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November 1, 2020

Zoom Background View

Fixed up my home office background for Zoom calls

Like many Bostonians, I have been working from home because of the pandemic.

Since it looks like I'll be doing this for a while, I decided to fix the background on my desk. This is what it looks like this past week:

My Zoom Desktop

Some Interesting Notes

I'll be taking down all the Halloween decorations tomorrow, I just kept them up for one more round of Zoom calls.

Yes there's a real Macintosh Plus. I was able to boot it up. I just need the mouse to use it - which I do have someplace downstairs.

In front of the Macintosh Plus is the original 5G iPod. The battery doesn't work anymore, but if I plug it in, I can play the music that I added to the iPod. This is the Firewire version. So it only works on some of the computers I have.

Next to the computer is some standard floppy disks and some Zip Disks. I have a lot more in the basement. I am only showcasing a few items.

The Apple next to the Macintosh is from a tree in the backyard. It was the only apple to grow on the tree. This was strange since prior years the tree did yield plenty of apples.

The "Hillside Pumpkin Farm sign" (In the center of the picture) is something that I got at Knotts Berry Farm. I remember having this when I lived in California.

The black bear on the Macintosh Plus also came from Knotts Berry Farm. I paid $4.64 for it.

There's a lot of Haunted Mansion items on the various shelves. These will stay around all year long.

This is my Scandinavian Design desk. I have owned this desk since 1998. It looks very similar to the Gammel Desk, but mine is Cherry not white.

Update Your Background

Checkout your Zoom background. Is it exciting? Why not take a few minutes and spice it up so that it's exciting and interesting.

October 18, 2020

iOS Screenshot on Google Photos

How to find all your iOS video screenshots

Today???s quick tip applies to Google Photos.

Have you ever wanted to find a video screenshot that you have done on the iPhone? Maybe it was a Tick Tok video or some weather info.

How can you easily find it?

Well it turns out that if you search for rpreplay you will get all the video screenshots that you have taken on your phone.

Now it???s a bit easier to find that video that you were looking for.

If you take a lot of iPhone video screenshots, you can always add a date to your query. Example: rpreplay August.

As for regular iPhone screenshots, try IMG_ PNG for your search query.

September 27, 2020

Get Your Home-Based Business or Career off the Ground

Tips and Tricks on building your own home based business

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Resources to Help Get Your Home-Based Business or Career off the Ground

When you???re looking for more independence in your career, working from home might be the perfect solution. Many business ventures and career paths are well suited to working from home, so you have a lot to choose from. If you???re considering launching a business or changing careers, find ideas and inspiration that will help you below.

Challenges of Working from Home

For many people, working out of a home office sounds like a dream come true. While the flexibility and freedom are great, you???ll want to consider these potential drawbacks when deciding if it???s the right path.

  • Working from home can get lonely, especially if you don???t meet with clients or attend meetings. It???s important to find a way to feel connected whether you???re a remote employee, business owner or an independent contractor.
  • There is also a wide array of distractions at home, such as TV, chores and family matters. However, designating a home office space can help you stay on task.
  • Meeting with clients in your home office may be challenging. If your business idea entails working with clients, think about how you can maintain privacy and keep meetings professional.
  • Keep in mind some business ventures aren???t allowed in residential areas due to zoning regulations. Make sure you check the rules before getting too invested.

Career and Business Opportunities

Despite the challenges of starting a business or becoming a remote employee, it???s also rewarding. If you know you want to work from home but don???t know how to get started, consider these ideas.

  • Freelancing is a great way to get started since you can do it on the side of your day job to test the waters. You can start freelancing with nearly any skill, and once you see success, you can turn it into a full-time career.
  • Becoming a home-based entrepreneur is another great idea. Countless entrepreneurs start out of a home office because of the low overhead. And if your business takes off, you can always expand.
  • Alternatively, you can snag a remote job with a company that???s hiring virtual employees. Many jobs are perfectly suited to working from home.

Education and Training

Launching a business or entering a new career field sometimes requires a bit of prep before you can get started. Here are a few steps you might want to take to boost your chances of success.

  • Getting a business degree online in marketing, business administration, accounting or any other field can be a great way to build out your skillset.
  • Find a mentor to help you hone your business idea or launch into your new career.
  • Reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce to find business development centers or other similar resources to get your ideas off the ground.

Career and Educational Resources for Veterans

Veterans can benefit from using the same resources as everyone else, but there are also a variety of programs made just for helping vets launch a new career or business.

  • Look into scholarships and education grants that are available for veterans and active-duty military members.
  • Use career development resources from the VA to get started on a new path or find the training you need.
  • Use veteran-focused business incubation resources to fuel the success of your venture.

It can be intimidating starting a business or heading down a new career path, especially if you plan on working out of your home. Working remotely and running a home-based business isn???t easy, but hopefully, these resources can help you rise to the challenge and find success.

September 20, 2020

National Floor Direct

Our Presales experience

Recently we had our home office floor replaced. We wanted to remove the old carpet to a nice laminate floor.

We contacted several companies during our search - one of those was National Floor Direct. We had seen their commercials and thought that the price and next day installation was good.

Five Things We Learned

  1. Due to high demand they are not able to do the next-day installation. They were pretty quick to get a salesperson to visit but it would take about 3 weeks to do the install.
  2. The guy that came measured using a laser. We thought that was a cool way to get an accurate reading.
  3. We told them ahead of time of the floor style that we were looking for. The sales guy only had a limited number of options.
  4. He was able to show what the flooring would look like in our home via computer simulation. Designs that we liked didn???t look good once you see the pattern in the simulation
  5. We didn???t select them because of price - we did think they were a bit expensive. We didn???t like the limited options that they had. We had gone to a couple of other stores and they had a lot more designs to pick from.

One Final Word

The guy asked about the price and if we were in the ???ballpark??? of our budget. We suggest a slightly smaller amount. A few hours later, we got a call that they were able to match our budget. I thought that they wouldn???t- seeing that they were pretty busy.

Everyone's experience with National Floor Direct might be different, just wanted to share our experience with it.

August 23, 2020

7 Interesting Websites You Never Knew Of

We point you towards seven buried treasures of the internet that you didn't even know existed.

The internet is a wonderful place. So wonderful, in fact, that it tends to get a little bit overwhelming. An appropriate analogy would be to compare it to a vast ocean with numerous treasures, but even more dirt.

It gets really difficult to separate the dirt from the treasure. And most times, you get buried under the dirt to get to the treasure.

To get to the treasure faster and more easily, you have to know where to look. Maybe get yourself a guide, someone to point you to the buried treasures you didn't even know existed.

Why the elaborate metaphors, you ask? Because we're here to act as that guide; someone to point you towards seven buried treasures of the internet that you didn't even know existed.

Excited? We are too.

Interesting Websites You Never Knew Of is an absolute gem of a website. Maybe even quite literally, seeing as you get to discover gems underwater.

What makes this website so special is its ability to put you right in the middle of the biggest concepts in the world, and take away their seemingly abstract nature, making them more real to us in the process.

For instance, on one of its interactive pages, you get to traverse the depth of the ocean, discovering perspective along the way. You get a clear picture of the depth at which certain creatures can exist, along with submarines, and even the titanic.

Then there's the space exploration page where you get an immersive look at the heavenly bodies above us, their relationship with each other, and with us.

Camelcamelcamel is a website where you get to find out if, and when, there's been a price drop on any Amazon product of your choosing. All you have to do is select a product or multiple products, and the site does the job of tracking said product over time and alerts you once there's been a price drop.

You can also access historical data regarding price changes and discounts that have been available on the product in the past.

If used correctly, this little website can go a long way in helping you save those few extra bucks that tend to come a long way in the long run.

Have you ever found yourself in need of extra motivation and all of a sudden a sound comes on and you're suddenly energized and raring to go? No? Well, all you have to do is head on to this site and you'll understand what we're talking about.

Asoftmurmur is a site full of ambient sound effects curated to play a number of roles including motivation, enhancing focus, or simply just being a source of pleasant distraction.

Among the available ambient sounds are drizzling rain, thunder, ocean waves, pleasant wind, fire, birds, crickets, and even white noise and radio static.

Life moves by so fast and a lot of events happen simultaneously that it is incredibly hard, if not impossible, to keep track of everything. And that's where this nifty website comes into play.

At you get to find out all about the incredible stuff that has happened when, and since, you were born.

It provides the information with the aid of a well drawn-out timeline of noteworthy events till current time.

You also get a pie chart filled with statistics such as how many people were born the same day as you, and how many are still alive.

OFFEO is a video content creation platform with tons of professional video templates and intros. Oftentimes what set a decent video apart from a mediocre one are the little tweaks made at the post-processing stages.

OFFEO offers everything you'll need for that much-needed edge to inject a touch of class to both personal and commercial-purpose videos. is all about cybersecurity. On your part, you should do everything you can to keep your web credentials as safe and secure as possible.

Sometimes, though, the compromise doesn't come from your end but from a website you've visited, or from a service provider. And sometimes these data breaches happen without our knowledge.

This site solves this problem by letting you know whether your email has ever been compromised at one point or another.

Ncase,me is an interactive website that explains the concept of trust through game theory. It offers a beautiful user interface, great sound, and a quite interesting game to booth.

The ???game??? starts off with a curious story of trust in an unlikely place and then thrusts you in scenarios where you have to either choose to cooperate with your opponent or cheat ??? each with its own different reward. The result is a fun, rewarding, and humorous experience.

July 19, 2020

Why You Should Learn Tech Skills

What are the most wanted Tech Skills?

With the evolution of technology, there's an imminent change in every industry and they will all become tech companies in the future. The need for using tech tools and hiring tech talent is increasing every day, and it's the only way for workers to stay ahead.

Should we all learn at least one tech skill? Yes, we should. Regardless of whether you want to work in a tech company or not, having a tech skill at your disposal is something that will level up your experience and make you more prepared for a professional career.

Despite what you may be thinking right now, you don't necessarily need to have a bachelor's degree in computer science to learn a tech skill. There are cheaper, short-term options that you can try like coding bootcamps or online courses. Here, we'll show you some of the reasons why you should start learning a tech skill and where you can learn them.

It Makes You a Problem Solver

Most tech skills, like data science, software development, or machine learning, function to solve a problem in a logical sense. Learning how to code will make you practice logic every day, see problems at a bigger scale, and discovering new paths to solve problems.

This isn't something that will only help you pay bills, learning how to code provides you deep analytical thinking and you'll soon become a problem solver once you start practicing every day. Problem-solving skills can be applied to every situation, not only when in coding.

It Makes You Future Proof

Almost every company is becoming tech-focused regardless of the industry. Just think about how many jobs that used to be manned by humans that are now automated by machines.

Almost everything is automated these days, from self-driving cars that will replace drivers to bookkeeping software that doesn't need human intervention. This leans the scale for people who have programming or any other tech skill. Being able to understand these activities will help you to ensure your role in the future, where almost everything is automated.

Most Tech Jobs Are Lucrative

Have you ever browsed Glassdoor to see the average salary of a data analyst, machine-learning engineer, or even a software developer? Most of these professions earn from $77,000 to over $123,000.

Salary rates differ in every case, but let's take data science as an example. Data analysts make from $100,000 to $123,000. The justification for this is there's a huge demand for them but supplies are low. As a result, data scientists end up having great salaries. This phenomenon occurs in several other tech jobs.

One should also consider the case of a software developer, who, on the other hand, is highly demanded yet supplies are steady. Software developers make less than data scientists, but the annual salary is still approximately $100,000 per year.

Tech Skills Help Companies Save

Saving money is important in everyday life. This is also true for companies that wish to expand. Having a basic knowledge of computer science will help you not only save money but also save time.

Calling the tech support department can be frustrating as the solutions it provides may not be suitable. Time is a resource that can be wasted when dealing with unnecessary problems you can solve yourself.

And the same happens with projects. If you have an idea and want to bring it to reality, but no one understands your explanation, the project might not be accomplished. Having the tech skills required for that specific project will help you generate desired outcomes.

Most Wanted Tech Skill

Most Wanted Tech Skills

Now that you are familiar with some of the tech skills, it is time to consider which path you want to take: a bachelor's degree or a tech Bootcamp. Regardless, you should be able to learn something you enjoy with a good salary. Here are some of the most in-demand tech skills these days:

Software Development

The ability to develop software gives you the flexibility to choose which tasks to automate at your company. We know some tasks can be repetitive and time-consuming. Processes like verifying data, dealing with accounting math, and doing statistics are tasks that a computer could do, and perhaps even better than us.

Besides, if you're creating your own company, and want to build an in-house digital platform, software development skills will help you a lot. There's a school where you can learn this skill in 20 weeks. Thinkful's immersive software development course will prepare you for the development of killer apps. You'll learn all fundamentals of software engineering and programming languages like Node.js, MySQL, and others.

Data Science

If you enjoy math and statistics, data science is for you. Data science refers to the ability to find meaningful insights in large datasets to make better decisions, prove a hypothesis, or find patterns. To become a data scientist, you need to understand programming languages like Python.

Galvanize is one of the leading schools in data science. Galvanize Data Science Bootcamp is oriented towards decision making. You'll learn how to work with machine learning, the statistical process, data analysis, and data visualization.

UX and UI Design

'Design' sounds like something artistic, right? Yes, but UX and UI design are far the traditional sense of 'design'. UX and UI design are related to user experience and how to improve it.

However, UI is more oriented to the interface and functionality of a software product. There's a reason why many users prefer to use Apple's iOS. The operating system is intuitive and comfortable for users. This is what UI design is capable of.

With Springboard's UX and UI design courses, you won't need prior skills or experience to learn. You'll learn everything you need to know about this skill from scratch and you'll be trained with practical classes with client-facing practices.

Mobile Application Development

We're all mobile users and we understand the importance of mobile apps. The reason why mobile app developers are in high demand is every company wants to have an in-house mobile application for users. These days, we spend more time on our phones than any other device.

Mobile developers work with Android and iOS operative systems, with each one working with a different language. Android developers work with Java, while iOS ones work with Swift or Objective-C.

App Academy's mobile development course will guide you through all of the processes of creating a functional mobile app. You'll have real-time practices that will allow you to track the performance of your project.

In Conclusion

No matter which path you take, learning a tech skill will open many opportunities that will boost your career or company. We know that technology is always changing, therefore, you need to stay ahead.

June 7, 2020

Doggie Dooley

Things I learned with the new Doggie Dooley

The Doggie Dooley is a way to turn dog poop into fertilizer. Basically you no longer throw poop in a bag and into the trash - now you scoop poop and place it in the Doggie Dooley - which is buried in your yard. It works let a mini septic system.

Doggie Dooley
Doggie Dooley

Five Things I learned

  1. It was really easy to assemble the main Doggie compartment. You get five extra screws.
  2. You need to dig two holes. One hole that the Doggie Dooley sits in. The second hole is 10??? wide where the poop actually goes when you place it in the Doggie Dooley.
  3. The problem is that the second hole has to be 42??? deep. This is in addition to the 16??? from the first hole. There aren???t many shovels that can go that far down.
  4. I ran into lots of roots while I was digging. I found that using hedge clippers help cut through some of the bigger roots. We knew that we would run into roots and selected a location where it would be a minimal issue.
  5. After digging for a while, I ran into lots of rocks. It made it difficult to continue digging a deeper hole. I decided to stop and see how it works out.

Hope for the best

Looking forward to seeing if the Doggie Dooley works out. We do have to put a lot of water in the hole.

The hole is far away from any plants so I don???t think we???ll see any ground nutrient improvement.

May 3, 2020

Handling Coughs and Colds in the Elderly

Useful guide to caring for sick elderly parents

British Cough maker Covonia just put out a very timely guide on handing coughs and cold in the Elderly.

It's a very useful guide to help to care for an elderly person who is sick with a strong cough.

Covonia Guide

Things You'll Learn in This Guide

This guide in a one-page info-guide with some links at the end for additional information.

You learn why the elderly are more vulnerable to getting sick.

Quick bullet points with all the signs and symptoms of the flu - from the British National Institute of health.

Easy things that you can do to prevent the cold and flu from the elderly

How the family and caregiver can help when taking care of the elderly.

Useful Guide in These Times

If your caring for an elderly person, or know someone that is. This guide can help you look for the signs of the flu and cold.

April 5, 2020

Home Mortgage Refinancing for Veterans

Help for Veterans looking to refinance

During a somewhat uncertain time, we are all looking to make careful choices to protect our families and our health. Many of us are also carefully reviewing our budgets to cut excess expenses to keep our financial health in shape. If you are a veteran considering whether to refinance your home mortgage, take a look at the resources below to help guide this choice.

Home Mortgage Refinancing

7 Steps to Refinancing Your Home Mortgage
How do you best manage a successful mortgage refinancing campaign? Make these key steps the cornerstones of your refinancing plan.

Find the Best Mortgage Lenders and Refinancing Companies
Do your research to learn more about different types of loans, eligibility requirements and what you should look for when searching for the right mortgage lender for your needs.

Home Appraisals: Home Appraiser, Property Value & Tips
You should know a little about the process and how it works, both to decide if a home appraisal is in your best interest and to take any possible steps to influence the final appraisal number.

How to Improve Your Credit Score
Key takeaways include: Pay your bills on time, pay down your credit card balances to keep your credit utilization ratio low, and don't close old credit card accounts or apply for too many new ones.

Mortgage Assistance Programs for Veterans
There are several government-backed options that make the home-buying process more accessible to active and former military service members.??

What is a VA Loan?
Available to eligible veterans with key advantages such as: No down payment or mortgage insurance required and no pre-payment penalty for paying off a loan early.

VA Home Loans: A Guide For America???s Veterans
The ins and outs of VA loans explained.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan
Refinancing lets you replace your current loan with a new one under different terms. Find out if you???re eligible???and how to apply.

March 15, 2020

Social Distancing Tip

Some good advice on this time of Social Distancing

Many people in the United States are now facing Social Distancing. That is, they are told to avoid social interaction to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Here's some great advice that Shane Landrum, PhD offerend on Twitter:

Advice from a historian in the Boston area: Start keeping a journal today, ideally a handwritten one if that???s within your ability. Write about what you???re seeing in the news, how yr friends are responding, what is closed in yr neighborhood or city or state or country. Save it.

I worked at a news organization on 9/11/2001, & I recognize the ways that my very online professional networks communicate in a time of global crisis. What???s going on this week is like that. The feeling in my gut about historical importance is nearly the same.

Sometimes you know you???re living through an event that will be in the history books very large. I study the history of public health and information technology and law and politics. There???s so much going on that touches all of those things this week.

We???ll be able to know what happened this week/month/year after the story rolls forward another 10 or 20 years. But personal stories don???t make it into the history books unless people are writing them down in the first place. Keep a journal if you can.

Write your stories down about what???s happening now, and tomorrow, and Monday. Do it by hand, on paper. The hand-writing will adjust your brain. It will take you offline and out of the swirl of news and hopefully, for a moment, into a little bit of peace in the midst of crisis.



Are you looking for new and innovative ways to improve your business? Look no further! In these blog series, we'll be sharing some interesting tips and tricks that can help take your business to the next level. From marketing strategies to productivity hacks, we've got you covered. So, let's dive in and explore some of the most effective ways to grow and succeed in the world of business.

Check out all the blog posts.


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