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Tuesday, April 30, 2002

LAX Flight Tracker System

Ever wanted to know who owns that plane that just went screaming over your head and rattled your windows? Just want to be amazed at all the air traffic that crosses over the LA Basin? This is the place to answer all your questions. Flight info is delayed by 10 minutes for security reasons.

From the site...

"Welcome to Los Angeles World Airports LAX Internet Flight Tracking System, AirportMonitorâ?¢. This system allows you to watch the movement of flights and air traffic patterns within the greater Los Angeles region. If you are a first time user of this system, please take a few minutes to read the following information, which should assist you in understanding and utilizing the full capabilities of this site. "

Via Fark

ABC plans all-day 9/11 anniversary tribute

It seems that ABC is already planning to shelve its normal programming on 9/11/02 to dedicate itself totally to 9/11 anniversary coverage. Say what you will, but I, for one, will not be watching.

I have grown progressively more despairing of the American desire to wallow in disaster, constantly looking backwards to tragedy instead of forward to life. On 9/11, I will turn off the television, the radio, heck, even my computer, so I don't have to listen to the endless prattle of this or that expert trying to make sense of the attacks. It made no sense then and it will make no more sense 6 months from now.

Instead, I will take a walk in the mountains, ride my bike by the sea, read a book in my garden, hug my wife and child, anything but dwell on what happened. I will bask in the joy that I, and those I love, are alive and well. I will live life to the fullest, knowing that it is fragile and precious. I will mourn for those who are gone, but rejoice for those that are still alive.

I feel deeply for those who lost someone close to them on 9/11. We will never forget what happened, but we can only live life forwards. If you dwell too long on the past you are in great danger of missing the joy of the present. We don't need a parade of press, pundits and politicians to tell us what to feel. We already know in our hearts what to feel.

The best way to commemorate 9/11 is to live. Live your life to the fullest. Reach for your dreams and achieve them. Even more importantly, complete the work of those we have lost. Don't let their dreams die. Take on their burdens and carry them as far as you can. This, living your life, is the best possible revenge in a world turned upside down.

Don't wallow in death and destruction on 9/11/02, celebrate life.

Monday, April 29, 2002

Don't sent a resume ...and other contrarian rules to help you land a great job


This is the book about job hunting that I would have written myself, had not Fox beaten me to it. I highly recommend this book and have written about similar tactics in my Career Opportunities columns (http://www.welchwrite.com/dewelch/ce/) over the last 4 years.

The world of work has changed drastically over the last decade and this calls for new tactics in getting your first job or your next job.

According to Fox, it all comes down to selling yourself to your future employer. It matters little what you want out of job or a career. What matters most is how you fulfill the needs of the hiring company. Of course, you should be trying to fulfill your work need, but the person interviewing cares little or nothing about your needs and only about their own. A hard fact to face, perhaps, but an extremely important one.

Fox goes on to give hard examples of how to use letters, not a resume to gain an interview, how to prepare for that interview and how to do everything possible to get the job you want.

While I am sure that some human resource people and corporate management will take issue with some of Fox's advice, as they have with my columns about resumes. This is because Fox's tactics seem to make their job more difficult. HR staff can no longer winnow large amounts of resumes down to a select few quickly and easily. What they don't realize is that if all candidates used these tactics, hiring would be easier and the company would be hiring better people.

Highly Recommended

GeekSounds - Alarms for your Palm

Tired of those lame alarm sounds that come with your Palm handheld? Here are 20+ different sounds, including movie and television themes and an assortment of odd sounds.

Easy to install and easy to uninstall.

Highly recommended and FREE!

Via VersionTracker.com

Apple - eMac

It is good to see Apple working on its educational line again. The iMac, especially with an LCD screen, is an excellent choice for the classroom, although I would have preferred it in a flat panel design, instead of the old iMac body shape. My guess is that the old shape makes the computer a bit more resilient in the classroom environment, though.

From Apple.com...

Meet Apple's affordable new computer for education - complete with a 17-inch flat CRT display, a PowerPC G4 processor and a space-saving, all-in-one design that fits on school desks. Plus digital applications for learning, Mac OS X and Mac OS 9.

The Writing of Lydia Adamson

I happened across the mystery novels of Lydia Adamson at my local library a few years ago and immediately devoured everything at that local branch. I had thought about these books over the years, but just recently I decided to work through as many of the novels as I could find. Surprisingly, many of the books are only available from the Los Angeles Public Library as reference books, meaning they only have one copy and don't loan it out. So, I am stuck with reading only those books that I can easily get, although I am thinking of heading over to my local used book store, The Illiad, in North Hollywood, CA to see if I can pick up some of the older novels there.

Adamson's 2 main protagonists are Alice Nestleton, a New York actress who spends more time cat-sitting and sleuthing than acting and Dr, Deirdre "Didi" Nightingale, D.V.M., a vet who seems to stumble upon the oddest crimes in rural, upstate New York. Both series deeply use the animal knowledge of the main character to spice up the mystery in inventive ways. If you are a cat lover, you will love Alice and her deep knowledge of cats. Dr. Nightingale expands this interest to all animals, from elephants to pigs to dairy cows.

If you are looking for a quick, yet fun, mystery jaunt, the books of Lydia Adamson offer a veritable feast.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Cycoactive - RAM GPS Mounts and accessories

As some of you know, I recently purchased a Global Positioning System receiver (a Garmin eTrex)for use in the Geocaching treasure hunt game.

I also have a lot of fun using the GPSr in the car whether we are traveling around town or on a big trip. I can set a variety of waypoints, build a route between them and then let the eTrex point the way. While my unit does not contain road maps, more expensive models do.

Along with the GPSr, we recently purchased bicycles again, after Joe began riding his two-wheeler so fast that we couldn't keep up on foot. Of course, this meant I wanted to use my GPSr on my bicycle to clock time, mileage and speed information. A quick search on Google turned up the perfect mount. Even better, the main parts of this mount are interchangable. I can place a mount on my bike and another in my car and easily move the GPS between them.

The mount is very solid, with little or no vibration even on the roughest streets. I can position the mount so that I can easily access all the buttons and read the display without disrupting my riding.

I was very happy with Cycoactive's web store and got my GPS mounts within a week. If you have a need to mount a GPS (or anything else, for that matter) in your car or on your bike, Cycoactive would be a good place to start.

From the site...

This is the most versatile mount available. It allows you to mount your GPS at any angle, (see gr3h above for example) and it's a quick-release too! Super secure hard rubber ball is guaranteed not to slip, and it provides some vibration isolation.

* part# greth

* vibration isolated handlebar mount for motorcycles

* mounts to 7/8" or 1" bar

* mounts at any angle

* cast aluminum assembly with tough plastic GPS cradle

* made in USA

* adaptable to many other applications

No more need for WWW.

This may only save you a couple of seconds each day, but it seems that most web designers have finally configured their Domain Name Servers (DNS) correctly. After a bit of informal testing, I have confirmed that, for most web pages, you no longer need to type "www." before a web address. i.e. you only need to type cnn.com instead of www.cnn.com.

The "www." was originally used to let Internet users know that they were talking with a world wide web server (www). It was really never required, but it quickly became a de factor standard among webmasters. For years, many machines were not configured to respond to the domain name alone (i.e. cnn.com) so that you were required to type in www in most cases.

One caveat, though. If you see an address that contains anything but "www" in front of the name (i.e. groups.yahoo.com), you still have to type in the entire name. The reason is that the first part of the name is literally the name (host name) of the web server you are trying to contact. Many companies, like Yahoo, are dividing up the services using different names. Hence, yahoo.com takes you to their search engine/subject index, while groups.yahoo.com will take you to their group mailing list service.

So, save a few keystrokes the next time you are surfing the web by skipping the "www.".

Webopedia: Online Dictionary for Computer and Internet Terms

Ever wonder what all those crazy Internet acronyms and terms mean? Here is the place to figure it out. Webopedia describes itself as "The only online dictionary and search engine you need for computer and Internet technology." I think I might just agree.

LA Times Festival of Books 2002

This large book fair has a little bit for everyone. This our 4th or 5th yearattending the festival and we always seem to have a good time. No where in LA will you find so many authors, in some many genres, chatting, selling and signing their work. There are many panels that take place over the 2 day event, but Rosanne and I have never attended them. There is so much to see at the free outdoor stages and walking among the many booths. Frankly, we don't want to be cramped in a stuffy lecture hall when the weather outside is so nice.

If you don't mind waiting in line, there are hundreds of opportunities to have authors sign their books. I saw many collectors wheeling luggage carts around, waiting to get their favorite author to books both new and old.

There is plenty for the kids to see and do, as well. The Children's Museum of LA had 2 large craft booths for making your own book and there were 2 stages for shows, including a Blue's Clues show and a group doing all your favorite Schoolhouse Rock songs. Melissa Joan Hart of Sabrina was also on hand to read Peter Rabbit. Dom Deluise and Christopher Nance, weatherman from NBC 4, were also signing their children's books nearby.

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Los Encinos State Historic Park Re-opening

Today we headed over to the grand re-opening of this park. The historical buildings here were almost destroyed in the Northridge Earthquake. Finally, funding for reconstruction was found and after 18 months of work, the park is better than it was before the quake.

There was music and storytelling and the park docents engaged in a bit of "living history." They introduced the kids to games and activities that would have been prevalent during the 1870's, such as tug-o-war, sack races, and more. The also showed how laundry would have been done and how cowboys would use their lassos to collect the cattle. The house and adobe contained exhibits about the history of the property and the people that lived here.

If you have ever driven down Ventura Boulevard, between Hayvenhurst and Balboa, you have driven right by this park, probably without even noticing. Parking and another entrance is available off of Moorpark Street. Stop by the next time you are in the neighborhood and engage California State History, right in your own back yard.

More pictures are available in the gallery.

Fullerton Railroad Days

May 4, 2002 to May 5, 2002

Fullerton Train Station, 124 E. Santa Fe St., Fullerton, CA, (714) 278-0648

Displays of locomotives, vintage railcars and artifacts, food and
entertainment. Free admission.

Calabasas Arts and Crafts Festival

May 4, 2002 to May 5, 2002

Calabasas Commons Shopping Center, Calabasas, CA, (818) 878-4242 x2270

101 Freeway off at Parkway Calabasas

Over 200 artists and crafters, live bands, international food, beer garden,
children's art activities. 10am-6pm.

Friday, April 26, 2002

The Gigs Handbook: A Beginner's Guide to Playing Professionally

While it might seem an odd choice to recommend for high-tech careerists,
"The Gigs Handbook" contains some excellent advice for anyone
acting as an independent contractor, both in the music industry
or high-tech.

As both an amateur musician and high-tech worker, this book works
on all levels. I have learned a lot about how to arrange bookings
and set up my repertoire, but I also see many parallels between
life as a gigging musician and working as an independent high-tech
contractor. The rules about building your business, how to follow-up
and how to use contracts will benefit everyone.

Black uses 4 different prototype musicians so that she can offer
suggestions depending on your current level of skills and what
goals you are trying to accomplish. One musician is just beginning
their music career while others are more established. Black then
works through some of the more common problems and how to avoid
them, or, at least, reduce their impact.

Career-Op: Write your own book

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

"As a writer on career issues I read a lot of books about job searching, management, creativity and other career issues. As I am sure you have found, these books can range from the good to the bad right down to the ugly. Yet, hundreds of thousands of these books are sold every year. There is a great desire from workers, especially high-tech careerists, to gain an understanding of their careers and their lives. Unfortunately, it is a rare book that provides more than a few good ideas within its covers. In fact, I consider a book a success if I can take away one important concept that can help me in my day-to-day life. While this is an extremely low bar for a book to jump, few do it."

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Replacement Remote Controls

After years of being dropped, kicked, sat and stepped upon, our TV remote had nearly stopped functioning. While multifunction remotes are a lot cheaper, they sometimes don't perform all the functions of the original. After a bit of searching on the web, I was able to find this company. They have thousands of original equipment remotes. Ordering was a breeze and the remote arrived in about 3 days.

coverCrossing the Unknown Sea : Work As a a Pilgrimage of Identity

I came across this book in the New Books section of my local library and the title intrigued me enough to take it home. I am always
looking for books on work as I write a weekly high-tech careers

Whyte's style can be a bit "grand" at times, one of the hazards
of a poet writing prose, but there are some very important ideas
to be found here. Several times I found myself pausing suddenly
to contemplate a line that effected me deeply.
This book needs to be taken in small doses, allowing time to ruminate and absorb what you have just read.

If you are looking for a book with a unique take on the nature of work in the 21st Century, you would be well-served to pick this one.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

Celebrate the Bard's birthday with this online collection!

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Toaster Central

It seems there are collectors of almost anything and this site proves it. Not only that, you can buy nearly all the items in working order. Need a 1950's manual toaster for your retro kitchen. Here it is!

CNN pays for Bakley travel to Van Nuys

So, the first real day of news coverage of the Blake trial and we already have CNN using some (I think) dubious tactics to ensure that they have something to cover. It seems odd the CNN would need to manufacture news, with so much going on in the world. Personally, I don't think witnesses in any trial should be turned into celebrities, just another property to be pimped on the airwaves. We certainly don't need a further reduction in news ethics. They are much too low already.

"CNN had locked Margerry Bakley up as its exclusive "get" for the day; in return, the cable news network paid her airfare from Knoxville, Tenn., to Los Angeles, put her up in a hotel and ferried her around in a limousine."

Via Fark

Monday, April 22, 2002


My wife, Rosanne, has 2 essays in the latest editon of ZinkZine, an online publication by ZinkVille: A Brave New World of Words.

Check it out!

JDBGMGR.EXE virus hysteria

Yet another warning to check out the veracity of any "virus warning" email you get before you start deleting files or otherwise modify your computer?

From vMyths.com...

Remember the Honor System virus? "Please delete all your files and forward this email to your friends." Well, we've got another example of the honor system virus in action. An urgent email tells you to delete JDBGMGR.EXE (a legit Windows file), then forward the warning to your friends. How many more OS files can people delete before they SELF-CRASH their own PCs? Read http://Vmyths.com/hoax.cfm?id=275&page=3 for details about the JDBGMGR.EXE hysteria...

afterDinner: for Readers and Writers

An interesting idea. The writer's side allows you to publicly or privately workshop your writing, gathering comments from other writers. Once you have workshopped your piece, you can have it posted on the "readers" side.

From the site...

afterDinner: for Readers still offers new work from a wide range of authors, but now has more tools to help you locate and identify specific pieces or authors from the large body of work housed here. "Author Alerts" notify you when your favorite authors have published something new on the site. No longer limited to personal narrative, authors may publish works in a variety of genres and subgenres, leading to a wider selection of literary styles. In the future, I hope to expand the choice of formats, offering author-designed PDF downloads, eBooks, and perhaps even printed selections. Everything currently on the site is free for you to read. Down the road, some works may be purchasable, with proceeds going directly to the author.

afterDinner: for Writers contains the workshop system. It gives authors and readers the opportunity to solicit and submit critiques on unpublished work. Authors have complete control over the system. They can choose to create a public workshop for a diverse set of readers, or a private workshop whose participants are admitted by invitation only. Participants can comment on the work as a whole, but they may also comment on specific paragraphs, which will be displayed to the author in context. Registration is required to participate in the workshop system. Each registered member has a profile associated with them that can tell you that person's favorite books, whether other authors have found their critiques helpful, and if they have a web site of their own. Members can also adjust their preferences to control what email notifications they receive, including "Genre Alerts" which notify them when a new workshop in their selected genre has been added to the site.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Infocom Adventure

If you ever played this game on an old Apple II or Mac Plus you quickly realized the addictive quality. A quality all the more amazing considering its bare-boned, text-only structure.

A definite "blast from the past!"

Brewery Art Walk 2002 Report

Rosanne and I got some time away to attend the Brewery Art Walk today on our own. This allowed for a little more exploration and attention this year. The collection of artists is eclectic, as always, with a wide variety of media represented. A few of the regulars from past years were not open this year, but a few new faces offered interesting finds.

The Brewery Art Lofts are located at 2100 Main Street, Los Angeles, not too far from downtown itself. The lofts were originally a Pabst Brewery, hence the name. There are several buildings on the property, all with different loft layouts. Some units are at ground level, with large main floors and an upper mezzanine. Other lofts are literally carved out of the old brewery fermentation cooler and store rooms. Dark and winding passages lead this way and that and you suddenly find yourself in someone's kitchen, with their art displayed throughout their home.

Some lofts are complete residences, while others are strictly work or office space. Despite the size of the Brewery site and the lofts themselves, this is a very intimate pace to view art, in some cases, stepping into the owner 's bedroom.

The lofts

Linda Lundell - Extraordinary nature paintings

Lundell paintings made an immediate impact when we walked into her loft. She has several large scale paintings of forest scenes that Rosanne and I would LOVE to have. Pictures are available on the web site.

Claudia Endler Designs - Jewelry

This jewelry is simple and yet quite elegant. You can view a number of her designs on her web site. Her motto is "A Simple Line can define space, give shape and form and indicate movement. A simple line can even change the expression on someone's face."

Alex in Welderland - sculpture-furniture small-oddities

NeoAmish Seating - from superhappybunny.com

Friction-fit seating you put together yourself.

MLA Gallery - Masters of Latin America

Sorry, no web link for this gallery, but it contains a wonderful collection of Latin American art. There was some wonderful work by artists you might, or might not, be familiar with.

2020 North Main Street #239, Los Angeles, California 90031 -- 323-222-3400

BookFinger at the Brewery

A nice edition to the Brewery complex. Bookfinger has a mid-sized collection of out of print books. I had to drag Rosanne out of here so we could see more lofts. (SMILE)

Barbara's at the Brewery

Finally, a great place to have lunch. Barbara's is an eclectic bistro in the heart of the Brewery complex. They were also serving a variety of catered found in the main plaza during the art walk, but we opted for a sit down dinner. I had the fish and chips and found them delightful. Rosanne had the tri-tip sandwich. Barbara's offers a host of other dishes, including pasta, salads and sandwiches.

There were several other lofts worth mentioning, but they don't have web sites, yet. You will just have to visit during the next art walk and see them for yourself.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

The BabyNamer

More baby naming information than you could ever want. My favorite is the Name-O-Meter where you can track the popularity of a given name over the last 10 decades.

You can also look put origins and meanings behind names. Here is the entry for my name...

"DOUGLAS. Douglas, and more particularly its nickname, DOUG, had a real romantic swagger in the fifties and sixties . relics, perhaps, of the swashbuckling image of Douglas Fairbanks, combined with the wartime heroics of General MacArthur. Originally a Celtic river name, it became attached to a powerful Scottish clan, renowned for their strength and courage. In its earliest incarnation Douglas was used equally for girls and boys. The variant DOUGAL is heard in the Scottish highlands, and a substitute for the nickname Doug was introduced on the 1989 TV show, Doogie Howser, M.D.

Via MetaFilter.com

The Craft and Business of Songwriting by John Braheny

John Braheny's Craft and Business of Songwriting

Everything you ever wanted to know about writing and selling your
songs. Includes information on both the creative and business
side of the music biz.

John and his wife, Jo Ann, are close friends and have both helped me a lot in writing my own music. John is also available for one-on-one song consulting where he can help you develop songs that are more conducive to radio play.

Here is a transcript of an online chat with John from July 28, 1999.

John has an on-going schedule of speaking engagements and events. You can find an event near you by visiting JohnBraheny.com.

Amazon.com says...

"This updated edition of John Braheny's classic book is essential reading for anyone contemplating a career as a professional songwriter. He shares the insider secrets that help songwriters make their work competitive in an overcrowded marketplace. Readers will learn how to: * Develop a "songwriter's consciousness" in picking out original ideas * Overcome barriers in the creative process * Discover what subjects work best for them, from novelty to message songs * Know what their audience wants * Focus on one idea when writing lyrics, ensuring the greatest impact * Handle the business of demos and contracts Readers will also find anecdotes, exercises and examples from dozens of successful songwriters."

Friday, April 19, 2002

The Getty Center -- May Events

The Getty Center calendar arrived in my mailbox today and I found several events that were worth passing along. The Getty is one of my favorite places to visit and nearly in my backyard. Parking reservations are NOT required on weekends or after 4pm. Parking is $5.

Painting with Light or with Geometry: Looking into David Hockney's Secret Knowledge

05/03/02 -- 7:30 pm

Martin Kemp, professor, history of art department, University of Oxford, examines the relationship between a painter's use of devices for optical projection and the mapping of forms in space with linear perspective. Complements the exhibition The Geometry of Seeing: Perspective and the Dawn of Virtual Space. Museum Lecture Hall.

Make a reservation for this event

I am really interesting in this lecture as I recently read David Hockney's book on which it is based.

Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

This is a fascinating book on Hockney's theory that the great painters of the past used all sorts of technologies to assist in creating their great paintings. These tools include the camera obscura, the camera lucida and others.

A wonderful read (and view, as 1/2 of the book is pictures showing clues showing that artists did use these technologies.

Fallingwater: Preserving a 20th-Century Icon

05/16/02 -- 7 pm

Lynda S. Waggoner, executive director of Fallingwater, provides an overview of the ongoing preservation efforts to safeguard this Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. She will be joined by structural engineer Robert Silman, president of Robert Silman Associates, P.C., the firm chosen to carry out the structural analysis and conservation of the cantilevered terraces. Presented by the Getty Conservation Institute as part of its Issues in Conservation Series. Harold M. Williams Auditorium.

Make a reservation for this event here

Although I grew up only a few hours from this Wright home I never had the chance to visit. Even so, photos of Fallingwater have always captivated me, like many of Wright's homes. A few years ago Rosanne, Joe and myself visited Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wright's winter workshop. While the tour is a bit pricey, it was an interesting look into Wright's mind.

Arizona Trip Picture Gallery

U.S. Government's First Virtual IT Job Fair, April 22-26

I spotted this press release on the Web405 Mailing List today and it sounded very interesting. A quick visit to the site turned up listings for hundreds of jobs with varying departments of the US Government.

It appears that many of these jobs are based in Washington, DC, but if you are willing to relocate there just might be a place for you. The site is definitely worth checking out even if you aren't necessarily looking for a new job right now. It's possible that something might catch your eye. I came across a Writer-Editor position for the Library of Congress that sounded quite interesting.

Here is the original press release...


Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release

April 18, 2002


Press Release

Agencies throughout the U.S. Government are coming together, for the
first time, to offer hundreds of Information Technology opportunities
both nationwide and abroad at a Virtual Job Fair from April 22-26 at

This unique Job Fair is a joint venture with 27 Federal agencies and
the Office of Personnel Management to provide a single point of
application for Federal IT positions. The participating agencies are
seeking highly skilled and motivated individuals with a range of
experiences to meet the responsibilities of their diverse missions. In
particular, the State Department will be looking to fill over 100
positions in both the Civil Service and Foreign Service.

For more information, log on to www.usajobs.opm.gov.

A Perfect Friday Time Waster

Missing the summer thrill of a putter in your hand and astroturf beneath your toes? Get warmed up for those Putt-Putt Tourneys with your kids. Practice all those tricky angle shots you can never seem to sink.

*** Requires Flash

Via MetaFilter.com

Thursday, April 18, 2002

In our backyard...the Bakley/Blake Trial

Soon after the arrest of Robert Blake this evening we learned that his trial will be held right here in our own backyard...the Van Nuys Courthouse.

The Van Nuys Civic Center, approximately 3 blocks away is home to Federal, State and city offices, 2 courthouses, the local police station and, most unfortunately, our local branch of the LA Public Library. I guess I will need to have all my book request sent to Studio City from now on. In fact, I might be doing a lot of things elsewhere for some time to come.

After witnessing the OJ Simpson Trial(s) from afar I can only imagine what is in store for our little neighborhood. A dozen satellite trucks, a horde of news vans, cables snaking around the block and people.....hundreds and hundreds of people. The area around the courthouse is a pedestrian mall so there will be some place for the trucks to park and reporters to stand, but the surrounding streets are already fairly congested during the day. I can easily see the mess spilling out onto Van Nuys Boulevard and stalling the, already slow, traffic. Worse yet, a new parking garage; desperately needed, isn't even close to being finished.

There will be some benefits, I guess. I am sure the restaurant owners in the area will be packed. Most of their daily customers are government workers and the hundreds of jurors who end up with 2-3 hour lunches while lawyers argue their motions. The extra money from news crews and looky-loos will be a welcome boost to the struggling economy. There have been some small improvements in the area recently, new crosswalks with a brick-like look, fresh coats of paint on some storefronts. Maybe the thought of all those eyes looking over reporters shoulders will help speed up any further enhancements by the city.

It will be interesting to watch this story develop from such a close perspective. It is impossible to tell what I will see over the next weeks and months. Perhaps the Simpson-esque media circus will not develop, but I doubt it. Celebrities on trial always draw a crowd. It is just odd having the circus in your own backyard.

More to come...

Career-Op: Young and Old

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

"It is a simple fact of life that the longer you remain in your high-tech career, the more likely it will be for you to work for people younger than yourself. This is true whether you are an old corporate hand with a new "up and coming" manager or working as an independent consult for hip, new high-tech startup firms. This discrepancy in age, and other related issues, can lead to problems unless you know how to recognize and avoid them."

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Apple Mac OS X 10.1.4 is available

This is the latest, greatest update for Mac OS X. Upgrades/fixes include:

From Versiontracker.com...

* Disc Recording Devices:
* Updated and new support for Fast 10 SCSI drives, including the Pioneer 201 drive.
* Expanded support for SmartDisk, EZQuest, and LaCie disc recording devices.
* Networking Improvements:
* Dial-up connections over PPP are more reliable and system responsiveness has been improved
* Significant improvement to file searching on local and remote volumes
* Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) services can be browsed on networks with 3Com routers
* Security Update:
* BSD-based TCP/IP connections now check and block broadcast or multicast IP destination addresses

The upgrade is available via Software Update.

Via VersionTracker.com

Iambic Action Names Datebook

Action Names Datebook is one of the few pieces of software I have purchased for my Sony Clie and Handspring Visor. It provides a number of features missing from the built-in Palm applications such as allowing you relate a contact name to a specific meeting or to-do, multi-line display, a host of icons for visually marking items, a contact history and much, much more.

You can try out Action Names for free for 30 days by downloading directly from the Iambic Web Site. The best part, though, is that it uses the standard Palm data files to store all its data, so you easily switch back to using the built-in applications should you decide not to buy.

Iambic also sells a variety of other software, including TinySheet, a spreadsheet for the Palm and iambic Office, which allows you to exchange files with MS Office applications such as Word, Excel and MS Outlook. (Windows Only).

Funology -- The Science of Having Fun!

Summer is quickly approaching...and along with it the plaintive cries of "I'm bored!" Here is one site that can help to ease the boredom a bit while also teaching your kids (and fun-loving adults) a little about science, cooking, magic and a host of other neat things.

From the site...

Funology.com is the best place on the Web to find things to do. Not just while youre sitting at the computer, but anywhere. Things to do by yourself or with your friends, your parents, your pets, anyone. Well teach you a million and one ways to make things, explore the world, and discover skills you never knew you had. Its one place where youll never be bored!

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Update your Microsoft Office X/Internet Explorer Today

A new update is available for MS Office X, for Mac OS X. This update includes a variety of security fixes and I would recommend downloading and installing this fix as soon as you can.

Mac OS X users will also find a new Internet Explorer Security Fix waiting for them when they run Software Update on their machines. You can access this by opening System Preferences and clicking on the Software Updates icon.


Find the best CD rates, auto loans, credit cards, mortgages and more

CDs (Certificates of Deposit) are a low/no-risk way to make your money work harder than the average savings account. For example, my savings account is currently returning less than 1 percent. A CD at NetBank or eTrade Bank can return 3%-3.26% if you place it in a CD for 12-15 months.

I figured there must be some place on the Internet to easily compare rates and find the best, possible CD to buy. A quick Google search and I found Bankrate.com. They don't actually sell CDs or anything. They collect the info from various banks and lenders and allow you to sort it in several different ways.

How to Think About Security

An interesting look at security using lessons learned from providing security for computer networks and systems. Sometimes having a framework to evaluate an issue can lead to deeper understanding of the problems involved.

From the site...

"If security has a silly season, we're in it. After September 11, every two-bit peddler of security technology crawled out of the woodwork with new claims about how his product can make us all safe again. Every misguided and defeated government security initiative was dragged out of the closet, dusted off, and presented as the savior of our way of life. More and more, the general public is being asked to make security decisions, weigh security tradeoffs, and accept more intrusive security.

Monday, April 15, 2002


From the web site...

"The VENICE ART WALK 2002 will take place on May 17, 18 and 19 at Westminster Elementary School, Venice. Tour the working studios and homes of Venice artists. Bid on over 300 items at the Deals and Steals silent auction. Grab a taste of some of LA's best restaurants at the Food Faire. Take an Art & Home Tour. Attend a VENICE ART WALK?IN CONCERT event. Be the first to view the Auction at the Preview Reception."

The Art Walk is also looking for volunteers to do a variety of jobs on Art Walk weekend. This includes preparing for the fund raiser dinner on the night before the Art Walk, hanging and labeling artwork and a host of other tasks. Volunteers also receive free admittance to the Art Walk. Volunteer information is included in the web site.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

The Writing of Tony Hillerman

I am not sure how I first came across Hillerman's novels, probably through some Google search about Arizona when I was planning a trip to Sedona. I have always been enamored of that part of the country and his novels have given me a chance to visit again and again, while enjoying a great mystery along the way.

The recurring characters in the novels are Navajo Tribal Policemen, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Both are honest, hard working and constantly torn between their native up-bringing and the cross-cultural outside world. The supporting characters are always unique and compelling and the mysteries detailed, hidden and totally different than anything else you might find in the genre.

Highly recommended

Available from Amazon.com...

The Writing of Tony Hillerman

The Wailing Wind - Available May 7, 2002

Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir

Off to the Library

Saturday brought a trip down to one of our favorite spots in downtown LA, the Central Library. After a children's music program at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, we headed over to the library for lunch and a quick walk around. Our friends daughter, Shannon, had spent her Spring Break with us and the library offered one last stop before we headed back to her home.

The Central Library is both old and new. The original parts of the library, done in a Egyptian Revival style (it was quiet popular at the time the library was built) boast soaring spaces, wall murals and a sense of permanence and stability. The newer Tom Bradley Wing, offers a more contemporary feel, but maintains the feeling of a library as a temple to knowledge. Immense sculptures form the chandeliers of the open atrium space.

You can park for $1(!!!!!) in the parking garage directly underneath the McGuire Gardens Saturdays, Sundays and weekdays after 3 PM. You only need show your library card at the information desk inside to receive a validation. You can also reach the library using the Metro Red Line. This would also allow you to visit other downtown spots like the Central Market, Pershing Square, Union Station, California Center and MOCA. DASH buses expand your reach from the Metro stations to nearly the entire expanse of downtown for only $.25 per person.

If you haven't visited the Central Library recently, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Instant messages aren't always fleeting

To most of you this is going to seem common sense. Like email and your web browsing, instant messages are susceptible to being captured and reviewed by your boss or anyone else who happens by your computer. Still, it bears repeating. This article from CNN.com provides some details about how you might be watched and why you should care.

I have written previously about keeping your business life separate from your work life before in my Career-Op column. Here are 3 columns on similar topics.

Friday, April 12, 2002

Career-Op: A Word on the Web

By Douglas E. Welch

Many of you probably have your own personal web site. You might even have developed a site about a specific topic that interests you. It might be a very popular site. If you are like other successful web site owners you might have wondered if there is a way to help defray some of the costs of running your web site or even turn it into something that could become the focus of your high-tech career. While earning a living doing what you love is a highly sought after goal, turning your web site into a commercial enterprise might not be the route to take.

Career-Op is a weekly column published by ComputorEdge in San Diego, California, Colorado Springs, Colorado and ComputerScene in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Welcome to NoHo Theatre & Arts Festival 2002- May 18 -19

The summer festivals start in earnest this month. Here is a "heads-up" on a good one coming in May. We used to go most years when we lived in NoHo. Lots of theater, arts & crafts, music and food. Wear a hat and bring lots of water, though!

Family Fun w/ the Children's Museum of LA

Sherman Oaks Fashion Square

April 19; 2-6pm

From the site...

"The Children's Museum of Los Angeles and Fashion Square would like you to join us in making Stamp Art. Children of all ages and their parents are invited to the mall's Center Court (lower level) for this free arts and crafts event. For more information on events and programs at the Children's Museum of Los Angeles, please log on to www.childrensmuseumla.org!

Joe and I have visited these craft days in the past and found them to be quite well organized and fun.

Roll the credits (Out the Door)

It seems that the Discovery Channel wants to eliminate credits at the end of their shows. They say that too many viewers are leaving as the credits roll, looking for entertainment elsewhere.

What goes unsaid in the article is what will fill this suddenly freed time. Does anyone really think that they will offer another 30 seconds/1 minute of show time? Don't kid yourself. They will fill this time with commercials. Now, I am not entirely naive about the television business. I understand that dropping credits will allow them to remove the breaks between the shows, starting one immediately after the other, as we have seen done on other networks. The added commercials will then be internal to the show, when the viewer already has and investment and will be less likely to leave. Unfortunately, this doesn't make it right, or even wise.

While I am all for businesses making money, doing so at the detriment of the people who produce their shows is wrong. Let us show a bit of respect for the hard work that goes into a production. Networks that continually exhibit a lack of respect for their show producers may just find themselves without any decent programming at all.

I hope that the producers for Discovery have enough respect for themselves and their workers to start imposing "credit guarantees" in their contracts. Television workers have the right to be credited for their work, on-screen, in readable type, every time. Consigning workers to anonymity to gain 1 more minute of ad time is unfair, greedy and just one more step in increasingly desperate moves by television networks.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Should the penny go?

Are you tired of carrying around all those pennies, or filling your jars, ashtrays and dresser tops with them? There are factions on each side of this argument. Are you a penny-hater or would it bother you to see all prices rounded up to the nearest nickel. (Which, BTW, is made mostly of copper!)

From CNN Money

Which storybook character are you?

There are several "tests" like this out there on the Internet, but this one struck me a a kinder, gentler version. After seeing "Into the Woods" a few months ago I was intriqued to see what storybook character I would turn out to be.

Just call me Le Petit Prince!

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

The Whole Earth Festival 2002!

Saturday, April 20th and Sunday, April 21st, 2002!

11:00 am - 6:00 pm both days

Lake Balboa, 6300 Balboa Boulevard, Van Nuys,

1 mile North of the Ventura Freeway, 1 mile west of the San Diego Freeway.

Looks like a new Earth Day festival is coming to the area. Lots of special guests (see web page).

Lake Balboa is a very pretty park but a bit warm in the summer. It is also usually very busy on the weekends so this event will make it even busier. I would recommend parking somewhere else in the park and using the bike path to get to the lake. There is usually extra parking off of Woodley Avenue, by the driving range.


Our friend, Jo Ann, adds the following first person info on last years event...

We went to this last year (heard guest speakers actor Woody Harrelson and
author John Robbins "Diet For a New America" - both very informative about
ecology and nutrition) and tasted the various veggie treats and explored the
newfangled eco-inventions ... had a great time.

As with any outing, wear your hat, and your SPF 15, and maybe have a bottle
of water with you. We know some of the musicians coming to play and they're
awesome. The kids will enjoy Peter Alsop at the Kids' Tent on Sun. 11:45am.
Highly recommended!

Los Angeles Zoo - Earth Day -- Join the Los Angeles Zoo and radio station K-EARTH 101 for a very special Earth Day celebration that promises awareness, education, and entertainment for the whole family.

The two-day Earth Day Expo takes place Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at various locations throughout the Zoo. More than 30 organizations will have booths dispensing information and fun craft projects, and all activities are free with paid Zoo admission.

My-Cast -- Neighborhood-level Weather Forecasting

My-Cast allows me to get specific weather reports, radar and alerts for our walking tours in Palm Springs. It also keeps track of one of our favorite stop-overs in Idyllwild.

My favorite feature are the animated radar graphics with your location clearly marked. No you can make an intelligent guess if that storm is going to soak you or just dust you with drizzle.

From the site...

"The My-Cast Difference

My-Cast calculates weather forecasts eight times daily in four-mile sections across most metropolitan areas. Eleven-mile sections cover the rest of the U.S. By comparison, National Weather Service Forecasts update four times a day across 20-mile sections.

We offer weather forecasts precisely for your locations. Check back often for updates on how the weather will affect your plans and favorite outdoor activities.

My-Cast is available via the Web and personalized email updates."

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

TIME Tech: 50 Best Websites

As if you didn't spend enough time at the keyboard, here is Time Magazine's list of the TOP 50 web sites. Of course, any list such as this is obsolete the minute it is posted, so the site is also asking for your favorite sites that everyone should know about.

Warning: Lost productivity ahead

Via Fark.com

Gardening links from afar

I was checking my web referer logs today and came across this interesting site that was linking to a gardening column I wrote back in September 2000 on Guerrilla Gardening.

I love knowing the people around the world get a chance to read my writing, even if they speak a different language. You might be able to read the article in English here or, if that link doesn't work, you can visit the Babelfish translation engine at Altavista directly.

Court Overturns Book Store Order

Are bookstores like libraries? Possibly, now that this ruling has been issued. The Tattered Cover Bookstore is not required to turn over sales records to police who are trying to tie a suspect to drug-related books. Interesting ruling regardless of your opinion on the issue.

From Findlaw.com...

"DENVER (AP) - The Colorado Supreme Court refused to order a bookstore to turn over its sales records to police on Monday, overturning a lower court decision demanding the records as part of a drug investigation."

Monday, April 08, 2002

Spring is here and the roses are in bloom

"Bewitched" roses (named after the television show) line our front walk.

Click picture for full-size image. (~1 MB)

Technology as magic

Just when I think I am impressed with the state of today's technology I come across a link like this. This site contains several recordings produced my Thomas Edison between the years 1919 and 1926.

The quality of these recording, un-enhanced, is quite amazing. It must have seemed truly magical to the people of that era.

All files are available in either MP3 or RealPlayer format.

Via Metafilter

Cottages by the Sea, The Handmade Homes of Carmel, America's First Artist Community

Whether you have ever visited Carmel or not, this book is a wonderful introduction into its architectural and historical treasures or a way of bringing a bit of Carmel home with you. The wonderful pictures provide and overview of the vernacular architecture that gives Carmel its character. The text also provides some history of the town so you might better understand how the architecture grew out of the early townspeople rather than being dictated by some large developer.

More information on Carmel is available at:

Carmel By-The-Sea - Official City Website

Carmel Resource Guide

Google search on Carmel California

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Card Trick Central: #1 Site for Card Tricks, Card Tricks, and more Card Tricks

The name says it all. Ever wanted to amaze friends with your magical prowess? This is the place to get started. Clear directions and a little patter (that's magician lingo for talking) get you started. All it takes is a little practice and a little nerve.

Coffee Anyone?

This is to be the first in an irregular series on my favorite coffee places. While I must commend Starbucks for creating a corporate business out of what had been a very local phenomenon, I now make a point to search out local coffee businesses to patronize.

There are several reasons for this:

  • The overall quality of Starbucks stores has dropped significantly over the past year, becoming more like the "McDonald's" of coffee than the trendsetter it once was.

  • While the use of super-automatic espresso machines helps to set a certain level of quality throughout the chain, it removes any chance for a particular store to shine if they find the proper barrista talent.

  • Local coffee establishments, especially those that roast their own beans, can deliver a level of "freshness" in their coffee that Starbucks cannot possibly match. As I have learned over the past several months, fresh roasted coffee is a world apart from anything you will find in the grocery store. Even I was skeptical about just how different the quality could be, but one purchase at my local coffee roaster made the difference crystal clear.

  • Local stores, with small staffs, are more likely to get to to know you, and you them. This adds another dimension to your experience at any retail establishment. You begin to relate more closely to the staff and the other customers, creating a small community were you can feel very comfortable.

  • Finally, I love helping a local business thrive. It is such a pleasure to see someone who loves what they are doing succeed.

With that out of the way, let me tell you about the first coffee store I would recommend to anyone who asks.

The Coffee Roaster, Sherman Oaks, CA

13567 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

(818) 905-9719

Even though this store is less than 2 miles from my house and I have driven past it probably hundreds of times over the years, I had never stopped in. Finally, in response to a posting on the alt.coffee Usenet newsgroup, I checked it out.

The place was as anti-Starbucks as any place you might imagine. First and foremost, the coffee roaster has a prominent place, front and center, as you walk in the door. It is surrounded by bags and boxes of green coffee, awaiting roasting and roasted batches waiting to be shipped or sold in the store itself.

I happened to arrive at precisely the right time this day, as the owner was just starting to roast a batch. I had recently read about the intricacies of coffee roasting and was treated to a hands on primer. My son, Joe (4), and I watched the beans flow past the glass window, got to check the progress of the roast with a little scoop, listened to the first and second crack of the beans (it sounds like popcorn) and watched as the beans were dumped in the cooling tray with a whoosh.

This isn't really a place to come and hang out. The coffee bar is small, but functional, seating about 2 people. There are only 2 tables, once inside and one out. Even so, you will find people there throughout the day. The staff is friendly and efficient, equally adept at making a great Latte or bagging and ringing up your whole bean coffee purchase.

In fact, you should make sure you never leave The Coffee Roaster without something for your home machine. You will think that you have purchased a new (and more expensive) coffee maker. I was getting rather blase about my morning coffee, but once I tried these fresh roasted beans I became slightly obsessed. I started reading more and more about coffee, watching how it was made in the various stores I frequented, thinking about the taste like you would a nice glass of wine. My favorites are Milano, a custom blend that is used to make espresso in the store and Half and Half, which is also available in Decaf. Both make great espresso or drip coffee, whichever you prefer.

If you enjoy coffee at all, I highly recommend you check out The Coffee Roaster the next time you are in the neighborhood. You won't be disappointed. Heck, I may even join you!

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Time to set the clocks back? -- You Bet!

Ever wondered about the when, what and how of Daylight Savings Time? Here it is, directly from the US Naval Observatory.

Adobe Photoshop for OS X will be available via Amazon on April 20, 2002.

You can per-order today!

It will be great to finally have a native version since it is the choice of nearly evey power Mac user.

Paper Plate Education

"Serving the Universe on a Paper Plate"

Sites that serve up unique ways of explaining the world around us always catch my interest.

Activities include a portable sundial, constellation projector and how to turn a salad spinner into a zoetrope. An especially good resource for teachers.

Link via Yahoo

Friday, April 05, 2002

Are you gettting telephone calls from 954-623-4620? So have LOTS of other people!

It just so happened that I saw mention of this on MetaFilter on the day that I have received at least 2 hang-up calls with nothing but a few weird tones when I pick up the phone.

It seems AT&T has hired a telemarketing company to get people to switch to AT&T. Unfortunately, they are using the most annoying methods possible and, in some cases, refusing to honor DO NOT CALL requests.

Magical Macintosh Key Sequences

Ever wondered how to eject a disk from the drive on boot, close all the Finder windows with one click, how to force your Mac to boot from a CD. Here are your answers. Make your Mac do everything but sit up and beg!

From the site...

"This is a collection of the (poorly documented) key-sequences that do things. It's probably possible to find all this information within Apple's Knowledge Base, but it's currently scattered across multiple entries."

Via macintouch.com

Career-Op - Build a community

A high-tech career can be lonely. Whether youre working on some programming problem, installing gigabytes of software, updating web sites or trying to solve some intractable computer problem, it can often feel as if you are all alone, with no one to praise you, no one to help you and no one to watch your back. Spend enough hours in "heads down" mode, as I call it, and you can find yourself yearning for a little human interaction. There are ways, though, to help you stay focused on your career by developing your own personal support group.

Click the title above to read the entire column

Apple Security Update

Ok, Mac users, its time to run Software Update again. This update patches a bunch of UNIX system programs underlying OS X. It is always a good idea to install security patches as soon as possible so you don't run into any nasty surprises.

As an added bonus, there is also an update for iTunes (2.0.4) waiting in your Software Update.

Via Versiontracker.com

Thursday, April 04, 2002

A Gardener's Notebook

You can easily tell when Spring has arrived in our garden here in Van Nuys. The roses were nothing but "shorn sheep" after their heavy pruning in January, but now they are already large, healthy bushes bursting with buds. By the beginning of next week I expect to be in the middle of a "Rose Tide." when all the pink blooms peak at the same time. In a good year we get several such explosions, one always more welcome than the one before.

The purple roses in the back have already bloomed, but they are smaller, more scented and more delicate. They will bloom almost continuously during the summer. A few JFK and Mikado roses join the mix in the back garden, as well.

Joe and I potted up a bunch of cuttings from our garden and that of our friend, Jo Ann. She brought over an entire bag of ice plant cuttings taken during the cleanup of her garden. If I can get them to root I will use them to fill in some holes in the front beds. We also potted up several rosemary cuttings that will eventually turn into small topiaries. Finally, I took some ivy pieces and started them in hopes of covering our small wall made from recycled concrete. I am not sure which ivy it is, but it seems much less invasive than the typical English Ivy I hve seen in other yards in the neighborhood.

The bulbs are mostly done blooming at this point; their foliage flopped on the ground, soaking up the energy they will need for next years bloom. They look so untidy, but I refuse to spend the time braiding, twisting or otherwise cleaning up the mess. It requires too much time and energy. I will wait until the leaves brown and dry and then clean them up.

There is always more work to do, but I hope to fill out the plantings in the shade garden, now that the new soaker system is in place. This will make it much easier to maintain the area and insure that any new plants get off to a good start.

I realize that things happen a little more quickly out here in California, but I am sure you all will be back in your gardens before long.

Be well!

Los Encinos Grand Re-Opening

April 27, 2002

Los Encinos Park, heavily damaged in the Northridge earthquake is re-opening on April 27, 2002. A day of celebration is planned with music, dancing, living history and kid's activities.

This is a beautiful park, hidden, although it fronts right on Ventura Blvd. Just east of Balboa. There is a duck pond, the original adobe, the big house and more. We have been waiting for the park to re-open for quite some time.

Visit the park's web site for more information.


Photo: http://news.bbc.co.uk/

As the summer quickly approaches, especially here in Southern California, it is time for us all to be on our guard against wildfire.

Whether fires are intentionally set (a horrible crime) or natural in origin, quick detection can keep a small fire from turning into disaster. You can help by being prepared and being aware.

  • Program your cell phone with emergency and regular numbers for local agencies, including 911, police, fire, ranger stations, etc.
  • Report any suspicious or dangerous activity, no matter how small
  • Report any signs of smoke, campfires, illegal grills, smoking in prohibited areas, etc.

Working together we can help to prevent the types of fire damage we have seen in past years.

The Tehachapi Loop

My friend, Barb, passed on the following in my WelchEvents mailing list and I thought it would be interesting to the readers here, as well. My response follows.

"I saw that you listed Lancaster Poppy Festival around the 20th of April.....if anyone of your friends choose to go there have them drive a short distance further to Tehachapi to see The Tehachapi Loop. One of the seven wonders of the Railroad World. Up to 35 trains a day can pass through there so there's never a dull moment! :)


You just told everyone about it. (COOL) Rosanne I and checked it out one
day, driving back from Bakersfield.

Here is a link to information on the Historical Marker at the site.


And this Google search gives you more information than you ever wanted to
know about it.


tinywords.com: daily haiku

Want to bring a little serenity into your day? Try tiny words. There are days when I need a little haiku to help me put life in perspective. Imagine getting a 3 line poem while the boss is droning on about downsizing, rightsizing or whatever "sizing" it is today. How about a little haiku while you are trapped in traffic on the 405?

You can receive your haiku via email, SMS message to your cell phone or on your PDA. Now there is no reason not to get a little poetry into your life.

Dion's new CD crashing party for some users

Like we needed something else to crash our computers?!?!?

I understand the problems involved with copyright enforcemnent and stopping the piracy of music, but simply playing the music on a computer is a legitimate use of the CD. You can be sure that I will not buy any of these "locked" CDs. My computer crashes enough on its own, thank you very much.

Somewhat unsaid in the article, were the CD to crash the computer while you have other applications open, the chances of data loss are extremely high. I can see it now.

"Gee boss, I just wanted to play some music to relax while I worked on the Welch contract and I lost everything. That isn't a problem is it?"

From Yahoo news...

"Epic/Sony released "A New Day Has Come" embedded with Key2Audio copy protection in Germany and several other European countries. According to a spokeswoman for Sony Music Entertainment, it is clearly stated on the front of the booklet and on the back of the jewel box that the CD "will not play on a PC or a Mac" in the language of the country in which it is sold. Besides those notices, which the spokeswoman said were readable before purchase, the disc itself bears the same warning."

Brewery Art Walk 2002

We have attended this art walk several times over the last few years and always had a good time, even while toting Joe around in a baby carrier.

The Brewery contains and eclectic collection of artists from the deepest grunge to commercial photographers. The lofts themselves are as entertaining to see as the art inside.

Check it out. You won't be disappointed!

From the web site...

"Next ArtWalk:

April 20 and 21, 2002 11am to 6pm

Resident artists of the Brewery complex, and invited guest exhibitors throw open the doors of their studios to the public at this biannual arts event. The event is free of charge.

Space News Rare Planetary Traffic Jam Above

Look! Up in the sky! Even in Los Angles! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a....planet?

Several planets, actually. An amazing alignment of planets is happening over our heads right now and should be visible, even here in light-polluted Los Angeles.

From Cosmiverse.com...

"Comet Hale-Bopp dazzled us for weeks. The Perseid meteor shower thrilled us for one night. But the world hasn't seen anything like the planetary traffic jam that's going to occur the last week of April and the first two weeks in May!"

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

MPR's The Splendid Table

While were on the subject of food shows, here is another one of my favorites, but this one is on the radio. The Splendid Table is hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and includes a collection of stories and a variety of food topics. You can tune in live on your local public radio station or listen to the show (like I do) via the web.

The current episode includes a segement on where Chefs eat on their night off, the "vanilla ecstasy experience at Kopp's Custard," and how to find the perfect country ham.

Good Eats with Alton Brown Fan Page

You find all manner of odd things when you surf both web and television. Good Eats, a show that combines cooking, food science and fun is one of my television favorites. Forget West Wing or ER, I make a point to sit down and watch Alton cook up all sorts of fine food.

Brown's quirky style and playfulness really help to set the show above some other cooking fare. Recipes are given in full and great pains are taken to insure that you understand everything so you can replicate the food in your own kitchen.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

US Gasoline Price Watch

I was just thinking the other day that, as gas prices continue to rise, it would be great to have a web site that listed all the current gasoline prices for your area. I played around with a very simple database but a quick Google search turned up someone who has already put together an excellent site. You can even join up and be a price spotter for your area. If enough people updated the prices this information could be quite useful.

From the web site

"GasPriceWatch's US gasoline feature is the voice of consumers when it comes to American gasoline prices. We monitor gas prices across the country so you can get the best deal in your area. Search our database to find the lowest gas prices in your area. Prices are updated frequently by users like you. All Regular prices are per gallon in US dollars."


This site is one of the highlights of my day. Each morning a new word arrives in my Inbox, complete with pronunciation guide, definitions and usage examples. Each week's words are developed around a common theme so you learn words that you might never have come across in your daily life. Painless improvement of your vocabulary, one word at a time. Who could ask for anything more?

From the A-Word-A-Day web site...

"The music and magic of words -- that's what A.Word.A.Day (AWAD) is about.

We are a community of more than 500,000 linguaphiles in 210 countries. You too can subscribe.

Come, explore the world of words, share it with other wordlovers, and delight in the joy of words."

The Happy Fun Don't Buy Compaq Page

"The moral of this story is: if you feel like buying a Compaq notebook computer, go out and buy yourself a lump of clay SHAPED like a notebook computer. You'll get about as much use from the one as from the other?actually, now that I think of it, you can make the lump of clay into an attractive ashtray that you can give your Dad on Father's Day, which is more than I can say for the notebook computer.

I don't often offer bad reviews on anything -- books, computers, software -- but sometimes things are so bad that people feel they need to let others know. In that light I offer this link.

Mitch Wagner had such a bad experience with Compaq that he decided to share his experience on the web. Other readers are starting to chime in with their own horror stories as well.

Read the page for yourself and see what you think.

from WebSanDiego mailing list.

State (CA) Signals Intent to Regulate DSL

"A California Public Utilities Commission judge ruled late last week that the agency has the authority to weigh in on a range of issues involving the Internet access technology known as digital subscriber line service, or DSL, including the quality of service provided, how it is marketed and a provider's DSL business practices."

Way too long in coming, it is good to see someone paying attention to how important DSL and other broadband connections are becoming. It might be too much to wish, but hopefully this will forestall another Northpoint DSL disaster such as we experienced last year when the bankruptcy of one provider knocked many businesses off the net with no notice at all.

Via latimes.com

Monday, April 01, 2002

The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer
by Doron Swade, Viking, 2000

Working my way through this book at the moment. I knew a little about Babbage and the Difference Engine, but now I am getting the full story from beginning to end.

Quite a story, filled with the typical intrigues, financial problems and ultimate failure to complete the Engine.( I don't think I am giving away the ending since most tech folks know about this subject.) The first working Engine was completed in 1991 by the Science Museum, London.

Network Solutions Horror Stories

It seems Network Solutions is sending out notices to renew your domain names, even if you registered the name with a different registrar. Filling out the invoice and signing it actually ends up transferring the domain BACK to Network Solutions.

Look for the red highlighted text near the top of the linked page for the full info.

HandyShopper for Palm OS is a extremely neat and useful way to organize any sort of list you might need. It was originally designed for keeping grocery lists but has grown far beyond that.

I use it to create reusable checklists for software installations and configurations, packing lists for trips both large and small and, of course, groceries.

Handyshopper even has its own mailing list (over 2000 members) where you can discuss new ways to use the program with other, like-minded people.

Information via Versiontracker.com.

Hubble Resolves Expiration Date For Green Cheese Moon

Well, we all knew this to be true, didn't we?

MPR's The Writer's Almanac

Garrison Keillor gives a daily reading of happenings on this date in history and a poem. Where else can you go in America to hear someone read a poem everyday on nationwide radio.

I can never seem to catch this 5 minute piece on my local NPR station so I end up listening (and reading) the daily episodes (and archives) from the web.

Digital Sundials

Call me a geek...are you finished? These things are one of the coolest items I have come across lately. They are small AND expensive, but I love the combination of an ancient process with today's highest tech.

Get yours today! (and give it to me!)

If you've ever wondered how Google.com performs its search engine magic, this is the place to find out.

From Google.com...

"Building upon the breakthrough work of B. F. Skinner, Page and Brin reasoned that low cost pigeon clusters (PCs) could be used to compute the relative value of web pages faster than human editors or machine-based algorithms. And while Google has dozens of engineers working to improve every aspect of our service on a daily basis, PigeonRank continues to provide the basis for all of our web search tools."