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This is the first website in a long time that is focused around me. I normally wouldn't even have this, but I know that there are a few people that will really get some mileage out of the blogs, and it gives them one central way to display their galleries to other people.

I really don't know how much I'll use the blogs, but since I took the time to make them, I might as well use them, and if nothing else, it prompts me to finally finish the events section so that it is more usefull.

Check out the addicting games link, it'll have you hooked for hours.

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Monday, December 29th, 2014

Sylvania 11W Ultra LED - Quick Review
Today I bought my first LED lightbulb as a replacement for a burnt-out 65W incandescent floodlight. I picked up a Sylvania 11W Ultra LED and it is a great buy.

Sylvania 11W bulb

This bulb consumes 11W versus the 65W of an incandescent. That is only 17% of the power consumption of the bulb it replaces.

This bulb puts out 800 lumens of brightness, that is 200 more than the bulb it replaced. So for 80% less power it puts out 33% more light.

Color Temperature
The temperature of the light is 2700K which puts it right in the same ballpark as the incandescent. This is a great warm feel and not a problem like compact florescent used to be.

Cost and Savings
This bulb cost $15. The cost for a replacement incandescent bulb would have been around $7. The lower power consumption estimates that it would save $4 per year on electricity, so in 2 years the bulb will make up the difference. But the bulb is supposed to last 20+ years, so it will save at least 6 replacement bulbs.

So 20 years with incandescents would cost around $150 ($100 in electricity, $50 for bulbs).
The LED will cost about $50 ($15 for the bulb, $36 for electricity).

You can learn more on amazon: click here

Posted by aparker @ 9:33 PM [No Comments]
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Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Quick Review - Lowepro Magnum 400AW
If you're a photographer who has finally collected enough junk to merit a larger gear bag, then look no further than the Lowepro Magnum 400AW.

Lowepro Magnum 400AW

This bag will easily and safely cary your camera, a few lenses and plenty of accessories with room to spare. It is completely modular for easy configuration based on your needs and comes with great extras like: a memory card/CD case, 2 microfiber cloths that velcro into the bag, and a quality built-in rain cover.

The construction is top of the line with zipper covers and clasps to protect your gear while in transit. The strap is wide and well padded for long use. I regularly keep this bag on my back for 4+ hours while covering NCAA football games.

This bag has become my primary storage and transportation bag. I've never tried to take it on a plane because I feel that it is slightly too large to fit in the overhead compartment on a plane.

For more information or to buy, you can find it on Amazon (4.5 out of 5 stars) for $185 (normally $300). Click here to visit amazon.

Here is a short video review that will showcase the bag and all of it's features:

* For full disclosure, I received this bag from Lowepro for free. The review above is my personal opinion after using the bag for my own photographic needs.

Posted by aparker @ 6:10 PM [No Comments]
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Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Quick Review - Giottos MH1000-652 Ball Tripod Head
I've purchased two Giottos MH1000-652 Ball Tripod heads.

These things are great. A small profile, easy release, and pivot your camera to almost any angle. The quick release plate makes it a key piece of photographic gear.

Giottos MH1000-652 Tripod Head

Mounts to 3/8" screws, so an adapter may be required if your tripod has a 1/4" screw.

I've used this tripod head all over the world: Rome, San Francisco, Galapagos, Paris, ... It's never let me down. I should also mention that I use this with a Canon 5D Mark II, with battery grip and 24-70 f/2.8 lens. It doesn't have a problem supporting the 5 lbs of camera gear I've regularly got on it.

You can check out this product (4.5 out of 5 stars) on amazon by clicking here

And here is a quick video review:

Posted by aparker @ 3:19 PM [No Comments]
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Quick Review - Diztronic iPhone 6 Case
I recently purchased an iPhone 6 and really love how much Apple improved their product since the 4s. My only complaint is that it is so smooth and sleek that I know it's going to go flying out of my hand. So I would have to do something that I have never done before, get a case.

I looked around and was impressed with the Diztronic iPhone 6 Flexible TPU case. On amazon it was only $10 and it had great reviews.

I think the case is a great purchase, I've put up a video on youtube showing it more.

If you want to take a look you can find it here on amazon

Posted by aparker @ 3:10 PM [No Comments]
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Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Back from the grave after a year and a half
Wow, haven't written on this blog in forever. I'll have to post some updates here, especially with the trip to South America coming around the corner.

Actually had a problem where tweets were being pulled in multiple times. I had 70,000+ blog posts in the table, had to go in and play cleanup.
Posted by aparker @ 2:50 PM [No Comments]
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Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Giant and Scan It! Self Checkout to the extreme.
I was shoping for groceries in Virginia over Christmas when a little pamphlet caught my eye entitled "SCAN IT!". With my curiosity peeked, I took a flier to see what the buzz was all about.

SCAN IT! is basically a hand-held electronic device with a bar code scanner and a screen. You use your bonus card to check out a SCAN IT! unit when you enter the store. Then, as you walk around and purchase your groceries, you scan the items before placing them in your cart. When you check out, you scan "End of Order", scan your bonus card and pay. Talk about a time saver!!!

The welcome screen on the ScanIt unit.

Here are some pictures showing the device.

I was able to try the unit out in Boston at a Stop & Shop and it worked great. Two of the largest questions were around single bakery items like doughnuts and around purchasing produce that is by the pound. For produce, there is a scale with a touch screen.

The produce weighing scale and bar code printer.

Select your type of produce, weigh it, then print out a sticker with a bar code that can be scanned into the device. For baked goodies, just scan the bar code for that item right above it. Simple as that.

Bakery single item bar code sticker

More pictures of the whole process:

checkout screen

welcome screen

produce scale

produce barcode

scanned item

savings alert

bakery item

remove item

shopping cart

checkout station

done shopping

scan member card

put unit back

unit checkin station

One annoying feature about this tool is that every 5 minutes, or so, there is a loud cha-ching sound as the device shows you a new item being sold at discount. I can see the point for promoting products for impulse buyers, but the frequency and volume are a little much, especially if you are using the scanner for extended shopping trips.

Oh, and I learned the hard way that removing an item from your cart requires you to rescan the bar code. I don't know why you can't simply select and remove the item, but I had to retrace my steps through the store to clear out my fake shopping list. Quite annoying, but not a big deal if you are shopping for real and the items are actually with you.

remove item scan screen

Let's do even more

But since this is tied to your Giant bonus card account, the possibilities are huge. Giant, are you taking notes? Imagine sitting at your computer at home, entering your Giant bonus card number and then entering in your shopping list. Then that list is used when you get to the store and check out a SCAN IT! device and the items are checked off the list when you put them in your cart.

Or what if you could select meals that you would like to eat and the ingredients you need are added to your shopping list for you to buy when you get to the store.

Take it a step further. What if you had a SCAN IT! in your home and when you threw something away that you wanted to buy the next time you were at the store, you scanned it first and it was put on your shopping list. Then you barely have to think when you leave for the store.

But, the coup de gras, what if the stores could tell you where the items were located in the store? Wouldn't be that hard. Divide an aisle into sections, say 3 feet wide, indicated by section bar codes. Whenever the aisle is stocked or reorganized, an employee walks the aisle, scans the section, then all the items in that section are scanned. That information can then be used to quickly and accurately guide you through your shopping as quickly as possible.

Ok, those are my thoughts. SCAN IT! looks to be a nice system and I hope Kroger's or Public's gets a similar system down in Georgia soon to use.

Posted by aparker @ 10:41 PM [No Comments]
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Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Airport power is convenient at Boston-Logan Airport
Thanks to massport, power supplies embeded in the seats are easy to reach, easy to see and don't present the typical walking hazard that power cables at other airports create. Well done massport!

And, as you can see, to top it off they have added 2 USB power ports to charge your cell phone, MP3 player, etc. Very Very cool. Wonder if you can plug a USB hub into there?
Posted by aparker @ 5:51 PM [No Comments]
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Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Videos from my Italy trip last year
So it has been almost exactly a year since going to Italy and I thought I would share the videos I took on that trip.

There are two reasons the videos haven't been put up till now. The first is because I was so focused on creating my blurb book about the trip. The second was that I just didn't take the time to edit and post the videos.

Before I show you the clips, there is one lesson I learned that I would like to share with you all. That lesson is to always shoot in the highest quality you can! My camera supported HD video, but I didn't have a computer that could process that resolution, so I shot in DVD quality. My intentions were good, but I can now support HD editing and am sad that I didn't record high enough quality video.

Ok, now on to the videos, enjoy:

Compiliation of Italy read here

Rome read here

Florence read here

Venice read here

All videos captured with an aiptek HD camera.
Posted by aparker @ 10:17 AM [No Comments]
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