Category Archives: Rants and Raves

RANT: Cameras bring out the worst

I was really disappointed at this year’s Inman Park Festival parade and the Atlanta Pride Festival parade.

Not by the parades themselves, but by the hordes of inconsiderate on-lookers who crowded the streets, crossing barriers, and even blocking the parade routes, so they could take pictures and selfies with their cameras, cell phones, and tablets.

It is unfortunate that these “photographers” have to act in such a way. Their behavior directly impacts how less-casual photographers are viewed. Most photographers will do their best to not be so obvious, to not get in the way of others. We try to be respectful of our surroundings so that everyone can enjoy the events that are unfolding.

It is sad that the proliferation of photographic equipment in so many hands demonstrates how many people are so self-centered and oblivious to others. As if we really needed evidence of those awful traits

Cameras, cell phones, and tablets.

I have one of each. Maybe even more than one.

I love taking pictures. If you’ve browsed this site you’ll find the links to my photo albums all tucked away in Google+. Use the Photo Gallery link above to check them out.

I take my devices to parades and other similar public events. I especially like parades. Parades have funny looking characters. They have celebrities. And I want my picture taken with all of them!

The best photo view I get is when I stand in the middle of the street facing the parade head-on. It usually takes me a few moments to compose the perfect shot, but as the parade slows down a bit (since I’m in the way) I can easily get everything into the frame and focused. Thanks guys!

When the celebrities come by, I just barge into the street with my cellphone, grab the celebrity and force them into my selfie-picture-taking position and snap away. I don’t let them go until I’ve taken at least four images..maybe more…just in case one of us was blinking and the picture isn’t that good. Sure, it slows them down a bit, but I’m ahead of all those other people that want to take selfies. And I don’t mind people on the sidewalk taking pictures of me. Who wouldn’t want a picture of me taking a selfie with a celebrity?

At times, I’ll also whip out my 10inch tablet and hold it in front of my face as I take a video or snap a set of pictures. I try to be thoughtful and hold the tablet up high enough so the people behind me can view the parade on my tablet screen. Since I stepped in front of them, they can’t view the parade themselves. I’m thoughtful that way.

Street barriers along the sidewalk are awesome. It’s a good reminder to know where the sidewalk is, because that’s where I don’t want to be. I’ll often create a small crowd with other avid photographers on the street in front of the barricade. It’s the best location, because it’s easier to run up to those celebrities. I would hate to have to jump the barricade every time. I’m not training for the Olympics!

RANT: Wedding Republic. Nice idea? Not so much.

A friend of ours used Wedding Republic ( for her wedding registry. When my partner and I got married, we thought it would be a good way for our guests to contribute to our wedding. It turns out that Wedding Republic does not give you the full amount of what guests contribute and does not respond to inquiries. There’s no need to risk your guests’ money with Wedding Republic when there are safer alternatives.

The premise behind Wedding Republic is that we could identify a list of things we wanted to have our guests contribute cash towards. We could create small cost items, such as gift cards, or large cost items, such as a cruise or a trip to Vegas. We could divide the larger cost items into smaller contributions, or puzzle pieces. Guests could then purchase one or more puzzle pieces towards that particular item according to their budget. Wedding Republic charges guests a small 5.5% administration fee for their purchases. So a gift of $100 would end up costing the guest about $106. At the end of the registry, we would then collect the cash from the puzzle pieces that our guests purchased.


Our guests purchased $175 in puzzle pieces. Wedding Republic likely charged a total of $185. However, we only received $139 of that amount. The only option to receive the funds was a direct deposit into our checking account. We received a $155 deposit ($20 short of what was purchased) and were also charged a $16 wire transfer fee, netting us $139 of the $175.

On their site, Wedding Republic does not disclose the wire transfer fee that would be charged. Nor is there an explanation for the difference between the deposit and the amount collected. Perhaps it’s a exchange fee? Wedding Republic seems to be based in Canada.

If you expect a much larger amount of cash from your guests, the wire transfer fee may not be a big deal. I also don’t consider it a big issue, overall. However, since there is no other option of collecting the funds, the fee should have been disclosed up-front, especially since guests are being charged an administrative fee. I would expect that fee to cover the costs of collection and disbursement.

Wedding Republic has failed to respond to any of the emails I have sent and has even ignored the post I made on their Facebook page.

I searched the web prior to using Wedding Republic to see if there were any negative reviews. I didn’t come across any. So here’s one for any future searchers: I can only recommend you don’t use Wedding Republic. Avoid it, if at all possible. Choose established store gift registries, instead. Guests can always will give you gift cards in lieu of cash—there’s no need to risk your guests’ money with Wedding Republic when there are safer and less frustrating alternatives.

RANT: Pandigital Photo, Slide & Negative Scanner PANSCN05 (edited)

I was shopping at Bed, Bath, & Beyond the other day, and came across this small digital scanner. For some time, I’ve been wanting to get something that could scan negatives. I’ve been looking for something much less than $100, especially since once I’m done scanning the negatives, I’ve no use for the scanner any more.

I came across this Pandigital scanner. It was originally $100, but marked down to $50. I snapped it up. It scans up to a 6 frame negative at a time to an SD card. You don’t even have to hook it up to a PC. You can then transfer the images from the card to a PC.

It only scans at 1200dpi. Not great. But the images come out at 1632×1056. Some of the images look a bit squished, which is possibly due to negatives not being completely flat. For the price, I’m very happy. Over the past few days I’ve scanned nearly 800 frames. The resulting images are between 150-350k.

It will also scan slides and printed pix, up to 5×7 in size.


Ok, I’ve used this thing for a while longer. I’ve changed my mind on this piece-of-crap. It has been dropping frames. I thought at first that it was having a problem with strips of negatives that only have two frames on it. But last night, I repeatedly scanned the same film strips–sometimes the frames would capture…sometimes they wouldn’t. Out of 24 frames, 13 were missing.

This thing is going back.

RANT: break-in

Our storage unit was broken into this past weekend. I’m writing this as I wait for the police to arrive. it’s been nearly two hours.

One of our bikes is gone, as are some power tools (circular saw, power paint roller, power sprayer). The more accessible bike was left behind. Some empty cardboard boxes were taken. Strange.

As I sit in my car, in 90 degree heat, I wonder how long is the mandatory “wait for police after you’ve called them” period up before I can just go home.


RANT: American Express

We’ve been using American Express instead of a local bank for years. I tried to get some travelers checks for our trip to Vegas. Before, I was able to get them charged to my AMEX card, no fees. They don’t do that anymore–cash, or personal check. So I go home to get a check.

Then, it’s a 2% fee. Ugh. Of couse, the teller informs me, I can get a discount to 1% if I pay cash. Hey, AMEX…I don’t have a local bank! I bank with you! Why no discount for us that can’t get cash except through an ATM? That’s the privilege of American Express.

So, stronger case made for getting a local bank. Crap.

RANT and RAVE: Splish Splash Doggie Bash

Tuesday night was a benefit for the Atlanta Humane Society at East Andrews. I think the event was a success—there were lots of people and doggies. But the venue leaves a lot to be desired, which makes me re-think going there in the future.

Only patio area was open—the inside restaurant was closed—so there was only one bar for the crowd. That bar was staffed by only one bartender and she had a difficult time keeping up with the crowd’s drink orders. When we arrived, we had to wait about ten minutes to place our drink order. When I went to buy our second round, my wait time exceeded 15 minutes. At that point, I seriously considered leaving, but I regained my sanity and instead just planned to order myself two beers instead of just one. Which I did. Which made me happy.

Because the inside restaurant was closed, no lights were on. A trip to the restroom required patrons to walk into a dark restaurant with chairs stacked on tables. Any number of creepiness could have lurked in those shadows. Good thing I had not watched any horror flicks recently.

At the end of the evening when I cashed out our tab, I congratulated our bartender on surviving the harrowing evening. She was exhausted but in good spirits—but probably the latter only because she was taking a few swigs herself.

RANT: Cannot FF through VOD

Dear Comcast and ABC,

Sunday night I decided to watch “Body of Truth” through Comcast Video-On-Demand (VOD). Thank you for making the show available. I was, however, extremely frustrated by your decision to completely disable any fast forward functionality.

I did not let the notice at the beginning of the show that the fast forward feature was going to be disabled bother me. Fast forwarding through any VOD offering through Comcast is an inexact process, aggravated by slow response and only one fast forward or rewind speed. I hardly ever fast forward through any VOD offering because it ends up being more frustrating, which is opposite to my desire for TV entertainment.

While watching “Body of Truth” I paused the playback. The pause timed-out and stopped the playback function, as it usually does when I pause VOD for longer than two minutes. Typically, all I have to do at this time is restart the playback to resume the show where I left off.

In this case, however, I was forced to start playback from the beginning of the show. Not only did I have to re-watch from the beginning, I could not fast forward through any of what I had seen just minutes before.

I completely understand the desire to not permit fast forwarding through commercials. I will tolerate that as long as the commercials are limited in length.

However, I will not tolerate the asinine decision to prevent viewers from fast forwarding through material which has already been watched. I’m assuming it was a Comcast software glitch that forced me to start from the beginning of the show, but not allowing me to skip through what I’d already seen? If I hadn’t been only 18 minutes into the episode, I would have stopped immediately and never watched any ABC fast-forward disabled offering again.

I urge you to rethink your logic and what you believe your customers will endure. I understand your desire to maximize your revenue stream, however frustrating your viewers with these ill-conceived methods will likely undermine your goals.

Please fix and I will be much more likely to watch.


David Perez