What happened to me?

IMG_0628For those of you that have known me for a while, you know that I absolutely deplore coffee. I’m not quite certain if it’s the tasty, the acidity, the smell, I’m not quite certain what it is but I deplore it.

Well, similar to wine, if you have bad wine, you basically never want to drink it ever again. If you drink good wine, you relish in the flavour and how it can have such vibrant taste.

In high school I would go and drink Irish Crème Cappuccinos at Starbucks, not because the taste was all that great but because it contained “Irish Crème”. Boy was that a mistake that stunted my growth and kept me from being the 6’8” man that I’d hoped to be.  Okay, just kidding, but seriously, I definitely am not much of a Cappuccino kind of guy. Why ruin the goodness of a shot of espresso with perfectly good crème and sugar that could be used in a baking process for something else?

For me I stumbled into the vibrant taste of coffee this past August. I decided I was going “cold turkey” with diet coke and was just going to switch back to purely water. This feeble attempt lasted for a few weeks before I was finding myself, while incredibly clear (drinking more water always tends to make things more clear) that I was falling asleep – maybe that’s a good thing? I was however finding that in the morning without caffeine I could be a grouch (though I’m sure that some of my closer friends had other names for it Smile).

So after conferring with myself, I decided I would give Starbucks drip coffee a chance. Besides there was a  Starbucks drip coffee machine downstairs in the building that I worked in that was complimentary to anyone that worked there. So I gave Pike Roast a try. Not too bad, but not something that grabbed me and made me say, “Oh you’re amazing.” The flip side was that the caffeine definitely was helping me to be a little more alert and the grouchiness was fading little by little. So I moved on to Bold and found that there was definitely a love affair in the making. The only caveat – it just didn’t have the right flavour to it. But how could I justify the cost I asked myself? Even as a Starbucks Gold card holder, it was still $2 a cup and required a stop by one of the several dispensaries in the area. Further more for days when I wasn’t feeling the Bold, I did have the alternative Café Americano but still, at $2 a cup without a second job, it was going to become financially burdensome to keep up this caffeinated habit.

raycharles-starbucksPerhaps I should have known that I was destined to enjoy Coffee through the enticement of the Ray Charles Starbucks card that I’d received when I bought a copy of the Ray Charles album “Genius Loves Company” (what can I say, I’m the genius and coffee is the company? Winking smile). Which further makes me laugh since whenever I go to Starbucks and hand them this card they all look at it and wonder where I had gotten such a card – primarily since it’s coming up on being seven years old and not readily available. The other typical response is that it’s the coolest or cutest card they’ve ever seen. I even had one barista try to take it when it zero’d out so to speak… yeah that didn’t happen Smile

Anywhere, where does that leave me? Besides having to beat people away from my Ray Charles Starbucks card? Well after a little market research looking at the Tassimo coffee pots as well as the Flavia and Keurig machines I did an analysis of requirements and alternatives. Not to say that I didn’t look at all the different coffee machines out there, but I was looking for something that would be low maintenance, single serving, easy to operate under the influence of next to zero sleep. At least those were the requirements. The alternatives of course were to become more disciplined at going to bed earlier, learn to live on uber-man schedule where I sleep thirty minutes every few hours or to take up something else and after all I’ve read about smoking it just didn’t seem like a good idea Winking smile

So I bit the bullet and pulled the trigger and ordered a Keurig coffee machine and a box of samples of different Kona coffee k-cups. I’ve ended up sticking with Timothy’s Kona Blend Coffee as I’m a sucker for Kona coffee having actually liked the way it smelled as a kid growing up in Hawaii.

But that’s not to say that’s the only coffee k-cups that are magnificent… I’ve definitely found a delight with what is known as “Jet Fuel” from the Coffee People. It’s a strong, dark blend with a taste that is distinct – and free of carcinogens no less which makes it all the better. Plus after taking a some to work to share with colleagues, one of them definitely seemed to think that it made the peppermint mocha mix used as an additive in their coffee that it made the peppermint taste even stronger – can you go wrong with such goodness?

Perhaps, but that’s also why I have an alternative to the Café Americano – Timothy’s Espresso blend. While it’s not a one for one replacement it comes darn close from a taste perspective. And for those late nights where you’re looking for the taste, there’s good ole Timothy’s Espresso blend decaf – sure there’s a little caffeine, but nothing that a little Kerberos documentation won’t do to push you to dream land.

So where does that leave me in the morning? Typically thinking to myself, “Decisions, decisions…” especially with the influence of the Starbucks thermos, the Panera coffee cup and the Jet Fuel conveniently edging itself toward the Keurig machine. There are definitely mornings where I’m looking for comfort and not really the kick of an after burner through Jet Fuel which leads me to the Kona or another favorite, the Nantucket Blend. Either of which provides that nice and warm flavour with a gentle nudge that wraps its arms around you and reminds you that even though it’s a jungle out there, you’ve got your emotional blanket to take with you Smile

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Sorting through old tech…

Photo Jan 09, 17 30 35So this past weekend in my free time I’ve been going through a few containers of items that I haven’t touched probably in a few years. So far I’ve filtered through about four boxes. While going through an old wooden crate (yes wooden, that’s the classy style Mom got me) I came across a cardboard box. Inside were a Sony Walkman and a Panasonic Portal CD Player.

Needless to say I find it amazing that I still have this little Walkman and notice that it has that awesome feature of Auto Reverse. It’s times like this however that I start wondering to myself, do I have any cassette tapes that I can actually play with this fella? Last time I checked I don’t.  However, the last time that I played with this I took the batteries out so if needed in an emergency I can still use this guy to get Digital tuning on both AM and FM bands. Score!

Photo Jan 09, 17 30 47But wait, there’s more, the Panasonic Discman with XBS or Extra Bass System also seems to be in working order and get this, it was manufactured in November 1993.  I was a mere Freshman in high school when I picked this up and used it. Talk about history that’s hard to get rid of. Granted, at the time this was cutting edge as I remember it – there was even a car kit for this device so that you could plug into an auxiliary cable and use it while in the car. How times have changed where we have Sync systems that tie into hard drives that store hours and hours of music.  I’m curious as to what’s next… Of course now the question is what to do with this stuff.

PanTech UML 290 LTE–First Thoughts

So I bit the bullet and bought the PanTech UML 290 from Verizon Wireless, flat out. Works like a champ… when it works. The above speed test was taken from my house.  I noticed that after about ten minutes, the card would stop transmitting traffic.  At first I thought, “alright, maybe there’s a hardware issue.”

Oddly enough though I would run an NSLookup and get a valid response. I would try to ping Google.com and it would ping. So I was left scratching my head wondering why I wasn’t able to transmit and receive anything other than just a DNS record or an ICMP. So what did I do? I called Verizon’s tech support.

uml290So I disconnected and then reconnected and all was back to normal with super fast network connectivity that scared me (yes, scared me thinking to myself that just a few years ago these speeds in a wired environment were usually only in corporate data networks or academic environments).  Then about ten to fifteen minutes later, boom, disconnect.  Third times a charm I figured, and gave it another reconnect request, this time the session was flawless and had no issues, lasted 45 minutes long and then I disconnected manually and left for dinner with a few friends.  When I got back, I opened a ticket with Verizon support – they called back pretty quickly and left a message since I wasn’t available.  Rather than shy away from the issue I went ahead and gave them a call to further discuss.

After talking with a gent about what was going on, it was confirmed from my network traffic that there were “at cause” issues where the modem would attempt to talk to a specific node of the LTE cell and be disconnected from transmitting at that level and cease data traffic altogether. Because it’s the network side an official ticket was opened and network engineering team will investigate the network hardware and routing to correct the issue.

So first thoughts, LTE is blazing fast.  LTE is expensive in that Verizon wireless is capping at 5 GB for $50, 10 GB for $80.  I’d like to see VZW man up and do what MetroPCS is doing with unlimited usage for $60

Nevertheless, according to VZW, they should have the issue resolved in 5 to 7 business days, I’m interested to see it get fixed and will report back then.