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Your Guide to Memorial Day Weekend in Boston Free museum days, Boston Calling Music Festival, baseball, and more

Memorial Day weekend is an opportunity to commemorate the sacrifices made by veterans and the men and women serving in the armed services. It’s also a great time to kick off the unofficial start of summer with family and friends. For those staying local, Boston offers a wealth of events honoring those who have died serving their country, as well as a three-day music festival, free admission to some of the city’s best art museums, and a Red Sox home game. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best events below.

Commemorating America’s Veterans

Stop by the annual Flag Garden at Boston Common this weekend to honor the 37,000-plus Massachusetts veterans who died while serving their country. The base of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument is transformed into a sea of red, white, and blue each Memorial Day, thanks to volunteers from the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, who plant a flag for each veteran who lost their life, dating back to the Revolutionary War.

The Flag Garden, atop Flagstaff Hill on the Boston Common, is on display through Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Arlington, Boylston, or Park Street.

In keeping with tradition, the USS Constitution Museum, devoted to the War of 1812, commemorates America’s soldiers—past and present—with special programming. On Memorial Day, museum guests can take part in a Navy tradition: in the event of a sailor’s death, eight bells are rung in their memory. This year, the museum invites visitors to honor the deaths of the 250-plus men who died on the USS Constitution during the War of 1812, by writing their names on a paper bell to be displayed in the museum. While you’re at the museum, be sure to visit the USS Constitution—the oldest commissioned warship in the world—just across the pier. The warship recently underwent a spectacular two-year, $15 million restoration. Note: the museum and ship operate separately and have different hours.

The USS Constitution Museum, in the Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily; phone: 617-426-1812. Suggested donation is $5 to $10 for adults, $3 to $5 for children, and $20 to $25 for families. Admission is free for all active duty, retired, and reserve military personnel. Honoring Our Heroes events and activities are Saturday, May 26, through Monday, May 28.

The USS Constitution is inside Boston National Historical Park, next to the USS Constitution Museum, and is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm, closed most Mondays, but is open Memorial Day. Admission to the ship is free for all visitors, first come, first served. Visitors 18 and over must provide a valid state or federal-issued ID or passport. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to North Station and walk over the Charlestown Bridge, following signs for the Freedom Trail.

Cambridge’s annual Memorial Day Parade and Observance, organized by the Cambridge Veterans’ Organization and Cambridge Veterans’ Services, is Monday, May 27. A cannon salute marks the beginning of the parade on the Cambridge Common at 9:30 am. Veterans, elected officials, bands, youth organizations, and police and fire personnel march through Harvard Square, up Mount Auburn Street to Coolidge Avenue, ending at the Cambridge Cemetery. At 11 am, visitors will gather for a Memorial Day Observance, which will include musical performances and a rifle salute. Afterward, the Women’s Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars will hold a brief memorial ceremony at the nearby John W. Weeks Bridge in honor of the Cambridge servicemen and women lost at sea.

The Cambridge Memorial Day Parade and Observance is Monday, May 27, at 9:30 am, at the Cambridge Common, and is expected to arrive at the Cambridge Cemetery, 76 Coolidge Ave., at 11 am. Take an MBTA Red Line train to Harvard Square.

Enjoy a free musical tribute to America’s fallen heroes at this Memorial Day concert which will include performances by the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, N’Harmony, and the Somerville High School chorus, at Sylvester Baxter State Riverfront Park at Assembly Row starting at 7:30 pm, followed by a dazzling fireworks display.

Memorial on the Mystic concert and fireworks display is Monday, May 27, at Sylvester Baxter State Riverfront Park, Assembly Row and Great River Road, Somerville. Take an MBTA Orange Line trolley to Assembly Square. Lawn chairs and blankets are recommended.

Other Memorial Day Weekend Events

As summer returns, so does Boston Calling, the popular three-day music festival that kicks off this year on Friday, May 24, and runs through Sunday, May 26, at the Harvard University Athletic Complex in Allston. Twenty One Pilots headlines Friday’s lineup, followed by Tame Impala on Saturday, and Travis Scott on Sunday. Other notable performers among the 50+ acts appearing include Greta Van Fleet, Hozier, Logic, and the artist behind the country rap hit “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X (who will be accompanied by a special guest). Find the complete lineup here.

Be sure to check out the separate lineup of comedy acts and other performances, like Lamont Price, Jenny Slate, and Boston Ballet, performing at the Boston Calling Arena. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. And plan to come hungry. There will be numerous food vendors on hand throughout the weekend, including Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Bon Me, Sweet Cheeks Q, and Tasty Burger.

The Boston Calling Music Festival is at the Harvard University Athletic Complex, 65 North Harvard St., Allston, Friday, May 24, through Sunday, May 26. Purchase three-day passes, weekend passes, and single-day tickets here. Gates open Friday at 2:30 pm and music ends at 11 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, gates open at noon and the final performance ends at 11 pm. Large bags and backpacks are prohibited. Find directions here.

To commemorate Memorial Day, the Museum of Fine Arts offers free admission on Monday with live music performances, tours, and interactive activities, many inspired by the MFA’s special current exhibit Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular, which explores Kahlo’s fascination with Mexican folk art (arte popular) and how her collection of decorated ceramics, embroidered textiles, and devotional retablo paintings inspired and shaped her work. Guests can take part in art-making activities, bilingual storytelling, and more. Guided tours offer overviews of some of the museum’s most popular collections, including art of the Americas, art of the ancient world, and the contemporary collection. At 1:30 and 3:30 pm, classical guitarist Zaira Meneses will take the stage with her band Son Jarocho in the Remis Auditorium for a musical celebration of Mexican culture. Another performance, Los Colores de Frida, combines storytelling, music, visual arts, and puppets presented in collaboration with Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción.

This year’s open house marks the start of the MFA’s expansion of accessibility to military families, including year-round free admission and discounted memberships.

The Museum of Fine Arts Memorial Day Open House is Monday, May 27, from 10 am to 5 pm, 465 Huntington Ave. Admission is free and performance tickets are first come, first served and available 30 minutes before each show at the venue. Find directions here.

Another one of Boston’s premier museums, the Institute of Contemporary Art, is also offering free admission on Memorial Day. Guests can view the ICA’s permanent collection as well as several temporary exhibits featuring work by Karachi artist Huma Bhabha, Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, and American artist Nina Chanel Abney. In addition, the ICA is hosting a Sci-Fi Shorts film screening, curated by the Boston Underground Film Festival, from 11 am to 4 pm. Visitors can take part in art-making activities, including a chance to create your own multimedia collage, as well.

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston’s Memorial Day Open House is Monday, May 27, from 10 am to 5 pm, 100 Northern Ave. Find directions here.

Back by popular demand, the Patios returns to City Hall Plaza after a successful inaugural season last summer. Featuring nine custom patio areas, a main pavilion structure, Wachusett Brew Yard, a pop-up snack shop, and mini-golf stations, the Patios is a terrific place to enjoy a late spring day with friends and family. On Sunday, four electric grills will be available for free on a first-come, first-served basis for those who want to do their own cooking. There will also be a variety of food options with rotating food trucks Monday through Saturday from 5 to 8 pm and a midday food truck program running daily from 11 am to 3 pm. Weekly pop-ups will include “Wag Wednesdays,” which brings puppies from Dedham-based dog rescue Shultz’s Guest House to the plaza from noon to 2 pm weekly.

The Patios at One City Hall Plaza are open every day through August. Take an MBTA Green or Blue Line train to Government Center, or an Orange Line train to State St. or Haymarket.


Soccer fans, here’s a chance to cheer on the local team. Head over to Gillette Stadium and watch Boston’s Major League Soccer team, the New England Revolution, take on DC United at 7:30 pm on Saturday. Make a day of it by exploring Patriot Place (adjacent to the stadium), which, in addition to housing the New England Patriots Hall of Fame, also includes 1.3 million square feet of restaurants, stores, and other attractions.

The New England Revolution host DC United at Gillette Stadium, 1 Patriot Place, Foxborough, at 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 25. Purchase tickets online. Take any MBTA Green Line train to Copley Station, and walk five minutes on Dartmouth Street to Back Bay Station. Round-trip tickets to Gillette Stadium are $20 and can be purchased online or from the ticket offices at South Station, North Station, or Back Bay. Take the Franklin Line commuter rail train from Back Bay station to Norfolk station. Finally, take the Tri-Town Connector bus from Norfolk station to Patriot Place.

With a 25-23 record so far this season, the Red Sox appear to be in the middle of a World Series hangover. That said, a trip to Fenway Park is always a treat. Cheer the team on as they host the Cleveland Indians on Monday in the first of three consecutive home games.

The Boston Red Sox host the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, on Monday, May 27, at 4:05 pm, Tuesday, May 28, at 7:10 pm, and Wednesday, May 29, at 7:10 pm. Purchase tickets online.

Abigail Freeman (COM’19) can be reached at [email protected].

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Boston University Filmmakers On Screen At Independent Film Festival Boston

BU Filmmakers on Local Screens This Weekend Work being shown at Independent Film Festival Boston, Cinematheque

Classes end Friday and finals start next week. If you’re looking to get away from the books and papers for a few hours before buckling down, this weekend offers not one, but four opportunities to support BU filmmakers. College of Communication alums and faculty, and a student, will screen and discuss their films at events both on and off campus.

At Friday’s Cinematheque, three BU alums will screen their feature-length film Fair Haven, about a young closeted Vermont man (Michael Grant, The Secret Life of the American Teenager) who returns to his family’s farm after a long time away undergoing ex-gay conversion therapy. When he gets out, he struggles with his relationship with his father, played by Tom Wopat (of the original Dukes of Hazzard), and an old lover, played by Josh Green (Road Trip). Film director Kerstin Karlhuber (COM’07,’08), writer Jack Bryant (COM’08), and cinematographer Jason Beasley (COM’08), who had previously worked together on the short film Legacy Cleaning, will answer questions after the screening. The film is scheduled for general release later this year.

Fair Haven will be screened Friday, April 29, at 7 p.m., at the College of Communication, Room 101, 640 Commonwealth Ave. The event, part of the BU Cinematheque series, which brings accomplished filmmakers to campus to screen and discuss their work, is free and open to the public.

This weekend, four filmmakers will represent BU at the Independent Film Festival Boston, now in its 14th season and considered one of the premier cinema events in New England. First up is Going the Distance, a documentary by Jessie Beers-Altman (COM’08), about a group of elderly athletes competing in a 100-meter race at the annual Penn Relays, the nation’s oldest and largest track and field competition. The Boston-based filmmaker, freelance editor, COM lecturer, and former Redstone Film Festival finalist recently took second place in the NBC Sports short-form film contest CPTR’D for her film.

Going the Distance will be screened Friday, April 29, at 7:15 p.m., and Sunday, May 1, at 5:30 p.m., at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville. Purchase tickets ($11 and $20) here.

On Saturday, the documentary Real Boy, about a transgendered teen finding his way, will have its North American premiere. It is edited by Andrew Gersh (COM’90), who will appear with director Shaleece Haas at the film’s screening. Gersh is a Sundance Institute Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellow, and his edited work has appeared on networks such as PBS, ABC, National Geographic, and the BBC. The Real Boy team raised more than $55,000 on Kickstarter to fund its development and took four years to shoot it. The screening is sponsored by Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival.

Real Boy will be screened Saturday, April 30, at 4:30 p.m., at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville. Purchase tickets ($11 and $20) here.

On Sunday, director Amy Geller (COM’16), a student in COM’s Cinema and Media Production MFA program, will discuss her new film, The Guys Next Door, a feature-length documentary about a married mother of three teenagers who agrees to be a surrogate mother twice in 17 months for a gay couple she is close to. The film explores family, friendship, and gay rights. Geller, who has produced for PBS and has been artistic director of the Boston Jewish Film Festival, will be joined by film codirector Allie Humenuk and editor Rachel Clark, and the discussion will be moderated by documentary editor Sabrina Zanella-Foresi. A screening of The Guys Next Door will follow.

The discussion, called Finding the Film: How two directors and one editor collaborated on The Guys Next Door, is Sunday, May 1, at 12:30 p.m., at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, presented by the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship. The event is free.

After the discussion, at 2:15 p.m., The Guys Next Door will be screened. Purchase tickets ($11 and $20) here.

Also screening this weekend is Primaria, a documentary by Mary Jane Doherty, a COM associate professor of film, that follows three young dancers through four years of elite ballet training in Havana, Cuba. The dancers’ goal is to be accepted into the respected National Ballet School at age 15. The film is one of two Doherty shot over five years and 21 trips to Cuba. Her first, Secundaria, chronicles a group of  teenagers at the National Ballet School and their dreams of using ballet training to escape poverty.

Primaria will be screened Sunday, May 1, at 1 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge. Purchase tickets ($11 and $20) here. The screening is supported by the Boston Latino International Film Festival.

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Add A Few Laughs To Your Day With Instafun

How many times have you been told that you need to lighten up and have a little fun? If you’re an uptight person, always stressed out or a workaholic, taking a break and having fun is probably something that you don’t do enough.

Everyone needs and deserves a little bit of fun in their lives. As the saying goes, “all work and no play makes (insert name here) a dull boy/girl.” This is why I wanted to write about Instafun, a new Mac app that reminds you to have some fun. Instafun gives you instant access to fun and interesting images and Internet memes. Instafun is simple, with a minimalistic design that needs a little work, but gets the job done.

Getting Started Usage and Interface

Instafun currently gives you access to the mobile versions of three popular sites: 9gag, CHEEZburger and LOLsnaps. Each site has it’s own tab and you must use the slider at the top to switch between them. One thing I noticed is that the icons for each site (at the top) are a bit blurry.

As you can see from the screenshot above, navigating in Instafun is easy. There are arrows in the top left corner so that you can easily go back and forth between pages. On the far right there are buttons for sharing, opening the current view in a browser and settings.

The sharing button allows you to send images to email, Messages/iMessage, Twitter or Facebook. In settings you can choose to: start Instafun automatically (at login), remind you to have fun, and play a sound with reminder your reminder. Instafun will remind you to have fun every 15 minutes; unfortunately there’s no way to customize this.

It’s nice to have an unobtrusive reminder to have fun. Every 15 minutes you’ll see the smiley face turn from black to blue. If you enable sound to go along with your reminder, you’ll hear a short laugh as well. Although I must admit that the laugh sound is borderline creepy – especially if you’re home alone and it’s quiet in the house and your volume is up loud.


If you’re using this app from work, it’s probably best to keep safe mode on. The filter does not totally remove unsafe images, instead it blocks them out and adds a “NSFW” tag next to them (see screenshot above).

LOLsnaps CHEEZburger

Finally we have the CHEEZburger Network, which is a favorite of mine. Although you don’t need an account, you’ll want to sign up so that you can like and dislike images, add to your favorites and share on Facebook.

I tried to find a way to sign up through the app, but failed to find a signup/login link. I have an account on the CHEEZburger Network, so I know that it is possible.

Final Thoughts

I’m sure that some may find this Mac app a bit cheesy, but I like the idea of having fun images to view right from my menu bar. Instafun has great intentions and I feel that it delivers nicely.

Charnita Fance

Charnita has been a Freelance Writer & Professional Blogger since 2008. As an early adopter she loves trying out new apps and services. As a Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS user, she has a great love for bleeding edge technology. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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How To Trade In Your Apple Watch — The Ultimate Guide

Trade in Your Apple Watch with 9to5Mac

9to5Mac has partnered with leaders in the iPhone/iPad/Laptop cash trade-in and repair industries. The easiest way to get cash for your device is to head over to chúng tôi for an instant quote. We chose this partner in particular because of their industry-leading paybacks, rapid payment service, integrity, and reliability. They’ll accept most iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook, iPod, Apple TV, AirPods, and more — as long as they are relatively recent and in working order, of course.

While 9to5Mac does do business, use, and endorse Decluttr, the sites are external and we cannot be held liable for your experience with them. We may receive a small commission if you are satisfied with and move forward with your cash trade-in or repair, which is a great way to support the site. We love Decluttr, and we use it ourselves.

The Best Apple Watch Trade in Sites Trade in your Apple Watch at Apple Trade In/GiveBack

Apple Trade In/GiveBack isn’t the most generous trade-in option when it comes to trading in your Apple Watch, but it is very easy and dealing with Apple comes with a peace of mind you won’t find elsewhere — you can be absolutely sure that the price you’re quoted for your old Series 1 Apple Watch (which, honestly, won’t be much) is going to be yours — unless you send in something other what you said you would.

Trade In/GiveBack also isn’t limited to just taking old Apple Watches. Apple will take your iPhone or smartphone from a variety of OEMs, MacBook, iPad, and even iMac. They’ll also recycle anything that they won’t buy. Head over to Apple GiveBack to get started.

Trade in your Apple Watch at Decluttr

Decluttr is our Apple Watch trade in spot of choice — as mentioned, we’ve partnered with them for our own 9to5Mac trade-in portal. At Decluttr, you’ll find an excellent combination of trade in values, seamless experience, and customer service.

Trade in your Apple Watch at Gazelle

Apple Watch owners also have the option of trading in their old smartwatch through Gazelle. In my experience, their trade in values are a bit lower than the rest of the options on this page, but they’re a popular and reliable destination nonetheless. The process of trading in your Apple Watch with Gazelle works about the same as the rest of the other device trade in sites.

Trade in your Apple Watch at Best Buy Trade in your Apple Watch w/ carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and more

Chances are your cellular carrier would also love to take your old Apple Watch off your hands. Depending on the carrier, you should be able to get a pretty decent quote for your Apple Watch. One upside, too, is that your carrier will often just put your trade in value toward your bill, meaning you might be able to skip a phone bill for a month or two with your Watch trade in. You can find a trade in program at just about every major carrier, including Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. Here are some quick links if this is the direction you want to go:

Even more sites: Trademore, Igotoffer, Itsworthmore, BuyBackWorld

Gazelle, Decluttr, and Apple GiveBack aren’t the only destinations for trading in your Apple Watch. Some sites, if you’re willing to give them a chance, might even offer more. Be aware, though, that depending on the site you might run into issues not actually get those extra dollars. Some sites have rough Trustpilot ratings with reported issues with receiving payments for their devices, for example.

That said, these sites aren’t all bad — many of them have enough positive reviews and reputation that it’s pretty unlikely you’ll get straight up scammed. Check out Trademore, Igotoffer, Itsworthmore, and BuyBackWorld if you want to dig around to find an alternative destination to trade in your Apple Watch.

Best Online Marketplaces to trade in/sell your Apple Watch Swappa

When it comes to selling your Apple Watch yourself, Swappa is one of the best sites on the web with a quickly growing community. The things that makes Swappa stand out from the crowd is that it’s a marketplace dedicated to selling consumer electronics like the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, Android phones, and more. they also have pretty low flat fees and they’re transparent throughout the process.

If you’re serious about getting the max value out of your Apple Watch while also resting on the comforts of a proven and well-moderated community of buyers, Swappa is the place to be . All transactions go through PayPal and come with the protections that provides, and the Swappa team has done a great job of making sure first-time sellers feel confident and secure fishing for a good buyer for their lightly-used goods.


eBay is undoubtedly the most popular place to sell used anything on the web, and it should come as no surprise that a fair volume of Apple Watches are swapped there indeed. It might not the be the easiest or most secure of destinations to sell your Apple Watch, but it does have the largest pool of potential buyers. And unlike Swappa, you can hold auctions to potentially juice that Apple Watch for every dime it’s worth.

It goes without saying that eBay is a pretty good place to get a fair price for your Watch, but it also comes with a few downsides. It’s going to take way more work to list and watch and monitor and eBay listing than it will to just send in your device through a trade in site, and you’re also putting yourself at slightly higher risk of ending up with an undesirable buyer. eBay’s fees are also higher than many other sites. Check out eBay.

More trade in guides on 9to5Mac:

A Beginner’s Guide To Buying Your First Drone

One of the most exciting and innovative bits of tech to emerge in recent years, drones let you survey your surroundings from on high, and they take magnificent aerial images. If you suddenly have the urge to own one, know that these petite flying machines are relatively affordable, so this is a good time to finally take to the skies.

Whether you’re upgrading your existing drone or buying your very first model, you’ve got a whole host of options to choose from. There’s something for every budget and requirement out there—you just need to know where to start.

Types of drones

When it comes to buying drones, you don’t have to consider as many makes and models as you would when picking a new smartphone or fitness tracker. In fact, you can put most drones into two broad categories: large outdoor fliers, and smaller ones that will either have a lower-resolution camera or none at all.

Which one you choose will depend on your needs. For some, a drone isn’t worth getting unless it can capture jaw-dropping footage from the skies in the outdoors. But for others, controlling a cool airborne machine is enough—they’re happy to play inside and sacrifice some picture quality in exchange for a lower price tag.

Another difference is how you fly them. Larger drones will typically have their own controller, allowing users to operate both the machine and the integrated camera usually attached to them. On the other hand, smaller toy drones don’t have controllers, so you’ll be able to steer them directly through an app on your phone.

But before you start thumbing through specifications and feature lists, consider what you’d actually like to do with a drone, or at least how much money you plan to spend. Do you want to have some fun buzzing a little copter around the living room and garden? Or would you prefer to head to the great outdoors and nab sweeping landscape photographs? Once you’ve decided on a priority, you’re ready to start picking a drone.

Features to look for

When it comes to drones, not all cameras are created equal. Juan Steyn/Unsplash

The sticker price won’t give you an exact indicator of a machine’s quality, although it will provide a quick, approximate, assessment of which drones are better than others. In general, more expensive drones will fly longer and farther, take better images, and come with more bells and whistles. But to make a more informed decision, you’ll need to get specific about specs. Let’s take a look.

Battery life

Just like a smartphone, a drone will eventually run out of juice, and flight times between charges struggle to surpass 30 minutes, even on the best models. You can always carry an extra power, but if you think you might need to do so, make sure to include the cost of spare batteries in the total price.

Brushless motors

You may come across this term when perusing a listing. Brushless motors cost more than brushed ones, but in exchange, they offer quieter operation and possess a longer lifespan, which means you won’t have to replace them as often.


If you want the best-quality footage possible, camera specs should be a big consideration, so make sure to look for the photo and video resolution. Most decent-size models—not including toy drones—now come with a built-in camera, but some allow you to attach your own. If you’re still a beginner when it comes to capturing high-res photos and videos, check out our guide to choosing a digital camera.

Headless mode

Starting to fly a drone can be tricky, so for beginners, some models offer headless mode. It means that when you push the controller stick one way, the drone will move in that direction relative to you, rather than relative to where the joystick is pointing.

Integrated GPS

Having an integrated GPS allows some drones to hover in place. Caleb Woods/Unsplash

At the premium end of the drone market, you’ll find models with integrated GPS, which lets the machines know where they are in the world. This upgrade helps your drone find its way back home with a feature aptly called return-to-home or RTH. An integrated GPS also improves the drone’s general stability and navigational skills, allowing a lot of them, for example, to easily hover in one place.

Follow-me mode

This feature lets your drone track you across the ground or ocean, so you can concentrate on your mountain biking or kite surfing while your aerial pal tags along recording your progress. Certain drones do this better than others, so check in with user reviews to see how well the mode works in practice.


As drones go up in price, you’ll notice they start having something called an integrated gimbal. This support just keeps the camera steady while it’s moving around in high winds and elevated altitudes. Smaller toy drones won’t have this attachment, but they don’t really need it—they spend most of their time indoors or at lower altitudes. If you want the best video footage and photos, make sure the drone includes a gimbal.

Obstacle avoidance Range

A drone’s range tells you how far from you it can move before you lose control. More expensive, professional-level drones have greater ranges, going beyond the outskirts of your living room or backyard. However, no matter how far your drone can stray, bear in mind that Federal Aviation Administration rules requires you to always have an eye on your drone to avoid it from damaging property, animals, or even people.

A few top picks

We won’t provide an exhaustive list of all consumer drones, but we will help you with a selection of good options so you can get a better idea of what’s available. Whichever drone tickles your fancy, though, there’s a curve on knowing how to operate these gadgets properly, so make sure to be patient and take your time to learn the ins and outs of how it works.

And before you send your new toy soaring into the skies, read through the FAA’s rules for operating drones. This government agency regulates unmanned flight, and says users must keep their machine in sight at all times and below 400 feet.

Finally, when you first launch your drone, start off slowly and carefully. This will not only keep the people around you safe, but also protect your new gadget.

DJI Mini 2

With the DJI Mini 2 you get more stable images without breaking the bank. Amazon

The DJI Mini 2 is at the lower end of the outdoor, consumer drone scale. It costs a relatively affordable $449, but still comes with a gimbal-mounted 4K camera. It’s capable of an impressive 31 minutes of flight time, with a range of a little more than 6 miles. On top of the rather appealing price, it’s light too, weighing in at just under 249 grams, or 0.55 pounds, which means you don’t have to register it with the FAA.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

With a top speed of 45 mph, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is fast. Amazon

At $1,599, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro definitely has to be registered with the authorities, and shows what three times the money gets you. It has substantially improved camera optics compared to the Mini 2, can fly at 45 mph, and sense and avoid obstacles in any direction. While the flight time and range is the same as the Mini 2, the Mavic 2 Pro offers more features, such as panoramic photos and compatibility with the DJI Goggles for a drone’s-eye view of the world.

Parrot ANAFI

Want to get real bang for your buck? Parrot’s ANAFI might be the drone for you. Amazon

Parrot’s drones for both consumers and professionals are well known for their value-to-money ratio, and you can pick up the excellent ANAFI online for a little less than $600. In return, you get a gimbal-equipped 4K camera capable of 180-degree rotation and 2.8-times zoom, up to 25 minutes of flight time, and an operating range of around 2.5 miles. It can also track subjects and keep them in the frame automatically with its follow-me mode.

Autel Robotics Evo II

With the Autel Robotics Evo II, you get spectacular image quality. Amazon

Another drone at the top end of the scale, the Autel Robotics Evo II comes in at just under $1,500 online. Its whopping 8K video resolution, though, manages to beat most other drones, and you also get 40 minutes of stable, gimbal-assisted flight time. The drone has an impressive range of 5.5 miles and omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, making it one of the most capable drones out there.

Holy Stone HS210 Mini

If you’re only starting to explore the world of drones, the Holy Stone HS210 Mini is a great starter. Amazon

At the opposite end of the price spectrum, the Holy Stone HS210 Mini comes in at a very affordable $30 and is a lot of fun to use around the house. It can hover in place on its own, it comes with its own dedicated controller, and flight time on a single charge is around 7 minutes, which is why you get two extra batteries. It offers an easy-to-fly headless mode and is perfect for drone races around the porch or up the stairs.

Alumni Weekend 2023: 10 Can’t

Alumni Weekend 2023: 10 Can’t-Miss Events A fun, festive, and (mostly) free guide for alums, students, and faculty

More than 3,000 guests are expected on campus this weekend for Alumni Weekend 2023, with 150 events scheduled in alums’ honor. But many are open to students, faculty, and staff as well. From marking old traditions to celebrating new creative talents, the schedule has something for everyone.

Here are 10 (mostly free) events to check out this weekend.

1. Oboes and cellos and flutes, oh my!

When: September 21, 12:30 to 1:30 pm. Where: Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Ave. Cost: free.

2. Celebrate black alumni

This year’s Alumni Weekend shines a light on the legacy of BU’s black alumni with a series of events that spotlight civil rights icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59) and Howard Thurman (Hon.’67), dean of Marsh Chapel from 1953 to 1965 and the first black dean at a predominantly white US university. Festivities begin with the Celebration of Black Alumni Welcome Reception and an exhibition of Thurman photographs and memorabilia at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, in Mugar Memorial Library (visit the permanent exhibition in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Reading Room while you’re there). Join Kenneth Elmore (Wheelock’87), associate provost and dean of students, for breakfast to learn about BU’s plans for making 808 Commonwealth Avenue the new home of the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground by 2023. There will also be a free screening of the new NBC documentary Hope and the Fury, exploring the ways that King and his contemporaries used the media to further the Civil Rights Movement.

Celebration of Black Alumni Welcome Reception and Howard Thurman Exhibition: When: September 21, 5:30 to 7 pm. Where: Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, 771 Commonwealth Ave. Cost: free. 

3. Are you ready for some football?

Thought BU didn’t have football? That changes once a year when BU’s Air Force, Army, and Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) face off in the Curtis Cup Flag Football Tournament. Coed teams of cadets and midshipmen play a round-robin tournament, with the winner taking home the Curtis Cup—and bragging rights for the year.

When: September 21, 6 to 9 pm. Where: New Balance Field. Cost: free.

4. Welcome a new school

For the first time since Boston University and Wheelock College officially merged in June, the BU and Wheelock communities will come together to celebrate the newly formed Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. Join David Chard, Wheelock dean ad interim, for a special welcome reception and enjoy The Wonder of Learning—The Hundred Languages of Children, an interactive exhibition highlighting the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.

When: September 21, 6 pm. Where: Wolf Room, Fenway Campus, 200 Riverway. Cost: free.

5. Explore the new Dahod Family Alumni Center, formerly the Castle

From a pub night to a jazz brunch, Alumni Weekend is packed with chances to explore and enjoy the new Dahod Family Alumni Center, formerly the BU Castle. Get a free peek on a tour inside the renovated mansion, which has been closed for construction for 15 months, and enjoy refreshments during the Grand Open House.

When: September 22, 9 am to 1 pm. Where: Dahod Family Alumni Center, 225 Bay State Road. Cost: free.

6. Take in a showcase of art

When: September 22, 9 am to 8 pm. Where: Commonwealth Art Gallery, first floor, and Gallery 5, fifth floor, 855 Commonwealth Ave. Cost: free.

7. Witness one of BU’s oldest traditions

BU’s 80-year-old Scarlet Key Honor Society welcomes 30 new candidates from the Class of 2023 and 3 new honorary members at its annual Tapping Ceremony. The candidates were selected from a pool of nominees based on their excellence in scholarship, leadership, and extracurricular activities. Each will be “tapped” with a ceremonial sword—a nod to the society’s earlier tradition of finding new selections on campus and notifying them of the honor by tapping them on the shoulder. An induction ceremony will be held in May.

When: September 22, 10:30 am. Where: Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences &Engineering, 610 Commonwealth Ave. Cost: free.

8. Dine with dignitaries

Join generations of Terriers at one of the weekend’s marquee events: the Best of BU Luncheon and Distinguished Alumni Awards. This year’s Distinguished Alumni honorees are Bill Brooks (Questrom’89), a former NFL player, sports analyst, and consultant; Binoy K. Singh, M.D. (ENG’89), associate chief of cardiovascular medicine at Northwell Health–Lenox Hill; and Marylou Sudders (CAS’76, SSW’78), Massachusetts secretary of health and human services. Erika Ebbel Angle (MED’12), CEO and cofounder of Ixcela, will receive the Young Alumni Award. The honorees will also participate in the panel A Conversation with BU Distinguished Alumni: Transforming Communities.

Luncheon and Distinguished Alumni Awards: When: September 22, noon to 2 pm. Where: Metcalf Ballroom, George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave. Cost: $30 per person.

Panel: When: September 22, 3 to 4:30 pm. Where: Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering, 610 Commonwealth Ave. Cost: free.

9. Talk about art

Exhibition: When: ongoing through September 28, noon to 5 pm. Where: 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave. Cost: free. 

Panel: When: September 22, 3 pm. Where: 808 Commonwealth Ave. Cost: free. 

10. Cheer on your Terriers

This weekend six varsity teams are competing, five at home and one across town. It begins at Franklin Park on Friday afternoon when the men’s and women’s cross country teams compete against Boston College and a field of Division I rivals in the Boston College Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown. Saturday’s action starts at noon when the softball team takes on Providence College in a doubleheader and field hockey faces off against Colgate College. The games continue with men’s soccer versus American University at 1 pm and women’s soccer versus Lehigh University at 4 pm. Softball wraps up the weekend on Sunday with a game against Merrimack College at noon.

Men’s and women’s cross country: When: September 21, 3 pm. Where: Franklin Park, One Franklin Park Rd., Boston. Cost: free.

Softball: When: September 22, noon and 2 pm. Where: BU Softball Field. Cost: free.

Field hockey: When: September 22, noon. Where: New Balance Field. Cost: free.

Men’s soccer: When: September 22, 1 pm. Where: Nickerson Field. Cost: $5 at the gate.

Women’s soccer: When: September 22, 4 pm. Where: Nickerson Field. Cost: $5 at the gate.

Softball: When: September 23, noon. Where: BU Softball Field. Cost: free.

Find a full list of events and reserve seats or buy tickets at the Alumni Weekend website. Check out the FAQ page for information about places to park, eat, and stay.

Marc Chalufour can be reached at [email protected].

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