Powerbook in SFO
May 12, 2021

Black Jewell Popcorn kernels

Over the years, I have tried many popcorn kernal brands. I have tried Pop Secret, store brands, Orville Redenbacher and many others.

The one that I really like the most is Black Jewell's Original Black Popcorn.

Black Jewell Desktop
Black Jewell Mobile

Four Things about this Popcorn

The resulting popcorn is nice and small. They are extra crispy than standard "cheap" popcorn kernels.

You can buy this on Amazon or various online stores, including Shaws in New England. (Usually cheaper to buy in the store.)

These cook faster than typical popcorn and you don't need as much oil. Try it before adding oil as they do have good flavor without butter or salt.

When making this popcorn, you may want to use slightly fewer kernels than you usually do. The pop-up kernels may not look a lot. However, you'll soon discover that the bowl has a lot more food than your use to.

May 11, 2021

Record USB Cameras in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro doesn’t support using USB cameras as video import. In other words, you can’t just hook up a DSLR camera and record live video through Final Cut Pro.

The option to select the video won’t appear in the import dialog. Only the built-in camera will show in the import dialog. This prevents you from importing live video, from another webcam or from a USB device such as a VCR or legacy video camera.

See this Import Dialog with two USB cameras connected:

U S B Camera No Show

According to Apple's documentation:

Connect the camcorder to your Mac using the cable that came with the camcorder, and configure your device for remote control over FireWire, if necessary.

If your computer does not have a FireWire port but does have a Thunderbolt port, you can connect the FireWire cable using an Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter or an Apple Thunderbolt Display (which also has a FireWire port).

Note: For best results when importing from a tape-based camcorder, it’s recommended that you import the video using the same camcorder that you used to record it.

This apparently true for iMovie. You are not able to select any USB devices to record live video.

Works in Other Apps!

Quicktime Graphic Converter Filmora

I am able to access USB camera in other apps, such as Apple QuickTime, Wondershare Filmora and Graphic Converter.

What's Going on Apple?

I am not sure why Apple won't let users record from USB cameras in Final Cut Pro and iMovie. Hopefully, its something that will be fixed soon.

May 10, 2021

Classic Internet Commercial

Here are some classic Internet commercials that I found in my VHS collection. These all aired around the early 2000s.

  • Circuit City - "Find it, Love it"
  • Earth Web - "Win a Million Dollars!"
  • Webstakes.com - "The Easiest Place on Earth to Win a Prize"
  • Nokia - "The Petersons"
  • Issuz - "Joe Isuzu and the Axion"
  • MSN - "Welcome to MSN Broadband"
May 9, 2021

Top Cybersecurity Mistakes to Avoid in 2021

Visit cryan.com for the latest in tech news, developments, and resources.

Cyber Security2021

Top Cybersecurity Mistakes to Avoid in 2021

With technology expanding by leaps and bounds every day, it's no wonder that small business owners want to make use of innovations that allow their businesses to thrive. Unfortunately, as reliance on technology increases, so do the risks. Cyber threats are a growing issue around the world, and without proactive measures, businesses face the potential for significant damage that could be irreparable. With this in mind, it’s critical for SBOs to take a proactive approach when it comes to cybersecurity.

Thinking You’re Not a Target

According to Microsoft, small businesses are at an exceptionally high risk of a cyber attack. 43% of all data breaches are committed against smaller companies. With an average loss of more than $180,000, many of these companies " 60%, to be exact " go under in six months or less after an incident. The single most important thing you can do is to accept that your business is at risk and take steps to prevent your data from becoming vulnerable.

Assuming Remote Employees Have a Secure Setup

Now that you understand the threat, it’s critical to be proactive. If your systems aren’t fully protected against security threats like malware, phishing attacks, ransomware and other issues, you could easily become the victim of a cyberattack that could bring your business to its knees. The best way to protect your company and your data is to have a strong IT infrastructure in place, as well as a disaster recovery plan that you can quickly execute in the event of an attack. Make a plan to partner with a data protection solutions company to protect your digital assets. The ideal firm offers a robust data management program with continuous monitoring and expedient disaster recovery protocols to ensure your assets remain secure.

Relying Solely on Antivirus Software

If you choose not to outsource protection, you may think that installing antivirus software on each machine is enough. It is not. Inc explains that antivirus software fails for a number of reasons. One is that it only tests for known viruses. Just as alarming, most companies forgo scanning because it bogs computers down. Another significant concern with trusting antivirus software is that criminals know how the software is written and they can design their attacks around it. While using antivirus software is a smart move, this must also be supplemented by things like firewalls and employee training, as well as teaching your staff how to recognize social engineering attacks.

Creating Weak Passwords

Bad passwords can negate monitoring, training, and antivirus software. LastPass explains that hackers can easily find passwords by using bots that test common combinations. “Password” and “12345” might be easy to remember, but these and other single words and number combinations are the worst possible digital lock you can put on your accounts. Create stronger passwords " and insist that your employees and customers do the same, by having a different password for all of your accounts, both personal and professional. You could also use a password manager or create a long-form password that includes numbers, letters, special characters, and unusual spellings.

Understand that cybersecurity threats are real. Even if you are a company of one, if you have customers, bank information, or sensitive data, you are a target. Hackers know that you likely do not have the same financial and technology resources as large companies to protect yourself, and they can exploit all of your weaknesses. While the above will not guarantee that you won’t become a target, rest assured that failure to implement these and other cybersecurity measures will greatly enlarge the bull’s-eye and make you more susceptible to digital damage.

Image via Pexels

May 8, 2021

Cookie Bookmarklet

If you need to implement Cookies to test a website functionality, and you are frequently typing it in, why not save some time and make the cookie action a Bookmarklet. This way all you have to do is click on the link in the bookmark bar and instantly add a cookie.

cookie-bookmarklet-generator.com makes this process super easy. Simply put in your Cookie Name and value and instantly a link on the page is generated for you. Simply drag and drop it to your bookmark bar.

Website Description

Need to easily manipulate cookies when visiting a website? Why not use bookmarklets? This tool makes it super easy to generate them. Just type in the values you want and press the button to generate the links, then drag those links to your bookmarks. Next time you're on the page, click one of the bookmarks to create or delete the cookie.

Cookie Bookmarklet
https://www.cookie-bookmarklet-generator.com/

May 7, 2021

Camera Permissions

Recently I connected a new camera to my iMac. After it was connected, I was wondering what applications had camera support that I could try out the new camera.

I know that Apple has apps like Quicktime, Facetime, and Photo Booth that support the camera. What about other Apps on my computer?

The easy way to find out what apps have Camera support is to look at the Camera permissions.

Camera Security

Finding Camera Access

Simple steps to find what Apps have Camera access:

  • Go to System Preferences.
  • Select the Security & Privacy category
  • Select the Privacy Tab
  • Select Camera.

Note: That you have to allow Applications to have permission to access the camera. If you haven't used the camera functionality in some apps, you may not have been asked for permission to use the camera.

Quicktime Movie Recording

Quicktime

Using the "New Movie Recording" in Quicktime Player was the fastest way that I found to get RAW video on the computer.

The keyboard shortcut: Option Command N is good one to remember.

This is the capture options that you have:

High H.264 video and 44100 Hz AAC audio
Maximum Apple ProRes 422 video and Linear PCM audio
May 6, 2021

BN-LINK Light Timer

For years I wanted the ability to turn on/off outside lights using Alexa. The only thing I could find is timers. Which works great except when you want the lights to be off at a different time. This is the Alexa era, surely there has to be something for the outdoors - especially something that can work in the freezing New England winters.

Last year I found the BN-LINK Smart WiFi Heavy Duty Outdoor Outlet, Timer and Countdown Function device on Amazon.com. It has the ability to be connected to Alexa and be controlled by various zones in Alexa.

It was a bit tricky to set up. You have to download their app and configure the device to connect to your WFI. I just remember getting frustrated getting it to work. After several tries it worked!

This device worked great this past winter and we are very happy to use it.

Outside Light Mobile
Outside Light Desktop

Five Things I Learned

Today it cost $19.99. When I first purchased it in October, it cost $19.99. In December, the exact same device it cost $29.99.

I would highly recommend getting this before the outdoor light season begins.

I purchased two of them because I liked it so much that I had to give one as a gift

Device works great in the New England cold winters. We had no problem with snow or ice. Even well below zero temperatures, the device turned on and off with no problems.

Just have to configure the wireless once. You don’t need to set it every time the device is disconnected from power.

Someone on Amazon complained that the three output plugs work the same. They wanted the ability to have different times for each plug. I think if that was the case, it would be really expensive.

Try It!

If you have any holiday lights, I would highly recommend getting the BN-LINK Smart WiFi Heavy Duty Outdoor Outlet, Timer and Countdown Function on Amazon.com

May 5, 2021

Orville Redenbacker's Presto Stirring Popper

Currently I am using the Orville Redenbacker's Presto Stirring Popper to make popcorn on a daily bases.

This is a great popcorn machine to use. Simply pour the oil and popcorn in at the same time. It makes popcorn really quick and it's really easy to clean up. The nice thing is that it stores as all one unit.

Popcorn Machine

Three Tips on this Machine

I would recommend warming up the machine for about 30-seconds before putting in oil.

It takes about 6-minutes to make the popcorn. The machine doesn't stop when it's completed. I usually let it run for about 10-seconds after the last pop sound.

I have used regular coconut oil in this machine but it smells up the kitchen. Family members don't like it when I make popcorn with coconut oil - at least the raw coconut oil. Specialty popcorn oil seems to be okay.

8 oz of Popcorn is perfect for this setup. That's about a cup of kernels.

May 4, 2021

Screen Splitter 2

FCPeffects has a lot of great Titles, Effects and Transitions for Final Cut Pro. These are great additions to help make your videos look more professional.

One of their popular effects is the Screen Splitter 2, which gives you control over how a clip appears in the video. This is an easy way to make a side-by-side video clip.

FCPeffects currently sells the Screen Splitter 2 for $20 - you can get it cheaper if you buy multiple effects and apply their coupons.

Screen Split Effects

Six Things I have Learned

There are 123 Effects in three border type categories: No Border, White Border, Black Border. You can change the border color to anything you want - regardless of what effect you picked.

When using the effect it's helpful to enable the screen you are editing.

You can zoom in and out of a clip by using the inside scale. This helps center the clip content to the appropriate frame.

To get the Brady Bunch effect, you would use the 33 High 33 Wider with a Black Border.

Make sure to crop the clip to the right dimensions (16:9) before applying the effect. If you don't do that you may see some extra black space that can't be corrected using the Inside.Scale settings.

You can navigate through all the effect selections simply by searching for the size you need. So if you need a 100 Wide panel, save time and search for the "100 Wide."

Screen Splitter Choices

The above shows just some of the design choices that you have.

May 3, 2021

Radio Shack Outgoing Message

In the 1980s, you could go to Radio Shack and get some cool things. One thing that I found was a cassette tape that featured celebrities' impersonations to spice up your answering machine. The impersonations weren't all that good.

These tapes were to be funny and encourage people to leave messages. I have a couple of different cassette tapes in my collection. I don't know why I felt the need to buy a series. As I recall the tapes cost about $5. They were placed near the phones and answering machines.

Tape Contents

  • Introduction
  • W.C. Fields
  • Mae West?
  • George Burns and Gracie Allen
  • Mad Scientist
  • Rodney Dangerfield
  • Groucho Marx
  • Columbo
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Gilda Radner
May 2, 2021

Retrospective

Last month was the A-z Blog challenge. It was a lot of fun trying to come up with topics to post every day. I enjoy the challenge and learn a lot about different topics that I wouldn't normally learn had I not been challenged to come up with a topic.

A Z Retrospective

Six Thoughts on This Year

  1. Planning content helped deliver some great posts. I had plenty of time to come up with ideas and graphics.
  2. jQuery topic was a mistake. I changed from Affinity Designer to jQuery thinking it would help deliver some better content. I found that the jQuery post wasn’t all that great.
  3. Media Monday didn’t get as much traffic as I hope it would. I’ll continue the topic in May. I think focusing on certain content didn’t appeal much to users
  4. Next Year I plan to just focus on one topic all month long. I think it will be easier for planning and come up with more meaningful topics. Perhaps just a A to Z of Boston.
  5. Toughest letters this year were: M, Q, and X.
  6. I used Notion Calendar to do the content planning. It worked really well. I was able to see what the upcoming content was and what days were the most challenging.
May 1, 2021

Linux Cheat Sheet

Linux is a great operating system with a lot of tools built-in. It can be tricky to learn all the various commands.

The folks over at PC & Network put together a very cool Linux Command Cheat Sheet. It's not a typical cheat sheet that you see all over the internet. They walk you through all the most commonly used Linux commands and explain why you would use them.

Website Description

here are hundreds " possibly thousands " commands available in Linux. Remembering every command is not possible and it can be quite daunting for a novice user. The good news is that you don't need to remember each command. Only a very small subset of those commands are used on a day-to-day basis.

This cheat sheet offers a set of commands that you can use for quick reference. I have prepared this Linux Commands Cheat Sheet as a quick reference for both experienced and basic users.

Linux Command Cheat Sheets
https://www.pcwdld.com/linux-commands-cheat-sheet

April 30, 2021

Zephyr Font

Every now and then, I like to look back at some fonts in my CD collection. Some of the fonts that I have are outdated and can't be used in the latest macOS. There are a few that are still usable.

One of the fonts in my collection that I found interesting is the Zephyr Font. Benn Coifman, the developer, named the font after the Zephyr trains.

What caught my eye about the font is that it is very similar to the GoPro Logo font. Here's an example of the font:

Zephyr

Font Description

After you have installed the files, "Zephyr.suit", "CZHer", and "CZHeralds.bmap" in your font folder, restart your word processor and print out a copy of "Zephyr Legend" (If you don't have Microsoft Word, I hope your translator can handle the new fonts). The top 2/3's of this file demonstrate the Zephyr font. At the bottom, you will see a couple of special characters that are in CZHeralds font. Note that the California Zephyr logo is split into three letters so it will have a lower probability of crashing your printer.

Zephyr font, all of its accompanying files, and train icon are © 1994-5 Benn Coifman. (that looks so nasty now that I typed it)

Three Things I Learned

This still works in MacOS 11.3 even though it is 27-years old (Created July 24, 1995). In fact, the copy I had was from a CD that was also about 27-years old. This means that I installed the same font that was released 27-years ago - I didn't just download it.

There is a similar font called Rail RoadRoman available on FontFreak. I wasn't able to find the Zephyr.suit font. There are other Zephyr fonts, but they didn't look the same.

Font was created using Altsys Fontographer 4.0.4D2 7/24/95

There are a couple of Easter Eggs in the font collection:

  • There is a Burlington Route logo when you type in # - this is a reference to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. To get this simply type in Shift 8.
  • There is a Face and a black cat. These are found by typing in Shift 2 for the face and Shift 3 for the cat. No clue on why these are there.
April 29, 2021

YouTube Channels

The best way to learn about GoPro is through regular people that use it all the time. If you don't know anyone, then head over to YouTube and check out some cool things that people have done with GoPro.

Many of these YouTubers experiment with the latest accessories and can help guide you to which accessories are worth getting and which ones to avoid going cheap.

To start, make sure to visit the official GoPro YouTube account for quick tips on using the GoPro.

GoPro YouTube

YouTubers

Here are three accounts that I think are worth following:

  • David Manning - Pro Photographer, Meh Filmmaker, and Wanna Be Blogger. Lots of great videos about using the GoPro in the field. I really liked the CHEAP vs EXPENSIVE GoPro Accessories from Amazon video.
  • Gemini Connect - New Videos Every Week to inspire you to Go Out and Shoot. Good videos about vlogging with the GoPro.
  • Air Photography - Capture Life. Great reviews on various GoPro Accessories. If your thinking about a particular accessory - changes are that Air Photography has done a review of it.
  • Danny Black - Real Reviews for Everything. Danny reviews all sorts of tecnology items and every once in a while he'll encounter a new cool "mush have" thing for the GoPro. Check out this channel for new ideas.
April 28, 2021

XHR

XHR is the XML HttpRequest to get and post data from the server. This is a powerful feature because you can update a web page without reloading the page. In addition, you can request data from the server based on user selections - without having to jump on another page.

Common Use

Some common places where XML HttpRequest is used:

  • List of customers when users log in.
  • Google Search shows predictive search queries as you type is based on the XML HttpRequest functionality.
  • Forms that get auto populated based on certain criteria, such as the list of city names when you pick a state.
  • Scores of the latest baseball game.

Sample Code


$.ajax({
	url: 'http://internal.localhost.com/?page=addBrowser',
	type: 'POST',
	dataType: 'jsonp',
	data: {
			//uaStringFromJS: escape(navigator.userAgent),
			deviceWidth:    $(window).width(),
			deviceHeight:   $(window).height(),
			devicePixelRatio: (typeof window.devicePixelRatio !== 'undefined' ? window.devicePixelRatio : 0),
			'source':         'Visitor'
	},
	success: function(r){
		try { console.log(r); } catch (e) { }
	}
});

You can find a ton of information on the jQuery website: jQuery.ajax() | jQuery API Documentation .

About Today's Topic

This topic was selected as today is day 'x' in the April A-Z blog challenge. Honestly, there's no way I could possibly cover all the capabilities that jQXHR has in a single blog post.

April 27, 2021

Wind Behavior

The Wind Behavior is a creative way to move objects in a nice smooth continuous force.

Wind Behavior

Five Things I Learned

This is a new behavior that I haven't used before, so I thought I would play around with the different ways to use the functionality.

  • The behavior is located in Behaviors > Simulations. It's the last item on the menu.
  • You have more control of the Wind using the HUD functionality. Simply select the Wind behavior and then click on HUD in the toolbar.
  • Using the 3D control in the HUD, you can make the object move towards you or away from you. The 2D control simply focus the movement to left, right, top, and bottom.
  • Combining the Wind and Throw behaviors to create a nice curve effect.
  • When you apply the Wind behavior you'll see a red line to show the path that the object will take.
April 26, 2021

Video Professor

In the late 1990's one of the late-night infomercials was Video Professor. They produce training CDs on how to use the computer. In the half-hour-long Infomercial, they were promoting the ability to try out their videos in any subject that people want. All you had to do is pay for shipping and handling.

What Video Professor didn't talk much about is the "fine print." Customers would be signed up for a subscription service where future videos would be charged to the credit card on file. They wouldn't get charged if they canceled their subscription. Some of the videos would cost between $50 to $399.

Due to various lawsuits and lagging sales, the company folded in 2002.

Here is a clip of the commercial that I recorded on April 24, 1999 - nearly 22 years ago.

April 25, 2021

May Blog Plans

This is the final week of another successful A to Z April Challenge. Next weekend I’ll post my retrospective on how the challenge went.

May Blog Plans

I have been thinking of May Blog topics. I have decided to do a bit of a change-up. Here’s the tentative lineup for May.

  • Sunday - Open Topic Sunday
  • Monday - Media Monday
  • Tuesday - Final Cut Pro
  • Wednesday - Popcorn
  • Thursday - Tech Tools
  • Friday - Macintosh
  • Saturday - Internet

New in May 2021

I have decided to introduce two new topics in May - Tech Tools and Popcorn. I am excited to add these to the weekly blog topics.

Tech Tools - This will cover anything technology. Most of the tech topics have been a focus on Apple technology. The Tech Tools blog posts will be centered on general technology. This can be from smart switches to flashlights.

Popcorn - I really enjoy popcorn and for the past year, I have been experimenting with different ways to make popcorn. The blog post will focus on things that I have found that work the best.

Future Topics

If there are any blog topics that you would like to see, let me know by sending me an email. You can also reach me via various social media accounts.

April 24, 2021

UpsideDownText.com

Have you ever wanted your comments to stand out on social media? Try something different, make your text upside down.

UpsideDownText.com makes it really easy to flip your text. Simply type in the phase and instantly it gets converted. Then copy/paste the text into any social media text box.

Website Description

Tired of Times New Roman and Arial?

Well, **** them. Introducing UpsideDownText.com - the text converter, that takes boring ol' letters, and flips them 180 degrees. Whether it be just a word, symbol, or even an essay, we can take what you got, and make it 100x cooler. So WOW your girlfriend, or annoy your teacher, using the fast, simple, free, and totally awesome UpsideDownText.com.

Upside Down Text
https://www.upsidedowntext.com/

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