Drones for Social Distancing

With the recent guidelines for social distancing, many folks are struggling for activities to do.  There have been several recent drone videos of major cities, such as San Francisco and Boston, with few to no people in the streets and I’m a big fan of these.

While I really wish I had a nice big drone that can fly far and fast and take 4k video, my trusty Mavic Mini is good enough to get out and fly on most decent days, and yesterday we had one of those.  Wind gusts were topping out at about 25mph, which is a little risky for a drone with a top speed of 30-35mph, but I’ve now got several hours of flight time in and lots of experience with the little Mavic Mini so I took a chance.  I chose my location, the Eugene Moran Wildlife Management Area in Windsor, MA. I did a little research on this area and saw no notes that drones were not allowed and also that most of the wildlife in this area are birds, a hazard I am very familiar with.  For the most part birds stay away, but sometimes if they swarm they can get aggressive or territorial. There was even DPW truck here when I arrived, you can see in the video, and he didn’t seem to have any issues with what I was doing and drove away without issue.  If necessary, I had and always have my FAA certification card on me to show that I know the rules and how to follow them.

The flight went very well, although I did get several high wind warnings the little Mavic Mini performed exactly as expected.  If you see any jerky movements in the video, that’s because I was reacting to the wind.  Here’s the full video for your enjoyment.

I find piloting drones to be exhilarating — it takes a great deal of focus and gives me sweaty palms.  While the actual piloting is not very relaxing, I think the results are very much so. When I’m trying to make relaxing videos I use the Cinematic flight mode which gives super smooth results.  I think that for future flights I will also do a fly through on regular GPS flight mode so the drone moves faster to more get that feeling of flying.

Tattiya, a colleague of mine at BCC, gave me a really good idea too when we were discussing image juxtaposition.  I’m going to program some GPS drone flight paths then go back and fly those paths at different seasons/weather.  Once we get a few we can juxtaposition videos!  More to come!

Everything! Now Remote!

So my colleagues and I have been super busy writing documentation, creating videos, and making websites to help folks move EVERYTHING so that it can be done remotely.  This is not only true with classes, as BCC has switched to remote learning for the remainder of the semester, but also for support both on the student and faculty side.  Getting everything as ready as it can be took a huge effort!  Here’s a short list of some of the things I did to prepare:

And this is all on top of attending nine virtual interviews in Zoom for two search committees I’m a part of!  So as a result you might expect I haven’t written here much.

As technology often can be a moving target, now with people working from home via the internet it is even more so.  This week there have been stories about crashed Zoom meetings, internet and cloud service slowdowns, and to boot Microsoft is changing the name of Office 365 in the middle of all this!  One thing is for sure, working with technology is hardly ever boring!

Geesh! Here’s that meditation video I mentioned above to help you destress!

I’m going back to writing documentation!

How to Properly Clean Your Computer

clean your workstation sign

Sings used on workstations in the Digital Commons

Keeping your computer properly clean is important, especially during the cold and flu season.  If you use a shared workstation or a public workstation in a library or computer lab setting this is particularly important.  Using keyboards, mice, mouse pads, and touch screens can all be opportunities to come in contact with others and spread germs.  Here’s some helpful tips when it comes to cleaning your


  • Use a disinfectant wipe or solution
  • After wiping, wipe your equipment with a dry cloth
  • Do NOT allow the cloth to be overly damp – moisture can damage your computer
  • Do NOT use bleach – it can damage the plastic your computer is made of

For more details, and videos, please check out these sources: