Time lapse is best for GoPro rides

I went out early this morning for a ride on my motorcycle out to Dania Beach which is about 30 miles from home.  I decided to string up my GoPro to the side of my bike but this time instead of doing a time lapse video, I tried just shooting straight up 1080P video with the camera of my ride.  The first thing that I discovered was that the video is incredibly shaky and it kinda makes you sick watching it for too long.  Time lapses are just a bunch of photos strung together but you don’t really notice the vibration thats making the camera shake so its easier to watch, not to mention it takes up a lot less space on my SD card and when I upload it to YouTube.

Due to where I mounted the camera (near the engine), and probably because I was on the highway, the camera always had a little bit of a shake.  The video still looked cool and I was able to piece together an 8 minute video out of almost an hours worth of footage that I took.  I also decided to change the perspective for my ride.  On the way home, I had the camera pointing backwards so you could see what was happening behind me. All the other videos that I’ve shot on the GoPro have always been from my point of view or facing forward.  I have to say that I liked the results that I got.  It almost makes me want to get another camera but I use the GoPro so little I wouldn’t be able to justify the cost.  What I could justify is the Hero Session 5 if it became cheap enough because it has built in image stabilization and that might help with my vibration issues when shooting on my  motorcycle.

For future rides I think I’m going to go with the time lapse mode, I won’t get sick viewing my video and it makes it a lot shorter too.  This latest video isn’t bad but I think its too long.  I also had to make it on my Windows 10 desktop instead of my MacBook Pro so I wasn’t able to add the iMovie pizzaz I normally do.  The GoPro editing software isn’t bad but I still like the tools Apple gives me for free.  If they only made it easier to add external videos that weren’t made on the iPhone, it would solve my problem of what computer to get next.

Digitizing old memories

Last year I liberated all the photos and photo albums at my moms house with the full intention of getting them into the cloud to be saved forever.  I didn’t count them I just took a duffel bag, stuffed them in there and flew it home.  I contemplated using a service who would do the scanning for me.  I looked up a number of different services and all of them sounded intriguing but the costs sounded prohibitive due to the amount of pictures that I took back.  A duffel bag is a lot of pictures and I didn’t want to pay hundreds of dollars just to scan something to a DVD.  I decided to do it myself and it took around 2 weeks to complete but now everything is up in the cloud and in my NAS.

I used my HP 7520 to do all of the scanning of the photos.  This thing is awesome except that it runs out of ink really fast because the cartridges are so small.

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Whats neat is that I was able to scan the photos directly to a USB flash drive rather than having to control the scan jobs using a computer.  It also auto detected the size of the photo so all I had to do was lift the cover, switch out the photos, and hit 3 buttons to start the scan process.  I was able to cover around 150-200 photos per night but it also took around 2 hours to scan in that many.  It would have been nice if I could have used the auto document feeder which would have made things really fast but I don’t think any all in one printer does something like that for photos.

Overall, my entire life until my high school graduation was captured in only 2000 or so pictures and a lot of the pictures don’t even have me in it.  I was looking at the photos and most of them were printed in Mystic CT which is pretty far from my home town.  It was neat to see coupons for $0.10 off my next order (thats the entire order not per print).  Most of the photos were 3×5 matte finish but the newer ones were heading towards 4×6 and glossy.  When you consider that there was nothing but film cameras when I was growing up, 2000 pictures sounds like a lot and when you realize they are printed it is a lot and probably costs a fortune.  I didn’t scan everything, I left out a lot of blurry or off photos that were just of the same landscape over and over again.  I kept all the pictures but I need a more permanent place to store them.

In comparison I am glad I am in the digital age where I can take as many photos as I want and they are easy to store.  My Alaska vacation that I took with my family was on its own 1500 photos and that was over a 7 day period.  If I had stayed another 2-3 days I would have had over 2000 photos just from that vacation alone.  As it is, even going to Disney for 2-3 days I knock out at least 20-50 photos.  I try and take at least 1 photo a day of my kid when I’m home, so that alone will garner probably 100 photos a year.  Now when there are events that could be like 50 photos or so so in essence there should be 1000 new photos every year just from me and it doesn’t even include my wife.

I have old photos of my own stored in the house but I have digital copies of those already so no more late night scanning for me.  I’m glad I was able to do the scanning myself, I saved a lot of money and I was able to share some of the photos with some friends as I was scanning them in.  I’ll show them to my daughter one day so that she can see how her father looked when he was her age.

My MacBook Pro Lives?

Last week my MacBook Pro was experiencing some issues booting up and I did everything that I could find on the web short of restoring the computer from a backup.  I even had two different conversations with Apple Support to see if they would repair it but since it’s vintage they don’t repair it or even make parts since it was manufactured in early 2011.  I was able to get some last minute backups of my MacBook just in cas I bought a replacement MacBook so I could restore my settings, programs, and some of my data. Just in case I also started moving data to my NAS so I’m the event of a total failure my data was safe.

I went away to Disney this weekend with the family to do some races and left my MacBook Pro here at home unplugged and powered off.  I fully expected it not to boot on Sunday but to my surprise it booted right up like normal.  I tested the functions just to be sure and did a quick reboot to see if it would crash.  To my surprise again the MacBook booted up just fine again.  I took the opportunity to see if I could do some more file clean up and data transfer to the NAS.

It’s now Monday and the MacBook Pro is still humming along just fine.  I’ve started to use it like I used to but I’m not adding data to it that I need to preserve.  The thing could just crash and I intend to be ready if it does.  I think I’ve decided on at replacement, I’m going back to Windows and potentially getting a surface pro but only if the computer is totally dead.  I can then try and use the MacBook Pro SSD I installed and stick it in my desktop.  That should give it a nice little speed boost.

Due to it’s now vintage status, I won’t be getting anymore OS updates (maybe critical fixes???) but it’s not like my MacBook could take advantage of cool things like the new night shift mode, air drop, or other things like that.  On to reviewing more stuff about Azure! So not exited…..

Struggling with my MacBook Pro

I spent a good amount of the afternoon struggling with my MacBook Pro because for some reason it wouldn’t boot up.  During the boot sequence I kept on getting green lines going horizontally across the screen and it would never finish its boot sequence, the computer would just stay at a blank white screen and proceed no further.  I spent almost 2 hours trying to get this thing diagnosed and fixed.

Things I tried:

  • Resetting NVRAM
  • Resetting the SMC (normally done when you put in a new battery)
  • Getting into recovery mode (every which way mentioned by Apple)
  • Getting a call back from Apple phone support and trying the above resolutions

I did eventually get into the computer and I started a backup of my MacBook using Time Machine but then I tried to backup and sync my iPhone and that crashed the computer immediately and I struggled another hour or so just trying to get into the OS again!  I did manage to get into the diagnostic tools twice but the only error it could come up with was that there was a problem with my battery and I knew that wasn’t true because I had just replaced the battery not even 2 years ago with a fresh one.  After getting into the OS again, I ran a backup with Time Machine and this time I just let it run all the way until it finished without touching the computer except to check up on progress.  After that was complete I ran a disk utility diagnostic (you can only do it if you’re in the OS or can somehow get into recovery mode) and it found some inconsistency errors on my hard drive.

Using the disk utility and an article from Apple, I ran the fix utility but it didn’t fix it at first since I was logged into the OS.  WTF!!  I was afraid of trying to do a reboot because it had taken so long to get to this point.  But no matter what I did the utility said I needed to be in recovery mode and run the disk utility from there.  I held my breath and rebooted the system and somehow I got into recovery mode.  The screen looked all messed up with lines going vertically up and down and my mouse cursor wasn’t even visible, it was just this really thin line and I had to guess at what buttons I was pushing some of the time.  The screen also looked like it duplicated itself on the left 1/3 so that was weird too.  Surprisingly the utility still was able to run and it fixed my problem!  I did a reboot and all seems well for now but I’m taking more Time Machine backups for sure.  I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to use the computer again that I was researching what computer I was going to replace it with.

I had written a post a few months ago that picking a new computer was going to be hard since I had a lot of legacy things to plug into it.  I narrowed it down to a MacBook Air, a Dell XPS 13, or the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.  I eliminated the MacBook and MacBook Pro because I don’t want to use dongles for my crap and the cost of the machine just didn’t seem worth it if I had to buy more junk just to plug in my junk.  The MacBook Air was my “compromise” machine, it wasn’t as powerful as my current MacBook Pro but it had all the ports and stuff that I needed but it wouldn’t have the retina display and I craved something nice to look at.  I eliminated it after looking at the cost of it against a Windows machine.  There are apps like DayOne and Noteability that I like to use on the Mac but its not deal breakers for me to use them.  There is Photos and Messages that I would miss, but again I have an iPhone and an iPad to manage that stuff.  Downloading photos I’m not even worried about anymore with Google Photos and my NAS.  I eliminated the XPS 13 mainly because I have had bad experiences with Dell over the last 20 or so years going back to when I was in college.  While all the online reviews have been stellar, dude it was a Dell!

That leads me to the Surface Pro 4.  Granted it was about a year old already and there was a new Surface Pro 5 coming out soon but I needed a new computer (well I thought I did but now my Mac works again) and it had the ports that I wanted.  It also had a pen which was something that I’ve been wanting so I can draw shit on the screen.  The only barrier was cost.  The thing costs as much as a MacBook Pro when you load it to the gills (I like having 1TB of space on my drive, mainly its all pictures and music but I have a NAS to take care of that now at home) so the requirement wasn’t really there.  I could get away with a 512GB SSD but then I remembered there is micro SD slot under the hinge!  I poked around on Amazon and there are 256GB micro SD cards!  Instant expand-ability and I can get multiple cards so I can switch it out based on what I wanted to save on the Surface Pro!  There was also a deal on the Sufrace Pro, it would come with the docker accessory for free!  That adds even more ports and I could hook up a monitor to it too if I wanted.  Alas my computer is working now but I think I know what I’m going to get to replace the desktop computer or the MacBook Pro.  It’s definitely going to be a Windows 10 machine unless Apple comes out with something compelling and that doesn’t require me to get a fuck load of dongles and new cables!

OK quick rant about Apple’s new direction.  If you’re going to make a computer and other crap, make it all compatible!  I mean I think its cool that your new MacBooks have the newest and latest tech but your iPhones, iPads, and event he new AirPods have no way to connect to the damn thing because they use older USB 2.0 and 3.0 technology and connectors!  I hook up my iPhone and iPad to my MacBook Pro as a charger when I’m home because it charges really freaking fast.  Not to mention trying to sync your iPhone over the air when you have configured a USB drive as the backup target for the iPhone is SLOW!  iTunes sucks so hard in the syncing department, I prefer to sync using a cable since the data transfer is faster.  They need to design iTunes to run from a NAS or something, their cloud design is garbage and I’m not putting all my music in the cloud given that net neutrality is about to make data caps and throttling real.  OK quick rant over!

I’ll be watching my MacBook over the next few days and hooking up the Time Machine drive to it more frequently.  There aren’t any good tools out there to transfer data from a Mac to a Windows machine (I found plenty of articles that pretty much say, go to Finder, copy your files to an external hard drive, and re-copy them to Windows….. fucking genius, why didn’t I think of that???)  If my desktop also decides to breath its last, the only personal computer at home is my daughters under powered and frustrating as shit to update HP Stream (I happen to be writing this blog post from it and I even updated it to the latest Creator Update).  Maybe I can get permission to get the Surface Pro 5….. oooo that would be awesome!