I’m trying to write one of these posts every month, but I’ve accidentally skipped these posts a few times. As I’m writing this paragraph, it is only March 5. I don’t plan to finish this post up and publish until the middle of the month, but I figure that getting a head start will help me fail to skip this month!

My electric unicycle (EUC) skills are leveling up!

I’m not exactly sure how far along I was in my EUC progress when I wrote last month’s update. I didn’t really talk about how I was doing at all!

Progress has been slower going than I expected. We’ve had a lot of rain and cold weather; sometimes both! When it is cold, the 10 to 15 mph wind in my face makes my eyes water and my nose run, and that’s not fun.

It took a couple of days to learn to ride in a straight line. Then a few more days in a parking lot to get comfortable enough to ride the bike trails at my local park. Since then, I’ve been building endurance and honing my skills.

On my first trip to through the park, I rode a 3/4 mile round trip. There’s a hill near the end of the ride right before you reach my house, and my feet were absolutely aching on that hill!

I’ve been riding deeper and deeper in the park. I’ve made it all the way to the lake at Oak Point Park, and that’s a 3.5 mile round trip. The best part is that my feet aren’t sore by the time I get home anymore.

I’m able to pass people on the trail without getting nervous. I can navigate around obstacles and narrow passages. I’m able to safely mount and dismount without holding on to something.

When my wife plays Grand Theft Auto, and she needs to make a turn, she doesn’t turn the car. She exits her vehicle and finds another that is already facing the correct direction. She’ll steal that one and continue her journey.

I used to do this on the EUC. Today, I can get up from a park bench, start riding, and make the 90-degree turn to follow the bike trail. A week ago, I would have walked the EUC to the path and started from there!

I’ve managed to ride over 2 miles without dismounting on several 4-mile journeys. I can ride on the grass at the park. I can mount the wheel on the lumpy grass at the park. My longest journey so far has been a 6-mile round trip.

I think it is nearly time for a full blog about my progress. I want to wait until I manage to completely discharge the battery in one afternoon, and I’d also like to be at a point where I could talk to the Osmo Pocket while I ride. I could probably manage this today, so expect a real update on my progress with the InMotion V5F soon!

I’ve had my Nintendo Switch for a month

I’m excited about the Switch. I’ve been playing a lot. My wife has been playing Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild quite a bit, too.

I’ve finished Super Mario Odyssey. It is almost definitely my least favorite 3D Mario game so far. It was too easy to finish, the camera is often wonky, and the additional moons you can collect after completing the game are tedious.

I’ve made it to 2BC in Dead Cells, and I don’t think it will be long before I see 3BC. Using the four buttons on the left joy con as a D-pad works well enough most of the time, but it is infuriating when the lack of precision causes something to go wrong!

I ordered a third-party replacement shell for my joy con, and it has a nice looking d-pad. Taking the joy con apart and reassembling it looks like a lot of work, so I’ve been procrastinating.

NOTE: I stopped procrastinating. There are more blog words to come, but the summary is that if you want a D-pad on your Switch, go buy the eXtremeRate D-pad housing upgrade.

When we were deliberating between the Switch and the Switch Lite, my wife thought the ability to play on the television was worth an extra $100. For what it is worth, neither of us have played on the television in more than a week.

Should I have saved myself $100? I would have a more portable machine, and I wouldn’t be procrastinating about installing this $20 D-pad mod that I ordered more than a week ago.

I’m still undecided. I’ll let you know in a few months.

We had fun racing Tiny Whoops at Paul’s house

We had a windy, rainy weekend early in the month. Our friend Paul invited us over to his house to race whoops. Brian and Tanner both brought their collections of whoop-sized race gates.

Paul, Brian, and I set up most of the gates before Tanner arrived. We didn’t put much thought into the flow of the track. We put some groups of gates up that would obviously be done in order, but we didn’t really have a good way of turning everything into a cohesive track.

Paul’s house has two hallways downstairs, and a single hallway upstairs. We had essentially set up three circles, but we didn’t have a good way of connecting them.

I’m giving credit for the two biggest improvements to the track to Tanner. He added another gate to one of the downstairs hallways, and he suggested we use that hallway twice during each lap. We hit two gates in that hall early in the lap, then we hit the new gate in that hall before heading up the stairs.

Tanner instantly turned our three disconnected loops into a single, cohesive, and awesome track!

It is also important to properly utilize the environment in your races. At first, we were under-utilizing the pool table. I suggested we go under the pool table in a plus-sign shape, much like we were hitting the cube gate. Tanner pushed us in a better direction by suggesting we make an S-shape out of the table. This was fantastic, because the end of the S lined us right up to exit the room through the door.

We had a lot of fun racing. I’m looking forward to putting some of our new ideas to use next time we whoop around Brian’s house, and I’m looking forward to racing at Paul’s house again.

I flew my first bando

We visited some ancient abandoned silos on the other side of the metroplex. A friend of ours flew this spot a few weeks earlier, and he invited us to come check it out. It was awesome.

My thumbs were shaky. I didn’t fly enough to collect anywhere near enough contiguous footage to set the flight to a song. I did have a ton of fun, though. For every cool gap and line we saw while we were out there, I saw two or three more hiding in the edges of my GoPro footage. I’m excited about going back out!

When our friend Attackthedefault crashed, I helped him find his quad. While we were out there, I looked up at the tallest structure atop the silos, and I noticed some metal bars up there that looked like an awesome dive gap!

I was already packed up at this point, so I figured I’d try for the gap next time. I quickly changed my mind, and I took one more battery up.

I didn’t know it at the time, but everyone flying with us was watching me fly in their goggles. When I finished, four different people said they had my dive recorded on their DVR. I felt like a minor celebrity!

If you’re somewhere in the neighborhood of Dallas-Fort Worth, and you’d like to fly with us, stop by the #drone channel on the Butter, What?! Discord server. We’re always looking for new pilots to hang out with!

I was almost attacked by a bird of prey!

I went outside to check the tune on one of my quads. I zipped around the front yard for 20 or 30 seconds, landed, and I was poking around in the on-screen display. That’s when I heard a loud whoosh go past my head, and I saw something go by in the goggles. I didn’t see it clearly, though, because there was a bunch of text over the top of the footage.

The bird came close enough to my head that I thought I heard it go behind me. You can see me looking behind the shrub next to my front door!

You can see the little guy in the video. He swoops down over the right side of the house, whooshes past me, dives under the shrub between the house and the shrub’s trunk, then exits behind the house.

As an FPV drone pilot, I was quite impressed by her flying skills!

I ordered 18 pounds of green coffee beans

I did a bad job! I nearly ran out of coffee beans!

I roasted the last of the delicious Ethiopia Guji Shakiso beans while I was waiting for my new shipment to arrive. I was hoping to buy another 5-pound bag of these beans, but Sweet Maria’s was sold out.

I went crazy buying other Ethiopian beans instead. Most of the beans should have fruity notes. One of the beans has the words “fruit explosion” in the description. How could I not order that one?!

The fruit bomb is delicious. I roasted them just about as lightly as I possibly could, and I somehow managed to pull a nearly perfect double shot on my first try, and it is only two or three days since roasting.

I’m drinking that double-shot latte as I’m writing this paragraph. I can’t say for sure that this is the very best latte I’ve ever had, but I can say with certainty that this is the best latte I have had in a long, long time!

I accidentally submerged my favorite miniquad in a puddle!

This was rather funny, but it was also a bummer. I got a little too close to the ground while doing a Vanny roll, and my FPV miniquad tumbled into a big puddle. It wasn’t just a puddle, though. We could see the water flowing like a tiny creek.

I didn’t know I was upside down in a puddle with my GoPro entirely submerged until I used turtle mode to flip over. When I flipped, the camera went dark. All I could see was the OSD, and Betaflight was rebooting. That’s not supposed to happen!

When Brian and I walked out to recover my quad, we saw that everything but the GoPro was completely submerged. Ugh! This quad just got a brand new flight controller and 4-in-1 ESC board less than two weeks ago. Did I just destroy $100 in new hardware?

I lucked out. I let it dry for a couple days, powered it up, and everything worked. It has been flying just fine ever since!

I ordered OoberLights prototype boards!

The OoberLights boards are our open-source blinkenlights project. It is a pair of RGB LED rings meant to fit in a 5.25” optical drive bay in your server or desktop. We’re also planning to design some sort of enclosure so you can have one on your desk or bookshelf.

I don’t want to say we’ve been procrastinating about ordering prototypes, but we certainly haven’t been quick about it. We’ve had to get some consulting done by friends of mine to confirm that a few worrisome parts of the design would actually work. Our electronics design guy has been worried that he’ll wind up making me pay $500 to $1,000 for a dozen prototype boards that don’t work at all. I keep telling him not to worry, but he worries anyway!

I think I last wrote saying we were about to order prototypes just after Christmas, and the first time I posted on my blog talking about Ooberlights was back in May.

I paid PCBWay $730 for 10 prototype boards last week. The ETA is 60 to 75 days. We might have them in our hands in time for a 1-year-anniversary blog post!

Will they work? I hope so, but who knows?! The boards have 227 components, and roughly a third of those components are WS2812 LEDs.

I wish I had better pictures to include in this section, but all we have are renderings from KiCad so far.

What’s next?

I have no idea! We’re in the middle of the locked-down COVID-19 quarantine extravaganza right now! I imagine I’ll be doing a lot less interesting stuff in the near future. As long as the weather stays nice, I’ll still be trying to ride my EUC every day. Maybe I’ll just get really good at riding the thing, eh?!

What do you think? Are you maintaining that social distancing in the real world? Come visit my on the Butter, What?! Discord server. By the time you read this, I might be getting quite lonely!