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I had a great trip to Egypt a few years ago and still (rarely) occasionally update this category, I do plan to go again sometime.

Written By: Gary on January 29, 2009 3 Comments

iLife '09 Apple ComputerApple’s iPhoto 2009 has two great new features, Faces and Places. One lets you identify people, the other where photos were taken. It appears to merge with FaceBook and Flickr too but I haven’t tried that yet.

Faces: Wow, the face recognition stuff is pretty cool. Add a name to a person and it helps you identify all the photos with that person. It took some time, but it’s really great.

What’s Faces missing? An easy way to show every face that doesn’t have a name attached. Seems simple enough, thought I maybe I could build a rule, but no go. Fix this and I’m happy with this part. I’ve got 4,000 photos in iPhoto and I’m guessing less than 1% are of people I know.

I’m also afraid to tag photos of me as a kid, will it confuse it? I want to mark some people from behind, will that mess up the algorithm?

As an added bonus, if you upload photos to FaceBook and other people tag the it’s supposed to pull them back down to your computer tagged!

Places: A way to tag all your photos with a location. You do have to specify the photos, so it takes some time. It’s not just cities though, you can put in the name of a statium or roller rink and it’ll tag them with that location. It gives you a map with all the pins in place.

What’s Places missing? A lot! But most seems to be easy to remedy. (Or maybe I just don’t know how to do it).

Place needs a way to show all photos without a place attached to it (sound familiar). I sort of cheated with this one and built a rule for places with no spaces and it worked, until I got to “Egypt”, that didn’t have a space in it, if I could identify the cities those would fall out of the to-do list.

When I type a place, the first few choices should be from places I’ve already put it.

Places needs a way to mark a picture as non-location based (so when they fix the above part it’ll stop asking me about those blank ones).

It’s slow when opening the map with the pins, really slow, can’t imagine when I get more in place.

Bonus (needed) feature for Places: Let me plug in my GPS and you can tag my photos based on where I was! How cool would that be (need an option to adjust for time zones)?

Otherwise the feature set appears to be the same, just two new features…

Written By: Gary on November 24, 2007 No Comment

So I’ve always liked Skype it’s a great backup for my phone and it’s great for calling home when I’m on vacation. At 2.1 cents per minute, it’s hard to beat the price as long as you’ve got a semi-decent internet connection. Not that I talk a lot when I travel but I always feel like I’m being initiated when trying to figure out long distance calling when in a foreign country. They 2.1 cents is just for calls to the US, other countries have different rates.

Skype - call the world at rock bottom pricesThe goofy* thing is that it’s 2.1 cents to call the US wherever I am, from next door, Egypt or Costa Rica it’s all 2.1 cents! But with the same reasoning it’s 6.4 cents to call Costa Rica, that’s if I’m here in Michigan or down there. Of course if I’m calling someone else’s Skype computer it’s free from anywhere to anywhere.

I just upgraded to the new Mac version, I was 1.1 versions behind. I think the call quality is significantly better and I noticed the touch tones work better, so now I can call my (misplaced) cell phone and listen to my messages.* – It’s not really goofy, it’s what they pay for phone calls at the destination, the Internet probably doesn’t cost Skype any more regardless of where I’m calling from.

Written By: Gary on August 20, 2007 No Comment

Smithsonian Magazine’s site has an article on a theory on How the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid at Giza. Pyramidsmithsonian

Tackling an ages-old puzzle, a French architect offers a new theory on how the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid at Giza

I think this is from the August 2007 issue, but it might just be only on their web site.

Written By: Gary on July 20, 2007 2 Comments

Found this cool 360 degree panorama of Karnak Temple. It requires Quicktime (I was there last year, BTW).

(I was actually looking for something on The Moon Landing which was 38 years ago today….)

Written By: Gary on April 18, 2007 3 Comments

2006-04-20 15-10-44.Img 0735So today’s LensDay dealt with flowers so this week so I submitted this photo that I took in Egypt. I thought most of the flowers from there seemedso bright and beautiful. The other people on the trip compared it to flowers in Hawaii but since I’ve never been there I attributed it to the Egyptian mystique…

I just thought they all seemed so bright and beautiful….

Written By: Gary on December 28, 2006 No Comment

EgyptringI found my ring!!!! I lost it a few months ago and I realized this I was leaving my house. So I retraced my steps and dug through the garbage and everything. Plus, I examined my car from head to toe to see if I dropped it in there. But I never found it and it just had to be here somewhere…

So, I was just digging through my laptop backpack and I found it way at the bottom. So I’m pretty excited about this.

This is the ring that I bought in Egypt with the Hieroglyphic Alphabet all the way around it. It was always a little big, so now I guess I know it’s too big. It wasn’t very expensive but I’ll get it sized a tiny bit smaller. You can click the image for a larger view.

Written By: Gary on August 12, 2006 3 Comments

Hopefully you’re not getting too tired of the Egypt photos, here’s just under 100 from day 6.

On the Nile
Scenery, pollution and a big-ass bridge.
Riding to the Temple of Edfu
A quick view of the town during out carriage ride.
At the temple of Edfu
Some huge walls of hieroglyphics. Some interesting shots with light.
The ride back (and the visit to the StarGate)
Goats and a Stargate.
On the Nile and around the Ship
The view, the pool, some sailboats (falugah?), a traditional evening and more scenery.

Oops, here’s the link to the photos

Hopefully if you’ve just recently starting reading the blog you’ve read the older Egypt entries. Those were posted while I was in Egypt and that’s where the longer stories are…

You may have seen these, I had posted them a bit back but not written a post to go with them yet nor added descriptions (maybe 20 of them). They were at the bottom of the egypt photos page so if you were looking around.

Written By: Gary on July 18, 2006 No Comment
What is the furthest North and the furthest South you’ve ever been?
North would have to be somewhere along the coast of Alaska. South would have to be Egypt or Costa Rica (I’m going to guess Egypt since it’s a lot hotter there). Coincidentally, they are the first and last places I’ve traveled on my own.

From Question of the Day.

Written By: Gary on June 30, 2006 One Comment

I’m so far behind in things I’ve been meaning to blog about. I’m going to try and catch up this weekend. I’ve got the concert tonight, Superman Returns, what happened at the computer sale at work, stuff from Chicago from weeks ago, a book or two that I’m read, it’s been forever since I got some photos up from my trip to Egypt, I need to do a real review of my Sprint Treo 700p and I’m sure there’s way more….

I’ll try and do 6 or 7 of these this weekend (that probably means 2 or 3)…

Written By: Gary on June 28, 2006 One Comment

So one of the things on my 101 in 1001 list is to make sure I own 50 excellent movies (if I don’t own then I need to buy them) watch them again and do a review on-line. By “excellent” it has to be something to have mostly wide appeal (I’m sure a few won’t) and I’m trying to have a range of the types of movies. I probably owned 15-20 I’d put in this category and I’ve probably already bought a dozen since.

Without question StarGate would be one of those movies. And since I’ve been thinking about it a lot since my trip to Egypt. The ultimate edition actually includes the original and the longer cut on two DVDs (and gobs of extras). It’s a great movie with Kurt Russel as the action hero and James Spader as the geeky egyptologist who thinks that aliens might have actually built the pyramids. The government has some items they dug up a few years back and are trying to decipher the writings on it and they bring in the ridiculed scientist to come help them make it work.

I can tell you why I was disappointed, I was hoping for more Egypt references but while I remember lots, this show did turn into seven seasons of StarGate SG-1 full of references so I guess that’s where I recall lots from, I just thought there were more in the original movie. There was a bit, I just hoped for more. Still a great flick, lots of action great scenery, some big explosions and some really great characters. And they really do have a good story tie into the creation of the pyramids. Plus he also finds what every geeky guy traveling across the universe needs, a beautiful woman who doesn’t realize what a geek he really is :)

Written By: Gary on June 17, 2006 No Comment

Some more photos from my trip to Egypt (from April). This is day 5 and has about another 90 photos broken up into a few sub albums. Many of the photos have captions explaining what they are but here’s the gist of it in case you just jump into slideshow mode.

Sunrise breakfast in a village on the Nile.
We took a boat to the West side of the Nile and had breakfast. With then took a little tour of the village where we ate. Wouldn’t it be strange if travelers ate breakfast down the street from your house and then walked around your neighborhood looking around and taking pictures?!?
Valleys of the Kings and Queens.
It was a very very very hot day in the Walley of the King and Queens. We went into a few tombs (no pictures allowed) and looked around, it was incredible! You’ll need to read the posts from April to find out a bit more.
The first day of our cruise on the Nile.
The ship was awesome and it was a great pleasure to arrive on after our long hot day. I’ve got lots of scenery and other things (including pirates and a trip through the locks).

The day five photos are located here.

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Written By: Gary on June 14, 2006 2 Comments

4Th1So it was time to ditch the Egypt theme (it’s still at MyTripToEgypt.com). I decided to try a 4th of July theme. With the logo in the upper left and the way the stars show through the upper left, it gives it a flag like look. It is a bit brighter than a I usually use but I really liked the way it came out.

Written By: Gary on June 12, 2006 2 Comments

I know I’ve been back for over a month but here’s another 80 photos from Egypt from day four, we’re still in Luxor: there’s a lot of local shots, some temple photos and a felucca sailboat ride..

  • Around town – Various shorts from around Luxor (Marilyn and I walked ALL over town). Photos of a place where I bought a scarf, a few odd internet places, some apartments and a few street scenes.
  • Temple of Luxor – Some more photos of the outside of Luxor Temple (as were were walking around town).
  • Faluga Ride – A sunset ride on a felucca sailboat ride which is named for it’s different shaped (but we had no wind).
  • Luxor at night – A carriage ride around Luxor at night, dinner and some photos from around town.

    I know I’m only on day 4 of the bulk photos, but it’s been busy. I’ll get some more out the next few weeks, it’s less cRaZy at work, plus I’ve got a few more days off.

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    Written By: Gary on May 25, 2006 2 Comments

    So I finally did a 26 things scavenger hunt. I just noticed they were offering one for this month (they only do it every few months) and I thought I had a lot of Egypt photos that fit the plan so I used those (a few I had to stretch the definitions a little).

    Here’s the photos of the 26 things that I used…

    FYI – this also completes one of my 101 in 1001 items list!!!

    Here is the 26 things site (these are not my photos)

    Written By: Gary on May 19, 2006 One Comment

    From Day 3 in Egypt I’ve got 150 more photos up. We travel to Luxor and visit Karnak, a school and the temple of Luxor (at night).

  • Karnak: Lots of photos from Karnak, I think it’s the world’s largest covered (enclosed?) temple. Lots of photos, sorry for the repetition.
  • School: We visited an elementary school. It was an all girls elementary school (700) of them. They had to learn English and as you see they wear uniforms. It’s also an orphanage for a small number of girls. We got to visit a few classrooms while they were waiting for parents to pick them up. I took a lot of pictures of the posters on the walls and other similar items.
  • Around Town: Flowers, buildings, the hotel, the view from the hotel, the McDonald’s with the delivery scooters, the group waiting to go out and Jack dancing.
  • Temple of Luxor: This is a large temple in the middle of town (well, they built the town around it). Some shots in the daylight and a lot of night shots). Notice the Sphinxes in the last few photos, you can see them lined up, they go the whole path back to Karnak with Sphinxes on each side every 20 feet or so for about 2.5 kilometers.

    A key thing to know about monuments (and I’m not sure how they define ‘monuments’) two-thirds of the world’s monuments are in Egypt and one-third are in Luxor.

    More notes: From reading about Karnak in the WikiPedia I guess there are 4 parts and we likely only visted the larger area of Amen-Re, this is the first and hugest place we visited and I’m sure a lot went in (and out) of my head (because this doesn’t sound familiar at all).

    The Sphinxes I pointing out in the last few photos, I thought lined a path between Luxor Temple and Karnak but somewhere else I read they were “ram headed”. So I’m not 100% sure on this.

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    Written By: Gary on May 16, 2006 4 Comments

    So I’m sure you’ve heard of Skype, right? You can use it to make “phone calls” from computer to computer for free. I used it to make phone calls from Egypt to the US while I was there, it cost me about 2.1 cents per minute to make a call to any telephone in the US (I could have called another Skype computer for free).

    They’ve just made it more free. Yes, I said free, to call the US and Canada for the rest of the year (2006). It shouldn’t matter where you are in the world, to call me would be free for the rest of the year. So download Skype now and give it a try.

    FYI, I’ve ditched my landline phone at home and have just my cellular phone. So I programmed Skype with my local police/fire number so if I ever have a crisis I can at least use my computer for an emergency phone call (if needed). I just called up and said, I’ve just got a cell phone what’s the best non-911 number to call when I have an emergency.

    Here’s how it normally works, they lease a bunch of phone lines around the world, it’s your job (using the Internet) to place the call using the Internet. Depending on the location they set the price, Egypt for example is 18.5 cents a minute, they don’t care where you are calling from (the USA, Egypt or from the same house you are calling to) it still costs 18.5 cents for them to make that call to Egypt. Except for now, calling to the USA and Canada is FREE.

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    Written By: Gary on May 12, 2006 One Comment

    So I’ve always known I’d do a website with photos and video whenever I get around to having or adopting a baby. I even already own the website name for it. But the more I watch Erika-Renee post pictures (and video and stories) of her new little Sammy on her blog it just makes my gears turn or my future options.

    Remember I’m the guy who’s posted a few hundred photos of a few week trip to Egypt and I’m nowhere near done at this point. Imagine the opportunity to having a baby who’s there all the time, if their going to keep me awake I might as well as take photos! S/he is going to think that a camera click is just background noise all the time. The podcasts, photocasts and videocast options are just limitless….

    Written By: Gary on May 10, 2006 One Comment

    ExitheiroglyphicsSo when I was in one of the hotels in Egypt I saw this “hieroglyphic” sign and it struck me as funny so I took a photo of it.

    Written By: Gary on May 10, 2006 No Comment

    This batch of 40+ photos from my second day of the trip consists of one album that jumps around a bit. Be sure to look back at the third week of April to see the original comments about the trip, I’ll try not to repeat myself too much.

  • Everything in Cairo seemed far away so we got to see lots of the town as we drove around: the homes (with laundry drying on the ledge and satellite dishes galore) and the awful traffic.
  • We also travel to the museum in Cairo which while it had wonderful artifacts was dusty, dirty and in need a major repair (I believe they are currently building a new one). In the museum no photos were allowed but outside was okay so I took a few of the outside and of Marilyn + Thelma (who were on our trip) and Asmaa (whom I met and chatted with at the museum).
  • Some more photos from around town as we traveled around and other odd places. Some sheep under the overpass, a few shots at the mall, a view of the pyramids as the sun sets and some kids with their camel and then back to the hotel for the night.
  • Remember: In any of the photos, if it’s water, it’s probably the Nile.
  • Written By: Gary on May 7, 2006 One Comment

    So I’m putting together collections of photos from the trip. In an attempt to not overwhelm you (and myself) I’ll do one of these every few days highlighting a day (or maybe just a portion of the day depending on how many photos I took that day).

    This first day consists of two albums.

  • The trip from the airport which shows a lot of the city (Cairo is a city of 20 million people), some billboards and roads. The murals were along the walls of a military academy which was one of the first places we passed. This also contains my first glimpses of the pyramids and the Nile (if it’s wet it’s probably the Nile).
  • This has some shots of the grounds of the Mena House Oberoi hotel, my room, the view of the pyramids during the day and night and my first can of Coca-Cola in Egypt.

    You can view these photos here.

  • Written By: Gary on May 7, 2006 No Comment

    So my photos from Egypt have the wrong time in them (embedded in the EXIF data) because I didn’t set the date/time on my cameras. I was going to try to fix them but it was going to be a little harder since there was a time change when I was there. So I spent some time today fixing that up and renaming the photos. The photos now have the date and time as part of the filename plus the imbedded EXIF data (the part of a digital photo that has info about the picture like time, exposure, what kind of camera, etc.) has the correct date/time also. All new photos posted should have the correct date/time information posted in them.

    Written By: Gary on May 6, 2006 2 Comments

    So I was playing with Yahoo! Photos and put up about 100 random Egypt photos of mine.

    You can view Yahoo! Photos on TiVo and I wanted to see how they worked out…

    Written By: Gary on May 3, 2006 One Comment

    Egypt map from wikipediaDid you know that Egypt is actually on two different continents. If you look on a map it makes sense but I never really thought about it being in both Africa and Asia. I was in the Africa part, we pretty much traveled between Cairo and Aswan along the Nile.

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    Written By: Gary on May 2, 2006 No Comment

    So I had taken the day off to recover from the flight from Egypt, pick up my mail, go to two doctor’s appointments that would be needed after the trip (allergy shot and to get my neck/back worked on) and other stuff. Since I got trapped in NY I had to move the allergy appointment but the other was later so that was okay. So I set the alarm clock for three hours later and took a nap. I ended up sleeping 11 hours, missing the appointment and now I’ve been wide awake for the last three hours. Although I did get the laundry done and watched a little TiVo, I hadn’t turned a TV on in weeks…

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    Written By: Gary on May 1, 2006 One Comment

    So I’m finally back in Michigan! I will be posting more entries and photos over the next few weeks as I think of more things, finish thoughts I’ve started and mange to sort some photos.

    I didn’t sleep well last night, so I made it to the airport on time. Although they did hit me with a $25 fee since my luggage weighed too much, I tried to sweet talk them out of that with the all the flight problems but no such luck. It was a tiny little plane and had a lot of tired familiar faces on it from last night.

    I’m off to take a nap…

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    Written By: Gary on April 30, 2006 No Comment

    THE SphinxSo they call the big Sphinx “The Sphinx” since it is so much bigger than all of the other thousands of Sphinxes in the country. I think they said it was carved out of one huge piece of rock. It was big, but it just didn’t do it for me, maybe because it was towards the end of a very long day. There was also a bit of scaffolding in the way that they were using for repairs that didn’t do anything to increase my level of awe.

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    Written By: Gary on April 30, 2006 2 Comments

    So I’m at the Cairo Airport ready to head to JFK and they’ve got FREE WiFi! In case you haven’t noticed while things are cheap here, nothing is free. So we’re very early for our flight but I’m ready, two weeks was long enough to be away from home. Egypt was wonderful, but I’m ready for my own bed and to have the ability to drink tap water and not be afraid to accidentally rinse after I brush my teeth.

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    Written By: Gary on April 27, 2006 One Comment


    Originally uploaded by garylapointe.

    So we went on a camel ride yesterday!

    We rode them up a dune (15 minutes) and then back down across the Sahara desert (and hour?) to a village where we had a tour.
    It wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be!

    Written By: Gary on April 27, 2006 One Comment

    I heard there was another bombing. I’m in Cairo and plan to be in the immediate vicinity for the rest of the trip (just so you know).

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    Written By: Gary on April 25, 2006 One Comment

    It’s Tuesday and most of the group are at the other site I mentioned yesterday. But I got to sleep!!!! I think I slept for about 8 1/2 hours and then on and off for about an hour (so I got up). Had breakfast, did a nice walk to the Internet Cafe and I’ll head back in a few…

    It’s a nice day out but my legs are really sore from yesterday, I might take a carriage ride back to the hotel… :)

    Don’t forget I’ve got more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/garylapointe/ which I’ve been titling slightly better and with more descriptions.

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    Written By: Gary on April 25, 2006 No Comment

    I got an e-mail from Kelly about some kind of bombings somewhere out this way but I don’t know anything about it.
    FYI, I’m in Aswan just off the nile (about 50 feet at this moment) and about as far south as you can go.

    UPDATE: It’s WAY north and to the east and it turns out the travel agency called my Mom to say I’m okay (which is funny since I hadn’t heard about it and no one asked me if I was okay)…

    In case more happens, Aswan and Cairo are the major areas I’ll be in for the rest of the trip.

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    Written By: Gary on April 24, 2006 No Comment

    I’ve had two people mention that they had problems reading this page http://mytriptoegypt.com/.

    Can you please send me an e-mail if it looks bad in your web browser? Please tell me your browser, computer and if it’s old or new (the more geeky details the better).

    I just made a few changes, so if you had problems and it’s now better, please let me know :)

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    Written By: Gary on April 23, 2006 No Comment

    So Oliver Twist comes to mind often during these my Egypt trip. I see all these kids running around trying to sell you something. They just swarm you like a group of mosquitoes. It’s hysterical on some level it’s like on some TV show when you see the little kid with little puppies jumping all over them.

    Most of the time it seems like the children are very poor but I think many of them are not poor (at least not by their standards). We were at this one place and these little kids were so dirty it just tears at my heart. When we got back in the van I asked if they dirtied them up on purpose, the tour guide laughed and said they were just dirty, “they’re kids, they don’t mind”.

    Generally when swarmed it seems like they are in a few groups, they all seem to go back to the same few adults for change. But it just makes me think of the groups of orphans in oliver twist. I’ve spent many dollars/pounds on many of these trinkets if I can haggle down to a dollar or less, it’s a safe bet I’ll get one (unless I already have 15!).

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