Quadcopter Videos

I considered buying a remote controlled helipcopter with a video camera, or more accurately, a quadcopter, which as its name suggests, has 4 rotors.

For less than £1000 it is possible to buy a quadcopter fitted with a full HD video camera. It is also possible to configure a copter with a realtime first-person view (FPV) transmitted to the pilot’s controller or even to goggles worn by the ground based pilot.

A typical machine is shown below.

Quadcopter with HD video camera

For the moment, however, I’m content to watch the shared experiences of other pilots.

The increasing popularity of these devices has resulted in a large number of videos being uploaded to video sharing websites. Whilst many clips are uninspiring in terms of content and/or quality, there are some excellent uploads, demonstrating considerable piloting skills and confidence, and some excellent camera work.

Here are a few of the best I’ve found.
Most of these videos were created at 1080p (i.e. full high definition), and I recommend viewing at that size if possible.

Incidentally, many of these videos do not have useful search keywords in their title or description, making the task of finding these videos quite tricky.

The phrase “DJI Pantom” (a popular model) worked well for my searches, when “quadcopter” or “uav” failed.

New York, New York, United States of America

Some superb video around Central Park, Lower Manhatten and other areas of the Big Apple.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Cycle Race and Some Over-Water Filming, Wales, United Kingdom

This is a compilation of some great footage. I love the cycle race start at about 1.12.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Agulha do Diablo (Devil’s Needle), Brazil

Some stunning mountainside footage. There’s more to Brazil than beaches and soccer.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Bixby Creek Bridge, California, United States of America

Flying around a bridge in a dramatic landscape in sunny California.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Powerboat Race, Florida, United States of America

This appears to be a commercial production, with some very slick editing, but it shows the view from quadcopters chasing and racing powerboats; what more can you say?

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Battersea Power Station, London, United Kingdom

It sounds un-glamorous, but look at the great video that the copter is able to capture.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Weymouth Harbour, Dorset, United Kingdom

The pilot flies around the fort at the entrance, enters Dorset’s prettiest harbour, and files under the harbour bridge at about 2.45 (video time).

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Puerto de Alcudia Beach, Mallorca

Fans of the hot beaches and blue seas of the Balearic Islands may appreciate this flight around the beaches of Puerto de Alcudia.

Click on the image to view the video in YouTube.


Grimsby and Cleethorpes, United Kingdom

This video does not feature 1080p, but do enjoy the 720p footage of a flight which includes Cleethorpes pier, the fort in the Humber, and the famous tower at Grimsby docks.

You can view the video below, or or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Behind The Scenes: World Cup fever at the Simunix office (for some of us at least)

The 2014 world cup will soon be upon us and while some people are very excited by the prospect, others will not be bothered at all. For those not bothered about football you can look forward to some good movies coming out like 22 Jump Street and Transformers: Age of Extinction. If you are a gamer – we have quite a few in our office – you may be keen on trying the new games coming out like EA Sports UFC which features Bruce Lee!
However, for those of you who are interested in football, here are my ramblings on the countries taking part in the world cup.

Algeria
Interesting fact: The Sahara desert covers 80 percent of Algeria.
Player(s) to watch: Nabil Bentaleb of Tottenham Hotspur FC
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Argentina

Interesting fact: The tango originated from Buenos Aires at the end of the 19th century.
Player(s) to watch: Pretty much the whole team! (Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherono to name a few)
Predicted finish: Winners!

Australia
Interesting fact(s): The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system. Australia has a lot of venomous creatures like the fierce snake and funnel web spider, though as a South African I’m more afraid of a Black mamba or a Boomslang!
Player(s) to watch: Does Harry Kewell still play for them? Just kidding, Tim Cahill is pretty decent even if he does play for Everton! (Guess who’s a Liverpool fan)
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Belgium
Interesting fact(s): There are over 800 kinds of beer made in Belgium and 3 kinds of waffles: Liege, Brussels and Galettes. (Beer and waffles! I’m moving to Belgium)
Player(s) to watch: Vincent Kompany arguably one of the world’s best defenders and Eden Hazard an exciting attacking player.
Predicted finish: Out at quarter finals.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Interesting fact(s): Has one of the world’s highest unemployment rates.
Player(s) to watch: Asmir Begovic one of the premier league’s best keepers and Edin Dzeko a super sub striker for Manchester City.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Brazil
Interesting fact(s): Brazil is one of the most bio diverse places on the earth.
Player(s) to watch: Again practically the whole team, but my personal favourites are Neymar, Ramires and Oscar.
Predicted finish: Runners up.

Cameroon
Interesting fact(s): Cameroon is the first African country to reach a quarter final in a world cup.
Player(s) to watch: Alexandre Song of Barcelona and Samuel Eto’o possibly one of the best strikers on Pro Evolution soccer ever.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Chile
Interesting fact(s): One of the longest north-south trending countries in the world at over 4,600km and, only 150km wide from west to east.
Player(s) to watch: Arturo Vidal a tough midfielder from Juventus.
Predicted finish: Out in second round.

Colombia
Interesting fact(s): Colombia is a land of extremes, with snow-covered volcanoes, rain forest and deserts.
Player(s) to watch: Although Falcao is injured Jackson Martinez is decent.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Costa Rica
Interesting fact(s): One of the highest life expectancies in the world (77 years)
Player(s) to watch: Keylor Navas is one of the top keepers in the Spanish league, which is good because he will be busy!
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Côte d’Ivoire
Interesting fact(s): One of the largest producers of coffee, cocoa and palm oil.
Player(s) to watch: Yaya Toure who’s been on fire in the premiership this season and his brother Kolo Toure who has also provided some entertainment of another sort (quite a few own goals).
Predicted finish: Out at second round.

Croatia
Interesting fact(s): Dalmation dogs got their name after a South Coastal region in Croatia called Dalmatia.
Player(s) to watch: Luka Modric of Real Madrid.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Ecuador
Interesting fact(s): Guinea pig is considered a delicacy.
Player(s) to watch: Antonio Valencia of Manchester Utd FC.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

England
Interesting fact(s): English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web.
Player(s) to watch: Wayne Rooney apparently, but I’m hoping to see some exciting stuff from the younger players: Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

France
Interesting fact(s): France is the most visited country in the world.
Player(s) to watch: Quite a few good players but Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema stand out.
Predicted finish: Out at quarter finals.

Germany
Interesting fact(s):Michael Ballack does not like beer!
Player(s) to watch: Practically the whole team, but Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger stand out.
Predicted finish: Out at semi finals.

Ghana
Interesting fact(s): The name Ghana means warrior king.
Player(s) to watch: Sulley Muntari, Asamoah Gyan.
Predicted finish: Out at second round.

Greece
Interesting fact(s): Greece is home to over a dozen world heritage sites.
Player(s) to watch: Orestis Karnezis a sound goal keeper and Kostas Mitroglou a powerful forward.
Predicted finish: Out at second round.

Honduras
Interesting fact(s): Platano forest was nominated as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Player(s) to watch: Carlo Costly a tall striker who uses his strength and aerial prowess to good effect.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Iran
Interesting fact(s): Couples that want a marriage license are required to attend an hour long lecture on contraception.
Player(s) to watch: Ashkan Dejagah of Fulham FC.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Italy
Interesting fact(s): Vatican City and San Marino are very small independent states located inside Italy.
Player(s) to watch: Adrea Pirlo the maestro and Gianluigi Buffon one of the best keepers in the world.
Predicted finish: Out at quarter final.

Japan
Interesting fact(s): Japan is made up of over 6,500 islands.
Player(s) to watch: Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Korea Republic
Interesting fact(s): The taxis are colour coded, white or grey are more basic than black cabs.
Player(s) to watch: Ki Sung-Yeung one of the best passers in the premier league
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Mexico
Interesting fact(s): They have a special Christmas festival to celebrate the radish. (In Oaxaca)
Player(s) to watch: Carlos Pena
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Netherlands
Interesting fact(s): 70% of the worlds bacon comes from the Netherlands
Player(s) to watch: Robben Van Persie who hopefully gets his form back.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Nigeria
Interesting fact(s): One of the oldest locations of human existence.
Player(s) to watch: Sunday Mba who came up with some stunning goals during qualifying
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Portugal
Interesting fact(s): The Portuguese eat more fish and shell fish per head than any other country.
Player(s) to watch: Christiano Ronaldo obviously.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Russia
Interesting fact(s): In terms of land area Russia is the largest country in the world
Player(s) to watch: Igor Akinfeev
Predicted finish: Out at second round.

Spain
Interesting fact(s): Besides good footballers, Spain produces a large amount of renewable energy including wind power and solar power. Well done Spain!
Player(s) to watch: Just about the whole team, but my favourite is Andres Iniesta mostly because of the resemblance with my brother.
Predicted finish: Third

Switzerland
Interesting fact(s): Swiss women are among the oldest in europe when they have their first child.
Player(s) to watch: Xherdan Shaqiri
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Uruguay
Interesting fact(s): It is often known as the heart shaped country.
Player(s) to watch: Luis Suarez a Liverpool FC legend! Also known for attempting to eat the opposition.
Predicted finish: Out at quarter final.

USA
Interesting fact(s): The US has world’s largest economy
Player(s) to watch: Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Tips for using Pinterest when your business is not visual

A clothing or homewares retailer posts a beautifully photographed outfit or expertly styled living space to Pinterest and it will make its way around the virtual pinboards of the 70+ million users, consequently driving traffic to their website.

But how can this social platform be of benefit to those non-visual brands like garages, energy companies or in our case, an online directory enquiries service?

1) Get creative

If posting photos of your products is not going to work in the way it would if you were a restaurant or an elegant hotel, you could start thinking about ways in which your products can be used. For example, an energy company may post images of anything from attractive light fittings to cool kitchens. On our Simunix Pinterest page, you’ll find vintage telephones, gadgets and impressive office spaces.

2) Infographics

People love looking at facts and figures. Create an infographic with some statistics you’ve collected about your customers or some fun facts about your industry. We created a comparison infographic that tracked the cost of our services compared with those of our competitors. Infographics are much more likely to be shared throughout social networks than something that is text-based.

3) Get your customers to do it for you

Pinterest allows you to create collaborative boards where you can either invite other people to pin to them or leave them open for anyone to contribute to. Alternatively, you could start a “Pin to Win” competition encouraging your customers to create pinboards full of images they think are relevant to your business or industry. Get them to name their boards after your business or include a hashtag relevant to your brand in order to drive interest to your products and services.

4) Become a collaborator yourself

Search for other pinboards relevant to your industry or see what your competitors are up to. Not only can you pick up some ideas, you may also find some collaborative boards that you can contribute to.

Why You Need To Get On The Electoral Roll

Are you able to vote in next year’s General Election? While most people are aware that you must be on the electoral roll in order to vote, here are some other reasons why it is important for you to register:

Credit rating

Failure to be listed on the electoral roll may affect your credit rating. Lenders use information from the electoral roll to confirm your name, address and residential history. Not being registered could cause delays when applying for credit while the lenders search for the information elsewhere and can even cause some applications to be refused.

Mortgage applications

If you are looking to take out a mortgage or any kind of loan, ensuring your electoral roll information is up to date is vital as banks and building societies need to know the information about you is current before they will agree to an offer.

It’s the law

You can be fined up to £1,000 for not registering to vote!

Ordnance Survey Map Changes

We use Google and Ordnance Survey maps, both to illustrate the locations of data results, and in a map viewer at www.ukphonebook.com/maps. The map viewer defaults to Google, but you may select Ordnance Survey. A “full screen” option is provided, to maximise the window.

We also use O.S. maps in zonesearch.com.

The Ordnance Survey 1:10000 scale maps offer the highest detail (the maximum zoom). When we uploaded the most recent version of this scale, we wrote a process to analyze the changes from an older version; one of the changes it found is shown below.

The left hand view shows the current map; the right hand is the former map. Note the changes to the west of King’s Cross station in London.

To view King’s Cross in our map viewer, follow this link. You can also switch to Google maps, and view the satellite and “street view” options too, of course.

Managing Social Networks

I might be late to the game but I’ve recently started using HootSuite after a colleague recommended I give it a try. Now I’m not sure how I managed without it! This post is by no means an advert for the service, it’s just something that I find really useful so felt the need to share.

In a nutshell, HootSuite is a dashboard for all your social networking activity. You can link all your social networking accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc.) to it and publish posts to all of the above from one place.

You can also link multiple accounts from the same platform. For example, I run the ukphonebook.com Twitter account as well as my own personal Simunix account (@laura_simunix) and also some partner accounts – I am able to post to all of these directly from HootSuite.

You can select which accounts you publish to on a post by post basis. So if I want to post something to the ukphonebook.com Twitter and Facebook accounts only, I can just select those from the list and type up my post. The input box even includes a helpful word count based on which social network you are posting to.

Another feature that I find extremely useful is the ability to schedule posts. If I know I will be out of the office for a few days, I can schedule posts to be published throughout my absence and it’s as if I never left!

You can add streams to your dashboard in order to keep up with hot topics on Twitter and can even keep abreast of conversations that apply to your interests or business by creating a stream based on certain keywords (“directory enquiries” in our case).

So there you have it! My advice for managing all of your social media networks.

EIRCODE – Postcodes come to The Republic of Ireland (at last!)

Did you know that Ireland does not have postcodes? However, this is all to change in spring 2015 when 2.2 million households across the country will receive letters with details of their new postcodes or Eircodes as they will be known.

Simunix has registered several .ie web domains with the intention of delivering online solutions to help ROI residents quickly adopt use of the Eircode.

Unlike our postcodes in the UK which can cover entire streets, there will be a unique seven-character code for each address. Each Eircode will have two parts – a 3-character Routing Key to help with mail sorting, and a 4-character Unique Identifier that identifies the exact address.

The Minister for Communications in Ireland, Pat Rabbitte has said that the new system will make postal deliveries faster and more efficient as well as making it easier for various community and business services to locate households.

Free Credits

There seems to have been some confusion recently over what free credits can be used for on ukphonebook.com.

Registered users get 10 free credits every day, unregistered users (in the UK) get 5 every day.

Free credits can be used on the following services:

Free credits may not be used to search the Electoral Roll so when performing a People Search, be sure to select “Phone Book” as the data source if you wish to only use free credits.

Please see our pricing page for a full list of how many credits each service costs.

Behind The Scenes: Hull-isms

In spite of the bad press, many view Hull as a city of hidden charms. Due to become Britain’s City of Culture in 2017, it is home to the engineering wonder that is the Humber Bridge, a recently restored marina and promenade as well as the terrific aquarium, The Deep.

In addition to this, the city has given birth to musicians, poets and actors as well as two of our very own Directors here at Simunix. With this in mind, Hull is a hot topic of conversation in the Simunix offices and coming up with various “Hull-isms” has become a popular Friday lunchtime game. Here are some of John and Ian’s favourites:

  • Er kner (Oh no!)
  • Arse in yer kerk (Ice in your Coke)
  • The bern’s rarin’ (The baby’s crying)
  • The fern (The telephone)
  • Ferth uv Jular (American Independence Day)
  • Thes a hernet on’t bern’s cernet (there’s a wasp on the baby’s ice-cream)
  • Ezzle Rerd (the main thoroughfare between Hessle and Hull)
  • Perch degg (poached egg)
  • Ners kern  (nose cone)
  • Merhbarle fern (mobile phone)
  • Mamamia  (Mother I have returned home)
  • Iantgoranee (I do not have any)
  • Jinerr? (do you know?)
  • A hertell  (A hotel)
  • Shurrup (please be silent)
  • Anglebie Rerd (Anlaby Road)

Any Hullensians please feel free to add to the list!