Geek

One Moment…

We received word from our web hosting company that they’re going to try to migrate the server we live on to a new data center in Buffalo, New York. When they tried this in October our server was down for over three days and there wasn’t much we could do about it. I thought that completed the migration but it did not, so apparently they’re going to try again.

I should have jumped ship when I had the chance.

So, if you see the blog gone for a while don’t fret, I’m still writing behind the scenes, I’m just waiting for the web hosting company to get its act together.

As I sign my emails at work when it comes to server issues: thank you for your patience.

Foiled.

When I was a kid the Sears Wish Book was a big deal at this time of year. For those unfamiliar, the big department stores (Sears, JC Penney, and Montgomery Ward come to mind) would release these big catalogs of all their entire inventory to convince the consumer to buy their holidays gifts from the family from these catalogs. Think of it as Amazon of the mid 20th century.

I always enjoyed flipping through the Wish Book from Sears in particular, because out of these department stores we went to Sears the most and they had the niftiest cash registers at the time.

There’s a collection of these catalogs available online at WishbookWeb. I was flipping through the 1970 Sears Wish Book and noticed they were selling Micro-Waves (as they displayed in their ad). The technology was new for the consumer at the time; I believe my grandmother got her first Amana Radarange in 1971.

Apparently the Micro-Wave oven was so new that the Sears advertising department didn’t quite have all the mechanics down yet. In the page below, look how many places they display food wrapped or trayed in foil! To be fair, there’s tiny print that tells us to wrap the baked potato in foil after baking, but that TV dinner is going to create quite the light show if put in a microwave oven.

100K.

Our 2016 Jeep Cherokee has made it to the 100K club. Purchased right after Earl opted for early retirement from his job in 2016, this car has been on many adventures. It’s been registered in three states, been in all four time CONUS time zones, and at some point I should probably count the number of states it has traversed. It helped with the move from Central New York to Chicago, made 1 1/2 trips from Chicago to Tucson, has been to Florida a few times and has been a joy to drive on its entire journey.

Our plan is to keep the Cherokee for as long as financially practical, while we wait for electric vehicles to get a little more affordable. We have both agreed that our next car will be electric; it’s just a matter of finding the right vehicle for our needs. We’ve also been getting in the habit of planning our trips as if we were already driving an electric car, so we can start getting familiar with the concept of charging stations.

Now, I have a reputation as an Apple fanboy (though I do mix Linux in to this mix quite a bit), but I’ve been reading rumors of an Apple car that is completely autonomous with no steering wheel. No idea if these rumors are true but I don’t have any interest in a vehicle of that design. I’m absolutely interested in a much more ecologically friendly vehicle, and I like the idea of autonomous cars, but I still believe engineers are only solving half of the equation in autonomous vehicles. We need to make our highways smarter in conjunction with developing the AI necessary to drive a car. If we keep designing highways without electronic doodads to help send signals to self driving cars, we have a very long road ahead of us.

In Sync.

The 1930s school clock in my office was starting to struggle a little bit. It’s been in many rooms, survived many moves, and has made its way across the country from it’s manufacturing home of Springfield, Mass. The clock was just shy of 100 years old and it is stored safely in a carton in the back of my office closet.

I decided to upgrade to a 2000 vintage digital clock. It’s kept in sync with the wireless controller located elsewhere in the house. We have a couple of clocks on this wireless system and this is the only digital clock. The other clocks are solar powered and analog and they work very well.

It’s weird not hearing the minute-by-minute click-click of the early 20th century school clock, but I can still watch time march by in military precision with the counting of the seconds. It gives my office a high tech vibe, which is probably good for a geek like me.

Bifocals.

My new glasses arrived in the mail today. I am wearing bifocals for the first time in my life and these glasses from Zenni Optical are wonderful. And more importantly, very affordable. With my prescription from late last year in hand, I ordered these glasses on the Zenni Optical website last Tuesday and had them by today. They fit will, they’re comfortable, and I’m getting used to the progressive nature of these bifocals.

I can see around me and read my phone at the same time without holding the phone out to the far reaches of the room. It’s a wonderful feeling. And it wasn’t expensive!

Kmart.

I stumbled across this photo of a Kmart with adjoining “Kmart Food” while browsing through cash register photos the other day. The Kmart side looks exactly like the Kmart we would go to in Mattydale Plaza outside of Syracuse but I don’t remember ever seeing a Kmart Food. However, in the late 1970s there was a grocery store next to the Kmart in Mattydale, so I’m wondering if it originally was a Kmart Food.

I know the Kmart in Mattydale burned in the early 1970s and was rebuilt. Perhaps the Kmart Food was removed at that time.

I still think Kmart was best when they stuck with the big, red K and the turquoise ‘mart’.

Return To Service.

Our web host is still restoring servers across their platform, but our service (on server #1!) has been stable for the past 24 hours. Fingers crossed.

Interruptions.

Our web hosting company has been struggling with service for the past 48 hours. This is the fallout of a server migration that was suppose to take place in an eight-hour window on Saturday, Oct. 9. There has been little communication on the subject from the web hosting company, which is quite disappointing. If you’ve been stopping by and finding no traces of this site, my apologies, but fret not, I have no plans on discontinuing anything.

Thank you for your continued interest.

Speed.

With my new iPhone 13 Pro I’ve been excited to try out 5G from our cellular provider, who happens to be AT&T.

The 5G service from AT&T in Tucson is not good.

For a while I’ve been contemplating moving away from AT&T. The only reason we’re on AT&T is because it was bundled with our fiber connection at home when we lived in Chicago. Cellular service in the Windy City was decent but not great, and we’ve had the same experience here in Tucson. I’m convinced there are better options.

Mike suggested T-Mobile. He uses the T-Mobile network through Mint Mobile, but Mint doesn’t provide the option to tether a cellular-wired Apple Watch to your account, which is something I rely on a bit. So while looking around on the Internet I discovered that T-Mobile offers free 30 days of data service if you have a compatible device, which I do in the iPhone 13 Pro. So I have both my normal AT&T service and the T-Mobile free plan running on my phone.

The T-Mobile of 5G, thus far, has proven to be much more reliable that’s AT&T in the greater Tucson area. I did a speed check in the downtown area and was impressed with the results. Unfortunately, according to the coverage map, T-Mobile gets a little spotty outside of the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas. And with all the exploring we do out in the desert, this could prove to be an issue with us in the future.

I’m going to test the service on our drive to Las Vegas next weekend and see how it does.

Boo Boop-e-doo

Here’s one of my favorite clips from “I Dream of Jeannie”. A geek aside, the second season (as heard here) had the best of the magical sound effects.