Monday, October 31, 2016

Otto Beer Run

The first commercial delivery by a self-driving 18-wheeler is in the books, but who would have guessed that Uber and 2,000 cases of Budweiser would be involved?  Otto, a company that was just formed this year and purchased by Uber in August, was the tech behind the 120-mile trip between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, and Uber's desire for a piece of the $720 billion annual trucking industry revenue.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Chicago Dog

I love Chicago-style hot hogs and this beauty was munched during a recent layover at O'Hare airport. Just looking at this picture makes my mouth water and my tummy grumble.

As a side note, O'Hare's airport code is ORD, but that first "O" does not stand for O'Hare. The original name was Orchard Field Airport, named after Orchard Place, the small farming community where the government built an air base in 1942.  So ORD came from ORcharD. It was bought by the city of Chicago after WWII and renamed to O'Hare in 1949.,_Illinois

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Girls Named Richard, Boys Named Sue

Google's BigQuery tool includes a public data set (usa_names.usa in the query below) that contains 5,552,452 first names gleaned from U.S. Social Security applications between 1910 and 2013. Querying that data shows that some women are named using traditionally male names like "Richard", the top years shown below. Perhaps Johnny Cash would not be surprised that ten baby boys have been named "Sue". Sigh ... what were they thinking?

SELECT name, gender, year, count(*) as popular
FROM [bigquery-public-data:usa_names.usa_1910_2013] 
WHERE NAME = 'Richard' AND gender = 'F'
GROUP BY name, gender, year

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Highlighting The Active Row In Excel

If long rows of numbers are numbing (pun intended) your eye balls, you can highlight entire rows. Here's all you need to do.
  1. Save your spreadsheet as a .xlsm (macro-enabled spreadsheet)
  2. Press ALT+F11
  3. Double-left-click your worksheet (e.g. Sheet1)
  4. Paste in the following nine lines of VBA code 
Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
If Target.Cells.Count > 1 Then Exit Sub
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Cells.Interior.ColorIndex = 0
With Target
.EntireRow.Interior.ColorIndex = 36
End With
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

Go back to your spreadsheet and select a different cell.  The entire row of that cell is now highlighted in yellow, as shown below. If yellow isn't appealing, you can play around changing the value of the ColorIndex from 36 to other choices.  Visit the following link to see your options.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 8, 1955

I was born on October 8, 1955, and courtesy of Weather Underground, I can see I was greeted into this world with a sunny day and a high of 63 degrees.  Can't they all be just like that?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Two Monitors, Two Spreadsheets

Your I.T. group has finally succumbed to your begging and pleading for a second monitor, but when you open two Excel spreadsheets you find you can't get them both visible at the same time, even though Word and PowerPoint behave nicely. Are you going crazy? Maybe, but this one is Microsoft's doing. But there is a solution.

Either hold the Shift key while left-clicking the Excel icon in your task bar, or right-click that icon and left-click on "Microsoft Excel".  Both methods will launch a separate instance of Excel, allowing you to put them on separate monitors.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Charlie's Deli

Located a couple miles northeast of downtown Dayton, Ohio, Charlie's serves up delicious sandwiches like the Cuban I recently had (shown below). Cabbage Rolls, a Rueben and a Gyro are also on my gotta-have-soon list, but you will find about any kind of sandwich imaginable.

Open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm, so this is not a weekend joint.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Amazon Wind Farm US Central

Just to confuse, Amazon calls their AWS Ohio Region (yesterday's post) part of "US East", but calls their wind farm in Ohio's Paulding county "US Central". And it's located on the west side of Ohio.

For clean energy, they can call it whatever they like and put it wherever they like.

The 100 megawatt wind farm is expected to start generating about 320,000 megawatt hours of energy annually, starting in May 2017, enough for 29,000+ households.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Amazon Web Services Ohio Region

Amazon Web Services has launched their Ohio Region with three data centers around Columbus (Dublin, Hilliard and New Albany), offering their customers a second option in the eastern U.S.. They have also agreed to work together with The Ohio State University to connect to OARNet, the state-wide 100-gigabit (I love speed) network that connects colleges, schools, medical research hospitals and state government.

A great "cloudy" day for Ohio!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Courage For Parents

Heidi Landes gave one of the best TEDxDayton talks last week about how developing your children's self-control, not a false sense of  self-esteem (e.g. everybody gets a trophy), is a parent's key responsibility. Heidi and her husband are certified parent coaches and offer workshops to struggling parents.

Monday, October 17, 2016


I've written before about the Windows CLIP program, which accepts input and places it in the Windows Clipboard.  But that's a one-way street and getting data out typically involves pasting it somewhere.  But if you need a programmatic way to get the data out of the clipboard, this handy Clip2DOS program will do the trick.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Toast the Mayo

Try making a grilled cheese sandwich using mayonnaise on the outsides. Way easier to spread than butter, save a few calories and get the same crispy result. And yes, that's Velveeta cheese, one of the staples I grew up on and the kid in me refuses to give up.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Wget is one of the utility programs under the GNU (pronounced g'noo) project and automates retrieving web pages including files such as my recent need for PDF's and JPG's.  It also has the handy capability to navigate links down through a web site to get files stored at those lower levels. Like all things GNU, Wget is free (I love free).  Just look for this stylish antelope head and you've found something GNU.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Modular Surge Protector

Build your own surge-protecting power strip to match your needs with this snap-together invention. Need a few USB charging ports?  No problem.  Need to protect your phone or Ethernet connection? Same answer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Saving Money With Honey

Just saved an extra $27 (15%) placing an online Kohl's order using the Honey extension on my Chrome web browser. It automatically goes to work during checkout to try numerous coupon codes and selects the one (if any) that provides the largest savings (I love savings). You literally don't have to do a thing and savings appear.  Sweet!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pebble Beach

The view of the 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the most iconic in the world and always my last stop on the 17-mile Drive. After soaking in the scenery, I complete the visit by having a libation in The Tap Room at the Lodge, which is open to the public and apparently not a well known fact.  Shhhh....

Friday, October 7, 2016

Meatloaf Burgers

Burgers and Gary Farrell Pinot Noir?  When both are this good, certainly.

This Meatloaf Burger comes from the ad-free Cooks Country magazine. The recipe blends panko,Worcestershire, ketchup, parsley,egg, Dijon mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper into the ground beef, then tops that with a sauce of mayonnaise, cider vinegar, pepper and ketchup.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Stadium Chairs

We finally got the chance to test out our new stadium chairs last weekend at the Ball State football game and they didn't disappoint. Sturdy and comfortable, one can even lean back without fear.

Who came up with the cruel bench seat idea anyway? I'd like to have words...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Google Home

Yesterday was a huge Google announcement day with their new Pixel phones, Wifi, Chromecast and Virtual Reality headset announced, but Google Home, their Amazon Echo competitor, was my first (probably not the last) purchase.  Powered by Google Assistant, now open to third-party developers, Google is trying to deliver a "personal Google" for everyone.  I think "The Jetsons" are one step closer to reality.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

More Blackberry Nails

A few months ago President Obama got rid of his Blackberry.  Ouch.  Last week Blackberry announced they were no longer going to manufacture their phones, handing that over to third-parties. But with $2 billion in yearly revenue, they're not dead yet. Just another nail in their eventual coffin.

Monday, October 3, 2016


Traveling to Canada or Mexico and want to keep your Verizon access?  TravelPass gives you that for a scant $2 per day.  And if you're data plan is 12 GB per month or more, it's free.  Most other countries. at $10 per day, get a bit pricey but not terrible.

Loud shout out to Sherry for today's tip!