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Friday, January 31, 2003


Apple iMovie/iPhoto Updates

Apple released two, huge updates today for it's iLife series of programs, iMovie, for video editing and iPhoto, for managing your digital photos. Both updates are available by running Software Update. This is available in your System Preferences under Mac OS X.

While it is great to see regular updates of these programs, the files are exceedingly large and almost require a broadband connection to the Internet, if you expect to download them in a reasonable amount of time.

(For more on the topic of the need for broadband Internet connection, see my column, Moving to Broadband)

iMovie 3.0.1 weighs in at a hefty 84.5 megabytes (MB) and iPhoto at 33.3 MB.

A detailed report of the new features and fixes these versions provide is available here.

Career Column

Career-Op: Long Memories

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Regardless of where you pursue your high-tech career, there are a number of pitfalls that can make your work more difficult and your career less secure. One of the most common of these pitfalls happens to be unreliable technology systems and the effect they have on your clients. Computer users have long memories, especially when it comes to technology that fails regularly and with sometimes damaging results. Even worse, they will remember, and often refuse to use, systems in the future, based on these bad first impressions.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

What I'm Reading...


Organizing from the Inside Out

| Audio Tape

I am listening to this book in the car between client visits. So far, there have been quite a few good hints and tricks.


Time Management from the Inside Out

Audio Tape


Benjamin McFadden and the Robot Babysitter.

My son pulled this off the shelf at the library and I found it quick fun. The illustrations are wonderful and the story is timeless, but with a fantasy twist.


Paths and Walkways: Simple Projects, Contemporary Designs


Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution


Writing a Book That Makes a Difference


Country Living Stylish Renovations


Instant Shakespeare: A Proven Technique for Actors, Directors, and Teachers


What Should I Do With My Life?

I just started this book but like it already. Instead of a grand list of questions, answers and recommendations, Po Bronson interviewed hundreds of people and let them tell their own stories about this grand question. I find myself reading one small section at a time and then digesting it for a while. There is so much to be found in these individual stories.

Audio Tape


Paper Illuminated: 15 Projects for Making Handcrafted Luminaria, Lanterns, Screens, Lamp Shades and Window Treatments


Travel Town Trains

Today was a "Daddy Day", so Joe and I headed out to Travel Town in Griffith Park. Joe always loves to climb on the old steam engines and I always seem to find something new to photograph.

Click on the picture above to see a few more shots from today.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

New Wheels, Less Money

We bought a new car over the weekend, a Honda Civic Gas/Electric Hybrid.

We regularly drive to Palm Springs to host our walking tours on the history, architecture and celebrities of the city. I also drive around the wide-ranging County of Los Angeles on my computer coaching. This regularly takes me to the west side of LA and Santa Monica and also out to Malibu. I can easily put several hundred miles per month on our vehicles.

The thought of being able to reduce our gas costs, while also cutting emissions led me to investigate hybrid vehicles. The Civic is probably one of the most "normal looking" of the currently available hybrids. Hybrids use a smaller, more efficient gasoline engine along with an electrical motor. Honda calls it Integrated Motor Assist. Under quick acceleration or hill-climbing, the electric motor engages and assists the gasoline motor. The Civic Hybrid has similar power to its normal, gasoline-only powered cousins.

With a couple of important exceptions, the car drives like a normal automobile. First, there is Auto Stop. When you come to complete stop, say at an intersection or traffic light, the gasoline motor stops completely. When you take your foot off the brake and touch the accelerator, the engine restarts, and you are on your way. Secondly, the Civic has regenerative braking, where the stopping energy generated buy the brakes is used to recharge the motor assist batteries.

The car never needs to be plugged into an outlet and doesn't require the cumbersome and expensive chargers to be installed in your home, or located near your office. The 12 gallon tank yields a theoretical 600 miles at the top MPG rating of 50 miles per gallon. This single-tank distance far surpasses other non-hybrid cars on the road today. City driving reduces the MPG to around 38 and using the air conditioning system full time lowers it farther. There is an economy mode that automatically stops the air conditioning whenever the Auto Stop engages.

Finally, since the Civic Hybrid is an Ultra-low Emission Vehicle (ULEV), the Federal Government is offering a $2000 tax credit. Unfortunately, hybrids can't take advantage of special carpool rules for a unaccompanied driver afforded to fully electric or natural gas-powered vehicles.

After only a week with the new car, I can say we are very pleased. Time will tell how much savings we can gain, but I believe that they will be significant.


Edward S. Curtis' North American Indian at The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress' American Memory program seeks to make major LOC collections available to the public via the Internet. These completely indexed and catalogued collections are a great resource for everyone, from the research scholar to the interest amatuer.

The Curtis collection consists of thousands of photographs of the various tribes of Native Americans. Curtis sought to record the remains of their cultures before they were nearly completed subsumed by contact with Anglo and Spanish explorers.

Monday, January 27, 2003


Portrait Painting Workshop

I have alwayws wanted to attend one of the Getty Workshops, but have never been able to put it together. Call soon for reservations if you are intereted. The classes fill up quickly. -- Douglas

From their web site...

Join instructors Zhenya Gershman and Guy Fish for this two-part, intermediate studio course on the art of portrait painting. Course explores the medium of water-soluble oil paint using traditional painting methods, with attention given to the anatomy and proportion of the face as well as capturing likeness using life models.

Course fee $55; students $40.

To register, call 310/440-7300. Limited to 25 participants;

Reservations available January 25. Museum Studios.

02/09/03 & 2/16/03 -- 1-5 pm

Sunday, January 26, 2003


California Visitor Guide

You can get your free copies of the 2003 California Visitor's Guide and Travel Planner and California Celebrations, a list of more than 1,200 events by calling 800-862-2543 or online at http://www.visitcalifornia.com

Friday, January 24, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: Security

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Of all the issues facing the high-tech careerist in the coming year, security, in all its forms, should be the top priority on everyone's list. I am not just talking about Internet firewalls, VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and encryption, though. While all these are important, security involves the entire company, not just a few pieces of computer equipment. As a high-tech careerist, it will be your responsibility to convey the importance of technology security to everyone. This is simple self-preservation. Regardless of who might be at fault, if security is breached at your company, you will quickly find that everyone will hold you responsible.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003


Van Gogh's Letters

Unabridged, Annotated and Searchable. Wow! Sometimes the web can still amaze you.


I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books (and movies) even though I am far outside the age range of their target market. Joe is just getting old enough now that I have started reading him the first book. We got him a Hogwart's Express train for Christmas, but only knows about Harry Potter from the television advertisements.

If you want to pre-order your copy of the latest Harry Potter book, you can pre-order from Amazon by clicking on the links below.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Boing Boing has some info on great bags for the "road warriors" among you. I personally like "The Pod" as much as he does. It would be a great way to carry around all the stuff that no longer fits in my current bag including digicam, batteries, phone and more.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003


I have really been on a Jazz kick recently, pulling CDs off the library rack nearly every time I visit. Of course, I visit the library 3-4 times a week, so I am never wanting for music choices. -- Douglas


Getz for Lovers


Django Reinhardt 1935-36


50 Fast Digital Photo Techniques


Mac OS X - Free Online Training Videos

For those of you wishing to learn a bit more about Mac OS X, here are some short (and free) videos that explain the Finder, System Preferences and more.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

What I'm Reading...

Garden Home City: Creating an Urban Haven
by Bonnie Trust Dahan


This is the latest book by Dahan. I enjoy here photos and writing as they provide many idea for bringing the garden inside your home, whether it is an old New England farm house or an apartment on the Upper West Side.

Her previous book, seen below, is also very good and has earned a place on my bookshelf for on-going reference.

Garden House: Bringing the Outdoors in


Digital Photographer's Handbook
by Tom Ang


I just started flipping through this book, but have already found several good tidbits. Ang covers not only photos taken with digital cameras, but also the use of scanners and photographic editing software. He gives some quick fixes for common photo problems such as tilted horizons, low contrast and busy backgrounds. Based on my initial look, this book would be a good fit for anyone who is interested in taking more than just the casual digital snapshot.


Studio City Library

Out on my travels yesterday I came across some interesting architectural shots at my nearby library. Even though the building is contemporary in design, the stark contrast of the white against the bright blue sky reminds me of the same effect provided by the white stucco of Spanish Colonial style buildings. It also reminds me a bit of photos I have seen of the Greek Islands.

Krispy Kreme Photo Essay

I also took advantage of a trip to the local Krispy Kreme donut store (where Joe loves to watch the donuts be made) to try my hand at a more photo-journalistic style of photography.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Computers/Palm OS

Agendus 6.0 for Palm OS

I have been happily using the Palm Databook replacement program for quite a while now. It was previously called ActionNames Databook.

One of the best features is the ability to tie a particular contact to a given to-do, call, or meeting item. This is something that the built-in Databook and Address programs can not do.

You can download a free trial version of the program. If you use your Palm for meeting and to-do management I highly recommend you give Agendus a try.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: High-tech Hybrids

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Reader letters over the last year have had me thinking about the exact definition of a high-tech career. Just a few years ago it would have been easier to describe. If you worked in high-tech you were either a programmer, in network management or tech support. Today, though, as technology has crept further and further into our everyday lives, high-tech workers might show up anywhere in a business, with titles not necessarily reflecting their high-tech work. These “hybrids” have combined their technical skills with other talents and created an entirely new group of high-tech workers. Even more, these new hybrid jobs might become the future of all high-tech work.


WebPics 2.5.3

The latest release of WebPics is now available from the companies web site. I highly recommend WebPics if you are trying to put your digital photos online. WebPics is easy and fast. I can process an entire folder of pictures and have them on my site in under 10 minutes. Check it out!

From the web site...

WebPics is easy. With no understanding of web page authoring, you can create a great web page for your digital pictures in minutes. And with some of the more advanced features in WebPics your web pages can be as sophisticated as you like.

WebPics is fun. It allows you to create great web pages from your digital pictures to share with your family and friends.

WebPics is free to download and use to determine whether it will be useful to you. If you decide that you want to keep it, I ask that you register your copy. The fee for registering WebPics is USD $16.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

What I'm Reading...


Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

This excellent book is exceeding large, but chock full of great information. Hockney has taken on a remarkable review of art history in an effort to locate if and how master painters of old utilized the "high-tech" of their time (camera obscura, camera lucida, lenses and mirrors) to produce their work.

The book is divided into 3 sections, The Visual Evidence, using numerous pieces of art to demonstrate how using the technologies effected painting as a whole; The Textual Evidence, which details contemporary written observations about the technologies and their use; and The Correspondence, which details Hockney's letters with other artists about his findings.


Soul of Nowhere: Traversing Grace in a Rugged Land

I highly enjoyed Child's previous book, The Secret Knowledge of Water and look forward to digging into this book.


Two Gardeners : Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence


Country Living Home Almanac: Maintaining Your House Month by Month


Intimate Home: Creating a Private World


CNN needs to go back to journalism school

At 10:29AM today CNN sent out the following "BREAKING NEWS" email alert,

"FBI investigating 35 vials missing from Texas Tech laboratory. City official says some vials contained bubonic plague."

Quite a fear-inspiring message, eh?

At 11:52AM, this email was sent,

"Missing vials in Texas that contained bubonic plague cultures are accounted for and there is no threat to public safety, authorities say."

This strikes me as the ultimate "Nevermind," from SNL's Emily Latella.

Rather than do the most basic research or investigation, CNN has decided to spew fear, uncertainty and doubt, like many of members of the media. CNN needs to send everyone back to journalism school so that they can figure out the difference between rumor and fact and stop spreading fear in the guide of "news."


Photo Fun in Franklin Canyon

Sunday 1/26 2pm

Franklin Canyon Ranch

An experienced photographer will help you find unique views and photo opportunities or just enjoy the peaceful, easy paced hike.

Reservations required

3 1 0 - 8 5 8 - 7 2 7 2 x 1 3 1. 2hrs WODOC

Monday, January 13, 2003


Get a free Entourage X training DVD from Avondale Media

If you are using Entourage X do manage your email or sync with your PDA then this video mightbe for you. You pay only the cost of shipping and handling, a $29.95 savings.

From the web site...

If you've purchased Microsoft® Entourage? X or Office v. X, now's the time to master your mail. "Entourage X: Beyond the Basics" is the latest instructional DVD from the Mac geeks at Avondale Media. In this 75-minute DVD, veteran Mac journalist Jim Heid shows how to tame a cluttered Inbox, automate Entourage, and much more.


Microsoft Office X 10.1.3 Update

You might see mention of this update in your web travels, but you really only need it if you are using Internation Versions of Office. The update fixes a few errors in the Italian and French versions, but offers no siginificant updates to the Office Suite.

Sunday, January 12, 2003


Family Days at the Norton Simon Museum


Family Days at the Norton Simon Museum introduces guests to the creative and imaginative works of the artists known as the Blue Four: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky and Klee.

This interactive tour will encourage children to explore and interpret the colorful portraits, landscapes and abstractions of these path-breaking modern artists. For ages 5 to 10 their families. 2 to 3 p.m.

Free with admission to the museum: $6 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for students with ID and patrons under 18

411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. 626-449-6840. (SGV) a.m.


116 North Robertson, Plaza A, Los Angeles. 310-358-2512. (WS)

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Events/Outdoors/Moonlight Hikes

Saturday 1/18 4:30pm

Franklin Canyon Ranch

Full Moon Hike

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

Saturday 1/18 7pm

Charmlee Wilderness Park

Full Moon Hike

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

Complete list of hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains

Friday, January 10, 2003

What I Am Reading, Listening and Watching...


The Lost Soul Companion: A Book of comfort and constructive advice for Black Sheep, Square Pegs, Struggling Artists and Other Free Spirits

Lost Soul Companion Web Site


Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity

| Audio Tape


Decorating Magic: 500 Clever Tricks With 50 easy-to-find items


Drawing Nature



Magnificat - Chanticleer


Ken Burns JAZZ Collection: Dave Brubeck


Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues



Roman Holiday (Special Collector's Edition)


Safari Update (v51)

Here is the update for Apple's new browser, Safari. You can find your current revision number by selecting About Safari, from the Safari menu.

Career Column

Career-Op: Get with the program

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Programming has never been an easy high-tech career path. Whether you are working in a corporate cube farm or on your own, the technical issues of programming languages, data architecture and accessibility issues are trouble enough, but the people issues can be even more challenging. If you are planning on striking off into the programming field, you would do well to consider the following issues.

Thursday, January 09, 2003


Safari Reader Notes from Macintouch.com

For all of you who downloaded the Safari browser from Apple in the last few days, here is a consolidated listing of issues, tip, hints and traps.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Computers/Windows XP/Support/Weird

A Ghost in your Machine

When I say weird, I mean weird.

A client called with a problem today. It seems that her computer had suddenly started typing out words on its own. Not garbage, mind you, but real English words. Whenever she was trying to type search terms into Google or write up a letter in MS Word, random words would appear.

Since it was complete words, that ruled out a stuck key on the keyboard. Hmmm...she had already run a virus scan with no results. It happened even if her Internet connection was off and unplugged from the wall jack.

"Curiouser and curiouser," said Alice.

Finally, I turned to my Oracle of last resort, Google. Search result #1 was this Lockergnome article from January 2002. You need to scroll down to the item "New Random Typing Virus?"

It seems that someone had seen this one before. A quick read of the item pointed me in the right direction. It seems that some Windows XP computers, both his and mine were from Dell, come with Speech Recognition enabled by default. The words being inserted were the computer's interpretations of whatever room noise happened to be occurring at time. Turning off the Speech Recognition function solved the problem.

This DELL tech note gives the specific steps to removing the Dictation services on their machines.

The easiest way to disable the feature is to run MS Word, Select the Tools Menu, and then uncheck the Speech item.

Once again, the Internet, and Google, comes through in a pinch.


If you haven't gotten Safari yet, get it!. The software is still BETA, so there might be a few bugs, but it is great pleasure to have a web browser worthy of OS X.

I don't have any benchmarks yet, but the perceived speed is much faster than Internet Explorer. Pages pop!

Available now from Apple.com.


Musical Circus Museum


Musical Circus is a two-part program sponsored by the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra offering children an opportunity to sample various orchestral instruments, then attend a special guest artist performance.

Today's event features the Los Angeles Flute Quartet, showcasing the many facets of this beloved instrument.

For ages 10 and under. 8:30 to 10 a.m.


Pasadena Civic Auditorium,

300 E. Green St., Pasadena. 626-793-7172. )SGV)

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Apple News from MacWorld

New software and new machines with lots of flash were announced at the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Check out the highlights over at Macintouch.com.

Monday, January 06, 2003


Garden Photos

A few shots from a bright and blustery day here in California. It is unseasonably warm today with a big Santa Ana wind pushing temperatures into the high 70's. I can't imagine what the plants think of this.


Apple iCal 1.0.2

It looks like Apple had to release a quick bug fix to thier newly updated iCal program. If you are using iCal it is probably a good idea to get this download as soon as possible.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Events/Birds & Whales

Descanso Gardens

Sunday Jan 12 - 8:00 AM

Learn the Birds of the Gardens

Descanso Gardens is a wonderful place to view the different varieties of birds that visit Southern California. Experts from the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society lead free, instructional bird walks every second and fourth Sunday of the month. Meet at 8 a.m. at the Center Circle.

Free Admission for early birders. The tours are led by Karen Johnson or Nancy Knode.

For more information call Karen at 818-790-1687 or email lv2bird@aol.com

Free With Garden Admission

Whale Fiesta 2003

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

New Date! January 12, 2003

Subscribe to the WelchEvents Mailing List

Saturday, January 04, 2003


Evening Birds

Saturday 1/11 4pm

Sooky Goldman Nature Ctr

Birds are very active in the evening. Join us for a casual sunset stroll. Bring binoculars. Beginning birders welcome. 2hrs WODOC

Friday, January 03, 2003


What should I do with my life?

This article by Po Bronson in this month's Fast Company magazine is an interesting read. Interesting enough, in fact, to put his book (of the same name) on reserve at my local library.

He makes some interesting points that I have experienced first hand. Even at my age, I find myself conflicted about what I really want to do with my life. Maybe this book can help me sort it out. One can always hope.


A Gardener's Notebook Reborn

The New Year is a good to for new beginnings, so I have re-invented my old column, A Gardener's Notebook, as a web log. A complete archive of all the past columns are also available.

AGN is designed to share gardening information as I face the challenges of managing my home garden. Please feel free to send in your questions and I will share my answers in the weblog.

What I'm Reading...


Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity

While I realize that no one book is going to solve any particular problem I am always on the lookout for books from which I can take away at least one lesson.

I recently checked this book out from my local library and I have been very impressed with how much it has helped. I am a pretty well organized person and don't let a lot of things slip through the cracks but I seem to suffer from "analysis paralysis" when faced with too many projects and too many steps to accomplish these projects. I just kind of sit and stew, unable to figure out what to do next. This book has helped me with that significantly by helping me identify the "Next Action" in any particular project, move towards completing that and then move onto the next action.

Allen also breaks down your work into discrete areas so that you can accomplish tasks in those odd moments between meetings and phone calls, instead of wondering what to do next. Check out this book when you get a chance. I think there is more than one good lesson that can be taken away

Audio CD

Audio Tape


At Home With Friends


Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs

Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Landscape


How to Live 365 Days a Year


Extreme Success: The 7-Part Program That...


I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking

I am a big fan of Alton Brown's show, Good Eats, on the Food Network. He has an irreverence that is refreshing, even while he conveys lots of information about cooking and food science. Like Brown, I like to know the "why" behind the "what" in all things in my life, even cooking.

Career Column

Career-Op: A New Chance

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Every time the calendar rolls around to a new year, it is your opportunity for a fresh start. While New Year’s resolutions are much ridiculed, the concept is still sound. Take the time to evaluate the past year and make plans for the next. You may not keep your resolutions, or plans may fall short of your expectations, but the power is in trying. Merely by reaching a little farther, reaching a little higher, you can bring new energy to your career and your life.

Thursday, January 02, 2003


Panaromas R Us?

This site posts a new 360 degree picture each week and they have a large selection of previous images, as well. These are some of the best QuickTime VR images (free download available) I have seen anywhere and really give you a sense of the place you are viewing. Be sure to check out the picture from Times Square on New Year's Eve.

Warning: this could be a real time waster. The pictures are gorgeous, but they are also fairly large. Consider this fair-warning for dial-up users.


Apple iCal & iSync Updates

Here is a New Year's present for you...fresh updates for Apple's iCal and iSync software.

If you are using either of these programs, this update is highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003


Sunset from Mount Washington

While attending a party today in Silver Lake, I was able to get these shots of this evenings beautiful sunset.

Enjoy! -- Douglas