My midlife crisis

My new Evolve skateboard and I

They say every man goes through a midlife crisis. They used to be associated with flashy purchases like fast cars or motorbikes. But recently a new trend started to emerge. Generation X men coming into a mid-age increasingly choose carbon fibre bicycles over Porsches. This is in part because of the financial pressure - there has been no real wage growth over the last few decades, and at the same time, a larger proportion of the income needs to be allocated towards mortgage payments and other living expenses. Besides, men are chasing their youth, which is the essence of a midlife crisis, while Porsches are frowned upon as a sign of old age since only older men can afford them.

But every man is different. I honestly thought that my midlife crisis was behind me without any flashy manifestations. Well, I bought a red car ten years ago but it doesn’t count (sort of, right?). As for a bicycle, I have never been a bike person. I had a decent bicycle, but I barely rode it, and most of the time it was just idly sitting in my garage. Moreover, a geek should have a special kind of geeky midlife crisis, or otherwise, what’s the fun in it?

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Ghostbusters: Legacy

Sometimes I see dreams which are like movies: they are vivid, bright and clear. It doesn’t happen often, but whenever it does, I rush to write them down first thing in the morning before I forget them. Here is another one. I am not a writer. If anyone wants to take this and turn it into a work of art, be my guest. Just let me know. Here we go… Read more →

Alien 560 Quadcopter Build - Part 3 - Transmitter setup

I wish I could tell you that setting up the transmitter was straightforward, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. I’ll do my best to describe what I did, although I’m not sure my process is 100% repeatable. I have a Turnigy 9XR Pro transmitter with a FrSky JR module. It is a digital radio with lots of features: updateable firmware, model memory, custom sound files and so on. The first thing I did was upgrading the firmware. Read more →

Alien 560 Quadcopter Build - Part 2 - Assembly

Unlike a conventional helicopter, a multirotor aircraft contains very few moving parts: no gears, no swash plates, no contrarotating propellers. It only has motors directly driving propellers, and that’s it. So there was no complex mechanics to assemble. The frame was probably the most complicated bit. The Alien 560 frame consists of a couple of dozen carbon fibre plates which need to be screwed together by a hundred or so tiny screws. Read more →

Alien 560 Quadcopter Build - Part 1 - Parts

When I was at school, I was an electronics geek. I was spending days in a library looking for schematics of AM radios and circuits of blinking lights and beeping sounds, and then long evenings in an electronics club trying to solder them together. Unfortunately, none of the stuff I built ever worked properly: radios received only static, lights blinked out of order, and beepers screaked. But most of all I was obsessed with remote control models. Read more →