Thursday, January 31, 2019

United Airlines Merchandise Awards

I knew that I had almost 20,000 United Airline miles that were going to expire in a couple months.  What I didn't know was that I could those miles for merchandise, but fortunately stumbled upon that option on their rewards website.  I searched a couple dozen brands (out of a ton more than that) before deciding on fleece Under Armour clothing and a Steve Madden RFID-protection wallet, and as shown below, the shipping was free (I love free).  Awesome customer experience!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Whisper To Alexa

An oddly compelling feature available on all three of my different Amazon Echo (aka Alexa) devices is called Whisper Mode and when enabled if you whisper to Alexa, she (the default voice) will whisper back.  Very handy for getting the time or the temperature without waking your sleeping spouse.  The first time you whisper "Alexa" and a command she will enable Whisper Mode, or use the smartphone app.  More details at this link.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Air Force Museum

The Dayton Region is blessed to be home to the Air Force Museum.  Their newest building houses a collection of U.S. presidential aircraft, called Air Force One when the president is on board, and the one pictured below was the plane that transported the slain John F. Kennedy back to Washington D.C. as Lyndon Johnson was sworn into office, one of the saddest days in many American lives.  This is just one of several hundred planes, missiles and other displays offering multiple days of free (I love free) entertainment and history lessons.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Phishing Quiz

Google has done an excellent job of quizzing you on spotting phishing emails, and providing the details on why each of the eight examples is, or is not, to be believed.  I've been at this a long time and felt this should be easy, but a few of them really, really made me think hard, and getting all of them correct was an accomplishment.  Try to skill at the link below.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Broccoli Cakes

Just mix together grated broccoli and cauliflower, bread crumbs, a couple eggs, Parmesan cheese, capers, salt and pepper to form these surprisingly delicious, oven-roasted cakes.  Recipe is from Lois Lane, I mean Teri Hatcher, as she demonstrated on a recent show of The Kitchen on The Food Network.  A nice side dish, reasonably low in calories and carbs, and leftovers heat up nicely.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

WPCU Shredding Service

Two things we regularly save, loose change and financial documents, can be a problem when it's time to clean house, but Wright-Patt Credit Union (at least the one we use at Cross Point Centre on Whipp Road) makes both a breeze.  Members can use their coin-counting machine to deposit the full amount to their account and can have old documents securely shredded by putting them in one of the containers seen below.  Try doing either of those with an app or an ATM 😏...!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Clothes That Work

What to do with those nice dress clothes you wore to work after taking the retirement plunge?  Our answer was donating them to Clothes That Work, which empowers their clients to secure and maintain employment by providing interview and workplace appropriate clothing, confidence building education, and coaching services.  The donation center is located at 1133 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd., just north of Stewart Street.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Google Private DNS

Sorry, Android Pie only.  It's that new.

Google has introduced Private DNS, which uses encryption between your device and Google's DNS servers to add just a little more privacy to your Internet interactions, mainly keeping your Internet Service Provider (ISP) a little more in the dark.  This will work with apps that use the system defaults, however, some apps have their own built-in DNS lookups, so it's not perfect.  The article explains the setup and I used to option to manually configure it so it uses Google's DNS, as you can see at the bottom of the graphic below.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Rotary Dial

If you want a little nostalgia or just to get your kids eyes to roll backwards, Slick Rotary allows you to call numbers on your smartphone the old-fashioned way, sticking your finger on a number and twirling clockwise.  Free (I love free) for Android and $1.99 for iPhones, it comes complete with the clicking sounds I enjoyed as a child.  Now if I can just remember people's phone numbers to actually use it...

Friday, January 18, 2019

Eudora Brewing Company

Opening weekend for the new location of the Eudora Brewing Company in Kettering, on Wilmington Pike just south of Dorothy Lane, was a bit of a madhouse, and even with a winter storm making travel more adventurous than usual, thirsty folks braved it for a chance to see the new place.  In addition to the 18 taps they have a nice menu, including a grilled cheese I can't wait to try, and they have several large screen televisions, a couple of pool tables and my wife's favorite, an old-fashioned bowling machine.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Levolor Drums And Retainer Clips

Over the years I've replaced all the window coverings in the house with 2-inch, faux-wood Levolor blinds, but recently we noticed that a few of the strings had come loose at the top, so I went back to Lowes for replacement parts.  They don't carry that but suggested I visit the nearby The Blind Spot in Bellbrook, where I met the extremely helpful Nancy Link.  She took the time to listen to what I needed, did some Internet research, and pointed me to, where I was able to buy the plastic drums and retaining clips to make the needed repairs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Payable On Death

We don't want to leave this earth with our children having to figure out our finances and going through probate court.  So in addition to having our offspring listed as contingent beneficiaries on all our investment accounts, we recently modified all our bank accounts to "Payable On Death" and added them as the payees, so the bank will take care of sending them their share when we both pass. 

As Forrest Gump said, "that's one less thang".

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Best Of 2018

Over on my Life Experiences blog, I posted my traditional list of the top ten experiences from the last year, including one that came off my Bucket List.

Aerial Cities

I'm a big fan of Aerial America on the Smithsonian Channel and the most recent addition to their high-flying, informative shows is Aerial Cities, with six shows covering Chicago, Las Vegas, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Check out the link below for upcoming showtimes, which in my area will happen at 6:00 am and 7:00 am during dates in the second half of February 2019.  Thank goodness for DVRs.

Monday, January 14, 2019

GoodRx For Animal Prescriptions

My daughter just saved 75% off her dog's phenobarbital prescription for thanks to GoodRx, totaling a $59 savings.  For us humans our insurance may provide greater savings, but who has a prescription plan for their pet?  Grab their current pill bottle and head over to the link below to see if you can find a better price.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Buckin' Donkey

There are bars that serve good "bar food", but the Buckin' Donkey serves great food and happens to be a bar, the hole-in-the-wall type (see image below) that you can drive by without a second thought.  Check out the menu at the DoorDash link below, but my friends and I can vouch for the Old Style Chicago Weck, Triple Bypass Burger, Crabby Dip and Onion Rings.  They're located at 2866 S. Dixie Drive in Moraine, just north of Dorothy Lane, just don't blink or you might miss it.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dark Mode

Ah, what's old is new again.

Dark mode is all the rage on smartphones these days and it makes perfect sense that dramatically reducing all those battery-sucking bright whites to zero-energy blacks makes your device last longer between charges.  It's also easier on the eyeballs and less noticeable in darker venues.  I've turned on several dark mode themes in apps on my Google Pixel 2, but Android Q, due out in 2019, looks to deliver that system-wide, as per the article below.  Can't wait (but I guess I have to, duh).

And the image below?  That's a 1980s-vintage IBM 3270 terminal, which always had a black (i.e. Dark Mode) background.  Full circle, once again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Technology First Magazine

The New Year brings a new format for the Technology First magazine, moving to a 8 1/2 by 11 inch magazine format printed on glossy paper for a great look.  The member-contributed articles continue being high-quality and insightful, with my favorite in this Jan/Feb 2019 issue being a look at the risks your business faces when your employees use ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.  If you prefer, you can also read the magazine online using the Issuu link below.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Volume Butler On Android

I use a short audio clip of ocean waves as my notification tone, preferring a quieter sound that won't wake me up at night, but like a louder ring tone for incoming calls so I don't miss them.  But since my Pixel 2 only has one volume level setting for both rings and notifications, I had to try to find a middle ground and that wasn't possible.  The solution was a free (I love free) app called Volume Butler, which as seen below, provides for separate volumes, and I cranked the ring up and the notification down, to my desired levels.  If this is something you might like to try, follow the instructions at the link below carefully to get it configured properly.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Beam Me Up

My new go-to mug for tea was one of many great Christmas presents from my kids and celebrates my love of the original Star Trek series.  As shown below, as the steaming water is added and the mug gets hot, Captain Kirk materializes in the transporter.  I'll be enjoying many mugs of Constant Comment tea this chilly winter.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Smoked Peppercorn Sage Rub

I'm fond of occasionally wandering through the grocery store and looking for whatever is new and interesting.  On one such day, while fixated quite a while at the spice rack, I spotted this Smoked Peppercorn Sage Rub, and thought that's quite the combination, and would add some uniqueness to a chicken filet, which is shown below perched atop bacon and avocado, and between a couple pieces of wheat toast.  Mouth watering deliciousness!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ohio Is Beautiful

I follow a select group of people on Instagram, not wanting a repeat of my now long-gone Facebook fiasco, but I follow only one hashtag on Instagram, #ohioisbeaautiful, found at the link below.  A variety of photographers post gorgeous pictures from throughout the state, from waterfalls to waterfowl and sunflowers to sunsets.  Really helps remind me that I live in a beautiful state with four seasons to get out and explore.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

AAA Miami Valley

You wouldn't think having your car towed to the local service shop as the highlight of your day, but due to the tremendous, friendly and thoughtful service provided to my wife last month (while I was out of town, funny how that happens), it turned a gloomy situation into a bright day.  Our local AAA has their own staff, not your typical outsource job, and he was polite to the max, and very graciously helped out at every turn, including bringing the paperwork back to his truck and providing a ride home.  A guardian angel, indeed!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Jameson Christmas Tree

We held our annual family Christmas get-together over lunch at the Dublin Pub in Dayton.  The most colorful decoration was this Christmas tree constructed from upside-down Jameson Irish Whiskey bottles and strings of lights that made the whole thing glow.  I would have been happy to assist in emptying the bottles, but I guess I missed that memo.