Pandora music keeps pausing while using Bluetooth headset on Android

Frustrating issue while using my Plantronics bluetooth headset connected to my Pixel2 Android phone. The music would pause at what appeared to be random times while listening to Pandora. I tried a variety of things but ended up finding a simple solution.

Go into settings for sounds/notifications and tun off all notification sounds. As soon as I did this, the music no longer paused. The pauses were being triggered by notification sounds.

[update. Turned out to be a conflict with the bluetooth on my chromebook. Turn off bt on the chromebook and problem went away.]


Best cell phone plan for Americans living near Canada

As a Vermont resident who enjoys visiting Montreal and Canada often I've been struggling to find an ideal cell phone provider.

I finally decided to try Google Fi. Fi offered roaming data at the same price as domestic. There is excellent coverage and seamless transition when crossing the border.

Three years in and I'm still sold.

To get a discount use this link:

Here's a referral code to get a $20 credit when you join Google Fi! Redeem it at



Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody review - Vermont backcountry

Warm day near summit

I've been using a size medium Ascendant hoody jacket for some early season skiing in Vermont and wanted to post a quick review.

I am 5' 10" 160 pounds 32" waist and the medium fits perfect. Good sleeve / chest and waist size.

I ski on Mount Mansfield and my ski runs start with a 1.5 - 2 hour uphill ski followed by a 1/2 hour ski out.

Conditions have so far ranged from 15F to 38F across 5 tours. Four of the tours have been successes for the Ascendant. One has been a failure.

First tour out was coldest. 14F and windy. I went up with a thin capalene long sleeve shirt under the jacket and started out uphill. By the time I was at the top I had the jacket unzipped but the hood was up on my head for wind protection. Typically I would have to add a layer before pulling the skins and heading down. In this case with the Ascendant I was amazed to be able to simply zip up the jacket, pull the hood on, add my goggles and head down. Once I started making turns I was perfectly warm and never once felt clammy or sweaty. The breathability was amazing and the thermal regulation was spectacular.

Over the next few days I had a chance to test the jacket out again in slightly warmer temps (20F), light snow (25F) and finally 38F and a light breeze.

In each of the cold weather outings the jacket was awesome... until today.

Just back from a  1 1/2 hour uphill tour followed by a 20 minute ski out. It was warm so I wore a merino wool t-shirt and the Ascendant on top. By the time I reached the summit the jacket had been fully unzipped, hood removed and I was not wearing gloves. The lining on the jacket was soaked with sweat as was the t-shirt.

The ski out was fine - however at the base while putting away gear I started to get cold and once home stayed cold until I could get my wood stove cranking.

My conclusion?

The fuzzy lining on the jacket feels good next-to-skin however from a sweat management standpoint - it does not do a good job of managing sweat during peak exertion.

On the other hand, when paired with a light long sleeve base layer in cold to very cold conditions the jacket comes into its own. Excellent thermal regulation, great mobility and wind resistance. The jacket will be my main go-to for nearly all mid winter conditions with the exception being really far off-trail bushwhacking when I'll go with a more burly soft-shell to avoid tearing the light exterior fabric of the Ascendant to pieces.


Can't connect to boingo or other public wifi networks using my Chromebook - network out of range

Since the latest update I've been unable to connect to a variety of public wifi sources that have a captive "portal". For some reason chrome no longer generates a "click here to login" prompt and when I try to visit to any page I get an error message "out of range". Not very useful.

The way to force chrome to display the log in screen is to visit any non-ssl site. For some reason this then prompts for a log in. Try visiting:


This will trigger the log in portal window that will allow you to connect with your Chromebook to any public network. Happy browsing.


Career advice from UVM Medical Center for nurses

As the husband of a nurse at UVM Medical Center I would like to commend the UVM Medical Center’s leadership team and the entire board of trustees on the career guidance that is implicit the hospital's policy towards pay, the nurse’s union and overall working conditions for nurses.

The truth of the matter is that nursing in Vermont is the modern day equivalent of a job in a Vermont asbestos mine. Nurses work twelve hour shifts with no natural light surrounded by toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. During their work week they will be shit on, bled on, spit on, sneezed on, cried on, pissed on, shouted at and abused by family members.

They will hold the hands of children who die too soon and seniors who don’t die soon enough. As their career matures they will suffer varicose veins, blown out knees, wrecked backs and the emotional scars from years of tragedy. They will miss first steps, birthdays, school plays, lost teeth and skinned knees. Their work schedule consigns their spouse or partner to function as a single parent at least three days a week. When they complain about any aspect of the job, they will be told to show compassion and then ignored.

Given the choice between pursuing a position in administration and enjoying an office that smells of Chanel #5 and manila envelopes and a salary that can head upwards of a million dollars or nursing and enjoying an office that smells of equal parts urine, feces and hospital disinfectant and a salary that is sub-par and has not kept up with cost-of-living increases for years what would you do?

It should be clear to any young person that UVM Medical Center and Vermont as a whole needs more (and values more) administrators, insurance salespeople,  pharmaceutical reps and senior managers and far fewer nurses. You would be a fool to ignore this advice.