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Thursday, July 31, 2003

Tours of LA

Learn something about LA's architectural history with the Los Angeles Conservancy.

I think we are going to try and hit at least one of these walks. The Union Station one seems the easiest, since we can take the Red Line directly there, although we could probably access others via public transit, too.

From their web site...

Downtown at Sunset: The Conservancy's Summer Evening Walking Tours Back by Popular Demand!!

Take advantage of the beautiful Southern California summer evenings and join the Los Angeles Conservancy for the Downtown at Sunset walking tour series. On Wednesday evenings in August and September, the Conservancy will once again be offering this popular series, which features slightly shortened versions of tours regularly scheduled on Saturday mornings. The tours meet at 5:30pm and last approximately 1 3/4 hours. Four tours will be offered: Art Deco, Downtown's Evolving Skyline, Little Tokyo, and Union Station.

The Art Deco tour, which will be offered on August 6th and September 3rd, focuses on the architecture and ornamentation of buildings from the 20s, 30s, and 40s. An important period of growth for Los Angeles, this era produced some of the city's finest landmarks, including the remarkable Oviatt Building.

Little Tokyo, the district just southeast of the Civic Center, has a 120-year history as a vibrant center for Japanese living and visiting in Los Angeles, This interesting area includes a National Register Historic Landmark District. The Little Tokyo tour will be offered August 20 and September 10.

The Downtown's Evolving Skyline tour will be given on August 27 and September 17. This tour explores the architecture and development of the Central Business District. The views from the top of Bunker Hill can be quite spectacular on a clear day.

The Union Station tour is an in-depth tour of the last great railway station built in America. Opened in 1939, this Los Angeles icon is a unique combination of Art Deco and Spanish. Tours will take place on August 13 and September 24.

The tours are free to Conservancy members and $8.00 for the general public; reservations are required. Space is limited to 30 people per each tour, so call (213) 430-CITY now to reserve.

August 6-- Art Deco

August 13-- Union Station

August 20-- Little Tokyo

August 27-- Downtown's Evolving Skyline

Sept 3-- Art Deco

Sept 10-- Little Tokyo

Sept 17-- Downtown's Evolving Skyline

Sept 24-- Union Station

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Go outside and play!

I am sure you can imagine how many times I heard my parents say this exact phrase during my childhood. Since their were 5 kids, you need to quintuple your estimates. That said, I think you would be wise to heed these words, especially during these warm summer days and cool summer rnights.

One of the most wonderful things about Los Angeles, is the amazing number of places to get away from it. The Santa Monica Mountains stretch from Griffith Park to the outlying tips of the Channel Islands and provide countless opportunities to get away from it all, even if only for an hour or two.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area encompasses large sections of the mountains and their management provides an excellent, cross-departmental, listing of events and activities throughout the mountains. You can get this quarterly guide mailed to you, or you can check it out online any time you wish.

I highlight my favorite activities from the guide in my WelchEvents mailing list, but there are dozens more to choose from every month.

Now that you are done reading this...go outside and play!

Join me at Tribe.net!

Last night, I set up an account at Tribe.net, an Internet community site that is currently in beta testing.

I am always looking for neat groups of people to talk with, so Tribe.net seemed an interesting place to visit. I encourage you to head on over and set up a free account. You can then add me to your list of "friends", and I can do the same with you. In this way we can create our own little online community of friends, friends of friends and so on. If you need assistance, drop me an email.

Besides joining a few of the existing tribes, I have also founded several of my own. You can click on the links below to visit them directly.

High Tech Careers

I am also a member of:

Smug Hybrid Drivers
Gadget Freaks

...and several others.

We're cooking now!

Fry's Ad in today's LA Times.

I always knew that Macs were neat, but who would have thought they could now cook your meals, too! Maybe Apple should create a whole line of commercials around this feature.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003


Backyard Astronomer's Guide

If you have ever wanted to get more involved with amateur astronomy, this is the book for you. Clear and concise descriptions and recommendations abound. This book is a MUST BUY before you ever start looking for a telescope. It can help you to avoid buying the many "junk" scopes that are advertised everywhere and yet still not spend a fortune just to see the stars.

New Feature - Douglas Recommends...

I am constantly recommending books, hardware and software to friends and clients, so I thought it wise to set up a page to hold all my favorite things. The list is fairly small at the moment, as I don't recommend items I haven't personally used and approved. I will be adding a few items each week. Don't be surprised if older items roll off while new ones are added. I want to try and keep things as fresh as possible.

A direct link is now available at the top of the righthand column on this page.

Check it out!

Monday, July 28, 2003

Los Encinos Living History Day - August 17, 2003

Los Encinos State Historic Park

This lovely park, in the middle of Encino, has several historical buildings, a duck pond and some large expanses of lawn.

The park also has a dedicated group of docents who put on a Living History Day each month.

The next date is August 17, 2003 from 1-3pm.

We visited for this year's Easter Egg Hunt and had a wonderful time.

Pictures are at here.

Subscribe to the WelchEvents Mailing List

Some Robot Stuff I have been working on

Here are a few pictures of some robot stuff I have been working on. The circuits are solar engines that allow you to run small BEAM robots using whatever solar power you have available. There is also a photo of a "flag spinner" in a clear tube that uses a solar engine and a simple mechanical robot I built as a first try.

More Robot Books...

Here is yet another collection of robot books I have found at the LA Public Library. Our quest for robot information continues. -- Douglas


Amphibionics : Build Your Own Biologically Inspired Reptilian Robot


Build A Remote-Controlled Robot


Build Your Own Robot!


Building Robot Drive Trains


Mobile Robots: Inspiration to implementation/A>

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Gold Line Swamped on Opening Day

It looks like Opening Day for the Metro Gold Line was even more popular that expected. I was going to go today with the family, but with the heat and the large numbers of people, I think I will wait for a more normal day before trying it out.

2020 Hindsight has a photo essay of the day.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: Six years...and counting

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

This column marks the beginning of my 7th year writing about high-tech career issues for ComputorEdge. In those years I have seen some things change, but, for better or worse, even more remains the same. The Internet bubble burst and reminded us all that business, work and career are about developing value over time, and not some mad sweepstakes gamble. High-tech workers still struggle for respect despite their ability to create new commercial markets out of nothing but their own creativity. It seems that, despite the clear benefits of technology, and those that make it work, high-tech workers have to justify their existence nearly every day on nearly every job.

Thursday, July 24, 2003


Angeles National Forest Free Day

Saturday is the one day a month when you don't need an Adventure Pass to visit "our" Angeles National Forest.


MOCA presents

An all-day festival of art and music

July 26, 2003, 11am-8pm

Boo-Hooray* is MOCA's largest summer celebration, and MOCA members get in free!

Featuring music by:

Blonde Redhead

DJ Z-Trip

Los Super Elegantes

Vida Vierra and Swing Brazil

String Theory

Plus special surprise guests

Artmaking with GEORGE HERMS

Children's storytellers including RICK FOX

Artist Maurizio Cattelan's Charlie , on a trike

Film and video screenings presented by IFP/LA

Food, drink, and much, much more!

MOCA MEMBERS -- Bring your MEMBERSHIP CARD to receive:

All-day FREE admission for 2 (additional guests are $15 in advance, $25 at the entrance)

A 20% discount at the MOCA Store

Free parking at California Plaza


A limited number of tickets are available for $15 in advance from Ticketmaster, or $25 at the door.


Malibu Arts Festival

7/26, 9:30AM-5PM;

23555 Civic Center Way, Malibu, CA 90265 -- 310-248-1015

We have visited this in the past and always been impressed with the variety and quality of the artwork.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003


Metro Gold Lines Opens - Activities Abound

The Metro Gold Line, running from Downtown LA to Pasadena, opens for business this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, July 26 & 27, their will be entertainment and activities at every station along the line. Better still, the ride is FREE!

Click the link above for a detailed list of activities and further information.


Integrate Macs into a PC environment with built-in OS X tools

My first article for TechRepublic.com appears today. Check it out!

Access might require registering for a free account.

From the web site...

It was once an onerous task for IT professionals to integrate Apple Macintosh computers into their Microsoft Windows environments, but Mac OS X 10.2 makes it easier than ever. Thanks to several built-in tools, Mac OS X workstations can play in the Windows sandbox just like their Pentium-based brothers

Sunday, July 20, 2003


Big Brother Watch 001

RFID (Radio Frequency ID) manufacturers have often proclaimed that their technology was strictly used for managing inventory in stores. Well, as opponents have often postulated, it seems the at least 1 UK store has found a way to intrude on privacy in a big way.

A UK supermarket chain has admitted testing controversial technology that tracks customers buying certain products through its stores. Anyone picking up Gillette Mach3 razor blades at Tesco's Cambridge store is photographed.

Via Lockergnome

Friday, July 18, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: A little crazy

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

I hear it all the time; “You must be crazy to turn down that job.” “Take a month’s vacation, are you crazy?” “You would be crazy to quit your job now!” The truth is, a little craziness is something to be cultivated, not quashed. If you don’t have a little craziness in you, you are in danger of locking yourself into a life and career of staid boredom. Is that what you really want?

Thursday, July 17, 2003


Mice reborn!

While I admire this person's talent for recycling, this is just one more example of people with entirely too much time on their hands!

Via Web405 mailing list


The Map Room

Check out this "way cool" blog about all things mapping.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003


Two new Windows Updates are available via http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/.

Here is the information from Microsoft:

Security Update for Windows XP (823980)

Download size: 1.2 MB

A security issue has been identified that could allow an attacker to remotely compromise a computer running Microsoft® Windows® and gain complete control over it. You can help protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

821557: Security Update (Windows XP)

Download size: 5.1 MB

An identified security issue in Microsoft Windows could allow an attacker to compromise a Microsoft Windows-based system and then take a variety of actions. For example, an attacker could execute code on the system. By installing this update, you can help protect your computer. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


Produce and sell your own books on the cheap!

Did you ever have a book your wanted to share with the world? CafePress will soon have a way of doing just that, without worrying about publishing companies, printing presses or anything else.

CafePress has been providing print on demand services for T-Shirts and other merchandise for quite some time. You merely upload your artwork, perform a little online setup and you can start selling. Better still, there are no up-front costs involved. CafePress charges you a set price per piece, you set your retail price and keep the difference. CafePress handles ordering, manufacturing and delivery.

Print on demand is a new market for CafePress. You will be able to choose from 3 different types of binding and 5 different sizes of books. Prices are as follows:

Per Page Flat Binding Fee

Wire-O $0.045 $5

Saddle Stitch $0.045 $4

Perfect Bound $0.03 $7

This would allow you to produce a 200 page, perfect bound book for $13. Selling this book for $20 would generate $7/book.


KidCity at Exposition Park

Similar to their Book Festival, the LA Times is turning Exposition Park into KidCity for 2 days, July 19 and 20.

There are far too many activities and shows to mention, so visit the web site and check it out for yourself. Sunday's paper also has a complete flyer with maps and schedules, too.

From LATimes.com...

So what’s KidCity all about? Think of it as a master-planned “community” where kids can learn to play and play to learn. It’s two days of everything fun in the worlds of science & nature, arts & culture, literacy and sports. And so much more.

Featuring seven exciting city-themed areas, six thrilling outdoor stages, over 150 kid-related exhibitors, plus countless authors, athletes, celebrities and costumed characters, KidCity is going to be a weekend that’s a total WOW!

Monday, July 14, 2003


Apple Security Update 2003-7-14

This update, available via the Software Update control panel, fixes a problem with the built-in, OS X screen saver.

From Apple...

Security Update 2003-07-14 addresses a potential vulnerability when a password is required upon waking from the Screen Effects feature, which could allow an unauthorized user access to the desktop of the logged in user.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: Summer Reading List

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

For most people, summer reading lists include Judith Krantz novels or the latest spy thriller from Len Deighton. If I might be a little odd, let me suggest you look to some other areas for your summer reading list. If your business tends to slow down in the summer, this could be a great time to catch up on some interesting business reading. No matter whether you are a front-line support tech or a high-level executive in your company, I believe you will find the books below very interesting. While they may lack love, murder or intrigue, they can allow you to boost your high-tech career while sitting on the beach.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

High-tech Careers

Ten Tips to Help IT Pros Become More Marketable
By Joe Liberatore

I came across this article in my travels today and think it has some useful information for anyone working in a high-tech career.

Via Xtreme News - News and sound bites for XtremeRecruiters

Wednesday, July 09, 2003


Three more updates for Windows

Today Microsoft rolled out 3 new updates for Windows to solve a variety of security and data corruption issues. While I am always glad to see MS actively working on solving know issues, such as these, I do have to wonder if there is any beginning to the end for such glaring omissions in their security practices.

The three updates are shown below. In most cases, visiting the Windows Update web site should allow you to easily download and install them.

MS03-025 : Flaw in Windows Message Handling through Utility Manager Could Enable Privilege Elevation (822679)

MS03-024 : Buffer Overrun in Windows Could Lead to Data Corruption (817606)

MS03-023 : Buffer Overrun In HTML Converter Could Allow Code Execution (823559)

Windows 2000 users should also be aware of Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4).

According to Microsoft:

Service Pack 4 (SP4) provides the latest updates to the Windows 2000 family of operating systems in the following areas: security, operating system reliability, application compatibility, and setup. This service pack includes fully regression-tested versions of the patches for all security vulnerabilities affecting Windows 2000 found up to the closing date of Service Pack development. The following Microsoft Security Bulletins are included in Service Pack 4.

This update is also available via the Windows Update web site.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

What I'm Reading...


The Sinister Pig

Another great mystery with Jim Chess and Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police.


Work Like Your Dog: Fifty Ways to Work Less, Play More and Earn More


Build Your Own Garage: Blueprints and Tools to Unleah Your Company's HIdden Creativity


Soloing : Realizing Your Life's Ambition


Visionary Business: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Success


Turning No into Yes: Six Steps to Solving Your Financial Problems


McDonald's serves up wireless Web access

It looks like McD's is trying out wireless access points in a few of their stores, offering 2 hours of Internet access with the purchase of a meal.

My kid, Joe, loves to play in the play structures at McD's, so I am sometimes found there, hating the uncomfortable seating and wishing I could be doing something productive.

I would much rather be in a nice coffee shop somewhere, but these are the realities of fatherhood. A Wi-Fi connection would certainly help my productivity. I know there are others like me out there, because we often end up talking, since there is little else for us to do.

Of course, we don't eat any of the food there, except the yogurt parfaits, so I am not sure if I would qualify for the free service anyway. (SMILE)


Friday, July 04, 2003

Career Column

Career-Op: All good things...

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

While you often spend a lot of time focused on getting a new job or landing that next client, all good things must come to an end at some point. It is important to remember that how you leave a job is just as important has how you start one. If you have problems at the end of a relationship, it can damage your reputation and your entire high-tech career.


Free eBooks!

As you probably know by now, I am a book lover. I read a lot of books and keep my local library busy requesting titles from other branches.

In an effort to feed my addiction, and promote their Reader software, Microsoft is giving away 3 best-selling eBook titles each week. You need to download, install and register the software, but then you are able to read these books on your desktop, laptop or Pocket PC computer.

This week's free books include, Candy & Me by Hillary Liftin, Last to Die by James Grippando and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

Check back next week for 3 new books.


A Perfect site for July 4th - Government Information Awareness

Based on the Total/Terrorism Information Awareness project floated a few months ago, MIT's Media Lab turns the data microscope inwards on the workings of the US Government.

An excellent resource!

Thursday, July 03, 2003


How to photograph fireworks is an neat guide for the novice "pyro-photographer."

Courtesy of the New York Institute of Photography.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003


Outdoor Picture Show at the IKEA Courtyard

Wednesday Evenings

Burbank IKEA

7p Festivities

830p Movie

July 9 -- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

July 16 -- Chicken Run

July 23 -- Footloose

July 30 -- Legally Blonde

August 6 -- Jurassic Park

August 13 -- Shrek

The Art Group

This sounds like a neat group, with branches all over the US. I originally found them via a listing on CraigsList.

Click on Events and then scroll to the bottom for California listings.

From the web site...

THE ART GROUP.....(TAG)..was founded in spring of 2002 by Leslie, a psychologist, author and college professor. The art group, hopefully,will be a process for its members that will continue to beneficially change and grow as it facilitates change and growth in members.

ACTIVITIES: Members meet one weekend afternoon per month to go to galleries and museums and then for coffee to chat. During the month a few of the members meet for additional activities such as openings, private tours and art fairs, some of which are organized by members.