Powerbook in SFO
July 5, 2020

Student Loan Forgiveness

I don't have any active student loans, but I still get someone trying to scam people that do. In this voice message, the caller puts some pressure to make sure that I call back.

If your looking some some student loan help, there's lots of legitimate places that can help: studentaid.govL Student Loan Forgiveness and Usa.gov: Replay Student Loans.

Listen to the Voice Message

Transcript

Apple supplied the following transcript:

“Hi my name is Rachel Cooper and my ⁠⁠⁠⁠_ ⁠ ⁠ 0157 I'm calling you today in reference to your student loans I need to discuss your payment options with you as soon as possible um it looks hear that there is an urgent changes to your account ⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠ recently so if you can go ahead and give me a call back the number is 866-230-8249 I'm also going to go ahead and give you a reference number to have handy when you do a call back it will just make things a little bit easier on ⁠⁠⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠_ and that reference number is 25243…”

Don't fall for these scams. Make sure that you know more about the company before giving any confidential information.

July 4, 2020

PosterMyWall

If your having a small party this summer, and looking for a good way to promote it on social media - try PosterMyWall for some great templates.

There are lots of great ideas. Many of the designs are in animated and just about everything on the page game be changed!

PosterMyWall has lots of categories and types available. You can sign up to remove the watermark and get access to more content. It cost $30 - $90 per quarter. If you doing a lot of designs - say you on a company's social group or on a PTO board - your better off doing the $90 plan.

Poster My Wall
https://www.postermywall.com/index.php/g/4th-of-july#

Happy 4th of July!

July 3, 2020

All-in-One Snag-it Capture

The Snag-it's "Capture All" feature is my new go-to screen capture. It really is an upgrade to the standard MacOX screen capture. If you're using Snagit - you should use it instead of the "image Capture" shortcut.

When you type the shortcut Control - Shift - O, you bring up the standard capture crosshairs to select the area you want to select. When you let go you get a little post-capture option - including the option to change the selection. Which is great because I can't tell you how many times when I do the capture and the selection wasn't 100% correct.

Capture All Snagit

Five Reasons to Use All-in-One Capture

As mentioned above, the ability to change the selection after the initial capture can save a lot of time later.

You can select the Panoramic capture to capture webpages. This is great when you want to capture a page that has an internal webpage frame. The panoramic capture depends on you moving the page, whereas the Chrome webpage capture depends on the page scroll.

Movie Capture - maybe you want to take a video instead of a screen capture. This is a quick way to start that process.

Undo - If the capture was taken at the wrong time, you can undo the selection. Saving you from generating useless files when doing bad screen captures.

July 2, 2020

St. Francis of Assisi Garden

Just behind the Old North Church gift shop is the St. Francis of Assisi Garden.

The Chapel of St. Francis was created to meet the needs of Italian immigrants who were members of the Waldensian Reform movement. Once the movement left the area the Old North Church used the building as a gift shop.

The garden was created as a special area to remember the Waldensian Reform movement.

Francis Desktop
Francis Mobile

Four things I Learned about the Garden

The St. Francis of Assisi statue was placed in the garden on August 17, 1902.

The St. Francis of Assisi Garden is a sitting area, whereas the 18th Century Garden is where you'll find all sorts of plants and shrubs taken care of by members of the congregation.

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and ecology, making him the perfect companion for the outdoor garden - you can find similar statues on eBay and some garden shops.

St. Francis Feast Day is October 4 = I wasn't able to find any information that the Old North Church does in the garden on that day.

July 1, 2020

Our Lady of Fatima Shrine

On the backroads of Holliston, Massachusetts is the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine. Its not only a special place to attend Mass but a place to walk around and be inspired by the 30-acre shrine.

This is the home of the Xaverian Missionaries.

Christmas Lights Fatima
Christmas Lights on Display - This year marks the 60th year of lights.

Shrine Mobile

Six Things I Learned about the Shrine

Established in 1950 by a group of priests from Italy. In August 1952, a group of Xaverian Missionary Fathers purchased a 15-room house that had a barn and 23-acres in Holliston. This would be the site of the current shrine.

In July 1948 - Archbishop Richard J. Cushing gave approval to the building of an outdoor shrine on the seminary grounds.

The priests and seminarians designed landscaped much of the work of the shrine.

The Rosary Walk is a 900-foot-long string of boulders fastened by a marine chain as a reminder to pray the rosary every day. The chains are connected to an anchor that was donated by the Navy in memory of President John F. Kennedy. The string of boulders is said to be the largest rosary in the world. Each boulder bears a plaque inscribed with the Hail Mary prayer.

Every thirteenth of the month is "Mary Day" - which honors the appearance of Mary to the children on the thirteenth of each month.

Christmas Lights Tradition - Since 1960, the shrine grounds is decorated with Christmas lights. Hundreds of visitors visit to check out the light display. Lights cover almost half of the 30-acre shrine.

Finding the Shrine

The Our Lady of Fatima Shrine is located at 101 Summer Street, Rte. 126 in Holliston. Note: Check out the satelite view on Google Maps.

June 30, 2020

Sony Digital 8

One of the things that I liked to do with my PowerMac G4 series desktop computers was to digitalize VHS tapes. In the early 2000s, it wasn't easy to connect a VHS player to a Macintosh computer.

Fortunately for me, I just happen to own a Sony DCR-TRV720 Digital Video Camera Recorder. This camera has an RCA input and a Firewire (iLink) output. This means that I could use the camera as a bridge to get video into my Macintosh from a VHS player.

This diagram shows how I was able to get video into the computer.

TRV720 Mac Layout

I still have the Sony DCR-TRV720 Digital Video Camera and still use it every once in a while to get video into the computer. It won't work with the newest iMac Computers - as they don't have a Firewire port. Sure I could get a USB-C to Firewire adapter but I don't think it's worth spending $29 for the few times that I would use it. In addition, I think using a dongle Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter could impact the video quality.

I am better off just firing up the old G4 computer and doing the converting and transferring it to my desktop to do any Final Cut Pro editing.

Five Things I Learned

  1. The Sony DCR-TRV720 Digital Video Camera is a good video camera but only captures video in 720 dpi - not useful when most videos today are in 1080p format.
  2. The digital bridge works when I have the camera set up as VTR mode and have a tape in the digital camera. Not exactly sure why this is the case, but it's the only way I got it to work.
  3. To play the VHS tapes, I used a JVC Stereo Video Cassette Recorder HR-VP673U. Which was a pretty good system at the time. I have never had an issue with VHS tapes breaking or playing back in poor quality. I still have this on my home desk today! (Hidden but still on my desk!) You can find it on ebay for about $65.
  4. I found that BTV was the best application to view and capture video. The application instantly found the video from the Firewire port. Ben Software has discontinued the application. They have an alternative solution called SwiftCapture which provides many of the same features. Since I am using an old computer - I can still use the BTV.
  5. The camera still comes in handy today. I still use it every once in a while to get VHS recordings to DVDs or YouTube. Some friends have asked to convert old home movies so they could watch them again.
June 29, 2020

Automation is Not

Here we go...

Here are the eight things that people may think what QA Automation is - but they are so wrong:

Automation Desktop
Automation Mobile

Automation is not....

  1. A substitute for manual testing. It should complement the sum of all the testing done in a release cycle.
  2. Easy. It takes time to build a strong test foundation that can be properly maintained.
  3. Hard. There are a lot of "quick" hit automation tools. Make sure to have a plan. Don't create tests that just "chicken peck" functionality.
  4. A One and Done. Automation requires lots of regular maintenance work for feature changes and to build in complexity.
  5. Testing. It's only for verification of a specific predefined path. Just keep in mind that customers may not take the same approach - this is why manual testing is good.
  6. One Size Fits All. There are lots of automation solutions available. In the past two companies I worked at, both decided to build their own - just so they could have ownership.
  7. Just about Selenium. There are other alternatives available. Don't think you're limited to Selenium rules. Check out Katalon Studios, Robot Framework and CasperJS to name a few.
  8. Abracadabra. It’s not magical and worth QA time to understand the technology behind it so they can get the most out of it.

What do you think of my list? Did I miss anything? Or am I way off base?

June 28, 2020

MacWorld Guy

In 1999, I was at the Moscone Center attending the MacWorld Conference. This conference had a lot of attention around the newly announced Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White).

They had displays of the computer all over the exhibit floor so that people could see the new design and styles.

I took a picture of one of the computers in the Apple Booth:

PowerMacintoshMacWorld.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Strange Stare Effect

If you look carefully in the picture - there's a guy on the right looking at the computer.

When you look/stare at the computer the guy appears to be staring at you!

Try it!

Look at the guy, and you can see that he is clearly looking at the computer. Now look at the computer and in your puerperal vision you'll see the guy looking at you.

I tried touching up the photo so the guy is a bit easier to see, but the effect goes away.

June 27, 2020

Gibberish Generator

Sometimes you want to test an html form and need some gibberish text - just for testing purposes. Using the standard Lorem can be boring.

The Gibberish Generator is a good way to create all sorts of gibberish text. These are also great for those annoying text messages solicitations that you may get every once in a while

.

You can enter in any text as a sample, or use their prepopulated content: Hamlet, Pooh, Kafka, Quixote, Pizza Ad, Physics or Management-ese.

Gibberish Generator
https://thinkzone.wlonk.com/Gibber/GibGen.htm

Sample Output

World-class company. Integical structure. World-class company. Humanage, and to achievels optime, and practiveness. The high leadership and promote comership and marketplace of the marketplace on the involvemental. People high levelopment and competencies a key element and to und quality, in quality, inconce possibility, teamworld-class company. World-class leaders and flexibility, company's employees a few meanies, systems, and companies: People a set of competenciencies is full designed marketplac

Buzz! Buzz! I wonder why he door in gold letters, and the middle of Sanders. ("What down at the tree, and in a forest, and in the only reason for making honey." And the tree. He climbed he sang a little song time, and then he got up, and buzzing-noise, and he came a loud buzzing-noise, and he sang a bee." Then I will go on," said I.) One day when he got up, and he climbed and he said a growly voice. "Then he was out walking, without its means somebody's making honey?

June 26, 2020

LaunchBar Search

Launch Bar is a great Macintosh productivity utility. It makes using the Macintosh so much easier.

One of the cool features is the ability to quickly enable a search action. With a couple of keystrokes, you can instantly open up your browser to whatever search results that you want to see. Potentially saving a lot of time doing it the old fashion way.

Use LaunchBar to Search

Here's a quick way to search for something on Twitter:

First you'll need to add a new Search Template. This is done by opening the LaunchBar Index, and selecting the Search Templates (UTF-8):

  1. Trigger the LaunchBar Action (Command Shift)
  2. Open the LaunchBar Index: Option-Command-I
  3. Select the "Search Templates (UTF-8)" in the left panel
  4. Click the '+' button at the bottom left of the main window.

Launch Bar Search

Now Your Ready!

Now your ready to create your own search templates. The key thing to remember in a search template is to grab the URL from search results and replace the keywords that you used with a '*'.

A basic example:

If you had the following URL from a Bing Search for GusODog:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=GusODog&form=QBLH&sp=-1&pq=gusodog&sc=8-7&qs=n&sk=&cvid=F62E44EB0F524B788301CE611566657C

Your Search Template might look like this:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=*

I filtered out some of the text in the URL that I didn't think was important.

Twitter Search

You can now search Twitter for what people are talking about:

For Twitter Templates:

Name: Twitter

Template URL:

https://twitter.com/search?q=*&src=typed_query&f=live

Google Photos Search

If you have a lot of photos in Google Photos, now you can quickly search for the one you're looking for.

Name: Google Photos

Template URL:

https://photos.google.com/search/*

Instant Search

Now when you want to search for something on twitter:

  1. Command Space
  2. Type: Twitter
  3. Click Space
  4. Type in your Search Term and then click the return
June 25, 2020

Ayer Mansion

On Commonwealth Avenue, there are a lot of special homes. The Ayer Mansion is one such place that is overlooked by tourists.

Tours of the home are available on very limited bases. They are held one Saturday and one Sunday a month. Visit their website for tour dates and time.

Ayer Mansion Desktop
The stain glass above the door at the Ayer Mansion
Ayer Mansion Mobile
The stain glass above the door at the Ayer Mansion

Five Things I learned

  • The house was built between 1899 - 1902 for patent medicine and textile entrepreneur Frederick Ayer. It was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
  • The Ayer Mansion sole example of a house designed from its inception by [Louis Comfort Tiffany](http://www.biography.com/people/louis-tiffany-9507399). This is the only surviving house over which Mr. Tiffany had complete control, which allowed him to integrate themes and details both inside and outside.
  • Listed on the National Historic Mansion. This is the only house on CommmonWealth Ave that is listed on the National Historic Landmark.
  • When Ayer died in 1918, at the age of 95, the Boston Globe described him as New England’s richest man, and the New York Times sketched his rise from a poor shopkeeper to a titan of industry.
  • There is a missing Tiffany Vase from the Ayer Mansion. It may have been missing for decades and a collector may have it without knowing that it is stolen from the Ayer Mansion. The vase is supposed to be in the hands of a Tiffany collector from the MidWest. The Ayer Mansion preservation believes the previous owner of the house took it when it was sold in 1964.

Finding The Ayer Mansion

The Ayer Mansion is located at 395 Commonwealth Ave - between Massachusetts Ave and Charles Gate East.

YouTube Tour

Someone that took the tour in 2018 recorded it. It might be interesting to watch to learn more about the house and a chance to see the inside.

June 24, 2020

Erikson's Ice Cream

One of our favorite local ice cream stand is Erikson's Ice Cream. The classic ice cream stand is located at the border of Stow and Maynard Massachusetts.

They have a large selection of fresh ice creams to select from. They have Gluten Free cones too!

Erikson Desktop
Erikson Mobile

Some of the flavors they are featuring in 2020. They have a list of flavors on their website, this is my list from a recent visit:

Banana
Black Raspberry
Black Raspberry Oreo
Butter Crunch
Butter Pecan
Cake Batter
Chocolate
Chocolate Chip
Cookie Dough
Chocolate Mint
Coffee
Coffee Oreo
Cotton Candy
Frozen Pudding
Ginger
Gram Central Station
Grape Nut
Green Monsta
HeathBar
Maple Walnut
Mint Chip
Mocha Almond
Mocha Chip
Orange Pineapple
Oreo
Peanut Butter Fudge
Peanut Butter Oreo
Peppermint Stick
Pistachio
Roasted Butter Almond
Rum Butter
Strawberry
Toasted Walnut Fudge
Vanilla
Wintergreen Chip
Salted Carmel Choc Pretzel

Specials

Cherry Vanilla
German Chocolate Cake
Almond Joy
Rockin' Rolo - Chocolate Caramel
Salted Caramel Chocolate Covered Pretzel
Birthday Cake Ice Cream
Chocolate Mint Oreo
Key Lime
Purple Cow
Maynard Black Bear
TollHouse Cookie
Orange Creamsicle
Lavender
Cinnamon Granola Crunch
Strawberry Cheese Cake
Brownie Batter
Vanilla Peanut Butter Cup
Vanilla With M&M
Lime Sherbet
Strawberry Cake Crunch
Coconut
Sea Salt Caramel Truffle
Cookie Monster

Finding Erikson Ice Cream

Erikson is located on 12 Great Road in Maynard, MA. It's located about a mile and a half from downtown Maynard on Route 62 and 117.

June 23, 2020

SCSI Hard Drives

Back in the day, if you got a Mac, your computer had a SCSI hard drive. For many years it was the only hard drive option that the Mac supported.

S C S I_ Desktop
S C S I_ Mobile

Fun Facts about SCSI Drives

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) is a fast reliable storage solution.

For external SCSI drives, you need to make sure they had to have a SCSI termination.

They were more expensive than the IDE drives and had less storage space. Basically you're paying more per MB.

My Power Mac G4 400 Series (M7891LL/A) had SCSI support on the Motherboard. (72GB Ultra160 SCSI (10K rpm))

I still have several of these drives in my basement. Unfortunately, I don't have any means to read them on the latest iMacs. Ideally, I would have to get my old PowerMac G4 up and running to access whatever data I stored on the drives.

June 22, 2020

Bug Bash

In some companies they have an internal company-wide product show-me - otherwise known as Product Palooza.

What is a Product Palooza?

The Product Palooza a chance for Product and Engineering to showcase all the upcoming features that are being worked on. This is usually an internal showcase for Sales and CS teams. It's a good way to communicate upcoming changes.

Bug Bash

QA Should have a similar type of event - named Bug Bash. The event would showcase some of the unique bugs that QA has found.

Bug Bash target audiences would be for the Product and Engineering teams.

Some Example Exhibits:

  • Most Complex Bug Found
  • Tools that QA Uses to Find Bugs
  • Tips and Tricks on Testing your own code
  • Testing Technology and Techniques
  • Testing Challenges and Ways They are

A Bug Bash can help QA educate the engineering team of the various testing challenges. It can be used for the Product team to help understand planning and test time allocation.

June 21, 2020

Final Cut Pro

I have decided to take the plunge and purchase Apple's Final Cut Pro. This means that I won't be using Wondershare Filmora for Video editin.

Final Cut Pro Logo

Filmora is a great application, but I have been playing around with Final Cut Pro and found that its a much better application for my needs. I like the text editing capabilities and I find that it is much easier to align videos from multiple angles.

Over the next few week's I'll share some of the cool features and highlight techniques that highlight the advantages of using Final Cut Pro.

June 20, 2020

Easy Unit Converter

Everyone has to do unit conversions at some time or another. Some examples: How much mulch to add in a playground space. How long is a 5k in miles? How many days are in a decade? When it's 100 degrees Fahrenheit, what is it in Celsius?

EasyUnitConverter is your one stop shop to get your conversions. There are a lot of really cool calculations:

Website Description

Our Unit Converter will convert the length units Meters (m), Kilometers (km), Centimeters (cm), Millimeters (mm), Micrometers, Nanometers, Miles (m or mi), Yard (yd), Foot (ft), Inch (in), Light Year to vice versa from imperial to metric system with a metric conversion table. It specially designed to convert cm to inches, inches to cm, mm to inches, inches to mm, km to miles, miles to km, cm to feet, feet to cm, inches to feet, feet to inches, meters to yards, yards to meters.

Easy Unit Converter
https://www.easyunitconverter.com/

June 19, 2020

Advantage of Snagit 2020 over MonoSnap

If your a frequent user of MonoSnap, you should consider upgrading to Snagit. It's a much more powerful application that offers a lot more capabilities. It's certainly a step up to making screen captures.

While MonoSnap might be an attractive solution because MonoSnap is free. For some, Snagit seems a "bit pricey" at $49.95 (one-time fee). However, when you see the overall features it becomes clear that Snagit is the screen capture for champions.

Editor Windows

Mono Snap Editor
MonoSnap Editor Window

Snagit2020 Editor
Snagit 2020 Editor Window

Five Reasons to Upgrade to Snagit 2020

There are a lot of reasons to use Snagit. Here are just some of the ones that I have come up with:

Better Annotate Tools - A lot more annotate tools. MonoSnap has 11 tools, while Snagit has 19 - including Stamp, Step, Simplify, and more that are not in MonoSnap. The nice thing is that you can create your own theme. This means that you can create company color styles for any arrow or shape tool. In addition, you can share those themes with other Snagit users.

Advance Editor - Ability to combine screenshots, add effects and more. Basically the editor has everything you need to modify a screenshot so that you can communicate your message. You can even combine screenshots into a video and dictate over it.

Snagit Full page Capture with Chrome - Snagit makes it easy to capture a full page in Chrome. Simply click on the arrow for Scrolling Capture. If the scrolling capture doesn't work, you can always use the Panoramic Capture to capture full web pages, long documents and more.

Time Delay Captures - You can set the record to start whatever duration you want. In Monosnap you can only do a 10-second delay for full screens. Snagit allows you to set a delay in any capture type - Image, Video or Panoramic.

Advance Video Functions - You can record your WebCam and/or Microphone while recording videos. This makes it easy to talk over the video and explain more about what is going on.

June 18, 2020

Emancipation Group

There has been a lot of talks lately of a famous Lincoln Statue near the Boston Commons. This statue featured President Lincoln and a slave.

Many people think the statue is racist and suggest taking it down.

Emancipation Group Boston
Emancipation Group Statue (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Note: I don't have a personal picture in my collection and resorted to a picture on Google Maps.

Fout Things I Lerned

The official title of the statue is: Emancipation Group

Statue was created by Thomas Ball. He created many other statues in Boston such as Equestrian Statue of George Washington, Josiah Quincy and Charles Sumner.

Statue was created in 1874

This casting of the Emancipation Group the City of Boston in 1877 by Moses Kimball of the Boston Museum.

The head of the slave is modeled from a photograph of Archer Alexander, the last slave to be recaptured in Missouri under the Fugitive Slave Act.

The original casting of the statue is in Washington DC. It was commissioned by the Freedman's Memorial Society in Washington D.C. It cost $17,000 ($389,462.51 in 2019) raised by Washington D.C. black community.

Charlotte Scott, a former slave from Marietta, Ohio, gave the initial donation of five dollars - her first earning as a freed person to help commission a statue for Lincoln.

A plaque near the statue in Washington DC reads: "Freedom's Memorial, in Grateful Memory of Abraham Lincoln: This monument was erected by the Western Sanitary Commission of St. Louis, MO, with funds contributed solely by emancipated citizens of the United States declared free by his Proclamation January 1, A.D. 1863. The first contribution was made by Charlotte Scott, a freed woman of Virginia, and consecrated by her suggestion and request on the day she heard of President Lincoln's death"

The statue in Boston was last restored by the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers.

Staute Resolve and Order

The City of Boston resolve for the statue in 1879:

Whereas, a communication has been received from Hon. Moses Kimball, in which he tenders to the City of Boston the gift of a colossal group in bronze, emblematical of Emancipation, upon conditions that it be placed upon the lot of land at the junction of Columbus Avenue, Park square and Pleasant street, and that the city will cause the area to he suitably enclosed and annually cultivated with flowering plants and shrubs; it is therefore hereby

Resolved, That the thanks of the City Council, in behalf of the citizens of Boston, be conveyed to the Hon. Moses Kimball for the public spirit displayed in his costly and substantial gift to the city, which is hereby gratefully accepted upon the conditions attached to his offer.

Ordered, That the triangular lot of land situated at the junction of Columbus avenue. Park Square and Pleasant street be and the same is hereby assigned for the location of the group.

Ordered, That the Committee on Common and Public Grounds be requested to take such action as may be necessary to cause the said lot to be put in order and enclosed with a suitable fence, in accordance with the terms of the gift.

June 17, 2020

Historic Deerfield Massachusetts

If your traveling through I-91 in central Massachusetts, one of the towns you'll be driving through in Deerfield Massachusetts. Most people stop at the Yankee Candle flagship store - located just off of exit 24 on I-5.

Did you know that just down the road is Old Deerfield Village Historic District? It's a fun place to learn more about Old New England. A few years ago we accidentally discovered this place when we took the wrong exit off of I-91.

Town Office Deefield Mobile
Deerfield Desktop

Some Characters you may see around Deerfield

Things I Learned About the Historic Deerfield

The outdoor museum was founded in 1952 to teach people about the history and culture of early New England and the Connecticut River Valley.

Admission tickets to all the buildings is $18 for adults and $5 for kids.

The Old Deerfield Village is a subsection of the actual Deerfield town. The village has one major street with several cross streets. The main street is called "The Street."

What's interesting is that the street was a real street at one time. In 1670 a surveyor laid out the mile-long road, the village and the surrounding meadows for farming, a town plan that survives perfectly intact today.

There are twelve preserved houses to tour. The oldest house is from 1730. You can tour three centuries of American History and discover how things have changed over the years.

Twenty-four of the house that is on "The Street" were standing when the Revolutionary War began in 1775, and 42 houses predate the Civil War.

Guest can check out authentic furniture, silver and other historic decorations.

The Henry N. Flynt Library is a special collection library perfect for people researching early New England life. You can learn a lot more about the lives of people in the Connecticut River Valley.

This unique old houses and layouts are a perfect place for photographers looking for the ideal New England town.