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back in February of 2022

Ski Wachusetts

This week's media is a montage of a video of Juliana going to Wachusett's Mountain in Palmer Massachusetts. She spent 2 mornings learning how to ski. We spent the third-day free skiing.

Video was shot using a GoPro Hero 9 attached to a ski pole via Gooseneck Clamp mount. The weather was really cold on the third day that the GoPro couldn't warm up to work properly.

Watch Video

Ski Wachusetts

Mount Wachusett's offers 90 minutes of skiing. Students get an opportunity to ski before and after the lesson to practice what they learned.

We arrived early each day so we could get the first lesson of the day. The lessons start at 8 am.

Level 3 start on the Easy trail and end the day on the intermediate trail. Level 4 conductors their classes on the intermediate trail.


Home Improvements Can Lower Your Taxes


69% of new entrepreneurs, according to an article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will begin their businesses out of their homes. If you plan things right and designate a space in your home to be exclusively for business, and that space is the principal place you conduct business, you could take the home office deduction. For example, if you use, say 15% of your home as an office, then you can take 15% of such expenses as mortgage interest, homeowners insurance, or home repairs.

With a little bit of forethought and planning, you can improve your house and lower your taxes. Many small businesses expenses are deductible and can lower your taxes such as the cost of goods sold, business start-up costs, insurance, car expenses, business interest expense, just to name a few. With a matter of organization, investment, and a bit of elbow grease, you can perform general maintenance on your house and possibly set yourself up to pay lower taxes.

Receive a home inspection

Unless you're a contractor or have another area of expertise in residential homes, you may want to consider employing an inspector to come to check your home. Despite their close association with the real estate industry, home inspectors also check homes for issues for insurance companies and seasonal contractors. This is the person to hire if you want a full diagnosis on your home's state. You can even ask him or her what areas need addressing first, and then what area next, before winter or summer or whatever season is approaching.

It's important to remember that a home inspector is different from a property assessor. The latter performs a function in determining you're home's assessed value, which contributes to how much you pay in property taxes every year.

An inspector will be able to tell you what spots of your home may pose a potential problem during the seasonal change. Perhaps your roof has loose shingles or a leak. Maybe your basement has some dampness issues. Having these issues addressed by a professional can end up saving you a lot of money.

Patch up any holes or gaps notes cold air has an almost magical way of finding its way into homes when the approaching winter season begins. Even if you caulked up every visible gap, weather-stripped until you were blue in the face, and insulated every square-inch of attic space last year, it's wise to check on last season's handywork. Time has a way of undoing our most diligent of home-maintenance efforts.

So, even if you did it all last year, conduct a thorough check again to see if an extra roll or two of insulation is needed in the attic or garage. Check around every window for air leaks and seal them however you can. Consider adding fresh weather-stripping in place of what you applied last year. The goal is to search every nook and cranny of your home to find areas where air could get in.

Prepare to repair

Whether you are planning for winter or preparing for summer, prepping your house can save you a lot of time and money later down the road. And if you prepare properly, you may be able to take off a percentage of your repairs as business expenses, lowering your tax bill. However, don't wait too long to address a problem in your home.

This article is brought to you by For more information, visit us today!


Poem Generator

Sometimes you need a good poem to fill in the moment. Especially if you are scrambling to send a cute email or letter.

Easily create a Poem using the Poem Generator. Once done, you can customize it to make it better - if needed.

Website Description

To write a poem, first decide whether you want to follow a specific structure such as a sonnet or haiku, or would prefer to write something free-flowing, then choose a poem type from the selection above. Once you've made your choice, we'll ask you for a few words to inspire your poem. We'll then use our extensive word lists to write a poem inspired by your input. We'll help you with devices such as counting syllables, finding synonyms and rhyming words.

Tip: use evocative adjectives and powerful nouns to make your poems emotive.

How to write a poem with our generator

  • Choose a type of poem.
  • Select some keywords.
  • Let us automatically create a poem and an image.

Poem Generator

Sample Quick Poem

The Cute And Funny Doll
A Poem by cryan

Whose doll is that? I think I know.
Its owner is quite happy though.
Full of joy like a vivid rainbow,
I watch her laugh. I cry hello.

She gives her doll a shake,
And laughs until her bellyaches.
The only other sound's the break,
Of distant waves and birds awake.

The doll is cute, funny, and deep,
But she has promises to keep,
After cake and lots of sleep.
Sweet dreams come to her cheap.

She rises from her gentle bed,
With thoughts of kittens in her head,
She eats her jam with lots of bread.
Ready for the day ahead.

With thanks to the poet, Robert Frost, for the underlying structure.


Path Finder 2021

PathFinder 10 was released earlier this month. The last update was on December 8, 2020. This means that there was a 1 year, 2 months, 5 days duration between major releases.

What is Path Finder?

Path Finder is a more advanced Finder. The application makes available a lot more tools to help increase your productivity.

People use Path Finder to:

  • Perform Advance Search - Look for files in particular locations - such as certain USB drives.
  • Manage Files - Easily move files from one location to another.
  • Navigate - Using the Application Dock or the Menu icon, you can easily open up locations no matter where you are on your computer.
  • Productivity - Power up the your finder with a lot of extra tools.

Path Finder10x

Let's check out the new features and see if it's worth the upgrade.

What's New in Pathfinder

CocoaTech is no longer adding the version to the PathFinder name. They are planning on releasing monthly updates and they felt having a version number in the name may confuse things.

Cocoatech has also moved Path Finder to a subscription model. This means that you now have to pay annual fees to get the latest version. They dropped the price, a yearly plan now costs $29.95. Path Finder 10 was $36.

Cloud Folder Uploader - You can easily send a file to any cloud service simply by right-clicking and uploading a file to SFTP/FTP, Amazon S3, Dropbox, and Google Drive servers.

Bug Fixes -Fixed issues with Terminal, git, and SVN modules

sFTP Cloud Uploader

The sftp integration is cool, it just takes a bit to get used to set up. Some tips I learned:

  • The Remote Path is from the root directory when you log in to the sftp server. This isn't the absolute path, just the path you would take logging in.
  • Make sure to end the Remote Path with a directory slash, example: images/website/
  • Cocoatech should add a "Test Connection" button which would make it easier to see if you type the right password or file path.

You still can't mount an sftp server to Path Finder - maybe in a future release? Sending files to sFTP servers is a great first step.

Some Bugs with Monterey

There are still some issues with macOS Monterey. I am not seeing detailed information when I get file information. It seems to be working for macOS Catalina. (Apparently, this was supposed to be fixed in the 2121 version.)

I am also having some issues with the "Symbol Table" reports - works in Catalina but not in Monterey. This is pretty minor as a lot of people probable don't use this feature.

Path Finder Bug

Revisiting Some Path Finder Features

Back in January 2021, I wrote about some of the new features of Path Finder 10, I thought it might be good to revisit a few of these features again.

File Rename - The file rename dialog allows you to have multiple criteria in renaming files. Really a good way to rename similar files. The before/after is really useful to see the impact of the changes before they are applied.

iPhone Viewer - Use the Size Browser to see where the largest files are being kept on your phone.

Application Switcher - See all the available applications on your computer. Not just the applications in the ~/Applications folder. This is available in the menu bar

Path Finder Features


S-Video Mini Din-7

Another cable that I found in my collection is a 7 Pin S Video to RCA Video converter.

This is the cable that I have:

S Video Din7

Four Things I Learned

You can still get this cable on eBay for about $4.

The 7 Pin mini-DIN is a nonstandard S Video type. It was used in a lot of computers in the early 1990s.

I purchased this adapter so that I could connect my Power Macintosh 8600 to my VHS player to record videos.

The Din-7 connector is not present on Macintosh 128K, 512K, and 512K enhanced computers.


Spin Planet Earth

There are a lot of 3D Objects, 80 to be exact, and each one of them can be rotated. The most popular element to be rotated is Earth.

Apple created this with the intent to have it rotated.

Here are the very basic steps to get the Earth rotated.

Ro Tate Earth

Rotate Planet Earth

  • Create a new project.
  • Add the Earth ED Object (Select the Library tab, then select "3D Objects." then select Education and you'll see Earth.) Drag and drop the Earth to the layers section.
  • Click "Behaviors" then "Basic Motion" and select Basic Motion and you'll see Spin. Drag and drop Spin to the Earth in the Layers pallet. (Spin should appear immediately below the Earth icon.)
  • Click on the Earth Layer in the Layer pallet.
  • Click on Inspector
  • Click on Behaviors
  • Set up the following:
    • Increment (Continuous Rate)
    • Spin Rate (85.0)
    • Axis Y

Now click on the space bar and watch the world spin - East to West. Change the axis to 'X' and watch the world spin from the two poles.

Bonus: You can add an additional spin action and set it to spin on the 'Y-axis. This way you have the world spinning both ways.

Playground Time

Learn more about other "Basic Motions" and add other actions to the globe. For example, try the Move or "Grow and Shrink" action.


National Margarita Day

Happy National Margarita Day!

That got me thinking if I was a bartender and I had to create a Margarita drink for QA, what would it be?

  • Hot and Spicy?
  • Green and Red?
  • Extra Strong for those test days?
  • Mostly water - playing it safe?

My selection would be a Green Margarita made with Super Green Juice. That's basically a mix of Apples, Lemons, Romaine, and Cucumber.

Typical Margarita Ingredients

  • 1 lime wedge, plus 2 lime wheels for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, for glass rims
  • 4 ounces (120ml) high-quality blanco tequila
  • 2 ounces (60ml) Cointreau
  • 1 1/2 ounces (45ml) fresh juice from 2 limes


  • Run lime wedge around the outer rims of 2 rocks glasses and dip rims in salt. Set aside.
  • In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Fill with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 15 seconds (the bottom of a metal shaker should frost over).
  • Fill glasses with fresh ice and strain margarita into both glasses. Garnish with lime wheels and serve.

Super Green Juice

In a juicer, mix up a combination of order, the lemons, apple, romaine, cucumber, and greens,

Special equipment

Cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer

Get the Full Recipe

The Food Network has the full recipe.

Drink Responsibly. While Drinking and Software Testing isn't illegal in the United States - don't give your state reps any ideas.


Memory Power Infomercial

Back in the 1990s, Infomercials were the late-night filler spot for many networks. I enjoyed watching them as a good way to fall asleep.

When going through my VHS collection, I found the Memory Power by Harry Lorayne infomercial. This is the kind of infomercial that would put me to sleep. It's just a show that will put you to sleep.

Watch this broadcast from 1998:

Order the Tapes on eBay

You can order the Memory Power by Harry Lorayne 5 Cassettes/ 1 VHS Tape Set~1988,1992 for about $20 on eBay.

The funny thing is that some people are selling the 1992 cassettes as new, they ordered the tapes but never bothered to open and listen to them.


How The Latest Technology Is Changing The Way We Exercise

Ice Skating Exercise

2020 was a record-breaking year for fitness technology, with fitness app downloads growing by over 50%, and over $60 billion was spent on wearable fitness technology the following year. It's clear that there has been a shift in focus; consumers want to take their health and wellness back into their own hands, opting for devices that allow them to better take care of themselves. Everything from smart wristbands, to apps, and at-home skating facilities are revolutionizing the way people are exercising, so let's take a closer look.


One survey of 4,500 health and fitness professionals by the American College of Sports Medicine found that wearable fitness technology is set to be the top trend for 2022. Keeping track of our health, wellness, and overall wellbeing has never been easier now that fitness wearables have become so accessible and commonplace. These gadgets, such as the higher-end Apple Watch or more affordable alternatives such as the Fitbit, are not only able to track your workouts, but also the exercise that gets done in everyday life - all users have to do is remember to wear the band around their wrist every day. The wrist wearable typically comes with an app that provides users with data all about what they achieved during their workouts (e.g. heart-rate levels and calories burned), as well as other lifestyle factors such as the effectiveness of their sleep patterns.

At-home Ice Skating

A few years ago, the idea of an ice skating rink in your own home would have sounded like something only a millionaire could afford. Today, innovations in synthetic ice have made it a possibility for anyone. Besides being extremely fun and great for your health, what's also great about it is that synthetic ice is easy to clean and has a significantly reduced carbon footprint. This makes it perfect for families who like to stay active together.

Personal Trainer Apps

Thanks to ever-evolving updates in the world of technology, our exercise routines are becoming more and more efficient every day as the benefits of top personal trainers become widely accessible and affordable via smartphone apps. Not only does this mean that individuals can receive exercise tips, guidance, and routines based on their unique set of needs. It also means that individuals can complete a satisfying and effective gym routine wherever they are, whenever they please. Only those in top income brackets previously had access to the benefits of regular meetings with a personal trainer to help them meet their weight-loss, fitness, or strength-training goals. However, this has been truly revolutionized with modern technology as new apps come out every month with AI virtual personal trainers designing routines that cater to individual needs, and push notifications that keep users motivated and on track.

The times have never been changing quicker, and the technological advances at our fingertips are making exercise, health and wellness easier to achieve than ever. Consumers now have more options than ever to complete their exercise and aftercare routines at home - or wherever they are in the world, whenever they like.

You may know about WolframAlpha - where you can get data about anything. Its a great place to get math help.

Another good source for math calculations is You can learn all sorts of calculations - including the formulas to solve them.

Some Calculations you'll find:

  • Golf Handicap Calculator
  • Powerball Lottery Numbers
  • Biweekly Mortgage Payments
  • Monthly Auto Loan Payments
  • Car Buy Vs. Lease Calculator
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard
  • Meatball Calculator

Check it out and learn something new today!

Website Description delivers information and online calculators for a wide variety of applications - mathematics & statistics, science, business & finance, technology, home & garden, sports, health & fitness, games, and much more. Is there something you just had to know? We hope we have what you're looking for. Put our extensive collection of online calculators to use, or browse our expertly written articles and how-to guides.



Photoscape 4.2.1 Update

It has been a while since I posted an update of all the features in PhotoScape X. This week's post is look at some of the features added since my .PhotosScape Update in November 2020.

Version 4.2 shipped in January 2022. This is the release note on the new features:

  • New Object Effects: Inner Glow, Inner Shadow, Emboss
  • New Image Effects: Outline
  • Added Background, Fill, Color, Masks options to Image and Sticker Objects
  • Added Mask option to Color and Film Effects
  • Added Close menu to Collage tab
  • Added 'Merge Selected Layers' to Editor tab
  • Added 'Font Favorites'
  • Added 'WEB Quality option'
  • Added 32 Camouflage Patterns
  • Added 180 Flower Stickers
  • Added 469 more Pixel Stickers
  • Selecting and Editing Multiple Objects
  • Improved Object Effects: Long Shadow, Overlays & Masks
  • Improved Shadows/Highlights Filter
  • Improved Ul
  • Fixed bugs

PhotoScape 4.2.1 Update
Quick Sample of some the the features in this update

Six Things I Learned from the New update

This update was a month late! In the past, PhotoScape did their major updates in Oct/Dec. I am not complaining, I just like to see what cool things that the PhotoScape team comes up with.

The Inner Glow, Inner Shadow are great ways to add make text objects stand out more.

Webp capability - Now I can save files in Webp format and see the savings using that format. (For example, the image used in this Blog post is 40 KB had I used Jpeg format it would have been 76 KB)

WebP is an image file format that Google has developed as a replacement for JPEG, PNG, and GIF file formats. WebP yields files that are smaller for the same quality, or of higher quality for the same size. It supports both lossy and lossless compression, as well as animation and alpha transparency.

Note: Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and Graphic Converter don't offer support for Webp. Pixelmator Pro does allow users to save in Webp format but PhotoScape is the only app that I have that shows the preview of the saved image.

Font Favorites are a great addition! Now I can quickly switch between fonts and not have to scroll the long menu just to get to a font that I want.

The flower stickers and pixel stickers are nice, but I don't think that I'll ever use them. I guess its a good way to create a comic graphic? There's a lot of variety in the Pixel stickers, certainly worth a scroll through to get ideas.

The Camouflage Patterns are a nice addition to the large pattern library. They add a nice touch as a background color in text. I didn't realize that there were 32 different camouflage patterns.


Apple Attachment Unit Interface

In the 1990s, if you wanted to connect your Macintosh to a high-speed network you needed 2 things: an AAUI port and an AAUI transceiver. These were available as options on Macintosh Quadra, Centris, PowerBooks 500 series, and some high-end Power Macintosh.

For consumers, having an Ethernet connection wasn't important as high-speed Internet didn't become mainstream until the early 2000s.


Why I Got One

Sometime in the late 1990s, I purchased a Lindsey's AAUI transceiver for my Power Macintosh 8600 computer. I recall that I got this so that I could transfer files between computers in a local network.

When I was actively using my Centris 660av and Power Macintosh 8600, I was still using dial-up. I never took the computers into the office to get on the Internet via Ethernet.

Things I Learned

The unit has two slots one for the "standard" Ethernet 10 Base-T cable and the other for the thin coaxial cabling used for 10Base2 ethernet networking.

The Linksys Transceiver is selling for about $8 on eBay - if you can find someone selling it right now - they are hard to find. ( I don't plan on selling mine!)

The only reason someone would get this today would be to transfer files on a Network.

The AAUI port is unique - check out the photo above on the Centris 660av.

Coming This Spring

Sometime this spring I plan to boot up the Centris 660av and put it on the local network to transfer files. It should be interesting to see how it handles MacOS files.


Apple Motion Gradients

Apple Motion Gradient Header

Apple Motion includes some predefined color gradients to help make production a bit easier. You can use these gradients in shapes and text.

I wasn't able to find any document that would show what each of the gradients looked like. Users have to select each one to view the style. I decided to create a handy chart of all the gradients available.

Simply click on the image below to display the handy chart - now there's no second-guessing what gradient to use.

Apple Motion Gradient Poster
Click on image for single page preview of the Gradients in Apple Motion

34 Motion Gradients

Here are all the names of the gradients:

  • Atlantic Blue
  • Beach Front
  • Bilbao
  • Blue Chrome
  • Blue Sky
  • Burnt Ember
  • Candy Corn
  • Charcoal
  • Chrome
  • Dawn
  • Dawn Orange
  • Dawn Purple
  • Desert Dusk
  • Desert Sun
  • Dusk
  • Film Noir
  • Grayscale
  • Icy Blue
  • Industrial Sky
  • Lakebed
  • Light Metal
  • Mirage
  • Murano
  • Oak
  • Ocean Haze
  • Pond
  • Radioactive
  • Rainbow
  • Rugby
  • Sea Mist
  • Smokey Mountains
  • Sundown
  • Thundercloud
  • Walnut

Video Sample


QA Info Bar Bookmarklet

When testing a webpage, sometimes I want to add additional information before taking a screenshot. While I can always use Snagit to add text post screen capture, there can be a better way to do this in the browser.

In a recent test, I wanted to add the Domain and screen size to the screenshot - for general reference. I thought it would be good to use a Bookmarklet to get this accomplished.

Kasper Mikiewicz wrote a cool Bookmarklet to "Debug window width & height" on Coderwall. This bookmarklet adds a window reference to the bottom right corner. I decided to modify it and add the domain name of the page:

Q A Bookmarklet Garvin

Drag Code to Your Bookmark Bar

Select this text and drag it to your bookmark bar:

javascript: var debug=document.createElement('div');'#debug-window';'16px/1.5 Arial';'#fff';;'right';'#1aa260';'.5em 1em';'fixed';;;'3px 0 0 0';(document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(debug);window.onresize=function(){debug.innerHTML=window.location.hostname+' | '+window.innerWidth+'x'+window.innerHeight+'px';};window.onresize();

Demo This Bookmarklet - You can also "drag and drop" that link to your bookmark bar.

When you click on the link in the Bookmark Bar you'll see a new box on the bottom right of the webpage.

This is really useful when you are testing responsive design because the height/width will change as you resize the browser.

I added the Z-Index so the "QA Info bar" appears on top of any other object.

More Bookmarklets

Some more bookmarklets that I shared in the past:

Check out the Browser Badge Bookmarklet. - Add a logo to your page to show you tested in Chrome.

Create Dynamic Bookmarklets - make Jira searches practical.

Quick Editor - Create a blank page for a quick note.


Mega Speed Reading Informercial

Is it possible to purchase a training program that can help you read faster? Kevin Mark Trudeau and Howard Stephen Berg think they can.

Watch the first ten minutes of this infomercial from 1998.

Still interested?

You can find the complete package that Howard Stephen Berg was selling on the infomercial on eBay. There are plenty of people that are selling the Mega Speed Reading Course for about $10.


Advice on Building the Dream Team Remotely

pixel Ivan

Before the pandemic, remote work was practically unheard of. Nowadays, though, it's becoming more and more commonplace as businesses start to embrace the concept more readily. If you're wanting to build the dream team remotely with the goal of running a successful business in the long run, shares how to go about it.

Get to you know your prospective hires

Hiring employees remotely should be quite an intensive process if you want to hire the right person for the job. Moreover, just because you don't have the opportunity of interviewing a prospective employee in person doesn't mean it should be any less thorough.-

A little empathy is much appreciated-

As mentioned before, remote working comes with its own set of challenges. And every employee's circumstances can vary. Being empathetic to difficulties that employees may be facing while working from home could end up being the one thing that could affect employee loyalty significantly. For example, a single mom may have the challenge of working at home while still having to look after her kids. It's about taking issues like these into account that can affect your company culture for the better.

Company culture is important

When building a successful business remotely, you also need to pay attention to what your company culture is and what you would ideally want it to look like. Because remote working can feel isolating at times, creating a culture where everyone feels included and a valuable part of the team will go a long way in building a successful remote business. For instance, hosting virtual meetings regularly is a great idea to keep everyone in the loop at all times.-

In addition to this, many remote tools can also assist with team collaboration and project management. Use a template to generate a monthly planner to help your team stay on top of projects.-With a viewable monthly template that lists all tasks to be done and deadlines to be met, your team is sure to stay on track to achieve your company goals. In addition to this, the template is also customizable, so you can keep things interesting by adding videos, sticky notes, and graphics that can help employees feel more engaged with what's happening in the business.-

Set goals and stick to them

In other words, you'll want to establish what your key performance indicators are and make sure that you are meeting and reviewing your sales and marketing goals periodically to ensure you meet them.-

Open communication is a necessity

Working remotely means there is generally an increased likelihood of getting the lines of communication crossed. Therefore, open communication is key in getting over this hurdle. For example, with Miro's video chat capabilities, you can stay in touch with the team in real-time to ensure the lines of communication stay open at all times.

Encourage initiative

With remote work and the increasing need for flexibility, micromanagement no longer works anymore. Instead, try to encourage initiative where possible. Furthermore, allowing employees to take ownership of their work can actually end up being a positive motivator in the long run as you entrust more and more responsibility to an employee.

Not going anywhere anytime soon

Remote working is sure looking like it's here to stay. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with common remote practices will help you adjust better to the new ways of working. And once you get into this mindset, you'll begin to see positive changes that'll work to the benefit of your business.


Hubble Space Photos

If you looking for some creative background for your desktop computer, why not a space photo from Hubble Space Telescope?

There are lots of creative images to choose from. They are inspiring to wonder just what is out there.

Website Description

Named in honor of the trailblazing astronomer Edwin Hubble, the Hubble Space Telescope is a large, space-based observatory, which has revolutionized astronomy since its launch and deployment by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990. Far above rain clouds, light pollution, and atmospheric distortions, Hubble has a crystal-clear view of the universe. Scientists have used Hubble to observe some of the most distant stars and galaxies are yet seen, as well as the planets in our solar system.

Hubble has made more than 1.5 million observations over the course of its lifetime. Over 19,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published on its discoveries, and every current astronomy textbook includes contributions from the observatory. The telescope has tracked interstellar objects as they soared through our solar system, watched a comet collide with Jupiter, and discovered moons around Pluto.

Nasa Photo


Luminar Neo

This week, Skylum finally shipped version 1 of Luminar Neo. In this release users get the Core Luminar features, Remove Dust Spots, Relight, Remove Powerlines, Luminar Share, Presets and Layers.

In a later release the Mask and Portrait Background removal will be available - there is no date on when that release will occur. It will be a free update.

Product Description

Luminar Neo is a creative image editor driven by AI technologies of the future. It empowers creators to bring their boldest ideas to life. And enjoy it.

With leading-edge AI technologies and a flexible workflow, Luminar Neo allows users to accomplish creative tasks and achieve professional editing results. The new engine in Luminar Neo is based on all the best solutions from our experience at Skylum for maximum performance and flexibility, allowing you to achieve complex creative results.


Check out how Luminar Neo transformed a boring church photo into something awesome:

This photo was taken using the GoPro Hero 9.

Key Features of Luminar Neo

Features not available in other Luminar products

Luminar Neo's goal is to make a single image look awesome. Luminar AI is designed more for batch editing, like Lightroom

Specific features not found in Luminar AI: Relight, Develop and Crop.

Relight is the ability to change the lighting in a photo. You can add or darken an image with a simple click. The cool thing is that Neo produces a 3D map so the light spreads naturally in the photo.

Develop is you opportunity to change the Exposure, Smart Contrast, Highlights, and shadows.

Crop is very similar to the Composition tool in Luminar AI. Clicking on Crop gives you the best crop image - making sure that the portrait's eyes are in the center of the image. Luminar AI adds Persecution and Image 3D Transform.

Argumented Sky Removal. It's interesting to note that Luminar decided to remove Argumented Sky in Luminar Neo. Argumented Sky is where you can place objects in the photo such as the moon or a rainbow. I recall seeing it in early versions but that feature is now gone.

You can get advice and tips from the Luminar Insider Form. The form is an active place of die-hard photo users. They frequently run contests for the best photos or styles.

Luminar Neo has Presets just like Luminar AI. When I ran the same image, the preset suggestions were the same. However, I rarely use these and would rather spend a few minutes in the editor fine-tuning the image using the awesome tools.


ADC vs DVI Monitor Ports

Over the years, the Macintosh G4 changed the monitor support. This can be tricky to figure out if you're trying to connect up an old G4.

The first set of G4 Macintosh towers supported the Apple Display Connector (ADC), the later generation supported the Apple Digital Visual Interface (DVI).

Apple Display Connector; carries analog and digital video, USB, and power

The Digital Visual interface is designed to transmit uncompressed digital video and can be configured to support multiple modes such as DVI-A (analog only), DVI-D (digital only), or DVI-I (digital and analog).

Not Compatible With Each Other

You can't just plug a monitor with an ADC port into a DVI port or vice versa. You will need an adapter. You can find them on eBay for about $40. (They are hard to find!)

Note: Most G4 also came with a VGA port, and you can use that to use your computer.

Here's an example of the difference in the ports:

D V I Ports2022

Photo Example

A D C Photo2022


Style Text in Apple Motion

Here's a sample of all the available text styles in Apple Motion:

Text Styles

Text Style Names

Antique, Basic 3D, Basic 3D Serif, Block, Blue Plastic, Bold, Car Paint, Carved Wood, Chiseled, Chrome, Commemoratively, Condensed, Deep Glow, Bream, Duotone, Fantasy, Fashion, Faux 3D, Flat Graphic, Forged, Glossy Green, Gold, Golden, Grunge, Heavy, Ice, Metropolitan, Minimal, Minimal 3D, Monolith, Neon, Offset, Old Steel, Old Wood, Outline, Outline 3D, Painted, Paper, Platinum, Pop, Reflection, Retro Neue, Rough Stone, Transparent, Ultra Light, Vintage, Wow.

Note: This list is from Apple Motion 5.6

Apply Style

To apply the style simply drag and drop the style to the text. Use the Inspector on that text to make any changes.


Blue Green Deployment

The Blue/Green deployment is when release engineering stages up a new instance of a production environment and they slowly move traffic to the new instance. Once the traffic is 100% on the new environment the old one gets taken down.

This is usually done to implement a zero-downtime deployment. Configurations to get this done is usually done using a Loadbalancer.

Blue Green Deployment

Some QA Notes About This

Production Only Many organizations will not put a Blue/Green deployment in the staging environment - usually because of cost and other logistics. This adds some risk to the release as QA isn't able to test the changeover.

Real World Example

We have several automation scripts that run at each release to test critical featured that have broken in the past during production deployment. We are at "All Hands on Deck" at release time.

Downtime may still be needed. There has been times when we had to do a major database upgrade and the Blue/Green deployment makes the process more complex than it needs to be. In those times, we alerted customers of the downtime - usually off hours and put together a plan to minimize the downtime.

Real World Example

Whenever we do a major database change, we would schedule some downtime for backup and as a precaution. An example of a major change would include a DB upgrade.

Patching Still Possible! You can still implement code patches in the Blue/Green model. The developer needs to commit the code change to "master/main" so that it gets implemented in the next release. We found that JavaScript changes were harder to patch than "basic" code changes.

Real World Example

Unfortunately we did a lot of patching. They would be easy to implement. In most cases, the Developer would have to provide a diff of their changes against the current production build. The infrastructure team would be responsible to update the code on the servers.

Safe Production Testing There might be times when you need to test certain features in the Production environment. Using the Blue/Green Deployment the Infrastructure team can load up an instance but not make it public. QA can go through a specific URL to test before the stack is live.

Real World Example

There are some third party changes that may not be testable in a QA environment. We had an API change that depended on the URL/Domain and testing some functionality wasn't possible in the QA or Staging environments.


2001 Commercials

This week's feature is a collection of commercials from May 2001 from San Francisco California. These classic commercials are a reminder of how young the internet was.

Hard to believe that these commercials will be 21 years old this year. (That's like watching commercials from the 1980s in 2001.)

Commercial Listings

  • Kristi Yamaguchi promoting K101
  • California Department of Health Services - Stop smoking campaign
  • Pacific Bell - 'What's up with all these companies that aren't focused on customers'?
  • Jack in the Box - Play of the Day with the Triple Ultimate Cheeseburger.
  • Mitsubishi 'Wake up and Drive' - Catchy tune commercial featuring 'Start the Commotion.' The commercial caused the song to reach the top 40 in the USA in 2001 - four years after it was released.
  • Toyota Corolla featuring Steve Young - Not sure why, San Francisco Quarterback, Steve Young was featured in these commercials. Does anyone think that he actually drives a Toyota Corrolla in real life?
  • Real Cheese with a cameo by Bob Dole - A fictional presidential candidate mistakes says he doesn't like cheese. So what does Bob Dole think about this?
  • - Introducing the ability to have the entire financial world at your fingertips. The company closed in 2004.
  • - Why aren't people going to your website to buy?
  • Gateway Country Store - Just as Apple was about to open its first store in Tysons Corner, Virginia, Gateway started promoting its stores on major TV networks. Apple never really considered them a competitor.
  • Mother's Cookies - Commercial that features people that have worked at the company for a long time. I wonder how many of those people featured are still working there today?


How do online reviews benefit your moving business?

A person leaving a five-star review, symbolizing how online reviews benefit your moving business

Online reviews can be one of the most potent tools at your disposal for improving your moving business. Whether they are good or bad, your customers' opinions are valuable. Today, we will talk about collecting moving reviews, managing them, and dealing with potential issues. In the end, we should have a clear understanding of how online reviews benefit your moving business.

Modernize your business with online reviews

When a customer leaves feedback, that is important information to you. Hearing about your clients' experience after the relocation may help you improve and-modernize your moving business.

An illustration of a stick figure holding a magnifying glass, looking at the word quality
Valuable moving reviews will help you improve the quality of the services you provide.

More reviews - more visibility!

The number one reason you should start collecting online reviews is increased visibility. When people start talking about your moving business, your company gets some much-needed exposure. This type of publicity is never bad, even if you receive negative reviews. We will talk more about that later.

Of course, it is also essential where your customers leave reviews. This usually happens on the website. However, sometimes they can also leave reviews or comments on social media. You always need to be aware of the reviews the minute they go live.

If you have a social media strategy for acquiring new leads, you want to-get the most out of it. Online reviews can give you the exposure you need. People like to read reviews about products or services before they purchase them. That's why you should always make them visible.

Moving reviews improve customer communication and experience

If a customer leaves a review, the first thing you should do is reply to it. This way, you acknowledge their input and say thanks for taking the time to send feedback.

Another important thing is to answer any questions your clients might have asked in the review. Answering questions shows that you still care about them even after the relocation is done. It is not all about the money.

By reading customer reviews, you will know what your clients think about your business.

Best of all, people looking for moving services will see continuous communication. That sends a personal vibe, showing there is an actual person behind the screen. A lot of times, companies use fake reviews to boost their business. The communication between you and the clients means that the reviews are genuine.

Dealing with negative reviews

If you receive a negative review, the worst thing you can do is disregard or delete it. This is a huge mistake, and it will only harm your business.

First of all, you need to learn how to accept criticism. If there is something wrong, you need to work it out - solve a problem, not push it under the rug.

Second, you need to let your customers know that you are aware of what is happening. And, they need to know that you are working on fixing the problem as soon as possible.

Third, being in denial will harm your business when dealing with future clients. If there was a problem that you didn't fix, that same problem will repeat in the future.

Just as you respond to positive reviews, you should also-deal with the negative ones. If potential clients see you responding to bad reviews and doing your best to fix the problem, they will appreciate your business more. This is how you build reputation and trust. Everybody makes mistakes. But finding ways to address the issues is what makes us great.

Reviews might improve SEO

If you start responding to customer reviews, you can include important keywords in your answers. The more mentions of your company and keywords, the better. The comments section on your reviews page might become a valuable asset when it comes to improving SEO.

Reviews bring you more conversions

Considering everything we have covered so far, it is only natural that reviews will-increase your conversion rate. Thanks to reviews, you can:

  • improve customer communication and experience;
  • work on improving your moving business;
  • get new ideas;
  • solve problems;
  • build trust and reputation;
  • gain exposure for your business;
  • improve SEO;

Companies that communicate closely with their clients often don't have to worry about finding new leads. A happy customer will always recommend you to their friends and family. This is especially important in the moving industry, where you usually don't work with returning customers. It all comes down to recommendations and word-of-mouth advertising.

How to get more reviews

You can use many different strategies to get more reviews for your moving business. The first thing to do is to create a popup for paying customers. You can ask them a few simple questions during different stages of their journey. Ask if they are happy with the website and overall communication. You can post answers from the polls as statistics on your page.

It is also an excellent idea to let the customers know in advance that you will ask them for feedback. Explain that this is a process of improving customer service and that customer opinions matter.

Another strategy is to take a proactive approach and call your clients. Ask them about their experience and how satisfied they were. You can use this opportunity to ask specific questions and get answers to things that customers probably would not remember to mention on their own.

A smiley face, neutral face, and a sad face represented in green, yellow, and red colors on a blackboard
Whether the reviews your business receives are positive or negative, you need to address them all.

For example, a customer might write:

Big thanks to the entire moving team that helped with our relocation! You are the best!

While this is a lovely thing to hear, it lacks details. If you ask the customers how much they were satisfied with packing their belongings, shipping items, handling payment, etc., you will get specific answers that will help improve your business.

Online reviews benefit your moving business 100%

There is no question about it - online reviews benefit your moving business in many ways. With that in mind, pay special attention to what your customers say about your company. Embrace both the good and bad reviews, and you will see tremendous progress.

Meta description: Here is how online reviews benefit your moving business. Learn how to use online reviews and improve customer experience.


Weather Extremes

Have you ever wondered what is the coldest day of the year for a particular city? We all know the winter months are bad, but when does it get really cold in Boston? When was the coldest day in San Francisco?

The data on the Current Results can give you insights on the extreme temperatures for 51 American cities by month and year.

Website Description

Each link takes you to climate data for dozens of cities, allowing you to compare their typical weather. There's information on temperature, precipitation, snowfall, sunshine, cloud, wind, and humidity. The cities represent the 51 biggest metropolitan centers in the US, all with over one million people in 2010.

Farther down the page you'll find links to in-depth weather information on special topics.

Weather Current Results


ForkLift 3

ForkLift by BinaryNights is a very popular dual file manager. In 2012, I did a quick review of the application and things have changed a lot over the years, so I thought it would be good to review it again.

My go-to FTP file manager is Panic Transmit, so this review is based on the things that ForkLift does well and some things where Transmit does a better job.

Fork Lift Preview

Five Things I Like about ForkLift 3

Commands - The Command menu option allows you to send various server commands without having to open up a separate terminal window. You can make symlinks, alias, sync, compress, copy, and delete to name a few.

Local File Size - You can quickly tell how much space you have on your local devices, if you are run low on disk space, the 'pill' color will be red.

Sidebar - You can have the sidebar visible whenever you need it. This makes it easy to navigate between favorites and local devices while still having a two-panel window visible. This would be useful when migrating a site from one cloud service to another.

Custom Shortcuts - You can set or change any Forklift preferences. This means that I can quickly navigate through the application using shortcuts that I am familiar with.

Forklift Mini - This puts some features of ForkLift in the menu bar. For each favorite, you can mount it as a disk, open it as a droplet or open the location in Forklift. To mount it as a disk you need to install 'FUSE for macOS' a free third-party framework,

Two Things That Panic Transmit Did Better

Apple iCloud Drive - When viewing iCloud folders, Forklift doesn't show files that haven't been downloaded. Panic Transmit does show non-downloaded files.

Connecting Servers - I spent way too much time looking at how to connect a server. In Transmit, the connection location is easy to find and the interface is much better.


Overall, I think Transmit is a great application and won't be switching to ForkLift anytime soon. However, if I fund that ForkLift is running a sale, I may consider purchasing as a secondary FTP tool.


Peak LE 5

Peak LE was an application that I used a lot to edit audio files. Last March I blogged about using Peak 3, but I forgot that I upgraded to Peak 5. This is a quick follow-up post.

Peak L E5

Five Things I Learned

Bias ceased opperation in June 2012. They still maintain a page where you can download old versions of Peak, SoundSoap, SoundSaver and PitchCraft EZ.

Peak LE 5 exports using the following file types: AIFF, Sound Designer II, WAVE, Quicktime, Raw, System 7 Sound, Sonic AIFF, Paris, JAM image, AU, and MP3. To use the MP3 export the LameLib encoder needs to be installed.

Peak LE 5 is the only application that can convert System 7 sounds format to "modern" day sound format. I wasn't able to convert using Fission.

The toolbar offers a quick way to access a lot of common tools such as Change Duration, Change Gain, Convert Sample Rate, Fade In, Fade Out, Gain Envelope, Invert, Mix, Normalize, Reverse Boomerang, Reverse.

I like the ability to change the waveform colors. You have the option to change it to Indigo, Ruby, Sage, Graphite, Black & White, High Tech, Bright, Dark, Thermal, Color Contrast, Soft, Blues, Blues 2, Blues 3, Crisp, Fire, Hades, White & Black, Custom, HM.

Tape Style Scrubbing is a way to precisely pinpoint and select the desired location in an audio document.

Today's Audio Tool

Today my primary audio editing tool is Rogue Amoeba Fission. It suites my audio needs. Maybe some day I'll invest into Apple's Logic Pro.



Apple Motion comes with 32 generators that add various effects to your video project. Each of the generators can be customized to fit your needs.

To use them, simply drag the generator that you want to use to the layer pallet and use the Inspector to customize the effect.

Motion Generators

List of All the Generators

  • Caustics - Creates animated water ripple and reflection patterns.
  • Cellular - Creates an organic pattern of moving cells,with control over the color, size and speed.
  • Checkerboard - Creates a checkerboard, with control over the size, colors and shapes
  • Clouds - Creates an animated cloud formation, with control over the color, size, and speed.
  • Color Solid - Creates an object with a solid color fill.
  • Concentric Polka Dots - Draws concentric circles of polka dots and other shapes.
  • Concentric Shapes - Draws concentric circles of alternating colors.
  • File - Creates a text object using text from a file, displaying one line at a time.
  • Gradient - Creates a multi-color gradient.
  • Grid - Creates a grid pattern of horizontal and vertical lines.
  • Japanese Pattern - Draws a variety of Japaneses-inspired graphical patterns.
  • Lens Flare - Creates a lens flare.
  • Manga Lines - Draws lines in a cartoon style.
  • Membrane - Creates an animated pattern of curved lines, with control over the speed and color.
  • Noise - Creates a random-colored noise pattern.
  • Numbers - Creates a text object displaying sequential or random numbers.
  • One Color Ray - Create a pattern of rays that emanate from a point, using variations of a single color.
  • Op Art 1 - Create a pattern of wavy vertical lines.
  • Op Art 2 - Create a pattern of dots with control over size, spacing and background.
  • Op Art 3 - Creates a pattern of wavy lines that can be distorted and skewed.
  • Overlapping Circles - Creates a pattern of interlocking circles.
  • Radial Bars - Generates solid bars radiating from a central point.
  • Soft Gradient - Creates a soft circular gradient from a single color to transparent.
  • Spiral Drawing - Creates curving line drawings like a child's toy.
  • Spirals - Draws a spiral pattern.
  • Star - Creates a 4-point star-shaped object, with glow around the center.
  • Stripes - Creates alternating vertical stripes, with control over the size and colors.
  • Sunburst - Generates graphic sun, star, and badge patterns.
  • Time Date - Creates a text object displaying a time and/or date.
  • Timecode - Creates a text object displaying timecode or frame number
  • Truchet Tiles - Draws a series of titles in random orientation.
  • Two Color Ray - Creates a pattern of rays that emanate from a center point, using two alternating colors.

Try This: Create a Blue Cloud Generator

The cloud generator is a good way to add a cloud background to your project. Try this simple exercise:

Create a new Final Cut Title and add a blue sky background:

  • Create a new document (Command - N) and select the "Final Cut Title" in the Project Browser. Keep all the default settings and click the Open button.
  • Select the Generators category in the Library Panel
  • Click on Clouds and drag it to the Layers Panel
  • Click on Inspector
  • The Generator tab should be selected.
  • Click on the arrow next to the Gradient and the Gradient area should expand,
  • Double Click on the Block box and in the color pop up window select the Pencils group
  • Select Aqua. You should see the viewer have more of a cloud look. Close the color dialog box.
  • Play the video and see how the effect looks.


PyTest Install

PyTest Install Icon

The popular pytest framework makes it easy to write small tests, yet scales to support complex functional testing for applications and libraries.

Python is a good language to learn. According to the TIOBE and PYPL index, Python is the top programing language with C and Java closely behind.

If your application is Python base, QA Engineers may find that writing automation in Python may lead to a better understanding of the code logic - which in turn will result into better testing.

If your installing PyTest on your local MacBook Pro at work, you may run into issues with permissions. The local IT department may have your computer locked down and some of the installs will require Administrator permissions.

Here are the install instructions if you have limited rights.

PyTest User Install

Use Python3 -m pip to install PyTest and Selenium:

python3 -m pip install pytest --user

python3 -m pip install selenium --user

Sample Test File

Here's a simple code sample to validate the install worked:

#!/usr/bin/env /usr/bin/python3
# Verify the Pytest was installed
import pytest
from selenium import webdriver
import sys
import requests
from import Service
from import By
from import ChromeDriverManager
from time import sleep
def test_google():
	global chrome_driver
	chrome_driver = webdriver.Chrome(service=Service(ChromeDriverManager().install()))    
	title = "Google"
	assert title == chrome_driver.title
	pageSource = chrome_driver.page_source
	gateway = "Carbon neutral since 2007"
	if not gateway in pageSource: "Google Changed their Webpage")

Save this file on your computer, I would recommend saving it in ~/pytest/

Execute Test

To execute this test, open up Terminal:

cd ~/pytest/
pytest --no-header -v



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