Category Archives: Uncategorized

Friday WWII Flix: “Beachhead”

 

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(See my other WWII posts) – I had come across the 1954 movie “Beachhead” recently and chose to watch it last night. The synopsis per IMDB:

In 1943, in the wake of the Allied amphibious landing on the Japanese held Bougainville Island, four Marines are sent to scout the location of Japanese minefields.

The four Marines are sent to find a French plantation owner who had sent a message to the Allies about Japanese minefields. Their trip is not without danger, but they do find the Frenchman. Then they must get the confirmed information on the minefield back to Allied command. They must avoid Japanese patrols, avoid Japanese who have been trailing them, and deal with complications from having the Frenchman’s young daughter with them.

This was not a bad film for the most part. There were some bad special effects towards the end of the movie involving a Japanese gunboat and a water born fire, but otherwise not too bad. The movie did earn a 5.9/10 on IMDB.

At the time I write this the movie can still be found on YouTube.


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 240 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 – BatchOutput XLS 2.5.6

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Product Announcements Zevrix Solutions of Toronto (ON), Canada has released BatchOutput XLS 2.5.6, a maintenance update to the company’s output automation solution for Microsoft Excel on macOS. The only batch processing tool for Excel on the Mac market, the software helps users eliminate repetitive tasks through automation of printing and professional PDF output.

The new version eliminates the hassles associated with Apple Event sandboxing, a new security measure introduced in macOS Mojave. Under the new policy, different apps can no longer interact with each other without prior user authorization. This change directly affects BatchOutput XLS which requires access to Excel and other system resources to perform complex workflow automation tasks. The new update streamlines the authorization process by clearing all permissions during launch time, which eliminates workflow interruptions during file processing. BatchOutput will also reset Apple Event permissions automatically if the authorization was previously revoked by accident.

“I have enjoyed BatchOutput XLS for years now,” says Steve Nelson Martin of New Hope Foundation in Beijing, China. “It has really been a huge help for me to process hundreds of Excel documents into various PDF reports.”

In addition to batch printing, BatchOutput XLS allows to carry out professional PDF production directly from Excel, thus bringing advanced PDF creation options right to the user’s fingertips:

  • Batch print and export Excel documents to PDF
  • Split Excel workbooks into single PDF worksheets
  • Variable PDF file names based on user name, date, batch number and other values
  • Reduce PDF file size and optimize documents for web, print, and mobile devices
  • Encrypt and password-protect PDF from unauthorized copying, printing, and viewing
  • Change PDF color tone, brightness, and other qualities

Pricing and Availability
BatchOutput XLS can be purchased for $19.95 (USD) from Zevrix website, as well as from authorized resellers and Mac App Store. A trial is also available for download. BatchOutput XLS requires macOS 10.7-10.14 and Microsoft Excel 2008, 2011, 2016 or 2019.

Wednesday SciFi Flix: “Red Planet Mars”

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(Read all of my Science Fiction posts) – I came across the 1952 science fiction movie “Red Planet Mars” a few days ago on YouTube. The synopsis per IMDB:

An American scientist is able to contact and communicate with Mars with shattering political, economic, and spiritual repercussions.

The movie is set in that time after World War II when the US is in a cold war with the Soviets. In this film, the American scientist Chris Cronyn is using technology developed by the German Franz Calder. Calder has been labeled a war criminal but is secretly continuing his work aided by the Russians. Cronyn at first only gets his messages repeated back to him, but eventually is able to communicate with the civilization on Mars. As the answers received from Mars reach the press the answers create both political and economic upheavals. But then messages begin to arrive of a religious nature causing an impact worldwide.

Are the messages really coming from Mars or is everyone being duped by Calder?

At the time I am writing this, you can still view the movie on YouTube per the link above. I thought that this was an above average science fiction story for the time. Unfortunately, IMDB only gives the film a 4.9/10 rating.

Celebrate​ ‘World Backup Day’

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March 31 is celebrated each year as ‘World Backup Day’. As the name implies, it is a day intended to make everyone think about their digital data. From the National Day Calendar site:

WHAT IS BACKUP? A backup is a second copy of all your important files — for example, your family photos, home videos, documents, and emails. Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer), you keep another copy of everything somewhere safe. For more info on this day – go to www.worldbackupday.com

HOW TO OBSERVE

If you haven’t already, invest in an external hard drive, USB stick or purchase some space in the cloud. While you’re waiting for your file transfer to reach 100%, take a moment to plan out your next big data dump. Because let’s face it, one day a year isn’t nearly enough.

Take the pledge to back up your phone, computer, tablet, and all other coveted devices and share with the world using hashtag #WorldBackUpDay.

Personally, I recommend a 3-2-1 backup strategy

  1. Three copies of your data
  2. Data stored on two different media
  3. One copy off-site

 

macOS New App Release – MacX MediaTrans

Product Announcements MacXDVD Software of Chengdu, China, the easiest iOS data backup solution provider, is counting down to World Backup Day with free license codes of the professional iPhone backup tool – MacX MediaTrans to help iDevices users back up data and make sure their files are safe in a way far easier than iTunes.

Data backup never comes to people’s mind until it’s too late. World Backup Day (March 31) is such a day to remind people all the times they end up losing all their irreplaceable data. “Always create a backup of important data.” Under this motto, MacXDVD Software is offering free copies of its one-click iPhone data manager – MacX MediaTrans for 20 days.

Wait no more. Grab free license copies and win Apple’s AirPod before April 10, 2019, at MacX World Backup Day Giveaway Page.

There are two kinds of iPhone users: those who have lost data, and those who will. According to worldbackupday.com, 113 phones get stolen or lost per minute, but unfortunately, 30% of users never back up. Without a proper backup, all the one-of-a-kind family moments, travel recordings and other precious data on the iPhone can become “none-of-a-kind”. The World Backup Day – celebrated on March 31, reminds people not to be an April fool.

However, it’s revealed that most of iOS “backup refuseniks” are daunted by the complicated backup routine using iTunes. Even when some use Apple’s official method, many are nagged by various backup & sync issues, wired error codes as well as data loss. Throwing its full support behind the World Backup Day, MacXDVD Software is offering free copies of a no-brainer iOS backup solution – MacX MediaTrans to help Apple users recognize the need for data backup and take actions.

An Easier and Comprehensive Backup Strategy:

  • MacX MediaTrans is an easier-than-iTunes iPhone manager that is friendly to the hoi-polloi, the tech-savvy and the newbie; parents, friends, and coworkers. The one-click iPhone backup solution removes the restrictions and possible errors using iTunes, making iDevices users’ data backup experience better, smarter, faster and most importantly, trouble-free. In honor of World Backup Day, MacXDVD would like to emphasis highlights of its iPhone data backup and recovery solution:
  • Security – With an advanced algorithm and synchronization core, it will back up iPhone live/HDR/HIEC photos, music & playlists, 4k HEVC recordings, ebooks, Voice memos, Podcasts, and other media smoothly without data loss or sync errors. High-grade encryption methods such as AES 256 and RSA techs are applied to safeguard the backups from unauthorized access. Users are entitled to full control over their data.
  • Flexibility – It’s easy to backup iPhone to Macs, PCs or other external hard drives without limits. Users can save iPhone data to any new computer freely without erasing the existing iPhone library. The two-way synchronization allows convenient data restore in case any unexpected issue happens. Add photos, music, videos, etc. (no limits on the number or audio/video formats) from computer to iPhone by drag and drop. It requires no Apple ID or further settings.
  • Speed – When data backup is time-consuming using iTunes and gets stuck at its worst, MacX MediaTrans proves to be a lightning-fast solution, especially for large library saved on 128/256GB iPhone models. Depending on the data size, users can realize speed improvements over iTunes ranging from 5x to 10x faster. A quick example, it needs 3s only for backing up 20 songs.

Pricing and Availability :
MacX MediaTrans, normally priced at $59.95 (USD), is Free for all participators now in celebration of the World Backup Day. All users also stand a chance to win Apple’s AirPod by entering a valid email address. Check the details of at MacX World Backup Day Giveaway.

Today is World Book Day UK & Ireland

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Reading – I just saw that March 7, 2019, is World Book Day in the UK and Ireland. Since I am currently in Singapore I guess I can celebrate as it was once part of the British Commonwealth and also because my grandfather immigrated to the US from the UK. Besides, I think that this is a good cause to support! This is not the only day it is celebrated around the world. From their website:

In other countries, World Book and Copyright Day take place on 23 April. Celebrations take place all over the world to recognize the magical power of books – ‘a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures. 

World Book Day was first celebrated on April 23, 1995, after its designation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). That date continues to be recognized as World Book Day in much of the world. April 23 was chosen because it is the date on which  William Shakespeare died (April 23, 1616). I guess that means I will be able to celebrate it again next month!.

Per the Days of the Year site, you should celebrate World Book Day by:

. . .  find[ing] the time to do some reading. Do you have a book you just can’t get around to finishing? Today’s the time to curl up on the couch or a blanket outside with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy every last page.

If you have children, this could be the perfect day to teach them about the joys of reading. . . .  Imagination is a child’s best friend, so make sure you contribute to keeping that little imagination as active as possible. Pick a topic your child is interested in, and spend part of this day exploring the magical world of literature together!

Yet another way to go about celebrating this day would be to get together with some friends for a reading of a book you all love.

Find a way that you can celebrate World Book Day! I think the importance of books is best summed up by this quote from author Alan BennettA book is a device to ignite the imagination.”

 

A Brief Coffee Lingo Dictionary

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Coffee – As you know if you follow me, I like coffee. I came across the post “Coffee Lingo Dictionary” on the Coffee Made Better Blog and wanted to share it. Unfortunately, there was no “ReBlog” button, so I have copied and pasted the content below. If you like coffee, you should follow them!


If you have ever looked at a coffee shop menu or coffee bag and have been thoroughly confused and quite possibly a bit ostracized due to your lack of knowledge; here is a quick cheat sheet for you.

COFFEE DRINKS:

Affogato: an espresso drink with a scoop of ice cream
Americano: watered down double-shot of espresso
Baltimore:  Half-caffeinated coffee
Breve: steamed half and half and espresso
Cafe Au Lait: a cup of coffee with steamed milk
Cafe Con Leche: ditto^
Cappuccino: 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, 1/3 milk foam
Cold Brew: coffee that is brewed using cold water rather than the typical hot water. It produces a less acidic cup of coffee.
Con Panna: Espresso topped with whipped cream
Cortado: an equal amount of espresso and steamed milk; slightly stronger than a latte or cappuccino
Crema: the thick foam on top of the freshly extracted espresso
Doppio: a double shot of espresso, or in some cases, a double shot of espresso with a shot of hot water
Dry Cappuccino: Only espresso and milk foam
Espresso: a highly concentrated serving of coffee
Flat White: similar to a latte; just less milk and more microfoam (very small milk bubbles)
Frappuccino: a frozen, blended coffee drink made with espresso, milk, and typically flavored
Latte: steamed milk and espresso
Lungo: a slightly less concentrated version of espresso
Macchiato: espresso with a dollop of steamed milk
Mocha: steamed milk, espresso, and chocolate syrup or powder
Nitro Cold Brew: cold brew charged with nitrogen to give it a creamy, smooth head similar to a draft beer
Pour-Over: a cup of coffee that is made by manually pouring the water slowly over ground coffee to make a more precise, flavorful cup.
Red Eye: also known as a shot in the dark; cup of coffee with a shot of espresso
Ristretto: an ever higher concentrated version of espresso
Skinny: a drink made with skim milk ex. skinny latte, skinny cappuccino

COFFEE GEAR:

AeroPressa relatively recent coffee invention that brews coffee while being immersed in a chamber that is then plunged for extra coffee extraction. It produces espresso strength coffee
Barista: Not gear, but rather the person that prepares the coffee
French Press: a device that brews coffee by immersing the coffee grounds in water for a few minutes until being plunged with what is typically a metal filter
Moka Pot: a coffee brewing device that often sits on a stovetop and produces espresso strength coffee
Pour-Overa device used to manually pour hot water over coffee grounds that results in a more precise flavorful cup of coffee
Siphon Pot/ Vaccum Coffee: a coffee brewing device that is popular in Asian cultures and specialty coffee shops. It brews coffee by immersion in water and a little bit of science!
Tamper: the device used to compact the grounds for a shot of espresso

COFFEE BEAN KEYWORDS:

Arabica: a species of coffee known for being of the highest quality; most commonly used in specialty coffee shops
Blend: a mixture of coffee beans from different regions
Direct Trade: when roasters buy directly from coffee farmers
Fair Trade: the price of coffee is regulated to ensure that farmers are compensated properly
Organicfewer chemicals used in the process and more derived from plant-based materials
Robusta: a species of coffee known for being lower quality; most commonly used in instant coffee
Single Origin: coffee beans that come from the same region or estate

COFFEE FLAVOR QUALITIES:

Acidity: the bright, dry sensation that enlivens the taste of coffee; often more fruity
Aroma: the fragrance of coffee
Bitter: a taste that rests on the back of the tongue from over-extraction, dark roasts, or low-quality coffee
Bland: little flavor; not complex
Body/ Mouthfeel: the tactile impression of weight in the mouth; thin, medium, full etc.
Bright: tangy or sharp flavors in coffee
Briny: salty taste in coffee often from overheating
Earthy: a pleasant soil, grass, or smooth taste found in many coffees; especially Indonesian
Exotic: interesting floral or fruity flavors in the coffee
Spicy: flavors of spices i.e. cinnamon, chili, etc.
Stale: flat, cardboard taste due to too much oxygen exposure
Sweet: coffee free of defects or harsh flavors
Tone: appearance or color of a coffee
Winy: tastes like red wine

Wednesday SciFi Flix: “Occupation”

Science Fiction– I watched the 2018 science fiction movie “Occupation” a few nights ago on NetFlix. This Australian perspective on alien invasion was interesting. The synopsis per IMDB:

A small group of town residents has to band together after a devastating ground invasion. As they struggle to survive, they realize they must stay one step ahead of their attackers, and work together for a chance to strike back.

I hadn’t heard of this movie until I saw it listed on NetFlix. I enjoyed the movie though it only earned a 5.2/10 rating on IMDB. It struck me as an Australian point-of-view mashup of “Independence Day” and “Red Dawn“.

Instrumental Music on YouTube: “Thunderstruck” by 2CELLOS

Music – My son brought 2CELLOS to my attention a few weeks ago. This is a video of 2CELLOS (Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser) playing their version of Thunderstruck by AC/DC. This was uploaded to YouTube in February 2014 by the musicians. This is from their album Celloverse.

This isn’t exactly easy listening instrumental music, but I like it. If you are interested 2CELLOS, you can follow them on Facebook.

macOS New App Release – Client Folder Maker 5.0

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Product Announcements GeekSuit of Lake Dallas, Texas has released Client Folder Maker 5.0, an important feature update to their popular folder creation and management utility for macOS. Perfect for the busy web developer, graphic designer, app developer, or prepress operator, Client Folder Maker allows anyone to set up a hierarchy of folders once, then instantly re-create that hierarchy in any specified folder with just a few clicks of the mouse. Users can activate any chosen preset via a Menu Item, Keyboard Shortcut, the Services Menu or even a new Finder Extension.

After setting a pre-determined archive folder (or the Desktop), simply enter the Client or Project Name, the Job or Version Number, and click the “Create Folder” button. Instantly, a new folder hierarchy is created within its own Archive Folder (or the Desktop). Client Folder Maker will faithfully create the folder structure based on the client’s name and the number associated with that job – with all the support folders and files inside.

Client Folder Maker utilizes a very simple approach to building custom folder sets for any job. Easily add, rename, or delete folders in the hierarchy and create new files under the folder tree. The hidden gem is CFM’s limitless customization of tag variables, so the possibilities for personal customization are endless.

Among Client Folder Maker’s most useful features is its ability to import and export Presets via Drag & Drop. Effortlessly drag any Preset to the Desktop for setting up another machine, to save and archive, or even share them with friends and colleagues. Existing Presets can be sorted in any way in the list. Users can also add useful descriptions for each Preset to better describe its use under different conditions.

Client Folder Maker doesn’t stop there. Users can also designate content to be auto-imported from existing source files. This feature easily copies content from any text file into the newly created files in the new folders. It is perfect for users who find themselves using the same base content in their projects, such as custom HTML markup, jQuery, CSS files, and more.

Features:

  • User-defined keyboard shortcut
  • Colored labels
  • Custom folder views
  • Auto-incrementing variables
  • Import/export settings via drag/drop
  • Preset descriptions
  • Custom permissions
  • File content copying
  • Stays out of the way
  • Can be invoked via Contextual Menu, Menu Item or Keyboard shortcut
  • Limitless Customization
  • Zero Footprint

“I am very excited about this update! Client Folder Maker has long been the solution for any Mac user who provides a service and creates new job folders for their clients,” explained GeekSuit CEO Ray Barber. “With version 5.0, we’ve completely overhauled the application with many new features that I’m sure our customers will immediately recognize and appreciate. Many features are customer driven. An important new feature is that CFM now allows users to set their Archive Folder at the Preset level. It’s no longer a global setting.”

Client Folder Maker 5.0 is a virtually brand new application that introduces many new customer-requested features, as well as builds on existing features.

1) Archive Folder Re-Implemented:

  • The Archive Folder is now set at the Preset level (instead of globally). Now, each Preset can have its own Archive Folder set, where newly created Hierarchies will go. Or the user can merely choose their Desktop as their Archive Folder.

2) Resizable and Modernized Window:

  • Upgraded the window to use modern automatic layout, making it adapt better for localization and resizing.
  • The presets list now uses a source list style, and the width can be resized.
  • The window is now resizable horizontally as well as vertically.
  • Modernized the layout to eliminate old-fashioned dead space and boxes, while keeping the familiar controls.

3) Preset-Specific Archive Folder:

  • Moved the archive folder path to be preset-specific so each preset can create folders in their own parent folder.
  • When adding a new preset, the archive folder defaults to the last-selected one, if any.
  • Improved the appearance of the path control when one isn’t set.

4) Custom Icon & Label Color for Root Folder:

  • Added an image well to the right of the Preset Label, where an image can be dropped or pasted.
  • If an image is chosen, it is used as the icon of the root folder when invoking a Preset.
  • Right-click on the Image Well to show the Label Colors, to assign a label color to the created root folder.

5) New Date Variable:

  • Added support for a {Date} variable, which displays a field automatically populated with today’s date, in the preferred short date format.
  • For advanced users, the {Date} variable also supports specifying a custom format using the standard Unicode conventions.
  • Dates can have their own custom separators. e.g. “{Date yyMMdd’T’hhmmss}” to output “181228T134527”.

6) New AUTO feature:

  • Users can have new numbered folder structures. Each time this Preset is invoked, it is incremented by one (1).

7) Other Changes:

  • Now supports Dark Mode under Mojave.
  • The icon for Preset Files – Files created when dragging Presets to the Desktop now have a custom icon.
  • Changed the “Directory Name” field prompt to “Folder Name” to be more consistent and intuitive.
  • Renamed the preset name prompt, and moved the launch at login prompt to the same line as the other preferences.
  • Tweaked the color of the label text under the color swatches, to be more visible in dark mode with a light background behind.
  • Added tooltips to the preset controls.

Folder Maker ships with default presets for the design or prepress minded, as well as a simple website structure for web developers. Both have their own unique tag variables, but can easily be customized for any working environment. Despite its namesake, Client Folder Maker’s default presets aren’t limited to simply a “client name” or a “job number.” As long as the chosen words or phrases are surrounded in braces, anyone can create and use any tags they wish.

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.8.5 or later
  • 64-bit processor
  •  0.5 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Client Folder Maker 5.0 is only $4.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies) and is available through the App Store in the Productivity category. There is a 15-day free trial available. Promo codes are available for members of the press.