Idea: Control (and rent) Drones Remotely

When travelling to Iceland and Khao Yai national park in Thailand I noticed an emerging trend: people bringing drones with them on a trip.

Drones are not cheap. They start at 1k USD plus a good camera will run you another grand, at least.

What if there was a way to remotely control a drone, that is rented? For example, one could establish a company that has several physical drones deployed in interesting parts of the world – could be national parks, nature reserves, near volcanoes, etc.

Then, via a website one can book a time slot to fly a drone in any of those locations. The flying time may be limited to 15 mins max, for example. After downloading the remote control app,  I can remotely fly a drone miles away in a different continent – in the comfort of my own home. I would pay premium for the experience.


Idea: Allow drones to recharge from power lines

There are miles and miles of high voltage power lines running all throughout Canada – from city to city and province to province. Wouldn’t it be cool if delivery drones and such had an ability to recharge by hovering and attaching a charge cable to an exposed high voltage power line. I’m sure the voltage / amperage can be stepped down to something that a drone can use.

Drones, when detecting low battery, would use a map to find the closest power line and then “sit” on a wire like a bird until recharged. This way travelling over longer distances problem can be solved.

Idea: Dual Exhaust – one for city and one for highway use

The main problem with “performance” or louder than stock exhausts is that they are annoying or no fun on the highway. Your throttle is pretty much constant on the highway and the elevated noise coming from the exhaust gets annoying quickly. You can sound proof your car but that can run you into $ 1k+ easily.

Another solution is to have two mufflers with an ability to choose though which one the exhaust gases will flow. One muffler can be louder so you can use it in the city. Once you go on the highway you can flip a switch and activate the quieter muffler.

A performance muffler is around $100. Plus piping – another $30 or so. The ability to switch between the two? Throw in another $100. Many sports cars or sporty looking cars come with dual mufflers anyhow. So it’s just adding the switch.

C# – Lookup nested field in ExpandoObject at runtime

say you have a JSON object like this

    home: {
        garage: {
            bike: {
                make: "honda"

in C# you’ve loaded the JSON into an ExpandoObject like this:

dynamic json = JsonConvert.DeserializeObject("json text above...");

to lookup a field, you can just do

var make =; // "honda"

which is just great.

but what if you need to lookup fields whose names you do not know at compile time?

with the little helper i wrote you can do this:

var fieldName = ""; // this will be resolved at runtime

var make = json.GetField(fieldName);


public static object GetField(this ExpandoObject expandoObject, string path)
    if (expandoObject == null)
        return null;

    var pathSegments = path.Split('.');
    var lastPathSegment = pathSegments[pathSegments.Length - 1];

    var cursor = (IDictionary)expandoObject;

    for (int i = 0; i < pathSegments.Length - 1; i++)
        var pathSegment = pathSegments[i];

        cursor = (IDictionary)cursor[pathSegment];

    object result = null;

    cursor.TryGetValue(lastPathSegment, out result);

    return result;


Idea: Bring some of Aereo home

I like the idea of having a remote antenna. It’s like having my own antenna but with a very long cord. In actuality it IS a very long cord. I’m connected to the internets via my cable provider who via underground cables reaches out to wherever. I don’t see how having an antenna with 5 foot or 10,000 foot cord makes a difference.
Having Aereo doing the recording on their servers and charging me to access the recordings does not pass the smell test for me. It does seem a bit like re-broadcasting.
Why not do this: I would still like Aereo to house the antenna (or several antennas) for me. They can aim it, make sure it gets reception, etc. I have no problem paying for that.
Then, Aereo can sell a small Android (or whatever OS) powered box that connects to the internets. It will reach out to the remote antenna but will record onto a local storage (memory card, etc) or NAS. The box will also grab metadata (show title, cast, etc) about what’s being recorded. The box can also broadcast locally via the local network so you can watch on your iPad for example. So it will act as a DNLA as well.
All the recorded content will be nicely presented and organized, same as on Aereo’s website You can connect the box to the TV or access it from iPad or your computer.
Seeing how android tv boxes are sold for ~$100 these days producing such a box may not be that expensive. The price can be subsidized so that the consumer does not have to fork out too much to get the box. The cost can be rolled into the monthly subscription fee.
The difference from current model to me would that Aereo’s would strictly provide an antenna hosting service. They would simply transmit the whatever signal antenna is receiving via a long cable (internet) onto my receiver. 

Fixed: Script debugging with Visual Studio 2010 Premium + IE 11 on Win 7 Ent x64

Spent many hours on this. Here’s what worked for me.

  1. Close VS and IE.
  2. Run cmd like a boss (as Administrator)
  3. Type in

    regsvr32 “C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\microsoft shared\VS7Debug\pdm.dll”
    regsvr32 “C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\microsoft shared\VS7Debug\msdbg2.dll”

  4. Open regedit and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
  5. Create a DWORD(32) value named TabProcGrowth. Leave the value as 0.
  6. Launch VS, script debugging should now work.

Avoid HTML5 sessionStorage – not supported by Safari in private browsing mode!

Before deciding to use sessionStorage I did due diligence and researched browser support. shows that all modern browsers support it (less Opera Mini, who cares) As it turns out Safari desktop/mobile versions do not support sessionStorage (or localStorage) when browsing in private mote. Amplify.js is nice enough to do the check for you and will be automatically be set to null.

2013 V-Strom 650 fork brace by AdventureTech review

Prior to owning the V-Strom I had Ninja 250r. I am used to the bike being tossed in high winds, cross winds, big trucks, etc. I’ve learned to relax and just correct the direction.

V-Strom 650 suffers from instability in high winds much less so then the Ninja, but I still wanted to try a “no toss” experience.

The expectation:

I ordered the fork brace from AdventureTech having some reservations. If the fork brace was so good why wouldn’t the manufacturers have it as stock? One more piece of metal does not seem all that much. I was hoping I would be proven wrong having read many positive reviews.

The result:

The fork makes a difference. On a highway you feel as if your bike is riding on a rail – it no longer wanders left and right. Before the fork it took one twitch of a muscle in my hands or butt to send the bike off course, but now an effort is needed to change direction.

Because you are riding on a virtual rail things like cross winds, trucks, etc, no longer send you off your course. I must admit it’s a little less fun. Before I was on my guard all the time but now I relax more.

At low speeds and turns the bike handles easier. It listens to you more. Things like turning are easier.

Overall, highly recommended.

Scorpion Exo 700 vs Scorpion Exo 400 Review

I’ve bought both the Scoripon Exo 700 (for myself) and the Scorpion Exo 400 (passenger) helmets and decided to do a review on them. These helmets are very popular and people often ask which one to get: the 400 or the 700. Let me first say that these are my first helmets so I cannot compare them to any other helmets I’ve had.

I am very pleased with both helmets, so there will be no winners or losers in this review. I will just point out the differences between the two.

First, the Scorpion Exo 700.

I bought this one @ for $108.95 + $35.00 shipping to Canada. That’s $143.95 USD in total (and no tariffs!). It pays to order a previous year model, STG often has them on sale for a fraction of a price of a current year model.

Very good build quality
Ventilates very well
Does not fog up

If you wear glasses, they are not as easy to put on as with Exo 400
A bit noisy (b/c it ventilates so well)

Second, the Scorpion Exo 400

I bought this one as STG as well, for $64.95 + $35.00 shipping to Canada. That’s $99.95 USD in total. This is a previous year model as well.

Same shield as on 700, does not fog up
Just as light as the 700
A bit less noisy then the 700
Easier to put on glasses then with the 700

The plastic looks cheap comparing to Exo 700 (the shell looks just as nice though)
Does not ventilate as well

In conclusion, I would like to repeat that I am very pleased with both helmets. If your budget allows for it, go for the Exo 700. Otherwise, get yourself a 400 and rest assured that you are not missing out on much.

Idea: Digital Receipts

Many times when I get a receipt, at a grocery store for example, I simply toss it away at the scene or when I get home. Sometimes I even crumble it up and try to get it into a garbage can form several feet away. With the amount of receipts I get you would think I’m a pro by now. I am. Sad.

Enter digital receipts. Or receipts 2.0. iReceipt maybe? The idea is this: the clerk would ask you “would you like a receipt with that?” If you say yes, then a paper record is given to you right a the spot like in the good old days before this idea. If you say no, then a paper record is not given. In either case a digital record gets entered against your credit or debit card.

The record would contain an itemized breakdown of what you bought, just like a regular receipt does. Also extra info like warranty, store info, date time etc etc. You can view that receipt by logging into your bank’s online banking site.

Credit and debit card companies would have to agree on a standard, so would the POS software companies (some sort of XML). A store can upgrade their POS software (or buy a new one) that would support that feature. If the store chooses not upgrade their software or buy new one — all is good, they would function just like they do now. This feature will not be forced on anyone.

Benefit to banks (or credit card companies) — they now hold the data that describes what and where a customer purchased something. They can sell that data. For example, say Kellogg wants to know what else customers buy when they purchase their Kellogg’s cereal. Stuff like that.

Benefit to consumers — you have full access to info about your purchasing habits. Your bank maybe nice enough to provide you with free reports about how much you spend on food, bills, etc. Also, when you go back to the store to make a return/exchange you need not bring the receipt with you — just the card you used to make the purchase. The bank will swipe the card and read the necessary receipt.