Monday, February 17, 2014

Make: Homegrown Drones

I have tried to go through these various issues as they have been released to see what new things and projects are available. As I am an avid r/c guy, this issue focused on "drones" ( I loathe that word) got me curious as I wanted to know what they had to say about it and how they presented it.
For the section about UAV's, they did a pretty good job going over various kinds and uses. It was nice to see some basics in there for someone to get started and the advice to start with something cheap to learn to fly is great! They give a couple of models that are good starter ones and those are definitely nice.
The part that I was disappointed in is where they showcased a lot of pictures and work that people do. The pictures themselves are great and quite amazing. However, they also put other bystanders in a compromising situation. Not only that, showcasing people doing this for a business when commercial use of UAV's is currently illegal gives people the idea that they can just go do that themselves. There was little stating that for anyone to make money doing this, they have to go through a very difficult FAA approval process that's nearly impossible except for large companies. I would personally love to be able to do it myself. When a magazine read by many showcases things like this, disclaimers have to be made for all the instances where you can't really do it without the proper approvals.
That isn't to say people don't do it under the table. They definitely do and you might be able to get away with it but again, put the legal ramifications out there when you do those stories.
For aerial video, there was a lot of information regarding systems to use and other than a tiny blurb about it, there was nothing mentioning how using any of the wireless video systems requires a proper FCC HAM radio license. Things like that go to show they don't care or don't know enough to care about the proper way to go about the hobby and it's going to hurt those that try to follow the rules because more and more people will be trying this out without knowing the proper rules.
As for the rest of the magazine, I found it to be one of the better ones out there with respect to the types of projects they have. I really liked it because it aligned with my interests such as planes and various sensor projects.
Aside from a lack of explanation on some of the topics, which do end up in heated debates some times, I thought this issue was pretty good.

Note: I received this issue through the O'Reilly blogger program for free.