Memorial Day Weekend in Key West: Day 2

Our first (and only) full day in Key West started out slowly … which was fine since we were on vacation after all. Despite our success with taking the dog around the city yesterday, we decided it was too hot and too much for our elderly pooch to handle again. Rather than leave him alone in the hotel room (he tends to bark when left alone), we drove him over to Pampered Pet (in New Town) for day care boarding. That freed us up to bike around Old Town during the day doing all the touristy stuff that wasn’t necessarily pet friendly.

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Memorial Day Weekend in Key West: Day 1

Earlier this week we realized Memorial Day was coming up and we really didn’t have any plans for the long weekend. With limited time to plan, we decided to drive down to the Florida Keys and visit Key West. We’ve lived in Florida for 13 years and have never been there so why not check it out over a holiday weekend? Road trip!

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WIJFR: Siege Perilous

Ocyrhoe, a young, cunning fugitive from Rome, safeguards a chalice of subtle but great power. Finding herself in France, she allies with the persecuted, pacifist Cathar sect in their legendary mountaintop stronghold, Montségur. There she resists agents of the Roman Church and its Inquisition, fights off escalating, bloody besiegement by troops of the King of France, and shields the mysterious cup from the designs of many.

Percival, the heroic Shield-Brethren knight from The Mongoliad, consumed by his mystical visions of the Holy Grail, is also drawn to Montségur—where the chalice holds the key to his destiny.

Arrayed against Percival and Ocyrhoe are enemies both old and new who are determined to reveal the secrets of the Shield-Brethren with the hope of destroying the order once and for all.

Wrapping up The Mongoliad Cycle, I finally finished reading “Siege Perilous” by E. D. deBirmingham. 

Book Five picks up the Rome/Pope/Grail storyline from Books Two and Three, introducing Ferenc and Ocyrhoe to the Shield-Bretheren knights Raphael and Percival and Shield Maiden Vera. Also making a re-appearance is Dietrich, of the Livonian order of knights whom we last saw at the Circus of Swords outside of Hünern in Book Three. There aren’t any more Mongols (i.e., Gansukh and Lian) in this final installment, as that story was wrapped up at the end of Book Four.

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Finally a stroke of good luck?

First the Cleveland Browns worked their magic and picked Johnny Manziel (aka, Johnny Football or LeBron James in Cleats?) in the first round (22nd overall). Reports have it that Manziel will be hometown hero Brian Hoyer‘s backup, not the starter, but hopefully this time around picking a quarterback finally works out for the Browns.

Then the Cleveland Cavaliers won the first round draft pick in the lottery (a 1.7% chance) for the third time in four years. Who knows if they’ll use it, or trade it, but this has got to be a sign of things finally turning around for the Cavs, right? I don’t really want LeBron to come back (I’d rather see Cleveland win a championship without him at this point) but it’ll be interesting to see what plays out with this fantastic bargaining chip.

Finally a stroke of good luck for my Cleveland teams? Let’s hope they don’t squander it …

Sony HDR-CX330

Sony HDR-CX330My daughter had to do some filming for a class project and the thought of having to transfer her video off of my old Panasonic PV-GS250 miniDV camcorder (in real-time) just wasn’t appealing. I decided it was time to get an HD camcorder. Since I needed it pretty quickly, I did some brief research on Consumer Reports and then purchased the Sony HDR-CX330 at my local Best Buy (online, with in-store pickup).

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Trusting in the Trusty Tahr

Yeah, yeah, so it’s getting harder to write these “witty” Ubuntu post titles … :-o

Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) was released today so as usual I upgraded my server immediately. Despite upgrading on the first day the download only took about 30 minutes but then it took a few hours for the “do-release-upgrade” to finish installing all the new packages plus a little more time for me to re-apply my affected configuration changes. This was a pretty smooth upgrade, no issues to speak of yet! I did double-check to make sure the version of OpenSSL included has the Heartbleed patch (which of course it does).

Next up is version 14.10 in October, but it doesn’t appear to have been codenamed yet. The “U” name should be fun, lots of possibility there …

Synology DiskStation DS214

Synology DS214Let’s try this again …

I was having way too many problems with my new Buffalo Linkstation LS420 so I sent it back and decided to give a different brand a try. It was slightly more expensive, but I selected the Synology DiskStation DS214 2-bay NAS, populated with two 3TB Western Digital Red NAS hard drives (purchased separately as the NAS itself comes without drives). Wow, am I impressed!

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Back in “jail” (upgraded to iOS 7.1)

broken Reminders appI ran into a problem last night where the Reminders app on my iPhone 4S stopped updating with the Reminders in iCloud. Figuring it was just a typical sync issue I turned off the Reminders syncing, planning on just turning it on again to fix the problem. When I turned them off, I let iOS delete the local reminders on my phone (since they were still up in iCloud).

But after turning the sync back on, my Reminders app was completely broken: the default list was missing and I couldn’t add one because the plus (+) button was grayed out! The “Default List” under the Reminders settings was also missing, and Siri couldn’t add new reminders either.

Perusing Google and the Apple support forums, it appeared that of course, a complete reset of the phone might fix the problem. I didn’t want to do that, though, because I would lose my iOS 7.0.6 jailbreak when the phone would update itself to iOS 7.1.

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WIJFR: Katabasis

The death of the fearsome Ögedei Khan has brought the Mongol invasion of the West to an abrupt halt. Exhausted, plagued by uncertainty and self-doubt, and reeling from betrayal by one of their own, the surviving Shield-Brethren struggle across a frozen, shattered wasteland to return home after their desperate battle in Mongolia. Their mission is complete—Christendom has been saved—but new and terrible questions haunt each member of the company: Are they heroes or villains? Or just pawns in a larger game, trapped in a world gone mad in the wake of the unspeakable devastation visited upon it by the Mongol horde?

When I started reading “The Mongoliad” last year I thought it was a trilogy, so I was surprised when I reached the end of Book 3 only to find the story hadn’t wrapped up. In fact, this part of the Foreworld Saga is five books and I just finished “Katabasis” by Joseph Brassey, Mark Teppo, Cooper Moo, and Angus Trim (no Neal Stephenson anymore).

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Buffalo LinkStation LS420

Buffalo LinkStation LS420DBack in 2006 I purchased my first NAS, the 250gb Buffalo LinkStation. Three years later I quadrupled my NAS space by replacing the LinkStation with the 1TB Buffalo LinkStation Live. It’s now been five years since my last NAS upgrade and this time I decided to finally go with RAID. Sticking with Buffalo (I have yet to have a problem with Buffalo storage devices), I selected the LinkStation 420.

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