I usually write a paragraph or two talking about stuff. Everything else is already written, so I think I’m going to skip that this month. Is that OK?!

I am switching from Lightworks to Davinci Resolve

When I started flying FPV, I tried the various open-source video editors: Openshot, Kdenlive, and Shotcut. They all had shortcomings, but I can’t remember which problems I had with which video editor. Some of them liked to crash. None of them could play back 1080p footage without skipping frames after applying a handful of filters.

I wound up switching to Lightworks, and I’ve been using it for two years. I currently have two complaints about Lightworks. It doesn’t do speed ramping. That’s a bummer. And it doesn’t always like the audio tracks on my GoPro and Osmo Pocket footage. It is just silent and the waveform is empty after the first few minutes. Sometimes. I can transcode my way around this, but I hate having to do that!

Davinci Resolve Studio does have speed ramping. It also seems to have a much nicer color-grading interface, and I know there are a few other features I was excited about.

I did a bad job. I let my Lightworks subscription completely expire before learning that I had to wait for a Davinci Resolve Studio activation code to be physically shipped to me. In a box. It feels like the ’90s.

I’m rather disappointed here. I ordered my license card for Resolve from B&H Photo on the 5th, and they said it would arrive on the 15th. I assumed that meant it was traveling via snail mail, but I was wrong. They shipped it via FedEx on the 12th, and it arrived at my door on the 14th.

This is insane, right?

I might hit 500 miles on my Gotway Tesla V2 electric unicycle this month!

In fact, I’ll be absolutely amazed if I don’t. I tend to put 7 or 8 miles on my EUC most times I take it for a ride, I ride 4 or 5 times each weak, and I already have 430 miles on the odometer. I’m coming for you, 500 miles!

This also means I’m not far from 1,000 total electric unicycle miles. If I remember correctly, I had put more than 350 miles on my Inmotion V5F before I stopped riding it. I might hit that milestone before Thanksgiving.

The last month when I wrote about my Gotway Tesla, I was complaining that I was out of practice. When I started riding again, it felt like I had to concentrate a lot more. The concentrating made me nervous, and I was paying attention to every little bounce and wobble, and that only made me concentrate more. It was awful!

Two or three rides later, and it was like I never stopped. My average speeds are going up now too. On [the Inmotion V5F][v5f], I used to average 10 mph. After having the Tesla for a while, that moved up to 12 mph. These days, when Chris follows me on her e-bike, we average 13.5 mph. Yesterday, I rode 8 miles at an average speed of 15.6 mph.

I think I’m doing a good job!

I remembered how terrible my motorcycle helmet is

I was writing about the Bell Super 3R helmet that I wear when I ride my electric unicycle, and I figured I should take a ride using my cheap YEMA motorcycle helmet to refresh my memory. Holy crap! I hate that motorcycle helmet!

The Gotway Tesla is much faster than my first unicycle, so I knew I needed to protect my face. If you’re going to fall on an electric unicycle, there’s a good chance you’ll be landing on your face, so you need to protect it. I quickly decided that a $80 motorcycle helmet would be a good choice. It was not.

The motorcycle helmet is heavy, has terrible visibility, and there is just so much wind noise while I’m riding. It is also extremely hot in the summer, unless I can keep moving at 20 mph.

I wasn’t sure spending $224 on the Bell Super 3R was going to be a good idea, but I’m now completely convinced that it was worth every penny. The Bell helmet is lighter, has a huge opening in front, is well ventilated, and it is also quite a bit lighter than the motorcycle helmet.

I got Tailscale running on my travel router

I expected this to be problematic, flaky, or just a complete failure. My GL.iNet Mango only has 16 megabytes of flash in total, only 2 megabytes of flash free, and only 128 megabytes of RAM.

I’m saying “only” a lot. Ten years ago, I set up two dozen Linksys WRT54GL routers running OpenVPN clients, and those poor little guys had 4 megabytes of flash and 16 megabytes of RAM. My little travel router is luxuriously spacious by comparison!

It works. I finished up a write-up on my experiences getting Tailscale running a few days ago. The little Mango boots up, launches Tailscale, and automatically connects to an Ethernet network or a known WiFi network. As soon as it does, any of my other Tailscale clients can see the Mango, and they can even route to its subnet.

I haven’t figured out when I’m going to need Tailscale on a router, but I’m excited that I have it running anyway!

I have two good 5” FPV freestyle miniquads again!

I’ve been doing a bad job keeping my fleet of FPV miniquads in the air. It isn’t like I can’t afford spare parts, and doing the work isn’t complicated or difficult. I just didn’t want to do it!

A couple months ago, we were flying at our local abandoned golf course with Alex Vanover. I only had one quad that was flying, and it had an arm that was soft and ready to fail. It is embarrassing flying with a professional when your gear is in sorry shape. He flew a battery on my quad, and he didn’t understand why it was flying so well with the soft arm. I don’t understand why it was still flying so well. This is most like why I’ve been so lazy about cutting fresh arms.

I corrected that situation the next week, but my number-two quad was still down due to a blown 4-in-1 ESC. Last week, I decided it was time to correct this situation, and I figured I’d upgrade some aging parts while I was in there.

I replaced his 35-amp Holybro Tekko32 ESC, AKK VTX, and dying Runcam Eagle with parts that match my other quad: an iFlight 50-amp ESC, TBS Unify Pro32 HV VTX, and a Joshua Bardwell edition Runcam Phoenix 2. That sentence is a mouthful.

These are minor upgrades. It flies exactly the same as it always has. The TBS VTX is a nice upgrade, but the Phoenix 2 is mostly a sideways move.

The important thing is that I have a backup quad now.

I have an idea to eliminate some screws on my 5” freestyle frame design

I am so excited about this. Not excited enough to finish up the design or start cutting a new frame, but I am definitely excited!

I enjoy exploring new ideas. If I couldn’t think of one, I’d just be flying an FPV Cycle Glide frame.

I’ve been doing my best to design a freestyle frame that requires fewer than two screws per arm. My 3” Kestrel frame does well with one screw in each arm with a piece of carbon in the center locking all four arms in place. One of the frames I’m flying now uses the same layout.

It isn’t too bad, but there’s definitely some play in the arms, and it does wind up allowing a bit of flex. Not enough to impact flight performance, but I don’t like it.

The other frame I’m flying adds a screw to the center of the frame to hold the dog bone piece in place. This eliminates all the play and makes the frame more rigid, but I hate the idea of having a screw underneath my stack.

My new idea is to tie the two bottom plates together with a piece of carbon fiber that has little I-shaped bits on each end. If this works, it will be awesome. You can probably puzzle out how this would work based on the screenshot.

I’ll be able to shave off quite a bit of material from each arm. That will save weight, and it will let me pack arms much closer together on a sheet of carbon fiber.

Why isn’t anyone else already doing this? I’m a little worried about poking these rather large holes in the bottom plates. Will it weaken things too much? There’s only one way to find out!

I’m glad I’m not rushing this. I realized before even starting the 3D-printed test parts that using an I-shape is a bad idea, because it will require T-shaped slots. If I use L-shaped ends on the new bracket, I will only need L-shaped holes in the two bottom plates!

I’m slowly working on my network engineer’s toolkit

I’m doing a bad job here. I have a pretty good idea of which tools need to go in here. I’m still hoping the Internet gives me more suggestions, but even just what I have so far would make for a good toolkit!

I’ve done a test cut of a slot to hold a small pair of NS-04 wire cutters from Engineer Tools. I took a photo from directly above, imported the photo into Inkscape, and I traced it as best as I could with Bezier curves. I think I did a pretty good job on my first attempt.

It is a little looser than it should be, but that was my fault. I figured I needed to give it 1 or 2 mm of extra wiggle room, but that wasn’t necessary. I also need to add some cutouts to allow my fingers to grab the tool, but I am off to a good start here.

I ordered some magnets, and I started doing some work designing a parametric box and lid in Openscad. I want the bottom of the box to have a cutout around the edges, and the lid needs a relief cut into it to fit around those edges. That will align the lid, and the magnets will do the rest.

Do you have any ideas for tools I should be carrying in my laptop bag? Let me know what I might be missing!

We had to buy a new fridge!

Our refrigerator died, and our kitchen is stupid. Lot of kitchens are stupid. Our refrigerator has a wall and the door to the kitchen on the left, then counters and the sink to the right.

You want to be able to take things out of the fridge and put them on the counter. That means you want the door to open towards the doorway, but that wall and doorway block the fridge from opening completely.

The refrigerator that came with the house had French doors and a water dispenser in the freezer door. The dispenser makes the freezer door thick, and with how narrow the freezer is and the freezer door hitting the wall, it was difficult to maneuver things into the freezer. Not only that, but the refrigerator door opened the wrong way, which made pouring milk for lattes a nuisance.

This is a problem with no good solution. Normal refrigerators with the fridge on bottom and freezer on top are all quite small. I want filtered water, but the water and ice dispenser is always on the left.

We knew we were going to have to go with a model with a freezer drawer on bottom, but that makes the ice dispenser even bigger. Usually the freezer makes the ice, but when the freezer is on the bottom, they need to put some sort of freezer unit in the door. Ugh!

There were two nearly identical models standing side by side at the store. One had the ice and water dispenser in the door. The other had a tiny water dispenser on the inside and an ice maker in the freezer drawer. The difference in price was only a couple hundred dollars, and I really wanted that cold water dispenser in the door, but I had a hunch that the fridge without the dispenser in the door was the better fit.

We made the right choice. We keep the gallon of milk for lattes in the drawer where the ice dispenser would have been living. It feels like such a luxury being able to open that door, pull out a gallon of milk, and fill my frothing pitcher without having to close and reopen the door before putting the gallon of milk away!

The water dispenser inside the door is a bit cumbersome, but it gets the job done.

What’s the plan for next month?

I’m pretty sure my plan is just going to be to make more progress. I’d like to get a test box for the network toolkit cut. It will probably just be a box for a single tool with a magnet at each of the corners. I’d also like to get a test miniquad frame cut with my new connector piece. I have four weeks, so this should most definitely be something I can accomplish!

I bet I’ll wind up installing Tailscale on my old D-Link router at home. I’m not sure I need it, but since I can do it, why not do it?!

I don’t have any new ideas brewing at the moment, so I should be able to do a reasonable job staying on track this month. I hope!

What do you think? Are you a fan of Davinci Resolve? Do you ride an electric unicycle, OneWheel, or electric skateboard? Are you running Tailscale on your OpenWrt or LEDE router? Let me know about it in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!