The Little Free Library

The Little Free Library is an effort to promote literacy at a grass roots level. As they say on their web site their mission is “To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations. There are over 50,000 Little Free Library book exchanges around the world, bringing curbside literacy home and sharing millions of books annually.

So far 50,000 Little Free Libraries have been created around the world. I was a little surprised when I checked my area to find many Little Free Libraries near by. If you are interested, you can work to start your own Little Free Library.

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iOS – Power DOS 1.4.0

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Product AnnouncementPilcrow AG of Pfaeffikon, Switzerland has released Power DOS 1.4.0, a completely revamped version of their DOS-emulator for iPhone and iPad devices. Originally released in 2014, Power DOS gained some success and was widely recognized. But like many other apps, it was removed from the App Store when Apple changed their guidelines. Pilcrow went over the books and re-wrote the whole app from scratch so that it meets App Store guidelines. Version 1.4.0 offers even better stability and Bluetooth options for keyboards have been added.

Now in full compliance with Apples App Store guidelines, Power DOS is a perfect emulator of the DOS that so many games and applications in the 80’s and 90’s have been running on. There was a time when DOS-emulators were really popular, but due to changes on the App Store, all of them have been removed sooner or later. Pilcrow AG now claims that their latest version of Power DOS is not only fully compliant with the App Store guidelines, but also a real emulator based on proprietary code.

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
  • Requires iOS 5.1.1 or later
  • 8.9 MB

Power DOS 1.4.0 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Entertainment category.

macOS -Station 1.1

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Product Announcement – True North Software of Plymouth, Minnesota has released Station 1.1, the company’s multilevel (hierarchical) launcher for macOS. Station promotes a more natural organization of applications and documents into folders. With nested folders, you can arrange items in Station in a way that fits your workflow with an uncluttered look and feel. Scalability is greatly increased through logical groupings thus increasing the sheer number of items that can be added to Station without having to shrink the launcher size.

Productivity is increased because related items can be grouped together into a single folder. For example, one folder can contain work related items and another folder gaming items. Another useful feature of Station is the ability to launch, all at once, the items in a launch folder. This is useful when switching between tasks like business and spreadsheets to graphics work. With ten levels of folders available, enough space is provided to spread out even the most diverse set of applications and documents.

Station also implements scrollbars when a launch panel exceeds the width or height of the screen. This design also does away with the need for magnification or shrinking the height of the launch panel so your icons remain one height thus making them more readable.

What’s New for Version 1.1:

  • Station can collapse all open launch folders above the root level folder after a launch
  • Folder aliases can be created that allow to you immediately open the original folder no matter where it resides
  • A menu item was added to collapse all open launch folders down to the root level
  • A menu item was added to reopen the previously open launch folder
  • You may now select any color for the background color of launch panels
  •  The embedded open folder icon can now be either blue or red
  • Refined the internal dragging of items on the panels
  • More robust full screen and multiple display support

Station Features:

  • Up to ten levels of folders can be shown
  • The size of the icons can range from 32 to 64 points
  • An alias folder can be created from any existing folder
  • Icons can be assigned to folders to give them a more distinctive feel
  •  All applications and documents in a folder can be launched all at once
  • Station can be displayed on the left, right or bottom side of the screen
  • Station can be displayed statically (always shown) or automatically hidden when not needed
  • The display name of a folder can be renamed (e.g. “untitled” to “Graphics”)
  • Scrollbar support for launch panels that exceed screen dimensions
  • Embedded open folder icon can now be either blue or red
  • Auto collapse of folders after launch of an item
  • Select any color for the panel background color
  • Fullscreen and multiscreen support

System Requirements:

  • Requires macOS 10.10 or higher
  • 64-bit processor
  • 17.1 MB

Station 1.1 is priced at $14.99 and is available on the True North Website through FastSpring or through the Mac App Store in the Productivity category. A demo version is available from the True North Website.

macOS – OnlyOffice 4.1.1

Product Announcement – Ascensio System SIA of Riga, Latvia, the developer of IT solutions for business, today is pleased to announce that they have opened the source code of its ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors, presenting a free and open source alternative to Microsoft Office for Mac OS. ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors is an office suite that combines text, spreadsheet and presentation editors, allowing anyone to create, view and edit documents offline. Being fully compatible with MS Office, the editors support all the popular document formats, including ODF.

The application features all types of formatting options and allows users to edit complex documents as well as easily switch to online mode and collaborate on documents with colleagues or teammates. The collaborating features include real-time co-editing in two modes, reviewing and tracking changes, commenting, built-in chat. The editors also support connecting third-party plugins. Developers can use these plugins to add specific functions they need to the editors.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS 10.10 or higher
  • Windows (both 64-bit and 32-bit)
  • Linux also supported
  • 193 MB

ONLYOFFICE 4.1.1 is now free and available worldwide. The office suite is available under AGPL license v3. This means you’re able to download and use ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors without any restrictions. The application can be downloaded from the official website, the source code is now available on GitHub.

A View of History from Ahoy

My son introduced me to the interesting YouTube channel, Ahoy. While the primary focus of these short videos are computer gaming, the channel also does a look at many iconic firearms used by the militaries around the world.

I particularly liked those on the Thompson, the M1 Garand and the M1911 – all extensively used by the US military during World War II. If you visit the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana these and many other arms used during World War II are on display.

If you are interested in military history, you may find some of the videos on this channel of interest.

macOS -Output Factory 1.5.58

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Product Announcement – Zevrix Solutions of Toronto (ON) Canada has released Output Factory 1.5.58, a compatibility update to its professional automation solution for printing, exporting and file conversion from Adobe InDesign. Output Factory automates and simplifies workflows of printers, prepress bureaus, ad agencies and publishing houses worldwide by offering batch processing with powerful and versatile output options.

The new version makes Output Factory compatible with the recently released macOS 10.12 Sierra and is offered as a free update to licensed users. The update also fixes an issue in which the app could stall when processing a large number of files under certain conditions, and makes InDesign CS5 the lowest supported version of InDesign. An earlier version for InDesign CS3 and CS4 is available upon request.

“Output Factory has been the single biggest time-saver I’ve encountered in ten years of print production,” says Mike Agate, Head of Contents Production of Which?, Europe’s largest consumer rights organization. “Easily saves hours a week, producing bullet-proof documents over and over… With the reduction in head count and efficiency savings, it must have paid for itself 500 times over.”

Output Factory supports printing as well as exporting to PDF, PostScript, EPS, Flash, IDML, EPUB and several image formats. It offers the following key features:

8 Output multiple InDesign files automatically
* Save groups of settings as workflows
* Export InDesign files as single pages
* Output to several formats with one click
* Update modified links automatically
* Variable output file names
* Insert text from InDesign document into output file name.
* Layer versioning: output layer combinations as single files
* Preflight InDesign files and skip errors

Output Factory can be purchased from Zevrix website for $169.95 USD (Light version $120), as well as from authorized resellers and Adobe Exchange. Trial is also available for download. BatchOutput users can upgrade to Output Factory for $84.97. Output Factory requires macOS 10.6-10.12 and Adobe InDesign CS5-CC 2015.

Finding Bookstores in Europe

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When my wife and I travel, we try to visit local, unique bookstores when we can. Often these are just places we happen upon, but sometimes we search before we travel. While doing some of that research I came across the site “Bookstore Guide: An amateur guide to book shopping throughout Europe” this morning.

I thought that this website might be something other readers would be interested in. This site lists 110 cities with bookstore reviews. So if you are traveling to Europe and want to find a recommended bookstore on near your itinerary, this is a great site to begin your search.

One of the great things about the site is that it solicits input from other book lovers to add their own recommendations to the list. If you are traveling in Europe and come across a gem of a bookstore, take the time to share your find by contributing to the website. I plan to keep them in mind on any of my future travels.

macOS – Automounter 1.2.2

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Product AnnouncementPixeleyes Ltd. of Wellington, New Zealand has released AutoMounter 1.2.2, an update to their sleek and powerful menu item designed to automatically mount your network shares on OS X. Whenever you change locations, AutoMounter will mount your shares from the available server or Network-attached storage appliance, and they will appear on your Desktop. No more requirement to script or use command line tools.

AutoMounter offers an intuitive and powerful interface to suit everyone with Network-attached storage (or even your other Macs / PCs) that supports SMB, AFP and NFS shares. AutoMounter is secure, uses native MacOS frameworks, and doesn’t store your credentials.

Features:

  • Supports SMB / AFP / NFS network shares
  • Supports multiple Network-attached storage appliances / servers
  • Server discovery
  • Persistent auto mounting of shares, when the server is reachable
  • Match a server to a WiFi Name (SSID)
  •  Reacts to changes of network
  •  Optionally send a Wake On LAN packet to a server when the network changes
  • Easy to use, unobtrusive, menu bar item
  • Optionally hide shares from Desktop
  •  Resolves macOS Sierra authentication issue

AutoMounter is perfect for anyone looking to make access to their Network-attached storage easy. With AutoMounter, there is no further need to go into the Finder sidebar just to get access to your data. Version 1.2.2 offers bug fixes and optimisations as well as adds a wake button for any offline server that has Wake-on-LAN enabled. Note that in order to wake a server, it will have needed to be online once before it works (needs to gather MAC address).

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.11 or later
  • 64-bit processor
  • 4.6 MB

AutoMounter 1.2.2 is $9.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Utilities category.

macOS -Photo Denoise 2.1.1066

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Product Announcement – iFotosoft LtdiFotosoft Ltd. of Hangzhou, China has released Photo Denoise for Mac 2.1.1066. Now every Mac user can reduce noise and beautify photos with the excellent program now.

Since noisy images are inevitable, what should you do to reduce noise for cameras or iPhone? Especially when you are shooting in Lowlight environment or moving stuff. iFotosoft Photo Denoise is the best Noise reduction software to minimize image grain and other imperfections.

iFotosoft Photo Denoise is not only a noiseware for landscapes, but also photo beautifier for portraits. The program professionally eliminates Luminance noise and Chrominance noise caused by high ISO or no-flash environments. It maintains better details, colors and textures of the photos when fixing blurry photos or JPEG artifacts. When there is any face detected, iFotosoft Photo Deniose is able to touch-up skin and smooth face with advanced algorithms.

The batch process of iFotosoft Photo Denoise can turn a large amount of noisy images into neat pictures in a few clicks. iFotosoft Photo Denoise support JPEG files, TIFF files and most of the RAW formats. Whether reducing image noise for digital photos or iPhone photos, you can simply import all images for noise reduction and portrait touch-up in few seconds.

The Noise Reduction software delivers exceptional detail, outstanding image quality and a distinctive natural look. You can shoot anywhere in any situation with confidence. And then you can share to Facebook, Flickr directly from the program. You can also save the neat image to social media sites. It is the best alternative to Noiseware Mac version.

Key Features:

  • Best Noise Reduction software to eliminate image noise while preserving image detail.
  • Great Photo Beautifier to touch-up skin and smooth face with advanced algorithms.
  • Batch process to turn a large amount of noisy images into neat pictures with ease.
  • The noiseware is able to fix blurry photos, grainy pictures and other imperfections of images.
  • Noiseware to reduce image noise for digital cameras and smartphones, including iPhone or Android phones.
  • Optimize portrait photographs with skin touching-up and face smoothing.
  • Professionally eliminate Luminance noise and Chrominance noise caused by high ISO or Lowlight situations.
  • Maintain better details, colors and textures of the photos when fixing blurry photos or JPEG artifacts.
  • Deliver exceptional detail, outstanding image quality and a distinctive natural look.
  • Support JPEG files, TIFF files and most of the RAW formats.
  • Share neat images to social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and other sites.

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.9 or later
  • 64-bit processor
  • 4.2 MB

Photo Denoise for Mac 2.1.1066 is just $12.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies) and is available worldwide through the Mac App Store in the Photography category.

Mac -Maxwell MacBook Pro Sleeve

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Product Announcement – WaterField Designs of San Francisco, California has announced the new Maxwell MacBook Pro sleeve. The custom-fitted Maxwell laptop sleeve sports four vibrantly-colored textiles with a water- and stain-repellant Nano-Tex(R) finish, waxed canvas or ballistic nylon; shock-absorbing neoprene padding; a contrasting full-grain leather accent for easy grasping; and a smooth magnetic closure.

The handsome and protective sleeve is available in vertical or horizontal orientation; an optional strap converts the sleeve into minimalist stand-alone carry. WaterField Designs has been designing and manufacturing custom laptop sleeves, bags, and cases for digital gear in its San Francisco studio since 1998 and has developed custom-fitted sleeves for every Apple laptop since the Titanium Powerbook in 2001.

The Maxwell laptop sleeve epitomizes WaterField’s modern approach to design with its clean lines and streamlined look. Locally-manufactured LUNA(R) textiles on the case’s exterior combine with an acrylic backing, a layer of ballistic nylon, and shock-absorbing neoprene internal padding. These boldly-colored textiles – in Kelly green, Crimson red, Cobalt blue or Slate black – are treated with patented Nano-Tex(R) coating for extreme water- and stain-resistance.

WaterField also offers a rugged black ballistic or tan waxed canvas exterior with similar internal padding. A side-to-side magnetic closure opens smoothly and silently for easy access, and a swath of premium, full-grain leather at the bottom of the Maxwell Sleeve serves as an easy-grip area for removing the laptop. An optional shoulder strap converts the Maxwell into a minimalist laptop shoulder bag. The Maxwell joins the WaterField SleeveCase, Dash Sleeve and Suede Jacket as part of WaterField’s Apple laptop sleeve lineup.

Dimensions and Weight:

  • 16 x 12~12.5 x 5.25 inches
  • 3.2 lbs.

Sleeves are priced starting at $99 USD. WaterField Designs ships worldwide from its online store.

Color options and materials:

  • LUNA(R) textile with Nano-Tex(R) water- and stain-resistant coating in Kelly, Cardinal, Cobalt, Slate.
  • Black ballistic nylon. Tan waxed canvas.
  • Black, full-grain leather swath at the bottom for easy gripping and a side-to-side magnetic closure. (Tan waxed canvas Maxwell comes with grizzly brown leather instead of black.)