Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Driving In Ireland

This picture is from a trip to Ireland a couple summers ago. A rental car with an automatic transmission was really expensive, so we opted for a manual, which I've driven at least half my life. But this was the first time operating the stick shift left-handed. Add sitting on the right side of the minivan, driving on the left side of the road and some very narrow road, I was more than occasionally a very nervous wreck. I really felt bad for my hopeless passengers.

There are 55 countries that have left-hand traffic, spread all over the world.  This link has the complete list.


Monday, February 27, 2017


My cell phone number is listed in the National Do Not Call registry, so why do I keep getting annoying spam calls?  News flash: crooks don't obey laws.  Now I'm fighting back thanks to the Truecaller app which lets me know when reported spammer, like the one below, is calling.

Big shout out to my friend Jim N for this pearl!


Friday, February 24, 2017

Cod With Feta

Lent will start next week on March 1st and here's a killer recipe for taking the sting out of meatless Friday's. Quick to make and bake, you can save a few more minutes by buying the dill and chives already prepared and packaged in little plastic "domes" in your grocer's produce section.

4 Cod Fillets (or your favorite fish)
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
3 ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon fresh Dill, minced
1 tablespoon fresh Chives, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Combine bread, feta cheese, oil, dill and chives in a mixing bowl.  Salt and pepper the fish.  Put the mixture on top of the fish in a glass baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated, 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish), until the fish is tender.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard

A recent addition to my home technology stash is this lightweight (14 oz), 14" x 5" keyboard/mouse combo that can be Bluetooth paired to Windows, Android and my Raspberry Pi 3.  I wouldn't recommend it for daily use, but it's great when kicked back in the lazy chair.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Raspberry Pi 3

A huge improvement over the original Raspberry Pi, this new model sports a 1.2GHz 64-bit, quad-core processor and on-board 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth. Its current home is attached to the downstairs TV and running the Raspbian Pixel operating system and Chromium web browser. Handy for those times when I want to handle a few emails between commercials. Next iteration will be to run ChromiumOS, the open source version of ChromeOS, when it becomes available.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017


A handy video capture and editing tool, free (I love free) for home use. I like having one tool I can run on both Windows and Mac. Paid versions have more features and can be used at work.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Poorly Designed GPS

To enter an address in my Volkswagen Eos's navigation system you have to start at the bottom and work your way up, very counter-intuitive. To confuse you further, when you start they highlight the "Number" field, making you believe you should start there. To cap off one of the poorest ever end-user designs, you have to "type" on an alphabetically ordered keyboard instead of the standard Sholes (QWERTY) keyboard I've used for years. German engineering needs some serious human factors help.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Creamy Bacon Ranch Chicken

Looking for a new party recipe? Nothing is easier than slow-cooking chicken with cream cheese and ranch dressing seasoning, then finishing it off with cooked bacon, green onions and shredded cheddar cheese.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Starbucks Rewards

I really like the convenience of paying for my daily Starbucks habit with their smartphone app. It also keeps track as I collect points with every purchase, which add up to free drink and food rewards. I've been a bit of an over-achiever recently and I'm up to 8 freebies. I see a Caramel BrulĂ©e Latte in my near future.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Quinoa From Jen

Lots of history, nutritional information and the health benefits of quinoa from Jen at this link.  And plenty of well-written recommendations for other products around the home and office.


Costco Travel Car Rental

Not only did I save a few extra bucks getting a rental car through Costco, but the one additional driver fee being waived was a welcome bonus.  And it looks like I can also get a one-car-class upgrade at the counter if a larger car is available. Better and cheaper is a great combination!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Soft Touch Headlight Restoration

For $75, which included their always excellent car wash and detailing, Soft Touch restored these 13-year-old cloudy Nissan Maxima headlights to near new condition. While a pair of headlight replacements for most cars would have cost a few hundred dollars, these bad boys would have cost well over two grand.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Flexible Cutting Boards

I've always used wood cutting boards until I bought this set of flexible, and colorful, thin plastic versions. They have a rough bottom to help keep them from sliding around, clean up way easier and I can find one matching the size I need. I ended up with six, versus the normal set of four, thanks to a deal at the Kitchen Connection store and a very nice cashier who pointed me to the better deal.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Kroger Fuel Points

Happiness is getting gas for under a buck a gallon, courtesy of a dollar off discount using my Kroger fuel points which accumulate on a monthly basis based on spending. And since we filled up both cars, totaling over twenty-six gallons, that was a huge savings.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Weekend Schedule

I keep a weekend schedule (every Friday, Saturday, Sunday) of social activities for the upcoming months in a Google spreadsheet, attempting to avoid conflicts or just finding a free weekend to get caught up at home. This consolidated view is much easier than scrolling through page after page of calendar entries. Having access to that on my smart phone really helps, so I created an icon to bring it up with a single tap instead of going into Google Drive and searching for the spreadsheet. Instructions for doing that for any web site URL can be found at this link.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

iPhone's Compass App Is Also A Level

Save a trip to the tool shed by using your iPhone's Compass app.  Just swipe from right to left to reveal the level, then you can make that picture on the wall perfectly .. uh .. level. Built-in, no additional app needed.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Custom Mouse Pad With Your Favorite Photo

I was in the market for a small, thin, white mouse pad for the Magic Mouse. I found this customizable version and uploaded this cute guy to complete the deal. Fits perfect on the IKEA pull-out keyboard in the home office.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Cod With Fennel And Marinara

You probably think that fish, marinara sauce and fennel (tastes like licorice) go together like cereal and water. We did, but a while back tried this crazy combination, loved it, and made it a permanent member of the dinner rotation. Although the recipe calls for flounder, we like making this dish with cod, but whatever you're favorite fish is should work as well.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

iPhone RAM Clear

There is a much quicker way to free up a slow iPhone's memory than rebooting or closing lots of applications. Just press and hold the power off button until you see the "slide to power off" screen below, then press and hold the Home button until the main screen reappears.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Dorothy Lane Market

Dorothy Lane Market (DLM) is an upscale shopping experience with three locations in the southern Dayton area, but none of those explains the origin of their name. You have to go back to the beginning, in 1948, when they opened a fruit stand at the corner of Far Hills Avenue and Dorothy Lane in what was then Van Buren Township. Four years later the township was incorporated as the Village of Kettering and grew into the City of Kettering in 1955. The first market was built a few blocks north of the fruit stand in 1953, the second in Centerville in 1991 and the third in Springboro in 2002. 

DLM is famous with their delicious Killer Brownies, a treat of multiple layers of chocolate brownie, gooey caramel and chopped pecans.