|May 26, 2019|
If your looking for what’s hot in music - Spotify is the place to go. You can find some awesome playlists from people that know music.
You can find playlist for the office, workout or by mood type. You can find the perfect playlist by searching via the Spotify database.
I put up my workout music that I am using for my two 5k runs. This is the official playlist that I will be using as I try to break my personal best records.
Gary Vee has an update playlist of music called "Monday to Monday". Listen to some new songs - as he updates the playlist for songs that inspired him.
|May 25, 2019|
Daily routines are difficult with some kids. They may not always remember certain tasks that they have to do every day. Thankfully Trip Clip has come up with some handy checklist for children. These can be completely customized to your needs.
Trip Clip has all sorts of creative games that keep kids off technology for a bit: Airport Bingo, Mazes, Word Search, Coloring Pages, Crosswords and so much more. The Word Search is very cool because you can add your own words, think Spelling Words, and it will help your children remember the letters. You can buy a clipboard to help the kids perform their activities - in the car or at the airport.
While this isn't a free service, it's pretty cool and certainly worth checking out if you have children.
The Trip Clip® - Morning Routine, Bedtime Routine, After School Checklist, Chore Chart, Picture Grocery List, Mazes, Car Bingo, Travel Activities, & More
For $14.95 you can have lifetime access to all the activities on the website. If you're a grandparent, this is a great site to have as a resource for "things to do" on a rainy day.
Just like all the blog post that you see on cryan.com, this is not a paid product endorsement. This is a cool service that I think is worth sharing.
If you know of a better service, please let me know in the comments below.
|May 24, 2019|
Art Text 3 is a pretty powerful text tool. I wanted to learn how to create a cool chalkboard effect, similar to designs that I saw in BeLight Letter application.
Belight claims that all the Letter designs can be done in Art Text 3. What they don't tell you is that it is just a bit tricky to make it work.
For the Background, I created a new background layer, Selected Fill, then Grunge, then gruge_29. If you want more realistic chalkboard backgrounds check out the Chalkboard Textures created by BMACHINA Labs. It cost $5 and you get 16 different variations.
For the Text, it's a bit tricky. There is a Chalk 2D Text, but it's only in Purple. (Not exactly sure why Belight did that.) So the secret is to create your own Brush in White so that it will have the chalk edge effect. (Note: I tried to figure out how to change the color from purple to while but the following steps is the only way I could get it to work.)
To get you started, download my 200 x 200 white image and add it to your collection:
So now you can still select the Chalk 2D text as a Font Template, then switch it over to the Custom Shading that you added.
You can see the new "Smoke" Custom Fill.
Bonus: You can easily create different color smokes effects for different color chalk effects. Simply create a 200x200 image in Affinity Designer or Pixelmator and use the paint brush to create your own creative design. Don't forget to save it as a PNG file!
|May 23, 2019|
This past weekend we visited Happy Place in Boston. It's a temporary exhibit designed around creating interesting Instagram photos. There are various stations where you can interact with the exhibits to create interesting photos.
Happy Place opened on April 5th. It was supposed to close on June 1st, but due to popular demands, they have extended the time until the 30th.
It's a fun place to go with the whole family. It's a quick trip as the whole experience probably won't last longer than a 1/2 hour - depending on the crowd size.
Happy Place is located at 500 Boylston Street. The nearest T stop is the Green Line Copley station. Parking is available at the Clarendon Street garage.
|May 22, 2019|
I have found that one of the best tripod mount adapters for the iPhone XS Max is the Glif - Quick Release Tripod Mount by Studio Neat.
At $27.99, this tripod mount is one of the most expensive on the market, but it's so worth it. The ability to quickly add and remove the iPhone XS Max from the mount is so worth it. The mount quality is much better than the Square Jellyfish and Arespark mounts. It's easier to use than the adapter that comes with the Fotopro UFO2.
It's really easy to use on any type of tripod. I usually have it connected to a Joby tripod - so that I can quickly add connect it when I need to. I usually leave the Glif in an unlock position so that I can get it mounted right away.
The mount works on all my iPhone collections, from the 5s to the iPhone XS Max. I have found that it will not work with the GoPro. The default opening is too big for the GoPro. (You have to use the mount case with the Tripod mount.)
With multiple tripod mounts connected, I can have setup several cameras on the same tripod to catch different angles. All you need is a "Standard 1/4"-20 Male to 1/4"-20 Male Threaded Tripod Screw Adapter" - which can be purchased at Amazon for $8. Hot Tip: You can find similar screws at AceHardware stores for about $.75.
The Glif Adapter has a soft area around the grip. This protects the phone when you have a tight grip.
I would recommend adding the Glif Tripod adapter to Camel Camel Camel product watch. While it has never has gone below the $27.99 price point, it may go on sale in the future.
|May 21, 2019|
How do you set the Do Not Disturb on the Watch when you're at a meeting or at a Church service?
Use the "Do Not Disturb Feature." This also comes in handy when working out. Because the last thing you need is to get is a political notification from Bloomberg in the middle of a 5k run.
The following steps works in watchOS 5.2.1.
I would suggest trying a couple of times, just so that you can get use to the how to pause notifications.
|May 20, 2019|
Finding QA "misses" that has happened in Massachusetts has been tricky. Every company has their issues, and not all of it makes the headlines.
I did manage to find these two stories when QA Testing would have helped avoid the public embarrassment. I'll continue to look and when I find others, I'll link them to this post:
The Dorchester Historical Society sent out postcards in mid-November letting people know of an upcoming open house. The problem was that the wording of the card. The card read: " We're dreaming of a white Dorchester."
Once people got the postcard, they started complaining on social media on the double meaning of the message. The Dorchester Historical Society realized the mistake and responded on social media that they were removing the graphic from social media.
We are very truly sorry about our graphic used for this event. This was an unfortunate oversight on our part and the event photograph has been removed from our social media. We were simply changing the words to the classic Christmas carol and did not think it through properly. https://t.co/2Anki4JF6N— Dorchester Historical Society (@DotHistorical) November 26, 2018
Lesson We All Can Learn From This
It doesn't hurt to test the Holiday Card design in front of customers or employees. Find out what they think of it. It's not only a chance to see if the intended message gets across but if there's anything that needs to be corrected.
In April 2018, the Massachusetts RMV send notices to more than 9,000 drivers that their licenses would be suspended because of outstanding fines.
The notices were wrong as the recently installed software had a technical glitch. The RMV identified the problem immediately and send out additional letters to drivers letting them know of the mistake. In addition, they put notices on their website and in the wait queue when calling the DMV.
Lesson We All Can Learn From This
Always Test, Test, Test, new software implementations. It cost the DMV a lot of money to fix the issue - mailing additional letters and updating various customer point of contacts.
You didn't need to test to make sure that all the addresses are qualified matches - but a good sample would have indicated a problem with the DB query.
|May 19, 2019|
This week's Audio clip was from a call I got back last February. The guy started the call asking for what areas do I experience pain. I missed the first few seconds as I was trying to setup up the recorder.
The call came in on the landline, I put the phone on speaker and turned on the Voice Memo recording on the iPhone XS Max.
Great call to listed to:
Clearly this is a scam as they are trying to steal my "Medicare Number."
The caller must think I am an old person as his tone changes slightly during the call - almost as if he thought he had a chance of getting someone's Medicare ID.
Did you catch the part where the guy says he's on a secure line! Seriously. Did they really think that I would fall for that? Did he forget that the caller-id was spoof to trick me to answer the phone? How does one secure just one side of a phone conversation.
At the end of the call, I hung up the phone since I didn't have a card and don't have to spoof.
|May 18, 2019|
Working in technology can be stressful, and every once in a while it's nice to brighten up things with some humor. One way is to create silly O'Reilly Book Covers.
If your not familiar with O'Reily Books - they are known technology books with some animals on the cover. They cover just about every possible technology segment and have been around for years.
Insult your co-workers with snarky O RLY parody book covers!
|May 17, 2019|
One of the neat features of the Iterm2 is the Status Bar. This is available in the 3.3.0 build - which is still in beta as of this post. The Status Bar is a thin bar at the top of the command window which displays useful information.
The status bar has 11 built in configurable components, with more sure to be added. You can configure the Text Color and Background color. These are the components in the current beta:
EEEE, MMMM d, yyyy h:mm:ss a z)
If you're using iTerm2 3.3, you can enable the status bar using the Profile Preferences.
After you install the bar, you can right click on the bar and select 'Configure Status Bar.'
You will need to do this for each of your profiles that you have setup.
Some of the commands work better with installing Shell Integrations on remote servers. You can easily install the Shell Integration tool to get the most out of iTerm2:
Iterm2 is pretty powerful application and very useful to have if you doing a lot of shell commands on your Mac.
|May 16, 2019|
Located between Berklee College of Music and Boston's Symphony Hall is a small community park. This park is mostly for the seniors that live in the near-by Morville House.
Park has been around for many years, I wasn't able to find any history of when it started. I did find some events mentioned in the mid-1970s but overall it's not a park with a lot of history.
Since 2007, local organizations, such as the Fenway Civic Association, has been busy updating the park.
Jacob Kulin's musically-theme artwork is the largest visible artwork in the park. The design is 16-foot tall made of granite, Corten sweet, bronze and stainless steel. The design helps tie the connection of the park with nearby musical surrounding. The sculpture was unveiled on August 18, 2016.
There are free fitness classes, morning Yoga and Line Dance classes going on regularly in the park. All classes are free and open to the public. See the schedule on the plaza for today's events.
On Tuesday Evenings, Berklee College of Music takes over the park and selectively invites alumni to perform in the park. (Check out this summer's schedule.)
The park is located near the Edgerly Road and Norway Street in the Fenway section of Boston. The nearest T stop would be the Orange Line's Symphony Station.
This is a nice quiet park. If your visiting Boston, this might be a nice Tuesday stop on a nice Summer Night concert. (Not a lot of events happen on Tuesday nights.)
|May 15, 2019|
There is a sneaky way to connect an audio cable to the iPhone XS Max to record incoming audio. Think of it making your own Mix Tape on your iPhone XS Max.
You want to connect your iPhone XS Max to a sound system and record sound.
The best way to do this is to use a cable splitter that has a connector for audio input. You basically need a TRRS connector, these are visually identified by three black marks on the Audio-In end:
This cable is more commonly found using the "old" apple headphones that had a microphone connected to it.
Using the TRRS Connector, you can plug in any 3.5 mm cable. Now you can easily bring external audio into your iPhone XS Max.
Setting up The Connector
You will need the Lighting to audio-In cable adapter from Apple. (I wouldn't recommend getting a "third party" since they may not work for this particular situation.) You can get these from any Apple store for about $10.
Connect the Lighting to the iPhone XS Max and then the TRRS splitter end to the 3.5mm slot. Now connect your audio to the right slitter. (I would recommend clearly labeling the splitter)
|May 14, 2019|
When working out with the Apple Watch, you can set the activity when it starts or wait until the Watch notices that you're doing an activity.
It's pretty cool to get notified that an activity is in progress - sometimes when your at the gym your focus on the workout then tracking it.
The Workout has Views and Presets for Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Run, Outdoor Cycle, Indoor Walk, Indoor Run, Indoor Cycle, Elliptical, Rower, Stair Stepper, High-Intensity Interval Training, Hiking, Yoga, Pool and Swim, and Open Water Swim.
Some machines have support for the Apple Gym Kit, which allows you to share information from the machine and the Watch. For example, the Watch can get detail Workout information and the Machine can get heartbeat information.
Using the Apple iPhone you can enable a Workout Playlist to play while you workout. This will start playing as soon as you start any type of workout. (You can select any Playlist from your Music Library)
You can make recording even easier by telling Siri, "go for a seven-minute run"
As you run, you will get a tap with every mile or kilometer. This is a good metric to use to see if the Apple Watch is in sync with an indoor machine.
Using the iPhone you can set the different Metrics to show on the watch. For example, by default, it shows the Active Calories and Total Calories. Which I don't really care about when I am running on the treadmill. So I removed both and added Average Pace and Current Pace.
In the Outdoor Run, there's an extra alert that you have - Pace Alert. This lets you choose a target pace for your run and your watch will alert you when you're ahead or behind. This is great to use when you targeting running a 5k. You set this up by click on the three dots on the Outdoor run and you'll see Pace Alerts on the bottom of the screen. You will get notified at each mile.
|May 13, 2019|
Software Testing is very important to every organization. You don't want customers to have a bad experience and you don't want your organization to look bad.
Here are a couple of examples of where a bug slipped QA and made it into production:
Turns out that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) spelled "responsibility" as "responsibilty" on millions of the new yellow notes.
The RBA has confirmed that there was at least one typo on the note and will be fixed in the next printing. For now, 46-million banknotes will have the small misprinting.
FYI: The A$50 is one of the most popular notes that is circulated in Australia.
For more details
For a brief few hours on New Year's Day Cathay Pacific Airways sold thousands of first and business-class seats for huge discounts.
Seats that normally would go for $16,000 were selling for $675.
Cathay has publicly announced that it would honor all such seat prices.
Happy 2019 all, and to those who bought our good - VERY good surprise ‘special’ on New Year’s Day, yes - we made a mistake but we look forward to welcoming you on board with your ticket issued. Hope this will make your 2019 ‘special’ too!— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) January 2, 2019
Next week I'll highlight some costly QA mistakes in Massachusetts.
|May 12, 2019|
Washing your hands after cleaning them is important, but for how long under a hand dryer?
The Center for Disease Control suggest the best way is to sing the "Happy Birthday Song" twice while drying your hands under the dryer.
So the next time your drying your hands, Remember to sing Happy Birthday twice.
Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday to DRYER,
Happy Birthday to You.
Oh in case you haven't heard it's legal now to sing the song. In 2016 the United States Court in the Central District of California ruled that the song is now in the public domain.
|May 11, 2019|
Google Maps are great, but it isn't helpful if you want to draw and showcase areas around a location. That's what makes inkatlas so great. You can draw and print out maps.
Whether you need a quick map for your next bike trip or a tailored cartographic solution for your publishing business, Inkatlas is the simple way to create paper maps. You don't need to become a GIS expert. Leave it to us!
Sample Map created with InkAtlas
|May 10, 2019|
There are very few Macintosh applications that have been around since System 7.5. BBEdit, StuffIt , DragThing are some that I can think of off hand. Many of these applications are still running strong.
Sadly DragThing is being discontinued. This is because Apple has decided to stop supporting 32-bit code. Perhaps you seen this alert when opening up some applications:
Apple has announced that it will no longer support 32-bit applications. This means in the next major release 32-bit applications will no longer work. This is very similar to when Apple started discontinue supporting Classic Apps from pre-OS X days.
After 24-years, the developers have decided to retire the application. According to the homepage message, this is because the application will have to be completely rewritten and they don't think there's any real value into that.
I haven't used DragThing, as I got use the Apple Dock, and other applications that made navigating the Macintosh easier. I thought it would be good to check out what I missed in DragThing all these years.
DragThing with the default setup
|May 9, 2019|
Next to the Massachusetts State House is a building with some unusual architecture. This is the home of the American Congregational Library.
Did you know: A Massachusetts law of 1659 punished offenders with a hefty five shilling fine for celebrating Christmas. It would be interesting to read up on documents from that time period about this - something that can only be done at the American Congregational Library.
Sign on the Building
This is the transcript of the sign on the building:
The primary purpose of this building, The Property of the American Congregational Association, is to provide housing for Congregational Societies and other religious and Charitable Organizations. It is the Fifth home of the Congregational Library. The building was dedicated on December 21, 1898 to the last ideals lived by those First Congregationalists to settle on American Shores.
The carvings above represent four of those ideals:
The American Congregational Building is located next to the Massachusetts State House. It's located on the second floor of 14 Beacon Street.
The library collection is open to the public.
|May 8, 2019|
Did you know within Apple Photos, you can search for "dog," "Grass," and other objects in your picture?
Apple adds additional "smart" tags to photos that work very similar to Google Photos. The key difference is that its right there on your phone. This makes it easier when you looking for that perfect picture of the dog or beach setting.
You can search for GPS location, Date as well as objects such as "Blue House," "Dog" or "Christmas Tree."
If you have some down-time, on the train/bus/store, try to see what unique things that Apple tag your photos. Did it spot the bird in the picture? How about the clock? Try to see how much detail tagging actually get's done!
Simply open up Photos and then click on the search icon on the bottom right. As you type your search query you may get some auto-complete suggestions. Note: I find single word searches to be better.
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