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Saturday, March 15, 2003

Rainy Days

Rainy days, like today, are sometimes difficult. We are all so "go-go-go" in our daily lives, but today we had no need to go anywhere or do anything, and so we didn't. It actually took an effort to just stay home and just enjoy the sounds of the rain on the roof. I watched the squirrels raid the bird feeds, shaking the rain off their fur, and tried to take photos of the little birds that always take shelter under the patio during the heaviest rain. The next time it rains, take it as a sign. If you don't have to go anywhere, don't. Brew a pot of coffee or tea, grab a good book and put up your feet for a few hours. Now matter how busy you are, everyone needs some time to recharge their batteries.

I spent most of the day watching cartoons and playing with Joe and catching up on some reading, both books and online. We even took some time to set up our tent in the office. I was mainly doing it to check things out and make sure it was still usable. We haven't been camping since Joe was born, but now that he is 5 he seems to be interested in trying it out. He got a kick out of setting up the Thermorest pads and sleeping bags. I think as soon as the weather warms up a bit we will try and do our first overnight trip.

I even had time to make a real dinner this evening. I pulled out one of my favorite recipes from Mario Batali, a sausage ragu. I used penne instead of the gramigne called for in the recipe, but any short pasta seems to work well.


JPluck brings the web back to your Palm for Mac OS X users

When AvantGo first came out, a few years ago, I used it regularly to load various web pages directly into my Handspring Visor so I could read them while waiting in line at the Post Office, sitting in a Starbucks or a variety of other places. AvantGo never developed a version of their software for OS X, though., so I have been going without this feature for quite a long time.

Plucker is a free replacement for AvantGo, but it required a lot of fiddling to get it to work and used the Mac OS Terminal application, not exactly a good fit for our average user. Today, thought I happened across JPlucker, a Java application that runs on your Mac and uses a full GUI to easily let you select, download and convert web pages and then HotSync them to your Palm OS-based handheld.

The JPlucker setup can be a bit tricky, but if you decide you want to try it out, drop me a line and I can get you going.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: Out of Focus
by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Among everything else I do, I am also an amateur artist. As is often the case, something you learn in one area can often be useful in other aspects of your life. One useful technique I have learned from my art is squinting. When you are first looking at a scene you want to draw or paint, you purposely unfocus your vision in order to get an overall impression of the light and dark areas. Sometimes in order to see things more clearly, you have to get the big picture first.

Thursday, March 13, 2003


Cherry Blossoms at Lake Balboa

After reading some recent wildflower reports from the Poppy Reserve, I decided to postpone our trip to sometime later in the month. This gave Joe and I a chance to check out the cherry blossoms at Lake Balboa Park in Encino.

The trees are blooming, but they are not a their peak, yet. Still, they are quite beautiful and offer many opportunities for photos. When the bloom is at its height, though, it is like there is a great pink cloud floating over the lake.

The best surprise today was the large wisteria which are growing on trellises around the lake. Several were totally covered in white and purple flower spikes.

The lake was quite busy today, almost like a Saturday or Sunday. I spotted at least 3 painters and a television show was also filming today.

Try to visit the lake over the next few weeks. The bloom should increase dramatically. You can tell the end is approaching when leaves begin to emerge.

Lake Balboa

(818) 756-9743

Balboa Boulevard, south of Victory Blvd., Encino

Encino 26 acre lake. Rent a paddle boat to explore the beautiful lake or spend the day fishing from the shore... the lake is stocked regularly by the Department of Fish and Game.

Monday, March 10, 2003


Museum of Musical Instruments

My friend, Jo Ann, forwarded information on this neat virtual museum. Learn about the history of musical instruments and the people that have played them.


Apple Updates Java for Mac OS XApple Updates Java for Mac OS X

I am hoping that this update significantly speeds Java programs. Even the simplest Java applications run very slow under Mac OS and it dimishes the quality of your web browsing experience.

From Apple.com...

Apple takes Java to the next level with the latest, certified release of the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition, version 1.4.1 for Mac OS X. This release delivers hundreds of new features, performance improvements and unique benefits by tightly integrating Java even more closely with key technologies of Mac OS X. Still the only high-volume desktop operating system to ship with Java 2, Mac OS X is emerging as the best place to develop and deploy your applications.