Monthly Archives: November 2016

Google Photo Scan

Google launched “Photo Scan” in the last few weeks, and its main goal is bringing your shoeboxes full of photos into the 21st century.

Photo Scan allows you to scan your photos into Google Photos, using your phone camera, and the quality on it is really good.
The app “scans” the photo as a whole, before getting you to focus on all four quadrants individually.
Due to this process, the app virtually guarantees no glare on any of your photos

The quality of the photos are surprisingly high, as I tested it on multiple photos from the 1980s, and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

Sure it would take lots of time to scan your hundreds of photos in, but maybe the time is worth it if it means preserving your photos for years to come?

The app is available on Android as well as iOS.

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Giving Tuesday 2016

For the third straight year I will be celebrating Giving Tuesday today. Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have been all about getting the best deals on all your products, and now today you turn those savings into money for those that need it more than we do.

Shot@Life, a United Nations Foundation who provides vaccines around the world, will be doubling donations all day. The same doubling of your donation is available at the American Diabetes Association and Operation Warm (coats for the needy).

Speaking of Operation Warm, from today thru Friday Hollister will be giving $1 to them for each Snapchat Hollister+OW Geofilter used, so get snapping!

Meanwhile, you can support the Snow Leopards and all donations will be doubled  there as well.

As for me, I will be supporting today, like I do every day, the Brooklyn College Tanger Hillel.

Regardless who you support, get out there and give back today!

giving-tuesdat-2016

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg. home of the old school Americans, living life as if it was still the 1700s. From baking bricks to crafting iron and riding in horse and buggy and having no electricity.

Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center

Lots of old buildings, which are running off natural light and fireplaces, leading to early closures in the winter…or else you just can’t see anything.
Despite this, the museums are open later all year round, due to new technology: electricity.

Colonial Williamsburg Court House

There are plenty of things to see and do on the grounds, and some of the exhibits alternate days/hours so that they have enough people to staff it all (although this may have just been a result of a November visit).
As such they give out daily maps which show what is open and when.

Outside the town is the Great Hopes Plantation, with tobacco sheds, gardens and lots of building/expanding going on as well.

Great Hopes Plantation

The thing I found most interesting was the baking of bricks, and how they build up a house, with brick/clay outsides and full of raw bricks. They then feed the six tunnels with 12 fires (from both sides) and let it burn, stoking it for about a week. At that time they take apart the building and see how the burn went. The better baked, the redder the brick are.

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But while it is a great experience for children, I feel that an educated adult will be mostly bored exploring the 173 acres of land.
As someone with a knowledge of the time period, and having explored older locations in the past (whether through ancient forts, multiple ship sites, or just museums), I felt that taking hour-long tours of these buildings and wandering town was somewhat of a bore.
I can at least now say I’ve done it…but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to others as a place to visit.

True Memoirs of an International Assassin

True Memoirs of an International Assassin is a Netflix exclusive movie starring Kevin James, Rob Riggle, Andy Garcia and Zulay Henao.

Sam Larson (James) is a struggling writer, working on his first novel in the midst of his regular job. But in his head he is living the life of his character, as an assassin.

I’m totally gruntled. – Sam

But when bumbling and awkward Sam’s book gets published as “Nonfiction” after his publisher adds the word “true” to the title, he faces backlash from the life he is supposed to have lived as The Ghost.

Kidnapped and jetted away to Venezuela, Sam needs to become his character and live out the best story/mission he could ever dream of, as he is hired to assassinate three different political leaders.

It’s your typical Kevin James comedy, and after a few Netflix bungles on Adam Sandler movies (decent and terrible) this movie makes a fun watch and gets an 8 out of 10.

True Memoirs of an International Assassin Poster

Jamestown and Yorktown, Virginia

Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are two corners of the American Historic Triangle in Virginia (Colonial Williamsburg is the third…but that’s for another day).

Let’s focus on Yorktown first:
The American Revolution Museum will take you through the history of the revolution, from events such as the Battle of Great Bridge to the Seige and Lafayette to the Declaration of Independence.

Liberty at Yorktown

Behind the museum is a little village where you can learn about the times, from the drafts (and how to avoid them (for just $300 you could get out of fighting)) to living a life of Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.

House at Yorktown

You can also see how the doctors of the time did their work, ammunition was stored, and some of the herbs that were available for use in the late 1700s.

Yorktown Herbs


The Jamestown Settlement settlement is a much larger area, that consists of a museum, settlement, harbor, and fort.

Jamestown Signs

The first part you walk through, after the indoor museum, is a little settlement, complete with tents, troughs, and of course drying/flayed animal skins.

Jamestown Skins

After that you can walk into the harbor area, which includes three ships, mostly built in recent years, which show how soldiers of the day lived at sea, as well as the guns and artillery.

Jamestown Ships

Lastly you can walk through the Jamestown Fort, which has gun demonstrations every half hour (with the firing of a musket), houses and armories, as well as actual vegetable gardens and live chickens strutting around.

Jamestown Chicken


The costs are cheaper if you buy both of these locations together (which can be purchased online in advance or at the door) and at the door you can use a AAA discount.

American Civil War Museum, Virginia

The American Civil War Museum is a collection of locations in and around Richmond, Virginia, dating back to the 1800s.

  • Historic Tredegar – An Iron Works facility from the 1800s houses the Civil War Museum as well as a free National Parks Museum for the Richmond National Battlefield
    historic-tredegar
  • The White House – This was the home of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, and you can take a 45-minute tour (no pictures) showing you the life and times of how the first family lived
    the-white-house-of-the-confederacy
  • Museum of the Confederacy – This facility is adjacent to The White House and has the history of the Confederacy housed within
  • Appomattox – One of the final battles of the Civil War (Battle of Appomattox Court House) was fought here, and has the house of Wilmer McLean, where Lee surrendered to Grant

Parking at these locations are free, with validation at the front desk, and the prices range from $8 for Tredegar to $20 for all of them.

Red Oaks – Season 2 – #Review

It’s next summer and Red Oaks Country Club is kicking off another year of tennis, golf, and hijinks.

David (Craig Roberts) is still seeing Skye (Alexandra Socha), Wheeler may still be seeing Misty (Alexandra Turshen) and Mr. Getty still hates David and is facing Guiliani’s wrath.

Love is in the air, children are studying for their SATs, things are progressing (and regressing) in relationships, and David’s Dad (Sam) has a cat while his Mom (Judy) is chasing women.

Karen and Barry’s wedding date is fast approaching and so is the deadline for Wheeler to properly learn how to mix a drink for Herb, while Nash deals with a women search after his divorce.

Season 2 is packed full of goodness as long time actors Paul Reiser, Richard Kind and Jennifer Grey all help move this show along continuing its great pace and enjoyment.

Season 2 of Red Oaks gets an 8.5 out of 10.

Red Oaks Season 2 Poster