Saturday, June 30, 2007

Do you want an iPhone?

The iPhones sure do look cool, but I just don't have a need for it. I used to love handheld computers - PDAs (personal digital assistants). If you depend on the information in your computer, you need it to be portable so it can go where you go. I used to have a PDA that fit in my pocket, these days my portable computer is 30 feet long and has wheels! We have a 3-computer network with it's own satellite Internet connection that goes wherever I go because it is my home and my office and my PDA. I kept my handheld for the first year on the road, but found that I just didn't use it at all - sold it in a yard sale in Quartzsite. I do find it so interesting that all this computing power is being merged into a cell phone tho. I'm sure I'll want one someday - my cell phone is indeed my one absolutely necessary portable device. I remember debating, back in the 90s, about the future of computing ... will the computer merge into the TV? or will the TV merge into the computer? Neither!! They both are merging into the cell phone! If you want to see the iPhone - take a look at this video from my favorite technology reviewer: David Pogue.

Friday, June 29, 2007


We saw people having fun all winter long playing Pickleball. We only got started the week before we left. While we were there last weekend we got in quite a few games with Debbie and Richard. Mom took the video! Our plans for next winter have changed. We will be spending the entire 6 month season at Palm Creek RV in Casa Grande Arizona. We will miss Peace River, we love it there, but we won't have to miss Pickleball. In fact, Palm Creek is where we first heard of it, they even sponsor regional tournaments! All the best places have it dontcha know!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Paddle the Peace River

Florida has been in a drought for quite some time and the Peace River showed it. Luckily, a kayak only draws a couple of inches so we were able to paddle anyway - but we did have to walk our kayaks over a couple of spots. Mom got her own kayak because the park provided. Here's Richard helping us load kayaks in the park's truck and take us up to the launch spot. ahhh - even with low water it is still peaceful. What the photos don't show you is the heat. 96 degrees in the shade - and there wasn't much shade. Even all the alligators were hiding. We didn't see even one.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Peaceful Weekend

We get uncomfortable when we're parked so long, so we made plans to take a weekend trip to our other home park - Thousand Trails, Peace River. If you visit this link, make sure to click on the link to the video - Jim made that. It is *such* a pretty place. Since it's off-season, we had our choice of where to park. We decided to be right next to the pool, hot tub and Pickle Ball courts. Mom came with us ... I think she really likes our loft/guest room! Aaaaaaahhh - the nature trail - Odie's favorite. This is what you call 'quality time'!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Google Earth and *your* pictures

We gave our Google Earth Seminar the other night here at Paradise Island. Jim added a little new material - showing how you can attach your photos to particular places using Lat/Lon readings. We're always looking for new ways to share our travels - Blog, Picasa Web Albums, Photostory, Video - but, this may be the coolest way yet! Just click on the link below and watch - don't worry if the white screen just sits there ... wait 5-6 seconds and the video will start on it's own. If not, please email me. Watch a 3 minute sample of a Google Earth Photo Tour.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Geeks are dragged into the iPod generation

Kind of embarassing to admit that we call ourselves geeks and we do not have an mp3 player - till now. I like music - sure - but it's not a major focus in my life (I like silence when I work) and I just didn't get the fascination with iPods and podcasts and downloading music. I can get all that on my computer - and I'm at my computer all the time! We've been walking every morning with Bill, the park manager here, and he has an iPod. He listens to music and therefore, sets a good pace for our walks. He has a cool attachment from Nike that reads wireless signals from a clip on his shoe. His iPod then records the time and number of steps. Shamed into compliance with the 21st century, Jim kept his eyes open for mp3 deals and found these cool mp3 players for $30 (after rebate.) Ok, I'll try it. These are also AM/FM radios - so the first day, we just listened to NPR as we walked. The second day, I downloaded a podcast from NPR. So, for my whole walk I listened to GeekSpeak! I'm in heaven! :-) By the third day, I wanted some upbeat music. So, I took my favorite CD of The Nylons, 'ripped' it into the computer, then copied the tracks to the mp3 player. Wow! It really does make the walk more fun. I'm skipping and snapping my fingers as I walk. And, Jim's happy because I'm not demanding that dreaded 'conversation' :-). Oh, and, if I have some great idea while we're walking - the mp3 player is also a voice recorder. Here's a closeup of the player: And, here's how it connects to the USB port. Then it's just like any USB drive and you can copy files from the computer to the player. It holds 1 Gigabyte. That will last me a while. I think I'm hooked.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Annual Kayak Against Cancer

Yesterday was our dive club's annual fundraising event, Kayak Against Cancer (if you click here, you'll still need to click on link to Kayak Against Cancer at the left). The weather wasn't real pretty - but it actually only rained a little. Most kayakers prefer a cloudy day to bright sunshine anyway. And, those really black clouds offshore stayed offshore. It looked like all the kayakers had a good time. And, the fundraising was successful - first rough tally = $13,000 for the American Cancer Society. If you'd like to add to that, there's a Donate button on the webpage mentioned above. Then, of course, there's the party: Lot's more photos on my Web Album.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mother Ocean - Kayak Diving

After weeks and weeks of windy weather, the conditions were finally right for a kayak dive this morning. And, were they ever right!! This is our kind of Sunday morning service.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Converting old photos to digital

We decided to clear out our storage unit here, toss some stuff and put the rest in Jim's Dad's garage. As we moved the photo albums, I thought I really should scan a lot of them so I can look at old photos once in a while. But, the thought of all the time and effort that scanning takes was overwhelming. Jim said, try taking photos of the photos. hmmm, you mean just stand the album up in a chair, take my digital camera and start shooting? Yeah. So I did. Wow! It was so easy. I didn't have to take the photos out of the album. Just focused on each individual picture and snap away. They didn't all come out great. I experimented with flash or no flash, daylight or indoors. Some came out dark and some had glare. But, if I really wanted a good one, I changed the angle or the lighting until it worked. It took only 10 minutes to go thru an entire album! Here's a couple samples: Our first trip together - California 1993 You know this one is old, Jim's son is now 23. Jim as Santa in 1993: I have even more old photos that I took as slides in the 70s when I lived in California. Sometime in the 80s I had 100 of them professionally converted to Kodak Photo CD. Yes, there were digital photos back then, but you had to have a Kodak Photo CD player to see them! I got out that old CD and put it in the computer, but nothing I had could read the .pcd format. I downloaded a great *free* photo editing program called IrfanView and it was able to convert the .pcd files to .jpg. If IrfanView can't convert it - it's not a photo file!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Florida Home and Garden

I'm always trying to find ways to save on health Insurance since it is our biggest expense. So, when I learned that Jan specializes in that, I set up an appointment. She arranged for us to meet at her house cuz it'd be more fun and I could see her garden. I'm afraid there's nothing she can do to make talking about health insurance fun, but, WOW - what a garden. This is what living in Florida should be like:
From Florida
Beautiful decks and gardens everywhere. It happened to be raining that day. Since we're in the worst drought in decades, I thought the rain looked really nice! Jan especially likes growing orchids: Cocktails anyone? She told me that the insurance I had was about as good and as cheap as possible. Oh well - sure had a nice visit.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

RV Body Wraps

We have a new neighbor: There are 5 people currently traveling and working out of this RV. I think a couple of them are actually sleeping in motels. Their job is to visit nice places in Florida and take video that will eventually be available on the website. hmmmm, sounds like a nice job! They call this kind of advertsing on vehicles a 'wrap'. I guess because it wraps around the entire vehicle. I like this one. Some of them are awfully gaudy, like the rental RV in the movie RV. Someday, I think our motorhome should be 'wrapped' with ''. What do you think? For more examples, see