Powerbook in SFO
July 8, 2020

Minuteman Statue in Concord Massachusetts

One of the most famous statues in Concord, Massachusetts is the Minuteman statue at the Old North Bridge.

Minuteman Desktop
Minuteman Mobile

Eight things I Learned About the Statue

Installed On -The statue was Installed on April 19, 1875, as a permanent memorial for the centennial of the fight at the Old North Bridge. President Ulysses S. Grant was at the dedication. On the same day, the statues of John Hancock and Samuel Adams statues were raised in Lexington.

Rebuild the Old North Bridge First - Prior to the statue being placed on the current location, the town of Concord had to put up a new bridge. The original bridge was taken down in 1793 and there was never a need to put up a new one.

Statue Specs - The statue weighs approximately 1500 pounds. It was cast from ten discarded brass cannons donated to the town from Congress. The granite base came from a quarry in Westford. The Ames Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Massachusetts did the casting - you can see the signature on the base of the statue back.

Design By - Created by Daniel Chester French for free of charge as he was an unknown artist. He was only 23 when he created the Minuteman statue. He was paid $1,000 ($22,909.56 in 2019). That money came from the will of Ebenezer Hubbard, a local farmer who lived in downtown Concord.

Specific Location - The statue was placed on the spot where Acton Minuteman Captain Issac Davis and Abner Hosmer were killed when the British troops fired.

Pedestal Work - John Cole of Westford did the pedestal work. He was paid $975 for his work.

Missing Statue - In early January 1975, in a secret town selectman meeting, a vote was made to approve the National Park Service to remove the top of the minuteman statue so a cast can be made on it. On January 16, 1975, the statue was taken down. At the time people were told it was one of the National Park Services bicentennial projects. The statue was placed back on the pedestal on April 1st - plenty of time for the town's bicentennial celebration. It was later revealed that the cast was made because of a bomb was found at the base of the statue on November 26, 1973. The National Park Service wanted a cast of the statue just in case the original was destroyed or removed illegally.

New Cast Request - At a Town Hall meeting in November 1992, a request by the National Guard was made to make another cast of the minuteman so that a new statue could be placed in Washington D.C. That request was denied.

July 7, 2020

Moving on From Wondershare Filmora

This is a new blog series that I am starting up here on cryan.com. I have been using Final Cut Pro Demo for a couple of months and finally made the decision to purchase the application. This blog series will offer some tips and tricks I have learned while using the application.

The goal here is to answer some questions that people may have about performing certain tasks within the application.

Wondershare Filmora

Prior to going all-in with Final Cut Pro X, I have been doing all my editing using Wondershare Filmora. It's a great application with a lot of power and cool tools.

I have a lifetime subscription, and still plan to use it every once in a while. I just thought it was time to move on to something that would give me more control.

Five Reasons I Switched to Final Cut

  1. There are a lot of very cool Titles/Transitions that come with Wondershare Filmora. If I want to expand on the collection, I can subscribe to the Filmstock store and get more effects. I felt that this really limited my resources. Final Cut Pro has a lot of third-party apps that can get even cooler resources.
  2. Filmora has a lot of great tools and effects around text titles. Users can expand on the defaults to create their own styles. Final Cut Pro has even more capabilities.
  3. Final Cut Pro has more power with importing media. When clips are imported they can be analyzed for balance color, fix the audio issue, and more. Final Cut Pro has a better preview section so that you can see the clip before importing. Wondershare Filmora only uses a standard Open dialog with limited capabilities.
  4. It's a lot easier to combine multiple camera shots to a common audio file in Final Cut Pro. I like to do multiple camera angles of some events and it's so much quicker to put it together in Final Cut Pro. The timeline can be enlarged to show the audio wave details - making it easy to match up similar video clips.
  5. Quick Imports. I can plug in my GoPro or insert an SD card into my computer and Final Cut Pro's Import dialog box will open up and let me know that there are files available to import. Once the files are imported, I can see how long the clips are, when they were created and leave notes about each clip for later use.

Lots More to Expore

There's a lot to learn about Final Cut Pro. I am enjoying several different online classes to learn about the application.

I found the Final Cut Pro X Weekly class on Lynda.com to be very useful. Each week they put together a quick hit tip on various topics such as Speed Effects, Keyboard Shortcuts, Color Correction, Timelapses, and so much more. Most clips are 5-mins long and they are packed with information.

July 6, 2020

Testing is like

Using some of the phrases from WordStream:

Testing Typewriter Desktop
Testing Typewriter Mobile

Testing is like herding cats. Cats are fiendishly complicated to manage, they eat when they want, sleep when they want, come and go as they please. A cat is going to do what it wants when it wants and there's precious little you can do to change that. QA Testing isn't entirely like that, but it's close.

Weekly Release Testing is like World of Warcraft because getting to green, and staying there, is testing hand-to-hand combat that never ends. The closer you get to the release day, the more cunning and more ferocious the feature testing you must face, and defeat. Release Day is a battlefield littered with the corpses of features that weren't up to the challenge.

Regression testing is like bacon: Everyone loves it. Some people try to say they hate it. That just means they love it even more.

Testing is like a can of Campbell's vegetable beef soup. If you can, think of the juice as the product features; you need the juice to make soup, and you need the features for testing. The vegetables are like testing best practices. The meat is like gray-hat testing. Last you have sodium which is about 85% of our daily value and it's not really that good for us. But it's also what keeps the soup fresh, and that freshness is why I get to keep eating my cans of soup. Similarly, there is a ton of code in the codebase today, but about 25% of the code created is not used on a daily bases. But that code is fresh, and to the end-users, that freshness is just as important as any other code.

July 5, 2020

Student Loan Forgiveness

I don't have any active student loans, but I still get someone trying to scam people that do. In this voice message, the caller puts some pressure to make sure that I call back.

If your looking some some student loan help, there's lots of legitimate places that can help: studentaid.govL Student Loan Forgiveness and Usa.gov: Replay Student Loans.

Listen to the Voice Message

Transcript

Apple supplied the following transcript:

“Hi my name is Rachel Cooper and my ⁠⁠⁠⁠_ ⁠ ⁠ 0157 I'm calling you today in reference to your student loans I need to discuss your payment options with you as soon as possible um it looks hear that there is an urgent changes to your account ⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠ recently so if you can go ahead and give me a call back the number is 866-230-8249 I'm also going to go ahead and give you a reference number to have handy when you do a call back it will just make things a little bit easier on ⁠⁠⁠ ⁠⁠⁠⁠_ and that reference number is 25243…”

Don't fall for these scams. Make sure that you know more about the company before giving any confidential information.

July 4, 2020

PosterMyWall

If your having a small party this summer, and looking for a good way to promote it on social media - try PosterMyWall for some great templates.

There are lots of great ideas. Many of the designs are in animated and just about everything on the page game be changed!

PosterMyWall has lots of categories and types available. You can sign up to remove the watermark and get access to more content. It cost $30 - $90 per quarter. If you doing a lot of designs - say you on a company's social group or on a PTO board - your better off doing the $90 plan.

Poster My Wall
https://www.postermywall.com/index.php/g/4th-of-july#

Happy 4th of July!

July 3, 2020

All-in-One Snag-it Capture

The Snag-it's "Capture All" feature is my new go-to screen capture. It really is an upgrade to the standard MacOX screen capture. If you're using Snagit - you should use it instead of the "image Capture" shortcut.

When you type the shortcut Control - Shift - O, you bring up the standard capture crosshairs to select the area you want to select. When you let go you get a little post-capture option - including the option to change the selection. Which is great because I can't tell you how many times when I do the capture and the selection wasn't 100% correct.

Capture All Snagit

Five Reasons to Use All-in-One Capture

As mentioned above, the ability to change the selection after the initial capture can save a lot of time later.

You can select the Panoramic capture to capture webpages. This is great when you want to capture a page that has an internal webpage frame. The panoramic capture depends on you moving the page, whereas the Chrome webpage capture depends on the page scroll.

Movie Capture - maybe you want to take a video instead of a screen capture. This is a quick way to start that process.

Undo - If the capture was taken at the wrong time, you can undo the selection. Saving you from generating useless files when doing bad screen captures.

July 2, 2020

St. Francis of Assisi Garden

Just behind the Old North Church gift shop is the St. Francis of Assisi Garden.

The Chapel of St. Francis was created to meet the needs of Italian immigrants who were members of the Waldensian Reform movement. Once the movement left the area the Old North Church used the building as a gift shop.

The garden was created as a special area to remember the Waldensian Reform movement.

Francis Desktop
Francis Mobile

Four things I Learned about the Garden

The St. Francis of Assisi statue was placed in the garden on August 17, 1902.

The St. Francis of Assisi Garden is a sitting area, whereas the 18th Century Garden is where you'll find all sorts of plants and shrubs taken care of by members of the congregation.

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and ecology, making him the perfect companion for the outdoor garden - you can find similar statues on eBay and some garden shops.

St. Francis Feast Day is October 4 = I wasn't able to find any information that the Old North Church does in the garden on that day.

July 1, 2020

Our Lady of Fatima Shrine

On the backroads of Holliston, Massachusetts is the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine. Its not only a special place to attend Mass but a place to walk around and be inspired by the 30-acre shrine.

This is the home of the Xaverian Missionaries.

Christmas Lights Fatima
Christmas Lights on Display - This year marks the 60th year of lights.

Shrine Mobile

Six Things I Learned about the Shrine

Established in 1950 by a group of priests from Italy. In August 1952, a group of Xaverian Missionary Fathers purchased a 15-room house that had a barn and 23-acres in Holliston. This would be the site of the current shrine.

In July 1948 - Archbishop Richard J. Cushing gave approval to the building of an outdoor shrine on the seminary grounds.

The priests and seminarians designed landscaped much of the work of the shrine.

The Rosary Walk is a 900-foot-long string of boulders fastened by a marine chain as a reminder to pray the rosary every day. The chains are connected to an anchor that was donated by the Navy in memory of President John F. Kennedy. The string of boulders is said to be the largest rosary in the world. Each boulder bears a plaque inscribed with the Hail Mary prayer.

Every thirteenth of the month is "Mary Day" - which honors the appearance of Mary to the children on the thirteenth of each month.

Christmas Lights Tradition - Since 1960, the shrine grounds is decorated with Christmas lights. Hundreds of visitors visit to check out the light display. Lights cover almost half of the 30-acre shrine.

Finding the Shrine

The Our Lady of Fatima Shrine is located at 101 Summer Street, Rte. 126 in Holliston. Note: Check out the satelite view on Google Maps.

June 30, 2020

Sony Digital 8

One of the things that I liked to do with my PowerMac G4 series desktop computers was to digitalize VHS tapes. In the early 2000s, it wasn't easy to connect a VHS player to a Macintosh computer.

Fortunately for me, I just happen to own a Sony DCR-TRV720 Digital Video Camera Recorder. This camera has an RCA input and a Firewire (iLink) output. This means that I could use the camera as a bridge to get video into my Macintosh from a VHS player.

This diagram shows how I was able to get video into the computer.

TRV720 Mac Layout

I still have the Sony DCR-TRV720 Digital Video Camera and still use it every once in a while to get video into the computer. It won't work with the newest iMac Computers - as they don't have a Firewire port. Sure I could get a USB-C to Firewire adapter but I don't think it's worth spending $29 for the few times that I would use it. In addition, I think using a dongle Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter could impact the video quality.

I am better off just firing up the old G4 computer and doing the converting and transferring it to my desktop to do any Final Cut Pro editing.

Five Things I Learned

  1. The Sony DCR-TRV720 Digital Video Camera is a good video camera but only captures video in 720 dpi - not useful when most videos today are in 1080p format.
  2. The digital bridge works when I have the camera set up as VTR mode and have a tape in the digital camera. Not exactly sure why this is the case, but it's the only way I got it to work.
  3. To play the VHS tapes, I used a JVC Stereo Video Cassette Recorder HR-VP673U. Which was a pretty good system at the time. I have never had an issue with VHS tapes breaking or playing back in poor quality. I still have this on my home desk today! (Hidden but still on my desk!) You can find it on ebay for about $65.
  4. I found that BTV was the best application to view and capture video. The application instantly found the video from the Firewire port. Ben Software has discontinued the application. They have an alternative solution called SwiftCapture which provides many of the same features. Since I am using an old computer - I can still use the BTV.
  5. The camera still comes in handy today. I still use it every once in a while to get VHS recordings to DVDs or YouTube. Some friends have asked to convert old home movies so they could watch them again.
June 29, 2020

Automation is Not

Here we go...

Here are the eight things that people may think what QA Automation is - but they are so wrong:

Automation Desktop
Automation Mobile

Automation is not....

  1. A substitute for manual testing. It should complement the sum of all the testing done in a release cycle.
  2. Easy. It takes time to build a strong test foundation that can be properly maintained.
  3. Hard. There are a lot of "quick" hit automation tools. Make sure to have a plan. Don't create tests that just "chicken peck" functionality.
  4. A One and Done. Automation requires lots of regular maintenance work for feature changes and to build in complexity.
  5. Testing. It's only for verification of a specific predefined path. Just keep in mind that customers may not take the same approach - this is why manual testing is good.
  6. One Size Fits All. There are lots of automation solutions available. In the past two companies I worked at, both decided to build their own - just so they could have ownership.
  7. Just about Selenium. There are other alternatives available. Don't think you're limited to Selenium rules. Check out Katalon Studios, Robot Framework and CasperJS to name a few.
  8. Abracadabra. It’s not magical and worth QA time to understand the technology behind it so they can get the most out of it.

What do you think of my list? Did I miss anything? Or am I way off base?

June 28, 2020

MacWorld Guy

In 1999, I was at the Moscone Center attending the MacWorld Conference. This conference had a lot of attention around the newly announced Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White).

They had displays of the computer all over the exhibit floor so that people could see the new design and styles.

I took a picture of one of the computers in the Apple Booth:

PowerMacintoshMacWorld.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Strange Stare Effect

If you look carefully in the picture - there's a guy on the right looking at the computer.

When you look/stare at the computer the guy appears to be staring at you!

Try it!

Look at the guy, and you can see that he is clearly looking at the computer. Now look at the computer and in your puerperal vision you'll see the guy looking at you.

I tried touching up the photo so the guy is a bit easier to see, but the effect goes away.

June 27, 2020

Gibberish Generator

Sometimes you want to test an html form and need some gibberish text - just for testing purposes. Using the standard Lorem can be boring.

The Gibberish Generator is a good way to create all sorts of gibberish text. These are also great for those annoying text messages solicitations that you may get every once in a while

.

You can enter in any text as a sample, or use their prepopulated content: Hamlet, Pooh, Kafka, Quixote, Pizza Ad, Physics or Management-ese.

Gibberish Generator
https://thinkzone.wlonk.com/Gibber/GibGen.htm

Sample Output

World-class company. Integical structure. World-class company. Humanage, and to achievels optime, and practiveness. The high leadership and promote comership and marketplace of the marketplace on the involvemental. People high levelopment and competencies a key element and to und quality, in quality, inconce possibility, teamworld-class company. World-class leaders and flexibility, company's employees a few meanies, systems, and companies: People a set of competenciencies is full designed marketplac

Buzz! Buzz! I wonder why he door in gold letters, and the middle of Sanders. ("What down at the tree, and in a forest, and in the only reason for making honey." And the tree. He climbed he sang a little song time, and then he got up, and buzzing-noise, and he came a loud buzzing-noise, and he sang a bee." Then I will go on," said I.) One day when he got up, and he climbed and he said a growly voice. "Then he was out walking, without its means somebody's making honey?

June 26, 2020

LaunchBar Search

Launch Bar is a great Macintosh productivity utility. It makes using the Macintosh so much easier.

One of the cool features is the ability to quickly enable a search action. With a couple of keystrokes, you can instantly open up your browser to whatever search results that you want to see. Potentially saving a lot of time doing it the old fashion way.

Use LaunchBar to Search

Here's a quick way to search for something on Twitter:

First you'll need to add a new Search Template. This is done by opening the LaunchBar Index, and selecting the Search Templates (UTF-8):

  1. Trigger the LaunchBar Action (Command Shift)
  2. Open the LaunchBar Index: Option-Command-I
  3. Select the "Search Templates (UTF-8)" in the left panel
  4. Click the '+' button at the bottom left of the main window.

Launch Bar Search

Now Your Ready!

Now your ready to create your own search templates. The key thing to remember in a search template is to grab the URL from search results and replace the keywords that you used with a '*'.

A basic example:

If you had the following URL from a Bing Search for GusODog:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=GusODog&form=QBLH&sp=-1&pq=gusodog&sc=8-7&qs=n&sk=&cvid=F62E44EB0F524B788301CE611566657C

Your Search Template might look like this:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=*

I filtered out some of the text in the URL that I didn't think was important.

Twitter Search

You can now search Twitter for what people are talking about:

For Twitter Templates:

Name: Twitter

Template URL:

https://twitter.com/search?q=*&src=typed_query&f=live

Google Photos Search

If you have a lot of photos in Google Photos, now you can quickly search for the one you're looking for.

Name: Google Photos

Template URL:

https://photos.google.com/search/*

Instant Search

Now when you want to search for something on twitter:

  1. Command Space
  2. Type: Twitter
  3. Click Space
  4. Type in your Search Term and then click the return
June 25, 2020

Ayer Mansion

On Commonwealth Avenue, there are a lot of special homes. The Ayer Mansion is one such place that is overlooked by tourists.

Tours of the home are available on very limited bases. They are held one Saturday and one Sunday a month. Visit their website for tour dates and time.

Ayer Mansion Desktop
The stain glass above the door at the Ayer Mansion
Ayer Mansion Mobile
The stain glass above the door at the Ayer Mansion

Five Things I learned

  • The house was built between 1899 - 1902 for patent medicine and textile entrepreneur Frederick Ayer. It was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
  • The Ayer Mansion sole example of a house designed from its inception by [Louis Comfort Tiffany](http://www.biography.com/people/louis-tiffany-9507399). This is the only surviving house over which Mr. Tiffany had complete control, which allowed him to integrate themes and details both inside and outside.
  • Listed on the National Historic Mansion. This is the only house on CommmonWealth Ave that is listed on the National Historic Landmark.
  • When Ayer died in 1918, at the age of 95, the Boston Globe described him as New England’s richest man, and the New York Times sketched his rise from a poor shopkeeper to a titan of industry.
  • There is a missing Tiffany Vase from the Ayer Mansion. It may have been missing for decades and a collector may have it without knowing that it is stolen from the Ayer Mansion. The vase is supposed to be in the hands of a Tiffany collector from the MidWest. The Ayer Mansion preservation believes the previous owner of the house took it when it was sold in 1964.

Finding The Ayer Mansion

The Ayer Mansion is located at 395 Commonwealth Ave - between Massachusetts Ave and Charles Gate East.

YouTube Tour

Someone that took the tour in 2018 recorded it. It might be interesting to watch to learn more about the house and a chance to see the inside.

June 24, 2020

Erikson's Ice Cream

One of our favorite local ice cream stand is Erikson's Ice Cream. The classic ice cream stand is located at the border of Stow and Maynard Massachusetts.

They have a large selection of fresh ice creams to select from. They have Gluten Free cones too!

Erikson Desktop
Erikson Mobile

Some of the flavors they are featuring in 2020. They have a list of flavors on their website, this is my list from a recent visit:

Banana
Black Raspberry
Black Raspberry Oreo
Butter Crunch
Butter Pecan
Cake Batter
Chocolate
Chocolate Chip
Cookie Dough
Chocolate Mint
Coffee
Coffee Oreo
Cotton Candy
Frozen Pudding
Ginger
Gram Central Station
Grape Nut
Green Monsta
HeathBar
Maple Walnut
Mint Chip
Mocha Almond
Mocha Chip
Orange Pineapple
Oreo
Peanut Butter Fudge
Peanut Butter Oreo
Peppermint Stick
Pistachio
Roasted Butter Almond
Rum Butter
Strawberry
Toasted Walnut Fudge
Vanilla
Wintergreen Chip
Salted Carmel Choc Pretzel

Specials

Cherry Vanilla
German Chocolate Cake
Almond Joy
Rockin' Rolo - Chocolate Caramel
Salted Caramel Chocolate Covered Pretzel
Birthday Cake Ice Cream
Chocolate Mint Oreo
Key Lime
Purple Cow
Maynard Black Bear
TollHouse Cookie
Orange Creamsicle
Lavender
Cinnamon Granola Crunch
Strawberry Cheese Cake
Brownie Batter
Vanilla Peanut Butter Cup
Vanilla With M&M
Lime Sherbet
Strawberry Cake Crunch
Coconut
Sea Salt Caramel Truffle
Cookie Monster

Finding Erikson Ice Cream

Erikson is located on 12 Great Road in Maynard, MA. It's located about a mile and a half from downtown Maynard on Route 62 and 117.

June 23, 2020

SCSI Hard Drives

Back in the day, if you got a Mac, your computer had a SCSI hard drive. For many years it was the only hard drive option that the Mac supported.

S C S I_ Desktop
S C S I_ Mobile

Fun Facts about SCSI Drives

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) is a fast reliable storage solution.

For external SCSI drives, you need to make sure they had to have a SCSI termination.

They were more expensive than the IDE drives and had less storage space. Basically you're paying more per MB.

My Power Mac G4 400 Series (M7891LL/A) had SCSI support on the Motherboard. (72GB Ultra160 SCSI (10K rpm))

I still have several of these drives in my basement. Unfortunately, I don't have any means to read them on the latest iMacs. Ideally, I would have to get my old PowerMac G4 up and running to access whatever data I stored on the drives.

June 22, 2020

Bug Bash

In some companies they have an internal company-wide product show-me - otherwise known as Product Palooza.

What is a Product Palooza?

The Product Palooza a chance for Product and Engineering to showcase all the upcoming features that are being worked on. This is usually an internal showcase for Sales and CS teams. It's a good way to communicate upcoming changes.

Bug Bash

QA Should have a similar type of event - named Bug Bash. The event would showcase some of the unique bugs that QA has found.

Bug Bash target audiences would be for the Product and Engineering teams.

Some Example Exhibits:

  • Most Complex Bug Found
  • Tools that QA Uses to Find Bugs
  • Tips and Tricks on Testing your own code
  • Testing Technology and Techniques
  • Testing Challenges and Ways They are

A Bug Bash can help QA educate the engineering team of the various testing challenges. It can be used for the Product team to help understand planning and test time allocation.

June 21, 2020

Final Cut Pro

I have decided to take the plunge and purchase Apple's Final Cut Pro. This means that I won't be using Wondershare Filmora for Video editin.

Final Cut Pro Logo

Filmora is a great application, but I have been playing around with Final Cut Pro and found that its a much better application for my needs. I like the text editing capabilities and I find that it is much easier to align videos from multiple angles.

Over the next few week's I'll share some of the cool features and highlight techniques that highlight the advantages of using Final Cut Pro.

June 20, 2020

Easy Unit Converter

Everyone has to do unit conversions at some time or another. Some examples: How much mulch to add in a playground space. How long is a 5k in miles? How many days are in a decade? When it's 100 degrees Fahrenheit, what is it in Celsius?

EasyUnitConverter is your one stop shop to get your conversions. There are a lot of really cool calculations:

Website Description

Our Unit Converter will convert the length units Meters (m), Kilometers (km), Centimeters (cm), Millimeters (mm), Micrometers, Nanometers, Miles (m or mi), Yard (yd), Foot (ft), Inch (in), Light Year to vice versa from imperial to metric system with a metric conversion table. It specially designed to convert cm to inches, inches to cm, mm to inches, inches to mm, km to miles, miles to km, cm to feet, feet to cm, inches to feet, feet to inches, meters to yards, yards to meters.

Easy Unit Converter
https://www.easyunitconverter.com/