We've been living without Comcast for several months now. All is fine except there are times when signals fade in and out. My wife likes Murdock which only comes on CBET at times in the day when the signal is intermittent. The last time we set a schedule to record it using Elegato EyeTV, we got 12 minutes of an hour program. I've been happy with my Mohu Sky antenna... but... it needs to be above the tree line.
I've been planning to move it since Thanksgiving but this bitter cold snowy winter and consistently getting home after dark has prevented me from getting up on the extension ladder to move it to the roof line... Until yesterday. I arrived home about an hour before it would get dark and immediatly swung into action. I moved my the car out of the way so I could get the ladder down and move it to the back of the house to install the bracket for the antenna near the gutter on the upper south east corner of the house. I pulled out the step-ladder and took the antenna bracket down so I could move it up. After 45 minutes, I had the antenna loose in my hand, with its 30 feet of RG6 cable and I was ready to make the climb. It takes a lot of positioning to stop an aluminum extension ladder from moving around on snow while it's snowing but I got it done. I had a couple of more ladder-positioning exercises to get tie wraps in place to secure the cable to the house properly and I went inside to witness the results. We pick up every channel strong and clear now. No more degradation at certain times of the day.
Well it's about time. That's all I can say. No more wimpy little 3 inch fizzles followed by 50 degree thaws. When I say I want winter I mean WINTER. Oh I wish I'd kept my big mouth shut. So yesterday we had to drop Liz off at MSU. As we left in the morning, there were about 5 inches on the ground. I know it was 5 inches because I pushed 5 inches with the snowblower before leaving for church. We went to hear our son as music minister at Divine Shepherd Lutheran in Ann Arbor. The music was great and so was the sermon. While Catholics were celebrating Epiphany, the Lutherans seem content to wait until Monday. I put the wise men out on our front porch nativity scene a day early.
As we left church, the snow was intensifying. We ate at Big Boy watching huge fluffy flakes and soon left going north on 23 toward MSU. I don't remember seeing this much snow in at least a decade. We drove through the epicenter between Howell and Brighton where the snow would total 16 inches. When we got to MSU and dropped her off, we considered bringing her bike home, except I'd have to dig out a huge snow drift to put it in the shed when we got it home and she didn't want to deal with the 11 inches that were already on top of her bike by then.
This chili recipe is combined from chili I have made for years and recent ingredients I discovered through online research and through friends' suggestions. It is a chili that can range from mild to inferno, depending on how heavy-handed you are with the Habanero Sauce and whether you use Ghost Peppers. This chili is very colorful because it features 2 colors of Bell Peppers and this year I switched from green Bell Peppers which are not as sweet as the other colors and I used Jalapenos instead. They don't add excessive heat but do wonders for the flavor. You can use a whole can of Chipotle Peppers as long as you are making a large enough batch of chili. I don't recommend a whole can unless you are winding up with at least 2 to 3 gallons of chili.
It is best not to cook and cook this chili until all the veggies turn to mush. It is better to keep some texture to them by only cooking long enough for flavors to combine, then let the chili rest overnight in the fridge.
2 pounds Ground Sirloin
2 Bell Beppers (yellow, orange or red) - diced
6 Jalepeno Peppers - thin sliced
2 medium Onions - diced
3 or 4 cloves of Garlic - thin sliced
2 cans Tomato Sauce
1 can Tomatos with Green Chilis
1 can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce
1 can Red Kidney Beans
Black Pepper - to taste
Garlic Powder - to taste
Chili Powder - 3 tablespoons - to taste
Dave's Gourmet Hurtin' Habenero pepper sauce - 1 tablespoon - to taste
1 Dozen eggs (pasteurized eggs are best, Davidson's "Safest Choise Eggs" available from Papa Joes).
1 Quart Half and Half
1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Cup Sugar
Nutmeg - (4 tablespoons or to taste)
Vanilla Extract - (1 tablespoon or to taste)
1 cup Rum or Bourbon (optional when using pasteurized eggs)
1) Separate Egg Whites from Yolks. Store Egg Whites in refrigerator for later use.
2) Add sugar, vanilla extract, nutmeg to egg yolks, mixing thoroughly. Add Rum (optional) and mix thoroughly. Store in refrigerator for later use.
Second (or later) Day:
IMPORTANT: If not using pastuerized eggs, you must use 80 proof or higher alchohol and leave Rum/Yolk mixture in fridge for at least 24 hours.
1) Whip Egg Whites with a hand or electric mixer using an aerating mixer whisk. Add some sugar to egg whites to taste. Whip until they "peak" when pulling out the whisk. Place whipped egg whites in large mixing bowl and set aside.
2) Whip Heavy Whipping Cream it is the consistency of cool whip, adding sugar to taste. Then add to egg whites in large mixing bowl.
3) Add egg yolk mixture to large mixing bowl and mix on slow setting with whisk or normal beaters.
4) Add Quart of Half and Half and mix on slow setting with whisk or normal beaters.
5) Add Nutmeg to taste and mix on slow setting with whisk or normal beaters.
Yield: About 1.5 gallons of egg nog with (optional about 2.5% alchohol by volume).
There have been several developments since my first installment in this series.
Comcast jacked up our internet rate so I had to drop to a slightly lower data tier to get below $65 a month. Apparently they no longer offer promotions unless you buy some kind of cable from them. Well I've already taken their former cable wire to use for my central antenna so I'm not going to undo all of that work. I called AT&T about Uverse and pricing is worse than Comcast. 3 MBPS costs $29, 6 MBPS costs $39 and 12 MBPS costs $49. On Comcast, I'm getting 24 MBPS for $65 so for now we stick with Comcast, especially in light of the poor reliability of Uverse when you're more than 2500 feet from the fiber cabinet. And yes, our house is more than 2500 feet from At&t's closest fiber cabinet.
Mohu Sky Antenna...
Last Wednesday, every channel went pixelated during the wind storm so I ordered a better antenna online. Yesterday I got my Mohu Sky HDTV antenna deliverd from Amazon. We can now get CBET channel 9 from Windsor. I've moved the outdoor antenna to the southeast corner of the house in the hope of putting it closer to the weaker signals and this, along with the Mohu sky has worked. I had plans to put it above the roof line but as an intermediate step, I put it on exposed wood between the first and second floors. Seems good enough for now. Time will tell.
We were at a family gathering this weekend and I mentioned that we had cut our cable. My cousin Larry asked for some details about how we get TV and I mentioned "Netflix", "Hulu" and Internet TV. I later realized I had told him almost nothing at all about the details involved in cutting cable. First of all you need high speed internet. Secondly you need some kind of smart tv or internet tv set top box or computer at each TV. Lastly you need some kind of antenna for decent reception as losing signal with DTV means long periods of silence and gigantic pixels and you miss something.
Step 0: Sick of Comcast
Once upon a time, I was a happy Palm user. It seemed like the little company could simply do no wrong. They decided at one point to change connection systems for all of their PDAs and that happened around the same time as a downward slide from which they never recovered. In hindsight, that slide was more due to better products from competitors like Blackberry and later Apple. Still, giving a user an "excuse" to try something else is never a good business practice and the added expense of Thunderbolt and Lightning to some users are all the excuse they need to look elsewhere.
I routinely recommend Brother printers to my friends. I have been delighted with the way they work. In the past few months, I decided to rename our wireless SSID. This meant that any of our Brother printers would need to be set up again. No big deal. Or so I thought. It turns out that even if you connect a very long ethernet cable to that wifi printer at the opposite end of the house, the Brother 2170 ignores it. It wants to keep speaking to a wifi SSID that has gone bye bye. At this point, Brother engineers should have decided that if wifi is down, the printer should just connect to wired. But no. I had to reset the printer. This meant holding "Go" while turning on power. Wait for all 4 LEDs to come on then release "Go". Now hit "Go" 7 more times. Is this world war 2? Am I setting up an Enigma machine for God's sake? Then I have to waste 3 sheets of paper printing out printer status that could have easily fit on one page. I printed printer status about 20 times tonight. Brother owes me almost a half ream of paper. Then I have to scan the network to figure out what IP address the printer got for itself. Ok no problem. I log in. I enter my wifi settings. But wait. There are so many wifi settings to enter. I haven't seen this much wifi minutia since Windows XP. Do I really need to provide 4 WEP keys AND a passphrase when I'm running WPA? The printer can't figure out whether it's AES or TKIP? I have to go dig up that little tidbit? All my iThings merily figure this sort of stuff out on their own. As did my recently purchased Honeywell thermostat.
Flight Magazine has published a list of the top 50 navigation inventions of all time. Number one is GPS. Duh. But I was surprised to see my favorite computer so high on the list. iPad came in at number 13, beating out dozens of other navigation inventions on Flight Magazine's list.
Here is an excerpt...
One of the greatest story lines of the march of navigation progress has been the democratization of safety technology with increasingly cheaper, more powerful and more widely available safety utilities. Nowhere has this progress been as visible as with the Apple iPad...
One of the things I like best about my iPad mini is the ability to carry around a whole library worth of books (in either iBooks or Kindle) and I'm sure this is a big part of why the iPad is so useful to a pilot as it is capable of carrying around dozens of binders' worth of aeronautical charts.
Santa stopped by and dropped off a shiny new iPad mini for me on Christmas morning. I turned it on and proceeded to log in with my Apple ID. Oops. I used the wrong email and it created a new iCloud account for me. This was very distracting and I wound up simply factory resetting the thing and starting over, focusing on entering the id that has all my stuff. From there it was totally painless. My stuff came over in less than an hour and I wiped my iPad 1 and gave it to its new owner, who by the way is loving it.
I noticed my wife's Kindle sitting on her purse so I walked over and placed my iPad mini on top of it. With the smart cover, my iPad mini is exacltly the same width and height as the old wifi Kindle but it's a lot thinner. And it's an iPad. So yes I loaded iBooks and Kindle software and brought over my books but I also brought over my games. There are times I hesitate to take my iPad along because of its weight. While the iPad mini isn't in the same "go along all the time" category as an iPhone, it's definitely the right device to take to a meeting to take notes. I found myself increasing the default font in my favorite ebook readers but it's like reading a paperbook while my iPad 1 was like reading a hardcover dictionary.