Thursday, December 07, 2017

How to Connect brother HL-L2380DW printer to an Orbi Network

To connect a brother HL-L2380DW printer to your home network, where a Netgear Orbi is present, enable Wired LAN on the printer, then ensure that both your computer and printer are connected to the Orbi. They need to be on the same network to see each other.

If you have your computer connected to your modem, it won't see the printer.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

ICELAND: My Travel Agent, I Heart Reykjavik

My family was very happy with all the trips we have taken on this vacation in Iceland.

I want to give most of the credit to Auður and my travel company, I Heart Reykjavik, who listened to what we wanted and helped us pick out the perfect tour operators to plan every day.

We paid her, and then she handled paying all the tour companies and getting us all the vouchers for our tours.

She used a very cool online system to compile all our tours.

Also, definitely do one of their walking tours of the city with them. We learned so much from Hrannar, in a casual non-scripted way. It was a great introduction to Iceland on our first day.

Because some people have asked, the tour companies pay her a commission, and we don't have to pay her anything.

So please go through her to book your trips. It will make all of your Iceland trip planning so much easier. And she responds quickly to emails.

Here are some of the tours we chose:

Private Super Jeep Tour of Northern Lights

Inside the Volcano

Golden Circle and Magical Nights

Blue Lagoon and Airport Transfer

Image: Courtesy Blue Lagoon

ICELAND: The Best Places to Eat in Reykjavik

We had an amazing trip to Iceland and were not disappointed in the food. We had great meals everywhere, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Here's a list of places we ate and enjoyed. All good!

The Laundromat Cafe
Great for breakfast! It was so good, we went here twice. In addition to the breakfast, the coffee was delicious.

My cousin said that these were the best pancakes she's ever had in her life!

From their website:
We opened in 2004 in Elmegade 15 in Nørrebro, Copenhagen.

The idea was to combine laundry and socializing in nice, comfortable surroundings where you could eat, drink, read, do your laundry and browse the Internet.

Then we opened some more ;)!

2006 Århusgade 38 Østerbro Copenhagen.

2011 Austurstræti 9 in Reykjavik Iceland.

2011 Gammel Kongevej 96 Frb Copenhagen.

We offer a varied menu off homemade food, cakes, juices, milkshakes, coffee, tea, wine and around 40 kinds of beer, all served with a smile.


Everything fresh baked and amazing!

Hverfisgata 12

Image: Courtesy hverfisgata12

Casual pizza place. Famouse for their locationa dn not having a sign. We heard that they secretly opened up, and people started coming to them, and they became popular. We were lucky to get a provate room for our table of eight.

I went upstairs to the MIKKELLER & FRIENDS bar, to chat with the bartender and grab a beer from their amazing selection, and bring it back to the restaurant.

From their website:
Located in one of the most iconic buildings of downtown Reykjavik, Hverfisgata 12 restaurant & bar is an eclectic mix of American rustic, old carnival and part museum, designed by renowned set designer Hálfdán Pedersen.


Great beer bar! Really fun, Came here twice and would have made it three days, but they weren't open in the afternoon on our last day.

The English Pub

My friend who has been to Iceland every year for hte past 15 years told me, “You MUST go and spin the BEER Wheel.” Well, according to my calculation, it wasn’t worth it for us to try. ;-)

My friends and I gave the Guinness a thumbs up, then we switched to Gull. I din't have a bad beer in Iceland.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur - Best Hot Dog in Iceland
Tryggvatagata 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Next door to Raddison Blu 1919. The way to order here is to get a one with everything, which means a pork, bef and lamb hot dog with onions, sauted onions, ketchup, sweet mustard and mayo relish. You can give your index finger a twirl when ordering. There's also a special that includes soda, but I don't drink soda. There is always a line here and people are eating hot dogs morning, noon and night.


Jamie’s Italian

New restaurant by Jamie Oliver. Tourists love it which requires you to make a reservation in advance.

Good Italian.

I had Icelandic Cod, which was served in a spicy red sauce. Everyone in my group loved what they had. We again got a private room.

Tryggvagata 4-6 101 Reykjavík
Tel: +354 561 1111

Opening hours:
Sunday - Thursday 17 to 22
Friday - Saturday 17 to 23

We ate here. Excellent steak. Seriously. So good. The unique thing for us to see on the menu was a steak choice of LAMB, BEEF, or HORSE.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ICELAND: Golden Circle Tour and Magical Nights Tour

I Heart Reykjavik booked us for the Golden Circle Tour and Magical Nights Tour with Icelandic Mountain Guides.

This was a FULL day. It went from noon to midnight.

I was really interested in seeing more than just natural sights on the Golden Circle route, so the addition of visits to farms, the spa, and a restaurant broke up the tour nicely.

Here's the tour map:

Let's take a look at the stops:

Þingvellir, Iceland

At the local greenhouse, Friðheimar, we learned about the farm and their massive tomato growing facility. We sat at community tables and had home made tomato soup, served with freshly baked bread for lunch. Note: The butter was amazing!

We took a short walk to the Gullfoss waterfall. Unlike Niagara Falls, you can get really close to this waterfall and there was almost a constant rainbow when we were there.

The Strokkur geyser spouts hot water every 6 - 10 minutes. People gather around to see it and grab a photo. I found some interesting images after the geyser went off too.

Farm Efstidalur
At the farm we met one of the owners and sampled farm-produced Skyr, delicious ice cream, whey and feta cheese. We learned about the history of the family owned farm and their expansion into a Bed and Breakfast. It was also fun to see the cows!

Fontana Spa
Geothermal spa Fontana was nice to visit later on in the day. As you do at all spas in Iceland, you shower first, there were private showers, and then enter the geothermal spas in your bathing suit. Each pool was a different temperature so you get get into as hot water as you liked. I enjoyed it and took a shower outside in 54 degree weather, before heading in to shower inside.

Image: Fontana Spa courtesy Icelandic Mountain Guides

Lindin Restaurant
We all enjoyed a two course dinner at the local restaurant Lindin, just across the street from the spa. The night we were there our choices for dinner were Lamb, Artic Char, or Bean Steak (vegetarian). They also had a nice selection of local Icelandic beer.

Northern Light Search
Search for the magical Northern Lights

ICELAND: Inside the Volcano

Inside the Volcano is an experience of a lifetime!

"Thrihnukagigur volcano is dormant – it last erupted over 4,000 years ago. There are no indications of it erupting again in the near future. The volcano’s name, mostly unpronounceable for anyone other than locals, would be directly translated as ‘Three Peaks Crater’. The name comes from Árni B. Stefánsson, who was the first to explore the vault and who has pleaded the case for making it accessible for years."


Operation dates: From 15 May – 15 October
Tour departures: Several departures every day. The first tour at 8:00 and the last tour in the afternoon.
Duration: 5–6 hours (about 35-40 minutes inside the volcano).
Fitness level needed: Moderate (the difficulty is 2 out of a possible 5). No knowledge of hiking or climbing is required. It’s not an uphill walk, but the surface is partly uneven. This is NOT a tour for those in no or limited physical shape.
Distance walked: Approximately 3 km (2 miles) each way. The walk usually takes around 45–50 minutes (depending on the condition of people in the group). A guide will be with you at all times during the walk.
Minimum age limit: 12 years (we can and have made exceptions on the age. Contact us if you want to convince us that your kid is up for adventure).
Price: ISK 42.000, approx $400 US.

We booked our tour through I Heart Reykjavik, who was indispensable in helping coordinate all our Iceland tours.

The Inside the Volcano Mercedes picked us up and drove us outside the city to the Inside the Volcano Welcome Center Base Camp.

Image: Van

From there, were hiked, 45 minutes through a lava field, to the Base Camp at the foot of the volcano.

Image: Hiking

Image: Hiking

The scenery on our moderate hike was amazing. You had to keep telling yourself to stop for a moment and look around.

We had two guides, one was at he front, and the other brought up the rear.

Here you can see the volcano and it's sister mountains ahead. This gives you an indication of the walk.

Here we arrive at the second base camp at the foot of the mountain.

There are three WC (bathrooms) here.

We all got a safety tour explaining what was to come.

Here's the gear everyone gets before descending into the volcano.

Here we are hiking up the mountain to get to the opening of the volcano.

We look like professional hikers in a mountaineering magazine!

View from the top!

Next up, our German-engineered elevator is ready for our decent.

Here we are heading down 700 feet.

There is lighting inside the volcano that allows for taking some amazing photos of the rock formations.

The tours are kept small so it doesn't get crowded. Once at the bottom, you are free to wanter around. There are ropes to hold on to as you make your way along the rocky bottom of the volcano.

Monday, October 23, 2017

ICELAND: Private Super Jeep Tour of Northern Lights

We did the northern lights tour, on the Saturday we arrived in Iceland, with a company called Mountain Taxi. They picked us up in a modified Mercedes Sprinter. They take a standard Sprinter van and replace the standard suspension and tires.

Image: Courtesy Mountain Taxi

For northern lights, our Icelandic travel agent Auður Ösp of I Heart Reykjavik told us that it's always better to go with a smaller group and vehicle. The bus tours are the cheapest but you might end up with 400 people and it's just not as nice. She also likes the super jeep tours since they can take you to areas the buses can't (and therefore you won't be surrounded with the aforementioned 400 of your fellow travelers).

Auður was right, we had a private tour for eight, and that made it really special.

We drove outside the city and made a few stops, looking for the northern lights.

We caught a glimpse a few times, then stopped at a secluded lake, and started to see bands of green coming us from the horizon. We sampled some local schnapps called Brennevin, and they was a treat.

After the stop at the lake, as we were driving through the darkness, our driver, Gisli Pall, thought he saw something in the sky, safely pulled off the road, and told us to all get out quickly!

We did, and then the real show started.

The Northern Lights in all their glory. Dancing green and purple lights, going in and out, moving across the sky, and painting a ribbon above us.

Our group was exclaiming with joy about what we were seeing. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

Image: iPhone attempt at capturing a bit of the northern lights.

Image: Our driver, Gisli Pall

This video shows what it looked like:

ICELAND: Blue Lagoon

We visited the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport. The transfer from Reykjavik was provided by Icelandic Taxi Tours.

The taxi was a nice big Mercedes van, and easily fit our party of eight, and all of our luggage. It was not a problem.

Taxis are able to pick up at hotels. We were picked up at 11:00 AM and arrived at Blue Lagoon at 11:45. Our reserved time was for 12:00 to 2:00 PM. The standard time for Blue Lagoon stops is 90 minutes but you can add extra time in the lagoon if you feel that’s not enough. The price for extra time in the lagoon is 5400 ISK, ($51.21) as of today, for 30 minutes (2 hours total). That turned out to be a perfect amount of time.

On arrival at the Blue Lagoon, the driver parks in a waiting area and stays with your luggage for the duration of your visit.

The walk to the Blue Lagoon from the parking lot was windy on the day we arrived because of the remnants of a recent hurricane.

We sprung for Premium admission which included:
Entrance to Blue Lagoon
Silica Mud Mask
Use of Towel
1st Drink of your choice
Algae Mask
Use of Bathrobe
Reservation at LAVA (optional)
Sparkling wine if dining at LAVA
Pre-booking is required and you can't just show up there an buy tickets. When we arrived, we heard that they were sold out. Make sure you book this in advance.

Here is some background on the Blue Lagoon:
Situated in a vast lava plain on the south coast of Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon holds nine million liters of geothermal seawater, covers an area of 8700 square meters, and has an average depth of 1.2 meters and a maximum depth of 1.6 meters. The lagoon’s water is sourced directly from the Svartsengí geothermal field and its recirculation interval is 40 hours.

The wellspring of the Blue Lagoon’s beneficial powers lies 2000 meters within the earth, at the boundary of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. In this subterranean frontier of porous lava and searing heat, seawater and groundwater converge, giving rise to a hybrid fluid known as g eothermal seawater. Under immense pressure, this fluid surges to the earth’s surface, integrating the elements through which it passes and emerging enriched with unique concentrations of silica, algae, and minerals – the primary, rejuvenating components of geothermal seawater.

Image courtesy of Blue Lagoon

I wasn't able to take a photo like this because I don't own a drone.

Here are some details on what it's like when you arrive and the showering situation.

When you arrive you will be given a wristband, which acts as a key for your electronic changing room locker. You can also use your wristband to buy drinks and refreshments while you are in the spa. It works like an in-water credit card – you just pay for anything you charge to the wristband when you leave.

We recommend that you store all your valuables inside your locker, including jewellery, shoes, cameras, etc. Be sure to check that your locker is properly locked before you walk away. Blue Lagoon is not responsible for any lost valuables.

Cleanliness is a fundamental aspect of a geothermal spa experience. Prior to entering Blue Lagoon, a full body shower - without a bathing suit - is absolutely essential. Everyone benefits when everyone is clean. This same aspect of spa culture is found at every pool in Iceland. Private shower cubicles are available in both man and women changing rooms.

Click here to see all photos

We had a fun experience. Floating around the lagoon, putting on silica mud and algae masks, showering in the amazing Icelandic water, and stopping for a nice cold beer before going back to our taxi for the short ride to the airport.

This is the way to end your Icelandic vacation.

Everything was booked through Auður Ösp, owner, blogger, and photographer at iheartreykjavik.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Buying Decision Process for an Inkjet vs. a Laser Printer

My existing EPSON WF-3520 stopped working when I installed 3rd party EZ Ink. It was a lot less expensive than the ESPSON ink, but I should have believed one of the commenters who said that it made his printer useless.

Next up was the decision on what to get. This lead me on a journey from COLOR INKJET to a Black and White Laser Printer.

I asked my friends on Facebook what they liked, and they were helpful in guiding me to my final decision.

I kept notes!

I ruled out HP based on a poor experience with the life of a previous printer. I also ruled out Canon after deciding that I wanted to go with a FASTER BLACK AND WHITE LASER PRINTER.

I decided to get my photos printed out at CVS for now.

My neighbor has the Brother HL 2280 DW and likes it, so I narrowed in on that, and then saw the Brother HL-L2340DW reviewed on The Wirecutter.

My neighbor's HL 2280 DW supports a hard wired Ethernet connection and the new above model is wireless only. I don't think that it will be a problem.

I bought this one, Brother HLL2380DW Wireless Laser Printer (affiliate link) and Brother TN660 High Yield Toner. I liked the upgraded LCD display on it. The High Yield Toner is rated for 2,600 pages, so that should last a while.

I also noted thatt there is a way to allow the printer to continue past the page counter life of the ink cartridge, until it is actually empty by setting this up.

"For the HLL2380DW there is a continue mode in settings. Press X then Settings then All Settings then General Setup. Then scroll down to Replace Toner and change it to Continue."

Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

SD card reader for iPhone

Just imported a photo from an SD card, into my iPhone, via an SD card reader for iPhone. Sweet!

GoldFox SD Card Camera Reader for iPhone iPad [Upgraded] Trail Game Camera Card Viewer Reader for iPhone 6/6s/6s Plus/5/5s/7/7 Plus/iPad Mini/Air, No App Needed

(affiliate link)

Image: Import screen

This is the screen you see on your iPhone when you insert the SD card into the reader.

Select the phones that you want to import, keep them on the card or delete them.

Then they are copied into your iPhone Camera Roll.

Image: Imported Photo

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The original Toll House cookie recipe

The original Toll House cookie recipe
via Maria Stephanos

3 1/8 cups of King Arthur all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon of hot water to dissolve baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 cups of Crisco shortening
1 1/8 cups of sugar
1 1/8 cups of brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

3 eggs

Chocolate chips
Walnuts optional

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

Beat Crisco shortening, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Extending Xfinity Gigabit Internet Wi-Fi with Netgear Orbi

I just installed Xfinity Gigabit Internet at home. Disclosure: Upgrade cost for me is $17/month, difference between Blast! and Gigabit Internet today, covered by Xfinity for one year trial.

Initial wired speed tests show a big difference. 700 Mbps DOWN, 41 Mbps Up.

Image: Speed Test Results

Results vary depending on your hardware configuration. I have a MacBook Air circa 2011, which I am told cannot support 1 Gig speeds, with a Thunderbolt monitor that has a gigabit ethernet port.

The new modem comes with WiFi built in. I compared it's 5G network to extending the Wi-Fi with the Netgear Orbi System. (Orbi - Two free review units, one purchased)

Here's my earlier review of the Orbi system, Review: Installing Orbi Home WiFi System by NETGEAR, and one of it's competitors eero, eero 2nd Generation installation at Loring Greenough House.


OFFICE - 3rd Floor
ORBI (Wired Base orbi) 420 Mbps
Xfinity 5G (Modem sits here) 420 Mbps

LIVING ROOM - 2nd Floor
ORBI 210 Mbps
Xfinity 5G 170 Mbps

KITCHEN - 2nd Floor
ORBI (Wi-Fi Satellite Orbi) 310 Mbps
Xfinity 5G 86 Mbps

DEN - 2nd Floor
ORBI (WiFi Satellite Orbi) 330 Mbps
Xfinity 5G 120 Mbps

FRONT DOOR - 1st Floor
ORBI 250 Mbps
Xfinity 5G 26 Mbps

The new Xfinity Gigabit Internet modem/router coverage is impressive.

In Boston, a current 3 or 2 product customer could get it added to their current suite of services for an additional $15-30/month depending on their package or if they were Internet only it’s $79.99/month for 24 months.

Read more here: Comcast Introduces Gigabit Internet Service in Boston.

New and current customers can visit to learn about the new service and request additional information.

Later this year Xfinity will be coming out with their own mesh network, Comcast is trying to get in on the mesh router hype
Later this year, Comcast will put out mesh-creating “Wi-Fi pods” that were designed in collaboration with Plume. These pods will plug into customers’ home power sockets and auto-configure to the network, similar to how Plume’s own product works.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Use this trick to watch Google Play movies on your Amazon Fire TV Stick

Google Play just gave me a 99 cent promo to buy a movie. I clicked through and bought Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and then went to watch it on my Amazon Fire TV Stick.


There's no Google Play app on the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

I found this post explaining, Use this trick to watch Google Play movies on your Apple TV.

The tips work for the Amazon Fire TV Stick too.

1. Download the app.

2. Open the Amazon Fire TV Stick app.

3. Authorize via web.

4. Then go to the app menu and choose Library.

YouTube on Amazon Fire TV Stick
Image: menu - Library

5. Then scroll down to Purchases.

YouTube on Amazon Fire TV Stick
Image: menu - Purchases

There's your purchased Google Play movie!


It won't play!

Wait! What?

Is it just this movie?

Let me know your experience.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Some Emmy® nominations that I like

Some Emmy® nominations that I like (* is my vote):

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series:

The Americans
Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings

House Of Cards
*Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood

These are my top two. Of the two, Kevin Spacey's performance is more powerful, and surprising. Continually expanding his character, while staying in character.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series:

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
*Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt

Only one choice here for me, the role was written for Ellie Kemper, and she owns it. She also makes me smile, and we needs a lot more smiles.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series:

The Americans
*Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings

The Crown
Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II

The Handmaid's Tale
Elisabeth Moss as Offred

House Of Cards
Robin Wright as Claire Underwood

Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores

Lots of wonderful choices here for some powerful performances. I'm at a disadvantage because I have not seen The Handmaid's Tale yet. Keri Russell has the most multi-dimensional performance here, playing her character, and playing her character playing other characters.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie:

Big Little Lies
*Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright

Big Little Lies
Reese Witherspoon as Madeline MacKenzie

Both actors are excellent, but Nicole Kidman was compelling, and believable as the abused spouse. Raw and powerful.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series:

Saturday Night Live
Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
*Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon

Alec Baldwin does a great job on SNL, but Tituss Burgess gave me a lot more laughs.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie:

Big Little Lies
*Alexander Skarsgård as Perry Webber

Totally scary.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie:

Big Little Lies
Laura Dern as Renata Klein

Big Little Lies
*Shailene Woodley as Jane Chapman

Powerful and complex performance.

Outstanding Comedy Series:

*Silicon Valley

The best.

Outstanding Drama Series:

The Crown
The Handmaid's Tale (Have not seen yet)
*House Of Cards
Stranger Things

I look forward to every episode and an drawn right in to every story that they tell.

Outstanding Limited Series:

*Big Little Lies

Outstanding ensemble.

Outstanding Television Movie:

*Black Mirror: San Junipero

THIS is a fantastic choice. I love the show, and when this episode aired, I felt that it was the best one ever. Glad to see it nominated here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Ribs with Lord Hobo Brewing Company Glorious Pale Ale

Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Ribs with Lord Hobo Brewing Company Glorious Pale Ale

Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce
Lord Hobo Brewing Glorious beer

Place ribs in slow cooker
Cover ribs w/ Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce
Add 1/2 can Lord Hobo Brewing Glorious
Set Slow Cooker to 4 hours on High
Remove and place on foil lined baking tray
Baste w/ more sauce
Broil 5-15 minutes

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rosewood Tucker's Point Bermuda 2107

A good friend suggested that I visit ROSEWOOD TUCKER'S POINT while on vacation in Bermuda. She told me that it's, "The only place she stays." I could see why. It's a beautiful place to relax away from the city center. The beach is beautiful with an infinity pool at oceanside. Let's take a look.

60 Tucker's Point Dr., Hamilton Parish, HS 02 Bermuda.

Website description:
Rosewood Tucker's Point® offers serene sophistication that eludes formality. A mere 90 minutes from most major U.S. East Coast cities, this Bermuda luxury resort is a tranquil island escape and a world apart.

I looked at a map to see if I could take a bus to the resort. The website says it's possible, but in the end I decided to take a cab from Hamilton town, which ended up costing just under $40.

Prior to visiting I contacted the resort to see if it was possible to visit, they said:
We are so excited for you to come to Bermuda! We love visitors, please feel free to visit our property. We may or may not have a surprise waiting for you when you arrive! Enjoy and see you soon!
Wow. That was nice.

When my wife and I arrived, we saw this view from the lobby:

Click for 360 view.

Then we were directed to the second pool and garden.

Second Pool:

Click for 360 view.


A view from one of the hallways:


Website description:
An all-in-one facility dedicated to pleasure and leisure, the Beach Club not only includes Bermuda’s largest private beach, but also two freshwater swimming pools. The Horizon Pool is reserved for guests aged 13 and older, while the Fountain Pool is perfect for families with young children.

Diners will delight at the seasonal open-air restaurant Sur Mer, dining terrace and bar pavilion, which overlooks the picturesque South Shore and the Atlantic Ocean. With the shaded pergola perched above a pink sand beach, this offers a dramatic setting for lunch and dinner, offset by the casually elegant atmosphere and simple, sophisticated menus.

With Beach Club amenities available April through October, guests need not worry about the details. For guests’ comfort and convenience, beach attendants will be on hand to assist with towel service and chair set-up, along with food and beverages. In the fall and winter months, the beach remains open from sunrise to sunset, but only limited service is available. Special events can be arranged.

For fans of snorkeling, everything a guest might need is available for rental from Rosewood’s Watersports Hut, located at the entrance of the Beach Club. Visitors can rent a mask, a snorkel and fins, and explore the reefs just off the shores of the private beach. The Dive and Watersports Center, meanwhile, is located on the shores of Castle Harbour, just a short tram ride away.

One the best beach/pool experiences ever. Tucker's Point Beach Club infinity pool by the ocean.

Amazing beach. Our cab driver told us that this was one of the most beautiful beaches on Bermuda.

Click for 360 view.

We had quite the visit.

One our way to the airport, we told our cab driver about the experience. He said that Tucker's Point Beach Club did indeed have one of the most beautiful beaches on Bermuda. All beaches on Bermuda are public, up to the water line. In order for you to see this beach, you'd have to be a guest of the hotel, a member of the beach club, or have a boat to get you there. ;-)

He also told us that there were also two other beaches that you could get to by cab, beaches that are accessible by moped, cab or boat. They are by the airport and called Clearwater Beach & Turtle Bay. Read the reviews on TripAdvisor to get a feel for the area.

Looking at the map, also there is Cooper's Island Nature Reserve.
Explore 12 acres of pristine nature reserve to spot seabirds, giant land crabs and ancient Bermuda cedar trees on Cooper’s Island, at the southeastern tip of Bermuda. This secluded area was off-limits for decades: The U.S. military occupied the area and built a battery during WWII, and in the 1960s NASA operated a space tracking station here. It was reopened to the public in 2011, and now it has nature trails and shallow-water beaches perfect for a day trip or picnic. Climb the wildlife observation tower to see a sweeping panorama of the island.
Something we might check out on our next trip to Bermuda.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hamilton Princess Bermuda 2017

Boston to Bermuda is only 1 hour and 40 minutes my plane. A direct flight on JetBlue is always a pleasure.

Our flight was half-full, so after everyone boarded, the flight attendant told us that we could move anywhere we wanted, keeping in my the EXTRA SPACE rows would be charged extra.

We took advantage and moved to the back of the plane, the you could have a whole row to yourself.

We did not anticipate how this would affect us later. Upon landing in Bermuda, we had to go though customs, So, we were at the end of the line. Luckily it moved along quickly.

Taxi to the hotel from the airport was about $35 Bermuda which had a 1-1 exchange rate with US dollars which were readily accepted.

We stayed at the Hamilton, Princess. The hotel recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and is now truly a 4-star hotel.
Hamilton Princess,
76 Pitts Bay Road,

Video Courtesy Hamilton Princess

Hamilton Princess in Legos.

There are two pools at the Hamilton Princess, one lap pool and one salt water infinity pool overlooking the harbor.

Pink hotel buildings made for a fun backdrop.

Harbor view from the hotel.

On the suggestion of a friend, we went to the Pickled Onion on Front Street. The restaurant/Bar is on the second floor. We got a table on the balcony overlooking the street and the harbor.

It was time to sample a beer from one of Bermuda's breweries, Dockyard Brewing Company.

Breakfast on the patio.

Hamilton Princess Beach Club. You can take a free jitney from the hotel to the beach club, which takes 20-25 minutes. There are actually three beaches there that you can use, two are calm and one is more ocean facing. That one looks like it's in someone's front yard, but beach club guests do have access.

It turns out that the Hamilton Princess bought the land where the former Sonesta hotel was. Same place we went on our honeymoon! There's a restaurant and tennis courts here too.

Down the road, about a 15-minute walk, is Horseshoe Bay beach.

Tea Time!

The forecast for the week we were there was for rain, but we only saw one rain shower.

Cocktail time. I don't usually like Heineken, but in Bermuda it tasted better.

Because of all the tea times and cocktail times, we only went to dinner one night, that was at one of the hotel's restaurants, MARCUS'.

Nice salmon.

We also had drinks and appetizers at the 1690 Bar and Restaurant. The two beers on tap were Sam Adams Summer and Honey Ale. I asked about the Honey Ale and the bartender told me it was local. I asked him to show me the tap handle, and saw that the name of the brewery was On De Rock. Here's their story"
The On De Rock Craft Brewery is the brainchild of friends Dave Jones and Simon Watkinson. Dave had been brewing craft beer in Bermuda as a passionate hobby and shared the 100% Bermuda made craft beer with Simon. Simon, a great fan of quality craft brewed beers loved every beer that Dave created. Similarly, everyone that tasted the craft beers Dave made, loved them. Naturally, discussion changed into turning Dave's hobby into a business and the On De Rock Craft Brewery was born.
Would have been nice if the bartender knew it.

The Bermuda Moongate.

Lap pool at night.

Some of the MANY pieces of art in the hotel. They spent millions. Guided tours are offered every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and by special appointment through the hotel.

It's art!

A post shared by Steve Garfield (@stevegarfield) on

Bermuda Tree Frogs whistling for a mate.

Another breakfast. The eggs were off off a buffet, but were nut loose and running, they were nice and fluffy. Also great smoked salmon and fresh fruit.

Thank you Bermuda.

Wine by the water. #thirstythursday #gotobermuda

A post shared by Steve Garfield (@stevegarfield) on

Friday, May 19, 2017

XFINITY TV anywhere in your home via WiFi

Xi5-P allows you to put XFINITY TV anywhere in your home via WiFi, without a a cable connection. Powered by USB-C and connects to TV via HDMI. Supports High Dynamic Range (HDR), but not 4K/UltraHD, that will come in a future device.

Requirements: "To have a Wireless TV box in your home, you'll need XFINITY TV service, at least one additional X1 TV box to act as the primary X1 device on your account and XFINITY Internet with a Wireless Gateway 3 (with RDK-B firmware) to stream video over the Xi5's WiFi connection."

Update: This mini box currently has a $9.95 monthly charge.

Xi5 TV Box FAQ

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Google Maps Send To Car for Mercedes-Benz is Gone

Google Maps 'Send To Car' for Mercedes-Benz is gone.

It used to work, but has been removed. 'Here' maps now supports Mercedes-Benz 'Send To Car.'

GOOGLE MAPS SEND to MERCEDES-BENZ doesn't work any more.

Here Maps 'Send to Car' supports Volvo and Mercedes-Benz. When it works. ;-)

Friday, April 28, 2017

My First Investment

My first investing advice came from message boards on the dial-up internet.

After I got my first job, it was a while before I felt like I had some extra money to invest.

Until then, I kept my money in a savings account in a bank, and let it sit there.

When I was in high school I had a teacher that taught us about the stock market. I really enjoyed his class. He had me bring my copy of the Boston Globe into school each day. This was back when they printed stock tables in the newspaper. And yes, I walked to school every day, up a hill, both ways! ;-)

Each student picked a stock and we tracked it’s performance over time. I looked forward to tracking my stock’s performance each day.

When it came time to invest real money, I turned to online forums to help demystify the investing process. If I remember correctly, I dialed on to online services like Prodigy, and AOL, and joined finance discussions.

Image: Prodigy Online Service Login Page

One popular suggestion for investing was to invest in things that you knew about, that were to growing.

I opened up an online brokerage account, and invested some money. It was a good way to learn about the stock market, and how to buy and sell stocks.

I ended up buying and selling a few stocks based on my online research and direct experience with the companies.

One stock that I ended up buying, after learning how, was Apple. That was a good stock to buy. ;-)

I bought Apple because I worked at a computer store, and was trained by Apple on the first Macintosh computer in 1984. I then became the local Macintosh expert, handling sales and doing demonstrations of the computer. I got to know it very well and decided that it would be a good investment.

Image: Apple Macintosh

There’s a cool website called InvestedInstead that shows you what your investment would be worth today, if you invested your money in a companies’ stock instead of their product.

As of 4/22/2017, if you had invested $2,495 in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock on 1/24/1984, that investment would have grown 347 times to $866,800. [See Macintosh Results as of today]

This experience gave me the step-by-step knowledge of HOW TO BUY A STOCK.

Investing in individual stocks like this is more risky than spreading out the risk in a mutual fund made up of many stocks.


Image: FutureSmart App

An app that you can use to learn about investing and personal finance is the MassMutual #FutureSmart App.

One lesson from the #FutureSmart App confirms what I learned: “Investing your money in a mix of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds can help reduce your risk."

Get the FutureSmart App for free.

Online brokerage accounts make it easy to buy and sell stocks.

You can never know when a stock will got up or down. You can’t worry about it either. I take the long term approach of buy and hold.

I’m a long way off from that day that I bought my first stock. I am still holding on to some of those early stocks, and buying some other individual stocks, where I have direct experience with the companies, like Disney and Facebook.

I now also work with a financial planner to help me spread out my risk with investments in some professional managed funds, where the only decision I have to make is how much money to put into the fund.

Good luck with your own personal investing journey.

Disclosure: This has been a sponsored post for MassMutual.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mercedes-Benz connects to Amazon Echo: Alexa, ask Mercedes me to start the car.

Image: Alexa Mercedes Me Skill Page

Mercedes me for Amazon Alexa

This is cool, Mercedes-Benz just added an Amazon Echo skill to connect to your car, via mbrace.

Steps to connect your Mercedes (2016 and newer) to Amazon Alexa

1. Enable the Mercedes me for Amazon Alexa skill.
2. Connect the Amazon Alexa skill to Mercedes mbrace.

Image: Mercedes me iPhone App screen

Alexa Mercedes Me Skill Description
With Mercedes me for Amazon Alexa, you can access your Mercedes-Benz from the comfort of your couch. In order to effectively use the Mercedes me skill, you will need an active Mercedes me account and an active mbrace subscription.*

The Mercedes me skill allows you to:

Remotely lock the doors
Remotely start your engine**
Send an address or point of interest to your in-vehicle navigation
Manage multiple vehicles

After linking your Mercedes me account to the Mercedes me skill, you can ask questions or give commands, such as:

"Alexa, tell Mercedes me to lock the car."
"Alexa, ask Mercedes me to start the car." **
"Alexa, ask Mercedes me to send an address to the car."
"Alexa, ask Mercedes me to find Starcoffee near me."
"Alexa, tell Mercedes me to update my primary car."

* Select mbrace services are free for five years with any new Mercedes-Benz.
** Available on select 2016 and newer model lines. Check with dealer for details. Features subject to network coverage.

Please note:
• The Mercedes me skill on Alexa currently only supports users in the United States;
• The Mercedes me skill on Alexa will send remote service commands to your vehicle, but will not currently confirm the completion of those commands. However, in the case of remote start, you will receive a remote start status text message to the phone number that is linked to your mbrace account. If you update your phone number linked to mbrace, you will also be required to update your primary car in Mercedes me in order to continue receiving text messages;
• You can manage multiple cars within Mercedes me. However, you can only operate one car at a time via Alexa i.e. the primary car that you set via the Mercedes me skill. In order to change/update your primary car, simply say "Alexa, ask Mercedes me to update my primary car.";
• For Mercedes me customer support, call +1 800-367-6372