Powerbook in SFO
September 25, 2021

eBay Roundup Preview

Some people are starting their Christmas shopping early this year. Probably because of the various shortages that are going around.

If your looking for unique things on eBay, the place to start is Roundup Preview's Ebay search

Website Description

Make online shopping simple with our free and easy-to-use comparison tool.

Perfect for all your online shopping needs, including birthday/anniversary / Christmas gift ideas, household purchases, or simply to treat yourself.

Simple controls allow you to quickly find the best value for money products and recommended items, view customizable charts, filter unwanted items, and more.

Roundup Preview,jpg
https://roundupreviews.com/search

September 24, 2021

Skitch

It's been a while since I used Evernote. As I have moved to different note taking apps - BBEdit Notes and Google Keep.

As a results, I haven't installed Evernote or Skitch apps on my new computers. Skitch is a screen capture tool that saves images into EverNote.

Skitch Annotation Tools

Skitch has several tools to add annotations to an image. There are arrows, text, shapes, pen tools, stamps, pixelate, marker, highlighter, and crop.

The one tool that stands out from other screen capture tools is stamp annotation.

Stamp Annotation

Stamps Annotation

In Skitch's stamp tool, you can set the mood, direct the arrow, and then add a message to the annotation.

There are five stamps: Rejected, Attention, Question, Approved, Perfect. (You can't add a custom one.)

Skitch's stamp tool makes it easy to call out certain areas of an image. I think its better than what Snagit or what Monosnap has.

Skitch Development

One risk of using Skitch is that was last updated on June 25, 2020. I am not sure that Evernote will be still supporting the application in future macOS versions.

September 23, 2021

Street Signs of Framingham

Welcome to the Fall Season! Did you know that the city of Framingham has streets named after the four seasons?

There are xx streets in Framingham. Did you know that there is a street name after each of the four seasons?

Framingham Street Season

Finding The Streets

Winter Street - This street goes from Route 9 to Waverly Street near Framingham State. This is located between the villages of Salem End Road and the South Framingham area.

Spring Street - This short street is located off of Franklin Street near Mason Park in the South Framingham village area.

Summer Street - This street is located between Central Street and Concord Street near the Golden Triangle village area.

Autumn Lane - This is the shortest street of the four. This street is located off of Haleah Lane in the Saxonville village area.

Finding Steet Signs

In Framingham, the street signs are located at the start and the end of a street.

September 22, 2021

Wayside Inn

This week we stopped at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts for lunch. We were meeting up with relatives who came to visit from out of town.

The Wayside Inn started in 1716, making it the oldest continually operating inn in the United States. In 1862, the poet Henry Longfellow wrote the poems Tales of a Wayside Inn here. Henry Ford once own the Inn, in fact he was the last private owner.

We have eaten at the Wayside Inn plenty of times, but this is the first time we brought our daughter. We needed to make sure that there was a gluten-free dish for her.

Wayside Inn2021

Five Things We Learned

The Wayside Inn offers inside and outside seating. Everyone that worked at the restaurant wore masks. At the time we were eating, the town of Sudbury had a mandatory mask mandate - which requires everyone to wear a mask when inside a public place.

When we checked in, we told the host that someone in our party has a gluten-free allergy. They gave us a gluten-free menu.

The gluten-free menu has lots of options, but nothing really for kids. My daughter doesn't like seafood at all. Lunch options such as Boston Scrod, Salmon Dijonnaise, and Broiled Sea Scallops wouldn't work for her. She's 10 and we're not going to order the Roast Prime Rib. We ended up ordering the Tavern Burger without a bun and chips instead of the fries since the waitress told us they don't have a dedicated fryer. (I am guessing the Fish and Chips are fried in the same fryer.)

After we placed our order, someone came around with a basket of bread and placed it in the middle of the table - right in front of my daughter. The Wayside Inn doesn't have any gluten-free bread as part of the table appetizer.

My daughter liked her burger, she ate most of it. She didn't eat much of her chips, probably distracted from all the conversations. She said it was a good burger.

Wayside Gluten Free Menu
Gluten Free Lunch Menu at the Wayside Inn.

We'll Be Back!

We enjoyed our meal. The restaurant was fairly quiet - there was some construction going on that made it slightly noisy. (Not sure why they had to make a lot of noise during a busy lunch hour.)

We'll be back. This is a beautiful restaurant with some interesting history, we had a good experience and everyone enjoyed their food.

September 21, 2021

QA Fail: Storrowing

Storrowing is the term that locals use to describe a truck being on Storrow Drive and hitting a bridge.

The term "Storrowing" was first mentioned in the Boston Globe in an article in August 2016.

There are plenty of warning signs and low-clearance bars before the bridges - letting truckers know that they should not be on that stretch of road.

When trucks are stalled under a bridge they cause serious traffic nightmares. Massachusetts State Police has to come out to check the situation and help cleanup the road and get the truck out of the way.

Storrow Drive2021

Situation is Getting Worst

In August 2021, 34 trucks were caught on Storrow Drive - with many of the trucks being damage due to the low clearance.

In past years:

  • 2019 - there was only one truck
  • 2017 - there were 4 trucks
  • 2016 - there were no trucks.

Note: A "storrowing" year is from August 1st to July 31st of the following year. So this year is from August 1st, 2021 to July 31, 2022.

5 Reasons QA Fails the Clearance Signs

Storrowing happens just about every year. The locals know that it peaks in August/September when college students move into their apartments.

Local Uhaul rental establishments have signs at the register warning people not to drive ib Storrow Drive or Memorial Drive. This is due to the low bridges.

In Boston, failing to follow the "Danger Low Clearance" signs is a $150 offense - plus the expense of moving the truck off of Storrow Drive.

Clearly the signs, warnings, and fines are not catching the attention of truck drivers. Both residential and commercial trucks try to go down Storrow Drive.

The situation is such a local taboo, that Trillium Beer has a special IPA brew called Storrowed.

Truck Caught Storrow
Massachusetts State Police catches a truck trying to get on Storrow Drive.

Any Solution?

Time for a Change Up - I would suggest changing up the signs/warnings. Clearly they are getting ignored.

Dummy Bridge - The low-clearance bar isn't working. Perhaps a dummy bridge should be placed near the on-ramps so that truckers are more aware of the situation. Allow them to turn off the road instead of creating a situation where they have no choice but to try to pass underneath the bridge.

Learn from people trying - Talk to drivers on why they didn't see the signs and what type of sign would have them think twice before going down the road.

In vehicle Radio Warning Signal - In Uhaul trucks have some in-cabin warning system that the truck is approaching a bridge with low clearance. This would work similar to how the E-ZPass system works.

September 20, 2021

Confusing a Credit Card Scammer

I get these Credit Card interest rate calls all the time. Clearly, they are scammers trying to get valid credit card numbers.

In this short audio clip, I am confused as to what company this person is calling me from. Whenever I ask this question they always answer that they are "Credit Card Services."

Note: Never give real information to these callers. Any information they do have on you is simply by looking at the number that they called.

September 19, 2021

Cyanobacterial Bloom

Right now in Massachusetts, several ponds are closed to swimming. This is due to the Cyanobacteria bloom. This prevented people from swimming at an event that I was at today.

I thought it would be good to learn more about Cyanobacteria bloom.

Cyanobacterial Bloom

Six Things I Learned

  1. Algae and cyanobacteria can rapidly grow out of control, or “bloom,” when water is warm, slow-moving, and full of nutrients.
  2. People and animals can get sick by having contact with water that has Cyanobacterial bloom. You can also get sick by eating fish caught in infested waters.
  3. Symptoms of exposure can include stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea, headache, and skin, eye, nose, or throat irritation.
  4. Animals are usually the first to get impacted by Cyanobacterial Bloom. If a dog gets sick shortly after going into a pond it could be cyanobacterial bloom. Contact a vet immediately as they can die swallowing toxins.
  5. Chlorophyll (phytoplankton, and cyanobacteria). When Chl levels reach 40 µg/L it can become a bloom.
  6. Once detected the Cyanobacterial bloom can last several weeks. This depends on the amount of sunlight and water temperature.
September 18, 2021

cssgradient.io

If you are a front-end web developer chances are you had to set a background color to an object. You could use a simple solid color or you can be creative and use a multicolor gradient.

cssgradient.io is a great site to create gradients. It’s really easy to use and they make it easy to copy the proper css code.

Website Description

CSS Gradient is a happy little website and free tool that lets you create a gradient background for websites. Besides being a css gradient generator, the site is also chock-full of colorful content about gradients from technical articles to real life gradient examples like Stripe and Instagram.

CSS Gradient Monitor
https://cssgradient.io/

September 17, 2021

Window Resize

Some Macintosh users may know this tip:

Did you know there's an easy way to expand the currently active window?

Let's say you working on an application, and you want to expand the currently active window to use the full screen. You can play around with the edge of the window so that it fits perfectly, or you can use a simple shortcut.

To maximize any window to the full screen, simply double click on the window title bar.

The nice thing about this trick is that it doesn't block the main menus, which would happen if you "Enter Full Screen" option in the View menu. This will block out the title bar and the Dock.

Using the "Double Click on the Window Title Bar" trick is a super-fast way to get your window the full attention of your screen.

Zoom Window Settings

Enable Window Zoom

If double-clicking the window ends up minimizing the window, you need to make a change to your system settings. You change this in the Dock settings:

  • Right click on the | in the Dock and select Dock preferences
  • In the Dock Preferences window make sure that your option says, "Double-click a window's title bar to" Zoom.
  • Test this on any application window.
September 16, 2021

Sisitsky vs Spicer in November

This past Tuesday was the primary for the Mayor of Framingham. There were three candidates running Charlie Sisitsky, Carlos Valadares and incombant Mayor Yvonne Spicer.

Official results can be found on the Framingham Election Page.

Charlie Yvonne

Framingham Turning away from Spicer?

Sisitsky received 4,401 votes, and Spicer received 1938 votes. Only 6,727 registered voters voted. This represents a 16.98% turnout.

This is a big upset for Spicer. In 2017, she got nearly 6,000 votes in the primary and 9,000 in the November election.

Fun Facts about Mayor Yvonne Spicer

First Mayor of the City of Framingham

Previously she was the Vice President for Advocacy and Educational Partnerships at Boston’s Museum of Science.

Was a Framingham Town Meeting Member representing precinct 6 and she served on the Ways and Means Committee

Mayor Spicer was instrumental in establishing the 2001 Massachusetts Technology/engineering curriculum framework and the first-ever Kindergarten through 12th-grade assessment for technology and engineering.

Lives in District 4

Fun Facts about Charlie Sisitsky

Current Occupation - Retired from 20-years of being the Director of Public Works in Natick MA.

Charlie served on the Town’s Finance Committee and as a Town Meeting member from Precinct Two.

From 1998 " 2018, Charlie was an elected member of the Framingham Board of Selectmen, where he served multiple terms as Chairman.

Lives in District 3

Election Day

Voters go to the polls on November 2nd.

To find out where to vote, go to the City of Framingham voting page.

September 15, 2021

Fenway Franks at Fenway Park

A few years ago, I blogged about the location of the Gluten-Free buns at Fenway Park. The location to where you get Gluten Free Fenway Franks has changed, here's the latest information based on our recent visit to the park.

Gluten Free Hot Dogs

The cart is gone. The Glue Free Hot Dogs are now located at the Home Plate Concourse. This is located against the back wall towards Yawkey Way and not towards the field. Specifically, its located across from the "GrandStand 17-20, Lodge Box 121-130, and Dugout/Field Box 36-44" sign.

Next to the concession stand is a "Bank of America ATM."

Once you get to the counter, ask for a Gluten-Free Hot dog. They will ask you to step aside while they get it for you. You can watch them warm up the hot dog bun in the microwave.

After you get the hot dog, go to the register and pay for it.

Fenway Park Gluten Free
The red pin on this map shows where the Gluten Free Hot Dogs are in the Concourse Level.

The "Home Plate Concourse" entrance is where you walk in from Gate D.

Gluten Free/Friendly Fenway Foods

Where to find Gluten-Free foods in Fenway Park. Your best bet is to visit the Home Plate Concourse, as mention above, for all your Gluten Free needs.

Franks with buns

  • Home Plate Concourse

Pizza

  • Home Plate Deck
  • Gate E Concourse
  • Big Concourse
  • Home Plate Concourse
  • Pavilion Level

Snacks/Deserts

  • Home Plate Concourse
  • Coca Cola Deck
  • Big Concourse
September 14, 2021

QA Fail: Poland Spring Bottle Return

In New England, if you drinking bottled water, chances are your drinking Poland Spring. We use the 5-gallon hard plastic bottles at home. These are a great way to drink delicious Poland Spring water and not harm the environment.

While we do have Poland Spring deliver bottles to our house, every once in a while, I have to get a new bottle because we drink more water than planned.

Our local Stop and Shop has Poland Springs water, and if you bring an empty container, you get a discount on the water. Simply put the old empty container in a bin and take the ticket to buy a new bottle.

Poland Spring Return

QA Fail

The problem with this process is that the return bin doesn't always dispense a ticket. After putting the bottle in the bin, I have to go to the Stop & Shop Service Desk and ask for a ticket.

The service desk is usually busy - people buying lottery tickets or they are busy handling returns and complaints.

Stop & Shop doesn't check to see if I actually return a bottle, they just take my word. I wouldn't lie, but anyone can say they returned a bottle to save about $5 on a container.

The machine has been broken at several Stop & Shop stores for at least a year. It's not a particular problem with the nearby store.

Practical Solution

These machines are maintained by Poland Spring, they should fix them up to encourage people to return the bottles.

Stop & Shop should put up a sign in the Bottle Return area and have people return them to the front desk.

One Side Note

When people are buying bottles there's nothing to encourage them to return the bottle back. There's no sign at the point of purchase or on the bottles themselves.

September 13, 2021

Ride to Cape Cod

Last Friday I traveled from Hopkinton to Orleans, Mass. I connected my GoPro Hero 9 to my dashboard and recorded the trip to Cape Cod.

Tech Note: I recorded the video using regular 1080p settings and sped up the video footage using Final Cut Pro. I didn't put any background music in the video since it would take away from the clip

Total video time was 1 hour and 57 minutes. The time-lapse version is only 5:53 minutes.

September 12, 2021

Apple iPhone 13

This week Apple is expected to announce the next iteration of the Apple iPhone. The next version is 13 but some analysts predict Apple will not call it 13 as that is an unlucky number.

What we know

Apple has announced that there is a shortage of some chips so this may impact the distribution of many iPhones.

It's expected that phones won't ship until October. Preorders will start as early as this Friday.

Apple has indicated that there is going to be an upgrade to the camera in this version. They have said that they have worked hard on making camera changes in this release.

Sales of the Apple iPhone 12 have been great - even though a new iPhone will ship soon.

My Wish List

I currently have an iPhone X Max. I am excited to see the changes in the new iPhone. Here's what I think will get announced.

  • Portrait Mode for Videos - now you can blur out the background in your videos.
  • Better Low Light Camera - You'll be able to take better night time photos. Android cameras are taking better night shots than iOS.
  • Larger Sensor - Will Apple break away from the 1/2.55-inch camera sensors.
  • Faster Smart Phone Processor - Applications will load up much quicker. A15 Bionic Chip
  • Cheaper Memory - The storage space should get a bump - at least in the pro version.
  • Faster Wireless Charging Support - Users can wirelessly charge their phones just as quick as plug in power.
  • Smaller Notch - You should see more video on the Home Screen.
September 11, 2021

removemeplease.org

Nobody likes getting unsolicited phone calls. On service that promises to stop the calls is [removemeplease.org](http://removemeplease.org)

They are supposed to add you to the do not call list. Simply enter your number and watch your phone ring less. However, there are many sites that claim that putting your number may increase certain types of calls.

Warning

Apparently this is not a legitimate site. There’s no information on who owns the site and what happens when you put in a phone number. Several sites warn people that entering your number may lead to more calls.

Damian Info: [https://removemeplease.org.ipaddress.com](https://removemeplease.org.ipaddress.com/)

Remove Me Please
http://removemeplease.org

September 10, 2021

Roxio Audio Assistant

Roxio Toast includes an Audio Assistant application. The application lets users record audio, split up an audio track, play tracks, delete tracks, edit tracks, apply filters and export the tracks.

Product Description

Toast® Audio Assistant lets you capture audio from a variety of sources. You can then edit the audio, break it up into tracks, add effects, and export it to iTunes or burn it on disc.

Roxio Audio Application

Filters

These are the filters that come with the application - they are part of the Apple AudioToolbox framework. There are no special filters offered by Roxio

  • Apple: AUBandpass
  • Apple: AUDynamicsProcessor
  • Apple: AUDelay
  • Apple: AUDistortion
  • Apple: AUFilter
  • Apple: AUGraphicEQ
  • Apple: AUHipass
  • Apple: AUHighShelfFilter
  • Apple: AUPeakLimiter
  • Apple: AULowpass
  • Apple: AULowShelfFilter
  • Apple: AUMultibandCompressor
  • Apple: AUMatrixReverb
  • Apple: AUNBandEQ
  • Apple: AUNetSend
  • Apple: AUNewTimePitch
  • Apple: AUParametricEQ
  • Apple: RoundTripAAC
  • Apple: AURogerBeep
  • Apple: AUReverb2
  • Apple: AUSampleDelay
  • Apple: AUPitch

Five Thoughts on Roxio's Audio Assistant

I have heard about this application for a long time, and the only way to try it was to actually purchase Roxio Toast. Here are my thoughts from playing around with the application for a bit:

This is a very bare-bone audio application. The free Audiacity application has a lot more power. Note: The application and documentation's last copyright date is 2015. This tells me that the application is several years out of date.

I found it difficult to split the audio. Rogue Amoeba Fission has easier tools to split the track.

I couldn't find any way to balance the audio - none of the filters seem to work for me.

The application crashed when I had multiple splits and I was trying to enter in a title

You can use Gracenote/CDDB service to search the audio database and have the audio properly labeled. Which is done using the "Auto-define" link in the toolbar.

Overall Thoughts

I would certainly avoid this application. You'll be better off learning Audiacity and Rogue Amoeba Fission.

I was hoping for something cool - that didn't happen. Instead, I got frustrated trying to use the application.

Feel free to check out the Toast Audio Assistant User Guide [PDF] for more information.

September 9, 2021

September 11 Memorial

The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is this coming Saturday. This week, I thought it would be interesting to look at the 9/11 memorial in Framingham's Cushing Memorial Park.

Framingham Cushing Park 911

Interesting Facts about the Memorial

The Living Memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2014 - the 13th anniversary of the attacks. The ceremony featured 3,000 American flags to remember the victims lost in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania that day.

Seventeen trees were planted for those that perished in the attacks who had ties to the city.

In front of the gazebo is a stone monument of the names of those that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

The town of Framingham planted 3,000 American flags on the 10th anniversary. They will plant 3,000 flags this year on the 20th anniversary. The flags usually stay planted for 24-hours before they get removed.

During the remembrance in 2019, the city planted a Callery Pear “Survivor Tree” across from the memorial.

There is a small stand to describe the memorial next to the memorial. The Parks and Recreation department is responsible for the care of the memorial and trees.

Framingham Victims

The names of the Framingham Victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, as they appear on the memorial:

  • Barbara Keating
  • Charlie Murphy
  • Christine Barbuto
  • Darin H. Pontell
  • Herbert W. Homer
  • John J. Wenckus
  • Judith Larocque
  • Laura Lee Morabito
  • Linda George
  • Lisa Fenn Gordenstein
  • Meta Fuller Waller
  • Neilie Hefferman Casey
  • Paige Farley Hackel
  • Robin Kaplan
  • Susan Mackay
  • Tara Shea Creamer
  • Tod Hill
September 8, 2021

Hot Table Panini

One of the newest restaurants at Shoppers World is Hot Table Panini. A Massachusetts/Connecticut based sandwich chain restaurant.

The restaurant features all sorts of unique paninis such as: Cranberry Turkey Club, Chicken Pesto, Chicken Parm, Southwest Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, Cheese Steak, Swiss Steak Mushroom, Black & Blue, Spicy Bbq Pulled Pork, Cubano, Italian Cold Cut, Turkey Club, Turkey Honey Dijon, Classic Tuna, Santa Fe Veggie, Pesto Veggie, and Caprese.

You can also get salads and soups too.

Gluten Free Panini!

Did you know that that they offer Gluten-Free rolls? Yup, you can get any sandwich they make on a Gluten-Free bun.

Hot Table Panini

Three Things We Learned

The gluten-free bun is only available in a small size. I supposed if you are really hungry you can get two sandwiches. The small portion is … well … small. It’s a good size for my ten-year-old - who doesn’t eat much.

Your sandwich will get toasted! They don’t have a dedicated panini maker for Gluten Free sandwiches. They wrap your sandwich in tin foil and put it in the panini maker. They serve you the sandwich still wrapped in tinfoil.

The gluten-free sandwich is delicious! It’s a hit! My ten year loves the sandwich and eats it all in one sitting. She likes that she can pick out what she wants on the sandwich - just like everyone else.

Finding Hot Table

The Hot Table restaurant is located next to Chipotle in Shoppers World.

Which Panini should you start with? Any one of them. They are all excellent!

September 7, 2021

QA Fail: Product Listing on Amazon

This week is yet another fail by Amazon.com - at least by a merchant and not a specific issue with the company Amazon. (See the "Amazon Deals" fail)

Video Camera

This week fail is by Kimire Store. They have a video camera with the following title: "Video Camera Camcorder kimire Digital Camera Recorder Full HD 1080P 15FPS 24MP 3.0 Inch 270 Degree Rotation LCD 16X Digital Zoom Camcorder Camera with 2 Batteries(Black)"

This is a pretty neat camera with lots of functionality. Its listed for $64.99 - which is an awesome price point.

In the product description is this:

Amazon Camera Fake Photo

Great Photo Quality!

The camera takes amazing pictures! Look at that mountain photo - this is an awesome camera.

QA Fails

That mountain picture is unfortunately a stock photo. You can find it on Shutter Stock:

Amazon Shutter Stock

How can you trust this listing when they use a stock photo for the description? Is the video quality really bad that you can't find a decent place to take a photo with the camera?

The listing is full of questionable wording that indicates that its a really bad translation. Here's an example:

The camcorder come with two NP-FV5 batteries. It allows you to keep recording around 60 to 90 minutes when it's fully charged. For the first time use need to charge more than 8 hours. The camcorder support the recording while charging, good to record long videos anytime.

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