Powerbook in SFO
June 12, 2021

StatsCounter

In the testing world, it’s very handy to know what browsers are popular. We all know that Chrome is leading the field. However, what about other browsers?

StatsCounter gives you the worldwide trends. It gives you the idea of what browsers that a percentage of users are likely to be using. It’s a helpful resource to plan your testing strategy.

Ideally, you should look at your local stats. But getting the global market can be useful in the long run. Especially if your triaging bugs that only occur in certain browsers.

Website Description

Stats are based on aggregate data collected by Statcounter on a sample exceeding 10 billion page views per month collected from across the Statcounter network of more than 2 million websites. Stats are updated and made available every day, however are subject to quality assurance testing and revision for 45 days from publication.

statscounter
https://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share

June 11, 2021

Word Count LaunchBar Action

Sometimes I need a way to count a selected group of text. Usually, it’s to see if it’s long enough for a particular field.

If it was on a website, I would copy that text into BBEdit or another text editor. Then I would look at the status bar to see the number of words or length of the copied text.

There has to be a better way,

So I decided to create a LaunchBar action. It was really easy to do and a good task to brush up on my JavaScript skills.

Launch Bar Word Count

Using the Action

Now when I need to get the information, I just follow these steps.

  1. Select the text
  2. Use the “Instant Send” keyboard short cut
  3. Click Tab
  4. Then type in “Word” and then click return.

I get instant info on my selected text.

Download the Custom Action

I figured other people may want to use this so I am making it publicly available.

Word Count.lbaction
Click to Download

Download the action. After downloading, double-click on the zip file to uncompress it. Then double click on the file to install in LaunchBar

June 10, 2021

Keychain Charging Cable

You never know when you need to charge your phone. It might be practical to have an extra phone cable in your laptop bag or suitcase. However, things don't always work out that way.

You may leave the cord at work, or at home. Usually, this is because you couldn't find your regular cord. Then you forget to put the cord back.

A great solution is to get a mini cord and connect the cord to your backpack. It's small enough that you won't use it for everyday use but practical enough to use when you need it.

USB Keychain Mobile
USB Keychain Desktop

Simple Charge Series 2in1 Keychain Charging Cable

Charges MicroUSB and Lightning. You never know when you'll need a particular cable type it works with iOS and Android devices.

USB2 flexable cable. Charges fast and the cable is flexable for those tight spots.

Small enough to have available whenever you need it. (I forget that I have it sometimes.)

A cable that you won't want to use everyday. It won't get removed from your backpack/laptop bag. I have even forgotten that I have it.

Strong enough for the road. I had mine on the outside of my backpack in the rain and snow. Still works like a charm.

Really Short. If the charger is high off the floor/table, this may not work.

Finding the Cable

Apparently the particular cable I have is discontinued. There are plenty of similar type of devices on Amazon.com. I would personally recommend getting lightning and USB-C Keychain Charging Cable. The "Six-in-One Swiss Army Knife of Cables, Portable Keyring Compatible with Apple iPhone/USB/USB-C/Micro USB Cable for All of Your Devices" looks to be a good solution.

June 9, 2021

Automation

Automation Logo

Automation is not testing it's checking.

What is Automation?

Automation makes hunmans more efficient, not less essentials

Automation is not a silver bullet - it won't immediately increase productivity, but if approached correctly, it will eventually support increase releases, greater test coverage, and overall quality of the product.

The Great Debate?

There's this debate in the testing community on the purpose of automation.

There's one group that talks about how automation is testing. They argue that automation tests to make sure that the build is stable and any changes doesn't break existing functionality.

There's a different group that says automation is checking. They argue that automation is only checking predefined paths and not testing situations that may be unique to the change being made. While critical paths may be working, some other functionality may be broken.

Team Checking

I am with the team checking. I believe that the purpose of automation is to check the stability of the build. Once automation passes, QA can perform manual testing.

Automation can be limited to the scope of checking/validating. In my experience, it can be tricky to automation 3rd party integration. Manual testing can be more effective in validating functionality.

Automation Has Value

Saying "Automation is Checking" doesn't change the value of automation. Automation plays a valuable role in the testing process. Don't put your eggs in one basket and solely rely on automation as your testing tool. Automation complements manual testing.

Automation test cases should be designed so that the build/branch is stable for manual testing. It should be checking that the critical paths are working.

Automation Checking

Final Thoughts

There's no such thing as a manual or automated tester. Are you a manual or automated programmer?

June 8, 2021

Page Curl

Last week’s Media Monday video featured a cool Page Curl effect. If you haven’t seen the video, check it out.

I searched around to see if there were any generators and I didn’t find anything that would only take the page curl to about 20% and then reverse. I decided to create my own generated effect using Apple Motion.

Page Curl is one of the built-in effects. However, it's a bit tricky to create a slight page curl and then retreat.

Page Curl

Four Things I Learned

If you want to customize how the page curl works, you should turn off the Animate feature in the Page Curl Filter Inspector. This allows you to use keyframes to control the Page Curl to the way you want.

The Page Curl backside is just a mirror image of the front side. There’s no way to change the backside - at least I didn’t see a way to do it..

When animate is enabled the selected object that has a Page Curl connected, will peel away for the duration of the timeline. There is no way to pause it and then reverse with the animate enabled.

Use Page Curl percent as the keyframe. Set the percent to 0 at the start then to a certain point in the timeline change to some value. In my case, it was 50%. Then you can keyframe it to 0 at the end to get the full effect. (That sounds complicated. Just look at the image to get an idea.)

Download A Sample Page Curl Generator

If you want to create your own page curl flip effect in Final Cut Pro or Apple Motions, you can download my version of the Page Curl effect. You can completely customize it using Apple Motion.

Download the Page Curl Generator

To install it, simply uncompress the download file and put it in:

~/Movies/Motion Templates/Generators

To use it, simply drag it to the timeline as you would any media file. Select the generated clip and in the Properties panel, add the image/movie for the front and back.

You can also edit it in Apple Motion and change the effect of the Page Curl.

June 7, 2021

1982 Commercial

This week's video features a couple of classic commercials that I found in my VHS collection. These are from the early 1980s. Some of the shows that were recorded were in 1982.

This Week's Commercials

Lite Beer - Mr. Butkis and Mr. Smith in this classic Lite Beer commercial

Miller High Life - A 1980s commercial with World Trade Center.

Atari - The game that everyone wanted to play in the 1980s.

Howard Johnsons - A classic Howard Johnsons commercial. Remember, "If it's not your mother, it must be Howard Johnson."

June 6, 2021

7 biggest benefits of CRM platforms

Two businessmen discussing the biggest benefits of CRM platforms

There are numerous benefits of CRM platforms that can help you better organize your business operations. From increasing productivity to providing a better customer experience, many companies use these systems to improve daily workflow. It allows them to systematically organize data and numerous reports in one central hub and easily access all relevant information. On top of that, you can track innumerable metrics to see if additional aspects of your business require improvements.

What are the most significant benefits of CRM platforms?

CRM platforms are a great option when you need solutions that can be used across several departments. To start with, CRM can collect a large amount of important information about your audience. With access to customers' preferences, demands, and activities, you will know precisely how to establish and maintain relationships and improve your business. Also, CRM provides you with the correct data about your internal operations so you can analyze and improve them.

Even though the benefits may be different depending on the industry, there are seven major benefits of CRM platforms, in general:

  1. CRM improves efficiency
  2. Offers deep reporting and analytics
  3. Makes collaboration easy for team members
  4. More efficient data visualization
  5. Better customer segmentation
  6. Helps you personalize the outreach
  7. Improves customer relationships

1. CRM improves efficiency

One of the most significant advantages CRM platforms offer is automation. Many tasks and daily routines can be automatized to create an easier and more efficient workflow. Of course, not every niche is the same, and some focus on different tasks more. For example, CRM solutions, like MoversTech CRM, are specialized to improve the efficiency of moving businesses. They focus on providing a better customer experience and improvement of often complex day-to-day operations. On the other side, other companies may focus more on outreach improvements and require CRM specific for their industry. Regardless, CRM improves the handling of countless smaller tasks, otherwise conducted manually.

 An illustration of a man in a suit having problems with multitasking.
CRM is essential to make multitasking more efficient.

2. Offers deep reporting and analytics

Most businesses use numerous reports from different sources, like Google Analytics, social media, and analytical software, on a regular basis. But, without a central hub of information like CRM, it's easy to lose touch with reports from all over the place. You need to organize everything in one place to make sense of it one way or another.

This is where using quality CRM solutions becomes crucial. Its most significant benefit, in this case, is to collect, sort out, and organize reports, collected data, and results of different metrics. An advantage that CRM platforms offer is that they go deeper from an analytical standpoint as well. You can later use these reports to check if there is a possibility to improve certain operations like customer service, lead acquisitions, sales, and more.

3. Makes collaboration easy for team members

Every business collects data like contact information, customer interaction, numerous instructions, and many more. However, sometimes it can be challenging for each team member to find the correct information at a given moment. Not to mention how it increases in difficulty when the entire team needs to collaborate. This is why a CRM platform can be a perfect solution for serving relevant information when needed. With the current state of development, many platforms allow members to simultaneously work on the same documents. Simply put, this is essential for any business because it keeps all information in check, up-to-date, and accessible for everyone in your company with credentials.

Pictures of team members against a blue background where some of them are working remotely.
Collaboration will be much easier, especially for remote positions.

4. More efficient data visualization

Without CRM, it can be difficult to visualize all the data and records in your possession. You would have to manually process reports and find a way to create graphs and charts. Luckily, a CRM platform can complete most of the work for you. You can use the CRM dashboard without much effort and configure how you want your data to be represented. It can do it separately for any metric or the conditions you set up. As a result, every team member will get what they need in an organized manner.

A man in a suit looking at graphs and charts on his tablet.
You can easily visualize any type of data with CRM platforms.

5. Better customer segmentation

In a customer-oriented world, much attention is directed toward the classification of customers. This is often regarded as customer segmentation. Companies often have thousands of contacts, and organizing everything in a meaningful way is time-consuming and overwhelming. This is another section where CRM is an irreplaceable solution. You can set different criteria, and CRM will automatically complete the segmentations the way you want. Whether it's grouping contacts by name, age, preferences, or any given combination.

6. Helps you personalize the outreach

Another benefit of CRM platforms is that you can personalize the outreach for manual and automated campaigns. Without much effort, you can set up countless automated tasks to target a specific audience. It will be conducted in a more personal way that triggers when criteria are matched. However, you can also use it to exclude some of your contacts from your campaign if it's not intended for them. In other words, depending on the tasks you want to accomplish, there are situations when it's not good to automate.

7. Improves customer relationships

Without a doubt, CRM platforms are great tools that can help you improve relationships with your customers. Besides making routine tasks easy, you can use it to provide a more personalized experience. CRM can help you analyze and connect customers with specific requirements and needs with the most suitable agents. Thanks to the excellent segmentation and quality reports, your team members will know exactly who needs to answer, how to approach the situation, and what solutions to offer. Giving this kind of attention to customers and making them feel like individuals will increase their satisfaction.

Call service agent talking to a client.
More personalized approach improves customers’ satisfaction

CRM platforms have become an essential tool for any business. From organization to automation, there are numerous benefits of CRM platforms. In general, they are a central hub of organized information available at any moment, which can help you establish better communication with your potential clients. Additionally, it can also improve communication and information flow for your teams. As a result, teams that utilize CRM demonstrate increased efficiency and help your business succeed.

Meta description: Read about the 7 biggest benefits of CRM platforms that can help your business operations and increase the number of satisfied clients.

June 5, 2021

Coolbackground.io

Sometimes you need a little inspiration for a background image. One place to check out is Coolbackground.io.

You can generate all sorts of creative background images for your computer or website posts. It's a great place to go to be inspired.

Website Description

After laboring over your latest piece of writing, one of the hardest steps before hitting publish is finding an exciting background image to really showcase and draw attention to your post.

Cool Backgrounds is a collection of tools to create compelling, colorful images for blogs, social media, and websites. Beyond backgrounds, the images generated can be used as 🖥 desktop wallpapers or cropped for " mobile wallpapers.

Cool Background
https://coolbackgrounds.io/

Sample

Sample implementation of the Cool Background

Cool Background Bedit

Yogi Berra- Cool Background

June 4, 2021

QuickTime Audio

Apple Quicktime has the ability to record video and audio files. This is a quick way to digitalize audio. For example, if you want to send an audio message in an email or a social media post.

There are two settings for audio:

Setting Description
High 44100 Hz AAC audio
Maximum 44100 Hz, uncompressed Linear PCM 24-bit AIFF-C audio

Quicktime Audio

Four Things I Learned

The output audio is off, by default. You have to adjust the volume to hear the recording.

Shortcut for creating a new audio recording is Shift Command N

The recording settings that Quicktime starts with are the same as the default sound input. This is defined in the System Preferences - select Sound.

When you have the QuickTime Inspector open, it shows you the current settings that you have set up.

Three Reasons to Use Quicktime

  1. Fast way to record audio. Pretty much hit record and you're on your way.
  2. Installed on all Macintosh computers. If the computer has Quicktime, you have the ability to record audio. (Seems like a tool that Mission's Impossible's Ethan Hunt might use to record a confession.)
  3. Apple Script Support! You can write Apple Script or Automator action to record audio based on an action - such as setting up a recording to listen to mystery sounds at the office at midnight.

Three Reasons Not to Use Quicktime

  1. Limited recording scope. You can't define recording by application. For example if you want to record audio from Safari. This can be done using Audio Hijack.
  2. No Menu Bar or Dock Record Option. You have to have the App open and then type the keyboard shortcut and then record. Too many steps to record something quickly. Best solution to this is Simple Recorder.
  3. Limited Audio Configuration - You can only record using two settings High and Maximum. Use apps like Audacity for more configuration options.
June 3, 2021

Desktop Power Station

One of the things that help me be productive at my desk is my Tower Surge Protector. This is a great way for me to plug things in without having to go under my desk.

This is a handy way to plug things in and charge devices.

Desltop Power Station

Four Things I Learned

The USB ports are just USB 1,1 - so they don’t really have much juice for many devices that are used today. They work fine for charging some cameras - just take longer.

The power cable is nice and long- I think around 6-feet. Useful to move the Tower Surge Protector around.

I have some USB 2.1 AMPs plugged in. Other things I have plugged in are hard drives which have shorter cable lengths and plugging them under my desk will limit when I can place them on the desk.

I had a USB in desk charger that fits in the three-inch round opening. The problem with this is that I had to reach behind my computer to plug things in. It wasn’t convenient. The tower just makes it easy to plug things in when I need to.

Next Time

If I had to do it over again, I would buy the Surge Protector that has a built-in Wireless Charger. It's a bit expensive for a desktop station - %35, but I think it would eliminate some of the power cables that I have.

I certainly recommend a Surge Protector that has 2.1 AMPs.

June 2, 2021

June QA Images

It's been a while since I added some images to the QA library. Here are some new ones to my growing collection.

Be sure to check out all the QA Images in the QA Image Reference Library

/ Quality Assurance Logo2021
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/2021/QualityAssuranceLogo2021.jpg

/ Reuse Automation Code
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/2021/ReuseAutomationCode.jpg

/ Modern Testing Chalk2021
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/2021/ModernTestingChalk2021.jpg

June 1, 2021

Apple Motion Duration

When you create a new project in Apple Motion, there may be times when you want to change the duration. It's really easy to change the duration.

Apple Motion Timecode

Steps to change the Project Duration.

See the attached graphic for locations.

  1. Select the Project in the Layers Panel
  2. Click on the Inspector
  3. Select the Properties Tab
  4. Change the Duration value.
May 31, 2021

Rich Little Answering Machine

This week's Media Monday has another Radio Shack Answering Machine collection. This one features various impersonations done by Rich Little.

Rich Little does a really good job on these, it is hard to believe that all the voices here are done by one person!

Voice Impersonations

  1. Jimmy Stewart
  2. Humphrey Bogart
  3. W.C. Fields
  4. Jackie Gleason and Art Carney - "The Honeymooners"
  5. Jack Benny
  6. Richard Nixon
  7. John Wayne
  8. George Burns and Gracie Allen
  9. John Houseman
  10. Clark Gable
May 30, 2021

How to Make a Successful Bid for Public Office

If you’ve decided to run for office and you happen to be a differently-abled individual, your personal story and journey could be an inspiring and compelling part of your campaign. There are still the typical everyday needs of running a political campaign to keep in mind, as well as any special accommodations that need to be made when you’re traveling, delivering speeches, and interacting with constituents. Communication will be essential throughout your campaign, which can be buoyed with regular blogging and social media updates to keep people apprised of your campaign stops. Expert services can be assets in this area.

Microphone Pixabay

Photo by Pixabay

Vet Yourself

Before making a bid for public office, personally vet yourself. According to Purdue Online, there are smart ways to go about scouring your online presence, including social media accounts, past interviews, media statements, and articles you’ve written or been quoted in. Do you hold membership in any controversial organizations? Do you have close friends or relatives who have been in trouble with the law? Do you yourself have any legal troubles in your past that could come back to haunt you? You’re wise to find out what’s out there that has the potential to be embarrassing or damaging, then take proactive measures to clean it ups or prepare to address it.

Develop Your Platform

While your disability might be an element of your political platform, your overall agenda and messaging should be tailored to appeal to a wide and varied demographic. A knowledgeable and seasoned campaign advisor and campaign manager can be invaluable when it comes to helping you tailor your message, develop key strategies and approaches, and help position you within key demographics. You’ll also want to evaluate the platforms of your opponents, both to differentiate yourself and to strategize how best to support and advocate for your viewpoints.

Ensure Your Access

Candidates for office often appear at a wide variety of places, from event stages to coffee shops in rural communities. If you have limitations that require special accommodations, have a member of your advance team ensure you’re set up accordingly at different event stops. If you have an auditory or visual disability, also consider having events recorded to ensure you can review them in whatever way is most beneficial for you. If mobility is a problem, plan for events that curtail a lot of moving around, and if necessary, place firm limits on the amount of physical campaigning you do in a single setting. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, you have the right to have a service support animal with you as well, but you’ll need to have accommodations for the animal before, during, and after your campaign stops.

Proactively Talk About Yourself

Unfortunately, there may be people along the campaign trail who question your ability to serve based on your disability. While you are certainly under no obligation to divulge personal information, if you want to discredit these types of challenges, consider developing a standard response related to your condition and your abilities. If you can use your disability for advocacy purposes, that can be a positive tact, but give careful consideration to how " if at all " you use your disability on the campaign trail.

Surround Yourself With Experts

All candidates, regardless of their abilities, are well-served by hiring professionals with campaign experience in key areas including speechwriting, press writing and coverage, polling, and event planning. You can find qualified individuals on job boards. Freelance writers typically charge between $15-$40 per hour, but the cost of content can vary based on experience and expertise. You might also want to hire people with logistics planning experience, as well as website development and social media campaign knowledge. A researcher and a fundraiser can also be assets.

Running for office can be a daunting undertaking that’s mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging. However, if you’re committed to doing the public good by becoming a public servant, preplanning and hiring the right people for your team can make your vision a reality.

If you need expert insight into how to effectively use technology to bolster your campaign, visit cryan.com.

May 29, 2021

flagWaver

flagWaver is a cool flag waving effect. Simply upload any image and instantly it becomes a flag blowing in the wind.

You can change the flagpole type to five different types: Standard, Horizontal, Outrigger, Crossbar or Gallery.

You can change the background: Classic, Blue Sky or Night Sky with clouds.

Website Description

A web app for simulating a waving flag.

Flag Waver
https://krikienoid.github.io/flagwaver/

Using a screen capture, you can easily add this to any video project. For example, you could have the school logo as a flag for the intro to a school video.

May 28, 2021

Combine Files using BBEdit

Earlier this week I had a bunch of Apache log files that I wanted to combine into a single file. I was trying to figure out the best way to do it. A quick Google search showed me a solution from 2014. The purpose of this post is to say that it still works!

B Bedit Combine Files

In BBEdit

Here are the steps to quickly merge a bunch of files:

  1. Open up BBEdit
  2. Create a new Text Document (Command N)
  3. Go Under Edit menu and select Insert then “File Contents...”
  4. Select the files that you wish to add then click Insert

Alternate Way

  1. Open up BBEdit
  2. Create a new Text Document (Command N)
  3. In the Finder drag and drop the text files into the BBEdit window

Using the Command Line

Another solution is to use the Cat Unix command in Terminal. Here's a sample of what that would look like:

cat access.log.* >> website.log

May 27, 2021

Travelocity Wall Charger

Most of our devices are now powered by USB. So having USB cables and chargers are essential to travel.

On a recent trip, I found that it was really handy to have a dual-port wall charger. You can get a charger on Amazon for $8 to $11. Which is a pretty good deal. However, you may find it cheaper locally.

Wall Charger

Dual Port Wall Desktop
Dual Port Wall Mobile

I found this 2.1 Amps Wall Charger at Big Lots for only $5! What a great deal! I recently went back to the store and they were out of stock.

You may want to check other discount stores. Make sure that the charger is for 2.1 Amps so that it can charge up iPads and similar high-power devices.

Charger in Action

Airport Wall Desktop
Airport Wall Mobile

Here's the charger in action - powering two iPhones at the same time. You should know: Not all airports provide USB charging stations.

Tip

Don't forget the cable! Make sure to have at least a 3-foot cable, as there may not be a place to place your phone down near the charger.

Make sure to test the charger! You don't want to find out the hard way that the charger is bad at the worst time.

May 26, 2021

Best Butter on Popcorn

Everything tastes better with butter on it! Even Popcorn!

The downside to adding butter to popcorn is that it adds more calories than the benefit of taste. If you're looking for a healthy batch of popcorn, I would recommend adding coconut oil that has butter flavor. Most of the calories get melted during the cooking process.

But if you want to add butter, here are some things I learned.

Land O Lakes Extra Butter

Five things I learned

Over the past few months I have experimented with various brands of butter. I was trying to figure out which one works the best.

  1. Butter vs Margarine debate. Butter is definitely better than any margarine that I have tried. Margarine makes the popcorn taste chemically
  2. At the end of the day, there was no clear winner. Store Brand butter tasted just as good as expensive Irish butter. Buying expensive butter didn’t really add much flavor to my popcorn.
  3. Salted Butter vs Unsalted Butter. I like unsalted because I usually add a bit of salt anyways. Unsalted Butter gives you more cream for your buck. If you get salted you run into the risk of having different types of salt in your popcorn. Keep it simple and get unsalted and add salt - if needed
  4. Extra Creamy butter - Such as Plugra and Land O Lakes - was good. I didn't encounter a lot of butter at the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Kate's Creamery butter didn't really taste any different than regular melted butter. I only purchased it once as it was more expensive than store brand butter. I thought it would be better because it’s more expensive. It doesn’t really make the popcorn taste better.

Recommend Butter

The best butter I would recommend using is the Land O Lakes Extra Creamy Butter. It’s extra creamy adds just enough flavor to make the popcorn enjoyable.

May 25, 2021

Copy Timeline Video

Did you know that you can select a portion of the clip using the Range Tool and then copy/paste it somewhere else? You can!

Range Tool Copy Paste

Copy Timeline Video

Simply use the Range Tool (Keyboard Shortcut R) select the area that you wish to copy then use the Edit menu Copy/Paste to duplicate it elsewhere in your clip.

This is an easy way to reuse part of your video, for example, if you want to playback some of the beginning music at the end.