Miggo Strap and Wrap for DSLR Cameras – Review

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The Miggo is a product that was funded by a Kickstart campaign and is described as follows:

“Serves as a camera strap which morphs into a compact and padded camera carrier”

Sounds kind of nice, no?
I thought it sounded nice so I backed the campaign and like most Kickstart campaigns forgot about it. A few months after I backed the campaign, about 8, I received my black Miggo Strap and Wrap and here are my impressions.

My first impression was that it is well built and seems like it will hold up to the test of time. It did seem to be a bit balky, but in my opinion that is necessary to be able to pad the camera.

My impression after testing it on my Canon 6D and my old Canon 350D, both of which had a Canon 24-105mm f/4L lens on, is that it was NOT designed for professional or larger DSLR cameras, it just didn’t fit well on my Canon 6D.

Pros:

  • Easy to install.
  • Protects the back and top screens while it is wrapped up.
  • Well built.
  • Fits over the shoulder when the strap is adjusted for smaller lens like the Canon 35mm f/2 IS

Cons:

  • Not designed for larger DSLR cameras, it works well on my old Canon 350D but only kind of works on my Canon 6D.
  • The pouch for the lens cap only works if you are running a lens with a cap size around 52mm, professional lens which normally have a lens cap size of 77mm+ will not fit.
  • It’s a bit long on the shoulder when adjusted for a larger lens like the Canon 24-105mm f/4L.
  • You have to take the strap off and change the mounting screw position for different size lens.

I would recommend a Miggo if the following sounds like you: You have a smaller DSLR cameras, you don’t change lens very often and/or you keep you camera in a hand bag or other such bag, otherwise I would go with something from Peak Design.

The Best Grilled Cheese

A grilled cheese sandwich is one of those foods that, when done right, can make you feel just a bit better about life when you are having a bad day. Below I will show you how I create MY perfect grilled cheese sandwich and I hope some of you find it as good as I do.


Ingredients

The bread, to me, is the most important part of the sandwich. If the bread is too sweet or does not crisp up right it can ruin the sandwiches flavor, texture, and appearance and all three are required for good food.

I like using one of three kinds of bread:

  • Sourdough for its sour flavor which adds a lot to the overall taste of the sandwich.
  • Fuchsia because it crisps up nicely while still being soft in the middle.
  • Rye (marble or other) for the strong rye, and depending on the type herb, flavor that it has.

The cheese can be any kind of cheese, except for the fake cheeses like american and Velveeta. I prefer to use either a good aged cheddar or a dubliner cheese. The key is that the cheese needs to melt relatively easily so hard cheeses like parmesan don’t work well.

You will also need butter, lots of butter.


Prep

  1. Cut bread to desired thickness, if you like it crispier than cut it thinner and if you like it softer in the middle then cut it thicker.
  2. Grade 1.5 times more cheese than you plan on putting inside the sandwich.
  3. Butter both sides of each slice of bread.
  4. Heat a pan that is large enough to fit both pieces of bread in it side by side and put about 1/8 stick of butter into the pain.
  5. When the butter in the pan is fully melted put the slices of bread in side by side.
  6. When the bread is at the desired crispness on one side do the following:
    1. Flip one slice.
    2. Put the cheese you want to use for the inside on the cooked side of that slice.
    3. Put the cooked side of the other slice on top of it.
    4. Add some more butter to the pan.
    5. Put half of the remaining cheese on the top slice so that the cheese is facing out.
    6. Flip the full sandwich and do the same to the new side.
  7. You are now frying the cheese that is on the outside of the sandwich in the butter making a nice fried cheese crust on the outside of the sandwich.
  8. When both sides have been cooked and the cheese on the outside is crispy you are done cooking my perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

After the sandwich has cooled down a bit it is ready to eat; or you can add something to make it that much better. I like to add my homemade Sauerkraut, tomatoes and/or bacon.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Best of 2013 – Photography

I didn’t take as many pictures as I wish I had but I have compiled a few of my favorites from this year:

You can find more of my photos on my photography site down-time.com

Portland Zoo 2013

My son in Yellowstone

Devils Tower

Safari West 1

Safari West 2

Safari West 3

Open text files using Chrome text app

Did you know you can set the Chrome app named “text” as the default application for opening any document/file on your system?

Today I figured I’d see if I could make the Chrome text app be my default program for opening .txt files on my system and I found that on my Windows system I could.

I did the following to make it work:

  1. First I created a shortcut on my desktop to the app.
    1. Open the apps tab or open the Chrome app launcher.
    2. Right-click on the text icon and select the “Create Shortcut” option
    3. I created the shortcut on my desktop for easy access.
  2. Right-click on the shortcut and go to properties to find what the “Target” path is.
  3. Copy the “Target” path.
  4. Now you can do one of two things you can edit the registry or you can use a program like Types to change the default program for any file, I personally like to use Types because it’s easy.

Using Types

  1. After you have Types installed right click on a .txt (or other document) and select “Edit with type”.
  2. Go to the “Actions” tab and click on the “open” action.
  3. Past the “text” target path into the bottom field and add a space and then “%1″ to the end of the string.
  4. Close Types and try and open a file of the type you changed change and it should open with the Chrome app text.

Types Screenshot

Using the Registry

  1. Open regedit
  2. To change .txt files go to “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\txtfile\shell\open\command”
  3. Edit the “(Default)” string value to be the target path to the Chrome text app and add a “%1%” to the end of the string. It should look something like this:

Regedit view

GMail: Revert back to the old inbox

By this time most of you probably have either converted to or been converted to the new GMail tabbed inbox layout and found that you dislike it. I searched for a way to get my old priority style inbox back with no avail tell today. Today I randomly came across how to convert the inbox back to the old look and feel and felt I should share it with the world.

It is really easy, just do the following:

  1. Put your mouse over the “Inbox” text on the left hand side of the screen.
  2. After you put your mouse over the “Inbox” text you will see a small arrow pointing down to the right of the text, click on it.
  3. A drop down menu will show up, one of the options will be “Priority Inbox”, click it.
  4. You’re done, your inbox should now look like it did before the change.

Screenshot

Sauerkraut

For the past year or so I have been fermenting my own sauerkraut and in that time I have had a few inquiry into my process and recipe so I figured that while it is a standard process and recipe I would post about it anyways.

Items I use:

  • Sharp knife (http://amzn.com/B008M5U1C2)
  • Potato masher (http://amzn.com/B00004OCJK)
  • Big boll
  • A big cutting board
  • Some kind of weight that will fit in your fermentation pot, if you get a Harsch it will come with some stones that fit inside.
  • and the most import item, a fermentation pot. There are a number of different types and sizes, I have a 10 liter Harsch Fermenting Crock Pot, but you can get something cheaper that works just as good, for example you can pick up a Pickle-Pro vegetable Fermenting top and a canning jar with the correct sized top. I haven’t used the Pickle-Pro but you can read a review of a number of different fermentation pots at nourishingtreasures.com

My recipe is very basic, I use salt (I like to use Himalayan salt), caraway seed and cabbage, that is all. I plan on making my next batch with cumin seed and I also plan on making a batch using juniper berries but as of yet I haven’t used anything other then caraway seed.

My Steps

  1. Peel a few of the big leaves off the cabbage and save them for later use.
  2. I cut all the cabbage up into thin slices and put it in a bowl (I use about 5 big green cabbages to fill my 10 liter pot).
  3. After all the cabbage is cut I put a handful in my fermentation pot, I add salt (about 2 tablespoons, it is safer to add more then not to have added enough) and some of the caraway seed (about 1/2 tablespoon).
  4. I then use my hands and mix it up.
  5. After the salt, seed, and cabbage is mixed up I use the potato masher to pack the cabbage to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 tell the pot is about 3/4 to 5/6 of the way full.
  7. Put the big leaves you set aside in step 1 so that they cover the cabbage in the pot and then put the weight on top of them.
  8. At this point, depending on the type of cabbage you used, you may have enough water, from the cabbage, to have covered the weight by about an inch. If you don’t have enough water in the pot then add enough cold water to cover the weight by about an inch and add more salt.
  9. Scrape any floating debris off the surface of the water and discard.
  10. Seal the pot and put in a dark cool place and let sit and if your pot has a sealing well then keep it filled with water.

I let my batches sit for 4 to 8 weeks.

Teaching Children about Death

How do you explain the gravity of death and killing something/someone to a 7 year-old in a manner they will understand?

Today my oldest (just over 7.5 years old), while somewhat upset, told his mother that he wanted to “kill himself”. Killing one’s self is not something that has ever come up in conversation or been something he has been exposed to, even with it being one of the top ways people die today (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide#Epidemiology), and after talking with him for a little bit, with relefe, I realized that he didn’t understand what it meant.

I sat him down and tried to explain how much it would hurt the people around him if he was to die and how death or killing one’s self has a permanent outcome that would prevent him from ever doing anything ever again, whether it would be playing with Lego’s or fighting with his brother it was the end-all-be-all to what he does and knows today.

Having this conversation with him I realized that in today’s society children are exposed less and less to death and what the outcome of killing something is. When I was a kid I had pets that were killed by other animals, I had killed fish after fishing and had seen birds of prey injure other birds to the point that they were suffering and the falconer had to kill them by hand, so while I didn’t truly understand what death was, if anyone ever does, I had seen the outcome of death and had an appreciation for it.

So now I am trying to figure out humane ways to give my son the experience of death, I will take him fishing and maybe hunting and I think I will send him with his grandfather to see how falcons catch their food but I can only hope this gives him some perspective on life and death.

How do/did you teach your kids about death or have you done so or even thought about doing so?

Guessing the next occurrence in a date/time sequence

Analyzing a sequence of dates to determine the best guess for when the next event will accor is something best left to statistical modeling tools, but I’m going to try and show you a very basic way to do exactly that using PHP and an array of date/time stamps.


First off the data/time stamp sample array:

$time_stamps = array(
    "5/10/2013 9:30",
    "5/11/2013 9:50",
    "5/12/2013 10:20",
    "5/13/2013 10:59",
    "5/14/2013 11:22",
    "5/15/2013 11:51",
    "5/16/2013 12:28",
    "5/17/2013 12:57",
    "5/18/2013 13:13");

Sense the object of this exercise is to guess the next occurrence we are going to need a function that analyzes the difference between the times and then gives us an average based on that difference.

 function get_average($time_array)
 {
      $total = "";
      $last = "";
      $count = count($time_array);
      for($t=0;$t<$count;$t++)
      {
           $time = $time_array[$t];
           if($t == 0)
           {
                $last = $time;
           } else {
                $diff = get_diff($last, $time);
                $last = $time;
                $total += $diff;
           }
      }
      $average = ($total/($count-1));
      return round($average);
 }

 function get_diff($time1, $time2)
 {
      $t1 = strtotime($time1);
      $t2 = strtotime($time2);
      $diff = ($t2 - $t1)/60;
      return $diff;
 }

In the above function “get_average” you will see the for loop running through the array of date/time stamps and calling the function “get_diff”. The first time the loop runs it sets the varable $last to the first date/time stamp, this is to give us a starting point otherwise when we ran the “get_diff” function it would return an error or a number based on a date out of our sample rage and would therefore make are guess extreamly inaccurate, instead of just somewhat being inaccurate. The get_diff function compaires the last date/time sample and the current date/time sample in the array and returns the differance in minutes, that time is then added to the $total. Once all the items in the array have been calculated the $total is divided by the count of the date/time stamp array minus one (1), we minus one (1) because the first value of the array is not calculated, it is just a starting point to calculate the difference of the next value in the array.

 function guess_next($date_array)
 {
      $diff_avg = get_average($date_array);
      $last_date = new DateTime(end($date_array));
      $last_date->add(new DateInterval('PT'.$diff_avg.'M'));
      $next = $last_date->format('m/d/Y H:i');
      return $next;
 }

We now have the average increase in time to base our prediction on and we can use the above function to tie it all together. We take the last date in the date/time stamp array and add the average to that date and then format it to a readable format and we are done. The next occurrence will most likely occur around “05/19/2013 13:41″.

Obviously this isn’t going to be super accurate but it will provide a “best guess” based on the data provided. If anyone has a better algorithm for guess the next occurrence in a date/time array I would love to see it.

Thanks for reading!


Full code:

 function get_average($time_array)
 {
      $total = "";
      $last = "";
      $count = count($time_array);
      for($t=0;$t<$count;$t++)
      {
           $time = $time_array[$t];
           if($t == 0)
           {
                $last = $time;
           } else {
                $diff = get_diff($last, $time);
                $last = $time;
                $total += $diff;
           }
      }
      $average = ($total/($count-1));
      return round($average);
 }

 function get_diff($time1, $time2)
 {
      $t1 = strtotime($time1);
      $t2 = strtotime($time2);
      $diff = ($t2 - $t1)/60;
      return $diff;
 }

 function guess_next($date_array)
 {
      $diff_avg = get_average($date_array);
      $last_date = new DateTime(end($date_array));
      $last_date->add(new DateInterval('PT'.$diff_avg.'M'));
      $next = $last_date->format('m/d/Y H:i');
      return $next;
 }

 $date_stamps = array(
      "5/10/2013 9:30",
      "5/11/2013 9:50",
      "5/12/2013 10:20",
      "5/13/2013 10:59",
      "5/14/2013 11:22",
      "5/15/2013 11:51",
      "5/16/2013 12:28",
      "5/17/2013 12:57",
      "5/18/2013 13:13");

 print(guess_next($date_stamps));

Droping Google Drive

Today I stopped using Google Drive as a large cloud storage service. I’ve deleted everything but my Google Docs and started using my DropBox account for day-to-day cloud syncing, for backup I’m using Cloudberry S3 backup desktop to backup to Amazon.com’s Glacier.

At $0.01 per-gigabyte Amazon Glacier is hard to beat, but there are some hidden fees if you plan on restoring all the data at one time. You can use the Unofficial Amazon Glacier Cost-Estimator Calculator to get an idea of what it will cost you.

InSync, a better alternative to Google Drive Sync

This is just a quick post to let people know about an alternative to Google Drive Sync called InSync which allows you to sync your data to any Google account.

It doesn’t have selective syncing but I think it works better then Google’s Drive Sync application.