Amazon Fire Phone, Will You Get One?

It comes out in less than a week.  Amazon's first ad focuses mostly on the free Amazon prime you get (so that you buy more) from them, and not so much the phone itself.

For a limited time, you get Amazon Prime (One Year Membership) with each phone.  If you are already a member, you get an additional year added at no extra charge.  For me, this puts the basic Amazon Fire Phone, 32GB (AT&T) at $99 (since I will be keeping Prime), plus the 2 year agreement.

Forget the NEXT option - it simply doesn't make sense to pay for the full price of the phone over the course of 12 / 18 months, and then not get to keep it when you want to upgrade.

I'm particularly interested in the camera quality, features and the unlimited online storage that comes with it.  Its too early to tell the benefits of the other gimicky features I may or may not use.  

Know that the Fire phone runs a tweaked version of Android and so does not have access to all the apps on Google Play store, just the ones on Amazon's app store.  Personally, I just want access to a few key apps anyway so this isn't a big issue for me (as a secondary phone).

Finally it comes down to AT&T vs Verizon.  I have coverage in 4G most places, just not LTE.  I can live with that since I will definitely be keeping the iPhone on Verizon for another year and its blazing fast on Verizon.  

It'll have to be a second device.  What about you?  Will you get a Fire phone?



Autographer Bit the Dust

On my trip, my Autographer Wearable Camera (review here) gave up on me July 4th in Washington DC.  It stopped holding a charge past a reported 12%, which effectly only allowed a few minutes of camera 'on' time.

Maximum amount of charge now.

Click to read more ...


My Travel Kit for DC and Beyond

Receive a FREE CAMERA BAG from Think Tank Photo

This list is going to be mostly photography related, and from the perspective of fitting everything into a carry-on bag which I would be using on walking photo tours around DC for my first time.


The bag I went with was the Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 v2 found here.  It fits my MacBook Pro Retina, my entire micro 4/3 kit, and extra batteries to power everything, served as my personal carry-on item at the airlines and also doesn't look like a camera bag and converts to a backpack.  Plus all ThinkTank bags come with a rain cover - it rains a lot in DC.

My review on this bag (video review) found here.


Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus HLD-6 Battery Holder
Sony DSC-RX100M II
Ricoh Theta

I chose the Olympus E-M5 for its fantastic image quality, super image stabilization, weather proofing, and the fact that I didn't have to buy another body to go.  I'll add that I took a long close look at the OMD-EM1, but decided that it was a toss-up in image quality and that I wouldn't benefit much from upgrading.  

I also chose the E-M5 over my Canon 6D mostly a weight, and size issue.  I knew I'd be walking 10 miles a day, and possibly in some rain.  I have to say this was a tough choice not knowing exaclty how I'd feel after walking so much in the heat, but I'm glad I went with the micro 4/3s vs full frame.

The Sony RX-100M II was an easy choice.  Its the best overall well rounded compact you can get, that also has a hot-shoe.  If you don't need the hot-shoe, go Sony DSC-RX100M III.  It has a super viewfinder, and a faster lens - but less zoom range.

Autographer to capture moments automatically.

Ricoh Theta captures everything in a single click, and is the size of half a pack of bubble yums.  This is another no brainer for travel and is a fun camera to use for obvious reasons.  Being able to capture everything around you in a single click is so refreshing and surprisingly useful.  More on that later when I write about my trip.


My lenses in order of use / percentage of pictures.

  1. Panasonic 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH X Series Lens
  2. Olympus 75-300mm II f4.8-6.7 Zoom Lens
  3. Olympus M ED 9-18mm
  4. Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95
  5. Panasonic Lumix LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm f/1.4
  6. Rokinon FE75MFT-B 7.5mm Fish Eye
  7. Olympus 45mm f1.8



I'll be updating this post more later.  


Google I/O 2014

That's the entire keynote.  What I gathered from half listening, half cleaning house was an Android OS update, UI features that make the interface cool-er, but mostly what intrigued me was the Smart Watch and chrome integration.  They announced the next-Gen: LG G watch, and Samsung Gear Live watches coming out next month.

Oh - one more thing that stood out: 1000 women at Google I/O and it got really special mention.  Funny how the cheers that came after that sounded predominantly male though.

Microsoft Store


Vector Cupholder is Awesome For Cafe Crawlers

Lately I haven't been working in cafes as much, but when I do, I notice a few things have changed.  There are now smaller tables, less power outlets, slower (but free) wifi, limited parking just about everywhere.

There are ways to alleviate some of those problems, but none really worked well for the smaller tables and my need to use a 15" Apple MacBook Pro, and sometimes a Wacom Intuos Pro without hogging a big group table.

So, enter the Vector Cupholder.  

It travels flat, and rotates to hold a multitude of cup and mug sizes.  Most importantly, it holds your cup securely so that I can't accidently spill a cup of joe all over my stuff.  I got it on kickstarter, but you can now order it on Amazon below.

I've so far used it around the house and outdoors in the patio.  Unfortunately it doesn't fit my current desk simply because the table top is too thick for the clamp.  I'll report back as I use it further.