Book Review: “The Memori Project”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Memori Project” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Martin Ashwell (https://www.martinashwell.com). This is Mr. Ashwell’s first publication and the first in his “Josh Heller Thriller” 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 ‘G’. The story is set in the contemporary US. The primary character is Josh Heller, a former CIA operative who left under questionable circumstances.

Heller is approached by billionaire Simon Scott to shoot a documentary film on the neuroscience experiments he is funding. Once Heller is on-board, he is approached by his former employer to work undercover for the CIA. As Heller digs into what is going on he discovers what appears to be the disappearance of one of the former researchers. That raises questions as to the safety of the procedure and who the next patient to undergo the procedure will be.

The security chief for Simon Scott seems to be watching Heller. Heller recruits one of the research team to assist in his investigation and she too comes under the scrutiny of the security chief. Heller must try not only to find out what happened earlier to the research participant but also keep himself and his recruit safe.

I enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 334-page thriller. I thought the plot was good, but to me, the ending really didn’t wrap everything up. The selected cover art is OK, but not tied to the story. 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).

Instrumental Music on YouTube: “Game of Thrones Medley” by 2CHELLOS

(See my other Music and Game of Thrones posts) – I’m keeping with the Game of Thrones theme again this week. This 5:04 video of 2CHELLOS performing Game of Thrones music was uploaded to YouTube in March of 2017 by 2CELLOS. The 2CELLOS, Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, perform a Game of Thrones Medley with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House. This is from their album “Score”.

USA, Utah, St. George – Chuck-a-Rama

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(See my other Food posts) – We have been in St. George, Utah for a couple of days.

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Yesterday for a late lunch/early dinner we went to the Chuck-a-Rama location here. It is located at 127 Red Cliffs Dr, St. George, UT 84790-8631. The Chuck-a-Rama is an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant.

Chuck-a-Rama is a small (12 location) chain of restaurants across Utah and Idaho. The first location opened in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 6, 1966.

Their menu varies a bit from day to day, but they consistently have a salad bar, baked goods, a selection of meat items, side dishes, and desserts every day. Their full menu is available online.

I have eaten there a few times now and have found the food good. Certainly, I have never walked away hungry. You won’t find 5-star Michelin cuisine, but the food is reasonably good and plentiful. On TripAdvisor Chuck-a-Rama has a 4/5 rating while on YelpYelp it has a 3.5/5 rating and on Zomato it has a 3.4/5 rating.


See my other Food & Location articles


 

macOS New App Release – Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac 6.3.0

Product Announcements Cisdem of Madelia, Minnesota has upgraded its flagship application Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac to version 6.3.0 with greater OCR accuracy, a new auto-update feature and several minor improvements.

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac is an all-around PDF tool, allowing users, among other things, to perform OCR on PDFs and images, convert PDF files (including the scanned and image-based ones) and images to editable Word, Excel, PowerPoint, EPUB, and text, create PDF from JPG, PNG, Word, Excels and other types of files, and to merge or split PDFs.

“PDF Converter OCR has always been one of our most popular applications,” said Edward Riley, Cisdem’s project manager. “The powerful OCR engine ensures high quality and high speed. This upgrade brings a higher level of accuracy. Also, the new version requires considerably less memory when performing OCR. The new auto-update feature will let users keep the application updated automatically as soon as a new version is launched.”

What’s New in Version 6.3.0

  1. Improved OCR accuracy
  2. Improved the OCR memory usage performance
  3. Fixed the blank page issue when converting PPTX to PDF
  4. Corrections and improvements on many small details
  5. Support auto update

Main Features
1. Convert all types of PDF to 16 formats such as Word and keep formatting
This PDF converter for Mac can convert native PDFs, scanned/image-based PDFs and password-protected PDFs to Word, PPT, text, HTML, EPUB, Excel, RTFD, Keynote, Pages, images (PNG, JPG, BMP, GIF and TIFF), and searchable PDF. It provides high conversion speed and quality and retains the formatting and layout.

2. OCR PDF and image files with 27 supported recognition languages
The built-in OCR feature allows users to easily convert scanned documents to searchable, selectable and editable files with high speed and accuracy. Version 6.3.0 further improves the OCR accuracy to bring better performance.

3. Convert images to editable files
Users can convert BMP, PNG, TIFF, JPG and GIF images to Word, text, Excel and other formats supported by this tool.

4. Create PDF from Word, JPG, PNG, Excel, etc.
It can create PDF files from 15 formats such as DOCX, EPUB, PPTX, RTF, CHM, HTML, TXT, BMP, JPG, TIFF, etc.

5. Other useful features such as Batch Conversion and PDF Merge & Split
Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac also enables users to batch convert or create PDFs, merge or split PDF pages, extract PDF images, encrypt or decrypt PDF files.

Price and Availability
Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac 6.3.0 is now available on the official website. The free trial is available for download. Users can get a lifetime license with $59.99 along with lifetime free upgrades.

Book Reviews: “Night of Camp David”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Night of Camp David” eBook was published in 2018 (the original paper edition was published in 1965) and was written by Fletcher Knebel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletcher_Knebel). Mr. Knebel published a dozen 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 ‘G’. The story is set in Washington D.C. during the 60s. The primary character is the Junior Senator from Iowa, Jim MacVeagh.

MacVeagh is unexpectedly invited to Camp David one evening by the President. As the President begins talking with MacVeagh, the Senator begins to have misgivings about the sanity of the President. The Senator starts to investigate to prove to himself that the President is at risk.

Soon MacVeagh finds himself being scrutinized for mental problems. With a summit with the Russians looming ahead, MacVeagh and a few others he has allied with must find a way to keep the President from meeting with the Russians.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 352-page thriller. While this novel was written nearly 55 years ago, it still reads well. There are some references to pay phones and other things from the 60s, but the story holds together well. I read many of Knebel’s novels back in the 60s and enjoyed them. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

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

macOS New App Release – Genograms Solutions for ConceptDraw

Product Announcements – CS Odessa of Odessa, Ukraine has announced the newest addition to Solutions. A new set of vector libraries provides a wide range of objects to support graphics documentation that deals with social and medical generic-based interactions.

Genograms being used to visualize complex interactions between individuals allow to determine various family behavior patterns and even can help to recognize some hereditary diseases. A new solution for ConceptDraw DIAGRAM is intended for specialists in a variety of professions including medicine, psychiatry, genetic sciences, psychology, sociology, and education. It is used to apply the visual analysis of heritable and psychological factors of family and kinship relations.

The Genogram solution enables one to assemble easily various types of genograms using the set of standard symbols. ConceptDraw DIAGRAM and its solution make short work of visually communicating sociological and medical information to any audience.

ConceptDraw DIAGRAM 12, supported by the ever-growing collection of business solutions is compatible with Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows. It is featured with improved compatibility with MS Visio 2003-2016.

Operating Systems Supported: macOS 10.12, 10.13 and 10.14

Pricing and Availability:
The new addition to Solutions is only $25 (USD) for current users of latest ConceptDraw DIAGRAM 12. ConceptDraw DIAGRAM 12 retails separately for $199 per end user license. It is included in ConceptDraw OFFICE 5 which retails for $499 (USD).

USA, Utah, St. George – Paúla’s Cazuela

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Food – We went to Paúla’s Cazuela Mexican restaurant last night for dinner. This restaurant had been around St. George, Utah for at least 20 years. The restaurant is located at 745 Ridgeview Dr, St. George, UT 84770-2679.

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This is your ‘typical’ Mexican food restaurant. Some of the family have been eating and enjoying Paúla’s for nearly 20 years.

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My wife and I shared mixed chicken and beef fajitas. We really enjoyed them. They came with plenty of grilled onions, bell pepper, and red peppers.

One of the draws to Paúla’s is the view. Those shots above were taken from the parking lot, but it is also visible from their patio. If you are looking for some good Mexican food and are in St. George, UT then you may want to give this a try. Paúla’s has a 3/5 rating on Tripadvisor and 3.2/5 on Zomato.


See my other Food & Location posts


 

Friday WWII Flix: “REUE”

(See my other WWII and Short Film posts) – I came across this short (18:01) films set in WWII a short time ago. The film was uploaded to YouTube in May of 2014 by James Cawley, the film’s director. The synopsis per IMDB:

REUE is the story of two American soldiers stranded in occupied territory. While trying to relocate their platoon, the soldiers come face to face with a German infantryman. The trio of young soldiers soon learns they are more connected with the will to survive than they could have ever imagined.

This seems to be a pretty well-made film.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 250 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “Lions of the Desert”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Lions of the Desert” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Samuel Marquis (http://samuelmarquisbooks.com). Mr. Marquis has published ten novels. This is the fourth in his “World War Two” 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 ‘G’. The story is set in North Africa during the early years of World War II. While David Sterling, the founder of the British Special Air Service (SAS) is a major character, there are others as well: German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Egyptian belly dancer Hekmat Fahmy, head of British Field Security Major A.W. Sansom, German spy Johannes Eppler, and U.S. military attaché Colonel Bonner Fellers.

This dramatized historical novel describes how the SAS was formed and outlines some of the action that they saw in North Africa. There is also the story of the German spies that infiltrated Cairo and how Sansom pursued them. You also find that the Germans had broken the code used by Colonel Fellers as he made his daily reports back to Washington. This gave Rommel and incredible insight into what the British were doing.

I enjoyed the 16.5 hours I spent reading this 562-page story of action in North Africa. I was a little disappointed that this was dramatized history. I had hoped it was more straight non-fiction. I did find that the novel gave a different outlook on the war in Africa. The chosen cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3.6 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

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


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 250 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

macOS New App Release – MacX DVD Ripper Pro

Product Announcements – With problems popping up now and then when ripping a DVD, MacXDVD Software of Chengdu, China, a leading multimedia software provider, has announced a major upgrade to MacX DVD Ripper Pro for an ultimate digitizing solution. With its core algorithms optimized based on common disc ripping errors, MacXDVD enables users a trouble-free way to back up and rip any DVDs they want.

DVD owners may have given up on any hope of solving DVD won’t decode errors, but the multimedia solution giant has not. MacXDVD Software today upgraded its flagship MacX DVD Ripper Pro for the industry-first full-scale error-focused solution to various DVD not ripping issues.

In light of the results on Apple Communities, VideoHelp, Macrumors, and the like, converting a DVD is usually fraught with various ripping errors. Examples include software won’t read region code, wrong title, software crashes, A/V out of sync, pixelated or blocky output quality, and many more. On average, users are wasting hours and days on the internet seeking a real solution and trying every possible fix. MacXDVD Software, which for a decade has been well versed in digitizing discs, optimized its flagship MacX DVD Ripper Pro to finally end most, if not all, of the DVD ripping issues.

MacX DVD Ripper Pro is an imperative DVD ripper in difficult disc digitizing scenarios. It has helped users to successfully convert over 30,000,000 discs thanks to the beefy cores under the hood. This upgrade refined its entire core technologies based on users’ most complained converting errors:

  • DVD Analysis Kernel – upgraded to more precisely analyze the structure of the input discs and extract the correct data from the scrambled content
  • Titles Check Mechanism – improved the accuracy to automatically detect the correct title from 99/multiple-titles and bypass the bad sectors & fake tracks, solving DVD won’t read or recognize issues
  • Safe Mode – troubleshoot and fix any abnormal behavior of the software and keep the process smooth during challenging DVD ripping. Now the stability and compatibility are further enhanced
  • DVD decoding system – updated the overall performance when processing the new DVDs released recently

By combining MacXDVD’s decade-long proven experience with the enhanced core features, now MacX DVD Ripper Pro is able to support discs that 95% tools on the market fail to handle. Users can feel free to convert any DVD to MP4, ISO Image, MPEG, MKV, HEVC, AVI, MOV, WMV, etc. for easy playback on TVs, mobiles, players, and other devices without error.

“We are keenly aware of the challenges facing every DVD holder, and are excited to solve the endless DVD decoding woes”, said Jack Han, CEO of the company, “Based on over 5000 user reports stating that they ‘can’t handle a DVD with a normal program’, our R&D team has conducted a large number of tests to make sure MacX DVD Ripper Pro is ‘tried-and-true’ when ripping even the toughest disc.”

Pricing and Availability
MacXDVD Software encourages every DVD owner to try out the DVD ripping solution and feedback if it fixes their “problematic” DVDs. MacX DVD Ripper Pro, normally priced at $67.95 (USD), is now given away until it reaches 6,000,000 downloads. Users can also enter for a chance to win an Epson Projector home. Check the details of at the official MacX Giveaway Page.