Monthly Archives: June 2013

Can I stop the Twin Cities Values newspaper circular delivery?

6

Posted on June 15, 2013 by

If you are within the Star Tribune subscription area, but do not subscribe to the paper, then you get a weekly circular delivered to your home called “Twin Cities Values”.

They stopped putting them into the paper deliver box at the mailbox, now they are hurled at the driveway, more or less.

Twin Cities Values at the curb

Twin Cities Values at the curb

I am not that old, but I can still remember delivering papers. You did not get paid if you did that. It had to be “porched”, which was a matter of pride to be able to accurately do that from the street.

The rain on the weather map for this afternoon would have washed this away, and the flimsy plastic wrapper would not have protected it. We have neighbors that let that happen every week. One neighbor has six in their yard, engaging in a passive protest.

We have called in the past to get off the delivery route. We are told that it is up to the carrier. There also is a number on the back 612-673-7305 and an email address: tcv@startribune.com. I will see if this gets it stopped.

The City of Roseville says one can opt out using these methods:

http://www.ci.roseville.mn.us/index.aspx?NID=2294 (This link is dead as of 2016)

Message to the Star Tribune: if you want me to read the ads, put them on the web site, like is done for the Target ad. Or put them on the Local section.

Also Star Tribune, how about if you get rid of all the Flash and Javascript junk that loads up.

Another person’s view:

http://museumfatigue.org/2012/05/28/trash-values/ (“Trash Values” or “How a Local Newspaper Made Me a Customer Against My Will and Littered All Over My Neighborhood”)

 

Follow up:  I contacted a number of email addresses. All promised to stop the paper. One even followed up. The next week, we did not have a delivery at all in the neighborhood. I attribute that to power outages and strong storms all over the Twin Cities. This weekend, the TCV was in my newspaper box.

Update for 2016, we have not seen these in our neighborhood in years.

2013 Tony awards: Relevant to me for the first time

0

Posted on June 10, 2013 by

I had the chance to travel to New York as part of a school trip at the beginning of April 2013. The trip was for theater students. We managed to see three plays while we were there: “Newsies”, “Matilda”, and “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. ”

“Newsies” had 8 Tony nominations for 2012 and won two: Best Choreography and Best Score.

“Matilda” had 13 Tony nominations for the 2013 Tony awards and won four: Best Book, Best Featured actor performance, best lighting, and Excellence in theater.

“Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” had two Tony nominations for 2011, and is notorious for the early troubles with rigging and expenses.

The kids on the trip all liked “Newsies” the best. The adults all liked “Matilda” the best. Everyone thought “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” was interesting, but not outstanding.

As a technical show, Spiderman had a lot going for it. It seems to be geared for a young male audience, not a typical theater crowd. The lady next to me from Connecticut said that half the thrill is to see if the rigging gets tangled. The theater group that went two years ago saw exactly that. Spiderman was stuck right above the balcony. They shouted encouragement to the actor. Afterwards he met with the group and thanked them for being so supportive. After our whirlwind tour, I was pretty tired, and almost dozed off in the first act. But the Spider-Man U2 guitar riff kept waking me up. I wonder if I could get that as a ring tone.

“Matilda” was my favorite. Miss Trunchbull  is a wicked character. Bertie Carvel put just the right bit of selfish nastiness into her. I thought for sure he would win the best leading actor in a musical award. But Billy Porter took the award for his acting in Kinky Boots.

http://theater.nytimes.com/2013/06/10/theater/theaterspecial/at-tonys-kinky-boots-and-matilda-vie-for-best-musical.html

I watched the Tony awards broadcast on CBS for the first time in my life. I felt it finally was relevant. I have watched the Academy awards broadcast for most of my life. But I never felt, up to now, any interest in the American Theater awards.

New WDC My Book Disk drive as Network Storage

0

Posted on June 8, 2013 by

I was shopping at my local computer center, and thought I would pick up a 3 TB drive for father’s day. The floor salesman mentioned I could get a Network attached storage (NAS) device for only $50 more. This seemed quite the deal. I have been thinking about how to setup a small server for shared storage in the house for  many years. I had thought about Linux and Windows server as possible solutions. Cloud storage through Skydrive, Google, GoDaddy or Amazon is 10 times as much for one tenth the storage space.

It seems incredible to think that when I began my IT career in the late 1980s, that it took a learned professional to set up a system like this. The process took days. The equipment cost thousands of dollars. And in the end you got 100MB or so of LAN storage.

I picked up the Western Digital WDC My Book 3 Terabyte drive.

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=280

Here is what I can tell you so far. It is pretty easy to get started. But you need to have the following items:

1.) A PC with Java installed for a browser

2.) A home network, connection to the outside world is optional

3.) A structure in mind for how you want to store your files

I can see that I want to set everyone in the house up with their own user space. Also, I would like to use the MyBook remotely.

In the first use, file copying is not fast. I wanted to transfer 30gb of pictures to start. That took about four hours. The MyBook is connected to the router, and my source PC is wireless. I suspect the antivirus software may be slowing the process down.

One needs to keep the following things in mind with this device

1.) It is not a backup device. Surprise! This is a device you would keep a backup of. If you have managed LAN servers in your career, you know that you need good backups of your shared files. It can be used as a backup drive and has a folder already named for Time Machine. In practice, this may not be the best use of a NAS.  The user comments in Amazon are pretty specific about how catastrophic a failure is for one of these devices. The best advice might be to keep backups of this backup.

2.) It can be opened up to the internet. It communicates with the wd2go app via https. You are going to want to manage your user IDs, passwords, and permissions accordingly. You might not have wanted to go into the sys admin business, but that is part of the deal.

3.) The download speed is only as good as your service providers upload speed. Most consumer ISPs like your RBOC or cable company throttle back upload speeds to maybe 10 percent of your download speed. Also, most are Tier II network connections. Do not expect full on cloud performance as if it were Google in Tier I.

4.) I have a basis in computing and networking going back a quarter century. The concept of a plug in file server seems fabulous to me. To a computing novice or casual user, this setup and management process may seem overwhelming.