December 16, 2017

Tools To Utilize When You Drive a Rental Car

Car Rental Advice

Traveling for the holidays often means renting a car when yours in the shop or once you get off an airplane. Ideally, we'd all rent a car that we're familiar with, such as our own, but that's not always the case.

Depending on when and where you rent a car, your choices may be slim but if you have a choice, here are some things to request and use in a rental car, especially when you're traveling in unfamiliar territory.

Reconsider Using GPS

GPS can be extremely helpful, particularly when you're driving on highways and interstates that you've never traveled, but they can also be complicated to use, force you to take your eyes off the road, and even give you inaccurate results.

Instead, consider taking advantage of navigational apps that deliver results in real-time. Heading to Florida for the holidays? Florida NavMap is a "must have" navigational tool for residents and tourists, alike. Not only does it give you access to the traffic conditions in real-time but the free online tool also lets you see where there are road construction and other areas that may delay your travel.

Use Hands-Free Options

Although most states ban texting and driving, and more are starting to ban the use of all handheld devices while driving, your state's laws may be different from those where you're renting a car. Not only should you find out the distracted driving laws for the state you are driving in but also use a hands-free option whenever possible (and regardless of the law).

Ideally, you should avoid making a phone call or using your device at all but if you need to, a hands-free option is less dangerous and allows you to keep both hands on the wheel.

Request A Vehicle With Safety Features

Most of today's newest cars have top-of-the-line safety features which include blind spot detection, lane departure and forward collision warnings, as well as back up cameras. While many rentals are newer vehicles, the company may opt out of some of the safety features.

When renting a car, take a look at your options and request a car with safety technology, if possible. You may have to pay more for the technology but it's often worth the cost of feeling a little more confident and secure as you drive.

Go For The Wi-Fi

If you have the option of having Wi-Fi in your rental car, you should take advantage of that tech feature. Not only can it help you stay better connected and use apps more easily but you can also save on roaming fees and other charges to your smartphone bill when you travel.

A Tip For Using Technology in a Rental Car

Before you drive the rental car off of the lot make sure you've figured how to use all the features in the car and then focus your attention on the technology. Make sure you've tested everything out and asked questions before you hit the highway so you can focus on the drive and not how to use the technology.

December 16, 2017

EverytimeZone.com

Dealing with multiple time zones can be complicated. When is it morning in London? When is a good time to call Hawaii?

Fortunately there is a good resource to make it easy - EveryTimeZone.com. There slogan is simple: "Never warp your brain with time zone math again."

Everytimezone
everytimezone.com

When you load up the site you are shown a chart of current time around the world. It's a great timezone layout that's pretty easy to understand. You can drag the time to see different times on the chart.

Check out the site and definitely bookmark it if you do frequent international communications.

December 15, 2017

Keyboard Maestro Browser Version

Keyboard Maestro has a great integration with some popular browsers. Some macros that I created comes in handy when filing Jira Issues.

Note: This is similar to a tip I reported a couple of years ago - "Getting the Browser Version" for TextExpander.

Browser Version

When reporting an issue, often I need to include the browser that I used so that Developers can see if the reported issue is related to a specific browser version. Since most of the modern browsers auto-update it can be a pain to track them.

Chrome Version

Chrome Version

Execute the following AppleScript:

tell application "Google Chrome"
set theVersion to "Chrome " & version
end tell

So whenever I need to identify the version of Chrome, I just type in Chrome.Version and instantly the version of Chrome is deplayed. This saves me a lot of time to open up the 'About Chrome' and write the version number. Having this macro makes it easy to add this information to any Jira Issue or Slack chat.

I also have macos setup for Firefox and Safari.

Bonus Browser Version Macro

There's a 'super' macro that will display all the browser versions that I have. Again, this just makes it easy to identify the browsers that I am testing with:

Browser Versions

December 14, 2017

Phillips Brooks Statue

Next to the Trinity Church, in Copley Square, is a statue of Phillips Brooks.

Phillips Brooks

Things that I learned about Phillips Brooks and the Statue

  • Phillips Brooks was born on December 13, 1835, in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Attended Boston Latin School and then went to Harvard University in the Fall of 1851, graduated in the class of 1855.
  • Rector of Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia, 1862 - 1869
  • In April 23, 1865, he read a sermon at President's Lincoln Funeral near Philadelphia's Independence Hall. Lincoln was assassinated in Washington, DC eight days earlier.
  • In 1865 he took a trip to the Holy Land. On Christmas Eve he took a horseback trip from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. It was this trip that inspired him to think about a song called "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
  • He officially wrote the "O Little Town of Bethlehem" song in 1868 when he was at the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia.
  • Phillips Brooks introduced Christianity to Helen Keller and then introduced her to Anne Sullivan.
  • One of the few Americans that preached at London's West Minister Abbey
  • Rector of Trinity Church (Copley Square), Boston, 1869 - 1891
  • Was the rector of the Old Trinity Church when it was on Summer Street in 1872. The Church burn down in the Great Boston Fire of 1872.
  • Some people regard the new Trinity Church as a memorial to Bishop Phillips Brooks.
  • Bishop of Massachusetts, 1891 - 1893
  • Died January 23, 1893.
  • The Hall of Fame for Great Americans has a replica of the Daniel Chester French statue of Phillips Brooks. The original can still be seen inside the Trinity Church.

Things that I learned about Phillips Brooks Statue

  • The bronze on marble base statue was unveiled on January 22, 1910
  • The Statue was done by Augustus Saint-Gaudens using Tennessee marble in Vermont.
  • Augustus Saint-Gaudens died before the work started and it was completed by his assistants
  • A committee of thirty-one people were in charge of fundraising and statue design.
  • More than $95,000 was raised for the statue, which was more than needed to build the statue.
  • A case was heard before the State Supreme Court on January 21, 1919, Charles W. Eliot & Others vs Trinity Church, about authorizing to move the statue to the Theological School in Cambridge, as there were some people that didn't like the statue created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
  • In court, Charles Eliot argued that a better statue was suited for the location. Bela Pratt created a different statue of Phillips Brooks and many people thought Pratt's statue had a better resemblance to the former preacher.
  • The Massachusetts State Supreme Court sided with the Trinity Church saying that it didn't have any power to force the Trinity Church to move the statue. The court said, "When charitable gifts can be administered according to the directions of the donors, the court "is not at liberty to modify it upon considerations of policy or convenience."
  • The statue done by Bela L. Pratt was placed in the North Andover common in 1925.
  • Today you can't see the statue because of construction going on around the Trinity Church

December 13, 2017

Largest Town in America

In 2012, CNNMoney ranked Framingham the 38th best small city in America. It was a surprise to many since Framingham has rarely made the top 10 list of towns in Massachusetts.

CNNMoney described Framingham as..

Located 20 miles west of Boston, Framingham celebrates its ethnic diversity, offering public school calendars in three languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese. It has a sweet job market to celebrate too; the town's unemployment rate is a mere 4.2% as of May. High growth has recently helped revitalize the downtown, which includes Hispanic and Brazilian retail shopping and restaurants. Completing the picture is an array of affordable housing options, from Victorian homes to multistory apartment buildings.

Largest Town

Current Listing

Framingham hasn't made the top 100 list on CNNMoney since 2002. The current Time/Money survey has Waltham (13), Newton (26), Norwood (78), and South Weymouth (73) as the only cities in Massachusetts to make the list.

Currently the Niche.com website has Framingham ranked #114 in the survey of the best Town to live in Massachusetts. The town gets high marks for Diversity, Outdoor Activities, and Commute. It lacks on affordable housing, cost of living and weather.

In 2013, Boston.com put out a DreamFinder list of "25 best places to live in Massachusetts." Framingham took the #14 spot. The article says "has a strong location score, above average schools and decent housing costs."

America's Largest Town

Framingham is currently America's largest town. After January 1st, the title goes to Brookline, Massachusetts.

December 12, 2017

J&M Diner Reopens!

The J&M Diner was one of 11 businesses destroyed by a 3-alarm fire on March 11, 2017, at the Old Path Village Plaza on Concord Street. The Diner reopened on November 27th to huge crowds. We decided to wait a couple of weeks and checked out the new place.

We were fortunate to be served by the owner of J&M. She told us that a lot of people were very excited that they were back in operations. She told us that they had a large Marathon Day following, apparently people that run the Boston Marathon like to treat themselves to a breakfast when they travel to Boston for the Marathon. (Just a heads up that there may be busy around the 3rd week of April.)

JandM

Same great Food and Company

The new restaurant has a much larger dining room and kitchen. We still had to wait for 15/20 minutes to be seated at 10:30 am. At least in the new location, you can sit and wait for your name to be called.

The food was good as we remembered. Sure you can get breakfast anyplace in the MetroWest, but there's something special about ordering a meal that's named Ooowy Googy. They do put a lot of creativity in their food.

The other nice thing is that J&M now accept credit cards! In their old location, it was a cash-only business. While they did have an ATM machine in the back - it had a $3 surcharge. We like it because we don't really carry that much cash around.

Gluten Free Options

While J&M Diner was constructing their new location, we asked if they were going to have any gluten-free options. In particular, we saw all the waffle machines they had lined up and wouldn't it be great if one of them was dedicated to making gluten-free waffles!

They told us that they were working on getting the store up and running. Once things have calmed down, they would consider having gluten free options.

We'll keep an eye out and will update on delicious gluten-free options at J&M Diner in Framingham, Massachusetts.

J & M Diner is now located at 50 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702.

December 11, 2017

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Did you know that inside the Magic Kingdom is a hidden game where kids can become heroes and defeat the evildoers that are lurking around the kingdom. It's called Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and it's become very popular.

Sorcerers Magic Kingdom

Important Details:

  • Sign up for the game at the Firehouse at Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Players will receive one map and pack of spell cards per day.
  • Missions last from 20 to 30 minutes, sometimes longer depending on degree of difficulty.
  • Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is included in your theme park admission.

Things I have learned

  • This games is especially fun for anyone that is learning to read (1st and 2nd Graders). It's a great way to get them to use their new learning skills to work.
  • If you are going to the Magic Kingdom over multiple days, get the card/map on the way out the first day, that way the kids can learn about all the clues to the game to play the next day.
  • You get the cards and Merlin's Map at the Firehouse on Main Street USA. You start by going to the first portal in the Firehouse and holding up the Sorcerer Key Card to unlock and gain access. The Castmember at the firehouse will explain all the rules.
  • Playing the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is a great way to use up time in-between fast pass rides.
  • As a parent, feel free to ask a cast member for help solving the puzzle. Nothing wrong with asking for help!
  • The game cards are very collectible! Make sure you save them especially during major events, such as Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. There are also special cards for anniversaries such as the "Country Bear Jamboree."

December 10, 2017

XS Energy Magnet Scam

They are back! Fresh off of the Casio Campaign, the scammers are now promoting XS Energy Drink magnets. Read the previous blog post: G-Shock Car Shock Promotion.

x2 Energy Drink
Not the real magnet.
You just loose money, you don't get any product.

The full text of the promotion (Cut/Paste the unedited text):

XS ENERGY DRINK announces the availability of the MRGG2000HT-1A a new special edition timepiece demonstrating the best in Japanese innovation and craftsmanship that was unveiled at Basel world will be available in select stores this October . With 500 pieces available worldwide, the first-ever Bluetooth® connected XS is handcrafted using a traditional Japanese hammer tone technique with colors inspired by a Japanese cloud dragon. The MRGG2000HT-1A timepiece features three-way time sync capabilities made possible via Bluetooth Connectivity and XS ENERGY DRINK’s GPS Atomic Solar Hybrid technology, accurately measuring time and location from anywhere on earth.

We are currently seeking to employ individual’s Nationwide, Regular citizens, Professional drivers to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big advert for "XS ENERGY DRINK" plastered on your Bike/Car/Truck/Boat/Lorry/Cart. The advert are typically vinyl decals that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which will cover any portion of your Bike/Car/Truck/Boat/Lorry/Cart's exterior surface.

What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy ?
We get lots of exposure and awareness from doing this. The adverts tend to be colorful, eye-catching and attract lots of attention which people who are stuck in traffic can't avoid seeing the wrapped Bike/Car/Truck/Boat/Lorry/Cart alongside them. Plus, it's a form of advertising with a captive audience. This program will last for 16 weeks and the minimum you can participate is 10 weeks.

Compensation/Reward :
You will be compensated with $500 per week which is essentially a "RENTAL" payment for letting our company use the space & no fee is required from you. XS ENERGY DRINK shall provide specialist that will handle the advert placing on your car. You will receive an up front payment inform of check via courier service for accepting to carry this advert on your car.

It’s a Scam

Don’t fall for this scam. Think about it… Why would someone pay you $500 per week to put an advertisement on a Bike or Cart?

The text message came from 724 519-7939. The number is registered to an Emily Matthews in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (I am sure the text number is spoofed.

December 9, 2017

Pattern8

If your looking for good selection of patterns, check out the Pattern8.com site. There are lots of free seamless patterns to select from. These would make great computer backgrounds.

From John Rawsterne, the founder of Pattern8.com:

Pattern8 was created to make it easier to find high quality free seamless patterns. Our sister site, PatternHead.com, offers free vector and pixel patterns but it can be hard to find the pattern you need. Pattern8 keeps things simple and allows searching by color. You'll find lots of free pixel patterns here. When you preview a pattern you'll find a link to the vector version of the pattern from PatternHead.com (if available).

pattern8
pattern8.com

What's nice is that you can select a color that you want and then pick a pattern in that color. So if your background looks best in green, you can find all the green patterns that may work for your design. Since these are seamless, there's no limit to the size you need.

John's Been Busy...

John Rawsterne hasn't been active for a while, no new blog post since July 19, 2013, and the last twitter post was May 23, 2016. Who know's how long these sites will stay around. I understand that it's a side project so you update only when you have time to.

I think it's certainly worth checking out to get some design ideas for seamless background. The Santa Hats patterns are great!

December 8, 2017

Dealing with the Grayed out song Listing in iTunes

Do you manually move music to your iPhone or iPod? Have you ever encountered an issue where a song didn't get copied and you end up with something like this:

iTunes Grid

This has happened to me a lot and after playing around with the iTunes and the phone, I figured out why it's been happening.

Here's the possibilities:

iCloud song already there

Apple doesn't want you to copy a song that you already have available in the iCloud. So the grayed out song means that the song already exists in the Cloud or you downloaded to the phone. You don't see it on iTunes because iTunes is only showing downloaded music.

You Copied a Set of Song/Playlist and a Song Existed

When you copy a playlist and a song exists in the cloud it will stop all the other songs that were to be copied over. You may see the grayed out song in the Playlist and not in the regular Song grid.

Quick Solution

I usually encounter this when I copy a playlist to my iPhone and not all the songs got copied over.

The solution that I found to work: delete the grayed out song and try copying the other songs. For example, I would select the next four songs that didn't work or at least one at a time.

If the grayed out song is something that I downloaded from someplace else, I found that renaming it also worked.

December 7, 2017

Map of the Boston Marathon Finish Line Locations

Last year I blogged about all the finish line locations for the Boston Marathon. It was a fun project to research the locations and the history of each site.

I looked at the blog content again and thought having a map would be a nice visual enhancement to the content.

Classic Boston Map

Back bay has changed a little over the past few years. So using a standard Google maps isn't going to help in this situation. Fortunately, there is a map in the Back Bay MBTA station that is about 20 years old. So I'll use that to show where the finish lines were located.

I took a picture of the map on the Commuter rail platform and then used Super Vectorizer 2 to convert it to an SVG image. I did this to allow the lines and shapes to be more define and make the map a bit clearer to read.

Finish Line Location Map

MarathonMap25.jpg
Click on image for a larger version of the map.

  1. 1897- 1898 - The Early Years
  2. 1899 - 1964 - Exeter Street Years
  3. 1965 - 1985 - The Prudential Years
  4. 1985 - Present - The John Hancock Years

December 6, 2017

Christmas Gala Music Selection

On Friday the Saint Bridget School is holding a fundraiser Gala at the Sheraton Tara. This is sure to be an exciting event with great food and entertainment.

Gala Music

I am helping a committee of volunteers put together the music for the Gala. The theme that we selected is Christmas with some 1980s/1990s dance music.

Still Time to Attend!

If you're going to be in the Framingham area on December 8th, why not attend a fun event? There’s still time to attend the Gala! Head over to the Saint Bridget website and sign up. I don’t believe that there’s going to be any tickets available at the door.

There’s a large growing list of auction items, including:

  • Wine Tower - One bid wins you a large selection of quality wines!
  • Disney tickets
  • An airplane ride to the Vineyard
  • An Aruba Vacation
  • 50,000 airline miles
  • beautiful class projects from the youngest students
  • Principal for the Day
  • front row seats at First Communion and Graduation

Breaking it Down to Categories

We have identified the need for four main categories:

  • Music for the Cocktail Hour - Need some quiet music so it doesn’t drain out people when they arrive.
  • General Music - Start the Gala with some popular Christmas Music.
  • Music for Dinner Time - Some nice Quiet Music while people enjoy their food.
  • Music for Dance and Auction - Exciting music to make it fun night.

Christmas Music List

This is the collection of music that we have select, it’s pretty much a collection of some of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. We select the appropriate artist that most people would associate the song too. Since Saint Bridget school is a Catholic school, we wanted to include some popular Christmas music that would be played at school/church.

I thought I include the list here so other people that are putting together similar events can have a nice music to select from. All of these songs are available on iTunes. You can find popular music collections that contain many of the classic songs by Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and others.

Here is the Christmas song list in alphabetical order:

SongArtistTime
Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful) Bing Crosby 3:14
All I Want For Christmas Is You Mariah Carey 3:55
Amazing Grace Gregorian 3:11
Angels We Have Heard On High Andy Williams 2:32
Ave Maria Jewel 3:53
Away in a Manger Kids 2:38
Baby It's Cold Outside Dean Martin & Martina McBride 2:54
Baby Jesus is Born GARTH BROOKS 3:59
Believe Polar Express 4:09
Carol of the Bells Mannheim Steamroller 3:53
The Christmas Song The Carpenters 3:40
Do you hear what I hear Bing Crosby 2:45
Feliz Navidad Jose Feliciano 3:05
The First Noel Connie Francis 3:07
Go Tell it on the Mountain Dolly Parton 2:43
Happy Christmas (War is Over) John Lennon 3:36
Happy Holidays Andy Williams 2:38
Here Comes Santa Gene Autry 2:34
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day Casting Crowns 4:20
It's begining to look a lot like Christmas Perry Como 2:39
It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year Andy Williams 2:32
Jingle Bell Rock Brenda Lee 2:10
Joy to the World Christmas Carol & Song Children 2:10
Last Christmas Ashley Tisdale 3:55
Let it Snow Frank Sinatra 2:37
Little Drummer Boy Harry Simeone Chorale 3:19
Mary, Did You Know? Kathy Mattea 3:15
Mary's Boy Child Bioney M 5:09
Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) [Single Version] Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters 2:55
O Come All Ye Faithful Casting Crowns 3:49
O Come, O Come Emmaunel Citizen Shade 2:52
O Tannenbaum Nat King Cole 3:01
Rocking around the Christmas Tree Brenda Lee 2:06
Silent Night Frank Sinatra 3:07
Silver Bells Bing Crosby 3:06
The Star Mariah Carey 4:02
There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays Perry Como 2:58
White Christmas Bing Crosby 1:38

December 5, 2017

Nespresso Mocha

Best Hot Chocolate

Nespresso is a really good single cup coffee. If you haven't tried it yet, stop by one of the Nespresso stores and try one of their coffees. You can't get a free coffee, but its certainly worth the investment. A basic cup of coffee cost a bit less than one that you get at Starbucks.

Nespresso coffee shops offer all sorts of different drinks and for the most part, they are all gluten-free, with the notable exception of the Smores drink. Each drink can be made decaf - so your children can try the coconut peanut butter drink.

The people at the Boston, Newbury Street store are very friendly. They offer great one on one service. So if you have an allergy they will make sure that there's no cross-contamination.

Meanwhile at Home

When you do get your own Nespresso machine, here's a great drink-mix to try: Nespresso Mocha

  • Stormio
  • 2 scoops of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate

Put the Swiss Miss in the cup and then add the coffee - obviously, make sure that you're using a mug that can handle the mix.

This is a great winter morning drink. You won't need to add any sugar or cream to this drink. (Ya I know there's plenty of sugar in the Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate)

Nutrition Facts

Adding 2 Tbsp of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix will add 73 Calories and 140mg of Sodium. This compares to using Dunkin Donuts Extra Extra Coffee Creamer 120 Calories and 18g of sugar.

December 4, 2017

Disney Slack Images

Slack is a popular corporate chat communication tool. Companies like it because employees can communicate with each other in an instant. (As if the old way of phone calls and walking up to people is totally outdated.

One of the cool features of Slack is the use of emoji as reaction icons. So someone can make a simple comment, and people can react to it. (Better than everyone cluttering the chat log with 'I agree.')

Coffee Day

There aren't any default icons in Slack for Disney enthusiasts. Fortunately you can add your own! Slack provides all the information to make that happen.

Here are six Disney icons that are ready to be used in Slack. All of these images are using the required 128x128 image size.

DisneySlackImages.jpg
Click on image to download Zip collection.

In the collection are:

  • Mickey Mouse Ears Silhouette
  • Epcot Disney Symbol
  • Donald Duck
  • Hey Mickey
  • Typical Mickey Stance
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Point Right
  • Point Left

December 3, 2017

Success Principles Survey Results

Kim over at Self Development Secrets did it again, she put together a results of a survey of Success Principles. A few weeks ago they sent a survey to a bunch of Bloggers and Successful Entrepreneurs.

The information gather is truly valuable, its a collection of advice on how to be successful. Everything from the "Best Way to Learn" to the "Most Important Trait" to be successful. There's a great infographic to understand the path to success.

Success Principles
www.selfdevelopmentsecrets.com/success-principles-roundup

The results of the survey conclude with great advice from all the participants. Each contributor was asked to submit something piece of advice that has motivated them.

December 2, 2017

Fake Donald Trump Tweet

Hate him or Love him, but Donald Trump is the President of the United States. His use of Twitter, as a method of communications, has typically generated some attention.

Thanks to faketrumptweet.com, now you can pretend that he's tweeting your message. It's a great way to add humor to any situation.

Trump Tweet
http://faketrumptweet.com

Sample Entries

Some sample tweets to get you thinking about how you could use this idea on Slack or Facebook.

  • Happy Birthday [Some Names]! It's going to be a Tremendous Day
  • Ok, Now What?
  • Great Party. Had a Lot of Fun.
  • [ Company Name ] party? It'll be Yuge!
  • What the Covfefe are you talking about?

Trump Tweets Quotes

December 1, 2017

Headless Chrome and Keyboard Maestro

In May, Google shipped headless functionality with Google Chrome 59. Google description of the feature:

A headless browser is a great tool for running automated tests and server environments where you don't need to see the rendered output or have a visible UI shell.

Thanks to Google Chrome Autoupdate, everyone should have this feature by now.

Here's a simple script to take a screenshot of any particular website:

Chrome Headless

Shell Script Code:

cd /Users/cryan/Desktop;
alias chrome="/Applications/Google Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome";
chrome --headless --disable-gpu --screenshot --window-size=1280,2696 http://www.cryan.com/blog;

Some Tips:

Chrome saves every file as screenshot.png. There's currently no way to change the filename during command run. So I added the Keyboard Maestro built-in file rename immediately after the screen capture.

The "window-size=1280,1696" is the size of a standard letterhead

The iPhone 8 browser window size is 375x667

The iPhone X browser window size is 375x812

The Samsung Galaxy S8+ browser window size is 360x740

Good Use of Keyboard Maestro v8 Cron Feature

I added Keyboard Maestro's cron feature so that the screenshot process would run automatically. Here some example uses:

  • Take a screenshot of your company website every morning. At the end of the year, you can see how the site has changed
  • Take a screenshot of your company website in different browser sizes. (What are Mobile users seeing.)
  • Take a screenshot of your website after posting a blog entry
  • Take a screenshot of your CNN, Drudgereport or MSNBC. What were the top news of the day?
  • Take a screenshot of Amazon and BestBuy homepage.

Setting this up as Cron feature allows you to set it and forget it. These will run as long as your computer is up and running.

November 30, 2017

Governor John Brooks

John Brooks was a well-admired doctor, respected military officer, and politician from Massachusetts. He served as the 11th Governor of Massachusetts from 1816 to 1823 and was one of the last Federalist officials elected in the United States.

There is no statue or monument in Boston for John Brooks. There is just a simple painting that is hanging at the Massachusetts State House a few feet from where he once held office. In Medford, there is a tablet honoring her famous resident.

John Brooks
Picture of John Brooks hanging in the Massachusetts State House.

Fourteen things I learned about John Brooks

There's a lot to tell about John Brooks, here are a few things that I found interesting.

  • There is no record on when John Brooks was born. He was baptized on May 4, 1752. In the 18th century, parents usually baptized their children within 5 days of being born.
  • At the age of 14 he studied medicine under Dr. Simon Tufts in his practice in Medford.
  • He was a very active in the local militia. His military experience was basically watching the British army conduct military operations and practiced various military exercises on Dr. Simon Tufts yard.
  • When he turned 21, he left Medford to his own practice in nearby Reading, Massachusetts.
  • While in Reading he married Miss Lucy Smith. They had three children; Lucy, Alexander Scammella and John.
  • On April 19, 1775, he was alerted about the British marching to Concord from Paul Revere and lead a company of minute-men to Concord and Lexington. He arrived in Concord as the British were retreating back to Boston. His team of minute-men chased the British back to Charlestown. His calm courage was seen by many revolutionary leaders and he received the commission of a major in the newly formed Continental army.
  • He also fought at Bunker Hill and at the Heights of Dorchester, which victory caused the British to evacuate Boston.
  • He was praised for his loyalty to the Continental Army and promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment.
  • Served under George Washington in the New York and New Jersey campaigns of 1776 - including the Battle of Saratoga.
  • Was praised by George Washington and by Gen. Lafayette
  • After the war he went back to his practice as a hero to his fellow Medford citizens.
  • On January 13, 1800, he gave the eulogy for George Washington to Medford saying, "Thus was our much-loved friend, the Father of His Country, great in war, great in peace, great in life, and great in the moment of his defoliation."
  • Served as the 11th Governor of Massachusetts 1816 to 1823.
  • His biggest accomplishment as Governor was selling off 30,000 square miles of Maine became a state. The Government of Massachusetts sold off the land to help pay off the War debt.
  • He was the president of the Washington Monument Association, the Bunker-hill Monument Association.

Rev. Mr. Foster says of John Brook services of April 19, 1775,:

"On the morning of the 19th of April, just at sunrise, alarm-guns were fired. The regulars had gone to Concord. I ran directly to Major Brooks and asked if he were going to Concord, and when. 'Immediately,' was the answer."

"As the enemy passed the road from Bedford, they met a body of minute-men, commanded by Major John Brooks. A little below Bedford Road there was a sharp action, and several of the British were killed."

General Lafayette says of John Brooks in a letter dated September 20, 1824,:

My dear Friend, Col. Huger, my noble deliverer from the Olmutz prison, whose enterprise and sufferings you well know, is going to Boston. I am sure you will be glad to see him (John Brooks), and I take this opportunity to let you hear from me Receive, my dear Friend, the affectionate and grateful wishes of your old brother soldier. Remember me to family and friends, and believe me forever most tenderly attached to you.

November 29, 2017

Framingham Holiday Tree

Next weekend, December 5th, Framingham will light up the last Town of Framingham Christmas Tree. Next year Christmas Tree will be the first for the City of Framingham.

Framingham Holiday Tree

Six Things You May Not Know about the Holiday Tree Tradition

  • This is the 26th annual Holiday Tree tradition. Started back in 1991.
  • You may donate one of your trees at by contacting Cherry Manuel in the selectman's office at 508-532-5400.
  • When you donate a tree, the town will cut it down for free and plant another tree in it's place. The town will cut the tree down on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
  • The tree stand is actually a man hole in front of the Town Hall
  • This year's Christmas Tree took about 20 years to grow.
  • The Christmas Tree lighting starts at 5:45 pm. Parking and Traffic is very busy around 5:30, recommended to arrive at least 5:15. Best Parking location is the Concord St / Howard Street public parking lot.

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