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back in April of 2022

Zoom Tool

Pixelied is an online image editor that has 95 feature tools, making it easy to touch up images. With these tools, you can quickly touch up images without having to learn photoshop. Pixelied also offers a wide range of photo filters and effects that you can use to enhance your photos.

The Zoom tool is a neat tool to zoom into an image - especially if you want the user to focus on a particular object. The zoom does a good job keeping the quality image without a lot of pixelation.

Zoom in on Images Instantly

Don't want to waste too much time zooming in on your photo? We've got your back! With Pixelied's Zoom slider, you can simply slide back and forth to zoom in or out of your photo.

Now easily slide forth to zoom in as much as you want into your favorite photo, or pull the slider back to zoom out. Fast zoom has never been this straightforward!

Zoom Images
https://pixelied.com/features/image-zoomer

 

Year On A Page

There are several Macintosh applications that make it really easy to create a Year on a Page calendar. These calendars can be used as quick reference tools to help you plan your year.

You can't create Year on a Page printout using Apple Calendar or Google Calendar. The best application that I found to create Year On a Page is Posterino. It's really easy to use and you can produce a simple customize calendar in a matter of seconds.

Posterino

Here are the steps to create a custom Year on A Page:

  • Launch Posterino
  • In the Template Wizard select Calendars and then double click on the "One Year - plain" Template
  • Select whatever Page size you want. 8x10 is a good standard size to use.
  • To make changes to the calendar, mouse over the months and you should see a cog wheel in the top right corner.
  • Noe you can change the start year and month - making it easy to create a calendar whenever you need it. You can even create a layout for the next three months (quarters).
  • Once your done - just print or save it as a PDF.

YOAP- Posterino

Some Notes

You can add references to Apple Calendars in your "Year on a Page Calendar." The only problem is there is no guide, on the page, to what color goes with the calendar.

There are all sorts of additional configurations in the Adjust panel. You can change the color of the Month, have Weekday have longer names, and more. You can even have adjacent days show up on the months too - in a lighter color. There's also a setting to draw the month frame and grid lines.

There are 11 different Calendar templates to select from in Posterino

Posterino cost $19.99 for a single user or $29.99 for the household. Obviously, there's a lot you can do with this application. The Year on a Page functionality is just one way to use the application.

Online Options

There are some online services that are available that you can use. These are free and don't offer the same customization that Posterino does.

TimeandDate - Create your own PDF Printable Calendar. You can create a login so you don't have to type in events every time you create a calendar. Very popular solution and they have good templates.

CalendarLabs - Quick and easy calendars. Just download the PDF and your on your way. There are some customization available.

 

Xavier Font

I was browsing around some old fonts that I had on my Powerbook Laptop. I came across Xavier as it was an interesting font type. I thought it would be good to learn more about this font.

Xavier Regular Font

I pulled out my Boston Computer Society CD and found the original font. The font creation date is August 4, 1992, but I think that's the date the CD was created. Here's the text of the read me file:

Dear User,
Xavier is a very elegant "Blackletter" suitable for body text.  If you are familiar with a wide range of typefaces, you may recognize it as an adaptation of "Pamela".
Special features of this typeface include semi-illustrated caps (use option-shift-letter) which will be more beautiful and evident at point sizes larger than 24 points (okay at the beginning of paragraphs/sections, etc.).  Also, check out the characters used as brackets as well as '<' and '>', the dagger character (option-t), and the double dagger (option-shift-7).  
The artwork of some of the characters in this typeface is so intricate that if you try to print every character on one page, a LaserWriter Plus will overrun the font cache and not print the page.  So use the illustrative characters sparingly (generally a good idea anyway from a graphic art standpoint'subtlety is always best).  I imagine if you have a newer LaserWriter (II or greater) you shouldn't have this problem.  
Down to business:
I would like to maintain some control over my work, therefore this typeface is available only to members of CompuServe.  No other party [the end-user, or company specializing in assembling shareware software on disks for sale, or user group distribution of shaweware] is permitted to distribute this software in any way to any other party.
This software is AS-IS.  The bitmaps are not going to be very good (but they will serve you well for the final layout).
If you make your contribution before November 1, 1992--
The price:	     $10 (you may consider it hurricane relief). 
After November 1, 1992:  $15
Thank you very much.
Francis X. Mahoney, Jr.

The mailing address was removed from the Read Me as I am sure that Francis X. Mahoney, Jr. doesn't live at the address any more.

The hurricane relief that was mentioned can't be for Hurricane Andrew as that landed on August 16 - which was 2 weeks after the creation date. I couldn't find any specific storm in 1991 or 1990 that hit the Louisiana area (where the contribution was to go.)

Intersting that this font isn't available any place online. I uploaded a sample text to What The Font and I didn't get any good suggestions.

There are 152 Glyphs in this collection.

Xavier Glyphs
Sample of some of the Glyphs in the collection.

 

White Balance

When it comes to video, white balance is key. The Canon XA40 has a range of white balance settings to help you get the perfect shot, but knowing which one to use and how to use it can be tricky.

Canon X A40 White Balance

Four Things I Learned

When you're in manual mode, you can assign White Balance Priority to an assignable button, making it easy to switch to that mode when you need it. This is a great way to ensure that your photos always have accurate white balance, no matter what conditions you're shooting in.

In infrared photography, the white balance cannot be adjusted because it is not possible to determine what "white" should be. The colors in an infrared photograph are determined by the wavelength of light that is being captured, so there is no way to adjust the white balance and make everything look "normal." This limitation can be surprising for some people who are used to adjusting the white balance in order to get accurate colors in their photographs.

The Canon xa40's Custom White Balance feature can provide better results than the automatic mode in changing lighting conditions, close-ups, and certain fluorescent lights. This means that it's really worth knowing how to use this feature.

To use the custom white balance, Point the camcorder at a gray card or white object so that it fills the frame at the center of the screen, and then select the white balance icon on the screen. When the icon stops flashing the camera white balance has been set.

General Tips

Here are some general tips for getting the most out of your XA40's white balance:

1) Auto White Balance (AWB) is great for everyday shooting. It automatically adjusts colors so that they look natural, regardless of the lighting conditions. AWB works best in medium or bright light; in low light situations, results may be inconsistent.

2) If you're shooting in low light or under artificial lighting, try using one of the preset white balances instead of AWB. Tungsten gives a warm tone that's great for indoor shots lit by tungsten bulbs; Daylight produces a cooler tone that's better suited for outdoor shots or shots taken under fluorescent lights, and Cloudy creates a softer look that's good for scenes with mixed lighting sources.

3) You can also fine-tune the color temperature manually if none of the presets fit your needs perfectly. This option is available on all three preset modes as well as AWB mode. To do this, use either the touchscreen or joystick on your camera to adjust the color temperature until it looks right to you. Keep in mind that adjusting too far from neutral can produce unwanted results, so always go slowly when making adjustments!

 

Volume Testing

Volume Testing2022

Volume testing is a type of software testing that determines the system's ability to take data in large volumes. This type of testing is often used to test the performance and scalability of systems, as well as their ability to handle peak loads. Volume tests can be conducted on both live and simulated data sets, depending on the needs of the organization.

One key consideration when conducting volume tests is determining how much data to use. Too little data may not accurately reflect real-world conditions, while too much data can overwhelm the system and make it difficult to perform accurate tests. Additionally, testers need to ensure that they are simulating realistic user activity patterns when generating test data.

When volume testing is complete, organizations should have a good idea of how their systems will perform under high traffic loads. This information can help inform decisions about system architecture and capacity planning going forward.

There are a number of tools and techniques you can use for volume testing:

  • Load Testing Tools: These tools help simulate heavy user loads on systems by sending requests at specific intervals and measuring response times.
  • Data Generation Tools: These tools create realistic test data sets that accurately represent actual customer behavior.
  • Transaction Simulation Tools: These tools allow testers to model complex business processes using virtual customers.

 

Unexpected Voicemails

This past week, I received a couple of very unusual voice mails. One was from the Tele-Ministry System and the other was from Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

Tele-Ministry System message

I have no idea how they got my phone number, but they left a message asking me to call them back. I wasn't sure what to make of it, so I decided to do some research online. It turns out that the Tele-Ministry System is a religious organization that uses automated messages to spread their faith. After reading more about them, I decided that I didn't want anything to do with them and deleted the voice mail.

Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes message

Publishers Clearing House (PCH) is a legitimate company that runs sweepstakes and lotteries. However, there are many scams out there that use the PCH name in order to try and trick people into sending them money.

One common scam is when someone calls you claiming to be from PCH and saying that you've won a large prize. They may even tell you to call back on a specific number in order to "claim" your winnings. However, this is not how PCH operates - they will never contact winners directly by phone in order to award them a prize.

If you receive any calls like the one I got, it's important not to give out any personal information or money, and instead report the scammer call back number to authorities.

Voice Messages

Tele-Ministry System Transcript

Full Transcript from Hooper Communications:


Hello this is Tim Hooper from Mobile Alabama for the tele ministry system 
do you want to grow your ministry 
our church system is the only system that can call 1,500 people a day 
40,000 people a month in your own voice to invite to your church 
or to tell about the needs of your ministry 
our sister knows every cell phone number and landline number in the general public 
Pastor, make a message in your own voice and enter in any area code or zip code in our system makes everything all number in 3 seconds 
the person calls can leave a message 
go to your website to make a donation 
you could average 50 plus responses a day from people needing prayer 
people interested in joining your ministry 
people offering to make donations to the ministry 
one telephone call from you to the community could pay for the system in full from their donations
also our system can be used to contact any group of your church and your voice.

Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes Scam

Full Transcript of the scam:


Hello this is a secure phone call from the sweepstakes headquarters at 4800 Signature Dr., Raleigh, NC 
You are a selected winner with Publishers' Clearinghouse Sweepstakes 
and association with Windstar international 
your claim code is 100234 
I repeat 100234 
This represents the grand prize package of 2.5 million 
and the most awesome bonus prize ever 
A brand new 2022 BMW congratulations 
Please call our claim department at 623-264-1613 
Again 623-264-1613 
We will be expecting your call for clearance 
There will be agents available to assist with your delivery schedule thanks for your patience...

 

Buying a House in 2022

We are in the early stages of looking for a new house. This is the first time in nearly 15 years that we are house hunting and things have changed a lot. The market is hot and there are so many choices out there! We want to make sure that we find the right home for our family, so we are taking our time to look around and figure out what's important to us.

One thing that has surprised us is how expensive houses have become. Even though our income has grown since we last bought a home, it seems like prices have skyrocketed! We will need to save up more money if we want to buy something in today's market.

Another big change since 2008 is how popular online tools like Zillow and Trulia are. It's really easy now to see what houses are being listed for sale in your area, as well as get an idea of what they might be worth. This has been really helpful for us as we start our search - it gives us a good baseline understanding of pricing in different neighborhoods.

Overall, buying a home today feels very different than it did 15 years ago! But that doesn't mean it isn't still an exciting process -we can't wait to find the perfect place for our family

Buying A Homein2022

Things I have Learned (so far)

The housing market is hot right now and you have to move fast if you want to buy a house. As soon as you find a place that you like, put down an offer - even if it's not an "all-cash offer." Chances are the sellers won't pay attention to your offer if it's not all cash.

Moving is Stressful

Moving is stressful. It's a process that takes longer than some people think it will. And it can be expensive. But, there are ways to make the process easier and less expensive.

The first step is to plan ahead and get organized. Start by sorting through your belongings and deciding what you want to keep, sell or donate. Next, create a budget and timeline for your move. This will help you determine how much time you need to pack and how much money you need to budget for moving expenses such as truck rental, packing supplies, and movers' fees if needed .

If possible, try to schedule your move during the off-season when rates are lower at moving companies. And take advantage of free or discounted boxes from local stores or online sources like U-Haul Box Exchange. You can also save money on packing materials by using old newspapers, towels, or blankets instead of bubble wrap or packing peanuts .

Finally, don't forget Murphy's Law - Anything that can go wrong during a move usually does! So be prepared for unexpected delays and costs by having extra cash on hand just in case something goes wrong .

Use MLS

Finding a home that's available and fits your needs can be tricky. With everything being online, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle of listings. The best way to find an available home is to use multi-listing services (MLS). MLS databases compile information from many different real estate sources into one place so you can search for properties more easily.

Another advantage of using MLS is that you have access to more properties than you would if you were only searching on individual websites. This is because not all real estate agents list their properties on every website. By using MLS, you'll have a greater chance of finding the perfect property for sale.

If you're looking for a new home, don't miss out on the benefits of using MLS!

Get Everyone Involve

When looking for a house, it is important that everyone in the family is on the same page. This means knowing what each person wants in a home and getting everyone involved in the house-hunting process.

For example, one family member might want a large yard while another wants plenty of bedrooms. If these needs are not communicated and considered during the search, it could lead to disappointment and frustration down the road.

It's also important to keep everyone's budget in mind when viewing homes. Trying to find something that fits everyone's needs and budget can be difficult, but it's definitely worth trying! By working together as a team, you're more likely to find your perfect home - sooner rather than later!

Keep a Journal

If you're like most people, you're probably in the process of house hunting right now. And if you're like me, you may have already found yourself falling in love with a few houses that are perfect...except for one thing: they don't have a journaling area.

Don't worry - I'm here to tell you that keeping an active journal can help make up for this lack and still help with the house search. How? By giving you something to reference later when trying to recall things that you liked in other houses.

For example, let's say that one of your favorite features of another house was the huge windows in the living room. If your new home doesn't have any windows at all, but does have a great fireplace instead, being able to remember what it was like having natural light streaming into the living room can help make peace with your decision.

In short, keeping an active journal is a great way to supplement your memory and keep track of all the little details about each and every house that catches your eye (good or bad). So go ahead and start writing - who knows? It might just come in handy down the road!

Different Agents

It can be a good idea to work with different agents when buying a home. Different agents have unique experiences that can help you find the perfect home. They may know the territory better or they may know what to look for when walking through a house.

When working with different agents, it is important to keep in mind that each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. You may want to ask your friends and family for referrals, or look online for reviews of local agents. Once you have a few names, interview them to see which one would be the best fit for you.

Be sure to let your agent know what you are looking for in a home and how much you are willing to spend on it; this will help them focus their search on houses that meet your criteria. And don't hesitate to ask questions - an experienced agent should be happy to answer any of your concerns about the process of buying a home."

 

Trivia Generator

Trivia games are a great way to kill time and learn new things. Who knows, the information you learn might help you win at a quiz show! There are all sorts of trivia games out there, from general knowledge questions to specific topics like movies or music.

If you're looking for a fun way to test your knowledge, try playing some trivia games online. You can find quizzes on just about any topic imaginable, so there's something for everyone. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time, but it's also an excellent opportunity to learn new things. So what are you waiting for? Start playing some trivia games today!

Try the Random Trivia Generator, its a fun site to learn all sorts of interesting facts.

Website Information

RTG helps you fill your brain with useless information

Random Trivia Generator seems like a contradiction because trivia can already be seen as random. For instance, why do you need to know which bird lays the largest eggs? You don't, but it's always fun to know the answer in case there is no Internet connection around and someone desperately needs to know. P.S., the answer is an ostrich.

Trivia Generator
https://www.randomtriviagenerator.com/

 

SentinelOne

Sentinel One  Cyber Security

SentinelOne is the world's first artificial intelligence (AI) powered cybersecurity platform that prevents threats at a faster speed, greater scale, and higher accuracy than humanly possible.

The platform uses AI to identify and prevent cyber threats in real-time, across all devices and networks. It does this by analyzing data patterns and behaviors to identify malicious activity before it can cause damage.

Since SentinelOne is powered by AI, it can detect threats that traditional security measures cannot see. This makes the platform incredibly effective at preventing cyberattacks from causing harm or stealing valuable data.

In addition to its threat prevention capabilities, SentinelOne also provides comprehensive reporting on all activity across your network so you can stay informed of any potential risks.

Sentinel One Keyboard Maestro

Keyboard Maestro

Apparently the Keyboard Maestro application is considered a threat in the SentinelOne world.

When you uncompress the keyboardmaestro-1002.zip file, immediately SentinelOne will remove the Keyboard Maestro Engine. There is no chance to override it. Poof! it's gone.

Without the Keyboard Maestro Engine you can't use the application. THere's no way around it.

You can get approval from Admin that the file is safe, but the file has been removed. Someone from IT will need to log in to the computer and disable the SentinelOne and unzip keyboardmaestro-1002.zip so that SentinelOne doesn't delete it.

It's one thing to protect a computer, but should you limit the productivity of the users?

Why Keyboard Maestro?

Keyboard Maestro is an automation tool that helps speed up personal productivity. Users can save a lot of time by not having to type repeated statements.

Keyboard Maestro has an excellent ClipBoard History manager that makes it easy to recall previously saved clipboard content - saving lots of time from copying common text and images. You can even save the content to be reused over and over again.

Keyboard Maestro has the ability to tap into Chrome. Users can parse URLs to be used in other apps. For example, if I am in Slack and I want to post the current Jira ticket that I have open, I can type a simple command and instantly have a Markdown parse version of the Jira page.

There's so much more that Keyboard Maestro can do to help users be more efficient in their day-to-day activities.

SentinelOne

According to the Developer, SentinelOne needs to fix its software. They have voiced their complaint and nothing happens.

I wonder what other applications are being prevented installed by SentinelOne.

 

Real Audio Player

RealAudio was developed as a streaming media format, meaning that it can be played while it is downloaded. It is possible to stream RealAudio using HTTP. In this case, the RealAudio file is retrieved similarly to a normal web page, but playback begins as soon as the first part is received and continues while the rest of the file is downloaded. Using HTTP streaming works best with pre-recorded files so some alternative protocols have been developed which work better for live broadcasts.

One such protocol is RTSP (Real-Time Streaming Protocol), which allows for more reliable streaming of live content by establishing control connections between servers and clients before starting the transmission of data packets. RTSP also allows for seeking within streamed content, something that's not possible with HTTP streaming alone.

Real Audio Logo

Real Player Information

There was an extension available to export Real Audio format in Sound Edit Pro. This is what I used in the late 1990s to convert audio to Real Audio format. It allowed me to share my audio recordings with friends and family who did not have the same software that I did. The quality of the converted files was excellent, and I never had any problems with them.

In the early 2000s, I started using Real Player Producer which offered better sound quality and you could convert multiple audio clips at once. This software was a great alternative to other programs like Windows Media Player or iTunes. It was easy to use and allowed you to customize your audio files in many ways. You could add effects, change the pitch or speed of the clip, and even add text or images. This software was a great way to improve your audio files and make them more unique.

Real Audio files use the .ra extension. These files are audio recordings that can be played back on a computer or other device. The .ra extension is also used for Real Audio helper files, which are text files that contain a link to the actual audio recording. These helper files can be opened with any text editor.

Rogue Amoeba Fission has the ability to open up Real Audio formatted files.

I never used the streaming services that Progressive Networks offered. It was an expensive solution for a simple hobby.

 

Quality Photos

Are you looking for a camera that can take great quality photos in 4k format? If so, then the Canon XA40 is the perfect option for you! This camera has a photo quality of 3840 by 2160, which means your photos will look amazing. Not to mention, the XA40 is also capable of recording in 4k format, so you can capture all of your memories in stunning detail. Plus, it's easy to use this camera even if you're not an experienced photographer - making it the perfect choice for anyone.

Sample Photo

Canon X A40 Photo
Photo Enhanced by Luminar Neo

Things I Learned

You can't take a photo while you're shooting a video - at least not in the Canon XA40.

The Canon XA40 has a great feature that allows you to assign one of the assignable buttons to take photos. This is a quick way to take a photo, and it's very convenient. I highly recommend setting up one of the back buttons to quickly take photos

From the Canon Manual: Photos taken with the Canon XA40 are in three sizes. The first size is 3840x2160 and it is 3,080KB. The second size is 1920x1080 and it is 880KB. The third size is 1280x720 and it is 420KB

The iPhone file size is 4032''-3024

Photo Format: DCF (Design rule for Camera File system), compatible with Exif Ver. 2.3, JPEG compression

MetaData Info

Interesting MetaData that is produced in each photo. Note that the GPS isn't included because the XA40 doesn't have any GPS information.

Name: IMG_0131.JPG
Location: /Users/cryan/Desktop
Dimensions: 3840 x 2160
File Size: 4.1MB (4,143,372)
Date Created: 4/18/22 11:14:04 AM
Date Modified: 4/18/22 11:14:04 AM
Camera Make: Canon
Camera Model: Canon XA40
F-Stop: F4
Focal Length: 3.7 mm
Exposure Time: 1/100 s
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Date Time Original: 4/18/22 11:14:02 AM
Date Time Digitized: 4/18/22 11:14:02 AM
White Balance: Auto
Metering Mode: Center weighted average
Flash: No flash function
Exposure Mode: Auto
Digital Zoom: 1.0
Color Space: sRGB
Orientation: top, left
Pixel X Dimension: 3840
Pixel Y Dimension: 2160
X Resolution: 72
Y Resolution: 72
Resolution Unit: inch

 

Pet Testing

Debugging code can be a difficult process, but luckily there are a few tricks that can make it a little bit easier. One popular technique is called rubber duck debugging. This approach involves explaining the code to a rubber duck (or some other inanimate object). By vocalizing your thoughts and walking through the code step by step, you can often find and fix errors more easily.

This method has been shown to be surprisingly effective, even for experienced developers. In fact, one study found that programmers who used Rubber Duck Debugging were able to solve problems 34% faster than those who didn't use the technique. So if you're struggling with a particularly tricky bug, give rubber duck debugging a try ' you might be surprised at how well it works!

For QA, I submit a new concept of Pet Testing.

Pet Testing

As a QA Engineer, you conduct testing by explaining the testing logic to your pet. Basically, you would be talking to the pet to explain why you are testing a certain area. This allows for a clear understanding of what is being tested and why. In this way, pets can be an effective tool for quality assurance.

One common use case for this technique is when testers are trying to verify that an application behaves as expected under different conditions. Explaining your tests to a pet can help ensure that all potential scenarios are considered and accounted for. Additionally, it can help identify any potential issues with how the application is being tested or with the test plan itself.

Of course, using pets as part of your QA process requires some extra effort on your part ' but the benefits can be worth it! By taking the time to communicate with your pet about why you're doing each test, you create an additional layer of clarity and communication around your work ' and that's always good news for quality assurance

Spawns Other Pet-Type Testing Terms

This could spawn off other type of pet testing terminology, such as:

Aardvark Testing - Aardvark Testing is a process for identifying and fixing defects or errors in a software program. It is used to determine whether a particular type of bug exists in the software. Aardvark Testing can be used to find bugs in the code, design, requirements, or documentation.

Aardvark Testing is named after an animal that eats termites. Just as the aardvark eats termites, Aardvark Testing eats bugs. The name was chosen because it is easy to remember and fun to say.

Rabbit Testing - Rabbit testing is a process of verifying the quality of software products and services through rapid and repetitive execution of tests. It helps to identify defects early in the software development life cycle, which reduces the cost and time required for their correction. Quick testing is an efficient way to ensure that high-quality products are delivered to customers.

The goal of quick testing is to identify problems quickly so that they can be fixed before they cause serious damage. Quick tests can be run on every build, allowing developers to find and fix problems as they occur. This approach helps reduce the number of defects that make it into production, improving the quality of the final product.

Sloth Testing - Slow down and take your time testing. Make sure to test all the fundamentals of the application - but go slow. This is a good time to add bandwidth throttling to see how the site performs when service is slow. Testing under load conditions can help identify potential problems and bottlenecks in your system before they become real issues for customers.

Sugar Glider Testing - Sugar Gliders are nocturnal animals that spend the majority of their time active at night. This makes them a perfect subject for black-box testing, as they will not be disturbed by the testers. Black box testing is a type of software testing where the inner workings of the software are unknown to the testers. This allows for unbiased and accurate results. Sugar gliders have been used in black-box tests in Europe for over a decade with great success. The use of sugar gliders in this type of testing is humane and provides valuable information about how the software works under different circumstances

 

Operation 4k Camera

I brought 2 cameras to the 2022 Boston Marathon near the 5-mile mark - my GoPro Hero 9 and the Canon xa40.

Here is a sample of 4K footage from both cameras. They were taken from the same point moments apart. It's a good idea of the quality of the videos p

roduced by these cameras.

Settings

GoPro Hero 9 - Default Activity Settings in 4K mode with wide lens.

Canon xa40 - Auto Focus and Auto Exposure in 4K mode

Video

 

How Businesses Are Using Gamification For Employee Training

pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3931560

Over the last decade, corporations have been more than willing to spend significant amounts of money on employee development. At one point, the investments in workplace training reached more than $370 billion per year. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that training was effective, nor that it kept the employees engaged and provided them with meaningful knowledge. A study by Harvard Business Review revealed that more than 75% of managers are dissatisfied with training and development programs in their companies. This just goes to show that traditional training methods should be tweaked and improved if companies are aiming to deliver a better learning experience and higher employee engagement, which can lead to productivity and success. One effective way to do so is by integrating gaming into employee training and development.

Training Gamification Creates Happy and Satisfied Workers

Many companies, including some of the major global corporations, discovered that the solution lies in the gamification of employee development. Gaming mechanics in the workplace environment not only improves learning and adoption of new skills but also makes employees more motivated and increases job satisfaction. Studies have shown that using games for the training process helps release neurotransmitters such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin which enhance feelings of happiness and positivity. This ensures that employees are proactive, engaged, and excited to learn during the training sessions.

How Gamification Benefits Employee Development

Besides keeping workers invested in their own development, gamification provides numerous other benefits. Using strategies such as point systems, badges, or leaderboards give employees more individual control over their personal growth. These features also encourage knowledge sharing and promote community engagement. Also, gamification has a universal appeal that applies across all ages, genders, or education groups, ensuring that no one feels left behind in the training process. What was once boring or routine training becomes a fun and exciting experience, even when it comes to usually dull compliance, safety, or legal procedures. As learning occurs through various experiences and events, knowledge retention is much higher, and newly acquired skills tend to "stick" longer. Ultimately, all this leads to better efficiency and productivity during everyday tasks. Gamified training is also a great way to get new employees onboard and up to speed with what's expected of them.

Successful Implementations of Gamification in Corporate Training

Proof that gamification works not only in theory but also in real life comes from some of the world's leading companies. Many of them have already successfully implemented this training strategy. In 2015, the pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca, started a new training program called "Go to Jupiter" that heavily leans on gamification strategies. The program is used to train the new sales staff. Through a series of quizzes and mini-games, employees learn about the new products while earning their spots on leaderboards and engaging in team competitions. The results were quite impressive. Learner engagement on the platform was at 97%, while 95% of trainees successfully completed the program.

Meanwhile, Deloitte used gamification to improve their leadership academy and help their senior execs develop soft skills. Gamification elements were supposed to motivate senior staff members who are usually reluctant to join the development process. During the training, participants are free to explore various training areas and establish their own individual goals. At the same time, they receive badges for their accomplishments which put them on the leaderboards in 10 different training categories. Gamifying the training cut the time needed to complete the program by 50%, and Deloitte saw a 47% increase in the number of users returning to the platform each week.

Gamification is the Way Forward

In the modern workplace, the traditional approaches to employee development fail to produce satisfactory results. This is especially the case with younger people who are just entering the workforce. It's a fact that training can be often boring and grueling. However, gaming is the exact opposite. Applying the gaming concepts to training can change employees' attitudes toward these tedious tasks, ease the learning process, and motivate them to perform better. The real-life gamification implementations have proven that it's sustainable and that it works. It cuts training costs, saves time, and allows companies to easily manage change. Efficient and engaging training is the easiest way for the business to grow from within and remain competitive.

 

NFT Random Image

Non-fungible tokens are all the rage. If you are into NFTs or want to see what people are creating, there's nothing like a random sample of NFTs. If you see something you like, simply click on the image and buy it.

Who knows, the random image that you see on your visit could be worth millions next year!

Then again, it may still be available for $5. NFT is a crapshoot.

Website Description

Bored of seeing the same NFTs over and over again? I've got you covered

Epic Ruler Sample
https://www.randnft.art/

 

Measure Tool - Epic Ruler

Epic Ruler is an impressive set of design utility tools to measure distance, dimension, position, pick colors, test contrast, and align on-screen elements. It's a great tool for web designers and developers who need to quickly check the dimensions or positioning of objects on the screen. With Epic Ruler you can easily select any color from your screen with a built-in color picker, and test the contrast between two colors. You can also use it to quickly align objects on your screen by selecting one or more points and clicking "Align."

Epic Ruler Sample
Epic Ruler shows exactly how far objects are on a webpage.

Five Things I have Learn

The ruler is very cool. It works based on the screen elements and not windows. This means that you can use it to check the proper placements of objects on a webpage. You can type 'd' to save the measure tool. In addition, you can use the arrow keys to extend the boundaries of the measure tool.

Guidelines are a good way to make sure elements are properly spaced out. This might be useful when I need to validate that objects in tables are properly aligned correctly. What's nice is that's its an overlay, so you can keep it on the screen as you doing work.

Color Picker is a fast and easy way to identify the color of objects that you see on the screen. By default, the color picker will show RGBA values, but you can change that to HEX values in the appearance section in the preferences dialog box.

To capture the results of Epic Ruler elements you need to use the included screen capture tool. This captures all the saved rulers, guidelines, and color picker elements. You can then send the capture to any program such as Snagit or Slack.

Note: There is a bug in macOS Monterey and that sharing the capture isn't working. Luckly you can still access the capture files in in ~/Pictures/EpicRuler

Epic Ruler works in the background and you can trigger elements by using the shortcuts. Two useful shortcuts worth remembering is Option D to enable the Measure Tool and Option C to clear the screen.

Worth Getting?

The ruler functionality is certainly worth getting. I haven't seen rulers work the way that Epic Ruler works. Most applications are just based on the window edges - which can be useful - but to find the spacing between elements is pretty cool.

The nice thing is that isn't a browser plug-in. So you can use this in graphic and page layout programs too. This makes it a great universal app so you can use it no matter where you are on the computer.

I would recommend getting the application as a unique tool for your toolbox. It may come in handy someday when your trying to figure out if something is align correctly.

 

Location Manager

In System 9, you could easily change settings based on a location in the Location Manager. This made it easy to switch internet connections and printer setups.

Users can save common settings such as Internet IP address, Remote Access Info, and Default Printers. When they arrived at a location, they can switch to the saved settings and immediately get to work.

Location Manager System9

Three Things I Learned

In MacOS X, there were two tools that replaced the functionality of Location Manager: Marco Polo, Location Manager X, and ControlPlane. These Apps didn't last that long - maybe it was too much work to keep up with the OSX changes?

Apple still doesn't have any built-in replacement tool for Location Manager. This would be useful for people that use laptops in multiple locations. Some of the setups have been migrated to the User Login configurations.

My WallStreet Powerbook still has all the configurations from Acclaim Technology - a company that I worked at in California. There's no reason to keep the information on the computer - as the company has been out of business for more than 20-years! I just have it there for historical purposes.

About Apple Location Manager

The following is from Apple's help on using the Location Manager:

You use the Location Manager control panel to create or select a group of settings, called a location, for your computer.

The location that is currently selected determines which settings are in effect. When you select a different location, your computer's settings change to the ones established for that location.

If you use your computer in several places and need to use different settings for items such as networking, file sharing, time zone, and printing, you can use Location Manager to make changing settings more efficient.

Once you've set up a location, you change settings by selecting the location in the Location Manager control panel or the Control Strip.

If need to switch between the different network you settings for items such as TCP/IP, PPP, and AppleTalk, you can group these settings as a location in Location Manager.

Once you've set up a location, you can change your settings by selecting the location in the Location Manager control panel or from the Control Strip.

If a computer is shared by several people who use different settings for items such as volume and networking, you can set up each user's settings as a separate location in the Location Manager control panel.

Location Manager can then be set so that at startup users can select their own settings.

Third-party applications or control panels may install additional modules that increase the capabilities of Location Manager.

You can use these modules to create locations that change settings in a single application or for the entire system.

 

Kaleidoscope

Have you ever wanted to add a little bit of creativity and artistry to your videos? With a kaleidoscope lens, you can! A kaleidoscope lens is a special type of lens that creates interesting patterns and designs when used on video cameras. This can add an extra level of interest and intrigue to your videos, making them more visually appealing.

If you're looking for a way to spice up your videos, consider using a kaleidoscope lens. You can find these lenses online or at camera stores. They're relatively inexpensive, so it's worth giving them a try!

Kaleidoscope Header

Canon xa40

The filter diameter on the Canon xa40 is 58 mm. This means if you are going to add a Kaleidoscope lens, you'll need one that is 58mm.

The Kaleidoscope lens is good to use for landscape view transitions.

I have never used a Kaleidoscope lens in any of my cameras. I can produce the same effect using various filters in Final Cut Pro, In Motion, there is a Kaleidotile filter that simulates looking through a kaleidoscope with rectangular facets. There is also a Parallelogram Tile which offers a different Kaleidoscope effect.

The reason you would use a camera lens instead of Apple Motion or Final Cut Pro, is that you have more control over the colors and styles when you are doing it live.

Note: This blog topic came about because today is 'K' day in the 'A to Z' challenge and it's hard to come up with a "K" topic for the Canon xa40.

 

jQuery Techniques

jQuery is a powerful JavaScript library that helps make web development easier. In addition to its many features, jQuery also includes a number of tips and tricks that can be useful for quality assurance developers. Some of these tips include using the .each() function to loop through arrays and objects, using the .filter() function to select specific elements from arrays or objects, and using the .map() function to create new arrays based on existing arrays. These tips can help make your code more efficient and easier to read, which can lead to better quality assurance results.

Quality assurance (QA) software testing is an important process in the development of any software application. By using jquery, you can make your QA testing process easier and more efficient.

jQuery is a JavaScript library that simplifies the process of writing code for web applications. It provides a wide range of features, including DOM manipulation, event handling, animation, and Ajax interactions. This makes it perfect for use in QA software testing.

jQuery can be used to test all aspects of an application's functionality. You can use it to simulate user interactions with the application, test its performance under different conditions, and verify that its output is correct. In addition, jQuery's cross-browser compatibility means that you can be confident that your tests will work on all major browsers.

Q Aj Query

Check to see if JQuery exists

This is a simple command to see if a particular site is using jQuery:

Open the Chrome DevTools console: Option-Command-J

console.log(jQuery().jquery);

If Successful:

3.5.1 -ajax,-ajax/jsonp,-ajax/load,-ajax/script,-ajax/var/location,-ajax/var/nonce,-ajax/var/rquery,-ajax/xhr,-manipulation/_evalUrl,-deprecated/ajax-event-alias,-effects,-effects/Tween,-effects/animatedSelector

If Failed:

VM35:1 Uncaught ReferenceError: jQuery is not defined
    at :1:9

Add jQuery via Console

This is a simple command to add jQuery to any website via the Chrome Console::

var jq = document.createElement('script');
jq.src = "https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/3.5.1/jquery.min.js";
document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(jq);

Now you can easily run your favorite jQuery commands, such as this one to check for the presence of IDs. This is an example code snippet to show IDs that don't have names:

$('*:not([id]):not([class])').css("border","2px solid red");

 

iCloud Phone Scam

Every once in a while the house phone would get a call from Apple about my iCloud account. These are clearly scams because there's no reason for Apple to be calling you about your iCloud account.

In the following very brief call you can hear the person trying to set up the scam. I think that the next step would be for them to log into my account to "fix" the problem.

Phone Scam

 

WhatsApp Scam

I recently got the following text message on my WhatsApp app:

Hello dear how are you doing today

ROLLS ROYCE AUTOMOBILE COMPANY

Greetings, a woman came to our office with $200 to claim her car and her ATM card. We already found the truth now from the company's platform that you are not the one who sent it.

congratulations sir!!

I am Mr. James Ubah from California. I'm here to tell you about his winning donation. Rolls Royce car and ATM card loaded with a voluntary donation of $10,500,000 USD.

Please confirm your full details and her home address to me to avoid wrong delivery.

If you have received this information from another agent, please kindly inform me so that I can contact the second winner

Are you there

How anyone could not know this is a scam? None of it makes sense. Read it again.

Do you really think that a legitimate company would be using WhatsApp as a communication method to let you know of a winning?

Also who would ever get paid via ATM card? ATM card is a way to get your month not a credit card.

 

Hashtag Generator

Hashtags can really help get your post noticed on social media. Having the right hashtag can make a difference in people finding your content.

Using the Hashtag generator helps you find the right tags to use. You can select Random, Top, or Live. This is useful when you want to write about current events or just general topics.

Website Description

Not sure which hashtags to use? You can use this hashtag generator which will give you the top 30 and more hashtags based on one keyword selection. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. Therefore, it was divided into blocks of 30 hashtags to make it easier for you to copy and paste.

The hashtag generator generates related hashtags based on a keyword. You have 3 filter options to find the right hashtags you need. You can easily copy the generated hashtags with the copying button.

Top Hashtags

Generate top hashtags which are based on your keyword. The hashtags can be different to the topic of the keyword, but they are popular hashtags with long range.

Random Hashtags

Random hashtags are generated hashtags that are based on your searching keyword. The results are hashtags, that include the keyword you have chosen.

All Hashtags
https://www.all-hashtag.com/

 

Guarded macOS PDF Hack

One of the things I don't like about macOS Monterey is the additional security features. When you try to copy text from some PDF documents you may encounter this dialog box:

PDF Box Monterey

All I am doing is copying the text. Why should this be prevented? How do I know who the document owner is? Do you think that they would just give me the username/password to unlock this document?

This all worked fine in previous versions of macOS. But the new rules make a simple copy and paste a crime.

FireFox Solution

One creative way around this security restriction, is to open the PDF file in Firefox. You can open the PDF, go to the page and copy the text. You can then paste the content of the text into any document (as text data.)

Fire Fox P D F Blur

Duplicate File!

If you're going to be frequently referencing data from this PDF, you can bypass the copy/paste permissions by duplicating the file! Yup. Simply duplicate the file in Preview and you'll be able to copy text like it was macOS 11 (Big Sur)

Who knows if Apple will make future changes with the ability to duplicate PDF documents?

 

Floppy DIsks

Apple hasn't included a floppy drive into a computer since the first generation of the iMac - August 15, 1998 - 23-years ago.

At the time, Apple thought it was time to move on from floppy disks and towards CD disks. It turned out to be the right decision as to the internet really helps with sending files.

Floppies

Five Things I Learned

The lifespan of a floppy is about 20-years. This basically means that floppies are slowly going to be unusable. This is true for regular floppies and apps that were distributed by floppies - think of all those games that you may have in the basement.

Floppy Disks are no longer being manufactured. Sony last produced a new floppy disk on March 2011. However, you can still find unopened boxes on eBay.

You can buy USB Floppy drives on Amazon, Best Buy or Walmart for about $20.

The floppy disks only supported the max size of 1.4mb. Nowadays you can't create a basic MS Word file of less than 1.4mb.

Most of the early floppy Disk disks were formatted using MS-DOS (FAT12) - this is still a readable format for macOS Monterey.

If you want to save the data on your floppies, you could always create disk images and save the disk images on a DVD.

 

ExFat Format

Canon recommends initializing the SD card before using it. This ensures that the card file structure is compatible with the camera. Just remember that initialize means erase and there's no way to recover the data on the flash drive.

The nice thing is that the card name is "Canon", it's easy to find when you put it on the computer. Other camera devices use the word "Untitled" -thanks, Nikon. GoPro renames the disk ".trash" I don't know what that means.

Why exFAT?

exFat allows files greater the 4GB to be stored. If you are using FAT32 your file size limit is 4GB. This means that the camera would have to split the video file in order to save it on the disk.

SanDisk Memory Cards

All SanDisk memory cards larger than 64GB use the exFAT file system. So there's no technical reason to initialize the drive - right out of the box.

 

Design By Contract

Many Moons ago, we were having serious bug issues with code at the company I was working at. No matter what developers did, bugs make it into Production and we constantly had to patch.

Part of the reason QA didn't discover some of the bugs was because of the complexity of some accounts.

Things slowly got better when a Senior Software Architect started implementing a Design By Contract coding standards

Design By Contract

What is "Design By Contract?"

Design by contract is a different approach to programming. It promotes think-first, code-later in order to get a better quality of the software.

This is accomplished by defining clear APIs in the code between its various components. Each method needs to define what it takes as input and what the expected output will be. The output may be the return value of the method as well as a change of state of the enclosing object.

The great strength of design by contract is to have each method responsible for what it does and what it returns. It is on the caller to be responsible for what is given and the callee to return predictable results.

Ideally, contracts and methods are defined prior to actually coding the body of the methods. It is impossible to define the contract of something you do not know. This requires a lot of heavy thinking in advance which saves a lot of testing and unknowns later. It also makes the code easier to review and makes changes easier to implement as you do not have to guess about the context. Callers and callees state exactly their input, outputs, and what they do.

How did this Help QA/Releases?

Developers now had a better understanding of how their code works. It allowed other developers to understand how the code functions and pass the correct parameters.

When the code would fail there would be an assertion exception and it would be easy to figure out the issue.

Basically the Design By Contract moved the quality of code from QA to the Developer.

Five Things I Learned

It took a while to implement the Design By Contract throughout the system. Developers get used to planning before coding. Once they saw the benefits they were quick to adapt to the new model.

The Senior Software Architect worked with a small team of developers and a particular functionality within the software.

The Design By Contract coding standing stayed within the application long after the Senior Software Architect had left the team.

When testing code, QA would pay more attention to the logs and look for assertion errors - sometimes these would start as silent errors but would eventually turn into a serious customer-facing errors.

An interesting side effect: Developers were able to find serious logic issues with the Google AdWords API. This was interesting as other companies didn't report the issue. In some cases, Google fixed the issue, and in other cases, we worked around the issue.

 

Covid Mortgage Health Center

I get a lot of strange calls. Most of the time I have my phone on Do Not Disturb. Every once in a while I'll get a voice message from a potential scammer.

Here's a voice mail that I got. They put some weird background music that made me want to put a slide show of flowers.

Transcript was provided by Apple and it seemed pretty accurate.

Transcript

This is the Covid mortgage health center we are reaching out to you as a follow up on a state disbursement notice that was recently forwarded to your home this is for a 2% interest rate program based on a mandated program for the federal cares act and offers you savings around $400 per month on your mortgage and one of the case counselors would like to explain the program to you on how to obtain the savings you were eligible for the program is time sensitive and we need to speak to you within the next 24 hours you may contact us back today on this number.

 

Canon XA40

A few weeks ago, I purchased a new Canon AE-40 video camera. This is the first camcorder that I purchased since I got the Sony TRV-720 - more than 20 years ago.

Oddly enough I used the TRV-720 this past weekend as part of a tool to help actors backstage know what is going on stage.

Do you Still need a Dedicated Video Camera?

Yes, there's a lot than the Canon can do that even the latest iPhones can't do:

  • Create decent zoom 4K videos.
  • Connected multiple audio devices as separate audio channels.
  • Virtual unlimited storage - just add more SD cards.
  • and more.

New Blog Category!

I decided that for the month of April, I'll add a new category to the blog lineup. I'll show all the cool functions of the Canon AE-40,

New Blog posts will be available on Wednesdays -replacing the Apple Motion topics

 

Background Generator

Having a background design can help make your text stand out. Sometimes it's tough to figure out the perfect background design. Why not go random?

The Background generator is a sophisticated way to create the perfect background. You can set up all sorts of settings, or go with some default values.

I think it's certainly something that I may use for my computer wallpaper - something a bit more modern than having a photo.

Website Description

Background Generator (BgGenerator.com) is a free online image creator website that enables you to generate unique creative images for all use purposes like computer wallpapers, blog and article illustrations, commercial backgrounds, posters, and more. This brilliant image generating tool creates outstanding images by the random machine algorithm with 7 different styles and ensures every single generated image is unique in the world. You can also customize the image size, and the tool can output high-resolution images larger than 4K.

Besides JPG/JPEG image format, Background Generator also supports saving the created image to PNG format, and the Transparent option allows you to save the PNG with transparent background or opaque. This is very useful for designers who want to use the generated background with other images.

Background Generator
https://bggenerator.com/

Sample Output

bg_bggenerator_cryan
This is the "Bars" category

 

Audio Commands from the Terminal

Apple Audio Tools

There are several UNIX commands that Apple provides to help with audio. These are executed from the terminal.

afplay

applay allows you to play audio files from the command line.


    Audio File Play
    Version: 2.0
    Copyright 2003-2013, Apple Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Specify -h (-help) for command options

afinfo

afinfo allows you to get information on an audio file.

Sample output


File:           2004.mp3
File type ID:   MPG3
Num Tracks:     1
----
Data format:     2 ch,  44100 Hz, '.mp3' (0x00000000) 0 bits/channel, 0 bytes/packet, 1152 frames/packet, 0 bytes/frame
                no channel layout.
estimated duration: 53.916735 sec
audio bytes: 1294001
audio packets: 2064
bit rate: 191999 bits per second
packet size upper bound: 1052
maximum packet size: 627
audio data file offset: 1027
optimized
audio 2375680 valid frames + 576 priming + 1472 remainder = 2377728

For me the most useful information is the Data format. In the above example, the 44100 Hz is a common sampling frequency - so the audio should play fine on most devices.

afconvert

afconvert converts file from one format to another.

Supported formats:

3GP Audio, 3GPP-2 Audio , AAC ADTS, AC3, AIFC, AIFF, amrf, m4af, m4bf, caff, ec-3, MPG1, MPG2, MPG3, mp4f, NeXT, Sd2f, WAVE

Interesting formats that is missing: oog (Common for streaming audio)

Sample output


# Converts MP3 to WAVE
afconvert -f WAVE -d LEI32 2004.mp3 -o 2004.wav
# FLAC
afconvert -f flac -d flac 2004.mp3 -o 2004.flac

afclip

afclip checks to see if your audio file has clipped sound - which is audio that is too loud and caused a clip.

Sample output


afclip 2004.mp3
afclip : "2004.mp3"    2 ch,  44100 Hz, '.mp3' (0x00000000) 0 bits/channel, 0 bytes/packet, 1152 frames/packet, 0 bytes/frame
 -- no samples clipped --

afhash

afhash is an audio file hash

The purpose of the hashing at offsets close to the start and the end of the file is to ensure that if a TAG editing tool modifies either the beginning of the end of the file, at least one of the two hashes should survive and allow us to get meta-data on a specific file.

Sample output


afhash 2004.flac
2004.flac :
MD5 Hash in file       : 41004751cb6cb5219a51e6935ec97b66
MD5 Hash of audio data : 41004751cb6cb5219a51e6935ec97b66
Hashes match.

 

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