Asheville, NC

Elek and I settled in our very clean and modern looking AirBnB around 6:15 PM ET. Then we started watching Vegas Vacation while we relaxed, which was hilarious. We walked to dinner around the block at the White Duck. I got the Korean Beef and bang bang shrimp tacos and Elek got the Lamb Gyro, black bean and cheese, and steak and cheese taco.
The lamb gyro and the Korean beef were wonderful! The bean taco was a little carb heavy. Bang bang shrimp was pretty good as well as the steak and cheese taco. We walked around the downtown area a bit and went to Sunshine Sammies for desert. They had great ice cream!

For brunch we went to Tupelo Honey and both had the (deconstructed) fried chicken biscuit with gravy. The chicken was seasoned wonderfully! I have to admit my biscuits are better though! We both tried an in house soda – I tried the blueberry and Elek had the lavender limeade fizz. They were both surprisingly tasty. They brought out 2 biscuits with blueberry compote and house made honey, hence the name of the restaurant, on the house.

Our next stop was the Retrocade which was a few miles away in West Asheville. It’s two floors of retro video games, fighting games, and pinball games. It was pretty fun – all you can play for $10 per person. They also serve beer and food there. We thought the Mast General Store might be interesting but it was just about as you would expect from a general store and similar to Cracker Barrel. Next, we walked by the Soda Fountain at Woolworth’s, but it was closed at the time. Would love to have been able to go by to get a sandwich and a malted milkshake – maybe next time!

For our food tour, Kelly was our guide. She was very knowledgeable about the history of the area as well as the restaurants. We got a taste of vegetable curry at blue dream curry house, 2 french restaurants – Isa’s french bistro and Bouchon, Aux bar, Polanco – a mexican restaurant and had a margarita and an enchilada. We ended at Asheville Chocolate and had a delicious salted chocolate caramel and then finished with mint chocolate chip and dark, rich chocolate gelato. The dark chocolate gelato was the best I’ve ever had!

Next morning we went to a donut place called the Underground Cafe where they had extremely large donuts which were very tasty. We both got a different kind and milk. Elek had a wonderful idea to pick up breakfast since we were planning on leaving before anything would be open the next morning. So, we went by Button & Co. Bagels to grab two everything bagels and scallion cream cheese for the next morning. 

The Broad Chocolate Factory Tour was really informative. We got to sample a multitude of chocolates including nibs. We learned about the whole process of creating chocolate from cacao is more complicated than I thought! I’d love to go back to experience more of the night life.

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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