2021 Week 42 – Grammarly App Review

I have a confession to make. I’m lazy when it comes to writing. I let the computer recommend corrections and highlight spelling mistakes. I thought I had it all figured out, and then I tried Grammarly.

Years ago, I played with Grammarly when it first came out and didn’t see the need to keep it as it didn’t appear to be any better than the built-in tools I was already using. However, I kept seeing Grammarly pop up online, and several people I know are happily using it, so I decided to give it another try.

First off, the amount of integration this tool provides is impressive. From browser extensions on the desktop to additional keyboards on mobile devices, Grammarly has you covered just about everywhere. I’ve been using it for the past month or so while drafting Blog entries, and it’s caught WAY more grammatical errors than the built-in editor, especially missing commas that I’m guilty of having. Some of the more technical emails I’ve needed to write at work have greatly benefitted from Grammarly too.

There are a few different options with Grammarly. Free, Premium, and Business. The Premium version I’m currently using is $12 a month. It’s a little steep, I’ll admit, but it’s become so integrated into my workflow I’m willing to pay the price. Of course, it’s not a perfect solution and will, on occasion, make a recommendation I don’t quite agree with, but those are few and far between.


In other news, I just started listening to a new podcast called “How We Survive” from NPR Marketplace. The first season is all about the lithium used in batteries that will be powering everything in the future and how we need to mine more to meet the demand.

The climate crisis is here. Time is slipping away to stop the worst effects of global warming, and the world is looking for solutions. On “How We Survive,” Molly Wood explores the technology that could provide some of those solutions, the business of acclimatizing to an increasingly inhospitable planet, and the way people have to change if we’re going to make it in an altered world. Our first season season dives deep into the economics, the tech and the human stories behind the race for lithium. It’s the “white gold” that will help electrify our cars, homes and power grids, and unlike the gold rush of the 1800s, this time, our survival might depend on it.

Molly Wood – Host of the “How We Survive” Podcast.

That’s it for this week. I have a few ideas for upcoming blogs and have several drafts in the works. See you next time!

2021 Week 41 – iPad Pro Upgrade

I’ve been completely integrated into the Apple ecosystem for a while now and have always wanted an iPad Pro, but the price has always stopped me from making the leap. Because of that, I’ve purchased several iPad Air models and was generally happy with that decision. Well, I finally broke down and bought my first iPad Pro last week.

I opted for the 11″ model with 512GB of memory. Priced at just under $1000, it was not a cheap purchase, but compared to the Air model it replaced, this thing is an absolute beast when it comes to performance. I’ve been blown away by the responsiveness and power of the 2021 iPad Pro. I should have done this a while ago.

2021 iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

I’ve always used an external keyboard with my iPad, and I had a few choices for this one. I ordered both the Apple Magic Keyboard and the Logitech Combo Touch so I could try them both out and return the one I didn’t want. Initially, I was leaning towards the Logitech option because of its flexibility, but once I tried the Apple keyboard, I was hooked. Both add a considerable amount of weight (and cost) to the package, but the Apple Keyboard is rock solid, and the keys are almost identical to my MacBook Pro. My only complaint is the trackpad is smaller than the Logitech keyboard, and it costs more. However, it DOES have a dedicated charging port to free up the USB-C port on the side of the iPad Pro.

I’ve had an Apple pencil (V1) and didn’t find myself using it much because you were pretty limited in what you could do with it, so it stayed in my bag. Now, with iPadOS 15, the pencil is a lot more capable, and it’s always available since it can be docked (and charged) on the side of the iPad with some impressively strong magnets. Unfortunately, I had to upgrade to the new V2 model as the V1 is not compatible.

Apple Pencil V2

Restoring from a recent backup of the old iPad is all it takes to be up and running. Apple has made upgrading to a new device about as simple as it can get. iCloud keeps everything synced between devices, and the whole ecosystem just works. That’s what’s so nice about the Apple environment.

I took the iPad Air I’m replacing and mounted it to the refrigerator to use while cooking. I had an older model on there for years, and it comes in really handy to have an iPad in that location for recipe reference and multimedia controls of the stereo in the other room.

If you’re an Apple iPad user and considering an upgrade, the Pro series is worth looking into. It’s more expensive than the Air options, but the performance jump is noticeable, and the screen resolution is nothing short of amazing.


In other news, Netflix just released the entire Seinfeld series. I remember watching the show, off and on, in the ’90s and always enjoyed it. Now that I’m re-watching it, I realize what a well-written and acted show it really was! I’m only 3 episodes in with 176 left to go. I hope Netflix keeps this available for a while because it’s going to take me a while to get through all of the episodes.

That’s it for this week. I have a software review on deck & should be ready to publish it in the next week or two. Enjoy the wonderful fall weather & we’ll see you next week!

2021 Week 40 – Upland Brewing FSQ

stainless steel beer dispenser

Low-carb eating at lunch leaves you with a few options. Of course, salad and some kind of protein are the easiest to locate, and it’s nice to visit different places to see what they can come up with. Upland Brewery in Fountain Square has been a destination for a couple of lunches over the past few weeks, and I think it’s time I share it with the readers of IndyScan.com.

The brewery is nice and open, with a covered patio on the west side of the building. Unfortunately, their parking lot, shared with Grey Goat Cycles, only has about five spaces available, but there’s plenty of street parking in the immediate area.

The staff has always been super friendly, and the menu has a nice variety of sharable appetizers and burgers, salads, and tacos. After 5 pm they serve larger entrees like steak and pasta.

On my first visit, I ordered the Chicharrón appetizer. This was a HUGE pile that I ended boxing up and taking back to the office to share. The crispy pork skins we’re made fresh and were delicious but be warned, the rub they sprinkle on top is spicy! I need to remember to ask them to lighten up on the spice next time I order these.

The Side Salad I ordered was very fresh, and the buttermilk dressing was delicious and made in-house. For my protein, I chose the char-griller burger with Jalapeno Blue Cheese sauce on the side. The burger was cooked perfectly, and the sauce was delicious; if I had some french fries, it would be an excellent dipping sauce.

If you’re looking for a place to have a group lunch and maybe a beer on a Friday afternoon, this is a great place to check out. They have a lot of available seating, and the atmosphere is very comfortable. Also, for a brewery, I think their food is pretty excellent.


I have a few more reviews in the works, including a few new purchases from Apple and an application that’s really opened my eyes to how I communicate. Stay tuned!

2021 Week 38/39 – San Diego Visit

I went on a Cross Country trip for work last week, so I missed my regular Sunday posting deadline. So this will be a post with 2-weeks’ worth of updates (and probably pretty long, too), but I have lots of pictures to share!

I left on Saturday to head out to San Diego, a place I’ve never visited. Indianapolis International Airport was pretty busy, being a weekend, but as usual, once you checked your bag, security was a breeze. Correct mask usage was close to 100%, but you always have a few defiant people trying to be difficult.

Airline employees are NOT messing around, and the trouble makers were given a choice; wear your mask or leave. It’s also funny how people are so anxious to get on the plane and just sit there. I’m quite fine waiting at the gate until it’s closer to time to depart. I like to minimize my time crammed into a tiny space.

We had an uneventful trip to Dallas, and it was the first time flying into DFW, where it didn’t take 30 min to taxi up to our gate. I had just enough time to grab a bite to eat before we loaded up and started our second leg of the trip. For some reason, we left 20-minutes early, and there were plenty of open seats on the flight. This is the first time flying since COVID, but it was nice to let someone else do the driving and visit a place not easily accessible by car.

On this trip, I stayed in the Gas Lamp District of San Diego. It’s a lovely area of the city that’s like a mix of Broad Ripple and Mass Ave in Indianapolis (with a baseball stadium only blocks away). Just about every restaurant had outdoor seating in what were once street parking spaces, and the later it got, the busier the streets became. I got there a little earlier than others in my group and hit a local seafood spot called Water Grill for some oysters. They came with some delicious bread and salted butter.

I stayed in the Pendry Hotel this trip. It’s a great little boutique hotel with a price tag to match. One of the interesting features of the rooms here is the showers. It’s right there, in the middle of the room, with glass on 3 of the 4 sides. The attached pub was a favorite hang out for those of us on the trip, and I made several great business connections making the trip well worth the time and expense.

After a couple of days at the conference and seeing some great places around town, it was time for the discussions to end. I opted to stay in town an extra day to do some exploring. One thing that caught my eye was the maritime museum along the harbor. I had passed it several times in our travels, so I decided to visit on my last full day in town. It was a remarkable history display and had more model ships onboard real ships than I have ever seen in one place.

After the museum, I took the train up to Encinitas for lunch. The “Coaster” runs north and south from San Diego to Oceanside and is very scenic. It’s a good way to check out the scenery outside the city for just a few dollars. My round trip to Encinitas was under $10.

Time to head back to Indy! So far, the travel part of this journey had been great, but…. You knew there was going to be a but…. I got stuck in DFW on the way back. All that rain in Indy while I was gone made its way out east and delayed my flight from New York to Dallas to come pick me up for the last leg of the trip. I ended up getting back 3-hours later than expected, but we made it back safe.

Although I was a little apprehensive about traveling across the country with the current status of the Pandemic, it was a great trip with enough activities to keep me busy the entire time. The weather was perfect, and I can see why people love it out there as much as they do. It’s always nice to get home, though. Now that I’ve gotten a taste of the San Diego area, I’d like to visit again and see some of the things I missed on this last trip.

Here are some bonus photos taken during the conference and some of the excursions we went on.

2021 Week 37 – 9/11 and the World Today

It’s tough to believe it’s been 20 years since Terrorists changed America forever. On September 11, 2001, I was driving to work listening to the news on 1070 WIBC when the first plane hit the North Tower and remember thinking it was such an awful accident. When the second plane hit the South Tower, it was clear something else was going on. That day was full of bad news after bad news with the Pentagon attack and Flight 93 crashing in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and I’ll never forget it.

We’ve had other historical events in the past, such as Pearl Harbour, where 2403 military and civilians were killed in 1941. That attack triggered the United States’ entry into World War II the next day. American involvement in the war lasted four years from 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, to 1945, when Japan and Germany were defeated.

The 9/11 attacks, which killed 2,996 Americans, were in peacetime and a first for the United States. This led to the 20-year conflict in the middle east, which we just “ended”. I say “ended” because even though we cut the head off the snake by killing Osama bin Laden, we didn’t end the war. The evil that is the Taliban survived and took over an ENTIRE COUNTRY in a matter of weeks. I can’t help but think we’ll be back; it’s only a matter of time…

After 9/11, the United States came together in unity. There was a feeling of patriotism, as we had a common enemy*. Many freedoms we had before the attacks were restricted in the same of security (remember flying prior to 9/11?) and, even though we didn’t like it, we accepted it and moved on with our lives. Unfortunately, as the years passed, we slowly drifted back to the complacency we had pre-disaster. Then COVID-19 attacked us…

Fast forward today, where we had another opportunity to rally as a nation with the COVID-19 epidemic, but we failed miserably to come together as a nation again. Instead of joining forces to fight another common enemy that was killing with impunity, we raised our defenses and ignored common sense that would have eradicated the virus.

As of today, we’ve had 677,737 American deaths attributed to COVID-19, with more dying every day. New variants are not helping the situation, but the real issue is people refusing to get vaccinated only to get sick, spread the virus, and in some cases, die from it.

While I’m not a fan of government overreach, I feel like we did this to ourselves by playing doctor and pretending to know more than the science. Now we’re seeing the US Government force our hand and start rolling out vaccine mandates. Unfortunately, I think the anti-vaxers will dig their heels in, and we’re going to see more civil unrest, not unlike we saw last year in the United States.

I really hope I’m wrong…

*I’m going to keep my personal thoughts about 9/11 out of this post because now is not the time. This weekend we remember the 2,996 Americans who lost their lives and those who died from health complications from that day.