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Something that interests me…

I find it very intriguing to watch any kind of off-road racing, but particularly World Rally Championship racing, most commonly known for featuring WRX STi’s, Lancer EVO’s, and even VW R32 Beetles and Ford Focus’ that don’t suck! These are hopped up street racers with dirt tires and off-road suspension hell-bent on destroying anything you put in its path. They are infamous for running wide open space on continents like Australia and South America. They literally run uphill (mountains included), downhill and everything in between. They usually run from start to finish but also run a wide breadth of short circuit rally tracks, including ice racing. Great Britain is known for having the most difficult conditions for driving since its mostly on tarmac or gravel in wet, rainy conditions. The notorious mountain runs are held all over in Argentina and create very muddy, slick tracks that leave the navigator and on-looking fans on the edge of their seats. One false move and the whole vehicle would launch over thousand foot drop offs to the valleys below. I would give just about anything to be a professional off-road racer, since you are sponsored and need lots of money to make all necessary repairs both on the track and before the next major event.

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The ISP (Internet Service Providers) I have ‘connected’ with

I can easily say that Comcast Broadband services have overall given me the least problems of any ISP out there that I have used to date. I can say this because I started with dial up services through Chibardun Telephone Service back in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin in the early 90’s. This was also our telephone provider and seemed to be the only available option for getting ‘High Speed’ internet back then without installing cable service. Since 2009, they have been renamed Mosaic Mobile, but that’s just seems like a scheme to fool people into buying into a NEW service. According to Mosaic Mobile’s new information, they make 4MB cost $40 per month or you can contract for the 1-2 year service. The reason this all seems insane to me is Turtle Lake is not that rural, and runs directly in line with US HWY 8 running East and West, and is the hub of both US HWY 63 North and South. Not to mention, the location of the St. Croix Casino, where hundreds of city goers (Twin Cities and Chicago) visit on a daily basis. I have worked with a company under Qwest that sold new and upgraded existing internet service, and many callers were rural but later petitioned for HSI service. It still surprises me then, that Turtle Lake is only capable of a mere 4MB HSI, which is not even fast enough to carry a decent streaming sinal for applications like Netflix or Hulu. I was first stationed in Germany back in November 2003 in the Air Force, and relied on T-Mobile to service the dorms on base. The most challenging aspect was the translation of billing and customer service when needed. We were able to pull a strong signal somewhere near 12MB, but we also had a main T1-3 line running to the base. Now the reason I mention this is Spangdahlem is rural and located in the middle of nowhere. Granted we are the government and have the funding, they still were able to boost a signal strong enough to power the entire base’s infrastructure. It shouldn’t be impossible for a major highway hub to get the fastest ISP instead of relying on local ‘grandfather’ companies to continue to run a monopoly on HSI. Comcast has been the most consistent and carries up to 105MB/ps in certain locations! I have always been able to stream anything I want, and never tie up a phone line, whether it existed, or I had to have one in order to get service. I will continue to make sure I run HSI through cable modem via broadband, and when available I will upgrade to Fiber Optic which is essentially, limitless.

XFinity Comcast

Get download speeds up to 105 Mbps and upload speeds up to 20 Mbps.

    • Perfect for hard-core gamers, households with multiple computers or devices and downloading large multi-media files.
    • Constant Guard® – The most comprehensive online protection of any major Internet provider at home and now on your mobile devices.
    • XFINITY WiFi – Stay connected at over 100,000 XFINITY WiFi and CableWiFi hotspots at no extra cost.
    • XFINITY Connect with 7 e-mail accounts, each with 10GB of storage.
    • Backed by the 30-Day Money-Back Comcast Customer Guarantee.

VS

Mosaic Mobile

$39.95 per month
2 year contract – no equipment fee
1 year contract – equipment fee $99.95
20 GB of Internet usage per month
Speeds up to 4 MB
Month to Month service – equipment fee $199.95
Easy do-it-yourself Installation or have a professional technician install for a fee

*Some restrictions or limitations may apply. Service commitment may be required and/or installation charge may apply.
****Service availability determined by location

A little about me and why I am here…

My name is Timothy Flottum and I am from Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. I have been playing music ever since the day they put that little plastic recorder into my hands. I quickly developed a true passion for music and was enrolled into private piano lessons after school along with my brothers. By fourth grade, I chose the Alto Saxophone as my first instrument to start and I loved it. I played every year for every event including Alumni Pep Band for sporting events, and even Jazz Band by Jr. High. I was accelerated through my lessons and would perform with High Schoolers and fellow Alumni including my parents. I progressed up to a Baritone Saxophone by Jr. High to support the lacking bass line of the band. Now for most average sized kids, this was a challenge, but I was only 4’10” and weighed 120lbs dripping wet. Roughly one year later, I purchased a Tenor Saxophone through the school brand new. I played in the Jazz Band, Solo Ensembles, Large Group Ensembles, Dorian Festival etc. By my Senior year of High School I sang Bass in the Choir and again attended Vocal Dorian Festival. I lived in Wisconsin for my first nineteen years of age until after graduation, and a short stint at WITC- Rice Lake where I attended for Telecommunications Installation. I learned how to climb telephone poles, separate wires in PEDs for telephone and connect existing or new service lines. Aside from the telephone side of communications, I also learned how to perform aerial maintenance using 40 ft fiberglass ladders (with aluminum hooks at the end to balance on the guide wire.) If you weren’t fortunate enough to have solid “level” ground beneath you, then you had to wear your telephone pole gaffs. These were crude leg irons with 3 inch spikes on the inside arch, attached with leather straps over steel toe, steel shank Linesman boots and one large padded strap around the climbers calf portion of the leg. Proper footwear, gaffs, long sleeves, leather gloves and a climbing belt would ensure the most consistent and safe climbs. The trick was to keep your feet on the inside of the pole, a narrow penguin-style walk, two steps up and lift the belt. This process became a swaying motion while walking up the pole and leaning back against the belt and standing straight you could support yourself on the gaffs or spurs.

After trying my hand at the Telecommunications field, as well as several sales positions local to the school, I signed the dotted line for Uncle Sam under the United States Air Force. I enlisted in June of 2003 for a six year term as a 2W0X1 Munitions Maintenance Apprentice. I went through Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas as a ‘slick-sleeve’ Airman Basic or E1. I know what you’re thinking, who would want to train in 115 degree desert heat…well, I didn’t know that until then. We marched, did push ups on searing hot asphalt and crawled in silty sand-like dust every day of physical training exercises and combat drills. It was a great experience and I only wish I had gone during a cooler time of the year. I made E2 Airman and now weighed in at 180lbs and stood 5’11”! My advanced training for Technical School was at Sheppard Air Force Base located in Northern Texas in a small tumble-weed town named Wichita Falls. By October I was graduated as an E3 Airman First Class. Check out this link to explain the rank structure of the Air Force.

http://home.comcast.net/~36tfs/images/USAFE_AFG-080507-006.jpg

I graduated and was assigned to Spangdahlem Air Base in Northwestern Germany near Bitburg. I served a tour in Afghanistan during the elections in 2004-2005. I accepted a temporary duty assignment (TDY) to Eielson, Alaska during Operation Cope Thunder in February of 2005..again wrong place, wrong time -50F and ice everywhere with only 8 hours of daylight. But, all in all, I am very fortunate to have traveled as much of the world as I have. During my three years in Europe I traveled the local countries of France- Paris, Reims, St Mont Michelle, Normandy, Luxembourg- Lux City, Belgium- Koln were the most common daily drives only three quarters of an hour to a full three hours away from the base. I took in German Wine Fesitvals, operas, toured all the major cities and drove the Autobahn highway systems all throughout Europe from the port of Calais, France to the city of Torino for the Winter Olympics, and the island of Lido off of Venice, Italy. After a three year tour overseas, I stationed myself back in the states and pursued education in many varying forms such as medical and auto collision repair. It all kept bringing back to what made me the most happy, music. I moved back to Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin-Superior to Major in Music. I found that I had much to offer but still didn’t feel the passion was going anywhere productive, except to the listening audience. I wanted to create music to accompany emotion and drive motion picture. I enrolled at the Institute of Production and Recording in Minneapolis as a Audio Production Engineer and have since transitioned to my true passion of Sound Design where I will be able to implement my talents on a daily basis and learn the arts of sound design/digital film production. I know I am in the right place now, because on days off…I can’t wait to get back into the studio and create!

Oregon Trail…either you know it or you grew up with it

Monochrome Oregon Trail

My favorite game of all time has to be Oregon Trail. If you’ve been following me then you remember me mentioning it as my first gaming experience on the original Apple IIe in Monochrome green/black. I can remember just playing the game in order to get through to an area to hunt. I will be posting as many versions possible that I can find. The last time I remember playing it was on our Macintosh LC III at home via the disc cache provided. Much to my amazement, there is actually an app for the iPhone, and yes I will be downloading it! As I type this blog, WordPress is actually finding words that relate to information already available on the internet. As I was saying before I drifted off into the techno realm, Oregon Trail was created in 1971 by MECC out of Minneapolis, Minnesota which became established in 1973 when people were needing readily available Apple II software for educational purposes in the Twin Cities area. Back in the early 80’s when I first played this game, you had to check out an old 5 1/2 floppy (as pictured here next to 3 1/2 floppy disk). MECC then released the popular Oregon Trail in 1974 for the consumer market, available only on 5 1/4″ floppy disk for the Apple II Microcomputer.

floppy disks

The original floppy was actually measured 8 inches and was developed in the 1960’s but was later reduced to 5.25 inch for commercial use by the 1970’s. Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium was sure to be as progressive as the improvement of computers continued. So from Macintosh they moved from Apple through Macintosh into the DOS and Windows platforms of the 90’s. By 2009 the software was available through Nintendo game systems like the DS and Wii. As late now as 2011 there is an app available to Android, iOS and Windows cellular phones!

OTappOTgames The games are much more interactive and I have to play in more on my phone to get used to it compared to the classic. Not bad for a game that started almost 40 years ago! I would dare say the most influential game of its time and now possibly, future generations.

My first external Hard Drive

When I look at my first external hard drive I realize that we have come a long way with our technology. Now granted, I’m no technical expert and there were other hard drives available for much more in order to eliminate external power and cache size…but, I didn’t know anything about this drive at the time. I knew that I needed to backup lots of pictures and $80 for 250GB seemed like quite the steal. Later that evening I would find out how much of a pain in my a$$ the power cord would become along with the enormous amount of heat it would create. I can remember moving this thing in my backpack and never being too kind to it. The things that caught my consumer eye were LaCie is made by F.A. Porsche. I still do not know if this has anything to do with the infamous German car maker, but it caught my eye. I have since upgraded to a mini 500GB hard drive through OWC and it is capapble of running FireWire 800. This is the exact same one they had the students purchase but 1/4 its size. I have also learned about hard drives since and find them quite fallible unless you are able to get your hands on a solid state drive and better yet, ruggedized

Image

If you seem to treat your hard drive much like I did, then you probably want to spend the extra money to make sure it can take whatever you throw at it.

Computers…from back in my day

I can remember my family’s first computer like it was yesterday, the Macintosh LC-III. Boy this thing was state of the art, with an external CD-ROM port, a slotted 3 1/2 inch disk drive on the CPU, and an HP Deskwriter C printer! My parents purchased this item for the family in the early 90’s and it was top of the line, with 256 graphic pixel capabilities, 25Mhz processor, I mean we could watch screen savers, listen to sound effects and create our own works of art through the drawing program installed with the included software. We mostly gathered up a collection of computer CD-ROM games, (which were CD discs that had to be loaded into the cache before they were inserted into the external CD-ROM) and watched in awe at the graphic quality and amazing sounds. Going back to my earliest encounter with computers was when  I was merely seven years old, the Apple IIe. I remember being issued my first 5 1/4 inch floppy disk to write my name on, back in second grade! This was mine, and I would be saving word processor notes and game activity from my ‘station.’ This was too cool! I clearly remember using arrow keys and the function keys to navigate the black and green monochrome resolution. My favorite game to this day would have to be Oregon Trail; I enjoyed hunting more than reading the story line. I am just now realizing as I write this that my small school of only 350 students, in a town of only 850 people at the time, had the latest and greatest computers to date from 1983 on the Macintosh line! This means I was born the same year 1983, and almost exactly one month prior to the full Macintosh desktop release date! (Start this video to view the boot up of the Apple IIe and re-live the nostalgia) Before any computer games or computers were even relevant to me, I was using my older brothers 3-D Viewer to look at film slides on rotary configurations. I was raised through my elementary years of grade school utilizing overhead and slide projectors, listening to audio separate from video using vintage metal and rubber headphones. My first Sony Walkman was the FX 21, I could carry the radio wherever I went and listen to audio cassettes. I am excited to continue sharing what I have experienced and compare it to what I know today. Computer technology will only continue to get better and smaller, and the need for portability will only push the market further into the mobile phone market. It has been 29 years since the release of Macintosh, and now we are up to handheld mobile computers capable of virtually anything via apps and internet connectivity.