Sunday, March 26, 2023

Change in Wi-Fi Calling Not Dropping Calls When Leaving Wireless Hotspot Location -- Huge Improvement!

Photo by Tyler Lastovich:
Like many of you, I use my cell phone all the time. I use it for browsing the web, social media, email, calendar, and to stay updated on news. For a few years now, I have relied upon Wi-Fi Calling to be enabled so that if there was a wireless connection available to which I was connected, I could rely on that connection to make and receive calls. Without this option, it was not possible in some places to make or receive calls let alone to be able to interact on the internet. Today, there is almost no where that I go that a internet connection is not available. 

When I first started using Wi-Fi calling on my phone, I found that if I was in say my office and on a call with my cell, if I left the building, the call would drop. The call was attempting to transition from the internet connection to the towers. I had really not tried to walk away from a connection for at least the past two years until recently. I was surprised to find that my call did not drop. I did further testing to see if I was on a call and went into an area with wireless would it drop as it handed the call from the cell tower to the wireless access point... Sure enough, this worked too and worked smoothly. 

Much improved process with the hand-off to and from Wi-Fi calling on the iPhone. I know there were many times I would call Carrie to let her know I was heading to pick her up for lunch and as I walked to my car, the call would drop. Now, that is not an issue as I can get to the car, drive out of the lot, and the call never drops. 

I am not sure if this was an improvement by the standards for mobile phones, an Apple change, or something that was improved with the hand-off between my device and either Wi-Fi or tower. Whatever it is, I am thankful for the improvement. I rely on my phone heavily and knowing that I can leave a place that has Wi-Fi and the call will not drop is important. 

Photo by Vanderlei Longo:
While it is not ideal to drop a call to my wife, it can be awkward to drop a call to a vendor, or customer, as I leave the office. Left calling them back saying "sorry, I am not sure what happened to the connection" where the whole time I know it was because I had left a place with wireless where I had placed the call and now I am in an area without wireless. This is no longer a concern as it works the way I would hope it would work.

Again, I am not sure when this changed as I could not find much information about it. I am not sure if this is an improvement only for iPhones or if Android also benefits off of this change. If it is all phones, then I wonder if this was an improvement that was made by the FCC to be able to hand the call between no Wi-Fi and connected to Wi-Fi. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Weekend Trip to St. Louis for Food, Drinks, and Fun

This past weekend we took a trip to St. Louis which is turning into an annual trip. Greg plays in a fantasy baseball draft that drafts in-person, so we have made a trip of it the past two years. We headed to St. Louis on Thursday, March 16 and we returned on Sunday, March 19. We had a wonderful time and managed to get to two Italian places to eat.

Paul Manno's Restaurant

Paul Manno's Restaurant

Paul Manno's Restaurant

We did go to a new Italian place to eat our first night in St. Louis. We went to Paul Manno's Restaurant. Great food, wonderful service, and had the best time eating there Thursday night. Our night here as a perfect evening where we continued to talk about it on our way back on Sunday. Wonderful spot!

Dinner Friday Night
Friday we had a long day of going to different spots around St. Louis. We started off with an early breakfast and then went through the day until we dropped Greg off at his draft. Erin, Carrie, and I found a good spot to eat as we knew it might not be a spot Greg would like, so we made reservations and had a delicious meal in a cool spot. The name of the place was jalea.

Carrie's Dinner Friday NightThe drinks were good and then dinner was also delicious. I could not finish all of my food, so I took some of it home, but ended up not having the leftovers either. We loved the look of the place and our waiter was excellent. He shared with us that he played baseball in Kansas, so he was familiar with Kansas. It was good to eat some delicious food, have some fun drinks, and try out a new spot.

Carrie was doing some artsy pictures while we were in St. Louis, so a few of those to share here.

Artsy Picture from Carrie 1
Artsy Picture from Carrie 2
Artsy Picture from Carrie 3

We are already looking forward to next year when we will go back and go to new places. I was able to meet with my friend, Mark, and his wife, Shauna, while were there. We met them for lunch on Saturday and had a chance to catch up.

Saturday night, we went to Charlie Gitto’s which we went to last year. It was good, but we had a better time, better food, and drinks at Paul Manno's. We look forward to trying a new spot next year when we return.

For now, this is all as I did not get this posted on Sunday as my regular schedule as I was so tired from the weekend, I slept most of the evening and went to bed early. Playing catch up on our weekend trip of staying up late, getting up early, and having fun.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

March Madness 2023 ESPN Tournament Challenge

ESPN Tournament Challenge Picture

It is time to make your selections for March Madness. 

March Madness Hopefuls group is free to play and you can enter up to three entries. There is no password on the group, so hoping it will be an easy process to join your entries, encourage your family and friends to join, and be sure to come back after Selection Sunday to make your entries. 

The directions for joining remain the same from last year. Group is read and can start getting the word out on joining the group. The more people in the group the more fun it is to make your selections. 
  1. Visit ESPN which will take you directly to the March Madness Hopefuls.
  2. If you are already signed into the ESPN web site, you can immediately create your bracket. If not, sign into the site and then you will be taken to the March Madness Hopefuls group or you can search for March Madness Hopefuls to join.
  3. Join the group.
  4. Repeat the above process to create additional brackets. In the March Madness Hopefuls bracket, you can have three entries.
Be sure to submit your entries by 10:00 am CST Thursday, March 16. This will make sure you get your entries submitted and have time to get them submitted. First game tips at 11:00 am on Thursday March 16.

If you have any questions or problems, please post a comment to this post.

Good luck and enjoy March Madness!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Watched All of the Oscar Nominated Best Films for 2023 and My Reaction to the Films

If you have watched all of the Oscar nominated best picture movies, you know there is a wide range of featured films. From singing, aspiring film maker, and Ireland to fighter jets, conductor, and mind bending jump through time, this years nominated pictures have a wide range of variety. Carrie and I finished our last movie a week ago. Unfortunately, AMC Theaters did not do their Best Picture Showcase this year where we could watch all of the best picture movies in the theater, so we caught some in local theaters, others via streaming services, and others through paid rental. 

I love going to see movies in the theater, so I am glad we were able to catch a few of this years movies in the theater to capture the full experience. I was able to catch Top Gun: MaverickAvatar: The Way of Water, and Everything Everywhere All at Once. The three we were able to watch in the theater were also a drastic change of style. Top Gun: Maverick we watched last summer when everyone else in the country was going out to watch the movie. The storyline, action, and acting were good coming away feeling good about seeing the movie. Although Top Gun: Maverick seems so different from the other movies it is up against, it does not seem like a movie that would win best picture. 

Avatar: The Way of Water was entertaining with incredible scenes. I really liked the original Avatar (2009) many years ago, but Avatar: The Way of Water I was bored. It was a long movie at three hours and twelve minutes. One of those movies about the second hour into Avatar: The Way of Water where I felt I knew the story, where it was going, and could have ended earlier. Another movie that seems completely different from other movies it is up against, but it does not seem like a best picture. 

Carrie and I watched Elvis and while Carrie went into it not expecting much, we both enjoyed the movie. Believable of Elvis in this movie where even the singing was done well. Not best picture but I think it will win some awards. Elvis is another film I could watch again as I enjoyed the movie and the story behind the entertainer.

Everything Everywhere All at Once was a mind bending movie to watch jumping between universes and connecting lives in those universes made for a good movie. Like many others, Everything Everywhere All at Once is at the top of my best picture selections. The acting was done well along with the storyline, it was a movie I am glad I was able to catch in the theater.

I found that I did like The Banshees of Inisherin although I do not think it will win best picture. It was a believable story of two friends and then it just got weird. While it was an odd film, I did like the film. It took some weird twist and turns for sure, but I thought both the main characters were really good. A movie I would not mind watching again as I am sure there are parts of the movie I missed.

I went into All Quiet on the Western Front thinking I had seen a former version of the movie, but realized I had only read about the film in other books. All Quiet on the Western Front is an intense movie set in World War I. The actors did a good job of the film which was set in German although we watched with an English dubbing, but I think it might have been even better to watch in German and read the text instead. I would like to go back and watch prior films of All Quiet on the Western Front to see how they compare.

When I saw previews of The Fabelmans months ago, I thought I was really going to like the movie of a young person aspiring to be a filmmaker. Instead, I found The Fabelmans once again on the boring side and yes possibly only nominated because of the director being Steven Spielberg. The story was interesting, but I thought it was going to be better and really just found the movie boring.

Tár is a movie that again I was not sure what to expect. I thought the story was interesting about Lydia Tár and unlike some of the other nominated movies, I did not find myself bored with this film. A bit different from other films, so based on what I have read, it will not win for best picture, but again, I can see it winning some Oscars in other categories.

Triangle of Sadness was an interesting film and seemed to almost be multiple stories combined into one film but all based on the same celebrity couple. There was some humor in the film as well as some just plain gross portions. Overall, I did like Triangle of Sadness but again I do not think this will be the best picture.

My least favorite movie of the nominees is Women Talking. A few of the other movies were boring, but Women Talking some a major snooze-fest for me. I might have even fallen asleep during this movie. Women Talking is about a group of women talking and that’s what they do to determine whether to stay or fight. That is all that really happens in Women Talking where the women are talking, talking, and more talking. It was not my type of movie and I do not see it winning best picture.

In summary, a wide range of varying movies this year for best picture. I think Everything Everywhere All at Once will win best picture, but I did enjoy a few of the films. It will be interesting to see what happens Sunday night for the Oscars. No matter the winner, it was a fun process watching all of the films nominated this year.

Sunday, March 05, 2023

Enjoyable Saturday Morning at Circle Coffee Co Eating Breakfast, Drinking Coffee, and Reading

Circle Coffee Co. In Topeka, KS
Prosciutto & Gouda Danish with Coffee
Carrie and I were able to visit a new coffee shop on Saturday and it was wonderful. In August 2022 I had posted that we had visited a new wine bar and new coffee place in Topeka (see post) and in the same update I had talked about the new place opening up on 17th Street near Washburn University and that we were hopefully going there soon. Well, it is now March 2023 and we finally made it to the “new place”.

Circle Coffee was completely packed when we arrived mid-morning on Saturday. The parking lot was full with no spots and people were parking in the street. Carrie wondered if there would be any space for us inside as we were walking up. We went to the counter to order two lattes and some breakfast. We found one table that had just opened up where we sat and spent the morning enjoying ourselves.

Circle Coffee has some good options for breakfast with pastries, rolls, etc. We both ordered chocolate croissants with our latte. Then we had prosciutto and gouda danishes after we sat and read for a while. It was good to have a lazy Saturday morning drinking coffee, eating, reading, and in a busy breakfast place in Topeka. 

It was a perfect morning hanging out with Carrie. I look forward to going to Circle Coffee again on another Saturday morning. Going to coffee shops reminds me of going to study back when I was doing my masters program when Carrie and I would go to hang out for hours at a coffee shop while I researched or wrote papers. Coffee shops rank up there with ending up at a brewery in the afternoon and having a wonderful time sipping beers, talking, or reading.

I highly recommend stopping by Circle Coffee to get breakfast and coffee. Very good!

Ahead of schedule on my reading for the year. My goal for the year is 25 books and yesterday while at the coffee shop, I finished my sixth book of the year. I am two books ahead of schedule, so I am feeling good with my progress and I think I will hit my goal for the year.

Until next time, have a wonderful week!

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Changes with Twitter Sent Me to Reddit for Discussing Shows, Sports, and Most Social Media Interactions

Post from January Regarding Twitter Changes to Third Party Applications
January Post Regarding Twitter Changes
Back in January Twitter changed how third party applications can interact with Twitter (see post) which ultimately made various applications to stop working. The decisions by Elon Musk continue to cause issues for Twitter. Yes, I still have my account, but I rarely use, or interact, with Twitter. It is not where I go for news, discussing sports, shows, etc., but more of an afterthought after I have been interacting on other social media sites such as Reddit. 

For years I have used connectors to auto post to FaceBookTwitter, and LinkedIn when I post to my site. In March auto posting from IFTTT, which is a site used to publish to many other social media sites, will stop working for Twitter. This is a huge impact on sharing tweets for many companies and bloggers. It is an easy way to share information from web sites to Twitter which will suddenly stop working for many. It is not clear how this can help Twitter as it seems to be causing people to leave the social media service in mass. However, it is also causing traffic to not go to Twitter with these changes. No longer are tweets being generated from millions of sites to publicize on Twitter, so instead, there will be nothing at all. No connections and possibly more people leaving the Twitter service.

While I still have my Twitter account, I use Reddit to interact with others on shows, movies, and especially sports. My frequent sites for sports include  /r/CollegeBasketball/r/CFB/r/KansasCityChiefs/r/KCRoyals, and /r/jayhawks. I like Reddit to interact with others as there are game threads for each and every game where then I can comment, respond, etc. to posts from others on that sport. I will say it took me a while to figure out the best approach for interacting with others on Reddit for a sporting event as there can be 1,000’s of replies to a game thread which makes it fast paced and a lot of information, so I looked for other options interacting with others via Reddit on a specific post.

  • is a great site that works in a web browser. It is cheap as I paid for a lifetime account, but you can do a 30 day trial to test it out. Basically, it takes a thread and makes it easy to follow, comment, and follow up to comments from others. The web site lists some interesting posts, but you can use this site for anything simply by replacing the URL of a Reddit discussion with “-stream” following the link (i.e. reddit-stream). I use frequently for discussions and with most game threads also including score, recent plays, etc., it is also a good way to keep up with a game. I have also used for discussing shows, award shows, etc. I highly recommend if you are looking to try out Reddit for discussions.

  • Sideline is an app for iOS and Android that allows for easy discussion of game threads. It is only for games and specially Sideline application supports NCAA MBB, NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL, and NCAA CFB. This is a fairly new application as I just started using Sideline about a year ago. I can set favorites which will display at the top of the app and makes it easy to get to my sports topics or to switch back and forth between two events happening at the same time. I highly recommend Sideline for interacting via Reddit on sporting events. There is not an iPad option, but I am told that this is being worked on.

Granted, you can access Reddit directly to interact on a thread, but I found the above items to help with presentation of the comments and tracking what is said or my responding to others. If you have not used Reddit, the site has a wealth of information with topics for just about anything you can imagine. When I am researching a technical question, I often find that Google searches will link to a Reddit post about the same thing where I can then jump into the discussion and post follow ups or read what others wrote and solutions were provided in the thread. Very handy!

To connect with me on Reddit, or see what I have been posting, please visit my Reddit Profile.

Until next time, have a great week and I look forward to connecting with you on Reddit.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Massages for Us at Stillpoint Massage & Bodywork Studio… Highly Recommended!

Every year around Valentine’s Day I think it would be nice to get massages for Carrie and I. Usually though I think of it the day or two prior to Valentine’s Day. Not this year! This year I thought of it a whole week ahead of time which meant that I was able to get an appointment scheduled for both of us… albeit the day after Valentine’s Day, but it was so nice!

Carrie and I have had massages infrequently typically when we are on vacations at remote islands. Carrie had mentioned a few weeks ago she could use a massage, so that got the idea in my head to do so for Valentine’s Day. I started checking around for options in Topeka and checked Google recommendations. I checked with a few others to see if they had a place they used, but no one had one, so I looked further at reviews. 

I narrowed down the list to two or three that I wanted to check. I happened to be out in the area of one place after I got my haircut the week before, so I thought I would stop by to see the place and talk to them. However, I could not find it for the life of me. It was over off of 29th Street in the same shopping center as Dillon’s. So, I drove back home after not finding the place and looked them up on-line again where I was able to see where they were located through street view. I sent them an email to check on getting an appointment.

A day later and I had a response to call them as they do not have regular reception, so only available certain times for calls. Of course calling the week before Valentine’s Day and they were booked as I was hoping to get an appointment the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. They told me they could put us on a waiting list and call us if spots open up for us. A few days later and I got a call that a spot opened on February 15 where we could both have an appointment at the same time. 

What a great experience! I had selected Stillpoint Massage & Bodywork Studio located at 2709 W. 29th, Ste 204, Topeka, KS 66614. I booked an hour long massage for us both. When I had called and told the receptionist we rarely have massages, she recommended 60 minute massage as 30 minutes and just getting started, so I did 60 minute for us both.

Following the massage, we left and talked about when we might do our next massage saying it would be nice to do so twice a year. Well, we already have our next massage scheduled for the first part of April. We liked it so much, we booked at Stillpoint Massage & Bodywork Studio again. The experience was so relaxing. The massage on neck, shoulders, and arms were wonderful. 

We had selected the Swedish Massage was the one we selected which is the most common style of massage. When I had my last massage ten or so years ago, maybe longer, I am not sure what type of massage I had at that time, but this was certainly well worth the $70 for the massage. So much so we booked our next appointment shortly after we left.

One of my memorable massages was back in 2003 when we went to Costa Rica with our friend Javier. He took us all over his home country and at Arenal Volcano, we had an amazing experience where we were had massages, then covered in volcanic mud, wrapped, and then had got in the hot springs to have the hot water take away the volcanic mud. Certainly a memorable experience and one I would like to do again. But having a massage here is an experience I plan to keep on my todo list at least a few times a year.

I will post again following our next massage to say how it went. We are happy with Stillpoint Massage & Bodywork Studio and look forward to using them for years to come. If you try out Stillpoint Massage & Bodywork Studio, I would be interested to hear your experience. Or, if you have another place that you used, please share your recommendations.

Until next time, enjoy the week!