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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 1 - Madrid Spain - Tapas and Wine Tour - With Only a Day in Madrid!

Today is Wednesday, September 19th and we just landed in Madrid, Spain from the United States.  Our journey was quite a bit more difficult than we anticipated mainly because our United Global Upgrades that we had submitted for 4 months earlier did not clear in advance of our flights as expected.  Despite that huge disappointment, we were happy to finally arrive on our vacation at 10:00am in the morning.

Walking through the Madrid airport (Madrid-Barajas), it seemed much older than I remember from our visit back in 2009 and not at all modern when considering several several other updated European Airports like Heathrow and Frankfurt.  Customs was a non-event with a couple of flips through the US passport and on to baggage claim.  Our baggage came off the carousel within 5 minutes of showing up at the claim, a far better experience than the 90 minutes we waited in 2011 while in Rome, Italy.  We walked out and quickly located our driver with the Madrid airport transfer service "Ares Móbile" to take us to our hotel, the Westin Palace Madrid.

This was our second stay at this hotel in Spain and each time we have been impressed.  On each occasion the Westin Place Madrid has had a superbly friendly welcoming staff and had been able to accommodate an early arrival and check-in for us.  This time was no different with Celia checking us early to an upgraded suite and and also answering the questions we had.  We will continue to stay at the Westin Palace each time we return to Madrid.

Now that we were checked in, we realized that while it was only 11:00am, we were absolutely starving -- not having adjusted to the 9-hour time difference from the West Coast.  Given we were only in Madrid for a single day before heading to San Sebastian, we knew we had to make a good choice.  Thankfully, Yelp! continues to expand its usefulness in Europe over the past couple of years and we were able to locate a few restaurants with good ratings nearby.

The real challenge was finding one that was open at such and early time.  There were just a handful and after checking out the reviews -- we decided that Miranda would be a good choice to have a mix of Spanish and non-Spanish food items -- and the key was that they were open.  To the server's surprise when we asked for the lunch menu vs. the desayuno (breakfast) -- we were able to get a good meal where I had the Iberian Ham & Beans and Ashley had an Italian Salad (Arugula, Tomato, and Mozzarella).

After our lunch, we decided to take some afternoon rest before heading out for our big evening, the Tapas and Wine Tour by Insiders Madrid (Trip Advisor Ranking here).  However, before our tour we decided to stroll around Madrid in the late afternoon sun since the Puerto Del Sol and the Plaza Mayor are within short walking distance from the hotel.  After enjoying an afternoon snack and sangria in the Plaza Mayor (which remember, will be very expensive based on location -- kind of like having beach-front property -- you're paying for the view) and doing some people watching, we headed to Plaza Santa Ana to meet up with Johanna from Insider's Madrid.

The beautiful view from the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain

Right off the bat, it was easy to connect with Johanna and learn a little bit about her as we were waiting for the other group of 6 to join us.  Then, as the other group arrived -- we knew we were in for a special treat since one of the couples had taken the same tour just a year earlier.  They enjoyed the tour so much that they came back a year later and brought 4 of their friends!  After the initial introductions, we headed out.

The Tapas and Wine Tour in Madrid, Spain from Insiders Madrid consists of 4 varying stops -- including the last one for dessert.  In our case, they were all very different and offered very distinct tastes ranging from Sherry to Rioja wine and cured tuna to flash-fried asparagus.  We had an excellent time and even better company as we ate our way through the first three stops.  To top it off at the end, we completed the night with "Churros and Chocolate" a fitting dessert for a perfect tour.  

Madrid Spain Wine and Tapas Tour eating Wine and Tapas in style!

Johanna was a phenomenal host and we would not only highly recommend her tour to anyone, but also we will choose it again the next time we are in Madrid!

Tapas and Wine Tour Madrid Spain - Dessert of Chocolate and Churros

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fixed! iPhone Safari Cookies Disabled: Safari Browser Settings Keep Resetting Cookies to Never Accept in iOS5 (3 3G 3GS 4 4S)

Recently, I have been running into issues with my iPhone 4 running iOS 5 (5.0.1) where when occasionally using the web browser when logging into Google or another site will tell me "cookies are disabled". Now, I had not made a single change to my settings, but when I browse the app (application) settings for the Safari browser; under Privacy the setting to Accept Cookies is changed to "Never" from either "Always" or "From Visited".

The strange part was that I was not changing the settings and I couldn't figure out for the life of me what was going on. Not to mention it was enormously frustrating that it seemed to happen often and of course at the most important times when I was trying to access something quickly

After researching several sites; it appears that all iPhones (3G 3GS 4 4S) are all impacted by the problem, if they are running iOS 5 and iCloud services. The root cause of the problem appears to be with the Bookmark syncing feature of iCloud. For me, the simple solution was to turn it off in the settings for iCloud. Since I have made the change, my "Accept Cookies" setting in the Safari application has not reverted or reset to "Never" and I have been happily using the browser.

Hopefully, you'll have the same luck.

In case you're not sure how to turn off the "Bookmarks" setting in iCloud -- here's a step-by-step guide on how you can quickly go about it and hopefully alleviate any problems you might have with your iPhone's Safari browser resetting your accept cookies status to never:

1. First, go to settings on your iPhone and select iCloud.

Step 1: To fix the problem with your Safari Browser on iPhone 4 4G 3GS 3G 3 iOS 5 with cookies beings reset to never accept.  Go to settings on iPhone and select iCloud

2. Go to the bookmarks options under iCloud settings which should be set to "On" and turn it off.

Step 2: To fix the problem with your Safari Browser on iPhone 4 4G 3GS 3G 3 iOS 5 with cookies beings reset to never accept.  Turn bookmarks from on to off in iCloud

3. Choose whether you want to accept or delete the bookmarks from your iPhone. I choose "Keep on my iPhone"

Step 3: To fix the problem with your Safari Browser on iPhone 4 4G 3GS 3G 3 iOS 5 with cookies beings reset to never accept.  Choose whether to delete or keep bookmarks on your iPhone

4. iPhone will communicate with iCloud and turn off Bookmarks for your iPhone 3 3G 3GS 4 or 4S device.

Step 4: To fix the problem with your Safari Browser on iPhone 4 4G 3GS 3G 3 iOS 5 with cookies beings reset to never accept.  iPhone will communicate with iCloud and turn off Bookmarks for your iPhone 3 3G 3GS 4 or 4S device.

5. Bookmarks now show as being off for iCloud on your iPhone.

Step 5: To fix the problem with your Safari Browser on iPhone 4 4G 3GS 3G 3 iOS 5 with cookies beings reset to never accept.  Bookmarks now show as being off for iCloud on your iPhone.

If you're like me and you had problems with the iPhone Safari Browser application having the cookies settings constantly reset to never accept cookies, then this should fix your problems. Best of luck and let me know with a comment if it worked!

Incoming search terms:
ios 5 cookies disabled
ios 5 cookies
ios upgrade cookies disabled
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ios5 safari cookies disabled by default
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ios disabled cookies

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

How to get to Maranello, Italy from Florence, Bologna, or other major cities to see the Ferrari Factory and Museum

A few weeks ago on my vacation to Italy, I decided to take a trip to Maranello, Italy to see the Ferrari museum, factory, and test drive a Ferrari F458 Italia on an hour long country drive. Having researched it well beforehand, I was surprised at how difficult information was on how exactly you do go about getting to the town of Maranello, Italy...whether you plan to visit Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagnani, or others. So difficult in fact that it took quite a bit of research and phone call to finally figure out how to do it.

How to get to Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy from Florence, Bologna, or Milan

To make it easy for anyone who plans to visit Maranello, Italy -- I wanted to give a quick guide on the choices you have when planning your trip to Maranello. So, here we go...

The first thing to know is that whether you are coming from Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, or another city in Italy is that you want to get to the Bologna train station first, then connecting to the town of Modeno. From Florence, I found that you could catch a train every 30 minutes or so since Bologna is a stop for just about every train from Rome to Florence or Venice. Depending on the trains you take, the journey can take between an hour and a half to two and a half hours to get all the way to Modena ( from Florence ).

traveling to the Ferrari Factory in Maranello, Italy how to get there

Once you arrive in Bologna, the trains to Modena are generally on the East (OST) tracks, which are set apart from the main tracks. If you have a tight connection, you might need to move quickly.

Then upon arrival in Modena, is when the fun begins. You have two choices of transportation to Maranello which is about 20 minutes away by cab or 30 minutes by bus. Here are how your options look:

1. Taxi -- by far the quickest and most comfortable, but the most expensive. A Taxi from the Modena train station to the heart of Maranello where Ferrari is will cost you $30-40 in euros, but is by far the quickest. Even with a few people in your party, the cost will be 3-4 times the public transportation each way and could also save you up to an hour and a half each way.

2. Public bus. First, take bus number 7 to the main train station...about 3 stops away. The drivers may not speak English and they do not take cash. The ticket will cost you euro $1.20 as of this posting. The machine on the bus does not take bills or give change so be aware. I only had a 2 euro coin, so I donated .80 to the next person to use it. The #7 bus runs every 15 minutes.

Once you arrive at the bus station, go directly to the bus station office across the street. Fortunately, the nice agents I ran into spoke great English and I purchased the continuation fare to Maranello from Modena for euro 2.60. The issue I ran into was that the bus runs only once per hour, on the hour (at the time of this post), so I had 50 minutes to burn before boarding the "80" (Linea 80) bus to Maranello. Once aboard, it should take approximately 30 minutes and you get off at the second Ferrari exit, walk to the corner and turn left to get to the Ferrari Museum and Push Start area.

Tip: If you plan on returning via bus, purchase your return tickets in advance at the bus station as it may be difficult from Maranello.

What did I actually do? On the way to Maranello, Italy -- I took the public bus route to get out to the Ferrari Factory, Museum, etc. On the way back, I took a taxi that I shared with a couple of other folks I met while I was there. The decision for you comes down to time vs. money. In my case, having done the trip now -- I would rather take a Taxi both ways; save at least 1 hour and have more time to spend in the town of Maranello. That'd be my preference knowing you have a limited amount of time to spend and there is so much to see an hear!

Have any questions? Ask in the comments below. Otherwise, good luck and enjoy your trip to Maranello, Italy!

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Angry Bird's Seasons HD - Summer Pignic - 3 Stars Guide Videos - Levels 1-5 - Walkthrough

I recently bought a couple of software applications for my Mac OS X Lion; both iDemo and ScreenFlow. And while I've been using them for other projects; one fun thing I did was record several of the session of Angry Birds Seasons HD and published them to YouTube in High Definition.

This portion of the how to guide provides walk throughs for the first 5 levels on how you can get the 3 start rating: 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, and 1-5. Enjoy!

Angry Birds Seasons - Summer Pignic 1-1 - 3 Stars Walk Thru

This is a recorded session of Angry Bird's Seasons HD Summer Pignic (Picnic) 1-1, level 1. This how-to guide will show you an easy way to get 3 stars in this walk through.

Angry Birds Seasons - Summer Pignic 1-2 - 3 Stars Walk Thru

This is a recorded session of Angry Bird's Seasons HD Summer Pignic (Picnic) 1-2, level 2. This how-to guide will show you an easy way to get 3 stars in this walk through.

Angry Birds Seasons - Summer Pignic 1-3 - 3 Stars Walk Thru

This is a recorded session of Angry Bird's Seasons HD Summer Pignic (Picnic) 1-3, level 3. This how-to guide will show you an easy way to get 3 stars in this walk through.

Angry Birds Seasons - Summer Pignic 1-4 - 3 Stars Walk Thru

This is a recorded session of Angry Bird's Seasons HD Summer Pignic (Picnic) 1-4, level 4. This how-to guide will show you an easy way to get 3 stars in this walk through.

Angry Birds Seasons - Summer Pignic 1-5 - 3 Stars Walk Thru

This is a recorded session of Angry Bird's Seasons HD Summer Pignic (Picnic) 1-5, level 5. This how-to guide will show you an easy way to get 3 stars in this walk through.

3 star
3 stars
high score
high scores
rankings
manual
guide
angry birds seasons walkthrough summer pignic
angry birds seasons walkthrough pignic

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Monday, July 25, 2011

OS X Lion: VMWare Fusion 3.1 Video Issue Upon Upgrade

Checking in with a quick post on VMWare Fusion as I completed my OS X (OSX) upgrade to Lion just a couple of days ago. What I have noticed, specifically in VMWare Fusion version 3.1.1 is that on an infrequent basis, when I am running Windows 7 in a full screen mode I get what I would consider to be a shimmy, bump, or vibration in the video once in awhile. It occurs frequently enough to be annoying, but not enough to be completely disruptive.

Has anyone else seen this problem?

Wondering if it could be a video driver or potential OS X (10.7) Lion issue with VMWare Fusion. Please post below if you have any ideas / solutions. I'll make sure to update this post once I find something out.

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