About Taiwan, FotoZon and lots of other stuff

Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in Review

Rainy Day at Guard BoothAnother year in the bag and its been an eventful one! I suppose the obvious thing is to list all the accomplishments and events for the year. However, first I will dedicate this post to our trusty guard man - Mr. Jhang - in the picture in the left. He'll be "forced" into retirement at the end of this year because the building we live in wants to go with a youth movement - like under 55 years old! His hobby is studying English so he would be sure to quiz me every time I went outside. We spent some quality time last night on his very last night shift while he was showing me a long letter he wrote to presidential hopeful Ma-Ying-Jeou. He's also the one who introduced us to our apartment here in Yuanlin. I nick-named him "Mr. Clean" because he was always cleaning up the guard office, watering the flowers and sweeping the sidewalks. What a guy - we'll miss seeing him.

Year 2007 in Review

* My biggest accomplishment this year was launching the FotoZon online photo galleries web site. It's hard to believe that it was only just this year in March when I re-registered the domain name and set up the web site. It's become a time-consuming but rewarding hobby. It's also one of the main reasons for starting up this blog.

* The second online accomplishment this year was the launch of the Taiwan Picture of the Day. It is doing pretty well and getting some great links, reviews and presentations. I've been steadily adding more features and increasing the distribution of this feature.

* Last week I got reviewed at my main employer and had to come up with a list of accomplishments for the year. I told them I had learned a lot of new skills including Javascript, CSS, php and facebook. Of course I didn't mention that most of them were for my own projects.

* Some general stuff that happened during the year:
- Our little daughter learned to walk in February and now she's learning to talk.
- Learned how (mostly how not to) invest in the stock market .
- Saw the president of Taiwan
- Went on a trip back to Seattle in July just in time to see fireworks
- Experienced Crazy Chinese New Year Traveling to North Taiwan
- Met a lot of new friends here in Taiwan.
- Rekindled my interest in photography.

Thanks for visiting and I leave you with a few of my favorite shots from the year:

Sweater Scooter 2
Sweater Scooter Near Tainan

Jiu Fen Market Taiwan
Jiu Fen Skinny Market Street

Ghost Money Show-Off
Ghost Month Burners

Lion and Budha
Giant Buddha near ChangHua

Jong Gan Road - Another Mitsukoshi shot
Taichung Night Shot

Bar Beer
Enough blogging! Time to go out and get plastered!

Take care - and we'll see you next year.

Joseph Gray

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Schmap and the New World Wide Web

I'm feeling older these days... like the world has passed me by. All sorts of new-fangled web applications are coming out these days, and I'm not sure if I can keep up. Recently I was selected on Flickr to have one of my photos featured in "Schmaps". This new-fangled web site has all kinds of stuff on it with a mish-mash of maps and photos and events and who knows what.. Nevertheless, I'm proud my photo of the fireworks shot from my knee at Gasworks Park was selected. It's not the one on the left, although I think that one is actually not too bad. I should have set up hours ahead of time with a tripod like a guy in the front of us. Mabye next year, although I wonder who they are going to find to sponsor the fireworks next summer since Washington Mutual is having so many problems with the massive credit explosion.

Anyways, back to the Schmapp... it seems to be an interesting outfit in some sort of beta pre-launch and they have some interesting tidbits about some of the various sites, mostly on the west coast USA for now. Here's a widget I downloaded from their site and you can see my http://www.schmap.com/seattle/events_fremont/#r=none&mapview=Map&tab=Places&p=196207&topleft=47.65182,-122.33662&bottomright=47.6417,-122.33063&i=196207_14.jpg (I took off this link because they removed their link to my Flickr page!) -- picture of the Seattle Fireworks there too.

*** UPDATE January 21, 2008 ***
For some reason, all of the links and attributions previously on the Schmapp Site have disappeared! I'm not sure if it is deliberate or an "accidental programming change". However, I have contacted them through Flickr and I hope they fix it as soon as possible. Otherwise, I plan on contacting Flickr to Complain about this abuse and try to get them banned.

Ok, there you have it... Somehow I made that widget using their web site. However, it's just another one of those technological advances where I am just going with the flow. Here's the photo that got me into this mess in the first place:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lotto Fever!

The Littlest GamblerI got to find a new investment strategy, because this buying lottery tickets is not working out so well. Yesterday, five lucky people in Taiwan split the massive jackpot of 1.2 Billion NT Dollars. This little gambler in the picture still has hope that his ticket will win. Of course, our tickets were not even close.

I had quite a lot of fun taking pictures at the luckiest lottery shop in our home town of Yuanlin. There were so many good shots, it was almost tough to pare it down to 13 of the best. I hope you enjoy as much as I did taking them. I was almost ready to leave and I passed the traffic light, but something told me I should turn back and get a few more shots. I told myself "No Regrets" and I'm glad I did, including the one you see there to the left. Of course it was almost a spectacle there, despite my low profile, so I leave you with this posed picture on the motor scooter.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

New Application

I'm happy to say I finished the application for Facebook and it seems to be working great. Check it out here. It didn't actually take too long to install the API kit, and get a basic application up and running, however it took about a day to figure out how to automate adding the new pictures everyday. I'm excited now that its done and I am going to start working on fixing up a "Google Gadget" with the same functionality. Exciting stuff.

Here were some alternate logos I was thinking about:

And the First Canvas Page Image: