Working from home tech

Like a lot of other people in the world right now, I just finished my first week of working from home due to COVID-19. I’m a little luckier than most in that I’ve already had a lot of experience working from home, and my job as a systems administrator lends itself to working remotely easily. I also already had a home office area and relatively robust home network. Still, working from home every now and then is a lot different than doing it for (at least) three weeks straight during this time of “social distancing” and “sheltering in place.” I’m not supposed to return to the office until April 6, so what technology am I using to stay connected and keep doing my job?

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Spring Training 2020: Home and Recap

I groggily awoke as we landed at the CLT airport around 6:10am. As luck would have it, my connection was just two gates away so I grabbed breakfast at Starbucks and did a little walking to get my step count up before boarding the flight to Tampa. By 10:30am I was back home, Cactus League Spring Training Trip #10 in the books.

It’s March 1 and my annual spring training is just ending (that’s just not right!). The Indians come to Tampa early in the season too this year (April). So after that, unless I go to the odd Rays game, that’s the end of live baseball for me in 2020! And having seen all Indians losses this trip, I hope to see a victory over the Rays when I go next month.

Another weird thing about going early: no NCAA basketball. That’s usually a staple for us, watching tournament games while out in the desert. But I don’t care about that because my #4 Dayton Flyers are undefeated in the Atlantic 10 and no doubt will be dancing later this month! Go Flyers!!

The Vegas side trip was a lot of run. Sure, it was a 485mi drive from Phoenix, but getting to check off another spring training ballpark and doing some hiking was worth it, despite our run-in with the LVPD on Friday night! 😀

Looking forward to the regular season now …

Spring Training 2020: Day 3

Leap Day baseball!

We thought we would end up sleeping in this morning, with nothing to do until the baseball game at 1:05pm. But we were both up at 7:45am so I did some quick research and realized that Red Rock Canyon was only 20 minutes away. I had hiked in the canyon during my first trip to Vegas back in 2015 with college friends and since our annual spring training normally involves hiking and we hadn’t had a chance to do it back in Phoenix, we decided to drive out there before the game. We had breakfast at the hotel around 9:30am and checked on my brother’s progress in the Mississippi Blues Marathon (which is why he couldn’t come with us on the trip this year), and my niece’s solo and ensemble competition (which my other sister had flow back overnight for) before checking out of the hotel and getting back in the car.

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Spring Training 2020: Day 2

Normally Day 2 would start with a morning hike one on the valley’s mountain trails, but our traditional routine is a little compressed this year due to my one sister’s short stay with us. Instead, we got up early (around 7:30am), had breakfast at the hotel (including leftover cowboy frybread from dinner last night, yum!), checked out, and drove to Goodyear to see the Indians’ morning practice.

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Spring Training 2020: Day 1

It’s March February … time for baseball! After going to Arizona for my annual trip out to the Cactus League late in the spring training season for the past two years, this time I’m going early. The trip includes a Leap Day game in Las Vegas! New tech since my last trip includes a nice pair of noise-cancelling over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones and my Canon PowerShot SX740.

Despite growing fears around the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), including a case in Phoenix, I flew out to Sky Harbor airport early (5:30am) and lucked out that the only empty seat on the place was the middle seat next to me, nice! I landed at 9:45am MST and met my sisters who had both arrived earlier. This is my one sister’s first trip out with us so we’re looking forward to having her share in this annual tradition.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick

Amazon Fire TV StickThis month, I cut the cord, cancelled my Spectrum cable TV service, and switched to YouTube TV, which meant I needed a way to watch YTTV on, well, my TVs! There’s a dizzying array of devices for the cord-cutter (Roku, Apple TV, smart TV apps, and more), but since I’m already an Amazon Prime subscriber, I choose the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.

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Switching to YouTube TV (farewell, TiVo!)

I’ve been an avid TiVo user ever since I got my first Series2 DVR back in 2003. I’ve owned almost every model and it’s been a staple in my household for the past 17 years. Recently, however, while analyzing our monthly bills, I realized just how much cable TV from Spectrum was costing us. That got me to thinking about TiVo over the past few years:

Plus, when I purchased my last TiVo (the Bolt back in 2016), I didn’t get Lifetime service so I’ve been paying $149/year for it. When I added that into my calculations I figured I could save almost $700/year by dumping cable TV and TiVo and switching to a streaming service.

Enter YouTube TV.

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Examining the Eoan Ermine

It’s late October which means it’s time for the latest Ubuntu release, 19.10 Eoan Ermine.

But first, my traditional summer/fall sports re-cap. It was down to the end of the season for the Indians and Rays but Tampa Bay made it to the wildcard playoff game and then lost to the Oakland A’s. The Super Bowl-bound Browns are sitting at 2-5, in third place in the AFC North ahead of the 0-8 Bengals (been there!). The NBA and NHL seasons are barely three weeks old but the Cavaliers (in year two since Lebron’s departure) are 1-2 and the Lightning are off to a slow start at 5-4.

Now back to Ubuntu …

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Labor Day Weekend 2019 at Disney: Star Wars and Dorian

With Hurricane Dorian threatening to cut across the state of Florida, we weren’t sure our annual Labor Day vacation to Walt Disney World was going to happen. But as it turned out the storm curved away, up the eastern coast of the state and stayed away from Orlando. As a result, we had a really nice weekend trip without a lot of crowds.

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Another week in NYC

I was last in New York City back in 2015: in May when I helped move the office to 1 Rockefeller Plaza, and then again in July when I went up for a two day meeting (but had time to see Penn & Teller on Broadway at the Marquis Theater).

This time I was back for … another office move. Yes, after just four years the corporate office was moving 13 blocks uptown from Rockefeller Plaza to a new location on Madison Avenue.

Monday was a long day. I had a 6:30am flight out of Tampa to Newark Liberty International Airport which meant I was up at 3:30am to drive to the airport, park, check in, and catch my plane. I was in the office at 1 Rock by 10:00am, and then it was a whirlwind of moving activity until I got to my hotel near the new office at 3:00am on Tuesday morning (who moves on a Monday night?). The rest of the week involved similar long-hour days as we finished setting up the new office and continued addressing the copious amount of end-user issues (as there will be with any major office move, despite the best laid plans).

The 1 Rock office was cool, with its view of the Today Show plaza and the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, but the Madison Avenue area seems quieter and less touristy. I didn’t get to do any sight-seeing (or any relaxing at all) but did have some good meals with colleagues at places like Tao, LAVO, and Sean’s Bar. And on Monday night while we were packing the office we had pizza (I don’t know where it was from, though) so I had some obligatory NYC slices too.

I flew home, exhausted, yesterday afternoon … quite the whirlwind trip. Then today there was the massive blackout in Manhattan, which included Rockefeller Center. Whew, glad I just missed that!