Removing sagging phone lines from house

Several months ago, after we removed an old gazebo from our yard, I began noticing a sagging line. I was able to ignore it for a while. But, after completing some recent work in the yard, I just couldn’t ignore it any more. 😄

The breaking point was me being able to touch the wire with my head. Not knowing what kind of line this was, I went out to the pole to see what I could find out. This worked out well for me since I was able to trace the line back to this enclosure.

You may not be able to read that sticker, but the important part is that it says Southwestern Bell Telephone, so I immediately knew this was a telephone wire. Since we don’t even use a landline in the house, I began my search to figure out how I could get this line removed.

It didn’t take long to figure out that Southwestern Bell and ATT merged at some point and that I’d need to contact ATT to get the telephone line handled. But, what I wasn’t prepared for was how much of a pain in the ass this would be. I ended up calling ATT multiple times and getting passed through various departments, each time being told that they couldn’t help me because I wasn’t an ATT customer.

After a few failed attempts, over a couple of hours, I finally gave up and messaged ATT on Facebook. I kid you not, within TEN minutes, a customer service representative replied from ATT, giving me a link to instructions for getting the line fixed.

I’ll share the link here in case anyone finds their way to this post in a similar situation. 😄

After following the instructions on the link, a technician was able to come out the same day and remove the unused telephone lines from my house!

Join Us in the Fight for Net Neutrality

July 12 is an Internet-wide day of action in support of Net Neutrality. If you share our love of the free and open Internet and want to join the fight to preserve it, please join in!

Please take a moment today to help by:

(1) sending a message of support to the FCC, which you can do by visiting battleforthenet.com and

(2) enabling the Fight for Net Neutrality Plugin on your WordPress site, to show your support and encourage others to take action, too. Instructions can be found on this article.

Source: Join Us in the Fight for Net Neutrality

Never Forget San Diego

At the Mercury meetup in San Diego, we found out that one of my coworkers is famous in Poland. Enej Bajgoric, a code wrangler at Automattic, was getting tons of Twitter followers for no reason.

When we investigated, we discovered that there was a popular band in Poland named Enej. 

Here is one of the videos that we found from the band. It’s pretty catchy, although the video may be a bit much.

Danielle Feinberg: The magic ingredient that brings Pixar movies to life

I loved this video where Danielle Feinberg discusses how Pixar goes about making immersive videos.

Here are a couple of quotes that I like.

Because in the end we are not trying to recreate the scientifically correct real world. We’re trying to create a believable world. One the audience can immerse themselves in, to experience the story. We use science to create something wonderful.

We use math, science, and code to create these amazing worlds. We use storytelling and art to bring them to life. It’s this interweaving of art and science that elevates the world to a place of wonder, a place with soul, a place we can believe in, a place where the things you imagine can become real. And a world where a girl suddenly realizes not only is she a scientist, but also an artist.

Fawn Qiu: Easy DIY projects for kid engineers

If you’re interested in teaching others problem-solving and engineering skills, Fawn Qiu has 3 guiding principles for creating projects:

  • Low floor: Having a low barrier to entry.
    • Is the project affordable? Are materials readily available?
  • High ceiling: Can the project be modified later to teach other lessons?
    • Ex. (mine) – The first project could be a bear that talks when squeezed, and then could be modified to be a bear that uses the Alexa voice API to respond to commands.
  • Customization: Can the project be made unique for any one person?
    • Ex. (mine) – A student could use a bear or any other animal. A student could also change the commands that the stuff animal responds to.

See Fawn’s presentation for more examples and more explanation.

Pictures from the Binnion wedding (part 1)

I’ve been sitting on some wedding pictures for the past couple of weeks. But, this seems like a great time to share the pictures with you so that I can also test the next release of Jetpack.

All of these pictures are taken by Captured Moments by Kelly who we were very happy to work with. We also had another photographer and a videographer at the wedding, and I look forward to sharing media from them in the future.

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs Recipe

I got a super deal on ribs the other day, so I bought some. But, I have never cooked ribs before, so needed a recipe.

I found this slow cooker ribs recipe and the ribs are in the slow cooker as I type this now. I’m excited for tonight!

Cooking baby back ribs in the slow cooker all day, gives you the possibility of glazing with sauce and having on the dinner table within half an hour of getting home from work!

Source: Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs Recipe

There is no one else

When given a difficult task, it’s easy to think things like:

  • “Surely there’s someone better than can do this?”
  • “I don’t know know how to do that.”
  • “How will I ever get that done?”
  • “I really don’t want to…”

When dealing with thoughts like these, I’ve found it best to take responsibility and to tell my self that there is no one else, at least right at this moment, that can get this task done.

And while that may not be true, it changes the dynamics of how I approach the problem. Once it’s no longer possible to pass the task off, I find that the thoughts become more like:

  • “What’s the first step?”
  • “Is there anything I can model off of?”
  • “I wonder what happens if ___?”
  • “Perhaps someone else has run in to a similar problem and has some insight?”

Photo Credit: Tim Pierce. cc

Barry Schwartz: Our loss of wisdom

One of my coworkers recently shared this video, so I thought it worth a watch. I’m glad I did watch it.

A wise person knows when and how to make the exception to every rule.

A wise person knows when and how to improvise.

Rules and procedures may be dumb, but they spare you from thinking.

– Scott Simon

We know why these scripts are there. We don’t trust the judgement of teachers enough to let them loose on their own. Scripts like these are insurance policies against disaster. And they prevent disaster. But what they ensure in its place is mediocracy.

We must ask, not just is it profitable, but is it right.

– Barack Obama

The single most important thing kids need to learn is character. They need to learn to respect themselves. They need to learn to respect their schoolmates. They need to learn to respect their teachers. They need to learn to respect learning. That’s the principle objective. If you do that, the rest is pretty much down hill.

The 15 Minute Rule for Getting Work Done

I’ve often found myself guilty of breaking both sides of this rule. So, it was a nice reminder when I came across it on Twitter.

Here’s a link to the original article and comment:

https://m.reddit.com/r/MachineLearning/comments/4w6tsv/ama_we_are_the_google_brain_team_wed_love_to/d6diast