April 30, 2017

Zig Ziglar

One of my favorite motivational speakers is Zig Ziglar. He had a way to deliver a message in a very positive way.

One of the things that he frequently talks about is "Automobile University." Where you use the downtime in your commute to listen to inspirational podcast or CDs.

Remembering Zig Ziglar

If you haven't heard of any of Zig Ziglar speeches, check out his podcast on iTunes.

Zig Ziglar died on November 28, 2012. His Tom Ziglar is keeping his message alive. Visit Ziglar.com to learn more about him and events that are coming to your area.

Ziglar Quote

Favorite Quotes

  • "Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning." - Zig Ziglar
  • "If Plan A doesn't work, there are 25 more letters." - Zig Ziglar
  • "You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal." - Zig Ziglar
  • "Happy people don't have the best of everything. They make the best of everything." - Zig Ziglar
  • "Don't be distracted by criticism. Remember- the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you." - Zig Ziglar
  • "Be helpful. When you see a person without a smile, give him yours." - Zig Ziglar
  • "Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days." -Zig Ziglar

Being Productive

Zig Ziglar was all about personal productivity. He's "Day before Vacation" speech is correct. As we tend to get a lot of things done when there is a goal with a deadline.

There are many ways to get productive at the office and selfdevelopmentsecrets.com has some great tips. There's a great article called "How To Be More Productive In Your Workplace (And Everywhere Else)."

April 29, 2017

Yanoff Internet Connections

Yanoff Display

In the early days of the Internet, Scott Yanoff Internet Connections was a way for people to learn about functionalities that were available on various servers. You would run the unix finger command to get the latest list.

Scott Yanoff is now an IT manager at a company and co-authored some Internet books.

The list stopped around 1993 as there was increase completion from other sources.

Here’s a brief sample of what users would see:

 -Baseball Scores       finger jtchern@ocf.berkeley.edu for scores/standings OR
                        mail jtchern@ocf.berkeley.edu  w/Subject: MLB
   offers: The latter will subscribe you to receive Major League scores daily!

 +Backgammon Servers    telnet ouzo.rog.rwth-aachen.de 8765 /134.130.130.46 8765
   offers: Play Backgammon! (Login: guest)

 -Billboard Charts      finger buckmr@rpi.edu
   offers: U.S. Top Pop singles for the week.

 +CancerNet             mail cancernet@icicb.nci.nih.gov / gopher gopher.nih.gov
    offers: Cancer info. statements thru email. Body-of-letter: help or Spanish

 -CARL                  telnet pac.carl.org or 192.54.81.128
   offers: Online database, book reviews, magazine fax delivery service.

You can see a complete Yanoff list from April 1, 1993. (Hard to believe that I kept internet files from 23 years ago.)

Chances are none of the sites are working anymore, and the email addresses listed have long been discontinued.

April 28, 2017

Xcode Training Suggestion

If you do any kind of application programming on Mac OS or iOS you need XCode. It's Apple powerful tool for developers.

Xcode includes the Xcode IDS, Swift and Object-C compliers, Instruments analysis tool, simulators, the latest SDKs, and lots of very powerful features that will help get you to build awesome award winning apps.

xcode

What is Swift?

Swift is a powerful, modern, and fun programming language. From Apple:

Swift is the result of the latest research on programming languages, combined with decades of experience building Apple platforms. Named parameters brought forward from Objective-C are expressed in a clean syntax that makes APIs in Swift even easier to read and maintain. Inferred types make code cleaner and less prone to mistakes, while modules eliminate headers and provide namespaces. Memory is managed automatically, and you don't even need to type semi-colons. These forward-thinking concepts result in a language that is easy and fun to use.

Learning XCode

If your looking for a great place to learn XCode programming, I highly recommend iOS 10 & Swift 3: From Beginner to Paid Professional over on udemy . In the class you'll learn all the fundamentals of making a cool application and submitting to Apple's app store. There are 264 lectures totaling 71+ hours of learning.

The class is normally $200 - Yikes! However, it's currently on sale for $10! That's an awesome deal. Cheaper than any Swift Book you'll find on Amazon or Barnes and Noble! You can run the training at your own pace!

Spend a few hours a night over a couple of weeks and you can easily get a return on your $10 investment - plus you'll have the opportunity to learn how to make cool apps.

This particular course has a "full lifetime access." This means you can start whenever you want. In addition, you can reference the material at a later date.

udemy Class
There are other classes on udemy, but this one constantly get's a really high rating from students who take the class.

Note: Let me know what you think of the class, or if there's one better. This isn't a paid affiliate link or reference. Just letting you know of a cool option to learn Xcode.

Getting Xcode

You can download Xcode from the App Store. Warning: It's a pretty big download - 4.51 GB. So make sure you have enough space and working on a fast internet. Some users have complained about getting the file.

April 27, 2017

William Dawes

Old North Church

William Dawes was one of many critical messengers on April 19, 1775. William Dawes, Paul Revere, and Percy were task by Joseph Warren to warn John Hancock and John Adams that the British were coming to arrest them.

Dr. Joseph Warren was one of the leaders of the revolutionary forces that stayed in Boston as the British started to increase their size.

Many people may know Paul Revere because of Longfellow poem:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm."

The Poem was written in 1860 by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that commemorates the actions of American patriot Paul Revere on April 18, 1775, although with significant inaccuracies. It was first published in the January 1861 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. It was later retitled "The Landlord's Tale" in the collection Tales of a Wayside Inn.

Things I Learned about William Dawes

  • Born in Boston on April 6, 1745
  • Helped move artillery to Concord to be used as part of the Revolutionary War
  • Was very anti-British and refused to wear clothes made in Britain.
  • Member of the Sons of Liberty
  • William Dawes stole some British cannons and military equipment. He got injured at
  • Dr. Joseph Warren became aware of William Dawes commitment to the Independent cause when he had to treat William for the injury.
  • First person to be dispatched on the night of April 18, 1775.
  • One of the last people to leave Boston on foot before the British seized Boston.
  • Waited in Cambridge for his cue to warn others.
  • When the British were looking for the messengers, he Hid in Daniel Brown's house in Lincoln
  • Fought at The Battle of Bunker Hill
  • Died in Marlborough on February 25, 1799 (Paul Revere died on May 10, 1818)
  • Tablet was placed on the grave on April 20, 1899
  • A special Cross was placed on the grave during a small cerimony on April 19, 1929.
  • A painting of William Dawes is hanging in the Cary Memorial Library in Lexington.

There's a lot of great information on "William Dawes: The Forgotten Midnight Rider" over on HistoryofMassachusetts.com. It's certainly worth the read.

Still Remembered 200 Years Later

Despite being left out of Longfellow's poem, his name was mentioned at the 200th celebration on April 19. 1975. At a special 200th Anniversary ceremony at the Old North Church, President Ford mention him:

Remarks in Boston at the Old North Church Bicentennial Lantern Service. April 18. 1975

Ford 1975 Speech
Read the entire speech.

Only Mentioned Once

That was the only mention of William Dawes in a United State's president speech. Paul Revere's name has been mentioned in at least 20 speeches. Various Presidents from Benjamin Harrison in 1892 to Barack Obama in 2016 referenced Paul Revere's ride. Some of the speeches just referenced William Dawes and Samuel Prescott as his companions and not their name.

William Dawes Gravesite

Mystery of the William Dawes Grave at Kings Chapel

There is a gravestone in King Chapel graveyard with an inscription to William Dawes. However, he is actually believed to be buried in Forrest Hills Cemetery, 25 miles away. You can read up on all the research that one of the Descendants of William Dawes did to find the truth.

It's possible that there's nobody buried at William Dawes grave at the King Chapel graveyard.

The Ride of William Dawes

Over the years several people have written poems about William Davis, here's one that I found written by Mary J. Gladhill

The Ride of William Dawe

Listen, my children, for oft you will hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere But now, if you will but pause, You shall here the tale of William Dawes.

When the lights of the Old North Church flashed out Paul Revere was waiting about, But Dawes was already on his way To warn the farmers of the coming fray.

Through the still night down Washington street He rode on his steed, swift and fleet. Through Roxbury and Brighton rode he in huste. Swift as a courier in a chase.

Download the full William Dawes Poem.

April 26, 2017

Variables in Bash

Unix Header

Using variables in Bash is easy to learn if you're familiar with PHP programming.

Four Simple tips when using variables in Bash

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Use variable parameters to expand the script capabilities
  3. Watch for extra spacing when using the command expansion ${
  4. When using characters as values make sure to use double quotes.

Learn by Example

One of the first Web programming books that I found useful was "Perl by Example." It's a great book to learn various Perl functionality. ( I still have the book!)

I got one of the early editions which was a much smaller book and a lot easier to understand

So here are some Variable examples in BASH:

Simple HelloWorld.sh Example

Basics of assigning a text value to a BASH variable:

#!/bin/bash 
STR="Hello World!" 
echo $STR 

BASH script with Variable Parameters

You can pass additional parameters to you BASH script at run time:

#!/bin/sh
#
# Echo a couple of script input values
# usage:
#    name   
#
# The result will be an echo of the first and last
if [ $# != 3 ]; then
 echo "usage: name.sh first middle last"
 exit 0
fi
FIRST="$1"
MIDDLE="$2"
LAST="$3"

echo $FIRST . " " . $LAST

Execute Command Lines via BASH variables

You can assign the results of an command line to a BASH variable

#!/bin/bash
# Get the last day of March
lastday=$(date -v+3w -v1d -v+1m -v-1d +"%B %e, %Y")
echo $lastday

Simple Math in Bash

#!/bin/bash
num1=2017
num2=1975
total=$(($num1 - $num2))
echo "Did you know 1975 was $total years ago!"

Miscellaneous Notes

In Bash $$ is the process ID, as noted in the comments it is not safe to use as a temp filename for a variety of reasons.

April 25, 2017

Udi’s Gluten Free

When it comes to bread there are a couple of major companies, Udi’s Gluten Free and Schär.

Udis Gluten Free

Best Hamburger Roll

If you're looking for the best gluten-free hamburger rolls, try Udi’s Gluten Free. We have tried all sorts of different brands and found Udi’s Gluten Free are the best tasting rolls.

Best Sandwich Bread

When it comes to sandwich bread, Schär is better tasting. Udi's bread is good if you toast it. Overall, we prefer Schär as it taste close to regular bread than anything we tried.

My daughter is picky when it comes to sandwich bread, and really likes the Schär bread. We have found that other bread types will have large holes in some slices. But the Schär is perfect with every slice.

Limited Availability

Both Udi’s Gluten Free Hamburger rolls and Schar bread are hard to find. Evidently, the word is out that these are the best bread to get. Our local Stop & Shop does carry it.

We usually end up going to Wegmans in Northborough and stock up on our supplies.

Udi’s Gluten Free Hamburger rolls is located in the freezer section. The Schar bread is in the Gluten free aisle.

What do you think?

What is the best hamburger roll? Let me know if there are any other brands that are worth checking out!

April 24, 2017

Tom Sawyer Island

Here's some information about Tom Sawyer Island from the Explorer Map on the Island:

Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens in 1835, in Florida, Missouri. He is up not too far away in the small town of Hannibal. From there he would raft over to islands in the Mississippi and watch as majestic steamboats paddled by. As a young man, he became a riverboat pilot, listening for the leadsman to sing out "Mark Twain" which indicated the river measure two fathoms deep, making it safe to proceed. As a writer, his two most famous creations, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, sprang from his boyish memories of life on the Mississippi. All the names on the island can be found in the literary classic Huckleberry Finn.

Places You may encounter

  • Tom's Landing - How you arrive and depart the island
  • Old Scratch's Mystery Mine
  • Potter's Mill
  • Huck's Landing
  • Indian Joe's Cave
  • Superstition Bridge
  • Pappy's Fishing Pier
  • Rifles Roost
  • River Pirate Ridge
  • Indian Territory - Only visible from the steam boat.
  • Fort Langhorn - Guard House, Horse Stable, Checker's Board
  • Secret Escape from Fort
  • Poor Old Jim's Shack
  • Barrel Bridge
  • Fidgety Ledge
  • Smuggler's Cove
  • Aunt Polly's - Only Snack bar on the Island
  • Catfish Cove -
  • Harper's Mill - Don't scare the bird in Harper's Mill!
  • Scavenger's Fort -Highest point on the Island. A play area for children ages 2-12 years old.
  • Privy's

TomSawyerIsland.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Miscellaneous Information

  • Opened in 1973, two years after the park opened.
  • It's about a minute and a half raft ride to get to the island.
  • The main fort was called Fort Sam Clemens until 1996 when it was changed to Fort Langhorn to help promote the "Tom and Huck" movie.
  • Island Closes at Dusk
  • Aunt Polly's Dockside Inn hasn't been open in a while. There's rumors that it may open during peak seasons.

Fort Langhorn

A replication of an early frontier fort. Here children can have fun exploring various features of the fort.

  • Gun Gallery - where you can pretend to shoot passengers from a boat that appears to threaten the fort.
  • Blacksmith Shop - where you can hear horses and other farm animals.
  • Guard House - See what the guards are doing to keep the place in shape.
  • Fort Escape - Escape the fort via the rear exit.
  • Checkers Table - Take a break and play a game of checkers.

Fort Langhorn View

Barrel Bridge

To get from Fort Langhorn to Aunt Polly's you should use the Barrel Bridge. This is a fun crossing where you try to keep your balance as you cross some oak barrels to get to the other side. Just be careful. You won't fall in the water as the ropes are there to keep your balance.

There is a "rest stop" between bridges. This is a great location to get pictures of the Haunted Mansion. Listen carefully you should be able to hear the howling dogs coming from the mansion.

Barrel Bridge has a one-way crossing. You are crossing correctly if the Haunted Mansion is on your left side as you cross the bridge.

There is a "the other Way" if you want to avoid the barrels.

Caves of Tom Sawyer Island

There are three caves on the island. They are pretty dark. If someone in your party is scared of the dark, then it's best to avoid the caves. You can bring a small flashlight if you want. You don't need to use the caves to get from point A to point B. You can still get to the other side of the cave via walking.

Typical Length of Stay

Depending on what people are doing on the island, you could be on the island for about a 1/2 hour.

A quick walk around the island and various caves should take about 15 minutes.

April 23, 2017

Community Events Calendars

The Benefits of Seeking Out Local Events in Your Area

If you've ever browsed through your local newspaper, checked out your city's website, or even watched the local television channel, you may see a community events calendar. A community events calendar is a great way to find out what's going on your area, but many people don't take up the opportunities or don't even know the events exist.

Prudential Community Events

Here are some benefits to seeking out local events and why you should pay closer attention to a community events calendars:

Promoting Family Togetherness

If you have children, you may be running low on ideas on how to spend time together as a family. One child wants to play with a friend, and another wants to spend a Saturday playing video games. It's tempting to give in, but you may be missing out on a lot of fun activities.

Depending on where you live, a majority of community events are most likely family friendly. Whether it's an outdoor festival or a kids-centered event at your local museum, community events can help you spend more time together as a family.

Meeting New People

Even if you live in a smaller town, there's a good chance that you don't know most of the people in town. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, not have close connections with your community, let alone your neighbors is a common occurrence. Why? We're all busy, and many of us spend the day talking to people; the last thing that some people want to do is talk to more people.

If you're hesitant to reach out to perfect strangers, think again. Making the effort to attend a community event and make connections with new people can strengthen your trust in others and build lasting relationships.

Helps You to Think Beyond Yourself

While there's a variety of fun things to do, when you look at a community events calendar, don't forget to check out an opportunity to help others, such as volunteering in your community or fundraising for a family in need.

Living in a "me" society, it's easy to forget about helping others. So whether you offer a helping hand at your local animal shelter or make a meal at the local food kitchen, you're thinking about others and enriching your life with one-of-a-kind experiences.

Spend Less Money, Have More Fun

Another plus to attending a community event is that many are free to the public. Rather than dropping more than $20 at a movie theater, why not check out a movie night at the park? If donations are "appreciated," spend that $20 on giving back to the community.

Invite your friends, introduce yourself to a neighbor that you've been meaning to welcome to the neighborhood. Spend less money and have more fun in your community.

Become an Active Member of Your Community

The more time you spend out in your community, the more likely that you'll want to get involved and stay involved. Maybe you'll even run for office or join the school board. Find things in the community that make you happy and proud. Try to make things better and continue to help make your town or city a better place.

April 22, 2017

Swimming Pool Debate

We have an above ground pool that is at least 10 years old. We don't know how old it is as it came with the house when we purchased it.

Neighbors have told us the previous owner got it used from somebody else.

A couple of years ago a tree branch fell into the pool which ripped the liner. Last year was unable to get the pool into great shape. Part of the issue was not replacing the sand in the sand filter.

Currently the pool has some leaves, in addition, the bottom of the pool is slippy. The color is between dark brown and black.

Ugly Pool

We have to take some action as the pool is unusable and simply running the sand filter isn't going to help.

We have been thinking of a few options this year:

  • Replace the liner
  • Replace the liner and pool walls
  • In ground pool.

Replace the Liner

We can simply replace the liner and put in nice clean water.

  • Cheapest option cost about $800 for the liner, Installation and new water
  • New liner and clean water means we'll have a easier start to the pool season.
  • Can be done fairly quickly.
  • Doesnt really present a viable long term solution.
  • What if the liner get rip again?
  • What if the walls dont hold up correctly when the liner is placed in?

Replace the Liner and the Pool Walls

The walls around the pool are old and we're not sure how long they will last. Should we just replace the pool, and not the pump/filter?

  • Moderately expensive $7,000.
  • New pool walls will brighten up the backyard.
  • New technology, may last longer.
  • Pool walls are better at keeping the bugs away by not having holes between posts.
  • Have to figure out what to do with the old pool walls.
  • New pools that we looked at have limited liner designs.
  • May need a new town pool permit.

In-ground pool

What if we go all in and replace the above ground pool with an in ground pool.

  • Certainly the most expensive option. ~ $25,000
  • May add value to the house. However, in New England, not every home buyer wants a pool.
  • Long term solution. High cost now but may pay off in the long run.
  • There might be an issue with getting it installed for this season (Schedule issues)
  • Will need to get a building permit from the town to install and be subject to the latest regulations.
  • Due to the slope of the backyard, additional landscaping may need to be done to properly level an in-ground pool.

Where we stand

As of now, we are considering just replacing the liner. This is the cheapest and best option for this year.

We did learn that there's a new concept of putting an above ground pool partly in-ground. Not exactly sure why someone would do that, I suspect the cost would be marginally cheaper than just installing an in-ground pool.

Looking forward to Better Pool Days

Better Pool

April 21, 2017

Resize Image via LaunchBar

Whenever I email a picture that I have on my desktop I like to resize it. There's no reason to email a 4,032 x 3,024 picture.

Previously Task

In the past, I would open up the photo in a photo utility, such as Picturesque, downsize the image and save it.

Way too time consuming.

LaunchBar the Better way

LaunchBar has several resize options, 33%, 50%, 66%, 75%.

Resize Image

Simple steps to resize images in Launcher

  • Drag the image you want to resize to the LaunchBar Dock icon.
  • Type in ‘Resize’
  • Pick the one that works best for you.

Example, a typical iPhone picture is 4032 x 3024 (1.8 MB). Reduced to 33% will yield it to 1344 x 1008 (229 KB) which is reasonable enough to send in an email.

This is just a quick way to resize an image without having to open up an app.

April 20, 2017

Quincy, Josiah Statue

At the Old City Hall are two statues, Benjamin Franklin and Josiah Quincy. Two icons that help guide this country to the prosperity that we have today.

This post is all about the Josiah Quincy statue.

Josiah Quincy2

Things I learned about the Josiah Quincy III statue

  • Bronze Statue on Quincy Granite
  • The total height of the statue was to not exceed 18 feet.
  • The statue was dedicated on October 11, 1879 (Benjamin Franklin dedication was on October 11, 1856)
  • The statue was put up after the George Washington in the Boston Public Gardens. (1869)
  • Paid by Jonathan Phillips in his will - $20,000
  • Actual cost of the Statue was $14,00 ($379,618.32 in 2016)
  • The front tablet cost $125 ($3,389.45 in 20165)
  • Statue was made by Thomas Ball
  • Jonathan Phillips also funded the Benjamin Franklin staute in front of Faneuil Hall
  • Jonathan Phillips was also a Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts

Interesting Facts about Josiah Quincy III

  • Son of Josiah Quincy II, a distance relative of John Quincy Adams
  • Born on February 4, 1772
  • Died on July 1, 1864 in Quincy, Massachusetts. (City is not named after him.)
  • Founding member of the American Antiquian Society.
  • He opposed allowing Louisiana be admitted as a State.
  • The second mayor of Boston.
  • Quincy Market opened when he was the Mayor of Boston and it's named after him.

Front Tablet Statue

Quincy Front

Side Tablet Statue

Quincy Side

Note that there are a couple of blank sides which were intentionally left empty.

Finding the Statue

The statue is located on the front right side of the Old City Hall. Old City Hall is located at 45 School St in Boston, MA.

April 19, 2017

Printable view of Man pages

The manual for many Unix commands are available via the 'man' functionality.

Unix Header

For example, If I want to find out information about the Date functionality, I simply type in:

man date

Useful information, but this a Macintosh and we can do better. There has to be a better way to view the man page.

View like its 2017

The problem with this way is that you only see a screen size view of the document. To go to the next page, you simply type in the spacebar.

This is 2017, there's no reason to view man pages like this anymore.

Plaintext file View

To get a plain text version of a man page, without backspaces and underscores, try

man calendar | col -b > cal.txt
Now you can view this plain text file in your favorite text editor. You can also view this in Chrome simply by drag and drop file the icon to Chrome or Safari.

Open in a different terminal window

Mac OS comes with a built-in Man viewer that might be useful. Simply type this command

open x-man-page://ls

You get a yellow reference guide. This is nice to have so that you can display the info side-by-side your working terminal:

xmanopen2

BBEdit view

If BBEdit is your favorite editor, simply send a plain text man page directly to BBEdit

man man | col -b | bbedit

bbeditman

Update your .bashrc

Here's a suggested code snippet to add to your bash profile:

function mman() { man $@ | col -b | bbedit; }

So the next time you need to view a man page type in:

mman perl

Then you can search using BBEdit for the feature you are looking for.

April 18, 2017

OatMeal - Straw Propeller Brand

If your looking for some delicious gluten free oatmeal I would highly recommend the Straw Propeller brand.

My daughter recently had some when she visited my office. They were in the Leanbox refrigerator that we have at work. Not only did she appreciate the convenience of the instant oatmeal, but she really enjoyed the taste.

In fact, as soon as she was done with the Blueberry Blitz one, she asked for the Apple Crisp one. This is something she never does for a snack as she usually satisfied with a small snack.

It cost $2.68 (including tax) via LeanBox. They keep it in the refrigerator, but I don't think it needs refrigeration.

Clearly this is a hit and she'll have it again when she comes back to visit my office.

Straw Propeller

About Leanbox

LeanBox is an awesome office supply food service. They installed a customized LeanBox refrigerator stocked with all sorts of healthy goods. Simply swipe your credit card and then scan your items.

About Straw Propeller

Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods uses only real food ingredients, with no additives or preservatives. They are located in Redmond, Oregon.

They currently have 15 different flavors including Apple Crisp, Banana Bread, Blueberry Blitz, Cherry & Chia, Hemp N' Oats, Man!, Maple Oats, Oh My Pumpkin Pie, Orange Cranberry, Patrioats, PB & J, Peaches & Berry Bramble, Pineapple Cocon-Oats, Indian Curry, Moroccan Spice and Tuscan Herb.

You can order a 12-pack of Straw Propeller for $39, which comes out to $3.25 a meal.

April 17, 2017

Norway Pavilion

The week’s Disney Blog is about the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.

Did you know that the Norway Pavilion is the newest country to the showcase. It was added in 1988, six years after Epcot opened.

There are three reasons that you should visit the Norway Pavilion:

  • Frozen ever after ride
  • Royal Sommerhus - Only place in Disney where you can Meet Anna and Elsa
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Where you can meet several princesses)

Frozen Ever After Ride

Frozen Ever After Ride

On June 21, 2016, one of the most anticipated rides to open in Disney was the Frozen Ever After Ride. On this ride, you get to experience some of the music from the Frozen movie.

Wait times on this ride can be from 30 - 45 minutes. Disney did a good job of decorating the waiting area to entertain the guests. You certainly feel that your in Norway in the Winter by the time you get on the ride.

The water-type ride is fun, you get to see many of the famous characters of the Frozen movie. The ride does have a drop and you may get a little wet, but this is Disney - so you won’t get soaked. It’s a fun ride to see all the latest special animatronics technology.

My six-year-old daughter loves it. She was very excited to go on the ride and wanted to ride it multiple times afterward. Which we did when we saw that the wait time was shorter.

Fast Pass is a must for this ride!

Royal Sommerhus

Sommerhus

Next to the Frozen Ever After Ride is the Royal Sommerhus where you can meet Anna and Elsa. You can get pictures with them and even interact with the characters.

The wait time was a bit long here. The is some decoration around the Royal Sommerhus Cabin which showcases some family pictures in the cabin.

Once you get to meet the characters, you see Anna first and then Elsa. They are both in the same room. There is a Disney Photographer that is available to take your Disney Memory Maker photos. They will also help take group pictures with a regular camera.

Unfortunately you can’t get a picture of the two of them together.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

At the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall you can enjoy Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with many Disney Storybook Princesses.

The following princesses are available in the hall

  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Belle
  • Princess Aurora
  • Ariel

There is some dancing that happens every once in a while, where the children can dance along with their favorite princess.

Lunch and Dinner is served as a Family style. Reservations are recommended.

April 16, 2017

How Safe Are Kids on Buses?

Our children are the most precious thing we have. Children are the future, of course, but they're also the present. Children bring joy, love, and countless other varieties of goodness to lives of everyone they meet, every day.

And yet, each day we as a society agree to ship our children to and from school in lunky, rusting buses with no seat belts. Buses are efficient, sure, and most of us can remember a time when we ourselves went to school via bus. But how safe are school buses, really? Let's take a look at a few of the dangers posed each day to our kids on their rides to school.

Road Safety

When a child is in a bus, that child is on the road. Even if buses were the safest form of transport around, they would still be only as safe as the roads on which they ride. Poorly cared for roads are dangerous.

If your child rides the bus to school, you might want to check out the roads that he or she is taking. If you see something that looks unsafe, report it to your local government. And if things look good, you'll be able to relax with the knowledge that your kids are free of danger.

Driver Competence

Every bus needs a driver. And when it comes to picking that driver, a bus company can't always afford to be particular. Laws regarding who can and can't drive a bus vary from place to place, but many places have shockingly low standards. You wouldn't let some college student you don't know drive your car, so why would you be okay letting a young stranger drive an entire bus full of children twice a day?

If you're a parent, there are a few things you can do to ensure your children's drivers are good. For starters, you could walk to your kids to their stop and introduce yourself to the driver. If you're concerned with what you see, you could get involved with local groups to advocate for an increased required age for bus drivers.

Danger from Strangers

The good thing about a bus is that it's public and full of people. The bad thing is that your child needs to stand outside and wait for it. In order to keep your children safe while waiting for the school bus, you can try a few things. First, you can make sure they get there soon before the bus arrives, making sure there's not much waiting time. Second, you can educate your kids on stranger safety and appropriate behavior. Third, you can make sure the bus stop is within eyeshot of your house, allowing you to keep an eye on your loved one for the entirety of the wait.

Bus Safety is for Everyone

Luckily, serious bus crashes are relatively rare. In all likelihood, your children will arrive to school and to your house without an incident. Nonetheless, accidents do occur, and as a parent, you need to keep your eye on potential dangers. Make sure your roads are up to code, the drivers are competent, and your children are not left at their stops for long periods of time. You'll be glad you did.

April 15, 2017

Memes in Affinity Designer

If your looking to create MEME in Affinity Designer or Affinity Photo here's some useful information.

Example of a typical MEME

Gluten Water

There are lots of online services to create MEME such as IMGUR and imgflip, Memegenerator.net. The sites typically have all the standard images you seen in MEME.

If you have Affinity Designer or Photo you already have a powerful tool to create MEMEs.

The ideal Font font to use is Impact, with some black border. The font size varies on the length of the text.

Memes Asset

To make life easier, download the Memes Asset that I created.

Meme Assets
Download Memes Assets for Affinity Designer.

Ideal MEME size

The ideal MEME size is 604 by 506, depending on the graphic and the source. But it can be any size that you want. I created this useful graphic to help you create a typical Meme:

Memes Canvas Size

There's a template in the Memes Asset too. I'll update the Asset as I think of other things that seem appropriate.

Have fun making cool Memes.

April 14, 2017

Luminar

Meet the world's first photo editor that adapts to your style & skill level. Luminar is the supercharged photo software that makes complex editing easy & enjoyable. And it is as responsive and beautiful as your Mac.

Luminar Fundamentals

Luminar is a great application when you want to touch up photos. If you need to touch up and enhance photos, Luminar is certainly the app that will make it easy.

Presets

The nice thing about Luminar is that there are a lot of built-in Presets to make it easier to get the photo to look exactly the way that you want it to. Macphun says, "Luminar presets are your secret weapon to instantly fantastic photos. You can get a new look in a single click, or use presets as a starting point for your own creative explorations."

Luminar comes with Presets in six different categories: Basic, Outdoor, Street, Portrait, Travel and Dramatic. In each of the categories, you have a bunch of custom settings to enhance your photos. For example, the Basic set has 13 filters. Luminar website has a few more that your can download or purchase.

Presets Preview functionality is a nice feature that Luminar brings to the table. Before using any of the Presets, you get a "sneak" thumbnail peak of what the effect will have on the image that your working with.

Other Tools

Along with the Presets are various tools to help touch up the images. The Denoise Tool is a really cool way to clean up a photo that may have some noise. When you use this tool, you get a nice before/after slider so you can see what a difference the tool makes.

The Eraser tool seems to do a great job of removing some unwanted object in a couple of pictures that I tested. It works very similar to functionality found in Pixelmator and Affinity Photo.

Luminar has a Batch capability mode, which isn't available during the trial period. This would be perfect when you have a bunch of iPhone photos taken in the same situation, and putting together a collage. This is actually a pretty cool time-saving feature to have.

Luminar

Luminar vs Affinity Photo

There is some missing functionality that's hard for me to justify buying Luminar. There is no Text or Shape tool and there are not a lot of options on brush sizes for masking.

In addition, I found it hard to apply specific effects that I may want. For example in my test, I wanted to apply a blur effect to a certain part of the image and I couldn't figure a way to do that.

Try it Out Yourself

I think Luminar would be great for someone that doesn't want to play around with post-production filter settings. If you just want to quickly touch up a photo to enhance it more, than Luminar might be the application you need.

You can download a trial from MacPhun's website, and if you like it, it's only $69 which includes a 1 month membership to KelbyOne. It's the best photography education platform. (Monthly membership to KelbyOne is $19.99)

April 13, 2017

Kirstein Business Branch

In 2009, I wrote about how the Kirstein Business Branch was closing and being relocated to the main library.

After a few year of being in limbo, the Kirstein Business branch is in its new permanent home the basement of the Boston Public Library. The library had a grand reopening on July 9, 2016.

Old Kirstein
Old Kirstein Kirstein Business Branch at 20 City Hall Ave, Boston MA

Remembering the Past

The old library felt like your in a 19th Century reading room. The floors would creak as you walk around the library. The rooms were dark. There wasn't color, white walls with a dark frame.

The library was on multiple floors, so you would have to change seats if you were looking for something on a different floor. It also made it challenging to find someone to help you.

Despite its old look and feel it was nice because it was separated from the regular library. You knew everyone else that was there was business oriented.

New Kirstein

Focus on the Future

This week, I decided to check out the Kirstein Business section at the main library.

The area in the basement looks very nice and modern compared to the old branch. You don't feel that your in a basement of an old building.

The whole place is bright, despite having no outside windows. You certainly get a nice warm feeling as you walk around the area.

There are plenty of tables to sit down and read all sorts of books and magazines. Each table has a plug and USB stations so you can charge up your laptop or any electronic device while your doing research.

Why Visit the Kirstein Business Library?

If you have any dream of starting a business, this is the place to go to jump start your vision.

The new location has meeting rooms which the old location lacked. As I recall, when there were meetings they held them on one of the floors.

There are plenty of books separated into eight sections. There are books for Careers, Business Management, legal and so much more.

Opposite of the book shelves is numerous trade magazines and journals. You can read the current issue or lift the shelf cover and pick out an old one.

Great Place to Research Your Business Idea

When you come in, walk over to the information desk and they will help you get started.

Did you know
  • KBLIC has 8 workstations with the Adobe Creative Cloud
  • We can help you research funding sources for your nonprofit
  • KBLIS has resources to find old stock prices
  • You can reserve 1 hour blocks on the Bloomberg Workstation

In the Innovation Center

The Macintosh machines in the Innovation Center has much popular application. You are free to use the computers in a two-hour session per day. The following software applications are available on each machine:

  • Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master
  • Blender: An open source 3D creation suite
  • Comic Life 3: Turns your images into a comic
  • Balsamiq: Used to easily create interfaces, websites, software and mobile apps using wireframing
  • Final Cut Pro: Professional Video editing software
  • Office for Mac
  • XMind: The Most Popular Mind Mapping Tool on the Planet

3D Printing is Available

The Kirstein Business Center has a 3D Printer for public use! To use it, submit designs in STL format to get printed.

Checkout the website for more information.

Stop by and Say Hello

The next time your in Copley Square stop by the Boston Public Library and check out the Kirstein Business Center.

To access the KBC, enter through the main doors on Boylston Street. Walk straight in and where you see a staircase, go down.

April 12, 2017

Jot

Unix Header

Jot is a Unix program that prints sequential or random data. It's useful when you need a bunch of random words from a file or need a large numeric list.

This is just another way to generate a list of random words.

Random Group of Words

#! /bin/bash
jot -r -c 1000000 a z | rs -g 0 6 | sort | join /usr/share/dict/words - | uniq

Examples of using Jot

Sometimes it's easier to learn a command when you see several examples:

List the Years

If you needed to list the years in a decade or a large data range:

jot - 1950 1960
jot - 1970 2016

Multiple Text

Bart Simpsons would have loved this jot script:

jot -b "I will not cheat and output this text 20 times." 20

Bart Simpson

Hours in a Day

List out the hours in a day. (Could be done in Excel just as Easier)

jot -w '%01d:00' 12

Twitter Limit