A-Z Challenge blog postings
A-Z Challenge Postings
|Earliest: April 1, 2016||Latest: November 4, 2018||Total: 80|
|April 5, 2017|
Date - Unix Command Line
The Unix Date command is a very handy tool to do date displays and calculations.
The basic of displaying a date:
You can format the output by simply passing a few parameters:
|date +"%B %d, %Y"||April 05, 2017|
Common Display Formats
|Standard Date||date +"%A, %B %d, %Y"||Wednesday, April 05, 2017|
|Standard Time||date +"%I:%M %p"||03:29 PM|
|MySQL Format||date +"%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"||2017-04-05 13:21:13|
|United States format date +"%m/%d/%Y"||04/05/2017|
|European date format||date +"%d %B, %Y"||05 April, 2017|
|ISO 8601 date format||date +"%Y-%m-%d"||2017-04-05|
|ISO 8601 Combined Format||date +"%Y-%m-%dT%R:%S"||2017-04-05T13:3252|
Find Non-Release Weeks
At my work we do release every Thursday. However, if the Thursday is within 2 days of the end of the month we skip doing a release that week.
It would be handy to know all the weeks that we will not be shipping and let people know in advance. I thought it would be a handy thing for a Bash script.
Here's a simple script that does that. This will loop through all the Thursdays in 2017 and see if it follows the business rule. If it's not a release week print out the date.
#!/bin/BASH max=50 for (( start = 1; start <= $max; start++ )) do # Get the Next Thursday check=$(date -v+"$start"w -v+1d +"%e") check_fmt=$(date -v+"$start"w -v+1d +"%B %e, %Y") # Get the last day of the Month lastday=$(date -v+"$start"w -v1d -v+1m -v-1d +"%e") # Check the number of days to the End of the Month daystoendofmonth=$(($lastday - $check)); # Apply the 2 Day Business Rule and echo the no release weeks if [ "$daystoendofmonth" -lt "2" ] then echo "Don't release on: " $check_fmt fi done
The above script is written to be run on a Wednesday.
When I run this script, I discovered:
- Don't release on: June 29, 2017
- Don't release on: August 31, 2017
- Don't release on: November 30, 2017
Looks like we'll have a pretty quiet summer this year.
|April 4, 2017|
Catholic Church's Holy Eucharist
The Catholic Church is very strict in the Holy Eucharist that is used at Mass, and using a rice-based Eucharist will not work.
According to the Code of Canon Law, The Rites And Ceremonies Of The Eucharistic Celebration (Can 924):
- The holiest eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed.
- The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling.
- The wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and not spoiled.
The Catholic Church is very strict that Communion is to be made of wheat and a small amount of gluten because of the belief that Jesus used wheaten bread at the Last Supper.
Fortunately there is a valid solution by the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. They were able to manufacture a Communion Host that is not only approved by the Catholic Church but also approved by the Gluten Free Community.
The Communion that the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration manufacturer is made from wheat starch. This starch has most of the gluten removed. It was tested by the Office of the Secretariat and has been approved to be used at Mass in the dioceses of the United States with the appropriate permissions.
The Communion was also tested by the Center for Celiac Research, where they found that the .01% gluten content is well below the 10 milligrams safe number.
Ordering the Low-gluten Communion Bread
You can order the Low-gluten Communion Bread from the Alter Breads BSPA website. Currently it's $5.35 for a 30 wafers.
The best way to safely receive the Communion is to work with your church. It's important that there is no cross contamination. Several options:
- You could receive the Communion Host from a dedicated Eucharistic Minister
- You could be the first person to receive the Communion Host
- You could always receive the Communion after the mass completed
|April 3, 2017|
Be Our Guest Restaurant
In Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, there is a very popular restaurant called "Be Our Guest." If you're planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom, this is one place that you should plan to stop at.
The main theme of the restaurant is based on the original "Beauty and the Beast" movie.
Fun Facts about the "Be Our Guest" Restaurant
- Officially opened on November 19, 2012 - week's before the official opening of the New Fantasyland
- Offers Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
- License to serve 500 guests - one of the largest dining rooms in the Magic Kingdom!
- Average cost per meal is $20
- Accepts the Disney Dining plan and only counts as 1 meal point.
- The only place in Disney where you can meet "the Beast" from "Beauty and the Beast"
- You will need eat in the dining room to see the Beast. (Similar to other Character dining experiences.)
- The Beast will not sign any autographs.
- There is a known Hidden Mickey in each of the dining rooms.
The Main Ballroom is the large room you see when you walk into the restaurant. Disney does a great job to make it feel like your eating in a castle. As you walk in the Main Ballroom you can see a large window where snow is endlessly falling. It's a very cool effect, and you can almost feel the cold air blowing in.
The nice thing about eating in the Ballroom is that it's fairly quiet. While eating you don't hear a lot of people talking.
West Wing room
The thunderstorm erupts every time a rose petal falls to the ground. When the thunderstorm hits, immediately look at the Beast painting in the room, it changes very quickly. If you eat in the room, make sure to sit so that you can see the painting.
This room is darker than all the other dining rooms. A lot of people come into this room to see the rose and the picture. If your sitting near them then you may encounter people walking by your table.
This room contains various paintings from the movie. In the center of the room is a large chandelier with a stained glass center that carries out the rose motif from the film. The Beast will usually come out of this room before heading to the meet and greet area.
These room lights are the brightest of all the rooms.
Dinner is the Best Option
In our experience, we have found that the dinner service to be the best. We did eat at the lunch service and didn't really get a good feeling of the place. That is because lunch is quick service meals. You basically order your meal when you make reservations. It's a good way to get a fast meal in the park, but you miss out on what makes the "Be Our Guest" restaurant special.
There's no particular favorite meal that we have had, the choices are excellent and the food has always been very good. You certainly don't feel like you're at a theme park while you are in the restaurant.
As you leave, don't forget to take a group picture in front of the stain glass window. There's usually a cast member walking around that would be happy to take your group photo.
|April 1, 2017|
Acton's Discovery Museum
Tuck into a quiet neighborhood in Acton, Massachusetts is the Children's Discovery Museum. This very popular place is where kids can play. learn, and explore about various things.
Changes are Coming
The original Children's Discovery Museum started from a 3-story Victorian house, built in 1880, that has 3,500 square feet of floor space in ten rooms. It opened in 1982.
In 1988, a new building was constructed in the backyard. The building, Science Discovery Museum, targets older kids where they could learn about science.
This winter the Victorian house part of the museum will be torn down. The Discovery Museum building will be expanded so that all museum exhibits will be under one roof.
Good Summer to visit!
If your kids had visited the Children's Discovery Museum in the past, this will be the last time they will get to go to the original museum. It's a good time to visit some of the favorite exhibits:
- Play in the train room - How much is that trip to Boston?
- Climb the wall and discover which ball track is faster. - Don't forgot to reset the dominos over the fireplace.
- Try to make a life size bubble in the Water room
- Swim up the stairs
- Try to catch the foam falling out of the ceiling
- Read a story by the pretend fire in the Backyard at Night room
- Play in the Adventure Fort
- Head up to the Attic and the Ship Room
According to the website, all the popular exhibits in the original museum will be in the new one:
Every experience in the current Children's Discovery Museum balls and ramps, water, air, Bessie's Diner, the Ship Room, trains, light & color, Backyard at Night will exist in the new building. Along with what will become new favorites!
While it's nice that they are keeping the exhibits, it won't be the same as it was in the old building. I would recommend at least stopping by and checking it out for the last time.
Bessie's the big, green dinosaur birthday is at the end of June. They might be having a celebration around June 24-25. It's a fun time to go since they have an Outdoor Dinosaur Dig, Dinosaur Egg hung, Face Painting and you can give Bessie a bath.
|May 8, 2016|
A to Z Reflections
Here are my reflections on this years 'A to Z Challenge'.
I decided to keep the same topic format that I have been using. A different topic of interest every day. This made it a bit more challenging to find things that fit the letter of the day. I didn't want to just throw a letter or word, I wanted the content to be interesting.
My first challenge was to build a comment section, which was a bit challenging because I didn't want robots to spam the database. (This blog isn't built using any of the "standard" blogging platforms.)
Some letters were a bit challenging:When I was stuck on the letter 'o', I actually went to the bookstore and got a Disney book and went straight to the index to get some ideas. This is something that I wouldn't have normally done. I did come up with a great posting about One Man's Dream in Hollywood Studios.
Other letters that were challenging to find topic were Q, X, and Z.
If I could write it over again, I would definitely come up with a better topic for the letter 'W'. I couldn't really come up with something in the Productive category that starts with 'W'. The Winner's Creed was the best I could do at the time.
My favorite was the Leif Ericsson Statue blog posting. I learned a lot about a simple statue. I thought about the topic far in advance and did some research about it.
Overall the traffic to the blog remained the same. I didn't do much promotion. I was more focus on the content and my day to day job. Next year, I'll plan better and come up with some graphics for social media.
I really enjoyed visiting other blogs that we part of the challenge. I wouldn't have encountered these outside of the challenge. There are a lot of talented people posting things on the internet. Here are links to five Blogs that I enjoyed visiting during the challenge:
- Post Card a Day - Very creative Post Card collection.
- Ink & Stiches - Great Writer.
- Literacious - Great Stories.
- The Very Special Blog - TV Show themes!
- Tech Life - Stopped at 'N', what happened??
Next year I plan on putting together a better content schedule plan. There were a few instances where I was clueless on what to write about. Boston seems to be a lot easier to write about, Productivity and Disney's topics were a bit challenging.
The A to Z team did a great job promoting the Challenge. My only recommendation would be to add a 'random blog' functionality. Just another way for people to discover other people blogs.
|April 30, 2016|
If you're doing some early morning errands around Natick, and happen to be near the Christmas Tree Shop and looking for a breakfast spot that has really good gluten free options. We know of a good place to go. It's Zaftigs Delicatessen, which is located a couple of doors away from the Christmas Tree Shop in the Sherwood Plaza.
On a recent Sunday morning we stopped at Zaftigs for a quick breakfast. We were very pleased with the service and quality and quantity of food. This is certainly a place we would go back again and again.
On Sundays, the restaurant is scheduled to be open at 8am. But when we arrived a few minutes before 8, we saw the door was open and a few people sitting down enjoying their morning coffee. We figured that it must be the regular Sunday breakfast crowd. By the time we left, most of the seats in the restaurant were taken.
When we placed our order, we told our waitress of our daughter's need to eat gluten free. The Waitress let us know what items they could safely be prepared gluten free. (They even had gluten free bread and bagels!) She told us that after she put in the order, the manager would come over and talk to us.
The manager came over to our table to explain how serious they take food allergies. They have a dedicated toaster, with a label letting everyone know what it's for. Before cooking any eggs, the cooks make sure the grill is completely clean. She answered all our questions and was very knowledgeable on the cross contamination issues.
The food was really good. Our daughter ate most her food; An extra cheese omelet with some side fruit and toast. Based on our taste experience, we think they use Udi's Gluten Free Bread. She really liked the food and loved the choices that they had.
The prices was reasonable, the kids omelet was $7.95, $1 more for the cheese and they did add a $1 surcharge for the Gluten Free white bread. We wouldn't eat here every Sunday, but it's a nice treat for special occasions.
Zaftigs Delicatessen is located in Natick at the Sherwood Plaza, where Joan & Ed's Deli use to be. They have another location in Brookline, a couple of blocks from the Coolidge Corner Theater.
|April 29, 2016|
Yandex is one of the largest internet companies in Europe, operating Russia's most popular search engine and its most visited website. According to LiveInternet, for the three months ended December 31, 2015, we generated 57.3% of all search traffic in Russia. We also operate in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Turkey.
Yandex.Disk is a free service that lets you store your photos, videos and documents online and access them from around the world on any device. Disk lets you keep your important files secure and effortlessly share them with your friends and colleagues.
Yandex.Disk is a good secondary backup option to DropBox. If you're dealing with a lot of very important files, it's a good idea to have another provider. Just in case something goes wrong with backing up your primary files.
You get 10 GB to start and can upgrade to three different package options:
Yandex Pricing is very similar to Dropbox and other cloud services. What makes Yandex unique is that it's a European based company and there's a cool screenshot tool.
The Yandex OS X application has a menu command that lets you take screenshots. Immediately after you take the screenshots an Edit dialog appears where you can add Arrow, Text, Shapes, Marker, Blur and Crop functionality. All screenshots are saved to the Yandex Disk.
The screenshot does lack some of the functionality in Skitch and Monosnap. For example, the text tool doesn't have a color border around the text. The color border helps make the text stand out in graphic files.
Yandex.Disk seems like a good option if you're looking for another backup strategy. The screenshot tools seem like a good bonus. You could always use Skitch to take screenshots at work, and then use Yandex for screenshots for personal use. Or you can use Yandex for screenshots archives of the website or projects.
I think it's worth giving Yandex.Disk a shot. You get 10 GB to start to see if it's something that you might use.
|April 27, 2016|
The Winner's Creed found in Napolean Hill book "Think and Grow Rich." This was made more popular by Tony Robbins in his Life Mastery Program in Hawaii, Fiji:
I know that I have the ability to achieve my definite purpose in life:
therefore I demand of myself, persistent, continuous action towards
its attainment and I here and now promise to render such action.
I fully realize that no wealth or position will long endure
unless it is built upon truth and justice;
therefore I will engage in no transaction which does not benefit
all to whom it effects.
I am succeeding by attracting to myself the forces I wish to use
and the cooperation of other people.
I induce others to serve me because of my willingness to serve others.
I eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, cynicism, anger, and fear
by developing a true love for all humanity,
because I know that a negative attitude towards others
will never bring me success.
I cause others to believe in me because I believe in them
and believe in myself.
This is my creed, my quest.
To never stop striving for the top.
To always keep moving forward.
To always be the very best I can be.
I am the power. I am the magic. I can not be stopped. I am a winner.
I promise to always be true to myself
because I am the creator and master of my universe
and I am responsible for making a positive difference in the world
and to the quality of life in it.
I live in constant and never-ending improvement.
|April 26, 2016|
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that if not treated right can damage the villi in the small intestine. The proper way to treat the disease is to eat foods that do not contain any Wheat, Barley, Rye or Oats.
If you been eating gluten free for a while, experts recommend taking vitamin supplements to make up for some vitamin and mineral missing in some gluten free foods.
This is because many gluten free substitutes are not enriched and have lower amounts of the vitamin found in many wheat-based products.
When looking for vitamins, make sure to look for high concentration of the following:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
We have been using Dinosaurs MultiSaurus chewable. It's available at Whole Foods, Amazon, and other Online stores. The good thing about these is that they taste like candy and they are gluten free. Kids will be happy to get their daily treats
We add more fiber in our diet by taking fiber chews, which taste exactly like gummies. Who doesn't like gummies?
If you're eating gluten-free, make sure to add vitamin and minerals to your diet. Just double check the labels, make sure that its gluten free. (We were surprised how many name brand multi-vitamins are not Celiac friendly)
|April 25, 2016|
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid ride
If Disney was to ever change the Haunted Mansion to some more modern animatronic it would be something like the Under the Sea ride. The animatronic and special effects are very cool. Instead of riding in a Doom buggy, you ride in a clamshell vehicle.
The Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid ride is part of the New Fantasyland that officially opened on December 6, 2012. (Disney started previewing attractions on November 19.) Other attractions opened during the first phase of the New Fantasyland include Be Our Guest Restaurant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariels Grotto, Gaston Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
The ride takes you through the journey of Arial from Mermaid to Wife. It's slightly different than the 1989 movie as it doesn't go through much of the struggle that Arial had an encounter with Ursula and her father. Basically, the ride keeps the story upbeat.
Total actual ride time: 6 minutes.
Some of my notes on this ride:
This is a very popular ride, with daytime wait times around 35-40 minutes. You should certainly include it as part of any early Fast Pass reservations.
The ride wait queue has some entertaining effects with an electronic crab. Basically, you wave you hand in front of a monitor when you want the crab to do something, such as fetch a hat. It's quick to learn and the crab will make people laugh. So when you hear laughter in line, you know it probably has to do with the crab.
Fast Pass users will miss this part of the electronic crab. The crab "wait queue" entertainment is worth checking out when the wait is at least 30 minutes. Shorter wait times means that you walk by the entertainment section and won't get to appreciate the humor the Imagineers put in the "wait queue."
There are shells strategically placed in the waiting queue. Look carefully there are several intentionally placed to form a hidden Mickey.
Arial animatronic is a bit weird looking when you experience the ride than in pictures. For some reason, all the pictures that I have taken of Arial have a weird scary look. (In particular the animatronic in the 'Part of Your World' room.)
The area where Arial sings 'Part of Your World' has some interesting gizmos and gadgets. Sebastian pops his head out from one of the treasure chests every once in a while.
There is a "Magdalene with the Smoking Flame" picture in Arial's collection. This is an oil-on-canvas depiction of Mary Magdalene by French Baroque painter Georges de La Tour, painted in 1640.
You may be able to see a book with the initials 'MM.' Perhaps for Mermaid or is it Mary Magdalene? Note that an oil lamp separates the frame picture from the book. (Similar to the painting.)
When you enter the "Under the Sea" song area check out the eyes on the lobsters, just below Sebastian. The fifth lobster eyes look different than the others. This is the only place where the lobster eyes don't match up. (Could it be a hint to look someplace else?)
Your half way through the ride when you see the green fish blowing the saxophone. This happens just as you leave the "Under the Sea" area.
The "Kiss the Girl" scene looks very familiar. I don't know if its to reference the Pirates of the Caribbean ride going by the Blue Bayou restaurant in Disneyland.