Saturday, November 16, 2019

How to navigate Blogger using the URL bar

Some - many actually - blogs don't have a date picker on their sidebar.  Annoying if you want to jump back to their first post and read in chronological order.  So, how to get around that?  Use the URL bar.  From the first page of the blog, scroll down, click the 'Older Posts'.

Now, you have a URL like 
in the URL bar.

Now, simply edit the 'max' value - it's a year, month, day value.  You can simply change the year:

Eventually you'll hit a year that has no posts - you'll see a message like:
Go back one year.  Then you can go by month:

Change the 09 to 08, the 07 and so on.  Or, if your that close to the beginning you can just click 'older posts' until you reach the beginning.  With enough edits or clicks, you'll find the start:

Hope this helps you in your blog reading!

Will England

Sunday, November 10, 2019

How To Camp - gear and prep information

Someone asked on Quora about camping.  I, as usual, went on a multi-page essay. Follows is my advice on How To Camp.  I could continue for hours more - 12 years as an adult scouter, 2 Philmont crew trainings, 1 Philmont trek, 6 years as a youth in scouting, a couple of family campouts inbetween the scouting Troop campouts.

As others have commented - good tent. I’ll disagree on the Wal-Mart special; their Ozark Trail line, especially the smaller ones, are brilliant tents and will last several seasons with good care. That being said, I run REI Half Dome and REI Quarter Dome tents. Watch for sales, use your REI dividend the help cut costs.

REI Half Dome 2+.  Note full fly to the ground, large vestibule.

Old Coleman tent with full fly, large vestibule, properly tied out. Coleman doesn’t make this style anymore unfortunately.

Otherwise it’s follow the Scouts BSA handbook (Get any used version off of eBay, it’s really the best book on camping written) on how to set up a tent, use a footprint, etc. The Scouts BSA Fieldguide is the next level of superior information, get a copy of that - any version is good. Get a *good* insulated ground pad. Klymit Static V Insulated is most excellent and there are others. Foam pads are jus fine, especially for the younger set. As we age and our bones get to aching, the *insulated* air pads are worth the money.

Get a good sleeping bag. Mountain Hardware Lamina Z 20 or Kelty Cosmic 20 Dri-Down both under $300 or far less on sale, both impressively warm. Know and understand the temperature rating listed on the bag is the ‘survival’ temp - you’ll live, but you won’t be comfortable. a ’20 degree’ bag is generally warm down to about 40 degrees. Some bags have actual tested ratings, called ‘EN Rated’ — read those. They list the comfort and survival limits for men and women. The Cosmic 20 is EN rated to 16 for survival. I’ve found it warm to about 30 degrees, below that I’d be grabbing a ‘0 degree’ bag. Slumberjack is generally going to be the best price / quality compromise, but they are big and heavy. I have a shelf full; Campmor, Cabelas and Bass Pro frequently put them on sale for well under $100.
Get the smallest tent you can stand. Less airspace to warm up. Avoid bigass cabin tents, they don’t ventilate, don’t warm up, and blow down too easily. I prefer self-supporting tents (dome tents) so you can set them up, then easily move them as needed to get the positioning just right.
Set the tent up with your head at the high end of the slope you are camping on. About every campground is going to have some level of slope - figure it out and sleep head up. Sleeping head-down you’ll wake up with a wicked headache.
Get a tent with a fly that comes nearly to the ground. Stake it out everywhere you can stake it out. Use all the guylines you can. An unexpected wind will flatten a poorly guyed out tent and make for a miserable night. Set up the tent at home (or in a local park) at least once before the trip, ideally two or three times so you know how to set it up, and how to pack it down to fit back in the bag.

Overkill big tent. It caught the wind this Spring and snapped the poles. Kids managed to tape and lash it together for one more night, but it was wasted after that.

Bring a small comfy folding chair. REI has 2 pound mini chairs you can find from $50 to $100; Aerostich has a brilliant chair called the ‘Kermit’ that packs small enough to use motorcycle camping.
REI mini-chair in front of the Half Dome 2 Plus tent. Worth every penny and ounce. Very comfortable, very sturdy

A doormat isn’t a bad idea to put in the vestibule to keep the entry / exit of your tent dry. Take care of the tent - no shoes in the tent, clean it out when you’re done, air it out and dry it, store it loosely stuffed in a tote or sack in the off-season, re-seal the seams every year or two, etc.
Pre-cook as much of your food before you go (having a ground beef dinner? Pre cook the beef, drain and freeze before you leave). Use a stove with burners below the surface for wind protection. Cook a meal on the stove before you leave. Pack all your kitchen in one tote - stove, cutting board, pot, pan, 2 dishpans, soap, serving spoons, knives (cased), plates, cups etc. Before you leave, cook a meal using only what’s in the tote - anything you have to get out of a drawer, either add to the tote or buy another one, OR see if you can multipurpose something else to do the job. Unless you *want* to spend most of your evening cooking and cleaning, fix pre-prepared food as much as possible. Canned stew and dinner rolls is a brilliant dinner, quick prep and cleanup. If you’re going to use freeze dried bagged food - try it out at home first. Some are nice, some taste like ass. It’s worth the $20 to get one bag of each meal before you leave to make sure everyone will like the taste.
Cooking - use a compressed gas stove (propane) under 6K feet / above 20 degrees. Use a white gas stove over 6K feet / under freezing conditions. Jetboil personal stoves hate cold weather and altitude. For backpacking - MSR Whisperlite. For basecamp - Coleman or Camp Chef are both good stoves. All available under $100, especially if you catch the many sales every year. If you are doing large group camping, get a 15 pound propane tank, distribution manifold and connectors for the stove and lantern. Beats carrying (and having run out) 3 or 4 one pound propane bottles.

If you’re a coffee addict (hi!) don’t bother with the percolator unless you have a large group going and are base camping in one place for a while. A french press is nice - but you need a very coarse grind to keep from getting a lot of fines in your cup. Don’t just bring canned coffee for a french press - go to the store, get the beans and grind them coarse. A french press also takes 2 to 2.5x the water to make and clean. If water is a limiting factor (backpacking) - hit up Starbucks and get enough Via Packs to make coffee for all. They taste great, easy to fix, low water requirement and exceptionally light.

Take 7 gallons of water plus a flat of bottled water with you assuming you are car-camping. Until you have spoken with the camp ranger, assume any water from a tap is contaminated and boil / treat for bacteria. Definitely treat stream or lake water. In the Midwest just don’t use lakewater. It’s all poison. (oilfield, cattle, crop runoff). In the mountains the creek water, especially that beautiful clear cold running water is pure poison. Cryptosporidium is rife in mountain streams and will push everything you ever ate out your back end, putting a prompt end to your trip - and possibly an end to your younger and older campers lives. Once the runs start, immediately end the trip, return to the car and get to town and a clinic. Not kidding. Grew up in New Mexico - and we’d hear of a couple babies dying from crypto every year. Use the water purification tabs - and let them sit 4 hours, not the 30 minutes on the label. 30 minutes is for warm water. The 38 degree creek water will take much longer to purify. Water is life. Know where your next water is, how much you have now, and how much you need to get to your next water.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

How to select multiple photos and edit / delete in Flickr

As times pass, you will find that some chunks of photos are no longer relevant, or you no longer want to display them on Flickr publicly -- changes in jobs, relationships, organizations, or just a bunch of 'potatoe' photos.

The simplest way to find and edit or delete photos from Flickr is to log in, then go to your Camera Roll. From there you find a nice data selector running down the left side of the screen, so you can quickly scroll to the timeframe you want to modify.

Click each photo you want to change, or click 'Select All' for the date - they'll appear in a bin at the bottom of the screen.  Given it's a web app, I suggest keeping your selections relatively small - less than 50 or 100 images at a time. From there, you can lock (set the privacy to only you for visibility), Edit, Add to Album or Delete. Over the course of a lazy Saturday morning you can easily remove or hide hundreds of photos, keeping your curated photo roll clean and reflecting the best of what you want to showcase.

Sometimes, it's easier to select the entire day, then unselect the few images you wish to keep.  Unfortunately, after each delete Flickr resets the camera roll to the top of the date list, so you have to drill back down to find the next date to update.

I hope this helps others - the answers on the Flickr discussion board were less than clear, so I felt a quick visual blog post on bulk editing, mass deletion, or changing the privacy of many photos in your Flickr account was appropriate.

- Will England

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Montage of Cat Drinking Water in Slow Motion (Oct, 2019)

Not a journal.  A video edit this morning.

RandomTheCat drinking water in Slow Motion.  Shot on the Samsung Note 10+.  Finally figured out how to use the super-slow motion setting -- you have to film something already in action - a static scene.  Trying to time and capture something like a ball flying or a catch being made -- not going to happen.  There's not enough control over the start of the super-slow-mo effect in the camera. Idea - build an app that takes an external trigger; either by USB input or straight 'click the button' and it records at max frame rate, then decompiles to 30FPS.


Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Today, October 9, 2019

Today it will rain.
Today I will not ride the Ducati to work; too many variables with wet weather, slick streets and unknown rain performance.  And I don't want to have to clean all the nooks and crannies on that bike.
Today I will take half a day off to possibly weatherize the house.  Or help Mom.  Or just chill in the rain.
Today I meet with the Scout Troop.
Today Alec made the coffee and rotated dishes before he left for school. I am thankful.
Today I will abide.
Today is enough.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Today, October 8 2019

Today, I remembered to journal.
Today, I'm pleased that I got out to the Shawnee Mission Marching Festival with Alec last night. Hopefully got some good photos and videos.
Today, I'm at work on a gorgeous day. 
Today, I shall take a nice walk.
Today, I will work with Alec to replace his reverse light bulb on his car.
Today, I need to decide if I want to get the FJR fixed or leave it parked.
Today, I drove to work.
Today, I will find and install the insulated liner on my motorcycle jacket.
Today, I will see if there's a way to chain the jacket and helmet to the Ducati.
Today, I will abide.
Today is enough.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Today. October 6, 2019

Today dawned clear and calm.
Today, I woke up with a bolt, thinking I had forgotten something.
Today, I got to go back to a warm bed, all taken care of.
Today, There may be fixin on a car, or two.
Today, There may be mowin of lawns, or two, or more.
Today, There may be shopping for lawncare stuff.
Today, There may be shopping for coconut oil to help keep SamTheDog going, shiny and healthy.
Today, There will be watching of 'How its' Made' on TV with my wife.
Today, There may be riding of a motorcycle
Today, There are many possible directions the day may go
Today, I will be here.
Today, will be enough.


Saturday, October 05, 2019

Today, October 5, 2019

Dot Blogging again. Seems to work.  Even started it in my bound book.

Today -  I am resting.
Today - It is cool and brisk out. 
Today - It may rain.
Today - I will get food from the store, personally.
Today - I will make healthy food for lunches at work.
Today - I will give my mom some of the healthy food so she has good food to eat.
Today - I will cook meet in preparation of future meals.
Today - I let Robyn drive the Honda to work on her own.
Today - I helped Amber pick out a computer
Today - I will hopefully have Robyn drive to and from school, by two different routes, and fill up the gas tank, so she may use the Honda to go to school and work.
Today - I will eat healthier. 
Today - My bread has been provided for.
Today - I will be kind
Today - I will be grateful and gracious.
Today will be enough.
I will be Today.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Today - Octoberr 4, 2019

Today - I am at work.
Today - I have a grocery delivery, and need to remember to get cash to tip the delivery driver.
Today - the trash didn't get picked up, so I had to call Waste Management.  Simple call, trash should be picked up by 6 this evening.
Today - I need to reset the table so the boys coming in this weekend have space to play computer games.
Today - it's grey and cool.  A good riding day, but I have a parking pass for the executive garage this month, which doesn't recognize motorcycles, so I drove in.
Today - I need to put gas in the Honda or Subaru to be ready for tomorrow.
Today - I will take at least one 15-minute brisk walk around the campus.
Today - I started bullet point journaling. (this here thing here).  I found it's been since June that I've written in my paper journal, even with a new fancy fountain pen.  Paper and me don't get along as well as I'd like.  I love the smell, the feel of paper.  I love finding old paper that's been hand-written - you have more context and touch with the author than phosphors (or LED's now) on a screen in a standard typeface.  But I still don't write in my bound book. Such is life.  Perhaps I'll print off all my blog posts and make a bound book with hand-written annotations to pass on to the next generation. Perhaps the next generation won't be especially impressed with what I've written, but if there's a generation after that - or someone rummaging in a dump bin - will be interested.
Today, I have written enough.
Today, will be enough.
Today, I will be.

(today - I cannot spell October.  Not changing it. My blog. My misspellings.)

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Jabra Evolve 75 Headphone Test

We were given Jabra Evolve 75 noise cancelling headphones at work.  So, they make nice headphones, good ANC, excellent music playback.  But how does the microphone work and sound?  We've got a couple of tracks - one unprocessed, one punched up for podcast or voiceover use.

First - the unprocessed file:

Next, the processed file - ran through Audacity with 'Normalize', 'Compressor', 'Truncate Silence'.  Still need a bit of reverb for a final cut; need to get that scripted in somehow.  Anyway - the file:

So - they sound good enough to use for podcasting (solo) or voiceover on videos - which I have a couple of queued up waiting for a decent mic.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

A Centering Meditation (or prayer)

A Centering Meditation (or prayer)

  • Choose a word or phrase. (Peace. Patience. Forgiveness. Grace. Joy. Insight. Your call.)
  •  Speak the word or phrase 
  • Close your eyes and breathe 
  • Breathe in on a 4 count
  • Hold for 4 seconds
  • Breathe out for 4 seconds
    (circular breathing)
  • Repeat word or phrase.
  • Repeat for a while.
  • On the last repetition, repeat the word or phrase intentionally.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Red Internet (WAN) light stuck on your Asus RT-AC68U?

Do you have the new Asus RT-AC68U AC1900 mesh WiFi Router, but it suddenly stopped connecting to your cable modem or WAN Ethernet connection?  And the red center LED is stuck on RED, even after power cycling the router, unplugging the router and everything else you're supposed to do?  Well, if you are, you've been through the manual, the FAQ and the website and found nothing.

After a brief call to tech support - who, surprisingly was open at 9PM on a weeknight - he diagnosed the problem as the router had lost it's configuration.  Not sure why or how, although we'd had several storms the previous week; perhaps a combination of power changes and static just confused the poor thing. 

So, what's the solution to no WAN / no Internet on your Asus RT-AC68U AC1900 router?  Pretty straight forward.  First, unplug everything from it - your USB drives, the WAN Ethernet cable, everything but the power. 

Now that everything is unplugged get a pen, pencil or paperclip and press and hold the 'reset' button -- that's the unlabled button on the diagrams, directly above the power input and power button on the left side of the image above.  Hold it for a full 15 second count. 

That flashes the Asus RT-AC68U AC1900 router back to factory state and creates two unlocked WiFi networks.  Connect to either of the unlocked networks with your tablet, phone or PC.  You'll be prompted to set up a username, password, network name and network password.  Apply those settings, plug in the WAN Ethernet cable again and you'll be back on the air!  

Unfortunately it also wipes any customization you've made for time limits by device, NAT translations, mesh networking etc, so you will have to spend a bit of time re-configuring that, but you're back on the air with your wireless internet!

Hope this helps someone else who has a red light on their Asus RT-AC68U router WAN port for the Internet!

- Will England

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Spontaneous Day Trips That Are Less Than 3 Hours Away From Kansas City

Stolen from 'Narcity', whatever that is.  But some great ideas in this article!  Removed the non-kid friendly, overly imaged bits .  RoadTrip!

Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area

Distance: 1 h 55 mins (126 miles)

This is a great place for a day, er, night trip. There are actually several places throughout the state to get a clear view of the Milky Way, but this is one of the closer areas. The Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area is perhaps the best spot with the lowest light pollution for miles.

Dunlap, Kansas

Distance: 1 h 58 mins (119 miles)
An eerie Kansas destination.Dunlap is one of many Kansas ghost towns. Once a thriving town in the early 1900s, it soon became victim to the Great Depression and most residents and businesses were forced to leave in search of a more promising life elsewhere. The current population is around 80, so most of the town's buildings are deteriorating. If you enjoy urban exploration, this should be a top destination on your list.

Wild Animal Safari

Distance: 2 h 49 mins (174 miles)
Get up close and personal with some wild animals as you drive through five miles of man-made safari land. Many of the animals will even walk right up to your car, adorably harassing you for attention and food. Just watch out for those alpacas and llamas; they will happily spit on your face if they think you're shady - or just because they can... How can something so cute be so evil?

Missouri Town 1855

Distance: 35 mins (25.1 miles)
Step back into the mid-19th century at Missouri Town 1855, where the workers are actors dressed up in character and the entire town is set up to replicate life during that time. It's a truly eye-opening adventure, and you'll surely leave thankful for all the comforts we have available to us today.

Coronado Heights Castle

(closed due to ground damage)


Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Distance: 2 h 38 mins (152 miles)
This state park is home to the Europen-style Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins. Besides the physical ruins, the story behind how the castle came to be and it's unhappy ending is interesting alone. I don't want to spoil it for you, so I'll let you figure it out during your trip here... Don't you dare Google it either, you cheater. While the castle may be the main attraction, there are other things to check out here, like a bright blue spring and awesome rock formations.

Topeka, Kansas

As the capital city of Kansas, you know Topeka will have some pretty amazing things to see and do. There's the zoo, discovery center, TruckhengeEquality House, and Evel Knievel Museum, to name a few. Click here to see a larger list of attractions in the city.   (And Bobo's Drive In!)


St. Joseph, Missouri

If you enjoy a good museum day, a short drive to St. Joseph would certainly be in order. There are three unique museums to visit, Glore Psychiatric Museum, showcasing the evolution of mental illness treatment at the State Lunatic Asylum No. 2; Jesse James Home Museum, showcasing the legacy of the notorious famed outlaw; and The Pony Express National Historic Trail and Museum, pretty obviously showcasing the fastest mail service in the Old West.


Baldwin City Train Depot

Eat, drink, and enjoy the Midwest countryside via train. The Train Depot and trains are modeled in a classic 1940s style for an authentic old-fashion feel. Plus, they offer three-hour dinner tours through the scenic countryside. Occasionally, the company hosts events like wine tastings, murder mysteries, and special holiday runs, just to name a few!



Mushroom Rock State Park

Distance: 3 h (201 miles)

Pushing the limits of our three-hour criteria (depending on how fast you drive, of course), Mushroom Rock State Park in Kansas is a must-see for any nature lover out there. If you haven't guessed from the photos, the park was named for the curiously shaped rock formations, much resembling a mushroom. It has been enjoyed by humans for centuries.

Lawrence Free Kansas

Why not get away from the city by visiting another one? Lawrence is full of great shops, a fantastic state park, and the must-see Museum of Odd. Actually, that's barely scratching the surface of attractions here, so click this link and plan your much-needed outing.



Grand Falls

Distance: 2 h 32 mins (153 miles)

Located in Joplin, Missouri, is perhaps one of the most incredible sights in close proximity to Kansas City. Grand Falls is one of the top tourist spots in the entire city, and rightfully so. Cascading off a 163-ft.-wide ledge, the falls are a great area in the creek for swimming, fishing, and Insta photos. The city wouldn't be complete without its very own oddity, so after you spend the day sightseeing and touring, be sure to investigate the mysterious Ozark Spooklight.


Konza Prairie

Distance: 1 h 51 mins (123 miles)


If you love natural picturesque beauty, you will thoroughly enjoy a trip to the Konza Prairie Biological Station. It consists of 3,487 hectares (that's 8616.5 acres) preserving a native tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas. Herds of wild buffalo, white-tailed deer, flocks of turkey, and numerous wildflowers call this prairie home. I hear the sunsets over these flatlands are absolutely captivating.




Walt Disney Hometown Museum

Distance: 1 h 56 mins (125 miles)

Disney World is kind of far away, so this Walt Disney Museum is probably the next best thing. You could easily spend hours here looking at all of the Disney-related exhibits and displays. In fact, there are a few different memorials throughout the city dedicated to Mr. Disney (even the elementary school is named after him), so don't just stop at the museum. It's not surprising that this little town is super proud of the influential artist who once called it home.


Rock City Park

Distance: 2 h 46 mins (183 miles)
The Kansas state animal should be a rock... But I digress. Anyways, Rock City is a state park filled with, you guessed it, rocks! These aren't just any rocks though, they're spherical boulders made of sandstone concretions created millions of years ago when Kansas was under oceanic water. This is the largest collection of these boulders in one place; it's estimated there are over 200 formations spanning over five acres; some are almost 30 feet across. That rocks!




Friday, July 05, 2019

The Song of My People

If you have to go to work the day after a holiday (Independence Day, here in the US of A), you may as well do it in style.  This, is my style, and I call it 'Let me sing your the Song of My People':

Enjoy your Friday!

- Will England

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Does Technology in School Really Help?

"The complex reality of the technologies that real companies leverage to get ahead emphasizes the absurdity of the now common idea that exposure to simplistic, consumer-facing products - especially in schools - somehow prepares people to succeed in a high-tech economy. Giving students iPads or allowing them to film homework assignments on YouTube prepares them for a high-tech economy about as much as playing with Hot Wheels would prepare them to thrive as auto mechanics."
- Cal Newport in Deep Work.


- Will England

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Microphones for Podcasts

Well, now that I've got this site and RSS feed set up to podcast (tested on Podcast Addict on Android anyway) I should do some looking for a microphone.

1) The way I have the audio file storage set up on a Google Site essentially requires a desktop / laptop computer.  It's terribly difficult to upload and copy the URL from a phone on a Google Site.  Need to look into improvements in that.

2) Blogger does not have a button to add audio; you have to edit the HTML and put in the HTML 5 < audio > tag by hand, pasting in the URL from (1).

3) the Voice recorder on the Note 9 is pretty low end

4) I like punching up the sound in Audacity, which requires a PC or Mac.

Thus, 5), I need a basic USB mic to record the podcasts.

Some references I'm reading:

The Verge 2019 Mic Rundown

DiscoverPods Cheap Podcast Microphones

MicReview 2019 Podcast Microphones

And ThePodCastHost microphone list.

I have  Tascam, Marantz, and Sennheiser stereo mics; not sure if they'll play nice with the inputs on the computer.  Could get an outboard USB mixer to route one of those mics through, and add other sound as well, but I bet that'd cost more than a basic microphone.  What will I pick?  Great question - some research and comparisons to come!

- Will England - Audio Geek

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Scored another Signed First Hardcover from Wm Gibson!

Found this on VJ's Books --

Signed, mint, new hardcover in archival jacket first edition, signed by the author copy of The Peripheral. Came in today - went up on the shelf with the rest of the signed / first editions.  Now I have to find the First Trade edition, First Paperback edition and a reading copy . . .
(I have a small problem with books.  Fortunately it's limited to Wm Gibson, Walter Jon Williams and Neil Stephenson). 

P.S. No longer posting on Facebook.  Posts will be here, first, then shared to FB / Twitter.  FB is fuxored and was trying to sell my brand new book.   Eff them.

- Will England

Video Blog, Late Night in June

This is what happens when I drink too much coffee. You get a 1am video Blog.



- Will England

Midnight Audio Blog

Created, edited and posted all on the phone.

Complete pain. Would  have been impossible without the stylus on the Note 9, and Firefox. Chrome just up and said 'nope'.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Audio Blogging on Blogger Re-test, 2019


Think this still works...

We're using the HTML5 <audio> < source></source></audio> controls to display an MP3 hosted on Google Sites.

Download the Podcast!

(As found from Lifewire)
(PDF of Lifewire as bitrot happens.)

By goodness, it does.  Be sure to stuff the MP3 URL into the 'Links', Enclosure Links field over to the right and it'll show up as a podcast in your favorite podcast listener tool.

Hope this helps someone else too!

-- Will England

Black Rifle Coffee Company AK-47 Espresso Blend Review

Today's Coffee: Black Rifle Coffee Company AK-47 Espresso Blend. In their words, 'This indestructible blend of light Colombian and dark Brazilian coffees is here to conquer your taste buds.'

A medium roast. Straight out of the pot, it's harsh, almost bitter. Cut with a nice foamed milk if you have that interest, or a swig of half and half opens up the flavors, giving you the darker roasted chocolate flavors and a long lasting after taste of a classic coffee. No 'hint of citrus' as their web marketing weasels (I can say that, I am one) have put down. It's a full bodied coffee that straight will give you a punch in the face.

Lightened out, you can start to taste it and it's not bad. More roasted than my preferences, but it's a good coffee overall.
Enjoy your morning punch in the face!

- Will England
(May the Peace of Christ be with you - and a strong right arm!)

Monday, June 03, 2019

So what does 5G do on the LG V50? Sprint Product Ambassadors

So what does this new 5G do on the LG V50?  It's an entirely new network configuration and being built out across the country.  Right now we have 6 cities lit up with 5G coverage - but what does that mean to you on your new LG V50?

Simply put - it means speed!  Side by side, outdoors in a fairly crowded network environment, I was able to pull down 87Mb/sec on the Galaxy Note 9 on 4G LTE, a true speed demon and powerhouse of a phone.  While still in the very same location, I was able to pull down 158 Mb/sec on the LG V50 Thinq!

LG V50 ThinQ 5G Speed Test

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Speed Test

As the network build continues we'll see even faster and faster speeds, combined with market-wide coverage, so you get these faster speeds across the metro, not just right next to the tower!

Hope this helps you understand the benefits of true 5G from Sprint!

- Will England

The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee

Friday, May 31, 2019

LG V50 ThinQ - Mind The Buttons! - Sprint Product Ambassadors

The LG V50 Thinq has an excellent set of buttons around the edge for power, volume and the Google Assistant.  But because of the placing you must beware of how your car mount grabs the phone.  I have the wireless charging phone holder for my car.  The grip arms will push the Google Assistant button if I have the phone slid down low enough to activate the wireless charging.  Be aware of this as you look for phone holders in your vehicle - side gripping holders may inadvertently activate your Google Assistant!

Note how close the side gripper is to the Google Assistant button!

I hope this helps others to find excellent phone holders that don't trigger the buttons on the LG V50 ThinQ!

- Will England

The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee

LG V50 ThinQ 5G Setup Screen Recording - Sprint Product Ambassadors

Did you know the LG V50 ThinQ 5G phone from Sprint had a built in screen recorder?  Now you can capture your gaming, demonstrations, or more with the built in screen recorder.  I took a quick tour through setup and basic features of the phone on video - click to watch!

I hope this helps you have a better idea on the newest LG phone and the first 5G phone from Sprint!

- Will England

The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Setting up the Hand Recognition on the LG G8 ThinQ - Sprint Product Ambassadors

A phone you don't even have to touch to unlock - not news these days with facial recognition from most of the big phone makers.  But the LG G8 ThinQ goes one further with hand recognition!  It scans the patterns of blood vessels in your hand using the cameras and sensors on the front of the device.  Once it's set up, it's fantastic!  But to set it up, takes just a bit of finesse.  Watch the video to find out how to "crush it" setting up hand recognition!

Amazing!  It took a few tries to figure that out - but now that you know how to set up hand recognition on your LG G8 ThinQ you'll be crushing it like a pro!

- Will England

The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee

Monday, May 27, 2019

LG G8 ThinQ Air Motion Controls - Sprint Product Ambassador

A phone you don't touch to control - amazing!  That's exactly what LG has designed in their LG G8 ThinQ.   They have new touchless technology called "Air Motion" that allows you to answer the phone, manage your alarm, capture the screen or open apps.

It does take a bit to get used to it - first, hold you hand two to five inches directly above the camera in the top until the blue bar lights up.  Then, you can make the desired action without even touching the phone!

You can see a brief demonstration of it live from my test phone here:

I hope this helps you to get more out of your LG G8 ThinQ from Sprint!

- Will England

The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee

Saturday, May 25, 2019

LG G8 ThinQ Unboxing and Size Comparison - Sprint Product Ambassadors

This week we're looking at the LG G8 ThinQ phone from Sprint.  The current 4G top of the line phone from LG, it's an impressive device right out of the box!  Watch for more:

Looks like it's going to be a great test!

- Will England, Sprint Product Ambassador

The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Introducing the LG G8 ThinQ - Sprint Product Ambassadors

A phone you don’t touch.  A phone with no speaker.  A phone that supports the fastest, widest LTE network.  The LG G8.  This is one amazing phone.  I’ve been using LG phones – and getting them for my family – for years, the G6, G7, v30, v40, etc. – and this one has features to outsmart and out work them all.    Running the latest QUALCOMM 855 chipset, supporting up to 2TB of storage for lossless audio storage and more.

The 6.1” screen itself is the speaker, combined with an integral bass chamber for low end reproduction, the sound from the LG G8 is nothing short of phenomenal for a handset.  But it really comes alive when you connect it to a high end set of Bluetooth headphones; the LG G8 supports the aptX protocol for high bitrate streaming to your Bluetooth devices.  Connect to the (still included!) 3.5mm headset jack and you experience lifelike surround sound in your headset.  The digital to analog converter remains best in class.  LG has partnered with Meridian, one of the big dogs in audiophile and high end audio, to tune the sound output on this phone, along with Dolby DTS:X 3D sound for the simulated surround from your headphones.

Once you buy this phone, you will quickly become a customer of Acoustic Sounds and HDTracks, two of the biggest vendors of high-resolution lossless audio.  You will find your old catalog of MP3’s start sounding tinny and find all sorts of new amazing music.  For the deep catalog, you can get great tracks from Bandcamp as well, again in lossless FLAC files.  Combined with the free subscription to Tidal that Sprint offers with their unlimited plan, you will rediscover your love for music with this phone, and find artists and tracks you’ve never heard before.  I’ve purchased over 480 new tracks, some 43 GB of uncompressed music since I started using the LG phones with their amazing sound quality!

Beyond the sound, the LG G8 offers touchless commands, super fast data speeds on the Sprint LTE network and a 6.1” edge to edge display using the latest in OLED technology for an immersive experience in movies, videos, games and more.  Stay tuned for demos and videos of the coolest new features of this brilliant phone!

The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee

Links to external vendors not sponsored by Sprint, nor endorsed by Sprint.  No compensation was received for any external content or downloads.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

A Quiet Mechanical Key Switch Keyboard

For *years* (1995 to 2018) I have been typing on IBM Model M keyboards with the buckling spring keyswitches.  I learned to type on an IBM Selectrics and that level of pressure and feedback is just what I'm used to.

This year we moved office into an open pod area with coworkers separated from me by only a foot or two and a thin foam wall.  I've had several warnings and hits (people leaving rubber dome keyboards on my desk etc.) regarding the noise of my typing.  Additionally, our new docking stations for the laptops have removed the legacy PS2 ports for serial keyboards, so I've had to find a good USB to PS2 converter.  (Tip - there arent' many at all).

I checked into all the current mechanical switch keyboards and they are mainly focused on video gamers - 'interesting' colors, RGB backlighting, price tags of $80 to over $100, etc.  Finally found the Logitech K840 - just came out recently, is very conservative in color and style, but offers a solid mechanical switch, the 'Romer G'.  TomsHardware reports that the newly designed Romer G switches have "[...] tactile, quiet switch that requires 45 g of actuation force, Romer-Gs are similar to Cherry MX Browns, but spring back a little faster."  This illustration from Logitech shows the build diagram of the Romer G switch:

The frame and body are built from anodized aluminum for a study long lasting feel. With 26-key rollover it'll keep up with the fastest of typers, and can be used for games.  But with the understated black and grey colors, clean lines and quiet actuation, this is the perfect keyboard for the office.

A quick check with DB Meter Pro on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 at 6" from the keyboard give a maximum SPL (C-Weighted) of just over 60dB.  From 2 or 3 feet away it's essentially un-noticeable. 

While the MSRP is $89, you can typically find them for $50 or so online.  Excellent keyboard, office friendly and great to type on.  I hope this hardware review helps you to find a quality keyboard with mechanical switches that won't drive your coworkers batty!
(Update - August 2020:  I was sent this excellent resource of mechanical keyboard switches, with all of the parameters for force, depth, and more! )

- Will England

Sunday, April 28, 2019

First Ride of 2019!

Much later than usual, but I got the Ducati Monster out yesterday and rode out to the lake to visit the Boy Scout Troop and join them for lunch.  Good day riding, if quite windy.  About 75 miles round trip. 

- Will England

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Figured out how to export Audio from concert videos in Final Cut Pro

Tried half a dozen tricks in VLC and could not split out the audio from a final rendered clip of our latest band concert.  Would not give the full 13.5 minutes of audio.  So I read the fine manual.  In Final Cut Pro X, you can export a 'Master File' - and there's even options!

Just select your project in the project window.
Choose File - Share - Master file.
Choose your Audio options from the options in the Master File.
You'll end up with a big AIFF file, uncompressed.

With that, you can dump it into SoundCloud for embedding in blogs, sharing with others and so on:

So - that's how you get your Audio out of a project in Final Cut Pro X.

-- Will England

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Do Members of the US Congress Get Paid For Life?

tl;dr - No, elected officials do not get paid for life the day they retire. They are subject to the same Federal defined benefit system as all other federal employees.

A report on "Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress," prepared in November by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, outlines how pension benefits are calculated.

The key provision: no member of Congress is eligible for any pension unless he or she has served in Congress for at least five years. (Senators serve six-year terms; House members must seek reelection every two years.)

To collect, a congressman or senator must be age 62, or be at least age 50 with 20 years of service, or be any age with 25 years of service.

Under the most recent pension program, adopted in 1984, the size of a pension is based on the highest three years of a member's salary, the number of years of service and a multiplier, which is 1.7 percent for the first 20 years of service and 1.0 percent for subsequent years.

Here’s an example, using a typical 25-year rank-and-file member who retired this year. The pension would be the sum of two calculations. First, multiply $172,443 [the average salary over the last three years] times 20 years times 0.017. Then, multiply $172,443 times 5 years times 0.01 and add that number to the first calculation. The total: about $67,250 per year.

A three-term congressman (or one-term senator) who has now reached retirement age would be eligible for an annual pension of $17,588 for six years of work. That's generous, but not close to full pay.

Federal law prevents members of Congress from getting full-pay retirement when they leave office. The report says, "By law, the starting amount of a member's retirement annuity may not exceed 80 percent of his or her final salary."

Under the formula, it would take 67 years of service to hit that limit.

So the email saying that members of Congress can "receive full pay retirement after serving one term" is blatantly bogus. It's never full pay and the only one-term members who would be eligible for any pension would be senators.
And from the horses mouth:

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Three Rules

I quote to my kids quite often Rule 1, Rule 2 and occasionally Rule 3.  What are they?

Rule 1 - the Golden Rule.  Do unto others as you would have them do to you; corollary, love they neighbor as you love yourself.

Rule2: The Will Rogers rule:  "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all"

Rule 3: The Junkie rule -  "Never trust a junkie."  Corollary: Everyone's a junkie for something.  Food, attention, games, TV, drugs or alcohol. 

Thursday, March 07, 2019

My Certified Ironbutt Rides

I've gone and done a lot of riding.  A couple of the rides I stopped and got reciepts, start and end witnesses etc.  Three of em in particular.  They earned me the IronButt Association Number of 11,383. Only way to get a lower number would be to finish the Iron Butt Rally.

So, follows are the rides that I got certificates for from the Iron Butt Association:

Extreme Rides:

William England
Overland Park, KS
Honda ST1100 Not Stock - Russell Day Long Seat, Clearview XL screen, 6" Ron Major Dogbone Bar Risers. 
1,551 Miles in 24 Hours; KC to Winnipeg, CA and back. 

This one never got a write up, and I can't even find the couple of blurry photos I took of the "Welcome to Winnipeg" sign.  Not much to say - sit here, twist that, watch rainbows, run WFO on I29 in the dark of the night, get a half a cup of bad coffee at a gas station in Winnipeg, turn around ride home.

Will England
Overland Park, KS
Stock Honda CBR250R
1,030 Miles in state - Trip Report on the SS1K In-State ride
* * * Combined with Tour of Honor Sites - * * *

Normal Rides:

William England
Overland Park, KS
Honda VFR750, Stock.
1,078  -- Overland Park to Downtown Chicago and Back.
Had to get a Blues Fest T-Shirt for my wife at the time.  :-)