LifeWeTravel http://lifewetravel.com Trip Tips and Product Reviews from real people who travel the world. en-us Wed, 23 Aug 2017 07:39:14 +0000 http://sett.com Sett RSS Generator The genius of Osmo for encouraging a child to create with technology http://lifewetravel.com/the-genius-of-osmo-for-encouraging-a-child-to-create-with-technology When our first daughter Devina was born, we decided we weren't going to have her interact with electronics until she could create with them . We want our children to be creators, not just consumers, of technology. She's now three years old, and we've been looking for the right way to introduce her to technology. After a lot of looking, we've found something amazing -- a system called Osmo. (About $95 on Amazon plus $30 or so for each add-on kit).

Osmo works with an iPad -- we're using an old iPad and it's been fully compatible -- with a system of software + physical pieces, as well as a red mirror that covers the iPad's camera, focusing the camera on the table just in front of the iPad.

The genius of Osmo is its range. There's Osmo software for putting colored shapes together, for drawing , for math, for coding , for cooking , and more. It's an expandable system that's designed for ages 4 through 12 (although our three year old has been totally into it), meaning it can grow with a child for quite a while, which isn't something that can be said for most learning systems. That's the magic of software.

One of the most recently amazing thing's that have happened with Devina's interaction with Osmo is how much her drawing abilities have improved through interacting with the system. Osmo prompts kids to draw various items and then "imports" them into the app and interacts with them. It's quite magical and works well. Here are some pictures of Devina drawing a person, and then the 'Osmo monster' interacting with it (along with a couch and other things she drew).

It's a highly recommended system. Secondarily, we've also been enjoying Tiggly , which is a set of physical shapes that Devina uses to interact with software on the iPad. It's not quite as engaging and genius as Osmo, but it's also good. A good change of pace if you're looking for a couple similar experiences for your child.

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Sun, 30 Jul 2017 16:35:51 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/the-genius-of-osmo-for-encouraging-a-child-to-create-with-technology
2 Room Furnished Guest Cottage For Rent on Private Estate in Belmont California http://lifewetravel.com/2br-guest-house-for-rent-on-private-estate-in-belmont-california We are renting out our two bedroom guest cottage, which is situated on a private estate in Belmont, CA. You can find the listing for rent right here on AirBnB if you'd like to rent it. It's available by the day, week or month. Here's a video describing the house an]]>

We are renting out our two bedroom guest cottage, which is situated on a private estate in Belmont, CA.

You can find the listing for rent right here on AirBnB if you'd like to rent it. It's available by the day, week or month.

Here's a video describing the house and grounds:

The guest house is 775 sq ft, with two full bedrooms, one bathroom with shower, a full kitchen with dishwasher and full-sized refrigerator, a dining area, and a living area, all furnished. Additionally, the property features:

  • Blazing fast WiFi -- rated for 150mbps
  • We'll order you groceries to arrive the day you arrive, so your fridge can be fully stocked for your stay (see below for more details)
  • Sometimes we will have fresh organic vegetables, depending on the season
  • A fully gated pool (please keep kids out unless under adult supervision)
  • A parking space reserved for guest house use

About the Area:

The guest house is under 10 minutes to San Mateo and Redwood city, under 20 minutes from SFO, Stanford and Palo Alto, and under 30 minutes to downtown San Francisco and Mountain View.

Below is the "street view" of the shopping center just down the hill (less than half a mile; a 10 minute walk) from the property. Shops include Starbucks, The Greedy Ant Gourmet, Lorenzo's Sandwich Shop, Good Bites Cafe, and many others. Here's a link to the Yelp listings of local restaurants, shops and more.

There is also a gourmet Safeway right down the hill from the property, also less than a 10 minute walk:

The Belmont Caltrain station is a 6 minute drive or 30 minute walk, just 1.5 miles from the property. You can find the Caltrain schedules here, although we highly recommend the CaltrainMe iPhone app. Here's a map starting from the corner of Ralston & Avenida De Las Pulgas, which is just down the hill from the house:

Checking In, Checking Out and Other Details:

Check-in is anytime after 3pm, and check-out is by 12pm.

Want to have groceries delivered to the guest house on the day of our arrival? It's easy, with a service called Instacart (they have a great mobile app, too). Just register on their site using zip code 94002 (we'll give you the full property address once we confirm your stay with us) and place your order. They can deliver in as little as one hour. Here are some screenshots so you can see what the Instacart experience is like. We use Instacart ourselves, and love it!

Some of our favorite things to do in the San Francisco Bay area:

  • Take a Detour in San Francisco: Detours are location-aware audio tours. We can't say enough good things about how magical an experience they are. You'll need an iPhone or Android phone to do them. Works well with groups, too. There are several Detours available, including Fisherman's Wharf and Castro. Make sure you bring your headphones and comfy walking shoes! Downtown San Francisco is about 30 minutes from the house, depending on traffic.
  • Take a walk or a hike nearby: There are a number of hiking and walking trails nearby. Here are some great links with details: Yelp's list of hiking trails and walking trails near Belmont. EveryTrail's list. AllTrail's list.
  • Sail a boat (or take a lesson)! If you have sailing experience, the San Francisco Bay is world-class for sailing. We recommend the Modern Sailing Club in Sausalito, CA, about an hour north of the house.
  • Take a tour of San Francisco: The "Alcatraz at night" tour is especially good. Here's TripAdvisor's list of tours (and top 10 things to do), here's Yelp's list of tours, and if you're a foodie, here's a good list of foodie tours.

Here are some pictures of the guest house grounds:

We hope you enjoy your stay with us!

- Daniel, Sue and Devina

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Thu, 24 Dec 2015 23:50:31 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/2br-guest-house-for-rent-on-private-estate-in-belmont-california
Giving Experiences Instead of Gifts http://lifewetravel.com/giving-experiences-instead-of-gifts The Odio family celebrating the Holidays Sue and I have a family tradition we are pursuing: Giving experiences, instead of gifts, on birthdays and holidays. We've found that experiences are more powerful and longer lasting than things. Studies show that experiences make ]]>

The Odio family celebrating the Holidays

Sue and I have a family tradition we are pursuing: Giving experiences, instead of gifts, on birthdays and holidays.

We've found that experiences are more powerful and longer lasting than things. Studies show that experiences make people happier than things, too!

For Devina specifically, if we sent you a link to this post, it was because you told us you wanted to buy her a gift. We ask that instead of buying her a physical gift, please either:

  • Contribute to her 529 College Plan, by visiting this site and entering code 66UQ2V
  • Or, give her an experience to have with you!

And we'll endeavor to do the same in our gift giving.

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Fri, 09 Jan 2015 01:23:32 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/giving-experiences-instead-of-gifts
Nuestro Plan Para Comunicar con Devina Exclusivamente en Espanol http://lifewetravel.com/nuestro-plan-para-comunicar-con-devina-exclusivamente-en-espanol Languages are a beautiful thing. Although I grew up mainly speaking English, I had an opportunity at a very young age to learn and speak Spanish, and my dad's family is all in Costa Rica so I have family members who I primarily speak to in Spanish. That gave me the tools]]>

Languages are a beautiful thing. Although I grew up mainly speaking English, I had an opportunity at a very young age to learn and speak Spanish, and my dad's family is all in Costa Rica so I have family members who I primarily speak to in Spanish. That gave me the tools I needed to work in Argentina and Brazil for part of the time I was with GE. GE would've never sent me to Latin America right out of college if I hadn't had those language skills. Sue and I want Devina to have that same kind of opportunity.

Sue is in a similar (but stronger) position with Korean, as she speaks it primarily with her parents, and always did growing up. So we have an opportunity to raise Devina speaking multiple languages, but we knew that figuring out a way to do so would take work, because Sue and I speak to each other in English.

So we agreed that, from the start, I would speak to Devina exclusively in Spanish, which I've been doing for the past six months. At first, I didn't know if it would be hard or easy because it's been a long time since I've gotten an opportunity to speak in Spanish on a regular basis. And while it's not hard, it's not exactly easy, either. It's kind of like going into a room in a house that you don't enter very often. You haven't forgotten where things are, exactly, but you need to do a bit of spring cleaning to really make the room usable again.

But a funny thing has happened since I've forced myself to speak to Devina exclusively in Spanish: When I look at her, my brain now automatically switches to Spanish. Whereas at first it was strange to break out my Spanish on this new person in my life, now it would be strange to speak to her in anything other than Spanish. I wasn't expecting it to be so natural, because in the past I've either spent the entirety (or at least) bulk of my interactions speaking entirely in Spanish (or Portuguese, which I can handle fairly well) -- for example, when in a Spanish speaking country-- or entirely in English while here in the US. It's always been natural to be speaking Spanish when others are, and English when others are, but this is the first time in my life where I'll be speaking with Sue in English, and then turn to Devina to say something in Spanish, and then turn back to Sue and say something in English, over and over again. I thought that part of it would be hard, but it isn't. My brain switches between the two as if on cue.

The part that is harder is that Sue can't always understand what I'm saying to Devina. Sue is actually scarily good at understanding Spanish, even though she claims not to speak any of it, so this hasn't been too much of an issue yet, whereas when Sue speaks to Devina in Korean, I'm totally lost (Mental to-do: Learn Korean). But as I start having more complex interactions with Devina in Spanish, and with Sue doing it with her in Korean, I'm not exactly sure how things will play out (especially if Sue and I don't compare notes on what we each told her, i.e., Devina potentially is the only one in our family who would know that mom said one thing to her in Korean, and dad said something entirely different to her in Spanish. That could get interesting). The answer there is probably that I have to learn at least some Korean, which I've been wanting to do, so this is as good a time as any to do it, and ditto for Sue and Spanish.

Another thing that I don't know is how things will go as Devina gets older. I fully expect she may rebel and not want to communicate with me in Spanish since everyone else around her is speaking to her in English. I'd love to hear from other parents that are raising their kids with multiple languages (and especially if only one parent speaks that language). How have you handled that type of issue?

What else should we expect? What other tips do multi-lingual families have?

Some people have said that it will take Devina longer to start speaking due to the different languages being thrown at her, and I expect that's true, but that doesn't bother me or Sue at all.

=================

The picture above is an incredible shot Sue took of Devina using this $75 Raynox macro lens attached to our Lumix Micro 4/3 camera. If you want to use the same setup, with the pancake lens, you'll also need to purchase this inexpensive 46 to 43mm adapter ring so you don't have to use the unwieldy snap-on adapter that comes with the macro lens.

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Sat, 19 Apr 2014 07:50:24 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/nuestro-plan-para-comunicar-con-devina-exclusivamente-en-espanol
Teaching Devina to Code http://lifewetravel.com/teaching-devina-to-code Sue and I want to keep electronic screens away from Devina at least until she's a couple of years old -- this means no TV in our house, no iPad or iPhone for her to play with, or any other electronic gadgets. This might be surprising to hear considering how techie we are]]>

Sue and I want to keep electronic screens away from Devina at least until she's a couple of years old -- this means no TV in our house, no iPad or iPhone for her to play with, or any other electronic gadgets. This might be surprising to hear considering how techie we are, but we see technology as a double-sided sword: It's incredible, but it also distracts from the things in life that really matter: Interacting with people, with nature, with our world around us. Showing love and learning to be loved by those who are important in our lives, and a list of other things, many of which we outlined in our Family Manifesto.

One of the first experiences we are hoping to teach Devina about technology is by way of computer programming. We want her to learn how to create with technology, vs. just being a consumer of it. So we plan on teaching Devina to code at a young age.

We don't yet know how (or exactly when) we're going to do that, but we've been starting to bookmark resources where others have done the same thing. I'm going to use this blog post as a place to put links to those resources, and to share this journey as we take it.

I'd also love to hear from other parents out there who are teaching their kids to code. I'd love to know things like:

  • At what age did you get them started?
  • How did you do it? What websites / programs / people did you leverage to help you?
  • What was most successful? Least successful?
  • For those of you who have already taught your kids to code: Are they showing an interest in doing it on their own?
  • What else should we know? What else should we be asking?

Thanks in advance for any advice that anyone can provide on this! Looking forward to the experience.

The picture above is the kind of thing we want Devina to be spending her time on, vs being in front of a screen. Picture taken when she was just over 5 months old.

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Sun, 06 Apr 2014 22:30:27 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/teaching-devina-to-code
How to Get a Screaming Deal on a Baby Jogging Stroller http://lifewetravel.com/how-to-get-a-screaming-deal-on-a-baby-jogging-stroller Devina in her first race, an 8k, with dad and uncle Sam! As I've mentioned before on this blog, Sue and I are not planning on buying a stroller because we want to carry Devina close to us as much as possible, to maximize our 'skin-to-skin' contact time. So to that extent]]>

Devina in her first race, an 8k, with dad and uncle Sam!

As I've mentioned before on this blog, Sue and I are not planning on buying a stroller because we want to carry Devina close to us as much as possible, to maximize our 'skin-to-skin' contact time. So to that extent, I did a pretty in-depth review of baby carriers, and the Baby Bjorn ONE took the prize in a last-minute upset.

However, I've always wanted to take Devina on races with me, and so I went on the hunt for a great jogging stroller. After doing a bunch of research, I found the Chariot line of strollers, which Thule picked up awhile back, so now they're branded as 'Thule Chariot.' Their top of the line jogging stroller is the CX-1, which MSRPs at $1,049.95. Yikes.

But here's a pro-tip: If you are willing to pick up one of the CX-1 strollers just branded as "Chariot" and not as "Thule Chariot," you can get one of those for $697 on Amazon -- and that's with the jogging attachment, which usually runs an additional $75. But there are only four left on Amazon, so they won't last forever. The differences between the old model and the new Thule model are very minor; the biggest one being disc brakes vs. drum brakes.

That's a great way to save 40%. But here's an even better tip: Ever heard of Amazon Warehouse? It's where Amazon sells its open box stuff. And it's awesome. If you're willing to buy a Chariot that someone else returned, you can get an even steeper discount. The inventory comes and goes, but right now Amazon Warehouse has two available for $458:

Awesome! And when I bought mine, I got it for $395 -- that's over 60% off! And it was in completely like-new condition.

Another benefit to the Chariot is that it has other attachments, like a strolling attachment ($85 on Amazon), a bike attachment ($68 on Amazon), and even a cross-country ski attachment ($285 on Amazon), which makes it super versatile.

Hope that pro-tip helps, and happy jogging!

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Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:53:40 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/how-to-get-a-screaming-deal-on-a-baby-jogging-stroller
Baby Carrier Face Off: Our Quest to Avoid Hip Dysplasia http://lifewetravel.com/baby-carrier-face-off-our-quest-to-avoid-hip-dysplasia Sue and I have known from way back that we want to have as much skin-to-skin time with our daughter as possible. In fact, we haven't even purchased a stroller because we want to carry Devina to achieve this goal. Originally, we were using a Britax carrier which was g]]>

Sue and I have known from way back that we want to have as much skin-to-skin time with our daughter as possible. In fact, we haven't even purchased a stroller because we want to carry Devina to achieve this goal.

Originally, we were using a Britax carrier which was given to us by some friends, and I loved. But we started reading blogs which warned of issues that could arise with carriers that leave a baby's legs dangling, which the Britax (as well as a Baby Bjorn carrier we had) did. Specifically, articles like this:

"The most unhealthy position for the hips during infancy is when the legs are held in extension with the hips and knees straight and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the fetal position. The risk to the hips is greater when this unhealthy position is maintained for a long time. Healthy hip positioning avoids positions that may cause or contribute to development of hip dysplasia or dislocation. The healthiest position for the hips is for the hips to fall or spread (naturally) apart to the side, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent. This position has been called the jockey position, straddle position, frog position, spread-squat position or human position. Free movement of the hips without forcing them together promotes natural hip development."

Here it is illustrated:

Now, not everyone agrees with this. You go to the Baby Bjorn website, and they have a number of medical 'experts' testifying that the dangling legs method is fine. They write:

"No, that is not correct. Your child cannot develop hip dysplasia or hip luxation by being carried in a baby carrier. Hip dysplasia, or hip luxation, is a congenital condition diagnosed through a medical examination. The notion that baby carriers can cause hip dysplasia is a misunderstanding and has no scientific foundation. This is confirmed by leading child orthopedists."

So I'm not necessarily sure what to believe, except to say that I haven't read anyone saying that the 'jockey position' (pictured at right, above) is problematic, while plenty of others are saying that the 'dangling legs position' is. So we decided it's better to play it safe and upgrade our carriers, even though there were things we loved about the Britax and Baby Bjorn, namely the ability to carry Devina in a front-facing position (can't do that with the Jockey carriers except for one, which I describe below) and the fact that the Baby Bjorn is so elegantly engineered. I talk a bit more about our motivations in this video:

Baby carrier face off: the hip dysphasia problem

So, we bought eight carriers and I wore most of them on long walks of at least an hour each. Sue and I then tallied up what we loved (and didn't love) about each of them. Here are our results:

*** UPDATE!!! There is a new Baby Bjorn on the market that's BETTER than the Ergo! Here is my update comment with details.

The Winner: ERGObaby Performance Collection Baby Carrier

Available for $139 on Amazon, or if you want a canvas version, the very similar ERGObaby Original Baby Carrier is $120 on Amazon

This carrier wins it hands-down for me. Early on in our testing I realized that having a hood is a must. Baby Devina will often fall asleep on our long walks, and having a hood that I can pull out of a pocket helps keep her head from bobbing, and helps keep her asleep. It's also great for keeping her warm when it's cold outside, or keeping the sun out of her eyes. The Ergo's hood works great -- here's a picture of me snapping the hood on one side while keeping the other side unsnapped -- great for keeping the sun away:

The Ergo also has a large pocket, which I was able to put an emergency diaper and wipes in -- you know, for those unexpected moments when you absolutely have to change her diaper right now. Those of you who are already parents know what I mean; for the rest of you, trust me, time can be of the essence. The Ergo is the only carrier that had a pocket large enough to easily store these emergency supplies.

Add to that that the Ergo has the best padding, which made it the most comfortable on long walks, and that Devina can see out of it without the straps mauling her in the face, and it was far and above the winner. A nice touch is the fact that the Ergo has clips for stirrups, for when a child gets older, which I point out in this video

Baby carrier face off: Ergo performance, the winner

There's one thing I really don't like about the Ergo, and honestly it drives me crazy. The shoulder straps are adjusted in the back. Why the back? Well, so you absolutely cannot reach them when you need to, of course. If I had to adjust these on a regular basis, it would've been enough to knock the Ergo out of first place for me. Luckily it's more of a "set it once and forget it" type thing. But why the back? Why not have them adjusted on the sides, like the Beco Gemini below? The rest of the carrier is so elegantly engineered, I just don't understand it. Here's a picture of what I mean:

Second Place: Beco Baby Carrier Gemini

This carrier, which costs $128 on Amazon.com, had a lot going for it. For one thing, it's the only carrier that can handle a front-facing position and still has the better Jockey position. That's thanks to two snaps which allow the leg position to be changed.

And in contrast to the Ergos, the shoulder strap length can be modified where you can actually reach it -- on the side (right below Devina's arm in the pictures) instead of the back:

It even has infant head padding, which the Ergo doesn't -- on the Ergo you have to buy a separate infant carrier insert.

But as I wore it on a long walk, I realized that two things would bump it to second place: First, it isn't nearly as comfortable as the Ergo. But secondly, it doesn't have a hood, and a hood is an absolute must. However, if those things aren't as important to you, it's a solid contender. Here's a video where I describe the carrier in more detail:

Baby carrier face off: Beco Gemini, 2nd Place

Third Place: BOBA Air Baby Carrier

This carrier wins the value award, coming in at just $65 on Amazon. And there's a lot to like, especially if you want a compact secondary carrier -- it easily packs down to 30% of the size of the other carriers and is the only one you could realistically carry in a purse or a backpack when not in use. Also, it seems to do well in the water due to its synthetic construction; although I didn't try it myself there is talk on the forums about people using it in pools and it holding up well. However, Sue didn't like the fact that the synthetic material doesn't have any 'give,' that the zipper has the potential to scratch the baby's face (although it didn't, but seemed possible) and that the straps hit the baby's face while being carried. And for me it just wasn't padded enough (well, at all, really) for long walks. But as a backup that you keep handy, it might be just the ticket. Here's a video with more detail:

Baby carrier face off: Boba Air, most lightweight

There are also some carriers I generally would not recommend, including:

Not Recommended: Infantino Union Ergonomic Carrier, Gray

This carrier is $23.99 on Amazon, and you really get what you pay for, which is not much. I describe a bit more in this video:

Baby carrier face off: Carriers to avoid

Not Recommended: BOBA Classic Baby Carrier 3G

This carrier, which runs $108 on Amazon, just doesn't have the build quality, the comfort, or the ease of use as the Ergos and the Beco.

It uses cheaper quality fasteners and an inferior system for the neck strap. Also, the hood is almost impossible to access when the baby is in the carrier with out really jostling the baby's neck. More detail in this video:

Baby carrier face off: Boba carrier, not recommended

We also ordered a Mei Tai carrier, the Infantino Sash Mei Tai Carrier, $24.99 on Amazon, which was similar to some wrap carriers we used when Devina was an infant, including the Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Solid Baby Carrier, $45 on Amazon, and the Infantino Sync Comfort Wrap Carrier Black/Red, $29 on Amazon. But these all suffer from the same issues, at least for me as a dad -- they're hard to put on and take off, and they're hot because of the amount of fabric you end up wrapping around yourself. Some people seem to love them, but they just didn't work for me.

We also reviewed two accessories, one which I highly recommend and the other I do not:

Recommended: Infantino Hoodie Universal All Season Carrier Cover Gray

So there is one Infantino product we recommend. This hoodie, $18 on Amaon, will keep your baby warm and easily attaches to any carrier. Here's a previous blog post I wrote about it.

Not Recommended: Boba Pack Baby Bag

This bag, $35 on Amazon, just doesn't work on the front of a carrier; it's too bulky. Here's a video where I describe the issue in more detail:

Baby carrier face off: Boba front bag

Hope you find this review helpful!

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Sun, 23 Feb 2014 21:40:36 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/baby-carrier-face-off-our-quest-to-avoid-hip-dysplasia
Considering a Vitamix Blender -- Anyone Have an Opinion? http://lifewetravel.com/considering-a-vitamix-blender-anyone-have-an-opinion Three years ago, I reviewed several juicers in detail before settling on the Omega masticating juicer, and it's been great.

But ever since, my buddy Frank has been trying to convince me to get a Vitamix. He says he uses the Vitamix several times per day, vs. less than once a week for his juicer. I was over at his house the other day, and he gave me the full court press sales pitch. So of course I video taped it! Let me know what you think: Is a Vitamix more useful than a Juicer?

Also, the Vitamix isn't cheap! The 750 professional series is $650 on Amazon. There are cheaper ones though, as low as $481. If you don't mind refurbished, you can get an older open box version from Amazon Warehouse for the mid $300s.

Evaluating the Vitamix: Frank

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Sat, 21 Dec 2013 18:59:58 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/considering-a-vitamix-blender-anyone-have-an-opinion
LifeHacking SmugMug + Adobe Lightroom http://lifewetravel.com/hacking-smugmug-adobe-lightroom Last year, my wife and I decided to get really good at taking insanely great photos. (You can find a gallery of my favorite pics -- like the one above-- right here). Over the years, we've amassed almost three terabytes of photos & videos. And now that we have a beaut]]>

Last year, my wife and I decided to get really good at taking insanely great photos. (You can find a gallery of my favorite pics -- like the one above-- right here).

Over the years, we've amassed almost three terabytes of photos & videos. And now that we have a beautiful baby daughter, that number is only going to grow faster.

I've always wrestled with how to have appropriate backups for those pics. I've tried cloud backup services, multiple hard drives + CarbonCopyCloner, exporting to other services like Google+, but nothing quite fit the bill.

Then I realized that SmugMug might have the answer.

Many Adobe Lightroom users use the awesome SmugMug plugin to get their photos online, but I've never found anyone using it quite like I am.

I'm going to describe how I've lifehacked SmugMug to serve as an unlimited cloud-based picture storage system, along with using it to display photo galleries. (If you're trying this, too, I'd LOVE to hear from you in the comments).

The workflow is a bit wonky and full of bugs (which may mean that few/no other people are trying this?). I'm going to detail those bugs here in the hopes that the great folks at SmugMug will work on getting them fixed.

My workflow is as follows:

Instead of using Lightroom Collections, as most people do, I'm using SmugMug to store two versions of the pictures I take, in two distinct galleries: An "All Pics" gallery, which is PW protected & private, and a "Best Pics" version, which is generally public, although sometimes it's unlisted. Here are a few screenshots:

Since I'm uploading all the pics I take up to SmugMug -- not just the best ones -- this effectively makes SmugMug a cloud-based backup source for all my photos (albeit not in RAW file format). Another option would be to use the SmugMug Vault, which runs off of AWS, but that will cost you $.12 per gig to get the data out of AWS (it's like Hotel California -- you can checkin anytime you like, but you can never leave!). But my approach, in contrast, has no extra cost, as creating SmugMug Galleries is already included in the SmugMug subscription fee.

I tag my photos with the people in them (it's manual, which sucks; Lightroom does not have face auto recognition) and then I make SmartGalleries of the people I've tagged:

Then, I sprung for a "power" SmugMug membership, which runs $60/year, so I could run everything on a custom domain, http://pics.DanielOdio.com. $60/year for unlimited photo storage and a beautiful place to showcase my photos? Yes, please!

Now, whenever I take photos, I'll make a folder for them in Lightroom's SmugMug plugin, make an "All Pics" and "Best Pics" gallery, upload the All Pics photos first, then tag & flag the pics that I want to put filters on and upload those pics to Best Pics. I find that on average I pull about 8% of all the pics I take into the Best Pics albums, which means I have to take 12 pics on average to get one good one!

SmugBug? -- Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

So the workflow above is pretty great. But it's not all happy camping. There are a ton of bugs. Here are some of the main bugs. Anyone at SmugMug willing & able to churn through these? I've listed them in order of priority.

Search doesn't work: Even though I've specified that a gallery be "SmugMug Searchable" in the plugin, the search doesn't work. Here's an example for this Pismo Beach gallery:

But there are zero results when I search for the word "Pismo" ... and in fact nothing ever comes up in the search results, not matter what words I search for:

Video files won't upload: .MP4 files have never worked for me, even though I have the option checked in the SmugMug Plugin Manager to enable video uploads. Here's an example:

Even though video uploads are enabled in the PlugIn Manager...

They always fail to upload:

Strange legacy galleries and auto generated duplicate galleries: For some reason, sometimes SmugMug changes the URL of a gallery by adding a number at the end of it. And sometimes, the old empty legacy gallery sticks around. For example, on http://pics.DanielOdio.com you can see this empty Pismo Beach gallery:

The old URL for that private gallery is http://pics.danielodio.com/Events/2012-Pismo-Beach-for-DROdios-B/All-Pics ... but that's an empty gallery. For some reason, the current, correct URL is http://pics.danielodio.com/Events/2012-Pismo-Beach-for-DROdios-B/All-Pics-1/n-4wbdG ... notice the "1" in the URL. I didn't put it there. But SmugMug did, for some reason, even though I only have one Pismo Beach gallery. Why?

Lots of Errors: I generally get lots of errors when I try to use the Plugin:

SmugWish List:

There are also things I wish the SmugMug plugin could do. Here's a prioritized list:

Gallery upload status: I really, really, really wish I could see from the left-hand bar what the upload status of each gallery is. This would be especially valuable for SmartGalleries, which I have to re-publish manually when there are new photos in them. Right now I have to expand each gallery to see if there are new photos to publish.

Gallery privacy status: I wish I could see from the left-hand bar what the privacy status of each gallery is. Right now I have to right click on each one and choose "edit gallery" to find out if it's public, unlisted or private, and whether I have a PW on the gallery.

Gallery search: I'd love to be able to search for galleries within Lightroom. It's hard to find the one that I need in the long list.

Mass edit: I wish I could edit the privacy status of multiple galleries at once.

Edit & delete QuickSettings: There's no way to edit or delete QuickSettings! And while you're at it -- could you make it possible to create a QuickSetting that includes an album password?

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Wed, 13 Nov 2013 02:00:00 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/hacking-smugmug-adobe-lightroom
Our Family Manifesto http://lifewetravel.com/our-family-manifesto
"If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there"
- George Harrison

Sue and I are very new to this parenting gig, but we've been thinking and talking about being a family for the 10 years we've been together, practically from the first day we met. As we walk into this wonderful experience with our eyes wide open, knowing that there is so much we don't know, one of the things we do know from our lives in the tech industry is that in order to get somewhere, you have to have a goal in mind -- somewhere you want to end up.

From that perspective our Family Manifesto was born -- five simple main core values we want to raise our kids by. It's possible -- likely -- that these will change over time. But they allow us to put a stake in the ground with core principles that are important to us as we start this journey.

Our Family Manifesto:

  1. Respect is always a two-way street.
    1. Respect is given and earned and will always ring true with you, no matter your age or circumstances.
    2. We treat you as "people in small packages". We will communicate with you and speak to you and explain to you the reasons behind our thoughts.
    3. You may not always grasp the depth of our message but you will always grasp it to the depth of your knowledge. Every bit counts.
    4. We will say "yes" unless there is a meaningful and compelling reason for a "no".
    5. "Yes" means yes. "No" means no. "Maybe" means maybe, but if you keep asking, it's always a "no", never a "yes". If you go from one parent to the other to ask the same question for a different answer, it will definitely be a "no".
    6. We are mindful of the difference between consequence and punishment. We communicate and enforce consequences. We do not punish.
    7. We encourage communicating and sharing of everyone's thoughts and feelings.
    8. We do not get defensive.
    9. We do as we say, and say as we do.
    10. Gratitude is embedded in our every action.
  2. We celebrate individualism and self discovery.
    1. Our job, as parents, is not to tell you how the world is and how you fit within it, but rather to help you navigate and understand the world that you create for yourselves.
    2. Our family does things in our own way. That is special and cherished.
    3. We will set boundaries as a family and allow each of you to define yourselves within the family boundaries.
    4. We will not hover or crowd your every decision. We respect that each of you are individuals and celebrate your unique approach to self discovery.
  3. We prioritize our decisions.
    1. The needs of the family unit are prioritized first. Then come the needs of each family member. Then come our own needs. Family, siblings, self.
  4. We are citizens of the world.
    1. We are a United Nations family.
    2. We live and love cultures.
    3. We prioritize immersion in languages, places, and cultures different from our own.
    4. Be kind to yourself and to others.
    5. Treat others the way they want to be treated, not the way you want to be treated.
  5. We live meaningful, happy lives.
    1. We love ourselves and we are open to receive love from others. We love and appreciate our own brains, bodies, and souls.
    2. We support each other in times of joy and in need.
    3. We pursue our own passions and support the pursuit of passion of our family members.
    4. We work hard. "The harder I work, luckier I get."
    5. We play hard.
    6. We celebrate milestones, no matter how small or big.

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Tue, 05 Nov 2013 08:01:11 +0000 http://lifewetravel.com/our-family-manifesto