Some time before I bought one, I had often wished I had a Travel Router during my travels. And, I know I looked at whether it would be possible to use my Linux laptop as such.
But, then on November 25th, 2011, Black Friday....meaning I was at Chicago TARDIS at the time....I had on the spur of the moment ordered the ZuniConnect ZTRP150 WiFi Travel Router with USB Charging by ZuniDigital from NewEgg.com.
As I recall, it then sat around for months until I finally set it up, in preparation for possible use on my next trip....Gallifrey One in 2012.
The turn hotel ethernet into WiFi for all my gadgets was really nice, since most hotels only allow one device per room to register for its free or pay wireless. (though I heard some allow pay per device....) But, my reasoning at the time was the large number of Eye-Fi cards that I have in my collection, which are unable to connect to such WiFi, even when its free and its just an EULA page that needs to be accepted.
Otherwise, I wasn't too WiFi dependent gadget heavy then....I could use 3G on my smartphone, and my Kindles all did 3G or something (either exclusively or later with WiFi...I had started carrying the Kindle Fire, original, on trips....so it was the first that would benefit from a travel router.)
It was November 23, 2012 that I started my journey into the world of Chromebook (I had preordered it, and that's when it shipped....at first I was traveling with both my Linux laptop and the Chromebook, but for some time now...I've been going with just the Chromebook. Which has been challenging, like now I can't add SSIDs to my eye-fi cards on the road. So, I have to hope that I got the right ones pre-added to the cards. Along with some of the ones I know what will work, like the SSID for my MiFi2200 or later tethering off of my HTC One (I got the 5GB tethering plan, because lower tiers weren't eligible for employee discount and I had been looking to upgrade from MiFi....but hadn't found a reasonable pay as I go, but can't be activated because I don't live in an area that's covered by it.
Though I did consider exiting the Smartphone crowd and getting a contract Mobile Hotspot, but there isn't anything in an Android 4.3/4.4+ equivalent to iPod Touch....or WiFi only smart phone ???
Now, I guess I've been lucky with the ZuniConnect, which has two modes, Router or WISP. It has both a WAN and LAN port, so there's lots of different ways it could be used.
Long before this, I already had a RoadWarrior travel Ethernet cable in my carry on....so I wasn't stuck if the room only had a jack. And, the router mode was all I needed. It was pretty much plug it in and go everywhere that I stayed.
That was until my previous trip....the one to visit my brother and parents for Christmas. The hotel I stayed at didn't have Ethernet in the room. I had never looked at WISP, but knew it was something I was going to need to use eventually.
Well, it was a bust, because WISP is largely a different configuration in the router, because I would see ZuniConnect or something as an SSID sometimes, but not be able to connect to it. Not sure I know how to connect Chromebook to WPS, or if its possible. etc. But, in the end found that the only way to configure WISP is through ethernet. And, none of my devices had ethernet ports. (I'd still be screwed if I had a MacBook Air along....)
So, I made a note to investigate alternative Travel Routers and to acquire a USB Ethernet adapter for my Chromebook, etc. I eventually got both as part of a larger order from Amazon.com on Jan 22, 2014. I got a "Plugable" USB Ethernet adapter, because it was specifically listed as an adapter from Chromebook. And, I got a TP-Link TL-WR702N, Which sounded like it also did all I wanted, had been favorably reviewed and I've been pretty happy with the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND router that handles my Cox connection to the world....doesn't do all the stuff I liked doing with DD-WRT (though I could DD-WRT it)...but its been rock solid, and since I've moved to running nginx reverse proxy on a DMZ host, the 16 port forwarding limitation isn't an issue. QoS might start to become a concern though. But, I still primarily do that through DD-WRT on AT&T connection to the world. Some day I think I want to try pfSense....
But, that hotel stay wasn't a problem since they're WiFi access was controlled by a password that is given out at check-in....so I could connect all my devices to the WiFi without problems.
Anyways....these items sat around in their packages, until the night before I was to depart for Gallifrey One 2014.
The USB Ethernet adapter just worked and wasn't a problem (though I haven't registered its MAC with my network, which only does reserved DHCP ... its on my list to create a guest network, which can be helpful for discovering MAC address of devices that don't have them printed anywhere on them. But, it hasn't been an issue with wireless devices, since those failed attempts show up in my radius log. Which probably also shows up in the dhcp log (I suppose I should set those logs to forward to zen, so I can see them and add them to the appropriate files in CFEngine 3 repository....still haven't gotten cf-runagent working though.)
The TP-Link TL-WR702N was another story. Again it looks like it needs to be configured manual for WIFi Bridging through its ethernet port, but the ethernet port being dual mode LAN or WAN, its out of scope for its built-in DHCP (which is also disabled by default...) Also of annoyance was that its SSID was fixed, couldn't tailor it to my convention, but rather its own convention ending with the last 3 octets of its MAC. Where the default password is the last 4 octets. It does allow you to change the password, along with other encryption settings, or go open. It has a dropdown list for channel, which had defaulted to AUTO. But, it won't allow you leave the page until its been changed to be the same channel as the selected WiFi. Seems its a flaw with all WISP, that they attach to BSSID.... I have two APs at home, both with the same SSID, but different BSSID (of course) and different channels. Yet, my bedroom is still in a hole....
Could be interesting in a hotel environment where there's going to to be many different BSSID/Channels, which might change throughout the stay.
But, I ran into a problem. I couldn't not get my Chromebook to connect to the Ethernet port. It didn't do DHCP, but Chromebook has options to set things manually, but Chromebook still wouldn't connect. I suspect there's something Chromebook expects to get answers for to determine that the connection makes sense, and the TP-Link doesn't do it. At first I thought the Chromebook was expecting a fully usable Internet connection....which doesn't make sense, since its able to use captive portals, though often the captive portals only block http/https initially, or provide/leak enough to satisfy my Chromebook.... That was until this Gallifrey One trip....
I went to Chicago TARDIS 2013 this year, after having missed going to Chicago TARDIS 2012. This being the weekend after the 50th Anniversary, I was determined to make this convention.
This year things were interesting, in that I flew out of Manhattan at 7:05am, arriving in Chicago around 9am. Fortunately, I didn't have any trouble being able to check in right away when I arrived at the hotel. It was kind of strange being picked up and riding alone in a stretched limo. But, I guess its what was available when I showed up, and nobody else was making a similar trip around that time. I had booked shared ride service from Windy City Limos, like I had the previous two Chicago TARDISes. Return trip was in black sedan. I had also booked Black Car in Manhattan for the ride to and from the airport.
While getting settled in the hotel room, before heading down to see about lunch....I discovered to my horror that I the charger for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 was not among my luggage. I did have a couple of what should be fully charged battery packs, but they would not last the weekend.
I later spent some time researching local options on what to do....I settled on the possibility of experiencing Target on Black Friday, where they were featuring the Nikon Coolpix L320 for $99.99 or the Nikon Coolpix L820 for $199.99. I was leaning towards the L320, since this wasn't likely to become one of my regular cameras, so price was a big factor. Alternatively was to see if they carried extra chargers for my camera, since they carried the Panasonic FZ70K....though I later found out that it wasn't the same battery. They had this camera on sale for $299.99, IIRC. Also the Coolpix L320 or L820 had the advantage to me that they took AA batteries (4).
I knew Target was going to be one of the stores opening Thursday night for Black Friday....though I wasn't sure when I would make the dash to try to salvage my trip.
Later on Thursday night, after getting my badge and then checking out the reception (when I saw other people heading the same way, but continue out across to Target.) After getting some food and drink, making a loop around the space, I decided that I would make a dash over to Target and see what's what.
It was chaos in Target, the electronics/cameras counter was pretty much inaccessible since everybody there was after iPad's of various models and sizes. I wandered around a bit to see if things might settle down as they started reporting certain iPads were now out of stock. Occurred to me that I should see about some cheaper water for use in the hotel room, but they didn't have any small packs of still purified or spring water available, so I got a 6 pack of flavored water. Guess I could do that instead of mixing Crystal Light to go with my medication.... As I walked back, I noticed that one of the end of aisle displays was full over Nikon Coolpix L320's. Since that was the most likely candidate if I was going to buy a camera for salvage the trip....its what I got.
It then took forever to snake out from one opposite corner of store to the other to check out. I had intentionally brought my Target Red card this trip, which I otherwise usually leave at home when I travel. Plus I hadn't shopped at Target for a while, in anticipation of this possibility I would later make another trip, to get refill pages for the album that I keep the purchased photos and such I get at Chicago TARDIS, and a bottle of shampoo as the hotel shampoo was bothering my scalp.....
I knew I had an 8 pack of Lithium Photo AA's in my luggage. I went back to my hotel room and unpacked the new camera and spent sometime getting familiar with it (using the included AA batteries.) Since I had owned Nikon Coolpix cameras before...namely the Coolpix S80 (Much earlier on there was a Coolpix 5500, but I don't recall what it was like anymore), I found the menus and such largely familiar, so I tweaked up some settings to fit the kind of shooting I was going to do this weekend. And, set up to give it a test.
The reception was still going on, so I went back in and shot some pictures around the room to get a feel for its controls and behavior. And, downed some more snackage before calling it a night.
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Here are some of the pictures of me at Chicago TARDIS 2011, with some of the special guests that were there. I'm wearing my usual attire, where I'm dressed as my own Doctor, though this year I added a bow tie on Saturday. Because bow ties are cool.
Me with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse. Wearing my Dr.E.Amer lab coat, regenerated Tilley TH4 hat, and bow tie.
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This being Cyberweek...I tried to cram some stuff in other than just recovery from Chicago Tardis into this week.
Though I haven't actually gotten to all the things yet...I felt that I should start this post before I forget all the things I wanted to cover. Too late
Anyways...one of the important items was new CO detector. I used to have a First Alert CO400?, battery operated CO detector that took a couple AA batteries and didn't do much else. I was looking to buy something like it again, except reading the negative reviews on amazon.com... a number of other people were complaining that unit disintegrates when you try to change the batteries. Which is why I was needing to replace my old one. So, I decided that maybe I would look at a different brand this time around.
Also noted that these things have like a 5 year life expectancy...though my First Alert CO detector was only a year old. I noticed that Kidde CO detectors claim a 7 year life span (though only a 5 year warranty). Though (in part due to Amazon 'recommendations') I got the Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM, which has a digital display....showing current CO levels and historical levels, etc. Which I debated on whether I would want to know if there was a CO level, that wasn't alarming.
Don't know if I paid attention to the fact that it uses 3 AA batteries....one odd thing I've noticed, is that it doesn't say if I should replace batteries regularly....but I suspect it'll be part of the same routine with replacing smoke detector batteries.
Though I don't think I'll replace the CO batteries along with the smoke detector ones on December 25th (because of long DST, I had changed my bi-annual to be on or around June 25th and December 25th.) Though, I've already replaced the battery early in one of the smoke detectors. Odd, because there hadn't been any nuisance trips in some time...and it isn't one that is typically set off by these situations. (usually ones that nuisance trip is the detector in the living room [near the kitchen or the first bedroom from the kitchen. Yeah...something I'm burning on the stove or in the microwave is usually the cause.)
But, getting a new set of 4 9V batteries was something I got in my recent cyberweek purchasing...
So, I went to another Chicago TARDIS. I originally didn't think I was going to go this year, so I didn't preregister at 2010. But, later when they announced Alex Kingston and Peter Davison as guests...I rushed online, and registered for a Reserved membership. As time went on, other guests were added, such as Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton. Though later I heard Alex Kingston had dropped out. Kind of sad.
I had tweeted wondering if the set of companions would complete, and Matthew Waterhouse would appear. Though how would that work with Tony Lee being a confirmed guest.
As it happened, the day before Thanksgiving...between entering the schedule into my work calendar and deciding that I should put it on my google calendar so that it would appear on my personal cellphone...Sarah Sutton couldn't make it. I don't know if I was disappointed or not, at that moment... but later I was.
So, this year...on Nov 18th, American Eagle added a new direct flight to Chicago. Before there was only the one 07:00->09:05 to Chicago and 19:30-21:15 from Chicago. Not a huge fan of coming in to Manhattan in the evening, since for some reason there's always trouble getting taxi to come get me at night...and the last few times the airport closes and kicks me out before the taxi finally shows up....over an hour after the flight had arrived too. The new flight of 12:40-14:40 to Chicago and 10:15-12:00 from Chicago.
This year I wanted to arrive closer to start of Thursday night activities, so I took the 12:40-14:40 flight to Chicago. This also meant that I could have Thanksgiving dinner in the hotel restaurant this year...instead of trying to get the most I can out of the free pizza at the All-Access/Reserved reception. 2009 I had prime rib, and 2010...well, I was too late...due to various issues, and not just because I came via DFW. Though I heard other people recalling the weather being more challenging last year. Also this year, I went with booking my transportation with Windy City Limos....there was a link from the hotel's site after I reserved the room to do this. There airport shuttle service turned out a whole lot better than the Go Airport Express service I had done in previous years, and didn't cost a whole lot more. First year was $61, second year was $57.20 (they offered me a coupon code...to 'repeat' the same ride, they offered it again this year). I kind of knew that I didn't want to do Go Airport Express again this year. Since, it was shortly after I booked that shuttle, that the credit card I used got jacked. And, I had to wait until after Chicago TARDIS 2010 to get my replacement card. It was part of the reason why I didn't preregister last year.
Going with Windy City Limos was really nice...a black sedan 'limo' where I was the only person going both ways....was quite nice. Even times when there were only a few people in the shuttles, it can't come close. Wonder how this'll impact my future travel needs....
So, arriving plenty early....just slightly before 3pm...but they let me check in right away. Though there seemed to be some question on what kind of room I had reserved, and if I wanted 1 king or 2 queens...or that 2 queens was more likely all that were available. I was sure that in my Starwood Preferred Guest profile, I had set 1 King. But, got 2 queens....on the 11th floor. (later saw Peter Davison trying to get an elevator from this floor....which apparently was the pre-cursor to his 'Aha!' going down later...)
Then set up in the room and wandered a bit, before finally going in and getting supper. I went with Yellowfin Tuna. Which now as I recall, I had had last year....perhaps I should've gone with the Salmon. I also ate good pretty much all through the convention using the hotel restaurant. Has made the adjustment back to home eating rather poor. Thinking I'm going to get a turkey just so that I can have the whole home experience with one anyways. Though think I need to make room in fridge for one.... perhaps I should plan to use other frozen items up first.
Debated whether I wanted to stand in line for reserved tickets at registration....but the crowd sucked me in...though no hassles this year, since I remembered to bring my form this year. Last year I hadn't, but they found me anyways...after showing them my id. I went up to room briefly to revise my schedule and then hit the reception.
A pretty good reception this year....there was a strange pizza with chopped celery on it. And, it was pretty bad. During things...Janet Fielding and Peter Davison made visits to the tables, and that was nice. Other guests were kind of making rounds, but they didn't get to every table....eventually, I called it a night.
... Hmmm, was going to start many more pages of this...but no, I'm going to publish now, and write other entries later....that way I at least get some stuff out, despite many technical issues I ran into during and since the convetion....
So, I have put my Epson Perfection V30 scanner away for another year. That's the scanner I bought in a CyberMonday sale immediately upon my return from Chicago TARDIS 2009. So, I guess that means only one thing....I've just come back from Chicago TARDIS 2010, and finished going through all my digital photographs and posted some to my online album and scanned the professional photographs and autographed material.
This time around, I found Chicago TARDIS to be much more enjoyable....despite the hobbling around with the broken toe, and the wooden shoe being kind of slippery on the tile flooring. I only almost slipped twice....once in the lobby and another time in Holy Mackerel.
This time I got a Winix 9000. This is the air cleaner that I had originally intended to get years ago, but in reading reviews...found a comparable model (for same price) under the Kenmore brand at Sears, and Sears was having a sale at that particular moment....so went with that one. And, later another one.
But, now it was nearly time to get another one. This'll be like the 3rd or 4th one that I'll have had in my living room since I moved here. Don't recall if there was a 1st one....but if I had, it was noisy...so it probably didn't stay long or get much use. But this would be the 3rd new one in the not quite 4 years that I've lived here. The first new one was quite expensive, and didn't seem to do much at all....except constantly tell me that it needed cleaning, but cleaning it showed no signs that it had done anything. The next one seemed to do better, but it was difficult to clean and had to be completely dry before it could be used again. The Kenmore units (and the Winix) are much easier to wash periodically and don't need to be completely dry to be put back into service. So, I kind of decided that when it came time to replace the filter in it...it would probably get replaced completely.
I only needed to scan one photo, and while I do have a Fujitsu ScanSnap 300M somewhere....its Mac only, and I don't own a Mac. I had acquired that scanner during Black Friday last year, not realizing that it was Mac only. It won't even work on Linux. I do occasionally use it, many for scanning receipts. As it was I haven't traveled on business since I got it, so haven't had to scan receipts for work. Though I have used it on occasion to scan receipts for FSA reimbursement.
I had intended at one time to have a Mac by now...but other priorities and emergencies have slipped in.
Anyways, while I was at Chicago Tardis, I got into the photo sessions with the actors from the Doctor Who movie, and with Naoko Mori (Toshiko on Torchwood). With the Doctor Who movie, I opted to use my own camera and let somebody snap it....big mistake. A pro knows that you shooting wide angle is wrong. I had zoomed camera to frame up me and the actors, etc. But, the guy taking the picture immediately fiddled with my settings and zoomed to full wide angle.
Also resulted in no flash. But, the picture did turn out.
With Naoko, there was an extra fee to get a picture done. The program guide said $35, regardless of whether it was done by them *OR* with my camera. Though at the time of the shot, I learned it was $20 to use my own camera...and that I could get either or both. But, I stayed with just the pro shot...though in retrospect, maybe I should've charged the $55 to have both. At least then I'd have an immediate digital copy and the matter of trying to get an 8x10 home undamaged wouldn't have been such a challenge. But, I managed.
But, then came how do I share that I had my picture taken with Naoko with friends and family? I think there was an option to order additional prints at the time of session, but that wasn't really the way to go...since its the Internet that connects me with friends and family...and in some cases the only thing that connects us.
Obviously a scanner is called for. There's scanners at work, though I'm not sure how well they are suited for photographs, and I didn't want to take the photo to work. And, I wasn't all the keen on risking running the photo through the ScanSnap....plus its a hassle bring work computer home and back....
So, since I had gotten home from Chicago Tardis on CyberMonday, it seemed that I would do a repeat of last year and buy a scanner during the usual BlackFriday/CyberMonday weeekend. Also I again got it from NewEgg.
Nothing much more to say about it, except that I installed it on my Windows VM on my ubuntu laptop....since my desktop is old and has issues with scanners (at least with the ones that were previously installed on it...so wanted to avoid dealing with any issues that might come up. Plus easier to find a spot for the scanner....)
So, here's the result:
I finally went to my first Doctor Who Convention....and I got a lot more out of it than I thought I would. Like I got a picture of me with Yee Jee Tso, Paul McGann, and Daphne Ashbrook:
I can't believe I waited so long before going to one....been a Doctor Who fan for like 30 years, since I accidentally tuned into an episode and was instantly hooked. OTOH, it wasn't until moving to Manhattan, KS and going to LISA '07 that the idea of taking vacations and going places and doing Cons became something I was interested in trying.
Also it happened by chance....I remember that I was at Penguicon 7.0 and the thought struck that since I couldn't go to LISA '09 in November, that I should find a different convention that month to go to. And, searching around on google and various other places...I came upon Chicago Tardis. At first it seemed that a really strange weekend to have a convention (except that I've since learned that there's a reason to these dates, like availability and affordability...though guess Doctor Who in Chicago has always been Thanksgiving weekend. Anyways, the more I thought about it...and the more I felt that it was a good idea. So, I registered immediately when I got back from Penguicon....along with other post-con impulse purchases.
It was an interesting and diverse crowd at Chicago Tardis, compared to my only other experiences in attending conventions and conferences...but seems to make sense given the show and probably the time of year that the convention takes place. I don't know if I'll try dressing differently next year.... or stick to my current theme of The Dreamer, the other renegade... The picture I got with Naoko Mori better shows my lab coat ("Dr. E. Amer" - I'm not The Doctor, but I play one in my head).... need to take the plunge and buy yet another scanner. Old flatbed didn't make it when I moved here, and the only other scanner I own is a document scanner that is Mac only (and I don't yet own a Mac). Wonder if I'll stick to plan to learn how to knit...or just buy it?
I also didn't quite shoot pictures as wild and crazy like I did in my youth... while it was good that I had the new digital camera (Canon Powershot SX120IS), I probably shouldn't have gotten it so close to the trip. Still lots of learning and experimenting needed to get used to it. But, the camera did pretty good on the most part.
I also wish I had gotten some other shots with me in them, and had pursued getting autographs and such. If only I was cursed with being so introverted and shy, and also didn't have trouble hearing voices when things get noisy or crowded....
Things were somewhat more expensive compared to other trips, it did help later when I found out about the unofficial consuite, and there was the unofficial dead dog. Plus working all those volunteer hours to get free pizza the last night. Though didn't I swear that I would never do badge checking at on Con' ever again?
But, I went ahead and registered for next year, getting a 3-day reserved this time around. Also thinking next year I'm going to check a suitcase, even if it goes empty on the way there.... should make a note to self that I should consider flying southwest. Wonder if I'll pull off a group shuttle next year, left it to late and then didn't see the replies until even later. Interesting that I saw some of the names in passing there, but didn't connect until now.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking of blowing off Penguicon 2010, and going on the SciFi Cruise. It has been 5 years since I had gone on my last/first/only personal (not a family reunion) cruise. On one hand it is a stumbling issue that its to Alaska...since that's what the previous cruise was to. But, on the other it probably makes sense...especially if they do the tour in Vancouver they are talking about. 8th Doctor was filmed around Vancouver. So far Sylvester McCoy and Daphne Ashbrook are confirmed for the cruise, hopefully Paul McGann can be added and it could be that much more a Doctor Who Movie reunion
I don't know if I can roll my registration to Penguicon 2010, though it probably isn't a big deal since it was paid for using whuffies....though I think that if I don't go, I will want to go back at a future date....to see the various people that I've friended there.
I'll probably decide in the new year....
Meanwhile, the rest of my pics can be found on Picasa Web
Latest Poopli Updaters -- http://lkc.me/poop
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