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Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Create and Order a 2019 Calendar in Apple Photos App with the Mimeo Photos Project Extension

Now that Apple has removed the ability to create and print calendars from it's Photos App, you can now Create and Order a 2019 Calendar in Apple Photos App with the Mimeo Photos Project Extension.

Mimeo was the company that Apple used to print calendars within the Photos App, so not much has changed.

Install the extension to the Photos app via the link above, then use it to create a new calendar.

You have to have your photos on the Photos app, then drag them in to your Calendar project.

Open the new calendar project and create your calendar months with one or more photos per month. If your photo gets a red exclamation point, that's the app telling your that the photo doesn't have a high enough resolution to print. In that case, you can choose another photo, or reduce it's size on the page, or choose more than one photo on the page, thereby reducing it's size.

In this step, you need to add events like birthdays and anniversaries by hand, one at a time. IN the old app, it imported your events from your Apple Calendar. Not anymore. It would be nice if you could easily add them all in the events sidebar, but you are required to open each month, double click on the day, then add your even in a pop up box. This needs to be streamlined.

Click the button to order a calendar for $19.99. Once in the order entry screen you add shipping details and then you can increase your quantity if you want.

I'm excited to continue to have this calendar creation feature available from Apple. Last year I tried a few other options the the size was too small, and the paper quality wasn't as good. One thing to note, I received immediate answers to my questions via messaging with Mimeo Photos product support.

HAPPY 2019!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

TACONIC, A Kimpton Hotel, Manchester, Vermont

We loved staying at the TACONIC hotel in Manchester, Vermont. We were lucky to get the last room at a walk-in rate during Fall foliage season.

The hotel is a little over two years old, and is a big difference between the many historic B&B's in the area. If you are looking for first class accommodations and service, the Kimpton Taconic Hotel is for you.

They have an afternoon beer and wine social hour from 5 - 6 pm. We took our drinks outside and sat by the fire pit. It was a lovely evening.

The Copper Grouse tavern is located inside the hotel. Make sure you make a reservation in the busy season. We didn't, so we drove down the street to Season's restaurant and had a nice meal at the bar.

Located nearby is the Orvis Flagship Store.

A popular place for breakfast nearby is Up For Breakfast. Plan on a wait.

Across the street is cute shopping at Spring & Harbor.

Manchester has been known as a destination for outlet shopping, but that's changing, and you can find more locally owned stores around.

From their website:

A new jewel among Manchester VT hotels
Welcome to Kimpton Taconic Hotel, a Kimpton boutique hotel that brings to mind grand leisure inns of days past, while artfully bringing to life all your modern hospitality whims. Surrounded by mountains in this picturesque village, Kimpton Taconic offers couples, families and wedding parties a free-spirited take on a New England escape that’s both classic and highly curated to your preferences. Call it quintessential Vermont with a fresh twist.

"Best Of Vermont 2018"
- Yankee Magazine

"Best Hotels in Vermont, 2018"
- US News & World Report

Amenities + Services
- Morning coffee and organic tea service in the Living Room
- Nightly manager-hosted evening social hour from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
- On-site boutique featuring seasonal, handcrafted collections.
- Seasonal heated pool perfect for adults and children
- A yoga mat in every guest room and yoga mat roll-out service available upon request
- In-Room spa services for private, full-service day spa services
- 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center
- “Forgot It? We Got It!” for forgotten essential travel items, available upon request
- IHG® Rewards Club members get complimentary high-speed WiFi throughout the hotel during every stay

- IHG® Rewards Club members receive a $30 spa credit at participating hotels

- The IHG® Rewards Club Elite welcome amenity is a $10 bar credit
- Pet-friendly accommodations free of weight and size restrictions and no additional fees

Nearby is the Weston Playhouse. We saw a great play, Two Trains Running, with NYC actors, including my friend Guiesseppe Jones.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

How To Restore iPhone iOS deleted App ICONS from your iPhone

The most recent iPhone iOS update deleted Instagram, Messenger, and Twitter ICONS from my iPhone.

The Apps are still there. No icons.

You USED to be able to go into Mac OS iTunes to rearrange your iPhone icons, but Apple removed that feature.

Now you have to use an App called Apple Configurator 2, but that requires the most recent Mac OS, which isn’t compatible with my 2011 MacBook Air.

Apple broke this.

They need to fix it.

One way around this is to delete apps from your iPhone, power off, then power on the iPhone.

It took me three tries, but after I deleted enough apps, the missing icons came back.

Then I moved them back to my first page.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

How To: Printing My Mom's Blog as a Book Using Blog2Print and Amazon Createspace

My mom, Millie Garfield is one of the internet's oldest bloggers. Her blog is My Mom's Blog.

She's been blogging since 2003. I printed an earlier collection of her blog posts from Oct 2003 to June 2008 using Blurb.

My Mom's Blog on blurb.
Size Small Square, 7×7 in, 18×18 cm
404 Pages
Publish Date Jul 10, 2008

This time I used blog2print to print the rest of her posts from July 2008 to Sept 2017.

It was was easy enough to get started by choosing the blogging platform, and entering in the URL of her blog.

Next you choose the range of blog posts you want to include in the book, and choose your formatting.

Then all you do to create the book is click on the button, CREATE MY BOOK.

Once the book is generated you can choose to purchase a printed version, or a PDF. In this case, I went with PDF because I wanted to submit my book to Amazon Createspace, where I can sell it online.

Here is the pricing:

Here’s the basic pricing structure:
A soft cover book with full color pages is $19.95 for 20 pages (additional pages are $0.32 each)
A standard laminate hard cover book with full color pages is $34.95 for 20 pages (additional pages are $0.32 each)
A deluxe hard cover book including dust jacket with full color pages is $37.95 for 20 pages (additional pages are $0.32 each)
A digital PDF download is $8.95
Here's a snapshot of a page as printed to PDF by blog2print.

This is really great. Perfect for printing. Except for the fact that, in this case, my mom's book was going to be 466 pages, and at that size, the page numbers were going to be cut off by the binding. After submitting this PDF to Amazon createspace I got an error notifying me of this.

So at this point I had to call in my book publishing friend, J. Bruce Jones, Bruce the Book Guy, who's business it is to help people self-publish.

He suggested that I reduce the size of my book from 8 1/2 X 11 to 8 X 10, thereby cutting off the footing where the offending page numbers existed. That worked.

Note: I contacted blog2print to see if they could regenerate my book without the footer nad page numbers, but they told me that it was hard coded and that there was no way to do it.

After submitting this revised PDF to Amazon createspace, along with a cover that I designed using their cover creator, I had my book approved for printing a proof.

You can get a virtual proof before ordering a hard copy.

Here's what the virtual proof looks like.

It all worked out with no footer. I also got an image that some of my images were not 300 dpi, but they are good enough at their resolution. In my last book I worried about createspace flagging image resolution, but learned to ignore those warnings. If after getting the printed proof, some images didn't look right, at that point I could swap them out.

I ordered a hard copy proof, and here's how it came out.



Thursday, June 28, 2018

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Installation

I replaced our original Ring Video Doorbell with the newer model, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. I upgraded because the Ring Video Doorbell Pro gives you the ability to custom design the motion zones. We are on a street that gets a lot of trucks driving by, and they kept setting off the motion detector. It was so annoying, the we just shut off motion detection all together.

I also had some electrical upgrades done to the house, and the power to my doorbell was disconnected when our old intercom system was removed. At least I think that was the cause. I noticed it when the original Ring Video Doorbell started running on battery power. This was ok for a while, until the battery started only lasting one week, and then it was a pain to remove it from the wall and charge it each week.

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro doesn't have a battery, so I had Kuhlman Electrical Services run a new doorbell wire from my breaker box to the front door, install a more powerful transformer (Requires a 16-24 VAC transformer), and put the doorbell on it's own breaker where it should be.

I also have an Orbi wireless system, providing a strong enough WiFi signal to my front door. Requires a minimum upload speed of 1Mbps, but 2Mbps is recommended for optimal performance.

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation
Connecting the ring doorbell

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation
Testing the power.

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation

The newer version is slimmer. Some specs:
1080p HD Video With Two-Way Talk with noise cancellation
Custom Motion Zones
Infrared Night Vision
Video on Demand With Live View
Compatible With iOS, Android, Mac and Windows 10 Devices
Includes 4 Interchangeable Faceplates
Dimensions: 4.50 in. x 1.85 in. x .80 in.
Field of View: 160 Degrees

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation

To set up a motion zone you adjust the polygon to cover the area you want the ring doorbell to sense motion. This is working great for us. No more false alerts.

You can also adjust motion sensitivity and set up a schedule.

Ring Doorbell Pro Installation

Ring Video Doorbell can detect motion up to 30 feet away from the device. When motion is detected, you will instantly receive a push notification on your smartphone, tablet and PC, letting you know that there’s activity on your property. If you answer the alert, the Ring app will open, and you can access live footage of the activity. If you have an optional Ring Video Recording Plan, all motion-triggered events and Doorbell presses are automatically recorded and saved to your Ring account for up to 60 days. This footage can then be viewed instantly at any time on the Ring app or by logging into your account at

Note: There's also a buffer that records just before the motion is detected, and that gets saved to your recording.

Click this link to see an example recording.

After installation I noticed that motion events would be recorded for 10 minutes. I had this clarified by support. They said:
Every time you answer an event, the app takes you to Live View mode, and every Live View session would last for exactly 10 minutes.

But if you don't answer an event and ignore pop-ups, the length of such recording will be 60 seconds by default.
For example, if you answer a motion event, you might have missed seeing the activity, and there is no way to scrub back on the live video. So you have to wait until the event stops recording, 10 Minutes, to see what triggered it, buy watching the recorded video.

If you hear a motion event, and do not answer it, you can then play it back after 60 seconds, or less, to see what triggered the event.

Alternatively, when you get a motion alert, you can watch using Live Mode, and see if you can catch what's happening. Then you can quit live mode, and go watch the short video that was recorded when triggered by the motion alert, to see what triggered the event.

The syncing of video and audio isn't quite perfect. I am told that they are working on improving this. We are not shooting for an Emmy award here, so it's not that big of a deal.

Protected by ring
Ring Doorbell Pro Installation
Image: ring sticker on front door

BUY ON AMAZON (affiliate link, click through to see current price)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Fort Hill Brewery, Easthampton, MA

Fort Hill Brewery


30 Fort Hill Rd (81.14 mi)
Easthampton, Massachusetts 01027
Crafting quality lagers and ales with a focus on traditional German brewing techniques in Easthampton, MA since 2014.
In 2010, after attending the Siebel Institute for brewing, Eric began looking for a location for his new brewery. He visited over 60 different sites, but all were tainted by levels of contamination. Refusing to put the quality of his future brews in jeopardy, he looked west, considering locations in Southampton, Three Rivers, Palmer, and Easthampton. He ultimately settled on a former hay field in Easthampton at the base of Mount Tom, located on Fort Hill Road.

Why Easthampton? The water.

Per the German purity law, water is one of only four main ingredients that go into our beer. We strive to use the highest quality ingredients in our beer, and the water was no exception. Easthampton’s water comes from the Barnes Aquifer system, a complex of several productive aquifers extending about twelve miles underground. In 2015, Easthampton won the gold medal for best tasting water in the 16th annual Great American Water Taste Test. We like to think better water means better beer, and we think you’ll agree.

Finding the right location was just the beginning. In November 2012, Fort Hill Brewery rose under the watchful eye of Mount Tom. Construction went on for two years before the first beer, an Oktoberfest, was released in 2014. The same month, Fort Hill Brewery opened its doors to the public, offering tastings, tours, and growlers, as we continue to do a year later today.

Abandoned Building Brewery, Easthampton, MA.

Abandoned Building Brewery, Easthampton, MA.
142 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA 01027

Lots of IPAs here!

New City Brewery, Easthampton, MA

New City Brewery

180 Pleasant St, Easthampton, MA 01027
We’re a small brewery dedicated to making hand-crafted alcoholic ginger beer. Our brewery is housed in a late 1800’s mill building set in historic Easthampton, MA. We strive to make great beer that speaks to the excellence of character of the region we represent. Proudly located in the rolling hills of Western Massachusetts, we consider ourselves revivalists, returning pre-prohibition style ginger beer to the people one bottle at a time.

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Mill 180 Park

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA 01002
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is a museum devoted to the art of the picture book and especially the children's book. It is a member of Museums10 and is adjacent to the campus of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, Massachusetts

Yiddish Book Center
1021 West St
Amherst, Massachusetts

The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit organization working to recover, celebrate, and regenerate Yiddish and modern Jewish literature and culture.
Since our founding in 1980, we’ve rescued more than a million Yiddish books. But that was just the beginning: our priority now is to advance knowledge of the content and literary and cultural progeny of the books we’ve saved. We do that in many ways:
Our educational programs include graduate fellowships and courses for high school students, college students, teachers, and adult learners.
Our translation initiative includes a fellowship to train new Yiddish-to-English translators and publishing projects that bring this great literature to new audiences.
Our Wexler Oral History Project is a growing collection of in-depth interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds, whose stories offer a rich, complex chronicle of Jewish identity.
The world's first Yiddish museum, we're home to permanent and visiting exhibits.
We offer a full calendar of public programs, such as films, talks, family events, and concerts, including the annual Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music.
We publish an English-language magazine, Pakn Treger, with news from the Center and features on Yiddish and Jewish literature and culture. You can also follow the latest news at Heft (Notebook) and on Facebook, Twitter (@YiddishBookCtr), and Instagram (yiddish_book_center).

The Center is open Sunday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Public tours are offered Tuesdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Atkins Farms Country Market, South Amherst, Massachusetts

Atkins Farms Country Market
1150 West St (Corner of Bay Rd & Rte 116)
South Amherst, Massachusetts
A New England Apple Orchard and Country Food Market nestled in an old country orchard against the scenic Holyoke Mountain Range in the historic Pioneer Valley where the Atkins Farm has been growing apples for over 100 years.

Sylvester's Restaurant, Northampton, MA

Sylvester's Restaurant
111 Pleasant St
Northampton, Massachusetts 01060

American Restaurant · Breakfast & Brunch Restaurant · Coffee Shop

Brava Wine & beer bar, Lenox, MA

Wine & beer bar offering bites such as pizza, cheese & charcuterie in intimate surrounds.

27 Housatonic St, Lenox, MA 01240

See the menu.

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Extensive beer list. Pages and pages of interesting beers.

Berkshires June 2018

Monday, June 18, 2018

Starving Artist Cafe and Creperie, Lee, MA

Starving Artist Cafe and Creperie

40 Main St, Ste 2, Lee, MA 01238-1688
The Starving Artist serves freshly made sweet and savory crepes, panini sandwiches, soups, salads and baked goods, fair-trade and organic pour-over and drip coffee, organic teas and other gourmet foods using quality local and organic ingredients. All of our food is made fresh to order. The menu changes seasonally.

Enjoy the free wifi internet, artwork, and comfy couch seating!

We source local ingredients from High Lawn Farm, Equinox Farm, Berkshire Mountain Bakery, The Inn on the Green, Farm Country, Klara’s Cookies, Barrington Coffee Roasters, Harney & Sons Tea, SoCo Ice Cream and more.

Berkshires June 2018

Lovely spot for breakfast, with crepes made right in front of you. You hardly ever see that anymore!

The day we were there, these gentlemen were playing music.

Berkshires June 2018

After ordering at the counter, you are given a number for your table and if you ordered coffee, a cup to serve yourself. Your meal is promptly and cheerfully delivered to your table.

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Sheffield, Massachusetts

Berkshire Mountain Distillers

356 S Main Street (118.96 miles from Boston)
Sheffield, Massachusetts 01257
Established in 2007, Berkshire Mountain Distillers (BMD) has created a line of award-winning artisanal spirits including Greylock Gin, Ethereal Gins, Ragged Mountain Rum, Ice Glen Vodka, Berkshire Bourbon and New England Corn Whiskey, currently available in 19 different states. All products are handcrafted in small batches in Sheffield, Massachusetts at the Berkshire’s first legal distillery since prohibition. BMD is one of the founding members of the craft distiller movement and is embraced by several of the nation’s leading mixologists. Our products have received numerous high accolades including Gold Medal Awards from the Beverage Tasting Institute and San Francisco Spirits Competition and national praise from publications like GQ, Details, New York Times, Wine Enthusiast and Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible. As supporters of local agriculture and business, BMD uses regional materials in many of our products, creating a truly authentic, artisanal brand.

Tours are available at selected times, but the store is also open for tastings and shopping.

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

"Greylock Gin. #1 Gin in the country," NY TIMES.

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Just like making beer, but different. ;-)

Speaking of that, Berkshire Mountain Distillers collaborates with craft brewers to make whiskeys out of beer.

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

We did a tasting with the staff, and then got a tour from Jon Height, Plant Manager/ Distiller. It was really interesting and the hand made stills reminded me of steampunk, and the stills we had seen on our trip to Ireland.

Big Elm Brewing, Sheffield, MA

Big Elm Brewing.

Address: 65 Silver St, Sheffield, MA 01257

Berkshires June 2018

"We (Bill & Christine) met working for Victory Brewing Company in 2003. We both had some experience at smaller breweries before, and one of us (Christine) actually has a diploma for brewing from the Siebel Institute and the Doemens Academy! With this background we set out to start our own brewpub and in 2005 we opened the Pittsfield Brew Works. After five years of fun and hard work we decided to leave the brewpub business to try to start a production brewery dedicated to making just beer and smiles. It took some time and we had a couple of kids along the way, but with a ton of help and support from our friends and family just as we were about to give up we found our new home. 65 Silver St. needed a bit of elbow grease to get it to what it is now, and in the fall of 2012 we brewed our first batch of beer. Since then we have been focused on bringing our neighbors fresh quality beer."

Berkshires June 2018

Inside the tap room. These new high top tables are nice.

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018

Beer list.

Berkshires June 2018

The beers:
413 Farmhouse Ale - This Belgian ale is brewed with barley, wheat, chamomile, orange zest, hops, water and a Saison yeast. Our unique recipe is meant to highlight some familiar farmhouse flavors while also breaking from the mold of the traditional. 6% ABV

IPA - This west coast style IPA packs a well balanced one-two punch. Brewed with barley, water, American ale yeast and a whole lot of west coast hops. This IPA has hint maltiness to back up the bitter style letting the piney & citrusy flavors of some of the best American hops shine through. This beer is Double Dry-Hopped! 7% ABV

Gerry Dog Stout - Our oatmeal stout is an ode to our loyal companion Gerry. This smooth dark beer is brewed with barley, wheat, oats, water, American ale yeast, and hops. The reserved use of dark malts and the addition of oats help to make this beer amazingly easy to drink, even for those who usually stay away from the dark side. 6.5% ABV

American Lager - Brewed with American corn, barley, hops, water and a super clean American Lager yeast, this beer is the definition of easy drinking. The use of corn is a classic American technique that helps give this beer a light sweetness and harkens back to simple days. 5% ABV

Lion's Ale - We brew this smooth English-style amber ale with our good friends at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA. This beer has been crafted to pair greatly with most every meal and works well during any season, it is most often enjoyed at the historic inn with food and friends. 5.3% ABV

FAT BOY - Our super hopped Double IPA is bursting at the seams with heaps of piney, citrusy and tropical fruit flavors and aromas. During the brewing process we add a massive amount of hops to give you big bitterness as well as all the flavor of joy. Once fermentation is complete we dry hop this big boy a ton, giving you the awesome hop explosion. We use Citra, Simcoe and other hop varieties to create this monster. We hope you enjoy our FAT BOY! 8% ABV

Berkshires June 2018

Berkshires June 2018