Approaching Grand Central Station in the Rain

My Sprint 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot is Pretty Crappy

So, I was going to either get the Verizon MiFi or this Sprint 4G Mobile Hotspot thing… I needed a fast mobile connection that I could use on the road instead of depending on coffee shops or hotel rooms. I could not decide which one to get, and in the end, I opted for the Sprint one because I thought the 3G would be equal to the MiFi but the 4G would be better where I had coverage. What I’ve learned (briefly):

  • The 4G is better if the area has 4G.  Austin does, so that is nice.
  • I’ve since traveled to Plano, Dallas, and Orlando, none of which could pick up a 4G signal
  • So, instead it connects at 3G – it is glacially slow!
    • It says “3G”, but I think it is lying… because it seems 10x slower than my iPhone alone
    • I have run it on Speedtest.net many times.  Half the time, it is to slow to even load the site, much less measure it!  When it does run, it shows about 0.09 mb/s.  I might as well be on Prodigy
    • Don’t believe anything can be that slow?  See this Speed Screenshot from Speedtest.net!
    • Before, I had used Cali Lewis’ MiFi and it was very fast – must faster than this Sprint black hole of bandwidth
  • It gets very hot.  Very very hot.
  • The battery only lasts about 2 hours.  That is pretty lame, really.  Even when you have it plugged in via USB, it appears to drain faster than it charges.
  • When I use it for a few hours, the Internet stops working…  It requires a reboot of the device.  This has happened to me 4 times now.

Photo-Posting While Travelling Tip

As you know, I put up a new photo every day here on the blog. This is hard both from a processing standpoint, since these can take anywhere from 20 mins to several hours to produce. It’s also hard logistically because I’ve got to get everything uploaded and into its place before posting!

So, I’ve taken to uploading 10-20 photos to SmugMug (see my SmugMug Review) at a time before a trip. I go in an “Hide” the photos. That way, I can just go online and “Unhide” them when I get ready to make the daily post. This seems to be a good solution.

Daily Photo – Approaching Grand Central Station in the Rain

Rainy nights in cities pose a tough problem. Really, in many ways, you have to fight against every natural human instinct to go out into the rain on purpose. It’s so easy just to want to stay inside, make a hot cocoa (or, a think Aztec Drinking Chocolate in my case), watch a movie, be all cozy, etc etc. But the little photographer inside of you also knows how interesting things are out there!

So, I tend to compromise, and force myself to go outside half the time and stay inside half the time. This occasion in New York City was obviously one of the times I went out in the rain.

You can see I am approaching Grand Central Station — and that is the famous Chrysler Building in the background. This was shot with the Nikon 14-24 Lens (See my Nikon 14-24 Review). It’s an expensive lens, so if you are looking for something cheaper that also takes great wide-angle shots, check out the Sigma 10-20mm (Review coming some day when I mysteriously get more time).

HDR-Photo

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New Behind-The-Scenes Video and Manhattan Living

Behind-the-Scenes in New Zealand

I recently edited together and posted this scene from the south island of NZ, when I was out in this beautiful meadow at sunset. I was using a 70-200mm lens, so I used this to add to my Nikon 70-200 Review.

If you’d also like to see the resulting photo, check out the Video on the Valley of Abundance page.

Daily Photo – Manhattan Living

When I was in New York City, I had the good fortune to spend time with Steve Simon. We had breakfast at this great little French place and then went around to do a bit of shooting. We stopped at his place and went up to the roof. Peering over the side, I saw this and thought it was kinda nice… so I grabbed a quick one.

Be sure to visit Steve’s site on the link above. He has amazing work and I am sure you will get a kick out of it!

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The Amazing FAO Schwarz

Shopping in 2010?

Speaking of today’s image, I’ve noticed I have really changed the way I shop!

Now, this doesn’t happen in all shopping situations, but it is happening more and more every month.

On my Trey’s App List, I mention something called RedLaser. When I was in the toy store below, I basically walked around with my iPhone, found cool stuff, scanned in the UPC with RedLaser, chose the best price, and had it sent to my home. Most often, Amazon had the best price. In some ways, this could become the future of retail stores — they become showrooms.

It reminded me a bit of a later trip to B&H Photo. They have an amazingly cool system there where you find the stuff you want on the show floor, and then the boxes are sent to the front from an underground warehouse across a robotic series of conveyor belts overhead. While you shop, the boxes whiz above your head with a gentle buzz… it’s all very cool.

And so, I picture this same sort of thing as I shop in other stores using RedLaser. I imagine the box sliding all around the UPS/Fed-ex World, slowly weaving its way to my home.

Newsletter in next 48 Hours!

At some magical point in the next two days, the Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever will arrive in your email.  You will see how it took a small eternity to put together.

In exchange, I have one simple request.  If you find it pretty, forward to your mom, your kids, or your best friends.  Life is too short for ugly emails.  Besides, you know how everyone else forwards you ugly junk?  Do them a favor and up the ante a little!

Daily Photo – The Amazing FAO Schwarz

While I was in New York City for the big book party, we took some time out for shopping! This is the famous FAO Schwarz, which holds a special place in the hearts of many people. I’m sure at one point, you could call it the greatest toy store in the world. I’m sure other places hold that title now. In fact, I think I heard about FAO going bankrupt or something a few years back? I can’t remember… but, either way, the store was still alive and hopping while we were there!

I figured this is most certainly the kind of place you cannot use a tripod, which made me determined to use a tripod. I quickly set up on the second floor after surveying the whole store for about 30 minutes, looking for the most interesting vantage. I quickly extended the tripod, fired away, and then retracted back into stealth-mode.

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ilili

The Greatness of Yelp

Yelp has really changed the way I go about finding places to eat! I was in the middle of New York and had a craving for some Mediterranean food. A quick trip to Yelp helped me find this place, get ratings and reviews, and then figure out how to get here. It could not have been easier, or a better recommendation!

I also recommend getting the iPhone/Android/iPad version of Yelp… it can come in handy when trying to find some new haunts!

Daily Photo – ilili

I was here alone. You can see my laptop there on the table… I like to take a long time to eat while editing photos and listening to music with my earphones on. Every other patron looks at me kind of like a freak. That’s quite okay!

Luckily, while I was waiting for the food, they let me run around the restaurant with my tripod. This is yet another thing that makes people look at me strangely. They can’t imagine why anyone would bring such a monster setup to do such a thing. Most people assume that the restaurant pays me to do it, but the staff knows that is not the case. At one point, the manager came over to talk to me — not to get mad… just to chat about art and food and life and these sorts of things. And then I ate some amazing food! I had some sort of Lebanese marinated lamb on saffron rice. I need more saffron in my life…

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The Incredible Apple Store

Your Favorite Podcasts?

What are some of your favorite podcasts? I’m curious! I have several that I get on a regular basis. On the video side, I get TED Talks, Diggnation, This Week in Tech, Geekbrief TV, and Macbreak Weekly. On the audio side, I get some things from the BBC, This Week in Photography, and the Economist.

Best TED Talks

Speaking of the TED stuff above, I’ve assembled a collection of the Best TED Talks, at least in my opinion.  There are many more — I just have not had time to link them up yet!

Daily Photo – The Incredible Apple Store

I think it would be cool to be an architect that could design these kind of things. These guys are really talented — I love seeing their crazy concepts come into being. As opposed to concept cars, which never make it into production, even the most outlandish buildings seem possible.

This is one of the Apple Stores in New York City. The entire thing is a dreamy glass cube with a floating white Apple logo right in the middle. The actual store is underground.

I have a policy about getting help at the Apple store. When in doubt, talk to the guy with the beard.

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