(C) Tanenbaum 2009
WHO ARE WE?
We are Steve & Pat, the Travelin' Tanenbaums.
We are the authors of The Cheapskate's Guide to Vacations and The Cheptskate's Guide to Cruises (Citadel-Kensington Press)
Our CTN newsletter
has published continuously since 1999. Steve is currently a 'Budget & FREE Travel' expert with AllExperts.com. In addition to our books we have written national magazine articles and have made numerous radio & TV appearances. We early retired from our day jobs in 1999 and embarked on a seven year bold travel odyssey, globe-trotting six months per year. Currently, we average about 3-4 months of exotic travel yearly.
ONLINE CTN IS A HUGE SUCCESS
MAKE IT FREE AND THEY WILL COME....
OK, so no surprise that CTN's subscriptions TRIPLED with the advent of our new FREE online CTN. Still, this is the very best way to share our savvy TIPS n' TALES with the traveling public. As we have always said.....nothing beats FREE!
HOW TO GET YOUR FUTURE FREE CTN EDITIONS:
The best way: It is always best to receive the newsletter on the day it is published. To do this send us your email address and we shall add you to our subscription list. Rest assured, e-mail addresses are kept strictly private and are used ONLY to send you our newsletters. Send your free subscription request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you may simply Google our CTN periodically for new issues.
THANKS To ALL
THE NEW BLOG 'LOOK' - The column on the right now sports a vertical slide show. All these favorite global photos were taken by us and we hope you enjoy them. There is MORE: Below the last photo in the column is a NEW Video Bar. The Video Bar offers an imbedded random sample of four of our 165+ YouTube videos. Simply click on one of the video thumbnails to view our YouTube video. Want to view more or all of our YouTube videos? Go to YouTube.com and in the search box type our screen name: worldromer You will have instant access to all of our 165+ YouTube videos.
THIS ISSUE'S HIGHLIGHTS
*30% FREE AADVANTAGE MILES WHEN PURCHASED BY MARCH 31st
*POSSIBLY THE BEST FREE TRAVEL PROMOTION OF ALL TIME - GOING, GOING BUT NOT YET GONE!
*WHY TELL YOU ABOUT A NEW CITIBANK PROMOTION THAT EXPIRES ON MARCH 31st
**QUITE POSSIBLY THE WORLD’S GREATEST CRUISE BARGAIN?
*BETTER THAN THE WORLD'S BEST CRUISE DEAL? YOU MAY JUST BE ABLE TO FIND ONE *50% OFF ENTERTAINMENT BOOKS
*STEVE’S GIZMO COLUMN:
(1)A NEW EXCITING WAY TO TAKE TRAVEL PHOTOS
(2)WEAK WiFi SIGNALS? THIS MAY BE THE ANSWER WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR
30% FREE BONUS MILES
Today we received this American Airlines announcement via email:Buy American Airlines AAdvantage miles, from the Buy AAmiles Program, between February 1 and March 31, 2009 and earn 1,500 bonus miles for every 5,000 miles purchased*. For example, buy 10,000 miles earn 3,000 bonus miles. Get more from your miles today!
*Up to 12,000 bonus miles.
Given our planned publication date of March 15th readers have a whopping two weeks window to buy those bonus laden extra miles we sometimes need.
BEST FREE TRAVEL
OF ALL TIME, GOING,
GOING BUT NOT GONE!
Each year we devote space in at least one issue repeating, discussing, reminding and otherwise bringing readers attention to our all time favorite Free travel promotion. That is, of course, the great Citibank Free bonus miles give-a-way which program has been ongoing for at least two years. Early last month I did my usual ‘inspection’ of the offer, to confirm it is ongoing, all the while wondering whether the global economic crisis would be having an effect. Yikes....I shuddered when the smallest of small ‘Terms and Conditions’ revealed an expiration date and that date was only DAYS AWAY on February 28th. The twang of sorrow was palpable.
Ressurection: As we started work on this edtion in early March I checked the ‘expired’ LINK to determine if, hopefully, the program had been issued a new life. GLAD TIDINGS! The citibank offer, in its newest incantation, lives on....until its newest expiration date of August 31, 2009.The offer previously set forth a smorgasbord of at least six cards to pick and choose from. This made all the difference to many of us since participants must initally be first time card applicants. The offer has now dwindled to three cards which are the:
Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage World Mastercard
Citi Select/ AAdvantage American Express Card
The basics remain unchanged. The credit cards are Free of Annual charges the first year, one must spend a pitling $750 on a card to qualify for the bonus miles and each card will then deliver a whopping 25,000 Bonus American Airline miles. Obtain any two cards and in no time you have 50,000 Free Bonus miles good for a RT ticket, off season, to Paris, Rome, London, Athens or most any other European city or year around RT tickets to any Hawaiian island or Mexcio or Central America. If you already had one of these cards BUT expired 2-3 years ago you may well quality ‘again’ for the Bonus miles. Unfortunately in such cases it is near impossible to determine in advance what new bonus miles you may qualify for. We suggest you go for it, apply for new card(s) and sit back and await the outcome. To Bonus Miles or Not to Bonus Miles...that will be the question.
Here are two long LINKS to the all important Citibank promotion. If for any reason it does not work simply Google the words citibank 25,000 bonus miles
WHY TELL YOU ABOUT A NEW CITIBANK PROMOTION THAT EXPIRES ON MARCH 31st?
This three month promo issued in January, subsequent to our last CTN, so too late to report on it at that time. American Airlines is offering a 5,000 mile discount on many domestic flights if one books the flight using one of several AAdvantage credit cards. The offer expires in a matter of days on March 31, 2009. Here is the text of the offer:
Fly for fewer American Airlines AAdvantage miles with Reduced Mileage Awards!* Whether flying first-class or coach, you can save thousands of American Airlines AAdvantage® miles when redeeming for flights to the select destinations below. First quarter awards are valid for flights between January 1, 2009 and March 31, 2009 only, for travel originating in the 48 contiguous United States. All travel must be completed by March 31, 2009. To claim your award, or for more information, call 1-800-882-8880.
WHY MENTION THIS? Because in these unsteady economic times it is very likely American will issue a new, similar program beginning in April or some time thereafter.
TIP: All readers planning to book domestic flight awards should be sure to periodically Google the words: American reduced mileage awards. A similar discount program may well be up and running.
QUITE POSSIBLY THE WORLD’S GREATEST CRUISE BARGAIN?
Over the last ten years we have developed a true love of cruising. We have cruised less than some and more than many. Along the way Citadel Press had us memorialize our passion by writing a cruise guide. We were very proud of our effort which gave birth to s The Cheapskate’s Guide to Cruises. We are always on the lookout for bargain priced cruises that also deliver unique global itineraries. Some of our all time favorites were our:
*Moscow to St. Petersburg river boat cruise
*First American converted ‘yacht’ cruise on Lake Baikal, the world’s largest fresh water lake in Irkutsk, Siberia
*All too short Nile River cruise
*Yangtze River cruise
There was another unforgettable cruise that tops our list for its bargain price and unique itinerary. The year was 2001. We were reading our local newspaper’s Sunday Travel section when we spotted an ad that changed our travel life. It read something like this:
CELEBRITY RE-POSITIONING CRUISE - RIO TO SAN DIEGO (AROUND CAPE HORN) - 32 DAYS - $2,089 INCLUDING ALL FEES/TAXES!
On top of this the cruise departed during South America’s best weather Summer season.
After a very brief discussion and some quick research we agreed on two things. First, this was not to be missed and second, we had to act fast to nail the advertised price for an inside cabin.
TIP: Do not let such a bargain slip through your fingers.
When a once a year repositioning cruise or similar cruise bargain comes along act ASAP to snag the advertised bargain price. Remember, by acting swiftly you have the best chance to lock in a reservation for the best mid-ship located inside cabin, perhaps even a 50% larger deluxe ‘disabled’ cabin,* at the rock bottom advertised price. AND do not forget that most (confirm this before booking) cruise ships offer FULL refunds if canceled later, usually up to sixty days before sailing. Ex. You see an ad similar to our South America repositioning cruise. You see the ad in March for a sailing ten months later the following January. Book ASAP and lock in the best cabin and price knowing you may cancel and obtain a full refund up until November, two months before sailing.
* No, we are not healthy evil doers seeking to unjustly appropriate a disabled cabin. Some time ago an agency informed us that some cruise lines, like Princess at the time, permit anyone to book disabled cabins. They do this only when such cabins, after a certain time, have not been booked by disable passengers. We did this on our Montreal to Ft. Lauderdale repositioning cruise. You can only imagine the comfort of a 50% larger cabin and luxury of a shower that can fit FIVE PEOPLE. Remember, this cabin would have otherwise been VACANT. To our knowledge most such cabins are inside. Whenever booking an inside cabin be sure to ask whether any disabled cabins are available for YOU to book.
We shall offer more inside tips about our awesome ‘around Cape Horn’ cruise experience but first....... what about the current ‘World’s Greatest Cruise’? This cruise, with one large exception, may offer YOU a similar once in a lifetime opportunity.’
CAVEAT: You are about to read of a very CURRENT repositioning cruise offer. One we learned of during the first week in March. We are familiar with the Whole World of Travel cruise specialty agency located in Carmichael, California. They have for many years been advertising and promoting many amazing low priced cruises. Some years ago Steve’s sister booked with them and all went very smoothly. With this said keep in mind there ARE usually one or two similar cruises each year, some with even better itineraries.
THE CURRENT 'BEST IN THE WORLD' BARGAIN CRUISE AD READS AS FOLLOWS:
34 DAYS CRUISE
FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO - SANTIAGO, CHILE - CAPE HORN - BUENOS AIRES $3,258* INCLUDING RETURN AIRFARE TO SAN FRANCISCO** AND ALL FEES/TAXES PLUS BONUS ON BOARD CREDIT
On the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sun
Nov. 3-Dec. 6, 2009 (33 days)
*Price includes $429 taxes/fees
**Other air cities are available
Use your frequent flyer miles as we did for the San Francisco to Rio leg of our trip and YOUR price on the above cruise drops to a more amazing $2,397*** or $72.60 PER DAY!
***We were told by Whole World that the price is reduced by $861 if the included air is not used
NOTE: All 32-34 days South American ‘Around Cape Horn’ cruises are usually two distinct cruises piggy-backed into one larger journey. The two cruises are: Any U.S. embarkation port to Valparaiso, Chile and from Valparaiso to either Buenos Aires or Rio. These are basically 2-two week cruises. On our cruise hundreds of passengers disembarked after the initial two weeks from Rio to Valparaiso and many new passengers boarded at Valparaiso. None other than our captain’s in-laws arrived from California at Valparaiso to join their daughter and her husband, the Celebrity cruise ship’s captain, and their grandson who was spending joyous formative years traveling the globe with his parents.
Here are the cruise’s 17 ports of call itinerary:
San Francisco., At Sea (2 days) - Mazatlan - Acapulco, Guatemala - Costa Rica - Manta (Ecuador) - At Sea (2 days), Lima - Arica - Coquimbo - Valparaiso (Santiago - Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco - Chilean Fjords - Strait of Magellan - Ushuaia, Cape Horn - Falkland Is. - Puerto Madryn - Montevideo - Buenos Aires.
Here is the all important LINK to this very cruise offering:
South America Weather and Seasons 101 : South America seasons are the reverse of our seasons as follows:
SUMMER: December to February
SPRING: September to November
AUTUMN: March to May
WINTER: June to August
Temperatures: Overall great year around temperatures. Daytime maximum temperatures during prime cruise seasons are:
Summer: December to February 82 -84 degrees
Autumn: March 82 degrees dropping to May 77 degrees.
BETTER THAN THE ‘BEST’? YOU MAY JUST BE ABLE TO FIND ONE
How to ‘improve’ on the above, dirt cheap, 17 ports of call South America cruise? We did it in 2001 with the PERFECT 32 days South America cruise. What made our cruise perfect? In one word......RIO. Hands down, Rio de Janeiro is the must visit, not to be missed city in South America. And you may be able to follow in our footsteps.
First, a summary of our 2002 32 days Celebrity South America cruise.
* We cruised in some of the best weather months, January to February which is late Summer.
* Our itinerary was 32 days from Rio to San Diego with NO airfare included (we used an American free flight award for the SF to RIO flight).
* RIO is the number one city to visit in South America. People, scenery, day life, beaches, night life, restaurants, day trips, overnight trips etc.
* We arrived in Rio early, one week prior to sailing, enough time to enjoy Rio AND to take a two day over night trip to world famous Igguadu Falls on the Brazil-Argentina border. Do not miss the thrilling boat ride to the lower falls in Brazil and short ride to the upper falls on the Argentina side of the border. There, catwalks literally permit you to walk right above the mighty, cascading falls.
OUR ITINERARY: Our itinerary was very similar to the above SF to Buenos Aires 34 days cruise but still different in a few major ways. First, the cruise was reversed beginning in RIO and ending in San Diego. The obvious welcome trade off (for us) was the inclusion of RIO. The trade-off was the exclusion of the Falkland Islands.
What about 2010? Will our recommended cruise itinerary be available? Good news.....the answer is a resounding YES. Let us start with this very month, March 2009 because the very same cruise that is sailing this month, too late for any who are not already booked, will be sailing again next year. Again, the following March 2009 will repeat this cruise in exactly 12 months.
The cruise is listed as:
CRUISE FROM SOUTH AMERICA
TO SAN FRANCISCO ON THE STAR PRINCESS
March 15, 2009
From $1799 INCLUDING AIR!*
All Inclusive Fares from less than $80 Per Day!
*PRICE: GOES UP TO $2,499 FOR AN INSIDE CABIN INCLUDING AIR FARE FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO RIO AND ALL PORT CHARGES (TAXES, SECURITY CHARGES ARE LIKELY EXTRA)
It is called the PRINCESS 32 DAYS SOUTH AMERICA COASTAL TOUR CRUISE
Here are the many fabulous Ports of Call:
Port: Rio de Janeiro - Buenos Aires - Montevideo - Stanley/Falklands Cape Horn - Ushuaia - Punta Arenas - Valparaiso - Coquimbo Callao - Manta - Fuerte Amador - Puntarenas - San Juan del Sur Acapulco - Cabo San Lucas - San Francisco
About the Star Princess (lobby pictured):
Star Princess is a destination all her own, and with more than 700 balcony staterooms and an entire deck of mini-suites, you can enjoy your own stellar view. Packed with amenities, relax at your choice of four pools as well as the Lotus Spa. Dine on some of the finest food at sea in the Amalfi, Portofino and Capri dining rooms, or go casual with pizza and burgers. And enjoy myriad entertainment options from dancing at Skywalkers Nightclub to relaxing conversation at Shooter's Cigar B
WHEN? The next cruise departs March 16, 2010. Already Princess is listing this same* nex’ repositioning cruise as follows:
Rio de Janeiro - San Francisco 31 Days
Ship: Star Princess
Embarkation Port: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Embarkation Date(s): 2010: Mar 16
* While this cruise seems identical to the current March 2009 cruise, same name and same ports of call, the 2010 description mentions 31 days whereas the above 2009 cruise is 32 days. Since 32 days computes to 31 nights it may be the 2010 listing is for 31 nights which equals 32 days?
TIPS: Following are some very special cruise tips gleaned from our own ultimate 32 days cruise from Rio to San Diego. The time was the Summer of 2002.
Why RIO? Without doubt a sparkling gem amongst the worlds greatest cities. Rio has it all, snuggled between famed Sugarloaf Mountain and the sea. Residents and visitors revel in its charm, unique in the world sights and sounds, dancing in the streets, eateries that include our favorite Churrascaria, the unforgettable cable car ride to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, crazy buses and sedate metro and fantastic white sand beaches. Here is a photo of our favorite Copacabana Beach.
RIO HOTEL: We are happy to see that RIO’s Augusto’s Copacabana Hotel remains a high rated bargain. Its in season double rooms remain reasonable at $100 and 36 of 45 Trip Advisor users rating this inexpensive hotel (on the 1-5 Star scale) at either 4 or 5 stars. We totally enjoyed the lively Copacabana neighborhood and the hotel’s location just a few short blocks from famed Copacabana beach. Pay about $10 for lounge chairs and umbrellas and enjoy Rio’s heavenly seaside.
CAVEAT: Pre-departure we noted some web mention of higher crime rates in the Copacabana neighborhood. While there were not sufficient reports to deter us we took appropriate note and used caution ie. dressing down sans jewelry and dangling cameras, kept on crowded streets and kept alert as to our surrounding......and .....NO PROBLEM. Also, at the time of our visit the upscale Ipanema Beach area, quite beyond our budget, was one of Rio’s safest beach resort areas.
IGUASSU FALLS: Need another reason to visit Rio? It offers easy overnight access to one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders, Iguassu Falls. The quick 1,000 mile overnight side trip was unforgettable. Comparing Niagara Falls to Iguassu is akin to comparing Jack with the Giant. Imagine 275 falls spilling over almost 2 miles of precipice and down 12 cascade levels to the river below. Where Niagara is in an urban setting Iguassu is located at the Brazil-Argentina border, within lush green tropical parks. Greatest savings are for those who book locally, most often via the hotel’s front desk or local agency.
TIP: The boat ride under the falls is a ‘must-do’ experience. This pictures SAYS IT ALL! $45 for the 45 minutes boat ride.
* BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s largest capital port city stretches south-to-north along the Rio de la Plata and sports a city center that is markedly more European than any other in South America. The multinational residents of Buenos Aires possess an elaborate and rich cultural identity.
We enjoyed awesome ‘private’ touring at a fraction of the ship board excursion prices. Ricardo De Franco, owner of Defrantur Argentine accompanied us on an extended 4.5 hours city tour. Aside from the city’s parks and architecture we visited San Telmo, May Square, Government House, the Obelisk, 9th of July Boulevard, La Boca, Caminito Street, Madero Port and Palermo Park. We are happy to report that Ricardo’s tour company is still one of the best in town and is celebrating its 20th Anniversary.
Our new Argentine friend Ricardo De Franco
City Tours page:
Ricardo recommended an outrageous evening at the city’s famous Senor Tango nightclub. Imagine smoke, mirrors and real horses on stage. Add to this cirque soleil type aerial acts and the finest, boldest Tango dancers plus an open bar all for the $30 (in 2002). At the time Senor Tango was rated far superior to the ship’s choice for its evening night club excursion.
Senor Tango: http://www.senortango.com.ar/
Ricardo came through big time on day #2 in Buenos Aires with his recommended six hours day time Gaucho Fiesta excursion to Estancia Santa Susan, a 2,965 acre working Pampas Ranch in the Argentine countryside. First a lavish Asado Barbeque of steak, chicken and sausages served from a 20 foot long grill, sides and endless wine and huge quart sized bottles of local beer.
Add to this a local music, Tango and folklore show
followed, after lunch, by the main attractions: an outdoor Gaucho riding exhibition showing of their skills at Tropillas (herding horses) and the famous Carreras de Sortijas ring races. Next, any and all could mount a steed and were off for 20 minutes of pure Pampas excitement. Finally, we toured the ranch house, converted into a Gaucho museum.
Penguins, Penguins and more Penguins. In a flash our a private van tour arranged by Steve found us racing from the port, a full 30 minutes ahead of the cruise ship’s buses, toward Punta Tombo the largest Penguin sanctuary in the Americas and home to more than one million Magellan Penguins in peak season. Many were waddling past us or sleeping within 2-3 feet from us as we walked by. Adults weigh up to 12lbs. Because it was off season there were ‘only’ about
50,000 penguins at hand. Here is one of OUR actual Ponta Tombo photos and YES that is our shadow. Penguin was suggesting we 'bother' one of the other 50,000 penguins and stop blocking his sun!
CAPE HORN: Seas were high as we enjoyed a birds eye view from the bridge. Imagine all the ships that never made it through this devils playground. Total, riveting excitement.,
The last of our Defrantur private excursions was in Ushuaia, the southern most city in the world. Nestled below snow capped peaks it offers sanctuary to those gathering supplies before sailing the final 500 miles to Antarctica. Enjoy the quaint town and nearby scenic Tierra Del Fuego National Park, with its marvelous lakes, that stretches from Argentina on one side to Chile on the other. We hiked around two lakes and explored beaver dams with our private naturalist guide. Then, we enjoyed a mid-afternoon traditional lamb barbeque at the Tolkeyen Restaurant. A perfect Ushuaia day!
PUERTO MONTT, CHILE
This was our final private van tour. We recommend an all day excursion to Petrohue Falls and Chile’s lake district plus a visit to the nearby City of Roses, Puerto Varas. Although not nearly as awesome as Iguassu it is nevertheless part and parcel of a lovely day of exploration including a walk on the shore of Lake Lianquihue with remarkable views of nearby Osorno-Calbuco volcanoes.
For many cruise passengers Valparaiso is the final or first stop depending on the direction of their cruise. Without doubt the place to visit is the nearby beach resort area of Vina Del Mar. This area offers a fabulous ocean highway drive plus white sand beaches and the happening town of Vina Del Mar with its bountiful restaurants and shops.
TIP: SAVING big $$$ on excursions. Consider these savings and perhaps you too will arrange for private tours which offer small groups (no bus hordes), deluxe A/C vans, private guide and cost much LESS. This is what we saved in 2002. The savings percentages should be accurate although prices for both ship board and private tours have increased substantially since our cruise:
* Buenos Aires City Tour: Ship price $37 - Our private tour price $16
* Gaucho Fiesta Tour: Ship price $92.50 - Our price $60
* Senor Tango Night Club: Ship price for a lesser known club with one drink $60 - Our price for top rated Senor Tango with an open bar $30
* Punta Tombo Penguin Sanctuary: Ship price $78 - Our private van price $33.50
* Ushuaia Tierra Del Fuego Park: Ship price $47 - Our price the same $47 BUT our private van tour was two hours longer and included that yummy restaurant lamb barbeque lunch.
*Puerto Montt Petrohue Falls Tour: Ship price $100 -Our private van price $50.
For day tour in Puerto Montt:
Punta Tombo Penguin Colony Tour
SAVE 50% ON ALL ENTERTAINMENT BOOKS
Hot off the PRESS so to speak....meaning we just received the latest email discount notice from the fine people at Entertainment Publications. For many years we have extolled the praises of Entertainment's mostly 2 for 1 dining, attractions and other discounts. Their books are offered in most states plus Australia and Canada.
Our best example is Hawaii. Ex. The Hawaii book is now being sold at 50% off for $17.50 plus a modest $1.79 S/H so the total price is $20.29. Most of the book is devoted to Oahu with hundreds of dollars of savings of every kind and description, from fine dining and fast food eateries to a grand variety of sightseeing and water sports attractions. We use the Hawaii book for our visits to Maui. Despite the sparse number of Maui discounts we have confirmed that the new 2009 book includes at the very least these long time favorites.These savings alone add up to $80. That is like putting $60 'profit' in your vacation pocket:
* Kobe Teppan Steakhouse in historic Lahaina Town ($20 free meal)
* Bada Bing - a totally fun, wooden deck umbrella tabled Italian eatery in Kihei (free $15 meal)
* The Royal Terrace Bar and find dining restaurants on the beach in Kaanapali (both coupons worth about $35 in free meals)
* The Stopwatch restaurant, with its lovely garden dining setting, in Maui's western Makawao town ($10 free meal).
Add to this scores of fast food and casual eateries and non-major but fun attractions (anyone for Glow Golf?) attractions that add a minimum of $50 in additional savings. You may check out the savings for the books of interest to you and order books at 50% off at: http://www.entertainment.com/ favorites:
STEVE’S GIZMO COLUMN
WANT TO ENJOY A NEW AND UNIQUE PHOTO EXPERIENCE ON YOUR NEXT TRIP?
Our upcoming trip to Barcelona, Paris and NYC will find me reaching yet another destination........namely.......GIZMO ‘heaven.’ I say this because I shall be field testing not just one or two but three varied, high tech travel related products. This column will introduce you to two of these products. The third Gizmo will be covered in our next Spring ‘09 edition.
Many of us enjoy return trips to our favorite destinations. Whether you are returning to Paris, Rome, London, Maui, Greece or some other favorite spot it is likely that you have already taken scores of photos and shot lots of video. How much fun it would be to capture the essence of these favorite places in a new, unique way?
and the wonderful new world of awesome, inexpensive 3D still photography. Forget spending hundreds of dollars on an exotic 3D camera. With Photo3-D you can use any digital still camera you already own.
Before I explain how it works many of you can check out my early results right here and now. I am betting that some of you, like me, have an old pair of red and blue 3D glasses lying around the house. If you do, now is the time to grab hold of them.
Just 15 minutes after my Photo3-D Kit arrived I took this very first picture of flowers on our kitchen table. Again, not a single practice shot was needed. This was my very first photo. Imagine getting similar shots of orchards on Maui! I took the second fun and dramatic 3D picture of Thailand 'Teddie' (not to be confused with any teddy bear) our favorite souvenir gold plated/mirrored elephant. We purchased 'Teddie' during our visit to Chaing Mae, Thailand. Yes, the 50lb souvenir was crated and shipped home.
HOW DOES IT WORK:
For the tech minded this type of 3D process, using overlapping red and blue images viewed with red/blue glasses, is called Analgraph 3D. While this process has been around for ages it is Photo3-D’s computer software program that is new. This special software program will allow you to instantly turn your photos into 3D masterpieces. The first step is to place your camera on the included bracket. You must take two photos of each subject. The 2 photos mimic the slightly different views seen by your right and left eyes. Next you simply slide the camera to a position marked on the bracket and take your photo. You then move the camera to a second position on the bracket and take your second final photo.
The final step takes no more than a few minutes. First, import the pictures into your computer and then use Photo3-D’s special software to create the final 3D image on your computer’s screen. The image can be easily adjusted if necessary. Now the fun options begin. After you save the 3D photo to a folder the photo may be printed in perfect 3D, placed in a cyber photo album as I do or emailed to family and/or friends.,
EXTRA GLASSES: May be purchased from Photo3-D. However, I saved over 50% when I placed an Ebay order for ten glasses for $2.00 including free shipping. I shall report on the quality of these low cost glasses in our next issue.
The Photo3-D Kit includes everything you will need to take and create 3D photos using your digital still camera and computer. The kit includes:
(1) Photo3-D’s special camera bracket
(2) A handy combination pistol grip and mini-tripod
(3) The all important Photo3-D software
(4) A variety starter packet of 3D glasses ready to be shared with family and friends
STEVE’S CYBER 3D ALBUM: Those of you with red/blue 3D glasses are invited to enjoy my new 3D cyber album. All these photos were taken shortly after I received the Photo3-D Kit.
Here is our album LINK: http://imageevent.com/worldromer/photo3dimages
STEVE’S FIELD TEST: Given my first test photos I can already inform you that Photo3-D delivers quality, homemade 3D photos. All that remains is for us to see how well we are able to capture the essence of Barcelona and Paris in 3D. I can assure you I look gleefully forward to shooting such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumphe, Gaudi architecture and famed ‘living statues’ on Barcelona’s Rambla. Upon our return I shall be writing my usual post trip field test final review.
Want more information on Photo3-D? Can not wait until my field test report to get your hands on your own Photo3-D Kit? Here is all the information you need:
Cost: The Photo3-D Kit is priced at $129 direct from Mission3D. I was unable to find any lower prices online.
The Photo3-D Guarantee: I like companies that back-up their products. Mission3D, the company that makes Photo3-D, offers an iron clad 90-Day Money Back Guarantee and Return Policy. Here is how they explain it: Our guarantee is that you will be able to successfully take a 3-D photo using our product, or we return the purchase price of the product....
CONTACT INFO: Check out the cool Photo3-D web site which brims with all you will need to know including online order number: http://www.photo3-d.com/
POOR Wi-Fi SIGNALS?
Wi-FIRE MAY BE THE ANSWER
WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR
No doubt that many readers would not think of leaving home without their laptop. On the other and we have never traveled with a laptop owing to very prohibitive cost of ultra light weigh models. Recently, however, we learned that times have changed with the advent of low cost super light weight netbooks. At 2.6lbs and a price tag of we were ready to jump on the netbook band wagon. Just weeks ago our shiny red Lenovo S10 netbook arrived on our doorstep. The S10 is tiny in stature but large in specs with such as a 160GB HD, built-in WiFI and web cam.
I next purchased another technical wonder, a mini 5 ounce palm sized Western Digital Passport 320GB Hard Drive. After Costco’s $30 discount the price of the Wester HD was just $79. In preparation for our trip I have loaded a library of over 40 full length movies onto the mini HD.
The key to using the S10 in our Barcelona and Paris apartments is wireless WiFI signal reception. Without a good signal the netbook will be useless. I decided to turn the odds of getting a good to excellent signal in our favor. After researching scores of signal improving devices I found the ‘best’ of the small sized boosters.
Enter hField Technology’s Wi-FIRE. Why Wi-Fire? Here are the top reasons given by hField Technology:
* Extends range up to 1,000 feet. If Wi-Fire delivers on this promise it there will be thumbs up all around.
* Numerous reviews like this one: “Unbelievable range. Best throughput, bar none.”— Maximum PC
* hField says it best: You could (waste time) looking around for the closest and strongest access point. You could suffer through a spotty, slow connection that drops at the most inopportune time. Or you can plug in your Wi-Fire, see multiple hot spots you never even knew existed and be online!
Weighing at a mere 4oz the only remaining issue was price. Wi-FIRE’s $79 price will be worth every dollar if Wi-FIRE delivers as promised. We plan to put Wi-FIRE through its travel ‘paces’ in both our Barcelona and Paris apartments, out and around in both cities and on trains, planes (if permitted) and at airports. At this point I am optimistic that Wi-FIRE has turned the odds of getting good signal reception in our favor.
Until our pre-trip departure May '09 Spring issue.......................
HAPPY, SAFE, MONEY
SAVING (now more than
STEVE and PATTY