May 25, 2017

Boston's Wang Center

The Wang Center is one of the most popular places in New England to see traveling Broadway Shows. In addition, the theater is a good location for Company gathering and weddings.

In 2016, the theater was rename the Boch Center.

Ten things I learned about the Wang Center / Boch Center

  • The Theater has existed since October 16, 1925 as the The Metropolitan Theatre. For years, it was called "The Met."
  • Designed by Clarence Blackhall (Also designed the Colonial Theatre and the Winthrop Building - first Boston Skyscraper with a steel frame. )
  • Many famous silent film stars were on hand including Harrison Ford, Bessie Love, Lois Wilson attending the opening ceremonies. Fay Lanphier, Miss America 1925, was also there.
  • Initial construction cost was $8 million in 1920. ($101,357,098 in 2017)
  • In 1962, it became The Music Hall
  • In 1979, Ronald Reagan held a fundraiser at Music Hall - Frank Sinatra was the headliner
  • In 1983, it became the Wang Center thanks to the donation of the Wang Family. Additionally fundraising was done to help restore
  • Designated as a landmark on July 10, 1990. (Approved on the first try)
  • Official became the Boch Center on November 1, 2016.
  • Maximum Seating capacity is 3,561seats (Can vary based on using the orchestra pit for seating)

Wang Boch Center

Not the Largest Concert Hall in New England

Tanglewoood in Lenox, Massachusetts is the largest concert hall in New England. It holds 5,100 seated inside. It has the ability to handle up to 18,000. ( That's 12,900 people sitting on the lawn outside.

Dress Circle Left and Dress Circle Right

Dress Circle Seats

The Dress Circle seats are not available for the general public. They are reserved for Boch Center Members. Generally, these seats are for corporate sponsors of the show or major sponsors of the Wang Center.

Parking around Wang Theater

You can park at the Tuffs Shared Services Parking garage next door.

We like to park at the Motor Mart Garage on Stuart Street. It's very easy to get to off the Massachusetts Turnpike. Simply Take the Prudential Exit. Stay right on the ramp heading towards Copley Square. You'll be on Stuart Street. Simply drive about 5 blocks and the garage will be on your left. You'll see the garage sign by the time you get past Berkeley Street.

Both garages charge $28 a day. (Sunday Rate)

May 24, 2017

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

Amazon Alexa is a great audible assistance tool that can be used as an entertainment device as well as a productivity tool.

How Echo Works

You simply ask Alexa for information and she will perform that task. For example, You can have Alexa turn on your Wemo devices.

You can have multiple Alexa devices in your house with different names. However, only one device can interact with Alexa at a time. This means you can't be in the Living Room asking for the weather and someone else wants to use the other Alexa to check the time.

Some Basic Commands

  • Alexa, What time is it?
  • Alexa, What's the weather today?
  • Alexa, How many days until Christmas?
  • Alexa, Tell me a Joke.

Some Productivity Commands

  • Alexa, remind me in 5 minutes to leave for work
  • Alexa, ask Rain Sounds to loop (Other noises are available)
  • Alexa, what's the traffic like today?
  • Alexa, inspire me

Fun for Kindergarten Kids

Alexa can be a great educational tool. Here are some ways that kids can have fun learning with Alexa:

  • Alexa, what time is it?
  • Alexa, how do you spell CAT?
  • Alexa, play a game
  • Alexa, Roll two dice
  • Alexa, Play Rock, Paper, Scissors
  • Alexa, what is a dollar?
  • Alexa, How many days until New Years Eve?
  • Alexa, Good Morning. (Learn something new about today.)

Alexa Always Listening?

There are some people that think having Alexa means that someone is always listening in on private conversations. This was the same issue that some security people had when Apple Siri first came out.

Police investigating a murder in Bentonville, Arkansas has issued a warrant to Amazon.com to have them turn over any audio and other recordings that were done with the Echo. Amazon has refused to comply with the warrant.

The police want to know if the Echo recorded the suspect voice, which would prove that he was there at the time of the crime.

The issue was resolved as the suspect, Jason Bates has voluntarily handed over the recording. (Which are available in the Amazon Alexa App)

Lots of Fun!

There's a lot of practical things to do with Alexa. It certainly would make a great Father's Day gift. You can get the Echo on Amazon, Target, Staples or Best Buy.

May 23, 2017

Maggiano's Little Italy

This past weekend we saw Annie at the Boch Center (Wang Center). After the show we headed over to Maggiano's for an early dinner.

Since we arrived after a sold out show the restaurant was very busy. In addition, there were several nearby graduation ceremonies. We planned ahead and had reservations. However, we still had to wait 20 minutes before sitting down at our table.

Some Things I Learned While Waiting

  • There is an elevator to the restroom downstairs - it's located just beyond the stairs.
  • There is a small waiting area near the elevator with a couple of chairs
  • It's very difficult to hear the table announcements from the chairs.
  • The bar is the best place to be to hear the table announcements.
  • There is a plug by one of the chairs by the elevator, and someone was using that to charge their phone.

Service Was a Bit Weird

While the food was great, We did have a problem with our waiter. While we were waiting for our order, my daughter was getting hungry. There was bread on the table, but it wasn't gluten free. The waiter told us that the didn't have any gluten-free bread.

We asked if their soup was gluten free, he seemed a bit unsure. We then asked if he could get cucumbers for her as an appetizer, he then told us that he was "too busy to get the cucumbers."

We were shocked that he would say that and asked to see the manager. We were afraid that this would turn into the experience that we had last year at the Cheese Cake Factory.

Thankfully the management did step up and made our experience enjoyable. They were out of the way to make sure that the table service was very good.

When we placed our order, we did request the kid's meal to be served the same time as the appetizers. Turns out that less than 30 seconds later that the meal arrived at our table. The original server, who had no time, could have simply checked on the status of the meals.

Gluten Free Options

My daughter order the Fettuccine Alfredo with gluten free pasta, basically fancy Mac & Cheese. She loved the meal and ate most of it. There wasn't enough leftover to take home, which she usually does.

For desert, she had Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with some chocolate sauce. It was excellent!

Gluten Free Maggianos
Gluten Free Fettuccine Alfredo

Will we go Back?

Yes! Despite the initial poor quality of service. We will certainly go back. We did enjoy the food and had a good time after watching Annie.

Getting to Maggiano's Little Italy

Maggiano's Little Italy is located at 4 Columbus Ave near the theater district. We parked at the Motor Mart Garage, which is located just upstairs. It cost $28 to park at Motor Mart Garage, which is the same price as the garage next to

The restaurant is located about 3 blocks from the Boch Center - Wang Theatre.

If you are going to a show, make the reservations at least 30 minutes after the show ends. That will give you time to leave and walk over to the restaurant.

May 22, 2017

Haunted Mansion Statues Inspiration?

Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are all in the technology rush to build superior facial recognition technology.

There's a lot at stake for each company as they can offer businesses and governments a lot of value. For example, using facial technology police departments can identify witnesses to a crime.

Google/Shutterfly and Facebook can use the technology to match like photos together. So if a consumer tag a face as their mother, the businesses can create Mothers day promotions using photos that match.

Google Photos

I upload all my iPhone pictures to Google photos. It's a good way to backup photos. In addition, the search criteria are awesome. I can search for "pink house" and instantly I'll see all the photos that contain a pink house.

When you enter search functionality, you'll see some face thumbnail images the ability to see photo using facial recognition. It's a cool feature to see where else I took people photos.

Interesting Side Effect

On a recent trip to Disney World, I took some pictures of the statues in the waiting queue at the Haunted Mansion. It's a very popular photo spot for kids. There are five statues in a semi-circle.

A few months after the trip, I noticed that Google Photos did a facial recognition on one of the twins. I was surprised to find some photos that I took in the Massachusetts State House matched up to one of the Twin statues.

Apparently Google thinks that the Lafayette statue in the Massachusetts Statehouse is the same face as the one at the Haunted Mansion. Was Lafayette the inspiration for one of the twins?

Disney Statues

What do you think? Are they the same? Is Google correct to tag them as related? Did Disney Imagineers use Lafayette as an inspiration for the statue?

May 21, 2017

Illegal to take Photographs of train tracks

Did you know that it's Illegal to take pictures on the train tracks?

This past week, I took a photo of the removed fence in Framingham and uploaded to Twitter.

A few minutes later I got this surprising response:

Was I really out of line. Turns out that I was.

Union Pacific Alert Photographers

In 2013, Union Pacific Railroad and Operation Lifesaver put out a press release encouraging photographers not to use train tracks as their settings. The press release contains lots of facts on why it's very dangerous to use train tracks for photo sessions.

It's Illegal to take Photos of Train Tracks

Why it's Illegal? Your trespassing on private property. In order for you to take the picture, you have to be trespassing. In Massachusetts, trespassing on train tracks might be fined $100 (Chapter 218, Section 218):
Whoever knowingly, without right is present, stands, walks, or rides a bicycle, snow vehicle, recreational or other vehicle on the right-of-way, bridge, or other property of, or used or controlled by any railroad corporation, except at a highway or other authorized grade crossing and except on rights-of-way formally abandoned pursuant to state or federal law and no longer owned by said railroad corporation or rights-of-way owned by said railroad corporation but which have been converted or leased specifically for use as a bicycle or walking path in accordance with state or federal laws, shall be fined $100 or shall be required to perform a total of 50 hours of community service which may include service in the operation lifesaver program, so-called. Any person violating this section may be arrested without a warrant by any police officer, including railroad police, and proceeded against according to law.

Operation Lifesaver

According to Operation Lifesaver, a group that educates the public about rail safety, 16 Americans have been killed and 5 injured in photography-related train track incidents.

May 20, 2017

Diver Dave Hoses

This weekend we are emptying the water in the pool so that we can put in a pool liner. We are having someone come over and do the installation.

Ugly Pool Water
Ugly Pool Water

First thing first we need to get rid of all the pool water.

We have a couple of Flotec Tempest Water Removal Utility Pumps that we connected to the pool. They work great. Just don't seem to be a good resource to empty out a 14,645 gallon (52996 Liters) size pool.

According to the Flotec website, the pumps are supposed to have a flow of 1260 Gallons Per Hour. I wasn't seeing that kind of flow in my testing.

Diver Dave to the Rescue

One thing that I discovered was really helpful was connecting some of the Diver Dave hoses and then siphon out the water. The Diver Dave Hoses are 1 1/2 inches wide, which makes the water flow so much faster.

I did a 5-gallon bucket test and discovered that using the Diver Dave hoses, and a simple siphon I was able to get the 5-gallon bucket filled up in 30-seconds. Which means that 600 additional gallons of water were leaving the pool every hour.

We have a lot of the Diver Dave hoses, so I was able to have two siphons stations set up and get a total of 1,200 gallons of water an hour. This means that for a 14,645-gallon pool, it will take roughly 12 hours to empty the pool.

Because a lot of water comes out, I have to move around the hoses so that I don't cause a flood of water to any of my neighbor's yards.

Diver Dave Hose Flow
Diver Dave water flow is larger than a standard hose.

Using Garden Hoses

Garden hoses are good. But they are 1/2 the size of the Diver Dave hoses, which means that it would take 24 hours to empty the pool. Might be a good solution if I didn't have that many Diver Dave hoses available.

The good thing Diver Dave Hose has over standard hoses is that it's less likely a leaf will stop the flow.

Be Creative!

If you need to empty out the pool, check out the pool hoses that you have and consider using them to make the process go quickly!

May 19, 2017

Fluid App

Fluid is a cool application that turns any website into its own Mac Application.

You can make Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and other websites into an App that can be put in the Dock. Now you can quickly get to the sites instead of having to open up a browser and then clicking on a bookmark.

This is also handy if you play Farmville or other web-based games. Now your just a click away from playing your game.

Simple Interface

Fluid App Open

Fluid user interface is pretty simple, just enter the URL and the application name. You then pick where to put the new App and if you have an icon you would like to use. If you don't have one, it will use the same icon that you see when you create bookmarks.

Safari Webkit

Each "application" uses Safari Webkit. So if your website is optimized for Firefox or Opera it may appear slightly different.

Here's an example user agent log entry. The initial requests show that it's from Fluid:

Fluid/206 CFNetwork/811.4.18 Darwin/16.5.0 (x86_64)

Any Clicks/Navigations shows that it's using Apple Web Kit:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_12_0) AppleWebKit/602.2.14 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/10.0.1 Safari/602.2.14

Bonus Features

If you like Fluid functionality consider paying $4.99 to get some additional features.

  • Create Fluid Apps with Separate Cookie Storage - Useful if you have multiple gmail accounts and don't want to log in each time.
  • Pin Fluid Apps to the Mac OS X Status Bar - Now you can make Apps even easier to use.
  • Use Userscripts or Userstyles in your Fluid Apps.
  • Use Full Screen mode in your Fluid Apps.

Overall Thoughts

This is a pretty cool utility. I could think of some websites that I would want to use this application - especially for testing. For example, I have an App that opens an internal server to check a critical path that customers may take.

At first it feels weird to look at some websites without the browser location bar. It's a pretty cool tool to use for some websites.

Getting the Fluid.App

You can get the Fluid App from their website. You can use the basic features for free.

May 18, 2017

Memorial Day Flag Garden

Every Memorial Day weekend there are thousands of American flags that are placed in the grass on the Boston Commons.

Fieldof Flags

These flags are a memorial to each Massachusetts Soldier that died in battle.

Who places the flags?

Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund is responsible for placing and maintaining the flags. In 2016, there was a sign:

Flag Sign

The sign reads:

This garden of 37,000 flags was planted in memory of every fallen Massachusetts service member from the Revolutionary War to the present. These flags will be on display throughout Memorial Day weekend for your observance and reflection. Please remember and honor the ultimate sacrifices of our local heroes.

Each flag represents a fallen service member; please respect the display.

Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund are looking for volunteers are needed to help out set up the flag, protecting the flags and taking them down. Download a Volunteer Information sheet for more information. If your able to help out, use their online sign-up form.

Flag Garden Timeline

Here's a timeline that I created of the Flag Garden events. Activities start on Wednesday, May 24th:

Timeline Memorial3

Finding the Memorial

You can find the flags between Frog Pond and Charles Street. The best way to see them is from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The flags are on display for a very limited time. This year the flags will be removed on Memorial Day - May 29th at 6 pm.

It's quite a sight to see 37,000 flags planted in the ground, and certainly worth seeing!

May 17, 2017

Emergent Task Planner

If you would like to get more things done in a day, most productivity experts will tell you to plan out your day. If you don't plan out your day, you'll never get the things done that will help your career.

A really good planing tool/strategy is the Emergent Task Planner by Dave Seah. He has several different tools, but I found that the Emergent Task Planner is a good way to track your day.

Task Planner Image

The idea of the tool is to focus on three main tasks for the day. Having it written down forces you to focus on the task. Throughout the day you update the planner so at the end of the day you have a better idea on what work actually got accomplished.

Who is David Seah?

David Seah is in the pursuit of designing the most practical tools to increase personal productivity.

On his website you can watch a YouTube video of him putting together one of his Productivity tools. It's a very cool video to watch how he goes about the design process.

Dave Seah is also on stomperk list of "Time management & productivity blogs and experts!"

Tested and Verified

I have been using the Emergent Task Planner off and on for about 5 years now. I find it very useful to plan out my day. I don't use it all the time, but I find it very useful when I find that I can't get my work done.

Over the past ten years, David has come out with several different versions of the Emergent Task Planner. He makes changes based on feedback from loyal users and for his personal use.

Getting the Emergent Task Planner

You can download the documents from his website. There is instructions on how to use the document.

I would suggest ordering printed copies of the Emergent Task Planner from Amazon. The are high-quality paper printouts that will save you lots of money on printer ink and it's only $12 for 50 sheets

May 16, 2017

Gluten Free Cupcakes at Cupcake Charlie's

Last Year, I posted that Cupcake Charlie's carries some gluten free goodies. They have a delicious selection of gluten free pudding cakes and cookies.

On a recent visit, we were surprised to find that they carry gluten free cupcakes. It turns out that they have a very limited supply and they get their shipments on Fridays.

Charlie Cup Cake

When my daughter took a bite into her cupcake, she was pleasantly surprised to find a chocolate fillings. She loved it and can't wait to get another one.

Natick Cupcake Charlie

Cupcake Charlie's is located on the second in the middle of the Natick Mall. Your best parking options would be to park at the third level in the garage near Lord and Taylor. Then it's a simple walk to the Mall and head towards Neiman Marcus.

Make sure to stop by on Friday, as we have visited the store numerous times on the weekend and didn't know that they had gluten free cupcakes.

You can eat in or take it home. Tip: Take it home so that you can enjoy the delicious treat.

May 15, 2017

Star Wars Theme Land Park

In February, Disney announced that the Star Wars Theme Land park in Disneyland and Disney World will be open sometime in 2019. Construction at both parks are well underway.

Disney haven't given any specific dates, probably in case they need to change the schedule dues to unexpected construction delays.

ConstructionConstruction was busy at Disney Studios in February 2017.

What is known is that a new Star Wars Movie is set to open on Memorial Day weekend - May 25, 2019. That's when Episode IX directed by Colin Trevorrow will be released. Colin directed the hit Jurassic World movie. (Jurassic World 2 opens June 22, 2018)

My guess is that they would wait until the summer of 2019 (Third fiscal quarter) to open the new theme land. The new park would help with some of the slower summer business. It would help Disney work out the kinks so that things would be busy during the November/December peak periods.

Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary

August 2019 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Haunted Mansion. Expect a huge celebration as Disney with the 25th and 40th anniversary. I would suspect that they wouldn't want to open the Star Wars Theme Land during that celebration.

New Land New Hotel

Oh, and there are rumors that a "Starship" Luxury resort might be coming to the Disney Property. The hotel would look like some spaceship. Apple new headquarters would be a good place to start the design process.

Apple Headquarters
Apple Cupertino, CA headquarters could be an inspiration to Disney new "Starship" hotel.

Don't Plan Your Trip - Yet!

If you are planning a trip to see the new Star Wars Theme Land Park, you might be better off waiting until 2020. As the park will certainly be busy with everyone wanting to see the new ride.

Remember the excitement over the Frozen Ride at Epcot?

Star Wars Movie Schedule

  • December 15, 2017 - Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
  • May 25, 2018 - Star Wars: Han Solo
  • May 25, 2019 - Star Wars: Episode IX
  • 2020 - Star Wars (Scheduled but nothing more has been released.)

It will be exciting to see what Disney comes up with!

May 14, 2017

New Enforcement being Issued at MBTA Commuter Parking lot

On a private commuter group that I am on, there has been reports that commuters have gotten tickets on their cars.

MBTA Parking Board

Did you know that MBTA Parking Police can write you a ticket for an expired inspection sticker?

According to the list of ticketable offenses, the MBTA police can also write up a ticket for not renewing your car inspection. Its a $50 fine!

Note: If a Boston Police Office was to ticket you for the same offense, it would only be a $40 fine. Not exactly sure why it would be more in the MBTA Parking Lot.

Insurance Citation Points

What's worst is that it counts as a point towards your insurance.

In Massachusetts, if you get a ticket for an expired vehicle inspection sticker it is the equivalent of a moving violation.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Insurance, surcharge points are incurred if you:

  • Cause an at-fault accident
  • Convicted of or pay a fine for a traffic law violation
  • Aassigned to an alcohol education program

An expired inspection sticker is considered "paying a fine for a traffic law violation."

A $50 ticket results increased insurance costs for 6 years! If you have a perfect driving record, that can amount to about a 20% increase (!!) the first three years. The premium will go down for the following three years.

Why all the recent tickets?

Are more people forgetting to renew their car inspections?

Probably not.

Massachusetts is facing a revenue shortfall in 2017 and there is speculation that the police have increased fine enforcement. The fiscal year ends next month.

Members of the private commuter group are speculating that a memo was sent to the MBTA Parking enforcement team to check for inspection stickers to help make up for lost revenue.

May 13, 2017

Flag Position on the House

In 2009, when we repainted the house, we researched if it mattered what side of the door the flag should be on the house. We were surprised to find out that it does matter.

In 1942, the federal government established the federal Flag Code detailing how to properly display and use the U.S. flag.

According to §175. Position and manner of display, section (i):

When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

This means that the flag should be positioned to the left side of the front door, not the right.

Flag Door

May 12, 2017

Daisy Disk

Daisy Disk gives you a visual breakdown of your disk space in form of an interactive map, reveal the biggest space wasters, and help you remove them with a simple drag and drop.

Discover what's hiding inside the "Other" storage category and clear it up.

Check out the difference between Apple's Storage chart and what Daisy Disk shows:

Daisy Disk Info

Very Useful Tool

I found Daisy Disk to be very used to figure out which folders are taking up the most amount of space. Especially useful when looking at external Thumb drives.

You can mouse over various parts of the pie chart to see the largest files in that area.

Daisy Disk also makes it easy to remove files. simply drag and drop files and folder and click the Delete button. Just make sure that you have a backup before clicking on the Delete button!

If your looking to take control of your computer storage, I highly recommend getting DaisyDisk.

Getting Daisy Disk

Daisy Disk is available in the App Store for $9.99 as one of the Essential Apps. There's only 2 Essential Apps in the Utilites category, the other Essential Utility App is Parcel - Delivery Tracking.

You can download a trial versions on the Daisy Disk Website. There are some limited features, and a registration reminder and delay whenever you start the application.

May 11, 2017

Pi Alley

Pi Alley Logo

Between the Old State House and the Irish Famine Memorial is a small alley called "Pi Alley."

When you walk down the alley you can learn some history of the Alley from a sign on the wall:

The Pi Alley Story

As downtown Boston evolved from a residential to commercial area by the end of the 19th century, the name of this alley evolved from the names of local landowners to one more descriptive of the area. Many small restaurants set up shop in the alley to serve the area's workers. A staple in many of these places was meat pies (often ordered by colorful names such as "Cat Pie" earning the alley the name "Pie Alley".

In the days when Washington Street was home to most of the city's newspaper printing plants, many of the printer and typesetters frequented a tavern in the alley called the Bell In Hand. In their haste to get refreshment, the newspapermen would often drop pocket full of mixed up loose type (called "pi" in the printing business) on the ground, leading to the current name "Pi Alley".

Today the alley continues the tradition of small businesses serving the people who work in the area.

It's Pi Alley Not Pie Alley

The sign is a bit misleading, locals have always referred the Alley as Pi Alley. The first printed reference to Pi Alley was in the Boston Globe in the early 1890s.

Pi is a terminology used by printers to describe type matter that has been upset or spilled. If a compositor had the misfortune to pi a line of type, they were expected to fix it at their own expense. Fixing the line of type was too much work. So many compositors just threw out the pi out the window into the alley - that is if no one was looking. It was that custom the alley got its name - Pi Alley.

In 1898, there was a restaurant called Dennett's that was located at 241 Washington Street - which is on the southwest corner of Pi Alley. Joseph Gridley food and hospitality was so good, that he was known as the "King of Pi Alley." His pies were good that people did consider changing the Alley to Pie Alley.

Pi Alley View

Things I learned about the Alley

  • Offical name was Williams Court
  • Was once called Savage's Court in the mid 1730s
  • Oldest By way in the City of Boston
  • Officially was recognized by the Boston Public Improvement Commission as Pi Alley on February 16, 1955
  • Locals have been calling it Pi Alley since the 1900s.
  • Alley is 100 feet long next to a 600-car garage.
  • Alley connects Washington Street and Court Square.
  • Pi Garage open for business on December 24, 1969

Newspaper Companies

Every major newspaper company had their offices nearby here, including:

  • Boston Globe
  • Boston Herald
  • Boston Post

Locating Pi Alley

You can find Pi Alley is located at 275 Washington St, Boston, MA 02108. It's located on the Freedom Trail. You can see the entrance to Pi Alley next to the Pi Alley Garage.

May 10, 2017

Momentum Dashboard

If you use Chrome as your default browser, you should know about the Momentum extension. Typically when you open a new tab in chrome you get a search bar. Not very exciting.

What if instead, you got an inspiration scene and a motivational quote? Something like this:

Momentum Screen

Momentum Dashboard

Momentum is a personal dashboard designed to eliminate distraction and provide inspiration, focus, and productivity.

With Momentum, you get a reminder of what’s important. It’s supposed to make you think, "Do you really need to check Facebook or Reddit now?"

Momentum only works for Google Chrome.

Momentum Plus

If you find the basic Momentum functionality to be useful, you can supercharge the dashboard with Momentum Plus.

Features:

  • Ability to Sync External Todo Apps: Trello, Todoist, Wunderlist, Google Tasks and more
  • Customize the Background that inspire you. Rather see Cats or Flowers, you now have a choice.
  • Custom Fonts and colors
  • More flexibility with the quotes that are displayed
  • Better control over your daily todo lists. You can have multiple todo (Home and Work)
  • Take notes with the Notes widget

Momentum Plus cost $2.50 a month (Billed at $30 for the year) or $4.95 a month.

How I use Momentum

Momentum helps me to stay on track. When I open a new tab and see a cool picture, I think to myself that would be a cool place to go someday.

In the task widget, I jot down the most important accomplishment towards my goal that needs to get done today. Every morning, no matter what crazy thing goes on at work, I can stay on track towards my goal.

I haven't signed up for the Plus feature yet. The ability to have multiple ToDos list sounds good. However, I find using Apple's calendar and Google calendar to be a good way to set reoccurring reminders such as checking the latest TPS reports.

Download Momentum

To install Momentum, visit the Chrome Extension App store and click on the install link.

Momentum has 2.5 million users, so it has very strong followings.

May 9, 2017

Gluten Free Pizza at The Chateau

Having Celiac as a kid can be hard when going to friends parties. Some of my daughter's friends will go put of the way to get gluten free pizza and cake. But we always make sure she has something to eat with the other kids.

Last week we were in a rush to find a Gluten Free pizza place near Westborough. We needed to bring a gluten-free pizza to a pizza party at Laser Craze that we were attending.

After a quick brainstorming, we thought that we would give the Chateau a try. We have eaten there in the past and enjoyed their food.

Placing the Order

When we called them, we asked if they had a gluten free pizza, and they said they did. Then they asked if it was for an allergy. We said it was, and the person that took our call asked us to wait a minute. She came back to the phone and said that they could do that.

We placed our order in Natick and arrived 20 minutes later at the Chateau in Westborough.

Excellent Pizza

My daughter really liked the pizza, which is all that mattered. She had 2 slices and said it was good.

To me the pizza looks like it was slightly under cook. When I tasted a slice it was actually very good.

The pizza was on top of a foil pizza tray. Which was a clear sign that they were preventing any cross contamination in the oven.

I think the slightly discoloring that I saw was a result of cooking on the pizza tray. It looked like it was undercooked but the pizza was nice and crunchy.

Westborough Chateau
Gluten Free Pizza at the Chateau in Westborough, Massachusetts.

Overall Good Experience

The whole experience was excellent. The Chateau in Westborough is right off of Route 9, which made it an easy stop on our way to a birthday party.

Its nice to know of an another good quality pizza place nearby. Now we have options go to another party in the future. More importantly, we can let her choose which place to get her pizza from.

What about Desert?

We were running a bit early, that we had time to stop at Gerardo's European Bakery to get some gluten free brownies.

They didn't have any gluten free cupcakes but the brownies were a great substitute. We got one for one of her friends too. The brownies were delicious and more chocolatey than a typical brownie.

Getting to the Chateau

The Westborough Chateau is located just off of Route 9 - Westbound. It's the second exit after 495 and 9 interchange.

The Chateau has lots of gluten free options, it not just a pizza shop. Check out their online menu.

May 8, 2017

Disney Dollar

Last summer, Disney announced that it will no longer be issuing new Disney Dollars. They are pushing for people to use Disney Gift Cards. As of May 13, 2016 you could no longer purchase Disney Dollars.

Disney hadn't announced if/when they will officially stop accepting Disney Dollars in the parks. There are no expiration date on the Disney Dollars, so bills that already have been purchased still can be used.

For now, most people will just hold on to their Disney Dollars as a collector's item.

History of Disney Dollars

Disney first sold Disney Dollars on May 5, 1987 in Disneyland and then in DisneyWorld on October 5th. On the first day of sale, Disneyland sold $60,000 worth of Disney Dollars.

Had Disney not canceled the Disney Dollar last year, this past weekend would have been the 30th Anniversary of the first one sold.

Each Disney Dollar has the Scrooge McDuck's signature as Treasurer.

Disney Dollars the Collectable

Did you know that some Disney Dollars have a high value for collectors?

For example: the "Disney Dollars 2000" a $10 Donald Very Rare D Series is one of the rarest there is. At one time that particular Disney Dollar was going for $1,500 on eBay.

If you have any Disney Dollars in your collection, check out eBay to see if it's valuable.

May 7, 2017

Tips for having a Take Your Son/Daughter to Work day.

This was the third year that I help organize the "Take your Son/Daughter to work day." It a great program that helps your children understand what their parents do at work all day. This is sponsored in part by the Take you Son and Daughter to Work foundation.

Planning

About a month before the day, we sent out invitations to parents to let them know of the event. We asked their age and if they had any special allergies. We followed up with an additional email a week before the event.

The most common feed back that I got was "why was this during a school time?" Wouldn't it make more sense to do it during school vacation week?

From the foundation:

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work(R) Day is organized during the school year so girls and boys can take what they learn in workplaces on Thursday and apply it to the classroom on Friday. By involving whole communities--schools, girls and boys, parents, workplaces, and mentors--the program helps young people make connections between what they learn in school and their future goals.

Activities

Here are some of the activities that we had planned:

Younger Kids

  • Color in the Company Logo
  • Where are we on the city map? What are we near?
  • Word Matching (Name to Logo) - How well do you know your logos?
  • Create your Dream Job - What do you want to be when you grow up and why?
  • What would your Work Desk look like?
  • iPiggiBank - "Allowance is serious kid business"
  • A-Z Office Wordlist - A scavenger hunt to find things that matches a letter of the alphabet.

Older Kids

  • What do you think our logo should look like?
  • How do you think we do to help other companies?
  • Brainstorming Activity: What is your Dream Job?
  • What skills will you need to do your dream job?
  • Job Matching Quiz - Match the job title with the picture.
  • "The Future is Me" - Write the headline of something you wish to accomplish someday
  • iPiggiBank - "Allowance is serious kid business"
  • A-Z Office Wordlist - A scavenger hunt to find things that matches a letter of the alphabet.

Some Lessons Learned

  • Anything younger than 7 is non-productivity. Kids are just running around. Keep activities short and interesting.
  • Have lots of snacks for the kids and their parents. There are plenty of healthy allergy free snacks
  • I saw some business having matching color shirts for the kids. This was a great idea.
  • Enlist people that were teachers as volunteers.
  • We had a Parents Panel that was useful for the kids to learn what their parents do to help the business.
  • We asked kids to bring in their favorite toy for a show and tell.
  • When kids arrived we made them make there own name tags
  • Some companies split up the age groups. We didn't have enough kids to do that, so we tried activities that everyone would enjoy
  • If your building has security in the lobby, check with them on the procedure for bringing kids to the office.
  • Part of the building was having a fire drill. We made sure that the kids were always in an area where a drill wasn't going to happen.
  • If you have water cups in the kitchen, make sure that things are reachable.
  • Paper Airplane activity was a big hit as kids worked hard to build a paper airplane that would fly the furthest.
  • The final activity of the day was to have the kids plan for next year event. It was a fun way for the volunteers to see what the kids liked the most.

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