Monday, June 24, 2019

Will Return

I got tired of writing notes about when I’ll be back from running a few miles, so I bought this sign.  Now I just dial the hands to the proper return time and lay it on the kitchen counter, where it can’t be missed.  I guess I could have found a more techie way...

Friday, June 21, 2019

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Crispy Panko Topping

Here's a great low-carb replacement for potatoes that my wife has made multiple times and we love it, aside from the smell of boiling cauliflower, which she is sweet enough to forewarn me.  The cheeses are the stars here, a combination of Pecorino, a firm, salty cheese made from sheep's milk, and Gruy√®re,  a hard yellow cheese made from dairy cows.  The top layer of Panko, fine slivers of crustless bread, are baked to a nice crunchy golden brown.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Google Fi

I've made the leap to Google Fi, replacing Verizon as my cellphone carrier.  Fi uses Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular along with WiFi hotspots using automatic encryption.  With my data usage averaging just under 2 GB/month, I expect to spend a little less than $40/month.  The best feature might be international, where you pay the same $10/ per GB for data, cellular calls are $0.20 per minute, WiFi calls cost the same as calling from the U.S., and texting is free.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

5G Speed Test

The next generation of cellular networking is given the 5G designation and will be incredibly fast as this YouTube video will demonstrate.  That's fascinating, but at that type of speed I would spend about $20 for a single minute of data download.  Not happening any time soon.

Shout out to Dave C for bringing this to my attention!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Read Aloud

Proofreading articles, particularly those I write myself, is difficult as reading is not typically a word-by-word exercise and my brain loves to just jump over mistakes like the typical "the the".  But listening uses other brain paths, so hearing a "the the" will jump out big time.  So to improve the quality of my finished work, I've started using the Chrome extension Read Aloud.  I just highlight the text I want to review, click the bullhorn icon parked at the end of the URL bar, then close my eyes and just listen for my mistakes.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Soft Touch Discount Days

One of the financial enjoyments of retirement is finding discounts, typically weekdays, and that includes the sweet 25% off at Soft Touch Car Wash.  Ladies get that discount on Tuesday's and gentlemen on Wednesday's.  You can't beat the fantastic job they do, even on my Jeep that gets every form of lawn scrap, including mulch, dirt, leaves and bush trimmings, in the back.  Believe me, this guy is earning his nice tip.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Shrimp Scampi

Marinating the shrimp in garlic, salt and oil for 30-60 minutes, using the best shrimp available (in our case, Foremost Seafood) and the addition of a 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes makes this dish over-the-top delicious.  We opted for some angel hair pasta, instead of bread, and added a Caesar salad to complete the meal.  The 65-second video included in this link to the recipe below will show you how absolutely simple this is to make.

Home Depot Expedited Checkout

When the checkout lines at Home Depot Garden Center started to backup, a couple additional employees started moving things along by using mobile scanning devices to record everything in your cart and then linking that to an Expedited Checkout card like the one below.  When we got to the cashier, they only needed to scan the card and we only had to pay.  That line really zipped along using this service.  Thanks Home Deport!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Bluetooth On Fire TV Cube

One of the best features of my Amazon's Fire TV Cube is its Bluetooth support, which includes the A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) profile for high quality stereo audio and HID (Human Interface Device) profile for devices such as mice and keyboards.  I've now connected my Trekz Titanium wireless stereo headphones (so others can enjoy their quiet) and 1byone wireless keyboard/touchpad (for quicker searching).  Roku needs this badly.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

4-Port USB Charger

We're up to five devices we travel with (Pixel 2, iPhone, Apple Watch and two iPads) and a two-port charger no longer cuts it, plus those charging blocks with the prongs built in are often difficult to fit into hotel outlets.  Both issues are now resolved with this four-port USB charger with its 5-foot cable, which packs a nice 40-watt, 8-amp punch.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Jungle Jim's

A trip to Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, Ohio is as much entertaining as it is overwhelming in its selection of .... well, everything!  Their international food departments alone represent over 70 countries and over 70,000 items.  Huge displays like the one below provide helpful directions and some chuckles.  If you go (pun intended), you simply must check out their restrooms, which won the 2007 Cintas Best Restroom in America contest.  You're in for a big surprise.

If you're feeling a bit nostalgic for Campbell's soup, check out this classic black and white commercial on YouTube.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Armenian Lamb

After buying these eight beautiful lamb chops at Costco, we needed an equally great recipe and who else to turn to than The Kitchen's Geoffrey Zakarian.  This unique sauce combines olive oil, white wine vinegar, dill, mint, parsley, garlic, shallot and surprise, a red serrano chile!  Just sear the chops for 3 to 4 minutes each side (or to your desired doneness) and let rest before serving.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

RCA 4-Device Big-Button Remote Control

The holy grail .... one remote to control them all!

Highlights of our new remote are:

  • Bigger and fewer buttons
  • Backlight button
  • No system power cycle button (i.e. turn everything on/off at the same time)
    • Never served a purpose other than mess everything up
  • Controls our TV (Vizio), cable (Samsung), Blu-ray (Sony) and Roku
  • Only $14
The AUDIO-SB button had to be reprogrammed to control the Roku, which the instructions explain how to do.  Then we had to figure out which buttons do the special Roku features.  They are:

  • INFO_OPTIONS is the Roku Asterisk button
  • Both MENU and GUIDE+HOME map to the Roku Home button
  • GO BACK maps to the Roku big Left Arrow button

Monday, June 3, 2019

Airport Mailers

You've checked in, got your boarding pass and are proceeding through airport security only to find you've left your favorite pocket knife (or any other prohibited item) in your carry-on bag.  Your choices are not necessarily limited to forfeiting the item or missing your plane.  A better option is to mail the item to yourself (or a friend) using Airport Mailers, a service at the twenty-two airports listed below.  Just pick up one of their 6" x 9" plastic pouches and follow the directions to complete the payment and shipping form.

Akron,  Boston, Charlotte, Charlottesville, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas/Fort Worth,  Dallas/Love,  Denver, El Paso, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Pensacola, Rochester, Raleigh Durham, Reno/Tahoe, San Francisco, San Jose, Oklahoma City