About ASD’s Pages

All of the videos and photo-based images on ASD’s web pages (including the composite images) were created by Alan S. Dalinka, and they are his original works. Unless otherwise noted, every video and photo was created by ASD personally on a visit to the place indicated on a specific page. (Pictures of ASD were taken at his request and sometimes by him.) Scans and photos of souvenirs are included in some of the pages for purposes of discussion and to place some photos in context.

For the most part (and except for souvenirs and “scanned” images), the oldest videos and images on ASD’s web pages were created using a Sony HandyCam Video Hi8. From the creation of the first webpage that is now part of this site in 1995 until early 1998, images were digitized by attaching the HandyCam to an Apple TV/Video Card in an Apple Macintosh Performa 630CD with a S-video cable. In early 1998, the Performa 630 was replaced with an Apple Power Macintosh G3 (original edition) which also had a built-in video card.

In early 2000, ASD switched to digital with the purchase of Sony HandyCam DCR-TRV750, a Digital8 camcorder with NightShot and Digital Still functions. The digital camcorder purchase was quickly followed with the purchase of an Apple iMac DV Special Edition. The digital camcorder connected to the iMac by Firewire where images were captured by iMovie. (Some digital still shots were downloaded to a PC by a separate serial connection). The iMac connected to the old G3 and PC by Ethernet.

Spring 2002 brought the addition of a flat panel iMac G4 running at 800 MHz and Fall brought a new Digital 8 Sony HandyCam DCR-TRV840. Like the TRV750, it connected to Mac by Firewire. The TRV840 camcorder also has a 1 megapixel still Digital Still function and saves the photos to a Sony Memory Stick which then downloads directly to a PC or through a SanDisk adaptor by USB to iPhoto on the flat panel iMac. The flat panel iMac connected to the others by Ethernet too.

In Spring 2003, real Mac mobility was discovered with the purchase of the 12-inch PowerBook G4 running at 867 MHz. With an AirPort Extreme card installed, a wireless network was established using a Linksys wireless router/hub (the iMac DV Special Edition got its own AirPort card as well). The PowerBook G4 was of great use in traveling throughout 2003-5 — regular downloading of images from the MemorySticks allowed for more and more stills each day (see, for example, the LasVegas Christmas 2003 photos). As 2003 came to an end, higher quality digital stills became possible with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P10, a 5.0 Mega Pixels digital still camera. It connected by USB to any of the Macs (but usually the PowerBook G4) for fairly quick downloads to iPhoto. Of course, since it uses the Sony MemorySticks, those were often ejected from the camera and and then placed into the SanDisk adaptor for downloading. Before the end of 2005, an adapter allowed portable downloads of photos from the camera to the Video iPod, to save at least one trip back to the room here and there to free up MemoryStick space.

Also by the end of 2005, a new PowerBook G4, this time the 15-inch running at 1.67 GHz was added to the Mac collection for traveling. In the Spring of 2006, at home, the HP 7410 Office Jet (all-in-one) allowed for yet another way to transfer photos off of Sony MemorySticks (as well as more kinds of media that I don’t even recognize).

The next tool added to the mix was the 8.1 Megapixel Sony DSC-T100. The 2007 Disneyland Photos were amongst the first shots taken with it that have been added to the site. It uses the smaller-sized Memory Stick PRO Duo which provides a huge 4 GB of storage — that’s more than 1000 photos at full resolution! And it has a rather complicated looking USB connector that (of course) is not compatible with anything else but this camera….

Being a steady Mac-user over the years, naturally the next device was the iPhone in September 2007. While its camera was only a 2 megapixel, it was great for on-the-go uploading. Until the beginning of 2009, the preferred uploading location was Flickr and from there to a Blogger-created photo blog. The photo blog went live on the site in time for the 2007 end-of-year trip to Walt Disney World.  Because flickr ended free Pro accounts for AT&T customers, after January 2009, no new photos were added after January (until flickr changed again in 2013 and gave everyone lots of free storage). Starting in early 2009, photos were often direct-uploaded to the photo blog.  For the 2007 end-of-the-year trip, a 2.2 GHz MacBook offered new mobility and a new iMac home-based computing (though because of some hardware problems, the iMac didn’t really become functional until Spring 2008).  Starting in late 2008, facebook.com became a new favorite place for uploading photos both by iPhone and otherwise. (Fortunately, by 2016, Facebook’s iPhone App added some pre-upload photo editing tools.)

The iPhone was upgraded to iPhone 3GS in June 2009 (which included a slightly better camera, capable of shooting video and uploading it directly to YouTube).

With the price of 1 TB drives really falling into the reasonable range in late 2008 and 2009, several came in handy for digitizing all of that old video shot starting back in the early 1990s. Nearly all of the videos displayed on the site are hosted on ASD’s YouTube Channel. Some videos over 10 minutes (the old YouTube limit) are hosted on Facebook. Starting in the summer of 2009, my preferred method for importing digital video shot 2000-2008 is to connect one of the old Sony Digital 8 Handycams to the Mac Mini and use iMovie HD 6 to save the files to a 1 TB external drive. Then on the MacBook or newest iMac, I used the DVRecordingDate application to rename the files to correct the capture date information before importing the DV clips into iMovie ’09.

Right before the April 2009 Walt Disney World Trip, true HD videography became possible with Sony’s HDR-XR520V. It has a 220 GB hard drive and also uses the Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo for additional storage (right now, there’s an 8 GB stick installed). The still function on the camera takes 4 megapixel stills while shooting video (the camera also claims that it takes 12 megapixel stills)! For some samples, check out the photos of The Festival of The Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical in the April 2009 Photo Blog Archive. You can spot the stills taken with this camera because they are 16:9 aspect ratio, just like the HD video the camera shoots.  ASD’s YouTube Channel also hosts HD video as well now!

In the Spring of 2009, a Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo USB reader lessened the number of cables needed for travel (since Sony still cameras seem to always have different connectors rather than standard ones).

The next major upgrade was the addition of an iPhone 4S in November 2011, which includes a much better camera than the 3GS, includes a flash and the ability to take HD video.   With the 2012 upgrade to iOS 6, panoramic photos became easy to shoot.  Third party apps, of course, further expand the usefulness of the camera.

In the Spring of 2012, the purchase of a CloudFTP by HyperDrive now allows for the wireless transfer of photos taken on the Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo cards (via the USB stick reader) to the iPhone 4S.  (Though the CloudFTP firmware is still in beta and its user interface a bit less than elegant, it allowed for a laptop-free visit to Walt Disney World in April 2012 to still have lots of photos posted via iPhone that were taken on the Sony devices!  The CloudFTP provides wireless access to lots of USB thumb drives and other USB-connectable mass storage devices, if you’ve read this far on this page, you’ll want to go read about it.)

In June 2012, a new MacBook Pro 13-inch with a 1TB drive became my new main laptop of choice.

Several different graphics software programs have been used to capture, crop, and convert the images to JPEG or GIF format for uploading to the website over the years. The capture of most of the older photos was done using Apple’s TV/Video software. The newest photos, as described above, are began as true digital stills downloaded from a Memory Stick or an iPhone. A lot of the others (and particularly older photos where a great deal of optical zoom was done to get the image in the first place) were captured with iMovie.

The larger hard drive capacity on the newest iMac (along with the 1 TB drives when connected to it or the MacBook) has allowed for editing of a great deal of video — mostly with iMovie (with some light experimentation in Final Cut Express) using the version in iLife ’09. Some of the video includes experimentation using several applications in the iLife ’09 suite.  The MacBook Pro has the iLife ’11 suite, with a few additional tools now availabe.  As noted above, nearly all of the video on the site is hosted at YouTube.

Some of the images are scanned still photographs — particularly panoramic photos from 1999 to about 2003 (as opposed to the digital composite panoramic photos) and the early images pre-1996. ASD used the UMAX Astra 610S color scanner for many images in the early days of the site. A few of the still photographs were digitized by videotaping a still and using the video capture technique described above (see, e.g., ASD at the podium on Dalinka.com – ASD’s Home Page). More recently, scanned images added to the site have been done using an HP Officejet 7410 All-in-One (which, fortunately, connects to everything else using WiFi). I have also used the Kodak rapid-scanner at a couple of Jewel-Osco stores to mass-digitize old stills.

From 1998 to 2001, most of the images were edited using PhotoMaker 1.0 (by MacSoft), Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Adobe PhotoShop LE (both of the latter titles came bundled with different hardware). From 2001 to the present, most images were edited using iPhoto (later versions just renamed Photos) and Adobe Photoshop Elements (v4.0, v6.0, v9.0 and, as of 2016, v.14). Some photos have been edited using tools available at flickr.com. For a brief time in Spring 2010, some of the photos hosted at facebook were edited with some great tools at (the now defunct) Picknik, but then facebook blocked this functionality (and Picknik was bought by Google and discontinued as a stand-alone product). Fortunately, Photoshop Mobile permits editing of photos before uploading to any site on the iPhone. The iPhone 4S has some limited editing tools built in to the Photos App and there are some other Apps that allow for other effects pre-upload.  Of course, Google’s Picasa makes it possible to edit photos, including some on the PhotoBlog (and it now includes some of the tools that used to be on Picknik).

With the changes at flickr, some photo hosting for slideshows was handled by Slide for awhile, but Slide started over-doing its advertising for unrelated tools, so in 2010, ASD updated his javascript slideshow engine to display shows automatically and to create random slideshows like the one at ASD’s Home Page. The updated slideshow engine now loads the relevant photos from whichever site ASD has stored them.

All composite images on ASD’s pages were created using original images created as described above. The composites images are possible thanks to the various graphics software titles described above and the newer ones, in particular, Adobe Photoshop Elements.

The web pages themselves have also been created by ASD. Since ASD was an early member of the website-creating public, ASD’s pages were created the old-fashioned way: coding the HTML and javascript without the use of web page design software or web sites. ASD’s HTML and javascript skills are entirely self-taught. Since 1998, references consulted for creating these pages included HTML 4 HOW-TO by John Zakour, Jeff Foust, and David Kerven (1997 The Waite Group, Inc.) for the latest in HTML tags and javascript tips. Additional credits may be found by viewing the SOURCE code of some of the pages.

In May 2011, Apple’s iWeb 3.0.3 Application (part of iLife ’09) was used to redesign ASD’s Improv, Comedy & Voice Over Portal, a mini-site devoted to those interests. Improving upon that initial experiment, a page of souvenirs and photos from Late Show with David Letterman (of course, not including the inside of the Ed Sullivan Theater or the show itself), was also created with iWeb. In the Summer of 2011, Apple released minor upgrades in iWeb 3.0.4.  The ASDHollywood Page, the Links Page, and this page were redesigned, and a page was created to host Articles & Essays by Alan S. Dalinka.  Pages created with iWeb or redesigned with iWeb are indicated as such on those pages.

The drop-down menus and other modernized formatting were created, in part, by consulting DHTML AND CSS FOR THE WORLD WIDE WEB, Third Edition, by Jason Cranford Teague (2004 Peachpit Press).

Of course, a little research before the redesign would have told me what became obvious when purchasing the MacBook Pro in 2012, Apple decided to cease production and support for iWeb. So, in November 2012, after trying to continue to use iWeb for awhile but struggling with its clunkiness, I decided to migrate to WordPress. As of August 2013, a good number of pages have been migrated and seem to be working well.

Also in the Summer of 2012, I discovered some fun new Apps for shooting images with the iPhone 4S. The 360 Panorama App by Occipital allows for the creation of interactive 360º views. I’ve created over 100 in just a year and they can be viewed here.

Another App I discovered around the same time creates a somewhat interactive 360º video: Spin Cam by Spot Metrix. I’ve posted more than 25 “Spins” in this format in the past year and they can be viewed here.

With the release of iOS 6 in September 2012, the iPhone 4S also became capable of shooting panoramic photos. I have taken many of them and some get posted right along with standard-format photos.

Fall 2013 brought a slew of technology upgrades. In September, Apple released and I installed iOS 7 on my iPhone. By October, I traded in the iPhone 4S for an iPhone 5S. In November, I bought an iPad Air and installed Mavericks (OS X 10.9) on my MacBook Pro. In December, I purchased a Canon PowerShot SX280 HS, a 12.1 MP digital camera with 20x optical zoom and both WiFi and GPS (for geotagging photos). As OS X 10.10 became available, and subsequent iOS versions, those upgrades were installed too.

In Fall 2014, I moved from Chicago to practically next door to Walt Disney World in Orange County, Florida. As a result, the website now receives more frequent new content. By Winter, I also became an independent contributor to MousePlanet.com, a website devoted to independent coverage of Disney products, places, and so forth. Around the same time, I again upgraded my camera — purchasing the Canon PowerShot SX710 HS, a 20.3 MP digital camera with 30x optical zoom and WiFi (though no on-board GPS, so I need to remember to run the Canon Camera Connect iPhone App to create a location log to sync with my photos). Not long after the iPhone 6S debuted, I upgraded to that too, brought the Macbook Pro up to El Capitan (OS X 10.11), and the iPad Air and iPhone up to iOS 9.3.

Finally, FYI, ASD’s pages represent no more than a hobby. ASD makes no money for posting the images or webpages to this site, in fact, this hobby has expenses for the domain registration and web hosting of ASDHollywood (as well as dalinka.com, alandalinka.com, and all of the other related domains and subdomains).

More images, photos and videos get posted as ASD finds the time.

Is there some public area at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or the Disneyland Resort in California that you would like to see some photos or video of? Suggestions are most welcome. Spam is not welcome.

Last updated: September 1, 2016