Categories
deep thoughts technology

On human-made objects in space

A breathtaking photo of the ISS

We had very clear skies earlier this month (or in April? I honestly can’t remember) and I’ve witnessed a couple of Starlink train passes, which got me thinking.

In case you don’t know, Starlink satellites are small, fridge-sized, satellites, launched by Space X. A couple of 🚀 launches happened in April, with each a few dozen satellites on board. After deployment, they travel quite close together in a low path to their final orbit. During that, they are visible by naked eye which it can be quite fascinating. Although I find it interesting, the consequences could be very bad once all 42.000 (!!) satellites are flying around the earth. This video from Alyn explains the situation very well:

Click here to display content from YouTube

I understand that Space X is trying to solve this problem with sunshades, that theoretically make them less visible. But we won’t know if that works until the next launch some time soon.

Future me, yelling at a flying internet router in space, which will be one of the uses of Starlink.
Categories
apps technology

Weather apps

Weather in the Hebrides is a big part of life out here, especially the wind. It’s basically always windy. When the wind drops, it’s such a relief. The insulation in our little house is not great and you can feel a draft coming in a lot of the time. Sounds worse than it actually is, really.

Anyways, I’m always looking out for good weather apps, and I’m not happy with what we’ve got.

XCWeather

I can’t even download the actual app – it’s only available in the UK AppStore, but my account is linked to the German store. That doesn’t really matter, the app is just a wrapper for the web version. It’s apparently the best weather information source for our region.
What I like is that the wind and gust informations are very prominent. Unfortunately, website and app are very barebones. It looks just ugly. And of course no iOS or watchOS features like notifications or widgets.

Windfinder

My favourite app to see the wind direction and speed, including gusts. The map view is nicely animated and can show various information, including two different wind forecast models.
Really helpful are the customisable wind alerts. I have an alert for all winds above 50mp from south-east to south-west as that the direction with the most powerful storms, and our house is very exposed from this direction.
I’m only missing an Apple Watch complication.

Tide Pro

When going out for a swim in the sea or a walk in the bay, it’s good to know detailed information about the tide. Tide Pro is the best app I found for that, unfortunately the Apple Watch complication isn’t very pretty.

Categories
technology

My Kickstarter journey

I took out my weird-swirly-bokeh lens recently (remember?) which reminded me about the time I backed quite a few products on Kickstarter in 2014-2016. I’m only talking about tech products and clothing, but I also backed a couple of films and a font.

Lima

This was supposed to be a Dropbox alternative, but all self-hosted. The idea sounded good, and I backed it. The campaign was successful and raised $1.2m. I remember finally receiving my Lima device – and I never even unpacked it. The box probably still sits in my parent’s attic. The company went out of business in the beginning of 2019, and made all Lima devices virtually useless.
★☆☆☆☆

The Dash

Wireless in-ear headphones with a charging case, how cool is that? Before AirPods were a thing, I found this Kickstarter campaign that claimed they have developed smart in-ear headphones. I was hooked. No cables, waterproof, heart rate monitor, ear bone microphone, all of this and more. The campaign raised $3.3m. As many Kickstarter products, shipping started late, and Melly was so kind to bring them with her when we met in Thailand where I was living at the time.
The experience was rough, the Bluetooth connection dropped even when I put my phone in my pocket. Battery life was bad. I can’t remember using them a lot, but I feel like if seen them recently in the bottom of a box.
★★☆☆☆

Ably Shirts

Me being a tourist in Malaysia

As you may know, in 2016 and 2017 I travelled a lot in South-East Asia with a carry-on backpack. The Ably shirts promised less odour, and therefore less washing. I actually really liked them. I received 5 t-shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts and a hoody and I still use them. Good quality and feel. Not the best I’ve ever felt, but really nice. I’d buy them again, but the prices outside of Kickstarter are quite high, especially the shipping costs to the UK.
★★★★☆

Silvertech Underwear

Similar idea to the Ably shirts, different technology. I received underwear, socks and a t-shirt. I wasn’t too excited about the quality and I don’t use any of the products anymore. I still have some of the socks, but most of them have holes by now. No photo of me in underwear, don’t worry.
★★☆☆☆

DU/ER travel pants

Sports goth wears DU/ER travel pants, Ably hoody, Minaal backpack and Keen shoes.

As a man of the world, I needed these travel pants (or trousers, depending on your dialect). I got the jogger version I and really liked them. A bit tight in the beginning, but after a couple of days of wearing, they fit perfectly. I probably wore them for nearly a year as my primary trousers, including some bigger walks. I liked them so much, that I bought similar trousers from the same company.
★★★★★

Primoplan 58 lens

Nice bokeh, great subject, no sharpness

Oh boy, where to start here. This campaign was about the “Fabulous Wonder Bokeh Lens: Primoplan 58 f1.9”, a modern version of a vintage camera lens from the German manufacturer “Meyer Optic Görlitz”. I pledged $785, what was I thinking? I liked the idea and the example photos looked amazing. Little did I know. The company selling the lens had multiple other campaigns with similar lenses, one of them turned out to be a rebranded, way cheaper lens from China. Long story short: After many delays, I received my lens. Shortly after, the company went out of business. Many people never received their products. My promised lens cap never arrived.
How’s the lens, you ask? It’s not good. Yes, the bokeh is beautiful, but I’m not able to get a subject actually in focus.
★★☆☆☆

I haven’t had a look at Kickstarter or other crowdfunding sites in a long time and I back another tech product. Maybe some sweet shorts.

What’s your experience with crowdfunding? (A question at the end boosts the engagement, I learned that in my Youtuber days)