A-Z Challenge blog postings

A-Z Challenge Postings - Page 4

Earliest: April 1, 2016Latest: May 2, 2021Total: 133
May 5, 2019

A-Z Challenge - 2019 - Reflection

This year's A to Z challenge started off promising but fell off because some of the letters were difficult for the various daily topics.

Overall it was a good month. I learned a lot about various things that I wouldn?t have had I not done the challenge.

Five Things I learned

  • As much as I wanted to get the content out early, it wasn't always possible. There were too many distractions.
  • Some content that I had planned was scrapped because it wasn?t interesting enough.
  • The content was pretty bad since I didn?t get as many comments as last year.
  • I did enjoy trying to find quality content for the letters. The topic of jQuery made things pretty difficult. I think next year I?ll stick to known topics.
  • Towards the end it wasn?t as fun and this year. I actually was excited when the challenge was over.

Four Favorite Posts in April

These are my favorite post from this year A to Z challenge.

April 25, 2019

Vendome Hotel Fire Monument

This year marks the 47th anniversary of the Vendome Hotel fire. The hotel was located on Commonwealth Ave Mall, near Dartmouth Street.

On June 17th, 1972 the building caught on fire. Nine firefighters were killed while trying to put out the fire. To this day it is still the worst fire in Boston's history.

Hotel Vendome

Eleven things I learned about the Hotel Fire

Hotel Vendome was completed in 1871 - named after a similar hotel in Paris. In 1882, it was the first hotel in America to have electric lights - Thomas Edison stayed at the hotel to personally see it.

The hotel suffered during the depression. On December 28, 1969, a fire broke out in the hotel - when the top three floors were badly damaged. The owners couldn't recover from the fire and sold the hotel a couple of years later.

The new owner was upgrading the hotel to the apartment and a two-floor shopping area.

At the time of the fire, the building was still under construction. There were 100 people in the cafe and some construction workers upstairs. An electrician was the one that reported the blaze by pulling a local firebox around 2:35 pm

By 3:06 the fire went to four alarms.

At 5:20 pm, the southeast corner of the building collapsed trapping and crushing nine firefighters. (The southeast corner faces Dartmouth street.)

The collapsed occurred during a shift change when a large number of firemen were out of the building. There were 25 firemen in the building when it collapsed occurred.

The fallen were Thomas W. Beckwith, Joseph J. Boucher Jr., Joseph P. Saniuk, John E. Hanbury Jr., Thomas J. Carroll, Paul J. Murphy, Richard B. Magee, John E. Jameson and Charles E. Dolan.

It took 50 firemen nine hours to recover all the bodies from the fire.

One other woman died in the fire.

The actual cause of the fire has never been determining. In addition, Fire Marshal also wasn't able to determine where the fire started. It is believed that it was an accident and not intentionally set.

You can learn a lot more detail about the fire on the Boston Fire History website.


The monument was dedicated on June 17, 1987 - the 25th anniversary of the fire.

It is located diagonally across the street of the former Hotel Vendome.

There is a timeline on the monument, as you read through it your facing towards the former hotel.

The memorial was designed by Ted Clausen and architected by Peter White.

Other Tragic Fires

November 15, 1942 - Six Firemen died at the 110-year-old Lyceum Hall in East Boston.

October 1, 1964 - Four Firemen died at a toy factory on Trumbull Street in the South End.

April 24, 2019

USB Power

The iPhone XS Max comes with the standard 5W USB Changer. One thing that is interesting is the power adapter doesn't have the green sticker on the back any more.

See this side-by-side comparison with the Adapter that came with my iPhone 6s Plus when I purchased it back in September 2015.

Power Plug Green

Why the Green Dot?

According to Apple, the green dot was put on the Power Adapter by Apple to show that the plug isn't part of the Exchange program. See full details on the Apple Exchange Program page.

Is 5W Enough?

As mentioned in a previous blog post, 5W might be a good option for overnight charging. However if your traveling a lot you should consider investing in a more powerful charger that will charge the iPhone XS Max in about 1/2 the time.

Ideally getting a 12w or more powerful charger will be helpful when you need a quick boot for those crazy Saturday routines.

Gift Idea

If your looking for a unique gift idea for "someone that has everything" get a USB-C charger with a USB-C to Lighting Cable. According to Apple this will fully charge the iPhone XS Max in about 1/2 the time.

You can buy a Anker USB-C to Lighting Cable on Amazon.com, Bestbuy.com or Staples for about $14.

April 23, 2019

Tripod Mount

Go Pro Tripod Mount is a cool thing to add to your collection. It basically makes any GoPro accessory available to any other technology device.

For example, if you have an iPhone XS Max, you can use a simple tripod adapter and the GoPro mount to connect the iPhone XS Max to a GoPro Suction cup accessory. Now you can exchange accessories and limit the amount you carry.

Go Pro Tripod Mount

Cheap Enough to Get it

Obviously this won’t work in all accessories, but it’s cheap enough to have on - just in case you find that using a smartphone would be better than the GoPro. You can find a mount for about $4 on eBay or in various kits on Amazon for about $7.

April 22, 2019

Selector using JQuery

jQuery selector functionality is pretty powerful. You can select All, IDs, Names, etc. It's a good way to perform an action. There's a trick to use when you don't have an ID and the page content tree changes. You can use the jQuery Contains() selector.

This is useful when you want to click on a specific Anchor tag and using an XPath isn't going to help since the content may change. (Thus frequently failing automation runs)

Simple Example

$( "a:contains('Sign up')" ).click();

The only problem with the above is if you have multiple anchor tags with the same text. Simply add the following reference:

$( "a:contains('Sign up')" ).eq(0).click();
April 20, 2019

Ranking of Weather around the World

Ever had one of those days where it felt like it was the hottest place on Earth? Or perhaps it's freezing outside and your thinking it must be the cold place on the planet?

Well now you can check it out from ogimet.com. You can see the Hottest Temps, Coldest Temp, Rainest and Windest place on earth. Not just right now, but anytime in the last 20 years!

You can find out what the extreme Temps at the time someone was born in the past 20 years.

Description from Website

This page query uses both WMO and ICAO station indices, and allows efficient searches based on site, partial name string, country etc

These pages should be used for information purposes. The authors are not responsible for any error, delay or defect in the data or its interpretation. The products of this site should not be used in any critical mission

This website does not store any personal information of its users except the corregimiento of use of cookies. However, use Google Adsense services. You can visit this page of Google to know what use is given to the information collected by third-party ads

Ranking Temps

This is a free service, and there is a time limit on how many history searches can be performed. (I believe it's one query for every 1 minute.)

April 19, 2019

Quick Printing using the Printer Pool

If you work in an office environment with lots of printers, it can confusing to print something now and know what printer is available. Sure printing to the closest printer is the solution, but if everyone else in the office is doing that - it may take a while to get your print.

Luckily you can set up a personal Printing Pool so that you can let the computer figure out the best printer to use - almost like a Waze for printing. Your computer will print to the next available printer - you don't need to spend time figuring it out.

The good news is that this is part of MacOS X you don't need to purchase a printing utility.

Quick Printing Pool

Setting up your Personal Printing Pool

Here are the steps to getting your own printing pool setup. (Tip you can set up multiple pools, based on location or printer types!)

  1. Open up System Preferences
  2. Click on the "Printer & Scanners" icon.
  3. Select multiple printer (Hold down the shift key to select the printers.)
  4. You see the right frame has "Multiple Printers Selected. Click on the "Create Printer Pool" button.
  5. Name the Pool - I suggest something simple such as "6th Floor Printers" or "Color Printers near me" and click "OK""
  6. You'll see the group appear with your other printers.
  7. You can make this the default group by selecting the name in the "Default printer" menu.
April 18, 2019

Pope John Paul II visits Boston

Pope John Paul visited the United States of America on October 1st-8, 1979 - the first visit of the Pope to America. His Apostolic Journey began in Boston.

Pope Monument1979
A monument of Pope visit is near the location of where the Pope Spoke in 1979.

Ten Things I learned about the Pope's Visit to Boston

In July 1976, Cardinal Wojty?a spent the summer traveling North America giving speeches - including one at Harvard University. In 1979, he was elected Pope and took the name Pope John Paul II.

Pope John Paul left Ireland the morning of October 1st, and landed in Boston and kiss the American soil at 3:02 pm. Was greeted by Mrs. Rosalyns Carter along with other distinguish Massachusetts politicians.

It took 55-minutes to get from Logan Airport to Dorchester - as the motor cage traveled slowly as people wanted to see the Pope.

He said his first Mass in the United States at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross with 2,000 local priests in attendance.

Later that day, Pope John Paul II celebrated his first North America outdoor Mass at the Boston Public Commons - an estimated 400,000 people attended the service.

The Mass was to start at 5:30 pm, but he was about 20 minutes late

The service lasted an hour and a half as the crowd stood during a heavy rainstorm. His homily lasted 37-minutes.

He gave communion to 160 individuals - while 300 priests served communion to the crowd.

After saying the Mass, he left to spend the night at the Cardinal Medeiros home in Brighton.

You can read all the speeches that he gave in American on the Vatican website.

Monument Installation

A Monument was proposed to the City of Boston Park and Recreation Commission on February 12, 1981 (5-Months after the Pope visit) The initial request was turned down because they didn't have the correct approval from the Art Commission and Friends of the Public Garden.

Once the monument team got the correct approval, they met with the City of Boston Park and Recreation Commission again and received approval on May 27, 1981.

The monument was installed near the location of the altar during the Mass.

The monument was paid for by funds raised by the Order of the Alhambra.

Large Crowds

The fact that 400,000 people attended the Mass at the Boston Public Gardens is impressive. Consider the following:

  • Weather Factors: The heavy rainstorm certainly was a reason for people to avoid outdoor service. (In fact, some people had to seek shelter because of the lightning storms.)
  • Day of the Event: October 1st, 1979, was a Monday - people would have likely taken the day off - even for a 5:30 service.
  • Getting to Boston: Public Transportation today is much better than it was in 1979. Today the MBTA is able to handle the 3.2 million fans turning out for the 2004 Rolling Rally to celebrate the 2004 Red Sox. Most people would have driven into the city - I am sure the traffic was busy with the evening commute. (No Red Sox game as they failed to make the playoffs)

Interesting Discovery

The Boston Public Library has a collection of documents from the Pope's visit. These are on reserved and not for checking out of the library.

When I went to the library earlier this week, I was told that the documents have gone missing. The librarian informed me that this occasionally happens when people misplace certain documents.

April 17, 2019

Outline Wallpaper

The iPhone XS Max comes with 29 different Wallpapers of unique types. There are Dynamic, Stills and Live variety. Lots to choose from - many people will just use a photo of a pet or child as their Wallpaper.

Outline Wallpaper

An outline wallpaper is a wallpaper that has a thin border around the outer edge of the screen. It's a way to frame the content, and a way to highlight the notch on the top of the screen. It's a good way to have a distracted free home screen.

Hideaki Nakatani created a site with 32 different outline wallpapers to exclusively work with the iPhone XS Max. It's a creative wallpaper gallery that gives your smartphone a professional look.

The website main language is in Japanese - you can find English translations throughout the site.

Outline Wallpaper
Hideaki Wallpaper adds a simple border around the edge of the screen. This is the simple white color.

About Hideaki Nakatani

Some information about Hideaki Nakatani's website:

How about the wallpaper decorating its Home Screen?

There are many beautiful wallpapers in the world. They are beautiful photos, beautiful art, beautiful graphic design. It is not product design.

The origin of this site is to make Home Screen a part of the product integrated with the iPhone. I just wanted to stop looking for wallpaper that I didn't really like and use it comfortably.

Although, there are many specifications not published by Apple such as the virtual size of the Parallax Effect, the rule of the color of the Dock and folders in iOS wallpaper. In addition, they are changed frequently in updates. It sounds like cryptography.

Check it Out!

Check out the simple Hideaki Wallpaper designs at https://heyeased.weebly.com/exactly-max.html.

April 16, 2019

Night Mode - GoPro Silver

If you're looking for the best quality night pictures and time lapse, your best bet is to get the GoPro 7 Black. The Silver version has very minimal functionality to low light photography.

GoPro 7 Silver Specs

A quick look on how the iPhone XS Max is a better camera for night photos. (Tip: You have a lot more control over the settings than you do with the GoPro 7 Silver series.)

Name GoPro Silver GoPro Black iPhone Xs Max
ISO 16001600 2,304
Aperture f/2.8 f/2.8 f/1.8
Exposure TIme 1/151/15 1/22000

Note: GoPro Silver users have no control over the Shutter Speed and Exposure time.

Sample YouTube Video

GoPro 7 Silver YouTube video showing the morning sunrise in time lapse.