A New Camera & A New Laptop… I Guess Christmas Wasn’t Quite Over!

GoProHDHero2For the past few years there have been quite a few times when I’ve found myself wishing I’d had a GoPro camera for a variety of purposes, such as:

  • Capturing traffic from ahead and behind on our local rides… just in case.
  • Investigating fork and frame deflection during different riding conditions.
  • Looking at wheel deflection under cornering loads.
  • Investigating possible pedal stroke / biomechanics / fitting issues.
  • Capturing epic rides with either video or time-lapse / stills that we’ve not mastered with a stoker-cam (she prefers to focus on riding when cycling, but does a good job on the motorcycle).
  • Same thing as above but on the motorcycle, e.g., checking shock travel, epic rides.
  • Just fooling around with time-lapse photography around the house and on travels.

Over the Christmas break I finally decided to test the waters by picking up a second-hand unit via Craigslist.


Well, after I spent a little time reading through the on-line manuals and learning how to use the little camera, to include the nifty little LCD backpack screen, I noticed the image area had some “fuzzy spots” when it passed through any direct light and otherwise distorted most other images.



Well, it never dawned on me to check the lens for damage since these cameras come with a protective case, but sure enough… the lens had been nicked and scratched.

Oh well, I guess I should feel lucky that this is the first time I’ve gotten something that wasn’t quite as advertised on an on-line, ebay or Craiglist transaction given how many I’ve done over the years, to include several very expensive used bike purchases and sales.

Anyway, since we’re talking about a relatively low-dollar transaction, I really have no recourse.  I’ll just chalk it up as another life’s lesson learned: trust but verify.  I now know a lot more about GoPro cameras than I did before and, yes… there is still good value in the balance of the equipment that came with the camera IF I can find a new-old-stock GoPro Hero 2 in a sealed package as the accessories are not compatible with the newer GoPro Hero 3’s.

apple_macbook_whiteAnother unintended consequence of stepping into the world of videography, I was also forced to acknowledge that my 2007 vintage MacBook 2.1 which is barely able to support OS X 10.5 — as well as Debbie’s HP DV9000 series laptop — was not up to the task.  Actually, the poor thing has been worn-out and falling apart for the last year: the letters are worn off 1/2 of the keys and of those 1/2 of them have worn through the plastic key face!

Coming on the heels of my GoPro experience, I opted to buy from my local Apple dealer, MicroCenter, and the same Apple “Genius” who sold me my last laptop back in June of 2007: Ruth!  After looking over all of the current, non-upgradeable models, last year’s 13″ upgradeable and Mini’s, the most attractive option became a refurbished, Apple Certified   late 2011 model, MacBook Pro 17″ with Apple One-Year Warranty.

macbookproIt checked all the boxes for having enough horsepower, is still upgradable and expandable and, well, the price was also attractive; about the same as what I paid for my 13″ MacBook 2.1 back in 2007!

  • Intel Core i7 Processor 2.2GHz
  • 4GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM
  • 750GB 5,400RPM Hard Drive
  • AMD Radeon HD 6750M and Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • 8x DL SuperDrive
  • 802.11n Wireless
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • 17″ LED-backlit Glossy Widescreen Display

The camera I have in my hot little hands should still work well-enough for most of the near-term things I’d like to try and capture, to include being fastened under my truck to see if I can’t isolate an annoying, persistent “clunk” that’s been driving me nuts for several years: not exactly “low risk” duty that should be well suited for the well-worn Go-Pro camera.  The various mounts that I’ll need to use it on the bike should be here within the week, as I found a retailer up in Brooklyn with some attractive pricing.  After that, the fun will begin in earnest.  No, no…  I promise that I won’t inundate the blog with long, monotonous videos.  I don’t plan on sinking too many hours into this adjunct hobby to my primary hobbies.  It should just make it a bit easier to capture some things on video and as either stills or time-lapse that I haven’t been able to do with a hand-held digital camera.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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