StudioTax for Mac – Free :)

11th April 2017

I have just filed my Canadian income tax return for the third year in a row using  StudioTax for Mac . This software is made available by a small team for free or donation. I have always been very pleased with it ease of use and this years version is absolutely amazing !

I completed and submitted our joint return in a little over half an hour .
The checking feature has been reinforced and it is NETFile integrated for 2016 .

Thanks & well done team.

tomt

Brother MDC 9340 CDW – 2yrs on Replaced roller set

10 April 2017

Almost 2 1/2 years use and the print quality has deteriorated . Brother advised changing the Roller set . I opted for a generic ones from Inkjet Super Store for $140 landed vs Brother $480 including toner carts .  Crazy I only paid $350 for the new printer :(.
As in my previous blog I reload my carts with toner from InkOwl @ $70 a set of four . so this is a huge cost saving . I estimate that over the life this printer had gone thru 3 cases @ 5000 shts.  so amortising the $140 over 15,000 pages makes for super low cost laser printing .

tomt

Qick & Easy Web Builder 4 – Awsome!

3 April 2017

Quick & Easy Web builder 4 – Mac, Linux & Windows

I downloaded this software ( http://www.quickandeasywebbuilder.com/ ) about week ago as I was frustrated by the limitations of WSIWYG Website software.

I am now halfway through constructing my Family History website using it. Once I got to grips with the idea of drag & drop objects onto a page and using the inspector function to customise everything to my liking the project progressed very quickly & smoothly. There is a very good built in manual ,which I found helpful, but most helpful is the online tutorials created by the creator found here :
http://www.quickandeasywebbuilder.com/getting_started.html

These I only discovered after contacting Pablo the author and they go into greater detail than the Manual.

I am a graphic oriented person so this program suits my style of working and there seems to no longer any need to learn anything but basic code.

Tomt

Now Create Beautiful Websites without code – Mac

30 Mar 2017
Updated 15 April 2017

Abandoned this in favour of  WordPress 

www.tom-thornton.ca
& myblog.tom-thornton.ca

Screen shot of my Index Page

I have been wanting to create a custom website for my Family History for a long time . By custom I mean every thing how and where I want it not a predetermined one from a template . A long while ago I had Dreamweaver on a PC but have since lost those coding skills . Instead for this I have been looking for Mac WYSIWYG software to do the job .
Here is a list of those tried :

  • SeaMonkey Composer 2.46
  • BlueGriffon 2.3
Were the more successful ones Blue Griffon lacks video turorials for the upgraded version and SeaMonkey similarly.
In case you are wondering all the online web production places including Google Sites , offer only very limited choices and capabilities. Not suitable to my mind and the Genealogy sites all have high monthly fees and sell access to your to others 🙁
I created web pages with both in the WYSIWYG Blue Griffon uploaded correctly to my GoDaddy site whereas Seamonkey NOT . This may be a problem on my side with folder within folder for content 🙁
The site will have thousands of HTML pages generated by a GED to Web software to provide dynamically linked charts and lists for Genealogy data so I need to get it right !
Now the GOOD NEWS !, I found and have free trial of Quick & Easy Web Builder 4 running .
Download here:  http://www.quickandeasywebbuilder.com/index.htmlIt looked intimidating initially , but once I read the basic intro it soon began to make sense . I have graphical mind so laying out a test page to trey every conceivable “Tool” in its tool box and learning that much like Apple’s video editor FinalCutPro X every thing changes to suit your needs via the ” “Inspector” panel – just click on an object and then look at the inspector panel and change as needed – Pretty darn simple 🙂

There is a very good 225 page Manual available through the “Help”. I have found no YouTube Video Tutorials for this the current version . Personally , I think this is the missing ingredient, and that the developers are remiss in not providing this support for beginners , at $40 this a terrific piece of software . With video beginner support it would soon achieve a higher level of utilisation and Sales.

Now back to  Q&E Web Builder projects

I will blog again on how I went about planning the the site layout and will announce its launch when done .

Tomt

Who reads our stuff ?

Saturday 11th Feb. 2017

Two years on from Blogday 1, I have logged 84,000 page reads, almost 7,000 last month. Which begs the question, who reads my stuff ? Since I write across such a wide range of topics it is unlikely to be defined as a group with common interests, so how do they find my piece on the topic of their interest ?

1563
1270
1198
1133
1067

Virtually none of them ever leave a comment before moving on . The Blogger stats does not yield useful info in this regard.

Feel free to share your experiences .

thornton.tom1@gmail.com

tomt

Searching .pdf files Mac – Family History etc.

19th Jan 2017

SKIM .PDF Tool for Mac.

Plunging again into Thornton Family history in Wiltshire UK. I have just purchased and downloaded two CDs of data from the Wiltshire Family History Society sales point – Genfair. These are massive .pdf files of over 11,000 pages . which raises the question is there a search tool to avoid scrolling through the entire document ?.
For my Mac I found “SKIM” and tried it  is Awsome !!

Skim is a viewer for Portable Document Format (PDF) files, intended for easy reading and studying PDF documents.
You can search PDF files, bookmark them, add notes, highlight sections, and take “snapshot” for easy reference. Skim can also open PostScript (PS) files, converting them to PDF.
In addition, with Skim you can fully concentrate on reading the PDF file in a powerfull full screen mode, or give full screen presentations of your PDF file.

Tomt

Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) -LUFS Loudness Level Metering

4th Oct. 2016

Update 19 Feb 2017

Larry Jordan writen a valuable in depth adition to this  :

https://larryjordan.com/articles/why-lufs-and-lkfs-are-essential-to-video/

Thanks Larry !

Loudness standards are gradually being required around the world with all broadcast media . These are defined in LUFS or LKFS .  Media producers are or will be required to ensure all media meets this requirement.

So firstly what is LUFS ? and secondly how do you measure it ?
The answer to the first is way over my head ( so best you look at this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LKFS ) .
The answer to the second is far simpler, you need a LUFS Meter .

There are several available via Google , but let me save you some time and a lotta money. They range in cost from well over $500 to $25 .
Cost effectivness is me, so I purchsed LUFTS Meter plugin from https://www.klangfreund.com/lufsmeter/ for $25 . Which seems to do the same or better job as the more expensive ones .

Having installed it on my Mac mini on opening FCPX it was found under Effects > Audio > Klungfreud As below :

LUFS Meter Plugin in FCPX

I am not an audio tech. and my audio knowledge is limited to working with audio in my video projects and since audio is 60% of the message it is important to get it as good as can be . 
An audience will tolerate poor imagery, but NOT lousy sound -’nuff said !!!
 
The plugin should be placed at the end of any effects chain to achieve accurate readings . The really neat thing is that the plugin will also modify or correct the audio to comply with the standard set in the plugin’s Settings .
 
Larry Jordan is a highly respected FCPX guru and here is a demo of how to access and adjust audio effect and meters  in FCPX – 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kssDFDG6IkU

Update 5th Oct.: 

Wow! – I have just been trying out this plugin on past projects. 
First I reloaded a project in FCPX from my 2016 fcpx.library .
Using Command A, to select the entire movie, I then clicked on the selected clips and created a “New compound clip” Next I applied the LUFS plugin using drag’ndrop .
Now opening the LUFS Plugin graphic from the Inspector window I clicked the ” Adjust to ” My -23 setting and played the full length . FCPX then saved the revised/ corrected audio in the video project . 🙂

Now could that be any simpler ?


tomt


ISP’s – Getting More for Less !

27th Sept. 2016

Yesterday I switched my ISP from a Mr. BIG (Shaw Cable ) to A. Minor Lightspeed.ca     https://www.lightspeed.ca/    with amazing results .

This action was triggered by my need to upload a 17 min video last weekend . My Shaw Cable service was 15 mbs had 0.5 mbs upload speed @ a cost of over $66/mo . This video took all weekend to upload 🙁 .

I spoke with a Shaw loyalty agent over the weekend asking if they could offer me : 1) better $ deal , and 2)  a faster upload speed = NO not unless I upgrade my service to $79/mo .

Having already established that Lightspeed offered the equivalent speed for
$45/mo. I signed up on Monday morning with Erica .

I received the modem on Friday and completed the installation on the following Monday . No fuss no Hassle & Excellent support from Mark !

I now have a terrific fast internet access .
I am an “Ecstatic Customer”  
http://tomndi.blogspot.ca/2012/03/ecstatic-customers.html

Thanks Lightspeed !   🙂

Selfish NIMBY’s block cell phone sevice

28th July 2016

Letter to the Editor – Parksville Qualicum Beach News.

NIMBY’s are causing worry and hardship in French Creek !

My concern is prompted by a notice from VIHA Vancouver Island Health Authority – that the current heart monitoring system is to be terminated in DEC 2016.

I have an ICD , this is a sophisticated pacemaker among other things and it makes regular reports of my heart function to the ICD Clinic @ Royal Jubilee Hosp. in Victoria via a telephone link from my bedside.

I have been notified that this method will be shut down in Dec 2016 and upgraded to a digital system . The options offered are via a fully reliable cell service or by providing an internet ( ethernet) connection in my bedroom. Rewiring the house for the latter is very costly.

French Creek is renowned for it lack of cell service and two recent attempts by Telus and Rogers to remedy this situation with a new tower have been thwarted by a few NIMBY’s in the area.

A reliable cell /mobile phone service is an important asset to a community in medical , fire  & other emergency situations, so why should so few hold us to ransom ?

A recent Door-to Door Canvas was conducted in French Creek to counter past objectors and request a new tower and device to the area. I wonder if these same objectors would remain so if their family or dear one was to suffer or die as a direct consequence of their selfishness ?

tomt