Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Global History of WWII

WWII – This audio recording (50:50) is a presentation by Professor Andre Buchanan of the University of Vermont as he discusses ‘A Brief Global History of World War II’. The talk was made at a Second World War Research Group seminar at the Joint Services Command and Staff College on 22 January 2019.

The recording is not of the best quality (lots of background noise), but the talk is interesting.


If you are interested in the World War II era of history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of links to  museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” (events in the Pacific and European Theaters by date) of interest.

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Disney Wallpaper

 

Do you like to have different wallpapers for your computer or phone? Are you a fan of Disney? If the answer is “YES” to those questions, then you might want to go over the Disney website and download one (or more) of the 25 wallpaper files they have available to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

There are several wallpapers with different themes. Just a few of them are shown above.

I downloaded several of their Christmas wallpaper files last December.

Paper Space Models

Are you interested in Space? Do you have a steady hand and some patience? If so the paper rocket models from AMX Paper Space Scale Models might be something to fill your free hours.

All you need to build these is to download the file and print them on your color printer. Then carefully cut them out and glue the parts together.

The video above posted to YouTube in February 2019 by rsp. His video gives you a very good idea of how the paper models can be assembled.

Short Story and Review: “Disconnect”

Short Stories – I came across the short story “Disconnect” published in Uncanny Magazine a short time back. It is written by Fran Wilde (http://www.franwilde.net). Ms. Wilde has published several short stories, novellas, and novels.

Wars have come and gone affecting the planet. Physicist Izze Freer has been drastically affected. She struggles to keep herself together (literally) teaching while avoiding further studies of her condition.

This a strange little story that took just under 35 minutes to read. I liked the story, but the plot is a little odd and it doesn’t really reach much of a conclusion. You can read the story on the Uncanny website. I would give it a rating of 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

Friday WWII Flix “Back to Bataan”

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WWII – I watched another of the old WWII era movies from my collection the other night, “Back to Bataan“. This film was shot in Back & White and was released in 1945. The major stars are John Wayne and Anthony Quinn. The synopsis per IMDB is:

In 1942, after the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese, U.S. Army Col. Joseph Madden stays behind to organize the local resistance against the Japanese invaders.

Some of the scenes represent real events, while others are fictionalized, that occur on Luzon in the Philipines after the islands fell to the Japanese in 1942. This wasn’t a great film but I enjoyed it. The rating on IMDB is 6.7/10, which corresponds to my feelings about it.

macOS New App Release – SwiftCapture 1.2

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Product Announcements Ben Software of London, United Kingdom has released SwiftCapture 1.2, a major update to the high-performance video capture application for the Mac. SwiftCapture’s powerful features and intuitive user interface allow users to create high-quality video recordings, time-lapse captures and stop-motion movies from a variety of video and audio input devices.

SwiftCapture supports any video input device that works on a Mac, including built-in FaceTime and iSight cameras, USB webcams and the popular Blackmagic range of devices for analog, HDMI and SDI input.

The main features of SwiftCapture are as follows:

  • Supports any Mac-compatible video input, including Blackmagic devices
  • Supports any Mac-compatible audio input
  • Records standard MOV and MP4 movie files, which have a wide compatibility
  • Timelapse and stop-motion capture features
  • Hardware-accelerated video encoding
  • Easy image capture, including copy-and-paste and drag-and-drop
  • Image adjustments: brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness
  • Ability to add a text overlay, for example, date and time
  • Applescript control for automation

New features in this version are as follows:

  • Compatible with macOS 10.14 “Mojave”
  • More reliable audio capture from Blackmagic devices
  • Improved video frame timings from Blackmagic devices
  • Automatic video format detection for Blackmagic devices
  • Improved audio/video synchronization
  • Efficiency improvements resulting in lower CPU usage
  • AppleScript enhancements
  • Bug fixes

Pricing and Availability:
SwiftCapture costs GBP 29 (approx. USD $38) for a single-user license and GBP 399 (approx. USD $530) for a site license through the website. A 30-day fully-functional trial version of SwiftCapture is available for download.

Book Review: “American Operator”

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Book Reviews – “American Operator” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Jeffrey Wilson and Brian Andrews (http://www.andrews-wilson.com). Between them, they have published six novels. This is the fourth novel in their “Tier One Thrillers” 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 the contemporary Middle East. The primary character is former Tier One Navy SEAL John Dempsey, now an agent for the super-secret Ember strike force.

Dempsey is in deep cover on an assignment with the rest of his Ember team standing by on an American airbase in allied Turkey. A terrorist attack leaves the US Ambassador to Turkey dead and his chief of staff, Amanda Allen hostage. Complicating matters is the near-simultaneous attack on the US airbase. The team must fight off aggressors before they can recover Dempsey and begin pursuit of Allen.

Dempsey left on his own after the attack takes down his communications, does what he can to find Allen. He puts himself in the position of taking on Allen’s kidnappers who have a near overwhelming force available to maintain their hostage. The Ember team soon finds there is more in play than just an attack on a US airbase or the taking of an embassy staffer.

I enjoyed the nearly 9 hours I spent reading this 426-page special operations thriller. I have had the opportunity to read all four novels in this series and have enjoyed each of them. While having the background of the other three novels will help, this novel stands well on its own. I like the characters that the authors have created for this series. I like the chosen cover art. 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).

macOS New App Release – Default Folder X 5.3.3

Product Announcements St. Clair Software of Denver, Colorado has released Default Folder X version 5.3.3. This release of its award-winning utility for enhancing Open and Save dialogs improves usability with optional labels in its toolbar and drag-and-drop drawer. It also adds new keyboard shortcut options, supports the version of ForkLift available through SetApp, and corrects a number of interface and functional issues.

Default Folder X’s custom keyboard shortcuts put your favorite and recent folders at your fingertips. Pop-up menus let you quickly navigate your folders and open Finder windows. Previews, file information, Spotlight tagging and comments are there when you need them. Open, save, and get back to work: Default Folder X speeds your workflow by making file management fast and efficient.

The changes in Default Folder X 5.3.3 include:

  • Default Folder X’s toolbar icons now have optional labels below them
  • Holding down the Option key while clicking “Save” will open the current folder in the Finder
  • Default Folder X’s drawer below Finder windows now shows the name of each item that you’ve dragged into it
  • Keyboard shortcuts can be set to quickly move to the Tags and Comments fields below file dialogs
  • The Finder Window feature now works with the version of ForkLift distributed through SetApp
  • A number of bugs and crashes have been fixed

System Requirements: macOS 10.10 through 10.14

Pricing and Availability:
Default Folder X 5.3.3 is a free update for existing version 5 users. New licenses are $34.95 (USD) and upgrades from version 4 and prior are $14.95. Please see the St. Clair website for screencasts, screenshots, a full changelog, and additional feature information. See the website for purchases. St. Clair Software strongly recommends that anyone using Default Folder X install this update.

Today is National Cheese Lover’s Day

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Food – Who knew there was a day dedicated to those who love cheese? I didn’t until I saw this today.

Thinking about it now I am not surprised. There are so many different and tasty varieties of cheese! On the National Day Calendar site they say:

The earliest record of cheese making dates back to 5,500 BCE in what is now Poland.  Today there are over 1,400 varieties of cheese.

The basic principles behind making cheese are quite simple. Let the milk sour (or scientifically, coagulating the casein protein). Then separate the curds (solids) from the whey (liquid). The curds are then salted and left to age.

For cheese lovers who think one day is just not enough to celebrate cheese, National Day Calendar has you covered for the entire year. There are 18 other cheese specific holidays on the calendar from National Cheese Doodle Day (March 5) and National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (April 12) to Cheese Souffle Day (May 18), National Cheese Day (June 4), National String Cheese Day (September 20) and Moldy Cheese Day (October 9).  Let’s also not forget; cheese makes excellent desserts.  National Cheesecake Day is July 30, and there are three other flavors on the calendar along with National Cream Cheese Brownie Day just around the corner on February 10.    

I haven’t enjoyed any cheese yet today, but I am sure I will. I eat some kind of cheese almost every day. Mostly it is Cheddar, Muenster, or Swiss, but I will slip in some good Bleu cheese from time to time . . . I think I will go slice myself a few slivers of Cheddar and Muenster right now!

macOS New App Release – Phone Breaker 9.0

Product Announcements ElcomSoft Co. Ltd. of Moscow is pleased to announce the release of Elcomsoft Phone Breaker 9.0, the update to the company’s forensic extraction tool for macOS and Windows. Version 9.0 gains the ability to remotely access Apple Health data stored in Apple iCloud, becoming the first forensic tool on the market to extract Health information from the cloud. Health data is added to the long list of extractable information, which includes call logs, photo libraries, passwords, messages and multiple other types of data. Elcomsoft Phone Viewer received an update to support the new data category.

Background:

Apple makes active use of cloud sync, and is continuously expanding the amount of information synchronized with iCloud. Synchronized information is removed from iCloud backups. Starting with iOS 11, Apple began synchronizing Health data with iCloud, making Health information available on all devices registered on the same Apple ID.

Elcomsoft Phone Breaker 9.0 can automatically extract Apple Health data from the user’s iCloud account just moments after they arrive. To access that data, experts must use a combination of Apple ID and password. Entering the user’s lock screen password allows Elcomsoft Phone Breaker to retrieve significantly more Health information than available without a passcode.

Health data is a vital piece of evidence. Heartrate, sleeping habits, location points, workouts, steps and walking routines are just a few things that come to mind speaking of Apple Health. Introduced in September 2014 with iOS 8, the Apple Health app is pre-installed on all iPhones. The app makes use of low-energy sensors, constantly collecting information about the user’s physical activities. With optional extra hardware (e.g. Apple Watch or Bluetooth fitness trackers), the Health app can aggregate significantly more information. Additional information can be manually added by the user or imported via CDA documents.

Accessing Apple Health Data:

In many cases, Apple Health can be only extracted through the cloud. End-to-end encryption makes it impossible for Apple to release most of Health data when serving law enforcement or GDPR requests, while extracting Health data from the device may not be possible if the device is damaged or unavailable.

Extracting Apple Health data from iCloud is possible with Elcomsoft Phone Breaker 9.0 Forensic Edition. Apple ID and password are required as well as access to the secondary authentication factor as well as the user’s screen lock password. In some configurations, Health data may not employ any additional encryption; therefore, a device passcode is not always required to access Health information. However, entering the user’s screen lock password helps retrieve significantly more information than available without a passcode. More information about Health data protection and acquisition in ElcomSoft Blog: Apple Health Is the Next Big Thing: Health, Cloud and Security.

Elcomsoft Phone Breaker 9.0 is available for Windows and macOS.