Archive for the ‘ Travel ’ Category

Inspiring beyond Eras- Dedication to Steve Jobs

Clouds at Dawn, Angkor Wat
Time lapse shot on 1 Sept 2011 (c) @saumilzx
iClouds was Steve Jobs last major contribution and his final keynote.
This will impact tech and travel, two areas which are close to all of us.

On a recent trip to Thailand/Cambodia for my travel projects, I decided to go PC-free. This was the first time I went without my Macbook on an overseas trip. I did have my iPad and an iPhone 4. And the camera stuff- a DLSR (Nikon), a Panasonix Lumix with an UW case (useful in rains too).

I had a local 3G connection on my iPhone. So with Personal hotspot activated, I could use my 64Gb wifi-iPad to go online as well. I did have a USB car charger, and a Tenda mini wifi hub (in event my hotel room lacked wifi). I used the camera connection kit, to backup to my iPad.

So how did the shooting go? It was great and I have to say I did not miss my Mac. The iPhone shots (panoramic, stop motions, videos to document a locale) were transferred over to the iPad via Photo Transfer App [iTunes link]. I also used Dropbox to backup my iPhone media online, as an additional option. Although uploading media can take time, it can all happen when you sleep. You just need to check if all went well, every time you wake up:)

All in all, It was not problematic. But I was trying to accomplish Photo Steam and iCloud with manual supervision. I was always concerned whether I was backing up all right. Were there duplicates of some at the cost of omitting others. Not even one shot need be lost! After all, I did need to delete media from my iPhone every few days (a 16Gb model, I had underestimated the value of iPhone shooting, being a regular photographer).

Wait a minute… this post is dedicated to Steve Jobs and how he inspires us right? Why am I describing my experience? Because the most lasting impact Steve Jobs will have on the tech world- apart from great design, innovation, and many other things… Is that

he built products which eliminated questions from technology

which were not needed in your solution or the overall experience.

iCloud will do many wonderful things- but as I learnt the hard way, it will eliminate a whole lot of questions which were distracting me from my basic work- to shoot and plan to shoot. Mind you, cloud storage has existed for years, but you still need to monitor and keep asking yourself about the steps you followed or missed, worrying about which version was in which folder or if the latest file was on the desktop somewhere…

So the next time you see a breakthrough Apple product, you can be sure, that it will reduce or remove most, if not all, unnecessary questions from an already existing technology. Keep this in mind when evaluating Steve Jobs’ creations, we will derive inspiration for generations to come, and learn from every magical product he unleashed to conquer… just about every personal computing era of his time.

Long live Steve- many Jobs well done.
@saumilzx
Mumbai, India
16th October 2011

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Scuba Diver, finally

My Open Water Dive Course
with Scuba Cat, Phuket
Sept 1-4, 2009

When we first published our Phuket & Phi Phi travel guide (this book is out of print few years since the tsunami), I have been doing fun dives (Discover Scuba) but mainly have been snorkeling around in Thailand and Indonesia. Since this is my work, I have to mix meetings with other photo targets with many other aqua activities.

Finally, I strung three days together, in a rain delayed Phuket schedule and got enrolled with Scuba Cat for an open water course. The first day in the pool was demanding indeed for someone who lives a desktop life in Mumbai. I must admire the fitness of my Instructor Khun Chart (a Thai Muslim, who adheres to Ramadan fasts), as he was patient with me and did many drills in the pool and next day in the open water- hungry till sunset! Khob Khun Maak Krap!

Anyway, the next two days were real dives off Racha, a great spot to learn diving- as there are reefs ranging from 2m-18m with sandy patches as well for the drills.

Just putting on the BCD (Bouyancy Control Device) and checking the regulator/tank requires discipline and attention. But since you go underwater with an instructor (I had two- Khun Chart and Staurt Roberson, who found that Phuket was the mid point in his life which was shared between UK/NZ).

At 12m depth, I can tell you it is a bit different than a pool, but if you follow the PADI methodology, and your instructors are as good as they were for me, you can apply enough technique to overcome the inexperience of doing drills.

What did I learn? Well a lot of scuba but a lot more about my own fitness and how to deal with situations (more positional play than tactics for me, for sure).

At least, I could get some shots after the scuba certification (full open water is few dives away…).

We will be including more dive options in our programs on itsaqua.com and Scuba Cat (they have a liveaboard catamaran which divers can stay overnight, with sleeper berth cabins)…

Thanks to Sarah and Kath and the staff for guiding me through (and scolding me when I missed the start date!).

Will upload more shots and videos and another essay on how breathing in Scuba is a type of Yoga..

But one thing is for sure, now I can go diving instead of ending up snorkeling, when I just had a day or morning to spare on my busy trips in SEAsia…. some day I will take a vacation…

Saumil
Mumbai, India
18 Sept 2009