Florida, Day 4 – The Everglades

Travel

We got up at 6 AM and drove from Daytona Beach to Sawgrass Park in the Everglades. That was my favorite part of the entire trip. A woman chatting with a peacock at the park`s visitors center. A soft-shell turtle swam up to the airboat The gator was so close to the boat that I could extend my arm and touch it.

Working hard

Personal

Today was the last day of work before the Christmas break, so we cut out a bit early and decided to play the Wii. My co-workers decided that the default characters weren`t good enough, so Peter and Michael decided to make a Wii Dmitriy. Looks just like me, doesn`t it:)

An early Christmas present:)

Personal

Last night my early Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year`s present arrived – a brand-new Canon 50D. Today I did what I always do when I get a new camera – I follow my wife and my cat and snap photos until one or both threaten to kill me. The neat thing about this image is that it was taken at ISO6400, and even though the noise is clearly visible, it`s not obtrusive and does not detract from the image. My wife politely asking me to stop taking photos. After about 50th flash photo, my cat gave me a look that clearly stated that she`s planning on killing me.

Florida, Day 2 – Kennedy Space Center

Travel

By day 3 I managed to successfully hurt my shoulder (I`ve no idea how or when or even where). Carrying a DSLR became somewhat of a chore, so most photographs at the Kennedy Space Center were taken with a Canon SD1000 point-and-shoot. We managed to find our way into an actual NASA facility… This camera was blown apart by the shock waves generated by a shuttle launch When we finally made it back to our hotel, we went for a walk on the beach. And of course, who could possibly resist a cool jumping shot…

Florida, Day 1 – Daytona Beach

Travel

Initially my wife and I wanted to go on a road trip – drive from Pittsburgh to New York, Boston, Bar Harbor, Nova Scotia, etc. Basically, cover most of the northern East Coast. But, the weather in Pittsburgh has been really miserable for the past month or so, and we decided to skip the road trip and go somewhere warm. The flight from Pittsburgh to Daytona Beach exposed us to all the wonders that are today`s air travel. The flight from Pittsburgh to Atlanta was over an hour late and we missed a connecting flight to Daytona Beach. Then we had to stand in line for an hour to get on another flight and sit for another two hours at the airport waiting for the next flight to Daytona. However, when we arrived to the hotel, all the troubles were immediately forgotten. The hotel staff was incredibly nice and helpful, they upgraded us to a room with the view of the ocean and the best part is that I got to take my first nap in at least 6 months.

Website saga continues

Housekeeping, Software, Technology

After more than a week of phone calls, threats, emails and a consultation with an attorney, I finally got US2.net to admit that they screwed up. Somehow their billing department thought that I hadn`t paid my invoices in months (which they admitted was a mistake on their part due to a new billing system). So, without letting me know and without giving me a chance to backup my data, they deleted all of my websites and databases. Today I managed to get in touch with their Windows support manager and he told me that they found my website in their backups, but not my database and promised to do everything he can to get my site up and running today. Given their track record, I have my doubts, but I`ll keep my fingers crossed just in case. If I don`t get a copy of my database so that I could restore it to this new site, I`ll most likely take US2 to court. Meanwhile, I am going to move on and try to at least re-post photographs that used to be in my blog. Also, I lost all the client feedback/testimonials from the last 5 years. I am going to try to contact my clients and ask them to re-submit their feedback. So, if you are or at some point were my client, I would really really appreciate if you could go the the “Testimonals” section of this website (About -> Testimonials or click here) and submit your feedback. Thank you for everyone`s patience.

Website downtime

Housekeeping

My website has been down since Wednesday, December 3rd and it seems like my hosting company does not really know what`s going on. When I originally created the first version of this website, it was hosted by Stargate Inc, a local Pittsburgh company. About a year ago, Stargate sold its shared web hosting to a British company, UK2 (US2 in the United States). Ever since US2 took over, I`ve had one problem after another, but this one takes the cake. Apparently, my domain name has expired and no one bothered to notify me of that fact. I renewed the domain name on Friday, December 5th and called US2 to let them know. They said that the site will be back up in 2-4 hours. 6 hours later I called again and the tech support person did not know what was going on, so they escalated my support ticket. A few hours later I got an email from US2 saying that they cannot even find a record of my website on any of their servers. I am currently in the process of migrating my website to a new hosting company (GoDaddy.com) and to a new domain (www.wideopenlens.com). Until migration is complete, the blog on this site will not be active and none of the database-driven functions (photograph descriptions, client testimonials, etc…) will be working. I apologize for any inconvenience and will try to get everything working ASAP. Thank you for your patience, Dmitriy