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Brian S.

Brian S.

Marketing Director
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Content by Brian S.

  1. Brian S.

    Tips To Handle Extreme Cold

    I consider myself at least somewhat hardy in the cold weather. I’ve lived in what is referred to the icebox of America for my entire life and I’ve been through all kinds of weather. It’s different, though, when meteorologists start throwing around terms like “life threatening cold”. That means things are real. Plenty has also been said about how to stay safe and warm during this most recent polar vortex. Simple logic applies for the most part. Staying safe and warm in extreme cold is something that comes with the territory in the frozen north. If you live in other areas and aren’t accustomed to even occasional bouts of -60º wind chills, you have some catching up to do. The easiest thing to do is limit your time outdoors. I was in and out multiple times in yesterday’s comparably balmy 8º weather with a fresh blanket of six inches of snow on the ground and it was just fine for me while wearing a sweatshirt over my t-shirt. Of course the sun was out and there was very little wind. That isn’t the case when the windchill hits -60º. When it’s that cold, simply don’t go outside unless you absolutely have to. If you have to go outside in that kind of cold, layers are your friend. Not just a warm jacket. Think warmer – warm boots that you might think are fit for traversing an Arctic sled dog trail are a nice start. Add some nice thick socks and you’ve got some warm feet going. Now, let’s talk about your head. Maybe a stocking cap akin to something you’d see in Russia isn’t the most fashionable thing in the world but we’re trying to stay warm so if you have one of those or something remotely close to that, put it on. In a pinch, though, a normal stocking cap that can be had for a cool dollar will work just fine. Don’t forget a scarf, too. Wrap that thing up tight and cover your mouth. Breathing in freezing cold air is awful so avoid it at all costs. Now let’s talk about your hands. Sleek gloves that you can leave on while texting your bestie on your brand new iPhone are worthless. Think thicker when it comes to gloves. You might lose some manual dexterity but it beats losing a few fingers due to frostbite. If you can push the unlock button on your car’s key, that’s really all of the dexterity you need. Now that you’re possibly inside your car, think about the shape it’s in. When is the last time you replaced the battery? Mine seems to be good for about three years and that’s with parking outside plenty of the time. If your car’s battery is older than three years, best of luck to you. There are a few things you can do to make sure that your car does actually start, though. Park out of the wind to start with. I used to snug mine right up against the front of my single stall garage. Maybe it didn’t actually do anything but it gave me what is probably a false sense of security. If your car started, you’re one step closer to staying warm. But what can be done to make sure that your car will start? Beyond the battery that I already mentioned, keep your gas tank as close to full as possible. Stopping at a gas station every other day might seem ridiculous but would you rather be ridiculous or stranded or possibly dead? I’ll take ridiculous, please. Hopefully after all of that, you made it home. But what can be done to keep your home warm or at least comfortable? If the outside temperature is -35º (like it will get to in Minnesota where I’m currently sitting), your home’s furnace simply won’t keep up – even if your house is stuffed with insulation and your windows are seven panes thick. But you can do a few things to keep your humble abode a bit cozier. When was the last time that you changed your furnace filter? More than a month ago? No bueno. Get to your basement or wherever the furnace is located and replace it – STAT! Done with that? Good. Next up is to turn off your programmable thermostat. It seems counterintuitive but working with a steady temperature – in theory – will make your furnace’s job easier. Flip it to the hold setting and likely a degree or two warmer than you typically use. Doing this for a couple days won’t send you to financial ruin. But it will get Arizona dry in your house. So, what can you do to combat the lack of humidity? In all honesty, the best advice I have heard is to have a meal of pasta. What? Seriously. Boiling that water will serve to add at least some humidity into your home’s parched air. Now throw an extra blanket on the bed, leave your bedroom door open to help the warm air to circulate and you’re doing all that you can to stay warm and safe. Do you have more tips (either funny or serious)? Add them in the comments below!
  2. If you're not familiar with what exactly the term Net Neutrality is, below is the definition... "Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating most of the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication." You may be asking yourself, "Self, why does net neutrality even matter to me?" Well, if you're reading this website right now it's because net neutrality exists. In simplistic terms – as defined above – net neutrality keeps the playing field level for all websites. Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and dozens of others, can't legally slow or throttle traffic going to and from certain websites. Without net neutrality, imagine an internet access package priced like your cable or satellite TV package... Imagine a world where the behemoths of the internet (ESPN.com, amazon.com, Facebook.com, etc) have paid the various ISPs a premium so that their website traffic takes priority. Where does that leave some of your favorite websites, including this one? Unless this very website were to pay the fee demanded by various ISPs to be in their preferred package or "fastlane" as many have speculate, the internet as we know it could likely end. Small businesses who strive to become nationally known while starting from something operate from a basement or garage would never have a chance to grow and thrive. Other relatively small players would have their traffic slowed and suffer while the "pay to play" model would create a greater divide than already exists. "But there's no way that something like "internet fastlanes" or traffic throttling could ever happen here in America!" Maybe you're right but the model for it already exists elsewhere. Take this example from Portugal. While the language is completely foreign, the icons of many of the websites in various packages are very familiar. Imagine paying $5.00 per month for a "messaging" category. Another $5.00 per month for access to a bundle of social networks. And the categories keep going... The reason that this is news is because the FCC – under the current leadership of former Verizon executive Ajit Pai – has spun his efforts to dismantle net neutrality as his latest part of deregulatory efforts. Even more unsettling is the fact that a vote to approve "deregulation" of the internet (also known as the dismantling of net neutrality) could be approved by way of a vote by the FCC as early as its December 14th meeting. As mentioned earlier, this move is nothing short of a favor by FCC chief Ajit Pai for the CEOs of the Verizons, Comcasts and AT&Ts of the world. By allowing various ISPs to end the "micromanaging" of the internet, he could very well hand total control of the internet to the same ISPs who have repeatedly blocked community fiber optic internet plans which would give cable television providers legitimate competition in the marketplace, kept the fastest speeds (think "Gigabit" internet) out of reach for the majority of Americans both in terms of price and access, and allowed massive consolidation to run rampant under the guise of "improved service" from ISPs who already lack viable competition in most areas. That makes right now the time for action. It's not too late to speak out and tell your elected officials as well as those employed at the FCC that net neutrality is necessary and dismantling it as it currently exists will further stifle innovation, hurt consumers due to higher prices and turn the internet into a place where only those willing to pay have their news, views and goods readily seen by the masses. Here's a helpful list of FCC email addresses where you can send your emails.
  3. If you're not familiar with what exactly the term Net Neutrality is, below is the definition... You may be asking yourself, "Self, why does net neutrality even matter to me?" Well, if you're reading this website right now it's because net neutrality exists. In simplistic terms – as defined above – net neutrality keeps the playing field level for all websites. Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and dozens of others, can't legally slow or throttle traffic going to and from certain websites. Without net neutrality, imagine an internet access package priced like your cable or satellite TV package... Imagine a world where the behemoths of the internet (ESPN.com, amazon.com, Facebook.com, etc) have paid the various ISPs a premium so that their website traffic takes priority. Where does that leave some of your favorite websites, including this one? Unless this very website were to pay the fee demanded by various ISPs to be in their preferred package or "fastlane" as many have speculate, the internet as we know it could likely end. Small businesses who strive to become nationally known while starting from something operate from a basement or garage would never have a chance to grow and thrive. Other relatively small players would have their traffic slowed and suffer while the "pay to play" model would create a greater divide than already exists. "But there's no way that something like "internet fastlanes" or traffic throttling could ever happen here in America!" Maybe you're right but the model for it already exists elsewhere. Take this example from Portugal. While the language is completely foreign, the icons of many of the websites in various packages are very familiar. Imagine paying $5.00 per month for a "messaging" category. Another $5.00 per month for access to a bundle of social networks. And the categories keep going... The reason that this is news is because the FCC – under the current leadership of former Verizon executive Ajit Pai – has spun his efforts to dismantle net neutrality as his latest part of deregulatory efforts. Even more unsettling is the fact that a vote to approve "deregulation" of the internet (also known as the dismantling of net neutrality) could be approved by way of a vote by the FCC as early as its December 14th meeting. As mentioned earlier, this move is nothing short of a favor by FCC chief Ajit Pai for the CEOs of the Verizons, Comcasts and AT&Ts of the world. By allowing various ISPs to end the "micromanaging" of the internet, he could very well hand total control of the internet to the same ISPs who have repeatedly blocked community fiber optic internet plans which would give cable television providers legitimate competition in the marketplace, kept the fastest speeds (think "Gigabit" internet) out of reach for the majority of Americans both in terms of price and access, and allowed massive consolidation to run rampant under the guise of "improved service" from ISPs who already lack viable competition in most areas. That makes right now the time for action. It's not too late to speak out and tell your elected officials as well as those employed at the FCC that net neutrality is necessary and dismantling it as it currently exists will further stifle innovation, hurt consumers due to higher prices and turn the internet into a place where only those willing to pay have their news, views and goods readily seen by the masses. Here's a helpful list of FCC email addresses where you can send your emails.
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