Category: Review


2022 Week 34 – We’re Listening

Some of you might remember back in the early 2000’s IndyScan.com used to be a resource page for Radio Scanner enthusiasts. We started small with the Central Indiana area and eventually grew to cover the entire state. We even had a monthly newsletter and conducted regular surveys to get feedback from our visitors. That was a lot of work and before kids. The site went dormant for several years before I brought it back, creating the Blog you’re reading today.

Working from home during Covid-19 and the civil unrest in Downtown Indianapolis last year rekindled my interest in Amateur radio and police scanning.

A LOT has changed in the years since I was active. Then, there were independent radio systems for every agency, and it took a lot of effort to understand how it all worked. Now the State of Indiana has a massive statewide digital system (Called SAFE-T) that’s very impressive and well documented. In addition, Marion, Hamilton, and Madison Counties have combined their own police/fire radio system into a shared digital system that can interface with the State system.

These days all the system details all published online at a site called Radio Reference. When I got out of the hobby years ago, I remember taking my entire database of information and sending it to the guys at Radio Reference, hoping they could use it to help others in the hobby.

SDS100

That old database of frequencies is all but useless now with the implementation of the digital wide-area networks. New systems mean new requirements for listening. In order for me to get back into the hobby, I needed to purchase a Digital Scanner. After some research, I decided on the Uniden SDS100 handheld digital scanner. They also make the SDS200 desk/mobile unit, which I purchased shortly after the SDS100 (I was hooked again).

Since I have my Amateur Radio License, I can legally travel with a scanner. So I’ve taken the SDS100 on many road (and camping) trips and enjoyed the optional GPS unit that auto-tunes the local systems as you travel. Of course, you must program all of this, but that’s part of the fun! The SDS200 stays in the home office, where it can be remotely accessed using the ProScan software I have online and connected to the Web. When you connect to the SDS200, you’ll listen to the same thing I am in real-time.

It’s been great to once again follow along with the local police and fire departments and the state agencies as they do their job protecting the public. A lot has changed in the past 20 years, and the new technology is nothing short of amazing. I’m glad I got back into the hobby!


Keeping with the listening theme… Life in Indy has released three public playlists on Spotify.

These are excellent playlists with a nice mix of Central Indiana artists. Check them out, and let me know what you think!


And finally… Last week I mentioned the Tom Bihn Synic 30 backpack. Well, it was delivered last week, and I’m in the process of giving it a proper shakedown. Initial thoughts are good, very good, and I can honestly say it’s exceeded my expectations thus far. I’ll report back with a more detailed review in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

2022 Week 32 – The Wire

I’ve had a show called The Wire on my “watch list” for years. After another person I know talked about how good it was, I decided to carve out some time and start the series.

I was a huge fan of Homicide: Life on the Street when it aired throughout the 90s and The Wire is a similar genre that takes place in the same city (Baltimore) a little later. Being on HBO also makes The Wire a lot more gritty than Homicide which aired on NBC. I’m only a few episodes in but so far it’s scratching that itch for an old-school police drama with excellent good writing and acting.


Back in Week 9 I reviewed the Logitech MX Master 3. I’ve fallen in love with this mouse so that much I purchased a second one for the office. I’ve also picked up two of the MX Keys keyboards, also made by Logitech. While neither the mouse nor the keyboards are cheap, they are some of the best-built devices I’ve ever used. Additionally, having a similar setup at work and home allows for a seamless transition between the two. Since I work from home two days a week now, It’s been nice to have the same hardware at each location.

MX Keys from Logitech

If you have access to an Amazon Business account, you can purchase the MX Business Combo that gets you a keyboard and mouse while saving you around $40 on the combo. Unfortunately, this is not available to non-business customers for some reason. You can’t go wrong with the MX Series from Logitech if you want to upgrade your most used computer peripherals.


And finally… I love linen clothing. From sports coats to shirts and even a lightweight pair of pants, linen is great for the summer heat and holds up well to repeated use. Yet, I never thought about how it was made, or WHAT it was made from until I saw this video on YouTube. There’s a lot more to making linen clothing than I ever realized.

2022 Week 30 – The Little Robot That Could

black and red canister vacuum cleaner on floor

Looks like we’re finally getting a break from the heat this upcoming week. That should be good news for the expected protesters that will be downtown as Indiana lawmakers return for a special session starting tomorrow. The focus is on Abortion and what, if any, change Indiana will be making to their existing law. VPOTUS is coming to Indy tomorrow as well so it could get interesting. I’ll be sure to have the scanner with me in case something happens.


I was happy to see Amazon had a Roomba i7+ listed at 50% off during Prime Day(s). I’ve had one of the original Rumba Vacuums for years and it works pretty well but it randomly wanderers around the house bumping off walls and furniture as it does its job. The only way to contain it is to close doors or put up battery-powered “walls” that projected a beam of light.

The new Roomba Vacuums are a huge upgrade. Not only can you control it with your phone over WiFi, it maps out your house and allows you to label each room. It can handle up to 10 floorplans (each level of your house is considered a floorplan). The advantage of this is I can tell the Roomba to clean the Living Room and it will go directly there, start cleaning, and return to its charging base when it’s done. Oh, and it cleans in straight lines, not random patterns!

The Plus version I purchased has a self-cleaning base that sucks the dirt and hair out of the Roomba into a bag that only had to be changed every 30-ish days (depending on how much it picks up). That was one of the downfalls of the original model, you had to empty the bin each time and clean the rollers every 2nd or 3rd use.

I’ve been VERY impressed with the cleaning ability of the i7+ and the self-cleaning function is a game changer. There are newer (and more expensive) models, such as the j7+, but the i7+ works perfectly for me and I’m really happy I was able to pick it up at such a discount.


And finally… Kevin Hunter The Homework Guy had a great video about the environmental impact of electric vehicles. Kevin is an ex-car salesman and has a ton of great tips to help you purchase your next vehicle. If you’re in the market for a new car you should watch a few of his videos and get up to speed on the current sales “tactics” being used.

2022 Week 29 – You Chicken?

meat sandwich on black surface

I’ve only used delivery services like GrubHub and Uber Eats a few times and was disappointed each time due to lukewarm food, ridiculous fees, and price markups. They are nothing like the excellent, albeit limited, service you get from ClusterTruck. I’m super fortunate to be able to order from ClusterTruck from home and the office downtown. Out of 50+ orders, I’ve only had one issue: they delivered my food to the wrong location. However, they re-did the order and credited my account as soon as I reached out. That’s great customer service!

Amazon Prime members can now get 12 months of GrubHub+ for free! GrubHub+ is usually $10 a month and gets you $0 delivery fees applicable on orders with a $12+ subtotal (before tax, tip, and fees). After signing up, I looked at the restaurants on the GrubHub app and found quite a few I didn’t recognize in the area. After a little Google Maps searching, I discovered all the “new” places were Ghost Kitchens inside existing restaurants. Evidently, this is quite common & Chuckie Cheese is even in on the action with their Pasqually’s Pizza listing. It’s worth doing a little research if you’re unsure of the pace you’re ordering from.


If you’re a subscriber to Apple News+ and a foodie, you might have noticed Cooks Illustrated (CI) is now available to read on the service. CI is one of those magazines I subscribed to for years. It always seemed pretty skinny with no ads, but it’s actually fat with content. It features articles from the Americas Test Kitchen and Cooks Country staff (shows you can find on PBS’s “Create” sub-channel), product reviews, and some fantastic seasonal recipes. So if you’re looking for an unpretentious cooking magazine, this is the one to check out! Apple news replaced the Texture App, and I was a little unsure about that at first, but it’d turned out to be a better platform with a LOT more content, all for $10 a month. I can’t tell you the last time I read a physical magazine (except for Consumers Reports which I get as a yearly subscription from my father).


And finally… You can’t escape it. The Chicken Sandwich is one of the top-selling items at America’s fast food restaurants. And with good reason, they’re delicious! CNBC had an interesting piece about How Chicken Became an American Obsession.

2022 Week 28 – Pew Pew

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!

2022 Week 27 – Odd One Out

There were several large protests in downtown Indianapolis last weekend and even more this past week. All were regarding the Roe vs. Wade reversal, and all were peaceful, which s a lot better than the mess we had downtown a while back. I’ve grown up in a conservative household and have always considered myself a conservative, but as I get older, I start seeing myself siding with some liberal issues. I think I’m a Centrist, and I’m OK with that. As an example, I’m Pro 2nd Amendment as well as Pro-Choice when it comes to women’s reproductive rights. I’m not a fan of Big Government, but I also understand the need for subsidies, where needed, for the greater good. I’m a proud American, and I appreciate the freedom we have to exercise our right to protest and use our vote to produce change peacefully. I’ve left a long career with a very conservative (politically and financially) privately owned company and moved to a more liberal, not-for-profit organization. Within the first month, I opened my eyes to some things I would have never noticed before. It will be a wild ride, and I’m looking forward to growing my understanding of the “other side.”

people rallying on street
Photo by Rosemary Ketchum on Pexels.com

I had to get a new phone when I left my last employer, so I upgraded from an iPhone 12 Pro to a 13 Pro. I haven’t had to pay for a cell phone for 20+ years & was a little surprised at the cost of a non-enterprise line and phone! I decided to purchase the iPhone 13 Pro outright to give me flexibility should I want to upgrade at a future time and trade this unit in for credit. You get a surprisingly decent amount of money for used Apple products when you trade them back into Apple.

The 13 Pro has slightly better battery life, a better camera, and screen than the 12, but that’s about it. I had been upgrading my work phone every two years and was on the “Even Cycle” of phones (8/10/12) vs. the “Odd Cycle” (9/11/13). The Even cycle of iPhones always seems to have the most significant technological leaps, with a rumor that the iPhone 14 will switch from Lightning to USB-C for its power connector. Of course, Apple could remove the connector altogether and be a true wireless phone.

Luckily I get a decent stipend from the new job to cover the cost of my cell phone, but it’s nothing like having it provided for free as an employee perk. I find myself being much more careful with this $1200 device than I was when it was standard issue equipment as part of the job. I’ve also never been one to use a screen protector, but after finding what looks like a small scratch on the screen of my new phone, I ordered some tempered glass screen protectors from Amazon. We’ll see if they make a difference or not.

pexels-photo-9667337.jpeg
Photo by Caleb Oquendo on Pexels.com

And finally… CNBC had an interesting YouTube video about Amazon. It’s a combination of several pieces, so there is some redundancy, but it does a good job explaining what happens when you return an item to the shopping behemoth.


2022 Week 26 – AMPed Up

I checked out a couple of new lunch spots while working in Downtown Indy these past few weeks. The AMP at 16 Tech was our spot for lunch while conducting a site tour in the area for an upcoming Board Meeting (we typically rotate these around the city). The AMP is a food hall with stalls made from converted shipping containers. It’s unique to the city, and the various shops add a lot of variety to the location. I ordered a cheesesteak from Mambo’s, and while not the same as Hoagies and Hops, it was a nice sandwich that hit the spot. When looking at Mombo’s website, I found out they have a location in City Market, so I’m going to have to check that location out too.

The AMP at 16 Tech

My other “new” lunch spot was Turchetti’s Delicatessen in Fountain Square. I’m calling it “new” because I visited pre-covid when it was a carry-out spot with very limited seating. During this visit, I sat in the new Bistro area that had seats for about 2-dozen and a decent-sized bar. They bill themselves as a Soccer Bar, so I’ll need to re-visit when the Soccer season starts back up, and check it out for myself.

Pastrami and side salad at Turchetti’s Delicatessen

My new job allows me to work from home on Monday and Friday so I’ve been trying to spend some of my lunch money locally (as well as eating at home). One of those local spots has been Wild Ginger on 116th St. It’s a nice family-run sushi shop with fresh food and great service. I’m finding myself there at least once a week lately.

Sushi at Wild Giger in Fishers

That’s it for this week. I’ll be curious to see what’s happening in Downtown Indianapolis in the upcoming days after the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs Wade. There have been several (peaceful) protests this weekend & the politicians return in early July for a 30-day Special Session. I can imagine there will be a lot of things going on around the State House during that time!

2022 Week 25 – Quick Cincy Trip

Took a quick overnight trip to Cincinnatti last weekend to attend my nephew’s graduation party. On the way down I decided to take a small detour and check out Blue Ash Chili. I had recently seen it featured on Diner Drive-ins & Dives and realized there was another chili place in Cincy that I hadn’t tried yet!

Although Blue Ash was good (VERY similar to Skyline), Camp Washington will remain my favorite Cincy Style Chili. I appreciate the fact that Blue Ash has a rather large menu and the Club Sandwiches coming out of the kitchen looked amazing. While prepping for this post I found the Cincy Chili Map and realized I have a LOT more places to check out! I didn’t realize (but should have) that there were so many independent Chili spots in the city.


A trip to Cincy also requires a stop at the Infamous Jungle Jim’s. I have to really be careful when I shop in that store because you can end up buying way too much. It helps to have a list of the “must get” items and leave some room in the care to try new things. It helps that I drive right by the Eastgate location so it’s super convenient to pop in on the way home.

On this trip, I focused on chocolates (great gifts) and Ramen (JJs has a great selection). I was pleased to see Smoking Goose was prominent in the deli area and even found some Cane Sugar Dr Pepper for a co-worker who’s a DP Super Fan.


Something I forgot to share from the week prior was the Strawberry Festival in Downtown Indianapolis. The lines were insane but the shortcake treat was delicious. I was fortunate that someone in our office placed a big group order and handed them out to the people that were in the office that day. The only thing better than a fresh strawberry shortcake with ice cream is a FREE fresh strawberry shortcake with ice cream!


That’s it for this week. It’s going to be another week of temps in the 90s but next week is looking like it might shape up to be a good one. I checked out two new (to me) lunch spots recently, more info on that next week. Thanks for reading!

2022 Week 24 – Smashing Success

I love a good burger. Be it a freshly ground half-pound Brisket Burger I make in the summertime or a good ole’ smash burger available just about everywhere. Smashburger’s are all the rage these days, and I’ve had a lot. Of course, having One Trick Pony in the Fishers Test Kitchen down the street from my house doesn’t hurt either.

Typically made with 3-4 oz patties, Smashburger’s are thin, with crispy, lacy edges, unlike the typical backyard burger, as the following video explains.

I took a road trip a few weeks ago to the little town of Goshen, Indiana, for a lunch date & tried a new place called Biebs & Ash Smashburger. We started the meal with Deviled Eggs that were topped with bacon, everything bagel crunchies & green onion. These were delicious & I would not hesitate to order again.

I ordered the Peanut Butter Smash for my burger, which had a double patty, pepper jack, crunchy peanut butter, blackberry-poblano jam, bacon, and pickled jalapeños on a potato bun, served with fries. I upgraded the fries to their “Hella Parm Fries” topped with garlic aioli and a mound of freshly grated parm. This was, by far, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. The mix of ingredients worked very well together, and I could not stop eating it.

My lunch date ordered the Biebs Smash with double patty, American, pickles, onions, burger sauce on a potato bun, and upgraded her fries to the Maryland Style with old bay seasoning, malt vinegar aioli, and green onion.

It had been a long time since I visited Goshen, and it seems to be doing well. The downtown Main Street was alive with activity, and they had very few vacant storefronts, which is rare these days in small towns around the country.

And finally… HOW HARD is it to put a sticker in the correct place?

Next week we recap a quick trip to Cincinnati, try a new restaurant, and revisit one of our favorite stores.

2022 Week 17 – Road Trip (Part 2)

Welcome back to part-2 of the first camping trip of 2022. Last week we continued south in search of some famous pretzels after both Disc Golf courses we planned to play were too wet…

Tell City is an interesting little river town. However, if you follow the traffic pattern (towards the Ohio River Bridge), you’ll miss the best part of the town, the downtown area. I’d estimate 95% of the traffic traveling on Indiana 66 (The Ohio River Scenic Byway) bypasses Mainstreet and misses a nice part of this little city. Many shops, restaurants, and other locally owned businesses line the 1.5-mile stretch.

I was here for the Tell City Pretzels only to find out they had moved the retail location to the back of a clothing store called “Logos/Scrub Corner.” This must have been a recent move, as Google Maps was still showing the old location (the official website is up to date, though). While cruising Main Street, I spotted a little Bakery and stopped in to check it out. Since it was later in the day, the items had been picked over, but I walked out with a Blueberry Scone and a piece of Coffee Cake with an espresso crumble on top.

Time to head up the road and set up camp. The morning started out clear, but the clouds were building as the day progressed.

Camping in the HNF

Check-in at Indian-Celina is always a smooth process. Of course, it helps to have a reservation, and I always make one to get the spots I like. Firewood is $1 cheaper ($7 a bundle) than years past, so I grabbed 3 to ensure I’d have enough for the evening. The plan was to sit around the fire, enjoy a few pints of my favorite Sun King beer (Orange Vanilla Cream Ale), set up the Short Wave radio, or watch a movie on the iPad Pro.

This trip was the first one where I got to test out the new Gazelle T4 tent. To say this is an upgrade is an understatement. While I loved my previous tent, the Gazelle offers so much more room, and it totally changes the camping experience. There are tradeoffs, though. The T4 is BIG, and it’s HEAVY, but the setup time is only a few minutes, thanks to its hub design. That extra space came in handy as I started to get alerts from Dark Sky about rain in the area. Yep, the weather had turned…

Throughout the week, the weather was showing clear and warm, with a high in the low 70s and a low of 50-degrees. That’s just about perfect camping weather if you ask me. The temps held but the sky decided to open up just in time for dinner. Luckily it was not heavy rain, but it was enough to require shelter well into the early hours. So, after setup and loading everything into the tent to keep it dry, I set off for the local family diner to grab some dinner.

Amish Style food will fill you up. It’s carb and meat-heavy and always has several sweet dessert options. The Schwartz Family Restaurant in Eckerty, IN, is no exception. I’ve passed this place on my way to the campsite several times, but this trip was my first time visiting. You have to be careful about time in this part of Indiana. The campground is in Central Time (Perry County), and the restaurant (Crawford County) is in Eastern Time. I’m glad I left when I did because the restaurant closes at 8 pm and I arrived after 7 pm. The cafeteria-style establishment is VERY clean, and you can tell it’s a favorite of the locals. It’s one of the few places to eat in the area, so they have little competition.

Friday night was Fish night, but I chose the Chicken Tender dinner (meat & 2 sides for $14.99). While they had several pieces of chicken on the steam table, the young lady behind the counter insisted I get some from the fresh batch being cooked in the back. So I chose mashed potatoes/gravy and mac-n-cheese for my two sides.

I had finished my sides before the chicken came out, but I can report it all being very good, and I would not hesitate to re-visit and try several of their other dishes. It’s nice to have this as a dinner option when I don’t feel like cooking at camp. It could be a good breakfast option since they’re open early on the weekends.

The rain didn’t let up until about 2 am, so I set up a little seating area in the Gazelle and hunkered down with a James Bond movie and some podcasts later into the evening.

As you can see, I had plenty of room in the Gazelle and kept warm and dry throughout the night. So if I’m going to be stuck inside, this is the tent to do it in. Next time I need to get my Kelty Noah tarp strung up between the trees to give me a covered area outside the tent.

As usual, the birds were up before dawn chatting with each other, but the rain had stopped, and the temperatures were mild. So I packed up camp and headed out to check on some new camping locations in the area before heading back to Indianapolis.

This was a quick overnight trip, but it was worth it to test the new tent. I wish I had ordered one of these before my Allegheny National Forest trip last year, where we saw rain daily and were pretty miserable by the week’s end. Having a larger shelter makes all the difference, and being able to stand up is a game-changer.

That’s it for this week; thanks for reading. We’ll be back to the normal format next week, but I have some travel plans soon to share.

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