Airplane Prop + CMOS Rolling Shutter = WTF

Check out this utterly awesome picture taken of a Yak aerobatic trainer taken with a iPhone:

Airplane Prop + CMOS Rolling Shutter = WTF on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

The combination of the slow scan speed of the camera and the movement of the prop has done something fascinating to the image. In the old days, some cameras had moving slits for shutters and they did similar effects to propellors, but usually the props just looked a little bent, rather than discombobulated.

iPhone Logbook App requirements

Ok, so what do I want from an iPhone App? How about I list the requirements as I see them, and order them from highest to lowest? I have an idea that I can then choose a bunch at the top of the list and say “this will be the first release”, then a bunch below that to say “this will be the next release”, and so on down the list.

The perfect iPhone logbook app:

  • Must not require an internet connection!
  • User must be able to enter a new flight.
  • User must be able to browse existing flights.
  • User must be able to total up existing flights
  • A flight consists of a brief description, a series of one or more locations, the aircraft that was taken, and the number of hours spent in certain activities such as “Pilot in Command”, “Cross Country”, “Dual Instruction” as well as counts of other non-timed activities like “Day Landings” or “Precision Approaches”.
  • A particular aircraft should be known by its capabilities so that the user can get totals of time spent in those capabilities, such as single engine or multi engine, land plane or sea plane, complex, high performance, turbo prop, jet, etc.
  • User should be able to filter on date ranges, capabilities, aircraft flown, activities logged, etc, in both the browse and total functions, so, for example, you can total up how many flights you took where you made a night landing in a complex aircraft while pilot in command, or see all the flights where you landed in Syracuse (KSYR).
  • User should be given warnings of “currency” items, based either on recently logged flights, like if you’ve gone 90 days without 3 day or night landings, of for calendar items like when your medical expires.
  • User could track other things in the flight, such as who else flew with you or flight number that would be filter-able
  • User could have an unstructured note field to note down other facts about the flight that are not filter-able.
  • User could export the flight log to a Google Docs spreadsheet. (Some other iPhone apps do this – I wonder if there is an API?) (Obviously an internet connection would be required during this operation)
  • User could import the flight log from a Google Docs spreadsheet. (I have no idea if that’s even possible!)
  • User could customize the duration and count fields for flights.
  • User could customize the rules for currency, even combining several factors.
  • Application could publish an interface so that other apps (like CoPilot, for example), could transfer information from a flight that was planned or flown into the logbook.

That should keep me busy for a while, eh? Any additions?

PostgreSQL woes

I was up to 2:30am last night, and up again at 8:30, working on a problem with PostgreSQL. I spent a week and a half consolidating the data that comes from and my existing data, and trying to figure out who was right when they disagree. I finally got that finished up at around 8pm last night, but didn’t load it on the production machine until after I got back from a party around midnight.
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Well, I’m not going to get rich, but…

I just got a check for my share of the money Laurie Davis got from selling his new CoPilot for iPhone on the iTunes app store. If you just count the time I spent re-designing my database to accomdate the requirements of his app, writing the web app to provide the data for his app, and re-writing the load scripts to load in the new database format, I figure I earned about $50/hour. If you count all time I’ve spend on building and maintaining this database and web site, add in the money I’ve gotten from donations, and ignore the money I’ve spent on web hosting for, and I figure I earned about $.00001/hour.

Still, it’s sure nice to have this check. Of course, my first impulse it is to blow it on something cool for myself, but on sober second thought I should probably bank (most of) it against a future jobless spell.

How I spent my winter vacation

I’ve been trying to import the data from David Megginson’s great site into my site. The reason I want to do this is that they have a lot of data that I don’t. They crowd-source a lot of it, but some of the initial data loads come from sources that I never found for my site. My site, on the other hand, tries to get data from various data sources and merges it with other data from other authoritative sources like from the FAA (and the sadly obsolete DAFIF).
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