Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hunter Refurbished Fan

The office makeover was completed with the installation of a new ceiling fan and light.  We opted for a refurbished model at half the price of a new one and you can't tell the difference.  We did upgrade the provided, but under-powered, CFL bulbs with a pair of daylight, 100-watt-equivalent LED's which further brightened up the room.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Home Office Makeover

I'm getting too old for this, but not yet too old to do this.  The home office recently got a paint job and new rug, which really freshened things up.  The taping and painting are laborious enough, but the real chore was moving most everything out of the office, then moving the desk and file cabinet around to paint the ceiling.  The most pleasant surprise came from the "HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams" paint which covered the old brown walls in one coat with minimal dripping.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Centimeters to Inches Conversion

I just love a good design and this web site, which simply converts between metric and standard lengths, caught my eye.  You can enter millimeters, centimeters, inches or fractions of an inch and it will convert that number to the other fields.  But really cool part is the ruler and the red line that visually shows the length.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Fresh Pasta With 20 Minute Sausage And Beef Bolognese Sauce

This winter has needed more than its share of comfort food and here's another that's sure to please.  I love the combination of ground beef and italian sausage with the usual assortment of tomato, onion, garlic and spices, but the wide, egg pasta noodles pushed it over the top.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Bumper Sticker Removal

The surprising answer, at least to me, on how to remove bumper stickers is to heat them with a hair dryer, or better yet, a heat gun.  It just softens the glue enough to make them (at least relatively) easy to pull off.  Any remaining glue can be removed with a product like Goo Gone For Cars.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Storage Bins

Organizing our home office closet took a leap forward with these cute storage bins with their rope handles.  It's amazing how much little stuff we have and sorting them by use, for example all the CD/DVD/cases in one, makes it so much easy to find exactly what you're looking for.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cutting Across The Grain

I've been told all my life to cut meat "across the grain", but like most advice it doesn't really stick until I know why it's the right thing.  Seemed like cutting "with the grain" was easier, and it is, but cutting "across the grain" makes the eating easier, which is certainly the better tradeoff.  Now that I know why, I won't have to be told again.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Lazesoft Recovery

I hope you never experience the sinking feeling of despair when you realize you're locked out of your Windows PC, racking your brain for the password that's just beyond your reach.  Lazesoft, a free (I love free) utility just might be your salvation.  It's a Swiss army knife of utilities that would make MacGyver proud.  Don't wait, install it asap, create a bootable CD or USB drive and sleep well tonight.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Roasted Chicken With Croutons

This chicken is stuffed with onions, thyme, rosemary, garlic and spices, then placed atop five, two-inch-thick, buttered baguette slices in a cast-iron skillet.  When the bird is done in the oven, the scrapings, stock, wine and other ingredients create a reduction sauce.  Combined with the bread and the chicken, this meal is pure chicken happiness.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

One Foot Nylon Braided Lightning to USB Charging Cable

In situations, like charging your phone in a car, where having a short cable is preferable but the resulting bending puts too much stress on a normal cable that it comes apart, this nylon braided cable, all of one foot long, can be your solution.  This one is sold in a 4-pack, but at $12 isn't a budget buster.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hot Screens App

One built-in feature on my Mac I simply love is being able to lock it up just by moving my mouse to the bottom-right corner of the screen.  This free (I love free) utility will do the same for Windows, and like the Mac, the other three corners can perform actions also.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Password Perfection

After all the crazy password rules I've ranted about in my technical blog, finally someone (Anthem) has come around to my simple way of thinking about choosing passwords.  Just find something easy to remember yet hard to guess.  The logic behind this, from the human point of view, is if IT makes a bunch of rules (e.g. length, capitals, numbers, special characters, non-repeating sequences, etc.), they are saying that they have the "hard to guess" part covered, leaving us only concerned with the "easy to remember" piece.  But asking us to think about both sides of the password selection process, and making it a simple ask, leads us to better passwords.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Robot Serving Beer

Yaskawa America's Motoman Robotics Division, located just west of I-75 and Austin Blvd, had a beer pouring machine similar to this at Technology First's "Taste Of IT" event last November.  Nowhere near as fast as the best bartender, but very entertaining.  The fastest bartender we ever saw was a young lady tending bar at The Doghouse Sports Lounge in San Jose, who spoke as fast as she popped tops, and we had to ask to slow down so we could understand what she was asking us.  Pretty incredible.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Pixel AR Stickers

This Star Wars Storm Trooper and BB-8 joined us for a college football bowl game over the Christmas holidays.  OK, not really, but I needed something to demonstrate the Augmented Reality (AR) stickers available on my Google Pixel 2 smartphone.  I figured an X-wing fighter in the middle of the living room might be too much to believe.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Creamy Chicken And Dumplings

The recent cold weather snap is really putting a premium on winter comfort food and nothing fills that need better than dumplings.  This recipe, unlike many others I've posted, requires minimal slicing and dicing, and even the dumplings require minimal mixing.  Vary the amounts of chicken and veggies to your liking.  Playing with recipes and making them your own is half the fun.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mac Keyboard Viewer

I was in need of the ¢ (cents) sign for a previous blog post, which is not included on my Macbook Air's wireless keyboard (or pretty much any other keyboard).  A little digging produced the "Option + 4" combination, which entered the ¢ sign.  But what about all the other symbols I might need in the future and the likelihood of me remembering this one combination keystroke was less than đŸ’©.  More digging resulting in finding the Mac Keyboard Viewer, which not only contains the following alternative keyboards, but also Emoji & Symbols.  This link will show you how to setup and access these options, now just a single click away on my system.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Cinépolis Dayton

A series of events had us end up watching The Last Jedi at the CinĂ©polis movie theatre at Austin Landing, the first time we've been there, and wow, what a great way to watch a movie.  All seats are powered leather recliners and the center seats in row D are the best of the best.  At least for The Last Jedi, all seats are assigned, so pick you favorite spot, grab some popcorn and a drink, lean back and enjoy.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Aerial America

From the floating cranberry harvests in Wisconsin to the biennial blueberry bush burnings in Maine, episodes of Aerial America, broadcast on the Smithsonian channel, deliver stunning aerial landscapes and takes you through a history lesson of each state.  In addition to each state, there are episodes covering Ireland, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, aircraft carriers, natural disasters, volcanoes and much more.  Might need a DVR upgrade to record everything that's available.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Fahrenheit Scale

With the 2018 New Year opening up to minus temperatures, it got me thinking "why is zero zero on the Fahrenheit scale?  Always seemed pretty arbitrary and the answer is pretty close to that. The Fahrenheit scale, familiar to us in the United States and almost nowhere else, was proposed in 1724 by Amsterdam-based physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, and the story goes that he chose the lowest air temperature measured in his hometown Danzig in the winter of 1708/09 as 0 °F, with defining upper point being his best estimate of the average human body temperature (96 °F).  Not really all that accurate.  It is now defined by the two familiar ice/steam points, with the temperature at which water freezes defined as 32 °F, and the boiling point of water defined as 212 °F.