This last weekend I took another trip down to Cincinnati to celebrate my father’s birthday. It was the first time in over 20 years that I didn’t have my trusty Timbuk2 bag in the back of the car with all my work equipment, “just in case.”
You get used to being on-call, and sometimes, I forget I no longer am. When it clicks, I get a little bit of a rush of freedom, knowing my day/evening/activity isn’t going to get interrupted by a client needing something right then and there.
So the “Football” I’ve been carrying all these years is being retired, and I can’t say I’m sad one bit about it.
Short post this week as it’s already Monday & I have a full week ahead of me. I didn’t want to break the weekly streak, so I needed to put SOMETHING on here! Longer posts are in the hopper for upcoming weeks.
July 1, 2022, was the first day of Constitutional Carry in Indiana. This means if you’re 18 or older and a person not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm, you may legally carry a gun throughout the State. Previously you had to obtain a License to Carry a Handgun (LCH) through an application process. Yes, you had to jump through a few hoops like getting fingerprinted and visiting your local Police Dept to submit paperwork, but overall it was not a big deal.
In my opinion, the LCH process prevented lazy, law-abiding people from carrying firearms outside the home because it was too much work to go through the licensing process. But, unfortunately, bad guys will carry anyway because they don’t care about the law, so this had no impact on them. Law enforcement agencies are not happy about the new law either (rightfully so).
So we now have three types of people carrying firearms:
- 1. The bad guys, who have always carried illegally despite the law
- 2. People who were licensed correctly (and probably go to the range on occasion)
- 3. Individuals who can now carry as of July 1 but probably shouldn’t because they have no idea what they are doing or how their firearm works (let alone the legal repercussions should they ever discharge their weapon).
The third person scares me as much or more than the second. Time will tell if this Constitutional Carry law increases violence in Indiana. Some states have had similar laws for years with reportedly no ill effect. I hope my fellow Hoosiers can follow the same path and behave themselves.
We’re halfway through the year, and I’m still enjoying the weekly post format of the Blog I started in 2021. I hope you have been too. I usually collect ideas throughout the week and spend some time on Sat/Sun looking back on the week to create a post that’s usually out each Sunday evening (or earlier). It’s a great way to share things I find online throughout the week and gives me a reason to do some creative writing every week.
I touched on this back in 2015 at the end of my GoPro Review. One or Two spaces after a period when writing (typing)? Slate said to stop doing it back in 2011; The Atlantic was still discussing it in 2018, so will there ever be a consensus on this? Two spaces were the norm when typewriters were in regular use, which was a long ago. I guess it’s just a habit that’s hard to break. While writing this, I just noticed that double-tapping the space key on any of my Apple products will insert a period AND only ONE space after the period. I’m not sure when that changed, but If it’s the same on Windows, maybe it will be easier to change! Grammarly asks me every time I draft a blog post if I want to use one space or two. I chose one for this one 🙂
And finally… You might have noticed it’s a little warm out, with it being Summer and all. I’m not one for hot drinks unless it’s cold out, and the beverage’s heat will warm me up. However, I’m a cold drink fan, especially in the morning, and when it comes to morning caffeine, if I have any, it’s usually in the form of Cold Brew.
You can purchase Cold Brew Coffee just about anywhere and pay a small fortune, or you can buy something that helps you make it at home for a fraction of the price. My initial foray into Cold Brew was years ago with the Toddy Cold Brew System ($40). It did a good job and produced at least a 7-days worth of cold brew concentrate. The only issue was that it’s bulky, and you have to replace the fiber filters every couple of uses.
Then we converted to the KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker ($85). This little thing is built like a tank with glass, stainless steel, and a non-drip spout that makes dispensing your concentrate simple and mess-free. It doesn’t make as much concentrate as the Toddy (they now have a larger model that does), but the filter basket is made from a stainless mesh and is dishwasher safe, so there’s nothing to replace. After several years it’s going strong and allows me to keep a batch of cold brew concentrate in the fridge ready to go!
This is going to be a short catch-up post this week. Lots of new things going on with the new job, and the first week flew by. It’s been fun to immerse myself in a new type of work and the new terminology, acronyms, and challenges.
From an organizational standpoint, I decided, once again, to separate my personal and professional life. I had ended up merging the two recently with the adoption of Apple Reminders, but with all the new inputs and things to track with the new job, I decided to dust off ToDoist and give it another go, but only for work items. So I’m keeping my personal task list in Apple Reminders for the time being. It’s nice not to see personal items at work and vice-versa & it’s bringing some clarity I have not had for a while.
For the time being, project management will continue to occur in Evernote. It’s my tried-and-true capture tool with the ability to track projects at a granular level. I was happy to see that ToDoist has some basic project management capabilities in the form of Boards similar to Trello. I can see this being useful for future, more in-depth projects. It’s matured quite a bit since I stopped using it a couple of years ago.
That’s it for this week. I’ve had a few road trips and checked out some new restaurants this month, so those will be the subject of future blog posts as I get caught up and back into a rhythm. Stay Tuned!
So I retired from the IT world last week. It’s been a while in the making but after 25+ years, 18 as a consultant, it was time to hang up the keyboard. Will I miss it? Maybe. Am I glad I made the decision? Absolutely! Now I’m not old enough to actually retire. I have a few more years ahead of me before I do that, but I have an opportunity to try something else and help make a difference in people’s lives while I can.
The departure from my last employer was positive and I enjoyed my time there. I learned a lot and will value the relationships I made, and the projects I worked on over the years. They have great leadership, supportive management, and smart, dedicated employees. I have nothing but great things to say.
COVID played a big part in this decision as my role at my primary client was changing to provide more than just IT consulting services. I became wrapped up in a lot of Operations type tasks and really got into it (whatever it takes to get the job done is my motto). I liked it so much that I decided I wanted to move into Operations full time, and they had an opening available.
What exactly is Operations? Well, it’s a little bit of everything, and most of it is behind the scenes. Operations are the heart of any organization and assist with employee retention, policies and procedures, vendor management, and so on. In a way, it’s like consulting because you never know what you’re going to be challenged with next. I’m sure my technical background will come in handy as we look to use technology to streamline processes and improve efficiencies throughout the organization.
If you’ve been thinking about a career change, Forbes had a great article called How To Reinvent Your Career At Any Age. It has some great tips to get you started. It helped me realize you’re never too old to make a big change!
I’m planning to continue posting weekly updates on the blog. I can’t walk away from tech completely so I’m sure I’ll still be reviewing interesting products along the way. There is always food and travel to blog about too so I see this site continuing to be active for the foreseeable future.
Here we go, another New Year! I’m hoping 2022 is better than the last two years. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of time & plan to make the best of 2022 by getting back outside and doing the things I love to do.
I typically write these Blog posts on the couch each Sunday morning from notes I’ve made throughout the week. A few weeks ago I started visiting the Fishers Test Kitchen and Sunking Tap Room to write. It’s a nice change from sitting around the house & the food/beer that’s available is a big plus. The iPad Pro has been a real rock star when it comes to mobile computing. I love how it instatly connects to my iPhone when I’m away from home.
We lost Betty White this week at the age of 99. She was quite the actress who had an impressive resume. I remember first seeing her in the Mary Tyler Moore show when I was a kid. She stood up to racism in 1954 in a move that could have ended her career. She also had quite the following by several Millennials I know. She will be missed.
The day before Christmas I finally received my new Tidbyt digital display. I backed this project on Kickstarter earlier this year & had been watching its development progress throughout the year. It’s an Internet-connected LED display with unlimited customization from Apps. The initial set of Apps got me up and running and developers are building more all the time. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with!
And finally, if you’ve ever wondered how a Formula One car really works this is the video for you. It goes into some amazing detail and helps explain the inner workings as well as why they cost as much as they do.
It’s the final Sunday of 2021 & it’s time for another Year in Review! I wanted to bring the blog back to life this year and post at least once a week. I missed a few weeks throughout the year, but overall I’m pleased with how I was able to keep things active. Along the way, I kept a list of ideas to discuss, so I should always have some content as I attempt to keep this up in 2022.
The weekly format seems to work well as it allows me to summarize the previous 7-days and add some additional content that appears relevant (or fun). As I did last year, this post will be a summary of the past year. It’s been another wild year with Covid and all the VAX/Boost discussions but we’re in the home stretch. Next Sunday will be the first post of 2022!
I shared our family favorite Scalloped Potato Gratin
Started visiting A2Z Cafe again for lunch (Closed on Monday)
The Bon Appetite Test Kitchen falls apart
Clancy’s opens in the garage Food Hall
We visited Indy Tacos
Discovered a Vegan Cheeseball that fooled everyone I served it to (AmazeBall)
Dropped Lass Pass for BitWarden (and never looked back)
Hoagies and Hops opens a new location in Fletcher Place (now closing on 12/31)
Life in Indy launches
I start playing Disk Golf (Like Ball Golf only better)
We discover J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (although I mentioned him on the Blog in 2010)
My First COVID Vaccination at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saraga plans to open a store in Castleton (still not open)
Baseball returns and I actually watch it (Go Reds!)
I order a TidByt (it was delivered the day before Christmas, review coming soon)
I finally ate at Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery (free cookie Monday)
More Disk Golf (I’m hooked)
I visit the Gus Grissom Monument In Mitchel, Indiana
Hiking at Hemlock Cliffs
More Disk Golf at a Monastery in Southern Indiana
I finally try Chris’s Ice Cream And fall in love with their Chorizo Burrito
First camping trip of the year at Indian-Celina Lake Campground
Bought a WOOL T-Shirt (and LOVE it)
Who could forget the 17-Year Cicada Brood
Built a Pi Weather Station (use this daily)
More Disk Golf
Travel to Cincy and visit the War Birds Museum, and Jungle Jims, for fathers Day
Road Trip to the Allegheny National Forest (So much rain)
Found a proper Beef on Weck at the Bar-Bill Tavern (I have dreams about this sando)
Visited Niagara Falls (nicer than I remember)
Visited the Zippo/Case Museum
FINALLY saw Rock City (only to find out it’s not the one I saw signs for growing up)
Walked the Kinzua Bridge State Park in Kane, PA
Reviewed Upland Brewing (Jalapeno Blue Cheese Sauce)
Bought an iPad Pro (FINALLY)
Reviewed the 99% Invisible Podcast
MORE Disk Golf
Looked at the WP Recipe Maker plugin (too much work)
20 years since 9/11
677,737 American deaths attributed to COVID so far
Visited San Diego
Bought a new Apple Watch
Updated my Kindle Paperwhite
Watched the Donut King Documentary
Visited Findlay Market
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden (READ this)
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald (then READ THIS)
So that’s it for 2021. We covered a lot of ground this year and started some new things. The Keto “diet” has turned into more of a “watch those carbs” lifestyle and I’m happy to report I’ve had some moderate success. Disk Golf was something new this year and I really enjoyed playing various courses around the area. San Diego was a nice escape, even though I was there for work, and the Allegheny National Forest was one of the nicest camping trips I’ve had in a while, despite all the rain.
Here’s to another year, and thanks for reading!
I took some time over the long holiday weekend to finish a book I had started a few weeks ago and promptly start another related one.
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden is an eye-opening tale centering around a late 20-something NSA contractor who exposes the US Government’s mass surveillance system created after 9/11. Love him or hate him he brought to light the vast data collection of US citizens by their government.
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald starts up with his interview of Snowden while he hides in Hong Kong before his trove of documents is released to the public by various medial outlets. Meanwhile, Laura Poitras films a series of interviews for her documentary Citizen Four. It goes into incredible detail about the surveillance systems in use around the world, by many countries, and details just how far they have gone to invade your privacy.
If you have any interest in this kind of stuff it’s well worth your time to seek out these books or at least watch the full documentary (available on YouTube with Ads (that will track you, haha)). It will chill you to the core and make you think about what you do online going forward.
As I wrote earlier this year everyone needs to be using a Password Manager application. My favorite continues to be Bitwarden. The free version is more than enough for most people but the $10 paid version adds some advanced features and helps support the development. Getting started with a Password manager is NOT difficult and is NOT a good excuse for NOT using one. Bitwarden for Beginners is a great place to start.
NordPass just released their annual Top 200 Common Password list. It shows what people are actually using to secure their private data as well as how long it takes to crack and gain access. If your password is on the list you should assume your accounts have been compromised because you probably use the SAME password in multiple places. The benefit of a Password Manager is that you can use a different, unique, password for every account and only need to remember ONE (secure) master password/phrase. The tool generates and documents the login details for you.
Another security tool you should consider using, especially if you use your devices in public, is a personal VPN account. This tool encrypts your traffic and protects you from anyone wanting to access your data. Sounds a little overkill but it’s not uncommon for someone to sit on a public network and watch for unsecured traffic to exploit. In fact, as far back as 2013 AT&T and Starbucks encouraged it! My personal favorite is Private Internet Access (PIA) which works on all devices including your phone and tablet. An annual subscription is $39.99.
I think that just about wraps things up for this week. It’s hard to believe 2021 is 90% over & we’re getting ready to settle down into the winter months. At least I have a stack of books to go through while hunkering down inside for the next 3 months. See you next week!
No real agenda for this post but I had a few notes of things to discuss on the Blog. Let’s start with Dopesick on Hulu!
Dopesick follows the Sackler Family, who founded Purdue Pharma and are thought to be responsible for the creation of the ongoing Opioid Crisis in the US. In fact, they just settled a huge lawsuit where they won immunity from future lawsuits and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in penalties. The Hulu series stars Michael Keaton and after 3 episodes I’m hooked.
Speaking of hooked, I’ve seen the brand “Real good” a lot lately. They specialize in High Protein, Gluten, and Grain-free frozen products. I’ve tried their gluten-free (and LOW carb) chicken parmesan in the past and enjoyed it. Purchased at Costco, their Bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breasts are a BIG hit in this household. These are raw and frozen, so they take about 40-minutes to prepare. The chicken is nice and tender, and the bacon on the outside and cheese on the inside make an awesome combo, especially when paired with a vegetable side (or salad). Probably one of the best frozen chicken entrees I’ve ever had.
You can’t watch an iPad Pro video on YouTube without seeing an ad for the Paperlike screen protector. I’ve used a Paperlike in the past, but at $40 (for two pieces), it’s a little pricey for what it is ( I don’t remember ever paying that much). I saw a few people talking about an alternative called Tech Armor, so I thought I’d check it out, especially since it was only $10 for two pieces. They have a lot of different protectors available for various devices, but this is the one that works with the current 11” iPad Pro. So far, I’m really impressed with the glare and fingerprint reduction the protector provides, and installation was about as easy as it can be. The following video is what made me give the Tech Armor a try.
I think that’s about it for this week. I’ve got some info on a bagel and a biscuit place opening up, both on 96th St. One near I-69 and the other near Keystone Parkway. I’ll be sure to cover that in an upcoming post. See you next week!
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 (less expensive if you opt for the annual plan). 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. Another thing to know is an Internet connection is required for Grammarly to function.
All in all, if you love to write, or you need some help polishing up your communications, Grammarly is an excellent tool for the job!
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 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!