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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 2021

August QA Memes

Here are some more QA Memes added to my QA Graphic Library

TrumpBestDay
Trump - "Best Day Ever"

CodeFreezeComing2021
Code Freeze is Coming

LittleScienceChickenSoup
QA Quote

PoorPlanningOnYourPart
"Poor Planning on Your Part..."

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Eddie Andelman

Here's another clip from the Morton Downey Jr Show - The 1989 New Years Special. This clip features Eddie Andelman and his sports predictions for 1989.

Eddie was a favorite by Morton Downey Jr and he enjoyed him as a guest.

The audio on this clip is pretty bad, I still have the original tape. I'll see if there is a way to fix it.

Eddie Andelman on the Morton Downey Jr Show

  Filed under the Media category. - Permalink

Amazon Deals

You should know that Amazon doesn't always have the best deals. They certainly have the beat select but don't expect them to have the best deals.

You should shop around.

Screwdriver Example

This past weekend I was in a local hardware store buying some motor oil for my lawn motor. As I was browsing around the store, I was checking some of the screwdrivers. I was thinking that I should pick up a Phillips and a slotted screwdriver. You can never have too many screwdrivers.

I saw that they were under $3 each and decided to get them.

When I got home, I pulled out my Amazon app, and scanned the barcode. I was surprised that the exact same screwdriver is selling for $11.90.

Wow!

Amazon Price

Screw Driver Amazon
Wow. So Expensive!

Local Store Price

Local Screwdiver
Receipt From Local Store

Other Products Too

I have seen this with other products, such as USB Wall Chargers and Lightning cable. I have seen these at "Five Below" for around $5 each. They go for about $8+ on Amazon.com.

Shop Smart on Amazon.com

No question that Amazon.com is a very convenient place to shop. I would recommend checking local stores for smaller items as they may be cheaper.

Just because Amazon.com offers "free shipping" doesn't mean that you're getting the best deal in town.

  Filed under the Shopping category. - Permalink

Colorcinch

There's lots of online graphic solutions, and some are better than others. One that I recently encountered is colorcinch.

What makes colorcinch different from others is that they focus on photo editing and they have a lot of cool Effects and Overlays. This helps make your photos really stand out and give them a modern look.

colorcinch has the basic tools: crop, resize, rotate. It's their other tools that make them stand out from others. They have 2.5 million photos, graphics, and icons - an awesome collection to make your photo unique.

Website Description

Our all-in-one creative platform helps you achieve professional and stunning results with less time and virtually no experience.

Resize, enhance and transform ' use our wide selection of essential features to customize and beautify your artwork.

You can try out Colorcinch for free, some of the tools do require a purchase to download the image. It cost $5.99 a month (or $3.99 for the annual plan)

colorcinch
https://www.cartoonize.net/

Sample Images

Power Book SFO.jpg
This is using the Painting Style Number: Fx006

Silicon Valley2003.
This is using the Cartoonizer Style Number: FX001

Mystery Testing Cartoon
An image from thispersondoesnotexist.com converted to three cartoonize effects. The original is in the top left.

Tools Information

Effects

  • Cartoonizer - 30 Different styles to select from.
  • Digital Art - 12 Different styles to select from.
  • Sketcher - 19 Different styles to select from.
  • Painting - 7 Different styles to select from. (Fx006 is my favorite)

Filters

  • 16 Different Filters. You can preview the various options available under each filter before applying them.

Overlays

  • Texture - 50 Different styles to select from!
  • Sun Flare & Haze - 40 Different styles to select from!
  • Light Leaks - 40 Different styles to select from!
  • Bokeh - 50 Different styles to select from!
  • Shadows - 16 Different styles to select from!
  • Fog - 20 Different styles to select from!
  • Falling Snow - 30 Different styles to select from!
  • Floating Dust - 30 Different styles to select from!
  • Lights - 40 Different styles to select from!
  • Specialty - 40 Different styles to select from!

More Tools

  • Freehand Drawing
  • Crop & Resize
  • Straighten & Rotate
  • Exposure
  • Sharpen & Blur
  • Color & Vibrance
  • Text Editor
  • Multiple Layers
  • Export & Share

Highly Recommended

Colorcinch is worth checking out. It's super easy to convert any image into a cartoon image. This is a lot cheaper than paying someone on Fiverr!

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

PhotoScape X Blog Tools

Photoscape X has a lot of great graphic tools. This makes it a must have application for blogging or social media posting. Here are three creative things that you can easily do in PhotoScape X.

Single Color Image

Easily make one color stand out in your image.

Photoscape Point Color2021a
I used the effect to only show the green in this photo

Under the Adjustments section, select Point Color / Emphasize Color (Its 8 options down on the left.) Use the color picker to select what color you want to keep. Use the Background Saturation picker to select if the non-color should be Black/White or have a slight color.

Miniature Effect

This transforms a landscape image to look like a miniature. This is a creative way to change a boring landscape into something that pops.

Miniature Effect2021

  • Open up an image that has a landscape.
  • Select Miniature from the regular Tools menu, its just below the Resize option.
  • Use the selector to adjust the focus area. Make sure the circle isn't too small. For most situations the default value has the best effect.

Cloud Background

Generate a unique sky for your background.

Photo Scape Cloud Effect
Simple cloud image in PhotoScape.

  • Create a new image in the size you want (Example 1920 x 1080)
  • Set the background as any shade of blue
  • Select Edit then the "Light" menu at the top
  • Select Nature
  • Scroll down and select any Fog pattern

Creative Tip: After you select a Fog Pattern, You can go back to the Light menu and select another fog pattern. (Be sure to check out the Smoke patterns.)

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Framingham Centre Civil War Memorial Statue

If you drove around the Village Green at Framingham Center, chances have you probably seen a large status. This is located in front of the Edgell Memorial Library.

Framingham Civil War Statue

Eight Things I Learned About The Statue

Official Name of the statue is Framingham Centre Civil War Memorial Statue

Statue was built in 1872 as a special memorial for Framingham residences that gave their lives during the Civil War.

The sculptor was Martin Milmore. Some of his other works include The Soldiers and Sailor Monument in the Boston Commons, the Statue of John Glover on Commonwealth Avenue, and more. You can see Martin Milmore's signature on the back bottom of the statue.

It was made by Ames Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Massachusetts. On the bottom front right, you can see the company name etched in the statue. You can also see the year it was made: 1872.

It cost about $3,000 to build ($65,788.19 in 2020) and was completely funded by George Phipps

The statue was originally located inside the building but moved outside around the turn of the century. There is a tablet inside that lists the 27 names of the Framingham men who died in the Civil War. The statue was likely located in the center of the Edgell Memorial Library entrance hall.

The statue was dedicated at the same time as the Edgell Memorial Library: Saturday, February 22, 1873. (February 22, 2022, will be the 150 anniversary) George B. Brown, Esq. gave the dedication speech.

George B. Brown, Esq. was chosen as a speaker as he organized the fundraising and construction of the memorial library.

Names on the Monument

These are the names of the 27 Framingham Soldiers that died in the Civil War. Most of the people on this list are buried at the Edgell Grove Cemetery & Mausoleum.

David Brigham Eames, John Carpenter, Timothy S. Boynton, William C. Babcock, Nathan D. Hosmer, Alfred B. Moulton, William F. Norris, James A. Rice, Sylvanus Phipps, John Hickey, Oscar G. Brown, Heman F. Cheney, Daniel W. Parmenter, Hector Ingraham, Nelson H. Howe, Major T. Harmon, John Ryan, Henry M. Putney, Charles Wright, Jonas E. Melvin, William D. Hudson, Henry A. Barker, Summer A. Davis, William F. Bullard, Theodore F. Russell, Benjamin Wadsworth, J. Sully Dench

Dedication Address

Part of the Address Delivered by George B. Brown, Esq., at the Dedication of Memorial Hall and Library Building, Framingham, February 22, 1873

"Time and tide wait for no man;' but for the completion of this building, we are fully aware you have had to wait many a sun's circuit, and many a flood and ebbing tide. All the whys and wherefores of this delay may per mission, rest alone in the bosoms of those who are familiar with all the details. If the cost for the faithful and worthy completion of this structure may seem large, and taxation to fulfill the obligations its erection imposes seem onerous, let us be consoled by the thought, that in our day and generation, if we have not done all that we could, we have at least left one monument of our more generous impulses, around which our children may gather with feelings of honest pride for the memories of their fathers....

Friends, the building the completion of which we today celebrate will decay. Time's ceaseless, tireless agents are already at work for its destruction; and some future age shall look on its crumbled ruins. But there is a MEMORIAL HALL of vaster proportions, whose walls age shall not crumble, nor time deface; and in niche and nave, on wall and ceiling, as on columns that support its measure less dome, are tablets, whose chiseled letters are the names of earth's past nobility, of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. May their example in the past, blending with their soft cadences from above, whisper to us, 'Write your names also on the tablets of heaven!'

Work Cited:

Information about the Framingham Centre Civil War Memorial Statue was gathered from various news stories and published reports done at the time.

  Filed under the Framingham category. - Permalink

The Oregon Club

The Oregon Club is hidden gem located on the backroads of Ashland. It's a unique place as it started out as the place to go to get drinks during Prohibition.

Oregon Club

Five Things We Learned

  • Reservations Recommended - There's very limited seating. Reservations are highly recommended.
  • Quiet Restaurant - The inside dining room is small and has the feel of being at someone's house and not at a restaurant. There is a piano in one of the dining rooms, but it was more of decorations.
  • Lots of Gluten-Free Options - The waitress worked with us on what meals they were able to make Gluten Free. They were very knowledgeable on what meals could be made safe for her. My daughter selected the Roasted Chicken.
  • Appetizers - We went with the Roasted Pears with Prosciutto for the appetizer. It seemed to be the only one a 10-year old might like. She didn't like it. I thought it was pretty good.
  • Roasted Chicken - The Roasted Chicken was good. The only problem was that it contained bones, I think she was thinking more of chicken strips than 1/4 of a chicken. She had coleslaw and baked beans as a side dish. She enjoyed it.

  Filed under the Gluten Free category. - Permalink

QA Fail: Citizen's Bank Card Replacement

If you live in New England, you probably have seen the Citizens Bank 'Ding' commercial several times. They are promoting the use of the Citizens Bank card for all type of transactions.

In case you missed it, here's the commercial:

Lost Card? You got a Problem!

What happens if you lose your card, or your card gets involved in a Credit Card Data Breach?

Your screwed.

Citizens Bank will replace your card with a new number - but it will take 3 to 5 business for the new card to arrive. Yup, you'll be without the use of a Debit Card for at least 3 to 5 days. Good thing they are promoting using it for everyday purchases.

So much for paying for that Pumpkin Spice Latte with the Ding...

Citizen Bank Branch

QA Fails: Citizen's Bank Card Replacement

Five Reasons QA Fails the Citizen's Bank Card Replacement Process:

  • It's 2021, there's no reason why it should take 3 to 5 business days to get a new card.
  • Credit Card Data breaches are happening all the time. So regardless of how careful you are with your credit card number - the number could get stolen because of a merchant's bad security.
  • Why would you encourage people to use it for everyday purchases but not have a system in place to get new cards out quicker?
  • Many translations require a credit card for purchases - such as parking garages. Cash won't help you if you need to park at the Prudential Center Parking garage.
  • I know that many people carry multiple credit cards, so not having a single card isn't a big deal. However, many people are trying to get out of credit card debt.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Car Warranty Calls

This week's media feature - Dealing with the Car Warranty Calls...

Just like most people, I get a lot of calls about how my car warranty has been expired and this is the final chance to get an extended warranty before they close the file.

Sometimes the people that call me don't know what car I have. They expect me to "give" them the information by verifying my car make and model.

Remember: When they ask to verify information, they are really asking you to give them information.

This call ends with me getting the exact car miles and calling them back with the info:

Oh, I can't call them back, because they spoof the phone number. Stop calling me with spoof numbers tricking me to think it's an important call.

  Filed under the Media category. - Permalink

Running Python on the Command Line

Python3 Monitor

Have you ever run into a problem executing a python3 file where you would get the following error:

  • OSError: cannot open resource
  • env: python3: Operation not permitted
  • python3: bad interpreter: Operation not permitted.

Easy Fix

Changes are you have the following header in that Python file:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

To make it work, change the header to:

#!/usr/bin/env /usr/bin/python3

Reasoning

This is probably happening because Python3 is not pointing to the right version of Python3.

The easy fix, is put in the full path of Python3. For most installations, it should be /usr/bin/python3. (Apple does a good job of keeping up with the current Python version.)

File Permissions

One last thing...

If your still having problems, make sure that the file permissions are set correctly.

chmod 755 filename.py

  Filed under the Bash category. - Permalink

Zombie Pumpkins

Hard to believe but about a month from now, you'll see pumpkins at the supermarket. Where has the year gone?

If your into creative pumpkin carvings, you should check out zombiepumpkins.com. They have a huge selection of pumpkin templates. Simply print out the template and attach it to your pumpkin and carve away.

  • They have been creating templates for 18-years. That's a long time for a website with a focus only on one holiday.
  • There are 18 categories to select from. If your unsure of a particular category, you can always use the search engine.
  • Currently they have over 500-designs to pick from.

Website Description

Since 2002, Zombie Pumpkins has confidently cured carving cravings as the premier provider of pumpkin patterns. Hundreds of stencil designs are here, ready to print immediately. From classic creatures to famous monsters, you'll find designs for all skill levels - from nervous beginners and experienced maniacs. Browse the categories to find your favorites, and join us when you're ready.

Zombie Pumpkins
https://www.zombiepumpkins.com/

Not 100% Free

Zombiepumpkins.com has a limited number of designs available for free, the rest you have to be a member.

It's actually not bad to join. There are four plans that allow you to download the designs. I think the $5 plan is a good plan, you get to download 25 patterns over the next 9-months. This is cheaper than getting a book at the store plus you get to pick the designs that you'll actually use.

If you think this is too early to post, go check out all the Halloween decorations at Lowes and Homedepot.

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Office Layout

Over the past year I have been working hard to get my desk in productive shape. I have multiple monitors - which is great. The thing that I have been struggling with is getting it all to work.

After playing around with different configurations, I finally got something to work. Here's my current monitor setup.

Home Office Layout Summer2021

MacBook

This computer is my Slack headquarters. The only application that I have open on this display is Slack. This way I can easily respond to messages and see what is going on with various teams.

I know I could just enable notifications to see alerts, but I find it easy to have the application open so that I can keep an eye out.

Applications Used Here: Slack. (Occasionally I'll park Cypress task window so that it's not in the way.)

20" - Apple Cinema Display

This is my primary monitor. When I am working on automation or graphics this is where I am working. It's not as big as the Thunderbolt display, but it seems to be the perfect size to stay focus.

I'll have Chrome open with various tabs pinned to work-related responsibilities - such as email.

Applications Used Here: Chrome and BBEdit.

27" - Thunderbolt Display

This is my overflow display. Here is where I'll do some development work or browse around the Internet. This computer is wide and I usually have multiple apps open to get things done.

There are times when I use this computer to watch the Chrome console while automation runs. It's great to have windows side-by-side. Having my daily goals up on this display makes it easy to stay on track. I find that I tend to stay focused more on my goals.

Applications Used Here: Affinity Designer, BBEdit, DayOne, Notion and more.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Gregory B Vilionitsky Bridge

Like many New England towns, Framingham has a lot of special monuments to remember various people and events. One sign that people may not notice is on a bridge on Route 9. The bridge over the Sudbury river is called the Gregory B Vilionitsky Memorial Bridge.

Gregory Vilidnitsky Bridge

Who was Gregory B Vilionitsky

Gregory B Vilionitsky was a MassDOT engineer that was killed when a drunk driver crashed into a construction site. This accident occurred on September 14, 2010, at 10:43 p.m. Gregory B Vilionitsky was 57 and a father of two.

Gregory B Vilionitsky was born and raised in Russia. He worked on various road projects in Israel. A few years ago he moved his family from Russia to America for a better life.

How the Bridge Dedication Came About

Representative Chris Walsh sponsored Bill H.3572 which dedicated the bride in Gregory B Vilionitsky memory. The bill was filed on June 27, 2011 - 286 days after the accident. It became active on December 28, 2012.

The bride dedication ceremony was on June 13, 2013.

The accident occurred on Rte. 9 near the Framingham/Southborough border - near the corner of California Ave and Route 9.

In 2009, Gregory B Vilionitsky actually helped construct the bridge that now bears his name.

Sign at the Bridge

In Memory of Civil Engineer,
Gregory B. Vilidnitsky

Who was unparalleled
in his spirit, charisma, and passion
in all aspects of life.

9/16/1952 to 9/14/2010

Drunk Driver

Maine resident Jeremy Gardner pleaded guilty to driving drunk and vehicular homicide charges stemming from the incident and in 2012 he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

  Filed under the Framingham category. - Permalink

D Ellis Sugarloaf

Last week my daughter was on vacation near Sugarloaf, Maine. One day while playing Disc Golf, she was looking for a lunch place that had Gluten Free.

Via the "Find Me Gluten Free App" she found D'Ellis Sugarloaf.

Dellies Gluten Free

Four Things We Learned

  • D'Ellis Sugarloaf is only open for breakfast and lunch - great place to go to get energy for skiing.
  • very sandwich can be made with Gluten Free bread - or no bread.
  • They don't have a dedicated toaster - so you can't toast your gluten free bread.
  • My daughter says that the sandwich was good, and certainly would go back if ever in the area again.

Finding D'Ellis Sugarloaf

D'Ellis Sugarloaf is Located at: 5 Village West, Carrabassett, ME 04947 (207) 237-2490

Specific Location on Google Maps.

  Filed under the Gluten Free category. - Permalink

QA Fail: Boston.com Headline graphic

This week's fail is the headline image for a story on Boston.com:

Boston Headline Graphic Fail

Three Reasons this fails QA

  1. This is Boston.com why would you use a screenshot of a map?
  2. Don't you have a personal library of stock photos of the Back Bay? For breaking news like this? Such as street signs or landscape views.
  3. If you don't have a valid stock photo, perhaps using a "Breaking News" would be better than a screenshot of a map. (Make a note of the missing stock photo so one can be taken at a later date.)

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Commute to Boston

Today I had to drive into Boston for work. I decided to hook up my GoPro Hero 9 camera to the dashboard and record a time-lapse of my morning and evening commute.

The video starts at Temple Street in Framingham and ends at the Christian Science Center Parking garage. The evening commute starts in the Christian Science Center garage and ends on Route 9 in Framingham.

The traffic wasn't all that bad as many people are still working from home. In a few weeks, more people will be going back into the office.

Framingham to Boston via Mass Pike

  Filed under the Media category. - Permalink

Unconventional Ways to Generate More Business Leads

If you've tried everything else, it's time to consider some unconventional ways to generate more business leads - you might be surprised!

Unconventional Ways to Generate More Business Leads

Leads are crucial to successfully running and growing a business. But maintaining momentum in generating them is not easy. In a field as dynamic as marketing, trends and best practices change all the time. So, what worked for you in the past few years might not be working anymore. This can lead to your lead generation stagnating. To get the business juices flowing again, you might want to consider unconventional ways to generate more business leads instead. Some of them are a bit risky, a bit difficult, or a bit strange. But you'd be surprised at how effective a novel strategy can be. In the end, it might pay off in more ways than one.

Why should you use unconventional ways to generate more business leads?

Lead generation refers to the process of getting people informed about and interested in what you have to offer. It is, therefore, the first step toward converting someone into a customer. This makes lead generation vital to the survival of any business. But generating new leads is not always easy. If you are a small business without a lot of reaches or if you're in a seasonal industry, for example, you'll probably experience periods where you struggle to drum up excitement for your products and services. This is the perfect time to turn to the more uncommon ways of generating leads. They'll make you stand out from your competition and help attract audiences that you previously couldn't.

Young people using a laptop.
New types of marketing lead to new types of customers.

What are some of the best unconventional ways to generate more business leads?

The problem with unconventional strategies is that not many people are using them so they're often not that well tested. This makes it difficult to know what to expect - will you find success or disaster? If you're worried, focus on the following tactics that definitely work:

Try new and interesting types of content

There's no denying that content marketing is a great way to generate leads. But if all you do is write blog posts, you will eventually run out of interesting topics and people who respond to the written word. So it's important to mix it up a little - instead of writing this week, why don't you try your hand at an infographic? You can even learn how to create interesting videos to post on social media. If you're feeling brave, hosting and streaming a conference or a lecture about something can also be a good idea. Or you can post quizzes that your users will enjoy. Of course, you shouldn't abandon blogging forever; the point is to branch out and offer different things.

Use novel technologies

It's important to keep up with the times; if you don't, your users will move on from the platforms, software, and tech that you're using to new and better things, leaving you behind. So keep an eye out for new developments in the world of technology. Try developing an app instead of focusing entirely on your website, learn how to use all the latest social media platforms that have become popular, and invest in technology like marketing AIs. This can sometimes be expensive, but it pays off!

Red heart over binary code.
Embrace new technology in your marketing.

Try your hand at the less famous social media platforms

You're probably already using social media for business - pretty much everyone is. But most business owners focus on the big platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. While you should definitely be active on those, you mustn't look at social media too narrowly. Other platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest can be valuable resources, especially when not that many businesses use them.

Focus on the individual

Mass media and the internet have made it easy for businesses to reach millions of people at once with their marketing. In most respects, this is a good thing. But it has also made many marketers forget about the individual and focus on watering down their message to reach as many different people as possible. Unfortunately, this can lead to your marketing being less effective at conversion. So try doing the opposite: personalize every interaction with potential customers.

One way to do this is to adjust your website and your communication to the interests of every individual visitor. Use cookies to find out their location, for example, and show them content that directly relates to where they're from. If you're sending out newsletters via email, remember to section your mailing list so that people can only receive the emails that concern them personally.

Mail inbox open on a phone.
Personalize your emails to potential customers.

Or you can make it even simpler - make sure your content is in the second person. Speak directly to your readers, listeners, or viewers when explaining things or giving advice as if they were right there in front of you. If you want to make visitors take action that will push them further down the sales pipeline, you'll also want to include a compelling and engaging call-to-action at the end of the content you're posting. This will feel less out of place if you've been speaking to the reader the entire time.

Tell a story about your brand

Having a good branding strategy is vital for raising awareness about your business. Your brand should clearly show who you are and what you stand for. But just presenting this to an audience is hardly going to inspire them to learn more. Instead, you want to tell a compelling story. Where did the idea for your business come from? Where do you plan on going in the future? And perhaps most importantly, why should anyone care?

Use social proof to your advantage

Social proof is a common phenomenon that makes people copy what others are doing. This is something you can use to your advantage - simply show that people are using your products or services, and you'll get the attention of others who want to do the same. The easiest way to do this is to encourage current customers to leave reviews and refer friends. A referral program can help with that. Another thing you can do is to partner with a social media influencer. Influencers have a lot of social power today; if they endorse your products or services, you'll definitely collect tons of leads from that partnership.

Generate more business leads by taking risks

Unconventional ways to generate more business leads are always a bit of a risk - that's why they're unconventional. But business is all about risk, so this is not actually a bad thing. Instead, you should embrace taking risks. Be the first to try something new, invent your own strategy, and don't be afraid to fail. This is how you become a leader in your industry: by standing out from the crowd.

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

Motionbox

In the media space, there are a lot of options when it comes to creating videos. One of the newest players is Motionbox

Motionbox is different than others by offering these key functionalities:

  • YouTube Intros
  • Automatic Subtitles
  • Animated Text
  • High Quality Content to make your videos stand-out

Website Description

Motionbox is a video design platform that features an arsenal of tools that cuts down the effort of creating any visual content. It features a huge library of templates that can be used as-is or may serve as the foundation of your design. It also has a collection of fonts and multimedia files that include audio, images, and videos, most of which you may freely use for your project. Motionbox is quite easy to use, thanks to its drag-and-drop interface that brings creativity out of its users. With features such as music visualization, GIF resizer, video trimmer, and video calendar, it offers an unlimited possibility when it comes to design.

Motion Box
https://www.motionbox.io

You can try out all the features of Motionbox for free - with a watermark. If you want to remove the watermark, it cost $15 a month. This is similar pricing offered by other tools with less functionality.

Sample Video

You'll see another example on the August 16, 2021 blog post - "Media Monday." Be sure to come back to check that out.

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Panic Nova

Last month, I thought I would experiment with Panic's Nova application.

Nova is a modern text editor that focuses on being the best Macintosh text editor. It's built for developers and design for the Macintosh.

Nova Testing

Five Things I Liked

  1. Minimap - Great way to get a high level visual of a code.
  2. Split screen - Ability to see different files anyway that works best for you.
  3. In Product Preview - You can add preview to the split screen. When you save a file the preview window refreshes and you see your change instantly.
  4. Remote Access - You can easily load up connected remote files. This made it easy to open up multiple files and make changes. You can break down destinations to different directories. In my case, I was able to separate public_html and secure_html - making it easy to see what's in what section.
  5. Extensions - There are a lot of extensions written by loyal Nova users. If you don't see what your looking for, you can always create your own.

Four Things I Didn't Like

  1. No Shortcut Commands - I didn't find a way to apply HTML Anchor to the selected text. The closest functionality would be the "Wrap Selection in Tag"
  2. Saved Search Queries - There wasn't a way to save common search/replace queries.
  3. Wrap Selection in Tag - In my test I found it difficult to apply a style sheet to an object while using the "Wrap Selection in Tag." I would see my classname being entered in the closing part of the tag.
  4. Expensive - Hard to justify spending $100 for another text editor. I already purchased BBEdit and use it as my default text editor.

In Summary

For now, I am not going to purchase Nova. It's a pretty cool application, but I think the tools in BBEdit are good for me.

I'll keep an eye on updates, especially since September 23 is the one-year anniversary of the launch.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Framingham Dog Park

Framingham will soon get a doggy park!

After many years of residents requesting a place for their pups to play, a park for dogs is coming in 2022.

Location of the Park

The Framingham dog park will be located in a strip of open land next to Farm Pond. Specifically its directly across from the Longs Athletic Complex.

Fram Bark Location

Features of the Dog Park

Some features of the park:

  • Fence in area so the dogs can roam freely.
  • Separate fence area for smaller dogs.
  • Play equipment in both areas - ramps, hoops, agility poles and more.
  • Shaded area for dogs to cool off on hot days.
  • Permeable surface so paws don't get hurt
  • Water for Dogs and their humans.
  • Special design lock system to prevent dogs from escaping.

The park is being designed by Radner Design Associates

Who's Paying for it?

The site is expected to cost around $262,000. About 90% of the construction cost will be covered by the Stanton Foundation Grant

In order to qualify for the grant the remaining 10% must come from the City of Framingham.

Opening Spring 2022

The planning committee hopes to welcome dogs in the Spring of 2022. Watch for more announcements and the grand opening celebration.

Learn More about the Movement

If you want to learn more, join the FramBark Facebook group. Additional information can be found on the City of Framingham website.

  Filed under the Framingham category. - Permalink

J.P. Licks

Earlier this Summer my daughter had a birthday party in Newton Center. I dropped her off and walked around the area.

About an hour into the party, she texted me that she wanted ice cream. Apparently, there were no gluten-free deserts at her party. So I told her that I would stop at JP Licks to get a sundae for her.

jp licks Gluten-Free  Newton

Four Things I Learned

I just got a plain chocolate ice cream with some hot fudge topping. The person behind the counter was accommodating and hand washed a scoop and make sure to use a new ice cream container.

JP Licks has gluten-free cones. I didn't order as a sundae would be best eaten in a cup.

The ordering board identified ice creams that were not gluten-free - which made it easy to figure out what to order. My daughter is simple, as basic chocolate was good for her.

I saw some gluten-free oreo cookies by "My Dad's Cookies"- that I thought would be good to get for the ride home.

Great Ice Cream

We loved our ice cream and we'll be back. We don't frequent Newton Center - but we have a good reason to come back!

J.P. Licks is a local chain with 17 locations throughout the Boston area. The nearest one to us would be the Wellesley location - about a 22 min drive from home or 10-mins from her dance studio. (Might be a good treat after the dance!)

You can see all their Gluten Free ice cream options on their website.

As of today for Ice Cream they have: Chocolate, Coconut Almond Chip, Coffee, Maple Butter Walnut, Mint Chip, Pistachio, Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate Chip. Frozen Yogurt: Coffee Chip, Mint Chip, Peanut Butter Chip, Vanilla.

  Filed under the Gluten Free category. - Permalink

QA Fail: U-Haul Car Trailer

If you're moving long distances, chances are you'll be using a U-Haul for self-move. If you bring a car with you, having it in tow is a great way to transport it.

The only problem is that if you own a Toyota Camry, you can't open the car door when you drive up the ramp. This is because the U-Haul wheel rims guards prevent users from opening the door.

U Haul Car Tow

Why QA Fails This Implementation

This looks to be a problem with any sedan - not sure how their QA passed this implementation.

The Toyota Camry is one of the popular cars in America. It should have been part of the U-Haul trailer test.

The only way we were able to get around this is to open up the passenger door and go out of the car. The reason we didn't just use the front window is that you needed to close the window after getting out of the car. You can't properly close the window from the outside.

Simple solution would be to have the wheel rims be removable when loading and unloading the car trailer.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Cape Cod Commercials

This week are four classic commercials that aired in the late 1980s. These have been available on the Real Audio pages. However, the real audio player isn't available for mobile users, so I thought I make some of the popular clips available.

The Commercials

  • Lobster Claw
  • Pufferbellies
  • Cousins
  • Delauras

Enjoy the classic clips!

  Filed under the Media category. - Permalink

Does My Business Need An App?

Business Need An App

As shopping apps get more popular with consumers, businesses are rushing to invest in their mobile apps. According to The E-Commerce Times, it is estimated that m-commerce sales will account for 54 percent of all retail e-commerce sales by the end of 2021. Nearly 80 percent of people use shopping apps while at home and a majority of them use them 2 to 5 times a week. While mass merchant stores like Target and Walmart have found great success in introducing their business apps, an increasing number of smaller businesses are considering whether it is worthwhile investing in an app of their own to keep up with the digitalization of everyday life. While business apps can provide some benefits, deciding to launch an app needs considerable forethought, planning, and the satisfaction of a few key criteria.

Benefits Of A Mobile App For Your Small Business

The overwhelming benefit that a business app provides is that it garners more traffic. With high traffic levels, your business has more chances to create sales opportunities and attract loyal customers. A business app can also work to improve your brand's visibility. When used as a part of your digital marketing strategy, a business app can present another unique opportunity to build your brand presence and identity with unique logos, app design, tone, etc.

Finally, investing in a business app can be another way of keeping your customer engaged - and returning. With special offers, vouchers, and incentives unique to your app, you can boost the all-important customer retention rate. Today, 3 out of every 4 dollars spent online is spent through mobile transactions. The trick to making it a success lies in investing in all the right aspects of its development. Customers want a truly seamless and integrated shopping experience. Therefore, spending time on designing a subscription cloud-based application software is worthwhile because it means that as a business, you can stick to your budget as a small business and trial it on a subscription-based model as you go. So, if the app does not generate enough interest in an upcoming period, you are free to cancel or pause.

Does Your Business Have The Capital For App Development And Maintenance?

A key consideration when deciding to create a business app is whether your business can afford it. If you choose to create an app yourself instead of hiring a professional, you will only need to pay for your license fees. Apple apps charge $99 while Android apps cost $25. Recent research by GoodFirms showed that a simple app can cost between $38,000 to $91,000. After that, there are also the ongoing charges for app maintenance which can vary according to the technologies you choose and the complexity. If you choose to develop separate versions for both Android and Apple, you will be incurring double the charges. Before making the decision, consider your business cash flow going forward and whether it can afford the regular maintenance costs.

Is The App's Need And Immediate And Ongoing One?

Developing an app is an expensive and ongoing commitment for your business. If you are looking for an immediate or one-off boost in brand visibility, it may not be feasible to invest in a business app. Firstly it can take a while to design a mobile app prototype for your business. There will also need to be test runs before it is released for public use. Also, businesses should be clear on how the app will fit into their daily operations once developed. What percentage of customer interactions would it replace? If it is minimal then it may not be time for a business app.

How Would Your App Be Different From An Optimized Website?

While more consumers are shifting to mobile shopping apps, business websites are still the main point of contact for most. On the plus side, a mobile-friendly business website is much cheaper to maintain and develop. If you already have a business website up and running, the costs are reduced further since the actions need to optimize your business website for mobile traffic are fairly minimal compared to app development.

According to Robin Cogburn of Exela Technologies, businesses should only invest in a business app if the customer experience is significantly different from what is offered on their website or other channels. In other words, there must be defining features to draw consumers to use the app.

So does your business need an app? While it certainly has its merits, small businesses should focus on ticking many other core boxes before moving on to app development such as having a mobile-optimized business website. When the benefits outweigh the costs, then it may be time.

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

Emupedia

Did you have any favorite games from Windows95, Windows98 or WindowsMe? Well now you can play them again!

Emupedia has brought back many of the classic games. You can play Quake, Minesweeper, Microsoft Bubble, Doom, Tomb Raider, Worms Armageddon, Hexen 2, Pong and so much more.

Website Description

The purpose of Emupedia is to serve as a nonprofit meta-resource hub and community for those interested mainly in video game preservation and computer history which aims to digitally collect, archive and preserve games and software to make them available online accessible by a user-friendly UI that simulates several retro operating systems for educational purposes.

emuos
https://emupedia.net/beta/emuos/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Art Text 4.1 Update

Last week Belight Software updated the popular Art Text Tool with some cool new features.

What's new in Art Text v.4.1

  • Vector drawing tools: Pen, Move, Convert Anchor Point, Reverse Path Direction.
  • 20 new badge and logo design templates.
  • 300 new vector icons and shapes.
  • 137 shapes for badge design.
  • Export to vector images for graphics with no raster effects.
  • Introducing Convert to Shape that lets you edit text using vector drawing tools.
  • Various other program improvements.

Art Text41
Graphic made possible by Art Text 4.1 update!

What Does All this Mean?

Here's where you can discover all the changes in v.4.1.

Vector Drawing Tools - These are located in the '+' in the bottom of the main window. Simply select the Shape option. You'll see the 'Pen Tool,' 'Move Tool,' 'Convert Anchor Point Tool.'Reverse Path Direction.' These are great when using existing vector designs.

Badge and Logo Design Templates - These are located in the "Design Gallery." On the bottom of the main window, click on the icon to the right of the plus sign. Once the gallery opens, click on the category called "Badge Logos." There are lots of great designs to help inspire the imagination.

New Vector Icons ahd Shapes - These are located in the content panel, which is the left side of the main window. On the top bar, click on the icon that has a circle and a square. You'll see the 17 new categories - Animals, Architecture, Arrows, Business, Flora, Food, Leisure, Media, Music, Nature, People, Science & Technology, Signs, Stars, Symbols, Tools, and Transport & Travel.

Shapes for Badge Designs - These are also located in the content panel, which is the left side of the main window. On the top bar, click on the icon that has a circle and a square. Look for the Badges category. There are 137 options. Wow, great collection of badge designs. Better than some packages I have seen on CreativeMarket.com.

Convert to Shape - Now you can convert your text to shapes! Simply right-click on any shape, and select the Convert to Shape option.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Framingham Birthday

The town of Framingham's official birthday is June 25th, 1700. The town is 321 years old. On January 1st, 2018 it became a city - 3 years old.

Nearby towns incorporations:

SudburySeptember 4, 1639381 years
Sherborn October 7, 1674346 years
Southborough July 17, 1727294 years
Wayland April 10, 1780241 years
Natick February 19, 1781240 years
Ashland August 13, 1846 174 years

Downtown Framingham2021

Fun Facts About Framingham in 2021

According to a 2019 survey, an estimated 74,416 people live in the city of Framingham. Updated numbers from last year's census won't be released until some time mid-August.

In 2020, there were 41,685 registered voters. 77.29% voted in the last president's election.

Framingham is the home to over 2,200 businesses with over 45,000 jobs and $3.1 billion in payroll, Framingham is one of the 33 Massachusetts communities to be rated Platinum the highest rating for readiness for biotech development.

In 2019, Average household income was $82,709. The Massachusetts average household income was $81,215. The United States' average household income is $61,372. (2017 numbers)

In 2014, Framingham was ranked the 4th Nerdiest City in America. (Bustle) Loosing to Oakland, California, Silicon Valley, and Atlanta, Georgia.

In the summer of 2021, the housing market is very hot. According to Redfin, 32% of homes accept an offer within a week.

  Filed under the Framingham category. - Permalink

The LookOut

Last weekend, we visited The LookOut - which is a fairly new restaurant at Lookout Farms. We had heard that they have good gluten-free options, so we decided to check it out.

How would you describe your experience? "It's kind of like going to a restaurant and ordering take-out to eat there."

The Look Out- Desktop
The Look Out- Mobile

Five things I Learned

There's plenty of tables. We were there on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and there were plenty of tables available.

The dining area is temporarily located near the train waiting area. You go up to the gazebo and they will direct you to a table to sit at. Once you arrive at the table you scan a bar code that opens up a menu at toast.com. After you place your order, a waiter will come to your table with your food.

We found the toast website to be tricky to work with. We found that we had to scroll a lot to add items to the cart. If you are stuck - ask someone at the gazebo.

They have gluten-free buns for their sandwiches - including the hot dog! The menu does describe the allergy ingredients so its easy to make the right choices.

The food was excellent! Juliana ordered the cheeseburger - no surprise! She ate most of it. The bun looks to be Udis Classic Hamburger Buns. The hamburger came with a side bag of Cape Cod potato chips.

We'll be Back!

The food at the Lookout was good, and it felt nice to be sitting outside on a mild summer day. We had a very good experience - minus the whole food ordering thing.

The ordering wasn't all that bad, just weird that that you simply scan the bar code - no instructions on ordering or specials.

  Filed under the Gluten Free category. - Permalink

QA Fail: Mass Pike Sign

August QA Blog Content

Throughout the month of August, I'll showcase some real life QA fails. These are signs/things that certainly would have failed QA.

If you have driven down the Massachusetts Turnpike, chances are you might have seen this sign:

Mass Pike Transponder Mobile

Photo Credit: This is a screenshot from Google Maps.

Mass Pike Transponder Desktop

Photo Credit: This is a screenshot from Google Maps.

This sign appear multiple times on the Massachusetts Turnpike. They usually appear right after the electronic tolls area.

Four Reasons This Fails QA

Who is this sign for' Here are the four reasons that QA would fail this sign:

  1. The sign is way too small to comprehend while driving 55+ mph.
  2. Who would have time to write down the phone number.
  3. Who's going to write down the URL? Let alone remember the URL for later.
  4. Most vehicles on the MassPike don't have passengers - which means you can't take a picture of the sign. In Massachusetts, its illegal to hold the phone while driving.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

The Morton Downey Jr. Show

This week we are featuring another clip from "The Morton Downey Jr." show. This is another segment from the 1989 Predictions show. This was recorded on December 20, 1988. This is episode 122188.

This segment features "Doctor Fad" (Otherwise known as Ken Hakuta) talking about the latest fads in 1988.

Audio is pretty bad in this clip - not sure what happened. It could be the VHS tape slowly dying or just a bad digital encoding.

  Filed under the Media category. - Permalink

5 Unique Benefits of Custom Packaging for Your Business

Custom Boxes

Do you want your business to stand out from the crowd? Custom packaging is a great way to do so. Imagine that you are walking down the street and someone hands you an envelope. You open it up, and inside, there's a beautifully designed card with your company logo on it. That person has taken the time to customize something for business, which automatically makes them more memorable in your mind.

Because of this this reason, every business is shifting to use custom packaging wholesale for their products. Now, it has become a compulsory component of marketing and promoting your business to the next level. Custom packaging will help you to get people's attention and leave a lasting impression on them. In this blog post, we'll look at five unique benefits of custom packaging for businesses. Those benefits are:

It Makes Your Company More Memorable

Custom packaging is an easy and cost-effective way to make your company more memorable. You can hand out custom boxes for people to store things they buy from you or create unique packages that will be remembered by all who see them as soon as they come through your door.

It helps to make a good impression of your business on customers. They not only start to use your products, but they also recommend others that serve as direct marketing for your company.

It Looks Great

The second thing about custom packaging is how great it looks. Not only does this kind of branding help get people's attention when walking down the street, but it also helps set up a professional appearance at home. Use customize packaging for your products and gain the customer's attention to your products.

Highlights Your Brand's Forward-Thinking

Not only does custom packaging help you have a professional appearance, but it also helps show that your company has forward-thinking.

It attracts consumers who are shopping for new things to buy or looking to try out something different than their usual brand and can be bought as gifts. This kind of marketing not only boosts sales but promotes your business with a special feel.

Customized packaging will always look better than other kinds because they're designed specifically for one purpose; your business promotion.

The addition of more design elements like colors, fonts, logos, or graphics means that these items always stand out on store shelves, making them grab the attention of customers even before they pick up an item and read its description.

Increases the Reliability of the Packaging

It increases the reliability of the packaging and makes it suitable for the storage and transportation of your products. When you buy products, they are usually packaged in a way that helps them stay safe and secure. Customized packaging for your business means that the package is designed to securely store your product while it's being transported or during long storage periods.

Custom Packaging Is an Inexpensive Marketing Tool

It seems like customizing everything from our clothes and cars to even phones have become the norm, so why not customize your small business marketing strategy with customized packaging? You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on traditional advertising methods when this budget-friendly alternative works just as well for your business.

Since people often judge books by their cover, having eye-catching custom packages could lead customers towards buying more items than usual because they want the set instead of individual products.

Conclusion

Custom packaging is a great way to make your company more memorable, and it looks good on the shelf. Highlighting your brand's forward-thinking with custom packaging can also help increase the reliability of what comes in those packages because you know exactly where every package came from. In addition, this inexpensive marketing tool will get people talking about how original you are, and it will promote your business. Contact a company like Stampa Prints for all of your Custom Packaging needs and work together to create something truly unique that embodies who you are as a business and gives customers an experience they won't forget.

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

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