Thursday, May 28, 2009

Road-Testing the EyeFi Explore

Picasa Album

This morning on my bike ride, I decided to test out my new wireless memory card. The main selling point of the Eye-Fi cards is that they will wirelessly upload your digital photos to your computer and/or web albums. For me, however, the most intriguing thing about the Eye-Fi is that the Explore modeling will automatically tag photos with geographic coordinates.

How does it do that? GPS? No, actually, it detects wireless networks in the area and compares them versus a map of known wireless networks. If you think, "there aren't enough wireless networks in my area for that to work"...then you're probably wrong.

I tested it out last night in our living room. The first picture I took was tagged as being in the alley behind our house. My thoughts, in order:

  1. Hey! That's not quite right.
  2. Wow! That's actually really close.
  3. Hey! That's actually kinda scary

This morning on my bike ride, I decided to give it a further test. I took pictures at 5 locations. They probably weren't as widely dispersed as they should have been for a great test, but...oh, well.

  1. First, I took a picture while waiting for the light to change at Route 1 and Queens Chapel. One reason I have been riding this route lately is that it's the only light I have to wait for. EyeFi accuracy: within a few feet, it looks like.
  2. Next, I realized I hadn't stretched, so after riding down the steep hill on Amherst, I did some stretching. EyeFi accuracy: a few feet off (it put me on the road instead of the trail).
  3. Then, I decided on something trickier. I rode to the tunnel under the Metro tracks. The tunnel is quite muddy after the recent rains. Yesterday, after braving the mud, I found the way blocked ahead by yellow caution tape. Today, a jogger said that the trail looked open, but I turned around there anyway. EyeFi accuracy: Failure. It defaulted to the previous location. No surprise, since I can't imagine I was near any wireless networks.
  4. On the way back up the hill on Amherst, I slipped a gear and had to turn the bike over to fix it. After my recent bike class, I think I know the problem, but am not sure of my competence to execute the repair myself. EyeFi accuracy: Great. I was especially impressed at the ability to distinguish between this and each of the other nearby locations, half a block away.
  5. I rode back via the University Park tennis courts and took a picture. EyeFi verdict: Failure; it defaulted to the Amherst location. This was a little disappointing, but not shocking.

When I got back, I set my camera down, turned it on...and the first two photos automatically uploaded. Later, I turned the camera back on, and the rest transferred.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with the EyeFi. I think eventually cameras will need to combine this technology with GPS receivers to get much better coverage, but for now it won't be too hard to clean up the glitches by hand. (I avoided doing so on this set to demonstrate the drawbacks.) Hopefully I'll get to use this in some more exciting locations than College Park soon. Also, I've ordered a camera mount for my bike, so I'm looking forward to trying that out.

PS I just tested the links, and you may have to click on the album itself (rather than the links I've given to individual pictures) to see the mini-map Google provides for each photo.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Second Saturday Ride


After yesterday's morning ride, I felt invigorated enough to try another ride. After Thursday's unsuccessful attempt to by fruit from the farmers market, I decided to give the College Park Farmers Market a try. Unfortunately, I misread an article about the market, so I didn't realize they closed at noon.

Thus my ride didn't bear fruit (ha) from that perspective, but I did enjoy my longest ride yet. It wouldn't have been so long, except I decided to go the long way around Lake Artemesia on the return trip. It was nice, though on the short way, I did see a deer!

I'm hoping I'm building up some endurance. I am taking today off from biking, but hope to be back in the saddle tomorrow.


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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bike Repair Class


I realize almost all of my posts lately have been bike maps, but I've been enjoying exploring new bike routes, and I enjoy technology, specifically GPS technology, more than I probably should. I promise to limit my posting to new bike routes, at the least.

Anyway, this morning, I rode down to the bike shop for their bike repair class. I learned how to change a tire, which may come in handy if I get a flat, as well as how to perform other bike maintenance. I am less enamored of learning how to do that, but I appreciate having some idea how my bike works.

I took a slightly different return route, partially due to one-way streets. Total distance was about 3.3 miles, but the GPSr cut off a couple times, so that's not exact.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ride to Riverdale


This evening, after I got home from work, Christina and I rode our bikes down to the Riverdale Park Farmers Market. Instead of riding our usual route, we decided to head through College Park to the Trolley Trail. Unfortunately, at the southern edge of College Park, the paved trail ends. It's supposed to run all the way to Hyattsville eventually, but that hasn't been constructed. So we ended up riding on a path through the woods. As you can see it was a really direct route.

Unfortunately, the farmers market has lost its fruit supplier, so it wasn't as useful a trip as it could have been. Fortunately, we were able to get some ground lamb and...sorbet!

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The path to the farmers market had a steep downhill, so it wasn't a good candidate for a return path (uphill); instead, we took our usual path up Queensbury. I did suffer two minor injuries (hamstring and ice cream headache), but I am recovering nicely. :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Bike Route


I'm taking the day off today. Things to do...and such nice weather. We went out for an exploratory bike ride to find the College Park Trolley Trail. It turned out to be a nice ride, although the hill on Amherst is a little bit of a killer in the return direction. We did about a half an hour round trip (a little less than 4 miles). It would probably require half an hour each way to get to REI or MOM's Organic Market. It's also not that much further from where we were to Lake Artemesia and the airport...definitely a much quicker way to get there than Sunday's ride. On the way back, we stopped at town hall to get $0.25 stickers for our tennis rackets to allow us to use the town tennis courts. Then we looped through the town park and headed back home.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Longest Bike Ride Yet

Today (Sunday) we took our longest bike ride yet. My GPS receiver counts it as 7.7 miles. It's similar to one we've taken before -- through town, across East-West Highway, then through Hyattsville and Riverdale Park to the Northeast Branch Trail along the Anacostia. This time, however, we pushed past where we usually go...we went around the College Park Airport and made it to Lake Artemesia in Berwyn Heights. Maybe next time we'll make the loop around the lake.
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Saturday, May 09, 2009



Christina and I took the bikes out together for the first time since before my recent trip to Germany. We just did a 15 minute tune-up to get our "bike legs" back. It provided me an opportunity to test out my new GPS receiver mount -- I had snapped the old one. It performed well and helped me produce this map. Hopefully, tomorrow we'll be able to get out for a longer ride.
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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Game Days

Last Saturday, I went to Timonium for a gaming convention. I initially went to exchange games as part of a trade, but since I paid admission, I figured I'd stay for the silent auction, and since I was staying for the silent auction, I might as well play some games. Here you can see me wearing my favorite hat and playing a game called "Estimated Time to Invasion". I was the alien -- the game wasn't that good.

Someone takes pictures at these gaming conventions and posts them at Flickr. Here you can see a picture of me playing Dominion. Probably the highlight of the day was seeing people playtesting unpublished expansions to Dominion. Well, that and getting a copy of Civilization, a game I lost in the 90s to some movers.