December 13, 2018

Boston Gas Lamps

As you walk around the streets of Back Bay, you can't help but notice the lamps that line up the streets. These lamps have decorated the streets of Back Bay and Beacon Hill for many years.

Boston Gas Lamps

Ten Fun Facts about Boston Gas Lamps

In the early part of the 19th Century, many of the streets in Boston were lit with colonial Oil Lamps

By the 1890s, the City of Boston had converted many of the oil lamps to gas lamps

In 1909, Boston began the process of installing tungsten electric lamps. By 1913, all the lamps along the major streets in Boston were converted to electric lamps. Gas lamps were still used in residential districts.

In the 1940s and 50s, the City of Boston took over the lamp maintenance and converted all the remaining lamps to electric to maintain a city-wide standards.

In the 1960s, the City started the process of reverting the lamps back to gas in various Boston historic neighborhoods.

In 1965, It cost $100 per lamp to convert the electric lamps back to gas. ($100 in 1965 would cost $800 in 2018.)

Today are approximately 67,000 lamps in the city of Boston and 2,800 of them are gas lamps.

Each gas lamp cost the city $2 a day or $180 a year in gas usage when it's on all day.

In 2011, 600 gas lamps were modified so they would go on at dusk. Prior to 2011, the gas lamps were always on. Some locations were manually controlled by residences or the gas company.

Having an auto-on/off igniter switch has saved the city $140,000 a year - or $980,000 since 2011. The city got a grant from the state's Department of Energy Resources to fund the switch over. The igniter switch cost $750 per lamp.

December 12, 2018

Qi Charger

One of the nice things about the iPhone 8/X generation of phones is the wireless charging. You simply put the phone down on a Qi pad and it will start charging. It’s a very convenient way to charge your phone.

Qi Chargers

Seneo Wireless Charger

I have a Seneo Wireless Charger at my desk. It’s not only a great way to charge the phone, but it puts the phone in a position when I can watch videos while working - for example, Udemy training videos. The other thing that it’s good for is that I can just look at the phone and it unlocks. If I had it placed on the desk, I would have to pick up the phone in order for the facial recognition to work.

The nice thing is the Seneo Wireless Charger stand is cheaper than a standard Apple Cable - around $20. There are plenty of times that it’s offered at a discount.

Is Wireless Charging Better?

When Apple announced the iPhone XS Max, they said it would offer faster wireless charging. There's nothing in the technical specs on what makes the iPhone XS Max wireless charging faster.

Qi Charging Standards

There are three standards to Qi Charging:

  • Qi Low-power - Delivers power up to 5-Watts (Standard for Smart Phone Devices)
  • Qi Medium-power - Delivers power up to 120 Watts (Ideal for Laptops and Monitors)
  • Qi High-power - Deliver power up to 1 kW (Focus on Hair Dryer, Razors, Coffee Makers, Desktop Computers, and many more)

There's no supporting information that iPhone XS Max now supports the Qi Medium-power. So it's unclear how Apple is able to get a faster boost from the standard Qi format.

Best Charging Option for Vacation

If your doing any traveling with your iPhone XS Max, your best charger would be the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Charger, Portable Charger Bundle for iPhone XS/XS Max/XR/X/8, Nexus 5X 6P, LG G5 & USB Type-C Laptops. This device will help you charge your iPhone XS Max faster than a standard 5w charger.

Yes using the plug-in charger is the fastest option when you need to quickly charge the phone. But not any plug will do, make sure to get one that has 30W or 87W to charge your phone as quickly as possible.

The Anker one is nice because the portable charger is fast - perfect for when you need to charge up your device between shots or waiting in line in Disney World. It comes with the fast USB wall charger so you can charge your iPhone XS Max at night.

Unfortunately, the high speed has a high price tag - $129. It's a good option for those that do a lot of traveling and need to have their phone always available.

Qi Charging is Great for the Office

Qi Charging is great to have at the office so the phone is in standup position and charging. You don't have to worry about connecting cables, and when you need to step away, simply take the phone with you.

December 11, 2018

Gingerbread House

This Christmas season celiacs don’t have to feel left out when invited to a Gingerbread House party. You can buy a Gluten Free Gingerbread House making kit.

Something Sweet

About Something Sweet Without Wheat

Something Sweet Without Wheat makes a Gluten Free Gingerbread kit that can be ordered online.

They had a booth at the Children's Hospital holiday party a couple of weekends ago. They had all sorts of goodies on display, but the Gingerbread kit was the big hit.

Visit today to order yours!

December 10, 2018

Evernote Ten Year Anniversary

Today marks the Ten Anniversary of using EverNote! There is only on other internet services that I have that is older - Flickr.

Evernote is a popular note taking application that makes it easy to store any type of data. You can jot down information, capture web content and save images.

My Evernote Fun Facts

  • 28,403 Notes
  • 2,187 Notes in the Trash
  • Oldest note that I have is from December 17th, 2008 and its my copy of my Unix Tips file from a plain text file.
  • Only 1 note was shared with another person in the past ten years
  • Currently I have 93 "Notebooks" in Evernote and 5 stacks
  • Largest Notebook is "History," 5,256, where I was storing screenshots of popular websites. I have turned off that process.
  • I have never gotten close to reaching my Monthly Usage.

EverNote Book

Looked for Alternatives

Over the past year, I have been seriously exploring other note-taking applications, and haven't found a good alternative. My "Plus" subscription runs out in June, and I don't know if I'll stay with it. It may not be an option as Evernote may discontinue that subscription level.

Five Reason To Keep Evernote

  1. Great Web Clipper - Really easy to get internet content in for reference later. There are extensions for different browser types.
  2. IFTTT - If This Then That integration allows me to insert notes based on different situations. For example, I can track when people post Haunted Mansion items on eBay.
  3. Search - It's great to have PDF and OCR search built into Evernote. Search has been a great resource over the years.
  4. Multiple Platform Use - I am able to have the same Evernote experience on my Samsung Tablet, iPhone, and MacBook. Makes it easy to use and put in data where ever I am.
  5. Multiple Entry Points - I can create a note via Web Clipper, Email, IFTTT Action, Mac Menu Bar - just to name a few.

What I wish Could be better

  • More Customizations - I would like to change the notebook icons and add covers.
  • Better Tables - Other notebook providers are building in equations and functions into tables.
  • Better Exports - It would be so much better to have an option copy text in HTML format instead of RichText.
  • Faster Interface - Make it easy to type in information such as converting text to bullet list or sub-headers.

Still an Important Part of my Workflow

Evernote is a great application and still an important part of my business and person computer use. I would have never thought, ten years ago that I would still be using the application on a daily bases.

December 9, 2018

Checking the Pool Temp after Closing

The best way to check the pool temperature in the winter is to use a laser temperature checker.

Most standard pool thermostat can't handle temperature readings below 50-degrees. I have found that you'll likely get false readings.

Pool Temp Laser Check

The most accurate reading is using a laser thermometer.

Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer is one such product that will give you a more accurate pool temperature reading. Yes, you can get accurate water temperature with a laser thermometer! This works well because you just need a little space to put the last dot in the pool.

Why Check the Temperature after Closing?

There's no real reason to check the temperature after closing. It's more for entertainment purposes. It's also interesting to find out what the pool temp is on the coldest day of the year.

December 8, 2018

PlayList Generator

Finding the perfect for an occasion is tough when music isn't your specialty. Finding the right songs for the reunion or birthday can be time-consuming.

PlayList.Net makes it easier to generate a great playlist for any occasion or mood. You simply type in your favorite artist or situation and you'll have a lot of playlists to select from.

Description from the website: is a place where playlists can be discovered and submitted by anyone with a Spotify account. It’s the most popular playlist sharing site and has a very active community of curators and users who are keen to share and discover interesting playlists (that you won’t find in Spotify Browse) of all genres with a focus on new music.

The site has over 170,000 playlists uploaded onto it since creation, over 400,000 registered users and up to 1.5m monthly visitors.

Playlists Generator

Sample Playlists to Explore

50th Birthday Party - All the music played by the guest DJs at Nicky & Gary's joint 50th birthday party on October 2017.

The Country Dance Kings " Greatest Country Line Dance Songs Ever! - Lots of good line dance songe created on May, 2012.

Happy Songs For Sad Days - A Lot Of Happy Songs For Your Sad Days created on April, 2012.

1980s Time Machine Radio - Over 1,000 of the best songs from the 1980s! Whoa, this is heavy.

December 7, 2018

SoundConverter for Alexa

If you need to convert any audio file SoundConverter is the quick go-to app. All it does is convert sound from one format to another format. There's no editing capabilities and may crash if you try to convert a very large file.

Alexa Audio

I was working on transcribing a bunch of Real Audio files so that I could play them on the Alexa. I simply set the desired output format and dragged and dropped the files on the SoundConverter Window and within a minute all the audios were successfully covered to the recommended format.

Amazon's own documentation recommends only has two methods to convert sound files: ffmpeg and Audacity. While you can write up a quick bash script to convert a bunch of files using ffmpeg, it's so much quicker to use SoundConverter.

Alexa SSML Settings

Sound Converter Alexa
This is the recommended setting to play audio on the Alexa devices when playing it through a skill.

Getting SoundConverter

SoundConverter is available on the Apple Store for free. There are other applications that can convert sounds, but this is the quick app to convert a bunch of audio files in a batch mode.

The application is a bit old, and hasn't been updated in a few years - six years to be exact! It still works, it may crash every once in a while, but just restart the App and it just keeps on working.

After converting the sounds, I used Fission to check the audio and Normalize some of the clips.

December 6, 2018

Tip O’Neill Christmas Tree

On the Massachusetts State House lawn is an evergreen tree that was donated to the state as the official state Holiday Tree.

Who Was Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr.

Tip O'Neill is known as the longest serving speaker in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is best known for negotiating deals with President Ronald Reagan.

Tree in front of the State House

O Neil Christmas Tree

Five Things I Learned About the Tree

The tree is a 22-foot tall white fir

When the Tip O'Neill tree was announced there was some backlash about it being a Holiday Tree or a Christmas Tree.

Then Gov. Deval Patrick told the public that he calls it a Christmas Tree - despite the lighting ceremony calling a Holiday Tree lighting. The official invitations to the ceremony came from the governor's office.

At the time, politicians were using "Holiday Tree" as a separation of Church and State. Many legal experts, such as Harvey Silverglate said that it didn't make sense. He said that politicians still used the term "Chanukah Menorah Lighting."

The original tree planted in 2012 didn't make it. It was infected with a fungus called Cytospora fungus and had to be taken down. It was replaced on October 24, 2017. Oddly enough the O'Neill tree replaced another tree that also had to be taken down.

Sign next to the Tree

The sign next to the tree makes no reference to it being a Christmas Tree:

The Commonwealth dedicates the Holiday Tree to:

Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr.

Massachusetts House of Representatives 1937 - 1953 Speaker 1949 - 1953 United States House of Representatives 1953 - 1987 Speaker 1977 - 1987

Given by his family to commemorate the centennial year of his birth December 9, 2012

December 5, 2018

Weathershot Pro Premium subscription

If your looking for an application that overlays weather information WeatherShot is the application to do that. You can instantly show how hot or cold it is with the actual temperature.

Weather Shot Pro

If you really like the application you can upgrade to the Weathershot Pro Premium subscription version for only $19 more a year (There is a first-year plan for $9). This allows you to removed the application name when you apply the weather overlay. In addition, you get to access more skins.

There are some customers that are not happy to know that after purchasing $9 for the application, that they have to spend an additional $9 to remove the logo.

Seven Things I Learned about the Pro version

Once you upgrade you get full access to all 90 different skins.

I have found that there are 2-3 skins that I would use. Most of the time, I just want to show the location, temp and the feels like temp - on those really cold days. There's not a lot of skins that show the "feels like" temperature. I am surprised that only one of their winter skins has the "feels like" value.

In the Doodle-Art there is some animation - such as bike riders and runners. These graphics stay animated when you save the files as GIF format. I did find that the saved animated version looks a bit jumpy than the preview version within the app. Perhaps it's because the GIF isn't using the same frame rate as the preview.

You can adjust the size of the temperature number by using your fingers to expand or contract depending on what looks good for you.

The application works both in Portrait and Landscape modes. So if you take pictures in landscape mode - which most pictures should be - make sure to use the application in Landscape mode to get the best view.

WeatherShot was at one time called InstaWeather - it got changed on June 18, 2018. The app was targeted for people posting Instagram Photos, (Check out some past Twitter posting using the #InstaWeather). Also checkout my first review of the InstaWeather App.

Weathershot Pro Premium subscription users are supposed to get new content every month - but I haven't seen much in what's new. That is, there are no announcements on any new skins or functionality. Since October, the "What's New" talks about "we're preparing a special design pack, so please stay tuned!" (This sounds like another premium add-on.) The last time Premium subscribers got an update was in September.

There is nothing special about using this application on the iPhone XS Max.

Should You Go Premium subscription?

If you plan to focus your blog/Instagram/Facebook posting using weather data, then getting the Premium subscription might be a good option. At least the WeatherShot text doesn't distract users from your image.

As for the other skins, they are nice to have. I don't really think they are something that I would use on a regular bases.

December 4, 2018

Extra Large Rice Cereal Treat

Kellogg's Rice Krispies isn't safe for Celiacs because they contain malt flavoring. Malt flavoring comes from a barley grain. Barley is not gluten-free and therefore Kellogg's Rice Krispies are not gluten-free.

Which means you can't really make Rice Crispy treats using Kellogg's brand of Rice Krispies. (There are plenty of alternative brands that make Rick Krispies that are safe for Celiacs.)

This is important to know because you can't buy pre-made Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats.

Wegman Rice Cereal Treats

Wegman's Rice Cereal Treat

Did you know at Wegmans you can get a large Marshmallow Rice Cereal Treat? This is perfect to cut up and pack in lunches or to serve as treats for kids at parties.

They are devious and nobody would know that they are gluten free - they taste just like regular Rice Treats.

Where to Find them in The Store

You can find them near the in-store bakery section of Wegmans. They are located near various other allergy-friendly cookies and treats. (In Natick, they were on the second to bottom shelf - which makes it easy to miss!)

December 3, 2018

Random Poll

Recently I created several Alexa Skills that integrates with this website. Over the next few Mondays, I’ll be officially announcing them.

It doesn’t get any more original content than this!

Random Poll Generator Skill

This week skill is based on a classic that I created back in 1996 - Bogus President Poll. My original version contained ...

Check out the old version!

Updated for Alexa

When you run this skill, instead of a long story, you hear a brief sentence of a random presidential poll headline.

Random President Poll

Since the 2020 election is still a long way out, I’ll be updating the candidate names that are likely to run.

Check out the official Alexa page for more details and enable this skill.

December 2, 2018

Having the talk about driving retirement

Talking about driving retirement can be difficult. As you know, driving requires a specific physical and mental skill set that allows you the ability to react in unexpected scenarios. Since this is the case, driving can become a dangerous task for someone who has noticed a decline in their physical and cognitive skills. This tends to happen as we age and experience certain limitations. Which is why this infographic strives to offer assistance in having the conversation of driving retirement.

Notice the signs

One of the first things to keep in mind is the flexibility and independence that driving offers. To simply give up driving would feel like a luxury is being lost. As expected, this conversation would not be an easy one.

To be clear, a conversation about driving retirement should take place when family members or friends show signs of driving difficulties. Here are a few signs to make note of :

  • Slow and unsure responses to unexpected situations
  • Becomes forgetful and easily distracted
  • Suffers from a medical condition
  • Takes medication that can make driving unsafe
  • Loss of confidence in driving
  • Nervousness
  • Decline in driving ability

Having "the talk"

As children of an aging parent with these signs you take on a role unlike before. Just as they had a discussion about driving when you were a teen, you need to be just as prepared to have a discussion about their safe driving habits. If you notice these signs, be sure to act with these helpful tips:

  • Making talking about it a priority
  • Let the conversation be a reoccurring one instead of a closed one-time conversation
  • Approach the subject matter in a one-on-one setting so that everyone is comfortable
  • Allow the conversation to be a two-way conversation
  • Elaborate on the importance of their safety and independence
  • Be sure to cite specific reasons for your concerns
  • Offer alternatives

The last point of this conversation could be one of the best options to include in your conversation. It offers them alternative methods of transportation. Providing options can make the conversation feel more positive and allow transportation to continue through alternative transportation programs such as Senior Ride, Senior Center Shuttle, ADA Ride, Employment Transportation, and Medical Trip program.

This infographic offers helpful insight into having this conversation, but it also provides helpful facts to include. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety offers helpful topics to include in your discussion. For instance, more than 200,000 drivers ages 65 and older were injured and more than 3,500 were killed in traffic accidents in 2016.

In 2017 there were more than 23,000 drivers 65 years and older that were in Arizona. This caused 187 deaths and more than 7,500 injuries. The AAA Foundation also points out that experts suggest that seniors "plan for driving retirement at the same time they begin planning retirement from their work."

Implementing helpful facts and alternative options in your conversation will be a great way to lead the conversation, but one of the major factors mentioned in the infographic is to allow your elderly loved to let their voice be heard.

December 1, 2018


WolframAlpha is the place to go when you need to calculate anything. It's a great knowledge base to explore all sorts of useful information. It's great as your taping into the power of computation intelligence.

The Pro version of WolframAlpha is $5.49 a month with step-by-step solutions, increased computation time and calculator Web Apps. The Pro version also has Image Input features - which is pretty cool if you work with images. This is where you can get a detailed analyst of any image. If you upload an image with text it will extract the text from the image.

If you do any data analyst, WolframAlpha is a great tool! Also useful for students in school, where they can learn a lot more about data.

Description from their site:

Compute expert-level answers using Wolfram's breakthrough algorithms, knowledgebase and AI technology


Sample Query

Disney Distance_1

Not Always able to Get Data I Want

Interestingly it wasn't able to tell me what city was 2,174 miles from Boston. I found that it's Tegucigalpa, Honduras via and Salt Lake City, Utah via

Check out WolframAlpha

I would highly encourage you to check out the "Surprise Me" feature on WolframAlpha

November 30, 2018

Photolemur 3

Photolemur is a great application that will make digital pictures look much better. You don't have to configure anything - there's no figuring the color temperature, tone or saturation / vibrance. Simply drag and drop any image and be amazed at the transformation.

Description from the Site

The world's first fully automated photo enhancer that makes all your images great automatically with the help of Artificial Intelligence.

Who says you need loads of free time and expensive software to perfect your images? Photolemur does all the heavy lifting, so you can spend more time having photo-worthy adventures!

Sample Before/After Images

Check out these two before/after examples:

Cape Cod Water Photolemur
Cape Cod Shore - Original on the left, Photolemur version on the right. I like how blue the sky is and the bring green color of the trees.

Haunted Mansion Photolemur
Disney Haunted Mansion at Night - Original on the left, Photolemur version on the right. Notice, in the Photolemur version, you can see more of the tree on the left of the haunted mansion. Also, notice that you can see more of the walkway brick under the light.

Five Things I Learned using Photolemur

Simply drag an image, and the software does all the work enhancing the photo. It might take 10-15 seconds. Afterward, you can see the before/after and then if you like it to save the image to your desktop, email or smugmug.

When exporting, there's advanced settings button. This is where you can set up presets to common settings - such as file location, naming, format and resize.

You can add additional Export Options by adding accounts to the 'Internet Accounts' in the System Preferences. This will allow you to export to Twitter, Facebook etc.

There are additional styles available that help enhances photos better in certain situations, such as fashion, street photography, sunsets, and landscapes. I have found that the default "No Style" had the best results. I did find it difficult to figure out which styles work best for which images situation.

The File Size minimum is 800 by 600. If you try to transform a smaller image you will get a warning.

Very Cool Application

I had this application in my app folder since July and finally paid for it during the Black Friday promotion. I have found that it's a great way to bring images to life. Pictures that I thought were just 'okay' transformed into amazing photos.

Applications like Luminar give you a lot more options, but if you want a quick image fix. I would highly recommend adding Photolemur

Photolemur cost $35 for a single license, there is a trial version where you have all the image enhancement capabilities of the full version. You're only limited to batch processing multiple images.

November 29, 2018

Boston Marathon Memorial

Last year, the City of Boston announced that they planned to have a memorial on Boylston Street for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. The original ribbon cutting date was to be a few days before this year's Boston Marathon - 5 years after the bombing.

If you visit the sites today, you'll see that there is no memorial. The City has already laid out the spot for the memorial, but construction for the memorial is still a ways away.

Boston Memorials 2018

Latest Boston Marathon Memorial Update

  • There will be two memorials at the location of the two bombs that went off on April 15, 2013. On both sides of the memorial will be Japanese Cherry Trees that may bloom each year around Patriots day.
  • Should be ready by 2020 - the eighth anniversary of the Marathon Bombings.
  • The memorial is being designed by Pablo Eduardo. His last work in Boston was the Kevin White statue at Faneuil Hall in 2006.
  • Initial project cost of the project was $2 Million. More than $100,000 has been spent on the design process.
  • Cost of the Memorial was raised by the victim families. Money collected as part of the Boston One fund, special fund set up after the bombing, will not be used for the memorial.
  • There are plans for a much larger memorial, but the exact location hasn't been announced yet.

The Boston Globe has a story with pictures of what the memorial will look like.

Bill Campbell Quote

Remembering Those that Lost Their Lives

  • Martin Richard, an 8-year-old third-grader from Dorchester
  • Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China
  • Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford.

264 others were injured including 16 people who lost limbs

November 28, 2018

Instagram Hyperlapse vs. iOS Camera

Have you played around with the Time-Lapse camera functionality? It's pretty cool to set the camera on a tripod and just record the sessions for a while and then watch it all unfold in a matter of minutes.

There are some limitations to the Apple's Time-Lapse camera:

  • No information on how often pictures are taken.
  • Only can do one type of Time-Lapse - no way to speed it up or slow it down.
  • No way to adjust the focus after the Time-Lapse has started.
  • No way to turn off the display to save battery life.

Instagram's Hyperlapse

Instagram's Hyperlapse is a good alternative solution to Apple's Time-lapse. While they don't fix all the limitations that Apple's Time-Lapse has, you do get a lot more flexibility. It's also free - so the price is right!

Six Things I learned using Instagram's Hyperlapse

  • Instagram's Hyperlapse tells you the duration while recording. This helps when you want to stop the recording at a certain time length.
  • Default speed is 6x - Which means that it's six times faster than the original recording. To make a 30-second Hyperlapse video, the camera will have to be on for 3-minutes.
  • If you're taking a 1/2 video of the sunrise, your better off using the 8x speed. That will give you a nice 3.5-minute video clip.
  • After a video capture session you have an option to have the final output be fast pace or a slow pace. Once you select it there's no way to "go back" and save a different speed.
  • The Instagram's Hyperlapse Dimensions is: 720 x 1280
    The Apple Time-Lapse Dimension is: 1920 x 1080
  • Instagram's Hyperlapse smaller dimension gives it more room to fix stability issues. If you're not going to be moving the camera around much then the Apple Time-Lapse might be the better solution.

One Final Word

If you want the most flexibility with Time-Lapse videos, take a video using the regular video option and then change the speed at post-production. I use 4k at 24 fps for all my videos. I can use iMovie or Wondershare Filmora to slow it down or speed it up. Just make sure to have plenty of disk space.

Oh, one more thing... Make sure to put the iPhone in Airplane mode! You don't want the video to get interrupted by a robocall.

November 27, 2018

Wegmans Burger Bar

One of the nice things about the Natick Mall's Wegmans is that they have a few places to eat. Last Sunday we made a stopover at the Burger Bar since we visited it a few times in the past and had good experiences.

Things were a bit differently on this trip - partly because of the CDC national mandate to not use Romaine Lettuce.

"Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a warning.

Meanwhile Back at the Burger Bar

When we placed our order for Gluten Free Burger, we told them it was for an allergy. We asked if she could have a salad with her order - since she can't have french fries due to cross-contamination issues. The server told us they couldn't do that, and that the only option available would be a fruit cup. We thought that it was weird that they still served salads using other types of lettuce, but they couldn't make a side salad from the same lettuce?

My daughter was happy with the fruit cup option so we were fine with that.

Burger Arrived with a Bonus Side

When my daughter's dish arrived, she got the fruit cup, burger and animal crackers. Which was very strange seeing that this was an allergy order. I double checked the animal crackers packaging and they weren't gluten-free.

We have eaten at the Burger Bar enough times that we knew that the burger bun was gluten free.

Burger Bar

Communication Breakdown

Clearly the server at Wegmans didn't know about the Gluten Free order - or not aware of what foods could be included as a side dish.

We didn't say anything at the time, as we didn't ask for cookies and she doesn't like animal crackers. It was a "bonus" side that was anything but a bonus.

My daughter loved her burger. She took her usual time of eating it. She didn't end up eating the fruit cup. All she wanted was a burger for lunch and she likes using the Coke Soda machine to make her orange soda.

It was a busy post-Thanksgiving Sunday at the Mall, but that's no excuse for serving regular crackers on a gluten-free order.

November 26, 2018

Bashrc Configurations for QA

QA tends spend a lot of time using command line commands in unix. There are some useful Bash Configurations that can make things a bit easier.

Simply add these to your .barshrc or .bash_profile, for example you may want to add multiple SSH shortcuts to go to different servers. Check your Bash .history file for examples of commands that you frequently use - you may find adding an alias may increase your productivity.

Bash Examples

# Quickly go up 'X' number of directory hierarchy. Example: use: up(3)  instead of cd ../../..
up() { cd $(eval printf '../'%.0s {1..$1}) && pwd; }

export EDITOR="/usr/local/bin/bbedit"   # Mac Users should use BBEdit as their Text Editor
alias goshh='ssh -A'   # Quick Way to SSH to your servers
alias ll='ls -FGlAhp'                   # Get a nice directory listing

Tech Note: The above was created using the "Copy as Styled HTML" command in BBEdit. It's an easy way to share color syntax.

November 25, 2018

Understanding Electric Cars

Electric Cars are a big hit. Chances you might have seen all the electric stations that are appearing in parking lots in malls and airports. Seems that more and more people are buying them as they are getting to be more affordable.

Have you wondered what's the hype all about? With all the different manufacturers, there's so much technology to learn. Thankfully businesses like Exchange and Mart makes it simple. They put out an Electric Guide that gives you a great overview of the Electric Car market.

If you're in the car buying market, it's worth a quick read to know your options.

Exchange and Mart

Offers plenty of valuable information

  • A beginner-friendly introduction to electric cars (EVs) and why they're increasingly becoming popular.
  • Differences between electric cars and hybrid electric/diesel models, as well as examples of brands and models of EVs in the market today.
  • Government grants, tax advantages, and other public support enjoyed by electric car owners.
  • Other useful information, advice, and resources to help you decide if an electric car is right for you.

Four Things I learned from reading the Document

  • While the document focuses on the UK market, many of the technologies certainly apply to cars sold in the United States.
  • Amazing how electric cars were once a big hit, but it was Henry Ford and the Combustion Engine that priced out a lot of people.
  • There are various type of electric cars with the Nissan Leaf being the current market leader.
  • The guide does a great job explaining what you may need to do to help charge the car from home. How a simple installing a special charging point can help charge the car up faster.

Other Posting