Archive for the ‘things I like’ category

Springing Forward

March 14th, 2010

Johnny L. CD Friend cover artHonoring the return of Daylight Savings Time, I give you “Spring Forward“, a track recorded by The Slugs (Dag, Gregg, Mike and Johnny) for Johnny L.‘s brand new CD entitled “Friend“.  Enjoy this preview, and get your copy of Friend from Amazon – it’s a great record full of wonderful songs and collaborations from Johnny L.!

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I feel the tug

June 8th, 2009

Caesars Palace offer postcardAbout this time every year, I feel the tug to visit my old friend Las Vegas.  Somehow, the folks at Harrah’s recognize this impulse in me and send me incentives just about every day to visit Vegas on them. Tempting doesn’t begin to describe it. But for now, I guy must have his dreams…

Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew

March 10th, 2009

Starbucks Via Ready BrewYes, I was skeptical, even mocking of the idea that anyone can produce a decent cup of instant coffee. Really, Folgers Crystals is a freakin punch line!  But I have to report, trying a free sample of Starbucks Via instant coffee, it’s pretty acceptable. Even a good substitute when the real deal is not available.  I know some folks that swear by Via as the *perfect* ingredient for their iced coffee – just get a cup with water & ice and add a packet of Via, shake and you have great iced coffee.  Who’da thunk?

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot imagine actually choosing Via over a quality brewed coffee. But for some circumstances, Via is a good fit. 

The Great Pumpkin

November 11th, 2008

I always looked forward to the Charlie Brown specials as a kid…

Apple iTunes

Web Hosting Review

October 6th, 2008

My work in the IT industry exposes me to many different technology areas. The company I work for is primarily a Network Systems Integrator, serving small/medium sized business in greater Chicagoland. Our system engineers work in the field installing, maintaining and trouble-shooting server-based network systems. We offer limited web services but do not consider web hosting a core competency. That said, I’ve come to learn a lot about the “plumbing” of web techologies over my career.

When I decided to launch this blog and some other hobby sites, I researched carefully the myraid options available for web hosting – including do it for “free” on my company’s servers. After researching many providers, I recalled seeing a big ad for 1 and 1 Internet Services in Business Week, a small/medium business focused magazine. They claimed to be the World’s Largest Web Hosting Company, but I really had not heard of them before. I learned they are actually based in Germany and technically are Europe’s largest web host, but with a growing presence in America.

I signed up with them almost a year ago and have launched a number of sites and blogs – including and this site. Their pricing structure is astonishingly affordable, the tools and options inluded with even thier most basic hosting packages are excellent, and unlike many hosting companies, 1&1 offers telephone based technical support.  Being able to get someone on the phone for technical or account questions is a huge benefit for even technically savvy people like me. No one has all the answers, and being able to access live support has been great.  I’ve called in on 3 or 4 issues related to enhancements and tools they provide and once with an account question.  Each encounter has been quickly responded to and resolved.  I can’t say enough about how good my support experience with 1&1 has been.

Today I see an article in Information Week on 1&1’s new Data Center near Kansas City. It features capacity for 40,000 rackmounted servers, redundant multi-Gigabit fibre links, and a backup power generator that can run for a week with the fuel on hand.  This is a serious facility. 

If you are in the market for your own blog or to host a website, you can’t go wrong with 1 and 1 Internet. (note: If you click through from my 1&1 link, I get a credit toward my bill – that’s all good!)

1&1’s new data center   1&1’s new data center   1&1’s backup power generator


Caesars Palace lodging review

July 30th, 2008

I posted this review on of accomodations at Caesars Palace following my Feb ’08 visit to fabulous Las Vegas…

Caesars Palace 2008

Caesars Palace rooms:
I’ve stayed in four of the five towers. Here are comments listed in order of tower preference:

Palace Tower – Opened in 1999, this tower has some very, very nice rooms, all with marble bathrooms and spa (jacuzzi) tubs. Good size, comfortable, but frankly a long walk from the main casino area, restaurants & shopping. Close to pool.

Augustus Tower – Opened in 2005, the rooms are very comfortable with significant money put into the bed & bedding. Baths are marble with spa tub. Even the upper floor rooms (not suites) are on the modest size.

Forum Tower – Remodeled during winter 2007/08 with similar bedding and comforts as the popular Flamingo GO rooms. For whatever reason, they are proud of their electronic “do not disturb” signs and door bells. ?? Rooms are small-ish (except suites) as I believe this tower was built in 1979. My favorite thing about Forum tower rooms is the elevator lets you out right in the middle of the Forum casino, near the Forum Shops. Very convenient. If you want to splurge, check out the Absolute-themed suites.

Centurian Tower – Old, small rooms are what you get when you book & settle for a “standard” room. Centrally located, but I’d rather stay at Flamingo than in a Centurian room.

Roman Tower – I can’t recall if I’ve stayed in the Roman Tower, but see my notes on Centurian rooms for a very similar experience.

Beware – Ceasars will undergo yet more remodeling in 2008 as the Palace (main) Casino pit and all adjacent “low ceiling” areas are re-done with high ceilings to match the lobby and Pussycat Dolls pit areas.

Still, Caesars is Caesars and there is no better oldschool property to get the feel of vintage Vegas while still enjoying the most modern of amenities, restaurants and shopping. The joint was originally built with money from The Boys (Teamsters Central States Pension Fund), but the various owners (now Harrahs Corp) have managed to keep it relevant.

To experience Vegas the way its meant to be, stay at Caesars Palace!

A new section: Things I Like

April 4th, 2008

For years I wasn’t a big fan of Starbucks coffee.  Seemed too strong to me.  Then in about 2000 or so, I took a liking to it and haven’t looked back. Stopping at Starbucks is an infrequent treat but always enjoyable.  Ryan like a cookie from there once in a while too!

Now I welcome them as a new sponsor for my websites…