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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Douglas Performs....

Don Duboise & Douglas perform at St. Cyrils "Lounge Lizard" Fundraiser Event

For the second year running I have performed at the annual "Lounge Lizard" fundraiser at my son's school. It is one of the few opportunities I have to get out and play music. It is a great group of people and we always end up having a great time. There are singers, dancers and comedians and we provide a hour or so of entertainment and give the school parents an opportunity for a night out to meet and greet those people they might only see fleetingly as they drop off or pick up their children. This year we nearly doubled our attendance and it looks like, after 3 years, we have established the beginnings of a school tradition.

Norton Internet Security Problems

While I heartily recommend Symantec's Norton Anti-Virus for my clients, I have been running into problems with those customers using the Norton Internet Security product. This product bundles Anti-Virus, Internet Security Firewall and Intrustion detection and several other products.

Problems included difficulties with installtion and uninstalling, complete blocking of all Internet connections and complete blocking of specific, approved sites.

I am not sure if this is simply a problem with bugs in a new product or if it runs deeper than that, but for the time being, I am recommending my clients purchase the stand-alone version of Norton Anti-Virus to avoid any complications.

If you have had problems with Norton Internet Security, post your comments here so we can see what issues exist and how they might be addressed.

Japanese Cherry Trees are blooming

The Japanese Cherry Trees at Lake Balboa in Van Nuys are in full bloom. I drove by today and was surprised to seem them fully-engaged. It is best to visit on a weekday, as weekends are very busy at the park.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Career Opportunities: THe High-Tech Career Handbook

This week's column, Follow-through, has been posted to the web site.

Click here to read the column or listen to the MP3 audio podcast.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Microsoft to disable product activation over Net | CNET News.com

It looks like life for my clients and me is going to get even more complicated in the next few weeks. Once again, in an effort to combat software piracy, everyone has to suffer, guilty and not guilty together.

Frankly, I am getting tired of fixing Microsoft's problems. It is only my dedication to helping my clients that keeps me working with Windows machines at all. Each and every day I face more and more roadblocks and hurdles to keeping Windows systems running. Another hurdle makes my work more difficult and can leave an honest customer with a useless computer. Punish the guilty, but leave the rest of us alone!

From CNET News...

Microsoft to disable product activation over Net | CNET News.com

By Robert Lemos, Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Customers who find themselves reinstalling Windows XP should be ready for a headache: Microsoft will no longer support activating the product over the Internet.

Intended to curtail the stealing and selling of certificates of authenticity, the new security measure will start at the end of this month. At first, it will be limited to the Windows XP software preinstalled on systems shipped by the top 20 PC sellers."

Click the title for the remainder of the article.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Security Update 2005-002

Time to run Software Update, if it hasn't run automatically, and get the latest Apple Security Update for OS X 10.3.x. In addition, those of you with iPods will also notice a iPod Software Update waiting. -- Douglas

Security Update 2005-002 (Mac OS X 10.3.4 or later): "
Security Update 2005-002 delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. This update includes the following components:

Java Web Start



Core Java classes

For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=61798

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

SCALE: Southern California Linux Expo

I had the opportunity to attend the SCALE: The Southern California Linux Expo here in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. I wanted to give you some of my impressions of the show, but other projects got in the way. Here are some comments and thoughts I had, even though a bit late.

I only had Saturday morning available in my schedule, but I still caught 2 great talks. The first was a presentation on Windows to Linux Migration. It addressed many issues I hadn't really thought about and gave some clear insight into how to accomplish the migration with a minimal amount of pain.

The second session was the one by BRU on backup strategies. The presenter was very good and he didn't spend an inordinate amount of time shilling BRU. Again, he gave a great overview of the various strategies behind backups and the pros and cons of each. Very good. I especially liked the info on disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T). I have many clients who need to move to some sort of "staged" storage and this really helped to engage my thinking.

The exhibits were interesting, if small. Here I was less knowledgeable about the market, but I did talk to the folks at Novell, BRU, the thin-client people and several others.

One pet project I am looking for is a Linux distro that would turn any older PC (think Win 98-based machine) into a cheap NAS (network-attached storage) box for backups, home servers, etc. I would really like to find a turnkey solution so I could some of these older machines back into service. I configured one such box for my own purposes here in the home office using Damn Small Linux and Samba and I am really enjoying it. It also gave me a test bed for playing around with a Linux Desktop.

One major "take-away" for me had to do with getting out of your usual environment and exploring new avenues of technology. There will be an upcoming Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook column based on that concept.

Friday, February 18, 2005

ELF - Monitor Status of Library Books/Holds

I have been wishing for an RSS feed for my LAPL account for months so I didn't have to constantly check the web site for holds and due dates. Blogging.la points out this great site, ELF, that will monitor your books across multiple cards and libraries and offers and RSS for all the information. Too cool!

ELF: Library Account Manager

Lama Li Journals

I'm a sucker for great journals with great paper. I carry a book around all the time for capturing ideas, notes and more. Journalisimo is a site dedicated to the form and function of pen on paper. These journals are only their latest post on great new ways to use a very old technology.

From their web site...

Lama" This soft-bound travel journal has an interior pocket for pens and pencils. The wrap-around cover is held in place by an elastic band and weighted bar. Filled with 150 pages of Lama Li handmade paper in a warm natural color, it's perfect for sketching, writing, and recording impressions of your journeys. Handmade in the mountains of Nepal, Lama Li papers are made from the bark of the "Lokta" bush. As a fully renewable resource, "Lokta" regenerates new growth in just a few years, helping to preserve the eco-system of Nepal."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook

This week's column, The Experience, has been posted to the web site.

Click here to read the column or listen to the MP3 audio podcast.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Five fast email productivity tips

LifeHacker links over to Merlin Mann's fantastic productivity site, 43 Folders. I read 43 Folders every day and never fail to find some great information there. He is also a big user of David Allen's Getting Things Done, as am I.

If you want to move your projects forward and just get a handle on your life, this is the place for you.

Get better at email

Efficiency expert Merlin Mann's got five fantastic, easy tips for making life with your inbox more manageable.

From response shortcuts (write less, use templates) to guilt-reduction (just delete it already), his advice is sure to save you time and needless email wheel-spinning.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Career Opportunities: THe High-Tech Career Handbook

This week's column, Notation and Recall, has been posted to the web site.

Click here to read the column or listen to the MP3 audio podcast.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

California Wildflower Locations - Wildflower Hotsheet

It's an early wildflower this year, thanks to all the rain we received and a warm January. Carol Leigh's California Wildflower Locations - Wildflower Hotsheet will let you know where all the best blooms are happening througout the season. Check back frequently for current updates as well as a host of photography information.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Latest Mac OS X Update - 10.3.8

Mac users can use the Software Update function of Mac OS X to load the latest system update from Apple. Here is the note included with the update and a link to futher information from Apple's Web Site.

The 10.3.8 Update delivers improved compatibility and reliability for Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther" and is recommended for all users.

Key updates include:

  • improved OpenGL technology and updated ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers
  • improved file sharing and directory services for mixed Mac and PC networks
  • improved compatibility for third party applications and devices
  • previous standalone security updates

For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website: http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n300569

For detailed information on Security Updates, please visit this website: http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n61798

Monday, February 07, 2005

Google Does Maps & Directions!

Google now has a Maps & Directions service, including links to their Local Search features. This allows you to say things like, "show me all the starbucks near 91411".

I am very impressed with the quality of the maps. They are easier to read than most other map sites. I am defintely going to be putting this site through its paces in the next few days.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Another fine sketchbook site

Russell Stutler's Sketchbook Pages is another great sketchbook site I happened upon via del.icio.us.

It is amazing what an artist can do with very few tools and (often) very little time. Stutler's sketches capture a variety of people and architecture in beautiful ways. He also goes on to explain his tools and working methods for each page of the sketchbook, adding and educational aspect to an already wonderful site.

Music: Radoslav Lorkovic House Concert

I listened live to this show, the latest in a series of house concerts from Whole Wheat Radio in Talkeetna, Alaska. Radoslav is an amazing pianist and the concert travels throug a variety of styles, including a bit of Zydeco accordian thrown in for good measure.

You can find all 2+ hours of the concert on the Whole Wheat Radio site. It is broken into 2 - 1 hour segments.

I highly recommend this concert to play while you hang out around the house or during a nice dinner. It is soothing, fun and amazing.

Radoslav Lorkovic House Concert Part I

Radoslav Lorkovic House Concert Part II

Friday, February 04, 2005

Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook

This week's column, 24/7, has been posted to the web site.

Click here to read the column or listen to the MP3 audio podcast.

WelchWrite News for February posted

Last night I emailed and posted the February edition of WelchWrite News, including this essay:

Are you listening to your computer?

I donít like to do comparisons between cars and computers very often, but sometimes that is an apt metaphor. If you started your car in the morning and it started making strange noises, you wouldnít ignore it. You would take it to your mechanic and have it repaired. Yet, when a home computer makes its own odd noises, we often ignore it. Perhaps we figure it might go away on its own, but, more than likely, we simply donít want to take time away from our work to solve the problem. As you probably know from direct experience, though, ignoring a computer problem often leads to some very bad consequences.

(Continue reading here)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook

A new column and audio podcast was added to the Career Opportunities pages today.

Tempus Fugit -- from the archives -- November 29, 2002

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Wine-tastings in Silverlake - $12

LAist.com offers up this info regarding no-reservation-needed wine tastings at Silverlake Wine. Sounds like a great way to start the week!

Feeling Wine-y

If the beginning of the work week gets you down, Silverlake Wine is ready to ease your pain. Their Blue Monday wine tastings require no reservation, feature snacks provided by the Cheese Store of Silverlake, and deliver three distinct wines to take the edge off the old grind.

From 5-9pm, savvy owners George Cosette, Randy Clement or April Langford will be on hand to spill as much wine knowledge as you might crave. Or you can hand over the $12 cover, nosh, drink, and slink off to prepare for dreaded Tuesday.