cryan.com

Discover orginal content in various categories

January 22, 2022

Copy.ai

Do you ever feel that you could use a little help with your writing? Maybe have a better bio on your LinkedIn page? How about an eye-catching description for that job posting?

Copy.ai is here to help. You can let the power of AI deliver some incredible writing when you need it the most.

Website Description

Want to learn how to start or grow your business?

Our goal is to provide useful content for business owners and future entrepreneurs. This includes posts on how-to guides, tips and tricks, as well as other topics related to business marketing. ' Learn how to become an effective marketer in a world where technology continues to change and evolve.

Copy Ai
https://app.copy.ai/

Sample Blog Ideas

I ran the tool against this blog to get some ideas, this is what Copy.ai came up with:

  • 3 Useful Internet Tools to Improve Your Productivity: A blog about interesting free websites that can help streamline your day.
  • Welcome to the Cryan.com Clone Site! here contain even more internet tools for free than our website.
  • Top 10 Free Tools for Communication: A Blog about creating a strong social media presence.
  • Cool Way To Organize Files: a blog on file organization with our site www.cryan.com
  • Learn How To Apply For A Loan Online! a blog around getting a loan online.
  • Start Your Own Blog for Free with Blogger: A blog about how to start a blog for free.
  • 10 Fun Ways to Use Your Google Space: A blog about ways you can make use of your Google Space.
  • What Is The Internet: A Tool To Aid You In Creating Content Online: A blog that describes what the internet is, how it works and how you can use the internet effectively.

Bullet Point to Blog Section

This was generated by Copy.ai:

I originally carried the idea of a social news platform around in my head for a long time. It was not until I saw the result of another programmer's experiment with Reddit that I realized it could work. I took the basic concepts of his Reddit clone and started developing my own ideas.

I knew about Reddit for quite some time but never really understood what it is all about. After using it for a while I was hooked, and couldn't help but think that I could do something similar, but better.

The idea behind cryan.com is to create a simple, fast, and easy-to-use social news platform where everyone can submit links to interesting Internet tools and websites they have discovered during their surfing sessions.

Cryan.com tries to provide an intuitive interface so that anyone can quickly post links to interesting websites that would otherwise be lost in the flood of information on the Internet.

This site is a collection of internet tools. Some are fun and can be used to kill time, some are very useful, some are only useful when you have the right programming knowledge, and some others are just cool.

Name:How to Get a Free Website

January 21, 2022

Pixelmator Remove Background

In November, Pixelmator Pro added a AI-powered background removal tool. This is a very powerful feature that makes it easy to remove background from any image.

Pixelmator Pro was certain that you'll be using this feature all the time, that they built in a Finder Quick Action so you can remove a background from any image without having to open up the application.

Pixelmator Quick Action

THree Reasons Why This is Great!

You can quickly remove the background of any image. Pixelmator Pro creates a new image so the original image isn't impacted. There's no harm to use this to any image that you have.

This works anyplace in the finder. So you can be looking at an image on a flash drive and apply this tool.

The whole process takes place in the background. Pixelmator won't open up and disrupt your desktop view or flow.

Not Enabled by Default

Here's the steps to enable this.

  • Open up System Preferences. Apple Menu -> System Preferences
  • Search or Click Extensions. (Tip: The icon is a puzzle piece.)
  • Click Finder on the Left navigation.
  • Click check box next to "Remove Background,"

If you don't see "Remove Background" you will need to update Pixelmator Pro to the latest version.

January 20, 2022

Info-Mac CD

This week ClassicMac we take a quick look back at Info-Mac CD collection: InfoMac VI - August 1995.

The CD was built on August 1, 1995, just in the for MacWorld Boston 1995. That particular show featured the PowerMac 8500, 7500, and 7200. I believe that I got the CD from the tradeshow.

Note: Windows 95 came out on August 24, 1995.

The Info-Mac CD collection was a collection of shareware applications. At the time, it was pretty much how developers were able to get their shareware applications out.

Info-Mac is still around at info-mac.org. The website host the "original online Mac user community." The only problem is that the community has gone quiet. The last post in the forum (as of today) was on June 18th, 2021.

Info Mac6

Welcome to Info-Mac VI!

This is the sixth volume of the compact disc archives of the Internet site at sumex-aim.stanford.edu, also known as Info-Mac. The Info-Mac archive is the definitive site for Macintosh shareware and freeware. Thousands of programs are uploaded to this site per year, featuring some of the best programs available anywhere for the Mac. The Info-Mac archive is mirrored by ftp sites all over the world, including our own ftp server (ftp://ftp.pht.com/).

This Info-Mac series is an attempt to archive and catalog the programs that have been uploaded, but more importantly, make the archive available to those who do not have access to the Internet or don't have several gigabytes of hard drive space to download it all! Having this collection on CD allows you to search though the archive at your leisure without worrying about on-line costs and lets you test all the software yourself immediately.

A new addition to this disc is the Tool Chest. There are a certain few shareware or freeware programs that every Mac user should have. [You know, the ones that line the bottom of your desktop right now.] However, these would only appear on these discs if they have been updated in the time period covered. Even if they do appear, people may not have heard of all of these programs. That's where the Tool Chest comes in. On every disc we will collect the best 15 or 20 programs that are indispensable to any Mac user and put them all in one folder. If you feel that your favorite utility or program was left out, please let us know. If enough people feel the same way, we'll make sure it gets into the next edition of the Tool Chest.

You may have noticed that Info-Mac V was a two-disc edition while this disc is just one. Some people found it annoying to have to switch discs constantly to browse the collection. We have decided to keep Info-Mac a one disc collection and release it more frequently so that you can have the latest files on your desktop, as well as keep it easier to browse through. We have also lowered the price of the disc to reflect this change.

Some Apps on the CD

These are some of the notable apps that are on the CD collection.

KitCat

KitCat is a clock for the Macintosh that looks like a black cat with an analog clock in it's belly. It works on system 7 and earlier.

Stop the Madness 0.851r

Stop The Madness is an Apple II+ emulator for the Macintosh. See the Read Me for more information. The original definitive FTP site is located at ftp://cassandra.ucr.edu/pub/apple2.

Minimalist Clock 1.0

Minimalist Clock is a very small application which displays a clock on your screen. You can move the clock wherever you like. You can also view the current date by clicking the clock once. Code Warrior C source code included.

WolfEdit 1.1

This program allows the user to create new levels for Wolfenstein 3D. The upgrade (from 1.0) includes some bug fixes and minor changes. Support for the Second Encounter is also added.

FPUseless 1.0b

WARNING!!! This program is potentially dangerous. It should be used with caution and NEVER put on a machine without everyone who uses that machine knowing about it! Probably meant as a joke, this control panel introduces small round-off errors in floating point math (FPU and native PPC math is not affected).

BBEdit Lite 3.0

BBEdit Lite is a freeware derivative of BBEdit 3.1, it is a popular text editor for programmers, on-line-service users, and anyone else who needs to edit plain text files. It also has features for writing HTML documents. This is an application we thought needed to go in the Tool Chest

January 19, 2022

Final Cut Pro Captions

Final Cut Pro doesn't come with any default caption text styles. I guess they don't think that it's a style that media artists would ever use.

This week, I am releasing seven "Media Captions" for Final Cut Pro. These were created in Apple Motion. They all have the same function - they have different color fills as the background.

Apple Motion Captions

Caption Colors

These are the background colors included in the download. The text is white when it makes sense for visibility.

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Orange
  • Purple
  • Red
  • White

Full Control

You can change the font, size, box roundness, and the display text of each caption. You can also change the background color and font color - so you are not technically limited to the seven colors that are provided. (It just makes things easier to get started.)

Don't like the lower third placement? You can change the location of the caption by using the transform tool.

Simple Install Instructions

Apple has instructions on how to add custom titles to Final Cut Pro. These are the logistics steps:

Enjoy!

Final Cut Pro Captions

January 18, 2022

BostonGhost.com Email

A long time ago, I purchased the BostonGhost.com domain to use for testing. I never did anything with it, but still have the domain thanks to a hosting provider that I worked at.

Every once in a while I would get business inquiries about the domain. Usually, it's a sign of mass mailing, and the sender doesn't pay much attention to the potential client.

This is one such email that I recently got:

Boston Ghost Email Spam

QA Fails the Email

Here's are four reasons that QA fails this email:

  1. Why would I trust an email coming from gmail.com? Do they not have a legitimate business? Shouldn't the sender be using their domain name? If you are so good, wouldn't you have a domain name-
  2. Nice generic hello statement. You couldn't capitalize the domain name-
  3. "Hope Your Doing Well?" Like you really care how I am doing?
  4. Nice that you keep the variable placeholder in the email. That clearly shows that you pay attention to your emails. I certainly want to trust my Social Media Optimization and SEO to your company.

We All make Mistakes

I didn't call out the name of this company. We all make mistakes.

You should always test your email campaign before sending it out. At least have a second set of eyes to offer some constructive feedback.

Want to know why your conversion rate is low? You're not testing.

January 17, 2022

Panasonic DC-FZ80

This week's media is a change-up from the standard media feature. This week I am focusing on how to get the most out of my Panasonic DC-FZ80.

The Panasonic DC-FZ80 is an excellent camera at a very affordable price. I use it every week to take videos of a local church service. The only thing is that the video colors don't match up to the Nikon 7500 camera.

I am not saying a $299 camera should have the same results as a $3000 camera. I do think that I am not getting the best use from the Panasonic DC-FZ80 camera. After all it has gotten great reviews from experts and consumers.

Panasonic Video FZ80

Four Ways to get the best Video

Shoot at 4K - Shooting at 4K comes with a time penalty. At 1080p I can shoot up to 30-mins of video. When shooting a 4K the max limit is 15-mins. The advantage of going 4K is you maximize the quality of the picture.

Adjust ISO Before Shooting - Set the ISO settings before clicking the record button. Make sure the picture is good before the video starts.

Use Movie Mode for recording - While you can record video at any time by clicking on the record button, you are better off using the movie mode to get the most configurations to get the best shot.

Check Metering Mode - One reason that colors may be off is that the wrong metering mode is being used. Used the quick menu setting to set the proper metering mode.

January 16, 2022

The 7 Most Effective Ways to Increase your Conversion Rate

Happy woman is using the computer after completing a website action.

Marketing executives may have you believe that in order for your business to make money, you need to get your message across. While that is true, it only represents one half of the equation. Even if people hear about your products, how many will visit your website, and of those who do visit, what percentage actually ends up making a purchase? Obviously, getting people interested in your product is a great start, but the second half of the puzzle is getting them to act. Let's look at the 7 most effective ways to increase your conversion rate and your bottom line.

What are conversions?

Before we dive deeper, it might be best if we get our definitions straight. Your rate of conversions represents the number of users who perform a desired action after arriving on your website. This can be clicking on a button, filling out a form, or making a purchase. You'll need to find ways to get users to perform the action you want them to, rather than just leave the website as soon as they arrive.

Here are the 7 most effective ways to increase your conversion rate

Optimize through testing

One of the best ways to get things to work is to keep testing and experimenting until you find a solution that works. If you ever run into a situation where you are unsure which headline to use, you can simply run an A/B split test to see which works better. Create several alternative pages and divide the traffic equally among them. Afterward, you can track the results to see which page gives you more conversions. When it comes to marketing effectiveness, perfection is hard to achieve, and some would even say it's impossible. Therefore, you'll need to experiment to find the most effective ways to increase your conversion rate and optimize through several iterations until you find something that gives you the desired results.

Login screen on a phone.1
/Try several different layouts to see which one will increase your conversion rate.
Alt-tag: Login screen on a phone.

Have a strong Call to Action

No one is going to be impressed by an unoriginal CTA. Try to come up with something better than a generic "Sign up" for your landing page. A much better copy for your CTA is something that sounds positive and inspires people to act. "Yes, I'm interested in getting a discount" is much better since it is written from the perspective of your customers and it frames your offer in a positive light. As with many other items on this list, you can test several options to see which one gets more clicks. You could also experiment with different uses of colors. This will let you draw attention to certain parts of the screen and visually guide your users to where you want them to click.

Declutter your website

If your site is a mess of complicated menus, odd design choices, and far too many ads - users can quickly get confused. Even if they came to your website intending to sign up for your services, they might not know how to proceed. You should improve the visual aspect of your website by removing all of the noise and distractions. Anything that can draw your user away from what they initially came to your website for probably shouldn't be there in the first place. Sometimes less is more, and a clean design will help the essential elements of your website's design stand out.

Person standing near welcome sign.
Make user onboarding simple and easy.

Streamline your forms

Complicated forms can drive your users away before they have filled out and submitted the information in the form. You should simplify the forms and remove all unnecessary fields. When designing forms, you need to ask yourself: do you really need all of the information you are asking from your users. One of the most effective ways to increase your conversion rate is to make it easy for website visitors to subscribe, fill out orders and make a purchase. Those visitors who have expressed an interest and opened a form are some of your most precious leads, and it would be a shame to drive them away when they are so close to completing a form.

Offer valuable content

Content can represent the initial hook some people need to visit your site. Not everyone who sees your website or the ads leading to it will immediately want to make a purchase. Of course, some people will be enticed by your offers and will want to check out your site for more details. On the other hand, you can try to persuade some online users to visit your website by hosting interesting content and informative articles. Try to create educational content that will cover how your products are used and the benefits they can provide. Your content should also answer common user questions and reinforce your products and services as the solutions to the problems users may be facing.

Have reviews and testimonials on your website

If you have numerous satisfied customers, you should be proud to let others know about it. Have testimonials visible on your site. People love seeing proof that something is effective, and positive reviews can go a long way to increasing your conversion rate. Users will be much more likely to take the plunge and make a purchase if they see that they aren't the only one who is doing business with you.

Sale sign to drive conversion rates.
Simple percentual discounts don't have a sense of urgency.

Incentivize immediate action

Having your users make an immediate purchase can save you a lot of time and money that you would otherwise spend following up on that lead and trying to make a conversion at a later date. However, most people aren't inclined to make impulse purchases. That's where basic marketing psychology can step in to help you. You'll need to understand how scarcity and exclusivity function. Evaluate your business strategy, and see how you can best put to use the fear of missing out to get more users to act when they visit your site. People hate missing out on great offers, but you can't just call something exclusive and hope people buy it. For your customers to feel like they are making an exclusive purchase, you need to offer great deals but only at a limited time or in a limited quantity.

In conclusion

Now that we've gone over the 7 most effective ways to increase your conversion rate, it's time to do some tweaking on your website. Don't be afraid to try something new to see if it will work. The results might surprise you, and you could end up with a higher rate of conversions.

January 15, 2022

Letter to Yourself in the Future

Have you set goals for 2022? Want to make some accountability? Why not write a letter to your future self?

The website futureme.org lets you create emails that will be sent to you in the future. You can set the date to be 1 year, 3 years, 5 years or more.

The site has been around for 20-years. So it's not going anyplace - certainly worth a simple letter so say "Hi!"

Good news is the service is free!

Website Description

Way back in 2002, we had a crazy idea that it would be fun to get a surprise letter from the past. So we spent a couple of weekends making FutureMe. Here's what the original version of FutureMe looked like!. We told some friends...who told some of their friends...and so on...and now many, many millions of letters have been written to the future. Some of these letters have been delivered from the past, and many more are still time-traveling into the future.

Future Me
https://www.futureme.org/

January 14, 2022

Setting up new MacBook Pro

This week I got a new MacBook Pro laptop at work. This means that I had to set up the computer to the way I link to use it.

Here are three things that I had to get done. I created this blog post for future reference.

Apple Screen Capture

I use Apple Screen capture all the time. However, I don't like the drop shadow and I don't want the PNG format since it's usually larger than the JPG format.

Remove Drop Shadow

The drop shadow is so 2010. Remove the default drop shadow on all screen captures.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true

Save as JPG

Save disk space and make your captures JPEG files. Why did Apple make the default screen capture as PNG format?

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

Restart the System Server

killall SystemUIServer

All together now

Simple Cut/Paste of the three commands mentioned above:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg
killall SystemUIServer


Fix BBEdit Settings

Removed the dreaded return after applying a paragraph tag:

defaults write com.barebones.bbedit HTMLParagraphMarkup_ParagraphsOnSeparateLines -bool NO

BBEdit Default Preferences

Make the following adjustments:

Appearance

  • Application appearance should be set to dark.
  • Editor color scheme should be Haunted Mansion (cryan.com)
  • Turn off Page guide at [90] characters.

Application

  • When BBEdit becomes active set it to "Do Nothing"

Completion

  • Enable "Include system text replacements in completion list"

Editor Default

  • Enable "Soft wrap text to" and select the Window Width.

Applications Install

These are my helper applications - outside of anything specific that my work provides.

  • BBEdit - Essential text editor
  • Keyboard Maestro - #1 Productive App
  • LaunchBar - Launch Applications quicker
  • Panic's Transmit - Transer files between the computer and server
  • Magnet - I use Mosaic on my personal computer, but Magnet has the iCloud license. Keyboard shortcuts are essentially the same.
  • Photoscape X - Quick graphic editor.
  • iTerm2 - Essential Terminal App.
  • DBeaver - DB management tool
January 13, 2022

About this Macintosh Dialog box

Apple has come a long way with MacOS. I was looking at the "About This Mac" dialog from a couple of my computers and it's pretty interesting how things have changed.

About Macintosh Mobile
About Macintosh Desktop

System 7.5.5

The "About This Macintosh" is from my Apple Centra 660av. This dialog box was useful in showing what applications were using the most memory. Got to love the old Macintosh logo.

This screenshot was taken in 1995 - just about the time I moved to California. At the time I was using this computer as an answering machine.

Mac OS X 10.5.8

THe "About this Mac" dialog is from my Powerbook G4. It shows some information about the computer and the Processor power. Pretty useful when trying to figure out the capabilities of the computer.

This screenshot was taken today! I still use this Powerbook every once in a while. I still have Photoshop CS2 and Indesign on the computer. I never updated Photohop beyond CS2 - so anytime that I feel the need to use it I have it available. This computer is also good in reading old Mac Data CD/DVDs.

macOS Monterey

This is the primary computer that I am using today - my iMac (Retina 5k, 27-inch, 2019). This dialog box is packed with information about the computer. Apple broke down other useful information such as Display and Storage into separate tabs - so the dialog box isn't overwhelming to the user.

This is my main computer, it works really well. Its amazing to see the difference of processor power that a computer has today than it did 27 years ago with my Centra 660av.

January 12, 2022

360-Degree Images

If you have a 360-Degree camera, you'll be happy to know that you can use your footage inside of Apple Motion.

Apple Motion360

I am still learning on how to integrate and use a 360-degree image. But there are a few things that I learned so far.

Five Things I Have Learned

To use a 360-degree image or video your project needs to be set up as a 360-degree Video preset. If it isn't you won't get the full 360 Environment.

Any video or image that you import into Apple Motion has to be stitched first. You can use applications like Ricoh Theta to stich files - I tested images imported into Apple Photos and that imported successfully into Apple Motion.

When you import files the images end up in a group that is labeled 360-degrees.

Orbit Control

You can pan around your 360-degree image using the Orbit control when in the 360-degree "Look Around" mode.

Orbit control - This was a bit tricky to figure out. I couldn't figure out how to move the image around. It simple. Just click the mouse in the middle icon in the top view - see icons above. Then drag around to change the viewer.

You can also use the Rotation settings in the Properties panel to adjust the view. I just need to spend some time learning how to move the camera with the 360 images. Apple has a good guide to learn how to use 360-degree images in Apple Motion.

January 11, 2022

QA Fail: Natick Mall Exit Sign

Natick Mall is one of the busiest Malls in Massachusetts. You can find all sorts of interesting stores and eating places.

If your drive eastbound on Route 9 heading to the Natick Mall, it can be a bit tricky since there's no direct exit to the mall.

You can't take a left at a light to go to the Mall.

When you get to the Mall, you may see this sign:

N Atick Mall Road Sign

QA Fails this sign

Not sure who this sign is for - it's pretty small and easily missed with all the other distractions.

The sign is incorrect. The next "exit" is a traffic light and taking a left will put you in Sherwood plaza across the street from the Natick Mall.

You need to be in the right lane to get to the Natick Mall which is on the left side of the road. You can't turn left at the lights - where you would think you would. The sign is too close to the light - so a car in the left lane would have to cross a couple of lanes to take the proper exit.

Oh, if you miss your exit? It's a 1-mile penalty to do a U-Turn back to the Mall.

Map to Show The Way

Here's a map to show the proper way to get to the Natick Mall parking lot:

Natick Mall Map Way

Basically you have to drive by Sherwood Plaza and take the Speen St. Exit and the take the 9 West Framingham route. You'll end up making a U-turn and positioning yourself to several parking areas at the Natick Mall.

January 10, 2022

Medicare Benefits Phone Scam

Jeff Anderson from Medicare Benefits called me last week. Not exactly sure why I got the call seeing that I am many many years away from collecting Medicare Benefits.

Jeff really wanted my age.
I wasn't going to volunteer information.

Here's how the call went,,,,

January 9, 2022

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 3 vs Apple Watch Series 7

This past Christmas I got a new Apple Watch Series 7. This is to replace my Apple Watch Series 3. I used the watch all the time for fitness and for notifications.

Welcome Surprise

I was excited to get a new watch because the Series 3 was getting difficult to update. In order to do any vatchOS update, I would need to delete everything on my watch. This became an issue when the Apple Watch wasn't syncing data to my phone. The Series 3 only comes with 8GB capacity - which isn't enough for storage and to perform an update. (Why is Apple still selling this watch with an 8GB capacity?)

How to Sync Watch to iPhone

The way that I got my sync to work is pretty simple:

  1. Tuen off the Apple Watch - Hold down the button below the wheel and select power off.
  2. After a minute turn on the Apple Watch, using the same button. Make sure the Watch is near the iPhone on booting.
  3. Open up the Watch app on the iPhone.

The sync should start happening. If you have a lot of data, such as Memo, it may take a while for the content to copy to your iPhone.

Apple Watch Screen Resolution

Apple Watch Series7

The Apple Watch Series 7 face looks smaller than the series 3. However, Apple packed more pixels in a smaller space. So your essentially getting a better quality image in a smaller space.

Apple Watch Series 3 - 312 X 390

Apple Watch Series 7 - 352 X 430

January 8, 2022

NightSky this Month

The Boston Museum of Science puts out a handy graphic of what is in the night sky over New England. This is useful to look at when you are about to venture on a nighttime journey - such as walking the dog.

If you are not in New England, you can check out if your local science museum has a similar guide. The ASTC Travel Passport Program at the Association of Science and Technology Centers is a useful reference to find your local science museum.

Sky Chart New England
https://www.mos.org/node/45169526

Note: This link will always display the latest night-sky graphic.

January 7, 2022

Chrome Mouse Shortcuts

If you right-click on a link to Open a Link in a New Tab, or a Window. There is actually an easier way to get the task done.

Chrome Command Click

Here are three useful Chrome shortcuts that are worth using every day:

Open a link in new background tab ' + Click a link
Open a link, and jump to it ' + Shift + Click a link
Open a link in a new window Shift + Click a link

These tips work in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari - it seems to be a universal standard. So they are worth knowing and using. You can save some time and be more efficient.

January 6, 2022

Fonts By David Rakowski

Here are some font examples there done by David Rakowski from the Boston Computer Society Software CD collection.

David Rakowski has been creating fonts since the early 1990s. All of his fonts are still available online at various font services such as fontspace.com, Font Squirrel, and dafont.com. Over the years he has created 96 fonts of various varieties.

David Rakowski is actually better known for his music. He is a Professor of Composition at Brandeis University. He has received numerous awards for his teaching and music. You can listen to some of his music on Spotify.

Here are three examples:

Bizarro, Gallaudet, Dupuy and Lilth

David Rakowski2022

Boston is written in Bizarro, The fingers were done using Gallaudet, Stay Hungry was in Lilth and the Champion Text was done using Dupuy. These can be found in the collection in dafont.com.

Good Sense of Humor

One of the things I like is David's humor in the Read Me files. In the early read me files, he describes the history of the font and some copyright information. At the end of the file is some reference to the Insect Bytes.

Here are a few humor examples:

User groups, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit shareware/public domain outlets may distribute this font given the above conditions. The Dupuy fonts come to you from Insect Bytes, a place with so-so sunsets (say that five times fast) and spectacular stargazing.

Lilith-Heavy is copyright (c) 1992 by David Rakowski. All Rights Reserved. It is distributed as shareware; if you like, use and/or keep this font, please make a donation to the Columbia University Music Department of $3.01 (a mere penny more than the cost of Lilith-Light). If your first or last name is hyphenated, please send $4.01 instead. Make your check out to Columbia University and send it to Cynthia Lemiesz, Music Department, 703 Dodge Hall, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. In it, you may enclose a brief letter with all the vowels left out (e.g. "Dr Cnth: Hw r y? m fn.).

Lilith-Heavy comes to you from Insect Bytes, and there's nothing you can do about it.

The Gallaudet font comes to you from Insect Bytes.

Bizarro is a real-life product of an imaginary entity known as Insect Bytes, a place where ice is something you walk on, not just something you put in a drink.

PixieFont is - by David Rakowski, and is distributed as shareware. If you like the font, please send a check for $4.99 payable to Columbia University to: Victoria Salter, Music Department, Dodge Hall, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. You should also enclose the following letter, typed in whatever font you choose:

Dear Victoria:

Here's some money. $4.99, to be exact. Now it's your move. Would a flashlight be better than velcro? I guess they had to take the wallpaper away. Nothing is going to stop the endless parade of purple. Oops. Gotta go.

Sincerely, (your name here).

January 5, 2022

Pixelmator Pro to Motion

One of the nice features of Pixelmator Pro is the ability to export a file to Apple Motion format. This preserves all layers and transparency. This is a unique feature to Pixelmator Pro as this isn't available in Affinity Photo or GraphicConverter.

Pixel Mator Pro Motion
Pixelmator Pro Motion Export Dialog with the Motion Document code.

Apple Motion Description in Pixelmator Pro

Here's the description right from the Pixelmator Pro help file:

Motion is one of Apple's Pro Apps, dedicated to creating motion graphics on a Mac. Pixelmator Pro supports Motion text, basic and complex shapes, image layers, drop shadows, and everything else you need for your projects to look just how you designed them when you open them in Motion. And if you find or create an SVG file you'd like to use in Motion, you can use Pixelmator Pro to seamlessly convert it into a Motion Project file and continue working with it in Motion.

Three Reasons Why This is Useful

A lot more Graphic Tools - Pixelmator Pro has a lot more shape tools to create the design you are looking for. For example, you can combine shapes to create a wave from left to right.

Better alignment Tools - You can perfectly align objects to the page. In addition, you can use some of the aligned tools to perfectly space objects. For example, you can create box grids as placeholders.

Text Along Paths - you can easily create texts on paths in Pixelmator Pro. You can export the text to Motion and bring that text to life.

January 4, 2022

Google Cloud Termination Email

Recently I was test Google Cloud to see how it compares to the features of Amazon Web Services. This was using a self training program that I did for work.

I created a personal account so that I had more flexibility.

I only used Google Cloud during the trial period and was not required to put in a card for the trial - which was good because I really didn't have any intentions to make a purchase.

A couple of weeks later I get this email:

Google Clould Email

Text of the email:

Action required

Dear Google customer,

You are receiving this email because you are a Google Cloud Platform, Firebase, or API customer.

Your billing account XXXXX has been terminated for failure to provide a valid payment instrument or for not making all overdue payments. In addition the related Project(s) and/or Service(s) have been terminated.

If you wish to request reinstatement of your billing account and to pay all amounts past due and to update your account with valid payment information, follow this link: https://console.cloud.google.com/billing

If you have any questions please contact us using this form: https://support.google.com/code/contact/cloud_platform_billing

Why QA Failes

This email sounds very threatening and somewhat demanding. I had no files in the Google Cloud.

Why mention, "pay all amounts past due" when there wasn't anything to payback? I was using it during the allowed trial period.

Once someone is done with the trial, or if I feel that it isn't for them, there should be a way to cancel.

I never got a "Termination" email from Amazon Web Services. My account was just moved to the AWS Free Tier.

January 3, 2022

GoPro Hero 9 - A Year Later

A year ago today I purchased the GoPro hero 9 from Buy Buy. You can read all about my GoPro purchase and expectations on the January 3, 2021 blog post. In addition, check out all the various GoPro Blog posts from last year.

The GoPro Hero 9 was a great purchase and I certainly got my monthly worth from the camera. It's a great tech toy to have and highly recommend anyone that enjoys photography to get one.

Sample Video

Cape Cod at night using the standard night time timelapse settings.

Top Accessories

Over the past year, I purchased various accessories to make use of the GoPro. These are the top three accessories that I recommend people get with their GoPro.

GoPro Flex Mount - This has worked great! I use it to connect the GoPro to a tripod. I purchased a similar one that GoPro makes on Amazon and it lasted about 4 months.

GoPro Media Mod - This GoPro Accessory adds a quality microphone to help create a better-sounding video for situations where you need it. This is great to have when you want quality sound.

GoPro Battery Charger with Extra Battery - This is essential when traveling. Its very helpful to have extra batteries and to have a charger that can charge both of them at the same time.

Things I Learned

The original GoPro batteries didn't last that long. By July of last year, I had to stop using the original batteries because they didn't hold the charge that long.

Your better off getting a large SD card for traveling. I think 256GB is a good size for a week's trip.

Be careful using the GoPro in extreme temperatures. You are much better off using an external device in hot temperatures. In cold temperatures use something that will at least protect the camera from snow and ice.

When using an external charger. Make sure to connect it to the GoPro first before turning it on. This will make it so the GoPro knows there is an external power source.

Using a coin can help open the battery door. It is hard to open it the first few times but you can get used to it. It is hard to open because it needs to be waterproof.

There are times when the GoPro will not upload files to the cloud right away. Make sure to disconnect the USB-c cable to try again. It may take a couple of tries. Always check to see if the file was uploaded before deleting it from the card. Don't assume that files always get uploaded.

I have found that video files - particularly long 5k videos - are files that have problems uploading on the initial attempt. It will get uploaded - just be patient and try a couple of times.

The GoPro does a great job capturing audio. I have placed this near a load audio source and I haven't gotten any clipping sounds as I have with other devices.

I like to keep the device charged and an empty card in the device. You never know when you'll want to use it.

Nighttime Timelapse is one of my favorite features. It's very cool to set up the camera in the backyard and watch the stars move through the night. I have tried it at various locations and found amazing things in the night sky. It works great in the summer and winter.

January 2, 2022

2022 Blog Plan

Welcome to 2022!

Tomorrow marks the 6 years of consecutive blogging. It's hard to believe that I have been blogging nonstop for that long. ( Check out the first post that I started with - UFO Quadcopter Stuck in Tree )

Here is the content lineup through February 2022. I have been working on better content planning for these topics.

2022 Blog Topics

Sunday - Open topic anything goes. You may find Business topics are the most popular topics.

Monday - Media Monday. I'll post more video clips from my personal VHS collection. Expect to see more classic Internet Ads and moments from the 1990s.

Tuesday - QA Fail. Some interesting fail things that I have encountered. Most of the content will make you think - how did that pas Qa?

Wednesday - Apple Motion tips and tricks. Interesting things that I discover in Apple Motion. Every once in a while there will be posts featuring an Apple Motion template.

Thursday - Classic Macintosh Topics. I'll reach into my collection in the basement and recall the good old days of using the Macintosh. Maybe I'll boot up the old Macintosh Plus.

Friday - Macintosh Friday. Interesting tips and tricks on popular hardware and software. I am always looking for ways to get better use of the software that I use every day.

Saturday - Internet Tools. Interesting Internet tools that I find. Many of the feature sites are free

Thoughts For Blogging in 2022

More Creativity - I am looking forward to more creative posts. I plan to use various graphic tools to add more appropriate graphics.

Better Planning - I also plan on the blog content a few days early so that I can put more value in the blog post. In the past, I would come up with the topic on the day the blog post was written.

Video Posts - In a few posts, I'll switch it up and add video instead of graphics. Just looking at doing something different.

January 1, 2022

Interactive Night Sky

Do you walk the dog at night and look up at the night sky? Maybe you like to sit on the porch and look up. Ever wonder what's in the night sky right when you look up?

Sky & Telescope can help. They built an Interactive Night Sky that shows you - at any given point - what is in the night sky.

What's nice is that you can change the date picker to be anytime - even in the past! You can see the night sky the day you were born.

Website Description

Powered by Heavens Above, our interactive viewer charts the night sky as seen by eye. The map includes the Moon, stars brighter than magnitude 5, the five bright planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn), and deep-sky objects that can be seen without the use of optical aid.

Sky Telescope
https://skyandtelescope.org/observing/interactive-sky-chart

December 31, 2021

Most Used Macintosh Apps of 2021

Usually, I feature the top ten Macintosh blog posts of 2021. However, this year I decided to do something a bit different. This year the last Macintosh post will feature the top ten applications of the year.

Macintosh Apps 2021

Top Ten Apps of 2021

These applications were the ones that I used the most in 2021.

BBEdit - In late July, Bare Bones released BBEdit 14 and some cool new features - including notes. Now there's no excuse to not use BBedit as your go-to notes tool - especially for programming. Read my review of BBEdit 14.

Final Cut Pro - In October, Apple released Final Cut Pro 10.6 and some cool Object Tracking and Cinematic Mode features. I use Final Cut Pro for weekly video editing. Read the Final Cut Pro Blog posts.

Transmit - I did look into switching to Viper FTP Lite, but I kept going back to Transmit because of the easy to use functionality.

Luminar AI - I purchased Luminar Ai in October and I use it to touch up all my photos. The application does a great job with enhancement and adding some cool special effects. Read my initial review of Luminar Ai and a followup review a month later.

This is a great application to have if you're doing any photo work. The whole point of Luminar AI is to make enhancements as quickly as possible. If you are a Photoshop or Affinity Photo pro then you may not need this application. However, over the long run, I think the time saved is worth the cost.

Keyboard Maestro - According to Keyboard Maestro stats, the time saved using this application is 32 hours and that's just this year. Keyboard Maestro released version 10 in early November - read my review.

I created 404 macros and use a lot of them on a day-to-day bases. You can see some tips and tricks on my Keyboard Maestro Blog.

Day One - This is where I keep tabs on my day. It's a great way to track things that were important that day. I really like going to 'On This Day' and seeing what happened personally over the past years.

Affinity Designer - This is where I create all my graphics for work and this website. It's easy to use and offers a lot of power to create amazing images. I like Affinity Designer because it opens up EPS files for easy manipulation.

DBeaver - I started using this in July and have found it to be a great database tool. I can connect to various databases and perform similar tasks. Having one tool means I don't have to remember different shortcuts as I switch between database types.

Photoscape X - When I want to create collages this is an application that I turn to. In a matter of minutes, I can create a collage that looks awesome. PhotoScape has a lot of tools to help touch up files - such as screenshots and Memes.

An updated version of Photoscape X should be announced soon!

Drop Zone 3 - I use Drop Zone to transfer files to my webserver. There are separate actions for different projects. To copy a file to the remote server, I simply drag an image to the taskbar and then drop it on the icon that represents the final destination.

December 30, 2021

Best of Blogs for GoPro, Tech and Framingham

Thursdays in 2021, the topics ranged from GoPro to Tech Tools, Framingham and Classic Mac.

Best Thursday Post

Top Six Thursday Post of 2021

Here are the Thursday blog post that was the most popular in 2021:

GoPro Labs (GoPro) (January 14, 2021) - GoPro Labs is where you get to try out the latest and greatest firmware for your GoPro. This shouldn't be used for production capture footage.

GoPro Pool Pole Mount (GoPro) (March 11, 2021) - Learn how I was able to create a mount for a pool pole. These poles are very long and great for when you want to create Timelapse footage from high above.

WD MyPassport Wireless drive (Tech Tools) (June 24, 2021) - This blog post covers my bad experience with the 500GB WD MyPassport drive. The physical drive isn't damaged and someday I'll put some effort to recover the files on the drive.

Framingham Dog Park (Framingham) (August 12, 2021) - In 2022, the City of Framingham will open its first dog park. This blog post has some general information about new the park.

Crispus Attucks Bridge (Framingham) (September 2, 2021) - General information on the Crispus Attucks Bridge. One interesting thing to note - the marker is slowly being chipped away. I wonder if someone is intentionally doing that.

Street Signs of Framingham (Framingham) (September 23, 2021) - Did you know that Framingham has street signs of all the seasons? This blog post shows where you can find them. Something fun for the kids on a rainy day?

What's next for 2022?

Classic Mac will return in January 2022. I'll have enough content for the next couple of months. Maybe Framingham will return in the Spring of 2022.

December 29, 2021

Best of Wednesday Post

During Wednesday's in 2021 I switch topics several times. I started the year off with Affinity Designer, in April I changed to jQuery, then QA/ In the Summer I focused on Gluten Free topics. In November it was Camera Tips and finally Keyboard Maestro.

Wednesday Best Post

These are the blog posts that got the most activity.

D Ellis Sugarloaf (Gluten Free) (August 18, 2021) - My daughter went here this past summer. She had a good time with her friends. She liked that she was able to eat a gluten free meal at a popular restaurant at Sugarloaf mountain.

Gluten Free Oreos (Gluten Free) (July 28, 2021) - This is my daughter's favorite snack. At one time we had about 6 boxes on the snack shelf. Nabisco did a great job with making the gluten-free Oreos taste like the regular Oreos.

If you haven't tried the Gluten Free Oreos you should check them out! They are delicious and you can't taste the difference.

Kanes Donuts (Gluten Free) (July 14, 2021) - This is the go-to place in Boston for Gluten Free donuts. Not only do they offer the best-tasting donuts but they have a huge variety.

While Kane's Donuts is a local chain, there isn't any near our house. So when we go into Boston - early in the morning - we have to stop at Kane's and get her a few treats.

Automation (QA) (June 9, 2021) - What is the value of Automation for the QA team? In this post, I describe the purpose of automation and how it fits into the workflow.

This is an interesting read on the "great debate" on what value automation has not only on the deliverables by the QA team but also to the project.

Aperture Priority (Camera) (November 10, 2021) - Basic learning on the Aperture setting on most DSLR cameras. The post gave information on what situations you would be concerned about the Aperture.

This was part of a camera series where. I was doing a deep dive with the dial options in a DSLR camera.

Popcorn Oil (Popcorn) (May 19, 2021) - During the month of May, I was in search of how to make the best popcorn at home. This particular post was about the best oil to use in a plug-in popcorn popper. Click on the popcorn link to see all the popcorn posts.

December 28, 2021

QA Memes that Sum up 2021

These are the Six QA memes that pretty much sum up 2021.

Romantic Candlelight Dinner'

/ Production Bug
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics//ProductionBug.jpg

Working from Home means that you're always on the clock. There's nothing like getting a critical text message or phone call of an issue in Production.

Added Logging

/log4j Meme
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics//log4jMeme.png

December was looking quiet until the log4j issue blew up. Who knew that having logging could cause some vulnerabilities? Logging in Production used to be good, not anymore.

Using Jira doesn't make you agile

/ Jira Agile
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics//JiraAgile.jpg

Where I work, Agile sprints are sometimes confused with Waterfall sprints. You can be productive using Agil, just make sure to stick with the program.

Modern Testing Meme

/ Modern Testing Graphic
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics//ModernTestingGraphic.jpg

This year I learned a lot about Modern Testing and how it can help improve the sprint velocity of any team. Modern Testing moves the ownership of testing to Developers where QA focuses on Quality.

Stand Back "Back to the Future" - Testing in Production

/meme-stand-back-test-in-production
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics//meme-stand-back-test-in-production.jpg

Lots of testing in Production in 2021 - at least on various projects that I worked on this year. There's so much risk of testing code in Production - but sometimes you don't have that choice.

Going to QA

/ Going To Q A
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics//GoingToQA.jpg

In 2021, getting code to QA is a big deal. Developers seemed to be confident that if it passed code review, it should have smooth sailing in QA. That wasn't always the case as QA tend to test functionality more than logic.

Send it to QA, what could possibly go wrong?

December 27, 2021

Best Media Files of 2021

These are the best media files of 2021 - based on hit stats.

The Laura Ingraham Show (October 18, 2021) - This audio clip takes you back to the 2004 President's election. What were the biggest issues for the first major election after the September 11, 2001 attacks?

Phone Call went Wrong (April 19, 2021) - The person that called me wasn't paying attention and thought I said something different.

Car Warranty Calls (August 23, 2021) - Sometimes I get cold calls about my car warranty being expired. They don't even know the car that I have.

The Morton Downey Jr. Show (August 2, 2021) - This is a great clip of the Morton Downey Jr. Show featuring Doctor Fad.

Rich Little Answering Machine (May 31, 2021) - There was a time when people were trying to be clever on the answering machine messages. Listen to this Radio Shack classic.

Video Professor (April 26, 2021) - Part of the classic Video Professor Infomercial. This is a nice walk down memory lane on how people would learn popular software programs.

Goals for 2022

I'll be working on increasing my YouTube subscribers from 50 to 150 by this time next year. In order to do that, I'll have to post a lot more creative videos.

I have bins of VHS tapes that I haven't gotten to yet. I am sure that I'll find some great clips to share.

December 26, 2021

What Aspiring Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Cybersecurity

amol-tyagi-0juktk O Tkp U-unsplash
Photo by Amol Tyagi on Unsplash

What Aspiring Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Cybersecurity

Cybercrime is not something most entrepreneurs account for when starting a new business - a serious lapse that often bites them in the back later. 43 percent of cyber-attacks target small businesses, according to Fundera, costing a staggering $2.2 million in damages each year. Only 40 percent of them manage to recover from the loss, with the rest shutting shop within 6 months.

If you're a newly-minted or aspiring business owner, you need to care about cybersecurity just to survive. In this mini-guide, Cryan offers insight into cybersecurity, with some tips on protecting your business:

Know what's at stake

Cyber-attacks can affect you on several levels, not just financially. You must know what's at stake. That way, you know what to safeguard, not to mention be aware of the price of potential failure.

  • Data: Hackers may steal intellectual property, product designs, employee information, customer information, financial reports, sales data, and more.
  • Money: Hackers may attempt to swipe company funds directly, acquire customer or employee payment information, or even hold your data for ransom.
  • Identity: Identity theft is where hackers use you or your stakeholder's information to commit financial fraud.
  • Infrastructure: Some hackers will attempt to take over your hardware and business resources for their own use or financial gain.

Protect your business

Next, implement some security safeguards for your operation. You should be able to do this yourself with some research and, possibly, advice from an expert. If your small business handles a lot of money or sensitive information, you may want to consider hiring an expert. Below are some suggestions on what to do:

  • Eliminate the human weak-link: Humans are the weakest link in cybersecurity, according to the ACT. Their mistakes - like leaving passwords lying around or installing unsafe files - allow hackers to worm their way through your defenses. Educate your employees and yourself on cyber-safety best practices to minimize this vulnerability.
  • Shore up your security: Make sure your security is airtight. Some suggestions are using a VPN, limiting access to sensitive information, using anti-virus and monitoring software, enabling firewalls, downloading from trusted sources only, and backing up your information.
  • Identify avenues of approach: By learning how hackers operate, you can avoid falling prey to their tricks. Learn about common hacking techniques like phishing, keylogging, and click-baiting to avoid being taken in by attempts.
  • Update your software: Every software item you use, from your operating system to productivity tool, receives regular security updates. Failing to update regularly allows hackers to exploit known vulnerabilities.
  • Password-protect PDFs: Password-locking your PDFs is a great way to protect your sensitive data. PDF files are convenient to use, not to mention easy to encrypt. Adobe Acrobat offers free online tools to easily manage, edit, compress, password-lock, and combine PDFs.
  • Get insurance: You won't catch all hacking attempts. That's why insurance may be a good fallback. It will help you get back on your feet faster.

Have a strategy for dealing with a cyber-attack

Last, but not least, you must have a strategy for dealing with a cyber-attack. No security setup is perfect and, despite your best efforts, you may end up being hacked. It pays to be prepared for the possibility (or eventuality).

Most large, successful businesses have a strategy to deal with the consequences of a cyber-attack. As a new operation, you will have to cobble together a semi-formal strategy from scratch. You likely can't afford to hire a team, but you can still learn and implement threat-response best practices. Some suggestions, courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are below:

  • Check what happened: Have a threat-analysis audit. Check the systems affected, determine the type of threat, and potential damages caused.
  • Take care of the problem: Take affected systems offline to curtail the threat. Quarantine, scan, and clean your systems, as necessary. Use backups, if available, to stay operational.
  • Update your security: Needless to say, you need to up your security game. Update your systems, put new safeguards in place, and document known weaknesses.
  • Protect your reputation: Unless you respond to the threat transparently and reassure your customers, your reputation could take a hit. PR efforts are necessary to bounce back effectively.

Conclusion

For maximum safety, focus on presenting a hard target for hackers. Essentially, if the reward for targeting you doesn't seem worth it to the hacker, they will likely leave you be and go in search of easier prey. Some preparation now will save you a great deal of trouble down the road.

December 25, 2021

Best Internet Tools Post of 2021

As we close out 2021, for the next seven days we'll feature the top blog posts.

Here are the top Internet blog posts of 2021:

Veed.io - February 13, 2021 - Great media site to add visual captions and audio graphic meter. I use this site a lot this year to convert a simple audio file into a video.

Colorcinch - August 28, 2021 - Great site to enhance a photo style by converting it into a comic style. Worth checking out if your looking to comicfy a photo.

ThreadReaderApp - May 15, 2021 - This makes it super easy to read threaded Twitter posts. Great when you want to share posts on Slack.

InkyDeals.com - April 10, 2021 - Purchase graphic collections at amazing deals. There are some free packages so you can see the quality of the collections.

Hashatit - July 10, 2021 - Find the top posts on any hashtag that you can think of. Useful if your using a unique tag and want to see what other posts are associated with it.

Am I FLoCed - July 3, 2021 - Is your account part of a national database hack? Find out using this site. Maybe its time to change the passwords.

Grabify - June 19, 2021 - Are you curious on where a scammer is really from? Send them a link generated by this site and you can learn where that person is really located.

Wallpaper Cave - March 6, 2021 - Great site for any computer wallpaper that you could possibly need.

Trianglify.it - January 9, 2021 - Generate color polygons for background images.

Commandlinefu.com - September 4, 2021 - Learn some cool command line tricks. You may find some tasks are better performed on the command line.

December 24, 2021

Christmas Graphic

Happy Christmas Eve!

The main website graphic was created using Affinity Designer and a clip art that I had around.

Welcome to cryan.com
...

Some Notes

I used the "My Dear Santa" font from Creative Market. It was free during the first week of December.

The text background color was done using the 50 Glitter Texture Images. It's a great collection to have for background or for text masks.