Exploring Fort Monroe

Disclaimer: You may learn something here. For most of us, this is good. My twelve-year old is at a point where if she’s not in school, she doesn’t want to see anything educational and has asked me to warn her if a book or television show may fall into this category. I watch a lot of Discovery Channel, PBS documentaries and the like- so this comes up a lot. 🙂

Last night, I was trying to decide where I wanted to spend my day working. I’ve got the “get out of the house” bug at the moment, something about the fall weather … outside is a must. Scenic is more or less the current requirement, so I scoured Google Maps to find a nice place to crash. Fort Monroe won. Commissioned in 1819 by President James Monroe it was designed to be an impenetrable fort, defending the Hampton Roads region from a sea attack.

While on the way to finding a spot to camp out at, I ran across the entrance for the most fortified part of the base.


Who can resist? There was a small information sign just off to the right that read:


Unexploded ordinance really isn’t anything foreign to this area, I see stories in the news every now and then about treasure hunters or beach goers uncovering some civil war era cannonball or ammunition while digging around. In fact, there’s a large section of this retired base that is still off limits for just that reason. After clearing the entrance, this path drew my attention.


Following the path up, I’m on top of the fortress walls. Quite an impressive view (the lighthouse is my favorite)

Meanwhile, outside the heart of the base:

On the way out, spotted this guy. Not sure the photo does this ride justice, it was beautiful, really nice restoration job. Wish I could have snapped a better photo- shooting and driving is hard (and maybe illegal?)..


Just a mile south of this fort is Fort Wool which I’ve never visited, but plan to sometime in the near future. It was also designed to work in concert with Fort Monroe to provide crossfire and help protect the harbor.

So, that’s my day. Now I need to figure out where I’m going tomorrow. 🙂

Morning commute

Since I work for a distributed company, there’s not much of a morning commute. Usually it involves me coming downstairs, making some coffee and finding a comfortable nook in the house to work in. On occasion I venture outside to a local coffee shop or library, but for the most part I just work at home. It’s comfortable, my stuff is there and it’s easy to become complacent.

This week I’ve decided to get out of the house more often, winter is coming afterall, and the likelihood of doing much outdoorsy stuff once it gets cold is relatively slim. And since I can work anywhere on the planet as long as there’s an internet connection, why not take advantage if it?

So, here’s what my commute has been looking like this week:


It’s about a ten minute hike to a secluded nature preserve near my place, where the only thing I have to worry about is moving my chair back when the tide comes in.


The view is spectacular, the environment peaceful and I feel more encouraged to write. Er, I mean work.

Raspberry Pi camera module

I recently ordered a camera module for my Raspberry Pi, and finally got around to installing it this evening, to include the lego tower that it’s perched on. I also discovered that my ASUS AC66U wireless router has enough power in the two USB ports to run a Pi and charge an iPhone at the same time.


The camera works great, it has five megapixels and can produce 1080p photos or 720p video. There are some updates and packages that need to be installed before you jump in, but that really only took about 30 minutes to run through that process, including download time. Step by step guide here.

The pictures from the actual sensor are great, if I have time tomorrow I’ll take the rig outside and upload some photos.

Regarding sorting folders

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 7.22.55 PMEveryone has a ‘sort me’ folder somewhere on their computer for photos, right? If you don’t, it’s only because you forgot about it… You have one. I know you do. If you don’t (see aforementioned note, that you actually do) then you should create one now, so that you can follow along with this post. Once you’re done reading, go back and find the real one. It’s like Christmas and Black Friday all rolled up into one folder. Chaos and bliss.

While cleaning up my machine tonight I found one, then another and then another. As as I started looking through them, it was discovered that this task would more closely resemble an archaeological dig as there were also ‘sort me’ folders inside folders and subfolders. All in all, about 90GB worth of photos and videos that need attention.

Don’t judge me. I horde data. And apparently photos.

Ok, so lots of photos. Headed over to SmugMug to start trying to upload them into some sort of logical, well thought out format only to make a dreadful discovery. I have a couple of layers of ‘sort me’ folders there as well, and none of them duplicates. “You like things in neatly tied bundles” a friend once said to me. I totally agree, and that’s my year end goal.

Oh, and that “sort me” graphic above … just went into a “misc images” folder. I need help.