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Exploring the Hobby Aircraft at the NEAT Fair

The Northeast Electric Aircraft Technology Fair (NEAT Fair) is a gathering of RC hobbyists who enjoy designing, building, and/or flying electric-powered models. I like all three of those things. So I've been itching to attend NEAT for a long, long time. I finally got my chance to stop in this year and experience this unique event. Since I could attend for only one day, I decided that I would leave my models at home and just observe.

Genesis of the NEAT Fair

The inaugural NEAT Fair was held in 2000, a time when electric-powered flying models were still a fringe element of the RC hobby. The motors, batteries, and electronic widgets available to electric-minded hobbyists were all rather crude by today's standards. Any measure of success required forethought, ingenuity, and daring. NEAT provided a rare opportunity for those early innovators to compare notes and show off their latest breakthroughs.

Things have certainly changed in 18 years! Electric-powered aircraft are now a huge facet of the hobby. The availability of off-the-shelf models with great performance means that you no longer have to be an expert just to get off the ground. Even so, there are still modelers who are constantly nudging the state of the art and trying new things. For them, the NEAT Fair remains a Mecca.

The NEAT Fair featured numerous electric models that were big…really big!

NEAT is officially a 4-day event. This year's show ran from Thursday, 9/14 to Sunday, 9/17. Some eager participants began setting up as early as the previous weekend. When I arrived on Saturday morning, the entire flightline was filled with pop-up canopies and tents. Event director, Tom Hunt, told me that more than 300 pilots were registered.

The event takes place just outside of Downsville, a quiet town in the Catskill Mountains of New York. More specifically, NEAT is held at the Peaceful Valley Campsite along the Delaware River. This location presents an interesting dichotomy for NEAT goers. Upon arrival at this event celebrating technology and innovation, participants will likely find that their cell phones and other modern electronic leashes are mere paperweights in this remote valley. Yet, no one that I spoke with seemed to mind spending a few days off the grid.

Adam Savage Explores the Science-Fiction Spacesuits of FBFX

When Adam was recently in London, he visited the headquarters of FBFX, the makers of spacesuits for films like The Martian, Prometheus, and Alien: Covenant. There, we examined up-close the insane details that make up these spacesuits, and learn how they're designed and put together from sorted bins of individually crafted and weathered parts.

PROJECTIONS, Episode 24: Pimax 8K VR Headset Hands-on!

Two areas of improvement for today's virtual reality headsets are display resolution and field of view. Pimax, a VR company based out of Shanghai, are hoping to solve those with its 8K headset that it's launching on Kickstarter. We go hands-on with their 8K prototype to see what game and text content look like under this display, and how immersion is improved with a 200-degree FOV. Here are our impressions and an interview with Pimax's CEO.

Announcing Our 2017 Live Show, Tested: Deconstructed!

We're doing another live show! I can't believe that this will be fourth year putting on a stage show--it feels like just yesterday that Kishore, Will, and I were talking about what it would mean for Tested to have a live event. And every year, we've found tremendous pride and pleasure in figuring out what Tested on stage means. This year is no different. Tested: Deconstructed will be an exploration into the processes and obsessions that make up the projects you see on the site. We want to show you what makes us tick and how we make. It'll be an evening of presentations from the Tested team, including Adam and Simone, our friends in the maker and science community, and a few surprises as well!

Photo credit: Dallis Willard

Tested: Deconstructed will take place at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, on Saturday, October 28th, at 7pm. Tickets are on sale now, and you can find them, along with some more info, here! Hope to see you there!

Highlights From Adam Savage's September 2017 Reddit AMA

In case you missed it, on Sept. 14, 2017, Adam (aka "mistersavage") had another epic AMA on reddit, answering questions for hours. We've gathered some of our favorite answers below; to read the full AMA, go here!

bl1ndvision: What's something someone can buy for under $50 that will change their life (for the better)?

mistersavage: Fantastic question!!! A great kitchen knife can be grabbed for that much. Too many options. I don't have a definitive answer but I love the thought experiment.

adamgerken: Adam, I saw Jamie speaking at an event at our college some years ago (you were also supposed to be there but I'll forgive you) and the thing he talked about that really sticks with me is how you two aren't really friends and don't really get along all that well. Tell me it ain't so! If that's the case was it always the case or did you two just grow apart, a la The Beatles?

mistersavage: No no no, you misunderstand the relationship. We are not good friends. But we were great business partners. The fact is, while we argued about all the small stuff, every single day, we never argued about the big stuff: whether to trade our integrity for a brand, or about the money. And for that I will always treasure my business partnership with Jamie.

Google Play App Roundup: Fenix 2, Iron Marines, and To:War

Your phone or tablet might be cool, but it could be a lot cooler with the right apps. So what? Spend like mad until you find the apps that suit your needs? Nah, just read the weekly Google Play App Roundup here on Tested. We strive to bring you the best new, and newly updated apps on Android. Just click the app name to head to the Play Store.

Fenix 2

Fenix 2 was my go-to Twitter client for a number of years, but there was some drama related to Twitter's third-party app limits in 2016. That was worked out eventually, but the developer has since embarked on a complete rewrite of the app. The result is Fenix 2, which has just launched after a few months in beta. This is a new app with a new listing, so you will have to buy it again, even if you already bought the first one. It's worth the price, though.

Twitter clients are pretty well fleshed out at this point, so I'm not going to tell you that Fenix 2 is breaking any new ground. However, it has all the features you could want in a Twitter client, and it looks great. Not that the old Fenix didn't look good, but it was adapted to material design after the fact. Fenix 2 was born into it. There are multiple light and dark themes with various accent colors, and you can set a schedule for switching from light to dark. The great design extends to the widget, which is scrollable and includes various themes.light and dark themes with various accent colors, and you can set a schedule for switching from light to dark. The great design extends to the widget, which is scrollable and includes various themes.

Like many Twitter apps, Fenix 2 uses multiple columns in the main UI to make all your tweets, replies, and other content available. You can change up the default arrangement, and even add new columns like saved searches and lists to feeds. The way you interact with tweets (eg. taps, swipes, and long-press) is configurable as well.

I'm particularly fond of the way Fenix 2 handles conversation views. Some apps make it hard to tell who a reply is directed at, but Fenix 2 has a clear "in reply to" header for each block of tweets. Replies to your tweets are delivered as the app updates in the background, and you can, of course, choose how often that happens. However, Fenix 2 also supports intercepting notifications from the official Twitter app. That app has special push notifications from the Twitter servers, so you can get faster pings via Fenix 2 if you have both installed.

Fenix 2 is priced at $1.99 in the Play Store, which is a fantastic price. A lot of comparable Twitter apps cost $5 or so. This is an excellent purchase if you're not feeling great about your current Twitter experience.

LEGO with Friends: UCS Batman Tumbler, Part 5

Will we be able to finish the UCS Batman Tumbler set this week? It doesn't matter, because we've had so much fun geeking out about miniatures and modelmaking with our guest this week. Thanks so much to Kayte for joining us and telling some awesome stories!