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Touring Breweries in Fort Collins

We went up to Fort Collins this weekend and had a great time. Here are some tips to make your trip up there even better:

1. get tickets to New Belgium early

We started the day with lunch at coopersmiths. Good food, good beer. Not bad. Unfortunately, we should have started the day around 11:30 at New Belgium getting tickets for the afternoon tours. Then we could have gone to lunch and then O'Dells and finished at New Belgium.

As it was, we took the "self-guided" tour of New Belgium, which was great, but not as good as a full tour.

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Bike to Work Month (at least for me)

"Officially" bike to work month is in May. That seems like a reasonable time: the weather is pretty warm and it's early enough in the year that any converts will likely keep biking throughout the summer. I'm taking a slightly more hardcore approach. My bike to work month is February. If I can bike to work most days in February I think the rest of the year will be easy!

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Freedom Win - Safety Fail

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We ran out of coffee beans this morning so I went to Starbucks. The news-stand said it all:

Front page headline for Denver Post:

U.S. closing door on Guantanamo, torture

Front page third column headline from New York Times:

Freed by U.S. Saudi Becomes A Qaeda Chief - Linked to Yemen Blast After Guantanamo

I guess as my friend Travis Jo said about her Peace Corps experience "International development [and security and...] is tricky."

Broadcast Music Around Your House - Apple Airport Express? Roku? Squeezebox?

Here's the scenario: all of our music is stored as mp3s. We want to be able to control music from a laptop as we sit in our kitchen or back room and have that music broadcast to speakers all over the house and back yard patio. Ideally we'd rather not have to run speaker wires from a central amplifier to the rest of the house. There seem to be 3 or four solutions to this problem.

Apple Airport Express and iTunes

Now that we're a family of Mac users, this seems like a decent solution. We buy a handful of Airport Express units ($100 new or as low as $60 used/refurbished) and install them in a power outlet near the speakers. The speakers have to have their own amplifier and accept a headphone mini-jack input for this to work. I'm also not 100% sure that the airports would all be synchronized in terms of what they play at the same time, though there are multiple articles which claim that it is possible. So, it probably works ;)

Bonus: Each of the airport express units expands the coverage of the WiFi network as well which will make our house super strong...and perhaps we could sell access to that to neighbors...

Drawbacks: iTunes only.

A Dedicated Device like Roku or Squeezebox

Roku and Squeezebox are two alternatives focused specifically on music. Roku is more focused on using the Roku to control the music, costs $200, and doesn't act as a WiFi repeater. The Squeezebox Receiver or Transporter could also do this but, like Roku, are way more expensive at $150 or $2,000 respectively and don't act as WiFi repeaters.

Drawbacks: Still requires some client software on the laptops that is Windows/Mac only :(

Remote Wireless Speakers - Audio Unlimited

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