January 17, 2019

Great Molasses Flood Sign

Last year I blogged about some interesting facts on the Great Molasses Flood. However, one of the things that were left out was the mention of a small sign at the site.

The sign is small and is somewhat hidden along a stone wall. Most people may not notice the marker.

Great Molasses Flood Marker

Molasses Flood Full Sign2019

Here's the text on the marker:

Boston Molasses Flood

On January 15, 1919, a molasses tank at 529 Commercial Street exploded under pressure, killing 21 people. A 40-foot wave of molasses buckled the elevated railroad tracks, crushed buildings and inundated the neighborhood. Structural defects in the tank combined with unseasonably warm temperatures contributed to the disaster.

- The Bostonian Society

Finding the Green Marker

The marker is located between the two baseball fields on Commercial Street. Here's a picture of the area with a red arrow pointing to the Great Molasses Flood Marker.

Molasses Flood Sign

If you want to set your GPS, heres the exact location on Google Maps.

January 16, 2019

GPS on the iPhone

Apple's iPhone used four different location functionalities: Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS.

These are used to identify your exact location and used by any application that uses the Location settings.

These are the exact same services that were on the iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhone XS Max doesn't add any new location services or functionality.

The location support hasn't changed much over the years. I thought it would be interesting to learn a bit more about each of the location services on the iPhone.

Blue Satellite

What is Assisted GPS?

Assisted GPS makes location tracking faster and uses other sources to correctly identify the location of the phone. For example, if you're in a shopping mall, you may not have a strong GPS signal. Assisted GPS will use Cell Tower distance as well as ISP information to pinpoint your exact location.

Assisted GPS functionality is actually a hidden cost that your cellular provider will charge you. On Verizon, this will appear as "Time & Location" under System Services. On other providers, they may show it as "data access." To cut down on the amount of "data access" simply disable location services to Apps where you don't need them.

Assisted GPS is a FCC requirement to make cell phone location data available for 911 operators.

There are 31 active GPS satellites in orbit.

What is GLONASS

GLONASS is an acronym for Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema which translates to Global Navigation Satellite System. It's a GPS system developed by the Russian Federation in the 1980s.

It's an alternative Global tracking system to help with precision location tracking. By itself, it's not a strong as the standard GPS system. However, combined with the standard GPS system, it helps the accuracy of the location coverage.

There are 24 active satellites in orbit.

What is Galileo

Galileo was created so that the European Union wouldn't have to depend on the United States GPS system. Initially, the civilian signal was stronger than the GPS. In 2000, that changed when President Clinton changed the GPS civilian access to be the same as the military access.

Galileo has 18 operational satellites available all around the world.

There are currently 18 satellites in orbit.

What is QZSS?

The Quasi-Zenith Satellite System is a project of the Japanese government for the development of a four-satellite regional time transfer system. Its primary focus area is in the Asia-Oceania region with a focus of Japan.

There are 4 active satellites in orbit.

January 15, 2019

Nexvax2 now in Stage 2 Trials

Good news for Celiacs! On January 2nd, ImmusanT secured a fast-track for it's Nexvax2 as a vaccine for people with celiac disease. It's currently in Phase 2 of testing.

The FDA only grants fast track status to certain drugs when there is an unmet need for medicine with serious or life-threatening conditions.

"Nexvax2 will improve quality of life and prevent the serious complications of chronic gluten exposure in celiac disease patients. The development of Nexvax2 aligns with our strategic vision of transforming how patients with autoimmune diseases are treated.” - Leslie Williams CEO of ImmusanT in a recent press release

Fast Track to stage two testing does not increase the chances the drug will be approved, it's just a way that the FDA to move the drug along the process quicker.

Reset Ced Logo

About the Phase 2 of the Trial

A phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study of Nexvax2. This study will evaluate efficacy of Nexvax2 administered subcutaneously. The study plan consists of 3 periods: a screening period of 6 weeks, an approximately 16 week treatment period, and a 4-week post-treatment observational follow-up.

Be Part of the Trial

To be considered for the trial you must be:

  • Someone who has been diagnosed celiac disease,
  • Must be over 18 and under 70.
  • Must be gluten free for at least one year.
  • HLA DQ 2.5 Positive
  • Participants must be willing to consume some gluten.

Unfortunately my 8-year-old daughter is not eligible for the study. If the trial is successful, hopefully, they come up with a children's version.

If you meet the simple criteria, why not be part of the study? On the Clinical Trial page is the locations where the trials are occurring. Simply contact the person nearest to you.

Oddly enough there is no trial in Massachusetts, which is the location of ImmusanT.

Estimated Completion Date

The trial will end on September 2019.

January 14, 2019

Framingham MBTA Alexa Skill

One of the most popular Commuter Rail stations is the Framingham MBTA station. Every day hundreds of commuters start their commute from this station.

I created an Alexa Skill to find out when the next train leaves to Boston - based on the current schedule.

This can be useful if you need to take the train at off times - such as on weekends or in the afternoons.

Framingham M B T A

Sample ways to enable the Skill

  • Alexa, open framingham MBTA
  • Alexa, ask framingham MBTA when is the next train
  • Alexa, ask framingham MBTA a train tip

Bonus Tip

For each train, I added a bonus tip. It's a little something interesting about that particular train.

Getting the Skill

Simply search for Framingham MBTA in the Alexa app. If this becomes very popular, I'll add other locations and tips

January 13, 2019

CShells 2019

Back on October 2006, I blogged about getting CShells storage containers. It was a quick blog of the advantages of getting CShells

Not Familar with CShells?

These are great containers to safely hold CDs or DVDs. They are strong lightweight covers that are more durable than a standard CD case.

They are great when giving someone CDs or DVDs as a gift.

Time to Order Again

I have been running low on my supply at home. As we have been giving CShell’s with CDs/DVDs out for various birthday events.

I was very happy to see that BuyCShells.com was still in business. I purchased 50 pack of classic clear for $18.60 plus $17.25 for a total of $35.85. That comes out to $1.39 a CShell.

A 100 would have cost $54.69, including ground shipping, which is $.55 a CShell. This would have been a better option - and probably the quantity that I would order for the next time.

Just A Good

I compared the case to the ones that I ordered in 2006 and they are the same quality. It's nice to know that 13-years later that they aren't cheap versions of a classic storage container.

January 12, 2019

textfx.co

If your looking for a site with lots of created text designs, textfx.co is the place to go. There are 92 different text designs to choose from. Many of the designs allow you to customize the colors and styles. It's a great place to go when you're looking for the perfect graphic for the blog or newsletter.

You can create 3 designs per day for free. If you're a big fan for just $5 a month, you can create unlimited texts anytime and unlimited access to premium effects

Website Description

**TextFX is a free logo design generator. Generate your own logo with our stunning premade effects. From 3D to Neon effects. Use it on your designs, posters, and website.**

**Take a look at the available text effects, and with more added on a regular basis, you no longer need to spend countless hours learning complicated software to create stunning effects for your logos**

textfx
https://textfx.co

Example Designs

Amazing Website

Cryan Textfx2

January 11, 2019

Fix GoPro FishEye in Filmora

GoPro is a really cool camera. It's great because you can set it up and record videos over a long period - such as time-lapse or recording going down the slopes.

The camera lens on the GoPro is a “Fish Eye” type of lens that can make some shots look a bit weird. This can easily be fixed in post-production without impacting the overall shot.

Unfortunately it is not possible to fix in iMovie. You'll need to use a different Movie Editor or use something like liquivid Video Fisheye Removal ($7.99) to fix the clip.

I recommend getting Wondershare's Filmora since it offers a lot of very cool functionality.

Flimora Go Pro

Fixing FishEye Effect in WonderShare Filmora 9

It's really easy to fix GoPro Video clips in Filmora. First, Upload your video to your computer, the easy way is to connect the GoPro cable to the computer and open up Photos. Then drag/drop the clips to the dashboard.

  1. Open up Filmora 9 and create a new Project
  2. Drag/Drop the video clip to the timeline.
  3. Double click on the video, and you should see the top left has change to some new editing options.
  4. Scroll down the video section until you see Lens correction.
  5. Select the checkbox to the left of Lens Correction
  6. For the GoPro 7 Silver, I found that selecting GoPro Hero 5 Black with 1080p Wide was the best selection to “defish.”

The good thing about this is that you get a “live feed” of the changes, so you can see what works best for your particular shot.

Example Fix

This is a Timelapse video clip using the GoPro 7 Silver on the Framingham/Worcester MBTA Commuter Rail.

January 10, 2019

King Memorial at the Boston Public Gardens

The Boston Public Gardens will soon get a new memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. The memorial is to not only commemorate the work that Marin Luther King and Coretta Scott King did but also to demonstrate that much work needs to be done.

The memorial will be located in the Boston Public Commons between the Armstrong Path and Liberty Mall near the State House.

King Monument Location
Location of the King Monument.

Why Boston?

Boston was where Marin Luther King and Coretta Scott King met for the first time while they both were going to school. Martin Luther King went to Boston University and Coretta Scott King went to New England Conservatory of Music.

Funding the Memorial

The King Boston organization plans to raise $15 million for the Boston Commons project. So far, the group has raised about $4.5 million. Paul English, technology entrepreneur, donated $1 million, and the Lewis Family Foundation had also donated $1 million.

Finding the right designs

Early last year, the King Boston organization put out a design requests for the memorial. They received 126 submissions from around the world. In May, they narrowed the field down to five finalists.

Final 5 Designs

Design1
'Boston's King Memorial'
David Adjaye and Adam Pendleton with FuturePace

Design2
'Empty Pulpit Monument'
Barbara Chase-Riboud with Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

Design3
'The Embrace'
Hank Willis Thomas with MASS Design Group

Design4
'The Ripple Effects'
Wodiczko + Bonder and Maryann Thompson Architects

Design5
'Avenue Of Peace'
Yinka Shonibare

Designs came from the King Boston foundation's website - added the team names to the images.

Next Steps

King Boston was to announce the winner of the design in December 2018. No announcement has been made yet. (Perhaps an announcement will be made on Marin Lither King day?)

January 9, 2019

Evutec Phone Case for iPhone Xs Max

After 3-months, I have settled with a new case for my iPhone XS Max. I now have the Evutec Phone Case for iPhone Xs Max 6.5 inch, [Northill Series] Premium Leather + TPU Shockproof Interior Slim Protective Case-Canvas/Black.

Evu Tech iPhone Max

Some of the things I like about the new case:

  • It covers the full back, so the Apple logo isn't showing. Nothing against Apple, but if I am going to get a case, I want it to cover the full back and not have a hole to show the Apple logo.
  • Easy grip on the sides and back. Very comfortable to hold - the phone won't slip out of your hands
  • Wireless charging still works.
  • The edge is slightly raised so that if you side the glass side of the phone the screen won't get scratched.

Screen Protector

This is the first iPhone that I have purchased where I am not going to get put on a front screen protector. The protector on my last phone came off about a year ago and I didn't encounter any scratch issues with the screen.

The iPhone XS Max is using Corning's Gorilla Glass 6. It's been shown to be the most scratch resistant and shatter resistant glass ever available on any smartphone.

January 8, 2019

Gluten Free Labels

We like to label boxes and Tupperware that the contents are gluten-free. This helps at school so they know the contents are safe for my daughter. It's also good at parties so that people can see that gluten-free foods look good.

We use the labels from Gluten Free Stickers because they are simple and stand out on anything that we put them on. They also last through many Tupperware washing - in some cases, longer than the Tupperware!

Gluten Free Sticker

We don't place the stickers on every single ziplock bag. For school, it's usually placed on food containers that are for food events such as snacks for Extended Day or when she brings in cookies for treats.

These labels are very helpful and the quality is great! You're not getting cheap paper labels!

Check out Gluten Free Stickers. We recommend getting the Gluten Free Label roll so that you'll never run out of stickers when you need it.

January 7, 2019

Alexa: Happy Inspirational Quotes

Over the past few years, my quotes page has gotten a fair amount of traffic. I decided to put some of the quotes in a new Alexa Skill.

Enjoy a nice bit of business inspiration whenever you need it.

Alexa Inspirational Quote

Getting the Skill

Simply ask Alexa to Install the Happy Inspirational Quotes, or search for the skill in the Alexa app.

Enable the Skill

There are three ways to run this skill:

  • Alexa, launch happy inspirational quotes
  • Alexa, ask happy inspirational quotes for a quote
  • Alexa, ask happy inspirational quotes to tell me a quote

Check out the online collection - started collecting off/on since 2000. Basically, I look for some quotes that seem unique and worthy of putting on the page.

January 6, 2019

Notion Icons

Notion is quietly gaining popularity as an alternative solution to a personal productive tool.

One of the cool things about Notion is the ability to have icons with your pages. Here are some recent icons that I created that better help identify the page content in the navigation panel.

These are all in the 280 x 280 is the recommended size.

Alexa
Alexa
AWS
AWS
LightSale
LightSale
Crystal 1
Crystal 1
Crystal 2
Crystal 2
Crystal 3
Crystal 3
Coffee Mug
Coffee Mug
Netscape
Netscape
Poison
Poison

January 5, 2019

Chalk Board Generator

Chalk board writing can add a nice effect with some words and phrases.

What's nice about PosterGen Chalkboard generator is that you can create cool looking chalk designs for blogs, slack and social media. You can also have these same designs printed in high quality for hanging in the office or lunchroom. It's a good way to make announcements stand out.

There are lots of configuration options, but I have found the default option to be very good.

Website Description

All of our artwork is available as a gallery wrapped canvas, framed print, or a large format poster. Each of these options is additionally available in a variety of sizes to perfectly fit into your home decor.

Poster Gen
http://postergen.com/chalkboard-generator

Example Poster

Yesterday Chalk

January 4, 2019

TabLauncher Lite

Apple's Dock is a great way to quickly launch all your everyday applications. Simply click on the icon.

But what if you want to access other applications? Usually, it involves Spotlight or opening up the Application folder.

TabLauncher lite is a better way to launch applications that are used often. With TabLauncher there are category tabs on the side of the screen where you can access applications quickly and easily. Now you can combine work-related apps, or graphics apps into simple categories that's easy to find and launch.

Tab Launcher Lite

Website Description

TabLauncher will help you find and launch your favorite programs, web pages, folders, or any type
of files in a fast and easy way.

Taking up fewer resources as possible, and allowing you to personalize the appearance in many
ways, by changing colors, images, transparency, animations, and many other options to make it
blend in with your desktop.

Six Things I learned about TabLauncher

  1. The free version has a limit of three tabs, the paid version has unlimited tabs and is only $3.99
  2. You can have the tabs on any edge of the screen - the paid version allows you to have tabs on either side of the screen at the same time.
  3. You can put any application in the Tabs, in addition you can add scripts to perform any type of function.
  4. You can hide TabLaunch that way it's out of the way until you need it.
  5. There is no share functionality- so you can't share tab settings/configurations between computers.
  6. There are special tabs with built in functionality - such as Running Applications, Music

Memory Usage

TabLauncher Lite uses a lot less memory than LaunchBar. This might be a good solution for computers that don't have a lot of memory.

LaunchBar: 584.4 MB

Tab Launcher Lite: 85.1 MB

LaunchBar does offer a lot more features than launching applications, but if that's all you need to do then TabLauncher might be a good solution.

Getting TabLauncher Lite

You can download TabLauncher lite from the Apple Store. The full version is $3.99. You can learn more about the application on their website.

January 3, 2019

OneIda Football Club Monument

The Oneida Football Club, founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1862, was the first organized team to play any kind of football in the United States.

In 1925, a monument was placed nearby the field that the OneIda Football club played.

Oneida Football Club Monument

Ten Interesting Things I learned about the OneIda Football Club

  1. Games were played from 1862 to 1865.
  2. The monument on the Boston Commons was placed on November 20, 1925. Seven of the original members attended the dedication.
  3. The OneIda Football Club never lost a game - they were undefeated for 3-years!
  4. Each game would play to whoever scored first. Since they were undefeated, no team was able to score a goal.
  5. The football used was practically round - and one of the original footballs is stored at the Boston Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. You can see the football design on the top of the monument.
  6. The uniform was a pirate-type - a red bandana on the head.
  7. There were 15 members of the Oneida team, as follows: Hon Gerrit Smith Miller (captain), Edward Lincoln Arnold, Edward Bowditch, Dr Francis Greenwood Peabody, James D'Wolf Lovett, Dr Robert Means Lawerence, Winthrop Saltonstall Scudder, Malcome Forbes, R. Clifford Watson, Huntington F. Wolcott, Walter Brooks, Louis Thies, John P. Happ, Alanson Tucker and George Davis.
  8. Huntington Walcott was the only member of the Oneide team to die for his country - he was killed during the Civil War.
  9. Games were played against Boston Latin, English High, Roxbury High, and Dorchester High. The captain put in a request to play against some Harvard Freshmen but the request was denied by Harvard as they were fearful of the undefeated record.
  10. The Great Boston Commons Elm Tree was still standing nearby the field. It came down a year after the games stopped.

Text on the Marker

On this field the Oneida Football Club
of Boston, the first organized football
club in the United States played against
all comers from 1862 to 1865
The Oneida Goal was never crossed.
This monument is placed on Boston Commons on November 1925,
by the seven surviving members of the team.

Finding the Monument

The monument is located near the Beacon Street Mall path in the Parade Grounds area of the Boston Public Gardens. It's between the Solder's and Sailors Monument and Beacon Street. The nearest T stop would be the Boylston Street station.

January 2, 2019

Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode is the ability to take a picture of a person and have the background blurred out. This cool effect uses both cameras on the iPhone XS Max and figures out the foreground and background. Portrait Mode is available in the rear and front camera.

You have control of the background Depth using the built-in editor.

Gus O Dog
Using Portrait Mode on the iPhone XS Max, I was able to take a great picture of our dog.

Eight Things I learned about using Portrait Mode

  • When using the rear camera, It's best to stand 8-feet away from the subject to get the best focus.
  • The rear camera has better quality and you'll see more of the background.
  • For better effect, make sure the background has some depth. Don't just use a studio backdrop. A park setting or skyline would look very cool. Disney Castle from Main Street USA would be a good opportunity.
  • When using the front face camera, it's best to hold the camera three feet (about an arm's length)
  • You can't change the blur effect while taking a picture. Afterward, you can change the blurred background using the Edit Mode.
  • If you want more control over the background/foreground, use ProCam Editor. You can do cool things such as make the background black and white or even remove the background and make the photo transparent.
  • To make modifications to Portrait Mode pictures on MacOS you need macOS 10.13 with Photos 3.0.
  • Pictures taken using Portrait Mode are saved as JPEG and not the High-Efficiency Video Compression (HEIC) format.
  • If you back up to Google Photos you can change the Depth uploaded. Simply find a photo that was taken in Portrait Mode, Click Edit, the second icon on the bottom right, then click on the same icon, and you'll see the Depth adjustment on the bottom. (Apparently, this isn't available in the Web Version only in Google Photos iOS app)

Image Dimensions

Front Camera 3088x2316
Rear Camera 4032x3024

January 1, 2019

Gluten Free Freezer

Happy New Year 2019!

Finding Gluten Free in the Supermarket

Most supermarkets keep all the gluten-free alternative items together. This makes it easy to find all the bagels/breakfast goods available.

In Market Basket, you can find all the gluten free bread and pastries in the back freezer, near the Produce and Meat departments.

Wait a minute

Just make sure to double check the items, recently I spotted the following:

Cinnabon Gluten Free

I was excited to see that there was a new item in the case. However, this isn’t gluten free - there is no Cinnabon Product that is gluten-free. Katz does make a gluten free cinnamon roll, which is probably the product that should be displayed in the case.

Some people may not really pay attention and just assume that it is since it’s with all the gluten free breakfast goods.

Just a simple reminder to always check the packaging - especially if it’s a new product.

Looking forward to finding all sorts of new products in 2019.

December 31, 2018

Best QA Posts of 2018

QA was a new topic added this year. The goal was to post useful tools and techniques that I use all the time.

In December, I changed the Monday post to focus more on Amazon Alexa apps that I recently created. QA Post should return sometime in January 2019.

Best QA Posts of 2018

Here is the most useful post that I found this year.

  1. Google Testing Blog - Great place to learn how Google tests their software. You can learn all about current strategies and what works in a high availability environment.
  2. Postmortem Document - When releases go bad it's good to learn what happened and come with ideas to prevent future failures. This postmortem document is a useful way to organize the Postmortem meeting.
  3. BugMagnet - A must have Chrome extension to test form fields. Great way to validate emails and credit card fields.
  4. Jira Short cuts for QA - Move around Jira quicker and be more productive. Lots of people have use this for a quick reference.
  5. EditThisCookie - A Chrome extension that makes it easy way to modify the browser cookie.
  6. Throw Away Email Accounts - Great resource for when your testing email functionality. Easy to use and validate emails.

Goals for 2019

In 2019, I plan to focus more on techniques and strategies in QA testing. Together we'll learn how an increase in features and functionality doesn't matter as long as you have a good weekly testing strategy - which includes automation.

I am looking forward to learning more and sharing some cool QA tools.

December 30, 2018

Top 8 Open Topic Posts of 2018

Sunday posts are an open topic day, it's a chance to blog about something that doesn't fit in any of the regular categories.

Top 8 Sunday Post of 2018

You may not agree with these, but these are the post that stands out from all other Sunday posts.

  1. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in a Pool Skimmer - The most popular Blog post of 2018. Lots of people talking about this on various social media channels.
  2. Mystery at the Breakers Mansion - Second most popular blog post. Is there writing on the painting? If so, what does it say? Watch the video.
  3. Palmco Energy - Still getting calls with them wanting me to switch over.
  4. iPhone Xs Plus Video - Check out the video quality of the iPhone XS Max vs the iPhone 6s Plus. Can't wait to see what technology Apple will come up with in a few years.
  5. The Dog Treatery - Gluten Free birthday cake for dogs. Yes they do exist.
  6. Framingham Commuter Rail Tips - If your new to the Framingham/Worcester line. Here are some tips to help make your travels safe.
  7. AAA Trip Tik Booklets - Comparing the 1990s AAA Trip Tik to todays. There's lots of differences and your better off using Waze than look at paper maps.
  8. Fixing a Green Pool Quickly - How to quickly fix a Green pool so that its safe to swim in a few days later.

Other Posting