Month: November 2016

Appropriate Use of a Mobile Phone on Thanksgiving Day

By Tom Leddo, Chief Strategy Officer

The most basic rules of etiquette are clear- you should not use your mobile phone during a Thanksgiving meal. The rules would also state that you should not use your phone while spending time with family before and after the meal. Admittedly, that second one is a little tougher to follow, especially if you have family members with whom you only interact on this single holiday each year and you are not good at chatting about the football game on TV.

However, there is one use of a cell phone that is not only appropriate, but will also significantly improve Thanksgiving or any holiday that involves a large, home-cooked meal. Using it to access one or more of the many planning and recipe apps to help plan and prepare what, for some people, can be an overwhelming feast.

A few years ago I used a popular note-taking app to list out everything I needed to do to host a large Thanksgiving dinner including my annual menu, shopping list, favorite recipes, and even simple tips/reminders that help make the day flow smoothly and less stressful. Then each year, while eating leftovers the following day, I tweak my notes with improvements or lessons learned. Now there are no loudmouth family members complaining because I didn’t make their favorite dish. I have also fine tuned my timing so that all the food is ready more or less at the same time by simply counting back from the scheduled meal time to when I should begin preparing each individual menu item.

There are a number of recipe apps, note taking apps, and posting boards to choose from. I prefer a note taking app because it allows the most flexibility. As a novice cook, I recommend you try a couple until you find one that works for you. I also offer the following tips and menu from my own notes to help you get started.

Annual Thanksgiving Menu

  • Turkey
  • Mom’s Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Susanna’s Baked Yams
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Corn – frozen
  • Mom’s Cranberry Salad
  • GrandMa’s Graham Cracker Chocolate & French Vanilla Pudding Cake
  • Rolls
  • Gravy
  • Wine
    • Red – Zinfandel
    • White – Chardonnay

Tips & Reminders

  • Keep the traditions – cook what keeps and passes on memories even if they are a bit hard. One person’s favorite dish makes their holiday more special.
  • Go grocery shopping on Sunday to be completely prepared ahead of time and avoid the rush on Wednesday and allow turkey time to thaw.
  • If serving more items than you have room for on the stove, then use a steamer to cook the veggies. By simply adding lemon juice and Poultry Seasoning in the water then tossing them in olive oil with garlic salt you save time and they taste great.
  • Stuffing tastes better with stale bread – remember to rip open a loaf and leave it out on Wednesday night.
  • Turkey
  • Buy on Sunday and allow to thaw in refrigerator until Tuesday night
    • Brine Tuesday night until Wednesday night or Thursday morning depending on meal time.
    • Remove from brine Wednesday night or first thing Thursday morning, pat dry and place back in refrigerator to dry
    • After it is stuffed, season the top with chopped, fresh poultry herbs/seasoning and then spray with Olive Oil Pam to lubricate the bird


Using your Phone to Pair Wine with Your Thanksgiving Meal

By Mark Christenson, President, International / CTO

Despite a significant increase in wine drinkers, and newer producers and younger sommeliers trying to demystify wine to make it accessible to everybody, wine can still intimidate, especially when there is already stress from the overhead of needing to provide a huge meal for relatives, many of whom haven’t been seen since last year.  One additional element of how mobile communications is helpful at Thanksgiving is through the many apps that exist to help people choose the right wine to serve at Thanksgiving. It is a question that is fraught with complexity (much like the wines you think you need to serve to your guests).  Some apps that might help you choose a wine include Vivino, Hello Vino, Delectable, and Plonk.  All of these can help answer the question.  White because of the turkey?  But what about the traditional sides like stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberries, yams, etc?  What if you just prefer red wine?  Amongst wine aficionados (better known as “wine geeks” or “cork dorks”, people who spend more time debating wine online and in person than actually drinking the stuff), the perfect Thanksgiving wine is an ongoing, much-debated, yet never-resolved topic.  Traditionally there was a simple formula—red wine with red meat, white wine with poultry or fish.  However, sticking to that basic formula would eliminate classic matches such as Pinot Noir with salmon, or Beaujolais with roast chicken, or even Sherry with olives.  Thankfully, even hard-core oenophiles have loosened the dogma in the last two decades.  The first and foremost consideration is whether or not you want to drink a particular wine.  For example, a friend’s wife cannot drink Syrah without suffering severe heartburn (yet she can drink big, bold Cabernet Sauvignons with no problem), so a Northern Rhône or California Syrah is never going to be on their table, regardless of the food.  Second, it is worth remembering that Thanksgiving should be about the getting together of friends and family.  Third, with the variety of foods that typically show up on Thanksgiving menus, it is worthwhile considering “safe” bets that cover a lot of food-pairing territory.  And fourth, are you willing to open more than one wine (e.g., a red and a white, or perhaps even more?).

For that reason, I like to suggest the following.

If you only want to open one wine, I’d go with Zinfandel.  It’s a variety with an American heritage, fitting on this most-American of holidays.  Although styles can vary, they tend to be rich, fruit-forward reds with a bit of spice.  I think they pair well with turkey, ham, chicken, meatballs, or even a roast.  In other words, just about any protein you throw at it will work.

If you have a desire to offer some variety (no grape pun intended), a California Chardonnay, vinified with oak, is a good option.  Most people still tend to love Chardonnay even despite the “Anything But Chardonnay” movement of a few years ago.  And for those who are averse to red wines, this offers a friendly option.  A big Chardonnay will go with the aforementioned main dishes, either pairing well or at least not getting clobbered the way a more delicate, crisp Chardonnay or other grape such as Sauvignon Blanc.  Plus it will work with the sides.

If you really want to offer variety, open something with bubbles.  The obvious choice would be Champagne, but depending on your tastes (and your budget) a sparkling wine from California, a prosecco spumante from Italy, or a cava from Spain would all suffice.  The addition of bubbles along with the wide range of styles (super dry white to off-dry pink) result in a wine that is both festive and surprisingly versatile with food.  In fact, this could be your one-and-only if you wanted to live on the edge but be confident in your selection because I can’t think of virtually anybody who does not enjoy a glass of sparkling wine, especially on one of the 364 days that is not New Year’s Eve.

An International Perspective on the Challenges Facing the Wireless Infrastructure Industry

By Tom Leddo, Chief Strategy Officer and Lynn Whitcher, General Counsel

Different Cultures, but Similar Challenges

Md7 currently operates in fourteen different countries and eleven different languages. While there are obviously a lot of cultural differences between each of these markets, Md7 has found that each of these countries and regions within are facing a lot of the same challenges as each continues to upgrade and maintain their networks. And, believe it or not, we have also found that many of the solutions to these common infrastructure challenges are similar as well.

In short, Md7 acknowledges that each country and/or market within a given country is unique, but we have found through our efforts to acquire, modify, expand, extend, optimize and even decommission, tens-of-thousands of sites around in North America, Europe, New Zealand and Egypt that the challenges and solutions are more similar than one would assume.

Based on our experience over the last thirteen years, we find that all of the wireless operators we serve are facing the following two challenges.

  1. Managing capital expenditures (CapEx) on continuous and more frequent network upgrades in response to the ever-evolving consumer demand driven by the advent of smartphones, tablets and now even the Internet of Things (IoT).
  2. Managing operational expenditures (OpEx) in response to handset penetration rates in excess of 100%.

Or said another way, operators worldwide have to continuously increase the efficiency and bandwidth of their spectrum and networks while simultaneously operating on tighter budgets.

Independent of country or culture, it is simple economics. In all of the markets in which Md7 operates, the operator’s growth curve has flattened as it crosses 100% penetration, while the customers are demanding more bandwidth at lower prices, on cooler devices.

Disruption is Needed Globally

It’s clear that more cell sites are needed, but given the economic constraints of the industry, the traditional deployment model must be disrupted. In our previous article, More Cell Sites – Better, Faster, and Cheaper, we discussed the need to find a better way to acquire and build more cell sites (small cell, as well as DAS and macro sites) that is faster and cheaper. At Md7, we are investing a lot of money in R&D to find and improve upon solutions. We believe that the site acquisition process must be blown up and redesigned to be better, which we believe inherently results in cheaper and faster processes.

Md7 Expands Office in Maastricht, Netherlands

Maastricht, Netherlands. Md7 International Telecommunications Limited (MITL) announces that they have moved the location of their Benelux operations centre within the city of Maastricht in the Netherlands. The new office is located at Wim Duisenbergplantsoen 51, 6221 SE Maastricht.

“This is part of our ongoing growth and expansion as we have increased our service footprint with some of our key customers, and we needed additional room to handle increased staffing. We found a location that is more strategic with respect to our customers so that we can more easily engage in ad hoc, face-to-face meetings and planning sessions” said Michael Habets, Benelux Region Program Manager.

According to Mark Christenson, President of MITL, “Md7 has had a presence in or near Maastricht since 2009, and this is the latest evolution of our ongoing commitment to our customers to ensure that we can provide the optimised level of staffing as well as the most efficient level of engagement for the services being provided.”

In addition to a larger space, the new office provides better infrastructure and facilities that represent the company in the best way. “The new office is bright and open, highly technical and welcoming at the same time – I’m not surprised everyone loves it” said Svenja Preisler, Program Manager from Md7’s Dublin office, who, together with some of her team, recently visited the new premises. The team from Dublin visited Maastricht as part of Md7’s commitment its Core Value of Continuous Improvement and engaged in some workshops to exchange knowledge and align processes and procedures between the Dublin and Maastricht teams.

Key to Md7’s success still is our centralised operational model. With the Benelux office in Maastricht and the headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, Md7 is perfectly positioned to live up to its name and expertly serve our clients all over Europe, Africa and Oceania.”