Review of Six Flags Magic Mountain

IMG_20150529_104124-COLLAGE

On Friday, May 29th Carson and I went on a day trip up to Valencia, CA to ride roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Here are the rides we went on and they are prioritize with our favorites (high to low):

  1. Scream: Smooth, fun, easy to see where you are going, 
  2. Batman: Smooth, fun, easy to see where you are going.
  3. Twisted Colossus (new!): Very fast, long, not as easy to see where you are going, intense
  4. Gold Rusher: very simple, classic easy style
  5. Ninja: a lot like Batman but not as intense
  6. Viper: Very fast, bumpy for Carson
  7. Orient Express: slow and clam
  8. Grand Carousel: great way to end the day [only horses though :-( ]
  9. X2: Way to scary
  10. Full Throttle: huge loop; slow at top (feels like falling - yuck!), plus one "trick" that we won't tell you about but we did not like it
  11. Apocalypse: Very jerky, long wait

Basically we both agreed that we like smooth and easy to see where we are going roller coasters.  We don't like: feeling like we are falling, bumpy, and going backwards.

All in all we really liked the majority of rides and look forward to going back sometime in the future.


Nexus 7 vs. Nexus 6 - Different GPS Driving Notifications With Google Maps

Nexus7vsNexus6-for-gps-google-maps

I think I've found a good reason to keep my Nexus 7 (2013) as my daily GPS unit in my car compared to my new Nexus 6.

Here is a Screen Shot #1 comparison (click on image for bigger resolution):

Google Maps

And here is Screen Shot #2 comparison (click on image for bigger resolution):

Google Maps1

It appears that since the Nexus 7 (left images) is a tablet and has more screen real estate then the smartphone Nexus 6 (right images) you get the alternative route time notifications as you are driving your selected route in Google Maps.

These notifications are actually a great feature, and I use it all the time for making real time route changes.

If anyone knows if there is actually a way to enable this on the Nexus 6 then please let me know.  

NOTE: I did load up Waze on the Nexus 6 to see if that application had the route time notifications but from what I could tell it doesn't.


An Apple iPad ~2 Month Later Review & Update

Ipad2

Here is a follow-up update to my one week review of the Apple iPad.

Overall, I am still extremely happy with the device.  It has become my primary personal device when I'm at home eliminating my Microsoft Windows 7 TabletPC I was using before the iPad.  I have also travelled with the iPad twice since the initial purchase, and I have found it a great device for reading material (books, PDFs, magazines, saved offline web content, etc) and for consuming videos (podcasts, TV shows, and movies).  Taking the iPad on travel vice the personal TabletPC has also meant that I had over 6 pounds less in my backpack than normal.  This made travel much more enjoyable.

NY Times' BOB TEDESCHI recently did a review on his impression of travelling with the iPad.  The only thing I found different from Bob article is that TSA at both San Diego (SAN) and Washington Dulles (IAD) wanted the iPad in a seperate container to scan vice stored in my backpack.

Things that continue to make this device enjoyable:

  • Excellent form-factor, screen, and battery life
  • Internal speaker is well suited for casual listening
  • Consumption of media when and where I want to is ideal
  • Applications customized for the iPad are compelling

The one thing I did have to figure out was how to seemlessly as possible listen to "new" news and video podcasts directly on the iPad without having to do a regular desktop sync.  I tried using Safari and Google Reader to manage the feeds but playing MP3s in Safari has proven to be buggy for me.  Safari would play them for a while but then become unstable and quit, especially for large shows over 15 minutes long.  I then moved those specific news and video podcasts to my desktop iTunes to get the subscriptions loaded on the iPad.  Once loaded you can then play them from the iPod application.  But if you want new podcasts you need to click "Get More Episodes ..." which then launches the iTunes application.  You then need to click on the Free icon for the newer podcast items you want to download directly.  The Free icon then changes to Get Episode which when you click on that icon will download.  You then need to application context switch back to the iPod application to play the new content.  It works but definitely not seamlessly.  But the benefit of using Apple's iPad and iTunes applications on the iPad is that you can listen to content and launch other applications.

The biggest negative continues to be lack of multi-processing. Switching between applications is fast but swapping context is mentally challenging.  Plus, I'd love to be able to run Pandora in the background and then go about whatever else I'd like to do.

Ipad-apps1 

My top ten most used 3rd-party iPad apps seem to be:

  1. TweetDeck (Twitter app)
  2. Kindle (eBook reader)
  3. iThoughtsHD (MindMap tool)
  4. Evernote (online notes and reference library)
  5. Toodledo (projects and tasks management)
  6. Goodreader (PDF reader)
  7. The Weather Channel MAX+ (check the weather)
  8. Dropbox (online, multi-computer file storage)
  9. Atomic Web (multi-tab browser)
  10. QuickVoice (audio recorder)

Ipad-apps2 

Next on the list is to consider trying out some of the remote access solutions to see how well you can run a Mac or PC from the iPad.  If you have a favorite then please let me know.


GTD Suggestion - Tracking References Via Google Maps

A recent question on the Getting Things Done (GTD) Virtual Study Group mailing list related to tracking travel related task & project items, reminded me that since this past summer I've been tracking geographical items of interest, reference, and someday/maybe items using Google Maps:

Google-my-map-01

The My Maps feature with Google Maps lets you create your own pins and references.  You can also make your maps public or private.  If you make a map private you can still send the private map as a link to someone else via email.

I like this option because the next time I'm in Atlanta I'll know the options that are available to me.  And the data is available with any Internet access plus browser.

I've also used this feature to build a Visiting San Diego Map for friends and family:

Google-my-map-sd-01

This has been very handy in helping visitors figure out what is available to do in San Diego County and how far away items are.


TSA Travel Woes - Post A Comment To Their Blog

I just found out that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now officially blogging (started Jan. 30, 2008) and is accepting comments on their blog posts.

The blog is called "Evolution of Security" and can be found at: http://www.tsa.dhs.gov/blog.

If you run into trouble or maybe have a great experience, then make sure you use this resource to give them some feedback.


Coffee Bean Storage Suggestions

Kevin Devin and I have been trading emails on coffee bean (whole or ground) storage options since we are both purchasing some beans from Kevin's brother who lives in Alaska and works at roaster Cafe Del Mundo.

Kevin found this recommendation, which I have summarized to:

  1. Store beans (whole or ground) in an air tight container
  2. Store the air tight container in a cool place like a pantry with no direct sunlight on the container. If pantry gets warm, then use a refrigerator but not a freezer.
  3. The sooner you go from bean to grounds to brewing the better.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Other opinions?


Multi-Topic Update: San Diego Fires, Jersey Boys, Technology

The last week or so has been extremely crazy and busy. 

First up the San Diego Wild Fires (aka FireStorm 2007) have been all consuming, and I'm happy to report that my immediate & extended family, friends, and co-workers in the San Diego area have been spared major hardships.  But our hearts go out to those who lost love ones or their homes.  The fire fighters and public safety folks have been outstanding and they deserve a ton of credit & praise.  Thanks!

The weirdest thing about the fires, was that during the whole time it was going on, Christy and I have been in Jersey Boys heaven.  They have released a new Jersey Boys Book, Frankie Valli has an excellent new album out called "Romancing the 60's", the touring cast is in San Diego, and we traveled to New York City (NYC) / New Jersey (NJ) on Sat. 10/20 returning Tue. 10/23 for the Fan Tribute and to interview Tommy DeVito. And did we mention we've seen the musical three times in six days: Fri. 10/19 (Opening Night in San Diego), Sun. 10/21 (Broadway), and Wed. 10/24 (Cast Talk Back in San Diego).  Yes ... we are crazy.

Lastly a quick update on some technology stuff.  Things are still going on over at TechNewsRadio but a little slower than I'd like.  My fellow FriendsInTech members have put together another new Halloween special called "It's The Great Server Chuck and Kreg."

Other quick tech mentions:

I recently upgraded from a Cingular 8125 to an AT&T Tilt and I'm really loving the new phone with high speed 3G/UMTS/HSDPA connectivity plus Windows Mobile 6 and integrated GPS.  The camera is also a big improvement, as is the keyboard/button interfaces.

A couple of weeks ago I did upgrade my 8-GB 2nd Gen Apple iPod Nano to an 8-GB 3rd Gen Apple iPod NanoI have some unboxing pictures posted to Google.  I like the video option a great deal. I used it to watch dozens of video podcasts recently on the trip back to NYC/NJ.  I have also been using it a lot at home sitting in bed or by my computer using a DIY  Lego stand.

I have also picked up a copy of Apple's new OS X via Amazon.  I hope it gets here soon so I can rebuild my old G4 iBook for Christy and finally get her off of Windows XP and spare her the horror of Vista.


List Of Sites For Food & Dinning Out Reviews

The following is a list of food & dinning out review sites from an article in the Wall Street Journal published on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007:

The other interesting thing from this article was that restaurants are now giving away meals to bloggers in the hopes of a good review. 

So far according to the article it appears to be paying off with good rankings but bloggers that aren't transparent are playing with fire.


Recommendation - Family & Kid Camping In San Diego Area

Yesterday, I went with Conrad's 3rd grade class on a field trip to Indian Hills - a family and kids camp in East San Diego County. 

I took a ton of video and I plan to build them a little DVD scrapbook. 

But I was really impressed with the facilities and the things to do.  Check out the link above if you are interested.


Brewery Recommendation: Mad Anthony in Warsaw, Indiana

I am working through my stack of stuff to blog about and I am up to my endorsement of a great brewery in the Warsaw, Indiana area:

Mad Anthony's Lake City Tap House

113 East Center Street, Warsaw, Indiana 46580

574-268-2537

www.madbrew.com

We had a great dinner there, amazing microbrews, and a great cover band called The Fabulous Rhythm Kids was on stage for several hours. They played some very good rock and blues covers.