Thursday, June 20, 2024

Starbucks Name

While I've been a fan of Starbucks coffee for many years, I recently realized I didn't know if someone just made the word up or if there was a story behind it.  A story it is.  Terry Heckler, a business partner of theirs, thought the name should begin with the strong "st" sound and they began compiling a list of words and initially chose "Starbo", a western mining town they saw on an old map.  "Starbo" kicked in memory of Herman Melville's classic book "Moby Dick" and the chief mate's name, "Starbuck".  The founders thought "Starbucks" relayed a sense of adventure, their Northwest origins, and a nautical theme.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sunglass Readers

I had LASIK eye surgery in my early forties, trading in my nearsightedness for perfect farsightedness, and in that process needed readers (aka cheaters) to see up close.  That was a great choice as it freed me from using contact lenses while running, skiing, golfing, etc., or having my glasses fog up when entering or exiting a building.  So I keep readers everywhere from the car to my home office to my nightstand.  But only last week did I think that perhaps they made sunglass readers so I could read outside on a sunny day.  Now of course they do and for $11 at the link below, I have two pairs of sunglass readers including carrying cases and a cleaning cloth.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Google App Script

Warning, serious techie $#!& below!

Google App Script is a free (I love free) computer language that allows you to automate pretty much anything within the Google sphere of products, for example, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc.  I recently set up a new Gmail account as the destination mailbox for reports that come in as compressed XML attachments.  Daily an App Script will run that processes all the emails in that inbox, decompresses the attachments in ZIP or GZ format, and them to Google Drive.  Subsequent scripts will parse that data and create CSV files which will be uploaded to a Google BigQuery database for querying and reporting.  

The code for reading the emails and saving the files is at the link below.  

Monday, June 17, 2024

Tire Inflation Station

I've been a member of Costco for many years but it wasn't until recently that I noticed this free (I love free) tire inflation station, mainly because I rarely park on that side of the parking lot. It uses nitrogen instead of regular air because when you buy tires at Costco they inflate them with nitrogen.  A discussion of the benefits of nitrogen inflation is included at the link below, and while it might not be worth the cost if you would pay for it, when the cost is zero to you it's worth the benefits.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Skyline Chili Dogs

Perhaps there is not a more satisfying lunch than the three Skyline Chili Dogs shown below.  Onions are a must, no mustard for this guy, and I add a generous amount of their red tabasco, jalapeƱo, and cayenne-based hot sauce.  It's an over 1,000-calorie splurge, not counting the drink, but so worth it every few months.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Watermelon Mule

I have loved the taste of watermelon ever since my days scooping ice cream at Sherer's Ice Cream over fifty years ago.  He made a watermelon sherbet that was fabulous.  I tried to recreate the magic in adult form using the REAL watermelon puree shown at right below that I purchased at Amazon.  I followed the recipe at the link below for a Watermelon Mule, then added a bit more puree to get the taste I wanted.  It was good and refreshing the ginger beer made it sweeter than I was looking for, so the next go-round will use Diet 7-up instead to reign in the sweetness.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Plant Cages

Gone are the old light-mesh, silver cages that protect new plants from bunny rabbits.  As shown below, I made new cages out of heavier fencer wire in two sizes.  I bought 4-foot high, 5-foot wide fencer wire at Home Deport, and first cut it horizontally to make a pair of 2-foot high sections.  I cut the width to 2 1/2 feet for the smaller cages, and for the larger cages, I cut the width to 4 feet and discarded the remaining mesh.  In all cases, I made sure I left 1/2-inch wires at one end.  I made a circle, threaded the 1/2-inch wires through the other end, and used needle-nosed pliers to twist and crimp the wires together.  Miraculously, no blood was shed in the making of these cages.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024


An SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a vector-based image format and its biggest feature is that you can increase its size without it getting fuzzier, unlike what happens with raster-graphics JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) or PNG (Portable Network Graphics) file.  That's great for website development where images could be very small for smartphones and very large for big 4K monitors.

Recently I was trying to figure out why some emails I received from a local non-profit looked odd.  After digging into the underlying code of one of those messages using Gmail's "Show original" feature, I determined that the oddness stemmed from missing images and all those images were SVGs.  A little Internet search taught me that Gmail does not support SVGs.  Case closed.

I love using SVGs for their scalability and frequently use FreeSVG to find images.  You can explore them at the link below.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Software Decision

Many years ago a team was brought together to select a piece of software to improve the effectiveness of the Computer Operations group.  After a lot of exploration, they boiled it down to two choices, either a higher-end, feature-rich product or a lesser-end, basic-feature product.  Of course, the higher-end choice was more expensive.  The team was trying hard to select the right product and spend the company's money wisely.  When I heard about this, I told the person I knew which one they would ultimately pick.  It had nothing to do with either piece of software, but an understanding of market forces and human nature.

Ultimately, the team recommended the higher-end product, as I had predicted.  The team tried hard to
figure out the price/feature angle, but I knew that market forces had already balanced them.  There was no way to find a better product for the price.  They were the same.  More money, more features, less money, less features.  The market had already done that.  Then when faced with the choice between two equal options, human nature entered to select the higher-end product.  Human nature said (1) it's really not our money and (2) the risk of the lesser-end product not really being capable enough to handle all needs, now and in the future.  The downside risk led to making the higher-end decision.  

It was a fine decision, just very predictable.  

Friday, June 7, 2024


I had the delicious Picanha at Fernando’s Mexican & Brazilian Cuisine in the Broad Ripple neighborhood in Indianapolis, IN.  It uses a particular cut of beef that comes from the top of the cow's rump, also known as a top sirloin cap.  That fat cap is the secret to this steak's amazing flavor.  A little salt, some Brazilian steak seasoning blend, and time on the grill or under a broiler is all that's needed.  You can check out some of the other dishes at Fernando’s at the link below.