Hawaiian Tsunami Timelapse

I heard about the possible Tsunami hitting Hawaii on Saturday about an hour before the predicted time.  As any photographically inclined programmer would do I went searching for some WebCams.  Once I found some that were returning images (most were timing out or saying too many users) I decided it would be neat if I could capture the images over time and throw them together into a video later.

About 15 minutes later and  WebCamTracker was born.  It’s nothing fancy, just a small Java class that’ll pull down a single image or multiple from the specified URL. To run it just use:

java WebCamTracker <webcam URL> <output directory> <?Max Duration?> <?Delay?>

Fortunately (but unfortunately for the video) the Tsunami didn’t really amount to much in Hawaii.  The video does however show the surges so it’s still pretty neat.  I ran WebCamTracker on 3 WebCams: Kanaha, Sprecks, & Hilo Bay. They turned out pretty sweet even if they don’t show much wave action.  Pretty good for my first time-lapse, even if I didn’t actually take the pictures myself.  Something I might play with soon though…

Anyway, Check it out:

side note: Music by JukeBox the Ghost, one of my favorite bands.


Save Money Flying With Yapta

Yapta LogoPlanning a trip? Yapta can in two big ways.

  1. While you’re looking for flights. Yapta has a Firefox plug-in which allows you to tag flights across multiple websites in order to compare prices and track their price changes before purchase.
  2. After you’ve purchased your tickets. This is the best feature in my mind. Much like what PriceProtectr does for common online retail stores, Yapta allows you to list tickets you’ve purchased and at what prices so that it can monitor price drops.

Something you probably didn’t know about most airlines is many offer reimbursements for price drops on air flights. The old saying that everyone on your flight paid a different price no longer applies. Everyone can pay the same price if you’re using Yapta!

Direct from Yapta’s FAQ here’s a list of some of the vouchers and refunds available:

Each airline has a different set of rules and regulations. However, here is a quick look at the policies for each airline. Click each of the airlines for the specifics.
Airline How much it will cost to get a travel voucher? How much it will cost to get a “cash refund” for a non-refundable ticket?
AirTran $75.00 Not Offered
Alaska Free $50.00
American $100.00 Not Offered
ATA $60.00 Domestic
$100.00 Hawaii
Not Offered
Continental $100.00 Not Offered
Delta $75.00 Not Offered
Frontier $100.00 Not Offered
JetBlue $40.00 Not Offered
Midwest Free within 7 days of purchase
$100.00 after 7 days
Not Offered
United Free $100.00
US Airways / America West $100.00 Not Offered

Happy 80th Grandpa Heath!

Grandpa Heaths SurpriseSaturday we went to Grandpa Heath’s 80th Birthday surprise party. It was awesome because he has relatives all over the country who were able to make it, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Massachusetts and even Hawaii. It’s very rare that they all get together in one place and its even more rare that he doesn’t know its happening. You could see the joy on his face as he entered the door and saw all these family members from distance places. I’ve met most of the immediate family (Rachel’s uncles and aunts) but there were several that I hadn’t and lots of cousins that I had not met before.

I had the chance to meet Rachel’s uncle Brian, for the first time, who lives in Texas with his wife Carolyn and daughter Kristin. I’m very glad I did, They’re neat people and we got to spend even more time with them on Sunday. Brian owns a paint contracting business near Dallas/Ft Worth. I offered to let him stay busy painting our dining room while they were in town but he declined. C’mon man we’re family now!

I had the pleasure of meeting two more distant relatives, Rachel’s father’s nephews, Matt and Dan. Matt has a house in Hawaii and offered to let us stay (although he assured us he would not guide us around, he draws the line there) the next time we go. That’s fine Matt, we’ll be happy to hire a tour guide with the money we saved staying with you! As it turns out Dan is very much into Genealogy and we got talking about Rachel’s family tree. Apparently he has traced their tree back to a revolutionary war soldier. That means Rachel can join the daughters of the revolution! Not quite sure what that gets her besides a plaque and probably a lot of junk mail though… We traded E-mail addresses and Dan agreed to send us the tree, I agreed to get it into Geni which I’m trying to get all our family to use and I strongly recommend it for those of you who haven’t yet.

I was also able to see some relatives whom I’d met before but hadn’t seen in a while. Among these was Rachel’s cousin Becky, who was pregnant with her second child, Cheyenne, the last time I had met her. This time around she had the third child, Desmond, with her. They were very energetic which meant they probably slept like a log that night and I’m sure Becky is thankful for that.

Flag and PlaqueTowards the end of the day Grandpa Heath opened all of his wonderful gifts and Matt, whom I had met earlier, presented Him with an American Flag which had been ceremoniously flown over the USS Arizona memorial in his name on September 11, 2007. It also came with a plaque with a military seal providing documentation that it was indeed flown over the memorial in his name at the time and date noted. It was all very moving because Grandpa Heath long ago served in the Navy during World War II until his responsibilities at home had called him back. The USS Arizona memorial had always held a special place in his heart but he hasn’t yet had the chance to visit it. I’m sure the flag and plaque will be long remembered by him as well as the rest of his family who was there to witness the gift.

A great event and I wish there were more like it.

Photo Album Progress

With all the options out there it’s hard to determine what to do with your photos. Typically Rachel and I have created your standard photo albums where we print 4×6’s buy a book to put them in, organize and done. We wanted to do something a little different with our honeymoon photos and after looking at a few things available (scrap booking, scrap blogging, photo books, etc) we decided on a photobook.

The first few weeks after we got back we spent going over our (4,000+) photos with the hopes of creating a Best Of Album. This worked to eliminate a large majority of our pictures but after attempting to work with the best of album to create our photobook we realized even more needed to be eliminated and did so.

After trying several different photo book sites (snapfish, winkflash, shutterfly and a few others) we settled upon Picaboo. While it seems relatively new and unproven it had a client side application which you could download (rare in this day in age) and work with locally before uploading your finished book to purchase. There were many more layouts available than other sites had and the backgrounds are limitless since you can use your own photos (also something lacking in the other sites we looked at). Another unique feature is the ability to share your album online for free.

So without further delay we give you:

Our Honeymoon

Please keep in mind that it’s intended to be a table top book NOT a web-album.  With that in mind, if you see an odd picture and wonder why its in there chances are there’s a story or something we wanted to be able to share and you should ask us what’s up.

You Can't be Late Until You Show Up

Sadly, we’re home. What do we miss most? The view. I couldn’t help but notice on my drive in yesterday how there’s absolutely nothing to look at. In Hawaii, there’s always scenery to look at, even when you’re driving through the endless sugarcane fields you can watch them harvest it.

Speaking of sugarcane we learned that they burn it first before they harvest it. Weird Huh?

Well, we’ll be creating a ‘best of’ Photo Album and when we do we’ll post it here so stay tuned. We haven’t done much since getting home, still trying to recover the 6 hours we lost. We got home and the Dining room is mostly done though, all that is left is painting, the flooring and a counter top. Its looking great.

And its back to the grind :(.

Big Beach

Big Beach

Our last full day in Hawaii, how sad. We spent it in true Hawaiian fashion by just relaxing and ‘taking it easy mon’. We hit up

Fun in the SandBecause its over 100′ wide and over 3,000′ long, the natives call it ‘Big Beach’ not to be confused with ‘Little Beach’ next door where the nudists hang. Big Beach is probably our favorite beach thus far. Its golden sand, perfect crescent shape and sparse population all make it a perfect spot. We swam in the clear waters, tried to catch a few waves and played in the sand.Whaler’s Village and popped in and out of a few shops before lunch. Then we were off to Makena and Oneloa Beach.

Sunset at Big Beach
Mr and MrsAs the evening passed we picked up and moved south along the beach to get a good view of the sunset. We can safely say that tonight’s sunset was the most beautiful we’ve seen since arriving in Hawaii. This is saying a lot as our previous posts have mentioned the other sunsets we’ve had the privilege of seeing. What a great way to say goodnight and goodbye to Hawaii.

With Aloha,
Randy and Rachel

Surf's Up Dudes!


That right, we did it! Our first surf lesson started at 9am today. We went through a basic training on land where we practiced our pop ups and how to balance our bodies. Right off the bat our instructor told us with surfing tall people have a disadvantage. It did take us a little longer than our shorter classmates but with persistence there was success. By the end of our lesson we were catching waves and riding them in to shore.


Surfing is a very physically demanding sport and we were in much need of nap afterward.

Dinner tonight was at the Tiki Terrace where we dined outside and enjoyed live music and Hawaiian dancers. When dinner was finished we moved to the Tiki bar and continued to enjoy the music and couple more drinks. We met two nice honeymooning couples and had a few more drinks over some conversations.

Crazy Checkers

We ended the night with a game of coconut checkers. In our hotel’s courtyard there is a massive checker board with painted coconuts were you walked your coconut over the opponents and then get to throw their coconut off the board. How fun is that! I don’t remember who won but I’m sure it was me (just don’t tell Randy).

only a few days left 😦
Rachel and Randy

20,000 Leagues under the Sea


Another early start to a long day, but here that sort of day is welcomed. At 7am this morning we caught a ride on the leilani. She was a charter boat serving those interested in snorkel, snuba or just enjoying a ride on some of the most beautiful waters mother nature has to offer. It first took us to Molokini, a half sunk crater islet. It’s a popular snorkel spot with clear waters, a thriving reef and an abundance of aquatic life. We suited up and headed out to try our luck with the funny goggles and somewhat fishy breathing apparatus. The object of the game was to stick your head face down in the water and see as many fish as possible before swallowing too much sea water that unavoidably was sucked down the spout of your snorkel. It was amazing though. there must have been at least 50 different species of fish down there, some getting close enough you swear you could reach out and touch them. it was a good call buying that underwater camera. you’ll have to wait for pics from that till we get home.


Next we ate a BBQ lunch prepared by the ships crew and headed to Turtle Town. Here we tried Snuba, a combination of snorkeling and scuba. really it was scuba diving with a tank on raft above you instead of on your back. It took a little while to get used to the breathing but once we did it was great. We are both in agreement that snuba kicked snorkels butt. Once in the water it took no time at all to see a turtle. As matter of fact one was waiting to greet us right off the ship. We saw two others that day and again were able to get pretty close. these guys aren’t shy. we don’t dare touch them though. sea turtles are a protected species and you could get fined up to 2000 if caught touching one. we left turtle town and it was back to Maui.

when back at the hotel we decided to catch up on some relaxation. we rented a cabana on the beach and sipped pineapple juice and coconut rum cocktails till sunset. This is the life.

the Mr. & Mrs.

The Road to Hana

Today we took in the highly recommended road to Hana. The road to Hana is 42 miles long, includes 54 bridges and over 600 hairpin turns. It’s not so much the destination that’s important, but the trip. Driving the road is all we did today so we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Wild Flower Scenery from the Road to Hana Waves breaking on Lava Rocks Wow!

Lone Survivor Black Sand Beach Eerie Last Stop

If you like those, there are lots more where they came from.