13 days into the new year and like everyone else, wondering what the year will bring. Well the first thing on the agenda is to get rid of my gall bladder. Experiencing a gall bladder/pancreatic episode was no fun the first time right before Christmas and than having it flair all up again last week is enough for me. I haven’t really been to a doc in like 2 years and even longer yet since I been to the Altru clinic and was rather shocked to see an office visit now a days is $206.00 for a 10 minute visit. What in the world? I think I need start a hospital as I believe I could probably get by at half those costs. I remember when office visits were $50.00, what happened? I sure wish my paycheck went up at the rate the rest of the world does. I dunno how much longer the world can keep going as we price our selves right out of everything.
We had our first blizzard of the year on last Friday. We mostly got the winds, don’t seem like we got much for snow, which is fine by me. Luka and I managed to get outside for a few shots tho.
I want to get in some winter shots one of these days. I just got in a mini vegabond from PCB, so now I can take my beauty dish with strobe any where. The finding volunteers for winter stuff is the challenging part. I imagine the backroads are probably blocked now after this weekend. Have to see what happens here, lots of snowy months left before wood tick season kicks in.
I have owned a smartphone now for almost a year and they are really great to have. The google phone is amazing for keeping the desktop/laptop in sync with the cloud services. The real fun and can become some what of an addiction is when you start getting into trying out all the ROMs and Kernels available for your phone. There is some great android developers out there that produce awesome stuff. I did a lot of lurking/reading before attempting to take my perfectly good working phone and possibly turning it into a unbootable device. This is something you really don’t want to be doing unless you understand what you are doing.
My favorite tools are ROM Manager, Titanium Backup, GooManager, franco.Kernel updater, and CWMR Touch. These tool will make life much easier and please donate/buy the apps as it goes to a good cause to keep the project alive and available. I have decided to stick with jelly belly ROM development. The ROM runs great and the developers/testers are quick at updates, very active group.
If you are new and looking at getting into this flashing business, don’t rush into it. Every app and ROM states cleary some where that if you mess up your phone, it’s all on you, not them. Know how to back out of a bad boot to recover your phone. Make sure you backup, backup and backup. There is a lot of great tutorials and stuff out there to help ya. Have fun!
jelly belly v10.1 along with franco r315 kernel along with WillyJay mod. Hello android 4.2
I’ve been busy learning about setting up a home media center via dlna for the past week or so. I sat down and did some reading on which software would be best to do this. I had narrowed it down to TVersity, Mezzmo and Plex. I couldn’t find a trial download for TVersity so I emailed their support department about where is the trial and they replied back they don’t have one, but you could try their software for like $3.99 with money back if I didn’t like it. Seriously? Go through the hassle transmitting credit card information and than hoping to get money back if you don’t like it. I’ll pass on that crazy business model practice. So I never got to try TVersity.
Plex is free and had no issues setting it up. I just couldn’t get it to work with anything. My bluray player just kept saying unable to play. So I figured it was something to do with transcoding. I couldn’t hardly find any settings much to speak of. Google led me to their forum and I came to the conclusion quickly that support is not a top priority as many posts I ran into with similar issue were never answered. They have pretty good documentation on their wiki, but I wasn’t finding the answers I needed. I’m not going to ding them for this as I didn’t spend much time searching and reading and I know what it’s like to work on a open source project with limited staff. The thing I liked most about Plex is the interface even tho it’s a bit sluggish. It presents itself in a beautiful way and maybe someday I will even figure out how to get it to work with my bluray player.
I downloaded Mezzmo and installed it and I was watching my movies on my bluray player instantly. Wow! I was sold just like that. I paid for the product right away and soon after I started picking up on a few things. My bluray player is suppose to play mkv files natively so I thought I didn’t need transcoding. I turned off transcoding and I was no longer able to play movies. I contacted support and they responded within 40 minutes and after a few exchange of emails I learned that dlna is different than playing a mkv file off a usb drive so I needed transcoding enabled. I than realized that my movies were in the wrong aspect ratio. I contacted support and after a few days of exchanging emails of log files and profile updates they had a profile that was working perfect with my bluray player. The log files are easy to gather and I even had to use wireshark to gather streaming information for them. They have easy to follow directions for doing everything and the customer support is relentless in solving the problems. For $30.00 you get a great product and awesome support. I also like the fact that the interface is very simple, nothing complicated and very responsive. I did notice clicking on the network tab sent it into a non responding mode for a few minutes, but it finally came out of it.
My wish list for mezzmo is really short, but it would be really nice if it did like Plex and downloaded the movie artwork and information so browsing through the movies would be pretty and informative. Oh yes, one more thing. It would be nice while browsing through the movie collection on your pc that you could right click on the movie and tell it to send it to the device of your choice. It would save a person from firing up the bluray player navigator, drilling down to find the file, instead it would just start playing.
Give Mezzmo a try. It’s free to try for like 15 days and doesn’t involve any financial matters to try it. Don’t hesitate to contact Mezzmo support if you have any questions. They will be glad to help you.
Earlier today I got my recent order from smugmug and the first pic on top is a picture of a half nakid woman. This was not my picture and have no idea who’s picture it was. My picture was missing tho so I assume the guy taking pictures of half nakid females has an awesome picture of an elevator fire. So I have to contact smugmug once again about my order and of course they are gonna send me my picture. I just have to explain to a customer once again why there is a delay. I can’t help but wonder what if this would of been a customer ordering senior photos directly and shipping the order to their house and getting half nakid pictures instead. I would probably loose a customer instantly.
A couple hours after this, I get an email stating that smugmug is raising it’s prices $100.00. Luckily my anniversary date is before the price increase so I have a year to explore options. Anyway, a price increase on top of the order mishap has me frustrated with smugmug once again. I seem to be lucky in receiving my pictures damaged and smugmug’s advice was to order 2 day shipping to avoid usps delivery. So I’m already paying more just to get my pictures delivered and now a price hike on top of that. Everything is going up in prices but the paycheck isn’t.
Why have I stuck it out with smugmug you may ask. Their customer support is great and I love their labs bayphoto and whcc. I run into site/upload issues here and there, but it’s not horrible. Every website has glitches, I don’t expect 100% uptime. Smugmug is generally very good at keeping their customers up to date when issues arrive. They don’t like down time any more than I do. At $150.00 they offered a great package even tho Zenfolio has a $120.00 that offers similar services such as setting prices and making a profit. I had no problem paying $150.00 for the great options smugmug offered. The shipping thing really isn’t smugmug’s problem, but I do expect their labs to have good packaging so photos can’t be damaged.
Now I have to look at a $250.00 yearly cost just to sell my photos. I’m not a professional photographer selling photos daily so this hurts. Those that are having regular sales are not gonna have an issue with this increase. There is a huge part of smugmug that is users that operate just like me. We take pictures on the side and need a spot to upload and sell our pictures. People like us are feeling the hit the hardest. Zenfolio is looking more and more feasible for people like us at $120.00 a year to sell pictures. It’s a lot easier to recover $120.00 in sales than $250.00. Like I said, everything is going up and up and it’s costing more to get to the job sites on top of it. If I raise the prices of my photos, people are gonna buy less cause their paycheck isn’t going up either. My greatest concern of switching sites is the labs. Zenfolio uses mpix and last time I did their sample photos, they were a bit off from the other labs. That was a few years ago, so maybe they are better. I guess I will have to send some in and find out. I’m not concerned about features. I find that too many features only causes confusion with people. I really think smugmug is missing the boat on this. I can not believe they can not offer an amateur package that can compare with Zenfolio’s $120 package deal. I honestly feel they just want us gone and work only with the big time professionals.
So I have a year to find a replacement and a lot can happen in a year. Hopefully someone can recognize us amateurs doing this on the side and can come up with a site for us.
Last week or so I got the opportunity to shoot a wonderful gal from the state of Washington while she was visiting relatives here in North Dakota. We decided to meet up on a Saturday and of course it had to be lightly raining. We almost cancelled, but we decided to try it and we did it and even got some great shots. We just roamed around Rolla, ND and grabbed a pic here and there.
We decided to meet again as she wanted some sunset pictures so I headed back over Monday evening and were able to get some great sunset shots like the one at the beginning of this post and the all natural light one below.
I’d like to find more Ellen’s to work with as she is a trooper and has a great personality to work with.
Another grain elevator in the county burnt up the other day. This is the second one I have seen in my lifetime now. All I see going up around the country side is these concrete elevators. I guess the days of wooden elevators are a thing of the past. It’s just amazing with these wooden elevators is that they burn for days and nothing you can do but contain it.
I had the other day off and finally took off to find Mystical Horizons. What a view it offers! I was way more interested in the view than that modern day Stonehenge thing. I would love to get over there during a sunset. It’s definitely worth checking it out.
Shawn made it home for the Langdon events in July and won Best in Show with his truck. I just love taking pics of that truck. It was a fun weekend as I got to see most of the old gang from high school. It was also a mixed emotional weekend finding out about some of health problems in the family. Amazing at how much can happen so quickly.
I can cross of capturing the northern lights from my buck list. I believe the solar eruption we had around this time is what caused this. I have never seen the northern lights so intense before.
I can’t believe how fast time is going by. Summer is almost over and school is gonna be starting back up soon. It still feels like spring just got here. It’s been an interesting summer with some great times and than some not so great. I’m hoping for a nice long fall and another mild winter and lots of picture taking time.
Father’s day weekend was awesome as all the kids were home and were wanting to take pictures. We were doing everything from bidding at auction to storm chasing. Time has just been flying by with so much to do and not enough hours in the day to accomplish it. The weather for June has taken a dive, even had temps like 36 degrees F. I thought it was gonna snow there for a while. The weather has really put a damper on getting things done. On the other hand, one gets pics like:
Since my last post we had some neat things happening way out in space with a partial solar eclipse and Venus transit. So I had to do some reading up on capturing such events without damage to me or camera. So my first attempt at partial solar eclipse photos:
Now the Venus transit gets a bit more interesting. It was a very long transit, so I shot one picture hourly till the sunset. About an hour into it, the clouds moved in, but I kept on shooting and I posted the shot on flickr at each hour and tweeted them. My inbox started filling up with comments and two sites asking for permission to use my photos. One being C|Net News and another being Live Science. I gave them permission to use them. Generally I will allow people to use my pictures if they just ask. The most popular one of the series was:
So apparently the clouds enhanced the pictures. You can see the little black dot traveling in front of the sun. Apparently this isn’t going to happen in my lifetime again, so I feel good that I took part in it and got recognized for doing so.
My 365 project is still active and currently have 401 straight days of taking a photo. I get people coming up to me in person and saying how they enjoy my photos. I think that is great and so glad they can enjoy them. This month the Northern Lights Art Council is displaying pictures I have printed and framed at various locations in town. I never drempt when I got into this photography thing that people would take such notice.
I finally captured a duck taking off with no blurring and with the wings out front. My other attempts weren’t bad at all, but there was always that bit of blur out on the wing tips. These guys take off so fast and take you by surprise, so it’s not an easy chore to even get em in focus. I ordered an 8×12 of this one, can’t wait to see it.
This picture was my 365th straight day of photography. Every day for 365 days I took a picture. I highly recommend it to people as it keeps you on your toes with your equipment and shooting styles. It gets you to experiment and makes you more aware of things around you in your everyday life. You don’t have to produce mind blowing pictures with every shot. Do it to learn and try new things with your camera. It’s a tough challenge, but people do it all the time. So now what? I don’t know. I want to continue shooting a picture daily and with all the daily photo themes on google+, it’s easy to come up with something. I think a daily photo works better than a blog. I like how I can kick in the slideshow and go through the past year and read my comments. A picture can add so much to convey a message. Oh wait, last year had 366 days! Why yes it did and I decided to end the 365 project with a picture of the 365 crew and making it the 366 the pic to complete one year.
Luka and I enjoy our little travel adventures to get a new picture even if it meant just exploring the yard at home to get a picture. This was not an easy picture to get either. A self portrait alone is hard enough without trying to get a dog to cooperate with ya. I think it only took like 20 attempts to get it, augh. I want to take some more pics with Luka, but I’m going to find someone to run the camera next time. Luka still has her good days and bad days. I will be surprised if she goes another year. She has finally accepted and uses the ramp into the vehicle now. That took some doing to teach her to use the ramp. She’d been so use to just jumping in and out of blazer that the ramp idea didn’t make sense to her. Maybe she just didn’t want to admit she was getting old. I started going every other day with her pain meds, but I do watch her and see how she goes and if she seems like she needs one, she gets it. I played a bit of fetch with her yesterday and she didn’t seem to have any problems. A couple of weeks ago and she just wasn’t into it and moved slower. So I believe there is some improvement with her getting around. The last time I had been out fishing she was roaming around more and not laying by the vehicle like she was doing earlier. Maybe she is learning to moderate herself also and that is helping her get around more. Time will tell I guess. I’d love to get at least another 4 years out of her, but I won’t let her suffer either.