Recommended Equipment for Comcast Xfinity

When we moved into our house in Etna, NH we assumed that Satellite Internet was going to be available, only to have the Sat provider tell us that our zipcode was full!  We had dial up for two years before Fairpoint brought DSL to the street.  DSL speeds have been fine for streaming music and movies, uploading photographs but uploading videos takes a long long time.

Now we are moving to a new address that has Comcast Xfinity.  I’m looking at my options and I’m anticipating doing a lot more work on my YouTube channel in the future.

You have a choice with Comcast and many other cable Internet providers to rent equipment from them for something like $10 a month (forever) or buy your own equipment.

Buying your own equipment saves you money and in most cases you can buy better equipment than what they would provide you.  Faster equipment can giver you better speeds than perhaps the rental equipment.

You’ll need a cable modem to get wired Internet and a wifi router to beam the signal around the house.  Or you can get a gateway which is an all in one unit.

A gateway is convenient but you do lose the option of upgrading the router if something new comes along and if one part of it goes bad, you have to replace the whole thing.  I considered this but then went with the ARRIS SURFboard SBG7580-AC Cable Modem/Router Combo as reviewed at the end of this blog because of the value and speed.  I’m starting with a basic 25 mps package but I might increase it if I need to – DSL was only 15 mps and the son is going off to college so I think we’ll be fine.

Note that DOCSIS 3.0 is the current standard supported by Comcast and other providers.

Here are some options:

Cable Modems

We recommend the Arris SB6141 ($54.99 on Amazon) . While it has been around for years, the SB6141 still delivers consistent performance while supporting the data-transfer speeds most home users get from their broadband service. Easy-to-interpret indicator lights, compatibility with most major ISPs and a two-year warranty seal the deal for the SB6141.

If your Internet plan delivers faster speeds than the SB6141 can handle, the SB6183 ($99), also from Arris, is just as dependable.

Current recommendations from Comcast:

If you want to future proof your purchase, consider getting one of these cable modems:

ARRIS SB8200 3.1

Up to 1001 Mbps
32 down × 8 up


Up to 644 Mbps
32 down × 8 up



Gateways are cable modems and wifi routers in one device.  While it’s tempting to buy just one device, keep in mind that if any part of a hybrid device fails, you’re out both a modem and a router. Having a modem-router combo also complicates upgrading, since routers tend to add support for new networking features at a more rapid clip than modems do.

Comcast currently recommends this gateway:

Introducing the first Gigabit+ cable modem Gateway available in retail. The SURFboard sbg7580-ac is 3 products in 1: a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, Dual-Band concurrent 802.11AC Wi-Fi access point and 4-port Gigabit Ethernet router. With download speeds up to 1.4Gbps, upload speeds up to 343Mbps and Wi-Fi speeds up to 1750 Mbps it’s the most powerful Wi-Fi modem in the SURFboard lineup. No more buffering while streaming HD video. No lag while gaming with friends. And best of all, no more dead spots! stop spending on monthly rental fees and own your modem.

  • Cable Modem and Wi-FI Router. 802.11AC Wi-Fi Router provides speeds up to 1900 Mbps. Dual-band concurrent 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • Works with Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter and MOST Small Regional Cable Providers. PENDING approval Bright House Networks
  • 32 x 8 bonded channels with download speeds up to 1.4 Gbps and upload speeds up to 262 Mbps
  • Ideal for streaming HD Video and gaming on multiple devices at a time
  • Supports IPv4 and IPv6 – the latest Internet standard

In our opinion, the ARRIS SURFboard SBG7580-AC Cable Modem/Router Combo is an excellent value for anyone who wants to get the most of their internet connection. It’s advanced enough that you’ll be able to keep it for many years without having to upgrade. The fact that there is such a high quality router installed in the modem is just the icing on the cake. Usually the wireless routers found in modems are just an afterthought, and provide only the bare minimum service required to keep consumers happy. With it, the router is just as good as any mid to high level consumer router available on the market.

Another reason we love the SBG7580-AC is that it uses the DOCSIS 3.0 standard. Many modems use a modified version of DOCSIS and are only compatible with certain ISPs. The SURFboard, on the other hand, is theoretically compatible with every cable ISP in the United States.  – Full Review at:

New! Vintage Beach House Decor

Custom frame vintage sea life decor
Custom frame vintage sea life decor

Introducing a new collection of vintage nautical sea life prints with sea shells, tall ships, crabs, sea horses and more.  Each design can be ordered frame and matted from our collection of hundreds of papers, mats and frames from rustic cottage to chic modern designs.

Custom beach house decor
Custom beach house decor

These nautical designs can be ordered as prints, framed wall art, canvas prints, metal prints, wood prints, acrylic prints as well as rolled in a tube for framing locally or in your existing frames.  Products such as tote bags and throw pillows are also available.
Sell Art OnlinePhotography PrintsSell Art OnlineSell Art OnlinePhotography PrintsPhotography PrintsSell Art OnlineSell Art OnlinePhotography PrintsPhotography Prints

You can see the entire collection of “Art for the Beach House” including framed artwork, photographs, drawings, images as well as vintage artwork here –

Vintage Octopus Illustration
Vintage Octopus Illustration

Art PrintsArt Prints

Weekender Totes Are Here!

Our weekender tote bags are chic and perfect for a day out on the town, a staycation, or a weekend getaway. The tote is crafted with soft, spun soft, durable, poly-poplin fabric.

Cute Birds Weekender Tote
Cute Birds Weekender Tote

Art Prints

Sell Art Online

Sell Art Online

Vintage Octopus
Vintage Octopus

Art Prints

Sell Art Online

Also available at

Canvas Prints

Framed Prints

Metal Prints

Acrylic Prints

Wood Prints



Greeting Cards

iPhone Cases

Galaxy Cases

Throw Pillows

Duvet Covers

Shower Curtains

Coffee Mugs

Tote Bags


Men’s Apparel

Women’s Apparel

Round Beach Towels

Weekender Tote Bags

Portable Battery Chargers

Weekender Tote Bags

Carry-All Pouches

Beach Towels

Beach Sheets

Round Beach Towels

Portable Battery Chargers


JOBY Action Clamp and Locking Arm for GoPro and Sports Action Video Cameras

Unboxing and tesing the JOBY Action Clamp and Locking Arm for GoPro and Sports Action Video Cameras

The JOBY Action Clamp and Locking Arm for GoPro and Sports Action Video Cameras is a handy and versitle compact and highly flexible clamp mount for GoPro and similar action camera, cell phones and other small cameras. Less than $15.

WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE? Find a different point of view as you mount this heavy duty action camera mount to any surface that is 5cm-2in wide. The Locking Arm rotates 360° and pivots 180° and two locking ball joints offer up life from a different angle.
SLIDING LOCK ARM. The Sliding Lock Arm simply screws into place for an easy and secure hold. Your GoPro of sports action camera can fasten into either end of the action clamp, as you find peace of mind knowing it’s not going anywhere.
VIBRATION RESISTANT. Innovative and easy to use, the JOBY Action Clamp with Locking Arm is ultra-versatile, with a universal ¼”-20 screw for any tripod. The steady, modular design is vibration resistant as you tighten the knob to secure your shot.
READY FOR ADVENTURE. We know your travels take you far and wide. The industrial strength Action Clamp locks into place while the, Go-Pro tripod quick release mount, and Locking Arm keep your equipment safe and secure, no matter where life takes you.
THE BEST SHOTS. Made of medical-grade ABS plastic, stainless steel, and TPE, it’s made for the wear and tear of everyday life, or the rigor of adventure. Get all the best shots, as you do all the best tricks with the JOBY Action Clamp and Locking Arm.

Food Photography with LED Studio Lights

Natural light is great for food photography.  A nice big window with sunlight pouring in, preferably with some kind of diffusion, is perfect for food photography.  But light changes during the day or one day its cloudy and the next sunny.   A northern exposure provides the most consistent light though out the day but what if you don’t have a north facing window?  What if you want to shoot at night or on location at a restaurant?

That’s where artificial lighting comes in.  You can shoot with studio flash units that produce a burst of light but the drawback is not being able to see what is going on with the lighten until after you click the shutter and fire the strobes.

LED lighting panels like this one, have come down in price recently and provide bright, white light on a continual basis without getting hot or using a lot of electricity.  These panels can even be used in remote locations with battery power.

The benefits of shooting with a continuous light source such as these LED panels is the lightweight set up and ability to get the light out of the way of the camera.
Sell Art Online

The fact that the panels are continuous light sources makes it easy to set them up and evaluate what the result in the image, be it a single shot or a sequence of video, will look like.

Small LED Panels

Small LED lights can be used in the studio by placing them close to objects or food and are dimmable to get the right amount of light for filling shadows. These small LED lights can even be placed on top of a camera to provide light for video or fill light for portraits.

The downside of LED lights is they are not as powerful as a flash and don’t provide the quick burst of light needed to freeze thing such as a water drop. You also have to be careful about color cast with LED lights. Be sure to test any new light and return them if they have an obvious color cast.

LED Photo Studio Bulbs

Another way to go is with LED light bulbs and photo studio umbrellas. You can get splitters that take a single outlet to three or four and then use color balanced LED bulbs and a diffuser system like inexpensive umbrellas.

Photography Equipment for Bad Weather

Bad weather shouldn’t keep you away from photography, some of the most dramatic shots can be had in the middle of a storm.   But you do have to worry about your expensive photography equipment.  A good weather sealed camera like my Canon 6D and weather sealed lenses are a good start but you can add extra protection from the elements with rain covers.

Rain covers are like little rain coats for your camera and lens and are also great for keeping wet snow or salt spray off your equipment.  The ones I use are listed below.

The other things to have handy is lens cloths and microfiber towels for cleaning lenses and drying off equipment.

(2 Pack) Altura Photo Rain Cover for DSLR Cameras with Lenses Up to 18″ LongThe Altura Photo® Rain Cover is unquestionably an essential tool for outdoor photographers. Shield your camera from rain, salt spray, sand, snow, and everything else mother nature throws your way. The compact, lightweight cover folds easily to fit in your pocket or camera bag so you can keep one with you at all times.
  • – (2 pack) Ultra-clear polyethylene rain covers for unobstructed access to all camera controls
  • – Adjustable draw-string closure secures cover on the lens or hood at all times.
  • – For hand held or tripod shooting
  • Compatibility:
  • – Fits all camera brands and models with lenses up to 18″ in length and 7″ diameter
  • – Fits lenses with or without a lens hood.

Happy Printer a wireless, inkless, portable fun printer!

Happy Printer with Zink inkless technology
Happy Printer with Zink inkless technology

I was researching DIY photobooths for possible set up at my son’s prom when I came across this cool little printer called the Happy Printer from Zink.

It uses a heat activated ink less color technology developed by a spin off from the old Polaroid Company. Its kind of like the label printer I have that used special heat activated label. The great thing is there is no ink to purchase.

The Happy Printer uses rolls of special paper in a variety of widths such as two inch, one inch, 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch. The rolls are about 20 feet long and there is even an app available to “stitch” strips together if you need a bigger print.

And if printing off little color photos or strips of photos isn’t enough fun, did I mention that the paper is also a sticker? Double the fun when you can stick the result right into a scrapbook project or on a lunch bag.

There are two versions of the Zink Happy Printer currently on the market and a number of other little portable printers that use the Zink technology.

The ZINK Wi-Fi Enabled Wireless Printer with Arts and Crafts App sells for $99.  ZINK hAppy Smart App Printer hAppy is the portable, Wi-Fi, app-accessory that allows you to print directly from smart phones and tablets. Just download the free ZINK Design & Print Studio app onto a smartphone or tablet (or use a 3rd party compatible app); load a ZINK zRoll™ (photographic-quality ZINK Paper in roll form), design, and then wirelessly print to the hAppy. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. hAppy is also compatible with Android smartphone and tablets and Amazon Kindle Fire tablets. hAppy works with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print apps.

The ZINK Wireless Touchscreen Printer. Wi-Fi Enabled. Built In App for Editing and Printing Photo & Labels On-The-Go. Prints Directly and from IOS & Android Smart Devices sells for $199 and adds a touch screen for creating images right on the device.

ZINK hAppy+ Smart App Printer. Featuring the Google Android operating system, the hAppy+ has built-in Wi-Fi, a touchscreen, and runs ZINK apps, making it your all-in-one tool for designing and printing whatever you can imagine, all from the palm of your hand. Via built-in ZINK apps, users can create and print directly on the hAppy+ without needing other devices. Just load a ZINK zRoll; create the design on the printer’s touchscreen; press print; and then place and adhere the print to create a variety of projects. hAppy+ is also compatible with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloudprint. The hAppy+ can also work as a companion to smartphones and tablets.

Zink stands for  “zero ink” is a full-color printing system for digital devices that does not require ink cartridges and prints in a single pass.  The printing technology and its thermal paper are developed by Zink Imaging, Inc., a US company. Zink Imaging makes all the paper; makes a printer for printing labels and other designs on rolls of Zink zRoll; and licenses its technology to other companies that make compact photo printers, and combined camera / compact photo printers that print photographs onto mostly 2×3” (about 5×8 cm) sheets of Zink Paper.

The Zink technology and Zink Imaging started as a project inside Polaroid Corporation in the 1990s, which spun out Zink Imaging as a fully independent company in 2005.


Photobooth App with Zink

Printing PhotoBooth Photos with Happy Printer
Printing PhotoBooth Photos with Happy Printer

Happy Printer can be synced with Photobooth apps like Photobooth and SimpleBooth to create a photobooth for events.

Other Printers That Use Zink Technology

There are a number of small, mobile printers (and instant cameras like the Polaroid Snap) that use Zink’s inkless technology but they use sheets instead of rolls of the Zink paper.  Instead they use packs of 10 sheets at a time.  I don’t like this method as much as the Happy Printer’s long rolls but here are the options.
Polaroid Zip mobile printer

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer

Kodak Mini Mobile Wi-Fi & NFC 2.1 x 3.4″ Photo Printer with Advanced Patent Dye Sublimation Printing Technology & Photo Preservation Overcoat Layer (Gold) Compatible with Android & iOS

Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1

Canon Selphy CP1200

SkyMall Mobile Wi-Fi Printer

Grip Gear’s Movie Maker Set

Grip Gear’s Movie Maker Set – Electronic Sliding Track System with Variable Speed and Motorized 360° Panoramic Time Lapse Head compatible with Smartphones, GoPros, Digital Cameras

This is rather cool.  A professional motorized slider for smartphones, small action cameras and compact camera for less than $100.  Hope to get my hands on one soon to test it out.  – Ed

Shoot stunning video with your smartphone or compact cam. Use with tracks as an electronic slider with 8 different speeds, or use stand-alone for stunning 360° panoramic shots. Even the shortest clips look professional in realtime or timelapse.
Whether you’re aiming for making a viral, online revelation, adding drama to your video or simply want to out-focus and out-shoot your peers, no need to wait for the perfect spot or perfect moment to experiment with this tool. Watch the video clip in the thumbnail menu above to see The Movie Maker in action.


Make a reveal Film a reveal of a product by having it hiding the view and then slide from it. It will create an expectation from the viewer and be more surprising. Great technique for ‘unboxing’ videos, sliding close-up or textures and other detail.

Zoom in and zoom out Conventional zooming in and out doesn’t include movement. With a slider you can move forward and backward which gives it a great effect, allowing the viewer to be more involved.

In and out of focus Begin the shot with a blurry subject revealing itself by the movement of the camera on a slider. This is a variation from the more usual focusing effect.

Play with foreground and background Using a slider with a foreground will give the viewer a better sense of depth. It makes each layer move at different speeds and enhance the field of depth experience.

Close ups anywhere Anything shot at close range with a slider will show off great detail: Whether textures, nature, a detail on jewellery, the sky is the limit, close-ups with a slider will make viewers pay attention to details we usually overlook.


·  Convenient ¼ inch threads under each track to attach to any tripod, suction cups etc
·  Comes with 2 x 31cm tracks, additional tracks are available for extensions
·  Plug into a power bank operating times +36 hours (10400MA), or use 2 AAA batteries for 2 hours
·  Remote control for both speed and direction (8 speeds)
·  Bounce back for continuous motion: When reaching end of track it will move in opposite direction
·  Motor speeds vary from 6mm/minute to a 300mm/minute
·  Operates as eletronic as well as a manual slider
·  Can climb 90 degrees & can operate upside down
·  Weighs 900g and can hold up to 550g phone/camera even on vertical climb
·  No vibration, even on full zoom videos are stable

Electric Snow Shovels and Electric Snow Blowers



Due to climate change we haven’t had winters like we had in the past.  In fact the last two winters had such little snow that I shoveled the driveway by hand.  And my son’s cross-country ski team had to deal with cancelled and delayed meets.  Even this year practices early in the season were mostly running and training in the gym or skiing on a dusting of snow on the artificial turf of the football field.

But now in mid-February we got a string of snow storms that dumped a couple of feet of snow on us.  I’ve been keeping the deck, driveway and front walk clear of snow using a good old fashioned shovel – which is great exercise and a nice and quiet way to enjoy the silence of a snowy day but also with an electric snow shovel and an electric snow blower.

My electric shovel is probably 12 years old now.  I got it originally for vacation house in the North Conway area.  My electric snowblower is more recent.  After dealing with a gas powered, noisy, hard to start and frequently breaking down snow blower for years, I sold it at a yard sale and got this electric one.

We had a long driveway in Maine so the gas powered blower was required but here in New Hampshire the entire driveway is reachable by a long electric cord.  The gas blower was two stage and more powerful then the electric blower but so far I haven’t run into any storm that it can’t handle, as long as you go slow.  The gas blower will chop through anything with its metal blades while the electric blower is made of hard plastic and is designed for smaller jobs.  But still its been fine and best of all its quiet and starts immediately.  Plus there is no gas to mix and spill.

If you have a smaller area to blow and don’t have killer storms, I highly recommend an electric snow blower and shovel.




The Best SD Card for your GoPro Hero5 Black or Session and DSLR

Ok, you’ve bought your new GoPro Hero5 Black or Session action camera. Congratulations you have one of the newest and most advanced action cameras on the market. If you are like me maybe you bought a 32 gb memory card or something for it and have quickly found out that you are always wanting more storage.

There is nothing worse than having to replace an SD card the size of a finger nail in the middle of a fun day of shooting. For me, I’m thinking of my upcoming 10 day trip to Iceland. I’m not going to have a way to download video off the card while traveling. I’m going to need a lot of storage and I’m going to need a lot of it – plus I want fast transfer speeds to there are no glitches. Bottomline I want big and I want the best, that’s why I’m going with the Lexar Professional 1000x microSDXC 128GB UHS-II/U3:

The GoPro Hero 4, the Session and newer, all support cards up to 128GB. Do you need such a big card for a day of shooting? Probably not. You could get away with a 64 gb card and a lot of extra batteries but for multiple days of shooting, consider 128 gb card.

Consider the difficulty of swapping cards on the GoPro Hero 5, it’s a little more difficult to change out the cards compared to the other cameras since the bottom door is a little difficult to open and usually your camera will be inside some sort of holder. So if you use you’re camera a lot, you’ll likely fill a 32GB card and have to interrupt a shoot to swap it. In this case, I would recommend a 64GB card which should get you through the day.

 Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™
Lexar Professional 1000x microSDXC 128GB UHS-II/U3 (Up to 150MB/s Read) W/USB 3.0 Reader Flash Memory Card LSDMI128CBNL1000R


High-speed performance-leverages UHS-II technology (U3) for a read transfer speed up to 1000x (150MB/s)

Includes micro SD UHS-II reader for high-speed file transfer from card to computer, dramatically accelerating workflow

Premium memory solution for sports camcorders, tablets, and smartphones

Designed for high-speed capture of high-quality images and extended lengths of 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video

Includes lifetime copy of downloadable Image Rescue software


DSLR SD Memory Cards

Cameras keep coming out with bigger and bigger megapixels sizes.  The resulting files are YUGE so that’s why I’m upgrading to a larger and faster SD card for my DSLR to quickly capture and transfer high-quality photos and 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video.

Lexar Professional 1000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II cards Quickly capture and transfer high-quality photos and 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video
Lexar Professional 1000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II cards Quickly capture and transfer high-quality photos and 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video.

Don’t need extreme speed?  Save some cash with a slightly slower card.

For my Canon 6D DSLR I don’t need extreme speeds.  This SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB SDXC Flash Memory Card provides very fast transfer speeds for a reasonable cost.

Or this bargin from Lexar – a two pack for a bit more than a single SD card.

The new Lexar Professional 633x SD cards are an update to the 600x SD cards. The cards meet the UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) specification that is given to cards that support 30MB/s or higher continuous write speed, a requirement when recording 4K video.

The Lexar 633x cards are quoted at 95MB/s read and 45MB/s write write speed, essentially the same as the 90MB/s read and 45MB/s write of the 600x cards they replace. The 633x cards are available in 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256GB capacities (the 16GB card has 20MB/s write speed). This review is for the 633x 64GB SDXC card.