Misc blog postings

Misc Postings - Page 2

Earliest: July 28, 2003Latest: June 28, 2020Total: 117
March 4, 2018

Amazon Alexa/Echo Cards

If your an Amazon Alex fan, chances are you have multiple units. The problem is that you have to different "wake up" word so that your speaking to the closet unit.

If you're like us, you probably have a hard time remembering what the wake-up word for the particular unit. You usually end up saying "Echo/Alexa."

That's why I created these graphics reminders. Simply print these out and place them near the unit to remember the name of the device.

Click on image for a larger version.
Click on image for a larger version.
Click on image for a larger version.
Click on image for a larger version.

If there's any other's that you would like to see, simply leave a comment.

January 28, 2018


BluMoo is a Universal Home Entertainment Remote. It's designed to allow you to control all your entertainment devices from your smartphone. It's a great solution if you have multiple devices and don't want to mess with having all the remotes around. In fact, BluMoo is program to control 200,000 unique devices out of the box.

We had this device for a few years and never used it. We decided to use it when we couldn't find the remote for our Toshiba TV. We have been using a Comcast Xfinity remote, but are not going to be using it anymore.

Setting up the HomeBase

It was a bit confusing on how the BluMoo works with the TV. The instructions weren't really clear on how to connect the Homebase with the TV, it focuses more on the audio capabilities.

Basically the Homebase needs to have a visual of the TV. It won't work by putting it under the TV or behind it. (As I was thinking to hide it behind the wall mounted TV)

Key thing to remember: The BluMoo Homebase sends infrared signals to any device that can receive those signals.

In our situation, the Homebase is on the opposite side of the room from the TV - on the shelf where my computer is.

Blumoo Phone
Using the BlueMoo iOS App is very easy!

Using the BluMoo with the TV

Anytime I need to interact with the TV, I simply open up my iPhone and the BluMoo App, and then turn on the TV. I can then use the channel selector to change the channel.

There is a built-in TV Guide, where I can see what's going on and change the channel to the show.

I can do this any place in the room, I just need to be within 150 of the BluMoo Homebase.

Good Tool to Have

The BluMoo is a good tool to have in the event that you lose any remote to any electronic device. It's very easy to setup up and use. You can get a BluMoo at Amazon or on eBay.

December 31, 2017

2018 Calendar on a Page

Here's the 2018 Calendar - featuring the Year on a Page. This is a two-page document featuring both landscape and portrait in the same document. Each month has the previous or next month days included. This was created using InDesign CS2 using the InDesign Calendar Wizard Plug-in version 5.0.

2018 Calendar
Download the PDF File

You can easily import this into Affinity Designer to add all sorts of designs to highlight days. In addition, print out a copy and have it at your desk for a quick visual of the upcoming year.

I find this type of Calendar useful, hopefully, it helps others out.

December 24, 2017

Rules for my Son and Daughter Update

A few favorites from the book Rules for My Unborn Son.

  1. Never shake a man's hand sitting down.
  2. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain't one.
  3. The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.
  4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
  5. Act like you've been there before. Especially in the end zone.
  6. Request the late check-out.
  7. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
  8. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
  9. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
  10. Don't fill up on bread.
  11. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye.
  12. Don't let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
  13. If you need music on the beach, you're missing the point.
  14. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
  15. You marry the girl, you marry her whole family.
  16. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
  17. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.
  18. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.
  19. Never turn down a breath mint.
  20. In a game of HORSE, sometimes a simple free throw will get 'em.
  21. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.
  22. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
  23. Thank a veteran. And then make it up to him.
  24. If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.
  25. Eat lunch with the new kid.
  26. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
  27. Ask your mom to play. She won't let you win.
  28. See it on the big screen.
  29. Give credit. Take the blame.
  30. Write down your dreams.

*Update - It's crazy to me but this post has somehow gone viral. For clarification, this was a list I consolidated from my favorite sayings at this (Source). **Originally Posted 5 years ago

Bonus Six Rules for my six-year-old daughter

My daughter will turn seven next week - Just some random things that I thought of while looking over the Top 30 Rules for my Son.

  1. Treat everyone with respect
  2. Never settle for less than your very best every day.
  3. Save as much money as you can. Understand the power of compounding.
  4. Never be afraid to ask for help.
  5. If your not earning enough money, your not giving enough value.
  6. If life gets you down, three words - Silly Hat Day
December 10, 2017

XS Energy Magnet Scam

They are back! Fresh off of the Casio Campaign, the scammers are now promoting XS Energy Drink magnets. Read the previous blog post: G-Shock Car Shock Promotion.

x2 Energy Drink
Not the real magnet.
You just loose money, you don't get any product.

The full text of the promotion (Cut/Paste the unedited text):

XS ENERGY DRINK announces the availability of the MRGG2000HT-1A a new special edition timepiece demonstrating the best in Japanese innovation and craftsmanship that was unveiled at Basel world will be available in select stores this October . With 500 pieces available worldwide, the first-ever Bluetooth® connected XS is handcrafted using a traditional Japanese hammer tone technique with colors inspired by a Japanese cloud dragon. The MRGG2000HT-1A timepiece features three-way time sync capabilities made possible via Bluetooth Connectivity and XS ENERGY DRINK?s GPS Atomic Solar Hybrid technology, accurately measuring time and location from anywhere on earth.

We are currently seeking to employ individual?s Nationwide, Regular citizens, Professional drivers to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big advert for "XS ENERGY DRINK" plastered on your Bike/Car/Truck/Boat/Lorry/Cart. The advert are typically vinyl decals that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which will cover any portion of your Bike/Car/Truck/Boat/Lorry/Cart's exterior surface.

What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy ?
We get lots of exposure and awareness from doing this. The adverts tend to be colorful, eye-catching and attract lots of attention which people who are stuck in traffic can't avoid seeing the wrapped Bike/Car/Truck/Boat/Lorry/Cart alongside them. Plus, it's a form of advertising with a captive audience. This program will last for 16 weeks and the minimum you can participate is 10 weeks.

Compensation/Reward :
You will be compensated with $500 per week which is essentially a "RENTAL" payment for letting our company use the space & no fee is required from you. XS ENERGY DRINK shall provide specialist that will handle the advert placing on your car. You will receive an up front payment inform of check via courier service for accepting to carry this advert on your car.

It?s a Scam

Don?t fall for this scam. Think about it? Why would someone pay you $500 per week to put an advertisement on a Bike or Cart?

The text message came from 724 519-7939. The number is registered to an Emily Matthews in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (I am sure the text number is spoofed.

September 23, 2017

G-Shock Car Shock Promotion

Recently I got the following strange text message from (724) 242-0422:

Text Message

I decided to check it out, and fill out the online form (which was hosted free by jotform.com). The form asked some basic questions about my car and my contact information.

A few hours later I got the following email from a gmail.com account. Not sure why it didn?t come from Casio or from a marketing company:

Subject: Re: G-Shock Promotion Mix -
From: "Sierra Shelley"
Date: Thu, September 14, 2017 4:16 pm
To: xxx...@cryan.com

Congratulations, I am happy to inform you that you have successfully been entered into the paid to drive by G-Shock Promotion Mix program. An expert, who will meet you has been allocated to install the decals on your car. You will therefore receive your payment alongside the money that will be paid to the national car Specialist(expert) in the mail. So when you get the payment, you will take out your first week pay of $500 and give the rest to the Specialist. This is to afford mutual relationship between you and the Specialist. A check of $2170 would be mailed to you to cover your money and the Specialist money. In view of this,

Please confirm the following details:

*How long do you intend to carry the advertisement on your car? One(1) month, two(2) months or three(3) months?

*Do you use your car everyday?Also reconfirm your name and address as it should be on the check, where your payment should be mailed. You are to be checking your email daily for updates and while your check will arrive in the mail.


Wait...What Did I Win?

Wow a check for $2,170? Wait a minute... what?

It's a bit weird that they would rush out a check and not schedule an appointment with the specialist. In addition at no point have I been notified of the rules of the program. I haven't signed any contract. Some thoughts came to mind if this was a legit program:

  • What happens if pieces of the sticker go missing, am I obligated to notify the company?
  • What if I was going on a long vacation or a business trip? Am I allowed to leave the car in my garage and still get paid for the week.

No rules. No Contract. So, ya something is weird.

I decided to see how far this would go. I confirmed the information and a couple of days later I got the following email:

Check in the Mail

Subject: Re: G-Shock Promotion Mix -
From: "Sierra Shelley"
Date: Tue, September 19, 2017 3:16 pm
To: xxx...@cryan.com

We like to bring to your notice that our representative have mail out payment to you and we have been informed that Payment of $2170 was send to you that will cover the decal expenses and your first week payment via USPS with the Tracking #940550...320131979711 it will deliver to you today or tomorrow.


So, I haven't signed any commitment and already I am getting paid? Oh and good luck trying to find an image of what the casio "small sticker" looks like.

 G-Shock Car Wrap
I created this mockup so other people will see what a G-Shock Car Wrap would look like.

Check Arrived!

Yes its a Cashier's Check! Wahoo! I got $2,170 in the mail. But that's all that was in the Priority Mail envelope: an 8 1/2 by 11 paper.

Fake Cashier's Check

Bank Check Fraud2

There are several things wrong with this check, here's a few observations:

  • Printed on a plan 8 1/2" x 11" paper and doesn't contain any invisible fluorescent fibers
  • Cashier's Check have the issuing bank telephone number on it. That is missing.
  • The Authorize Signature line is supposed to have a micro print. That is missing.
  • Contains a "Reorder 140-5187 Form #7200" on the bottom. Which is Avanquest Software's Business Voucher Checks ($29.19). Do you really think that Navy Credit Union would be using this paper for their Cashier's Check?

Not Over Yet!

There's more to this story. I'll update with lots more to this story. It's not over yet!

Phone Numbers Used in Scam

  • (724) 242-0422 - Original Text message to socialite the offer.
  • (813) 419-2870 - Correspondence after the letter was received

Addresses Used in this Scam

  • vanessase4@gmail.com
  • 1500 Rankin Rd, ARLINGTON Texas 76015 - Where $1,670 was to be sent

Additional Information

You can learn more about Cashier Check Scam at How to Spot Cashier's Check Fraud - Examples of Scams

September 10, 2017

QA Warning Graphics

Here are a few graphics that I put together for Slack. Feel free to use these when you feel they are appropriate.

Feel free to use the URL instead of the graphic - that way you don't use up valuable Slack storage.

Code Freeze Appears2http://www.cryan.com/images/CodeFreezeAppears2.jpg
Code Freeze is Closer than it Appears.

How About That Releasehttp://www.cryan.com/images/images/HowAboutThatRelease.jpg
"How about that Release?"

No Going Back Nowhttp://www.cryan.com/images/images/NoGoingBackNow.jpg
There?s No Going Back Now

Go Wronghttp://www.cryan.com/images/images/GoWrong.jpg
What Could Possibly go Wrong?

I archived the graphics on the QA reference page. If you're a Quality Assurance tester, frequently check out the page as new QA graphics will be put there.

August 13, 2017

Remembering Television

This weekend I was working on a fun video for a 50th birthday party. The video featured some of the television shows that we grew up watching.

It was fun trying to remember some of the classic shows that we watched. It was amazing how many of the great shows have good quality introductions on YouTube.

Here's a list of the 22 shows that we came up with. If you grew up in the 70s/80s are there any shows that you think should be on this list?

T V Shows

Shows we Grew up Watching

  • Captain Kangaroo
  • Electric Company
  • Flintstones
  • The Jetsons
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Happy Days
  • Diff?rent Strokes
  • Adam 12
  • Emergency
  • Bewitched
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • Chips
  • The Munsters
  • The Monkeys
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • That?s Incredible
  • Hawaii 5-0
  • Knight Rider
  • Alf
  • Unsolved Mysteries
  • Facts of Life

Many of the shows that we watched, such as Brady Bunch, was done while it was in syndications. We would watch the show long after it canceled off regular TV.

August 5, 2017

Netcom California

Netcom Logo

In California, Back in the mid-1990's, the way most people would access the internet was through Netcom. They had horrible service and consumers complained about the poor quality.

Netcom changed over the years, today it's now part of the Viatel group and was renamed Viatel.

There were many good parodies created around the problems that users faced with Netcom. While search my CD collection, I found this parody created by created by wotan@netcom.com on March 1996. (To the tune of "Hotel California")

Netcom California

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Burnt smell of cruisers rising up in the air
Up ahead in the distance I saw a bright neon light
My head grew heavy and my eyes grew dim
I had to stop for a byte

There she stood in the doorway, but it wasn't The Well
I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven but it looks like hell
Then she gave me an account, and she told me to go that way
There were shellers behind the counter
Saying "We wish the losers would go away."

Welcome to the Netcom, California.
What a lovely place, what a lovely face
Plenty of Bananas at the Netcom, California
Here's your bill, would you like an account with that?

So I called support, told them please fix the mail
They never responded, and now I want to bail
And still those voices are calling from far away
We drive through in the middle of the night just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Netcom California
What a lovely place, what a lovely face
Livin it up at the Netcom California
What a nice surprise, Sales Rep told you some lies

Mirrors on the ceiling, being able to log on is nice
We are all just prisoners here of our own device
Out the back in support, they gather round the beast
They stab it with their bagel knives but they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember I was running for the zoo
I had to find a plastic bag to throw my guts into
Stop there said the auto-biller, we are programmed to receive
We expect you to put up with all this sh*t but never to leave.

June 24, 2017

How to Report and Seek Change for Dangerous Road Conditions

The Interstate System throughout the U.S. is over 46,000 miles long. With millions of cars traveling our roadways each day, through all types of weather, it?s no surprise that our roads need upkeep from time to time.

The Interstate System is not the only collection of roads that need work, look around your community, and there are probably many neighborhood streets with potholes and even bridges that need repair.

Problematic Road

Car Hubcap

Every year, drivers hit giant potholes on the road, despite trying to avoid them. In some cases, when trying to swerve away from a pothole, a collision may occur with another motorist. Potholes and other issues in the road are not only an eyesore but cost drivers money every year. U.S. drivers, on average, spend a total of $3 billion on car repairs due to potholes and poor road conditions.

In addition to potholes, many roads have cracks, no clear lane and shoulder markings, and inadequate guardrails on overpasses and curves in the road. All of these things are potential contributors to fatal accidents.

Reporting Bad Roads

During your daily commute, it?s easy to forget about every bump you hit along the way and over time you probably pay less attention to the condition of the road. Think of our roadways as a community. If there were something wrong going on in your neighborhood, you?d report it, right?

A pothole, a visual obstruction, and even debris left on the road are worth reporting, not only for your safety but for fellow motorists. If you come across some damage, make a mental note or pull over safely to write down information or make a phone call. Don?t call anyone about the damage as you?re driving.

If you?re in an area with little to no traffic, take a picture if you can do so without interrupting traffic or compromising your safety. Take note of where the damage is, the date and time, and any other helpful details. If it?s on a city street, contact your city offices. If you?re on a highway, contact your state?s Department of Transportation (DOT).

Seek Change

Even if you report a road that?s in poor condition, it may take awhile to see any changes. Don?t be afraid to be persistent, especially after a few months have passed. It?s important to note that when you come across some road damage, don?t be silent. Don?t assume that another driver reported the issue already.

So, why are the roads in such bad shape and why does it seem to take forever to see change? Budget is a big factor. Some states, like Rhode Island, have set aside billions of dollars for a budget to fix roads and bridges. Other states don?t have the same kind of funding.

Unfortunately, lack of funding is an all too common problem across the U.S. Regardless of which state you live in, voice your concerns about road conditions. Talk and write to your state legislators. Attend meetings and events that talk about expansion and road construction in your area.

Get involved as much as you can. Even if you can?t foot the multi-million dollar bill for fixing the roads, your concerns can spark action.