November 1, 2016

Dulce D Leche

Dulce D Leche Framingham

Recently we went to Dulce D Leche Gelato Cafe in support of a fundraiser by the Saint Bridget School. The cafe was giving the school a percentage of sales for those that brought in a promotional brochure.

About Dulce D Leche Gelato Cafe

Framingham newest premium cafe is the place to go to get a nice cup of coffee and some delicious gelato ice cream.

Dulce D Leche Gelato Cafe open for business on June 5, 2016 at 5 Edgell Road in Framingham. The location is commonly known as One Framingham Centre.

They are a full-service coffee shop with hot chocolate, pastries, and Argentinian Gelato Italian-style ice cream.

Argentianian Gelato ice cream is a bit different than standard ice cream you get at a roadside farm stand. It's creamier and smooth. If you like soft serve ice cream, you'll enjoy Argentinian Gelato ice cream.

Dulce D Leche has a lot of unique flavors to pick from. If you're unsure of how something would taste, they are happy to give you a small spoon sample.

I liked the Dulce de Leche flavor with chocolate chip. It's a good flavor to start with.

Seating area was quiet and clean. There is free wifi available, for those that want to browse the Internet while enjoying their coffee.

Gluten Free Offering

When we informed the staff of my daughter's need to eat gluten free they were accommodating. The server pointed out each ice cream that did contain gluten. Lucky for us, there were lots of ice cream for my daughter to select from.

She was happy to have the milk chocolate. I think that she wanted to try the brownie chocolate, but she knew that it contained gluten.

I noticed that they had a scoop in each flavor. So there was no chance that flavors could mix up.

Take home or Eat in?

We took a couple of pints home with us. The good thing is that they make the pint for you. These aren't prepacked containers - you can watch them pack it up for you. (They do stuff it all the way to the top!)

The ice cream is better soft than hard. So if you're going to have it in your freezer, keep it out for a bit before scooping so that it can soften.

Worth Going?

Its worth going and treating yourself to an afternoon ice cream treat.

An International House of Pancakes is being built in the parking lot near Dulce D Leche. I would suspect that the Framingham Centre will be a busy place with the addition to the iHop.

November 2, 2016

Curbside Refuse Collection Planner

Its autumn time in New England. While the color on the trees is delightful, may homeowners are frightful of having to do fall clean up.

In Framingham, there're only a few weeks out of the year where the Department of Public Works will pick up your bag leaves that you leave by the curb.

I created a quick reference guide to the various pickup schedules for November, December, and January. Once the 2017 schedule is published, I'll create a schedule for that.

2016CurbsidePickup.jpg
Click on image for a printable quality version of the schedule.

Some Notes about Curbside pickup

  • Pickup start time is usually 7am, but I have found they tend to do the trash first, and then do leaves in the afternoon.
  • All leaves must be in large paper bags. (Available at Stop and Shop, Lowes, Home Depot, Christmas Tree Shops and Monarch Supply)
  • The bags must be crumble at the top.
  • Place the bags near the edge of the road.
  • Any major storms in November will impact the schedule, follow DPWFramingham on Twitter for the latest news.

November 3, 2016

Boston Radio Graphic

This week's post highlights some of Boston most popular radio stations. I created a reference chart to where you can find those stations on the dial.

Top Three Stations

WROR, Boston's Greatest Hits Station, continues to dominate the Boston radio market. Month after Month they are what Bostonians are listing to all day.

WMJX, Magic 106.7, is a mass appeal radio station that plays songs that have stood the test of time, along with the best new music in the contemporary arena today. You’ll hear Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Pink and Elton John…it’s the best variety anytime!

Boston is a huge sports town and people like to talk sports over local politics. WBZ, the Sports Hub, and WEEI are neck and neck fighting to entertain their listeners.

General Talk Radio is very limited in the Boston Market. It seems that WRKO is that last of the major stations to survive.

Radio Dial Graphic

RadioPromo.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Download Boston's Radio Graphic to discover where the top 13 stations are on the radio dial. This is useful if you're setting up the station memory slots on your car radio.

If you want a higher resolution copy for print, let me know and I'll send you a high-quality PDF version.

I'll update the graphic anytime there are major changes to any of the stations.

Blogging Notes

For those that were disappointed about not learning anything about Boston's history. We'll go back to exploring various sites around Boston - next week.

If you have any site that you want featured, let me know!

November 4, 2016

ResEdit

Res Editi Con

Long time Macintosh Users may remember ResEdit. Its the topic of this weeks Macintosh Blog post. The next few Macintosh posting we’ll look back at some classic Macintosh Applications.

What's ResEdit?

ResEdit was a tool that Macintosh users used to hack applications. It was a way to make some modifications that normally wouldn't have been provided by the developer.

Cool Tricks with ResEdit

Here are some descriptions of hack files that were available from the UMI-Mac archive (January 12, 1996)

  • ResEdit hacks so that when you try to save a file over an existing file, the dialog asking "Replace Existing ?" defaults to “OK" instead of "Cancel".
  • Instructions on how to use ResEdit to modify System 7.1 Finder to have disk sizes given in not M, eliminate zoom reacts, the rename delay, the message on when an application is substituted, and the "I'll be back" message on unmounting a partition.
  • This is a small Resedit Hack that will correct your System Information Box to show a PowerMac 7200/7500 icon as well as the proper System Name. This hack can also be used on the 8500 and 9500, but the nifty little Icons aren't provided.

From an old macology.com Easter Egg page

  • Open Apple's Sound Manager with ResEdit and open the snd resource. Select the "Barking Pumpkin" noise, and choose the "try sound" option to hear this blood-curdling sound!
  • Open ResEdit on any Mac, and hold down Shift-Option-Command when you choose "About ResEdit" from the Apple menu. This gives you a new "pig mode" which compacts and purges resources every second when ResEdit does its event loop. This slows ResEdit down, but you do get to hear a cool pig sound, which makes it all worthwhile.
  • Older Mac computers (new CPU owners, like the iMac, should look in Apple Extra's for this), open up your monitor control panel using ResEdit. Under the PICT resource, you will see three images. One is a happy face, one is a computer, and one is a happy face with its tongue sticking out. Now, if you actually open the Monitor control panel normally, hold down the Option key and you will see the computer appear next to the number. The other faces, however, we can not get to appear, so we must assume they are hidden eggs!

Product Screenshots

Simple Text Dialog
Sample ResEdit Dialog box for the Simple Text Application.

“ResEdit
Using ResEdit users could get a peak of all the icons in a Macintosh Application.

Whatever Happened to Resedit?

The last official version of ResEdit was shipped in August 1994. The update to ResEdit happened shortly after System 7 was released. Apple has discouraged the use of a tool to edit resource forks and has not shipped an updated resource tool in Mac OS X.

Any Alternative 3rd Party tool in the MacOS era?

ResFool from The La Jolla Underground is a template-driven, Mac OS X native resource editor. With the extensive template support, ResFool allows you to easily replace your Classic-only copy of ResEdit. That software has been discontinued for a few years now.

November 5, 2016

1992 Election Montage from WRKO

The day after the 1992 election, November 11, 1992, Jerry Williams started his afternoon radio show with this montage. It's a collection of sound bites from the election mix in with the song “Back in the High Life Again” by Steve Winwood.

The quality of the audio isn't all that great because I recorded this from Concord, Massachusetts which didn't get a very strong signal from WRKO.

November 6, 2016

List of Internet Graphic Site

When you're looking for special discount deals on high-quality graphic/web design tools and resources, there are various site that should visit. Each site of these sites have some area of speciality to be considered when building up a graphic library.

I have come across many different libraries in my quest to find a good resource for vector images. Usually I am looking for some cool Isometic designs, or some cool website site objects. These are the sites that I most often visit.

Mighty Deals is one of the first site you should visit. Founded and managed by the team behind Webdesigner Depot (one of the top web design blogs in the industry), it has exactly the kind of deals creative professionals find appealing.

Inky Deals is another great platform to find high-quality deals on top design tools and resources. It's part of a network of websites and portals maintained by a team of passionate graphic designers, web developers, and creative marketing professionals. They usually run some good combo deals where you can get various designs for a low price.

Deal Fuel -- another great platform for web developers, graphic designers, and creative professionals to find regularly updated discount deals and bundles related to the most sought after design tools and resources.

freepik - They are currently creating hundreds of free vectors daily. Discover our exclusive content! Find dozens of free vector graphics every day, all designed by Freepik. They have some free graphics, as long as you promise to attribute the source of the graphic on your website/flyer. Monthly subscription is $9.99 a month for access to 152,300 vectors.

VectorStock - "Millions of Royalty Free Vector Images. VectorStock is the world's Premier Vector-only Image Marketplace." You can find all sorts of quality vector graphics here. $50 gives you the right to download 50 images.

Stock Unlimited - 600,000+ Visuals for Businesses & Professionals. Affordable Stock Photos, Vector Graphics & Cliparts are available. $9 a month access or $69 for a years access to all their photo and vector images.

CreativeMarket - great collection of Graphics and photos. They have a group of special designers who come up with very creative designs. This is a great place to get flyers and website graphics. They have all sorts of Fonts and package deals that are worth looking into. Prices are per deal. Awesome Isometric collection

Graphic River - Part of the envatomarket family, they have 530,181 Fonts, logos, icons and more. Discover their huge collection of hand-reviewed graphic assets from our community of designers. Currently running at $29/month to access all their files - including Codes, Videos, Audio, Photos, 3D Ocean.

CG Vector - Good selection of free vectors. This is a good place to start with some basic vector graphics. Download files are in stored in RAW format. Macintosh users should use The Unarchiver to uncompress the files.

Medialoot Unlimited - Lots of good files. They don't have any Isometric images. Member is now $14 a month. Their selection appears to be smaller than others, but they still have a unique collection that other graphic sites don't have.

November 7, 2016

Ravencroft Font

When I put together my personal Disney travel books, I worked hard on putting together a very simple cover.

My last trip to Disney was the first one where I didn't print out a book simply because I found that in the previous trip I hardly used any information that I gathered. I felt it wasn't worth wasting my time printing and binding the book.

The book usually contains a centered graphic and the date on the bottom right. I'll usually have some text under the graphic with some theme of the trip. Some examples:

  • Halloween Vacation
  • Memorial Day Weekend
  • Birthday Celebration

I wanted to be creative and use a Disney font for the book cover. When I started the whole book idea it was well the internet wasn't structured good - for example, today there are whole sites that are dedicated to free fonts and clip art. I resorted to fonts that people posted in AOL forums.

Haunted Mansion Font

The most common font face that I used in my covers was the Haunted Mansion Font.

Ravenscroft was inspired by the lettering used around Disney's Haunted Mansion attractions. The characters were drawn by Kronos (TombSweetTomb.com) and together they put them into a font filled with alternate letters, logos, and dingbats.

It appears that tombsweetomb.com has gone to the Internet Graveyard as the site doesn't appear anymore.

This is the original file that I download back in 2001. You can download similar fonts from other websites, but why not get the original? This version has special characters: Wallpaper and the Disney park logo. Complete information is included in the Zip file.

Quick Cheat Sheet Guide

The hidden fonts are hard to find on a Macintosh. Here's a quick guide to accessing some of the hidden extras in the Ravenscroft font:

Raven Croft Cheat Sheet Guide

Look Around

The next time your at DisneyWorld look around and see what creative fonts people use. The Disney Imagineers spend a lot of time creating the perfect font for that attraction/place.

November 8, 2016

Election Day 2016

pollingplace

Today is Election Day in the United States. Many voters have already casted their ballets via early voting.

In Framingham, Massachusetts, there was a long line at the Keefe Technical School which is our local polling place. It took 25 minutes to cast our votes this morning.

There was someone that cut in front of me in line that didn’t even know which polling place they should be in. Take some time and learn where your polling place is, and plan to visit there often! It’s 2016, there’s plenty of resources available to help you find your local polling place.

Reguardless of who wins the Presidential race, it will be a historical win.

Updated American's Creed

I updated American's Creed from the Boy Scout Manual, I am sure that William Tyler Page wouldn’t object to this version.

I believe in
the United States of America as a
Government of the people, by the people, for the people;
who just powers are derived from the consent of the government;
a democracy in a republic;
a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States;
a perfect Union, one and inseparable;
established under those principles of freedom, equality, justice,
and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their
lives and fortunes.

I therefor believe it is my duty to my country
to love it;
to support its Constitution;
to obey its laws;
to respect its flag;
to fully protect it’s national secrets and
to defend it against all enemies.

The original American Creed was developed by William Tyler Page in 1917. It is a brief, clear statement of American traditions and ideals, as expressed by leading American statesmen and writers.

November 9, 2016

Framingham Presidential Election Results

Fresh off of Donald Trump win of the White House, I thought it would be interesting to see how Framingham performed against the actual winner of a major presidential election.

Framingham is clearly a blue town, at least that's what it has shown on every election result since 1972. The only year that the town went Republican was in 1984.

Here is a table highlighting how the town votes

Year Republican Democrat Actual Winner
2016 7,031 20,277 Donald J. Trump / Mike Pence (R)
2012 8,938 18,340 Barack Obama/ Joe Biden (D)
2008 8,430 17,839 Barack Obama / Joe Biden (D)
2004 8,448 17,239 George W. Bush / Richard Cheney (R)
2000 7,347 17,308 George W. Bush / Richard Cheney (R)
1996 6,669 16,836 Bill Clinton / Al Gore (D)
1992 8,114 15,165 Bill Clinton / Al Gore (D)
1988 12,745 15,826George Bush / Dan Quayle (R)
1984 15,074 14,368 Ronald Reagan / George Bush (R)
1980 11,979 12,275 Ronald Reagan / George Bush (R)
1976 13,903 15,387 Jimmy Carter / Walter Mondale (D)
1972 12,975 15,652 Richard Nixon / Spiro Agnew (R)

Data used in the above table came from the Massachusetts PD43+ Elections Statistics Database.

November 10, 2016

Charles Hilgenhurst Medallion

How the recent renovation at the Government Center MBTA station killed a view of a Boston landmark.

Between King Burial Grounds and Granary Burying Ground is a small medallion on the sidewalk pavement. The medallion is a bit hidden and is probably missed by many tourists walking between King Burial Grounds and Boston Commons.

Here is a picture of the medallion that is in front of the Omni Parker House:

Charles Hilgenhurst

The inscription reads:

Friend - Look Up And See The North Church Tower Where Were Shown Two Lantern Lights On The Night Of April 18, 1775, To Send Paul Revere On His Famous Ride And Begin The American Revolution. This View Preserved For All Future Generations By Charles Hilgenhurst And Colleagues Of The Boston Redevelopment Authority In The Year 1960

March 21, 2016

Today when you look up towards the King Burial Grounds, to see The North Church Tower, this is what you see:

North Church Tower

When the MBTA redesigned the Government Center back in 2014, they added a 40-foot glass structure. However, didn't take into account blocking the North Church Tower. You can still see part of the church through the glass structure, but the view is definitely blocked. At night, the glass structure is blue, which would completely prevent you from seeing the Church tower.

I wasn't able to find any information on why Charles Hilgenhurst wanted the view to be visible from the Omni Parker House. There isn't any document online or at the Boston Public Library about installing the medallion.

Locating the Marker

The medallion is located 3,580.80 feet (1091.43 meters) from the The North Church.

The medallion is located on Boylston Street, near the intersection of School Street. The GPS coordinates is: 42.357675, -71.060633

November 11, 2016

Aldus SuperPaint 3.5

Super Paint Logos

Aldus SuperPaint was a graphics program capable of both bitmap painting and vector drawing for the early versions of the Macintosh OS.

SuperPaint was a fun tool that allowed people to explore computer graphics. There were a lot of cool tools that allowed you to be creative.

Aldus SuperPaint was discontinued sometime after 1993. The last version that I have was 3.5. I was able to use the application just fine on my PowerBook G3 using Mac OS 9.1

Here are some of the tools that were available in the tool palettes:

The Draw & Paint Plug-ins palette is available in both layers. The tools found on this palette are those plug-in modules in the SuperPaint Pouch that work in both the Paint and Draw layers. SuperPaint came with these Draw & Paint plugin tools: 3-D Box, allGON, Crop Mark, Cycloid, Flowers, Grid, QuickShadow, and Spiral.

Paint and Draw Tools

  • 3D Box - A tool with another dimension by Dana Gregory and modified by Marie L. Hughes
  • allGON - A plugon twiddler by Dana Gregory
  • Crop Marks - Drag the rectandle you wish the crop marks to surround. by Sean D. Baird
  • Cycloid - Draws a Hypocycloid shape inside a circle or a Epicycloid outside a cicle by Linda McLennan
  • Flowers - Flower shape, with settings for petals, width and smoothness.
  • Grid - Creates a grid within a pre-defined area by Peter Kevin Reeves
  • QuickShadow - creates a rectangle, multigon shapes and circles with shadows behind them by Marie L. Hughes
  • Spiral - Creates a quick spiral shape by Linda McLennan.

Paint Tools

  • Bubbles - Draws round bubbles as you move the mouse by Linda McLennan
  • Calligraphy Brush - changes the brush size as the speed of the mouse changes - supported tablet pressure by Marie L. Hughes
  • Charcoal - Mixure of the regular brush and the Spray can by Linda McLennan
  • Copy Brush -Copies an area based on the reference image by Linda McLennan
  • Dry Brush - The faster you paint - the faster it runs out of paint and leaves a trail as though from the bristles of a brush. By Marie L. Hughes
  • Magic Marker - produces an effect similar to a felt tip marker by Marie L. Hughes
  • Smudge - Smuges any Paint area by Chris Mohhrman
  • Spin - Spins a line as you draw by John F. Simon
  • Spray Can - sprays the Area Filled in a round pattern. You can could customize the brush size by Linda McLennan.
  • Sprinkler - Using the Area Fill, this tool stamps a series of shapes into the document.
  • Texture Brush - Brushes a texture by Linda McLennan.
  • Twister - mixes up the pixels in an area around the cursor by Linda McLennan.
  • Variable-size Eraser - Users can select from 4 different eraser sizes by Marie L. Hughes

Other Tools that were available in the tool box:

  • Text tool - Can be used in Paint or Draw layers
  • Lasso Tool - Drag a free-form line around the desired object. The selection area will tighten around the selected obect.
  • Airbrush - Paints like a real airbrush using the current Area Fill.
  • Pencil - writes a one-pixel line, using the current Area Fill (unless you begin the line in an area of current Area Fill; the it erases a one-pixel line)
  • Paint Bucket - the paint bucket "pours" the current Area Fill over all contiguous pixels that are the color of the pixel under the spout when the mouse button is pressed.
  • Eraser - a 16x16 square that erases the area unter the tool. Double-click to erase the entire visible portion of the document.
  • Line Tool - Lines are filled with the current line fill.
  • Perpendicular Line Tool - Lines are created at 90 degrees or 180 degrees.
  • Round Rectangle Tool - Double-click to display the Round Corners dialog box, in which you can configure the round ends or round corners.
  • Rectangle Tool - Rectangles are filled with the current Area Fill and are bound by the lines of current Line Fill.
  • Multigon Tool - draws equilateral polygons with a definable number of sides. Double-Click to change the number of sides
  • Oval - draws ovals filled with the current Area Fill, and bound by lines of current Line Fill and widths.
  • Polygon - creates an irregular shape filled with the current Area Fill.
  • Arc - creates a one-quarter oval filled with the current Area Fill.
  • EyeDropper - click to pick up a color in the Paint layer.
  • Freehand Tool - lets you draw free-form shapes.
  • Grabber - Drag to move the document in the window, or past the boundary of the working area.
  • Magnifier - Click anywhere in the document window to zoom in one level.

Screen Shots

Aldus Super Paint Screen
Screen Shot of the Aldus SuperPaint Setup

Custom Brushes
The Custom Brushes dialog box allowed you to create you own brush!

Illus_
Some of the things that you could create with the Paint and Draw Tools.

Modern Graphic Programs

Surprised that some of these tools are not in the latest graphic programs such as Pixelmator, Affinity Design or AutoDesk Graphic programs. Perhaps developers or program managers will see some of the functionality that was in earlier graphic programs and will add them to the current versions.

November 12, 2016

Disney iPhone Wallpaper

When I visited Disney World in 2015, I intentionally took pictures to use as my iPhone Wallpaper.

Here are a few of my photos, feel free to use them on your own iOS device.

Haunted Mansion Night & Day Photo

The night shot is an extremely difficult shot to take since the camera has to be steady.

Haunted Night
iPhone (1334 x 750)
iPhone 6s Plus (1920 x 1080)

Haunted Mansion Day
iPhone (1334 x 750)
iPhone 6s Plus (1920 x 1080)

Cinderella Castle

WDW Castle

iPhone 6s Plus (1334 x 750)

November 13, 2016

New Pedestrian Crossing Warning Sign

This week a new warning sign went up at the Framingham MBTA station, notifying commuters that it’s illegal crossing the tracks. The sign is part of the continued attempt by the MBTA to notify users that this is not a legal crossing.

Framingham MBTA Sign

However, nobody was paying attention to the sign. I saw many commuters continue to cross the tracks. The sign is barely noticeable for most people crossing the tracks from the Banana Parking lot. When commuters approach the tracks they look both ways, and not at any sign on the fence

The law being referenced on the Framingham track sign 160 s218:

Whoever knowingly, without right is present, stands, walks, or rides a bicycle, snow vehicle, recreational or other vehicle on the right-of-way, bridge, or other property of, or used or controlled by any railroad corporation, except at a highway or other authorized grade crossing and except on rights-of-way formally abandoned pursuant to state or federal law and no longer owned by said railroad corporation or rights-of-way owned by said railroad corporation but which have been converted or leased specifically for use as a bicycle or walking path in accordance with state or federal laws, shall be fined $100 or shall be required to perform a total of 50 hours of community service which may include service in the operation lifesaver program, so-called. Any person violating this section may be arrested without a warrant by any police officer, including railroad police, and proceeded against according to law.

It's interesting that the law specifically mentions "walks" and "stands." It appears that it's perfectly legal for users to run or hop across the tracks. (Don't try to challenge that!)

I feel that the MBTA has a couple of options to reduce pedestrians from crossing the tracks:

  • Open up the new Parking Lot - In April, the new parking lot in Framingham will open. At that point, the pedestrian access point by the Concord Street will close. Until the lot opens, the MBTA should create a pedestrian path that users can follow and open up the gate by the pedestrian over path.
  • Change the Peak Trains to use Track 1 - By moving the peak trains to use the inside track, most pedestrians will not be crossing the tracks. Those that park on Waverly Street would simply use the pedestrian bridge since that would be the easier route to use.

November 14, 2016

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectator

There are Internet rumors that the Indiana Jones Stunt spectator will soon be closing. I would highly recommend visiting the attraction, if it is open during your visit. (I'll update this post on when it does officially close.)

Indiana Jones Stunt

The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectator is a live theater-type attraction. Disney guest have the opportunity to see/learn how stuntman work in action. The show features loud noise and fire effects. The show re-creates several of the popular scenes from the "Raiders of the lost Ark" movie. The show is located in Disney Studios near Echo Lake.

Disney's official description

Cheer on Indy and Marion as they perform amazing stunts with blazing special effects to demonstrate move-making magic.

Attraction Tips

  • When you arrive at the park, check out the show schedule and plan to arrive at least a 1/2 hour before the show to get good seats. (Arrive earlier if you have a large party.)
  • The ride rarely shuts down due to inclement weather.
  • There is a special entrance for wheelchair guests and their family.
  • Best seats are the lower ones in the center row. When you enter the theater it looks like the left seats are the best, but the main stage moves and the center seats are the best location for most of the show.
  • The earlier you arrive the best chances you have for being selected to be part of the show.
  • The show does start suddenly and Jones appears unexpectedly.

Fun Facts

  • The first stunt show occurred on August 25, 1989.
  • The show was originally was planned for 5 years, but kept getting extended due to popularity.
  • The stunt theater holds 2,000 people and will fill capacity
  • The show last about 25 minutes.
  • The Indiana Jones Show is the only place in all of Disney theme park properties that get to wear their own clothes.
  • The golden idol is an exact replica of the one from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." There is no Mickey face on the golden idol.
  • The spears in the Indiana Jones Show come straight up. As where in the movie they came from the sides.
  • The floor spears in the Indiana Jones show are activated by pads on the ground that the stuntman steps on to bring them up. Yes, they can hurt someone. Since the Stuntman controls the spears, they will know when and where they will appear.
  • The giant rolling ball weighs a heavy 440 pounds.
  • The first act moving sets weigh around 100 tons making them the heaviest moving sets in history.

Need a Movie Idea?

The Raiders of the Lost Ark would be a good movie to watch on the airplane as you travel to Orlando. This way some of the famous scenes and characters are fresh in your mind.

November 15, 2016

Food Allergy Awareness Act

restaurant-poster

On January 2009, Massachusetts Governor Patrick signed into law the Food Allergy Awareness Act. The Act requires that certain food establishments comply with regulations developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The purpose of the Act was to educate the food service community on some food allergies that consumers may have.

The act went into law on October 1, 2010. All food establishments that cook, prepare, or serve food intended for immediate consumption either on or off the premises must be fully compliant.

Food Allergy Awareness Poster

Every food establishment in Massachusetts is required by law to display a food allergy awareness poster in the staff area. In addition, they are required to include a notice on menus that reads “Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy.” ( Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 6B )

Download the Massachusetts approved Food Allergy Poster (2009)

Video Training for Certification

The law also requires that a person in charge has food allergy training for certified food protection managers. The training is done via video in collaboration with FAAN Ambassador Who Cares Ming Tsai. The four-part video is available on YouTube.

Food Allergy Friendly Restaurants

The law requires that the Massachusetts department of Public Health designated a program for restaurants to be classified as ''Food Allergy Friendly'' and maintain a listing of restaurants receiving that designation on its website. I checked their site and wasn’t able to find any “Food Allergy Friendly” list.

The law does not require that the food establishment has allergy friendly food, just that they are aware of the issues that people have with food allergies.

Penalty

Failure to have the Food Allergy poster posted, menu notice or proof of training would be a critical health item on the health inspection report requiring corrective action within 10 days.

Consumer Awareness

If you or anyone in your party has any food allergy, it’s a good idea to view the poster and watch the video. This will help you have an understanding of what information is available at the food establishment. (or at least what people should know.)

November 16, 2016

Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove

Grove Park

Cushing Memorial Park, formerly called Tercentennial Park, is a 57-arces open park on the site of a WWII army hospital. The park features open space & trails and a chapel. There are several Framingham Park buildings where some “Playgroup Program" classes are held.

Over the past few years there has been attempts to improve the park. There is a master plan where the Parks and Recreation Department has a clear strategy to improve the park. The town has added:

  • Phase 1 - Construction of new lighted parking area near the Chapel, new gardens around the chapel
  • Phase 2 - New park entrance near Keefe Tech new parking at the southern edge of the park.
  • Phase 3 - Reconstruction of major pedestrian corridors near Barbieri School. New Entrance by Winter Street
  • Phase 4 - Reconstruction of major pedestrian corridors near Winter Street. New pergola seating area with park history
  • Phase 5 - Added a new Playground: Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove. (Officially Opened July 8, 2015)

Phase 5 Improvements

In 2014 there was a sign near the new playground that read:

The Parks and Recreation Department recently received a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant to implement Phase 5 improvements at Cushing Memorial Park.

Approved Phase 5 concept plans create a naturally themed gathering area for park patrons which will include picnic amenities, a children's grove with formal and informal play equipment, ADA accessible pathways, formal landscape plantings, tree plantings and continued installation of hardscape features including benches, signage and ground surface treatments.

Final Design is currently underway with construction targeted to begin during July of 2014 with completion in the late spring of 2015.

Framingham Play Area2

Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove Fun Facts

  • Prior to the new playground, a Train play area and slide set was at the location.
  • Playground cost $665,000
  • Parks and Recreation Department won a $400,000 state grant from the Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs agency to cover the cost.
  • Playground is designed for children’s 5 to 12
  • There is a water pump that is available for children to play with, it’s open from the Spring to Labor Day weekend.
  • Picnic Tables were added so parents can socialize while the children play.
  • Potentially there will be a serpentine pond with landscape banks across from the Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove.
  • Six Swings including an Adaptive Swing Seat which is ADA compliant (American Disabilies Act)
  • Log Seasaw
  • SuperNova 2 - Modern Day Spinning Wheel
  • Loopy Whoop Spinner - Single person Merry-Go-Round
  • Duet Musical Chimes by Freenotes Harmony Park Outdoor Musical Instruments.

Personal Thoughts

My five-year-old daughter likes the Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove playground for a little bit. After a while of play, she shifts gears and would rather go over to the playground behind Barbieri Elementary School.

She likes the large slide selection and the different play areas that are available. She feels that there isn’t that much to play at the Cushing Memorial Park Children’s Grove.

November 17, 2016

Boston's Old City Hall

Old Boston City Hall

At the corner of Washington and State Street is Massachusetts Old State House building.

History of the Building

The building played an important part of the history of the United States. The Boston Massacre happened in front of the building on March 5, 1770. The Declaration of Independence was read for the first time in Boston to a crowd on July 18th, 1776. After the Revolution, the building was the location of the Massachusetts State government.

It served as Boston City Hall (1830 - 1841) and as a commercial building (1841-1881).

Since 1881 the building has been a museum run by the Bostonian Society.

The Queen of England gave a speech on the famous balcony on July 4, 1976.

Will Kids enjoy the Museum?

Youth (6-18) are free, so there's nothing to lose by taking them to the Old State House.

There are a couple of rooms on the second floor where my five-year daughter had some fun in.

In the "State Room" there are some puzzles to put together. Kids can try to rebuild the Old City Hall with a tall puzzle, build a wall using soft bricks and try to piece together an old photo.

In the "Old State House: A Hands-on History" room kids can draw a small picture and then hang it on the wall. There are story books to read all about Boston history at a kids size table. Kids can re-create the process of having to fix the clock.

Average time in the museum is about 45 minutes, it depends on how much you're into Boston history and if you take the tour.

Souvenir Shop

The souvenir shop has lots of goodies for kids. There are lots of colonial period items such as a feather pen and scrolls. On this trip, we picked up a large pencil since it's similar to the one she uses at school.

You do not have to go to the museum to visit the gift shop, so if your walking by the Old State House it's worth just stopping by for some unique Boston Souvenirs. Your purchase supports the museum, so it's for a good cause. (There's a good selection of Boston coffee mugs if you're looking something for the office.)

Bathroom

Parents with kids are always concern about bathrooms...

In the basement is a bathroom that was reasonably clean, you do have to purchase museum tickets to use the bathroom. It's a good pit stop if you're heading towards downtown crossing or the commons since good bathrooms are hard to find.

Personal Experience

My five-year-old daughter had a fun time learning about history at the museum. She enjoyed learning about how colonial chairs were made, sitting at the head of the table, looking at the old clothes and seeing history up close. She had a fun time with the puzzles and was excited to put up a drawing on the board with her name.

November 18, 2016

Hypercard

HyperCard was an application program for Apple Macintosh and was an influence for the first web browser. It allowed developers to create stacks of information and link the stacks together. Developers would program stacks using HyperTalk, an object-oriented scripting language.

From the Introduction Stack on HyperCard Help screen:

HyperCard is a Macintosh Software environment that allows you to create your own way of doing things on your computer.

If you're new to HyperCard, you should go through the HyperCard Tour Stack to find out how HyperCard works. You can also use the book "Getting Started with HyperCard" for some beginning practice.

If you're interested in HyperTalk, the language you use to write scripts, choose HyperTalk Reference from the Help Menu.

Hypercard was distributed free with any new Macintosh purchase.

HyperTalk was popular among Macintosh users as consumers could easily create their own stacks for their computer needs. Some examples of HyperCard

  • Excel 4.0 Tutorial was written in HyperCard
  • PowerLock Registration was a Hypercard stack. Once you filled in the information, the data would be sent to Rohan Cook.
  • PageMaker included a Hypercard Stack to demonstrate the flexibility of PageMaker Scripting.
  • Random Insults - Would show you a random insult every timet the stack loads.
  • QuickTurtle documentation was distributed as a Hypercard Stack.
  • Smithsonian Institution's Office of Printing & Photographic Services photo catalog was available as a HyperCard database stack.

Welcome to Hypercard

Bit of Apple humor in the "HyperCard And You" Technical Note that some developers might have missed:

The 15 Billion Horsemen of the Apocalypse

With the introduction of HyperCard 2.0, many of the old bugs were quashed, and absolutely no new bugs were created. In fact, the software was so bug-free that it immediately attained Nirvana and Apple has had problems getting it to do anything since. Just kidding.

Boston Computer Society

In the early 1990s, the Boston Computer Society distributed HyperCard stacks of Boston Freedom Trail and a Welcome to Boston on its CD. The CD were released at MacWorld Boston and available for sale at Trade booths and later via mail order.

HyperCard application was included on version 11 CD but was removed on version 12 and 13. Not sure exactly why it was removed in later CD versions.

Boston Computer Society’s Freedom Trail Stack

The Boston Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile, red-lined route that leads you to 16 historically significant sites " each one an authentic treasure. The Boston Computer Society created a set of HyperCard Stacks so that people would learn about the 16 historical sites. This was a very popular HyperCard stack collection.

The application has trail maps and pictures of the various sites around the City of Boston.

Freedom Trial Hypercard

Boston Computer Society’s Boston City Guide Stack

At the 1992 MacWorld Expo, The Boston Computer Society put together a HyperCard Stack of getting around the City of Boston. The stack featured 16 different categories of places to visit and important phone numbers.

Boston City Guide

November 19, 2016

Magic Pictures

Xsight Technologies, has identified three ways to improve the quality of pictures. These techniques will help you take better digital pictures:

  • Adjust The Contrast
  • Switch To Black & White
  • Save Your "Lossless" Files

Check out the detail article over at Xsight Technologies website:

https://www.magic-picture.com/simple-ways-to-improve-image-quality/

Xsight Technologies is coming out with a new tool that truly sharpens images and compresses them simultaneously. It's currently available as a website application, and soon they will have an iOS and Android version.

Watch Magic Pictures in Action!

Visit https://www.magic-picture.com/ and in the header you'll see a place to upload a picture. Try a couple of pictures and see how good the quality of your picture comes out. Then check out the compression savings. The slider functionality shows you the before/after.

Olympus XZ-2 iHS Test

Here's an example of a photo I took at the Wayside in Sudbury, Massachusetts on October 30, 2016. The photo was taken with my Olympus XZ-2 iHS, and the default file size is 3.925.7 MB.

Wayside Magic Picture

The rocks on the building are clearer and the fall colors do pop out more using Magic Pictures. I can see how this could really make photos pop.

iPhone 6s Plus Testing

In my testing, I found that pictures taken with my Olympus XZ-2 iHS had better file size compression. Photos taken with my iPhone 6s Plus had much clearer pictures but were slightly larger. Here's an example of the iPhone 6s Plus:

Bostoni Phone Magic

In the side-by-side comparison, I can tell that the colors are brighter and the grass and trees aren't as blurry as they are in the original.

November 20, 2016

Black Friday 2016 Watch List

Black Friday2016

Every year, I put together a list of software/hardware that I consider "nice to have." During the past year I tried them out but just can't justify the cost of buying the software. During the peak week of "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday," I'll watch to see if the products go on sale.

This is my 2016 list of product/services that I am watching. This doesn't mean that I'll be buying all of these items. In prior years, I was watching to see if my printer ink was on sale. I was checking DVD-R prices and just overall technology stuff.

Macintosh Software

These are the Big Five Macintosh applications that I am watching

  • LaunchBar - ($29) I can see using this all the time to move between applications, the clipboard history is very cool
  • Path Finder - ($39.95) Great Finder replacement with a lot of power tools I could use on a daily bases.
  • Keyboard Maestro - ($36). I have TextExpander, but there are some functionalities in Keyboard Maestro that I like. It was on sale for $19.99 on Social for a while.
  • Swift Publisher 4 - ($19.99) I like a lot of their features and see it as a good page layout tool.
  • Affinity Photo - ($49.99) A minor update should be available soon. Serif may offer the 20% off which is the discount they offered when Affinity Designer got an upgrade in October.
  • SnagIt - Upgrade ($24.95) I have a license and can upgrade to the latest version. This has been included with some bundles, but the software got a big upgrade this summer so they may not promote it as much.

Both Keyboard Maestro and LaunchBar have clipboard history functionality. Having a clipboard history will make it easy to access previously copied text.

Hardware List

Amazon isn't the only store on the internet. Staples and Target should have good deals on some of the products I am watching.

Last year I stood line to at midnight to get a great deal on a USB drive at Best Buy. Even Walgreen and CVS will have door busters on some flash drives. Simply knowing which are the better ones can help know when a deal is perfect.

  • 128 GB Flash Drive - ($27.99) I can never have enough disk space. 128 GB seems to be a good size for Flash Drives. I can store 27 DVDs on 128GB flash drive. I like the SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drives.
  • Recycle AA Batteries - I could always use a fresh set of batteries.
  • Apple Lightning Cable - I could always use a decent Apple Lightning Cable that actually works.

Cloud List

Where I am watching

I have setup a Google Alert to notify me if the software products are mention in the media. In addition, I'll be checking their Twitter feeds to see if there any announced one-day deals.

I'll be checking store flyers for announcements. Sites like deal news really help educate the public on awesome deals.

Black Friday Reminder

If you're going to a midnight opening, make sure to know the store layout. Visit the store ahead of time so you know where things are.

A quick store visit now will save you frustrations later!

November 21, 2016

mark.silberman78 spam emails

I have been getting a lot of these types of emails, not exactly sure of what they are trying to accomplished.

From - Mon Nov 21 11:21:55 2016
X-Account-Key: account1
X-UIDL: 00002ff74a8abd8e
X-Mozilla-Status: 0001
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000
X-Mozilla-Keys:
Return-Path: <>
Received: from [::ffff:178.91.53.33] ([178.91.53.33])
by cryan.com
   for ; Mon, 21 Nov 2016 08:15:02 -0800
Received: from unknown (HELO localhost) (mark.silberman78@gmail.com@112.240.163.89)
  by 178.91.53.33 with ESMTPA; Mon, 21 Nov 2016 21:16:50 +0500
X-Originating-IP: 112.240.163.89
From: mark.silberman78@gmail.com
To: xxxx@cryan.com
Subject: you've been scammed

Your email xxxx@cryan.com has been hacked and spam is sent to all your contacts!
If you don't have a lawyer, you may contact me at mark.silberman78@gmail.com

Best Regards,
Mark
mark.silberman78@gmail.com

The first of these types of emails started appearing on November 13, 2016. This weekend I received at least a 100 of these emails. I might be getting these emails due to some anti-sql injection that I have put in place. (Basically I giving the attempted hackers a run for their money.)

This email was also mentioned on Koos van den Hout.

November 21, 2016

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

The Spaceship Earth is a large Geodesic Dome at the main entrance of Epcot theme park and one of the most recognizable landmarks on Disney property. The Spaceship earth ride gives guest a quick history lesson on communications. The ride takes you through 40,000 years of communications.

Many of this tips/tricks came from various internet sources that I have collected over the years, including hiddenmickeys.org and various Disney Unix sites.

Fun Facts about the Geodesic Dome

  • The Spaceship Earth Geodesic Dome is 180 feet taking up 2,200,00 cubic feet of space the outer surface is composed of 954 triangular panels and
  • weighs 155 million pounds.
  • The Spaceship Earth Geodesic Dome isn't the world largest, that honor goes to a pair of Industrial buildings in Northern Mexico 732 ft long and 260 ft wide. Fukuoka Dome in Fukuoka Japan is the largest single structure Geodesic Dome: 709 ft. Spaceship Earth doesn't even appear in the top ten largest Geodesic Dome structures list.
  • It took 2 years to build Spaceship Earth.
  • The Prism Fountain behind the turnstiles is actually run-off water from Spaceship Earth.
  • Spaceship Earth has special panels in it the suck in the water when it rains so that it does not drip on guests.
  • Hidden within the panels covering the Geosphere are 17 perfect five-pointed stars
  • One of the coolest places in FutureWorld is under Spaceship Earth. It's shape and the shops to either side create a venturi that causes the slightest breeze to accelerate. (Not a good place to have an open umbrella!)
  • If Spaceship Earth were a golf ball, the person using it to play golf would be approximately 1.2 miles tall to be in proper scale!

Fun Facts about Spaceship Earth

  • Spaceship Earth is the most popular attraction in the world. More people pass through the ride every year than any other attraction.
  • The tour of Spaceship Earth takes 15 mins.
  • The term "Spaceship Earth" was originally coined by Buckminster Fuller, in his 1969 book, "An Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth." Buckminister Fuller also invented the concept of the Geodesic Sphere, which is the type of structure that the "Spaceship Earth" ride is housed in. (The books makes for a great read before you visit the park.)
  • When Space Ship Earth originally opened, all the cars had to be replaced due to a bad design. Each night they would take several cars out of the ride and replace them with refurbished ones. This took some time to complete. In fact, it was so bad that the mechanism that turns the cars around on top of the ride wasn't working and they had a cast member physically turning each car around. You can still see a cast member at the top of the Spaceship Earth ride.
  • Most of the male audio-animatronics in Spaceship Earth are former presidents. When the Hall of Presidents was first made, they made detailed molds for the faces of the presidents. Then when Spaceship Earth was built, they used the same molds and put different hair, costumes, make-up, etc. to create the different characters.
  • The vehicle audio system is an infrared system beamed to the vehicles as they pass by the transmitters.
  • The ride is now narrated by Dame Judi Dench, at one time it was narrated by Walter Cronkite (19864 - 1994).
  • In the scene where the teenage boy is communicating with the girl: if you listen carefully, you'll notice that the boy is speaking in English and hearing the girl in English. The girl is speaking in Japanese and hearing the boy in Japanese as well.
  • At the end of the Spaceship Earth Ride while traveling backward, right before passing the city landscape and passing underneath the fiber optic wires that are overhead, there are several scenes showing people communicating via video phone at remote locations. The more distant part of these images are produced by the classic "peppers ghost effect", what is being reflected is really one story above you to your left as you are coming down.
  • Originally sponsored by the Bell Systems, then in 1984 it was sponsored by AT&T (After the breakup of baby bell)
  • Since 2005, Spaceship Earth has been sponsored by Siemens.
  • Ride closed early 1986 and reopened on May 26, 1986, after the first major renovation. This is when Walter Cronkite became the official navigator. The last major renovation was in 2008 during the fourth major update.
  • Spaceship Earth celebrated 30 years on October 1st, 2012.

Hidden Mickeys!

There are a lot of Hidden Mickeys around here. Here are some known ones:

  • On the mural at the entrance, there is a mammoth. At the top right of the picture, Mickey's face is in sideways profile along the top of the mammoth's back.
  • On the left side of the car you pass the scene with the monks transcribing documents. The second monk is sleeping. If you look back as you pass him you can see an ink blot in the shape of Mickey in the upper right-hand part of the document.
  • When the car is moving through the Renaissance period, there is an artist to your left painting a still-life of some grapes. All the grapes are outlined in black, except a cluster of three, which are outlined in white, making a clear Mickey head.
  • We want to point out the window behind Mona Lisa in the Renaissance section has a lot of big and small circles in it. Every now and then they form perfect Mickeys.
  • Alarm clock (on the dresser) in the teenage boy's bedroom, you can see a hidden Mickey

November 22, 2016

McCormick Gluten Free Options

Brown Gravy

McCormick is well known for their recipe mixes collection. If your lucky, you may find a store that carries all 25+ different varieties.

Gluten Free Options

McCormick also makes eight different mixes as Gluten Free:

  • Gluten-Free Beef Stew Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Brown Gravy Mix
  • Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Fajita Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Meat Loaf Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix
  • Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy Mix

We have tried many of these in soups and in crock pot recipes. They are all very good, we have had to add a little corn starch to thicken up the gravy in some recipes.

According toe McCormick's website, you can find these in various stores including Target/Walmart and Amazon.com.

Framingham Stop and Shop

The Stop and Shop on Temple Road in Framingham, Massachusetts has discontinued selling McCormick's Brown Gravy Gluten Free recipe mix packets.

I was worried that McCormick has stopped making the gluten free Brown Gravy, but there's nothing on their website or from various gluten-free food blogs.

I am guessing that this particular Stop and Shop is not selling enough of the gravy to justify the premium shelf space. I would highly recommend that they should move it over to the gluten free section.

They did put a strange shelf sign:

McCormick Shelf Tag

Apparently I shouldn't use my Stop and Shop card, otherwise, it wouldn't be discontinued.

November 23, 2016

Center of Framingham

Where is the exact center of Framingham? How is it calculated?

According to various historic records, the Framingham Center green, where the town commons is located, is the physical center of town. I wanted to see if that was the case.

There are different methods to find the exact center of a city/town because there is no official definition. For many small towns, it has a certain meaning: they can leave their anonymity and can build a monument.

Geographical Center of a Town

Obviously the physical center of gravity is seen as the geographical center of an area. This can easily found by cutting out the town map on a piece of paper and then trying to get it to balance on a pencil.

Using the Circular Method

Using the Circular Method is an easy way to find the center of a location. You simply draw a circle around the outer points of the town, and then find the center of the circle.

circlemethod
Using the Circle Method is one way to find the center of a town. Using Affinity Designer is an easy way to pinpoint the center of the circle.

Using this method, with the help of Affinity Designer, I was able to determine that 53 Grove ST, Framingham MA appears to be the center of the town. This is the site of the Edgell Grove Cemetery.

Framingham Center

Map Geo Confirmed!

If you visit Framingham's MapGeo, by AppGeo, and zoom in you'll land at the same location in the Edgell Grove Cemetery. This is because when the site opens to the view of the entire town when you zoom in, you zoom to the center of town.

Framingham Mapgeo

November 24, 2016

Christmas Tree from Halifax

The Halifax Explosion occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on the morning of December 6, 1917. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with wartime explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin.

The low-speed collision caused a series of chain reactions that resulted in a fast moving fire on the SS Mont-Banc. The fire caused a ignited the cargo on the SS Mont-Banc, causing a large explosion that devastated the seaport district of Halifax. Nearly 2,000 people were killed by blast and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.

Boston Assistance

As soon as the news hit Boston, locals scrambled to send help to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Within 24-hours after the accident, a train was loaded up with medical supplies and was sent up north. Unfortunately, a major snow storm hit and the train was delayed and didn't arrive until December 9th.

The train arrived in Halifax just in time as supplies were badly needed, in addition, the medical staff on the train was able to cover for many of those that were working since the explosion occurred.

Nova Scotia Starts a Tradition

Nine years after the incident, the city of Halifax sent a Christmas in appreciation of the support by the people of Boston. The tree was also a way to promote Christmas Tree exports from Nova Scotia. The annual gift was soon taken over by the Nova Scotia Government as a way to promote the goodwill gesture and to promote Nova Scotia to Boston.

Christmas Tree Timeline

Here's the timeline that happens every year:

  • June/July - Scouts look for the perfect tree to send to Boston. Halifax residences can submit their tree.
  • November 14th - Tree is cut down in a large tree cutting ceremony
  • November 16th - Tree leaves Halifax to Boston in a Grand Parade. (750 Miles to Boston)
  • November 21st - Tree arrives in Boston
  • December 1st - Tree lighting Ceremony at the Boston Commons.

Christmas Tree Requirements

There are certain requirements for the Christmas Tree, as not just any tree will do:

  • Attractive Balsam Fir
  • White Spruce or Red Spruce
  • 12 to 16 Meters tall (40 to 50 feet)
  • Very healthy with excellent color
  • Medium to heavy Density
  • Uniform and Symmetrical
  • Easy to Access

Halifax Christmas Tree Fun Facts

This year marks the 99th of the Halifax Explosion.

It cost Nova Scotia $250,000 (Canada) a year to send a tree to Boston.

The Nova Scotia CA story has a complete cost breakdown of the true cost of sending the tree to Boston.

Most of the Christmas trees come from the open land and not from Christmas Tree farms. Landowners that agree to give up their tree get some compensation, last year a family was paid $500.

An average Balsam Tree grows less than 12" a year. Which means that a qualified Balsam Fir would have to have been planted at least 40 years ago to be eligible for Boston.

Nova Scotia pays for the lighting ceremony in Boston.

November 25, 2016

The Grouch

The Grouch Icon

Back in the 1990s there was a System Extension called "The Grouch." The extension would run an annimated Oscar the Grouch and sound byte whenever the system trash would be empty.

This became a cool novelty that kids would put stuff in the trash just to see the animation and sound. This is from the version 2.0 Read Me file:

The Extension version of "The Grouch" plays an animation every time "Empty Trash" is selected from the Finder's "Special" menu. This version must be placed into your System Folder (or Extensions folder under System 7) and you must "Restart" your system for it to work.

The Application version was created after several parents informed me that their children liked "The Grouch" so much they threw out all of the files on their hard disks. This version is child-proof as far as I can tell since it is completely self- contained. It does not modify the Finder and draws the animation in a window instead of on the desktop. It does not require the Extension to be present.

Sadly the developer, Eric Shapiro never ported over to Mac OS X.

Audio Clip

Here's a copy of the sound that people would hear when the animation was run. This is a combination of the two sound bites:

November 26, 2016

CE Marks

There’s was some conversations this past year over on Reddit about some poor quality products. In particular, some products that were "drop ship" from China and would take a few weeks to arrive.

Someone posted this graphic, and I am re-posting it as a reminder as people are now in full swing for Christmas:

C E Mark

Think twice when you pick up something that looks cheap, you might be buying a knock off from China or another country. The item may not meet local code standards and could cause damages to your products.

Earlier this year, I was excited about some iPhone 6s Plus cables that I purchased on Amazon, only to find out that they didn't last a few weeks and are not completely useless.

You may hate to pay the "full price," but there's a no sense of saving money by purchasing knock-offs only to find they are useless after a couple of times using them.

November 27, 2016

Quality Assurance Testing Graphics

Here are some additional quotes/images that I have collected over the years. Most times I’ll send these in Slack as the movement seems appropriate.

If you’re in Quality Assurance testing, I am sure you’ll find the right moment to use these images/saying:

Quality Moved
Quality has Moved, see the next issue...

Turning Back
There's no turning back..

Carson Yes
"Yes! You are Correct Sir!" - usually appropriate when an Engineer asks an obvious question, such as "Is Code freeze tonight?"

Poor Planning
Poor Planning on YOUR part does not automatically constitute an emergency on our part.

November 28, 2016

Pop Century All Star Resort

On our next trip to DisneyWorld we will be staying at the Pop Century All Star resort. This will be our first time staying at this popular resort. In 2015, we did stay at the nearby Art of Animation Resort.

A brief description of Pop Century Resort From Disney's Website:

Experience the unforgettable fads of the 1950s through the 1990s all over again. From yo-yos and Play-Doh(R) to Rubik's Cube(R) and rollerblades, this Resort hotel salutes the timeless fashions, catch phrases, toys, and dances that captivated the world through the decades.

Here's some things that I learned about the resort.

A map of where Pop Century is on the Disney Property:

Pop Century Map

Some Fun Facts about the Pop Century Resort

First opened December 14, 2003.

Food Court name is "Everything Pop"

There are three pools for guest to select from: Hippy Dippy Pool, Bowling Pool and Computer Pool

Guest should bring their own towels to the pool as towels are not available at the pools.

Petals Pool Bar is available at the Hippy Dippy Pool for Mix drinks, beer, wine, and soda.

From late October 2016 through early January 2017 the Computer Pool at Disney's Pop Century Resort will be closed for refurbishment. Beginning early January, the Hippy Dippy Pool will be unavailable. The Bowling Pool will remain open for your enjoyment. The Computer Pool will reopen on January 3, 2017.

Resort rooms will undergo a "hard goods" refurbishment starting October 16; the refurbishment will run through much of 2017. (It don't hurt to ask for a quiet room when checking in!)

Pool Gallon Facts

Hippy Dippy Pool Main Pool 235,613
Bowling Pool 50's Pool 144,352
Computer Pool 80's 90's Pool (not disclosed!)

Disney Bus Transportation Times

On Average the bus runs about every 20 minutes.

Magic Kingdom 20-25
Epcot 10-15
Hollywood Studios 20-25
Animal Kingdom 20-25
Disney Springs 10-15

Hidden Mickey's from the AllEars Newsletter

Inside the Pop Century gift shop, near the exit to the bus stop, check the wall behind the cash registers to spot round gift boxes that form a classic Mickey. The image appears twice in faux package-locker windows. One image is in the second window from the top of the second column of windows from the right side. The other is in the third window from the left on the top row.

Two black classic Mickeys are on the keyboard of the huge computer outside near the Computer Pool. Both are on the lower row of keys. One is the second key from the left and the other is the second key from the right. (More obvious decorative classic Mickeys are in the computer monitor's screensaver.)

Subscribe to the AllEars Newsletter to learn all the latest disney news.

November 29, 2016

Van’s Foods Cinnamon French Toast Sticks

Yesterday was National French Toast Day.

If you're eating Gluten free, you do have some options for French Toast:

Van’s Foods Cinnamon French Toast Sticks

Vans French Toast Sticks

My five-year-old daughter really loves Van’s Foods Cinnamon French Toast Sticks. We have a couple of boxes in the freezer in our basement, always making sure that they are always available.

We find that they are better served with a nice dab of Nutella on the side. She actually prefers that way.

We have tried Hershey spreadable chocolate, but they don't taste the same. Hershey Spreadable chocolate is perfect for other things, just doesn't do well with Cinnamon French Toast sticks.

The French toast are perfect for dipping.

You put the pre-slice bread in the toaster for about a minute, and then take them out and separate around the chocolate. I find they taste better when you click the frozen button on the toaster.

If your kindergarten has celiac is looking for a good breakfast treat, stock up on Van’s Foods Cinnamon French Toast Sticks.

The Cinnamon French Toast Sticks are expensive (~$5 for 12 slices) to have every day for breakfast. They are a great treat when you're looking for something different than the usual cold cereal.

They are also nice snack on a really cold day.

November 30, 2016

Hanson Farm

Hansons Farm2

In the early days of Framingham, there were many farms all over the town. There were so many that every year there was an agricultural fair where farmers could showcase thier crops.

According to the current Framingham town records,, there are now two active farms in the town of Framingham. The town remaining farms are Hansons Farm and Stearns Farm. The two farms are practically neighbors located near Callahan State Park.

The two farms are on land that was once part of Danforth Farms - the first farm of Framingham.

Hansons Farm Pumpkin Picking

Last month we took a ride over to Hanson's Farm to get some pumpkins. Usually we venture over to Stow and get some pumpkins at Derby Ridge Farm or Shelburne Farm.

We were lucky that there weren't that many people at the farm. We parked across the street and walked over to the farm stand.

Bring your Camera and Creativity

In front of the farm stand there are all sorts of fall displays - perfect as a background for fall pictures. There was an old tractor where kids can pretend they are riding it while Mom and Dad take pictures.

At the pumpkin patch, there is a large field with the Callahan State Park in the background. This is a great place to take fall pictures. Occasionally you'll see

At the first pumpkin patch is an oversize pumpkin where kids can go in and parents can take a picture to remember the day. Come back every year and you can see how much the kids have grown.

Pumpkin Patch

The pumpkin patch is a short walk from the farm stand to the field with all sorts of Pumpkins. Make sure to bring one of the red wagons - you'll need it.

There are a lot of pumpkins to select from. We found that it was best to keep the red wagon in the middle of the field until we found the perfect pumpkin.

In 2016, the pumpkins cost $.69 a pound. They had Cheese, Large, Cinderella, Goosebump, Mini and Batwing Pumpkins. You could buy quality Cornstalks, Hay bales and Indian Corn for awesome home fall displays.

Hansons Field

Fun Facts that I learned about the Hansons Farm

  • Hanson's Farm is a 5th Generation Farm located at 20 Nixon Rd. in Framingham, Mass. They grow 52 acres of Fruit and Vegetables and over 100 acres of Hay.
  • The actual farm building is on 23.19 acres, but the Hanson Family owns a lot of the surrounding land.
  • Open since 1913 (When it became Hansons Farm, prior to that it was known as Child's Family Farm)
  • According to the Framingham town records, the Farm House was built in 1760. Think about that the next time you visit the farm. The house is 256 years old!
  • The Hanson Farm is the oldest continuing operating farm in Framingham.
  • On Friday/Saturday nights in October, they get transformed to Hanson's Haunted Farms from 7pm to 10pm
  • They have Strawberries picking in June and July.
  • You can get fresh cut flowers from Mid-June to the first frost. (A special treat for someone!)
  • Pumpkins are ready from September to November.
  • The Farmstand is open from May 15th to November 1st. (170 Days)