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Top 7 Worst Ad Channels 👎

Posted March 29, 2024

Usually try to keep it positive around here, but wow are ads getting terrible:

  • iOS gaming ads
  • Anything on YouTube
  • Hulu (With Ads)
  • Over the air radio ads
  • Instagram “Sponsored” content
  • Email spam/junk folders
  • Most commercial websites

Could we at least get back to having funny ones? Oh, almost forgot about movie theaters that show anything other than upcoming trailers…

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2024 fitness planning

Posted March 28, 2024

Mentally, I’ve very much enjoyed not wearing my Apple Watch daily. Physically, I’ve fallen way behind on my general fitness when I don’t track the circles. This week I decided to do something about that.

On Monday, I met with a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness and took a tour of the Target Center club. We talked quite a bit about my past history and what I think I want to do this year, which is basically get back in running shape and lose weight.

While I elected not to hire him now as my personal trainer, here’s my current plan:

  • Bought new running and gym shoes (and a new gym bag).
  • Started back on the nightly treadmill hill walk with hand weights while watching shows from the list on the iPad.
  • Preparing to run the Get in Gear 10K on April 27, the Milk Run 5K on May 25 and the TC 10 Mile on October 6. And if I get extra motivated, maybe the Afton 25K on July 6 too.
  • Looking forward to the bike trails drying out – want to increase that cross training this year. Might add the bike attachment to Oliver’s roof rack.
  • Planning to walk every golf round this year (like usual).
  • Thinking about getting another weight bench to go with my dumbbell set.
  • Utilize my access to Lifetime for indoor running, stair machine cardio, a return to racquetball, explore new classes and learn to be a better swimmer.

My schedule makes all of this challenging, but you need to prioritize what’s important, right?

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The Collatz conjecture 🤔

Posted March 14, 2024

This story in Scientific American gets very technical very quickly, but the root scenario is [really] pretty simple:

Take a natural number. If it is odd, multiply it by 3 and add 1; if it is even, divide it by 2. Proceed in the same way with the result x: if x is odd, you calculate 3x + 1; otherwise calculate x/2. Repeat these instructions as many times as possible, and, according to the conjecture, you will always end up with the number 1.

Hard to believe with all the “smart” computing resources in the world, there is still an unsolved math problem. Also hard to believe I almost studied mathematics here.

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Guacaya Bistreaux ✅

Posted March 14, 2024

This one has been on my list since it opened. Finally made it over for the taco trifecta happy hour special (one calypso carne asada: island-marinated steak, lime cream, cotija cheese, guacamole; one jerk chicken: chopped chicken, jerk BBQ sauce, grilled pineapple, cilantro & onion mix; and one crispy fish: tempura fried jerk red snapper, pickled cabbage, cilantro aioli) 🌮❤️🌮❤️🌮

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Instagram–WordPress integration in 2024

Posted March 9, 2024

Now that my temporary five-minute ban from Instagram appears to be over, I started looking at ways to re-integrate those posts with this website. Back in the @kingsbury days, I used a plugin to do this, but saw a few recent stories that mentioned trying IFTTT automations.

I signed up for a free account and created an applet that would trigger when a new photo was uploaded to Instagram, then create a WordPress photo post. This worked, but the results were not really what I wanted. It created a post, but didn’t download the image to my local media library (it just linked to the Instagram image URL). It also seemed to grab smaller 640×640 images and not the larger originals.

So I went back to see what plugin I used before and was excited to see that Iain Poulson is still publishing and supporting his excellent Intagrate code. There is a free lite version and a paid pro version, but I was worried by his 2018 blog post about Meta messing with the API for image sizes.

Submitted a question to him about that, but also just reinstalled the lite version to test it out. It seems to work great so far, but image size varies from post to post. Thankfully, my new theme handles smaller images much better than the old one, so it may be a moot point. Excited to have this back in place…

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Jon Cheng Restaurant Reviews

Posted February 15, 2024

I originally was critical (no pun intended) of the new Star Tribune food critic, Jon Cheng. Then he went on Niver’s podcast (above) and wrote a lot more (both formal reviews and other things like Q and A columns and first looks) and now I’m a fan. Since the Strib’s online search and staff bio pages are not the greatest, I decided to go find all of his reviews and put them in one spot. Here are all the ones I’ve found, sorted by rating and date published:

Three and a Half Stars *** ½

Three Stars ***

Two and a Half Stars ** ½

Two Stars**

One Star *


  • His star scale has always been listed as 1 star = satisfactory, 2 stars = recommended, 3 stars = highly recommended and 4 stars = exceptional. Some reviews list the stars, then have words, others just the stars.
  • No four star reviews (so far). His story about why Minnesota should have a Michelin Guide is a must read, though (as are all the full reviews now).
  • Jealous that he’s been to Demi ten times over the past two years, while I have not yet gone once.
  • Seems weird that Cheng is hardly ever a part of the weekly “5 Best Things” stories, no?
  • Favorite shared trait: we both love large clown fries, hot and fresh with no ketchup. 🍟

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Minnesota State Park 2024 Quest

Posted January 7, 2024

I read someone on Mastodon talking about a goal of visiting all 88 Texas state parks in the next few years and thought that would be fun to do in Minnesota with Oliver (and the Minnesota State Parks custom license plate).

Minnesota has 66 state parks, plus nine state recreation areas, nine state waysides and 23 state trails. I’ve been to a bunch of these already, but I could revisit the eight on the North Shore alone every week and be happy.

Quest set:

Afton • Banning • Bear Head • Beaver Creek Valley • Big Stone Lake • Blue Mounds • Buffalo River • Camden • Carley • Cascade River • Charles A. Lindbergh • Crow Wing • Father Hennepin • Flandrau • Forestville/Mystery Cave • Fort Ridgely • Fort Snelling • Franz Jevne • Frontenac • George H. Crosby Manitou • Glacial Lakes • Glendalough • Gooseberry Falls • Grand Portage • Great River Bluffs • Hayes Lake • Hill-Annex Mine • Interstate • Itasca • Jay Cooke • John A. Latsch • Judge C.R. Magney • Kilen Woods • Lac qui Parle • Lake Bemidji • Lake Bronson • Lake Carlos • Lake Louise • Lake Maria • Lake Shetek • Lake Vermilion • Maplewood • McCarthy Beach • Mille Lacs Kathio • Minneopa • Monson Lake • Moose Lake • Myre-Big Island • Nerstrand-Big Woods • Old Mill • Rice Lake • St. Croix • Sakatah Lake • Savanna Portage • Scenic • Schoolcraft • Sibley • Soudan Underground Mine • Split Rock Creek • Split Rock Lighthouse • Temperance River • Tettegouche • Whitewater • Wild River • William O’Brien • Zippel Bay

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An Apple Watch Reckoning

Posted January 2, 2024

The patent infringement craziness has certainly made a big impact on the current Apple Watch market. Looking back through the 7 Minute Miles archives, it appears I’ve been an Apple Watch user now for nearly seven years. My longest move streak during the pandemic was almost 1200 days. Closing my rings and earning awards has been a daily goal. I’d planned on eventually replacing my old Series 5 with an Ultra 2 (temporarily unbanned, pictured above). And yet…

Today my wrist is naked.

My latest move streak ended due to illness and the last few days have felt freeing, as I wasn’t worried about closing the damn rings. So as I start the first week of 2024, I thought I’d try leaving the watch on the charger and see what happens. So far I’ve tried to check on the time a half dozen times, but like having app notifications just on my phone again. Would definitely want to wear it to track workouts (like I used to do with my Garmin) and I do like the always on safety features like fall detection and heart rate monitoring.

Hmm… 🤔

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Dinner at Crasqui ✅

Posted December 26, 2023

After Jon Cheng gave them three stars in the Star Tribune and SK’s crew went for a visit, Colleen and I decided to make chef Soleil Ramirez’s Crasqui our latest night out. We had an opening 5:00pm reservation tonight and were a little nervous when the lovely dining room was mostly empty. That changed by the time we left, but please get the word out that this is the real deal. We need to support the local chefs doing good work in our communities so we can continue to have nice things here in our little corner of the world.

Don’t have too much to add to the Cheng review – Colleen loved the sea bass pictured in his story and I very much enjoyed the pork chop with mora sauce and fondant potatoes (that sauce was a perfect pairing to the meat). I had the calentaito cocktail (4 roses whiskey, diplomatico mantuano, banana liqueur, velvet falernum, bitters) and had both the tequeños cheese sticks and the beef empanaditas for appetizers. In the sides section, I had the rice with Venezuelan sofrito, while Colleen had the seasonal veggies (broccolini). With all the holiday sweets still at home, we skipped the dessert section this time.

Housed in a former Catrinas Grill location next to the Starbucks in the West Side Flats apartment complex, Crasqui is easy to get to from downtown Saint Paul and has a large free parking lot accessible from Wabasha. We loved the aquamarine floor and our server was friendly and knowledgable. Named for an island off the coast of Venezuela, this is a nice addition to the dining scene in Saint Paul.


Update: Jess Fleming from the Pioneer Press also had Crasqui in her 2023 favorites story

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Top 7 dates in DK history

Posted December 26, 2023

It’s the time of year when people start looking back at best of lists and pondering resolutions for the coming year. I thought maybe I’d go at this a little differently today: what are the most important days of my life (so far)? A few of these are no brainers, but narrowing it down to seven was tougher than I thought. So out of the 20,064 days up to this point, here are the top seven I picked:

  • 01/19/1969 – a Sunday in Lawton, Oklahoma (high: 46F, low: 35F). Baby DK born in the Fort Sill army hospital.
  • 12/14/1991 – a Saturday in Saint Paul, Minnesota (high: 21F, low: 10F). Married Colleen at City Hall.
  • 10/08/1995 – a Sunday in Saint Paul, Minnesota (high: 59F, low: 35F). Finished Twin Cities Marathon in 4:42:52 – my first of 27 marathons.
  • [Date Redacted] – a Tuesday in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Kid one was born.
  • [Date Redacted] – a Friday in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Kid two was born.
  • 02/04/2018 – a Sunday in Minneapolis, Minnesota (high: 1F, low: -2F). Career highlight – successfully hosted Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
  • 10/8/2018 – a Monday in Minneapolis, Minnesota (high: 54F, low: 47F). Survived an aneurysm on the stadium train platform.

Seize the day! Wishing everyone a safe and prosperous 2024…

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End of 2023 brain dump

Posted December 8, 2023

Haven’t done one of these in a while – let’s give it a go:

  • I like being busy almost as much as I like relaxing, but the scales have definitely not been balanced lately ⚖️
  • The Timberwolves are extremely fun to follow this year #WolvesBack 🏀
  • Looking forward to my surprise (and very short) anniversary trip next week ✈️
  • Planning a return to Twins spring training in ’24 ⚾️
  • The extended ’23 Minnesota golf season was super fun ⛳️
  • Future golf wishes: fewer carts, faster play and less music 🚫🎶
  • Speaking of music, still *way* too many talkers at shows 🚫🗣️
  • Need to remember I have a Lifetime Fitness card in my Apple Wallet now 🏋️
  • Would like my running mileage in 2024 to surpass 2023 (Milk Run, Get in Gear, TC 10 Mile and prep for Disney?) 🏃‍♂️
  • Getting pretty dang excited for the arrival of Oliver 🇬🇧
  • Grateful for my awesome family and circle of friends and colleagues 💜
  • The tech wishlist is growing: new watch, fancy headphones, new home office computer 🧐
  • Really need to backup and update my AWS cloud environment ☁️
  • Should probably start crossing off more ski areas from the list while I can still ski ⛷️
  • Can’t wait for Chef McKee’s new stuff to open 👨‍🍳
  • Like both Mastodon and Bluesky, but I give up on staying current with the feeds 🐘
  • Still not very proficient with the clown app, but it gave me free fries today 🍟

Bring it on, 2024!

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Minnesota Custom License Plates

Posted November 27, 2023

With Oliver* now scheduled for production in England, I’ve been thinking about what I want for a license plate. Minnesota offers a ton of special plate options, along with the original personalized option. You can’t combine the two, though, which is probably what I would do if I could (i.e. – a loon design with a custom name). The costs vary a lot too – a standard personalized plate is $100, while the various “contribution” plate styles range from $10 to $60 annually (plus fees).

Growing up, I always thought personalized plates were pretty cool (and expensive). The state says there are almost 82,000 of these currently in use and I’ve seen quite a few clever ones over the years. I wish there was an online site where you could check to see if your desired name is available, but right now it’s just a paper form with spots for your top three choices. Don’t really want to gamble $100 unless I know I will get the one I want, so that option is out.

My mom always had the loon plates, which I also had on my first Mini in 2005. I was thinking about another loon, but then heard about the Minnesota State Parks & Trails option (pictured above). It’s $60 annually, but also grants you access to all of the state parks without an additional permit. I see that one a lot on the road (almost 25,000 issued) and it seems like a win-win. Here are a few other plate stats I find interesting:

  • U of M Twin Cities ($25) – 2,839
  • U of M Duluth ($25) – 412
  • Critical Habitat: Loon ($30) – 60,462
  • Critical Habitat: Pollinator ($30) – 9,088
  • Minnesota Golf ($30) – 5,440
  • Veteran: World War II ($15.50) – 170 ❤️
  • Veteran: Pearl Harbor Survivor ($15.50) – 1 ❤️❤️

Oliver is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in Oxford on December 12, followed by a boat ride across the pond. Should be in Minnesota just in time for a big red bow on Christmas morning…

* proposed name for our 2024 Mini Cooper S Hardtop

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iPhone 15 Pro Max Update

Posted October 18, 2023

It’s been almost a month since I wrote about my latest iPhone and I wanted to share a few additional thoughts:

  • My friend Yagya recommended this screen cover from Amazon and it’s been amazing: no scratches, the feel and responsiveness is good and it even provides a privacy vector by blocking side views from strangers. Highly recommend!
  • Was originally thinking about getting this case from Twig, but now leaning towards just having the screen protector. Might still change my mind, though…
  • The size has been fine – it’s comfortable in my hand and I don’t really notice the difference in my pocket.
  • The camera is even better than I expected – I find myself using all of the lens options frequently, all with great results.
  • Battery life has been better than the smaller model, but not massively so in my day-to-day usage. I think part of that has to do with preferring to have the screen brightness higher than my last phone.

Well done, Cupertino!

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Duran Duran @ MN State Fair ✅

Posted September 3, 2023

It was nice to finally cross a band off the bucket list, especially since the last time we had tickets to Duran Duran we were *this* close to seeing them at Treasure Island before the skies opened up and everyone had to evacuate. We love seeing shows at the Grandstand, but I think I’ll need to get a foundation membership to ever have a chance at close seats again (we were in section J, row 18 for this show, which I bought right when they went on sale).

Both the Ross Raihala and Jon Bream reviews were positive and also reflected our view that Nile Rodgers and Chic were amazing and probably should’ve been more prominent on the bill. I’m not really sure why Bastille was there at all, to be honest. I called them the UK Magic Dragons, while Ross used “Big Lots Coldplay.” In any case, Chic busting out Le Freak right out of the gate caused many of the 12,816 fans to miss out on one of the highlights of the evening (to say nothing about Good Times and the cover of Rapper’s Delight).

As for Simon (the name’s Bon, Simon Le Bon), Nick and the Taylors (John and Roger – who were also in Power Station with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson of Chic), it was great to finally see them live and in person. I’m not really a fan of their latest album Future Past (this was officially the Future Past Tour), but the 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees played all the big hits (set list below). Looks like they play the exact same songs every night on this tour, but we didn’t think they were going to finish before the curfew. We stayed in our seats for the entire fireworks show, which was fun since there haven’t been a lot of fireworks post-pandemic…

Setlist of the August 31, 2023 Minnesota show (from setlist.fm):

  • Night Boat
  • The Wild Boys
  • Hungry Like the Wolf
  • A View to a Kill
  • Notorious
  • Lonely in Your Nightmare / Super Freak
  • Is There Something I Should Know?
  • Friends of Mine
  • Careless Memories
  • Ordinary World
  • Come Undone
  • Planet Earth
  • White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)
  • The Reflex
  • Girls on Film / Acceptable in the 80’s
  • Save a Prayer
  • Rio

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Mastodon June 2023 Update

Posted June 15, 2023

After reading a blog post called “Why did the #TwitterMigration fail?” by Bloonface, I thought, “what kind of name is Bloonface?” Then I thought, I should write an update to my April Mastodon post. So here we are.

To be honest, I haven’t been following user numbers like I did at the beginning, so I can’t verify the “active user numbers have dropped off a cliff” statement. All I know is that a few friends who joined don’t post much and none of my family have created accounts, but WWDC week on Mastodon for me was as busy as any on Twitter. I’m now following 307 accounts and easily see similar daily traffic on Ivory as I did on Tweetbot.

I only have 34 followers, so I’ve never really been exposed to trolls or gatekeepers. As a white male, I also don’t get any of the crap that women and people of color often experience on social media platforms. And since I’m on mastodon.social, I’ve never had any issues with the moderators or their policies and I think the only service issue was spam-related (and addressed quickly).

For me, going back to Twitter is a non-starter. I don’t really care all that much about decentralization or that the platform runs on open source tools, but I do love that my Ivory timeline is just the people I follow, in chronological order, with no ads. Still waiting for my Bluesky invite to do a trial there, but I don’t see that ever being like the Tweetbot/Ivory experience. And what a hype machine they have – all that press and buzz for 100K accounts?

Running an instance is too expensive and has too many issues (in my opinion), so just like with email servers, I’ve decided I will pass on that indefinitely. I don’t currently pay for mastodon.social, but I would (and probably will eventually). Mastodon is my only social media (outside of LinkedIn), so I guess that makes me “weird relative to the rest of the Internet.”

Stay weird, Mastodon, stay weird…

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Golf Digest Top 200

Posted June 15, 2023

As I’ve been watching the U.S. Open today at Los Angeles Country Club, it reminded me of the latest Golf Digest rankings that I linked to recently. LACC’s North course is ranked #16 and hasn’t really been seen by many people until this week. Turns out it was just a few blocks away from my last visit to L.A. and I didn’t even know it.

Going back to the rankings (Top 100 and Next 100), I went through again and found the ones I’ve played:

  • #84 Interlachen (pictured)
  • #96 Pasatiempo
  • #127 Streamsong Red
  • #138 Hazeltine
  • #148 Atlanta Athletic Club Highlands
  • #151 Streamsong Blue

Six out of 200 isn’t a very good ratio, but I don’t really see it changing much anytime soon. Cypress Point Club (#3) is my biggest dream course, but Southern Highlands (#161) and Streamsong Black (#178) probably have the highest likelihood of happening. Oh, would still like to hit Shadow Creek (#27) too…

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The Cure @ Xcel Energy Center

Posted June 11, 2023

This was round two of seeing Mr. Smith live in Saint Paul (after the last show on June 7, 2016). Thursday’s show was just as much fun as the last time, with his voice still as strong as ever (Ross Raihala review here, won’t link to Riemenschneider any more). Oh, and check out this great Joe Lemke shot from the arena Twitter account – artist gifts are the best.

Interim Xcel Energy Center GM Jim Ibister really has the arena operation humming, as we breezed through security and the ticket scanners to find well-organized merch lines and walked right up to a well-staffed bar on club level just behind our section (C24). It’s too bad the food and beverage pricing didn’t match the value proposition that The Cure otherwise present on this tour: extremely reasonable ticket and merch pricing ($46 tickets plus fees – which were further reduced with a $5 fee refund; $25 T-shirts and $20 bucket hats).

As Ross mentioned on Twitter, the only song they didn’t play that he wanted to hear was Fascination Street. Setlist.fm can be hit or miss with the user-provided stats, but their Cure pages seem to be pretty comprehensive and they say that song has only been played twice so far on this tour (Hollywood Bowl and New Orleans). Personally, I’m still waiting to hear The Lovecats (not played yet on this tour; last played October 2019 in Mexico City and not played in the U.S. since July 2016 in Honolulu). Also super cool to see people updating set lists live – watched the Chicago show update last night as it happened.

Quick note to concert lighting directors: could you please cut down on the use of strobes? Throwing the notice signs up on the doors is nice and all, but Colleen basically had to shield her face from 50% of the show and ended up leaving early. Plenty of ways to make lighting cool and artistic without constant strobe effects, no?

Read more…

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Minnesota Historia ✅

Posted June 6, 2023

The Star Tribune had a story today about this YouTube series by PBS North (the former WDSE-WRPT) hosted by UMD alumni Hailey Eidenschink (who gives me strong Megan Steil vibes). Season one has six short episodes (under ten minutes each), while the new season will have eight (five are online now).

With a heavy focus on the Northland, but I found all of them to be super fun to watch. From agates to shipwrecks, there are lots of great topics covered. I found it difficult to track them on YouTube, so here are direct links to all of the current episodes:

I will update this post as the others are released…

Nicely done, History Nerd!

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WWDC23 – Apple Fans Unite!

Posted May 30, 2023

It’s almost time – the 2023 edition of the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference starts next week in California. It’s now been 15 years since my last in-person WWDC and I can’t remember the last time I signed in to the developer site. But I did attend a bunch of them back in the day (four years in a row starting in 1998, then again from 2003 through 2008).

Most recent WWDCs have dropped all pretense of having an enterprise IT track and just focus on people writing code (which is perfectly fine – there are other options for Apple admins). It was always fun to be a developer party-crasher, though. And as Bynkii says, it’s really all about the people you get to meet while attending that makes it so special.

My Mastodon social community has a heavy Apple developer focus, so it’s been fun reading everything that people are getting excited for on day one. Personally, I’m not a fan of virtual reality googles, so those rumors don’t do much for me. Would probably be most excited about the 15-inch MacBook Air rumors if I wasn’t already locked in to my 14-inch MacBook Pro for the foreseeable future…

Keynote: Monday, June 5 @ 12:00pm central
State of the Union: Monday, June 5 @ 3:30pm central

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Happy 20th, WordPress

Posted May 26, 2023

Wow – May 27th really snuck up on me. It’s the 20th anniversary of the web publishing platform WordPress and I created a draft of this post nearly two months ago. Thank goodness Jeremy Herve published his WordPress story a few days early so I remembered to come back and finish before the big day.

I won’t rehash all the details of this site, as I tend to do that here every year on March 30th already (the anniversary of my first post). This site is the one I have used WordPress on the most, however, and is the one I focus on more than any other. That said, I have used WordPress on many other sites over the years, including charity golf and sports news sites, personal sites for friends and family and several private intranet sites for companies I have worked for over the years.

While I have never been skilled enough on the coding side to contribute to the project directly, I have leveraged WordPress to learn more about PHP, MySQL, Apache, Nginx and UNIX in general. I ran most of my WordPress sites on Mac OS X in the early days before migrating to a virtual Linux environment on AWS. While I’m still not a fan of the Gutenberg direction, I truly appreciate everyone in the WordPress community – both the paid pros and the volunteer experts.

Happy anniversary, WordPress – stay jazzy forever…

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Art in Bloom 2023 @ mia

Posted April 28, 2023

Today SK called me up and asked if I wanted to go to the Minneapolis Institute of Art with her to see Art in Bloom (which honestly, I had never heard of, but it started in 1983). This annual event is free and features floral displays that interpret selected art from Mia’s permanent collection.

Turns out this event is super popular and you need to plan for crowds (both for parking and for getting around inside). The ramp and surrounding lots are $15, while valet is available at the main entrance for $20. The 2023 edition runs from Thursday, April 27 – Friday, April 30. Lots of pics after the jump.

Highly Recommended

Read more…

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Minnesota 18-hole golf courses I’ve never played ⛳️

Posted March 22, 2023

Private (14):

  • Austin Country Club
  • Burl Oaks Golf Club
  • Cloquet Country Club
  • Medina Golf & Country Club
  • The Minikahda Club
  • Moorhead Country Club
  • Oak Ridge Country Club
  • Owatonna Country Club
  • Ridgeview Country Club
  • Somerset Country Club
  • Spring Hill Golf Club
  • St. Cloud Country Club
  • Wayzata Country Club
  • Woodhill Country Club

Public (98):

  • Albany Golf Club
  • Alexandria Golf Club
  • Atikwa Golf CLub at Arrowwood Resort
  • Balmoral Golf Course
  • Bemidji Town & Country Club
  • Benson Golf Club
  • Blueberry Pines Golf Club
  • The Bridges
  • Cedar River Golf Course
  • Cedar Valley Golf Course
  • Chisago Lakes Golf Course
  • Coffee Mill Golf Course
  • Cragun’s Legacy – Lehman 18
  • Crosswoods Golf Course
  • Crow River Golf Club
  • Cuyuna Rolling Hills
  • Daytona Golf Club
  • Detroit Country Club
  • Dodge Country Club
  • Eagle Creek Golf Club
  • Falcon Ridge Golf Course
  • Forest Hills Golf Course
  • Fountain Valley Golf Club
  • Glencoe Country Club
  • Golden Eagle Golf Club
  • Grand View Lodge – The Pines
  • Great Life Golf & Fitness
  • Green Haven Golf Course
  • Green Lea Golf Course
  • Hawley Golf & Country Club
  • Headwaters Golf Club
  • Hidden Haven Golf Club
  • Interlaken Golf Club
  • Kimball Golf Club
  • Koronis Hills Golf Club
  • Lake City Golf
  • Lake Miltona Golf Club
  • Lake Pepin Golf Course
  • Litchfield Golf Club
  • Little Crow Country Club
  • Little Falls Country Club
  • Long Bow Golf Club
  • Long Prairie Country Club
  • Lynx National Golf Course
  • Madden’s Pine Beach East
  • Madden’s Pine Beach West
  • Marshall Golf Club
  • Meadow Greens Golf Course
  • Meadows Golf Course
  • Minnesota National Golf Course
  • Monticello Country Club
  • New Ulm Country Club
  • Northern Hills Golf Club
  • Northwood Hills Golf Course
  • Oak Summit Golf Course
  • Oakcrest Golf Course
  • Oakdale Golf Club
  • Oneka Ridge Golf Course
  • Ortonville Municipal Golf Course
  • Pebble Lake Golf Course
  • Perham Lakeside Golf Club
  • Pheasant Acres Golf Club
  • Pine Island Golf Course
  • Pomme de Terre Golf Club
  • The Ponds Golf Course
  • Princeton Golf Course
  • Redwood Falls Golf Club
  • Rich Spring Golf Club
  • River Crest Public Golf Course
  • River Oaks Golf Course
  • Rivers Bend
  • Riverwood National Golf Course
  • Rose Lake Golf Club
  • Ruttger’s Bay Lake – Jack’s 18
  • Shadowbrooke Golf Course
  • Shoreland Country Club
  • Southbrook Golf Club
  • Spring Brook Golf Course
  • Sundance Golf Club
  • Territory Golf Club
  • Thief River Golf Club
  • Thumper Pond Golf Course
  • Tianna Country Club
  • Tipsinah Mounds Golf Course
  • Tyler Golf Club
  • Valley Golf Course
  • Valley High Golf Club
  • Viking Meadows Golf Club
  • Village Green Golf Club
  • The Vintage at Staples
  • Wapicada Golf Club
  • Warroad Estates Golf Course
  • Waseca Lakeside Club – played 6/8/23
  • Wedgewood Cove Golf Club
  • Whispering Pines Golf Course
  • Whitefish Golf Club
  • Whitetail Run Golf Course
  • Willow Creek Golf Course
  • Zumbrota Golf Club

We were already playing in 2021 – hurry up and get warm, Minnesota…

Note: Not 100% sure of the accuracy of this list – might have played some, might be missing a few.

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Video hosting: Vimeo vs. YouTube

Posted March 16, 2023

When I first added my concerts page back in 2020, I looked for a third-party video hosting option to process, store and stream my videos to this site. I didn’t really like all of the ads and other junk that YouTube added, so I signed up for a free basic tier Vimeo account. After quickly running into their daily upload limits, I upgraded to a plus tier plan. That annual renewal is now almost up and I’ve decided I don’t want to renew. Unfortunately, they don’t really allow you to downgrade gracefully back to the Basic tier, so I decided to take another look at YouTube.

While it appears that YouTube still has many of the issues I didn’t like before, it does seem that I can add all of my Vimeo videos to a newly created @7minutemiles channel at no cost (“be sure to hit the like and subscribe buttons”). Tonight I ran into an upload limit of ten videos, so I’ll see if that goes away after I finish an ID verification process they offered or if ten is just going to be the daily limit. I decided 720p versions of these concert videos shot on various iPhones is fine and the quality so far seems to be good. It also looks like I can go back and set custom thumbnails like Vimeo, so that’s nice. It was weird that YouTube seems to be much more concerned about checking for copyright, but every video I’ve uploaded so far that it flagged said the owner allows the content to be used on YouTube.

The last part of my research will be to look at custom WordPress plugins that enhance the default handling of embedded YouTube videos. That was one thing I liked about having a Vimeo shortcode for WordPress, as it allowed me to set the initial player width to 850 pixels. Plugins like this one seem to allow that, plus a lot of other things I probably don’t want or need. Mostly concerned with mobile scalability, but some of the video SEO might be nice too, as I don’t think many people really saw my videos on vimeo.com (or my hard to find concerts page). EVERYTHING seems to be on YouTube, and now I guess I will be as well…

UPDATE (3/19/2023): My ID has been verified with Google and I can now use “advanced YouTube features,” which removes (or at least vastly increases) the daily upload limit. All of my former Vimeo concert videos are now on the new @7minutemiles YouTube channel. Join MK and SK and subscribe today!

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Seven old metro retail faves

Posted February 6, 2023

A Grammy tweet from Gregg Litman last night reminded me about an old favorite Twin Cities store of mine, so I thought it was time for another top 7:

  • Sony Sound Center (Roseville + several others)
  • Northern Lights Music on University
  • LaBelle’s Catalog Showroom, Roseville
  • Power’s Department Store, Highland Park
  • Let It Be Records, Nicollet Mall
  • Bober Drug, Grand Avenue
  • Shinders (13 locations?)

Gone, but not forgotten…

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HomePod mini and Hey Siri

Posted February 4, 2023

With all of the recent press surrounding the second-generation HomePod, it’s easy to forget about the progress made by the baby brother speaker, the HomePod mini. We bought one of each color for the new house and use them daily. I decided on a Sony sound bar for the big TV, but have had issues with the the HT-Z9F that Best Buy and/or Sony has never really resolved completely. If I had to start all over, I’d probably get a pair of the new HomePods and place them on a short table below the TV.

I was shocked to read that the minis had hardware sensors that weren’t initially enabled. With the latest iOS 16.3 software update, however, all of the minis in the house can now respond with both room temperature and humidity level, which is a nice surprise bonus. I haven’t spend much time studying the Home app or any of the enhanced features enabled by HomeKit, but we can ask Siri to open or close the four sets of power blinds in the house. Haven’t really looked at any smart lighting or door lock stuff and our HVAC just has a standard, unconnected Honeywell controller.

Our garage door opener has some online functionality via the LiftMaster myQ app: our add-on camera records movement, can broadcast video and audio remotely to the app and enables Amazon Key delivery. I can’t currently tell Siri to open or close the garage door, but it is kinda cool to enable the speaker when the girls visit and do the old “intruder alert! intruder alert!” The LG washer and dryer we bought are connected to the home network (and have an app), but I really don’t care to get alerts that say a load of laundry is finished.

Siri for me on my phone has a checkered history. In the beginning, it wasn’t very good at understanding my requests, but has definitely improved over time. With the mini speakers, it’s really handy to just tell Siri to do stuff without typing anything. It’s perfect for interacting with Apple Music, setting kitchen timers, getting the weather forecast and closing the blinds earlier than programmed. I’ve also set the Siri voice to be Irish and female, which is all kinds of fun, lassie.

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