“Recently there has been some talk among the citizenry about a destination park on the State’s long-held Dorothea Dix property. Concerns were raised in committee about the presence of art and visitors on state land, and the State has hence revoked the lease with the City of Raleigh. Too, there has been discussion among the citizenry about art installations and festivals on the legislative mall; also state land. Because the State of North Carolina is not in the arts and entertainment business, it seeks ideas to keep the citizenry off our lawn. Possible solutions include fencing off the property from the citizenry, removal of the grass, and the installation of guard dogs and alligators. This is where the state needs help. We, the State of North Carolina, seek to find ways of protecting land that is rightfully the State’s from the tyranny of vile behavior and rogue expression.”
Big-box craft supply king, Michael’s, announced today that they will be opening craft beer bars at 20 of their locations. “The long-awaited bars fill a void that our customers have been, in some cases, screaming for for years,” said one company spokesperson. “We did market analysis and found an astounding amount of crossover with our craft customers and those in the craft beer industry.
The chain has been test marketing the concept in Cary, NC, and will expand the concept to markets such as Peoria, Racine, Toledo, and York (PA) in Q2.
Asked if Michael’s is concerned about competition from the quickly-growing Beer On Tap brew-pub/dance studio chain, the company spokesman said,”It’s been a growing concern, yes, but I’d say that were are predominantly just answering the call of our current customer base. I mean [laughing], women who drive minivans simply love Hopslam, for instance. It’s really a no-brainer.”
Today the city’s transportation department announced that speed bumps will be installed on all city streets within a half-mile radius of any public school, especially on roads that have more than 2,000 cars per day. This includes, for example, Six Forks Road near both Carroll Middle and Green Elementary, and Glenwood Avenue near Underwood Elementary and Daniels Middle. The bumps will be rated for “25mph passage”, but will actually be 9” tall and completely impassible at speeds higher than 18mph. This is a design that as already been implemented on Northbrook, Rowan, and Lake Boone.
One traffic engineer said,“We found the bumps to be so popular via SeeClickFix, we decided to extend the traffic calmers to our least calm streets. We feel that any time a car is near a school it should move no faster than a bicycle, even if it is 11pm on a Saturday night in July.”
Today the state revenue department made an extremely rare announcement. Apparently all players from the NCSU 1983 basketball team will be granted amnesty from any tax debts they currently hold. The memo stated: “The team’s triumphs on April 4, 1983, were far more valuable to our citizens than anything the government would have done with the uncollected funds. Therefore, for the greater good, the department forgives any tax debts and liens owed by the players. Too, the department feels this move might give some incentive for local teams to end the Final Four drought for area teams.” Sidney Lowe and CJ Leslie could not be reached for comment.
The folks at Pre-Flight Parking near RDU informed me last night that the site is no longer taking new parkers, and will be closing as soon as the last car is claimed. Apparently within the last week the company that owns Fast Park bought out the Pre-Flight location last week. (A couple of employees said that they offered Pre-Flight employees $2 less per hour, too).
So, it appear that there are now only three alternatives for parking at RDU:
- RDU: $12/day – Park across the street from either terminal
- FastPark Parking: $5.45/day – No walking, covered parking, complimentary car wash, bus delivery from your parking spot to terminal front door.
- District Drive Park & Ride: Free – Ride TTA’s bus ($2 each way, exact change) Route 100 (.pdf). Note that this option is only convenient for late morning/early afternoon arrivals and departures. Lot is not under surveillance, but there is security-by-obscurity in a safe area.
The 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament is upon us, and all three Triangle teams are in the field again. The games begin tomorrow night, however all of the ACC teams in the field play on Friday at these times:
- 12:15 – Duke/Albany (CBS)
- 1:40 – NCSU/Temple (TBS)
- 2:10 – Miami/Pacific (TNT)
4:107:20 – UNC/Villanova (TNT)
Time Warner Cable in Raleigh carries these networks on the following channels:
- CBS (1105, 3, 105)
- TBS (1302, 34, 302)
- TNT (1301, 26, 301)
- TruTV (1313, 44, 313)
Ready to fill out your brackets? Print out a blank ESPN bracket (pdf).
Finally, all of the games can be easily added to your Android phone, iPhone, Outlook, Google Calendars and more! Simply visit gogoraleigh’s Calendars tab, and use the links provided in the “2013 NCAA Tournament” line. The events include location and network covering the game.
Ever since the open era of the NCAA Tournament began there has been much concern about the necessity of conference tournaments. Much like a football conference championship, the even provides an opportunity for the league’s best teams to lose, exhaust themselves, and risk injury. Rarely do the top 3 or 4 teams in the regular season affect their NCAA Tournament seeding considerably, so the event focuses on bubble teams and their chance to impress the selection committee one last time.
Some argue that the event, therefore, is not good for the league, and carries little weight. The fact is, however, that as expansion rendered leagues unable to set equitable regular season schedules, conference tournaments mean more than they ever have.
Consider this matrix:
This matrix shows the number of times each opponent played the other top 5 teams in the league. As you can see, UNC is the only team in the Top 5 that had to play the other 4 twice. UVA only had to play one team twice, and was able to feast on the Clemsons and Virginia Techs of the world.
So, in a league where days off and tiebreakers are determined by a single game, the lopsided schedule presents an arbitrary value to teams that supersedes the action on the court. We have to have the conference tournament to determine the champion because with an unbalanced schedule, it is the only way to determine a true champion.
The process of buying a cell phone can be daunting. There are so many different phones, carriers, features, and price levels it is difficult to decide. Regardless of the decision it seems that they are all extremely expensive. Unfortunately, as of 2013 there is no such thing as a great phone on a great carrier for a great price. One must compromise on something.
Cell phone nirvana exists in the white triangle in the middle of this Venn diagram. For each circle, the distance ventured out from the middle is the level of compromise. A phone like the iPhone on Verizon is an excellent choice for Phone and Service, but is weak on Price. A Galaxy S II on Boost Mobile is a fair phone with good service (uses Sprint’s network), but is excellent on price. Each year we keep getting a little closer to that white triangle. Perhaps Google and T-Mobile are now the closest for Triangle customers.
On November 13 Google released the Nexus 4 phone. It is one of the more interesting choices out there, especially for those wanting to save money. It is a first rate phone that runs the “pure Google” Android 4.2 operating system. Because the phone is Google’s, there is no skin added by companies such as HTC, Motorola, etc. It is carrier-independent, too, so it will get OS updates without having to go through the painstaking process of carrier approval (you listening, Verizon customers?). The Nexus 4 is available with no contract, which adds much freedom to customers.
The phone is fantastic. Call quality is excellent, the processor is extremely snappy, the camera is outstanding, and the screen is better than the eye can detect. My only complaint is the volume level of the headphone output, which is too low. The phone is a GSM phone which allows for worldwide travel, however it will only connect to T-Mobile and AT&T’s networks in the USA. The phone does not have LTE, but does use T-Mobile’s HSPA+42, which is more than capable and is available in over 160 markets by T-Mobile at the time of writing.
The T-Mobile service is fair to good on this phone. I have gotten data speeds such as 18000kbps down and 1100kbps up from the lower level of a full Dean Dome and a full Kenan Stadium. (Our Verizon service had no connection at these times). So because there are so few T-Mobile customers, I am not constrained by large crowds. Also these are speeds that more than satisfy my needs (moderate music and video streaming)
I am constrained, however, by two factors: large buildings and extreme rural areas. The service is fine inside of Crabtree Mall, Southpoint Mall, and the PNC Arena. However the service is spotty in some restaurants and grocery stores (like the HT in North Hills). I have had no problems in any Home Depot, Lowe’s, or BJs, though, so my system of referring to perpetual shopping list notes in Evernote still works well.
When I drove to Garland, NC to visit the Brooks Brothers outlet (a must see, BTW), I lost all connectivity for a 5 mile stretch just southeast of Clinton. I have no T-Mobile connectivity in the lower level of my house, but I have good connectivity in the upstairs.
I’ve owned the phone for two months and it’s been an interesting discovery process. With the presence of public Wi-Fi networks growing nicely in retail and restaurant locations in the Triangle, I rarely encounter places with no options for service. I am concerned, though, about being stranded in the country while driving. All phone choices have a level of compromise and rural connectivity is the main one with this option.
Price is a huge advantage with the Nexus 4 on T-Mobile’s prepaid plan. The special plan (aka “The WalMart Plan”) costs just $30/month and offers unlimited data, unlimited texts, and 100 minutes of talk time. Additional talk minutes are 10-cents each. The data speed is throttled once the user surpasses the 5GB download limit per month.
I generally average about 110 mins of talk time per month, so the service is costing me just $31 per month. My wife is a big cellular talker, but even with her talk minutes, she would average only $45 per month on this plan. That leaves us with the device’s price. Google offers the 8 GB model for $300 and the 16GB model for $350. I strongly advise getting the 16GB model, as 8GB is way too little storage to handle most people’s camera and audio needs. That is an unlocked, contract-free, first-rate phone for $350 on a $30/month plan! Because the phone comes “unlocked”, it can easily be resold. If you aren’t satisfied you can turn around and easily sell the phone on eBay and just quit paying for the service at any time. Wow.
In order to compare this option to popular options, let’s consider the 2-year costs of owning top-level devices on the four major carriers with an individual plan providing at least 2GB of data usage per month:
|16GB Phone Model
|iPhone 5/Galaxy S3
($200, 2yr contract)
|iPhone 5/Galaxy S3
($200, 2yr contract)
|iPhone 5/Galaxy S3
($200, 2yr contract)
($350, no contract)
* According to the “Everything Data” plan
Of the four choices, the Nexus 4 on T-Mobile option is by far the cheapest, but users sacrifice coverage in rural areas and some indoor places, and support for defective devices is reportedly not good. Verizon is by far the most expensive option, however they have the best coverage and the best service. AT&T and Sprint offer good service and good coverage at an average price. Purchasing a cell phone these days can be daunting. Customers are faced with many unknowns and very high costs for the most part. With the Nexus 4 on a month-to-month plan, there is finally a way to get a first-rate device in Raleigh without breaking the bank.
On Saturday, July 27, Victoria Justice will play Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (2/2) at 10am thru Ticketmaster.
On Friday, May 31, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, featuring Edie Brickell will play the Greensboro War Memorial Auditorium. Ticket presale is on now (password: LOVE) at Ticketmaster.
The biggest CES news so far for Raleigh residents (pdf) came from Roku today. In 2013 Roku’s current models will add a Time Warner Cable app which will bring up to 300 TWC channels to the box. Models offering this support are all Roku 2s, Roku HD, Roku LT, and the Roku Streaming Stick.
This is certainly big news for those who feel stymied by Time Warner’s in-home equipment. No news about which channels will be offered, how any DVR functionality will work, or when the service will be rolled out to specific markets, though. Stay tuned!
Happy New Year, everyone! 2012 was an fascinating year, with the Olympics, the Election, and a little bit of economic traction, the year turned out to be more interesting than expected. With the close of the year, it’s time to pull out the old crystal acorn and make a few quick predictions (30 to be exact) for the upcoming year. (Don’t take these to the bank, though! If this thing were any good, I’d be in Vegas with it.)
- Publix will begin construction on their first Triangle store…in Cary in the Davis/54 area.
- Publix will pick Creedmoor/Millbrook for their first Raleigh store location. The new owners of Falls Village will make a strong play for Publix, offering to raze half of their center to accommodate a large grocery store.
- Raleigh will begin discussions to tear down Memorial Auditorium – with the dominant bookings of the DPAC, Raleigh people are increasingly irked by having to go to Durham for so many good events. Leaders in Raleigh will talk about removing the center section of the performing arts complex and replacing it with a stacked, 3-tier facility to compete with the DPAC.
- Violence will be an increasing problem in Glenwood South, and patrons will start seeking another focus for nightlife, most likely in…the Hillsborough Street area, which will be the next wave of downtown revitalization.
- Orvis will close in Triangle Town Center and seek space in a part of the Triangle where their patrons actually live. Perhaps Kidd’s Hill behind Crabtree?
- Development of both Kidd’s Kill properties will finally begin, but the Soleil Center/Westin land will remain an empty lot.
- A new mall will be announced for the I-40/42/70/540 area between Clayton and Fuquay. It will focus on serving the Johnston County market.
- Best Buy will close at least one Triangle location. My bet is the newest store, Brier Creek.
- Between Liles, The Varsity, and Nowells, Raleigh will only support two, and one will close.
- As brick & mortar retail continues to struggle, Crabtree will add another restaurant in its mall proper
- While Washington policy will grow much more liberal than we’ve seen in the previous 4 years (increasingly hostile fiscal policies toward the wealthy, increased spending on social programs, and a stark increase in liberal social policies and transit expenditures), North Carolina policy will become more conservative, but not by much. In the next four years issues like Gay Marriage, Legalization of Pot, and Gun Control will stay put in this state, unless there is federal mandate…
- …The Supreme Court will rule that Gay Marriage must be recognized by all states, and Federal Legislation implementing more stringent gun control will override North Carolina’s stance.
- North Carolina will get an increased amount of funding for transit (regional “high” speed and local light rail), but the State of North Carolina will decrease expenditures in these areas, and no real progress will occur in the next four years, especially with light rail.
- Raleigh will continue its oppressive assault on drivers in neighborhoods by reducing the speed limit on Glen Eden to 25 mph. They will also erect more of those contrived islands meant to annoy and slow drivers.
- UNC and NCSU will field bubble teams in football, once again, that will get absolutely no national attention.
- If the NHL season is cancelled, Backyard Bistro will close.
- T-Mobile will be bought by one of the other carriers, most likely AT&T, reducing the number of carrier networks to three in the Triangle.
- Free Wifi will be everywhere by the end of the year. In the malls, the restaurants, and in grocery stores. Most importantly, I predict that free wifi for every fan in the building will be implemented in the PNC Arena. (yay!)
- The number of restaurants with tablet menus will grow quickly. In fact, only cheap or snobby restaurants will be without a tablet presence by the end of 2013.
- Buca di Beppo will announce their first Raleigh/Cary location
- PDQ will announce two more locations. One in the Southpoint area and one in Cary.
- One of downtown Raleigh’s Indian restaurants will close. Will it be Blue Mango or Mantra that survives?
- BJ’s Brewhouse will announce their first North Carolina locations – on in Charlotte, one in Cary.
- The next big culinary ethnicity, after Mexican starts to fade, will be South American. Restaurants like Machupicchu and Guasaca will have excellent years, but will see more competition, too, especially in the casual dining space.
- Guacamole variations will be the next trend within the Mexican food space
- The IHOP on Hillsborough Street will close, but will be replaced in 2014 by a mixed use apartment building that will have street level retail, including a new IHOP. (This is a planned project. The prediction is that execution will begin this year)
- The Triangle will be selected as the site for filming a nationally prominent movie.
- No significant changes to Raleigh’s skyline will be introduced in 2013.
- A MakerBot-like 3D printing business will open in Raleigh, allowing people to create functional and artistic plastic items just-in-time.
- Here’s the big one: 2013 will be the Year of Durham, and the crowning moment will be an announcement by Google that their second Google Fiber city will be…Durham.
- North Carolina Loses The Great Teacher February 9, 2015
- City Lays Markings for Currituck Obstacle Course February 4, 2015
- History Making Heels and Wolfpack Prepare for Battle January 14, 2015
- 25 Predictions for 2015 January 5, 2015
- Raleigh’s 10 Biggest Stories of 2014 January 2, 2015
- 2014: The Rain Year January 2, 2015
- Tupelo Honey Sets New Casual Standard December 1, 2014
- 2013 Predictions. A Look Back November 18, 2014
- Wicked Taco Bringing Fresh-Mex to Western Blvd November 17, 2014
- DOT Unveils I-440 Widening Plans November 12, 2014
- County Power Shift Brings Major Changes to Raleigh’s Future November 5, 2014
- Jarrett Bay Store Coming to Crabtree September 25, 2014
- FirstWatch Coming to Glenwood Avenue September 9, 2014
- Big Shindig Releases Set Times September 5, 2014
- Appearance Commission to Review Residence Inn September 3, 2014