Great Last Minute Amazon Prime Deals…or not

It’s Way Past Midnight & Prime Day Hasn’t Ended Yet!!!

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There should be less than 1/2 hour left for Prime Day…but its still going strong.

I think that perhaps Amazon has decided to extend the closing time a bit because of all the webste glitches that customers experienced throughout the sale.

I got my order in just under the wire because I was attempting to write this post at the same time as I placed my order. The title reflects the fact that many of the things I ended up purchasing aren’t really Prime Day Deals at all…rather they are just good prices for a plethora of my favorite Amazon tech.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Spring and Summer means that there are many more thunderstorms.

Thunderstorms mean power fluctuations…most notably power surges.

We’ve had far too many devices ruined by power surges. Overall we’ve been lucky in that our warranty’s and extended coverage programs have resulted in our spending less than we would have had otherwise. But the number of incidences has been high…much higher than anyone we know!

Right now I need to replace a few year old Mac Mini, its Time Machine hard drive, its 2nd Time Machine Hard Drive which I’ve already replaced once before, an HP Tower Windows 7 computer, and the clock circuit board for our oven which I’ve also replaced twice.

Why All The Surges?

That’s a really great question that I’ll leave until after Prime Days…so I can get this published. But the short answer is…I think that old outdated power lines from our electrical utility supplier are to blame.

These Are 2 of the Best UPS’s That I Know Of

An Uninterruptible Power Supply both protects your devices  from power surges as well as conditions the power so that a steady supply is provided which causes less wear and tear on them.

This is the closest model to what we purchased from APC roughly 11 years ago because our model is no longer sold.

APC UPS BE650G1  $81.77

The older model this replaced is a tried and true favorite amongst APC customers. APC is widely recognised as the top power supply protection supplier in the US.

I bought 2 of the model shown below around 2 weeks ago to test out and now I am getting 3 more of the same. These are replacing old APC UPS’s which have protected all of the devices in our home for much longer than they should see have. Each time a UPS takes a power surge hit (in lieu of your device taking the hit) its life is reduced a little bit.

This is the model we’re getting today.

APC UPS BX1500M $149.99

This model is much larger than our previous ones. It conditions the power going into devices better and will protect more devices for longer as well as handle more surges before it stops protecting against surges, for longer too.

Alexa Enabled & Echo Devices

This what I’m ordering right now beforehand the sale ends.

Echo Show $129.99

I gave one of the original 2 Shows that I got when they were first launched to my elderly (in their 90’s) parents last week to use as an intercom and for a method of communications with their Grandkids. Since this price is so great I think we need another one too. Did I mention that I LOVE Echo show?

Echo Show with 2 Echo Buttons $145.00

7 Echo Spots $99 x 7 = $700

These are Xmas presents for nieces and nephews so that they can video chat with Grandma and Grandpa who’ll use their new Echo Show.  According to CamelCamelCamel this is the best price that the Spot has ever been made available at.

Echo Connect $29

Echo Connect transforms your land line telephone calls into hands free calls which work with your Echo devices.

I also got a miscellaneous assortment of other devices…some Alexa enabled and some not. Here’s some of them:

Apple Watch Charging Cable $24.99

Echo Spot Stands $19.99

Alexa Enabled Remote with a Fire TV Stick $19.99

I really just wanted the voice remote to use with our Alexa devices, but since St the same price with or without the Fire TV Stick, I’m getting the Fire TV Stick too.

A Techmate iPad stand. This a really solid, weighted, iPad stand. I’d just purchased this for myself a few weeks ago but when I was visiting my 92 year old Dad I realized that he should have it. So I gave him mine intending to order another one on Prime Day.

Deals for Readers

Hurry Prime Day Deals End at Midnight

I’m sorry to be sharing this so late. Prime Day ends at midnight and I hadn’t planned on sharing anything. But then I ran across this amazing deal for anyone with a Prime account that convinced me to write this as quickly as possible.

If you’re a person who loves to read then having an Amazon Prime account can provide a lot of additional benefits beyond the normal saving and shipping ones which everyone knows about and loves.

Some of the reading programs we belong to include:

  • Kindle Unlimited

This program lets us borrow up to 6 titles at a time to read or listen too, and it’s saved me a small fortune beyond the savings of free shipping. Anytime I write some in-depth piece a do a lot of research first. More often than not I find content in Unlimited that helps me more quickly grasp all the nuance of the situation I happen to be writing about.

But what helps even more is having the ios Kindle app read these out loud to me as I do other work. It’s a huge time saver too because the Kindle app works so well with ios accessibility features. If it’s an audio book, I can even turn my iPhone or iPad or iPhone off….and the Kindle app will continue reading to me if the book is an actual audio book not being converted to text.

  • Amazon First Reads

Truly I don’t know much about 1st reads. I use Kindle Unlimited a lot. But some of the other programs I constantly forget the names of I use less often. For example I just borrowed the below book with Unlimited and didn’t pay attention at first to the First Reads deal that I almost missed.

A Highly Reviewed New Audio Book

Link to the Product page for all versions of the book ‘A River in Darkness’.’

It’s Free on Kindle Unlimited, so I just borrowed the audio version for free.

Prime members get to participate for free in Amazon’s First Read’s program.

Get Prime Free for 30 Days

To learn more about Amazon’s First Read’s Program use the link below.

First Reads + Amazon Prime Programs

Get 3 Months of Kindle Unlimited for $.99

Save 66% on 3 Months and of Audible for Reading Audio Books

Anytime we download an audio book it’s an Audible One…but we don’t have and Audible account.

That’s because Audible and Amazon merged many years back. It’s also because I’m cheap…I reacher use Siri to read to me for free. But my husband prefers real audio books from Audible…so we’re leaning more and more in that direction.

Today Only the First Reads Program let’s all Prime Members Download 7 Great Books for Free

So, that deal includes the one borrowed using Unlimited.


Prime Day only comes once a year. It’s been by far the best day ever for picking up Alexa enabled devices because you can’t beat Prime Day prices.

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PokémonGo Fest 2018 Current Information for Players

Aerodactyle is at Navy Pier

GoFest ’18 Introduction

I was at GoFest 2017 which was a complete shambles of an event. I had high hopes for GoFest 2018 until the ticket sale…which went exactly the same way 2017’s had despite efforts on Niantic’s part to avoid similar problems.

The main problem was that all of the tickets were sold out in minutes to scalpers who are charging anywhere from $200 on up to beyond $1000 per ticket. We purchased scalped tickets last year in the $200 price range, which, for the money was a horrible investment in retrospect.

So, while I did attempt to buy tickets online through the main ticket sale…and was ready and willing a few minutes before the sale went live…I like thousands of other PokémonGo fans was essentially locked out of the purchasing activities by the flood of scalpers who used bots to flood the ticket sale thereby real people from doing so.

Given the circumstances, I wasn’t about to buy scalped tickets again, but decided to come to Chicago anyway in the hopes that everything else about the event would be as poorly managed as last year. The reason is because last year, in an attempt to prevent a major public relations disaster Niantic opened up the festival to the entire city of Chicago. I was banking on that and it appears that I was at least half right so far.

PokémonGo’s Most a popular YouTuber’s Were Invited by Niantic to All 4 Summer Events

GoFest ’18 Friday Night

Currently I’m sitting in my hotel room writing this after spending a very late night last night roaming the city catching all the cool Pokémon that Niantic released here for the entire city to enjoy. Later on in this post I’ll cover exactly which Pokémon are roaming the streets for the entire city’s enjoyment during the event.

But first I’ll cover some of the details for attendees who were lucky enough to actually procure tickets for themselves.

GoFest Saturday

I talked to quite a few people who attended Saturday’s event and learned what the jist of the event was about. Attendee’s follow a trail which is outlined on the event map shown below. At each habitat they are instructed to catch at least 10 Pokémon. I was told this is a relatively simple task because it was designed for all levels of play.

Event Map

This is the map all ticket holders receive.

GoFest '18 Event Map

Where to Go for Check-in & Niantic’s Published Event Information

This is the main Niantic website  for the event.

Below I’ve provided screenshots for the most important information about the event location, where to check-in and more related to the event’s resources and location. You should be able to click or tap on an image and have it appear in full screen mode to see the detailed information better.

Entrance & Where to Park

Transit Information – Getting to the Park

ADA Handicapped Parking Arrangements

Check-In Information & Guest Services

Ticket Will Call Information & Stations for Nursing Moms

Maps and More Information for Getting There

I don’t know why but I like my information in small chunks which is why I began taking these screenshots as I prepared to leave for Lincoln Park. Later I decided to include them within this post.

Event Entrance via Event Map

Here’s a view of the entrance shown using the event map provided by YouTuber ‘The Trainer Club’ who’s there and reporting updates on his YouTube channel.

Event Entrance via Google Maps

PoGo Fest 18 Entrance on Google Maps

Some Google Street View Photos of the Event Entrance

Another View of the Benjamin Franklin Monument

News Resources

Look for Updates at the Resources Listed Below


Do a search in Twitter using these hashtags to get current information.



Below:  While I Caught Pokémon my Husband Shot Graffiti.

I kinda like this one because it looks a little bit like a Pokémon (I think :-)


YouTuber’s Who are Here & Are Covering GoFest

YouTubers Covering the Event

Reversal and Trainer Tips are my 2 personal favorite PokémonGo YouTubers. The game has garnered a huge number of YouTube devotees however…all with excellent channels.


Trainer Tips

Pokemaster Holly

Although she hasn’t published any GoFest videos yet she was holding the gym closest to my hotel so I know she’s here.


Another favorite PokémonGo YouTuber who Niantic invited to come.

The Trainer Club

I’ve already mentioned him once, but Trainer Club’s information seems to be among the best currently covering the event. He’s produced a lot of up-to-date information on-site about GoFest…albeit…some is inaccurate…always a problem with ‘live’ information. But he takes great pains to update with corrected information ASAP. 

Lifting and Zombies 

I don’t typically follow this YouTuber because I just discovered him but he’s done a nice job explaining the problem with spoofing this event in the form of this Spoofing Guide.

Other Great Resources

CBS Chicago

CBS Chicago provides recent local news coverage of PokémonGo Fest.

The Sliph Road website has a great comments section where people are sharing information.

Wild Pokémon That are Appearing in Abundance Around Chicago

My Hotel internet connection keeps cutting out so I’m having a lot f trouble uploading images, but I’ll keep trying. In the meantime, here’s a list of the Pokémon I’ve been catching a lot of:

  • Treecko
  • Torchic
  • Aaron
  • Minun and there’s a shiny one!
  • Magmar
  • Snowrunt
  • Swablu
  • Loudred
  • Alola version of Geodud
  • Trapinch
  • Walimer
  • Lunatune
  • Slugma
  • Whismur
  • Tangela
  • Alola Form of Digglet
  • Cacnea
  • Carvanha
  • Onix
  • Spoink
  • Shuppet
  • Mudkip
  • Lotad
  • Nosepass
  • Aerodactyle
  • Beldum
  • Cacturne is everywhere.

Someone Said Navy Pier is a Great Place if You Don’t Have a Go Ticket

They weren’t kidding! I’m here right nowand catching so many rares or evolved forms like the Cacturne shown above.


Its taken me months and month but last night I finally finished my first special research quest and I caught Mew!


I don’t know if this what everyone caught but mine seems to have near perfect IV’s. I can’t think of a time when I was more excited playing PokémonGo!


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Solution to ‘Can’t Connect to Public WiFi’ Android Marshmallow 6.0.1


We’re traveling and I brought my Samsung S7 Tablet which I only use occasionally. We’re staying at a Hyatt Hotel that has an unsecured public WiFi. Initially my iPad had a problem connecting to the network but after rebooting it did connect. Pulling up a sign-in Page and agreeing to the terms is necessary, even though it’s a free, unsecured network.

Later I tried the same thing with a Samsung Tab S tablet and it encountered the same difficulty. Even knowing how to handle connecting failed to help resolve the problem on Android. After a few minutes of searching Google I finally found the solution buried within a forum which seemed obscure enough for me to make the decision to publish it again here.

The Problem

Connecting to a public WiFi with an Android device on OS version 6.0.1 Marshmallow fails. What’s really confusing about this is that the device appears to connect to the network. It says it’s connected and even shows signal strength but it’s not really connected. The reason is because seeing and agreeing to the WiFi’s terms is necessary before a successful connection can be made. See the screenshot below.

Below:  Settings Shows I’m Connected with Fair Signal Strength but the top status bar shows no bars…Google Play says I have no internet connection.Android connection looks OK but shows no bars

The Solution

The solution was a simple one once I found it. Just to make sure everyone reading this understands the environment, I’ll reiterate that first.

  • Device Used:  Samsung Tab S 7” tablet
  • OS is Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • The WiFi I’m attempting to connect to is the Hyatt Hotel unsecured public WiFi.


Go into SettingsGeneralDate and Time

Look for the box ‘Automatic date and time‘ and add a check to the checkbox.

Connecting to WiFi

You can try to connect to the unsecured WiFi either in Settings – Connections – WiFi 


You can try opening Chrome or Google Play to see if you can engage in an automatic process for the same thing to happen.

In either event it’s important that after selecting ‘Connect‘ you see the public WiFi’s browser based login page, which displays some terms you need to agree to 1st. After agreeing you should connect automatically.

Below:  After following the step described above I finally connected for real!



You can leave comments or questions below.


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News: at vsatips & at home

In case you’ve been wondering why I haven’t published anything new recently, here’s why and what I plan to do about it.

My New Hip

My first and the biggest reason was my recent hip replacement, which I wrote about in 2 Posts and a 3rd I never finished (about when a THR patient can resume various activities.)

Visiting an Offshore Oil Rig

My son works for Shell as an Engineer, and he was leaving to work for a year on their newest offshore rig called the Appomattox. Family members were invited down to Texas to visit the rig before it was launched out into the Gulf of Mexico. This was such a unique and cool opportunity, it motivated me to really get myself mobile again very quickly. So we went to Corpus Christie a few weeks after my new hip surgery to see what living on an offshore oil rig is all about.

It was an amazing experience!

I took tons of pictures and videos but was asked by Shell not to post any of them publicly or online :-( What I can share is their own public video. So below is a very cool video that Shell Oil produced about the amazing Appomattox, which is the rig my son is living on. The video describes it’s construction which was completed in South Korea and shows it setting sail for the USA.

Changing vsatips to its New Domain

About a year ago I acquired the domain but then I never switched to it because it seemed complicated and I was worried I’d goof something up. I finally ‘bit the bullet’ and made the switch! I didn’t goof anything up either!! But I still do have a little bit of work to do to make sure that everything that was connected to my site, before remains connected after the switch.

Hallway Messages

My husband and I started a new company called Hallway Messages. You can read about what we’re doing here.

My Hubpages Articles

Around the same time I began this website my early work was transferred  to Hubpages from a blogging community I’d joined to learn all about blogging. That company went out of business and made arrangements with Hubpages, a similar platform, to absorb all of the users. I’ve made a concentrated effort in the 3 years since that occurred to get to know Hubpages and find a place for myself within that community. I haven’t been very successful in that endeavor.

Hubpages originally published my original work but as I update and expand those articles they’ve fairly consistently moved things to a category in which they don’t appear on Google. In my opinion that action makes those articles all but useless because no one could ever find them. Apparently Hubpages was bought out by or merged with someone else and they completely changed the way that they do things. So, once again I discovered that I would need to learn an entirely new platform. I had decided to give it one last try for the last 30 days, so I’d been vigorously updating things and engaging in their communities to see if I might want to keep my content there. Once I came to my new realization that this is no longer the Hubpages I begrudgingly joined three years ago I decided to call it quits.

I did find the communities in general to be friendly and helpful, but I realized that there’s an atmosphere there I can’t describe well. It resembles a sort of depressing corporate mentality that I simply can’t or don’t want to identify with at this point in my career…not that all corporate mentalities are depressing…but I’ve experienced some that are, and that’s the closest thing I can think of to describe the atmosphere I feel there.


That experience has made me appreciate being on WordPress in a way that I hadn’t in a long time. I remember feeling this way when I first joined, and how wonderful that feeling was knowing that I am truly 100% in control of my own destiny and success.

Hubpages is sort-of an ‘all-consuming’ environment that draws you in without your realizing it and seems to try hard to not let you go. So for the last 30 days I’ve been so consumed with it that I’ve not produced any new content here or at vsatrends. That stops as of today!

While there isn’t really a lot of my content that matters to me that much at Hubpages, there are 3 things which do:

  1. An article I wrote about my Dad and a friend of his about when they were Marines fighting with Dog Company during the Korean War.
  2. An article about my family’s experience when our home network was hacked.
  3. An article about the technology which allowed our home network to be hacked.

I will be publishing those here some time in the near future.

Tomorrow I’m taking a quick day trip to visit my sister and niece. On the following day, Wednesday, I’ll be back home and once again will devote all of my attention to writing full-time at vsatips. In the meantime, if you missed it here’s a link to the first in what will be a series of articles about Firewalls and protecting your home network which I plan  to finally finish soon. I’m also including a 2nd link below to another series I began on Cutting the Cord from your traditional TV program supplier.

I Cut the Cord from Time Warner Cable in our home in the fall of 2016. I wanted to wait for a while to make sure that the experience was a good one before writing the rest of my guide about the steps we used…but waiting 2 years was never my intention! Yet almost 2 years later  I realize that we still are alone amongst our friends in having done this. The process was really simple looking back on it and the cost savings have been tremendous! It’s even easier now to find other sources to supply you with the television content you’re leaving than it was 2 years ago, so I realize that I need to finish this for my friends and family.

Last I’d like to say Thank You to all my regular readers and subscribers for sticking with me even though I haven’t been writing much this lately…I promise that will change as of today!

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