July 1, 2016

BetterTouchTool

BetterTouchTool is a must have tool for anyone that has an Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keyboard (MB110LL/B). Finally you can can make use of the F13,F14,F15,F16,F17,F18 and F19 keys!

BetterTouchTool is a keyboard replacement tool, it allows you to re-assign functionalities to different keyboards and mouse actions. This is great when you have a keyboard that has unused keys.

The BetterTouchTool has a lot of configurable options. For example, you can now assign the 'Paste' function to the F15 key, no more Command-V in any application! You can even change the 'Home' button to be an actual browser home button. How cool is that!

Better Touch Tool

If your a Web Developer you can assign the the F16 (Or any F Key) to open FireFox WebConsole and Chrome Developer Tools - depending which application is currently active. Now you don't have to remember the different keyboard shortcuts when your debugging a page.

There's all sorts of configuration that you can do with the Magic Mouse, Trackpads, Drawings, and Siri Remote. There's lots of possibilities to spread your trigger actions.

BetterTouchTool has a built in Screen Capture functionality with an image editor. It's pretty good. My only complaint is how the arrow get drawn on the image. When you select the arrow in the top menu the arrow automatically appears in the middle of the image. The user then you have to move it to where you want. I do like that the arrow has a better curve style than what's in Skitch and MonoSnap. The magnifying glass tool is pretty cool.

BTT Screencapture
Screen Capture with the Magnifying tool.

I configured BetterTouchTool so that when I "Move Mouse to Bottom Right Corner," the computer acts as if I did a Command-Shift-4. After I selected the capture area, I then can edit in BetterTouchTool. Once done editing, I have multiple options: I can save to a file, upload to my imgur.com account, create a new email with attachment, copy to clipboard and so much more!

Logitech Mx518

I have been trying to get BetterTouchTool to work with my Logitech Mx518 mouse with very little success. There are three buttons that are on the top of the mouse that I would like to use. There is a "Volume Up, Volume Down" and some "Power" button.

I installed the latest Logitech Gaming Software, which has the latest drivers, but BetterTouchTool still doesn't recognize the buttons when I try to assign a Trigger action.

Logitech Mouse Panel

It turns out that you can actions to the mouse using the Logitech Gaming Software. While not as fancy as the BetterTouchTool, it still has some basic actions that make it worth while. There is a work around and that's to use the keyboard assignment and then use BetterTouchTool's Keyboard Shortcut tab to further configure it.

There is some discussion on the Logitech Forum about configuring the device to work with third party apps: MX Master Logitech Options SW Feature.

Overall view of BetterTouchTool

While I am disappointed that I can't easily configure my Logitech Mouse, I am excited that I have five new keys on my keyboard. Now my hands can move to the other side of the keyboard more often.

BetterTouchTool use to be free, but it's now a very active application and Andreas Hegenberg, the Developer, has changed it to a "Pay what you want." The current minimum bid is $4.50. I highly recommend at least covering the cost of a a couple cold beers, as an appreciation for all his hard work.

Google has a updated table of the Cost of Living in Munich. You can see how much Domestic Beer, Cappuccino is.

I did try out BetterTouchTool and will certainly be purchasing it.

July 2, 2016

Propane tanks Expiration Date

Did you know that Propane tanks expire?

Federal law requires tank re-certification after 12 years from the original manufacture date. A coded date is stamped into the carrying handle of the tank. The tank expires at the end of the month of the date stamped. Propane dealers are required by law to refuse to re-fill an expired tank.

Check out the date stamp in one of my propane tanks:

propane3

The first 2 digits represent the month. In this example 06 is June. The last 2 digits represent the year of manufacture. In this example 2002. This tank expires the end of April 2014. I can no longer refill this tank.

Propane tank Rental Alert

If your using any Propane tank exchange, such as Blue Rino or AmeriGas, make sure to check the date on the propane tank. Don't get stuck with an almost expired tank. You may experience issues when you try to return it or if you want to refill it at a propane dealer.

Recycle Options

Framingham residents can recycle their expired tanks at the Recycle Center for $5. Additionally, you can recycle the containers at Monnick Supply Company for $5.

July 3, 2016

Saint Bridget Church Flags

In the entrance room at the Saint Bridget Church in Framingham are three flags in a special built in corner display:

FlagsFramingham.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

This is the message in the window of the display:

The flag on the right was made by the Sisters of Charity, Burlington, Vermont, 1917. It was presented to Chaplain M.J. O'Connor, 101st U.S. Infantry, and carried through World War I by that regiment. President Wilson lunched with officers of 26th Division at French Hospital in Montigny, Christmas 1918. This flag was draped on the back wall back of the President.

The flag on the left was the camp flag at Framingham when the 26th Division served there before going overseas.

July 4, 2016

Liberty Square

Liberty Square

When your walking around Liberty Square Disney Imagineers wanted you to feel that you're stepping around colonial America.

Note: There were no public bathrooms in Colonial America, so you won't find any in Liberty Square. The nearest bathrooms would be on the other side of the Memento Mori, between the Haunted Mansion at It's a Small World.

Building Numbers

The house numbers of each building in Liberty Square represent the year in which the style of architecture of that particular building was popular. If you see a house number with only two digits, simply add an 18 in front of the house number for that year architecture style.

Check out the shutters on the houses, they look a little off? That's intentional! In colonial America, the Minuteman would use the metal in nails for their guns. They use leather to hold the shutters and over time the leather would stretch causing the shutters to slant a little.

The Tree of Liberty

The Liberty Tree in Liberty Square is based on the famous Boston's Liberty Tree. This is where the "Son's of Liberty" would hang their hung lanterns on an evening during festival occasions. (They also hung lights on the Great Elm on the Boston Commons.)

There are 13 lights on the "Tree of Liberty" to represent the original 13 colonies.

The Liberty tree was originally located on the outer perimeter of the Walt Disney World property. It was moved by digging it out and then drilling horizontal holes through it so steel rods could be inserted and attached to a crane.

The tree that moved was a 35-ton 135-year-old oak tree. Today the tree is 180 years old. The tree was planted in sometime in 1836. This was right around the time of the first Seminole War.

Flags

You can find all the flags from the original 13 colonies next to the tree.

Disney has removed the Georgia flag from its "Liberty Flag Plaza" (Where they display the flags from the 13 original colonies) and have replaced it with the "Don't Tread on Me" Colonial Flag. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the Georgia flag contains the Confederate Battle Flag.

Sign at the site reads:

Thirteen proud and colorful flags fly high today to honor the original states which became our country first constitution. A replica of the first national flag used in 1787 symbolizes the joining of the states to form our first union.

Liberty Bell

Right in the middle of Liberty Square is a replica of The Liberty Bell. If you reach into the bell and swing the clapper, the bell rings very LOUD!

Some Liberty Square sites claim that the Disney's Liberty Bell is from 1976 when every state got a replica copy, and Disney got Pennsylvania. However, if you read the inscription at the site, you'll discover that the bell didn't appear in Liberty Square until 1989.

Piece of History

Around the corner to the left of the front entrance to the Hall of Presidents, is a small worn marble step. That step is actually from Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's house). There was a plaque identifying the piece at the upper right, but now only its frame remains. The identifying information has been removed.

July 5, 2016

Framingham Beer Works

Framingham Beer Work

This past weekend we stopped at Framingham Beer Works for a nice dinner. The restaurant was fairly quiet because it was Independence Day weekend. We didn't have to wait for our table when we arrived.

We asked for a menu that had gluten free options, the door hostess informed that just about anything on the menu could be made gluten free.

When we placed our order we mentioned that our daughter needed to eat gluten free. The waitress was very helpful in letting us know what are options are.

Nachos Not Gluten Free

My daughter was really hungry and we wanted to order an appetizer. We thought that the corn nachos would be good option, but were told that we couldn't order it because the nachos are fried and there could be cross contamination issues.

It was nice to hear a waitress say "cross contamination" clearly they understand allergy concerns. We were impressed with that.

Gluten free pasta

We asked if they had any gluten free pasta since my daughter loves mac and cheese. We were told that they didn't have any. Which was a bit surprising since they told us that just about anything on the menu could be made gluten free.

Overall Experience

My daughter got a cheeseburger and asked for chips. We didn't get a chance to ask if they had a dedicated fryer for french fries.

The food was very good and I asked my daughter how her dinner was and she said yummy. She would give it two thumbs up but had the hamburger on the other hand. The kids burger was $6.50, which was reasonably priced.

We would certainly be going back again. I think Smash Burger makes better burger, but at least she can go to a nice restaurant when we have company.

July 6, 2016

Water Evaporation

A concern that some above ground pool owners have is when to determine if the pool has a slow leak. You may notice that the pool level slowly goes down, is it a leak or is just natural evaporation.

Adding Water Everyday?

If you're putting water in the pool every day, chances are you have a slow leak problem You should double check all patches to make sure that they are secure. It might be a good idea to double patch areas for a better seal.

There is some pool specialist that can check for the source of the leakage by using sophisticated sound and color dyes testing.

Natural Causes of Water Evaporation

There's no exact amount of water you may loose every day since there are four key factors that determine evaporation: exposure, water temperature, and humidity.

Exposure is how much sun and wind the pool gets everyday. Sun is great to warm up the pool, but those rays also burn off a tiny amount of water. Solar covers are a great way to prevent evaporation from exposure.

Water Temperature - As the pool heats up during the day, it cools off at night. That cooling off period is when some evaporation happens. Turn on the pool light on a nice summer night and you'll see the mist of water evaporating from the pool.Cause

Humidity - The more humid the environment, the less evaporation that will happen. Which means during a period of dry weather, you would expect to see a bit more evaporation.

In addition, constant use of the pool will cause loss of water.

The Bucket Test

The best way to test for evaporation is by using the bucket test.

Take a 5-gallon paint bucket from Lowes or Home Depot. Make a mark with a permanent marker at about the halfway point. Fill the bucket with pool water, so it’s the same temperature and has the same chemicals, up to that point, and set the bucket right beside your swimming pool. Simultaneously, use a pencil to mark the water level on your pool skimmer basket. Mark your skimmer basket so that way you don’t ruin the liner with a marker.

This test will help you determine how much water has evaporated from the bucket and from the pool. Make sure to turn off any pool heater during this test.

July 7, 2016

Boston Replica Libery Bell Location

State House Bell

On July 6, 1950, Boston got a replica of the famous Liberty Bell. The was inside the entrance, Dorris Hall for about 7 years before it was moved outside the front doors of the Massachusetts State House.

The front of the State Building is a secure area and only the "President" can go out there. At least that what I was told by one of the Serjeant-at-arms that stood by the front door. You can't get a good look at the Bell without a good camera zoom.

Things that I have learned about the bell.

Prior to September 11, 2001, tourist visiting Boston were able to walk up the front steps and touch the bell. This would be the first thing they would encounter before they enter the building.

Today, the Liberty Bell is barely visible from Beacon Street. When you're looking at the state house the bell is just to the left of the front doors, underneath the second window to the left of the door.

While you can only see the Liberty Bell from the steps of the State House, if you go inside to the second floor, you can get a slightly better view of the bell. You do have to ask permission to get behind a desk to see the bell.

A plaque near the bell reads "In standing before this symbol you have the opportunity to dedicate yourself as did our founding fathers, to the principles of the individual freedom for which our nation stands."

The replica Liberty Bell was cast by the Paccard Bell Foundry, which is based in France, in 1950. They produced 300 replicas, and there's one in every state of the USA.

The Liberty Bell in Puerto Rico is in the Polvorin de San Geronimo in the Parque Luis Munoz Rivera in the Porta de Tierra area.)

In Washington DC, The Liberty Bell is on display outside at Union Station. Where anyone can walk up and ring the bell.

You can buy a replica copy of the bell from Paccard Bell Foundry for your home for $3,000. They have a Bronze Bell N*2 - Wooden Handle version for around $25.

The golden dome of the State House serves as the official location of Boston to mapmakers. A sign that says "50 miles to Boston" really means fifty miles to the golden dome.

July 8, 2016

Keyboard Maestro

Keyboard Maestro2

Last week I wrote about how awesome BetterTouchTool was. Well there was one thing missing - I wanted a way to run Unix shell commands from a key press. I wanted to have some Bash commands that I wanted executed when I clicked on the F19 key.

I discovered that there is another keyboard tool that bridges the "Unix Shell" gap - Keyboard Maestro by Stairways Software. This is far from a new tool on the market - it's been around for a long time.

Keyboard Maestro

With keyboard Maestro you can assign Unix commands to keys, something you can't do with BetterTouchTool. You can assign all sorts of actions to all your F keys, something that you can't do with TextExpander.

With Keyboard Maestro, I have now had a "random word" key. Anytime that I need a word, I simply press the "F 19" key. This makes testing so much easier, if I need a word, simply hit the F19 key.

Creating a "Random Key" Macro

Here's how to configure Keyboard Maestro so that you can have your own random key: (I assume that you downloaded the software and have it properly setup.)

  1. Click Command - N to create a new Macro
  2. Call it whatever you want, "Random Word" is a good choice.
  3. Click the green plus icon to add a New Trigger, and select the 'Hot Key' Trigger
  4. Type in any Key, F13 or F19 are good options, as well as the 'end' button.
  5. Click on the green Plus icon next to the 'New Action'
  6. With 'All Actions' selected in the Categories, search for 'Shell' and select the 'Execute a Shell Script'
  7. Click on 'Display results in a window' and change it to 'type results'
  8. Paste the following text in the text area box:
#!/bin/bash
WORDFILE=/usr/share/dict/words
RANDOM=$$;
lines=$(cat $WORDFILE | wc -l);
rnum=$((RANDOM*RANDOM%$lines+1));
sed -n "$rnum p" $WORDFILE | perl -pe 'chomp'
  1. Click Edit
  2. Try it out! You'll need to have the cursor in a text field, Why not try the browser search.

Random Word Tool

Why Use BetterTouchTool?

While Keyboard Maestro does a lot of similar things that BetterTouchTool does, I really like the screenshot capabilities in BetterTouchTool. I can capture screenshots superfast, simply by moving the mouse to the bottom right of the screen. Then I can edit the screenshot as needed. I have yet to see a "Move Mouse to Bottom Right Corner" trigger action in Skitch or Monosnap. Both are great tools and have their advantages but BetterTouchTool Trigger action is cooler and the Editor suits my needs.

BetterTouchTool isn't all that expensive, so it's worth keeping around. Perhaps they will add Unix Shell capabilities in future releases.

I am still a big fan of TextExpander and use it all the time. It's nice to see some other tools fill in some gap that I am looking for in a keyboard tool:

  • Ability to assign commands to all the keys on the extended Apple Keyboard (Availble in BetterTouchTool and Keyboard Maestro)
  • A decent built in screen capture tool. (Only in BetterTouchTool)

TextExpander does have a good suggestion tool - it notifies you when you type something over and over and suggest you make it a keyword snippet.

About Keyboard Maestro

Keyboard Maestro cost $36. You can download the software for 30 days trial. It's a very powerful Keyboard/Mouse tool. I certainly recommend checking it out.

July 9, 2016

802.11n vs 802.11ac

i Mac Mid2011

The iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011) only supports 802.11 a/b/g/n. This is useful to know since many newer WiFi Routers are now supporting 802.11ac and there’s a big difference between the 802.11n and 802.11ac. The latest routers from Comcast, as part of xFinity X1 upgrades now support 802.11ac speeds.

  • 802.11n - Was approved in 2009 and can handle speeds of at least 600 Mbit/s
  • 802.11ac - Was approved in January 2014 and can handled speeds of at lease 1 gigabit her second.

User’s of older iMac’s can take advantage of the higher speed by getting an adapter.

Your best bet is the NETGEAR WiFi USB 2.0 Adapter - AC Dual Band (A6200), which sells for about $24.99 on Amazon. 

Mono price has a Dual-Band 802.11AC 600Mbps USB 2.0 Wi-Fi® Adapter for $12, but your just getting speed of up to 433Mbps. So you are basically getting the 802.11n speeds.

July 10, 2016

Location Base Smart Albums in iPhoto

This weekend, I was backing up some of my old photos/videos from iPhoto to SmugMug. I was doing this because we recently signed up for the Basic plan and wanted an off-site location to backup our photos and videos. The Unlimited Photo uploads is a great plan.

It's been a while since I used iPhoto, and the location feature is very cool. You can easily create Smart Albums based on locations. This makes it easy to upload a group of photos that I took in a certain location, such as Boston, Ballet or visiting Davis Farmland.

Setting up Location Base Smart Albums.

  • Open up iPhoto.
  • Under Library select Places.
  • You should see a map with red points marking where photos are available. On the bottom of the window you see two options, Smart Album and 'Show Photos' these will show all photos for any point visible on the screen. Use the Zoom and Move tool to adjust the map the way you want.
  • Click on 'Smart Album' to create a smart Album from your map view.

Smart Albumsi Photo

Once you set this up when use choose the 'Open' dialog in Chrome/Firefox, click on Photos in the sidebar, then iPhotos and you'll see your new Smart Album, making it super easy to access a large group of similar photos.

The 'Location' feature and the 'Smart Album' by Location was removed in Apple Photos. Not exactly sure why it seems like a cool feature to have.

July 11, 2016

Geographic Center of the Magic Kingdom

The Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom has changed a lot since it opened on October 1, 1971. Just about every land had major changes. Liberty Square is the only land which didn't have any major changes.

According to the latest calculations, the current geographic center of the Magic Kingdom is right here:

Centerof The Kingdom

The Geographic Center of the Magic Kingdome is directly opposite of the “Tips and Show Times” information center as you leave Main Street USA and walk towards the castle.

This is based on the actual park area, and does not include any administrative areas the are just outside the park that the public doesn’t have access to.

In Disneyland, there use to be a marker to indicate where the Geographical Center of Disneyland was when the park first opened. The marker was just inside the Fantasyland entrance of Snow White's castle. There is no such marker in Walt Disney World.

What do you think? Do you agree with my findings? Should Disney have some "Hidden Mickey" type of marker to indicate the Geographic Center of the kingdom?

July 12, 2016

Nima Gluten Free Sensor

Nima Device

Have you hear about the portable Gluten Free tester from Nima? They are currently developing a portable, highly sensitive gluten sensor that lets diners know if their food is, indeed, safe to eat.

Nima is the fastest gluten tester on the market, letting you know if there is 20ppm or more of gluten in food in just over 2 minutes. The 20ppm is the maximum concentration for "gluten-free" foods as determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Basically you use the Nima sensor to see if the food might have any accidental cross-contamination.

The Nima sensor is scheduled to ship this fall.

You can find more information and pre-Order Nima on their website. The starter kit is currently on sale for $199, there's a special starter kit with 12 capsules for $247.

Not so sure how this device will work out. For now, we'll just stick with restaurants that we know of that offer Gluten Free foods and are Celiac friendly.

July 13, 2016

Sand Filter

Sand Filter

Here are some of the information on our Hayward Pro Series filter (Model: S180T), this is approved for fresh or salt water.

The filter can handle 20 gallons per minute. Which means for a 14,645-gallon pool it will take at least 1.63 hours for the filter to process all that water.

The maximum working pressure is 40 PSI. If your pump handles more than that, you’ll need a different type of filter.

The filter can hold 150 LBS ( 68 KGS) of filter sand. It's critical to have exactly that much. If you only put in 125 LBS, you’ll make the filter less effective.

Operating Instructions

  • Be sure correct amount of filter sand is in filter tank.
  • Set Vari-Flo control valve to BACKWASH. CAUTION: All suction and discharge valves must be open when starting the system. Failure to do so could result in severe personal injury and/or property damage.
  • Prime and start pump, allowing tank to fill with water. Once flow is steady out waste line, run in BACKWASH for 2 minutes.
  • Stop pump, and set valve to RINSE. Start pump and operate for 1/2 to 1 minute.
  • Stop pump, and set valve to FILTER. Start pump. Filter is now operating in normal filter mode.

Filter and Control Valve Functions

  • Filter - Set the valve in FILTER for normal filtering. Also use for regular vacuuming.
  • Backwash - For cleaning the filter. When filter pressure gauge rises 6-8 PSI (0.41-0.55 bar) above start-up (clean) pressure, stop pump, set valve to BACKWASH. Start pump and backwash until water in the sight glass is clear.
  • Rinse - After backwashing, with pump off, set valve to RINSE. Start pump and operate for 1/2 to 1 minute. Stop pump, set valve to FILTER, and start pump for normal filtering.
  • Waste - To bypass filter for draining or lowering water level and for vacuuming heavy debris directly to waste.
  • Recirculate - Water recirculated through pool system. bypassing filter.
  • Closed - Shuts off flow from pump to filter. Useful when you are cleaning debris in the pump.
  • Winter - For winterizing. (SP0714T)

Winterizing Instructions

Set control valve in WINTER position, Remove drain cap and throughout drain filter. Drain pump per manufacturer instructions.

We keep the base filter outside, covering it with an installation and a tarp. We put the top inside our basement. I make sure to keep all the loose parts in a bag and attach it to the filter to make opening the pool very easy.

Sand Filter
Backwashing the Sand Filter

July 14, 2016

Thompson Island

Thompson Island

Thompson Island is one of the largest, most accessible and ecologically diverse islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The island is open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day; otherwise access is by arrangement only.

The only way to get to the island is to use the Charter Boats. Private boats are not allowed to dock on the island.

The Island is 157-acres on Boston Harbor.

History of the island

This is a good brief summary of the history of the island found on one of the trail signs on the island:

In 1626, David Thompson established a trading post to barter with the Neponset Indians. Over the next 200 years, farmers leased the island to graze sheep. In 1833, the educational mission began when a group of philanthropists purchased the island and open the Boston Farm school, a vocational school for Boston orphaned or otherwise at-risk boys.

Tragic History of the Island

There were two fatal boating accidents which resulted in the death of several students and faculty at the Boston Asylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys:

April 29, 1842 Boating incident. The student’s boat, called the Polka, capsized after a fishing trip to the outer harbor. 29 individuals died. (I wasn’t able to find any specific names.)

Sunday, April 10, 1892 - A similar type of boating accident, when a small gust of wind capsize the boat. According to stories at the time, everyone on the boat survived the capsized. They all held on to the boat waiting for a rescue. The wait was long and they kept talking to each other for encouragement. The rescue boat took too long and nine members died:

A. F. Norbert (40) Instructor, Frank F. Hitchcock (19), George F. Ellis (16), Thomas Phillips, (16), William W. Curran (17), Charles R. Graves (17), Harvey E. Loud, (16), Adelbert H. Packard (16)

In 1941, Skeleton remains were found, possibly belonging to Wampanoag Indiana which lived on the island.

Most of the victims of the two boat accidents, the Indian skeleton remains are buried at the graveyard on the south side of the Island.

Things I Learned on a recent trip

  • David Thompson was only on the island for a couple of years - yet for 200 years the island has named after him!
  • It takes about 30 minutes to get from EDIC to the island dock.
  • In 1863, the Philanthropists paid $6,000 for the rights to the island. What cost $6,000 in 1833 would cost $148,541.13 in 2015.
  • The boat travels about 10 knots, a bit slower than other motor boats in the harbor.
  • The boat entry and exit is downstairs, upstairs has a great view of the Boston skyline. There was very little light on upstairs at night.
  • If you go for a company event, there are two areas that you can use: Ocean Bluff Pavilion and Waterfront Landing . The Ocean Bluff Pavilion is better for bigger groups.
  • Make sure to bring plenty of suntan lotion, bug spray and bottle water. There are plenty of places on the island to have a picnic.
  • I had no problems accessing the Internet on the island.
  • There are several large fields for kids to run around and to play various sports.
  • The trails around the island gives you beautiful views of Boston Harbor.
  • There are various history spots where you learn what the boys at the Boston Farm School used at that location.
  • On the Northern side of the island, you can see Airplanes taking off at nearby Logan Airport and then taking a sharp left over the island.

How do you get on the Island?

You get to the island from a private boat shuttle at the EDIC Pier in South Boston. Boat service is only available on weekends from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, or via private events.

Ferry service is cash fare. Adult: $17.00 per person, round trip. Children 3-12: $10 per child, round trip / under 3 years ride free. There are no island fee charges.

Corporate Events

Challenge Field

Thompson Island is an excellent place for a summer outing. They offer excellent catering services and there is plenty of room on the island for any social gathering.

Be sure to check out Challenge Field as it’s a really cool team building exercise. If you don't do it, at least walk by the Challenge field to see what your missing!

Each Thompson Island venue comes equipped with the following:

  • Volleyball, Horseshoes, Corn Hole, Ladder Ball, Can Jam,
  • Bocce balls, frisbees, footballs, soccer balls, dodge balls,
  • wiffle ball and softball (must provide own glove)
  • Adirondack chairs and hammocks, trail maps for self-guided nature walks

July 15, 2016

Printed List of Applications

I am going to do some summer computer cleaning and remove some applications from my computer off of my iMac computer. Before doing this, I want to get a hard copy of all the applications that I currently have on the computer.

Apple has a nifty way to print out all information about all your apps that you have, even if it’s not in the Application Folder. It’s the Application Software section of the System Report. Check it out:

Software Application

Getting the List of Computer Apps

  • Select the Apple Menu and “About this Mac"
  • Click on “System Report"
  • In the left side, scroll down until you see Applications under Software and click on Applications.
  • (It may take a minute or so to load)
  • Once completed, Type in Command-P to Print. (You could always save the output to PDF, so you have a good soft copy of the list.)

The output is sorted by the last modified date. This means that best place for me to start is at the last page, as that would contain a lot of older applications that I don’t use much.

Once I printed it out, I'll add it to my circa notebook. Now I havea good record of applications that I had on my computer before my summer cleaning.

Too Many Apps

Remember not all applications are in the Application folder, some might be in the Document folder or in the Download folder.

Got Too Many Apps?

One way to tell if you have too many apps installed, is to right-click on an image file on the Dashboard then select "Open With." If you see a long list of applications, you should consider streamlining your computer.

In my example, I can see that I have multiple versions of Acorn application installed. I don't even use the application! Most of the applications that I have are one-time use applications for a particular task/functionality that I needed.

Bonus: Finder Search

When you search for Application (Kind is Application) you can sort the results by 'Date Last Opened.' This is a great way to audit my computer applications. I discovered that I have "FirstClass Client 2.5.1" and "SimCity2000" on my computer - applications that I can't even use on the computer, so why should I keep them?

Try the Application Finder search and see what unused applications you have on your computer.

July 16, 2016

College Grads: What you should consider when selecting a job

Your in your early twenties, and you just graduated college. You are probably full of excitement, and happiness, but at the same time you might be feeling a bit of anxiety and uncertainty to what the future will hold. You should feel excited because the opportunities that await your future endeavors are limitless. As a recent college graduate, you are equipped with the most up to date tools and information from your studies and college experience. You might not have hands-on experience like others competing for the same occupation do, but you do have the freshest knowledge when it comes to bookwork and knowledge.

Graduating college may make you feel like you have no limits, but at the same time, you may feel uncertainty and a small level of uncomfort because you are unclear where you may end up in the future. The feelings of discomfort are all very common, and should pass when you begin searching for your first job. Landing your first interview will help you to feel more confident in your ability to compete with others within the job market. But, there are other factors we should consider.

Selecting the correct occupation

Even though you may have selected a field to enter into through your past four years of studying, doesn't mean you are bound to that specific area. In fact, many college graduates quickly find out that they're interests have changed, and they end up applying for jobs that seem more appealing through their searches. Most employers today do not specifically look at your degree, but they focus more on how well they think you could handle the day to day duties that come alongside the position they are offering.

Don't be so hard on yourself- if you find a more appealing position to apply to that differs from your current path, feel free to apply. Having a college degree already differentiates you from others competing for the same entry level position you are applying for. Additionally, you shouldn't become discouraged if you are not able to find the correct occupation suited for your interests upon your initial search. Selecting the correct occupation takes time and effort- something that comes alongside being diligent in your search and always putting your best foot forward.

Remembering Safety

A lot of times recent college graduates do not stop to consider the safety implications that come along with different prospective career options. Generally, grads will focus on interest level and starting salary when determining the best fit for their occupation. Interest level is one of the most important things to consider when selecting a career option, followed by the aspect of being able to support yourself if you are selected as a candidate for the position. Both are extremely important, notable features of careers you are evaluating for their ability to suit your needs.

One aspect almost all graduates overlook is safety. How safe is the job I am applying for? Do your research and investigate others who may have experienced an injury while on the job. You might be surprised at what you find. Generally, more physical jobs experience injury at higher rates than jobs where less physical activity is required. Roofers and construction workers are among the highest to experience similar situations while at work. Other occupations, such as truck and delivery drivers frequently experience serious consequences related to bodily harm. Most notable, males generally take up much of the employment sector of these occupations and are much more likely to be affected by these trends. A great question to ask yourself would be- Is the associated danger worth the salary or pay amount? For some, it may be yes, but for others, this may require more thinking and analysis into the trends.

Making A Decision

As most college graduates will find, there is a multitude of decisions that must be made when it comes to selecting the correct career option for their needs. Salary, time away from home, education level, and general interest in the position are the most commonly evaluated aspects of a new career. Safety should be a larger-scale factor that is addressed when considering a career option, and can many times easily be overlooked. If you are a recent college grad, step back and ask yourself what is more important to a new career. Make a checklist and carefully consider the duties that come along with occupations in which you are applying for.

July 17, 2016

Short Read Books

I see a lot of commuters playing games on their smartphones on their commuter rail trip. Some other users seem to be taking the time to read a novel. (I haven't seen anyone read 50 Shades of grey.)

Did you know that Amazon has a list of short read books that take about 45 to 60 minutes to read. Perfect for Framingham commuters. Some of these books cost $.99 and plenty good ones that are free.

I think it's a great opportunity to spend time on the train learning something new.

  • Some books that are available include;
    • Pokemon Go: The Unofficial Pokemon Go Guide to Pokemon Go Secrets, Tips & Tricks
    • Photography: Photography for Beginner's: The Complete Beginner's Guide to Creating Amazing Digital Photographs.
    • Pepper Growing: Learn How To Grow Different Types Of Hot Peppers
    • Herbal Therapy: 30 Amazing Medicinal Herbs And Plants For Inner And Outer Use And Healing
    • Navy Seals: Self-Discipline: Training and Self-Discipline to Become Tough Like A Navy SEAL

    Check out the Kindle Short Reads section today and find some interesting books to read!

    July 18, 2016

    Mint Julep

    Mint Julep

    This is very addictive and a great summer drink, when ready to serve, use crushed ice for a refreshing summer cooler. Disney hasn't provided the actual recipe, but this is a very good duplicate of what you get at the Mint Julep Bar in Disneyland:

    • 1 cup Sugar
    • 2 tsp Lime Juice Concentrate
    • 3 cups Soda Water
    • 6 tpsp Creme De Menthe
    • 6 oz. thawed Lemonade Concentrate

    Dissolve sugar into soda water. Add lime juice and lemonade and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add Creme De Menthe. Chill.

    To serve, combine 3 parts syrup to 5 parts water.

    Yield: Approve 2/3 gallons

    July 19, 2016

    Gluten Free at Canobie Lake Park

    Canobie Lake Park Entrance

    Today we spent the day having fun at Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire.

    Canobie Lake Park is a fun amusement park featuring over 50 rides, including roller coasters, a log flume, a hand-painted antique carousel, a steam train, a Ferris wheel, the "Starblaster", "Dodgems", "DaVinci's Dream", over a dozen kiddie rides, a variety of foods, prize games, three arcades, live entertainment, Saturday night fireworks, and more.

    Food service at Canobie is provided by Sodexo. There are twenty-one permanent food stands and multiple mobile carts throughout the park. There is also a catering area that large groups can rent out and prepay for their food.

    The park is very strict about bring outside food, going so far as saying:

    Canobie does not allow food or beverage to be brought into the Park. The Park offers a wide variety of foods and dining options for guests to enjoy inside the Park. Guests can also take advantage of our re-admission policy for lunch. There are no picnic tables or shaded places to sit in our parking lot. No grilling or alcohol is allowed in our Parking lot. Sodexo, our food service provider, has prepared a Food Allergy Guide to assist in planning your visit for those with particular food allergies. ~ From their FAQ section of their website.

    Sodexo Allergy Guide

    You can download a copy of Sodexo 2016 Food Allergy Guide. This is somewhat helpful but it doesn't answer the basic question, can I get a gluten free hot dog at Canobie Lake Park? If so where? Basically, you have to read through all the different food venues to see if they offer anything. Seems like a lot of work to answer a basic question.

    In addition, some places say that the Hot Dog is contains gluten, is it because that it's served on a roll? Can I get it without a roll?

    Portofino Sign

    Portofino

    We decided to stop in the Portofino to try some of the gluten-free pasta. When we walked in we thought they had more gluten free options since they are "A touch of Italy at Canobie Lake Park." We were told that the only gluten free option they had was pasta and that they would have to make it. The pasta cost $7.99 and they only had one size - which means that my daughter would get a lot of pasta that she wouldn't eat.

    We tried to reach out to Canobie Lake Park and Sodexo to explain what happened since the email bounced back, I'll just finish this post on our lunch experience:

    For lunch we went to Portofino. I asked if they had gluten free pizza and they didn't, they told me I would have to go to Pizza Ria for gluten free pizza. I then had to ask ok do you have gluten free pasta. The girl helping me at the counter was not sure so she got someone else to help me. The next girl told me she could get me gluten free pasta, we would need to wait for it.

    I asked if we could have sauce on it and she said no because the meatballs were in the sauce and there was cross contamination so it was not gluten free (there is no sauce without cross contamination in an Italian restaurant?). I said ok can we have butter and cheese. She said she could give me some butter and cheese was on every table. She then disappeared into the back. I let another girl know this was for an "allergy" and she reassured me that there would be no cross contamination. I asked if the pasta would be brought to our table and she said no I would need to come and wait for it because she has no idea where I am sitting.

    I got up a few minutes later to see if my pasta was ready. I received two plates of cold gluten-free pasta and some baby carrots. The girl said I could grab some ranch dressing and she handed me one pat of very hard butter for each plate of cold pasta. The worst part of this entire situation is that I paid $7.99 x 2 for a horrible, horrible meal and I am not even sure I trust it was gluten free pasta.

    Portofino Food

    As a mother and especially a mother with a child who has an autoimmune disease like Celiac, I plan ahead. I think it is disgraceful that I would pay $15.98 for terrible food, terrible service and at the mercy of your park because I cannot bring my own food in. While we had a great day, I don't believe we can ever come back because of the food situation. Your allergy guide is very detailed but far too complicated and overwhelming to read.

    I think it is important in this day and age that a park like yours learns to be sensitive to those with food "allergies" and learns to either be more accommodating or allow those with an allergy to bring in their own food and not have to hide it in the parking lot and run out during the day to eat.

    July 20, 2016

    PowerFlo Matrix Pool Pump

    Power Flo Matrix

    The Hayward PowerFlo Matrix has been engineered as a uniquely superior above ground pool pump. Its large profile and integrated styling makes the PowerFlo Matrix a swimming pool pump like no other.

    Features:

    • Industrial size strainer basket for large debris collection with minimal maintenance
    • Heavy-duty, high performance motor with integrated automatic thermal overload protector for years of operation
    • High performance impeller with wide openings to prevent clogging by leaves and debris

    Some tips and tricks on using the PowerFlo Matrix pool pump.

    • When we got this pump, we were told by several people that a 1 horsepower is perfect for a 25" round pool.
    • The worst part of this pump is putting back the strainer cover when cleaning out the basket. The best solution that I have found is to stop the flow of water going into the pump. If you use lubrication on the O-ring you won't have a problem with the ring falling out when trying to seal up the strainer cover.
    • There is an air pressure that builds up in the strainer basket area, this may prevent the water from filling up at the pump. The best way to fix this is to open up the basket and then quickly close it.
    • When you put on the strainer cover, wait a couple of minutes to see if it's properly sealed. I have found that there are a few water drops when the cover goes on, but after a few seconds the water drops disappear.
    • When we got the pump we were told to use a quality PVC pipe to connect the pump to the sand filter. It takes a lot of work to connect the pipe to the two devices. I find that things go a bit easier when I disconnect the top of the sand filter from the base.
    • Make sure strainer cover is locked firmly in position and lubricated with "Jack's 327." The Lubrication helps the rubber expand and contract and last longer. This is especially true when you may not use the pool for a season.
    • We store the pump in the basement in the winter time.
    • It's a good idea to take a picture of the top of the pool pump since it contains a lot of information about the device, including the specific model number that you have.

    July 21, 2016

    Thompson Island Cemetery

    Thompson Island Cemetery

    Thompson Island is the only Boston Harbor island to have a private graveyard. The graveyard is located on the southern tip of the island.

    The sign at the site reads:

    In 1842, 23 students who were being rewarded for good behavior with a fishing trip perished tragically in a boating accident. To honor these students the school created this cemetery. Nearly five decades later another boating mishap took the lives of seven more students they too are buried here. The cemetery also includes students or island residents who passed away from illness or accidents, as well as several pre-contact Indians whose remains were discovered on the island.

    People that are burried here:

    BornDied
    Charles W Ackers 1870 August 10, 1879
    James Roach Nov. 20, 1873 September 6, 1885
    Charles Lind October 1, 1902
    Unknown Wampanoag Indiana (Skeleton remains were reburied in 1941)

    23 of the 29 Individuals that died in April 29, 1842, boating accident

    Specific names were not found.

    Seven of the 9 Individuals that died in April 10, 1892, boating accident

    • George F. Ellis (16)
    • Thomas Phillips (16)
    • William W. Curran (17)
    • Charles R. Graves (17)
    • Harvey E. Loud (16)
    • Adelbert H. Packard (16)

    Thompsons Graveyard
    A view of Thompson Island Cemetery with overgrown weeds.

    Some interesting information about the graveyard

    • The cemetery has not been taken care of and many gravestones have sadly disappeared. There are lots of overgrown weeds growing throughout the cemetery.
    • The only gravestone that is visible is Charles Lind who died on October 1, 1902.
    • Based on various news sources there are 33 people buried at the graveyard.
    • The graveyard seems very small for that many people being buried here. I estimate that the cemetery is 9 x 20.
    • When the cemetery first opens the students at the Boston Farm would hold a special service on Memorial Day.

    July 22, 2016

    BBEdit: Process Lines Containing

    Using the 'Process Lines Containing' functionality in BBEdit, I can quickly filter out unwanted lines in a log file:

    BBEdit Process Lines Containing

    (Exabot|Crawler|megaindex|AhrefsBot|bot.html|spider|slurp|yandex|bingbot|majestic12)
    

    I use this when I am looking at the Apache's HTTPd server logs and want to filter out Bots and Google hits to my site.

    This will look for each line containing any of the matching text, and if one word is found the line is removed from the file. This saves a ton of time of running multiple grep statements.

    You can find the 'Process Lines Containing' under the Text menu in BBEdit. I use it so much that I just assigned a custom Menu key equivalent.

    July 23, 2016

    Framingham Time-Lapse

    Here's a short time-lapse video of tonight's sunset in Framingham. This was taken with my old iPhone 5s.

    The time lapse functionally on the iPhone works really good, and the video quality on the old iPhone 5s is still pretty decent.

    Some tips on making the video:

    • I would highly recommend connection the iPhone to a tripod to minimize and camera shake from the wind.
    • Once you got the perfect angle, reduce the screen display brightness so it doesn't drain that much battery.
    • Connect the phone to a USB power bank so that you don't inadvertently run out of battery while taking that awesome footage.
    • Put the phone in airport mode so a phone call or phone notification doesn't stop the Time Lapse recording.

    July 24, 2016

    Google Photo Compression

    The follow is a 'Get Info' of the same file one was upload to Google Photos and the other to Yahoo Flickr back in July 2015. I now wanted the picture to create a calendar on Shutterfly:

    Google Flickr

    As you can see the file that I downloaded from Flickr is much bigger than the one from Google Photos. It also means that the quality is going to be better.

    Normally this isn't a concern, as most of my pictures are just sharing online. However, in this case, it is an issue because I wanted to add the Photo to a calendar on Shutterfly. Shutterfly was throwing warnings that the picture quality is low and the picture image might be pixelated.

    This is why you shouldn't be using Google Photo as your main source for photo cloud storage, at least if your only using the 'High Quality (free unlimited storage)' option. Google says is "Great visual quality at reduced file size." This isn't a great option if you plan on doing any printing of your photos.

    Google Photo iOS App

    If you are using Google Photos app to back up your iPhone 6s Plus photos, the will also get reduced to a smaller size:

    Google Apple

    In this case, my file was reduced by only 100 MB, which isn't all that bad for about 99% of the photos that I take. I just need to remember for that 1% of the photos that I really like, to keep a better quality some place else.

    You could upgrade Google Drive storage to 100 GB at $1.99/month (about a cup of coffee) and upload your photos at the Original quality. This means that I would be able to store approximately 33,333 photos from my iPhone. Which isn't all that bad.

    July 25, 2016

    Pools at the Art of Animation

    Artof Animation Logo

    When Disney's Art of Animation resort opened in May of 2012, it became the 26th Disney resort at Walt Disney World. The resort features 1120 family suites themed around such Disney animated classics as Finding Nemo, Cars, and The Lion King. The Little Mermaid building houses an additional 864 standard guest rooms.

    Pools at the Art of Animation

    You will need a magic band with Art of Animation hotel privileges to access any of the pools on the property. Visitors to Disney's All Star Resorts (All Star Sports, All Star Music and All Star Movies) are able to enjoy the pools at any of the other All-Stars.

    There are three pools at the Art of Animation in Walt Disney World:

    • "Big Blue" pool - The main Art of Animation Pool, located in the center of the property. (310,000 gallons)
    • Cozy Cone Pool - Located by the Cars section. ( 74,740 gallons)
    • Flippin' Fins Pool - Over at the Little Mermaid area. ( 103,642 gallons)

    There is a children's splash area near the "Big Blue" pool for little kids that might be afraid to go in the water.

    Big Blue Pool

    Things I learned about the pool:

    • The "Big Blue" pool is 11,859 square feet.
    • The "Big Blue" pool has 310,000 gallons and is the largest pool on Disney property, not counting water parks. (Stormalong Bay at the Yacht and Beach holds 795,000 gallons of water.)
    • If Disney was to use a standard garden hose to fill the pool it would take about 10.5 days to fill up the pool. (Standard garden hose has a 12,960 gallon a day flow.)
    • The Cozy Cone Pool gets the least traffic of all the pools, so if the "Big Blue" pool is busy, head over to the Cozy Cone Pool.
    • If you combined all the swimming pools, you could park 125 cars inside the pools.
    • There are 12 speakers in the water of the Finding Nemo pool. You can hear all your favorite characters while your swimming.
    • Coin-operated washers and dryers are in laundry facilities next to each pool. Cost is around $2 per wash, and another $2 per dry cycle.
    • The Art of Animation began its phased opening on May 31, 2012 and finished September 15, 2012.

    July 26, 2016

    Cheers Boston - Gluten Free

    Cheers Logo Boston

    Last week we went to Cheers on 84 Beacon Street in Boston Massachusetts. The restaurant, formally known as the Bull & Finch Pub, is best known for being the exterior of the Cheers TV show that ran from 1982 and 1993 on NBC.

    We stopped in at a very busy lunch hour. The wait time for three people was about 45 minutes. Luckily we hung around the bar and were able to get some seats within 10 minutes of waiting.

    We asked for a Gluten Free menu and was given a short menu with five options - they didn't have any kids size menu options.

    Cheers Gluten Free Menu Options

    Here are the items on the Cheers Gluten Free menu:

    • Beef Chili - Our Traditional recipe
    • Garden Salad - A seasonal blend of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, radishes, carrots, peppers, and cucumbers. Served with vinegar and oil
    • Bunless Burger - Served with our garden salad, oil and vinegar. Covered with artichokes and red peppers.
    • Gilled Salmon Filet - Farm raised salmon on a bed of garden vegetables, artichokes, and fire-roasted red peppers.
    • Grilled Chicken Breast - Served with rice and roasted vegetables

    I ordered the Bunless Burger for my daughter. I asked if they could substitute the oil and vinegar with ranch dressing only if it was gluten free. The bartender checked and ensured us that the ranch dressing that they had was indeed gluten free.

    The burger arrived pretty quickly and the burger was on its own plate and the salad was on a separate plate. It seemed to be a weird kind of presentation:

    Bunless Burger2

    I cut up the burger into bite size pieces so that my daughter could enjoy it. When the bartender asked how the order was, I asked for some cheese so that she could enjoy it a more.

    I asked her what she thought of her lunch, and she gave me a thumbs up.

    Cheers Thumbs Up

    After we paid for our order the bartender said that the pen that I was using to pay for the order matched my daughter's dress and that she could keep it. That made my daughters day and put a big smile on her face. She used the pen to take notes when we went on the Swan boats a bit later.

    Swan Boat Pen

    July 27, 2016

    Chlorine floater vs Automatic Chlorinator

    Chlorinator

    Chlorine floater

    A chlorine floater ensures your swimming pool stays sanitized. Swimming pool chlorine floaters typically require a 3-inch chlorine tablet versus the smaller 1-inch variety for smaller spas. The tablet slowly dissolves as it chlorinates the water, without dispersing too much at once. You should never have a chlorine floater in the pool when the people are using the pool.

    Automatic Chlorinator

    An Automatic Chlorinator is a small device that connects between the filter and the outtake outside of the pool. You put in 3-inch chlorine tablets in the chamber. The tablet slowly dissolves in the chamber, you set the amount of the chlorine to dispense with the filter outtake.

    Best Solution

    While the Chlorine floater is a cheaper option, your much better off on using an Automatic Chlorinator to dispense chlorine around the pool. The Automatic Chlorinator is a great way to quickly put chlorine evenly around the pool, this is especially true when you are opening the pool for the season. You want to get as much Chlorine in the system as possible and there's no better way than using an Automatic Chlorinator.

    Things I have learned

    • We have a Super Clear Inline Chlorinator, and I find that it's pretty hard to open. I usually have to use Thermal Latex Coated Gloves to help get a good grip to open the top.
    • When we have to put in Chlorine in the Automatic Chlorinator, we put in six tabs at once. This is because it's a pain to open up the device.
    • The six tabs last about 2 weeks.
    • The O-Ring on the lid doesn't last that long when your store in the lid. When storing the device for the New England Winter, make sure to take out the O-Ring so that it doesn't break apart because of lack of water exposure.
    • The O Ring replacement part cost $18.79 at Leslie's Pool! An Automatic Chlorinator cost $74.99.
    • We store the Automatic Chlorinator in our basement for the winter.
    • I have used both the Automatic Chlorinator and Chlorine floater and have found that the Automatic Chlorinator has produced faster results. I found this out when I was trying to increase the chlorine in our pool and wasn't getting any results with the Chlorine floater, but after running the Automatic Chlorinator in a 24 hour period the Chlorine numbers went up significantly.

    July 28, 2016

    Nickys Peanut Cart at Fenway Park

    Nickys Peanuts

    One of the oldest family businesses in Boston is the family that runs the Peanut cart near the Gate 'A' at Fenway Park. The Jacobs family have been serving bag fresh roasted peanuts at Fenway park since April 20, 1912. That's 104 years of service. As far as I know, the Paget family, who own the Swan Boats at the Boston Public Gardens have a longer family tradition. (The Paget family started back in 1877.)

    Family Cart History

    • 1912 - 1945 -- Peter Davis
    • 1945 - 1988 -- George Jacobs - "The Peanut Man," sold Peanuts from the stand from 1945 until he died in 1988.
    • 1988 - Current -- Nicky Jacobs - Grandson of Peter Davis

    Currently the cost of a Peanut bag at the Nicky's Cart cost $5. Nicky Cart is not the original cart from 1912, he built the current art in 2000 using some of the parts of the original carts. Nicky still has the original cart.

    Unfortunately Nicky's Peanut cart business about to end. In 1999, the management team at Fenway Park has requested that all outside food vendors be removed from Fenway park. Nicky's Peanut stand can still run, but when he dies or retires, the license can not be transferred to another person.

    Currently there are 18 vendors that fall into the legacy category with Nicky's Peanuts being the oldest continuous outside vendor at Fenway Park. Vendors pay anywhere from $360 to $900 a year for the privilege to sell their goods.

    Visiting Fenway Park

    The next time your at a game at Fenway Park, why not enter at Gate 'A' and just before you enter, support one of the oldest Fenway Park tradition. You'll find the cart directly across the Red Sox ticketing area on Yawkey Way.

    Fenway Game Day

    • You are allowed to bring food into Fenway.
    • You cannot bring in alcoholic beverages, soda, cans, and other various prohibited items.
    • You're allowed one (sealed) bottle of water.

    July 29, 2016

    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

    Macintosh Keyboard

    Apple currently manufactures two kinds of keyboards - a wireless version and a wired version. I have had the chance to use both for about a year and here's my thoughts on them.

    Wireless Keyboard

    I was very excited that Apple came out with a wireless version as it makes it easy to move the keyboard around. The wireless keyboard and mouse are a nice addition to the USB real estate. On my iMac, I only have 4 USB slots, so it's nice knowing that my mouse and keyboard isn't going to use up my USB slots.

    The nice thing about the wireless keyboard is that it's very easy to move it out of the way when I am not using the computer. The bad part is that it needs a battery and about once a month I need to replace the battery. Not a big deal since I do keep a spare set of AA batteries so that I don't encounter any downtime.

    Wired Keyboard

    The wired version is very handy at work. I find that I use the 'Home' and 'End' buttons frequently in Chrome. They are great when navigating large web pages.

    Recently I discovered that I could use Keyboard Mastro to assign actions to some of the F keys that I don't use in any of my applications. Keyboard Mastro also lets me assign actions to the numerical keys, which I don't use at all.

    I am not concern about the USB slots at work since I don't really have any external devices.

    Recommendation

    I think the wired keyboard is the way to go. Using Keyboard Mastro, and some AppleScript knowledge, I can be much more productive with the Wired Keyboard.

    Since I have a 10 slot USB hub at home, I am no longer worried about the keyboard using up a USB slot.

    There's no problem with moving the keyboard around when I don't use it, the USB cable is long enough for me to move it out of the way for anything that I want.

    I have pulled out my old Macally iceKey Slim USB Keyboard for a few times that I wanted to use the extended keyboard. As much as I like the Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, I can't justify spending $49 when the Macally keyboard works perfectly fine.

    July 30, 2016

    2016 Cloud Services Changes

    This has been a tough year for cloud services. It looks like that business isn't really going well for Freemium usage. Here are some of the notifications that I have gotten this year from various companies:

    Bitcasa Drive

    Bitcasa decides to focus on the business market and canceled their consumer option:

    This message is to inform you that the Bitcasa Drive service will no longer be supported. You will need to take action to avoid losing your files.
    All data must be downloaded by 11:59pm PST on May 20, 2016, after which time all accounts and stored data on Bitcasa Drive will be permanently deleted.

    Dropbox drops support for Carousel

    Dropbox returned to a single Dropbox photo experience as the Carousel app doesn't bring in new DropBox subscribers:

    On March 31st, we’re shutting down Carousel as a standalone app and returning to a single Dropbox photo experience. Carousel has always been a way to view and interact with photos stored in Dropbox. All the photos in your Carousel timeline will remain safe in your Dropbox where they’ve always been.

    Microsoft changes OneDrive storage limit.

    Microsoft decides to reduce storage limit on OneDrive to the Freemium consumers market in order to focus more on the business cloud solution.

    On July 13, 2016, the amount of storage that comes with your OneDrive will change from 15 GB to 5 GB. We are also discontinuing the 15 GB camera roll bonus.

    Evernote changes Price and Functionality

    Evernote Plus is now $3.99/month or $34.99/year (save 27%)

    To stay in sync across all your devices, consider Evernote Plus. You’ll also enjoy the ability to take notebooks offline on a mobile device, so your notes will be with you wherever you go, even when there’s no Internet connection. You can forward emails into Evernote and keep them alongside related notes, complete with attachments, and 1 GB of upload space each month means you can keep all your projects together.

    Lesson Learned this Year

    The key lesson learned is that if you're going to use a cloud service, you should invest in it and not just take up on the free plan for storage.

    July 31, 2016

    Vocabulary Definitions

    I found the following document in my "High School" bin in the attic. This is a document that I got from a computer science department class in school. Here are some computer vocabulary definitions in the late 1980s:

    vocabulary.jpg
    Click on image for a larger version.

    Vocabulary Definitions

    • Keyboard -- typewriter with letter, number, and symbol keys; people tell the computer what they want it to do by typing characters on the keyboard.
    • characters -- the letters, numbers, and symbols you can type on the keyboard.
    • monitor -- a screen, like a TV set, where people can see information that they type into the computer and see the information that the computer gives back to them.
    • disk -- a thin circle of magnetic tape in a plastic cover that holds information for the computer to use; it's similar to a cassette tape.
    • disk drive -- a rectangular unit that you put the disk into; it reads information from and writes information onto the disk.
    • printer -- a machine that types information from the computer onto paper.
    • hard copy -- the printed text that comes out of the printer.
    • hardware -- the computer and all its attachments (disk drives, monitor, and printer).
    • software -- the programs used with the computer, and stored on the disks, that give the computer directions.
    • cursor -- the small flashing rectangle on the screen that shows you where you are.
    • text -- the words you write and read on the computer.
    • SHIFT -- key on the keyboard to get capital letters.
    • CONTROL (or CTRL) -- key on the keyboard to change commands.
    • boot -- to load a program into the computer