Last year, my wife and I decided to get really good at taking insanely great photos. (You can find a gallery of my favorite pics -- like the one above-- right here).
Over the years, we've amassed almost three terabytes of photos & videos. And now that we have a beautiful baby daughter, that number is only going to grow faster.
I've always wrestled with how to have appropriate backups for those pics. I've tried cloud backup services, multiple hard drives + CarbonCopyCloner, exporting to other services like Google+, but nothing quite fit the bill.
Then I realized that SmugMug might have the answer.
Sue is getting ready to pop! Her due date is October 26th, but we recently found out that Asian women often deliver at 39 weeks, not the usual 40 weeks, so there's a good chance it could happen next week:
Our Birth Plans:
• Where we're giving birth: We are planning a home birth (more on what that's like in a future blog post!) so if everything goes as planned, we won't be at a hospital.
My wife Sue and I have been on a quest to find the perfect expedition vehicle for weekend trips around California, and for ‘someday world travel’. Last year, we checked out the Sportsmobile and Four Wheel Camper factories. I had heard about XP Camper on ExpeditionPortal (as well as an RV.net thread where the RV crowd was much more critical of the price point than the expedition crowd), and I had taken a video of an XP Camper unit that was on display at OverlandExpo last year.
There’s no doubt about it: The XP Camper is expensive. MSRP is almost $70k, vs. anywhere from $10k from a mass-produced Palomino camper to $30k for a Hallmark camper. So the first question is whether the XP Camper is worth the price. After visiting the facility and talking to the owner Marc for three hours, the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes.’ Marc started making XP Campers because he wasn’t satisfied with anything on the market. And for the right buyers, the thought that’s gone into his work, its design, and the resulting value, will be obvious. However, that will likely be a small niche of the truck camper market, which is already a small niche of the overall RV market. Marc is aware of this, and will be introducing a smaller camper called the “V2? for Tacoma-sized trucks in the future. UPDATE 1/14: The V2 is now on the market at a sub $40k price point. My wife and I have been testing one extensively. Learn more about the V2 on the XP Camper Forum, including videos of a walkaround, an updated floorplan and some other pictures.
We walked away incredibly impressed. Below are some in-depth videos showcasing the XP Camper, as well as a number of pictures with annotations. You can find a full photo gallery of XP Campers here. If you want to research your options a bit more, read this full write-up titled “Our two-year journey choosing a pop-up camper”
First, watch the video from OverlandExpo last year:
Sue and I were asked by our friends Jason and Deanna to officiate their wedding. We figured that while we were at it, we might as well take some pictures of it as well. And how beautifully did they turn out!
We used a mixture of the Lumix GX1 with two different lenses, and a Canon D60 DSLR. A few of our favorite pics are below.
Does anyone have a recommendation on which Kindle device is best for travel?
And how important is the 3G feature? Does it work outside the US?
I understand there is a new “lending” option for e-books. Does anyone know how that works?
And does anyone have any thoughts on getting a version with our without the “special offers?” I’m specifically wondering if the actual hardware is any different (i.e., better or worse) with the different types.
Which bag is best for both work and travel? We narrowed the field to five bags, and then tried each to find out:
Here’s a video of us reviewing the bags:
Peeling garlic is a time consuming part of any chef’s day. Here’s a trick to peel a head of garlic in just 30 seconds, without using a knife.
All you need are two stainless steel bowls, like these.
Here’s a video of the process:
Sue and I visited Hallmark RV today. I’ve been emailing back & forth with Matthew for months, asking him various question about Hallmark’s campers, and I’d been scouring Hallmark’s website, Facebook page and the forums relentlessly trying to learn as much as I could about their campers.
And what I thought to be true, is true: Hallmark is, hands-down, the absolute best pop-up camper value in the $20k to $40k price point.
I go more into that in my summary blog post, but if you’re in the market and you’re not sure which camper you want to get, I highly recommend you spend $500 and come to Colorado like we did to visit the factories of each camper manufacturer (Hallmark, Outfitter and Phoenix are within an hour of each other, as is EarthRoamer — although EarthRoamers are in an entirely different category and price point) — or just watch all of the videos we made, so you can get a really good feeling of the differences. The Hallmark facility was clean, organized and busy — a stark contrast to some of the other facilities.
In fact, if we hadn’t visited XP Camper (which is located in northern California about an hour from Sacramento) prior to coming to Colorado, I’d be placing an order for a Hallmark Milner right now. XP Campers are designed differently from the ground up as compared to all other pop-up campers to be true expedition vehicles, and they’re much more expensive — around $70k before options — so Sue and I have some thinking to do, which I go into in more detail in the summary blog post. But if you can’t go above the $30k-ish price point and you only need a weekend camper, or a camper for trips that last a week or two max , then definitely get a Hallmark. If you want to research your options a bit more, read this full write-up titled “Our two-year journey choosing a pop-up camper.”
My wife Sue and I recently decided to take a trip to Colorado to visit the pop-up manufacturers out here: Outfitter, Hallmark and Phoenix (we also ended up taking a look at EarthRoamer). We had previously seen all of these manufacturers at the 2012 Overland Expo, but it was hard at the expo to understand what differentiated the manufacturers. What a difference a visit to the factories makes.
Outfitter was the first pop-up camper that got me really excited about the category, and without doubt, they have some very satisfied customers. The owner, Bob, was very nice to give us a tour of his facility, and I’ve been impressed with the thought that’s gone into Outfitter designs, like the use of a “Basement” that keeps water tanks from freezing. The Juno model especially is quite innovative, with a side entrance and a pop-out tent.
However, the models we saw had quality control issues, and the facility itself was disappointing. It was very messy, which doesn’t mean anything per-se except that it doesn’t inspire confidence in the build quality level.
If you’re going to spend $20k on a pop-up camper, I’d recommend you consider a Hallmark model instead. If you’re really set on an Outfitter and remain unconvinced, I’d encourage you to spend a few days visiting all of the facilities like we did before making a purchase decision. If you want to bump up to the next level (sub $100k) then I’d highly recommend an XP Camper, which I consider to be the best pop-up camper design and quality (and the only true expedition-ready pop-up camper under $100k). If you want to research your options a bit more, read this full write-up titled “Our two-year journey choosing a pop-up camper.”
Sue and I are very new to this parenting gig, but we've been thinking and talking about being a family for the 10 years we've been together, practically from the first day we met. As we walk into this wonderful experience with our eyes wide open, knowing that there is so much we don't know, one of the things we do know from our lives in the tech industry is that in order to get somewhere, you have to have a goal in mind -- somewhere you want to end up.
From that perspective our Family Manifesto was born -- five simple main core values we want to raise our kids by. It's possible -- likely -- that these will change over time. But they allow us to put a stake in the ground with core principles that are important to us as we start this journey.
Our Family Manifesto: