Ace Drone Pilot Captures Breathtaking Fog Footage High Above Bernal Hill

Bernalwood has friends in high places, including Jedi drone pilot and videographer Eddie Codel, who recently shot this time-lapse drone footage of Karl the Fog from atop Bernal Hill.

The footage is so perfect you’ll hardly think it’s a time-lapse — until you notice all the cars zipping along at impossible speeds in La Lengua. Adjust video settings to HD, go full screen, and this is what it would look like if you had a penthouse suite in a Bernal Hill skyscraper.

Bravo, Eddie, and thanks for sharing.

VIDEO: Eddie Codel

Drone on Bernal Hill Feels Strangely Classic and Timeless

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Ah, the simple pleasures….

Last weekend I went for a lovely walk in the warm sun on Bernal Hill, surrounded by gentle breezes, rustling grass, barking dogs, laughing children, and the whirring hum of a video drone capturing footage of the whole scene.

Not complaining, because the drone’s operator was being very careful considerate, and the fancy new tech somehow felt familiar and ancient — sort of like a mechanical hummingbird. Timeless and cutting edge, all at the same time.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Play Pac-Man In Your Favorite Bernal Heights Microhood

BernalHillPacMan2

Today is April Fools Day, which means you should definitely be on guard for things that sound too good to be true. Yet one such too-good-thing that turns out to actually be quite true is the special treat your friends and neighbors from the Google Maps team created to celebrate the day: A special, playable PacMan layer for Google Maps that can be applied to areas with lots of criss-crossing roads. Areas, like, say, Bernal Heights.

Let’s let The Verge geeksplain:

Your neighborhood just got a lot more interesting. Google has released a new feature for Maps that lets you turn any location into a game of Pac-Man — all you have to do is click the new Pac-Man button that resides in the lower left corner of the screen. When you do, whatever section of the world you’re looking at will transform into the pixelated arcade classic, complete with four colorful ghosts and the iconic music. While developers have created similar hacks before, this version of Google Maps Pac-Mancomes directly from Google, and even supports mobile devices.

You can’t play all of Bernal Heights in one screen. But you can play one of our Bernal microhoods (including popular footpaths). Bernal Hill is shown up above. Here’s Holly Park:

HollyParkPacMan

This is central Cortlandia:

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This is Precitaville and Precita Park:

PrecitaParkPacMan

And this is St. Mary’s Park:

StMarysPacman

Caution: You may find that there aren’t enough ghost-munching Power Pellets in some areas of Bernal Heights Pac-Man. This is completely unacceptable. We recommend filing lots and lots and lots of requests for additional Bernal Heights Pac-Man Power Pellets with 311.org and D9 Supervisor David Campos’s office. They’ll be totally glad to assist you.

… April Fools!

There Is a “Bernal Heights” Font, and It Looks Like This

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The Citizens of Bernalwood live a life of hearty flavors and creative abundance, but did you know that we even have our own typeface? Well, we do.

It’s a TrueType font called Bernal Heights, and it was created a few years ago by an itinerant typographer named Max Infeld. Here’s how our Bernal Heights font looks when you map it all out:

BernalHeightsFont

Bernalwood reached out to Max Infeld to confirm his authorship of the font and learn about his inspiration. He tells Bernalwood:

Yes I made the font. I hiked up to Bernal Heights one day, when I was visiting a friend on Shotwell and 24th. For a while, I just traveled and made fonts.

I’d love to live in that area but it’s too darn expensive!

I definitely feel inspired being in Bernal. It’s much quieter than the surrounding areas. It was peace of mind for me after I’d seen some really crazy stuff. I’d really love to work and live there someday. Maybe I’ll retire there after I make my millions!

Bernal Heights is free to download as donationware. That means if you like it, and/or if you want to say thank you to Max for a font named just for us, you are encouraged to give him some of your hard-earned Bernal dollars… so he too might live among us here someday.

Easter Egg: When you go to install the font, you’ll get a fun little message like this:

HeightIsInBernal

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics with Bernal Heights font by Max Infeld

Bernal Neighbor Creates Magic Fairy That Plays Mini-Golf

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Neighbor Dan

When we last saw Bernal neighbor Dan Rosenfeld, he left a rather memorable impression on Cortland Avenue when he hit the town looking like this:

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Now Neighbor Dan has combined technology, art, stagecraft, and pixie dust to create an innovative experience at Urban Putt, the nouveau miniature golf place on South Van Ness at 22nd.

Neighbor Dan tells Bernalwood:

Thought this might be of interest to Bernal folks. (I’m on the famous 200 block of Elsie).

I finally got around to documenting an interactive installation piece I did for Urban Putt. If folks haven’t been, Urban Putt is a super fun indoor minigolf course, bar, and restaurant, created by local artists and designers, built in a former mortuary in the Mission.

My piece, Sleepwalkers, is an interactive installation about beings that live inside the walls of that old building. It uses host of techniques to make it seem that a three inch tall luminous being is interacting with the physical world—including the hands of participants—while illuminating its environment.

This video conveys a sense of Neighbor Dan’s newest magic:

How did he do it?  Click here to peek inside Neighbor Dan’s bag of fairy golf tricks.

Attention, People of Elsie!  Please give Neighbor Dan lots of big high-fives.

PHOTOS: Screen grabs. Below, Big Head Dan, via Bernal alum Adrian Mendoza

Apple Makes Life Unpleasant for a Bernal Heights App Developer

Apple's Death Star Looms over Bernal Heights

Neighbors Jon and Liz aren’t the only Bernalese who have been making a splash on Ellsworth Street. Neighbor Greg Gardner is a software developer who also lives on Ellsworth, just a block north of Jon and Liz. He writes to tell us about his recent high-profile tangle with Apple:

In addition to my two neighbors here on Ellsworth St who were published in the New York Times Magazine, I also had an interesting weekend, although not as positive as theirs.

Last year I quit my job as a software developer to work for myself making iPhone and iPad apps. My first app went out earlier this year and didn’t do so well. So I started working on my second app, called Launcher, and released it a week and half ago, on the day that iOS 8 came out.

This second app was doing really well and I was planning on sending you a little note to let you know that one of your Bernal neighbors had built something that was being enjoyed by people all over the world.

Then Apple decided on Friday to take my app off of the App Store with little explanation. I think they did it on Friday evening in order to try to avoid it getting press coverage, but luckily it is getting picked up. Here’s what TechCrunch says about it:

Launcher’s creator, Greg Gardner, tells us that his new app had ranked highly on the list of the top 20 highest grossing productivity apps in the U.S. shortly after its App Store debut, and it made it into the top 10 highest grossing productivity apps in 43 different countries.

Nearly 300,000 users over the course of nine days downloaded Launcher, he says – good numbers for a brand-new app of any kind which hasn’t yet begun to do serious marketing or paid user acquisition.

Gardner explains in more detail via a post on his website, that Apple said that launcher apps like his were a “misuse of widgets,” and made the decision to pull the app down even though there are no written rules that state launcher apps cannot exist. He also says he attempted submitting a fix which would redirect users who tap on the Launcher widget first to the Launcher app itself, then to the target app. Apple rejected the fix within an hour on Friday, and then pulled Launcher from the App Store.

9 to 5 Mac covered the situation, and Business Insider headlined their article A Developer Created A Brilliantly Innovative New Way To Use The iPhone’s Widgets, But Apple Killed It.

I published my official take on the situation here, and an online petition has been set up. The petition is gaining traction as well.

So now, instead of quietly making a living for myself and my family building apps, I find myself thrust into a struggle against the company with the largest market capitalization in the world — all from my little house on Ellsworth. Obviously, my struggle pales in comparison to the ones many of our neighbors have had to fight to keep their houses and whatnot — but still, it’s an issue that affects my future livelihood.

Yuck. This isn’t the first time Apple has made life unpleasant for a Bernal resident, and it should come as a surprise to no one that Apple can be, uh, rather controlling. Still, it sucks when Apple acts arbitrarily and autocratically, and it sucks even more when that behavior impacts the livelihood of a Bernal neighbor.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: Telstar Logistics

Air Combat: Precita Park and the Civic Politics of Drones

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Well, since we already live in the future, this was probably inevitable…

While Bernal neighbors conduct an ongoing conversation about the social norms associated with the presence of dogs in Precita Park, Neighbor Ruby reports that some Bernal residents are also trying to sort out the social norms associated with the presence of drones in Precita Park:

Thought you might be interested in an event that transpired [on June 25].

My partner Mary was at home when she heard an infernal noise emanating from Precita Park. We live on the park, so so threw on a jacket and raced outside.

There were two middle-aged guys there flying a drone!

She scolded them furiously and announced, “We don’t’ allow drones in our parks!”

They argued with her but she didn’t back down and finally they left, drone in hand. She said the drone made such an infernal noise and was so threateningly military-esque that all the dogs in the park were cowering.

Now, on a purely factual basis, there is no posted prohibition on the use of drones in Precita Park. (Yet.) There is, however, is a sign saying that dogs must be on leashes — which is generally disregarded. All of which may indicate that Bernalese prefer governance by implicit codes of personal responsibility and good neighborliness, rather than by explicit rules or legal regulations.

Or maybe not.

Regardless of who’s right or less-right in this scenario, the incident is an innnnnteresting harbinger of a civic conversation we are likely to have sooner rather than later — as neighbors, as a city, and as a nation.

Will we take a liberal attitude toward the technologies of future? Or will we establish drone equivalents to the Locomotive Acts of the 1800s, “which required all road locomotives, which included automobiles, to travel at a maximum of 4 mph in the country and 2 mph in the city – as well as requiring a man carrying a red flag to walk in front of road vehicles hauling multiple wagons”?

Either way, if you’ve enjoyed the discussion about canine leash policies, enforcement, tolerance, responsibility, shared space, and dog poop in Precita Park, you may also enjoy having a forward-looking conversation here about the politics of using remotely controlled flying machines in Precita Park as well.

Or maybe not.

UPDATE (promoted from the comments):  Neighbor Mat, the pilot of the drone involved in the incident above, describes a different version of encounter:

Well there certainly is two sides to every story. I’m one of the “middle aged men” who was flying the drone that day.

Before even touching the obviously spicy debate of whether I should or shouldn’t be able to fly a drone in a park by my house, I’d like to point out how ridiculously overblown her explanation of the situation is. The Funny thing is that I have the entire thing on video from the drone.

First of all, the conversation lasted all of 30 seconds (actually exactly 23 seconds) and I immediately said, ok, thats fine I’m your neighbor and I don’t want trouble. I did take the time to tell her that no this is not a military device, and no I can not remotely come close to seeing in her window.

Secondly this comment on the dogs “cowering” is just ridiculous. There was not a single dog remotely close to us. And in fact here is a screen shot from our footage that clearly shows that. I’m a Bernal dog owner myself, and if I thought that I was remotely disturbing somebodies pup I would immediately shut it down. http://s28.postimg.org/gqf2ibvh9/park.png

I’m not going to spend my entire day arguing with people on whether drones should or shouldn’t be allowed in Precita park, but I just wanted to point out that the original message really makes the situation out to be a lot different than it was.

The woman that confronted us completely had her mind made up that this was some sort of military device and that we were the enemy. The fact is that we are two of her neighbors using our day off to do something creative with ourselves and capture some cool and interesting footage of our neighborhood. If she is afraid of her privacy or neighborhood being violated, I think there are bigger battles to fight than two long haired guys sipping coffees and taking selfies with a go-pro on drone.

As for the topic of the noise, yes the drone makes a sound. The model that we were using maxes out at 82db and of course dissipates as it flies away. A gas powered lawn mower is about 100db. There is no question that the noise levels of a multiple bouncy castles full of children or Cesar Chavez at any time of time are much louder.

PHOTO: Image of Precita Park captured by Neighbor Mat’s drone, at the time of the incident described in this post.