Textures and Shadows of Cranes Roost Park

I took some pictures at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs today before yoga.  I only took pictures around the fountain area.  My focus was on the pretty shadows of mid day light and textures.  All pictures up on Photobucket.

(I could add tons of these hibiscus I love them!)

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Updates! Travel Links and Eye-Fi review

I updated the travel links adding some Machu Picchu information and a few more blogs and some more information on house sitting from Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo, and Hektic Travels.  Oh also, I added a list of products I have and a list of products I want.

I also have been using my Eye-Fi Card and can say it does more than it says it does.  Only, it does not tell you what it does and you discover it by accident.  I walked around the east side of Lake Eola Downtown Orlando on Monday for my lunch break.  I took pictures of parks and bike racks and then…the swans.

I always tell people not to feed the birds and watch their kids, and I mean it.  The birds can be intense.  I was taking pictures of a swan from a distance when suddenly the entire flock of ducks and swans started swimming towards me.  I did not have any bread for them and they became disinterested.  However, the swan on the land did not take no bread as an answer.  He started chasing me around.  And then when I left I started taking pictures of a few other swans and they started hissing at me and chasing me too.  I would say leave the swans be…

But, back to my review…it was not just as easy as plug in the card and go.  First I made sure my twitter account was set up to give me notifications and update every 30 seconds because the card will give you notices of when uploads start, finish, pause, and restart.  I had to remember how to turn my card on on the Android App.  Remember the wifi setting on your phone has to be on. I opened the app and took a picture and nothing happened.  I was confused.  So I walked around and then checked the phone as I went and viola, eventually the phone picked up the card and we were off.  There are random spots of wifi all over downtown which are on the Easy Wifi network, but each time you move in and out of one the card must reconnect to the phone.  Also, something I learned much later, which is common sense and I am sure says many times in the instructions, you must have the camera on, and not in sleep mode!  My screen goes to sleep in 30 seconds so each time it does that it has to reset the connection.

After walking around and having only a few photos download onto my phone, and not necessarily in the order I took them, I stopped at Starbucks to get a tea on the way back to work and be in a place I KNOW there is open wifi.  While I was leaving I noticed that the Eye-Fi app had stopped working giving a message stating the battery was too low on the phone.  And it certainly did suck the life out of my phone.  When I got back about 19 pictures were downloaded on the phone and I checked Photobucket, only around 5 uploaded to Photobucket.  So I just let the phone set (plugged in) next to the camera.  It was busy for a while but nothing was up on the phone and nothing was new on Photobucket.

That is when I realized the camera had to be on and that my camera batter was not going to last much longer.  But, just when I thought the day was a waste, in a few minutes all the files were on Photobucket, in their own folder dated and set to customer privacy settings.  It was nice.

Then today after I restarted my phone, the Eye-Fi App I had shut down the day before was uploading more pictures.  I need to check my Eye-Fi account to see if they all made it to the account, they are all on Photobucket I think. Also, later when I tethered my phone, a little window popped up in the bottom corner (Eye-Fi was still running) there was a status update of the upload and small version of the pictures.

So things I learned:

  • I think I am sending it to too many places.  I might possibly have my phone AND my computer set up to send it to Photobucket. But I am not sure what is happening I need to try it with a smaller set of pictures at a time I can monitor it closely.
  • My phone is way outdated and has trouble with the app. Nothing new to me.
  • Downloading and uploading at same time seems to cause problems on my phone.  One picture would be downloading while one was uploading.  It would sometimes cause delays with the next picture or pause.  I think this is my phone though.  It crashes once a day any more.
  • I think it is useless to upload all to my phone.  You can set only certain pictures to go to your phone I think using the protection settings in your camera.  I might have to try this.
  • The card tells you more and does more than the site says.  You just have to learn it as you go because directions are mostly glossy pictures and fun text.
  • I would like to test the upload/download speeds at someplace where I do not have a private network set up (like I do at work).  Maybe go to Starbucks.  But I need to remember to leave the camera on!
  • Find out if the phone and computer settings are just duplication.

Eye-fi Pro X2 Memory Card

New toy!

This weekend I bought a Eye-Fi Pro X2 memory card, it is a memory card with built-in Wi-Fi.  A couple was using it at a friend’s baptism I attended last weekend (my first time in a Catholic church in years).  They could magically upload their pictures to their computer from their memory card.  Now, I admit, wirelessly sending photos to your computer is not that awesome.  It is just as fast, if not faster, to put the card in your computer and transfer the files.  But, the awesome thing about this card is that you can send your photos to your phone or tablet or computer or virtual storage website (ex. your cloud).  It is virtual backup storage without needing a computer!!!

This is exactly what I need to be able to just bring a tablet with me (I am leaning towards the Asus EE Transformer, what do you think? It has a keyboard dock that also has extra battery in it for up to 16 hours battery time).  No need to lug around a full computer if I can do what I need most of the time on my tablet and just use a public computer for anything else.

So, when I lost my memory cards (have no idea where they are) and could not take pictures at the said baptism, I had to go find a new memory card.  After hearing about this card (the Pro X2 version, important, the other versions do not have same capabilities), I had to ask the Best Buy staff about it.  It was 110 dollars at Best Buy and the largest size is only 8GB, which if you are in Wi-Fi range is fine since you can upload photos as you take them and have the card automatically delete transferred photos.  But, once you are out of range for extended periods, this is not a lot of help.  So, I was going to buy a regular 16 GB memory card as a backup also.  Lo and behold when it was rung up the card was only 80 dollars. Needless to say, I bought a spare and put back the 16 gig card.  I think that it is a level 6 memory card if my memory serves me right.

Forewarning

Now, a forewarning, the product is easy to install, but I had to trouble shoot getting an account.  When I put the card in and set up the program it told me I had to sign in and the “Create Account” option was not available (grayed out). I did what I always do when something does not work, I Googled it.  In a forum the less than helpful Eye-Fi representative was telling people their card was probably stolen and an account was already set up on the card and to reset the account it had to be sent back to the store.  Now, this is good to know so no one can steal your account and get into your linked accounts (such as Facebook, etc.), but not helpful when you know you bought a brand new card.  Several people on the forum, who were never acknowledged or thanked by the Eye-Fi rep, suggested I put the card into my camera and take a picture, effectively reformatting the card, and then try again with the card in my computer.  This worked like a charm!  After this the screen came up as set up account instead of log in to an account.

Installation

In the box you get a USB card reader and the card.  It is all a bright orange-colored plastic that sort of makes it look like a toy, but at least it is easy to find in a mess of black tech gadgets.  The “card” you see through the packaging is a piece of paper.  The actual card comes in a USB card reader already and you just take it out and plug it into your computer.  Once the device is installed on the machine you open the folder for the device and there is a MacOS and a Windows installation option.  Open the installation like any other program and once it is done and you register (see above paragraph for troubleshooting) you can open the Eye-Fi center and it will walk you through different settings.

Settings

To change the card settings, the card has to be plugged into the computer.  You might be able to change some on a device but I have not tried this yet.  To you open the Eye-Fi Center, left click on the Eye-Fi icon in the notification settings or launch the program from the programs list.  Once Eye-Fi Center is open you can access the setting menus in two ways, (1) File->Settings->Eye-Fi card, (2) the gear icon next to where it says “Eye-Fi Card” on the left hand side of the main screen. You can access all of your devices linked to your card from the left hand side of the screen also.

The settings you can change include:

Networks

The network settings change how your card connects to networks and devices.  It allows you to add custom networks through Easy WiFi (which I might have to try out and use and give a review of, the site has a lot of hotspots all over the place, even in my apartment complex which you can log into through Easy WiFi app, making it more secure and one spot to go to for all Wi-Fi locations instead of connecting individually) in the Public Hotspots sub tab (no need to start your own account, it sets up one for your card automatically).  It also lets you determine what device you want your pictures to upload to, your computer or your phone. For instance my HTC Eris is currently selected as my main upload location (because I was playing with it, the Eris is certainly not where they will normally go). Want to send your pictures to your tablet, phone, computer, Photobucket, and FTP site? You can.

The Direct Mode sub tab of Networks is where you set up your device. To get this to work you need to log onto and set up the app on your phone from the Android, Blackberry or Apple market.  Once you log on you need to detect the device, just go to your Wi-Fi settings on your phone, turn it on, and select on your device from your computer and you are on your way.  Though to be able to see my phone on the device list I had to restart the Eye-Fi Center and put the card back into my computer from my camera.

Photos

The Photos tab allows you to tell the card which device to upload photos to and is similar to the Video and Raw tabs. You can select different options for each type of file. This is under the Computer sub-tab.  If you go to the Online sub-tab you can set up one of many FTP sites, photo storage and social media sites (Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook, etc).  I know you can send it to certain clouds, I am just not sure how yet as I do not have a cloud.  Maybe through FTP?  I know Photobucket Pro allows full size pictures to  be stored so I am not sure I will use a cloud access for my photos.  I currently have Photobucket and Flickr set up to receive my photos.  It is so nice to get home from taking photos and already have the photos backed up online.

Raw

Really the same options as Photo Tab.

Videos

Really the same options as Photo Tab.

Eye-Fi View

Eye-Fi View is where your photos are stored temporarily on the Eye-Fi network.  Default is for 7 days but you can buy monthly or yearly access to get your photos stored here. You can download your photos from anywhere off of the Eye-Fi view site.  It is sort of back up to the back up so to speak.

Geotagging

With this version of the card your pictures can automatically be geotagged.  I think this is only available when you are in a Wi-Fi network range (private Wi-Fi included).  You do not connect to the Wi-Fi unless you have it set to hot spots and it is open (or you have purchased subscription set up on Easy WiFi), you just use the Wi-Fi to get the position of where you are at.  Your photos are then organized by date and location when they are sent to the computer and are tagged in the meta data as to where you were.  This is just an on-off setting.

Notifications

Notifications can be set up to be sent to you through Facebook, Twitter, email or SMS text message when you start uploading, if uploading is interrupted, when it restarts, and when it is complete.  You can choose just one or all four.  It can also update your status when you upload photos (this is not necessary, just optional). If your connection is interrupted to the Wi-Fi network it will restart when the network is in range again.  I have only tried three or four test pictures but when sent to my device the Wi-Fi was interrupted several times and restarted several times momentarily (~ 2 seconds).

Transfer Mode

You can automatically send all pictures to the devices or online or on the Selective Transfer sub-tab you can change it to transfer only images you select as protected to transfer. You can also add all pictures to your computer/device but only a few to your sharing website.  Relayed transfer tab is just the automatic setting if you have hotspot enabled I think.  Relayed transfer transfers your files even when your computer is not on.  I do not see any options here it just tells you it is or is not enabled. Another awesome option is that the memory card can automatically delete files that have already been transferred when memory reaches a certain amount.  Say you select 50% memory used.  When the card reaches 50% full, all files you already saved and sent will be deleted, starting oldest first.  This makes your card pretty much endless, which is why this sub-tab is called Endless Memory.

So far, so good.  The test pictures ended up on all accounts, my computer and my phone.  I cannot wait to test this new toy out fully!  Sadly the weekend is already over, so it will be another week.

Here is to my first thorough product review!  Be careful, a lot of reviews out there seem to be from people who got the cheaper card (hotspots not included) or who have no idea how to use the settings right.  Also, it seems to be slower or faster depending on the camera.

Things I will miss most #2

I really enjoy Florida skies…

Florida is really gorgeous when we are not having adverse weather, wild fires, or you are so hot you cannot appreciate it.  I especially like the skies.  I don’t think I have ever seen so many beautiful blue skies, even when it is cloudy (which it always is).  Bright blue with puffy clouds, light blue with wispy clouds, gray-blue with huge intimidating clouds, and any mixture in between.  At sunset there are oranges and pinks and periwinkle.  I often spend time walking my dog just watching the colors of the sky change at dusk.

…and I like to enjoy them in Florida’s parks.

My favorite way of enjoying these blue skies?  There are public parks all over the place.  Rails to trails parks, lakes, springs, nature paths, bike paths, family parks, etc.  We run down the Seminole Wekiva trail and at Cranes Roost (both within walking distance) and go to the Pawmosa Dog Park in Casselberry to meet some more doggy friends. Nothing beats sunset at the beach, but I have to admit I have not been to the beach in years.  I get sunburned easily and I am not a lounging in swimwear kind of girl and, although I used to live near the beach and go often, now I live in the center of the state. That does not mean you cannot enjoy the natural beauties of Florida.  They are all around.

So if you are in Florida, check out the great parks throughout the state or you might be missing something.

Jacksonville “Treaty Oak

This tree is really crazy.  It is huge but not in a tall way.  Huge as in you could fit a house underneath of it and it has a natural canopy to the ground.

Cranes Roost

My dog Jack and I spend a lot of time here.  It has an amphitheater where there are free concerts and a fountain that plays to music in a very prettily landscaped garden area and a one mile loop to walk around.

Why I am Blogging (Warning – Long and Personal)

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!This is a little belated but I went out and had a great time with my girl friends, we had some drinks and some fun.  Stephenie even bought us presents including a Mad Lib we all did together.  I left mine at the table so I can’t post my results, sorry.

However, I had a secret Valentine put a carnation on my door and rose petals and red ribbons on my mat.  I think it was my neighbor Barbara, she is like my grandma away from home.  She will not admit to it though.

I hope you all had a great day too!

While I Stephenie and I were stuffing ourselves with Moe’s Southwest Grill naked burritos pre-drinks, she got to asking me how exactly I chose to go down the travel path I am looking at.  I realized I needed to go back a bit further and explain a bit of where I was a year and a half ago.

One and a Half Years Earlier

Around a year and a half years ago my boss (who is no longer my boss) was driving me crazy.   Literally I remember calling my parents one day while at work and asking them what the point was.  If this is life what is the point.  I am not airing out his dirty laundry, but lets say that everything was not necessarily on the up and up when I had to have surgery.  He was disliked by many and trusted by even less, which should have made me take it with a grain of salt.  But I did not. I am not the type of person who like to make a scene about something that happens once or twice.  However, I am also not the type of person that can take abuse on a regular basis.  First I tied to take it through the appropriate channels.  This is where my naive self learned that HR is always the EMPLOYERS advocate.  Then I got angry.  Then I gave up, and then angry, and then gave up…you get the picture.  I was cycling through constant anger and apathy.

Then grandpa Bob got cancer.  When grandpa got sick everything really started to spiral out of control.  My mom, who was always the strong never-in-the-passenger-seat always in control type, became the type of person who cannot drive more than a half hour without asking my dad to drive the rest of the way.  She just could not keep up control.  She bought four dogs (named after NCIS characters (Abby, Zeva, Ducky-McGee, and Leroy Jethro (LJ)).

I did not know what to do.  All of my family is in Michigan.  My sister was helping out at my grandparents all the time and I felt like the rotten daughter and sister.  But I did not want to go back home.  I REALLY did not want to go back home.  I felt as if I always had to be someone else around them, because they wanted the old Laura to come back into their life, even though she did not exist anymore and had not for years (I left home at 18).  So I did not know what to do and decided to get expert advice.

The first question, he asked of course was then who are you?  If that is not who you are, who are you?  If you are unhappy at your job why are you still there?  What do you want to do?  And I was completely blank.  I could list hobbies I like to do.  I could list accomplishments I have achieved.  Awards, scholarships, jobs, salary, etc.  But  Who am I?  Wow.  Just the thought nearly put me into an panic attack.  I have always been kind of a nervous type, but it had been getting worse.

So we started with something more simple.  What do I want to do right NOW.  I want to take time and explore who I am.  Travel, cook, travel, write, sew, travel, write, travel…  Okay, so why don’t I do it?  JUST DO IT!  Well that is where things got heavy.  We worked through everything, all my excuses and insecurities.  We worked through grandpa’s death, my families reaction, my mom’s downward spiral, and my lack of boundaries.

One Year Ago – Epiphany

Then one day last January I showed up and said.  Ok, why don’t I take some time off?  Mind you, he had been telling me to do this since day one.  He even would fill out an FMLA form for me (to make my time of a protected health problem so work could not fire me).  “YESSS!!!! You finally got it!”

I have to say my mom was probably the catalyst.  She let so much get to her.  Work, grandpa, etc.  She is the shell of the woman she used to be.  I refuse to let myself get that far.  That is why I got help when I did.  That is why I go to yoga.  And that is why I HAVE to do this trip.

Where I am Now

So my plan started a year ago.  It has changed and evolved and is still not very precise.  But, that is how I got here.  It is why my blog is UpcycledBliss.  The only thing in life i have to work with is what I was given at birth, my mind, my body, and my soul.  I am on a journey to connect with all three and make them into who I want to be.  To bring this into all aspects of my life and to really find my own bliss which I know exists somewhere inside me already.  I always loved cooking contests on TV where the chef contestants were given surprise ingredients and had to make do with what they had.  Mainly because that is how I cook.  I can make amazing dishes out of left overs and what is available.  I am good at swapping out what I do not have in my cupboards and using what I have.  I want that in the rest of my life.  I need to get rid of what everyone is telling me what I should be doing in my life and putting in it what I know I want in my life as I discover what those things are.

If you made it to the end, thank you for reading!  It was a long time coming.

Picture of dahlia with bee taken in October in Michigan at my parents house taken by me, Laura.  Please do not use my pictures without linking back to me and please do not try to sell my images (I know, they are not that good, but it has happened).