cryan.com blog

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Boston

Mather Tomb

Oct 31, 2019

Copp's Hill Burying Ground is said to be haunted by Increase Mather, according to Bostonians.

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Mather Tomb
Internet

ShortPixel

Sept 22, 2018

If you want to reduce the size of your images, ShortPixel is an awesome tool to use.

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Short Pixel Feature

Hot off the Press... back in December of 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.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

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.

  Filed under the Website category. - Permalink

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.

  Filed under the Website category. - Permalink

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?

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

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.

  Filed under the Media category. - Permalink

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.

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

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.

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

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.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

WebStar

In 1995, when the Internet was getting some traction, one of the ways to make your Macintosh computer a web server is to use WebStar by StarNine. This was a paid Httpd server that would allow you to share information with other computers.

The "Ultimate World Wide Web Server" cost $349.

What is WebStar PS?

This is from the original help file:

WebSTAR PS 2.0 is a server for Macs participating in the World Wide Web (WWW). It allows you to serve hypertext documents to other WWW users from your Macintosh. WebSTAR PS allows you to serve text documents (like HyperText Markup Language documents) as well as binary files (GIFs, JPEGs, etc.). In addition, WebSTAR PS supports the execution of AppleScripts and other applications that cooperate with WebSTAR PS and can return HTML or other data to WWW clients. This allows you to integrate applications like FileMaker Pro, AppleSearch, HyperCard, or any custom application with WebSTAR PS. This server works with all WWW clients and supports the HTTP/1.0 standard. The server places a relatively small load on your Mac, both in memory and CPU requirements. It should run fine in the background on any Mac with MacTCP installed and System 7. WebSTAR PS runs in native mode on both 680x0 and Power Macs and is distributed as a "fat binary."

Many applications have been created to work with WebSTAR PS, including tools for supporting clickable maps, free text searches, fill-in forms, and other WWW functions. Information about these tools, additional examples, product update information, and the latest versions of WebSTAR PS can always be found on the WebSTAR PS Home Page. There is also a very active mailing list dedicated to WebSTAR PS, machttp_talk. Information on subscribing to this mailing list can be found on the WebSTAR PS Home Page as well. See the Support section below for more details.

You may be familiar with the commercial StarNine product, WebSTAR, which is the successor to WebSTAR PS. WebSTAR "PS" is a shareware version of WebSTAR that's available via the Internet for a low, fixed cost to all users. It will be suitable for personal home pages and very small departmental servers.

If you want a full-featured HTTP server for the Mac that sports an enhanced user interface, administration, and performance, the commercial version of WebSTAR is for you. In addition, WebSTAR will also have a series of add-on toolkits that enhance its functionality. The Security Toolkit will add support for the SSL protocol for secure connections between Web browsers such as Netscape and WebSTAR. The Commerce Toolkit for WebSTAR will provide a framework for electronic commerce with WebSTAR. These toolkits will only be available for WebSTAR, not WebSTAR PS.

Order Form

Check out this WebStar order form that I found:

WebStarStarNine_thumb.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Never Used it

I never used WebStar PS or WebStar. I discovered the application and help files on a Macintosh WebMaster Book and companion CD by Bob LeVitus and Jeff Evans. This CD was created in May, 1995 and is an interesting look back at how things were done in the early days of the Macintosh.

Interesting history note, when this book was released the current version of Macintosh was System 7.5.

WebStar History

WebStart is no longer being supported - surprise...surprise...

Shortly after WebSTAR PS 2.0 was released, StarNine was acquired by Quarterdeck Office Systems. In 2000, the assets of WebStar were sold to ACT, then renamed to 4th Dimension. In 2006 4D sold WebStar to Kerio Technologies. in January 2017, GFI Software acquired Kerio.

World Wide Web UFO

In the WebStar promotion, StarNine used a UFO drawing. Since the product is no longer supported, I assume that the copyright for the weird 1990s logo design is also not enforced. So here you go, the World Wide Web UFO graphic:

World Wide Web U F O

This is a PNG file with a transparent background - go crazy with it!

  Filed under the Classic Mac category. - Permalink

Shuffle Filter System Clipboard

One of the neat things about Keyboard Maestro is the Clipboard History. You can easily activate the Clipboard History Switcher and get back any content that was put in the clipboard. By default Keyboard Maestro will hold the last 200 items in the Clipboard History.

Additional Filters

Along with copy/pasting previous items, you can apply some filters to the text in the clipboard history. There are 21 filters included with every Keyboard Maestro installation:

  • Capitalize
  • Display as Text
  • Flip Horizontal
  • Flip Vertical
  • Font Awesome
  • Half Size Image
  • Lowercase
  • Lowercase First
  • Lowercase then Capitalize
  • Lowercase then Title Case
  • Move to Extra Clipboard
  • OCR Image
  • Remove Styles
  • Rotate 180-
  • Rotate Clockwise
  • Rotate Counter-clockwise
  • Set DPI to Nominal
  • Title Case
  • Translate
  • Uppercase
  • Uppercase First

When you apply a filter they don't happen immediately. A new clipboard entry is created and you can paste the content in. This way you can still get the previous clipboard item for future action.

Shuffle Time

New in version 10 is the Shuffle filter. Now you can easily shuffle the contents of the clipboard. This is useful when you have a list of names that you want to shuffle.

You can find all the details on how to add a new Clipboard Filter Trigger on the Keyboard Maestro Wiki.

Example Macro

Shuffle Filter

  Filed under the Keyboard Maestro category. - Permalink

SQL Database Connector

It's really easy to query a database in Python. There's more than one way to do it, and there are plenty of third-party libraries that can offer better performance and cache capabilities.

Here's the basic to query a database:

hostname = 'localhost';
username = 'cryan';
password = 'Uniramous2';
database = 'webuser';
def doQuery( conn ) :
    cur = conn.cursor()
    content = ""
  
    cur.execute( "select date, title, comment from guestbook where topic = " + topic + "  order by title desc )
    records = cur.fetchall()
    for row in records:
        content = row[4]
    
    return content;    
myConnection = mysql.connector.connect( host=hostname, user=username, passwd=password, db=database )
content += doQuery( myConnection )
myConnection.close()
    

Technical Notes

You have to set the hostname, username, password, and database before calling the mysql.connector.connect function.

For security you should set up a READ-ONLY user for public database reads. This way if the code is ever displayed, someone can't just write a simple query to wipe out the database.

I use a Python function to handle the queries. Obviously, this isn't required, but it's a good habit to get into.

cur.execute handles all the database interactions.

Using cur.fetchall() returns an array of entries, you need to call the specific row entry, for example: row[3].

  Filed under the Python category. - Permalink

BluBlockers

In the late 1990s, BluBlockers ran a bunch of Tv Infomercials. One of those featured the "Rapper" guy. I don't know why, but this part of the infomercial seems so memorable.

You can buy BluBlockers online just about anywhere including Amazon and eBay.

  Filed under the Media category. - Permalink

QA Meme Additions

Here's this month's Meme collection for Quality Assurance testing. Enjoy,

Make sure to check out all the QA Memes collection in the QA Graphic Library.

Yes Correct
Yes, You Are Correct
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/YesCorrect.jpg

Bernie Sanders A W S
Bernie Sanders asking for AWS to be back up
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/BernieSandersAWS.jpg

Release Moratorium
Release Moratorium
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/ReleaseMoratorium.jpg

Scrollof Truth
The Scroll of the Truth
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/ScrollofTruth.jpg

Change My Mind Log Jam
LogJam in Early 2021
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/ChangeMyMindLogJam.png

Woo Hoo Devis Ready2021
Homer is Happy Dev is Ready
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/WooHooDevisReady2021.jpg

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Santa Tracker

It's that time of the year!

Christmas is coming and the kids are wondering where Santa is! Google created this cool site to track Santa.

Website Description

Explore, play and learn with Santa's elves all December long.

Google Santa Tracker is an annual Christmas-themed entertainment website first launched in 2004 by Google that simulates the tracking of the legendary character Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, using predetermined location information.

Santa Tracker
https://santatracker.google.com/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

EPS Thumbnails

One of the bugs that macOS Monterey (12.0.1) has that the Finder isn't able to display EPS thumbnails and when you try to preview the images it doesn't work.

This is due to changes in macOS Monterey on how thumbnails are created.

Sample Issue

macOS Finder EPS Thumbnail

I have found other applications were having a problem with generating thumbnail images as document icons, such as Pathfinder and Commander One.

Quick Fix

The only application that I found useful is Graphic Converter. The Browse functionality let you get a real view of all your EPS files.

Here's the same directory using the Graphic Converter Browse functionality:

macOS Graphic Converter

Right click on the image and you can open it in Affinity Designer!

Until Apple fix the bug, this is a good solution to look at directories that have lots of EPS documents.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Powerbook Charger

When Apple made the PowerBook computers, one of the cool things they made was the Power Supply. Here's the PowerBook adapter to my Titanium PowerBook G4 (Otherwise known as the YoYo charger).

Powerbook Adapter Desktop
Powerbook Adapter Mobile

General Information

45 watt power supply/charger - Today's MacBook Pro power adapter delivers 85w, which means you couldn't put a tip adapter to use it on today's computers.

Official name is "Apple Portable Power Adapter"

In the PowerBook G4 Specification Sheet it is listed as "Power adapter with cable management system"

Apple Portable Power Adapter Model No. M7332

You can find the Power Supply on eBay for around $40.

The External Power cord is 6-feet long with the computer cord being another 6-feet.

Three Things I Liked

This Single unit that has two plugs. One half connected to the wall, and the second half connected to the laptop computer. Having the "brick" in the middle allows a simple plug in the wall. In the current generation, you run the risk of blocking another plug. This design doesn't have the potential to block an outlet. The cable that connects to the computer can be wrapped in the base, allowing you to only have out what you need.

When I was using the PowerBook a lot, I put the base on my desk. Co-workers always ask what it is. I think they think its some new Apple device. It does look like some wireless device or something. Maybe Apple can redesign a future Power Adapter that would also be a Qi charging station?

The unique design of the power adapter actually easy to find. The recent power adapters that come with last few releases of the MacBooks looks very similar. Even previous laptop adapters were pretty boring and doesn't stand out. When I want to use my old Powerbook, I know what cable that I need to look for.

Additional Photo

Apple Charger Collage
View of the Charger from the side, Bottom and the end that connects to the wall.

  Filed under the Classic Mac category. - Permalink

Backup USB items

This week's is a followup to the "Keyboard Maestro Copy File" blog post. In this week's post, I'll show you how to use Keyboard Maestro's actions to perform the same BASH function.

This is a great example of understanding the power that Keyboard Maestro has. While the BASH code is shorter in code, I feel the Keyboard Maestro version is more flexible in doing other actions.

Simple Task

Create a Macro that will copy all the documents in a particular folder and place a copy of them in a new location based on their created date.

Actions used

  • Get File Name to Variable
  • Get File Type to Variable
  • If All Conditions Met Execute Actions
  • Get Date Created to Variable
  • Set Variable to Text
  • Create New Folder
  • Copy File

Keyboard Maestro Macro

Sony Action Steps

These are the steps in the screenshot:

  • Pause for 1.5 Seconds - Wait for the USB drive to fully mount.
  • For Each Item in a Collection - For all the files in a particular directory on the Sony Recorder execute the following actions.
  • Get File Name to Variable - Save the file name to a variable to be used later.
  • Get File Type to Variable = Identify the type of file in this loop cycle.
  • If All Conditions Met Execute Actions - Now lets take actions only on files and not folders
  • Get Date Created to Variable - Get the file created date and assign it to a variable
  • Set variable to Text - Assign the date format to a human readable format. (Example YYYY-MM-dd)
  • If All Conditions Meet Actions - Check to see if the directory exists.
  • Create New Folder - Create a new folder if it doesn't exists.
  • If All Conditions Meet Actions - Check to see if the file already got moved over.
  • Copy File = Move the selected file to the directory

  Filed under the Keyboard Maestro category. - Permalink

Simple Lottery Program

One of the books that got me into programming was "Perl by Example" by Ellie Quigley. I learned a lot about how to perform certain tasks using simple examples.

This week's post is highlighting an example of how I learned using the book. The following is an example of creating a "Lottery Picker" Python application. This is a pretty basic example of using various Python functionality to generate a random set of numbers.

Power Python

PowerBall Quick Pick

Players must select 5 numbers from 1 to 69. Then they must pick one additional number from a range of 1 to 26.

In this example, the program outputs 4 games. I use the sort list function to display the smaller numbers first.

import random
# Powerball Quick Pick
GameBalls = list(range(1,69))
PowerBall = list(range(1,26))
random.shuffle(GameBalls)
random.shuffle(PowerBall)
for x in range(4):
	mywin = GameBalls[0:5]
	mywin.sort()
	print(f"Winning Numbers: {mywin} with a Powerball number {PowerBall[0]}")
	random.shuffle(GameBalls)
	random.shuffle(PowerBall)

Sample Output

Winning Numbers: [2, 11, 15, 27, 58] with a Powerball number 10
Winning Numbers: [9, 54, 58, 63, 67] with a Powerball number 3
Winning Numbers: [10, 16, 18, 47, 62] with a Powerball number 4
Winning Numbers: [3, 35, 38, 41, 56] with a Powerball number 3

Odds of Winning Powerball

The odds of winning the PowerBall is 11,688,053 to 1. You have a one in 91 chance of matching at least 1 number.

Things This Code Demonstrates

The above piece of code answers some common "how do I" questions:

  • How do I create a python list not starting from 0?
  • How doI shuffle a list in Python?
  • In Python, How do I create a new list from another list?
  • How do I sort a randomize python list?
  • After shuffling a list how do I sort it?

Future Site Content

I'll add a PowerBall number picker to the Random selection.

  Filed under the Python category. - Permalink

Bank Account Problem

This week's video will go down as a classic moment for scam calls.

I have been getting a lot of these scam calls and over the past few weeks have been playing with them. My home and cell number must be flagged and last week one of the callers threaten to kill me.

Bank Account Issue

Listen in on this short exchange about some Suspicious funds in my bank account.

Background picture is from Columbia, California from 2002.

Originally I thought this was a bank call but it was something to do with my Social Security number. Not sure how the two of them are related. I am guessing when you are not from this country, anything is possible.

  Filed under the Media category. - Permalink

Facebook API Errors

If your a developer using Facebook's API you may have encountered some of these errors:

  • Error validating access token: The session has been invalidated because the user changed their password or Facebook has changed the session for security reasons.
  • Error Downloading Account: ('(#100) Missing permissions',
  Response:
    {
      "error": {
        "message": "(#100) Missing permissions",
        "type": "OAuthException",
        "code": 100,
        "fbtrace_id": "AIxe3azfOU99dz1pMuLlN-A"
      }
    }

Easy Solution

The reason for these errors is that the user hasn't fully validated themself to Facebook. They have to prove to Facebook that they are a real person.

This is done by going to the users Facebook Settings page, https://www.facebook.com/settings/ and selecting the "Identiy Confirmation."

Facebook Identity

You'll Have to Wait!

Part of the process involves Facebook sending you a postcard to verify your address. Once you get the card, you enter the code and Facebook will enable all the Ad feeatures. This should eliminate the "Missing Permissions" error message.

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

Song Generator

Be creative this year and create your own Christmas Song. Perfect for those holiday parties at work!

Website Description

Quickly make a Christmas song using a few words of your own or our automated keyword picker. We'll also create you a cover and song title.

Song Lyrics Generator
https://www.song-lyrics-generator.org.uk/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

MacBook Restart

This week I have been having some issues with my MacBook not starting up. There has been a couple of times when I would see the battery icon with a lightning bolt.

Battery Lighteningbolt

According to Apple

The best solution is to Force your Mac to turn off and back on (Knowledge Base Answer: HT204267).

What's Going On?

For MacBooks, this means that the battery has died. The computer is charging the battery up enough so it can work.

You may have to wait a couple of minutes before trying to start the computer.

Long Term Solution: You should take the laptop to get looked at - Apple will likely install a new battery.

Try Resetting the SMC

The System Management Controller (SMC) may need to be reset. The SMC manages tasks like thermal and battery management. Resetting may help restore your computer back to life. (Note: It can't hurt to try this!)

Here is how to reset the SMC via MacBook:

  • Shut down your Mac
  • Press and hold 'Control' (Left) + 'Option' (Left) + 'Shift' (Right) keys
  • Keep holding them for seven seconds and press and hold the 'Power' button. Keep pressing for another seven seconds
  • Release all the keys, wait, and then restart your Mac.

What Worked for Me

After resetting the SMC, I restarted the computer by holding down the power button for 10-seconds. This seems to be the "best way" for me to get out of the mode that it is in.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

101,000 Image Collection

I was checking out some of my old CDs/DVDs collection, and I came across a CD Booklet that contains the CDs of the "101,000 Premium Image Collections."

All I have is the CD Booklet. There's supposed to be a large book that contains a preview of all the images.

I don't remember when I got this and how much I paid for the collection. If I had to guess it would be about $40. Maybe $25 if I purchased it at MacWorld.

This collection has three main parts, Clip Art Library, Photos, and Fonts. The most useful thing today has to be the font collection. The Clip Art and Photos are not as useful to me anymore. Websites like CreativeMarket and DepositPhotos have a lot more higher-quality clip art and photos. The nice thing about these sites is that you only pay for the clip art files that you'll use.

The MasterClips 101,000 Image Collection has a lot of files that I am not likely ever going to use. The CDs are no longer compatible with macOS. This is because the disks are formatted using "Mac OS Standard" format.

101000 Image Collection
Showing a Photo, Clip Art and the Bradley Hand Font.

Clip Art

Some Notes on the Clip Art Collection:

All clip art files are in EPS format (Encapsulated PostScript) I can open the files in Affinity Designer and Graphic Converter.

The EPS files are dated November 22, 1996. They were created by ImageMark Software Labs.

Inside the "Day and Date" folder are 572 icons many of which contain the same style with different days of the year. (This seems a clever way to increase the package image count)

I used Google's reverse image search and found sites that are using some of the clip arts. Some of the portraits are Russian women.

Photos

The photo collection is not so great in 2022. You would not want to go out of your way to get this collection for the images. You can find higher-quality images on Unsplash and other image-sharing sites.

The "high quality" images are 900x720 at 172 DPI.

Many of the photos seem out of focus or they appear to be cut off at a weird point.

Fonts

There are 3 Font libraries in the collection and many of the fonts are still usable today:

  • 300 Hand Writing Fonts - 200 Available
  • 17000 TueType Fonts - 819 Available
  • Non-Style-Merged - 316 Available

My personal favorite is the "300 Hand Writing Fonts" collection. This is great when I need to have some text appear to be written by hand.

Using FontDoc, I can browse the directory and find the perfect style that fits my need.

To install it using macOS Monterey, I have to open up Font Book and then open the file from the application.

  Filed under the Classic Mac category. - Permalink

Keyboard Maestro Copy File

Last Summer I purchased a Sony IC Recorder (ICD-UX570). Its a powerful audio recorder that saves files on the internal drive or the microSD expansion.

In order to download the audio from the recorder, I need to connect the device to the computer and drag the files from the device to my hard drive.

I decided to create a Keyboard Maestro Macro that would do that process automatically.

The Task

The task of this macro:

When the device is inserted into the computer, copy the files from the Internal 4GB memory to the ~/Music/Sony/ folder. Each audio should be in a folder with the date the recording was made.

Keyboard Maestro Macro

This is the Macro that I came up with:

Sony Audio File

Now when I insert the Sony Recorder, the files automatically get copied. I don't have to think about it. I can still move the files if I want, but I am guaranteed that a backup copy was made to the computer.

Bash Code

#!/bin/bash
cd /Volumes/IC RECORDER/REC_FILE/FOLDER01
for f in *; do
dir="/Users/cryan/Music/Sony/"$(stat -f%SB -t%Y-%m-%d "$f")
# echo $f '->' $dir
[ -d "$dir" ] || mkdir "$dir"
cp "$f" "$dir"/
done

Some Notes

This was a quick fix, using BASH. There is a better way to do this in Keyboard Maestro using a lot of the built-in actions. Next week I'll show you the "official" way to do this using Keyboard Maestro

The "pause" is needed because Keyboard Maestro works immediately when the device is connected - the file system doesn't even see it yet.

  Filed under the Keyboard Maestro category. - Permalink

Python Date

Python Relativedelta

Recently, I created a function to calculate the number of days from today. This simple function accepts a date object and returns the number of Years, Months, and Days between now and that event.

I used the Relativedelta object from the Date library. It's an easy way to do the converting with a few lines of code. Since Relativedelta is part of Python3, it will scale very nicely.

The Relativedelta type has a lot of the same attribute that is found in PHPs Date library.

In the example below I was able to convert a 10 line PHP function to 3 lines of code. I am sure there's even more refactoring that can be done.

#!/usr/bin/env /usr/bin/python3
from datetime import date
from datetime import datetime
from dateutil import relativedelta
NOW = datetime.now()
def datecal(someday):
	caldate = relativedelta.relativedelta(NOW,someday );
	return  f"{caldate.years} years, {caldate.months} months. {caldate.days} days";
day1 = datecal(date(1775,7,4))
	
print(day1)	
#  246 years, 5 months. 3 days

  Filed under the Python category. - Permalink

KRONs Daybreak Business Report

This week's video features KRON's Daybreak Business Report from the KRON morning broadcast on September 18, 2000.

In this report find out about how Qualcomm CEO is in trouble and what Joe Montana is up to off the field.

In this report the Dow is at 10,901.75 and the NASDAQ is at 3,821.11.

Today the Dow closed at 35,227.03 and the NASDAQ closed at 15,225.15

KRON Video

  Filed under the Media category. - Permalink

8 Surprising Things You Did not Know About Christmas Trees

What do you know about Christmas Trees? Are you a Christmas Tree Trivia expert?

The people at Tree Triage put together a very informative page on the "8 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Christmas Trees."

In the article, they will answer the following:

  • What is its history?
  • How can you keep it from becoming a fire hazard?
  • How do you make the tree last longer?
  • What do they symbolize?
  • How do you dispose of it responsibly?

Check out the article - who knows you make learn something that will help you win the next holiday contest at work

Tree Triage
https://www.treetriage.com/tree-removal/christmas-trees/

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

Paper Sizes

Have you ever wanted to know what particular paper size to use? What is the International Standard equivalent to the US Legal size? Do you know the different Business Card paper sizes? Oh, did you know Japan has the largest business card size?

Papersize.io is the go to solution to finding various sizes.

Website Description

A comprehensive resource listing all paper sizes, dimensions and formats.

Launched in April 2017, PaperSizes is a side project by friends Rob and Rich, who in their spare time wanted to create a handy online resource for themselves and for others, listing every paper size and format. It has grown with the help of the design community and is used daily by thousands of people all over the world.

Paper Sizes
https://papersizes.io/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Christmas Accessories Idea

This week's post are some suggested ideas to give to your favorite Macintosh User. Every Macintosh user is different, and some people might be brand specific, but honestly, you can't go wrong with these items.

This list covers various items from various stores online.

Home Desk Cartoon

Mac Accessories

USB-C Hub - $$$$ - After using the MacBook and iMac for a while, you quickly find that there are never enough USB-C ports. The OWC Thunderbolt Hub adds 4 USB-C Ports and one USB-A port. At $179.00 it's a bit of a pricy gift, but your Mac User would be so much more productive with it.

Qi Charger - $$ - All the newest smartphones are based on wireless charging. Having multiple Qi chargers around the house can be a great gift idea. Even if they have one in every possible room - they could use one for travel! The Mophia 3-in-1 7.5W Wireless Charging Pad at Best Buy is a practical gift idea. (Currently selling for $49.99)

Wireless Keyboard - $$$ - Having a spare wireless keyboard can be a time saver! Your Mac User may think they don't need a new keyboard, but it may make their life a bit easier. Apple's Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad is selling for $129 on Apple.com

1TB SSD External Drive - $$$ - Everyone can use more local storage. A SSD drive is practical way to backup your data quickly. The SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD is one of the best devices, B&H Photo has them on sale for $140.00.

Clip on Light Reading Light, 3000K - 6500K - $$ - These are so useful on Zoom calls - especially if you have a lot of light behind you. Here's one on Amazon that is currently selling for $13.99.

Extra Large Mouse Pad - $$ - A large mouse pad makes using the mouse so much easier. No more fumbling with the mouse to keep it on a tiny mouse pad. The extra-large pad helps keep the desk safe from hot drinks. You can find a lot of good options on Etsy. There are some places that will customize your own desk pad. I find the 35" by 15.5" be a great size.

USB Flash Drive Dock - $ - Keep your USB drives in a handy stand so they get lost in the top desk drawer. Patriot3dPrinting on Etsy makes one for $5+ shipping.

Memory Card Carry Case - $$ - Does your Macintosh user have a lot of memory cards hanging around? Get a Memory card travel case so they can find a card when they need one. B&H Photo Video has some good cases starting at $10 and up to $300 I like the ones that hold both SD and MicroSD cards.

10000mAh External USB Power Bank - $$$ - A good portable charger can be very handy to have when you away from the desk. Get at least a 10,000mAh size so that you can charge your phone multiple times. Amazon.com has a large selection of devices and they start at $10 and goes up to $133.

USB-C to USB-A Converter - $ - Useful for MacBook users when traveling. Keep an adapter in the travel bag - so it's handy when you need it. You can find a lot of multi-packs on eBay, some starting at $5. At this point in time, you may want to select the search query location for your country.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Total Training for Adobe PageMaker 7

This week's feature is the Total Training series: "Total Training for Adobe PageMaker 7" hosted by Deke McClelland.

Total Training Pagrmaker7

Thoughts About the Training

This 3-disk collection came out in 2002. I probably purchased around the same time. Adobe discontinued support of PageMaker in 2004 as they were encouraging users to migrate to Adobe Indesign.

PageMaker only works on macOS 9 - it was never ported to Mac OS X.

This training is CD-Rom disk training. It will not work in the latest macOS computers because the CD-disks were burned using HFS format. You will need to use a computer that has MacOS 10.14 or older.

As I recall, these were purchased as a set at a discount - I don't recall how much I paid for them. I am thinking about $99.

The training host, Deke McClelland, is still very active in the training space. His website has a lot of the latest video and training series. You can follow him on Twitter.

Someone on Amazon.com Marketspace is selling one of the courses but doesn't list a price. Another person on Walmart.com has Disk3 for sale for $40.95 - which is way over price for a training program on a legacy product.

Promotional Video

This is the first part of the video that is shown when you first load up the training:

Course Outline

Disk 1: PageMaker Basics
Lesson 1: What PageMaker can Do
Lesson 2: Getting Around
Lesson 3: Creating a Page
Lesson 4: Working with Text
Lesson 5: Threading Text Blocks
Lesson 6: The Story Editor
Lesson 7: Character - Level Formatting
Lesson 8: Type Size, Leading & Kerning

Disk 2: PageMaker Essentials Lesson 1: Paragraph - Level Formatting Lesson 2: Column Breaks, Rulers & Hyphenation Lesson 3: Setting Tabs Lesson 4: Style Sheets Lesson 5: Lines, Shapes & Transformations Lesson 6: Fill, Stroke & Color Lesson 7: Placing Photos & Illustrations Lesson 8: Masking, Grouping & Text Wrap
Disk 3: PageMaker Pro Lesson 1: Managing Pages Lesson 2: Links & Master Pages Lesson 3: Assembling Books Lesson 4: Table of Contents Lesson 5: Indexing a Document Lesson 6: Data Merge Lesson 7: Printing & Trapping Lesson 8: Hyperlinks & PDF

  Filed under the Classic Mac category. - Permalink

Time Zone Convert

This past week I was scheduling a meeting with a counterpart in California. I was looking for an easy way to let them know the time of the meeting using Slack. I thought there would be some plug in to automatically display a time in EDT to other timezones.

There isn't a Slack tool. Instead of giving up, I decided to make a quick action in Keyboard Maestro.

TimeZone Convert Action

This macro is triggered via the status menu - since it's something that I don't use all the time. When I select the entry, a dialog box opens up and asks me to select the meeting time.

After I click 'OK' the output of the Macro will be sent to the clipboard.

Dialog Box

Meeting Time Dialog

After clicking 'ok' the following data is in the clipboard:

The meeting is at 4:00 PM EDT / 3:00 PM CDT / 1:00 PM PST

I can paste the clipboard data in Slack, Email, Facebook, or anyplace I need.

Keyboard Maestro Macro

This is what my macro looks like in Keyboard Maestro. I used the "Prompt for User Input" and "Execute Shell Script" actions.

Time Zone Converter

Python Shell Code

Provided here so you don't have to type in the information in the above screenshot

#!/usr/bin/env /usr/bin/python3
import datetime
import os
from datetime import datetime as dt, timedelta
from dateutil import relativedelta
kmTime=int(os.environ['KMVAR_Time'])
dt_object = dt.fromtimestamp(kmTime)
est = dt_object + relativedelta.relativedelta();
pst = dt_object + relativedelta.relativedelta(hours=-3);
cst = dt_object + relativedelta.relativedelta(hours=-1);
print(f'The meeting is at {est.strftime("%-I:%M %p")} EDT / {cst.strftime("%-I:%M %p")} CDT / {pst.strftime("%-I:%M %p")} PST')

Some Notes

I used Python instead of the built-in ICUDateTime function because it was a bit complicated to pass through a variable to the ICUDateTime function.

This Python shell script is a good example of how to pass Keyboard Maestro variables to Python.

I am sure the Python code could be cleaned up - just thought I share it in the basic form.

  Filed under the Keyboard Maestro category. - Permalink

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