All posts by John Purvis

Book Review: “Cursed”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Cursed” eBook was published in 2019 (October) and was written by Thomas Wheeler. This is Mr. Wheeler’s second novel.

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 medieval England. The primary character is Nimue, though Arthur, Merlin, and others from the traditional tales of King Arthur are there too.

In this version of the story, Nimue, whose mother is an Arch Druid, ends up with the famous sword of power. She has also grown adept at very powerful dark magic. Her mother along with everyone else in her village is killed by the Red Paladins, a militant group of the Catholic Church. The Red Paladins seek any and all of the Fey folk they can find. They want to purge their souls through torture and death. They also want the sword of power Nimue carries.

King Pendragon is another force that wants to hold the sword that he will become the one true king. Complicating matters is the Viking Ice King who is also after the sword. Nimue and her friends must survive this lethal field of adversaries, while she tries to survive and save the Fey.

I enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this 416-page fantasy. While I liked the overall plot, the familiar characters have little to do with the history we have all grown up with regarding Arthur. I think I would have liked the story better if there had been no effort to tie it to the Arthur legend. The cover art is OK. 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).

Music of WWII: “I’ll Walk Beside You”

(See my other Music and WWII related posts) – The song “I’ll Walk Beside You” was written by Alan Murray and Edward Lockton. It is usually associated with singer John McCormack.

The song was introduced in 1939 and was popular in the UK during WWII. A British movie with the same name, “I’ll Walk Beside You“, came out in 1943 and featured the song. The movie was moderately successful rating 5.2/10 on IMDB.


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

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 320 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 expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

macOS New app Release – Mirror for Sharp TV

Product Announcements AirBeamTV of Naarden, Netherlands has released their new screen mirroring app for Mac computers exclusively developed for Sharp Smart TVs.

Sharp back in the game:
Last month, Sharp announced it agreed to establish a new form of partnership with TV manufacturer Hisense Limited to re-enter television business in the U.S.A. market the second half of 2019. Sharp will try to get a foothold in the growing market of cutting edge 4K/8K televisions.

Screen mirroring app for Mac:
AirBeamTV, global market leader in screen mirroring apps for Apple products, announced they have launched this new mirroring app for Mac users to provide existing and future Sharp TV owners a cutting-edge mirroring app.

According to the company’s CEO, Jan Van Ottele, AirBeamTV is adapting to the changing landscape of Smart TVs in the US market. “We have received a lot of requests from Mac users to provide a high-quality screen mirroring app for newer TV brands. With our app, Mac owners can share videos, photos and apps from any Mac device to Sharp TV models from 2012 and onward”. Important to notice is that the app also supports Sharp TVs running on the Android TV or Roku TV operating systems, or Sharp TVs using the Aquos sub brand.

Device Requirements
* Macbook, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini & Mac Pro
* Requires MacOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or newer

Pricing and Availability:
Mirror for Sharp TV is free to download on AirBeamTV’s website (trial version). Users can test the app free before upgrading to the paid version ($9.99 directly from the AirBeamTV website). The premium version has no time limits for mirroring and supports lifetime updates. For both the trial and the paid version, everyone can count on fast and free customer service.

macOS New App Release – GIPHY extension for Apple Mail

Mailbutler GmbH of Berlin, Germany, provider of the leading email enhancing software, released a GIPHY extension for Apple Mail. The free, easy-to-install plugin allows users to search for, preview and add GIFs from the GIPHY library, which serves up more than 1 billion GIFs on a daily basis, to their emails. With the pressure to stand out in a crowded inbox, Mailbutler’s GIPHY extension makes it easy for anyone to create fun, meaningful content that instantly connects with the recipient.

“In today’s world full of distractions, it’s increasingly difficult to capture a reader’s attention. Whether you want to create a dynamic email newsletter, or just wish to have some fun with your colleagues, you can add your personal touch through a GIF when words are just not enough,” said Tobias Knobl, CEO and co-founder of Mailbutler.

A study concerned with Dell’s email campaign confirms the overwhelmingly positive impact GIFs can have on email marketing. It showed that emails with GIFs are 6% more likely to be opened and 42% more likely to gain clicks for an email’s embedded links. Emails with GIFs also experienced a 103% increase in conversion rate and a 109% increase in revenue for Dell.

With Mailbutler’s GIPHY extension, users no longer need to exhaust themselves googling for instructions or downloading and converting files to make them compatible with their email provider. The extension brings them a possibility to simply access the entire GIPHY library and add GIFs with one click within their inbox, thus creating more engaging content and ultimately increasing conversion rates and revenue for the company.

macOS New App Release – Typinator 8.0

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Product Announcements  – Ergonis Software of Perg, Austria has released Typinator 8.0, a major new version of their highly acclaimed text expander. Typinator 8 offers a new statistics mode, where you can see the usage counts for abbreviations and sets, and how long ago an abbreviation has been used most recently. You can also sort your snippets by these values, to see which abbreviations you are using frequently and which ones you may have forgotten about.

Another great new feature of Typinator 8 is Magic Keys. You can now use the modifier keys Shift, Control, Option, and Command in abbreviations as if they were real characters. This allows you to use them as special trigger characters and offers a simple way to avoid conflicts in abbreviations.

A very slick user interface enhancement is the new “mini menu bar” right above the expansion field, where you can find all markers and editing functions in one central place. A nice side effect of this improvement is that the expansion field is now wider and you have more space to enter your expansions.

New is also the integration with Ergonis’ award-winning PopChar. With PopChar 8.2 or newer installed, you can now use Typinator to search for and insert arbitrary Unicode characters by their name or Unicode number. In combination with a hotkey for Typinator’s quick search, this is a great way to type arbitrary Unicode characters without taking your hands off the keyboard.

A long list of further new features and enhancements makes Typinator 8 the best text expander ever. Visit Ergonis Software’s website to learn more about the changes in this release and to download and try the new version.

Typinator is a powerful, yet elegantly simple solution that boosts your productivity by automating the process of inserting frequently used text and auto-correcting typing errors. Across all applications, it detects specific sequences of typed characters and automatically replaces them with text snippets, graphics, URLs, dates and special characters.

System Requirements:
* OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) or newer
* Recommended for macOS Mojave (10.14)

Availability and Ordering:
Typinator can be purchased securely on the Ergonis Software website. The upgrade to Typinator 8 is free for anyone who purchased a license for Typinator on or after January 1st, 2019. Upgrade paths are available for owners of older licenses. For information about purchases, including enterprise licenses, volume discounts, and upgrade pricing offers, see the company’s web site.

macOS New App Release – Duplicate Finder for Mac 4.6.0

Product Announcements Cisdem of Madelia, Minnesota has released Duplicate Finder for Mac 4.6.0 with improved user interface and increased speed of finding duplicate files. Cisdem Duplicate Finder is a lightweight, easy to use and powerful duplicate file finder for Mac. Users can use it to look for duplicate photos, music files, videos, documents, archives and other kinds of duplicate files on Mac’s internal storage, external HD, SSD, USB flash drive, memory cards, etc. The Auto-Select and One-click Deletion features allow users to remove unwanted duplicate files all at once.

“Many of us may have gigabytes of duplicate files on our computers, it’s almost impossible to accurately and quickly find them all by hand,” said Edward Riley, Cisdem’s project manager. “That’s why we developed Cisdem Duplicate Finder. This upgrade makes it even faster to look for duplicate files on supported devices. The scanning speed is significantly increased. You just need to click the Scan button, have a sip of your drink and let this duplicate file finder work its magic.”

What’s New in Version 4.6.0:
1. Refined interface
2. Improved duplicates finding speed
3. Fixed some minor bugs

Main Features:
1. Support various file types and formats
This duplicate file finder for Mac can scan selected folders and drives to look for duplicate images, audios, videos, documents and other types of files. Users can set it to identify duplicates by content (default) or by filename.

2. Find similar images
In addition to duplicate images, it can also find similar images. Users can set the similar level in settings.

3. Support various storage devices
This Mac duplicate file finder can also find duplicate files on external storage devices such as external HD, SSD, SD card, etc.

4. Remove duplicates from iTunes and Photos
Cisdem Duplicate Finder can find and delete duplicates in iTunes and Photos apps without damaging the libraries. It’s as safe as manual deletion.

5. Allow side-by-side preview
There are three preview modes for users to choose from. One can zoom in or out for better view.

6. Multiple selection options including Auto-Select
By default, this duplicate file finder for macOS will automatically select duplicate copies for users to delete. Totally, there are 4 selection options. With respect to similar images, there are 7 options including Select Lowest Resolution.

7. Allow high degree of customization Users can choose from multiple scan methods and removal methods according to their needs. In addition, there are scan filters, folder exclusion, extension exclusion and other options, enabling users to have control over the scan and removal process.

Price and Availability:
Cisdem Duplicate Finder for Mac 4.6.0 is available for download and purchase on the Cisdem website. Users can purchase a lifetime license for $29.99 and enjoy lifetime free upgrades. A free trial is available for download at the Cisdem website.

Coffee Seems to Combat the Onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

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(See my other Coffee related posts) – I read “Dark Coffee Can Reduce The Risk Of Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Diseases, A New Study Showed” a few months ago now, but seeing it again today, I wanted to share it. This article is based on “Phenylindanes in Brewed Coffee Inhibit Amyloid-Beta and Tau Aggregation” published in the October 12, 2018 issue of the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

In the study conducted at Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto, researchers tested three different Starbucks coffee blends (Instant light roast, dark roast, and decaffeinated dark roast) for phenylindanes. They looked for phenylindanes as these compounds which are produced in the coffee roasting process are known to inhibit proteins linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s from clumping.

The study links the consumption of coffee, particularly dark roast coffee, with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The darker the roast, the more phenylindanes that are produced. This avenue of research is in its early stage and much is still unknown about the exact interaction of the compounds.

Still, this is yet another in a series of studies that indicate that chemicals contained in coffee have a beneficial impact on health.

Friday WWII Flix: “The Wackiest Ship in the Army”

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(See my other WWII  related posts) – A few weeks back I pulled out this old movie from my collection “The Wackiest Ship in the Army”. It came out in 1960 and the synopsis per IMDB:

During WW2, Lt. Rip Crandall, who was a yachtsman before the war, takes command of the USS Echo, a sailing ship, for a secret mission in waters patrolled by Japanese warships.

This is a little different for a WWII movie in that it is as much a comedy as it is a drama about the war. I have seen this movie a few times and I still like it. On IMDB it has a rating of 6.3/10.


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

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 320 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 expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Reviews: “Templar Secrets”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Templar Secrets” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Andreas Economou (https://www.aeconomouauthor.com). This is Mr. Economou’s second 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set across the ages as it tells a story of the Templars and the Masons.

This story is a mixture of facts and fiction. In the present is George Makrides living in Cyprus. He has recently joined the Masons and has been seeking the secrets that he expected to be revealed.

Starting in 966 BCE Hiram is sent by his king to design and build King Soloman’s temple, but there is intrigue between the kings. Later the crusades take the Holy Land and established the Kingdom of Jerusalem. There is a need to protect pilgrims as they travel to Jerusalem from Europe and the Knights Templar are born. Much later the French nobility and church view the Templars as a wealthy threat and they are persecuted. The Templars are eventually officially disbanded.

Foreseeing trouble, the Templar leadership hides their treasure on Cyprus. The head of the order forms the Masonic lodge to maintain and hand down clues to where the order’s treasure has been hidden. The Masonic order evolves over the decades, but the essential clues in their ceremonies remain.

George and his friend and Masonic brother Alex are becoming disillusioned with the Masons, but their interest in the Templars has expanded. They wonder if the fabled Templar treasure exists and if it really is hidden on Cyprus.

I enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 474-page mystery. While the primary plot of the story is the mystery of the Templar treasure which George and Alex pursue, I found the historical fiction of the Templars and the Masonic lodge much more interesting. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4.1 (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 – PDF Studio 2019

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Product Announcements Qoppa Software of Atlanta, Georgia has released PDF Studio 2019, their powerful, intuitive PDF Editor for macOS. This new version delivers integration with Docusign and Cloud Storage Services to help users manage, store and sign electronic documents, as well as user accessibility tools to create PDF/UA compliant documents. PDF Studio 2019 adds many new exciting features, including:

* Cloud Storage Integrations: Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive
* Docusign® Integration
* Creation of Accessible Tagged PDFs (PDF/UA)
* Split Document View
* Improved PDF Overlay Comparison (Now Vector Export!)
* Fix Scan Tool
* Sanitize Tool

Two new major integration features in this version will help users track, store and manage their PDF documents and reduce paper use, at work or at home. They are available on all platforms (macOS, Windows, and Linux), not only in Qoppa’s PDF editing application, PDF Studio but also in Qoppa’s free PDF reader, PDF Studio Viewer.

PDF Studio 2019 is fully integrated with major document storage systems, Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive, allowing users to browse, load and save documents from and to the cloud, in the same easy way as they access files on their local file system.

The Docusign integration makes it easy to manage legal agreements that require third-party signatures, such as invoices, leases, work orders or rental contracts. Documents and forms are created and customized in our PDF editing application, then sent seamlessly to Docusign, through the integrated interface, where they can be populated with signatures fields, and sent off for signing. The integrated document workflow will no doubt save valuable time and effort in the daily routine of many business professionals and contractors.

User accessibility features were added in version 2019, allowing users to create accessible tagged PDFs, by exploring, verifying, creating and editing tags in a document. The accessibility tags are attached to the different objects present in the content of a PDF, such as headings, images, paragraphs, and tables. They are designed to help accessibility software, such as screen readers, understand the document structure and present the information accurately to readers with disabilities. PDF/UA standard is the PDF sub-format that defines these tags.

The new Split Document View allows to view or inspect the content of two non continuous PDF pages in a long and complex PDF document at once. It is useful when users need to refer to one part of a document, while reading another. There are options to split the view vertically or horizontally, and to copy the zoom level from one view to the other.

The already powerful Overlay Comparison feature was enhanced this cycle, allowing to compare 2 or more PDF documents by changing their color then overlaying them, in such a way that identical content is shown in gray and differences are highlighted in different colors. This feature is especially useful for architects and engineers to visually identify even small differences in architectural drawing and blueprints. The new automatic alignment and scaling tool makes it easy to precisely superimpose documents coming from different sources and having disparate offset, scale, or even rotation. For performance and accuracy, the exported comparison document is now vector based, with all overlaid documents saved in separate layers, that can be turned on and off with a click.

Fix Scan comes with various functions to clean up scanned documents, including a deskewing function to straighten pages, an OCR function to recognize and add searchable text, and finally an optimize function to reduce the size of the images, and improve image resolution and compression algorithm.

PDF Studio 2019 includes many other improvements, such as a sanitize tool, search and markup, search & redact, ability to customize quick access toolbar with favorite tools, merge and flatten layers. PDF Studion is available from the website.