It’s time for the 2022 Devour IndySummerfest to begin on August 22 and run until September 4, 2022. Over 100 participating restaurants will have three-course, value-priced menus available. While not a huge savings from the standard menu prices, it’s a chance to save a few bucks and maybe check out a new place. Be sure to make reservations if you can because this event attracts a lot of attention.
Wired magazine had a great review of The Best Laptop Backpacks for Work (and Life), and it sent me down the rabbit hole of Tom Bihn bags. I used to carry a backpack with my work gear in it for years after using a messenger bag for as long as I can remember. I’ve since switched back to the messenger bag but find it a little limiting and uncomfortable to carry for long periods.
After a little YouTube research I placed an order for a Tom Bihn Synic 30 with a Grey shell and yellow liner. It was NOT a cheap bag, but if it lives up to the hype, it might be the last bag I’ll ever need. I’ll report back in a few weeks after I get it in hand and have time to put it through its paces.
Last weekend was the 2022 Indiana Sports Corp Corporate Challenge. As a consultant, I could never participate with my clients, and my company never participated (engineering nerds). With over 4000 people in attendance, it was a HUGE event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The map they gave us before the event made it look like it was just going to take up a small part of the IMS infield, but it actually took up at least 50%. The best way to describe the event is a giant Field Day for adults. It would be great if they held it on a Friday and had some events go into the night, but they typically do it on Saturday mornings. Events include:
- 5K Run
- 10K Run
- Basketball Shootout
- Cornhole Tournament
- Cycling Time Trial
- Football Toss
- Frisbee Toss
- Home Run Derby
- Team Obstacle Relay
- Total Body Fitness
- and lots more…
As you can see, they have something for just about everyone, and it’s a nice way to compete against friends at participating companies. I ran into several people I knew from around the Indianapolis area and had a lot of fun competing for points with my coworkers.
MacMost posted a video a while ago showing several ways to Search for Photos on your Mac. Some good stuff in this video that you’re sure to learn something new.
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.
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.
I just realized the cord cutting “experiment” I started 2 years ago is still going strong so I think we’re beyond experimenting & it’s become a lifestyle. I’ve not run into any real issues but managing an antenna for each TV was a bit of a pain. Not having DVR capabilities made catching some shows (like F1 races at 2am) a little more difficult.
I’ve been waiting for a new type of antenna to come out for over a year. The Mohu Airwave is a device that allows you to get access to Over the Air (OTA) content from various devices on your Network. No more running COAX cable or antennas to every TV. Now your web-enabled devices (Smart TV, AppleTV, Roku, iPad, iPhone, etc.) can stream LIVE OTA content!
After mentioning the Airwave and the past due release to the Executive Chef at Kibbyhanas I learned of an even better product that’s available NOW! The HDHomeRun line of products connect to your home network just like the AirWave and are 100% compatible with the PLEX DVR service. This meant that not only could I get rid of all the ugly antennas in the house I could also DVR any OTA program free of charge using my existing setup and storage.
To setup the HDHomeRun you need to connect it to a WIRED Ethernet connection and connect an HD antenna. I put everything upstairs in the corner of a room so it was out of sight had had better line of sight to the TV Transmitters. Now that I have everything setup I may be moving things to the attic on the other side of the wall.
A bonus I quickly discovered was my Smart-TV treated the HDHomeRun signal on the network just like a COAX input so all the automation I had set up would continue to work like before. Win-Win all around!
The only negative I can say about all of this is your network needs to be able to handle the amount of wired and/or wireless traffic generated by multiple HD streams. I have a slight bottleneck in my setup that should be resolved soon with a new (faster) network switch.
If you’re looking to make OTA content available on more devices on your network and like the idea of getting rid of antennas on all your TV’s you should check out the HDHomeRun line of products to see if they might be right for you.
Thought it might be a good idea to take some time out on this Friday night*** and post a much-needed update to the Blog. Amazing how life gets in the way and posts end up being weeks apart… You should see the number of drafts I have queued up so it’s not like I’m not thinking about blogging!
I stopped in the Apple store a few weeks ago just to look around and all the new toys and get a hands on demo of the Apple Watch. The employee assisting us was very helpful and he did such a good job I ended up making an impulse buy of an Apple Watch Sport (and a night stand dock).
I’ll admit it, I fell for the hype and it was totally an impulse buy (happens more than I like to admit). I justified the purchase to myself as an updated FitBit that did a lot more than just track my steps. Yeah, that’s the ticket!
If you haven’t checked out the Apple Watch it’s worth it just to see the design, fit, finish, and how it looks on your wrist. It’s a beautifully designed piece of electronics (as most Apple products are). The watch/band combinations are numerous and I’m a little surprised they didn’t package the watch by itself with the bands being an add-on accessory.
There are 3 watch models (in several colors) and 2 watch sizes all with the SAME internal components. The prices are all over the map when you pair the watch with the various bands. I opted for the $399 “Sport” model in brushed gold with a dark blue band (my shopping companion quickly identified it as the Notre Dame model).
After arriving home I had to charge the watch for about an hour before I could fire it up. Initial setup takes about 20 minutes while the companion apps are loaded from your phone. It took another 24-36 hours before things are totally synced and you are able to get all the alerts you would normally get on your phone (way longer than I expected).
The idea of having a mini phone display on your wrist, instantly accessible, is a good one in theory. My biggest problem was holding my arm at the viewing angle for an extended period along with the issue of being able to focus on the small screen.
I’ll admit I’m getting older and my arms are sometimes not long enough to properly focus on things like books and menus without a little help from Foster Grant.
This was an immediate problem that I didn’t really notice during the in-store demo. I’m not going to whip out my reading glasses every time I want to look at my wrist candy (Strike 1).
Another issue I ran into is the information actually presented on the watch screen. I get hundreds of emails a day and more times than not the message was unable able to be displayed on the screen because of the format. Not to mention viewing attachments is out of the question (Strike 2).
Battery life during the first day, like with any new toy, was not impressive because I was fidgeting with my new toy all day long. It improved in the days following as I used the watch less and less. Apple advertises a full day of usage between charges and I was getting that (Ball 1).
The final issue was the fact you have to make a specific flip of your wrist to get the display to wake up. Raising your arm works 50% of the time. Other times you have to rotate your wrist in a weird way to get the watch to activate. Hard to describe but anyone who has one of these devices knows exactly what I’m talking about (Strike 3).
Apple offers a 10-day return policy on the watch and I ended up taking advantage of it 7 days into the experiment. Returning it was totally painless and when I mentioned the viewing issues to the employee processing the return she indicated it’s not an uncommon complaint (and reason for return).
So my Apple Watch experiment is over (for now) and I can honestly say I don’t miss it. I continue to enjoy my Seiko Automatic Dive Watch for its simplicity (no batteries) and I look forward to the next version of the Apple Watch that’s rumored to be announced sometime this year.
Do you have an Apple Watch? What’s your experience been like? Hit me up in the comment section below.
***While listening to The Very Best Of The Violent Femmes on Spotify
It’s been a busy month and Christmas is less than a week away (so is a much-needed week off work for yours truly). As I get older the years just keep speeding up & I don’t know of any way to slow them down! It’s just the opposite feeling from when I was a kid where the years dripped slower than that bear bottle full of honey.
The Great Cord Cutting Project of 2015 is going better than I could have ever expected & there’s no going back. I’m spending some of that old evening TV time trying to keep up on the articles I’m always collecting via Pocket. Some items recently clipped include:
- Liz Biro: My top 10 dishes of 2015
- The secret life of baggage: Where does your luggage go at the airport?
- How the Universal Symbols for Escalators, Restrooms, and Transport Were Designed
- The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead
- TV stations could make millions by pulling the plug
The Kindle is getting a workout too with several books being read in parallel. Just depends on what I’m in the mood for. Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and Andy Weir’s The Martian are both fighting for my attention.
I’ve also taken the opportunity to really dig into what’s available on the streaming services I subscribe to, particularly Netflix and Amazon:
- The Man in the High Castle (Amazon) is an alternate history story that has the Germans and Japanese wining WWII and taking control of the USA. It’s a pretty dramatic series that’s full of twists and turns.
- Narcos (Netflix) depicts the story of Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents assigned with bringing him to justice. I’m not going to lie, you have to pay attention to this show. Mainly because it’s 90% Spanish with subtitles. And a Gringo like me needs them. No Sprecken la Espanola
I’ve been helping keep USPS, FedEx and UPS in business with lots of holiday purchases for friends and family. Along with those items I picked up a new Keyboard/Case for myself and my iPad Air 2. The Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro is a great replacement to the Logitech keyboard cover I was using with the last iPad. It’s a little pricy $150 but It’s currently on sale now for $130. I’m working on a review but let’s just say that after a few days using it I’m a fan.
After a glowing review from a co-worker I also ordered the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Electric Sandwich Maker. Seriously, I did! I’ve see this gadget before but didn’t think it would be any good, especially costing under $30. Well I’m told this thing really works so I had to see for myself. When I happen to eat breakfast the egg and cheese (with various meats) is my regular go to. Delivery is scheduled for Monday so we’ll see how it goes Tuesday morning when I fire that baby up and make my first sausage, egg and cheese muffin.
No matter your religious preference (or not) I hope everyone is gearing up for a fun holiday season with friends and family. If you get any good tech gadgets or kitchen toys let me know! I’m always looking for ways to give Amazon more money.
I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs & came across a reference to the Midland Arts & Antiques Market in a post about Ralston’s on Mass by Indianapolis Restaurant Scene. By the way, IRS is the #1 Indy food blog on Urbanspoon (with good reason) & you should check it out!
I drive by the Midland building all the time & never realized what it was. I was downtown at the annual company picnic with the boy on Saturday & we decided to check this place out on our way home. First of all, this place is HUGE! The sign on the east side says it used to be an old window & door factory. It’s also a little tricky to get to because of the one way streets.
Plan on spending a few hours to see everything. I’m going back to shoot more pictures of the unique items being sold in the 150+ booths & display cases. Here are some of the more unique things I saw while visiting.
I’ve used eBay for years (always buying/never sold anything) and have always had a lot of difficulty winning auctions. If you use eBay I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. I’ll be winning the auction for days and at the last-minute I’ll get outbid by a “sniper”.
Well I decided to pay that game last weekend and finally won a used camera I had wanted for a while now. It’s several years old but it’s a professional grade unit that I’m specifically interested in using for sports and time-lapse photography.
I won the auction by bidding my maximum amount 5-seconds before the auction ended. I had been outbid so many times before I was not sure if it even worked. A couple of seconds later I received confirmation that my last-minute bid won the auction.
Here are some tips for the casual eBay shopper that might help you win your next auction. It’s about buying camera gear but a lot of the tips apply to other items.
I’m a list maker. I find lists are the best way for me to get things out of my head and free that thinking energy up for more important things. To keep all of our family lists in sync we uses the Our Groceries application.
Our Groceries is a free “cloud” based tool that’s accessible via the web, and applications designed for Blackberry, iPhone and Android. It’s a simple list maker that keeps everyone updated in near real-time. The free version is ad-supported and has small ads at the top of the screen. You can purchase an ad free version for Android and Apple.
My family uses Our Groceries for our master grocery list as well as errands, gift ideas, and even dinner ideas. It’s also a great way to make a packing list for vacation. Creating a list is a one step process and once it’s created you can start populating it right away. One of the cool features is that Our Groceries remembers your list items even after you check them off. Enter an item once and it’s always available for quick entry in the future. This is great for grocery lists where you’re adding the same things every week.
The magic of Our Groceries is in the synchronization. Once all the users in your family are connected (a very simple process that’s done via email) every time you add an item it’s automatically synchronized to the other users lists. Cross something off and it crosses that item off on their list. This all occurs within about 10 seconds.
When our daughter says she needs something from the store, we tell her “add it to the list”. There have been times where I’ll be at the grocery store and my wife will remember that we need something. Se adds it to Our Groceries on her phone and it magically shows up on my phone just a few seconds later. I really can’t stress enough how cool this application is.
Other features of Our Groceries allow you to input your favorite recipes and with one click all the ingredients get added to the shopping list.. Using the web you can drag and drop items so they are in the proper order when you walk through the store. I always put all of the produce at the top and frozen items at the bottom. The next time that produce item is added it will automatically end up at the top of the list. If you want to get really fancy you can assign categories to items so they’re grouped together.
The uses for Our Groceries are nearly endless. You don’t have to synchronize with other people, you can use the application by itself as well. Check it out and let us know what you think!