Some free iOS and OS X software 02/16


I see several press releases each month for free iOS and OS X software. I started making a list of some of the releases earlier this month. Since so many of the titles were games, I have marked the non-games with three asterisks (***) at the beginning of their descriptions.

Free Mac Software 02:16 is a PDF file you can down load with the list.

I have no idea how good any of this software is as I have not tested any of it, at least not yet.

Some of you may find a few of these titles of interest. If you think that supplying this list each month is useful, let me know.


See my other OS X and iOS articles


Reversal of robot trend


There seem to be many articles about robots replacing humans (see “robots” in tag cloud). This morning I read the article “Mercedes replaces robots with people on its assembly line” that tells how Mercedes has been replacing robots with humans.

Why? Because the robots are not flexible enough to handle the wide range of customization when building the company’s S-Class autos. Certainly this reversal is not widespread, but it does highlight those areas of manufacturing where robots, at least for now, are unable to compete with humans.

Book Towns: Part I

Very interesting. I had not heard of “book towns” before. This post gives me a few more entries to add to my list of places to visit.

Cafe Book Bean

A Book Town is a trend that began in the 1960’s and refers to a town or village with a large number of used book or antiquarian book stores.
Along with their unique and plentiful bookstores they also host wonderful literary festivals

These book festivals attract book lovers and bibliophiles from all over the world. A number of towns are also members of the International Organisation of Book Towns.

Check out these first 6 awesome, yet quaint little book towns:

240-Montolieu-village-du-livre-Aude_focus_eventsMontolieu, France
Sometimes referred to as the “Village of Books.” Montolieu was the town that first introduced me to the concept of “Book Towns.” With a population of roughly only 747 people Montolieu contains fifteen bookshops, mostly specializing in second-hand and
16540322265_089531e1a8_zantiquarian books.
Every year the town offers many workshops such as: Used and antiquarian bookshops, Working craftspeople of books and art, The Arts and Crafts of the Book Museum, Bibliophilia…

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Top 10 Most Expensive Coffees

Interesting and I would like to try them, but I am not sure if I would want to buy a full bag of the beans.

Mostly I just buy Sprout’s Blend from a local Sprout’s Grocery.

Cafe Book Bean

download (3)These coffee’s are rare and unique and come from all over the world. There is an interesting variety of flavors to keep any coffee connoisseur interested. However not all of these are readily available, some are bought by auction, some are sold in small batches to select people, and some are only sold in far off places.

Starting with the least expensive here are
the top 10 most expensive coffees:


Black Blood of the Earth $40/750ml or $95 for Blue Mountain!
Philip Broughton, the man who invented this coffee, says most of the coffee beans come from the rift valleys of Ethiopia and Africa where the beans are loaded with oil.
Flavor Notes: The acid is lost during intense processing, so what you get in your cup is a strong flavored brew that is rich in caffeine, but lacks acid.
Fun Fact: Black Blood of Earth is prepared using cold…

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10 Questions for a Book Lover – blogVODfilm

These are some great questions for readers to ask themselves. They make you think about what you have read. For the the answers are:
1 – I don’t really remember, I read a lot of books when in elementary school
2 – I have so many it is hard to narrow it down to just one, or even one series of books. Trilogy of the Rings, Lost Fleet, Sherlock Holmes, Honor Harrington, the Black Company . . . I could easily name more.
3 – Same problem here. David Weber, Sir Author Conan Doyle, David Drake, Michael Crichton, Glen Cook, Arthur C. Clark, Tom Clancy . . . the more I think about it the more authors I want to add to my favorites.
4 – It would have to be a large tea party. I’m not sure If I could pick just one
5 – Ditto
6 – I don’t have a favorite place to read. I find myself reading in a variety of places whenever the opportunity presents itself.
7 – I do like Honor Harrington, but also Sherlock Holmes. Then there is Bilbo Baggins. Again, too long a list for me.
8 – I think I would like the universe of Honor Harrington or Star Trek, but there are others I like as well.
9 – compulsory reading – not sure any specific book should be compulsory, rather it should be compulsory to read something. Not everyone’s tastes are the same, but reading should be encouraged.
10 – At the moment I am reading “The Big Brush-off” a Mystery by Michael Murphy.

You should think about these questions and how you might answer them.

Byford's Books

Name: Alice

Blog: blogVODfilm


1. What’s the first book you remember reading by yourself?

It probably wasn’t Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, but it’s the first one I remember, and it’s the first book I read that really, really, caught my imagination.

2. What’s your favourite book?

The Hobbit, it’s short, it’s simple, it’s an easy read with great imagery. Some of the scenes in this book have really stuck in my head and stayed there.

3. Who is your favourite author?

Phillip Pullman. His His Dark Materials trilogy is great, it’s children’s literature that is complex enough to enjoy as an adult, I also think it was the first set of books I read that made me cry. Louise Erdrich is another favorite she is an Ojibwe writer who explores Native American characters and settings, without romanticising but with powerful great imagery.

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Fun Coffee Facts

More interesting facts about coffee.

Cafe Book Bean

images (1)

Its Friday so here are some Fun Facts!

Just a few coffee tid-bits nothing too deep:

  • Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee and the first to make a beverage from the roasted beans around 1300 AD.
    Coffee was originally used by monks and “prescribed” medicinally.Turska_kava
  • Today coffee is grown in more than 70 countries – all in subtropical regions – and more people drink coffee than any other beverage except water and perhaps tea.
  • The United States consumes more coffee – 300 million cups a day – than any other country as a whole, but other countries drink more per capita. The average  citizens of Finland drinks about 2.64 cups of coffee a day, higher than any other nation.
  • Workers who drank coffee rather than napping were more alert and performed better on the job, studies show.
    I don’t know how accurate this is, but considering  I can’t nap…

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Review of “No Human Enemy”


“No Human Enemy” eBook was published in 2013 (originally published on paper in 2008) and was written by John Gardner ( Mr. Gardner published more than 50 novels. This was the fifth and last of the ‘Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford’ series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This novel is set in June 1944 England. The Allies have been successful in their invasion at Normandy and are now pressing on towards Germany.

Germany has begun the bombardment of England using the V-1 and V-2 missiles. After a V-1 hits near a convent, three bodies are discovered. Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford and her boss Tommy Livermore are called in when one of the three nuns killed in the attack turns out to be a man in disguise with his throat cut.

Livermore is pulled off this case to help with the death of a young woman. As he digs into her past, she seems to have had a questionable history. Mountford takes on the case of the dead nuns and soon finds more peculiarities about two of the victims.

Concurrent with these events in England, there are high level meetings going on within the German SS. A plot is afoot to disrupt the Allied war effort through a secret attack. As Montford continues to dig into the deaths, she begins to find possible nazi connections.

I enjoyed the nearly 7 hours I spent with this 286 page novel. I liked the combination of World War II time frame and Mystery. There were some hints where the plot was heading, but I thought that it was a well told story. The language was a little difficult to understand at times because of English slang, but still understandable. There were references to things that has happened earlier in the series, but this was a descent stand-alone read. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (

New generation of robots

Boston Dynamics has a new generation of their Atlas robot. The 5′ 9″ humanoid robot weighs just 180 pounds, nearly half as much at the earlier generation. The robot is electrically powered and uses hydraulic actuators for the arms and legs. The on-board sensor suite include LIDAR and stereoscopic sensors to avoid obstacles. The robot easily maneuvers over both the flat floors of indoor spaces as well as rough outside terrain. It can even open some doors.

The video above gives a good idea of what it is capable of.

Coffee Alternatives

Hmmm, alternatives to coffee? I’m not sure I would like to replace my daily dose of coffee, but these other drinks might supplement my coffee intake.

Cafe Book Bean

smoked_butterscotch-citrus_green_tea_latte1No there is nothing wrong with me, and yes I still love coffee above all other drinks. However, now and then it’s nice to have something a little different. Also, there are some people who cannot have coffee, or just don’t like it, and I wanted to share some of the solutions I came up with during a time when I could not have coffee.

So here are some great alternatives to coffee:

This might be and obvious choice, but you can use tea in more ways than just steeping it. I will take the tea leaves and compact them into an espresso machine and make a concentration like espresso. Then I will make tea lattes with steamed milk and honey or agave, they are amazing. Tea is also awesome because there are so many varieties just like coffee. There are options for caffeine seekers, as well as soothing…

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Review of “Crash Course”


“Crash Course” eBook was published in 2016 (February) (the original paper copy was published in 1979) and was written by Stephen Barlay. Mr Barlay published 11 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through I categorize this novel as ‘G’. Not sure if I should call this a Thriller or a Mystery. Really neither in my estimation.

Pilot of passenger aircraft aborts takeoff at last moment and crashes the plane at the end of the runway. A crew member and a passenger are killed along with a young boy on the ground. As the investigation begins, there seems to be none of the aircraft problems that the pilot reported as causing the crash.

I thought this might be an interesting book . . . I was wrong. I spent a little over 2 hours reading this novel and got to about 31% of the way before I just had to give up and call a ‘Rule of 50’ on it.

Several characters were written about, some which seemed to have no connection to the crash. The only action scenes were contained in the few pages describing the crash itself. At more than 30% of the way through the novel I still had no idea what the plot was. Yes there was a crash and an investigation. There was no hint yet at any sabotage nor anyone wanting to cause harm to the aircraft or the air lines. I feel like I wasted two hours. I give this novel a 2 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (