Thursday, September 30, 2021

Google Live View

During a recent train trip in northern Indiana, I noticed my Pixel 2's Google Maps saying I had low accuracy and that I could improve that by calibrating, as shown in the first screenshot below, and that function is called Google Live View.  Trying that resulted in the camera coming up (second screenshot) and saying to point the camera at nearby landmarks.  Maps will look for things it recognizes and will update your location based on that.  This might be very useful in a skyscraper-rich environment like Chicago or New York City where GPS falters due to a lack of line of sight to its satellites.  More information is at the following link. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021


This was such an ingenious product I had to order one.  The Hang-O-Matic is a combination tape measure, level, and markers that make mounting things with two hangers a snap.  You first measure the distance between the midpoints of the hangers and slide the marker on the right to the proper spot on the tape measure.  Place the Hang-O-Matic on the wall, adjust it until it's level, then push the markers into the wall to make a slight indentation, which becomes the exact spots to nail in the hooks.  There's a 90-second video at the link below that will show you better than I can explain.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Jeep Rear Wiper Blade

The rear wiper blade on my Jeep had been performing its duties poorly, slowly trending towards unacceptable, then suddenly the blade decided to not make contact with the window at all.  I ordered a replacement for under $20 at the link below, comforted by the promise, called AmazonConfirmedFit, that I was getting the right one for my year, make, and model.  As the Johnny Nash song title goes, "I Can See Clearly Now".

Monday, September 27, 2021


The deadline for needing a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card to board an airplane has been extended, again, to May 3, 2023.   Getting an Ohio REAL-ID license requires you to bring a small trove of documents to the BMV, including proof of full legal name, date of birth, legal presence in the US, Social Security number, and two documents, from different sources, proving your Ohio street address.  If your name is different than listed on your documents, you also need proof of your name change.  The PDF at the link below has all the documents that can meet a specific need.  When I got my REAL ID-compliant license, I brought at least one more document than required to make sure I had it covered.  Waiting in line at the BMV can be a pain, but the thought of waiting in line twice should spur you to read the requirements very carefully.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Candied Jalapeno Relish

Chef Elaine (aka my wife) made this burger-topping relish with fresh jalapenos from our raised herb garden, and sort of (well, did) forget that our home-grown peppers are way hotter than store-bought ones.  She also left the seeds in, resulting in a super-hot, yet delicious addition, when used in moderation.  

The jalapenos were cooked in sugar and vinegar for ten minutes, drained and transferred to the food processor, and combined with sweet and dill pickles.  A little bit of pulsing resulted in a nice coarse paste.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Basil Leaves

Step one of this make-your-own-basil-plant project was putting a couple of leaves in a shot glass half-full of water and patiently waiting 3-4 weeks.  The leaf that developed the one-inch-long root seen below was transplanted to this small pot filled with potting soil, watered, and is now perched back on the kitchen window ledge.  If we're really lucky, we hope to get a small plant and a few leaves to add to some autumn Italian recipes.  Or not.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Join Wifi Network Using QR Code - Android

There are a couple of ways to use a QR code to join a WiFi network on an Android smartphone.

The method shown below on the left uses the camera and is the quickest way.  When the QR code is recognized, its SSID (pointed to by the red arrow) is displayed.  Just touch to join.  

The method on the right is accessed by Settings ... Network & internet ... Wi-Fi.  Touch the QR code icon (again, the red arrow) to the right of the "Add network" option then scan the code.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Join Wifi Network Using QR Code - iOS

On an iPhone or iPad, all you need to do to join a WiFi network via QR code is to open the camera app and point it at the code.  As seen below at the top-left corner, your device will automatically recognize the QR code and prompt you to join that network.  Touch that message and you're attached.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Watch Stadium

The Ball State football game on September 18th was available to watch on a new-to-me service called Watch Stadium, available at the link below.  We thought we were going to have to watch it on a computer, but after I noticed that you could enter your zip code to find it on TV, I did, not expecting any, and was surprised to find a few over-the-air options.  I quickly hooked up an antenna and had the TV scan to find all available channels, then searched through them until I found Stadium.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Roast Chicken

Doesn't get simpler or tastier than this.  Smear a combination of softened butter, lemon zest, rosemary, salt, and pepper both inside and on the outside of a whole chicken.  Drizzle one lemon's worth of juice on the outside and stuff the inside with lemon halves and rosemary springs.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Save the drumsticks for me.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Sharing WiFi

Sorry, Android only to produce the QR Code.  But Apple users can scan it too.

A quick way to share a WiFi network and its password is using a QR code like the one shown below. 
To display the QR code, navigate these steps:

1. Touch "Settings"
2. Touch "Network & internet"
3. Touch the network you want to share then touch "Share"

That network might be located in "Saved networks", if you not near to it.

Next week I'll cover how you scan it from Android and Apple smartphones.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Libman Grill Brush

Thanks go to my stepson Pat for clueing me in on a better grill brush.  The Libman HighPower brush seen below is the best I've used and it will take care of these burger remnants in no time.  Once or twice a year, I'll use my pressure washer to give the grill plates a super-duper cleaning.  If I remember correctly, I found this at Walmart for about $8.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Caulking With Painters Tape

The caulking around the bathroom sink was getting dirty, and thanks to my brother-in-law Albert, I was able to make the new caulk straight and even.  The trick is to use painters tape to outline the area, apply the caulk and use a wet finger to smooth it out.  Wait for an hour let the caulk begin to harden, then remove the tape and make any final adjustments.  This is the first time in my life I've actually been proud of a caulking job that I did myself.


Monday, September 13, 2021

MapQuest RoutePlanner

I ran across MapQuest RoutePlanner, which will optimize a route containing up to 26 addresses. The data can be entered manually, pasted, or uploaded via an Excel or CSV file, to produce a list and a map.  On the list of addresses I tried as a test, it was not a surprise that the route was more or less a circle.  Later on, I was surprised, and should not have been, to find that the circular route was in the clockwise direction, favoring right-hand turns.  That just makes complete sense.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Gnocchi Board

We picked up this handy gnocchi board at Dorothy Lane Market's cooking school and it's a serious upgrade from using the tines of a fork to shape the gnocchi.  While I can't say that I'm as proficient as Mamma Giuliana demonstrates in the YouTube video at the link below, give me a few more batches and I think I'll come close.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

One Less Needle

When I gave blood twenty years ago the worst part, by far, was having the tip of a finger stabbed by a needle.  They would take a few drops and drop them in a mysterious liquid which made sure my hemoglobin was high enough to allow me to give blood.  Roll time forward to 2020 and that finger stick was amazingly painless.  They still got their drops and I still got a bandaid, but it was a great improvement.  

All that has gone by the wayside this year with the introduction of the OrSense NBM200, the machine shown below.  You just put your finger in the ring‐shaped sensor probe and a minute later it displays its results.  All that's left is the sting of the vein-tapping needle, but who knows, maybe they'll find a way to eliminate that and make Dr. McCoy proud.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Garage Door Seal

I purchased a new garage door seal (that black strip at the bottom of the door below) months ago when I noticed how cracked and shabby the old one was, but waited until my brother-in-law visited before trying to install it, as it's really a two-person job, just like the YouTube video demonstrates.  Check the type in your garage door (they're not all the same) before buying and measuring the width you need will save money or worse, needing to buy another one.

Friday, September 3, 2021


We made Mrs. Fields packaged snickerdoodles for years, but when Meijer dropped them in favor of their (horrible) own brand, and since no one else around here carries them, I decided to make my own and found a promising soft-baked recipe.  This one really requires a heavy-duty standing mixer like our KitchenAid and even it struggled a little bit.  You take the dough, after some time in the fridge, and make dough balls (first picture below), and roll them in sugar and cinnamon.  Bake them for 10-11 minutes and transfer them to a wire rack (second picture) to cool.  Since warm cookies are always the best, zap them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to reheat.

Historians say the name "snickerdoodle cookies" comes from the German term "Schnecke Kn√∂del" which translates as "snail dumpling".  Can't say I get that one.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Ancient Outlet

My brother-in-law recently replaced the outdated outlet shown below with a GFCI, and it was a surprise when he lifted the cover, which I had never had a reason to do before, revealing a fuse, the old-fashioned circuit-breaker, which if it had ever tripped would have required a new fuse, versus just hitting the Reset button on a GFCI outlet.  The outlet powered the washing machine, one of many things in a house that require GFCI protection, basically anything within spray distance of water.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021


When my brother-in-law showed me this cool tool, I had to have one.  It solves the problem of dropping screws as you're trying to get them started by magnetizing your screwdriver, which causes the metal screws to cling to its tip.  You just run your screwdriver in and out of the "MAGNETIZE" slot.  When you're done, you can use the "DEMAGNETIZE" slot to remove the attraction.