Sunday, October 22, 2017

Quieting a Printer and a Lesson re Everything

Say you set up your new, low-cost, network-enabled multi-function printer/copier/scanner/fax and it works perfectly, but it's louder than you like. If you go to The Google and type in (without the quotes) "Brother MFC-L2740DW loud," you will immediately find that there is a Quiet Mode setting, and changing it from Off to On solves the problem. The larger lesson re everything is this: If there's any you might like to see changed re anything mechanical thing (and a lot of other things), just ask The Google--the change likely can be made.  

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hasselback Baked Potatoes


We can thank the Swedes — and the chefs at Restaurant Hasselbacken, in particular — for the invention of this particular style of potato. They also sometimes go under the name Accordion Potatoes or (my favorite) Pillbug Potatoes. Whatever you call it, the result is the same: a single potato, sliced into thin wedges but left joined at the bottom, baked until the layers fan out into rounds of crispy bliss.


Image result for hasselback potatoes


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Start with a few potatoes. Any potato will do. I love Yukon Golds for this, but you can also use Russets, red potatoes, or even tiny new potatoes. Slice straight down into the potato, but stop just short of cutting all the way through. Use a sharp knife to cut the entire top of the potato into thin crosswise slices, stopping about three-quarters of the way down the potato so the base stays in tact and the pieces remain attached to the base. Make your slices as thick or as thin as you like — my knife skills tend to average slices that are 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. You can rest the potato on a large serving spoon to use as a guide, or if you are particularly enamored of hasselback potatoes, you can buy a special Hasselback potato cutting board (e.g., at Amazon for under $10). 



3. Rub 1 tablespoon butter evenly across the top of each potato. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, and then place them on the prepared baking sheet.

4. Roast the potatoes until they are golden and easily pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.

5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle each baked potato with 2 tablespoons shredded cheese and 2 tablespoons bacon. Push some of the toppings between the potato slices. Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook until the bacon is crisp and the cheese is melted, 5 to 7 minutes more.

6. Let the potatoes cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Solitaire With No Ads

The best free Solitaire is by MobilityWare. It has the closest thing to playing with real cards and is rich in features and very clean looking. Unfortunately, an ad appears before each new game, which usually you can click off but some last 15 seconds. For a couple of bucks, Solitaire MegaPack will give you solitaire (and many other games) with no ads. It is not quite as pretty as MobilityWare but it too is rich in features. It's available for Androids (see link below) and Apple devices. 

Link to Play Download for SolitaireMegapack

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Deleting or Editing Your Browsing History on Amazon

[Courtesy of the NYT]
Amazon automatically tracks the products you browse on the site and compiles a visual list on your account’s home page, in case you are inspired to follow through with a purchase on a return visit. If you find this sort of thing more creepy than helpful — or you share a computer and would rather not have others see your shopping whims — you can disable the tracking.
To do that, go to Amazon.com and log into your account. Click the Browsing History link at the top of the main page to see the recent items you previously viewed while clicking around on the site. At the top of the page, click Manage History.
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If you want to delete specific items but do not want to wipe out your entire browsing travels through Amazon’s virtual aisles, click the Remove button shown under each product you wish to erase from the list. And if you find you like Amazon’s record-keeping but want to see items similar to ones you have already looked at, click the More Like This button under the product.
Here, you can click the button to enable or disable your browsing history on Amazon.com. If you ever clear your browser cookies as part of a maintenance or troubleshooting step on your computer, Amazon will start tracking your window shopping again and you will have to return to the settings to disable the history collection again. You can also click the Remove All Items button on the page to clear the list.If you want to delete specific items but do not want to wipe out your entire browsing travels through Amazon’s virtual aisles, click the Remove button shown under each product you wish to erase from the list. And if you find you like Amazon’s record-keeping but want to see items similar to ones you have already looked at, click the More Like This button under the product.

Only Two Ways Out of Trump World

[Prefatory Note: As our loyal readers know, we don't do politics here. But because Trump's presidency could affect consumers, we would like to share with you the letter the New York Times does not have the nerve to print]

"It appears, at least in President Trump’s mind, that there is no line he can cross that will erode his base or end his presidency. Sadly, and perhaps tragically, as long as his key enablers remain in place as he engages in one outrageous act after another, that’s probably correct. Thus, there are only two ways out of this presidency: Either Trump does something that causes a seismic calamity which leads to his impeachment or his key enablers (Messrs. Mattis, Kelly, Tillerson, and McMaster) go to the cabinet and announce that they quit unless the cabinet does its constitutional duty under the 25th Amendment. Their doing so would represent the highest fulfillment of their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and to protect the country. With Congress clearly unwilling or unable to stop the madness that continues to unfold under this presidency, those key enablers look to be the only hope to avoid the unthinkable, which unfortunately, could be nuclear war."