4th Annual World Wide Photowalk Announced October 1-2

If you are looking for a reason to use your camera for something else other than taking pictures of your family, dust off your camera lens and put your creative juices to work. Head over to http://worldwidephotowalk.com and sign up for  the world’s largest photo event taking place in your area taking place on October 1st or 2nd. Spend the day with other photography enthusiasts and professionals gathering new tips, tricks and perspectives.

Sanford 2010 WWPW Crew
Last year, we met up for a walk organized in Downtown Sanford, Florida.

A photo walk is a social event where you will meet up with a group about 50 or less photography enthusiasts and professionals to talk new tips, tricks and perspectives by walking around the location taking pictures. At the conclusion of the photo walk session the group gathers up as a restaurant to compare the results. If this is your first time doing this with a large group, you will be amazed at how many different types of pictures that will come out of this event of the same location.

This event is free and you will be submitting your best picture to a contest to win Scott Kelby’s “Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It” to each leader and winner from each walk location. That winning photo will be submitted to the World Wide Photowalk contest to win a grand prize or 10 runner up prizes. http://worldwidephotowalk.com/prizes/

Abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans

I have a fascination of what the world will be like after people. Most people refer to these cataclysmic events as an “apocalypse”. An event of such epic proportions that it effects everyone’s way of life as we know it. Rather it is from human’s self destructive nature, mother earth or the biblical second coming of god, it seems that it could be a reality we face in our lifetime.

This video was posted on a local automotive forum that I frequent, and it gives an artistic glimpse into a place that was impacted by the domination of nature. Six Flags in New Orleans was shut down in preparation for Hurricane Katrina and never reopened again. It is scheduled to be demolished at the beginning of next year and sold off for scrap. Imagine if something were to happen like this to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Success or Happiness

In this day in age, in America we begin life forced into a mold. Our parents, truly do the best they can to give their children a “better life” than they had to insure success. Our public schools lead us to believe that in order to be successful you must concentrate on being good at working for someone else. Society would lead you to believe that you are not successful unless you have material objects others can only dream of. When you become a parent, you begin the cycle anew.

Parents, who follow the traditions of what they grew up with, employ a vision that sometimes makes up for a lack of what they were able to achieve. Some parents want their kids to go to college because they never got a chance to. Some parents want their children to become great at sports, win beauty pageants or become famous actors. While it is great for parents to expose their children to as many things as possible, forcing them to fulfill things that they want may not be the key to their happiness.

Children are not really concerned about planning for the future, and simply want to live for the moment. Pressuring your kids for tomorrow may give them direction, but could very well instill them with a perpetual feeling of anxiety. Kids just want to have fun, and not worry about being forced into being the next child star athlete or the smartest person in school. It is no wonder that child abuse rates usual peak around the time when report cards are coming out from school. Teachers in school target children who seem to march to the beat of a different drummer due to the way their mind processes information. These children, lead by well meaning parents who want the best for them are forced into doctors offices and doped up on cocaine derivative drugs to cure a fake diseases like “attention deficit disorder”.

As adults, we may still constantly driven by how we were raised. Especially in times of uncertainty, we may tend to fall back on the original path laid out by what our parents designated as right or wrong for us. Basically, it’s like falling back on our life training as a guide on how to live our lives. As an alternative, the bible provides a guide to live a life devoted to god. Which pretty much dictates that you live like a monk. In reality, as long as you have what you need and keep your focus on Christ, what more should you need?

Public schools, which most people in America have attended are government run institutions with liberal agendas. They lead you into believing that in order to be a success that you have to finish school then finish some more school so you can prepare yourself to work for someone else. They do not emphasize on how to be a leader nor even properly budget for personal finances. Our future generations are being setup to be drones to work for others, because they believe that’s what makes you a success.

Society forces you to believe that the bigger the house or the nicer the car you drive, that makes you a success. This belief of conspicuous consumption or “Keeping up with the Joneses” has lead people to an empty shell of stress and to become slaves to a system. After the newness of that big house wears off, its a pain in the butt to stay on top of that pool, cleaning multiple bathrooms, vacuuming and dusting a bunch of extra square footage that you may only use once a year.

Children, just want to spend time with their parents and feel loved. Not everyone wants to work for someone else and needs the support of others when they want to venture out into running their own business. When material possessions begin to own you, that perceived success quickly turns into heart ache. No one can dictate your happiness, and you should not dictate what makes someone else happy. Happiness lies in what your heart, you should not be afraid to explore that and follow your dreams without fear of being judged.

About the photo:

This picture was taken close to a vacant building which sits adjacent to interstate 4 in Altamonte Springs, Florida. This building is owned by a religious broadcasting station that is funding the project with straight cash.

Photography for Kids

Spend some quality time with the kids get them out of the house and out into exploring the world through photography. If you already have the gadgets, taking your kids out on a photo walk is also very cost effective along with many other benefits. You may also be very surprised with the results.

I am really surprised a lot of parents feel they need to spend a lot of money on their kids to keep them happy or to spend time with them. They really feel that it is necessary to go to the movies or blow a bunch of money shopping for more junk that they do not already need. Kids are very easy to make happy and really all they want is time doing whatever it is that you are doing. Taking a kid to the park is a fantastic way to do that, even if they just play on the playground or go on a mini hike.

The only requirement to taking pictures is simply to have a digital camera. Kids are not a fan of waiting to see results, so being able to see the picture on the LCD screen then organized on the computer when you get home is necessary. You may already have a digital camera, they are pretty inexpensive these days. It really doesn’t matter how fancy the camera is, even a pro photographer can take fantastic pictures with a low end point and shoot. Megapixel ratings are just out there to sell cameras. Something in the 2.1 megapixel range is more than enough to start off with for anybody that wants to capture and save memories.

Last weekend, my daughter went with me on an afternoon photo shoot out at Crane’s Roost. This is something she wanted to do with me and she already had her agenda set on what she was looking for before she went out there. Which surprised me because when I go out on these walks I draw inspiration as I see it. We ended up going out there for about an hour and half, walked a great amount of distance picking up some shots and she came through like a champ. She went out with my son’s HP point and shoot and did not realize until after transferring to the computer that he had it set for the lowest resolution. The camera was set to hold 4500 images on a 1 gigabyte card! I was able to give her some tips on light and when to use the zoom, but she took the ball and ran with it.

Once we got home we performed our post processing on the images. For her first time out I was truly excited to see what she came up with. She just turned 8 this past weekend, so I had no set expectations other than hoping she had a great time. I provided her with enough instruction to use the camera and let her creative spirit take care of the rest. The images came back straight and pretty well framed for what the camera was capable of. She picked out the ones she liked the most, and we printed them out for her. We managed to pick up a box of ten various sized frames for $0.99 on clearance so we filled them with the images for her to start a collection on her wall with.

Now my daughter has something to look back on for her memories and efforts her first time out with creative photography. For this frugal family, it pretty much only set us back on the cost of gas, toner and a box of $.99 frames. All the while, we managed to get in some great exercise, explore a new place, hone our photography skills and enjoy the world the around us.

About the photos:

All of the pictures in this post that have a time stamp are the pictures my daughter took that afternoon.

Car Starter Repair

After finishing up my delicious roast beef sandwich with my daughter, we get up, go to the car to head back home. I slide and turn the key in the ignition and instead of hearing the flow of exhaust from a running engine it stops cold with a single click. Attempting to turn the key again, I am met with another click.

Someone else recognized my plight and politely attempted to assist me by jumping the car. However, I was already doubtful that this would even work since I had just replaced the battery last month. The guy who was helping me out hooked up the jumper cables to my battery terminals and asked me to crank the engine again. Still, I was met with just a click. By now I had accepted my fate that after 9 years of faithful service, the starter was dead and that my car was going home on the back of a flat bed tow truck.

There we were, my daughter and I rode shotgun in the front of Rodney’s truck being chased by my car which could be seen out of the back window of the truck. We arrived at my house, and my car was gently rolled off the back of the flat bed into my garage where she waited for me to get her back on the road.

In the morning, I woke up early and headed down to the discount auto parts store to pick up a new starter for the car. I came home, jacked up the car and replaced the old starter with the new. I slid the key into the ignition, to my delight I hear the car purring away like a kitten. My car started instantaneously with absolutely no delay! I returned the old part to auto parts store for my core charge and off to work I went. I pretty much had all this done before people get their first cup of coffee finished.

By doing this maintenance myself, I had saved at least in the neighborhood of $140+ in labor and the extra time of dealing with someone else to perform this labor while probing for a ride to get back to the shop once it was done to pick my car up. On top of that, shops like to put an extra charge on the part so a starter that cost me $130 probably would have ended up full retail at $250.

Once you buy a car, learn it well enough to be able to inspect the important items, change the oil and do minor repairs. The more stuff that you can fix on a car, the more you will save. Just about every car on the internet has a forum or enthusiast website dedicated to it that is stocked full of freely available information on how to work on your car. Rather it be changing out a headlight to doing an engine rebuild, someone has done it and put it on the internet. If you are lucky enough, you might even be able to find yourself a service manual freely available on these websites which enhance the definition of the scope of work you want to perform. I have had my car for almost 9 years now and have never had to take it in to get repaired. I have learned how to pretty much do anything I need to do on my car including engine rebuilds off of the wealth of resources on the internet. If you are not comfortable with using the internet, go take a course at your local community college.

The cars with less bells and whistles on it even add to the simplicity of the car repairs since it will have less points of failure. Some of the worst cars you can buy are luxury cars which tend to use bleeding edge technology and bunch of electronics. The more of a base model car that you can get, the better! The point of a car is to get you from point A to point B. For those who think that the car is the point, then they should be willing to invest the time to learn how to work on something they are so passionate about.

If you depend on a car, it is undoubtedly one of the most cost consuming item in your budget. Paying off a car is the greatest way to save money and the next would be maintaining the vehicle yourself. Although, I will add that no matter what even if you are paying the mechanic, it is still cheaper to maintain a car than it is to keep buying new ones. It is worth the investment of your time and patience to learn how to do so.

Liferay Enterprise Tomcat 6 Upgrade for Linux

We recently ran into an issue with our Liferay Enterprise install where the version of Tomcat they had bundled in was falling behind security wise. Currently Tomcat 6.0.29 is available and their bundle is currently holding fast at 6.0.18. When we first set out to install Liferay for use with some internet applications, it was my original intent to start off with a separate installation of Tomcat that we maintain and install the Liferay components on top of that. The consultant that was working with us strongly discouraged that so despite my gut feeling I made the mistake of giving in to the our customer’s demands to get the project underway and installed the bundle. Liferay is pretty well integrated with the various bundles that they support so this is not just a simple drop in and replace upgrade of Tomcat. Word from another department integrating it with JBOSS encountered a similar struggle.

At some point in time, if you began using the bundle, you should have unzipped/untar’d it to a given location, for our servers we used /opt. For simplicity sake, I will just state that liferay is rolled out to a directory called “liferay” beneath /opt. Your directory may be “liferay-portal-5.2.3-ee-sp4” or something to that effect. Beneath /opt/liferay, you should have 4 directories, “deploy”, “ee”, “data” and the tomcat directory encoded by default with the specific version number that was bundled with your install.  For the purposes of this update will refer your current directory of the bundled Tomcat install $TOMCAT-OLD and the one you want to upgrade to $TOMCAT-NEW.

Download the latest version of Tomcat 6 here: http://tomcat.apache.org/download-60.cgi

Stop the current running version of Liferay/Tomcat.

Unzip apache-$TOMCAT-NEW to the same directory as your Liferay bundle “/opt/liferay” then rename to the same naming convention (removing “apache-“).

Edit $TOMCAT-NEW/conf/catalina.properties
Search for the line:

Replace the line with this:

Edit $TOMCAT-NEW/conf/server.xml
change each instance of

to

(three instances, one of which is commented out)

Copy setenv.sh from $TOMCAT-OLD/bin to $TOMCAT-NEW/bin

Delete all contents of $TOMCAT-NEW/webapps

Copy the contents of $TOMCAT-OLD/webapps to $TOMCAT-NEW/webapps

Create directory $TOMCAT-NEW/lib/ext

Copy the contents of $TOMCAT-OLD/lib/ext to $TOMCAT-NEW/lib/ext

Create directory $TOMCAT-NEW/conf/catalina/localhost

Copy the contents of $TOMCAT-OLD/conf/catalina/localhost to $TOMCAT-NEW/conf/catalina/localhost

Review the $TOMCAT-OLD/bin/catalina.sh, you may have custom environmental variables. This is a sample chunk of what gets moved to $TOMCAT-NEW/bin/catalina.sh

and append with

(Be sure to make sure all instances of $TOMCAT-OLD have been replaced with $TOMCAT-NEW).

Test the new install of tomcat by running

If you are starting Tomcat automatically, copy the new catalina.sh over to /etc/init.d/ and the existing symlinks from the proper run levels will be updated as well.

If you have any issues with this process, please feel free to comment below.