Entries tagged with “Twin Cities”.


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 ...
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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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Awhile back I wrote a list of links that we had e-mailed to my in-laws so
they could pick out some places to visit on their recent week here in the Twin Cities. Around the same time Bible Money Matters wrote a post about frugal things to do in the Metro-area. Our lists had a lot of overlap.

You may know that the Republican National Convention is being held in St Paul, so naturally there is a lot of tourism buzz around the Twin Cities. This led to the New York Times writing a list of things to see during the 36 hours before the convention starts. I took a look at the list and we’ve done quite a few of these things. So here is there list:

1) MINNEHAHA FALLS – check! website we saw it in the winter and summer!!

2) INTERMISSION WITH A VIEW aka Guthrie Theater –not yet website this is a pretty cool looking theater from the outside with a cantilevered bridge that let’s you stand above the Mississippi River!

3) THAT’S SOME MEATBALL aka 112 Eatery – not yet website there are a ton of great places to eat in the Twin Cities so it may take awhile to hit them all up.

4) WAREHOUSES FOR HUMANS aka 414 Soundbar and Lee’s Liquor Loungeprobably not we aren’t big drinkers so these may be cool and all, but we’ll probably pass.

5) YOU GOING TO EAT THAT? aka Al’s Breakfast not yet sounds great.

6) A NECKLACE OF BLUE aka Chain of Lakes definitely been there! website this is a wonderful part of the city that you could just spend lots of time relaxing and enjoying the sights.

7) SPOON FEEDING aka Walker Art Center just wentwebsite we actually went while the in-laws where here. The art is very modern, the sculpture garden is a lot of fun, and the putt-putt golf course is challenging. The course is “artist designed mini-golf.”

8) AMBULATORY RETAIL aka Mall of America and beyond done Mall of America, never heard of the others. Mall of America is large and an impressive display of consumerism. The other stores listed, Bibelot, Cooks of Crocus Hill, and Dixies on Grand sound pretty interesting but may not be worth the drive.

9) THE NORTH STAR aka nightlife in Uptown. We enjoy the Uptown scene but in short spurts and we’ve never really fully indulged. They suggested Brasa Rotisserie, 331 Club, and Nye’s Polonaise Room.

10) HERE COMES A REGULAR aka CC Club Nope. See #4

11) MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER aka St Paul City Hall and Mickey’s Diner never thought to visit city hall, Mickey’s is great! We’ve been to Minneapolis’ City Hall which is quite impressive. Mickey’s Diner is a cool relic of a by-gone era. Nice greasy food in an old diner car featured in movies and replicated.

12) A HISTORIC VISIT aka Minnesota History Center Should have. The History Center has had some pretty good exhibits since we’ve been here but we never made the journey.

HT: KARE11

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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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