Trip to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands

Doug and I came with some meals ready to eat, snacks, and a fifth of rum I bought in Charlotte, NC at the duty free shop in the airport. 
Here are some of the many pictures we took:
Tuesday Feb 13th we walked around Turtle Cove to get more familiar with the area. 

Interestingly this is supposedly their peak time and there aren’t very many people here. The most recent hurricane scared some people off, but in general this area isn’t very populated even during peak. Their resorts are much smaller than other more popular areas. 
Feb. 15th we went to find the plantation (but didn’t because Google maps was wrong and people kept pointing us all over the place) but we happened across the only brewery in the country (Turk’s Head Brewery) so we took a tour and sampled the beer. That’s pretty funny since I found this video by Caicos Girl prior to traveling to Provo! It was pretty good and my favorites were the “London Fog” porter and the “Gon-Ta-Nort” amber ale. I also bought some of their white rum for $16. In the grocery a fifth of rum is about $40 which is 4 times as much as in the U.S. typically. 
That night we went to the local fish fry which is every Thurs night. It was a lot of fun with live music and tons of booths set up with food, drinks, and trinkets. It rained on us a little bit. I got red snapper tacos which were really good. Later we got in the hot tub which is always fun. 😀
Friday we walked about 7 miles going to the Cheshire Plantation and back which is about the only historical thing to do on this island. It was underwhelming. We ate lunch again at Shark Bites and I got the blackened red snapper sandwich which was really good. I believe I’ve taken a nap every day. Friday evening we took a “jitney” from our place to the Saltmills Plaza, which had all kinds of expensive shops that we’re not really interested in. It turns out as you move from west to east on the north side of the island everything becomes more expensive and there are more all inclusive resorts.
Sat. we booked a half day snorkeling adventure for Sun. morning. We went to the beach a couple times and swam. We ate lunch at the Naughty Gull which was pretty good but smaller than I hoped. It’s just a coffee shop with breakfast and sandwiches for lunch.
Things we learned about the islands:
It’s very safe, though not very pedestrian friendly (for walking long distances). 
People are nice, say hi and ask questions!
While the primary language is English, people also speak creole and some have Haitian or Jamaican accents. 
The money here is the USD $ and most places take major credit cards. 
Jitneys are the way to travel.
From west to east gets more expensive.
Everything is really expensive here due to the large import tax of between 25 and 45%!
Bring your own alcohol (limit 1 litre per person in customs)!
Bring your own non perishable food as you can.
Pack your own sunscreen and a collapsible cooler!
Bugs aren’t too bad because it’s usually so windy on the beach, however, you may want to bring a bottle of bug spray. 
Definitely check out the fish fry!

Miami 2015

Miami 2015

So Allegiant is a relatively new airline which offers cheap flights to a few destinations from Memphis including Miami. My friend Ruth is living down there so I thought I would try out Allegiant air and visit June 26-29. Turns out the airline is totally a la carte. Everything cost more. It also seems that they’re consistently running late as well. My flight on the way back was delayed 6 hours.

Anyway while in Miami we went to one of the many beaches. I actually managed to get some sun and we saw a 3 foot long iguana in the wild which was unexpected. We also saw some needle fish and I managed to step on some creature (we both freaked out). We visited the Wynwood district that is currently being gentrified. The graffiti on the walls was excellent! We went to a few places including one called “Shots”. This place had various things including hookah rental, two women dressed as unicorns selling jello shots, and about 3 separate bars with a live DJ who felt the need to ruin the music by constantly speaking into the microphone.

Ruth has a relatively new, very cute dog named Phoebe whom I got along well with. I met a bunch of Ruth’s friends who were all cool. Speaking of that, I need to check with Liz to find out the best dates to try to go to Disney.

Trip to South Carolina 2014

Elek and I took a trip to see my dad in South Carolina over part of spring break. We got to go to the beach and climb to the top of an awesome and old lighthouse. I thought I would share some pictures.

Setting Up HTC One Google Play Edition with WalMart’s StraightTalk

So I couldn’t find this information ANYWHERE else on the internet so I thought I would share my experience.
First of all, I hear that WalMart / StraightTalk has stopped selling AT&T SIM cards. I purchased my HTC One GE online on the Google Play store.

When purchasing a SIM from Straight Talk, I chose the Bring Your Own Phone plan and chose option GSM. Next, I chose the “T-Mobile Compatible Phone” option at the “Please choose the type of phone you have:” dialog. Keep in mind, this is a full sized SIM card and the HTC One Google Edition takes a MicroSIM card. I used these directions/template to cut my SIM card into a Micro SIM card. I didn’t get it right first, so the phone said something like “No SIM Card Detected” when I turned it on. The gold contacts should be closest to the TOP of the tray/TOP of the phone. Once I sanded it down and got contact, I had to factory reset my phone in order for it to recognize the voice portion. Now I can make calls!

Next, on to the data portion. You have to set up (or edit) a new Access Point Name (APN). Below are my settings and I chose to edit the APN called TracFone (Settings->More->Mobile Networks->Access Point Names).

APN Name. straight talk
APN. wap.tracfone
proxy. blank
port. 8080
mms proxy. blank
mms port. 8080

I tested the phone, internet (web browser), SMS, and MMS successfully.

So NOW StraightTalk offers micro SIMs. Ugh. Also apparently they have to install equipment on the Tmobile or AT&T towers in order to get their phones to work with them. The speed is not that good and my phone kept switching from Edge to 3G to HSPA and back to 3G over and over. I read an article that says that unlocked phones do that and switch because they don’t always need the fastest speeds when they are updating. It also said that branded phones from AT&T, Tmobile do the same thing, but it just hides it from the user. Anyway I switched to TMobile and I am much happier. Faster speeds and better coverage!

google supporting network neutrality

comcast5.jpgI really hope that Google moves forward with this quickly seeing as how the American people were duped into paying for it already back during the Clinton administration. It was a good idea with no follow through and definitely no ass kicking from the government. I don’t want money back or the telecoms to have to pay anything. I just want them to do what they said and NOW. Not to mention lower my stupid internet bill and give me decent speed. How is it we’re lacking in that department when compared to places like Japan? Oh yeah, it’s because you can go to Japan and basically see our future.

Google Inc on Wednesday unveiled a plan aimed at eventually letting computer users determine whether providers like Comcast Corp are inappropriately blocking or slowing their work online.

The scheme is the latest bid in the debate over network neutrality, which pits content companies like Google against some Internet service providers.

via Reuters: Google begins effort to find Internet blockers.

It’s ridiculous to think that the telecoms were given monetary incentives from the government to improve their infrastructure, but the telecoms didn’t do anything at all. I remember reading about this a long time ago and thanks to the nice people at Reddit, we now have another article to share.

Starting in the early 1990’s, the Clinton-Gore Administration had aggressive plans to create the “National Infrastructure Initiative” to rewire ALL of America with fiber optic wiring, replacing the 100 year old copper wire. The Bell companies – SBC, Verizon, BellSouth and Qwest, claimed that they would step up to the plate and rewire homes, schools, libraries, government agencies, businesses and hospitals, etc. if they received financial incentives.

Kushnick’s “$200 Billion Broadband Scandal” says the government was promised 86 million households with fiber wiring delivering bi-directional 45 Mbps speeds, capable of handling 500 channels by 2006. He calls it a fraud case, with deft omission in the annals of the FCC, that cost households at least $2000 a piece but got nothing in return.

“Customers paid for a fiber optic wire and got DSL over the old copper wiring – it’s like ordering a Ferrari and getting a bicycle,” he writes in the “Bait and Switch” bullet.

via Web Pro News: Telcos Lay $200 Billion Goose Egg.

SNL Short

You guys sure have come a long way since The Lonely Island and your Fox pilot Awesometown!

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