Disneyland​ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Open

(See my other DisneyStar Wars posts) – Well, we have been waiting for this for a while now. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland is now open. This 14-acre expansion has been watched by many with anticipation.

I can’t wait to go myself, but it will be a few years. Regardless of when I go, Galaxy’s Edge will never look as empty as in the video above.

macOS App Discount – Output Factory Lite

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Product Announcements Zevrix Solutions of Toronto (ON), Canada announces that Output Factory Lite, the company’s output automation solution for Adobe InDesign, is available on software discount site BundleHunt as part of their Spring MacOS Bundle. The deal lets users select up to 30 premium Mac apps at a starting price of $5 only offering savings of over 90% of the software price. BundleHunt lets users build their own Mac bundle with highly-rated apps ranging from workflow streamlining productivity software to niche apps for investment tracking to online learning courses.

Output Factory lets printers, ad agencies and publishing houses worldwide eliminate repetitive tasks, streamline their output workflows, and easily repurpose InDesign files for the web and mobile devices. Users only need to queue the desired InDesign files and select pre-defined output options. The software will then print the files or save them to PDF or other formats with just a click of a button. The BundleHunt offer lets users save up to $110 on each copy of Output Factory Lite.

“With Output Factory, I’ve got our magazine production down to six minutes from three hours,” says Jeff Middleton, a graphic designer from Toronto, Canada. “Once I set up all my presets, it was insane how fast it was. I load all my InDesign docs into Output Factory, press play, go grab a coffee and come back to my entire magazine.”

Output Factory Lite supports printing as well as exporting to PDF and PostScript. The software offers the following key features:

  • Output multiple InDesign files automatically
  • Export page groups as a single PDF files
  • Output files to multiple formats with one click
  • Create PDF security presets
  • Variable output file names
  • Layer versioning: output layer combinations as single files
  • Eliminate errors with automatic preflight

Pricing and Availability:
Output Factory Lite can be purchased on BundleHunt as part of its Spring Bundle at the starting price of $5. Trial version is also available for download. BundleHunt customers are eligible to upgrade their Output Factory Lite licenses to the full version (which supports many other output formats) at a standard price of $50. Output Factory requires macOS 10.7-10.14 and Adobe InDesign CS3-CC 2019.

macOS App Giveaway – MacX Video Converter Pro

Product Announcements MacXDVD Software of Chengdu, China is commemorating its 9th anniversary, for which reason unlimited copies of MacX Video Converter Pro are given away. Every customer interested in MacXDVD’s grand anniversary giveaway is welcomed to join in the celebration, get the giveaway gift for free before May 31, 2019, and share the joy on the anniversary giveaway page.

Since MacXDVD introduced its first multimedia software to the market in 2010, tens of thousands customers have leveraged the power of its home-use software to bridge DVDs, videos and audios with their PCs, TVs, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and more, with no more restriction. This achievement owns to its unremitting endeavor in developing high-quality and truly customer-focused products. And now in its 9th year, MacXDVD has become a big shot in the multimedia software industry and has been thumbed up by over 200 million customers worldwide, spanning across the U.S.A, U.K, Japan, Germany, and many other regions.

Now as a way to continue that support and celebrate its 9th anniversary, MacXDVD awards its flagship MacX Video Converter Pro to all new and loyal customers. After repetitive updates over the past 9 years, the giveaway gift ushers in a new video converting era, giving customers ultimate control over 4K resolution videos, HEVC files and almost all sorts of video sources. The most recent breakthrough in level-3 hardware acceleration lets it enjoy absolute advantages in processing speed (conversion frequency reaches as high as 300fps) over other rivals and strike a perfect balance between the file size and output quality.

By far, the video converter is capable of making diversified video formats all-purpose. It can decode and encode various video formats, e.g. 4K to 1080p, MOV to MP4, AVI to MOV, HEVC to H.264, MKV to MP4, and more, so that video lovers can play them on media players, iPhone, iPad, Android, Xbox, PSP or share them on YouTube, Facebook. It is skilled at basic video editing jobs and adjusting video resolution, codec, frame rate, bitrate or so for desired output quality and file size. To enter the contest, customers can just submit a valid email address to get the license code. There is no more condition attached.

To spark the 2019 anniversary celebration, MacXDVD Software also offers huge price cutting as high as 70% off. Customers can get its best-selling media suite inclusive of MacX DVD Ripper Pro, MacX Video Converter Pro and MacX MediaTrans for next to nothing, precisely at $49.95 only.

Pricing and Availability
MacXDVD 9th-anniversary giveaway takes place from now to the end of May 2019. All customers are eligible to win MacX Video Converter Pro for free. Step 1: Go to the anniversary giveaway page. Step 2: Enter a valid email address and click Get License Code, after which a license key will be presented to you in the pop-up window automatically. Step 3: Download the program and activate the license key as soon as possible.

Book Review: “The Ventriloquists”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Ventriloquists” eBook was published in 2019 (August) and was written by E.R. Ramzipoor (http://www.erramzipoor.com). This is her first publication.

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, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in 1943 Brussels. Belgium has been occupied by the Germans since May 28 of 1940. The primary character is twelve-year-old street orphan Helene, who is living in disguise as a boy.

The Germans are trying to sway public opinion away from the Allies. A German comes up with the idea to publish a fake issue of a resistance newspaper turning it into a Nazi propaganda bomb that will sway the public. They approach journalist Marc Aubrion and force him, and his associates, to create the paper.

Aubrion, along with an odd group of resistance fighters and newspapermen, come together to publish a very special issue of Belgium’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir instead. Le Soir has been taken over by the Nazis and is being used to publish their propaganda. The small group, including the young Helene, come up with the wild plan of secretly publishing an issue full of Zwanze [meaning farce or spoof] poking fun at the Germans.

They have only 18 days to pull their plan together, write the articles, then publish and deliver the papers under the noses of the Nazis.

I enjoyed the 18 hours I spent reading this 544-page WWII thriller. This story is based on fact. A spoof issue of Faux Soir was published on November 9, 1943. While I thought the story was interesting, I also thought it was very slow reading. I almost declared a Rule of 50 and abandoned it. I have to say that it did get better towards the end. There were unusual several characters in the story. It was certainly an interesting plot, almost unbelievable, yet it really happened. The chosen cover art is OK, though I think something closer to the story could have been chosen. 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).


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 310 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 – Lingon X 7

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Product Announcements Lingon X 7 for macOS from Peter Borg Apps of Stockholm, Sweden helps you to run whatever you want, whenever you want. Lingon X can start an app, run a script or a command whenever you want. You can schedule it to run at a specific time, regularly or when something special happens. It can also make sure that an app or a script automatically restarts if it crashes.

Lingon X is very easy to use yet extremely powerful. It is a fully featured launchd editor and has also many advanced features like running jobs as root and see the log for each job. It can also monitor all jobs in the background and show a notification when something changes.

The new Lingon X 7 is the best ever Lingon with many new features and improvements:

  • See and edit all values for launched jobs in a great new interface
  • Easier than ever to create a new job
  • Faster and more energy efficient
  • Smarter and generally more helpful
  • Improved accessibility and right-to-left support
  • Modernized design and optimized for macOS 10.14 Mojave
  • Remove a key completely by clearing value or unchecking with the option key
  • Notifications are now turned off by default (can be turned on in Preferences)
  • Many, many more improvements and fixes

System Requirements: macOS Mojave 10.14.4 or later

Pricing and Availability:
Lingon X 7 is available now for $14.99 USD at the Peter Borg Apps website. Upgrade and site licenses are available.

macOS New App Release – ExeWrapper

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Product Announcements – Tim Parnell of Rochester, New York has released ExeWrapper, a tool for code signing Windows executables from macOS. No need to dual boot into another operating system. No headaches fumbling with VMs to find the one with the right configuration. Cross-platform developers can work, build, and now sign in macOS. A simple convenience for any workflow.

ExeWrapper is a Mac application at heart. Take advantage of features like the macOS Keychain to store certificate passwords, drag & drop file management, and shareable save documents to make signing deliverables easier than ever.

Designed to be easy every step of the way, ExeWrapper makes cross-platform developers lives easier. Adding files to sign is a simple drag and drop operation. Files can be added statically, or folders can be added to be recursed at sign time. This makes it easy to sign your projects in one step.

Through the magic of OpenSSL, code signing Windows executables on macOS is not simply a dream. Save time by staying in macOS to sign deliverables. Certificate passwords can optionally be stored on your local macOS keychain. Keychain is secured and encrypted by the system. Never lose a certificate password again. Files listed are saved as relative paths. The receiving party can open ExeWrapper, supply the certificate password, and click sign. Easy as that.

ExeWrapper can be downloaded for free from its official website. ExeWrapper is fully capable of code signing free of charge. To sign batches of more than five files a license is needed. Tim Parnell can be reached at timi@timi.me for questions or comments!

Another Strong Quadruped​ Robot – HyQReal

(See my other Robot posts) – The HyQReal was developed at the Dynamic Legged Systems Lab at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). In the video above (uploaded to YouTube in May of 2019 by Dynamic Legged Systems lab) the robot is shown towing a 7275 lb (3300 kg) P180 Avanti aircraft.

The HyQReal is 4 ft 4.4 in (1.33 m) long and 35.5 in (90 cm) tall, and weighs 286.5 lbs (130kg). About 33 lbs (15 kg) of that weight comes from the onboard Li-Po battery that can power the HyQReal for two hours. The HyQReal is also water and dust resistant.

While most of these quadruped robots are still in the research I doubt it will be too long before we begin to see some in the field.

References:

  1. Watch the HyQReal Robot Pull an Airplane

Memorial Day 2019

Memorial Day isn’t just a three day weekend.

It is the official day in the US to remember and honor those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Memorial Day began sometime before the Civil War, though there is no official date. The day of recognition was originally known as Decoration Day. The designation of May 30 as Memorial Day did not become federal law until 1967. It was changed to the last Monday in May in 1971.

I believe it is important for everyone to understand what this day means.