I’ve got a soft spot for time-lapse stuff. Most of the time I make my own videos using a webcam because I have things all set up so that it’s easy and quick for me. However, because the webcam is such low quality, I’ve always had a desire to do some higher resolution time-lapse. With my DSLR (a Pentax K100D), I knew that I would be able to take much better quality photos, but the problem was that it didn’t have a handy way for taking a photo at set intervals. Sure, I could have bought an intervalometer, but that costs money and would be another gadget to add to my collection. Then I came across this instructables: Turn a TI Graphing Calculator into an Intervalometer. All you needed was a TI Calculator, the old Calc-to-Calc link cable (which had a 2.5mm plug) and a DSLR that would accept a 2.5mm remtoe trigger shutter. I had all three.
I dug through my old boxes, pulled out my old TI-85 Calculator and dusted it off. By “dusted it off” I mean I cleaned off the battery corrosion that had built up over the years. Some fresh batteries, and a moment of silence for all the games and programs I wrote in high school that had died with the batteries, and I was ready to program my own intervalometer. If you can’t find your old calculator, you can search for a TI calculator on eBay. Make sure it’s one with a link cable (which you can also find cheap on eBay).
It took a few minutes for me to remember how the TI-85 worked, but before long I was writing my first program in probably 10 years. The Instructables suggested the following code for a TI-83 calculator:
: Prompt A
: While 1
: For (H,1,A,1)
This caused a problem, as the TI-85 calculator doesn’t have the integral Send() function needed to send a signal along the link cable. A little bit of research, and I discovered that you needed to use Outpt(“CBLSEND”,A) instead of Send(A) for the TI-85 calculator. Note, for TI-85 owners, you’ll need at least v9.0 or higher ROM for this. You can check your version by hitting [2nd] [MODE] [ALPHA] [S] and then [EXIT]. I also added an extra line that displays “SNAP!” when a photo should be taken to help troubleshoot if things aren’t working. You can get even fancier with this program, but this is the basic version that should work.
I plugged the calculator into the camera with the link cable, and fired up the program. The first few times I tried really low numbers. Entering 100 for A should give you about a second between shots. While I was testing I had it in RAW mode and it just wasn’t capable of shooting that quickly. I finally settled on entering 5000, which gives me about 12 seconds in between shots, resulting in about 5 shots a minute. I also switched from RAW mode to JPG, since I don’t want to deal with converting all those RAW files into JPGs later. I also set everything (focus, aperture, exposure) to manual so that they wouldn’t change in between shots. I also turned of the photo preview so the LCD wasn’t wasting batteries showing the picture it just took. Then I put the camera on a tripod, pointed it out the window and started the program. After some time I finally stopped the program (hold down the ON key to break execution) and downloaded the images to my laptop for compiling in Quicktime and ended up with what you see above! I can’t wait to try this on a nicer day though, as dreary San Francisco fall days aren’t very exciting.
I should note that the newer Pentax K20D actually has a built in intervolameter, but it’s not clear whether this will produce good time-lapse results as there are some limits on it. Anyone played around with it?
Filed Under Art | 2008-10-20, 16:55
Prompted by a twitter, I revisited a project I was amazed at several years ago, the Khronos Projector. It’s an incredibly cool project that blew my mind when I watched videos of it back in 2005. I hope to some day catch it in person and get a chance to play with it. I’ve shown people the videos off and on, but realized I never made an actual post about it. So here it is!
Basically the Khronos Projector takes your normal 2 dimensional picture and adds
the 3rd an additional dimension of time. You interact via a touchscreen of sorts (depending on the setup) and can rewind/fastforward time in only parts of the image. They’ve also added video input since I’ve last checked up on the project, which really starts to mess with your concept of space & time. It can be a bit difficult to describe in words. Seeing it in action makes it all “click”:
Khronos Projector (few demos):
A new way to interact with a soccer game:
Khronos Projector (live video input + Chromatic Time mode):
While I was looking for Khronos Project online, I came across something else that played with time/space and video with realtime input and altered output. It’s just a proposal from Liam Mclaney as far as I can tell, but it has a really neat video to go with it (his post explains how it works):
An email from Michael Sturtz, the founder of The Crucible, went out recently detailing a threat to the Oakland Arts Community that could significantly affect the Bay Area art community as well. We need to act quickly because the City Council meeting is Oct 21st. I’m reposting below:
Please read this message, the future of Arts in Oakland and The Crucible hangs in the balance.
The City of Oakland’s Cultural Arts Funding in about to get cut from the City’s budget. The Crucible has already been awarded two years of funding, that is about to be taken away, due to budget cuts. Our budget has been built around having these funds because they were awarded moths ago and now we will have to severely cut expenses to make ends meet.
Here is how you can help The Crucible and all the other Oakland Arts Organizations:
1.) Forward this urgent email to as many people as possible.
2.) Sign the online petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Oakland_Arts_Funding/index.html
3.) Come to the City Council Meeting on Tuesday October 21st!
4.) Contact a Council Member and let them know how important the arts are to you!
Here is some more info:
Funding for the Cultural Arts and Marketing Department is on the chopping block and will be voted on by the Oakland City Council this Tuesday, October 21. The meeting begins at 6pm and this topic is currently Item 19 on the Agenda, so it could be a long night. Grant funding is in jeopardy, as are all of the staff positions. This is a serious threat to a thriving but already under-funded community. We do understand that the City’s finances are in a dire situation, but the fact of the matter is that the cultural arts department has historically borne more than its share of cuts and now represents only .4% (4/10 of 1%) of the overall city budget, yet serves 6,273 children and youth through the art in the schools program (most of whom would not have access to arts without these programs), and another 957,650 people through performances, events, etc. Not only will department staff lose their jobs: staff an d teachers in the already-fragile arts sector will also lose jobs. The arts are not a luxury! Children and youth who participate in arts programs and learn positive ways to express themselves are less likely to engage in unsafe or criminal activities. Neighborhoods with visual and performing arts venues bring in $$s to the local economy, help prevent crime and violence by “keeping the lights on”, and add to the overall quality of life in our city.
If The Crucible has made a difference in your life or someone you know, please join us to make our voices heard. TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
There are currently three council members who are opposed to cutting arts funding: Nancy Nadel, Jane Brunner, and Desley Brooks. All other council members have indicated that they will vote to cut the program. Please don’t let this happen!! Contact your council person immediately (preferably before Monday) and let them know that cutting the arts program is unacceptable. Also, let the three council members that support the arts know how much you appreciate their support. Below is contact info for each of the district council members:
District 1, Jane Brunner, firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 238-7001;
District 2, Pat Kernighan,email@example.com, (510) 238-7002;
District 3, Nancy Nadel, firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 238-7003;
District 4, Jean Quan, email@example.com, (510) 238-7004;
District 5, Ignacio de la Fuente. firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 238-7005;
District 6, Desley Brooks, email@example.com, (510) 238-7006;
District 7, Larry Reid, firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 238-7007
At-Large, Henry Chang, Jr., email@example.com
Not sure who your council member is? Click here to find out: http://www.oaklandnet.com/oit/CDST/DistMain.cfm
Please forward this to your staff, board, friends, students, their parents, your mailing list, etc. It is our responsibility to make our voices heard – and to let the officials know that we represent a larger portion of the public than they think!
I know that you are all really busy and I appreciate your time.
Thank you in advance for getting involved, We really need your help.
Founder / Executive Director
UPDATE: Funding was not cut! :) Thanks to everyone that helped protect the Oakland art scene.
Filed Under Gadgets & Hardware | 2008-10-18, 12:30
I’ve been meaning to make a post about the new tv/monitor I picked up awhile ago. The projector that a friend had given to me as a birthday gift almost 2 years ago decided it was on it’s way out, or at least its bulb was. And since it was a Woot special, the bulb was long since discontinued and going for $2-300 on eBay (if you could find one for sale). I decided it was better to invest in something nice that would be more useful than the projector. I also wanted something super high-def so that I’d be up-to-date for at least a few months.
What was I looking for?
– Something that fits in our apartment – i.e. no 50″ behemoths
– Something affordable – sub $1000 seemed reasonable
– High def – 1080p, I have a Playstation 3 and can play Blu-Ray
– Multiple inputs – Needs at least one of each: composite, component, HDMI, VGA
How did the Toshiba meet these needs?
– The Toshiba Regza 32″ is the smallest 1080p LCD tv out there that I could find.
– The Regza listed for $759.99 from Newegg.com.
– It’s 1080p
– It has 4 HDMI ports, 2 Component, 2 Composite, VGA, and an Antenna/Coax input
I currently have the Toshiba REGZA 32″ setup with the following:
Playstation 3 (HDMI)
XBox (running XBMC) (Component)
Dedicated Laptop running a host of software (VGA)
Laserdisc / Super Nintendo (have to unplug one composite connection to switch)
I also have an HDMI->DVI cable that I can use for plugging in the Macbook Pro when I want to use the TV as a monitor.
Sony Receiver and Speakers (refurb) on the Optical Audio out.
Where does it fall short?
Surprisingly for a “budget” LCD HDTV, I have very few complaints. I haven’t taken the time to truly tweak the color settings and everything, but things looked pretty good out of the box. The only significant issue I have had with it was when I hooked up a laptop the image was slightly off center. I was able to correct this by adjusting the screen though. Whether or not this is the fault of the TV or the laptop, is unknown, but I’m betting it’s the laptop. I’ve also had some issues with getting the best resolution for the laptop, but again I’m guessing blame is on the laptop.
I’m very happy with the TV and it’s nice to have a quick and easy way to watch media, play video games, as well as work. The TV doubles as a beautiful monitor for doing web programming and general browsing. I really wish I had a desk big enough to use this as a dedicated monitor (or even get a second for dual 32″ web browsing!). Like all products, it has it’s little annoyances that I won’t bother getting into since they’re trivial. Things like not being able to name your inputs something other than the defaults. All in all I really like it and I’d buy it again in a second. If you’re looking for a TV that will fit in a small apartment, won’t break the bank, and is high quality, this is it. Toshiba has (unfortunately) not paid me for my endorsement though.
In my research on the set, I came across a bunch of links I’ll share with you:
Current price on Amazon:
Calibration Thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1029217
Extensive thread filled with discussion: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=998752
Why you shouldn’t spend a fortune on HDMI Cables: http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=ps3&message.id=828972#M828972
Buy em from Mono price instead: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10240&cs_id=1024004&p_id=3661&seq=1&format=2
The Fuel Girls are a kick ass, ultra-sexy, fire breathing rock and roll, dance and stunt show! We perform all over the world, with a passion for FMX shows, rock festivals, motorshows, rallies and WILD parties! Our crazy no holds barred attitude and our awesome mad-max rides mean you get a bit more than you bargained for when you book our show!
Become a Fuel Girl:
Personality is equal to looks and fun, geeky, mischievous characters are always welcome to apply! The Fuel Girls show requires MASSES of sex appeal and an individual twist – whatever that may be. We love tattoos, dark hair, punk rock and glamour in equal measures, rock and roll, fire, saying YES, indie, real boobs, excitement, dare-devils, black cars, fast bikes, getting wet, mischief and naughtiness… yeh!
That’s what their site bills The Fuel Girls as and what they’re looking for in new members. I stumbled across this and I’m still not really sure what I think just yet. On one hand: hot girls, fire, body mod, and industrial art (we’ll use that loosely) are right up my alley. On the other hand: it all feels kind of like high-fructose pop-culture performance. But even if it is a guilty pleasure, damned if it doesn’t look hot!
It’s of course hard to tell without seeing it in person, so hopefully they’ll make their way to San Francisco sometime in the future. In the meantime, YouTube will have to suffice (NSFW for most of my readers):
Obviously they need more fire (girl with flamethrower = sexy!) and some suspensions to really crank it up a notch in my book. Then again I guess the typical car show guy crowd might not be so big on that.
One of my best “sidewalk scores” since I moved to the Bay Area was a Linksys WRT54G router (v4). This brings up the count of WRT54G routers in the apartment to 3, plus the La Fonera wireless bridge to a friend across the street. How are they being used and what are they running?
Previously I had a WRT54GS (v6) running as our main router/wireless AP. It was running the default Linksys firmware and did a decent job. It’s easy to configure, and it just works once things are all setup. I have had to reboot it a couple times (maybe 3-4?) in the past year, but that’s not that big of a deal. The default firmware is simple, usually easy to understand, but lacking in “fun” features. It also seemed to not really pay much attention to my QoS rules as torrent traffic always chokes our network. It was acceptable, but I wasn’t exceedingly happy or excited with the firmware. Plus it hurts your geek cred to run default firmware when it can be hacked, right?
So, something had to be done about this boring firmware. The sidewalk scored WRT54G just got the Tomato firmware (v1.21) installed on it and replaced the WRT54GS as our main router. I first had to hold down the reset button for 30 seconds to reset things to factory defaults to wipe out the previous owner’s username/password. Then I was able to log into the web interface (default Linksys password is “admin”) and it was beyond easy to upgrade the firmware from the default Linksys firmware to Tomato. You literally browse to the download Tomato firmware and click upgrade. A few minutes later I reloaded the web interface (entered the default password of “admin”) and saw Tomato’s minimalistic admin interface. I ran through and matched all the settings to our existing router and then waited for Heather to take a lunch break to swap them out without any problems. I’ll probably re-flash the old router with DD-WRT or Tomato and drop it back in the office to use on the other end of the ethernet cable I ran back there to have a wired network.
Speaking of the office, there’s also a third WRT54G (v.3) router back there. It’s wired up in the rolling media center, which is comprised of an Ikea rolling shelf thing housing an audio reciever, Xbox, Playstation 3, and 32″ LCD HDTV. Because I keep most of my media on a machine in the living room, but want to play it on the TV, I wanted to be able to stream to either the Xbox or PS3. I used a WRT54G router with it enabled as a wireless bridge using DD-WRT. It utilizes its more sensitive antennas to pick up the weak wireless signal from the living room and then share it with other wireless devices as well as the hardwired Xbox, PS3, and laptop. I set it up once over a year ago, and have not had to touch a single setting on it nor had any problems. It was incredibly easy to setup and it has been rock solid.
So, I know everyone wants to know, what’s the best firmware replacement? Well, ultimately it’s up to you and how you’ll use the router. But here are my thoughts:
If you’re lazy and just have a normal network setup (cabled modem + wireless router + laptop + wired PC, etc.), and don’t care about tweaking things, then the default firmware is problem fine. If you ever run into a problem, you can call up Linksys tech support and they can help you out.
DD-WRT served me very well for several years. However it doesn’t get a lot of development these days. One annoying thing is that it continuously reboots the router when you have to make changes, which can get annoying as you wait each time for it to come back up. It was also extra steps to set up traffic logging so I could quench my stats junkie. It’s a great project, and works incredibly well. I have very few complaints and would probably have kept using this.
However, with my first impressions of Tomato, I’ve found a new firmware to love. Tomato’s interface is incredibly nice and clean:
It’s quick and easy to browse around and change settings. Most settings don’t require restarting as it just restarts the necessary services. It’s on par with DD-WRT, but it has one feature that really sold me on it, bandwidth graphs. Tomato has real-time bandwidth stats where you can watch it update (on a 2sec refresh) your current bandwidth usage based on the network interface (wired/wireless/etc). This alone made me want to install Tomato, and everything else I’ve run into has been a plus. One other nice surprise is that you can mount Samba (i.e. Windows Sharing) file shares in Tomato. So I currently have it backing up the bandwidth stats to a shared folder on another server every hour right now. I’m sure this can be used for all sorts of other fun things I have yet to think of too.
So in the end, unless something terrible rears it’s ugly head, Tomato is now on top in my book due to its interface and stats capabilities.
UPDATE: I noticed shortly after switching to the Tomato based router that streaming .avi videos over a Windows file share was uncommonly jumpy. After some research I went into the Administration->Configuration section and selected “Erase all data in NVRAM memory”. This is recommended if you are switching from a different firmware to Tomato, and will set everything back to defaults. After doing that and reconfiguring, video streaming seemed even better than before!
Filed Under PHP/MySQL | 2008-10-14, 13:49
This post is for the web/php geeks out there.
I have a page that needs to be able to accept multiple image formats as the users are not to be expected to format their image just right. In short it takes whatever image the user provides and then converts it to a PNG I can use. In an attempt to support as many image formats as possible, I’ve had to jump through a few hoops. Luckily the GD library with PHP has the following functions: imagecreatefrompng, imagecreatefromjpeg, imagecreatefromgif. However what GD does not have built in is imagecreatefrombmp. Boo! But thanks to PHP.net’s users, there’s a function written by DHKold.
So I added this function to my code, and things seem to be working fine. But lately I noticed that my error logs were huge! We’re talking hundreds of megs. I looked into them and one of the main errors flooding my logs was this:
[Tue Oct 14 01:06:39 2008] [error] PHP Warning: unpack() [<a href='function.unpack'>function.unpack</a>]: Type n: not enough input, need 2, have 0 in /usr/www/path/to/my/file.php on line 157
It was repeating itself several hundred times a second. This was not right. I took a look at my code and line 157 was the unpack call in the following block of code:
elseif ($BMP['bits_per_pixel'] == 16)
$COLOR = unpack("n",substr($IMG,$P,2));
$COLOR = $PALETTE[$COLOR+1];
Looks like 16bit BMPs aren’t really compatible with this function. *grumble grumble* Image formats are not my forte, and I have zero interest in learning about all the various ins and outs. Luckily the PHP user comments come in handy again! domelca writes:
function ImageCreateFromBMP($filename) don't work with bmp 16 bits_per_pixel
change pixel generator for this
elseif ($BMP['bits_per_pixel'] == 16)
$COLOR = unpack("v",substr($IMG,$P,2));
$blue = ($COLOR & 0x001f) << 3; $green = ($COLOR & 0x07e0) >> 3;
$red = ($COLOR & 0xf800) >> 8;
$COLOR = $red * 65536 + $green * 256 + $blue;
I’ve updated the code in my file and now I’m watching the error logs closely to see if anyone’s images trigger the error again. Why PHP doesn’t provide an official imagecreatefrombmp() I don’t know, but hopefully this fix will help support a few more different images as well as keep my error logs a little smaller. Figured I’d post this to save someone else the hassle of hunting it down.
Filed Under Art | 2008-10-10, 14:14
I post most of my images on Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic license. What does this mean? It means anyone is welcome to share my photos and even remix them as long as they attribute the photos to me and are not using them for commercial use. In addition, if you did want to use the photos without attribution and/or for a commercial purpose, you can contact me and I may waive those requirements for use. Chances are that if you’re an artist and “commercial use” means selling a couple prints, I won’t have any objections. But you have to ask first.
A good friend, Rubin Starset discovered that a portion of a photo taken by Scott Beale (of Laughing Squid) was being used by a Canadian artist (and Associate Professor of Fine Arts) named Jillian McDonald. She had digitally cout-out people dressed as zombies from photos that Scott had taken during one of the infamous San Francisco Zombie Mobs. She had also lifted zombies from photos taken by other photographers and it is unknown whether she had their permission or not. She then incorporated these photos into her own works, and at one point was prepared to sell prints of them.
Scott is an incredible photographer, and generously licenses his work on Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic license. This means you are free to share his photos (with attribution) as long as it is not for commercial use. Oh, but did you notice that “No Derivative Works” part? Yes, that means he is not giving you permission to remix or incorporate your photos into your own artwork. But, you could ask Scott for permission if you had this desire. Had Jillian McDonald asked Scott Beale for permission to use some parts of his photos, chances are he would have said it was fine, but Jillian did not. And to add insult to injury she was trying to sell prints using his work. She has since removed the page in question, but pieces of the photos are found elsewhere scattered on her site.
Perhaps I should just stop here and let the following open letter (posted on Oct 9th, 2008) from another friend, Aaron Muszalski, sum everything up:
Dear Ms. McDonald,
My name is Aaron Muszalski, and I am a San Francisco-based artist. I am also an Instructor at the San Francisco Academy of Art University, where I teach classes in digital compositing and visual effects. Prior to becoming an arts educator I worked at George Lucas’ visual effects facility, Industrial Light + Magic.
I am writing to ask why it is that, nearly a week after having been contacted by the photographer whose work you used as the basis for your “Zombies In Condoland” project, you have yet to take any apparent action. As you have no doubt been informed, those photos were placed on flickr under a Creative Commons license which specified the following:
Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
Creative Commons (CC) is a grassroots attempt to update copyright laws to better deal with the new types of usage, distribution and re-mixing that digital technology have made so accessible. Where traditional copyright defaults to refusal, eg. “I own this work completely, and no one else can use it in any way without my explicit permission,” Creative Commons allows for nuance and openness, eg. “I own this work, but I’m happy to allow certain kinds of re-use provided certain conditions are met.”
One important thing to note here is that the very act of placing a work under a CC license is an act of generosity; from a content creator’s standpoint, it is far easier to simply assert copyright over one’s work. The very fact that an artist has chosen to use Creative Commons serves as a sign that They Are Not The Enemy; they are not a faceless media conglomerate who “doesn’t get it” when it comes to re-use. Rather, they are us, the content creators. Fellow artists, trying to find a sustainable middle path in an era of increasing conflict between corporations and advocates of open culture.
Such a brave choice deserves to be rewarded with consideration and respect.
In this case, that means respecting Mr. Beale’s request of “No Derivative Works”, something which your “Zombies In Condoland” images clearly are. The central elements of your composites are the photographed zombies themselves (instantly recognizable to any of us who participated in that event, and instantly recognizable as Scott’s photographs) not the backgrounds that you’ve placed them over. And even if this were not the case – say, if you had used fewer pixels of Scott’s photos, or processed them in some way as to be unrecognizable – you would still be in violation of Scott’s “No Derivative Works” license. The lack of attribution (citing the original artists who created the images used in your composites) demonstrates a further lack of consideration on your part.
The irony of all this is that, knowing Scott, had you merely contacted him in advance and provided a brief description of your project, he almost certainly would have consented to having his images used (provided you gave proper attribution of course). It is also very likely that he would have promoted the results on his highly-ranked blog, Laughing Squid. Many items listed on Laughing Squid subsequently get picked up elsewhere, including on such uber-popular sites like Boing Boing. All of this would have been very beneficial for your work. That you did not choose to ask permission makes me wonder: are you inconsiderate, or merely naive, and somehow imbued with the attitude that, “just because I found it on the Internet, I can do anything I want with it”?
Please understand: I am a strong proponent of open culture and creative re-use, and a strong critic of the ongoing attempts to extend copyright and consolidate corporate ownership of our shared cultural heritage. But to architect a truly progressive solution – one that doesn’t rely upon overpriced laywers and onerous legislation – we will have to embrace communication and consent between artists. In this case, Scott did not grant such consent, and you should respect that.
I hope that you will truly consider what I’ve suggested, and promptly revise your “Zombies In Condoland” series so as to remove all of the images you took from Scott’s photographs.
For the record, Aaron has let me know that Scott himself did not actually contact Jillian McDonald, but rather others have emailed with her.
Here are more photos in question:
And here are some relevant links:
Original post from Rubin Starset
Scott Beale’s original tweet and further discussion of the issue on Scott’s FriendFeed.
Jillian McDonald’s website
Jillian McDonald’s Zombie project page
Google’s cache of the photos on Jillian’s page that started it all
For those of you that missed Balsa Man this year because you were hanging out in a dust storm, this Sunday is your chance to experience some of the magic! There will be an official “Balsa Man Tiny Art Station” at the Burning Man SF Decompression from 12noon-10pm. It will be stocked with balsa wood, glue, and tools but you are encouraged to bring your own as well. Hone your skills (and learn some new ones) for creating mini-art so that you’ll be able to create your project for Balsa Man 2009. For more info, check CatCubed.
Yep, it’s Fleet Week and the Blue Angels are out practicing. If you ask San Francisco residents what they think of these jets
buzzing rumbling overhead, you’ll get mixed reactions. I’m sure most of my friends have a few words to say based on their Twitters. Personally I’m on the fence. The constant sound of them passing back and forth over the city when you can’t seem them used to drive me nuts while I was stuck inside at work. But now that I’m at home and I can run to a window to see them up close as they scream by, it’s actually kind of cool to watch them practice. I know, I know I lose San Francisco resident “cool points” for saying that. But the very fact that a) we as humans can create technology that allows us to do this, and b) that there are humans talented enough to fly these plans is impressive. The video above is one I was able to quickly capture as they blasted over our neighborhood.
UPDATE (2008-10-10): Went up on the roof to watch them practice a bit today and snagged this video: