Floppy Drive Plays GoT Theme

 

 

I like Game of Thrones. I am also a bit of a computer nerd. My son showed me this video yesterday that brought both of those worlds together. Who would have thought that old computer hardware could be repurposed to play music?

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Well actually, I heard something like this before in person. I worked for TRW Transportations Systems back in the early 1970’s. I remember in our computer room at the Clear Lake office there was a minicomputer equipped with a IBM 2315 compatible disk drive (A drive unit that accepted 14 inch 1MB removable disk cartridges in a plastic container as pictured above). One of the creative programmers had written a program that would play  “She’s Coming Around the Mountain” by controlling the arm with the read/write heads.

The arm had to traverse between 5 and 6 inches quickly to access the tracks containing the data. To achieve this a large voice coil actuator would move the arm with the heads to a designated track on the disk. This required a considerable force to move the heads quickly enough. The movement made enough noise that a ‘tune’ could be played. The unit was mounted in a standard five foot tall 19 inch rack and if the song was played, the force would be enough to visibly shake the rack containing the drive and minicomputer.

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Review of “The Martian”

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“The Martian” eBook was published in 2014 and was written by Andy Weir (http://www.andyweirauthor.com/). This is Mr. Weir’s first major publication.

I purchased this book from Amazon when I saw that it was on sale. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains Mature Language. The story is set on Mars, Earth and aboard the spacecraft Hermes.

Mark Watney and five other American astronauts are on the third manned mission to Mars. They are there only a few days when, because of a pending severe storm, they must abandon the mission and head home. During the rush from the habitat to the escape ship, Watney is struck by flying debris and thought to be dead. The other five crew members must abandon the search for him and head home. This all happens in the first few pages of the novel.

But Watney is not dead. The bulk of the story is how Watney fights for survival. He uses his engineering and science skills to overcome one problem after another. He is a survivor. But the effort to bring Watney home is not his alone. The story also tells of efforts by engineers and scientists back on Earth to rescue him, and the sacrifices his crew mates make in an effort to bring Watney home.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 385 page Science Fiction Thriller. I had previously seen the movie and enjoyed it. The book was far better! I am glad I put off reading it until after I had seen the movie. While this is a great story of human endurance and survival, it is also a great demonstration of problem solving and the advantages that science and engineering skills provide. Most if not all students should be required to read this to understand problem solving and science. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Happy SysAdminDay!

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Today, July 29, is the 17th internationally recognized day to recognize computer and network System AdministratorsSysAdminDay. The last 20 years or so of my career was spent as a Unix/Linux Sys Admin, so I like to promote this day.

Just remember that the Sys Admins are those folks behind the scenes that keep your computer network secure and your servers up and running. Usually all they hear are complaints when a system goes down. Their many long hours, often in the middle of the night and on weekends, is what keeps everything working properly.

Please show your appreciation today for any Sys Admins that you know.

Review of “The Sandpit”

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“The Sandpit” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Stephen Leather (http://www.stephenleather.com). Mr. Leather has nearly 50 publications.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set mostly in the Middle East. The primary character is Dan “Spider” Shepherd.

This story does a flashback to when Shepherd is a member of a British SAS team sent into Afghanistan to train rebel fighters to battle the Taliban. The team must infiltrate as quietly as they can then follow a local fighter and his colleagues to their mountain village.

Shepherd and his team train the fighters and are involved in more than one confrontation with the Taliban or their supporters.

I enjoyed the just shy of 5 hours I spent reading this 246 page Thriller novel (novella?). I liked the view into the Middle East from the perspective of the SAS, and I liked the character of Spider Shepherd. While this is not the first Spider Shepherd story, it read well as a stand-alone book. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Be Healthy, Drink Beer

Beer

Did you know that beer could actually improve your health? I didn’t before I read “7 Healthy Reasons to Drink Beer” at Men’s Health. You can read the article for all the details, but the essence is that drinking beer (in moderation) will:

  • Reduce risk of heart disease
  • Lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Increase bone density
  • Prevent Dementia
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Prevent kidney stones
  • Help fight cancer

Let’s all go out and have a cold one!

Free iOS, tvOS and macOS Software 07/2016

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I have been maintaining a list of free software for iOS, tvOS and OS X. You may find some of these programs of interest. Those titles which are NOT games are marked by “***” at the beginning of the description. I have also attempted to mark which Apple OS the title is targeted at (iOS, OS X, tvOS).

This is NOT a curated list. All I know about these titles is what you see below. None have been tried or tested.

July 2016

  1. *** macOS/Utility SpriTec Software is proud to announce the release of SuperTab version 2.1, a significant upgrade to its Macintosh utility application that greatly enhances and extends the Mac’s built-in Command-Tab Application Switcher.  uperTab 2.1 is free to download and install and is fully-functional for 30 days. After 30 days, it remains fully-functional but will occasionally ask users to register. Users can take advantage of a special 50%-off sale price of only $10, which is good now through August 15, 2016. Download SuperTab
  2. *** macOS/Productivity – XwaveSoft today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Focus Matrix 1.0, their smart personal organizer app for macOS. Focus Matrix’s organizational process is based on the so-called “Eisenhower Box,” which is a personal productivity strategy created by the 34th U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. The app makes use of a special priority matrix that efficiently breaks a user’s tasks into one of four groups depending on their urgency and importance. This allows anyone to work their way through their daily agenda in the most efficient way possible. Focus Matrix 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Productivity category. An upgrade to the Pro version is $4.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies), and is available via a convenient in-app purchase. As a special limited-time app launch offer, users can upgrade to Pro at a 30% discount, for $2.99 USD. Download from the Mac App Store
  3. *** iOS/Magazines & Newspapers – Electric Car Insider magazine announced today the development of an interactive mobile EV Buyers Guide app for IOS tablets and mobile devices. The app helps people interested in electric cars learn about electric vehicle technology and find a car that fits their budget and lifestyle. The new multimedia app version of the EV Buyers Guide has instructional video, audio podcasts, interviews and image gallery slide shows providing views and details not possible to include in print. Electric Car Insider 2.0 is free (with in-app purchases) with a $19.99 subscription, and available worldwide through the App Store in the Magazines & Newspapers category. The price includes four quarterly issues covering electric cars, motorcycles, bicycles, EV chargers and solar charging systems. Download from iTunes
  4. iOS/Games – Shape Minds UG today is proud to announce the release of Heavy Metal Tennis Training 1.0, a simple but challenging 8-Bit game for iOS and Android. Heavy Metal Tennis Training is a fun mixture of sports and arcade game. The player acts as an aging rockstar which has to return flaming tennis balls at evil tennis machines, that explode into flames of hellfire from below. Heavy Metal Tennis Training 1.0 is Free (with two extra characters available for in-purchases) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  5. iOS/Games – Independent developer, Josip Pavic today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Ditopa – A Fantastic New Brick Breaker 1.0, a fast-paced and exciting brick breaker game developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Featuring easy controls and addictive gameplay, Ditopa leverages the devices’ touch user interface and high-end graphics engine, allowing players to easily control the paddle and bounce the ball of the bricks. Your mission is to clear all the bricks off the play field. While playing, you should try to gain powerful boosts and do your best to avoid tricky power-downs. Game Center Leaderboards are implemented into the game, so you can compare your score with other players from all around the world. Ditopa – A Fantastic New Brick Breaker 1.0 is free (with in-app purchases) and is available worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  6. *** iOS/Productivity – XwaveSoft today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Focus Matrix 1.0, their smart personal organizer app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Focus Matrix is based on a personal productivity strategy created by Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States. The “Eisenhower Box” method of task priority organization uses a four-square, color-coded matrix that allows anyone to identify at a glance which tasks are immediately pressing, and which tasks can be safely put off, or delegated to someone else. Focus Matrix 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Productivity category. An upgrade to the Pro version is $2.99 (or an equivalent amount in other currencies), and is available via a convenient in-app purchase. As a special limited-time app launch offer, users can upgrade to Pro at a 30% discount, for just $1.99 USD. Download from iTunes
  7. iOS/Music – Patchworks celebrate the launch of Bangers, an innovative iPhone app set to transform the musical landscape by letting fans, artists and amateur beat-makers alike play, remix and create unique songs, turning the music consuming experience interactive. Bangers will change the way people relate to music. Being a music fan is no longer a passive experience. Bangers is an innovative iPhone app set to transform the musical landscape by letting fans, artists and amateur beat-makers alike play, remix and create unique songs, turning the music consuming experience interactive. Bangers allows everyone to become a producer by creating their own versions of their own. Bangers 1.0.1 is Free (with in-app purchases) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Music category. A subscription service via in-app purchase grants unlimited access to all of Bangers’ wide-ranging soundpacks, features and songs. Alternatively, free users have the opportunity to gain access to the game’s unlockables through the app’s virtual coin system.Download from iTunes
  8. iOS/Games – Today, Shenzhen Ezfun Interactive Technology Co., Ltd. is proud to announce the release of Dynasty Blades 1.3.9, an update to their popular game title for iOS and Android devices. Dynasty Blades, an action game with Romance of the Three Kingdoms setting, was released and introduced to western players by Ezfun in May 2016. Dynasty Blades 1.3.9 is Free (with in-app purchases) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Dynasty Blades 1.3.9
  9. iOS/Games – Enjoy Game, a publisher dedicated to spread the fun of outstanding mobile games, today is very pleased to announce the official global release of Lineage War 0.12, its most exciting Action-RPG title developed for iOS and Android devices. With the aim to see whether this game can replicate its success and seize the enjoyment in global market, Lineage War has achieved excellent performance in Asia with over a million downloads and counting. Almost 4 months after its initial launch, the developer has decided to hit the global market. Lineage War 0.12 is Free (with in-app purchases) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Lineage War 0.12
  10. *** macOS/Utility – Nektony today is proud to announce the release of Funter 2.0, a freeware app addressed to those who are looking for the simplest way to view hidden files and switch files visibility on Mac. Apps and web browsers on Mac create lots of unneeded files, which are hidden and might utilize significant disk space. Spotlight does not find such invisible & system files. Funter allows you to find those hidden files, make them visible, operate them and even hide your regular files. Funter is Free to download and available worldwide through the Nektony website. https://nektony.com/products/funter
  11. *** iOS/Productivity – A small British start-up from Canterbury has big plans to disrupt the dominance of the all-powerful search giants Google and Bing. Established in 2011 by Formula 1 designer turned Internet entrepreneur Michael Blaize, Mic-Apps Ltd recently released Delve Deep Search Engine 4.6, a new mobile app for iPhones and iPads, allowing users to perform in-depth explorations of specific websites. Delve Deep Search Engine 4.6 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Productivity category. Delve Deep Search Engine 4.6
  12. *** macOS/Graphics and Design – Isle of the Kakapo is today proud to announce the release and immediate availability of RailModeller Express 5.1.3, their free model railroad and slot car layout design solution for Mac OS X. The app offers sophisticated tools that enable hobbyists to quickly design model train and slot car track layouts via drag & drop, features libraries for more than 200 track systems, and offers customizable views of track layouts in both two and three dimensions. RailModeller Express 5.1.3 is free and available worldwide through the Mac App Store in the Graphics and Design category. A paid version, RailModeller Pro 5.1.2 – which expands the number of track elements that can be used per layout, as well as the number of layers supported, and offers unlimited layout size – is offered at $39.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies) through the Mac App Store in the Graphics and Design category. Download from the the Mac App Store
  13. iOS/Games – AIGRIND is pleased to announce the release of Warspear Online 2D MMORPG / MMO 5.8, an important update to their game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. In Borea, players will have a chance to complete the main holiday quest of this event – they must stop a dangerous Dragon’s Ritual and be one of the heroes who will change the destiny of the world! The Time Rift has opened and now everyone can travel to the holiday locations of Arinar – have fun in the Horror Circus and test themselves fighting the vicious psycho Joker. Or, try to stop the shaman Raven from devastating the snow boundary. dungeons, dangerous bosses, fun rides, enjoyable quests, battles with mighty bosses and generous prizes await everyone brave enough to join in the celebration. Warspear Online 2D MMORPG / MMO 5.8 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Fames category. Convenient in-app purchases are available.  Download from iTunes
  14. *** iOS/Productivity – For all those who make use of the NO.Tify.Me App to manage their schedules and never forget an event, here comes a chance earn some quick cash. The app itself a is a virtual task manager that will not allow you to miss any important dates and/or days in your life – now you can set a reminder on the app itself to remind you to take part in this contest to earn a full fifty dollars! Open for an audience that is scattered around the globe, this contest closes on the 12th of July 2016 and is absolutely free.  NO.TIfy.ME 1.4 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Productivity category. Download from iTunes
  15. *** iOS/Education – A brand new app is set to hit the market, which has the potential to transform relationships through an advanced personality-matching algorithm. Published by Online Commerce Group BV, the PersonalityMatch app, which is free to download, reveals and analyses personality types and shows you easy ways to improve your most precious relationships. PersonalityMatch 1.0.7 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Education category.  Download from iTunes
  16. *** iOS/Health & Fitness – Created by Diamond Choice Advertising LLC, MyBeautyClinique 1.3.1 is no-cost app that offers users live chat with top skin, hair & make up experts. Users can also buy high end beauty products from American and European brands, find lucky colors & lots more amazing features. MyBeautyClinique 1.3.1, the revolutionary beauty app that gained 55,000 followers on Instagram in it’s first week of launch, is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Health & Fitness category.  Download from iTunes
  17. iOS/Games – On5 today is proud to announce the release of BREXIT! 1.2.2, their new game title developed for iOS and Android devices. BREXIT! is not only a name for a big european dilemma, but a game, too. In this game you control a double-decker driving on a european highway. The only problem is that the bus is driving against the entire traffic, and the player has to solve this problem by quickly switching lanes. BREXIT! 1.2.2 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  18. *** iOS/Travel – Creekcats LLC is today proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Caidanshuo2 2.6, the important update for their popular English to Chinese menu translator for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. The app offers Chinese-speaking travelers a simple method of translating English language menus, allowing them to select their meal from any menu, using a simple point and order method of communication. Caidanshuo2 2.6 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Travel category. It can be launched up to three times for free, and several menu pages can be processed with a single launch of the app, so a user can use the app for several meals for free. They will then need to unlock the app via a convenient $1.99 in-app purchase. Purchase and Download
  19. *** iOS/Social Networking – The Tempr Team today is proud to announce the offical release of Tempr 1.0, the company’s new social networking app developed exclusively for iPhone and iPad touch devices. Tempr is a friendly app for sharing personal impressions of publications, showing kindness and creativity. Friends are at the heart of the app which allows them to post stories by adding their friends’ qualities through #hashtags, giving real meaning and positivity to daily stories. Tempr 1.0 is Free (without ads) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Social Networking category.  Download from iTunes
  20. *** iOS/Social Networking – Klink, the social networking platform allowing users to monetize their photo and video content, today announces their iOS and Android app to pay the world’s top content creators. Currently available in the iTunes Store and Google Play, Klink improves upon older photo sharing apps and allows users to monetize their photo and video content. Through an immersive experience that takes advantage of the phone’s full screen, Klink is winning content creators over with its UI and rewards for creativity and original content. klink 2.0 is Free (with in-app purchases) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Social Networking category.  Download from iTunes
  21. iOS/Games – Upsilon Dynamics Inc. today is very pleased to announce the release of Rainbow Crush Pop 1.2, a popular and new game title developed for iOS and Android devices. Company CEO and lead developer Matt Drouillard, believes Rainbow Crush Pop could very well become the next Flappy Bird, the viral game that was met with outlandish success in 2013-2014. Rainbow Crush Pop 1.2 is Free and available exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. It is free for all users with optional upgrades to remove the ads.  Download from iTunes
  22. *** iOS/Travel – AllSharp Corporation Ltd. is pleased to announce the release of BagAPP 1.2, an important update to their popular travel app developed for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. BagAPP is the first App allowing anyone hands free travel: a service to search, choose and reserve the most convenient luggage storage service right when and where they need it. Available on the App Store, Google Play Store and via its own website, BagAPP is completely Free to download. The service is now open in Berlin, Prague, Rome and Milan. Many more cities will follow! BagAPP 1.2 is free, and is available through the App Store in the Travel category. Download from iTunes
  23. *** iOS/Business – ABBYY today is very pleased to announce the biggest update yet of its advanced contact management application for iOS – ABBYY Business Card Reader. In addition to a substantial iOS update, we are proud and excited to introduce the new Apple Watch application for our multifunctional business card and contact manager. The application works smoothly across platforms giving you the freedom to access information and connect using any device. ABBYY Business Card Reader 8.20 for iOS is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Business category. The Free version allows for as much as 15 recognitions. Then you can upgrade to a Premium account using 1-month or 1-year subscriptions. The Premium version provides unlimited recognition of business cards, syncs contacts between user’s iOS and Android-based devices, automatic backup, export to Excel and more. Download from iTunes
  24. *** iOS/Education – Cognitive ToyBox today is proud to announce the release of First Words Checklist 1.34 for the iPad, their app designed to help parents and teachers better understand a child’s language development. First Words Checklist 1.34 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category. Download from iTunes
  25. iOS/Games – Jordan Naftolin is proud to announce the immediate availability of Pegs ‘n Holes 1.9, an important update to his unique logic puzzle game for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android, and Windows devices. Pegs ‘n Holes offers players a colorful spatial logic puzzle challenge, incorporating elements of both Sudoku and Minesweeper. Players must determine the correct sequence of moves to fill each hole on the board with a peg of the same color. The game is easy to learn and fun to play. It’s the perfect game for casual gamers who are looking for an enjoyable and relaxing way to keep their minds sharp. Pegs ‘n Holes 1.9 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Players can remove ads and unlock extra-large board sizes via in-app purchases.  Download from iTunes
  26. iOS/Games – Independent mobile game developer, Forsbit LLC today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Monster Run 1.0.1, their challenging horror-themed platformer game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Monster Run is the game for the player who rooted for the monsters when they watched the old Universal horror movies. The monsters have escaped the lab where they were studied and had evil experiments performed on them, now they just want to get home safely. Players will jump over obstacles, use gravity to conquer levels, collect coins, gather rewards to unlock the rest of the monsters on the way home. Monster Run 1.0.1 is free and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  27. iOS/Games – Upsilon Dynamics Inc. today is proud to release version 1.2 of their new Zombie Shooter, Zombie Wall Attack. In Zombie Wall Attack, your objective is to fight off countless and ruthless waves of zombie attackers. The concept is simple, prevent as many zombies as possible from hopping over a wall and entering your compound – if more than 20 zombies manage to jump pass, you lose. The objective is to get through as many waves as possible with the highest score possible. Zombie Wall Attack 1.2 is Free (with in-app purchase) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Users can optionally upgrade for $1.99 (USD) to a premium copy, which unlocks special battle grounds as well as removing all advertisements.  Download from iTunes
  28. *** iOS/Utilities – Parents in search of the ideal way to send their kids off to dreamland, and actually make them look forward to going to bed rather than rile against it night after night, can now head to the App Store, and download the wonderful new Night Lamp App. Created by Zapporoo and available at no cost, Night Lamp App is a simple and easy-to-use app that displays a kid-friendly image, such as a beloved animated character, favorite place, cherished photo, landscape scene and so on. Night Lamp App 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category. Night Lamp App 1.0
  29. *** iOS/Travel – Neoappz, a mobile application development company, today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Text Extractor & Translator 1.0, their new travel app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Text Extractor & Translator is a user-friendly application which allows users to instantly extract ,translate and read text from any printed material such as magazines,books, ads and road side billboards. It is helpful while traveling and also in day-today activities. Text Extractor & Translator 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Travel category. Text Extractor & Translator Pro 1.0 is also available for for $4.99 (USD). Download from iTunes
  30. *** iOS/Finance – The millions of people around the world who have their credit card automatically billed should do themselves a big favor, and potentially avoid losing money and wasting time in the future, by heading to the App Store, and grabbing the must-have new app Automaticard. Created by Zapporoo and available from the App Store at no-cost, Automatic Card 1.0 provides users with a simple and easy way to manage all of the automatic charges made on their credit cards, such as those from utility companies, cellular providers, fitness clubs, online services, charities, and so on. Automatic Card 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Finance category. Automatic Card 1.0
  31. iOS/Games – Shape of Sound Limited today is proud to announce the release of Shade’s Exile: In The Beginning 1.0, its brand new platform game developed for iPhone and iPad devices. Meet Shade. He’s half man, half pinball. Shade begins this journey in a seemingly green and lush paradise; but he is hopelessly bored and decides to cross over the neighbours fence in search of excitement. Before you know it he is bouncing around levels like a pinball, avoiding razor sharp bats and vicious magpies. The game is influenced by Sonic the Hedgehog (TM) and retro Amiga games; whilst also going deeper and offering a chilled and sometimes darker post dubstep soundtrack that accompanies a surprisingly deep plot.  hade’s Exile: In The Beginning 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  32. *** iOS/Shopping – The Shippa app has just launched in the App Store and on Google Play. Shippa is a global logistics platform that connects travelers to consumers around the world. Personal shopping abroad has never been simpler. With payment protection, shoppers can now get hold of exclusive or discounted overseas products safely and reliably.  Shippa 1.0.3 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Shopping category.  Download from iTunes
  33. *** iOS/Photos & Video – VeprIT today launches Photo Sense 2.0 for iOS, a major upgrade of its flagship product. Photo Sense is a quick and easy batch photo enhancement tool for Mac and iOS devices. Photo Sense 2 is the first version bringing the batch processing and advanced manual adjustment capabilities to iOS. To the best of our knowledge, its new batch adjustment and image settings synchronization features are unique for iOS software, and make photo enhancement on iOS much more efficient. Photo Sense 2.0 is Free (with in-app purchases) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photo & Video category. Batch and manual adjustments can be enabled with in-app purchases. Download from iTunes
  34. *** iOS/Photos & Video – Fantagram, a photography expert startup, today is very proud to announce the release of 9cam 1.0 for iOS, their new camera app that enables anyone to take expert-level photography with no effort. It is noticeable that 9cam only features nine simple filters while the current camera app market is flooded with a handful of special effects and various features. A slimmer feature-set and simple UI/UX is, however, a deliberate decision to meet the needs of people who just want to focus on taking beautiful pictures with no distraction. For a limited time, 9cam 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photo & Video category. Download from iTunes
  35. *** iOS/Education – Sami Apps is proud to announce the release of Sami Apps Video Player 1.3 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. The award-winning Sami Apps Video Player just got better, with exciting new features designed to help children get the most out of YouTube videos while allowing their parents to approve and upload the music, dance and educational videos they choose. The totally redesigned app offers more videos, a new DIY section for kids, expanded language options, and technical improvements that improve user experience. There’s even a timer to set limits on how long your kids are watching videos! Sami Apps Video Player 1.3 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Education category.  Download from iTunes
  36. iOS/Games – Independent game developer, Jeffrey Yim today is very proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Crazy Skies 1.0, the newest high flying adventure for iOS devices. Mobile gamers will fly high into the sky with collectible pets in a new twist on the endless genre. Dodge fiery lasers, deadly ninja stars and more as you collect coins to unlock over fifty collectible pets. Try all fifty pets to see which will get you the highest score. Instantly share your score at the end of a run and brag to your friends. Crazy Skies 1.0 is free to play (with in-app purchases) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  37. *** iOS/Shopping – Delivit LLC today is proud to announce the release of Delivit 1.5, an update to their popular shopping app developed for iOS and Android devices. Delivit is the solution you wish you’d thought of, to the problem of buying goods internationally without the hefty cost – all by connecting to the crowd, and leveraging technology to literally deliver the goods. The app is currently available for Free with in-app purchases and available at both iTunes app store and Google Play store in the Shopping category. Download from iTunes
  38. *** iOS/Utilities – Fast Robo, an app publishing studio from Cupertino, CA, announced the launch of their second productivity app for iOS devices, Tip Solver – Premier Gratuity Calculator 1.0. This is a handy new app to calculate restaurant tip and total amounts. The attractive, modern, and innovative interface allows the user to adjust any digit inline and instantly calculate the tip amount. Additionally, the user can drag to round the tip upwards or downwards to the nearest whole number. Tip Solver – Pr emier Gratuity Calculator 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category. Tip Solver – Premier Gratuity Calculator 1.0
  39. iOS/Games – Pterosaur Design today is pleased to announce the release of Doppler Ball 1.0, a new retro-style, action arcade game available exclusively on the iOS platform. A modern interpretation of classic paddle-style games from the 1970s and 80s, Doppler Ball challenges the player to use a humming, hyperactive ball to knock down blocks and clear levels. The game features immersive, 3D sound and visual effects that simulates what a game of squash or racquetball might look like if the game ball were moving at close to the speed of light.  Doppler Ball 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  40. *** iOS/Navigation – The new inRoute 5.1 update adds seven custom route types based on the weather, elevation, or curviness of routes. For example, a family planning their summer road trip can create routes with the lowest temperatures or least precipitation; travelers towing a trailer may favor routes with the least elevation gain for a safer, easier drive; and motorcyclists and car enthusiasts can choose routes with the most curves. With the ability to mix and match several route types at different stages of a journey according to the user’s specifications, the possibilities are endless. inRoute is a free download with two purchase levels available: inRoute Premium for $11.99 (USD) includes all features for routes with up to 25 locations, and inRoute Pro for $2.99 monthly or $24.99 yearly, which includes all features for routes with up to 100 locations.  Download from App Store
  41. iOS/Games – Flowmotion Entertainment announces the release of DELI DASH! Cafe Chef Cooking Scramble and Restaurant Food Fever 1.0 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices. Players can join the cooking adventure and build their restaurant empire. You will have the best ingredients at your disposal and serve delicious treats. DELI DASH! Cafe Chef Cooking Scramble is simple to play yet challenging to master. DELI DASH! Cafe Chef Cooking Scramble and Restaurant Food Fever 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  42. iOS/Games – A hungry panda. Ice Creams. Deadly spikes. What can go wrong? Independent game developer, Double Happy is excited to announce the release of Tiny Traps 2.0 their new game for casual gamers on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. This is the first game from the Melbourne based studio. It’s available in all countries and on devices running iOS 7. Tiny Traps 2.0 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  43. *** iOS/Photos & video – Social media photo sharing is supposed fun and exciting. But there’s a major problem that has reached epidemic proportions, which is that many so-called “spontaneous snapshots” are fake, staged, and anything spur-of-the-moment creations. Fortunately, there’s a delightful new no-cost app that aims to fix this, and bring some impulsive joy back to the world of social media photo sharing: Onee – show your real face 1.2. Onee – show your real face 1.2 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photo & Video category. Download from iTunes
  44. *** iOS/Lifestyle – Independent developer, Keithan Torrey today is very proud to announce the release of The Dog Training App 1.0, his new lifestyle app developed exclusively for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The Dog Training App contains over thirty-three tutorial videos that are based on a style of training called clicker training, a popular positive reinforcement training methodology. The app even includes a built in clicker so users do not have to buy the device and instead can use their own phone as a clicker. The Dog Training App 1.0 is Free (with in-app purchases) and currently available in the USA, exclusively through the App Store in the Lifestyle category.  Download from iTunes
  45. iOS/Games – GameInLife today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Color Rush 1.0, their colorful and fast-paced arcade game for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch devices. Color Rush challenges players by testing their color awareness, alertness, and fast reflexes with its fast moving, color-based challenge. As the ball travels toward the next colorful obstacle, players must quickly tap of the correct button of the matching color in order to make it past the upcoming barrier. Color Rush 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  46. *** iOS/Photos & Video – Applinga (Pty) Ltd is proud to announce the release of Selfielicious 1.01, its exciting new selfie-sharing app developed for iOS and Android devices. Selfielicious allows users to stream their selfies to others in their social groups. Selfielicious 1.01 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photo & Video category.  Download from iTunes
  47. *** iOS/Photo & Video – Pabro today is happy to announce the release of Manifesto 1.0, the company’s free new photography app developed for iPhone. Manifesto was designed specifically for taking super-fast burst pictures and recording video & audio instantly, just by launching the app. In this way it helps to save valuable moments and capture what is usually missed. Manifesto 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photo & Video category.  Download from iTunes
  48. *** iOS/Finance – Inoventure has recently released Best Property Buy, a very useful app for real estate Investors, home buyers and buying agents, available on iOS and Android devices. Choosing property is one of the most important decisions in your life, and now there’s a powerful new tool to help you make the best decisions on houses, investment property and other real estate transactions. Best Property Buy app creates opportunity anywhere in the world as you evaluate properties, compare features, make virtual inspections and choose to buy real estate. Best Property Buy 1.1 is Free to download from iTunes with upgrades to basic service available. Download from iTunes
  49. iOS/Games – Full Fat, a leading games developer for mobile devices, today is pleased to announce the an update for Golf Island v1.3, a flick sports game for iOS and Android. Featuring loveable caddies, a toucan and a snowboarding polar bear cub, now joined by Rocky Raccoon! Golf Island is free to play, available worldwide on the App Store in Games, Sports and Arcade categories. Download from iTunes
  50. macOS/Utilities – Feingeist Software today is proud to announce the addition of a great new productivity-boosting feature to their popular MailButler add-on for Apple Mail for Mac OS X. MailButler 6360 adds a convenient “Snooze” feature to the already impressive arsenal of email management tools previously offered by the popular email management add-on. MailButler 6360 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the Feingeist Software website. Two service plans are offered. The Free Plan allows access to all features for one user, 30+ Actions per month, and 1 email avatar. The Professional Plan is $8.95 USD per month, allows access to all features for one user, unlimited Actions, and 3 email avatars. (An “action” is defined as whenever a user makes use of one of MailButler’s convenient features.)  MailButler 6360
  51. *** iOS/Network –  Available today on the Apple App Store, Viralwoot 1.0.3 is the iOS app helping marketers, bloggers and brands to schedule Instagram and Pinterest posts, manage and promote Pinterest content, monitor Pinterest growth, increase their following and run influencer campaigns. Viralwoot 1.0.3 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Social Networking category. Download from iTunes
  52. iOS/Games – Funcity Game Studio today is very proud to announce the release and immediate availability of SquareStack 1.12, an update to the company’s iOS casual puzzle game developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Similar to Hayao Miyazaki’s “Castle In The Sky” animation and 3D Tetris, in SquareStack players use three dimensional blocks to build a Tower of Babylon. Players can build the tower as high as they can, as well as immerse themselves in the peaceful feeling while playing this game. SquareStack 1.12 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.  SquareStack 1.12
  53. iOS/Games – Independent developer, David Zobrist today is proud to announce the release of Pixel Mage 1.0, a geniusly simple-to-pick-up platform game with the twist. You switch between flying or walking instead of jumping, creating 2 lines to switch between as engage battles with goblins. The retro oriented game title for iOS and Android devices launched today surprises with beautiful art, atmospheric levels and high quality voices. The quirky humour makes you grin straight through all 12 levels. It’s always a highlight when one of the goblins by his own mistake puts himself in a very bad situation. Also its one of these games which leave you with a feeling of accomplishment and a thirst for more adventures. Pixel Mage 1.0 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  54. iOS/Finance and Business – PayStudio Inc. today is proud to announce the release of notably* 1.0, their new business app developed for iPhone and iPod touch. notably* was specifically developed to help service and trade professionals go digital and save time and money while managing their businesses on the go. It is an easily customizable and feature-rich mobile application enabling estimating, invoicing and inventory management anywhere you go. notably* users can create, iMessage or email estimates directly to their customers with an embedded estimate accept button and an in-app notification when their customers accept an estimate.  notably* 1.0 is free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Finance and Business categories.  Download from iTunes
  55. *** iOS/Business – OnDemandWorld is pleased to announce the release of its latest app, OnePitch 1.0.1 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. This app allows users to share their files, presentations and documents in real time with other users that have also downloaded the app. OnePitch 1.0.1 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Business category. OnePitch 1.0.1
  56. iOS/Games – OrionArts today is proud to announce the release of Petagon: Rise of the Dragonlord 1.1, its twelfth mobile game developed exclusively for iOS devices. This new action-strategy game has taken almost 2 years of production by a team of five. Petagon is the fantasy adaptation of their first successful zombie action title “Swarm of the Dead,” but with a huge boost in production quality. Players can expect quality artwork, a storyline with humorous characters, heroes with special skills and dragons that can be tamed as companions. Petagon: Rise of the Dragonlord 1.1 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  57. iOS/Games – Nex Game Studios, an Italian indie mobile game developer, is proud to announce the release of Arcane Quest 3 (v1.0.9), a mobile strategic RPG with classic tabletop gameplay for all mobile platforms. In this classic fantasy RPG board game, the player will jump into a fantasy world and face hordes of terrible enemies such as Orcs, Undead, Dark Knights and lots more. Strategy and careful use of each hero skills will be fundamental to complete the many available quests, to regain the honor of the player’s guild, betrayed and exiled from the Real of Auria. Arcane Quest 3 (v1.0.9) is Free (with in-app purchases) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. The only limitation is the choosable characters to complete the adventure.  Download from iTunes
  58. macOS/Utilities – Bare Bones Software today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of TextWrangler(tm) 5.5, a significant update to its powerful, general purpose text editor for Mac OS X. TextWrangler 5.5 offers numerous performance improvements, refinements to fit and finish, and changes to streamline workflow in specific areas, such as Find Differences. In all, this new version includes more than 250 new features, changes to existing features, and fixes for specific reported issues. Version 5.5 requires Mac OS X 10.9.5 or later, and is fully compatible with OS X 10.11 “El Capitan.” Available immediately, all Mac OS X users may download TextWrangler free of charge. TextWrangler 5.5
  59. macOS/Utilities – Acrosync LLC today is pleased to announce the release and immediate availability of Duplicacy 1.0, their next-generation cross-platform cloud backup tool for Mac OS X. Duplicacy is based on the principal of lock-free deduplication, which allows multiple clients to back up their data to the same storage destination simultaneously, to achieve cross-computer deduplication, without the need for any file locks, thus making it readily work with various cloud storage services. Duplicacy 1.0 is free for personal use, and is available worldwide exclusively through the Duplicacy website. Commercial users pay $2.00 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies), per month per computer. A Windows version is also available for download from the Duplicacy website.

Review of “The Yemen Contract”

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“The Yemen Contract” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Arthur Kerns (http://www.arthurkerns.com). This is Mr. Kerns third novel and the third in his “Hayden Stone Thriller” series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. Most of the story is set in Yemen. the primary character is Hayden Stone, a former CIA employee, and now contracting with them when needed.

Terrorist Abdul Wahab is both seeking power as well as the death of Stone. Wahab sets one trap after another for Stone, often using Stones friends as bait. Stone seems to always maneuver his way free, though not without serious injury.

Western Intelligence thinks that Wahab has been turned, but his efforts are far from helpful. Stone and Wahab tangle time an again.

This was a good read of just over 7 hours for the 242 page novel. This wasn’t the best Thriller, but I did enjoy it. Unlike some, it kept most of the action believable. While this was the third novel in the series, it read well on its own. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “A Hero of France”

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“A Hero of France” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Alan Furst (http://www.alanfurst.net). Mr. Furst has published 15 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in and around Paris during World War II. The primary character is Mathieu, leader of a resistance cell that is working to get downed RAF flyers back home so that they can continue their fight against the Germans.

The story is set in 1941 when the British stood alone against the Germany. As British planes are shot down over Europe, Mathieu and other brave Frenchmen risk their lives to convey the airmen back home. At this time the efforts to catch the French was mainly left in the hands of the Vichy French police. As hostilities draw on, Germany steps up the effort to discover the clandestine French Resistance cells. This novel tells the story of Mathieu along with some of the men and women that work with him.

I enjoyed the nearly 7 hours I spent reading this 256 page World War II Spy Thriller. I had not read much about this time period of the war in France, so I did find it interesting. Furst does a good job of writing this Thriller. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Blinkist Enables You to Read Several Books Per Day

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I am a big proponent of Continuing Education. I saw a Tweet recently by a IEEE colleague (@DevonRyan) extolling the virtues of Blinkist. Blinkist provides insightful summaries of non-fiction books (1000+ and growing) that can be read in about 15 minutes each using your web browser. These can also be read use their mobile App (available for both Android and iOS) and you can listen to the audio versions.

These allow the reader to read and absorb a tremendous amount of information without dedicating too much of our increasingly scarce free time. Now this is a service that does not come free (well, it does sort of).

If you check the available plans, there are three:

  • Blinkist Free (Free), read one pre-selected book per day, browse the catalog
  • Blinkist Plus ($49.99/yr)- any title, read off-line
  • Blinkist Premium ($79.99/yr) – All features of Plus as well as ability to listen to audio

I joined a few days ago and have read their summaries of two books. I can see where it is helpful, but clearly condensing a full book into what can be read in just 15 minutes must skip over a lot of material. However I can see where reading the summaries would be useful to point you at which books you might want to devote more time to.

If you are trying to improve yourself or wanting to learn, but have limited time, this may be the perfect service for you.

 

Review of “Sea Strike”

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“Sea Strike” eBook was published in 2016 (July, though the paper edition was first published in 1980) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/richard-townshend-bickers/). Mr. Bickers has published nearly 60 books, mostly on World War II aircraft.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set during the early days (1940) of World War II and tells of life in the RAF.

While the primary character is Flying Officer Lawlor, many flyers are examined. Lawlor is the pilot of a Bristol Blenheim light bomber with a crew of three. The flyers fight the Germans while the British ground forces struggle to evacuate through Dunkirk. Lawlor’s ambitious commander volunteers the flyers for one mission after another, sometimes reckless with his men’s lives.

I enjoyed the 4+ hours I spent reading this 232 page World War II Thriller. It is written in a very British style. As much time is spent on the thoughts of the various flyers as it is on the war itself. I give this novel a 3,8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).