Starlink is now available for RV owners and others who find themselves always on the road in need of good connectivity. The new RV service plan will allow for users to start and stop service as needed and will cost $135 monthly. This is compared to the $99 service offering that’s locked to a fixed address.
While the service is available throughout many parts of the world there are pockets without connectivity. In the map above a good portion of the central United States is currently not available for service. So it’s possible RV owners will still find pockets where they can’t get connectivity. The service map can be found here.
Service availability will improve over time as SpaceX continues to launch large batches of satellites each month.
We all know how broken automated copyright bots are. But that isn’t stopping Congress from investigating a new law called the “SMART” Copyright Act to have them work across the Internet. If passed a corporation can not only remove content but prevent anyone, anywhere from seeing it by blacklisting them from every ISP in the USA.
As any YouTube creator knows, false ContentID copyright claims are a very common occurrence. Sometimes a small piece of music playing in the background will trigger one. Other times big media organizations fail to apply the proper duty of care and automatically claim ownership of public domain footage or other media they don’t own.
Now just imagine all of those issues getting applied to the Internet at large. That’s exactly what this proposed law will do. It will have the Library of Congress deploy an army of copyright bots that will not only pull down content from websites but also require ISPs to block traffic going to those sites. A master blacklist with no recourse for a creator to appeal.
YouTube creator PushingUpRoses often does funny commentaries on classic TV shows. Each time she makes a video about “Murder She Wrote” for YouTube it’s immediately flagged and blocked by NBC Universal even before she hits the publish button. She has to file an appeal – essentially asking for permission – to publish a piece that is clearly within fair use.
Now think about this example applied to the rest of the Internet. Want to criticize a big corporate media outlet? You need to ask permission first. And they’ll have the power to effectively take you off the entire Internet – not just YouTube – if they don’t like what you’re saying.
So far the bill hasn’t made much progress but I expect the big money corporate interests behind this to quietly push it along. Big media sees an opportunity to silence independent creators now that big tech companies are not as popular among members of Congress as they were a decade ago during the SOPA/PIPA debate.
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Another week is here and I’m planning out content for the week ahead. After I take the dog for her morning walk I’ll be starting on the Weekly Wrapup. This week we’re going to take a look at a new effort by big corporations to apply copyright filters to the entire Internet. This new effort by the same cast of characters reminds me a lot of the SOPA/PIPA debacle from a decade ago.
We’re also going to take a look at that $99 Chromebook that’s on sale at Target (affiliate link), do a mini-haul video of a cool retro video game lot I bought at an estate auction, start working on reviewing a new Thudnerbolt 4 dock from HP, and maybe do a bit more with the MiSTer project now that some new 32 bit cores have come out. Beyond that component shortages have left me short of new stuff to review!
I left that out of the initial review as the sound quality of the external mic will vary based on the mic being used! While it’s easy to demonstrate the built-in mics as every user will experience the same thing, it’s much harder to give a clear example when there are so many different types of mics that can be plugged in.
But I had a ton of questions about it and many more “thumbs ups” on those questions. Thankfully I had a great livestream the other day where we tested the feature and I was able to pull the video from that.
If YouTube would allow us mere mortals to replace an already posted video I would have totally done that here. But hopefully those looking for a demo will be able to find it on the Extra’s channel.
DJI is known for their great drones and camera systems but they are venturing into a new area of content creation: audio. This very simple new wireless microphone system has two transmitters with built in mics. It instantly provides dual or single channel audio for interviews to smartphones, cameras, and PCs. Just make sure you don’t lose all of the little parts it comes with.
The system works similar to a pair of Airpods in that the included case also charges the components. The system can operate for about 5 hours on a charge. Unfortunately the batteries are built-in and not swappable or replaceable but USB-C ports on the receiver and transmitters allow for external power or batteries.
The receiver connects to cameras with a 3.5mm line out and to smartphones with included USB-C and lightning adapters. Those are the tiny pieces you don’t want to lose.
The transmitters each have internal storage that can hold about 15 hours of audio. This is a good safety net should something go wrong in the field so you can fix audio issues in post production. There’s also an option to record a -6db safety track to prevent clipping for your louder guests. The units connect to a PC via their USB-C ports and the storage will pop up like a USB thumb drive. But it stores the audio in 30 minute increments. The recordings are seamless but a two hour production will result in four 30 minute files that you’ll have to stitch together.
Audio quality is decent out of the built in Mics but they are omnidirectional and as such will pick up a lot of ambient noise. They also sounded bassier and a little muffled as compared to my more expensive Sennheiser lavalier mics. The DJI microphones will not work well in noisy environments like busy streets, convention floors, etc. The transmitters work over the very busy 2.4ghz radio spectrum and will be prone to interference in busier environments like urban offices, etc.
Each transmitter has a 3.5mm audio input for attaching an external microphone. I was able to get my Sennheiser lavalier to connect through the DJI system without issues.
For a first generation product this feels incredible polished. So much so that I am going to hang onto these for when I need something simple for a field production involving my smartphones.
I’m always looking for helpful ways to mount my iPad and other tablet devices in a variety of situations. The HoverBar Duo (affiliate link) appealed to me because it offered the flexibility of a desk stand along with a clamp-on configuration for mounting it on desks, shelves, etc.
But I found the product falls short. It requires tools even for basic adjustments. And most of it has to be disassembled and reassembled each time it’s moved from stand mode to clamp mode. And be sure you don’t lose all the parts when switching it back and forth.
Just acquired a new set piece! A local estate auction had an original Gameboy lot that included the box in what looks like great condition along with a few games. I’ll probably sell off the games and accessories but keep the unit and box. Oddly it looks like it’s coming with an NES RF adapter..
My first amateur radio project is to make contact with the ISS through a repeater onboard the station. I have yet to be successful being heard but I have managed to tune into the repeater for a majority of the station’s pass overhead. What do you hear? Not the astronauts but other amateur radio operators transmitting signals through the station’s repeater. They talk quickly but there’s very limited time to make contacts. Usually it’s just a call sign, an acknowledgement, and a farewell.
Because the station is moving so fast towards me and then away from me, the radio’s tuner needs to be adjusted slightly as it passes to account for the doppler effect. This video from Tech Minds was really helpful in dialing in the right frequencies. So that was the big progress I made last night – before that I could only hear the repeater for a minute or two. Last night I got about 5 minutes out of it – the duration of the pass in range of my location.
After I make verbal contact I’m also going to attempt to bounce some data packets off of its digipeater!
Their latest phone, now available on Kickstarter for pre-order, is a new keyboard phone that has a more traditional smartphone shape called the Titan Slim. You can watch my full review here.
Their prior keyboard devices had square screens that often had compatibility issues with apps that expected a more square display. This one addresses that problem with a 720p rectangular display. It’s not perfect and runs with budget specs but it may be exactly what fans of physical keyboard phones have been looking for.
I’ve always ben surprised by how well Unihertz phone reviews perform on the channel vs. other budget smartphones. While their appeal has a narrow audience it’s a large enough market to build a successful company focused on specific form factors other manufacturers abandoned.
DJI is known as a drone manufacturer but they’ve more recently ventured into other areas of video production mostly centered around their camera and gimbal systems. Their new product, DJI Mic, is a wireless audio system for video creators. I purchased a kit for review on the channel.
I’m really impressed with the build quality on this one but the audio through the microphones is not spectacular. I still have a few more things to test and hope to have my review ready by the weekend. Stay tuned!
I was assigned my callsign from the FCC last night so now I’m officially an amateur radio operator! I already made my first contact with somebody off a local repeater station. He’s located about 20 miles away from me. The cool thing is that he’s been into contacting the ISS and other orbiting satellites which is something I’m interested in too.
I’m sure we’ll have more to come on the radio topic!
At 9 a.m. eastern time today the House Intelligence Committee will host the first public hearing on UFOs (now known as “unidentified aerial phenomena” or UAP) since the 1960s.
There will likely be a classified portion of the hearing that will have more details but I am interested in hearing what comes out during the public portion. According to Politico there’s some tension internally between the intelligence community, the Department of Defense, and Congress. Here’s what one anonymous official told reporter Bryan Bender:
“They fetishize their secret society,” the official said. “It’s kind of a Skull and Bones-type vibe. They take it seriously but they have no accountability. Zero. There is a whole group of us that know in great detail this subject, a lot of which has not been reported to Congress because of security issues.”