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My new Canon EOS R7: test photos, growing pains, lessons learned November 4, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Personal, Photography.
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NOTE: Ordinarily, I shrink photos for blog posts, but all photos in this post are their original sizes.

After a week of deliberation, research, and consultation with a Facebook group, I opted to make the Canon EOS R7 my next camera, and entry into the mirrorless realm, rather than the more expensive Nikon Z7II that I said I was considering in my PC build post.

My decision was influenced by the realization that the Nikon 18-300mm superzoom lens I bought last April for the D5500 is a DX lens (for APS-C cameras like D5500), and the Z7II is an FX/full-frame camera. If I used that lens on the Z7II via the FTZ II adapter, the photos would be cropped and the resolution more than halved. Instead of using all of its 45 MP (megapixels), I’d probably use 26. Plus, Nikon’s superzoom Z lens only has a range of 24 to 200mm. I could live with six less millimeters on the wide end, but not 100 less narrow.

I was uncertain about leaving the Nikon ecosystem for my primary camera (keeping the D5500 as a secondary one). I even took a risk the Thursday before WCWP Homecoming Weekend, October 13, by bidding around $1,800 for a used Z7II (shutter count near 8,000) on eBay that had its menu stuck in traditional Chinese (called “an Asian language” by the seller). I was willing to buy and then use the Google Translate app’s camera feature to translate to English so I could reset the menu language to English.

I still hadn’t been outbid come Saturday afternoon, October 15. Then, just as I was telling Bernie Bernard in WCWP’s studio 3 that I expected to be outbid before the auction ended Sunday night, October 16, I was outbid. That did it: Sunday night, I was going all in on the EOS R7 and bringing my interchangeable lens history full circle.

I was introduced to SLRs (no D prefix yet) in 1999 via my dad’s Canon EOS Rebel G. I used it at sporting events – such as a New York Mets game that year and in 2001 (16 days before 9/11) – and at some other personal events with the speedlight attached.

Here’s a photo from each:

After that second Mets game, I didn’t use an SLR camera again until my jazz fan/photographer friend Katherine Gilraine recommended a Nikon DSLR in 2012. Starting that May, I transitioned from a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 to a Nikon D3100. I started with only the kit 18-55mm lens and used the Lumix for long shots, but when I bought a 55-300mm lens in December, the Lumix was retired. I gifted it to my friend Kelly who still uses it today.

At first, I purchased a backordered EOS R7 camera body and backordered spare LP-E6NH battery from Amazon; due to arrive in early December and mid-November, respectively. All my other purchases would deliver between two and five days later.

Monday morning, October 17, impatience took over and I searched for a site that had the body available now and at a low price. Google determined Abe’s of Maine was the cheapest and I ordered from them for $200 less than I’d have spent on the canceled Amazon backorder. Members of the Facebook group reminded me of Abe’s bad reputation and gray market items. Message board threads I found on Google noted their shady practice of upselling. They weren’t even an authorized U.S. Canon dealer. I was in denial, latching on to this marginally positive thread post. Most retailers ship by the day after ordering, but not Abe’s of Maine. Instead, Wednesday afternoon, October 19, a representative e-mailed me to call and confirm my order. I naively thought it was that simple. Wrong! I dialed the rep’s extension, but another rep answered and routed me to the rep. He upsold me! Did I want the body itself and no battery or to pay more with the battery? And so on. Whatever I chose, I was going to spend more money. So, I vehemently canceled my order. And if I had thoroughly read the first thread I linked to, I’d have seen a post with the same problem:

… About 4 days after placing the order, I received an email asking me to call to “confirm” the order, which I did. The man thanked me for confirming because he wanted to make sure that it was really me and not somebody using my card. Fair enough. But then he pulled the old bait and switch, telling me that the US market version of the lens would be better and he could upgrade me if I wanted to pay more. I then told him that I didn’t appreciate the bait and switch tactic. He then said to me “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Is there something wrong with you?” Truly, he said this to me. I told him to cancel, and he said OK with no hesitation. My card was not charged and I got a confirmation of the cancellation. Just be aware that what you read about Abe’s of Maine is true.

Chet K, DPReview thread post, 2/22/21

Within minutes, a godsend materialized in my renewed Google search. An authorized Canadian Canon dealer, Excellent Photo in Quebec, was selling a legitimately new, factory-sealed R7 body for only $39 more (in USD) than I would have spent from Abe’s. Sold! It took less than an hour for Excellent Photo to ship the camera body! The FedEx driver walked it up my driveway Friday evening, October 21. I was so excited that I met him halfway instead of having him leave it on the front porch.

Thursday morning, October 20, inspired by my Excellent Photo experience, I looked for a retailer that had the LP-E6NH in stock and found Service Photo out of Baltimore (their listing), canceling that Amazon backorder. The battery was delivered by UPS Friday afternoon.

Wednesday morning, I researched Canon gadget bags that could fit the R7 with a control ring mount adapter and Tamron 18-400mm lens for Canon EF mounts. The dimensions on the 200ES bag seemed big enough, so I bought that on eBay. I bought the adapter, Tamron lens, and Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT from separate eBay sellers on Sunday night. The adapter is for RF-mounted Canon mirrorless cameras; what the FTZ (or FTZ II) adapter is for Nikon’s mirrorless Z series. It was another Thursday arrival, along with the smaller-than-I-thought gadget bag. The speedlight and lens were waiting for me at home late Wednesday evening. (Fun fact for Long Islanders: Canon U.S.A.’s headquarters are in Melville and Tamron Americas is based in Commack.)

My Amazon purchases were two SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SDXC cards, a 72mm Tiffen UV filter for the Tamron lens, and a menu screen protector.

After the R7 body arrived Friday evening, I photographed my haul, the last photo of my D5500’s life as a primary camera:

Some of the R7 Facebook group were displeased with my choice of SD cards. I was unaware that there were two classes of UHS speed – UHS-I and UHS-II – and three video speed classes – V30, V60, and V90. (This post explains both sets of classes.) I had bought UHS-I V30 cards. I wouldn’t have fast write speeds or buffering when shooting in bursts. I told the doubting members what photography I specialize in, and they said I’d be fine.

To help pay off my purchases, I took photos of all my retired equipment and put them up for auction on eBay. Outside of a never-used video capture card, I listed my Nikon lenses, Nikon D5100 camera, JVC Everio GZ-HM320BU camcorder, and Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder. I included all accessories I retained (manuals, cables, batteries, power supply) or added (UV filters, SD cards, spare battery). (As of publication on Friday, November 4, I have sold all but the two camcorders.)

Preoccupied with the WCWP Homecoming Weekend recap, I didn’t set up and get acquainted with the R7 until Sunday morning, October 23. The camera with adapter, lens, and lens hood fit snug inside the bag (photos taken with my iPhone):

Once the first battery was charged, I began testing exclusively at 400mm:

Having success with my Nikon cameras’ JPEG fine mode, I never thought to shoot RAW. The JPEGs looked great, only having a smartphone camera appearance at a high ISO, and they were always 300 PPI. However, the Canon EOS R7’s JPEGs are 72 PPI like your average display, camcorder, or smartphone camera. Even with countless reviewers stating that there is no difference in quality, I didn’t like JPEG processing quality on the R7. So, I tried a RAW photo, my first ever:

I finally had a reason to use Adobe Lightroom – for exporting any RAW photos as JPEGs before editing them in Photoshop Elements 2020 (2023 version). Yes, I have regular Photoshop, and you can edit in Lightroom, but I like Photoshop Elements’ editing tools better. The photo above was edited in Lightroom, though, and the EXIF data showed that Lightroom exports at 240 PPI. Thus, I would now shoot in RAW, export to JPEG, and edit accordingly. If the photo is too sharp, I would despeckle.

I wasted an hour attempting to pair the R7 to my computer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Neither worked, but it does work with my iPhone while Canon’s CameraConnect app is open. I use that app’s location information feature so the GPS location is included in a photo. If I forget to open the app, no GPS tracking.

I noticed a USB-C port on the left side. Without a cable included in the box, I used my PlayStation 5‘s C to type A cable to transfer files to my PC. Then, I bought a two-pack of 3-foot USB-C to type A cables on Amazon. One cable was for my bag to use with my laptop, and the other is for desktop transfers at home. The connection feels loose, but not enough to snap off in mid-transfer.

I didn’t test on Monday, October 24, due to rainy weather, but on Tuesday the 25th, I brought the bag with me in my dad’s car for the camera’s ultimate test: does the IBIS (in-body image stabilization) work in a moving vehicle?

Not really, or at least not with the Tamron lens:

What worked on Sunday in my bedroom did not work in a moving vehicle. The lens seldom focused beyond 200mm, especially in low light. In sports or panning mode, it went in and out of focus with each successive frame. The traffic lights or road signs were visible, and then they weren’t. I even had focus issues in the conference room for the last of the above test photos. What’s worse, a little bit of dust found its way in front, even with a UV filter attached.

I felt awful, worse than with the PC build. In my desire for one lens to rule them all, I should have just bought Canon’s RF 24-240mm lens. And I did, with a hood, while attempting to return the Tamron. (I’d keep the control ring adapter for a future Canon EF lens and save the 72mm UV filter for the RF 24-240.)

Then, a Facebook group member who got the Tamron lens to work with his R7 tried to coach me on how to get it to work for me. He said I needed to make some adjustments in settings, like turning off subject recognition, which was set to find people. I took another set of test photos with no focus issues:

Thinking the problem was solved, I canceled the Canon lens/hood order and Tamron lens return. Unfortunately, my troubles were far from over. There was an error message whenever I had the camera set to scene priority (sports, panning): “the attached lens does not provide stabilization for subjects.” In other words, my lens couldn’t take advantage of the camera’s IBIS feature. That meant the morning’s problems were back with a vengeance: in and out of focus, locked out of taking a photo due to no focus (red rectangle), motion blur. I lost my mind. Here are the passable test photos:

Back at home, the group member made another attempt to solve my issue. Once his guidance felt useless (referring me to a menu option I couldn’t find), I rage quit the group, rebought the 24-240 lens/hood, and renewed my return request to the eBay seller for the Tamron lens. Once the seller said they’d have a return label ready for printing, I took the lens and its hood off the body and put them back in the box with all manuals and warranty info, sealing the top and bottom with whatever bubble wrap I could find. On Wednesday, October 26, they provided the label and enclosed invoice, and I brought everything to The UPS Store for shipping.

As with the PC build, the Technology Connections Discord chat server finally got me to realize what the R7 group members were trying to get me to understand: Canon’s RF lenses are full-frame; the R7 is APS-C. The image will be slightly zoomed in but not cropped, the opposite scenario of Nikon DX lenses on the Z7II. 24-240mm is more like 35-350mm. And that’s when I did what most of the group preferred: buy an RF-S 18-150mm lens and RF 100-400mm lens (after canceling the 24-240 order). I bought Chiaro Pro UV filters for the lenses, 58mm and 67mm, but not hoods. I’d have to make do without them for now.

I rejoined the group, apologizing for my sudden departure, and letting them know what I had done. They were pleased, but the Tamron lens member warned I may still have the same issue with the RF lenses. I told him I would reach out to him if I did.

In the midst of Tuesday’s craziness, my dad and I swapped camera gadget bags. The Canon 200ES now houses his Nikon gear and I have his old AmazonBasics bag.

The new Canon lenses and Chiaro filters arrived on Thursday, October 27. Well, the filters and 100-400mm lens were new, but the 18-150mm lens was used with a 9+ condition rating from B&H. Here’s how they looked out of the boxes:

My next task was to apply the 18-150 lens to the R7 body:

Then, test time:

I switched to the 100-400 lens…:

…and tested that:

I was impressed with the results, and surprised by how the R7 compensates for the flash on its own. The last four photos were nearly identical.

The true test was to come on Halloween morning; Monday, October 31.

In the meantime, let’s see how the gear fits in Dad’s AmazonBasics bag while the 100-400mm lens is attached:

…and the 18-150mm:

The top compartment houses the spare USB-C to Type A cable and the rear cap of whatever lens is connected:

The cable in action on the desktop:

Opening the RAW photos in Lightroom…:

…and exporting as 240 PPI JPEGs…:

…to edit in Photoshop Elements:

The RAWs and JPEGs together:

After the JPEG export, I only keep a few RAWs for reference.

The Tamron lens was delivered to the seller on Friday, October 28, and a refund was issued. My nightmare was over. Yet, I occasionally saw photos posted to the R7 Facebook group taken with lenses like the one I returned – or Canon EF lenses. Their photos were crystal clear and perfectly focused. I guess I just need to “git gud” (get good), as the meme goes.

On the evening of Saturday, October 29, I discovered I could use Adobe Lightroom Classic to export RAW photos at 300 PPI, just as the Nikons natively saved fine JPEGs. Here’s the last October 27 test photo at 300 PPI:

The quality and file size were the same, which confirmed what reviewers like this said all along: the PPI doesn’t matter like it does for DPI (dots per inch) when scanning film or prints. (The first Mets game photo was at 400 DPI and the second at 500 DPI.) So, I stuck with 240 PPI exports in regular Lightroom.

I had an earlier opportunity to test the lenses on Sunday, October 30, during a drive to the supermarket, but I opted to wait until Halloween. The wait was worth it! My test with the RF-S 18-150mm lens in the morning was a success! The IBIS seemed to do its job and the R7 had no trouble focusing. I mainly shot in sports mode with a few in auto mode.

The test with the RF 100-400mm lens was equally satisfying once I figured out the car windshield was making 400mm photos blurrier than normal. The wider the focal length, the clearer the photo, and the IBIS is more likely to work. Of course, this is common knowledge to more experienced photographers. Two members of the R7 Facebook group mocked my naivete, and chastised my use of a UV filter because the windshield is already UV-protected. Others politely informed me that wide angle will always provide a clearer view, windshield or not. As for my intended use for road and street sign photography, image stabilization is best at counteracting my hand’s instability, but not so much for motion blur or road vibrations. The photos at a wider length on the 100-400 were clearer, and most photos on other lens were stabilized to the point that motion blur was minimal. Still, on Tuesday, November 1, I sharpened those photos and then despeckled them. This is on top of any other adjustments to a given photo; they are seldom untouched.

Tuesday also started the post-editing practice of going back ino Lightroom to watermark photos I publicize on this blog or social media. Again, I naively held out for over a decade. Live and learn.

Here are the Halloween test photos, starting in the morning with the RF-S 18-150mm…

…and the RF 100-400mm in the afternoon:

I noticed the first quarter (waxing) phase of the moon on Tuesday night and took this photo:

The R7’s higher resolution (6984×4660) and RF 100-400mm’s longer focal length than if I used the D5500 and superzoom 18-300mm lens allowed for a decent leftover resolution: 1993×1572. This photo removed any doubt about taking a moon shot with the UV filter attached.

Tuesday’s photo was in sports mode and the camera automatically chose ISO 6400. Two nights later – Thursday, November 3 – I tried again in shutter priority mode at ISO 100. At first, I only took one photo at a time, at 1/1,000 sand 1/500 shutter speeds. I stayed at 1/500, but switched to burst mode. Out of 58 shots over three sets of bursts, the last one was the best:

The cropped resolution is 2179×1770

The 30th was a close 2nd:

2266×1956

Earlier Thursday, after a morning treadmill run, I noticed the camcorder bag I inherited from family friend Janine looked pretty big. I brought it upstairs in the evening and it was too big, with room to spare! It was also heavier than the AmazonBasics bag, but again, it was free beggars can’t be choosers. Here’s how it looked:

Dad’s bag now houses my current camcorder, a Panasonic HC-X1500 with VW-HU1 hand unit.

So many lessons were learned in my first ten days with the Canon EOS R7, and I will probably learn more in the weeks and months ahead. I haven’t even tried shooting video yet, speaking of camcorders. Wish me luck with it all.

Thank you for reading and viewing.

Photos from Dutchess County trip, drive back home October 28, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Aviation, Baseball, Biking, Comedy, Film, Fire, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Politics, Radio, Running, Sci-Fi, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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In two of my Homecoming Weekend posts (live show, main post), I referenced a family trip to Dutchess County the prior weekend. This post is about that trip.

Back in the spring, my mom sprung the trip on me: a few of my relatives were going to run a race – The Fall Foliage Half Marathon and 5K – in Rhinebeck on the Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend and we would all be put up in a nearby AirBNB. I initially panicked, worried that it would conflict with Homecoming Weekend (henceforth, HCW), but one of my alumni friends assured me the LIU Sharks‘ Homecoming football game would likely be the following weekend. And in recent years, it has been held on the third Saturday of October. My conscience was clear and I was prepared for the trip.

I assumed the AirBNB would be in Rhinebeck and my parents, sister, and I would leave for there on the morning of Friday, October 7. Instead, we were to leave in the mid-afternoon and the house was in Staatsburg. I had an extra day to prepare since I decided not to go to New York Comic Con this year, or ever again, due to my disenchantment with the event and a need to save money for paying off my PC build. (And then, a week later, I went and bought a new camera and related equipment, which I’m still trying to get the hang of.)

I have a mixed record when it comes to time management. More often than not, I mismanage my time, and that’s what I did prior to departure on Friday afternoon. In the days leading up to the weekend, I tried to get as many radio shows recorded as possible to allow for a sizable buffer of weeks ahead. I only managed to produce and record the HCW prerecord and one regular show (November 16). I finished creating the playlist for the live HCW show with only an hour to spare before leaving the house.

Annotations for the live show and next regular show (November 23) were done from my laptop during downtime at the AirBNB. It was not an easy task with constant action at breakfast time or with babies occasionally crying indefinitely, all amplified by the hardwood floors on the main floor. Most of the regular show annotations were done on Sunday evening when I had the house to myself and then in my bedroom with white noise blaring in my earbuds.

Don’t chalk this up to disdain for the experience that weekend. Overall, I had a great time seeing the sights and catching up with relatives.

My parents and I left at 3:15 Friday afternoon and drove five minutes east to pick up my sister at her apartment. Four hours of traffic and spotty cell service later, we arrived at the AirBNB on Connelly Drive in Staatsburg.

For privacy’s sake, I won’t include photos of the house’s interior or of my family, but here are two exterior shots I took Saturday afternoon:

The rest of the post is dedicated to scenery photos taken from Saturday, October 8, to the ride home on Monday, October 10.

First, two more negatives:

  • The Mets completed their unraveling by losing their National League Wild Card Series to the Padres. I found out about their game 1 loss Saturday morning, game 2 win Sunday morning, and game 3 loss seconds after it happened Sunday night. It was extremely demoralizing. I spent five months of my life believing this was the year the Mets would win their third World Series, allowing me not to care if they’d win a fourth in my lifetime. Five months of my life were wasted for nothing, including hours spent editing photos from the two games I attended. Obviously, I won’t make a slideshow of photos from that second game, which turned out to be the apex of the Mets’ season; all downhill from there. I hadn’t thrown away so many months expecting an outcome that didn’t happen since the 2012 presidential election. And I was away from home that night, too, at a family friend’s house in Rockville Centre, waiting for power to be restored back at my Wantagh home. (It was the next afternoon.) (11/1 UPDATE: Whoops, forgot to note power was lost during Sandy. I wrote about my experience here.) Incidentally, that family friend now lives an hour north of where we were and she met up with us Sunday in downtown(village) Rhinebeck.
  • In another case of time mismanagement, I hurriedly and anxiously shaved my face and neck on Saturday and Sunday, making everyone wait before we could drive to wherever we were going. I cut myself in multiple places, and contemplated going back to an electric razor after nearly 20 years of a manual razor with five-blade cartridges. My dad generously bought one for me as an early birthday present on Monday morning. As of publication, I’m still mastering it. Most of my face is easy to shave, but I can’t get all the hairs off my neck, above my chin, or below my sideburns.

Now for the photos. Saturday morning, October 8, included a trip to the Kesicke Farm Fall Festival (more alliteration) in Rhinebeck. One day after warm and slightly humid conditions, conditions were sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 50s. I brought a winter hat and light gloves on the trip, but only needed the gloves.

Returning to the AirBNB:

Sunday, October 9, brought us back to Rhinebeck. I packed my camcorder and tripod on Friday because I thought we’d be watching the end of the races Sunday. I thought wrong. I did use the camcorder Saturday afternoon to record soccer practice with my sister and our cousin. We did, however, walk up and down Market Street in Rhinebeck. That made me think of a song bearing that name by Yellowjackets from the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home soundtrack. Of course, the film was based in San Francisco, not Rhinebeck, but Rhinebeck was the location of Spyro Gyra‘s last album of original music to date, The Rhinebeck Sessions.

Another pair of road signs on the way back to Staatsburg:

While I was walking through Rhinebeck, my dad biked to and from the Ashokan Reservoir via the Ashokan Rail Trail. Those are the first two photos below. He took the third Sunday evening while everyone but me traveled to the Walkway Over the Hudson. (I stayed in Staatsburg.)

Monday morning, October 10, I spotted three wild turkeys walking through the AirBNB’s backyard. I went outside to take photos with my phone, and ended up following them several yards into the woods.

Trembling from excitement and anxiety (I wanted to go home), I shot this shaky video:

We left for Wantagh at around 10:30 AM. These photos were taken on the way to the Taconic State Parkway:

On the parkway:

I-84:

I-684 (briefly in Connecticut):

I-287:

The Hutchinson River Parkway/I-678 (supplementing my photos from May 1):

The Cross Island Parkway:

And finally, the Grand Central Parkway/Northern State Parkway:

It took less than 2 1/2 hours to drive from Staatsburg to Wantagh. After a short treadmill run to compensate for Friday’s shortened run, I tried my best to unwind. I edited Saturday’s and Sunday’s photos at the AirBNB, but took care of Monday’s photos at my remote location on Tuesday and Wednesday (October 11 and 12). After uploading the scenery photos (and selfie) to WordPress and making a rough draft of this post with only the photos, I shifted my focus to HCW (Homecoming Weekend, if you forgot) and finally wrote a recap on the 24th, publishing today, the 28th. Thank you for reading it all and I hope you liked the photos.

2022 LIU Post & Homecoming Weekend, WCWP Hall of Fame Announcement October 22, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Pop, Radio, Rock, Travel, Video.
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Other recaps: 20082009WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011)20122013201420152016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021

Four months after going into the WCWP Hall of Fame, I returned to the campus of LIU Post for part of WCWP‘s Homecoming Weekend programming block, the first under new station manager Pete Bellotti. (The list of 2022 HOF inductees comes later in this recap.)

Friday, October 14

This year, Homecoming Weekend started an hour earlier, at 11AM, making for 61 hours of alumni-run shows. In August, Bernie Bernard earned a Master of Arts degree from Florida Atlantic University. Her aural thesis on pirate radio led off the weekend:

The second show, at noon, was also prerecorded: a compilation of select episodes of Bill Mozer’s WCWP Alumni Career Path Podcast:

Bill filled out the time remaining by twice playing “Kei’s Song” by David Benoit. I went to Hillwood Commons to get a bottle of water and on the walk back to the Abrams Communication Center (home of WCWP), I was stunned to hear the song playing (the first time) on the outdoor speakers adjacent to studio 1.

I have a dedicated blog post for my live edition of Instrumental Invasion at 2PM, but here is a snippet:

… I did not draft a talk break script; a live show calls for spontaneity, albeit with annotations to work from. I ended up referencing [my family trip to Dutchess County, subject of a blog post next week] during the show.

I feel like I wasn’t my best without a script, but all that matters is what listeners thought, and they liked it. Naturally, [the show] started with a technical glitch. Automation didn’t switch off [after Bill’s show ended], allowing me to go live from studio 2. I relayed the problem to station manager Pete Bellotti and he had me start the show even though the first minute or so (54 seconds) would go unaired. …

What a coincidence that David Benoit’s latest single of A Midnight Rendezvous is “Pioneer Town.” That allowed me to allude to the days before the One LIU merger when the Brooklyn and Post campuses had separate athletic programs.

For my official archive of the show, I included the unaired part, re-created from the liners I played (mostly as heard on my restart) and amplified/noise reduced camcorder audio. Here is the scope video:

The thumbnail is a photo Pete took of me at the controls, cropped to the 16:9 aspect ratio.

I faded the last song out just in time for automation to kick back in for John Commins at 4PM. To keep listeners from tuning out, I did not acknowledge that he was prerecorded. Within 20 minutes, I had packed up my equipment and headed for home. My video equipment was a Panasonic HC-X1500 with VW-HU1 detachable hand unit, both bought in late March, and my tripod of nearly seven years: a Magnus VT-300. Mozer recommended a Magnus tripod in a discussion at the 2015 Homecoming, but not the one I chose. I don’t remember which one. The HC-X1500/VW-HU1 combo was in lieu of an HC-X2000 built with the hand unit. I didn’t want to pay more for 3G-SDI output. But enough about video gear.

WCWP was entirely live from studio 2 from 6PM to midnight. John Zoni had the 6PM show:

Most photos were taken by Bernie Bernard, on hand for Alan Seltzer’s final WCWP show before moving to Columbus, Ohio.

Alan’s final show was Seltzer with a Twist, starting at 8PM:

There was about 30 seconds of dead air after Alan’s last song finished, so Jay began The DFK (Disco and Funk King) Show seconds before 10PM:

The Young Prince K.J. Mills stayed up late to host The Storm 2.0 at 2AM (I’m counting this as part of Friday’s lineup):

Saturday, October 15

I returned to LIU Post at 1:30 Saturday afternoon. This time, I brought along my GoPro Hero 7 for shooting B-roll. Unlike last year, I did use it, thanks to a flexible tripod I bought in November, inspired by the video of Joe Honerkamp’s show.

In a bold move, I opted not to walk down to the football field to catch part of the LIU Sharks‘ Homecoming game. Considering they were creamed by the Saint Francis Red Flash, 57-7 (box score, recap), I made the right decision. As the game carried on, I sat at my laptop and spoke to any alumni that walked into studio 3, where my laptop was set up for web browsing on my downtime, but otherwise to aircheck the shows following the football game. My aircheck equipment, used Friday and Saturday, was a Behringer U-Phono UFO202 pre-amp connected to a Sangean HDR-16 radio. WCWP also uses the UFO202 for airchecking off FM tuners, doing so to clip key plays in Sharks games. Home airchecks were recorded in Audacity, either on my computer or the guest room computer, then edited in Adobe Audition.

One such alum to drop by during the football game was M.J. Lonardo, known as DJ M.J. during her time at WCWP. The photo I took of her and station manager Pete Bellotti is the first in a series of two-person photos taken throughout the day:

On to photos from Bernie Bernard’s Barbecue Bash (by golly), starting at 4:08 PM:

Here is the aforementioned video:

This was the last video I made in Adobe Premiere Elements 2020, which became too slow and cumbersome to use. I barely finished exporting (not rendering) my aircheck video and copying it to a portable hard drive before hurrying to my mom’s car at 1PM. (I made her late to Freeport High School‘s Homecoming game.) This video took even longer to edit and export on Monday. I didn’t render either video because it would have taken just as long as exporting.

Anyway, here is the audio version with longer lead-outs and the start of the first talk break in the video:

Mike Riccio and Bobby G.’s countdown began at 7:03 PM. Mike couldn’t find a legal ID to run in WaveCart, so I approached the board and picked one. Then, the show began with “Wooden Heart” by Elvis Presley. Editing video of this show has left the end of “Wooden Heart” ingrained in my head. First, the photos:

The video:

This was the first video I worked on in Adobe Premiere Pro, doing so on Tuesday after an hour of figuring out how to apply effects and transitions.

And the audio version, including parts of the last two hours and with extended lead-outs:

As you hear, Bernie was even more involved in the last two hours, which I listened to at home while editing the above photos.

The above photos are the last taken at an event with my Nikon D5500. As Homecoming Weekend was wrapping up, I consulted with a Facebook group for fans and users of the Canon EOS R7 mirrorless camera. I said in my PC build post that I had a Nikon Z7II in mind, but it’s too expensive and I’d have to buy a 24-200mm (not 300) Z lens (I like to use one superzoom lens) to take full advantage of the megapixel increase. My existing F mount 18-300 superzoom would be heavily cropped because it’s not made for full frame cameras like the Z7II. The EOS R7 and all the accessories I bought for it, including a Tamron 18-400 superzoom and control ring mount adapter, cost less combined than a Z7II body alone.

I hope to write about my early experience with the EOS R7 and equipment in a later post, but for now, back to Homecoming Weekend.

Sunday, October 16

I woke up a few minutes into my prerecorded Instrumental Invasion, another show with a dedicated blog post. Otherwise, the scoped aircheck:

When that was over at 8AM, Jay LaPrise (la-PREE) had the first live show of the day:

It wasn’t the first time I was Jay’s lead-in, and in 2007, I was his lead-in. Coincidentally, that live show of mine had an inauspicious beginning that required a redo, but it was only my first live show in exactly nine months.

My attempt at airchecking Jamie Mazzo and Sara Dorchak’s Ladies of Prison Break Radio show at 10AM was a bust. With my weekly Zoom meeting at 11:30, I had to aircheck on my laptop. I should have recorded the audio loopback, like on my desktop, but I didn’t. The same unnatural audio boost problem that kept me up in the hours after my September 14 show afflicted the laptop aircheck.

The Rockin’ Sunday Show with Alana followed at noon, its usual time on a regular Sunday:

Just after 2PM, it was Joe Honerkamp’s turn:

Joe was his usual entertaining self. No one is better at talking up a record (song) than him. He always manages to hit the post.

The last show I airchecked on Sunday was Jett Lightning at 4PM:

Wow, Jay Elzweig sat in on the show! I was so glad to hear his voice and sense of humor.

Saturday, Jett persuaded me to add John Coltrane‘s Blue Train album to my collection. I’m certain he played the title track on his Sunday show for me.

Homecoming Weekend pulled up its stakes at 12:02 AM Monday morning, and on that note, we’ve reached the end of the 2022 recap. Thank you for reading, watching, and listening. Until next year.

Instrumental Invasion, 10/14/22, 2PM (Homecoming Weekend) (Live!) October 16, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Video.
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Friday’s live WCWP Homecoming Weekend show was my first live radio show in three years and the first live show of the 61-hour block (starting at 11AM, not noon)!

The playlist was created only one week before air, on October 7, shortly before a weekend excursion to Staatsburg in Dutchess County with relatives. They were in the area for a half marathon and 5K in Rhinebeck. One of my cousins ran the half marathon while my uncle and another cousin ran the 5K. I drafted this and two other blog posts, along with annotations, on my laptop at the AirBNB we stayed at. I did not draft a talk break script; a live show calls for spontaneity, albeit with annotations to work from. I ended up referencing the trip during the show.

I feel like I wasn’t my best without a script, but all that matters is what listeners thought, and they liked it. Naturally, it started with a technical glitch. Automation didn’t switch off, allowing me to go live from studio 2. I relayed the problem to station manager Pete Bellotti and he had me start the show even though the first minute or so (54 seconds) would go unaired.

I took photos in studio 2 during the latter portion of the show:

Then, I had Pete take photos of me at the controls:

He also took photos for the WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group’s communal photo album:

And I took a self-timed selfie:

Maybe I should have moved the paper in the foreground.

Continuing my another of my Homecoming show traditions, dating back to 2007, I simultaneously shot video to sync with the aircheck scope (and unaired portion). Watch below (in 4K!):

The regular scoped aircheck MP3 (also with the unaired portion) can be downloaded here or listened to below:

The unscoped aircheck (unaired portion, too) is available for download on Google Drive.

Click here to read about the pre-recorded show that aired Sunday morning. The rest of the weekend will have its own blog post on Friday Saturday. 10/27 UPDATE: Here is that post.

The adventure of building my own PC September 10, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Computer, Internet, Personal, Photography, Technology.
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NOTE: This is a long post.

For 3 1/2 years, my bedroom/home studio desktop computer was a Dell XPS 8930 that I had custom built by Dell. All my PCs since 2011, laptop and desktop, had been customized and bought from either Dell or HP.

My needs have grown over time. Media production requires top-of-the-line parts. A video shouldn’t have a render time that’s triple its running time. Photo editors shouldn’t struggle to load files and apply effects, nor should they flicker when operating. On the audio front, it’s frustrating if the computer freezes while airchecking a radio show. That’s one reason I’ve been recording on my computer and the computer in the neighboring guest room: an HP Envy 750-170se, which was even slower than the XPS 8930. And the most annoying thing about the XPS is how its cooling fan screams during an intense task.

Thus, in July, I began searching for a new computer. I had already planned on buying a mirrorless Nikon Z7 II with IBIS (in-body image stabilization), higher maximum resolution, and lower minimum ISO. I’d get it with an FTZ II lens mount adapter so I could keep using my F-mount Nikkor all-in-one lens. (The vertical grip is enticing.) I eventually learned the Z cameras lack a built-in flash and I’d have to buy a speedlight attachment, as well. Review sites like this one recommend a top-of-the-line model, but Nikon recommends what the review site considers #2.

The potential customizations for Dell and HP PCs (desktop homepages here and here) were expensive, but limited in maximum storage and memory. My friends in the Discord chat servers for Technology Connections and Game Dave recommended building my own PC with individual parts. Newegg lets you create, save, and share custom build lists. I shared my build with the TC Discord and they suggested tweaks, which I made. I thought I’d need to double the RAM (random-access memory) of the XPS, from 64GB (gigabytes) to 128GB, but they said 64GB would be fine with the CPU (central processing unit) and GPU (graphics processing unit) I had in mind. 128GB would be overkill.

On the morning of August 27, I had an epiphany: buying the camera before the computer was putting the cart before the horse. I should buy a more powerful computer now (that morning), and save the more advanced camera for later (my birthday in November or Christmastime in December). I made final tweaks to the build to cut costs. I still had highly-rated components, but not as flashy. It all cost $2,890.79, with taxes and shipping yielding a grand total of $3,156.96. The shared build list can be viewed here. If you’re not on a smartphone or don’t have the Newegg app installed (iOS, Android), click the center arrow for full descriptions. 12:30 PM UPDATE: I’ve been told the Newegg build list link doesn’t work for some readers. So, here are direct links to each part (with Newegg’s descriptions):

All but one component arrived between August 30 and September 2:

Yes, I made a gargantuan oversight when picking a tower case: I didn’t check the dimensions! It’s 23.27 inches high, 9.84 wide, and 22.24 deep. No wonder it has straps for carrying at the top. Still, my dad told me that cases that big are better because they allow for more maneuverability during assembly.

The lone late arrival was the mechanical gaming keyboard, scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, September 6. Unfortunately, I wasn’t home to sign for it. Everything else arrived in the evening while I was home, but the UPS driver reached my house in the afternoon on a day when I was out. So, I had to pick it up the next day at my local CVS, a UPS Access Point location.

In the meantime, I was willing to use a spare keyboard temporarily and an old Dell wired USB mouse that I found in a basement storage box as the mouse for my build.

I could have started assembly on Friday, September 2, but bought a new FireWire (IEEE 1394) card on Amazon (this one) rather than swap out the one in my Dell XPS 8930. Amazon is also where I bought an ESD (electrostatic discharge) anti-static wrist strap (this one) to wear during assembly (clipped to the case) and two use licenses for Laplink PCmover Professional, my go-to data migration software since getting the XPS in February 2019 and an HP Omen 15t-dc000 laptop that January. The laptop was superseded by a Dell Alienware m15 R3 in December 2020. I mistakenly sprung for Dell Update, which wasn’t as good as PCmover. I held on to the Omen laptop until cleaning it out last week – uninstalling extra software and logging out of my Microsoft account – and donating it to my sister.

Exactly one week after my purchases – the morning of Saturday, September 3 – I prepped my desk’s computer compartment for its much bigger inhabitant. I unscrewed the door hinges (years after taking out the door), took out the drawer above it (uninhabited for about five years) and unscrewed the supports, removed the plank below the desk center, and unscrewed its supports. There was a cardboard backing behind the compartment that had been partially cut open when I first got the desk in 2004. There was clearance for the back of all computer towers until my build. So, I ripped out what was left.

When the FireWire card was delivered in the afternoon, I began assembling the computer on the guest room L-shaped desk. I had no idea what I was in for.

Hours passed as I struggled to decipher the manuals and juggle parts in my lap, falsely assuming it wouldn’t take long to assemble this to that. I had big trouble with the CPU cooler manual, reading the instructions left to right by column rather top to bottom by row. Somehow, the thermal paste held when I finally figured out how to secure it to the motherboard.

I mistakenly assumed I had to unscrew the motherboard’s back panel exterior before attaching it to the case. No! Why else would the screws be so small?! I had to unscrew the motherboard, re-screw the back panel exterior, then re-screw the board to the case.

Inserting the GPU/graphics card required unscrewing and removing a vertical expansion slot compartment, then removing multiple inserts to house the card. It was a pain fitting the card into the PCI Express slot, then re-screwing the open inserts and re-screwing the vertical compartment. I didn’t bother with the included bracket; the card stood up just fine.

The graphics card made RAM insertion tough, having to finesse them in.

I couldn’t properly screw in the SSD. I settled for barely connecting it with mismatched screws.

The easy parts of assembly were unscrewing the disposable parts of the tower case, screwing in the power supply (the first two things I did), inserting the SATA (Serial ATA) HDD, and attaching most connectors to the motherboard, whether for the components or the case’s front panel. The power LED positive and negative connectors were impossible to secure, but somehow I did.

I usually eat dinner around 4 or 5PM, but it wasn’t until 7PM that I paused assembly to cook and eat it. Then, back to work.

Thinking I had assembled everything, I closed the tower case at around 10:30 and prepped for bed.

After some sleep, I woke up Sunday morning, September 4, ready to turn the computer on, install Windows 11, and start migrating data. It wouldn’t turn on. Thankfully, with the help of Ganiman and Filbert from the Game Dave Discord, I attached connections to the power supply that were mislabeled and I thought were incompatible, but by golly, they all fit and the computer turned on! What a relief!

Notice that the BIOS build date is last December 17. It turns out that predates compatibility with Windows 11. My attempt to install yielded an error message. I figured out on my own to update the BIOS by downloading the latest firmware on the Dell, putting it on a flash drive, and loading it to the new build.

That did the trick. I actually had to install Windows 11 twice (another redo). I initially had it on the HDD, but Ganiman said the SSD is the better option for storing the OS.

After that, the long process of data migration began while I relaxed in my room.

After another night of some sleep, I resumed work on Labor Day morning; Monday, September 5. I moved my desk chair out of the way, disconnected and unplugged the Dell and moved it to the guest room. I left it on the floor and lugged the build into my room.

There’s very little space between the back of the desk and my wall, and less maneuverability for connecting cables. The tower case was too wide to turn towards me. The previous ones could be turned, allowing me to see the back panel from my contorted position to the left of the desk. This time, I had to consult the motherboard manual and connect by feel. Before I could do any of that, I considered placing the case outside to the left and moving the items that had been there – power strip, 8mm camcorder (for digitizing home videos), external FireWire converter (for analog video and audio from camcorders and VCRs) – into the compartment along with the external Blu-ray writer. Realizing that would be a waste of space, I put the tower back in and moved the camcorder and converter under the desk below the keyboard stand, where two 4-head Hi-Fi VCRs were situated. The camcorder went to the left of the VHS VCRs and the converter was seated on the right end of the top VCR. A/V cables were moved to the back.

Three hours later…

It was finally time to open PCmover on the HP Envy and Dell XPS (with the second use license) and transfer from one to the other. In order to see what I was doing, I connected the computers to an HDMI switch that I connected to the monitor, and alternated between them. An error message in PCmover on the Dell said there wasn’t enough room to transfer everything, even when I specified what data would go on the small 512GB SSD C: drive and the bigger 2TB (terabytes) HDD D: drive. Attempts to uninstall and pinpoint folders with the most data didn’t help much. Still another hour had passed once I gave up and transferred anyway.

While that was going on, I made up for lost time by eating a late breakfast in my room and heading to the basement for a treadmill run and weightlifting. After a shower, I checked on the transfer. Despite my specifications, data intended for the D: drive still went to the C:. There were only 10GB left on the C: drive, but clearing unnecessary data brought that number back to around 100GB. I cut and pasted the pictures, documents, music, and videos folder contents to the D: drive along with any other storage folders.

Satisfied, I turned off the computers, unplugged them, and disconnected cables. Then, I got an ultimately-time-consuming idea. Why not take the HDD out of the HP and put it in the Dell as a secondary data drive? Opening the two towers and removing the HDD was easy. Getting into the Dell was where time slipped away. I needed to print out pages from the XPS 8930 maintenance manual to figure out how to seat it. Attempts to remove the graphics card bracket failed, meaning I couldn’t took out the drive slot to screw the drive in place. After attaching the built-in power supply connector and using a spare SATA cable from the motherboard assembly kit, I opened the bag of unused zip ties (cable ties) from my tower case assembly kit and tried to secure the HDD to the slot with them. It worked, but I couldn’t put the right-side cover back on. I seated the drive upside down and the cables were in the way. I tried in vain to swap the straight and right-angle ends of the SATA cable. The zip ties had to be cut off. That’s when I gave up. The HDD would sit loosely in the slot, period. Now, the cover fit back in place and closed securely.

I screwed the HP Envy’s right-side cover back on (much easier), prepared for future disposal, and set up the Dell XPS in its place. I formatted the HP’s HDD and it was ready for use. The only problem was I accidentally allowed PCmover to transfer the built-in HP Recovery software and couldn’t remove it from any drive, not even the “new” one after formatting. Oh, well. I can live with that, too.

Ironically, all my hard labor took place over Labor Day Weekend.

Before I get to the aftermath portion, here are the rest of Monday’s photos:

Aftermath

Things seemed fine on my build once I acclimated to it, but I made another oversight that led to another living nightmare.

The first sign of trouble came Monday morning when I tried to change the built-in FireWire driver to a legacy driver I had used on prior computers. I would just disable the driver and make the change. Wrong! Disabling the drive crashed the computer and forced a reset. I did a test video capture with the irremovable driver and there weren’t any capture freezes (where it thinks there’s no signal) or dropped frames. So, I accepted my fate with the new driver.

The next sign of trouble came that evening when a trial version of Topaz Video Enhance AI froze while loading. Ending via the task manager (Control-Alt-Delete) seemed to help as it worked fine upon reloading. I used the program to test video upscaling speed; only slightly faster than on the XPS desktop and Alienware laptop.

The nightmare came on Tuesday, September 6. Apparently, my computers’ desktop folders are tied to my OneDrive account. Program shortcuts in that folder are visible on all computers. If the program isn’t on the computer, the shortcut goes nowhere and has a blank icon. To remedy this, I either deleted shortcuts or installed the software. The one program I thought to install on my build that was on my laptop was the Nox Android emulator for watching the Optimum TV app. I had been using Bluestacks 5, but at some point this year (when the app was still called Altice One), an update was introduced that rendered the app unusable beyond the login screen. A month ago, I looked for other emulators and found Nox. The app works on there. If Nox worked on my laptop, surely it would work on here. Blue screen of death wrong!

My first attempt to load the program caused the computer to lock up, but not prompt a BSoD. So, I simply reset. I immediately tried to load it again after logging back in and this caused a BSoD! I looked online for solutions and one told me to create a code that allows you to open “Windows without Hyper-V” instead of Windows 11, which I blamed for the nightmare. Hyper-V wasn’t even checked, but I put the code in anyway. It seemed promising when the load progress approached 90%, but bam!, another BSoD. I uninstalled Nox and removed the “Windows without Hyper-V” boot option. I shouldn’t have an emulator to watch the Optimum TV app on a computer in the same room as a DVR (digital video recorder).

At any point during assembly when I ran into trouble, hopelessness and self-doubt kicked in. In those moments, I thought I shouldn’t have done this, that I should have just bought from Dell or HP like I always had. I could add expansions once the pro build arrived. Well, when I entered BSoD hell Tuesday evening, the self-doubt and buyer’s remorse came back with a vengeance. My irrational mind screamed that I blew my money on a lemon, or that I’d have to pay a technician clean up my mess.

Someone in the Technology Connections Discord suggested I update the CPU chipset. All that did was lead to faulty audio and a BSoD with a different stop code, one that I remember: KERNEL_MODE_HEAP_CORRUPTION. The same one came seconds after logging in upon restart, and I didn’t even open anything. After that, I repeatedly typed the delete key to prompt the BIOS menu before Windows could boot. Then, I asked the Discord what to do next. While waiting for a response, I turned off the computer. When I turned it back on, the Windows Recovery environment launched. I was able to roll back to Tuesday morning, before I installed any problematic software. Then, I ran the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool. As it ran, the TC Discord – I was chatting on the Dell in the guest room at this point – recommended I download and install drivers for the motherboard and graphics card; yet another oversight. I should have done that on Sunday.

I downloaded the drivers, copied them to a flash drive, and installed them all on my computer once the memory diagnosis was complete and no problems were found. Then, I restarted and didn’t get a BSoD in the 20 minutes I was logged in before one more try at disabling the FireWire driver. That still caused a reset, but no BSoD afterward. I took two screenshots of the audio enhancing software included with the audio drivers and called it a night:

Overnight, I had dreams about BSoD and tweaking the motherboard. I woke up early Wednesday morning, September 7, and turned on my computer. There were no BSoD in the three hours it was on before leaving the house for the day. Topaz Video Enhance AI seemed to freeze, at least somewhat, when I tried it out, so I uninstalled it. If I want to upscale video, I’ll buy DaVinci Resolve 18.

Back at home that evening, the mechanical keyboard felt nice. It will take time to get used to and cut down on typos. The accompanying wrist rest, which attaches magnetically, was too thin and firm for comfort. So, I bought a cushy replacement.

I took a photo of the keyboard once I set it up, and screencapped a typing test:

As with the tower case, the keyboard has RGB backlighting and I chose static red as my color. Even the keyboard needed a firmware update, exemplified by a random disconnect and reconnect when I took my first break from typing. That hasn’t happened since the update. Part of the update is a program that lets you save your color preference and that regulates the backlighting, which turns off after five minutes of inactivity and turns back on next time you type.

The replacement wrist rest arrived yesterday – Friday, September 9. I tested the feel lined up with the keyboard and with the keyboard and rest separated by 3/4 inch. The second test felt better, so I secured it with three pieces of mounting tape; left, center, right.

Here’s the result:

As of today, September 10, my BSoD-free streak is intact (knock on wood), but there was no power to keyboard when I tried to log in after turning on the computer, requiring a disconnect and reconnect before entering my PIN. A minute or so later, neither the keyboard nor mouse functioned properly, and both had to be disconnected and reconnected. Checking Windows Update revealed that a USB driver update was pending. That must have been the culprit.

Here’s hoping my build lasts as long as five years before any replacements are necessary. I will surely replace my desk before then, an open kind with easy access to the tower. (Maybe this one?) Until then, thank you for reading about the week-long adventure of building my own PC and the growing pains that followed.

2022 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo recap August 21, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Aviation, Books, Education, History, Internet, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Podcast, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Previous LI Retro recaps: 2017 (Sunday), 2018, 2019
Spinoff recaps: UPLINK (2020), Festival of Games (2021)

Part 1: Introduction

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo‘s long-awaited return came on Friday, August 12, after a three-year COVID-caused absence. Yes, the expo was expanded to three days starting this year, running from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. The venue was the same as always: the Cradle of Aviation Museum, situated along Museum Row in East Garden City on the former site of Mitchel Air Force Base.

The purported 2020 edition of LI Retro was announced in February of that year. I immediately bought a weekend pass (still just two days). Little did anyone know that the faraway disease then referred to as the Coronavirus would reach the United States a few weeks later. As COVID-19 spread and a pandemic grew, venues shut down and events were either canceled or postponed. LI Retro’s postponement came that May. 2020 tickets would be honored in ’21. UPLINK, a virtual expo, was scheduled in its place on August 8 and 9. Of course, I attended and wrote a recap.

Even as vaccines were rolled out going into 2021, the organizers felt it was too soon to resume. Thus, they postponed again to ’22; and again, tickets for the postponed years would be honored. Another edition of UPLINK was held virtually in February. I attended, but was overwhelmed by the amount of transcribing and note-taking I’d have to do for the panels I planned on watching. So, I abandoned the recap in favor of continued radio show production.

Last December, LI Retro held its first annual one-day Festival of Games. I was in and out within two hours after a photographic walking tour (similar to the one you’ll see later in this post), arcade game sampling, and buying games from vendors. There was a recap for that.

As August drew closer, a third day of LI Retro was introduced. I considered attending, but opted to stick to the weekend.

With a week to go, I feared I’d compulsively take too many photos, a habit that’s gotten out of hand (i.e. Memorial Day boat ride, June 18 Mets game). I only took 353 photos at another Mets game on August 10, but sure enough, I went overboard at LI Retro. To that end, this is the first post with photo galleries.

The bulk of my photos were shot with my DSLR, but I took supplemental photos with my iPhone.

I arrived at the Cradle of Aviation Museum at 10:06 AM on Saturday:

Within 15 minutes, I was inside. I walked to the box office and handed my ticket to the attendant in exchange for a badge. “Finally,” I told her, “after 2 1/2 years, I get to use this [ticket].” She handed me my badge and my adventure began.

Part 2: Panels

My first panel – after meeting and greeting, and photographing the vendor rooms, was by Brett Weiss. “I Survived the Video Game Crash of 1983” began at 11AM in Panel Room 2. I joined it in progress, grabbing a front row seat, but oddly holding back on photos.

Brett talked about his experiences with arcade games and home video game consoles from the second generation into the third, and how the rise of home computers played a role in the 1983 crash.

During the Q&A session at the end, I relayed (but didn’t ask, so I apologized) my video game experience growing up. I was a home (and school) computer guy, fluent with Apple II, and my sister and I received an NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in February 1990, as the third home video game console generation gave way to the fourth.

The book in the last photo is the one I bought from Brett afterward.

After snacking on a protein bar, I entered the Main Theatre for Pat Contri and Ian Ferguson’s 12:30 PM panel. I spoke to Pat and Ian during my meet and greet session two hours earlier, reminding them that I met them in 2019 and immersed myself in content from Pat’s YouTube channel after buying (at their merchandise table) the four DVD sets of Pat the NES Punk and the book Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library. I subsequently bought the SNES guide. I wrote reviews of each – NES, SNES. (And you can buy the DVDs and books here.) This year, I bought two stickers and a CU Podcast (Completely Unnecessary Podcast) t-shirt. It was the last large size they had. I said I’d probably get along swimmingly with Frank, Pat’s older friend from New Jersey who settled in San Diego before Pat and Ian made their respective moves there.

Pat and Ian’s panel was a live portion of their next episode of the CU Podcast. Before it started, and while I settled into my front row seat, the volunteer assigned to the theater asked them to “say something into the microphone” as a mic check. Ian jokingly parroted the request: “say something into the microphone.” I amusingly replied, “I knew you were gonna say that.”

Continuing from prior episodes, Pat and Ian criticzed Tommy Tallarico and his vaporware console that would have been (or could still be?) the Intellivision Amico. On display above them was