PREPARATIONS FOR ITALY – JUNE 28, 2011

“A CHINESE POET MANY CENTURIES AGO NOTICED THAT TO RE-CREATE SOMETHING IN WORDS IS LIKE BEING ALIVE TWICE.”  From the preface to UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN by Frances Mayes.

It is so hard to believe that June is just about done, and I fly off to Italy with David and his family on Saturday.  My last month plus has been consummed with The Walpole Player’s original production IF I WERE BRITISH which was presented for two weekends culminating with Walpole Old Home Days this past weekend.  Scott and Betty again visited for the weekend, and we had a grand time.  By Sunday night I collapsed from exhaustion, but awoke Monday with a clear week to get set for this next excursion.

Last week, however, I finally thought I should start my research unlike the month plus I spent working on Ireland.  Actually, I see this journey as a more relaxing trip with the kids.  I dropped the idea of getting to Pompeii, but wanted to spend some time in Rome.  You know I am a Rick Steves advocate, and while on his website found free audio tours of Rome for MP3 players.  Not having one I called David for recommendations, and he noted that there was now an APP for the tours.  Well, I debated (actually only overnight), and bought an Apple IPOD Touch (not a phone, but everything else).  It arrived when Scott and Betty were here, and did we have fun experimenting, and I am just thrilled to have moved this next step.  It is WI-FI compatible, which really gives me all the flexibility I need.  In the last few days I have downloaded all the tours I want, added Skype (Scott was impressed, signed up too and we have talked that way — in fact to test the WI-FI capabilities I carried my IPOD to Burdicks, logged on, and called Scott that way), transferred images taken with my IPOD to my laptop to resize with Photoshop Elements 9 to save uploading time to this site, and last night I was thrilled to find a voice messaging feature so I can record my wonderful thoughts before I lose them.  Hey, for a guy who threw away his watch more than 3 decades ago, I can now even find out the time (good when travelling alone in a foreign place).  Now, I know this is all “old-hat” to you cell-phone folks, but for me, WOW.

All you want to know, Rick Steves will tell you !!!

So, to the left is an image taken with my “new toy”, transferred to my laptop to resize, and then uploaded to WordPress almost instantaneously because of the smaller file size.  My next experiment will be with video which hopefully you will see along with this post.

The kids have a concert in Rome on the 8th (Mari’s friend is one of the top Italian performers), so I thought I would get there on the 6th before them and do the “Caesar Shuffle” exploring ancient Roman sites, then go to the Vatican the next day, and also tour Ostia Antica, and the Appian Way and Catacombs.  Mari has booked a very convenient 4 star hotel – the Donna Laura Palace, and I will play with Alex while they are at the concert.  This morning David and I talked briefly, and the plan is to take a 3-4 hour ferry on Saturday to Sardinia where we will be at Mari’s uncles.  Then on the 14th we will take an overnight ferry back to a more northern port closer to her parent’s home in Cortona.  The remaining days I will be in the Hills of Tuscany.

Well, I guess what is left to do is to experiment with the video, so I will save what I have written so far, and give it a try.   So, my first video test was successful.  I took a 2 minute 16 second shot.  It took about 13 minutes to upload to WordPress, and then about 20 minutes for WordPress to “process” the video so it can be used in various ways.  I went to preview, and my video was great along with my voice describing what I shot — HOWEVER – I did not know, until now, that holding the phone vertical put the video at a 90 degree of what I shot (on its side).  So, I will delete that and try another now holding the IPOD Touch in landscape (horizontal mode).  Maybe tomorrow I can even do an experiment with my Nikon 3100 SLR which takes HD Movies too.  Second test gave me an upside down video on the horizontal, so then I tried a third direction which worked (see below).  I then checked on Apple.com for information on the IPOD Touch video, and guess what – all the pictures have the button on the right.  As Scott said, “no instructions come with these units, what we need is an eight-year old!!!”  During my continued testing (which consumed many learning hours today) I did play with my SLR, and then dug out the books to read up on focusing, etc.  But, I will be able to add video with that too.  Only problem is the long “processing time” so that may impinge on the number of video uploads, particularly on my cross-Canada train trip which I finally booked last week.

Well, that is a great deal for one day, so time to go back to my books.  Got to play with the IPOD Touch while the video was “processing” and I am embarrased to say that I loaded IBOOKS and then downloaded THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS.   No wonder business is so far off.  Good night.

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One Response to PREPARATIONS FOR ITALY – JUNE 28, 2011

  1. Barbara Fraunfelder says:

    Wow, Ray, I am impressed with your technical skills!! Usually I have to wait for my children to help me with my itoys, but now I think I can call on you! Your trip sound fabulous. Bon Voyage!

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