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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Wi-Fi Hotspot

Just by accident, today I found a Wi-Fi Internet connection right next to theplace where my son is taking the first of several art lessons.

If you happen to be in the Sherman Oaks area, Cleo and Cucci, an upscale coffee bar and cafe in the Westfield Fashion Square (formerly the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square) is a Wi-Fi hostpot. They are located on the first floor in the south side of the mall (the side closest to the parking structure.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003


Design Dont's

If you, or someone you know, is studying design, this is a definite "must-see." It makes you wonder how someone could make such basic mistakes -- and how they could go unnoticed throughout the design process.

Via Metafilter


Apple iTunes 4 with Music Store

In case you have been living in an unconnected cave (SMILE), Apple has announced a new version of their iTunes music player and a new online store that allows you to by individual songs for $.99 each.

From the Apple.com web site...

iTunes lets you create your own personal digital music library, allowing you to manage and play your music collection with drag-and-drop simplicity. iTunes 4 adds the ability to share music among your Macs, play and encode AAC files, and view album art. iTunes 4 is available for Mac OS X only.



They Have a Word for It
: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases

I love languages. Each one has their own words and phrases that are entirely untranslatable without several sentences of explanation. As I have learned Italian over the last few years (in order to converse with my wife's relatives) I have found certain phrases in English that just don't translate into Italian directly. Now the tables are turned, as this book provides me with some Italian phrases that have a much deep meaning than might be imagined.

The author, Howard Rheingold, has collected words for a lot of different languages, including Chinese, Hindi, Italian, French and even Hawaiian. In fact, one of my favorites comes from that language -- ho'oponopono (HO-OH-poh-no-poh-no). It means "solving a problem by talking it out", something that I do on a regular basis (even if I am only talking to myself!)

Italian gives us attaccabottoni ("a doleful bore who buttonholes people and tells sad, pointless tales.") I have run into a few of these in my life, so it is nice to have a new word with which to reference them. (SMILE)

Each time I flip through the book I find more and more interesting words. Rheingold encourages you to start using the words in your vocabulary and I think I just might try. That way, the next time a friend bangs his or her thumb with a hammer you can reply "uffda", a Swedish "word of sympathy, used when someone else is in pain."

Monday, April 28, 2003


I am always looking for little fun things to add to my Mac. Icons are one of the easiest ways to dress up your desktop. Check out this collection of 50 odd icons based around pop culture.

Pixel : Pop 1.0 debuts; 50 pop culture icons for Mac OS X
Pixel : Pop is a vibrant set of 50 icons that take elements from popular culture and transforms them into 128x128 icons. From apps to the obscure, these icons are bound to find a place on your hard drive! form widget:widget. Get them here. [MacDailyNews]


A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Trans Atlantic Cable

In today's world of instant communications, it is hard to fathom a time when news took weeks or months to travel across the Atlantic Ocean. This is the story of the band of business men who conquered the depths and brought near-instantaneous communication to America.

I am a non-fiction junky, so when I saw this book at the library I had to pick it up. It was a quick read, about 2-3 days overall. Books like this just seem to pull me through them. I find myself reading over lunch, dinner and even well into the early morning hours.

Saturday, April 26, 2003



American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America's Back Roads

WARNING: Before you sit down to read this book, go out to your favorite bakery and buy 2-3 pieces of pie. I can guarantee that you will be glad you did before you even finish the first chapter.

Coming from a small town, I really enjoy stories about real people from the parts of the country most people describe as "the flyover states." It can be amazing what you discover when you ask a simple question, "where can we find some good pie around here?" The author and her companions discover a lot about people, America, and, of course, pie.


Fullerton Rail Days

Saturday, May 3rd, 9a-6p

Sunday, May 4th, 9am-5pm.

Where: In the Metrolink parking lot adjacent to the Amtrak / Metrolink Station at the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot in Fullerton, California 92832

We are planning on visiting on Saturday, May 4 and taking Amtrak from Van Nuys to Fullerton. Amtrak is running a special right now:

1 person full price, 2nd person half price, 3rd person free

AAA also offers discounts at all times.

If you want to go together on the train, or meet us there, drop me a line. I haven't booked the tickets yet but it looks like we would be taking these trains:

768 Van Nuys-Amtrak/Metrolink Fullerton 05/03/03 8:48am 05/03/03 10:12am

785 Fullerton Van Nuys-Amtrak/Metrolink 05/03/03 6:09pm 05/03/03 7:33pm

Check out the Rail Days web site for much more information.

Added 1217p:

Our friend, Lyn, will also be exhibiting at the show with the Southern California Lego Train Club. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: Mac in a PC World

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Hi, my name is Douglas and...I'm a Mac user. It isn't just a fling either. I have several Macs and one is even running (gasp) OS X. If you were to ask my clients, though, many would have no idea that I am a Mac user. More importantly, this is exactly the way I want it. If they saw me only as a "Mac Person"? they might question my ability to solve their Windows problems. A successful high-tech career depends on being flexible and having the ability to deal with as many different computers and operating systems as possible. Identifying yourself too closely with any particular piece of hardware or software can diminish your employment opportunities.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Adventure Pass Free Days

As you probably know, access to most National Forest areas now requires an adventure pass in order to park. You can drive through, stop at visitor's centers and ranger stations for free, but parking at trail heads and picnic areas requires a pass. A daily pass is $5 or you can pay $30 for an entire year.

I have many issues related to the requirement of these passes, and their institution was one reason for ending an 8 year run as a volunteer for the Forest service. That said, it is nice to see that the USFS is offering 12 "Free Days" in 2003, when a pass is not required to enjoy the forests. I urge you to take the opportunity to explore the amazing public lands throughout the Los Angeles area.

From the Angeles National Forest web site...

The Adventure Pass fee will not be required the last Saturday of every month in 2003!

April 26, 2003

May 31, 2003

June 28, 2003

July 26, 2003

August 30, 2003

September 27, 2003

October 25, 2003

November 29, 2003

December 27, 2003

Experience the many improved facilities and services made possible by the Adventure Pass program.

A validated daily Adventure Pass for any of the above dates may be exchanged for a new Pass at any Forest Service office.

Campground and concessionaire fees still apply.

Angeles National Forest

(626) 574-5200 - Information Desk

(626) 574-1613 - Main Switchboard

FAX - (626) 574-5233

TDD - (626) 447-8992

Cleveland National Forest

(858) 673-6180

San Bernardino National Forest

(909) 383-5588

Los Padres National Forest

(805) 968-6640


SARS Warning Virus

File this under "yet another annoying virus." Virus writers and sender area always quick to exploit current events in an effort to get you to open emails and run malicious attachments.

Remember to be dubious of email cliams from people you do not know, (and even those you know).

Lockergnome gave the following "heads-up" today...

New Outlook E-mail Worm Exploits Anxiety Over SARS
"In the latest example of computer virus writers capitalizing on current events, a new e-mail worm uses fears about SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) to entice users into opening a file attachment, infecting host machines and helping spread the virus to other machines on the Internet." --- Always update your anti-virus software [Lockergnome Bytes]

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Computers/Windows XP

Latest Windows XP Patch Slows Down Computer To A Crawl

I am usually religious about telling my clients to install Windows Updates as they arrive, but it seems there might be a problem for some people running Windows XP and the latest update from Microsoft. You might want to wait for a few days before installing the update, or if you have installed it, and are experiencing a slow down of your system, the update can be removed. Drop me a line if you think you might be experiencing this problem.

Here is the original note from LockerGnome...

"Microsoft's latest security patch can cause computers running Windows XP to slow down to a crawl, affected users say.

Windows XP can take up to ten seconds to start an application after installation of the patch released last Wednesday with security bulletin MS03-013, say some users. The complaint is echoed in dozens of postings on several online discussion boards. Removing the patch brings system speed back to normal, according to these users." [Lockergnome Bytes]

Sunday, April 20, 2003


Egg Hunt 2003 - Los Encinos State Historic Park

We had a great time at the Egg Hunt at the park. It combined the best elements of the Living History Program and a traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Quite an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.

Click the picture above for a photo gallery of our day.

Friday, April 18, 2003

What I'm Reading...


Mary Colter: Builder upon the Red Earth

I have always been fascinated with the various buildings at the Grand Canyon and now I know much more about their designer, Mary Colter. If you have ever visited the Canyon, you cannot help but see her work as it spans the park from Hopi Tower at Desert View on the east side to Hermit's Rest on the west. Colter also created many other buildings throughout the Southwest for the Harvey Company.


The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox


Patience & Fortitude : A Roving Chronicle of book people, book places and book culture


Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight
: What to do if you are sensory defensive in an over-stimulating world

Career Column

Career-Op: Scenarios, not stone

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

One of the biggest challenges of a high-tech career is planning when you cannot plan. You spend your days trying to predict the future without enough budget, enough time or enough information. This doesn't mean you can't plan, though. It means you have to plan in new ways.

Thursday, April 17, 2003


Santa Fe Art Colony Open House

We have visited once before. It is much smaller than the Brewery, but also more easily navigated. I am a sucker for any chance to check out neat lofts and neat art. (SMILE)

From the web site...

The Santa Fe Art Colony is pleased to announce its' 14th annual Open Studio/Artwalk Weekend. The first weekend in May has been designated as the permanent date for future Artwalks. Named for its' location on Santa Fe Avenue, the colony houses 57 studio residences. Once a year, over 40 residents of the colony open their private studios to the public. Also participating are some non-resident artists and sponsors providing art-related products.

Subscribe to the WelchEvents Mailing List


Office 2000 Bug

If your copy of Office 2000 keeps bugging you about registering, it isn't just you. It seems there is a flaw in the software that is causing it. I cam across this article from CNET today regarding the problem.

Flaw bugs Office 2000 customers
A software slipup in Microsoft's latest update to its Office suite results in the application repeatedly asking some customers to register the program. [CNET News.com]

Monday, April 14, 2003



Dancing Naked: Breaking Through the the Emotional Limits That Keep You from the Job You Want

I came across a mention of this book via AllConsuming.net, a great site that collects information on the books currently being discussed on the Internet. The original entry on the book came from, Susan Mernit's Blog .

I am always looking for books to review and discuss in my high-tech career column, Career Opportunities, and this seems a good candidate. I will let you know my take as soon as I can locate a copy.


The Great Encino Egg Rush of '03

Los Encinos State Historic Park

April 19th 2003

1-3 PM

Music, Games, Living History

Admission is Free!

Easter Egg Hunts are for the following age groups:

Toddlers to Age 2: 1:30

Ages 3 & 4: 2:00

Ages 5-7: 2:30


The Executive's Guide to Information Technology

This item links to a review and discussion of this book over at Slashdot. It sounds intriguing enough to go looking for a copy. I have often thought about writing a similar book myself. I have often wanted to find some way to explain the basic truths about IT to those who weren't immersed in it at an operational level.

If you wish, you can read further reviews and buy the book over at Amazon.com via the WelchWrite Bookstore.


Brewery Art Walk Photos

Photos from our trip to the Brewery last Saturday.


New Safari Release

Apple has released the latest Beta of their Safari browser. It is available via Software Update. This release contains one of my favorite features from Internet Explorer and other web browsers, AutoFIll, which cuts down on the typing of common information when filling out online forms.

From Apple...

Safari Beta 2 introduces tabbed browsing to conveniently see and switch between multiple web pages in a single window, and AutoFill to instantly fill out web forms and password fields. This update also features increased standards compatibility and improved application stability.

Friday, April 11, 2003



The Brewery Art Lofts, located near downtown, is hosting its annual Open Studio Weekend this Saturday and Sunday.

We always try to make it down for this event, as it is an opportunity to see a wide variety of art, art styles and interesting people.

Full information available at: http://breweryart.com/


Mac OS X 10.2.5 Released (via Software Update)

Mac users should run Software Update on their computers to install the latest system upgrade from Apple. The tech note on Apple's site details all the changes and fixes encompassed in this update.

Career Column

Career-Op: The Handoff

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Like movies, television and theater, working in high-tech is a collaboration between a wide variety of people. Even if you work for yourself, you have to deal with the needs of clients, the limitations of software and hardware manufacturers and a host of others. When collaborating with others, one of the most important skills to master is the handoff.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Events/Joshua Tree Road Trip

Last Sunday, I took some friends on a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. We started our visit at their annual art show at the Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms. The show was small, but the quality of the work was very high. I spent quite some time discussing Polaroid transfer printing with one of the artists as I was quite taken with her work.

After walking the short nature trail around the oasis and checking out the small, but modern visitor's center, we headed into the park itself for a picnic.

Admission to Joshua Tree is $10 per vehicle for a 7 day pass. This is less expensive than more popular parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone.

The day was cool, but not cold, with a blustery wind of between 15-25 mph. It was a great day to visit without the typical high heat that Spring can sometimes bring to the park.

Our lunch stop was Jumbo Rocks, a large collection of boulder formations which a beautiful and also a joy to climb for people of all skill levels. After a quick picnic lunch we spent an hour or so exploring the peaks and gullies of one small area. Joe (age 5), Emily and Shannon kept me on my toes as they led me through the rocky maze. Nursing a few bumps and scrapes, we packed up the car and continued on our East to West loop through the Northern edge of the park.

We enjoyed the scenery of low desert scrublands, distant mountains and scene after scene of amazing boulder fields, including Skull Rock. Stopping somewhat randomly, we checked out campground exhibits and, finally, one bit of rock scrambling before we left the boulders behind. Our loop ended at the West entrance, near the small town of Joshua Tree.

A picture gallery of our visit can be seen by clicking on the picture above.

You can still fit in a comfortable visit to Joshua Tree National Park before summer arrives, but May usually bring weather hot enough to discourage all but the hardiest of travelers. Even then, Fall, and another great time to visit, is only a few months away.

Click on the picture above for a small photo gallery of our visit.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: Fear Factor

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Every day of your high-tech career, unless you are hopelessly embedded in a never-varying position, there will be a certain amount of fear involved. While it may not be as frightening as some of the other fears in your life, there can be the fear of failure; fear of losing your job; your livelihood; your career. Sometimes, fear such as this can be even more oppressive, as there is no definite end to the pressure. It simply ebbs and flows from day-to-day and week-to-week.


This scam appears to making the rounds again. I see it on a regular basis. If you receive a message similar to the one below, from any Internet Service Provider (ISP) you should ignore it.

No reputable ISP would ever ask you to verify your information in this way. Don't be sucked in by people trying to steal your information.


Original Text of Message:

Dear EarthLink User,

We regret to inform you, but due to a recent system flush, the
billing/personal information for your account is temporaly unavailable, and we need to verify your identity.

In order to continue using your EarthLink account and keeping it active, you must provide us with your full information within 24 hours of recieving this e-mail.

To re-enter your account information and keep your account active,



Alfred Gregs

EarthLink Billing Department