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Monday, December 22, 2003

Today, I posted two pictures from Sicily on A Gardener's Notebook, as we get into the main part of our trip here. Click the link to check them out.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Career-Op: 2004 Approaches

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

There are times when we all might wish to get a small glimpse of the future. Then again, we might not be very happy with what we see. Thank goodness we can only make suppositions and guesses about the coming year, otherwise we might not want to face it at all. Regardless of whatever comes your way, though,, here are a few thoughts to help you in your high-tech career planning for 2004 and make it the best year possible.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

New from Apple...

Mac OS X 10.3.2 Update

"Delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther" and is recommended for all users."

Battery Update 1.1

"Enhances the performance of the battery to ensure that full capacity is available for your PowerBook or iBook."

Both available via Software Update.


In preparation for our upcoming trip, I thought I would work on my sketching skills. I want to spend time capturing the beauty of the Sicilian landscape, both urban and rural, so as we sat a dinner last night, I pulled out my journal and did this quick drawing.


If it seems a bit quiet around the WelchWrite blogdom for the next few weeks, it is because we have departed for a Christmas Trip.....to Sicily!

My wife has relatives there and, a few years ago, when we visited for the first time, I made mention of returning for Christmas some year. That idea took root and has brought us to the cusp of our journey. We are getting packed now and the excitement is growing. We all feel a great need to get away from the hustle and bustle of LA for awhile, so this should provide an excellent chance to unwind and experience Christmas in a whole new light. I believe that everyone needs a host of new experiences in their lives. Even if I sometimes shy away from them, I still understand how important they are.

The house-sitter is happily ensconced and the cats are already buttering them up with their poor, sad, hungry faces. You would think we don't feed them at all. (SMILE) I am sure they will have taken over entirely by the time we return.

I will be reading my email and such once we arrive, but I don't expect to be as active with the blogs as I might normally be. That said, though, if I come across anything interesting, you folks will be the first to hear about it. I am taking my digital camera and will be able to download photos there, so if I come across any interesting gardens, I will be sure to send some pictures along.

I wish you all the happiest holidays you can possibly imagine and can't wait to return to the New Year recharged and ready to face whatever comes our way.

Monday, December 15, 2003

A Fuel Cell Car Experiment Kit

BoingBoing points to this neat experiment kit which allows you to build your own Fuel Cell Car. It is a bit pricey at $150 (but slightly cheaper from dealers), but it a neat sign of things to come.

From the site...


The Thames & Kosmos Fuel Cell Car & Experiment Kit provides a playful introduction to one of the most significant technologies of the 21st Century. With this kit you can build a model car that actually runs on water!

A Cute (Online) Christmas Card

Here is a cute (online) Christmas card to celebrate the season.


Apple G5 Firmware Update

If you are one of the lucky folks to have a screamin' fast Apple Mac G5 system, Apple has released a firmware update,

Further information available from MacCentral...

Apple offers G5 firmware update
Apple on Monday released a firmware update for its Power Mac G5 systems. The 5.1.4 firmware update is available for download through the Software Update System Preferences pane. The update provides Power Mac G5 systems with performance improvements in some PCI-X configurations. What's more, a security hole has been patched, and fan behavior has been improved in Open Firmware. [MacCentral]

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Holiday Crafts

If you are looking for some craft activities to keep the kiddies busy on vacation, Neat New Stuff points to a host of things to do over at Better Homes and Gardens.

Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Crafts...

Tips for making your own giftwrap, ornaments, wreaths, and stockings, and some holiday crafts for kids, too. Follow the navigation bar for ideas for Christmas entertaining, handmade gifts, etc.

[Neat New Stuff]

Friday, December 12, 2003

New Sunflower Items in my CafePress Store

I added a new branch to my CafePress store this evening, featuring my photo of Canyon Sunflowers taken at the Theodore Payne Foundation last June. The mission of the Payne Foundation is "To promote and restore California landscapes, and habitats, propagate and make available California native plants and wildflowers To educate and acquire knowledge about California flora and natural history."

Other photos taken on this trip can be seen in this photo gallery.

Click to view more products

Career-Op: It's ok to leave

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

A high-tech career is not an easy path. It is fraught with pitfalls and a somewhat dubious record for great success. You can find yourself struggling with bad technology, bad people and bad companies. Worse still, you can find yourself struggling with your own thoughts, hopes and dreams. Despite my immersion in high-tech for almost 20 years now, I would be the first one to tell you, it is ok to give up. It is ok to walk away from a high-tech career. It is ok to find something more meaningful, more rewarding and, hopefully, more lucrative.

Digital photography storage units...with music!

The folks over a Gizmodo highlight 2 products that can help you take even more digital photos, while also listening to your favorite tunes. A device like this could come in really handy when you are on a long vacation, like we are about to take. Basically, these device contain memory card readers that can take the pictures off you memory cards and copy them to the hard disk of your music player. A great way to get multiple functions out of one unit.

The iPod: a digital photographer's best friend
MobileWhack points to an article by Derrick Story on MacDevCenter.com about using the iPod (with Belkin's memory card reader attachment) as not just a digital... [Gizmodo]

40GB portable hard drive/card reader/MP3 player
New from Vosonic, a portable 40GB USB 2.0 hard drive with a built-in 6-in-1 card reader (for storing photos when you run out of... [Gizmodo]

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Help feed abandoned animals

Here is another site where you can help by clicking once a day or whenever you have the time.

The Animal Rescue Site

Click on the link to provide .6 bowls of food each day. You do not need to provide any information and will, therefore, receive no spam. They also provide a host of ads that help them in their work.

iMovie training videos

If you have been wondering what you can do with that iMovie program that is included with all Macs, here are some video tutorials to get you started.

Stupendous Software releases six free iMovie tutorials online
Stupendous Software had released six free iMovie tutorials available for viewing online and for download. The tutorials are entitled: Textured Backdrops, Basic Compositing: Masks, Grainy Black & White Look, Intermediate Compositing: Glow Outline, Intermediate Compositing: Blue & Green Screen, and Silent Film Look.

More info and links here. [MacDailyNews]

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

A bit of Winter fun

Flash snowman-builder
Build your own snowman using Chris Guy's snowman-builder.

[Via MetaFilter]

Monday, December 08, 2003

TechTVs Top 20 Gifts

You could buy me just about anything on this high-tech gift list, especially #4, the ExiSlim Camera and #11, the Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel SLR. WooHoo!

TechTVs Top 20 Gifts

Win a SLAPPA HardBody CD Case

You can win a free SLAPPA HardBody CD Case from BlogStakes.com (and I can win one , too) by visiting the BlogStakes site.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Favorite Holiday Videos and Books

Here are links to some of my favorite holiday book and videos. If you have never read the original "A Christmas Carol" by Dickens, I highly recommend it, along with the "one man show" reading by Patrick Stewart. We have seen him perform it live on several occasions and are always thrilled. The return of Opus the Penguin to the comic pages will hopefully result in a re-issue, maybe even on DVD of "A Wish for Wings That Work," a wonderful, if somewhat "bent" Christmas story. Emett Otter's Jugband Christmas is a lovely story from Jim Henson which contains a unique set of character, great music and a wonderful story for the holidays.

Multiple links indicate VHS/DVD/Book where available

A Wish for Wings That Work
Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! |
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer | A Charlie Brown Christmas : The Making of a Tradition | A Charlie Brown Christmas | A Christmas Carol

Friday, December 05, 2003

Career-Op: For Better or Worse

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

As I write, California has recently recalled one governor and elected a new one. Regardless of your politics, these events are sure to bring some large changes to the state. These events are a good reminder to be prepared for whatever business eventuality you might face in the coming months. Whether the news is good or bad, the economy up or down, you need to have a plan that allows you, your company, and your high-tech career to thrive.

Apple Safari Security Update

This security update is now available via Mac OS X's Software Update feature. Please update your software as soon as possible to protect your machine.

Security Update 2003-12-05 updates Safari to prevent unauthorized access to a user's cookies.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Event reminders via SMS and Email for Mac

iMOnTime - Reminder tool with complex repeating options, email alerts.

This software has garnered many 5-star reviews over at VersionTracker.com.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

AOL Instant Messenger Virus

It looks like an existing virus has been altered to effect users of AOL Instant Messenger. WebSpiffy has information on the virus, including links to removal instructions and more.

Apple Holiday Gift Guides

Got a Mac Lover in your family?

Here are a series of Apple Gift Guides to help you in your shopping.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Mac OS X: Configure Directory Access to Protect Your Mac From a Malicious DHCP Server

This tech note details how to configure your Mac OS X system so that a malicious user cannot access this security exploit. Most people are unaffected by this issue, but if you regularly use your Mac to access public Wi-Fi wireless connections, there is a slight chance you could run into it.

The included steps are clear and simple to execute using built-in Mac OS X applications.

Plug-and-play server and backup

This sounds like an interesting way to share data and insure that your files are getting backed up on a regular basis. Of course, this isn't an off-site solution, so if your office burns down you will lose your data and your backup. I wonder if you could automate copying of the files to a remote server from this one, thereby providing an automated off-site backup.

From Gizmodo.com...

The Mirra arrives
The Mirra Personal Server is finally out. Basically, a hard drive that connects to your home network, the Mirra can be set to automatically backup and synchronize files from all the computers in the house so that if there's a crash, you'll always have your data. [Gizmodo]

Wired News' Gift Guide

Here is another in my on-going collection of holiday gift guides for the technology minded.

Your Geek Gift Guide for 2003
Wired magazine presents 77 of the coolest stereos, 3-D screens, toys, cameras, DVRs, games and gadgets of the year. [Wired News]