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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Embracing 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!

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

During our recent cruise to Hawaii, my three and a half year-old Canon PowerShot SX710 HS started having lens issues. Just what I needed in the middle of a 10-day trip to the most exotic location in the United States: a super-zoom camera that wouldn’t zoom. The lens would make a clicking noise as it extended and retracted, and sometimes just lock up, open, with a “lens error” displayed on screen. Luckily I had my iPhone 7 Plus and Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 with me, but those aren’t super-zoom cameras.

I survived the rest of the trip (sometimes the camera worked, sometimes it didn’t) but the writing was on the wall: the SX710 needed to be replaced. Being a long-time Canon customer (since my first A70 back in 2003) and having liked the SX710, I selected the newer version Canon PowerShot SX740 HS as my new daily-use super-zoom camera.

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2019 Hawaii vacation (pre-cruise)

To celebrate my daughter’s high school graduation (and also visit our 50th state … yep, we’ve been to them all now!) we went to Hawaii for a 7-day Hawaiian cruise on the Norwegian Pride of America! What an incredible and amazing trip. We wanted to spend as much time in The Aloha State so we flew out a few days early for a pre-cruise vacation …

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