Technology Takes a Holiday.

It’s May and it’s our annual Myrtle Beach golf trip. Eric, Jim, Tim and I started this 6 years ago. 72 holes in 3 days of drinking, playing, eating and snoring! What I learned and what to share from this year.

wpid-granddunes-2012-05-27-09-43.jpg
Grande Dunes 7AM. Copyright 2012 David Leveen

  1. iPads: Three out of the four of us brought iPads instead of laptops this year. All the condo’s at Legends where we stay have cable modems, but not wireless. I brought my Airport Express which I set up using my iPad and Apple’s Airport Utility for the iPad. Now the iPads and the lone laptop (a Windows machine) were able to get on the internet. I also learned that you can leave your iPad in your carry on and not pull it out when you go through security.
  2. Maps app and Contacts on the iPhone: Because we’ve been before and we have our favorite courses and restaurants their addresses are in my contacts app on my iPhone. That way if we want to go from Legends in Myrtle Beach, SC where we are staying to Oyster Bay Golf Links in Sunset Beach, N.C. maps quickly gives us to and from directions. My navi-guessor Eric handled the direction chores in our rental Town and Country man van!

wpid-mapcontact-2012-05-27-09-43.jpg

  1. Eating: Avoid the chains look for local restaurants run by the locals they’re usually the most fun and have the best food. Yelp and Chowhound.com are great for finding the best local places. We love Crab Catchers on the Waterfront Little River, S.C. and Thai Cuisine in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  2. Golf: If you never use your 4 iron, leave it home. As the attendant at Oyster Bay said as he pulled Eric’s bag out of the man van, “ hey….I think there are some clubs missing!” Have fun, get the domestic six pack specials and by all means get the Bloody Mary’s at Grande Dunes! Remember you can’t call golf a sport if you can smoke cubans and drink while playing. Also, watch out for the alligators they are big!

wpid-par3-2012-05-27-09-43.jpg
Our favorite Par 3 at Grande Dunes. A pond and the Inter-Coastal Waterway. All four of us where on the green in 1. Copyright 2012 David Leveen

  1. Take a Deep Breath and Turn the Phone off: After playing 27 holes the first day at Oyster Bay we stopped for drinks and dinner at Crab Catchers on the Water. We stayed four hours and had a blast. There was never a lull or phone call during those four hours. Drinks, appetizers , dinner, bald eagles, Croton characters, a weird professor, kids and a guessing game about how old our server was. We didn’t want to out right ask so we asked 20 questions during those four hours. We came close, she was in her mid 40s and from Hartford, Ct. We spend so much of our time with and in front of gadgets and computers that we forget how relaxing talking and taking in your surroundings can be. Try it!

Just Because: Jagger rocking SNL!

Posted in iStuff, On Location | Leave a comment

It’s All in the Pocket

So every May I go away to Myrtle Beach, SC with my golf buddies for 3 days. This morning as I went for my daily walk, my favorite in-ear headphones died, kaput! Cleaned the ear wax out, yuk, and they still didn’t work! I now have to get new ones as I’m leaving tomorrow for Myrtle. I didn’t have enough time to order them online so I rocket down to the nearest Apple store in The Westchester in White Plains, NY. I picked the Apple store because I wanted to try using my iPhone to buy an accessory and check out. No cash register, no paper receipt. As long as you have an iTunes account with a credit card attached, you’re good to go. Scan the bar code on any accessory, log-in to your iTunes account, a receipt is displayed on your iPhone and you’re out the door. The below screen shot is what it looks like and is part of the you can download and put on your phone. It does tons of other stuff, like pre-ordering, in-store pickup or to book some Genius time.

wpid-easypay-2012-05-17-21-10.jpg

This of course leads me into talking about what apps I use regularly on my iPhone. I really use it instead of carrying a computer with me while visiting clients or traveling. All the below Apps sync and work for both my iPhone, iPad and Laptop.

  • Billings Touch: I use it to track client time and create invoices
  • Filemaker Pro/FileMaker Go: To keep track of the golfers that are playing in our Booster Club Golf Classic Fund-raiser.
  • Simplenote: Track all sorts of notes and miscellaneous info I gather day to day
  • iWork Suite: Pages, Numbers and Keynote
  • 1Password: track all my passwords and notes securely
  • DSLR FilmmakerToolkit: Slate, Shot Log, Daylight Times, etc. for shooting video projects
  • Mactracker: Looking up all Apple products for specifications and tech info. Goes all the way back to Macintosh 128k.
  • Apple’s Airport Utility: For configuring wireless and wired Airport Networks.
  • Skip Marini Golf Lessons: Last but not least, Rick Sammon takes golf lessons with Pro Skip Marini. I did start with a golf theme after all…;-)

Just Because: Live From Darryl’s House……rocking and sometimes cooking! Also via John Gruber’s Daring Fireball blog a great read about the web.

Posted in iStuff | Leave a comment

Ramps and SloPro

I was going to write about SmugMug’s great app “Camera Awesome” and their excellent photo/video service, but I got my favorite springtime phone call. My good friend Tim called and said, “let’s go ramping”! We’re fortunate that we live in Northern Westchester County which is heavily wooded with tons of streams and ponds which is ideal for finding ramps. So with shovel in hand and bags to fill up with our bounty and of course my iPhone in my pocket off we went. I work with technology all day long whether it’s consulting, editing, listening to music or photography. Sometimes one needs to remember that life isn’t all technology and we all need the proverbial “stop and smell the roses” occasionally or in this case the ramps! Tim and I were gone over 2 hours, walked deep into the woods, found tons of ramps and will be cooking them up over the next few days. While trekking through the woods near the croton reservoir we came across the below weird site. Perfectly carved gigantic rocks in the middle of the woods? Remnants of when the Croton Dam was built and left behind, dropped by a UFO or a little StoneHedge type thing…..is that Spinal Tap I hear? So get out, slow down and put the technology away for a few hours and bring the camera just in case 😉

!wpid-img_0701-2012-05-6-09-57.jpg
StoneHedge?

wpid-img_0702-2012-05-6-09-57.jpg
Ramps cleaned and ready to go.

Here come’s a bad segue once again…..slow down to SloPro. My new favorite iPhone app. Did you ever think you could make beautiful slow motion video on your iPhone? Check out the below video I shot yesterday at the dam it’ll give you a good idea of what’s possible. I’m going to explore more with it and report back in a few weeks with some more samples.

Check out this SloPro Video


Just Because: New Music for Old People written by my friend Al Kooper. Great music both new and old.

I saw the Band and Levon Helm at last 20 times over the years, but one of my favorite shows was with Ringo Starr…..You’ll be missed Levon. Also…..”You have to fight for your right to paaarrrrrrtttty!” May have not been on your favorite playlist, but it just rocked the house and helped launch MTV. Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys who made that record died a few days ago of cancer. I came across a quote reflecting on Adam’s death and it reminded me so much of Tommy V’s philosophy of “You’re here for a good time not a long time” that I needed to share it. It’s by Bob Lesetz who signed off his email blast with this final quote about Adam……”Death is final. It creeps you out. Be sure to live while you’re still alive.”

Posted in iStuff, On Location, Video Velvetta | Leave a comment

Snap!

Sorry for not posting last Sunday……I needed to go upstate New York to see my dad. He’s 88 and has Alzheimer’s. I hadn’t seen him in a long while and he needed to go into the hospital (everything is ok). It got me to thinking about last weeks backup post. You don’t want to loose any of your pictures whether you scan them to your desktop machine, take with a camera or your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Did you know that Apple has a great scan utility called “Image Capture” that comes on every machine? It allows you to transfer images from a scanner, a camera, or a device with a camera, such as your phone. Works like a champ.

wpid-screenshot2012-04-21at4-55-50pm-2012-04-14-13-10.png

They’re called snap shots because they capture a unique moment in time. I came across this photo at my moms this past weekend and scanned it into my computer when I got back. I’m eight months old and being held by my two Grandmas. It was taken at Jones Beach in the summer of 1950. I scanned the below image using my old Canon multi-function Canon PIXMA MP620 which is networked. Now I have a copy of this photograph and memory and I’m confident that I have a backup using Time Machine.

wpid-img_0056-2012-04-14-13-10.jpg

Another quick snap was taken with my iPhone on Christmas day 2010 at Rockefeller Center in NYC. It’s one of my favorite “selfie” snaps of Zoe and me and our silly hats.

wpid-img_0397-2012-04-14-13-10.jpg
copyright 2012, David Leveen

Which brings me to a really bad segue, well sorta of bad, about a new app called “SnapGuide” for the iPhone. Snapguide is a simple, beautiful way to share and view sep-by-step how to guides. Everything from photography to cooking to building. It’s all done with your camera on your iPhone. You can use both pictures and videos shot with the phone and imported into the app. Check out the ones Rick and I did on photography.

I’ll leave you with this great shot of my dad that I took 3 years ago. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. When I visited him this past weekend he said, “hey that’s at the LPGA!”. For over 30 years my dad volunteered and ran the media tent at the Corning Classic. A great LPGA event held in Corning, NY at the Corning Country Club. By the way, Nancy Lopez was my Dad’s favorite golfer.

wpid-img_0602-2012-04-14-13-10.jpg
copyright 2012, David Leveen

Next week I’ll share a couple of secrets I learned about the iPhone from my daughter Maya and my best friend Eric. And we’ll look at a very cool app and photo sharing service from our friends at SmugMug. See you then.

Just Because: Holy Moly! Rocking the Garden for Bobby D……so many musicians plus the great great rhythm section of Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and Jim Keltner. How great to see Johnny Cash, Ronnie Wood and George Harrison sharing the mic. Enjoy!

Posted in iStuff, On Location | Leave a comment

Send Lawyers, Guns and Money the Sh*t has Hit the Fan!

Man I miss Warren Zevon, but no truer words have been spoken when it comes to backing up your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or main machine. I can tell you from my experience with my Apple clients and my friends at the Apple Genius Bar that the sound you never want to hear is “kerplunk!” as your device falls into the toilet, bathtub or puddle. It happens frequently and without a back up you have to reconstruct all your favorite music, contacts, photos etc. from scratch to a replacement device. Always sync your device to the latest version of iTunes. iTunes backs up to your local machine. If you have to restore your device to the way it was, you restore from this back up. There are other strategies and methods to employ.

wpid-icloudmain-2012-04-8-10-28.jpg

Calendar/Contacts: Get an Apple iCloud account it’s free. This enables you to sync your calendar and contacts between all your Apple devices and desktop machine or laptop. Because everything is in sync it also becomes an easy way to restore your calendar and contacts to a new device or machine.

Apps: By backing up to iTunes on your desktop or laptop when you restore your device it will also add your apps back in to your device. Also did you know that when you purchase an app on either your iPhone or iPad and then delete it, you can always go back to the app store and re-download the purchased app for free.

Photos: I always like to transfer my iPhone and iPad photos to Aperture 3 or the latest version of iPhoto when I sync. That way when I back up my desktop machine I also have a back up of my photos. Like the photo below taken with the wide-angle lens from the iPro Lens that I took on my walk last night. Loving that lens setup and the artistic filters in iPhoto on the iPad.

wpid-purpledoor-2012-04-8-10-28.jpg

Music: I have over 1TB of music in my iTunes library and carry between 1000-1200 songs at any given time on my iPhone. I listen when I take my daily walks, driving to clients and when I’m cooking (using AirPlay). Because I like to rotate new and old tunes on my iPhone I created a playlist in iTunes on my main machine called “iPhone”. It is that list that I sync to my iPhone and thus manage what music ends up on my iPhone. Music moves in and out of that list frequently. That way if I have to restore a damaged iPhone to a new one I have a fast and easy way to keep the music the same.


Coming up next week: My Neighborhood! Plus a cool new app SnapGuide that Rick and I dip our toes into.

Posted in iStuff, On Location | Leave a comment

Is that D-76 I Smell or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Before we start here is a new feature you may not be aware of on your iPhone that’s running IOS 5.1. You can now take pictures directly from your lock screen. You’ll notice in the picture below that I’ve highlighted the camera icon in the lower right corner, flip that up and the iPhone automatically goes into the picture taking mode. You can now grab that shot before it disappears.

wpid-openscreen-2012-03-31-15-56.jpg


It all started with a photography course I took at Ithaca College and a Nikkormat camera that my friend Paul let me use for the class. The smell of the dark room, the beauty of printing the b/w negatives and the wonder as the image appeared on the paper. Long since lost are the images I took at the Watkins Glen race track that spring but the thrill and satisfaction of looking at the world as a photographer remains. Overtime that feeling took a back seat as kids and the responsibility and time of marriage and raising them took priority. But happily the wonderment has returned in the guise of my iPhone 4S and the iPro Lens system.

The iPro Lens System works on both the iPhone 4 and 4S. It comes with a great case for your phone and both a wide-angle and fisheye lens that screws directly onto the case over the existing iPhone lens. A handle safely stores both lenses and enables you to hand hold or attach your iPhone to any tripod. I love taking pictures with the system. Below is the classic Croton dam shot that I shot with my iPhone and the wide-angle lens attached. It was photo streamed to my iPad and then I processed it in iPhoto using one of the artistic filters.

wpid-photo0-2012-03-31-15-56.jpg

Here is a view taken from the top of the dam standing over the falls looking towards Croton on Hudson with the iPhone and wide-angle lens attached and again processed through iPhoto on the iPad.

wpid-photoabovedam-2012-03-31-15-56.jpg

I turned around so my back was to the above view and I was facing the actual reservoir and the spill over. This time I used the fisheye lens. I could have cropped out the edges but decided it was more fun to leave them in.

wpid-fisheye-2012-03-31-15-56.jpg

The iPro Lens System drew me back to looking at the world with my photography eyes again and gave my daughter a great excuse to take a silly fisheye shot of me at our favorite pizza place.

wpid-pizza-2012-03-31-15-56.jpg


As promised here’s how to print wirelessly from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch when you don’t have one of the new Air Print capable printers…..use Printopia from ecamm. Check it out.

As for the new Air Print capable printers here’s one that works well and is reasonably priced from Canon.

Next week I’ll show you how to easily get your photos from your iPhone to your iPad if you’re not using iCloud. We’ll also look at some simple backup strategies for your iPhone, iPad and Apple desktop.

Just Because: A great version of a Hall and Oates tune that I came across…..wait for the Kazoo! Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers. Shot with an iPhone! Check out all their covers.

Posted in iStuff, On Location | 1 Comment

Giving Your Pictures the Finger

I love photography and hate Photoshop. Heresy I know but the truth is, if there is a photograph of mine that I like and needs help I go to the master, Rick Sammon. He not only has taught me great things about photography (it’s about soul) but he’s a master of Adobe’s Photoshop. I currently own a Canon 7D for my main camera though in the last few months I’ve been using it more as my main video camera than for stills. I have the iPhone 4s and have been using it as my go to camera as I carry it with me at all times. The below photograph was taken at sunset down at the Hudson River in Croton on Hudson, NY with my iPhone 4s. Love the shot, hate the lens flare.

wpid-sunsetlensflare-2012-03-24-17-06.jpg

Yesterday I got my new iPad and immediately bought the new Apple iPhoto app for the iPad from the App store. I transferred the lens flared sunset photo to my iPad (you really have to see the screen to see how magnificent your photos look). I use iCloud to sync my calendars and contacts with my phone, iPad and my MacBook Air. One of the great additional functions if you use iCloud is known as “Photo Stream”. If you take a picture on your iPhone it also automatically streams to your iPad, laptop or desktop machine in iPhoto or Aperture 3. So even though I used my phone for the photo it showed up on my iPad also. I launched iPhoto on the iPad and then literally gave my photograph the finger! As you can see from the below screen shot there are many cool things you can do to your photos.

wpid-lensflarescreenshotzoom1-2012-03-24-17-06.jpg

I chose the “Repair” brush to get the lens flare out. I used two fingers to zoom into the lens flare and then just rubbed my finger on the screen to replace the lens flare with the non lens flare surrounding pixels. The resulting photo turned out terrific. I even printed an 8”x11” print on my Canon Pro 9000 Mark II from my iPad.

wpid-sunsetnolensflare-2012-03-24-17-06.jpg

Next week I’ll tell you how I was able to print wirelessly from my iPad to my Canon Printer. I’ll also show some other iPhoto effects that I used on photographs I took on my iPhone using the very cool iPro Wide Lens setup. The Croton Dam never looked so good! See you next iStuff Sunday…….thanks as always to Rick Sammon.

Posted in 7D, iStuff, On Location | Leave a comment