Monday, April 30, 2018

Code Blog

I started a new blog at as a store for little programs that I think others might find useful.  It's brand new, so only a couple posts are out there now, but expect more AWK (like the code below), PowerShell, VBA, Google App Scripts and others.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Detroit Style Pizza

Lacking a real Detroit-style pizza pan, I opted for the cast-iron skillet to bake this deeper-dish, pepperoni and cheese pizza in the oven.  Store-bought sauce saves some work, but no time as the dough needs a couple hours to rise.  Make sure the bottom of the crust is throughly oiled to prevent extraction issues.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Human-Powered Washing Machine

Last weekend's Senior Design Expo at Wright State University was packed with a variety of engineering capstone projects, each starting with a really interesting problem which the students solved in innovative ways.  One of my favorites is this bicycle-powered washing machine, which had to be built only from parts easily found in Africa, and consisted mainly of various bicycle parts and a drum.  Genius in its simplicity.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

680 Pounds

Last weekend's major project was clearing sod, dirt and roots from the west side of our backyard and hauling its 680 pounds to the dump in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which now needs a major cleaning, inside and out.  Cost about $13 to dispose of and thankfully the dump opens at 6:00 am Monday morning so I didn't have to drive around smelling like yard.  This area will be transformed into something decorative in the next couple months, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ed Mabrey At TEDxDayton

Ed Mabrey has won the Individual World Poetry Slam title in 2007, 2012 and 2016 and tied for first in 2013.  His performance at TEDxDayton in 2015, at this YouTube link, was just stunning.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Decorative Gift Box

Using a decorative gift box instead of gift wrapping a traditional white box not only results in a very classy presentation, but leaves a very useful second gift. This gift box came from Tuesday Morning, a fun place just to wonder through.

Friday, April 20, 2018

General Tso's Crispy Chicken Sandwich

This takes a bit of work, but the results are fantastic.  The combination of cornstarch and self-rising flour in the coating makes for a super-crispy crust and the General Tso's Sauce, with ginger, garlic, pepper and hoisin, is sweet-spicy. The Chinese slaw is a nice touch, but optional in my opinion.  Store-bought Chinese mustard will also save time and effort.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mac Screenshots

I've known for awhile that Shift-Command-4 lets me take a screenshot of a portion of my Mac's display and save it as a PNG file on my desktop.  What I just learned was by adding Control to that sequence places the image in the clipboard, a very useful place to have it, for example, adding it to an email.  And on top of that I learned that Shift-Command-4 followed by a space brings up a little camera icon that will screenshot an entire window.  There's even more at this Apple support link.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Squeezing Lemons

I've always squeezed lemons and other citrus using a press with the fruit pointed down, like pictured at the bottom right.  But while watching Trisha Yearwood's cooking show, in a blink of any eye, I swore I saw her squeeze it upside down.  A quick back-it-up then play-and-pause and sure enough, I see that the fruit should be pointed up instead, like the picture at the bottom left.  A quick test showed that I get about 25% more juice, and a lot less mess, using what seems to me to be the upside-down way of doing this.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Grilled Chicken Sliders

A little chili powder kicks the marinade up a couple notches, then you decide your toppings, simple as that.  Why is it that little sliders just seem to taste better than their larger cousins?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Perfect Color Match

A useful feature of Microsoft Paint is finding the exact Red, Green and Blue color values in an image to match it elsewhere, such as a presentation slide deck.  As the animated GIF below demonstrates, all that's necessary is to click the eyedropper, click on the color of interest, click "Edit colors" and the values appear at the bottom right of the pop-up dialog box.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Turning Off IPv6

Internet Protocol version 6 provides a major expansion in the number of Internet addresses from the familiar version 4 (e.g., in fact, this upgrade went from just over 4 billion to 340 undecillion IPv6 addresses (10 to the power of 38), which should last us just about forever.  But we suspected our home Windows PC was having connectivity problems due to using IPv6 (my guess is the router), so we turned off IPv6 in the Local Area Connection Properties, as shown below, which has seemed to resolve the issue.  That's no big deal for a home PC sitting behind a router/firewall, since your local IP address will be changed anyway as it traverses across the firewall to the Internet, a process called NAT (Network Address Translation).

Monday, April 9, 2018


The Photoscan app takes five pictures and stitches them together to make its final product, including this adorable picture of yours truly, oh so many years ago, with a full head of hair.  Using multiple photo avoids the inevitable glare from showing up on the final image.  To avoid the watermark at the bottom, save the picture to your photo gallery first.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Asparagus Fries

A little flour, a little egg and a dredge of Panko and Parmesan turn these baked asparagus spears into a unique, healthy and delicious side dish.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

EPS Viewer

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) is a great vector image file format and you can scale them up without loss of sharpness.  But PowerPoint doesn't allow them any more (a security bug, imagine that), so they need to be converted to a bitmap image first.  EPSViewer will do just that and can scale up in resolutions higher than one of those new-fangled 4K UltraHD TVs.  The fish below was scaled (pun intended) up to 10,000-by-4812, but higher is possible, and unlikely ever necessary.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Registered Jack

I regularly throw out terms without really knowing what they mean, like the "RJ" used as a prefix for telephone (RJ-11) or Ethernet (RJ-45) cabling.  I now know that "RJ" stands for "Registered Jack", but the real eye-opener was that the aforementioned RJ-45 used for computer networking is really
an 8P8C.  But I guess that mouthful is a bit much, so RJ-45 stuck.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Son's Cars

My son has been in love with cool, fast cars since he bought his first Camaro as a teenager.  He recently paired his Ferrari with a Corvette.  To go with the "NO ROSSO" (not red) plate on the Ferrari, he went with "NOKIDZS" for the Vette, which is pretty self-explanatory.  Here's hoping for some more father/son time this summer!  He also owns a Hummer H2.  My boy has his toys!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Roku Private Listening

This Roku feature allows you to be the only one listening to a show, handy for late nights or just wanting to listen to Top Gun with the volume cranked way up.  I pair my bluetooth headphones to my smartphone which has the Roku app installed.  From my simulated home screen I press on the

icon, which brings up the Remote Settings screen.  Then slide the Private Listening dot to the right and poof, the TV sound is turned off and the sound is piped to your smartphone.