Swan on the Blackstone near the Albion Bridge

Swan on the Blackstone near the Albion Bridge

3/1/15 – Blackstone River Swan near the Albion Bridge in Cumberland, Rhode Island. The Albion Bridge was built in 1885 by the Boston Bridge Works.

Hilton Hhonors Wifi vs. Verizon Hotspot

Our family is on a short two-day ski trip in New Hampshire, staying at Hampton Inn & Suites North Conway. The hotel is great, extremely family friendly, and the staff are nice. There’s an amazing mini-water park  inside the hotel, bingo night, movie night complete with popcorn. Just a wonderful place.

Unfortunately, I needed to sneak in a quick Skype TV interview for work Monday morning and was hoping the hotel wifi would be strong enough. In running some speed tests the night before and I was frightened by the results. I’m not a big business traveler, but I’ve heard the hotel wifi can vary significantly and often performs rather poorly.

I’m barely getting 1MB download and upload speeds and about half that:

Hilton Hhonors Wifi Speed Test Results
Hilton Hhonors Wifi Speed Test Results

To be fair, I was testing the wifi at the worst possible time, 9pm on school vacation week. I believe the hotel is nearly full, it will be curious to see if there’s any improvement in the morning.

Continue reading Hilton Hhonors Wifi vs. Verizon Hotspot

Upgrade MediaWiki, 5 Easy Steps Using FTP and Web Browser

MediaWiki Easy UpgradeI run a relatively small wiki using MediaWiki hosted on a Dreamhost server. Generally, I like to stay on top of upgrades for the security patches, new features, and bug fixes but the manual upgrade process makes me nervous.

I’ve been burned from nightmare Drupal CMS upgrades in the past. Losing hours of my life to troubleshooting and rebuilding is not something I ever want to repeat.

Anyway, I’ve procrastinated for a while now on this MediaWiki upgrade. I finally decided to jump in this week and get it done. I thought I would share the process I used, which is not exactly the recommended process on the MediaWiki website, but I found it easy and straight forward.  I successfully avoided the command line, which makes me somewhat nervous and certainly not in my comfort zone.

Continue reading Upgrade MediaWiki, 5 Easy Steps Using FTP and Web Browser

Cumberland, RI – Snowstorm Road Conditions 2/2/15 @ 5:45pm

Rhode Island 295S from state line to Dave’s Marketplace Cumberland.

Fun XLIX Super Bowl Stats (2015)

Everything about the NFL Super Bowl is measured on a grand scale. Each year I enjoy looking at some of numbers. Especially the technical, TV production related numbers. Here’s four “numbers” that stood out this year:

1. $4.5M

This number represents average costs of a 30 second Super Bowl Commercial for the XLIX 205 Super Bowl. The chart below provides some historical context on the rise of the Super Bowl Commercial.

(Source: Various Online Sources, Primarily Wikipedia)

2. $700

This is awesome, $700 is the amount of money theverge.com spent to secure a “Super Bowl” ad…  Really? Technically, YES!

The Verge is an American technology news and media network operated by Vox Media. A relatively small company and one that many would not expect to be in the market for a Super Bowl commercial slot.

What is so brilliant about this ad is the way The Verge went about releasing and promoting the ad.

According to multiple reports The Verge released the ad online ahead of the Super Bowl without explaining they had in-fact purchased a regional ad, in the tiny market of Helena, Montana. (map) A town of 30,000 and one with relatively low advertising slots for the Super Bowl. Paying just $700 for a 30 second spot.

Despite the small market and limited reach, the creative folks over at the The Verge appear to be having success created some viral buzz online with nearly $75,000 views to date on YouTube.

 3. 12.5M

According the the Wall Street Journal, Americans are “expected to order about 12.5 million pizzas on Sunday. Order early!

4. 51

Lastly, 51… This is the number of television cameras that will be used for “Game” coverage. This does not include, the pre-game show, half time, and all the other extra productions that surround the big game.

In fact, the full camera plan is available online, check it out here.


Diana’s Bath New Hampshire in Winter

Happy New Year! Our family spent the day in Conway, New Hampshire enjoying a quiet day hiking to Diana’s Bath to see the waterfalls in winter.

Reflecting, Looking Forward

My family is in the White Mountains on a ski trip this week and as usual I’ve packed the running gear just in case there’s an opportunity. Today I had the time and ran into downtown North Conway and decided to stop mid-run at Zebs General Store, which is a must for anyone who visits the area.  I grabbed a coffee sample at the front door and headed back to my run, I’ll head back with the family soon.

The last run of the year is always one of reflection and looking forward to the year ahead.

Running continues to be a growing passion for me, helping keep me focused through life’s journey. My goal for 2014 was to run a half marathon and I was thankful to accomplish this while fighting an injury.

My injury and the horrible weather made the Gansett Half a tough run. The process taught me the importance of slow, consistent improvements and to respect the run.

I just looked at my milage and discovered I came close to doubling my milage this year, logging 950 miles compared to 500 in 2013. I’m a bit surprised and thrilled to see progress.

My Wife Deborah made me a running cake for my 37th Birthday
My Wife Deborah made a running cake for my 37th Birthday

As always, there’s much room for improvment. I’m going to keep my 2015 running goals simple:

  • First thing is to focus on consistency and keeping myself injury free.
  • I want to run another Half Marathon, injury free this time.
  • I also want to begin contemplating a full marathon, which seems so difficult at this moment. I know that if I focus on the first two goals the marathon goal is absolutely possible.
  • Lastly, managing my diet better will help improve my run and for me the measurement of success will be having lower body weight than I do now.

These are all manageable running goals, but I also realize it’s easy to lose focus, get injured, and suffer setbacks. Thanks to the support of friends and family, I have confidence that another great year of running is ahead.

Running has been life changing for me. I’m grateful that I found a rewarding passion and that I have such a supportive family that gives me the time to chase my goals.

Wishing everyone a great 2015, whatever your goals might be slow steady progress wins the day every time.

Peace and God Bless

Inspired by the Christmas Spirit

We have a neighbor a few streets away that is one of those special people who makes the season just a bit brighter, a bit more special. Each year this neighbor puts on an impressive light and ornament display, but he also invites Santa to stop by for a visit one Saturday evening in December.

This event has become part of our family tradition and our two boys look forward to Santa’s arrival weeks ahead. There’s some truly special people in every community that go above and beyond and Cumberland certainly is no exception.

Mount Washington TV Geeks

Picked up my copy of Marty On The Mountain at <a href="http://www.booksmusictoys.com/">The Village Book Store</a> in Littleton, NH.
Picked up my copy of Marty On The Mountain at The Village Book Store in Littleton, NH.

Mount Washington and Television, two of my life passions in one book.

Marty on the Mountain is a wonderful book full of neat stories about life as a TV engineer on top of Mount Washington.  Only 157 pages, the book is a fun read over a quiet weekend.

I’ve had the opportunity to hike and visit the mountain on a number of occasions.  In fact, I proposed to my wife after a hike up Tuckerman’s Ravine.

I had a clear image of the location as I read about the different buildings on the summit.

Great book, I picked up my copy at the Village Book Store in Littleton, which is always part of our family vacation trips.  I usually pick up at least one book. I know the store downsized in 2014 and is now under new ownership, known as Little Village Toy & Book Shop  but still a great place.