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Saturday, August 17, 2002

Career Column

Career-Op: Announcements
by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine
While it may not seem that way at times, you all have lives outside of your career. In fact, there are events in your lives that often impact your ability to do your work. When these events intersect with your work life, it can be extremely stressful. You might be worrying about losing your job or you might be feeling guilty for disappointing your boss or co-workers.. Regardless, everyone requires time away from work to handle these large steps in their lives and you should never have to worry about taking the time for yourself when you need it.


What I'm Reading...

Tools: A Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia

Working in Wood: The Illustrated Manual...

Waiting for the Weekend




Aug. 24, 2002 - Jan. 12, 2003


Getty Gallery Fifth & Flower Streets
Downtown Los Angeles

Antique and contemporary interactive books from the world-renowned collection of Waldo Hunt featuring a 16th century Italian astronomy book, a copy of the world's best-selling pop-up"Haunted House" by Jan Pienkowski, and a pop-up by Andy Warhol.

Sponsored by Organized in partnership by the Los Angeles Public Library, Waldo Hunt Children's Museum, and Intervisual Books, Inc. Presented by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. To support the Los Angeles Public Library call (213) 228-7500 or visit www.lfla.org.

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Saturday, 8/24 6pm

Rocky Oaks

Creatures of the Night

Visit the meadows, oak woodlands and chaparral on this twilight hike as the creatures of the day make way for the creatures of the night. 1.5hrs NPS

Friday, August 16, 2002


All Consuming

I happened upon this site when I saw that someone had linked to My Word. It is an interesting idea. Basically, the site scans other blogs for mention of books and then aggregates the information. Quite a neat way of seeing which books are catching people's fancy.

From the site...

This page is the result of several different processes. Inspired by Book Watch, I created a script that visits newly updated weblogs hourly via Weblogs.com. It then looks for links to Amazon.com items and saves them. I then aggregate all that information together to find the most frequently mentioned books. My scoring mechanism is weighted to favor recently mentioned books, so that the list remains fresh, and offers new insight into what the weblog community is reading.



The Babbo Cookbook

I began watching Mario Batali's show, Molto Mario on the Food Network before we took our trip to Europe a few years ago. After visiting Italy for the first time, I enjoyed the show even more. Batali blends his love for Italian food with his love of the Italian people and teaches you a bit about its culture, as well.

While the recipes from his show are more on the traditional side, there are several dishes from this cookbook that I want to try. These dishes were created for his restaurant, Babbo, and follow his plan of taking traditional dishes and adding one special or unique ingredient to make something special.

Batali also hosts another show on the Food network, Mario Eats Italy, where he travels through the country, introduces you to the traditional methods of Italy and then cooks dishes based around a central theme. In one show he visited a company making Parmaggiano-Reggiano Cheese while in another he visited Modena and its famous Balsamic Vinegar makers.

We have relatives coming in from Sicily this week, so it will be interesting to get their take on "Mario" and maybe cook up some meals to remind them of home.

Computers/Mac & Palm

Mactopia: Office X: Handheld synchronization

It looks like Microsoft will be giving a second try to their Palm Sync for MS Office X after the first version was found ot have some major problems. Here is the info from the MS web site.

A Microsoft Entourage synchronization conduit for Palm handheld devices is not included in Microsoft Office?v.?X. Development of this conduit is currently underway, and it will be released as a free download on Mactopia by the end of August. English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish versions will be available. To make sure you are notified when the conduit is available, subscribe to the Mactopia newsletter, or check back on this site for updates. Learn more about Palm by visiting their Web site.

Thursday, August 15, 2002


Apple Xserve Setup

Today, I had the opportunity to set up one of Apple‚??s new Xserve file servers running OS X server. It was a whirlwind setup, as the client needed it in place before heading off on family leave. In just a few hours I was able to migrate off of one server and onto the Xserve.

Firstly, I was impressed. The installation went smoothly. Apple has done a very good job of putting this unit together so that your average computer geek can set it up in about 30 minutes to an hour. The machine is notably faster than the existing PowerMac G4 server. Call me an old-timer, but I also like the status lights on the front of the unit. I like knowing the status of the machine at a glance.

The unit is much larger than I thought it would be. The photos I had seen only showed the cool front panel display, so I never got a feeling of what the rest of it might look like. While the unit is only 1U high (about 3‚??) it is almost 3 feet long! It runs the entire length of the rack. My client had already installed the unit in the rack, so I didn‚??t have to worry about that, although he did say it was a bit cumbersome. I actually had to pull the unit out of the rack in order to jot down a serial number needed for setting up the software. (I later realized that I could have gotten the number off the outside of shipping box. Oh well, live and learn.) The unit is cumbersome to remove and re-insert into the rack, but hopefully you won‚??t be doing that very often.

I can agree with all the other reports I have heard about the unit...IT IS LOUD! The fan noise is quite prominent and would quickly annoy you if you sat in the room too long. This is definitely not a server you can stash in a bread rack or other open installation if there are people nearby.

If you don‚??t plan on using RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) you can start using the system right out of the box. If you do want to use RAID, you need to reformat the drives, setup the RAID and install the Mac OS Server software again. Something that Apple doesn‚??t make very clear in their documentation. (See below)

To setup the Xserve, you run the Server Assistant Program, either remotely or locally, supply the necessary network information and start adding users. The included Server Admin and Server Monitor applications are solid and allow you to do almost all setup and management remotely if you wish. Our unit will be managed remotely almost exclusively.

If you are planning on configuring the Xserve remotely, I came across a tech note that recommends connecting the Ethernet cable to the built-in Ethernet port. Otherwise, Server Assistant might not find it on the network. This seemed to be the case with our unit.

There is also a problem with the Server Monitor if you are running in an environment without DNS services. This tech note will explain the issue and help you to correct it.

We wanted to make a RAID mirror out of the 2-120GB drives we had installed. This required attaching a monitor and keyboard (as far as I know) and booting from CD-ROM. Once the CD has loaded, you can run the Disk Utility program to create the RAID. With that completed, you can run the Mac OS X Server Installer to install the default configuration. All told, it only took about 1 hour to restore the unit to working condition.

Since I was migrating from an existing PowerMac G4 Server , running Appleshare IP 6.3, I was pleased to find the ASIP 6.3 Migration tool in /Applications/Utilities. After logging into the existing server using and Administrator-level account, the migration tool was able to read the existing Users & Groups Data file and recreate the user structure on the new server.

Once the users were in place, I copied all the existing data to the new server, set the privileges so users could see their data and (after a few minutes of testing) made the server accessible to all the users. Despite a few small cosmetic changes, their access to the server is much as it was before. They have little to no indication that the server has changed, except that it seems much faster than before.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive review of the Xserve unit, only a quick note on how our, rather typical, installation proceeded. I had no previous experience with the Xserve, but using the manuals and provided software, I was able to proceed with the setup with little trouble. As I spend more time with this unit I will pass on any other info that might be useful.


Full Moon Walks

Here are a few events coming up during this month's full moon.

Thursday, 8/22 8pm

Coldwater Canyon Park

TreePeople's Full Moon Hike

Explore Coldwater Canyon Park at night during this popular docent-led hike. After hiking the trails and viewing the valley lights below, enjoy a taste of entertainment in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Amphitheatre. Reservations required 8 1 8 - 6 2 3 - 4 8 6 6. 1hr TP

Thursday, 8/22 7:30pm

Charmlee Wilderness Park

Full Moon Hike

An evening hike through the park under a full moon. All ages welcome. Reservations required 3 1 0 - 3 1 7 - 1 3 6 4. 2hrs CWP

Thursday, 8/22 6:30pm

Franklin Canyon Ranch

Nearly Full Moon Hike

Explore the canyon by moonlight on a moderately strenuous hike. Look and listen for nocturnal wildlife and enjoy a spectacular view of the city from atop the canyon. 2hrs WODOC

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Tuesday, August 13, 2002


Free People Read Freely -- Support Banned Books Week


GeekSounds -- Neat alert tones for your Palm

This easy-to-install collection includes theme songs from TV shows and movies and a host of other cool sounds. Dress up your Palm alarms today!

Via Versiontracker.com

Monday, August 12, 2002


From the Autry Museum Web Site...

Charreada Family Festival


Charreada Family Festival at The Autry Museum of Western Heritage. Experience the excitement of charreada, or Mexican rodeo, preceded by the charreria tradition of hearing the charro anthem and watching a Jarabe Tapatio dance by the Fiesta dancers. Charro teams will demonstrate skills such as roping cattle and jumping from one‚??s horse to a wild mare. The escaramuza (women equestrian) teams will perform amazing and daring maneuvers while riding sidesaddle in their colorful dresses.

Also enjoy music, folklorico dances and children‚??s activities For all ages. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Festival will be held on the South Lawn and is Free (not including museum admission.) Museum admission is $7.50 adults, $5 students and seniors, $3 children. Free: 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays. Located in Griffith Park across from the L.A. Zoo. 323-667-2000.

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Sunday, August 11, 2002


Why is software so bad (and how to fix it)
by Charles C. Mann
Technology Review, July/August 2002

(Online access includes only the introduction for non-subscribers)

This article provides some interesting insight into software flaws and ways in which they might be prevented. I have often written about the necessity for better programming because of technology's increasing intimacy in our lives. More and more, technology manages important aspects of our lives. Software flaws could be (and have already been) life threatening.

One of the article's conclusions seems to be that software companies need to clean up their act or they face massive litigation or governmental regulation. Check out a print copy at your local library or bookstore.

I picked up a copy of Technology Review in an on-going effort to buy magazines I have never read before. Next time you go to the news stand, pick up 3 titles that interest you, but you have never read. I have been pleasantly surprised with all my recent finds. It is a great way to expand your horizons and expose yourself to new viewpoints and information. -- Douglas