Although I’m no longer employed in tech, I’m still a tinkerer. So when the latest Beta versions of the next Apple operating system became available to the public, I was already in line & ready to download. Furthermore, since my Mac is no longer my work machine (I moved to Windows 11 on a smoking fast HP Z-Book in June), I can play around with the beta software and not be too impacted if I encounter a bug or two.
This was the case this morning when I encountered an issue when I pressed the Alt-Tab key to switch to another app. It just didn’t work. I was scratching my head & immediately thought something was wrong with my new MX Keys keyboard. After some troubleshooting, I realized I had a 3rd party app that makes the Alt-Tab command on the Mac work better (it shows minimized windows). Unfortunately, it was crashing with the latest macOS beta. After a brief search on Reddit, I discovered I wasn’t alone. After I disabled the app, all was well again in the Alt-Tab world (but I was missing the features the utility provided).
Such is life when you test Beta software. You’ll encounter little bugs along the way, but you also get to see some of the latest and greatest features before the general public. You also need the patience to work on figuring out issues as they pop up.
If you’ve put fuel in your vehicle this summer, you might disagree with the following article, but in the big scheme of things, the U.S. has some inexpensive gasoline prices compared with the rest of the world. Nowhere as cheap as $0.20 a gallon in Iran but less than the $8.50 a gallon price in the U.K. The Hustle Issue #220 had an interesting article titled “Why gas is actually cheap in America.” The section detailing traffic deaths based on fuel price was fascinating, in my opinion too.
And finally, it’s time to get a little nerdy and discuss the differences between what we in the U.S. call vegetables vs. what they’re called in the U.K. True Food T.V. has a fun video explaining it all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
The Mid-Term elections were last Tuesday & I’ll have to admit, I was pretty disappointed in the turnout I observed. I’m fortunate that my polling place is at a small church next to my neighborhood and is about as convenient as it gets. I stopped by at 8:30 and said hello to the one and only candidate rep outside (representing Greg Garrison for Prossicutor) and proceeded inside to 8 poll workers, and that’s it. No one else was there voting. That’s a little sad, considering the primaries significantly impact who gets to run in the November election and, in many cases, decide the November results.
Scotts Cheap Flights had an excellent article about the 23 of the Best Long Weekend Trips in the US. Several are an easy drive from Indy. In fact, Nashville has been on my radar ever since I drove through in October 2020. I’ve been craving that smoked mushroom smash burger from burger Hugh-Baby’s. I think a return trip is in order this fall.
A few months ago, I picked up a new Mac and decided to go with the Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch with the M1 Pro chip. With 16GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, this entry-level MacBook Pro is the fastest one I’ve ever used. It’s amazing how much better it is than a unit from 2 years ago. The Mac uses Apple’s new proprietary chip, and the performance is nothing short of amazing. Couple that with a liquid retina XDR display, HD webcam, and all-day battery life; this is one hell of a package for $2k. I would not hesitate to recommend this as an upgrade or an entry into the Apple ecosystem.
That’s it for this week. However, some exciting things are happening behind the scenes at the IndyScan HQ. Details are to be released soon, so stay tuned!
Shorter post this week as I have a lot going on these days. I’m planning a trip to Toronto in the next couple of months and the Canadian entry requirements seem to be a moving target. As of last week, Canada now requires you to get pre-approved with an app called ArriveCAN. Hopefully, nothing else changes prior to my visit. I’m holding off on making actual reservations until the trip gets closer, just in case they lock things down again.
Have you tried ClusterTruck yet? Chris Baggott, formerly of Exact target, and founder of ClusterTruck, and Tyner Pond Farms, is on to something. In my opinion, he’s completely changed the delivery industry and has reliably, and deliciously, fed me for the past several years while working in Downtown Indianapolis.
The key to ClusterTruck’s success is technology. In a nutshell, they don’t start making the food until they know they have a driver ready to pick it up as soon as it’s done cooking. This results in hot and fresh food every time. In fact, the only issue I’ve had out of the approximately 100 orders was a Cuban sandwich that they forgot to press. It was still hot though! The delivery radius is small but they have kitchens scattered around Central Indiana and Columbus, Ohio. I’m fortunate to be in the delivery area of one of them just about every day.
If you’re curious, you can use my referral code and get a discount on your first order (Full disclosure, I get a $5 credit on my account too).
And finally, Gastro Obscura had an interesting video titled A Legacy of Wine in Cincinnati that details the history of winemaking in the Cincinnati region.
Kate MacDonald is on a mission to make wine that connects to its place, and that’s just what she’s done with Skeleton Root. This winery was created to resurrect American heritage grape varieties that filled her hometown of Cincinnati in the mid-1800s, starting with the wines that put America on the map: dry still white Catawba and Catawba bubbly.Gastro Obscura