July 23, 2017

Government Grant Scam

The Scammer

Recently I have been calls about how I won a $9,000 grant. However, in order to collect the grant I have to pay $250 in Steam Card. Yes, this is a scam. Seriously who would collect a payment using Steam Cards?

The scam works by keeping you on the phone while you go to the store to get the gift card. They don't want to risk you talking to anyone else that might inform you that it's a scam. They will insist on staying on the phone and then "order you" to get the card.

The Federal Government will never ask you to pay for any processing fee to get a loan. In addition, they will not require a payment method by a gift card.

$9,000 Government Grant Scam

You can read about the scam New America Media website and on Scam Detector.

In my last call, I told them that it would be a while before I could get to the store. These are the phone numbers that have been calling me back to see if I have gotten the cards:

  • (202) 470-0947
  • (202) 350-0969
  • (202) 643-6782

Don't be fooled, just because these are Washington DC numbers, doesn't mean that they are actually calling from Washington DC. Once when I called the number, I heard "Google Voice" isn't able to transfer the phone number.

July 22, 2017

Johnny Most's Dream Game

The DREAM GAME was a five-minute "words eye view" audio cassette personally announced for you by Johnny Most and Glenn Ordway. You are playing for the Boston Celtics in the seventh game of the NBA world championship series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Listen to part of the clip that was made especially for me:

Real Audio Replay

For years I had the full clip on my Real Audio Sounds page. Since the 'Real Audio' platform isn't in use much, I am in the process of converting many of the once popular clips to SoundCloud format.

The manufactor, Sports Fantasies Inc, no longer makes any personal radio broadcast.

July 21, 2017

Sips

Sips Side Bar2

Sip is cool utility when you need to track colors for design purposes. This is handy if you need to always have the corporate color pallet handy.

How Sips Works

On the side of the screen is a color bar that shows you the colors that you have in that pallet set. You can have as many color pallets as will fit on the side of the screen, and you can put the pallets on any side of the display. The color pallet is always available, except when an application is in full screen mode.

When you want the Hex value of a color click on the pallet, then the color you want. You'll see the color appear briefly in the menu bar. The color Hex value is now available to be paste into any application.

In the menu bar is a color selector magnifying glass. This makes it easy to grab a pixel color any time that you want - regardless of the application that happens to be open. This is handy when your browsing a website and see a color that you like to add to a design.

Red Sox Pallet
Sample color pallet that the Red Sox might use.

To change a color

  • Open the Pallet
  • Click on a color
  • Change the Hex Color to something else
  • Click Return

Overall Assessment

Sips is a pretty cool application. It works really well and found it very easy to use. I don't work with colors that much to justify spending $9.95 on it, but can see that this would be a great tool for anyone doing work for UI.

When playing about with the Sips application, I learned a lot about the various colors that I have on this website. I finally got a pallet of all the website colors. I did this by simply browsing the site and using the menu bar color magnifying glass to get the Hex value of the website.

I think it's very handy to know what colors that I am using, and can help keep things simple.

Check it Out

You can download a 14-day trial from their website.

Sip cost $9.99, and you can purchase it from their website. It's also available as part of the SetApp collection. SetApp is a group of applications that you can use by paying a simple monthly fee.

July 20, 2017

Boston Public Library Bronze Doors

When you enter the Boston Public Library from Copley square you may not have paid attention to the Bronze doors that you walk through.

These doors were created by Daniel Chester French in 1897, about 20 years before he did the Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial.

BPLDoors_sm.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Five Things that I learned about the doors

  • Each door weighs 1500 pounds.
  • Daniel Chester French was chosen to create the doors by Charles Follen McKim, the Boston Public Library main architect since they worked on eight other projects together.
  • The figures on the doors represent Music and Poetry, Knowledge and Wisdom, and Truth and Romance.
  • The Center door, Knowlege and Wisdom, is the one that is always open.
  • The door sayings are written in old Latin, Old Latin used V for capitals and U for lower case.

It took a while for each door panel to be completed:

  • 1897 - Truth and Romance (Right)
  • 1898 - Knowledge and Wisdom (Center)
  • 1902 - Music and Poetry (Left)

Door Sayings

SVCG Sweet Compulsion Does in Music Lie To Lull the Daughters of Necessity and Keep Unsteady Nature to Her Law
True Poetry is Like the Loadstone Which Both Attracts the Needle and Supplies it With Magnetic Power

There is in Wisdom a spirit subtil, clear in utterance, loving what is good, pure, stedfast.
By Knowledge Shall, the Chambers Be Filled with all Precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:4)

Truth is The Strength and The Kingdom and The Power and the Majesty of all Ages A Romance to Rede and Drive the Night Away from me thought it Better Play than Either at Chesse or Tables

July 19, 2017

Canva

The fastest way to create basic Social Media graphics is using Canva. The interface and design templates make it super easy to promote anything on any of the popular social media channels.

Canva is Productivity

The faster you get something done, the faster you can move on to the next task. Isn't that the definition of Productivity?

Canva is Fast and Easy

The thing that makes Canva great is that there isn't much thinking of getting the work done. In addition, the vast selection of template designs can help inspire you to create an awesome post. There's also a customer sharing section where people can show off their designs.

Basic Canvas use is Free, there are some images that you have to pay for. You don't have all the power as a full image editor, but for most projects, it should be enough to get you up and running.

Yes you can upload files to Canva, you're not limited to their library.

Promote Your Blog Posts

With Canva you can spend more time writing blog posts and less time promoting. Simply upload your image and then do some basic cleaning.

Sample Designs Created in Canva

Train Pictures

N E
SuperBowl Field Sign

I think it's worth checking out Canva and spending a few minutes playing around. It's not for every project, but if you need a quick graphic to highlight a point, you can't go wrong with creating it in Canva.

Once you start creating designs in Canva, you'll want to place the bookmark in your bookmark bar.

July 18, 2017

Gluten Free Meme Response

Someone on my Facebook feed recently posted this MEME:

5000years
How after 5000 years of humanity surviving off of bread do we have so many people within the last decade who are entirely allergic to gluten?

My reply comment was simply:

MIB Kay Quote

For those of you in Rio Linda...

There are two things that are going on:

1) Did you know that the bread that we eat today isn't the same as the one made years ago.

Today's bread isn't fermented. Not so long ago the bread dough was a living, breathing colony. This caused the bread making process to be slow and an inefficient process. Today, instead of allowing the bacteria in the water to power the wheat and change it - manufacturers have put in "safe" additives - such as yeast.

Because of the new process various natural nutrients aren't in the bread anymore. Manufactures have to add micronutrients in to make the today's bread be nutritious.

2) Celiac is an autoimmune disease and was only officially recognized as a disease not so long ago, but the symptoms have been around for thousands of years.

In the second century, Aretaeus of Cappadocia, a Greek physician, wrote about childhood and adult coeliac disease. He wrote, "If the stomach be irretentive of the food and it passes through undigested and crude, and nothing ascends into the body, we call such persons Coeliacs."

The term 'Celiac Disease' was made by Dr. Samuel Gee in 1888. It wasn't until 1950 that Dr. Wilm Dicke, a Dutch physician, discovered the best cure for Celiac Disease was to have a diet free of Gluten.

It wasn't until the mid-1990's that full acceptance of the 'Celiac Disease' was officially accepted by the general public.

So while the whole Gluten Free seems to be a new thing, it's been around for a while.

July 17, 2017

Jedi Training - Disney Studios

On our trip to Disney Studios this year, we took our daughter to be part of the Jedi Training.

What is Jedi Training

From Disney:

Jedi Knights have assembled Force-sensitive children from throughout the galaxy to test their abilities. Under the tutelage of the Jedi, the recruits learn how to use the Force - and their wit - to wield lightsabers. Now that the Empire has driven the Jedi to the distant corners of the galaxy, the training must proceed in secret at ancient Jedi temples.

Jedi Training

Things that we Learned

General information
  • Anyone can participate in Jedi Training, it is a first come first serve basis.
  • Your best opportunity to get a good time is to arrive at the park at least 45 mins before the park opens.
  • The Jedi training may get canceled due to inclement weather.
  • While waiting in line, your best to the wait on the left turnstiles
  • You need to go to the area near the Indiana Jones for registration.
  • While waiting in line, confirm the registration location.
  • The Jedi needs to be present when signing up a registration time. Keep that in mind when rushing to register after the park opens.
  • I found it easier to carry my daughter than to have her walk fast.
  • Make sure to have a couple of times in mind. I suggest doing it early in the day that way you don't have to work around the time in the park.
Jedi Prep
  • Before meeting Darth Vader, the training cadets have to line up at the place of registration.
  • They will get their outfits and sit and wait for everyone to show up.
  • Plan to arrive a few minutes before the suggested time.
  • They then will march over to Star Tours area for some training and then the big battle
  • Hot Tip: You are best to split the party and have some people waiting at the Star Tours area stage. While it’s cute to watch the kids march over, you're better off having a better position at the battle. (This is a lesson learned as other people did this and we missed out on great shots.)
Jedi Training
  • There are two stage platforms where the trainees will be practicing. There’s no way to know which one they will be on.
  • You best bet is to stand in the middle of the two platforms.
  • The children will spend some time with some basic life saber maneuvers.
The Battle
  • There will be several people coming out before Darth Vader. When it’s his turn to come out, they make sure everyone knows.
  • The battle with Darth Vader will be quick. Each child will be able to fight him.
  • There are about 3-4 moves that they will perform against Darth Vader
  • A Disney Photographer will be there to take pictures.
  • After the battle the children will get reunited with their parents.
  • The children do not get to keep the lifesaver that they used in the battle.

There are some merchants that sell Life Sabers around the Star Tours ride. Some of these look exactly like the ones that were used in the Jedi training.

While the children might be excited to get one. Just think of how you plan on getting that home. Earlier this year I blogged about the successful experience we had with getting it home.

July 16, 2017

Screen Capture Help

I am using both Monosnap and Skitch for my screen capture. I decided to create a quick handy cheat sheet infographic to remember which key combination performs what actions.

Why two Screen Capture Apps?

Skitch integration with Evernote is great, but I don't want to capture every screenshot into Evernote, and that's when Monosnap comes in handy. Monosnap does have a few more tools for those shots that I need to touch up.

The key combination that I have in Monosnap is something I created. Use whatever works for you.

I kept this cheat sheet guide as simple as possible. I wanted something where only the critical functionality is shown.

Monosnap Shortcut

Skitch Shortcuts

July 15, 2017

Finder Search Techique

If you're a long term Macintosh User - i.e. before MacOS X. You may have some files on your computer that you can't use anymore as they only will work in Classic OS mode. Apple create a 'Rosetta Background Utility' that allowed Intel-based computers to read PowerPC applications.

Rosetta was discontinued in Mac OS X Lion, which was introduced in 2011 (5 years ago!) These PowerPC applications won't work on any computer less than 5 years old.

Finding the Classic Applications.

Using the Finder, change the Kind type to Other and type in: Application (Classic)

Searching Mac
Example of some files on my computer.

These are all the applications that you can't use on your computer. You might be better off moving them to a CD and then removing them from your computer since they are just unusable files taking up space.

July 14, 2017

Keynote Slides for iMovie

iMovie comes with 48 different templates to display title in your video.

Did you know that you can create your own template design? Using software that you already have on your computer.

You can use Apple's Keynote to generate some professional looking text graphics.

It's very easy to do and can make your YouTube videos stand out. I suggest practice doing this a couple of times and before you know it, you'll be adding more text overlay to your videos.

Superi Movie Header

Steps to create a Lower Third text box

Setting up the Document

  • Open up Keynote
  • Create a new Document
  • Select 'Wide' Black Theme
  • Change the Background to Blue

The background has to be blue because it acts as a Blue Screen in iMovie and will be transparent.

Creating the Text Field

Step2 Keynote Text2

  • Type in Command-A, to select all the objects. Then hit the delete key to remove it.
  • Click the Text box in the Header to add some text
  • Add some text, such as "My Cool Video"
  • With the text field still selected, Change the Position of the Text by selecting the Format - Arrange - Position. I suggest 900 pt.
  • Click on Animate, and then Click on Add an Effect Button.
  • Choose whatever effect that you want, I suggest starting with Dissolve, and keep the basic settings

Now to Export the Slide to Video

  • Select File->Export to->Quicktime
  • I recommend to change the Format to 1080p and Click Next
  • Save the Name as anything you want, recommend saving to the Desktop for now.

In iMovie

  • With your iMove Project in Edit Mode, Drag and Drop the Keynote Movie to a location in your timeline.
  • In the Preview Header, change the Video Overlay style to Green/Blue Screen.
  • If the Text appears to slow or fast you can always change the speed.

Touchupi Movie

That's the basics to get this done. You can experiment with various Text/Font sizes, in addition, you can always add background shapes.

Download Sample

You can download the Sample Lower Thirds Keynote File as a starting point. The background box flys out from the left and a second later the text appears.

July 13, 2017

Bova's Bakery

Most people that visit the North End usually end up eating dessert at Mike's Pastry or Modern Pastry. Both places are extremely popular and quite often you'll find long lines that overflow onto Hanover Street.

Next time you're in the North End and want a dessert to treat to try - Bova's Bakery. It's usually a lot less crowded and pretty much has the same food selection.

Bova's Bakery is a Family-owned bake shop, opened in 1932, offering up delicious loaves of bread, cookies & sandwiches 24 hours a day.

Description from their website:

Visit us and celebrate a family history made around the oven. North Enders will tell you, there's nothing quite so comforting as walking home in the early morning with a warm loaf of bread carefully cradled in the crook of your arm. Once home, you sit down at the kitchen table, sneak the butter from the fridge, and open a jar of jam. With mounting anticipation, you prepare for a delicious breakfast.

Photos

BovasBakeryOutsidesm.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Bovas Inside
Not always crowded like some of the popular bakeries on Hanover Street.

Misc Bova's Bakery Info

Anthony Martignetti, of the Prince Spaghetti Boy commercial from the 1970s, worked at Bova's Bakery at night

You can see Bova"s Bakery in the Fever Pitch Movie. The main character lived right upstairs.

Food Selection

I have found that they have a better selection of desserts than Mikes Pastry. I have enjoyed their homemade Italian cookies and fig bars.

I don't have a go-to item, I just browse around and see what looks good.

Bova`s Bakery has sandwiches and pizza too, which I keep thinking of having but the desert treats are a meal in themselves.

The Whoopie Pie is really good, kids will enjoy the character versions such as Cookie Monster.

Hours

Always Open - Open 24 hours!

According to Google, the most popular time is between 6 and 9, but the bakery does appear to get considerable amount of late night traffic.

Popular Times

Location

Bova's Bakery, located at the intersection of Prince Street and Salem Street. The Street address for Google/GPS is 134 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113

It's a quick 10-minute drive from Logan Airport via Taxi. Which is good to know if you have some layover time and want to grab some great Italian food.

July 12, 2017

Darren Daily

You may have heard that to be successful in the personal development space you to get a good coach. That's because a good coach will get you to push you beyond your limits and hold you accountable for your actions.

If you can’t afford a coach, having a daily pep talk would certainly be the next best things. Getting new ideas from a successful business person will help you stay focus on your goals. In addition, the pep talk can help you overcome the daily negative messages that you may hear. They will convince you to continue to take positive actions towards your goals.

Darren Hardy’s Darren Daily is a good alternative to a personal coach. Every weekday you’ll get a short video to help inspire you move forward.

Darren Daily is about a success habit, a morning ritual to help you jumpstart your day. Its purpose is to give you one idea, insight or resource (in under 5 mins) you can use that day to level up your success.

Who is Darren Hardy?

From Wikipedia:

Darren Hardy is an American author, keynote speaker, advisor, and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine. Hardy is a New York Times best-selling author, who wrote The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster and The Compound Effect.

Darren Daily

Fundamentals of the Daily Emails

Here is how DarrenDaily works, according to the welcome email:

Each weekday I am going to deliver to you a specially created video, audio, success tip, tool or insight I have specially designed for you and this program.

The content is something you can read, watch or listen to in under 3 minutes and will be actionable in under 2.

In only 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, 260 times a year I can help you level up your success and transform your life.

Also know this: You are not on this journey alone.

There are people from all over the world going through this process with you.

You are now a part of a global community of like-minded people dedicated to a common purpose: living a life of excellence.

Certainly Worth Watching

I highly recommend starting your day listening to Darren Daily. His messages are inspiring and can help you get the day off to a great start. When I watch the clip, I minimize the browser window and then just listen to his message.

The nice thing about the daily video messages is that you feel like Darren is talking directly to you. Each message arrived in your inbox after midnight pacific standard time.

Important Note

Darren Daily is delivered to you 100% no charge, but only for those who are benefiting from it. If you don’t open your Darren Daily email for 30 days your membership will be automatically deleted.

His daily video messages are only available for 72 hours. After that, the message is gone.

July 11, 2017

Framingham's Deluxe Depot Diner

The Deluxe Depot Diner in Framingham opened up in 2016 and has gotten great reviews from local residences. We have driven by the restaurant several times to see many cars parked in the front.

I recently checked the "Find my Gluten Free" app and was surprised that to find it ranked pretty high, so we decided to check it out.

Delux Diner

Gluten Free Options

The menu is a bit confusing as there isn't a whole lot of items that were marked as gluten free. We talked to our server and he told us that he would let use know if a dish could be made gluten free.

For example, the Deluxe Depot Diner has Gluten Free bread for sandwiches and hamburgers but there wasn't any indicator on the specific sandwiches were gluten free.

We settled on the Gluten Free pancakes, as my daughter was excited to try them.

We wanted to order a side of bacon, but the server told us that they weren't gluten free as they were cooked with other foods that contained gluten. While we were a bit disappointed that she couldn't have bacon, we were impressed that someone was aware of cross contamination.

We ended up settling for just chocolate chip pancakes, and if she was still hungry we could order another pancake. We were told that the pancake was pretty big, so we decided to try one.

Gluten Free Pancakes

The pancake was very good. My daughter only ate half of it and wanted to take the rest home. This is typical of how she eats, she never finishes a full meal when we eat out.

When I asked her if she liked it, she gave me a typical 2 thumbs up.

Great Pancakes

We'll certainly come back again. In fact, we liked the place so much that we visited the place twice within a week time. The restaurant was nice and quiet, and even though it's next to the train tracks, the trains weren't making all that much noise as they went by.

Personally I liked the Classic Reuben Sandwich, which could be made gluten free with the gluten free bread.

Finding the Deluxe Depot Diner

You can find the Deluxe Depot Diner at the corner of Waverly Street and Concord Street in downtown Framingham. There is a small parking lot on either side of the Deluxe Depot Diner, in addition, you can park on Waverly Street.

July 10, 2017

Epcot Inventor's Circle

Walking around Epcot many sidewalks you may miss some inspired designs. For example, near "The Land" is an Invention circle celebrating some of the most important inventions.

Inventor's Circle

The Inventor's Circle was placed in 1998 and highlights the great achievements, breakthroughs, and exploration that the human race has accomplished. The circle is broken up into five categories:

  • Prehistoric Era
  • Middle Ages
  • Renaissance Period
  • Industrial Revolution
  • 20th Century

World Wide Web

Newest Invention

The last "greatest" human race accomplishment is the World Wide Web - more specifically Tim Berners-Lee contribution. Time Berners-Lee came up with the idea of the hypertext protocol which allowed computers to talk to each other.

Powerful Quote by Tim Berners-Lee:

The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.

Shoulder of Giants

Read more about the sidewalk design in the Main Street Gazette. Ryan P. Wilson does a great job in describing the Inventor's circle. The story was posted in July 2009 and the information is very relevant today.

Where is it?

The Inventor's Circle is on the ground as you walk from the Epcot Character Spot to The Land showcase. Look on the ground and you'll see a large star surrounded by the five categories. The location isn't mentioned on the park map. If your unable to find it, ask a cast member.

Feedback/Comments

Are there any inventions/discoveries that should be included?

July 9, 2017

Geographic Center of the Nation

In 1996, I drove across the country from Concord, Massachusetts to San Jose, California. I accepted a new job and needed to relocate. So I packed the car and headed west.

Before heading on my journey, I did some research about unique places to visit. Driving across the country isn't something that people do all the time, and I figured that I should educate places on my journey.

In my research, I discovered that I was going to be within a few miles of the Geographic Center of the United States of America. I thought it would be neat to discover that place and added it to my list of places to go and see.

Logging My Journey

Center Nationi Mac

It turns out that where I thought the Geographic Center of the Nation was located was abandoned. It wasn't anywhere near the experience

In October 1996, I put together a website of my journey. The page was never completed, and I took down the link many years ago. I recently found the pages on some CDs and thought it would be neat to put the site up again.

I fixed up some of the HTML and combine the pages into a single page. I think I had multiple pages back in 1996 because of bandwidth issues of loading a lot of graphics. FYI: The pages were done using Adobe PageMill 2.0 on my Quadra 66AV.


Silly Graphics I created to navigate users through my journey.

Where is the Geographic Center of the United States?

The location that I found might not have been the real Geographic Center of the United States that I thought it was. Turns out that there is an American flag someplace along Old Highway 85.

From a description by wharfrat3 on Road Trippers.com:

We didn't go here, instead, we went to the real center of the country. Go north out of Belle Fourche about 15 miles on US 85. Turn left onto Old Hwy 85 and go about 7.5-8 miles.

On the right, in a file, you'll see an American flag. And 2 USGS markers, one from 1959, the other from 1962, marking the spot. If you're traveling on US 85, it's a nice detour.

July 8, 2017

Monopod as a Tripod

One of the nice things about the Arespark Self-portrait Monopod is that it has a tripod mount on the bottom of it. I just happen to have a small tabletop tripod that I thought might be interesting to try out.

I wondered if it would work - would the mini table top stand be strong enough to hold the Arespark Self-portrait Monopod... and it does! Although not 100% stable, but good enough to keep an iPhone Plus camera steady.

Monopod Grass Photo

This is a very handy combination. If you need a tripod to keep a shot steady when you're going to be sitting for a long period of time. For example. I found this handy when filming a gymnastics routine.

The Arespark is at a perfect height when sitting down. I can use the Tripod combination to have a nice steady shot for a long period of time without having my hands tired.

Igadgitz

I purchased the "iGadgitz PT310 Mini Lightweight Table Top Stand Tripod and Grip Stabilizer for Digital Camera" for a recent Disney trip. It works great as a table mount tripod and as a camera stabilizer. Currently cost $15.99 on Amazon.com

This worked really well to take videos walking down Main Street USA. Also useful when you want to take night photos and need a stable shot. Travels well as it only weights 180 grams. Works really well with any camera type including DSLRs.

Arespark Self-portrait Monopod

This is an awesome Selfie Stick as it can extend to 50 inches. Perfect for any shot that you need an extended reach. This currently costs $17.99 on Amazon and certainly worth having in your collection.

I like using this when I need to get shots well above my head.

July 7, 2017

Using Microsoft Shapes and Smart Art in Affinity Designer

Microsoft has some pretty cool looking Shapes and Smart Art. These are available in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Powerpoint. Check out some of the designs that are available:

Microsoft Shapes Smart Art

There are 190 SmartArt practical designs and 181 Shapes to choose from!

These are great when you want to visually display data relationships or list items in a nice graphical form. Microsoft does provide some nice editing capabilities, but applications like Affinity Designer have more power tools.

You can start the basic design in Microsoft Word or Powerpoint and then use Affinity Designer to touch it up. Why limit yourself to the capabilities of what's possible in one application?

Example Touch Up

Poor Planning Example2
Top image is the touch up version that was created in Microsoft.

Getting to other Apps

If you are using Affinity Designer or other Apps, it's a bit tricky to get these designs into a document via copy and paste. For some reason when you copy and paste a Microsoft Shape or Smart Art, it copies as a text object.

The best way to get the shapes is to 'Save As' a PDF Document

  • With the Microsoft Document open, go to File -> Save As
  • Select PDF as the File Format
  • Save it any place you want, Desktop is good choice.
  • In Affinity Designer Open the PDF document.
  • You will see that the shapes will be in Curve format, which will allow additional editing and staying in Affinity Designer.

Alternative Way: Use the Preview.app

  • With the Microsoft Document open, select the Shape or Smart Art that you created.
  • Copy the Object (Command - C)
  • Open up the Preview App
  • Create a new document, Use the shortcut (Command - N)
  • Copy the Contents of the window. (Command - C)
  • In your Affinity Designer document paste the content.

The downside of the alternative way is that it pastes as a single image. You can't edit the object as easily. This is a good solution when you don't need to edit the Shape or Smart Art and just want to put it in some Affinity Designer file.

Getting Microsoft Office for Mac

Office 2016 is available online, or at the Apple Retail Store. The home version cost $99 a year for 5 users and includes 1 TB of OneDrive cloud space. If you only plan on using Office on one machine it cost $69 a year.

July 6, 2017

Boston Museum of Science Notables

The Boston Museum of Science has a lot of fun and interesting exhibits. Many of them are interactive which makes it fun to learn.

With all various exhibits to see, there are a few which you may miss. Here are a couple that I think are pretty interesting :

Dinosaur Coprolite

Boston Coprolite

Have you ever touched Dinosaur Poop? Well you can at the Boston Museum of Science.

My six-year-old daughter always gets a kick out of the Dinosaur poop. We joke about it as we drive to the museum:

Poop Conversation

The "poop" is several million years old and is just a fossil remain. So touching it is just like touching any rock.

There is a sign next to fossilized remain to let you know what it is:

The photograph below is a magnified slice from the coprolite, fossilized dinosaur "poop". From the evidence, we can figure out the coprolite is from a plant-eating dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period. You can observe the cell structure from some of the indigested plant material.

Every time we go she feels that she has to take a picture of me touching the poop.

You can find the Dinosaur poop along the back wall in the Dinosaur Area on the first floor,

Giant Sequoia Tree

Giant Sequoia

There is a large tree cross-section in the main exhibit area. This was once part of a 2000+-year-old tree.

There is a sign in front of the cross-section of the tree:

The cross-section is from a Giant Sequoia that was cut down in 1950 in Sequoia National Park, CA after being badly damaged. It was 240 feet tall and 2044 years old. The gap on the upper right was caused by a fire hundreds of years ago. Sequoias are well-adapted to withstand fire: they are covered by a thick, fibrous bark that has very little flammable resin. The tree survived and kept growing as the two sides curved around to protect the exposed wood.

Imagine all the winter storms and droughts that the tree had to live through over the past couple of centuries.

There are 9 points on the Giant Sequoia Tree that the museum highlights. You can press a button to see the year on the tree ring:

  • 95 BCE - Tree started to grow
  • 1 CE - The start of the Gregorian Calendar
  • 476 - End of the Roman Empire
  • 1000 - Leif Ericsson arrived in North America
  • 1495 - Leonardo da Vinci painted the Last Supper
  • 1610 - Galileo discovered moons around Jupiter
  • 1775 - Industrial Revolution begins in Britain
  • 1833 - Giant Sequoia discovered by Europeans
  • 1940 - Research into the technology to develop the Nuclear bomb.

The Giant Sequoia is one of Michael Bloomberg favorite exhibits at the museum. Last year he donated $50 million to the Boston Science Museum.

Locating the Giant Sequoia

It's not hard to miss the Giant Sequoia tree, its located in the main hall between the bathrooms and the back staircase.

Did you know: If you're interested in starting your own giant sequoia tree, you can purchase a starter kit in the museum gift shop. Just ask someone in the store if you need help finding it.

July 5, 2017

Extra Large Mousepad

Do you still use a mouse and a standard size mouse pad?

Stop struggling to try to keep the mouse on the pad. If you're constantly having to reposition the mouse to perform a task, then a bigger mousepad can make all the difference. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, this could be an annoying action.

Have you thought about a larger mouse pad? How about an extra large one?

Been thinking about it for a while

For years, I have been using a standard 9.25" by 7.68" mouse pad from Vistaprint. It looks very cool but just doesn't seem to be the right size.

I saw some promotions on Facebook about a gigantic size mouse pad and thought it would be interesting to check out. After a few weeks of sitting in my shopping cart, I gave in and ordered it.

The mousepad is great. It's a bit bigger than I thought: 35.4" by 15.7":

I like it since it gives my desk a new look. It also helps define a new boundary and keeps me from cluttering my desk.

Productive Tool?

How can having an extra large mousepad make you more productive?

Using an extra large mouse pad helps you keep going and not lose your train of thought because you have to look away from the screen to see where to reposition your mouse.

Why not try it?

Mouse Pad Amazon

If your looking for a creative gift for a tech guy, that's unique and probably something they don't have, consider getting a large mouse pad.

I haven't found a good place that sells customize versions, there are some color designs to pick from. After you get it you may want to spray the mat with Febreze since it has a strong chemical smell to it.

Check out your options on Amazon, or Google Shopping.

Both links are unaffiliated. Just go out and find a bigger mouse pad. Having a 9x7 mouse pad is so 1980s..