Neil Diamond: 50th Anniversary

Singer, songwriter, performer, Grammy winner, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, music legend and icon are just a few ways to describe the incredible Neil Diamond. Diamond is celebrating a music career milestone – his 50th anniversary; a music career that has helped shape the music world.

How better to celebrate such a magnificent milestone than with fans on his 50th Anniversary Tour and with the release of his 50th Anniversary collection, a 3-disc set containing a selection of fifty songs spanning his remarkable music career which include “Solitary Man,” “Sweet Caroline,” “America,” “Heartlight,” “Red, Red Wine,” “Brooklyn Roads” and “Pretty Amazing Grace,” just to name a few.

Diamond has a truly remarkable and recognizable voice that has surpassed the test of time. I’ve had the pleasure of attending several of Mr. Diamond’s concerts, including his 50th Anniversary Tour and without a doubt, his shows do not disappoint. Diamond puts on a two plus hour show that will have you on your feet, singing along and just having a fun & wonderful time. Diamond’s band is amazing and includes members that have been with him for forty years.

Congratulations to Neil Diamond on reaching this incredible milestone and for taking all fans along on this incredible, ongoing journey.

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Creating A macOS Sierra Bootable USB Flash Installer

Using Apple’s “Terminal,” you can create a macOS Sierra bootable USB installer. This installer can be used to perform a clean installation of macOS Sierra on a compatible Mac.

First, download the most recent version of macOS Sierra from the App Store. While you may have retained a copy of macOS Sierra from a previous upgrade, you’ll want to download a fresh copy to ensure you have the latest version. If you use an older version, you may need to install a series of macOS Sierra updates later on.

Once you have downloaded a copy of macOS Sierra, the macOS Sierra Installer will be located in the “Applications” folder of your Mac HD. The file will be called “Install macOS Sierra.” Leave the macOS Sierra Installer in its current, default location. This is important for later on.

Next, connect a USB Flash drive to your Mac. The USB Flash drive should be at least 8GB or larger. Make sure the USB Flash drive does not contain any files or documents you wish to keep. As part of the process to create a bootable USB Flash installer for macOS Sierra, the USB Flash drive will be formatted (all data will be erased). Once the USB Flash drive is connected and has mounted onto your desktop, change the name of the drive to “Untitled”. Again, this is important for later on.

Launch “Terminal.” You can do this by going to Finder, select “Go” from the menu bar then “Utilities.” Within “Utilities” double-click on “Terminal.”

Copy and paste the command line below into the “Terminal” window (make sure to copy the command line in its entirety):

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app

After pasting the above command line into “Terminal,” press the return key on your keyboard. “Terminal” will prompt you for your computer password. Enter your password then press the return key on your keyboard.

“Terminal” will ask you to confirm that you want to erase the USB Flash drive. Enter “Y” for Yes then press return on your keyboard. “Terminal” will format the USB Flash drive and then proceed with copying over the macOS Sierra Installer files and make the Flash drive bootable. Once the process is complete, “Terminal” will display “Copy Complete” followed by “Done.” If there are no error messages, you can close out of “Terminal.”

Your macOS Sierra bootable USB Flash drive should now be ready. You can test the USB Flash drive by restarting the Mac and holding down the Option key during restart. On startup, you should be prompted to select the drive that you want to boot from (either the internal hard drive/SSD or the USB Flash drive). Select the USB Flash drive to make sure the drive works properly. After the USB Flash drive boots successfully into the macOS Sierra Installer, you can exit the installer, restart the Mac and boot normally to your internal hard drive/SSD.

Additional Notes:

  • After downloading the macOS Sierra Installer, make sure to leave the installer file in its default location (Applications folder). The Terminal command line will not work if you move the installer file.
  • Make sure the USB Flash drive is renamed to “Untitled.” The Terminal command line will not work if the flash drive is named differently.
  • If you are having problems creating a macOS Sierra bootable USB Flash drive using the current USB Flash drive, try a different flash drive. Some USB Flash drives may be problematic.

A look at the MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) . . . in 2017

MacBook_Late2009

The white polycarbonate unibody MacBooks are officially no more with Apple dropping support for the MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2010), the last of this series, along with several other older models including the 13-inch MacBook Pro (Mid 2009), 15-inch MacBook Pro (Mid 2009) and 15-inch MacBook Pro 2.53GHz (Mid 2009). The end of support means Apple will no carry inventory/parts for nor make repairs to these models should you experience any hardware issues. However, you may be able to find third-party repair shops capable of making repairs albeit potentially expensive repairs.

While these models are considered older, outdated and obsolete by today’s standards, some can still run well if kept in good physical condition and with a few upgrades. For instance, let’s look at the MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) series.

At the time of release, the base model MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) came with a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM (upgradeable to 4GB* of RAM), NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB of shared memory, a 250GB SATA 5400RPM hard drive (upgradeable to an optional 320GB or 500GB 5400RPM hard drive) and Mac OS X v.10.6 Snow Leopard. Additional features included: 8x Dual-Layer SuperDrive, Gigabit Ethernet, Built-in Airport and Bluetooth, Built-in iSight, Mini DisplayPort, two USB 2.0 ports, 3.5mm audio jack, Kensington lock slot and MagSafe with 60-watt power adapter.

Our MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009), which I coincidentally am using to write this post, was ordered to the base model configuration but customized with 4GB of RAM instead of 2GB of RAM. It’s currently running 8GB* of RAM, a Sandisk 240GB Solid State Drive (SSD) and Apple’s latest operating system, macOS Sierra v.10.12.

While the upgraded MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) is a bit slower than the new MacBook product lines (and quite a bit heavier), it still performs quite well and gives our MacBook some new life. From running the latest applications to surfing the web, streaming audio and video, social media and so forth, the MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) can still deliver and get the job done. And of course, if you need the SuperDrive and all those traditional ports, they are available on this model.

 

*The MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) can support up to 8GB of RAM. The 4GB of RAM limit is based upon Apple’s official specifications at the time of product release. When upgrading to 8GB of RAM (2 x 4GB modules), verify that the RAM modules have been certified to work in the MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009). Some RAM modules may not be supported in the MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) at the 8GB limit.

On Broadway: Waitress

Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and pie maker working at a small town diner trying to find a way out of an unhappy marriage and a chance at a fresh start and new life.

Jenna’s life soon becomes further complicated by an unexpected pregnancy and an affair with her new doctor; but a pie baking contest in a nearby town may give Jenna her chance for a start at a new life.

The broadway musical is based upon Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 film “Waitress,” book by Jessie Nelson with music & lyrics by singer/songwriter and six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles.

The show is an inspiring, captivating, relatable and touching story that will take you on a full, emotional journey topped with just the right touch of humor and reminds us that we shouldn’t settle to just be happy enough but to find our own true happiness.

Sara Bareilles, making her Broadway debut, currently stars as Jenna taking over the lead role from Jessie Mueller, who starred in the role since the show’s debut. Bareilles takes the stage for a limited ten week engagement (thru June 11th).

Bareilles and the entire ensemble cast put on a stellar performance (with some truly incredible vocal performances). The band is fabulous and the crew does a fantastic job keeping pace with all the moving parts of the show.

Waitress is currently playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in NYC. For more information on the show, check out the official site at the link below:

http://www.waitressthemusical.com

On Broadway: On Your Feet!

On_Your_Feet_Playbill

On Your Feet! tells the story of Gloria & Emilio Estefan from their early meeting to their modern-day success. The show takes you on a journey through the ups and downs, highs and lows, challenges and struggles they faced, personally and professionally, on their rise to fame.

It is an emotional and inspirational story that touches on the impact and importance of family, life struggles & cultural barriers, the battle to rise above stereotypes, perseverance in the face of adversity and how love, passion, dedication, determination, family and a strong support system can help you overcome the darkest of times and reach higher than you could ever think possible.

The show has a fantastic ensemble cast and incorporates many of Gloria’s hit songs including “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “1-2-3,” “Reach,” “On Your Feet” and more. The show will touch your heart, make you laugh, cry, sing along, dance, and most importantly, get you up On Your Feet!

On Your Feet! is currently playing at the Marquis Theatre in NYC with Ana Villafañe and Ektor Rivera in the lead roles as Gloria and Emilio; respectively. Villafañe has played the role of Gloria since the show’s opening and Rivera took over the role of Emilio from Josh Segarra in July 2016.

On Your Feet! is truly a must-see.

For more information on the show, visit their official site below:

http://www.onyourfeetmusical.com

Dunkin’ Donuts: Merging Balances between DD Perks Cards

If you’ve used Starbucks cards, you probably know that Starbucks cards let you transfer balances from one card to another allowing you to quickly and easily consolidate all your funds onto a single card account.

Now head over to Dunkin’ Donuts and their DD Perks cards and you’ll quickly notice that there’s no option to consolidate balances onto a single card. Unlike Starbucks, if you have balances on a bunch of DD Perks cards, you have to spend the balances by using each of those cards.

Well, that has finally changed (sort of). With the latest release of the Dunkin’ Donuts app, Dunkin’ Donuts has added a new “Merge Balance” option which allows you to transfer balances between your DD Perks cards. After launching the app, go to “My Card” then scroll down and you will see the new “Merge Balance” option. Within “Merge Balance,” select the card you want to merge from and the card you want to merge to then press “Done.”

Keep in mind that DD Perks cards can only store up to $125 (previously $100) and once the card value is merged, the empty card will be removed. The “Merge Balance” option is only available via the Dunkin’ Donuts app. The feature is not currently available if you manage your account via the Dunkin’ Donuts website.

Are embossed credit/debit cards still necessary?

While unembossed credit/debit cards aren’t new, they may eventually become more mainstream. Embossed credit/debit cards go back to a time before cards were swiped or dipped into point-of-sale (POS) systems or entered into online payment systems.

Embossed cards used a simple method for merchant processing. Consumers would pay merchants with their cards and merchants would have a device to place the embossed card onto. The sales order or receipt, which comprised of several duplicate sheets sandwiched between carbon paper was placed on top of the card. The merchant would pull up & down on a slider and the embossed information would be imprinted onto the sales order or receipt. The carbon paper would ensure duplicate copies. The sales order or receipt would be separated, carbon paper discarded, leaving copies of the sales order or receipt each with imprints of the card information. One copy would go to the consumer; one copy would go to the merchant and one or more copies would be used for merchant processing. As embossing equipment was expensive, embossed cards also served as protection against fraud.

As technology has advanced, embossed cards for the purposes of merchant processing today serve merely as an old-fashioned back-up system in the event modern processing techniques (ex: swiping the magnetic strip or dipping the chip) are unavailable. However, with online credit and debit card processing, the need for swiping or dipping a credit/debit card becomes a non-issue. In addition, there have been advancements in anti-fraud technologies to further boost security and protections on cards for both consumers and merchants.

With all the advancements, it’s not unreasonable to see why card issuers would do away with embossed credit and debit cards in favor of unembossed cards. Card information (ex: card number, cardholder name, etc.) is still printed on the cards either on the front or back. However, utilizing unembossed cards reduces production costs and makes it easier for card issuers like banks to issue new or replacement cards on the spot rather than having to have the embossed cards printed through a third-party vendor and then mailed to the cardholder. This adds convenience and quick turnaround time for the consumer.

Realistically, embossed cards are not likely to completely go away as they do add a certain elegant and aesthetically pleasing characteristic; however, it won’t be too surprising to see more card issuers eventually make the switch from embossed to unembossed cards at least for some of their cards.