Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member.

Topics - Something Fishy

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8
Just Shmooze / TPG Master Thread
« on: May 04, 2017, 06:42:20 PM »
Get your barf bags out, folks. I made it to 3 or 4 paragraphs before it got too much.


Education, company reps, free giveaways.

First 200 people will get a free 500GB Thunderbolt hard drive. There will be door prizes also ("while supplies last"), although I'm not sure what those will be (probably nothing spectacular). No purchase necessary.

There will probably be lines before the doors open at 10, so take that into account if you're interested.

Up In The Air / How Many Heliports Have You Flown Through?
« on: March 05, 2017, 12:53:08 AM »
1 in total.
  • 65NJ - Kearny, NJ


This normally costs $199.

I've had this for a number of years now and highly recommend it. It's similar to Lightroom and does your typical RAW editing and so on, but the beauty lies in its incredible noise reduction capabilities. Whenever I have a picture that's hopelessly noisy (either from too-high an ISO or waaay underexposed) I drop it into OpticsPro and let the magic happen. Lightroom and Photoshop don't even come close.

This is not the very latest version (that would be 11), but you'd get pretty much the same denoising capabilities. I'm still on 9, myself.

Trip Reports / For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« on: December 19, 2016, 12:25:05 AM »
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico has long been on my radar. About an hour and a half south of Albuquerque, this oasis in the northernmost reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert is one of the most important birding areas in the world. The Rio Grande provides water for a network of man-made ponds, canals, and dikes, which play host to immense numbers of migrating birds.

December is the biggest month on the refuge. The biggest attractions are the snow geese, normally numbering around 20,000, and the approximately 10,000 sandhill cranes. On top of these are tens of thousands of "assorted" ducks and birds, both predators and prey. A typical December could see as much as 100,000 individual birds in total.

The refuge is also home to one of the most amazing spectacles in nature: the morning blast-off. As soon as the sun rises, countless thousands of snow geese suddenly lift off as one from their ponds, in an amazing cacophony of sight and sound.

From the moment I learnt of this place I've been dying to photograph it, but every year brought another reason for postponing it. Finally, this year, I bit the bullet and booked tickets for a quick, two-day trip to the Bosque. It didn't take much work to - yet again ;D - rope in whYME and Cat In The Hat to join me.

Round-trip tickets on JetBlue to ABQ came in at a very reasonable 15.9k miles, plus 500 miles each way for Even More Legroom (gotta love Mosaic!).

The only town of any consequence in the area is Socorro, which is about 25 minutes away. Hotels in town were either $400/night affairs, or run-down Motel 6-style places. Being that all we needed was a bed-bug free mattress to spend a couple of hours in, we went with the terribly-reviewed Days Inn. 2 star rating wherever you looked, but everyone agreed that the place is at least clean. That was good enough for us, and for $50 a night it was just what we needed.

For a car we reserved a mid-size at National for around $80 all-in, hoping for easy pickings at the Executive Aisle. As a backup, we had a mini van reserved there as well (under a different name) for around $130.

Camera gear-wise I traveled relatively lightly, being that it was a short trip and that 99% of pictures will require the same basic setup (D500 and 150-600mm lens):

  • Nikon D500 camera
  • Nikon D600 camera
  • Sigma 150-600mm lens
  • Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens
  • Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 lens
  • Nikon 14/24 f/2.8 lens
  • Nikon 85 f/1.8 lens
  • Nikon TC1.4 teleconverter
  • Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod
  • Oben CC-2391 tripod
  • Oben BB-101 ballhead
  • Oben GH-50 gimbal
  • Lowepro ProRunner 450 backpack
  • The typical collection of batteries, filters, remotes, and such sundry

For food I decided to try a different type of KSML, one that I'd seen at my local grocery. Two of these plus some homemade food and I was good to go:

I ended up being quite happy with them. The food was simple yet tasty; nothing fancy, just good heimesha food. The cutlet was better than the sesame chicken, but both were quite good and filling. No, it isn't POM or its ilk; but for all of 9 bucks it was a solid value.

Finally it was time to go... The ride from the city to the airport at rush hour was horrendous, as expected; flight was quite nice, as expected; and despite some minor delays we landed in Albuquerque fairly on time, as expected.

For such a small airport, it sure is a pain to get to the car rentals in ABQ. But a short shuttle ride later we were in the rental lot, which to our great disappointment was pretty much empty. Just as we were coming to the conclusion that there's no Executive Aisle for us to pick from, the attendant walks up.

"What would you rather, the Cadillac Escalade, or the Infiniti QX80?"

Yes, sirree! Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

Without further ado, we were loading our bags into a brand-new QX80... with 11 miles on the clock:

For 40 bucks a day. Not a bad deal... not at all.

The drive down to Socorro was quick and painless. Before long we were settled in the hotel and in bed.

At 4:30 the next morning it was off on a literal wild goose chase.

Go to your profile and add your work email into the applicable field and get a $50 Airbnb credit after your next stay.

The Airbnb Business search has a bit fewer results than the general search, but the selection is still tremendous. It is also unclear if you need to book specifically via the business page to be eligible for the credit or if you can book anything.

This is a fantastic alternative to Photoshop, and nearly as powerful. Was Mac-only till now, and was selected Apple's App of the Year. It's being released for Windows now, and they're giving away the Beta for free. The software normally costs $50.

You get RAW processing, HDR, layers, basically pretty much most of Photoshop and Lightroom's features.

Get the download here.

Some more good info here.

Today only.

Package 1 - $100 (normally $230):
3 Cordless handsets
3 Indoor cameras
1 Outdoor camera
3 Window/door sensors
1 Motion sensor
1 Water leak sensor

Package 2 - $80 (normally $180):
Same as above but 1 indoor camera instead of 3, and 2 outdoor cameras instead of 1.

Deals/Deal Requests / Huge Sale On Apple Watches at B&H
« on: November 01, 2016, 05:06:35 PM »

$100, $150 off different models and styles.

Take an additional 5% off with Visa Savings Edge.

Deals/Deal Requests / Amazon: 6 LED Bulbs for $12.99
« on: October 13, 2016, 07:20:04 PM »
4.8/5 stars, available in daylight white or soft white.

Use code RSHKZDMQ.

Tech Talk / Drones Master Thread
« on: September 27, 2016, 03:42:45 PM »
There's a lot of drone information spread around the forums, but no one place to discuss everything drone-related - until now :D. Use this thread to help figure out which drone to buy, what's a good deal, tips and tricks, etc.

For starters here are links to some existing drone-related threads and discussions:

Trying to figure out which drone to get myself
Some discussion on DJI's newest drone, announced today
Pictures/Video (*You've*) Taken from Drones
Important DJI warranty limitation

Current best options for general, typical use:

(See the above links for some deeper comparisons.)

- DJI Phantom 4: The newest version of the most popular drone family out there. Costs around $1200, very well-rounded bird. Obstacle avoidance (front only) and great range.

- DJI Phantom 3 Standard / Advanced / Professional: The older version of the 4. Quite similar, but lesser range and no obstacle avoidance. The 3 models are quite similar, but the camera quality goes up steadily as the price goes up. $499, $799, and $999.

- DJI Mavic Pro: Just announced today, this seems to be the drone for 90% of people. Same quality camera as the P4, and folds into, well.... not nothingness, but really really small. Like, fits in a water-bottle holder small. Remains to be seen how it performs in the real world, but being that DJI has tremendous experience in drones it bodes quite well. $999.

- GoPro Karma: Also just announced with nothing in customer's hands, this seemed to be the winner - until the Mavic was announced. It folds as well, but is still orders of magnitude larger than the Mavic. It uses a GoPro as the camera, and comes with an included hand-held stabilizer. Specs fall very short, with less than a mile's range, no follow modes, and so on. $799 without a camera, $999 with a Hero5.

- Autel X-Star Premium: Very similar to the Phantoms (it sits somewhere between the 3 and 4, spec-wise), it has many things that are actually better and a few that are worse. Overall I'd rate it as the best option out there at the moment, and I'll put my money where my mouth is: I ordered mine yesterday.

Current promos:

The only thing I'm aware of is that Autel will pay for your FAA Part 107 certification via MIR ($150), should you choose to go that route.

Up In The Air / Great Circle Mapper Tips and Tricks Master Thread
« on: September 18, 2016, 03:20:24 AM »
We all know and love GCMap, but based on some recent PMs even some seasoned DDF'ers are not overly familiar with the tool and how it works. I figured I'll put together a list of tips and tricks, as well as some advanced things that I've learned over the years that aren't documented anywhere (including GCMap's own knowledge base).

This thread could also serve as a place to ask any questions about the GCMapper and the like.

- To show the maps here on DDF, right-click on the map and choose Copy image address (Or whatever your browser's equivalent is). Paste the resulting link in to your post as an image.

- The top search bar is useful for basic routes or searches. Start there, then use the field under Map Controls > Paths on the bottom of the page to do advanced things.

- To change the color of a route, put color:yellow, before your route. It doesn't have to be yellow, obviously; you could substitute that with a different color if you want. The color will remain the same for subsequent routes unless a different color is specified.

Code: [Select]
color:yellow,jfk-lax-sin-syd, color:blue, ewr-ord-lax-syd

- To see different routes originating from one airport, you don't have to put in all the complete routes (i.e. jfk-lax,jfk-sfo, etc.). Instead, you could just put the origin and separate the destinations with a slash.

Code: [Select]

- If your map looks weird, try changing your projection from the default to Rectangular (Plate Carrée). This option is found under Map Controls > Map Conf > Projection.

The first map here automatically gave me a polar projection, which is fine in some cases but doesn't really give you a good sense of place. Manually choosing Rectangular gave me the second map:

- GCMap only gives the option to zoom out of a map, not in. To get around this and only show a portion of your map, use o:noext, before the route that you want to cut off.

For example, a regular map doesn't show the European flights of this trip as well as I'd like, since it's a very small part of the full map.

Code: [Select]
Color:yellow, Cle-ewr-osl,osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-cdg-ewr-cle, ewr-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-cdg-ewr, ewr-lhr-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-zrh-ewr, lhr-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-lhr, tlv-muc-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-bru-tlv

Adding o:noext, before the segments I don't want to show fully gives me exactly what I wanted:

Code: [Select]
Color:yellow,o:noext,Cle-ewr-osl, osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-cdg,o:noext,cdg-ewr-cle,o:noext,ewr-osl,osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-cdg,o:noext,cdg-ewr,o:noext,ewr-lhr,lhr-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-zrh,o:noext,zrh-ewr,lhr-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-lhr,o:noext,tlv-muc,muc-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-bru,o:noext,bru-tlv,o:noext,binp

Of course, I could just drop the long hauls from the map, but that would give me no context; it just looks like a flying spree out of Oslo, like so:

Code: [Select]
Color:yellow, osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-cdg, osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-cdg, lhr-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-zrh, lhr-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-lhr, muc-osl-tos-lyr-osl-trd-boo-lkn-boo-osl-bru

- Entering an airport code instead of a route gives you a point on the map. This could be very useful when planning a trip to an out of the way place.

For example, planning a trip to Greenland drove me crazy. For starters, the airport codes are incredibly unintuative, having nothing to do with the actual airport name. That was compounded by the fact that these names aren't pronounceable in the first place ;D. Add to that the fact that the service to these airports vary wildly, and I needed a better way to start planning this.

Enter GCMap. I used points for each airport, color coded by service, and viola. In this map I used green for the main airport with international service, yellow for smaller international airports with service from Iceland only, and red for airports with domestic Greenland service only. Choosing disc + user entered code + city name from the Map Controls > Markers > Simple dropdown is what enabled both the airport code and city name to be displayed on the map.

Code: [Select]

- You could add your own places and names.

To add a place, enter the coordinates. The easiest way to get those is to click on the spot in Google Maps, and the coordinates will show up on the bottom. Click on those, and you could copy and past it into GCMap. It's important to remember that Google and GCMap use coordinates differently; in particular, Google uses negative numbers for S and W, while in GCMap you need to use positive numbers and a  NSEW designation. For example, if Google gives you -74.050755, -41.945649, remove both minus signs, the comma, and space, and specify the direction NS of the Equator and EW of the Prime Meridian, like so: 74.050755s41.945649w.

To add your own place name, enter "%T\xxx"+@ with your text replacing the xxx. Place this before your coordinates, then choose disc + user entered code from the Map Controls > Markers > Simple dropdown.

Code: [Select]
color:white,"%T\Very Cold and Wet Place, But Penguins"+@74.050755s41.945649w

- Entering BINP gives you the North Pole. I'm not sure how or why, but it works ;D.

Code: [Select]

I'm sure there are more, this is just what I could think of at the moment. Feel free to add your own tips.

Goods For Sale/Trade / Buying Verizon 64GB iPhone 5 or newer
« on: August 16, 2016, 03:53:58 PM »
Either new or used, but must be in good condition.

This trip report will be in a similar format as the recent Icelandic one, with me doing the bulk of the writing and whYME and Cat In The Hat adding their thoughts, pictures, and commentary. As with Iceland, color coding will help maintain an easy flow.

So without further ado, here it goes.

Photo by Something Fishy:

Photo by whYME:

Photo by Cat In The Hat:

On The Road / RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« on: August 10, 2016, 03:54:32 PM »
There's a lot of discussion on this topic sprinkled throughout the forums, mainly in individual planning, destination, and trip report threads. I think it would be beneficial to have a single master thread to discuss it all in one place.

I'll begin by referencing as many existing discussions as I can find strewn about.

Trip Reports featuring an RV/motorhome/camper:
PBaruch - Iceland
PBaruch - Utah and Arizona
Something Fishy - Alaska Part 1, Part 2
Something Fishy - Iceland
AJK - New Zealand
LookBeforeYouLive - RVing across the country

RVs and Shabbos
Some more Shabbos discussions
General RV rentals and discussions
General RV rentals and discussions, thread 2
Tri-state area RV rentals
RV in Banff?
@yehuda's Iceland camervan discussions - begins here and continues on and off for a while
Campers and CC insurance

If there's anything I missed, please post.

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8