USA, New York, New York – McNally Jackson Books

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My wife and I like to visit independent bookstores when we are traveling. Recently we browsed through the McNally Jackson bookstore (http://www.mcnallyjackson.com) located at 52 Prince Street, New York, New York.

It had a wide selection of books, though I found the Science Fiction collection a little lacking. We were both intrigued with the on-site printing press that allows you to choose and have custom printed a wide variety of books. Their printing machine can also be sed to ‘self-publish’. They also have an on-site cafe that would allow you to spend some time reading in the store.

This is a nice bookstore with a wide assortment of books. If you are interested in books, you will like McNally’s.


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Book Review of “Trojan”

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Book Reviews – “Trojan” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Alan McDermott. He has published ten novels. This is the first in his new “Andrew Harvey” series.

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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in contemporary Europe, mostly in England. The primary character is MI5 agent Andrew Harvey.

MI5 hears of the threat of attack by terrorists using a powerful nerve gas. Harvey and his fellow agents must find out who is going to carry out the attack. They must sift through many leads to track down those who are involved in the pending attack.

While there is some action, this is mostly a story of intrigue and misdirection. I enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 302 page thriller. I liked the characters in the novel as well as the plot. The plot in this novel was not as predictable as many of this genre that I have read. The cover art is OK. 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).

macOS New App Release – HDRtist NX 1.1

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Product AnnouncementOhanaware Co., Ltd. of Hengchun, Taiwan has released HDRtist NX 1.1, an important feature update to their latest High Dynamic Range Imaging software for OS X. HDRtist NX is the third installment in the HDRtist series of applications that Ohanaware started in 2009. NX is the absolute latest and most advanced version to date, featuring brand new technology and functionality that Ohanaware have been refining in the last 7 years.

What’s new in HDRtist NX 1.1?

  • Supports RAW images from Apple’s “Photos” application: Now customers you can simply drag and drop RAW images from Photos into HDRtist NX, whereas previously there was no way to obtain RAW images from Photos.
  • New RAW processor: The new processor in HDRtist NX 1.1 extracts more details and better quality images from RAW images.
  • New “Color Temperature” processor: Which generates more natural results, while still be able to adjust in two dimensions. Existing images can be upgraded to the new processor.
  • Now uses OAK2017 and OCIKit2017: The very latest shared code between all Ohanaware applications, which give optimizations and help to reduce issues.
  • Optimizations: Several processing modules have been replaced with highly optimized versions and newer code, helping to reduce the time it takes to process HDR images. More is coming.
  • Fixed a bug with Split View on some Retina displays. Fixed a bug that was preventing diagnostic information from being included in Support e-mails.

What makes HDRtist NX so special?

  • Turbo charged 128-Bit image processing with high precision, utilizing multi-core processors & accelerated graphics hardware
  • Next generation futuristic interface, making the application feel like it’s directly from a modern science fiction movie
  • Large live editor with split view, providing near real time performance while the images are being edited
  • 1-Click Styles, allow the customer to pick and choose one of our pre-made styles. Alternatively customers can create and share their own
  • Master slider (with 4 settings) and fine grained control, give customers a single slider to help choose their look, while still giving access to the individual elements
  • Multiple exposures, single images and even iPhone HDRs can be used with HDRtist NX
  • Built-in online sharing, so customers can quickly share their images on their favorite social media sites
  • Editable HDR images, when images are saved in the HDRtist NX format, customers can re-edit their HDRs without having to start all over again
  • Ohanaware’s Magic effect version 3.0, helps to boost the luminosity, vibrance and reduce minor imperfections of an image
  • Supports “Drag & Drop” from Apple’s “Photos” photo organizing application
  • Tested with HDR images upto 101 megapixel in size

System Requirements:

  • macOS 10.10 “Yosemite” or newer (macOS 10.11 “El Capitan” recommended)
  • 4GB of RAM minimum (8GB-16GB or higher recommended)
  • Core 2 Duo based Macs should be running 10.11 “El Capitan” or newer (due to issues within 10.10 “Yosemite” on these machines)

HDRtist NX is available right now from the Ohanaware web site and the Apple Mac App Store. Normal RRP is $29.99 (USD). App Wrapper uses Paddle as the payment processor. Customers who’ve purchased Ohanaware’s HDRtist Pro after December the 1st 2016 are entitled to a FREE upgrade, HDRtist Pro customers who purchased before December the 1st 2016 are entitled to a Upgrade discount. Please see the HDRtist NX page for more information.

USA, New York, New York – Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

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We like visiting museums. We also like visiting and exploring older military vessels. We like NASA and the Space program. The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum (https://www.intrepidmuseum.org) combines these.

The Intrepid Museum Complex is located at located in New York City on the West side of Manhattan on Pier 86, 12th Ave. & 46th Street. As they say on their website:

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is a non-profit, educational institution featuring the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, the space shuttle Enterprise, the world’s fastest jets and a guided missile submarine. Through exhibitions, educational programming and the foremost collection of technologically groundbreaking aircraft and vessels, visitors of all ages and abilities are taken on an interactive journey through history to learn about American innovation and bravery.

The Intrepid Museum was founded in 1982 with the acquisition of the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, now a National Historic Landmark, which served tours of duty in World War II and the Vietnam War, and was a recovery vessel for the Gemini and Mercury space missions.

The three primary parts of the museum are the USS Intrepid, The USS Growler and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

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The Intrepid was launched in 1943. The aircraft carrier USS Intrepid fought in World War II, surviving five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike. The ship later served in the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Intrepid also served as a NASA recovery vessel in the 1960s. It was decommissioned in 1974. You are able to walk through the bridge shown above as well as part of the crew quarters and mess.

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On the flight deck of the Intrepid is a display of several aircraft, mostly from the US, but a few from other countries including two MIGs. The ship is in good shape and to certainly have a good view of the massive hanger deck. We found the areas available to tour less satisfying that the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, TX.

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The submarine USS Growler is also on display for tours. This is the only American guided missile submarine open to the public. You are able to enter in the bow through stairs installed in place of one of the missile storage bays, walk through the ship, then up stairs in the aft of the vessel.

This 318 foot long and 26 foot wide vessel would spend around 70 days at a time patrolling the Russian coast as part of the US nuclear deterrent force during the cold war. So for more than two months her and her crew of 80-100 would be submerged in the North Pacific.

As we walked through the ship it was hard to conceive of that many men be crammed in so little space for such a long period of time.

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The third major part of the museum is a display of the Space Shuttle Enterprise. The Space Shuttle Pavilion showcases the space shuttle Enterprise, the prototype NASA orbiter that paved the way for America’s successful space shuttle program.

If you like military displays, aircraft or space, you will enjoy visiting the Intrepid Museum Complex.


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Book Review of “Ring of Fire”

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Book Reviews – “Ring of Fire” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Brad Taylor (http://bradtaylorbooks.com). Mr. Taylor has published 17 novels thus far with this being the 11th in his “Brad Pike” series.

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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in contemporary times. The primary character is former Special Operations operative Pike Logan.

Years earlier a failing business man makes bribe to win a lucrative aerospace contract. Now this is about to come back to destroy him and his business when he hears that inside information is about to be leaked that might disclose his illegal activities. His fear is heightened as he finds that his company is tied to terrorist activities because of the bribe.

Logan and his partner Jennifer Cahill are dispatched by the Taskforce to investigate this pending leak. The Taskforce fears that they may be outed by the revelations. Terrorists begin a series of attacks on the US, their “ring of fire” intending to hit ports around the US in an effort to impact US shipping. These terrorists are those tied to the business man through the bribe.

This begins a mad dash by Logan and Cahill to discover the terrorist’s plans and stop them any way they can.

I enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 443 page Thriller. I have read other “Pike Logan” novels and liked them as well. The thriller is full of action and daring do by the heroes, Logan and Cahill. The plot was interesting, but did not contain any real surprises. The cover art is OK, but doesn’t really relate to anything in particular. 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).

USA, New York, New York – Strand Bookstore

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The Strand bookstore (http://www.strandbooks.com/) main location is at 828 Broadway,
Manhattan, NY. It is a place to both buy and sell books. This means that you can find both new and used books on their extensive shelves. Not only do they have the popular books in print, they also have a section for rare and collectable books.

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Just how many books to they have? Their marketing tag line is “18 Miles of Books” and having been there, I can agree that they have a lot of books. As you can see from the photo above, their shelves reach about 9 feet high. This is great in that they can hold a very large inventory of books. However it does make it difficult to just browse the aisles as you cannot really read the spines of the books on the top 2-3 shelves.

Their collection of books is extensive but they best way to approach them is to search for the books you want on-line. I did a quick look at they Science Fiction holdings and the results show 9855 books of that category. Since they have the collection in their database, it makes it easy to find books through the on-line search.

My wife and I spent a little time there a couple of days ago and were overwhelmed. It is certainly a place to visit if you like books. If you are a reader, this is a place you will want to visit if in New York.


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macOS New App Release – AirBeamTV 2.0

Product Announcements – AirBeamTVAirBeamTV of Naarden, The Netherlands has released version 2.0 of their popular screen mirroring applications for Smart and Connected TVs. The apps for all major TV brands (Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Android TV, Fire TV, Roku and Chromecast) now have the option to play video files directly from Apple Mac computers to TV.

“Just drag and drop your video into the Mirror application, and it will play automatically on TV”, explains Jan van Ottele, co-founder and CEO of AirBeamTV, “this is great for watching videos on your big screen TV instead of on a smaller Macbook screen, since most common video file formats are supported.”

Besides Video File Playback, version 2.0 includes the following new features:
* Fully redesigned user interface. The new modern user interface provides a better look and feel, and easier and faster access to all the settings.

* Mirror any application window instead of the full screen. You can now mirror any open application window to the TV, instead of the full computer screen. Even if this window is hidden, minimized to the Dock, or resides on a different Mission Control space. This enables you to use the computer and the TV screens for different purposes at the same time.

* Scale the display to fill the TV screen. Because the screen aspect ratios are different, the application normally adds black borders when mirroring the Mac screen to the TV screen. Now you have the option to stretch the computer screen instead.

All of these features are available immediately on the following apps:

  • Mirror for Samsung TV 2.0
  • Mirror for Sony TV 2.0
  • Mirror for LG TV 2.0
  • Mirror for Panasonic TV 2.0
  • Mirror for Philips TV 2.0
  • Mirror for Fire TV 2.0
  • Mirror for Roku 2.0
  • Mirror for Chromecast 2.0
  • Mirror for Android TV 2.0

The upgrade is free for existing AirBeamTV customers. “Users who bought the app on our website will receive an automatic notification in the app to upgrade”, continues Van Ottele, “users who have bought one of the Mirror apps on the Mac App Store will need to go the Mac App Store and click on Updates.”

macOS New App Release – Cocktail 10.4

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Product Announcements – Maintain of Ekero, Sweden has released Cocktail 10.4 (Sierra Edition), the latest maintenance update for users running macOS Sierra 10.12. The update is highly recommended for all users of Cocktail (Sierra Edition).

What’s New:

  • Added ability to perform essential system maintenance with a click of a button, without any need to configure even a single option
  • Added Safari 11 compatibility
  • Added macOS Sierra 10.12.6 compatibility
  • Other bug fixes and interface improvements

Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. The application serves up a perfect mix of maintenance tools and tweaks, all accessible through a clean and easy to use interface. Cocktail’s features are arranged into five categories that helps you manage various aspects of your computer. It also comes with an automatic Pilot mode that allows you to simply press a button and relax, knowing that Cocktail will take care of the rest.

Disk:

  • Automatically check S.M.A.R.T. status of disks
  • Enable or disable journaling
  • Set disk sleep (spindown) time
  • Modify standby delay
  • Change other disk sleep settings
  • Force eject CD/DVD

System:

  • Run periodic maintenance scripts
  • Purge inactive memory and optimize virtual memory usage
  • Manage Spotlight indexing
  • Erase Spotlight indexes
  • Modify Time Machine settings
  • Rebuild Launch Services and Help databases
  • Rebuild Mail’s Envelope Index
  • Update locate and whatis databases
  • Force empty the Trash
  • Change startup mode or set startup delay
  • Disable startup sound
  • Disable Gatekeeper
  • Disable Notification Center and App Nap

Files:

  • Clear system caches
  • Clear user caches
  • Clear font caches
  • Clear virtual memory swap files
  • Clear temporary files
  • Clear Internet caches
  • Clear cookies, download lists, form values and history files
  • Clear Adobe Flash Player caches and cookies
  • Clear applications caches
  • Search for corrupted preference files
  • Delete unnecessary localization (language resources) files
  • Clear and manage (view, print and save) log files
  • Delete invisible DS Store files
  • Delete locked or inaccessible items

Network:

  • Change speed, duplex and MTU of network cards
  • Easily optimize network settings for common connection types
  • Modify IP configuration parameters
  • Configure File Sharing settings

Interface:

  • Customize look and features of Finder, Dock, login window and other system services
  • Modify hidden settings of Safari, iTunes and Launchpad

System Requirements: Cocktail (Sierra Edition) requires macOS Sierra 10.12 to run. Cocktail (El Capitan Edition) for OS X 10.11, Cocktail (Yosemite Edition) for OS X 10.10, Cocktail (Mavericks Edition) for OS X 10.9 are Cocktail (Mountain Lion Edition) for OS X 10.8 are available for download from Maintain website.

Cocktail is $19.00 (USD) for a single user license and available for purchase from the Maintain website. When unregistered, Cocktail runs in demo mode and will expire after the tenth launch.

USA, New York, New York – Cafe Lalo

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My wife and I are in New York for a little vacation. Cafe Lalo (http://cafelalo.com) was recommended to us. We went by there yesterday for a late breakfast. This in a nice place that is stuck in amongst apartment buildings. It is located at 201 West 83rd St.
New York, NY 10024.

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They claim on their website that Cafe Lalo is “The cafe Europeans would love to have in Europe! Cafe Lalo has become known as the place to go before and after the movies, the theater or dinner to enjoy a great dessert and an expertly-made cappuccino. With our unique European design and open air atmosphere by floor-to-ceiling French windows, Cafe Lalo is the place to see and to be seen. Come sip an espresso with the writers, artists and celebrities who join the locals to enjoy soothing jazz and classical music in a relaxing atmosphere.

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I don’t know about that, but I do know that they  had good breakfasts. I had a three cheese omelette – Sharp cheddar, Brie and Blue Cheese.

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My wife had three scrambled eggs shiitake & porcini mushrooms.

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We went back to Lalo’s  a second time (we both had the same dishes) and I did captured a photo of the deserts. They have a great selection! I hope to sample some of those.

This is a place we would recommend to anyone and it likely a place we will return at least once on our brief trip to New York.


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Book Review of “A Blind Goddess”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “A Blind Goddess” eBook was published in 2014 and was written by James R. Benn. Mr. Benn has published 10 novels all in the “Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” series, with this being the 8th in the series.

I purchased this novel and read it on my Nook reader. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in World War II England. The primary character is Captain Billy Boyle, a former Boston Detective. Now Boyle is on General Eisenhower’s staff, handling investigations and special projects that need careful processing.

Boyle is sent to investigate the death of British citizen found outside a small hotel. He is involved, ostensibly, because a US Army Sergeant is romantically involved with the daughter of the owners. Boyle finds though that there is much that has not been revealed to him about the situation.

Boyle also had a side investigation of his own when a former friend from Boston comes to him. One of his crew members has been arrested for a murder he says he didn’t commit. This is complicated because the friend is serving in an all black unit and there are racial issues to be considered. Then Boyle is drawn into the search for a local girl who has disappeared.

Are these three separate crimes or are they somehow connected?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 336 page Mystery set in World War II. While this one had little to actually connect it to the War other than the time period, the US military presence in England is a major factor in the story. I liked the plot and how Benn has woven into his story many facts from the period. The cover art is OK as it relates to one part of the story. 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).