iPhone 6 Plus

I pre-ordered a 128GB iPhone 6 Plus today to replace my Motorola RAZR which I use for work. The RAZR has been lagging, freezing and generally pissing me off lately. I thought I’d try an Android phone to see what all the hype was about and am positive I will never go back to it. I’m planning on switching my personal phone (iPhone 5S) and the iPhone 6 Plus so I have the latest phone for personal use and the previous phone for work.

iPad mini

I picked up an iPad mini today from Target. They were running a sale for $100 off. Since I have an iPad Air, I don’t mind that the mini doesn’t have the retina display as it’ll mostly be used as an e-reader.

MacBook Air

I got an 11″ MacBook Air for “free” after registering for a training through work. At first I thought it would be a little too small but I kinda like the size. It only has 128GB of internal flash storage but since it’s not going to be my main computer (my Mac Mini is), it doesn’t bother me.

So far, I have been very surprised at how long the battery lasts. Apple states that it should last 9 hours but I’m so used to my work laptop going through a full charge in about two hours that nine hours feels like an eternity.

It came with Mavericks pre-installed but I’ve since “upgraded” to the public beta of OS X 10.10 “Yosemite”.

Amazon Prime

About a month ago, I decided to watch an old show, Veronica Mars, to see what the talk was about since they had recently filmed a movie version using funds from a Kickstarter campaign. I first checked Netflix but they don’t have the previous seasons. My remaining options were to either sign up for Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime so that I could get the instant video. Since Amazon Prime has the added benefit of free 2 day shipping on all purchases, I chose Amazon Prime. I wish I’d signed up when it was $79/year instead of $99/year.

Seeing If I Have A Green Thumb

One of the first things my wife and I discussed after moving into our house was starting a small raised bed garden. Last fall I purchased an inexpensive raised bed kit from Home Depot which gave me a 4’x8′ bed. I then filled it with garden soil and planted a few cloves of garlic since everything I had read indicated garlic would grow bigger if started in the fall as opposed to waiting until spring.
Early this spring, I purchased seeds for some herbs (basil, thyme, parsley, oregano and spearmint) and vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and bell peppers). I started the herbs indoors (on 4/6) as well as the tomatoes and peppers (on 4/7). It didn’t take long before most of the herbs popped up. It took a little longer for the tomatoes to sprout and almost a full month for the peppers to break through the soil.
Once there was no longer a danger of frost, I planted the rest of the seeds and transplanted three of the tomato plants outdoors (if they get eaten early on, I still have a few plants inside that I can replace them with).

Next year, I’m not so sure I’ll start the tomatoes by seed since I can get bigger/taller tomato and pepper plants from my local grocery for about $3 per plant. I’ll most likely still start the herbs from seed next year. I may even keep them going all year round, if I find a suitable pot for keeping them in on the window sill. I’d like to get four small pots which sit in a single long tray. So far, I’ve only been able to find three pots in a tray. I did find small individual pots with a blackboard type area on them which lets me write which herb is in the pot using chalk.

Giving Lightroom Another Try

A little over a month ago, I compared Lightroom and Aperture and decided to use Aperture.  Since then, I’ve been watching several videos on YouTube, which has helped me understand Lightroom a bit more, so I decided to try Lightroom one more time.
To start out, I exported the images out of Aperture to a new folder. While importing them into Lightroom, it was then that I noticed that most photos were missing the keywords I had tagged them with in Aperture. After do some research online, I learned that JPEGs and TIFFs need to have the metadata embedded in the files while RAW files would have the metadata in XMP sidecar files. After re-exporting the JPEGs and TIFFs with the metadata embedded, I re-imported those files and the keywords were there but I still lost the hierarchy I had established in Aperture. I did have to re-tag the TIFF files as there was an error when exporting them from Aperture with the metadata embedded. Luckily, the TIFF files are only family photos I scanned to preserve so that task wasn’t so bad.
I’ll continue to use them both side-by-side since I prefer Aperture’s integration into the OS and also like that there is more training, plug-ins, and presets available to Lr. Even though I’m still testing out Lightroom, I decided to sign up for the photography package from Adobe for $10/month which gets me access to Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as the new Lightroom mobile for iPad.


After I started loading all my photos into iPhoto on my new Mac, I started looking into Lightroom and Aperture. I downloaded the trial for Lightroom but didn’t like how it was laid out. It may be because I got used to iPhoto having one catalog for all photos and I could put photos into separate projects/albums within that catalog. Lightroom seems to want each project into it’s own catalog. Because of this, I started leaning towards Aperture but Apple no longer offers a trial version. After searching online, I was able to find the last trial version available from Apple and tried to install it on my Mac but because I’m running Mavericks (OS X 10.9) it wasn’t compatible. During the install, I was forwarded to the App Store where the latest version of Aperture is offered. I was then able to download that version for free.

I’ve been using Aperture for a couple months now and if/when Apple releases v4 of Aperture, I will definitely pay for the upgrade since I’m used to the functionality of the program. The way Apple is going though, the next version may be free to everyone anyway (Mavericks was a free upgrade, iLife and iWork apps are free, etc).

365 Project

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to participate in a photography project, either one photo every day or at least one photo each week. To at least try to keep this resolution, I signed up for 365 Project on New Year’s Day. The goal is to take a photo every day. For those days where I am too busy to take a photo, I’ve taken additional photos on other days so that by the end of the year I’ll have 365 photos. It started out fairly easily because I took interesting photos around the house. After a while I’ve started running out of ideas.

New Year’s Resolutions – 2014

Last year, I posted my 2013 resolutions as well as updating the results of my 2012 resolutions. I thought I would do the same this year.
My resolutions last year were:

  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Save up money to purchase some items on my personal wish list
  • Create a will, living revocable trust and a financial power of attorney

The first resolution didn’t happen as I haven’t lost any weight since last year. On a positive note, I haven’t gained any weight either.
I did manage to save up some money to purchase a few items which were on my personal wish list, so I actually succeeded in keeping a resolution.
I didn’t get around to creating a will, living revocable trust and a financial power of attorney.

My resolutions for 2014 are:

  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Create a will, living revocable trust and a financial power of attorney
  • Participate in a photography project – either one photo every day or at least one photo each week

The first two resolutions are carried over from the year before. The third resolution came about because I’ve recently gotten back into photography and purchased an entry-level DSLR. With the traveling I occasionally do for work, I don’t think the 365 project will be possible so as long as I can get one good image every single week through the course of the year, I will consider the third resolution satisfied.


My First DSLR

After playing around in iPhoto for the last couple weeks, and being on the fence for a few years about buying one, I decided to purchase a base level DSLR. Since I had a Canon SLR film camera (AE-1 Program) growing up, I decided to go with a Canon DSLR. I went to Canon’s website and purchased a refurbished EOS Rebel T3 kit (with 18-55mm lens) as well as a refurbished Canon 75-300mm lens for less than what a brand new EOS Rebel T3 kits would cost ($429). Unfortunately, I ordered it too late to bring it with me on a vacation we were taking to Arizona so I brought my point-and-shoot Canon A590IS to take photos. Once I get a decent camera bag and get used to taking photos with the T3, I’ll start taking that on trips instead of the A590IS.

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