Stay off the roads already…

If you’re living in the DC Metro region, you may have noticed that all you hear on the news this week is that snow is coming. No they’re not talking about a new season of Game of Thrones and the great Jon Snow. They’re referring to precipitation. 

Earlier this week there was a light dusting of snow. It got ugly as apparently there were over 700 collisions in the state, most in the northern Virginia area. While there are several contributing factors to include everyone being caught off guard by a light dusting on untreated roads which turned icy, in addition to DC region drivers generally not knowing how to drive in the snow unless they’re a migrant from places such as Utah, Pennsylvania, Maine or the great state of Ohio. 

Nevertheless, it took up to two hours for some individuals to go 20 miles. Ridiculous some might say. With the impending doom of the blizzard of 2016 on our doorstep, take a word of warning to stay off the roads… Empire storm troopers will be patrolling local roads in AT-AT carriers clearing roads of vehicles as depicted in the image above 😉

Seriously though, a lot of snow is expected. If you haven’t prepared yet, well there’s still some time but not much. Non perishable items are your best bet at this point along with batteries and a full tank of gas. My prediction is that main roads will be cleared in the next few days but you can expect to get to know your family pretty well these next few days – be safe, stay indoors. 

Snowdaze

Earlier this week, there was a mention that on Wednesday evening there was a chance for flurries. Most of us heeded this information and said, “well that will be pleasant to have a dusting of snow prior to this forecasted blizzard.” Little did we know that this dusting would turn into a mini winter weather event that would cause 150+ accidents and cancel school in Fairfax County. Mind you that there’s a little less than an inch of snow on the ground. The caveat being that the snow is basically ice with a coating of snow.

Enjoy your day off folks and be vigilant about snow flakes… One can never determine their intent.

Maryland drivers…

…can be incredibly lucky sometimes. In this instance it was the case of a man narrowly escaping injury as a light pole fell and pierced his car on the beltway in a portion that resides in Maryland (source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/man-narrowly-escapes-injury-after-falling-lightpole-pierces-his-car-on-beltway/2016/01/19/bed7c244-bead-11e5-bcda-62a36b394160_story.html).

So yes, Maryland drivers sometimes seem to be incredibly lucky. From what the article depicts, he was sitting in beltway traffic due to an accident and a light pole fell and pierced his car, missing his head by a few inches. Apparently an ambulance bumped said pole while it swerved onto the embankment thanks to someone sideswiping said ambulance.

What do we learn from this episode?
For starters that the light poles apparently are made of flimsy metal that can’t withstand being bumped by an ambulance. Further that light poles apparently can pierce the materials of a vehicle quite easily. I’m more curious as to what happened to the lamp that sits on top of a light pole. This episode also reminds us to stay out of Maryland if at all possible during high occupancy on the beltway. And lastly, if you’re driving on the beltway, seriously give some space to emergency vehicles.

Be safe my friends.

Apple and the percentage bar . . .

Apple and the percentage bar…
If you’ve been using an iOS device over the past few years, one of the neat little things that they added was the ability to have a numeric percentage next to the battery bar. A friend of mine actually recommended just not having that number displayed as it was misleading.
Apparently he was right as Apple has come forth stating that they’re investigating inaccurate percentage bug in the iPhone 6s and 6s+ devices. The caveat for me is that I’m pretty certain this is true for iPhone 6 and 6+ device holders as well – or at least it seemed that way to me where it wouldn’t update properly.
Needless to say, if you’re looking at your iPhone and you wonder what’s up, it may not be just you scratching your head wondering why your phone just powered off at 88%.

Independence Day…

So just in case you missed it because you’ve been waiting for the next Star Wars Episode 7 trailer or perhaps you’ve been engrossed in consumerism and holiday shopping… A sequel to Independence Day is set to come out in 2016. If my memory serves me correctly… That’s 20 years since the original film came out. 

Check out the Verge’s article yonder…

http://www.theverge.com/2015/12/13/10034926/independence-day-resurgence-trailer-jeff-goldblum

Apple and Wifi Assist

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re logged into a Wi-Fi network where the network bandwidth of that Wi-Fi network is deplorable? Maybe like a hotel or a technology conference? Perhaps you need to be able to get to a website to check the weather or run an app to determine what the traffic is but your device just sits there and spins the “working on it” icon?

Enter Apple’s Wi-Fi Assist. A new function in iOS 9 that basically allows the device to failover to a Mobile data network if the device can determine that it’s of better quality than the Wi-Fi network that you’re connected to. Sounds like a neat feature and guess what – it’s enabled by default.

There seemed to be quite a bit of uproar about Wi-Fi Assist eating through bandwidth unbeknownst to users that were sitting on deplorable Wi-Fi networks but in range of some nice 4G LTE signal on their newly upgraded to iOS 9 devices. In some regards there’s probably some truth to that, users not realizing that their Wi-Fi network was deplorable and their phone using the local Mobile network. Caveat of course being that individuals that didn’t realize that the Wi-Fi network was deplorable probably haven’t noticed that they’re using a Mobile network or that their kids are buying in-app purchase upgrades for whatever the app of the week is.

Nevertheless, Apple seems to have released an updated article on this topic to help give users of iOS 9 devices a better idea of how this works entitled “About Wi-Fi Assist.”

The core three points that are in this article are as follows:

  • Wi-Fi Assist will not automatically switch to cellular if you’re data roaming.
  • Wi-Fi Assist only works when you have apps running in the foreground and doesn’t activate with background downloading of content.
  • Wi-Fi Assist doesn’t activate with some third-party apps that stream audio or video, or download attachments, like an email app, as they might use large amounts of data.

So what’s that mean? Well, perhaps that Wi-Fi Assist isn’t as bad as it was made out to be. That’s not to say that I won’t be keeping an eye on my data services bill, but at the same time, I’m not quite as worried that it’s going to overrun my data cap either.

Thanks Apple for at least clarifying how it works a little bit.

Feed flipper, iTunes Feeds and McLean Presbyterian Church

A few months back, I had sent a note to a local church in the DC metro area – McLean Presbyterian to be precise – asking if they had an RSS feed for their sermons that are presented on Sunday mornings to their congregation. At the time they didn’t, but they informed me that they were re-vamping their website and would have this in the near future. I was amazed that they were forward thinking on engagement mediums – go McLean Pres!

Sure enough, when I went to check this morning, lo and behold, an iTunes feed to consume through iTunes Podcast. If only I used iTunes Podcast functionality on my iOS device – instead I typically use OverCast.fm, mostly for its Smart Speed capability to remove the gaps in podcasts that sometimes get left in.

So I think to myself, “Well that’s not good, how am I going to consume an RSS feed that’s published through iTunes?”

Enter Feed Flipper – an online based app that will check to see what the actual RSS source is by pulling the feed and parsing it on behalf of the user.

So after copying the iTunes feed, I was presented with the underlying source – http://feeds.feedburner.com/mcleanpressermons

Presto, entered into the OverCast.fm app on my iDevice and I’m in business.

Thanks to the fine folks at McLean Presbyterian for putting together an RSS feed to be able to more easily pull down sermons from the faithful pastor teachers. Also thanks to the developers for Feed Flipper so that I could find out the source RSS feed.