Millennium Carillon – Naperville, IL

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Millennium Carillon

Millennium Carillon

Millennium Carillon

Millennium Carillon

Millennium Carillon

Millennium Carillon

Millennium Carillon

Millennium Carillon

Millennium Carillon

Millennium Carillon

When Romy and I went to the Naperville art fair earlier this month, we did the art fair and then did the River Walk – the path along the river.

As we headed west of downtown, we popped up near the aptly names “Quarry Lake” (hmm…wonder why it’s there??). While we were wandering around the lake, we saw – slightly to the west – a large tower.

What be that?

It turns out to be the Millennium Carillon (in Moser Tower). Click the link if you’re interested in specs/history; suffice to say that’s it’s one of the largest carillons in the world with a six-octave range, and that it was built to commemorate the new millennium.

We wandered over – it’s a sorta impressive structure, just jutting up in the middle of nothing – to see what was there.

There appeared to be tours of the tower. Let’s give it a shot!

I expected it to be somewhat of a tourist trap, a $15/per person charge or whatever.

I checked it out – $3/per person, last tour of the week starting in about 10 minutes!

I’m in.

There is an elevator – but only to the gallery level (about a third of the way up): After that, you have to take the stairs up to the top observation deck. We hoofed it the entire way. Gravity is a bitch! (Question: How did they get all the bells etc. above the gallery level without an elevator? Big-ass cranes, I assume…)

Cornell Bells

It was fun to see all the bells – the largest weighing in at about 32 tons (eep!) as well as the clavier that one uses to “play” the bells, using fists on mallets and feet on foot pedals. When I attended Cornell University, I was able to watch a mid-day performance on the McGraw Tower chimes (technically not a carillion), and let me tell you: Playing the bells there appeared to be a cardiovascular workout. Playing 72 bells – vs. Cornell’s nine or so – as in the Moser Tower, I can’t even imagine.

The view from the top was pretty…meh – no pic for same because, well, meh. This is Illinois, the view from a second floor window is almost as impressive. We gots a flat state, at least this part of it (Chicagoland area).

Still – for $3, why not take the tour? This was one of those fun, stumbled-upon finds. We didn’t go to Naperville for this; we’ll never do it again, but it was an unexpected, interesting diversion.

Product bad; customer service good

Monoprice Hub

I recently purchased a 12-port, powered USB hub – because you can never have too many USB ports!

I ordered it from, as I’ve had good luck with them many, many times – if you buy cables from anyone else, you may as well be flushing money down the crapper. Good stuff, and cheap.

So, I got the hub, hooked it up.

Almost immediately, a problem: Any shift of the hardware would make the power flicker in/out or just out. And this is a device that one’ll be nudging a lot, plugging in/removing USB devices.

Not good.

The problem is that the power connection to the hub – on this particular unit – is poorly designed/manufactured. The power connection is a female, which slides over a male prong that is housed in the hub. But the fit isn’t snug: There is wiggle room both in the male/female connection and, most problematic, in the hole in the hub the female end plugs into.


I bent the male plug, which fixed the problem, but … for how long?

I wrote to (and yes, I did point out my long history with them), and very shortly thereafter received an email saying they were shipping me a new unit, and providing an label to ship the bad unit back.

Nicely done!

Sadly, I got the new unit, and it’s a product design flaw. Same “lack of tightness” issues. I’m going to return the new one (the old one has been working fine since my “fix”).

So – kudos to Monoprice for acting so quickly and decisively to address a customer concern.

And a wag of the finger to Monoprice for selling this flawed a product. Monoprice 12-Ports USB 2.0 Hub, MG_HB2012

Naperville, IL Art Fair 2012

Naperville Art Fair

Well, yesterday Romy and I went to the Naperville Art Fair, which is a yearly event on Naperville’s Riverwalk – a series of parks/paths along the DuPage River in the midst of the downtown area.

I’ve never been to this art fair – one of the bigger ones in the northern/western Chicago burbs – and, to be honest, I’ve never been to Naperville. I’ve heard a lot about the town, especially about the riverwalk, but never been.

Naperville seems to be doing something right: There is a mix of the old and new buildings in the downtown area, and the parking is easy to get to and free. The riverwalk, in particular, is genius. I saw a before and after picture of the river’s edges, and, well, so much better now. Nicely done.

Overall, Naperville seems to be making an effort to woo folks to the downtown area – parking, riverwalk, plantings – that are not inexpensive but may be loss leaders. Even during the crazy day of the art fair (a big deal), the town seemed accessible, prices not jacked up and so on.


What follows, in no particular order, are some impressions of Naperville or the Naperville Art Fair.

Spending money to make money

Locations Riverwalk Plantings
Naperville does a nice job of making the downtown area inviting. From the riverwalk to the informational signs to something as silly (?) as plantings, this makes the town very accessible and inviting. Yes, there is a cost involved in all: signs, plantings, river barriers. Yet if it brings folks downtown, there’s an ROI, ja?

Between the signs downtown and the excellent web info, we really never got lost. Yeah, we should have researched restaurants better and so on, but, overall, well done Naperville!

The Naperville Art Fair

Classical Music Humpty Dumpty Looking at art Art fair attire

A large art fair that was a nice change of pace. I go to a fair number of art fairs, and a lot are just jewelry and crafts.

This one has a fair amount of “different” art – like the Humpty Dumpty statues above (in a lot of fun permutations).

Different art – although pictures (photos) on canvas was a trend that I’m not a fan of that was reinforced here. But – overall vs. other fairs over the last couple of years – I’d go again. Different art and great location.

If for nothing but the fashions. See pic above – she’s carrying a portfolio so probably an artist, but…really?

And the music was excellent – there were several acts, the one pictured above was playing Pachelbel’s Canon – Great tune, even better live.

Best live under the sun next to a river in the midst of an art fair. Well done Naperville.

Got eats?

After a long day of perusing art, listening to classical music and walking the riiver walk, of course one is hungry!

Naperville has a variety of restaurants, and we tried Blackfinn.

Our bad.

It had a rooftop patio – nice – but from that point on, everything went downhill:

  • Tag-team waitresses. Still not certain whom our “real” waitress was.
  • Pleasant staff – very helpful. Everyone wanted to do this or that (get water, take order, etc), but, uh, “Who’s in charge?”
  • Underwhelming food: Romy’s meal was tepid – fries included. Mine was the right temp, but – not impressive. I ordered Chilean sea bass, and it was very good. But – and I’m not cheap or a foodie – the bass was small. About the size of a half or two-thirds stick of butter, a little larger diameter. And this was the most expensive thing on the menu. Came with a couple of rice cakes and a HALF-plate of steamed/boiled lemon leaves. Blackfinn is now on the blacklist…
  • No pics/links to Blackfinn intentional. Not bad enough to spank, but certainly not good enuf to give intertube juice to same.

Badly done Naperville!

Dear Intertubes: Thank U

I’ve been looking for answers to such and such hardware/software questions over the last week or so (in reference to a bunch of issues), and – thankfully – the InterTubes had the answer (or the hint so I could figger it out for myself).

Thanks InterTubes.

I used to buy a lot of computer books – I have/do program in a slew of environments/languages – who can remember how – for example – to format a date in {whatever}? Or substring correctly, sort an array and so on?

Hence the books.

Now it’s the web.

The last issue I had took some hardcore searching, but I finally got what I needed. Whew!

If you search for it, it will come…

To FTP or not to FTP, that is the question

FTP Clients

Long story short: Setting up a new Windoze box: Wanted an FTP server (just for LAN).

I’ve done this before…easy.

GuildFTPd just, well, doesn’t work on Win7 (great on WinXP).

After, well, too much work, I’ve gotten Filezilla FTP server running on the box.

Long time fan of the Filezilla client; new to the server.

Server is not as good as GuildFTPd – my take.

But it works, is supported…and I like OSS!

I’ll say this about FTP servers: Yes, you must be a geek to install same. GuildFTPd came close to not requiring same, but all servers require some tech savvy. Not like downloading a Flash Update.

I’m still testing the Filezilla server; updates as events warrent. But going well thus far…

But honestly – would prefer GuildFTPd: Great program. Gives me exactly what I want. Oh…well…

Update 9/19/2013 – FileZilla just works; my only complaint is that it isn’t GuildFTP. Hmmm…..

Update 10/10/07 -For reasons that I cannot figger out right now, it appears the FileZilla FTP server does not accept the following type of mask – more than one “?” which means single match. As in, show “2??.txt” which would match “212.txt” or “233.txt” but not “2.txt” or “21.txt” and so on. Seems to support single “?” – single char wildcard. Hmmm….changed the multiple “?” to “*” and stuff worked, but…not happy. More bulletins as events warrant…