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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Darpa Grand Challenge Footage

BoingBoing points over to footage from the Darpa Grand Challenge that happened earlier this month. I wasn't able to view the live satellite feed on the day of the event, so this is the next best thing.

While some critics have claimed that the race was a complete failure, I personally believe that we need to push ourselves sometimes in the search for new knowledge. All the systems included in these autonomous vehicles had been tested in the lab, but sometimes you have to try and make it work in the real world. I think they should hold the race each year until it is won, and then develop and even more difficult goal. The knowledge that was gained during the preparation and running of this challenge was immense and should not be demeaned just because no one completed the course.

Event - Spring Botanical Drawing Workshop

This sounds like an interesting event that combines the outdoors with some creative pursuits. I haven't been to this event before, but I might just try and check it out, if I can find the time. I need an excuse to get out of the house and away from the computer for a while.

TUES 4/6 11am

Sooky Goldman Nature Ctr

Spring Botanical Drawing Workshop

Interested in accurately drawing and/or painting plants, while learning more about our native flora in a relaxed indoor environment? Join an ongoing gathering of artists of all levels. Group size is limited. Reservations
required 323-656-3899. 4hrs WODOC

Monday, March 29, 2004

Noah Grey Photography

I was lucky enough to meet Noah Grey at the recent LA Blogs get-together. I remembered another person there gushing over the photos on his web site. They were so persuasive I visited his site when I got home that evening.


You have to see this!

Noah is an A-1 photographer and the photos on his sight are stunning. Take a few minutes and give your senses a treat by visiting and checking out all his online galleries.

Great work, Noah!

Sunday, March 28, 2004

LA Blogs Get-Together at the Farmer's Market

I spent a great couple of hours hanging out with other LA Bloggers at the Farmer's Market yesterday. It was nice putting some faces to names, although there were so many people the names are a bit fuzzy in my mind. I have been checking out more blogs, though, now that I have a face and a voice to apply to the URL.

Jonah of LABlogs.com was our gracious host, along with his delightful girlfriend (?) Suzanne. What a cute couple! (SMILE)

I have a few candid photos from the event and you can check out more comments from the attendees over at the LA Blogs event thread.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Los Encinos Easter Egg Hunt 2004

We attended this event last year (pictures here) and loved it. Coming from a small town myself, I am always on the look out for small scale events that remind me of home. Too many events in LA turn into huge mob scenes with tens of thousands of people. This event is well-organized and a day of old-fashioned fun for everyone involved. Barring any major conflicts, we will be there again this year.

Here is the info from their email:

Bring the the whole family and join us for the Los Encinos State Historic Park Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 10th, from 1 to 3 PM. In addition to egg hunts for kids ranging from toddlers to around 10, there will be games, a working blacksmith shop, music of the 19th Century, historic costumes and much more.

Los Encinos State Historic Park is located at 16756 Moorpark St., Encino CA 91436-1068

The Easter Egg hunt has been an annual Los Encinos tradition for many years, and is our most popular event.

The Easter Egg hunt schedule is as follows:

Toddlers to Age 2: 1:30

Ages 3-4: 2:00

Ages 5 and older: 2:30

For more information, Phone: 818-784-4849, email LAHA@pacbell.net or visit us on the web at http://www.lahacal.org/losencinos.html

Friday, March 26, 2004

Career-Op Book of the Week

Each week, I try to offer a book recommendation to readers of my Career Opportunities column. Here is this weeks entry.

Zero Space: Moving Beyond Organizational Limits

Career-Op: Don't make outsourcing easy

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

The most dreaded word to high-tech workers today is outsourcing. Newspapers, magazines and television programs are filled with stories about high-tech jobs moving overseas, to India and other countries, while high-tech workers in the States remain unemployed. While the effects of outsourcing, both good and bad, are being debated every day, the very nature of your work, and the relative anonymity of high-tech workers, can make it easier to outsource your job. If you want to protect yourself from outsourcing, you need to make sure that management knows who you are, exactly what you do for the company – and how well you do it.

Theater for Kids...and parents!

Just got this note from the Geffen Playhouse regarding shows for the younger set. A few months ago this same group did a shortened version of Moliere. The price is right, only $2 each for kids and $6 for bigger kids (i.e. adults).

Here is the information from the email...

Parson's Nose Productions is Back at the Geffen...

Critically acclaimed Theater Troupe Parson's Nose Productions returns to the Geffen Playhouse with Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni. In this classic "commedia" farce newly adapted by Lance Davis, a put upon servant, Truffaldino, gets caught trying to please two masters at the same time as chaos and hilarity ensues.

It's all part of the Geffen Playhouse's mission to introduce and educate new audiences through live, affordable, theater productions.

Parson's Nose Productions specializes in one-hour adaptations of classical theater suitable for the entire family. Servant of Two Masters is a perfect way to entertain children ages 5 and up while introducing them to live theater. Better yet, Parson's Nose Productions will have parents as well as kids leaving the theater laughing and clapping! Performing three shows only at the Geffen Playhouse:

April 3, 2004 at 11:00AM

April 10, 2004 at 11:00AM

April 17, 2004 at 11:00AM

Tickets are $2 for children and $6 for adults. Free Balloons and snacks for everyone after the show.

Tickets are going fast. Call the box office at 310-208-5454 to purchase tickets or E-mail us at boxoffice@geffenplayhouse.com

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Intuit Upgrades Quicken 2004 for Mac OS X

Intuit has just release Quicken 2004 R3, an update to their popular personal finance software.

You can download the release by visiting this link to VersionTracker.com


Monday, March 22, 2004

The web comes through again...

Hats off to the folks over at This is...OS X. I had a client who installed the latest Mac OS X 10.3.3 update, only to have the Finder hang every time she tried to access her hard disk. A quick search on Google lead me to their pages where, far down on the page, 2 sentences held the answer to my question.

It seems having a server alias in the Finder sidebar can cause the Finder to sit-and-spin endlessly. Logging in from another computer, we were able to access the disk and remove the ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.sidebarlists.plist. Another reboot and the client was back to work.

Thanks again to everyone at This is...OS X.

Sunday, March 21, 2004



Saturday, March 27 and Sunday March 28, 2004

11 AM- 4:00 PM

Go back in time at the Natural History Museum to investigate some Dino-Mite creatures! Try out a dinosaur scavenger hunt, visit with today’s Dino ancestors, and create T-Rex art!

Friday, March 19, 2004

The FIRST Amendment

You wouldn't think that these issues would need to be restated again and again, but recent events have made me realize that some people need to be reminded at regular intervals.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Let's not forget that this is #1 on the Constitution Hit Parade!

Career-Op: The Wait

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Waiting for this. Waiting for that. Waiting seems to have become the common refrain in high-tech work these days. Rebuilding a computer from scratch has turned into a 2-3 hour session, where it would have taken only an hour a few years ago. What’s worse, clients are getting fidgety about all this time wasted waiting. Why are they paying you to stare at a screen while a progress bar updates. There are good answers that that question, but finding some solution to “the waiting game” is very important to your high-tech career.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

LA Bloggers are getting together

LABlogs has announced an informal get-together of LA bloggers at the Farmer's Market on Fairfax.

Get the full info over at LABlogs.com.

Search Your Neighborhood With Google

Today, Google.com announced a new addition to its popular search service, Google Local.

This service allows you to limit search results to a geographic area. This can be especially useful when looking for businesses and services like dry cleaners, restaurants, etc.

I tested it out by looking for Italian Bakeries near me. St. Joseph's Day is on Friday and there is a traditional treat called Zepolle that is served on this day. Unfortunately, Google doesn't find the bakery where we normally purchase our Zepolle, Nicolosi Bakery on Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana. Most likely, this is because they have no presence on the web that I can find.

Monday, March 15, 2004

It's Poppy Time Again!

The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve will be opening its visitor's center on weekends starting March 20 and everyday starting March 27.

Photos from our 2003 visit

You can get updates on the wildflower bloom by calling 661-724-1180.

Mac OS X 10.3.3 Update

Updated 3/15/04 - 1136a: My own personal update appears to have gone without a hitch. I will report on oddities I do find in future entries. -- DEW

Just when you thought software updates couldn't get any larger, here comes Mac OS X 10.3.3. At a hefty 58.8 megabytes, this one is going to take everyone a long time to download, even those with high-speed connections.

10.3.3 contains a host of updates to the base operating system, as well as enhancements and fixes for built-in utilities and Safari. Use Software Update to download and install.

From Apple...

Key enhancements include:

  • network volumes are now available in the Finder sidebar and Desktop for convenient access
  • improved file sharing and directory services for Mac (AFP), UNIX (NFS) and PC (SMB/CIFS) networks
  • iimproved PostScript and USB printing
  • updated Disk Utility, DVD Player, Image Capture, Mail and Safari applications
  • additional support for FireWire and USB devices
  • iimproved compatibility for third party applications
  • previous standalone security updates and Bluetooth Update 1.5

For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website: http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n25711

Sunday, March 14, 2004


Nature Journaling - Wintertime Glories of Franklin Canyon

SUN 3/21 11am

Sooky Goldman Nature Ctr

Renew your spirit through nature journaling. Enhance the way you look at the natural world around you. Provide yourself with a record of your observations, thoughts, and feelings. Bring a sketchbook or pad, pencil, pen, and a small folding chair for your comfort. 2hrs WODOC

San Juan Capistrano Photos

We took a day trip to San Juan Capistrano, California last Friday. While Rosanne did some interviews for an upcoming magazine article, I took some time to wander about the center of town. We have visited twice in the past, but I never really had time to check things out fully.

Click for larger versions of these pictures

The main focus of town is, of course, the San Juan Capistrano Mission. Since I had already visited that in the past, I skipped it this trip. Instead of headed down towards the old train station, which is now a restaurant, even though the Amtrak and Metrolink trains still stop her regularly. Just across the tracks is the Los Rios Historic District, a collection of small cottages from San Juan Capistrano's past. Some of the cottages are shops, a tea house, restaurants and even a law office. Jones Farm is a large petting zoo with places to picnic a variety of animals.

As the photos show, I wandered about, taking lots of shots, even in the in-and-out lighting caused by the afternoon fog.

This weekend is the Fiesta de las Golondrinas, the day the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano. To avoid the traffic, I would highly recommend Amtrak or Metrolink service as the best way to get to the festival.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Career-Op: Bringing Technology Home

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

For decades we have all been enticed with visions of our technological future. Everything from Verne’s A Trip to the Moon to The Jetson’s has told us that the future will contain all sorts of wonderful technologies for the home. We would have robot maids, automatic kitchens and holographic televisions. While reality has certainly lagged behind the fantasy, we are getting there. One major change over the last year or two has been the growing integration between computer components and home entertainment hardware. Exploiting this trend could yield a big boost to your high-tech career.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

A Host of Microsoft Office Updates

Microsoft announced a slew of product updates today, including large updates for MS Office 2002 and Office XP.

Visit Microsoft Office Online to get the latest news and downloads.

Sunday, March 07, 2004


Twelfth Annual Book Sale

March 20, 2004. Saturday 10 a.m.–3:45 p.m.

Southwest Museum -- Mt. Washington Campus, Casa de Adobe

Peek through hundreds of rare books on anthropology, archaeology, American Indian history, art, and general fiction at the twelfth annual Braun Research Library Friends Group Book Sale. Proceeds from the book sale go to
the library’s acquisition fund. Autry National Center and Friends Group members may preview books beginning at 9 a.m.

Friday, March 05, 2004

False sense of security

When is virus prevention not virus prevention? When the antivirus software hasn't been updated for months...or at all. Not a week goes by that I don't meet with someone who thinks their computer is protected, only to find that the last antivirus updates they receive were sometime in 2001.

Computer manufacturers are one source of the problem. These days, most new Windows PCs arrive with either McAfee VirusScan or Norton Antivirus. Where, in the past, these might have been full version, now they are usually only 30-90 day trial versions which expire. No matter how much I remind my clients, this software often goes un-updated and un-purchased. Worse still, due to the design of the software, it often isn't clear that the software isn't working. Unless the user carefully reads the notification dialog boxes, they might continue along, not realizing they need to take action.

Such was the case yesterday. I have only worked for this client once, quite a few months ago, but I was called back to solve a few minor issues. They have 2 machines, one old and one new. The old machines, running Windows 98, was running an ancient version of Norton Antivirus. It was impossible to upgrade this software using the online tools. The user will now need to go and purchase a more current version. The new machine had come with the typical 90 day trial software. It had, of course, expired. It would not surprise me to discover, once the client installs their new software, to find at least one virus infection, if not more on both of these machines.

I have been working on improving my followup with clients this year, but here I see room for improvement. Starting now, I will include followup notices in my calendar whenever I set up a demo version of the software and more generic notices to remind clients to check their software to insure that it is still operating. The prevalence of virus and worm threats is simply too large to be ignored. Even though I feel that I am somewhat of a harpy on antivirus issues, there is, obviously, much more to be done. While each day of work brings new challenges, many of the old challenges remain.

Not that you should need me to say it, check your antivirus software today and make sure it is really doing its job.

Career-Op: Facing the Music

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

I am sure you have heard the expression, “sometimes you need to take the bull by the horns,” and other such euphemisms about taking action. While these sayings are definitely clichés, like all clichés they hold a bit of truth within them. There are times in your high-tech career, when you need to (insert your favorite cliché here) in order to insure that your career keeps moving forward, no matter what issues you might be facing.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Let's go fly a kite!

I was out flying a kite with my son the other day and thought perhaps we could use a newer, less beat-up model. This one has been in and out of the car more times than I can count and is starting to show its age.

With a little bit of serendipity, today, Cool Tools, points over to a great source for kites of all shapes and sizes.

Into the Wind, an online purveyor of all things wind-related, has a wonderful selection of kites, wind socks, streamers and more. If you want to get ready for this Spring's kite flying season, check them out!

Additionally, April is National Kite Month. You can get lots of information and a schedule of events from the American Kitefliers Association.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Stuck On Zoo

LA Zoo in Griffith Park

Weekends, March 6 - 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What do you get when you combine fascinating animals with sticker fun? The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens' new Stuck On Zoo event. Explore the Zoo while you put together your own collection of animals. Your sticker safari begins when you pick up your Zoo map and blueprint. Then, visit the featured animals throughout the Zoo and pick up a sticker version of that animal to place in your own Zoo. This event is free to members and with paid admission.

Saturdays and Sundays, March 6 through March 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Windows everywhere?!?

I went in for a minor medical procedure today and I happened to glance over at the computer they were using.

Aeieieeeiiie! It was running Windows!

As a confirmed Mac user, I wondered if I should take it as an omen.

But, then again, I do ressurect more Windows machines than Macs, so maybe I had some brownie points on that side of the technology.

Monday, March 01, 2004


Photo Fun in Franklin Canyon

SUN 3/14 2pm

Franklin Canyon Ranch

An experienced photographer will help you find unique views and photo opportunities or just enjoy the peaceful, easy paced hike. Reservations required 310-858-7272 x131. 2hrs WODOC

Apple Security Update 2004-02-23

Security Update 2004-02-23 delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. This update includes the following components: