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Boston

Mather Tomb

Oct 31, 2019

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

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Mather Tomb
Internet

ShortPixel

Sept 22, 2018

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

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Short Pixel Feature

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

I wish I knew more about...

Today's blog post is all about the Ministry of Testing blog challenge for September.

Write a blog on the topic "I wish I knew more about..." before September 17th

My answer is simple:

I wish I knew more about Quality Chrome tools that can help me be a better tester.

I feel like there are a bunch of Chrome plugins that are out there that I should know about.

Sure I use some of the popular Chrome tools such as ColorZilla, JunkFill, Bug Magnet, Fake Filler, and Page Ruler Redux.

Now What?

The next time that I have downtime, I'll spend a few minutes searching the Google Play store for extensions that might be useful.

Some search queries that I can think of:

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Apple WatchOS Update

Apple recently released an upgrade to WatchOS. This was a minor security update.

The problem with this update is the update is larger than my phone storage capacity.

Apple Watch Update

My Apple Watch only has 4.8 GB capacity and the update needs 2.5 GB to install. It's virtually impossible for me to install the update as to when I remove all third-party apps, I still don't have enough space for the update. I am unable to do the update on the Mac, as there's no space to install on the watch.

Hopefully Apple puts out an update and makes it possible for me to update my WatchOS.

  Filed under the watch category. - Permalink

ReWrite Rule Tester

If you manage a website, chances are your adding rules to the htaccess file to for SEO or navigation reasons.

One of the common problems of managing the htaccess file, is understanding all the rewrite rules to make the redirect work the way you intended. Usually, it involves lots of testing in Production.

The htaccess tester website can save some of the frustration. You simply put in the URL and the rule that you want to apply, click the test button, and see the results. You can simply make adjustments before impacting your live site.

Rewrite Rule Htaccess
https://htaccess.madewithlove.be/

What is Htaccess file?

For those of you in Rio Linda... the htaccess file is one way to redirect server requests. So if someone types in www.company.com/info or www.company.com/help they would point to the same file. Now developers can focus on changing a single file instead of worrying about multiple files.

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

New iPhones Coming Soon

Apple will be making some product announcements in late September. In the past, the announcements are related to new iPhone's products and accessories.

These are perfectly timed for the Christmas Season and the "Back to School" shopping.

This year the announcements are a bit late perhaps because of quality control issues.

Best Time To Buy Apple Products

If you are thinking of getting a new iPhone your better off waiting for a couple of weeks - maybe a month. Even if you don't get the latest and greatest, some of the older models may have deep discounts.

To find out when to buy a Macintosh computer, I highly recommend the Mac Rumor's Buyers Guide. They are the best resource on when the best time to get a new Apple device.

This year the rumor is that the new iPhones will be using the 5G standard. There's very limited support worldwide for 5G, so it will be interesting to see how sales go.

In Boston, Verizon has 5G Ultra Wideband coverage in some parts of the Fenway area, including Fenway Park, Foxborough, Boston Marathon Finish Line, and the Boston Garden. It appears that the 5g network is best for the sports venue. Outside of these areas, you're getting the usual 4G LTE.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Provincetown Ferry

If you are looking for a getaway from the busy city life. You can take a ferry ride to Provincetown and spend the day at one of the best beaches on Cape Cod.

Provincetown Ferry Desktop
Provincetown Ferry Mobile

Since 1974, the Boston Harbor Cruises has offered a Ferry ride to Provincetown.

For most trips, it takes 90-minutes to go from Boston to Provincetown. The first ferry out of Boston is at 9 am and the last ferry back to Boston is at 8:30 pm.

The Provincetown Ferry is located at the Long Wharf dock, near the Boston Marriott Long Wharf.

What a way to spend a day - breakfast at Faneuil Hall and enjoying an early lobster dinner in Provincetown. (Try the Baked Stuff Lobster at the Lobster Pot.)

In June and July, you can watch the sunset as you head back to Boston. By August the sun will be setting a bit early on your journey back to Boston.

There is a snack bar on board - they only accept cash. You can end the day with a margarita and recall the fun day around Provincetown.

Current Pricing

  • Adults: $47- each way
  • Child: $34.50 - each way

For 2-Adults and one child it cost $257 round trip.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Pool Pump (Part 2)

Last week post I talked about some issues that we had encountered with the Pool pump, you can read up on the orginal story.

We ended up buying a new Hayward pump. It's basically the same pump - just the latest version. There's a "backstory" to getting this new pump in the pandemic era. We think there's some price gouging going on. That's a blog post for a different day.

Removing the Old Pump

When I removed the pump, I was able to look underneath to see what was going on. It turns out the pump had a sizeable crack underneath the basket area.

Check out what I encountered:

Pool Pump Crack Desktop
Pool Pump Crack Mobile

We are not sure how the crack occurred. It's possible that it was moved around a lot. But the pump was running fine for weeks after the new pool was installed. I wonder if there was too much pressure in the basket area that caused the crack.

  Filed under the Pool category. - Permalink

Computer Setup

There's been a lot of talk on the Final Cut Pro Facebook group on the computer setup. As this is vacation week for me, I thought I use this time to highlight my computer setup.

This setup has worked very well for me. It seems to be the perfect computer setup.

Final Cut Pro System

Computer Details

ComputeriMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2019)
Processor 3.7 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5
Memory 40 GB 2667 MHz DDR4

  Filed under the Final Cut Pro category. - Permalink

Fuzz Testing

Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, operating systems, or networks. It involves inputting massive amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in an attempt to make it crash.

This is usually a technique done with Automation to see how fields respond to random text and interactions.

Manual testers may want to use Bug Magnet, a popular Chrome Extenstion to add random data to fields. This is more exploratory testing than Fuzz Testing. Fuzz Testing is focused more on how the software reacts to a huge set of random data being entered.

Fuzzing is a critical part of testing as it checks for potential vulnerabilities with the software application and logic.

You can learn more about Fuzzing at the Open Web Application Security Project Foundation website.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

7 Interesting Websites You Never Knew Of

The internet is a wonderful place. So wonderful, in fact, that it tends to get a little bit overwhelming. An appropriate analogy would be to compare it to a vast ocean with numerous treasures, but even more dirt.

It gets really difficult to separate the dirt from the treasure. And most times, you get buried under the dirt to get to the treasure.

To get to the treasure faster and more easily, you have to know where to look. Maybe get yourself a guide, someone to point you to the buried treasures you didn't even know existed.

Why the elaborate metaphors, you ask? Because we're here to act as that guide; someone to point you towards seven buried treasures of the internet that you didn't even know existed.

Excited? We are too.

Interesting Websites You Never Knew Of

Neal.fun

Neal.fun is an absolute gem of a website. Maybe even quite literally, seeing as you get to discover gems underwater.

What makes this website so special is its ability to put you right in the middle of the biggest concepts in the world, and take away their seemingly abstract nature, making them more real to us in the process.

For instance, on one of its interactive pages, you get to traverse the depth of the ocean, discovering perspective along the way. You get a clear picture of the depth at which certain creatures can exist, along with submarines, and even the titanic.

Then there's the space exploration page where you get an immersive look at the heavenly bodies above us, their relationship with each other, and with us.

Camelcamelcamel.com

Camelcamelcamel is a website where you get to find out if, and when, there's been a price drop on any Amazon product of your choosing. All you have to do is select a product or multiple products, and the site does the job of tracking said product over time and alerts you once there's been a price drop.

You can also access historical data regarding price changes and discounts that have been available on the product in the past.

If used correctly, this little website can go a long way in helping you save those few extra bucks that tend to come a long way in the long run.

Asoftmurmur.com

Have you ever found yourself in need of extra motivation and all of a sudden a sound comes on and you're suddenly energized and raring to go? No? Well, all you have to do is head on to this site and you'll understand what we're talking about.

Asoftmurmur is a site full of ambient sound effects curated to play a number of roles including motivation, enhancing focus, or simply just being a source of pleasant distraction.

Among the available ambient sounds are drizzling rain, thunder, ocean waves, pleasant wind, fire, birds, crickets, and even white noise and radio static.

You.regettingold.com

Life moves by so fast and a lot of events happen simultaneously that it is incredibly hard, if not impossible, to keep track of everything. And that's where this nifty website comes into play.

At You.regettingold.com you get to find out all about the incredible stuff that has happened when, and since, you were born.

It provides the information with the aid of a well drawn-out timeline of noteworthy events till current time.

You also get a pie chart filled with statistics such as how many people were born the same day as you, and how many are still alive.

OFFEO.com

OFFEO is a video content creation platform with tons of professional video templates and intros. Oftentimes what set a decent video apart from a mediocre one are the little tweaks made at the post-processing stages.

OFFEO offers everything you'll need for that much-needed edge to inject a touch of class to both personal and commercial-purpose videos.

Haveibeenpwned.com

Haveibeenpwned.com is all about cybersecurity. On your part, you should do everything you can to keep your web credentials as safe and secure as possible.

Sometimes, though, the compromise doesn't come from your end but from a website you've visited, or from a service provider. And sometimes these data breaches happen without our knowledge.

This site solves this problem by letting you know whether your email has ever been compromised at one point or another.

Ncase.me/trust/

Ncase,me is an interactive website that explains the concept of trust through game theory. It offers a beautiful user interface, great sound, and a quite interesting game to booth.

The 'game' starts off with a curious story of trust in an unlikely place and then thrusts you in scenarios where you have to either choose to cooperate with your opponent or cheat ' each with its own different reward. The result is a fun, rewarding, and humorous experience.

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

Jigsaw Puzzle

Every once in a while it's good to take a break from work and relax. I am not talking about vacation, rather step away from everything for a few minutes. One way to calm down on a stress full day is to work on a puzzle.

Jigsawplanet.com is a cool site that offers free online puzzles. You can pick the image and complexity of the puzzles. If your really good at puzzles, try to beat the best time.

It's all fun and games, and a great way to take a break from the everyday stress.

Website Description

Jigsaw Planet is developed by Tibo Software, the developer of the best jigsaw puzzle game for Windows.

Tibo Software was established in 2003 and the company is based in Pardubice, the Czech Republic. At the beginning we started to develop software and games for Windows - Bad Toys 3D, Rolling Marbles, Jigs@w Puzzle, Jigs@w Puzzle Promo Creator and Jigs@w Puzzle 2.

Random Puzzles
https://www.jigsawplanet.com/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Macintosh HFS Disk Format

When macOS Catalina was introduced, Apple quietly made a change to how it supports old file system formats.

Apple dropped support for formatting or writing HFS disks and images, which remain supported as read-only volumes. Starting with macOS 10.15, **HFS disks can no longer be read**.

This means that if you have CDs or DVDs using this format you will start seeing this error:

Could not mount 'X". (com.apple.DiskManagement.disenter error 49153.)

Disk Management Error 49153 Desktop
Disk Management Error 49153 Mobile

Now what?

There is no way around reading these disk media files in macOS Catalina and beyond. You will need to "rollback" to the previous MacOS or use an older iMac.

Remember this doesn't happen to all media. Only media files that used HFS disk format.

Note: This also applies to USB Thumb drives. If you have some old drives that suddenly stopped working, it could be this reason.

Tech Notes

There is a difference between HFS formats:

  • HFS - Mac OS Standard, Introduced with System 2.1 in September, 1985.
  • HFS+ - Mac OS Extended, Introduced as part of Mac OS 8.1 in January, 1998.

Apple stopped supporting HFS since macOS Sierra - which was released 3 years ago. Apple Still supports HFS+ format. Apple currently favors the Apple File System (APFS)

Netscape CD

Netscape Disk Utility

Using Disk Utility, I highlighted the file system being used my Netscape 6 CD. As you can see it was formatted for Max OS Standard. So now, if I want to get files off this CD, I have to use an old Mac. (Netscape had some cool space images on these CDs.)

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Boston Art Sphere

Sphire Mobile
Spire Desktop

Five Fun Facts

Located on 100 High Street, Boston Massachusetts.

These were created by Lars-Erik Fisk.

Completed and Installed on April 13, 2015 - Opening Day Fenway Park.

The Green Monster Sphere is located inside and features #27 at bat (Carlton Fisk). I can't tell which Yankee game this scoreboard is representing. I thought it might be the 1978 American League East tiebreaker, but the Red Sox scored their first hit in the 2nd inning.

Lars-Erik has a "Pizza Ball" on Eagle Street in North Adams. Other sphere artwork are displayed around Burlington, Vermont and at Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Hayward Pool Pump Leak

This summer we encountered an issue with a leak with the Hayward Pool Pump.

We have the Power Flo Matrix 1 HP. This seems perfect for our 24-round above ground pool. Previously we had a MagneTek Proline Pump - Model # SD-10-1N11CB. That pump lasted about 4-years.

The Hayward pump was purchased in 2009 - it close to the end of life. In my investigation. I discovered that the pump might be leaking water, as I see the dirt around the pump wet. Every place else is dry.

Hayward Pump Desktop2
Hayward Pump Leak Mobile

Investigating Steps

I have performed the following steps around the pump to see what could be happening:

  • I doubled checked all the joints and there's leakage.
  • I ran the pump to make sure that there's no issues while the pump is running.
  • I cleaned up the dirt around the pump to see if its leaking and where it could be leaking.

Watching the Water Level

Pool Measure Desktop
Pool Measure Mobile

One of the additional steps that I took was to measure the amount of water in the pool. I did this over a few hours - it definitely confirmed that we were losing water. Our leak is a bit slow.

Next Steps

Since I identified the problem, I disconnected the pump from the pool, so that we wouldn't be losing any more pool water. There is some water in the pump and sand filter, but that is the least of my concerns.

I'll be checking some local pool places in the next 24-hours to see if anyone has any pool pumps. Because of COVID-19, there are some pool supply shortage.

If I am not able to find something. I can investigate the leak a bit more and see if that a water seal could be a temporary fix. I don't know if something like Flex Tape would be a good short term solution.

  Filed under the Pool category. - Permalink

Getting Live Photos

Did you know that you can use Live Photo videos in your Final Cut Pro projects? Each Live Photo contains a 3-second video clip. This might be all you need to help describe some events/places. It's also useful if you want to create a montage of some event.

To get the video from a Live Video is a bit tricky. Once you get it, then it's just a matter of following the processes in the future.

Once you get the video clips, you treat them just like any other clips. These video clips will be in the 1440x1080 aspect ratio. Depending on your project, you will likely have to trip the clips so they fit in the aspect ratio that you are using.

Getting a Live Clip

There are three ways, that I know of, to properly get Live Photos from your iPhone into Final Cut Pro. Note: Live Photos movies will not export if you use AirDrop.

Using Apple Photos App

You can export videos from Live Photos in Apple Photos, but it has been done using a particular method.

After you select the images that you want to export, go under File and then Export, and then select "Export Unmodified Original..." This is important because if you used the "default" Export Photos option, you won't get the movies.

Pro Tip: Create a Smart Album for Live Photos, so that you know what you have available on your computer.

Photo Live Export

iMazing

iMazing is a great way to add/remove files from your phone. iMazing allows you to export the movie portions of the Live Photos, so your not missing out on the photos effects.

When you export a Live Photo image that has a movie connected to it, you'll get notified that there's a live photo. Simply check the "Include video files." to transfer the files.

iMazing Live Photos
Exporting Live Photos in iMazing

Just keep in mind that the "Include video files" is not checked by default.

Google Photos

Since March 2016, Google Photos properly saved Live Photos on backups. This means that you can access the video portion of a Live Photo.

When you download the Live file, the movies come along for the ride! To find all the Live Photos that you have backed up, a simple search for "Live Photos."

If you have used Google Photos for a while, for fun, search for "Live Photos 2016" to see all the old Live Photos.

Unzip the download and you'll see a Movie file along with the photo of the Live Picture. Simply add the movie to your

Sample Clip

This a quick clip that I put together from various Live Photo's taken last year at the Encore Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.

  Filed under the Final Cut Pro category. - Permalink

Early Evaluation

In QA, it's good to not have any bad surprises. This is especially true around code freeze. Nobody wants to encounter blockers or critical issues that may impact the ability to release on time.

This is why many companies implement an Early Evaluation of releases. It's a chance to see where the release branch is, and if there are any issues.

Basic Definition of Early Evaluation

Early Evaluation is when QA builds the latest version of the release branch to a dev box a few hours before code freeze. If the build is successful, QA runs a suite of Acceptance Test to see if the release branch is stable. If there are any blocking issues, QA will notify developers of the issues.

Early Evaluation2020

Main Purposes

There are three main components of the Early Evaluation:

Is the Release Branch really Stable - This is the time to find out build issues. Not at midnight or off-hours when code freeze happens. Key developers may not be near their computer to help out.

Are there any Database Migrator issues? Some developers may not check for migrator conflicts when merging their code in. Checking for migrators errors can help determine of certain functionality are working as expected.

Acceptance Testing - The QA team should have a suite of manual acceptance tests. (These are specific tests that QA has defined are critical for sign off) QA should be checking for any Blocking Issues This is also a good time to run automated acceptance tests. If there are any automation failures, QA should check to make sure its not related to release intended changes. Fixing these now will help with overnight automation runs.

Worth the Time and Effort

Code Freeze day can be crazy, but it's important to take a break and test out the release as part of the early evaluation. In the past, there has been a lot of good bugs found before code freeze, saving a lot of time during code freeze.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Gaming Tab in Facebook

Facebook did an update for their mobile app on iOS. One of the changes is adding a new gaming button on the bottom menu bar.

However, not everyone plays games on Facebook. Having the Gaming Tab option on the bottom of the screen can be annoying. Especially if you accidentally click on it because the icons are too close.

Facebook Gaming Desktop
Facebook Gaming Mobile

Removing the Gaming Tab

Its really easy to remove the tab. Here are the simple steps:

  1. Click and hold on the Gaming icon.
  2. You will get a popup that will ask you if you if you want to remove gaming from the shortcut bar.
  3. Click Remove.

That's it! Now you won't see the menu anymore!

  Filed under the iPhone Xs category. - Permalink

Clipdad.com

If you have a Podcast or a YouTube Channel, chances are you looking for some good royalty free background music. The music usually helps set the moon of the show.

The folks over at ClipDad.com put together a bunch of quality audio clips that you can simply download and add it to your collection. The nice thing is that it's free and you won't have to worry about a copyright strike.

If you want something more unique, there's a monthly premium plan. At $5 a month, you get access to the entire music catalog with unlimited downloads of all the music.

Website Description

A Clipdad or Clipmom is a person or being that has or can create music, audio, or video clips for you!

These audio or video clips are ROYALTY FREE. Which means? Just pay for the download once and use them in your projects whenever you want without paying (if they are in the "featured" sections). If they are in the "free" sections? They are just free to use whenever, free of cost.

Music For Projects
https://www.clipdad.com/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Path Finder 9 Productivity

Here are four Ways that Path Finder makes you more productive using your Macintosh Computer. Path Finder 9 is a powerful Finder replacement with lots of tools and utilities that make using the computer a lot of fun. (See my blog overview on Path Finder)

Menu Bar Application Access

Path Finder Menu

Quickly access many applications and documents right from the menu bar. No need to remember shortcuts or navigate the LaunchPad. Just click on the icon in the menu bar from any application and quickly go wherever you want.

There's a "Launch Application" feature where you can quickly go to your application with a quick search. The nice thing about this is that it contains more applications than what's available in the LaunchPad. Basically another way to get to your apps.

Size Browser

Path F Inder Size Browser

The Size Browser is a cool way to view your hard drive by file size. Simply click on each folder and start narrowing your way through your computer.

This isn't as pretty as DaisyDisk, but its just as practical. Path Finder's Size Browser fast and helps me navigate to the biggest files on my drive.

A cool feature of Size Browser is that is digs into Apple's Photo Library collections, so you can discover large files in there. Useful when you backup the Photo Library, and now you want to look into it.

Font Reports

Path Finder Font Report

This is a great way to get a snapshot of all the fonts that you have currently installed on your computer. You can print this out and have it handy for when you are looking for that perfect font for your headline.

Path Finder creates a new Rich Text Document, so you have the flexibility to increase the font size.

This is very useful when you manage multiple computers. The report can tell you a lot about what fonts are available.

Ratings Are Back!

Path Finder Rating

Remember when you could rate images in iPhoto? That was taken away with the new Photos app.

With Path FInder, you can now use ratings again! You don't need the alternative solution.

The nice thing is that you now can define ratings for any object. So you can rate photos, Word Documents, Folders and even Applications.

So, Why do this? Well you can use Smart Folders and only show the 5-Star applications you use every day.

The nice thing is that this carries over to the Finder, so you can use Spotlight and Search for 5-Star photos, folders, movies'etc.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Paul Revere Statue

One of the most popular shots in Boston is the Paul Revere Statue in the North End. Tourist from around the world come and learn about Paul Revere's history.

Paul Revere Desktop This view of the Paul Revere Mall with the Paul Revere statue is one of the most popular photo spots along the Freedom Trail.
Paul Revere Mobile This view of the Paul Revere Mall with the Paul Revere statue is one of the most popular photo spots along the Freedom Trail.

Fun Facts about the Paul Reveue Statue

The statue was created in 1886 by Cyrus Dallin.

The statue won first prize against other notable designers - Daniel Chester French (Concord Minuteman) and Thomas Ball (George Washington Equestrian Statue in the Public Gardens).

However it took 54 years for the City of Boston to buy and install it.

The clay model of the statue was completed in 1935 After that the statue was on display in the Caproni Galleries on Washington Street and for a while it was exhibited on the Esplanade.

The delays for Boston to purchase it was "for one reason or another." Some people say the delays were intentional because Cyrus Dallin was only 22-years old at the time he won against other famous designers.

Officially set up on the Paul Revere Mall on Thursday, September 19, 1940. The dedication ceremony was on the following Sunday, September 22nd at 2:30 pm.

Speakers at the dedication ceremony included Joseph F. O'Connell, Henry L. Shattuck, and Raymond Kelly. The great-great-great-grandson of Paul Revere was at the ceremony. About 10,000 people were at the ceremony.

The statue cost nearly a half-million dollars. The funding was controlled by the George White Fund

The statue is known as heroic, which basically means it is about one and half life-size.

Orginally some people suggested putting the statue in Copley square, at the foot of Mount Vernon Street - looking west towards Lexington and Concord. Another location some suggested was at the statehouse on the opposite side of the equestrian statue of General Hooker.

The statue base is Milford granite. It comes from Dennis F. McLaughlin. He won the bid at $7,930

Locals still call the Paul Revere Mall the original name: 'The Prado." The official name was changed when the Paul Revere Statue was dedicated.

According to city expenditures documents, to get the Paul Revere Mall up and running, it cost: $382,390.48 for the Land and Construction, the Tablets on the walls cost $16,293.26 and the statue cost $37,424.91.

Quote from the Dedication

Henry L. Shattuck, the orator of the day, said this at the Dedication:

'It is well we should honor and celebrate the achievements of Paul Revere and of our other heroes. It is just and fitting that we should sing their praises and take pride in their deeds.

But that is not enough.

We must not stop there. Nations do not live, progress, and prosper on memories of past glories. These patriots did not live for their country and die for their country in order that we might live softly. They looked to us, their descendants, to pick up and carry on the torch of liberty. They knew, and we should remember, that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance and that liberty is the heritage of the strong, not of the weak."

Parody Poem

Mr. Dallin had a sense of humor of the whole ordeal of getting the statue in the proper place. He wrote a parody on Longfellow's famous poem. This is what the sculptor wrote to Mayor Maurice J. Tobin:

'Listen. my children and you shall hear Of the ignoble failure of Boston to rear
The greatest creation of my long career. 
The Equestrian Statue of Paul Revere.
A citizens' committee of well-known men 
Selected my model from a competition of ten.
On July the fourth, eighteen hundred and eighty-five.
The committee of which no one now is alive
Made a contract with me all legally signed
To erect in Copley Souare my designed
To honor the hero whose cry of alarm
Aroused every Middlesex village and farm
For the country folk to be up and to arm
Alas! no statue now graces Copley Square
'T is enough to make even an angel swear
But being only human I refuse to despair.
And J hope that means will be found somewhere
So after the lapse of many a year
Due honor be paid to Paul Revere.'
--Cyrus E. Dalbn.

Finding the Statue

The statue is located at the Paul Revere Mall in the North End of Boston. It's located just off of Hanover Street.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Gorilla Leaf Rake 2.0

A quick followup to the August 3, 2016 Blog Post - Gorilla Leaf Rake.

The Gorilla Leaf Rake is still going strong.

Gorilla Leaf Rake Desktop
Gorilla Leaf Rake Mobile

Yes, that is the same Leaf Rake that I purchased back in 2013. My $35 investment is still holding strong. After many years of pulling out leaves and sticks from the pool, the Gorilla Leaf Rake looks good. I can't remember anything else that I purchased for the pool that has lasted that long.

Not only that the leaf rake got some serious use over those years.

While I complained about the purchase back in 2016, I can safely say that it was a good investment.

Buying a Leaf Rake

The only place I have see the Gorilla Leaf Rake was at Leslie's Pool. However, they don't appear to have any in stock at the moment. Maybe they will get some in by September for people that may need the pool rake

There are similar pool rakes on Amazon called FibroPool Professional Leaf Skimmer Net. They cost about $32. I don't know about the quality of the plastic.

  Filed under the Pool category. - Permalink

Ultimate Transitions Pack

I have been checking out various add ons for Final Cut Pro. There are a lot of great third party options for transitions, titles, and audio. The Ultimate Transitions Pack from ajstudio.shop is a great collection of transitions at a great price.

Apple's Final Cut Pro comes with 95 high-quality transitions. With the 203 transitions in this pack, you can expand your available collection to 295 transitions. Now you'll have lots of options to make the video look awesome.

There are many "basic" transitions that I have been looking for that I used in Wondershare Filmora: Smoke, Warp, and Zoom. I have found all the transitions to be excellent quality and easy to configure. Most of the time, just a simple drag and drop works perfectly fine.

UltimateTransitionPack_thumb.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Check out the page on ajstudio.shop for some animated gifs of all the transitions that you get with the package. There are some transitions that I don't see using: Shape Whipe, Comic, and Fire. But the overall package is still a good deal.

Pack Features

  • 200+ High End Transitions
  • Choose from 21 different Categories
  • Easy to edit in Final Cut Pro X or Apple Motion
  • Simple Drag & Drop
  • Up to 4K Resolution
  • Variable length
  • All values and colors are editable
  • Compatible with Final Cut X 10.3 or newer
  • Compatible with Motion 5.3 or newer
  • Works with Videos and Images
  • Video tutorials included

Limited Time Deal

The website is promoting the package deal for $23, or $.11 for each transition - certainly seems like a good deal to me. (Regular Price is $89) I would recommend getting it because you never know when you want a particular transition to help spice up a video.

The sale seems to occur every day. So I don't think you to rush to get this. Also, I notice that "The Ultimate Transitions Pack Final Cut Pro X"" also appears in the Videohive.net website for $35. This appears to be the exact same package deal.

  Filed under the Final Cut Pro category. - Permalink

Google Lighthouse

Google's Lighthouseis a useful extension to test the performance of any website. It's useful to learn about the load times and suggest ways to improve the site.

This is built into every chrome browser, simply go to the Developer Tools page, Command - Option - I, and then click on the Lighthouse on the top menu bar.

Official Product Description

Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. You can run it against any web page, public, or requiring authentication. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, SEO and more.

You can run Lighthouse in Chrome DevTools, from the command line, or as a Node module. You give Lighthouse a URL to audit, it runs a series of audits against the page, and then it generates a report on how well the page did. From there, use the failing audits as indicators on how to improve the page. Each audit has a reference doc explaining why the audit is important, as well as how to fix it.

Google LightHouse

Useful for QA?

This is a useful tool to check for broken images that may go unnoticed during testing. Especially since the test is run on another server outside of VPN.

In addition, the "properly size" images can highlight any images that may cause slowness in load times - particularly important for mobile users.

Also useful for QA to test login processes. Since some portions of the site may require logins, you can use this tool to see how much of the site is exposed without logging in.

Easy to run, and just about instant results make it a quick tool to assist QA with some general page testing.

They are constantly adding new audit metrics using industry best practices.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Magic Arm with Clamp

One of the cool camera accessories that I recently purchased was the Fomito 11 inch Inch Articulating Magic Arm + Super Clamp for Camera, LCD Monitor, LED Video Light. (Otherwise known as a Magic Arm) I have found this to be a really cool camera tool.

A magic arm is basically a tool that has a clamp on one end. and a tripod mounts on the other end.

I have found it serves two useful services:

  1. It gives you the power to extend your tripod by having having a second camera on the tripod.
  2. Mount a camera and then angle the camera any way that you want.

Tripod Extension

Magic Arm Church Desktop
Magic Arm on a tripod at Church
Magic Arm Church Mobile
Magic Arm on a tripod at Church

This camera tool allows me to control two cameras on a tripod.

Previously I had two cameras set up to record a church event on two tripods. This was a problem because it involved managing both tripods, it also means that at some point I would have to move two tripods so they wouldn't get in the way. It was also difficult to manage the content between the two tripods.

Now with the Magic Arm, I can better manage two cameras. One camera controls the wide shot and the other controls the close-up shots. Now it happens on one tripod.

Production Tip: Having a second camera is great for filler shots or with audio as some camera handle audio better than others.

Mount Anywhere

Magic Arm Tree Desktop
Watching a birds nest with the Magic Arm
Magic Arm Tree Mobile
Watching a birds nest with the Magic Arm

The nice thing about the magic arm is that you can mount it anyplace. Even in a tree. The grip is very strong and can hold an iPhone or a GoPro for hours. ( I wouldn't put a DSLR on it. )

However, the magic arm isn't safe for wet conditions as I suspect over time it could get rusty or the joint may not work well. If you are doing this for a rainy, damp environment. You'll probably better off with a Joby GorillaPod.

Magic Arm is Great to Have

I highly recommend getting one of these for your photography toolkit. It can come in handy for a variety of reasons.

There are different manufactors for the magic arm, I found the Fomito 11 inch Inch Articulating Magic Arm + Super Clamp for Camera, LCD Monitor, LED Video Light best for my needs. The Pluto Magic Arm with Clamp over at B&H looks good.

You never know when you need to have a second camera mount on a tripod. The magic arm is a great tool to have, just in case you need it.

  Filed under the Shopping category. - Permalink

Random List Generator

Today many software engineering teams are working from home. Usually, weekly standups are set up so people can talk about what they are working on and if they need any help. Having a different order list is a good way to change up the standup meeting.

Random.org's List Randomizer is a perfect solution. Simply put in a list of names, click Randomize and instantly you have this week's standup meeting order.

Website Description

This form allows you to arrange the items of a list in random order. The randomness comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs.

List Randomizer
https://www.random.org/lists/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Inkscape Spray Tool

Have you wondered how to get this done?

BBEdit Icons Spray
Lots of BBEdit Icons!

Here's a neat way to empathize wearing a mask:

Face Mask Spray
"Wonder if we should wear a mask?"

On the Macintosh, the only application that I found to get this effect is Inkscape. You can't do this in Photoshop Elements or Affinity Photo. The nice thing is that Inkscape is free, so you don't have to worry about paying for an application just to use this tool.

Inkscape Spray

The spray tool in Inkscape basically sprays whatever the selected object is. Simply select an object, click on the spray tool and then start spreading the image the way you would like. Each spray creates a new image on the current selected layer.

You can get tricky by creating different sizes on different layers. In addition, there's a lot of configurations that may make your image unique.

Spray Options

There are several options that impact what happens when you click the mouse button:

Width - How big of a spray area do you want. That is, how big of a spray nozzle do you want.

Amount - How often should a image be placed as you move the mouse.

Rotation - Set if you want the image to rotate as you spray.

Scale - Each image sprayed will randomly change in size. Don’t want this? Then use 0.

Scatter - Do you want the scatter the images around?

Focus - Where should the image appear relative to where you are spraying? A large number means that the image will not appear directly where you click.

Cool Effect

This is a really cool effect to use for blog post or category headers. You can combine the images, change color and so much more.

So if your out of a clue for a blog post graphic, why not try the Spray Option in Inkscape.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Appeal to the Great Spirit Statue

In front of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is a statue of an Indian on a horse. This equestrian statue is called the "Appeal to the Great Spirit."

Description of the Art:

The statue message is of a North American Indian on horseback with arms outstretched and face uplifted in the last appeal to the Great Spirit for and strength in the battle which his race had been waging for centuries with the white man.

Appeal Spirit Desktop
Appeal Spirit Mobile

Interesting Facts about the Statue

Created by Cyrus Edward Dallin who also did the equestrian figure of Paul Revere in Boston's North End.

The statue was created in Paris for the 1909 Paris Salon - an art show in Paris France. It won a a gold medal.

It cost $12,000 ($333,442.67 in 2019) to secure the art work for Boston. A special fun was setup to raise the money.

The Boston Park Commission wanted the statue was to be placed at the corner of Boylston and Charlesgate West - otherwise known as Gaston Square.

On January 23, 1912, it was installed outside the main entrance to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

The pedestal was designed by Charles Howard Walker.

Some call have called it, "One of the best known equestrian statues in the world."

Cyrus Edward Dallin died on November 14, 1944. He is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Cyrus Dallin Art Museum

You can learn a lot more about Cyrus Dallin work at the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum in Arlington, Massachusetts. (The museum is currently closed because of COVID-19)

Public tours cost $5 per person requested donation.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Pool Tools for Installation

Recently we took on the task on putting up an above ground pool. After enduring the long task of putting it together, there are some tools that we wished we knew about before starting the tasks.

So here are the tools we wished we knew ahead of time. Luckily we had many of these tools on hand, but a few of them we had to go and buy.

Pool Wall Desktop
Pool Wall Mobile

Ten Tools that We Wished We Knew About

Steel Poles - these are handy to have when putting up the walls of the pool. They help keep the tracks in their positions when your trying to get the beginning and end of the pool together. Basically you position them around the inside of the pool to help widen the pool.

True Temper - This helps level the ground on the pool. This is needed so that the ground is nice and flat when the liner goes in.

Garden Poles and Clamps - These are needed to keep the walls up while your trying to put the walls together. Make sure to get plenty of poles around the pool - at least 6 for a 24" round pool.

Outdoor Vacuum - This is needed when you want to get the dirt out of the wall rails. You can use a brush, but we found that an outdoor vacuum was more effective.

Lots of Screwdrivers - Have plenty of screwdrivers so that people can help put up the walls.

Large Tape Measure - At least 100" would have been good to have. It would be very useful to find the center of the circle and to figure out if we had a perfectly round pool.

Heavy Leather Work Gloves - Useful to handle some of the old rusted pool parts.

Drill Hex Bits - If you are removing an old above ground pool, you may find that some screws will be hard to remove. You may have some luck using a drill hex bit.

Dolly / Hand Truck - The pool wall is very heavy. Having a dolly made it easier to move it from the box to the center of the pool.

Magnetic Pick Up Tool - Very useful to skim the dirt of the pool bottom for any screws or metal bits. Don't risk the liner breaking, before putting it in, do a quick check of the pool area.

  Filed under the Pool category. - Permalink

Final Cut Duration

When editing clips, sometimes it's helpful to know what the length of a clip is. This information is presented in the info panel of the clip - along with other useful information.

Getting the duration of a Clip

  • Select a Clip.
  • Type in Command - Option - 4 to open the inspector - select the 'Info Inspector' icon
  • You'll see the 'Duration' as one of the fields on the left.

You can't change the value here, but you can in the timeline.

Info Inspector Duration

When You Modify a Clip

When you modify a clip, you see two values:

FCP Quick Clip Help

The left value is the current duration of the clip, and the right value is the increase/decrease of the modification that your making.

  Filed under the Final Cut Pro category. - Permalink

Ask QA: Should You Always Report Bugs?

Someone recently asked me:

Should you keep raising bugs that you know won't get fixed? Isn't it a waist of people's time during the ticket triage to look at very minor issues?

Answer: First of all, QA should not be looking for reasons to NOT create bug reports. QA should file tickets for every bug that they encounter. Then they should assign the right priority to that issue. It's up to Product/Dev to decide on how to triage the minor issue.

Tickets should be created for every issue. Here are some reasons why:

Sometimes they get fixed: In some instances, I have seen developers fix multiple issues in a common code base just because they have the file open and can make the modifications.

It's a test of a good QA Team - Engineers and Product will see that QA is active and finding things. It shows that QA is looking for issues and reporting them. If customers are reporting issues that QA isn't finding, well that could question how good the QA team is.

Bug Patterns - I have found that finding little bugs can lead to finding the bigger bugs. When developers are sloppy in some areas, it's a sign that they may be sloppy in another area. So when I find a minor issue. It makes me stop and think, is there another issue here that may not be so obvious.

Maybe the Feature isn't Ready, yet - If QA finds a lot of minor issues, it's might be something that the product team to sit back and take notice. Should a new feature/product really go to market with so many minor issues? If they aren't addressed now, when will they be?

Don't be Discouraged

Minor tickets can be frustrating to find and report - even if QA knows that no one will read the full bug. However, there may be a time when the bug will get fix, so it's important to report the issue.

Some Pointers

  • Don't spend too much time writing up the minor tickets. Just do the bare minimum on reporting. If the Dev team needs clarification, you can always go back and add value to the report.
  • Generate a report of the minor bugs. If you do daily or weekly QA reports, make sure to highlight the minor bugs found. This will help highlight the issues that QA has found. There's strength in numbers.
  • Combine Issues - When you have some downtime, revisit some of the old minor issues and see if it makes sense to combine several minor issues into a single ticket - which may make the new ticket a higher priority.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

GoPro Plus Service

Recently I signed up for the GoPro Plus service. This is a subscription service that gives you Unlimited Cloud storage, extra insurance for the GoPro and discounts on mounts and accessories for the GoPro.

It cost $4.17/mo for the yearly plan ($50.04) or $4.99 a month for the monthly plan.

Unlimited Cloud Storage

The main reason that I got the GoPro Plus is for the Unlimited Cloud Storage. This allows me to upload media content that was created on the GoPro instantly when the GoPro is connected to a registered WiFi point and is charging.

Here's What Was Happening:

I wanted this plan because I was having a hard time getting some of the videos off my GoPro. For some reason when I insert the microSD card into my iMac the computer wouldn't recognize the card.

My Short-Term Work around:

To fix this I was connecting the GoPro to the iPhone and then uploading the media into the GoPro app. I would then have to move the media to the Images folder. Then move it to the computer. It's a lot of steps.

Once I did get the media off the card, I tried reformatting the card and that didn't help.

Life is easier with the GoPro Plus

Using the GoPro Plus Service, the uploads happen automatically, in the full video resolution. I won't miss any video or pictures taken with the GoPro.

Now I simply go to the plus.gopro.com website on my phone or computer and download the media. It's nice the way GoPro has this setup, the most recent media is on top. You get a thumbnail view of all the media sorted by date. This makes it easy to find media short on the same day.

In addition, I can add media to my GoPro Could account on the iPhone or via the iMac. I simply visit my GoPro page and click on the "Add Media" on the top right of the page. I can upload multiple videos at one. The nice thing is that GoPro will check for duplications. So I can simply search my computer for all the GoPro videos and upload them.

Postive Results so Far!

In the first week of using this service, I have backed up 307GB of data. Saving a lot of valuable disk space. I know I don't really need to forever keep these files, and I certainly don't plan to. However, it's a lot of space that I can now reuse.

I now find that I am using the GoPro more. I am having a lot of fun with various attachments and taking creative videos.

  Filed under the GoPro category. - Permalink

HTML Cleaner

An HTML Cleaner is handy to have when you want to clean up some text for code review, or when your copy/paste code for stackoverflow.com.

I personally like html-cleaner.com as my personal resource. I like to remove links on some raw HTML, as I don't need to show them on some Wiki pages.

HTML Cleaner is awesome for fixing up Microsoft Word HTML exports.

Website Description

Get rid of your dirty markup with the free online HTML Cleaner. It's very easy to compose, edit, format, and minify the web code with this online tool. Convert Word docs to tidy HTML and any other visual documents like Excel, PDF, Google Docs etc. It's extremely simple and efficient to work with the two attached visual and source editor which respond instantly to your actions.

H T M L Cleaner
https://html-cleaner.com/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

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