August 19, 2017

Curbside Refuse Collection Planner

Framingham residents will soon be dusting off their rakes and leaf blowers. Pretty soon leaves will be falling down on lawns all over town.

It's important to know when the town will come by and pick up the Lawn/Leaf bags.

Tip: If you go to the Framingham Yard Waste Drop Off you can re-use the Lawn/Leaf bags - instead of dropping off bags you dump out the leaves at the center. Now you get more bang for your buck.

Note: the paper bags aren't strong enough for many re-uses. It's pretty safe to use it a couple of times, after that, you take a chance of the bags opening up in the car. This is especially true if you have wet leaves.

Here's the Town of Framingham Curbside Collection for September 2017 - to January 2018:

Click on image for a larger version.

I recommend saving a copy of the graphic and display it near where you keep trash bags. Basically, remember that when you put out the trash in November to also put out leaf bags.

August 18, 2017


Smart Mockup makes it easy to display any image as if it was on a monitor/computer/displays. The application has 458 templates whereas the website only has 157 mockups.

The nice thing about using SmartMockups is that you can present a website in a different view. You simply pick out the design first and then add your image or enter a URL.

Pro Tip: If your website requires a login, you'll need to do a screenshot import since you can't interact with the URL Screen capture in SmartMockups. When you do your screen captures, I would recommend using different browser resolutions. This will give you some choices when you select the right mock-up.

You have the option of exporting the image or simply use the 'Share' link to instantly share the image in Slack or Jira.

Framingham MBTA Train

Some Notes about the application

  • There is no glare reflection effect on the mockup image. (Instructions on how to add it in Photoshop.)
  • In order to run the SmartMockups app you need to be connected to the Internet.
  • Check out some of the designs and use the 'Favorites' feature on ones you like. This will save you time later.
  • After you upload an image, you have the opportunity to resize it so that it fits in the placeholder template.
  • There are four image sizes on export. If all the sizes are big, you can always resize the exported image to whatever you want.
  • There a Suggestion box where you can add and vote on other ideas. You can also see what ideas that might get implemented soon.
  • Keep checking the application once and a while, you never know when new designs come in.
  • Smartmockups now support GIFs. However, they don't support GIFs larger that 8 MB.

This is a useful tool to have if you do any type of blogging or social media advertising. It can help make screenshot and photos look better than by themselves.

There is a one-time fee of $49 for the application. The software is available for Windows and Macintosh users. You can download the application from their website. Check around the Internet, you may find discounts from various vendors. I was able to pick up a license for $19.

August 17, 2017

The Ames Building

Between Faneuil Hall and the Old State House is the Ames Boston Hotel. This building is the first skyscraper in the city of Boston.

Things that I learned about the Ames Building.

  • Built in 1891. The first tenant moved in January 5, 1891. (Old Colony Trust Company)
  • The Ames Building is 196 feet high (14 stories) and occupies 93,000+ square foot. For a brief period of time it was the tallest masonry building in the United States. The Monadnock Building in Chicago is the tallest masonry building.
  • Tallest Building in the United States in 1893 was the Milwaukee City Hall at 354 ft.
  • The building was never the tallest structure in Boston, the steeple of the Church of the Covenant has held that honor (236-foot)
  • The Church of the Covenant lost the status in 1915. That's when the Custom House Tower was built in 1915. (The Custom House Tower is a few blocks away from the Ames Building.)
  • In 1889 the Ames Building was estimated to cost $625,000 prior to construction. ( worth $15,376,496.02 in 2015. )
  • Building architect was Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge - who also designed the South Station building and the Trinity Church in Copley Square.
  • Offically listed as a Boston Landmark on November 23, 1993 (Exterior Landmark)
  • Today the Ames Building is called the Ames Boston Hotel. There are 114 luxury rooms available. It's part of the Curio Collection by Hilton Hotels.

Ames Hotel Building 2017
View from the Old State House.

Thanksgiving Day Fire 1889

Four firemen lost their lives in the construction of the Ames Building during a massive "The Thanksgiving Day Fire" on November 28, 1889. The fire was started in the basement of a warehouse about 5 blocks from the Ames Building. The fire destroyed hundreds of buildings and killed fourteen people.

Following firefighters were found dead in the Ames Building:

  • John J. Brooks Jr., Hose Company 7, age 29.
  • Michael Murnan, Hose Company 7, age 34.
  • Daniel J. Buckley, Ladder Company 3, age 31.
  • Frank P. Loker, Ladder Company 3, age 33.
  • Edward E. Whiting

Time Ball

At one time there was a Time Ball on the top of the Ames Building. The ball was used to help mariners entering Boston harbor for the correction of their chronometers. Each day at exactly at noon the ball would be hoisted to the top of the pole on the Ames Building. The ball was put up on December 30, 1902 and taken down on September 7, 1923. It was removed since the invention of radio time signal the service was no longer needed

Sign at the Building

Ames Hotel Sign

The Bostonian Society placed the following marker on the building:

When the thirteen-story Ames Building was completed in 1889, it was the tallest building in Boston. Designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, the building exhibits both Romanesque and Byzantine architectural styles. The Ames Building was constructed before skyscrapers were built of steel, and instead is supported by nine-foot thick masonry walls. It is considered a great technical achievement of its day, and remains the tallest example of the type of construction in the United States. In 2009, the newly renovated Ames Building reopened as the Ames Hotel.


The Ames Boston Hotel is located at 1 Court Street in Boston's Financial district. It's located directly across the street from the Old State House.

August 16, 2017

AnyList (iOS App)

The best way to describe AnyList is: "AnyList is the best way to create and share a grocery shopping list.”

AnyList makes it easy to create a list and share it. This makes it easy for couples to add to the weekly shopping list at any time.

Out of Trash Bags? - Add it to the list.
Need more Dryer Sheets - Add it to the list.

You can add pictures and additional description to your shopping item. This way there’s no question about the type of item that you need at the store.

The nice thing about grocery shopping is that the App is smart enough to group similar things. So all your Produce items are together regardless of when you entered it on the list.

This is a real time saver over traditional paper lists where people jot things down. That use to make shopping way more complicated than it should be.

Any List

Multiple Shopping Lists

The neat thing about AnyList is that you can create multiple lists. Here's some example of lists types that I created in the past.

Christmas Shopping - What do you get that perfect someone? You can put ideas down so you know what to look for at the mall. Very useful for the last minute shopper. Very useful to start early and add things as you encounter clues that it would make a perfect gift.

Pool Supplies - Create a list of things to get at the local pool shop. You may not need an extra wire clamp right now, but it will be handy to have on the next trip.

Vacation Packing - Make a list of things to bring. You can easily sort things by what suitcase they should go in. Useful when you're running around doing last minute prep work. You don't want to forget that extra charger.

Vacation Shopping - Heading to Disney World? Need to buy shirts and souvenirs? Jot down what you need. You can reference the list while you're waiting in line to remember what you need to buy.

Note to Each Other - Great for couples who are trying to figure out all the things that need to get done this weekend. Great communication tool.

Letter Game - When my daughter was in preschool they has letter of the week. During the day we would jot down creative words around that letter.

Organizing Tasks - Running a school auction? Dance Night? 5k? Use AnyList to track down things that need to get done on the day of the event.

Remember that with AnyList you can share the list so others can add or remove things as needed.


Anylist is a great application to use anytime you need a list. It does take a few minutes to understand the fundamentals. You'll be up and running in no time.

Anylist also has recipes and meal planning. We haven't gotten to use those. I am sure that they are excellent functionality but we usually just plan for the week and make game day decisions.

August 15, 2017

Harley and Jacks Burger Brew

We recently were looking for a dinner spot near Ossipee, NH. We came across Harley and Jacks Burger Brew. We did a quick internet search and found that they had a gluten free menu, so we thought it would be worth going in and having dinner.

It wasn't a pleasant experience, and we won't be going back.

The waitress that we had didn't know what Gluten Free or being a Celiac meant. She thought it had to do with dairy. We had to educate her on avoiding wheat and cross contamination.

The Gluten Free menu is basically a regular menu that has the gluten free items highlighted. It's a bit confusing to read because they have gluten free buns but none of the hamburgers were highlighted.

Order #1 - Chicken Wings

My daughter loves Chicken Wings and was happy to see it on the Gluten Free menu. So we placed that as her order for dinner. We told the waitress that we wanted a kids size gluten free Chicken Wings.

When the order arrived the Wings you could smell how spicy it was. I was asked to take a bit and it was very spicy - even to my taste. I was a bit surprised on how spicy they made it for a child.

When the waitress came back, we asked for something else for my daughter. We took another look at the menu, and order a plain cheese Gluten Free pizza. This would be a modification of something that they had on the menu, but the waitress told us that the kitchen would make it happen.

Order #2 - Pizza

The pizza came out about 15 minutes later, by then most of us had completed our meals. We cut up the pizza into small slices. My daughter said that she really liked it. She didn't eat much of it, even though she kept complaining that she was really hungry.



We felt the service was pretty bad. The food was just 'ok' wasn't something that would make us come back again. I had a burger and thought it was fine.

As for my daughter, we probably should have stuck with the pizza from the start. It was a bit risky to order something like Chicken Wings. Certainly didn't expect to be served spicy wings to a six-year-old.

Lesson learned: When going to a restaurant where you encounter some uncertainty of food, stick with a simple order. She would have been fine with a hamburger with no bun or a pizza.

Harley and Jacks Burger Brew is located on 1020 Route16, Ossipee, NH 03864.

August 14, 2017

Largest Hidden Mickey in the Parks

It's fun to walk around the park and look for Hidden Mickeys. Mickey Mouse ears are hidden very well just about every place you look.

In 2016, Disney install a solar farm near the entrance of Epcot just off of the World Drive. You can see part of the Solar farm from the road, but you can't tell it's a hidden Mickey.

Map Quest and Google Maps don't show the Solar Farm. Google Maps Mobile does show the hidden Mickey:

Largest Hidden Mickey

Finding the Solar Farm

The Solar Farm address is 1400 World Drive, Orlando FL. It's located on World Drive between Buena Vista Drive and Epcot Center Drive. It's on the right as you head towards the Transportation and Ticket Center.

The largest Hidden Mickey outside the park is located in Clermont, Florida. Disney has a 60-acre forest. This is located near 1699 Hicks Ditch Road. You can find it on Google Maps simply by typing in 'Hidden Mickey,' or by the address: 1699 Hicks Ditch Road, Eutis, Florida.

Is there a larger Hidden Mickey that you know of? Please share in the comments below.

August 13, 2017

Remembering Television

This weekend I was working on a fun video for a 50th birthday party. The video featured some of the television shows that we grew up watching.

It was fun trying to remember some of the classic shows that we watched. It was amazing how many of the great shows have good quality introductions on YouTube.

Here's a list of the 22 shows that we came up with. If you grew up in the 70s/80s are there any shows that you think should be on this list?

T V Shows

Shows we Grew up Watching

  • Captain Kangaroo
  • Electric Company
  • Flintstones
  • The Jetsons
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Happy Days
  • Diff’rent Strokes
  • Adam 12
  • Emergency
  • Bewitched
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • Chips
  • The Munsters
  • The Monkeys
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • That’s Incredible
  • Hawaii 5-0
  • Knight Rider
  • Alf
  • Unsolved Mysteries
  • Facts of Life

Many of the shows that we watched, such as Brady Bunch, was done while it was in syndications. We would watch the show long after it canceled off regular TV.

August 12, 2017

Affinity Photo Dust and Scratches

One of the cool features that I like in Affinity Photo is the 'Dust and Scratches' filter. This has been a time saver in touching up some old photos that were scanned in.

I am putting together a slide show of old pictures for a 50th birthday party. Many of the old photos from the 1960s and 1970s weren't stored right and as results have little specs on them. They aren't really noticeable until you look at the photo after scanning them in.

After I touch up the photo and use Auto White Balance and Auto Levels, I then apply the 'Set and Scratches' feature.

Basically the Dust and Scratches adds a bit of a blur to the photo. It's a quick way to clear up the white dots, but it can make the photo look different, which is why it's important to only apply a small radius.

Not in Pixelmator

Last year, while working on a different photo project, I used Pixelmator's Repair Tool to clean up photos with the scratch. It worked great, but there were a few photos where there were a lot of small dust. I ended up skipping a lot of the smaller dust because it wasn't worth the time or effort.

Available in Photoshop Elements

The features isn't exclusive to Affinity Photo, you can easily remove Dust and Scratches in Photoshop Elements - and I assume Photoshop too.

Photoshop Element adds a zoom in feature which makes it a bit easier to see what happens if you have large radius.


Today I Learned

My advice is to apply a very small Dust and Scratches radius, just enough so that a lot of the smaller white dots are gone. Then use the 'Inpainting Brush Tool' to get some of the bigger dust and scratches.

Also it's a good idea to make a copy of the photo that you are retouching. Technology is always changing. There might be an easier way to clean up the photo, and you don't want to have to rescan the original photo to take advantage of the technology.

August 11, 2017

Transmit 5

Transmit is a communication software that allows you to transfer files. This is a great tool to use for anyone managing websites.

I have been a long time Panic's Transmit customer. My first Transmit license was purchased on September 27, 2006 (Version 3). I upgraded to version 4.0 on March 15, 2013. ( Checkout my earlier blog post)

I have been a very happy customer of Transmit and pretty much every file that has been moved to the server was done using Transmit.

Finally an Update

On July 18, 2016 announced a major upgrade to Transmit. This is the first major update since 2010. I decided to take a look at what's new with my favorite software.

Panic's press release has highlighted three major changes:

  • Connect to More Servers
  • Faster Connection
  • New UI

Here's a couple of things that caught my attention when I tried out the software for a few days.

More Servers

It's nice that Transmit can now connect to a lot more services. They went from supporting four to ten.

Transmit Feature

My file transfer needs are a bit basic. Currently, I don't have any account on the other services, but that may change. I basically use Transmit to copy from my own SFTP server.

I am pretty sure that it's only a matter of time before I'll be having accounts on Amazon S3, Blackblaze B2 or Microsoft Azure. Cloud storage is growing and you're better off storing files there than on a DVD.

Places Bar

The Places Bar is very cool. When you open up a connection there's a new bookmark type of bar on the top of the file listing. The bar stores all your favorite locations that you use for that location.

Now I can navigate between folders a lot easier. It's easier to zoom between folders - definitely a huge time saver.

In Transmit 4, I had set up different 'Favorite' locations on the same server. In version 5, I can simplify things and have my website as a favorite and then use the Places Bar to navigate around common folders. I can quickly move between the Template folder and my Includes folder.

Overall View

I am very happy that Transmit has gotten an update - even happier that they didn't go to a yearly subscription plan like other software vendors have done.

Right now I can't justify upgrading. But it's nice to know that when I get onto additional clouds solutions, that Transmit will be a solution that I can use.

If you're moving files between services, I would highly recommend checking out Transmit. The seven-day trial is plenty of time to see how it's a great time saver.

August 10, 2017

Democratic Donkey

In the courtyard of the Old City Hall is a statue of a Donkey and a pair of elephant footprints.

Boston Donkey3a

Interesting things that I learned about the Democratic Donkey

  • Placed in 1998.
  • Created by Antonio Frilli
  • Statue was purchased by Roger Webb while vacationing in Florence, Italy.
  • Roger Webb is the founder of the Architectural Heritage Foundation in Boston and help launch Preservation Massachusetts, a statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization.
  • Roger wanted the statue so that children had a place to play as they walked the Freedom Trail.
  • The City of Boston declined the initial request to install the statue along the Freedom Trail as they felt it wasn't appropriate to install an Italian Donkey.
  • Rodger was able to convince the City when he explained that the Donkey was the symbol of the Democratic Party since the 1840s. The twenty mayors of Old City Hall used the mascot and the Bronze Donkey would be a symbol of that time.
  • The Donkey is looking down at a pair of elephant footprints cast in bronze. (The Republican symbol is in the footprints.)
  • There is a message before the footprint which reads, "Stand in Opposition."
  • The bronze footprints were installed at the request of the Republican Party.
  • The footprints were installed in 2001.

Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant

They were the inventions of Thomas Nast, an illustrator who became America's preeminent political cartoonist. Nast's donkey first appeared as a Democratic party symbol in Harper's Weekly on Jan. 15, 1870. The elephant turned up in Harper's four years later.

August 9, 2017

Tagging in Google Photos

Google Photos

Google Photos is a great way to store photos. Google uses their search technology to help you find photos.

Finding By Date

The search query to find a photo by a certain day is YYYY-MM-DD (Standard date and time notation). Google Photos should support the MMMM/DD/YYYY format. As not everyone uses the standard date format.

Finding by Content

Looking for Photos taken at Sunset? Simply search for the object you're looking for in the pictures.

Some Creative Examples:

  • White Wall
  • Beach in November
  • Castle in Orlando
  • Boston Monuments
  • Swimming Pool
  • Fire in the Fireplace
  • Train Tracks in the Winter

Tagging Photos?

There's no way to tag certain photos. Google officially doesn't support this feature.

There's no way to tag a photo of significance, for example, if you want to use a particular photo for a future blog post. Perhaps the photo is something that you want to find again but want to scroll through similar looking photos.

Easy Work Around

A simple workaround is to put a similar text in the image description field. This field is visible when you click on an image. You can come up with a creative hash tag. Then when you want to find the photos you simply search for the hashtag.

Example Hash Tags

  • #awesome - great photos
  • #blogit - photos that you may want to blog
  • #winter - good winter pictures
  • #2017 - best photos of the year

You can put multiple hashtags in the description field. In addition, you may want to make a quick note on the photo so that you'll later remember why you tagged it.

Known Drawback

The only problem with doing this is remembering the hashtag text that you used. This is why using simple hashtags is a good idea.

You could always keep a running list in an Evernote or Google Doc.

Experiment with this and see if it helps you be more productive using Google Photos.

August 8, 2017

Santa's Village

Santa's Village is a theme park located in northern New Hampshire. It has lots of rides and attractions for kids and adults all around the Christmas Theme.

In their advertising, Santa's Village mention that it's one of the USA's Top 25 Amusement Parks - The only New England park on the list! It's worth checking out if it's better than Canobie Lake Park and Six Flags New England.

Someone told me that it's a half day park. That didn't appear to be the case as our recent experience showed that you can spend the entire day at the park and still not get on all the rides.

For kids, it's a long ride from North Conway to Santa's Village. We stocked up on some fruit snacks so no one was hungry on the ride up to the park.

Assorted Notes from the Trip

  • Its 145 miles from Boston, about a 3 hour drive.
  • Santa's Village doesn’t check for outside food.
  • Strollers rentals are Free. They do have a donation box if you want to contribute something to keep it free.
  • Strollers are hard plastic ones. There are two different sizes. You may want to bring a small seat pillow for the kids.
  • There are designated Smoking area through out the park. Kind of funny that they put one next to Santa's House.
  • Santa's Village will hand stamps you if you plan to reenter the park. This is a neat thing for the kids to do as they exit the park.
  • There are plenty of fast food establishments in Jefferson, NH. There's even a Dunkin Donuts, which was a good stop after a long day in the park. (It's a long drive back to North Conway!)

Gluten free Options

Based on our past experience at Canobie Lake Park, we decided to play it safe and bring sandwiches and gluten free snacks to the park.

We stopped at Haniford the night before and got some cold cuts and some gluten free bread. We packed everything in a bag cooler with an ice pack.

There are lockers near the entrance. However, they don't charge for strollers. We simply hooked our bags to the stroller so that we could stop and eat whenever. There would be no need to go back to the entrance to get our bags.

Finding Tables at Lunch

We had no problem finding a table to eat at lunch time near Burger Meister Food Court. We did notice that most people did buy food from the concession stands. A few people did have bag coolers.

We did buy drinks and cotton candy, along with plenty of souvenirs. We certainly help contribute to the local economy. We even stopped at the local Dunkin Donuts in town to get a drink for our ride back to our cabin in the woods.

Lots of fun in the Park

There are lots of fun things to do in the park. Lots of exciting rides and adventures for the kids. There are shows happing all the time.

Some memorable rides:

  • Reindeer Carousel - Fun Carousel ride
  • The Great Humbug Adventure - Arcade style game, similar to the Toy Story experience at Disney Studios.
  • Yule Log Flume - Log ride where you will get wet.
  • Skyway Sleigh Monorail - Fun way to see the park. Great family picture opportunity for a custom Christmas Tree Ornament.
  • Santa's Home - Meet Santa! Don't forget to ask what you want for Christmas. Check out the details in the house while waiting in line.

Elfabits Fun!

We found that the Elfabits to be a fun game!

  • You visit the Elf University by the entrance to get an Elfabet Game card.
  • The kids take the card and start looking for the Elves
  • When they find an elf, they put the card in the box and a hole get's punch at that Elfs letter.
  • Tip: Near the Elf University, is a hint to where to find all the elves. This is useful when you're looking for that last hole punch.

Water Park Fun

The water area of the park is a lot of fun, and kids can spend a long time enjoying the slides and waterfalls. There are plenty of chairs for parents to sit and watch their kids. There are changing rooms nearby, and if you forgot to bring a towel or bathing suit, there's a store that has all the water park accessories that you need.

We ended the day at the Water Park, so the kids wouldn't be soaked or cold when going on various rides.

Don't forget to pack bathing suits, towels, and pool shoes. Pool shoes are not allowed on the large slides.

Santa Pool
Everyone having fun at the HO HO H2O Water Park

Going Back?

My six and a half-year-old daughter had a lot of fun at Santa's Village. She had a fun time looking for the alphabet elves and going on all types of rides.

Of all the things that we did on our two-week vacation, she loved the time spent at Santa's Village.

August 7, 2017

What to Say to Disney Characters

When you encounter a Disney Character, in the Parks, they always stay in Character. Why not ask them questions to find out some information about the character. This is a fun way to "break the ice" when you walk up to the character.

Not all characters talk. In some cases, you may get a visual response to your question.

Mary Poppins

Mickey Mouse

  • Tell Mickey that Donald is 1 to you.
  • Tell Mickey that you are going to propose to Minnie since he has waited so long. Talk to Mickey about your favorite flavor of cheese cake.
  • Ask Mickey how he feels about the destruction of his Toontown home.
  • Sing the “Hot Dog Song” from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
  • Ask him to wiggle his nose

Minnie Mouse

  • Ask Minnie if Mickey has given her a ring yet.
  • Compliment Minnie on her outfit.
  • Bring a Ring Pop and propose marriage to Minnie


  • Ask Donald where Mickey is.
  • Ask Donald why he doesn’t have as much stuff in the parks as Mickey. Ask Donald why he doesn’t wear pants.
  • Tell Donald he is #1 or even better #2.
  • Tell Donald he is handsome.
  • Tell Donald you like him better than Mickey.
  • Tell Donald you like his performance in the Aflac commercials.


  • Ask Goofy if he’s ever taken Pluto for a walk.
  • Ask Goofy if he does his own stunts.
  • Tell Goofy you would like to learn to become a Musketeer, then he will show his swordplay. Correct yourself and say you would like to become a Mouseketeer.

Mary Poppins

  • Ask Mary how come your room doesn’t clean itself when you snap your fingers.
  • Ask Mary where Bert is.
  • Tell Mary Poppins that you heard only Mary Poppins can say
  • “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” backwards.
  • Ask Mary Poppins to sing the lullaby song with you.

August 6, 2017

Stop and Shop Self Checkout Belt

Today we did our weekly shopping at Stop and Shop in Framingham, and decided to use the self-checkout since the lines were smaller.

As part of the checkout procedure, you ring up the merchandise and then put it on the belt where it gets weighted to verify the item. The item then moves to the bagging area. You are not allowed to touch the product when it's on the verification belt.

We purchased several Kool-Aid small packets, and we noticed that several packets were going under the rollers in the bagging area.

We informed the cashier assistant and they told us that we could go get another one or she would take the item off our order. It seemed weird that she didn't attempt to retrieve the item. We opted to have the item removed from our order.

A few minutes later we were stopped because of a coupon error. While waiting for the self-service cashier, we looked at the checkout belt, and wondered if it could be moved.

Turns out it can be lifted, and it was easy to get the merchandise. I got it, and we rung the item back in.

Loading Area Map
Map of the Loading Area at the Self Checkout. Simply lift the area between the black belt and the loading area to retrieve items that might have fallen in.

Not sure why they don't know about lifting the bagging area belt. There were several other items that fell through, including a Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing envelope.

August 5, 2017

Netcom California

Netcom Logo

In California, Back in the mid-1990's, the way most people would access the internet was through Netcom. They had horrible service and consumers complained about the poor quality.

Netcom changed over the years, today it's now part of the Viatel group and was renamed Viatel.

There were many good parodies created around the problems that users faced with Netcom. While search my CD collection, I found this parody created by created by on March 1996. (To the tune of "Hotel California")

Netcom California

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Burnt smell of cruisers rising up in the air
Up ahead in the distance I saw a bright neon light
My head grew heavy and my eyes grew dim
I had to stop for a byte

There she stood in the doorway, but it wasn't The Well
I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven but it looks like hell
Then she gave me an account, and she told me to go that way
There were shellers behind the counter
Saying "We wish the losers would go away."

Welcome to the Netcom, California.
What a lovely place, what a lovely face
Plenty of Bananas at the Netcom, California
Here's your bill, would you like an account with that?

So I called support, told them please fix the mail
They never responded, and now I want to bail
And still those voices are calling from far away
We drive through in the middle of the night just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Netcom California
What a lovely place, what a lovely face
Livin it up at the Netcom California
What a nice surprise, Sales Rep told you some lies

Mirrors on the ceiling, being able to log on is nice
We are all just prisoners here of our own device
Out the back in support, they gather round the beast
They stab it with their bagel knives but they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember I was running for the zoo
I had to find a plastic bag to throw my guts into
Stop there said the auto-biller, we are programmed to receive
We expect you to put up with all this sh*t but never to leave.

August 4, 2017

Apple Mail HTML Support

I encountered this paragraph in the Take Control of Apple Mail book By Joe Kissell. Google added the Book to a search I was doing for 'raw HTML apple mail'

Take Controlof Emailwith Apple Mail

It hard to believe that it took several versions of OS X before the default Mail application supported HTML in emails.

August 3, 2017

William H. Sumner

Every day about 20,000 commuters travel through the Sumner tunnel from East Boston to Downtown Boston. Here's some information about the person that the tunnel is named after.

Five General Information Facts about William H. Sumner

  • William Hyslop Sumner was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on July 4, 1780, the
  • In 1789, when he was only 9 years old, William H. Sumner saw President Washington last visit to Boston.
  • He attended Harvard Law School and served as a member of the Great and General Court.
  • He was the Commander of the Massachusetts forces during the War of 1812
  • He was the Adjutant General of Massachusetts from 1818 - 1835 The Adjutant General is a member of the Massachusetts Governor's Cabinet and advises the Governor on military and emergency management matters.
  • He developed East Boston from marshland into a busy seaport.
  • In 1833 he established a ferry service from East Boston to Boston. The service was called "The Sumner Ferry"
  • Wrote several books including the Reminiscences of Lafayette's visit to Boston, History of East Boston, and Some Recollections of Washington's Visit to Boston as well as some others. All of his books are available at the Boston Public Library Central Delivery desk for in-library use only.
  • Died in Jamaica Plain in 1861

Mentioned in Edward M. Kennedy: "Chappaquiddick" speech (Top 100 American Speeches):

The people of this state, the state which sent John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster, and Charles Sumner, and Henry Cabot Lodge, and John Kennedy to the United States Senate are entitled to representation in that body by men who inspire their utmost confidence. For this reason, I would understand full well why some might think it right for me to resign. For me, this will be a difficult decision to make.

August 2, 2017

Do the Little Hole Drill

This week while golfing at Ocean Edge, I noticed a little sign at the putting green near some very small golf holes. Apparently, this is a special training area to help improve your golf game.

Do The Drill2

Do the Little Hole Drill

Exactly and Completely

Start from 1 foot and make two putts in a row at each position of 1ft, 2ft, 3ft, 4ft, and 5ft. Do not move back to the next position until (2) putts in a row have gone in the little hole.

Repeat this process at the regulation hole.

The holes were about 90% smaller than a standard golf hole. I don't know if this actually works, but it seems like a good practice to help you control your putts.

August 1, 2017

Mendon Twin Drive-in

This past weekend we saw a double feature at the Mendon Twin Drive-in.

This has become an annual tradition. Every summer we head over to Mendon and have fun at the drive in. It certainly puts a different twist on going to the movies.

Gluten Free Options

Unfortunately the Mendon Drive-in has no Gluten free meal options in the snack bar. They have cheese burgers and fried foods. I didn't bother asking if they had a dedicated fryer for their french fries as I am sure they don't - it appears to be a small kitchen.

The only safe options are Popcorn and ice cream.

We ended up cooking up some frozen Gluten free pizza and bringing some gluten free snacks.



Did you know that you can make Smores at the Mendon Twin Drive In? When you arrive, go over to the Beer Garden to make some smores before the movie starts.

You have to buy a smores kit and it cost $6.42 for the kit. You get two Wooden sticks and Marshmallows, a Hershey Bar and Gram Crackers enough to make 4 Smores sandwiches.

Unfortunately the Marshmallows and gram crackers are in the same bag. This doesn't make it safe for Celiacs.


If you ask for extra Marshmallows, you will get about six more in a separate cup that you can use for toasting.

Perfect! Now everyone can enjoy roasting marshmallows before the movie.

Fun Evening

Ya. $6.42 is a bit expensive for roasting marshmallows but it keeps the kids busy and makes it a fun summertime night treat.

Going to the Mendon Twin Drive-in is a fun way to entertain company.