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About zackiedawg

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Boca Raton, Florida
  • Interests
    Cruising, boating, driving, computers, hockey, photography
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe, Canada, Alaska

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  1. Well my local wetlands, Green Cay, is closed as of today, for as long as 4 months as they replace the nature center roof and the 2 miles of boardwalk over the wetlands. This is one of my two regular weekend spots, and especially during winter season - so this weekend I got in my last shots from this place for the rest of this year, and probably until Spring 2020. At least lots of bird diversity was out on a cool day (for Florida), temps staying around 72 degrees for a high. It was a good send-off for the park: Least bittern male, on the hunt: Adorable little round ball of a bird - a common yellowthroat: Zoomed in really close, you can spot this bird - from 10 feet away with the naked eye, you could walk right past and never notice. Excellent camouflage make this a bird often heard, but rarely spotted...an eastern whip-poor-will: One of our most showy birds, the roseate spoonbill, stretching his wings: A tricolor heron, sitting quietly in late day sun, with his reflection to keep him company: A white ibis coming in to land: A tricolor heron turning in the air as he passes by:
  2. Some Sunday wildlife shots from this past weekend: The lovely male painted bunting: Great blue heron sitting pretty: Angry banded watersnake threatening a strike? Actually, he had just eaten something fat, and was opening his mouth to help move the big lump down his body: An ibis coming in to land, performing what I like to call the 'Crazy Ivan' maneuver - flying in gently and straight, they suddenly make a series of highly erratic and sudden turns and twists just before touchdown. (See the movie Hunt for Red October for the 'Crazy Ivan' reference): An osprey headed this way with those intense yellow eyes: A cool full moon rising through the sunset clouds:
  3. Well at first I thought this was one person's personal thread of shots - but many others have been adding their own bird shots. Then I figured I didn't want to overwhelm the post with my own birds as I am out birding every weekend, so I held off. Now, I figure I can post something a bit different - rather than my 'good' bird shots, I wanted to stick in a few of the first-time sightings I've had this fall. So far, I've gotten to see 4 new species of birds for the first time ever over the past month or two...some of these are strictly 'ID' shots - not good light, birds blocked by clutter, etc - but when you do bird photography, you can take shots that are worthy of your gallery, and then sometimes you just have to take the shot to identify something you saw, especially if it could be rare. The following 4 species are lifers for me, spotted at my local wetlands in Delray Beach FL: My first Scarlet tanager - this one a juvenile: While on tanagers, I also found this western tanager - they're not supposed to be here in Florida!: Another bird doing a very good job of hiding - but not quite enough for me to get a shot of him, and with help, identify it as my first Tennessee warbler: And the most recent rarity, spotted just yesterday...a small duck that isn't supposed to come down the Florida peninsula and first time I've ever seen and shot one...the female buffleheads: I'll add one more - not a first-time sighting, but only the second time I've gotten photos of one...this strange creature is a whip-poor-will:
  4. I'll be very interested to find out what your final tally will be price-wise with your build, as it seems it will actually have quite a similar stat and features as my store-bought unit. Not everything of course, but very similar on RAM, drives, cooling, etc - seeing just how much you can save if you're willing (and able) to build it all yourself. I know I'm not able, nor willing, so I don't mind paying the additional amount - any attempt to build my own system would probably cause a blackout in my city and make my cat glow in the dark and maybe end up inadvertently hacking into the local bank...if it even turned on at all...because I wouldn't have the first clue what I was doing!
  5. Update to the update. All issues solved! Got the new DVD drive from Dell (LG Brand) today - came with a basic software for DVD viewing and CD Burning. Plugged in the USB cable, and instant recognition. Popped in the install disk for the free software, spun right up, Autoplay asked what I wanted to do, and installed the software. May never know why the other one didn't work in this computer, when it worked on my HP laptop - but either way, no care now - this one works on both computers plug-and-play...and it cost me nothing since it was all Dell Rewards that paid for it. Extra cherry on top!
  6. I used a company for a while called MyPublisher, which then got bought out by Shutterfly. They seem similar, both in cost and style...but I haven't actually done a book with Shutterfly. They use online templates to build the book. I would prefer a downloaded software, but I also like more book size layouts - in particular I like 8x11 and 11x14, as opposed to 8x10 or 11x13, just because I almost always shoot in 3:2 format and that means less cropping and better page fit overall. I have actually been considering giving Shutterfly a try for a Florida bird book.
  7. I was thinking the same thing on the parachute. I actually forgot I was getting the Dell Rewards - so I just grabbed a cheap DVD drive from Amazon...but with the rewards, and as you say, Dell on the tech support side, hopefully this one will just plug-and-play, and if not, hopefully they can help get it figured out this time. Other than that, the new machine is a blazing beast. I really had gotten used to my high-tech-at-the-time 7 year old machine and didn't realize that one could have a desktop that starts up in seconds. Transferring documents and files onto the machine took 1/3 the time to load it off my old computer...and access to everything is pretty well instant. In PSP editing, I can open 30 original photos at once, and it doesn't slow down...in my old machine, with 10 originals open, it could get a little laggy. You really notice in the processing time of those memory-intense Topaz AI programs...what used to take 30-40 seconds to complete now is done within 7-9 seconds.
  8. Never could get it to work. Tried all the walk-thrus - I had already tried one of those two links you provided, and tried the other - but nothing worked. I decided to call Dell and have their techs try to figure it out since I still have the first year of tech help - nothing made it go. I finally decided to return that drive, and found another one on the Dell site that the tech feels confident would be compatible...made by LG. Getting my Amazon refund for the one I couldn't make work, and since I had some Dell Rewards from the computer purchase, the new LG drive was free - covered by the rewards. It's supposed to arrive Thursday and we'll see if that one is Plug and Play, as they are supposed to be! If it doesn't work, then we have other issues that Dell will have to resolve.
  9. Yesterday's birds out at the local wetlands...some good rare sightings: A great egret hanging out in the watery landscape: The lovely roseate spoonbill - this one a male in the fullest colors: The hard-to-find American bittern: The belted kingfisher, with his big head, all the better to catch fish with: And the rarest sighting of all - a nightjar species - I think this one may be a chuck-will's-widow, though it also could be a whip-poor-will or common nighthawk. None are very common to find during the day, and spend most of the day napping:
  10. Very red dragonfly: male common yellowthroat: Ovenbird: Ruby-throated hummingbird taking a rest: White peacock butterfly: White-eyed vireo (guess how he got his name):
  11. Some more sunsets...mostly from Florida and Caribbean... Tomorrowland sunset: Quebec sunset, over the St. Lawrence: Downtown Disney, skies on fire: Industrial sunset, Ft Lauderdale, FL: Crepuscular rays going nuts at sunset: Smoking volcano morning, Stromboli, Italy:
  12. It is a cheap brand. Called MthsTec BluRay. Reviews were good - mostly comments of 'cheap but works'. It is solely USB powered though...seems to run OK - lights up, spins the disc, etc. Just the computer doesn't recognize that anything is there. I did try both the USB 3 on the back of the machine, and the USB 2 ports on the motherboard in back - the device runs, lights, spins, etc in all ports, but the computer never reacts at all - no drives pop up, no 'auto start' properties appear...and also, the Device Manager doesn't even have a listing for DVD/CD or ATI/Atapi controllers. It's like there's just no drivers at all for a DVD/CD drive. I did try plugging into an HP laptop, and it recognized the drive. It's Windows 10 as well. Device Manager on that computer has a DVD/CD controller in the menu. Weird! I'll keep trying to fidget around with a few things - but if I can't get it to recognize by the end of the weekend, I guess I may have to send it back to Amazon, and down the road just get an internal DVD drive installed.
  13. Update on the new computer...I think we're about 99% done. As of last night, got all of my photos, music, videos, etc transferred to the new system...redirected the 'library' folders to D drive...reloaded PSP and all my Topaz and Nik plugins, got all of them key-coded and verified, all my bookmarks in Chrome, passwords all stored for main pages...and set up my preferences, desktop, screensavers, etc. The new system is very very fast! Such a nice change from a 7-year old system which was fast for its day - but I got used to a minute or two for start up of everything - vs the new system started and ready to go in seconds. Loading all my photos from computer to external drive took 6 hours...loading all my photos from the external to the new computer took 1hr 40 minutes. I did overlook one thing...I thought 'who really needs a DVD/BluRay/CD drive on a computer anymore' and didn't bother to order one...but then when I went to load PSP and had the old install CDs in my hand, I had a Bart Simpson 'D'oh!' moment. Since then, I also thought about when I want to rip some music off old CDs to iTunes...so an external DVD player was purchased too. BUT - I can't figure out how to get it to work - I have no DVD drivers, DVD doesn't show up in Device Manager, and plugging in the drive doesn't self-recognize or anything. I even tried plugging into the USBs on the motherboard on the back - still no go. With Windows 10 having removed the old Media Center, which would always recognize a disk drive, I am clueless what I need to do here. There are no 'drivers' on the DVD drive company's website - it's just a cheap-o BluRay drive probably generic Chinese brand. It's USB powered. You are supposed to load burning/playing software to use with it, which I did find a free one that had favorable ratings called "Leawo" - but the problem is that my computer doesn't even recognize that a drive is plugged in to the USB...a drive letter doesn't pop up to access, and as mentioned before, even going to Device Manager, there's not even a line for 'DVD/CD' (most online solutions I read involved going to device manager and uninstalling the drive from DVD/CD). Any smart ideas on what to do to get it to recognize the drive - or do I need to return the drive and pick up a more expensive, more advanced one with drivers available to install online?
  14. Disney resort sunset: Epcot sunset: Early sunrise morning on the lake: Caribbean sunset crepuscular rays: Sunrise over Glouchester, MA - red skies at morning...sailor take warning:
  15. Thank you Roger and Dave - I got both of your e-mails with the Topaz Denoise 6 install. Glad I didn't have to wait to hear from Topaz as they STILL haven't responded...now I can get the new computer up and running in the next day or two and get all my necessary programs back.
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