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Friday, June 27, 2003

Career Column



Career-Op: Conflict


by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine


In work, as in life, there is a certain amount of conflict that naturally occurs. Even when the results of conflict are good, engaging in it can be stressful and tiring. That said, trying to ignore or avoid conflict in your work can actually make it worse when it does occur. Often, the best way to address conflict is straight on, before it has a chance to develop into something more difficult or troubling.


Computers/Spam/Virus


As if we needed any more reason to protect our PCs from viruses, now we find that certain SPAM emails can infect your machine and then use it to send even more SPAM.


Here is a story from CNET...



Spam may sprout viruses in home PCs
An e-mail security company says that junk e-mailers are making use of viruses to turn home computers into spam generators. [CNET News.com]

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Events/Photos


Visit to The Lavender Fields




Click on the photo for some pictures from our visit to The Lavender Fields last Sunday. We had a great time learning about lavender -- how it is grown and harvested, how to cook with it and how to distill its essential oils. I look forward to returning for their next event.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Career Column



Career-Op: Abandon the past


by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine


Every day in your career is truly a new day. The speed of change is running so quickly, the work you do today, tomorrow and certainly, next year, will not be the work you are doing today. This is especially true of high-tech careers. Tomorrow might bring a new technology that will make everything you do obsolete. Are you ready for it? Are you constantly looking and adopting new methods and types of work or are you trying to hold on to old ways of doing business ? falling further behind with each passing day?



Thursday, June 19, 2003

What I'm Reading...



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The Tom Peters Seminar



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The Pursuit of Wow!



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The Knowing-Doing Gap:
How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action



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Learn to Power Think:
A Practical Guide to Positive and Effective Decision Making



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Landmark L.A:
Historic-Cultural Monuments of Los Angeles



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The Playful Way to Serious Writing



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Insectronics :
Build Your Own Walking Robot

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Web


Neat Things on the Web


One of the best things about the web is discovering neat sites. The Shifted Librarian offers up a couple of great sites, both which offer easy-to-use RSS feeds, that can help to expand your web horizons.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Career Column



Career-Op: Between naivete and cynicism


by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine


In today's world, it might seem best to be a cold-hearted cynic about everything you do, but especially about your career. While it might feel like you need to protect yourself from any variety of people out to use, abuse or mislead you, the truth is, if you succumb to cynicism you will be blocking yourself off from opportunities that could be the dream of your high-tech career. While you certainly don't want to be na´ve about your career choices, you do want to remain open to new ideas and projects.



Thursday, June 12, 2003

Computers/Virus

Slammed!


If you've ever wondered what happens to the Internet in the midst of the Worm/Virus attack, this Wired article gives you a moment by moment account.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

More robot books

Here are some more robot books I recently picked up.


Joe and I have succeeded in getting our first "bot" up and running, our first solar -powered BEAM circuit, and our first successful robot scavenging expedition. More to come!



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JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels



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Robot Building for Beginners

Computers/Virus

Bugbear.B Worm/Virus


Have you been receiving email messages that saying that a message you sent was undeliverable, but you don't recognize any of the recipients? BugBear.B could be the culprit. This worm/virus uses random email addresses culled from an infected users machine to send out additional copies of itself. When this happens, you get the error messages that are generated.


Macintouch.com has more information and links on this new threat.



Other News: BugBear Windows Worm
The new, nasty, widespread BugBear Windows worm may not execute its viral programs on the Mac, but it affects us nonetheless. [MacInTouch: Mac news, information and analysis]

Friday, June 06, 2003



Career Column



Career-Op: The Art of the Small Deal


by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine


America is often seen as the country of the big deal. Everyone seems to be looking for the big score, the winning lottery ticket or, in the case of the computer careerist, the one big project that will make enough money that you won't have to work for the rest of the year. While you all probably know the fallacy of this thinking, you can be caught up in the search for the big deal, to the great detriment of your high-tech career. While you can and should continue looking for the big deal, you need to fit it in and around the day-to-day work that keeps you solvent.



Sunday, June 01, 2003

Books



Robot Books


Here are a few books on robots, like I promised yesterday.



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How To Build a Robot


This is a simple, introductory book for young children.



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Robot Builder's Bonanza



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Robots, Androids and Animatrons, Second Edition.


Other Robot Books from Amazon.com

Events



LA Kids Read Festival - June 7 - Downtown



Here is a great excuse to head downtown on the weekend. Parking is cheap ($1 with a Library Card), but its also a great way to check out the LA Metro Red Line and others. Ride a subway in LA! Exit at Pershing Square or 7th Street stations.


From the press release...



COWBOYS, STORYTELLING, CIRCUS CLOWNS, MUSIC AND CRAFTS HIGHLIGHT "L.A. KIDS READ FESTIVAL"? ON SATURDAY, JUNE 7, 12 NOON- 4 P.M. AT CENTRAL LIBRARY, DOWNTOWN


LOS ANGELES DODGER BRIAN JORDAN TO BE HONORED AT 2 P.M.


Travel back to the Wild West and celebrate America's diversity at the Los Angeles Public Library's FREE L.A. Kids Read Festival on Saturday, June 7, 12 noon - 4 p.m., at the Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., downtown Los Angeles.


The ninth annual event will draw thousands of children and their families for an afternoon of summer fun, with cowboys, music, storytellers, arts and crafts and clowns from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.



Get more information a the LAPL Web Site (PDF file)


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Robots everywhere





After visiting the JPL Open House a few weekends ago, Joe has been even more fascinated with robots that he already was. We used to watch BattleBots all the time and at the open house they had high school teams from the FIRST program (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) giving a demonstration of their large, competition bots. Along with all the Mars Rovers and interplanetary spacecraft, Joe was in technology heaven.


After much prodding by Joe, I have been doing extensive research on the Internet and came across a group of robots using BEAM Technology. BEAM is an acronym of Biology - Electronics - Aesthetics - Mechanics. Using found or purchased parts, you can put together some interesting robots that exhibit some naturalistic behaviors. Many of the robots are also solar powered.





I am just starting on my journey into electronics so things are moving a bit slowly. Last night I happened across a tutorial on how to build a small beetle-like robot that operated on battery power. Since this bot required no electronic circuits, I figured this might be a good place to start. I actually ended up building the robot twice as it seemed to want to run in reverse. Oh well, it also had some structural issues keeping the motor attached to the body. Finally, just a while ago, I got it working fairly well. I ran it for a few minutes and then put it away so that I could show Joe in the morning. My layout could be a bit neater, but overall the bot does what it should. The paper clip antennae on the front actually give a rudimentary ability to move away from obstacles. If one antenna is depressed, it shuts off the motor on the opposite side so the bot will attempt to move away from the obstruction.


I have already gathered the parts for more involved BEAM projects including a Photovore, a bot that seeks on the brightest light it can find. (a good trait for a solar-powered robot) There are also bots using vibrating pager motors that bounce around on your desktop, solarollers that us a solar engine to power them on their way through bursts of energy and a host of others.


You can find out more about BEAM robots by visiting some of these links:


Solarbotics - Robot kits, parts and information


Tons of BEAM links


BeamBoticist - Great examples of BEAM bots


Beam Online


Ben Hitchcock's Robot Farm


Beam Robotics


These are just a few of the links I found in my web travels. This Google Search will give you even more.


I will post of links to the books I have been using as soon as I can.