September 1, 2016

Bent 38 Central Artery Pole

38 Poles

On the corner of Clinton Street and John F Fitzgerald Surface Rd, near Quincy Market lies a memorial to the elevated part of the John F. Fitzgerald Expressway.

The John F. Fitzgerald Expressway was a section of the highway in downtown Boston. Part of the highway was elevated from South Station to North Station, essentially splitting the North End section of Boston from the rest of the city.

Bostonians called this part of the highway many names: The Southeast Expressway, the Central Artery, Interstate 93, Route 3, the X-way, the Sexway, the Messway, Green Horror, and the Distressway.

Central Artery Trivia

  • John Francis Fitzgerald (February 11, 1863 - October 2, 1950) was a mayor of Boston from 1906 to 1908 and again 1910 to 1914.
  • His daughter Rose married Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., the son of his political rival P. J. Kennedy.
  • The name the Central Artery to John F. Fitzgerald Expressway was proposed by Robert F. Murphy of Malden on January 16, 1951
  • In 1959, Rep. Gerald F. Doherty filed a bill to name the highway James M. Curley Highway.
  • Constructions of the Fitzgerald Expressway began in 1952.
  • On opening day (June 25, 1959) of the completed North-South highway, 114,184 vichicles used the new road.
  • The inital Central Artery was estimated to cost $68,758,000 over 25 years.
  • The completed highway cost $450,000,000 paid by state highway bond funds.
  • By the 1990's the accident rate on the elevated highway part was four times the national average.

Memorial Inscription

Bent 38

The elevated John F. Fitzgerald Expressway was one of the Commonwealth's most ambitious and controversial urban redevelopment projects, Built by the Massachusetts Department of Public Works between 1951 and 1959 its downtown Boston route stretched from Dewey Square to North Station and allowed the growing crowds of suburban commuters to bypass the city's narrow streets. Twenty thousand citizens we displaced and hundred of buildings were demolished to build the six-lane skyway. Nevertheless, planners hoped that i.e. would alleviate congestion and simplify interurban travel.

Over the next 31 years the Expressway's daily capacity grew from approximately 75,000 vehicles in 1959 to nearly 200,000 vehicles in 1990. Pollution and traffic jams became a regular part of the city skyline, while the Waterfront and North End languished in the shadow grease and grime of the Boston's "other Green Monster." Between 1990 and 2007, the Central Artery/Tunnel Project redirected I-93 into a modern network of downtown tunnels. It also demolished the dilapidated Fitzgerald Expressway restored the city's surface roads and created the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

This structural column knowns as "Bent 38" still rests on its original foundations and is the only piece of the elevated highway that was left undisturbed by construction. It remains as a memorial to the Expressway and to the impact that the health of our transportation system have upon the life of our community. It also symbolizes the labor of scores of men and women who work to improve our city every day.

September 2, 2016

Preview Bootstrap in BBEdit

BBEdit C D

I have used BBEdit off and on for the past 10+ years. Every single Macintosh that I have own has had a copy of BBEdit on it. I don't remember exactly when I purchased my first version of BBEDit, but I did find a "BBEdit 3.0 Prefs." file on a ZipDisk from 1994.

I still have my BBEdit 6.0 and BBEdit 4.02 CDs, probably got them at MacWorld Boston.

What is BBEdit?

Here's a description of what BBEdit is from the BBEdit 4.0.2 documentation (May 8, 1996):

BBEdit is a high-performance text editor for the Macintosh. Unlike a word processor, whose main purpose it to make it easy to write prose that will eventually find its way to a printed page, a text editor is primarily concerned with manipulating large amounts of text.

BBEdit offers pattern searching and replacing, multi-file searching, sophisticated text transformations, and other features not usually found in word processors.

BBEdit has commands that make it easier to edit specific kinds of text such as source files for programming languages and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) files for the World Wide Web.

Top Uses of BBEdit

Here's the list of task that I do in BBEdit:

  1. Zap Gremlins - BBEdit Zep Gremlin feature is pure awesome. It removed all Non-ASCII characters, Control characters and replaces with code. Essential when you have to deal with removing smart quotes.
  2. Process Lines Containing - This is a quick and easy way to clean up a large file. I can quickly parse out certain phrases into a separate file.
  3. Sort Lines - I use this when I have a list of items that needs sorting, such as customer name or accounts.
  4. HTML Markup - BBEdit is my go to editor for all my HTML work.
  5. Editing Text Files - Anytime that I have a non-word or rich text file, I'll open it in BBEdit. I have the ability to use any of the text tools if needed.

Preview your Bootstrap pages right in BBEdit

Bootstrap is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web. Developers like it because it makes it simple to create websites that look great across various platforms. BBEdit’s Preview commands allow you to view your pages in one or more web browsers. With some simple configurations, you can get BBEdit to display HTML using BootStrap CSS.

Via Preview Template

  • Using BBEdit reate a Bootstrap template document with external CSS and Javascript references
  • This document may can contain anything you like but should define the basic structure and appearance of your desired page.
  • Within the document, place a single placeholder: #DOCUMENT_CONTENT#. When you preview a document, the text content will go where #DOCUMENT_CONTENT# appears.
  • Quit BBEdit
  • Go to "~/Library/Application Support/ BBEdit/" and create a new folder called "Preview Templates"
  • Place your Bootstrap template to the folder.
  • Launch BBEdit

Via Preview CSS

  • Quit BBEdit
  • Go to "~/Library/Application Support/ BBEdit/" and create a new folder called "Preview CSS"
  • Copy over your Bootstrap CSS file to the new folder, or simply get the CSS from the bootstrapcdn.com.
  • Launch BBEdit

Now when you want to preview some HTML text, including BootStrap specific CSS, you simply select 'Preview in BBEdit'. Then select the template, or the CSS file.

Getting BBEdit

Download the latest version of BBEdit from their website. There is a 30-Day trial. BBEdit is $49.99 for an Individual license.

September 3, 2016

Corporate Money in Politics

Corporations have taken over the 2016 United States Presidential Elections.

This screenshot of a campaign donation request that I receieved recently:

Triple Match Funding

Triple Match? Where is that matching money coming from? Corporations. This is why many people feel that the political system in the United States is out of control.

Not a Problem?

Don't think money is an issue in this Election? Consider this snip from the Ben and Jerry's website:

$200 may not sound like a lot of money, but in the last presidential election cycle less than ½ of one percent of Americans made a political donation of more than $200. Donating that kind of cash to a campaign is well beyond what many people and families can afford and if the decision is between funding a politician and buying a month’s worth of groceries, you can bet that food comes first. Besides, since when did free speech get so expensive?

28th Ammendment

Please support the fight to get the Corporations out of the elections via the 28th Ammendment to the Constituion. The reason why we need a constitution is to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling in 2010.

Get The Dough OutVisit getthedoughout.org

Let the People Vote! Campaign Contributions have gotten out of control. Before we can control the government spending, we need to control the contribution spending.

September 4, 2016

Identify USB 1 and USB 2 Cables

Here's an easy way to identify the difference between a USB 1 and a USB 2 cable:

USB1 USB2

Look at the 'B' part of the cable, it's the end that usually connects to the computer. The end casing for the USB 2 is a bit bigger. The end casing for USB 1.1 is 4.5 MM, where as the end casing for USB 2.0 is 5.2 MM.

A quick check would be to compare the end of an unknown USB cable with a USB mouse or keyboard.

Newer USB devices have color distinctions, so it's much easier to tell the newer highspeed types. Its just difficult to tell the difference between the 1.1 and 2.0 series.

How I encounter the Problem

If you're having problems with some of your USB devices. You may want to check the type of cable that you are using.

I was having problems scanning and printing with my Epson Stylus CX7800. The computer could not find the printer. What made it frustrating is that some times it would work.

I checked several settings on multiple computers and could only get the scanning to work on my old Powerbook G4. For some reason, the scanner wasn't being recognized on some of the newer computers.

The problem was that I was using an old USB 1.1 cable, where I should have been using a USB 2 cable.

Once I tried a different cable everything worked fine. I notice an immediate difference when I plugged the cable into the computer, the scanner would acknowledge that a computer was connected, where it didn't do that before.

Lession Learned

If you're having problems with your USB device, you may want to double check the cable that you're having. Save time in the future and label old USB 1.1 cables, so it doesn't happen again.

September 5, 2016

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Disney Sci Fi

If your looking for a unique dinning experience at the Disney Studios, check out the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant on Commissary Lane, near the Star Tours - The Adventure Continues.

This is Disney’s brief description of this establishment:

Diners sit in car-shaped booths while watching this eatery's retro flicks & eating American grub.

Reservations are highly recommended, as there is a long wait for this popular restaurant. Tables and booths will be assigned upon your arrival at the restaurant unless otherwise reserved. You may make reservations up to 180 days before your arrival.

Things that I have learned about this resturant

  • This restaurant is set up to look like a drive-in.
  • The “movie theater” screen is on the opposite side of the wall when you walk in. Basically, the cars are all facing towards the waiting area.
  • There is a separate Allergy Friendly menu, simply asked for it when you arrive.
  • There is no “best seat,” Sitting in the back gives you the chance to see people walk in and awe at the drive-in experience. If you can avoid the front cars as they are a bit close to the screen.
  • Each car can hold up to six people. There are a couple of ‘cars’ that are setup up as tables, so they are handicap accessible.
  • The movie experience repeats itself after about 45 minutes.
  • The car license plate numbers on the cars are Disney Imagineers that work putting together the restaurant and birth dates (Month Year)
  • Since the room is dark most of the time, it’s hard to take the perfect group picture. There is a car prop by the entrance where you can take all the group pictures that you want. Anyone know the license plate number on that car??
  • Walt Disney makes an appearance in several clips - these are from the Disneyland series where Walt talks about life on other planets. The robot that introduces Walt is Garco.

September 6, 2016

The Local Wayland

Local Wayland

The Local is a Boston area restaurant chain, they have restaurants in Newton, Wellesley, and Wayland. Each location has pictures of the area inside of their restaurants. The nice things about "The Local" restaurant is that it tends to be quieter than Tavern in the Square. (There are no TVs in the main dining room.)

We enjoy going here to meet up with friends for a nice weekend lunch. They have great food selection and you can actually hear the person in front of you talking.

Dinner Selection

We have stopped in many times for lunch, this weekend we decided to stop in to try their dinner selection.

The Local has a separate gluten free menu. We asked for the gluten free menu when we arrived.

When we placed our order, we told the waitress of our daughter needing to eat gluten free. They didn't have any kid friendly gluten free options that our daughter would enjoy, so we asked for the gluten-free Mac & Cheese. The waitress said that they would be able to make it for her.

We notice that the waitress wasn’t writing anything down. Seemed a bit weird but could be a reason why...

Things didn’t go as planned

When our order arrived there were 2 issues:

  • The gluten free burger that we ordered off of the gluten free menu didn't have gluten free onions (they were regular onion rings)
  • One of the other burgers had cheese when we specify asked for no cheese.

The person who brought the order, who didn't take our order, noticed that the burger wasn't 100% gluten free. They did hesitate to put the dish on the table, as she knew that something was wrong. We told her that the person that ordered the burger ordered it gluten free as a preference. She put the food on the table.

We told them that we placed the order off the gluten free menu and that it mention the onion rings. Another waitress said the gluten free menu had an error and they would fix it to make sure that it says caramelize onions.

When we told them that we ordered a burger without cheese, they took the plate back and brought back a new plate about a minute later. It was a completely different burger since the other burger cheese was melting on the burger, and there’s no chance that they would have scraped it off.

Management Did Help

About 5 minutes later the manager came by and apologized for the issues with our order. He assured us that the Mac & Cheese was gluten free and that they did have a system in place for making sure that the order was properly handled in the kitchen.

Akkadents Happens

He did take off the 2 burgers off the order.

We Would Go Back?

Despite the mix up with the order, we certainly would go back. We have had plenty of good meals and won’t let this one episode stop us from going back.

We certainly recommend this restaurant, it's a nice quiet place to enjoy your meal.

When you have a food allergy you need to be vigilant at all times. Even when you eat at your favorite restaurant, you could run into issues.

September 7, 2016

Framingham MBTA Parking Spaces

New Parking at the Framingham MBTA Commuter Rail Station

The MWRA is in the early stages of building a new parking lot right next to the existing Banana lot in downtown Framingham. There will be an additional 250 parking spaces.

Parking Lot Plans

Once completed, there will be 417 parking spaces available for daily commuters to Boston.

The new lot will allow commuters to park much closer to the station.

Current Status

The MBTA is in the process of cleaning out the 'Y' field area. This was used as a holding area for the rail replacement that has been in process for the past couple of years.

Yellow GateThis Falll commuters will be watching construction of the Parking space.

Framingham Pearl Street Garage

A source at the Framingham Facilities Management has told me that they will not be making any changes to any of their commuter parking lots - including the nearby Pearl Street garage. There are no immediate plans to sell the garage or change parking fees.

The Pearl Street garage will still be the cheapest option for Framingham residences. The MBTA does offer a monthly permit for $70. The Pearl Street garage is only $65 for Framingham residents, non-residents pay $80 a month. However, having the MBTA monthly parking pass doesn't guarantee parking.

Last year the town tried to "gift" the lot to MassBay Community College as an incentive to move to downtown. This didn't work out as the State of Massachusetts didn't approve the necessary funding that MassBay needed to relocate.

There are no assign parking spaces in the garage. You are asked not to park in the basement.

Waverly Street Parking Lot

The Town of Framingham leases the lot across from the Commuter Rail station from the MBTA. This is commonly known as the Waverly Street Commuter Lot. I have learned that there is a waiting list for this lot because of its easier for commuters from Natick or Ashland to get in and out of. At $90 a month, this is a very expense lot, although some people pay $100 or more to park at various businesses near the West Natick Commuter Rail station.

Its uncertain if the new Banana Lot extension will fill up every day since some commuters will have to drive through downtown to get to the lot. Framingham traffic is very busy in the morning.

September 8, 2016

William Billings

Next to the entrance gate of the Central Burying Ground in the Boston Commons is a marker for William Billings:

William Billings Marker

About William Billings

William Billings was one of the first American-born composers. He was singing master who tutored music to many wealthy families in Colonial Massachusetts.

He created songs that help inspired those that were fighting in the American Revolution.

Unfortunately he couldn't capitalize on his work because the newly formed country didn't have a well-established copyright system in place. He spent his final days as a poor sick man.

When he died his family couldn't afford a grave marker. He is buried in an unmarked grave someplace in the Central Burying Ground.

Central Burying Grounds

The Central Burying Grounds did encounter an incident in 1895. A few graves accidentally unearthed during the initial construction of the MBTA Subway system.

The unearth bodies were moved to a single gravesite. This is likely where William Billings final resting place is.

There is a marker to indicate where the bodies were relocated:

Moved Grave Stone3
"Here were interred the remains of persons found under the Boylston Street Mall during the digging of the subway, 1895"

Misc Trivia about William Billings

  • Born October 7, 1746 and died September 28, 1800
  • William was blind in one eye, had a short leg and had Poland Syndrome. He enjoyed inhaling powdered tobacco.
  • Married Lucy Swan on July 26, 1774. Lucy died in Boston in 1795. (I Wasn't able to find her burial site)
  • They had nine children: Rachel, Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Adams, William, Lucy, Sarah, William, Peggy Dawes, Lucy
  • He was a music educator that full filled the need for to improve congregational singing in the Churches in the mid-1700s.
  • He was the best known and probably the most prolific composer in 18th century America.
  • Billings has been called "the first important American composer"
  • His friends included Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.
  • Due to non-existent Copyright laws at the time, Mr. Billings didn't get a lot of credit for his music.
  • William last job was a street sweeper in Boston.
  • If there was an American Top 40s music list during the post revolution era, the song 'Chester' would have been in the top 10.
  • Chester was sung in many churches during the American Revolution

You can find William Billings: Wake Evr'y Breath album on iTunes. His music is usually played around American Independent Day.

Listen to "Chester" on YouTube with Lyrics:

William Billing Most Well Known Songs

  • Chester
  • I am the Rose of Sharon
  • Africa
  • Creation
  • Wake Ev'ry Breath
  • Mourn, Mourn
  • Chesterfield

When visiting Boston

If you plan on visiting Granary Burying Ground or King's Chapel Burying Ground, you may want to include the Central Burying Grounds as part of your tour.

October 7th, 2016 marks his 270th birthday.

September 9, 2016

TextSoap

Text Soap Logo

Stop manually fixing text documents and emails. TextSoap, from Unmarked Software, is a fast way to automate away all that tediousness.

TextSoap automatically remove unwanted characters, fix messed up carriage returns, and pretty much anything else you can think. There are 100 different built-in actions at your disposal. TextSoap has a very neat library where actions are sorted out so they are easy to find.

Save time & effort. Be more productive.

Clean Text Early and Often

There is a cleaner called Scrub, and they describe it : “This cleaner addresses 90% of text cleaning needs. Like a multivitamin, it gives you more than one cleaner in a single shot, stopping spaces, forwarding characters, MIME encoded characters (%Hex, =Hex), and paragraphs. SCRUB calls the cleaners in a proper order to ensure the best results." Basically, it’s TextSoap version of ‘Buy Now.’ It’s a one-stop shop to get your text clean up quickly.

TextSoap Been Around

TextSoap isn't new to the market, TextSoap 1.0 was officially released 18 years ago on April 14, 1998. They have been constantly updating the software to make text clean up better. They been around for a while, so they know a thing or two about cleaning up text.

Example: Creating Text to Hyperlink for Jira

Jira Hyperlink

There is one feature that I am trying to get to work in TextSoap and that's the ability to add Hyperlink to text in Rich Text. I haven't been able to get it to work - yet. Once I do I'll update the steps on this blog.

Final Thoughts on TextSoap

If you're looking for a tool that will help clean up your code quickly, then TextSoap is it. With 100 built-in actions you can get started right away.

One reviewer on MacUpdate said:

Customer Quote

I would have to agree.

After playing around with TextSoap for a while, it was hard to find it a productive tool. As an avid BBEdit user, I just couldn't find a justification to spend $44.99. In addition, TextSoap doesn’t seem to handle multiple files modification or dealing with large files. I tested with a large log file and TextSoap crashed when I ran the Scrub command.

The one thing that I did like about TextSoap is that you can manipulate Rich Text files, something that you can't do in BBEdit without BBEdit stripping out the Rich Text format.

Check it for yourself, you can try TextSoap for 30 days. After that you’ll have to pay $44.99 for an individual license or $64.99 for the Family Pac..

September 10, 2016

Pixelmator Repair Tool Keyboard Shortcut

This weekend I was doing a lot of touch up to some old photographs. Many of these contained scratches and dust that needed to get removed. Fortunately, Pixelmator makes repairing images very easy with the repair tool.

One of the things that was frustrating me was the procedure that I had to do to keep changing the brush side, sometimes a smaller brush would get a better accurate repair effect. This was especially true on scratches on stripe pattern. A bigger brush sometimes would produce an odd looking effect.

After a few times going to the 'Info Bar' to change the brush Diameter, I inadvertently discovered that when I have the 'Repair Tool' selected and then right click on the image I get a mini dialog with the option to change the brush Diameter and Hardness:

Repair Tool Tip

This is very handy when doing a lot of changes. It makes it very easy to adjust the brush size. Other tools also have some 'extra' functionality when you right-click. But I find that it's very helpful when touching up photos.

Tip about Hardness: Brush Hardness determines how much of an edge the brush has. A hardness level of 100% means that the brush has a solid edge. Anything less than that then the brush has a bit of a fade effect to the edge.

You can also adjust the size by using the '[' and ']' keys. The Left bracket increases, while the right bracket decreases.

In addition, you can navigate through the brushes by using the period and comma keys. This is useful if you have the Brush window open, so you know what brush your dealing with.

Keyboards Tips

I found it very helpful to review Pixelmator's Keyboard Shortcut page to see other shortcuts that were available to me.

September 11, 2016

George W. Bush

Something to think about today, Patriot Day in the United States:

The following appeared in the Durham, NC local paper as a letter to the editor:

Liberals claim President Bush shouldn't have started this war. They complain about his prosecution of it. One liberal recently claimed Bush was the worst president in U.S. history.

Let's clear up one point: President Bush didn't start the war on terror. Try to remember, it was started by terrorists BEFORE 9/11. Let's look at the "worst" president and mismanagement claims.

FDR led us into World War II. Germany never attacked us: Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year.

Truman finished that war and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,333 per year.

John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked us. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average e of 5,800 per year.

Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent. Bosnia never attacked us. He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions. Over 2,900 lives lost on 9/11.

In the two years since terrorists attacked us, President Bush has liberated two countries, rushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Lybia, Iran, and North Korea without firing a shot, captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people. We lost 600 soldiers, an average of 300 a year. Bush did all this abroad while not allowing another terrorist attack at home.

Worst president in history? Come on!

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking, but...

  • It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound.
  • That was a 51 day operation.
  • We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records.
  • It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Teddy Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.
  • It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!!

Our military is GREAT! PASS IT ON.

September 12, 2016

Pleasure Island & Disney Springs

Pleasure Island Logo

Long before Disney Springs and Downtown Disney the area was known as Disney Marketplace and Pleasure Island.

Pleasure Island part of Downtown Disney opened on May 1, 1989 and officially renamed on November 18, 2010. Many of the nightclubs on the island were closed on September 27, 2008.

Pleasure Island

To get into any of the night clubs on the island you had to pay a single cover charge. This was something similar to how things were being done at Church Street Station in downtown Orlando.

Part of the attraction to Pleasure Island was that it was New Year's Eve every night. The lights would dim and the crowd would go crazy counting down to midnight.

This was to be a place for adults to have some fun after a long day at the park. All the night clubs were for 21+ and over.

Disney Executives decided to change the focus of Pleasure Island in response to guests who wanted more family-friendly attractions. The area of Pleasure Island is now called "The Landing."

PleasureIslandMap2.jpg
Click on the Map to download the larger version of the Map of the Pleasure Island and see how much it has changed since 1991.

Things we Do in Disney Springs

Here are some of the things/shops that we visit during our Disney Vacation.

  • Check out the Disney Pin Traders store for the latest pins. Ask a cast member for any new stock or your favorite ride.
  • Make your own Disney Treat at the Goofy's Candy Company
  • Shop at the largest Disney Store in the World - The World of Disney. Find some unique Disney things for the home. You can always have the items shipped home.
  • Face Painting - The kids will like this
  • Train Ride - Fiun thing to do for the kids but the rides in the parks are so much better. (Come on Disney, I know you can build a better train ride!)
  • Disney Design-A-Tee - Make your Own Shirt, add your name and message. A custom souvenir! Great place to get last minute team shirts that you see everyone wearing.
  • Gluten Free Bakery - Great Gluten Free baked goods at the Erin McKenna's Bakery.
  • Disney Days of Christmas - Start a new tradition and get a Christmas Ornament on your trip.
  • The Art of Disney - Find some unique collectible. Great collection of souvenirs that you'll want to put in the Living Room.

September 13, 2016

Teal Pumpkin Project

Teal Pumpkin Example

This Halloween, if your children have any food allergies, look for houses that have a teal pumpkin by the front door. It will be a clear indicator that there are allergy safe treats available.

The Teal Pumpkin Project, now in its fourth year, was created to spread the awareness of children's food allergies. Especially how difficult Halloween can be.

We know first hand on what it's like to tell your child that they can't eat certain candies because they contain an ingredient that they may be allergic to. While trick or treating might be fun, but at the end of the night, it's all about the candy.

About the Teal Pumpkin Project

The project started in 2011 by the families of the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee.

The Teal Pumpkin Project website has all sorts of ideas on alternative things to hand out as well as signs that can be hung in the window - should you not want to make a teal pumpkin.

About Our Pumpkin

We got a foam pumpkin at Michaels craft stores. You can buy a Teal pumpkin for $6.79. (On Sale!) You can store the pumpkin in the attic, with all your Halloween supplies and bring it out next year. The good news is that the squirrels won't both the teal pumpkin, unlike our real pumpkins. So this will last and last.

The top three food allergies are milk, egg, and peanut. Other allergies include seafood, tree nuts, wheat, and soy.

A Walk Down Memory Lane...

I remember when I was young I used to go trick or treating near Kirkland Drive in Stow, Massachusetts. There was this one house where they would only give out toothbrushes instead of candy. I recall that they did this because the father was a dentist. It was funny because all the kids knew what he gave out, and we joked about it. Yet, year after year we would still stop by the house for trick or treat. Perhaps we did this just to see if he would still give out toothbrushes.

I assumed that he got the toothbrush from his stock at the office, so they probably didn't really spend any money on Halloween. Was it a marketing trick? Not sure how many parents switched dentists because of the toothbrush promotion. I knew we didn't.

Alternative Candy Ideas

If you're looking for an alternative candy item, please don't select a toothbrush. Consider going to the dollar store and getting some kids birthday giveaway items.

Somethings to hand out:

  • Glow Sticks
  • Mini Yo-Yos
  • Paper Wrist bands
  • $1 Dairy Queen Coupon
  • Silly Pens or Pencils
  • Silly Erasers
  • Mini Bubbles

You can find other creative things to hand out on Pinterest.

September 14, 2016

Bowditch Field

Bowditch Field 2009

Bowditch field is a 18 acres athletic field in Framingham, Massachusetts. The field is home to the Framingham State University Rams football and baseball programs. The field also hosts football games from Framingham High as well as athletic events from Mass Bay. The complex is owned and operated by the Town of Framingham.

The field is located between Union Ave and Walnut Street in Framingham.

Current Amenities include Lighted NCAA regulation baseball diamond field, (4) Lighted Tennis Courts, Lighted Football, Lighted Outdoor Basketball, xBE Mile Jogging Area, 6-lane Track, Fitness Course with (20) Exercise Stations, Stadium Seating for 3,500 spectators.

Brief History of the Bowditch Field

The field was the town's "Fair Grounds" and had the first fair in 1869.

In 1917 the town of Framingham acquired the property from the South Middlesex Agricultural Society. At the time the land was used for horse racing and yearly agriculture fairs.

The stadium opened in the 1930s and was one of the Works Progress Administration projects during the Great Depression.

In 1946, the town of Framingham named the complex after Nathaniel Bowditch a long time park commissioner. ( It was not named after the mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch, who also wrote The American Practical Navigator.)

In 1959, 25,000 people gathered at Bowditch Field to celebrate Framingham's Jubilee Day. They gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Trust Company and the 100th anniversary of the Holliston's Hydrant Co. No. 3.

The complex last major renovation was in 2009 and a grand reopening was in October 2010. (The original opening was to be on September 15, 2010.) It cost the town $7.9 million. New stadium seats were added as well as a new concession was built.

In addition, a permanent monument was created near the entrance to highlight the history of the field.

Nathaniel I. Bowditch

Some brief information I found on Nathaniel I. Bowditch:

  • Died on April 3, 1945 at 72
  • Middlesex County Commissioner and founder since 1926
  • Trustee of Massachusetts State College (now UMass)
  • MIT Graduate

The Field today

Today most people use the running track as park of their daily exercise. The lights above the field are on every night until 11 pm. There are people that play team basketball until the lights go out.

Every Wednesday night in the summer the Framingham Running Club takes over the facility and conducts several races for kids of all ages. Ribbons are awarded for the first three runners that cross the finish line.

Metrofest has held its annual food truck event. The event features at least 20 food trucks, as well as activities for children, musical performances on two stages, and a tastings tent with craft beer, wine, and hard cider. The event as attracted some 13,500 guests to the Bowditch Athletic & Cultural Complex over the past few years

For one night in August, the town hosts a family movie night. People sit on the field and watch a movie on a large blow up screen. Past movie nights include The Lion King, Frozen and Zootopia.

Framingham High School Graduation and Commencement is held at the Bowditch field.

Parking is very limited with only 50 parking spaces in the immediate Bowditch field complex. The grass area, behind the concession stands, is open up during special events to accomodate more cars. There are some limited parking along Walnut street. Its highly recommend to arrive early for any major event.

Reservations Required

The public is invited to use the track when there are no events happening. The football field is off limits to the general public. If you are planning to have an event here, reservations are required. You can download an event permit from the Town of Framingham Park and Recreation website.

Pets are not allowed in the Bowditch field complex.

September 15, 2016

Mary Dyer

Mary Dyer

In front of the Massachusetts State House are two women statues, the first two women statues in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Anne Hutchinson (April 14, 1922) and Mary Dyer (July 9, 1959).

Anne Hutchinson statue is by the West Wing and Mary Dyer is on the East Wing.

Who was Mary Dyer?

Mary Dyer was a Quaker who kept visiting Boston to meet up with her friends in jail. Local officials had requested her not to come to Boston. But she defied the order and paid the ultimate price.

Here's a brief version of what happened to Mary Dyer:

In Colonial Massachusetts Puritans didn't have a favorable view of Quakers. Quakers would constantly interrupt Puritan's sermons with their own views.

In 1657 the General Court of Massachusetts who rules, "anybody who should lodge a Quaker should be fined for such offence at the rate of 40 shillings for every hour of such concealment...that every Quaker man after being once punished and banished should presume to return should have one of his ears cut off for the first offence, and for a second offence his other ear, and for a third offence should have his tongue bored through with a hot iron."

One night Mary Dyer, who became a Quaker while visiting England, was passing through Boston to her home in Rhode Island. She was arrested and imprisoned. She was released by the request of her husband.

A couple of years later, she returned to Boston to visit friends that were imprisoned. She was brought before the court, with her friends, and was told to get out of Massachusetts within the next 48 hours. If they were sill in the commonwealth after that time, they would be put to death.

Mary Dyer left Massachusetts to Rhode Island but returned to Boston 30 days later to visit other Quaker friends that were imprisoned. She was arrested and on October 27, 1659, was to be hanged.

Her son pleaded to the court for her release The court agreed and allowed her to return to Rhode Island.

In May 21, 1660, she returned to Boston. She was arrested and given the death penalty. The court wasn't going to accept any reprieve.

She was told by Governor John Endecott, the first Massachusetts Governor, "You will own yourself a Quaker, will you not? The sentence was passed upon you at the last General Court... now it is to be executed. Therefore prepare yourself tomorrow at 9 o'clock."

On May 22, 1660, at 9am she was taken from the Boston Gaol to the Great Elm of the Boston commons, a noose was placed around her neck, she was then asked if she would "go home and stay there."

She responded with "Nay. In obedience to the will have the Lord God I came, and in His will, I will abide faithful unto death."

Mary Dyer died minutes later. Her body was returned to her family in Rhode Island.

Why was the Statue Created?

Zeno Ellis, a banker from Vermont, put the following in her will

"I give and bequeath to the State of Massachusetts the sum of $12,000 for the construction and permanent erection on the grounds of the Capitol or State House in the City of Boston in said the State of Massachusetts as appropriate statue of my ancestor Mary Dyer who died in the year 1660."

Statue Information

The figure on the Statue is looking towards the Boston Commons where Mary Dyer was hanged. Her back is to the legislature as if to make a statement about her death. She is wearing typical Quaker clothes.

The sculpture was created by Sylvia Shaw Judson. She is perhaps best known for the 'Bird Girl' sculpture which was used on the cover of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"

September 16, 2016

Vintage Prints Tip in Apple Photos

Apple shipped Photos application in 2015 as a replacement for iPhotos and Aperture. Photos was launched with mix reviews from the Apple community. Some people liked the speed improvement and enhanced editing functionality. Others think that Apple's decision to retire a pro image application (Aperture) for a free consumer solution was the wrong direction.

One of the nice features of Photos is how easy it is to create slideshows from an unlimited selection of pictures. Anybody can make professional looking slideshows very quickly.

Photos comes with seven different slideshow themes: Ken Burns, Origami, Reflections, Sliding Panels, Vintage Prints, Classic, and Magazine.

Slide Show Options2

I wished that Apple would make some of the Desktop Screen Savers as part of the slideshow themes. In particular, I would like the ability to create Mobile and Photo Wall slide show movies.

Screensaver Themes

Super Easy to Create a Custom Slide Show

You simply select the photos that you want to include in the slideshow and select "create slideshow" from the file menu. Once the slideshow group is creating the theme, background music , text overlays and duration of the show.

Once you generate the award-winning show, you can export the video to YouTube or to a file for further enhancement in iMovie. In iMovie you have better control on where the music plays and speed up and slow down the show as needed.

Tips and tricks with the Vintage Print Theme in Photos

I really like the Vintage Prints Theme in Photos. I like how the background is random photos in the slideshow. One of the problems with the Vintage theme is that you don't have much control over the individual slides. There might be times where the application will combine two pictures on a single slide and the two pictures don't compliment each other.

Example situation:

Vintage Slides2
Apple Photos has combined the two photos in the first slide, but they are not related.

There is no way around this, I can't force the application to not combine the two objects. I can, however, replace the object with the text field. This will move the unrelated photo to its own slide.

Steps to Add the Text Slide:

  • Click on one of the Photos that you don't want to be in the slide.
  • Click on the '+' icon in the bottom right and click on 'Add Text'
  • You should see the text box appear in the double slide.
  • By default the text in the slide says, 'Default Text'
  • You have two options:
  • You can enter in some text, describe the location or information about the other picture in the slide.
  • You can removed the entire 'Default Text' and enter in a space to have an empty box. You can't have an empty box, so if you just delete the text, the words 'Default Text' will still appear.

September 17, 2016

Prepping For Fall- How to Evaluate Your Cars Safety

As summer winds down, the air becomes less humid, kids go back to school, and family vacations begin to dwindle down. Fall is a great season to enter into, but there are many things that must be done to allow us to get back into the swing of our routines. You might think of the typical things- like developing a schedule for your children, and discussing carpooling with neighbors to coordinate your busy schedules. Or, figuring out what teacher your child has, and what activities they will become involved in during the school year.

But, we should also stop to think about the things that we rely on all year long. One of the most important factors for families is the ability to transport their children, as well as themselves to various destinations like work, school, and leisurely activities. Without a safe mode of transportation, many families may find it difficult to coordinate a busy schedule.

There are a few things that you should keep in mind before jumping full-force into your schedule this coming Fall. Make sure your car is prepared for the numerous amounts of times you will rely on it.

Pressure

Tire pressure in family automobiles is overlooked many times. As the air becomes cooler, it's good practice to ensure your tires all contain the same amount of air pressure. As the temperature decreases, your tire pressure usually follows the same pattern. Subsequently, as the temperature rises your tires tend to increase in pressure as well.

Check with your car's operating manual for the suggested tire pressure within your car. Adjust your pressure accordingly to ensure you are keeping your family safe while commuting this Fall. Tire pressures can easily become imbalanced, leading to less traction on one side of your vehicle in comparison to another.

Wipers

The Fall tends to bring much more precipitation to various areas of the country. When is the last time you checked your wiper blades to ensure they were clearing your windshield properly? For most, this may have been over a year ago. In fact, most drivers completely forget to change out their wiper blades until they experience reduced visibility when traveling in a heavy rainstorm. As a result, driving within torrential rainstorms with faulty wipers can lead to a unsafe conditions for you and your family.

It's recommended to change your wiper blades every few months. Double check your car and make sure you aren't stuck in a rainstorm with wipers that will not clear your windshield.

Oil

When's the last time you visited Midas or Jiffy Lube to get your oil changed? Even though these businesses place reminder stickers on customers windshields, many motorists overlook the reminder and continue to drive with oil that should have been changed many miles ago. The effects of having clean oil in your car cannot visibly be seen, however, the impact it can make on your motor and internal parts can be more drastic than it appears to the naked eye. In fact, many motorists travel with dirty oil, much longer than suggested by the manufacturer.

Before you jump back into your full routines this fall, make sure you are well-equipped for your busy schedule. Ensuring the family car is safe, and ready to transport you and your family will allow you a piece of mind when it comes to protecting the safety of yourself, as well as your family. Schedule a car tune up in the next few weeks to avoid any uncertainties down the road this Fall season.

September 18, 2016

50th Anniversary Music

The past few week's I was busy putting together a video collection of various photos for my parents 50th Anniversary. Here are some 1950's and 1960's music that I used in a video or as part of the background music:

Moon River Andy Williams
It's Almost Tomorrow Jimmy Velvet
11th Hour Melody Al Hibbler
I Can't Stop Loving You Ray Charles
Georgia On My Mind Ray Charles
Twilight Time The Platters
Love Letters In the Sand Pat Boone
It's All In The Game Tommy Edwards
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platters
Save the Last Dance for Me The Drifters
Galway Bay Bing Crosby
Roses Are Red Bobby Vinton
Put Your Head On My Shoulder Paul Anka
Lonely Boy Paul Anka
Cathy's Clown The Everly Brothers
At the Hop Danny & The Juniors
Unchained Melody Righteous Brothers
Teen Angel Mark Dinning
Chances Are Johnny Mathis
Unforgettable Nat King Cole
I Left My Heart In San Francisco Andy Williams
The Stroll The Diamonds

Here are some additional song to add to the collection:

Through The Years Kenny Rogers
Never Forget Take that Listen
Remember When Alan Jackson
Always Atlantic Starr
Looks Like We Made It Barry Manilow

If you're putting together a special video collection, good luck with it. Make sure to gather all the pictures you need before you sort out the music.

September 19, 2016

Monster's Inc. laughing Floor.

Monster Laugh Floor

One of many attractions in Tomorrowland is the Monster's Inc. laughing Floor. This stage-like show goes all out to make everyone in the audience laugh. The reason the Monster's want you to laugh so that you'll generate electricity for Monstropolis - remember the ending of Monster's Inc?

The show is hosted in the Circle-Vision theater in Tomorrowland, right across from the Stitch Great Escape! You’ll see it on your right as you enter Tomorrowland from Main Street USA.

Guest interact with the Monster’s Inc. characters on the stage

Brief History of the Monster, Inc

  • Monster’s Inc. film debut was on October 28, 2001
  • Monster's Inc. laughing floor opened April 2, 2007
  • Monster University film debut was on June 21, 2013

Previous Rides at the Location in Disney World:

  • The TimeKeeper - November 21, 1994 - February 26, 2006
  • American Journeys Film - 1984 - 1994
  • America the Beautiful Film - November, 1971 (Circle-Vision Theater opened a month after Disney World opened)

Fun Facts about the Monster's Inc. laughing Floor.

  • The theater seats about 400 guests, there are special handicap seats at the back of the theater.
  • The show lasts about 10 minutes, depending on how well the jokes go.
  • If your first in line, ask the cast member on popular jokes to tell Mike Wazowski.
  • You can text in some jokes that might get used for the show, think of some local jokes before going!
  • Fastpass+ is accepted here, but probably not needed for most times since the wait times is very little.
  • As you enter the theater, look around for signs of the old "TimeKeeper" attraction.
  • If you have a Goofy hat, this is the place to wear it!
  • When the show is over, you exit near the Carousel of Progress.
  • Prep up your jokes before the trip, or while waiting in line at another ride.

Sample Jokes to think about:

Anything that would make a Middle Schooler laugh wins! Basically, if it's offensive then it wouldn't make the cut.

  • Q: What happened to the plant in math class? A: It grew square roots.
  • "I need to talk to you" - is the one sentence that has the power to make you remember every bad thing you've ever done in your life.
  • If at first you don't succeed then skydiving definitely isn't for you
  • A day without sunshine is like ... night.
  • As I said before, I never repeat myself.

September 20, 2016

The Cottage - Wellesley, Massachusetts

The Cottage

This past weekend we stopped by The Cottage in Wellesley to have brunch with my parents.

About the Cottage

The Cottage describes itself as "A cozy, casual, California-inspired restaurant serving lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch."

When you're inside you do feel like your at a Cape Cod cottage. The interior is bright white with lots of scenic beach photos hanging from the walls.

The restaurant is located in the Linden Square shopping center. There is plenty of parking in the parking lot.

Gluten free Brunch Options

We have found this to be a very celiac friendly restaurant. There are a lot of good choices to select from on the menu.

The one nice thing about the Cottage is you don't need to ask for a gluten free menu. Simply flip over the menu and the entire back side their gluten free options.

For Sunday Brunch you can select from a large assortment of Omelets, Salads, Classic Burger and much more. They have good gluten free rolls! It's really nice to see a large selection of gluten free options.

When we ordered we let the server know of the Gluten Allergy. They made a note of it and were very knowledgeable about cross contamination. My daughter ordered the cheese omelet, as she is very simple and likes eggs and cheese. The server suggested fruit instead of the hash browns because of potential cross contamination during cooking.

Cottage Thumbs Up

The manager brought the gluten-free order to the table - a clear sign that the restaurant paid attention to the order. We asked for additional ketchup and they brought it right over.

When I asked my daughter how her brunch was, she gave it a thumbs up. She ate a lot more than she traditionally does!

A Bit Pricy

This is certain a good restaurant to go on special occasions since it is a bit pricey. A typical brunch meal cost $15.

The food was very good, and the service was excellent. The restaurant was nice and quiet as we could easily hear every at our table. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed their brunch, what more could you ask for!

The next time we are looking for a place to go for a nice meal, we'll certainly keep The Cottage in mind. Can't wait to try some of their dinner options. I am thinking between the Ancho Rubbed Short Rib, Lamb Burger, and Lobster sandwich. Perhaps we'll have to go a few more times.

Reservations are recommended for Sunday Brunch as it does get busy. Call (781) 239-1100 for reservations.

September 21, 2016

Mt Wayte Plaza

Mt Wayte Plaza

The Mt. Wayte Plaza is a dead strip mall at the corner of Mt. Wayte Ave and Franklin Street Framingham. The once thriving plaza is now mostly fenced in and since February 2015, has only one tenant. A few years ago the plaza owners promised local residents a complete redesign which would revitalize the area.

The official Address of the Mt. Wayte Plaza is 444 Franklin Street, Framingham MA 01702.

Current owner is Framingham Franklin LLC and managed by Samuel Adams, who father use to own the plaza.

Recent Mt. Wayte Plaza Timeline

  • September 3, 2012 - Framingham Selectmen vote for a task force to see what can be done with the near-empty plaza. Emitted Domain is an option.
  • December 6, 2012 - Samuel Adams gives a sneak peak of the designs to the Framingham planning board. The redesign estimate value at $10 million.
  • March 6, 2014 - Developer formally asked for approval for redesign of Mt. Wayne Plaza project estimate is now $6 million
  • August 7, 2014 - Framingham Planning Board unanimously approves Mt. Wayte Redevelopment Project
  • December 23, 2014 - The Society of St. Vincent De Paul store closes and doesn't relocate elsewhere.
  • February 23, 2015 - Dunkin Donut moves out of the Mt. Wayne Plaza
  • February 28, 2015 - Dunkin Donuts opens at 430 Franklin Street (in front of the plaza)
  • August 11, 2015 - Planning Board grants an additional six months to expand plaza.
  • November 16, 2015 - Town Planning Board formally asks for the large blue signs to be removed.
  • April 27, 2016 - Mt. Wayte Plaza is put up For Sale for $5.5 million
  • August 6, 2016 - Planning Board complains about the lack of progress on the Plaza and unanimously votes not to extend the development permit.

Plaza Facts:

  • 6.7 Acres For Sale for $5,500,000 (As of September 19, 2016)
  • Property was assessed at $3.5 million in 2012
  • Main Building is 53,000 square feet formerly occupied by Big D
  • In 2012, there were rumors that Market Basket was going to move into the Plaza.
  • There are 198 parking spaces in the current parking lot.

Stores that Use to be in the Plaza

  • Big D / Price Chopper Supermarket October 1961 - April 2001
  • IGA
  • CVS
  • Rob Roy Coiffure
  • TCBY Yogurt
  • Taylor Rental Center
  • Optical Shop.
  • Swimming Pool store
  • Photomat
  • Friendly Cleaners & Laundromat
  • Jon Snow’s Shell Station
  • O'Brien's Package Store 1998 - 2004
  • St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Tony Maenzo Barbershop - Still there! It's the last business in the plaza.

What ever happened to the 400 Restaurant?

In 2007 the 400 Restaurant and Bar was re-opened into a quaint, neighborhood Italian-style restaurant. While the exterior still maintained its original charm and character, the inside was redecorated with the North End, trattoria-style design.

The 400 Restaurant closed its doors at the end of December 2013 because the owners, Bob and Amelia, were not able to secure a long-term lease.

Soon after the restaurant closed, Dunkin Donuts took down the building and put up a new Dunkin Donuts.

Dunkin Donuts vs Framingham Franklin LLC

According to local residents, there was a bit of a bad break up when Dunkin Donuts left the plaza. Immediately after they left new fencing was put up around the plaza to prevent Dunkin customers from parking in the nearly empty plaza.

Dunkin Donuts did have a bit of a hurdle opening their new locations, as the planning committee wasn't sure that there was enough parking for the anticipated morning traffic. This was partly due to the limited parking with the new fencing.

According to the aerial view, in 2013 the 400 Club had 21 parking spaces, whereas the new Dunkin Donuts has 17 parking spaces. 400 Club customers would park in the plaza when there were limited parking spaces.

Dunkin Donuts isn’t the first place to move out of the plaza and relocate nearby: O'Brien's Package Store did that back in 2004 and open next door, between the TD Bank and Convenient Store.

What could go in Mt. Wayte Plaza?

Just some thoughts...

How about converting the Jon Snow’s Shell Station to a Stop and Shop gas station or perhaps Cumberland Farms can open a gas station and future store? The could use the facility as a test market for their franchises.

The Plaza isn’t too far from Framingham State University, how about opening the first Amazon.com bookstore on the east coast?

Over the past few years, Micro Breweries seem to be the hot thing in Framingham. How about the newest microbrew restaurant: "A wonderful restaurant near downtown Framingham, Framingham Pale boasts one of the area's premier outdoor dining courtyards. A cross between New England tradition, Boston beer gardens, and a Revolutionary farm house, this truly is a unique destination."

September 22, 2016

Boston Public Library - Bates Hall

Bates Hall

General information about Bates Hall

The reference reading room is named after Joshua Bates, who gave $50,000 so that a large reading room at the Boston Public Library could be built. The goal was to provide that "the building shall be such as to be an ornament to the City, that there shall be a room for one hundred to one hundred and fifty persons to sit at reading tables, and that it be perfectly free to all."

The reading room was created by Charles Follen McKim.

On the National Register of Historic Places, the library opened in 1852 as the first free, publicly supported municipal library in America. The library didn't open to the public until 1895.

In 2014, The Kirstein Business Library and Innovation Center took up temporary residence in the Bates Hall. The business center has been relocated to the lower level of the Johnson Building. From 1930 to 2009 it was located at 20 City Hall Avenue, in 2009 it was moved to be part of the central library. It was moved to Bates Hall during the reconstruction of the Johnson building.

Bates Hall makes a great venue for company parties and wedding receptions. You can get more information at the Boston Public Library event page.

About Joshua Bates

Joshua Bates was born on October 10, 1788, in Weymouth, Massachusetts. He was an international financier. He acquired much of his wealth as a senior partner of Baring Brother & Company of London.

Hethe first major contributor to the country's first municipally supported library. He donation $50,000 in 1852 to help jump start the library. (That would be equivalent to $1,437,450.60 in 2015) He also gave 30,000 volumes to the library.

Joshua died on September 24, 1864, and is buried at the Kensal Green Cemetery in Kensal Green, Greater London, England.

List of Busts that are in Bates Hall

Joshua Bates International Financier October 10, 1788 - September 24, 1864
Wendell Phillips American abolitionist, advocate for Native Americans, orator and lawyer November 29, 1811 - February 2, 1884
Thomas Gold Appleton American writer, an artist, and a patron of the fine arts. March 31, 1812 - April 17, 1884
Sir Walter Scott Scottish Historical Novelist, Playwright and Poet August 15, 1771 - September 21, 1832
Benjamin Franklin Founding Fathers of the United States 1706-1790
George Ticknor American Academician and Hispanist August 1, 1791 - January 26, 1871
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Author and Personality February 27, 1807 - March 24, 1882
William Whitwell Greenough Boston Merchant and Politician 1818 - 1899
James Fenimore Cooper Popular Writer of the early 19th century September 15, 1789 - September 14, 1851
Edward Everett Massachusetts Politician April 11, 1794 - January 15, 1865
John Joseph Williams American bishop of the Roman Catholic Church April 27, 1822 - August 30, 1907
Hugh O'Brien 31st Mayor of Boston July 13, 1827 - August 1, 1895
Oliver Wendell Holmes Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States March 8, 1841 - March 6, 1935

Miscellaneous Trivia

  • Bates Hall is 218 feet long, 42.5 feet wide, and 50 feet high
  • There are 16 floor lights in the room
  • There are 28 tables and 8 chairs to a table, total room capacity is 224
  • Each table has two green lamps
  • At the base of each green lamp are seat numbers that are used by the librarian runners
  • There is a clock on both sides of the hall
  • There are two reference rooms, on both sides of the Hall. You can ask for help with a reserved book from these location.
  • Congressional Record books are on the South side of the hall near the Kristen Science Center side
  • Seat #1 is near the Kristen Business Branch side
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes is the only person to have a bust in the Bates Hall who was born after the library was opened to the public.
  • Helen Keller visited Bates Hall on April 26, 1892

Some Interesting Books/Collections around Bates Hall

  • All the books that align the shelves in Bates Hall are Social Science Reference Books
  • You can find reference books in just about every city and town in Massachusetts. Find out which city/town started out as Danforth Farms.
  • The Boylston Room, next to Bates Hall, has Documentary History books of all the Presidents.
  • Along one of the walls in Bates Hall is a set of bright red books that contain Catalog abstracts of all the Declassified Government Documents.
  • You can find the latest law books in Bates Hall.

Some people think that Bates Hall is "internationally recognized as perhaps the single most beautiful room in America." On your next trip to Boston, stop at the Boston Public Library and check out Bates Hall.

September 23, 2016

Scanning Multiple Images using Image Capture

Image Capture2

Apple describes Image Capture simply as "Use Image Capture to transfer and scan images or take a picture. Many cameras and scanners are compatible with Image Capture."

I think of the Image Capture application as a powerful scanning utility that makes it easy to scan multiple images.

Tips to quickly scan multiple Photos

If your not fortunate enough to have a scanner that has an automatic feeder. You’ll be happy to know that Apple's Image Capture has an ‘Auto Selection' feature that can help you scan files quickly.

Steps to make Auto Selection Work

  • Place Photos on the scanner, stay away from the scanner glass edge and be careful of any over lapping.
  • Make sure that Auto Selection is enabled
  • Click the Preview Button
  • After the Preview is done, check the scan zones. Make any corrections.
  • Scan.
Image Capture Scanning

The scanner will make as many passes as there are zones. So if you selected 5 areas, the scanner will go back and forth five times.

You could do this in Pixelmator, but what's nice about the stand alone application is that it saves it as a file. In Pixelmator, each scan is an unsaved document. Which could be an issue if you have a lot of things to scan.

Auto Selection Tips:

  • Make sure that you are capturing the correct part of the images. When I was doing this, I discovered that sometimes the image gets cut off due to the clouds in the sky.
  • You don’t have to worry if the image is perfectly straight. The bounding box will adjust around the photo and the image will appear in the file as if you did perfectly align it. How cool is that?
  • Always check the scans to make sure it scanned correctly.
  • I like to scan at 300dpi, and then downsize to 72 for Internet sharing. It's also easier to touch up images at higher resolutions.

Using 'Auto Selection' is good, but it doesn't really do any image touch ups or color correction. If you're doing a lot of scanning, you may want to consider a third party application.

Alternative Scanning Applications

The good thing about your options is that both of these have been around for at least 19+ years.

VueScan

VueScan by Hamrick is $49.50 for the Standard Edition. The Professional Edition is $99.95 and it includes support for Film/Slide scanning, OCR Text Files and advance features. VueScan has been helping people scan better for the past 19 years. They have a strong loyal customer base.

I played around with this briefly and couldn't figure a way to get the auto selection to work. There is way more functionality than what Apple includes in Image Capture. If my job required to do lots of scanning, I certainly would spend time learning and using this.

The one cool feature is the auto scanning. It will continuously scan with a slight pause after each scan so that you can change the photo on the scanner. You can define the duration between scans. This would be extremely useful if you have a lot of similar size photos to scan.

SilverFast

SilverFast by LaserSoft Imaging starts at $49 for the SilverFast SE 8, which is there entry level version. The profession version is $299 which features among other things; better color correction and removes natural image noise. SilverFast has been available for 20 years on the Macintosh and Windows.

I attempted to use SilverFast but found out that my scanner is not compatible with their software. I guess this means that the Epson xxx doesn't have certain functionality that the software needs to produce quality scans.

Check out their website to see if your scanner is compatible.

Both programs offer trials. You should try them out to make sure your scanner works with their software.

Image Capture and Evernote

Did you see my previous blog post on how Easy it was to scan images to your Evernote account. Worth checking out if you have a Premium or Plus Evernote account.

September 24, 2016

Build a Thumbnail Webpage with Image Capture Tool

Image Capture can Build a webpage with transferred images

Did you know you can create a website from your images from Image Capture? Here are the simple steps:

  1. Connect your scanner, camera, or other device to your computer, then turn the device on. If the device is locked with a passcode, enter it.
  2. In Image Capture, select the device in the Devices or Shared list.
  3. Select the images that you wish to add to your website
  4. Click the Import To pop-up menu, then choose Build Web Page.
  5. Click Import or Import All.

Here’s what happens next:

  • A new folder will be created in your '~/Pictures' folder called “Webpages on DATE at TIME"
  • A new index.html file will be created with thumbnail images of your photos
  • A new ‘web files’ folder will be created which will contain the two versions of your images, the full version size and a thumbnail size.
  • The full version size will fit in a 800x600 dimension
  • The thumbnail size will fit in a 200x150 dimension

What’s bad about this is that it won’t account for the horizontal hold of the iPhone. This means that if you hold the camera in horizontal mode incorrectly the photos will appear upside down. According to Apple, the correct way to hold the iPhone is with the sound volume down.

September 25, 2016

MDRT Productivity Formula

Back on August 7th, 2000 I sent an email to the engineering team at the company I was working at with the subject "What is Productivity?"

This is a good site that examines what makes a person productive. This site was made for insurance salesmen, but the information can be applied to most situations.

http://www.mdrtcfp.org/about/whatis/index.html

The reason for my email was our team was trying to figure out ways to be more productive and bring in more revenue.

MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) is the premier association of financial professionals. I manage to capture the text and graphic on the page before the section of the site disappeared sometime in 2007:

What is Productivity

The Productivity Task Force was established in 1994 to define, study, recommend and implement ways to which MDRT members can enhance their productivity through MDRT programs and services. Specifically, Strategic Direction 1.1 of the MDRT strategic plan states:

Define productivity in appropriate and operational terms and position productivity as the key focus for all MDRT activities and programs.

The Task Force determined that productivity can be best be defined as a simple formula based - in or of importance - on three elements:

Goals, Activities and Skills = Productivity

mdrtcfp Goals

The most critical step you can take to increase PRODUCTIVITY is first to make a commitment to do so.

Follow that commitment by conducting an analysis of your practice relative to the PRODUCTIVITY formula. Identify your strengths and also areas in which you can improve. Determine the changes you will institute in your business and set deadlines for implementation. Every producer can improve their PRODUCTIVITY.

Take the first step!

September 26, 2016

Disney Park Numbers

This week we will look at Disney park attendance numbers over the past three years. The need for this topic came up in a recent discussion about all the new things Disney is working on to get people to visit the other parks in Disney World.

Disney the World Wide Leader

Year after year, Disney is the leader in amusement park attendance numbers. The four parks in Florida are in the top ten worldwide, with the Magic Kingdom being the most popular theme park visited in the world:

2015 Disney Numbers

In 2015, the Magic Kingdom became the first amusement park to surpass the 20 million annual visitors mark. The above chart shows that most people visit the Magic Kingdom. Clearly, Disney is working on the attracting visitors to the other parks.

2015 2014 2013
MAGIC KINGDOM 20,492,000 19,332,000 18,588,000
EPCOT 11,798,000 11,454,000 11,229,000
DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM 10,922,000 10,402,000 10,198,000
DISNEY'S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS 10,828,000 10,312,000 10,110,000

People Don't Always visit Amusement Parks

Unfortunately Disney didn't make the top 5 most popular travel spot in the world (2013 data from lovehomeswap.com)

Las Vegas Strip 39,668,221
Times Square 39,200,000
Central Park, New York City 37,500,000
Union Station, Washington DC 32,850,000
Niagrara Falls 22,500,000
Grand Central Terminal, New York 21,600,000
Faneuil Hall, Marketplace, Boston 18,000,000
Magic Kingdom, Orlando 17,536,000
Disneyland, Anaheim 15,963,000
Forbidden City, Beijing 15,300,000

When Lovehomeswap.com came out with the infographic back in 2013, it became news because some people didn't realize that Boston's Faneuil Hall had more visitors than the Magic Kingdom.

According to Boston USA 2015 was a record year for tourists visiting Massachusetts. However, the statistics on the tourist visiting Faneuil Hall hasn't changed, as the faneuilhallmarketplace.com the website still promotes the 18 million visitors a year number.

Today if LoveHomeSwap.com was to update their statistics, I believe that the Magic Kingdom would be the 7th most popular tourist attraction in the world - easily overtaken Faneuil Hall spot. Everything else in the top 10 probably hasn't changed much in ranking.

September 27, 2016

Stop and Shop Shelf Tag

Have you seen something new on some shelf tags at Stop and Shop? They added an icon on the price tag to some gluten free products.

Here is a sample shelf tag that shows the item is gluten free:

Stop Shop Tag

Now it's very easy to identify which products are Gluten Free. In fact, because of the shelf tag we found a couple of soup items that we didn't know were gluten free. We needed them for a pot roast recipe and didn't realize that a couple of the Progresso items were

Gluten Free Shelf label

While it's great that Stop and Shop are doing this, those with gluten sensitivity should use a smartphone app like "ShopWell" to verify that the product is safe.

Healthy Option

They also have an icon for products that are a healthy option, products that are low fat or low salt will display the tag.

Awesome Awareness

I don't know when Stop and Shop started doing this. I did notice that many gluten-free products didn't get a shelf tag icon. Perhaps they are phasing in this feature as products change prices.

September 28, 2016

Millwood Farms Golf Course

Millwood Farms

The town of Framingham currently has two golf facilities but only one is available to the general public. Framingham Country Club contains an 18 hole course available only to members and guests. The Millwood golf course is a 14-hole course that is privately owned but available to the public for a fee.

This will be the last year that Framingham will have two golf courses as the Millwood Farms Golf Course will have its final run in the next few weeks. Next year much of the golf course will be converted to a residential development and the remaining land will be a park. If you ever wanted to play golf at Millwood Farms, this is your last chance!

In May, the Drake Family agree to sell the 66-acre property for $5.5 million to the Capital Group Properties. The property was originally listed at $5.1 million in January. It looks like the Capital Group Properties is getting a good deal, last week I wrote how Framingham Franklin LLC was trying to sell a 6-acre strip mall for $5.5 million.

Special Town Meeting

Before the Drake Family could close on the deal, the town of Framingham had the opportunity to match the offer by the Capital Group Properties. This is because the land is zoned for farming and the town had given a tax break to the Drake family.

A special Town Meeting was held on September 1st with 155 town members showing up, representing .04% of the Framingham registered voters. The town voted to reject the purchase offer by a 69 to 86 vote.

The article required a 2/3 majority to pass. Which means that they needed 103 votes to approve the town to purchase the land.

The majority of registered voters rejected the purchase because there are a lot of upcoming capital purchases such as the millions of dollars worth of repairs to the Memorial Building, a renovation of Loring Arena and a school building project. To help persuade voters the developers had promised 30 acres that will be available to the public.

One group that tried to persuade voters to buy the land was the Framingham High School Golf team - as they have the opportunity to practice on the course for free. There's no indication of what will happen to the Framingham High School Golf team since they won't have a practice field.

The Capital Group Properties pledge to keep 30-acres as public land isn't in a legally binding document. The town of Framingham may have

Capital Group Properties

Some Miscellaneous Trivia on the Capital Group Properties.

  • They are based in Southborough, Massachusetts
  • They haven't disclosed exactly what they plan to build at the location but they indicate that it would be senior housing.
  • Expect to submit the final building design to the Town Building committee in the next few months.
  • Currently working on the Maynard Crossing project (About 9 miles north of Millwood Farms)
  • Finished Mahoney Farms in Sudbury, MA 33 Condominiums on 30 acres
  • Finished Mauro Farms, in Marlborough MA - 27 family homes

Millwood Farms Area History

Some people may not know that Millwood Farms area actually has a historical past. There's plenty of history that goes all the way back to the early days of the revolutionary war.

The "Millwood Farms" area was once known as Millwood Flats and was acquired by the State of Massachusetts and developed into a recreation area.

In the 1670s the land belong, Governor Danforth, who got it from the land grants of the Massachusetts General Court. He sold a good portion of it to Colonel Joseph Buckminster. When the English colonies went to war during the Queen Anne's war, Buckminster became a captain in an expedition to French Acadia.

It was purchased in 1760 by Nathaniel Brinley. Nathaniel was a bit of a controversial figure in Framingham as people felt he was a Loyalist to the British. His name was on the "Address to Governor Gore" in 1775. The Inspection and Safety Committee took possession of the farm and sold it in an auction. (There's no record of who own the property between the Brinley and Bowditch's.)

In 1862, Ebenezer Francis Bowditch purchased the 600-acres estate when he was 21 years old. He names it Millwood Farm in honor of an old mill on the property. His paternal grandfather was Nathaniel Bowditch, the famous Salem mathematician and author.

Ebenezer Francis Bowditch married Elizabeth Fessenden Perry on March 2, 1864, and had four children: Nathaniel Bowditch, Annie Rodman Bowditch, Ebenezer Francis Bowditch, Elizabeth Francis Bowditch, and John Perry Bowditch. Nathaniel Bowditch would be the most well known of the children as he was the Framingham park commissioner

The Bowditch Mansion, where E.F Bowditch and Nathaniel Bowditch lived, now houses the Sudbury Valley School, on the corner of Millwood and Winch Streets.

In 1899 E.F Bowditch invited the 1st Brigade, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia to perform a realistic sham battle around the Millwood Farms area.

September 29, 2016

Quincy Market

Quincy Market

Faneuil Hall is a huge tourist attraction in Boston. Here are five key things that you shouldn't miss on your next visit:

Golden Grasshopper Weathervane

Sitting on top of Quincy Market is the historic Golden Grasshopper. In 1761, a fire at Faneuil Hall damaged the grasshopper weathervane. Thomas Drowne, a blacksmith and the son of the original grasshopper's creator, repaired the weathervane and inserted a "time capsule" in its stomach. The capsule, which is engraved "Food for the Grasshopper," includes historical newspapers, coins, and messages. Whenever the grasshopper gets a major refurbishment the time capsule gets a small update from the sitting mayor.

In 1974, some people thought the Golden Grasshopper was stolen as it went missing for several days. It turns out that some construction workers took down the grasshopper under some flags.

The "Golden Grasshopper" is the last remaining artifact from the 1742 structure.

Kilvert & Forbes Bakeshop

Secretary of state John Kerry got his start in the business world by baking delicious cookies.

If you like large premium cookies, in all sorts of flavors, check out Kilvert & Forbes near the East Market entrance. Get some for now and some for later.

When your placing your order, asked the server when they last saw the current Secretary of State, he usually drops by every once in a while.

Durgan Park

The oldest continuing running restaurant is Durgan Park. They have two big signs outside; "Established Before you were born" and "our Grandfather and perhaps Your Great Grandfather dined with us, too!"

The restaurant opened in 1827 about a year after Quincy Market opened. There was a restaurant at that location since 1742, but it wasn't called Durgan-Park.

There's nothing like trying some classic New England recipes. Not all that hungry? Try some New England chowder with a beer from their large selection. Make sure to stop by the store and take home a souvenir bean pot.

There is a beer garden in the basement floor of the Durgan-Park building. On Wednesday nights there is a comedy show called "Woodstock Wednesdays" starring the local Boston comedy troupe "Just Suspects". Great place to go if you're looking for something to do on a Wednesday evening.

Durgan Park is located in the North Market building. They are open every day for Lunch and dinner.

Quincy Market Dome

On the walls underneath the Quincy Market dome are signs of some of the businesses that once call Quincy Market their home. Some of the business are still going strong today.

Some of the company names that are on the wall:

  • Bolton & Hicks
  • Julius Lansky & Sons
  • Colley-Woods Co.
  • H,A, Hovey Co.
  • Holland
  • Curly Bros. Inc.
  • Bartlett. Barney & Co.
  • Carroll & Liley
  • G. Spinale Co
  • 37 Adams Chapman 37 - Still going strong!

When you're standing on the first floor and looking up at the central rotunda, you can see a message in gold lettering. It reads, "This building has served the people of Boston as the central market of the city since its dedication in August 1826."

Other Notable Landmarks

  • Samuel Adams Sculpture in front of Faneuil Hall. Not only is he looking away from Faneuil Hall, but the statue is looking directly towards where the real Sam Adam is buried- Granary Burying Grounds.
  • Search for the original Boston Harbor Shoreline of 1630. There is a marker on the ground, engraved in granite. Walk past the Samuel Adams statue behind Faneuil Hall towards Congress Street. Hint: You'll see fish skeleton on the cobblestones.
  • Stone inscription on the ground between Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall: "Faneuil Hall 1742 - 1992. City of Boston Restored in 1992 as a marketplace and gathering point for a great public debate - Mayor Raymond L. Flynn
  • Arnold "Red" Auerbach Sculpture dedicated September 20, 1985. You can sit and chat with Red Auerbach. Just don't light up a cigar, smoking has been ban in Boston since January 1, 2014.

September 30, 2016

OmniGraffle 7

Onmi Graffle Logos

If your need to create diagrams, process charts, website or graphic design then OmniGraphic is certainly something to look at. This is is a good time to look at OmniGraphic since they are about to release version 7.

Linda.com has several hours of training on OmniGraphic 5 and 6. It's a good way to learn some of the features of the application. It's certainly worth looking out if you have a Lynda.com subscription, and if you don't have a subscription, you should certainly sign up for their free 10-day trial.

Why I used OmniGraphic

I purchased OmniGraphic in 2005 to help with some onsite training. The application provided the right tools to create attractive looking process flow charts.

OmniGraphic Pro was necessary for me to open up all the Visio documents that customers would send me.

New Features in OmniGraphic 7

Version 7 is a complete redesign with lots of new features and functionality. OmniGraffle website list the main features being: Infinite Canvas, SVG Support, Artboards, Stroke to Shape, Text to Shape, Point Editor, Keyboard Shortcuts.

Right out of the box the Infinite Canvas is very nice, now I don't have to worry about the size of the document. I just open up the Application and get to work. The adjustment of the Inspector pallet to the window is much easier to read and deal with.

Omni Inspectors

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Support is nice, EPS support would have been better. I have found that there are way more EPS files than SVG files. For example on CreateMarket they have 8,424 SVG files, and 136,662 EPS files. Perhaps over time there will be more SVG files.

I don't understand the functionality of an Artboard. I have seen it in other applications, but really don't understand it enough to appreciate the feature.

The Point Editor is nice, now I can easily add the right number of magnetic points that I want to put on a shape.

There's lots of cool stencils that come with OmniGraffle 7. I really like the three-dimensional stencils.

Omni Stencils3

Upgrade Path to 7

There's a lot of cool things that the Omni Group put into the latest version that - for me - it's worth considering an upgrade cost. What is it going to cost to upgrade from OmniGraphic Pro 5.5 to OmniGraphic 7?

OmniGraffle has a cool tool on their website to check the license key upgrade path. I did a quick query and found that upgrading from OmniGraffle Professional 5 to Omnigraffle 6 will be $49.99 and the Pro version will be $99. The Professional version has AppleScript, Shared Layers, Tables, Shape Combinations, Visio Support and a few other tools. Since I like using Tables, I would have to upgrade to OmniGraffle Pro 6.

I haven't decided if I'll upgrade yet. The features and functionality look very promising.