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Friday, February 28, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: Knowing what to say

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Did you know that the computers at my local bank, and the entire Federal Reserve, were "crashed" by a virus a few weeks ago? Neither did I, until I was told just that by the teller at my local bank. Of course, the teller was wrong, but imagine the response a less tech-savvy patron might have upon hearing such news. It probably wouldnâ??t cause a "run" on the bank, but in this era of fear, uncertainty and doubt, such broad pronouncements about technology can cause big problems for your company and you.

Thursday, February 27, 2003


Los Angeles Gasoline Price Database

A perfect fit for the current gas price craziness.

Via LA Blogs


Art's A Trip

This sounds like a fun idea. Ride the LA Subway (yes, LA has a subway) and check out the art installed a various stations. We did something similar when the North Hollywood extension opened a few years ago. Docents lead the tours (about 2 hours in length) and the ride is FREE. Tours are held the first Saturday and Sunday of each month. Saturday's tours depart from Hollywood and Highland and Sunday tours start at Union Station.

PDF Document (764K)

From the MTA Web site...

"Recognizing that art can bring a touch of humanity to an often mundane
commute, Metro commissions artists to incorporate art into a wide array of
transportation projects. From bus stops to rail stations,
streetscapes to bus interiors, construction fences to poetry, art creates a
sense of place and engages transit riders."


Malibu Clouds and Sea

I got called down to Santa Monica for an emergency computer call today and had to take Joe with me, as this is our major "Daddy Day" of the week. Since we were already on that side of the hill, we headed off to Malibu to visit a few of our favorite spots, including Leo Carillo State Park.

The clouds and sun were amazing today. It was blustery, but we ended up taking a long walk on the beach, looked through some tide pools and then drove the mountain roads back home.

We caught some very nice pictures during our travels. Click on the photos or the link above to see a small gallery.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003


I came across this book in the March 2003 Country Living and it seemed a perfect gift for the "big kids" who love houses and gardens.


Great American Houses and Gardens


Los Encinos Living History Day

Click photo for more pictures

Last Sunday we attended one of the regular "Living History" Days held at Los Encinos State Historic Park in Encino. The docents have a great selection of displays with a working blacksmith, a fiddle player, old-fashioned games for the kids and even a cooking demonstration.

I took some time while we were there to paint 2 small watercolors of the old adobe and some gigantic beaver-tail (prickly-pear) cactus.

Saturday, February 22, 2003


Earthquake Info RSS Feed

Here is a great use for automated RSS/XML feeds, current earthquake info for California and Nevada. You can use a news aggregator like Amphetadesk or NetNewsWire to automatically update the information.

I went looking for this info today as there have been quake swarms in both the Bay Area and Southern California this morning. No big quakes, but information like this has always interested me.

Friday, February 21, 2003


Power Mac G4 Power Supply Exchange Program Announcement

Apple has announced a new replacement program to address the noise problems with Power Mac G4 (MIrrored Drive Doors) computers.

From Apple...

The Power Mac G4 Power Supply Exchange Program offers owners of Power Mac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors) computers the option of reducing the operating acoustic level of their computers by exchanging their original power supplies and system fans for new, quieter versions. Participation in the Power Supply Exchange Program is optional.

The Power Supply Exchange Program kit is available at no charge, with a shipping and handling fee of US$19.95 or equivalent local currency.

The kit contains the following items:

Power supply (360 W)

System fan

Allen key (2.5 mm)

Installation instructions

Prepaid return airbill and instructions for returning the original components to Apple

This program begins on February 21, 2003 and ends June 30, 2003.

For details, see https://depot.info.apple.com/generic/index.html .

Career Column

Career-Op: Routines, not ruts

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Over time one of the most troublesome parts of any high-tech career can be the routine that is a large part of any computer job. Day in and day out, you punch the same buttons, change the same tapes and answer the same support calls. You might think that routine is killing any affection you might have had for your job. In fact, if you use routine in an appropriate way, you will find that it can give you the freedom and flexibility to rise above the day-to-day humdrum realities of your job and reach for something more.

Thursday, February 20, 2003


Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Mac OS X 10.2.4

After installing the latest upgrade for Mac OS X (10.2.4), the specialized keys on my Logitech Cordless Navigator keyboard started acting strangely. Each key has a specialized function, such as starting iTunes, opening Email, adjusting the volume, etc. After the install, the buttons were performing the task designated for the button 1 or 2 spaces to the right. This made the specialized keys totally useless.

After an Internet search, and a search of Logitech's own web site, turned up nothing, I sent a support email. Today I received the response below and despite sounding a bit odd, it did indeed work.

From Logitech Support...

We apologize for the inconvenience you are having. We suggest taking the batteries out of the keyboard, use both hands and hold them over as many keys as possible for at least 5 minutes. If that does not correct the problem then try for a longer period of time. We have found on a rare occasion that setting a large book on the keys over night will correct it. This will remove the memory from the programmable keys. Put the batteries back in and re-connect keyboard by pushing the connect button on the receiver and then push the connect button on the bottom of the keyboard. Then reprogram the keys. If this does not fix the issue please uninstall the itouch software from add/remove programs in the control panel And reinstall it with minimum applications running.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Windows Media Player meets The Chipmunks

Well, not quite, but the problem was quite disconcerting.

A client called the other day and asked me why whenever they played a video in Windows Media Player, both the audio and video were sped up. After looking for various options related to playback speed, etc. I turned to my good friend. Google, for some assistance. Sure enough, I found the above discussion of the problem.

In my case, I ran Windows Update and found both an update for the PC's sound card and an update of Windows Media Player itself.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003


WebPics 2.5.4

Latest update for this great OS X-based web photo gallery application. I have used this exclusively to create quick galleries from my digital camera and highly recommend it.

Monday, February 17, 2003


Mac OS X Update closes Classic mode security hole

Here are the details on one serious security whole that is fixed by the recent Mac OS X 10.2.4 update (available from Apple.com or via Software Upate). The bug arises from an issue inside TruBlueEnvironment, a piece of software that controls the Classic box on OS X systems. Full details are available at the link above.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: Say Yes

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

When dealing with your clients in the high-tech world it is so much easier to say "No" than "Yes". I am pretty sure it has something to do with my years in corporate IS/MIS/IT departments, but, over the years, I have found myself becoming more and more of gatekeeper, determined to keep new technology from complicating my job and my client?s life. Despite whatever noble intentions I might have had, though, this year I am more determined to say "Yes" to my clients as often as possible.

Thursday, February 13, 2003


Mac OS X 10.2.4 Released

Apple's latest update for Mac OS X is now available using the built-in Software Update function of OS X. A detailed list of enhancements and changes is available at the link above.

I am downloading and installing as I type and I will let you know of any "gotcha's" involved in the installation.

You can also check Macintouch.com, as they usually have a special report regarding any major update such as this.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003


New release of Apple's Safari Browser

Apple continues to upgrade and improve on its new browser, Safari.

You can get this update via Software Update or download it from the link above.

From the release notes...

The Safari Update 2-12-03 improves the compatibility with popular web sites based on Safari user feedback, further improves the performance of loading web pages and Flash content, adds support for XML, increases standards conformance and delivers improved application stability. The update also enables access to web sites that offer self-signed security certificates.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003


Salton Sea Bird Festival and Refuge Centennial

Feb 14-17

Calipatria, CA

Celebrate the National Wildlife Refuge System's Centennial; bird walks, tours and seminars.


Monday, February 10, 2003

Events/Gallery Opening

Doing a demo

Last Friday I traveled to Palm Desert to do some demos of Photoshop and Painter at the Grand Opening of the Computerworks Digital Art Gallery. It was a great night and I had a wonderful time chatting with everyone about the neat things you can do with these programs.

I usually prefer traditional media to create my art; finding myself more comfortable with watercolor and pencil. That said, it was great to have a chance to use the Wacom tablet again. As the speed of computers has increased, the experience of creating digital art grows closer and closer to traditional methods.

The guests at the opening were very nice and quite interested in how the artwork was created and how the programs operated. I had many quick, but thoughtful conversations about the nature of digital art and how it relates to the rest of the art world.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Recent Garden Books

Over at my other web log, A Gardener's Notebook, I am doing a review of gardening holdings at the Los Angeles Public Library system. I believe it should give a fairly good impression of what might be available at other large libraries around the country and might even give you a few items to recommend to your own local librarian. Check it out!


Saying NO to Earthlink's Total Access 2003

According to this column by Robert X. Cringley, Earthlink promises that their new Total Access software will stop pop-up ads and spam. Unfortunately, the ads are replaced by ads from Earthlink and installing the software grants rights for Earthlink to install ANY software on your computer at ANY time in the future.

As a rule, I don't recommend installing the software provided by your Internet Service Provider. Both Windows and Macintosh come with everything necessary to get started on the Internet and additional software can be easily downloaded.

I guess the rule to remember now is, beware of ISP's bearing gifts.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Writers/Call for Submissions

Balanced Parenting

Balanced Parenting is a nonfiction anthology of stories by dual-career parents about how they manage to "balance" parenting, their relationship and work, while still maintaining some semblance of sanity. We are looking for true stories focusing on the joys and frustrations of parenting while working, as well as tips and tricks for keeping it all in balance. Stories should be about your experiences as a dual-parent, working couple and written in a style which is honest and open - the way you wish you could be with your friends, family and coworkers.

You can find a list of example topics at the Seal Press.

We welcome submissions from working couples of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, parents of both sexes and sexual orientations, married and unmarried couples who both work by choice or necessity. Both parents can work outside of the home, or at home, or one of each.

Balanced Parenting will be edited by writers and working mothers, Dawn Comer Jefferson and Rosanne Welch. Rosanne is a television writer and author of The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space. Dawn also writes for television and is a columnist for Africana.com, writing on issues of children, family and popular culture.

Essays should be between 2,000 and 3,000 words in length.

All articles should be submitted via email and must be both attached as a document in Microsoft Word format as well as pasted into the body of the email. Or you may submit hard copies to:

Balanced Parenting

5916 Vesper Avenue

Van Nuys, California 91411.

Previously printed articles will be considered.

Authors selected for inclusion in the anthology will receive two copies of the work direct from the publisher along with a small remuneration.

Balanced Parenting is scheduled for publication by Seal Press in March 2004.

Deadline for submission is April 11, 2003.

Career Column

Career-Op: Going with the flow

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

As much as you and your clients might dislike the fact, computers do not last forever. Even the fastest system will seem slow after a few years of operating system upgrades and growing software requirements. It is in your best interest, and of your clientâ??s, to insure that the computer systems under your care are keeping up with userâ??s needs, while still watching the bottom line. Learning to balance computer needs against financial concerns is an important part of any high-tech career.


Dell: It's Time Floppy Drives Go Way Of The Dodo

Funny, I wrote about this way back in 1992.

Good to see computer manufacturers finally catching up. (SMILE)


Spybot - Search & Destroy

As if there weren't enough computer viruses to worry about, there is another computer evil out there, messing with your system. These programs are usually disguised as helpful or neat utilities, but when you install them they collect information about your browsing habits, open doors to automatically install other potenially harmful programs or even re-direct your Internet dial-up to expensive 900 number connections.

I recently faced 2 machines that had been "infected" with a number of these problems. My friend, Sam, over at NightsNWeekends.com told me about Spybot and its ability to clean up a number of these programs. Spybot is free and easy to use. It won't catch everything that might be out there, but it is certainly worth your while to download and run it.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003


Cherry Trees at Lake Balboa

While they aren't blooming yet, the cherry trees at Lake Balboa in Encino, will soon be showing their vibrant and colors. Due to the recent warm temperatures, I expect to see blossoms within the next two weeks. The park is absolutely gorgeous during the bloom, and is almost unrecognizable to a regular visitor.

Click on the picture for some photos of the 2001 bloom.

There are also more pictuures here.



For those of you with an interest in art, this new web site caught my interest today. It has a ton of links to other art sits and feature stories of its own. Tune into the art world today with artdaily.com.

Saturday, February 01, 2003


Digital Art Gallery Opening - Palm Springs Area

It seems I know more and more people who regularly visit the Palm Springs area, so I thought I would pass on the following press release.

My sister, Denise, is opening a new art gallery in Palm Desert, dedicated to digitally created art.

The grand opening is this coming Friday. If you happen to be in the area, please stop by!

From the press release...


Digital Art is a subject foreign to most Americans; it requires explanation. Computerworks Art Gallery will explain the secrets and techniques of digital art through Live Demonstrations when they open the only Digital Art Gallery in the Coachella Valley Friday, February 7th from 6-9pm.

To most digital art presents itself as consumer merchandise-like posters. Fine digital art is different; it derives itself from the same aesthetic impulses that produce fine paintings, sculpture and architecture. There is no basic difference between fine art and fine digital art, only the tools used.

Profound appreciation of any art work requires time, thought and a developed taste. The aim of the Computerworks Art Gallery is to assist with that cultivation by offering a wide variety of magnificent images throughout the world and by examining the explicit and implicit dimensions of digitally created pieces through Live Gallery Demonstrations at their Grand Opening Friday, February 7th from 6-9pm. Food and Drinks will be served. The Gallery is located at 41-701 Corporate Way Suite #6 in Palm Desert next to The Art Place.

Come be the first to witness this revolutionary event.