Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just Pictures - Android Application

Just Pictures does just what it says: just pictures. It's an excellent viewer for pictures stored on Flickr, Smugmug and other online storage sites. It starts fast, it's easy to configure, and, it's free.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Parade The Circle June 11, 2011

It was a stone groove, my man!

The weather held up despite predictions! More pictures are here!
Now in its 22nd year (same as Earthfest), Parade the Circle never disappoints and gets bigger and better every year! 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Christina Perri - Jar of Hearts Official Video

I've been trying to find out who does this song and now I know and so do you! If this doesn't look right then click here!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Simply Electronics, Simply Disgusting

I posted earlier on my quest for a 500mm Sony lens. This has turned into much more than a simple shopping trip on the web. Its turned into a horrible experience that I wouldn't wish on anybody. Here's a rundown of what led up to this situation:
  1. I wanted a lens that I knew was discontinued
  2. I felt that even though it was discontinued, it may still be available
  3. I searched for and found the lens on multiple sites
  4. I clicked through to sites and right off the bat, was told that its out of stock
  5. One site, Dells, indicated it was indeed in stock
  6. It was indeed, not in stock at Dells, one of the largest computer companies in the world, who doesn't grasp the concept of inventory
  7. I ordered the lens
  8. Oops, Dell says "We don't have it"
  9. My account gets the money back
  10. I then found the lens on the website of the villain of this story, Simply Electronics (look it up, I won't link to them)
  11. They had 2 in stock
  12. Then they had one
  13. I ordered on the 28th of March, 2011
  14. Let the games begin
  15. Did I mention that I used Google Checkout? An outstanding service that appears to stand for nothing!
  16. Simply Electronics soon found that, and I quote:
    "Upon packing your order, we had discovered that our shipment of Sony SAL-500 500mm F8 Reflex Super Telephoto Lens was damaged, and therefore had to be returned.
    Unfortunately, the replacements are not expected to arrive within any short period of time.
    We apologise for any inconveniences caused, however in this unfortunate event, we would like to ask if there are any other similarly priced products listed on our site that may be suitable as a replacement? Should the price be slightly higher, we can perhaps waive this as a gesture of goodwill (please note we can only do this usually for minor differences).
    Likewise, if the price is lower, we can have this reimbursed to your account.
    Kindly let us know by reply and we will do our best to expedite this for you. Otherwise, kindly advise on how we should proceed.
    Looking forward to your response, thank you.

    Kind Regards,
    Customer Service Executive"
  17. For the folks playing at home, it was never in stock. They must have an excuse box next to the phone and they pulled damaged! Trust me, it was never in stock
  18. I get it! I'm looking for a discontinued lens! So, cancel and give me my money back, right? Wrong!
  19. Emails, phone calls, yea, yea, yea! I'm getting nowhere
  20. Simply Electronics is based in Hong Kong, 
  21. I think that translates to "bye, bye gringo money"
  22. That was a joke
  23. This blog is hosted on Blogger, a Google company
  24. Google Checkout is another Google company
  25. I participate in the Google Adsense program
  26. I can't rip you off like Simply Electronics can with Googles blessing
  27. Google might say that I didn't go through the dispute process
  28. My bank has a dispute process
  29. The local branch of my bank disputes what the phone people from the bank say
  30. If you click on an ad on my sites, I get $.0001 (or less, not sure) and if I buy from Simply Electronics they keep all my money
  31. I ordered something, never received anything, yet my bank says I could lose the money I paid for nothing!
  32. There's no such thing as a free lunch! That used to be an old saying. 
  33. Don't mind paying for something you never receive! April 5, 2011! Our banks, our government, us consumers!
  34. My headaches almost gone and the knots are almost out of my neck! I don't know, do you think they'll try to charge me for therapy?
UPDATE: We finally got our money back on April 18, 2011! We feel lucky! I finally found a way to raise a dispute about this with Google. It wasn't in plain site and I'll try to find it and post it. I'm not sure if it was that Google got after them or my bank or the combination of the two. Again, after waiting nearly three weeks I did get my money and I feel relieved, but the process was terrible to go through and I wouldn't wish it on anybody.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Mp3s on a Verizon LG- VX8300

    Verizon LG-VX8300 - card limit is 1GB

    Lg Vx8300 Bluetooth Vcast Cell Phone in Mint Condition for Verizon Wireless with No Contract - Refurbished in Brand New Housing and 30 Day Seller's Warranty (Refurbished)

    1. Format your microSD card using the phone's built-in utility--very important. (see Settings & Tools/Memory/Card Memory).

    When formatting the card in the phone The utility asks for your lock code, which is by default, the last four digits of

    your phone number.

    3. Use the adapter (supplied with the microSD card) along with an SD card reader to transfer mp3s from you computer to the

    card. (Protected content from iTunes and others won't play; you need plain vanilla mp3s.)

    4. Enable mp3 on your phone via the Services Menu, and select (or press): End/Ok/0000000/11/.mp3 Enable

      Alternate instructions: From main screen press OK and then the number 0 seven times (youll see a series of question marks
      disappear). Then scroll all the way down and press #11 (Music Setting). Finally, choose Enable mp3.

    5. Install your microSD in the phone and enjoy the music.

    6. To get MP3s to play and to be able to use the keys on the front of the phone, including ringtones Press OK (Menu) and go

    to Settings and Tools, press 5 (phone settings), press 2 (shortcut key), press 5 (play key), and choose my mp3s.

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    The Quest for the Mythical Sony 500mm Mirror Lens

    I'm a fan and user of the Sony Alpha line of DSLR cameras and over the years I have wanted the SAL-500F80 , Sony's 500mm Super Telephoto lens. Unfortunately, Sony discontinued the lens and I felt that I should get it before its gone so my quest began! At first I looked at Sony's site and it was a no go. Next up, Amazon, right? Nope! After searching the nooks and crannys of the internet, I found it on of all places, Dell!!! And so, I ordered it! End of story, right? Wrong! I received an email within days of placing the order telling me the ship date was being pushed back. Hmmmmm! The reason I ordered it through Dell was that it was orderable! I know that's not a word, (spell check told me so) but, it was! I figured that Dell, Mighty Dell, one of the lords of the industry, would save me from my total inability to decision this process and order the damn lens when it was available! The Dell website showed it as available and so I ordered it. Or so I thought! In the Dell parlance, my order status has been "in production". In the meantime, I found the same lens on another site for $8 more with 2 listed as being in stock. The tension grew as I continued to check for emails for shipped dates and nothing occurred. Finally, when I clicked on the "order number" for "order status" and got error messages, that was it! I canceled the order and went through the other guy.

    The moral of this story is that Dell, the huge computer company doesn't seem to be able to use computers as well as the other company's to inform me or anyone else that the item in question is not in stock! The company that makes computers can't use them properly! What a hoot! Sony knew they didn't have the lens. Amazon knew! The little company did know they had 2 and then 1!

    And then again, NO!  The little company, Simply Electronics, seems to have had a hiccup them selves. It's March 30th and they sent me an email stating that
    "Upon packing your order, we had discovered that our shipment of Sony SAL-500 500mm F8 Reflex Super Telephoto Lens was damaged, and therefore had to be returned.
    Unfortunately, the replacements are not expected to arrive within any short period of time."
     Well! I'm screwed again! What galls me is the stupid excuses and the inaccurate databases showing they have an item they clearly do not have! I know the lens is discontinued. I'm not trying to pull some stunt on these guys!
    I remember some years back(okay, a lot of years back) when I called and went from store to store searching for the missing original Transformers(the constructicons, they were green and there were 6 as I remember) for my son for Christmas and this is the same type for thing only updated but with no success because I'm striking out!

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    The Chagrin River Flooding Through Chagrin Falls

    This is downtown Chagrin Falls and the footage of the flood on February 28, 2011 is stunning

    The link to the video is here

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Chets Computer Problem

    Look folks, I don't know anybody named Chet, I just needed a name and Chet came up, probably because I was thinking of a vampire cat in a Christopher Moore book, actually this one! Anyway, "Chets" computer was acting up and I decided to help. The complaints:
    • We can't download Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 beta
    • We can't download Microsoft service pack 3 for Windows XP
    • We can't turn on Microsoft Security Essentials
    Man, does that sound like Waaaah! or what? Or whatnot. So, hmmm. Okay, don't download and install a beta piece of software because its a "beta" piece of software! Beta means "not done"! Clue! For those not aware, it goes like this: Alpha, Beta and then RC (release candidate). Beta is a uncooked muffin! Duh! Anyhow, all those "we can't s" add up to, you guessed it, we got trouble. The reason we can't do anything is viruses shut down Internet Explorer and that's the pipeline to the Internet. We need to fix that and the way to fix it is with SneakerNet.

    This is an old method, but it works. As I see it, Internet Explorer 9 beta is out, but Internet Explorer 8 is in because it's a stable release and not "beta". First though, is Microsoft service pack 3 for Windows XP, which precedes I.E.8 and is more of a "foundation" type of thing as it fixes holes in the operating system. That software can be found here ( or search for this "xp service pack 3 stand alone", using a different, healthy computer, I downloaded Service pack 3 and put it on a thumb drive and for good measure, downloaded I.E. 8 and put that on the derive as well. I then walked over to the other computer and put the thumb drive into the USB slot and accessed the programs I downloaded. In order, I did this:
    1. Installed Microsoft Service Pack 3 for XP from the thumb drive
    2. Installed Internet Explorer 8 from the same thumb drive
    3. After Internet Explorer 8 was installed, Microsoft Security Essentials began to work normally, so I updated and scanned with that and found over 200 assorted nasties.


    I know it's 2011, but I think that SneakerNet is still relevant. For those that don't know what SneakerNet is, it's this: Ethernet without the cables, wireless Ethernet without the radio signal.  Let me explain. This technology is archaic, but still relevant, simply because it gets the job done. SneakerNet is the act of downloading something, meaning data, from one computer onto hand held media (thumb drives, flash based cards, cd's, dvd's, external hard drives and even, gasp, floppy disks) and walking to another computer and transferring that "something" to the second computer! Since many people, when walking, tend to wear "sneakers", geeks and nerds being, well, geeks and nerds, decided that "sneakers" was the network, the transferring agent, to get data from point "A" to point "B". Thus was born, SneakerNet!

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Steven Wright at the Ohio theater, February 20, 2011

    "If you shoot at mimes, should you use a silencer?" - Steven Wright

       The show started at 7:00 P.M. and lasted till about 9:00 P.M. We'd previously only seen him on YouTube  and I think he's best experienced live like many comedians. Currently ranked # 23 on the Comedy Central 100 Greatest Standups of all Time, he made his case for that ranking. The audience covered the age spectrum and laughed at most everything he said, although sometimes after a pause because he likes to make you think. Example: "What's another word for thesaurus?" Delivered with his trademark monotone and deadpan face, you can't help but laugh. 

    His website

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Kill the Irishman

    Ah, the story of Danny Greene, a Irish-American Clevelander, shot where? Oh yes, in Detroit! Got it! The trailers are here and here . It will be in theaters March 11 and probably have a limited run I'm betting even with Christopher Walken in it. This movie is based on the book "To kill the Irishman" by Rick Porrello, another Clevelander. I lived in two areas that Danny Greene lived in and remember seeing him and hearing the explosion that wrecked his car during an attempt on his life. I hope the movie is reasonably good but I have my doubts. One time after his death, his son spent the night at my house sleeping off a drunk as I remember.

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    5 Videos I think you should see

    First off, from Cee Lo Green "F**k You"

    Then there's DEV with "Bass Down Low"

    "Bass Down Low" features the Cataracs and here's their version of the song

    and DEV and the Cataracs work with The Far East Movement on "Like a G6"

    next up is Garfunkel and Oates "I Don't Understand Job "

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Adding a gallery of pictures to a website using Expression Web 2 or 4

    This doesn't seem complicated I'm sure to most web designers but I'm self taught and I didn't understand what I wanted. First of all, there is a ton of free software that will accomplish this task for you to choose from. That is, if you want something Flash based or possibly Java based. They are easy to use once you understand the procedure needed. I speak from experience here and will try to provide a list of them if that's what you're looking for. After trying many different programs, I realized that I did not understand what I wanted. Maybe I should spend more time talking to myself. What I wanted was a gallery (actually, galleries) of thumb nailed pictures that would upon clicking the thumb nail, would lead to a full size picture. The purpose would be to offer some pictures free of charge (public domain) for use in whatever anybody had in mind. My motive is not entirely utilitarian as I run ads on the site but I, as many do, wanted to give something back to the Internet community. The existing gallery generating packages that I looked at did as advertised, they created some slick looking galleries that you could embed on blogs and websites but didn't solve my problem.

    My solution was to use a table, which like I said, seems simple enough but I didn't see it. It seems that most gallery software wants to display your pictures but prevent the copying or free use of them. My goal was the opposite. I used the table solution in a site designed with a "dynamic web template". I created a table with 10 rows and 2 columns. You can then choose to insert pictures from files into each cell by using the menu driven solution or actually just drag and drop. After either action, the result is a large picture that doesnt fit, but a right click and "auto thumbnail" fixes this in a jiffy. This is the most elegant solution that I have found for creating pages that provide what I was looking for and hopefully may help others.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Cropping and Resizing Photos to Fit into a Certain size space

    Recently I had to change pictures in an existing website that was template driven. It seems easy enough when you first think about it but actually doing it can be a pain. As an example, the first pictures dimensions were 380 pixels wide by 506 pixels high. I found an appropriate replacement and opened that picture inside of Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3. The original dimensions were 4912 wide by 3264 high. this is a big difference. I chose the cropping option and set the size to 380 by 506 and it was so small I couldn't fit what I wanted in that area. The trick is to set the target pixel size then making sure the "Maintain aspect ratio" box is checked, drag the sides or corners of the cropping box until you have the detail you need. Now you have the picture you want but its way to large. The second step is to re-size the picture to the original dimensions you need. I clicked on "Image" then "resize" and under "pixel dimensions" adjusted the size down to 380 by 506. I know that some people might say its easier and less steps to do all this within the web authoring package you use but that's not always the case. I use Microsoft's Expression Web 2 and Expression Web 4 and if you resize a picture the results aren't nearly as nice. This is one of the many reasons it helps to have software designed to one thing and do it well.

    The original is here, the picture to the right.
    The cropped picture is here, the top picture on the right

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    Ramly Burger

    Like anyone else, I was searching for one thing and found another, but I don't remember what the original quest was for. No matter, because what I found was a Ramly Burger!

    These are popular in Singapore and Malaysia and while I'm sure they aren't healthy, they sure look like they taste good. I found out that the patty in this video is chicken, which is closer to the original Rambly Burger.

    And since we're on a burger theme, take a look at this badboy!

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Coby ILO flash based MP3 player skips

    My friends told me his MP3 player skips and I found that hard to believe because it's flash based, meaning there's no CD-ROM to skip but I said I'd take a look. After thinking about it I realized what the problem might be. These things are like SD cards or CF cards and when sectors go bad the built in controller marks them as bad. That may cause a skip. I hooked it up to my computer and took all the songs off and then formatted the device. Afterwords, I copied most of the songs back but not all. The reason here is that as a photographer, I know its a bad thing to fill a memory card to capacity. Sometimes the card ends up unreadable. Proof in the pudding, it hasn't skipped once since that little bit of therapy. It was a Coby "iLo" like "I low price"! Cheap, but still working.
    Search for coby

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Inserting ads into a footer using Expression Web 2

    Note to self: when adding ads to Expression Web2 inside the footer, the code needs to go inside the footer! DUH! And, increase the height by the size of the ad. And, do it in the "master.dwt"! Also, there is the need to go to: format/dynamic web template/update all pages, because it aint as dynamic as you think, dumbass!