January 17, 2020

MicroWave Express vs Fission

I decided to take the MicroWave Express version for a spin. I decided to try the freeware version which has some limitations - exporting is limited to 10 seconds. Otherwise, the features are the same as the paid version.

Micro Wave Express
Screenshot of the MicroWave Express

The paid version of MicroWave cost $19.99 and is available on the Apple Store.

Rogue Amoeba Fission
Screenshot of Fission version 2.5.0.

Rogue Amoeba Fission cost $29 from the Rogue Amoeba store. You can download a test version of Fission from Rogue Amoeba site.

Some Observations

Here are my notes on playing around with the application for a few hours:

One cool feature that you can create new audio files in MicroWave. You can't create content using Fission, you have to use Audio Hijack to import sound. While it's bad that you have to use another app, it does give you a lot more flexibility on digitalizing the audio file.

You can't just add another track, like you can with Garageband and Audacity. The only want I could get an additional track is to export the mono file as a stereo to add the second track. Note: Fission only displays a single waveform while editing, but it does edit stereo files as stereo.

You can select different Wavelength colors. This is a neat way to customize the look and feel to something that you may be familiar with. You can select from Classic, Midnight, Graphite, Fruity, Building Bricks and Orcish Green. I personally liked the wave colors in Midnight and Orcish Green.

MacroWave allows you to edit the Metadata when saving the document. It's a good way to remind you to add it before saving. You can add it anytime using the "Edit Metadata" option. The only value that you can't add/change is the Artwork. In Fission, you can add additional notes, lyrics and Podcast URL information.

MicoWave supports Flac Lossless (.flac), Apple Lossless (.m4a), PCM Wave (.wav), AIFF (.aiff), Core Audio Format (.caf). Fission supports all those with the addition of MP3. Both applications have the ability to select the audio quality (Maximum Bit Rate, Channels, Sample Rate)

I found it easier to split the audio in Fission than in MicroWave. Fission allows you to easily split the audio clip into multiple files - including the ability to "Smart Split" which splits the audio based on silence. MicroWave does offer a silent detector that allows you to drop a marker. Fission seems to work better in my testing.

MicroWave Express has a lot of cool sound effects, such as Delay, Distortion, Graphical Equalizer, High Shelf Filter, Matrix Reverb, Pitch and many more. Fission doesn't offer any effects.

Final Thoughts

MicroWave is a pretty cool application, but I don't think it replaces Fission and Audio Hijack. I couldn't see the value of buying another sound application that does a lot of the same things.

January 16, 2020

Jean Louis Lefebvre De Cheverus

Jean Louis Lefebvre De Cheverus was the first Bishop of Boston. He was Bishop from 1810 until 1823.

On the building at 110 Frankin Street is a tablet where his home was in the early 1800s.

Cheverus Homestead

Tablet Text

Text On the Tablet
On this site stood the residence of 
Jean Lefebvre DeCheverus
First Roman Catholic Bishop
of Boston
Beloved by Protestant and Catholic AlikeBorn in France 1768
Made Bishop 1808
Recelled to France in 1823
Later made Cardinal Archbishop
of Bordeaux where he died in 1836

"His thoughts were as a pyramid upheld
on whose far top anget stood and smiled 
yet in his heart he was a child"

This tablet places by the city of Boston 1925

This tablet restored by the George M. Henderson Foundation

Five Fun Facts

Interesting facts about Jean Louis Lefebvre De Cheverus

Born on January 28, 1768 in Meyaeene, France,

Exiled to England during the French Revolution and soon came to America in 1796 to do some missionary work.

He spent much of the time in Maine with Penobscot Indians (He managed to speak their language.)

In August 8, 1810, Pop Plus VII made Jean Louse Cheverus first bishop of Boston. (Official documents didn't arrive until November 1, 1810)

He was loved by everyone in New England, people would come from all over to listen to him speak.

He was a friend to President John Adams and a frequent advisor to the Massachusetts Legislature.

On September 26, 1823, he returned to France on a promise to his family. King Louis XVIII requested him to return because of Jean Louse Cheverus poor health.

Before leaving Boston, he donated all his possessions including several books that help start the Boston Athenaeum. (You can still see the collection today!)

While in France he became the Archbishop of Bordeau.

He died on July 19, 1836 in Bordeaux, France

January 15, 2020

Art Text in Swift Publisher

Swift Publisher has a lot of really cool built-in text effects. It's really easy to create cool looking headlines.

What's even better is that if you have Art Text 3 installed, there's a link to the application. Allowing you to create text using Art Text and then instantly use it in the Swift Publisher document.

Swift Font Option
Just some of the cool fonts that are available in Swift Publisher.

What Value does Art Text Bring?

Build into Swift Publisher are a subset of pre-defined text designs that are based on Art Text too. There aren't any configurations other than text and size.

50 - 2D Text
35 - 3D Text

Art Text 3 provides more basic tools:

7 - Basic Text
28 - 2D Text
22 - 3D Text

Art Text goes beyond the basic designs by giving you a lot more control over Material, Effect, Masks and Geometry.

These controls allow you to customize your design so that works to your message.

Art Text Examples
Some Example designs that could only be created in Art Text 3.

If you're considering buying Swift Publisher, I would recommend getting Art Text 3 at the same time. The applications work well together and BeLight usually has a package deal that includes both applications.

January 14, 2020

B. Sisters Cafe

B. Sisters Cafe is located at 680 Worcester Road in Framingham, in the Ski Market Plaza. The location was once owned by Panache Coffee.

B. Sisters offer Sandwiches and Coffee in a clean quiet setting. It's a perfect place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and relax from a crazy day ahead.

The nice thing about this place is that it makes you feel at home. While their menu and selection may seem overwhelming, they will help with getting what you want quickly.

B Sisters Cafe Framingham

Five Key Differences over Starbucks

Just across the street is Starbucks. Here are the key reasons why you should go to B. Sisters instead.

Free Wifi with available seats and tables - Working from the Coffee shop? B. Sisters Cafe has plenty of room. The cafe is nice and quiet and you won't smell like a coffee when you leave.

Coffee and Tea - Try something different. Their "ice tea" is just hot tea with ice. They have just as many coffee choices and the prices are similar to Starbucks. They have a nice tea selection - and they will suggest something different to try.

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) - The Pao de Queijo is a great snack. The best part is they are naturally gluten-free!

Lots of food options! - From fresh Omeletts to Crepes to Mozzarella Panini. If you're working on your laptop for a while, you won't have to leave to get a good bite to eat!

Drive Thru Window - They have a drive-up window where you can get your coffee to go. (The Window isn't open all year round.)

B Sisters Cafe Wide
Lots of room to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.

January 13, 2020

Human Testing better than Automation

Recently Ministry of Testing asked:

From a testing perspective, what are humans really good at?

Based on many years of testing, here are my four things that humans testing is good at. Automation is a great tool, but for these items, they are no match.

Human Testing Approved

Four Ways Human Testing is Better than Automation

Exploratory Testing - Looking for ways to break functionality is best done with human testing. People don’t always use the conventional path when using a website. Exploratory testing by humans can find unique bugs.

Debugging the route cause of a bug. Humans can use all sorts of methods to discover why a bug might happen. Humans can use the Chrome Console, log files and visual logic to better understand the root cause of a bug.

New Product/Feature Testing - It’s better to perform manual testing when a product/feature is new. The feature could go through numerous changes - so human testing would best to start before investing in automation time.

Third Party Tools Integration - Using third-party tools that require logins. There’s a chance that third-party companies could make changes that will break the automation flow. (Such as changing ids or layouts) Human testing can help bypass any complexity that third party websites have.

January 12, 2020

РhоtоSаvеr Vаult Аpp

Every once in a while, I encounter an App in Apple's iOS app store that makes me think twice...

РhоtоSаvеr Vаult Аpp is today's... wait a minute.. I shouldn't download this...

Photo Saver Valut Apps

Official Description

PhotoSaver is an app that lets you protect your photos from unwanted eyes by locking them in a secret vault. We value the convenience of our users and offer them the most effective way to protect personal data.

Five Things Weird About this App

This App first arrived on the Apple Store on November 13, 2019, by AI Pro LTD.

There are already 79 reviews with most of them being 5-stars. (The first 5-star review occurred within days of being released.) Check out all the reviews, you'll see a common pattern of writing pattern.

AI Pro LTD. produces no other applications - which is amazing for a company with so many 5-star reviews. There is no website or software company called AI Pro LTD.

According to AppAnnie.com the application download ranking has been poor. The best rank has been 704 downloads for the Photo and Video category. Search Man shows that the PhotoSaver Vault App is trending higher.

The support website is https://photosaver.net/ and registered on September 9, 2019.

Now What

I would recommend avoiding the app. I suspect that they set up a bunch of fake users to write reviews to influence people to download their apps.

Check out this "top reviewer," Sounds like a "sales pitch" more than a review:

Griocithya Review on 12/28/2019

Amazing little app.

In short, this is a brilliant photo storage app. Your pictures are cleverly stored and can be transferred with ease into the hidden folder. The app is organised perfectly which makes it very simple to navigate. This also makes the app surprisingly quick. You can place multiple pictures into yhe secret gallery at the same time, so if you have a lot pictures that you would like to keep safe, away from anyones reach, you can do it very quickly by choosing which pictures to store in which album. There are two albums, which is a feature that I’m seeing for the first time in any apps of this kind and it really came to my liking. Other apps mask themselves as calculators which has gotten very pubic, so everyone knows that if you’re using a calculator on your phone, you’re probably scrolling through your secret photos. However, this app does something very original which makes the main function of the app endorsed by the fact that no one knows about it. Whats even better is that it doesn’t show any kind of ads, which is a massive prompt to the makers. You can use it as many times as you like and not even once get interrupted by some weird crap game ad. Amazing value, slick design as well at it being very simple it makes it a walk in the park to figure out. Also, don’t worry about having to buy more storage within the app as it uses the storage on our phone so as long as you have free space on your phone, you should mbe ready to go!

January 11, 2020

Sticky-Note Generator

Sometimes a message stands out on an image with a sticky note. The Sticky-Notes Generator over at Webestools makes it easy to do that.

The Sticky Note Generator has 12 different styles and 59 fonts to make your style unique. It takes a bit to properly fit the image on the note. I found that I had to play around with the Horizontal and Vertical positions to make the text-align perfectly on the image.

Website Description

This generator lets you create free sticky-notes online. First, you have to choose the text, the font, the size, the position, the text color and the background color(can be transparent). Finally, you have to choose the sticky-note style from the following sticky-notes gallery. When you will finish filling the form, you have to preview the result by clicking on the "Preview" button. If the result looks good, you can download the sticky-note by clicking on the "Download" button or you can create a permanent image by clicking on the "Get the URL" button.

Sticky Note Generator
http://www.webestools.com/

Examples

stickynote Example1

Sticky Note Cool

January 10, 2020

Setting up a Better Display on your Retina Computer

One of the things that I noticed on my new iMac (Retina 5k, 27-inch, 2019) is that my screen resolution seems to be the same as my old Mac. I have a bigger monitor, but I am not seeing the difference in actual space.

Turns out that the issue is with the Display Resolution. I was using the "Default for display" which makes the display appear the same as before. I didn't know there's another option that can be set.

Retina Display Options

I saw a YouTube video which suggested to change the Resolution to Scaled and then select the "More Space" option. This set the contents of the display to be smaller - basically getting more use of the 5k Graphics card.

There is a disclaimer at the bottom of the Scaled section which says, "Using a scaled resolution may affect performance." I was wondering what type of performance degradation I would see.

In some instances you may see a slight delay after typing something before an action appears on the screen. This is a very small amount, we're talking milliseconds - but slightly noticeable.

It's good to know that changing the screen resolution doesn't impact the overall performance of the computer. So making the resolution change would be good to set up if your doing Movie or Sound Editing. Probably not good if you spend time writing a novel or email.

Works for Me

I like it because I can now edit personal websites and see them on the screen side-by-side.

iMac Works For Me

January 9, 2020

Boston Landmark Map

Boston is a great historic city. It's known as the "birthplace of the American Revolution" because many historic events took place here.

There are hundreds of historical sites of the American Revolution for visitors to explore.

You can find all the "Official Historical Sites" on the Boston Landmark Commission Map.

Boston Landmark Map

This is a useful map to see all the important places to check out. Simply click on an object and get more information about that location.

You may notice that many "popular" spots are missing from this map, such as Paul Revere House, Old North Church, etc. Many of those sites were protected before the Boston Landmark Commission existed.

Boston Landmark Commission

Since 1977, The Boston Landmark Commission job is to help preserve important buildings and locations around the city. Its role is not just limited to century-old architecture but all historic structures.

You can get the download the status of petitions from the City of Boston.

Getting listed by the Boston Landmark Commission is an honor. This is their explanation of the difference between the National Register and the Boston Landmark Commission Landmarks:

Listings on the National Register of Historic Places is an honorary designation by the federal government. The listing recognizes the site is historically significant at the local, state, or national level. Projects involving federal or state funding are reviewed, but there is no protection against demolition.

Designated Boston Landmarks, including buildings in Historic Districts, have a higher level of protection. Commissioners must review and approve any changes. They base their decisions on guidelines developed through a public process.

January 8, 2020

Templates

Swift Publisher has a lot of built-in templates to generate the right canvas for your design. In fact, there are 761 Professional templates available. Some of these template designs are mixed in with other templates. For example, if you search for "Father and Daughter" design, you'll see the one design incorporates 5 different layouts

Swift Publisher Template

While not every design would work on a Blog or Social, You can create your own template for your own style of creativity. This is helpful when you want a good starting point. (There are some good social design ideas here!)

  • Creating Your Custom Template
  • Start with a blank template and define your document size.
  • Add and text and styles you want in it.
  • Once done, go under File -> "Save as Template" and give it a unique name

The new template will now appear under the "My Templates" section of the Template Gallery.

January 7, 2020

Kanji Wind Chime

If you ever drove down Union Street towards downtown Framingham you might have seen a strange object in front of a house. This might catch your eye, as it did mine, wondering what it is and why it's there.

Is it some important historial marker?

Kanji Wind Chimes

This is a Kanji Wind Chime that was put up by the neighbors who live at this address. It's not a historical marker or some symbol. It has nothing to do with Framingham.

There are four Kanji symbols on the base, I could only transcribe three of them: Cut Grass, Hanging Scroll and 9th Calendar sign. (Thanks to Ben Bullock's Handwritten Kanji Recognition to help transcribe it.)

It is an interesting garden art - I wasn't able to find a copy of the design any place else.

Finding the Wind Chime

The Wind chime is located on 132 Union Ave in Framingham Ma. Google Maps doesn't have a picture of it.

January 6, 2020

Apple Numbers (QA Fail)

Apple Fail2020

Apple makes things easy - which is why I like using it as my computer platform. Just about everything is easier to do on Macintosh.

However, they seriously failed with making graphs in Numbers.

On Christmas Day, I was trying to create a chart of how early my daughter would wake up Christmas morning.

I was struggling with generating a chart from a bunch of data. Basically it was a spreadsheet that had years as one row and times in the second row.

Here's a sample shot of the data:

Christmas Numbers

When I clicked on the "Insert Chart", this is what I got:

Apple Number Chart

Looks like I'll have to do a lot of chart manipulation to make this to work. (I tried putting the data via column view and got the same results.)

Google Sheets

I put in the exact same data in a Google SpreadSheet, select the fields and clicked "Insert Chart" and got a perfectly matched chart:

Google Sheet Christmas

What I Learned

Apparently if I need to create a quick chart, the way to go is to use Google Spreadsheet (or Excel). Apple Numbers isn't all that user-friendly when it comes to creating charts.

Apple should make it simple to create charts - they do have some unique layouts/styles that aren't available in other applications. I shouldn't have to be a chart master to make it work - especially if the data is simple.

January 5, 2020

Downloading Quality 4k Videos

This weekend I was playing around with 4K videos and Apple Photos. I was testing various methods of getting videos onto my desktop without using Apple Photos to download videos from my iPhone XS Max.

AirDrop Test

When I AirDrop videos from my iPhone to my iMac, there was a bit of extra compression that happened.

The 4k video now uses the HD Color profile, when I download it from Photos it's using P3 D65 (12-1-1) - which is the same compression being used in Compressor 4.4.

I don't see any real difference of loss in video or audio quality with the new compression, I am sure it's done to save space.

It didn't save much space as the original size was 165.5 and the AirDrop version was 186.2.

Drag to Dashboard Test

My next test was to see what would happen if I took the download video from Photos to the Dashboard.

Turns out that the color profile also gets altered to use the HD (1-1-1) Color Profile.

Details

4k Photo Info

Technical details on the differences of the types in my testing.

What I Learned Today

So here's what I Learned.

To get the absolute best quality video, your best to download it using the Photos App. Then to put it on the desktop - to get use in Final Cut Pro or any other application - select the video, Select Export then the "Export Unmodified Original." This will keep the video in the original format, which might be easier to work with.

January 4, 2020

Random Binary Number Generator

The Random Binary Number Generator is a fun way to generate numbers. You can use this as part of a background or design for a blog or social media post.

You can generate a very large set of random binary numbers so the image pattern looks unique.

Website Description

5000 random binary digits. Reload the page (F5) to reset the numbers. Or try the other memory training scripts.

Random Binary Generator
https://artofmemory.com/3.1415926/t/binary.php

Sample Designs Generated

Here are a couple of sample designs that were generated using the Random Binary Number Generator and Affinity Photo and Photoscape X.

Binary Look Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo

Binary Look Photo Scape X
PhotoScape X

January 3, 2020

TextSoap Editor

Last Fall, I purchased TextSoap 8.5 because it was on sale for a great price on BundleHunt - $5. It regularly sells for $44.99 - I thought it was too good of a deal to pass up!

This is an application that I have briefly looked at in the past but never convinced that it would be something that I would use on a regular base.

Product Description

TextSoap is a text processing tool that automates the tediousness of removing extraneous characters, wrapping broken paragraphs, fixing quotation marks, finding and replacing common text, and so forth. It comes with more than 100 built-in “cleaners” and also lets you create your own custom solutions.

What about BBEdit Text Factory?

Some of the features and functionality can be duplicated using BBEdit Text Factory. BBEdit Text factory capability is a bit superior because you can run Unix commands as part of the action. This allows you to integrate powerful UNIX tools to your text.

BBEdit Text Factory Screenshot

B B Edit Text Factory

TextSoap's Custom Cleaner Screenshot

Text Soap

Key advantages of TextSoap

After Playing around with TextSoap for a while, I came up with several key features:

  • TextSoap "Scrub" Cleaner does a great job of cleaning up the text. It's the one-stop tool to get the text looking in decent looking condition.
  • The TextSoap menu option allows you to access TextSoap tools any time you have text selected - in any application, even Chrome text fields. Making it easy to fix up text where ever you are. Simply select the text, select the menu item, and the text gets replaced with the cleaned-up version. You can't do that using BBEdit!
  • TextSoap Editor makes it easy to find the tools you need. The search capability gives you instant access to many valuable built-in tools.
January 2, 2020

Elephant Memorial at Fenway Park

Long before crowdsourcing became a thing - In 1914, the children of Boston help raise enough money to place three Elephants at the Franklin Park Zoo.

There is a marker at Fenway Park to remember the occasion when the Elephants first met the children of Boston. It was the largest gathering at Fenway Park. (Due to current fire rules - this looks to stand forever.)

Elephant Prints2
Elephant Prints on the Ground in the Grandstand area

Things I Learned

  • Boston Post's publisher Edwin A. Grozier came up with the idea of having children collect money for the city to buy the elephants.
  • Only nickel and pennies were accepted in boxes that were put in stores all around the city.
  • The city raised: $6,000. ($151,948.45 in 2018) If they were all pennies it would be weigh 38 lbs.
  • 70,000 Children and Parents attended the event on June 6, 1914 - the gates were to open at 9am, but such a large crowd gathered that they opened it up early.
  • The elephants spent the night at the park before they came out on the field.
  • In 1914, the Average Baseball attendance at Fenway Park was 6,055!

History Fun Facts

  • Babe Ruth would joined the Red Sox a month later - July 11, 1914
  • Largest crowd for a Baseball game at Fenway Park was 49,000 on September 23, 1935.
  • Largest Concert crowd for a Paul McCartney concert was 36,064 on July 10, 2013.

Remembering the Elephants

  • Mollie died on April 22, 1921 of a heart attack- Harvard's Natural Museum has the skeleton. (Some media outlets called her Molly)
  • Tony died on January 19, 1939 of cancer
  • Waddy died November 5, 1940 - one of the longest elephants to live in captivity.

Sign at the Park

Elephant Pennnies

January 1, 2020

Swift Publisher as a Blogging Tool

Swift Publisher 5 is a great desktop publishing application. The application allows users to quickly put together a professional-looking brochure or business card.

Did you know that Swift Publisher is also a good program to create blog graphics. You can use it as a compliment Affinity Designer and PhotoScape. Over the next few weeks, I'll highlight some of the cool features of Swift Publisher.

Blog Tool

Four Reasons I like Swift Publisher

  1. Text Tool Effect - Swift Publisher comes with 83 text styles - 49 2D text and 34 3D text. These are great for making eye catching text headlines. (Also great for social media posts.)
  2. Image Mask - Swift Publisher comes with 110 masks. These can easily applied to any image - making a "standard" picture stand out a bit more. It's nice to have a one click and done effect. Th
  3. Clipart Collection - There are 2,000 ClipArt collections included with purchase. Thees are pretty good by themselves. There’s an Extra Pack where you can get a lot more. In addition, Swift Publisher makes it easy to use images from Google Images.
  4. Calendar Tool - I don’t use this all the time, but this tool generates a monthly Calendar whenever you need it.

Check it Out

By no means will Swift Publisher replace the features in Affinity Designer. I have found that these applications work well together. There are times where I just want to put together a simple graphic with a cool text or image mask.

I think it's worth using Swift Publisher as a Social Media / Blogging tool. Check out the website and download a free trial today.

December 31, 2019

Best Gluten Free Posts

Today my daughter turns nine years old. She enjoys the challenges of finding good restaurants to visit.

This year we found some great new restaurants and new breakfast foods. It was fun coming up with topics and content every week.

Top 9 Blog Posts

Goals for 2020

In 2020 we'll be going around the City of Boston looking for great gluten-free foods. We'll try to find the best hamburger and pizza place in metro-Boston.

December 30, 2019

The Best 2019 QA Posts

This year I posted a lot of useful information about QA software testing. Along the way, I learned a lot more about new techniques and testing strategies.

Q A Approves

2020 Goals

Very excited about some of the things I learned this year. I'll keep the QA Monday topic going until the end of February.

Three Specific QA Goals for the next set of posts:

  • Discover some of the Basics of QA Testing.
  • How can testers become better testers.
  • What tools are available that people may not know exists.

I'll focus more time on the quality of content, not just to post because I have to post.

Other Posting