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Saturday, May 11, 2002

Annual Van Nuys Community Safety and Information Fair re-cap

Quite a busy day today as we walked up to the Civic Center in Van Nuys today for this annual event. We have been in previous years, but this time it seemed bigger. There were many more organizations than usual offering information on a variety of topics.

The DWP had a neat miniature display which they used to explain the dangers of electrical systems in your neighborhood. The LAPD Racing Team had their vehicle on display. They work to move illegal street racers over to a legal and safe environment on local drag strips. Joe had a great time and got a free bicycle helmet after he attended a safety town walk-through with Safety Bill. It was quite informative and will help him to remember the safety rules as we continue to bike around the neighborhood. The LAPD K-9 officers were there as were a host of LAPD Explorers, a scout troupe focused on police work and community service. The LAPD Band also regaled us with march tunes. Local dance groups and Tae-Kwon-Do schools were also offering demonstrations.

I think that events like this are a great way to stay informed about your community. I found out about several new events and improvement programs. Joe also gets a chance to interact with fire fighters and police officers in a friendly, non-threatening environment.

Get out into your community whenever you get a chance. You might be surprised at what you find.

A few pictures...

Credit Info Opt-Out Email

I recently received the message below from my CPA. While this is NOT A SCAM, the phone number listed below does have a very limited use. The link above takes you to a web page that explains the confusing situation. As with all email notices like this, check them out before you reply. This email could have been a scam to harvest Social Security numbers from unsuspecting people.

Here is a quick bit of info from the web site...

"It's important to note that this toll-free number has a limited purpose,. It is simply to enable consumers to opt-out of receiving pre-approved offers of credit. Nothing more."

The original email...

Just wanted to let everyone know who hasn't already heard, the four major credit bureaus in the US will be allowed, starting July 1, to release your credit info, mailing addresses, phone numbers ..... to anyone who requests it. If you would like to 'opt out' of this release of info, you can call 1-888-567-8688. It only takes a couple of minutes to do, and you can take care of anyone else in the household while making only one call, you'll just need to know their social security number. Be sure to listen closely, the first opt out is only for two years, make sure you wait until they prompt you to press '3' on your keypad to opt out for good.
Even more information is available from this Google Search.

Perfect for a Saturday Morning

This site features an amazing collection of Flash games. What makes them so different from other games you may have encountered is their beautiful artwork, soothing music and gentle ideas.

Help a little girl jump to collection stars, catch bumblebees inside of soap bubbles or help a kitten and puppy collect treats using a see-saw. There are a few fighting games among these, so you may want to reserve those for your own game-playing time. I am still discovering all the games that are available. I found the Pirate Ship game to be especially fascinating.

This is such a pleasant change from the "shoot-em-up" games you usually find. Most of these are games you won't mind watching your children play.

The Homestead Museum - Ticket to the 20's


I always love it when I find out about a place I have never heard of before. The Homestead Museum sounds like a neat place to visit at any time of the year, but this month brings a "Ticket to the 20's."

From the site...

The Homestead Museum transports visitors to the roaring 1920s during a fair, featuring music, dancing, historic tours, living history actors, crafts, contests and food. For all ages. 1 to 5 p.m. Free. 15415 E. Don Julian Road, City of Industry. 626-968-8492.

Museums of the Arroyo Day

May 19, 2002
Pasadena, CA

This sounds like a "way cool" day and a great way to check out 5 of the San Gabriel Valley's best museums. It looks like we may have to miss it for other commitment, but I want to be there if at all possible. From the site...

"Experience life in the past lane during Museums of the Arroyo Day, offering a peek into five local museums: The Gamble House, Heritage Square Museum, the Lummis Home and Garden, the Pasadena Historical Museum and the Southwest Museum. Activities include music, turn-of-the-century fashions, games and crafts for all ages. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission and transportation to the museums. 213-740-8687."

Celebrate World Trade Week - San Pedro/Port of Los Angeles
May 18, 2002

Celebrate World Trade Week with a boat tour of the Port of Los Angeles. All ages are invited to view the 7,500-acre port. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and May 19. Free. Boats depart from Berths 77, 78 and 79 in Port O' Call, San Pedro. Call for locations. 800-831-7678.

Europa Festival 2002 is also happening this same weekend.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Career-Op: Lessons
by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

As I write I am listening to the news. Arthur Andersen, mired in its relationship with Enron, has just announced that it will lay off around 7,000 employees. While the case against Andersen, Enron and others will take years to sort out, the effect on employees at the companies is quick, painful and, I hope, instructive. Sometimes, the best thing you can do with a bad situation is learn all you can from it.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Sunset over Mount San Jacinto, California

Click for larger version - (388k)

Taken November 22, 2001, Palm Desert, California

My sister lives in Palm Desert and this shot was taken from her back yard. We traditionally spend Thanksgiving in the desert. Sometimes it rains in the valley and snows on the mountain, but last year the weather was nearly perfect. We had our turkey and stuffing on the patio and then were treated to this amazing sunset.

Yet another MS security hole!

Is everyone as sick and tired of Microsoft generated security holes as I am. Like the Flash security problem mentioned earlier this week, the flaw is ActiveX, Microsoft's attempt to circumvent Java.

I admit it is a pipe dream, but I would love to start sending a bill to Microsoft every time I have to install a security update, work around a bug or help one of my customers do their work in spite of their Microsoft software. Something has got to change. Companies, both large and small, are being eaten alive by the support costs associated with MS software. From Infoworld.com...

A SECURITY HOLE deemed "critical" by Microsoft could allow an attacker to run code of their choice on a vulnerable PC by exploiting a problem in Microsoft's MSN Chat, MSN Messenger and Exchange Instant Messenger products, Microsoft said in a security alert Wednesday. The company has patched the vulnerability.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Symantec offers W32.Klez Removal Tool

If you have been infected by the nasty W32. Klez Virus/Worm, it can be a big pain to clean it up. Symantec has offered a tool to automate the cleanup, though. There are several steps you need to follow to insure that you are free from infection, but everything is explained in the documents on Symantec's site.

Above all, this a great reminder to make sure you purchase, install and UPDATE your virus software on a regular basis. This is one of the most important maintenance tasks to perform on your computer.

Here is the info direct from Symantec...

Symantec has provided a tool to remove infections of W32.Klez.E@mm, W32.Klez.H@mm, W32.ElKern.3587, and W32.ElKern.4926.

An online demonstration on how to download and run the tool is available with audio and without audio.

Note on W32.Klez.gen@mm detections:
W32.Klez.gen@mm is a generic detection that detects variants of W32.Klez. Computers that are infected with W32.Klez.gen@mm have most likely been exposed to either W32.Klez.E@mm or W32.Klez.H@mm. If your computer is detected as infected with W32.Klez.gen@mm, download and run the tool. In most case, the tool will be able to remove the infection.

What the tool does
The W32.Klez Removal Tool does the following:
  • It terminates all processes that are associated with W32.Klez.E@mm, W32.Klez.H@mm, W32.ElKern.3587, and W32.ElKern.4926.
  • It deletes the W32.Klez.E@mm and W32.Klez.H@mm service(s).
  • It removes the registry entries that were created by W32.Klez.E@mm and W32.Klez.H@mm.
  • It detects all types of W32.Klez.E@mm, W32.Klez.H@mm, W32.ElKern.3587, and W32.ElKern.4926 infections, and repairs files that can be repaired.

    NOTE: A file that is infected with W32.Klez.E@mm or W32.Klez.H@mm includes a link to the encrypted host file. If the encrypted file does not exist at that link, the tool deletes the infected file because it is not repairable, and the encrypted file will not be restored.
    The W32.ElKern.3587 and W32.ElKern.4926 repair removes the viral code from the file. It does not ensure that a file that is repaired from W32.ElKern will run because this virus often corrupts files.

Apple iPhoto 1.1.1 Released

After a little hiccup with the 1.1 release, which was offered and then withdrawn, here is the latest version of Apple's iPhoto software.

iPhoto offers you an easy way to download, store, search and manipulate your digital photos. In fact, I just used it to create a Mother's Day book with my son and it turned out very well. We were able to look back through hundreds of photos, choose the ones we wanted, lay them out in a Storybook template and print them on glossy photo paper. The end result looked very nice.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Print Center Repair

Mac OS X is still getting some of the kinks worked out. Here is a great utility for solving a variety of issues with the OS X Print Center.

From the author...

Print Center Repair is designed to fix situations where Print Center will not open, and a majority of -108 errors. The Print Center Repair application closely follows some of the procedures outlined by Apple Computer Inc. in the AppleCare Knowledge Base and was designed to make the process easier for novice and expert users alike.

Via VersionTracker

Country Garden Fair

Sepulveda Garden Center
16633 Magnolia Bl
Encino, CA

Phone Number
(818) 784-5180

May 18, 2002 to May 19, 2002

Additional Information

A wide variety of plants and seeds for sale, display gardens, gardening information, access to local garden clubs and plant societies, bonsai show, country craft sales, children's activities petting zo, live country music, clog dancing, food and more.

This excellent resource for Palm OS PDA users is available in a number of formats. I get it via email, but you can also access it via the web or in Palm DOC format.

Monday, May 06, 2002

MacCentral's got the skinny on new features to be included in Mac OS X 10.2, coming later this summer. It sounds pretty neat.

Wired has some info, too.

Via ChrisRuzin.net

Natural History of the @ Sign

When we were in Italy, one point of education was the names Italian speakers use for Internet terms. i.e. Dot (.) = punto. I could never remember what they called the @ sign, though. This site came to my aid.

(It is "chiocciola" pronounced "kee-AH-cho-la" , BTW)

Find out how non-English speakers across the globe have included Internet-speak into their native tongues.

Via MetaFilter

New AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) for OS X

Finally, an update for the OS X version. I have been missing my smilies!

New/updated features...

* New Dock Menu
* New AIM Contextual Menu (CM) plugin
* New Bot Artwork
* New Smart Connection Prefs
* Application Icon Bouncing Preference
* Direct IM Support
* New Artwork
* New Away Options
* Smileys!
* New Font Prefs for incoming IMs and Chats

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Hart Park Animal Fair

We attended this event last year with our friends, Mitch and Linda. All of us had a grand time. Joe was able to pet a 12 foot long snake, slide down a huge (for him) inflatable slide and meet animal actors of all types.

Hart Park is also a great place to visit any day of the year.


Sunday May 19th, 2002
Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Contact: Norman Phillips
Phone: (661) 222-7657


William S. Hart Park
24151 San Fernando Rd
Newhall, CA 91321



Be sure to show up at this exciting event! Come see Movie & TV Animal Actors, Wild & Exotic Animals and other free entertainment. The events will include the Frisbee Dog Challenge, pony rides and more. Food and Drinks will be available.