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!