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Tech Shortcuts for Life

Method #3: A 30-foot-tall selfie stick

“TECH SHORTCUTS FOR LIFE” in blue at the top left and a black and white photo of a person with an elongating selfie stick.
Photo Illustration: Save As/ Medium Photo Source: Getty Images

Tech Shortcuts for Life is a weekly column from Thomas Smith on Debugger exploring the apps, automations, gadgets, and other tech tricks that can make your life more efficient.

I love flying drones that are so cheap that I don’t have to care if I crash them. But if you want to fly a drone for any commercial purpose — like taking nature photos, news reporting, real estate photography, or event photos — things get much more complex and expensive. Professional drones can cost upwards of $2,000, and if you don’t obtain the proper license, registration, and insurance, you could…


The DJI FPV Combo lets you fly the drone and be the drone

DJI’s new FPV Drone. Photos courtesy of the author

What’s it like to be a drone? It’s not something I thought much about until I virtually climbed inside one and flew from its point of view.

Now I can tell you, thanks to DJI’s first FPV (first-person view) drone, it’s exhilarating.

News that DJI now has its own FPV drone is exciting but not surprising. It started making drone goggles for first-person view and control of drones back in 2017. Its first attempt was huge and ridiculous. A few years later, it followed up with the DJI FPV Goggles, a much more lightweight and compact headset that could work…


You can crash it with impunity

Images courtesy the author

I’ve always wanted to buy a drone, but I could never justify actually doing it. Professional drones, like those from DJI, are expensive. To use one for work (I’m a photographer), I’d have to get a complex license from the FAA.

I’ve also always assumed that if I bought a drone, I’d crash it. At the start of the pandemic, my personal trainer told me that he found a broken drone in his apartment complex’s trash room. He lovingly restored it — adding new propellers, sourcing a remote online, and swapping out its depleted batteries. After a month of work…


There are better ways to spy on your family members

Eerily patrols your home and a great fan of the soccer game. Image: Ring

As if late 2020 wasn’t exhausting enough, Amazon has announced the Ring Always Home Cam, a flying camera drone for your house. It is sublimely dumb, a supposedly innovative tool that is neither innovative nor useful. It is a home-security device that can easily be defeated by a cat. It may also be a not-very-sneaky way for Amazon to map out the interior of your house so they can gaze ever more deeply into your personal desires and insecurities.

This chunky flying personal fan that goes BRRR contains multitudes.

The Ring Always Home Cam is a T-shaped drone that is…

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