Light Start – Flaming drones, SpaceX lands, YouTube ads, and Mass Effect Andromeda

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Well that’s one way to get stuff off a power line…

Call us old fashioned but we like to see drones doing things the old way — taking photos and shooting video, terrifying pets and neighbours, and occasionally crashing because the pilot’s a doofus. A drone sporting its own flamethrower, though… that’s something that belongs in the category of military drones which (we hope) will never go on sale to the general public. Nonetheless, that’s a thing now. A high-end drone with a flaming attachment was spotted in China setting objects hanging on power lines on fire. Essentially a cleaning operation, we still question the wisdom of directing fire at power lines. Much of the context here isn’t known but it does seem like an efficient operation, overall. Maybe that will make up for having to pilot a flamethrower around electricity wires.

Source: via The Verge

SpaceX puts another rocket on the ground successfully, snagging its solid-ground hat-trick

Man, doesn’t this look fantastic. What you’re looking at, assuming you’re not looking at this in your email inbox, is a long shot of SpaceX’s most recent launch. Except that we’re looking at the Falcon 9 rocket touching down rather than taking off. What’s unusual here is that SpaceX has opted to land the rocket back on solid ground rather than on a barge bobbing on the ocean — we don’t often see that — and how fast the operation is over. This is the third time that the company has succeeded in landing one of their boosters on land (if you don’t count all those Grasshopper tests they were doing) and marks another success for the company. This mission saw the Dragon capsule sent into space to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Looks like SpaceX is coming back from last year’s launchpad explosion nicely.

Source: SpaceX

YouTube’s unskippable 30-second ads could be going away, for good

So you know those 30-second adverts that have played on YouTube for so long that you can’t remember a time when they didn’t? Yeah, those might be going away. But not all of them — just the ones that you’re completely unable to skip. If you had to wait five seconds before, that’s not going to change. According to reports a Google spokeman has said “…we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.” Formats that include other, shorter unskippable ads (because they have to make money somewhere). Still, from 2018 you won’t have to sit through an unskippable ad for a car/insurance/hospital plan you don’t care about before you get to watch your video about kittens or whatever. That’s great, right?

Source: via Ars Technica

Get danger-close with Mass Effect Andromeda’s gameplay combat explainer

Mass Effect Andromeda is coming in hot but before it gets here, we’d quite like a look at the combat that we’ll be experiencing. Bioware has been happy to oblige, releasing a quick explainer covering the basics of combat in Andromeda. Point One? It’s looking a lot more free-form, with players able to use any of the weapon classes no matter what their preferred build is. Skill choice is also open to interpretation, with players being allowed to focus on Soldier, Tech, or Biotics, or a mixture of the three, to create a character that suits their play style. We’re probably going to wind up using a Soldier-Biotic hybrid (known in most other RPGs as a battlemage, albeit one without a sniper rifle). Hit the video above for a more in-depth but still speedy look at your options come launch day.

Source: Bioware

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