the keyring option or the supplied wrist strap.  Again, very familiar design options for GoPro users.   Battery Life – according to the GoPro Support website, the Remote battery will last for 5 to 6 hours of continuous use and it does not change the battery life of the GoPro Camera itself. In my opinon the Wi-Fi Remote gets a big thumbs up.


 GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac

One reason I wanted the Wi-Fi BacPac was for Live Streaming and according to the included user manual and as of today 6/4/2012 it does not seem to be a feature that is working yet. Although you can stream live to your mobile device still (or so I thought as I unboxed the BacPac and wrote this – keep reading), but in this case I am referring to live Internet streaming. In the user manual there is a note “*Live Streaming, video + photo sharing to the web and bluetooth will be available with a future downloadable product update at:”  No big deal I thought, as long as it is coming and I still have streaming to my iPad or Smart phone.

WAIT! OH NO GO PRO! I have been looking for the Android and iPad GoPro Apps so I could test the video streaming to my device and having a problem finding it. Have they are not released yet!? Wait, did that notice in the user manual mean ANY LIVE STREAMING is not working yet? Let me check the support website.  According to the GoPro Support website the Apps have not yet been released. What!? So I placed a call to GoPro to see if perhaps they are released and just the support site is out of date and I am just not finding the app in the Android or Apple marketplaces. According to live support, the Wi-Fi BacPac is being released in “stages” and the Apps will not be released for at least another month. But I have supports assurance that “it does work.”  Disappointing to say the least. WOW! It took a bit for support to even confirm that it was at least a month out. This has really turned into an OH NO GoPro review.

How did GoPro release this product without the apps or streaming being available? Right on the box it says “Remote Control + Live Broadcast Enable your GoPro Camera.” I love my GoPro but the Wi-Fi BacPac so far is a disappointment.  Sorry, but at this time the GoPRO Wi-Fi BacPac is a NOGO in my opinion. My recommendation is to HOLD OFF on purchasing the GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac until it is fully ready.

Adding insult to injury – here is GoPro’s Marketing video (released today 6/4/2012) showing features that are not available yet..

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