Friday, September 8, 2017

B&H Photo - 30 Day Price Guarantee

Recently purchased a new graphics card over the Labor Day weekend as my old one fried. B&H wasn't the cheapest price, but was close. Unlike Amazon though they actually had a unit in stock and shipped it once I ordered. Amazon was 1 to 4 weeks shipping. About 3 days after I ordered I noticed the price had dropped about $8. I saw others had been able to get refunds for price drops in the past, so decided I would give it a shot. Couldn't have been easier. I jumped on their live chat and was done within a minute. Always good habit to watch the price of items even after you purchase them, especially with B&H, because it couldn't be easier to get a refund for the price difference. This is one of the reasons everyone loves B&H so much. Great service!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Great American Eclipse - Crescent Lake NWR Nebraska

I was able to make the journey up to western Nebraska on August 21 for the Great American Eclipse. It was a an incredible experience and cant wait for the next one.

I left Amarillo around 8:30pm on Sunday August 20 and head north thru western Kansas. Was able to drive till about 2:30 and made it just short of Nebraska border. Slept a few hours and then hit the road before sunrise for north of Oshkosh, NE. I made it to a place to stop under totality about 25 miles north of Oshkosh in the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The whole eclipse experience was incredible. No pictures or video do any justice for seeing it in person. After the eclipse I drove back to Amarillo and was back home by 11pm that night. Cant wait for 2024.

Here are my photos. Click to enlarge.

5x speed video of totality-

Regular speed -

Southwest Chase Credit Card (Rapid Rewards) (Updated 2020 offer link)

Looking for a link to the Southwest Chase Card -  Southwest Chase Card Link (now you can pick your card).
(Links updated Oct 2020)

In March of 2017 I picked up the Southwest Premier card as we were about to replace our A/C on our house, with no intentions of picking up the second card. We just wanted the 50,000 points which would be enough to go to Costa Rica. After buying our A/C and getting the 50k, I saw how easy it would be to get the second card when my wife had me look into it again. We only need to spend a couple thousand to reach the 110k threshold, which was easily done with groceries, gas and a couple bills.

By the end of May we had crossed the needed 110k points with two 50k point bonuses on the Premier and Plus cards and not taken a single flight. In doing so we have already had one family vacation covered, still have Costa Rica upcoming, and 64k points left to use over the next 16 months to go along with the Companion Pass. That is essentially another 128k points when used in conjunction of the companion pass.

We were able to earn the companion pass again in early 2020 by opening a Premier and a Business card, so will have a companion pass through the end of 2021.

There is a ton of great information out there on the different ways to earn this, but if you have any questions about it dont hesitate to ask me. If you have any issue with the link above, just leave a comment.

GRLevel3 Version 1.xx (radar link fix/patch)

For many of us when when the NWS changed their server address, it caused GRLevel3 version 1 to become useless program for it's users. Thanks to "radar27" on the, we have a solution that works. Just follow the directions listed below and you should regain use of GRLevel3. It worked for me. When I got to the step to enter "httpd.exe", I would get what looks like an error but everything still worked after I opened GRLevel3.

Information on the NWS server change:
"The current public NWS server is changing to a different URL. Here's a link to the SCN:
According to that SCN, the current public NWS server URL will stop working on June 15, 2016. Unless NOAA implements some sort of redirect on the current URL then the results will be catastrophic for GRLevel3 1.xx users and GRLevel3 2.40 or earlier users.
Impact on specific GR programs:
1. GRLevel3 1.xx
Complete loss of radar data. There is no recourse except to upgrade to GRLevel3 2.50 or higher. See the FAQ: For GRlevel3 1.xx Users post for information on upgrading to GR3 2.xx: viewtopic.php?f=34&t=7160
2. GRLevel3 2.40 and earlier
Complete loss of radar and live LSR data. Must update installations to GRLevel3 2.50 or higher.
3. GR2Analyst 2.41 and earlier
Loss of live LSR data. Must update to GR2Analyst 2.50 or higher.
NOTE: people using a private L3 server, like, will continue to receive live L3 data."

All information was posted on -

Hi All, I had been using GRLevel3 version 1.41 for some time and recently discovered the radar feed was no longer working. Though a Google search, I found this thread which helped explain what was wrong.  I decided to dive into the issue to see if there was something that could be done to restore the radar feed without the need to upgrade.  Fortunately, all the needed data is still there, we just needed a URL translation to get to it.  The following has been tested on Windows 10 64 bit, but should work on Windows 7, 8/8.1 and probably Server 2008/2012/2016.

After running GRLevel3 through a local proxy server, it was discovered that it is trying to pull radar data from, which is now decommissioned.  Following the notice posted took me to that included the URLs which superseded the http://weather.noaa.govsite.  It turns out that the feed we need is now available at  This means all we have to do is translate what is destined to to  Fortunately, this capability is well within range when using the open source Apache webserver (  This, coupled with a local hosts file edit can restore the maps.  Here are the steps to do so.

1)   Download a compiled version of Apache version 2.4 for Windows from  Be sure to select the correct version for your Operating system (32bit versus 64bit).
2)   Download the Visual Studio Redistributable from
3)   Unpack the Apache zip file to some convenient location, this can use native Windows unzip or other utilities like 7-zip.  Enter the unpacked folder (httpd-2.4.23-win64-VC14 for the 64 bit version at the time of this writing).  Within that folder there will be a folder labeled Apache24.
4)   Move the Apache24 folder to the root of the C:\ drive.  You may be prompted if you have UAC enabled on your system.
5)   Navigate to C:\Apache24\conf folder and open up httpd.conf, if prompted, you will probably want to use Notepad.  Clear out all of it’s contents and paste in the following:

ServerRoot "c:/Apache24"
LoadModule access_compat_module modules/
LoadModule actions_module modules/
LoadModule authz_core_module modules/
LoadModule autoindex_module modules/
LoadModule env_module modules/
LoadModule include_module modules/
LoadModule isapi_module modules/
LoadModule negotiation_module modules/
LoadModule proxy_module modules/
LoadModule proxy_http_module modules/

    AllowOverride none
    Require all denied

DocumentRoot "c:/Apache24/htdocs"

    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride None
    Require all granted

    Require all denied

ProxyPass "/pub" ""
ProxyPassReverse "/pub" ""
ProxyRequests On
ProxyVia On

6)   Save the http.conf, if UAC is enabled, you may need to save this to a Documents folder and copy (and overwrite) the contents in C:\Apache24\conf\httpd.conf
7)   Run the Visual Studio Redistributable (vc_redist.exe) and accept all defaults
8)   Open up notepad as an administrator
9)   Go to File -> Open
In the file name box, paste in:
10)   Hit Open
11)   This will present you with the systems hosts file, we want to add the following in one line, at the bottom:

12)   Go to File -> Exit, when asked to save, say yes.
13)   Open up a command prompt as an administrator
14)   Type:

cd \Apache24\bin


15)   At this point the proxy should be active, open up GRLevel3 and go to your home site (or navigate around to a site that may have activity).   You should see radar imaging populate.
16)   If everything works ok, you can install Apache to execute as a system service automatically.  At the command prompt (run as administrator), hit CTRL+C to stop the httpd.exe process.  Once it exits and you get the C:\ prompt, type the following:

httpd.exe -k install

17)   Lastly, you can start the apache service by typing:

sc start Apache2.4

18)   The apache service is now started and will automatically start with the system and GRLevel3 version 1.41 should work as it had previously."