Entries tagged with “Minnesota”.


I absolutely love my Palm Pre.  There is no doubt about that.  But as in every relationship (at least with a “toy” it is good to have some objective reality about its strengths and weaknesses.

Several of my criticisms come straight from my previous use of a Palm Centro and only one of them is a quasi-response to the dreaded i word.

So first – System Sounds are pretty annoying.  So far the only sound I’ve been able to change is my ringtone.  All the other notifications, except for an upcoming event, use the same monotone ding sound.  So I have no idea if it is a new text, a new e-mail, a new set of tweets, or if it is a battery-low warning.

Next and this is kind of a big one, is the lack of data while roaming.  I don’t actually roam a lot, but for the data parts of the phone to work, you must be using Sprint‘s cell signal.  We’ve found random dead zones in the Twin Cities, fortunately you can switch to wi-fi and continue on your way.  However, this is a major drawback if you need to use Google Maps in the middle of no where  Minnesota (which is actually quite a bit of the state).  I found the below coverage map.  So this is pretty annoying.

Updated: Thanks to a commenter I was given this tip on data roaming:

If you open the phone dialer app, and click on the Sprint button in upper left, choose Preferences. From there, Network allows you to enable voice and data roaming. By default, data roaming is turned off.

I miss having a video camera like on my Centro.  I think the quality of pictures is slightly better and really like having the flash.  But sometimes you just need a video camera to capture a funny scene and a still picture just won’t do it justice.  Along with this is the lack of zoom.  Granted the Centro only had a 1x zoom, but it was nice.  With the higher quality picture you can zoom in a little bit, but that takes a lot more work!

Arrow Keys made typing a lot easier.  It was much easier to use the arrow keys to navigate around the text.  It provided much more precision than my clumsy large fingers.  You do have some ability to use the shift and function key to navigate text sections, but it isn’t the same.

Updated: Another tip:

Here’s a good analog to arrow keys: Instead of just stabbing where you want to move the cursor, hold down the orange key and drag your finger left and right anywhere on the screen to emulate arrow keys.

Another fairly personal (I think), is the mail handling app is a little clunky.  The phone is designed and integrated for using Google programs including Gmail. I am a little anal about having my Gmail sidebar showing everything as read, yet with the way the app handles mail it often either doesn’t mark them as read or doesn’t archive them.  Which means if you spend a day or two, or even a few hours working through your inbox on the Pre, you then have a mess to clean up when you go back to your webmail.  I suppose if you were using Gmail through Outlook or something then it is fine, I don’t know.  And I do really like being able to access your e-mail without having to go through the browser.  It also doesn’t keep conversation together.  If you are familiar with Gmail, you know that it keeps all the conversations together in one “column” so that 5 replies to one e-mail can be read together, yet the mail app isn’t capable of doing that.

I almost forgot about the battery life, but it seems like everyone has already hit on this issue.  It seems to have gotten better with the new OS update.  It also depends on what apps you have running and what kind of back-end processing they are doing.  We’ve had some really odd experiences with battery life, like my wife’s phone has stayed on all weekend while we were roaming.  Roaming traditionally runs a battery out quickly, but this has happened twice now.  I have mine setup with Gchat, which is always on so mine runs down fairly quickly.  But I’ve noticed that there have been times where it isn’t dead or near dead at the end of the day.  I think this just means that my usage just ebbs and flows.

Finally, the lack of apps is really getting me down.  I enjoy the ones that I am using, but I wish there was more variety and just more.  It would be nice to see if someone  came up with a better mail app or a Google reader app.  Or some different games.  I personally am ready.

I’m sure there are more criticisms I could offer, but these stand out as the biggest.

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Over the holiday weekend, Christy’s sister came to visit us.  Her style of visiting family isn’t going out to see a ton of sights.  She enjoyed just hanging out together – sitting on the front porch swing as opposed to driving frenetically around to see lots of places.  Last year when the rest of her family came, we hit up a bunch of places from this list.

So with Sarah we visited the

Franklin Street Bakery an awesome neighborhood bakery with $1 stimulus bread,

Maria’s Cafe a neighborhood Colombian Restaurant with great pancakes,

an Oromo Wedding luncheon/adventure which included a stop at Holy Land Deli where we all got to see lamb heart, goat feet, and many other “delicacies”,

the Mall of America the symbol of American consumerism,

Ikea the symbol of high quality low cost furniture and accessories,

Seward Church and their Memorial Day cook-out,

Famous Dave’s BBQ a great place for all-types of barbecue and excellent service,

Minnehaha Falls pretty every time of year and always something new,

Downtown Riverfront walking the Heritage Trail – including Stone Arch Bridge, the Guthrie, and St Anthony Main,

Tuggs Tavern great burgers – mine had a fried egg on it and Sarah’s had hashbrowns bigger than her burger patty,

Midtown Global Market another neighborhood gem with great food and stores,

watched me race the Brian Kraft 5k,

hung out at the Landscape Arboretum lots of flowers and trees, especially iris and lilacs,

a relaxing walk on the Midtown Greenway yet another neighborhood treat,

lots of Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot (thanks Hoovers for introducing this great game to us),

and much more!

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Welcome sign on Minnesota State Highway 60 at ...
Image via Wikipedia

Weather is such an amazing thing.  This past weekend much of the Twin Cities Metro area was under a frost warning as temperatures dropped into the low 30’s.  Yes.  It was May 16.

According to local TV Station KARE 11 some parts of northern Minnesota hit a new record for amount of snowfall on May 16.  International Falls, MN had 0.3 inches of snow.  Bringing the 2008-2009 winter total to 125.6 inches.

Yesterday, May 19 the Twin Cities Metro area hit a new record high, according to the Pioneer Press.  The record was broken by a whopping 8 degrees at 97.  Yikes!  You’ve got to love this line from the article though:

While southern and central Minnesota roasted, the northern part of the state remained cool. When Granite Falls recorded a whopping 100 degrees at 4 p.m., Grand Marais reported a breezy 34 degrees, Taggart said.

It is about 400 miles from Granite Falls to Grand  Marais.

CRAZY!!

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This past weekend we went camping with our good friends the Johnson’s.  You may recall that we did this last year as well and it might become an annual tradition.  I don’t quite have the time to make collages like I did from last year’s pictures (1 2 3 4, but it is really hard to choose only a few pictures to post from just over 300 that I took.

We had a good time exploring some new parts of Gooseberry and also just re-experiencing some of the old, including Split Rock Lighthouse.  The waterfall is such an amazing thing to see, all the power and glory of the rushing water.  It is also amazing to watch Lake Superior.  This year it was cool and misty for most of Saturday with a little splurt of flurries for a bit.  This makes for a dark and wavy lake.  On Sunday it was sunny and calm which brings out a whole new set of colors and experiences on the lake.  See if you can see the contrast in the pictures!

Our only real mishap this year was that our camping stove had a gas leak in the valve which  made for a slow cooking process and an interesting torch experience!  We are now more equipped for “cool” camping and enjoyed the warmth of our zero degree sleeping bags!

Now for some of the pictures:

We had a great time.

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I got this in an e-mail.  It is a little funny.

60 above zero:
Floridians turn on the heat.
People in Minnesota plant gardens.

50 above zero:
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in Duluth sunbathe.

40 above zero:
Italian & English cars won’t start.
People in Minnesota drive with the windows down.

32 above zero:
Distilled water freezes.
The water in Bemidji gets thicker.

20 above zero:
Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, and wool hats.
People in Minnesota put on a flannel shirt.

15 above zero:
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in Minnesota have the last cookout before it gets cold.

Zero:
All p nnesotans close the windows.

10 below zero:
Californians fly away to Mexico .
People in Minnesota get out their winter coats.

25 below zero:
Hollywood disintegrates.
The Girl Scouts in Minnesota are selling cookies door to door.

40 below zero:
Washington DC runs out of hot air.
People in Minnesota let the dogs sleep indoors.

100 below zero:
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Minnesotans put the extensions on their ice augers and go fishing.

460 below zero:
ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.)
People in Minnesota start saying…”Cold ’nuff fer ya?”

500 below zero:
Hell freezes over.
Minnesota public schools will open…
…. 2 hours late.

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I got back into the swing a litte better this month of blogging here.  It was a good month, but hard to believe we’ve been in Minnesota for almost a year!

This was a big month for this blog as I finally completed the move from Blogger to WordPress and changed the name!

In case you missed it this was a presidential election year!  I shared why I am a moderate and also some thoughts on having schools be a polling place.  Many people where up in arms and afraid that the election of Barack Obama was going to ruin our country so I posted two videos to remind myself and others that God is always in control.

I posted an e-mail forward about poverty that I thought was insightful into being poor. In a similar vein I took part in Bloggers Unite for Refugees and shared some of my thoughts about the refugees I’ve encountered here in Minneapolis.

Last year I wrote about Five Forgotten Fights, sadly to say – they are all still forgotten. I also did a better job of writing about the sermons I heard at church.  The first was about having too much stuff!  We went to a medical missions conference in Kentucky and heard lots of good, challenging, and inspirational messages. Another sermon this month was about using it or losing it.

I finished Billy Graham’s book Peace with God, which was a nice change of pace. I also read Martin Dugard’s Into Africa which told the story of Stanley and Livingstone.  I offered my 10 Rules of Internet Safety and was surprised at how many people actually read them!  As Thanksgiving approached I shared about a news story which talked about the need for food in America.  As we entered the Christmas season I encouarged all of us to think about the ways we are blessed and how the HIV/AIDS crisis is still rampant.

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We are preparing for a visit from my in-laws in a few weeks. As part of that process we created a list of things they will want to see while they are here. We’ll be going with them to a lot of these things but some they will visit on their own.

First of all, they are arriving via the Megabus. Round-trip from Indianapolis to Minneapolis (one pole to the other) their bus tickets are just around $100 (total for both of them)!!

  • MICKY’S DINER (St. Paul) famous diner in several movies.
  • CANDYLAND (St. Paul) a great little candy store!
  • FAMOUS DAVE’S Pit BBQ (Minneapolis – Uptown) Great BBQ in a really fun part of time with lots of cute little shops!
  • THE BAD WAITRESS (Minneapolis) This diner is right across the street from our church, it lives up to its name! Its funny so check it out!
  • THE MALL OF AMERICA (Bloomington) We could spend a whole day here!! It is huge!!
  • MINNEHAHA FALLS (Minneapolis) this is beautiful! Maybe we can rent one of those 4 person bikes!
  • MILL CITY MUSEUM – WALKING TOURS (Minneapolis, historic St. Anthony) Not sure if the museum sounds great but the walking tours sound cool looks like there is one on Fri and Sat
  • THE WALKER ART CENTER (Minneapolis) We haven’t been yet but is supposed to be a really cool art museum with special outdoor art and an artists putt putt course!
  • COMO ZOO, CONSERVATORY, AND BUTTERFLY GARDEN (St. Paul) This is free zoo, the butterfly garden is super fun!
  • LYNDALE ROSE GARDEN (Minneapolis) We went here the other day! It was beautiful. It is next to a park where there are outdoor concerts most nights!
  • THE GLOBAL MARKET (Minneapolis) A couple of blocks from our house there are fun restaurants and shops along with concerts!
  • LAKE CALHOUN (Minneapolis) One of our favorite lakes near-by has a beach boat rental!! and a good view of the city

This is just a sampling of what there is to do in the city and really represents her parents interests – her dad is a big diner fan!

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