Other WelchWrite Blogs: A Gardener's Notebook - Career Opportunities - TechnologyIQ - Careers in New Media

Home -- Contact Me -- Search Welchwrite.com -- Follow My Word

Subscribe to Douglas' Newsletter today!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Design your own anti-procrastination plan

We all procrastinate from time to time and the folks a UT Austin seem to know this as well. In an effort to help students stay on track they present this list of procrastination busters.

This list is certainly worth reviewing if you find yourself avoiding a project or task. Give yourself a jumpstart and create some forward momentum.

Now, let's see....wasn't I supposed to be working on something?


Below are several lists of specific, concrete things you can do to confront and change your own tendencies to procrastinate. Choose several suggestions from among the four lists and put them into practice. If these activities work, keep on with them; if not, try different ones. Persist. Keep a record of your activities on the other side of this sheet.

(Via University of Texas at Austin.)

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Annual Raising Readers: A Literacy Festival

This festival focuses on children’s language and literacy development. Storytellers, theatre groups, and musicians emphasize the joy of reading. Lots of snacks and fun for children and their families.

W H E N : April 2, 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m.

S I T E : Santa Monica College, Clock tower area

C O S T : Free

S P O N S O R : Connection for Children, Santa Monica College, and North Bay AEYC

I N F O : 310-452-3325, www.cfc.ca.org

From the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Festival Guide

Friday, March 25, 2005

Event: 7th Annual Festival of Film Noir

More than 60 years after it began in the pulp magazines and expressionistic, doom-laden thrillers and crime movies of the 1930s and 1940s, film noir continues to cast its wicked spell on us. This year, we continue our quest to bring renowned classics back to the big screen, and to unearth obscure delights that have slipped beneath the radar screen of even the savviest noir fans.

W H E N : April 1 through 13, Various times

S I T E : Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywoods

C O S T : $9, $8, $6s

S P O N S O R S : American Cinematheques

I N F O : 323-466-FILM, www.egyptiantheatre.coms

From the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Festival Guide

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Got Skype?

I have a few friends scattered about the world and long distance calls can really start to add up. Even though I have a long distance plan on my cell phone, it still uses up a lot of minutes. Now, though, I have Skype and I can talk as long as I want for free.

At it's simplest, Skype is a Voice Over IP (VOIP) program that allows you to call from one computer to another (or even create a conference call.) As long as I have an Internet connection i.e. Starbucks, Library other public Wi-Fi, I can make and receive calls to other Skype users.

For an additional fee, though, you can make a Skype call to almost any phone in the world, for an absurdly low rate, compared to using the telephone. This service is called SkypeOut. A new service, SkypeIn, allows you to buy a real phone number, which can be called by any other, normal phone. Instead of ringing your home phone, though, it rings your PC via Skype.

There are a lot of additional features, including Voice Mail, but the software (available for Windows 2000, XP, Pocket PC, Mac OS X and Linux) and the basic service is free. Additionally, I am setting it up so I can record interviews for my Career Opportunities podcast. Since it is compu0ter-based, a little creative routing of the sound inputs and I am set up for a remote interview using only my Mac.

If you would like to try out Skype, download the software from http://www.skype.com/. Then, add DouglasWelch to your contacts list and give me a call. I try to mark myself away when I am out of the office, but I will see that you tried to call when I return to the office.

Skype Id: DouglasWelch

Skype Version 1.2 Released

Skype has just released version 1.2 of its popular VoIP application. Some of the new features, which were added in response to users' requests, are new central contact list for remote access (previously contact were stored locally), new multi-application contact import (compatible with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, MSN Messenger and Opera, and others), multiple file transfer, updated sounds, and more customizable personal settings. More...

(Via eHomeUpgrade.)

Firefox Security Update

Good to see that the Firefox folks are able and willing to turn out fast security fixes to their product. Upgrade 'em if you got 'em.

Mozilla fixes risky Firefox flaw The open-source browser maker rushes out a security patch for a previously unknown flaw and advises all users to update.

(Via CNET News.com.)

Yahoo Directions to your cell phone

I just tried this out and it seems to work well. You don't get turn-by-turn maps or anything, but the text directions are well formatted and easy to read. If you don't have a PDA to use for directions, this is certainly an excellent alternative. It is just one indication of how cell phones are quickly becoming an all-in-one information solution for many people.

Send driving directions to your phone

Yahoo! Driving Directions launched a "Send to your phone" feature which lets you text message a directions link to a web-enabled cell phone for paperless access on the road. Handy.

(Via Lifehacker.)

Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook

This week's column and podcast, Rise above it all, has been posted to the web site.

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Crepes? At a Mall?

Yes, even I was surprised when I happened to go to the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square...ooops....Westfield Fashion Square the other day. I am not a big fan of "Food Court" dining options, but a new place had opened up and it looked intriguing.

Crepe X-press makes all style of typical French crepes including savory and sweet varieties. Three traditional crepe grills front the shop so you can see exactly how they are being made and the ingredients that are being used.

Our crepes were excellent and the service was fast and efficient. They even went a little out of the way to serve the customer. I asked for no tomatoes on my turkey, cheese and béchamel crepe, but the cook asked it I might like something else, perhaps fresh spinach leaves instead. He was right. It was an excellent addition and one I probably wouldn't have bothered asking for on my own.

If you are in the neighborhood, stop by Crepe X-press and try them out. You just might be pleasantly surprised.

Crepe X-press

14006 Riverside Drive

Sherman Oaks, CA


Printable Hiking Trails in LA - latimes.com

Get them while you can. Printable (Adobe PDF format) graphics from the LA Times feature article on the 10 best hiking trails in LA.

Printable trail maps printable trail maps from Los Angeles Times! FRESH!

(Via del.icio.us/tag/losangeles.)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Mac OS X Security Update 2005-03

Time to check your Software Updates, if you haven't seen this one already. Patches for a number of programs are included.

From Apple's Web Site...

Security Update 2005-003 delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. This update includes the following components:

AFP Server

Bluetooth Setup Assistant


Cyrus SASL

Folder permissions



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

Do LA Politicians read blogs?

It seems at least one does.

Just a few hours after the a writer at Blogging.la posted there photo essay on some of the major issues at Echo Park, Councilman Eric Garcetti posted a reply.

It is heartening to see that someone out there is listening to the community's voices, whether they be published in print or on the net.

After clicking the link to the story, scroll down to see Garcetti's reply and others.

Echo Park…a nice place to be?

With the sun out, the reflection of the blue sky turning the dirty water of the lake an acceptable shade of aqua, and a fair number of young families feeding the ducks at lake's edge, for a few hours today, Echo Park was a place I would actually consider spending some time.

(Via Blogging.LA.)

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook

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

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

Event: Blessing of the Animals

This centuries-old tradition of blessing the animals, for the many benefits

they provide mankind, is celebrated in the plaza. All pets are welcome.

W H E N : March 26, 12:00 noon – 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,

From the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Festival Guide

Friday, March 18, 2005

Event: Big Bunny's Spring Fling

The Los Angeles Zoo celebrates spring with three days of rabbits, funny bunny ears, crafts, and special entertainment for the whole family.

W H E N : March 25 - 27, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

S I T E : Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles

C O S T : Free with paid admission: $9 Adults, $4 Children (2-12)

S P O N S O R : Los Angeles Zoo

I N F O : 323-644-6400, http://www.lazoo.org

From the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Festival Guide

Thursday, March 17, 2005

What I'm Reading...

Science Friction by Michael Shermer: Where the Known Meets the Unknown

This book just arrived from the library yesterday and I started on the Introduction today. I came across this book via an excellent interview of the author on Tech Nation with Moira Gunn. You can listen to the interview on the IT Conversations web site.

The book deals with the inherehent flaws in the way that humans observe and understand the world and how science can provide a clearer view. Too often we are deceived by our own, preconceived notions, which prevent us from choosing what is best for ourselves and those around us.

In the past, my wife and I have attended the lectures held by the Skeptics Society at CalTech on a variety of topics. They are always a great way to spend an enlightening evening.You can get more information about the Skeptics Society and Skeptics Magazine at their web site, http://www.skeptic.com/.

Podcast: The Roadhouse

I recently subscribed to this new podcast, The Roadhouse: The finest blues you've never heard, and I am loving it. Each show is about an hour and perfect for navigating the (usually) crowded streets of LA.

Tony Steidler-Dennison searches the artists at GarageBand.com to come up with some excellent performers and bands who you have never heard before. These are local bands from Syracuse, NY, Charlotte, NC and all over the US. Steidler-Dennison is great a selecting the wheat from the chaff and presenting a well-thought-out playlist each week.

Check out some of the past shows and then subscribe to the podcast feed. If you love the blues, you're going to love The Roadhouse

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Event: Cottontail Day - Ventura, CA

Cottontail Day

This is a children’s spring event featuring a free egg hunt, arts and craft vendors, food, live entertainment, and activities for children. The event also includes photos with the bunny and a surprise guest.

W H E N : March 19, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

S I T E : Plaza Park, Downtown Ventura

C O S T : Free

S P O N S O R : Cultural Affairs Division of the City of Ventura

I N F O : 805-654-7830

From the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Festival Guide

Coffee as art form

This collection of photos from Flickr, an online photo sharing site, shows the art that can be created simply by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso. Baristas take great pride in their coffe and this Latte Art is simply the icing on the cake, yielding a peak experience with every cup.

latte art - a photoset on Flickr

(Via Web405.)

Solar-power recharging backpack

I am not nearly enough of a road warrior to need one of these backpacks, but I still think they are cool! If you need to compute outside of a normal office, this is for you.

I wish we had more and cheaper alternatives for solar charging and powering our devices. I wouldn't mind laying my cell phone on the dashboard to charge up instead of plugging it in every night. Here in LA I think that would work pretty well.

Solar-powered recharging backpack "

Enviro-friendly weblog Treehugger points to the Voltaic Solar/Electronic Backpack, a bag with solar panels built into it that recharge portable electronics like your iPod or phone.

On cloudy days plug the backpack into an outlet and juice its lithium ion batteries for a full-on mobile power source that's stylish as well. Due out in November for about 230 bucks.

(Via Lifehacker.)

Monday, March 14, 2005

(Sticking) This to That

Sometimes you stumble across the oddest information on the Internet. Of course, there have been times when I could have really made use of this site. Ever try gluing metal to glass, or odd types of plastic back together? Check this out the next time you need to stick something to something else. It might be a match made in heaven.

This to That (Glue Advice)

(Via del.icio.us/makemagazine.)

Free spyware killer roundup

I seem to be spending most of my time cleaning up various nasties on people's computers. Here is a round-up of tools you can use to protect your (and your friends, and your families) PC's. Clean up soon and clean up often!

Free spyware killer roundup:

(Via Lifehacker.)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

How to photograph snow

I am always looking for great photography tips and this one is so simple that I might just remember it when I am out in the field.

When shooting snow or bright sand, you need to increase the exposure instead of decreasing it. I found this somewhat counter intuitive, but the explanation provided in the link below gives a more detailed explanation.

How to Photograph Snow © 2005 KenRockwell.com

(Via del.icio.us/tag/photography.)

Friday, March 11, 2005

MacFixIt - Mini-Tutorial: The dreaded spinning pinwheel

Many users of Mac OS X come to face the "spinning pizza-wheel of death" as one reader calls it. The spinning pinwheel is a sign that something is not quite right about your Mac. It seems the biggest cause is lack of memory to accomplish your work, but if adding memory doesn't help, here are a few other ideas to banish it from your daily Mac Life.

MacFixIt - Mini-Tutorial: The dreaded spinning pinwheel...
Avoiding unresponsiveness/slow-downs in Mac OS X"

(Via del.icio.us/tag/osx.)

For Egg-Dyeing Legions, the Possibilities Abound

We only dye a few eggs each Easter, more so Joe can have the experience than any other reasons. Still, here are some (old) new methods of creating beautiful eggs to mark the season.

For Egg-Dyeing Legions, the Possibilities Abound: "Easter has long been a time for colorful eggs. Now the Internet can open your eyes to many more possibilities than you ever dreamed existed."

(Via New York Times: Technology.)

Get the most out of any book

Want to get the most out of a book, here is a great place to start. Detailed information on how to pull out the most information possible from any book you read.

How to Read and Digest a Book."

(Via MetaFilter.)

A Musical Adventure on the web

When we used to do this in music appreciation class in high-chool, we had to follow along on a printed piece of paper. We would also regularly get lost. Now you can gaina deeper appreciation of a great piece of music using Flash animation and digital sound.

The audio quality is a little ragged, but the information presented is wonderful and amazing.

Listening Adventures: "From the New World , Symphony No. 9, by Antonín Dvorák (flash).
Navigation help here."

(Via MetaFilter.)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Aboretum Releases Free Mac Audio/Video/Text Editor

If you are looking for a replacement for Apple's Free iMovie editor, or something less expensive than Final Cut Pro, this might be worth checking out. I am going to download it today and spend some time playing around with it. Maybe I could release some "video blog" entries in the future? Hmmm....

Aboretum Releases Free Mac Audio/Video/Text Editor
Aboretum Releases Free Mac Audio/Video/Text Editor. Arboretum has decided to release their (previously commercial) audio, video, and text editor, HyperEngine-AV as a free, open-source program. HyperEngine-AV's free-form document window, lets you quickly and easily combine video, photo, audio and text media for the creation of full dv quality slide shows, family movies, corporate presentations or your own feature films. [unmediated]

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Coffee Fix Wi-Fi - Studio City

The family was over in Studio City today, visiting Beeman Park for my son. We used to play here a lot when Joe was a toddler and Mom worked nearby.

While Mom and Joe did some quick homework and played, I headed over to the nearby Coffee Fix, a nice place only a few blocks away. Coffee Fix opened during our time when the park was a nearly daily visit. It has always had great coffee, pastries and more. Its location at the corner of Whitsett and Moorpark, directly across from the Studio City Branch of the LA Public Library makes it a convenient stop during the day or night

On this trip I immediately noticed the four laptop users happily ensconced at nearly every table and comfy chair. Hmmmm....somethings new here, I thought. A quick look around the room and I spotted a DSL modem and Linksys wireless router happily blinking away on a shelf filled with HP Sauce, cans of Spotted Dick and other UK import products.

With so many people jacked into the Net it was clear that free WiFi had arrived.

The next time you need an Internet fix in the Studio City area, pull up to Coffee Fix, get a Cafe Latte and browse away. Increasing WiFi density, it's a good thing in bad ole LA.

12508 Moorpark Street, Studio City, CA 91604, 818-762-0181


Monday, March 07, 2005

Tutorial: Watercolors: The Control of Water in Watercolour

Here is a link to a tutorial from WetCanvas.com, a great arts information and community site. I get there monthly email newsletter and am always pleasantly surprised with the quality of their content. As a somewhat irregular painter of watercolors, these tutorials give me a reason to get back to the brush and paper.

Watercolors: The Control of Water in Watercolour

By: Arnold Lowrey

Join Arnold Lowrey as he addresses the single most important technique associated with watercolour - how to control the water! Join Arnold as he illustrates the effects of using little water to wet-in-wet techniques.

MORE: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/47691/556

Friday, March 04, 2005

Career Opportunities: The High-Tech Career Handbook

This week's column, Wasted Time, has been posted to the web site.

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

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

AnandTech Guide to Better Photos: Night Photography

LifeHacker.com points to this great guide to getting better night pictures with your digital camera. The tutorial is quite technical and covers re-touching with Photoshop or other picture editing software, but I think everyone will find 1 or 2 pointers that can help with their own photography.

AnandTech: AnandTech Guide to Better Photos: Night Photography

Click the photo for a gallery of pictures of the Getty Center I took on my first night with my (then new) Kodak DX3900. I didn't use any of the techniques mentioned here, but it will give you some idea of the quality you can coax frmo the even a relatively inexpensive digital camera.