Category: "Travel"

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02/13/14

  02:24:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 2255 words  
Categories: Digital Photography, Travel, Networking, WiFi, Chromebook

Travel Router - ZuniDigital ZTRP150

Link: http://www.zunidigital.com/?page_id=222

Some time before I bought one, I had often wished I had a Travel Router during my travels. And, I know I looked at whether it would be possible to use my Linux laptop as such.

But, then on November 25th, 2011, Black Friday....meaning I was at Chicago TARDIS at the time....I had on the spur of the moment ordered the ZuniConnect ZTRP150 WiFi Travel Router with USB Charging by ZuniDigital from NewEgg.com.

As I recall, it then sat around for months until I finally set it up, in preparation for possible use on my next trip....Gallifrey One in 2012.

The turn hotel ethernet into WiFi for all my gadgets was really nice, since most hotels only allow one device per room to register for its free or pay wireless. (though I heard some allow pay per device....) But, my reasoning at the time was the large number of Eye-Fi cards that I have in my collection, which are unable to connect to such WiFi, even when its free and its just an EULA page that needs to be accepted.

Otherwise, I wasn't too WiFi dependent gadget heavy then....I could use 3G on my smartphone, and my Kindles all did 3G or something (either exclusively or later with WiFi...I had started carrying the Kindle Fire, original, on trips....so it was the first that would benefit from a travel router.)

It was November 23, 2012 that I started my journey into the world of Chromebook (I had preordered it, and that's when it shipped....at first I was traveling with both my Linux laptop and the Chromebook, but for some time now...I've been going with just the Chromebook. Which has been challenging, like now I can't add SSIDs to my eye-fi cards on the road. So, I have to hope that I got the right ones pre-added to the cards. Along with some of the ones I know what will work, like the SSID for my MiFi2200 or later tethering off of my HTC One (I got the 5GB tethering plan, because lower tiers weren't eligible for employee discount and I had been looking to upgrade from MiFi....but hadn't found a reasonable pay as I go, but can't be activated because I don't live in an area that's covered by it.

Though I did consider exiting the Smartphone crowd and getting a contract Mobile Hotspot, but there isn't anything in an Android 4.3/4.4+ equivalent to iPod Touch....or WiFi only smart phone ???

Now, I guess I've been lucky with the ZuniConnect, which has two modes, Router or WISP. It has both a WAN and LAN port, so there's lots of different ways it could be used.

Long before this, I already had a RoadWarrior travel Ethernet cable in my carry on....so I wasn't stuck if the room only had a jack. And, the router mode was all I needed. It was pretty much plug it in and go everywhere that I stayed.

That was until my previous trip....the one to visit my brother and parents for Christmas. The hotel I stayed at didn't have Ethernet in the room. I had never looked at WISP, but knew it was something I was going to need to use eventually.

Well, it was a bust, because WISP is largely a different configuration in the router, because I would see ZuniConnect or something as an SSID sometimes, but not be able to connect to it. Not sure I know how to connect Chromebook to WPS, or if its possible. etc. But, in the end found that the only way to configure WISP is through ethernet. And, none of my devices had ethernet ports. (I'd still be screwed if I had a MacBook Air along....)

So, I made a note to investigate alternative Travel Routers and to acquire a USB Ethernet adapter for my Chromebook, etc. I eventually got both as part of a larger order from Amazon.com on Jan 22, 2014. I got a "Plugable" USB Ethernet adapter, because it was specifically listed as an adapter from Chromebook. And, I got a TP-Link TL-WR702N, Which sounded like it also did all I wanted, had been favorably reviewed and I've been pretty happy with the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND router that handles my Cox connection to the world....doesn't do all the stuff I liked doing with DD-WRT (though I could DD-WRT it)...but its been rock solid, and since I've moved to running nginx reverse proxy on a DMZ host, the 16 port forwarding limitation isn't an issue. QoS might start to become a concern though. But, I still primarily do that through DD-WRT on AT&T connection to the world. Some day I think I want to try pfSense....

But, that hotel stay wasn't a problem since they're WiFi access was controlled by a password that is given out at check-in....so I could connect all my devices to the WiFi without problems.

Anyways....these items sat around in their packages, until the night before I was to depart for Gallifrey One 2014.

The USB Ethernet adapter just worked and wasn't a problem (though I haven't registered its MAC with my network, which only does reserved DHCP ... its on my list to create a guest network, which can be helpful for discovering MAC address of devices that don't have them printed anywhere on them. But, it hasn't been an issue with wireless devices, since those failed attempts show up in my radius log. Which probably also shows up in the dhcp log (I suppose I should set those logs to forward to zen, so I can see them and add them to the appropriate files in CFEngine 3 repository....still haven't gotten cf-runagent working though.)

The TP-Link TL-WR702N was another story. Again it looks like it needs to be configured manual for WIFi Bridging through its ethernet port, but the ethernet port being dual mode LAN or WAN, its out of scope for its built-in DHCP (which is also disabled by default...) Also of annoyance was that its SSID was fixed, couldn't tailor it to my convention, but rather its own convention ending with the last 3 octets of its MAC. Where the default password is the last 4 octets. It does allow you to change the password, along with other encryption settings, or go open. It has a dropdown list for channel, which had defaulted to AUTO. But, it won't allow you leave the page until its been changed to be the same channel as the selected WiFi. Seems its a flaw with all WISP, that they attach to BSSID.... I have two APs at home, both with the same SSID, but different BSSID (of course) and different channels. Yet, my bedroom is still in a hole.... :))

Could be interesting in a hotel environment where there's going to to be many different BSSID/Channels, which might change throughout the stay.

But, I ran into a problem. I couldn't not get my Chromebook to connect to the Ethernet port. It didn't do DHCP, but Chromebook has options to set things manually, but Chromebook still wouldn't connect. I suspect there's something Chromebook expects to get answers for to determine that the connection makes sense, and the TP-Link doesn't do it. At first I thought the Chromebook was expecting a fully usable Internet connection....which doesn't make sense, since its able to use captive portals, though often the captive portals only block http/https initially, or provide/leak enough to satisfy my Chromebook.... That was until this Gallifrey One trip....

Full story »

01/20/14

  03:25:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1420 words  
Categories: Digital Photography, Travel, TV, Doctor Who

Chicago TARDIS 2013

Link: http://tardisi.com/chicago-tardis-2013/

Chicago TARDIS 2013

I went to Chicago TARDIS 2013 this year, after having missed going to Chicago TARDIS 2012. This being the weekend after the 50th Anniversary, I was determined to make this convention.

This year things were interesting, in that I flew out of Manhattan at 7:05am, arriving in Chicago around 9am. Fortunately, I didn't have any trouble being able to check in right away when I arrived at the hotel. It was kind of strange being picked up and riding alone in a stretched limo. But, I guess its what was available when I showed up, and nobody else was making a similar trip around that time. I had booked shared ride service from Windy City Limos, like I had the previous two Chicago TARDISes. Return trip was in black sedan. I had also booked Black Car in Manhattan for the ride to and from the airport.

While getting settled in the hotel room, before heading down to see about lunch....I discovered to my horror that I the charger for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 was not among my luggage. I did have a couple of what should be fully charged battery packs, but they would not last the weekend.

I later spent some time researching local options on what to do....I settled on the possibility of experiencing Target on Black Friday, where they were featuring the Nikon Coolpix L320 for $99.99 or the Nikon Coolpix L820 for $199.99. I was leaning towards the L320, since this wasn't likely to become one of my regular cameras, so price was a big factor. Alternatively was to see if they carried extra chargers for my camera, since they carried the Panasonic FZ70K....though I later found out that it wasn't the same battery. They had this camera on sale for $299.99, IIRC. Also the Coolpix L320 or L820 had the advantage to me that they took AA batteries (4).

I knew Target was going to be one of the stores opening Thursday night for Black Friday....though I wasn't sure when I would make the dash to try to salvage my trip.

Later on Thursday night, after getting my badge and then checking out the reception (when I saw other people heading the same way, but continue out across to Target.) After getting some food and drink, making a loop around the space, I decided that I would make a dash over to Target and see what's what.

It was chaos in Target, the electronics/cameras counter was pretty much inaccessible since everybody there was after iPad's of various models and sizes. I wandered around a bit to see if things might settle down as they started reporting certain iPads were now out of stock. Occurred to me that I should see about some cheaper water for use in the hotel room, but they didn't have any small packs of still purified or spring water available, so I got a 6 pack of flavored water. Guess I could do that instead of mixing Crystal Light to go with my medication.... As I walked back, I noticed that one of the end of aisle displays was full over Nikon Coolpix L320's. Since that was the most likely candidate if I was going to buy a camera for salvage the trip....its what I got.

It then took forever to snake out from one opposite corner of store to the other to check out. I had intentionally brought my Target Red card this trip, which I otherwise usually leave at home when I travel. Plus I hadn't shopped at Target for a while, in anticipation of this possibility I would later make another trip, to get refill pages for the album that I keep the purchased photos and such I get at Chicago TARDIS, and a bottle of shampoo as the hotel shampoo was bothering my scalp.....

I knew I had an 8 pack of Lithium Photo AA's in my luggage. I went back to my hotel room and unpacked the new camera and spent sometime getting familiar with it (using the included AA batteries.) Since I had owned Nikon Coolpix cameras before...namely the Coolpix S80 (Much earlier on there was a Coolpix 5500, but I don't recall what it was like anymore), I found the menus and such largely familiar, so I tweaked up some settings to fit the kind of shooting I was going to do this weekend. And, set up to give it a test.

The reception was still going on, so I went back in and shot some pictures around the room to get a feel for its controls and behavior. And, downed some more snackage before calling it a night.

Full story »

Pages: 1· 2

12/21/12

  04:08:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 983 words  
Categories: Digital Photography, Software, Travel, Home, Windows, VirtualBox, Quicken/TurboTax

Quicken 2012 Premier One Step Update started failing....

Earlier this month my Quicken 2012 Premier stopped being able to get updates from Discover, Target, Commerce Bank and my Credit Union. But, only on one computer. I run Quicken 2012 Premier in a VM (since I no longer have any native Windows hardware around), and I have my quicken data file in Dropbox so that I can keep my records up to date whether I'm at home or on the road.

This actually came about when zen died, I needed to get my records updated and keep them updated (and later be able to do my taxes...as things dragged out.)

So, I had reinstalled Quicken 2012 Premier into the Windows XP VM on my laptop, since zen died a couple days before I went to Gallifrey One...and I did the Quicken recovery while I was at Gallifrey one.

Later when I was home, I repeated the process into my Windows XP VM on orac. Orac became my main home computer while zen was out of commission. But, eventually I got zen going again, and it was time to set up a new Windows VM on there. Not being able to locate the other copy of my WXP SP3 OEM image (that I got just before they stopped selling them)... though later I found I have a Windows XP - 64-bit OEM CD. Wonder what was I thinking? Anyways...I had bought a Windows 7 Professional Full, during the attempt to revive zen as Windows 7 Professional. (I should finish that post someday...) And, I intend to rebuild old zen into the Windows 7 VM on new zen, but that's been dragging.... But, I did get Quicken 2012 Premier installed and moved to mainly working from there. Though I still have the option now to do Quicken updates when I travel (rather than try to keep notes on what I've spent, etc. and then forget or lose notes by the time I get home)

Which reminds me....I didn't update everything after last trip....hmmm, darn...I have less cash than I thought I did, hopefully it'll be enough to cover incidentals during my next trip....

Anyways the recent problem seemed timed with my return from LISA '12, the Sunday following...updates for 4 of my accounts stopped working. Though now it seems that KB2761465 released on December 11th (during LISA...so it had applied before I finally got around to using Quicken....I initially started it up to let Eye-Fi do its stuff....except I keep forgetting to unpack my digital cameras -- guess I can do that now. :yes: ) Though when I'll get to posting pictures online again...who knows. That part of zen rebuild hasn't happened yet, though I should work on getting the data replication working again at least....

But, the error with Quicken kept pointing to something wrong on my end, like check the time (nope...and NTP is using 4 servers...which in a poster session is the minimum in an unreliable environment for reliable time keeping. And, I do see that 1 of the 4 servers has gone away...) Or if I'm on XP, check if root certificate update is installed. Well, it works on XP....not on 7.

Kind of annoying having to go to XP on Orac to do One Step Updates....etc. So after a week, I decided that the problem wasn't going to fix itself and Quicken was still pointing to my connection as being the problem. But, 7 other accounts were updating fine....though it was also going much more slowly...

I had been seeing complaints about slowness recently online....though the hits for connection errors were old and/or unhelpful.

So, since the world didn't end today...I decided that it was time to investigate more in depth....

I eventually did notice in Windows Event Log, Schannel errors - Event ID 36888 that seemed to coincide with failed attempts. Which didn't yield much in helpful hits online...at first.

But, this seemed to indicate some kind of SSL connection problem with Quicken...so I compared the security settings of IE9 on Windows 7 and IE8 on Windows XP. There were some differences...like though more in that IE9 has more security options like TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 (though it had TLS 1.0 unchecked...so I checked TLS 1.0 ... its was checked on XP and it was the only TLS option. Both SSL 2.0 and 3.0 were checked on XP, but I didn't feel that was necessary...though I tried it at one point.) That didn't help.

But, eventually, I saw that the Event 36888, Schannel was giving a fatal alert 43...which I then found to mean TLS1_ALERT_UNSUPPORTED_CERT. So, I did a packet capture to see where it was connecting to and tried connecting there myself. Well, those sites worked...though I was trying them in Chromium on FreeBSD. And, they also worked in Chrome on Windows 7. But, finally when I tried in IE9, they didn't work. The troubleshooter was no help. But, it was in IE9 that I confirmed that I could get to sites that had the same issuer cert for an intuit/quicken domain. So, there was something specific to the sites.

Finally, I decided to connect to the problem site using openssl to see what its sending during the negotiation. Hmm, its doing TLSv1. Well, I turned on TLS 1.0, wonder if TLS 1.1/1.2 being on causes problems. During my search, I had read somewhere that TLS 1.2 enabled would prevent SSL 2.0 from happening...enabled or not. Wonder if it also prevents TLS 1.0?

Answer...YES....TLS1.2 is causing problems.

Unchecking it (so SSL 3.0, TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 are the only ones checked). Fixed all my connection problems. I did updates of the accounts individually first (my credit union, then Discover, then Target, though Target failed with a different error because I had tried disabling and the reconfiguring Discover and Target...and Quicken hadn't relearned all the extra security passwords needed yet.

Then, I tried updating all the accounts at once...at first it seemed that it was going to go slowly still. But, once it updated one of the problem accounts, it suddenly started them in bunches and in a blink it was done.

:cool:

12/06/12

  08:59:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 616 words  
Categories: General, Wireless/iPhone, Travel

Bank of America strikes again

Every now and then, Bank of America would call me to verify charges, which seemed annoying....they most often would do it every time I placed an order with NewEgg.com. Of course, NewEgg.com doesn't charge the card at the time of checkout, so you don't know what's going on when they do process the charge, and telling them to try again doesn't work.

But, recently I found my card wasn't working. I don't use the card as much at the moment (with the current Cash Back promotion on Discover), but still there are occasions...like during Black Friday/Cyber Monday...

I call to find out what's up, and keep getting disconnected from one number that's supposed to be available 24/7. I then call another number, and they tell me that there's a fraud lock on my account and that I need to call the fraud security number. The 24/7 number I had been calling. But, then the customer service rep adds, that they're closed right now and to call back tomorrow after 8am. Huh?

After this I check my caller ID log to see if any Bank of America calls had been received. There hadn't been, but I recognize one of the unlisted 866 numbers. It called at 11:34am on November 29th, and left no message. That hardly counts as a contact attempt, since in the past they do leave messages and they used to be identified as from Bank of America. Though recently Discover did the same thing, where in the past the calls came from an identified number (which I had saved, so it would be recognized when it showed up on my cell...and I changed my phone setup to only pass a specific group of numbers to my cell....at first to limit work calls going to my cell....but later to limit the calls since I'm on a prepaid plan now.

Well, I call this morning to find out what's up. And, they tell me that a number not associated with my account called my card (but associated with fraud), when prompted for identity verification information....like last 4 of social or my zip code, and eventually confirmed by zip code. The number is associated with attempting to access the points balance on cards that have points. (Mine does.) Back on November 27th.

This was after they had me verify with additional questions from my account usage to verify identity.

They check my points balance, and there doesn't seem to be any redemptions and the balance appears right.

Because they had called, once on November 29th and left no message. That constituted a failure to reach me regarding suspicious activity on my account, so they suspended my account on the 29th. My last transaction was on the 28th, and that worked fine. With a upcoming direct charge around December 2nd....which hasn't shown up yet. Though they took my card payment on the 30th.

But, now they are going to go and cancel my account and issue a new card...which takes about 7 days. Unless I'm in a rush, then they can FedEx a new card to me tomorrow. Well, I'm about to go on a business trip...so yeah, I'm in a bit of a rush. Though when I travel, Amex is my primary card. "Don't Leave Home Without It" &#59;D So, they will FedEx me a new card...and add a note on my account of my immediate travel plans.

Darn, and I just setup an automatic bill to my card recently...which I'm going to have to update, or will I? I setup Amnesty International again, which was also right around the last time I with through the card replacement due to fraudulent activity.... just a coincidence?

:hmm:

Wonder how to update those charges?

07/21/12

  07:26:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1104 words  
Categories: General, Travel, Home

Transit Service comes to Manhattan, KS

This was originally going to be a longer, and possibly angrier blog post about transit service finally coming to Manhattan, KS.

But, it needs to come first before another post that I've been writing in my head...so I need to get something out.

The background, is that back when I lived in Medicine Hat, which at the time was about a 35k population...though it has its cyclic population factors....the main being summer army training activities, and the influx of british soldiers. But, it was nice small city with a town like feel...and it had a wonderful bus system....5.5 routes. Well...4 of the routes were really 2, two buses on the routes...and downtown terminal crossings. Then there was a route that ran between the two malls, so didn't ever go to the downtown terminal. And, a part-time route that went to the community by the airport. They were probably 50k population in real numbers...but there's also a large chunk of the population that give their primary residence as being across the border where auto insurance is cheap...being a no-fault state.

One of the ideas that brought me to Manhattan, KS was that its kind of like Medicine Hat. Well...it does have the huge population swing....when the 23k+ students are here and then aren't. And, it was an under 50k population city. But, the big surprise was there is no bus service here....which is kind of problem since I don't drive. Though it did have much better walk-ability than where I was before in Columbus, Ohio.

Anyways...finally being over 50k in the 2010 census....a bus service could finally be created. And, there had been a few proposals on what it would take form of when it started. Eventually, the paratransit service (ATA Bus) expanded into doing fixed route public transit service that has finally arrived. ATA used to stand for "Aging Transportation Agency", but now it stands for "Area Transportation Agency".

The service was started with funding from federal, state, county and private funds. There was originally a proposal to seek city funding, but the city rejected it. So, the service went ahead with private funds....which causes the first problem with the fixed route service in Manhattan, KS.

City wouldn't allow bus stop signs to be put up. So, where the stops are exactly...is pretty much only known to the drivers. And, in some cases...it is only known to the specific driver. There have been numerous times where I was missed or nearly missed, because a driver stopped (or didn't stop) in a different place than expected.

There are like 3 places where the bus driver might stop in the College Ave United Methodist Church parking lot.... two are in front of the church, but one is where the driver hairpins entering the parking lot and pauses only long enough to quickly open and close the doors at the street entrance. And, doesn't really look around to see if anybody is standing running from the entrance of the church screaming because of this.

There are also at least 2 places for the stop in the Ace Hardware parking lot....usually its kind of in front of "Alex's Affordable Eyewear"...but once when it was running late....it just came in straight off Hosteller Dr and went straight to the exit to Bluemont Ave, and then just quickly opened and closed the doors for a split second and then took off without looking around.

Where the bus stops are shouldn't be a game where only the drivers know where they are (and they can move them when its suites them) and penalize anybody that didn't guess right.

Which brings us to the second problem with the ATA Bus service.

While running late could be understood....providing the drivers still stopped in their efforts to get back on schedule, instead of not picking up people waiting for the bus. Even the people that have ridden before, so know where the stops should be.

But, there's also the problem that if the bus is running fast...they don't care. There have been numerous times where I've been waiting at the CAUMC stop...and having an Atomic sync'd watch...know that I was there before the scheduled time....only to have no bus ever show up, because they were probably early. Except to make things worse, if you call to complain...they'll claim that the bus was there exactly on time, ignoring if you tell them that you've been waiting there 5 minutes before that time. Or that the stops have no shelter from the rain or the sun...and its 102 or hotter.

Otherwise...the service has been great, and I hope it gets better.

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04/04/12

  09:12:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 376 words  
Categories: General, Travel, Healthcare

The Dreamer Claims A(nother?) Victim!

Link: http://remrunner.blogspot.com/2012/04/legs-on-fire-starting-my-training-for.html

What did Julie Flygare do to deserve this? I have no idea....

She ran the Boston Marathon in 2010 for Wake Up Narcolepsy....before I knew who she was and what Narcolepsy is. But, somebody had apparently told her to be on the look out for me at the Narcolepsy Network Conference in Crystal City, Arlington, VA.... but I didn't really learn much about her until I started following her blog and other online presence after that conference.

I learned a lot at the conference, and continued to learn after the conference...including lots of stuff about myself. I'm still a work in progress. (idiopathic hypersomnia, hypnagogia, hypnic jerk, sleep paralysis, automatic behavior, long sleep, etc.)

But, back to Julie.... because I was stalking her online.... about a week and half ago, this post from a few days earlier caught my eye:

In My Father's Footsteps: Trying to Find Registration for Mt Washington Road Race to run in my father's honor on Father's Day for charity

So, I did a little research of my own.... and then wrote this blog entry on my Tumblr site: REM Runner wants to run The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race 2012 -- In memory of her father and to raise money for Narcolepsy Awareness and Research.

I have my Tumblr site set to tweet my posts.

Using the APA Style

LawrenceChen. (2012, Mar 25). REM Runner wants to run The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race 2012 - In memory of her father... http://tmblr.co/ZmWZfwIYfD1N [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/LawrenceChen/status/183999798339313665

Which surprisingly lead to this tweet:

NortheastDelta. (2012, Mar 27). @LawrenceChen Tom Raffio the CEO of @NortheastDelta will be contacting soon. :) [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/NortheastDelta/status/184740188797419520

And

NortheastDelta. (2012, Mar 27). @LawrenceChen - for clarification - we are contacting Julie re the Mount Washington Road Race :) [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/NortheastDelta/status/184745755431550976

Concluding with

RemRunner. (2012, Mar 27). @NortheastDelta @LawrenceChen Thank you so much! REM Runnning up a mountain for my dad would be the honor of a lifetime! [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/RemRunner/status/184749224636850177

And, then it seemed like an eternity passed before I heard anything further...until I spotted her "Legs on Fire" post this morning.... Guess that means my next project is to get her published ;D

Full story »

02/04/12

  07:22:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 284 words  
Categories: Digital Photography, Travel, Storage

Dropbox offers up to 5GB of free space to anyone willing to go beta -- Engadget

Link: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/03/dropbox-beta-5gb-free-space/

I was just wishing, I had a little bit more space in my dropbox....when I came across this.

This is also gives me the excuse to play around with my new camera lens. An smc Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 AL.

Wonder if I should still take both lenses with me when I go to Gally?

It does make we wish to add an smc Pentax 70mm f/2.4 DA Limited to my setup as well…. Also wonder if there’s a Pentax K-01 in my future....

Additional note about my new lens....I added the usual filter to it, a B+W 49mm Clear UV Haze and some what unusual, a hood.... 49MM metal lens hood for Pentax.

After which, I learned that a 58mm cap fits the end of the hood nicely....so I bought a Promaster SystemPRO White Balance Lens Cap - 58mm.

But, this then means that the Camera Buckle Lens Cap Holder; for 62, 49 and 40.5mm Lens Cap Sizes that I had gotten wasn't sufficient anymore. Though it never really was, given that one side is blocked with on my strap...so I guess it really worked out that I needed to add another one of Camera Buckle Lens Cap Holder; for 67, 58 and 52mm Lens Cap Sizes to my strap as well.

62mm is the cap size of my Tamron AF 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 lens....which is now the other lens that I'm debating if I should bring on my trip....

Meanwhile...I'm wonder where one finds a lens chamois these days.... Think I at least have a recent lenspen somewhere. Also I discovered that the online storage part of my Eye-Fi cards aren't working....probably has to do with the great password reset at DreamHost.

http://db.tt/8sC6ZtO <-- Bonus .5GB signup link.

12/05/11

  09:08:21 pm, by The Dreamer   , 135 words  
Categories: Digital Photography, Travel, TV

Chicago TARDIS 2011 Photos

Here are some of the pictures of me at Chicago TARDIS 2011, with some of the special guests that were there. I'm wearing my usual attire, where I'm dressed as my own Doctor, though this year I added a bow tie on Saturday. Because bow ties are cool.

Me with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse. Wearing my Dr.E.Amer lab coat, regenerated Tilley TH4 hat, and bow tie.

Pages: 1· 2

  05:22:44 pm, by The Dreamer   , 561 words  
Categories: Digital Photography, Travel

Still missing the old days of SLR photography

Incase I forgot to blog about it or haven't even mentioned it....during the summer, I broke down and snapped up a DSLR.

In a strange move, I had gone with a Pentax....specifically the Pentax K-r. A large part of my decision was the ability to use commonly available batteries. Came in handy during my last trip...where I seemed to keep running into the hotel gift shop to buy batteries.

I did finally get around to ordering some extra LiIon batteries and an extra charger for the Pentax K-r, but not sure they'll arrive in time for my next trip. Maybe I've bitten myself by setting my mail hold to start before the trip, rather than the day of the trip....

I haven't done any real shooting with the camera yet, just been walking around home getting a feel for it. One thing I've found, is the autofocus is really slow if live-view is used. (which I guess is well covered online...) So, I guess the real SLR experience is there. Though it does default to having review on...like most digital cameras, so I can do the chimping. &#59;&#68;

Though I usually disable the review function on my digital cameras, especially in situations where I want the least delay between shots...like when I was at Chicago Tardis. So, I'll probably turn it off on the DSLR.

Anyways...the thing I miss...is that they don't sell cameras any more with a 'normal' lense anymore.

It used to be all cameras typically came with a 50mm prime lens...typically an f/1.8 (or better.) Now instead, they come with a simple/slow zoom lens (in my case, a 18mm-55mm f/3.5-5.6). Wishing there was a ~35mm (1.5x) prime lens as the stock.... Since being the standard lens, it would probably be cheap too.

Now, I have a Tamron 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens for it...though I'm questioning if that's what I really want to use.

In the old days I had a nice Tamron 35-80mm f/2.8-3.8 zoom lens...though that MF and Nikon (though I don't know if tracking down an adaptall mount for Pentax would get me anything).

Thing is that while I was shooting at Chicago Tardis....I saw there was quite the difference between my Canon Powershot SX120is with its f/2.8-4.3 lens versus my Nikon Coolpix S80 with its f/3.6-4.8 lens.

So kind of wishing for a nice affordable 35mm or 50mm (23.33mm or 33.33m) full frame equivalent prime lens in the f/1.8 or better kind of thing.

Maybe I should've gone with a Nikon DSLR...at least I have the normal lens that came with my first Nikon somewhere still (the later Nikon's were body only.)

Yeah...I primarily shoot in situations of low light and no flashes allowed (though it doesn't stop other people from using flash and ruining shots of mine here and there....) Zoom is nice, but to some extent I can crop better in post. Might want some other size primes though, in case I don't find myself right up close.

Not sure if or when I'll get to getting a hot shoe flash for this camera....

Still working on a case to carry my camera around....miss my old case, but it was bad that I used a lot of duct tape (rather than gaffers tape) back then....and had left a lot taped to it before it went into storage....

Meanwhile, the Lytro camera sounds intriguing...

12/01/11

  04:27:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1531 words  
Categories: General, Digital Photography, Hardware, Computer, Travel, Networking, WiFi, BOINC, Safety & Security, b2evolution, Quicken/TurboTax

Cyberweek Activities

This being Cyberweek...I tried to cram some stuff in other than just recovery from Chicago Tardis into this week.

Though I haven't actually gotten to all the things yet...I felt that I should start this post before I forget all the things I wanted to cover. Too late &#58;&#110;&#111;&#58;

Anyways...one of the important items was new CO detector. I used to have a First Alert CO400?, battery operated CO detector that took a couple AA batteries and didn't do much else. I was looking to buy something like it again, except reading the negative reviews on amazon.com... a number of other people were complaining that unit disintegrates when you try to change the batteries. Which is why I was needing to replace my old one. So, I decided that maybe I would look at a different brand this time around.

Also noted that these things have like a 5 year life expectancy...though my First Alert CO detector was only a year old. I noticed that Kidde CO detectors claim a 7 year life span (though only a 5 year warranty). Though (in part due to Amazon 'recommendations') I got the Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM, which has a digital display....showing current CO levels and historical levels, etc. Which I debated on whether I would want to know if there was a CO level, that wasn't alarming.

Don't know if I paid attention to the fact that it uses 3 AA batteries....one odd thing I've noticed, is that it doesn't say if I should replace batteries regularly....but I suspect it'll be part of the same routine with replacing smoke detector batteries.

Though I don't think I'll replace the CO batteries along with the smoke detector ones on December 25th (because of long DST, I had changed my bi-annual to be on or around June 25th and December 25th.) Though, I've already replaced the battery early in one of the smoke detectors. Odd, because there hadn't been any nuisance trips in some time...and it isn't one that is typically set off by these situations. (usually ones that nuisance trip is the detector in the living room [near the kitchen or the first bedroom from the kitchen. Yeah...something I'm burning on the stove or in the microwave is usually the cause.)

But, getting a new set of 4 9V batteries was something I got in my recent cyberweek purchasing...

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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