Site Header Picture

So. Much. Easier.

Posted Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 08:54 pm GMT -6 in Housekeeping,Technology at 8:54 PM

Took a bit to install, but I already like it a thousand times better than the old model

One Week with iPhone X

Posted Saturday, November 11th, 2017 05:22 pm GMT -6 in Technology at 5:22 PM

As an Apple Upgrade Program subscriber, there really wasn’t much of a reason for me to not get an iPhone X last week. My iPhone 7 Plus was nearly as expensive last year, so the monthly payments were about the same. Apple really made the trade-in and pre-order process easy this time, so the only issue I had was not noticing the pre-order time was Pacific and not Central (which meant an alarm for 2am instead of midnight).

There are reviews all over the place (this Ben Lovejoy one for 9to5Mac is similar to my experience, although I wouldn’t say I love it as much as him), so I’ll just send you to Apple’s round-up page here for full-blown reviews. For my site, let’s just blow through a few bullet points:

  • I love the size compared to the Plus – the old phone was just too big for my hand (but I want the extra pixels).
  • Never really had a bad iPhone screen – this one is beautiful too.
  • Swipe up for home took about an hour to learn and now I hardly ever make the mistake of pressing that area of the screen trying to get home.
  • Face ID was easy to set up and works at about the same success rate I had with Touch ID, but it’s usually slower (sometimes a lot slower). I do like the private lock-screen notifications (until you get verified) and it’s nice you can just click on a notification and go right to that app once it sees your face.
  • Haven’t had a chance to take the new camera to a concert yet to test low-light conditions, but other shots have looked great. I’ve never been a big user of the “selfie” front-facing camera, so I haven’t really used the new portrait mode or other TrueDepth camera features yet.
  • Animojis: tried a couple to annoy my daughters, then accidentally sent one to a group chat. Karma says just stop now.
  • Yeah, this is an expensive phone. Unfortunately it is what it is (for all manufacturer flagship models, not just Apple).
  • I’ve always been a “no case” fan, but it scares me to think of dropping a $1K phone (even with the AppleCare+ that comes with the upgrade program). I don’t want something super bulky, as I usually carry my phone in my front pocket. Hoping Minnesota-based Twig Case Co. comes out with a line for the X soon (they were reportedly sighted at the Uptown store on release day).
  • I don’t have a wireless charger yet, so I haven’t tried that feature. Will probably wait for the Apple AirPower thing, as it would be nice to set the phone and my watch on the nightstand (plus Colleen likes her AirPods, so maybe I’ll get those eventually too). Also curious to know if it works with a case.
  • Restoring from my iTunes backup was pretty smooth – just had issues with songs, ringtones and playlists not coming back. Since then, I’ve decided to subscribe to 2TB of iCloud storage for backups, so next time I’ll just use that.
  • Most of my favorite apps have already updated and optimized for the X, which basically just means designing for “the notch” that everyone was so concerned about (including myself). Turns out I hardly notice it now and guess that will just continue to grow as app developers get used to optimizing for it.
  • Not sure if I’ve been impacted by the supposed cold weather screen issue, but I do occasionally have issues in Two Dots with actions happening that I didn’t intend.
  • Unrelated to the hardware, the “I” bug in iOS 11.1 was a pain in the butt – a situation that made an already bad auto-correct situation worse (which A ⍰ didn’t think was possible).

MyPrecious became MyPreciousX and I’m happy…

Toys in Uptown

Posted Thursday, October 26th, 2017 01:40 pm GMT -6 in Shopping,Technology at 1:40 PM

Christmas in October

Web Server Struggles

Posted Saturday, October 21st, 2017 07:34 pm GMT -6 in Housekeeping,Technology at 7:34 PM

It’s been a long time since I wrote a longer post here, which actually wasn’t caused by being busy. I’ve been battling technical issues with my web server for months, which is a co-located Mac mini in Las Vegas (now at MacStadium since their merger with Brian Stucki’s excellent Macminicolo). I created my own perfect storm by trying to remotely upgrade the OS (which was two versions behind) *and* moving it from the old Macminicolo data center to the new MacStadium data center across town. Somewhere along the way, I also ended up corrupting my database backups and discovered my old backup processes weren’t working the way I thought. Thankfully I didn’t lose any data, but it wasn’t the best example of being a good sysadmin.

With work being work, I haven’t had time to focus on fixing these issues, so it’s been little bits and pieces here and there to finally get back to a semi-functioning site. I messed with moving to AWS for a little while, but decided to just rebuild my mini server from scratch. I use Homebrew versions of Apache, MySQL and PHP for the core stack, which I’m now familiar with enough to mostly breeze through those configs. I learned that over the years, my MySQL data got split into MyISAM and InnoDB islands, which caused some major problems with restoring the InnoDB side. Then I found out that I had MySQL collation setting issues, which created a bunch of weird characters (and a loss of emoji support).

This site uses a number of WordPress plugins to help automate things and several of those plugins stopped working due to the issues mentioned above. I needed to blow away both WordFence (security) and Intagrate (Instagram integration), reconfiguring both from square one. I’ve also had some general response issues with the server, which was mostly fixed with an ARP patch from MacStadium. I still need to go through the web server error logs to clean up a few other performance issues, but those are a little harder to research and isolate (wordpress termmeta doesn’t exist, anyone?).

So now that I can reliably post from the mobile app and have Twitter and Instagram integration working again, it’s almost time to get back to my enhancement wish list:

  • Recreate my Coda web development environment on the new iMac
  • Add Backblaze support to the server
  • Rewrite and test my database backup scripts
  • Move to https with Let’s Encrypt (this should help)
  • Create data entry screens for golf scores and runs
  • Make my default theme more mobile-friendly
  • Add a video post type
  • Make my header photos retina-ready
  • Update the about and biography sections
  • Bring back more of the old photo gallery pictures

As always – thanks for visiting!

Should I be happy about this?

Posted Thursday, October 12th, 2017 06:18 pm GMT -6 in Design,Games,Technology at 6:18 PM

Stupid time sucks…

Best. Camera. Ever?

Posted Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 12:50 pm GMT -6 in Photography,Technology at 12:50 PM

Nikon D850 Review

What are you waiting for?

Posted Friday, September 22nd, 2017 12:15 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 12:15 PM

Seriously, WTF takes this so long? Every. Single. Time.

The no-fun iPad 

Posted Thursday, September 7th, 2017 06:15 am GMT -6 in Schools,Technology at 6:15 AM

What’s the right line to walk?

Had at least five of these

Posted Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 02:56 pm GMT -6 in Food,Games,History,Technology at 2:56 PM

The throw-back games wall @ Hot Plate

Sinofsky on WWDC 2017

Posted Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 11:31 am GMT -6 in Links,Technology at 11:31 AM

NASA, HTTPS and Let’s Encrypt

Posted Monday, May 29th, 2017 10:04 am GMT -6 in Links,Technology at 10:04 AM

Bruce on Elections

Posted Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 03:23 pm GMT -6 in Links,Politics,Technology at 3:23 PM

Work road trip

Posted Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 12:21 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 12:21 PM

Mall of America and CiscoVision

20 Minutes to Secure WordPress

Posted Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 02:28 pm GMT -6 in Links,Technology at 2:28 PM

20 Minutes to a Secure WordPress Website

My Current Top 7 Blogs

Posted Monday, April 10th, 2017 12:15 am GMT -6 in Disney,Food,Reading,Technology at 12:15 AM

I love my office

Posted Thursday, April 6th, 2017 11:20 am GMT -6 in Golf,Technology,Work at 11:20 AM

IBM doing their thing at the Masters

Courtside is intense

Posted Saturday, April 1st, 2017 02:56 pm GMT -6 in Sports,Technology,Travel at 2:56 PM

Looks like we need some wires in the middle of the field

My Top 7 Online Publications

Posted Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 12:52 pm GMT -6 in Business,News,Politics,Reading,Technology at 12:52 PM

* paid subscriber

(Also just resubscribed to the print edition of The Economist)

Cisco wallpaper & ringtones

Posted Thursday, March 16th, 2017 05:21 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 5:21 PM

Figured them both out today

Ever? Never ever?

Posted Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 12:28 pm GMT -6 in Food,Technology,Work at 12:28 PM

Nerds crack me up

So. Much. Wire.

Posted Friday, March 10th, 2017 08:20 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 8:20 PM

Visited all 46 IDF closets today for inventory and documentation 

Saving Pixar’s Butt

Posted Friday, March 3rd, 2017 09:58 am GMT -6 in Disney,Links,Movies,Technology at 9:58 AM

Recharged and ready to go

Posted Monday, February 6th, 2017 03:56 pm GMT -6 in Running,Technology at 3:56 PM

Applies to both (old) me and the iPod

That new scoreboard though

Posted Monday, January 9th, 2017 11:33 pm GMT -6 in Business,Sports,Technology at 11:33 PM

Nice job on the remodel so far

Apple Watch Nike+ First Impressions

Posted Saturday, January 7th, 2017 08:27 pm GMT -6 in Running,Technology at 8:27 PM

When the first Apple Watch came out, it didn’t appeal to me due to the lack of built-in GPS. The only way I could really justify spending that much on a watch would be if I was replacing my Garmin for running. The thought of requiring your iPhone to be close in order to get accurate mileage defeated the whole purpose of having a watch, in my mind. Then Apple announced the Apple Watch Nike+ right around the same time my Forerunner 610 died. A colleague offered to pick one up for me to try and I’ve been wearing it daily ever since.


  • The animated Mickey Mouse watch face makes me smile (every single time).
  • Battery life is better than expected – I recharge nightly, but have never used more than 25% in a day.
  • Unlocking my laptop when the watch is nearby works well and saves time.
  • The personal tracking features (pulse, daily “circles”) are handy and should help me improve overall health.
  • Once fine-tuned, the notifications between the phone and the watch are generally useful and reliable.
  • The Nike+ watch band is easy to put on and is more comfortable than my old Garmin.


  • Just don’t like wearing watches every day (but don’t want to lose tracking data).
  • Haven’t had a lot of outdoor runs yet, but the Nike run club app doesn’t seem very accurate for pace, sometimes doesn’t draw the on-screen route and has had issues synching with the Nike website.
  • Indoor treadmill runs are way off – I manually add miles to my run log and just wear the watch to earn the exercise circle time.
  • Speaking of the circles, right now it just creates anxiety about filling or not filling all three daily – don’t really need something new to remind me all the time about how I’m falling behind in my health goals.
  • The special exercise awards are a great idea, but when you fail to award them when earned, people will get pissed off (looking at you, Thanksgiving award that is still missing).
  • The watchOS seems to be a little flakey, restarting at odd times.
  • Siri is Siri – I’d even take 50% accuracy at this point.

Looking at the latest Garmin products, I probably would’ve spent more and had less in terms of total features and future growth options. The reduction in features might actually be a good thing, but the Apple Watch should get better over time via software updates. I don’t really use any third-party apps right now (outside of the Nike app), but new ones get released all the time. Once I start running and biking outside again, I’ll report back…

More good stuff from Chuq

Posted Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 02:43 pm GMT -6 in Links,Technology at 2:43 PM

Apple’s 2016 in review

Important tech goal accomplished

Posted Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 10:49 pm GMT -6 in Games,Technology,Work at 10:49 PM

Super Mario on the big board

Rich and John in the news

Posted Saturday, December 17th, 2016 08:20 pm GMT -6 in Football,Friends,Links,Technology at 8:20 PM

Networking in Seattle

Posted Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 12:14 am GMT -6 in Food,Technology,Travel at 12:14 AM

Jack’s Fish @ Pike’s Place

Code is Power

Posted Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 11:24 pm GMT -6 in Housekeeping,Personal,Technology at 11:24 PM

When my automated Twitter plugins stopped working last week, I started thinking about ways to replace the tweet section at the top of 7 Minute Miles. Twitter Tools and Social used to pull in the last 7 tweets automatically, but the plugin authors decided to stop supporting them back in February (RIP Alex King). Twitter also seems to change up their developer connections from time to time, so all plugins will break at some point if they aren’t maintained.

Since the updates stopped, I learned that my wife and dad both read that section regularly for information instead of visiting Twitter itself. I looked at a lot of other Twitter WordPress plugins and couldn’t find anything that did exactly the same thing as Twitter Tools, so I looked at other ways to incorporate tweets into this site.

What I’ve decided to try is a new, automated post for each tweet. I’ve installed the Import Tweets as Posts plugin by Chandan Kumar and modified it to change the post format to “status.” It’s set to look for new tweets every two minutes and assign each post to a new “tweets” category.

I had to modify my functions.php file to add status to the post-formats array and wrote some new code for the homepage to style the display of these new tweet posts. The plugin even supports URL links and sets attached photos as the featured image. I’ll still need to find a way to automatically send links of full posts to Twitter, but this works for now.

Code rules…

A full year of stadium life

Posted Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 07:34 pm GMT -6 in Football,Personal,Technology,Work at 7:34 PM

Today is my one year anniversary as IT director at that little building in downtown Minneapolis. This timing also corresponded to an all-staff task of writing individual reviews of what we’ve accomplished in the past year and I found the exercise a fun way to self-reflect. It’s really amazing how much progress has occurred, both physically with the building and professionally with our team.

There are still many things that need to be done, but I’m happy with where my group stands right now. We learn from every event and will get better and more efficient as we gain knowledge from what are some really unique and exciting experiences. It’s stressful and time-consuming, to be sure, but it’s also rewarding in ways that are unlike anything else I’ve seen during my career.

As I wrote in my review, this role is challenging on many levels: multiple partner organizations, political pressures, limited staffing resources, event-driven scheduling, a vast physical environment and multiple, complex systems. On the technology side of things, I get to work in familiar areas like networking, telephone systems, digital signage, mobile devices and workstations. But everything in the building is larger than life, so I’ve learned a lot about scaling and performance (especially with WiFi and cloud-based tools).

Technology is great, but I really feel that communication and customer service are just as important (if not more). With so many different groups in this project, it’s crucial that we manage those relationships properly to be successful. Everyone is important: the guests that pay to attend events, the state officials that entrust us to operate the building, the vendors that have provided the tools we use, the partner organizations that provide complimentary services, the team members on our own staff and, of course, the primary tenant that drives so many key decisions.

I’m very proud of the technology support team we’ve built so far. My one full-timer was a wonderful find (thanks Pash) and is rapidly developing into an all-star on par with the best I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past. Our part-time event staff is vastly over-qualified for the tasks I ask them to perform, but it’s nice to know all that brain-power is there if we need it.

Lastly, I’m proud of the Skol Service pin I was awarded after a very long game day (see above). Staff recognition often gets overlooked, but even small tokens of appreciation like this can go a long ways in keeping people motivated and focused on providing excellent service. Excited to see what the next 365 days have in store…

Nice to read Chuq again

Posted Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 07:46 am GMT -6 in Links,Technology at 7:46 AM

How Apple could have avoided much of the controversy

Cheater camera mode

Posted Saturday, October 29th, 2016 07:58 pm GMT -6 in Nature,Photography,Technology at 7:58 PM

Not sure how I feel about iPhone 7 portrait mode 

We love the NFL

Posted Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 10:30 am GMT -6 in Football,Links,Technology at 10:30 AM

Security on Day Three

Posted Thursday, October 20th, 2016 11:34 am GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 11:34 AM

Last day of JNUC 2016

Muse was quite nice

Posted Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 12:00 am GMT -6 in Food,Technology at 12:00 AM

Loved the food from Crave too @ Code 42 JAMF party

Glad Chip still does JNUC

Posted Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 02:41 pm GMT -6 in Friends,Technology at 2:41 PM

Makes me happy to see good people do well

Saturday Servers

Posted Saturday, October 15th, 2016 02:44 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 2:44 PM

Now I just need a password and some network cables

Three weeks with the iPhone 7 Plus

Posted Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 05:32 pm GMT -6 in Technology at 5:32 PM

For the first time ever, I actually stayed up until 2am to pre-order the iPhone 7, only to be locked out by server overload and limited stock. As a member of the iPhone Upgrade Program, this was a bit of a bummer. A few days later, though, Apple sent me an email saying they had allocated more phones to upgrade customers to reserve. A few clicks later, and I had a 10am reservation at the Uptown Apple Store to pick up a black 256GB iPhone 7 Plus.

Picking a model this time took more time than usual, as I had convinced myself that the 6 Plus was too big for my hand and that I would drop back a size next time. Then people started publishing pictures taken with the two-lens 7 Plus and I returned to the larger model. The extra $100 to go from 128GB to 256GB was a no-brainer. Picked black instead of jet black because I don’t use a case and know exactly how it would look after a few months in my pocket. While it’s nice to have more RAM and faster chips, it doesn’t feel all that different to me from my previous Plus (performance-wise).

A few other random observations:

  • While I wait for Camera+ to formally support the new camera hardware, I’m forced to use the standard Camera app, which has been extremely buggy. Many times the lens won’t wake up, leaving just a frosted screen upon launch. When it does display an image, I’m often not able to press the screen-based shutter release to actually take a picture. When this happens, I have to shift my hands around so I can use the hardware volume buttons to take the shot. It shifts between modes seemingly at random, causing me to lose regular shots when it starts in pano or video mode instead. Most troubling: it seems to randomly reboot the whole phone for no apparent reason (usually when I’m trying to get a fleeting shot).
  • Not really a fan of the new button or taptic engine physical feedback.
  • The lift-to-turn-the-screen-on feature is annoying and probably degrades battery performance.
  • Speaking of battery, I really hope they make software improvements in the OS soon, because this brand new battery performs markedly worse than the 6 Plus.
  • Really miss the swipe to unlock motion (more an iOS 10 thing, but still).
  • The new second speaker is an improvement, but not by much.
  • Both Plus models I’ve used get overly confused by their orientation – I shouldn’t have to correct it as much as I do on a daily basis.
  • Low-light concert photos are not as improved as I had hoped (but I also need to test this more).
  • Transfer from my laptop-based iTunes backup worked great overall, just needed to relink music and photos from my old laptop to the new one.
  • The larger camera bump is still annoying when you sit it on a desk.
  • Could care less about the headphone jack (so far).

So in a nutshell, need to get comfortable with iOS 10 while I wait for updates to all the camera software. B-minus upgrade for me…

Football nerds live here

Posted Monday, October 3rd, 2016 08:54 pm GMT -6 in Football,Technology,Work at 8:54 PM

Updating score bugs this week

10K resolution is a thing?

Posted Sunday, October 2nd, 2016 09:38 am GMT -6 in Football,Links,Technology,Television,Video at 9:38 AM

Trucks in the house

Posted Sunday, October 2nd, 2016 09:30 am GMT -6 in Football,Technology,Television at 9:30 AM

Monday Night Football broadcast by ESPN

One entire year

Posted Friday, September 9th, 2016 08:59 pm GMT -6 in Casinos,Games,Technology at 8:59 PM

MyVegas daily bonus streak

Hey, I know those guys

Posted Friday, August 19th, 2016 11:36 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 11:36 PM

Minnesota Vikings Open U.S. Bank Stadium With Ambitious Video Plan


Posted Monday, July 25th, 2016 02:59 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 2:59 PM

The new permanent lines are now live

First scanned ticket

Posted Sunday, July 17th, 2016 01:01 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 1:01 PM

…at least at an actual gate.

Putting that bandwidth to work

Posted Friday, July 15th, 2016 10:38 am GMT -6 in Golf,Technology at 10:38 AM

TVs may not work, but this will do

Video game flashbacks

Posted Thursday, July 14th, 2016 12:38 am GMT -6 in Games,History,Technology at 12:38 AM

Crystal Castles @ Up-Down Minneapolis 

That’s a nice touch

Posted Sunday, July 10th, 2016 07:11 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Travel at 7:11 PM

New hotel room phone = name on handset

Nerd humor or Adele fan?

Posted Saturday, July 9th, 2016 09:09 pm GMT -6 in Music,Technology,Work at 9:09 PM

South Demarc @ work

Some assembly required

Posted Monday, June 27th, 2016 10:11 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 10:11 PM

Tiring, but probably good training for Afton

The monitor shortage is over

Posted Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 12:56 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 12:56 PM

So much gear

Adios Levi’s Stadium

Posted Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 01:17 am GMT -6 in Football,Technology,Travel at 1:17 AM

Great hosts with excellent insight

A pair of Ninerds in the wild

Posted Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 01:08 am GMT -6 in Football,Technology,Travel,Work at 1:08 AM

I think they prefer Nidorks

Pash in the house

Posted Friday, June 10th, 2016 07:50 pm GMT -6 in Football,Friends,Photography,Technology at 7:50 PM

That new throwback app from Iconfactory brings a tear to my eye

It’s TG approved

Posted Saturday, May 14th, 2016 05:15 pm GMT -6 in Friends,Technology,Work at 5:15 PM

The new production control room @ USBS

Wish this was not fake $

Posted Thursday, May 12th, 2016 01:30 pm GMT -6 in Casinos,Games,Technology at 1:30 PM

Screenful of wild symbols on the Konami app

Don’t call them Kezars

Posted Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 03:49 pm GMT -6 in Technology,Work at 3:49 PM

The ticket scanners are in the building 

When nerds run wild

Posted Friday, March 4th, 2016 07:47 pm GMT -6 in Technology at 7:47 PM

Room 404 @ the 511 Building, Minneapolis

Super Bowl on WordPress

Posted Saturday, February 6th, 2016 09:40 pm GMT -6 in Business,Football,Links,Technology at 9:40 PM

Kids and their phones

Posted Saturday, January 16th, 2016 03:25 pm GMT -6 in Family,Shopping,Technology at 3:25 PM

Kid one is just a bit happy @ Apple Store Southdale

Patch cable sighting

Posted Friday, January 8th, 2016 04:34 pm GMT -6 in Technology at 4:34 PM

Cables in the house! 

The 21st Century Colosseum

Posted Thursday, January 7th, 2016 10:07 am GMT -6 in Links,Technology at 10:07 AM

A beautiful sight

Posted Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 07:01 pm GMT -6 in Technology at 7:01 PM

Decent switch, eh? Cool power indicators, too…

Nerds in the press box

Posted Monday, December 21st, 2015 11:21 pm GMT -6 in Football,Sports,Technology,Travel at 11:21 PM

Need help with your wifi?

Keep the Gatorade off the phones

Posted Sunday, December 20th, 2015 05:00 pm GMT -6 in Football,Schools,Sports,Technology at 5:00 PM

Surface carts at TCF Bank Stadium

Building a Team – Apply Now

Posted Monday, December 14th, 2015 11:51 am GMT -6 in Links,Technology,Work at 11:51 AM

Guy Kawasaki

Posted Thursday, December 10th, 2015 01:29 pm GMT -6 in Business,Quotes,Technology at 1:29 PM

Lesson #1: Fear is a great motivator

Hello there Guy

Posted Thursday, December 10th, 2015 01:25 pm GMT -6 in Business,Technology,Travel at 1:25 PM

Last time I saw Mr. Kawasaki was at the MHS

One of today’s speakers

Posted Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 08:41 pm GMT -6 in Business,Reading,Technology at 8:41 PM

Jacob Morgan, Futurist and Global Thought Leader


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Husband, dad and stadium IT director

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