For quite some time I have been considering getting into the world of (or should that be the air of?) remote control flying machines such as quadcopters and the bigger brothers hexacopters and octocopters.
Recently while enjoying a nice day out shopping with my wife (we’ve all been there haven’t we) and I saw a shop that appealed to all my basic masculine needs. It was a boy toy shop for grown ups. Quicker than ‘er indoors could say “does my backside look big in this” I was detouring from the tent – er clothes – shop and meandering my way across the mall (hi Tiffany if you’re reading this – how about your comeback tour getting over to the UK? We have Europe’s largest shopping centre right on my doorstep) to Menkind.
Think for a second about that. A shop called Menkind. In this day and age of rampant feminism a shop that dares sell stuff to males.. Just a heads up ladies – there are no woman seats, unlike shoe shops which have male seats with popcorn while women fight to the death over the last pair of Jimmy Chews (alright already, I don’t want to sound like I take an interest in girly things. I know it’s Choo. Just wait until you get home and I cover them in ham slices and let the dog in. Tell me I am wrong then).
There’s another thing. Go into any shop that sells gadgets or pluggy in things and you get bombarded by extended warranty offers. Why not on a pair of shoes that cost a month’s wages and still break before the sticker comes off the bottom?
Where was I? Ah yes. I was drifting across towards the shop that glowed and I swear it had heavenly music coming from somewhere. Gold gates, masses of scantily clad angel girls all beckoning me into it.
Sorry about that, back to normal after a cold shower.
So I walked into this.. masterpiece full of Batman Neon lights and fold up tools for removing the headlight cover from a 1940s car. This shop had everything. It even had a car driving up and down on the window. On the actual window. Like something out of Mission Impossible. It must have been done with mirrors or something. What an age we live in.
Along one wall was a row of quadcopters. After spending the obligatory 5 minutes drooling a very knowledgeable member of staff (a girl no less) leapfrogged over the shambling wrecks of other men trying to get the stickers back on a Rubik’s Cube and somersaulted in front of me. Cue another heavenly fanfare.
“So, you are looking at quadcopters” she stated. I even heard the comma.
“I am indeed good man. Can you tell me the flight characteristics, expected flight time, lift capacity and control distance of each model please?” was what I wanted to say.
What actually came out was “want want want want want want want”.
“Ah, a tough customer. This is the one for you” she stated. She’d make a good statesman.
So off I skip – er manly stomp – to the checkout to pay for my pretty.
Wordpress rant at this point:
I hate WordPress.com’s new editor. Whenever I get to the bottom of the page while typing my text disappears and I have to stop, scroll down and begin typing again, totally losing my train of thought.
There it did it again when I pressed Enter. Scroll up automatically WHEN I press Enter, not when I start typing. It is most disconcerting.
Where was I? Ah yes. I was paying for my new quadcopter before She Who Must Be Obeyed got out of the changing room with two new canoes bungee strapped to her feet. Why God only knows, we live at the top of a hill. Flooding affects the poor people at the bottom of the village. It’s called Flood Plain Avenue for a reason and why we live at Flood Plain View.
So I manage to pay before my flexible friend shatters under the weight of her new Jimmy Cruise (ships), solve the Rubik’s Cube and put it back on the shelf to the sound of acolytes chanting my name. Truly I am Emperor of this new land.
I float on a cloud back across the heads of shoppers and land back in my front row seat to watch the end of the fight. The bloke in the dress won, but only because he outran the woman with the sharpened walking stick.
Someone had stolen my popcorn. Expletive deleted!
I nestle the quadcopter box under the pile of canvas sheets, tarpaulins and tents and await the return of my dainty little princess.
After 154 hours she returns (something about the fire brigade being called to get her out of the cowshed she was jammed into to try on her arks), takes one look at the lorry containing her underwear sails and asks me what the box is.
Being a brave man I tried to tough it out. When I woke up she was towering above me holding a quadcopter box, a petrol can and a lighter. Where the hell did she hide that?
“Want to try that again?” she asked in the dulcid tones she normally reserves for firemen and cake sellers.
I told her everything and she glanced over to where I was frantically pointing at a derelict store.
I willingly gave my bank card to the love of my life and she went to the nearest jewellery shop to buy herself a couple of anchors for her ears to go with her submarines.
I managed to get home. The bank, and my back, were both broke from the exertion.
Once the aircraft carriers and marquees were ensconced in the walk in cupboard (ok it is a hole smashed into the castle next door) she gave me the box containing the quadcopter.
Faster than you can say “these things have a 2 hour charging time” I was waiting 4 hours for the quadcopter battery (which was the size of a grain of sand) to charge.
Fast forward a few days. I can press a button and make the quadcopter flip. King of the world, baby!
Now to learn turning and coming back to me.
As I watched my quadcopter sail into the distance at the speed of light I tried to get it to return. Out of range of the controller the brave little quadcopter gallantly flew on towards the great unknown. It was last seen heading towards the sea and Norway.
So I am now looking forward to convincing RentATent that I need a new quadcopter, only this time bigger with more features.
One of the first features I will be adding will be a device that I have called a LinkIt One which is a wonderful little board with built in wi-fi, GPS and can send and receive SMS text messages.
Just imagine: “GPS my quadcopter”
“I am at x, y and 470 feet above sea level, come and get me please.”
I can write the code to make the aforementioned LinkIt One do that.
I just need to generate the funds to purchase a quadcopter strong enough to carry the LinkIt One with a decent flight time, and keep the funds away from Shoe Shop Annie who will blow it on ropes for her boots or something.
Wish me luck, and feel free to comment with any suggestions.
Tiffany, I was serious about the comeback tour visiting the malls of the UK. I’d even sacrifice some of my quadcopter funds to buy tickets.
Menkind is online at http://menkind.co.uk
LinkIt One is a product made by MediaTek http://labs.mediatek.com/site/global/developer_tools/mediatek_linkit/hdk_intro/index.gsp
This post is not an advertisement for either of the two companies listed above.