If you ever needed proof that class-action lawsuits are a good deal only for the lawyers, look no further than the news that Tim Hortons will settle a data-tracking suit with a doughnut and a coffee. For those of you who are not in Canada or Canada-adjacent, “Timmy’s” is a chain of restaurants that are kind of the love child of a McDonald’s and a Dunkin Donut shop. An investigation into the chain’s app a couple of years ago revealed that customer location data was being logged silently, even when they were not using the app, and even far, far away from the nearest Tim Hortons. The chain is proposing to settle with class members to the tune of a coupon good for one free hot beverage and one baked good, in total valuing a whopping $8.68. The lawyers, on the other hand, will be pulling in $1.5 million plus taxes. There’s no word if they are taking that in cash or as 172,811 coffees and doughnuts, but we think we can guess.
When we write about drone stories from the United Kingdom, they often have a slightly depressing air to them as we relate tales of unverified air proximity reports closing airports or bungled official investigations that would make the Keystone Kops look like competent professionals.
But here’s a drone story from this rainswept isle sure to put a smile on the face of multirotor enthusiasts worldwide, as Denmead Drone Search And Rescue, an organisation who locate missing pets using drones, enticed lost dog Millie from a soon-to-be-engulfed tidal mudflat by the simple expedient of dangling a sausage from a drone for the mutt to follow (Facebook).
Lest you believe that Hackaday have lost their marbles and this isn’t worthy of our normal high standards, let us remind you that this is not our first flying sausage story. Behind the cute-puppy and flying meat product jokes though, there’s a serious side. Drones have received such a bad press over recent years that a good news story concerning them is rare indeed, and this one has garnered significant coverage in the general media. Maybe it’s too late to reverse some of the reputational damage from the Gatwick fiasco, but at this point any such coverage is good news.
For anyone wondering what lies behind this, let us take you back to Christmas 2018.
Sometimes you’re hungry for two sausages, and not a sausage more. [Wesley] designed his Furter Burner to handle precisely these situations, and it looks to cook up a pair of wieners a treat. (Video, embedded below.)
The process starts with a couple of wooden stunt wieners, and some foam board, with which [Wesley] roughs out a design. From there, a CAD design is drawn up and parts routed out of compressed board to troubleshoot the assembly further. Later moving on to a plywood version, having a wooden prototype quickly reveals plenty of things to improve, from adding handles to the grill surface to air holes to allow combustion.
The design goes through a couple of further iterations in metal before completion. The final result is impressive—resulting in a twin-wiener cooker that burns coals, complete with skewers for easy sausage handling and bearing [Wesley’s] own logo.
The video shows off the benefits of the iterative design process. It also demonstrates why it often makes sense to rough out designs in cheaper materials before going to the heavy stuff, particularly in a case like [Wesley]’s where the metal parts can only be cut off-site. Refining the design in-house first saves a lot of mucking around.
We’ve seen [Wesley]’s work before, too – like this impressive workshop storage solution.
If you hail from somewhere to which Australian beers have been exported, you could be forgiven for forming a view of the country based solely on TV adverts for Foster’s, or Castlemaine XXXX. Entertaining 30-second stories of wily young Aussies, and their inventive schemes to get their hands on a cool glass of the Amber Nectar.
Whether it’s an accurate depiction or not is something you’d have to ask an Australian, but it seems to provide a blueprint for at least some real-life stories. An Australian man in Sunbury, west of Melbourne, is to face a fine of up to A$9000 for using his multirotor to pick up a sausage in a bun from a stall in a superstore car park, and deliver it to him relaxing in his hot tub.
From one perspective the video of the event which we’ve posted below the break is a very entertaining film. We see the flight over houses and a main road to a local branch of Bunnings, an Australian hardware store chain. Their sausage sizzle is a weekly institution in which local non-profit groups sell barbecued sausages from a stall in the car park as a fundraiser. The drone lowers a bag on a string over people queuing, with a note saying “Please buy snag(Aussie slang for sausage) and put in bag, here’s $10”. Someone complies, and the tasty treat is flown back over suburbia to our hero in his tub. It’s fairly obviously a production with many takes and supporting actors rather than a real continuous flight, but the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority is nevertheless investigating it. Breaches of the rules are reported as being use of a drone within 30 metres of people, as well as flight beyond the line of sight and over a populated area. The original video has been taken down, but it lives on courtesy of Australian tech site EFTM.
Aside from providing our readership with entertainment courtesy of our Australian friends there is an important message to take away from this story. It’s likely that if they can adequately prove that their flight was never out of the line of sight they can escape some of the charges, but even so they have strayed into difficult territory. We’ve written about drone hysteria on the part of authorities before, and we are living in an age during which twitchy agencies have shown themselves willing to view what we know to be little more than grown-up toys as something akin to terror weapons. Of course people who use multirotors for wilful endangerment should be brought to book in no uncertain terms, but the line between that and innocuous use feels sometimes to have been shifted in an alarming direction. Please keep entertaining us with your multirotor exploits and hacks, but never take your eye off how what you are doing could be misconstrued by those in authority. We’d prefer not to be writing up drone stories involving fines.
If you are anything like us, you find yourself needing, on occasion, to fling sausages at high velocity. [F00] sent in his solution, the SG19. While the details are glazed over pretty quickly, we get the point. This is basically a smaller diameter spud gun, meant to shoot sausage. While it may not be remarkable in its design, we have to wonder who came up with the idea to use sausage as the ammunition.