Should Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Be Part Of Journalism’s Toolset?

Video screengrab of initial construction of the Graton Casino in Rohnert Park in 2012 - taken from amateur suas footage.

Video screengrab of initial construction of the Graton Casino in Rohnert Park in 2012 – taken from amateur suas footage.

A great deal of reporting is being done lately on the value of “drone journalism”. Coupled with the FAA’s legal wrangling over the actual legality of such newsgathering, we’ve got ourselves a First Amendment issue, folks.

This video was gathered by yours truly in June 2012 to document the progress of SMART working on improving our local railroad infrastructure:

The FAA thinks this should be illegal.

They also think this should be illegal:

What do you think? Do you have archival or newsworthy “suas” (small unmanned aerial systems) video to share with a larger audience?

Commercial Drone Pilots Cheer Judge Overturns Fine Against Pilot

Media line up to oppose drone ban –

Drone Journalism: Media Groups Raise First Amendment Concerns

AMICI Brief by Media Industry

Increasing Reports of Orcas on the Sonoma Coast

Living on the coast, as I do, I hear from people fairly regularly that they’ve spotted Killer Whales from time to time.

Do you have any Killer Whale/Orca stories from the North Coast? Please share!

How is that related to this video? Well, it’s not – not at all. But this video is just awesome joy.
How it escaped my awareness until now, I’ll never know.

STRAVA Releases New Annadel Park Map

STRAVA Releases New Annadel Park Map

Not actually a new park map… but an actual representation of how the public is using the park.

STRAVA’s reasons for providing the data will strike a chord with many:

“We are providing this information in anonymous aggregate form to help improve infrastructure and safety for cyclists, runners and pedestrians.”

Check out your favorite park, and learn where the secret trails are. Do it quick – I suspect State Parks and other private organizations will put the kibosh on this amazing tool in short order.

Identifying the Problems.

With the lone exception of connecting the dots to the incredible decline in American journalism (cultural daily education) and traditional educational innovation, this is one of the most true videos I have ever seen.
Want to fix it? How?

Lunchtime Shenanigans Above and Beneath Santa Rosa

So I’m lunching with my friends Chris and Gabe one day…

Chris & Mr. Burger

Chris & Mr. Burger


Gabe. He’s a man of many talents, tastes, trades and skills. Learn about him here:

Just relaxing.  Enjoying the spoils of life at one favorite little spot known as SuperBurger.  Here is the modest meal otherwise known as The St. Helena:

st. helena

The St. Helena SuperBurger. Fuel.

And Gabe says, “so Jake, you’ve really never been in the tunnel beneath City Hall?”

“No, never”  I answer.

“Well, let’s go.  You want to see that tunnel now.”

It was just like that.  A statement – not a question at all.   And Gabe was right.  He’s got me pegged.  I wanted to see that tunnel.

"No Flashlights"

“No Flashlights”

Continue reading

Spreading Sunshine


The Sunflower Project needs your help!

Original Article by Jo Anne Cohn:

Let’s all plant sunflowers outside!

Sunflowers represent the sun, good health, happiness; all the wishes for Santa Rosa neighborhoods.  What better way to spread good cheer all over town than with a sprinkling of golden yellow?  Wouldn’t it be great if we had sunflowers growing in front of places where we live and work this summer?  I love the idea and hope you do too!  It could bring a smile to each of us as we pass them on the street.  Let’s spend time getting to know each other as we watch our flowers grow.

Join me and my friends in kicking off the Sunflower Project in Santa Rosa!  Let’s spread cheer and community in all parts of Santa Rosa by planting and distributing sunflower seedlings! We’ll need some seeds, some greenhouses to grow some seedlings, some Dixie cups to put them in, and some people to distribute them.  Or for some of us, maybe we’ll just need some sunflower seeds that we can plant them directly into our front yards.

I admit it.  I have no idea how this whole thing is going to work but I’m volunteering to help make it happen.  I’ll be glad to help organize the project but I certainly can’t do it alone.  This is where you all come in!

Help!  It’s going to take a village!

These are some of the things we will need to bring sunshine to all of Santa Rosa:  School class projects and Girl Scouts projects to grow and distribute sunflower seedlings, green house space to cultivate starts, sunflower seeds, little cups to put seedlings in, soil, community garden space and lots more.

We also need your creativity to design an instruction sheet on how to plant the sunflowers and create a distribution plan for seedling.  Maybe you’d like to video the project so others can see how sunflowers are springing up all over sunny Santa Rosa. Whatever time or other resources you have to contribute will be greatly appreciated.

Now is the time to get in touch with me so that we can figure out how we can grow sunflowers throughout Santa Rosa.  Let’s see…my email is and my cell is 707-206-8489.  I think that this will be a fun way to meet our neighbors and build community in Santa Rosa. I know that I can’t do it alone.  It’s going to take a village.  Give me a call so you can be part of the (sunny) village!!!

via Santa Rosa Snippets – January 2013.

Going on a Hack Hunt.


Image by Gregory Hayes

Anyone is welcome! – I’m going to bring a quadcopter to give flight to whatever moves the group.  I have a sneaking suspicion I might try and strap a green laser to it… what else should be given flight?  Be there, or be square. 🙂

Electronic Hack Night.