Saturday, August 19, 2017

Safety Tips for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse will be upon us this Monday, 21 August 2017!  What happens is that the Moon blocks out the Sun's view for a brief period of time, which may lead to nighttime-like conditions when the eclipse passes us by in the Tampa Bay region.

According to Bay News 9, the Tampa Bay region should see the maximum of the partial total eclipse sometime around 1451 (2:51 PM) on Monday, 21 August 2017.   Some school districts across the Tampa Bay region are allowing students to be absent as an excused day from school; you will want to check with your local school district for the specifics.

Here are some eclipse safety tips as eclipse day draws nearer (some of the eclipse safety tips are from NASA's 2017 Eclipse Safety page):

  • Most importantly:  Never, never look at the eclipse with the naked eye or with your regular eyeglasses on including sunglasses!  It will be so bright that eyesight damage can result!
  • The only way to view the eclipse safely without endangering your eyesight is the use of eclipse glasses or viewers that comply with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard.  If you purchase a pair of those safety glasses, make sure that it reads that it complies with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard. 
  • If you happen to be driving on Interstate 275 in the Tampa Bay region when the eclipse hits, never, never stop on either shoulder on the Interstate 275 mainline or any exit ramp!  It is illegal pursuant to Section 316.1945 of the Florida Statutes and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper can issue you a citation for stopping on the Interstate 275 shoulders or mainline.  Besides, it's also very dangerous.  Instead, stop in a safer place if you want to view the eclipse.
  • The same thing goes for the Sunshine Skyway Bridge - again, do not stop anywhere on the bridge including the 191-foot high main span.  Be aware that surveillance cameras monitored by the Florida Highway Patrol monitor all activity on the Sunshine Skyway main span and if you are seen stopping on the shoulder of the Sunshine Skyway, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper will be dispatched to see what is going on.  If you want to view the eclipse from the Sunshine Skyway area, use the rest areas or the fishing piers instead - it's much safer. 
  • When it gets momentarily dark during the maximum totality of the partial total eclipse, turn on your headlights even if you have automatic daytime running lamps.  This will turn on your taillights and you can be seen better.
  • Again, do not look at the eclipse with the naked eye or with your glasses (including sunglasses) on.  It will be so bright that eyesight damage - in fact, permanent eyesight damage - can result. 
If you're wondering where on Interstate 275's parent, Interstate 75, you can see the total solar eclipse in its entirety where it will get dark for about two minutes, it will take place in Tennessee between Cleveland just north of Chattanooga and Farragut just west of Knoxville, with the center of the totality between Athens and Sweetwater on US 11, which parallels Interstate 75 in central and southern Tennessee.  In fact, our Interstate 275 counterpart in Knoxville (actually a spur from Interstate 40 to Interstates 75 and 640) lies just outside the path of eclipse totality.

As NASA says, a solar eclipse is one of nature's grandest spectacles.  Let's be safe out there when the eclipse arrives on Monday, 21 August 2017 and you will have a memorable experience!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Revamped and Happy Birthday Sunshine Skyway!

By now the newly revamped is up and running!  It didn't take long to upload the new site albeit a few minor glitches along the way, especially when it came to deleting the old website files in order to make way for the new and revamped website.

Haven't you checked out the newly revamped  I have organized the website into three general sections, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Manatee County.  From there it is organized into individual exits based on the location of the exit.

All of the photos have been revised in order to keep the content fresh and up to date as time permits.  In fact, there are new pictures of the segment of Interstate 275 in Tampa from Exit 39 (FL 60/Kennedy Blvd./Tampa Airport) to the Hillsborough river just west of Exit 44 (Ashley Drive) thanks to the mega-reconstruction project that has taken place.

Another new feature I have added is a Tampa Bay Transit:  The Justification for Rail Based Mass Transit in the Tampa Bay region page.  This page was badly needed, as we have the resources to support rail based mass transit in the Tampa Bay region and one of those resources is the wide median in the newly reconstructed Interstate 275 in Tampa.  Just why does Miami and Orlando have alternative modes of transportation yet the Tampa Bay region has very limited choices?  It's well worth a read!

Please feel free to check out the newly revamped!  Like I said from a previous blog entry just before I uploaded the new site if you have pages that link to check the links to make sure that they work and update as needed.  For example, the web pages used to end in .htm but now they end in .html, so you'll want to check that.  Additionally, if you happen to find a broken link anywhere on please feel free to contact me (you can even post a reply to this blog entry) along with the URL in question and I will take a look at it.

Now with the newly revamped up and running, today (7 February 2017) is the new Sunshine Skyway's 30th birthday!  Dedicated on Saturday, 7 February 1987 it was a gloomy day but the sun peeked out a few times for an awesome dedication ceremony.  A major highlight of the day was that pedestrians were allowed on the new bridge only once - I made the hike to the hump of the new span and back!  I call that quite a workout!

Another highlight of the day is the actual dedication with many important dignitaries in attendance.  The new Sunshine Skyway dedication is a day I'll never forget - in fact, it seems like if it was yesterday even though it was 30 years earlier!

On 30 April 1987, traffic was stopped while workers set up barricades blocking access to the old Sunshine Skyway.  It would be no more cantilever through truss with steel grid deck span that we were used to since the first Sunshine Skyway opened in 1954.  The old Sunshine Skyway served the Tampa Bay region well, both in triumph and in tragedy especially on 9 May 1980 when the Sunshine Skyway's southbound span was hit by the Summit Venture, resulting in the tragic loss of 35 lives.  Shortly after the barricades went up on the old Sunshine Skyway, it was time to take down the barricades and open up a new chapter in the history of the Tampa Bay region:  The opening of the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

In fact, I have even revamped the Sunshine Skyway page as part of the newly revamped and it has pictures from the dedication ceremony on 7 February 1987.  Come by and check it out!

After all, the new Sunshine Skyway is not only just an icon of what the Tampa Bay region is all about.  The new Sunshine Skyway is a signature icon of our great Sunshine State of Florida, similar to what the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco being a signature icon of the Golden State of California.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Revamped is Just Around The Corner!

As mentioned in a previous blog entry is getting an awesome makeover! will get a new look and feel, and I am very excited!

Everything has been tested, and all that remains is to upload the new site.  I plan on doing this the weekend of 4-5 February 2017 during the nighttime hours.  While the old site is deleted and the new site is being uploaded, you may get an error page if you try to access during that time.  Hopefully by Sunday morning (5 February 2017) the new will be up and running.

Like I mentioned previously, if you or someone you know has web pages that link to a specific page on please make sure to test your links when the changeover takes place to make sure that the correct page is being displayed.  For instance, if your link points to a specific page it will more than likely end in .htm; the new pages will have an .html extension, so that you will probably have to change the file extension in order to keep your visitors from seeing the 404 error page.

Once again, the changeover to the new and revamped will be taking place this weekend, 4-5 February 2017.  Once the revamped is online, if you notice any broken links that should be fixed by all means please contact me using the Contact page, or you can post a reply to this blog entry and I will take a look.

Are you ready for a new and revamped  I am!

Thursday, January 26, 2017 to get a new makeover!

Since 2003, is and continues to be a great resource on Interstate 275 in the Tampa Bay region.  But coming soon, will be getting a fresh new overhaul.

I know, Interstate 275 in Tampa just got a major reconstruction from Exit 39 (FL 60) to the Hillsborough River which was finished in 2016.  (Got to like those four lanes of traffic each way for a total of eight lanes and that wide median for hopefully commuter rail someday!)  What we're talking about is the website, and I have given it a major overhaul!

With that in mind, here are some of the new features you will see on the revamped

First, I decided to rebuild - the website, that is - from the ground up.  I decided to use a web design software product called CoffeeCup HTML Editor which gives me a lot of flexibility in coding the HTML needed to run the perfect website.  In fact, I have even converted my other websites, and the Edward Ringwald Websites Portal, using CoffeeCup HTML Editor.  Additionally, another website of mine that covers the drawbridges of Pinellas County,, was built from the ground up using CoffeeCup HTML Editor.

Like what I have done with, was written using Microsoft FrontPage when I first introduced in 2003.  I have made so many changes over the years in FrontPage; unfortunately, Microsoft ended support for FrontPage and a majority of web hosting providers - including the web hosting provider which hosts my websites including - no longer support FrontPage written websites.

Besides, a FrontPage written website depends on FrontPage-specific features that are maintained on the web server end, which are called FrontPage Server Extensions.  Once I began to find out that Microsoft no longer supports FrontPage and web hosting providers no longer use the FrontPage Server Extensions, I had to find another web design product which would let me code HTML the way I want without having to depend on something on a web server end to make my websites work.  I looked at a lot of web design software out there and I found a great web design program that would best serve my web design needs, and that is CoffeeCup's HTML Editor.

As I mentioned earlier Interstate 275 in the Tampa Bay region from Exit 39 (FL 60) to the Hillsborough River west of downtown Tampa has been reconstructed, and the pictures that were there was that section of Interstate 275 in Tampa before reconstruction.  What I did is I incorporated the old pictures on some of the Tampa pages along with new reconstruction pictures just to give you a perspective of what Interstate 275 looked before and after reconstruction.

On the sections of Interstate 275 in Tampa that were reconstructed a longer time back (before the mega-reconstruction of 2016) as well as Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg and Manatee County, I have refreshed the site with newer pictures.  After all, the pictures that were on there were getting a little stale and the website needed newer pictures.  In fact, this is what I tell my students when I give my presentation on web design at the Great American Teach-In that content should be updated as needed in order to avoid having stale content.

As you go through the new Interstate 275 Florida website you will see a Page Highlights on the left hand sidebar that tells you the highlights of the page in question.  On the top part of the page you will see a navigation bar that is customized based on what section of the website you're in.

Another new feature you will see is the pictures themselves.  I have arranged them in a photo gallery format, which is you can click on the thumbnail version of the picture to see a full size version of the picture.  In fact, while you're in there you can page through the photo gallery by hovering over the top left or top right corner of the picture and clicking on the Previous or Next button to see the previous or next picture.

Moreover, I made some updates to the Interstate 275 Frequently Asked Questions and the Getting Around the Tampa Bay Region from Tampa Airport PDF document pages.  And there is one new page that I made that I feel is definitely needed - a Tampa Bay Region Transit Page, as the need for other forms of getting around in the Tampa Bay region, especially rail based mass transit, is very crucial if we want to be competitive among other Florida metropolitan areas such as Miami and Orlando.  After all, both Miami and Orlando have commuter rail systems in operation and commuter rail is the key to making the Tampa Bay region competitive.

I know you are very excited to see the new look and feel of, and I am very excited myself to launch the new version of all things Interstate 275 in the Tampa Bay region on the web.  All the pages are done, and it's just down to checking to make sure that all the links work properly and to do a test of the new pages in the web browser to make sure that everything renders correctly.

The actual changeover to the revamped site will take place in a few days, but I can't provide an exact date just yet.  Once everything is all said and done, I will post another blog entry letting you know when the actual changeover will take place.  While we're on that subject, if you or someone you know has web pages that link to a specific page on please make sure to test your links when the changeover takes place to make sure that the correct page is being displayed.  For instance, if your link points to a specific page it will more than likely end in .htm; the new pages will have an .html extension, so that you will probably have to change the file extension in order to keep your visitors from seeing the 404 error page.

When the actual changeover takes place it will take I would say about a good hour and a half to two hours so that I can delete the old FrontPage based content and upload the new CoffeeCup HTML Editor based content as well as the pictures and their thumbnails.

Again, after the changeover is complete and the revamped goes live please check your links as well as your bookmarks to be sure that you are seeing our content.  If you happen to notice a link when the revamped site goes live that does not work for some reason please feel free to contact me and it will get fixed.

After it's all said and done, I can finally uninstall FrontPage from my computers and put FrontPage on the shelf.  Onward!