Best Present, Ever

Best Present, Ever


How to keep computer scientists happy? Well, gadgets go a rather long way. I did say I'd take pictures, so here we go :D. Thanks again to Jamie and Jack!

The Parcel

I'm going to start with an image for a change. Yesterday around noon, my wife accepted this rather large and myste~rious parcel for me:

now what could possibly be in this large and mysterious package?

Before we find out what's in the box, a bit of background information - you know, to keep you on your toes. I'd already known who had sent me that parcel: Jamie and Jack over at They had a bit of a rough ride with the graphics drivers for their ingenious machines - seriously, I wish we had a few of those brightboxes on campus. Alas, I'm not in NYC, so that's not gonna happen anytime soon :(. Either way, the boards they were using were equipped with Intel Cedarview graphics, which I'd previously blogged about as being a PITA to set up on Linux, so Jamie asked me on IRC if I could have a look at that - being a freelancer and all. Obviously I agreed, I love tinkering with hardware and I really just had to find out why this board wasn't doing as it was told. Problem is, billing someone in the US for consulting services is insanely hard to get right thanks to Germany's exceptionally complex fiscal code. So I thought "what the hell, I'll do it for free!" - but Jamie and Jack wouldn't have any of that, and they wanted to at least send me a present for the trouble. And here we are. Squee!


So, on to the interesting part! Now what could possibly warrant a box THAT big? Why a smaller, gift-wrapped box! Still rather large indeed...

whoa, still big!

Whoo, the anticipation damn near killed me. And the missus. Seriously, she's a sucker for unwrapping presents. Totally normal that she'd help me with unwrapping this, as it's... OH MY GO~D. SQUEEEEE~!

holy shit, it's a Parrot AR Drone 2.0!

... it's a Parrot AR Drone 2.0! How friggen awesome is that! You're getting unwrapped and experimented on right this instant!

very protective packaging

First impression: very protective packaging. Sweet! Oh and Jamie: no worries about the US-to-EU AC adaptor, it came with a set of adaptor prongs that look versatile enough to work in South Africa.

by Odin it has LEDs...... and a styrofoam cover for indoor use!

Those guys really did think of everything. The battery was actually charged halfway when it came so we were able to take this action shot of the drone observing the telli after a quick download of that RC app for iOS:

whoo, it flies!

The controls are plain awesome. Dammit it flies and is remote-controlled with an iPad (among other devices)! This has got to be the coolest thing ever, how come I'd never heard of it before? No matter, I'm taking you flying outside as soon as the weather clears up a bit. Muahahaha!

Thanks guys, this thing's the best present, ever - although my wife totally beat me to tweet that! I wonder if I'll be able to mess around with its API, *grin*.

By the way, thanks for warning me of this little spoiler in advance. They totally are right on the mark about how sending drones to your devs really is a great idea, but I do like that moment of unboxing things when you have no idea what's in the box ;). Incidentally, today's xkcd is on drones as well. Wicked. It's a good day for drones.

Written by Maggie Danger ().