First impressions with a Verizon MiFi

Today I got a Verizon MiFi (Novaltel Wireless MiFi 2200) to replace the AT&T Broadband card which came with my Dell E4300.  For the last couple months I have really struggled with the AT&T card and I’ve finally given up.  I think this is a Dell issue more than an AT&T issue.  Dell’s software stinks, I’ve had nothing but problems with it when I ran XP and again now that I am running Windows 7.

Even though Verizon has flooded the airwaves with their “There’s a map for that” advertising campaign I’ve been happy with AT&T’s 3G coverage.  The places I go it has worked well.  I went back to using my Express Card but ever since I broke the antenna off, it hasn’t worked very well and getting a replacement from AT&T has been difficult.

I have been holding out using a Sony-Ericsson Z750i UMTS phone as a modem in hopes that AT&T would offer the GSM version of the MiFi (Novatel Wireless MiFi 2372) but last week our AT&T rep told me they have no plans to offer anytime soon.  Bummer – the GSM version is newer, faster, and has a few more features.  So I could continue to limp along with the Z750, keep fighting with my built in card and Dell’s crappy software or I could get a MiFi from Verizon.

The MiFi is really what I wanted so I decided to drop my AT&T broadband service and get one from Verizon.  It arrived today.  Set up was pretty simple and it seemed to work fine in the office but testing in the office isn’t a real test.  I used it for a while in the car this evening waiting for my daughter to finish basketball practice and it worked well.

I have a netbook now so having a solution which I can use with my laptop, netbook, iPhone, or iPod Touch is pretty appealing to me.  Now that I have it, I am sure that AT&T will announce the GSM version of it within the next month!

Flickr-Gallery Plugin – good stuff!

I use Flickr to host my photos and I’ve always wanted a better way to present them on WordPress blogs and this weekend I think I found it.  Flickr-Gallery is a great plugin.  It is easy to set up and use and it integrates well with my theme.  It has a nice selection of short code options.

The only thing I use which is missing is the ability to link or preferably, display, a slide show.  I shoot a lot of pictures of our kids activities (skateboarding, soccer, basketball, swim team, etc.) and sharing them as a Flickr slide show is something I do frequently.

I found a solution to the missing slide show by using the Light Window plugin in conjunction with the Flickr URL for the slide show I am interested in presenting.

Villanova survives a scare with George Mason

I had hoped to catch the Villanova game on ESPNU yesterday afternoon but wasn’t able to get home until well into the second half.  I guess it was a good thing since each time I checked the score on my phone the Cats were behind.  Down by 9 at the half?  What happened?

When I got home and turned the game on the Cats were down by 5 and in heavy foul trouble.  Yarou was nowhere to be seen so I assumed he had fouled out already.  Turns out he was sick and didn’t play.  I caught the game from about the 8:00 mark in the second half – just in time to see Stokes and King foul out.  Wonderful.  George Mason looked good – they were composed and clearly not intimidated by VU.

In my opinion Villanova was very lucky to win this game.  They missed a lot of easy shots and numerous free throws and just got outplayed but stayed close enough to GMU to have a chance.  GMU missed some free throws at the end which could have closed out the game.  What a surprise to see Armwood hit the 3 to put Villanova ahead.  Clutch shot by who player who wasn’t expected to even be in the game at all.

The best play I saw from Villanova in the brief time I watched was the final play of the game.  The defense was phenomenal and George Mason didn’t even get a shot off.

Villanova will have to play much better today than they did yesterday or they will lose to Dayton.  I hope to be home in time to catch the game this afternoon.  These early afternoon start times are tough!

College Basketball Season is here!

College basketball season is finally here and and my Villanova Wildcats are entering the season ranked between 3 and 8 nationally.  Pretty lofty rankings but not surprising based on their Final 4 run last season and the stellar recruiting class they brought in this year.  After a couple of easy wins to open the season, the Wildcats face their first real test in Puerto Rico this weekend.

I am looking forward to this season as Villanova should be on TV frequently which is a good thing since living in ACC country means the TV schedule is usually dominated by ACC teams.

I’m Liking Continental Airlines

Historically I’ve been a loyal patron of American Airlines.  20 years ago when I started flying a lot American had a hub at Raleigh-Durham International Airport so flying American was easy and made the most sense.  I’ve been a AA Platinum Flyer every year since 1993 and passed the 2M lifetime miles a few years ago which (currently but subject to change as their paperwork points out) means I am Platinum for life.  This is a nice perk as I don’t have to worry about re-qualifying every year.  Even though I haven’t had to re-qualify, I have continued to fly AA primarily with a few flights on other airlines mostly Continental.

This year I have not traveled domestically as much as I normally but I have gone to Europe five times and three of them have been all or partially on Continental so I  have accumulated a fair number of miles this year.  Enough that I became Silver a few months ago.  This was nice because it means I can board in the Elite Access line.  Two weeks ago I went to Europe, again on Continental and with their double qualifying miles program, I have now become Gold and have an outside shot at Platinum.  I never would have expected this flying from Raleigh where Continental flies to three places – Houston, Cleveland, and Newark.

My experience so far with Continental has been very pleasant.  I can’t see making them my preferred carrier, American will always be that but having status on another airline is nice and gives me some more options.

LEGO Theme released

This afternoon I finally had a few minutes to fix a couple of issues and release my LEGO theme.  This theme is currently in use on my LEGO web site.  The theme free to download and use.  There are still a couple minor nits with it which I need to fix and I want to add a couple more color schemes but I wanted to get it out.  It supports four colors schemes – red, blue, green, and yellow.  Enjoy.