Video of Marine One landing at Arlington, WA

Couple clips I shot yesterday of Marine One arriving at Arlington, WA, and the presidential motorcade leaving:

President Obama visits Arlington, Washington

marine one at arlington wa airport

President Obama paid a visit to Arlington and Oso, Washington Tuesday on his way to Asia. Anytime the president is on the move it’s a big deal, but rolling his hardware into a small town like Arlington is pretty unusual. I grabbed a few photos and video of his visit. There were a ton of resources out in Arlington and up highway 530 to support this trip.

Here’s a few shots from his visit:

Autotrader.com vs Craigslist for selling a car, my experience

I decided to sell my 2007 Avalanche a few weeks ago, it’s been a good rig but I no longer drive it enough to justify keeping it. I decided I’d try autotrader.com, since they claim to reach millions of serious buyers, and will run the ad until the car sells. I chose the “deluxe ad” and picked the “premium listing” option bringing the total to $79.00.

I uploaded the pics and wrote up a decent description:

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I figured it would take a couple days to get some type of activity on it, but after two weeks I had not received one phone call or email from prospective buyers. Autotrader’s “ad manager” lets you see the activity on your listing. Here’s how my ad looked after 14 days of “premium/deluxe” listing:

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Needless to say I was less than impressed with the Autotrader experience. My truck came up in searches over 800 times, but only 14 people clicked on my ad. And not one of those folks chose to contact me via email or phone.

So I decided to list the same photos and description on Craigslist, which has a more reasonable pricing structure- free.

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Within one day I had emails requesting details on the truck. Being Craigslist I had some ridiculous offers, both cash and part trades for crap I had no interest in. But within 4 days I met with a buyer, who made a reasonable offer and the Avalanche was sold.

If I were to do it over again I would have started with the Craigslist ad for 2-3 weeks, then attempted Autotrader if I wasn’t getting any bites. I was pretty disappointed that I optioned up for their best ad listing, and received zero response for the 80 bucks it cost.

Tulip traffic sucks.

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I had to run up to Bellingham saturday to meet my accountant, it was a nice day and figured it would be a good drive.

Sadly I forgot about the tulip festival and ended up spending an hour sitting in stop and go traffic on I-5.

I’ve seen the tulips once, and that was enough for me.

What’s up with the 04.23.2014 billboards?

20140412-204132.jpg Over the last couple months several of these billboards have popped up around Skagit and Whatcom county. Just a plain billboard with some green lines and the text “04.23.2014″ in the center.

I can’t find any information via google searches for any big announcements or events scheduled for Wednesday, April 23, 2014. I’ve tried twitter and reddit but have not had anyone explain what the backstory is on these billboards.

Anyone have any info who/what is behind these billboards?

Parashoot team responds to blog post- “Get lost asshole”

The Creators of ParashootApparently the folks at Parashoot didn’t appreciate my blog post regarding their bizarre post fundraising behavior.

They have been awfully busy deleting posts from their comment board on indiegogo (over 30 posts removed at last count), but don’t have the time to post any evidence that they have done anything since raising $150,113 back in October.

Anyhow they were nice enough to send me this note Saturday:

email from team parashoot

Apparently the boys don’t like people questioning their little camera project. They’re only two months behind schedule on delivery and have provided no evidence that they have done anything to produce their camera. I’m sure it will work out just fine.

The odd crowdsourcing story that is ParaShoot 2.1

Iparashoot 2.1 crowdsourcing‘ve backed a few projects on Kickstarter in the past with mixed results. Often the goal is not met, or in some cases the people raising money fail to produce their product, only to keep the money.

A few months ago I backed a project on Kickstarter, the “Parashoot” portable HD camera. Sadly their campaign was cancelled by Kickstarter shortly before it was scheduled to end. Messages in the project comments questioned why their camera appeared to be an exact copy of a camera that was already available under various names such Unieye for less than a hundred bucks in some cases. I ended up buying one on ebay and it turned out to be a decent little camera. Some video from my unieye here.

Well the same guys started another campaign for the “Parashoot 2.1 camera” on the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo. This time they raised over 150k and promised delivery of the camera in November for early backers. The camera looked the same as the ones already for sale, with the exception of a smooth cover that was shown on some of their photos (but others showed the same face as the camera already for sale) No explanation as to how the smooth face version would deal with the microphone and speaker, which are now missing.

Anyhow, raised their cash, then missed their November delivery. Some folks questioned why they were not updating the development status on their Facebook page and in the Indiegogo comments for their project.

On December 11th they finally emailed an update to backers. (I backed their project so I received it)

Here is the content of their 12-11-13 update:

News and Update

We’re excited to share with everyone our latest progress.  Given the great support and much feedback we’ve received to improve the performance of the ParaShoot to the maximum, we’ve pushed ahead to accomplish significant stretch goals for advanced hardware and software capabilities.  Even though we did not reach the amount of funding we had laid out for these major upgrades from the outset, we realized it would be valuable to backers that we accomplish them now, rather than shipping the ParaShoot with the specifications/features as is.  The following are the results of our ongoing labor:

Upgrades

We have been working feverishly to upgrade the hardware and software capabilities of the PS.  Going down the list, here is what we are improving as we speak:

CPU – upgrade

DRAM – upgrade

Internal memory – upgrade

Camera sensor – upgrade (our prototype was a 1Mp sensor)

Video resolution – upgrade (this is exciting, we’ll post an update on specific progress in the video resolution area again soon)

Photo resolution – upgrade

App functions – upgrade (adding functions that will allow to enjoy not just time lapse photography, but additional awesome photo and video features – more on this to come)

App capabilities – upgrade (Adding ability to share/upload your footage to youtube/social networks)

New sensors – g-sensor, gyro, external gps (each serving a unique purpose)

Design – we are working to improve the enclosure (more on this to come)

Accessories – we are improving the accessories

Let’s not forget the skins – now is the time to share your input/ideas with us

In light of all these great upgrades, we realize now that our initial estimated delivery schedule was aggressive.  The technical effort to advance the specs and upgrade the PS has pushed back the delivery timetable.  We are now estimating that November early adopters will receive the first prototypes in January, and December First Backers will receive the PS in late January/February.  We hope you look forward to getting and appreciating this awesome piece of tech as much as we can’t wait to get the ParaShoot your hands for your utmost fun and deployment.

I thought it was weird that they emailed this update rather than put it on their project page, like every other project. I also thought it was weird that they are adding a “G Sensor, Gyro and External GPS” to the camera when they never mentioned this during the previous months of promotion, and no user requested any of these pointless features.  I questioned this in the comment section of their project page and all my comments were deleted within minutes.

To date they have not shown a photograph showing any progress of this project, no photos from their trips to China, no shots of the production, no proof that they done anything with the $150,113 they raised.

Even worse for these guys, the Looxcie 3 is now available, which looks to be exactly the same camera they were developing, with better software and cases, for $99. (Some people paid $500 for the privilege of getting 2 Parashoot cameras, roughly $300 more than what you would pay to get the two Looxcie 3 cams today) I mentioned on the Parashoot Facebook page and it was promptly deleted.

I hope these guys can deliver what they promised their backers. Their odd behavior with deleting comments, hiding updates from the public and getting their Kickstarter project suspended does seem a little odd. And the fact that you can buy a camera that looks just like the one on their campaign video today, for hundred bucks is pretty disappointing.  Time will tell.

Dusting of snow hits Snohomish County, drivers unable to cope

Friday morning I woke up to a couple of inches of snow on the ground at my house. Nothing too extreme, just headed off to work as usual.

driving in the snow

Apparently the conditions were a little too much for some folks:dodge truck rollover in snow

 

jeep liberty in ditch chrysler new yorker off the roadway

Washington State DOT trucks were doing a good job managing the trace amount of snow that was on the roadways.

washington dot snowplow

When I got into Arlington the snow gave Olympic Avenue a nice holiday look.

Arlington WA with snow

Nice to have a little of the white stuff this time of the year.

Cold weather hits Snohomish County. Driver’s respond with some fantastic driving.

Woke up to 24F weather this morning. Spent a couple minutes scraping my windshield before I hit the road, unlike this gentleman who just fired up his rig and whipped out into traffic with zero visibility. He spent the next ten minutes hanging his head outside his truck trying to see where he was going. Seems responsibile.

2013 Black Friday video footage starting to trickle in

Starting to get some video of the shopping experience many were able to enjoy this year.

This first clip shows the orderly distribution of flat screen televisions at Walmart. For some reason it ends with the police taking people to the ground:

Another Walmart, again televisions appear to be the problem for shoppers:

Seems to be a trend here:

And here is footage from our friends in Puerto Rico:

What a wonderful start to the 2013 holiday shopping season!