Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Adding GPS data to your photos – really easily

Have you ever wished you could remember exactly where you were when you took that beautiful seashore photo? Or how about trying to explain how to get to the perfect picnic spot you discovered along that scenic river? Or, maybe you simply want to get back to that remote campsite where you accidentally left your iPad!

If any of those scenarios sound familiar, you are probably a candidate for a GPS-enabled camera. Once you start adding GPS metadata to your photos, you’ll be surprised at all the unexpected advantages it can offer. 

Years ago, however, adding metadata was at best - a pain. It used to be a matter of carrying a GPS device and then taking readings at each place you took a photo, so you could come back home and try to match them correctly. One lost note and you didn’t know which GPS coordinate went with which photo, not to mention the chance of error when typing in long and cryptic GPS coordinates.

Now, that’s all a thing of the past. With today’s accessories and software, it can all be done automatically, or with a couple clicks of your mouse.  

I recently had the opportunity to test drive a number of GPS devices in conjunction with some specialized software from GeoSpatial Experts in Thornton, Colorado. Their GPS-Photo Link software is used extensively by law enforcement, government, oil & gas, rescue and natural resource management groups around the world.  With a simple “wizard-like” menu progression, you are stepped through the process and then presented with a wealth of output possibilities. 

The software packages start around $149 and go up to the “do-all” master package - GIS Pro Series  for $349.00. That was the one I used, and I must admit to being quit impressed with all the options it presented. Watch the attached video to see how easily the output files were created.

The new version 5.0 outputs to ESRI Enterprise Geodatabases, Access files and PDF files as well as the ESRI Shape Files, Google Earth, Word and Web pages available in previous versions. In addition, the new interface is more interactive, allowing users to apply a variety of mapping functions to their photo project and preview the results on a live digital map before generating the final output.

That’s all well and good, but how do you get the GPS data needed to go with your photos, you ask? Actually, there are a number of options. The first and simplest method is to attach a GPS sensor to your camera if there is one available. I tested the Nikon GP-1 unit on a number of my Nikon DSLR’s. It was as simple as inserting the unit in the hot shoe atop my camera and plugging in it’s cord to the Nikon 10-pin connector on the front of my camera. 

Once plugged in, I merely had to wait for the unit to detect the GPS satellites above me, and when the green light came on, I was ready to shoot. Waiting time ranged from 15 to 75 seconds depending on location, cloud cover, etc. Usually it was on the lesser end of that range. The GPS data was then automatically included in each of the photos I shot and was ready for plotting as soon as I downloaded them to my computer. 

I also wanted to try applying GPS metadata to shots made on my Canon S-90 pocket camera which doesn’t have any hot shoe or connector. Not a problem, according to the experts at GeoSpatial. They had a solution for that as well. By using a separate handheld GPS unit, I merely needed to turn on the unit when I started shooting, and then turn it off again when I had completed my shoot. All the while it was on, it was creating a “log file” of dates, times and GPS coordinates as I traveled about. 

Once I was back at my computer. I merely attached the Garmin Trex handheld unit via a USB 2.0 cable and downloaded the log file to my hard drive. The Photo Link 5.0 software then matched the times on the log file with the times on my camera’s photos and it knew exactly which GPS data to apply to which photos – no interaction necessary on my part. Gotta love that. No more note-taking and no more mis-applied data. 

One trick made it all work seamlessly…when you start creating the log file, you need to take a photo of the GPS unit, showing the time-of-day. Later on, the software will offer you the opportunity to match the time shown in your photo with the time shown on your camera. The software compares the difference in the two and automatically syncs the two to give you the accurate location where you were when you pushed the shutter. 

When you have the need to present your photos with map accurate locations, you’ll have a hard time finding a better package than Photo Link version 5.0. With all the output possibilities this software offers, it’s hard to imagine a need it can’t meet.  A free, fifteen-day trial is available as well.

Talk to the folks at GeoSpatial Experts to make sure you have the right combination of hardware and software. They offer everything you’ll need from GPS enabled cameras, to GPS add-ons, to handheld units to software. Their tech support is top-notch as well.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Great value in replacement earbuds

Christmas 2010 is the perfect time for those trendy tech purchases. Holiday gift choices this year are available no matter what your budget. So let’s look at a few suggestions for those travelers on your list this year. Today we’ve got the perfect solutions for someone who wants to just chill out with some good music without breaking the bank.

iHome Metal Earbuds

Ever notice that you can now spend as much on a pair of earbuds as I used to spend for a plane ticket to fly from Cleveland to Baltimore? Let’s also assume you need an extra pair of earbuds to go with that new iPhone or iPad. With  a MSRP of $29.00 and a street price of under $17.00, you probably won’t do much better than the iHome iB24 metal earbuds

The metal housing helps ensure a very durable unit that still sounds great. Nice bass and nice treble were evident no matter what genre I played. This unit also comes with an in-line controller and microphone, so you don’t need to switch headsets when you receive or make a phone call. The in-line controller also handles volume, play/pause/skip, track selection, voice commands, and answers or ends phone calls. Press and hold the controller’s center button to use VoiceOver commands. (The controller only works with 3GS or newer iPhones, 2nd generation or newer touch, later model iPod Classics as well as the 5th generation nano and 3rd generation shuffle.)

Detachable and replaceable (they give you small, medium and large) ear cushions help to isolate noise and give you a proper listening environment. The whole unit then stores in the supplied carrying pouch, and fits comfortably in your pocket or bag. 

Other iHome products I’ve used and loved:
IP49 Rechargeable, portable speaker for iPod or iPhone – true concert sound in a travel case.
iHM79 Portable, rechargeable speakers- external speakers that are small and light enough for a backpack, but produce nice rich sound.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yet another airline fee?

Yes, another fee to add to your already skyrocketing airline cost of travel. But wait; maybe you’ll like this one. In a first for the airline industry, Continental Airlines introduced another booking fee today. Actually, it’s a fee to lock in your ticket price for three to seven days without a commitment to purchase the ticket.

This new airline fee is called FareLock, and it’s available for those booking reservations online at continental.com.  For $5 you can ask to hold the price for your ticket for 3 days, or, for up to $9, they will hold the price for seven days.  You also have the option to let the order expire at the duration of the time selected, or if you select the “auto-ticket” option, the order will be filled if you don’t get back and cancel it.

"FareLock is an innovative option for customers who need extra time to plan their travel before purchasing a ticket," said Chris Amenechi, managing director of merchandising. "This new option is another way that Continental is giving our customers more choices and more control over their travel experience."
According to their press release, the FareLock option is available on “certain” domestic and international itineraries. Time will tell how much of their ticket inventory will be affected by this new offering.

Checking on fares from Cleveland to New York, I noticed that the option failed to show up on any flight I checked. Talking with Continental’s service desk, it appears they are not turning the option on until tomorrow, Dec. 15.

Want to read about other airline fees, you might wish to check some of my past articles:

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Best kept Cleveland secret - the "A Christmas Story" house

Cleveland is a long way from Hollywood, but it still shines on the silver screen in more than one film. But, this time of year, A Christmas Story is probably the one seen on as many screens as any other. Supposedly based in Indiana, the film was actually shot in Cleveland and Toronto.

Originally a flop when released in 1983, A Christmas Story eventually garnered cult status after appearing non-stop on cable station TNT on Christmas Day in the 90’s. Another film classic was born.

The exterior scenes of Ralphie’s home were filmed in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, close to downtown. The home and yard used for the film were eventually purchased on eBay in 2004 and restored to their film-day’s glory. The house is now open for tours.

Across the street, there is also a museum, complete with behind the scene’s photos and multiple TV’s playing clips from the movie.
• Recall the classic scene where the schoolboy gets double-dared to stick his tongue on the flagpole.
• Remember when Mom and Santa warn Raphie he’s “liable to shoot his eye out”
• And who can forget the Major Award leg lamp.

If those don’t bring the movie back into the forefront of your memory, check out A Christmas Story in 30 seconds in this animated spoof.

Brian Halloran of Dallas, Texas was at the A Christmas Story house recently with his wife Terry, daughter Claire and son Alex. Watching the film is an annual Christmas tradition in their family and this year, while visiting Cleveland, they just had to stop by the house for a visit. Standing with the Major Award leg lamp, they posed for a family portrait to remember the visit.

In addition, to touring the house and the museum, there is also a gift shop across the street complete with leg lamps, bunny suits, etc. With three places to visit, it’s a great stop before or after Christmas shopping. The house is located at 3159 West 11th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44109, just about five minutes from downtown. You can visit their website for hours and prices.

Eye-Fi Pro X2 memory card - extended review

Every once in a while, something revolutionary hits an industry – hopefully for the better. Such is the impact of the Eye-Fi memory cards for digital cameras. The newest in their line, the Pro X2 is an absolutely astounding combination of 8 GB of memory, WiFi support, geotagging, RAW support and ad hoc network capabilities. If there is a photographer on this year’s gift list, you couldn’t find a thing he’d like better.

Assuming your camera uses SD cards, Eye-Fi has a card for your situation. If you use SD, and especially if you shoot RAW photos, you need to load up on the Pro X2. Where to start? There is so much to like about the card.

SPEED  Writing  photos to your card is done at impressive Class 6 speeds. A card is only good for pros if the data can be written as quickly as the photographer is shooting.  I recently shot snow-tubing races and this card had no trouble keeping up with me.

SIZE While all the current Eye-Fi cards offer at least 4 GB, the Pro X2 offers a generous 8 GB of storage. For a professional Nikon shooter, shooting RAW images, that equates to almost 400 images per card. For an amateur shooting JPEG images, expect well over 1,000(up to 4,000) images depending on the quality setting in your camera.

UPLOADING For my entire previous shooting career, uploading my images was a case of finding my card reader, plugging it into the appropriate computer and then waiting while it transferred my images. With the Eye-Fi line of cards, assuming you have WiFi, when you turn on your camera within 45’ of your computer (90’ outdoors), the transfer starts automatically. Photos are delivered wirelessly to the folder you designated during setup. No more removing the card. Just turn on your camera and watch the photos fly onto your hard drive as each photo shows in a small thumbnail on the lower right corner of your screen.  

AUTO SHUTOFF Watch for auto shutoff on your camera – if it shuts down before all the images are transferred, you’ll need to restart it or transfer the old fashioned way. Many cameras now have support built right in for Eye-Fi cards and they will not only stay on during the entire transfer, they are smart enough to turn your camera off when completed.  Over 10 million cameras now have this support built-in.

ENDLESS MEMORY  What’s that – endless memory?  With a configuration you set, the card is actually smart enough to know what files have already been uploaded, and if you start to fill your card, it can erase those photos you’ve already uploaded to make more room for continued shooting. The percentages when this kicks in and the whole process is determined by you during setup.

NETWORK COMPATABILITY  Eye-Fi works on all 802.11 b/g/n networks. Depending on the traffic on your network, it’s capable of transferring data at 10-15 megabits/second.

HOTSPOTS  As you travel, you probably don’t carry your router, so photos can be uploaded and saved at thousands of AT&T hotspot locations including  Starbucks, McDonalds, hotels and airports.  One year of hotspot access is included with your purchase.

AD HOC NETWORKS  Out on a beach, up in the mountains, no router and no networks = no trouble. You can set up your laptop to create an ad-hoc network and wirelessly transfer photos anywhere.

ONLINE UPLOAD  As your photos are being uploaded, they can also be stored in the cloud on a special Eye-Fi server.  Your photos go here for a rolling 7 days, just in case your camera should get lost or stolen.  After seven days, Eye-Fi assumes they are safely stored somewhere else and then removes them. If you want permanent storage, that’s an extra cost option. If you are using a metered data plan, this feature can be turned off to avoid excessive charges. Once online, you can share the photos with any smartphone.

ONLINE SHARING  While on the road, people can’t wait to share their travel photos. Now, you needn’t wait. Again, with a user configurable setting, you can instantly upload one or all of your photos onto most of the popular social media sites. They can be sent to Facebook, flickr, Picasa, MobileMe plus a dozen or more others, right from your camera with no computer needed. (You will need a hotspot or network access however.)

VIDEO  The Eye-Fi cards can handle a variety of video formats including: mpg, mov, flv, wmv, avi, mp4 and mts.  Files are limited to 2 GB in size. Videos can be uploaded wirelessly to YouTube, flickr, SmugMug, Picasa Web, Phanfare and Photobucket.

GEOTAGGING  There is no GPS actually onboard the card, but with an amazing use of Wi-Fi positioning technology, if you are near any Wi-Fi signal, it will register it and use it to geotag your photos. Even if it’s a secured Wi-Fi signal you don’t have permission to use, it will locate the signal’s source in a database and use its location to tag your photos. Truly amazing. Since it’s using WI-Fi instead of GPS, that means it will actually work inside a building where standard GPS would not.

RAW FORMAT  Pros generally shoot RAW images, and that’s an area where the photo industry could have been nicer to Eye-Fi. Every camera manufacturer seems to have their own proprietary RAW format and metadata is kept in different places on different brand cameras. So, even though the Eye-Fi Pro 2X will shoot, store and transfer RAW files just fine, don’t be surprised by mixed results when it comes to some of the other features.

I experimented with Canon and Nikon RAW formats. In all cases, the files transferred to my computer with no problem. Sometimes, the thumbnails would show up, sometimes not. Sometimes the geotagging would attach itself to a RAW file and sometimes not. As more and more cameras begin to incorporate Eye-Fi technology right into their operating systems, expect this to get better in the foreseeable future.

This tiny card has already revolutionized how I shoot and how I think about shooting. I doubt I’ll ever buy another standard media card for my SD equipped cameras. Eye-Fi just has too much to like. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

A perfect “10” for Contigo’s autoseal stainless steel travel mug

In the world of marketing hype, not many things deliver on their promises. When it comes to coffee mugs, I can’t count the number I’ve used that claimed to be spill-proof or leak-proof. Umm…not really – until now. Add this idea to your 2010 holiday’s gift list for your favorite traveler.

The Contigo Autoseal West loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug

This mug is the happy exception. It really is spill-proof and leak-proof. I recently shook it upside down over my laptop keyboard to make the point to a friend. I would have never thought about doing that stunt with any other mug I ever owned.
Even better, you don’t do anything to maintain the seal. You press a button to drink and release when you finish sipping. Releasing the self-sealing button is all that’s necessary to reseal it. As amazing as that already is, yes friends, it gets even better.
I like coffee because it tastes good, but I also like it because it’s hot. This double-wall, vacuum-insulated, stainless steel mug keeps it that way longer than any other mug I’ve tried as well. The company boasts 4 hours for hot beverages and 12 hours for cold beverages. I never took 12 hours to finish a cold beverage in my life, so I doubt I’ll ever test that limit. I did have the mug filled with coffee in a 40 degree garage however, and it was still warm when I finished it 2-1/2 hours later.

This mug is approaching Mona Lisa perfection already, but here comes the coup de gras. If you pick the right model, this baby is dishwasherable. Holy hot beverages, Batman, no travel mug was ever dishwasher safe before. While Contigo does suggest hand washing their decorated mugs, the brushed stainless Silver model shown here is ready to jump right in with your other dinner dishes – cap and all. No, seriously…the cap too. 
Read the rest of the story at Examiner.com

Thursday, December 2, 2010


One of the great features of books is the ability to take us mentally to places we’ve never visited. Add pictures, and we can see for ourselves what others experience in their unique neighborhoods. Add music, and now our senses begin to actually internalize the journey without ever leaving our favorite reading chair.

Such is the experience with Donald McCrea’s latest work, MIGRATION. It is 139 pages of wonderful, full-color photographs that portray all sizes and shapes of America’s cities and activities. Sometimes poignant, often humorous, always interesting, McCrea has gathered a remarkable collection of images for our journey.

McCrea, the editor and one of the featured photographers in MIGRATION, selected the best work of some of today's most acclaimed photographers, including Alex Harris, William Greiner, Peter Granser, and Edward Burtynsky. "I wanted photographs that brought America to life in all of its complexity, beauty, and contradiction," says McCrea.

I especially loved the “collections” by Edward Burtynsky, the rodeo images by Kenneth Jarecke, the big, white-sky images of Dave Jordano and the humorous daily-life, small-town visions of Susana Raab. 

In addition to the wonderful photos, McCrea includes a link to download 12 songs he composed to accompany the book. It’s an eclectic mix of R&B, country, alternative and heaven-only-knows what else, but I loved them. Turns out, McCrea has been a working musician and songwriter for the past 50 years.

Read the whole story here on Examinar.comhttp://ping.fm/Eqem1


Before my trip to Alaska, I looked for one and only one book that I would pack to take along. In no time at all, I realized this was the one I needed. They’ve been publishing this annual guide since 1949, and each year it just gets a little better.

It covers the 30 major routes that traverse Alaska and the Northwest Territories with thousands of milepost numbers listed and helpful information about that immediate area. It also covers 60 more side trips that you might certainly do well to investigate. Reading the guide, you know before you pass it, whether or not it’s something you want to see or visit.

This guide is like having a tour guide sitting next to you who has done the route dozens of times and knows every little gem there is to stop for. I drove from Anchorage to Denali on my trip. Before I even got to Alaska, this book pointed out special photographic opportunities I would never have discovered by myself. One of my most dramatic bridge shots was described in the book as a 2 minute hike from the road to get to a vantage point I would have certainly driven right by. Before I ever hit the road, I already had those mile markers I was going to be looking for. Such a great idea.  Read the whole story here on Examinar.com http://ping.fm/rEG0H

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A short selection of favorite travel photos

Just posted a few of my favorite travel photos on TwitterTravelers.com See them all here: http://ning.it/hn3KFA

Monday, November 29, 2010

iHome Charging Station

If you are like most techie travelers I know, you are beginning to get lost in a maze of chargers, cords and cables. Until all our devices are charged by osmosis, we need a way to manage the clutter and danger of too many cords sitting on our desk or nightstand.
Enter iHome,with their simple but efficient answer for at least part of your wire and charger dilemma. The iB969G charging station will take care of the four most popular devices probably cluttering up your life. With only one visible cord, you’ve got a place to store and use your iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry or Sony e-Book reader. Oh, and did I mention it all looks neat in the process? It does.
Read the full review on Examiner.com http://ow.ly/3h6cV

iHome IB969G Charging Station for iPad, iPod, iPhone, BlackBerrys and eReaders

Friday, November 26, 2010

SNOW DAYS now open at Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH

Now open - SNOW DAYS at Progressive Field - tubing, ice skating, snow mazes, and lighting from the former GE Nela Park. Read the whole story on Examiner.com (Hover your mouse over the lower right corner of slide show to see full-screen.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

WKYC- TV3 (Cleveland NBC affiliate) interview

Got a chance to talk about TSA practices and National Opt-Out Day with TV3 reporter Dick Russ.  Here's a link to their website article and here is the video clip that led their broadcast this evening.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Avoiding the dreaded "pat down" from TSA

Here's how to actually avoid the TSA aggressive pat downs and have a more relaxed trip in the process.  Read the whole article here on Examiner.com http://dbhas.info/ayu7KM

Saturday, November 20, 2010

TSA pat down procedure pronouncement

TSA feels the heat about the new pat down procedure and tries to make people more comfortable with this uncomfortable situation.  Read the whole story in my article on Examiner.com http://ping.fm/zcIJI

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

National Opt-Out Day - a way to show you care

Thousands of people are up in arms about the new full-body scans and more aggressive pat-down procedures recently implemented for air travel in our nation's airports. National Opt-Out Day fights back against this  invasion of privacy in airport security lines. Flying travelers need to read the full story here: http://ping.fm/9vLau

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Video of the Ice Hotel in Quebec

Video by Hotel de Glace, the Ice Hotel in Quebec.  This year it will be located at a new address, even closer to the city, making it more accessible for both tourists and Quebec citizenry. Look for it at 9530, rue de la Faune, Qu├ębec adjacent to the Four Points by Sheraton Quebec.  
Read the entire story in this article of mine on Examiner.com. 

Hotel de Glace (the Ice Hotel) in Quebec

Photos by Xavier Dachez ©Xdachez.com  Read the full story of the Ice Hotel on Examiner.com. It's an amazing site to see - not to mention an unbelievable place to spend the night. Nordic mummy bags are included. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grand Lake Colorado is unexpected pleasure

Perfect winter getaway near Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park - Grand Lake, Colorado - the unexpected surprise destination httPublish Postp://ping.fm/YsYdy

The 2010 Florida Beach Walk

825 miles of beach in Florida +3,700 photographers = Florida Beach Walk (view & vote to win $5,000 or a Mazda Miata) http://bit.ly/9IerFH

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fly.com calcs your baggage fees as well as airfare

Another airline search engine - Fly.com - now lets you compare baggage fees along with the airfare. http://ping.fm/MFUV1

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Try car camping on your next photo expedition.

Car camping blends high tech and low tech for the perfect getaway. With a few pieces of gear, you're all set. http://ping.fm/DXu4O

Friday, October 29, 2010

WiFi available while you fly on Southwest Airlines

Now you can review, edit AND upload your photos while you fly...if you are on one of 32 specially equipped Southwest Airline flights.  Not only that, their introductory price will be only $5 per flight, no matter how far you fly. Read more: http://dbhas.info/cD7a9v

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No winner photos for LeBron today

Are we feelin' bad for LeBron yet? Miami loses season opener. LeBron turns the ball over 8 times. Oops! http://ow.ly/30kOT

Friday, October 22, 2010

Celebrating the circus in Sarasota, FL

[To see the photos full screen, hover your mouse over the lower right of the photo, then click on the arrow.]

For those who love the circus (and for those who've never been) - consider a quick trip to Sarasota, FL.
Click this link to read the full article at Examiner.com

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reciprocal Frequent Flyer Elite Benefits Begin on United and Continental

Continental Airlines announces that Mileage Plus and OnePass elite members are now able to sit more comfortably on both United and Continental flights. The new reciprocal seating benefits give Mileage Plus elite members access to domestic first-class upgrades, extra legroom seating and preferred seating on Continental flights, while OnePass elite members can enjoy unlimited domestic first-class and business-class upgrades and Economy Plus seating on United flights.

"We know Mileage Plus and OnePass members value upgrades and premium seating," said Jeff Foland, president of Mileage Plus Holdings. "Now whether flying on United or Continental, elites from each program get the best seats."

Reciprocal preferred seating is one of the first benefits frequent flyers may enjoy as United and Continental work to align their loyalty programs. Additional program benefits will be announced periodically over the coming months, with full integration of the programs anticipated in 2012. More information about reciprocal elite seating benefits can be found at www.mileageplus.com or www.continental.com/onepass.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ohio State Buckeyes football team defeats Indiana Hoosiers 38-10

[Slide Show - click lower right corner to go full screen. Click here to see full screen with captions.]

Traveling from Cleveland to Columbus for the game was a real challenge today with a huge hour’s long traffic jam on I-71 South. But the drive was worth it.  In what was a bigger blow-out than the score indicates, the OSU Buckeyes had their way with the Hoosiers from Indiana.  The Buckeyes did everything possible to entertain the home town fans. 
Having the chance to shoot the Ohio State Buckeyes football team is always a challenge. There are so many talented players that you can’t just concentrate on any one individual. There are a plethora of players all capable of scoring. That keeps you on your toes all afternoon.
To read the rest of the story, see my article on Examiner.com.  To view the slides full screen with captions, visit my gallery

Monday, October 4, 2010

Travel stories on Facebook - yep, that'll do it.

"You make such a cute little target." It's started already - now you can shop without leaving Facebook. http://ping.fm/Rld9f

Halloween treats

Get your scared on this Halloween in Butler County, PA - Ghouls, Ghosts and great candy http://ow.ly/2NQBa

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The perfect keyboard for those who travel

Great ultra-portable 76-key digital piano with amazing sound. For anyone that travels and wants to take their keyboard, you can't do better than this. For the full review, click here: http://dbhas.info/dCjnYY
Or watch the video for a beginners introduction.

A review of the Yamaha Piaggero NP-V80 primarily to demonstrate the audio qualities of the keyboard. I'm not a pianist and don't pretend to be. Hopefully this video will be followed up with a video by someone who really knows how to make this keyboard sing. The sound quality and the options are really fantastic.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Luxury travel to sporting events - only for those with deep pockets

How about a trip to the Grand Prix with a Ferrari for your rental car and a helicopter for your shuttle? http://ping.fm/wUcDN

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Key West sounds like a giant Harley dealership

2010 Peterson's Poker Run sees over 10,000 motorcycles drive from Miami to Key West this weekend. (slideshow) http://ping.fm/4VeYs

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting away from it all….NOT

Taking technology on vacation? Of course you will - you and 77% of your neighbors. Read the full article here: http://dbhas.info/9oBBmy

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Now HDR photos processed in camera on iPhone and iTouch

Newest version of iPhone and Touch op system (iOS4.1) will process HDR photos in camera. Free download next week. http://ping.fm/tfe1x

Apple's news conference details

All the details of Apple's news conference today. New iOS4.1 release plus all new Apple iPod and TV announced. http://ping.fm/UU0Wm

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to school – take these gadgets with you for maximum fun and productivity

It's off to school again, and you know you want to take the latest technology with you. This list of two dozen or so items will make you the envy of your roommates, friends, professors....well, you get the idea.  Most are very reasonably priced but all are worth the investment.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Chargepod

Now charge six devices at once - eliminate USB cable glut. Cool new device you'll take everywhere. http://ping.fm/lMrqJ

Friday, August 20, 2010

Spy Video Trakr

A real, mobile spy video camera (with night vision) you can afford. Totally amazing product drives via video remote. Select from standard color screen or night vision green screen. With an SD card inserted, you can record videos or still photos. Programmable or operates right out of the box. http://dbhas.info/8ZiT9p

TomTom GPS app for the iPhone

TomTom GPS app for the iPhone works just like the real thing - no phone or data connection required. Read the full article.  http://ping.fm/TfUhl

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oktoberfest and Taste of Cleveland

Labor Day events in Cleveland for those who enjoy food and music - good times, cheap fun, can't beat it. http://ping.fm/hlhXM

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wi-Fire pulls in Wi-Fi signals you never knew existed

Find Wi-Fi signals your computer can't. $49 adapter pulls in signals up to 1,000 feet away. http://ping.fm/7CtOt

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Traveling through Hopkins Airport - look for changes

AIRMALL officially open now at Cleveland Hopkins Airport - new winning terrazzo designs unveiled http://ping.fm/cq9f7

Lakeside OH had lots of photo ops this weekend

Lakeside OH was rocking and rolling - giant waves, annual softball game and 5K race, OSU alumni band concert http://ping.fm/jaZW5

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ignition is an app you can't not like

Remotely access home files on iPhone / iPad. Listen to your MP3's - download/open/forward files. Free trial & free app http://bit.ly/bYKn99

Zenfolio - display your photos like the pros

The most professional way to display your photos on the Internet - just like the paparazzi. $5.00 off referral code. http://bit.ly/9071Nm

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How many add-on fees can an airline possibly add to your ticket?

How about a hundred? If you are carrying a lot of photographic gear on an airline flight these days, you better budget twice the published price to cover all the add-ons. Don't like it? Sound off here!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Taking a virtual trip - blasting off for Popcornville

Searching for the best popcorn available anywhere. Six top picks revealed. (Does bourbon and bacon sound savory? How about Bhut jolokia peppers?) Read the full article:  http://dbhas.info/96QO1E

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Seeing Cleveland from 42 floors up

Terminal Tower's observation deck is open again for a limited time - get downtown to see what Cleveland looks like without LeBron. http://ping.fm/jVRqx

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Cleveland tall ships festival 2010 is now open

Ron Walters and Kevin Kerka welcome the tall ships to Cleveland by firing their handmade replica of a Revolutionary War 6# cannon.

Read the article about the 2010 Cleveland Tall Ships Festival:  http://ping.fm/YqUvq

Ever wonder what cameras the paparazzi use?

Photo courtesy of The Greenbriar
The paparazzi were out for the gala opening of the Greenbrier Casino. That gave me a chance to survey the gear everyone was using. Does this answer the question which camera is best? Read the article here.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The stars came out at The Greenbrier for the gala opening of the Casino Club

Dozens of stars descended on West Virginia last night to attend the gala opening of the Casino Club at The Greenbriar - America's Resort.  (Read the full article here: http://dbhas.info/aOQnPc )
Enjoy some of my photos from the event...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Could be the best place to dine, wine, shop and entertain in Las Vegas.

Town Square Las Vegas is a real hidden gem just south of Mandalay Bay.  If you've had your fill of the "strip" and want good food, great bars and a place to spend the day or evening, you deserve to check this out. See the whole story with slideshow here:  http://ping.fm/Yd6ab

Friday, June 25, 2010

A perfect weekend roadtrip in PA - follow this barn tour

The perfect getaway - great scenery, interesting farms and squeezably soft alpacas. Be sure to see the slideshow. http://dbhas.info/c5zW8C

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 26th Fireworks...why wait for July 4th?

July 4th fireworks come early this year - June 26th in fact - if you are near Columbia Station. http://ping.fm/CVSFq

Traveling smart when you travel internationally

How to use your smartphone more "smartly" while traveling internationally. Your federal gov. is being proactive. http://ping.fm/uCIYs

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Duct tape rolls into Avon, Ohio at annual parade and festival

Thousands of visitors flocked to Avon, OH to witness the creations made from duct tape. It's a story you've got to read to believe. Slideshow of the sculpture and parade floats included.  http://ping.fm/QwCvg

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why your next travel camera might be the iPhone 4

It happens every year or so. You either drop it in the swimming pool, drop kick it out of your car or the dog ate it (yeah right.) Whatever the case, you think it's time you need a new camera. That old camera just isn't taking the pics like your friends get, and it's time to upgrade.

Complicating or simplifying the decision this year (depending on your point of view) is the quality of the new iPhone 4's built in camera.  The new iPhone 4's camera is now up to a respectable 5 megapixels in resolution.  That is probably enough for most non-professional photographers.

According to the charts, you could print a true photo quality (300 pixels per inch) print up to 6"x9" from a 5 megapixel image.  In reality, I've used Epson inkjet printers for years and gotten very good quality images at 150 pixels per inch. That would grant you a 12"x18" print from the same photo.

While too many people place the emphasis on megapixel count, the real issue is pixel quality. For example, a pro camera with a full image sensor like the Nikon D3 or D700 will always outperform a point-and-shoot with the same megapixel count. That's because the pro camera's pixels (sensors) are bigger than the point-and-shoot's pixels. Bigger is better - in every way that matters. They capture more of the information you need to create a digital photo.

Read the entire article at Examiner.com.
Beginning iPhone 4 Application Development

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Amazing do-it-all Grand Canyon helicopter tours

If you only have one day and you want to do it all, then the West Rim should be your destination of choice. Called Grand Canyon West, it’s a part of the Hualapai Indian’s 100 mile long reservation bordering the Colorado River. Opened in 1988, the Hualapai have created a destination where visitors can really experience all that the canyon has to offer.

I recently completed one of the Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours offered by TourGuy.com while in Las Vegas. Just one of dozens of adventure tours offered by TourGuy.com, this trip offered everything I was looking for in one convenient package.

Read the entire article and see the slideshow with images from the Grand Canyon here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cleveland travelers gather to discuss Alaska

Have you ever been to the largest state in the US? Not Texas - but ALASKA! It's a land of awesome mountains and glaciers, abundant and majestic wildlife, whale watching and the best hunting and fishing anywhere.

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to visit there, Tuesday night will be a great opportunity for Clevelander's to talk with those who've been there and get the real answers you seek. Like, NO, it doesn't snow all year long and YES you can go out in short sleeves during a great number of days each year.

The Northeast Ohio Council of Hostelling International is sponsoring a Travelers Circle event this Tuesday night at 6:00 P.M. at Bar Cento in Ohio City. The Travelers Circle is a free event, sponsored numerous times each year, highlighting different vacation destinations. This particular event will concentrate on Alaska from the Kenai Peninsula in the south to Anchorage and Fairbanks further north. Hostels visited will be discussed as well as traveling on the Alaska Railroad.

Typically, a half-hour long presentation with a slide show will be followed by a question and answer session. Before and afterwards, you may avail yourself of all the wonderful refreshments served by Bar Cento. Travelers Circles are always open to all and reservations are not needed.

Bar Cento is located at 1948 West 25th St in Cleveland, about one block NW of the West Side Market. Parking is available on the street and there is a lot available at 26th and Market Avenue.

Bar Cento serves an Italian menu with great pizza, 99 Belgian beers and 100 wines from around the world. Living the "green movement," they source local and organic ingredients from local farmers. Click one of these links for their menu or their wine list.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Paul McCartney to open new CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh

It's been 46 years since his first performance in Pittsburgh, but HE'S BACK. CONSOL Energy Center Arena revealed today that their grand opening performance will feature Paul Mc Cartney on August 18th. The completion date of the construction was supposedly moved up two weeks to accomodate Mc Cartney's schedule.

If you are planning some travel in the near future, this is a venue unlike many others. Designed to be the first Gold LEED certified arena in the country, all that "greening" promises to make this a very comfortable experience for the fans.
Read the complete story here: http://ping.fm/4t0EW

Thursday, June 3, 2010

$50,000 for 30 seconds of your time

Make a 30-second video for Cheaptickets.com and win $50,000 of travel. Beats sitting around watching oil spill reruns. http://ping.fm/g5Dd4

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Top ten best pieces of travel gear you should be packing

Part Five (last one) - Best of the Best Travel Gear - PakSmarte, Mophie, Anywhere Back Cushion. My top ten list is complete. http://ping.fm/gGla6

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Part Four - Best of the Best Travel Gear - PhotoSafe II for digital downloading photo files + idox360 iPhone holder http://ping.fm/Jf4n9

Friday, May 28, 2010

Part Three - Best of the Best Travel Gear - Jabra's CRUISER bluetooth device and SPIBelt http://ping.fm/OfVq2

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Best of the Best Travel Gear - Part Two - mini projector and surge protector/USB charger http://ping.fm/h2mv0

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Best of the Best Travel Gear - Part One - camera backpack and travel audio http://ping.fm/twh4h

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monster trucks have got nothing on this beast - tires bigger than your hot tub!!!

If the mud-jumping trucks at the county fair are called 'monster trucks' then the tires on this bus must earn it the title 'Godzilla of Buses.' Where else are you going to get a chance to ride a passenger bus with tires that stand almost 5 feet tall?

Relatively half way between Lake Louise and Jasper, Alberta, the Athabasca Glacier continues its journey down the Columbia Icefield and mere mortals can drive over its sometimes vertical surfaces. That is, if you take the "Ice Age Adventure" tour in one of their specially outfitted luxury SnoCoaches.

The drive north from Lake Louise couldn't be easier. Go north on the Icefields Parkway - that's it. One road all the way. Sounds boring, but the scenery is breathtaking the entire trip. Download a free, complete travel guide for the parkway here.

Read the whole article here at Examiner.com.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lake Louise - Alberta photo-feature with slide show.

All my life, I loved looking at magazines articles with photos of the Pacific Northwest. I knew I needed to follow in my great-grandfather's footsteps and head north to capture the beauty photographically.
The quintessential photo of the area for me was always that image looking into Lake Louise from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. I just had to see it for myself. After years of dreaming, August was set as the date to make the trip.
Flying into Calgary, we rented a car and headed west to Banff National Park. Banff is in fact, the birthplace of Canada's park system. In 1885 the park was founded and over four million visitors a year now trek north to enjoy this most pristine place.
Arriving in Lake Louise, we wound our way up to the lake. Checking in to our hostel could wait - I needed to finally see the lake.  Pulling into the parking lot, it all became so familiar. All those photographs I had admired came back like deja vu. It was exciting and new; but, familiar and old at the same time.
With the smell of the lodgepole pines and a cool breeze coming from the glacial waters, we quickly donned our fleece vests and made our way to the water's edge.
To the left of the lake, Mount Fairview rises 2,745 meters almost straight up with a rugged rock face. Straight ahead, we viewed the Upper and Lower Victoria Glaciers, each unique but both perfectly centered and reflecting in the water at the end of the lake. The white of the glaciers contrasted nicely against the dark rock faces to the left.
To complete the story and see the slide show, click here.

Banff National Park is one of Canada's top 10 parks

If scenic beauty and outdoor fresh air are your desire, you couldn't do better than these top 10 parks in Canada. From east to west, the Canadian travel bureau has given us its suggestions for a complete travel and photographic experience.

First on their list is Banff National Park in Alberta. Banff is in fact, the birthplace of Canada's park system. In 1885 the park was founded and will be celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Over four million visitors a year trek north to enjoy this most pristine place.

I last visited Banff in 2006 and was immediately drawn to its friendly people, photographic vistas and opportunities to explore. Trails were easy to follow and the views at the end were worth the trek.

We explored downtown Banff and got great suggestions at the Visitors Center. We first took the cable car to the top of Sulphur Mountain. From there you could see six distinct mountain ranges in an incredible panorama - too bad the clouds blew in just as we got out of the gondola.

To complete the article, click here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Street Rod Nationals scheduled for June 4-6 in York, PA

3,700+ Souped-up street rods will all be heading to York, PA for the 37th annual Street Rod Nationals. Contestants and visitors come from all across the US and Canada and will be convening at the York Expo Center on June 4-6, 2010.

Street rods are modernized vintage vehicle that must be of pre-1980 manufacture. Many are highly customized including the latest accessories and sound systems. All vehicles must be licensed to drive on the streets and must be driven on to the grounds. Included in this event are muscle cars, those factory produced high horsepower machines from the 60’s and 70’s along with the classics cars of the 50’s.

"The National Street Rod Association (NSRA) is thrilled to celebrate thirty years in York, PA. This year marks the first time the event will be open to vehicles manufactured prior to 1980," noted Jerry Kennedy, special event director for NSRA. "As an organization, we're excited to share our passion with a diverse group of enthusiasts. It's amazing to think you'll be able to see not only street rods but muscle cars, customs and specialty vehicles, all in one place."

For the rest of the article please click here:  http://ping.fm/HvlnZ

Thursday, May 13, 2010

NASCAR Hall of Fame now one more reason to visit Charlotte NC

Grand opening of Hall of Fame | AP Photo/Chuck Burton
Tuesday morning, with streamer blasts colorizing the air, the NASCAR Hall of Fame was declared officially open. Teresa Earnhardt, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Jack Ingram, Darrell Waltrip, Lisa France Kennedy, Brian France, Richard Petty and Junior Johnson were all at the podium for the festive event.

Opening ceremonies in Ceremonial Plaza were open to all and a great crowd waited for the 9:00 a.m. kickoff ceremony. Drivers made appearances throughout the day with autograph sessions for the fans.

Inside, those with tickets were finally able to enjoy the new Hall of Fame and its interactive exhibits. Throughout the day, visitors got to see a who's-who of racing fame as all the following made appearances:

Read the complete story at Examiner.com  http://dbhas.info/bD23fV

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How does your summer vacation destination compare with this year's Top Ten list?

In a press release this morning, Orbitz Worldwide announced the top destinations for travel this summer. Based on bookings for hotels and airfares between 6/1 and 8/31, Orbitz has come up with a top ten list. Some are quite surprising to me.

Monday, I wrote about ways to enjoy Las Vegas without gambling, and golly, everyone must have anticipated my article, because that's the number one destination in their survey. With a surprisingly low average daily hotel rate of just $75.00, it does appear to be affordable.

I'll be Las Vegas in a week, and personally, I "Pricelined" a nice 2-1/2 star hotel for $42.00 per night. At $373.00 round trip for airfare from Cleveland, I chose to use frequent flier miles instead, finding a round-trip flight that only required 37,500 points.

"Summer travelers are taking advantage of the off-season deals in destinations like Cancun, Riviera Maya and Punta Cana, all of which make our Top 10 list this year," said Jeanenne Tornatore, Orbitz Travel Insider. "While average summer airfares appear to be trending higher year over year, travelers will find significant hotel savings, with the majority of the season's top destinations averaging less than $150 a night."

Click on the following link to read the whole story: http://dbhas.info/9PKEXQ

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Some of my favorite memories of Glacier Natl Park on its 100th birthday

Today is the 100th birthday of Glacier National Park in Montana. Festivities will be going on all day at the Glacier National Park Community Building in West Glacier. But it's too late to get there if you haven't left already....so what's in it for you, you ask?

Whenever a national landmark like Glacier reaches that venerable mark, obviously people start to want to do something special to commemorate the occasion. In short, let's party. But, smartly, the Park Service realized that just one day wouldn't be fair to all Glacier's fans, so they are stretching the celebration out for months to come. That means you can still benefit from the park reaching the century mark. For a list of all the festivities, check out www.glaciercentennial.org .

My last visit to Glacier was in 2008 and was one of the best times I can recall. I've got a brother-in-law who thinks I'm crazy, but I loved all of it, including getting a flat tire on my rental car at 11pm in the middle of wolf country, 30 miles from civilization, with no cell phone coverage and not being able to release the spare from under the chassis for over an hour. That gives you time to observe more stars than I've ever seen in the sky at one time. Lying on your back on the ground gives you new perspective on the universe.

Read the whole article at Examiner.com  http://ping.fm/XEHrF

Monday, May 10, 2010

Looking for fun in Las Vegas - without the gamble

Just announced yesterday, in honor of National Tourism and Travel Week, TourGuy.com has launched a new website. With Las Vegas as its first market, they offer a one-stop shop for selecting any type adventure or ecotourism package.

So often, people come to Vegas just for gambling and quickly lose their enthusiasm as their wallet quickly flattens. In another scenario, people come to Las Vegas for conventions, bringing their families, and look for something fun to do before or after the business portion. For both groups, TourGuy.com seems to have the ideal answer for salvaging those trips.

TourGuy.com has launched their site initially with more than 30 tours. Experiences include west and south rims of the Grand Canyon (Arizona); Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon, and Valley of Fire (Nevada), Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park (Utah); and Death Valley (Nevada/California). On each of the tours, their website allows vistors to leave ratings for future travelers to read.

These aren't all "pack in a bus and observe through the big glass windows" tours. You could also find yourself hiking, riding a horse, flying in a small plane or helicopter, luxuriating in a hybrid SUV, or bouncing across the desert in a race car.
For more of the story, check my complete article at Examiner.com. http://ping.fm/rJeCe
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