Western Digital My Passport Wireless

My wife is heading out of town on her first ever cruise next week.  In preparation for this event, I gifted her a GoPro Hero 4 Black to record her trip. I also purchased a 32GB memory card thinking that it should be plenty of storage for the trip.  After thinking about it for a little while I realized that 32GB would not nearly be enough.  I was faced with buying more cards or having her travel with a laptop and external hard drive to backup the data on the card so it could be wiped and used over and over.  I did not like the idea of multiple SD cards because of how easily they can be lost and adding a laptop and external HD to her trip gear would just be too much.  Ultimately I decided to go with a wireless hard drive with a built in SD card.  I chose the Western Digital My Passport Wireless

WD My Passport WIrelessWhat is really cool about this drive is that once it is set up you can drop and SD card in it and it will automatically download the data from the card to the drive and can also optionally wipe the card during the process.  The built-in WiFi network allows the drive to be controlled via app from iOS and Android devices or standard PCs or Macs.  Media can also be streamed from the device and it can even connect to other cloud services the DropBox and OneDrive when internet access is available.  I don’t see us needing that type of setup but it is part of the device’s feature set and worth mentioning.

The use case for my wife will be to take movies and pictures on her GoPro as well as a standard point and shoot camera.  All she has to do to transfer the data is to insert the card into the drive.  Everything else happens automatically.  It doesn’t HAVE to work that way but that is how I have configured the drive for this particular use.  All of the functions can also be controlled by her phone and this will provide an excellent way to check and be sure that the data copied over properly.  Her travelling partner will also have a GoPro and she too can transfer movies and pictures over to the drive.  I will be stunned beyond belief if they are able to fill up 1TB.

The price for the drive is a little higher than your standard drive at $163.00 on Amazon.com but you have to consider that the unit battery powered and the SD card reader isn’t available on standard external drives.  Battery life doesn’t seem to be too great and that will vary on use but I did notice that it discharged quick during use.  Other reviewers peg the battery life to be about 4 hours and that should be plenty for this particular use.  After testing I did have one minor complaint with the drive and that is the transfer time from the SD card reader to the drive itself.  Transferring about 9GB of data took somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes.  The transfer isn’t snappy but my understanding is that the drive is doing a lot of error checking and verification to be sure the transfer is solid.  Therefore I don’t see this drive been useful in high pressure video or photos shoots but as a quick and portable solution to storing vacation videos I think it will work perfectly.  I am very interested in seeing how it performs next week.

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

So it it supposed to get down into the teens tonight and for Alabama that is pretty cold. They are delaying school tomorrow morning because of the cold. I don’t remember that ever happening when I was a kid but a lot of things are different these days. I guess it keeps the kids off the bus stop and off the busses during the coldest parts of the morning. I wonder what ever happened to using lots of layers and bundling up! The worst part of the whole situation is I have to go to work early in the morning! I hope I remember to warm up the car before getting.

Alabama the Weird

Indiana Jones CardsI noticed something today while sitting at my desk at the house.  I have a drawer that contains a few decks of playing cards.  These decks don’t really ever get played with but are just branded merchandise I picked up because I thought they were interesting for some reason.  For no particular reason I was looking at the decks pictured at the right and realized that the box had two stamps on the bottom.  For some reason I thought that the playing card tax had disappeared but clearly it has not.  Alabama is a land of weird taxes and this is just one of them.  As I found out after doing a little research, not only does the the seller of the cards have to pay a $0.10 tax on every pack of cards but they also have to pay a $2.00 license on the cards.  THEN there is the sales tax when the cards are purchased and in some places in Alabama that tax is 10%.

I wonder if this is one those old laws that comes from a time when gambling was even more discouraged than it is today.  The strange part is that this tax only applies to packs of cards with 54 or less cards per pack.  That means other card games like UNO which have more cards are not taxed.  Clearly this law is directly at your standard 52 card playing deck with 2 jokers.  It does make me wonder why card manufacturers just don’t throw in an extra joker per pack and avoid the tax all together.  Just another place in the Alabama law book that just doesn’t make sense in the modern world.  Of course it is Alabama so I don’t know why it should even be surprising.

Indiana JokersHmmm, oddly enough right after I typed that paragraph I pulled out one of the decks in that pack and sure enough it has three jokers.  Guess that trick around the law doesn’t work for some reason.  From personal experience I know that the State of Alabama doesn’t screw around when it comes to tax dollars.  If anyone knows more about this tax please leave some notes in the comments.  I would love to hear about it!

A Case of the Mondays

You know when you go into work the first day of the first full week of the new year thinking that this is the year that you are really going to be on top of things and almost from the moment you walk I everything starts going to hell? Yeah, that was my day today. I spent hours troubleshooting some kind of network issue and ultimately decided that the problem is in the cable modem. I would think I had tracked down the problem only to find I was wrong. I kept chasing my tail until I finally decided to take the entire network off of the Internet and then see if the problem still existed and wouldn’t you know it, same problem. Ugh. Lesson learned.

So, the first real working day of the new was mostly full of fail. So, starting at the bottom means everything from here should be looking up right?

I am Reading Challenged

For the past few years I have signed up for the Reading Challenge through Goodreads.com. My success has been a mixed bag with meeting my goal the first year but falling short each consecutive year after.  Each year I increased my goal with the expectation that I would take more time to read but I never quite changed my habits.  I am scaling back this year and trying to get back to a goal only slightly out of my reach in the hopes it feels attainable enough to motivate me but not so out of reach I throw up my hands and just say “screw it”.  I think 16 will be that number.  It is higher than my 2014 number of 9 but last year was not typical with a lot of unexpected events happening.

Some people might wonder why anyone would have a reading goal and to those people I would say why not?  Reading is fundamental as the PSAs say and I actually really enjoy both the process of reading and the journey of discovering new stories.  A more selfish reason, however, is that reading gives me an excuse to buy more books and I am certainly a book hoarder.  I don’t have stacks and stacks of books around the house but I am willing to bet that I have more than the average person.  I can’t explain why I find the physical presence of books in my house comforting but I do.  Although I have been reading more digital books lately I don’t get the same feeling from finishing a digital book as I do when I finish a paper book and then shelve it in my home.  I wonder if anyone has ever studied this phenomenon.

Back to the challenge.  16 books is my goal and I want to read most of those from the books I already own.  This will include books by Stephen King, Richard Dawkins, Neil Gaiman, and Robert Jordan.  There are plenty more books I am looking forward to through my Kindle but I expect at least half of the books I read this year will be paper and will already be in my house.  I am also a “member-on-hiatus of a local book club and I would like to get back to being involved in that group but that does mean reading some stuff outside of my current “to-read” list.  The shared reading experience, however, is worth the effort.

Check back here for reviews as I finish books throughout the year.