cryan.com blog

Welcome to the cryan.com blog main page.

Boston

Mather Tomb

Oct 31, 2019

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

Continue reading
Mather Tomb
Internet

ShortPixel

Sept 22, 2018

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

Continue reading
Short Pixel Feature

Hot off the Press... back in April of 2020

Zakim Bridge

Boston's Skyline changed when the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge open in 2002. The cable-stayed bridge provides a way for Route 93 traffic to get in and out of Boston crossing the Charles River.

The 16-Lane bridge is lit up usually in special colors to commemorate various charities.

The bridge is 1,430 feet long and 270 feet in height. There is no pedestrian walkway on the bridge. It is the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world.

Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge

Fun Facts about the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge

  • The Zakim Bridge was part of Boston's Big Dig. The old bridge was the Charlestown High Bridge.
  • Bridge is named after Leonard P. Zakim who was a Boston Civil Rights leader. The naming rights were disputed by locals in Charlestown as they felt the bridge should be named the "Freedom Bridge" - some locals still call it as that name.
  • Construction of the bridge lasted 5-years.
  • Official naming was done in a ceremony on October 2, 2002 - it was done before cars could use the bridge. (Bruce Springsteen was one of the celebrity guests)
  • Opening: The northbound lanes were open in March 30, 2003 and the southbound lanes were opened in December 2003.
  • Elephant: On October 15, 2002, Fourteen Elephants from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus walked across the bridge. It's estimated that they put 12,00 pounds of weight on the span.
  • Lighting Cost: It cost $5,000 a month to light the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. (2009 Figures)
  • Stolen Beacon Light - In 2015 a homeless man, Clifford Beckford, had twice stolen the red beacon off the top of the Zakim bridge. This is no small feat as he had to break in the tower and take the beacon which is 18-inches in diameter and measures 3-feet tall.
  • Zayn Malik Bridge? - In 2015, Zayn Malik was the first band member to leave One Direction. Some fans wanted Boston to rename the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge to the Leonard P. Zayne Malik Bridge. They started a change.org petition to get people to support the change. Only 50-people supported the change.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Yankee Magazine

With all the uncertainty of the post COVID-19 world, one thing is certain - New Englanders won't be traveling outside of New England as much as they used to - at least not in the short run.

Chances whatever summer 2020 vacation plans you have - it's going to be local.

Think You Know New England?

Check out the Yankee Magazine's "Best of New England" Summer Travel guide. This is a good guide to the best of the best of New England.

Yankee Sail Away
https://reader.mediawiremobile.com/YankeeMagazine/issues/205981/viewer

In the changing times, Yankee Magazine is making the guide 100% free! No Paywall or signup needed! Simply click on the graphic to read the latest issue.

Things to Checkout

Here are some of the features:

  • 25 Inspired Ways to See New England from the Water
  • The Hall of Fame collection of the "Best of New England"
  • Check out Designer Mally Skok's Colorful Massachusetts Home.
  • Lots of great ads for local business around New England - its like browsing around a gift shop in Salem or Cape Cod.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

xCode Training

This week I am dedicating time into learning all about iOS 13 & Swift 5 using Xcode. Currently, I am using the Storyboard Interface and at some point in the training it will move to the new SwiftUI interface.

Udemy Training

I am taking the iOS 13 & Swift 5 training on Udemy. Dr. Angela Yu does a great job of explaining how to use XCode and her teaching styles help you learn a lot in a short time.

The course is good because there's a lot of workshops and real-life examples where you can play around and learn a bit more.

There are 58.5 hours of videos with 573 lectures - I think it may take a bit longer than a week to go through it.

Training Goals

I don't have any specific goals with this training. I just want to learn about the capabilities of creating apps on the iPhone. I am taking a lot of notes and enjoying learning all the challenges creating an App on the iPhone.

Code Snippets

When I find a really useful code, I am storing them in Google Sheets and tagging them as Swift. This will make it easy to find code snippets in the future.

A to Z Blog Challenge Note

The letter "X" is a really hard blog topic to find. Honestly, there are not that many words that start with an X. Let alone words in the Productivity category.

  Filed under the Productivity category. - Permalink

Why QA

Having a dedicated QA team is about as essential as having an editor for a newspaper or book publisher. QA will find things that developers will miss.

In these "trouble times" some companies may look to cut QA resources to save some money.

Joe- Binden- Likes- Q A
Joe Biden Parody

Four Reasons to Keep QA

  1. Second Set of Eyes on the changes - A QA Engineer can spot check the changes before it goes live, from checking to make sure that there's no risk to database locks to double-checking the critical path is working fine. QA can mitigate the impact of product changes.
  2. Domain Experience - A good QA team knows the product and can test changes based on how different customers may use the product. There might be different ways customers can interact with the feature and the best team to test it would be QA. In addition, during the off-time, QA should be doing research on industry changes and can use that knowledge to help better test product changes.
  3. Documentation Overview - Hard to believe but in QA, It's not always about bugs. QA can review help and tips to see if the terminology makes sense. Documentation may make sense in the design phase, but when going through a flow, QA can catch some ways it breaks the flow.
  4. Different Environment testing - QA can test the feature against different environments - such as different browsers or platforms. In addition, QA may want to test features against different locations to see if language or currency changes may break design or functionality.

A good manual QA team is just part of the winning team to delivering an awesome product.

I remember hearing at the Boston's Software Test Professionals Conference - "QA Testing is the little known Secret Ingredient to Start Ups."

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Zoom Background

Zoom is all the rage right now. Just about anyone that is working from home - on a temporary bases - is communicating with Zoom or with Ring Central Meeting.

One of the cool features of Zoom is the ability to add a custom background. The background are useful when you have a boring office space, or if your background is not all that exciting.

With virtual background images, you can brighten up the conversation.

Zoom Background Collections

Here are some of the popular Zoom backgrounds that I have been using. To use these, you'll have to save them to your desktop and then let Zoom know about that image.

In the left menu bar, click on the Virtual Background tab (if you don't see this tab, log in to the Zoom website, go to Settings and toggle on Virtual Background). In the Virtual Background tab, select one of Zoom's defaults or upload your own image

The Office Zoom
The Most Popular Zoom Background - The Office.

The White House
White House Briefing Room

The Simpsons Zoom
The Simpsons Couch

Boston Office Zoom
Empty Boston Office - Dark Background

  Filed under the Wallpaper category. - Permalink

visme.co

There a lot of websites that are provide online desktop publishing made easy. Visme.co is another company to check out.

They offer Presentations, Infographics, Documents, Printable, Web Graphics, Social Graphics, and more. Perfect for anyone with a Blog that is looking to add content and promote it.

Many of the designs are free, but if you want more power you can sign up for the Individual standard plan for $14/month billed annually.

Website Description

Visme is an all-in-one content creation tool empowering individuals and organizations to quickly create and share beautiful content they can be proud of in the form of engaging presentations, infographics, documents, videos, and graphics ' with little to no design skills.

Made for non-designers but still powerful enough for graphic designers, Visme combines simplicity, flexibility, and interactive features within a single platform, giving users everything they need within an easy-to-use online interface.

Visme
https://my.visme.co/

One of the things I like about Visme.co is that you can use animation in your graphics, and they have a large collection.

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Unarchiver

If you have any ZIP, Tar or Stuffit archives in your collection. The best application to uncompress these is the Unarchiver by MacPaw Inc.

Product Description

The Unarchiver is the only app you need to open RAR on Mac. It's times more powerful than the native macOS utility and supports infinitely more archive formats.

The Unarchiver aims to be the only unarchiving program you will ever need and to stay out of your way.

Four Great Reasons to Use Unarchiver

  1. Its there when you need it. You don't need to remember the name or where the application is. Simply double click on an archive collection, and Unarchiver goes to work. Install it once and let it work it's magic
  2. It works fast. In my test the application works way faster than Archive Utility (Apple's unarchive application.)
  3. Supports a lot of different Archive formats, Zip, Rar, 7-Zip, Lha, Zipx, Stuffit, Binhex, MacBinary, AppleSingle, GZip, GZip Tar, Bzip2, X2, Tar, ISO, CDI, NRG, MDF, GNU Tar, Unix Compress, Unix Tar and so much more..
  4. It's free and is updated frequently.

Useful Tip

In the Application Preferences Extraction, set the "Extract archives to:" to the Desktop. That way when you extract content from flash drives and CDs you don't get prompt that there isn't enough disk space or the space is write-protected. It's a simple step now that will save you trouble later.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Ted William Red Chair

One of the landmarks within Fenway Park is the lone red seat in the bleachers. The seat really stands out from all the green seats.

This seat marks the spot where on June 9, 1946, Ted Williams hit the longest home run in Fenway Park.

Ted Williams Red Chair
Ted William's Famous Chair at Fenway Park

Fun Facts about the Seat

Ted Williams hit the ball in the first inning of a double header against Fred Hutchinson of the Detroit Tigers.

The red seat is 502-feet from Homeplate. (When the event happened local newspapers reported it as 450-feet but was remeasured for the correct distance.)

Joseph A. Boucher was sitting in the 33rd row of the Bleachers with his straw hat. The ball hit his head and made a mark in his hat.

Officially the seat is located at Sec. 42, Row 37, Seat 21. In 1945 the seat was actually a bench.

He didn't get the ball as it bounced several rows behind him.

According to interviews after the event Joseph said that no one was standing up because the sun was blinding their sight.

Joseph A. Boucher donated the straw hat to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. (I wasn't able to find any information that it is still there.)

Over the years, the bench was replaced by seats and in 1984 the Red Sox owners changed the seat to red to commemorate Ted Williams hit.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Sturbridge Village

About 56 miles west of Boston is Old Sturbridge Village, a re-creation of a typical New England village of the early 1800s. Old Sturbridge Village is a way to look back on how life was in New England between the years 1790 and 1840.

The largest outdoor history museum in the Northeast - a great place for the whole family to learn about history.

Sturbridge Village

Fun Facts About Old Sturbridge Village

Open to guests on June 8, 1946.

The whole concept was created by Albert B. Wells. He didn't see It open as he had a heart attack and moved to California.

Today there are 40 antique buildings spread out over 200 acres. Among the buildings are homes, shops, a meeting house and schoolhouse.

The graveyard is not a real one, but the gravestones were real. They are old gravestones from other cemeteries that are donated to Old Sturbridge Village. Many of these gravestones were being replaced at the original location. In some instances, the bodies that were buried at the original gravesite were missing.

The Vermont Covered Bridge is a great place to take pictures in the fall. This is one of 12 covered bridges that are still in use in Massachusetts.

Near the Freeman Farmhouse are some apple trees, another great family pictures spot. This is great any time of the year.

You can buy iron goods made at the Blacksmith in the general store. Supplies are limited. All nails that are used in the Village come from the Blacksmith. When you visit the Blacksmith shop, you can ask for some old nails - if they have enough stock they may give you one!

Sunday Brunch at the Village is a great place to stop by for Brunch. We have enjoyed going here for a nice quiet classic New England meal. The food is great and if it's a nice day, going through the Village afterward is a fun way to spend the day with family.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

Red Hot Timer

Having a timer is one way to keep the focus on what needs to be done. It's a way to stay on track and get things done.

You can buy a timer to put at your desk so that you can see how much time is left. The good thing is that the timer isn't using any computer resources. In addition, it's good if you want to track time away from the computer.

On the iPhone, Apple's Clock has a good timer. Otherwise, any good 50 Minute Visual Timer would be good to have next to your home desk.

Red Hot Timer

On the Mac, the Red Hot Timer app is a fast and easy way to set up a timer. You can set the timer from the system menu bar and it will show you the most active time.

Red Hot Timer Blog
Screenshots of the Red Hot Timer App

Five Things I like About the Timer

  • In the preferences panel you can set up a predefined time for whatever purposes, and that will appear in the drop-down menu in the menu bar. So you can set up how long it takes to do a computer build, and set the timer and then check it when the time expires.
  • You can run multiple timers. The timer that is about to expire first is the one that appears in the menu bar.
  • There is a count down and a count-up mode. The count up is useful when you're tracking the amount of time before the release.
  • You get 6 timers for "free" to try the application, in the purchase panel there's an offer to try it for a month. If you find it useful you can buy a yearly subscription for $2.99.
  • There are several options on what happens when the timer ends. If the computer is on mute, the Timer application will become the front most active application.

  Filed under the Productivity category. - Permalink

QA Interview Questions

Due to the world-wide slowdown, some QA Engineers are now looking for new jobs. Being prepared for a job interview can really help make or break your chances of working with the company.

Over the years, I have collected a lot of useful interview questions. Here are a few that I keep seeing over and over, they may appear in different forms.

Sample QA Interview Questions

Sample Interview Questions that you may get asked:

Tell me about yourself.

This is an open-ended questioned. This is your chance to sell them on who you are and what value you bring to the position.

What is your experience working with Engineering?

Another open-ended question to see how you communicate with other teams.

Describe the type of QA testing have you done.

Don't just throw out terms, like Regression and Automation. Explain what you did in these environments. Come with specific examples of where your actions made a difference or talk about which testing that you enjoy working with.

What are some examples of pushing back when testing a ticket/issue?

Give an example of where you challenged a developer over an issue that you found. Explain why you felt it was an issue and what you did to push the issue forward. Don't make up a story, as you may be asked the same question by different people that are involved in the interview process.

When you audit other QA engineers work, what type of things are you looking for?

If you don't do any code reviews, talk about your team communications. Don't forget your stand-ups, team meetings, and Slack chats. Explain how you're an active participant to the QA team.

Can you give an example of how you handled testing a functionality when there were no specs.

This question is a test of your ticket ownership and how you manage issues. Talk about specific examples where testing an issue didn't go as planned - at least for the developer.

What do you do on a day to day basis?

Another open-ended question. This is usually asked to see what involvement you have with the team. If your applying for a leadership position, make sure to mention the various managerial tasks. If your applying for a technical position, make sure to talk about doing technical research and other tasks.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Massachusetts Schools

Tomorrow Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker may announce the status of the Public Schools during the Corrona Crisis. School in Massachusetts have been closed since March 13th - some even earlier than that.

Many School districts have worked hard to get distance learning up and running. It has been a challenge for students, teachers, and parents. Some cases it has worked, and in others, it has been challenging.

Some school districts were slow to implement distance learning, for example, Framingham schools students distance learning programs were delayed for 2-weeks.

Empty School Corridor
Massachusetts School Halls may stay empty until August 2020.

Decision Time

Currently 31 states and Washington D.C. has recommended that schools be closed for the rest of the school year.

Charlie Baker has commented publicly that he doesn't want to cancel school for the rest of the year. He has said that closing schools will make things more complicated.

Decision on the Massachusetts schools will come this week.

Baker Sending Out Hints?

Reading between the lines, it's pretty certain that kids aren't going back in May. Charlie Baker on April 17, 2020, :

'If you could wave a magic wand, which we can't, I believe that the vast majority of school systems and school district leaders would like to see the kids back at some point before the end of the year,' Baker

Other Events To Watch

These are other events that I am watching to see if they are impacted by the COVID-19:

  • 2020 Republican National Convention (Scheduled for August 24-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • 2020 Democratic National Convention (Moved to August 17-20 in Milwaukee)
  • Fourth of July in Boston
  • Start of the Major League Baseball Season
  • Opening of Disneyland and Disney World

  Filed under the Website category. - Permalink

Personal Daily Planner

With a lot of people working from home, it can be difficult to plan out your day. One way to help is a daily planner and the On Planners is a great resource to start.

Pick out a Daily Planner that works for you and every morning fill out the schedule what people have going on. This way everyone knows when to be quiet during meetings. In addition, you'll know when Internet bandwidth might be busy - so people can stop Netflix watching.

There's a lot of good planners on OnPlanners and there's certainly a good planner for your needs.

Website Description

For those who love handwriting and prefer analog tools over digital devices, we suggest that you try to start planning your life, work and time using simple daily planners and daily agendas. However, often it's not that easy to find the planner that totally meets your needs and helps you achieve your goals easily. It's not necessary to look for a planner even though you want to plan your day with pen and paper.

Because there is a better solution: printable planner templates. Here you can find more than 10 printable daily planners. All available in PDF. Sorry, no template excel here. Because we believe in the power of handwriting.

Planner templates work well for tracking your everyday meetings, events and reminders about the important dates, upcoming holidays and birthdays.

onplanners
https://onplanners.com/daily-planner-templates-printable

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Open Search via LaunchBar

LaunchBar Makes it easy to search 48 different sites. You simply involke the keyboard shortcut and then type the search engine that you want. It’s quick and easy way to perform searches between different search engines.

Sample Search

Here's a quick overview of using LaunchBar to do a search. I use Google Image in this example because it's a fast way to go to Google Image section.

Launch Bar Show Keyboard

Available Search Sites in LaunchBar

Abbreviation Search, Amazon Deutschland, Apple Developer Connection, Ask.com, Bing, Bing Images, Cocoa Mailing List Archive, Connect to Local AFP Server, Convert EUR to USD, Convert USD to EUR, DuckDuckGo, ebay, Excite, Go to, Google Blog Search, Google Exact Phrase, Google Face Search, Google Groups, Google Images, Google Japan, Google Maps, Google Videos, Internet Movie Database, last.fm, LEO English-German Dictionary, Linguee, Lucky Google, Mac OS X HInts, MacUpdate, Make TinyURL, Manual Page, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, OpenThesaurus, PHP Documentation, Search Amazon for Books, Search Amazon for DVDs, Search Amazon for Music, Search Amazon.com, Search iTunes Store, Search iTunes Store for Album, Search iTunes Store for Artist, Search iTunes Store for Composer, Search iTunes Store for Song, Technorati Search, Wolfram Alpha, Xcode Mailing List Archive, Yahoo!, Yahoo! Images, Yahoo! Japan, Yahoo! Stock Quote, Yahoo! Video, YouTube

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Nurses Monument

On the big hill, known as Flag Staff Hill, on the Boston Common is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. It’s there to remember Massachusetts soldiers who died in the Civil War.

Near the monument is a special memorial to the Nurses of the Armed Services.

Nurse Memorial

Three Fun Facts of the Memorial

Memorial was installed on November 11, 1959 - the 41st anniversary of the end of World War One.

The monument was placed 82 years after the larger Soldiers and Sailors monument (it was dedicated on September 17, 1877)

American Legion #296 is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana

More Information to Be Discovered

There isn’t much online about this monument. I wasn’t able to find out anything about the boulder that the sign is hanging on or how the monument came to be.

I'll do some additional research at the Boston Public Library once it reopens and then update this blog post.

Sign on the Boulder

In Memory of the Nurses of the Armed Services

Massachusetts All Nurses

Post #296

American Legion

11 Nov. 1959

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

Just off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts lies a large Island. This is the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge - or as the locals call it Monomoy Island. This is a safe ground for New England wildlife.

This is federally protected land. (This post is general information about the island. Detail breaks information will be done in another post this summer.)

Monomoy Island

Six Fun Facts About Monomoy Island

The Wildlife Refuge was established in 1944 and became a federal Wildlife Refuge in 1970.

This is a 7,600-acre (8-mile long) refuge which provides a resting, nesting, and feed grounds for migratory sea birds.

The beaches along the Chatham shore has the highest concentration of nesting piping plover in New England.

There are five species are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA): the piping plover, roseate tern, red knot, northeastern beach tiger beetle, and seabeach amaranth.

The island used to have lots of dune shacks. When the government took over the island in 1944, the US Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife took over all the land by eminent domain. However, they let the current landowners keep their land as long as the original owner lived and the structure was held up against the tides and storms. The last living person to legally own space died in September 2000. When the structure was taken down it marked the first time in 300 years that the island was free of human building.

The only remaining structure is the Monomoy Point Light which is located on the further point south on the island. It is on the National Historic Register. In 2016 it went under major repair to restore the lighthouse. Chatham Coast Guard helicopters were used to bring in lumber and supplies to help restore the lighthouse.

Visiting the Island?

The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge has a printable map of all the public accessable trials on Monomy Island.

There's also a handy bird guide to find out when your favorite feather friend visits the island.

Boats to Monomoy

The only way to get on the island is by boat. You can take the Monomy Island Excursion to tour the island and see the seals - you don't get off to explore the island. The boats leave from Harwich.

The Monomoy Island Ferry is one of the oldest tour boats of Monomoy. You can get pretty close to seals and perhaps some whales. They do offer private charter tours of Monomoy where you can walk part of the island. The boat departs from Sage Harbor in Chatham - right next to Monomoy.

Go this Summer

Visiting Monomoy Island is a unique way to see Cape Cod and it worth the visit to get close to nature and enjoy some fresh salt air.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

Lean PDCA

In Lean Methodology, the key point is the Plan, Do, Check, Act - or PDCA Chart. The methodology can be used continually to improve processes.

This will probably be the model that Governments will be using to decide on how to "open up the economy" in the CoronaVirus

PDCA Chart

What this all means

Plan

Figure out the objectives and steps to deliver the best results. Try to recognize an opportunity and plan a change to produce a positive result.

Do

Not only should you take action on the plan, but test a part of the change. Take small steps and add some tracking so the changes can be measured. You want to make sure that the change has a positive effect.

Check

Gather the data from the "Do" stage and evaluate the results. Check to see if it producing the expected results and by all means identify what you have learned.

Act

Take additional action based on what you lean in the Check stage. If necessary, make changes to the action to improve to make to match the desired results.

  Filed under the Productivity category. - Permalink

Kanban Board for QA

This is a sample of a QA Kanban Board that was done a few years ago. Some of the project names were changed to keep it simple.

QA Kanban Example 2020

Key Points

This team uses Kanban for project management because its easier to focus on tasks rather than the deadline.

It's good idea to use this type of tracking so that people will know what needs to be done and if things are are being worked on.

In this project example, there was a single dedicated QA resource for automation. His job was to make sure that Automation was always up and running. In other teams I have worked on, they would have a separate Kanban board for automation tasks. Usually the availability of time for enhancements is scarce.

Documentation is important - This is something that QA should be doing all the time. QA should always be on the front line of creating and updating the documents. This makes it easy for team members to take over projects when QA resources are on vacation or furlough.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

A-Z Challenge - 2020

It's been a crazy few weeks in the United States, and I completely forgot about the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. That event didn't get canceled.

Yes, the A-Z Challenge is on! Well as much as I can do. I started late, and I didn't plan as well as I have done in the past. In addition, I didn't sign up for the challenge in the Official Master List. So technically I am not in the challenge.

However, I am still game as I have been for the last four years: Check out the previous A-Z Challenge Posts.

1badge

A-Z Challenge Goals

Here are my top 4 goals for the April A-Z Challenge:

  • Focus on more challenging topics. Come up with interesting things that would be fun to find out that I wouldn't have normally researched.
  • Be creative with the Blog Post graphics. Come up with good graphics other people might want to use.
  • Stay focus on the goal even though no one else knows about them. I'll be sure to let the folks at A-Z Challenge know early next year about being part of the challenge.
  • Stick with it, even though I started late, keep the momentum going.

Good News

Even though I had a late start, I notice that many people that signed up have completely bailed out on the challenges. I looked through several sights listed on the Official Master List and notice that many have given up only after a couple of days in.

I am confident that I'll finish the challenge strong.

  Filed under the A-Z Challenge category. - Permalink

Inspirobot.me

In these crazy time we need a little inspiration. InspiroBot is a good way to get some inspiration.

Some of the inspiration is a bit weird, for example, I got one that simply says, "Cut Your Hair." But a few clicks on the 'Generate' button shows some interesting thoughts. You get a quote on a graphic that can easily be shared on your favorite social network.

Worst case, you can use this as a Facebook post to lighten up the mood.

About the InspiroBot

I am an artificial intelligence dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for endless enrichment of pointless human existence.

Inspiro Bot
https://inspirobot.me/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Image Borders in Affinity Photo

Here's a quick way to add an image border to any image in Affinity Photo. This is a useful step to remember. Once you do it a couple of times, it becomes second nature.

Affinity Photo Canvas

The Background Layer

First create a new Background Layer, this will be where the image border color will go:

  • Type in Command - shift - N (Create a new Layer)
  • Type in Command - [ (This will moved that command to the background layer)

Try it:

  • Command shift N
  • Command [

This is a useful shortcut combo to remember for various tasks.

Now Let's resize the Canvas.

  1. Type in Command - Option - C ( This opens the Canvas Setup Dialog)
  2. Type in a percent, such as 105% for a 5% border.
  3. Type the Tab key and Click the space bar if the lock isn't connected. (This makes sure that the percent is the same for the hight.)
  4. In the Anchor section make sure that the large white box is in the middle. This ensures an equal distribution of the resizing.

Now you have the ability to do anything you want with the main image.

  1. Use the "Knock on Wood" Styles to add a Wood Background
  2. Use simple solid color backgrounds
  3. Use Layer Effects to add an Outer Shadow or Outer Glow for a nice drop shadow effect.

Adobe Tip and Trick

Adobe has a cool graphic on their help site. Many of these can easily be applied in Affinity Photo.

add-border-frame-around-photo-07

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Historic John Endecott's Painting and Chair

The Massachusetts Statehouse is a historical building and contains a lot of priceless artifacts that make it a fun place to visit.

One of the unique displays is the John Endecott Painting and Chair. It's located next to the Senate Chamber entrance in an area called the State House gallery of governors.

Eddicott Chair Painting

Five Fun Facts

The painting has been in the State House for more than 100 years. It was painted by an unknown artist around 1665 - just before John Endecott died.

The painting was hung behind the sitting governor desk for many years. It was moved in the early 1950s when rumors spread about John Endicott involvement with the Salem Witch Trials.

The Oak chair is covered with leather and belongs to the former Governor. He was Massachusett's first governor serving from 1629. (Yes, the chair is at least 391 years old)

On the back of the chair, which you can't easily see, is a silver plate.

This chair is one of the earliest known upholstered chairs made in New England.

Related Blog Posts

Blog Post about the John Endicott Resident Plaque - Posted on January 18, 2018

Blog Post about the Endicott Statue - Posted on April 5, 2018

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Gillette Stadium

Gillette Stadium is home of the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution. Every Summer it hosts many top performers concerts.

The stadium is located on Route 1 in Foxboro, Massachusetts - 29-miles from downtown Boston.

Gillette Stadium 2012

Six Things I Learned About Gillette Stadium

  • The stadium first opened on May 11, 2002 at a cost of $325 million. It replaced Foxboro Stadium which stood next door from 1971 to 2001.
  • The stadium holds 65,878 football fans and 20,000 soccer fans. The largest attendance record for a concert was set by Luke Bryan in 2014 when 60,000 fans attended his concern.
  • The Jumbotron in the stadium is the largest HDTV video screen in the NFL.
  • Gillette likes to promote that they have twice as many parking spaces in Gillette's parking lot as there are parking meters in Boston. Currently there are 6,955 parking meters in Boston, which means that there are 13,000 parking spaces around Gillette Stadium.
  • The lighthouse in the North End Zone is a signature staple of the stadium. It rises 10 stores about the field. It is somewhat hidden from the outside by the height of the 16-story stadium.
  • The grass surface was natural grass until 2006 when it was replaced with FieldTurf.
  • The New England Patriots have sold out every game since December 26, 1993.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

Focus on Productivity

The CoronaVirus has caused a lot of people to work from home to be safe and flatten the curve. They are now working with their families. The whole, "Working from Home" is a bit more complicated now.

It's hard to stay focus while there are so many distractions. In addition, you can't just escape to the local coffee shop to "getaway."

Bryann Andrea has the right idea:

Productivity Corona Virus

Tips and Tricks

Here are four ways to help focus on your productivity.

  Filed under the Productivity category. - Permalink

Excellent MEME Images

It's been a while since I added some new QA Meme images into the QA Graphic Library.

Here are various MEME graphics that I have been using in the past couple of months.

What About QA
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/WhatAboutQA.jpg

Skip QA Bugs
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/SkipQABugs.jpg

Kermit Code Freeze
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/KermitCodeFreeze.jpg

Dont Forget QA Note
http://www.cryan.com/qa/graphics/DontForgetQANote.jpg

Visit the QA Graphic Library to see all.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Home Mortgage Refinancing for Veterans

During a somewhat uncertain time, we are all looking to make careful choices to protect our families and our health. Many of us are also carefully reviewing our budgets to cut excess expenses to keep our financial health in shape. If you are a veteran considering whether to refinance your home mortgage, take a look at the resources below to help guide this choice.

Home Mortgage Refinancing

7 Steps to Refinancing Your Home Mortgage
How do you best manage a successful mortgage refinancing campaign? Make these key steps the cornerstones of your refinancing plan.

Find the Best Mortgage Lenders and Refinancing Companies
Do your research to learn more about different types of loans, eligibility requirements and what you should look for when searching for the right mortgage lender for your needs.

Home Appraisals: Home Appraiser, Property Value & Tips
You should know a little about the process and how it works, both to decide if a home appraisal is in your best interest and to take any possible steps to influence the final appraisal number.

How to Improve Your Credit Score
Key takeaways include: Pay your bills on time, pay down your credit card balances to keep your credit utilization ratio low, and don't close old credit card accounts or apply for too many new ones.

Mortgage Assistance Programs for Veterans
There are several government-backed options that make the home-buying process more accessible to active and former military service members.-

What is a VA Loan?
Available to eligible veterans with key advantages such as: No down payment or mortgage insurance required and no pre-payment penalty for paying off a loan early.

VA Home Loans: A Guide For America's Veterans
The ins and outs of VA loans explained.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan
Refinancing lets you replace your current loan with a new one under different terms. Find out if you're eligible'and how to apply.

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

US Debt Clock

The United States debt problem is a well known problem. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is sure to add to the National Dept.

The USDebtClock.org is a great site to see how much the US debt is growing. The page may look overwhelming because there's a lot going on, but it's a good way to get an understanding of the impact the debt has on every American.

Website Description

The Purpose of US Debt Clock.org is to inform the public of the financial condition of the United States of America. We are dedicated to bringing to the public the most accurate up-to-date debt information possible. The numbers are laid out in such a way to give a complete real-time snapshot of the country's balance sheet. Although the numbers involved are enormous, it is still easy to see the relative balance between wealth generated and wealth consumed.

All the debt clocks on the site are updated continuously to the most precise calculations, using complex formulas and exacting standards, and the values displayed arc verified from the best sources available.

U S Debt Clock
https://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html

The page has lots of useful data:

  • A "time machine" to see what the debt looked like this year in history.
  • Check the debt for individual states.
  • The latest Official Unemployed and Actual Unemployed.

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Unlock your Mac using the Apple Watch

Did you know that you can unlock your Macintosh computer with your Apple Watch?

This is a very cool feature of the Apple Watch because when you wake up the computer, it will check your watch for authentication and pretty much "instant on" your computer

Unlock Apple Watch Graphic

How to Enable

Simple steps to enable the Apple Watch:

  • Go to System Preference under the Apple Menu.
  • Select the Security & Privacy option (Its the Home icon with a Safe dial on the front.)
  • Go to the General Tab
  • Check the box, "Use you Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac"

Three Things I Learned

This is great, now you don't have to remember your password - especially useful after a long vacation.

Your Apple watch has to be connected to your account that you're using on your Mac. Note: Look at the System Preferences default screen to make sure you're using the right account that is sync to your Apple Watch.

Using the Watch is a secure way to unlock your computer because it will only work if you unlock your Watch - so if you leave your watch next to the computer it won't unlock your computer. You would have to put it on, enter in the password for the watch and then it will be enabled for your computer until you take it off your wrist.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Boston's Haffenreffer Walk

Every paved path in the Boston Public Garden has a name. One of the most traveled paths is the Haffenreffer Walk.

Boston Gardens Haffenreffer Walk

Haffenreffer Walk is a straight route from the Boston Commons to the Commonwealth Mall. It cuts the Boston Public Gardens in half.

There are three main things to see on Haffenreffer Walk:

  • George Washington - equestrian statue [Installed in 1869].
  • Foot Bridge [Created in 1867] - once the world's shortest suspension bridge.
  • 'Seasonal flowers - The flowers are constantly changing to reflect the changing season. In the spring you'll see pretty tulips and in the summer you'll see palm trees.

Fun Facts about Haffenreffer Walk

Named after Theodore Carl Haffenreffer ( l880 - 1956) who was a member of the Board of Park Commissioners from 1930 - 1956. He served when major changes were being made that have been the foundation of what you see in the Garden today.

He was born on December 13, 1880, and died on

He served in World War 2.

He lived in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Along with his brother Rudolf Haffenreffer, they took over the Haffenreffer Brewery from their father. The brewery produced a lot of popular brews such as "The Green Monster" and "Haffenwrecker".

Theodore Carl Haffenreffer passed away in 1956, at age 76.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Adventure New England

This is the start of a new blog series where I'll be showcasing places that I have visited around New England.

There are some complications in creating today's post, so I won't be able to post the scheduled content and will have to do that next week.

Some places that I'll feature over the next few months.

  • Honeypot Orchards in Vermont
  • Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg Massachusetts
  • Manchester by the Sea Beach
  • North Conway 5 & 10 Store
  • Wychemere Harbor
  • LL Bean Store in Freeport Maine
  • Provenience Town tower

If there's any place that you want to see, let me know and I'll post it.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

About

Welcome to cryan.com's main blog page where you'll find all sorts of interesting blog posts on a variety of topics.

Elsewhere

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook