Tourists Visiting the Dark Side of the Moon

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Elon Musk and SpaceX don’t have a reputation of taking small steps. For the private space company, bigger is better. The next big step? Musk plans to send two private passengers on a one week journey around the moon some time next year.

The passengers have made sizable investments in the company and are “serious” about making the trip. SpaceX’s Dragon capsule will carry the two intrepid travelers. A Falcon Heavy rocket will carry the capsule into Earth orbit. One of the things that makes the journey so ambitious is that the Falcon Heavy has yet to launch on an operational flight. That there will be few successful launches before this moon shot, has to raise the pucker factor of the two passengers up a few notches.

What is the Falcon Heavy?

pad_39_a_falcon_heavy_artist_cropped Artist depiction of the Falcon Heavy (SpaceX)

Previously called the Falcon 9 Heavy, the Falcon Heavy will be…

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macOS New App Release – Baccus

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Product Announcement – Factorial of Wellington, New Zealand has released Baccus 1.0, a new flexible, fast and efficient backup App for your Mac. Baccus makes it easy to backup your home folder to multiple backup devices including external drives and NAS. Once configured, simply connect your external drive or connect to your network, and Baccus will start backing up your files. Baccus will even automatically mount your NAS shares!

Baccus features a modern and easy-to-use interface that simplifies management of all your backups. You can configure multiple sources and destinations simply using drag and drop. Baccus will detect and remember connections to your network shares. You can easily exclude items from your backups to avoid backing up private or unwanted data to certain destinations.

Each backup can be configured with its own schedule and backups are intelligently triggered when your backup destinations are available to ensure you data is safe as quickly as possible. Baccus will show you the progress and status of your backups in a convenient Menu Extra. At any point it time you can access the full interface from the Menu Extra and change the configuration or review the backup logs.

Baccus also includes the ability to search all your available destinations for backed up versions of a file, and restore with one click. In addition, all files can be easily restored outside of Baccus simply by browsing the destination folder structure in Finder.

Baccus uses its own high-performance sync engine, built to take full advantage of your storage to ensure a quick and efficient backup. Baccus outperforms Time Machine by more than 15x when using an external SSD, and is more than 30% faster using NAS or a single spinning hard disk drive.

Features:

  • Backup your home folder or other folders to multiple destinations automatically
  • Supports excluding folders from your backup
  • Supports backup to external hard disk drives or network shares
  • Built-in scheduling and automatic detection of available destinations and mounting/unmounting
  • Built-in archiving of changed or deleted files
  • Easily search all available destinations for backed up versions of a file and restore
  • Supported File Systems: AFP, SMB, HFS , FAT, ACFS/Xsan/StorNext

System Requirements

  • macOS 10.10 or later
  • External drive or NAS

Single licenses are available for $19.99 (USD) through the website. A free time limited trial is available via the Baccus website online.

Impressive New Robot

We have seen wheeled robots. We have seen two legged and four legged robots. The new Boston Dynamics ‘Handle’ merges wheels and legs in an innovative design.

With a 24 kilometer (15 mile) range on a single battery charge, and the ability to pick up and carry loads up to 45 kilograms (99 pounds), this is an impressive robot. The ability to handle a variety of terrains and obstacles easily is also impressive.

macOS New App Release – MailRaider 3

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Product Announcement45RPM Software of London, United Kingdom has released MailRaider 3. To look at, MailRaider is little changed from earlier versions other than support for the MacBook touchbar (Pro version only) and a mildly refreshed user interface. Underneath though it’s a different story – large parts have been completely rewritten, bringing unprecedented improvements to compatibility with Outlook email formats.

If you have old e-mails archived in msg format or ever receive strange attachments with names like “winmail.dat” or extensions like msg or oft, if you’ve ever wished that your Mac or iOS device could read your old Microsoft(TM) Outlook .msg files then MailRaider is just what you need.

Trusted by governments, blue chip businesses, security agencies, small businesses and individual users, MailRaider 3.0 is the only tool you need to read Microsoft Outlook formatted email. Existing users get the new version for free, and new users can buy MailRaider for the same unbeatable price that it’s always been.

MailRaider Pro supports additional mail formats, including Winmail.dat (TNEF), and has the ability to extract email as XML so that you can process it later using tools of your own. MailRaider Pro can automatically extract your Outlook files into the most appropriate format – so Message files are extracted into Apple Mail format (or your email client of choice), appointments are extracted into Calendar format and addresses are extracted into Contacts format. Better yet, if you have many emails to extract then you can choose to extract them in bulk – and save them to MBox format for import directly into your Mail client.

If you need MailRaider in your pocket then a cut down version of MailRaider is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch – so you can read Microsoft Outlook formatted email wherever you are.

You now know that MailRaider is powerful – but how easy is it to use? With a configurable user interface, the answer is ‘very easy’. On the Mac, you can configure MailRaider with the tools that you need – and hide the tools that you aren’t interested in. MailRaider is as personal as your email. MailRaider Pro can, of course, display your email with the formatting intact – but if you prefer your email to be plain and stripped of all unnecessary content then you can choose to display your email without formatting as well.

MailRaider is beautiful too, with high resolution custom icons that shine on your Retina display equipped Mac or iOS device. It’s even beautiful on Macs without Retina screens – no attention to detail has been spared in providing the best user experience.

Searching through your emails is as easy as falling off a log. MailRaider Pro has support for QuickLook (so that you can read your email without loading MailRaider) and Spotlight (so that you can easily search for the Outlook file that you need).

Full help is provided on all MailRaider functionality. If you’re stuck for an answer, check the help files. If you’re still none the wiser then explore the 45RPM Software forums and start a discussion about your problem. If neither of these facilities answer your questions then just send them an email. Whichever way you slice it, they’ve got you covered.

MailRaider for Mac isn’t Anglocentric either. In addition to English, MailRaider is localised into French, Spanish and German – and not just for the application itself either, the help files are fully translated too. On MailRaider for iOS there isn’t any need for large amounts of text in the UI – and icons are universally understandable.

System Requirements (Mac):

  • Requires a 64bit Mac (most Intel Macs built in 2007 or newer)
  • Running Mac OS X 10.10 or newer
  • 20 MB free disk space

System Requirements (iOS): Requires any iOS device running iOS 7.1 or newer

Of course, all 45RPM Software benefits from exceptional support – you’ll never be left feeling forgotten or unloved. If you’ve got a problem with any 45RPM Software applications then let them know (on the support forums, via twitter or via email) and they will help you out. And whichever version of MailRaider you choose, there are no hidden costs in the form of costly in-app upgrades. MailRaider for macOS can be purchased through the Mac App Store for $4.99 and on the iTunes App Store for iOS devices for $0.99.

macOS New App Release – Tower 2.6

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Product Announcement – fournova of Berlin, Germany has released Tower for Mac 2.6. The free update brings another round of great features and improvements to the popular Git client.

New features include:

  •  Touch Bar Support: Owners of Apple’s latest Macbook Pro can now make use of Tower’s own Touch Bar integration. The Touch Bar adapts to the usage of Tower and offers context-specific commands with a single touch. Fetch, pull, push, and other handy workflows have never been so convenient in Tower.
  • Extended Git LFS Support: Git Large File Storage (LFS) offers an improved way to integrate large binary files (e.g. graphics, videos, and audio samples) into the Git workflow. While working with Git LFS has already been possible in Tower, the update brings extended support. Tower now offers initial configuration and many advanced features and settings for Git LFS.
  • Speed Improvements: The new version comes with a lot of improvements to Tower’s performance. Significant speed improvements make the Git client even faster and more responsive than before.
  • Easier OAuth Management: With many code hosting services authentication via OAuth can be cumbersome. Tower now provides its own helper service that simplifies OAuth, offering its users a much smoother experience.

These are just a few of the many improvements that ship with the new version. In addition to the new Mac version fournova also shipped version 1.0.3 for Tower for Windows. This is the third update since the launch of the Windows version in November and brings a long list of improvements and fixes to the app.

Both new versions come as a free update for existing customers. New users can test the app and all its features 30 days for free. Licenses are available for $79 (USD) through the website. Volume discounts and discounts for students and educational institutions are offered as well.

macOS Tip – Configure Trash to Auto Delete

It is always important to maintain as much free disk space as possible. You might not think about it but your Trash can accumulate quite a bit of disk space. Of course you can, and should, manually clean out your Trash on a periodic basis. However, we can all get absorbed in other things and before we know it, we have let the Trash grow to a significant size.

This is where setting up automatic file removal can be important. To set this up go to Finder >> Preferences >> Advanced. Check the box for “Remove items from the Trash after 30 days”. With this enabled, any files that have been moved to the Trash folder will be automatically permanently removed when they have been there 30 days. Any files less than 30 days old are left untouched.


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Review of “The Circuit: Executor Rising”

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Book Review – “The Circuit” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Rhett C. Bruno (http://rhettbruno.com). Mr. Bruno has published four novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set around the Solar System in the far future. While there are several characters, the primary ones are Executor Sage Volus and former Tribune Cassius Vale.

Vale was forced out as a Tribune (the power guiding all of humanity) and is now hatching a plan that he believes will free humanity from the control of the current Tribune. He has developed outlawed tech and is willing to let many die in order for those that remain to ultimately live better lives.

Volus is an enforcer of the Tribune’s laws. She goes undercover to discover who is hijacking Tribune ships. While undercover, she develops feelings for the head of a misfit crew who plans to hijack a transport.

Volus is tied to Vale as she was his son’s girl friend. He also replaced her damaged arm with an advanced prosthetic.

This is a story filled with political intrigue and action. None of the characters are what you would call outstanding examples of humanity, but many of them are doing what they do because they believe it is the only way to survive.

I spent just over 6.5 hours with this 276 page Science Fiction novel. It has an old feel to it as you read about the robots and the ‘newly discovered element Gravitum’ that much of their tech is based on. I almost called a ‘Rule of 50’ after the first couple of chapters, but persisted and the story did improve. The cover art implies a Science Fiction tale in space, but not much more. I give this novel a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

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

macOS New App Release – SD Clone 3

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Product Announcement – Twocanoes Software of Naperville, Illinois has released SD Clone 3, an upgrade to its SD Card cloning software for Mac. SD Clone 3 includes new features for cloning memory cards faster and easier than ever, including enhanced capabilities to shrink SD card data, verify card capacity and clone a single card to multiple cards simultaneously. SD Clone 3 supports flash media used in digital signage, industrial machinery, mobile phones, cameras and many other electronic devices.

What’s New in SD Clone 3

  • Verify SD card media
  • Clone SD cards to compressed image files
  • Back up valuable SD card data
  • Restore images to disk images
  • Restore images and disk images to SD cards
  • Restore an image to multiple SD cards simultaneously (Pro license)
  • Detect locked SD cards
  • Safely unmount SD cards and disk images
  • Toolbar for easy access to important functions like shrink, expand, verify and eject
  • Link to online image repositories, tutorial videos and in-app purchasing options
  • Reveal image location in Mac Finder
  • Drag and drop image files
  • Shrink SD cards
  • Save SD cards to compressed image files
  • Mount and clone disk images
  • Shrink and expand disk images
  • Clone from large to small SD cards
  • Clone disk images to SD cards
  • Clone disk images to compressed images
  • Automatically expand last Linux partition when restoring to large SD cards
  • Free version of SD Clone 3 restores images to SD cards
  • Optimizations and bug fixes

SD Clone 3 supports SD, micro-SD and other flash media formats commonly used in embedded devices, cameras, digital signage and other electronic devices.

Internet-connected (IoT) sensors, cameras, gaming consoles, mobile and other embedded devices rely on removable flash media to boot operating systems and to store data. Flash media can be variable quality and subject to loss or damage. SD Clone 3 for Mac makes it easy to verify, back up, clone and restore flash media data on the Mac.

SD Clone’s shrink feature makes it possible to safely clone larger cards to smaller cards. During cloning operations, SD Clone 3 automatically expands the file system to use all available space on the card. SD Clone’s Supercharged Raspberry Pi Mode is optimized for cloning Raspbian file systems quickly and easily.

New in SD Clone 3 is the toolbar for quick access to frequently used functions for expanding, shrinking, ejecting, verifying, locating image files and links to online tutorial videos and popular image repositories.

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.10 or higher (including MacOS Sierra)
  • SD, micro-SD or other flash media
  • SD card reader or adapter

SD Clone 3 retails for $39.99 USD (Personal license) and a Pro license for $99.99 USD. A free download is available on the Twocanoes Software website. Purchase includes one year of maintenance and technical support. A free trial of SD Clone 3 is available on the Twocanoes website. Visit Twocanoes Software online to learn more about SD Clone 3.

EWeek – Quotes for Engineers

EWeek – I have come across, and saved, a number of quotes some from noted engineers others just about the drive to innovate and create. I am sharing some of those with you below:

  1. “Engineering is the professional art of applying science to the optimum conversion of natural resources to the benefit of man.” —Ralph J. Smith, Electrical Engineer
  2. “Innovation makes the world go round. It brings prosperity and freedom.” – Robert Metcalfe
  3. “Scientists dream about doing great things. Engineers do them.” —James A. Michener, Author
  4. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison
  5. “Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.” —Albert Einstein, Inventor and Physicist
  6. “The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” – Thomas J. Watson
  7. “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.” —Sir Henry Royce, Engineer
  8. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
  9. “There’s nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.” ― Bill Nye, Mechanical Engineer and Educator
  10. “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk
  11. “When you want to know how things really work, study them when they’re coming apart.” ― William Gibson, Novelist
  12. “A little progress each day adds up to big results.”
  13. “A scientist can discover a new star but he cannot make one. He would have to ask an engineer to do it for him.” ― Gordon Lindsay Glegg, Engineer
  14. “Innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” – Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
  15. “Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is engineering that changes the world.” ― Isaac Asimov, Author
  16. “Engineering is achieving function while avoiding failure.” —Henry Petroski, Engineer
  17. “For the future, primarily, we must educate people in science, engineering, technology and math.” —Buzz Aldrin, Engineer and Astronomer
  18. “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” – Dr. Edwin Land
  19. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” – Elon Musk
  20. “Scientists investigate that which already is – engineers create that which has never been.” – Albert Einstein

References:

  1. Quotations from Notable Engineers