Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's 2:30 am, Do you know where your photos are tonight?

It's 2:30 am, Do you know where your photos are tonight? It's 2009 and everyone is a photographer these days. We are so spoiled by 16 GB (gigabyte) and 32 GB memory cards, that we just snap away without a care in the world.

But what are we taking photos of? Are the photos valuable? Perhaps these are photos of your newborn. Or your wedding photos. How about your high school or college graduation photos? What if these are your vacation photos? What if you turn your camera on and they were gone? Even worse, what if you turned your computer on and they were gone?

In this day and age, it's VERY important to backup your photos. Everyone is shooting with some sort of Point and Shoot (P&S) or Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) type of camera. Or maybe you're taking photos using your iPhone or Blackberry cell phone. The point is, photos are very important. Those treasured memories or vacation photos cannot be recreated once they're gone.

"Backup. Why yes, i've backed them up to CD's and DVDs".

Not good enough. Have you been a good photographer and backed up your photos since day one? Okay, well then... go back to day 1 CD or DVD backup disc and pop it into the computer. Can your computer read the disc? Can you open the photos?

Having just one backup option these days isn't good enough. You should not only keep them on your computer, but you should also back them up to a 2nd external USB or FireWire hard drive.

"Hard drives are just too expensive these days."

What planet are you living on? ;) Hard drive prices continue to drop. For around or under $100 you can purchase a name brand external 1 Terabyte (TB) USB hard drive.

The average computer user (I'm referring to your typical word, email, internet daily user) does not have a graphics, music or video production computer. Therefore an external drive is no big deal. Now, if you're a power or production user, then you know all about external drives and the importance of backing up, etc.

The moral of the story is back up back up back up. It's fine to leave your digital photos on your computer. But also, burn them to DVD or CD recordable media. And as a second backup, copy them to an external hard drive.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Logic Studio Pro

It's no secret that i've been slaving away on my music. In my spare time that is. I've been learning Logic Studio Pro every waking moment that i have to spare. It's quite an amazing software suite. I was tempted to go back to ProTools or perhaps just invest in Logic Express, but a friend convinced me not to. He (who shall remain nameless) works in the movie audio production business. Over the course of months, him and i have been exchanging emails back and forth. When it finally came down to make the purchase, he explained to me simply: The price of one of these: reverb, compressors, effects, ultrabeat, software instruments is worth the price of the entire suite alone. I knew the very second i designed and added my very own reverb effects on my audio what he meant. He was right!

I'm still walking around quite sleepless, motivated to learn as much as i can about this software suite. At the same time, i wonder, HOW CAN APPLE GIVE AWAY THIS AUDIO PRODUCTION SUITE FOR NOTHING? Seriously, nothing!

This does everything that ProTools does, with the only limitations being your computer, hard drive space and RAM. I can record, edit, compose, midi, trim, master.....just about everything. I'm learning that it comes down to this: If you can dream up a sound or effect or way to patch, edit, master, etc... Logic Pro can do it! It's amazing.

But it's not for those faint of heart. Don't think because you're a pro at GarageBand or CakeWalk or any consumer level audio program that you're going to jump in and be a master overnight.

I come from a ProTools background. I spent the early days testing on the ProTools DAWs just learning non-destructive, non-linear editing. It was a fun ride. Luckily for me (and others in my situation), Logic Studio Pro has been refined to not only be more powerful than ProTools systems, but to be intuitive and offer easier solutions and ways to do things.

After installing close to 50gigs of data on my G5, i was up and running on Logic Pro in 5 minutes? Why? Because it's "standardized". I know what the transport windows does. I know i can click and drag. I know that i can bring up contextual menus just about anywhere by control-clicking or click and holding, etc. From here on out, it's easy. I just have to learn the shortcuts... you know, the keyboard shortcuts and i'll become faster and more powerful with this suite.

Logic Pro is amazing. Whatever audio project you can dream up, Logic can take care of it.

Soon enough i'll be posting mp3's of my songs, my creations online. I haven't decided yet where or if i'll do it under a secret name, but soon i'll have stuff up.

If you're a musician looking for something better to produce, write, compose, record your music on....don't waste your time with the very pricey ProTools software. Check out Logic Studio Pro. Trust me, what you get in the box is priceless. Many, like myself can't believe Apple is GIVING it away for only $499. (Note: Amazon has a better price ;)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

FREE Audiobook: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

It's like Xmas in July! One of my favorite Authors, Paulo Coelho is featured in the iTunes Audiobooks Spotlight and iTunes is offering his Audiobook 'The Alchemist' for FREE Through July 14!

Go get it HERE.

Excerpt from iTunes Store email:

Bestselling author Paulo Coelho is one of the most beloved writers of our time. His best-known work, The Alchemist, is a classic fable that centers on an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago, who teaches us the importance of following our dreams. Through July 14, download The Alchemist for free on iTunes, or discover the power of one of Coelho's other novels for yourself, including his latest, Brida

Aside from 'The Alchemist', i also enjoyed 'The Zahir'. You can find either book below:

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July At the Rose Bowl

4th of July, 2008 at the Rose Bowl

Monday, January 22, 2007

Santa Monica Pier Photos 2007

Here's a couple of new photos. Taken at the Santa Monica Pier during sunset and dusk.

Sunset from Underneath the Santa Monica Pier

Twilight at Santa Monica Pier's Pacific Park

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

San Francisco

Arriving in downtown San Francisco, you'll notice one thing.... it looks like New York, it feels like New York. It's a crowded, compact city. People are everywhere, businesses are everywhere, homes are everywhere. Cars, cable cars, trolleys, rail cars, muni cars all are tangled together in traffic down Market Street. It's busy, everyone has somewhere to go. Just remember one thing, Three Rights make a left. :) This is a shot from high atop TWIN PEAKS part of San Francisco. It's amazing how little effort it took to reach this altitude. Well, thanks to Market Street turning into Portola and providing a gradual incline to the top. If you blink, you'll miss how high you've traveled. It's a gorgeous view of the city and bay. It's sorta like what the Griffith Observatory is to us Angelino's.

In the background, you can see a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. This was taken high atop Twin Peaks in San Francisco.

Another photo from Twin Peaks. In the background you can see Alcatraz, better known as THE ROCK.

Silicon Valley Part 2: Cupertino & Santa Clara

Part of this trip was to stop here and say hello. Don't know where 1 Infinite Loop is? or what it's about? LOOK CLOSER!

Apple Computers Headquarters in Cupertino, CA. It's a HUGE campus. This is where the best Unix Programmers, Engineers and OS creators do what they do best: Apple Software and hardware. It's such a beautiful place to live. Multimillion dollar homes and beautiful greenery.

Part of this geek trip also included a last minute trip to INTEL headquarters in Santa Clara. This is their logo and Intel was inside :)

Yes! The Intel museum. It's an interesting museum showcasing the birth of computer transistors and of course how Intel came to be along with nicely setup kiosks and chip samples, etc.

Silicon Valley: San Jose

Day 2: Downtown San Jose

Downtown San Jose is quite interesting. In just a few blocks (more than a few actually), the nightlife is active and happening. Although we spent the day driving around the "happening" parts of San Jose, explored Santana Road and made a stop at the Tech Museum.

Just behind our hotel is the GIGANTIC EBay headquarters. It's a huge complex, at least two HUGE buildings with MORE buildings in other parts of town. But in's NOWHERE near as big as the HP Pavillion headquarters. I mean, we're talking like 2-3 fwy exits of space!

At the Tech Museum, Robotic arms can spell your name in baby block letter toys. Fascinating.

You can also bring your PCR/DNA/Genetics skills and put them to the test right here in their very own wet lab! Interesting!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Downtown San Jose & Tech Museum

Yesterday we caught up with Erica and Bella and explored Downtown San Jose. The happening place around here is Santana Road. It's sorta like a hybrid of Rodeo Drive (in Beverly Hills) and 3rd Street Promenade (in Santa Monica). Plenty of places to eat and plenty of bars. We also explored the Tech Museum, which is quite action packed. This museum just had technology in every direction you looked. If you are ever interested in understanding how thermal imaging works or 3-D body imaging or MRI or how PCR works or perhaps Internet technology, this is a place to check out. It's interactive too! Exhibits you visit will log your info and you can pull up your photos or results later from a their website. All via RFID technology.

Today: Off to San Francisco via the scenic route.... stops at the Intel Museum, 1 Infinite Loop (Apple Headquarters super secret Employee Store), more driving, and various stops in San Francisco.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Original Joe's

Last night, had a late dinner at Original Joe's in downtown San Jose. Food is excellent (although a little pricey). It's located in Downtown San Jose, right in the heart of the nightlife of the city. The waiters are dressed in formal black tie attire and attend to you in a very formal way. But the place is anything but formal. It's sorta a mixture of a lounge bar mixed with sports bar setting, mixed with a fine dining type place. Overall food was impressively good. Atmosphere was good. People were nice. Highly recommended Italian eatery if you're ever on the way to San Francisco or if you find yourself staying a night or two in San Jose.

next up: explore more of San Jose today (in the daylight!)

Saturday, January 6, 2007

On the Road to S.F.

Ahhh..... Home of the Split Pea Soup!

Soon Grapes will Grow.

The Madonna Inn. Apparently it's a nice place!

A Quick Mission Shot.

Welcome to Paso Robles :)

Road Trip to San Francisco

I haven't left yet..... I will in less than 7 hours....

will update later today :)

wish me luck!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Lisa Johnson: Rock Photographer & Echo Park

My friend Lisa Johnson-Rock Photographer (also photo mentor) had a mini gallery showing in Echo Park on Saturday Night. If you don't know her name, well you should. Her photo credits include hundreds of bands and celebs, and those small bands you may have heard of such as Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, No Doubt, Foo Fighters, Rancid, Rage Against the Machine, et. al. Pull out those old cd's... check the photos and credits. There's a good chance she took those photos ;) Lisa is an amazing photographer. She knows how to capture "the moment" and get "the look" from people. She's photographed just about every band i've enjoyed over the years (envy! lol), and then some. Occasionally her photos land the cover of magazines. What i love about her is....she's a REAL photographer. Not some groupie looking to get closer to bands by shooting mediocre photos. She works and works hard. So if you see her work, study it, enjoy it, cherish it :) so......

It was a great turnout. I recognized quite a few familiar faces and voices. It was interesting to see Billy Corgan just hanging out. All those years of being the lead singer songwriter of the Smashing Pumpkins has forced him to keep somewhat of a low profile. Why? Well because of his genius songwriting. He wrote the soundtrack to my teenage years (possibly life). He's a songwriter, musical genius. But a few years ago, the Smashing Pumpkins called it quits. There's now this ongoing rumor that they'll reunite for some small tour or "best of" tour or perhaps new material. That would be interesting. Specially in this day and age with the ever-changing music biz and the increased pressures from the sinking ship record labels.

Echo Park is an interesting place in L.A. I grew up there, actually i grew up in Angelino Heights, which is adjacent, below (whatever) Echo Park. I Lived there for 15 years before moving to Eagle Rock (Los Angeles). My italian side of the family lived there for over 40+ years after years in the east coast, after arriving from Italy.

Here's a little tidbit of Echo Park history:

- Echo Park was the original center of the film industry in Los Angeles, before the studios moved to hollywood just before World War I.

- The area has continued to be used as a location for films such as Farewell, My Lovely, Echo Park, Mi Vida Loca and Quinceanera. The 1960s television series Gilligan's Island was shot in the area as well as scenes in Michael Jackson's 1982 music video Thriller, as were parts of the original 1953 film version, The War of the Worlds. The Manor, a house in the television series Charmed, is also located here. The area is popular with modern filmmakers for the pre-World War II look of some districts.

- During the 1960s and 70s, the area became known as a hippy enclave, and attracted many young musicians, artists, and craftspeople. Some residents during that era included J.D. Souther & Glenn Fry of the Eagles, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne, and Frank Zappa. The writer and poet Charles Bukowski was known to frequent the local dives, as did actor, Reservoir Dogs and movie tough-guy, Lawrence Tierney.

If you've never driven around West Kensington (my old street/neighborhood) or East Kensington Road, you're missing out. There are over dozens of beautiful victorian homes that have been restored. Specially on East Kensington Road and Carroll Avenue. My old neighborhood is known for it's steep hills and Victorian homes. Some of these homes are mansions. Just beautiful. As a kid, some of these homes were known as "haunted houses". In the early to mid-80's, these homes were desolate, and always appeared empty. Some were kept up, some weren't (haunted). After Lisa's photo exhibit, my friend and i took a ride through my old neighborhood. Things have changed. People must have either sold those victorian homes or restored them. They are beautiful. They make you feel like you're back in the 1840's, with goth and romance in the air surrounding the beautiful architecture.

It's hard to believe it's been 15 years since i've driven down my old street or neighborhood. It brought back many many fond memories of growing up. I remember it as the "old italian neighborhood" that bordered china town. It's now one of the trendiest parts of L.A. to live in. Good luck trying to buy a home there ;) I on the other hand, am looking for a home in the Northeast part of L.A., namely North Eagle Rock ;)