doc prescribes cure for Charter Internet ills

By Jim Stanford on February 16, 2014

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Earlier this week my Internet service was bogging so badly that it felt like dial-up, or worse. Unable to get any work done, and tired of waiting on hold, I posted a complaint on Charter Communications’ Facebook page. While the company did nothing, a friend happened to spot the post and offered a solution.

For anyone not in our circles still having trouble with Charter (née Optimum, née Bresnan) Internet, the problem is with the company’s domain name servers, or DNS. I’ll let the friend explain:

These are servers that translate (or “resolve”) a domain name like google.com into an Internet address like 123.456.789.123. It is like a phone book for the Internet. Charter/Optimum/Bresnan has used their own DNS servers for years. Something went badly wrong with their recent changeover to Charter and those servers are not working well. When you go to a website like nbc.com, you may actually need to “resolve” more than a hundred domain names in order to display that page. Every ad, every video, every link on the page may use a different domain name. A properly functioning DNS server can do that in milliseconds. But Charter’s DNS servers were taking a LONG time (up to 20-30 seconds) to resolve the domain names.

Here is the prescription (for Mac users): Go to System Preferences > Network > Advanced > DNS > click + and type 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 into the window. Those are Google’s servers. If using a wireless network, you also can change these settings on your router (Airport Utility for Mac users).

For those not wanting to use Google, other options are 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220 from Open DNS.

Many thanks to Jim Little Jr. for his assistance. By spreading the word so widely, it was like the St. John’s Hospital physician had inoculated half of Jackson from a measles outbreak.

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newshound has nose for hops, herb

By Jim Stanford on October 24, 2013

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Jackson Hole and Teton Valley usually send a distinguished delegation to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver every year and come home with a lode of medals. This year, judging from a quick look at the awards list, Black Tooth Brewing Co. of Sheridan claimed the hardware for Wyoming.

Fortunately, our local brewers escaped the wrath of this investigative reporter from Conan who sniffed his way around the festival.

(Via Deadspin)

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looking back on 1988 Yellowstone fires

By Jim Stanford on August 25, 2013

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A bull elk surveys a burned area.

Twenty-five years ago this week, the Yellowstone fires hit their peak. Nearly 800,000 acres, or 36 percent of the park, burned that summer in a series of blazes, some caused by humans and others by storms. Winds of up to 80 mph fanned the flames, creating a conflagration beyond control.

Aug. 20, 1988, was dubbed “Black Saturday,” when the fires doubled in size, consuming more acres than all other fires in the park’s history combined.

Last year, when the Little Horsethief Fire burned up the back of Snow King and east Jackson was under an evacuation advisory, residents got a taste of fear. But watching those flames lick at the ridge above Cache Creek pales in comparison to firsthand accounts of the Yellowstone blazes.

The late Theo Meiners landed on one of the firefighting support crews in the summer of 1988 and kept a journal of his experiences. Focus Productions published excerpts in Jackson Hole Skier magazine that winter and has re-posted them for the 25th anniversary. The short essay is worth a read.

Of the Mink Creek Fire in the Teton Wilderness, Meiners wrote:

By mid-July winds had whipped this conflagration into gargantuan proportions; a column of smoke rose to over 30,000 feet, visible from Salt Lake City. The Black Rock Ranger Station became a base camp city of 1,200 firefighters. There was every kind of helicopter imaginable. Cargo planes and bombers were everywhere. The FAA even sent out flight controllers. This was war.

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June winds make for dramatic skies

By Jim Stanford on June 23, 2013

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The June 12 thunderstorm generated a flurry of stunning images, as well as marble- to golf ball-sized hail. Click to enlarge.

This morning on the Snake.

June has been a breezy month, as anyone pushing boats down the Snake River can attest. Even mornings and evenings, typically the calmest times of day, have been brisk.

The upside is the skies have been turned into works of art, with cirrus clouds framing the Tetons and spectacular formations kindling the imagination. Last Sunday, Father’s Day, a chorus of dancers seemed to glide above the peaks, while today a flourish poured forth from the Grand like a trumpet blast.

The June 12 hailstorm produced the most dramatic photographs, like the one above shot by Chris Owen atop Snow King Mountain. He was doing some trail work for the Bridger-Teton National Forest and just dodged the storm. Sarah Tollison captured a similarly apocalyptic image from her office at DeFazio Law. Meteorologist Jim Woodmencey has a roundup of photos on his blog.

It has been fun the past few weeks to follow the #jacksonhole hashtag on Instagram and watch as shooters like Tristan Greszko and Sue Cedarholm capture different vantage points of the sky. The hailstorm made for particularly compelling crowd-sourced reporting.

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Eye-opening images from 2012

By Jim Stanford on January 15, 2013

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Sunrise on the Snake in September, when a mixture of fog, smoke and autumn foliage made for a brilliant scene. Click to enlarge.

After devoting much of the fall to multimedia projects, travel and other assignments, photographer David Stubbs has restarted his blog, A Vivid Eye.

Rousing the site from slumber, Stubbs has compiled a selection of his favorite landscapes, sports action, portraits and newsy images from 2012, including a dramatic shot of the Little Horsethief Fire cresting the ridge atop Cache Creek.

The News&Guide, too, put together a reel of its best photographs of the year.

When not shooting the likes of Dick Cheney (for a documentary film) or hanging from a rope in the Apocalypse Couloir, Stubbs often focuses his lens on his own backyard and produces stunning beauty from scenes of everyday life. Glimpses of those moments should give readers plenty to look forward to in 2013.

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