March 24, 2019

Google Plus

This time next week the Google+ service will be discontinued. The service officially went live in June 2011 to compete against Facebook.

The service is shutting down due to the lack of use. A couple of security issues found in 2018 forced Google to reconsider the service and prompt the shutdown rather than fix the issues and face possible lawsuits.

I first joined the service on September 21, 2011, and didn't post much over the years.

google+ tombstone
There is no product "grave yard" at Google Headquarters. If there was, this is what it might have looked like.

Five Things I learned about Google+

Google+ got into a lot of trouble of forcing users to their users to join the social network. On November 6th, 2013, if you wanted to leave a comment on a YouTube video, you needed to be a member of Google+. On July 27, 2015, Google announced that the Google+ requirement wouldn't be needed anymore.

Google+ was promoted by Guy Kawasaki in "The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users" and "What the Plus!" His main focus in the book was that Google+ was a better Social network then the popular Facebook. It's these books and his promotional podcasts that got me interested in Google+.

While Google+ is shutting down, this doesn't impact any other Google Services.

No other Google products (such as Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive, YouTube) will be shut down as part of the consumer Google+ shutdown, and the Google Account you use to sign in to these services will remain. Note that photos and videos already backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

Patrick Spenceley was the first person that added me on Google+. He is a "Paranoid programmer :-) JS/CSS/CF/.Net/HTML/tSQL/XML"

Trey Ratcliff is the most active person that I have been following on Google+. He post amazing photos from around the world. He has been active over on Facebook for a while. "He's not at all bitter about Google+ shutting down."

Download Your Data

If you used Google+, don't forget to download your data this week! You can download your data on Google's Take Out page.

March 23, 2019

Iconizer

Icons are useful in folders and applications. Finding good icons can be a tough task using Google or Bing.

Thankfully someone created a service that not only makes finding icons easy but also creating an icon from images. Iconizer is a great resource for finding and creating icons.

Simple Website Description

This is not just a search.
It's an icon GENERATOR

Iconizer
https://icons8.com/iconizer/

Things I learned about the Iconizer

There are a lot of great icons in the database. They are great to add to Slack.

There are great Facebook, Bing and Hard Drive icons.

This is a good resource if your using Notion.so As you can find useful page icons.

I had a problem creating an icon from an upload. When I uploaded a small PNG file, the image would never show up in the editor.

March 22, 2019

Archey

Did you know that you can set up a cool terminal login with Archey? Simply add it to the .bash_profile, and every time you launch Terminal this is what you see:

Archey Terminal
Archey brightens up the Terminal Session.

Installing Archey

Archey is distributed via Homebrew - a Unix package manager for MacOS. There's a lot of cool utilities in Homebrew, but for now let's install Archey.

  1. Open up a new Terminal Session.
  2. If you haven't installed HomeBrew, follow the instructions on their website.
  3. Once completed, run the following commands: brew install archey
  4. Test the installation: simply type in archey

Adding to the Terminal Login

If you haven't changed the default terminal shell, then your using BASH shell - which is a pretty good terminal shell. There is a small config file that is run every time you launch terminal. In Bash it's call .bash_profile.

Here's how to add it so that it appears on login:

  1. Open up a new Terminal Session. (This makes sure your in your Home directory.)
  2. Edit the .bash_profile file, if your have BBEdit installed type in bbedit .bash_profile
  3. On the last line simply add the following text: archey

Sample .bash_profile

This is my .bash_profile

alias du='du -kh' # Makes a more readable output. 
alias df='df -kTh'

export PS1=" 🏠  d $ "

# Quickly go up 'X' number of directory hierarchy. Example: use: up(3)  instead of cd ../../..
up() { cd $(eval printf '../'%.0s {1..$1}) && pwd; }

export EDITOR="/usr/local/bin/bbedit"   
alias ll='ls -FGlAhp'                   # Get a nice directory listing


archey

Check out the other commands in my .bash_profile which you may find helpful. You can find other helpful Terminal tips from various Bash Blog Posts that I did back in 2017.

March 21, 2019

Charlie Card

If you traveling to Boston this summer and planning on using the MBTA for any travel - you should know about the Charlie Card.

CharlieCards are reusable cards that can be loaded with cash value or passes to pay bus and subway fares. CharlieCards are available at select MBTA subway stations.

Charlie Card Promo

Six Tips on the MBTA Charlie Card

Using a Charlie Card can save you $.50 an every subway travel. The MBTA actually doesn't recommend visitors to carry the MBTA card because they want locals to use it. They recommend the [CharlieTicket](https://charliecard.mbta.com) which can be purchased at any MBTA station.

The only way to check the balance on your CharlieTicket or CharlieCard is at fare vending machines located at any subway stations.

The MBTA doesn't offer any refunds on any unused fare on a Charlie Card.

You can buy Charlie Cards at various stores ([Back Bay Star Market](https://www.yelp.com/biz/star-market-boston-4)) and at various MBTA stations - such as Park Street, North Station, South Station, and Back Bay. The CharlieCard Store at Downtown Crossing is another place to go. (Sorry Charlie no souvenirs here.)

The Charlie Card expires after 10 years. The T can extend the date for another 2 years. (Student CharlieCards expire on the last day of school.)

Two people can share a single CharlieCard with a specific stored value. If you have a monthly or weekly pass, it will only work for one person.

At Logan Airport, there is a CharlieCard Machine near the baggage claim area. You can buy a 7-day pass.

March 20, 2019

Compass

The Compass application is one of many factory installed applications that people ignore on their iPhone. People don't really need a compass to figure out where they are. They simply using Google Maps or Apple Maps.

I thought I check out to see if there are any changes to the Compass application from previous iPhone models.

iPhone 5s, 6s Plus and Max

i Phone Max Compass Layout
iPhone 5s, iPhone 6s Plus and the iPhone XS Max in the same spot

The Compass functionality hasn't changed much between the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6s Plus, and the iPhone XS Max. The big change has been in the software - not much changed with the hardware.

I did notice that the latitude and longitude is different between the iPhone5s and the other models. (42°20'35" N 71°5'1"W) vs (42°20'50" N 71°4'53" W). The iPhone 6s Plus and Max is closer to the actual location to where I was testing.

Five Things I learned about the iOS Compass

  1. You have a choice between True North vs. Magnetic North. You should stick with the default settings of Magnetic North.
  2. If you click on the latitude/longitude you can copy the baring to the clipboard and then paste it in Google Maps or Apple Maps to see how accurate the location is.
  3. When I had the compass application open during a train ride, the location didn't change until I moved to a different app and the refocused on it. The only thing that changed when the application was open was the compass barring.
  4. The elevation feature was added as part of the functionality of the iPhone 6. The Altimeter tells you how high above sea level you are.
  5. Tap the compas baring to lock in that barring. The band will turn red if you are off track. (This helps keep you in a straight line and on track!)

March 19, 2019

GoPro Video

Videos is the reason people get GoPro. Simply point click and action. The videos come out great, and the camera is small enough to fit almost anywhere.

Go Pro Video Headline

Six Things I learned about GoPro Videos

  1. Screen Display

    When taking any type of videos, the screen will go into sleep mode after a minute of recording. If you tap on the screen, the screen will wake for 10 seconds.

    This is useful to save power and to prevent the screen light to be a distraction in low light situations.

  2. Recording in 4K

    Think twice if you record in 4k, especially if your posting the video online. 4K uses up a lot of diskspace and not everyone will see the high quality online. Make sure your computer can support 4k (iMac 2011 doesn't support 4k) (Tip: Use 4K for special events not for everyday video taking.)

    There is very practical purposes for going 4k, but if you have the machine power and card space, then go for it.

  3. Short Clips

    Capture quick snap shots of your adventure and use the QuickStories to put together an interesting timeline video. After the 15-second shot is complete, you will have to press the record button for the next clip.

    The Quik application can create some really cool videos from a bunch of quick clips. Try using it as part of your morning commute to see what cool video gets created. I like the music and transitions that Quik adds.

  4. 2x Slo-Mo -

    You can capture the action at 60-frames per second (Which is twice the speed of a typical video.) You can then play back the clip at 2x slow motion speed. This is great when your have action shots that look best slowed down: Ski Jump or watching a golf swing.

    The iPhone XS Max can record slow-motion at 1080p at 240 fps. The GoPro Silver does not support shooting 4k Slow-Mo.

  5. Touch and Zoom

    If you don't need a wide-angle shot, you can "Touch and Zoom" the shot so that you don't get a fish eye effect. Also good for stationary shots when the subject doesn't move too much. I find that the zoom feature is good when objects may distract the intent of the video - for example room lights reflexing on a window.

    Once you start the video, you can not adjust the Zoom settings. So make sure you have the perfect shot before hitting the record button.

  6. Microphone

    There are two microphones on the GoPro Silver 7. One is located on the side next to the USB-C slot. The other is a small hole right above the power button. Keep in mine when holding the camera for the location of the microphone. (You don't want to muzzle the sound because your finger is on the Mic hole.)

    If you need to clean the Microphone, simply shake the GoPro or blow into the microphone hole. GoPro doesn't recommend using a an air blower as it the air force could break the air tight seal in the microphone hole.

March 18, 2019

Jira new Comment Field

In the latest update Atlassian decided to move away from Media Wiki formatting to Markdown - a more popular text formating.

What this means is that typical formatting won’t work anymore. That’s really bad if you used keyboard shortcuts to paste in code or snippets. The good news is that Markdown is being used by more and more applications - such as Slack and Notion. So learning Markdown isn’t a bad thing.

Jira Comment Field

Example of Code Block

Blocks of code are either fenced by lines with three back-ticks ``` or are indented with four spaces.

Old Way

{code}
...some text
{code}

New Way

```
..some text
```

One of the things I link about the new editor is that I can paste in the Markdown from another editor and the formatting gets applied on Paste. Using the menu options seems to be good for some quick typing.

New to Markdown?

If your new to Markdown, check out the guide over on ghost.org. There are plenty of other documentations available - the best way to learn is to use a note taking app such as Notion or Bear.

What about the Graphical Emoticons?

One of the features that I liked in the old system was the graphical emoticons, especially the Green Checkmark and the white X in the red box. These were perfect for bullet points so people can instantly see what issues are not working.

These are history in the newest Markdown adaption. You'll now have to use the Emoji equivalence:

U+2705Looks Good
⚠️U+26A0Warning
U+274CSomething Bad
U+2620Danger, Will Robertson

March 17, 2019

Damage Poof Pod

Activity tracking is all the rage - from Fitbits to Apple Watch. We are tracking everything from how fast we do a lap in the pool to how long we sleep.

What about pets? Wouldn't it be great to track to see how active they are? Are they getting enough exercise? How about sleeping patterns?

Poof Pea and Beans

That's where Poof comes in. They have different types of devices that attach to a collar and used to track your furry friend. The devices are so small that they won't even notice that they have them on. Poof Pea cost $39.99 and Poof Bean cost $49.99 - the difference the bean is smaller and not distracted by smaller dogs.

Smart Phone

You use an App on your smartphone to download the data and get some very cool chart graphs to track their movements - or lack of.

You simply need to be in the same room as your pet - so you can download the data while they are taking a nap.

Our Experiences

We got a Poof Bean as a Christmas gift and we were very excited to track our 1.5 old puppies. He is an active dog that also spends time at a near-by puppy camp.

Occasionally we leave him alone and the Poof Bean told us that he pretty much slept the whole time. When we were home he would be more active and want to play all day long.

Day Camp

We decided to put the Poof Pod on when he went to day camp - we wanted to see how much activity he did all day. The first time he wore it the numbers were off the charts! He was playful all day.

Second time was a whole different story. When he came home I notice that the Poof Bean was missing from the collar holder. I called the Day Camp and let them know. They checked the play area and did find a device that looked like a bean.

A week later at drop off they gave me the remains of the Poof Pod. Clearly, it was broken.

Poof Pod Damage
Damage Poof Pod after a day at Dog Camp.

Not Returnable

According to the Poof website, the broken Pod is not returnable.

Returned product(s) must be in good physical condition (not physically broken or damaged).

We are out of luck.

As a product that would be around pets, it seems that it should last for more than a couple of weeks. Especially if it cost $49.99.

Cool Concept

At the end of the day, having a Poof is pretty cool. I would recommend not having it on where the dog could be in playful situations where the device may fall out.

It will be a while before we get another one - and we wouldn't get the Pod as it appears that it doesn't hold too well.

March 16, 2019

WhereFor

Everyone needs a vacation from the daily routine. Certainly, Disney World or Hawaii would be great places to go. But what if you didn't have enough money to go there - but you still want to get away for a quick vacation.

You could always ask your Facebook friends on where to go. You would get all sorts of interesting places.

WhereFor has a better way. Simply set your budget and your departing City and WhereFor will tell you all the places you can afford to go to.

Website Description

Explore our map to discover all the cities you can go on your budget. Youll be surprised how far you can go.

For each city, we show you the cheapest flight and highest-rated hotel in your budget. Or, choose your own.

We guarantee the lowest prices, never add fees, and have a 24-hour refund policy. So book your flight and hotel, together or separately, with confidence.

Where For
https://play.wherefor.com/

The service is still in Beta. The Google Maps still says "For development purposes only" and the Facebook sign-in shows this message: "App Not Setup: This app is still in development mode, and you don't have access to it. Switch to a registered test user or ask an app admin for permissions."

March 15, 2019

Remove Background using PhotoScape X

Removing a background color from a graphic file doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you learn how to do it, you can do it quickly.

Why remove a background color?

You might have an image file and want to make the background transparent so you can use it as an icon in Slack or combine it with another image.

PhotoScape Cut Out
I used PhotoScape to clear out the iPod screen.

Using PhotoScape X

I was having a hard time finding the right tool in the edit mode of PhotoScape X to remove a background. Turns out it is a separate tool that you need to use.

Steps to Remove Background

  • In the Viewer Mode select and image that have the background that you want to cut out.
  • Drag that image to the ‘Cut Out' Menu
  • Using the Magic Eraser, click on the areas that you wish to be removed. Increase the Tolerance to get more like colors.
  • Keep clicking on the image until you get the desired results.
  • Save the image, if you want to keep the transparancy using PNG or TIFF format.

Hopefully this helps anyone else that is trying to remove something from an image in PhotoScape.

March 14, 2019

Joseph A. Langone Jr. Memorial

At the far end of the North End is Langone Park, a medium size park ( 2.34 acreage ) of fun activities. There's a little league baseball field as well as a couple of Bocce Courts. It's a great place to view the Bay as well as the bridges between Boston and Charlestown.

As you walk around the Park may spot a strange white memorial. This is a special memorial to commemorate the people that the park is named after - Joseph A. Langone Jr and Clementine Langone

Langone Monument Boston

Ten Things that I Learned About the Park and Memorial

  1. Old Name

    The Park used to be called North End Park then it was North End Beach then WaterFront Park.

  2. In 1975 the park was renamed after Joseph A. Langone Jr. (1896-1960) and Clementine Langone (1896-1964)

  3. Who was Joseph Langone

    Joseph Langone was a Massachusetts state senator from 1933 to 1940 and then a Boston Election Commissioner in the 1940s.

  4. Who was Clementine Langone

    Clementine Langone was a civic leader from the North End and was well known for her service to the Italian-American community.

  5. Naming Ceremony Date

    The official naming ceremony occurred on September 13, 1975. Over 200 local residents attended and Mayor Kevin H. White played Cymbals in the band marching around the park.

  6. Something Strange I Found

    In my research, I found that while the dedication ceremony happened on September 13, 1975 - it was in a Boston Globe article. A formal request for the naming occurred five days later at the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Commission meeting - September 18, 1975. (Not at all sure why this is the case.)

  7. City of Boston Error

    On the City of Boston Parks and Recreation page it list the park as being Established in 1973. It's not, as indicated above the park new name was established in 1975. In 1973, the Waterfront Urban Renewal process created the Waterfront Park.

  8. Sundial

    There is a sundial on top of the Langone memorial and the dial is pointing due north. (Also towards the USS Constitution Boat in Charlestown.)

  9. Sundial Inscription

    Inscribed on the sundial are a "tempus fugit" hourglass with wings as well as the saying "I count none but sunny hours."

  10. Park May Disapear!

    The biggest threat to Langone Park is rising tides. As part of the Imagine Boston 2030 program, $1,000,000 is now being recommended to add sea level rise mitigation features to Langone Park to prevent flooding. It's also needed to create a resilient waterfront as part of the City's Resilient Boston Harbor and Climate Ready Boston.

March 13, 2019

iPhone Max Storage

One of the things Apple did with the iPhone XS Max launch is to increase the minimum space size.

Even with the "more disk space", there is still the need to monitor space to remove unused files and have space available. After all - you never know when you'll need to capture a video/photo at an event.

Information via Settings

You can find out how much space you have available on your phone:

Go to the Settings app, then select General, then select iPhone Storage

Hot Tip: If the Settings App is buried in some folder and will take many swipes to get to, simply type "storage" in the iOS Search Box, and scroll to see the results in the settings area.

Chances are the Photos/Videos are using the most storage on your phone - unless you're a huge fan of music or movies.

There is an option to "Review Personal Videos" this is where you can check out the videos that are taking up the most space on your phone. The information is sorted by size with a nice preview icon with the date.

The problem is that the only action that you can take is to delete the video. There's no option to move the video off the phone before deleting.

Graphic Converter to the Rescue

Graphic Converter has a great Browse feature which gives you the ability to look at all the files on the phone. You can select the files to back up to the computer and then remove them.

What separates Graphic Converter from Apple Photos is that Apple Photos doesn't give you the ability to sort the view of by file size. So you are left to download all the files or try to guess which ones are taking the most space.

Graphic Converter is simply a better way to clean up the phone when you don't want to download everything.

Graphici Phone Browserjpg

Five Tips Using Graphic Converter

Here are some of the things I learned using Graphic Converter to manage the multimedia on my phone.

  • The browse mode sorts by size, but you don't actually see the amount of space that the photos are taken.
  • It's easy to download the selected videos and then delete them once the copy is made.
  • You can change some of the Browse settings in the Preferences panel. There is a display size option but I haven't been able to see the size of objects on the iPhone. In addition the size doesn't appear in the info panel - perhaps this is a limit of the iPhone API?
  • There is a Sort by 'Size (Pixels) & Name'
  • Pictures taken with Live mode will have a picture and the movie format. So when you sort by size you may encounter the Movie version before the actual photo version.

March 12, 2019

Time-Lapse in GoPro

The GoPro 7 Silver doesn't have any special configurations for TimeLapse videos. There are a lot of options with GoPro Black - so if your really into TimeLapse that might be the better option.

Set it And Forget It

Basically with the GoPro Silver you set up the Timelapse as the recording option and then set it and forget it. Just make sure that you have a good wide-angle view.

Recording Speed

According to GoPro, the Silver 7 Time Lapse

Time Lapse Video speeds up the action by capturing a frame every 0.5 second. When played back at regular speed, everything moves 15x faster than normal.

This compares to the iPhone XS Max which takes around one to two frames per second.

Post Production

Once you record the video, you can use iMovie or Filmora Wondershare to speed up the video at post-production.

This is somewhat good because you can segment the clip to be faster in some shots and slower in other instances. (It may take some software experience to learn how to do this.)

Time Lapse Go Pro

Five Things I have Learned

The GoPro works great in freezing cold weather! My iPhone XS Max would shut down after a few minutes because of the cold. I haven't had any problems recording in very cold weather.

I have found for four-hour videos, that speeding up a GoPro Timelapse video by 8x brings it around 2 minutes. Which for most people this is just the right speed and the video clip doesn't seem to be too distracted?

The more landscape in the video the better the timelapse. It's nice to see the clouds and trees move as the sun rises or sets.

Always make sure the GoPro is fully changing and connect the GoPro to a USB charger if you're capturing for more than four hours.

GoPro time-lapse videos are great for intro/filler for YouTube channels. You see this all the time on the HGTV show Fixer Upper.

March 11, 2019

Page Ruler Redux

Sometime QA testing involves detail testing - making sure that images and page positioning are to spec.

For this the best tool is Page Ruler Redux. It's not a tool that I used frequently, but it does help in those instances when the page elements just don't look right. It's really handy in screenshots - people can clearly see if there's an issue.

Page Ruler Redux Info

Draw a ruler to get pixel dimensions and positioning, and measure elements on any web page.

Page Tool Redux

Six Things I Learned About Page Ruler Redux

  • Easily enable the Page Ruler Redux tool by using the Alt P Short cut. This means you don't need to keep the extension icon in the toolbar.
  • Enabling Element Mode lets you select the particular element. No second guessing where elements start/end. Useful when you are trying to determine which DIV is responsible for extra space on a page.
  • When using the Element Mode, the last item in the style tree is the one most responsible for the layout. You can click on any style in the breadcrumb to see that style selected.
  • Enabling Tracking mode helps you select the right element. (Works very similar to Chrome's Select Element Tool.)
  • You can position the Page Ruler bar to the bottom of the page by clicking on the down arrow on the top right of the bar.
  • You can change the values in the boxes, so you can manually adjust the height or alignment of the selection.

Getting Page Ruler Redux

You can get the Page Ruler Redux Extensions in the Chrome Store.

Page Ruler Redux is only available for Chrome, they are working on a Firefox version.

March 10, 2019

Domain Expired Voicemail

This week I got a strange voicemail. What made is strange is that when I got the call it showed up as No Caller ID and only rang once. Moments later a voice message was left.

Strange Voicemail Info
Took a screenshot when the call came in, and then later of the message that was left.

"Um hi this is Karen this is an urgent message your domain registration is set to expire within trying to reach you regarding your business domain renewal you can use our automated system to renew your domain quickly when you get a moment to call us back please return this call at 1-888-202-5979 again the number is 1-888-202-5979 thank you"

Scam Scam Scam

This has nothing to do with domain registration. What they are trying to do is to trick you into registering into an SEO search program.

Here’s What I Learned

  • This whole scam is getting people to register Clearly they don’t want you to answer the phone. The message sounds automated.
  • When you can the number left in the message they use Caller ID to figure out who you are.
  • They send you another text message to click on a link
  • The link takes you to a page to let you know what’s really going on.
  • It’s that page that gives you the official information.
  • Don’t register for the service - much of what is offered can be done for free. (You shouldn't be paying $75 to register a website. If you want to get on Google you can simply request Google to Register Your Site. )
  • If a company goes through all this deceptive practice to get your business- how legit are they?
  • I am pretty sure that the company will sell the phone number information.

Text on the Final Order Page

This is the text that appears on the final order page:

This letter is to inform you that it's time to send in your search engine registration for ***.boston.

Failure to complete your search engine registration by March 17, 2019, may result in the cancellation of this offer (making it difficult for your customers to locate you using search engines on the web).

Your registration includes search engine submission for ***.boston for 1 year. You are under no obligation to pay the amount stated above unless you accept this offer by March 17, 2019. This notice is not an invoice. It is a courtesy reminder to register ***.boston for search engine listing so that your customers can locate you on the web.

My domain isn't expiring, I registered it back on October on GoDaddy - apparently, other GoDaddy customers are getting these messages.

Whois securepay.id

This is the Registration information of the company behind the website.

contact:      administrative
name:         Muhammad Neil El Himam
organisation: Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
address:      Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat No.17
address:      Jakarta Pusat DKI Jakarta 10110
address:      Indonesia
phone:        +62 82111610360
fax-no:       +62 21 3835845
e-mail:       neil@pandi.id

March 9, 2019

Destroy the Web Game

Sometimes you need to have a break from all the craziness at work. Spending all day searching information on stackoverflow.com can be boring.

Why not spice it up the website with a game? That's what kickassapp.com is for. Simply drag the link to your bookmark bar and then when your tired of a site, simply click on the link and play the game.

Website Information

Kick Ass started as a hobby project by a young developer named Erik Rothoff Andersson. The first iteration of Kick-Ass came about when he wanted to destroy his ex-girlfriend's blog. He put up Kick-Ass on Reddit, showing off his programming ninja skills and shortly after it exploded on the internet.

The internet was abuzz with Kick Ass-fever. Many ad agencies modified Kick-Ass to promote brands like M&M, the movie Thor, Axe and many more. Erik was later invited to Denmark to receive the Danish Internet Award for his excellence, also free beer.

Destroy The Web
https://kickassapp.com/

Fun Times

You can create your own ships on Kick Ass website. Simply go to the Designer Page and create your ship.

Website owners can support Kick-Ass by removing ads from the game. It's a way to make a website a bit more entertaining for a certain segment of the internet market. (Subscription is $99 a year)

I recall another app that offered a similar functionality but Website developers were able to add a shield to prevent the site from being destroyed. (I am searching for that site - if you know leave a comment below!)

As of today, the default ship has been played 4,841,459 times. (That's a lot of free time.)

March 8, 2019

Cable Marker

One of the downsides of an iMac is that there is never enough USB ports. I am constantly switching thumb drives or printer cables to the back of the computer.

i Mac Ports
Ports on the Back of an iMac 2011

One thing that annoyed me is that I never put the cable in right. I am always putting it in wrong and having to flip it over to get it in right.

A quick solution that I came up with is to mark the top of the cable with a white Sharpie China Marker.

Cables Cables Cables
Cables are marked.

So now when I need to put in a new cable, I just look for the white part and know that it will go right in.

White Sharpie

You can use any white marker to label the cables. I just happen to have the white China marker at my desk. It’s nice because it’s not a permanent solution and I can remove it when needed.

March 7, 2019

Boston Courtyard Copley Square hotel

As you walk down Exeter Street from Boylston, you may encounter a strange looking building. This is the Boston's Courtyard Copley Square Hotel. This 3-Star rated hotel has 63 king rooms, 14 Queen-double rooms, and 4 suites on 10 floors. It's also 128 years old, one of the oldest hotels on this street.

Courtyard Copley Square
View of the Courtyard Copley Square from Boylston Street.

The Boston's Courtyard Copley Square hotel and Copley Square Hotel are not the same business. They have similar names but are two different businesses.

Six Things I learned about the Courtyard Copley Square

  • The was once called the Exeter Chambers Hotel, which opened on October 1, 1891. It closed on November 8, 1931.

  • The Hotel was established by Frederick Samuel Risteen - former Massachusetts State Senator. He was also the owner of the Clarendon Hotel.

  • When Frederick Samuel Risteen died in 1903 the hotel was taken over by John Lacey, then it was owned by Ernest Spracklen. In 1907, the hotel was sold at an auction for $327,000 ($8,896,470.33 in 2018 dollars)

  • There isn't much information on the hotel activity between 1907 and 2004. I checked various sites around the web and couldn't find any information about it.

  • Hotel was fully restored in 2004 after the Marriot purchased the property. (There is a sign next to the main entrance)

  • The building exterior features Victorian Eclecticism and Richardsonian Romanesque architectural elements.

The Stained Glass Window

Inside the hotel is a stained glass window that greets every guest.

Stain Glass Window

Our century-old arched stained glass window has served as a beautiful entryway greeting hotel guest since 1891.

The emblem EC, can be seen in the center of the glass as the initials of the original hotel called Exeter Chambers.

THis window is representatives of the stained glass that was introduced in the Victorian and Edwardian eras of the 1800's.

However in the late 1800s, American glass makers expanded upon the European cathedral glass. Their creations during this American Art Nouveau period is known as the opalescent glass.

From 1891 to present day, this kaleidoscope of color is a preserved symbol of over 100 years of hospitality here at 88 Exeter Street, Boston.

This window symbolically reflects the illumination of visions for tomorrow guests who have pursued their dream at this residence over the years.

"88 Exeter...the Dream Continues..."

Want a good reason to stay here?

The Courtyard Marriott at 88 Exeter has been ranked #5 in the nation of all Courtyards based upon guest's service scores.

March 6, 2019

Night Photos with the iPhone XS Max

Last week Samsung announced their next generation of cellphones. They certainly have some innovated features that are not available in the iPhone X Max.

Cool Camera Features

  • 5 Camera Lens (2 Front and 3 on the back)
  • Multi-Camera perspective
  • 10MP Selfie Camera
  • Dual Aperture lens self-adapts between f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures.

and a lot more, see the Galaxy S10 Camera page.

Low-Light Capabilities

Someone posted this Tweet:

Twitter Posting Night
https://twitter.com/raywongy/status/1098800497211912192?s=20

While it's true that Apple Camera doesn't take "awesome" night shots. It doesn't mean you can't take quality night photos with the camera. You need two things:

  • Software - ProCam or Slow Shutter are good options for night pictures
  • Tripod - The camera has to be steady for a long time, about 15-seconds to take a good quality shot.

Low Light Capabilities

The iPhone XS Max can take excellent night time pictures. Take a look at this photo that was taken at 8 pm at night:

i Phone Night Shot

This was done using ProCam Low light functionality. The trick is to keep the camera steady so that the iPhone Camera has time to collect as much light as possible.

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