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Just regular kinds of stuff that happened (that doesn’t fit in other categories).

Written By: Gary on April 2, 2012 No Comment

The penny costs to much to make and it uses too much time to spend them. Plus, what can you buy with a penny? I’m not even sure what you can buy for five pennies theses days, so occasionally I’ll take a jab at the nickel too (maybe).lincoln-penny.png

I’m going to mention this every so often, why? Because it’s interesting to me and hopefully you’ll think so too. According to this video, it’s 1.8 cents to make a penny (how counter-productive is that?) and I’ve heard numbers higher that that. I don’t think any machines even take pennies. Although, I did hear in a West Wing episode that toll booths in Illinois will take them.

old-penny.pngFYI, individual items wouldn’t be rounded to the nearest nickel, just your final total.

Watch the video, the theme is “Why Pennies are economically inefficient and should be abolished”, the guy who made it makes fun ones and he’s got some surprising points later on towards the end.


Watch the Death of a Penny video in YouTube.

Please note that at 52 seconds in, he says we make 4 million pennies a year, but in the text on the screen he corrects it and says billion.

He makes some interesting points. Personally, I don’t carry change on me. I keep it in the car and generally use it for parking meters and if I’m getting a 99 cent or $1 item at the drive through. They’ll get mostly dimes and nickels and 9 or 10 pennies to help me get rid of them.

Written By: Gary on April 1, 2012 No Comment

Trust no one!!

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Written By: Gary on March 31, 2012 One Comment

It’s World Backup Day! It’s not that you should only backup once a year, it’s an awareness day. So I guess it should be called “Backup Awareness Day”. But seriously, you should backup your important documents and photos all the time. Why? Because you’ll be very sad / upset / angry when you lose those files. Please notice, I said “when”, not “if”. Moving your photos to a different device (and deleting off the computer) is not a backup, it’s the only copy. Multiple copies is alwaysrecommended!!!

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If it’s an important document, save multiple copies. If it’s your resume (CV), save it as “Resume March 2012” so that you’ve got previous versions of the file if something happens. If you’ve made massive changes to that document, just e-mail a copy to yourself; the copy in your mail account is an off site backup. When I do new technology plans (100 page documents) I save new versions every few hours, I don’t want to think I moved those 10 pages from section 7 to section 5 and realize later I never pasted them, I can go back and get an earlier version of those pages later.

If it’s photos, don’t wait until your camera is full, that’s the only copy of those photos, if you lose the camera, it gets stolen, or something else weird happens, you lose all those photos!!! Even uploading them to a site like Walgreens, Costco, Kodak or wherever you might send your photos is a backup (it’ll cost to get your photos out, but at least they aren’t lost); these places don’t guarantee that they’ll keep your photos but they do want you to share them and print more copie$ of them, just be sure you’re uploading the largest possible size photos. Facebook is not good for this, they do not keep high quality versions of the photos, they will not be good for printing later.

Every so often back your documents and photos up to multiple DVD (standard DVD’s hold more than 4 GB) and make multiple copies; once you’ve got them sorted making five copies isn’t much harder than making one copy. Keep a copy at your Mom’s house or at your kids house or in your safe deposit box. You don’t want all the copies at the same place in case there is a fire and they all burn down. Then you can delete these photos from the cloud and you’ve got more space for more photos.

The last few versions of the Macintosh OS will back up to an external drive via Time Capsule and you can go back in time and look at what version was on the computer at a particular time (it’s very cool and easy).

There are off site services you can use (I use Dropbox).

Syncing your photo to your computer generally backs up the phone numbers, calendar, photos and more. The latest version of the iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) will back up automatically daily to the iCloud if you wish; the problem with this is it’s an all or nothing option when you want to restore.

All photos that you take with your iPhone or iPad get automatically backed up to the iCloud. These then show up on your computer in the iPhoto Photo Stream. If you import from a camera to iPhoto, it automatically puts those photos in the Photo Stream and you can see them on all the devices you’ve synced with the iCloud (including your AppleTV). It only keeps the last 1,000 photos and doesn’t keep any videos, but it’s a partial backup. So this is an automatic download that I get have in the cloud too.

Backing up is especially important if your main computer is a portable device. You can earlier drop or have stolen your laptop or tablet, you need those files backed up!

Written By: Gary on March 15, 2012 No Comment

I don’t like sitting at the computer all the time, so why do I do it? Because that’s where all the information is at! With KindleFeeder.com I get my information sent wirelessly to my Kindle (I have the Kindle Keyboard 3G) automatically twice a day and I can read it anywhere! It’s in a magazine format that makes it really easy to navigate around. It looks pretty good on the iPhone and iPad Kindle readers too, not exactly the same format but still very easy to navigate.

So I’ve got 38 FULL feeds that I removed from my Google Reader: kindlefeeder.gifNYT, BBC, Economist categories I like (science, tech, most e-mailed), a few other (long post) blogs, some finance (Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar), and a few learning Spanish sites (that I’ve never read before). Then I added a dozen feeds that were popular at KindleFeeder. I took those feeds were on my Google Reader and I put them in a KindleFeeder category, so I’ll know that I don’t really need to look in there for those articles (unless looking for something particular) and eventually I deleted them. These are my longest, most interesting blog sites (that aren’t very colorful) that I can read on the go, very comfortably, even in the sun.

Bottom line: I think KindleFeeder.com is well worth the $20 a year! Convenience and time is everything. So try it out!

You can generate some sample issues (10 feeds with up to 512 MB of images) without paying anything to try it out (but you need to try it for a few days in a row, it’s a little overwhelming the first time you run it on a few sites since you get everything).

Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6Warning! The downside is that it doesn’t work easily on the newer (late 2011) B&W Kindles unless you transfer the files via USB (super inconvenient, IMHO). You can read the articles fine, but it’s not in the easy to use navigation.

Geeky stuff you really don’t need to know: I was worried about the number of images (4 MB max per delivery), but the first time you add a feed it adds all the past articles, once you’re past that (issue) I think it’ll be okay; some feeds only update a few times a week, but they’ve still got a history. Two feeds each had a history of 20 items were both each over 3.5 megabytes, so they looked bad the first time, with twice daily deliveries it’s rare I miss an image; I put the few sites that I don’t care about images last, so if any turn up missing, it’s those.

It has a clips feature that will let me easily mark something on the web (via the Kindle) to save it and thenI can delete that “issue” from my Kindle, so that’s good (but I don’t know if I can “un-clip” them later). From the Kindle (if you’re a paying subscriber) you can even request the delivery of another issue at any time (and if you have a 3G model, you can pull it down free over the 3G network).

Written By: Gary on January 27, 2012 No Comment

I’ve got this huge painting of the Fisher Building. It’s got to be six feet high and it fits perfect in my condo. I get lots of compliments all the time on it. The first few years I had it, I hadn’t even realized it was the Fisher building.

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It’s up very high on the wall (the bottom is at least eight feet up?) so I couldn’t get a straight on shot. But this didn’t come out too bad for my iPhone with the flash in a very dim room!

I’m mentioning this today, because I made a panorama of the Fisher building while downtown.


I was a little too close, I’ll do one on a nicer day later and try to stand back a little farther for the whole effect.

Does anyone know if there is a restaurant or viewing platform up top?!?

Written By: Gary on January 3, 2012 No Comment

I’ve got too much stuff. So I’m cleaning, trashing and selling 500 pounds of “stuff”. I hope to do this in a month, but we’ll see how that goes.

I’m also reading (as one of many changes) in an attempt to keep my place cleaner neater.

I’m starting with books. I’ve got a lot of them, I’m listing a few on half.com (eBay’s sister site) and I’ll see what I can get for some old ones and some newer ones. For the old ones, I’ll have to see if it’s worth the effort to actually sell something for a dollar or two (plus shipping). I think if I can do a dozen books, CDs or DVDs, I’ll be able to get a better feel on selling these smaller things. I might just be better off donating them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army (but I’ve got no clue what to estimate the value at) which would be minimal effort to do compared to labeling and shipping items out.

Also, Amazon has a buyback program which gives you gift card credit (click the book above and you’ll see an image similar to the left). That might be significantly easier for newer items (but I have less of those to get rid of), but I’ll try that too (maybe).

I guess I should actually put some in the Amazon used section too…

Written By: Gary on November 1, 2011 No Comment

Two things for today: a photo thing and a numbers thing.

Today is 11/1/11 or if you live over seas it’s 1/11/11. I like fun number things, in 10 days we’ll have another date number thing.

And in a few days my car milage will be 123456! So hopefully I don’t miss it. (I should verify that)

Yes, it is the little things that I enjoy in life! button-26things-125.jpg

The photo thing is a 26 Things project / collection. Slightly different than usual, it’s really 13 things but two photographs of the same topic. For example, one of the topics is “patters” so you could do two different patterns, you could do two opposite patterns, you could do two different perspectives of the same pattern (or just take a dozen different pattern pictures and post your two favorite ones). I like this twist, I’ve started a few times and never finished, but I think I will with this one. And I’ll probably post throughout the month as I get each pair completed (I think?). Plus, it’s less items to remember! Then you post your completed set on-line somewhere (flickr, blog, etc) and link to it from the project site.

Written By: Gary on August 28, 2011 One Comment

I was out biking this weekend (again) and was playing with a new camera (not mine) and as I was biking along I saw a dear up ahead.

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I got some stills and some video. But I was still standing there on the bike so I’m not the steadiest I could be. At the end I was at 14x which also contributes to the extra shakiness and I didn’t have glasses on so I couldn’t really see how focused it was.


Direct HD link on YouTube

This is not a soundtrack I added later, it just happened to be what was playing on my bike stereo when I saw the deer, I thought it worked out well…

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The last one turned around and went back (after already crossing the road), I’m not sure why he got spooked when the others didn’t. I went over to the side of the road and sat down for a bit, but never saw any appear on either side of the road again.

(This was on Hines Drive between Inkster Rd. and Middlebelt Rd.)

Written By: Gary on August 13, 2011 No Comment

So if it’s nice outside, this is where I’ll go to eat lunch. It’s this tiny little park with four benches that (as you can see) needs a little trimming and some cement work. It’s the next block over from where I work, so it’s a nice short walk to get there. But there’s always a bench available and it’s usually pretty quiet.

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The flag isn’t easy to catch, I’ve got a little too much sky in this image but the flag came out the best, so it’s the one I chose to use. This is for my 31 photos in 31 days project for yesterday.

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It’s a small park, I’d say one-fourth of a “standard” city block. How big is that? It depends on the neighborhood, where I grew up blocks were about one-sixth of a mile long, in other places in the Detroit area, I’d say big blocks are about one-fourth of a mile long.

And yes that’s got to be the one of the most boring blog post titles I’ve ever done…

Written By: Gary on August 11, 2011 No Comment

So I have a confession: I LOVE The Big Blue Bridge! It’s the bridge that crosses Telegraph and I-94, I’m not sure why I like it, it’s kind of a bright blue and other than that, I just like it. If you’re in the car with me when I’m crossing it, if I didn’t say anything I think you’d notice something was up.

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This is the side view (and it’s not perfect), I don’t think I’ve ever been thrilled with any of my crossing the bridge photos, it’s hard to see the depth (there’s no where to stand, so focus and such isn’t really an option). This is for my 31 photos in 31 days project today.

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Speaking of things on the road, this guy is driving down the street with writing on the back of his truck and it took me a few minutes to get a view (and then a few more to get a photo).

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This guy has some anger issues, I’m not really sure who he’s yelling at? The government? The Governor? The public? Of course, I had to go look up the definition because I’ve never heard the phrase before. Notice the parts written on both sides of the license plates too. And then the profanity, I can’t believe he hasn’t got a ticket for that yet.

Written By: Gary on August 10, 2011 No Comment

I like these “glass totems” but whoever put them here did not position them for optimum sunlight and there isn’t any lighting for at night. They’re part of a Dearborn Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition enrichment that they’ve done for a few years with the Midwest Sculpture Initiative.

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While I wouldn’t pay $8,000 for these, I get to see them for free and when I’m bored of it in a year, it’ll be gone, possibly replaced with something else.

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This is for my 31 photos in 31 days project today.

Written By: Gary on August 9, 2011 No Comment

I was out roller blading again down by the Detroit River and I got this shot totally by accident at least the reflection part was by accident, I was aiming at the rest. Next time I’ll do some more like it on purpose, but this one was a happy accident.

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I was standing on my tippy-toes to get this photo of the fountain over the stairs (by the Underground Railroad memorial) and I got the reflection off of the marble and I really like the way it came out. This is for my 31 photos in 31 days project today.

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This is the Detroit Princess Riverboat they run all sorts of trips on the river (starting at $20) and private party rentals. This was taken outside Cobo Hall.

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THe is the old Parke Davis & Co. building. It’s now a hotel and this is an area they have with benches outside. It’s about to start raining (yes, I got a little wet) so no one is out there right now…

Written By: Gary on August 8, 2011 No Comment

I like this open or closed sign they have at the library. It’s lit like it is now (like on open book!) if it’s open. When it’s closed it (kinda) looks like a closed book. But you can see it way out in the parking lot before you walk all the way up to the door.

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Sorry about the care and reflection, but it’s a window! If you click the photo for the larger version it’s easier to see the unused bits of neon (or neon-like lights), I wish I had a photo of it “closed” to show. Maybe I’ll get one and use it for a different day since this is for my 31 photos in 31 days project.

Written By: Gary on August 7, 2011 10 Comments

I always love Chicago, I’ve had incredible luck with the weather when you consider the number of times I’ve been there and it’s almost always a different experience than the last time I was there. That’s not to say I don’t do some of the same things: I bike or rollerblade, I get ribs at SRO and I hit the Apple Store; after all, I am a creature of habit (habits?). And with all the people there, you can’t help but spend some time people watching…

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This little girl was sitting right on the edge of the pier(?) looking into Lake Michigan. There were a few other kids with her and they were all pretty peaceful down there by the water, there is a beach not far away and I think they’d been there for a while (some were wet and I’m pretty sure they hadn’t jumped off the edge there). This photo was taken almost right behind the Adler Planetarium.

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It was a nice day but it was hot out, these people were out relaxing during their lunch. This is downtown Chicago at State Street and Wacker Drive and the river is just out of sight to the left. I’d been relaxing in the shade by the water and didn’t even realize how the big steps were benches and grass until I’d gone up those stairs.

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There were people running, walking, biking and blading everywhere (mostly along Lake Michigan). It was really hot when this runner was out and it was still early in the day but there were still lots of people out. You can see the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in the background.

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Yeah, I know I title this “People in Chicago” but there are some tiny people in the distance in it. In the distance you can see Chicago in the distance. From the left we’ve got Navy Pier, the Hancock Building, Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) and to my right (not in the photo) across the road is the LIncoln Park Zoo (to give you a frame of reference as I try to do with my photos).

This is my 31 photos in 31 days photo for today.

Written By: Gary on August 6, 2011 One Comment

This is a building downtown on East Grand Blvd. and Beaubien St. I see it occasionally when I’m dodging I-94 traffic and take the sidestreets. We were on a bicycle pub crawl the other day and Jennifer was eyeing the colorful building from a distance so we pedaled over there to get a few pictures (and yes, I said “bicycle pub crawl”).

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We’re standing on the corner of East Grand Blvd. and Brush St. looking East for this photo. The Fisher Building is a few blocks behind me and on the left.

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It kinda looks like they just poured paint over the side of the building but it doesn’t really look caked on so I think it was more than that.

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I tried playing with the focus for some interesting shots and while this one came out okay, I was really hoping for a sequence but didn’t get it.

The topic for this week’s PhotoHunt is “Painted” so it seemed like a good time to post these…

Written By: Gary on August 5, 2011 One Comment

I went down to Rivard Plaza after work and went rollerblading. Actually, first I sat down and changed my wheels, they were really worn down, it felt like new blades afterwards. It was a little quiet down there, there were people but not too busy. They were setting up for a festival but I don’t know which one.

The Detroit Riverwalk is a nicely developed area from Belle Isle to Cobo Hall; north of Milken State Park (free admission) which is right next to Rivard Plaza it’s not all along the water, it gets a little jaggy where there are some marinas and the coast guard and things, but from the state park to Cobo it’s a straight line along the water. If you’re semi-familar with the area Rivard Plaza is where the Diamond Jack boat docks, the carousel and the bike rental is all right there a few blocks north of the Renaissance Center.

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Click the panorama, it gets pretty big (1200×250 pixels); I took this down by Cobo Hall (I think?). This is my 31 photos in 31 days photo for today. It’s a little bit of a cheat since it’s a stitched together panorama so it’s really more than one photo (but it’s at least one!). It’s from my iPhone but it’s made by Microsoft. Yes, I said Microsoft! It’s called PhotoSynth and it’s very cool, it works with some kind of plug-in so you can navigate around but I haven’t played with that yet.


Watch the Detroit River Walk on YouTube.

Just goofing around with my iPhone and the video editing. I shot all these clips on the iPhone and edited them with iMovie on the iPhone (clips, Ken Burns effect, titles and credits) and it’s pretty easy to do.

Written By: Gary on August 4, 2011 No Comment

I love the camera on the iPhone, while it’s not the best digital camera I’ve owned, it’s always with me and it’s lots better than others that I’ve owned*. I’ve taken well over 400 photos in the last two months (actually it’s got an okay flash, a digital zoom, tap to focus, HDR (High Dynamic Range) and a huge screen. And don’t forget that it’s also a HD 720p video camera, for a while it was the best video camera I ever owned (and the only one with a light). Factor in that you can upload (Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook) and e-mail photos / videos instantly, it’s pretty amazing. That’s not even factoring in optional photo and video editing apps.

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I actually chose the HDR photo because of the additional detail from the water droplets. While I like the color of the flowers I actually like the color a tiny bit more in the non-HDR version. HDR on the iPhone (almost) instantly takes several photos at different settings to brighten the dark spots and darken the bright spots, giving you a wider range (they do take longer to save).

So these are some flowers out in front of the school where I work. I thought they were looking pretty good for no one really maintaing them in the summer (it’s a student project) with the whacky weather we’ve been having (melting or flooding) so they became the focus of today’s 31 photos in 31 days photo.

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Above you can see two photos zoomed in on the same area, notice the additional detail of the water droplets on the right had side of the image when you compare the two (image on the right is the HDR version).

So it’s a great camera and I’m always taking pictures with it, even when I have other cameras with me.

* My iPhone is a hundred times better than the first digital camera that I owned, a $600 Casio QV-10 in 1996 (world’s first digital camera that includes a TFT display), which was 640×480 (iPhone 4 has 2592×1936 pixels) and had a proprietary graphics format that you had to convert to JPEG. This camera had no flash, no real zoom and ate AA batteries like they were candy. A feature it did have was that it had a video out; I remember taking pictures at a wedding and hooking it up to a huge projector that happened to be at the reception for some other kind of slideshow, I was the hit of the party (and the photographer said he was going to go get one for his next wedding).

Written By: Gary on August 3, 2011 One Comment

Did you have braces growing up (or as an adult)? Did you hate them or tolerate them? Were you happy with the results when they were taken off?

I had some kind of braces as a kid, but I know we never completed the process but I don’t recall why? (I didn’t care? Money? It helped some?) But as I got older my top front teeth still stuck out a little and I ended up with my front bottom teeth jammed in together, imagine five teeth jammed in the space of four with a few bing sideways to make them fit. It really didn’t look as bad as it sounds.

When I was in my late 20s (or early 30s) I decided to get them worked on again. Braces image Image courtesy of WikipediaWhy I thought about this I have no idea. I had good dental insurance, maybe the dentist suggested it a few times. I’m not really that vain, so I’m mot sure of the motivator, and like I said the bad part wasn’t really that noticeable; I don’t have a toothy smile and the overbite covered the worst of it. But once I started there was no going back…

They pulled out one of the lower front teeth and put on some braces to shift the others around, I’d have to go in every so ofter to get them to tighten them to shift the teeth even more. The first day I absolutely hated them, I remember being in tears, my mouth and lips ware all scraped up, it was stressful and painful. Plus, I was really hungry!. I remember my girlfriend Jennifer making me some soup that night (I’m not 100% sure she was still my girlfriend at the time or not, but she still took care of me), I really don’t recall a whole lot of kissing during the time I had them on. I’d have gone back the next day and had them removed if it wasn’t for the fact I”d had a tooth pulled and there would be a huge gap.

The Braces Cookbook Pamela Waterman, Brenda WatermanIt made me talk funny at first but that got eventually got bette. But shortly after getting them I ended up having a presentation at “The Governor’s Education Summit” (or something like that), I put all sorts of wax on them and some kind of numbing medicine and just talked and ignored the pain (everything was scraping my lips and cheeks). I did fine, but I certainly paid for it for the next few days with extra scrapes and swelling inside my mouth.

Not only did I have to keep going in for adjustments, I kept chewing some of the parts off the braces, so I was constantly going in for repairs. Eventually it just got to the point where I’d call and just say I was on my way and they’d squeeze me in. I really don’t recall how long I had them on, less than a year I think.

Once I got them off, they looked perfect. The bottom eeth had all moved over and had filled in the spot where the tooth had been removed was. But then a day or two later I could see the teeth were shifting around, so I panicked and went back in and he put in a permanent wire retainer across the back of my front teeth. He also said something like “I was afraid something like that might happen” and I was pretty upset about that, why didn’t he just put the wire in the first place?!? The teeth had already shifted and the damage was done, they looked okay, but they had looked perfect. I was pretty annoyed about this.

So the other part is: Since my bottom teeth weren’t jumbled around, it gave my top teeth some room to move around and they look way better too. This was unexpected and they started looking great too. I mentioned it at the dentist and they disagreed with me, that doing my bottom teeth did not fix my top teeth. I had them go did my original molds out of storage (wherever they keep them) and one they saw how much my top teeth had shifted, pretty much all the staff came into my room to see the change.

Speaking of kissing: the retainer is still in there. No one has ever noticed it (or at least they haven’t asked) and when I’ve mentioned something about it, most people don’t even believe I have something in there. And I’ve never had any problems with it, I thought it’d pop off at some time. I’m not even sure if it’s necessary anymore. It’s still a hassle to floss around, but otherwise not too much of an annoyance.

This is from this week’s Friday Question.

Written By: Gary on August 2, 2011 No Comment

So I ordered a MacBook Air 11 inch, that’s a whole different post, but I got the sleeve that I ordered from eBay and it only took eight(?) days to get here (they’ve got more, but no promises for how long this link lasts). I’m sure it’s non-authorized but it was only $7.13 shipped(!) and I needed something cheap until I found something I really like, but here’s the thing, I really like this one! And I can turn it inside out and it’s all red (they offer the same one with no logo for 56 cents less).

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Hopefully this will be my most boring post of the how 31 photo challenge. Why I didn’t think to take any photos when I stopped at the junkyard, I have no idea; there was all sorts of cool stuff: things getting smashed, piled high, old cars, people getting the parts they needed. I needed a plastic up thingy for the door handle, it cost me a dollar!

This is from Day 2 of 31 photos in 31 days.

Written By: Gary on August 1, 2011 No Comment

So I’m going to try this, one photo a day for every day. It’s not to late to start! Well, it is too late, but you can still post your photos!

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31 Photos in 31 Days has begun for August 2011, so don’t forget to take 1 photo today, post it up on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blog or anywhere else you share your photos, and then post your link by clicking the ‘Click here to enter’ (on their page).

I was trying to come up with a theme, but I couldn’t come up with something. So I’ll do a photo each day and talk about it and theirfore I’ll be getting some blog posts done at the same time!!

This my newest pair of Vibram Five-Fingers Shoes
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So I got a new pair of Vibram Five Fingered Shoes, I got the ones like my first pair of Vibram Shoes called “Sprint”. I was googling all over trying to find a good price but I know there are a bunch of fakes out there. What I ended up getting was a pair from someone on eBay who had the wrong size. They look brand new, the soles felt a little thicker than my current pair (but my old pair is definitely broken in) but when looking up information on fake Vibram’s everything seems to pass. The color is off a little, just check out my big toe! But otherwise everything seems to be okay.

Except, my tan line at the top of my foot doesn’t line up at all. I’ve got a similar casual pair that is like the Sprint (but without the strap and it’s not made out of the same waterproof material) and the tan line doesn’t stand out like this. Anyone out there have a few different pairs of Vibram Sprints that don’t line up the same?

So until they really break in, I’m really not sure if I’ll purchase them again like this.

Written By: Gary on July 30, 2011 No Comment

According to CNN, Apple now has more cash on hand than the United State government. Wow!!!

“the government had an operating cash balance Wednesday of $73.8 billion.

Tech juggernaut Apple had a whopping $76.2 billion in cash…”

Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company Owen Linzmayer, Owen W. Linzmayer The thing to keep in mind is: isn’t most of the ca$h the government has already allocated for something? This money that Apple has isn’t even allocated to do anything (to our knowledge). Their stock has hit it’s highest numbers ever and they’re likely to release a new iPhone in a month or two when they usually release new iPods and new iPod touches.

The was a rumor the other day they might buy Barnes and Nobel for $1.5 billion, that’s pocket change when they’ve got $75 billion(!) in the bank. Imagine how cheap they could have got Borders if they had wanted it.

Written By: Gary on July 3, 2011 5 Comments

I was cooking dinner and I knew the storm was coming but I thought I’d have time to finish grilling. I didn’t, it started raining and it was like buckets being dumped down. I got SO drenched in the few seconds that I opened the sliding door. The kitchen floor and nearby counter was a mess with all the water that came in the little bit of time I that it was open. There was hail all over the deck, a lot of it larger than the diameter of a quarter(?) I should have gotten some photos of it, but I was drenched and was trying to take care of dinner and the grill and the mess…

Afterwards the clouds just kept billowing around like something out of a sci-fi movie. I shot video but it just didn’t come out well, so I animated these stills; sorry they’re so jumpy but I didn’t know I’d be animating them.

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Then the lightning and thunder came over and over. I shot about 200 pictures (just holding the camera on repeat and changing some settings here and there) and only a few came out.

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I should have gone and got my other camera (and a tripod), I’ve got more settings on that one. But the rain kept coming and going so I wasn’t sure it I could really use it properly. Maybe next time.

And the local fireworks got canceled…

Written By: Gary on June 22, 2011 No Comment

So when driving during rush hours, I listen to WWJ 950 AM for traffic reports on the 8’s. But the don’t get a chance to report every problem every report and sometimes I miss the last report as I’m walking out the door. So I also subscribe (for free) to Traffic.com (which is run or sponsored by NAVTEQ) and they send me text alerts during the time frame that I select (Usually about the hour before I need to be there). Usually if they don’t send me one, the ride is pretty good, so it’s been very helpful. If they do send me one, I pay attention to the on-ramp before I get on the highway or if they say it’s really bad, I’ll take an alternate route.

traffictext

It’s just traffic for the expressway part, and they think I have 9 minutes on the express way and there is a 2 minute delay (total 11). I think they’re being generous, my experience is to double or triple the number they use for the delay; plus, it’s never 9 minutes on the expressway unless it’s the middle of the day or late at night.

As you can see there is a number to call and there is also a mobile web site at mobi.traffic.com, but I’ve never used those. For me, the text is just enough to tell me that if I’m in a hurry that I might have some delays. But I have a relatively short ride, when there is no traffic, it’s just during rush hour that it stinks, and I’ve got limited options.

They’ve also got an Traffic.com iPhone app (and an ad-free version for $3) and one for Blackberry.

I can see my routes (from the web site) on the iPhone app and it tells me how bad the traffic is. This is helpful for routes that I take often, but not often enough to where I want text messages. I use this for for a quick glance when heading to the doctor’s office after work so that I’m not late.

The thing is, when it texts me, I remember; when I have to look at the app, I forget…

Written By: Gary on May 30, 2011 2 Comments

Actually, I have no idea what this is, but he was working his way across a bridge over the river. I have no idea what he thought he was going to find?!? I watched him for a while, it must have taken him forever just to get up that high on the bridge!

worm-tm-IMG_9280.png

That’s actually zoomed in on the photo, if you click it, you get a wider view of where he was climbing along (although still pretty zoomed in).

The video is in HD and zooms in really good at the end; the camera on the iPhone 4 is pretty amazing!

Can anyone tell me what kind of creature this is?

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Written By: Gary on May 29, 2011 No Comment

What do you think?

20110529-055129.jpg

Talk about the oncoming storm…

Written By: Gary on May 11, 2011 3 Comments

So I’ve been needing a new bicycle rack for the last few years; ever since the bicycle accident where a tire rolled off a car and while I managed to swerve, out of the way, it still managed to ruin my bicycle and my bike rack (both of which I really really liked). I’d gotten a new bike and it just didn’t fit right (the bar on my new bike is tilted) so it didn’t fit on the new rack (or the old rack) all that well. So I had to use the old rack and put the bike on upside down (which actually worked pretty well) but I had to use pliers to tighten the old rack and it just wasn’t as convenient as before.

So I’ve been googling, eBaying and sticking my head into bike shops all over, looking for a new rack. Something that plugs into my trailer hitch (which I only have to support a bike rack) and the bike sits into it (these are generally referred to as cradles, carriers or platforms) and isn’t too huge (I have a tiny garage). Actually, that’s pretty much exactly what I got…

bike-rack-with-bike-IMG_3548.JPG

I love it!!! Not only does it hold the the bike up higher than the old rack, I can actually close the garage door with one bike on the rack (I didn’t try it with two); so if I want to set it up for morning or just leave it on for the next day, I’m good to go! Until late last summer, I didn’t see any similar to this that weren’t either huge or expensive then I spotted this Hollywood rack on Hines Drive (which looks identical except the knobs and the cool up/down sliders that I don’t have). I just wish it was supposed to be sunny tomorrow…

Minor complaint: It’s even smart enough to fold down for a SUV or some vehicle with a rear door (which I don’t have), so I think it’s going to rattle a bit more (update) rattling is not a issue for me at all. And the knobs are a little hard to twist, but once I get them most of them adjusted, I won’t need to adjust them any more (just the up/down one). It’s hard to see the up/down support, but you can see them on the links below. And the site lists it as a “powder coat rust resistant finish” but I’m not sure what the “powder” part is, it’s smooth steel, I kind of expected a slightly rougher surface (but I don’t really know these things).

bike-rack-folded-IMG_3550.jpg

Here’s a picture of it folded up on the back of the car, so it does get quite a bit smaller. And while it’s pretty compact, it doesn’t really stand up on it’s own once you take it off. It fits my 1.25″ trailer hitch and comes with the adapter for a 2″ hitch. It took me (just like the box said) about fifteen minutes tops to put it together, it was only two bolts and all the hand tighteners.

I ended up buying it from Proline Products they have several other (more expensive) similar 2 bike racks and some 4 bike racks. I ordered it Monday from Greg (at extension 202) and it got here Wednesday the same wek; I only called on the phone since the site listed a scratched one (for less) and I couldn’t get it into my cart, but I think it’s in excellent shape.

Written By: Gary on April 30, 2011 No Comment

So a few months ago I mentioned a great view of the coast near Montezuma. I even showed the little path that led the way to it. Well now the little path looks like this:

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It was just a tiny path that looked like this smaller image, but now it’s clearly a driveway. secret-path-IMG_1698.jpg

I heard the land sold for $500,000! If this has anything to do with my earlier post, someone owes me a finder’s fee or a commission!!!

My point is, if you haven’t gone up to see this view yet, hike on up there before it’s a house and you can’t get out there to see the views.

Written By: Gary on April 22, 2011 2 Comments

You couldn’t walk 10 feet with out running into one of these guys tonight.

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This is one of the bright colored crabs crawling around on the beach. You can see him pass a few smaller sand crabs…

Watch on YouTube in HD.

It’s a little out of focus the first few seconds, but then it gets better. The other odd flashes are bugs flying into the light on the camera (which is my iPhone 4).

If you know the correct name for this crab or the little sand crabs, please leave a comment!

Written By: Gary on April 20, 2011 2 Comments

This has got to be the biggest Iguana I’ve seen (up close) in Costa Rica in all my trips.

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I thought I got him in a couple of good videos, but this is the only one where he really came out.

Click to play the Montezuma Iguana in HD.

A problem is that I’m zoomed in so far, it’s hard to see the scale. Maybe in some of the photos I haven’t looked at yet…

Written By: Gary on April 16, 2011 No Comment

So this kid Trevor plays songs on the computers at Apple stores and records videos of himself dancing to them and posts them to YouTube. iTr3vor.pngThey’re entertaining and he’s certainly not shy! I actually heard about him because someone else was complaining about the girls in the background making fun of him in a different video and that they’re the ones that look like idiots…

I’m wondering out if Trevor is really just marketing for “Active”, he sure wears a lot of shirts with their name on it. And as far as I know, the other shirts could be their brand too.

Watch on YouTube.

And if that’s not the case, why the heck isn’t someone paying him to wear their shirts?!?

Either way, it looks like he’s having fun and that’s all that matters. I’m not sure how old he is, but he did comments on being 5’1″.

Written By: Gary on April 12, 2011 No Comment

And this is why you should have your seat belts on, even if you’re not on the runway.

Watch at YouTube.

I believe this was yesterday that an Air France Airbus A380-800 (F-HPJD) clipped a Comair Bombardier CRJ-700 (N641CA) at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. I don’t think anyone was hurt, but still…

Written By: Gary on April 12, 2011 No Comment

Here I sit outside my bed,
Lots of pressure in my head.
SinuCleanse Nasal Wash System, Plastic Neti Pot With Salt Packets SinuCleanse
I really don’t feel so hot,
mostly due to all the snot.

It makes my head hurt so I can’t sleep,
It hurts my head so bad I want to weep.

I use my little netty pot,
But I’m so full, it’s just stops.

SItting up feels the best,
But that doesn’t help me get any rest.
NeilMed Sinus Rinse Regular Kit 1 kit NeilMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc

I use my high pressure netty pot,
and while it works better, I hurt a lot.

I’ve been up to long, that I feel dead,
Now it’s time to try to go back to bed.

FYI, it’s the one shaped like a bottle that I feel is the higher pressure neti-pot, I usually use the plastic gravy boat version.. While I get no payment for mentioning the neti-pots, I am a firm believer and member of the neti-pot cult of South-Eastern Michigan. It’s just my faith isn’t holding up during this time of crisis. Actually, these are Amazon Affiliate links so I do get a commission if you click and buy anything. But that’s really not what prompted my prose at this time of day.

Written By: Gary on April 9, 2011 No Comment

This amazing planetarium in your pocket is an application called Star Walk, and it’s only 99 cents on the iPhone until April 12, 2011, this is normally $2.99 and worth it for the price. It’s the 50th anniversary of spaceflight and they’re celebrating by giving us a deal! It’s also available for the iPad for $4.99.

starwalk.pngStar Walk shows you all the stars and constellations, just by holding it up to the sky and pointing, it’s amazing! It uses the GPS for hassle free alignment, on other models it’ll use the gyroscope to have you set it up and then it’s supposed to follow along from there. Plus, it calculates this all based on where you are all with no internet connection required*.

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This is the startup screen (called “sky live”).

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Two views holding my phone to the East (one above and one below the horizon).

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A portion of the animated detail screen for Betelguese (internet not needed).

They also have a another app just for our Solar System called Solar Walk (3D Solar System model) which is more detail on just our solar system. It’s $2.99 but it’s universal and runs on iPad and iPhone; and they make Solar Walk for Mac but no Star Walk (yet!).

* Additional information (beyond the paragraphs and stats that are included) on planets (and stars?) is available and does require internet. Also the astronomy picture of the day requires the internet.

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