A chance to win

We recently stayed a night at InterContinental Monterey. The best part was waking up before dawn and heading downstairs with my binoculars and camera to watch the sun rise, with otters, seals, sea lions, a dolphin, and lots of birds all having their breakfast right there in front of us. The rooms were nice, with a big couch that made it feasible for all five of us to fit in the same room.

After our stay, I got an email from IHG, “Tell Us What You Think For a Chance to Win 25,000 IHG® Rewards Club Points.” They want me to fill out a survey, taking up to ten minutes, for “a chance to win 25,000 IHG Rewards Club Points.” That just doesn’t work with me. A chance? What odds? “94 Grand Prizes of $125 USD available to be won,” so the odds can’t be great, and I definitely won’t be reading the SweepstakesRules to figure it out.

Offering a smaller points reward in return for taking the survey is much more likely to appeal to me.

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Do you SSD?

Last week, I bought an SSD on sale, and today I put it in my PC and am migrating my existing Windows install to it, mostly following this guide. I deviated a bit from it in that I used Macrium Reflect Free for both the back-up and clone phases. I used it because it let me back up to a network volume on my Airport Time Capsule.

This little project also sent me to Fry’s for the first time since 1996; of course when I bought the SSD on Amazon, I forgot to buy a mounting bracket and a SATA cable. I almost didn’t recognize the place, the employees were friendly and helpful.

So, an hour of tinkering and several hours of waiting, and now I can waste time gaming much faster than before 😁

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There are STILL no hybrid minivans on the market, no three-row vehicles with combined fuel efficiency of 30 mpg or greater, and no third-row vehicles with plug-in hybrid or electric powertrains, excepting of course the Tesla Model S with its tiny rear-facing jump seat option.

Our 2006 Honda Odyssey is in the shop again for its second expensive repair job in six weeks; it’s got 132K miles on the odometer and we’re defensively looking at our options for replacing it, if it comes to that. We’re still hoping to drive it until there’s a better option available.

A handy list of plug-in cars.

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First California Brew Day!

I bought a couple of extract kits, a wit and a stout, and boiled them in a pot on an outdoor burner. After the move (nearly 18 months ago – how have I not brewed since then?!?), I ended up with 3 fermentation buckets and a bottling bucket, plus a couple of utility buckets, but only one lid. I decided to finally try fermenting in Cornelius kegs; I’ve been wanting to do that for a while because their size and proportions make them a lot easier to handle and store than either buckets or carboys.

I still have all the bits and pieces of the fancy 2-vessel all-grain RIMS brewery I used in Georgia, but the heaters need 240V and running the heaters with both pumps takes a 50 amp circuit, and the house we’re renting doesn’t have anything close to that. I used the water filter, heat exchanger, immersion chiller, and a bunch of hoses and connectors. I put the immersion chiller in an ice bath and ran that through the water side of the heat exchanger. That worked great, and let me cool the 3.5 gallon boil down to pitching temperature in about 15 minutes!

The wit, in my only fermentation bucket, is happily bubbling away already. I can’t really tell how the stout is doing but it should be fine. Two weeks and I’ll rack them both in to kegs to age a few weeks before serving.


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Oh Comcast…

Have now passed 24 hours of being unable to reach IMAP and SMTP, both via SSL, at my hosting provider (dreamhost), from my home internet connection, Comcast XFinity.

At least the rep from Comcast was honest about not being able to help?

I called their “Comcast Security Assurance” line as Gemma suggested, but the guy I spoke to there didn’t understand the distinction between me trying to use Comcast IMAP service, which I’m not, and trying to reach MY IMAP service from their network. CSA forwarded me to the IMAP service team, 888-517-5296 and help@sv.comcast.com, who passed the buck along to what seems like a general support line, 888-739-1379. I was on hold for twenty minutes at this one, followed by a ten-minute conversation which ended in the customer support rep telling me that Comcast Internet service does not allow/support connections on all services and ports. When I asked which specifically they DID allow, she said she would email me a list, and hung up on me.

CHAT ID: redacted
Problem: Inbound IMAP connectivity to my Internet hosting provider via SSL, port 993, is not available, the connection times out.%0A%0AOutbound SMTP/SSL connectivity to my Internet hosting provider, port 587, is not available, the connection times out
Gemma > Hello FRANK_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Gemma. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Gemma > Glad to have you on chat.
Gemma > I understand that you’re having problem with your email, correct?
FRANK_ > Thanks. I am able to reach my hosting provider IMAP & SMTP SSL ports from other locations outside the comcast network.
FRANK_ > The hosting provider is dreamhost. The symptoms suggest to me that one of Dreamhost or Comcast are blocking connections. I am able to ssh from my comcast internet to my dreamhost domain, fhmiv.net
Gemma > Thank you for that information
Gemma > To set your proper expectations, this is already beyond our scope and you need to contact our Comcast Security Assurance (CSA) on this number: 1-888-565-4329 from 6:00am – 2:00am ET Daily.
Gemma > But before you do that, let me send you a link for the email configurations first.
Gemma > Can I have your contact email pelase
FRANK_ > redacted@fhmiv.net
Gemma > Thank you.
Gemma > Mail has been submitted.
Gemma > Just follow the configuration settings on the link I sent to you.
Gemma > If it won’t work, please contact the number I posted.
Gemma > Thank you.
FRANK_ > Will do, thank you for your assistance.

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