Blog Graphic
back in March of 2021

Gradient with Transparency

Creating a Gradient with one color at one end and end in transparancy is very easy to do in Affinity Designer.

I discovered this when I was trying to create the effect in Apple Motion. It was so much easier to do in Affinity Designer. I imported my final design into Apple Motion as a PNG with a transparent background. it worked great!

Affinity Transparent Gradient

Creating a transparent Gradient

These are the simple steps to transform a simple rectangle to have a single color and fade into transparency.

  1. Use the rectangle tool and create a shape.
  2. Click on the Fill in the tool.
  3. Click on the Gradient Tab.
  4. Click on one end of the Gradient and select your desired color
  5. Click on the other end of the Gradient
  6. Now Click on Opacity and set it to 0%

That's it! Now when you place the transparent end you'll see the underlying color.

Now you can use the Gradient controller to determine the level of gradient that you want.



When working with a lot of files in a project, it can get confusing trying to focus on the important images, videos, or audio clips. This is true especially in the Browser.

In a recent project this was a real issue. I had 20-30 photos and while they were all important, they just weren't important for the task I was working on at the moment.

My Favorite Solution

A quick solution to fix this problem is to use favorites. Simply tag the photos, videos, audio, Compound, and Multicam clips that you want to focus on. Then set the 'Clip Filtering' to only show favorite.

Easy to Tag

In the Browser, simply select the clip that you want to add to your favorite and click on the 'f' key. When you do that the white arrow appears to the right and when you expand it you'll see it tagged as a favorite.

Easy to Remove

To untag an object, simply select it and click on the 'u' key. It's instantly removed.

Change the Browser View

To change the browser view to only show favorite items, simply type in Control f.

To change it back to the "Show All Clips" simple type in Control C,


Classic New England Commercials

This week, I decided to feature some classic New England Commercials.

These I had digitalized in 1998 on my Macintosh Centris 660AV computer. I may still have the orginal DVDs and could create a better quality version in the future.

In this week's video:

  • Bank Of Boston - Great Tune!
  • Ames - Classic Department store. (I remember the one in Acton, Massachusetts.)
  • Breakfast Mate - Not Really New England, but on a VHS tape that was New England.
  • Eastern Airlines - This one is pretty old. Not exactly sure of the date. Care to guess?


A-Z Challenge 2021

This weeks mark the 5th year that I'll participate in the April's A to Z Challenge.

You can see all the previous posts on the's A-Z page.

No Big Theme Reveal

This year I am not going with anything exciting. It will mark the first year that Boston won't be part of the weekly contribution. Had it been, I would have had to come up with content with the letters: A,G,M,S, and Y.

Here's the lineup for this years content:

Sunday Open Content (Not included as part of the A-Z challenge)
Monday Media Monday
Tuesday Apple Motion - Great companion to Final Cut Pro
Wednesday jQuery - I am dropping Affinity Designer in April because I can't think of useful topics.
Thursday GoPro
Friday Macintosh
Saturday Internet

Toughest Posts Days

So based on past experiences, the toughest post days are likely to be:

Date Letters Category Note
April 13 K Final Cut Pro There's not a lot of 'k' words, obviously Key Frames comes to mind.
April 16 N Macintosh Words with 'N' are hard to find or think of. Maybe Notion or Network Utility?
April 20 Q Final Cut Pro There are very few Q letters. Maybe Quality or Quit?
April 28 X jQuery There's only 293 words that start with X in the Unix dictionary. Maybe XML or XPath?
April 30 Z Macintosh Not a lot of words with z. Maybe Zoom in the Finder?


Color Calculator

Yet, another interactive Color Wheel website. The Sessions College Color Calculator is useful when you want to know similar colors and styles.

You simply pick a color and then with a simple click of a button, you can get the Complementary, Monochromatic, Analogous, Split complements, Triadic, and Tetradic color schemes. Which can help you generate great webpages or presentations.

Website Description

Whether you're designing a logo or painting a house, choosing colors can be frustrating. Where do you start? Which colors work together, and why? How can you creatively explore different moods or directions?

Use the free Color Calculator to explore creative color options for your design project. Simply pick your base color(s), choose a color harmony, tweak/explore as needed, and see results. You'll get a report of the hex, RGB, and CMYK color values for your project and see your colors applied to design samples. Share or print, rinse and repeat.

Color Calculator


SD Card iMac Speed

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display comes with a built-in SD Card reader. I hardly ever use it since I have a Satechi USB-C Clamp Hub that has a built-in SD Card Reader. It's so much easier to use. In the iMac solution, I have to put the card in the back and that can be tricky to do.

iMac Backside
The backside of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display.

I Wonder...

I was wondering, what SD card reader is faster? Should I really be using the built-in one? This is important now that I have multiple USB-C devices. I now have:

On the iMac, I only have 2 USB-C slots, and the Cinema Display and SanDisk are using both slots. When I want to use the Satechi, I have to disconnect the Display or the SanDisk.

Am I just better off using the built-in SD Card reader?

  • The built in SD Card reader is using 2.5 GT/s link speed.
  • The Satechi SD Card Reader is using 5 GB/s

Looks like we need to convert the GT/s to GB/s to get a better answer.

Convert GT/s to GB/s

To do the calculations, I visited the Units Converter site to get the information.

It turns out that 2.5 GT/s is the same as saying 20 GB/s.

Showing the Math
Thanks to Units Converters!

1 Gigatransfers per Second = 64000000000 Bit per Second
1 Bit per Second = 8000000000 Gigabyte per Second (SI def.)
2.5 Gigatransfers per Second = 20 Gigabyte per Second (SI def.)

Apple Wins!

So it looks like that I am better off using the built-in SD card reader. The only way that I can match the iMac speed is to have a USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Card Reader, which would use the Thunderbolt port.

So for now, if I need a fast way to download the files of an SD card, I am better off using the built-in card reader.


Telephone Pole Mount

At the end of December we had a "drive-by" birthday party. I wanted to capture all the people going by in the cars. I didn't want to stand and hold the camera and not be part of the moment.

Luckly, there is a telephone pole next to our yard. I decided to hook up the GoPro Hero 9 so that it would record all the activity.

Telephone Pole Desktop
Telephone Pole Mobile

Technical Details

This is the "standard" body camera mount that can be found in just about any Action Camera Accessories kit on

I used the popular J Hook mount so that the GoPro could be adjusted to be flat against the telephone pole. A standard mount would angle the camera to look at the ground.

Basically you wrap one end of the buckle around the pole and buckle it in.

The body camera mount kept the camera steady the whole time. I don't think this would work for a metal telephone pole because it would just slide down. In that case, I would just use a magnetic mount.

This isn't a great solution to leave unattended as people can clearly see the camera there. It would have gotten stolen if I left it overnight or something.


Using OmniGraffle Shadow in Affinity Designer

One of the things that I like about OmniGraffle is the Shadow effect. OmniGraffle just does a better job of making the shadow look as natural as possible. This is done by using a 50% Obsidian gradient instead of a pure solid color gradient.

Inside OmniGraffle

Omni Graffle Shadow

When I copy and paste the box into Affinity Designer, there are three layers created.

Inside Affinity Designer

Omni Within Designer

  • The stroke of the rectangle as a rectangle object
  • The white rectangle as a rectangle object
  • The shadow as an Image

I am disappointed that the shadow comes over as an image object. However, chances are that I wouldn't really make changes to the shadow.

You can't use a gradient as a shadow type in Affinity Designer. This is why I use OmniGraffle/


Audio Fade Shape

Did you know that you can change how audio fades in/out in Final Cut Pro?

You may know about the short cut, Command - A to apply an audio fades to the selected clip.

Did you know that you can control how the fade happens? Simply right-click on the white dot and a selection menu appears giving you some options on how the fade should work.

Custom Audio Shape

Now you can change the fade that makes sense for your clip. No more fumbling around with audio points to get the right effect.

Apple Document on the Shapes

Apple documentation explains the options you have with shapes. These correspond to the image that you see above.

  • Linear:-Maintains a constant rate of change over the length of the fade.
  • S-curve:-Eases in and out of the fade with the midpoint at 0 dB.
  • +3dB:-Starts slowly and then moves quickly toward the end. This is the default setting and is best for maintaining a natural volume when crossfading between two clips.
  • '3dB:-Starts quickly and then slowly tapers off toward the end.


Capital One and Student Loan

Here are a couple of scam voice messages that I got in the past few months. These don't actually seem to be real people but just computer-generated messages. I guess they want to see if I am gullible and will respond to the voice messages to get more information.


Capital One

Missed Call from 800-258-6019. This isn't a Capital One phone number and I don't even have a Capital one Credit Card.

Hello. This is Elizabeth calling from the underwriting department regarding your Capital one credit card account based on your recent payment activity and balance you may be eligible for an interest rate reduction to as low as 1.9% and there is additional information. I need to confirm your eligibility or so please return my call directly in the underwriting department at 1-800-258-6019. Once again 1-800-258-6019 and will be the only notice you receive and this offer is only valid for three business days. Thank you.

Student Loan Processing Department

Missed Call from (617) 380-3109. Note the caller never mentions the actual name of the company, just as "student loan processing department."

Hey, sorry, I missed you. This is Andrew of on with the student loan processing department. I'm following up because there's a lot happening right now with the new year and the new President and since you have been completed your student loan forgiveness application with us we really need to finish it now. So please give us a callback today at this number before 6:00 PM if you're no longer interested that's fine too just call us and let us know you're not interested. I will remove you from our follow, up list and cancel the pending application, thanks and happy new year.


Santa Clara view of Silicon Valley

In the late 1990s I was working in Silicon Valley - during the first dot com bubble. It was a lot of fun learning technology and going around companies in San Jose.

On March 23, 1999, I was visiting a customer. Just before the meeting I looked out the window and took a picture with my Olympus D400Z camera. I just happen to have it in my backpack.

Back in the day, you didn't have a cell phone camera regularly available. Having a digital camera in the laptop bag was a rare thing.

Silcon Valley
Silcon Valley - March 23, 1999

This was taken at the Santa Clara Towers near the Great America Parkway on 101, looking towards San Jose.

This is a better view of the building from the parking lot - thanks to Google Maps.

One thing I remember about that day is that I was in such a hurry to get to the office, that I locked my keys in the car. It was the first time I had to call AAA to get my car door open. This is why I remember the building - as I kept looking at it while waiting for AAA to show up. All was fine with the experience with AAA.

I don't know how much of the area has changed in 22 years, but I suspect there are a lot more buildings in the area.

Let me know If you have an office at 3945 Freedom Cir Suite 750, Santa Clara, CA. I would like to see what the view of San Jose looks like today.


DTV Reception Maps

Did you know that the FCC has a handy chart to show the channels that you should be able to pick up using your Over The Air TV antenna? This is the DTV Reception Maps page on the FCC website.

The nice thing about this page is that it helps you figure out which size antenna that you should get.

I ran this at my address and can confirm that it is very accurate. We get the channels that we should be getting based on our antenna range.

Website Description

Use this program to check for the DTV signals that are available at your location. Enter your address in the box below and click Go! The DTV coverage map will list all stations in your area.

Sometimes stations change the frequency on which they broadcast ' the channel a viewer selects to watch a particular station remains the same but the frequency that the viewer's television finds the station on changes -- requiring viewers who use an over-the-air antenna to rescan their tuners to locate the station's new signal.

DTV Reception Maps


Soundtrack Pro

Last week I talked about Peak LE, this weeks post is about Apple's Soundtrack Pro. This is another audio application that I used to edit my audio files. This was a great application that had a lot of features that made it easy to change or enhance the audio.

SoundTrack Pro was part of the Final Cut Studio series of applications which also include LiveType.

SoundTrack Pro was discontinued in 2011 for GarageBand and Logic Pro.

Sound Track Pro

Process Menu Options

In the Process are many adjustments including:

Fade In, Fade Out, Normalize, Adjust Amplitude, Silence, Invert, Reverse, Swap Channels, Time Stretch, Set Ambient Noise Print, Convert to Mono, Resample, Set Poise Print, Reduce Noise, Show Realtime Effects, Flatten Audible Actions, and Flaten all Actions

Built In Effects

Some of the Effects include with SoundTrack Pro:

Dynamics - Adaptive Limiter, Compressor, DeEsser, Expander, Limiter, Multipressor, and Noise Gate.

Distortion - Bitcrusher, Clip Distortion, Distortion, Distortion II, Exciter, Overdrive, and Phase Distortion.

EQ and Filter - AutoFilter, Channel EQ, Fat EQ, High Cut, High Pass Filter, High Shelving EQ, Linear Phase EQ, Low Cut, Low Pass Filter, Low Shelving EQ, Match EQ, Parametric EQ, and Soundtrack Pro Autofilter.

Modulation - Chorus, Ensemble, Flanger, Modulation Delay, Phaser, Scanner Vibrator, and Tremolo.

Reverb/Delay - PlatinumVerb, Soundtrack Pro Reverb, Space Designer, Stereo Delay, and Tape Delay

Miscellaneous - Denoiser, Gain, Pitch Shifter II, Ringshifter, Spectral Gate, Stereo Spread, and SubBass.

Mac OS - Bandpass, Delay, Distortion, DynamicsProcessor, Filter, GraphicEQ, HighShelfFilter, Hipass, Lowpass, LowShelfFilter, MatrixReverb, MultibandCompressor, ParametricEQ, PeakLimited, Pitch, RogerBeep, and SampleDelay

Space Designer

One of the cool hidden tools in SoundTrack was Space Designer, a powerful tool for sound design.

Space Designer Sound Track

This "futuristic look" tool gives you the power to adjust the sound to any type of space environment, such as Bathrooms, Clubs Cathedrals, Concert Halls, and more.

Space Designer is now part of Logic Pro Effect collection.


Max Grip and & Tripod

Last Month I purchased the Max Grip and & Tripod from the GoPro store. The Tripod goes for $59.99 but I got it for $29.99. I got it at a discount since I also have a GoPro Cloud subscription. This is cheaper than and it's the real product not a knock off done by another company.

I have been looking forward to getting this for a long time. It's been in my shopping cart and I finally ordered it once I thought it would be a useful tool to use every day.

Max Grip Trippo Mobile
Max Grip Trippo Desktop

Five Things I have Learned

It's really hard to open the bottom part of the tripod. I have a tough time getting the legs to open up. I am sure it will get easy over time, but seriously why does it have to be so tight together?

The quick deploy tripod is very cool. Works great on a desktop as a webcam. I just have to remember, left tighty and right loose. Sometimes the tighty takes an extra turn to make sure it's secure. The same with making it loose, I found it was hard, at times, to get it to the right point to collapse it.

When opening all the way, the stand seems very steady. I didn't have any concerns about having the GoPro on it. It worked great on the coffee table and on the grass.

The total height of the stand, with the GoPro Hero 9 is 24-inches. Which is a bit smaller than some of my monopods. I have an Arespark Self-portrait Monopod which expands to 50-inches. The downside to the monopod is that it doesn't have a tripod base - which is why I was looking at the GoPro solution.

Inside the box you get the Max Grip & Tripod, fully assembled and a thumbscrew. I think it would have been good if GoPro also included a quick release adapter. The tip is a GoPro mount, there's no way to remove it. If you wanted a different mount, you would need an adapter. Like this GoPro Clip Adapter or this Camera Mount adapter

At the End of the Day

While it's cool to have a grip and tripod, I find it not so easy to use. I think I'll be able to get use to it. Had I played around with this in the store, I probably wouldn't get it.


Add Any Emoji into Affinity Designer

As mention in a previous Blog Post, you are not able to use emoji symbols within Affinity Designer. This can be an issue when you want to add a touch up to a graphic, such as this:

Affinity Designer Emoji

Work Around

The easy workaround is to use OmniGraffle. When you copy an emoji, the emoji is converted to an image. This means that you can convert the emoji to any size as needed.

This is useful if you don't use emojis all the time, and want a quick solution to adding a smiling face or something to an image.


Match Color

If you use multiple cameras to shoot a similar scene, one of the issues is dealing with different color shots. This is because every camera handles white balance differently.

Final Cut Pro has a way to fix the color mix match. It's a simple process, and the good thing is that you can always make adjustments to fix any strange color combinations.

Matching Color Steps

It's quite easy in Final Cut Pro to make two clips the same color. Here are the steps:

  1. Select the clip that you wish to fix the color.
  2. Type in Command-Option-M to open up the Match Color functionality.
  3. The viewer now has a split screen. Using the select tool, skim the clips in the timeline.
  4. Simply click once and then click on the "Apply Match" button.

Match Color Final Cut Pro

Three Things I have Learned

I have found that the Match Color works best when you have two cameras pointing to the same source at the same time. (Similar lighting and angle) If you use a different time for the match, you may not get the optimized results.

It doesn't matter where in the clip you click to get the best match. I would suggest near the entry point if you're merging the two clips together.

When you do a color match there will be no indication of the color change in the Color Inspector. In the Video Inspector, you'll see a "Mach Color" under the Effects section. You can enable/disable the effect here - very useful when you want to see how much improvement the matching color has on the clip.


Suspicious Package in San Jose

Back in 2000, there was a bomb scare by the "Gold Building" in Downtown San Jose. Many streets were closed off because they didn't know how dangerous the package was.

Watch the 6 pm coverage by KRON TV. The video features Pete Wilson at the anchor desk, Sgt. Steve Dixon, and Jim Goldman reporting from the field.

Fun Fact

I was there!

The interesting thing about this story is that I was actually n the building when this was all going on. I had arrived at work really early that morning. There wasn't an announcement to the people in the building to leave.

I remember calling co-workers letting them know what was happening.


Mobile Apps and the Pandemic

How The Mobile App Development Industry Remained Resilient During the Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic changed the lives of many around the globe in an instant. The speed of spread and exponential mutation made the outbreak impossible to predict and governments and health organizations didn't have time to adapt. Some companies wound up in bankruptcy while others let some staff go to stay afloat. Many others resorted to remote work and relied on digitization to keep their companies running. However, the mobile app development industry remained resilient during the peak of the pandemic. How did it happen?

Mobile App Development

Digitization Became Essential

To cope with the disruption Covid-19 caused, individuals, companies, organizations, and the government moved to digital platforms to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Mobile apps took center stage as the number of globally downloaded applications per quarter doubled in five years. This reflects the powerful roles of apps as well as increased smartphone penetration in the market. There was a sharp spike in application downloads in the first and second quarters of 2020.

User Spending on Apps Rose Exponentially

By 2024, user spending on mobile applications is expected to surpass 171 billion dollars globally. The number is a result of the steady growth of 18 billion annually for the past 5 years. The impact of Covid-19 on spending habits isn't quite clear yet, but it appears that more people are spending money on mobile apps. It doesn't look like it is going to change in the next five to six years. So far, Google Play and Apple's slowest growing regions are estimated to see revenues that surpass their 2019 levels by 2024. In the next five years, different app stores are expected to reach milestones such as hitting $100 billion on user spending.

Mobile App and Web Developers to the Rescue

With a large number of people switching to digital platforms and mobile apps, the demand for app developers grew. They are needed to build platforms for easy communication and more responsive apps since physical offices are closed. E-commerce stores needed apps to get necessities in the easiest ways possible to people stuck indoors. Many countries have engaged these developers to create apps to ease the Covid-19 testing process. There are also fitness apps for others who cannot go to the gym. The apps help them to keep fit until they can resume regular life again.

Video calling apps also became more popular during the lockdown as families and businesses use them to keep in touch with staff. Chatbots also became essential for companies that could no longer take calls in the office. The chatbots act as virtual assistants and try to solve the problem of the customer to decongest the customer care line. Mobile payment gateway apps were also in high demand for stores that were not able to collect payment for services physically.

Developers Stayed Afloat by Providing Digitization Services to Individuals and Businesses

The mobile app development industry stayed resilient during the pandemic by providing essential services to other businesses and people that needed it most. Aside from creating apps that generate revenue, developers must test the apps before releasing them. Maintaining the app is important as well. Phone manufacturers upgrade their operating systems from time to time, so developers must also maintain apps to ensure that they are up to the current standard requirements of the app store. Obsolete apps are always deleted from app stores.

Some hard-hit companies like the travel industry have benefited from these apps as well. Contact tracing apps and other safety apps were introduced in 2020 to mitigate the effects on the industry. The pandemic heightened the need for systems that allow people to execute any operation remotely. Though the climate has been unpredictable, it is clear that the dependence on mobile apps for communication, commerce, education, entertainment, and shopping will continue to grow.


Mobile apps played a large role during the peak of the pandemic in 2020 by helping individuals to adhere to social distancing guidelines. In some cases, it also helped facilitate contact tracing. The most important role they have played is allowing people to keep in touch with colleagues, friends, and family. The mobile app industry experienced sharp growth due to the increased demand for digitization, and this move makes it a promising industry. If you are interested in mobile app development, you can learn more about how to become a web developer on and


Hot Symbols

Finding symbols can be tricky. There are a lot of tools available - some better than others. '?

HotSymbol has a huge collection of symbols to use. They are broken down into several categories so that it's easy to find the perfect symbol. (Did you know there are 81 symbols for the Copyright Trademark and Office Supplies?)

The search functionality is really good too. '?

Website Description

HotSymbol is the best website on the internet to copy hot' symbols. On HotSymbol you can explore the most renowned & trending symbols collection which you can use on your day-to-day online life. HotSymbol is one of its kind of website to allow you to copy the symbols on with just a click. With the help of HotSymbol, it is so easy to get information like Codepoint(Unicode), HTML shortcode, HTML entity shortcode, CSS shortcode, HEX shortcode, and Alt code of the symbols.

Hot Symbol


Peak 3 LE

This week, I was looking back at some applications that I used a long time ago. This came about when I found this folder in my collection:

2002 Applications
This was a folder that listed all the importaint applcations for my new Mac.

Peak LE

Peak LE was my go-to application to create/edit audio. You could record audio and play it back and make all sorts of cuts. You can send audio output to iTunes or to an audio file. In 2006, Peak LE was selling for about $129.

I remember using Peak all the time to make any audio change. I can believe that I put it there with Photoshop and Microsoft Office X.

Peak isn't supported anymore, Bias stop selling it back in 2012. They now recommend SoundSoap+ which costs $249!

Fast Forward to Today

Today my audio edits are done using Rogue Amoeba Fission. Which only cost $29 - I purchased it back in 2016 - a good investment!

I remember Peak LE being a pretty powerful application that had lots of plugs for effects. I didn't take a screenshot of the application, I'll have to boot up one of my old computers to see if I can get it.

I just discovered that it's on my old desktop G4 computer, I'll have to boot it up and see if I can still run it.

Welcome Screen

When I tried to load up the application on my Powerbook G4 this is the screen that I see:

Peak LE Welcome Screen

I don't have my registration and I wasn't able to find anything in my database. I know it's on my G4 Desktop, so I'll try to get that working to show the comparison of Peak vs Fission.


GoPro Pool Pole Mount

If you have a pool, chances are that you also have one of the extra-long pool poles. These are used to help get things off the bottom of the pool.

Typically these poles can extend as much as 21-feet. They can also make a great way to take videos/photos from high above.

You can use any type of clamp mount to attach a GoPro. The GoPro Jaws and SMALLRig Super Clamp work really well.

You can easily build your own mount using an adhesive mount and a PVC end cap.

GoPro Pool Mount

Things I Learned

The standard pool pole hole is 1 1/4 in diameter.

You will need to fine a PVC Stopper that will fit a 1 1/4" pipe. In my case, I found a Lasco SCH 40 PVC 1 D2466 NSF at Lowes. It only cost $1.55!

Home Depot has the Charlotte Pipe 1-1/4 in. PVC Schedule 40 Plug-PVC021181400HD (Cost $1.45) - which is very similar to the one I got.

The stopper goes on the outside of the pole, as you can see from the picture above. It provides enough grip on the pole to keep the GoPro on. Yet it's easy to pull it off. The grip is strong enough so the GoPro isn't moving around in circles when the wind blows.

There was another stopper that had a curve top, I thought that might work with some curve mounts that I have. However, the curve was too wide for the mount. The curve mount would have left too much of a gap. I wouldn't recommend that PVC fitting.

The standard GoPro flat-mount and adhesive pad were slightly bigger than the PVC stopper. I just tuck the corners in. There was enough of the adhesive stuck on the PVC for a nice strong grip.

This setup makes it easy to connect my GoPro on the pole. There is no need to worry about connecting a grip mount to the pole. In addition, the PVC mount is weather-resistant so I don't have to worry about rain or snow.

The Pool Pole setup is great for taking time-lapse video.


OmniGraffle Text Boxes

The text tool in Affinity Designer works very well. You can do all sorts of text modifications.

The one thing that it does lack is the ability to add a box around the text.

Sure, I can just use the shape tool around the text that I wrote. But I find that it's too much "extra work." There has to be an easier way.

That's where OmniGraffle comes in handy.

With OmniGraffle, I create the shape of my object and then double click on it to add the text or I can create the text and then add a stroke around the box.

I can then copy the text/box and paste it in Affinity Designer. When I paste it in, the text is still editable and the box object is shown as a rectangle. I can change the colors styles and text within Affinity Designer.

Omni Graffle Text Box
Sample Output of a Paste from OmniGraffle

Why use OmniGraffle?

The main reason that I use OmniGraffle to create "text boxes" is because it's much faster to create. In a few clicks I have my text, and ready to paste into Affinity Designer for further manipulation.


Matching Crops across Clips

Have you ever wanted to crop two clips with the exact same crop dimensions? Perhaps these are two clips that were shot in 4k and you crop them to 1080p and have the crop location be the same.

You could use compound clips, but if the clips are being used in different parts of the video that doesn't help.

A good solution is to use the Crop info in the Video Inspector. Check out this snapshot:

Final Cut Crop Details

When you crop an image, the specific crop details are stored in the Video Inspector.

Did you know that you can just copy the configurations to other clips. The bad news is that there's no way to copy the configuration settings - Like a copy/paste function.

You need to manually type in the numbers such as 612.8, 1307.2, 509.8, and 570.2.

I tried writing the commands in BBedit with a tab between the numbers thinking that would make it easier. But Final Cut Pro won't accept that. I even tried with a return break after each value and that didn't work.

You would need to manually write down the values and enter them in each time you want the clip to match a particular setting.


Classic KRON clips

Back in the late 1990s I lived in San Jose, California. One of the shows that I loved to watch was the 11 pm KRON news.

I had a VCR recorder, and every once in a while, I would record the news.

The following are a couple of clips from the year 2000. The first clip features the "Internet Phone" - a phone in the desert. The second clip is a classic "From the File" funny that Pete Wilson would do.

I hope you enjoyed these classic KRON TV moments.


30 Ice Breaker Questions

Ice Breaker questions are a great way to break the silence in meetings. They also help employees learn more about their coworkers.

We use ice breakers in our Zoom meetings to lighten up the meeting a bit. It helps lighten the mood a bit.

Ice Breaker Questions

Here is my personal list of thirty ice breaker questions. Feel free to use them in your next team meeting.

  1. What's your favorite hometown resturant?
  2. What store has closed that you wished you go visit again?
  3. What's your favorite movie snack?
  4. What's a useful Chrome Extension that you love?
  5. On your commute, what do you listen to in the car or train?
  6. What's the best sports stadium that you watched a game from?
  7. What restaurant do you wish was still open from your childhood?
  8. What movie have you seen on opening night?
  9. Have you ever met a President or a top leader?
  10. Where is the best vacation spot?
  11. What food did you try once and vow never to try again?
  12. What was your first computer?
  13. Have you ever appeared as a background on a live news story?
  14. What is the most famous place you visited? (Whitehouse, Graceland, Buckingham Palace etc)
  15. Have you ever done a DIY project - how did it turn out?
  16. Do you remember your science fair project?
  17. Have you gone camping? If so where?
  18. Have you ever run a 5k, 1/2 Marathon or a Marathon?
  19. What's a classic arcade game that you love to play.
  20. Have you inadvertently run into a former coworker?
  21. What is your favorite breakfast food?
  22. What do you like to do on a long flight?
  23. Have you ever gone to a book signing?
  24. What's a good healthy snack that you would recommend?
  25. Have you purchased/sold something on eBay?
  26. Have you ridden on a Segway?
  27. What's your favorite lunch meal at the beach?
  28. What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
  29. What is the longest time you stood in line for a ride at an amusement park?
  30. Have you personally watched a Shuttle/Rocket launch?


Wallpaper Cave

Are looking to spice up your desktop wallpapgpper? The best place to find a few really good wallpapers is Wallpaper Cave.

Simple put in a search query and in a matter of seconds, you get some pretty cool wallpapers.

I recently searched for Cobra Kai and Haunted Mansion and got some pretty cool results.

Website Description

WallpaperCave is an online community of desktop wallpapers enthusiasts. Join now to share and explore tons of collections of awesome wallpapers.

Wallpaper Cave


Hide Desktop Icons

Sometimes you want to hide the icons on the desktop, this could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe your demo some feature and you don't want to clean up the desktop or perhaps you use your computer as a background in Zoom videos.

There are no macOS settings available to do this. Hiding the "Finder" doesn't actually hide the icons on the desktop.

You can download software to make it easier, a couple of popular solutions include CoverDesk: Desktop Utility and HiddenMe! utilities.

However, if you have Keyboard Maestro. You can easily add a Menu action. There's no need to install any more software. You can create a Menu Macro like this:

Keyboard Maestro Hide Desktop

Configure the Macro

To cause the Desktop to hide the icons, you need to do a simple hack to hide the Desktop. This is done via the UNIX command. In Keyboard Maestro, you simply use the "Execute Shell Script" action.

Here are the steps:

Hide the Desktop icons

  • Open up Keyboard Maestro editor and select a group.
  • Create a new Macro. (Shortcut: Command N)
  • In the Title, use "Hide Desktop Icons"
  • In the Triggered by any of the following, select "The status menu item is selected."
  • Now type in Command Control A and type in "Shell" then return - This is a quick way to get the Execute Shell Action.
  • Paste the following:

defaults write CreateDesktop false
killall Finder

Show the Desktop icons:

Now create a Macro to Show the Desktop icon:

  • Open up Keyboard Maestro editor and select a group.
  • Create a new Macro. (Shortcut: Command N)
  • In the Title, use "Show Desktop Icons"
  • In the Triggered by any of the following, select "The status menu item is selected."
  • Now type in Command Control A and type in "Shell" then return - This is a quick way to get the Execute Shell Action.
  • Paste the following:

defaults write CreateDesktop true
killall Finder

Sample Entry

This is what the Hide Macro should look like:

Hide Desktop Keyboard

Easy to Use

Now when you want to hide the Desktop, you select the "Hide Desktop Icons" from the Keyboard Maestro menu bar.


USB Pass-Through Door

Last week I ordered a very cool accessory for the GoPro: USB Pass-Through Door.

This accessory allows me to safely plug my GoPro Hero 9 into a USB hub. This is especially useful when you want to get the sunrise/sunset and want to keep recording for a long duration.

This is a very popular accessory as it has "sold out" several times.

Go Pro Pass Mobile
Go Pro Pass Desktop

Seven Things I Learned

The accessory comes with a quality USB-C cable that is nice and long at 4.5ft. This is great because I don't want to have the charger near the GoPro.

The order arrived pretty quickly. It wasn't the "Amazon Prime" quick, but it arrives within three days of ordering. Credit to GoPro for getting the order out fast!

You can use any USB-C cable with the Pass-Through Door. I have several at my desk, and I was able to use them without it.

GoPro suggests removing the GoPro battery to help reduce the weight of the camera. (I don't know when you would really want to do that with a cable attached.)

The door only cost $13.99 for GoPro Clould members, saving $6.

The door keeps the GoPro weather resistant - I wouldn't really trust this setup on a stormy day.

I do like the GoPro solution over the Ulanzi Battery Door. The GoPro Pass-Through door does feel a bit more secure on the GoPro. In addition, the GoPro solution protects from the elements - If I am taking night time-lapse, I don't want the mist to enter into the GoPro. However, the Ulanzi solution is more practical for indoor use - especially with the 1/4" Screw and Cold Show mount.

Highly Recommend

If you are looking for a "must-have" accessory for the GoPro, this is certainly something to get. You'll be happy to have some great long videos without having to worry about the weather damaging the GoPro.


Tables in Affinity Designer via Omnigraffle

It's great when two separate applications complement each other. This is the case with OmniGraffle and Affinity Designer.

In particular, the ability to create beautiful tables. Affinity Designer doesn't have any ability to create tables. However, it's easy to create tables using OnmiGraffle, and then Copy/Paste into Affinity Designer as individual objects.

Not All Apps Work the Same

I tried copy/paste tables from Apple Pages and Microsoft Word. The tables don't copy in as full objects.

The table cells are broken into different layers making it really hard to do any customizations in Affinity Designer.

OmniGraffle Cost

OmniGraffle isn't free. In order to create tables, you need the Pro Version of OmniGraffle. The Pro version costs $249.99 or $12.24 / month subscription.


Obviously that's a pretty expensive piece of software to use just to create tables. There's a lot of cool things that you can do with OmniGraffle and Affinity Designer.

On Wednesdays, in the month of March, I'll give you some examples of more ways to use the two applications.

Tables Designer

Creating Tables

In OmniGraffle, you have to create the base object first, then convert it to a table.

in Omnigraffle:

  1. Using the Shape tool, create a rectangle that will represent the first cell.
  2. Type in Shift-Command-T short cut to convert the shape to a table. You'll see some additional black line appear in the shape.
  3. Using the select tool, select the black lines to add new columns or rows.
  4. Add text, change color, even make the stroke different.
  5. Once your done, using the select tool, select the table and type in Command-C to copy the table to the Clipboard.

In Affinity Designer:

  1. Create a new document and paste the clipboard content.
  2. Type in Command G to group the pasted content - this makes it easier to manipulate the content of the table in Affinity Designer.
  3. Now make the changes that you want.


Pan Audio

One of the cool effects that Final Cut Pro has is the ability to enhance audio. This is a creative way to slightly change video audio to give it more of a personal touch. (Think: Intro music!)

If your audience is mostly going to watch your video on an iPhone or iPad, with headphones, they won't really hear much of a difference. However, in the future, some people may watch the video on a TV system.

I would suggest exploring using the Pan Audio for the Intro music - just to give it some effect.

Apple Description

Panning audio lets you distribute sound across the stereo or surround spectrum to create balance or a special effect. For example, you can place more sound in the right channel of a stereo clip or less sound in the center channel of a surround clip.

Final-Cut-Pro includes a built-in surround sound decoder that lets you choose among several stereos and surround preset pan modes that you can apply to clips from the Audio inspector. Using the pan mode presets, you can dynamically re'create surround sound fields from the stereo source content.

Final Cut Pro Pan Audio
You can see the controls when you set the Pan option in the audio inspector.

Pan Options

Think of the options as to how a movie theater would be set up. These are the options that you have:

None - Keeps the audio the same style as imported into Final Cut Pro.

Stereo Left/Right - Focus the audio on the left or right speakers. Useful if you want to play one track on the left and another track on the right.

Basic Suround - Typical suround sound setup. All audio is evenly split between the speakers.

Create Space - Push the audio to some of the sound spectrum. Useful first step when experiementing with suround sound.

Dialogue - Sound is more focus to the center of the room where the video is. Great when you have mostly vocal audio.

Music - Even mix of sound to all the channels

Ambience - More sound in the surounding channels and not much focus on the front and center channels.

Circle - Focus the sound in one area. Useful if your doing keyframes to have the audio move around the room.

Rotate - Move the sound to focus to a different speaker. Useful if you have two people speaking and you want the audio attention to the left and right person.

Back to Front - Focus the sound on the front or back speakers. Use the slider to set the adjustment. Useful if your audio has a lot of background noise that you want to reduce.

Left Surround to Right Front - Pans the sound from the left to the right. Key frames would work great here.

Right Surround to Left Front - Pans the sound from the right to the left, again keyframe would be the focus here.


COVID-19 Credit Debit

There seems to be a lot of scammers trying to take advantage of people during the pandemic. Back in September, I got this strange voice mail:

Apple Transcript

This is the transcript done by Apple:

'Hello please listen carefully the new law CV 19 - makes a current credit card balances in certain price of the loans and lines of credit, not a collectible and not enforceable so um do the current situation that we're all facing the new laws helping to stop predatory banks and lenders what we all get back on track if you want to find out how much of your debt will be your race please just call me back at 619-900-2845 again 619-900-2845 thanks take care''

Fun Facts

As of today, there has been no law about loans or credit card debt not being collectible or enforceable.

The phone number: 619-900-2845 is the same number on the caller id. It registers to no person or organization - at least nothing found online.

Notice that the voice message never indicates the company/financial company that they represent.



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