All posts by John Purvis

Star Wars Fan Film – “The Sable Corsair”

Star WarsShort Films – The short (4:58) Star Wars fan film “The Sable Corsair” was published to YouTube in April of 2017 by Nick Finch. The synopsis:

With bounties on their heads in every system and The Empire in constant pursuit, the crew of The Sable Corsair are among the most elusive smugglers in the galaxy. During a mission to deliver weapons and supplies to a Rebel base on Galidraan IV, the ship encounters a huge Imperial blockade. During the fight, The Corsair’s navigation systems are badly damaged, leaving the ship floating helplessly in space. CAPTAIN ZAC ARRAN, in a desperate attempt to save his crew, makes the jump to hyperspace… but with the navigation systems gone, the ship is flying blind. They emerge in an uncharted system and the damaged vessel crashes on a desolate, seemingly uninhabited planet…

I thought that this was one of the better fan films. It was well produced, pretty well acted and had a different location than the typical forest. It has been well received as it has earned a 9.2/10 on IMDB. It also received the “Audience Choice” award at the 2016 STAR WARS Fan Film Awards held in London,UK.

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macOS New App Release – DEVONagent

20180208 Apple vs. Samsung Case

Product Announcements  – DEVONtechnologies pf Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has updated its smart research tool DEVONagent. The update brings a plugin for searching Google Scholar for case law and supports DuckDuckGo Bangs in its integrated web browser. It also adds more formats for sending results to DEVONthink. Extended plugin and AppleScript API enhance the options for automation. The updates for all three editions of DEVONagent are free and recommended for all users.

DEVONagent is DEVONtechnologies’ web research solution for the Mac. It finds information searching multiple sources in one go and applying powerful filters to the retrieved data. The presented results can be further processed and saved to the internal archive or handed over to other applications, e.g. DEVONthink. DEVONagent also offers a range of automating options to run searches unattended. It adds found data to the user’s archive or send reports by email.

Sophisticated research tools, AI-based techniques that handle even the largest result sets, and a high degree of integration and automation make DEVONagent the #1 web research tool on the Mac for scientists, lawyers, engineers, and educators.

  • Get pre-filtered, organized results from many sources
  • View and analyze the results the way you want
  • Create reports in many formats
  • Save searches so you can continue later
  • Run searches unattended to stay up-to-date on important subjects

New in DEVONagent 3.10:
Version 3.10 adds a new plugin for searching Google Scholar for case law. Google Scholar indexes scholarly books, articles, abstracts, and court opinions. The update also brings new versions of plugins for searching Google Patent Search, the British Library, BBC News, Reuters, RocketNews, FindLaw, and the publications of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“Finding references and court opinions dominates the work of attorneys and law students. DEVONagent Pro is the ideal tool for in-depth research in databases like Lexis, FindLaw, EUR-Lex, and now also Google Scholar. It not only searches all these sources but also post-filters them. Sophisticated search operators drill down to the ground. And what’s left DEVONagent presents to the lawyer in an environment that lets them directly work with them”, comments Eric Bohnisch-Volkmann, President of DEVONtechnologies.

For quick queries, DEVONagent Pro now supports DuckDuckgo Bangs in the internal browser. These keywords, beginning with an exclamation mark, make it easy to search a specific website. Found search results can be archived to DEVONthink now also as Markdown or HTML-based formatted note. A decluttering option removes unnecessary text and images.

Other improvements in DEVONagent Pro 3.10 include enhanced plugin and AppleScript APIs for writing new search plugins as well as for automating post-processing search results. The updated plugin editor makes it easier to create a custom plugin from code published on the DEVONtechnologies user forum. Finally, webcam and video scanner plugins recognize live streams now, too. The updates for all three editions of DEVONagent are free for existings users and highly recommended.

System requirements: OS X Yosemite or later

Pricing and Availability:
All editions can be downloaded from DEVONtechnologies online and be test-driven for free before they need to be licensed. The applications are also available in the Mac App Store; DEVONagent Pro and Express can be purchased in bundles with DEVONthink in DEVONtechnologies’ online shop.

  • DEVONagent Pro: US $49.95 (App Store: $49.99)
  • DEVONagent Express: US $4.95 (App Store: $4.99)
  • DEVONagent Lite: free

 

macOS New App Release – Canvas Draw 4

Product Announcements – ACD Systems of Victoria, Canada has released one of the most versatile visual content creation tool on the market. Designed for Macintosh computers, Canvas Draw 4 offers a wide range of professional drawing tools for both vector and raster graphics. This way, you can easily combine different elements in the same image, such as drawings, text, effects, and more. Whether your goal is to develop creative content, such as beautifully presented infographics, or advertising presentations, or printable drawings, Canvas Draw 4 has all the tools you need.

Canvas Draw 4 lets you unleash your creativity in a single application designed for multiple industries. Strikingly flexible, it offers the tools professional designers need to create stunning results. For example, a real estate company might use it to bring to life floor plans and calculate spatial dimensions, while a startup might use it to create a professional branding strategy or logo.

What’s New in Canvas Draw 4?

The product of many years of innovation and research, Canvas Draw 4 introduces many improvements to the popular illustration application for Mac. Among the new features are improved drawing precision and area calculations, font glyph previews, smart shuffling, a type palette, presentation documents, an annotation lens, and built-in scanning support using Image Capture API.

If you’re ready to illustrate your industry and bring your business and its products or services to life with strong imagery, then you cannot go wrong with Canvas Draw 4 at your disposal. Whether it’s computer-aided design, desktop publication, or branding you need, this solution offers it all in the form of a highly customizable program. If you’re ready to get started, visit the Canvas Draw 4 website today.

Keyboard Shortcuts – Paste and Match Style

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One of the Keyboard Shortcuts that I use on a regular basis is “Paste and Match Style”. The shortcut for this is CMD + OPT + SFT + v

What it does is past the content of the clipboard but drops any formatting and uses the format of the location where you are pasting the text. In other words it strips any formatting from the text and applies the formatting of the destination.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 1.35.40 PM

I find this very useful when I am copying and pasting text from reference articles into an article that I am writing, or into an email that I am writing. In the example above using standard Paste and Paste and Match Style are shown in Yellow highlight.


Read my other macOS and Keyboard Shortcut articles


 

Star Wars Fan Film “Vector”

Star WarsShort Films – The short (8:08) Star Wars fan film “Vector” combines Star Wars with what appear to be zombies. This film was published to YouTube in January of 2017 by Christopher Velazquez.

I am not sure what to say about this film. I am not a fan of zombies. It is not a bad production and had OK special effects. It claims to be “Part 1 of 3” implying sequels. I’m not sure if I would take the time to watch them or not. That all said, it is clear that a lot of time and effort was put into this production.

macOS New app Release – Mailbutler

Product Announcements – Mailbutler GmbH of Berlin, Germany, creator of the leading email productivity plugin, has released a new version of their email extension is broadly available for all Gmail and Apple Mail users. Readily compatible on both email clients, the new Mailbutler brings major updates to its functions with added features and a fully revamped interface.

“Following the success with Apple Mail, we listened to our customers’ demands and brought our email software expertise to Gmail. Many email companies unfortunately only market one type of email function – we saw an opportunity to bring together all types of complex email features under one roof. This is why we decided to bring the simplicity of Mailbutler to a second platform.” shared Tobias Knobl, co-founder and CEO of Mailbutler. Gmail and Apple Mail users can perform tasks with Mailbutler such as email scheduling, receive read receipts, upload files to cloud services, create signatures and templates, share notes and tasks – all without the need to install multiple third-party tools. The redesigned Mailbutler Dashboard now allows users an easily accessible overview of all their email activities.

The lightweight extension offers an unique approach to productivity: it acts as a Swiss army knife for emails while integrating seamlessly into the native Apple Mail and Gmail interface. “We want to help users take back control of their inbox,” added Tobias. The all-in-one plugin maximizes efficiency of emails, helps users to stay organized and leverages time in a smart and intuitive way.

“Our team worked tirelessly over the past six months to perfect the new Mailbutler, and we’re proud to have built a powerful yet agile solution that meets the needs of our multi-faceted customers,” shared Fabian Jager, Mailbutler’s co-founder and CTO. Introducing its biggest update in its two year history, the Berlin-based company also celebrates hitting a milestone with over 100k users. With the options of Free, Professional and Business plans, the new Mailbutler is now available for download.

Star Wars Fan Film “The Way of Darkness”

Short Films – The short (10:09) Star Wars fan film “The Way of Darkness” was posted to YouTube in March of 2017 by MovieCap. The film was made in France and the dialogue is all in French, but the video is pretty well done and you get the gist of the story  by just following the action. The film was made by Scouts and Guides of France.

Review of “The Blue Widow”

Story Stories – The short story “The Blue Widow” is available from the Baen Books website. This story was written b J. P. Sullivan. This is a little different from the other short stories I have read at Baen as it is a fantasy rather than science fiction. Baen Books selected J.P. Sullivan as the grand prize winner of the 2017 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award for this short story.

Teresa Kowalczyk is a member of a religious order that hunts monsters, a Blue Widow. She is given an assignment to travel to a remote village in Molovia. The village, Elik, is not unknown to Teresa as she was born and grew up there. Traveling back there stirs up her own personal monsters in addition to the one she was sent to hunt.

I found the 45 minutes I invested in this fantasy short story to be interesting. I would give this a 3.8 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

Working Alongside Robots

robots

Robots – I came across the article “How Should Your Company Prepare For Robot Coworkers?” this morning. if you are concerned as to how AI and automation will be affecting your job or you company, you should give it a read. It is short only taking about 5 minutes.

The gist of the article is that we need to start thinking how to incorporate AI and robotics into the work place alongside existing employees. the key thing is to modify work flow to incorporate what AI and robotics do well and have humans focus on the less mundane, higher intellect part of the job.

Mac Accessories – AirPort Time Capsule Storage Upgrade

Product Announcements – QuickerTek of Wichita, Kansas  has upgrades to the already-quality product, Apple AC AirPort Time Capsule, by adding a 5TB or 12TB (Terabyte) hard drive and, by request, six external antennas. Designed as a central backup solution for all of the Mac computers in your home or office, the addition of the 5TB or 12TB hard drive adds a huge boost in storage capabilities, while the unit provides only 2TB to 3TB of storage alone. To complete this upgrade, QuickerTek first opens the chassis and removes the existing hard drive. Once this is done, either the 5TB or 12TB hard drive is slid into the empty space and plugged into the internal board.

The antenna upgrade not only offers dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi, but it also triples the range of the Time Capsule. The improved wireless power allows users the ability to arrange and use their Apple wireless anywhere they choose by providing a wider range and blasting through common line of sight objects. The standard Apple AirPort Time Capsule does not have a built-in port to connect these antennas. So, QuickerTek engineered a means of modifying them with antenna connectors. Customers will quickly discover the wireless performance they have been missing. Buffering is eliminated and multi-user Wi-Fi connections are all smooth and fast.

QuickerTek is the only company in the world offering this innovative upgrade. Eight different product versions are available: a QuickerTek supplied 2TB Time Capsule upgraded with the 5TB hard drive alone for $499 (USD), a 2TB Time Capsule upgraded with both the 5TB hard drive and high gain 9dBi antennas for $699 (USD), a 2TB Time Capsule upgraded with the 12TB hard drive alone for $799 (USD) or a 2TB Time Capsule upgraded with a 12TB hard drive and high gain 9dBi antennas for $999 (USD). Customers may also send in their own Time Capsules to be upgraded. A customer supplied Time Capsule upgraded with the 5TB hard drive alone for $199 (USD), a customer supplied Time Capsule upgraded with the 5TB hard drive and high gain 9dBi antennas for $399 (USD), a customer supplied Time Capsule upgraded with the 12TB hard drive alone for $599 (USD) or a customer supplied Time Capsule upgraded with the 12TB hard drive and high gain 9dBi antennas for $799 (USD).

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 3.85″ x 3.85″ x 16″
  • Weight: 2.38 lbs
  • Color: White

Includes:

  • User manual
  • Adapter cables
  • Mounting base
  • 5TB or 12TB hard drive
  • Six 9dBi antennas

Pricing:

  • 5TB Upgrade Only $499 (USD)
  • 5TB Upgrade with High Gain Antennas $699 (USD)
  • 12TB Upgrade Only $799 (USD)
  • 12TB Upgrade with High Gain Antennas $999 (USD)
  • Customer Supplied 5TB Upgrade Only $199 (USD)
  • Customer Supplied 5TB Upgrade with High Gain Antennas $399 (USD)
  • Customer Supplied 12TB Upgrade Only $599 (USD)
  • Customer Supplied 12TB Upgrade with High Gain Antennas $799 (USD)