2022 Week 49 -The End is Near

It’s December & the year is coming to a close. I’m fortunate to work for a company that closes over the Christmas holiday, and I’m looking forward to 3 weeks of time off before I hit the ground running in 2023. I’m already counting the days until we get back to warmer weather so I can get back out and do more camping. I noticed today when looking at the calendar & there are 53 weeks in 2022 (because Jan 1, 2022, was on a Saturday), so we’ll have to do our year-end recap that week.


If you’ve left the house in the past 3 years you’ve no doubt seen and used a QR Code, most likely in a restaurant, to access a digital menu. QR Codes have been around for years, but it took a pandemic to make them mainstream (like video calls). But How do QR Codes Work? Review Geek has the details. Pro Tip, if you want to generate a QR Code to make it easier for guests to join your wireless network, check this site out.


And finally… Is real Parmigiano Reggiano actually worth the high price? Ethan Chlebowski breaks it down so you can make up your mind (TLDR, It IS!).

2022 Week 48 – Gobble Gobble, Sniff Sniff

slicing of pumpkin pie placed on wooden surface

The holidays have officially started, with Thanksgiving being last Thursday. As is the annual tradition at IndyScan.com, we like to share the Ode to Thanksgiving from a 2004 post by Mr. John C. Dvorak, who claims Thanksgiving is an artificial holiday created by none other than President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. I was visiting family over the holiday, and one of the first-year college students had heard the same thing & helped me tell the tale. So what do you think? Do you believe what you were taught in school, or does the Lincoln story make more sense? Leave your comments below.


A friend at work turned me onto a new recipe site run by an Egyptian lady that’s all about Mediterranean Cooking. The Mediterranean Dish has a LOT of great recipes and some new twists on old classics, like Easy Homemade Chicken Shawarma using a sheet pan.

Image from lemonblossoms.com

I ended up coming down with ANOTHER head cold over the weekend. First time I remember being sick twice in such a short period of time. After picking up some additional medicine, I noticed something concerning…

I always buy Mucinex Sinus-Max for head colds. It works well for me. I went to take the Yellow pill I had been taking for the past few days and realized what I bought was the “NightShift” version, where the Yellow pill is for NIGHTTIME. The pill looks the same, with the three chevron marks and everything. What a poor design decision by Reckitt (the makers of Mucinex).


And finally… You have to tip your hat to the FBI, who conducted a sting operation called Special Operation Ironside that featured an “Anom” burner phone, targeted to criminals who snatched them up and fell right into the trap.

2022 Week 46 & 47 – It’s HUGE!

It looks like I missed another post last week. Work has been crazy, and my schedule has been off since last weekend due to a cold (or whatever it is going around). This should get us caught up before the Thanksgiving Holiday.


After seeing a review on YouTube, I had the itch to buy some new computer hardware. So, I was pleasantly surprised when the Ultra-Wide screen monitor was on sale at Amazon (I picked this up for $999, and it’s worth every penny). This 49-inch 5120×1440 5k monitor is a thing of beauty.

LG 49WL95C-W

It’s like having two 27-inch 4k monitors side by side with no seam in the middle. So far, it’s playing nicely with my personal MacBook Pro M1 and my work HP Z-Book. This thing is a game changer when it comes to productivity. I really wish I had this when we were all working from home for months. The only thing that’s been a challenge is video calls. I have to use an external camera & my AirPod Pros (vs. everything that’s built into the MacBook Pro). Small price to pay for this much screen real estate.


I’ve been watching the Welcome to Wrexham series on FX, and It’s been an interesting lesson on how European Football operates (so many levels). The show stars Ryan Renolds (from Deadpool Fame) and Rob McElhenney (from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). It’s more of a reality-type show than Ted Lasso was, and it’s pretty entertaining. Wrexham plays Farnborough at 10:00 am on November 26


Ever wanted to learn more about Indianapolis? Well, the Indianapolis Encyclopedia is a great place to start! This website was mentioned in a meeting at work a few weeks ago, and it has some great articles and seems to grow as more people contribute. This piece on Geist Reservoir is an excellent place to start.


Eric Hilton, one of the founding members of one of my all-time favorite bands, Thievery Corporation, just released an EP called Present, Past, and Future. It’s great to listen to in the background while working or cooking. You can check it out wherever you get your music from.


And finally… Do you know all about I-69, the interstate that will never be finished? Check out this video for all the details.

2022 Week 45 – Lights Out

transmission tower under gray sky

70-degrees in November? I’ll take it! We had some BIG wind gusts that came through Indiana yesterday, and about half the houses in my neighborhood ended up without power for a little over 5-hours. Luckily I work off laptops and iPads, so I had enough power to get through most of the day using my iPhone as a hotspot. As the sun started to go down, I even broke out the Jackery 500 Portable Station to run a few of my USB Camping lights.

Jackery 500 Portable Station

In September, the Washing Post ran an article titled “Customs officials have copied Americans’ phone data at massive scale.” In it, they detail the breadth of the program and how it’s raised some concerns on Capital Hill. As someone who plans on taking a couple of International trips in the next 12 months, this is a little scary, to say the least.

Contacts, call logs, messages and photos from up to 10,000 travelers’ phones are saved to a government database every year

Washington Post

Although I’m not part of the demographic they are looking at, “individuals who are of a significant law enforcement, counterterrorist, or national security concern,” the fact remains this database exists and appears to have little oversight in its use.


And finally… Ken Block is at it again, this time with a fully electric rally car on the streets of Las Vegas. The electric motor sound is not as pleasing as the turbo-charged gas engine, but the impressive abilities of his latest vehicle almost make up for it.

2022-Week 44 – The Colors!

yellow dry maple

The fall foliage has been amazing this year, and we’ve enjoyed the burst of color in the trees around the house. I took some time off to go camping in my new favorite place, Hardin Ridge (in the Hoosier National Forest). All the loops are closed except for one, and there are minimal amenities, but for only $10 a night, it’s a great deal in a beautiful part of Indiana.

As you can see there was no one around and my campsite was quite large. It dipped down to 40-degrees overnight but I brought the right equipment to keep warm and enjoy the outdoors. I hope to get another stretch of warm weatrher before December so I can make one more trip before putting all the gear away for the winter!


If you were outside on the Northside of Indy last weekend you might have seen and heard a Ford as 5-AT-B Trimotor from 1928 flying around. I didnt get a chance to snap a picture before it left town, but our friends at Shutter and Brushes saw it in Elkhart last Saturday and not only grabbed a few pictures on the tarmac they went inside to take a pic as well! This is a beautifully restored airplane that’s almost 100 years old apears to be traveling around the Midwest selling rides to anyone interested.


And finally… Owl Kitty is back with a new video. This time she joins Tom Cruise in Top Gun!

2022-Week 42 & 43 – Catching Up

leaves hang on rope

I didn’t post last weekend because I was out of town for a wedding (and I forgot due to everything going on). So this week is a catch-up post covering a few things from the past 2 weeks.

The trees are looking quite colorful this week, and I was going to try & go camping this weekend, but most of Indiana is under a Red Flag Warning. This means no fires, and I’m sorry, but my idea of camping is building a nice fire to cook on and sit next to into the evening. I also don’t want to get into a situation where someone else starts a fire and get caught up in it. So because of the burn ban, I decided to stay home and catch up on a few things…


AppleTV

Last week Apple released some updated products, one of which is a new AppleTV. The AppleTV is the hub of our entertainment system (and has been for years), but it’s one fault is a really bad remote control. It’s so bad that I use a Harmony Ultimate remote to control the AppleTV. The last version of the AppleTV had a redesigned remote, but I held off because I had a solution in place. Well, the latest iteration, utilizing USB-C charging and a major processor chip, led me to order the upgrade. I should have a delivery waiting for me in Early November & I’m looking forward to trying out the new remote and increased performance of the AppleTV Hub.


If you love watching food travel shows, you’ll love these resources that help you locate a restaurant you’ve seen on TV. This is especially helpful when you travel, and you’re looking for something different


And finally… It’s a great time to try a new burger. The Jucy Lucy is a cheese stuffed burger that is amazing. I picked up the burger press and waxed paper sheets shown in the video below (I didn’t try them smoked yet) & they turned out PERFECT! I think this is going to be my go-to burger for the forseable future.

2022-Week 41 – A Classic Has Returned!

city dawn sunset water

I’ve subscribed to the NY Times for longer than I can remember. I really enjoy their tech reporting, as well as the food section. Prior to Covid, the 36 Hours In series was something I religiously read and made notes in my “Next time in” lists I keep for various places I plan on visiting in the future. When global travel stopped, the 36 Hours series stopped as well. Well, I’m happy to report it’s back!

36 Hours in NYC: Things to Do and See – A Classic has returned! What I enjoy about the 36 Hours series is it’s a way to see and do a lot in a particular city during a long weekend. Something that’s easily done several times a year. I’ve used the guide in the past for visits to Chicago, St. Louis, Washington DC, and Cincinnati.

For its return, they focus on where it all started, New York City. The format has been updated, and there’s a LOT of information in such a short article. The old versions are available in the archives and can still be used for some basic trip planning to locations all over the world.


Not only is October the anniversary of IndyScan.com, it’s also the 60th anniversary of the James Bond franchise. Cinema Blend had an article back in December teasing a documentary on Amazon Prime Video that will focus on the music of 007 (called “The Sound of 007“). It was released on Bond Day, October 5, 2022.

Another documentary focuses on Daniel Craig titled “Being James Bond.” It was only available from September 7 through October 7, 2021, on Apple TV+ when they marketed their new partnership with MGM. If I find a link to the actual movie, I’ll link it in a future post.


And finally… A couple discovered over 40,000 Unfinished Ford Super Duty Trucks at the old Kentucky Speedway. I think we still have a lot of catching up to do in the automotive supply chain!

2022-Week 40 – Nashville, TN

Once again, it’s that time of year for my annual Leadership Exchange trip. This year we met in Nashville, Tennesee (on previous trips, we traveled to San Diego, CA, and San Antonio, TX). The delegation comprises mainly of senior executives and a few public officials from around the Indianapolis area and is always thought-provoking and impactful. Last Friday was a travel day to get the pre-arrival team on site and ready to hit the ground Saturday morning. I’ve attended this conference for a few years as a delegate, but with my new role at the new company, I’m part of the staff hosting the event, and I get to see how the sausage is made, so to speak.

Driving to Nashville from Indianapolis was uneventful and about as heavy as expected for a Friday. There are always a few people that do everything they can to pass everyone, and this time two of them were met by a KY State Trooper just over a rise in the road. My trusty Valentine One radar detector, and some general road trip common sense, kept me on the right side of the law as the 5-hour trip ticked by without event.

Along the way, I saw a sign. A sign I hadn’t seen in years. A sign for Schlotzsky’s Delli. Remember that place? They closed all of the Indianapolis locations in the early 2000s. My main memory of Schlotzsky’s is the bread they used. Well, I had to stop and see if it was as good as I remembered. This particular location was a drive-thru attached to the side of an IGA grocery store. I ordered the original, and it WAS as good as I remembered, but I forgot one thing, the Original has black olives on it. I love every olive out there except black olives; they just taste strange to me (probably because they’re not salty). Luckily there wasn’t a lot on the sandwich, and I just picked them off and enjoyed the sandwich. In 2018 the IBJ had a blurb saying Schlotzsky’s was planning on returning to Indy, but Covid might have delayed those plans… Fingers crossed, they make it back!

Our daily sessions took place at the Nashville Entranapurial Center one day and the GEODIS Park soccer stadium the next. Fun fact, the architect that designed GEODIS Park is the same one designing Eleven Park in Indianapolis.

I attended 2 of the cultural activities available, the first being a walking tour of the murals all around downtown Nashville and another at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where the Hatch Print Show printing company is located. Both activities were very well led by people very passionate about their respective subjects.

2-weeks out from the trip, they were calling for temps in the 90s, but we had just about perfect weather with temps in the 70s and very low humidity. Nashville is an interesting town with a lot of history. Country music isn’t really my jam, but our trip focused more on business than music, and the networking opportunities were second to none. I always return from this conference with a bunch of new connections and a newfound respect for Indianapolis as we learn that we’re doing a lot of great things in this city. With the leadership I spent several days with, we have many more good things to come.

Wednesday morning got here before we knew it, and it was time to pack up and head back to Indy. I made a quick detour while leaving downtown and stopped at the Nashville Farmers Market. While it was not terribly impressive on a Wednesday, I could see this place being a great place to visit on the weekends when all the stalls and merchants were open.


I mentioned in my initial Tom Bihn Synik 30 review that I’d be traveling with the bag, and it performed flawlessly. It was way heavier than normal since I was carrying 2 laptops, an iPad Pro, and a Surface Pro (we had a lot of presentations to show), along with all the gear to keep things charged and connected. The padded straps were a lifesaver as I drug all my gear all over Nashville for 5 days. 10/10 would recommend if you’re looking for a quality gear bag for everyday use.


And Finally… October 9, 2022, will mark the 15th Year Anniversary of IndyScan.com in its current format we created in 2007. The domain was first registered in 1996 and used for another purpose, making the domain 26 years old this year. I’m going to work on a little retrospective during the month and recap where we were and where we’re going with the Blog in the future. Have a great week!

2022 Week 39 – What the Cluck is Going On?

If you follow the Indianapolis food scene, you have undoubtedly seen the explosion of chicken-focused restaurants popping up all over the place. IndyToday has an interactive map showing most of the places around town that are open or coming soon. But, unfortunately, they missed a few, namely Zaxby’s, Chick-Fil-A, and City Bird (which just opened near my house).

Nutrition info from cheatdaydesign.com

Existing fast food places are revamping their menu to compete as well. For example, Shake Shack partnered with Hot Ones to offer their take on the Spicy Chicken Sando, and Panera is hawking their Chef’s Chicken Sandwich. Burger King is even lacing up the boxing gloves and putting their Ch’King out there for everyone to make fun of (update: It’s already gone). That’s a LOT of Chicken action!

I’ll be the first to admit that I like a nice chicken sandwich, but I’m trying to remember the last time I actually had one! I compared Popeye’s vs. KFC when they were in the headlines & liked both equally well. The Nashville Hot spice that’s so popular these days is just too damn spicy for me. Even when I order it mild, it can be a gamble, depending on who made the sauce that morning (looking at you, Big Lug, and my favorite Willies Special salad). I have a Nashville trip on the calendar & I’m debating if I will make a trip to Prince’s Hot Chicken or just head to my all-time favorite Hugh Baby’s for a Smoked Mushroom and Swiss burger (probably the burger but MAYBE both?).


Another trend, for lack of a better term, is new Fast Food locations not building a dining room! These are pickup only, and it’s kind of like a Ghost Kitchen with a sign and drive-up window. Slate Magazine has an article detailing this new trend. I can honestly say that on the rare times I purchase Fast Food, I eat it in the car anyway, so the lack of a dining room has no impact on me at all.

If you’re going to eat in your car, you’d be wise to pick up a Steering Wheel Desk. These things are game changers, and I have used mine while road tripping to eat in my car, pull out the laptop to do some remote support (last job), or even play a game of solitaire while waiting out a rainstorm while camping. It slips in the pocket behind your passenger seat and is always at the ready.

Steering Wheel Desk

And finally… According to Toast (the Point of Sale company being used seemingly everywhere), Indiana residents are the best tippers in the country, averaging 21% per order. BUT, is it because we’re too nice and feel the pressure when the cashier flips the iPad around and waits for us to decide between 15%, 20%, and 25%?

https://thehustle.co/08192022-tipping-by-state

2022 Week 38 – Phone Phreaking

Last week I stumbled upon an old article on Altas Obscura, initially published in 2018, that brought back some fond memories. What if I told you that once upon a time (the late 60’s), you could take a cheap plastic whistle that you dug out of a box of Captain Crunch and blow it into a mouthpiece telephone to call any place in the world for FREE? The 2600hz tone the whistle produced was the same tone used by phone carriers to signal an open line on their once analog phone systems. Once you had an open line, you could dial any number you wanted free of charge.

Cap’n Crunch Bo’sun Whistle

Phone Phreaking “hobbyists” created a little “blue box” that reproduced the same tone, and the world would never be the same. A story about blue boxes was published in Esquire in 1971, and after reading, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs (yes, the boys from Apple) were all over it, creating a business selling such a device. See, kids, we DID know how to have a good time before the Internet!

Blue Box

I was a little late to the phone Phreaking party, but I remember reading about it as a kid and “playing” around with phone lines using my Apple IIc computer in the 80s, and tiring known hacks on random pay phones I would come across. Since I’m unsure of the statute of limitations for such questionable activities, I’m just going to leave it at that.

2600 Magazine Winter 2017-2018

Years later, I discovered the infamous 2600 Magazine, launched in 1984 and still in publication today, and I got the bug again. For some unknown reason, I used to have the quarterly issues of 2600 delivered to my office vs. my home (poor attempt at privacy, I guess?), but I do remember expensing an annual subscription for “research” while I did a stint as a programmer in the early 2000’s. Inside each issue were stories of hackers doing some crazy things, like taking over the intercom system at K-Mart to accessing the terminals at Best Buy to get discount codes. The back cover was one of my favorite things about the 2600 magazine. It featured a picture of a working payphone from some random place around the world, something rarely seen in the United States these days.


Speaking of phones, Apple Insider just released a report titled “A secret tool lets police conduct mass surveillance using app data,” and it’s a little unnerving that data sold by Fog Data Science LLC to target ads based on a person’s location and interests is being accessed without a warrant.

Even if there is no crime scene, Fog boasts in marketing materials that it can offer police “predictive analytics” that claim to predict future hotspots of crime. The company says that it can provide real-time data on the daily movements of people with their trackable smartphones.

Apple Insider

This is another reason to audit your phone settings and adjust your security regularly.


And finally… If you use Emoji’s, you might have wondered how popular the one you’re about to send is. Well, wonder no more with this real-time Emoji tracker that shows the real-time emoji use on Twitter. Warning: a LOT is going on, and it might overwhelm those subject to issues with flashing things.