In today's episode I talk about DJI's new Mini 4K drone, a space debris project from Japan and Instagram punishing copycats on their platform.

You can find the show notes here.

Show Notes

DJI’s newest drone, the DJI Mini 4K, costs just $299 and weighs less than 249 grams, ensuring it doesn’t require FAA registration. It promises to be among the most compelling and affordable entries into drone photos and videos.

It has been a busy spring for DJI. The company launched the Dock 2, a “drone in a box” system in March, and a new power supply earlier this month. The latest DJI Mini 4K is undoubtedly the most exciting of the company’s new releases for the average consumer. The company is also facing increased scrutiny, but the new products keep on coming nonetheless.

Capable of shooting 4K video at up to 30 frames per second and 2.7K/60p footage, the DJI Mini 4K offers many of the basic features and performance that a first-time drone buyer may want, including a three-axis gimbal, an extensive range, and solid battery life. It also includes 2x digital zoom, even at 4K resolution, that helps users get closer to their subject from the skies.

Compared to the DJI Mini 4 Pro, another similarly lightweight drone PetaPixel reviewed last November, the new Mini 4K lacks the 4K/60p HDR video recording and 20-kilometer FHD transmission range of its more expensive sibling. Still, it shares the Mini 4 Pro’s compact and lightweight form factor.

For prospective drone pilots, at least in the United States, the drone’s weight is a big deal. Because of its size and sub-250-gram weight, the Mini 4K doesn’t have to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or comply with the federal government’s Remote ID rule, so long as the drone is flown for recreational purposes in permissible airspace.

The DJI Mini 4K can reach altitudes of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) and offers a range of up to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Of course, users should always maintain a line of sight on their drone for safety reasons.

The drone has a brushless motor and can reach up to 16 meters per second. It also includes level-5 wind resistance, promising stable footage even in breezy conditions.

The new drone can fly for up to 31 minutes with its out-of-the-box battery solution, although it can fly for over an hour and a half with DJI’s $450 Fly More bundle. The Fly More combo for the DJI Mini 4 Pro is $1,100, for reference.

DJI knows that many Mini 4K buyers may be purchasing their first drone, so the quadcopter has everything a beginner needs to get up and running, including one-tap takeoff and landing, return-to-home functionality, pre-programmed flight modes, and step-by-step instructions in the companion app.

The drone features QuickShot modes like Helix, Dronie, Rocket, Circle, Boomerang, and Panorama, helping new pilots achieve dynamic footage and exciting photos, even if they’re not experienced drone fliers.

“The DJI Mini 4K drone is a gateway to capturing the world from new, breathtaking perspectives,” explains DJI. “Whether you’re just starting your aerial photography journey or looking to elevate your creative potential, the DJI Mini 4K is designed to empower your vision and bring unparalleled creativity to your flights.”

The DJI Mini 4K is available to purchase now for $299.

Space Debris

Cue the anti-space litter campaigns. A satellite captured a historic photo of space debris during a new mission.

“Pics or it didn’t happen,” Astroscale, which operates the photo-snapping satellite, says in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “Behold, the world’s first image of space debris captured through rendezvous and proximity operations during our ADRAS-J mission. #ShowtheWayADRASJ”

The Japanese-operated ADRAS-J satellite launched into orbit atop a Rocket Lab Electron vehicle in February and is meant to “rendezvous with, and study, a big hunk of space junk,” according to Space.

But, the outlet notes it’s not the first close-up of space debris. The world saw an image of a spent upper stage of a Delta II rocket, which was captured after boarding the Delta II. Instead, the ADRAS-J, which stands for Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan, had to get close to its space trash subject. Per Astroscale, this is the first time space debris has been captured through rendezvous and proximity missions. The satellite maneuvered within a few hundred feet to take the image of the spent rocket body, Space reports.

“In the next phase of the mission, ADRAS-J will attempt to capture additional images of the upper stage through various controlled close approach operations,” Astroscale explains. “The images and data collected are expected to be crucial in better understanding the debris and providing critical information for future removal efforts.”

Space debris is an important issue as the world continues exploring the cosmos. Sending something into space happens at incredible speed, and if that were to hit space debris, the damage could be “substantial if not catastrophic,” as NASA describes. And the ADRAS-J marks progress in finding a solution to address the issue.

“ADRAS-J is a groundbreaking mission as the world’s first attempt to safely approach, characterize and survey the state of an existing piece of large debris through [rendezvous and proximity operations]. ADRAS-J is designed to rendezvous with a Japanese upper stage rocket body, demonstrate proximity operations including orbiting around the upper stage, and gather images to assess the rocket body’s movement and condition of the structure,” Astroscale says. “The mission will demonstrate some of the most challenging RPO technologies necessary for on-orbit services.”

Instagram Punishes Copycats

Instagram announced changes to its somewhat infamous algorithm, this time providing a boost to smaller, original creators.

Meta, Instagram’s parent company, says it is trying to “correct” its ranking system by making it easier for smaller accounts to find greater reach, Engadget reports.

“Historically because of how we’ve ranked content, creators with large followings and aggregators of reposted content have gotten more reach in recommendations than smaller, original content creators,” Instagram explains. “We think it’s important to correct this to give all creators a more equal chance of breaking through to new audiences.”

Further, the algorithm will prioritize original content over reposts and aggregators, according to The Verge. The outlet points to Instagram accounts fueled by downloads and screenshots of other users’ photos, videos, and memes, whether with credit or without.

“The update targets serial reposters — accounts that share content that they didn’t ‘create or enhance in a material way’ more than 10 times in 30 days,” The Verge explains.

This also affects recommendations, accounts, and posts Instagram pushes on user Feeds and the Explore Page, but not follower views. Anyone who follows these types of accounts will reportedly still see the posts in their feed. Identified accounts with licensing agreements or resharing permissions, The Verge reports, will not be impacted.

Additionally, if Instagram detects an identical post, it will replace the reposted content with the original in recommendations, The Verge reports. There will also be credit labels identifying the original creator on such posts, though these can be removed by both the original poster and the reposter. Though, claims the social media company may eliminate the ability to remove the label in the future.

All of these changes will only affect Reels posts — for now. An Instagram spokesperson says that Instagram may consider expanding the changes to its other post formats in the future. Still, the algorithm could have massive effects on the platforms where reposts of various forms have thrived for years and large accounts expect to flourish.

PetaPixel reached out to Instagram for additional comment but did not receive an immediate response.

Personal Update

On a personal note for this week, Tina and I are still in New York visiting with family and getting the body work finished on my late father’s 2005 quad cab Colorado. Luckily the truck was cheaper to fix up here in the Northeast, back in Roxboro, the body shops wanted $10,000 and up here I could get the same work done for $4,000-$5,000.

Tina’s mom has been in a nursing home for a while now and her health started going downhill while we’ve been up here so all of Tina’s siblings have come up here as well, which is a bit of a sticky situation.

We have been having fun spending time with the grandkids and also seeing both our mothers up here.  The grandkids sure do grow fast and we have a total of eleven of them so it takes a lot of energy to spend time with them and do things that they enjoy.

I also managed to get my hands on another motorcycle a 1994 Suzuki Intruder 800 from my son Alex’s best friend Derek. The bike was Derek’s father’s bike and Derek inherited it when his father passed. It’s a beautiful red in color and runs really well and I am thinking of parting with my current Kawasaki Vulcan 800. I LOVE Kawasaki’s they have always been my favorite motorcycles and although I love mine I hate that the previous owner put loud pipes on it and it would cost around $1,500 to restore the exhaust to factory and I picked up the 1994 Intruder 800 for only $1,000 and it’s worth $3,000 with low mileage so if I decide to part with my Vulcan I can get $3,300 for it, so I’ll still have a bike and make a $2,300 profit as well.

I will probably get a set of Viking hard saddlebags for the Suzuki as I love having locking bags to protect my photography/videography gear when I am out on the bike all day. And as always I will add a nice crash bar as well so I have the upper footpads to rest my feet on when I ride long distances.

We’ve been living in Roxboro for three years now and I keep missing the fall Toys for Tots ride in my area so hopefully I can finally ride along this year if nothing else comes up.

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