Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Home Depot Text Location

Before going on yet another trip to Home Depot, I searched their website to make sure they had in stock what I needed.   I noticed that they included, for a couple of my items, the aisle and bay to find them in.  I just had to try the "Text to me" option to see how that worked.

I was sent the following text messages to my smartphone, a very handy place to have the location available.  Why I sometimes like the challenge of finding things by wandering the aisles trying to guess where something is "hidden", knowing the location down to about an eight-foot-wide area is really nice when I'm in a hurry.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Amazon Fire TV Network Advisor

The final really useful Amazon Fire TV developer tool is Network Advisor.  It tests and displays information on your network connection, in our case, and most likely yours also, Wi-Fi.  As shown below, our signal strength and quality are strong and the Fire TV can access the Internet.  If yours is sub-par, it will also give you some recommendations to try to fix it.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Fried Chicken Thighs

We have made a lot of fried chicken in the past, but the sandwich below was the first that we used chicken thighs, which we had at a recent Dorothy Lane Market cooking class.  The chicken is topped with spicy-sweet butter and chopped dill pickles, all between our favorite, brioche buns.  While this would normally be more like a lunch, it's most obviously dinner, the glass of white wine giving that away.  Unless you're a white-chicken-meat-only type of person, try your favorite recipe with thighs next time.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Amazon Fire TV Speed Test

An option on the Fire TV's Developer Tools menu is Test Netspeed, a handy tool to see how fast your Internet connection is performing.  The first time you access this tool, you will be prompted to download the app for that, or you can just download it from the link below.  As the picture below demonstrates, this test resulted in 88.96 Mbps (Megabits per second), enough to handle video up to Full Ultra HD (8K), way more than we need currently.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Amazon Fire TV System X-Ray

Now that the Developer Tools (see yesterday's blog) are available, the first useful tool is System X-Ray.  When turned on the information at the top of the screen seen below overlays what you're watching and displays the resolution, in this case, 2160p (4K), and the frame rate (59.94 frames per second).  It also displays the amount of memory being used and network statistics including wireless signal loss and throughput in Mbps (Megabytes per second).  On some Fire TV devices, the CPU utilization is also displayed.  And in case you're wondering what the "HDCP 2.2." is all about, that's the version of copy protection being used between the Fire TV and the television, which prevents illegal copying.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Amazon Fire TV Developer Tools Menu App

This is the first of a short series on some handy tools that come along with an Amazon Fire TV, our choice for streaming.  To begin, you must first access the developer tools, and while there is a button combination on the remote that's supposed to get you there, I've not been successful in getting that to work.  Fortunately, there's a free (I love free) app available, at the link below, that adds a "Developer Tools Menu" selection to "Your Apps & Channels", as seen below.  Upcoming posts will show how to display key display, network, and video information, show your Wi-Fi signal strength, and how to test the speed of your  Internet connection.

Monday, August 23, 2021


The pair of signs shown below were taken on opposite sides of Stroop Road in Kettering, Ohio, just west of Ackerman Blvd.  Rain that falls to the west of the signs will meander westerly to the Great Miami River and into the Ohio River at the Ohio/Indiana border.  Raindrops that fall to the east will head easterly to the Little Miami River and flow into the Ohio River just south of Lunken Field.  We live about a half-mile east of the signs, so our house is in the Little Miami Rivershed.  Being so close to the dividing line explains why almost everything in any direction from our house is downhill.  More Ohio river trivia can be found at these links.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Warped Wing Root Beer

My favorite local brewery, Warped Wing, also makes a fine non-alcoholic root beer, perfect for a hot afternoon respite after the yard work is complete.  It's their first soda to be bottled and available at local stores, however, you can also find ginger beer and cherry vanilla soda on tap at either the downtown Dayton or Springboro taprooms.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Mr. John

While walking around Pie Traynor field at North Park in Pittsburgh, we spotted this familiar facility with the cute name of "Mr. John".  I can't think of anything more appropriate and was delighted by the chuckle it aroused.  Mr. John has a lot more than just portable toilets, as you can explore at this link.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Volume Leveling

Our living room television's (a Vizio) audio has been a problem for a while, with action scenes being too loud and dialogue being too quiet, sometimes to the point you couldn't make out what was being said.  This resulted in constantly raising and lowering the volume in an attempt to manage the mess.  Then we watched a couple episodes of Breaking Bad on the newer basement TV without that issue.  That led me to believe there was either a hardware or software problem on the Visio and a little searching found the culprit.  Volume Leveling was turned off, a feature that combats this very issue.  I turned in on and it immediately solved the problem.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Stairs Before and After

The almost last part of our basement remodeling project was replacing the carpet on the stairs, updating the once "lovely" brown shag (left picture below) with the plush High Castle gray carpet from Home Depot shown on the right.  Unlike the rest of the basement work which we did ourselves, this was installed by Home Depot contractors.  Now we have to decide on what color to stain the new handrail, which had to wait until the carpet was installed to get the proper visual. 


Monday, August 16, 2021

Bayside 3-in-1 TV Console

When we saw this TV console at Costco and how the television could be mounted above making it look like it's on the wall and hiding all the cables inside the swiveling mounting bracket, we were sold.  We paid extra to have it assembled and delivered, money well spent for this 225-pound hunk of furniture that went down to the basement.  We just need to get the popcorn popping before sitting back and enjoying a movie or sporting event on the 65-inch 4K television.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich

While at Foremost Seafood buying crabmeat for that night's crab cake dinner, I spotted on their daily board that they had fresh soft shell crabs, one of my favorite beach lunches.  I decided to try to make my own at home and it was delicious.  Pan-fried it in canola oil with a coating of Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning on brioche bread and cocktail sauce.  

If you think it looks a little nasty, you should have seen it raw.  Looked like something from a horror movie.



Thursday, August 12, 2021

Google Wifi Status Light

Seems our life is full of glow-in-the-dark annoyances, the latest in our household being the lighted ring around our three Google Wifi routers.  The one in our upstairs guest bedroom was particularly irritating, but a quick search found it's a simple matter to adjust the brightness or eliminate it altogether.  The link has the details, but clicking the top-right gear (left image below) will bring up the Device Setting screen (the right one) that has the Status light brightness slider.  All the way left will shut it off completely.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021


Today is the first day of receiving Paul's Daily Posts from the email address of dailyposts@paulishing.com.  When Google announced it was turning down the email feature of Feedburner, I looked for a way to leverage my domain name, paulishing.com, to send these emails.  That search took me to Zoho, a free (I love free) service that unexpectedly allowed the use of custom domain names.  I could have done that with Gmail, but it would have cost money.  The free version is limited to web browsers, but that's exactly what I needed.

Setting up a Zoho account is easy, but using a custom domain name takes some interaction with your DNS provider (Google in my case) and it's not all that difficult, but it's not all that obvious for the first time techie-wanna-be.  I make house calls...

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Changing My Posts Email Service

Effective tomorrow, Wednesday, August 11th, I am transitioning how you receive these emails.  Google is removing the portion of its Feedburner service that is currently delivering this blog to your inbox.   In its place, you will be getting an email from dailyposts@paulishing.com.  If you don't receive them, check your spam folder and take whatever action is necessary to have them delivered to your inbox.

If you don't start receiving emails, want to be removed from the mailing list, or change your email address, please send a note to dailyposts@paulishing.com.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Door Humor

I have to appreciate the humor on this emergency exit door at the McCandless Crossing's Burgatory restaurant outside Pittsburgh.  Whether the threat of doing dishes, for the rest of your life and beyond, actually changes anyone's decision to turn around and use the proper exit will have to wait for the afterlife to know.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Crème Brûlée

I love a good Crème Brûlée and getting a chance to put on the crusty top by melting sugar with a blowtorch, as I did a couple years ago at a Dorothy Lane Market cooking class, was a chance I didn't want to miss.  Just look at the intense concentration as I attempt to make it just the right shade.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Do Not Disturb

I'm pretty good about setting "Do Not Disturb" on my Pixel 2 in the movies, churches, or other need-quiet places, so it surprised me when phone calls were still ringing through.  I finally tracked it down to "Who Can Interrupt", which I found under Settings ... Sound ... Do Not Disturb ... People.  I changed that from the "Anyone", shown below, to "None" to resolve the annoyance.  I can't swear it came this way by default, but I can't imagine why I would have set it this way.


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Dayton Beer Company Rooftop Bar

Dayton Beer Company, located at 41 Madison St in downtown Dayton, opened a rooftop bar this spring and as you can see from the photo below, it's very sharp-looking.  You can get your beer from the first-floor taproom, but you might want to check out the bar on the rooftop.  While it doesn't have the selection of the main bar, the big advantage is they will serve your beer in a sturdy plastic glass, much nicer than the flimsy ones shown below.


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Mushroom Compost

One of our projects to help reduce the amount of outside home maintenance was ripping out six under-performing knockout rose bushes and growing grass in their ten-foot-diameter mulched circle.  We always dread growing grass and keeping the birds from getting too large a share of the seed.  The solution was to throw down the seed and cover it with a thin layer of mushroom compost.  Never saw a bird poking around and with the help of plenty of timely rain, the grass took root better than ever before.  While the link below is from Lowes, we bought our bags at Home Depot, in case you go looking.

Big shout out to my brother-in-law Albert for this grass-growing tip!

Monday, August 2, 2021

Kobalt Rails

I did this years ago as part of a garage-cleaning project, installing a couple of Kobalt storage rails and different types of hooks to better utilize the upper portion of the concrete block walls.  They are firmly held in place by self-tapping Blue Concrete anchor screws installed by one of my favorite tools, a cordless impact wrench.  Besides the hose shown below, we hung our weed-wacker, shovels, ladders, rakes, hoe, electric trimmer, and snow shovels, making retrieving a tool easy and the garage at least appear organized.