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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

New iMac Announced

While it may take a few months to actually get your hands on one of these, Apple announced its latest version of the iMac in Paris today.

Monday, August 30, 2004

How to be a boor...or not! from ChangeThis.com

How To Be a Boor

Learn some email etiquette with this manifesto from ChangeThis.com. Be sure to pass it on to your friends (and maybe some enemies), too!

Excerpt from the manifesto: "Alas, your parents knew squat about
email when you were growing up. They didn’t hector and hassle
and harass you every time you blind cced a friend on a catty flame you
sent to that girl who doesn’t like you as much as she said she
did. So no one taught you the stuff you will now learn."

A Sketch

Sunday, August 29, 2004

WelchWrite Newsletter almost here!

The September Edition of the WelchWrite Newsletter is just about ready to ship (email).

If you are not already a subscriber, you can join the mailing list by sending a blank message to subscribe@welchwrite.com. I will be emailing the newsletter on September 1st, so get your subscriptions in soon.

You can check out past versions of the newsletter by visiting the Newsletter & Alerts Archive.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

More great book information

I can't believe I haven't mentioned this before, but the BookBrowse web site and email newsletter are one of the highlights of my week.

I love books, and the newsletter is an excellent source for book reviews and informtion.

Get your weekly dose of new book information by subscribing (FREE) today.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Career-Op: Doing a lot, doing enough

Career-Op: Doing a lot, doing enough

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Unlike some high-tech workers I have met, computers and technology are not the sole focus of my life. I have many varied interests, some computer-related, others not. In fact, at any one time I may have many different projects vying for my attention. This often leads those me around to comment, “You seem to do so much!” While it may be true that I am “doing” a lot, I often find myself wondering if I am doing “enough” of the right things to improve my high-tech career and my life.

Email any post to a friend

You may have noticed the little Envelope graphics near the bottom-right of each new post.

Clicking here allows you to email that post to yoru friends in 2 simple steps.

Try it out!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hot Titles at the LAPL

I just noticed a new feature available from the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) web site, Hot Titles!

This page lists the top 50 most popular titles at the library.

I am not sure how they are selecting this information, but it is interesting all the same. Clicking a title takes you to the catalog information for the book, where you can place a hold, if you like. I hope this is the beginning of much more information from the library catalog. One feature I have always wanted is a listing of newly added titles, perhaps even as an RSS feed.

I am also seeing some additional information in the library catalog, so it looks like there was a roll-out of a new system in teh last few days.

Event: Chalk Fest 2004

Chalk Fest 2004

August 28 & 29 , 10:00AM

Hollywood & Highland  

6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, 323-960-2331

"Born in 16th century Italy, and popularized by the animated journey in the film 'Mary Poppins,' chalk street-painting has grown into an artistic tradition throughout the world..."

Click the title above for more information.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Project: Make 3-D photos

How-To Tuesday: Make 3-D photos from Engadget

It must be my thinking about projects lately, but here is another great project for fun or school. This excellent demo in making your own 3-d pictures is easy and fun to do alone, or with your kids.

Project: Hamster-Powered Night Light

Hamster-Powered Night Light

As Joe gets older, visions of science fairs to come dance in my head. I love hearing about projects like this and try to imagine the geekiest science fair project we can come up with.

For those of you with older kids, this might be an interesting project to build on. I especially like the use of the bicycle computer to gather data on the average Hamster Miles per Night figures.

This project was originally discovered via MetaFilter

Windows Security Center Hole in SP2 Discovered

Windows Security Center Hole in SP2 Discovered

While I must say that new bugs in SP2 are really no surprise, a bug in one of the new security components, a main feature of SP2, is absolutely inexcusable. If you are trying to make things more secure, you think that this would be the one place they would focus their attention.

We are now left with only 2 possible scenarios here. Windows has become totally unwieldy and impossible to maintain or the MS programmers are idiots. Since the programmers seem to be able to develop some fairly complex software, I am going to guess that the sheer burden of the Windows code has become unworkable, regardless of how many programmers you throw at the issue.

I don't know whether Microsoft has realized it yet, but SP2 might just be the beginning of the end. Every company has an Achilles heel and this could Microsoft's. Public opinion, both inside and outside of the high-tech world is rapidly turning against them. Too many flaws in SP2 might be enough to finally convince companies and individuals to look for alternatives.

This market is Microsoft's to win or lose and it seems like they are doing everything they can to lose...in a big way!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Coin-counting jar topper

Cory over at Boing Boing links to this neat, little gizmo over at the Discovery Channel Store online.

Count your coins as you put them in the jar and watch your money grow!

Originally via Red Ferret Journal

What I'm Reading...

Beyond the book below, here are a few others that have crossed my desk in the last few weeks.

One Day Read: On the Run by David DiBenedetto

It doesn't happen that often, but every once-and-awhile I come across a book that I call a "One Day Read." I am never know when a book might turn into one, but after the first few pages, it is obvious that I need to clear the decks and finish the book in one sitting.

On the Run: An Angler's Journey Down the Striper Coast is my most recent "One Day Read". David DiBenedetto tells the the story of the annual migration of striped bass from Maine to the Carolinas. He tells this through the people he meets along the way, along with his own stories of fishing for "striper" throughout his life.

While I haven't been an avid fisherman since my childhood days, I love reading about people and their experiences. DiBenedetto is a good storyteller and develops a great balance between his own stories and those of others. If you want to take yourself away from your daily life, and immerse yourself in another culture, pick up One The Run, settle into a nice easy chair and follow the stripers down the coast.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Event: Kids’n Kritters Day

Annual event dedicated to the children of the Crescenta Valley and Glendale areas. Activities include rides, games, food, animal adoptions,a magic show, and a wild wonders exotic petting zoo.

W H E N : August 29, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

S I T E : 2200 Block Honolulu Ave., Montrose

C O S T : Free

S P O N S O R : Montrose Shopping Park Association

I N F O : 818-248-3889, www.shopmontrose.com

From the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Festival Guide

Event: Los Angeles City Birthday Celebration

This is the 223rd anniversary of the founding of Los Angeles. Historical re-enactments, artisan demonstrations, exhibits, food, and entertainment will be available at the El Pueblo Historical Monument.

W H E N : September 4, 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

S I T E : El Pueblo Historical Monument, Placita Olvera

125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles

C O S T : Free

S P O N S O R : Olvera Street Merchants

I N F O : 213-625-5045 (recording), www.cityofla.org/elp/

From the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Festival Guide

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Career-Op: High-tech workers have responsibility to question security flaws

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

We all know about the numerous security holes of Microsoft Windows and its associated programs, such as Internet Explorer. We all know inherently that relying on any one company or technology leaves us vulnerable to large scale attacks. Still many of us, as high-tech workers and consultants, continue to use and promote these products in our work. At what point does our reluctance to change turn into culpability?. If we know these products to be flawed, why aren't we searching for better alternatives? Are we really doing the best work for our clients or are we simply trying to make it easier on ourselves?

Friday, August 20, 2004

Los Angeles Insight - Scooby Doo Where are You?

LABlogs.com has posted its latest round of "insight" questions. Here are my responses.

1. What city or part of Los Angeles do you live in now?

Van Nuys, North of Burbank, South of Oxnard, West of VNB and Easy of Kester. A nice little residential section with easy freeway access, even if the freeway is a parking lot on most days.

2. If you have lived somewhere else in the area, where was it?

We now live 3 blocks from where we first landed in LA. We lived in North Hollywood for about 4-5 years, but ended up back here when we finally bought a house. 18 years ago we moved here from Ohio, the day after we got married.

3. Besides where you live now, where else would you want to live in the area?

There are some nice areas around the city, but for ease of access, this is a good location. My wife works in TV, so having Disney, Warner Bros, Universal just up the street certainly helps the commute. Sony would be a trek, but she has never worked down there.

I really would like to be able to live outside of LA for a month or so at a time. Our lives are somewhat tied to the city right now, but since I come from a small town of 2000 people, I really need to get away from the city on a regular basis. We really like Idyllwild, in the San Jacinto Mountains, but haven’t been able to get a place up there….yet!

4. Where would you not want to live?

We can’t imagine living in any of the new suburbs where houses are stacked on top of one another like cordwood. The fact that you have to get in your car to go get bread and milk seems ridiculous.

5. How often do you venture out of your area?

My work carries me to many other places of SoCal. I have clients in Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Pasadena, Burbank, Northridge, Beverly Hills. So I get around some. We have taken the Metro lines to various places and regularly check out new and interesting places. We used to volunteer up in the Angeles National Forest on a regular basis, as well. My WelchEvents mailing list is always introducing me to interesting places and events around town.

6. Where do you usually go when you get out?

Malibu, Santa Monica Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, Ojai, Santa Barbara, Pasadena.

7. How far do you work/school from where you live?

As mentioned above, I work all over the area, so some days I can be just up the street and on others I am down by the ocean or in the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.

8. Money is no object; Beach, the Hills, the City or Leave?

I would love to live in the mountains, but not in one of the new sub-divisions. I don’t go to the mountains to live on top of someone else. Also, if you live in the mountains, I believe you have to have the mindset that everything in your house could be gone in minutes, in the event of fire or flood. I am not sure I could find that state of mind in my life…yet.

We are actively thinking of leaving the area, as well. Our lives have changed over the past 18 years and Los Angeles doesn't fit our needs as well as it once did.

Used Cook Book Sale in Hollywood

Those who know me well know that I love to cook. I am regularly checking out new cookbooks from the library, even if I can't buy them for my over-crowded bookshelves.

LAist, a fairly new website about LA, points to a used cookbook sale happening this Sunday at the Hollywood Farmer's Market. Looks like I might need to head to the Metro Station in North Hollywood and catch a train down.

From LAist.com...

Cookbook Sale

Don't miss out on the used cookbook sale, an annual fundraiser for The Culinary Historians of Southern California, this Sunday at the Hollywood Farmers Market from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

The Hollywood Farmers Market takes place on Ivar Avenue, between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards and Selma Avenue. [LAist]

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Creative Spaces 4: Phylicia Rashad's Nature Escape

I am really enjoying this series from All Things Considered. It is great to hear about where and creative people find their inspiration and solace. It is also great to be able to pick up this content directly from the web. I never seem to be in the car at the right time, so most of my NPR listening occurs right here at my computer.

Creative Spaces 4: Phylicia Rashad's Nature Escape

Also, NPR is now offering RSS feeds of its content.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Book: Career Warfare by David F. D'Alessandro

Career Warfare by David F. D'Alessandro

2004 McGraw-Hill

I guess I came across mention of this title in an issue of Fast Company, but I can't be sure. It seems like something they would feature in the magazine, though.

I wasn't that interested in this book initially, but it quickly grew on me. D'Alessandro (in partnership with Michele Owens) speaks from with an assured voice and what is, obviously, real-world experience. Even more, the book is filled with clear and illustrative examples of what can go wrong, and right, as you build your career.

I am happy to see a CEO focus on something of use to everyone instead of the usual accounts of how they crushed the competition and turned themselves and their shareholders into ultra-millionaires. Everyone works. Everyone has a boss and nearly everyone can benefit from this book.

D'Alessandro speaks about the need to "analyze" your boss into one of the 7 archetypes he has developed from his experiences. Are they a "Little League Parent" or a "Mentor"? A "Wastrel"? A "Pariah"? How can you identify the and how do you develop your career with, or in spite, of them. While you certainly want to judge people solely on the management skills, understanding the basic types can help to make you life easier.

The author's experiences and insights dovetail nicely with my own career experiences. I have seen almost all of the boss varieties he describes, both bad and good. It is always a reassuring to hear that you aren't the only person to have struggled with career issues.

Career Warfare is one of those books that should be given to every college student sometime around their junior year. I know I certainly would have been spared a lot of "hard knocks" learning had this book been available back in the early 80's. Reading this book could prepare new careerists for the realities that will face and give them a "leg up" into the working world.

Current managers can also benefit, as well. The book is an excellent way to do a "gut check" and see if you are really the manager you want to be. Idealistically, I would also recommend this book even the most experienced managers so they might recognize any bad habits they might have adopted over the years and seek to correct them, even at this late date.

D'Alessandro gives some excellent advice for "getting along" in troublesome work environments, but shares my assessment that there are times when you should never compromise your ethics. It is always better to find a new job than find yourself under investigation. Being out of work damages your personal brand much less than becoming a convicted felon. Ask Martha Stewart.

Overall, this book was an easy and engaging read. One that reinforced my own experience and beliefs, yet also elicited new thoughts and concepts on what it means to have a career.

Highly recommended.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) is on its way!

Very soon, a major update of Microsoft Windows will appear in the Windows Update panel of your computer.

This update is designed to address a large number of bugs and security issues in the current version of Windows XP.

Due to the extensive nature of the changes involved, I suggest your take note of these 3 web pages that offer detailed information on what will change under SP2.

It is hoped that the SP2 upgrades go smoothly for everyone, but there might be some issues which we will have to address after the initial upgrade.

Thanks to Sam Anderson at Nights N Weekends for sharing his best links for SP2 information.

WEB: All Consuming

AllConsuming.net is a great site that tracks the books currently being discussed on the Internet. It has helped me discover some very interesting books, in some very esoteric areas, over the last year.

You can visit the web page or subscribe to a variety of RSS feeds. The feeds are a great solution as I can watch the books passing through the site, without visiting the site every day.


Saturday, August 14, 2004

Ways to foster serendipity in your life

Serendipity is defined as "Faculty of making discoveries by accident."

I find that some of my best discoveries -- whether they be books, restaurants, friends, places -- tend to arise out of serendipity.

As I was doing my errands today (I am on my own, as R & J are away on their own projects) 2 great ideas for increasing your chances of serendipity came to mind.

  1. Library Sorting Shelves - The next time you are in the library, (you DO go to the library regularly, don’t you?), find the sorting shelves. This is the area where books are pre-sorted before being returned to their rightful place on the shelf. The chances are, if someone else found the book interesting, you might, too. I almost always find 1 or 2 books to add to my check out for that day.

  2. Bookstore Lower Shelves - After lunch and the library, I headed over to the local Border's to poke around. You may have noticed that it is always the bestselling books that appear at eye-level in a bookstore. The same holds true for products in the supermarket and other stores. The truth is, many companies PAY for the best placement on the shelves. If you want to find something new and interesting, start looking at the lower shelves in the store. Get down on your hands and knees and you might be surprised what you find. Don't let the marketing departments of the big publishers dictate what you read. Explore a little.

  3. Randomly pick a listening station - The same also goes for music stores, of course. Pick a random music listening station, then pick a random CD and a random track. Did you dig it? Try again!

There are other ways to help serendipity strike, of course. Drive a different way to work. Visit a neighborhood you have never seen. Even here in the Valley where I have lived for 18 years, there are some streets I have never driven. Some days, when the mood strikes me, I take a little tour of one of these streets. Who knows what you might find? Garage sales are another great way of dragging you down streets you might never have noticed before.

Finally, be open to serendipity in your life. It is always those chance encounters that spur your thoughts and enrich your life.

Friday, August 13, 2004

LABlogs.com Weekly Insight #2

LABlogs.com is a collection of posts from a wide variety of LA Bloggers which deal with the city we all live in. Jonah, the proprietor, has started a weekly “Insight” series, where he questions the local bloggers about their LA thoughts, likes, dislikes and more. These are my answers to this week's questions. You can check out other bloggers on LABlogs.com.

1. Where is the last place you ate out?

Oh God. With all the great places to eat in LA, I tend to choose by convenience. Today’s lunch was Cousin’s Subs at Burbank and Van Nuys. I like them better than Subway and they are, at least, moderately more healthy than Wendy’s burgers.

2. How often do you eat out?

When I am doing a lot of computer consulting, I tend to be out and about, so I eat out more. Even at home, though, we eat out 3-4 times a week. Does Starbuck’s and other coffee places count? I frequent them more than any other food location. I stop in before a consulting call, stop in after, walk up on the weekends to drink and read….but enough about that. (SMILE)

3. Where is the place you eat most?

Lately, this has been Cousin’s, (I feel so dirty admitting my fast food cravings here in front of everyone, though) For “sit down” meals, our regular places are Four ‘N 20 on Van Nuys, Nat’s Early Bite (a great mid-western-style diner that remind me of the diner in my small town) on Burbank and Antonio’s Pizza on Ventura Blvd. (yet another place that reminds me of one of my favorite places in Ohio.

4. Where do you tell your friends that they "have to try"?

My wife really likes Café Bizou on Ventura. I like the food there, as well, as it has both regular and “fru-fru” food so we can both get what something we like. I usually leave the “dining outr” recommendations to her. As a TV writer, she has had the opportunity to eat at some of the finest restaurants in town, usually on someone else’s dime.

5. What dish do they have to order when they get there?

It has been a while since we were there, so I don’t honestly remember. I do recall a great garlic mashed potatoes, though.

6. Where do you eat when money is not a concern?

As I don’t really have any fancy dining aspirations, my dining diversions usually contain themselves to the lower end of the price spectrum. I don’t have any “great restaurant” that I would like to frequent. Since I am the main cook here at the house, mainly due to my picky food choice issues, I tend to cook the fancy stuff here, rather than go out for it. Tonight, Rosanne made one of our favorites, Risotto Milanese. She even made the chicken stock that went into it and added some chicken into the risotto to change it a bit. I make all sorts of (relatively fancy) pasta dishes. Rosanne is 2nd generation Sicilian, so Italian food makes up a large part of my repertoire. I even make homemade Gnoochi and pasta, on occasion.

7. Where do you eat when money is tight?

When I am tired, usually the local places mentioned above. When not, I would rather cook for myself. Then the food is just how I like it.

8. What restaurant have you wanted to try but haven't been to yet?

I am severely unadventurous when it comes to dining out, so I don’t really have an answer for this question. When we travel, I am much more adventurous, but around town, I fall into my old ruts again.

Fast Company: Jerk Bosses: To Coach or Can?

Interesting post over at Fast Company regarding the nature and occurence of "Jerk Bosses". There is comments section for your own response, as well.

One interesting statistic is that, "...42% of US workers reported incidents of yelling and verbal abuse in their workplaces. And, it said that 30% of workers admitted to yelling at their co-workers themselves."

It seems that the issue of workplace abuse has only gotten worse over the years. Can bad bosses be "coached" out of their behaviors or is simply a lost cause.

Here are some past columns I have written about office abuse.

Is it really that bad?

Computer (Career) Nightmares

A Little Crazy

Career-Op: Making a list

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

No matter the focus of your high-tech career, there is always too much to be done. This computer is broken, the network is down, several pieces of software are already out of date. When there is so much pressing business, though, you can easily lose sight of exactly what needs to be done. You spend your time racing from crisis to crisis and never get a sense of the big wave that is about to crash over you.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

CLASS: Intro to Mac OS X

Deborah Shadovitz is holding an Intro to Mac OS X class at USC on Saturday, August 28, 2004.

A seminar for upgraders, new Mac users, switchers, and potential switchers. This class is designed to provide a solid Mac OS X foundation. If you're upgrading from any previous MacOS, you should regain and perhaps surpass your former comfort level. If you're a Windows user you'll leave confident that you can work well in OS X. But while the basics are well covered, my focus is always Mac Efficiency. You'll learn a lot of productivity power tips. Clarity and understanding for new-comers will not be at the cost of upgraders.

Full Information Available Here

Getty Center Family Room Re-Opens

It looks like the Family Room at the Getty Center has re-opened with a
completely different design. It has been closed since May for remodeling.

This LA Times article gives an overview of the new attractions.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

New Ad-Aware Anti-Spyware progam released

According to this posting on WebAttack.com, Lavasoft has released their latest version of Ad-Aware, their anti-spyware detection and cleanup tool. If you currently use Ad-Aware, download this new release. The installer will seemlessly remove the old version and install the new one in its place.

Update - Freeware - Ad-Aware v SE Personal 1.02
AdAware is a privacy tool, that scans your memory, registry, hard, removable and optical drives for known data-mining, aggressive advertising, and tracking components. It then lists the results and o.... [WebAttack.com latest software]

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

USA Today: Fewer college students choose computer majors

Interesting article from USA Today

Fewer college students choose computer majors

Hmmm...Despite all the people who jumped into the computer industry during the boom, this looks like a prescription for a shortage within the next few years. Good for some, bad for others.

Creative Spaces 3: Daniel Silva's Spy Den

All Things Considered posts the next installment in their Creative Spaces series, talking with spy novelist Daniel Silva.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Apple Mac OS X Software Updates

Apple released 2 updates today, including a overall update to Mac OS X 10.3.5. According to the included notes, this update includes the following:

The 10.3.5 Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther" and is recommended for all users.

Key enhancements include:

  • improved support for NTFS formatted volumes
  • improves reliability for user logins and mounting of home directories in a networked environment
  • updated ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers
  • improved Bluetooth compatibility for Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mouse and Bluetooth phones
  • additional FireWire and USB device compatibility
  • improved font management
  • updated Mail and Image Capture applications
  • improved compatibility for third party applications
  • previous standalone security updates

For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website: http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n25791

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Career-Op: The Art of Managing Yourself

Career-Op: The Art of Managing Yourself

by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

If there is any secret to a successful high-tech career, it could be the ability to self-manage your life and your work. If you can manage to get things done even when you feel you have too many bosses, or too few, you are already ahead of many of your peers.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Creative Spaces - Part 2

The second installment in All Things Considered's look at Creative Spaces focuses on Jazz Trumpeter, Steven Bernstein and his "Jazz Laboratory".

For the first part of this series, see James Prosek, below.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Best reads of 2004...so far

The PUBLIB mailing list has put together a list of the Best Reads of 2004 from suggestions offered by their members.

I am always looking for a good book, so I love lists like this. I am sure I will find something worthwhile to pick up at the library.

Via Goosing your Muse

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Apple Store Clearance Sales

Macintouch has a reader-report on, what seems to be, regular "end-of-month" clearance sales at Apple Stores.

Get the full report here!