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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 September of 2020

OceanEdge Beach at Sunset

One of the advances of the some of the towns on Cape Cod is that you can get gorgeous sunset views. Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans and Brewster offer great sunset views from various beaches.

Recently we stopped at OceanEdge in Brewster and took some fantastic photos of the summer sunset.

Ocean Edge Sunset Mobile
Ocean Edge Sunset Desktop

Things we Learned

You have to have an OceanEdge beach membership to get on the beach.

You can try some of the nearby public beaches, Ellis Landing Beach, but the beach at OceanEdge seems perfect for photos.

Check the tides before you go. If it's going to be high tides it means that there won't be much of a beach - get there early.

We saw a family that had a fire with S'mores. This is a package deal that you can buy from your waiter.

If you don't want to sit on the sand, you can always sit and watch the sunset from the bar.

There were a lot of people taking pictures. Best to keep walking along the beach so people don't get in your pictures.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

Apple Motion

Apple Motion is a powerful motion graphic toll that gives you - the creator - the ability to create Hollywood effects right from you computer. You can create cinematic 2D, 3D titles, fluid transitions, and realistic effects in real-time.

For about $49, you get a lot of power for not a lot of money. One instructor said, that "its highly under price for the capabilities that the application gives you."

There's still a lot of things for me to learn about Apple Motion. Here are just some of the things that I learned so far.

Apple Motion Logo

Five Things I have Learned

  1. Apple Motion complements Final Cut Pro. They work very well together to help make powerful productive videos. Apple Motion does have a learning curve - just like Final Cut Pro.
  2. You can edit any Title, Effect and Transition in Final Cut Pro using Apple Motion. It doesn't matter if it came with Final Cut Pro or was purchased separately. Simply right-click on the object and select "Open a copy in Motion." This option is only available if you have Motion installed.
  3. Apple Motion is the only way you can create favorite titles. So if you like to use certain colors or text styles, you can save them in a custom Category so that you can reuse them over and over again. This is very useful when you won't use the same fonts or colors in all your videos.
  4. Apple Motion comes with 1,900 Apple-designed, royalty-free graphics. There's a lot of cool things you can do. With great powers come with great responsibility.
  5. Lynda.com Motion 5.3 Essential Training is a great way to learn about the application. I started learning the power of Motion by editing existing titles. Watching Ian Robinson really has helped me understand the capabilities of Apple Motion.

  Filed under the Final Cut Pro category. - Permalink

QA up at Night

A common question that gets asked CEOs is:

What Keeps you Up at Night?

The response usually centers around new projects and uncontrolled risks to the company bottom line.

So, What about QA? What issues are keeping QA up at night? I can't speak for all of QA, but here are the top six things that keep QA Managers and Leaders up at night.

Six Things that keep QA up at Night

Ticket Scope Creek - Product making last-minute changes and not adding the change to the spec document. This can cause some unfortunate consequences later. For example, the product team didn't realize that an extra line in a description field pushes the next button below the visible frame view.

Tight Deadlines- sometimes a feature has to go to Production with very minimal time for proper testing. In these rare cases, QA has very little time to fully test the feature. Example: Product wants to ship a new feature in time for the customer event, unfortunate delays with development means a shorter test cycle.

Dev Environment not Matching Production - Some testing can't be accomplished because the testing environment doesn't match production. Most of the time it's load balancing and Cache that may cause issues. Example: New customer login path doesn't take account of having different servers. QA passes the feature but the release is rolled back because users aren't able to log in.

Developers that don't test their code - some developers don't test their code before handing it off to QA. They feel when it passes code review it's good enough. Unfortunately, developers don't check for how the change impacts the code. Most time code review is to test logic. Example: Developer submits code for QA and the build fails because the developer forgot to properly close a SQL insert statement.

Dealing with the Cash Register - Making the sale process smooth is critical to any business. QA needs to make sure that customers can buy and the sale occurs correctly for the customer and for the company. It's important that customers are properly charged for the goods and services that they order. Example: At one of the companies that I worked at, a team of QA engineers was responsible for making sure that purchases were successful. They were trained to understand various tax rules and security regulations. Not all companies have the luxury of having a skilled team, so QA has to do their best to make sure that the sales process is good after every release.

Automation Failures due to UI changes - When a developer makes a UI change and doesn't tell QA, it can cause some issues after the first automation run. The overnight tests may fail and QA will spend much of the morning fixing all the failed runs. This can cause other bugs to go undetected for a while. Example: A developer changes some of the IDs in the main navigation to keep with the new CSS standards. The change is considered minor and no ticket is created. On the first day of testing 90% of the automation fails because the old IDs can't be found.

Agree/Disagree?

What do you think? Are there other cases that cause you to lose sleep?

Share your story in the comment section.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Get Your Home-Based Business or Career off the Ground

christin-hume- Hcfwew744z4
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Resources to Help Get Your Home-Based Business or Career off the Ground

When you're looking for more independence in your career, working from home might be the perfect solution. Many business ventures and career paths are well suited to working from home, so you have a lot to choose from. If you're considering launching a business or changing careers, find ideas and inspiration that will help you below.

Challenges of Working from Home

For many people, working out of a home office sounds like a dream come true. While the flexibility and freedom are great, you'll want to consider these potential drawbacks when deciding if it's the right path.

  • Working from home can get lonely, especially if you don't meet with clients or attend meetings. It's important to find a way to feel connected whether you're a remote employee, business owner or an independent contractor.
  • There is also a wide array of distractions at home, such as TV, chores and family matters. However, designating a home office space can help you stay on task.
  • Meeting with clients in your home office may be challenging. If your business idea entails working with clients, think about how you can maintain privacy and keep meetings professional.
  • Keep in mind some business ventures aren't allowed in residential areas due to zoning regulations. Make sure you check the rules before getting too invested.

Career and Business Opportunities

Despite the challenges of starting a business or becoming a remote employee, it's also rewarding. If you know you want to work from home but don't know how to get started, consider these ideas.

  • Freelancing is a great way to get started since you can do it on the side of your day job to test the waters. You can start freelancing with nearly any skill, and once you see success, you can turn it into a full-time career.
  • Becoming a home-based entrepreneur is another great idea. Countless entrepreneurs start out of a home office because of the low overhead. And if your business takes off, you can always expand.
  • Alternatively, you can snag a remote job with a company that's hiring virtual employees. Many jobs are perfectly suited to working from home.

Education and Training

Launching a business or entering a new career field sometimes requires a bit of prep before you can get started. Here are a few steps you might want to take to boost your chances of success.

  • Getting a business degree online in marketing, business administration, accounting or any other field can be a great way to build out your skillset.
  • Find a mentor to help you hone your business idea or launch into your new career.
  • Reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce to find business development centers or other similar resources to get your ideas off the ground.

Career and Educational Resources for Veterans

Veterans can benefit from using the same resources as everyone else, but there are also a variety of programs made just for helping vets launch a new career or business.

  • Look into scholarships and education grants that are available for veterans and active-duty military members.
  • Use career development resources from the VA to get started on a new path or find the training you need.
  • Use veteran-focused business incubation resources to fuel the success of your venture.

It can be intimidating starting a business or heading down a new career path, especially if you plan on working out of your home. Working remotely and running a home-based business isn't easy, but hopefully, these resources can help you rise to the challenge and find success.

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

iOS Bookmarket

Bookmarklets are a good way to perform actions instead of going to a page. For example, if you want to create a QR Code of a webpage, such as a help page, you can use one of the Bookmarklet tools created by Amit Agarwal.

Website Description

Pick any service from the drop-down (say Twitter) and then bookmark the page to install the corresponding iOS bookmarklet (Share on Twitter in this case) in the Safari browser of your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. See this video for a demo.

iSO Bookmarklet
http://ctrlq.org/ios/

The Booklets available include: Amazon Wishlist, Bit.ly, Coral Cache, Delicious, Evernote, Facebook, Feedly, Goo.gl, Google Bookmarks, Google Cache, Google Reader, Google+, Instapaper, Kindle, Pinterest, Pocket, QR Code, Google Proxy, Readability, Save as PDF, Scoop It, Share It, Site Search, Translate, Tumblr, Twitter

Amit Agarwal posted what each of the Bookmarklet does.

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

Download Church Bulletin

Churches in Massachusetts have limited attendance because of COVID-19. I decided to create a new Keyboard Maestro Macro to download the latest church bulletin - that way I know what's going on at mu local parish.

My parish uses e-churchbulletins.com, which generates a PDF file every week. When a new bulletin gets created it overites the file on the server.

So I created the following Macro:

Bash Church

What this does:

Every day at 4 am, it runs a Bash script, using curl and downloads the latest bulletin and saves it to my local computer using the current day. (This way it doesn't wright over any previous downloads. )

Copy of the BASH script:

#! /bin/bash
cd ~/Dropbox/Coronavirus/church
curl --output `date +%Y-%m-%d`.pdf https://www.e-churchbulletins.com/bulletins/

I have this running every day because I never know when the latest bulletin will be released.

The nice thing is that I just set it and forget it. Now I have a copy of all the church bulletins whenever I need to refer back to them.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Spanish/American War Cannons

On the Massachusetts State House front lawn, you may notice a cannon near the West Entrance.

Prior to September 11, 2001, people could walk up and look at the cannon, but the lawn is closed to the general public and only the John F. Kennedy monument is available to see on the tour.

Cannon Desktop
Cannon Mobile

This cannon is from the Spanish/American War. It was taken in 1896 by the American forces in battles in Cuba. This cannon was officially assigned to Massachusetts by the Navy Department on July 24, 1901.

Today the closest you can to the cannon is via Joy Place, which is one of the side streets next to the state house.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary

One of the fun educational places that we like to visit is the Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, Massachusetts. It's a great place to spend a day learning all about the local area of wild life.

One of the nice things about this place is that it's open all year. In the winter months, you can learn about how wildlife survives the harsh New England Winters.

This is also a great place to take school field trips and scouts trips.

Drumlin Farm Desktop
Drumlin Farm Mobile

Five Things I Learned About Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary

Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary sits on 220-acres of farmland which was given to the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1955 by Louise Ayen Hathaway - a long time society member. The intent of the gift was to use it as a wildlife sanctuary.

The sanctuary first open to the public in the summer of 1956.

On November 12, 1980, a fire broke out in the Drumlin Farm barn killing a cow and causing $500,000 in damages.

The Wildlife Sanctuary is open during the pandemic. Guests have to purchase tickets in advance. All the buildings are closed. Full details are available on the Mass Audubon new site.

There is a working farm at the sanctuary. Children can watch and learn all about the chores and responsibilities that are required every day to keep the farm going.

Finding Drumlin Farm

Drumlin Farm is located on Route 117 at 208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

Color Correction Assistance for Final Cut Pro

My Olympus XZ-2 iHS doesn't handle white balance very well. I find that the videos that I take inside the church tend to be darker than the same video taken using the Nikon 5500 and the Sony DSC-HX200v. I am not exactly sure why this camera has problems.

The videos are good, just the colors are dark. They need to be touched up if I want to use the footage - and have the ability to use that camera in future shots.

Color Correction is a bit tricky in Final Cut Pro and I find that the "auto" balance color doesn't always work well.

Photolemur 3 to the Rescue

When I ran into this problem last week, I decided to export a frame of the video and put it through Photolemur 3.

What's Photolemure 3?

Photolemur is an absolutely automatic photo enhancer that uses Artificial Intelligence to apply all the enhancements your image needs, on its own. All you have to do is to import your image to the app, and the photo enhancer does everything else automatically from there.

My theory was to let the artificial intelligence tell me how the image should look. Then I can use the Final Cut Pro color adjuster to get the video to look perfect.

The results:

Color Correctoin Final Cut

The left side shows Photolemure 3 and the right shows the original image. You can see how the colors on the church's alter stands out in Photolemure than the original photo

When I select the "auto color correction" in Final Cut Pro it doesn't look like the left side.

You can learn all about how to adjust the color in Final Cut Pro in Apple's Use color correction tools in Final Cut Pro X and Motion document

  Filed under the Final Cut Pro category. - Permalink

Winnemucca, Nevada

Recently I was doing some location testing using Google. The purpose of the test was to find a place in the United States where I could expand the radius targeting more than 50-miles.

When you use Google targeting you are allowed to expand that radius only when your location had a small population density.

If your range has a high population count Google will force you to have a smaller target.

I tried many remote areas of the United States and the only place that I could expand the target range to 100-miles was Winnemucca, Nevada.

Winnemucca Nevada Desktop
Winnemucca Nevada Mobile

I am sure that there are places in Alaska that would qualify - but I wanted to test for a place in the lower 48-states.

Hopefully this helps someone else doing targeting testing using Google Locations.

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

National Floor Direct

Recently we had our home office floor replaced. We wanted to remove the old carpet to a nice laminate floor.

We contacted several companies during our search - one of those was National Floor Direct. We had seen their commercials and thought that the price and next day installation was good.

Five Things We Learned

  1. Due to high demand they are not able to do the next-day installation. They were pretty quick to get a salesperson to visit but it would take about 3 weeks to do the install.
  2. The guy that came measured using a laser. We thought that was a cool way to get an accurate reading.
  3. We told them ahead of time of the floor style that we were looking for. The sales guy only had a limited number of options.
  4. He was able to show what the flooring would look like in our home via computer simulation. Designs that we liked didn't look good once you see the pattern in the simulation
  5. We didn't select them because of price - we did think they were a bit expensive. We didn't like the limited options that they had. We had gone to a couple of other stores and they had a lot more designs to pick from.

One Final Word

The guy asked about the price and if we were in the 'ballpark' of our budget. We suggest a slightly smaller amount. A few hours later, we got a call that they were able to match our budget. I thought that they wouldn't- seeing that they were pretty busy.

Everyone's experience with National Floor Direct might be different, just wanted to share our experience with it.

  Filed under the Business category. - Permalink

Safety Signs

Safety Sign Generator is a cool site to create simple warning signs. These are signs that you may see around the office such as "Not an Exit" or "High Voltage."

You can have a lot of fun coming up with some fancy signs for Slack or to hang up at your office.

Website Description

The information required on a safety sign should be arranged to provide the most important information first. The statement concerning the consequences of interaction with the hazard is generally best understood when placed after the hazard description statement or used integrally with the hazard description statement. As a general rule, the hazard message should come first when there are many feasible action/avoidance alternatives. However, action/avoidance messages should come first when there are few avoidance alternatives.

Write in a "headline style," eliminating nonessential words and pronouns (this, that, they), articles (a, the, an), and forms of the verb to be (is, are, were). Avoid hyphenation when at all possible.

Safety Sign Generator
https://observatory.db.erau.edu/generators/signs/

Samples

Caution Sign

Code Freeze Warning Sign

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

iCloud Drive

This week I have been busy cleaning up the storage on my MacBook computer. The "easy" way I have found to backup files is to use iCloud. I create backup folders in my iCloud Drive and move files into that directory. On my iMac, I then move the files to an external drive.

The reason that I am doing this method, instead of just connecting the external drive to the computer, is that I want to make sure that I backup files that are worth keeping. I don't want to just throw everything on an external drive without knowing what it is.

icloud Drive

Things I Learned About iCloud

When you move files to the iCloud drive on your computer it doesn't delete them from the computer. It basically moved it to the cloud services but you don't save space.

In order to "save space" you need to move the files of the iCloud service. This concept is the same as DropBox and other cloud services.

Make sure to check the "Optimize Mac Storage" checkbox in the iCloud settings. This will force iCloud to only download files that it needs.

You can add/remove space as needed. For example, you can upgrade to the 2TB plan for a couple of months for storage backups and then downgrade the service.

This is a great service if you are trying to clean up a couple of external drives. In addition, you can backup all your photos and videos taken on a vacation to the iCloud drive and not worry about losing them.

iCloud Icons

Often you may see strange icons next to the iCloud folder name. Here's what the icons mean:

Cloud Uploading to Cloud
Cloud with Arrow Backed up to Cloud. Not stored locally. Tap on the folder
Circle with Progress Copying locally

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Beacon Hill Monument

Walking around the outside of the Massachusetts State House, you may see a column monument with an Eagle on the top, this is the Beacon Hill Monument. There's plenty of history behind this monument.

The Beacon Hill Monument is there to remember an actual beacon that stood on the same spot since April 1635.

Beacon Monument Desktop
Beacon Monument Mobile

Fun Facts about the Beacon Hill Monument

On March 4, 1634, the Massachusetts General Court ordered the beacon to warn Bostonians of impending danger. The court order was for the time period between April 1st and October 1st.

It was placed on this particular site as it was the highest point in the city. At the time, the hill was named Centry Hill.

The area, "Beacon Hill" was named after the Beacon.

The original Beacon, which was basically a boat mast held up by board on the base, was there from 1635 to 1789. (It was taken down between 1775 and 1776.)

In 1789, a storm blew down the Beacon. Instead of replacing the beacon, local residents favorited putting a more permanent monument.

Charles Bulfinch created a plain Doric column monument with an eagle on top. The column was 60-feet in height built with brick and covered with stucco. There was a large wooden eagle at the top. There were four tablets. Two of the tablets were inscribed with important events in the history of the Revolutionary war.

The tablets were authored by Honorable Thomas Dawes, who was a Supreme Court judge in Boston.

By 1810 Boston was in a deep recession and they sold the land where the monument was on to Samuel Spean and John Hancock. The "Old Beacon Hill Monument" was taken down by Atherton Haugh Steven on July 9, 1811. The surrounding hill was dug up.

The wooden effigy of the eagle is over the President chair in the Senate Chamber. The tablets were stored in the State House.

In 1865, the Massachusetts legislature authorized the Beacon Hill monument to be rebuilt. It was dedicated on June 17, 1899. The monument is exactly the same as the 1810 version, and the tablets were put back on the monument.

Senate Eagle Desktop
Wooden Eagle in the Senate Chamber.

Tablets Texts

Stamp Act passed 17 repealed 1766
Board of customs established 1767
British troops fired on the inhabitants of Boston
March 5, 1770
Tea Act Passed 1773
Tea defrayed in Boston December 16
Port of Boston shut and guarded June 1, 1774
General Congress at Philadephila
Provinvial Congreffs of Concord
Battle of Lexington April 19, 1775
Battle of Bunker Hill June 1775
Washington took command of the army July
Boston evacuated March 17, 1776
Independance declared by Congress July 4, 1776
Hancock President

Capture of Heffians at Trenton Dec: 26, 1776
Capture of Heffians at Bennington Aug: 16, 1777
Capture of British Army at Saratoga Oct: 17
Alliance with France Feb 6, 1778
Confederation of United States formed July 9
Consitution of Massachusetts formed 1780
Bowdeoin Presiden of Convention
Capture of British Army at York Cot 19, 1781
Parlimenaries of Peace Nov, 30 1782
Definitive Treaty of Peace Selt 10, 1783
Federal Consitution formed Sept 17, 1787
and ratified by the United States 1787 to 1790
New Congress assembled at New York April 6, 1789
Washington inaugurated President April 30.
Public debts funded Aug 4, 1790

In 1634 The General Court Caused a Beacon To be placed on the top of this hill

In 1730 A Brick and Stone Monument
Designed by Charles Bulfinch
Replaced the Beacon
But was removed in 1811
When the hill was cut down

It is now reproduced in stone
by the Bunker Hill Monument Association 1898

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Intervale Scenic Vista

About miles north of North Conway is a scenic view of the White Mountains, including a picturesque view of Mount Washington. This is a great spot to take family pictures and enjoy the White Mountains.

Intervale Scenic Vista
Intervale Scenic Vista

Five Things to Know

  1. The Intervale Scenic Vista os 15.79 miles (25.42 km) from the top of Mount Washington. (As the Crow flys)
  2. Best time to visit the Intervale Scenic Vista is in late September and October during the peak foliage season. The busiest time is usually 1 pm to 3 pm.
  3. White Mountain School of Art - There is a sign at the Intervale Scenic Vista that reads, “ Since Thomas Cole’s visit in 1828, New Hampshire’s splendid scenery has been an enduring inspiration to countless landscape artists. From 1850 to 1890 this region was particularly favored for their easels. Benjamin Champney (1817-1907), New Hampshire~born painter, described the glorious era in ‘ Sixty Years of Art and Artists.’”
  4. Another sign reads, “ Grateful acknowledgment is extended to Mr. and Mrs. Raymond M Cannell of North Conway for the gift of this land and the Intervale Vista. The addition of this land from thr John Cannell family seeks to preserve the Intervale Vista.”“
  5. Raymond Moore Cannell owned the Intervale Inn and the Cannell’s Country Store. The Intervale Inn is now called the 1785 Inn. The Inn is currently closed, it was recently sold to Scott Kudrick and Bob Monahan.

Getting There

Intervale Scenic Vista is 2-miles North from the North Conway Five and Ten Store on US-302.

Directions to put in Google Maps: 3654 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

Adding Favorites Folders to Import

You can easily add your favorite folder to the side menu of the Import dialog box. This will make it easier to connect to common folders that you may frequently use.

For example, it would be useful to put the "Download" folder in the Favorite section.

Apple doesn't really provide clear instructions on how to add folders to the favorite. Not exactly sure why that it.

Import Favorites

Steps to add a Folder to the Favorite Section

  1. Open up the Import dialog.
  2. Select a folder from the main listing and then drag it to the word "Favorites" in the sidebar.
  3. When the folder is over the "Favorites" text, the background color of Favorites should change.
  4. Release the Mouse to add it to the Favorites section.

Unlink from Sidebar

To unlink a folder, simple Control-Click on the item, and a popup menu should appear to "Remove from Sidebar."

Big Brother Watching?

One of the things I noticed was that when I performed the action, the light next to the FaceTime camera went on. I tried this a couple of times with different folders and saw the same results. I used some additional security software and can confirm that the microphone is also enabled.

This happens when you add or remove an item from the favorite sidebar.

What is going on? Why would the simple act of making a folder to a favorite cause the FaceTime camera to snap a picture and the microphone to record the audio?

  Filed under the Final Cut Pro category. - Permalink

Code Freeze Meme

It's been a while since I added QA graphics to the QA library. Here are some more images to add to my collection.

This week's theme is "Code Freeze"

Emerld Fudd Code Freeze

Scoobty Doo Q A

codefreezebusiness

Office Space Code Freeze

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Remove Chat and Meet in gmail

Google likes to highlight the Hangouts and Chat menu.

Recently I noticed that the Hangouts and Chat icons were blocking the listing of labels on the left side.

If you don't use Hangouts and Chat functionality. Here's how to turn it off and see your labels every time you log in.

gmailsettings Desktop

Remove Chat and Hangouts

  • Open up gmail and click on the Setting icon (On the top right next to help icon)
  • Click "See all Settings" menu option.
  • Click on the "Chat and Meet" top level menu item, right after the "Add-ons" (Shortcut: Go directly to the Chat and Meet Settings page.)
  • Select "Hangouts Off" and "Hide the Meet section in the main menu"
  • Clicl Save Changes button.

That's it. Now you won't get an error whenever you open up gmail.com

  Filed under the Chrome category. - Permalink

Unscreen.com

There are a lot of websites that remove the background from images, some better than others. But there's not a lot of sites that bring that same technology to video.

Unscreen.com removes background images from videos.

No more fiddling with green screens and doing countless reshoots. Simply upload a video to Unscreen.com and watch it work its magic.

Website Description

Producing background-free video used to require complex and fiddly techniques like chroma-keying and greenscreens. With Unscreen you can record your footage anywhere, then simply get rid of the background.

No need to pick pixels, select colors, paint masks or move paths: Unscreen analyzes your video 100% automatically and generates a high-quality result. Simple, good.

unscreen
https://www.unscreen.com/

The free version allows you to remove the background on a 5-second clip at 360p.

If you really love this service, get the Subscription plan. It's based on the number of minutes. So if you are going to be using this on a lot of clips you should buy a lot of minutes. For example, a 3-minute clip cost $9.

Certainly worth trying a bunch of clips and seeing how awesome this can transform your video opportunities.

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

multcloud.com

Everyone has multiple cloud accounts. Whether is't Amazon, Google or Drive, things are stored everywhere. The problem comes when you want to manage them.

Multcloud.com makes it super easy to view all your files in one simple interface. No worry about switching browsers or windows. You can move from server to server with a simple click.

The nice thing about Multcloud.com is that you can move files between cloud services. This is awesome when you're running low on space on a particular server.

You can even sync data between cloud services, ensuring that your data is always available.

The Free Plan gives you 30GB Data Traffic/Month. The next step up is $9.90 a month which gives you 150GB Data Traffic/Month.

Five Ways to get the most out of MultiCloud.com

  1. Snapshot Of Your Cloud Accounts - At a glance you can see how much space is available in your cloud accounts.-

  2. Move Evernote Files - You can backup your Evernote files to a different cloud service. I was able to move images from Evernote to Google Photos.

  3. Automate Database Backups - Perform full MySQL database backups to a cloud to Amazon, Google, Drop Box. You can even schedule the transfers so you don't have to think about doing it every week.

  4. Clean up an old Cloud Account - I setup my Mega account back in 2015 and didn't do anything with it. I basically had a lot of videos and photos. I used Multcloud.com to move these to Google Photos to free up space on Mega.

  5. Know What You Have and Where - Multcloud.com is a great way to audit your cloud services. You can easily find files and move things around. This helps get the most out of each cloud service.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Blue Bikes

Boston might be "America's Walking City" but there's nothing like a great bike ride.

Throughout Boston and Cambridge you will find bike stands where you can rent a bike for a ride. For $2.50 you can get a quick ride any place in the Boston area.

Note: There's a $101 security deposit, per bike, that will be placed on your credit card. Deposit is returned when the bike is back in the dock.

Blue Bike Desktop
Blue Bike Mobile

Fun Facts about the Bikes

Started on Earth Day in 2011 as Hubway. It started with 61 stations and 610 bicycles. Today there are 325 stations and 2, 500+ bikes.

In March 2018, Blue Cross Blue Shields announced a six-year marking arrangement with Hubway and the bikes were renamed Bluebikes - along with the website: bluebikes.com.

The furthest north bike station is at the Glendale Street Park in Malden.

The furthest west station bike station at Watertown Square in Watertown.

The furthest south station bike station at the Mattapan T Stop in Mattapan.

There is a bike station at Encore Hotel and Casino, Fenway Park, USS Constitution, and within walking distance to the Bunker Hill Monument.

$99 for unlimited. 45-minute rides. So if you work in the Back Bay, you can take a bike and ride to the North End to get some ice cream at lunch every day.

It's a 2-hour bike ride from the Old North Church to the Old North Bridge in Concord. (21 miles) What a great way to see the historic route that Paul Revere took.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Graveyard of Dearly Depinted

At the Ben & Jerry's head quarters in Waterbury, Vermont, there's all sorts of fun things to do for the family. The most notable is the factory tour with some free ice cream at the end of the tour.

One of the big attractions, is the famous flavor graveyard honoring all the retired flavors.

Flavor Graveyard Mobile
Flavor Graveyard

Graveyard of Dearly Depinted

In 2014, we visited the graveyard. I remember it being a fun and quick visit. Basically your look at all the various flavors and try to remember ones that you might have tried that are no longer available.

The graveyard is located in the back of the factory, a bit of a walk from the scoop shop. If you didn't know about it, you could easily miss it!

This is a quick visit, most people stayed for about 20-minutes. It's a fun place to say that you visited, especially if you like Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.

Some Fun Facts:

  • There are 30 tombstones of flavors gone by.
  • The oldest tomb is the Dastardly Mash 1979 - 1991.
  • Each tombstone has the flavor name, a short story and then the year the flavor was offered.
  • Some people leave flowers near the flavors they liked, or is it the ground crew playing a trick on the tourist?
  • If there's enough interest in a particular flavor, Ben and Jerry's may bring it back!
  • If you can't make it to the real graveyard? Ben & Jerry's made a virtual graveyard for you to enjoy. There's even a page on the most missed flavors.

Take the Factory Tour

Ben & Jerry's factory, Route 100, Waterbury, Vt., 802-846-1500, benjerry.com. Tours daily, adults $3, seniors $2, 12 and under free.

Note: The tour is closed to due COVID-19. Visit the website for updated details.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

Slow Motion Video

Question: When I take Slow Motion videos on my iPhone, how do I take advantage of the features in Final Cut Pro?

Quick Answer: When you put a clip that you know has a higher frame (240 fps), simply click on the clip in the timeline and then set the speed to "Automatic Speed." This will allow you to see the Slo-Mo effect as it was intended on the iPhone.

Retime F C P

iPhone Slo-Mo

When you record a Slo-Mo video on the iPhone, the first 3-seconds and last 3-seconds are normal speeds. The remaining time will be at 30% speed.

This is useful to know when recording a Slo-Mo clip. To get the best effect, start recording at least 3-seconds before the event and then stop it at 3-seconds after it's over.

ReTime

The menu "Retime" is short for Real-Time - it gives the Producer the ability to adjust the speed of the selected clip.

The "Automatic Speed" setting keeps the speed as intended on the iPhone.

The ReTime popup menu option is available below the viewer and in the Modify menu.

  Filed under the Final Cut Pro category. - Permalink

Quality Logo

Since today is Labor Day, I decided to go easy on today's post and highlight some QA logos that might be fun for presentations or Notion headline.

Quality Assurance Logo1

Quality Assurance Logo2

Quality Typewriter
Typerwiter

Quality Counter Dial
Counter Dial

  Filed under the QA category. - Permalink

Framingham Red

According to the Massachusetts Department of Health statistical numbers, Framingham is one of nine cities in Massachusetts to have a large number of COVID-19 cases.

Framingham has been classified as Red since August 24th. The Average Daily Incidence of Rat per 100,000 is 10.9.

To be in red, the Average daily case rate over the last 14 days: 8 cases per 100,000 population. To be in yellow, the Average daily case rate over the last 14 days: 4-8 cases per 100,000 population.

This means that have to drop at least 3 percentage points in the 14-day Average Incidence rate.

What's Red Mean?

Schools, public and private are not allowed to hold in classroom learning. Schools can only hold 15% of their maximum capacity. Saint Bridget School and Keefe Tech had both plans on opening with in-classroom learning. Both schools had to shift to remote start.

Schools are not allowed to go to full in-classroom learning until Framingham is at least yellow for two consecutive weeks.

There are no changes for businesses or churches at this time.

Framingham's Response

This is the second week in a row that the city of Framingham has been in the Red. The First time Framingham went red, Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer took to Twitter to spread the word:

This is the followup Tweet when Framingham made the listed for the second week in a row:

There hasn't been any other notable differences in actions.

  Filed under the Framingham category. - Permalink

IcoMoon

Website developers are always looking for the latest icons and graphics for their websites. One good resource for icons is IcoMoon.

IcoMoon allows you to make your own font collection. This allows you to have a smaller file for users to download, which will make your website load much quicker.

Website Description

IcoMoon is striving to build and provide the best iconography and icon management tool for perfectionists. IcoMoon's icon library features only the very best icon sets out there. All of our icons are designed on a precise pixel grid. The IcoMoon app lets you build and use your own icon packs in many different formats including SVG, Polymer, PDF, XAML, CSH, icon font with ligatures, or good old PNG/CSS sprites.

Ico Moon
https://icomoon.io/

  Filed under the Internet Tools category. - Permalink

LaunchBar Image Actions

This week LaunchBar did it's yearly update (Version 6/13). The update include many changes to various features of the application. You can read all about the latest changes in the LaunchBar Release Note.

One of the changes that I wanted to check out is this Action Change:

Updated and improved image conversion actions (rotate, flip, resize, compress, etc.). They are now better chainable with subsequent actions ' the resulting images can be immediately sent to another action.

Launchbar Index

These actions are best using "Instant Send." To use Instant Send, simply select an image and then click on the shift key twice. Now you have the power of LaunchBar in your hands.

Image Conversion Actions

Let's say that you need to flip an image:

  • Select an Image.
  • Click on the Shift Key twice.
  • Type in Flip
  • Select Flip Image Horizontal or Flip Image Vertical
  • Click Return
  • Now You can perform another action, such as Resize or Recompress an Image.

To perform a compression, type in "Recompress." To Resize the image, type in "Resize." You can perform various actions to the same image.

The last task can be to airdrop the file to someone. Simply type in "air" and then

Just keep in mind when you perform these actions, the original image will be modified. If you want to do a comparison of the image, make a copy of the image.

  Filed under the Macintosh category. - Permalink

Boston Bars Closing

I haven't been in Boston since March 12th. This is true for most people that commute to Boston for work. Most Bostonians have been working from home during the pandemic. It's uncertain when we would be going back to our offices.

Pandemic has Been Bad for Restaurants

COVID-19 has impacted Boston small business a lot. A walk down Boylston Street and you'll find some business are now gone.

Mc Greevy Pour House Lir

Here's a tweet from BostonTweet that pretty much explains the situation in Boston.

Commuter Rail

The MBTA Commuter rail has taken a hard hit. At one point the number of daily commuters was down 80%. The numbers have come back up slightly since April, but still way down from February.

The MBTA has put together a 2-year budget plan, due to the COVID-19 crisis. This means that they anticipate that ridership will be down for a long time.

The sad thing is within that two year time, leases will come up for renewal and some companies may take advantage of that and downside their Boston offices.

  Filed under the Boston category. - Permalink

Shelburne Farms

It's September, and for most people in Massachusetts, it's time to think about Fall. One of the popular Fall activity is apple picking.

Massachusetts has several places to pick Apples, Massachusetts own mass.gov site has a list of all the places where you can pick-your-own apples. There's even a map to show you what's close to you - or where you want to go.

There are two places in Stow, Massachusetts that we like to go to. Shelburne Farms and Honey Pot Hill Orchards. Both are very good, but we really like Shelburne Farms.

One of the reasons we like Shelburne Farms is that it's less crowded and you don't have to walk forever to find apples.

Shelburne Farm Mobile
shelburnefarms Desktop

Fun Facts About Shelburne Farm

  • Located only 20-miles from Boston
  • They have 20 varieties of Apples. (Not all apples are available at the same time.)
  • Don't want to spend time picking apples, you can get pre-picked bags in the Apple Shop.
  • In 2020, Shelburne Farms is open. Social Distancing is required. They are limiting the number of people that are allowed to pick apples. (Expect long lines on Weekends)
  • Full information on how Pick-Your-Own farms are available on the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources PDF document.
  • Several local amateur astronomer clubs like to look at the night sky from the farm during nights in October. The location away from city lights makes it a perfect location to view the night sky.
  • McIntosh Apples make the best Apple Pie, but if they are not available, try Northern Spys, Baldwins, Gravensteins, Pippins, or Cortlands.

Boston Globe Ad

I found a classic Ad from the Boston Globe:

Shelburne Farm News Paper
Shelburne Farm Boston Mobile

Getting There

Shelburne Farms is located on 106 West Acton Road, 978-897-9287, shelburnefarm.com, They are open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m., weekend attractions are available 10-5.

  Filed under the New England category. - Permalink

Bump Basic Title

Recently I was looking around at some different text plugins for Final Cut Pro X. I saw one that someone had that blurred out the background and had text in the foreground. The effect made the text stand out and the whole effect took about 8-seconds.

I thought it was a really cool way to present text in front of a video.

I decided against buying it, but bookmarked the website so in the future, I would get it.

It was a good thing that I waited. Turns out there's a built-in effect that works perfectly well for my needs. It's called, "Bump Basic."

Example Video

In this video, the "Worcester Express Train" is using the text effect that I was looking for. This is called "Bump Basic" and located in the Social Category.

Look Around the Text Options

One of the things I learned from this, is to play around more with the text options. I did search for "blur" thinking that it would be under that name.

There are more than 150 built-in titles to choose from. Each one having the ability to change the font style, color, and location on the screen.

  Filed under the Final Cut Pro category. - Permalink

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