Monday, December 27, 2010

My top 10 photos.

2010 has officially set the bar when it comes to creativity in my photoshoots. After much thought I decided to compose a top 10 of my favorite photos/techniques from the year. Here's the guidelines to my selections.
- only one photo style per list
- one shoot per list
- my selection doesn't necessarily represent the best pic of a shoot more like my favorite in that particular style

10. "Naturally"

This pic slipped into the ten spot as it's basically the standard poses that I've come accustomed to using.

9. "V"

My first black and white shot of 2010. Back when I was throwing around concepts for my website splash page, I knew I would be using a shot like this in the final version. I actually wanted to do a reshoot for a even better picture but plans fell through. (as they normally do)

8. "Monique - EuqinoM"

I hadn't done a mirror shot in over a year and this was one of the last shots I took in that session.

7. Dee

These were shots I started playing with late summer and this was one of the best ones with the technique I was going for.

6. "The Best Part of Waking Up..."

This shot was so much fun to do. Simple as that. They had an idea and I did my best to bring it to life. Mission accomplished!

5. Father Daughter Dance

She didn't wear shoes so her dad took of his to dance...

4. "Just Relax"

This shoot turned out great. This pic is one of my favs because of the natural environment. It's something different from my black and gray backgrounds and adds a bit more in my opinion.

3 "It's Okay"

I tried to get a bunch of male shoots lined up for my new website but I could never catch up with them. As it drew closer to the end of the year I finally had some good male models. When a model can challenge me to using new techniques, they're okay in my book...

2. "Self Portrait"

Okay if your here from Facebook you might have seen a bunch of these done of different people. I love all of the ones I made but I think this one really stands out because it really fit well with my subject's interest in photography. It was originally a shot that I had in mind for someone else but... Well...

1. Flight of the Conchords

This pic goes down as the best recreation to date. It would take my best friend to give me the energy necessary in a shoot to go all out and try new things. The bar is now set...

And that does it! Did you have a favorite from this year? I'd love to hear...

See ya next blog!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mini rant #3 - Our remotes control us...

I've been known to fix a electronic device or two but today this problem had me stumped. In the process it got me thinking about a few things...

It's come to my attention that we have put so much trust in our remote controls, that if something happens to them we're completely lost.

The other day I couldn't find my TV remote and I needed to change the device input. Since I wasn't in the mood to send out search parties I just flipped open the tv cover and fumbled through the menu till I found the option I needed.

Simple enough right? Well here's where the rant begins. Manufacturers have become so dependent on remote controls that they don't even bother to put control options on the device itself. Sure, some high end products still have them but for the most part they are nonexistent. While that doesn't seem like a big problem on the surface, think about what happens when the remote control breaks. You're stuck! You can buy a universal remote, but you can never have all the functionality of the original remote, that is, unless you go completely all out and buy a 150 dollar remote like the ones made by Harmony....

Whats the harm of adding a "menu" button to a blu-ray player? I'm not asking for a entire remote control worth of buttons. Just something that will give me some level of standard control if something unfortunate was to happen to the remote. I had a friend with a DVD/VCR combo player that couldn't even perform a chapter skip without the remote, which in their case was lost for good. Another friend couldn't install a wireless adaptor to their Blu-ray player because they couldn't work the menu without the remote, which was broken due to battery corrosion.

You may never have these issues, but it's definitely something to think about the next time you decide to buy a floor model TV or a player that doesn't come with the manufacturers remote...

But back to the problem at hand...

It's such a pain trying to setup someones blu-ray player when the remote won't work. I'm sitting here racking my brain for options and I'm all out of ideas. The power button works, but nothing else. Guess all that's left is to unplug and plug it back up and... What!?... You gotta be kidding me!... Now the remote works... I still think these devices need more controls... Smh!

Anyway, See you next blog

Thursday, December 16, 2010

X-men Arcade!

So I downloaded the classic X-Men arcade game on 360 and as I watched that progress bar fill I began reminiscing on my childhood.

Back then if you ran into a 6 player cabinet it was always full. You could always tell the experienced from the novice by how they played. Mutant powers wasted energy and those that spammed it were soon putting in more quarters or giving up their spot to someone that called "next." I can't say I was extremely good back then but there was always that self determination that if I got better then I could finally beat the game and still have some money left for The Simpsons Arcade game.

Fast forward to my late teens and early internet days, the days where emulators where the only way to relive old childhood arcade memories. Playing a 4 player Xmen game from the comfort of my home was the perfect chance to prove to myself just how good I could get. When playing with others though, in a setting that didn't require money, I soon realized that the feel of the game was completely different.

Having to pay quarters made a difference. Games in that era were designed to eat quarters so in order to beat a game you either had to work at getting better, or be rich.

Take that element away and all you have is a button masher where the only two buttons used are "mutant power" and "Start". That can get boring kinda fast.

Okay now let's move on to the present. I was pretty excited to finally play this game in a 6 player setting again. It would be my first time since the original arcade cabinet. I joined a game and pretty soon we had all six players. (unlocked a achievement) As soon as we started, my greatest fears were realized, no one cared about their energy. Just wave after wave of mutant power, then die, then repeat. It was even worse on the levels that had pits because they would just jump in the pit on purpose just so that they could come back with full energy!

Maybe it's just me, but I feel this takes away from the enjoyment and original feel of the game. Having a "expert" setting seemed pointless. The one redeeming quality was the leader boards but in my opinion more could have been done. Here are my top 3 ideas (in no particular order.)

1. An optional setting to set a cap for continues used.

2. Better achievements!
There definitely has to be a balance in making achievements too hard or too easy but for a 6 player beat'm up I think its completely pointless to waste achievements on clearing certain checkpoints and not jumping for a entire level...

3. An option to disable mutant powers.
(they could have even called it "Genosha mode")

As a direct port I already know that there were issues preventing them from changing the original game but one can still hope that in the future such things might be implemented in those classic beat'em ups we know and love...

What do you think could have gave this game a more challenging replay value? Any ideas for better achievements? Comments are welcome!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Random Sightings #1

My camera is always nearby, because I always notice the weirdest stuff. Decided to group a few video game related pics together in this mini blog... Enjoy!

This was a 2009 circular for ALDI. Looks like they jumped on the Wii bandwagon that year. What I don't get is the "comes with 4 games " statement (the four pictured were the free ones). All Wii's come with Wii Sports so they really did a good job making parents think they got the deal of the century. (there actually was a apology released by ALDI later on apologizing for the deception.)

Here's a AT&T advertisement that came in Guitar Hero World Tour (I think... Can't remember... Does it matter?... Anyway...). Give yourself that extra level of difficulty by adding the "crazy fast" setting with the power of the Internet.

Next time you sit in a chair to play Rock Band STOP, and ask yourself, "is the chair I'm sitting in compatible with my Rock Band controllers." Your drum set won't work without a official Rock Band stool... You didn't know?

Well that's it for now. Granted it's a little shorter than other blogs I made but this one gets a dual release on as well as since it's actually something my fellow G1's would appreciate.

See you next blog...

Mini Rant #2 Give me hot water!!

Restaurants need to give me hot water in their bathrooms. After all I know they have it. They better. Stop being greedy!

No one wants to come out of 29 degree weather, to eat, just to wash their hands in ice cold water. That's not "cool"... See what I did there...

Why tease me with that hot water button? Well at least your not as bad as those automatic faucets that attempt to decide for me what temperature I want my water to be...

Or what about those "time release" buttons that last all of two seconds before you have to press them again?

If fact, while on the subject, what's up with the "partially automated" bathrooms? You know, the ones that will have everything "touch free" except for one or two devices? Kinda defeats the purpose of a germ free environment if you still end up touching something, doesn't it? I guess it's a multiple step investment that I always seem to see in mid-process...

Oh and word to the wise. There have been cases of mouthwash being camouflaged as hand soap, and hand soap being camouflaged as mouthwash. Take my word of experience that neither works well as a substitute...

See ya next blog...

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Cameras...

Decided to throw up some bonus material this week in addition to the weekly blog. Unlike the poem though this'll be advertised through the normal channels. (If your thinking, "what poem?" then shame on you. But I'll forgive you since your reading this. lol)

I've taken pics for over a decade and tomorrows blog will look at a few of the repeat clients that I have had the opportunity to reshoot. Sometimes I made mistakes, other times I just couldn't exceed the limits of my equipment. What equipment you ask? Well today you'll learn about the cameras that helped make my photography what it is today.

1998 - Sony Digital Mavica - less than 1 Megapixel
My first venture into the world of digital photography. At the time I was so excited with the idea of taking pictures and printing them out myself that I was blind to the poor quality pictures this thing took. But the memory that really stands out with this camera is the fact that someone broke into my car and stole it. You would think the Coast Guard Yard would have better security...

2000 - Kodak DC 220 - 1 Megapixel
Since my first camera was stolen this was a swift replacement. While my first camera took a lithium battery this took AA's (big mistake!!) Still it wasn't a bad camera and I did my first wedding with it for some very nice pictures. The main problem I had was the comments I had to put up with from people who didn't take me seriously, or even give me a chance. (come to think of it, I'm still dealing with that today...) This was also the only camera that was replaced before it broke down, which allowed me to sell it.

2001 - Minolta Dimage 5 - 3 Megapixel
This was when people started taking me seriously. This camera looked more like the traditional SLR that professionals use. It's biggest problem was that batteries had a life span of around 30 minutes!! (Yeah, I didn't learn my lesson from my last camera...) When I got this camera I believe my word's were, "OMG!!! 3 MEGAPIXELS!!! That's the best there is! hmmm... Well anyway, I loved the camera but I really wanted to start doing more creative pictures that didn't rely so heavily on computer software. This meant I was going to need a camera that could accept different lenses as well as flashes and filters. After a while shot's didn't look as good as before and I soon knew that a replacement was in order before I took on another wedding...

2005 - Nikon D70 6 Megapixel
To date, I did more research before buying this camera than any other digital before or after. For the high price tag I needed to know that I could do everything I wanted to with this and It didn't disappoint. Sadly that particular model had it's flaws but with firmware updates and a few trips to Best Buy for warranty repairs it served me well. But when that warranty expired and more problems came along it was time to find something new...

2009 - Canon 50D 15 Megapixel
What no Nikon!? Yeah this wasn't my first choice as a successor to my D70, but it just so happened that Circuit City was going out of business and this was all that was left at 50% off so... SOLD!! It was a pain having to get all new flashes and lenses but it was worth it.

And that about does it...
An interesting side note is this; These cameras were each good in their individual eras, but even then, they weren't considered to be "best of the best." Never think that just because you have a cheaper or older model camera that you your work cant compare to all the big shot photographers out there. Don't get wrapped up in brand names and megapixels. "Stay creative and brush off the haters." thats what I say. Well, I don't say that but it fits... kinda... Maybe I should start saying that... Nah...

See ya next blog!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fruit snacks

My trip to the market last week brought back even more memories than I realized. My thoughts turned from last weeks cereal, Spaghetti O's and Pop Tarts to fruit snacks.

You know, those vitamin C infused, made with "real fruit" snacks pre wrapped in small bags that always leave you wanting more. There used to be tons of commercials for those things and it was common practice for any popular movie, cartoon, or comic to have they're own snack of some sort.

Well today I decided to rank my top 5 fruit snacks so enjoy...

Number 5 - Fruit Roll-Ups

These get the 5 spot because aside from the taste I never bought into the way they were marketed. Most commercials made them out to be stickers but I never tried taking the extra time to punch out whatever designs were on the roll. I remember kids on commercials using them as tattoos but i knew I wasn't gonna be doing that...

Number 4 - Fruit By The Foot

This was a more effective fruit roll up. Absolutely no difference to me in taste but you felt like you got more because it was "3 feet of fun". In commercials kids would flick them open and let the roll drop to the floor which, in retrospect, has me realizing that those were some pretty short kids...

Number 3 - Thunder Jets

*photo courtesy of Jason Liebig
Yeah you probably never heard of these because I haven't seen them on shelves in over 15 years. They'd have the number one spot but they just don't exist anymore. They were so good! I don't remember if there were any commercials. All I know is I loved planes and jets as a kid and these were edible toys.

Number 2 - Gushers

I remember commercials introducing these bite size snacks just bursting with juice. Opening a pouch, you were usually greeted by 9 or 10 little fruit pieces all stuck together. Still it was original and sweet, but sadly you didn't have the variety of flavors that were in other snacks. You had to get all of one flavor per box.

And finally...
Number 1 - Shark Bites

These existed as long as Thunder Jets and are still around today. Both tasted exactly the same so it was a no brainer to make this my number one. Each piece had a distinct taste and the special "great white shark" piece was a welcome edition to the pouch. (despite the fact that you never really got a lot of them)

Those are mine, but what about you? Comment on your favorite below or take the poll to your right. Don't be lazy it's at the very least, one click...

Well that about does it, but before I close I gotta give props to all the other fruit snack that still dominate the shelves of supermarkets today. Spiderman and scooby doo snacks are still around. Disney will continue to fill their wallets with revenue from Princess snacks, as well as any new face on the Disney channel, (I think I saw some Hannah Montana snacks on clearance the other day...) and for some reason John Deere...

That's right... John Deere... Because for some reason Kellogg wants every young kid to nurture the little farmer in them... Seriously what was the executive board on when they green lighted that idea?

I'm submitting my idea for DV fruit snacks, "That's Right, I Got a Fruit Snack". They better call me back!
See ya next blog...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Supermarket ramblings...

So I was in the market today remembering the good old days.

The days before Toaster Strudel when Pop Tarts and Eggos ruled the toaster.
Yep, the days when you couldn't buy the flavors with frosting because the frosting would mess up the toaster and... Huh?... It doesnt? That was just my family?... You mean all this time i've been... Aww man!

Or what about the days when your parents bought the multipack cereal boxes and there was always that "least favorite" brand you didn't wanna get stuck with in the end?

Don't get me wrong, Cheerios are good, (with a Tablespoon of sugar.)

And who could forget Spaghetti... Wait a minute!... What do they mean by "Now Healthy"!? That really makes it sound a lot worse than it probably was. Maybe they should have said "Now Healthier" but what do I know.
I mean, I grew up eating that stuff and I still do. Look at me now!

Now excuse me, going to play some Wii Fit...

See ya next blog!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

That's right, I write poems...

Fun fact- DVDeluxe has been a name attached to me since before the Internet. But originally my writings were written under the name DVNovels. Sadly no completed works exist.

Anyway, I still write, but for reasons I won't go into, most my works will probably never be read.

I decided that, for a change, I'd post something just for my devoted readers to see.
So here goes...

"Walking in darkness"

I have become appreciative of the darkness.

In darkness I see no light, yet I know light is still there.
It's warm glow directs me with a clarity beyond sight.

This glowing warmth is where I should be, but I have far to go.
I have no fear of getting lost.

I may fall but I will not die.
Bruises will eventually heal.

The sounds in darkness are scary.
They sound familiar, even pleasant, yet they don't come from the warmth.

Someone holds my hand and leads me toward the warm glow of light.
It feels nice to know I'm not really alone.

Someone else grabs my leg and offers me their sight.
But what they see is not what I feel. I shall trust the warmth.

I don't know how long it will take me to get to this warm light, but I will.
Then, I will open my eyes...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy One Year Anniversary! Part 2

So how'd you like the new site? I think things have come a long way since this time last year. Not only am I happier with the look of the site, I'm also happier with the content that I've been putting on it.

It's only natural to gain experience and to grow as you continue doing something that you love, and photography is no exception. Sometimes I often wonder what previous shoots would look like if I could redo them with the techniques I learned later on. And that's where my dear friends have come into play.

A little over a year ago I desperately searched for people willing to have shoots so that could test techniques that I was learning and tweaking. I remember having tons of conversations and offers, begging for models. Especially annoying were the ones that completely wasted my time agreeing to shoots, then canceling two days after the shoot was supposed to happen. I really love that one person that I actually took off work to accommodate and they text me a hour before the shoot with some whack excuse that didn't even matchup with their Facebook status' (wasn't trying to be a investigator but when people post their life story in Facebook you can't help but put one and one together...)

Anyway, with the handful of volunteers I had, i did my best to offer a high quality, attractive, product. With the exception of one model, everyone was happy with my work. Behind the scenes, though, I was struggling with failing cameras, defective lenses, corrupt memory cards, and sluggish computers that couldn't keep up to the demands I was putting on them.

In the end I was left needing to ask for reshoots to improve in areas I felt fell short. It was my friends that ended up helping make me a better photographer. When I needed a model, they were there. I could only pay them in food, photos, and profile pics but they still helped. My new website is a testament to their donated time and support. You all know who you are. Thank you!

While I'm thanking people, thank you for reading this blog. To date there has been no ads here because it was never my intention to try and make money off of this. Just to try and provide some level of entertainment via my love of writing. Thank you for the "likes", comments, retweets and referrals. I'll try to keep stuff coming your way...

See you next blog!!!

P.S. Facebook friends wanting the answer to Monday's question on the video game referenced in my website design will appreciate this pic... (Kudos for MVC2 Steve!)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy One Year Anniversary! Part 1

Sure, it's probably something only important to me. But the 27th of November marks the one year anniversary of a site dedicated to my photography.

Now for those few supporters that have been with me from the very beginning you'll note that I actually have 2 websites. There's the one hosted by, and then one hosted by Apple's MobileMe service. Each has their pros and cons but in the end I decided to go with the MobileMe host. The site will remain for a while but it's purpose may change.

The one major problem I had with it was the fact that the URL was too long. In addition, when spoken, people often couldn't tell if I was saying "web" or "webs". The moral being that was a pretty bad choice for a site name. The MobileMe site had a shorter name, using the traditional DVDeluxe label but it was also confusing because if you added the popular prefix "www" you would not be directed to my site. It had to be
Which brings me to a quick side question. Is that a slash or a backslash? I always come across confusion when people try writing it down...

Well anyway, I'm happy to announce that it's no longer a issue because I now have my own domain name! (Pause for applause, those crickets are louder than usual today)

For now on, no matter who the host may be, The Professional Services of Dennis Vice will be found at...

The second issue I had with both sites is that the templates just didn't match my vision for my site. The MobileMe version was better but it still wasn't "there."

I have since, redesigned my site from the ground up, using no templates! Some tweaking will occur in the coming days, but I'm interested to know how my readers like the new look. Please comment...

That's it for now. Part two goes up tomorrow on the official day...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sellers Beware of SMITH SANTIAGO

Ok so I got a lot to cover so I'm gonna get straight to it...

Recently I attempted to sell my computer on Craigslist. The next day I was happy to receive a reply to my post saying;
"I will like to know whether this item is still avaialble forsale . And also i have a Moving Company that will handle the pick up of the Item from you place."

Umm ok... well let me just reply to this and get some more details. The reply was this;
Thanks for your prompt responds, However, i will need your name and address for payment,As am only able to make payment by Cashier check, at this time b/c i am away on assignment. It will be nice if you can send me more pictures.It will take some days for the payment to get to you.As per pick-up,And the rest funds on the check will be send over to the movers inorder for them to come over for the pick up.So i will send the payment which will include the pick up charges, in which you will make payable to the mover via money gramm/Western union immediately after you have receive the payment and you will be compensated with $50 extra for your running around to the money gram/Western union outlet to avoid the delay..Please take the posting off Craigslist today and consider it sold to me, Include your phone number.
Expecting to hear from you soon.

Ok something sounds fishy here. Spelling and grammar aside they're red flags in these messages. Why is that your only way of payment? Ever heard of PAYPAL? Why do you need "movers" for a computer? This isn't the Bat Computer we're talking about. Just a normal PC. USPS, UPS, DHL. Any of these ring a bell? Sounds like a typical case of check fraud to me. But maybe I'm being overly cautious. Well lemme ask for some more details...
Its $2,225 so you are to deduct your asking price from it and make out the rest funds to the movers once the check gets clear with your Bank.Expect the Tracking number soon.

Um, No thank you! I must be in the wrong business if it costs over 2000 dollars no move a computer! Yep typical FRAUD.
But what's the harm in attempting to cash a check like that. Either you get the money or you don't right? WRONG!

Here's the deal, the payee’s bank credits the seller’s account before the funds have actually arrived from the paying bank. Therefore, it looks like the funds have cleared and everything is ok. If the check turns out to be a fraud then YOU are held accountable by law!

Sellers, don't fall prey to this kind of shady dealing. keep these warning signs in mind:

A buyer wants to purchase a product and will use a cashier’s check.
For whatever reason, the buyer has a check made out for an amount in excess of the purchase price.
Then, the buyer wants the seller to accept the full amount and send the extra money (either back to the buyer or to a third party).

What it will come to in the end is common sense so keep your guard up as you try to make a few extra dollars this holiday season and avoid the scammers... See you next blog!

This message was brought to you by the scammer SMITH SANTIAGO "" (give it a google if you don't believe they were dumb enough to continue to use the same FREE email address for scams.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nuke it!

(Gotta love this PC mod...)

Ok here's a question for you.
What is the wattage of your microwave? I need to know if I'm the only one who never bothered to remember that.

Within the sea of random thoughts that is my brain I always find myself asking that question as I pop something in the microwave that has a label similar to this;
"microwave ovens below 1100 watts may require additional cook time to reach proper temperature."

In fact while I'm on the subject of microwaves, are there ANY microwaves that have a setting marked "HIGH"? Just choosing a time and pressing start is considered high so this seems to be a default setting right? Maybe if it was considered "Full power" it would make more sense to me.
After all, instructions tell you to microwave it on high like that wouldn't be your first choice, so then what's so "high" about it.

I like how some instructions like to make things complicated by throwing in percentages like 50 percent power. My microwave doesn't do percentages so I'm assuming that since the power button let's me select between 1 and 9 then 5 is 50 percent. But even that gets tricky. I mean if they expect you to have a 1100 watt microwave but you only have less, then fifty percent to you is even less to them, and then you've passed out from starvation because your stuck doing math instead of just nuking the plate until it's hot. After all, hot equals done, right. Guess I'm just overthinking things again.

But since I'm on a roll, riddle me this? We have smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors, but why don't we have radiation detectors? Old or even dirty microwaves can leak radiation and I doubt it's the kind that will give you superpowers. Guess that just means we need to keep our microwaves clean and heads away from the door. That shouldn't be too hard right? Right? ... (cleans microwave) ... Right?

See ya next time!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Facebook's new motto shall be, "If it ain't broke, break it!"

Over the past months it would appear that developers are attempting to keep their sites or even computer interfaces "exciting and fresh" by making changes to the user interface for one reason or another.

Recent examples include NewTwitter, The Xbox 360 Dashboard, and Facebook to name a few.

Why? Who knows!? The majority of the time the excuse is for security reasons but why make such drastic chances to the UI (user interface.)

Could it be simplicity? Let's think about the huge strides that came when the world was introduced to Microsoft Windows. Windows offered simplicity that gave the PC user a environment similar to the Macintosh. Some thought it was easy to use, some thought it was complicated. In the following years Windows was fine tuned with newer versions, but the overall structuring remained the same. If you were familiar with a earlier version you could still navigate without the need to learn a entire new system. When new features were offered you still had the ability to do things the old way, for the most part.

The point being, before they started smoking crack and made Vista, you had the freedom to "opt out" of new features, for the features that you were more comfortable with.

Now look at Facebook. I've been on Facebook since early 2009 and everytime I get used to some feature, they either take it away, or change it beyond recognition. If you don't like it, tough! Remember all the "Bring back the old Facebook" pages? I sure do. We were told that the changes made things "simple". Do you agree?

One way they decided to make things simple was by removing the "clear chat" button in FB chat. Why!? I guess having your chat auto delete after 24 hours was just what we all were all begging for.

Recently the new feature called "Friendships" has raised a ton of questions on privacy. I wanna know what my readers think of this new feature.

While these may be nice features to some why not give us the option to "opt out" of using said features if we need more time to adjust. Granted change is sometimes necessary, but at what cost?

Should "simplicity" always win against "functionality"? Comment below...

See you next blog!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mini Rant #1 "I'm not here at the moment. Please leave a message..."

Its come to my attention that people think I leave the curtains open to my house. My response to these accusations is, "and if I did, why are you looking through my windows?"

Remember how back in the day, my day, the primary way of long distance communication was the telephone. Well what happened when you called someone and they didn't pick up the phone? Three things might go through your mind. One, they're not home, two, they're busy, or three, they're ignoring you. Now how do you find out which one it is? Simple, you DON'T! We'll that's far from true, but was it really worth the energy to find out the reason?

I mean, are you really gonna drive all the way to the house and look to see if the lights are on? Better yet, are you gonna peek in the windows and try to see if someones inside? In fact, don't answer that. I'd rather not know.

My point? That's pretty much what you do when you try to track someone down using Facebook or any other social network.

Posting a status doesn't automatically mean you're home. It just means you felt like sharing something. And the last time I checked you can be anywhere to do that. In fact, while I was checking up on that I discovered that you can share your thoughts in places where you can't talk on the phone. Hmmmm

While I'm on the subject of sending status' from a phone, you know what else you can do from a phone? Chat. Why do I bring this up? Because the general assumption is that if you show up on facebook chat, you are attentively waiting for someone to send you a message that you, of course, will respond to in seconds. Well keep on waiting. Just because someone is online doesn't mean they're always available to chat. Just try to imagine someone leaving their phone off the hook, you think they're on the other line but they're not even home. I'll give everyone some time to let that soak in...

Oh and here's a good one. A cafe world or Mafia wars post doesn't mean that your sitting at home doing absolutely nothing of importance. Seriously, I for one am not sitting in front of the computer watching the timer on my chicken pot pie count down to zero while twiddling my thumbs. In fact if you know how, and have the resources, you can even do that stuff from anywhere. Isn't technology great!

I could go on for pages talking about other forms of what has been affectionately labeled "Facebook stalking" but I'll leave the rest to the comments that will be posted below (that means you!)

As for me, there's approximately a 10% chance that my posts will tell you exactly where I am so take the smart road try not to assume your being ignored. Just leave a message and your call will be responded to in the order received...

Monday, September 13, 2010

I been BUSY!!! (Bonus vids)

Yeah last week there was no update. Why? Because the next few blogs I had in mind were video related and I haven't had the time to do any video editing outside of the jobs i've been paid to do. But never fear. I still have ton's of blog material that I will be getting to soon.

Anyway since I don't wanna detract too much from my blog schedule I decided to make a HUGE shout-out to Tiaa for a great evening of food and fellowship!

Now anyone that know's me, knows for a fact that I go nowhere without my camera/camcorder. Rather than being part of the fun, I get just as much enjoyment from taking pictures or recording videos. (I guess thats why i'm so cheap to hire...)

I felt like I was missing a limb not having a camera in my hand and before long I had to go to the car for my camcorder. I did a little recording and tried some settings that I probably would have never had the opportunity to try otherwise and got a few nice clips. I would have gotten more but I just had to be a part of the fun! Yes I had to put away my camera and DANCE. Thanks again Tiaa!

Well I learned a few things about lowlight video editing but most of the clips are worthless. Here's a few of the better ones. Enjoy!

*Note- Videos have been uploaded via youtube but can only be viewed from this embedded link. The video will NOT appear in any of Youtube's public spaces, such as search results, channels, or the browse page.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The "like" button...

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the most used feature on Facebook is the "like" button.

We "like" for many different reasons, and NOT always because we like something. In fact I find it kinda weird when someone posts something disappointing like a death in the family and underneath you see "3 people like this"...

I know that when it comes to playing Facebook social games, I "like" a post as a reminder that I already clicked on it. Other times it is to show the poster that I participated in their war, barn raising, dish spicing, etc. It's a whole lot easier than actually writing, "I helped."

The "Like" button has been interpreted by some to be the "I wanna know where this conversation goes" button. Yeah, when you have nothing constructive to add to a comment, and you only want to see how someone else is gonna comment this is what the "like" button turns into.

And then the "like" button could actually mean you like the post! who knew?

My question is this; why call it the "Like" button. The only definition that comes close to its perceived use is this:
- corresponding or agreeing in general or in some noticeable respect...

If Facebook continues to be a social networking juggernaut then one day in the future a extra definition will need to be added:
- a notification to one speaking that you have taken notice of their statement, and would like to subscribe to further thoughts on the matter.

Yeah, yeah I like how that sounds. I'm really liking that definition...

Which brings me to my next inquiry. Why do people like their own comments? I like to think about what I say before I say it, so, in a way, haven't I already established that I approve of my words by the fact that someone else is reading them? Maybe that's just me though... Seems to have no other purpose...

(I like this stamp too...)

Do I think the "like" button is unnecessary? Not at all! Sometimes you just don't have anything better to say. I like a lot of comments I see on Facebook so the "like" button, to me, can also be a indication to the poster that I enjoyed reading the post and look forward to reading more of their future posts.
It's always nice to know that someone is enjoying the effort you put into posting. Your less inclined to feel like your wasting your time. What do you think?

Oh by the way! On a COMPLETELY unrelated note, I added a "Like" Button to these blogs. :) So when your too busy to add to the blog with your comments, at least take an additional second to "like" it if you wanna see more in the future...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Interesting Apps Episode 2 - TeamViewer

There's only so much a iPad can do. But there's always a way to make it do more...

Enter TeamViewer

"TeamViewer - the All-In-One Solution for
Remote Access and Support over the Internet
TeamViewer connects to any PC or server around the world within a few seconds. You can remote control your partner's PC as if you were sitting right in front of it."

It's like having my home computer wherever I go! I could seriously do commercial for this app!

All you need is a Internet connection for your home computer as well as the free software installed on both your computer and your iPad, iPod, or iPhone. You are given a unique ID number and password and using this you can connect to your home computer from your iDevice no matter where you are, (as long as you can get on the internet.)

You're then able to control your computer just like if you were right in front of it. This includes all keyboard controls, as well as full mouse functions. Slow connection speeds affect the picture quality but under normal circumstances your desktop is displayed exactly as it would be from your home monitor.

Now why do I use this program? Four big reasons...

1. Quick photo editing on the go. - sure there are tons of photo apps for the iDevices, but nothing beats the processing power of a home computer. Especially when your home computer is a Mac :). I can send and open pics in aperture or Adobe, do some touchups and upload them or send them right back to my iDevice.
I recently did this while out of town and it was a lifesaver. I also can access by backup drives and access older albums that I don't keep on me.

2. Flash enabled Facebook games. (Cafe World, Mafia Wars, Treasure Isle, etc.) -
DON'T JUDGE ME! Lol I'm not gonna take my lunch break to go all the way home just to take my Strawberry Cheesecake off the stove before it spoils.

3. Remote Assistance. - Here's the scenario: a friend calls me because they are having problems with their PC. They download Teamviewer, I log in, problem fixed, and it's back to business.

4. Website maintenance. - because I gotta maintain my websites. Yep... That's about it.

Final verdict? Buy now... HOLD IT!!!!!! *Phoenix Wright impersonation*

This app is Free, for personal use only. Rather than explain the many ways, just believe me when I say there are many practical ways to use such a program in a commercial sense. That being said this app is also directed to businesses with a price tag of 99 dollars for the iPhone/iPod version or 139 dollars for the iPad version.

Wow! Talk about enforcing the honor system. Both versions are identical, (from what I hear. Sorry my wallet has a 5 dollar cutoff when it comes to apps.) When you install the program on your computer it will ask you via "Terms and Conditions" if you are using it for private or commercial purposes and you are reminded to "Play Fair" after each session but it just makes me wonder how many sales they get at that price tag?

Anyway, the FREE version is well worth a download, even if you just want to get a few kicks making your wife think the PC has a mind of it's own while you laugh to yourself in the other room (not that I've done anything like that, just say'n. Lol)

See ya next blog...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The N Word...

It is virtually impossible to shelter children completely from the racism that exists in the world today. So it seems only natural that television would explore this topic time and time again in a effort to, in some ways, offer a additional form of education in real world issues, that has often been neglected by parents. IamRandomosity made a excellent blog on who should be allowed to use the N-Word, but something I saw on TV had me thinking about another extreme. Should the N Word be censored when it is used in a effort to educate people on its negative impact?

While recently watching Nick@Nite, a episode of Family Matters came on that brought back memories. Laura was attempting to get a Black History class added to the school curriculum when she was found her locker had been broken into. She found a letter reading "If you want Black History, go back to Africa", and it then cut to a commercial.
But wait, there was more to that scene. Here's the complete scene...

On the Nick@Nite edit, the locker door was never shown. This is the only occurrence of the N Word in this entire episode and Laura's reaction to it really defines the rest of the episode. It was not used in some joke, rather to define the severity that comes with racism. The easy answer would be that the network has made it a policy to remove the word no matter where it occurs, but in doing this, they are actually taking out what may be one of the rare occurrences of when that word could be allowed.
Should episodes intended to educate a younger audience on the negative power of that word be edited just because they use the word? Share...



HALO - Social Networking Evolved
Halo would be a free game.
The only available weapon would be the plasma pistol for the entire game (single and multiplayer).

A few months after the release Zynga adds that after reaching a certain rank you can now use a pistol. BUT if you didn't want to take the time to reach that rank you could spend "Spartan" points to unlock it immediately. How do you get "Spartan" points? With cold hard CASH!

You spend the next few days leveling up and you finally unlock your pistol but now Zynga released 7 other weapons. They also figured they would be generous by offering up to 5 "free" Spartan points if you play the game 7 days in a row.

They also want permission to post on your Facebook account every time you kill a elite so that your friends can get a exp boost.

After playing a few levels you are halted by a message saying, "In order to advance further into Covenant territory you must 'recruit' 5 Facebook friends to play with you."

By the time you get your 4th weapon Zynga releases 5 holiday themed weapons that are only available for the next 3 days. Hope you have Spartan points…

After 6 more months of gameplay Zynga teases you with more levels, but before you can play them you have to "prepare" by recruiting 5 more Facebook friends…

Somewhere in-between scheduled maintenance and teasing new levels Zynga finds the time to release 7 more weapons. But this time the only way you can get them is if your Facebook "recruits" help you. Each weapon requires 10 of four parts and each "recruit" can only send one a day. Hope you have a ton of "recruits"… (Oh did I forget to mention that you can get individual parts for Spartan points.)

Zynga finally releases new levels in the form of a new planet but because of the harsh environment of this new world you need all new weapons. (Yeah you know what that means. Level up and spend those Spartan points.)

---- It's sometime around this point that you realize you lost 25% of your Facebook friends because they're tired of hearing about how you assassinated a grunt and would like to share the wealth ---

Your still playing? Ok then Zynga would like to reward you by giving you a defense boost for every active "recruit" you have on your team. Those spartan points are also 10% off for a limited time…

Zynga announces that online multiplayer will be reconstructed to support larger vehicles. In order to finish the fight your gonna need make roughly 10 requests a day for 2 weeks or 100 dollars worth of Spartan points to complete your new dropship…

Zynga releases the Christmas Covenant Cannon which is available for only two days. $$$$

--- Unscheduled Maintenance due to cheaters ---

Zynga releases their new level but you can't play it until you recruit…

(Sign's off to play COD4)

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 5

While we wait for the results here's a nice little picture of how 4G is supposed to work...

The results are in!

The iSpot is not the MUST HAVE iDevice accessory that Clear wants you to believe it is...


Under certain circumstances It can be a extremely useful (and cost efficient) device.

First off let's cover the worst use of of an iSpot. If your only iDevice is a iPhone this is a terrible investment. Keep in mind that you STILL have to pay for a data plan just to have a iPhone with AT&T. Now I seriously doubt facetime and high quality YouTube videos is worth a additional 25 dollars a month. Clear should consider removing the iPhone in their advertisements, but then again there's one born every day, or minute, hour, ok I can't remember how often a sucker is born.

Next up, do not buy the ispot if your considering using it when you go out of town. This is a 4G only device and coverage is not everywhere. Check for coverage in the area where you live and work and plan your investment around that.

Ok the third one depends on your current cellphone. If you have a Palm Pre Plus, a Droid X, a Sprint Evo, or any other new phone that allows wifi tethering then the $99 dollar price tag for a ispot is pointless. Sure the ispot offers unlimited internet, but will you really be doing more than 2gb of downloading on a iPad or iPod touch? Consider this example:

Pandora Radio is one of the more popular iPhone apps that uses a ton of bandwidth. 60 minutes of nonstop music is approximately 38.9mb of bandwidth. That would give you a little over 2 full days of nonstop streaming music. Breaking that down, you could use Pandora a hour every day in addition to checking email and surfing the web with little to no fear of going over your monthly allowance. That's not bad...

Now granted, Netflix could probably be worse and downloading movies from iTunes would be completely out of the question, but how often will you be doing that? That's what I thought...

While in the subject of cellphones, wifi tethering on the Sprint Evo would surpass the iSpot by leaps and bounds. Both use the same 4G network but the Evo will switch to 3G when 4G is not available. Other 3G only phones still have a upper hand on the ispot simply because of greater 3G coverage. If you can make a phone call you'll probably be able to surf the web.

One last cellphone suggestion. If your ready to upgrade and purchase a new phone, the the 99 dollars you could spend on a iSpot could be easily used toward a phone that allows wifi tethering. That's one less device to keep track of.


- If you are not in the market for a new phone (like me)
- Using a iPad or a iPod touch throughout the day while away from home in a area with Clear coverage (like me)
- you have more than one device that could benefit from the iSpot's unlimited Internet plan (*cough* MAC spoofing *cough*) (like me)
- and if you use more than 2gb surfing the net, streaming music, streaming netflix, of even using a remote desktop client, (like me)

then the iSpot could be for you...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 4

Day 6 - (yeah day 6, I skipped a few days, "big whoop, wanna fight about it...")

Ok last Friday I found out that Clear released a firmware update that was supposed to fix the problems many customers had connecting their devices to the ispot. In my case it did a little more. Let me explain.

As I have explained before the ispot device is designed only to accept connections from iPod, iPhone, and iPad. I have since found out that this is accomplished by the ispot recognizing only a certain number of MAC addresses. (if you don't know what that is, Wiki is your new friend) My hypothesis is that before the firmware update the list of acceptable MAC addresses was far too restrictive and the device ended up denying access to devices that, for some reason or another, had a different address from the standard.

Now after applying the update, not only was the before mentioned iPod touch working but ASLO my iMac (that's right, my home computer.) Apparently the default address of my iMac is acceptable to the ispot. Now there ARE ways to manually change the MAC address of both PCs and Laptops so I'll just leave the possibilities to your imagination. (Google is also your friend)

The other adjustment the firmware update made was a improved performance in signal. Thursday night the device could only get a zero bar signal (red light.) Now I can get a two bar signal, (yellow light.) I've been clocking in speeds of 2.5Mbps at home, which is a vast improvement from pre-update tests in the same area.

So what have I been up to with this device over the weekend?

Towson- connected to iMac. Excellent signal. Checked email and updated websites. Uploaded pictures relatively fast.

Dundalk- connected to 1 iPad and 2 iPods. Hit and miss the closer you got to the city. Decent speeds browsing Internet.

Baltimore to Glen Burnie via Harbor tunnel- connected to iPad (serious disclaimer: do not operate devices while driving, just say'n.) medium to excellent signal, even in the tunnel itself. Listened to Pandora radio flawlessly. (and yeah I know Pandora buffers your playlist in advance and that it is possible that I had a bad signal but couldn't tell.)

Perry Hall- connected to iPad. Ok as long as you stay on the main streets. YouTube playlists were ok as long as it wasn't attempting to handle high def.

Ok I think it's time to wrap this up. Stay tuned for the thrilling, the exciting,... alright informative conclusion...

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 3

Day 3 - AM
Lemme start today by showing you this snapshot...

That is what the Clear forum currently looks like for a problem related to the brand new iSpot. Now last night you read my first impressions and this morning it looked bleak for this device. Using my Ipad as the test device, I went out and tested the connection speeds throughout the city. Main streets like Belair Rd. Shown excellent signal strength but download speeds were under half the advertised speed, clocking in at 2.5Mbps.

I'm not going to say this is a terrible speed. In fact, it's pretty impressive for the needs of the iPad. Short YouTube videos ran flawlessly but high def video crawled. Streaming Netflix was possible, but you could see that the video quality took a severe hit to stream without pauses.

Today was going to be a busy one for me so I decided to loan the iSpot to a friend in order to get some insight on how the device worked when used with a iPod Touch. Well, that's where the problem came...

By the time I was able to get home after dropping off the iSpot, I got a message saying, "yeah this thing sucks... It keeps telling me that I'm not using acompatible device but I'm on a iPod. Sucks..."

I hopped on the Clear forums to find a topic stickied to the side bar. Clicking on in gave me this message:

"iSpot Connection Problems Firmware Upgrade

We are aware that some of you may be experiencing issues with connecting your Apple Mobile Device to your iSpot.

If you are one of the few customers experiencing this issue, updating your firmware should correct this issue. Step by step instructions can be found below.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused
Thanks for choosing CLEAR."

"I like when things work how they're supposed to the first time." -iamRandomosity

I couldn't have put it better myself...
(To be continued...)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 2

Day 2

FedEx delivered my iSpot sooner than expected. The unboxing was recorded today but I doubt I'll upload anything. It'll depend on wether or not this thing really impresses me.

Before going any further I must reiterate that this device is intended for mobile use. Furthermore the specific device I'm testing is designed to support ONLY iPod, iPad, and iPhone devices. Clear does have other devices and plans for home service, laptops, as well as 3G support. All testing is being performed in the Baltimore area and your results could vary. Moving on...

The device was fairly easy to set up. Instructions were clear and
understandable. After turning the device on I was greeted with two LED lights, one red, one blue. A convenient chart on the back explained that the red light meant I had a weak signal and the blue light indicated the wifi was operating. I downloaded the Clear app and got a detailed summary of my connection.

Ok where's the super fast 4G signal? Oh wait a minute, maybe it's because I am indoors after all. Lemme put the iSpot at a window like the instructions suggest. Let's try this again.

Wow big difference... Yeah, so far I'm not impressed.

Looking at their coverage map I should be receiving a much better signal. I'll run more tests away from home tomorrow and I may have a final verdict sooner than I expected. There's no point in trying to compare Clear to AT&T, Verizon, or even Comcast for that matter if they can't come anywhere close to what they advertise. After a speed test under the current conditions my average download speed is less than 1Mbps. Totally unacceptable! Stay tuned for the next blog...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Clear", super fast mobile Internet? - part 1

A lot of buzz has started circulating about a new device called iSpot by Clear (What you haven't heard?)

If you are reading this blog on August 4, 2010 then you probably still have the chance to pick up one of these devices up at 70% off the regular price of $99.

What is it? Hold on, I'm getting to that part...

"iSpot is your very own 4G hotspot that let's you connect up to eight of your favorite Apple mobile devices, giving you freedom to use Super Fast Mobile Internet on the go anywhere Clear has coverage... Pair with the iSpot On-the-Go Service Plan. Get unlimited data usage and 4G speed all for $25/mo."

Sounds pretty good to me. Especially since I'm a Ipad user. Let's do the math:

My 32gb wifi only iPad costs $599, the 3G version would have been $729. That's a $130 difference to have the ability to use AT&T's 3G service. Now AT&T has abandoned their "unlimited" service for a 2gb plan that costs $25 a month, no contract. Still with me?

Now then, since I bought the cheaper wifi only version of the iPad for $599, I could, theoretically, invest in a $29 wifi 4G hotspot as well as pay $25 a month, no contract, for UNLIMITED service. The end result, a cheaper overall investment with faster speeds.

If this sounded as good to you as it did to me, I say, give it a try! I'll be giving this device a in-depth review when it arrives, (yeah, I bought one), and we'll see if Clear can back up their claims of Super Fast Mobile Internet. I'll also do a break down of 3G vs 4G speeds, complete with pros and cons, as well as sift through the fine print of both AT&T and Clear's service contracts.

Check out this device yourself at

That's all for now. See you next blog...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Terrible Apps Episode 1 - Rate my Photography

I like critique. Especially in my photography. It's something I often wish I could have more of. DeviantArt is great, my website gets a few hits... a month, and I can always depend on friends to comment on my photos once they become someone else's profile pic. That's what drew me to this little app store program called "Rate my Photography" by Pistol Shrimp Ltd.

Here's the app description:
"Join the craze and download Rate My Photography today. Scroll through endless pictures of the beautiful, amazing, funny, weird, interesting photos from all over the world uploaded by users like yourself!"

They then boast that you can rate photos by other users as well as upload your own photos to see what other people think.

Where's the problem you ask? Well there are two MAJOR ones.

First you cannot delete the pictures you upload. That's a major flaw. How hard would it be to add a delete button? Now this company published this app alongside other free ones that follow the same formula of uploading and rating pictures. Examples are: Rate My Kitten, Rate My Ride, Rate My Bike, Rate My Shoes, Rate My Funny Face, etc. Now the reason I mention this is because a few of these other apps have "premium" versions that you can pay $1.99 to buy. What's the difference? "No Ads", "Manage the comments for your photos", and "DELETE YOUR PHOTOS!"

You've got to be kidding me! Your actually going to make a person pay for a app just so they can delete pictures? The primary reason you would want to delete a pic in the first place would probably be because you didn't like the app and you wanted to sever ties with the program. That's like eating a free cheeseburger but in order to take a dump you gotta pay a dollar!

The second problem is directly related to this statement...
"All photos are screened by our team so please make sure you upload photos that are relevant to the app."

That makes a ton of sense and I completely agree. My question is, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO APPROVE ONE PICTURE!
I downloaded this app a month ago, uploaded three pictures and I'm STILL waiting for approval. No problem If you don't want to approve them I'll just delete them and... OH YEAH... I can't delete my own pics!

Final Verdict...
This company is a complete joke. They haven't answered any of my emails and their website appears to be a broken link these days. The average rating for the current version, which was updated July 8, 2010, is 3 stars. My rating? 1 star is too much for this garbage, but hey, maybe if I buy the premium version I'll gain the ability to give it a zero star rating...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Automated customer support is a joke...

Ok I know why it's there, but how often is it actually helpful? It seems that customer support has become nothing more than a knowledge base of the most common issues available for you to read via website or read to you by automated message.

What happened to the days when you spoke to someone who actually understood the in's and out's of the product and could give you a personalized response to your situation.

Maybe I'm just always part of that 5% that experience such a unique situation that manuals and help databases don't help. Let's consider this weeks issue:

Zynga (maker of Farmville, Mafia Wars, and just about every other time consuming Facebook game) is once again having problems with one of their games and I am forced to find out if I'm the only one with this issue or if it's a known problem that is currently being fixed. After looking through some forums, I turn to their customer support page. After searching through the help database and finding nothing, I then submit a help email describing my problem the the last detail. After 8 hours of waiting I get a reply,
"Thank you for contacting Zynga Customer Support.

We have reviewed your issue and believe that the answer to your problem exists in our Customer Service Knowledge Base..."
Now I'm back to square one. Their link had absolutely nothing to do with my problem and I'm forced to resubmit my problem because they marked the support ticket as "resolved."
Has the lack of human interaction in customer support affected you in some way? Share below...