Chessmate.com’s Travel Chess Set

I enjoy a good game of chess, but when I travel, I only play on the computer because most chess boards are too big to take with me when I travel. The problem with playing on the computer is that it’s just not the same as having a board with real pieces in front of you. Luckily, many companies make travel chess sets that cater to whiny traveling nerds like me. The problem is, they all suck. (more…)

My Other Daughter Beat Me at Chess

It’s official. Both of my daughters are chess prodigies. That is, of course, the only plausible explanation for the fact that they have now both beaten me.

It has been said that chess is life. I don’t know who said it, but I’m sure it’s been said. Heck, I just said it, so now it’s been said. Actually to be painfully accurate, it’s now been written, but rest assured, I said it just now for good measure.

If chess is life, and both of my pre-teen girls have beaten me at the game, then is it not therefore true that they have both beaten me at life? It sure feels that way.

Beating your dad at chess is supposed to be a big deal. You’re supposed to work for years before you finally rend that hard-won victory from the old man’s weathered hands. That’s the way it’s been since time immemorial, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be now. It’s not supposed to be like this! (more…)

My Mom Rocks

My mom is better than your mom. OK, well that may or may not be true, but my mom rocks. Why you ask? I’ll tell you why.

My mother taught me to love language. We were always reading when I was young. My mother routinely used large words and spoke correctly, even in casual conversations. I once had a girlfriend ask me, “Why don’t you talk like everyone else?” Turns out I was speaking correctly and she wasn’t used to hearing proper grammar.

My love of writing is a direct result of my love of reading, which I also learned from my mother. Therefore I could extrapolate that this blog is my mother’s fault, so I guess you’ve got her to blame if you don’t like it. (more…)

My Daughter Beat Me at Chess

Be it known, that on this day, April 13th, 2010, my daughter, Colleen, age nine, beat me at chess.

I of course took it with all the grace and humility of a world-class diplomat. I accused her of hacking into the town computers in order to alter the softball schedules without updating the parents. In this way, Lauren would then have to call me repeatedly while attempting to drop Meghan off at practice, thus distracting me from our game. It was brilliant really, but her tremendous hacking and social engineering skills didn’t detract from the fact that she was a filthy cheater.

Yeah, she didn’t buy it either. She even refused my offer to issue a statement on national television refuting my earlier claim of foul play. That kid is a class act. (more…)

GAD’s Review of Apple’s Magic Mouse

When I first saw the announcement for Apple’s Magic Mouse, I knew right away that I simply had to have one. I mean just look at it! It’s sleek, it’s sexy, and it just oozes Appleness. The designe engineers at Apple really hit one out of the park with this baby. Having owned an Iphone for a little over a year now, I’ve grown to love the multi-touch interface. I figured this mouse would be a natural.

I was wrong. (more…)

The Task of Writing

2nd Draft Manuscript
2nd Draft Manuscript

Writing a book is an arduous process. Anyone who says otherwise probably hasn’t written a book, or if they have, it likely hasn’t been published. As I wrote in my blog entry
What it Takes to be a Published Author, writing is harder than most people think. Sure it is sometimes easy to sit down and put words on paper, but almost 100% of the time, those words are crap. While the mechanics of writing are different for everyone, I thought some might be interested in how I approach the task of writing a book. (more…)

Today is Lauren’s Birthday

Lauren
Lauren

Today is my wife, Lauren’s birthday. On this, her special day, I am at a client’s site in North Carolina while she stays home. She was home alone for most of the day until the kids got home from school. She tells me that she did have lunch with her friend Sandra, so at least she had some fun.

Due to a perfect storm of events, I was unable to buy her a special gift for her birthday. Yes – I suck. Since I’m not there, I can’t even take her out to dinner.  I decided to do something a little different for my lovely wife’s birthday. I decided to write this for the world to see. (more…)

What it Takes to be a Published Author

Being a published author, I am constantly told what an amazing achievement it is. I agree, but I’ve accomplished other things in my life that were much more difficult. I have a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do for example. Still, there is something mystical to most people about being published that transcends other accomplishments. Perhaps we all lust for fame. Though I’m far from famous, if you google my name, my webpage or book will come up first. I guess I’m the most famous Gary A. Donahue on the Internet today. All because I’m a published author.

So what does it take to be a published author? It takes more than being a writer. A writer is someone who writes. Anyone can be a writer. To be a published author, you need to, well, be published. In my experience, here are some of the reasons that I’m published: (more…)

What You Should Capture, and Why

GAD's Dad & GAD
GAD's Dad & GAD in 1970

I have a family page that is private and only shared with family and friends. It contains images dating back to 1964. This site has taken me many hours of design, coding and other miscellaneous work over the years. I first made the site in 1999 so that my mother could see photos of my kids as they grew without having to wait for me to mail them. This was a great idea because I never mailed photos. The site has grown to a 40,000 image archive of my life, and the lives of my family. It is now a cherished heirloom.

The images contained in the site from the 60’s and 70’s are, for the most part, scanned from 30-40 year old slides. Many have deteriorated over time. I have endeavored to “fix” them as much as possible, but for many the damage of years of storage is too great to overcome. It gives me great solace to think that they will now be archived as digital replicas, thus progressing my father’s early photographic visions into the age of computers. He would have been absolutely thrilled at the idea. (more…)

GAD’s Digital Photo Management Scheme

1dsmarkii_586x225
Canon 1Ds Mark 2

I take the archiving of my digital photos seriously. My photos are the archived memories of my family. I have developed over the years, a means whereby I sort, store, and archive them. I’ve been asked repeatedly how I do this, so I thought I would write it up once and for all.

I use a Canon 1Ds Mark II camera which is 16.7 Megapixels. I also shoot exclusively in Raw with the DSLR, which yields files that range in size between 13 and 22 megabytes each. Each of thes .CR2 raw files must be “developed” using special software. The resulting .jpg images create an additional file of about  two to four megabytes. Then I may crop or alter the file, making a new copy of the full-sized .jpg. Then there are the web-sized versions and the thumbnails which are only 100k or so. After all my editing, each single image capture from my camera might consume a total of 25 megabytes of disk space with all copies considered – more if there are many versions. (more…)