Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Adventures of Captain Gale: Lots of Weather

From: []
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2002 9:05 AM
Subject: Lots of Weather

The weather gods have taken quite an interest in my trip as of late. On my departure from Rhode Island last week I made sure to toast the gods of the ocean. Apparently the wind gods are a little peeved...

2 days out of RI got me to Huntington Harbor on Long Island, making good time. But a noreaster carrying 50 knot winds kept me in Huntington for three days. As the winds abated I took off through Hell Gate, down the East River and through the New York Harbor. Sailing through NYC is always a great time - Past La Guardia and Rikers prison (did you know they use old Staten Island Ferries there? no kidding, I have video proof); Under the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges; floating past the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the UN building; under the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges; past the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and finally under the Verrazano Bridge, all the while avoiding all the high speed ferries and shipping traffic. Non-stop action.

Once under the Verrazano it calms downand I settle in for the overnight motor-sail down the Jersey coast. At night you can follow the buoys that flash red, green or white at certain intervals. It's always confusing on the Jersey coast, trying to figure out what all these flashing red buoys are that aren't on your chart. It takes a while to realize they're flashing red stop lights! Only in New Jersey...

I pass the blaze of lights (visible 20 miles away) that is Atlantic City. I didn't stop - Tom Jones wasn't playing. Arrived at Cape May (Wildwood) at dawn and finally pulled into a side river halfway up the Delawre Bay. The past couple days have found me through the C&D canal and halfway down the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately there's another storm coming in this afternoon, so I'm ducking into the Potomac River to wait it out. I should be back in action Saturday afternoon, and in the ICW by monday, and then only 1000 miles to Palm Beach. Here's hoping this is the last of the big storms...

Thanks to all who have written. Take care and keep in touch. Oh, and if you're looking for someting to do on a Friday night, come on down to VA, the first round is on me.

This mobile message sent using PocketMail.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Exciting News about The Adventures of Captain Gale!

I just got off the phone with said Captain and he liked the idea so much that he will be digging out pictures to support all of the posts!

Look for the next installment on November 22nd!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Adventures of Captain Gale: Off and Running (again)

From: []
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2002 3:15 PM
Subject: FW:Off and running (again)

Howdy folks! As most of you know, I've quit my job and bought a sailboat in the hopes of spending the winter in the Bahamas. After a two week trip to Hawaii to practice my snorkling, I set off last week for the 6 week trip down the east coast to Palm Beach, where I'll hang a left and hit the Bahamas. Unfortunately, 45 minutes into the 8 month trip I broke the propellor shaft. Bye bye engine.

After I limped home, there were several theories about the accident, with most people going with the old sailing superstition, "Never leave on a Friday".

Now I'm not really one for superstitions. I walk under ladders, I step on cracks without fear of injury to my mother's spine, I bring bananas aboard boats (another no-no), and if I have to, I'd leave on a Friday. To cover my butt, however, I moved my boat 6 miles on Thursday night before heading home for one more night ashore. And that worked - for about 3 miles.

To make a long story short, several people came through to get me back out on the water last night, only 5 days after the incident. I left this morning, a THURSDAY, from Barrington, and am currently motor-sailing past Fishers Island, NY at 5 knots. Its a beautiful sunny day, with light winds and 45 degrees. Nothing to get used to - tomorrow holds rain and lower 30s for me.

I've got this funky little pocket organizer which will allow me to send out emails from time to time. I apologize, but a majority of these will probably be group emails. Pocketmail doesn't realy have great group distribution abilities, and I'm sure I've left off many people from my group lists (I have to break up the addresses to 20 at a time). If I've missed someone, please have them write me. And conversely, if you're trying to live a spartan email life, let me know and I'll take you off the list. My address is:

Oh, and for the record, I'll keep walking under ladders, I'll keep bringing bananas aboard, but I think I'll keep from leaving on sailing journeys on Friday's. Although I do find it fishy that ever single leaf fell at my mother's house in the five days I was delayed...

Sent from my PocketMail Handheld

Welcome to The Adventures of Captain Gale and the Celebration!

Four years ago my good friend Brian "Captain" Gale set off on a sailing adventure that would take him to the Bahamas for the winter months. He took along with him a new device(at the time) called Pocket Mail that allowed him to post his adventures while mobile.

It is my earliest recollection of someone "Blogging" that I can remember. I remember waiting each week for word of his most recent adventure, islands he has visited an ports of call where he spent many a night in the company of other sailors enjoying adventure on the southern seas.

I will be posting his original posts, unaltered on the same dates - 4 years later - just as he posted them (spelling errors and all) to his friends and family across the states, on my weblog here for you all to enjoy. I think it makes for a good read and it's something I enjoy reading again to this very day-

I hope you enjoy the adventure!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sony Ericssonm K790a Review

As they say, "It's Here - A Cyber-shot digital camera and a small and sophisticated feature-packed EDGE mobile phone all-in-one." Right there in the marketing mumbo jumbo off the SonyEricsson site...and it's all true!

For those of you who have not cared too much about mobile phones with cameras it's time to start. SonyEricsson(SE) has branded this device a 'Cyber-shot' in much the same way they have been branding the W-series 'Walkman' using their easily recognizable brand names to tell you what each mobile line is all about. In this case, with 'Cyber-shot' you assume it's a digital camera and in this case, it's OK to assume!

The SE K790a is the Americas version of the K790/K800 series devices. It is a Tri-band phone (850/1800/1900) with EDGE and will be sold online at as well as potentially from T-Mobile or Cingular.

Form Factor:The K790a is a your standard candy-bar styled device. This allows for easy to use keys, a large bright screen, navigation keys and other function buttons, and the ability to turn the camera on (by using the magnetic, slide down cover) and hold the phone (or should I say camera) like a traditional 'Cyber-shot' to take photos. SE has really perfected the camera look and feel on this device so much the from the back, when in camera mode, one might not know it was a mobile phone. Function buttons are placed so that while in camera mode, everything is at your finger tips, and then in phone mode, everything is as it should be. The device is a good weight and balance and feels comfortable in your hands no matter which way you are usning it.

Connectivity:Infrared, Bluetooth 2.0 with support for A2DP, GPRS/EDGE, USB Mass Storage and USB Connectivity. It's connected - no matter how you want it, period.

Features:It's easy to start with the camera/'Cyber-shot' on this device. SE has been steadily improving on the camera capabilities of their devices from 1.3 MP, to 2MP with Auto-focus, now with the K790a we have 3.2 MP with Auto-focus, 8 "Scenes" including Auto, Twilight Landscape, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Portrait, Beach/Snow, Sports and Document. It also has 4 "Shooting Modes" including Normal, SE's new 'Best Pic', Panorama and Frames. Add to that Auto, Macro and Infinity focus options, 4 different picture sizes, Automatic Image stabilization, Metering mode, Self-Timer, two diffeent picture "Quality" settings, Effects, White Balance options and my favorite - Shutter sounds - including the opening of a beverage ;). You can tell...this really is a fully functional 'Cyber-shot' camera that takes GREAT photos - it even has a real Xenon flash and red-eye reduction!!!. It also takes Video, though this is nothing to call home about. It is really a great still camera!

Add to all this camera functionality a music player that is identical to the W810 minus the 'Walkman' branding (including customizable equalizer), FM Radio, 3D Games, Video player that supports 3GP & Mpeg4, Video DJ Video Editing software, Photo DJ Photo Editing Software, Music DJ Ringtone Composer, Bluetooth Remote Control, Sound Recorder, Access Internet HTML browser, HP Printer Application to Print Photos directly to an HP printer and Photo Mate picture helper/Tutorial. This Device has it all! I found virtually every application I would want on my common Smartphone minus only an Instant Messaging program and their are some 3rd party applications out there that can be loaded to fix that in a jiffy.

The Blogger application on this device was something I was keen on seeing. Since one of my favorite moblogging sites - Textamerica - is in a bit of a restructuring right now I was wondering exactly what would I be doing to send quick photos up to the web. You can set up moblogging/picture posting through Flickr, but the built in Blogger application on the K-series phones is a bit more elegant. Also, if you do not have a blogger account it will help you create a new one on the spot, while mobile - and as the blog title says "Des...Mobile", I am frequently in this situation!

I really enjoy using the Blogger application on this device. Of course a standard keypad is a bit cramped to write a long post like this, but short comments, news I see happening on the go, restaurant reviews, travel tips or concert posts will come out nicely using this application. It's really been designed for the mobile blogger on the go...perhaps a wireless keyboard is not to far out on the horizon from SE???

The device also has a great messaging suite including support for SMS, MMS, e-mail (pop3) and a fairly new RSS reader. I enjoyed the RSS reader but found that it did take a bit to update my feeds - I may need to play with the settings a bit more to get this down, or I could have had a bad network connection, but it did the job with minimal issues.

The K790a came with the ability to sync with Outlook and store Contacts, Calendar events, Tasks and Notes. The new PC Suite that I used seemed to be less intuitive than previous versions and this is the first time I had trouble getting a SE device to sync - but my device is still a proto and I believe SE will have all of the bugs worked out by launch.

Quality:Strong Build Quality, inside and out. There is a brushed aluminum faceplate and many buttons are also made of metal, suggesting an "high-end" device. The backplate was a coated plastic with the new soft-feel rubber type finish that many companies are finding popular and it feels quite nice in your hand. The device has a solid weight to it that suggests the chassis is one again made of metal, however I did not pull it apart to check. The keypad was made of soft rubber with plastic backing underneath. The response was nice and I could type long messages or short e-mails on it with ease. The balance of the device was impressive and it was very easy to type one handed without the device falling out of my hand. The camera lens cover was a bit bulky and was made of of metal as well and it seemed to get bumped into often while using the device as a phone, one of my few complaints. The screen was also tremendous on this device and a pleasure to look at indoors and out. Fit and finish was excellet overall and I think the phone will handle short falls well, but I'd hate to mar this beautiful finish!

Misc:Over all I loved the device. It actually feels better in your hand in 'Cyber-shot' mode than in phone mode thanks to where and how the device offers it's curves. Another small thing that I liked was that when I recieved a message, the kepad had a soft pulsing glow for about 5 seconds, which was great to catch my attention if I had set the device down or had it in silent mode.

I am not sure how I feel about the M2 Micro Memory card that the device is using. Memory Stick Duo Pros are now available everywhere and they are quite cost effective, M2's are nowhere to be found and I hope it's not to long before we can get them in 1-2GB flavors to load this device up with pictures, music and other media to enjoy! I personally also have to gripe about the included headset that came with my test device because it is your standard stereo headset from Fast Port to earbuds. With the 'Walkman' phones, you could plug any 3.5mm haedset you wanted to in just above the Microphone and truly enhance the sound of the music player/ FM radio. Here it is just use what you're given, sound is OK, but nothing special and the music player is capable of much more! 'Walkman' style headsets for the W800/W810 will work fine with this device and can be found on various internet sites for $10-$15 bucks. If you are planning on using this device beyond it's imaging capabilities, I highly suggest this small additional investment.

That being said, the K790a does have a fast port connector and so it supports all 'Walkman' accessories. I have tested so far the FM Transmitter, Sereo Sound Dock, and portable stereo speakers!!! Dude...Sweet!!!

Wrap it up!The SonyEricsson K790a (and K790/K800) has really taken mobile digital still imaging to the next step by offering full digital capabilities in a small, sexy mobile form factor with excellent battery life (almost 4 full days of use before recharge) and high build quality. With it's 3.2 MP camera, Music Player, Blogger capabilities, Stereo Bluetooth, and beautifl, easy to read screen & great signal reception, this is by far the best mobile phone on the market today. Many of it's capabilities and features surpass the smartphones of today and will challenge many devices for months (& even years) to come. I'd like easier access to these new memory cards, and the big bump on the back where the lens cover is are just minor issues, overall, this is a device to lust after! It looks cool, it feels cool and it works terrific!!! It will be hard to give my test model back! Go check it out at today and see what it's all about. Also be sure to check this blog and my Flickr page for more photos of (and from) the SE K790a. Have a great day and thanks for reading my blog!!!