July 2010 Archives

liz & alex's road trip adventure, day 10

Today we left Portales, New Mexico, and started the long trek back east. It's hard to believe we're 2/3 of the way through the trip already!

Today was a banner day for roadside attractions. We began the day with a new, unresearched entry from the RoadsideAmerica.com database--"Bill Dalley's personal windmill collection":http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/26087. As I noted in the tip I submitted, it was an impressive collection, but it's set on private property, and I didn't want to disturb the residents to ask questions.

Bill Dalley's Windmill Collection (Portales, NM)

Then we headed north to Adrian, Texas, which is the midpoint of Route 66--halfway between Chicago and LA. In addition to the sign marking the midpoint, there's also a wonderful cafe (the MidPoint Cafe, natch), where we stopped for lunch. I had a burger, which was delicious, and Alex had a slice of homemade lemon meringue pie. (The cafe was the inspiration for the diner in the movie Cars.)

Midpoint Cafe Sign

Just past Adrian is Vega, Texas, where RoadsideAmerica.com told us we'd find Dot's Mini-Museum. I decided to stop, and Alex and I were both glad I did. The three small buildings on the site are crammed full of amazing antiques, and we were lucky enough to run into Dot's daughter Betty, who now runs the museum. She told us wonderful stories about the various items, which included a chair from Judge Roy Bean's courtroom, and a US Mail bag with bloodstains that one of her ancestors had found out in the pasture...probably shot right off the horse that was carrying it. There were ancient pistols, an enormous collection of antique Avon perfume bottles, and wonderful old hats, chaps, boots, and riding tack. I got a great photo of Alex wearing some of the old gear, but he won't let me post it publicly. The photo below isn't very good, but it does show that courtroom chair!

Dot's Mini-Museum 2

Then it was time to head a little ways down the road and hit Amarillo's best-known roadside attraction, Cadillac Ranch. (Read the entry at that link; it's well worth the time. I'll wait.)

Alex was disappointed that we hadn't brought any spray paint so we could add to the graffiti. Happily, as we approached the cars, a family on their way out offered us their two cans! So we were able to leave our mark there. We then gave the cans to another paint-less family on our way out.

Cadillac Ranch 7

From there, we set our cruise control to 74 (4 miles above the speed limit, about as much speeding as I was willing to do in the Texas panhandle...), pointed ourselves east, and just kept driving. I finally ran out of energy in El Reno, Oklahoma, and that's where we're spending the night tonight.

Tomorrow we continue on our Route 66 adventure, northeast through Oklahoma until we get to Galena, Kansas, home of "Four Women on the Route." Then we'll spend the night with a friend in Pittsburg, Kansas, which is apparently one of the best places there is to get fried chicken. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

liz & alex's road trip adventure - missing updates explanation!

Yes, I've skipped quite a few days of blogging. Most days by the time we get to the hotel I'm too exhausted to do much more than upload the photos and crash! I'll probably go back and add the updates retrospectively, so that there's a full record here.

In the meantime, you can see all the photos I've taken thus far in my Flickr account (arranged by day of the trip), and if we're connected in Facebook you'll see my regular check-ins to locations along the way.

liz & alex's road trip adventure, day 5

Another wonderful day on the road! We started out with a visit to Carhenge, which was one of Alex's prime objectives on this trip. It was something to behold!

Carhenge -6

After that, we made our way down to Chimney Rock National Historic Site, where we read a bit about the Oregon Trail and were careful to avoid the snakes.

Chimney Rock (Nebraska) - 2

From there, it was a short drive to Scotts Bluff National Monument, which was really beautiful. (I broke down and bought an annual park pass here, and they even credited me for the $15 we spent at Badlands yesterday.)

Scotts Bluff - 1

Then we headed to Colorado, where we're spending the night with a lovely family that we found on couchsurfing.org. When we arrived, they brought us to a cookout at a local beach, and then set us up comfortably at their house with a bed for me, a futon for Alex, and tons of gracious hospitality. There's a lot to be said for trust-but-verify systems like couchsurfing!

Picnic in Longmont - 2

Now that we're settled in, Alex is watching a movie via NetFlix on the iPad, and I'm about ready to hit the sack. We don't have too much driving tomorrow, happily--we'll be stopping in Colorado Springs to see the Air Force Academy (where Gerald spent nearly three years), and the Garden of the Gods. From there, we're headed to CaƱon City and the world's highest suspension bridge.

(To see more photos from today's trip, check out Flickr. I haven't uploaded the photos from the Canon 30D yet--only the Hipstamatic shots from my phone. The rest should go up tomorrow night.)

liz & alex's road trip adventure, day 4

Today was an amazing day, starting with the has-to-be-seen-to-be-believed 1880 Cowboy Town just outside of Sioux Falls, followed by Badlands National Park, Wall Drug, Mount Rushmore, and the Crazy Horse Memorial.

I'm exhausted, so I'm not going to write the lengthy blog entry that's already forming in my head. That will have to wait 'til our pace slows down. But I have uploaded my photos from today to Flickr , so you can get an idea of all we've seen and done today.

Tomorrow, Carhenge!!! Then we'll visit Scotts Bluff National Monument in Nebraska. After that we'll head down through Wyoming into Colorado, where we're having our first ""couchsurfing":http://www.couchsurfing.org/" night in Longmont. Alex is pretty sure they'll be axe murderers, and if he's right there will be no more updates. I'm a bit more optimistic. :)

liz & alex's road trip adventure, days 2 & 3

We didn't have much wifi access yesterday or today, thus the late update on day 2 of our trip.

We've been doing a lot of driving. On Wednesday, we drove from Ann Arbor, MI to Cedar Rapids, IA, where we stayed with friends of the family. That was a lot of driving, without much time for sightseeing.

We did take a few minutes to visit the Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island, IL, where a monument to a beloved dog looks over the graves of the two children that he guarded even after they'd died of diptheria and been buried there.

Rex the Faithful Dog 1

This morning, we left our friends' house around 9:30am and headed north to the Field of Dreams Movie Site, because Alex and I both loved the movie. It was unremarkable, really, but it was nice to say we'd been there.

Field of Dreams 1

As we traveled north on I-35, Alex used the Roadside America app to discover that the Buddy Holly Crash Site was close by. How could we resist stopping to see that?! We got a little turned around in cornfields, but finally located the entrance to the correct field. Alex did the half-mile trek to the actual shrine, but I stuck around the entrance, which has a giant pair of Buddy Holly eyeglasses.

Buddy Holly Crash Site 3

That added some time and miles onto the trip, so rather than making it all the way to Mitchell, SD (home of the Corn Palace), we ended up using Priceline to book a room at the Sheraton here in Sioux Falls, SD. Our plan is to get up early tomorrow so that we have time to hit the Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore. Then we'll be spending the night in Hot Springs, an hour south of Rushmore. Another long day, but filled with lots of cool stuff.

liz & alex's road trip adventure, day 1

We started our trip yesterday morning, and most of the day was spent driving. But we did make two enjoyable stops, including the Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum, and the town of Hell, Michigan.

I'm mostly using my iPhone and the Hipstamatic app to take photos along the way, both because it's a lot easier to carry it around than my 30D, and because of the fun and unexpected views of the world the Hipstamatic creates.

Here's the creepy b+w version of the cheese museum, which was really quite benign in real life:

Ingersoll Cheese Museum

And here's the post office in Hell, located inside of the "Hell in a Handbasket" general store:

Post Office from Hell

We arrived at my cousin's house in Ann Arbor around 7pm, much less exhausted than I'd feared. They treated us to a lovely dinner of Thai food, and a very relaxing evening hanging out and chatting, followed by a great night's sleep in comfortable guest beds. So, we're off to an awesome start on this trip!

This morning we set out on our longest driving day (7-8 hours, depending on which mapping software you ask), with limited touristy stuff along the way. We'll spend the night tonight with our friends Bo & Joel in Cedar Rapids, and then the following morning hit the Field of Dreams in Dyersville before continuing on to Mitchell, SD for a visit to the Corn Palace. If you follow me on Facebook, you'll see our Foursquare checkins along the way as well.

apple's misleading response to 'antennagate'

First of all, let me admit that I'm usually an Apple fangirl. I loved my iPhone 3G, and I love my new iPhone 4.

That said, I was really put off by Steve Jobs' press conference yesterday, specifically the way he slammed competitors' phones.

If you haven't already read Anandtech's amazingly detailed and technical assessment of the iPhone's antenna issue, you should do so. But here's the important part related to Jobs' claims about other smartphones:

1) Cupping tightly - This is the absolute worst case and involves squeezing the phone very tightly, like people are doing online in videos demonstrating all the bars going away. I squeeze the phone hard and make sure my palms are sweaty as well. You'd never hold the phone this way because it's physically painful.


2) Holding naturally, comfortably - This is just how one would hold the phone typically in a relaxed way. Not squeezing it to purposefully reduce signal, but making contact with the fingers and not an open palm.

3) Resting atop an open, flat palm.

4) Holding naturally, but inside a case - In this situation the Bumper for iPhone 4, an Otter Box for the 3GS, and a comparable generic case for the Nexus One.


In the demo videos that Jobs showed, the phones were being gripped tightly--something that Anandtech rightly points out users wouldn't do. When held naturally, the signal attenuation on the iPhone 4 is significantly greater than on the other smartphones tested.

Apple's doing the right thing by giving out free cases, but the misleading slam against their competitors was tacky.

what's wrong with this picture?

This arrived in my inbox this morning.

Gmail - New Speakers Announced at Web 2.0 Summit - mamamusings@gmail.com

Here's a hint.

links for 2010-07-14

links for 2010-07-12

apple's replacing my time capsule!

This afternoon while browsing tech news, an article title caught my eye: "Apple to repair, replace faulty Time Capsules." About three months ago, our time capsule suddenly stopped working while I was out of town. And since it served as both my home backup and our wireless router, that was a pain in the ass. It was totally dead, so we had to go buy a new wireless router to replace it.

I took the dead Time Capsule to our wonderful tech guy at RIT, Mark, and he shook his head mournfully and said it was the second one he'd seen do the same thing, and that it was due to a ridiculously poor design choice in the internal fuse/capacitor. Since the device was two years old, and well out of warranty, to have Apple fix it would cost several hundred dollars--for that, I could just buy a new one, which I didn't want to do.

So when I saw that news headline today, I immediately clicked through, and then followed the link to the Apple support article--where I found that my Time Capsule was indeed in the range of serial numbers that were eligible for repair or replacement.

Tonight I went to the local Apple store, Time Capsule in hand, to take them up on their offer. They had no idea what I was talking about, so I used my trusty iPad to bring up the knowledgebase article. They were great about it, and immediately arranged for what they call a "quick drop"--I left the device with them, they placed an order for a brand new replacement, and they'll call me to pick it up as soon as it comes in (2-3 days). Quick, painless, and I get a brand new functioning device! w00t!

links for 2010-07-10

road trip update

We're finalizing plans for our trip! You can see the current version of the route at http://icanhaz.com/roadtrip2010.

We'll be leaving Rochester the morning of 7/20, and the tentative schedule looks like this:

20-Jul Tues Ann Arbor, MI (staying with family)
21-Jul Wed Cedar Rapids, IA (staying with a friend)
22-Jul Thurs Sioux Falls, SD (hotel)
23-Jul Fri Mount Rushmore (hotel in Custer?)
24-Jul Sat somewhere in NE or CO (hotel)
25-Jul Sun Canon City, CO (hotel)
26-Jul Mon Aztec, NM (hotel)
27-Jul Tues Albuquerque, NM (possibly with a friend - if not, straight to Roswell)
28-Jul Wed Roswell, NM (hotel)
29-Jul Thurs Somwhere in TX or OK (hotel)
30-Jul Fri Pittsburg, KS (possibly staying with a friend)
31-Jul Sat St Louis, MO (hotel)
1-Aug Sun Bedford, IN (hotel)
2-Aug Mon Columbus, OH (hotel)
3-Aug Tue Home

If you're on our route and want to get together when we pass through your town, let me know! (And if you live in or near one of our overnight stops and want to offer us a couch to sleep on, definitely let me know!)

links for 2010-07-07

links for 2010-07-06

links for 2010-07-05

photo scanning

Earlier this week I borrowed my father's Epson 4490 Photo Scanner , and I've been trying to work my way through the piles of snapshots that have been sitting in my basement.

I've worked my way through my childhood and high school and college photos, and my first and second weddings, which adds up to 565 photos. (If you want to see the photos, you should be folllowing me on either Facebook or Flickr.)

The scanner definitely speeds things up...it allows me to scan 4-5 photos at a time, does decent color and lighting correction, and separates each photo into a separate image.

This would all be easier if I'd been smart enough to put the date on the back of my photos. Life is easier when digitial cameras handle the date information for you!

links for 2010-07-02

links for 2010-07-01

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2010 is the previous archive.

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