Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Today the new SmugMug was released to the world.
I was privileged to participate in Smug's early release program so I've had a bit of time to play. My first goal was to become familiar with the new features, new gallery formats, new way of building a site. Play was an important first step that was followed by thinking about how I planned to bring my site into the new world. As I wandered through Smug day-by-day I could see the addition / fine-tuning of new product features. In the few cases where I reached out with a question I received answers very quickly. Knowing that the full team at SmugMug had to be very busy (and very tired) made the speed of response even more impressive.
My (old) site customization was driven by my desire for much larger thumbs to represent the galleries than was possible with the base product. I wanted my viewers to have an idea about the contents of a gallery before they clicked into it so a number of years back I removed the standard navigation and replaced it with my own. It took only a few minutes of exploring new options to realize that I would be able to easily use the new features of SmugMug without needing to use code, to use the standard breadcrumb and standard display sizes for photos presented in a folder or in a gallery. Awesome!
Once I had my head wrapped around my updated design it took very little time to complete the site customization.
I love the new organic layouts, and the ability to build my site by using the features of the product is wonderful. I love the fact that my site looks the same whether I'm looking at it on a computer or on my phone.OK, OK, it did take me a couple of hours to edit the description of every gallery and remove my old custom breadcrumb; as far as I'm concerned that was time well spent since I now have a site that is much easier to maintain.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Yesterday was a day for playing in Maine, from an afternoon walk in Bath to an early evening stroll along the beaches of the Phippsburg Peninsula.
A stroll following the waters edge from Fort Popham, heading towards but not reaching Popham Beach State Park made me wonder just how long the coastline of Maine is. The driving distance from Kittery to Calais following US 1 is 301 miles; the length of the coastline is more than 10 times that distance. According to the Maine Bureau of Geology, Natural Areas, and Coastal Resources, "Maine has approximately 3478 miles (5600 kilometers) of tidally-influenced shoreline." That's pretty amazing, isn't it?
The late day light painted the sky, reflecting in still pools of water left behind as the tide receded.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 9:12 PM
I was heading north on route 1 in Brunswick, Maine when something caught my eye. I had already driven by when the image clicked in my head but I wasn't content with a quick glance; I had to stop and walk back!
What did I see? a happy cow sitting in a cup on top of a building with a coffee (or tea!) cup in hand...
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 6:34 PM
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Rainbows are simply amazing; the two that graced the sky last evening were the best I have seen.
I headed out for an early evening walk under a sky that was gray but seemed to be clearing. The rain of earlier in the day had stopped so I was walking without protection against water falling from the sky. The first 20 minutes were dry, the next hour flipped between drizzle and a much heavier rain. By the time I arrived home I had water just rolling off of me. Luckily the temperature supported a wet walk without too much of a chill.
Dry again, I headed out to do some errands. On the way home I looked up to see a full double rainbow, the inner curve wearing bright colors, the outer curve a bit more subtle. Wonderful!
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 8:11 AM
Friday, July 26, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013
I've continued to watch the Memorial Bridge web site to keep an eye out for the bridge opening date. There still is no announcement as to when the bridge will open to people and traffic, but the grand opening ceremony jumped back a week to 8 August.
A week sooner is a good thing. Hopefully that will quiet some of the vocal complaints about the completion lagging the official finish date of 19 July. It seems to me that finishing a project of this scale within a couple of weeks of the target completion date should be viewed as on time and successful.
(screen shot) from the Memorial Bridge webcam, early morning, 25 July 2013
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
An opening ceremony for the new Memorial Bridge has been scheduled for August 15th, just two days short of the 90th anniversary of the opening of the original bridge. I think it's fitting that there will be "a ceremonial ribbon-cutting by former Portsmouth Mayor Eileen Foley, who was five years old when she cut the ribbon at the original Memorial Bridge opening on August 17, 1923."
According to last Friday's news entry on the bridge web site:
I'm looking forward to walking on the bridge with my camera, to riding my bike in the official bike lane (as opposed to following the bridge rules for the old structure which didn't allow for riding bicycle traffic), and yes, even to driving across occasionally.
The innovative lift bridge connecting Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine across the Piscataqua River will be opened prior to August 15 to motor vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic once final testing has been completed.
(screen shot) from the Memorial Bridge webcam, late in the day on 23 July 2013
stretch... ah, that feels good!
Some of the pieces of art scattered around the landscape at Bedrock Gardens are large, some are small. This small statue was standing in a clearing in the woods, almost hiding. I was quite happy to make his acquaintance since he quickly brought a smile to my face.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 5:56 AM
Monday, July 22, 2013
Sunday, July 21, 2013
I've been thinking about buying a new computer, thinking, comparing, deciding on the form my new tool would take. I've been using laptops for many years now but tend to use my computer in a single location. This time my desire for a larger screen caused me to look beyond portable.
All-in-One computers caught my eye. After wandering into a store to see what was available locally (yikes!) I quickly went back to web searches. The first computer that caught my eye was bigger than I wanted with a 27" monitor. I tried to convince myself bigger was better, but the size and the too large price convinced me to wait a bit and then to keep looking.
I decided on a Dell Inspiron One 23. The monitor size (of 23 inches) felt right to me and I loved the idea of the All-in-One as opposed to having a separate processing unit and monitor. It has a clean look, and you know I don't like clutter!
The monitor is a touch screen. I suspect that I'll still use the mouse more than touch but there may be times when touch makes more sense. I have to admit I'm glad I had upgraded my laptop to Windows 8 so the first play on this computer wasn't my first experience with the operating system.
I've had two days to transfer files, install software, play. The monitor is a good size, I'm adapting to a new version of Lightroom, the computer is performing well. I think I made a good choice; I'm happy!Yes, my phone is Windows 8 too, which makes sharing interesting. Sky Drive usage between the devices is seamless - when I take a photo on my phone it is automatically uploaded to Sky Drive and then automatically downloaded to the Sky Drive folder on my computer. You're right, that's not why I bought a new computer!
Saturday, July 20, 2013
The once a month open house at Bedrock Gardens was scheduled for today, pulling me to New Hampshire for a walk in a beautiful place. It was easy to forget the sweat rolling down my face as I looked at sculptures, flowers, and reflections.
The artwork varies in size, from this very small man floating from a tree to bigger than life sculptures.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 8:35 PM
Friday, July 19, 2013
Thursday, July 18, 2013
I'm always fascinated by these flowers. From a distance they look spiky; when viewed closeup they are wearing delicate blossoms.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 8:51 PM
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Oh! I'm so excited!
Denise finally decided where we will be wandering late in the summer. It seems like it took her a really long time to come to a decision - but once she decided, poof! reservations for flights, a car, and places to stay are all in place. We'll be heading back to the Rockies, in Canada this time. A B&B in Canmore will be our base for wandering.
This will be a new visiting place for me. Denise has been there twice, traveling by bicycle in 1998, and hiking in 2000. She told me that the trip in 2000 was totally unplanned as it replaced a biking trip at the very last minute. The biking was supposed to be in Wyoming; forest fires less than 50 miles from where she was planning to wander made her think twice about going there so she jumped up to Canada instead. Sometimes travel plans just need to be changed.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Saturday, July 13, 2013
After upgrading my Internet connection to Verizon FiOS back in April I decided to (finally) switch my offsite backup to a more price sensible choice than the backup I'd been using for many years, Amazon S3. A while back I thought about switching to Glacier but the provider I was using for the S3 backups decided not to provide Glacier support. I then looked at other vendors that provided Glacier support thinking I would migrate my backups from S3 to Glacier using Amazon's management console. Unfortunately my initial provider hadn't used a sensible folder structure for the S3 backups; switching to Glacier using a different provider means I wouldn't have a reasonable structure to peruse my backups. That was a non-starter for me; it meant that I would need to re-upload all of my backups, yikes!
When I looked at current cloud backup solutions I discovered that many products available, and of those there were many that didn't meet my needs. I don't have all of my photos on my computer's hard drive; the files live on an external drive. Many of the cloud backup products will back up files from an external drive but if that drive is unplugged from your computer for a long period of time they delete the files from the backup. I would call that more of a mirrored solution than a backup, definitely something that won't work for me.
I did some web searches for cloud backup solutions that were true backups, not deleting files if an external drive was no longer attached to my computer. My choice? CrashPlan+.
I chose CrashPlan+ Unlimited which allows backup of an unlimited number of files from a single computer. Before I jumped in I checked that I would be able to transfer my license (and my backed up files) to a new computer. A simple search on the CrashPlan site gave me the instructions from transferring the license to a new computer, no need to re-upload.
I had a little under a terabyte of data to upload. Yup, that's a lot of data, mainly photos. There is an option to pay for CrashPlan to send a hard drive that you then ship back to be used as a seed for the initial upload. I thought about paying for that service, but then I decided to just let the backup run.
My FiOS service gives me 75 Mbps down and 35 Mbps up which is a very good speed for home access. The upload to CrashPlan was gated by more than my line speed though; server load on the vendor's side played into the upload speed as well. Because of that my CrashPlan+ upload speed (when I checked it periodically) seemed to be running at about 5 to 6 Mbps. My upload took just under 3 weeks running continuously. All things considered I don't think that's too bad.
The backups are automatic with the product checking for changed files on a periodic basis that is controlled by me. Since I like to sort through my photos and select the keepers before I create a backup I chose to point CrashPlan at an external drive as the source for my photos. I do the sorting and updating on my computer's hard drive, then copy the files to the external drive when I have decided on the keepers.
If you're looking for a cloud backup solution I'm very happy with my choice of CrashPlan+.
Click for product information from the vendor or for a review by an outside consultant, Tim Fisher.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Monday, July 08, 2013
Sunday, July 07, 2013
This piece of art jumped out at me as I walked out of the gate area at the Philadelphia International Airport last week. There were a sea of people walking with me then. This morning the terminal hallway was close to empty, allowing me to capture an image.
Philadelphia artist Isaac Tin Wei Lin is known for his use of colorful, pattern-filled abstractions and cut-outs of large-scale cartoon cats and totem-like hieroglyphs. Lin often combines all three components by printing repeated patterns on multiple sheets of paper and pasting the patterned paper onto the wall to create a mesmerizing backdrop for his larger than life, upright-walking cats and abstract vertical letterforms.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 3:53 PM
Friday, July 05, 2013
I've driven by the sign for the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum many times without stopping (as I was usually headed for a flight at Philadelphia International Airport). I always wondered what was there; luckily my sister wondered too. It was a hot, humid, and sunny day for a wander, but wander we did.
What a gorgeous place! I'm looking forward to returning again - and I'm so glad there were people who fought to preserve this marsh.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 3:31 PM
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Monday, July 01, 2013
I'm continuing to keep an eye on the Memorial Bridge project web site both to watch for the bridge opening date and to satisfy my curiosity about the remaining work.
I find it simply amazing that the weight of the center span is balanced by that of the counterweights, especially given the weight of the span at 2,500,000 pounds. The numbers are "boggle the mind" big!
As I look at the screen shot from the Memorial Bridge webcam I see that the center span appears to sit a little higher than the fixed spans. I wonder if that is the final resting spot of the span; I guess I should ask!
balancing, center span against counterweightsWith all three spans now in place, the Memorial Bridge looks virtually complete. And if it were a fixed bridge, that would be true. But the final phase, making the myriad of interrelated adjustments needed for the lift span to run smoothly, is highly complex.
On Sunday, June 30, as reported earlier, the center lift span will stay in the down position beginning at 9:30 pm until 2:00 pm on Tuesday. This is necessary for the sheaves (pulleys) to be adjusted to their final position and bolted into place, allowing the bridge to move up and down smoothly.
At the same time, AWC is in the process of balancing the weight of the 2,500,000 lb center span with the weight of the counterweights. Stephen DelGrosso, AWC Project Manager, says, “The tolerances required for the lift mechanism are very tight, so multiple adjustments need to be made on all systems. This functional testing is an important part of the work remaining.” He explained that even after a lift bridge is opened to vehicle traffic and is on a regular lift schedule, standard procedure is to continue to monitor and adjust the lift mechanisms as needed.
Information courtesy of Memorial Bridge PR, from the News section of the Memorial Bridge site.
(screen shot) from the Memorial Bridge webcam
response to my question about the "down" position of the bridge
My question: As I look at the bridge via the Portsmouth webcams (with the center span down) it appears that the center span is slightly higher than the fixed spans. Is it, or is that an optical illusion? If it is, is that the expected final down position?
response from Memorial Bridge PR:
The center span is currently resting on temporary bearings that are 5.75 feet higher than the full down position. So, your eyes are not playing tricks on you! This current position allows the workers to have easier access to the control rooms and allows for more clearance for recreational and fishing vessels that need to pass under the bridge.